Bringing the Vacation Spirit into Daily Life

Awakin Feature

Our definition of value was that a thing was good if it fulfills its definition. The definition of a human being is in himself. Hence, a human being is good when he fulfills his own definition of himself. What does this mean? It means that he is morally good if he is as he is.

All the words of ethics mean this very same thing, this identification of myself with myself, being sincere, being honest, being genuine, being true to myself, having self-respect -- these words mean that I am as I am, that I am myself. This seems to be a very simple thing and yet it's the most difficult to achieve. For I can define myself in three ways: systemically, extrinsically, and intrinsically.

When I define myself systemically, I put up a system, I construct something as myself which I'm not at all. And you probably know some people in your acquaintance whose images of themselves are very different from everybody else's images of them. They live a construct. […]

Also, a person can define himself extrinsically, as a member of some class. In our lives we are continuously in external situations, all kinds of situations, like now I am a speaker, then I'll be a listener, then an eater, and so on. I am a father, I am a commuter, I am a Rotarian, etc. I'm in the millions of situations in my lifetime. But do these situations add up to myself? […]

Any extrinsic definition of myself is really not the definition of myself. In order to make the definition of myself I must neither construct myself nor even abstract from myself, but simply BE, namely, identify myself, as we said before, with myself. And this is the most difficult and the most important task of our mortal life. It is very difficult simply to be, to be natural and not to pretend, nor be proud nor ashamed of this or that. Sometimes we reach this stage when we "get away from it all" on vacations, to be alone with ourselves and to get acquainted with ourselves.

To be moral is, so to speak, to bring the vacation spirit into our daily lives. The moral, in this sense, appears whenever you cannot impress anyone either positively with your achievements or negatively with your failures. It is what makes children and dogs love you—if they do—and what makes your wife look at you when you are asleep.

Just to Be, in daily life, is highest maturity. Also it is very powerful for it brings into play the infinity of your intrinsic self. To scramble around in the treadmill of extrinsic value is not only immature, it is inefficient. It shuts up your infinite powers and lets them lie idle. It prevents you from really Living. 

--Robert S. Hartman, From "The Measurement of Value"


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7 Previous Reflections:

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    On Feb 20, 2009 Krishnaswamy M K wrote:
    When one sees a Bonsai Banian tree, the first reaction is praise for the skill of the gardener:
    "how he has successfully grown the dwarf version of a huge tree".
    None has admiration for the living tree in hiding its greatness and cooperating with the gardener
    to produce a Bonsai version for the living room.

    Human beings who work for others mostly remain unrecognized. Yet they continue to work,
    motivated by their inner spirit.

    Those who can see the Lord in every little particle of the Universe are truly great. -- Krishnaswamy

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    On Feb 20, 2009 MarcÚ wrote:
    I love the way its put across so personally...

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    On Feb 18, 2009 Darshana wrote:
    I love theses kind of stories & it was great that some one still means, reads & Understands it.

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    On Feb 17, 2009 raj p wrote:
    Great stuff. It helps having a space like CF, where "Just to Be" becomes a natural instinct. I feel greatful to train in this sangha way of life ---this community practice--- and experience the love and genuine compassion that we share as human beings.

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    On Feb 17, 2009 xiaoshan wrote:
    If you are neither what you think you are nor what others think you are, then who are you?

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    On Feb 17, 2009 RoyCo wrote:
    Indeed, we should allow our spirit catch up with our body. Silence, Space, Solitude, Serenity.

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    On Feb 17, 2009 paru wrote:
    A wonderful piece,especially helpful for people struggling with their identity,or loss of the external identity.

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