Archive for September, 2012

got the magic in you?

09/19/2012

Feelings of inadequacy abound.

  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “I’m not naturally talented.”
  • “I’m not smart enough.”
  • “That person did it first, so now I can’t do it anymore.”

Why is it that we’re able to psyche ourselves out so effectively rather than just simply doing the damn thang? Is it fear? Is it anxiety? Is it an emotionless obstacle, like Steven Pressfield’s Resistance?

our deepest fear is our greatest strength

There’s a saying floating around that rings something like this: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

How many of us truly believe that? How many of us have witnessed within ourselves that capacity for power beyond measure? Perhaps that’s legitimate for some, and perhaps that’s a way of rationalizing inadequacy for others. I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t accept it.

The truth is, we all have magic in us. We all have an untapped well of power, of strength, of fortitude, that we’re simply too inconvenienced to tap into. Why dig deeper when we can watch TV? Why improve ourselves when we can settle and still get by? Why meditate when we can masturbate?

We find pleasant distractions and diversions that effectively turn us away from our goals, from our true directions.

The problem with bettering ourselves is it’s never fast, it’s never easy, and – the worst part – it’s rarely a brilliant flash of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve our goals. There is no shortcut to self-improvement, whether we want to become a better writer, a better doctor, a better student,¬†ambidextrous, or a faster runner, it takes hours upon days upon weeks upon months upon years of dedication before we achieve sustainable results. Sure, we can achieve results tomorrow if we want. I could publish my first e-book by end of day today. I could grow muscle with one hour at the gym. But if we want lasting effects, if we want true success – what some call luck – that requires preparation.

Only then can we be ready for the opportunity. Think: you may be preparing for your success right now without even knowing it. If you’re not . . .

It’s time to start building toward it.

It’s time to start fearing our own power.

Got the magic in you?

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creating our universe

09/09/2012

We learn from an early age how to create the world around us. We learn labels, we learn definitions, we learn classifications, sub-classifications and distinctions. A toddler learns that a tree is called a tree, a cloud is called a cloud, and Mama and Dada are called Mom and Dad. An adolescent learns the difference between rich and poor, strong and weak, nice and mean. An adult learns what class warfare is, what God is, and what antidisestablishmentarianism could possibly mean.

But at what point does this really continue to benefit us?

the death of the senses

There is an economic principle called the law of diminishing returns. It means, in terms that I can understand, that the more we continue to invest in something, the less we get out of it (see Wikipedia for a MUCH more accurate definition). A marathoner plodding along an 18-week training regimen sees more marked improvement in the early stages of training than in the later stages. Early on, his average race pace may drop from nine-minute miles to eight-minute miles in the space of just a few determined weeks, while in the last few weeks of high-intensity training he will see much less of an improvement than that. Granted, it’s still marked improvement, but the point stands: the return isn’t as great.

So how does this apply to labels? To definitions? To distinctions? How do we measure returns on something like learning? The truth is, most people don’t even try. Learning is a wonderful thing – I believe lifelong learning should be a cornerstone of everyone’s daily experience. But after a point in the learning process – for most of us, in our teenage years – it becomes easy to lose sight of true value. So if we really tried measuring the returns on learning, we’d realize that there are things that are more important. Thus, we accrue knowledge for the sake of accruing knowledge. We learn what a tree is but then forget to experience the tree. Think about it: when was the last time you touched, and felt, a tree? Felt its bark, listened as its branches swayed in the wind, smelled its leaves? Go outside and touch a tree. Right now. I’ll wait . . .

Back already? Good. Carrying on. . . as one of my favorite books, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, says, “The birth of the mind is the death of the senses.”

p’u, the uncarved block

Moments in life can trigger the resurgence of this child-like appreciation for the world around us:

  • Having a child
  • A near-death experience
  • A religious experience
  • Emerging from an emotional depression

But it should be natural (shouldn’t it?), as human beings gifted with life on this wonderful earth, to consciously appreciate the universe around us during what we deem mundane experience. During the ordinary moments. To appreciate the universe, not necessarily in the form in which we initially created it, but rather through direct experience. To sense directly, without thought, opinion or interpretation. To simply be.

Much like Winnie the Pooh. Open to, but unburdened by, experience.

winnie the pooh, the tao of pooh