The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Terror of Inner Stillness

Just lost a client--a highly successful, driven person who earns over 250k a year. I offered a standard exercise: the creation of a "Future History": the story of your life from today until the day you die.

They could not do it. Did not know what they wanted, or their own values. I offered a dead minimum program of a daily FIVE MINUTES of meditation and journaling. They couldn't do it. Could not.

The human ego is a phenomenally powerful force, and confronting it will generate fear on a level most have never experienced. I could have jollied this person along and kept a very nice cash flow there. Could not do it. I have to live with myself.

There have been suggestions that perhaps dance or some other movement activity as a substitute. Not everyone has the same path. And here I must agree--it is true.

However...a teacher has to trust his own instinct and experience. It is all we have. And mine tells me that all the people...ALL the people I've met personally who have the quality of personal integration and centeredness necessary to progress in a balanced manner CAN be still and quiet, in meditation and journaling. They may have mastered that, and moved onward to the more dynamic and advanced moving systems (still inside, dynamic outside) but they CAN be still.

This is similar to writers who want to start with novels, when beginning with short stories is hugely more efficient. Every successful novelist I know CAN write short stories, even if they choose to concentrate on novels at this point in their careers. Every writer I personally know who avoided this step has failed. Every one of them. I'm sure there are exceptions, but of those I had the opportunity to observe personally...every single one.

Because my commitment is to being the best coach I can be, I can only trust that instinct and experience. I've no other tool to use. And in this case, it told me that this person needed inner quiet. They have always filled their lives with noise and activity, and it is clear to me that their ego removed a potential soul-ally.

Please. Do the work. Take that minimum time to work on your deeper silence. Take the time to connect with the wisest, and most powerful part of yourself. It is far below the surface.

And tragically, your ego will fight to the death to convince you that deeper part is unnecessary, or unworthy, or doesn't exist at all.

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