“…we’re constantly waking up to what we’re about, what we’re really doing in our lives. And the fact is, that’s painful. But there’s no possibility of freedom without this pain.” — Charlotte Joko Beck
I said in my last post that I’d been “born again”. I was worried in saying that you’d think I’d gone the way of many people who claim to have had an epiphany. That’s not me: I’m just an ordinary guy who’s trying to make sense of what it means to live an authentic life.
What do I mean?
I mean to live a life as close to the real version of me as humanly possible.
That doesn’t mean I’m looking to be zoned out — I still have to deal with my anxieties, frailty and, sometimes, a sense of hopelessness; but, equally, it also offers the most amazing opportunity to share in the joys, wonders and experiences that life has to offer.
For too long, I invested my energies chasing a dream — one promulgated by the thinking of old — but I now see I was merely bowing down to the altar of consumerism that props up our ailing systems.
Of course, I needed more than a book or two to open my eyes. In my case, it took six days on a high dependency ward, and six weeks at home to open my heart to a different way of seeing the world.
And the journey continues…every single day.
I wish I could say it’s been easy, but it hasn’t. In fact, at times, it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to confront — much more difficult than dealing with my own mortality. In short, I’ve had to come to terms with my past conditioning, my faux goals and my competitive spirit, all of which have pandered to my egoic self (not the higher Self) which keeps so many of us trapped in a vortex of conflict.
But in the end, I know that this is me or rather what’s left or what will be left is me. (If spiritual awakening is anything, it’s about letting go. Nothing more, nothing less.)
You might think me a bit odd for wanting to share my inner journey, but to my mind it’s important you understand why, online, you now see me talk very little about social media and the like, and instead am drawn to share my love of nature, the enormity of living a higher purpose life and interbeing. I know I could have carried on talking about the previous issues — it wouldn’t have been hard given that, on a day to day basis, it’s how I earn a living — but apart from the fact I no longer need to spread the gospel of social media et al, I also don’t think I’ve anything to add to what I’ve said in the past. (If I could sum up my writings and speaking it would be simply this: unlearn what you’ve learned, and fail faster than the next person. Easy? No; but in the end, nothing else matters.)
I suppose what I’m really saying is that I’m not happy to live and write about a shadow existence, meaning I don’t want to write and speak about things that aren’t deeply important to me. You see, unlike a lot of people online, I don’t want to be thought of as the ‘social media guy’. No, I want people to know me, to understand what I stand for, what’s important to me and why authenticity trumps any amount of success talk.
If you’d asked me in 2010 (when I left the legal profession) if this is what I’d be writing about, I would have looked at you with one of those looks that only lawyers know how (“…do you think me a fool?”), but the space I now occupy is the most natural fit that I’ve ever experienced — hence the “born again” quote.
But it’s just the start. Moving forward, I know that I’ve much to discover about myself, not least how I live fully in the present moment with the maelstrom of emotion in living a normal life, holding down a freelance role and finding time for all the other issues that can so easily pull us out of the present moment.
I know that I must meditate more, listen to more of the teachings of Adyashanti, Thomas Merton and others, but most of all, I need to find the time and budget to go on retreat where I can sit with some of the thoughts that continue to haunt me from afar.
One last thing. I’ve always been inspired to teach, and somewhere in the mix, I know that I’ll not grow unless I connect with people who are not just turned on by a spiritual path but are just as easily turned off by the whole notion of having to sign up to another credo that may bear all the hallmarks of the industrial model that they’re so keen to escape.
I’ve said it many times before, but thank you for your support, patience and kindness. It means a lot to me.