Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

33


I AM THAT
      
              
The seeker is he who is in search of himself.

Give up all questions except one: ‘Who am I?’ After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The ‘I am’ is certain. The ‘I am this’ is not.
Struggle to find out what you are in reality.

To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not.

Discover all that you are not—body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that—nothing concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.

The clearer you understand on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realize that you are the limitless being.

—Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I am that.

Friday, April 13, 2012

32


BETWEEN HOPE AND DESPAIR: SEDUCTION.


CASANOVA: Don’t believe what people say. I don’t conquer. I submit. I’ve never sought glory as a lover.
SISTER BEATRICE: What then, Signore Casanova, do you seek?
CASANOVA: A moment that lasts a lifetime.

—Casanova, 2005, Lasse Hallström.


SE.DUC.ER.-n. A person who entices, allures, or seduces, esp one who entices another to engage in sexual intercourse.
                    
Voltaire wrote in his play Mérode, “It’s not enough to conquer, one must also know how to seduce.” Mon cher Casanova was perhaps the most successful seducer in history; few women could resist him. A vivid face, a thinker, a fighter, an adventurer, and as he wrote in his Histoire de ma vie1, “born for the fairer sex.”

His method was simple: on meeting a woman, he would carefully study her. He liked young women who were unhappy2, or had suffered a recent misfortune. Then, he would go along with her moods, find out what was missing in her life, and bring her fantasy to life, making himself the ideal lover.

A great connoisseur of the art of seduction never grants control to someone else. He leads by creating constant tension and suspense. He actually swings her between hope and despair. Feelings which are fed by the unpredactibility. At the end, as the father of Existentialism Søren Kierkegaard said,“This is always the law for the interesting… If one just knows how to surprise, one always wins the game. The energy of the person involved is temporarily suspended; one makes it impossible for her to act.”  

Albeit a grand séducteur has a bad reputation, I’m allured by the effort, the artfulness Casanova applied to each affair that made him so devilishly seductive. Qualities, my Dear Readers, that are unfortunately quite absent nowadays. Although this savoir faire is not surprising coming from a man who loved life passionately for its own sake.


1 The memoirs of Casanova are perhaps the most valuable document on the society of the eighteenth century. He did not live to write, but wrote because he had lived, and when he could live no longer.
2 Happy people are much harder to seduce.


Copyright © 2012 by THE PYTHAGOREAN STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 6, 2012

31


L’ART DE VIVRE





LISE BOUVIER: Maybe Paris has a way of making people forget.
JERRY MULLIGAN: Paris? No. Not this city. It’s too real and too beautiful to ever let you forget anything.

—An American in Paris, 1951, Vicente Minnelli.


IF WE HAD TO GRADE THE DIFFERENT SPHERES OF LIFE—mental, health, financial, spiritual, social, and psychological—most of us would excel in some getting an A or B, but in others would calamitously fail getting an E or perhaps a F. It’s not that some of them are less important than others. They all truly are valuable. But it’s not easy to reach a good level in all of them.

One of the seven habits of highly effective people is to be proactive. It is based on the premise that we are the creators. So we are responsible for our lives. Our behavior strictly relies on our decisions (not our conditions).

Said that, are you proactive in all spheres of life?

If not, why?

Well, the answer has many edges. Some people feel comfortable in some spheres, so they avoid certain areas with manifold of justifications. Others show signs of low rate in some areas, so they decide to focus on these ones first. At the end, my Dedicated Readers, the day has 24 hours. Not a second more.

For those of us who are constantly reinventing ourselves, the challenge is even bigger. They say one must spend 10,000 hours working on something if one wants to be talented. In addition to that, if one usually gets immersed in what the Hungarian psychology professor Mihály Csíkszentmihályi named as flow,1 one can totally forget some areas of life. So when one happens to see the fleeting red lights on the dashboard, one often looks the other way. Despite the noise, the car is still running.

Yet sitting at an enchanting terrace at Montmartre in The City of Light, sipping a Bordeaux, smiling (and gawking sometimes) at some handsome Parisians who walk by, and saying bonjour now and then, I realized that Paris was a city to remind me that I had a fleeting red light on my dashboard which also forms part of L’art de vivre.




[1] Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of activity. Nevertheless, it only happens when you love what you do.


Copyright © 2012 by THE PYTHAGOREAN STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.