Q. Where would you like to be?
Q. I asked you: “Where would you like to be?”
A. Is that what you’re going to ask me this morning?
Q. Well, I just asked you it, didn’t I?
A. I imagine you did.
Q. Well, you gonna answer it?
A. I suppose so.
Q. What do you mean, suppose so?
A. Just what I said, suppose so!
Q. Well, what’s your answer?
A. I would like to be in a place where . . . hmm . . . where I am free of fear, and where I am fully authentic.
Q. How are the two related?
A. They’re related because it’s fear that keeps me from being fully authentic.
Q. What are you afraid of?
A. I’m afraid that my real self will not be acceptable.
Q. Acceptable to whom?
A. To people whom I need.
Q. Do you really need these people?
A. Yes. We all need people.
Q. Are you afraid that if you show your true colors, you will lose them?
Q. So what colors do you show them instead?
A. False colors, obviously.
Q. Can you give me an example?
A. Well, take the other night, when I was preparing the podcast for tomorrow. As soon as the devices were rolling, and I knew I was being recorded, I became completely uptight. I tried to compensate for my uptight state by putting on a stage voice. At the time I thought it was the right thing to do — the professional thing to do. But later, when I listened to the recording, I felt that I sounded forced and phony.
Q. Can’t you just record it over again, and try to sound less affected this time? And more like your real self?
A. Not possible. There were two people involved in the podcast, and I would inconvenience them to ask them to meet a second time.
Q. Do you think the other person may also have been nervous? Perhaps they too were not their true self?
A. Again, not possible. As I listened to the recording, they seemed perfectly relaxed and at ease. Totally natural — calm, rational, genuine — in fact, all the other participants have been little short of excellent — in all their spoken contributions. It is only I who cannot measure up to the level of authenticity and integrity that I desire so strongly in myself and others. I am the one who fails at his own endeavor . . it is I who —
Q. May I interrupt?
A. Please do.
Q. How can you possibly believe that your perceptions are accurate?
A. What do you mean?
Q. Is it logically possible that all these other people are performing perfectly, and you alone are in error?
A. I guess not.
Q. You guess not?
A. Okay – I know not. But still it bugs me that I can’t find my authentic voice.
Q. Aren’t you confusing your inner voice with your speaking voice?
A. What’s the difference?
Q. Isn’t your speaking voice a mere anatomical apparatus? Isn’t your Inner Voice the Voice of the Heart – the True Voice – from whence the True Self shines though?
A. But shouldn’t the speaking voice be a reflection of the Inner Voice?
Q. Does everybody have to be a good speaker? What about somebody who can’t speak at all? Does this deny them the right to access their own Inner Voice?
A. Well, it shouldn’t.
Q. Then why can’t you just let your speaking voice be?
A. Because it’s — lousy.
Q. Is everything about you lousy?
A. No. I’m good at some things. You know what they are.
Q. Then why not focus on what you’re good at?
A. Are you saying, you don’t want me to make any more podcasts?
Q. Did I say that?
Q. Do you think you should give up on the podcasts?
A. Well, no — because the information being exchanged is potentially very valuable — at least to certain sorts of people who are potentially very significant — and therefore the positive content of the podcasts outweighs the negative nature of my vocal delivery.
Q. So you’re going to keep up the Spoken Word projects, even though you don’t like the sound of your own voice?
A. I’m not sure. It takes an awful long time to edit these things, though I do enjoy the process.
Q. So there are other variables to be considered?
A. Indeed there are.
Q. Will you see me again next week?
A. Will you ask me a different question?
Q. Why should I?
A. Because this question didn’t lead to a conclusion. I mean, there’s got to be a question that will get us where we need to go more quickly. Don’t you think?
The Questioner is silent.
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