Authentic Living

Buried Treasure: Three Essays from Three Anthologies

Last week, I discovered three essays I had written for three anthologies, and I believe they are among the best writing I have ever produced. The themes are authenticity in public speaking, values in the workplace, and self-awareness as the foundation of leadership. I have made them available for free download on this page. Below are brief descriptions of each. Enjoy!

THE WORKPLACE AND SPIRITUALITY
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON RESEARCH AND PRACTICE

Edited by Dr. Joan Marques, Dr. Satinder Dhiman and Dr. Richard King

Robert’s essay makes a strong case for speaking in public with authenticity. We need to speak with authenticity, predicated on vulnerability, honesty, empathy, transparency, and love. Authentic speaking is beneficial to our soul, the vitality and future of our organizations, and even the fate of our world.

 

12 STEP WISDOM AT WORK: TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE AND YOUR ORGANIZATION

Edited by William C. Hammond, III

The revolutionary concepts in this anthology have been developed by the internationally renowned Hazelden Foundation, one of the world’s leading recovery institutions. The co-authors show how the program that has helped millions of individuals can be used to dramatically change organizations, achieving greater efficiency and resulting a shared set of values that will propel the organization to new heights.

Robert’s essay is “The Answer to our Prayers,” in which he discusses the importance of integrating one’s most authentic personal values with those of the organization in which one works.

 

LEADERSHIP IN A NEW ERA: VISIONARY APPROACHES TO THE BIGGEST CRISIS OF OUR TIME

Edited by John Renesch

This anthology is a collection of vision and wisdom for tomorrow’s business leaders, presented by a group of outstanding men and women in a joint collaboration. This rare combination of business executives, professional consultants, successful authors, and leadership scholars has come together with a common theme: new times call for new leadership.

Robert’s essay is “The Koan of Leadership,” in which he advocates the development of self-awareness as a core leadership capacity.

Walking Out the Door

WALKING OUT THE DOOR.

Has someone ever come up to you, thinking they know you, and started chatting away about people and events you have no knowledge of?

You wonder who they’re speaking to. Suddenly, they wake up and realize that they don’t know you, that you only looked like someone they know or knew.

This is happening to me now. People are writing and speaking to me as if they know me. They don’t. I wonder who they think I am. I wonder who they’re speaking to. I wonder why they aren’t more present with themselves, and me.

It is quite common, isn’t it, to assume that we know people, because their name and face and voice are familiar? But we have to be careful, because something may have happened in their hypocenter, the underground focus point of an earthquake. They may have lived through an earthquake, a demolition of their previous self.

Without our noticing, their entire identity, history, and being may have shifted so suddenly and totally as to make them a new person. Not the old person with new ideas, experiences, and beliefs, but a new person, one we’ve never met. This can happen to anyone, to all of us. It’s often why we undertake personal and spiritual growth work: to become something utterly new.

Read the rest of this article on Rebelle Society.

 

The Drunkenness of Love

THE DRUNKENNESS OF LOVE.

I admit that I am drunk. No, not booze. Not drugs. Not sex. Not nature. Not music. Just drunk. The drunkenness of love, pure and simple.

My mind has gone where minds go when we are drunk. I don’t know who or what is writing; certainly there is no thinking. I can barely see. Thankfully, my fingers have been trained to find the right keys, on their own. Maybe my fingers are behind this. I don’t know. Someone wants to say something.

Love is never absent from our lives. We do not have to find it; we are it. The problem is not that we don’t know how to love, or whom to love and in what way. The problem is that we are afraid of love, because love consumes us. We dissolve into love like salt dissolves in water. We disappear into love. We are overcome by love.

Love does not disappoint us. We disappoint ourselves because we resist love; we are afraid of disappearing into love. And so we are confused about love. It eludes us. We can’t quite grab hold of it. We try to love. We want to. But we don’t.

We don’t mind having an experience we call love, but we don’t want to lose ourselves. We want love to be like our sterling silverware or our best shoes. We use them when we want to, on special occasions. But we don’t want the forks and knives or the shoes to take us over. We want to be the judicious owners of these things. We want them to enhance our lives on our terms.

 

Read the rest of this article at Rebelle Society.

Writing ain’t easy

Writing ain’t easy.

Over time and with experience, it does get easier, but even then it ain’t easy. But that don’t really matter, ’cause if you’re called to write, you can’t avoid it. You gotta do it. Even if your spelling and grammar aren’t too good. It don’t matter.

You just write, because you got to write.

I started writing in my late teens, mostly long unintelligible poems to record my equally unintelligible wanderings throughout the world, took a 10-year hiatus while living in an ashram, then came back to it. My first article was published in 1991, a featured article in a “new age” magazine with my name on the cover. I went sky-high with pride and self-importance; that didn’t last.

Connection is the Whole Deal

Of the many sudden, almost fierce, insights I’ve had post-terminal cancer diagnosis was the realization of how rarely I had connected with people throughout my life. I mean deeply and truly connected; connected as if the only thing that ever existed was that moment, with that person or those people. I saw that my connections with people were often utilitarian and business-like, with one eye on the person or people I was speaking with, and one eye on the clock and my calendar, projects, and ambitions. I was too busy to connect, too busy to be present, and too busy to pay attention — to the degree I know now is essential.

"Kiss at the Beach" / original artwork by Myriam Negre

“Kiss at the Beach” / original artwork by Myriam Negre

As I emerge from my almost three-year healing cocoon, I’m noticing that the kind of connection I rarely made with people is now of utmost importance. No, that’s not it. It’s more than that: the realism, the reality, of being a human being, and of meeting other human beings, is predicated on this quality of connection. Without being fully present and without paying full attention to our own self and to others in the precise instants in which we are together, we cannot truly have connection.

Song of Sudden Freedom

If we are seeking what is real, the real is seeking us.

If we long to know the truth, the truth longs to know us.

If we want to drown in love, love wants to live in us.

These entities are everywhere, even pounding on drums in the ceremonial centers of our cells — trillions of them. They flood into and from us.

Be a child in this on-rushing love: don’t move. Stand still. Don’t try to find the real, or know the truth, or experience love. All effort pushes it away. Be like a lost child and wait to be found. Stand still, be open, look and see that everything you want is already taking you, filling you, possessing you.

We don’t need to seek: we have already found.

We don’t need to learn: we already know.

We don’t have to become: we already are.

SEE THIS AND BE FREE.

The world is alive and breathing inside your very body. All that you treasure is within you. Your inadequacy is but a habit, your bondage an illusion, your fears but shadows and gossip. Let go of all you hold on to. Only you can free yourself from your own deception. Forgive yourself, step into the light of love rushing towards you from a million inner suns.

No one has harmed you, no one has wronged you. Only your pride thinks this is so. Let it go. Bitterness is your own dark night. Let it go. There is nothing worth protecting. Let the breath of new life fill you and fill your mind and fill your body. Your cells are now vibrating with new life. Your heart is opening, your being is growing larger and larger, colliding with the onrushing love. In this collision you can dissolve without fear.

You Cannot Do That!

[Written sometime around mid- to late 2016, but as relevant today as then, I reckon.]

“You cannot do that!” is what a well-meaning nurse told me yesterday at the chemo-ward, or whatever they call the place you sit in for several hours whilst intravenously imbibing what I like to call Shiva-Shakti juice.

Actually, this is what the second nurse said. The first one was unable to insert the needle into any of my veins even after three rather painful attempts. Apparently, my veins were small and would disappear on her. Bummer for her, and for me.

She said she’d get another nurse. As that one began to survey the situation, I politely (I’m always polite and friendly) said, “Let’s make this one count. If it doesn’t, I am out of here. Four is my daily limit for needle insertions.”

Chemo-cocktail, 10/18/'16

Chemo-cocktail, 10/18/’16

That’s not even counting the one I already had in the blood lab ward, where my Philippine lab technicians love me to death — in part because I always bring them home-baked cookies (courtesy of my sister Sandra) and in part because we laugh so much that others nurses come running in to be sure everything is OK. They flirt with me and I flirt right back. Or, maybe it’s the other way around. Whatever.

The Transformative Power of Silence

From the time I was 11 years old, I needed to know one thing above and before all else: Who am I? I traveled for a long time and throughout the world in search of answers.

One day, as if I had lived alone for many years in the deep desert, I was taken by a stunning stillness, and without resistance I disappeared into Silence. It was more than an epiphany, more than grace, more than mystical union: it was my soul’s homecoming and my mind’s eternal peace.

In Silence, I felt my core identity, my essential nature, as a unity with all creation. I experienced freedom, clarity, and joy as my true Self. I realized I was of time and eternity in equal measure. I was composed of physical matter and spiritual energy in equal measure. I was born in New York City at the same instant I appeared 20 billion years ago, unfathomably and impossibly far away, as a sibling to trillions of suns.

This Self, this Silence, belongs to all of us — it is who we are; it is what we are. If we are to experience and embody authentic peace and love, if we are going to bring true healing to our wildly violent and endangered world, we are going to have to learn to live within this essence which joins us together as brothers and sisters.

It’s OK to Disturb the Universe!

I said this at the beginning of a recent Speaking Truthfully webinar with seven women. I say it now. I’ll say it tomorrow. It’s true, isn’t it?

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There is great magic in Speaking Truthfully, the essence of which is: YOU are the message! But, your true and authentic self, the one with primordial presence and primal powers.

When we own what is inborn, what is and always has been intrinsic to our very being, when we purge from our mind the fears we have accumulated, when we let our heart grow wild, when we set our soul free from taboos . . . what was previously unimaginable is now possible. If we do not speak truthfully, we will never know what it is to be alive.

We all learn to hold our tongue, to suppress our truth, to hide our strength and power. We do it in order to survive, to belong, to feel safe, even loved. OK, fair enough. When we’re two or three or four years old, that’s not a bad strategy.

Now, today, this moment, I tell you that your strength, your power, your creativity — your very life — is in your freedom. The freedom to speak, to feel, to do. The freedom to be. Anything. Everything. Your innate power, the blessedness and blessings of Mother Shakti, they are there, inside. Poised and ready to erupt. We will ignite this eruption together. Immersed in shakti, not fear, anxiety, or self-doubt, you become invincible. We can no longer be safe in our hiding. We can no longer survive in self-suppression. The price is to high. It is death. It is walking death. Freedom, freedom from all habits of withholding, of succumbing to taboos, of blind obedience, of compliance — freedom to disturb the universe!

In your freedom is where you are truly safe, loved, powerful. In fact, in your freedom you are invincible and unconquerable. Your freedom is your authentic voice, your cosmic roar, your wildness, your beauty. Let’s claim and own what is ours, what is yours. Let’s not waste any more time. Let’s stop pretending to be small, wounded, afraid, self-victimizing. Enough.