There is an apocryphal “Chinese curse” which has been shared as both “May you live in an interesting age” and “May you live in interesting times.” If you’re finding the times we’re living in “interesting”, here are a few thoughts which may reassure you and provide some solid ground on which to stand as you look to the year ahead…
1. The future is an incomplete equation
I first heard this phrase from one of my early mentors in the Three Principles, Dr. Keith Blevens. I got an instant hit off it, as I could see that “thought in the moment” is the constant variable in any formula for predicting the future. Firstly, we don’t know what we’ll be thinking in any particular future moment so we don’t know how we’ll be feeling. The idea that we “just know” we’ll be devastated if such and such happens is the result of looking into the already created past for our data, not towards the not yet created future.
Beyond that, we don’t know what new possibilities for action or change will occur to us in any given moment. So the idea that we already know how the future will take form (let alone how we’ll react to it) is naïve at best and self-fulfilling at worst.
2. You will never know this little again
A friend who has asked to remain nameless shared this little gem with me the other day. She told me I should celebrate how far I’ve come and how well I was doing given that I “will never know this little again”. The more I sat with that thought the more comforting I found it. After all, I do know that when I see more I’ll know more. And it’s inevitable that if I keep looking within and moving forward I’ll continue to see more.
So if I can do this well with this little, it seems self-evident that when I know more, I’ll do better. And when I’m doing better in myself, life seems a heck of a lot easier.
3. You are doing the best you can, given the thinking you have that looks real to you
I wrote an entire blog post about this quote from Syd Banks recently, but in a nutshell:
“The thoughts that are most impactful in our lives aren’t the positive or negative ones in our head – they’re the ones that look like the things we’re having positive and negative thinking about.”
A classic example of this is the golfer Annika Sorenstam, who was clearly one of the best of her generation but perpetually came in second in major tournaments. When no amount of golf coaching made a difference, it became apparent that when it looked to her like she might be about to win, she would begin thinking about having to speak publicly about her victory. Since those thoughts were so scary and real to her, she would wittingly and unwittingly blow the tournament so that she wouldn’t have to speak about it afterwards.
For us mere mortals, it’s enough to know that what look like the limits of what’s possible for us are by their very thought-created nature a mirage. And each time we’re willing to look our fears in the face, we find that face begins to dissolve and what looked like the edge of the world was simply an as yet uncharted horizon for us to sail towards.
4. You can think whatever you like
I spent the first part of my adult life trying to increase the amount of control I had over the thoughts and feelings that passed through my head on a seemingly constant basis. The second part has been spent giving up the illusion of control in favor of the reality of freedom.
As Syd Banks said:
‘Remember – and this is very important – you’re only one thought away from happiness, you’re only one thought away from sadness. The secret lies in Thought. It’s the missing link that everybody in this world is looking for… It’s a gift that we were given to have the freedom to walk through life and see what we want to see. How much better than that can you get? That you have the freedom to walk through life and see as a free thinker, that is the greatest gift ever, to be a free thinker.’
5. “Everything is possible providing you remember that you’re God.”
Many years ago, I came across an ‘affirmation card’ in the Mystic Trader bookshop in London, and something about it has stuck with me over the years. It was a plain grey card, and written in simple type across the middle was this quote:
While the sentiment sounded arrogant and irreligious, I was struck with a deep feeling when I read it, and I stuck the card in my wallet and carried it around until it was old and worn.
Over the subsequent thirty or so years, I have seen time and again the truth behind the statement. There is a deeper part of all of us that seems to exist outside of any concerns we may have about our past, present, or future circumstances. Most people seem to experience this part of themselves as a quiet feeling – a sense that all is well and of being deeply connected to the world and the people around them.
In the moments when we are in touch with this deeper self, we have access to an inner wisdom that guides us moment by moment. Life seem simpler and more intuitive then when we’re living out of the suitcase of old ideas and theories inside our heads. Challenges don’t seem so challenging; problems dis-solve before we can solve them; inspired ideas and insights are our constant companions. From this space inside of ourselves, we can and do take on the world, all the while realizing that there’s nowhere we need to go and nothing we need to accomplish to be happy, loved, and whole.
In The Space Within, I point out that there is only one problem in life – getting caught up in our personal thinking and losing touch with this space. Similarly, there is only one solution needed– finding your way back home. When you can get out of your own habitual thinking long enough to re-view your life from the space within, you’ll be amazed at what comes through.
Of course, if you’re caught up at the moment that can seem easier said than done. But you can also probably remember some times in your life where things unfolded effortlessly and you felt unstoppable, almost as if the power was coming through you instead of your having to “make things happen” on your own.
This week, as best you can, hang out in that part of yourself more often – your innate mental health, wisdom, and well-being. See if you can get a feel for what it’s like to live from that space and what it is that takes you out of it. And in those moments where you find yourself ‘at home’ in a beautiful feeling, enjoy the moment, stay out of the way, and prepare to be surprised and delighted by what happens next…
With all my love and a very happy holiday season to all,
My wife and I went to see the movie “Patriot’s Day” this weekend. It’s a low-key but gripping recounting of the Boston Marathon bombing from 2013 and the subsequent manhunt that led to the death of one of the bombers and capture of the other. What struck me most…read more
I was speaking with a potential new coaching apprentice a few weeks back and he asked me a question I hear surprisingly often in one form or another: “I really resonated with your books. I’ve always thought of myself as spiritual, and I get that I’m living in the feeling of my thinking, but I don’t really understand…read more
One of my favorite things I read over the holiday period was this little gem from the comedian Louis C.K.:
“Also please remember that the turning over of one year to another is a mental construct that bears no more weight than the things that keep us apart and in competitive categories as human beings….