If your assumptions and habits are all invented and they are not delivering the life you want, why not reinvent them?
We would all benefit from a close look at the things we’re using to distract us from aspects of our work and lives that seem too painful for us to bear experiencing directly.
We look to change, but elements of friction can work against us. Plenty of forces out in the world can make things a bit more difficult for us, but the counter-forces I’m considering are ones inside us.
Stop looking for the mother lode – Your True Self. Instead, pan for the golden nuggets in the complex stream of your varied and shifting identities.
Much of the work I do with people is to help them look at their story in addition to the non-stop experience of looking through it. This wouldn’t be especially helpful unless we had the ability to change our stories. Luckily, we do, although they are stubborn.
Nothing needs to be different from how it is right now for us to be okay. There is no problem with the way things are in this or any moment. This understanding can yield a deep relaxation in which personal ups and downs unfold.
Osho opened new doors to truths that for many had become dead. He rejected intellectual, social and spiritual tradition, shining fresh light on ancient wisdom. Osho wouldn’t really submit to or issue commandments, free-wheeling spirit that he was. But here’s as close as he came.
Phil Jackson has won more NBA titles than any other head coach. He puts his success down to how he helped team members cultivate resilient calmness and develop a deep sense of connection with one another. To improve their performance, he broadened his teams’ horizons and encouraged them to see things in fresh ways.
Ryan Holiday shows us how to apply Stoicism to modern life in The Obstacle is the Way. The underlying point is that life sends us what we need to grow and progress. But why or how is it that the obstacle is the way? How does nature lay this path for us?
Jiddu Krishnamurti, an Indian sage, rejected his home’s spiritual traditions while pointing to the same truths from his own angle. He promoted a radical view of freedom, rejecting moral and intellectual authority, subordinating even knowledge to immediate, open awareness.
Ken Wilber is a polymath who knows and respects numerous non-dual traditions, western philosophies and therapeutic approaches, but he enjoys a special affinity with Dzogchen. My own simplification of this Buddhist tradition is that all is eternally perfect, with no need or opening for intervention or improvement of any kind.
The fictional notebooks of Harry Haller, aka Steppenwolf, reveal the brilliant but troubled mind of a man on a journey of integration — integrating his dark, animal aspects into a fuller version of himself and integrating as a spirited individual in the maddening bourgeois world of Weimar Germany. Harry’s battle to reconcile freedom and connection contains lessons for any seeker.
Don Miguel Ruiz, a Toltec sage, is most famous for The Four Agreements. I draw here on another of his works, The Mastery of Love, which focuses more on relationships. I found it full of wisdom that reaches deeper than my relation to others, shedding light on the most important relationship — mine with myself.
Ramesh Balsekar’s core message is unpalatable to believers in personal free will. Many non-dualist teachers hold their assault on free will until late in the progression of their teachings, looking to ‘soften the ground’ first with other aspects of perspective shifting. But Ramesh moves straight to it from his starting axiom of non-dualism: All there is is consciousness, and consciousness is all there is.
After years of intellectual seeking for a ‘breakthrough’ perspective, I came across Matt Kahn. His simple message of loving whatever arises and his emphasis on the body as a gateway to truth have helped free me from a head-bound rut. He might do the same for you.