Showing up

“Baby,” I said, “I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

We hide way, afraid to show up as true self.

When we do come alive (in a state of flow or being turned on to something larger than ourselves), we’re afraid to say too much for fear we might never again discover the mythos.

In case you need reminding, you’re dying…one day at a time; and if you keep putting things off, before you know it, it’ll be too late to explore the territory of your soul.

This doesn’t mean you have to leap around like a crazed lunatic, but instead to move towards — often inwards — something that brings joy to your life.

For me, even a walk close to Dartmoor is enough to remind me that there’s more to life than work, which seems to have dominated my life. Or, that I’m no more than this, this moment in all its wonder and beauty.

Actually, I wouldn’t buy any of this — certainly not the thinking part. I’d just do something for the hell of it and see if life is made real.

But then again, sitting still, closing your eyes and breathing can be just as monumental.

Life’s path

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” ― Charles Bukowski

We’re here for a finite time.

It should be liberating but, for many people, they don’t think about their mortality until it’s too late.

Having gone to the edge and come back, I no longer have a sense of ‘if’ but ‘when’. In the past, I’d have used this experience as way to drive me forward but, for the last six years, I’ve been undertaking an inner journey to understand the few lines that first set me on my way:

“O Sariputra, Form does not differ from Emptiness
And Emptiness does not differ from Form.
Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form.
The same is true for Feelings,
Perceptions, Volitions and Consciousness.” — The Heart Sutra

On this journey, there’s no beginning, middle or end: there’s everything and no-thing. Paradoxical I know, but that’s life.

I’d like to think I’d have followed this path regardless, but something tells me, given my hard-headed nature, I’d probably still be convinced I needed to change the world, rather than look within.

Life…is amazing

“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”Thomas Merton

We struggle endlessly to make sense of life. At times, we feel crushed by the weight of expectation.

You don’t need me to tell you that in those moments of ‘bliss’, life is wonderful. It’s almost as if you don’t exist. It’s no wonder, therefore, an industry has been spawned trying to create this sense of magic — think mindfulness, personal development and spiritual development.

But the truth is, you can’t will your experience — see the work of Arthur Schopenhauer. You can only live it. I’m not saying you can’t use great gobs of willpower to change your habits (so that you spend more time working on your sense of personhood), but what I am saying is that some people will be expressed this way and others not. (In the past, when I’ve said it’s all a choice, perhaps I should have said that you can only live out your experience of life.)

You might understandably draw the conclusion that absent control, you should give up now but that’s a fallacy. I dare you to sit still for as long as possible and see what happens. You might be able to manage an hour or so, but, pretty soon, you’ll be compelled to move, to visit the toilet or quench your thirst. Again, you don’t will this; it just happens.

What I’m pointing to is that the more you think you’re in charge, the more stress you’ll bring about, when things don’t go the way you want. I’d say, going with the flow isn’t such bad advice.

But in the end, you can find yourself all at sea trying to work out if you’ve willed something happen or not — and that’s why I recommend you live life fully accepting the good, bad and ho-hum. And when I say ‘live’ I don’t mean to suggest you do something extraordinary, but just once in a blue moon you say, “Thank you” for everything and nothing — it’s all the same: one amazing, mysterious happening.

Kindness

“Always be a little kinder than necessary.” – James M. Barrie

Perhaps I’ve spent too much time in the wrong circles, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a little wearisome with all the success speak.

For a start, it’s so linear: you can practically write the script before the venture’s even begun. I’m not suggesting we let the pendulum swing too far the other way and we listen to a plethora of existential tales, but, in between, sit a range of emotions that never get discussed, chief among those is kindness. (This isn’t a soft skills subject but a human skills subject.)

What’s wrong with talking about the kindness of leaders in the business, the kindness of the staff to one another, and, most especially of all, the kindness of the business to mother earth?

Your immediate response might be, “We already do”; but too often it’s superficial and in my 30+ years of working in various business, I can’t remember a single occasion where anyone said, “The company’s sine qua non is kindness”. The reason for this is obvious: kindness doesn’t equate to profit!

Perhaps I’m a voice of one when discussing a new language of commerce, but I hope that all those business people who come after me don’t adopt the anodyne models of old that seem to have done as much harm as they have good.

 

Waiting…

“Be realistic: Plan for a miracle”
― Osho

People mistake ‘success’ for (forward) motion.

Sometimes, doing nothing, feeling your way in to the moment and seeing what unfolds is far more powerful than filling up another ‘To Do List’ and checking it off with increased alacrity — “Aren’t I clever”.

This isn’t about being lazy or any other label you care to spew forth. But if you need one, this is about finding connection with something that brings true self to the world.