“The Inner Treasure Hunt” from Soulshaping
Categories: Excerpt Psychology & Personal Growth
by Jeff Brown
Here is an inspiring excerpt from Soulshaping by Jeff Brown. Rivetingly personal and profoundly universal, this book is for anyone who has heard a whisper of something truer calling out to them amid the distractions of modern life. Brown’s dramatic and often funny story takes readers through remarkably human experiences—emotional, physical, and economic—as he vividly recounts his troubled childhood, his success in apprenticing with Canada’s top criminal lawyer, and his ultimate decision to leave the law and begin an inner journey to discover his soul’s purpose.
The Inner Treasure Hunt
Overwhelmed and misidentified, many of us feel like we are imprisoned in someone else’s skin. If we can look in the mirror at all, we are often left staring at someone we don’t know. Our outer manifestation does not reflect our inner truth. Who is that masked man staring at me in the rear view mirror? Why can’t I look at him for more than a few seconds before turning away? What are his eyes trying to tell me?
We often identify ourselves as the adaptations and disguises that have helped us to stay alive. I am accountant. I am nice person. I am lazy man. Our identifications feed us one limited version of who we are—that’s your story, and it’s shticking to you—but there are more authentic versions lingering below the habits of daily experience. To identify them, we need to make real efforts to distinguish our personality traits from the deeper archetypal currents of our lives. We need to be painstakingly honest about those patterns that support a soulful life and those that betray it.
Despite the challenges, we have to try. So many clamored and struggled to make it through the birth canal and died trying, yet we made it through. Why? So we could lie on the couch watching television? So we could wait for our deathbeds to finally wake up?
We made it through because we are needed here. We are each here to uncover and honor profound reasons for being. We are each here as part of the sacred dance, stepping on each other’s toes and turning each other toward God, one clumsy step after another. Although the ultimate romance is with your own soul, it is our experiences together that give birth to the essential lessons. Every entelechy is a buried treasure, essential to the advancement of the collective soul. If we get off the dance floor, we postpone others’ lessons too.
A homeless woman stopped me on the street one day and said, “We need your heart.” I never saw her again, but her words echoed inside me for years and helped me find my way home. Whatever her circumstances, whatever her shame, she had a profound impact, at least on me. She was needed for what she brought. So are you.
We need to tell our own humble stories until the language of the inner world becomes part of our daily lexicon. You don’t need to be a plane crash survivor or a famous person to have a story worth telling. Just look at the life you have lived—are there not heroic aspects already inherent in your life story? Is it not something that you made it here while others did not? Have you not already overcome an inner plane crash or two? And does not more heroism await you, if you choose to honor your innate image for this lifetime?
Although the journey home is often difficult, it is also wondrous. On the materialistic treasure hunt, satisfactions are fleeting. You get the thing, the satisfaction fades, and then you need some other thing. On the inner treasure hunt, your satisfaction builds. It’s so beautiful to touch a new plateau of awareness, to view your self with a broadened lens, to shape your self with your own two hands. It is a magically creative process that gives you wings. Every time I unravel a piece of my karmic thread, I feel the God-self come a little bit closer.
What could be more beautiful than looking back at the end of your life and knowing that you did what you came here to do? Isn’t this the way you want to close your eyes for the last time?
This book is for those determined to accept responsibility for how authentically they live and for the path that they craft with their own hands. To find your way, you will need courage. Lots of it. If you don’t have it, fake it until you make it. Soulshapers are artists, but they are also warriors. It is no easy feat to shape the inner world. You need the heart of a lion to overcome the odds. You need to fight for your right to the light.
It is my hope that this book walks that fine line between respecting the uniqueness of your individual journey and speaking to that part of you that may need company as you set (and reset) your foot on the path. My story only provides a template, but there may well be themes that resonate for you. Perhaps knowing that someone went this way will invite you to walk a little bit further into your unique unknown.
Excerpted from Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation by Jeff Brown. (c) 2009 North Atlantic Books.Tags: Biography & Memoir Self-Improvement & Inspiration Spiritual Psychology