Shaping Identity

I do have favoured ways of using the skills I developed as I learned to study the human mind. Because people fall into less than a dozen fundamental groups, you’ll see huge patterns in the sorts of challenges that each group habitually faces. So for instance, if I can identify a very rigid and unequivocal mind then I will know that the greyness of life will be the bane of the person’s existence and that most of their problems in life will stem from avoiding that greyness.

709 Relax and Succeed - A little spark of kindnessThat being the case, as with all of our fears, I know they will either suffer for decades and then either develop some level of comfort with life’s uncertainties, or they won’t. Some people grow through life and approach death with interest and wonder. Other people find the world didn’t turn out the way they want and they’re bitter and want more time to make it right. So we either fight the flow or go with the flow. One we know as suffering and the other as life.

What this means is, if I see you destined to fight with the flow—and particularly if you’re still young—I’ll often gently set you on a direction that will encourage you toward having some very early experiences that are highly likely to reduce the impact of those kinds of challenges throughout your life. Because of this I’ve had the distinct pleasure of watching several friends excel at a variety of things where they otherwise would have had much, much more resistance to realizing their own abilities.

When a acquaintance’s son approached me a while back, I knew I was spending time with a kid who got lost in a mall once and now he sees the world as a pretty scary place. He often overwhelms himself with fears and paranoia over any manner of the unknown. It doesn’t take someone like me to see what sort of adult this person will grow into without any intervention. He’ll continue to see the world as scary and it will influence everything from his romantic choices to what he eats to how well respected he is at his job. This is no small obstacle in life. In fact, it’s one of the biggest things that holds people back from enjoying their own rewarding lives.

709 Relax and Succeed - Beleive love dream inspireSimon likes spending time with me in the same way that he’ll be attracted to adventurous people in life. That’s who he’ll admire, who he’ll date. And for most of his life he will beat himself up for not taking various opportunities the way those people would. Those people. Who are those people?

They’re people who are comfortable with the unknown. So when Simon asks me if the kids in the jungle get scared of getting lost, I know I have a chance to place the idea in his brain that maybe getting lost is good, and if it’s not good it’s at least okay. Simon needs to be okay with that floundering period everyone has before they get a grip. He needs to understand that feeling isn’t him failing, that feeling is normally associated with new things.

So I explain that everyone knows the kids will get lost. But that’s fine because not knowing where you are is necessary before you can know where you are. Before you’re lost you don’t even know there’s such a thing as found—which is why this idea bothers Simon. That mall event was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to him. That freaked his mom out so much that Simon is now terrified of this happening again. To the point where he sees kids in the jungle through eyes formed by that early experience in a mall.

709 Relax and Succeed - If you learn from defeatI explain to Simon that even an old path is brand new to a new set of eyes. So no one can really be taught the way back. Everyone finds their own way back in their own unique way, even if they take the same path. So before you can know anything you have to accept not-knowing it. Before you can be comfortable with anything you have to traverse not being comfortable with it. And because Simon trusts me, and because my voice is relaxed and my expression says no big deal, Simon frowns at this new knowledge. Hmmm he’s thinking. I didn’t know being lost or confused could be okay. And that’s all I need.

That one little idea will mean Simon will live a much richer life, and he will offer more of himself to the world because he won’t be wasting as much of his life-force spinning in place, questioning decisions he’s either made or has to make. Simon will live more fully. And nothing pleases me more than inoculating someone like that. And it even makes Simon and I closer because he associates me with feeling great about himself, which just makes my job easier going forward because I will reinforce his capability every time I see him.

709 Relax and Succeed - You don't need a reasonYou do this with everyone you interact with all day long. Your long time spouse. The kid you talk to at the door for two seconds. Your 85 year old grandmother. They all have ideas about themselves and they’ll overwhelmingly be far too self-critical. Don’t surrender opportunities to buoy their spirits. Give compliments. Support people. Believe in them actively. Because they’ll certainly have to deal with their share of diminishing egos as well.

Don’t beat yourself up and don’t stand for others doing it either. Remind others of their strengths and you of your own. Life’s hard enough that we don’t need to add to it by attacking ourselves. And at the same time it’s plenty rewarding, so it’s important that we’re not filling our consciousness with self recrimination or fears about our inability when we could be using that energy to absorb this great big beautiful world and all of the amazing people like you who are in it.

Now go have yourself an awesome day and affect people in an awesome way.

peace. s

Herding Cats

Teaching people to be mindful is a bit like herding cats. They’re too smart and too curious to ever really control, but you can nudge them over when they get too far out of line. In fact, that’s what these blogs are for. My actual students are the ones who benefit the most because they’re drawing more out of these posts than most people would. But fundamentally they are using these posts to nudge themselves back on track. Staying in a healthy zone does get to be a habit thankfully, but you still have to maintain an awareness because slipping out of that state of mind is inevitable for without the opposite we could not know our health.

559 Relax and Succeed - The beautiful thingMy students will tend to fall into groups in terms of how they come to know what it is I’m imparting, but they all share certain patterns to their understanding. One of the key ones is their first significant period of time out of their health. Say I’m doing a group course that’s eight weeks long. By week four people are usually starting to notice a difference and by week eight virtually all of them have a decent grip on what they have to do to continue feeling better. From that p0int there will be a few who simply don’t put in the most basic effort and naturally if you don’t actually make the changes, things cannot change. A much larger group earnestly tries to turn what they’ve learned into a verb. They remember the things they discovered and they use them and build on them and they are rewarded with increasingly beautiful lives.

Most commonly, a student will have about a three or four month run of feeling increasingly awesome and then something will trip them up. They’ll usually panic and call me, worried they’ve lost everything they learned. But of course you can’t unlearn things. They know it, they’re just forgetting it’s a verb and not a noun. They didn’t become conscious when they took my course, they learned how to be conscious. It is up to them to actually do that and usually just a quick reminder gets them back on course. Until…

Usually about a year to a year and a half later I’ll touch base. This is often when even successful people have slipped into the habit of thinking about the right thing to do rather than actually doing it. So they’ll tell themselves it’s important to stay conscious when what they should be doing is actually being conscious. Golf offers a good analogy: when referring to the importance of keeping one’s eye on the ball, it’s like the difference between having the lenses of your eyes pointed at the ball while you’re thinking about keeping your eye on the ball rather than simply actually mindfully looking at it.

559 Relax and Succeed - Good Days and Bad Days GraphBecause they got healthier during the course, people often feel like they’ve failed when they get upset. That’s when I remind them that an unpleasant experience is a phase of being healthy, not sick. Again, I remind them that there is no in if there is no outside. We have to spend time there in an egocentric state of mind or the healthy state of mind cannot be recognized. The objective is simply to spend the least amount of time out of your health as possible.

Fortunately you have emotions. They’re very handy. They act as a signaling system regarding your thinking. Much like pain in your elbow tells you not to play tennis, agonized thoughts urge you to change the course of your thinking. Eventually people subtly remember how to get back in, and from there they just steadily bounce back and forth, spending less and less time out and more and more time in. Life circumstances may go up or down, but that is irrelevant to the wise person who understands what reality is made of.

You are not lost if you are out—that is an aspect of being in, just as heads on a coin is an aspect of tails on a coin. You need one to have the other. So don’t panic during times of lower consciousness. Just use your available consciousness to find the best thought you can and climb your way out from there. It’s really not that hard but people make it hard because they think it should be. But it’s always the same motion. Stop wanting, start appreciating. Repeat that action for as much of your life as you can and you will be a wise and successful person.

Have the best kind of day your current awareness will allow.

With love, s