Thursday, February 10, 2011

7 Sins for a Life Worth Living

1. The Pleasure of All Five Senses

"Not just our eyes, but all of our senses are losing the original savor of first-hand experience. We live in an ocean of smell but smother it in detergents, disinfectants, and artificial perfumes. Millions wear little white earphones and hear only faintly the sounds of the living world they are passing through. We are becoming out of touch with the earth we live on, and fast. We need to come to our senses before we lose them."

2. The Pleasure of Being Foolish

"Being the fool is not the same as acting the fool; you can't decide to be playful, or foolish, for an hour a day, as if it were yet another task to add to your campaign of self-improvement. It's rather the result of a relaxation of the rules and goals that you normally run your life by. A softening of the beliefs that hold up your world and your idea of who you think you are. The pleasure of foolishness lies in large part in the absence of self-consciousness; in the self-forgetting that comes in a moment of abandon."

3. The Pleasure of Not Knowing

"The fact that we can never see the whole picture doesn't mean we don't bother to form any personal intention -- it acknowledges that our intention is best served by an open, attentive mind, one that is receptive and cooperative with the larger forces of life around it, whatever they may be. Then life can be what it is, a mystery, and not just an agenda; a mystery that is constantly revealing itself, and of which we are a part, instead of an agenda we have to laboriously work through. Life as revelation is a pleasure indeed."

4. The Pleasure of Not Being Perfect

"Not being perfect allows us to feel empathy and compassion, not just for ourselves but also, and especially, for others. We see our own frailties and shortcomings in our friends and lovers, or we see that they stumble in their own way just as we do in ours. Not being perfect together joins us in our humanity. That's a good feeling, that we're all in this impossible, crazy life together, and that in large measure it will take us where it wants to go."

5. The Pleasure of Doing Nothing Useful

"We each in our own ways have an agenda. We are all lobbyist for our own cause, our own opinions, aspirations, status, or career. While there's nothing wrong with getting ahead, whatever that may mean, it can also be an enormous relief now and then to lay down our own cause and enjoy wherever we find ourselves on its own terms."

6. The Pleasure of Being Ordinary

"Whether you look at an object or a person, the beauty is in the looking, not in the value or in the cheekbones. It is almost impossible to look upon any human face and feel a dislike for the person. The sheer looking reveals the individual instead of the stereotype. It replaces liking or not liking with an affinity for another living being, and that is always a pleasure."

7. The Pleasure of Coming Home

"When you have spent much of your life wanting to be other than where you are, or wanting conditions to be somehow different from what they are, it comes as a relief to begin to know the pleasure of feeling at home, both in yourself and in the world."

Roger Housden, Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living


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