by Karen Sawyer
Believe me! The secret to reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life
is to live dangerously!
~ Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)
Few people would argue with the above statement, yet how many of us actually do? Living dangerously is a huge challenge – for in order to reap the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life, you must be willing to suffer.
Suffering in its original sense meant ‘undergoing’ and ‘enduring’. Think of it as an initiation – a test of your mettle. It’s true that these initiatory experiences often do involve pain or discomfort, not to mention an accompanying plethora of unwelcome feelings we’d rather avoid, yet we often learn more about ourselves during these times than we would had we been wrapped in a fluffy blanket of bliss. During these times we have transformative insights. We develop inner-strength. We are also inspired to create great works of art. [Just out of interest... what would you rather experience? An unwelcome plethora of uncomfortable feelings or being wrapped in a fluffy blanket of bliss? It’s hardly surprising that we’re often dragged through life kicking and screaming – is it?]
What challenge are you willing to undergo?
What are you willing to lose to stand in your own truth?
So why are you still doing that shitty job? What are you afraid of? What’s the worst that could happen if you left? You may have convinced yourself that you have no choice: you wouldn’t have enough money to pay your rent or mortgage – and you probably wouldn’t. You may even lose your home as a result. Then again, there’s always the possibility that you might not. You still have a choice. What I’m trying to illustrate here is that living dangerously is all about taking risks. Taking that leap into the unknown will set a chain of events in motion, the outcome of which is impossible to predict. New opportunities arise that you hadn’t previously considered. You won’t know until you do it (whatever ‘it’ means to you at this time).
We tend to forget the ironic maxim: ‘the only thing constant is change itself’. Everything is transitory and whatever is happening now will pass. This applies to what doesn’t feel good as well as what does. Hence there is nothing ‘out there’ that will permanently satisfy your insatiable appetite for happiness; there will never be enough. This is the wound of the corporate mind – bigger, better, faster... all in the search for the next happiness fix. To secure your happiness, what would you be willing to do? If we are to heal this schismic world we live in, we may as well give up wanting to be happy as the main motivation for everything we do in life. There is freedom in that.
The paradox is that when we open our arms to embrace ALL of life – when we flow with the highs and the lows – we are much happier individuals, and become far more ‘dangerous’! We live life to the full when we engage with the totality of existence and throw ourselves wholeheartedly into whatever or wherever we feel moved to go and do and say and experience. Fear of fully experiencing the world stops us from realising our true potential and sharing what we have to offer, which is the reason we’re all here in the first place!
The mind needs to be reminded that our best interests are at heart. If we no longer need to be protected from every emotion under the sun bar happiness, then the mind won’t have too much of a problem with that – in fact, it will be greatly relieved of the burden. Our minds may already be ‘free-thinking’ and ‘truth-seeking’, but when the mind becomes a servant of the heart, when we stop giving our authority to the ‘powers-of-the-mind-that-be’, my guess is that this will be reflected in the world around us at an even greater level. It’s only when we stop trying to control our lives in order to do and get what we think we need in order to be happy that the intuitive voice can clearly be heard. This is the heart speaking. Stop and listen.
Living dangerously is not for the feint-hearted. A life lived dangerously takes on an intense ‘muchness’ that can, at times, be overwhelming – an ache becomes an excruciating pain; a snigger becomes a belly laugh; a happy sigh becomes an emphatic “YES!” (in flashing neon colours ten-foot-high no less!).
The shit may well hit the proverbial fan in interesting ways both personally and collectively as you continue to push yourself beyond your comfort-zones in all areas of your life. It helps to be gentle with yourself by doing what you can when you can, acknowledging any resistance you have to doing it – then, when you’ve discovered your ‘edge’, slowly ease yourself inch-by-inch beyond those perceived boundaries. (Don’t forget to breathe.)
This is a time of extraordinary opportunity. It calls for us to be beyond extraordinary and rise to meet the challenge. You have everything and nothing to lose. This is a life worth living ‘dangerously’!
Be the best. No negativity. No weakness. No acquiescence to fear or disaster.
No errors of ignorance. No evasion from reality.
The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an inner voice, but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with his own heart.
~ Thomas Merton, writer and Trappist monk (1915 –1968)