I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the Summer heat. Enjoy it while it lasts ;)
I've been sitting on this blog post for a while now. It's created a bottle neck effect on the other ones that want to push through and be shared, so I had to get it off my chest, so to speak.
I have found myself at a bit of a crossroads lately. I’ve written quite a bit on the subject of “enlightenment” over the last few years, much of it representing where I envisioned readers to be on their own path, which has also reflected where I have been on mine. However, I have tried to avoid certain ideas that might turn some people off. As I ran across quotes and insights, each one was instantly judged based on how useful it would be for my projected audience. As time went on, I found myself revising my writing more and more to make the message more palatable for the potential readers in my mind. All of this has become much more noticeable of late, which makes me think I used to be less concerned about how my message was received than I am now.
The Internet has increased the exposure of my writing, and its potential circle of influence and exposure. The potential audience has now diversified and left me a bit uncertain as to who will be reading these words. Will it be spiritual adepts, teachers, critics, or will it be the curious and beginning seekers (which seems to be mainly who I have had in mind when I write)? Is it possible to write something that resonates with everyone? Whose needs am I trying to appeal to anyway?
Up until now, I have had a “known” audience of about 90 people on an email list comprised of friends, family, and acquaintances, plus a blog. So, I have written with many of those people in mind. Now, there are online discussion groups popping up all over for Truth seeking people and those interested in enlightenment. There are a lot of people out there, such as myself, who have a very firm grasp on the ideas surrounding enlightenment. They have it all figured out on an intellectual level, have had a few awakening experiences, and want to tell people how it is. I’m no different, but I am not one to debate another on what’s true and what’s not (at least not openly ;), but that’s what I have seen in some of these online discussion forums.
There are those people drawn to these discussion groups wanting more insights from fellow seekers or teachers. Then there are others who seem to have all the answers, while others who disagree and point out inconsistencies in what someone else has said. Ultimately they are all saying what’s true for them and disagreeing with someone else who doesn’t see things the same way. In many cases it’s a philosophical debate over semantics among egos about Oneness.
After seeing this a couple of times, I decided these groups weren’t for me. Obviously there is no harm in a friendly debate, which is what these tend to be. But if I don’t resonate with what’s being said on a deep level, then it’s just brain candy and fodder for the ego. Having said that, I have benefitted from this ego fodder because it has pointed out my own judgments I have about people, but that’s a different story.
I have found online discussion forums that are a bit more structured, which involve an actual teacher answering questions, that serves members well. A spiritual teacher who is willing to foster and facilitate online discussions is a wonderful thing. Not only is it enlightening, but it prevents endless debates from arising, and actually points readers toward what lies underneath the words.
As for me, there is nothing I can say that is actually true (except for maybe what I just said). However, I am finding myself projecting out my own insecurities, being careful not to say something that an imaginary spiritual critic might take issue with. Basically, my ego is trying to protect itself from criticism by censoring what it says. The increasing tendency to revise is how its desire for praise is manifested. This is very interesting to notice and acknowledge, so I felt compelled to share it.
Of course, this idea filtering has been going on all along, I just happen to be noticing it more and more these days. Much of what I have written has been written with specific people (or types of people) in mind, and my perception of how my message would be received by those people based on my story of them. I have avoided using many terms and phrases that I thought might alienate those with only a mild curiosity, or those who still have firm beliefs. I would prefer to tone it down a bit rather than cause a mind to close down by stepping on a sacred cow (so to speak).
My intention has always been to spark interest in those who have accepted simply being content with life, rather than search for that unadulterated joy that’s at their fingertips. That joy is what we are all searching for, and I want everyone to know that it is attainable at this very moment. This is something that everyone should know.
Now that I am becoming connected with more and more people via Facebook, I am feeling a bit more pressured to watch what I say. There is great potential here to reach hundreds of people with tiny bits of wisdom that might resonate with someone who had no interest in the idea of enlightenment before. I think the key is not to make broad sweeping statements as an authority figure (i.e. “This is how it is.”), but instead scatter ideas or questions that might spark interest.
It’s yet another example of how I have been living my life. I find my actions governed by what I think “so and so” will think about such actions or words. It’s been that way all along and I’m seeing it for what it is more clearly now – protection of the ego. At this point I feel it’s time to be a bit more free with my words, with less concern about how the imagined world perceives them to be. I can learn more about myself by seeing the “me” in “you” anyway ;)