November 3

20170619_172401Just a moment ago I was enjoying our Sunday dinner cooked and prepared by my daughter Tindra. She is 14 and she loves to cook, and this time she experimented with rice and dry-fried tofu and vegetables. The meal was delicious, as usual.

But something else also happened during the meal, something that shook the foundations of my identity in a healthy and delicious way. As we sat down for our meal Tindra expressed her annoyance for it being already so dark outside. True to my nature I countered gently: “Yes it’s dark, but you absolutely choose your attitude towards it, Tindra.” She answered joking that“ as a frail old man close to death you have had many more winters to get adjusted to it.” That is true…

There is a phenomenon of counterwill, which I was recently introduced by Dr. Gabor Maté in his book Scattered Minds. By it he means the will of a developing child to go forcibly against the will of the parent without really being conscious of her own will, which is common in the age of 3-4 and later in the teens. We have experienced a lot of it with my daughter the sole parent of whom I have been since her mother died seven years ago. But still it was good to get a description for it…

Then a bit later Tindra asked me sarcastically whether the tofu, “which you think causes cancer or something because it has soy in it,” had been OK for me. I said: “Yes there’s no problem if I do not eat it too often.” This time we were doing quite nicely, not too much of counterwilling on either side…

When my daughter stood up to leave the table she asked me why I just sat there staring into nothingness, or into the almost finished meal with tofu in it. “Was it because you were pondering that after all tofu is really good, or something else…?” Then she made a very funny impression of me, and said: “Hum, maybe soy won’t kill me after all!” I smiled and asked her whether she really wanted to hear. She did.

I was going through a profound revelation about my own life. When I was a teen in Tindra’s age I was equally conscious of the problems of the adult world in which I was about to enter. When people around me said that I should just adjust to the world as it is, or else go crazy or something, I in my absolute counterwill announced that I am going to solve all the human problems, those basic questions of Life that people where so fucking afraid to tackle. I was going to do it!

Thus I have spent my adult life tackling those problems, seeing them everywhere and in everyone around me. Especially those who dared to come near to me have been scrutinized and judged for their minutes faults. What a Life I thus got!

Suddenly I saw all this, saw how I had been stuck in a fighting mode looking for problems to solve everywhere. In my counterwill I have been fighting this unstable human world created upon the foundations of matter forever pulsating between plus and minus, good and bad, night and day… I had become part of the problem, problem itself!

But I also saw – like I had just instructed Tindra to choose her own attitude towards the darkness of the Finnish winter – that I can choose my attitude towards this whole human world, which stuck in its material problems can also be seen as utterly dark and threatening. I can stop seeing any problems, stop living for them. And it’s about time!

There is a quiet – but forever! – joy lurking behind all this. There is an unworldly peace within me when I do not give my life to the petty problems of our world. There is a new world opening from within me, Life Itself finally getting through. That’s the only solution to all our problems, patiently waiting for us in both you and me.