Making Love with Your Own Self

Dear Scott, Thank you for all your sharings regarding awakening; they are truly precious. I’ve been doing very good in being compassionate, unjudgeful, and filling my life with love, but I think that I have one big thing yet to accomplish..

I have this tremendous fear of public speaking. I go through all those nasty stuffs like diarrhoea before my speech. I sweat and get panic attacks during the beginning of my speech. I feel very warm. I’ve been trying to find solution for this misery for years, but still I go through the same old process. You are my next hope..please help me out.

Perhaps you are going about it all wrong. Fear does not exist in isolation. There is always a fear of something, fear of some kind of pain. Of humiliation or rejection, perhaps, fear of making a fool of yourself, or not being accepted, or liked, or respected. Early in my teaching career, I was offered an opportunity to teach classes in behavioral medicine for faculty, staff, and students at Harvard University here in the States. It was no big deal, really, but to me it was everything. I was shy and unsure of myself, and I so wanted validation and worried about disapproval from the people in my classes that I was terrified, experiencing severe headaches every day around class time. I even resorted to getting drunk, just to make it through class. The whole thing was so insane and absurd! Finally, I had to just stop and take stock of what was going on. In doing so, I quickly realized that I was fighting my own energy and resisting my own passion in a futile effort to protect myself. So I decided to go ahead and make the leap, that is, go ahead and give myself wholeheartedly to the task at hand and risk making a fool of myself. (What did I have to lose? I was already making a fool of myself!) From that point on, those very same classes became a radically different kind of experience, one of shared exploration and delight and self discovery for both “teacher” and “students” alike. So the invitation here is to let go of your desire for personal recognition and your fear of embarrassment in all of this and start all over.

In truth, there is no such thing as public speaking. That is just some fiction that there is someone in authority doing the speaking, and someone somehow lesser being talked down to. All of that is a condescension, a pretense, a lie. It’s only natural that we would be embarrassed by that lie, so let’s not even go down that road anymore.

When someone speaks with you, how do you like it to feel? When you speak, you are just having a conversation, talking with friends, talking and listening to your own Self in many different shapes, shades, forms, and expressions. (They may not realize it, but look and see: it’s all the very same Awareness, the very same Heart.) So talk to your friends, your own reflection.

What do you say? You share something you are passionate about. You tell them funny stories and cheer them up. You show them ways to let go of their self consciousness and fear. Do you think they are not afraid, not embarrassed, not confused, not isolated and cut off from each other? Look out over your audience – you will be shocked! Perhaps you haven’t noticed it before because you were preoccupied with thoughts about yourself. But in reality, it had nothing to do with you. Everywhere, people suffer. Everywhere, people are lonely and unsure of themselves. Do you think it is different in your audience? Everybody hurts. This is your opportunity to ease that sorrow. Everybody is worried and afraid. This is your opportunity to make at least some of them smile. Be intimate; make love with your audience (that’s all I do.) It’s just a group of people, like yourself, who may be in different moods and disguises:

With some, you can walk right up and embrace them affectionately.
With others, a gentle half-smile of kindness across the room is more skillful and appropriate.

Try it with a single friend first. Get comfortable sharing some passionate interest. Then maybe one or two others as well. Somewhere in there you will begin to notice that what you thought was fear was just bottled up energy and affection. If you stop trying to protect and defend yourself, it will flow easily all over the room. They will see that affection and that playfulness and that compassion in your eyes, and you will see it in theirs in response. This is true lovemaking, is it not? It may frighten some people a little, but that’s OK. Just be gentle and sensitive. As they realize you are not trying to get anything from them, that this is not some kind of competition or threat, most of them will join you in the fun of it. Just cut a lot of space for each one to be wherever they are. (We’re all just right here.)

This whole human life is just the play of consciousness. Why not drop the pretense of separation and competition? Why not let love have its way with all of it?

-Your own Self-
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