A friend of mine once said, "without philosophy you're f@cked". Though a tinge crass, I hold these words true. At the beginning of the year I would experience a series of misfortune, and I give credit to my continued study/practice of philosophy as being the flotation device and the compass in navigating the sudden falling into the abyss, and the safe return to land. This is one example of several, taking Epicurus' words from Marcus Aurelius' book Meditations. These words alone gave me such support, strength, and guidance when I needed it most... "pain is neither intolerable nor everlasting if thou bearest in mind that it has it's limitations, and if thou addest nothing to it in imagination..." Thanks Epicurus, and all deliverers of the world's wisdom. The following is a reflection further on the subject. Enjoy.
The cultivation of a practice. We all experience difficult times in our lives. Times where we suddenly find the rug pulled from under our feet, and in this moment is life ever so raw, so direct. One is intensely alive, and deeply aware of it. And yet how how we are so desperate to flee from this place when it opens up. It is perhaps the most terrifying place to be, like an existential vacuum whose force feels as if we are being sucked into the void of an empty abyss. Perhaps this is scary to us because it is the arena of our ultimate confrontation. That confrontation with ourselves. And perhaps the terror comes from having no idea of who we truly are. Underneath all appearances. Especially when all those appearances that defined us vanish and become nothing more than sentimental memories. We lose the worlds that we build over and over again in this way. Finding life to be nothing more than a pattern where we are so vulnerable to all that is the closest things to ourselves, outside of ourselves. However, a shift occurs in all of this when we halt and rest in that space that opens up between loss and before gain. And in that shift, things reverse. From the outside in. We no longer lose the world's we build, but those worlds lose us. We no longer lose what we gain, but gain from what we lose. We become less afraid of the world when we begin to become less afraid of ourselves, thru the realization of our true selves. Our true nature. Weakened is the conditional relationship with things. Inviting only the 'good', and denying the 'bad'. Life is experienced as a whole. Life is experienced as its richest potential. The fearlessness to live in the world cultivating as we go deeper within our being, walking thru our egos and arriving at our tender hearts. And it is here we recognize the basic goodness of ourselves, hidden underneath all the layers of shame, guilt, conditioning and mental constructs. It is here that we arrive at the root of ourselves, that pulses intensely with every nerve of our being. The lightest breath of air on its surface can be felt in the loudest volumes thru out our entire being, erecting us into that awakened state. And so again, in that space of misfortune, where life is so open and raw, when the nerve is exposed to the surface. Let us yield to the pain bringing our deepest fortune from its root to the surface, breaking it, exposing it and letting it blossom into the sky like nature of our entire universe. Maybe it is here that we finally find that ineffable completion in our existence, that we exhaust ourselves lost and confused in the pattern of gain and loss, searching for, grasping to, seduced by in the outer appearances that we create in our individual universes.