A few weeks back I attended a wonderful weekend program with three of my favorite mentors in the inside-out understanding. George Pransky, who I have written about often in these missives, was sharing how a recent health challenge had, “through no fault of his own”, caused him to experience a depth and scope of being that was so beautiful and all-encompassing it made him question all the years of thinking and doing he had participated in up to this point in his life.
Over the years, I’ve had a long and varied history with the word “hope”. For a long time, I thought of it as a kind of a toothless variant of positive thinking, keeping people mindlessly justifying all kinds of horrible circumstances in the vainglorious hope that things would magically improve all by themselves.
For more than a decade, I have been sharing a spiritual understanding of life that is more commonly known as either “the 3 Principles” or “the inside-out understanding”.
When they talk about it in terms of the inside-out understanding, they’re pointing to the fact that the human experience only unfolds in one direction – from formless to form, inside to out, thought to experience.
Years ago, a friend of mine in the voice-over business shared a story about the oddest piece of direction he’d ever gotten while recording a commercial. The producer listened to him say the same line over and over again, asking him to try something different each time without giving him any particular direction to aim in.
Then, in a flash of inspiration, the producer said “Try wonderment – it needs more wonderment”.
First of all, when I was in a physical body I had the best home any cat could have wanted: I could roam free, climb trees, chase butterflies, feel the sunshine on my fur ,and snuggle down on soft beds inside the house when the snowstorms raged. But best of all, I was adored by my humans. And I adored them.
Over the past eight months, I’ve been working with a live and virtual group exploring the nature and catalyzation of genius. Not the “high IQ” kind of genius that is often associated with both prolific accomplishment and social awkwardness, but the kind of innate, unlearned genius that fits more aptly with this definition…
In putting together our newest online program, Falling in Love with Writing, one of the topics my friend Steve Chandler and I explored together was what I call becoming an “amateur professional”.
In order to make sense of that phrase, let me first distinguish what it is to be an amateur and what it is to be a professional…
Amateurs do what they do, at least in spirit, for the love of the game. The word itself comes from the French, and can be literally translated as “lover of”…
Years ago, I was complaining to my mentor George Pransky about some goal or other I was pursuing to no avail when he said to me, “Have you considered that it might just not be in the cards?
I was sufficiently unsettled by the implication that I might not be in charge of the universe that it led me to some serious soul-searching into the nature of how things happen in the world and how involved (or not involved) we are in their unfolding.
This past month was supposed to be my summer sabbatical in Sri Lanka – a chance to rest, reflect, recharge, renew, and work on my tan. While I did get through six novels (including Philip Kerr’s amazing Berlin Noir trilogy) and an equal number of volumes of business development and spiritual philosophy, life intervened in my grand plans and we wound up having to cancel our family vacation. Instead, I spent the majority of my time off adapting to my wife’s newly broken legs, trying to move house, and recovering from gum surgery…
My friend and colleague Aaron Turner once described our grounding in the inside-out understanding of life as a measure of how much of our experience looked like it was made of the energy of Thought as opposed to being either “the energy of Thought plus external factors” or even external factors alone. For example, if you get a “Final Demand” bill from a credit card company and feel stressed, is that stress:
a. Simply the feeling of whatever you happen to be thinking in that moment?
b. The feeling of your thinking about a very real problem?
c. The feeling of the credit card bill?
This week’s guest blog was written by my apprentice Mer Monson. It’s a beautiful exploration of lessons learned about empowerment and surrender while dealing with a life-threatening illness. As she says in her article, “A profound gift of love in disguise, cancer shoved me off the ledge of my own sense of control and into the freedom of surrender.”
While driving home from the beach a few months back, my daughter asked me a question that took me by surprise.
“Dad,” she began, “do you think we live in a simulation?”
When I asked her what she meant, she said that a number of her friends were discussing something called “the Simulation Hypothesis” and that Elon Musk had expressed that “it’s pretty much a lock we’re living inside some kind of a cosmic hard drive”.
Years ago, I was enjoying the book Passionate Presence by Catherine Ingram when to my surprise, I burst into floods of tears when I read the following passage…
As regular readers of these blogs will know, I love a good analogy. While facts and figures can be the key to a deeper understanding of some things, I find that in conversations about our deeper spiritual nature, metaphors and analogies seem to be more helpful to more people more of the time.
So when one of the participants on this year’s Advanced Course 4.0 asked a question last week about what she could do to stay more present to this deeper self in daily life, I was delighted with the analogy that came to mind…
Here’s a quick thought experiment to get us started:
You are a prisoner in a room with 2 identical doors and 2 identical looking guards.
You know two things going in:
One of the doors leads to freedom; the other door leads to death.
One of the guards always tells the truth; the other guard always lies.
You’re allowed one question to safely navigate your way out of the prison – what question do you ask?