Beyond Excitement 


 Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking was asked the question "Are you excited?" at the registration table of a Tony Robinns Seminar, as she heard the participants ahead of her, screeching in the distance. 

 It's a question I always dread to hear - "Are you excited?" In response, I want to say, (but am too polite to say:) "No, I'm not all flapping and fluttering with excitement! Go away, please! Prey upon another. Leave me alone!'

 How do you think Susan responded as to whether she was 'pepped up' for the big event? Well, she let out a scream and jumped up and down with glee, right?  

 Hardly. But this introvert played along a little because she wanted to experience for herself one of Tony Robbin's How to Unleash Your Power seminars. 

 Susan had wondered whether there might be, at the most well known self-help seminar in the world, any regard for, or emphasis upon, the power of quiet and introversion. 

 There was not. Nor, by the way, could she find, as she did her research, any focus on introversion at the Harvard Business School or the Saddleback Evangelical church. 

 In a similar kind of venue, I myself trained for a little while to become a Dale Carnegie Public Speaking and Human Relations associate, but withdrew from the program on the day when the instructor turned to me to exclaim:  "Wasn't that fantastic?!" with regard to a two minute talk a student had just given. 

 I had sat there cringing while the person spoke, and couldn't find it in me to drum up the required fictitious enthusiasm. I thus left the training program because I simply could not stand the pressure to have to be so exuberant about everything!  

 Is there a realm or dimension of being 'beyond excitement?' Well, there had better be! For a roller-coaster world of constant thrills and excitement is my vision of hell on earth. 

 I will exclaim in response: 'Stop the world, I want to get off,' if its message is: 'Come on down! You're the next contestant! This is it! It's your turn!"  Lord have mercy!  

But you'd think in some contexts that to be 'happy-clappy excited,' to be in some kind of frenzied, wild-eyed state, is life's ultimate goal! Lord, save us from such a fate!   

 I am reminded of a call I received from an old friend.  It went something like: "Hey Al, it's Rick! How are you? What kind of trouble have you been getting into lately, you rascal?!” 

 In response, as my soul sank, I could barely talk.

 I simply couldn't match this person's boisterousness, and surely had no great stories of mischievousness to tell him about! How 'dull' my life has been!    

 For myself I confess that after all these years, I have yet to feel any desire to 'unleash my power' in a Tony Robbins sort of way. 

 I have yet to experience a vision of dashing from the back of a room to leap upon a stage to 'pump people up' in an effort to help them achieve their dreams of success and happiness.

 In fact, quite the opposite. I've always had the thought that, in a certain sense, my role is to inflict a certain kind of salvific pain upon people. 

 Seriously so! That's my vision, to gently knock the restless Tony Robbins kind of mind out of people.

 I have felt a call to encourage in others a certain level of deep self-inquiry through a penetrating and loving attention towards them. My ambition has been to listen so deeply and actively to the person I'm with that her response might be a longing to engage in a searching self-inquiry. 

 My conviction is that self-inquiry can lead in time to Self-recognition, a state of awakening characterized by a sense of silence, wonder and reverence.   

 Which is philosophy's principal task: "To bring something new into the wretched sleep of man, to trouble that sleep with a great tremendous dream that finally stirs a man into an instant of awakening." (J. Needleman, The Heart of Philosophy, p. 136 of 206, a Nook Book)   

 In this regard, I read with great interest Ghandi's introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, where he says that the "only ambition worth having" is the realization of the inner Self or God. What interferes with that realization is the restlessness of minds forever 'hankering' and 'brooding' to achieve success and great results.   

 "Do your allotted work", says the Mahamat, "but renounce its fruit." Have no desire for reward." (Ghandi, p. 6 of 162 Three Translations of the Bhagavad Gita, Nook Book)  

 Which is to say that we should care less about getting all excited about what we might achieve and care more about finding within ourselves, as Gurumayi says, "a place of perfect silence.” 

 "Once you experience the inner silence you never feel empty, because in the inner silence you can hear the stars speak, you can hear the voice of the water, you can hear the voice of the great Self.  You can hear and you understand." (Gurumayi, Resonate with Stillness, January 18th)  

 'Supreme silence. Supreme silence.' I want to repeat it over and again, for to experience that silence is incomparably more satisfying and fulfilling than any self-help seminar is ever going to offer.

 It was my experience recently to enter this supreme silence because of a simple action I was asked to engage in. I was asked to wave a coconut in front of a meditation hall to prepare a group of meditators for a day long intensive.The ritual is regarded as a way of removing obstacles for the spiritual practitioners. 

 When it came time for me to wave the coconut, I boldly waved it twenty times in a circular motion. I gave it everything I had! I then took that coconut to a large pond where I smashed it on a rock and threw it into the pond.

 To smash the coconut, is to smash the ego! I feel that the ritual had its effect on my ego.    

 I felt so blessed to do this! The night before the ritual my meditation was very deep. On the way to the hall on the Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. I was fighting back tears, on the edge of sobbing.  

 People pay hundreds, even thousands for self-help seminars.

 On an incalcuably higher level, is the effect of waving and then smashing a coconut. It took me into the great silence

 You can keep the news of your latest 'excitement inducing' adventure to yourself. I have no interest in attending. 

 And, don't worry about me.  I'm doing just fine.