“I saw that my life was a vast glowing page and I could do anything I wanted.” ~ Jack Kerouac
What does it mean to become the world? It means taking a leap of courage. It means connecting courage to curiosity. It means connecting—full stop.
Becoming the world is about becoming an interdependent force of nature despite a codependent (or even independent) culture. It goes beyond codependence and independence. It’s a deep awareness that you are an interconnected being living in an interconnected cosmos.
Becoming the world humbles the god-in-you even as it empowers the worm-in-you. It’s a world-as-self/self-as-world perspective that keeps you connected. It helps your wide-awake big-picture perspective trump your petty small-picture perspective.
When you become the world, you are not just a speck in the universe, you are the entire universe in a speck. You are a conscious drop in an unconscious ocean. But, as Leonard Cohen said, “If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.”
Here are four ways to shed your codependent skin and gain an interdependent aura.
1.) Gain the heightened perspective of an Explorer
“There is no riskier risk than refusing to risk at all.” ~ Jen Sincero
Exploration has been the driving heart of humanity since time immemorial. A sense of adventure, a primal proclivity toward novelty, is what keeps us adaptable, flexible, and innovative as a species.
According to Leonard Mlodinow the four basic components of human temperament are reward dependence, harm avoidance, persistence, and neophilia (attraction to novelty and change). The first three speak toward our direct health and survival. The last one, however, counterintuitively speaks toward embracing risk.
When you gain the perspective of an explorer, you gain the capacity to embrace change. You become more open to novelty and beauty. More importantly, you gain the wherewithal to not become just another risk-avoider.
As Mark Manson said, “Passion is the result of action, not the cause of it.”
Becoming an explorer opens you up in a vulnerable yet powerful way. It keeps your body, your mind, and even your soul, prepared enough to adapt to, and overcome, the vicissitudes of life.
2.) Replace conviction with curiosity
“Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Allow everything to be a source of fascination. Especially your convictions and your beliefs. Especially-especially those beliefs that were handed down through the ages and not questioned properly.
Be curious rather than convinced. It will help you be more openminded in your search, more adaptable on your spiritual journey, more compassionate in dealing with other people and their beliefs, and more capable of avoiding dogmatism, extremism, and xenophobia.
Beware of being convinced. For therein lies all traps. Therein lies irrationality and immoderation.
As Katie Javanaud said, “We don’t always know ourselves as well as we think, and sometimes we convince ourselves of that which is evidently false or overwhelmingly improbable.”
If anything bolsters and reinforces the walls of the codependent comfort zone it is conviction. Break those walls down through the power of your own imagination. Your curiosity alone is enough to discover a doorway.
And curiosity reinforced with courage (independence) is enough to walk through that door, so that you might stretch your stifling comfort zone of ill-conceived parochial conviction into an ever-expanding comfort zone that transforms boundaries into horizons (interdependence).
3.) Understand that ideas are mere play things
“Play! Invent the world! Invent reality!” ~ Vladimir Nabokov
Every single human idea that has ever existed is merely a tool to leverage evolution. Whether that evolution is healthy or not depends upon the ideas that propel the human animal forward (or backward).
Since it is sometimes quite difficult to determine the health of our ideas, we should take them all with a grain of salt. And some of them with the entire salt shaker. Pun intended.
But circumspection and intelligent skepticism is just one side of the coin when it comes to the best way to approach ideas. The other side of the coin is play and having a good sense of humor.
If there’s anything the human animal loves to play with more, it is the tools which it has created. From chisels to paintbrushes, from hang-gliders to drones, from bows and arrows to nunchucks, from hieroglyphs to bibles, from astrology to astronomy, from snail mail to cell phones, the human animal loves to play with its technologies.
And all technologies are born from ideas. Good ideas and bad ideas. Healthy ideas and unhealthy ideas. The human condition is a giant melting pot of technologies born from ideas boiling in a thick goop of trial and error, with a dash of pain and frustration.
Where the human animal goes wrong is when it takes its technologies too seriously, when it forgets healthy moderation, and most importantly, when it forgets to have fun and just play.
We would be wise to be cautious, but we would be wiser to be playful.
4.) Embrace all obstacles as learning experiences
“You are alive only if you embrace (some) volatility.” ~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb
A key step on the path toward becoming the world is making the obstacle a part of the path. Simply put, this is the ability to adapt and overcome. More complexly put, it is the ability to transform demons into diamonds, setbacks into steppingstones, and wounds into wisdom.
This is easier said than done, for sure. But it is so worth doing. It will make you healthier, more flexible, more openminded, more robust. It may even make you antifragile. And it will teach you the vital importance of self-overcoming.
Making the obstacle the path is tantamount to embracing the rub that polishes you into a pearl, surrendering to the pressure that squeezes you into a diamond, and accepting the whetstone of life that sharpens you into something sharp enough to cut God. As Anais Nin said, “In chaos there is fertility.”
So yes, I implore you, do your best to become the world. Shed your outdated and indoctrinated skin reeking of codependence and lazy cultural conditioning. Gain the courage to update yourself by donning an aura of interdependence.
Don’t be afraid of what is unfamiliar or uncertain. Empower yourself. Take the leap of courage. Become an explorer. Beware of your convictions. Play with ideas. Make the obstacle the path. Become the world by becoming a healthy, adventurous, openminded, inquisitive force of nature.
Nick Brandt Photography
Tommy Ingberg Photography
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