Recently I had an interesting conversation with a mentee. As I listened to her share what she had learned since we last spoke, I was struck by the depth of her insights. I commented on what I heard from her and to my surprise, she barely acknowledged my remarks.
Then she shared that she was following another coach and mentioned that she liked to hear other “masters”. She said, “I like to hear how different masters share their wisdom. It’s always interesting to hear how other 3 Principles practitioners express their understanding.”
She paused for a moment. “This master talks about how we are all Consciousness, and she talks about non-duality. But it really sounds like she’s saying the same thing that you are. I don’t understand how what she’s saying is different from what you’re saying. But she seems to feel that she’s expressing her wisdom in quite a different way.”
I remained still for a few moments, then said to my mentee, Sally, “I appreciate that you “see” that the other practitioner and I are essentially saying the same thing. However, it occurs to me that since you are “seeing” beyond the words of either of us, why don’t you listen to your own wisdom?”
Once again, Sally ran over my words, “Right, yes, I see what you’re saying. It’s just interesting to hear other practitioners.”
“What about hearing your True Self?”
She was about to talk again when I said very firmly, “Just a moment. Listen. What about your wisdom? When do you leave space to hear your wisdom? When do you “just live” rather than follow others, including me?”
Sally’s pause held. I knew in that moment, she was listening to her wisdom. And I knew that even if it was only a moment, that moment of wisdom was enough for her to “see” something new.
Those of you who know me know that a central theme of my sharing has been to strongly encourage people to listen to their own wisdom, to find and express their own original voice, rather than consistently seeking others they consider wise, and listening to them, rather than themselves. Often times, I feel my encouragement falls on deaf ears; not always, just enough that I can see the theme remains crucial to sharing this precious understanding with the world more fully.
I understand there is a social aspect to consistently joining groups to discuss the Principles. I understand there is a feeling of connection that is very powerful and seductive. Please hear me when I say “been there, done that”. And I also remember Syd telling us in the early days, “Don’t always talk about this. You’ll wear yourselves out. Get together and enjoy each other; just don’t keep talking about these spiritual gifts. Just live!”
And he honored that advice himself when he joined us socially. We didn’t talk about the Principles. We lived the Principles. And enjoyed life as never before. Talking about them all the time can diminish the power and make the Principles a form.
Consider this: if more people “lived in understanding”, they would become natural leaders in the world, helping countless others who are hungry for answers to why, where, how, and is there even an answer?
I find myself getting more direct, and standing in Truth, with integrity and with love. For example, on a recent virtual retreat, I noticed a lot of familiar faces that I’d seen many times before, on other webinars, other trainings that I’d done, and so on. My first response was, “Oh, how lovely to see familiar faces again.” My next response, without my thinking about it, was, “And I don’t want to see your faces again! Listen to your wisdom. Don’t keep going to more and more trainings!” Again, without thought, I burst into laughter, and said, “Oh how rude of me. I’m sorry. However, I mean it!” The participants looked startled, to say the least, then also broke into laughter with me.
Later on, some of the participants were late in showing up when we started again. One said, “I was walking my dog and enjoying the sun so much that I almost didn’t come back.” I applauded him for “just living”.
Another woman said, “You know, I’m currently going to 5 other programs online, and felt this morning that I really didn’t want to go to another.” I applauded her wisdom as well. This is what I’m talking about. Once we have an insight and know that we are the source of that insight/insights, just LIVE. Our journey has begun.
Now let me connect the dots to being a natural leader when we just LIVE. I remember sitting on the stairs with a colleague at the 3 Principles London conference a few years back, as we spent some time sharing what was new for us, as preparation for our session that we were co-facilitating. As I was sharing what I was learning, and how that was showing up in my life and work, she remarked, “Elsie, you’ve become a leader.”
Her comment startled me as I’d never considered myself a leader, and still don’t. She carried on, “Just by living the way you do, you set an example. You live an ordinary life and it looks and feels good when I’m with you. That to me is a natural leader.”
I was touched by what she said; however, it was time to do our session, so her comments went into my “back burner.” As time went on, the comments lingered and occasionally I peaked at them. For me, the simplicity and contentment of “just live” was enough. Being a leader wasn’t important yet I see the beauty of this natural leadership in inspiring others by the feeling of “just live”.
When I discussed this with Ken, he said, “If you want to be a leader, start by listening and leading yourself.”
You know that this was an important teaching from Sydney Banks, and he illustrated it by living his life, committed to sharing the spiritual facts he’d uncovered. The feeling of his “living” is what kept me by his side, throughout my strong resistance in the early days. He often repeated this to us all, to the early pioneers he trained, to the conference participants throughout his teaching years. “Just live.”
So why do we ignore this teaching? Why do we continue to listen to others rather than our own innate wisdom, our spiritual inheritance? An inheritance is meant to be cherished and used to benefit ourselves and others, not stored away.
I also remember Syd saying, “Don’t be a follower. A listener, yes, not a follower.”