Following the Shinrin-Yoko with Scott post, I was asked to write more about the central course I ‘teach.’ As former students can attest, it is a strange reality to describe to people not living it. So here’s a modified version of one of my better descriptions:
The personal tools we develop in response to the course form a kind of psychological Swiss Army Knife –each component works wherever and whenever we find ourselves. That’s because, no matter what we’re doing, we’re always processing our reality through our thinking.
We each have unique experiences and lives that unconsciously shape how we use our thoughts. That’s why one person can like a book or person, and another person can think the book is terrible but the person is terrific. There is no accounting for taste. The math is too complex.
Fortunately, we can learn more about how those differences form. We can come to see how we are directly involved in our interpretation of reality. And those things help expose options for our lives that otherwise go unnoticed.
These options leave people feeling more resilient and less anxious or depressed. Even better, they expand our capacity for connection and joy. In the most general sense, people enjoy themselves and their lives a lot more due to feeling they have more freedom.
I say the course is 12 hours, but that’s a minimum. If necessary, to ensure the lessons are sinking in, students will often have up to 16 hours. 12 hours is just when most of them are done. But all finish at a stage where, if I suddenly died, the student would still be able to continue their own development on their own.
I start off by listening in an unusual way; the benefits of the accident I had gives me unique insights about the patterns in people’s thinking. That helps me formulate my explanations and responses in ways designed to be uniquely comprehensible to that individual.
We then spend about four hours on undoing the person’s current reality with logical arguments that would also be specifically designed to suit that person. Since the training is employing the unique way each person uses their own mind, I am able to find metaphors within people’s own lives. And that makes them much easier to remember and take action on.
Roughly the next four hours is me re-presenting reality as it really works. Generally people enjoy that because the new reality answers all kinds of questions the old one couldn’t. We then contemplate various aspects of life through this new way of seeing things.
The final four hours or so hours is spent on exploring and reinforcing the lessons in a variety of circumstances so that each person feels well-equipped to face anything they’ll need to face. From there, as long as they practice the principles they learn, a person’s awareness and understanding will naturally continue to grow.
Of course all of this can be focused on some specific aspect of life, like our relationships with ourselves, or others, addictions, marital issues, or even for things like public speaking or high performance sports. It all depends on the student and where they want to apply these abilities first.
The process is generally done through highly enjoyable, nonlinear, conversation-based learning. I intentionally bounce around the subject matter so that students can’t try to linearly integrate the ideas into their existing reality. But simply put, it feels like spending time with a friend, talking about fascinating things.
Once I’ve established enough key ideas that each student accepts in principle, we begin to tie them together into a cohesive new reality that feels clearer and stronger and less chaotic. If it sounds very ephemeral, it really isn’t. To the contrary, a common compliment I get is that people are amazed at how clear and practical the ‘lessons’ are.
I don’t ask anyone to accept anything that can’t be proven quite easily and the whole process is very logical. You need only trust yourself. There is no risk. People can easily return to their old way of approaching life. It’s just that no one has any motivation to do that when they are more effective and feel better in their new reality.
This spring I worked with several people who have had lifelong issues with stress, or anxiety, or alcohol, or with self-hate, and they are not only happier, but their loved ones are too. And that will continue. You can’t unlearn this any more than you can forget how to add or subtract.
In the end, no one can give us a perfect life with no suffering. But we can learn to live one with far less of it, and we all can experience far more joy. And in those times where we can’t make things better, we can instead learn to spend time amidst our struggles, while still maintaining a healthy headspace.
If you feel it’s time to hit ‘reset’ on life, then contact me at email@example.com and let’s arrange a call. Because life is waiting for you and I love helping people find theirs.
Have an awesome day everyone.
PS If you’d like other people’s impressions you can find some here.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.