1. Buddhist

Joyful Dispassion – Excited Non-attachment

These two oxymoron’s may seem to make no sense, to be internally inconsistent.   And yet they are at the heart of living a fully human, spiritual life.

For much of my practice, the emphasis has been to learn to see things as being just the way they are, that it’s all ok, that I will be ok regardless what life throws my way because I have returned home and will always return home to my true Buddha nature.   To view myself and the world around me directly, with dispassion, free of labels, free of the intervention of my ego-mind.  It has been about gaining the wisdom of acceptance.

I have achieved that state and it has been a source of peace to me and great comfort.   I have also learned to take joy in each passing moment regardless what is happening, by being aware of the light, nature, all that I am grateful for, the gift of being alive.

But I have been aware that although I feel very strongly about the work that I do, I do not experience joy in it.  And last night when I was reading a book titled The Map about manifesting, I realized why.   Because something inside me said that my work was not going to amount to anything in that my books wouldn’t sell, my life coaching business would to take off, etc,; I would not make any money because I was no one, I had no name recognition.

I also realized that I feared that if I did put emotional energy into my work that I would become attached to it and I would once again be subject to the disappointment and frustration that is part of our samsara.   I would no longer to able to view my work with dispassion; to say, “If it happens, great; if it doesn’t, that’s ok too.”  I believed those oxymorons were inherently inconsistent.

These two things worked in combination to hold me back and deprive me of taking joy in what I do, in what is important to me, each day.  In meditating one recent morning, I was aware that there was a time when I took great joy in what I did, that I believed not only that it had value but that people would find value in it.   And so I pursued and achieved goals that most people said were unrealistic.

But one day I sent my first book to an agent, who was the agent of a well-respected NPR personality with whom I had a mutual friend.   That agent told me, after reading my book, that no one would be interested in what I had to say because I was no one, I had no name.   

I was devastated, but I persevered.   I sent the book to a well-respected journalist, a cold call, who gave me a strong endorsement.   And so I continued to pursue my dream, but nothing came of it.   

And so it has been with everything I’ve done since then.   What that agent said to me turned out to be my experience.   Why this difference from my former life and efforts?  According to The Map the reason is that I absorbed that negativity and it became one of my false core beliefs.   Somehow this pronouncement by a total stranger, but someone with authority, was enough to change how I viewed myself and my prospects.   I did all the right things to have success, I went through all the motions, but the inner conviction, the faith, was no longer there.   That was the energy I was sending out to the universe, and that was what I received in return.

And so today I have started a new day, fresh.   I have started affirmations regarding my belief in my projects succeeding, being valued by others.   I am endowing my efforts with excitement; I can feel the books selling, the requests for life coaching coming in, and my financial situation being restored.

But back to the title of this post.   While I am investing this kind of energy in my work again, I remain not attached; I can honestly say, if it works, great; if it doesn’t, that’s ok too.  I have faith in my work, but I also view it’s success with dispassion. 

​But beware: it would be very easy to slip into being attached.   Your non-attachment and acceptance must be firmly rooted.

We’ll see how things progress.   But I feel like I’ve turned another spiritual corner.   How can I truly offer myself joy if I don’t take joy in the work that I do, just in what surrounds me and the things I am grateful for.   This is so important, as my purpose in life is to offer myself, as well as others, joy.   I intend to reclaim the joy and positive energy that was in me, despite all my turmoil, for most of my life until those words of dismissal were spoken to me.

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