Truth is simple, but it’s not always easy to believe.
The fact that we are each the most important person in our life is the simple truth at the core of our human experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to believe. And given the provocative nature of the statement, bringing it up in conversation has required I defend the principle more than once. But not so at the Brahma Kumeris Meditation Cantre in the Blue Mountains of Australia where not so long ago I had the chance to stay. This community got right away that we have to start with ourselves. I wasn’t altogether surprised. It was at the Brahma Kumeris Meditation Centre in Halifax where I first heard the sentence, ‘you’re the most important person in the room and if you don’t know it your should.’ No wonder if felt my visit here was the completion of some grand circle.
Sally, the director of the retreat, welcomed me with open arms, and in no time had ushered me into her meditation group to sing, “Be the Change”, the song I’d written with Rose Vaghan for Peace Halifax, and to talk about my manuscript, The Importance of Being Important. I sang my song to nodding smiles and then shared the idea behind my book and a bit of the story of before and after I knew I mattered.
When I turned the conversation over to the group I could hear right away that they got it. They shared personal observations with keen self-reflection about what it would mean to make themselves the core of their life. Once again this revolutionary revelation I’d thought of as so complicated was open to possibility. More than that, Sally’s meditation group reflected back a simple truth – being the most important makes us better.
The next day, going over the meeting and chatting further about the book and life, Sally reiterated the powerful simplicity in her meditation group’s responses by adding some of her own. I recorded the conversation and have included a snippet of that converstation as a transcript to follow.
Being the most important makes us better.
Linda – What do your hear when you say to yourself, I’m the most important person in the room?
Sally – It really makes me think I want to do good. That I want to be the very best I can. The most important person can’t be ordinary. You have to be something really good. That’s how it makes me feel. It’s a really beautiful idea.
And last night I could see how it affected people. They were looking for things in their life that would fit that title. Kay was saying just breathing and feeling gratitude. They were saying all the good things that they could think of that would fit. I wish everyone had been there, because it’s something that everyone can benefit from, it doesn’t matter, young or old, rich or poor, it doesn’t matter.
It was nice at lunchtime yesterday because I think Michelle and the other Linda and Carrie, they got a lot out of it, and they were able to share.
Linda – The less I say the more people will just talk. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell the story, and when I talked about ego attachment everyone heard that and recognized the difference. I don’t know, what do you think of ego. Is there a way of thinking it in BK? It’s complicated.
Regarding the Ego, there are three types of ‘I’.
Sally – It’s really the idea of three types of I. There is the I of superiority, where I think I’m better than anyone else. There is the I of inferiority which I think is everyone is better than me. And neither of those is good, neither of those give us happiness.
And the third one is the I of self-respect and because I respect myself I then respect everyone. It’s still ego but you could say it’s the right ego
Linda – So there is a right ego?
Sally – There is. It’s the personality, It’s who I am. And if I have respect for who I am I will naturally respect everyone else. And self respect is the key to it all because if I have self-respect I won’t do anything mean or nasty or hurtful, hurt anyone’s heart or laugh at others, criticize others, if If I have self-respect I won’t do any of those.
Linda – It can seem a bit counter intuitive. Why is it if you have self respect for yourself you have self respect for others? How does that work?
Sally – It’s true. If I put myself down, then I put others down as well. If I haven’t got any respect for myself, you can say self-respect or you can say self-;love. If I don’t have any self-love then I can’t love anyone else. I’ll mistake what they do for saying they have other motives rather than doing it out of the goodness of their heart. They can’t believe it
Linda – Can’t trust –
Sally – Can’t trust, I mean self-trust is the most important.
Linda – It’s interesting when you talk about the opposite, When it’s the opposite, it shows the other, very interesting.
Sally – Just that thing about the importance, you’re the most important’ it’s a different thing, because everyone’s been taught you go last in line, let everyone else go first.
When I was a mother and I used to serve my kids and I’d serve myself last, my kids would say, “Why do you serve yourself last?” And I’d say I want to make sure you all get enough. And they’d say, “You’re important too.”
I could never serve myself before everyone else, you wouldn’t would you, serve yourself before you serve everyone else, would you.
The important, that’s the word that really gets everyone . How is she saying that? Everyone was really, wondering. You could almost see their minds thinking, couldn’t you?
Linda – The idea when you’re the most important person, what I’ve been figuring out is that you can make a choice that’s best for you, so then the choice you make to serve everybody else, is what’s best for you,
Maybe the intention is to always experience joy and happiness, and delight in serving others, flight in caring for other people, rather than thinking its an obligation or it’s going to get me to heaven.
Sally – Yes, absolutely. That’s very true.
A few moments later, Sally told me a story that speaks to the idea of best and worst of ourselves. “This monk lived in a cave, and he had absolutely nothing, but he had a little table and on the table was a beautiful cloth. One day a man came by, and he was a thief and he went into the cave and took the cloth. And the monk came running out of the cave and called out, “Take it my son, it’s your’s.’ The next day a policeman came by and asked the monk to come and identify the thief, he’s got your cloth and the monk said, “No, I gave him the cloth.” But others testified against the thief and he was put into jail, and he was in jail for years. And when he came out of jail he went straight to the cave and he said to the monk, “Teach me.”
Towards the end of our hour together, Sally reminded me that a creative project is the same as children, they move through us and become something separate, they aren’t something on which to attach out self-worth.
Sally – The song is not for you, it comes through you, it’s like Gibran, like he says, they come through you but they’re not of you. It’s the same with the book and the song, it’s come through you but it’s not you, you’re just the instrument that it’s come through.
Linda – Your children are not your children. They are the son’s and daughter’s of life’s longing for itself.
Children, songs, books, every product of our creative passions, they are not us, we are nothing but the vehicle for the creation to move through. She opened up the space in my mind to become a vehicle for the book I am writing. Let go of struggle she was saying, let go, be open, write the book.
The didgeridoo is an instrument to move energy.
Later that day, as if to punctuate her point, Sally introduced me to Warren, a resident at the Blue Mountain Centre and a traditional didgeridoo player. Play isn’t quite the right word to describe what he does – it’s more like he creates tones with the intention to move energy though the body.
Warren offered to demonstrate what the sound in his instrument was capable of. He had me sit in a chair with hands in my lap in meditation. Then he began to blow through the didgeridoo. Right away I could feel the vibrations move from the floor up through my feet and straight up through by body to the top of my head.
I’ve carried the experience of those tones vibrating through me and recall being filled with a sense of powerful peace – as opposed to passive peace – an energized powerful potent peace. I was left with the feeling of contentment that wasn’t quite contentment but more of a quiet drive to move as intended, along this path to get my book out into the world.
My big admission is, up until that moment I’d found the didgeridoo to be the most annoying sound I’d ever heard. But it’s so much more than a sound. It’s an instrument to move energy.
Check out this free recording on YouTube and you might get a sense of what having a didgeridoo played at you might feel like.
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