Nietzsche Reading the Upanishads and Living Through the Lens of Maurice Sendek

Posted November 3, 2016

upanishadsSometimes it’s easy to believe that outside forces and lack of resources control and create our lives.  Living in this belief, excuses for failures, such as lack of talent, money, genetics, or the right environment arise.  I don’t believe that, and you shouldn’t either!

Nietzsche is a favorite philosopher of mine who famously said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”  Our purpose is stronger than any set of circumstances.

The Upanishads, written twenty-four hundred years earlier, state:

“I indeed, I am this creation, for I have poured it from myself.  In that way, he became that creation.  He who knows this becomes, in this creation, a creator.”

I’d like to think that if Nietzsche read this passage that he’d have said something like “She who has a why to live can create almost any how.”  I believe our purpose—our why—merged with what we focus on, the meaning that events, activities, and relationships have for us, and our action, can surely lead us to be creative forces in the world.

In a final 2011 interview with Terry Gross, Maurice Sendek, author of Where the Wild Things Are, ended the interview by saying, “Live your life, Live your life, Live your life.”  We have such a unique existence here and such a unique contribution to make.  I know when we are fully present for our lives—with an emphasis on living Your life—we will surely be the creators spoken of in the Upanishads so many years ago.


Dr. James Lani


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