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  • The habit of drinking is deeply ingrained in Western culture.

  • Being drunk is often seen as a blissful state in which our sorrows are washed away, and

  • exchanged for courage and an extraordinary ability to be merry and happy.

  • Yes, alcohol loosens the inhibitions, dissolves our fears and makes us forget about our problems

  • - at least for a while.

  • But it also dampens the senses, reduces our mental capabilities, impairs our motor skills,

  • and basically helps us to make fools of ourselves.

  • Moreover, drunkenness often leads to violence, and the trap of alcoholism has been destroying

  • millions of lives.

  • Thus, we might choose the risky joy of drinking, but the overall debilitating effects of doing

  • so prevent us from truly immersing ourselves in the precious gift that the universe has

  • given to us:

  • Life.

  • So, instead of escaping the experience of life, in all its rawness, with all its emotional

  • highs and lows, its joys and hardships, can't we just enjoy life as it comes, soberly, as

  • much as we enjoy the state of drunkenness?

  • Or simply put: how can we get drunk on life?

  • Now, years ago I heard a Taoist tale about Lao Tzu, meeting up with Confucius and Buddha,

  • in a teahouse.

  • When they were sitting together at a table, the waiter offered them a special drink called

  • 'the juice of life'.

  • Immediately, Buddha rejected this, saying that birth, death, and life are all suffering

  • and that a drink called 'the juice of life' is definitely not worth taking.

  • As a matter of fact: his enlightenment meant freedom from the wheel of suffering.

  • So why should he masochistically administer the pain that he wanted to escape?

  • Confucius, then, said that he couldn't judge the drink before he tasted it.

  • He took a sip but didn't like the taste at all.

  • Buddha, you're right!” he said.

  • It's foul, it's bitter, it's miserable, it's not worth drinking.”

  • Then, Lao Tzu took the bottle and drank it in one go.

  • After that, he got up and started to dance, and dance, dance, while screaming like a madman.

  • After a while, he stopped and returned to his seat.

  • Buddha and Confucius had become curious and asked: “so, how was it?”

  • Lao Tzu answered: “I'm not going to say a word, because there's nothing be said.”

  • He explained that Buddha was too quick to judge, and Confucius based his judgment on

  • a small sip.

  • In theory, they might be right: that life isn't worth the suffering.

  • And based on their doctrines, it might be better to avoid certain elements of life in

  • order to avoid suffering.

  • But in the story, they refuse to experience life.

  • And a million words are not enough to describe what it really is to be alive.

  • Hence: “there's nothing to be said.”

  • And to really judge about life, one has to fully experience it.

  • Now, not to discredit Buddha or Confucius and their traditions, which (needless to say)

  • contain profound wisdom, the story offers two important messages.

  • The first one is 'not to take religions or ideologies too seriously so that they block

  • us from experiencing life'.

  • When the rules we impose on ourselves are too rigid and inflexible, it's difficult

  • to move along with existence which is always in flux.

  • As Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching, and I quote:

  • Those who are stiff and rigid are the disciples of death.

  • Those who are soft and yielding are the disciples of life.”

  • End quote.

  • The second one is that to experience life 'we should drink it at once and just...

  • dance'.

  • We're likely inclined to dance after drinking a lot of alcoholic beverages.

  • Without a doubt, drunkenness by substances is an experience that many people regard as

  • a joie de vivre.

  • But, paradoxically, the basis for this joy lies in closing ourselves off from life.

  • Perhaps as much, or even more, as those rigid individuals that are clenched to their spiritual pursuit.

  • What's to experience when our senses are numb?

  • Enjoying life more, by experiencing it less, is nothing more than an escape.

  • It means that we cannot handle our fears or our emotions in general.

  • When we're sad, we drink.

  • When we're happy, we drink.

  • When we're anxious, we drink.

  • So, this kind of drunkenness is a rejection of life by an embrace of a mind-altering substance.

  • Now, getting drunk on life is a pursuit in the opposite direction.

  • Rather than blocking what overwhelms us, we embrace the full spectrum.

  • See, when people drink they often seek to embark on a proverbial rollercoaster ride,

  • without fear.

  • They want adventure, they want joyful interactions, they want to encounter someone attractive.

  • And by reducing fear, they often experience that it's indeed easier to make these things happen.

  • Even though fear is uncomfortable, it doesn't mean that it's bad.

  • It means that the body's fight-or-flight response is triggered.

  • So, it's a side-effect of entering unknown territory, which passes when we experience

  • a sense of safety.

  • It's a price we pay for getting out of our comfort zone.

  • But the reward is priceless: it's this lucid involvement with elements of life that are

  • new us; it's the elation of overcoming boundaries and fears.

  • Didn't Danish philosopher Kierkegaard once say that anxiety is the dizziness of freedom?

  • Being drunk on life means that we are able to fully and consciously enjoy what life,

  • in all its ordinariness, has to offer.

  • And the fact that we seek substances or activities to numb ourselves is already proof that the

  • experience of life is very intense.

  • Sometimes, it seems too intense to handle.

  • And that's where we find the key to getting drunk on life: by riding the waves, no matter

  • how big, while rejoicing when the sea is calm.

  • By not clinging to its highs or lows, but not to its flatness either.

  • It's the deep sadness, and grief when we're dumped, the tears of joy when we meet with

  • a loved one we haven't seen for a long time.

  • But it's also the shivers when we do something we fear, the delight of spending time in nature,

  • the contentment of not needing anything more, and the flourishing by the pursuit of virtue

  • like a Stoic.

  • It's not rigidly standing on the sidelines of our experience, but establishing ourselves

  • in the present, without the denial of what's already there.

  • Thus, we replace our resistance to these inevitable parts of life, by a welcoming curiosity to them.

  • So, how do we get drunk on life?

  • Well, by drinking it.

  • And the paradox is that we can only enjoy life fully when we don't numb the senses

  • as we do when we get drunk.

  • Life itself is already drunk enough.

  • The only thing we have to do is 'open up to it', without resistance and without attaching

  • ourselves too much to our judgments of right and wrong, and transcend the ideas of what

  • we should and shouldn't.

  • Life is simply what is.

  • It's an endless show, that we all have a part in.

  • At the end of the day, it doesn't always have to be enjoyed, nor does it always have

  • to be suffered.

  • It simply has to be lived.

  • Thank you for watching.

The habit of drinking is deeply ingrained in Western culture.

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如何去擁有如癡如醉的人生 (TAOISM | How to Get Drunk on Life)

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    jeremy.wang   發佈於 2020 年 03 月 30 日
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