My most recent response to his approach (I’m simplifying here) on focusing on a life of pleasure:
Yup. I’ve got nothing against pleasure, but running on a hamster wheel constantly seeking pleasure (and fleeing boredom) isn’t inherently meaningful or beneficial to others. IMO, it’s better to transcend—not fix (fix is the hamster wheel approach)—the whole pleasure/pain dichotomy and find a sense of peace with whatever the world presents.
In other words, my approach to life is to—as much as possible—flow with the world rather than fighting, forcing, manipulating, or fleeing it. This is what I mean by “surrendering to Her” or “listening to Her whispers.” It means letting go of always trying to “win.” Life lived this way is so much more pleasant than the constant trying to make things happen or living in fear of “losing.”
There are a lot of colors between black and white. I try not to chase after pleasures (go out of my way to make them happen) nor concern myself too much with pain (live in fear by seeking to avoid pain). Finding the beauty in the moment—stopping, looking, and seeing it clearly without mental manipulations—is key to appreciating whatever is happening wherever we find ourselves.
Like your “rogue priest” says, I love life too, but where we differ is I don’t cling to it.
I sent the email, then went for a walk, and here is what came to me in Her whispers:
When you learn to surrender, when you give up control, when you stop trying and manipulating and forcing, it doesn’t mean that you lose out or you stop doing. It simply means that you learn to flow.
When you flow—when you learn the art of surrender—life no longer feels like a series of conflicts. It no longer bashes you about or tugs on your arm. It is no longer an ongoing response to fear.
When you open up and allow, Life becomes like your lover. A lover who kisses and caresses you. She guides you with Her whispers. She clears the path once blocked and opens jammed doors long frozen shut.
She reveals what was long hidden.
Let go. Stop trying. Have faith.
Be willing to allow whatever may come. Pull those loud manipulating thoughts from your mind and drop them to the side of the road. Look the fear in the eye and say, “I’m not going to allow you to run my life anymore.”
Let go. Open. Surrender.
Stop trying to win, and the World will reveal Herself to you in all Her splendor.
The less there is of you, the more there is of Her.
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