As I contemplate my blog soon becoming a published book, I realized that I will have a lot of work to do in promoting it. Although my publisher will do her part, the events are for me to arrange and publicize. This causes me pause…It’s wonderful to have my book published on one level, but it might be quite emotionally draining.
I am not famous and so people won’t line up to meet me at Barnes and Noble. In fact, I’ve heard from another person who just published her first book, that she once drove all the way to Orlando to promote her book at a bookstore, and it ended up being herself and some drunk who happened by. I am sure I will have that sort of anti-climactic experience at some of my own promotional events.
Another difficulty could be handling readers who don’t like my book and want me to know that. And finally there will be the challenge of handling praise, if it comes my way.
This morning I realized that I wrote the book even though I had critics along the way. Nothing harsh, but there were a couple of comments about my “lofty” goal of enlightenment being unrealistic and someone who thought I was recalling the past too much. I kept writing anyway. I needed to write as part of my practice of investigation of my reality, so nothing stopped me.
I worry less about praise or blame now since I am more liberated from fearing one and needing the other. How is it that I feel that freedom? I recognize that the one who fears and craves in my “self” but not who or what I am ultimately. All my suffering came through this self that spent a lifetime craving love and approval. I look back upon it now and feel badly for that person, but I am no longer caught up in her history. Approval and love from others is no real prize, it turns out, because it is so changeable: one day we love someone or something, the next we are bored by the same person or thing.
I notice, when I dog sit for people who are wealthy, that their lives seem to consist of time spent constantly making themselves comfortable. Their focus is largely on making sure the body has no discomfort and is feeling “happy.” It’s really time-consuming! The body feels happy lying in the hammock, but after I get out of the hammock the feeling is gone and my mind says I have to find some other comfort or diversion. You see the problem is never ending because pleasure never lasts! The condo with the ocean view that wowed them at first, soon becomes commonplace and so they need to go snorkel in Mexico or ski in Aspen. The travel “bug” is often an escape from investigating the mind that demands constant entertainment, comfort or excitement.
“Enlightenment” is not such a big deal as we think. It’s simply being aware of what is real and what is mind-made. I discovered, while writing the book, my “self” is mind-made and knowing that I feel less tossed by the vagaries of fame or blame. In that way I have become enlightened and have found freedom.