David Foster Wallace, from his 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College, “This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.”
If you worship money and things – if they are where you tap real meaning in life – then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already – it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.
They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.
And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
Some people would take offense at a stranger nitpicking their spelling. And some people would take the opportunity to be awesome.
Subject: lose vs. loose
hi philipp, i really like your blog [Balanced Action]. i just subscribed so i wouldn’t miss any posts. so, i’m just trying to be helpful when i say that in almost every one of your posts you misspell the word “lose.” it’s not “loose.” this is probably only distracting to a handful of us, but since the word comes up so often i thought i’d mention it.
anyway, great work!
Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it! I apologize for my spelling mistakes. English is not my first language.
Thank you. Im going to work on my spelling.
Here I am again.
Went through my last couple of posts and fixed the mistakes. Oops.
I finally got it: loose = adj, lose = verb.
Hey this helped me a lot :-).
I live in Switzerland, the land of chocolate. As a sign of appreciation I would like to send you some chocolates. What type of chocolate do you prefer: Dark or milky? If you send me your address, I will send you some chocolates.
Yoga is not an escape. It’s not gonna take away your problems or make you think, ‘Oh, everything’s perfect.’ When I’m practicing, everything that presents itself is an opportunity to use the physical practice as a mirror to look within. The thoughts that come up during practice I find are often indicative of the most repetitive psychological patterns that we have. You know, you find yourself thinking self-deprecating thoughts, or you find yourself thinking self-limiting thoughts. Or you find yourself, you know, hating yourself or uncomfortable in your body or something. During your practice, you get this opportunity to have no other excuse, so you can’t say, ‘Well, that was a trigger, they did that to me.’ It’s just you and your thoughts.
My experience is that, some days you have a practice where a lot of this inner dialogue is there, and those are the days I kind of feel like you’re actually doing a lot of the work of burning through the obstacles. Because all of those thoughts, for me, they’re like the obstacles that come up in your mind.
— Kino MacGregor
That’s what I’m talking about. (Thanks, Jade and Andre for the vid.)
Certain grandmothers may speak freely of the frequency and quality of their BMs, and parents count and analyze the color and consistency of their babes’, but most of us don’t think about poop or talk about it much until it becomes a problem. And eventually it will. If Indra Devi is to be believed.
And we believe it. Is Beerasana obsessed with poop? Dunno. But we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: squatting is the way. Several months ago our friend and local yogi Jamie Phipps fashioned us a squatting stool that resembles the Squatty Potty. At first I felt it made our bathroom look like a nursing home facility, and I would be annoyed when I kicked it barefooted in the dark, but now it seems strange to go without it. Our house guests, at first skeptical (even hostile), came around, too. Read More…
In this series I’ll post sections of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: much read at weddings, less so in its entirety. Today’s lesson is on houses. Because sometimes our houses feel more like anchors than masts. And sometimes our comfortable routines makes us chomp at the bit. If your house is your larger body, what does that look like? Is it alive, or like a tomb? Is it uncluttered enough to allow you to think? To move? Do you lock your doors, and if so, what are you protecting? “Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.” Let’s think about our houses today.
I sing the Body electric;
The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth them;
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the Soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves;
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do as much as the Soul?
And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?