or becomes what he is not.
It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning one’s self and life
and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening.
The finding of God is a coming to one’s self.
– Aldous Huxley
When I started the several threads leading to this one, I knew that I had no choice but to be honest, open and forth-coming. For some, perhaps, that honesty was a little TMI (too much information). Others might have felt they intruded on something that should have remained private. But in order to get here I had to go there. It was important to show what I’d learned in order to share with some kind of reality and truth.
That same dayn(several years ago) I called my boss and asked him to come see me at the apartment. When he arrived I told him basically everything that had happened and what had been going on. I fully expected to be fired. He thought for a moment, and then made a comment that has stayed with me. “To me, this as if you told me you had cancer – or some other disease. We need to work with you until you are back to who you are.”
There was one of the major keys: I had to get hold of the Aldous Huxley quote that I’ve been posting over and over .. I wasn’t going to have to gain what I didn’t already have or become something I wasn’t already. I had within me what I needed – as do you. What I needed to do was find it. It wasn’t a case of “cleaning-up” and becoming something or someone else, it was a case of getting back to who I was – becoming who I was. I didn’t have lose myself in the process – I was going to find myself.
In simple terms, I had been trying to change myself. I had become a chameleon – changing to match the background, foreground – or any ground that anyone wanted me to be. This, of course, was particularly true with ZZ as I wanted something that actually wasn’t there and would never be there. (I know, never say never – but in this case …) I used to tell people that were having problems at work that in effect, the company has “rented” your behavior for the time you are there. Perhaps you’re a great opera singer with an excellent voice. The company you are working for is a library and you are the librarian. While you are at work, belting out major arias would not only be disruptive, but would probably get you fired. So, you adopt the librarian behavior at work. That does not mean you have changed – or become what you are not. You are being paid for that behavior. Where I went wrong, was I had changed my entire focus into changing what I was – rather than adapting to the situation as it really was, seeing it for what it was.
Now perhaps you think I’m advocating dishonesty. Not in the least. What I am
advocating is honesty in relationship, with self and with those around. Was there honesty in the relationship with ZZ? Basically no, it was based on an untruth on both sides. And I fell into the trap of trying to make something work that dishonesty had doomed from the beginning. And in the process had tried to doom me as well.
The hope that is within each of us needs to be based on who we ARE not what people think we need to be. And as I became more content with who I am, people saw me and can see the me I want them to see. Of course, as in the librarian example, there are times of adaptation. But it’s an adaptation, not an attempt at a life style or fantasy.
So, the poison became the medicine and I’m on my life journey to where I want to be … where I need to be.
When you feel you can’t handle something,
you can either choose to feel miserable and helpless,
or maybe put your life in someone else’s hands to sort out – if they can be bothered.
Or you can decide to take charge ,
take full responsibility for whatever is happening,
even if none of it seems to be your fault,
and decide to turn poison into medicine.
– Geoff from the book, “The Buddha, Geoff and Me“