What do “I” want out of Life?

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

What do “I” want out of life? The stock answer is found in a scan of some sort of mental list, or to look back over a thin memory and say, well, I want this or that which my situation hasn’t allowed me to have yet. Some missed opportunity at riches or notoriety; re-living and “fixing” a failed love affair, traveling the world, being one of the first Earthians to walk on Mars, the usual.

New thought: think of it this way: over 8 billion Earthians on one small planet doing its best to supply life but unable in the normal course of things.  The Earthians, instead of curbing their excess populations, resorted to building cities to cram their excess into. Now think: of the 8 billions, at least 6 of those are excess population; a population that can never, ever, know what it means to live a normal, natural, good life.

But even those who live on the outskirts of cities and even farther out, are living in artificial accommodations and surrounded by artificial means of life support provided/forced by scientists, technocrats, drug and medical cartels, bankers, agri-business, and the ubiquitous corporate elites’ dictates.

Now think: what if this massive majority of artificially-living Earthians have literally gone stark raving mad but there is no one left to point it out to them, or if there was, they have grown incapable of understanding what that means? What if the certifiable insane is now the sane, without any remaining ability to question it?

If a normal, natural lifestyle demands – yes, demands – that all the accoutrements of modern Earthian living be abandoned in order for the coming generations to re-discover how to live without the madness of their forebears, could the mad artificial folk of the day ever agree to such a tradeoff? A few might see it, but most would reject the idea out of hand as insane.  In the world of the crazies it’s the sane who are declared insane.

Now think again: where do you think the vast majority of Earthians mentally reside between the normal sanity of natural living and the madness of artificial survival?  I’m not good with graphs, but on a scale of one to ten, let’s say one being natural normal, and ten being the extreme unnatural artificial, i.e., the creature that has no chance of surviving without artificial means in nature’s wilderness, where does the majority of Earthians lie?  From my point of view, I see it at the eight mark. At that I believe I’m being too generous. It should probably be a nine-point-five to a ten.

So out of morbid curiosity about myself, what do “I” want, leaving “expectations” out of it?

Suppose I go back over this one life and look at what I’ve mostly always wanted.

I wanted to live in a sane world with some rather basic rules. No laws, just obvious rules. The first one was, if I possess something in excess and I know of another who needs it then that no longer belongs to me but to the one who has need of it. I also knew that once that whatever left my hands, I no longer needed to exercise any control over it. Whomever “had it” was now responsible for its use. I also knew for a fact that anything I thus gave up I could never claim back. If I give something away, the recipient owes me nothing, not even recognition. It’s just natural flow.

Mostly I wanted to live in a thoroughly peaceful world. My world had no place for conflict of any kind, least of all for war or preparation for war. These concept are totally anathema to my understanding of life. War is anti-life, however it is done or reasoned. War is evil from the get-go. Those who plan for war in any form, are evil people. What to say then of those benighted individuals who “join up” to fight evil men’s wars?

Mostly I wanted to live in a world where there is no such thing as predation. In my world nothing is killed for the survival of another. This goes from a sub-atomic particle to a galaxy. In my world all of life, however it manifests, is sacred and no one, or nothing, would ever claim to have the right to absorb, abuse or destroy that life.

Mostly I wanted to live in a world where “evil” is unknown; where it never had a foothold. A world without fear; without oppression; without danger, fears, tears or sorrow. A world without pain-filled loss. A world without death unless it is desired as a means of reaching greater understanding and greater awareness.

I didn’t want to live in some Utopia. If you’ve ever read the book you’ll know why. I just wanted to live in a good world. A safe for all world. A clean natural world. A world suitable for children to play in, grow up in, have children of their own in and know all of it is “never have to look over your shoulder” safe. A world in which violence is anathema.

I think that in my many “wanderings” and mental/spiritual quests I have found that world. My intent is to go there once I’ve completed my turn of duty here. I know it won’t be a permanent place for me, but it will give me a much needed and welcome break from experiencing these lower astral worlds.

I wanted something this world would not give me so I found another world that would. Over the years many have asked me how I did that, or how I could be so sure I had done it. The closest answer I could, or can, give is a sigh and a shrug. There is no answer. It’s a question of self empowerment; of self confidence; of inner spiritual force and accepted guidance. It’s a question of “investment” of decades of one’s life to seek out a path based on one’s redefined nature. It might even be a question of learned and practiced humility…?

But how do I really know? Well there is a self test I can use. The whole thing hinges on how much I have been able to change myself in going from basic Earthian selfishness to living the compassionate life. To the compassionate being all good worlds are open, evil worlds easily detected and avoided. As of today I can’t think of a better way to live a lifetime than to spend it learning how to become a compassionate being.

 

47 thoughts on “What do “I” want out of Life?

  1. Hyperion

    Quote: “…I can’t think of a better way to live a lifetime than to spend it learning how to become a compassionate being.” I dare to anger the crowds by saying there probably isn’t a better way to spend one’s life. There certainly are many different ways to live one’s life, but learning to live in noble virtue, empowered with altruistic humanity, acting in magnanimous ways in the midst of this chaotic predatorial, politicized, cancel-culture is the mark of something remarkable, maybe even unique. You will ascend to that higher dimension with the knowledge of being right, while we muggles and mullygwamps (a made-up word that sounds cool) will perish in the anguish of bucket lists unachieved.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Mullygwamps… another one for the Hyperion dictionary of Modern Words and Expressions.
      Quote: “You will ascend to that higher dimension with the knowledge of being right, while we muggles and mullygwamps (a made-up word that sounds cool) will perish in the anguish of bucket lists unachieved.”
      I don’t know about the ascending (or is it ass-sending) part, but at least I won’t be in the endless line up of Mullygwamps at the airport with no ID, no ticket, no destination and that blank or confused look that says, “Hey, I wasn’t expecting any of this!” Getting ready for transit should be number one on anyone’s bucket list, unless they’ve already signed up for annihilation – my understanding is you actually do have that choice to self-terminate as a mind being. Interesting what can be learned if one doesn’t approach every new twist with, “Aw, c’mon, that’s total bullshit!”

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      1. Hyperion

        Ha ha ha haaa! I am ASS-ending no doubt in my mind. Suicide is a touchy subject but if it wasn’t treated with such ignorance and leftover draconian, Victorian religious stigma so deeply ingrained in western societies, we could have compassion, understanding and acceptance. It doesn’t need to be an act of desperation if it was considered a person’s inalienable right to choose a date, time, and place of death. We could have a more humane approach rather than the choices and methods people use now. This comment in no way addresses all the issues but we need to start somewhere, right?

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      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Suicide is a many faceted subject. I think it is becoming more acceptable now among the religious wipepo but slow going. I have mentioned that my mother chose to end her life at 46 years of age. Enough is enough. I’ve always thought she did the right thing and demonstrated an incredible, powerful act of courage. There was nothing cowardly about her life and her chosen end. I always wanted to have that much courage!

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      3. Hyperion

        I’ve had to deal with a lot of suicides, my own as well. It was a closely held secret in the Army until the secret was leaked and the big boys got called to the carpet to give lip service. At my level, it was hands on from start to finish. I became a sort of lay expert at being able to sense the tiniest cracks in the will to live, not just in soldiers and their families but in the general population. People always show signs, there is always a trigger event(s) that sets it in motion. The person gone was finally at peace from whatever convinced them it was time to go, but it was extremely rare to see acceptance among those left behind. I thought that was because of the stigma of suicide and the normal overwhelming grief of loss. Your description of your acceptance of your mother’s choice is the only way to look at it if one is to process the right each person has to make such a choice. I too was taken down that path when living became an unbearable burden. But, I asked for and received help and compassion. To me it’s a beautiful story, a gift from RA or one of RA’s many cognates, a gift from my fellow Earthians. So, I am here today because it was not right for me, but I support the inalienable right to choose life or death and our support for that right should come from the compassion you have strived so hard to bring to our attention.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Been there, haven’t you George. If one didn’t know, reading “Random walk through intelligent universe” would settle the matter in a hurry.

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  2. franklparker

    That is pretty much what ‘holy men (and women)’ do. However, I think this phrase is the nub of your problem: “if I possess something in excess . . .” The moment you admit to possessing anything, even if you plan to give some or all of it away, you are back in Earthian mode. The concept of ‘possession’ is the one and only root of conflict and violence.

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  3. George F.

    This is a good question which bears exploring. I think what I “want” has constantly morphed. Although I’ve always wanted to “be a writer.” And although I’ve never used the word “compassionate” in my expressions, I’ve always wanted everyone to avoid suffering and appreciate life.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Got to tread gently here… you picked up on my terminology and thought pattern with the term “holy.” There was a time when walking a holy walk in the eyes of God was all important to me and some of it stayed with me (and will forever be a part of what I became). To desire to become, or to be, holy is a path fraught with danger, the greatest being starting to believe one has actually become holy. That’s the ultimate hubris from which one is guaranteed the greatest of all falls. Holiness, I realize now is not something to be sought, contrary to Christian teachings, but a mantle that is put upon you should you ever arrive at a point where it has been earned. And then your “problems” are just beginning in that the degree of responsibility you just accepted is rather onerous!
      Looking at your comment on possessions, well, there’s a truism if ever anyone wrote one. Quote: “The concept of ‘possession’ is the one and only root of conflict and violence.” Indeed, but it is the underlying foundation of man’s civilization, hence why I maintain that in order to shift from our entropic predatory ways we need to literally ditch all aspects of our civilization and embark on an upside down path. We took the Bugs Bunny wrong turn at Albuquerque when we embarked upon a process of civilizing and sooner or later we must reckon with that false turn and correct it, or nature will do it for us and it won’t be a pretty sight to behold. Meanwhile in this society not possessing is to not be allowed to exist – it’s that simple. I possess “stuff” including a degree of intelligence and health that can be used in transactions. What I have is my baggage of “wealth” that allows me to function within a capitalist society. It allows me to help those who have little, or less than me. So my awareness in quest for “holiness” is to ensure that I am not hoarding, or as little as possible, or as much as I can make myself aware of that. (Bit of a twisted sentence there!) My experience tells me that the degree of one’s “holiness” is not measured by how little one owns, but how that ownership is stewarded. Thanks for commenting, Frank.

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    2. Sha'Tara Post author

      It does beg thinking about and pondering, doesn’t it. By looking honestly at what I desire is how I measure myself, or maybe better put, my character. As you say, what we wish for morphs, or at least is should as we progress along our personal path/quest to the end of this life. If we pay attention to this morphing we can determine how much awareness we have gained… or lost! We cannot change the world (nor should we try, that only backfires) but we can, and should, change ourselves or grow ourselves into better characters!

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      1. George F.

        Man, I look back a few years and conclude I wasn’t aware of anything! I must have been unconscious! Seriously! I’d love to talk about it one day!

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      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Yes, it might be interesting to compare mental notes on the aspect of mind awakening and becoming aware of who/what we are in relation to our surroundings. For me, April of 1979 was like awakening from a coma; like I had been sleepwalking for most of my life with brief interludes of clarity that I could never manage to lock myself into no matter how I tried. Then it happened – it stuck and I never went back into the coma. All the “good” things I had dreamed of doing became possible and remained possible, to this day.

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      3. Sha'Tara Post author

        Oh yes, Phil and I continue to exchange thoughts and I read his stories. I get a kick out of the dialogues, they’re great even if too often I can’t quite get into the meaning of that particular vernacular. Some of it is ROFL stuff.

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  4. windwalker11

    In my mind “become a compassionate being” is the only way to go!! This is a good one!!

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  5. jim-

    How can I know what I want when I don’t even know who I really am? Forced into conformity of a way of life I’ve detested for some time where the acceptable choices are laid out like a mini buffet. Who are humans anyway (I know your answer) but I often wonder at the little changes that made huge differences to sidetrack our true abilities. Anyone that didn’t believe or surrender was killed off. It reminds me of the Russian fox experiment where they bred solely on temperament and in a few generations had a domestic dog that only resembled the arctic fox. Who were we before belief became the epitome of human existence where only the compliant genes survived?

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      This free-wheeling waxing philosophical always pulls us like an undertow into deeper waters. Do we fight like hell to get back to the shore, or do we let go of outcome like that monk in the Zen story? I don’t come from the material evolution theory side, nor quite from the Genesis creation story side either (unless re-interpreted to suit my views – mega bias!) so I cannot honestly tackle your question. If we even “were” before belief would we have any sense of exclusiveness from the rest of nature? It’s very unlikely that we would have “noticed” ourselves in any exceptional way, so for me the question would be (if I had not already resolved it in a “valid for me only” way): what happened along the way that caused this massive and unnatural shift of perception? Who told us we were naked? How did we, and it seems no one else, become moral beings? How did we come to “eat” of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil from which sprouted our beliefs, our religions, our philosophies, our laws, followed by our superstitious fears of the unknown waiting for us at death, our misogyny, our racism, our exclusive loves and our bottomless and timeless hatreds? Where in hell or heaven did that come from? Just to touch on my particular bias, it helps if we think on the “fact” that “we” came to be already fully mentally aware of our moral condition but, and this is extremely important, totally unprepared to function normally with that awareness. That is my view and it explains much about “Earthians” and their confused innate violence. Subconsciously they remain angry for being thrown into a world they were unprepared to live in, in fact a world they were never meant to adapt to, for the plan was to keep them totally dependent on their “deities” while hating and fearing their natural world.

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      1. jim-

        I left this on mine but will leave it here as well.
        I don’t subscribe to the evolution theory because it’s simply silly”. Not so fast. We see these reversing changes as well in feral children raised by wolves, monkeys, and even antelope boy, developing acute hearing and smell, even prepubescent body hair in some of these kids.
        Applying them in a pure robust and primitive setting they are simply not human, but sometimes super human. The antelope boy was captured (but it took several men and a Jeep) and he was clocked ay 40 km/h. I know the sampling is small, but it makes me wonder. If we were created to be slaves as you suggest, were we were once strong and agile, requiring little maintenance are now even a burden to ourselves in the wild (I’m most cases). I don’t think it’s that easily dismissed.

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      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        OK. In that case I’ll leave my reply to your comment… here! 😉

        In my mind’s world, exceptions prove the rule. The same observations I made regarding wild to domestic (or vice versa) animals applies to people. These wild or ‘feral’ children could be carrying genes from wild forebears, so instead of becoming easy prey to wild animals or dying, they are recognized as belonging and not as the human enemy. Being adaptable, they survive then blend in. Remember the “myth” of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome who were suckled by a wolf? You are probably looking at regression, or atavism and not “evolution” at all. After all wouldn’t “evolution” mean that a species is evolving to something better, something improved? In what way are these feral people improved over rank and file humanity? They haven’t evolved, they have adapted to a disappearing wilderness. If being able to run at 40 klicks and hour is evolution, what purpose would that serve when chased by a Jeep or Kubota? A helicopter? If we are evolved, why are we still relegating our accomplishments as “man made” rather than as a result of natural evolution? Why won’t we give nature the credit?
        Your other question about created to be slaves (my view) is not easily answered because it requires serious studies of archaeological finds and interpretations of very ancient clay tablet records. If cloning is our beginning and we were made from two sources, one proto-human and the other alien, then we were never super human, quite the opposite. We were designed to be small of stature, tough but short lived and with limited ability to reason. Over time we developed our reasoning power and that is what made us, not super human, but able to develop into societies of tool makers and users; able to build complex structures for various uses. Most importantly for the situation we find ourselves in today, we were able to expand by using and abusing all aspects of our natural environment. Some atavistic types did not ‘civilize’ and gradually returned to living relatively natural lives more in cooperation with nature than against it. Ah, the story that is attached to that aspect of man’s spread over the planet…

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      3. jim-

        Interesting twist in the conversion. ”mean that a species is evolving to something better, something improved”. Not necessarily. Look at sheep. So helpless and dumb that somebody takes care of their needs and even sets a guard dog over them. Is that better, or just the best chance for survival? Like the fluke virus in the brain of the ant, what we think we are doing to benefit us may be for the sake of the trillions of viruses that live in the human body, just as one example. As far as technology being conflated with evolution? Only one (even dumb luck) innovator can change the world. The rest are end users. One man invents steel and changes the world, actually stalling evolution by artificially manipulating only one trait. I would think an engineered slave would have been much sturdier than the current sickly humans of today. Look at the structures they left behind.

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  6. selizabryangmailcom

    “That is my view and it explains much about “Earthians” and their confused innate violence. Subconsciously they remain angry for being thrown into a world they were unprepared to live in, in fact a world they were never meant to adapt to, for the plan was to keep them totally dependent on their “deities” while hating and fearing their natural world.”

    I feel like I have to do that comical Tonto quote, (sic)–“Who was dependent on deities while hating and fearing the natural world, pale face?” lol

    It’s my understanding that fear and hatred and conquering of nature started with the Western mindset, not ancient man. And there certainly was a completely different point of view toward “deities” before the main three took over everything.

    Also, if our world and our environment was completely homogeneous, nothing to stir the muck up–no muck TO stir up–wouldn’t that world be full of beings like Stepford Wives or Logan’s Run folk before they were killed? Yeah, evil is something we could keep trying to unpack forever, adding up the cons against, but then would the opposite even strike our radar if it didn’t exist? Doesn’t friction=growth?

    But I can’t argue with compassion. There’s no argument to be made at all. A compassionate life seems like the only really genuine life, and I think I only get bits and pieces of something like that, at best. If I’m not deluding myself, of course. Who knows?

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for the comment! Jumping all over here, first, doesn’t friction = growth? Well, actually, no. Friction mean slow down and eventually, burn out. (Ask any wheel bearing that’s run out of grease!) Friction = war, as does competition and eventually it = death. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is not a truism, it’s a very bad joke.
      If you want to see a young shrub grow in your yard, you won’t plant it under a towering old tree, or in the middle of the driveway. You will eliminate as much friction or “conflict” from its life. You’ll pamper it: give it water, good soil, fertilizer, water. For us, things that cause friction, like misogyny, racism, oppression, slavery, war, do not make for a stronger or better world. We live in an upside down civilization.
      The reference to “Tonto” is a propos, but missing an important aspect of man’s unwritten history. I can’t go into that without writing a novel but for my purpose here, and based on what I do know, that man is an “invented” creature, not an evolved one as erroneously believed, there came a point in that history where man overran the ability of his enslavers to contain the species and the “gods” were forced off this world. Now it was man’s and as in the Island of Dr. Moreau, these creatures had choices to make. There was a split. The Lone Ranger decided to build a new civilization based on what the gods had taught and left behind. Tonto and his group decided to return to nature and live a more natural life. These two branches of a new humanity became inimical to each other. The Lone Ranger group came to rule with force and violence and throughout the coming times, would endlessly attack, rape, enslave and dispossess those who had chosen to natural way of life. Follow the bouncing ball through the planetary depradations of the European (white) Lone Rangers right on to today. That is the taboo history that you will not be taught in Lone Ranger schools and universities yet it is the one we are constantly encountering – and will until the last of the Mohicans is killed and then the Lone Rangers will die of entropy.

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  7. Phil Huston

    Without evil good has no purpose. No, the madness, out of control, demands gratification. The future be damned. Sad, huh? People who argue with Exxon et al end up dead, and few are aware enough to listen to the dead.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Quote: “few are aware enough to listen to the dead.” Now there’s a truism. The dead have much to share and teach for those who seek.

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  8. selizabryangmailcom

    Well, I’m actually a a loss for words here, Sha. I still disagree wholeheartedly that we don’t need friction of some kind to create the *heat* that gets us to move in different directions–ones we wouldn’t have thought if we hadn’t been prodded to do so. When I say friction racism, misogyny, and war don’t spring to mind as first choices. I guess I’m thinking of more benign examples.
    Like your tree analogy: sure, we’ll try to plant it under the most favorable conditions possible and do what we can for it, but unseen battles are going on between it and nature constantly that we’re unaware of. It won’t be just smooth sailing. And if the tree survives, it’s stronger.
    I think the problem is the bigger evils–war, racism, corporate greed–have gotten way out of hand proportionate to what a smoother, more organic existence might have turned into. A little here and there to fight against would have been strengthening. But now we’re all buried under a tsunami of it and it feels irreversible.
    I also can’t argue with you when it comes to “no evolution” and “engineered” humans because that’s beyond my pay grade. I have no knowledge or experience with that so all I can do is tip my hat to you in that regard.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      The examples that you give for the kind of prodding ‘friction’ you mean are, to my way of thinking, quite correct. We should all be much more exact and when possible avoid sweeping statements. There is prodding friction, and there is overt (evil) violence. The first helps us grow (if we choose to do so); the second destroys, detracts and retards growth or even reverses it, as in creating all those feelings and emotions that lead to suicide, whether of an individual or a world – that’s called entropy.

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  9. selizabryangmailcom

    Almost forgot. Weirdly, I came across this quote a few days before this discussion began:
    “A wound is where the light enters.”
    Someone named Rumi whom I’d never heard of.
    But odd synchronicity, no?

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Hmmm… I few disagreements with the great Persian mystic but I’d be very careful with that comment. A wound is much more likely where sickness and death enters, hence why they are treated, patched, sown and protected from possible infection. If “light” needed a wound to enter there wouldn’t be much light inside people and that may well explain why there is so little light and so much darkness. I know it’s meant metaphorically, but the same applies to the mental and spiritual condition. Wound someone mentally or spiritually deeply enough and they never recover. Take advantage of someone’s weakened condition and you can easily turn them into zombies or crazies. Quote: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ― Voltaire. Personally I think that the wound needs to be healed before light can enter.
      Eventually if I find the necessary language to express it I want to write an “explanation” of how any positive (real or meaningful) growth can – and should – take place in a completely healthy, pain and loss free, peaceful environment. Earthian conditions do not lend themselves to understanding such a state. We here are victims of so many inimical conditions, and we are overwhelmed from day one, battling and fighting “enemies” whose source we never get to understand thus unable to end our pointless struggle. Like this current “pandemic” that is feared and “protected against” while it will mostly benefit mankind’s greatest predators on the long run and will be another tool of the establishment to exploit and oppress the helpless and the fearful.

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  10. selizabryangmailcom

    Yeah, again, not talking about big, gaping wounds flowing with blood and rotting and sepsis setting in and all that–same as with not talking about endless war, racism, corporate greed for appropriate “frictional” conditions for growth. Just symbolically as something out of the ordinary, unusual, unexpected maybe, maybe not–maybe coerced due to a little risk taking, curiosity, thinking out of the box, so the “wound” happens in some way, big or small, enough to break stasis, jingle nerve endings, crack hard surfaces and…whammo. Illumination of some sort. Light bulb over head. A jolt in awareness or consciousness or understanding.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      While we’re having this conversation which I find very interesting and mind opening, let me ask why positive growth need be associated with pain? Why not just the ‘usual’ “EUREKA!”? If ‘No pain, no gain,” was a truism I can’t imagine how much pain poor Jeff Bezos and Bill “Vaxxer” Gastes have suffered to gain those billions! Must have been hell for those two unfortunates. I live a life that no longer makes any sense based on what passes as normal these days having had an endless number of awakening jolts to push me out of the old tried and failed Earthian fishbowl. None of those were painful, quite the opposite. They were ‘me’ experiencing new awarenesses and new ways to amplify my life, my spiritual and mental powers and in some cases even, physical endowments. Perhaps it goes like this: if the experience of some awakening precedes the desire for such, then the shock might be pain. But if the desire precedes the happening, then the result should be joy. If we did not have 9 months of “preparation” prior to giving birth and it just happened in the moment, spontaneously, I doubt too many of us would survive the shock and horror of it. But having gestated a living being inside ourselves and grown to love the child, birth pains are accepted as part of the desired outcome and soon forgotten. Not saying therefore that awakening to a higher plane of existence is entirely painless but why call it a wound? One more point then I let it go. I think that “gurus,” spiritual teachers or even monks or martial arts instructors who emphasize the pain process of learning are boosting their own ego, as in, see how spiritual or disciplined I am? without actually saying it. Bottom line is, you have to want it and be willing to let go of anything that interferes with your desires. I’ve been told that getting tattooed is painful yet by observation I’d say that the pain seems to be irrelevant. Thanks for the challenge!!!

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  11. selizabryangmailcom

    I didn’t know it rose the level of a challenge, so you’re welcome! It’s helping me sort out my thoughts too.

    You probably haven’t seen this commercial since it’s here in the U.S., but lately they’ve been pushing this little set of stationary pedals that look as if one just removed them from a bike and put them down in front of folks on a kind of stand. Then they show tons of shots of people sitting happily in a chair while reading, knitting, whatever, peddling away on this ridiculous contraption while touting how much “exercise” you’ll get and how good it is for you! They even have the audacity to show some woman doing it in her high heels–I don’t even know what kind of message they’re trying to get across with THAT image! Even if you don’t have time to take off your work shoes, you can still pedal on this thing and exercise even though you’re fully dressed and probably completely stressed out and in denial about it?

    My point is that’s the kind of thing people WANT to do to “lose weight” or “get in shape”. But if the maxim of “no pain, no gain” were true anywhere, it’s definitely without a doubt true in the world of sports and/or getting one’s body into any kind of real physical fitness. I mean, there’s just no way around it. Having been a gymnast for many years, most of my memories of it are filled with the strenuous workouts, agonizing once one became exhausted, blood blisters, pulled muscles, and the like. There’s good memories too, of course. But you don’t just learn a full twisting back flip by skipping along doing cartwheels. And even if you have a knack for acrobatics and you’re fearless, you still won’t be able to throw your body around in the necessarily controlled manner that’s required unless you condition yourself to do it. And it takes years and years of jogging around the gym, doing thousands of sit-ups,hanging pull-ups, handstands, stretching, and now they’ve included weight lifting in their regimes in the last 20 or 30 years.
    And sitting on your ass and whirling your feet around in a tiny pedal set-up will do basically jack sh** for anybody! I doubt you’d even break out in a sweat!

    Physical body stuff aside….let me clarify. I never meant to insinuate that positive growth has to be associated with pain. I’m just saying it’s another way to grow. It’s a path and a choice and a perspective that can be very useful. It’s not my go-to. It’s just something that one may want to use instead of discarding without a second thought.

    The fact that your awakening situations were not painful are very likely simply associated with you and your personal experience. Other people may learn/grow/change in the exact same way. But a lot of people won’t. They need more. I think the gurus and martial arts teachers AND gymnastic coaches are being honest and truthful because nothing of value ever comes easily. The work and suffering involved in each might go from 1 to 10 and it depends only on the individual how far they want to get from 1 (if at all) toward the other end. But like you said with the excellent birth analogy–months of preparation and readiness, none of which hardly seems to be enough once the moment arrives, according to most women. Few are able to grunt once and push the kid out (although that’s happened too, happily!) and nobody can learn how to do a round-off back-flip on a high beam without intense focus, training, conditioning, fear, and mishaps, and no small amount of mental and physical suffering.

    And I’m only saying the word “wound” in the most symbolic way possible. Wound meaning a disruption of the normal state, a change, an opening, something that wasn’t there before. Generally, even if it’s a splinter, we don’t want any of that. We want things to remain smooth, unperturbed, not shaken, not stirred. So consequently the thought of a “wound” is usually undesirable and has negative associations, but it can be a powerful catalyst if seen correctly for what it is.

    Here’s one last example. It may not be a happy one on many levels, but I just ran across Nick Cave’s Ghosteen again, the album he wrote after the death of his son a few years earlier. Would he have written the music if his son hadn’t died? Maybe. Had he written music as moving before his son had died and without the catalyst of that terrible event? Possibly. But one thing is for sure. He wrote Ghosteen after his son passed away and the music seems to spiral straight from his soul with anguish and suffering and joy all in one package. It’s so heart-rendingly beautiful one has to ask: where did it come from? Why? But now it’s here, suffusing the listeners with elation and wonder. Wikipedia says: “Cave’s lyrics, which continue his deviation from his usual narrative-based writing, explore themes of loss, death and existentialism, as well as empathy, faith and optimism.”
    Again–did it take his son’s death to get him there? Had he explored empathy, faith, and optimism before this? I don’t know. But let’s imagine he hadn’t thought it about it all that much before. Here’s one example, then, out of terrible loss, where the light entered.
    The light entered.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      A well expressed point. I can see how someone like me (well, I know me better than anyone else after all) could have all these painless awakening jolts: I was prepared, in fact, wishing, hoping, longing, even desperate for each one. If there was pain involved (and there was, I lost everything, including a partner and two kids in one change event) I would ‘see’ beyond the current ‘transaction’ and forge ahead, damn “the world” and its torpedoes. When my ship sank, I swam and I still got there, only to do it again, and again. We “sacrifice” for what we truly want but that’s not the same as experiencing sudden or unexpected tragic loss and getting inspired by it or using it as a stepping stone for change. That’s not in my purview. Like your example of your days as a gymnast, it has to by choice and persistence, not by trauma. Trauma would never motivate me because it would be as a flash of emotion and I don’t respond well to emotional output… heheheh! If I experienced trauma I would most likely respond to it much like Mr. Spock on Star Trek. Thanks for the exchange, it has been good, Stacey (did I get your name right?)

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  12. selizabryangmailcom

    Yes, Stacey. You got it. And you’re welcome and same back to you.
    I think we at least understand one another better!
    I think most people probably aren’t good at being a “Mr. Spock” type ’cause they’ll just end up in denial, shoving pain deep down where it’ll never be addressed and fester, but this approach works for you.
    I also think the flash of emotion related to most traumas, when it’s caught like lightning in a bottle and not just left to fade away, can morph and expand into the mind-altering experience.
    I think about all those people who said they completely changed after having a “near death” experience. Why would it take almost dying for someone to change their life? Because it’s a jolt, a prodding, a kick in the butt, a wound.
    But anyway, Mr. Spock, you should be married to my husband. He’s EXACTLY like that. I think you two would get along famously, lol !

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Yes in some cases a shock can bring an awakening, sure. But is that the best way to do it? Isn’t it better to consciously and deliberately engage it when it presents itself? Anyway, thanks for the discussion, I enjoyed it.

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