Candidate A

“Anything you do that is guided by fear will bring the thing you fear to you.”


Like most people, I have a problem with getting in my own way. It’s hard to step out on faith. Hard to accept what appears, graciously. Hard to give up the feeling of being right when the world insists on being what it is instead of what you want it to be.

We love love love to be right about something. We love to prove our knowledge above and beyond others. We sacrifice relationships and start wars all for the privilege of being right, so we can hold our heads high amidst the slaughter and say, I told you so.

I recently had an inspiring lesson around all this: I was honored to be on a panel with many distinguished persons whose job it was to fill a high-level position. (Sorry to be vague, but it has to be kept confidential at this point. I actually received a portfolio of materials marked “CONFIDENTIAL” that made me feel very important).

Anyway, after many meetings and hours of discussion, we narrowed our selection down to the top two candidates. Low and behold, the need to be right reared its ugly caboose. A volley of words, respectful though they were, flew back-and-forth across the table. Suddenly, it occurred to me that it’s not our job to be right. Not our job at all. It’s our job to follow our hearts.

You see, I think that the energy of following one’s heart is the energy that releases grace and allows it to flow. Then, what follows will be right, whether or not we recognize it as such.

Let me explain. Let’s say that there are two candidates: candidate A, who is our heart’s choice, the one we find most inspiring, the one we are inexplicably drawn to even though they lack certain qualifications, and candidate B, the logical choice, the one who has all the goods, but is less inspiring.

Now, if we choose candidate A who is our heart’s choice, but for some reason, candidate A decides that he does not want the job and we have to go with candidate B after all, then candidate B will be the “right” choice. In other words, if candidate B gets the job this way, it will be the way of spirit, the way of faith because it is the result of reaching for the highest good, and candidate B will be planted in good soil.

However, if we choose candidate B initially, though it is not our heart’s choice, that is to say, we choose candidate B out of fear, then, even though the outcome appears to be the same, it will actually be “wrong” because the choice was made out of fear and left no room to allow the spiritual energy to do its job. Candidate B will be planted in rotten soil.

The energy with which something is brought into being is very important. The energy of the heart builds a good foundation whereas the energy of fear gets things off to a shaky start. Of course, we are always free to change our energy, to choose again, but this is difficult once the ball gets rolling.

The energy of fear, that is, the energy of being right stems from the ego’s need to look good. Some of the panel members were worried that if we went with our hearts and chose candidate A and candidate A failed, that we, the panelists, would be discredited. But I thought, if we fail because we went with our hearts, well, I could live with that. But if we failed because we went with our minds, or, you could say, made the decision out of fear, well, I couldn’t live with that.

“So what happened?” asks Mr. Octopus.

“Oh. Hello. Happy New Year. I really missed you.”

“And I you. In a way.”

“Thanks. I think…”

“So, who’d you choose.”


“Congratulations. Tea?”

“Herbal, please.”

“Oh, for God’s sake. Frrruity tea! What’s next?”

“I’m cleansing.”

“Why? I happen to like you full of shit.”

“Thanks. I think…”

“What if you are wrong about this heart vs. fear business. What then?”

“Well, I’m not trying to be right. I’m trying to follow my heart. And that’s the best I can do.”

“Not bad, grasshopper, not bad. Remember what Markarrrta said.”

“What’s that? She says a lot of stuff.”

“She said that knowing is blindness.”

“So, what is not knowing?”

“The way, I guess.”

“But either way, you don’t know.”

“Yes, but in the first way, you don’t know but you think you do. In the second way, dahrrrling,” says Mr. Octopus, curling his moustachios with a pointed tentacle. “In the second way,  you dance.”

“Dancing is hard.”

“You oughta know.”

“Yeah. I know?”


2 responses to “Candidate A

  • Ken Ludden

    Dear Tai,

    How nice to begin the year with a bit of wisdom from Makarta. I remember being on the Arts In Education panel for the NEA back when artists made decisions about art back then, and we had many similar occurrences. Thanks for bringing wisdom out of such a mundane thing.

    There is one adjustment I’d like to add to the words of Makarta, and forgive me because it may be in a different context. But the quote I recall is “understanding is blindness”. I don’t know if this makes a great deal of difference, and she said that when everyone was so very frustrated in trying to understand the new way of doing things in this Yin era. Her point had been, in that context, that once you ‘understood’ something, then you stopped considering it, stopped wondering, and stopped the mystery hence precluding any more wisdom or insights that might come from further perusal.

    Having said that, I see that understanding and knowing are very similar and nearly identical in this context.

    You have my great love, and sincerest support for all you do. May this new year bring you and your readers the very best life can offer.

  • Robert

    I think what is lost is the ability to discern right from wrong. In this new so called post modern era, it’s unfortunately predicated on the lack of absolutes. Going down this road, it has watered down peoples ability to commit to anything. As a result, you get the “need to be right”, which requires only the mind, as opposed to “what is right” , which requires a more complete approach.

    Amongst strangers that can be difficult.

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