What do I want to transform or develop over the next 13 weeks of Inner Autumn? What are my inner intentions for developing myself? I thought about an intention of light and another of shadow – the long shadow of the short days of Fall.
Here is my light bringing intention: I commit to bring more calmness to my thought life. This means that I will center myself with a contemplation to embody my thinking before I do my writing, before I prepare my talks and workshops, before I speak with my clients. I have just come from my Saturday morning yoga class, I am feeling the weight of my body and it steadies my thoughts with gravity and order. I want this feeling all the time – and that is up to me and keeping my promise to myself.
Here is my shadow-inspired intention: I want to pay attention to the presence of pride and shame in my sense of self. I want to begin by distinguishing the earthly and the spiritual variations of pride and shame. When I feel earthly shame, I usually cover it up with spiritual pride and vice versa. In the subtle places of shame, the demons of pride lurk waiting for opportunities to seduce me with all kinds of arrogance. One key I will be looking for is the presence of pleasure in pride. If there is no pleasure in your pride then you know you are merely covering up shame. What is the shame? Just paying attention to these false feelings and pretenses with help them fade.
A Story of Feeling Pride
Just a few days ago, I put all my Inner Christmas Messages into one long document. 95,000 words! I didn’t know what to do with the evidence that I had written all those messages and that as I reread them I was so surprised and pleased. I found in my messages wisdom, compassion, and constant inspiration for the reader to do self-inquiry – to discover their own experience of whatever the topic was. I wasn’t telling the reader, I was suggesting. So I felt pride – pride at the persistence and devotion, pride at the love in my words, pride at the accomplishment, pride in the attention of the audience.
But the pride wasn’t connected to shame and it wasn’t arrogant. I really didn’t know how to feel it. As a child, I have no recollection of anyone telling me they were proud of an accomplishment I had made. As I said in a recent post my family inflated me, they did not encourage me. They were in awe of my being, not my doing. I was never told “good work, now do better, stretch further. You did it!” No one was noticing my development, helping me set goals, offering resources of support and guidance. So I floundered and fantasized.
When I find myself with evidence that I did not flounder and there was no fantasy, only reality, I am bewildered and confused. My first 21 years, the formative years, did not have a lesson in feeling pride for genuine accomplishment. Just now I am beginning to know pride of deed and celebration of accomplishment.
Moral development is about being something you haven’t been, changing your story, finding a new perspective, a new motivation, a new penetrating wisdom. Becoming a more intensely imagined self.
You have all my heartfelt encouragement for your Inner Autumn.