March 22, 2011

How my ego didn’t like Waylon & what happened next.

I have been blogging for a little over four months on my own website.

On elephant journal I’m the new kid, the guy from overseas who wrote “12 Things Every Guy Should Master To Become a Real Man,” which was quite a cool debut actually. The post ranked #1 for Popular Right Now, #1 for Popular Lately and #1 for Popular This Week within 48 hours after publishing.

…But it’s not what I want to talk about today.

For me writing is a way to practice openness and sincerity. I give voice to what is alive in me at the very moment of typing.  That means I hardly ever know what I will write about when I sit down. I just observe what comes up and type it down. It is a practice of courage; I find it often scary to publish what goes on in my heart and soul. But by doing it anyway I make you, the reader, a witness to my inner journey and an accomplice on my spiritual path. I trust that this is a good thing, but quite often I doubt that too.

Lately…I’ve been dubbing on another one of the countless paradoxes that live inside me. I have this ego that is fearful, defensive, filled with pride, guilt and shame, narcissistic, looking for approval, insecure, feeling unwanted, lonely and separated from self and others and generally failing at life. Its outlook on the world is limited and constricted.

And then there is also a force that transcends all that. When doing my daily round of procrastination is saw this quote posted on someone’s wall on Facebook that illustrates that feeling nicely:

“Peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their oneness with the universe.”

~ Black Elk

Black Elk hits the nail right on the head; ever since I glimpsed oneness with myself and oneness with the universe (four months later) there has been peace in my soul. I have felt the Divine and recognized that it had been there all along. In fact, I finally saw that the separation was an illusion. We all come from the same Source—in fact, we are that Source. There is no way of explaining how true it feels until you go through a similar experience yourself. To me it felt like pure liquid golden love. I Am Love. There is no other way of putting it.

Now of course this is very nice, a blessing even, but it doesn’t make life less weird. It can feel quite schizophrenic actually. One part is blind and stumbles through life, and the other part can see the Blind One stumbling, together with all the fellow Stumblers and feels great compassion and deep trust.

Let me give you an example:

A couple of weeks ago I discovered this website as a side effect of the open letter I wrote to my zen teacher Genpo Merzel who disrobed after a sex scandal. I liked the set up of the site, felt some like-mindedness and could not miss the fact that they had an enormous amount more visitors than my website. So I sent them an email and received a short response from Waylon Lewis. Now comes my confession: didn’t like the guy from scratch, even though I was only meeting his online identity. Something brought up resistance in me immediately. Didn’t like his picture, his logo, his self promoting email signature, the tone of the email he sent me and so on and so on.


Then, a couple of days later, I received a link from a post written by Waylon.

I overcame my reluctance and click on the post anyway, feeling that I should know what and how the guy writes. Then I read his first lines: “Lately, I’ve been depressed. Not badly depressed, but beat. Difficulty breathing, living, being happy. I’m sad all the time. (…)”. Something shifts in me. All of a sudden I can see again, and really see him not as a logo or photo or two-dimensional projection: but as a human being.

And when the shift happens, I can see myself too, I realize it was my ego that was judging him and judging itself, making him into something inferior because my ego had started to feel inferior.

Why? I can give you an explanation, but I guess the best answer is that this is just how an ego functions, at least in my case. And it happens all the time.

I gained another cool insight from reading his post. It probably wasn’t Waylon’s best written article ever, no beautiful language, no skillful stylistic features. But it was raw and real, coming from a painful but sincere place. Not only did I like it but for the first time I understood why the more raw posts I have written myself were received so well (like Self-Therapy for example, very similar to Waylon’s post actually). I never understood that before, felt even a bit embarrassed that I wrote from such a stuck place, not offering any ‘wisdom’. Reading Waylon’s post made me feel sympathetic towards him, gave me something to resonate with, to identify with, made me feel appreciated as a listener. His post gave me permission to be human.

Note to self:

Once again: it is not about the wisdom, it is about the realness. Don’t worry about the duality. Nobody wants you to be perfect nor expects you to be. Except one person, who thinks that only you are not allowed to make mistakes in this world. That person is you, when you are caught up in holding on to ideas about how you should be. Please remember this next time you are about to fall in this trap again.

I am like a goldfish, coming to the same insight every day, genuinely surprised every time.

Thank you Waylon and all the other fellow travelers on the path that keep it real. Thanks for being real and showing me that writing from a real place is healing.


Ed’s disclaimer: at Atalwin’s request, I looked for full-of-myself photos (not hard to find). The above lady is not/was never my gf, she was a friend’s gf at a wedding who decided to make my hair stick up. ~ W.

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