Reflections on being

Unleashed Being Contemplations Leave a Comment

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waves, and the beach, as well as the sun are visible.

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to experienced.”

Søren Kierkegaard

Index

  1. ) Introduction
  2. ) The opposite of being
  3. ) Of childhood and fluidity
  4. ) The perpetual masquerade
  5. ) The dark side of the moon
  6. ) Methods of initiation
  7. ) Conclusion

Introduction

Life is but a myriad of experiences. Some more intriguing than others. Yet, most of the time it feels as though there’s no way of describing it. Common practices, such as language itself, appear to be just another set of broken tools, used to carve out something, which should appear lively, but is hollow inside. It is a mirage to be alive. To feel alive. That is, to actually be fully immersed in this trip. Contrary to popular belief, most of us were never alive, to begin with. This short piece is aimed at exploring what “being” – that is living – truly means.

The opposite of being

More often than not, we try to reach some certain destination. Some kind of higher ground. A place, which holds the distant promise of being more favourable than our current situation makes us believe. Almost like a lighthouse. A safe haven for our being, so to speak. But life goes by fast. Its seamless transgressions from a state of bliss to a perceived state of dissatisfaction come down like the ravaging waves amidst the stormy sea. Unpredictable. Unstoppable. As the boat shakes, and we are close to getting sucked up by the steady flow of water, we start to feel what being alive really means. Our innocence has been swept away. Cast into the distance, forever gone. It feels almost like a part of us has died off. A former shard of our self, which has been lulled into the safety net of protection. Shut off from realities’ primal ground. Suffering. For we were all but innocent youths. We were actually alive. As we have started to accumulate more and more knowledge, become “modern”, started diversifying everything by means of made up words, something in us has effectively been cast away. It has been forcefully caged. Doomed to suffer a fate of lackluster remoteness. Almost like a banished individual. That is, individuality itself has been thrown away. For we have learned that certain things are not deemed appropriate. For we have been molded into a distorted figurine of some envisioned higher good. Certain morale, or a certain way of being. One, which has prompted us to existentially bite the dust. We have essentially become dead men walking.

Of childhood and fluidity

You see, during childhood we were full of vigour. We knew naught of boundaries, had no idea about all those ludicrous visions of grandeur. Had no real inclination towards getting the gold at the of the rainbow, other than for the sake of doing so. We were actually alive.

As a kid, you are de facto nothing but potential. The world is essentially your oyster. You are not afraid of coming across as sluggish, creepy, or however one might classify an adult, who does something, which is considered inappropriate during a given context. You are innocent in the truest sense. You are fundamentally untouched by everything extravagant. Everything, which has been put on a pedestal, respectively been put down, does not move you as rigidly as it would somebody, who has been shaped into behaving a certain way.

Children retain a sort of fluid status quo. Yet as they grow older, life begins to change. As their polychromatic canvas is being slowly dyed, they lose something. More and more blobs of the same color show up, whilst their once untouched outlook gets hammered into a specific array. Cultural, as well as parental and peer-related influences rear their ugly heads and start forcefully shifting the very mindset, which distinguishes the free, untouched spirit of children, into a deformed façade. Instead of being, they conform. Morality, rules, and accepted behaviors in general start to become the norm – and so do the kids. Their innate flame is being slowly but surely put out, as they are less and less themselves, and more and more some sort of embodiment of frivolous expectations. Genuine creativity, spontaneity and the bliss of being alive, which permeates every fibre of their being are but remnants of the past. Their very existence starts to become a kind of homage to those who declare what is right and what wrong. Being has fundamentally been dethroned. All that’s left are pieces of dead wood.

The perpetual masquerade

From there on, the parade starts to gain momentum. For conditionality has bred mediocrity, since the individual does not exist anymore. At least not in its most pristine form – an unhindered continuum of sheer vitality. Excellency, not by means of pertaining to some faux aspiration, which has been put forth by those who dare claim to know what is fundamentally good for you. But rather by being. Feeling, experiencing, acting out what one feels within without remorse. This is what serves as the substructure for all human experience; it is in essence what it means to be human.

By staying true to one’s inner life, one is truly living. Thinking of doing something, adhering to inflexible principles that have been imposed on you, and all sorts of ominously necessary events and happenings are but one’s own misguided remains of delusions. Dead wood, which has been colored, so as to keep “being” hidden.

The more you give up, the more you stand to gain, for there is but transparent gold within. All things, which you can possess, everything you can get a hold of, par principle everything which weighs you down, in a metaphorical sense, is simply a mirage. The more you try to achieve something, the less you are yourself. For your genuine self is incomparable to shallow modus operandi, such as adherence to illusory higher goods.

With that being said, there are obviously existential pitfalls, which one has to leave behind, so as to be. Up until now, I have made it clear that life can only be lived by means of experience. This does, however, not mean that man himself is but a simple animal, only capable of manoeuvring through the unforeseeable depths of existence by acting according in a behaviorist fashion. Society itself hinges on systems, such as specific basic codices of conduct, as well as specific rules, which have been installed pre-emptively, so as to avert mayhem. I believe it to be of utmost importance to live in concordance with certain rules, which have been established, yet express as much individuality as possible. That is: not trying, aspiring, or even posing as something, which one is not, but rather to live in accordance with one’s innermost state. One of dynamic fluidity. For it is not by means of anchoring ourselves to certain fixed points of orientation that we become who we are, but rather by means of constantly exploring the subliminal. Gold will be found where we are least prone to look.

Being is akin to a continuous state of becoming. It is thus by transformation that one is. A fluid state; one where both the angst-instilling depths and the awe-inspiring heights of the totality of our existential impressions and expressions intercept. It is thus by accepting both sides of oneself that one is. Light cannot exist without a shadow. A rather unsettling realization, which ushers far too many individuals-to-be, to try to forcefully dispose of their unwanted feelings. In wanting to be something, one is fundamentally denying himself of becoming. Since wanting, desiring, aspiring, and everything else which is aimed at getting somewhere usually entails casting off experiences, which go against the grain of what apparently needs to be done. In doing so, one is not accepting of all other shards of oneself, which do not adhere to this one-sided approach of getting hold of something. There is nothing to be held onto. In getting a grip on something, one is gaining a substitution for the one thing that is truly invaluable: life.

The dark side of the moon

Henceforth, “being” also entails to be accepting of one’s shadow. It is only by integrating the other side of one’s existential coin that one transcends the shallow water and becomes who he is. Accepting oneself also entails accepting others. For the more one starts to appreciate their inner world and does not try to contain it, the more one learns to be accepting of others. For nobody is perfect. There is no such thing as the best, or even final, version of oneself.

Unfortunately we are constantly fed with all sorts of messages pertaining to delusions disguised as lofty goals. We are made to believe that the only things that truly matter are outside of ourselves: money, titles, grades, positions. Society keeps us on a leash by trying to instil in us the fear that happiness is something, which can be attained. Happiness, such as all feelings, are nowhere to be found. They lie essentially within. It is thus by becoming that one can experience long-termed satisfaction. A genuine kind of contentment, which does not rely on short-lived hits of feel good chemicals. This innate tranquillity can only be experienced by means of being present. No common phantasmagoria will ever come close to its richness, for what is common is but deceit disguised as normal. Nothing is in reality “normal”. It becomes only normal by comparison. That is by – once again – relying on certain sets of schemes, which are deemed appropriate within a given context.

Moving further down this mental tangent, one can easily deduct that being normal is utter pathology at its best. That is, by adhering strictly to expectations placed upon oneself and by forcefully trying to fit into a certain mold for an already predetermined outcome, one is but being himself. He is but another shadow, one amongst many. It is henceforth by such means that individuality, and thus potential without comparison gets squandered. One cannot help but lament at the lost lives of those who never dared to venture into the unknown. Those who never got to realize their full potential. To externalise their innate propensities. Those who were in essence never alive.

By means of steady transformation, one will learn to grapple with life in a playful manner. They will abscond from subjugating themselves to all sorts of rigid schemes and solidified presuppositions. Whilst it may be tempting to rest on the deceiving laurels of one’s fabricated sandcastle, there is nothing more exhilarating than becoming enmeshed in the flow of life. A timeless state, where the boundaries between good and evil become intertwined and one actually feels alive.

It is as Alan Watts once famously proclaimed; “life is a play”. Something to be experienced, to be felt. I surmise that by probing questions, indulging in whatever happens right now, and not trying to force anything, one starts becoming. Please do bear in mind, however, the fact that existence differs for everyone. Whilst certain occurrences may appear similar, life is but what you make of it. A dance; open to interpretation, and that is what makes it beautiful.

Methods of initiation

Keeping in mind existence’s innate unpredictability, I do presume that there are certain prerequisites to be met, so as to be. For starters, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and subsequent consequences is but a small price to pay for its grandiose rippling effect on all areas of life. By taking on responsibility, we grow. We actually start to consciously explore our environment in a manner, which allows us to perceive way more than usual. That is, by taking on responsibility for one’s own doings, one starts to move from a place of helplessness towards one of growing. Every action counts, yet we are quick to dismiss things and act nonchalantly in a way, which absolves us of everything potentially negative that might in truth be of benefit to us.

Growth happens not by staying put, and foregoing the reflection on what is happening, but rather by exploring everything, which one deems normal. There are a plethora of experiences, which we are quick to categorize, instead of thinking about why this sort of categorization happens at all. Occurrences, which may be deemed negative at first, are, in the long run most often what spurs us on to grow wings. Those unseemly, innocuous will become the norm, the more often they are repeated. That is, they turn into unsightly chimeras. Vile beasts which will eventually break free. The longer one contains their true feelings, the more forceful the outbreak. What is deeply cast away, will never really subside. It will only become stronger in the process, the longer it is denied. By not being true to one’s feelings, one is de facto feeding a beast. A creature, which can only be holed up for so long, before it starts to break free.

By not giving into the temptation of dismissing feelings, whatever their nature may be, it can be surmised that no such unwished for outbreak will occur. Since, if one does not abscond from being their true self, one has no reason to be consciously ignorant of their inner workings. That is, taking on the load of experiences, irrespective of their labelled origin will aid you in becoming who you are. The undertaking of one’s life. Being, the ultimate journey of our very existence. It is a dynamic which is all that is meaningful. It is meaning in its truest sense.

Taking on responsibility is but one way to start becoming who you are. Another highly important part of this whole process is being honest, or at least not lying. Since, as one famous Canadian psychologist has put it: “By lying you are essentially twisting the very fabric of reality” (paraphrased).

If you continuously indulge in lies and deceit, you have dug your own existential grave. In doing so, you will not be able to tell truth from sham, and you will never experience life. Existence’s very foundation – one of pristine transparency – will become clouded by lies. You are not only robbing yourself of any real relationships, you are also on the best way to becoming essentially blind. Since by going down this shaky path, you will start becoming unable to differentiate “right” from “wrong”.

Truth is thus tightly interwoven with the concept of taking responsibility. Both are imperative when it comes to building genuine relationships. Leave one out and you are doomed to fail from the get-go. Any connection whatsoever built on a shaky foundation will eventually crumble. It is henceforth of utter importance to keep in mind the fact that everything, you do, or don’t do has consequences.

Conclusion

It may sound gloomy and intimidating at first. The notion that all small steps leave their footprints, that is. But in realizing this, there is also strength to be found. Since you are not as helpless as you might suppose you are. In taking responsibility, being true to yourself and others, as well as shedding off the scales in front of your eyes, you will start becoming who you are. You will feel, what it means to be alive. And in venturing into the unknown, in exploring the vast ocean, you will stumble upon a great many true treasures. Their colors far surpassing those perceivable outside of yourself.

But only time can tell who you are. It is truly the ultimate, possibly the only, meaning of life: to become who you are. To be. To exist. To live.

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