I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.
When I think about my friends from the other night and the ones I share meditation and morning coffee with, they are juicy people. They are filled with a enthusiasm for life, they hunger and thirst for a life filled with passion, they seek joy in each moment, despite the real troubles that we all face. They see a goodness in life. They proclaim that all is well, not perfect, but well. They bring alive the juiciness of human being.
There is nothing like eating with and simply sharing the company of juicy people. When you do there is a richness to the company, you experience deep conversation, deep laughter and a joy that no one can take away. They experience the goodness of life and want to share it with you, to welcome you to their table of love and joy. In such company you are challenged to grow, but not grow alone. It is about raising one another up and aiming high, it is not about playing it safe. When I reflect on the near eight years I have meditated with these people I have witnessed deep transformation in our shared human being. Do you know what I think that this has come as much from the hour we have shared in Café Nero as the hour we spent in meditation and sharing. Groovy times with “juicy people”.
Now as we get older we lose a little of this, perhaps because we start to realise that there will always be questions that we cannot fully answer. Yes we have gained experience but we do not know everything and I don’t suppose we ever will.
This brings to mind a wonderful little story about an encounter with a Zen master and his student:
“What happens when we die?” asks the student.
“I don’t know,” is the answer.
“But you’re a Zen master!”
“True. Quite true. But I am not a dead Zen master.”
So yes there are many questions that no matter how well we live them we will never be able to fully answer.
Now there are other groups of “juicy people” that I have the pleasure of sharing time with. One is the monthly “Living the Questions” group. An ever changing group by the way. A group which each month explores and attempts to bring to life the questions of truly living. It has been a joy and blessing to be part of this these last few years, it has certainly transformed me and I have witnessed this in others too. The inspiration for the group’s title come from a favourite passage from “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. In it the poet Rilke writes a letter to his protégé the 19 year old cadet and budding poet Franz Xaver Kappus making a beautiful case for the importance of not merely asking questions, but living them, while embracing uncertainty and allowing for the development of intuition.
This to me is the essence of living the “juicy” life, to curious living.
Now I’m not sure that our day and age encourages “juiciness” in people; I’m not overly sure it encourages doubt and curiosity, to live the questions. It seems today that folk are encouraged to have an opinion, voice it with conviction and voice it again and again and again. This to me seems to be a faithless form of living, where people cling desperately to partisanship. Certainly this is the case when you look at public dialogue. It would appear that to live juicily, with curiosity is to let go of certainty, now this seems out of step with our current age. Well that maybe, but surely curiosity is the key to faithful living as it allows the transformation of our humanity, this kind of faithful uncertainty requires courage.
Victoria Safford describes what I mean beautifully in her meditation “Open Eyes”. She states:
“The awakened eye is a conscious eye, a willful eye, and brave, because to see things as they are, each in its own truth, will make you very vulnerable.”
This unselfconscious vulnerability, this openness is how the curious, very young live. They see without preconceived notions. They see with open eyes and then ask why, why, why, why?
We adults can do what those young children do but with ethical eyes looking out at the world and acting in the world as adults. Through this we begin to be transformed as we live with this curiosity and begin to act differently in the world.
This is where transformation begins. Transformation of ourselves and our world as we begin to live the questions, as we become juicy people as we develop what Albert Einstein called “Holy Curiosity.” Which is to live with the spirit of humility, with an open mind, an open heart and open hands, to search out truth and to live with your eyes wide open in joyful wonder.
I’m going to end this "blogspot" with Einstein’s quote on “Holy Curiosity”. He said:
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”
So let’s live with “holy curiosity”, living the questions as ever more juicy people.