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what is lacking, deep down?

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The tiniest incidents can trigger insight. A couple of days ago, in conversation with a friend, she asked whether I had decided to enter a year-long training program. Following last week’s interview they’d accepted me, but I was still dithering. “What’s holding you up?” she asked. I’m not sure of two things. One, whether I actually need this training; that is, whether I don’t already have the skills. Second, whether it’s not extravagant to spent money on something that won’t bring much income in return.

“Would you enjoy doing it? Did you not tell me that you respect the teachers you met, that you like Berkeley, and that friends have offered you a bed for when you’re there?” All of those, I admitted. “Then would you consider this as a treat to yourself, an enjoyable experience — as well as an opportunity to learn and to grow spiritually, to acquire knowledge and skills that would support your vow to be of service?”

That’s when the penny dropped. So I could allow myself this experience, not because of a lack, not because it would yield a ‘return on investment,’ but because it would give me pleasure? The word deficiency came to mind: “the state of being deficient; lack; incompleteness; insufficiency.”

This insight speaks directly to self-worth. Instead of seeing my/self as lacking and needing certain things to become whole, I can do them for the mere joy of it. What a concept! I imagine (naturally!) that for many of you, this is not a big insight, but for me it’s huge. It represents a 190 degree shift of how I see myself in the world. Makes sense?



10 responses »

  1. How to relearn how to feed one’s spirit? Little children know both how to eat and how to feed their spirit in the moment. I’m glad the process of socialization etc. hasn’t impaired my enjoyment of food.

  2. Peter – In my experience “for the mere joy of it” is quite possibly one of the best “return on investments” (dividend) that a person can have.

    Laurie Buchanan

  3. Yes, Peter, I can understand this. I imagine that for someone raised in scarcity and schooled in justifying need – and perhaps in adult life in balancing the bottom line – doing something for the sheer joy of it would represent an about face.
    And I am curious that you speak of 190 degrees – does not that extra 10 degrees start you back in the direction from which you just came?

    For myself, the key to this is ‘deserve’. I reject such offerings almost automatically as ‘not deserved’, as though life is a continual punishment for sins committed or potentially committed.
    Or more often it’s like: yes you can do this, but only after everything else that ‘needs’ to be done has been done. Of course, all that needs to be done, is endless. So ‘after’ never arrives.
    An attitude almost as bizarre and grotesque/unbalanced as the body builder in your illustration!

    • thank you malcolm for your careful reading and caring responding. The 190 degree looks like a typo, but the way you see it, as a return or continuation, suits me. TS Eliot spoke of that.

      Be kind and generous to your/self, please.

  4. I to am heading out on this journey in August, I am going to India. It had been a difficult task to accept it and just go, leaving my work and family behind to purse a spiritual experience. But in the end I know that I will only be more complete and therefor helping them more if I did go then if I didn’t. If that makes any sense. haha.

    • Makes sense to me, ha ha. Going on such a journey requires the sensibility of the fool, letting reason behind and opening yourself to the unknown. p.s. your plan inspires me go to india as well. maybe next year? May your life go well. Please write if you have a moment.

  5. Pingback: Life – A Steep Price! « Speaking from the Heart

  6. Joy is a state of being that also may have “nondoing” at its core; I think the more space you spend in joy the more you will attract joy; I feel the same way about love — to love with a goal in mind is not really loving; we love just for the sake of loving; sometimes, we can live just for the sake of living.


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