Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.
Just the other day I was reading a story about a man, Hendrik Coetzee, an adventurer, entrepreneur, and all around beast who seemed to have it all figure out. I encourage you to check out the story here. Though the story is some about his life but mostly about his demise, within it I found some interesting things to ponder. One such passage was this:
I need to believe that there is more to this world than what we know. I need to believe there is magic out there. I cannot believe these things blindly, though, and maybe that is why I had to do this mission—to prove to myself that we can do things which are bigger than ourselves. I needed to walk through a minefield to feel protected.
It got me thinking about the idea that in our life, our daily walk should consist mainly of things, actions, choices that are able to teach us about ourselves and our world. The premise that if life isn’t about learning ones path and finding it in the world for yourself, then whats it all for? Just as Coetzee and so many before him, the pushing of limits and the quest for newness in life leads us to a deeper understanding of our own humanity, or at least we hope it does. It is by allowing ourselves to feel each moment so deeply that it somehow transcends what we know to be true, lifting our bodies and our souls into some alternate level. Call it enlightenment if you want, but it simply is just knowing.
We have discussed many times here before the notion that through new experiences we are brought closer to the true manifestation of ourselves in the world, but we can take this concept even further. I say that those new experiences should not be token ones, or should I say ones that you do for the sake of doing them, but must be individualized undertakings that speak directly to the core of our own souls. Each of us seeking that which we are made of through the experiences we seek and the life we lead. For me, pressing my own boundaries through travel, adventure, and the constant quest for unconvention define who I am, or at least who I should be, and in this lies the crux of self discovery.
If I can accept these things are true, or as close to true as can be found in this life, why do I consistently disregard the gnawing feeling that I should be doing more with my life? In essence, through my own inability to realize the potential within myself and the life I lead, I am stifling my own ability to discover something greater within myself and the world at large. Like Coetzee that feeling of richness and fulfillment is something that must be found, not given. If we are not aware and take great care in being deliberate about being in the moment we will, no doubt, embark on a lifelong involuntary quest for passivity and mediocrity, thus becoming our life’s greatest work to be average. We devise strategies, stress, worry, ignore, and settle until all that is left is a smattering of experiences disconnected and insignificant.
This idea of being acutely aware of any given moment and stringing those moments together into something cohesive begs the question: Once we are in that higher state of being, what do we find there and how do we get it again? Is it something of the Divine we look for and are lucky enough to meet? Maybe. The real question is if the Divine does live within our experiences and a deeper sense of self, can we ever hope to find it without experiencing fear and even the possibility of death?
There are numerous stories, research studies, and even entire belief systems based around this idea that the deepest spirituality can only be found on the extreme fringes of existence. The places where comfort is an afterthought and what we know to be our human limitations are nothing but laughable nonsensical notions. Think about any kind of extreme aesthetic figure: Monks, priests, extreme athletes, tramps, seekers of the boundaries of the physical world. These people all strive to place their mortal bodies in a place that will allow them to access a higher understanding and in turn achieve their higher purpose on Earth.
The more and more I deny the thing that resides deepest in my soul, the greater the risk of being cut off from this understanding and fulfillment of a spiritual connection, and worse the eventual loss of my soul all together. If the argument against abandoning reason and regard for personal comfort or safety is the ills that could befall me both physical and emotional, couldn’t you say that the loss of the soul is a greater risk that any negative side effect of the pursuit of the Divine? The question then becomes where do we draw the line between whimsical abandonment of sensibility and the pursuit of ones full human potential. My greatest fear is that I might never find that line and come to know some higher understanding of what it means to be alive. To me, the risk of injury does not compare to this prospect.
In the end I can not allow what is in my heart and in my soul to be clouded by the fickle and often times ridiculous demands of society or normal life. I need to know the “magic” that lives all around us yet is invisible to most. Much like Hendrik Coetzee it seems I need the proof that I can be something more than the sum of my parts, something that is of a higher purpose than to simply live. Within each experience, no matter its setting or set of circumstances, there exists a moment and an opportunity to become acquainted with every part of myself. Only through that practice, it seems, will what I am searching for be found and that is what should drive me forward.