In my quest, I found plenty of people that can perform the role of a mentor in understanding this thing called life, or perhaps I should rephrase that question to “How do I understand myself in relationship to my environment?”.
I’m deeply interested in what they have to say and why they say such things along with their commentaries on human conditions. In my search, I’m slowly able to see the hidden motivation behind everyone’s actions is driven by power, sorrow, fear, pleasure, and agony.
This post is the third entry in a series of 13 about the story behind the app on Zen Enso. Before continuing, I would recommend reading prior entries first to get a better understanding and flow of the contents.
- A Spark That Kick Off a Quest of a Soul-searching Adventure
- It’s Very Entertaining Listening to Alan Watts
- The Old Man Pointing the Way
- 13 Lessons I learnt About Myself and Probably Useful to You as Well
- The Evolving Ideas and the Differences it Might Have
- What Zen Enso is Aiming for and Trying to Bring About
- Should Life be a Puzzle to be Figured Out?
- The Authors are Who They are: Human Beings
- How to Best Use Zen Enso and to Contemplate About Your Life
- How Does the Name Zen Enso Comes to Be?
- Zen Enso Could be One of My Best Work Yet
- The App Reception, Extra Resources, and a Closing to the Story
- The TLDR: We Don’t Have All the Time in the World!
Full disclaimer here as one Internet stranger to another. I am not an expert in these subjects but found great interest in asking how should one understand themselves in regards to the world.
Hopefully, through this attempt, I can become more aware of my darkness and be the light to myself in a world that’s increasingly growing darker by the day. Maybe help others to light their light within.
Most of their works are very illuminating in nature which helps to shine a light into the abyss that is our human psyche. As I start to consume their content whether through the forms of audiobooks, books, or YouTube videos.
It feels like, as a whole, they’re a finger pointing toward something that’s in plain sight but yet I can’t see clearly due to years of accumulation of these images/symbols/prejudices/past events that are hindering what’s in front of me.
This makes me eager to further investigate and peel the invisible surface off like going through an onion.
The Old Man Awaits
So, if you’re interested in these things (being, life, wisdom, existence, psychology, gaining clarity, and living a good life) like I do then dive into the list below and see what you may discover about yourself. It’ll be worth your time to check them out in no specific order below.
- Alan Watts
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
- Gautama Buddha
- Joseph Campbell
- Albert Camus
- Arthur Schopenhauer
- Carl Jung
- Lao Tzu
- Zhuang Zi
- Marcus Aurelius
- Shunryu Suzuki
- Bruce Lee
If I may, I would like to single out 2 authors from the list above because I think they need more recognition than others. Firstly, they’ve made the most contribution to my life. Secondly, I think most people should start from them before branching off.
I would recommend starting with Alan Watts as his lectures are easier to digest and tremendously entertaining to listen to. I can’t get bored of listening to him or that laughter of his laughing away his jokes and experiences.
Many fun stories are interweaving between with nuggets of wisdom scattering everywhere as he pulls from his wealth of knowledge from the Western tradition of its religion and worldviews to Eastern religion and philosophy.
Afterward, you’ll know which to go for next as you can pick up many authors and books he uses as analogies, metaphors, stories, contrasting ideas of different authors, and his anecdotal experiences.
If you are a person with a sharp mind. Then, he is where your attention should steer toward because his lectures are akin to a group meditation session of self-inquiry. In most of his recorded videos, he goes slowly answering a given question presented by those who are in attendance.
It’s spectacular to experience yourself on how JK can break down complex questions and slowly question along together. He guides you by revealing the possible path of what may be but the important thing is whether those who listen to him are willing to cross the bridge themselves as he implores his listener to find out within rather than just accept the words he says.
Most of us just want to listen and enjoy it intellectually rather than doing the hard work required of investigating within ourselves because the truth might be ugly, hard to accept, hurts badly as the image gets destroyed in the process.
He may look like a sweet and wise grandpa figure but is more akin to modern-day Buddha, trying to help people through his works and talks for 90 years around the world. Yet I didn’t hear about him until I started to study Bruce Lee.
His foundation has been posting his talks, discussion, debate, and lectures on YouTube since 8 years old with no ads. Go take a look for yourself. Don’t get intimidated with grainy black and white video because the modern portable color camera was not invented yet in his time.
There’re a few quotes that had been sticking to me because of how they relate to each other as all of them are pointing toward one thing. The source of one’s light navigating in this world.
You have to be a light to yourself in a world that is utterly becoming dark.Jiddu Krishnamurti
We can see this as well in Carl Jung’s works such as the quote below of making the darkness conscious.
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy
Rumi was saying the same thing in regards to this train of thought.
Don’t you know yet? It is your light that lights the worlds.Rumi
All of them are saying, to be a light to ourselves comes first then we will be able to affect the right change. How else would a person be able to see clearly if one’s light is either dimly lit or cast no light at all?
I started with Alan Watts then went through various others and ended with Krishnamurti works.
Investigate and Observe
Investigate not just the outside like references and historical records but most important of all is the observation and investigation within oneself. All those books, videos, talks, methods, insights, and teachings are of no use if you do not apply them or investigate with yourself.
Some things need great attention and patience to dig deep to find out. For instance, Krishnamurti once said in his lecture and I quote below.
When there’s fear, there’s no freedom.
When there’s freedom, there’s no fear.
Fear and freedom contain a lot of meaning in our society. Everyone has different ranges of fears and may want different kinds of freedom. We don’t know until we start questioning inwardly and removing each layer along the way until we found the root.
We could intellectually make sense of what Krishnamurti is trying to communicate across but won’t be able to grasp the total weight behind those words until we find out for ourselves.
This can be a challenging endeavor to carry out because I know I can be lazy and do procrastinate often. So, it’s still an ongoing thing for me.
Thanks for reading the 3rd entry in a series of 13 in total. The next post is 13 Lessons I learned About Myself and Probably Useful to You as Well if you wish to continue the story. See you there!