Chaos in the flat and a comforting comment from the friend who stops by: “It does lead somewhere…”.
It is official: I am moving. The physical move is a rather symbolic expression of a change and a rare opportunity to make an inventory of one’s material possessions, all the STUFF. The What-can-I-let-go-of-now? question is welcome. How much unnecessary stuff have been accumulated in just a few years! Throwing things away doesn’t feel quite right but neither does clogging a new place with them so I made a deal with myself: if nobody takes the stuff over, I will throw it away and simply try my best at not getting more of it.
Shedding old thought patterns and beliefs that I stubbornly carry around like a pair of old shoes that don’t fit any more but have some nostalgic value, is nearly as healthy a task. Only much harder.
A couple of days ago I was involved in a discussion around a certain kind of a relationship, its pros and cons. This particular kind of arrangement between the parties seemed a little bit off to me but apparently was a thinkable and even preferable alternative for many. I didn’t think long before rejecting the idea of getting into such a relationship myself – that would certainly be not my cup of tea! Yet HOW WOULD I KNOW?
So here I was, clinging to the self-image of myself, rejecting the cup of tea I was nowhere around of. There was no tea, no cup, nothing real – there was a discussion in very general terms and the idea I had of myself of being and relating to people in a certain way. Does this idea have anything to do with my true self? Thinking of it, when I simply go with the flow and don’t let my ideas of myself stand in the way of the actual experience, the choices I make tend to be quite unexpected, I sort of surprise myself. It is like not having time to consult the script for the part I have been playing (that of myself), I improvise and discover other sides of the self.
How about what we call self-knowledge then? Don’t we know what moves us and what doesn’t? I cannot really know till I am facing a particular situaton in which I am fully present, or else the autopilot mode kicks in and I slavishly start following the behaviour pattern that have been established and is reconfirmed by (thoughtlessly) responding to the situation in the same way time after another. If I know and play this part only, how can I say that I really know myself?
The outstanding swordsman of the 16th century Miyamoto Musashi, sharing the way of Heisho, “insists that taking a position is not taking a position. When you raise your sword to the upper position, this is not the position from which to move. It is not a position of rest. All movement, all the time, is continuous. It is all part of the final move, that of cutting the opponent. Do not be complacent in a ready position. Always be on the alert. Even though you are protected in this position, always have the same attitude, the same outlook.” (From the Commentary to Musashi’s “The Book of Water”).
When one is not faced with the danger of being sliced by a samurai sword, it is easy to simply run on default settings.
Tao Te Ching advises:
Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
when it blows, there is only wind;
when it rains, there is only rain;
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
Can I express myself completely using memories of the previous experiences as a script for handling the current experience?