“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”
I’m reading a wonderful book called “Will Yoga And Meditation Really Change My Life?” edited by Stephen Cope, an amazingly talented writer.
In this particular book, Mr. Cope has edited a compilation of personal stories from 25 of North America’s leading teachers of yoga and meditation.
I am thoroughly enjoying it to the point where I don’t want it to end and I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to be inspired to bring yoga and meditation into their daily life.
One of the striking things about my experience of reading it is the contrast between what the various authors wrote about vs. their introductory biographies.
Of course the biographies have to do with their many accomplishments, education and various other facts, establishing their credibility.
In contrast, the text of what these impressive authors wrote about seems dissonant from their biographies.
What they wrote about was the profound and inspiring experiences of their personal growth and increasing identification with their inner life and spiritual being.
Biographies, by definition, are written in the third person. But in my limited exposure to the literary world, I have witnessed that many people’s “biographies,” though written in the third person, are actually written by the authors themselves, technically rendering the narrative an autobiography. O.K., no big deal, though.
As I read about the prestigious universities they attended, their international travel and the lofty accomplishments of these world class role models, I knew I was unable to match their stature. And so I caught myself thinking that I wasn’t as good as these folks because my resume’ couldn’t possibly compete with theirs. I began to feel inadequate, “less than.”
Next I became aware of my judgments about how they were missing the point by boasting about all their achievements while writing about such things as love being the main virtue in life, or being in the moment vs. doing. Clearly my ego kicked in and started running my show.
But reading one impressive biography after another as I’m digesting this amazing book, I’m inspired to write my own (auto) biography.
So I decided to stop taking myself so seriously and get playful with it. Once I massaged my ego and gave it an “at a boy,” I felt inspired to take a different tack with mine.
To start, I decided to write mine in the first person. Secondly I decided to take somewhat of a satirical approach (not a stretch for me).
Here’s how it goes:
(imagine a picture of me in laughter next to my “bio.”)
I am Bryon Sabatino, originally “Brian,” but in a radical gesture, changed the spelling of my first name in my twenties to show the world my uniqueness.
One of the most educational things I’ve ever done is hitch-hike across the United States and Canada throughout college. I took six years to get a bachelor’s degree because I kept changing my major.
I earned a masters degree in counseling at a non-prestigious university. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA. It would have been a 4.0, But Dr. Sandy Mazon arbitrarily (by his own admission) gave me a “B” in two of his classes because I constantly challenged his ways.
This was perhaps one of my greatest lessons in my entire graduate school experience because I realized the limitation of the value of grades. Earning the Masters Degree in general felt like what is referred to in yogic philosopy as an “empty successful accomplishment experience.” I thought when I finally earned a “MASTERS DEGREE” I would be somehow transformed personally by it, and that I would have mastered something. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I was still well entrenched in the belief that external things (like academic degrees) would make me happy. No one ever asked me what my GPA was after I graduated.
I am really glad I never pursued a Ph.D. It’s what I call the third degree burn.
I have worked as a counselor for my entire professional career. I am still passionate about assisting people in their pursuit of growth.
I am not known internationally, nationally or even statewide in Arizona. However, some people in the metropolitan Phoenix area know me. Some like me and some don’t.
I haven’t published any articles or authored any books. I haven’t founded any institutes, nor created or edited any magazines, professional journals or other publications.
I have never been on any committees, nor board of directors.
I have never aired on any radio or television shows.
I’ve never been a formal teacher of any kind, but I consider most everybody to be my teacher in one way or another. I’ve never belonged to any professional associations. I’ve never been a director of any academic or clinical setting. I have never lead any retreats or organized any conferences.
I am a perpetually enthusiastic student, and a slow learner (especially with technology). I have never won any academic or professional awards.
I enjoy anonymity, an introverted personality and bask in solitude for much of an average day, thinking deep thoughts, some of which I share with others individually and in small groups.
Most of what I know about psychotherapy did not result from graduate school, despite a few amazing teachers, whom I will never forget for their humanity more than their knowledge, including Dr. Mazon.
I enjoy humor and laugh at my own jokes way too often. Sometimes I’m the only one laughing.
I have practiced and shared the practice of meditation for over a decade. I have recently began practicing yoga. (I truly believe most people would benefit from it as well.)
I love to read and write prose and poetry for the pure joy of it. I enjoy my creativity and encouraging others to explore theirs. I become music when I hear it, and I can still taste colors even though I haven’t done acid since the 70’s.
I have no spiritual convictions and do not follow any particular religion, philosophy or psychological orientation.
I never made a good “employee,” which is why I am so grateful that I got laid off from Cigna in March of 2000 or I would never have gone into private practice. I never got the good parking spot they awarded employees of the month. I felt better about going home on time. I was only promoted twice in my life; once to a middle management position at McDonalds in high school, and the other at my first job out of graduate school at a psychiatric hospital that later got busted by “60 Minutes” for unethical admission practices.
Though middle age is mellowing me, I have been an adrenalin junky for most of my life, enjoying skydiving, scuba diving, mountain biking, skiing, whitewater rafting, soaring, hot air ballooning, backpacking.
I enjoy recycling.
I love to travel. The only bumper sticker I’ve ever had says “God bless the whole world, no exceptions.”
I will be 50 years old soon, and perhaps among the most important lessons I‘ve learned in my life experience so far are; bigger is not necessarily better, less is sometimes more, high profile isn’t, by it’s own virtue, more valuable, intelligence and competence are too narrowly defined in our culture, and probably the most important one, I am not my thoughts, my thoughts and my consciousness are different.
I’ve never been legally married, but have been “divorced” twice.
I live in Tempe, Arizona with my lovely girlfriend. She has a dog (in Virginia). Long story…