Every man, if he intends on being happy, must find a way to live without the masks, walls, and facades that prevent us from recognizing our brother’s humanity. In order to assist in the creation of a compassionate, gracious, and honest world we must develop this sense of community and fellowship. We forget that the people we judge, criticize, and condemn–near and far–contain all the same fears, anxieties, and desire for meaning that sits within our spirit. One is required to recognize that everyone is searching for meaning, love, and wholeness on our pursuit towards remaining present in all circumstances. Anais Nin On Refusing Despair provides us with the knowledge to become heroic in the particular of our lives.
Throughout A Woman Speaks: The Lectures, Seminars and Interviews of Anaïs Nin, she speaks on the importance of loving, cherishing, and appreciating your brother. Growing up in the age of Christ we’ve always heard the importance of loving your brother, but we continually forget that love must be spread far and wide without discrimination. Love is rare, and its a path that required the compassion necessary to being persistently compassionate saying:
Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it. Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. Dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.
I was told, long ago, that in order to make it through the world we must live internally, and watching people being unable to sit and listen to the world within leading to the most disastrous things that can happen to a human being: A loss of faith. The world has so many stimulants, so many distractions, and even more noise that moving throughout our days without being able to create silence only distances us from internal growth. Being unable to listen the body will eventually shut down. Pleading for us to discover, or create, a space of meditation she sings a similar tune as Joseph Campbell who said, “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.“–she says:
I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me. We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
Albert Murray said, “A hero needs a challenge to define himself or herself against.” Because every artist attempts to understand his senses, and put that vision in a way that enriches our lives the writer becomes responsible for the people that he lives around. Anais believed in the importance of a writer contributing to the transformation, and evolution, of our consciousness–saying:
The writer’s responsibility is to increase, develop our senses, expand our vision, heighten our awareness and enrich our articulateness. The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say. You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.
There is a danger of assuming that our lives are stagnant and unable to utterly change. She speaks to us about keeping our curiosity, willing to take risks, and explore saying:
I like to live always at the beginnings of life, not at their end. We all lose some of our faith under the oppression of mad leaders, insane history, pathologic cruelties of daily life. Older people fall into rigid patterns. Curiosity, risk, exploration are forgotten by them.
Closing with a letter to a young man about the importance of faith saying:
You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.
Anais Nin On Refusing Despair speaks with warmth and urgency on those themes which have always been closest to her: relationships, creativity, the struggle for wholeness, the unveiling of woman, the artist as magician, women reconstructing the world, moving from the dream outward, and experiencing our lives to the fullest possible extent. Continue reading Anais Nin On Independence.
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