in: Intentional Living

Nietzsche & the Mindful Life

Gerry Ellen

With his famous proclamation “God is dead,” Nietzsche might not top the list of love gurus; but we think he was ahead of his time with mindfulness teachings.


Influential German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is known for his writings on good and evil, the end of religion in modern society and the concept of a “super-man.”

A synopsis of his life reads like a tortured and completely chaotic internal existence. Relegated to a life of seclusion following a nervous disorder, Nietzsche’s essays and teachings created and inspired the rise of successive philosophers, those who vowed to continue the work of questioning religion in favor of a more scientific, realistic, and moralistic approach that are still with us today.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844, in Röcken bei Lützen, Germany. In his brilliant but relatively brief career, he published numerous major works of philosophy, including Twilight of the Idols and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The final decade of his life when he suffered from insanity, and subsequently died on August 25, 1900, was thought to be his most influential, as his writings on individuality and morality in contemporary civilization affected many major thinkers and writers of the 20th century.

It was during this time of his major impact on 20th century philosophy, theology and art where his ideas contributed to the thinking of philosophers Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault; Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, two of the founding figures of psychiatry; and writers such as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse.

In the realm of true mindfulness, Nietzsche had it all figured out centuries before we delved into the realities and practicalities of conscious living. If we were to apply his philosophy to our relationship world at present time, most partnerships would perhaps play out somewhat differently. The depth of his writings can be felt through many current philosophical studies, and applied to the workings of partnership, love and relating to our other.

“We love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving.”

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

These popular quotes by Nietzsche are no stranger to modern day love and life. We push and we prod and we avoid, in order to accomplish what our heart’s desire is leading and teaching. If we were to calm our minds, listen to the above phrases by this masterful philosopher, most human beings would understand the purpose of everything that propels our souls.

The perspective that he shared is so simple, yet his mind was anything but. Most creative artists have an inner working often so misunderstood and judged, that they are forced into solitude for fear that their teachings and words might do more harm than good. But it is with the expansion of the mind, and Nietzsche knew this all too well, where our greatest assets lie. Sharing what’s real, what’s emotional, what’s too sketchy for most ears, is the crux of our existence, which intertwines the same in relationships.

We need to have those difficult conversations. We need to listen to other objectives and beliefs to become more well-rounded humans. We need to value life and love enough to striving for values and morals that resonate with our individuality. Jung had synchronicity. Freud was best known for his philosophical ideas of tracing everything relational back to sexual issues. And Nietzsche is best known for his central theme that “God is dead,” his rejection of Christianity as a meaningful force in contemporary life.

We don’t have to agree with Friedrich Nietzsche, nor do we have to adopt his beliefs into our system of professional and personal relationships, but the man did have one of the most successful dogmas to understanding the human psyche in how we view loving and living.

As the cancer of his brain escalated prior to his death, it is no wonder he was able to offer every ounce of his lessons to philosophers today. Is he revered? In many circles, yes he is.

Does he possess, even in post mortem, the ability to translate our mindfulness and awareness into something so profound, we might need to take a second read at why he was so insistent on his beliefs? I always feel that any historical figure has more than just thoughts and ideas to bring forth in this century. They molded our system. They shaped our education in such a way as to question the nature of wonder and existence in today’s world. And with that, Friedrich Nietzsche might have known all along how our current relationship patterns are playing out and why.

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

 

[image: via DeviantArt]

About the Author:

Gerry Ellen Gerry Ellen

Gerry Ellen is an author, creative storyteller, and wellness advocate. She enjoys sharing her experiences of life, love, and all things meaningful and healthy through words and images. She is a regular contributor to MeetMindful, Be You Media Group, Tattooed Buddha, and Rebelle Society. As a former featured columnist on elephant journal and Light Workers World, she considers her love of nature and the outdoors, heart-centered connections, friends and family, and traveling to explore and expand as the epicenter of her world. She is extremely driven with her service work through 8 Paws Wellness with her dog, Scout. Gerry Ellen has authored and published two books, Ripple Effects (March 2012) and A Big Piece of Driftwood (April 2014), which are both available on Amazon.com

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