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The art of being maladjusted in society

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“It is not a measure of health to be well adapted to a seriously ill society.” – J. Krishnamurti

You have to let this statement sink in for a moment. What Krishnamurti is saying here is completely different from what we have been taught to believe about society and about ourselves. Survival of the fittest : those who adapt best, who survive. But nothing is less true…

From the very beginning of your life you have been taught how to participate in society. In the years that you started to discover the world with your physical body, you were soon told: ‘don’t touch it’, ‘don’t arrive’ or ‘you are still too small for that’. You wanted so badly to feel everything, touch everything, taste structures and experience what you could do with that beautiful body.

But you were pushed into line and limited in your journey of discovery. In the years when you started to develop your emotional abilities, when you were upset you were told: ‘don’t be fooled’, ‘it’s all right’ or ‘take it easy, don’t cry’. And when you were feeling delirious, excited or elated, you were often instructed to act ”

I hear these phrases so much around me now. With a daughter of almost two, I come into many child-rich environments, where many educators are automatically present. It strikes me more and more: how much we interfere with those little ones!

But how fantastic is it that at such a young age they hardly allow themselves to be tempered or corrected. That will come later…

Because in those years that followed, in which you further developed your mental faculties, you began to pay more and more attention to your surroundings. To find your way and learn the rules of the world and make sense of what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ according to that world. You molded yourself to what constitutes ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’ behavior, when you were appreciated and when you were ignored.

Rigid neural connections were soldered into our brains from these experiences in ‘what belongs’, and in ‘how am I valued’, especially under the influence of those people you cared about most. Very slowly your pure enthusiasm, your primary sense of direction, was replaced by that of your environment.You based your choices and beliefs on what ‘most’ think and how they do it. And so the urge to agree with this was born.

Dying of the inner child

Very slowly we adapt, we form ourselves into adapted adults so that we can function well in our society. The society that asks of us: “Become like the rest, become like the average. If you adapt to the existing structures, you can keep up, and that saves a lot of time and hassle. We want to be fast and effective.

Because with speed and effectiveness we achieve the best results, and that’s what we want to see from you, results. We will judge you on that basis and from those judgments we determine how much you are worth.”

And so our inner child dies . That child that many adults look for so hard again. If our life is adjusted, but gray and dull and extremely mediocre. Then suddenly the questions arise: What do I really like, what really suits me? What’s my flame going on? We don’t feel it anymore, because the pressure to fit in was a higher priority than being ourselves.

In my practice I often use Einstein ‘s quote:

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its tree-climbing ability, it’ll spend its whole life believing it’s stupid.”

And to set aside Krishnamurti’s aforementioned statement: to judge whether a fish is healthy, you should not look at how well it can climb a tree. That fish wants the water, that fish is extremely good at swimming.

And you, you are extremely good at being yourself. And that’s what your life can be about too, about you. About self-actualization, about realizing your abilities and transforming your potential into form.

And for that you need that childish flame, that which ‘turns on’ you. That is a sometimes difficult development of all the norms, standards, convictions and assumptions that we absorbed like a sponge in our youth and later.

We can only become ourselves

That flame can be unobtrusively on standby, but it is on, and can never go out. Every person has a flame, an origin, a seed that wants to sprout. And just as a beechnut can never become an oak tree, we can never become anyone but ourselves.

In that seed lies everything you can potentially become. It just asks that you give it a fertile breeding ground. It asks for your attention to your natural and spontaneous inclinations, for support and encouragement in your own sprouting and respect for your own way, your unique pace and route. Not a single seed will grow faster when we stamp our feet on the ground pulling on its first blades.

But how often do we push and pull ourselves in everything we want to become. And so we eventually get stuck in our agitation, impatience with ourselves and our urge for results. And that’s a good thing, because that brings us back to ourselves.

That pressure, rush and desire for results have only arisen through identification with the valuations of our system. And that system is not a measure and certainly no guarantee of health. Our economic paradigm tells us: “I am what I do. So if I don’t, I’m no more.” A no-brainer , yet everyone rushes to generate output and we chase each other into burnout .

Cherish your own nature

Back to you, your flame. If you can’t keep up, if you don’t feel happy or if you are overloaded by everything that you and the rest of the world want from you, you can congratulate yourself. Your system reacts very healthy to an unhealthy attempt: namely that you try to live the flame of another.

Then know that you are a beechnut who wants to become an oak tree. Not just a mission impossible , but mainly a waste of time . Your flame, once lit, feeds your conviction, your willpower and your belief in your own genius. Your flame tends to ignite in unparalleled creativity, inspiration and boundless energy. In that capacity you will produce results in abundance, and the quality of youroutput that gives you value to live your life from.

Cherish your own nature, give your own natural ‘seed’ breeding ground and you will feel that your inner flame is lit. That is showing up, and doing what you are here in the world for now; being the oversimplified version of yourself.

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