Or, somewhere else?
Too often we ignore what’s really going on, and never question the status quo:
“I don’t feel very well.”
“I don’t know.”
Up until the time I left legal practice (August 2010), I knew I was hurting. In fact, I was on the verge of something catastrophic.
In the end, my body caught me out; I wish I hadn’t put my family through so much but if I hadn’t endured six days in hospital and the six weeks of convalescence, I’d have carried on eviscerating my soul.
(If you’re inside a company or firm you hate, it’s a form of spiritual suicide; and it hurts. A lot.)
Physical pain we can cope with. The diagnosis is usually quite straightforward. And we take our medicine eagerly, knowing, hopefully, we’ll be right back on track.
Spiritual pain on the other hand?
“What does Resistance feel like?
First, unhappiness. We feel like hell. A low-grade misery pervades everything. We’re bored, we’re restless. We can’t get no satisfaction. There’s guilt but we can’t put our finger on the sources. We want to go back to bed; we want to get up and party. We feel unloved and unlovable. We’re disgusted. We hate our lives. We hate ourselves.”
— Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art
Chances are you know what ails you; it’s because you’re not following your most profound calling.
You want to write but dare not.
You want to start a business but you know you’ll fail, eventually.
You want to start a new relationship, but your past holds you back.
Yes, but who are you?
I know it can seem a tedious question, but until you lay it all out — not just the material needs and wants — you’ll never escape the pain.
True self isn’t a refuge. It is everything. Getting in touch with it, isn’t easy, particularly when you’ve been conditioned to believe you only need follow a guru.
Trust me it’s not out there — e.g. you can be anything you want. As Thomas Merton said:
“Stand on your own two feet, brother.”
You know when you’re in touch with it because there’s this sense of oneness; a place of deep solemnity; universal love. None of this can be manufactured. Even ‘flow’ isn’t the same thing. That’s semi-permanent. True self never disappears. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. I did. And I found it very challenging, not least because I couldn’t answer the simplest of questions:
“Yes, but who are you, Julian?”
I recognise that if you’re hurting you may feel the need to get professional help — and please do if that’s what you’re drawn to — but, at the same time, particularly where Resistance is involved, I’d wager that you’re running away from the issue not facing it, as you should.
If you’re interested, below is this week’s monologue which chimes with what I’m trying to say.