Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Buddha Within

After many, many months of persistent prodding from my husband, I finally read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Very good book, by the way. Something I would recommend to anyone who feels there is a creative calling they are not following in some way.

Pressfield, in this book, speaks a lot about resistance and the ways in which we deny, derail, or disregard our inner natures... which he links with our true talents, our soul's purpose, and a higher calling.

This was particularly relevant for me - especially in this time of my life - because I am feeling a bit wayward and lately spend copious amounts of time trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life. This could be said, however, for the last 10 years or so of my life. Maybe longer. So that's rather important. That lost-ness. What I should be doing.

The "should" is the tricky part there, because - I believe - it connects more to the concerns and insecurities of my ego... a part of my psyche probably not best suited to making life-altering decisions or serving as a guide toward my higher purpose and authentic self.

But the ego likes to step in and insist on playing that role. Often. At least, mine does. Maybe yours does too. Maybe you have learned to ignore the little voice that strives so hard to sound bigger and more important than it really is... like a small child so used to being ignored she thrusts out her chin and shouts at the sky in an effort to be heard.

Anyway... ego aside, I really like what Pressfield says about the concept of purpose, our higher selves, and the authentic expression of our talents (which he believes are God-given... a point I am unlikely to argue). He argues to stifle your creative energies and talents is to deny the world the gift of what you have to offer. No one can do what you do. No one else has your voice, your eye, your mind, your soul... and so what you produce will invariably be unique and (dare I say it) perfect within the interconnected and intricate space of life because you are the only one who can do what you do.

It connected perfectly with something I had read a few days earlier in a book I bought for our daughter: A Pebble for Your Pocket by Thich Nhat Hahn. We randomly selected a story the other day and it just so happened to be about what Hahn names "the inner Buddha." He's talking about the non-ego self, the one that is connected to all things, all life, and is the most authentic and true expression of you that can be.

So... my focus and mindfulness exercise for the rest of this week (and perhaps beyond!) is to try and clear away the pushy, validation-seeking voice of my ego and to see if I can hear my true soul's call. Who am I - really - without the bells, whistles, fears, insecurities, past, future, etc.? What do I want to be doing? How am I preventing myself from my truest form of expression?

That last may be the most important. I am a woman of ideas. Always have grand plans and great schemes and beautiful dreams; but I rarely actually follow up on them... move them from the imagined to the tangible. It is, I feel, equal parts fear of failure and fear of success. It's my way of roadblocking myself. (Perhaps this sounds familiar...?)

So. No more roadblocks. Movement in the face of fear and work in the midst of inertia. I will not stop moving. Even if I don't know where I'm headed. It's still better to keep walking toward the light you have faith is real than to sit down and let the self-made darkness consume you.

Walk into your light. Listen to your truest voice. Don't be afraid.


  1. How serendipitous. That I should receive your invitation to read this blog, to follow the link and choose an entry re: Steven Pressfield, an author I did not know until yesterday when a peer handed me The War of Art and said, "Read it." So I am. And I, too, am enjoying it.

    It's great to reconnect with you and, by a stretch, Andy. Dana and I look forward to a chance opportunity to reunite. Where are you guys these days?

    Much love,
    Tom Arvetis

  2. Hello Tom! So happy to see you here - and how wonderful that everything unfolded in such a lovely way. ;) Serendipitous indeed! Would love to see you and Dana soon... will email shortly!!