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Heart of Darkness: angels and demons

By March 6, 2015 One Comment

A few days after my first strange encounter with Eris Roberts, the mysterious agent who contacted my desk to share her zeal and worry for her broker, Frank Needler, I found the following missive in my mailbox. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to contact Roberts and ask her when she received this letter and whether she’d heard any more recent words from the errant Needler, I have decided to share his most recent writing with Inman readers in the spirit of our original agreement  and in the hopes that she will once again emerge and help explain what has happened to her broker … and illuminate what may be happening to his brokerage in the wake of his absence. (Or, at the very least, provide us with a copy of the company’s policy manual.)

Agents! Fallen Angels!

As Pozzo steers our skiff more deeply into the darkness, as the hidden river bends and betrays more and more of its secrets and ideas begin to form, I write these down and send them to you. I tremble thinking of you, dear agents, thinking of the clamor of the world that rings, “trending,” about your ears. Here, enclosed by the thick vegetation that hangs and droops sadly over the river’s banks, the silence enfolds us like a womb, and I scribble answers to the jungle’s questions.

In the section of the company’s Policy Manual — I know we have spoken of this at many of our groundbreaking Tuesday sales meetings — the part devoted to how real estate agents should begin their daily routine, where it is emphasized how crucial the beginning of the day is, in the second paragraph from the bottom of that page, where you are instructed to invoke the hidden thoughts that have survived the night’s dreams (thoughts which are, in fact, the container of the dreams), where you are told that, at that moment in the morning after the first cup of coffee when thinking is at its keenest and you are filled with renewed energy, when a vague yearning gathers up in you and you are certain today will be the day all your aspirations come together and reach their highest pitch, and it’s all or nothing, and the mystery of the universe solicits a response from you, but you do not know how to provide the universe with what it seeks … in the last sentence of that paragraph, you are instructed to sit silently and think of nothing. This is the most important point in the day  but all that aside, I’ve been giving this some thought, and as Pozzo and I plod along the Rio Escondido, I wish to append the Manual at this juncture with the following. (Eris, please ask Rhonda to interleaf this in the existing text and have a bound copy put on my desk.)

You know what is needed, what is called for. The Region, the domain outside of which there can be no real success, must be entered in the morning, and that is accomplished by contemplating the boundless One-All. Think of high mountains, of the clear-eyed eagles that soar above the glistening peaks, denying their mortality!

It is from this site, this orientation, that we draw all our energies and are thereby able to secure these energies and enter each work day in full regalia, with a confidence that is beyond any confidence garnered from all “positive thinking” and “affirmative, confidence-bolstering ideas’”and all the other hogwash that promotes “happiness” and “success” by merely rereading these quotations on your calendar through the day, as one thought after the other wears off and leaves you with nothing but dry shriveled mouths. This new confidence that YouTube vomits is forbidden to you, agents!

After the morning’s meditation, after letting yourself unfurl in the way I disclose to you, whatever specifics the day calls for (seeking new business, drawing up listing agreements, phone calls, putting out fires, assisting in loan processing, bringing a deal to closure, going to settlement with your client, and so on) will be carried out not just with concentration, but joy  sheer and actual delight.

There is nothing more pleasing in this world, outside of the activities of procreation (which, from a structural point of view, are identical to what I refer to here), than working in such a way that life and work unfold under their own momentum. We know that this is not merely possible, but is actually necessary, if one wants to enjoy genuine success.

On days when we fail in this, when the energies that power intensity miscarry, we may still accomplish things  but we do so under the condition of drudgery, and all tasks are reduced to menial labor, and we drag ourselves along with weakening powers that are barely able to carry us from one moment to the next.

Obviously, we cannot rid our lives entirely of days like these  but the real production, not just of sales and settlements, but of the very virtue and integrity of life, is based on an accomplishment that belongs to another sphere altogether. Here we encounter the state of boundless opening-up. It is joy  which is to say, freedom, spontaneity, release.

The trope “angel” is used frequently in the Manual to identify an ideal: an angel is the sort of creature that accomplishes this effortlessly; “angel” means this very state of freedom, of opening-up, of a pure life that continuously propagates itself. And a fallen angel is, therefore, one who has literally fallen into the world of contingency and has broken itself off from access to its inner power by becoming lost and entangled in all the things that are “trending” in this superficial world, where only garishly bright and colorful spectacles are able to enthrall you.

We need to keep reminding ourselves that intensity, abundance, breakthrough and increase are not phenomena that we are merely fortunate to enjoy from time to time; these things are possible to achieve “in perpetuum,” and they are there waiting to be ignited in every single moment of every single day of our lives, no matter the circumstances.

How is this possible?

It is possible because we partake of a transcendence that gives each one of us an infinite depth, as well as a natural access to that depth. We fail because we fail to access what is always already ours. We can take the force this provides us straight to the world and accomplish every task we undertake as real estate agents. This is the meaning of genuine spontaneity: continuous emergence from a point in space, unfolding effortlessly like fractals; free, burgeoning, alive.

It is especially effective when we first meet a person who represents a prospective listing, then shake their hand and simply and honestly ask, “How about this weather we are having?” It’s not complicated, but they will sense your sincerity instantly — and their trust, the most important component in sales, will be yours. Their trust will be yours because, in fact, you in your newfound depth are trustworthy; you’ve achieved authenticity, it is your modus operandi; it emanates from you the way light emanates from a flame.

We sleep each night  it is a sine qua non that we have a good night’s sleep, and the chapter on sleep is one of the longest in the Manual  because sleep is the preparation for the next day’s unlimited expression, for the ability to let life leap out of itself. Sleep and dreams create an existential threshold, and that is why, when we are at our peak, we should take advantage and contemplate the One-All and enter the Region: this procures a self-reproducing energy that cries out all day for release, as though your dreams during the night did nothing but prepare you for this. This can be taken advantage of every day of our lives.

Once we are able to live our days like the continuous flowering of a fractal from an infinitesimal point (that point is the Self, and we should think of the angel as precisely that: Pure Selfhood), we have achieved life itself, and we will be  Life. It is then that the bounty of this business, the abundance of sales and settlements, will flow naturally from the abundance of life. Nothing is simpler  and nothing, when one finally “gets” the intuition and all that comes with it, is easier  than that.


Agents! Do not despair when others criticize you for your struggle to wrest free from their ordinariness and superficiality! Beware of those whose time is too “precious” to listen to you: they speak from a position of resentment, the weakest of forces. Nothing in the complaint is active — it is, rather, reactive, a frightened reflex scared that their narrow and ready-made opinions will be exposed as mirages and leave them with nothing but their own frustration.

In point of fact, resentment has no force of its own; it must draw its power from a host onto which it latches as a parasite. Their time is anything but “precious” and can never be “wasted.” For them, all time runs off aimlessly into a sea of selfsameness that only duplicates the mediocrity that is in plentiful supply, which (inexplicably) they are always in a hurry to do — they are the ones who are always passing in their cars: they are not going anywhere, they simply must be “ahead.”

So how can any segment of their time be “precious” when such unceasing mediocrity and slavish devotion to what is “trending” at any given time endlessly offers itself to them? For them, all possible questions are already answered  and if they do not have a specific answer, they can produce it in seconds: it lies in the rectangular device in their pocket.

And those who are “content in every situation” and “selfless” when dealing with others  these people, you must relegate to the category of a laziness which perpetuates itself by way of vain self- congratulation (which also is an effect of resentment, its next “ring”).

For you, agents, the only activity of any importance is not resentment but release: to increase in intensity (the rest will take care of itself); to augment each day with the light that it is; to acquire depth, subtlety, higher levels of concentration and the engaged dynamism of an active receptivity to the sensation that is, simply, ardent being-in-the-world.

Every and any thing can be a source of passion; every thing in space is a balled-up source of power, charged with metaphysical energy; every person an angel having descended to inspire you, just as you are their angel offering the same to them. That is what is so beautiful about intensity: it is cross-fertilizing.

This carries with it a responsibility: I must intensify myself every day and spread this intensity to others  yes, to clients and customers. I must realize that laziness and fatigue are nothing but an effect of fear: my energy is exhausted the instant it is confronted by supposed defeat, defeat which possesses, as one of its deadliest needles, embarrassment and humiliation.

Instead, treat defeat as success and success as always only partial. I must break through this fear (this laziness) in order to release the energies that are pent up in me. I must realize that every now-point is ready to explode and all the riches of existence are there to be had. I must see that I have untapped sources and can draw from them at anytime. In each existent individual, all the forces of the universe intersect, which all too often is sapped by letting it drain off into the harmless, unchallenging everyday, the leveled-off zones of ordinary comfort.

Pozzo has turned us up a narrower passage. Deeper, infinitely deeper, into the darkness! There, yes, salvation! For today, take this as your spiritual exercise: your work and accomplishments in the field of real estate spring from an infinity you have possessed from the beginning and which you are never, for even a second, without. Stay keen, be like a living molecule dazzled with sensitivity, like a cat poised in the grass.



Email Amber Taufen.

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