My all-time favourite book is little-known book called “The Impersonal Life” by Joseph Benner. It was recommended to me by my weirdo spiritual teacher.
Now, before you get all excited about this book, I’m pretty sure that it’s not for everyone. I think that it is right for me and that I’m in the right circumstances to decode its message for a number of reasons.
This book was written in 1914 under the name Anonymous. The author’s identity was only revealed as Joseph Benner after his death, when his daughter made it public. Joseph Benner was an active representative of a Christian Church called “The Brotherhood of Christ” and didn’t want it to be widely known that he considered himself as “a vehicle to a larger presence” and that he felt that he had to “let his mind be subsumed by (or co-creatively interact with) a larger Mind or Being.”
In essence, he channeled many writings, the first of which was “The Impersonal Life”. As with many channeled writings the voice speaks in a peculiar and formal way. And because of his Christian background it has a highly religious tone, which I imagine would be off-putting to many readers.
For me, because I was immersed in my spiritual teachers’ process and viewing things through that lens, The Impersonal Life made perfect sense to me. I easily see beyond the Christian lens, to a more universal interpretation. In fact, I found it exceedingly useful and still do.
Elvis Presley was introduced to “The Impersonal Life” in the last 13 years of his life and gave away hundreds of copies of it. A copy was allegedly with him on the night he died.
On a side note, within weeks of this book being recommended to me by my spiritual teacher, who lived in Cambodia, I found a 30 year-old copy on a shelf in a dusty side-bedroom of a house on an orchard in the middle-of-nowhere Mexico where I was staying.
My favourite chapter in the book is called “Use”. In it, Joseph Benner shares the message that when we are able to empty ourselves of the petty wants and needs of the personal, separate self, and to become a vessel for I AM….the awareness of presence within that moves us, then our ‘use’ to life reveals itself.
as I begin to awaken in you a realization that I AM within, and more and more cause your human consciousness to become an Impersonal channel through which I can express, will I gradually reveal to you the Reality of My Idea, dissipating one by one the illusions of the ages which have hidden Me from you, enabling Me thereby to manifest through you My Heavenly Attributes of Earth in all their humanly Divine perfection.
-Joseph Benner, The Impersonal Life
This concept of ‘use’ has stuck with me since. I like it even better than the word Genius. Although I think that your Genius is your Use. Your use can be considered more broadly than Genius.
It’s the ‘use’ of your life-force energy. Your creativity.
Think of Yourself as a Conduit, Like a Lightening Rod
A little like a lightening bolt, filled with raw power, our life-force is inspiration that comes down to us from All-That-Is, I AM, Divine (whatever you want to call it) and for which we can act as a conduit.
This lightening bolt of energy is attempting to make it’s way through a rod or conduit, and then to spread out and ground itself through the root. It wants to spread out into the world.
Imagine your creative use in this same way, as streaming down from the heavens, as a gift of energy to you, and then needing to spread out around you in concrete ways. This is invisible energy and potential made manifest. We are here as conduits to make ‘real’ and visible that which was previously only a thought form.
You will conduct the energy of this life-force whether or not you are doing it consciously. If you do not use it consciously as a creator, it can take the form of drama, dissatisfaction, endless toil.
Your life-force then takes on a destructive tone. Rather than creating heaven on earth, you may end up creating your own personal hell.
Or the energy of the lightening bolt can ricochet around inside of you, becoming an intolerable stagnancy. Imagine a lightening bolt trapped inside of a glass jar. It is too much energy to be stored in such a small container (or any container for that matter). The best “container” for lightening is the earth. The earth is vast enough to absorb the electricity of the lightening.
And when connected to the earth, a conduit can act as a temporary conduit for the lightening bolt.
Creative energy well-used will feel refreshing, alive, adventurous.
Creative energy in stagnation will feel dull, stuck, life-less and boring.
Creative energy in drama and conflict will feel full of adrenaline, and strong emotions such as anger, sadness and negativity.
What is the best ‘use’ of your life-force/creative energy?
How can you set-up your life in order to allow you to preform that use?
You may not know the answers. If you don’t, you can start to explore them by looking at your present circumstances and environment and finding ways to be creative and useful within them.
For example, this winter things were slow for me. I had very few yoga classes to teach. I was in a pause between clients. There were no human design readings. I wasn’t teaching salsa and I wasn’t leading any on-line courses. I didn’t feel all that ‘useful’. And, my income was LOW.
I reminded myself of my Human Design instructions to pay attention to what was happening in life around me that I could respond to.
One of the things that happened was a friend and yoga teacher in my town who I didn’t know that well suffered from a 2nd degree burn on her leg. She needed someone to drive her into the closest health clinic to treat her wound every few days for the next few weeks.
Had I not been open to my impersonal ‘use,’ I might not have seen this as a divine invitation. But since I was poised and ready to be of ‘use’, I took the call and became a temporary taxi driver. I made about $450 peso per journey. But the amazing impact was, that my friend Sanni and I became the dearest of friends. Our conversations during those car rides healed us both and prepared me to be ready to meet my soulmate Rolando within the month.
Since then, my connection with Sanni has yielded many precious blessings that are impossible to quantify.
I believe that your highest use is to express your ‘genius’, the intersection of your Passion, your Gift and your Contribution. But in the times when your Genius isn’t being asked for, or circumstances aren’t conspiring for you to be in your Genius, aim to be of “use” to Life and all is well.
Your “Use” is Probably Not That Useful to You, But Is Very Useful to Others.
It’s possible to be useful without having very much understanding of your use to life. Follow the breadcrumb trail of your inspiration. And when a time arises that reveals your usefulness, where you have no question that you have truly served, treasure it.
Since you already have your use integrated and ‘normal’ to you, it likely doesn’t seem that useful to you.
My inner voice often says: “Argh! What should I do with my time? I know what I should do, (which is to write) but I don’t want to! What I say doesn’t matter and why bother to explain my point of view when, to me, it seems absolutely obvious.”
The most powerful things for you to share are going to seem like the most benign, uninteresting and ordinary. It’s what you know well. It’s completely obvious to you. That which is natural and obvious to you, can be a god-send to someone else at the right moment.
Creativity is not ours to judge and is not ours to keep. It’s a gift that comes through us to be shared.
I learned this as an artist. I would make watercolour paintings and do art shows. I noticed that they paintings that I thought were the worst were often someone’s favourite of the show. And the ones that I thought where absolutely the best, were the least popular.
I also noticed that in attending art shows. Some of the artists that I liked the absolute least, had the most popular booths and their art was selling out.
I concluded from this experience that I no business being the objective judge of my own work.
All creativity is divine. It is the merging of the universal coming through a prism, the prism of the self, to be expressed.
All creativity should be revered, even if we don’t like it.
So, relax about it.
Don’t worry about it and edit it so much. Yes, refine your craft. Yes, practice. But moreso, express. Let the avenues of expression form themselves and flow through you as they will.
I help Type A Hippies to get into flow in all three realms of Love, Sex and Genius.
2) Book an Intimate 1-1 Human Design Reading. Learning about your human design chart will help you make empowered daily choices about how to use your time, money and energy…opening up much more flow and ease. Click here to read about it and book.
3) I lead an intimate mentorship circle called the Flow Catalyst, for Type A Hippies who want to master the flow in the realms of Love, Sex and Genius. We meet weekly. It’s a really special, high-touch group. You get to decide the investment. To read about it and apply go here.