My first book, Becoming a Sun: Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence for a Happy, Fulfilling Life, has just been published in softcover. I saw the first copy on Saturday, March 9, the last day of my 4-day workshop by the same name. It was a celebratory moment when I held up the book for all 35 participants to see.
The book is about seven key experiences into which we are initiated as a human being. Those experiences are all opportunities for emotional learning and spiritual opening. Here are those seven experiences:
When I set myself to writing this book, I made an attempt that I abandoned when I realized that just explaining things to people doesn’t assist them to experience these things. I realized that there is a role that artistry plays in opening up the most significant knowledge for a human being. And so I decided that I would create a book of poetry and prose.
And then I came to the idea that it ought to be illustrated. I found a Ukrainian woman living in Milan, Diana Bychkova. She is a brilliant artist. So she created eight illustrations for the book. And then I had a writing coach as I went along—Amanda Johnson—and she encouraged me to tell stories from my life. So some of my story is in the book. All of these things point to one thing, which is spoken to in the subtitle of the book: Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence for a Happy, Fulfilling Life. There is something to know—that’s the intelligence part. The other two words—emotional and spiritual—point to how it is known. There’s something to be known through the heart that opens up another kind of knowing, which we characterize as spiritual. A spiritual knowing isn’t so much a thing of the mind. It’s a knowing based in an actual encounter with the spiritual.
For many people, things of the heart are mostly a mystery. Potentially, the heart can connect us with reality. When the heart is transparent, we have the opportunity to know reality. When the heart is disturbed, we find that our primal connection with reality is disrupted.
Is that not a picture of what’s happening with humanity today? You can see it on the news. You can read about the state of the world. And then you can notice it in your own experience, and in the experience of people near you. There is an innate knowing of reality that seems to be missing, and there’s just a way that people act weird. Why would that be? Why do people act that way?
Henry David Thoreau said this:
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
I used to live in Stamford, Connecticut, in a wonderful old house on Fenway Street. We had a neighbor who was a Polish coal miner who had immigrated to the United States. He lived there with his wife, and his mother was nearby. One day he hung himself from the tree in the front yard. We were shocked. It brought home the truth that Thoreau spoke. I knew the man had some issues in his life. I didn’t know it was that bad.
There is desperation in many people’s lives. My friend Courtney Bohlman just returned from teaching in an elementary school in a refugee camp in Ghana. Many people in African refugee camps are without a country. They have reason, one might think, to live a life of desperation.
But it’s not only them. In the developed world, there are negative trends in people’s lives that are becoming successively more extreme for the coming generations. I’ve been studying the phenomenon of loneliness. Globally, successive generations are becoming more and more lonely. That’s a desperate thing. By the way, one result of that is that they are having less and less sex. These phenomena are a result of things of the heart that have an impact on the human spirit.
There are studies of emotional intelligence and books published on the topic. Consultants teach what they call emotional intelligence. But any teaching of emotional intelligence that doesn’t start with an opening of the heart to Universal Love is going just about no place.
There are all kinds of wonders of emotional intelligence when we embrace the inner urge that calls to us: Let Love in! And I would say that to anybody on the planet. In whatever desperate situation they may be in. Let it in! and Let it out. Let it flow through! Acknowledge that something has broken inside, if it has. And let Love—the power of the universe—flow. Be small enough and humble enough and open enough to let it in. And then let it out. When you let it in, you have it to give.
Any emotional intelligence has to start with that. If we don’t know that, what are we talking about when we’re talking about emotional intelligence? How you can be more socially appropriate? Sell better? Manage your employees better? While you live a life of quiet desperation?
There’s a matter of the heart that’s at stake for us as humanity. It begins with the primal connection to the power of Creation within us, Universal Love. Our whole life destiny is tied to the expression of that. How could it be anything else, given that it is that power that infuses us with life?
So all wisdom begins with this one big thing: Becoming a Sun. I hope people find the title of my book inspirational; I think some will. But it is also a statement of reality. It is what is happening. The fire of Love is inside of you and inside of me and it wants out. If that fire is not going to just burn us up from the inside—which is what happens when we turn our back on it—it has to express itself as us, as a human being. We have to let it constellate in all the forms of our wonderful flesh and all the forms of expression that are available to us as human beings. The fact that we are becoming a sun means that the fire within us wants to express itself through us as a human being, as what I’ll simply call spiritual energy. In other words, there’s a way that we as human beings have the opportunity to radiate Love as an energy in the world we inhabit.
Love is a feeling, but it’s not just a feeling. It is a universal reality. But it’s not just a universal reality. Love is also the expression of a vibrational energy born out of that universal reality. When it comes out through a human being it creates an energy field that is a field of Love. It is a field of home. It is a field of reality and a field of connection.
Love is the carrier wave for human culture—or at least it can be. The fundamental vibration of what’s happening in the human community is meant to be the expression of Universal Love through human beings who are becoming a sun. And then, on that carrier wave, there are all kinds of other intelligences, all kinds of other knowing, all kinds of creations that become possible. It all happens easily when there is this primal reconnection.
The first step in becoming a sun is not complex, and it’s not sophisticated. It is the most primal thing in the world. And yet all complexity of life is born from this one thing—the thousand thousand things are all created out of us becoming a sun.
What the world needs most from you is for you to be a sun.