Someone asked me what I do. I was hesitant at first, but engaged the question with a few lines of familiar introduction. Then someone else sat down between us, interrupting our conversation just at the point where I usually move up through the gears and talk enthusiastically, if not passionately, about my work. At first I was annoyed, but the interlude gave me a chance to return to my initial hesitancy and observe – perhaps for the first time – what it felt like to step back from selling myself.
As I have written before, selling is not my thing anyway, but in the right company I can be quite fanatical about what I do. This experience introduced me to an alternative which Karaj has been talking to me about for a long time. For years he has been telling me to stop trying to prove myself. Finally I got a glimpse into what he means.
I felt what it’s like to not do what I have been doing consciously and unconsciously my entire life: trying to convince people that I am okay, or that I have something to offer. Which, of course, is me trying to convince myself of those things.
Some time afterwards, I was listening to a dialogue between J. Krishnamurti and the physicist David Bohm. Bohm is a man who can legitimately point to a need to prove himself. His ideas were rejected by his peers (Oppenheimer, Bohr, Pauli et al.) Unable to disprove his work, and threatened by what it meant for their own legacies, they all agreed to ignore him. And yet he comes across in interviews as the most humble of men.
In that dialogue Krishnamurti speaks of the observer being the observed, and that it’s only when we realise and experience this that we feel the harmony of unity. Anything else is divisive and creates tension. At the end of Part 2, Krishnamurti explains,
‘Conflict exists when I am separate from my quality… But when the quality is me, the division has ended.’
His words influenced the previous post’s reference to the harm we create in ourselves through our lack of acceptance of what is experienced. Here the same is true, but the angle is slightly different: instead of refusing to accept what I observe, I am trying to prove something I already am. In doing so I am expending energy unnecessarily, whilst carrying the belief that I need to correct something: people’s perception of myself or, more accurately, my perception of myself.
(Note: the assumption is that I already am what I’m trying to prove, because if I am trying to prove what I am not, then I have even bigger problems.)
Karaj has made the same point about seeking status in the world. Again, Bohm is a fine example of this because only now, 70 years after his ideas were rejected and repressed, is their relevance and insight being acknowledged. It’s not about status or fame or recognition, it is about truth.
Truth cannot be subverted, nor can it be destroyed. It cannot even be communicated. It simply is, and we can take a lesson from that by simply being who we are, without any need to prove ourselves or show the world what we want it to see. None of that matters.
I write this a few weeks after beginning to internalise what Karaj has been saying to me for years, and I can report an indefinable sense of relaxation and peace. It beckons me, offering the kind of tranquility I have sought all my life.