I was caught out again recently; dragged once more, over the course of two discussions, into the world of emotions. They are so unbelievably real at the time. There seems no room for anything else apart from the strength of feeling and the conviction of thoughts which support and perpetuate. When the fog lifts and the chance comes to reflect, it is clear just how tricky it can be to remain centred in the Self when the pull of worldly existence is so convincingly real.
The trigger was an old one: that the world is weighted toward those who can sell (themselves or their products), and that without refined techniques of persuasion our voice cannot be heard. We dazzle and distract each other with myriad promises in an increasingly branded world where substance stands no chance if it is not packaged and pushed in the right way. It gets me every time, and what happened over the last two weeks sent me spiralling down, because I was being told I have to join the club.
I have to sell myself if I want to reach more people with the work I do. I genuinely believe I have something to offer (hence the size and scope of this blog), but I have a real block when it comes to persuading people to engage with it. A friend has been helping me with this and there are times when it feels as though I have made a breakthrough. Unfortunately, it seems those feelings were only a result of the opportunity to play with the content I already have – more writing, more clarity, and the chance to create a physical representation of my work. It’s the excitement and satisfaction of the blog and book all over again.
Unfortunately, whenever our conversations inevitably return to the subject of selling my work and myself, I disappear, and nothing but vitriol remains. What happened over the last two weeks was no different. The first discussion got me down, the second almost finished me off. The only saving grace is that it has brought into focus, once again(!)*, what happens to me in such circumstances, and the work I still have to do to to free myself of such damaging attachment.
Engulfed by a torrent of negativity towards the subject and anyone who peddles it, I forcefully voiced my opposition. It appeared unreasonable and exaggerated to my friend, but not to me. In the days afterwards, my mind dug itself in. I felt justified, self-righteous, even vicious and vindictive. It is not a pleasant side of me, but it fuels itself to the point where the only solution is to throw in the towel completely and walk away. Such a conclusion appeals easily to the moralising part of me. It has a sense of cleanliness to it, pulling me further towards it as I continue to rage on the inside. And, in reassuring myself that this is not my world and it’s better I play no part in it, my conviction grows.
I have spoken to a number of people about it this week and all have held up the mirror of my own work. ‘You cannot change others, you can only work on yourself’, said one. Another simply offered the familiar advice: ‘You need to do some writing’. And the person closest to me (and most familiar with my work) highlighted the following from the previous post:
All in good time, he said.
For now, relax and make a start.
Step by step.
Be patient. Be gentle.
Look closely, see clearly,
And use whatever you have.
She went on, telling me that my mood was affecting my judgement; what I was saying was not who I am; she can still see the real me; and she can see that my mind is asserting itself in a powerful way, just as it has before, undermining all that I truly am. That was such a powerful intervention from her. It reminded me (eventually) of something which happened on the silent retreat.
So, rather than focus on what is wrong with the external world, which is only ever a reflection of your own thoughts, re-focus again and again on the beauty which you know exists. Even if thoughts, feelings, and emotions pull you down familiar avenues, stay true to the beauty of existence which lies at the core of everything. You included.