Allen Ginsberg’s Advice for People Who Are Not Quite Sure How Far to Go

This morning we opened Spontaneous Mind: Selected Interviews by poet Allen Ginsberg and found his potent, sweet, incredibly wise words of advice, written in answer to this question:

Q: Many of our readers are unfamiliar with your personal history—how you made a choice to quit the advertising “straight” world to embrace the creative underground of the 1950’s. Do you have any advice for others who are not quite sure how far to go?

Ginsberg:

Look in heart; check out your visions with your friends; be bold and careful at the same time; Mind includes both sides of any argument; balance body, feelings, reason and imagination: ALL 4 working together make whole man; read William Blake & Dostoyevsky; listen to old Blues (Leadbelly Ma Raney & Skip James); learn classical Buddhist-style meditation practice; try everything; ‘If you see something Horrible, don’t cling to it,’ sez Tibetan Lama Dudjon Rinpoche. See Charlie Chaplin, Marx Brothers & WC Fields. Read PLATO’s Symposium. Tell your friends everything. Give away all your secrets. ‘Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.’ Feed everybody. Remember life includes suffering complete change and no ultimate personal identity, neither permanent Self or permanent God. Cheerful! Help everyone!

 

We wondered what Ginsberg’s advice would look like as a list, so we separated each line:

Look in heart;

check out your visions with your friends;

be bold and careful at the same time;

Mind includes both sides of any argument;

balance body, feelings, reason and imagination: ALL 4 working together make whole man;

read William Blake & Dostoyevsky;

listen to old Blues (Leadbelly Ma Raney & Skip James);

learn classical Buddhist-style meditation practice;

try everything;

‘If you see something Horrible, don’t cling to it,’ sez Tibetan Lama Dudjon Rinpoche.

See Charlie Chaplin, Marx Brothers & WC Fields. Read PLATO’s Symposium.

Tell your friends everything.

Give away all your secrets.

‘Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.’

Feed everybody.

Remember life includes suffering complete change and no ultimate personal identity, neither permanent Self or permanent God.

Cheerful!

Help everyone!

 

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