Joy awaits us all. When we work with the ordinary levels of our mind, everything's harder that it could be. When we clear away the clutter and get beyond the chatter of the normal conscious mind, joyous magic can happen.
I recently posted on social media that I had, a few days ago, finished the final major editing of the eight books that now exist in a series of novels that I've been working on for five years, since February 2011. It's the first experience of writing where I wasn't working hard in my conscious mind to think and compose. It was all a gift of the deeper mind, a layer of mentality or soul, if you will, that we all have, but that we don't often enough draw on, day to day.
These books and the stories they convey came to me, as I've said before, like a movie in my head, a translucent screening of an action and adventure story far beyond anything I could ever have created out of my ordinary operating resources. In fact, when I first started reading the manuscripts out loud to my wife, she interrupted to say, "Who are you and what have you done with my husband?" It was all that different from my nineteen previous books, all non-fiction.
One reviewer of the prologue to the series, The Oasis Within, suggested that a series of conversations between people crossing the desert wasn't that big a stretch for me, and not that far out of my comfort zone as a philosopher who is always talking about life wisdom. And he was right. But there are all these little details and plot points in Oasis that I never would have thought to develop. And there's a reason that The Oasis Within is a prologue to the new series and not a numbered volume of it. It's mostly great conversations. It prepares one of the characters for the action that's to come. And it prepared me for it, as well. But a younger reader, or a reader who just loves action can start with Book One of the series, Walid and the Mysteries of Phi, the book that's now recently out by the title The Golden Palace, which is full of action, adventure, mystery, and intrigue and brings us philosophy in an entirely new key. And all the other books are like that one in this regard, too. It's like slowly walking up to a door, and opening it, and what's inside takes you completely by surprise and launches you into an adventure that just won't stop.
Early in the process, when I learned to calm my conscious mind and just relax and release, the magic would happen. With the deeper mind at work, you feel more like a receptacle, or a conduit. I've mentioned here before, I think, Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic, where she tells several stories about this remarkable kind of creative experience. It's joyous and practically effortless in its level of self-perceived exertion. How often can we say of our job, paradoxically, that "It's the hardest I've ever worked" and "It's the easiest thing I've ever done" and "It's been pure joy" all at the same time?
This is a hallmark of the deeper mind at work. There is amazing persistence of accomplishment and a sense of ease, and an overflowing of joy to match. The joy is wondrous, deep and high, wide and focused, inner and outer somehow at the same time. It animates everything else you do. It's remarkable, and it's maybe meant to be our most natural state—when we've peeled away all else, all the accretions of consciousness and contrary emotion, when we get down, deep to our most fundamental resource, one that's both natural and transformative at the same time.
I heartily recommend working from your deeper mind and experiencing the joy that's there awaiting you. I'm hoping that another book will also come to me the same way. After a million and two thousand and five hundred and more words, I feel like I'm just getting started. And isn't that the way our work should feel?