“Start the next one today”
We talked last week about my old friend and mentor Paul Rink’s advice to me when I told him I had just finished my first manuscript.
“Good for you,” he said without looking up. “Start the next one today.”
Let’s examine this wisdom a little more deeply.
When you and I finish a project and release it to the world … and then STOP, waiting breathlessly for the response, we are messing with the primal laws of the universe.
1. We have planted ourselves dangerously in the ego.
The ego is selfish, fearful, shallow, competitive. The ego clings. It lives in what Vedantists would call Attachment, meaning “emotional attachment to the outcome of its endeavors.”
“You have the right to your labor, Arjuna,” declared Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, “but not to the fruits of your labor.”
2. Another principle of Vedanta:
“Labor without attachment is worship.”
What this means, as I understand it, is that when we let go of all attachment to the outcome of our novel publication/album release/opening of our Thai Fusion restaurant … we shift the locus of our enterprise from the ego to the Self (or the soul if you prefer.),
The Muse likes this. Heaven likes this.
We are now operating on the plane of the soul, not the plane of the ego.
3. The point of a practice (by which I mean a daily ritual practice, as of yoga or meditation or martial arts) is to seek the spiritual by means of the physical.
We hold ourselves in Warrior Pose physically while seeking, through our psychic focus and intention, to reach out to the spiritual.
The making of art is a practice too. This is writing, this is music, this is filmmaking. This is any daily enterprise engaged in with full attention and full commitment.
In other words, Book #1 (or Album #1 or Movie #1) should be followed in seamless succession by Book #2 and so on. That’s what makes writing or music or filmmaking a practice. That’s what elevates it beyond the selfish, shallow, fearful, competitive Little Mind of the Ego.
“Good for you. Start the next one today.”
P.S. Thanks again to everyone who ordered The Daily Pressfield. We’re running out of our signed first printing (more to come in a few weeks) but there are still a few left in time for Christmas gifting.