||Recognizing my Daimon
Ward noticed a book in an office near his that had just been vacated, and picked it up, to get it back to its owner. Then, looking at it, he decided instead to borrow it, and bring it home to me. It was The Soul's Code, by James Hillman.
Hillman points out that our whole way of conceptualizing a person, in this culture, is built on pathology. You are the way you are because of bad things that happened to you when you were little. But other cultures have defined "self" in relation to the being you are meant to be. He mentions, for example, the Greek idea of "daimon;" the Christian "guardian angel;" and the concept of "being called" to some way of being & doing (among others). Maybe there's a Tibetan parallel, but I don't know it.
I realized, with a shock of recognition, that a meditation I recently dreamed up is a conversation with that being. (Grooming the Interface.) "That's why the energy goes both ways: nourishing me, protecting me, yes: and also enabling me to be of service with my skills. Adding Hillman's information to this picture gives it another dimension, that appeals to me. Feels more connected.
"What are you on the Earth for?"
I still don't know what the answer to Dr. Hays' question is. I know parts of it. And parts I'm confused about. I would dearly like to be clear about my purpose, and to be effective in accomplishing it. So far, what I have decided is that I want to be clear about setting goals, and I want to accomplish them. For five years or so, my energy has mostly gone into trying to become and stay functional. But I've made some major advances this year, and now I want to turn more attention to skillful means in service: doing what I'm on the planet for.
Part of my answer
Today I sent off a piece of short fiction to a magazine, submitting it to their consideration for publication. I've been thinking about that piece, and that magazine, for four months. It's a long shot (the theme is right, but they accept little fiction), so I felt timid Ñ but now I've done it, it feels right.
Isn't this just another illusion?
Buddha saw that our attachment to self-images is basically what creates suffering. But you can't get along in the everyday world without some concept of self. The trick is in knowing that it's only a story, a dance, a changing, ongoing relationship with the whole universe Ñ and not something that exists in and of itself. Sometimes Buddhists talk about "getting rid of ego." But I'd rather talk about Right Ego.