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“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

― Goethe

A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, gradually reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth. — Marion Woodman

We are held up by forces we don’t see or understand. Maybe it’s our own instincts and intuition that can read the patterns in the infinite. Maybe it’s forces that have always held us in an intelligent embrace since birth. We can only guess. We can only study how to align ourselves with the inscrutable laws of the cosmos we belong to. Intangibles seem to rule the tangible world. It’s a mystery.

Getting straight with the grand order of life implies getting straight with our truest nature. It implies sloughing off some of the imposed strictures of whatever culture we were born into. It means learning to live our mission as our core being dictates. It may mean “finding our passion,” whatever that means to you.

We have few guides to our inner truth, we have few strategies and methods from society. We have to rely on ourselves, on trial and error, mistakes and bad judgement, on hard lessons learned, on self reliance in spite of not knowing the future. It’s the human condition.

Burning away “the veils of illusion” can scorch our own flesh. It usually does, in fact. Through a lifetime well spent, we gradually become who we were meant to be. Everything that happens along the way can destroy us or make us make us more solid and substantial, depending first of all on whether it kills us or not, and second, on how we think of it.

If we learn something about ourselves we needed to know, something that we needed to change, we’re better off.

Various cultures have diverse methods for orienting humans to a deeper consciousness of the world and what role they are to play in it. All cultures have the arts, many have meditative practices and healers. We have therapists and helpers of all kinds, though in our world the objective seems to be repairing us like broken machines and putting us back in the rat race.

The assumption there is that we are broken but society isn’t. It may be the other way around, in fact.

Meditation, therapy, and get-healthy strategies may be no more effective that living life and making your mistakes. There seems to be quite an education to be had from barking your shins all by yourself.

I prefer the arts, where you can wrestle with yourself instead of competing with friends and strangers all the time. There, your deep self is always in a double nelson with your shallow self. Sometimes one comes out on top and sometimes it’s the other. It’s an eternal exertion to be more real. That’s what I like about the act of painting and writing.

It’s a challenging practice, but all the more reason to do it.

This forum is therapeutic in that sense. Everybody has a right to try their hand at creating something interesting out of words that will be helpful for other readers. It’s real work, and it requires you to get good at writing — because otherwise no one reads you — and it forces you to reach a little deeper into yourself to discover what you know that others don’t. You have to ask yourself some penetrating questions just to find those answers.

I would hazard a guess that most writers are introverts. They have a well deserved reputation for being introspective. Artists can’t afford to be superficial. Their work in the world is to penetrate reality, to see what others miss, and to create out of that.

That what this forum offers. We get to work our craft while we deepen our humanity and help others by so doing. I am glad to be here.

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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