The form of joy
Your joy too must find a noble form if it is to be worthy of you. –
Perhaps you love ‘to let yourself go’ in your enjoyment, and you are unwilling to concede to the need for form in the midst of joy? –
The best part of your joy seems to be taken away if you cannot abandon yourself without restraint to it…
You can still not really imagine any exhilarating earthly joy, if you are told that you must give the noblest form of expression to your joy. –
Here you are caught up in an error shared by many! – –
Do not think it is an error I have never known!
Behold, my friend, I too once walked along a road which enticed me into many errors, a road which seduces human spirits here on this planet…
How else could I have been made ready to help those who hear my words?! –
If I advise you now to give form to even your most exuberant joy, I know what this means; I know also that I am only increasing your joy, if you may follow me. – –
Man never deceives himself as much as when he supposes that true joy should rush like a torrent! –
This torrent provides me here with an appropriate analogy and if I stay with this analogy, remember that the rushing torrent is only harmless when dammed, when giving form to its course. –
Woe unto the pastures, – woe unto the seedlings, when it overflows in the power of its springtime fullness and leaves the natural course of its rocky bed!! –
In the same way your joy becomes a danger to you if it is unformed by you. Believe me – I have also often enough experienced such danger in the past, so that I can indeed warn you of it!…
Just as the pilot must know the cliffs thoroughly before he can safely steer the ship through the surge into the harbour, so I became well acquainted through the experience of life with what must be avoided if a man’s spiritual goal is in the end to be attained, despite the high seas of the passions and the storms of the instincts…
As much as you might like to ‘forget’ yourself in your joy, – forget ‘yourself’, the very self which you have set up in your imagination and to which you have given a name, as though it were really yourself, – be alert, and beware of the danger which you are only able to confront by giving form to your joy! – – –
You may regret not being able to abandon yourself fully to your joy, – but consider well that everything to which you completely abandon yourself will only make a slave of you! –
Here you should become master of your joy; it should be completely subordinate to your power to give form!
I am not speaking here of the quiet, enduring joys which your well-formed life brings forth for you, just as flowers gradually bloom in a well-nurtured garden through the course of the whole year. –
It will hardly have escaped your notice so far that I am speaking much more of a joy which claims what is due to it on special occasions. – –
Such occasions can be most diverse in nature and may find you in many different ways…
If you have already become aware that your entire life should find its form through you, it will be easy for you to give form to your joy as well, as long as you are not living the illusion that you may finally forget yourself in joy. –
It is by no means the worst of men who at times think that joy is only given to them so that they can ‘forget’ themselves!
But who is being forgotten in this way?!?
It is truly not yourself, even if you were to choose yourself the strangest mask for the merry masquerade!
You will always be the one who feels you are the ‘I’ of this mask. – –
What you want to forget would merit oblivion also in your daily life! – –
You have made it into a tyrant yourself. This work of your creativity is becoming so irksome that you would gladly forget it once more; your joy seems to call upon you to do this! – – –
You have found your earthly apparel in this earthly world.
Even when you were a child, you were told all sorts of things about who you were…
You believed your own self was determined by praise and censure, – by the adult’s appraisal of the childlike expression of your existence…
Having grown up you ‘knew’ that you were the child of a very particular family, and all your actions were also influenced by this ‘knowledge’. – –
Then you ‘freed’ yourself from all bonds of family, and ‘knew’ yourself as a child of your people. All the worth you bestowed upon yourself came from your competence or your lack of success in whatever ‘occupation’ you pursued among men…
In the end you scarcely knew yourself if it was your calling to carry it out. –
You ‘grew into it’, and you see your ‘task’ now in ‘fulfilling’ it in such a way that all those who are ‘placed above’ you or ‘judge’ you, do not ‘condemn’ you or ‘place you behind’ others. – –
What you were in other people’s eyes – what you wanted to appear to be to others – was for you, and perhaps still is, the precise definition of what you are! –
The ‘evaluation’ given by others defines your own value. –
The ‘admiration’ of others allows you to appear admirable to yourself. –
Only the ‘appreciation’ of others taught you to supposedly identify yourself. –
The ‘contempt’ of others seemed to you to be so well founded that you could only hold on to your self-esteem in complete secrecy. You feared being a mere slave to your vanity if, nonetheless, something ‘rebelled’ within you and ‘raged’ wildly against the ‘contempt’ of others, because it sought to rise up from the lowly state you had assigned to yourself! – – –
Thus you have received everything you sense about yourself from others; you certainly do not know from your own self who you are!
It is indeed no wonder if you would like to ‘forget’ what only applies to you in the eyes of others!
It is indeed no wonder if you strive to forget what others – have made of you! –
But you certainly do not wish to forget yourself!
You are only giving the right to pass for your true self to a figment prompted by others. – – –
Behold, this is why I counsel you: not to forget yourself in your joy!
To be sure, you are permitted to forget the one you would gladly forget because he is torturing you – the one you created to the measure of others. You do well to forget him as quickly as you can! – – –
But you should feel yourself highly elevated in your joy!
Whatever brings you joy shall be an opportunity for you to test your power to form!
You will increase your joy a hundred fold when you know how to form it to your own inherent measure! – –
You must yourself be the measure for the forming of your joy, – not the spectre others take you to be! – – –
You should respect the forms of joy others have, inasmuch as they merit respect, but they must not become a ‘model’ for your own form of joy, unless they conform entirely to your own nature! – –
My friend, give form to your joy according to your own form. Think on my words that only the joy you learn to bind within form will never give you cause for regret! – – –
You must give measure to your joy yourself if it is not to deceive you! – –
You yourself are the safest guarantee for the consequences of your joy, if you only seek to form all your joys according to your form determined from eternity! – – –