Dear Deep,

I read your recent LinkedIn post, “How to Get a Clear Mind“, with keen interest. Given the morbid fear of marionettes I developed after an unfortunate childhood incident with Howdy Doody (thank God Buffalo Bob was there), this passage, especially, struck a nerve. (It might actually have struck a chord. I couldn’t be sure. All I know is my ears started ringing.)

You can’t be a puppet of outside demands and pressures unless you see yourself as secondary while the world “out there” is primary. After all, how can you eat, put a roof over your head, raise a family, and so on without plunging into the hard realities of daily existence?

Beyond my apprehension about being a puppet (Yikes!), what intrigued me particularly was and so on. I eat pretty regularly. I have a roof over my head most of the time. And I’ve raised two sons who’ve managed to create happy, productive lives for themselves. But that and so on part really had me bugged. What could it mean? Was I no more than the unwitting puppet (Egad!) of outside demands, pressures, and the hard realities of daily existence? What else could I or should I be doing? Then I read on:

The answer lies in finding out who you really are–a conscious agent who can choose at any time to live from the level of the true self.

I was staggered. The idea that I’d been an unconscious agent, living at the level of my untrue self, was almost more than I could handle. I realized I was going to have to change; although, it meant adjusting gradually, easing into conscious agency, and sliding slowly (up? down?) to the level of my true self.

I put myself on an every-other-day schedule (with weekends off, of course). On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I immersed myself in the isolation tank I had installed in my office. I shut off the phones. And I followed your advice strictly:

Set aside the thoughts and sensations that fill your mind every day. Focus instead on the goal of finding clarity.

I did. I set aside the thoughts and sensations that filled my mind on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As I floated in my tank, I imagined myself as a smooth stone, sitting at the bottom of a crystal-clear mountain stream — aware of the current but unmoved — still, silent, peaceful. My mind took on the clarity of the water (in the stream, not the tank). And I was utterly at one with my being.*

That’s the good news. The bad news is I was dead broke from working just two days a week. But all is not lost: I found out who I really am — a conscious agent whose true self needs to eke out a living from the hard realities of daily existence.

I shared your post with my creditors. But they are, as yet, unpersuaded.

I thank you for your help anyway. And I remain …

Your devoted follower,


P.S. I kept the isolation tank, just in case I recover financially and can afford time off to find my true self again.

* In the early ’70s, I dropped a barrel of Orange Sunshine and ended up being at two with myself for a while. I don’t recommend it. One of oneself is quite enough.

Image by Snapographic_com, courtesy of