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Citing Einstein is every bit of a faux pas, only next to posting Rumi quotes on Instagram. Yet, I certainly admire his following words: “I believe in the brotherhood of man and the uniqueness of the individual … Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”1

ikigai drawing

Where do we get the principles? Most people get them in a dusty package from their parents and extended family. Others are supplied by religion and corporations, which often results in hypocrisies. And to the same or greater extent - the mimetic beliefs, copied from others, but lack experiential nutriments. These desires are hardly actionable because of the inconsistency with the true values. What is true, then?

The truth, in my opinion, is what stands right now. It may appear noble to seek an ultimate truth, the one that passes mass approval and will drive me till the end of my life. I am learning that the truths, beliefs, and principles have to be plural and are refined by every hard choice I make. If I borrow someone else’s principle, no matter how upstanding it is, if incompatible with the existing set, it will result in conflict, resistance, and rejection.

My four beliefs drained from the sweat of my dreams and tears in my eyes into an image tray and developed slowly, at a time of intense contemplation. When I found myself alone, reading, journaling and doing practice. Until recently, I couldn’t identify the words to name them, so I will make a distinction and see the difference. It just felt light and right inside, and I avoided talking about my principles with others, struggling to keep them a secret.

Inner Ecology. Commenced with the idea that what I eat is what I become. Yet another loose weight story evolved into a broader understanding that consuming shouldn’t harm me or others. That choices of what I eat, what I wear, how I learn, whom I spend time with, and how I invest money greatly impact my inner life and affect the collective ecology. One aspect of the inner ecology reflects on the technology, in the part where technology solves one problem but creates another two. I choose not to support the technology “we may have but don’t need” and to try DIY more. Another aspect is identifying my true desires and working on mastering intrinsic motivation and self-determination. Unleashed through movement practice, introspection, and experiments - all artistic activities to me.

Symbolic living is an experiential approach to life and personal psychology. No analysis, no measuring one against others, no defining “healthy,” “right and wrong.” Leaving no room for Cartesian causality, symbolic living is not a belief in esoterics but acting on the de-objectification of human life and giving back the soul to worldly objects. It’s symbolic not to lessen its value but because a symbol is recognized before it can be conceptualized. And many essential ideas like God or Tao can only be understood intellectually through the use of analogies. Effortless being or metaphysics of value also means teaching by example, denominating your true qualities instead of chasing arbitrary success and quantities. It is about studying mythical and allowing mystical into your daily actions and routines.

Self-directed practice and learning might be the most evident principle for the observer to understand and appear most practical. I am, nonetheless, a BA in Educational Psychology. Still, I didn’t collect my diploma out of protest, as I don’t believe I acquired any valuable skills at high school or university besides the mistrust of institutional education. No, I don’t question the quality of information one gets from curriculum-based schooling and the related outcomes in economic performance. I challenge the integrity and alignment outside the permitted spectrum of reasonable. I challenge the capacity of a learner to make independent choices in life and the overwhelming all-embracing role the economy plays in human societies today. Self-directed learning, in my perspective, is about quality and depth. It is inseparable from the already mentioned intrinsic motivation. Like with dieting, you can starve to look fit in a mirror or strive to “feel great naked”. Self-direction is about self-rewarding choices and determination that don’t require exogenous approval and guidance.

Family of choice (vs family of chance) is my top personal belief in this season of life, perhaps the most revealing one. I grew up in a rather small but toxic family of origin and developed an individual culture incompatible with my family members. I take it’s a bland story, but various people approach the subject of relatedness differently. I know the importance of belonging to a human psyche. Even though the urge for social lowers with age, it is still my design to come to a village and engage in joyful co-creation. My principle is not in questioning whether I need a family or not, but what quality of time and with what kind of people I want to relativize. And it addresses something beyond the issue of biology or clever means, such as pulling resources together for better living. Digital nomad leaves. Family of choice is holding the physical and psychic spaces by working together to actualize collective joy.

If you read so far, I thank you, I know it was quite a mouthful. I want to bookmark that delivering this page was, in fact, an exercise in the intrinsic ecology, as it helped me to gather some of my thoughts together, push the envelope, and get back on my way.

  1. Einstein’s words from an interview with “Life magazine” taken right before his passing↩︎

linked mentions for "principles":

  1. Who is a Good Coach?
    Coaching assumes clients possess emotional integration and focuses on creating the life they desire, not fixing problems. Effective coaching encourages clients to value themselves and set intrinsic, joy-filled goals. Coaches should never impose their truths, allowing clients' self-actualization through awareness, responsibility, and authentic values. Seasoned coaches prioritize nurturing, intuition, self-expression, and joy while aligning with clients' essence and remaining supportive observers.
  2. the fortieth solar return 
    I used to have nice and peaceful days in the month leading up to my birthday, but in the last several years, starting with the first summer of