What follows is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Awesome Your Life.
Paradoxically, in order to wake up from our sleep-walking, we need to go deeper into dreaming. The stuff of our night-time dreams, our poetry, our fancy, the various bits of psychic sparkly stuff that we habitually ignore and dismiss—this is the stuff we need to collect and interact with in deep reverence. By doing this, we honor our poet spirits, our daimons. The daimon is our highest potential, our most powerful self. It’s a spiritual image of possibility which hovers in our morphic field of energy around us and calls us to grow into it, just as the spiritual image of a resplendent oak hovers in the energy field surrounding an acorn. The daimon (also called the soul, genius or heart) knows who we are and who we can be. It has a vivid connection to the daimon of the world, too, and connects us not only to our personal journey but to that of the planets.
Our egos resist attending with tender reverence and seriousness to our dreams and fantasies. “I have more important things to do,” is its ever-present claim.
It takes sincere humility and rich honesty to embark on this project of uniting the conscious and the unconscious, order and energy. Honor your struggles and your frustrations as you move forward with this process, because nothing about it is easy.
The play we’re undertaking requires reverence and devotion—reverence for our own daimons, for all the poets around us (sleeping or waking), for every element of our environment, natural or human-made. Our present culture derides reverence and devotion as foolish attitudes which make one vulnerable to manipulation and control. Criticism and mocking are much more cool than earnest appreciation. But reverence is to the soul what the most nutritious food is to the body. The soul can live on irreverence and criticism, fault-finding and cynicism—but these are poor nurturance. Our genius can come into its full vitality when we practice offering wonder and deep attention to the life around us. What we offer to the world is actually what we offer to our own soul, and our soul thrives or falls weak accordingly.
To have a weak soul is to have a hungry ghost within, a monster who is never satisfied and will devour beauty and joy out of your life like the terrible Minotaur beneath the ancient city of Crete, who demanded sacrifices of youths and maidens. The Minotaur came into existence because King Mino of Crete refused to offer the great gift that had been bestowed to him. When out of fear and greed we refuse to offer our deepest gifts, we create a terror that eats us alive.
Reverence and devotion don’t have to be heavy and dry. They can be light, erotic, liberating and playful. All of the creative Experiments in this course call upon your reverence and devotion in concrete practices.
It’s a good idea, as you travel this path, to practice offering your reverence and respect to every person you meet and your devotion to the spirit of love in them.
Try this: when in conversation, allow your own mind to grow very quiet as you listen to another person. Don’t internally argue with or amend what the other person says. Offer your listening presence as a whole gift. Be the presence of love for the one speaking. Don’t concern yourself with approving or rejecting the content of what the person says or even who she is. Simply be present, open, and nonjudging. Be the space in which the other can unfold. When it’s your turn to talk, your reply may come more slowly since you haven’t been busily formulating it as the other person spoke. Embrace and allow that slowness. See how it alters the quality of your communication and the enjoyment you have in conversation.
This is a gentle and practical form of meditation which strengthens your daimon and fuels your ecstatic awakening.
As you cultivate the silence within you through this kind of listening and through daily deep meditation, you will become much more sensitive to the spiritual nuances at work in your life and relationships. We all have spiritual senses, just as we have bodily senses. These spiritual senses go uncultivated in most of us; it’s not something that’s taught in most schools.
Once you’ve cultivated the ability to list to others with inner quiet, reverence and love, you’ll find that you hear them in a whole other way. You hear them through your heart— you’ll receive and partake of their heart’s energy as you listen to them speak. Through this reception, you’ll learn much more about the person you’re listening to than you would through merely cognitive listening. You’ll intuit their whole history of sorrows and joy, connections and solitudes. Sentences that formerly would have struck you as wrong-headed, which you would have previously dismissed, will now touch you differently. You’ll feel the heart in those sentences, the energy within the form of the words—and you’ll discern that you’re able to receive rich and profound gifts from people you otherwise would ignore.
This practice is richly liberating, because through it you can learn how to love and sincerely enjoy a much greater range of people. By letting your judging mind recede, your daimon is free to be strengthened by the exchange of love and reverence with others.