Normally, I write these weekly missives from a place of already knowing what I have to say without necessarily knowing how I’m going to say it. At some point during the week I have an insight; in the tip I share the insight and point as best I can to the place where insights come from. But this week, I just know there’s some insights to be had, so I’m sharing my thoughts a bit earlier in the process than usual in hopes that we both can see something new…
I was seventeen years old the first time someone asked me if I was ready to own my Self. She didn’t put it like that, of course – it’s unlikely she knew that was the question I would hear behind her words. We were apprentices at the Berkshire Theater Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and were doing an exercise where we go round the room and we ask one person one question we wouldn’t normally ask. She looked me straight in the eyes and says “Do you have any idea the impact you have on other people?” I feel myself shrink into a tiny place inside myself and stammered an awkward, jokey, but absolutely honest “No.”
For the next twenty five years or so, I continued to deliberately avoid knowing the answer to that question. I could stand as a teacher at the front of almost any room in the world with virtually no self-consciousness whatsoever, but the moment the talk or seminar ended and I had to deal with people saying nice things about the impact it had on them, I found my tiny place and the talking Michael mask conveniently placed where my original face had been just moments before took over and saved me from having to take any credit or blame for what had happened in the room.
When I came across the inside-out understanding , it got a bit better. I could see that I was creating my own discomfort via thought and take it less seriously, and at times I could even show up and be with the human being acknowledging me, even if it was still hard to see them through the blur of two sock puppets in my mind debating whether it was egotistical to say “thank you” and mean it.
Then one day at a conference I found myself standing next to Judy Banks, the long-time wife of the man who first articulated the principles of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought, Sydney Banks. I asked her if Syd, who I knew to be a deeply humble man, ever felt uncomfortable dealing with the long lines of people who came to thank him (and at times nearly worship him) at live events. She looked surprised by the question, then said “No, never.”
That struck me, and without really knowing why, over the next few months I found that I began to get more comfortable hearing people say both extremely nice and extremely not nice things about me and my work. It seemed to me that my ego found its level – I could own being a voice for a deeper wisdom that seemed to come through me, not from me. I enjoyed hearing a colleague (who shall remain nameless lest anyone take offence) engage in the following dialogue with a student:
Student: If all we are is a conduit for the larger intelligence behind life and we’re not really contributing our own ideas, aren’t you uncomfortable charging to teach this stuff?
Colleague: (Reflects quietly for a few moments) Well, until God gets a PayPal account, I think I’m going to have to keep doing the billing myself…
So having made my peace with being a spokesperson for the larger Mind, I was dismayed when one of my mentors called me out for disowning my true nature. “You’ve just written a book called The Space Within ,” she pointed out, “pointing people to their spiritual nature as part of a divine whole. Do you really think you’re the exception to that?”
Everything in me wanted to scream out “YES – I AM THE EXCEPTION!!!” – to go back to my long abandoned tiny hiding place inside and see if the batteries on my Michael mask were still working. But at a deeper level, I knew it couldn’t be true. If I am made of the divine, then I am that which I seek. And for a lifelong ego-holic, that’s a rather sobering thought.
Here’s an excerpt from the new book that points to this apparent paradox:
Imagine for a moment that you are a drop of water. As it happens, you are a very unique little drop – beautifully shaped, with only a cute little distortion in the way you reflect the light. People praise your beauty, and in time you come to believe that you are special.
But as time goes on, you become lonely. You long for the companionship of an other – another drop of water who will love you as you love it and help you feel less alone. You find that other, or you don’t; you fall in love, or you don’t.
And then one day it starts to rain. Seven billion drops of rain fall in a single afternoon and you are no longer alone. Briefly, you touch mitochondria with a single raindrop and before you know it, two have become one. You are still alone, but you are larger than before. With each drop of water you merge with, your entire being expands, until all seven billion drops become one ocean.
And you are still alone. And all is well.
Here are the questions I’m sitting with this morning:
- What if I’m not just the conduit for a deeper wisdom, compassion, and love – what if I’m also its source?
- What if “living from Mind” didn’t mean channeling some externally located divine guidance, it meant resting in my true nature?
- Do I know that I’m God?
Have fun, learn heaps, and happy exploring!
With all my love,