Here’s a quick true story that reveals the power of understanding the inside-out (and illusionary) nature of problems, and how this understanding benefits others. Actually, in this case, two people and their relationship.
Last week, I received the following text message from a hockey-playing client: “G, I’m getting super frustrated with my new linemate’s attitude. All he talks about is wanting to score. He’s so selfish it’s a joke!”
I replied: “Hey, bud, he’s new to the city, right? Have you taken the time to get to know him? Have you had him over to the house for dinner or something like that?”
“No, not yet. I guess I probably should.”
“Sounds to me like his thinking is getting the better of him right now. He’s feeling a bit out of sorts. As he starts to feel more comfortable, he’ll automatically become less selfish.”
“Ah, so simple. How’d I miss that?”
“We all do at times. Just remember, all it takes in a relationship is for one person’s consciousness to rise. From there, we start to relate to the struggles of others rather than take their attitude or actions personally.”
“Thanks, G, calling him now, love you.”
“Love you too, talk soon.”
It is so simple: When states of mind rise, problems wither away. So, if you’re a coach (parent, friend, teacher, counselor, or therapist), it’s never productive to dig into the content of someone’s problems. What’s productive is to do whatever seems necessary in the moment to help pull that person out of his or her funk. From there, compassion, trust, and love will automatically flood the space.
Inward and up,
Every year, a host of biological, circumstantial, and environmental causes of psychological dysfunction (mental illness and suffering) are disproven. Yet, rather than realize that these types of causes don’t actually exist—we keep searching for more.
Every year, a host of mental techniques, motivational mantras, and relaxation practices are discarded as a waste of time or even fraudulent. Yet, rather than realize that these types of strategies don’t actually work—we keep searching for more.
When will we learn?
When will we stop searching and allow ourselves to see that the Truth has been with us all along?
When will we see that the experience of human beings is nothing more than a projection of one’s connection to God, moment to moment to moment?
In fact, everything we experience springs from whether or not the connection to God is clear.
When the connection to God is filled with personal thought (the intellect on overload), our experience becomes negative.
When the connection to God is clear or flowing (the intellect at peace), our experience becomes positive.
Both will happen. Both are normal. This ebb and flow to the human experience is shared by every person alive.
The father of modern psychology, William James, once said: “Anything short of God is not rational; anything more than God is not possible.”
He also said: “First, it is essential that God be conceived as the deepest power in the universe, and second, he must be conceived under the form of a mental personality.”
James was pointing us to the fact that one’s state of mind exists solely between that person and God. He was reminding us that our connection to God, and our ensuing state of mind in the moment, projects outward—creating our experience of the physical world that we see.
As I said, the physical world is nothing more than a projection. Meaning: What takes place in the physical world can’t cause us to feel or experience anything—even though it often looks like it can.
Indeed, this is the “great illusion” that sages and mystics have directed us away from forever.
They warned: “When we struggle, don’t look outside, to the form, for causes or cures. Look inside to the formless connection to God in the moment.”
The astute philosopher, Sydney Banks, called this connection “the missing link to all psychological functioning.”
Like James, Banks knew that Truth had no form. He knew that the sole cause of our feeling state was found inside, in the preset status of our connection to God (the formless).
Banks also suggested that “experts” who point outside for answers are fine human beings who are trying to help. But their training and research has complicated and concealed the basic principle that human beings project their experience from inside to out.
In other words, these experts have accepted the great illusion as real. They think that an experience causes one’s feelings. Sadly, they think that human beings work outside to in.
Every year, the number of “outside-in” experts continues to grow. In the age of social media, for instance, the great illusion is perpetually validated with more buying in.
That’s why innocent people continue to suffer. They fall for the illusion, and they seek the counsel of others who have fallen for it, too.
Causes and cures cannot, ever, be found in the projection—the great illusion—that is the physical world (the world of form).
Continue to look there and, like a dog chasing its tail, you will continue to suffer.
See that—even when you feel separate or lost—the missing link cannot, and need not, be controlled, managed, coped through, or fixed.
Look within, to the ebb and flow of your ever-present connection to God. As William James, Sydney Banks, and the wise from Jesus to Gandhi to King insisted: “The answers you seek can only be found there.”
Thank you for reading,
As our changing climate spawns more and more violent weather around the world, humans are faced with new challenges to our ability to respond to disruption, discomfort, uncertainty, fear, loss, and grief. This was brought home to me last week, with the steady, deadly progress of Monster Hurricane Irma towards my city, but millions across the globe have recently faced similar, or worse, storms, tornadoes, flooding, extreme heat, extreme cold, rising waters — all leading to life-altering situations.
It’s one thing to be aware that day-to-day stress is self-created from our own thinking, but the rubber meets the road with the realization that alarm, frenzy, frustration, indecision, self-pity, doubt and terror are, too, even when people are facing a deeply threatening, looming threat over which they have no control. Yet that is when realizing how thought works, and sensing our innate power to sustain a free and clear mind, is most critically important. We are always at a crossroad: Do we follow upsetting thinking into a maelstrom of anguish, or do we look away from that path and go to quiet, looking for the wisdom to guide us through the trouble.
Put it this way: If you were in a crowded auditorium sitting in the middle of a row, and someone in the back yelled out, “Fire! Get out now!”, would you follow the person on your left who started jumping around screaming, “Oh my God, oh my God, we’re all going to die! Where’s the exit? I can’t see one! How are we going to get out of here? I’m so scared! What if we’re trapped? Run! Run!” Or would you follow the person on the right who stood up, looked around, and calmly said, “There’s the nearest exit, four rows down to our left. Let’s head that way.”
Since we are always following our own thoughts, it makes a lot more sense to follow calm, clear thoughts than to follow agitated, confused, scared thoughts. The more dire the circumstances we face, the more clarity and wisdom we need to remain safe and make the best decisions. The more urgent the situation, the less it makes sense to waste time and energy on thoughts that serve no purpose but to maintain or exacerbate insecurity and unhappiness. We want our full faculties and our best ideas to address danger. And we want our most serene perspective to guide us through chaos in the aftermath of events.
Truly, in the midst of increasing exhaustion, painful deprivation, unwelcome inconvenience and relentless uncertainty, it is inevitable that negative, insecure thoughts will come to mind. “Why me?” “I want my life back!” “When will this end?” “Where is the help we were promised?” Allowing those thoughts to swirl and expand, we can lose hours, even days, to a whole host of woeful thoughts and just feel worse and worse, more and more afflicted and hopeless. With some understanding that every thought that comes to mind is my thought — I made it up — we have an option. We can let the thoughts that are bringing us down just pass through our minds without paying them a lot of notice, and look to quiet down. And then we find that more constructive, positive, helpful thoughts come to mind. Even if those thoughts involve nothing more remarkable than the most comfortable, effective way to do the best with what we have, it is much more uplifting for people to feel that they have ideas about what to do and know they’ll be OK, than to feel lost, untethered from their lives, and victimized.
Life, as Sydney Banks said, “is a contact sport.” As long as we are still alive in this world, and still playing, then the game is what we make of it. We tend to wish things would move slowly and surely, to expect life to be what we’re accustomed to, to want change to be initiated by us, not to just happen. Those are thoughts, too. If I get attached to thinking life should be a certain way, that doesn’t mean it actually will be. That only keeps me upset because I think it should be. When we are able to take each moment as it comes, all those expectations are gone, we are not prone to disappointment or discouragement, and we simply live, doing what makes sense right now.
In moments of quiet, we get a glimpse of our place in the universe, a sense of connectedness to all of life and the feeling that we are dancing with universal energy, not stumbling through a hostile, separate environment. That quietude welcomes the flow of wisdom, knowledge beyond the intellect. It builds our trust to look there in times when quiet seems much more distant and difficult. Just a moment of quiet reflection opens the door to wisdom, to life-saving and life-sustaining ideas. We fall into beauty and love, the essence of wisdom, even in the heart of the storm.
No doubt in my mind, reminding others that we work from inside to out—that our feelings are connected solely to the ebb and flow of spiritual energy, and our feeling state in the moment determines our perception and experience of life—is essential. It’s also a blessing, privilege, and, as I see it, the most important thing that one person can share with another. But here’s my question for you today: Is the Truth that we work from inside to out actually any more than that? I mean, should one person point another person in the direction of the Inside-Out paradigm, or toward Truth, for a specific reason, purpose, or circumstantial solution? I say the answer is no.
Now, I’m well aware that this perspective will come as a surprise to some. Quite a few on this email list have hired me to help secure more wins on the scoreboard, more dollars in your organization’s pocket, or more compatible relationships within your team. But take a closer look. Although we’ve faired pretty well (according to the judgments of most), have you and I ever strategized around that line of thinking? Have we set targets, expectations, or goals? The answer, again, is no. Rather, we’ve shared our best version of Truth and let the chips fall where they may. Anything else would have been a complete shot in the dark.
Same questions go to some of my colleagues who are nobly trying to utilize the IO paradigm to awaken the world, or to stamp out the symptoms of unconsciousness such as poverty, discrimination, abuse, and war. Can it be done? You tell me. Sure, the temptation to start outside and work inside (as mankind has tried forever) is alluring—it’s also fundamentally sinister as it will tempt or gnaw at even the best of us. However, it is and will always be the opposite of how human beings work. The opposite of Truth.
Remember: Truth is universal. The implications of Truth are personal. So, while it’s impossible to predict the circumstantial or personal results of pointing someone toward Truth, we do know this: In time, Truth answers all calls. That’s why we must strictly start inward—with how the experience of all human beings is created—and let resilience, excellence, oneness, and love emerge from there.
Since over the past few weeks, I’ve written extensively on the current-affair implications of the inside-out paradigm, in this post, let’s turn our attention back to the foundation of performance.
Fact is: If you’re an athlete, coach, executive, writer, gardener, artist, or performer of any kind—these days, it’s virtually impossible to avoid the deluge of self-help advice or tips (coping strategies, mental practices, and techniques) on what to do when your state of mind waivers.
However, you can know this:
1. None of them will work.
If you’ve ever used a coping strategy and then felt better, the strategy is not what caused you to feel better.
2. No matter how you feel, a state of mind cannot be abnormal.
Negative feelings are an essential part of the human experience; it would be abnormal to not have them.
3. The mind is designed to ebb and flow.
And it will do so to the degree that you don’t try to fix what’s not broken (don’t obstruct the ebb and flow through the use of coping strategies).
4. Every person alive owns a psychological immune system.
The psyche—soul, spirit, or connection to God—is durable; 100 percent resilient.
5. Your psychological immune system always has your back.
When you know, I mean deeply know, that your psychological immune system will not abandon you, the need to cope or look outside for answers automatically fades. Then relishing the journey (the ebb and flow) becomes simple, even enjoyable.
Inward and up,
One for all and all for one, Muskehounds are always ready. One for all and all for one, helping everybody. One for all and all for one, it’s a pretty story. Sharing everything with fun, that’s the way to be. One for all and all for one, Muskehounds are always ready. One for all and all for one, helping everybody. One for all and all for one, can sound pretty corny. If you’ve got a problem chum, think how it could be.
Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all.
Top Cat! The most effectual Top Cat! Who’s intellectual close friends get to call him T.C., providing it’s with dignity. Top Cat! The indisputable leader of the gang. He’s the boss, he’s a pip, he’s the championship. He’s the most tip top, Top Cat.
Hong Kong Phooey, number one super guy. Hong Kong Phooey, quicker than the human eye. He’s got style, a groovy style, and a car that just won’t stop. When the going gets tough, he’s really rough, with a Hong Kong Phooey chop (Hi-Ya!). Hong Kong Phooey, number one super guy. Hong Kong Phooey, quicker than the human eye. Hong Kong Phooey, he’s fan-riffic!
Ten years ago a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem and no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-team.