I have been posting my articles on Medium, an online platform, for the past two years. This morning I was tallying up what articles were well read, well thought of… and was pondering if I should write articles that people like, or if I should continue writing articles that people need. Articles that only I can write… writing those is more fun for me.
I can look at the question through many different “filters”… integrity, i.e. being true to myself. Being true to my principle: “Never doing anything for money that I wouldn’t want to do for free.” or the newest distinction for me: project mode vs process mode.
Wanting more article likes is project mode. Writing articles is being with what I am writing, and the articles will produce the results they will: this is the process mode.
Learning new things is both exciting, and humbling. More humbling, in a way, than exciting. I never really want to learn anything new, not about myself, not about life, not about people, not about anything. I already know enough, says a part of me… and I break out in hives (figuratively) at the option of learning something new.
And then, when I do learn something new, I have to process it, and rebuild my self-view, maybe even my world view. It could be fun, but it really not pleasant.
If you consider that this is what I ask from other people, for a living, I could be viewed pretty “inauthentic”… looked in one way. I don’t think I am, I feel the pain it cost people to learn something new, and have compassion: see where they are at and am willing to help them through.
Yesterday’s article on the two hemispheres of the brain
Yesterday’s article was the result of a huge learning, and I didn’t hear any echo until this morning. Even this morning it wasn’t any talking about what I wrote: instead I got an example of how it is true, that when you move from the high mind-share, high about-me score, you have creativity and joy available to you.
What I didn’t see, and one of my students taught me, is that the project mode, when you are hellbent on getting the result, and put up with the process that you’d rather not have to go through, you are in the mind: the only place the future exists, you are in about-me mode, and you are in left-brain mode, even if you are doing “art”. Of some supposedly joyful thing, like a game, or sex, or a conversation.
When you shift into process mode, you are in the present moment, and that is definitely not mind. Mind doesn’t even know about the present moment.
This traditionally project mode student of mine did this shift, and for the first time he experienced joy and creativity (his one art is songwriting, he has others) and called his state: “I am better than ever.” The joy was tangible in his voice.
And that joy, that “being hooked up” to the divine source of joy, creativity, transcendence is available all the time, not like the project mode that has a time and a place and a duration… what most people seem to crave.
The strait jacket of identity… and the string that move the puppet
This same student brought up an issue that has caused another unwanted learning for me (what I am referring to in the title of this article).
He was pondering and examining why he has the urge to teach his mother what he knows to teach… even though it always leaves him with a sense of emptiness and futility.
I recognized myself in that… I have been getting better at avoiding this, but only with a lot of self-discipline, using my short supply of will… to stop myself.
Maybe that is why, on days when I see people who I could teach, who don’t want to learn, never asked for it, don’t want it, don’t appreciate it, I get very tired, drained, and have suddenly no joy.
What’s going on in the invisible?
Most everyone had an incident in their lives where what they said or did was not appreciated, not heard, not valued, and now they are trying to fix it.
The problem is: you cannot fix anything that is not wrong.
If a screw falls out: you can put it back. If a vase breaks, you can glue it together, but if your diagnosis of what was “wrong”, amiss, is mistaken, all your efforts at fixing it won’t fix it: because it wasn’t broken to begin with.
We spend most of our lives trying to fix what never happened, what wasn’t real to begin with.
- My decision was, about my failure to be heard, is that I was worthless, a throwaway, not valuable.
- My student’s decision was, in his incident, that he can’t… Can’t possibly do what life wants him to do… no matter what he does.
- And his Playground partner’s, in relationships, said: “I can’t win… not even if I yell”
And each person, who’s ever experienced a “failure to be enough” in an incident, invented a fix… and that’s become part of the identity they are today.
- I am hellbent on providing unique value, proving that I am smart
- My student became well spoken
- His Playground partner (I don’t want to use names for privacy) became alternately bombastic and meek and self-sacrificing in the face of people opposing him or wanting something from him.
All inauthentic ways of being… perpetuating the original failure to be…
- …in my case to be seen by my mother as a person,
- in my student’s case: being able to do what he was asked to do (mediate between his parents at a young age) and
- in the case of his Playground partner: be able to be heard as capable and valid.
I have written a lot about being a puppet on a string: this is one example you are a puppet on a string… perpetually being pulled in to recreate an early misery… feeling less than… without having much power over it.
It is an invisible dynamic, and until it is revealed, fully seen for what it is, it will continue doing its dance, uninterrupted, at the expense of your joy, power, and self-expression.
It occurs to me that I could measure to what degree you have self-value…
- My student: 10%
- His partner: 10%
- Me: 30%
This is not the same measure as overvaluing one’s worth as in delusion (also measured in the Starting Point Measurements.) It is what you bring into every conversation… what you hope is higher, but it is you who does whatever you need to do to keep it at the level you decided when you were young and someone invalidated you.
I lived most of my life with a low self-worth, a low self-value of 3% and have managed to overcome that impediment, somewhat, recently. I’d like to up it… but have no idea what I would need to do… so it’s time to have a heart to hearth with Source about that.
It is Tuesday and I get my weekly horoscope by Rob Brezsny in my inbox on Tuesdays.
Today, it seems, for the first time, his non-horoscope type content was so in sync with what is going on in my courses and for my students, that I had a feeling that I may be on the right track, doing the right thing, and the Universe agrees with me. Here are a few quotes from what he says in the email, and my comments:
THE MORE ACCIDENTAL, THE MORE TRUE
“The more accidental, the more true,” wrote Boris Pasternak. Scholar Mikhail Epstein expanded this observation: “The more accidental the phenomenon, the more divine its nature, for the divine is what has not been envisioned, what cannot be deduced from general rules, nor irreducible to them.”
If we pursue this line of thought to its logical conclusion, we may decide that the most useful sources of illumination are not always holy books, revered dogma, and great truths that everyone has heard. They might also be serendipitous anomalies that erupt into the daily routine and break the trance of ordinary awareness.
“The tiny spark,” Epstein writes, “is the precise measure of the holiness of the world.”
(Source: Mikhail Epstein, “Judaic Spiritual Traditions in the Poetry of Pasternak and Mandel’shtam.” Translated from Russian by Ruth Rischin.)
The nature of evil
To the degree that we stop projecting evil onto others and face it and deal with it in ourselves, we are far more likely to act with moral equanimity (mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.) toward everyone else.
Our effort to wrangle (argue) compassionately with the shadow within us is an effective ground-level way to purify and strengthen our efforts to help and redeem the outer world
Where to look for evil?
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn