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life whirls

Steve Chandler Steve Chandler coach. trainer. time warrior.

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PostCHANDLER

Meaning is what my mind plays with when my body has nothing to do. I find I can add meaning and significance to anything and then just as quickly subtract it!

Each time it’s a naming game in my mind. And in no case is any “true” meaning established for me beyond the naming game.

So, how to stay engaged? Friedrich Nietzsche once observed that “Man is the only animal who has to be encouraged to live.” I’ve needed that encouragement myself in past days and suicidal nights gone by.

And one day I no longer needed it. Those days and nights were gone for good and the blue was back in the sky. The long dreary linear life was over and I saw how short this vertical uprising called living could be! I mean it was already over! Who needs to be encouraged to sustain something that’s already over?

And in that same spirit, were I to find myself needing “help to stay engaged” in this life I would know it’s time to call the hotline once again.

It’s only when my mind is contaminated with beliefs that I try to add meaning to things. But that activity is always (as the Zen masters say) like adding legs to a snake. Like painting a rose with red paint.

The great mythologist Joseph Campbell was once asked by an up and coming writer what Campbell would recommend as a cure for writer’s block. “Cut off your head” said Campbell.

In other words, write from the heart, live from the heart. We are always and already totally engaged. We breathe in from life and breathe out to life and this mutual giving keeps us engaged.

Charlie Manson thought there was secret meaning in the Beatles’ White Album, especially in the song “Helter Skelter.” People have insisted to me that when Jesus says, in the Bible, that some men, if they behave certain ways, are better off at the bottom of the ocean with a millstone around their necks, there is a subtle symbolic “meaning” there that I might be missing. Something more spiritually elegant than “I’d like to drown those mofos.”

Only the mind that believes the darkest of superstitions can talk the body into feeling disengaged from this whirling life. So if I believe I need a method that helps me to stay engaged, I am like Nietzsche’s man who needs to be encouraged to stay alive.

That’s not for me anymore.

I like staying alive in the same way the Bee Gees like stayin’ alive. With the same level of meaning.

– Steve Chandler

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