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In Stillness and Community

A Newly Rich Life With Yourself

--by Martha Nussbaum (Sep 08, 2014)


Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer. Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve.

As we grow, we all develop a wide range of emotions responding to this predicament: fear that bad things will happen and that we will be powerless to ward them off; love for those who help and support us; grief when a loved one is lost; hope for good things in the future; anger when someone else damages something we care about. Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. [...] People don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or to communicate them to others. When they are frightened, they don’t know how to say it, or even to become fully aware of it. Often they turn their own fear into aggression. Often, too, this lack of a rich inner life catapults them into depression in later life. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals.

What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world.

So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.

Martha Craven Nussbaum is an American philosopher and the current Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, a chair that includes appointments in the philosophy department and the law school. She has a particular interest in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, political philosophy, feminism, and ethics, including animal rights.

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On Sep 19, 2014 Amit wrote:

 I was diagnosed with life style decease in 2012. Today I am healthy and happy. While recovering from the illness, I decided to stop working for earning. I started Enjoying(self loving) my life. For last two years, I have shared my past experiences and knowledge with many non-profit organizations and suddenly realized that a joy in sharing my knowledge with others is more satisfying than making money! Our needs, our wanting and possessiveness comes from ignorance of understanding our own self! Self-knowledge and dropping our ego will naturally turn our life at a deeper level to peace love and having less and less need. 



On Sep 12, 2014 Rebecca McCarty wrote:

 It is indeed true that we are born into helpless, undeveloped bodies. This undeveloped body, is animated by living Being. The body in which living being takes form, is equipped with an essence, having tastes, preferences and tendencies, as well as a full set of undeveloped functions, the normal ones, instinctive, moving, intellectual and emotional, as well as some others, which are not commonly stimulated to develop by ordinary life. Our essence is designed to collect data to itself, the kind of programming it receives, tempered by its native tendencies determines the type of personality it develops. If the programming we have received is contrary to the native tendencies in our essence, then the personality is in conflict with essence. This leads to suffering for the living being animating the body. Our culture programs us to think that the external material world, of material things, money, status...according to material possessions, compliance with the lat  See full.

 It is indeed true that we are born into helpless, undeveloped bodies. This undeveloped body, is animated by living Being. The body in which living being takes form, is equipped with an essence, having tastes, preferences and tendencies, as well as a full set of undeveloped functions, the normal ones, instinctive, moving, intellectual and emotional, as well as some others, which are not commonly stimulated to develop by ordinary life. Our essence is designed to collect data to itself, the kind of programming it receives, tempered by its native tendencies determines the type of personality it develops.
If the programming we have received is contrary to the native tendencies in our essence, then the personality is in conflict with essence. This leads to suffering for the living being animating the body. Our culture programs us to think that the external material world, of material things, money, status...according to material possessions, compliance with the latest fashions, ability to exercise power over others, etc. has more value, than the development of the essence belonging to the body housing the internal living being. In this case, the personality plays the roll of a guard, holding the inner living being a prisoner in its programs, dictating to the being what it "should" do, think, act, feel, eat, etcetera. It slowly begins to control all the impressions the being could use for its growth, replacing the real impressions with "concepts", which at best are good translations of the real would of direct impression.
Yet, there is a part residing in the body, that, if stimulated, begins to question the validity of the acquired personality.
Under favorable circumstances this part can help us separate the life of the inner world, from that of the outer world, and that same part can help the living being realize its spiritual nature, and assist the being, which is our very life, to gain control over the "guard" and insist that the "guard" become the "guardian" of the living being, which is its correct roll in relationship to us.
If this happens, we truly begin to "REALize our "Self"  (that's self with a big "S"), We then, begin to "become", to exist in higher states of waking consciousness. First, in short flashes, then for longer periods. If we focus our attention, and apply our will, to developing a new personality, one that is passive in relationship to the Living Being residing within our body, it becomes the servant of the "Self" and not the master, the good steward how does his masters bidding". This happens when we , the living Being, makes the effort to "BE" in the present. moment. To truly "see" with the eyes, color, texture, form, to hear with ears, not just having them hang around.

The beginning of a new relationship with the "SELF" begins with this process, where personality, conforms to the essence of the living being, and not the other way around. It is in this new order, that the Living Being begins to thrive, grow, and develop, the end product of that development of that development is an increased ability of the living being to sustain its consciousness on a higher level of being.

Life erroneously, programs us, to place value in external things, yet the death of the body, and release of the living Being from the form of our "Name sake", shows that the living being can take no "material thing" with it, only its real experiences, the wisdom it has gain in a life well lived, and an increased ability to maintain the "Self" on a higher level of being. 

When this more spiritually inclined part of our personality begins to activate, it produces new thoughts, "who am I? Why am I here? Are my opinions and attitudes valid, or even my own?" It asks.  When finding the answer to these type of begins to burn in our psyche, we search for them. If we imagine that the answers lie outside, we get lost in acquiring what we have been taught to believe will give us happiness, fulfillment.  Yet the answers we seek, whose finding will bring true fulfillment, are within our own "Self". If we go inward, and find our true "Self", and awaken it, even for a moment, and we do this over and over. Gradually a new, relationship develops between our outer material personality "self" (with a small "s") and the living being who is truly our own authentic "Self". 

When the outer becomes as the inner, we find what we have been looking for, we find our own Being, rich, Being filled with conscious life of a higher nature.

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On Sep 11, 2014 Abhishek Thaore wrote:

 This passage was read after an Awakin where there are 3 of our young members who traditionally struggle with long silence but decided to give it a shot.....and it was so appropriate!

With most young people, there is the challenge of even pointing to their inward spaces....of course there are exceptions who are deeply anchored in their inner journeys. But for most part, requesting a group of restless youth to be in silence even for a few minutes (which I do before my sessions) is bound to be violated....and yet it is one of the most worthwile things to do with them :)

I think it is like any other place - you may find it initially very fascinating, then very boring and then you disover it in a whole new light....after that second deeper discovery, it is an endless rich tapestry of darkness intersperced with wonders :)



On Sep 10, 2014 Always wrote:

 We need not apologize for having weaknesses.  God made each of us to be strong and to be weak in areas . . . Both being essential parts of our whole.  (God has a plan!)
We were created to add, subtract, multiply and divide ourselves inwardly (strengths and weaknesses, as necessary) that we may be suitable partners in/with the world we are called to serve, teach and enhance.
As we cannot give what we do not have, it is essential we nurture/spend time with ourselves to magnify/align ourselves with/in Him (His mission/purpose/His love") 




On Sep 9, 2014 Syd wrote:

My story is filled with lots of self-hatred and self-contempt, feeling inadequate and defective, even this fear of being unimportant and undesirable.  It is place I felt like a constant misfit.  I escaped my inner pain by pretending it is not there.  I gradually broke my denial, this inability to admit I was hurting inside, and I gradually let go of the inner chaos.  I learned to nurture my own, true inner life.  From there my inner landscape became this peace, like I was riding a bicycle on a beautiful day, enjoying everything about the flow of my life experience.  This unfolded into serenity.  I felt like self-possession and self-surrender together.      This last year I lost perspective, lost what I learned from life, and lost my beliefs.  It felt like nothing true in the world, nothing true or valuable in which I could believe in.  There was even a certain attraction to my inner darkness.  Yet because was enduring my  See full.

My story is filled with lots of self-hatred and self-contempt, feeling inadequate and defective, even this fear of being unimportant and undesirable.  It is place I felt like a constant misfit.  I escaped my inner pain by pretending it is not there.  I gradually broke my denial, this inability to admit I was hurting inside, and I gradually let go of the inner chaos.  I learned to nurture my own, true inner life.  From there my inner landscape became this peace, like I was riding a bicycle on a beautiful day, enjoying everything about the flow of my life experience.  This unfolded into serenity.  I felt like self-possession and self-surrender together.   
 
This last year I lost perspective, lost what I learned from life, and lost my beliefs.  It felt like nothing true in the world, nothing true or valuable in which I could believe in.  There was even a certain attraction to my inner darkness.  Yet because was enduring my darkness, faith seem to be counteracting the terror and despair.  My inner faith verified I needed to drop my story I had been telling myself a long time.  This felt like I was leaping into “nothingness” or walking off the edge of the world.   I felt completely empty, this inner void.  Something from within, though, was making my faith leap into the unknown.  It felt like a sunbather feeling the sun and it did not matter if I believed or not.  This faith allowed an “opening,” which seemed to allow something higher and more essential touch my wounded self.
 
This essential that touched me appears to be the Essence of faith and appears beyond any beliefs and what I have learned.  This faith is the recognition this Essence, like rays from the sun, offering support and presence.  It is like my story is now at the point of faith within the Supreme Being and this Essence offers this unshakable confidence.  And I realize this is not my whole story and maybe this is where the moment unfolds into this living Presence.  It is just a place to begin.           
 

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On Sep 9, 2014 david doane wrote:

 No person is an island.  Fritz Perls taught that we are self reliant, not self sufficient.  That means I can rely on myself to attain what I need that I do not contain within myself.  Needy and incomplete are what I am, and self-love means loving all of me including my needy and incomplete.  My understanding is that a self love that includes self acceptance and self confidence allows for self reliance, so I can rely on myself to reach out, say what I need and want, say what I don't want, say what I will do and won't do.  I discovered a newly rich life with myself when I turned on to having an inner life and began to value and pay attention to it.  What works for me is to be still, shut out the outer noise, and listen to my inner experience, that is, my feelings, my intuition, my inner voice and inner nudging.  The author says to not despise your inner world.  Indeed, what works for me is to revere my inner world and use it to express and g  See full.

 No person is an island.  Fritz Perls taught that we are self reliant, not self sufficient.  That means I can rely on myself to attain what I need that I do not contain within myself.  Needy and incomplete are what I am, and self-love means loving all of me including my needy and incomplete.  My understanding is that a self love that includes self acceptance and self confidence allows for self reliance, so I can rely on myself to reach out, say what I need and want, say what I don't want, say what I will do and won't do.  I discovered a newly rich life with myself when I turned on to having an inner life and began to value and pay attention to it.  What works for me is to be still, shut out the outer noise, and listen to my inner experience, that is, my feelings, my intuition, my inner voice and inner nudging.  The author says to not despise your inner world.  Indeed, what works for me is to revere my inner world and use it to express and go after what is good for me and decline on what isn't.  It is my compass and more.  The foolish thing is that I don't consult it and trust it more often.

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On Sep 9, 2014 sandy wrote:
 
Life is an ever challenging adventure with detours that are not really detours, just part of the path of growth. I know some Indian tribe perceive illness as necessary for growth....so....let's continue, hand in hand, enjoying it all!

 

On Sep 5, 2014 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

A complete self love accepts what we may consider flaws or weaknesses. In April I fully accepted that I have Depression; it is one facet of me, it is not All of me. When I finally went public via a blog post about my challenges it was amazing the love and light that poured in from others. So many people began to share Their struggles and challenges and together we realized none of us are alone. We have each other to talk to, lean on and love. It opened up deeper conversations. It also made me feel a bit more free. As a Storyteller, I agree 100% that we are the Stories we share, tell, read, and discover. We can choose which stories we tell. And the Stories can help us to grow & learn. May we all love all ourselves; even the dark bits. HUGS from my heart to yours.



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