Greater and greater things -#mythreewords for 2016

Time may be an illusion but it certainly felt like it since my last post four months ago. Where did it all go? Maybe we should all be praying for time …

Unlike last December I’ve had little time for year-end reflection, but that is a story for my next few blog posts. Nothing happens in Australia during January, especially in the nation’s capital. I have the whole month off. I figure I have time yet for my end of year reviews and defragmentations …

What I have had time to do is think about my next three words for 2016 (‘What are you talking about?’ I hear you sub-vocalise? Check out the creator of the exercise in his own words). I found this approach radical in the deepest and most original meaning of the word and vowed to do it again at the end of this year. After all, it has served me well if my last blog post is any indication – two out of three aint bad, but as to which two? Well, that’s a story for January …

This year my watch words were Nietzsche’s ‘rechristen your evil’:

In 2016 my three words will be ‘seek greater defeats’:

What will you be defeated by this year?

‘The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things’ – Rainer Maria Rilke (Created by my philosophical friend Antoine Hardan – check out his other quote to art pairings and badger him for business)

Rilke was one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century in any language and is one of my favourites. While this might strike some as, well, defeatist, like much of Rilke’s work I was struck by its creative alloy of humility and transcendence. There is method in it which I will unpack later, akin to the whole history of the very human practice of self-transformation a la Sloterdijk, as well as in (despite or because of?) design and systems thinking. But I feel intuitively that I’ve let the right ones in.

It gave me the same feeling of ‘cosmic humility’ that left me with the same shiver of delight as when I recently came across this song by the Tibetan Buddhist master Milarepa:

1
listen dear
listen up rechungpa
yr old man milarepa here
I sleep sometimes
& sleeping. . . meditate
sleeping & sleeping
just that is meditation
the murky fog turns clear
there’s a way
& I’m the guy who knows how
others don’t
but if they did, I’d be happy

2.
old man milarepa here
I eat sometimes
& eating. . . meditate
eating & eating,
just that is meditation
food & drink a sacred feast
there’s a way
& I’m the guy who knows how
others don’t
but if they did, I’d be happy

3.
old man milarepa here
I move about sometimes
& moving. . . meditate
moving & moving
just that is meditation
moving & or sitting a sacred thing
there’s a way
& I’m the guy
who knows how
others don’t
but if they did, I’d be happy

4.
old man milarepa here
I work sometimes
& working. . . meditate
working & working
just that is meditation
this way of acting is truly freedom
there’s a way
& I’m the guy who knows how
others don’t
but if they did, I’d be happy

5.
my dear Rechung, practice like this
& you too Megom—wake up!
it’s time to make the soup!

 

It’s the only resolution I can do these days, along with those from the likes of Gary Snider:

But for now my dear friend and reader, let’s remember that while even this is meditation, this must also pass:

And I’m the guy
who knows how
others don’t
but if they did, I’d be happy.

 

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