In my late teens and early twenties I developed a suicidal state of mind. I was depressed for a few years. All my training in logic, math & science (heck I built a small computer before I turned 18) seemed to be in conflict with the actual workings of the world. The past year of my life I have been happy – this is a new thing! I feel that this happiness is triggered by a healthy tension that exists between my mind facility and my faith facility. I realize that I was not taught to believe and that I had resisted the mere thought of “running on faith”. Today I experience the ability to “have faith” as a leveraging force in my life.
I feel that so much has been said about this book… and yet most people I mention it too have either not heard about it or only just recall reading it a long time ago. This book was very helpful and inspiring to me. It can be tough reading but that is easy to overcome – simply browse through the parts that you feel are too much for you. I connected with the book and have read it numerous times and each time I am able to dig in deeper in certain parts.
The book is a personal story, a philosophical discussion, about the trap of seeking and about the inevitable yearning to do so. I like it because it inspired me into believing that the trap is there only because of the limitation of the mind and a simple human choice to ignore that limitation. I like it because it is highly reasonable and at the same time highly spiritual – and the two live in harmony side by side. I like it because it does not provide a solution – but it does demonstrate that seeking, regardless of the difficulties it may cause, is a meaningful and worthy path through life – that there probable are not shortcuts.
I carry with me, from the book, the concept of Quality. I have found this to be a clear (though sometimes inexplainable) point of reference for my choices in life and in guiding others. I have found that when I run into religious (and spiritual) contexts, in which I experience resistance, that by simply replacing the concept of “God” with “Quality” I am quickly able to peal away the distractive qualities and experience the core. It is a word with which people like to associate themselves – so it is an excellent tool of communication and bridging.
If you are interested in delving deeper – the book has a sequel called “Lila”:
I am one of two founders in a new initiative – potentially a startup company. Both of us (as well as the company vision and concept) come from a creative background – we are both (firmly grounded with a good grasp and background in technology and business) artists. One of the core qualities of our lives is a relaxed approach to work – which means that we take the time to make the time to get things done right – and we will not compromise this quality in our lives.
While this is (arguably) all good and well – we feel that our business entity requires an additional energy. A driving day-to-day energy that will fuel the infrastructure processes that support business. Out of respect for our personal choices and to the business we are founding we have decided to seek a third partner – codenamed “The CEO”. A person who’s motivation and energy are suitable for the day-to-day bustle of getting (and keeping) a company up and running. Someone who can provide us with the conditions we need to help her create the conditions she needs to run a successful business.
One of our consultants who is assisting us in business strategy and fund-raising resisted this suggestion. He offered that one of the assurances that investors are looking for is to see that the founders are actively involved and committed to the company – that they are not merely seeking to make a quick-buck and then leave the company to fend for itself. Our counter argument was that this 3rd partner demonstrates a clarity and maturity of the founders that realize the critical role of good management and that are taking measures early in the process to ensure the company infrastructures include this critical facility.
Though this is an interesting conversation that deserves attention – I would like to point out a more subtle aspect. The (unspoken) subtext of the conversation was that when it comes to investors – there is talk of appearances – to make them feel that things are OK. This carries another more subtle (well hidden) subtext – that things as they are (well thought out, well intended, respectful of personal and business needs, etc.) are not OK – that they need to be disguised to appease. This was our wake up call – where the issue was (for the time being) resolved.
We decided to continue our search for “the CEO” – that third partner that will support our personal needs and those of the business. We will give thought to the form of the shape of the partnership and make sure that it is also supportive of personal and business needs of all the stakeholders. We are siding with straightforward truthfulness and honesty!
I feel its important to recognize the gross and subtle differences between engaging a project and creating a process within a business operation. Often times the choice is made based on prejudice and/or existing circumstances which dictate a default choice. Maybe we need to give this some thought? Read More
I remember all the moral stories I was read and taught as a child – I just realized that I experienced them all (if this was intentional or not – I can only guess) as telling me how to behave properly with the world. They all seemed to involve some level of personal sacrifice – which was of course rewarded with “feeling good about myself” morally. Well I am constantly realizing – that it’s not like that … nor is it the other way around.
I had a breakthrough yesterday – I still don’t feel like talking or writing about the actual event – those who were with me supported and witnessed it. The thing that most echoed in my consciousness, that I do want to share, was the feeling of acting out of complete attention to myself and not out of complete disregard for my surroundings. This is a subtle realization for me!
I feel that the morality I was brought up with (and this has a lot to do with my family history, the cultures I was brought up in, etc.) taught me to sacrifice of myself for others (as others apparently did for me). This never felt quite right – but I had a thorough education so it held up for a long time (as you can tell I am still working with it!). Then at a certain point I made a rather drastic switch – an opposite extremity (which is what you get when you wind up a person to one extreme and then release) – one that centered on myself – my wants and needs. I don’t think I ever truly ignored my surroundings – but I gave clear priority (and still do!) to myself.
As time chiseled away at my harshness I have grown towards a delicate balance between myself and the world around me. I cannot be good/supportive/helpful to those around me unless I have a firm personal base – a grounding from which I can be my best. For me this includes money, a home, people, quiet, solitude and some kind of spiritual engagement (yes money did come first and no the order is of no significance – but you are welcome to analyze it to your heart’s content).
Yesterday I realized that there are two directions of working towards that delicate balance between myself and the world around me.
- One is the path I have been on for many years – pulling away from the bonds of the world around me. I experience this as a struggle – pulling away from something that is pulling me back. It has a subtractive quality – something must be lost for something to be gained. There is a high friction experience of destruction of what is to make space for what may be.
- The second is by working outwards from my core. Though I have been on this path for some years – it is only yesterday that I truly experienced this in my body. This is a process of growth that occurs at my own pace. It is a process in which I grow closer to the world by expanding and adding new layers. It is a pleasant process of exploration.
Though I am not claiming a truth – I know which one feels better for me at this point in my life : )
Thank you Shahar for your own process of inquiry, for sharing your insight and creating the circumstances for my body do its own learning!