civilization teaches us to ignore our bodies. indigestion and stomach upset. poison. undercurrents of anxiety. untold emotional pain. chronic body aches (joints, skin, muscle). fatigue. isolation. loneliness. despondency. lack of meaning. disconnection from others.
our slavery to the will of others solidifies when we ignore our own bodies. tune out. take a pill and make it go away, if only for a little while.
from the perspective of the slave who rebels, power is both the bosses’ orders and the obedience of other slaves who carry them out. —Jean Weir
Others’ control over us evaporates when we listen to our bodies. by listening, we understand what we need to live. what feels wrong is wrong. what feels right becomes right. though we might not yet know why, the understanding comes with practice.
listening lays bear the confluence and conflict between our life and the lives of Others. we begin to seek ways in this world that minimize harm and maximize joy. we protect the integrity of our life and love. we respect our bodies as conduits of experience. our capacity to live and love. our connection to the world. we do not tolerate violation.
we become agents of integrity. we give people in our lives a choice to listen — to us, to their own bodies. we restore external and internal balance to accountability. we reconnect from integrity, and build webs of life and love from solid relationships between solid people.
we value life. money becomes no object to life, because we see the more fundamental needs, and money as but one of many possible means. we adapt and do what we must do to protect life and love. we live in fulfillment without fear of death.
Alan Watts on life and listening
What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?
Let’s suppose: I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, “we’re getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do”. So I always ask the question, “what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?”
Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, “we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way.” Or another person says, “Well, I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses.” I said, “You want to teach in a riding school?” Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do?
When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it — you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much.
That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything. Anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track.
See what we are doing, is we’re bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lifes we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it’s all retch, and no vomit. It never gets there.
And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question:
What do I desire?
You’ve always been looking for something. That something that sets you apart. That something that makes you more than the person you’re living as. More into the person you were created to be. What others see as mundane, you see as magnificent. You catch a glimpse of something new, and it becomes something significant. It starts something extra that keeps you up at night. The hours pass by while everyone else sleeps. You dream, you imagine. You envision what your life might be.
What if you were born for more? “There’s got to be more than just this. I want to be used.” That’s your greatest wish. The demand for you has always been true. You are gifted and passionate. Add God’s purpose to this, and watch what He can build.
Now, what will you do with what you’ve been given? Will you put it into motion? Will you take on the responsibility? Will you follow after the calling God has placed on your life? To be fulfilled? To be engaged? To cast out all fears, doubts and uncertainties? To stand strong? To rise up? To become who you were created to be?
Who is the prodigy in you?
If you are ready to wake up, you’re gonna wake up. If you are not ready, you are going to stay, pretending that you’re just a little “poor little me.” And since you’re all here, and engaged in this sort of enquiry and listening to this sort of lecture, I assume that you are all on the process of waking up. Or else you are teasing yourselves with some kind of flirtation of waking up, which you are not serious about. But I assume that maybe you are not serious, but sincere — that you are ready to wake up.
So then, when you are on the way of waking up and finding out who you really are, what you do is what the whole uinverse is doing at the place you call, “here and now.” You are something the whole universe is doing in the same way the wave is something the whole ocean is doing. The real you is not a puppet that life pushes around. The real deep down you is the whole universe.
So then, when you die, you’re not going to have to put up with everlasting nonexistence, because that’s not an experience. A lot of people are afraid thast when they die, they’re going to be locked up in a dark room forever. And they sort of undergo that.
But one of the most interesting things in the world — this is a yoga, this is a way of realization: try and imagine what it will be like to go asleep and never wake up. Think about that. It’s one of the great wonders of life, what it will be like to go asleep and never wake up. And if you think about it long enough, something will happen. You will find out — among other things — that it will pose the next question to you: What was it like to wake up after having never gone to sleep? That was when you were born…
You see, you can’t not have an experience in life. Nature abhores a vacuum. So after your death, the only thing that can happen is the same experience, or the same experience as you were born. In other words we all know very well that after people die, other people are born, and they’re all you. Only, you can only experience it one at a time. Everybody is, “I.” You all know you’re you. And wheresoever beings exist throughout all galaxies, it doesn’t make any difference. You are all of them. And when they come into being, that’s you coming into being. You know that very well.
Only you don’t have to remember the past, in the same way you don’t have to think about how you work your thyroid gland, or whatever else it is. You don’t have to know how to shine the sun. You just do it, like you breathe. Doesn’t it really astonish you that you are this fantastically complex being, and that you’re doing all this and you really had no education in how to do it?