Look, you already have a fuck ton of genius.
You genius is the disruptive, volatile, erotic force of evolution within you and within every human being. It’s your original, irreducible power. It just doesn’t give a hot damn about your comfort, so you usually suppress it to stay cozy.
Honestly, it’s likely that the very last thing your ego truly wants to do is wake up your genius. Because that shit is scary.
The only reason your genius isn’t fully awake and active right this minute is because of your fear. And your fear is pretty damn sensible.
It’s sensible because your genius will devour everything in your present life and self-image only to lift its blood-smeared face from your steaming entrails and lick its lips, wide-eyed, howling for more.
(This is what your genius looks like. It’s a daimon. It will fuck you up. And you’ll like it.)
And you’ll want to give it more. And you know that.
You know that giving all of yourself to your genius will be glorious and also utterly terrifying.
Most of us actually go to great lengths to avoid waking up our genius and having it eat us alive. We snuggle up into stale relationships, boring jobs, well-rehearsed social roles.
We find ways to numb ourselves out (over-eating, cigarettes, obessesive relationships, over-work and over-consumption are popular American choices) and go through our lives like we’re sleep-walking.
It’s fairly nice – except it kills us inside. So millions of people end up depressed – feeling flat and stuck and low.
Depression is a real and awful thing – and as far as I can tell, it’s also mostly a symptom of suppressed genius.
Still with me? Okay. If you really want to wake your genius up – what follows are the basics that you need to know.
Each one of them is a magical practice that draws on the resources of your imagination and heart and energy to re-create your fundamental experience of life. Because that’s the most genius thing you can do.
1. Dream Yourself Awake
Dreaming Yourself Awake means:
a) Spending time each day committing to becoming fully awake so you can awaken all other beings from their suffering – and…
b) Vividly imagining that you’re already a fully-compassionate, aware, wise, ecstatic, radiant and empowered being.
After you practice committing to wake everyone up out of their suffering and visualizing yourself as an already totally realized creature you get up off of your meditation cushion or couch, and proceed through your daily life acting “as if” you indeed already are this utterly amazing, luminous being.
This work is based on ancient practice called Deity Yoga.
Deity Yoga found its fullest flourishing in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, where practicioners devote time every day to imagining themselves as already-awakened Buddhas. In Tibet, they say that this practice is the key to attaining full enlightenment in one lifetime.
The practice works because it draws on the innate power of your imagination to activate the creative force within you. What you vividly imagine, you gradually become.
Most of us vividly imagine ourselves each day in the same way – as boring little mortals of limited resources, full of resentments and self-pity, struggling each day to get what we need.
As long as you keep unconsciously projecting that limited imagination of yourself, that’s what the world will reflect back to you, and that’s all you will know yourself to be.
As you begin consciously projecting an imagination of yourself as utterly empowered, magic, awake, and loving, overtime the world will reflect that gorgeousness back to you, and that’s what you’ll know yourself to be.
It’s very simple.
And you don’t have to believe me. Just try it for thirty days and notice what happens.
Also, pay attention to how much it scares you to realize your thoughts and imaginations have that much dramatic influence over your experience of life.
Discover how you stop behaving in ways that ensure that you gather the approval of everyone around you and instead start behaving in ways that challenge their comfort and champion their freedom.
Take note of how completely disturbing that is.
(This is Red Tara, the Buddhist embodiment of Awake Desire – she’s the deity I practice this work with. Isn’t she hot?)
2. Love Everyone (yeah, including those bastards)
Loving everyone is key to waking up your genius because resentment and fear and alienation are what keep your genius chained-up and asleep. They’re the stultifying drugs of smallness and boringness.
I know loving everyone sounds all cuddly and sugary, but really it’s just about the grittiest, nastiest, most painful thing you can do.
It involves confronting every single place inside of yourself that you prefer to stay bitter, fearful, separate and selfish – and pushing beyond that into wishing freedom and joy for every last person who’s ever hurt you or could ever hurt you.
In other words, it’s agonizing.
And it also ultimately feels really, really super awesome. Like giant, perpetual hits of free and legal Ecstasy flooding your brain with oxytocin and dopamine all the time kind of awesome.
The practice of loving everyone is also a daily work. It’s based on another very old form of Buddhist contemplation called Metta Cultivation.
Metta is the Pali word for “fat with friendship.” It’s a kind of love that’s not grasping or controlling but instead just saturated with endlessly flowing, non-conditional goodwill.
Metta entails simply vividly imagining and wishing for the happiness of yourself and others. Isn’t that a solid, succinct definition of love?
Metta is not a promise to always like everyone or indulge all their whims – it’s a commitment just to relentlessly wish them well-being and happiness.
You may be thinking to yourself “oh, I already wish well for everyone” – but do you really?
Do you really and truly wish for your former friend who disrespected you dramatically and betrayed your trust?
What about that person who traumatized you when you were growing up?
Do you really want them to enjoy unstoppable waves of gigantic bliss and fulfillment now and forever?
Yeah. So. Until you do, baby, your metta is weak stuff.
Metta is traditionally considered one of the four “Boundless Thoughts” or Brahmaviharas (the others are karuna – compassion, mudita – sympathetic joy, and upekkha – equanimity).
The Brahmaviharas are literally “the God-Realms.” They’re boundless thoughts because they embrace all beings equally without limit or duality, and they’re the sort of thoughts that divinities think.
All of the Brahmaviharas are tremendously valuable and important – and metta is the foundation for all of them.
It’s possible to consider Metta Cultivation to be another aspect of Dreaming Yourself Awake. It’s another way to practice being and thinking like a God or a Buddha or an Angel or whatever you would like to call it.
(No really. Love everyone. Especially those jerks. You know who I mean.)
In Metta practice, you take time to visualize first yourself, then a friend, then a person you feel indifferent about, then an enemy looking and feeling utterly ecstatically joyful and free, surrounded by wonderful intimate connection, surrounded by beauty.
The first few weeks of Metta Cultivation are usually profoundly annoying. You bring to mind your coworker who pissed you off, and you discover that you really don’t want to imagine them glowing with happiness, you’d rather imagine them fired and miserable and full of regret that they were ever rude to you.
Then you keep at it – and overtime you find out that there’s something weird and super-energetic inside you that honestly would prefer to see everyone you know – including the jerks – totally bonkers with fulfillment and joy.
Odd as it sounds, you find out that you actually are the kind of great person that you were always just sort of half-assedly pretending to be.
And that weird, super-energetic, profoundly unpredictable and yet oddly benevolent thing inside you is your genius. And you’re feeding it love. And it’s waking up.
Now watch the hell out.
Because the more love you have radiating from within you, the more difficult it will be for people who are afraid of being loved to relate to you.
You might find yourself spontaneously dancing with joy, running up to people and hugging them, staying up all night to compose a song or paint a portrait.
Lots of people you know won’t much care for this new, ebullient and boundlessly creative you. And in the past you would have let their disapproval get you down and shut you up.
But now you don’t really care because you just love them sooooooooo much.
I mean, they even look cute to you while they’re standing there grimacing at you.
3. Don’t Hide
At its most basic level, Don’t Hide means stay in connection with the world. Stay in connection with the people you love even when they piss you off. Don’t collect up all your toys and go home and lock the door.
Don’t isolate yourself in an attempt to keep from being rocked by other people’s messy demands and emotions and judgments of you.
Show up. Put yourself out there. Expect plenty of criticism and insult and revel in it. Also expect plenty of love – and revel in it.
Your genius is dead-set on not just waking you up to amazing generative brilliance but to waking up everyone else, too.
And that means you have to be in relationship in order for your genius to thrive.
You can’t bring yourself and everyone else into their fullest potential if you’re not relating to them.
So sitting alone in your garrett isn’t going to cut it.
You gotta get out there and hustle, darlin’.
Write that blog. Make those videos. Show up at that party. Put together that gallery show. Hell, throw some parties and open some galleries. Found that intentional community.
Make it happen, angel. What are you waiting for?
Let us hear you, let us see you. At your best and at your worst. Show us your despicable mess and let us think the worst things possible about you – and then shine on anyway – because that’s the only way we’ll ever learn that our disgusting mess and our vulnerability is okay, too. That’s the only way we’ll get free and awake.
Be the brave one, the bold one. The one who loves us so much she doesn’t flinch when our fear of our own genius causes us to act like supreme jerks.
On a deeper level, Don’t Hide means truly let yourself touch and be touched. And I mean this quite literally. Be touched by people. And touch them. It’s what we all want.
Ask for hugs. Ask for cuddles. Ask for kisses. Ask to hold hands.
Show up at a Contact Improv class and learn to dance by feeling another human being’s body flow with yours.
Sign up for an Orgasmic Meditation training and stroke or get stroked. Let your electricity flow through you to others.
Whatever you do, touch us and let us touch you. Be present. It’s super-uncomfortable. And it’s what your genius longs for. It’s actual life.
If you Dream Yourself Awake, Love Everyone, and Don’t Hide – you’ll soon find your genius waking up and taking you on a ride that defies description.
Things will get really messy and really upsetting and also totally magnificently great.
You’ll encounter synchronicities that will boggle your mind, and people and ideas will come into your life that dazzle you. You’ll create in all kinds of mediums – with words, with pictures, with communities – and best of all, you’ll be living in synch with your heart and your sex and your soul.
You won’t feel blocked or numb, but you will have to deal with a huge amount of intensity and sensation as your genius rips apart your safety and builds you heaven on earth.
Which, by the way, looks pretty much exactly nothing like your present imagination of heaven and a lot like your ego’s worst nightmare.
Terrifying, I know. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
A bit about me, Carolyn Elliott
I coach magical, creative people to live turned-on, ecstatic lives full of genius and challenge. I’m the author of Awaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Path to Feeing Your Creativity and Manifesting You Dreams (North Atlantic / Random House). I also lead the Outlaw Court, a secret Facebook group where magical people are hugely supported in bringing their Things into the world – if you’re magic and you know it, you’re welcome to apply to join the Outlaw Court.