Yeah, really. The process of doing a PhD for me has been a great exercise in ego death. Die! I mean, the ego is resilient. The vanity, fear, self-doubt, perfectionism, depression, self-doubt, radical questioning of meaning and what-the-hell-can-I assert is bound in the ego knot.
Many spiritual teachers talk about the blessings in struggle. It’s not a pat meaning, but something to be discovered. It’s good to say that things are not okay. Also, struggle can yield a new open perspective, more space inside, less hair-knots around the self-doubt-self.
Being in an enduring process of criticism and critique has been one of facing a fear of my right to be, in a way. (whoa). But, of course, when you face what you fear (criticism, someone thinks that what I think is crap, or unclear, or confused) YOU ACTUALLY SURVIVE. Over and over. And keep on surviving. And there have been many low points where I have felt completely ground down with no self-esteem left. And I kept on surviving.
At this point I reckon I wil sound precious. But, hey, we are all, ultimately, pretty self-obsessed. Again, another gift of this process of a long project of being up for critique is loosening off the preciousness. Having those rare moments of detachment between the ego and the work.
And there is the blessing. Really. So when people ask me if they should do a PhD … there may be a blessing in it. And I am blessed to be privileged enough to be able to do it. Here’s to the birth of the doctorate baby. Soooooon.