The Way Things Are Give Way to Passion
Benjamin Zander discusses “The Way Things Are” in Chapter 7 and “Giving Way to Passion” in The Art of Possibility. This is the core of Buddhist teachings as well, as well as a large body of counseling/psychiatric practices.
After working lots a factory line and retail jobs through my early 20s, getting paid to do things that I really loved was such a joy. I became one of those people who find themselves on an upward trajectory for many decades. I taught college in my 20s and was lucky to be in teaching situations which invited new ideas. After a successful stage in commercial music production, I came to Full Sail at age 32 to teach Synclavier Digital Music system. I had a lot to say about how we could improve the curriculum. Again, I was taken seriously. Moving to Music History and Introduction to the Media arts, i poured ideas and love into very successful courses. Allowing Course Directors to create their curriculum invites ownership and passion. Such passion danced in step with growing notoriety in the field of classical composition and a healthy beautiful family.
But what goes up always comes down. A great boss means everything, I found, because not all of them welcome creativity. I moved up in the company carrying the assumption that I was to do what I’d done in the past – find creative solutions. I felt called to bring heart and a feeling of overall community to an unrecognized and neglected faculty and staff. Instead, I was to be a yes man, not allowed to push back. I was so naive to not know this! Crashing has such a hard won wisdom.
Accepting the way things are requires meditation and honesty. Such processing is helpful with a trusted spouse or friend. The pain involved might be something like what a tree feels when being pruned. It is necessary for health – and absolutely painful. Understanding your own part in things that go awry, uncovering unwholesome desires for status and access – Leaving something of yourself is like dying. Rebirth follows. Anyone who holds onto their spark has to get good at this process. I struggle with this daily.
The way through is holding out for our passion. But, passion can be confused with desire which leads back to disillusionment; which must be pruned off. And patience. Sometimes you know you’re in the wrong place, but must wait for the time to leave to ripen. That’s where leading from where you are becomes a powerful practice. Finding possibility in the narrow places. Crashes and the pruning have reshaped me. My passion for teaching is stronger, my artistic and scientific directions clearer. Top Gun Keith has died – and, as hard as it has been for me to accept this, my life is again full of sparkling possibilities without those beautiful folks flying the DC3 in the clouds.