Saturday, February 25, 2006

Growing Into Your Purpose

Thursday I gave my very first book related talk.  It was not that different from other talks I have given except that now I have a product to point to and that apparently makes me more legitimate.  It is probably natural enough that people want some sort of evidence of a person’s effectiveness and the acceptance of one’s manuscript by a publisher is certainly a type of evidence.  I have known this for some time, knowing this was part of my motivation to keep going with the manuscript – a minor part but I was aware of it.  

One of the very first things that my publisher said to me was that it was all well and good to write something which was unique, interesting and spiritually valuable but, if you don’t get out there and sell it, you cannot expect people to feel your energy in the ethers and come flocking to your door – you have to get out and sell.  This told me that – no matter what a persons deep inner truth – still they must engage the world on its terms.  Which isn’t to say that one cannot push against those terms but they must be paid attention to on some level.  

I think there is this tendency in people to assume that, when they discover something deep or make some alteration in their life that is difficult or profound for them, others will instantly recognize it and honor it.  Nope.  In fact it seems to be just the reverse.  I have seen many people over the years take on some sort of discipline or energy and then expect others to just fall in line and accept or run to them for advice.  As if the world should totally alter itself just for them.  It doesn’t work that way.  It would be nice if it did but it doesn’t.  

The tendency in spiritual type people is to assume that everyone sees their bright shining visage, recognizes them for the brilliant light they are and falls at their feet begging to be given The Word.   I admit to thinking this early on, though I soon realized no one was paying attention.  What we need to realize is that we need two things, skill and some kind of documentation.  Just because you have had a deep experience of light does not mean that you are equipped to teach it or transmit it.  If you know, or think you know, that you are meant to be a teacher then it is important that you figure out just how it is that you are going to incorporate the needs of the world with your insight.  If you insist that the world conform to you, you will be disappointed.  

Instead you might accept that your experience or experiences is just the beginning of a long journey which is leading you to an unknown destination.  In my case I always knew that eventually I would have to do something to give me the legitimacy to do what  I believe I am meant to do.  It took awhile, thirty years, but it finally came together.   So, as one of my young friends says, remember the “P” word – Patience.
Many Blessings, Musawwir

6 comments:

Sarala said...

Well, I'm certainly experiencing this. But, or And, for me there's another aspect - one of my clients who is a marketing guru keeps coming up with ideas which I know are good marketing ideas but which seem to me will cheapen the offering. While I sometimes feel sad or frustrated that people don't commit to practice, those who find the classes in their own seeking end up being the ones who take it seriousy - while those I 'pursue' don't seem to value the experience. So what is the balance?

molly said...

Musawwir, you spoke to me alot about validation, and it sounds from this post that the book a form of validation for you. Also, is sounds to me that you are seeking validation from others by wanting them to seek you out as a source of knowledge and wisdom. It has been my observation that people who are ready for a deep experience of "the light" will find it in whatever form it comes in.

Musawwir said...

It could be seen like that I suppose but validation isn't what I am talking about, nor am I talking about experiences. I am talking about what you do after the experiences. There is nothing wrong with declaring yourself to be the person you know yourself to be. Just like any teacher of anything, if people then want to seek out your instruction that is fine, if they do not that is fine too but if you don't tell them they will not know you exist. I once asked Pir Vilayat about this very issue just because I was becoming nervous about the whole thing and he told me that I had no right to deny someone the opportunity to learn from me. Which is the very reason that he promoted himself. It is also very well known that offering oneself as a seminar giver is much more powerful if a person has documentation of some sort. Oh, you can stay in the community, whatever it may be, and people will come to you but outside of the community you need something. So, what I am saying is that, once the light has come and the desire to transmit it fills you, then you have to sit back, have a look and see what makes sense as far as the world is concerned.

molly said...

Very Cool. Your last sentence helps me understand. Thanks for re-explaining it for me.

Qalbi said...

.'We have met the man spoken of by Moses in the Law, and by the prophets: it is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.' 'Nazareth!' Nathanael exclaimed; 'can anything good come from Nazareth?' John 1:45-46

Do you think that this scripture from the Bible has some application here - at first I thought of it as an outward impediment, but at this moment I'm applying it inward; as in a critical voice of my own, saying something like: 'can anything good come from Qalbi?'

Abi-Ru Shirzan said...

If we look from the other perspective, the point of view of those who are trying to connect with other Seekers, it seems easier to understand the need to make oneself known. Moses didn't want to speak, but God made him do it. Jonah went to great lengths to avoid giving God's message to the public, but God had His way in the end. Jesus did not sit at home and "wait to be discovered." He had to hit the road and even tell certain people to come along. And Mohammad was commanded to "recite." Shahabuddin Less tells about Murshid in India, preceding by musicians and banners, walking under a huge and resplendent umbrella. Some are called to teach, it seems, and if students are told that "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear" then the teacher has to make himself/herself visible and findable, perhaps. I owe my own ultimate connection with the Sufi Order to Llewellyn's willingness to "commercialize" and arrange a Sufi Conference and to Pir Zia's willingness to be part of it, and I am so grateful that they made it possible for me to find them at last.

And as for Musawwir's book, I do think it would be infinitely better if everybody could gather round him and just converse with him, but since that's unfortunately not possible, I am really happy that the book is going to be out there for everyone to find--and that he is going to make it easier for folks to find it. Marketing isn't bad in and of itself, is it?