Although I originally subscribed to the newsletter How to Save the World because I was researching a project the writer was involved in, I came to appreciate his writing and sincerity. His awakening has felt to parallel mine at times: starting off with a strong desire to effect change in the world, then, with deeper focus and significant ‘spiritual’ realization, loving the world, more and more, just as it is. There’s a fair bit of melancholy acceptance inside that shift, but liberation of focus too, as a large part of one’s energy uncouples from entrenched systems.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
― Buckminster Fuller
Linking to a site called ClearerThinking.org, a recent newsletter contained some interesting ideas about the quality of questions we ask and answer; I couldn’t help but want to respond to the examples! So here goes!
- If you were getting a portrait taken, and the photographer asked you to hold something in your hand that told viewers something important about you, what would it be?
I love this question so much that I skipped it to come back to at the end, yet still have no answer! A desert rose? Hologram of a Buddha field? My stuffed blue dog from childhood? 🙂
- What do you believe that no one else does? (the famous Peter Thiel question)
I believe we humans read each other’s thoughts and intentions (both voiced and unvoiced) extremely well. We just aren’t good at integrating this knowledge, so have lots of strategies to distract and cover the capacity.
- What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
I remember being asked this question at a round table discussion I attended. I couldn’t narrow down *everything*, which seemed like a cop-out. Almost 30 years later, I still want to do so (too?) many things! However, my honest answer right now is that I would fully express myself, no matter what ‘thing’ I am doing. It is sort of the same answer, however doesn’t FEEL vague like before.
- What do you wish you’d learned earlier in life?
There are so many things (money related, relationships and families related), but today I’ll answer: that I was always enough. That my contributions are valuable. That I don’t have to give everything away or disappear to be safe. It is okay to be in the room.
- In a few sentences, summarize your worldview or philosophy of life. What do you think is life’s meaning or purpose?
🙂 What comes to mind is a favorite Auden quote: “We are here on earth to help others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.” But further to Ramana Maharshi’s: “There are no others.” Related, in meditation one day I heard, “It isn’t about being a good person. It is about love.”
At core, I believe there is nothing but love.
* What would you like to be renowned for?
So often people have filled in gaps, impatient with my too thoughtful verbalizing of ideas, or holes in stories I never forced (or even asked, really) anyone to hear my side of. I think it would be amazing for some of that false gap-filling to fall away, to connect directly, share real insight. I’d like to be thought of as a person who has that capacity, who can be open and attentive with/for someone, allowing insight to come forward. I’d like to experience that more too.
- What are you most grateful for?
Not a particularly fascinating answer, but more true each day: my children.
Close second: meditation.
Friends, books, food, space.
- What would you most like to know about your true self, or about your future?
I’d like to know it is all going to be okay in a practical sense (I worry too much lately). I’d like to experience who I am/would be when not restrained by fear or confusion. Perhaps too, I’m ready to be a loving companion.
- What’s on your bucket list, and what’s holding you back?
My bucket list is full of travel destinations + countless spontaneous moments of grace and love. Holding me back? On one count, money – resources. On another count, I am on the lookout for and in celebration of those every day!
- What quality do you wish you had much more of?
Sheer willpower. Confidence. Sometimes I have courage without confidence, which rarely goes well. 😉
- Who inspires you the most?
“Most” throws me here. I admire and and am inspired by many people. I’m fortunate to know extraordinary and loving people who are leaving beautiful impressions in the world every second they are alive, and If I dwell on any of them, I feel incredibly full.
- When in your life were you happiest, and why? What was the biggest turning point, and how did it change you?
🙂 This question makes me think of the bath tub scene in The English Patient.
“When were you happiest?”
“When were you least happy?”
What springs to mind right away are contented moments: snuggling with new babies or playing with new pets, and meditation/insight experiences (especially those shared with others); awe-striking moments: seeing mountains for the first time, walking with deer in the dark, shooting stars, witnessing moments of deep kindness, writing something beyond myself; and spiritual visions/experiences: when reality and dreams have mixed, like when it felt as though Japan was dreaming me, or guard-down experiences of love.
Biggest turning point?
There have been a few, whether one calls them turning points or awakenings. Each has been a re-set to remember what I wrote in an answer earlier: there is nothing but love.
- What do you most like about yourself? What are you a role model of?
Curiosity and change. It isn’t that I seek to change, but it naturally happens when you have a questioning personality and are observant/receptive. I genuinely care and extend my heart, appreciate the uniqueness of where people I encounter are coming from, and try to ‘approach anew’ ~ even myself. I can experience different selves concurrently, therefore can imagine different kinds of lives vividly in a pretty seamless ongoing way.
- What important thing have you changed your mind about?
I grew up thinking I did not want to have children, for one.
For another, I’ve traveled through several spiritual expressions in my life, sometimes convinced I had all the answers, other times convinced there were none at all.