So, I”ve had a few glasses of wine, and I’m in one of my friskily motivational moods.
That being said, I thought I’d share a chapter from a book I wrote a few years back.
I’m not editing it for the purpose of this post… cause, well, I have my reasons. So forgive any silly errors (like how choppy it is). I wrote the thing when I was 21 (which wasn’t really that long ago), but whatever. Here it is. I’m a share it, and that’s that!
Oh, and it’s a “self-help” book, which is why it might seem a bit over the top. I did work in sales for five years; I understand, fairly well, the sort of rhetoric that pumps people up, and employed it shamelessly in this piece. (Mainly because writing it did usually pump me up, you know?)
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THE INNER CHILD
Same. But different
“To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me” – Sir Isaac Newton
In a nutshell, the aim of Part Three from hereon in is to start taking steps forward again, but with fresh eyes. It is to again see, like a child sees, the never-ending opportunities that life contains for us to indulge in. To explore. To smell. To taste. And to perceive. To ignite this next phase, I wanted to briefly discuss what, in my opinion, the overall objective in life for each and every human being existent is. Without exception. And though I am going to spend about 15 thousand words discussing this aim in greater detail, I can sum up my rather dogmatic view for you in one sentence. And that is quite simply: to regain a playful, curious and in essence, child like mentality towards living again. This, my friends, is my own personal definition of what I believe to be the meaning of life.
As simple and glib as this interpretation of what I believe to be the ultimate goal in life may be, I wholeheartedly believe that it is a most desirable state of being. And one that we should all aspire to ardently. And here is why.
Start smelling the roses instead of simply analysing them
Children lead their lives with an unbound thirst for life. Each new experience that they encounter is met with bulging and eager eyes. Ready to learn. Excited for new knowledge. Their joyful and uninhibited laughter is not burdened by responsibility and expectation. They see no responsibility to laugh quietly so as to not offend those near by. They laugh with no expecting to be ridiculed for their laughing. They do not see life as something that should be apprehended and looked on with dread. They don’t pass someone on the street, look at them, and then pretend they’re staring at the sky when that person makes eye contact. They learn all of these ‘mature’ behaviours and idiosyncrasies from us adults. They learn to look upon life with dread, fear and trepidation, from we, much ‘wiser’ and more mature ones. Though, in observing children before they have been imbued with our own inadequacies and insecurities, they can teach us much.
I like to see life as though it is a blank slate. As though every experience, every moment, is a new moment, a new experience. As though I am forever a tourist. Exploring new territory. Discovering new things. Feeling new things. Seeing new things. Regardless of how many times I have seen, felt, and experienced these things already. From this light, I believe that things are given the attention they rightly deserve. They may be the same. They may have been already experienced. Though, right now, nothing can be the same as before. And as such, I live my life accordingly. Forever new. Like a child. Curious. Always.
Think about a picture. A masterpiece. This picture. This masterpiece. Was created on a blank canvass. On nothing! Then with each brush-stroke of paint coming to contact with canvass, something magical happened. A thing of beauty was created. From nothing, came something. From a white, blank, sheet of paper, was transformed a beautiful, magical, wonderful creation. As each moment came, a new stroke followed. And with each following stroke followed yet another. Until each accumulative stroke became a picture. A masterpiece. And with that picture, that masterpiece became life. Life! And then, the most exquisite thing happened. Indeed, the most exquisite thing of all. The picture got wiped clean. And the cycle started afresh. A new blank canvass comes to surface. And the brush became again free to create a new masterpiece. Again. And again. And again. All at once, too. A photograph and a video.
Children live life this way. Tourists tend to live life this way. Physicists see the world from this light. Seeing the newness in old things. Seeing something in and from nothing. Looking to grow, and nourish, with every single moment that passes. Looking to learn, to see, to feel, freshness. Life. Something different. I mean, isn’t it amazing how you can walk into a bar in a foreign country, and automatically feel like a brand new person? Because this particular bar isn’t just any bar. It’s a new bar. In a new country. Well, what if I said that you could live life this way, always? What if I told you that you don’t have to live life with any sense of monotony, or repetition, ever? Well, I’m telling you now. Believe me or don’t. That you can. And again, emphasis made, you can live this way, beginning right now.
Once the void has been detached from your self, and is free to exist within you, without any opposition from you, those moments that you thought you had experienced already, become anew. Everything you experience becomes new. And because of this, everything becomes light. Instead of feeling as though anything must be done. You start to want to do things. The weight of the world that you once felt on your shoulders magically evaporates into nothingness. And converts into something different. Into an abyss of potential creation. Into a type of momentum that becomes drive. Passion. To live. To feel. To experience. To create.
“You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame;
how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Self-transcendence, as I have perceived to be commonly perceived, is something seen as fantastical. Mythical, almost. I do not see it in this way. In my mind, self-transcendence is rather simple. It is evaporating your self within your self. Giving light to all that is you. Stepping into this light. Seeing you for you. And then moving forward. Through you. And into a place of no self-concept. Into a place deep within your own brain. That is all.
Self-transcendence is to see and feel the objective self that is you. And it’s impermanence. The forever changing you, beneath your shell. Not the frame that you have come to define yourself by. Not the pretty little picture that you wish others to see you in light of. But the raw you. The you behind the mask. That is all.
Or, as Dr. Viktor Frankl has so eloquently described it in his highly sought book, ‘Man’s search for meaning,’ “the more one forgets himself…the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself…self-actualization is possible only as a side effect of self-transcendence”. Self-transcendence in a nutshell. Ladies, gentlemen and those in between.
An ever-blank slate
You cannot paint over a masterpiece. Letting go of that pretty picture you have painted yourself in can and will only free you. With the death of this self – it’s really not as dramatic as it sounds – you become a child again. A child that only ever wants to learn, grow, and experience. And luckily enough, all of that knowledge – that beautiful knowledge that you have adopted – won’t be lost. Instead, it will drawn from with fresh eyes.
With a fresh start. A fresh canvass. Comes a bright beginning. Knowledge of old is not lost. It is merely let go, and unidentified with. Like a child sees a puppy, not as a crossbreed, chi Wawa/border collie/lab, diseased mongrel outsourced from the lost-dogs home, but as a mere friend. A companion. Without a predisposed label. Without an attachment to this void-self, everything again becomes fresh. Unencumbered by predetermined prejudice.
Within this nothing is the greatest something you will ever come to know. Once this void-self has been sifted out from your being, and this gold that is you is allowed to exist. And allowed to shine. Like a flower blossoms naturally. So will you. In this light, and with this growth, you will become both a blank canvass. And an artist. Ready to paint anew. On your self. And in your world. You will become nothing. But something. Naturally. Simultaneously. And paradoxically.
Free this inner child. And let your self be-come. By allowing your self to be-gone. As you can probably tell, Part Three is going to be picking up the tempo. It’s going to communicate as a little bit more upbeat than Part’s one and two. I hope that you’re as excited reading this as I am writing this. If you’re not, do some push-ups. Some star jumps. Something! Get your blood flowing. Take a sip of water. And always remember, as spoken Steve Jobs…“stay hungry, stay foolish.”
“Life is too important to be taken seriously” – Oscar Wilde
Could truer words be spoken?