I have a confession to make. I've been unsettled ever since writing my book Be and Become ... as I've explained to close friends, when I finished Be and Become I felt that I had done what I came (into this life) to do. Such was the depth of that feeling that I've since largely drifted. Despite giving courses, presentations, seminars ... and subsequent books, largely I've lacked a sense of deep purpose. However, what has unsettled me most are the expectations that I've burdened myself with – that the author of such profound, timeless material (The Theory of One and All) should be living some sort of expansive, amazing life. Those expectations have delivered quite the opposite ... struggle, and a perpetual anxiety to live up to those expectations.
So, analysing my situation I've come to realise that for the last few years I've been tentatively playing with the idea that there is a fuller dimension to my life. That, in having written the book, now it is time that I live more deeply, more fully than simply giving seminars, or writing more books, or achieving 'success', or acquiring wealth and so on. I've come to sense, rightly or wrongly that I am in the process of letting go, and learning, really learning that living is inherently supportive, and that I don't need to struggle, or that I need to live up to anyone's expectations.
And that letting go, instead of doing it in half-measure as I've done in recent years, means ... something that I've seriously avoided due to fear: Of letting go all possessions & relationships (or dependence upon them), and seeing where life takes me. This likely means being homeless, possession-less, friendless ... in other words, letting go all the usual 'trappings', comforts and responsibilities of life, and relying instead on the genuine humanity of strangers, and on the deeper rhythms and energies that sustain life.1
Update 12:50pm Tuesday (Jan. 2011)
Last night I was handed a wonderful little book that I had never heard of ... "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I'm finding her explanations and descriptions of life quite amazing. She beautifully describes the sense of ease, balance and 'grace' that I seek. And her wisdom surrounding the rhythms of 'masculine' and 'feminine' still quite pertinent to current life in 2010 (the book was written in 1955).
perhaps both men and women in America may hunger, in our material, outward, active, masculine culture, for the supposedly feminine qualities of heart, mind and spirit – qualities which are actually neither masculine nor feminine, but simply human qualities that have been neglected. It is the growth along these lines that makes us whole, and will enable the individual to become world2 to himself.3
Update (11.01am, Saturday 26th November, 2011)
It is an interesting thing this "Letting go" – I've found it requires a great deal of courage and conviction. It's now evident to me the extent to which social ties (relationships with family, friends, and the wider society) can be very 'binding'. No wonder people find it so difficult to change, particularly as they get older (and more 'locked in' to societal expectations). Hence why the charter cities idea is so effective in invoking change: Start with a whole new city, unpopulated, set the expectations, and people will change to meet them.
Update (2.04pm, Saturday 3rd March, 2012)
Well, I'm finding that this "letting go" is a fascinating journey – particularly and most beneficially "letting go" what others think of me.
This growth in my awareness has come about after a range of interactions with others.
In one sequence a particular friend of mine (and there have been others of similar style), kept insisting that I was "protecting my ego" or "projecting" whenever we had a discussion of the deeper philosophical aspects of life. Basically, as I've noticed in others as well, he was simply seeking to control the conversation so that his view dominated. This (I've now come to realise) is quite common – people seek to dominate arguments with their views, and when they fail to dominate will resort to "playing the man" by inferring or directly stating that the other is at fault – not my ideas, but that I am personally at fault. That my personality is flawed or some such. One friend used to routinely respond to my counter-arguments (on philosophical matters) that I was being 'defensive'. Classic case of playing the man to control the conversation.
Another example: I was working for awhile in a licensed premises as an RSA Marshall in a small town that is renowned for being a trouble-spot fueled by alcohol – a great deal of which emanated from said licensed premises. So in the process of kicking out those who became intoxicated, or refusing entry to those who were already intoxicated, I got a lot of abuse. Some of which involved death threats and numerous other threats of violence, abuse and various obscenities.
Somewhere in that time I had the easy realisation that 'letting go' what others think of me4 has been a amazingly freeing process.
It's also being quite an amazing process to watch how my own (on occasion) 'small ego' can be assailed by various abusive comments, until I realised that I am not what others define of me. I am what I define of me.
The opinions that others have of me is, as I once read or heard from someone quite gifted in efficient quips, none of my business. This idea that "what other people think of me is none of my business" is meant to remind us that what others think isn’t about me – it's about them.
As Jane Roberts (Seth) similarly quipped:
"If you want to know what you think of yourself, then ask yourself what you think of others, and you will find your answer."
Anyway, I developed the highly beneficial habit of simply replying to those who think poorly of me, or who seek to belittle or abuse me with "you're welcome to your opinion".
The subtext of which, of course, is that I did not and do not hold their opinion in high regard. But more importantly, as I've come to realise, is that my opinion of myself is the most important thing in my life.
I've found it enormously freeing because it brings me back to understanding that the person who holds that opinion is having trouble – they're not at peace with themselves, and accordingly need to rail against others.
A person who's at peace with themselves does not rail against others, or the world. They will easily and naturally affirm boundaries, as to what they will or will not accept – absolutely.
There's a curious acceptance – a sense of ease – that emerges when we remember that other people's opinions are more about them, than oneself.
Update: As I was writing this, it occurred to me that there's probably an enormously freeing aspect to this for religious people, if they were to accept that what "God" thinks of them is also none of their business. In other words, if God has a poor opinion of someone that would be because God himself has problems that He is projecting onto others. So we don't really need to bother with all that stuff about Sin, because, well, if God takes offense, then He's the one with the issues, isn't he!
- 1. Subsequent to this post, I did indeed 'let go' and allowed myself to fall into ... a strange, somewhat anxious state of needing help from strangers. A valuable period, learning of people's generosity and helpfulness.
- 2. 'whole'
- 3. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea, Pantheon Books, New York, 2005, p, 89
- 4. bearing in mind that what they thought of me was usually quite abusive.