Pampas Grass

Learn to live well

Of course, you must be free. What steps can you take to achieve that? What is the secret that can make a new life out of your old life? You may come to three conclusions - the three really practical steps that make you in to YOU.

Paddina Cole (1915-2003)For many years I have tried to take the essence from as much wisdom about human nature as I could find, and then try to make it work in as many types of life situations, and for as many types of people, as I could find. My search included philosophy in general, it led me to the philosophy of religion, and to contemporary literature. I gave thought to Eastern mysticism and ended in psychology, especially its many forms of therapy. I have always sought simplification and organisation. I always test what I find by consulting my own inner consciousness amid my personal experiences; I have listened, I hope, in graciousness to the thoughts of the many people I have met along the way.

After many years of reading, studying, counseling, and personal experiences it seems to me that LIFE seems to have, as its goal, a desire to produce data for an in-depth philosophy of existence. If you look into the hearts of most people, you may find a painful emptiness, a despair, a feeling of isolation.

Because of the emptiness, we need a family, friends, a church, a nation, tradition, roots, security, love. Yet in our world today these forces of security and support are becoming increasingly rarer because of growing individualism which began with the Renaissance and strengthened with the Age of Reason — this, my friends, is the age of alienation. The western world is a massive high flying aircraft which is disintegrating in flight.

Whereas emptiness is your nature and love is your need, your most valuable possession now is your individual freedom; and your awareness of your responsibility to make decisions, your capacity to make choices, and your ability to create something out of nothing; and you realize that you are the consequences of your choices.

At this stage your freedom, not your heart, is your most important organ. It becomes like a formula which answers questions and helps to solve problems. You have a magic wand, a genie in a bottle, a ring of three wishes. It is Moses' staff which parts the Red Sea. It is King Arthur's Excalibur. It is the Holy Grail. But do not seek for it outside yourself, believe that freedom dwells within the self which searches for it.

Let us dream for a while. You are a musical conductor about to conduct Beethoven's Third Symphony — 50 in your orchestra; audience 1000. You are the pivot, you lift the baton, the members of the orchestra prepare, you give the first beat and all the physical space and psychological spaces fill with the sound of the two E-flat chords with which Beethoven commences his Eroica.
You are in control.

You always choose. So your most precious possession is your mysterious strength to make decisions and to take responsibility for them. You have elevated your strength to choose in the highest forms of mythology, symbol and value. In religion the symbol for choice is God, the Creator out of nothing of a Universe; this was the ultimate act of free choice. Within politics, the making of choices becomes the ideal of liberty, shown in our adherence to democracy, and in the spread of worldwide liberation movements. To be human, means to endeavour to make clear choices. No animal can do this, neither, in fact, can many people.

We understand the importance of decision making, not because we possess it and so can analyse it, but really because we lack it. It is our inability to make decisions, and our sometimes painful difficulty to bring about changes within ourselves, which make us so aware of the great value and importance of making free decisions.

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Next time I wander in my mind I would like to say "Become a convert to PHILOSOPHY" — Any objections?

Paddina Cole (1915-2003) July 2002.