Killing the ghosts - or smile while you can

Over the course of the last weeks a friend of mine lost their job and relationship on a single day, our best friend couple split up after six years living and building a life together and a distant friend of mine lost a baby in her family. 

This made think about all the things we take for granted - and all the time we waste? We carry life around like a spark in a lamp through the dark - and forget so easily that every moment is a blessing, every encounter is grace and every second can bring the end. 

I guess we all have been given the highest good - and now just need to use it: The ability to use our powers for giving instead of taking. To put all our strength to the test of how much good it can create over a lifetime - rather than how high it can elevate us above others.

I once learned there are four feedback filters built into all of our minds from birth or at least from very early days. Once we can open up these filters, stop them from narrowing our perception of reality life will change dramatically to the good. 

These four feedback filters are that we all strive to...

  • be right,
  • be in control,
  • look good and
  • be liked.

Because here is the thing: How many new things can you learn if you always have to be right? How many surprises can you encounter when your priority is to control? How much fun can you experience if your hair always needs to look perfect? And how few true emotions will you be able to express if you always need to be liked?

Well, so how do we stop worrying about us and start to really engage with the people around us? Not sure I have the answer. But I guess it all starts by being okay with being naked.

Here is a wonderful image Martin Buber used to describe what happens if we continously shy away from being naked - or keep our feedback filters up and running:

"Imagine two people sitting next to each other and talking with each other. Let's call them Peter and Paul. And let's count the shapes that come to play in this conversation: First of all there are Peter how he would like to appear to Paul and Paul how he would like to appear to Peter. Thereafter there is Peter how he truly appears to Paul. That is Paul's image of Peter - which in most cases will not at all align to the one desired by Peter - and vice versa. In addition there is Peter how he appears to himself and Paul how he appears to himself. In the end there is the physical Peter and the physical Paul. Two physical beings and six ghostly deceptive figures who engage in their conversation in various ways... Where if any would there remain space for the authenticity of true contact? Whatever truth may mean in other fields of studies, in the field of interpersonal contact it means that people communicate to each other as for what they truly are." (Martin Buber, Elemente des Zwischenmenschlichen)

My friends, life is just so very short. And while we on our short path through it many bad things will happen. We will grow and evolve because of them, many scars will heal but their experience will be unpleasant still. So let's not add to them. Let's not make them more than they need to be anyway. Instead, let's give up give up on the three Evil C's... Let's give up on Comparing, on Competing and most of all on Conquering. 

Looking back into the last weeks I realized it's time to take off the clothes - just like we do in our magical circle - and to stand naked. Because how many moments do we have left to waste? 

Here is what I have been reminded of: Life needs to be stroked gently. Like the shell of an egg, like the fur of a cat, like the hair of a lover. Because all this power was given to us to learn how to stroke not to learn how to strike.