know thyself 2

 

“1. Here is a funny story: a friend of mine who teaches at a university used to complain saying that he was sick of seeing half of his students sleeping during his classes! Poor things were always bored to death. It may have something to do with the fact that he was teaching ” Constitutional Law” , but still, indeed a good teacher should be someone who can make any subject interesting. So he finally decided to do something about it and arranged a meeting with a famous Austrian Professor, specialised in Pedagogy, to ask her for an advice.

The first thing the woman said was: – Are you also bored when you teach? He said: – Oh yes, absolutely!!! It is a simple point but we all can learn something from this: A bored person is boring and an ” interested” person is interesting!

2. Most of us have no connection to our inner selves. The best way to make that connection is to be CURIOUS about ourselves. Just to wonder why we do what we do and why we think what we think. It can be really fun to look at yourself this way: with compassion and curiosity.

3. The closer you get to yourself, the closer you get to others. And we only need two things for this: To find the right TOOLS to look inside. To find the right WORDS to describe what we see.

TOOLS: – The best tool I know is Alain de Botton’s philosophical meditation. They have a video about it on this (Youtube- The School of Life) channel. Don’t miss it! You could then print the questions below the video and go through them at least once a week. They are extremely helpful. One tragic thing about almost all of us, is that we really don’t know how to think. It is so difficult to think ” clearly” about yourself. What we call “thinking” is often just ” brooding”. And we have all sorts of mechanisms to delude ourselves too. So it is great to have a clear question in front of you, to which you must find an answer without changing the subject! If we learn to ” talk to ourselves” in these very interesting and productive ways, we can hopefully do the same with other people too! – Another great tool is Mindfulness Meditation. You could search for this on Itunes and start today: UCLA Hammer Meditation. ( I have watched a lesson on Mindfulness from Yale University on youtube. The teacher there recommended these guided meditation podcasts. They are extremely helpful! ) And the best books I have read on meditation are: Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill, by Matthieu Ricard Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan For Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams.

WORDS: – Wittgenstein says: ” All I know is what I have words for”. In order to have more words at hand to describe how we feel, we need to read a lot of good books, poems, watch good movies, listen to beautiful songs, and listen to the people around us very well. After all, our stories may be very different, but we all suffer more less because of the same things.

4. Three excellent podcasts on how to listen and communicate well are: Listening generously, Rachel Naomi Yemen with Krista Tippett On Being with Krista Tippet, Kwami Anthony Appiah BBC A Point of View, Alain de Botton on The Art of Conversation.

5. A writer from Turkey, Ahmet Altan, says that the most interesting things people could say, are the things they don’t dare to say and rather keep for themselves. What a pity really! But he also adds that children don’t have that kind of fear. And that’s why when you talk to a child you can always hear something interesting!

6. It is so true that those who had travelled the most or met famous folks etc. , aren’t necessarily the most interesting people. Once I had a coffee with a musician I knew, a few days after he came back from his South America tour. So I asked him how it all went. I thought it must have been a life changing experience! But all he could say was: – Oh, yeah, it was cool. Cool! It was so cool you know…. He had gone through an extraordinary experience but he didn’t really ” experience” anything! He was the exact opposite of the painter in this beautiful lesson, who knew how to make something so valuable out of an ordinary ( at first sight ) experience!! That’s why this quote by Rilke is so important: ” …For believe me, the more one is, the richer is all that one experiences“. So our goal should be to become wiser, more sensitive and more profound , so that everything we experience can also become more meaningful. And if we feel the need to share all these, we won’t be boring. At least to some people!”

 

  • Copied from a comment on Youtube by Lua Veli.
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know thyself

“The gift of being interesting is neither exclusive nor reliant on exceptional talent. It requires only direction, honesty, and focus. The person we call interesting is in essence someone alive to what we all deeply want from social intercourse, which is an uncensored glimpse of what the brief waking dream called life looks like through the eyes of another person. And reassurance we are not entirely alone with all that feels most bewildering, peculiar, and intense within us.

 

my love, E.E. Cummings

animal-wallpaper-with-a-group-flying-doves.jpgmy love
thy hair is one kingdom
the king whereof is darkness
thy forehead is a flight of flowers
thy head is a quick forest
filled with sleeping birds
thy breasts are swarms of white bees
upon the bough of thy body
thy body to me is April
in those armpits is the approach of spring
thy thighs are white horses yoked to a chariot
of kings
they are the striking of a good minstrel
between them is always a pleasant song
my love
thy head is a casket
of the cool jewel of thy mind
the hair of thy head is one warrior
innocent of defeat
thy hair upon thy shoulders is an army
with victory and with trumpets
thy legs are the trees of dreaming
whose fruit is the very eatage of forgetfulness
thy lips are satraps in scarlet
in whose kiss is the combinings of kings
thy wrists
are holy
which are the keepers of the keys of thy blood
thy feet upon thy ankles are flowers in vases
of silver
in thy beauty is the dilemma of flutes
thy eyes are the betrayal
of bells comprehended through incense.

Admonitions To A Special Person – Anne Sexton

country-meadow

Watch out for power,
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.

Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you’ll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.

Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.

Watch out for games, the actor’s part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for they will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.

Watch out for love
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes) ,
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won’t be heard
and none of your running will end.

Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can’t be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

Special person,
if I were you I’d pay no attention
to admonitions from me,
made somewhat out of your words
and somewhat out of mine.
A collaboration.
I do not believe a word I have said,
except some, except I think of you like a young tree
with pasted-on leaves and know you’ll root
and the real green thing will come.

Let go. Let go.
Oh special person,
possible leaves,
this typewriter likes you on the way to them,
but wants to break crystal glasses
in celebration,
for you,
when the dark crust is thrown off
and you float all around
like a happened balloon.

Anne Sexton