The Whimsy of Form

The Whimsy of Form

Watch a video of an octopus. Study enlarged photographs of insects. Look closely at leaves and flowers. Observe fish swim in an aquarium. Examine bird plumage. Turn anywhere in the natural world and you are fascinated by unexpected beauty. Beauty is the whimsy of universal energy taking form.

Now consider what passes through your mind. The inchoate energy of thinking puts forth forms, infinitely variable forms, from the horrifying to the inspired, from the silly to the profound, from the discouraging to the enlightening. Just as the earth is alive with the constant creation of endlessly variable forms, so every human being is alive with the constant generation of endlessly variable thoughts.

The journey from formless energy to form is whimsical, in every case. Who knows what wonder will emerge from the forest floor? Who knows what image will come to mind? Joy in creation arises not from the already created, but from the delight of knowing that creation is endless, every form is transitory, and there is always more. We do, indeed, live in a garden of delights.

We are born in curiosity and awe, ready to be entranced by the world of form we have entered. We have boundless imagination as children; nothing is impossible; everything is fresh and interesting. We never lose those qualities, but as we exercise our human free will to direct our thinking, we sometimes lose touch with them. We get so involved in the already thought thoughts on our mind that we jam up the flow of new thought that is our birthright. If we happen to stop in the midst of a flurry of negativity, or sadness, or unpleasant memories, or anger, our whole reality freeze-frames in bad feelings.

But that is, as Sydney Banks used to laugh, the “cosmic joke.” We can do that. We can focus on any thought, re-think anything again and again, any time, at will. The joke is that when we are doing it, we sometimes forget that we can stop doing that. We are the thinkers, participants in the universal dynamic of creation, using the capacity to think to make up our experience of what we are living. What we do with that creative gift is part of the gift — whatever occurs to us to do. We, are part of the whimsy of life. There is no limit to the vast array of things we can bring to mind.

When my grandson was young, he invented “worlds” — whole worlds full of fanciful beings that he drew, and plants and animals and stuff that he just pulled out of thin air and put to paper. It all had a logic to him — why that particular group of beings would ride in those particular trucks and eat certain kinds of foods. He loved doing that. He would prattle on endlessly, making up stories about what was going on in his fanciful worlds. It occurred to me, as he happily talked about it one day, that these worlds DID exist, for him. For me, they were representational. I could look at the pictures he drew, and listen to his tales, but they didn’t spring from my mind, so I had no idea what was coming next and I couldn’t contribute to the stories.

I told him that. I told him how cool it is that we can make up things from our own minds and create a whole narrative about them that makes sense to us, and no one but the maker-upper knows why it matters or how it all turns out. He cocked his head and gave me one of those quizzical little boy looks. “Isn’t that what everybody is always doing?” he asked.

Wow. Of course. We call it separate realities, everyone living in their own thought-world. Only we can know our own world, truly. But it all comes from our own thinking; it’s made up.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about half the time,” he said, “but it seems to make sense to you. It’s just not what I think about.”

That is the essence of how understanding the Principles erases disagreement and judgment from human interaction. We realize that everyone is creating their own world of experience with their own power to think. I had never told him that, though. He just KNEW that. Children are at ease with whimsy. As we grow older, we tend to take our thinking much more seriously, and forget it is nothing more than the arbitrary product of a gift of life: the ability to think anything and see our thinking as though it was real — to play in the worlds we create.

I asked my grandson what he did if he started not liking one of his worlds very much or got tired of it. “Silly! I just make up another one. It’s easy.”

The wisdom of the innocent speaks across the ages.

Searching For Gratitude

How many times in your life have you been asked this question?

“What are you grateful for?”

I bet the answer is plenty. And, be honest, during those moments, how often have you struggled to answer (you had to think and think about it) and how often has the answer flowed right out (you offered a list of people, places, and things without effort)?

If you’re anything like me, it’s an inconsistent split.

But why? Why would a sense of gratitude vary? And is it even okay for it to vary?

Well, first, it’s not only okay for gratitude to vary; it’s the way you and I are designed to work. In spite of today’s constant self-help advice about the importance of being more grateful, or the lessons about how to find gratitude that seem to fill my inbox each day, it’s simply impossible for human beings to conjure up gratitude at will. Gratitude, like all feelings, comes and goes as we live the human experience: When we look outside, thought jams and gratitude slips away; when we look inside, thought clears and gratitude returns. It’s human nature to flow between the physical (outside) and the spiritual (inside). And this flow intuitively determines whether or not we feel grateful.

In other words, feelings like gratitude aren’t connected to people, places, and things at all. They’re connected to thought. And, paradoxically, the more we strategically target “gratitude-causing” things, the more jammed up we get and the less grateful we feel. That’s why, to me, it makes no sense to ask others: “What are you grateful for?” And even less sense to search, and search, for the answers.

Keep in mind: There’s virtually nothing you can do that’s more unproductive, time consuming, or even dangerous than searching for external causes and cures for your feelings. They do not exist; thus searching takes you further away from the answers, and desirable feelings, that all people seek. For sure, gratitude is wonderful. But it’s not caused by circumstance. Human beings live in, and can only feel, the flow of their thinking. Gratitude comes and gratitude goes—and that’s okay—because you are a human being.


Being You

As my clients will attest, it’s not unusual for me to close a conversation or text-message exchange with this basic statement:

“Be you.”

But how come? What does this statement, as I use it, actually mean? And why is “being you” so important?

To put it simply, “be you” is my way of reminding others that—as a birthright—they are whole, resilient, and connected, regardless of how they feel at any moment in time. And that’s important because waking up to this fact stops them from attempting the impossible: trying to fix or control wayward feelings when they occur.

Here’s an example, by way of a question: Would professional golfers who grasp that all feeling states are normal (which they are), and have no impact on their propensity to excel (which they don’t), take the time to jam their heads with mental strategies, techniques, or someone else’s idea of how to behave on the golf course? Of course not. They’d never fall victim to the mind’s variable nature. To these players, managing or even monitoring their mindset’s an impractical path.

In a sense, then, being you is the opposite of searching for or seeking self-improvement. It’s a deep knowing that answers only rest within, and, positive or negative, there’s a greater plan at work. Being you fortifies intuition and triggers insight. It insulates you from the spell of gurus and tosses conformity (becoming a follower, automaton, or lackey) straight to the curb.

Besides, and perhaps most important, the man upstairs doesn’t care about perfection anyway. Just be you. As I said, you are whole, resilient, connected—and loved—as is. Forever.

Thanks for reading.


True Flow

Flow is defined as “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.” Commonly described as “the zone,” flow, as defined, is a blissful feeling that athletes, performers, and all people seem to seek. Indeed, it’s not unusual for new clients to reach out to me with the specific goal of living in this high mental state more often.

And there lies the misunderstanding that, in my mind, needs to be reversed. Flat-lining at some peak state is not flow (it’s also not possible). Flow is, well, flow. The yin then yang of what it means to be alive. That’s why my work is never about helping players reach a next level or an elevated type of mindset. It’s about reminding them that all mindsets are normal and, no matter how they feel in the moment, they’re eminently strong and capable. In short, flow means to move left/right, up/down, and fast/slow; because that’s precisely how the human mind is designed to function.

Speaking of misunderstandings regarding flow, here’s another: the notion that a high state of mind, or clarity of mind, is our natural state. No siree. Human beings are always meandering between the spiritual and the physical, between clarity and clutter. Again, flow is the human experience. The spiritual and physical, like morning and night, are not dualistic in nature. They’re two parts of the same system, or one.

Remember: Excellence, consistency, and love emerge from those who, rather than pull the brake on the flow of the human experience (try to control or cope), purely relish the ride. Flow is the standard. It’s not some lofty state to get into or attain. As I often say to those with whom I work: There’s nothing to fix; you’re already there. Simply be yourself, stay in the game, and live. Or better yet—flow.

Here’s the Truth: For the Field of Psychology, the Time Has Come

When it comes to my professional or working life, one of the most frequent criticisms thrown my way (and many of my colleagues, from Sydney Banks to Dr. Keith Blevens, have detailed a similar experience) revolves around my use of the word Truth. For instance, you’ve often heard me say, “It’s an unequivocal truth that human beings work from inside to out.” To which a traditional psychologist or mental coach will sometimes respond, “Don’t listen to this guy (as in me) or anyone who says that they’ve found truth. No one can find truth.”

Well, that’s correct. But here’s the thing: I didn’t go searching for truth, and that means I couldn’t actually find it. I had no formal training in the field of psychology, and in my younger life, spirituality was something I often pushed aside. It’s just that many years ago, I was simply minding my own business when, boom, truth found me. And yes, it’s true that a circumstance—an event, environment, object, life situation, another person, oneself, the past, or the future—cannot cause a human being to feel a certain way. Our feelings are solely connected to the inner ebb and flow of a spiritual energy that we call thought.

What’s more, I didn’t, of course, make up this truth. Sure, I (like you) can conjure up ideas, concepts, theories, and methods. But I can’t conjure up truth. Truth just is. As with any principle or law, truth is foolproof. No research required. It’s the way something works, 100 percent of the time. And when you wake up to how something works 100 percent of the time, you intuitively yearn to share it; to help others see it for themselves. So, when it comes to the human mind and how the experience of all human beings is created, this is where my colleagues and I find ourselves today: Truth has hit us square between the eyes, and we’re going to share it.

Interestingly enough, in spite of his best efforts, the man considered the father of modern psychology, William James (one of my heroes), failed to uncover this truth himself. He never quite saw that human beings can only feel or experience the ebb and flow of their thinking (inside), and that circumstances (outside) are purely neutral. But he did know this: A universal explanation for the inner functioning of all human beings was hidden somewhere, and when this missing link was finally uncovered, the field of psychology would be altered forever. James once claimed, “Such knowledge, realized on a grand scale, would be an achievement compared with which the control of the rest of physical nature would be relatively insignificant.” He even likened the importance of this future breakthrough to the discovery of fire.

And that brings us to the heart of this article’s message: The field of psychology is now at a decisive crossroads. Year after year, the rate of depression is escalating around the world and finally psychology has the opportunity to take a 180-degree turn and become the working science that James envisioned. However, to do so, the field must cast aside the mistruth from which its current conclusions and practices are drawn—that human beings have the ability to work from outside to in. Again, no matter how much it looks otherwise, human beings work from inside to out (feelings, then experience, come from thought), and there are no exceptions. When we overlook this psychological fact, we struggle. When we wake up to it, we thrive. At this moment in the history of psychology, there’s no longer a credible reason for a mental health professional to send a struggling person on a perpetual wild-goose chase for circumstantial causes and behavioral cures that, in truth, do not and cannot exist.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that a person can’t take credit for something that he or she didn’t try to do or see. That’s why my colleagues and I take zero percent credit for the dumb luck that had this psychological truth fall into our laps. But it still did. And it’s here to stay. I also understand that if you’re a mental health professional, the direction we’re pointing renders much of your training obsolete. Just as it rendered much of what I was brought up to believe obsolete. But that’s just the way it is, for both of us. Therefore, rather than damn the messenger, why not consider what William James insightfully predicted for the future of this field? This breakthrough sets us free from everything. It clears up confusion and activates resilience. It’s more important than fire. The black-and-white fact that a circumstance can’t cause a feeling will change our lives, the lives of our children, and the lives of the clients and public that we serve.

We can now, with certainty, explain the psychological functioning of all human beings. Understanding the thought-feeling link is the source of all transformation. The truth fell out of the sky. William James would be overjoyed. The time has come.

From a Life of Restlessness to a Life of Fulfillment: How a sense of meaning is just one thought away

Do you wonder if you should be doing something else? One of the things we often hear from people is that they would love to have more fulfillment and meaning in their lives.  Often it shows up in a person’s job or … Continue reading