Don’t search for the meaning of life (but for the experience of being alive)

Gokarna, India.

Today was my last day on the beach of Gokarna. Tomorrow I will catch at train to Goa and a night train to Mumbai. I will arrive Friday morning very early and will give a workshop on Saturday. After the workshop I will head North, in the direction of the Himalayas. That sounds cool, doesn’t it?

My favorite part of the day was my stroll to the restaurant at the other end of the beach. It is dark, everything has cooled off enough to make it gentle. You can still remnants of warmth in the sand. It is sweaty nor chilly, everything is quiet. I am aware of my feet, the water and the sand. I make steps on the planet. I am not behind an office, figuring out ways how to make money. I am not caught in traffic. I am not even working. I just exist: breathing, being.

A friend of mine once shared his dream with me: to have a place in a nice climate where he could wear flip-flops and board shorts every day. I remember thinking is was a kind of a childish dream. But I am changing my mind. Maybe leadership for the 21st century is having the courage to dream small. I want to live a sustainable, happy and healthy life. I want to live in an environment that feels healing and nurturing.

I read (and retweeted) a quote by the man whose book I finished a while ago. Joseph Campbell said that people are not searching for the meaning of life but for the experience of being alive. When we have nothing on our minds we can have moments we really feel alive. When our minds get chased and clouded by fears, expectations, dissatisfaction, judgment and criticism we lose touch with reality. Instead of sharing our performance of life we create a life of performance.

Paradoxically, it takes us a lot of practice to live life fully and behave naturally. The dogs, cows, flowers and trees have no problem in manifesting their true nature but for us it is quite a journey. Not once did I see a dog look around with a guilty expression on his snout because he felt like taking a nap in the middle of the day. Now that I mention it: even the locals have neither guilt nor shame around napping in the work place.

It amazed me how disciplined I was in doing my daily sessions of meditation. Now is it true that I needed my retreat and there was little distraction; no friends tempting me to stay in the bar. But I also realized that an environment can actively support either awareness or unconsciousness. Basically, every unnatural environment supports unconsciousness and every natural environment supports awareness.

I am happy. I charged my battery and will be on my way tomorrow. I learned important things about peace, quiet and nature. It was good to have created an extreme contrast by visiting Baghdad, Cairo, Beirut, Tel Aviv and Istanbul first. Tomorrow I will go back to Mumbai and hope to bring the sea and nature into the workshop. Let’s sea what happens.

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  1. Kristina says

    I think you are amazing. I especially love your insight that our environment can actively support either our awareness or unconsciousness. I really needed to hear that today – thank you.

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