jusummerhayes

The promised land

"Meditation covers a very long pilgrimage. When I say, “meditation is witnessing,” it is the beginning of meditation. And when I say, “meditation is no-mind,” it is the completion of the pilgrimage. Witnessing is the beginning, and no-mind is the fulfillment. Witnessing is the method to reach to no-mind. Naturally you will feel witnessing is easier. It is close to you." — Osho, The Mind: a beautiful servant, a dangerous master 

Good morning.

It looks like it's going to be another beautiful day in Devon. 

It won't be long before I'm out and about with the dog; I'm not sure where we'll go this morning but I'm acutely aware how lucky I am to enjoy such amazing countryside and the freedom to come and go as I please. 

Today's title is no accident. It came to me at 2.30 am as I lay wide awake. I did get up but only to look at the stars and immediately saw the Plough formation. As a kid, I used to love looking up at the night sky and wondering what was out there. I'm sure, watching the original Star Trek with James T. Kirk and Spock helped to fuel my imagination!

What's your promised land?

Mine was finding myself in work. Seriously.

I appreciate that that's a very generic way of putting things, but then again, being the headstrong, arrogant young man I was, that ran through life at a million miles an hour, I never stopped to question the lament I felt in never feeling complete, whole, or in touch with a higher self and thought work (sadly) the answer to my inner travails. 

To be clear, this isn't just idle speculation or my way of making sense of a life torn apart in never finding true self. No, it's writ large in almost every piece of evidence I've been able to unearth over these past few days as I've sorted out my old files. In particular, I looked at a personal assessment done by some outfit called Kaisen. They were supposedly the experts in assessing my suitability and aptitude for partnership at the law firm I worked for for nearly a decade. I won't bore you with all the verbiage but, in essence, they said I was intensely driven so much so that my emotional intelligence was obscured (or non-existent more like) which could or would cause problems dealing with people. I'm not sure if I pushed back at the time but they were spot on, and although it hurt me gravely when I wasn't made partner, in hindsight, it did me an enormous favour because, otherwise, I'd have been landlocked in a profession that I despised or at least had great difficulty adjusting to by dint of the way its people were bent out of shape, twisted and broken all in pursuit of making great gobs of money for a very few number of people.

Sorry, I'm going off the point.

The thing is, we all have a promised land; namely, a place we aspire to or are told will deliver up all our wants and needs. And then we invest much of our life 'seeking' so as to arrive at said place. But when do we stop running long enough to ask that interminable question — yes, but Who am I? Even if we do, it's a rare occurrence for someone to have an answer or certainly one that enables them to make sense of all the hard labour and, in most cases, never showing up as they truly are.

In making the foregoing point, I'm having to generalise but then again, I've had this conversation so many times that I think I can comfortably say that we often, as Stephen Covey would say, end up leaning our (life) ladder against the wrong wall, and when we do wake up from our narcissistic torpor it's often too late to make a course correction in our lives. 

Do you feel that way? You know, like you've invested a whole heap of energy and time doing the wrong thing? Then again, perhaps it was always meant to be that way. We're expressed the way we're expressed and if we never made any mistakes, there's a risk we'd be stuck in the same tragic loop for the rest of our earth-bound days.

Do I have any advice? Well, previously, I'd have been flush with my sense of worth, feeling that my template for removing myself from the circle of despair that I felt whilst working in private practice was some sort of New Age lexicon for a life of meaning and purpose. Now? That's not my thing. Instead, I invite people to bring the broken parts of their life together and craft a question that can't be torn asunder with a slick, hackneyed response and then, for however long is necessary, to live in the question. Absent that there's always a risk they'll try on someone else's often ill-fitting clothes thinking that a quick passport to the promised land. It rarely, if ever, is.

Prima facie that doesn't look much help but then again, a well-wrought question is worth a hundred times more than another blithe exhortation — e.g. Just Do It — that often sits amidst a faux armoury of tricks, tips and tools offered by the 'get better' community. 

Actually, in truth, I don't think you need any question but instead to sit with whatever is arising and look through the pain and frustration and ask yourself what your life is really saying to you. In my case, that's been bloody obvious from day one: I was never meant to be a lawyer or all the other labels I assumed would teleport me to the promised land. I'm a creative — however and whenever that shows up. Sure, it doesn't pay the bills — not now, not ever(?) — but that's not the point. The point is to come alive to true self in and through my work — my true work, not something I've been told about is the elixir for a life well lived and even less so something I read in a book!

Oh, one last thing. Despite it sometimes appearing otherwise, we're all part of the universal flow of nature and we'll go where we go, do what we do and that means we've got to accept, as I've already said, we'll make lots of tries, fail miserably and perhaps then realise that the promised land, no matter how churlish it sounds, is right beneath our feet. 

Until tomorrow then.

Take care.

Much love ❤️, Ju.

Photo by christophe Dutour on Unsplash


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