will to power

why is life such a war?
all things a competition?

never on the same level
always struggling to be over
never satisfied with love
always thirsting for control
we will adjust to nothing
nothing but ourselves

maybe Nietzsche was right
maybe he saw the real sin

Advertisements

a truly terrifying adventure

real bravery, real courage
a truly terrifying adventure

to be an explorer of the heart
discovering places yet unknown
mapping far and foreign lands

to be a traveller of galaxies
going further into the abyss
vast inner-spaces of the soul

to be an archeologist, bare handed
digging and dusting bones
studying past ruins buried within

to be wholly absorbed

to be wholly absorbed
the bliss of being one

lost in eyes
conversation
in a kiss
or an embrace
deep in thought
felt emotion
willed action
in time and place
to read
or even write
focused work
from the soul
honest laughing
reckless weeping
never fleeing
from the moment
terrifying sincerity
vulnerability
nothing but truth
no illusions
soaking stillness
perfectly naked
fully immersed
in the present

the rare peace of oneness
that transcends tension
and heals division
no distractions
true freedom
right now

a meditation on meaning

[this is a largely unoriginal rambling inspired by the words of the Koheleth from the ancient book of wisdom, Ecclesiastes]

all things are wearisome
so much more than one can say
the repetition is so nauseating
the daily grind leaves me hollow, and yet
round and round everything goes
always moving through the motions, yes
time never rests from its ruthless pace
leaving so much and so many forgotten

a great burden is borne by our struggling race!
so much more than anyone can fathom
oh, what do people gain from all their labours
at which they anxiously toil under the sun?

I have desperately sought solutions and answers
as I have been endlessly haunted by this question
yet in my working and resting, in all my pursuits
it has continued to linger and bother and deafen

I pursued wisdom to solve this dilemma of mine
thinking more knowledge would cure my dis-ease
I investigated and searched out the scheme of all things
even that of wickedness and the madness of folly
I consumed every word and page and material assigned
relentlessly chasing every idea under the sun
and such an enormous stream of books and lectures
has poured into my mind and my ego
yet all this wisdom has just made my heart heavy
oh, with more knowledge comes so much more grief
I did not expect an education in sadness and sorrow
but my understanding has increased my despair
and neither am I able to outwit my sure fate
no, both the wise and the foolish face the same end

oh, what vanity! what futility!
it is all just chasing after the wind!
just trying grasp and hold on to mere vapours!

yet I kept on pursuing something more
to calm the question that was burdening my mind
so I denied myself nothing my eyes desired
and refused my heart no pleasure
every lust that would arise, I indulged
with sights and sounds and images and screens
I had so many slaves toiling to make my cheap goods
and a fresh harem each day at my fingertips
oh, I consumed all the products that were marketed to me
and enjoyed every single delight, and yet

my eyes never see enough
my ears never hear enough
my body never feels enough
my hunger remains

oh the ecstasy warms, but just for a moment
yes, my wisdom would eventually confront me
seeking pleasure was just a willful distraction
but in time I crashed into reality
nothing has met my insatiable desires
not even chasing after so many vapours!

but this was not it, no this was not all
I could not give up my struggle for significance
so I chased wealth and possessions, and
achievements and status, to give my life some real meaning
I may not have reached the very top of the mountain
but to be fair, I am close to the peak
I have a job and a house and a steady income
and not to mention, so many luxuries
I’ve amassed things for my walls, for my shelves
for my body; a really impressive empire of stuff
and I eat like a king, yes I never go hungry
I even buy new wardrobes to wear while I grow
and I have stubbornly studied just to get some respect
earning my worth through our sacred institutions
since it’s degrees and it’s titles and extra letters after names
that elicit deep trust and esteem with my people

yet I scoff at my spot as I climb up this mountain
looking up and ignoring my slaves
as goods increase so do those who consume them
the supply never satisfies the demand
whoever loves money keeps chasing after more
whoever loves wealth never has enough income
and there are so many graduates, yet so little wisdom
so many specialists in really refined follies
now it’s possible to be a fool and a faculty member
since our sacred ranks don’t require common sense
whoever loves degrees binds themselves to their credits
whoever loves titles never has enough letters

I saw that all toil and all achievement
spring from one person’s envy of another
this too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind!
we are easily fooled by our own clever deceptions
but there is nothing modern, nothing novel, no
there is nothing new under the sun!
it’s all smoke!  it’s all meaningless!
empty toiling and grasping after vapours!

after all of my searching and grasping
I have learned this one thing
God created humanity upright
but we have gone in search of many schemes
yet I know there is something more than these vanities
for You have placed eternity in our hearts

but is there anything real?  anything that matters?
anything that is true and good and beautiful?

yes, Your beauty breaks beyond all our ugliness
Your goodness speaks from deep within our souls
You are pure Meaning in our constant chaos of vanity
the fullness Eternity in this ever-fleeting time
all our incoherence and confusion and countless vanities
finds coherence and clarity and meaning in You

so I unclench my fists
to let go of these burdens
for in You I find rest from my chasings
in You I find peace from my weariness
yes, your yoke is easy
your burden is light
You are Beauty
You are Truth
You are Goodness

On Christian Life & Discipleship

If Jesus is truly God, then he can be trusted.  This seems simple enough, but learning to trust Jesus with everything is a lifelong journey.

If you are a disciple of Jesus, this means you can really enter into life’s ultimate questions with him.  You can really enter into life’s sorrows and struggles with him.  You can really enter into all of the complexities that are a part of being human with him.  And you can enter in weakness and vulnerability, trusting that life can emerge even beyond the deaths we may face.

One common tendency amongst Christians is to treat Jesus like a personal pet.  Instead of trusting his guidance and journeying through all areas of life with him, we might keep him tightly tied on a short leash so we’re in control of the where he gets to go in our lives.   The unfortunate consequence of domesticating Jesus so we’re in control, though, is it might not occur to us that he has valuable insights and guidance to offer when we face real struggles in life.  We often don’t think he’ll be able to handle our actual questions or doubts or challenges.  So our only options seem to be: cling to Jesus in the corner and just ignore what’s happening around me, or abandon him for good and find a better guide for my life.  But if Jesus is true, then he can hold his own.  Not only that, he can be relied on.  We’ll never discover this, though, if we’re not first open to its possibility.

To be a disciple of Jesus is to really believe that he is the most trustworthy guide and leader in life.  Personally speaking, the more I’ve trusted Jesus to guide me while facing challenges in life, the more my confidence in him has grown.  Because part of the proof that any way of life is truly worthwhile is found in the living—Christianity being no exception.  At this stage in my own spiritual journey, I have come to believe that Jesus will guide me through life better than anyone else.

On Faith

Nobody is neutral when it comes to faith.  Nobody has a God’s-eye-view on our situation.  Nobody is truly impartial, detached, and uninvolved in the complexities that accompany life’s ultimate questions.  We are all human beings.  And so, we all have minds, hearts, and wills that cooperatively shape us in on our search for what’s most real and true.

What we each choose to believe about ultimate things is not merely a mental matter because we are not merely mental machines.  Some certainly suggest that it’s possible to just be a ‘mind’, to just deal with ultimate matters logically and rationally without being influenced by any feelings or desires.  But it’s not possible.  We cannot detach our minds from our hearts and wills anymore than we could physically remove our heads from our bodies and continue thinking.  The only way someone can preserve the pretense of just being a ‘mind’ is by being dishonest about their makeup and humanity—perhaps even to themselves.

Thoughtful reasoning certainly has a crucial role in the process of choosing personal views.  But like the pistons in the engine of a car, it is just one part that works with others.  So answers to life’s big questions can be meaningfully sought, but it is a pursuit that involves our whole selves.  And there’s no way around this.  The reality is, our most essential views about life and the world are shaped by our minds, our hearts, and our wills.

We should be careful to not take our wills too lightly, especially in such a hyper-individualized society where we have given our personal wills a godly status.  And thanks to our historical heritage, things like truth and goodness are frequently forced into the domain of preference.   So from personal to political levels, we have become more interested in power than in truth—the power to choose, the power to control, the power to create our world the way we want it.  Because power is all that we’re left with when we totally trivialize things like truth and goodness.

Our preoccupation with power can be seen in plenty of things in our daily lives.  It can be seen in our tendency to explain events that occur in governments or at work or even at home as ‘just political.’  In can be seen in the widespread opinion that personally desiring to do something is reason enough for doing it.  In more extreme quarters, some will even claim that truth is something that our misguided ancestors made up, but it was all an elaborate power play.  Some even go so far as to say that the ‘will to power’ is the key that unlocks every event throughout history.  And those who are ruthlessly consistent with their logic will even say that having and exercising power is the meaning of life.

Now don’t get me wrong: even though I would not go so far as to interpret everything through the lens of power, I think we can learn important things from radical thinkers like Nietzsche about the power of our wills.   What’s more, the ‘will to power’ has definitely been a significant force throughout the history of our species.  People like Nietzsche help us see the real potency of our wills.

Our wills have a powerful role to play in our pursuit of what’s real and true.  It’s not enough for us to simply say we are interested in the truth; we have to really want the truth if we are to have any hope of finding it.  We need to be willing to adjust to reality, because our wills are powerful enough that we can make ‘reality’ adjust to us.  That is to say, we have the power to selectively accept the parts of reality that suit us and avoid the parts that don’t.

All this is not surprising from a Christian viewpoint.  In fact, people are powerful creatures according to Christian thought.  At times our weak and humble position is—rightly—emphasized by Christian teachers so much that we may forget that the Biblical writings also teach that we have been endowed with incredible powers.  The opening of the Christian scriptures tell the epic story of the God of the universe designing human beings to be like him, made ‘in his own image.’  And there is a great deal of significance in God using himself as the blueprint for our human design.  Perhaps the greatest significance is that the ultimate Person surprisingly chose to share the power to choose with human persons.  So though we are not gods, we are the curious creatures that are made of both the dirt and the Divine.

But there’s more essential significance in people being made by God to be like God.  The Biblical writings tell of the ultimate Relational Ruler creating human beings to relate and to rule.  In other words, humans have been designed to experience ultimate fulfillment in sharing love with God and others, and in compassionately caring for everything in the created world—this is a huge part of our ultimate purpose according to Christian thought.  Yet, humans have the power to choose.  And the ensuing Biblical drama chronicles many gut-wrenching stories of the dark and powerful potential of the human will.  It’s stories—along with those of human history—show that we have the power to love and to hate, to embrace and to betray, to create and to destroy, to care and to neglect, to preserve and to pollute.  Even when it comes to the matter of what’s true, it is claimed in Biblical writings that we have the power to accept or ‘suppress the truth,’ including truths that we already know deep down inside.

All of this might provoke the seriously significant question, why?   I do not wish to suggest that I have peered into the mysteries of Ultimate Reality and have all the answers.  But I do find these partial explanations compelling in relation to the question, why?  Because God is Love and he ultimately wants us to want him, since love cannot exist without two-way-choice.  And because God cares for the world he created and he wants us to want to care for the created world, too.  The stories of Scripture show over and over that God will pursue but not impose himself on us; that God remarkably respects our will and our decisions.  We should recognize that this means he treats us with immense dignity—even though we may not reciprocate such respect—and allows us to truly be free, with or without him.

So when we struggle with life’s ultimate questions, we should bear in mind that God’s existence (or non-existence) certainly does not depend on our opinions.  But we should also remember that our wills are incredibly powerful.  So much so that the first and most pressing question is often not, do I think God exists?  No, the most pressing question for many is, do I want God to exist?

in between

I am in between
on a curious stage

when I peer through a microscope I feel like a god
much more glorious than the particles and atoms
when I peer through a telescope I feel like an atom
just a speck in the cosmos and heavens

yet I am neither a god or an atom
no, I am a human being