Celebrating the senses: Living with aliveness

When I think about this idea of what it means to be alive, what it means to- this quest to have a meaningful life, it seems like one of the big parts of that is the idea of feeling alive.
The idea that, before my life ends, I would like to have a strong feeling of aliveness.
I want to feel that I was really seizing this opportunity.
And I’ve felt this for many years, although the details of it are so unclear, but the idea of, you know, what do I want with my life? I want to feel that I lived a full life.
I want to have the experiences that are- I want to have a strong sense of this experience of how we can live, now, and I want to be on my deathbed with the feeling of “I lived life to the best that I could.” Now, of course all the details of that, where are the details, you know? The details of that are so unclear.
But certainly I knew when I was spending so much of my time in empty escapism, I could sense that this is not the best use of my life.
And I know this is a very common feeling.
It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.
It can come from people in escapism.
It can come from people who are just working, seemingly just running on the hamster treadmill, just putting all their time and energy into this working without a sense of meaning.
This is really at the core of what I’m trying to do here, what I’m trying to figure out for myself, and also something that I hope will be useful for others.
Because I know so many people have this feeling that I am not fully alive.
I’m not fully living my life in a- in the fullest, deepest way that I can.
And one of the things that motivates me is the feeling that I might wake up one day, maybe I’m dying, and then I look back on my life, and I think, well, oh, I should have done all these other things, and I should have really made better use of my time.
That feeling of regret is very powerful, and already I have had that in the past few years, and that’s part of what has motivated me to make changes in my life and be sure that I’m living my life in a deep way, in a better way.
So what are the details of what it means to live with aliveness, this terribly vague term? I don’t have a complete answer.
The answer that I’ve been starting with is this idea of meaning.
So that’s one big component of it, for sure, the idea of meaning.
The idea that I’m living for something, I am working for something that I believe in, something that is beyond simply me, simply my own concern.
It’s something that connects me with something larger, and therefore my life is part of something bigger, I see how I’m connected to something bigger, and that gives me a sense of meaning, which gives great satisfaction to my life.
And then that as my life is ending, I can still look with satisfaction and say I was part of this thing, and this thing that continues, and so I feel like- I feel the satisfaction in my life.
So that’s a big piece of it, maybe the biggest piece.
And I’ve I’ve been thinking of another piece of it, which is more of the sensual direct sensation feeling side of it, and that’s simply the idea of feeling alive.
The idea that I feel this intense feeling of being alive, and that itself is a powerful and clearly important part of living a life of meaning.
So there are these different ingredients, different components in balance.
There’s this sort of- there’s the discipline side, that I am controlling myself and controlling my life and dedicating my energies towards a higher cause, and then there is the side, the sensual side, the side of feeling aliveness.
This is where I think of, you know, really celebrating the senses, and really appreciating this consciousness that we have.
And that’s through all the arts and the joys of life, through appreciating art and music, appealing to our senses.
And of course through the pleasures of eating, and the pleasures of comforts, the touch, and all of the senses, and really feeling those sensations in a very intense way.
And this, in some sense, it’s a lot easier than the whole disciplined monastic side of asceticism and self-restraint and control, because this is the celebration and sort of like the party side of it.
And yet, it’s almost like this is its own aspect of discipline and control.
Because, of course, everything in our culture presents to us opportunities for simple pleasure and gratification.
But if we really look at most of it, it’s really pretty shallow.
I mean, if you have, you know, the pleasures of food, you know, we get sort of this fast-food kind of sort of a shallow presentation that gives us that hit of the pleasure with the sugar, fat, salt and the flavours but it’s sort of this kind of shallow, empty version and of course you see it with the pleasures of love and sex and the sensuality delivered to us through pornography in a very shallow presentation, where it is like the fast food of sensual pleasure.

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