The Wise Gunman Demands Your Integrity

Someone comes into a room, takes out a gun, points it at you and says:

“You! You right there! Show me what you love! What’s your passion? Right now! Show me what it looks like when you live your passion!”

The gunman is asking about your ability to walk the talk.

Most of us are too mired in our own process to really give the time of day to such considerations.

But supposing it was forced on you, what would you say?

What would come out if someone put you on the spot, point-blank?

“Well,” someone might say. “I have this little side project. I’m an accountant by day, see, but I think I might be onto something with my electronic music.”

By asking, the gunman extends the invitation to flow. It’s not wholly dissimilar to what it might feel like when beginning a freewriting marathon.

Practically speaking, the limiting factor for me and for most people is to have sufficient talking points. To know the right questions to ask yourself to guide the flow of your focus.

What occurs to you when you’re put on the spot is framed by the situation and guided by the ways you direct your focus.

Consciousness is vast. It can flow in all ways at once. It’s boundless.

Because the question is one directed towards authenticity, what emerges may challenge a deep part of you that doesn’t know. What if you say something dull? Are you supposed to impress this person? What is the right answer?

You have only this chance right now in this moment to live your truth.

We like to think that living our truth is something grand like a corporate mission statement. Which, actually, is a great example becauseā€¦ who really cares about most corporate mission statements? The way most of them read shows how they are decided by committee — powerful sounding words, lots of baggage, not clear, statements that don’t take any risks. Basically saying nothing but a placeholder for various trappings of conduct. They read to me like the people who wrote them were happy afterward to go have a beer and forget about it.

I should clarify what I mean when I say “living your truth.”

What the hell does that mean?

It’s what you’re actually putting your consciousness into at any given moment, taking the greater context of your life into consideration.

Where is your awareness resting at any given moment?

If we go back to the gunman example, at one point in my life I might have stood up and said something like:

“Uh, I’m building a retreat center by hand. I’m a frustrated writer. I’m pouring all of my money into this and everything around me is crumbling. If I ever had it, I lost my focus. I love these night skies though! Oh. I’m writing a sci fi series. I want to earn a living as an author, but I find myself completely at odds with the consumer world. Nothing makes any sense to me.”

Maybe the gunman would pause and ask again, “Yeah, but what are you passionate about?”

To which I would respond, “I’m passionate about getting shot by you right now and ending this whole miserable thing.”

I’d like to imagine that right then the gunman would offer me some advice on how to proceed in a way that would guide me more towards authenticity.

For some reason I’m imagining this gunman to be a wise man. Maybe he’d say:

“Don’t worry about building that place. It’s not going to work out. Focus on a few central things: meditation, breathwork, and depth freewriting. Don’t forget to write for meaningless pleasure and pure indulgence as well.”

Thanks, Mr. Gunman.

The main point of this

What I’m offering to you is a question to guide your focus towards the simple elements that constitute greatness and fullness in your life.

You might want to think of those simply as talking points. Elements that you carry around in your consciousness like questions that drive you and motivate you to do things you never could have imagined possible.

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