“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Something funny happened this morning. I received a phone call from a buddy who was loudly laughing and asking if he was speaking to ‘the famous Atalwin’. Apparently he had overheard a conversation in a coffee shop between two men who were discussing me and my blog. Obviously he pricked up his ears and tried to listen in on what these guys were saying. He didn’t remember exactly but there were positive things and some criticism. Apparently one of the guys was seriously contemplating to participate in next edition of the 100 Day Warrior (yeah dude, sign up! It will be awesome!)
Of course it is a very strange idea that we ‘live’ also in other people’s minds. Until this day I find it very strange to open up my website on somebody else’s computer. Something I have written on my kitchen table is all of a sudden visible! On the internet! It feels so naked, and so irreversible!
Although I do it for a reason, the writing and stuff, and I have a clear intuition that it is a good thing to do, I still can’t conceive how it is received. The only thing I know is that it’s scary and the only reason not to speak up is because my fear would be stronger than me. And that’s something that I just don’t want anymore: to be a slave of fear.
All this started with an experience of spiritual transformation. Basically, I was changed in a flash, as if something was ripped off me. In that moment I realized that I was not my ego or the idea I had created of myself. The idea we create of ourselves is false and limited. In my case I had created an idea of being superior to others but what I saw was that my ‘superiority’ was just a strategy of my ego to keep my feelings of inferiority as deeply buried as possible. Both concepts were false. My first conscious thought was ‘why didn’t anybody ever tell me?” and my second thought was “never again will I need to pretend to be bigger and stronger than I really am”. To say that it was a tremendous relief is an understatement. It feels like instantly being liberated from prison where you were serving a life sentence.
It is now more than 10 years later and all this time I have been trying to find ways to share my story and insights in a believable way. Unfortunately I didn’t grow into a fully enlightened dude. I can’t speak from the perspective of the great masters, I don’t see what they see. But I realized that it is also important to hear from a guy who is somewhere in between. Because you rarely hear about that part: that you can wake up but that life is still difficult. All the teachers seem to effortlessly hang out in the NOW the whole time. But after getting to know quite a few of them I also noticed that they quite often forget to mention that they too struggle with money, relationships and loneliness, to mention a few. And because they pretend to be al little holier than they are they fall from their pedestal when their followers find out that they are human too.
I lost the desire to pretend to be something that I am not. Not because I like it so much to be judged and seen but because hiding behind a façade causes more suffering and destruction than not-hiding. In the first place to the one who hides, in the second place to all who are exposed to his inauthenticity.
Check out this quote. I just found it again. It explains exactly how it feels:
“And therefore, all of those for whom authentic transformation has deeply unseated their souls must, I believe, wrestle with the profound moral obligation to shout from the heart—perhaps quietly and gently, with tears of reluctance; perhaps with fierce fire and angry wisdom; perhaps with slow and careful analysis; perhaps by unshakable public example—but authenticity always and absolutely carries a a demand and duty: you must speak out, to the best of your ability, and shake the spiritual tree, and shine your headlights into the eyes of the complacent. You must let that radical realization rumble through your veins and rattle those around you.
Alas, if you fail to do so, you are betraying your own authenticity. You are hiding your true estate. You don’t want to upset others because you don’t want to upset your self. You are acting in bad faith, the taste of a bad infinity.
Because, you see, the alarming fact is that any realization of depth carries a terrible burden: those who are allowed to see are simultaneously saddled with the obligation to communicate that vision in no uncertain terms: that is the bargain. You were allowed to see the truth under the agreement that you would communicate it to others (that is the ultimate meaning of the Bodhisattva vow). And therefore, if you have seen, you simply must speak out. Speak out with compassion, or speak out with angry wisdom, or speak out with skillful means, but speak out you must.
And this is truly a terrible burden, a horrible burden, because in any case there is no room for timidity. The fact that you might be wrong is simply no excuse: You might be right in your communication, and you might be wrong, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter, as Kierkegaard so rudely reminded us, is that only by investing and speaking your vision with passion, can the truth, one way or another, finally penetrate the reluctance of the world. If you are right, or if you are wrong, it is only your passion that will force either to be discovered. It is your duty to promote that discovery—either way—and therefore it is your duty to speak your truth with whatever passion and courage you can find in your heart. You must shout, in whatever way you can.”
– Ken Wilber
It is not a choice. We must.
This is episode 84 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here or sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.