You came into the world alone and you will leave the world alone. In between these two moments, you will have learned to live in society, for your survival, for your earthly success. In essence, living in society helps you to become remarkable for achieving prosaic goals. If you aspire to be more than a human being, such as a spiritual being, you will be forced to cultivate a form of solitude.
What Is An Outsider?
It is someone who lives on the periphery, on the edge of a group, most often society. Imagining yourself as a marginal will help you realize your deepest nature, your source. You are not the successive identities that are stuck to your face. You are not your job, not your name. You are not your nationality, your social class or your family tree. You are more than that. You are somehow coming from the stars, from the cosmic world to have an earthly experience. You should not totally deny your celestial origins to embrace exclusively a purely material identity.
Marginality Is Necessary To Value What You Have
The marginal lives most often in destitution, he lives on the fringe of society and is therefore excluded from the flow of wealth that circulates. This eccentricity (in the literal sense of the term: “outside the center”) is actually precious to him to get rid of the valorizing but superficial identities that we want to stick to our face. This approach brings us back to the cynicism of which Digoene was the most emblematic figure. Living and dying like a dog (hence the name “cynicism”, κύων / kuôn, means “dog” in ancient Greek) was, according to this philosophical school, an almost sufficient condition to practice virtue. The Cynic current is, to say the least, non-conformist, it refuses the great philosophical speeches, all teaching is above all by the life one leads, the search for glory, privilege or wealth is the sign according to them of a lack of virtue (vanity is a quality decried according to this school).
Marginality Brings You Closer To All The Great Ones Of This World
Can you think of a spiritual leader who did not live in some form of marginality in his time or at least for part of his life? You will not find any, for it is through solitude that one finds one’s source and can draw inspiration and wisdom.
Throughout history, individuals who have become spiritual leaders have often lived in some form of marginality or seclusion during or for part of their lives. This is reflective of a fundamental understanding, that is, knowledge and wisdom often arise from moments of solitude, which allow space for contemplation, thought, and inspiration.
Libraries of academic texts might contain an abundance of information, however, it is through the unique and private experiences of each individual that true knowledge is attained. The potential to become an enlightened and exemplary spiritual leader cannot necessarily be attributed to a life of marginality, but rather, a commitment to an ascetic and isolated way of life is essential in order to progress spiritually.
Though external methods of enrichment such as researching texts, participating in religious activities and analysing teachings can certainly lead to spiritual fulfilment, true wisdom comes only to those who are able to withdraw within themselves and examine the core of their being. This inner exploration requires an intense focus and requires one to temporarily remove external and material concerns from their life.
It is through this fleeting sense of freedom, offered by a life of marginality, that real insight and knowledge can blossom. Therefore, the development of a spiritual leader from within is accessible to all if a sincere and solitary commitment to spiritual fulfilment is embraced.
You Do Not Have To Cultivate Total Marginality, But A Little Marginality Will Be Good For You
You must think I could have used the word “authenticity” or “singularity” instead of the rather pejorative term “marginal”, right? That’s on purpose. I didn’t want to give a laudatory connotation to something that necessarily implies suffering. Nor did I want to play on your vanity to encourage you to practice something that requires you to let go of your vanity.
Marginality is a concept that is both misunderstood and condemned due to its connotations of suffering and exclusion. What is often not understood is the potential power and meaningfulness of marginality: the possibility of cultivating it in ways that enable us to better understand our deeper selves.
Much of our life is spent in search of acceptance and approval from our peers, and to the point that it becomes detrimental to the exploration of our true selves. Marginality, by contrast, offers an opportunity to detangle ourselves from the influence of others, and move to a more individual path and experience.
But before one can explore this potential, we must confront the notion of marginality. To understand what marginality is and why it can be so powerful, we must first acknowledge that marginalization can be based upon many different identities and experiences: race, gender, sexuality, religion and class, to name a few. For some marginalized communities, marginality has been imposed upon them through systems of oppression and exploitation. For others, marginality is a source of both pride and power. Through understanding and recognizing the unique history of marginality, and the many meanings it holds, we can begin to explore the potential it possesses.
Once we open up to the idea that marginality can offer an opportunity for growth, we must then explore ways of consciously cultivating it. This can be done in different ways, based on our own individual desires and background. For some, developing alternative forms of expression and being more open to new experiences may be an appropriate choice. Others may find that embracing solitude and learning to open up to stillness can help them to become more self-aware.
No matter the choice, however, it is important to keep an attitude of conscious exploration. As we become more aware of our own marginality and our own unique ways of expressing who we are, we can become more conscious of our own needs and wants, and begin to access our inner resources and truths.
Ultimately, cultivating marginality can be a powerful and meaningful experience, if done so consciously and responsibly. By recognizing and embracing our own marginality, we can learn how to access and nourish our true selves. It can be an opportunity to dig into our deeper selves, and open up to an enriched life experience.