Motivated people always know where they are going, the voice in my head tells me.
Nope. Wrong. Turns out we all must live with uncertainty. Talking to others more than I have in the past has served to underline this truth of daily existence.
Uncertainty is a driver. The question is: How do I keep it from driving me nuts?
Best way to beat it, I’ve found, is to stay connected to my family (thank God it’s functional) and to surround myself with people striving for the same goals. A community of like-minded people. I’m being deliberately vague here. Everyone has his or her unique tribe.
Most days I have a certain set of goals to accomplish. Some small. Some not so small. I always leave at least a little time to make it up as I go along. Some days are broad canvases waiting to be painted with…whatever. Other days are jam packed with things to do. Most of my days are consumed with a combination of survival needs and creative projects crying for attention.
Twenty years ago, I made the transition from the binding ties of a corporate job to the freedom of planning my days according to what I wanted to do.
Most people dream of this freedom, but I’ve learned that it comes with a price. Freedom is worthless without a purpose.
Without purpose, my mind wanders into bad neighborhoods. Worry. Anxiety. Depression. You know what I’m talking about.
I’ve discovered that my purpose changes as I change. I am like a sea captain adjusting my course as my inner landscape changes. My course also changes depending upon the feedback I get in response to my actions.
If I can’t get over an obstacle, I get around it. If I can’t do either, I find something else to do. When it becomes painfully obvious that I’ve hit a dead end, it’s time to move on.
There is a fine line between quitting and wisdom.
Recently, I had to admit to myself that, after spending twenty years writing screenplays and novels, it was no longer in my wheel house to do it. It hurt deeply to come to this conclusion. Once I got over myself, I realized that I’m much happier writing blogs to people who can appreciate them. I hope that’s you. I’m doing this for both of us.
Life is full of challenges. At this point, I believe the central point of human existence is to set up positive challenges as much as humanly possible. I don’t look for trouble. I try not to create unnecessary problems. Life is already hard enough, thank you very much.
Creating positive challenges helps to relieve my anxiety. They also take my mind off of the uncertainty.
I listen to my heart. I accept my needs and limitations. I move forward from where I am.
Still, the future remains stubbornly uncertain. All I am given is today. Let me make the most of it. I wish the same for you.
Waiting for a connecting flight from San Francisco on my way home to Fort Lauderdale, I look around me at the faces of my fellow early morning passengers. The feeling of happiness within me contrasts sharply with the reflections of dulled spirits I see sitting row after row at the departure gate.
In defense of my fellow passengers, it can be argued that even the hardiest soul has a difficult time smiling at the ripe hour of six in the morning with nothing to look forward to besides a long, cramped flight in cattle-car-coach. Yet here I am, feeling a sense of contentment so overpowering it compels me to share it with a young lady sitting two seats away. We enjoy a pleasant, meandering conversation before going our separate ways.
By all rights, I should appear as glum and bored to the other waiting passengers as they appear to me. I’ve logged barely a few hours of sleep thanks to a five AM wakeup call. Yet I feel so alive and awake it seems like a miracle. My spirits soar like a nimble 757 jumbo jet taking flight from a short runway.
Let me assure you: I’m no stranger to boredom and depression. And I most certainly don’t feel this happy all of the time. What I’m feeling this morning is the direct result of attending a weekend retreat with Saniel and Linda Bonder.
Before I discovered Waking Down in Mutuality, now co-named Trillium Awakening, happiness had become an increasingly elusive commodity. I had my own ideas about where to find happiness, all of them external, and I pursued each and every one of them with zeal. And then the zeal began to ooze out of me like a rubber raft with a big hole in it. Fortunately, before all of the air in my psychic tires escaped into the ether, I had my first introduction to finding happiness and peace within me.
Thirty years later, my path took me in another direction. I discovered a local group on MeetUp. The group description that captured my attention went something like this: “You don’t have to be a saint to awaken to consciousness. You can awaken as yourself, right where you are. Now.”
Eventually, I discovered to my surprise that people in this group had actually experienced an awakening. Hundreds of them. It was’t just talk.
That was eight years ago. Since then, I’ve been nurturing an inner experience that is alive and real. I haven’t had an awakening yet, but I’ve experienced more peace, joy and, love in my life than ever before.
And, most recently, I’ve had an opportunity to bathe in this experience almost on a daily basis. Thanks to the Trillium organizers and volunteers, daily online gazing and meditation sessions are being offered, free of charge, to support people through the coronavirus crisis.
The major life goal that remains for me now is to realize in greater depth an unshakable foundation of joy, peace, and love waiting to be uncovered inside me. You may be thinking, “give me a break.” People have told me your goal isn’t a goal. It’s nonsense.
I believe it is possible to experience peace, love and joy on a consistent basis, and radiate it out to others. Not every moment, of course, but certainly more consistently than every once in a while.
David Gittlin has written three feature length screenplays, produced two short films, and published three novels. Before quitting his day job, he spent more than thirty years as a marketing director building expertise in advertising, copy writing, corporate communications, collateral sales materials, website content/design and online marketing.
There are things in this world that promise satisfaction, and we launch into the quest to have these things thinking: “Wow, if I had that, I’d be happy. I’d be fulfilled.”
What we actually find is the dream turns into eventual disappointment. Because the gratification that accrues with the attainment or acquisition of something outside of ourselves vanishes, as if it were never there to begin with.
But if you were to find what you truly needed, then your satisfaction would remain and increase over time.
Because this particular satisfaction evolves. Your understanding of it deepens. Your experience of it intensifies.
When you know all of yourself, then you will be at peace with yourself and the rest of the world. And, when you find your inner treasure, then you will have something of real value to give to others.
David Gittlin has written three feature length screenplays, produced two short films, and published three novels. Before quitting his day job, he spent more than thirty years as a marketing director building expertise in advertising, copy writing, corporate communications, collateral sales materials, website content/design and online marketing.
This is a guest blog from a Swedish man who writes under the pen name, Fomtriok. I find his writing to be profound and insightful, even more so than published books I’ve read on the human condition. I’ve included his short bio at the end of the post. Enjoy!
There is this disposition that some people have, but most people lack. If one does lack it, it is the simplest thing in the world getting it back. Because everyone had it once. It doesn’t really demand an outward action to get it back, but it rather demands the courage to step out of line and accept having it.
Let us get started.
Children – they live their lives from the inside out. They start focusing on one thing, then they start trying to understanding one thing; playing with, lifting up, measuring, biting, fumbling with – one thing. And then they move to the next. Part by part they get to know their own selves, their room, their house, their universe.
Most adults, however, live their lives from the outside in. They start out by simply acquiring some locale in which to live. Thus, they start with the shell. And they start with a schedule that is empty of activities. Then they ask themselves, ”What do I put in this shell of a house? In this shell of a schedule?” And one by one, they start filling the house with objects, and possibly even a family. Gradually, they start filling their schedule with activities, musts and obligations. From the outside in.
That is no way to live life. That life is unnatural. It is a mere imitation and parody of life. It is the life of a machine. People who live like that often find themselves unhappy and ask themselves, “Why am I unhappy?” The question is ironically a manifestation of the very problem. They ask themselves, “What do I lack?What is it that I have not yet put into my life, or schedule?” So they try to add even more things, or activities, to fill the void, and “fix” what they assume is the problem; that a certain thing, or event is lacking.
But they are doing it all wrong. It is not so much that they add things, but rather how andwhy they add things. The underlying problem – sickness even – is that they are living from the outside in: They add things only after careful consideration. That is not life. That is work. Life happens when you turn the whole thing upside down, and start from the inside. Then you won’t even notice whether you are adding or removing things, because all that consumes your attention is primal and unaltered curiosity.
Those souls who drive the world forward, in the small or the big sense, never abandon the way of the child. They never stop living their lives from the inside out. They never stop focusing childishly and joyfully on the small “toy” – on that singular point of interest. They could care less whether others perceive their curiosity as weird or normal. And only from that standpoint do they gradually work their way outwards into the unknown, constantly playing, constantly putting together and taking apart; disassembling and reassembling, over and over, in an infinite loop. Until the whole room has a role in the game. And then the child starts over. With a new room, or the same room from an entirely new perspective. From the inside out. And the game is on again.
That is a true life. It is the only life that is happy and free. It is simple – even when it is complex. It is irrelevant whether your point of curiosity might be pottery, or explaining a complex scientific phenomena. It is still an utterly simple life.
When you are a child, there is no arrogance. You do not drag others down with cynicism. Nor do you let cynics drag you down. You merely play. At the end of the day, that is all life is; a vast playground for us to fill with meaning.
My name is Oscar Herrgård. I am Swedish. I am interested in meeting fascinating and kind people, who think well, but also act and don’t just talk.
I want to share my story. This journal is simply one of my windows to the world. Already long ago I decided that the only life I want to live, is one where I wholeheartedly dedicate myself to solving some of the greatest challenges in our world (most importantly climate change and socioeconomic unfairness). Life is simply wasted if you don’t spend it doing what is most valuable to you. Don’t become; Rather be. Don’t want or plan; Rather be. Incorporate your ideals in the small detail here and now. That is how you move mountains.
There is a phrase I learned when I was a commercial real estate broker; “the highest and best use of a property.”
As time passes, economic conditions and neighborhoods change. A commercial property originally built as a three-story parking garage can generate higher income and justify the cost of construction if it is torn down and rebuilt as a high-rise office building.
I feel something analogous is happening to me as my awakening unfolds. The highest and best use of the property given to me, my body, is evolving into something that can be of more use to me in terms of enjoyment and of greater use to others.
I’m not exactly sure what I’m morphing into, but I’m positive it’s not a new X-Man character. I’m excited to find out who I become. In the meantime, I’m writing a few more blogs.
I arrived at Chicago O’Hare International Airport feeling relaxed and in good spirits after a weekend seminar held in the small town of Elburn, Illinois. In light, mid-morning traffic, I had negotiated the trip from Elburn to O’Hare without making one wrong turn, thanks to my able navigator, Siri.
I strode across the Avis parking lot reflecting on what I had learned at the Human Sun Institute seminar. I looked forward to a few hours of reading, novel editing, and eating a leisurely lunch before my plane took off. All I had to do was walk up to the ticket counter to collect my boarding pass.
When purchasing my airline tickets online, I could not resist the option of upgrading my return flight to first class for only $149.00. In addition to the enjoyable routine I planned before boarding, I had the comfort and luxury of a non-stop, first class flight back to Fort Lauderdale to contemplate as well.
Upon entering the American Airlines terminal, I noticed immediately how tired the ticket counter attendant looked. I figured she had begun her workday at some obscene, early morning hour. I was determined to treat her nicely. I made a few cheerful comments, gave her my flight information, and presented my ID. Her fingers flew across the keyboard. I stood there smiling, radiating all sorts of peace and joy.
The attendant looked up from her keyboard and said calmly, “I’m sorry, Mr. Gittlin, your flight has been cancelled.”
NBA sportscaster Jeff Van Gundy uses a phrase that I love. He did not coin the phrase, but Jeff has a unique way of saying it that never fails to amuse me.
Standing at the American Airlines ticket counter, I suddenly became Jeff Van Gundy reacting to the bad foul call of a referee.
“Are you kidding me,” I said to the attendant.
With my reservation, I had given my email address and cell phone number to the American Airlines computer. The computer, in response, did not email, text, or call me about the flight cancellation. Instead, it booked me on a non-stop coach flight back to Fort Lauderdale scheduled for takeoff seven hours later.
When I asked the ticket attendant for a refund on the first class part of my ticket, she informed me there was no refund since I had upgraded the return flight from an economy fare on the first half of my trip.
“But I bought trip insurance,” I said.
“We have nothing to do with that,” she replied. “You’ll have to go to the web site of the trip insurance provider to see if they will give you a refund.”
Thanks mainly to the peace circulating in my body from the weekend seminar I did not hate the ticket attendant. I did not scream or berate the poor woman. She was only doing her job. She had no control over how badly her job was screwing me.
After a minute of researching alternative flights, we settled on a flight to Fort Lauderdale with a stop in Dallas. I would arrive in Fort Lauderdale two hours earlier but three hours later than the cancelled flight. Whoopee! The attendant upgraded the flight from Dallas to first class, although the airline was not required technically to do so. Thank heaven for small favors.
I felt relieved until I learned the flight to Dallas was boarding in ten minutes. I had all of ten minutes to go through TSA and find my gate in another terminal.
While going through the TSA ordeal, I began to wonder about the cosmic significance of this abrupt change in flight plans. Surely, I was meant to deliver or receive some important message from a fellow passenger.
Encouraged by this thought, I went to pick up my carry-on bag. A TSA officer grabbed it and informed me he had to search it. This had never happened to me in forty years of infrequent flying.
I feared the search had something to do with the raft of prescription drugs I was carrying. It turned out to be a problem with my shaving cream and hair gel. I have never been busted before for these items in my carry-on, but whatever, at least I wasn’t going to jail.
With bags re-packed, I set out in search of terminal “C.” Following the signs, I found the Sky Lift to the terminal. I noticed the steps on the escalator were frozen. The elevator wasn’t working too well either. I’m not making this up, people. All of this stuff happened. It all had to be part of a grand plan for my betterment and the betterment of Mankind. I believed in this deeply.
I struggled up the frozen escalator steps lugging my laptop and carry-on bag. The woman in front of me was breathing so hard I thought she was having a heart attack. Somehow, we both made it to the top without passing out.
After boarding the flight to Dallas, I settled into the very last seat in the bowels of the coach cabin. The guy next to me looked just like a Waking Down in Mutuality mentor I had met in February at a seminar in Atlanta. I made this comment to him. He politely confirmed he was not the person I had in mind. I used the opening to talk about doppelgängers and the seminar I had just attended. My fellow passenger showed zero interest, again politely, plugged his iPhone earplugs in, and settled back to listen to music for the rest of the trip.
Okay, so nothing momentous happened on the first leg of the trip. The cosmic implications of these highly unusual events would surely kick in on the second leg of the journey.
While waiting at the gate for the flight to Fort Lauderdale, I noticed someone who looked like Lexi Thompson. Lexi is 18 years old and one of the best women golfers in the world. She lives in Florida. The woman sitting nearby looked exactly like her mother. I had seen a close up of Lexi’s mother and father on TV. Then, a slim man in his early thirties sat next to the mother. I recognized him as Lexi’s older brother Nicholas, a PGA professional golfer. This confirmed the presence of the famous Thompson clan.
I had to figure out what having Lexi Thompson and family on my flight meant—in the cosmic sense, of course. Okay, I thought, they’ll be travelling in first class like me. I’ll more than likely be sitting next to one of them. I will have an auspicious conversation with one of them.
Instead of the famous Thompsons, I sat next to a rotund Wal-Mart salesperson from Arkansas. She showed little interest in conversing with me, preferring instead to commune with her iPad and iPhone on the journey home.
Desperate for answers, I asked the steward if American cancelled flights regularly. I had not flown American in ages. This was the first time I had ever had a flight cancelled.
The steward informed me that flights can be cancelled if there is not enough freight in the cargo hold to make the flight profitable. He defined freight as bodies in caskets, mail, or any commercial product paid for by a vendor. He explained that American had lost its contract with the US Mail. This had put a large dent in American’s freight profit center.
The steward then revealed this startling fact: The amount of commercial freight on board a commercial jetliner determines the profitability of a flight. Passengers do not determine profitability. We exist to absorb the cost of overhead including fuel and payroll.
I thanked the steward for the wisdom he had generously imparted. I proceeded to contemplate the Parable of the Airline Freight for several minutes.
In a flash of enlightenment, the purpose of my American Airlines Odyssey struck me.
The events of the trip suddenly made perfect sense. I groked in fullness the hidden meaning:
Here’s a mind-blowing thought: We are born into this life with a predisposition towards happiness or unhappiness.
Call it a happiness quotient. It can also be described as a mindset, a unique calibration on the happiness scale embedded in the foundation of a human personality. This mindset is usually affected positively or negatively in early development by parenting, external circumstances, and life experiences.
Recently, I’ve discovered, or perhaps admitted to myself, that my internal atomic clock is set in an uncomfortable sector of the happiness scale. Let’s call it a bad neighborhood and be done with it. I don’t want to dwell on where I’m at or how I got there. Suffice it to say I won’t be spending precious time or disposable income on past-life regression therapy. The past, as a wise man said, is dead. I’m going to re-set my internal clock and, like George Jefferson, “move on up” to a better neighborhood.
I have a reasonably good plan that I’ve been working on consciously and unconsciously for the move. This past weekend, the elements of the plan came together as if by magic, and not a moment too soon.
What I’ll be doing is sort of like breaking down a plaster statue and recasting it into a far more pleasing figure. I intend to transform my inner weather from dark and cloudy into radiant sunshine. It’s entirely possible with the right elements in place. Goodbye self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. Hello person I always wanted to be.
I feel strongly that anything can be accomplished with a combination of will power, exposure to uplifting and self-empowering thoughts, and a loving source of spiritual energy.
For me, the essential element required to ascend on the happiness scale is spiritual energy. I believe the right energy at the right time facilitated by the right teacher(s) unlocks human potential. I have found I can attract all of this “right stuff” by knowing what I want, asking for it, and keeping an open mind as to the package it arrives in.
Guest-blogger Chip Presendofer provides us with a unique perspective on the steps he and a dedicated group of individuals have taken to launch a Peace Education Program in Berks County Jail, Pennsylvania. Volunteers like Chip and his team are introducing The Peace Education Program in prisons, colleges, universities, civic groups, hospices, and other institutions around the world. Peace Education (PEP) and Food for People (FFP) are two humanitarian aid programs developed by the Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF).
In January of 2013, I reviewed the latest Peace Education Program curriculum with three other people at a friend’s house. Ever since I first heard about the Peace Education Program, I’ve been motivated to contact local prisons, but all my early attempts met with rejection. The curriculum renewed my enthusiasm, and seeing a video about the Peace Education Program in prisons titled “Peace on the Inside” last summer made me feel we had a real story to tell. I think the idea of bringing a message of hope to people who have made some poor choices in their lives is worth the effort.
Feedback from Dominquez State Jail in San Antonio confirms my feeling. We began by hatching an action plan. Two team members wrote an introductory letter and compiled a list of potential recipients who we felt would be able to help us get the Peace Education Program information in the right hands. We sent about ten letters and got a nibble in neighboring Berks County.
On Thursday, February 21st, we met with an official who told us to follow-up with a specific commissioner on the prison board. We persistently followed up with the commissioner, and on February 28th, 2013 we received a letter from the warden expressing interest in implementing the Peace Education Program in Berks County Jail.
Now what? We had to wait until prison management allocated staffing and space resources at the jail. In the meantime, there was paper work to complete for background checks and volunteer training. In April, the prison scheduled training for July 17th, so we were in a holding pattern.
At this point, it seemed like a good idea to bring together everyone who had an interest in PEP under the premise of reviewing the curriculum materials. The thought was that a team of volunteers would identify themselves over successive meetings, and that’s exactly what happened. Every Sunday for about six weeks we met, reviewed the PEP curriculum, and discussed all the information we could glean from everyone involved with PEP. A number of people in the United States, South Africa, and Canada were extremely helpful and forthcoming with information and advice. We were hearing about what volunteers had done, what not to do, what they had learned, and how rewarding it was to actually bring a message of peace and hope into a prison environment.
Five people attended the Volunteer Training at the jail in July. It became very real for us at that meeting. The list of things that could go wrong and the picture painted of the inmates was an eye-opener. As it turned out, the staff instructors were making us aware of what could happen in a worst-case scenario, but when we asked both of them if they would allow their sisters to volunteer, without hesitation they both said yes. This made us feel a little more comfortable, but there were still a lot of unknowns. We discussed our fears and concerns in our meeting and we all decided the risk was worth the effort. It was a real moment-of-truth that we shared and the experience solidified our resolve to keep moving forward.
On August 2nd, two PEP team members met with the volunteer coördinator at the jail to look at the classroom and confirm a start date on August 9th. The classroom we chose was large enough for twenty students. On Friday, August 9th, we held our first class. Seventeen inmates attended. After all the students arrived and took their seats, I briefly told them we were going to play a video to give them a sense of what was going to take place and then I would take attendance. All eyes seemed fixed on the screen at the beginning of the class. It was easy for the students to relate to the prison scenes and the inmate interviews kept their attention.
I took attendance by calling out everyone’s name and tried to make sure I pronounced the names correctly. Prior to putting in the first video, I thanked the students for coming and said that the information they were about to see was directed to them as human beings. I asked them to try to listen without comparing it to anything they had heard before. Then I pushed the button on the remote and the class was underway. The class proceeded smoothly, although it seemed the longer videos challenged some students’ attention spans. Experienced PEP volunteers had advised me that it would take a few classes for the energy in the room to jell and for people to feel comfortable enough to ask questions and expose their thoughts.
The inmates came from different cell blocks. Some knew each other (fist bumps) while others were not acquainted. In general, the inmates had no trouble finding seats and being in relatively close quarters. They were orderly, quiet, attentive and helpful. Perhaps in our next class, I’ll invite them to share a little of what they heard and hopefully get them a little more involved.
Before we knew it, the class was over. After replacing the tables and chairs to their original positions, all the inmates wound up standing in a circle around the perimeter of the room. The atmosphere was instantly more relaxed and one man asked whether a person without a conscience could find the peace within. I said those are two different things. Consciousness is being aware of your existence and conscience helps us distinguish between right and wrong. I said I didn’t think a person without a conscience would seek the peace within, but I didn’t really know. He thanked me for being honest with him, and then he said he was just trying to sound smart and not to pay him any mind. I said I was just trying to sound smart also, and that got a laugh from a few people. It was the first time during the class that it felt like we might have connected a little more on the personal level.
I received another important piece of advice from my fellow volunteers: It’s important to connect personally with inmates without getting too involved. That advice makes a lot of sense to me. The students don’t have to like us individually, but they should know we relate to them as human beings, not as prisoners. This is a fine line, but one that holds significant promise for us as facilitators. If we respect the inmates, there’s a good chance they’ll respect the volunteer team and feel comfortable enough to reveal their thoughts in class. I don’t feel it’s my place to draw the students out, but I do feel like I need to create an environment that will allow them to open up if they wish.
The ability to walk out of the prison made me realize how fortunate I am and what a privilege it is to be able to make my own decisions about my day. Driving home, someone asked me how I felt, and I answered, “Relieved and curious.” Relieved we had broken the ice and now had an idea what we needed to do for next week and curious to see who will return.
With only one class behind us, we have many, many more to go. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and one lit candle can light hundreds of others. We’re on our way, and for that I’m thankful. Looking back, it took a lot of effort to get the program started, but the journey has just begun and the bulk of the effort is still in front of us.
All this talk about overpopulation is finally beginning to hit home. Lately, it seems like almost everywhere I go, hordes of people come crawling out of the woodwork.
It’s really becoming annoying. Take, for example, a trip to the mall. You have to use a slide rule to calculate the ideal time to go, to avoid peak hour pedestrian traffic trampling you underfoot.
At the rate the world population is growing, many of us will have to consider living on another planet in some distant galaxy. It won’t be long before scientists discover a suitable planet to colonize and they build a faster-than-light-speed spacecraft to take us there. I’m going to make sure my retirement account is healthy enough to buy a one-way ticket for me and my family to make the journey.
Starting over, however, is not going to be easy. There won’t be any NFL or NBA games to watch, golf to play, books to read, or computer games to play—save the ones we take with us. My wife and daughter will miss Lifetime, Housewives, nail salons, and shopping malls, to mention only a few life staples, before civilization reasserts itself.
How did we get ourselves into this situation? According to an actuarial study commissioned by the US Social Security Service, life expectancy has increased by 28 years for men and 26 years for women from 1900 to 2001. According to the same study, this is due to several factors:
• Access to primary medical care for the general population
• Improved healthcare provided to mothers and babies
I’d like to add one more item to this list: Thanks to medical science, people are living longer. In my humble opinion, some people are living longer than they should. Please allow me to explain.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a cancer center waiting for a vitamin B-12 shot and thanking God I don’t have cancer. I see people shuffle in, many in their eighties and nineties, supported by walkers and canes, wearing bandages, heads bent, half asleep. You have to feel sorry for these people while praying you don’t wind up like them.
Certainly, cancer has many causes, but one of them is simply the aging process. We reach a point where our immune system grows too feeble to protect us. At this point, the party is over. We become like AIDS patients before the curative cocktail, with nothing to look forward to but one disease after another.
Yet people hang on, thanks to the wonders of medical science, hoping life will one day be worth living again. Maybe that day will come when full-body transplants become available. If this doesn’t happen in the next ten or twenty years, I hope I will have the wisdom to know when it’s time to gracefully exit stage right (or left.) To put it another way, to have the courtesy to make room for someone else and stop contributing to escalating healthcare costs.
In the meantime, I’ll go on meditating, exercising and pursuing the interests that make me feel happy-from-the-heart. And for the sake of EVERYONE’S quality of life, can we PLEASE be a little more conscious by making fewer babies?
I am trying to write my second novel. It is not easy, to say the least. I am confident, however, that this is a universal truth among authors attempting to write their first or seventy-first long piece of fiction or non-fiction. The reasons for this difficulty may vary from author to author. My main roadblock seems to be the increasing disenchantment of sitting in a room all by myself for long periods of time. Again, I suspect I am not alone in this predicament. The problem apparently extends far beyond the relatively small segment of the population on planet earth attempting to write novels. I know this because I have recently taken my laptop to a local Starbucks to resolve my isolation problem.
The Starbucks I now regularly inhabit is not your everyday Starbucks. Management recently retrofitted the place with long tables, benches actually, with stools and a strip of electrical outlets underneath to plug in battery cables. Droves of people come here, not just to chat and caffeinate, but to do WORK! This includes college-students doing real, actual homework, not wasting time on Facebook. Freelance, self- employed, and independent contractor types also hang out here. These people, like myself, are hard at work, despite the distractions of noisy conversation and often-times idiotic, piped-in music. I find this phenomenal and wonder,”Why do we come here?” Many, if not all of us, are surely not homeless.
I can only speak for myself. I come here to overcome loneliness—to make some sort of connection. And I’m happy to report that my new strategy is paying off. I’m writing my novel on a regular basis, slowly but surely.
Now that we may have some insight into the reason for the overwhelming success of the Starbucks chain, I would like to come to the point of this piece. Many years ago, I began listening to Prem Rawat speak about an inner experience of peace and contentment. At the time, I did not have to go to Starbucks to be around people. I had a full time, good-paying job, a girlfriend, my parents and cousins to surround me. Yet, something was missing.
Mr. Rawat’s message of peace captivated me in a way nothing had previously. I followed up on his promise to reveal a source of peace and contentment within myself. I practiced the techniques of what he calls Knowledge, and, to make a long story short, I have not been in the least bit disappointed. Well, perhaps that statement is not entirely true. I had the idea shortly after receiving the techniques of Knowledge that I would not need anything else, including people. To make another long story short, that idea turned out to be foolish and a bit funny, now that I look back on it.
But there is a point here, somewhere. Oh yes, here it is: I need outer connections—with colleagues in my chosen profession, with friends and family, even Facebook connections. Thanks to the experience of Knowledge, I’ve learned that I need something else. I need a connection with myself for my life to be complete. I’m not going to put a name to what I’ll call “myself,” because I’ve learned that names are insufficient to describe it. I will just say this: I was looking for a missing piece of the puzzle of my life. Prem Rawat helped me to find it. Now, I feel my life is complete. It is full, not stuffed with things on the outside, but from within. And my connections on the outside are more fulfilling, because I am a more full and complete person, with more to offer to others.