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What is the Good Life?

Café-Salon Philosophique #53

February 5, 2000

No. of Participants: 19

Topic for the Evening's Discussion: "What is the Good Life?"

Café discussion began by Samuel welcoming those new and old. He then asked a few participants to share why they had chosen to come to Café-Salon, and to describe in a few words "what they think our purpose for living is."

Sandy thinks we are here "to serve." She finds life "quite amazing and a real wonder." She has a diverse background as a lawyer, Unitarian religious practitioner, and also practices ashtanga yoga.David is a regular participant. He comes because he likes to "engage in a conversation with alike-minded people." Hal says he "doesn't worry about the purpose of life and enjoys philosophical discussions." Howard says, "the purpose of life is just being human." Jeff comes because he "enjoys Samuel moderating the group" and says "Samuel is great at pushing buttons" for growth.

Our question for the evening was, "What is the Good Life?"

"Life is more than "SUV's, high tech, money, and gadgets," says Jeff. "I'm not here to get rich. I just want to be happy with what I need, instead of grabbing at what I think I want."

"Often times, we complain that we have too much time on our hands, or not enough." "There is an endless reservoir of possibilities to explore but, we just don't take the time to discover doing more," he said. We are lazy and then, we say we are bored."

Tim commented, "We need to learn to manage our desires." Learn to distinguish and identify between true wants and needs. Howard says, "the good life is when you have a discipline or a path in life that makes for happiness." Stephanie says, we should "do the things that we love to do." "We need to take care of our minds and bodies by eating well, get plenty of exercise, and staying away from self-imposed judgment. That makes for a better life."

Samuel shared these little sayings: "The more you have the less you are." "The faster and more hectic you are to achieve, the slower you get there." "Overeagerness can be an obstacle."

Tim says, "The good life depends on your state of mind." "The secret is becoming child-like again. Observe and watch how small children play. They tend to become absorbed and involved in what they are doing. They are happy to use their imaginations and just play. Their play is usually spontaneous and immediate."

CHILDREN LIVE LIFE, THEY DON'T CRITIQUE IT.

"Children know how to harmonize with life," says Samuel. As adults, we tend to become polluted by "seriousness" and "formalized" education. We lose the ability to move and act freely in the world. Creative expression of the inner child becomes passé. There are people who keep the inner child intact - Genuine Artists. Those who explore and discover things about themselves and their bodies through the creative process.

"The idea for today's masses of the creative process is to go to the bookstore, find a "how to" book, study it, and then, two months later think you are an expert in the field," said Samuel. "People tend to confuse information with knowledge."

If one really wants to discover "the good life," one has to learn how to come back to the self, work from that space of inner silence and navigate through this world to "Keep Sane in the Midst of Madness." Many people in their search for the good life jump from stream to stream never finding the direct path that leads to the ocean.

"We have to change our addictions and preferences in life," says Howard. Tim "bounced" us back to speaking about child's play. "It makes no difference what culture one grows up in, even in poverty. Kids know how to play even in the worst of conditions. They still laugh, they still play, they still use their imaginations."

Sandy commented, "one can still play as an adult, and also have lots of money." She has a brother who is a hard worker, makes lots of money, has lots of toys, gadgets and material things. "He is full of drive, ambition, and enjoys working hard and playing hard." "But, the various material goods in his life don't rule him."

Next question, "So how does one find the path towards a more satisfying life?"

One has to relearn to communicate with the self and the world through inner exploration. Rediscovering the essence of the self. The body is the vehicle, the spaceship for discovering the inner landscape.

Jeff finds "studying karate two-three days a week a good way for exploring the movement of the body and the inner pathway." "Karate requires concentration. It's not just a mental thing. One has to be totally with the body movements. There is no time for analyzing or intellectualizing. You have to be aware and see the movement." "We need to cultivate more body knowledge and less of the mental knowledge," he concluded.

Samuel says, "We need to learn more about the kinesthetic aspect of movement." "Become attuned to the 95% other senses that we have." People do not learn to communicate with the whole body. Most communication is through "flapping the jaw" and hand gestures. Stephanie says, "We need to learn to stop thinking about what we are doing, stop judging and interpreting everything that we do and just do it."

"Not thinking and doing is BEING," says Samuel. "One must always be present to the self. Stay on guard. Learn to care for the self," Stephanie added. She then asked, "Can one find "the good life" when they are in a family?" Wayne says, "The good life is however we choose to look at life outside of our self." Tim says, "we need to get away from the structures of society." David F. says, "too much freedom could also be negative.

Stephanie countered by saying, "one has to define what their own personal freedom is." The good life is not about manifesting "what you want," but rather "what you as a person really needs."

We are inundated with SUPER graphics, SUPER electronics, SENSATIONALISM and MATERIALISM. We are distracted by fulfilling our WANTS, WANTS, WANTS. The drive is competition with the end result being the accumulation of material goods. Is this the creative process? Is this the good life?

Samuel says, "We need to get out of the rat race. Stop to consider how to restore the self." Take time away from the computers to communicate face to face, eye to eye, to hear the voice. Learn to stop intellectualizing and communicate and express with the whole body. "Leave the garbage outside," says Stephanie.

Samuel says, "There is a turning point when one stops arguing with the self, explaining the self and just does it!"

So in conclusion, the group wondered out loud, "Just, what is the good life? What is a question? What is an answer? Are we looking for answers? Is the answer within the question? Who is asking anyway????

Our next Café discussion will be held February 19, 2000 at The Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, CO. Start time is 6:30 p.m. Bring a new and interesting topic. Invite your friends!

By Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."

 

- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.