[Excerpt from EASE, getting real with work]
To have the job of our wildest dreams, to do the work we are to do, to live from the freedom we really are, we have to be willing to get a bit clearer about reality.
Ok, in the previous chapter we started with what we see around us. And the fact that nothing can be observed other than via perception. And everything that is brought to life in perception will change as perception changes and as understanding of the nature of perception changes.
This is true of everything. It is true of the job. It is true of the client. Of the annual target. Of the HR department. Of the annoying colleague with the too loud laugh. Of the office. Of money. Of overtime. Of laws and rules.
With me so far?
We’re going to take it even further. To the place that looks so rock-solidly real and unquestionable: the ‘I’, the ‘who you are’
There is not one single aspect of you that is independent of perception. Not the body. Not the mind. Not the space you take up. Not the things you seem to do. Not the successes or failures. Not your past. Not your future. Not the thoughts or feelings or experiences. Nothing.
If there is not one single aspect of who you think you are that is independent of perception then… where are you?
Who are you?
What are you?
You could say, ‘I am the mind doing the perceiving’. But any experience of that mind is also only a creation of perception.
There must be an aspect though to this ‘I’ that is independent of perception.
Because this ‘I’ has been a constant presence during your entire existence. This ‘I’ has not changed as we grow from baby to adult, as we move from place to place, as new beliefs and different emotions come in.
The ‘I’ of me can’t be the mind which is so different now than it was when I was born.
The ‘I’ of me can’t be my body which is also different in every way.
Where is this ‘I’? Where is the constant, always present me?
The constant, always present, is the awareness of all of it. I am aware.
That is where the true ‘I’ can be found.
Within that awareness appears an experience of who I am, a perception of what I look like, of what I need. And within that awareness appears all experience.
This is the most transformative shift in understanding that we can ever make.
It is the shift from believing we are what we think we are to seeing that who we really are is the space in which those thoughts appear.
There is nothing bigger than this.
It can sound airy fairy and removed from reality but it is the only understanding that actually brings us into reality. If you are reading this book to deal with the hard, truthful reality of self, life, money and work, this is the only place to start. Questioning what that reality actually is.
No realisation will have a more dramatic impact on every aspect of your life: health, career, parenting, education, relationships, wealth.
The dramatic impact comes from the understanding that all of those things from career to wealth are not fixed objective things that we, as an objective entity, have or not. They, along with the idea of ourselves as success or failure, rich or poor, are thought created experience appearing in the consciousness that we really are.
It creates an utterly different, and infinitely more real and practical understanding of the relationship between self and other.
So, when we look around the office, hospital, school, shop, construction site or wherever we work and we think about what it says about us. We can start to realise that any thought of who we are and any thought of the work-place are all thoughts appearing within our true nature – awareness.
When we sit in a meeting and someone seems to criticise our work, we can realise that the true ‘I’ is not the one apparently being criticised. The true ‘I’ is the place where that experience of a self, of criticism, of another person, of a meeting room appears.
When we feel offended, we can realise that there is an experience of an idea of me and experience of offence being taken.
When we feel insecure or unconfident, we can notice an experience of insecurity happening. It looks like it says something about who we are. But when we follow the logic through, how can it? In that moment there is an experience of me as insecure. That is as transient as the clouds. Where is the real ‘I’ in that?
Identification begins to shift from the personal, with its assumptions, conditioned thought, limited beliefs, tendencies and habits to the awareness of that personal idea.
And this is where the freedom lies. Because that idea of self that we have taken so seriously is our only limit. It is the only source of conflict. It is the reason for all stress, exhaustion, unrest, worry and overwhelm.
Seeing through the idea of a fixed, unchanging, objective self means that we gradually start to see through the personal overlay that thought places on experience.
‘What does this say about me?’
‘What do they think of me?’
‘What does this mean for my future?’
‘What does this mean for my reputation, security and success?’
Those questions always looked important. And it looked like it was necessary to know the answers. But now we start to notice the illusory, made-up nature of them. We start to realise the question and answers lie only in conditioned limited thought. They are based in imagination. And with this realisation, the reality of life starts to open up.
This book is an exploration of what it means to show up to work without the rigid frame of belief in a personal self.
It explores what happens to the 9-5 with the understanding that every aspect of self and job is a function of perception.
It considers how professional and all other relationships change with the realisation that there is no separate me or separate other.
It looks at what happens to creation and productivity when all idea of personal limit and restriction is dissolved.
It questions what happens to stress, exhaustion and conflict when we realise there is nothing to defend or protect.
Where are you at with this now?
Does it sound ridiculous? Does it sound crazily woo-woo? Are we back in the daisy field?
Or does there seem to be a glimmer of truth in what I am saying?
Can you begin to see that the self you believe in is not as fixed as it might appear?
Can you see the logic that awareness of this changing experience is the only constant?
Do you have a sense that everything related to the work you do might shift as your understanding of self deepens?
Stay with it. I promise that even the slightest glimmer of this changes everything.
Work out what you are.