“Of all my books on philosophy and spirituality, this is certainly the most accessible, but probably also the most useful. Because it is not a theoretical knowledge that I seek to transmit, but a practical knowledge, the most essential that there is: how to lead a good, happy life, in harmony with oneself and with others. What I say here with simple words and concrete examples, like during a conversation with a friend, is the fruit of thirty years of research and experience. My personal testimony would matter little if it were not enlightened by the thought of the philosophers and sages of humanity who marked my life: the Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, Jesus, Montaigne, Spinoza, Schopenhauer , Lévinas among others. To exist is a fact, to live is an art. The whole path of life is to pass from ignorance to knowledge, from fear to love. » FL
Translations - other editions
Germany: DEUTSCHER TASCHENBUCH VERLAG
Brazil: EDITORIAL OBJETIVA
China: PHOENIX-HANZHANG PUBLISHING
Korea: CHANG HAE PUBLISHING CO.
Croatia: TIM Press doo
Spain: EDITORIAL KAIROS
France: FRANCE LOISIRS
France: LES EDITIONS A VUE D'
Italy: ARNOLDO MONDADORI EDITORE
Japan: KASHIWASHOBO PUBLISHING Co
Netherlands: UITGEVERIJ TEN HAVE
Romania: Paralela 45
Turkey: APRIL PUBLISHING ltd
Chapter 1. Saying "yes" to life
Chapter 2. Confidence and letting go
Chapter 3. Responsible for one's life
Chapter 4. To act and not to act
Chapter 5. Silence and meditation
Chapter 6. Knowledge and discernment
Chapter 7. Know yourself Chapter
8. The acquisition of virtues
Chapter 9. Becoming free
Chapter 10. Self-love and inner healing
Chapter 11. The Golden Rule
Chapter 12. Love and friendship
Chapter 13. Non-violence and forgiveness
Chapter 14. Sharing
Chapter 15. Attachment and non-attachment
Chapter 16. Adversity is a spiritual master
Chapter 17. “Here and now”
Chapter 18. Taming death
Chapter 19. Humor
Chapter 20. Beauty
Addendum: What is a successful life? An unprecedented dialogue between Socrate and Jacques Séguéla
To exist is a fact, to live is an art.
We did not choose to live, but we must learn to live as one learns to play the piano, to cook, to carve wood or stone.
This is the role of education. However, the latter is less and less concerned with transmitting know-how, in favor of know-how. It aims more to enable us to face the external challenges of existence than the internal challenges: how to be at peace with oneself and with others? How to react to suffering? How do we know ourselves and resolve our own contradictions? How to acquire true inner freedom? How to love ? How can we finally achieve true and lasting happiness, which undoubtedly depends more on the quality of the relationship with oneself and with others than on social success and the acquisition of material goods? For millennia, religion has fulfilled this role of educating the inner life.
It is clear that it fills it less and less. Not only because it has, at least in Europe, much less influence on people's consciences, but also because it has become more rigid. It most often offers dogma and the norm when individuals are in search of meaning. It enacts creeds and rules that no longer speak to more than a minority of the faithful and it fails to renew its outlook, its language, its methods, in order to touch the souls of our contemporaries who nevertheless continue to wonder about the enigma of their existence and how to lead a good life. Caught between a dehumanizing consumerist ideology and a stifling dogmatic religion, we turn to philosophy and the great currents of human wisdom. Because the sages of the whole world - from Confucius to Spinoza via Epicurus, Plotinus or Montaigne - have bequeathed to us keys allowing us to nourish and develop our inner life: accept life as it is, know ourselves and learn to discern, live in the “here and now”, self-control, silence within, knowing how to choose and forgive. These keys to universal wisdom have lost none of their relevance. They always help us to live, because if our world has changed a lot, the heart of the human being is always the same. Although two thousand five hundred years old, the Buddha's diagnosis of what makes man happy or unhappy remains true. The Socratic statement on ignorance, the source of all evil, is perfectly topical. Aristotle's teachings on virtue and friendship have not aged a bit. The maxims of Epictetus, Seneca or Marcus Aurelius on fate and free will continue to speak to us. In my personal journey, my readings confronted me from adolescence with these masters of wisdom of humanity.
They are the ones who gave me a taste for the beautiful, the true, the good, to use Plato's great archetypes. My philosophy studies then allowed me to deepen my knowledge, but I also enriched my own inner journey with two other sources, of quite different natures: spirituality and depth psychology. I discovered Buddhism at the age of sixteen and the Buddha's teachings immediately touched me with their accuracy and pragmatic nature. I deepened them during a long stay in India through meetings with Tibetan lamas from whom I also learned the basics of meditation. At the age of nineteen, reading the Gospels was also a profound shock. My discovery of Christ, not only as a teacher of the past, but also as a living person to whom one can relate through prayer, marked my life and gave me access to an understanding of Christianity very different from the memories of the catechism of my childhood. The discovery, then, of Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis as well as various therapeutic methods resulting from personal development (sophrology, Gestalt, Rebirth, etc.) helped me to become more aware of my faults and to heal from certain deep wounds which parasitized my life and made me fall back into recurring neurotic scenarios. This little treatise is therefore the fruit of a personal reflection drawn from the currents of philosophical wisdom of the East and West, of Christian spirituality freed from its normative gangue and of depth psychology. I have no other ambition than to offer what has helped me to live and build myself. In order to make reading this book accessible to as many people as possible, I have chosen to develop it in two stages. It was born in the form of an oral teaching, then I reworked the text which nevertheless retains the trace of this orality. What I am transmitting here is more a matter of experience: first of all that of the wise men from whom I draw inspiration and whom I often quote, then my own, which, despite many reluctances, it was difficult for me not to expose . Because, how to speak about interior life while avoiding speaking about oneself? Let it be clear, however, that I do not consider myself a role model in any way: I retain shadows and I do not always manage to put into practice the teachings that I am evoking here. What is certain is that today I am much more lucid, peaceful and, all in all, happier than I have been in the past. May this little book help other souls in pain and in search of light to understand that love is near, that inner freedom can happen, that joy is there. It is enough to open the eyes of the intelligence and the heart to discover them.