“If the only thing people learned was to not be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.”—Sydney Banks
When it comes to the inside-out paradigm, and coaching or teaching from this perspective, here’s something that my many years of working with athletes, teams, organizations, families, and all kinds of clients has taught me:
It’s simply insufficient to tell others that objects, circumstances, events, people, or environments can’t cause them to feel a certain way. It’s simply insufficient to tell them that their thinking, not the object or circumstance, causes their feelings. And it’s simply insufficient to try to prove the two previous points by saying something along the lines of: “If the object or circumstance was causing you to feel bad, then you’d always feel bad in the presence of the object or circumstance.”
Well, as a so-called inside-out coach, I, or you, can’t have it both ways. It’s flat-out confusing to suggest to others that what they experience is fashioned from inside to out and, at the same time, infer that what they experience is genuine, permanent, or real. In other words, what human beings experience is either a projection of consciousness from within (from God) or it’s not. And if it is, then the true reason that objects and circumstances can’t cause feelings is because outside of experience, outside of the projection, objects and circumstances can’t survive.
To illustrate, let’s say a pro golfer who’s just missed a ten-foot putt to win a major championship is feeling awful, and he calls me for help. The facts, to him, are: He missed the putt, he feels awful, and he wants to feel better. Now, since at the moment he’s clearly connecting his feelings to the missed putt, if I tell him they’re not connected, that he’s only feeling his thinking, odds are he’s not going to see it. However, if I help him recognize what the human experience truly is, and where it comes from, then it won’t matter if he’s connecting his feelings to the missed putt or not.
What will matter?
That he’ll stop fearing and fighting the experience because he now understands that it’s nothing more than an uncontrollable, impermanent, or unreal projection of consciousness from within. And it’s not logical to fear and fight an uncontrollable, impermanent, or unreal projection from within (again, from God).
Make sense? If yes, here are my final questions for the coach in you today: Are you ready to jump full bore into what the inside-out paradigm really stands for? Are you ready to consider that the widespread assumption that we experience objects and circumstances because they’re permanent/real might be mistaken? Are you ready to help others end their external search for happiness by resolutely pointing away from the transient content of experience and inward toward its permanent source?
You see, from where I sit, you simply can’t help a fellow human being by validating, in any way, shape, or form, the assumption mentioned above. What’s experienced cannot endure independent of the power to experience. That’s the foundation of the inside-out paradigm. The inside (within or God) creates the outside (what’s experienced). To make it as an inside-out coach, there must be zero percent wiggle room when it comes to this fundamental fact.
Thank you for reading,
About ten years ago, my son Ryan was going through a rough break-up with his first girlfriend. Sadly, his thinking was getting the better of him. He just couldn’t wrap his head around losing someone who, he thought, was such an essential part of his life.
One day, in the midst of this struggle, I made my way upstairs to his bedroom, hugged him, and said, “I know you’re upset, kid, but remember, nothing or no one is essential to your life—except the consciousness from which your life is created.”
With a puzzled look on his face, Ryan asked, “Isn’t Mommy essential to your life? Don’t you two need each other?”
I replied, “Ry, if something happened to your mother, I’d be devastated, but I’d survive. No, we don’t need each other. And, believe it or not, the fact that we don’t need each other, or knowing that we’re not essential to each other’s existence, is why our bond is so strong.”
Ryan smiled and admitted, “I don’t really get it, Dad, but for some reason that’s comforting.”
“Back burner it, kid. We’ll talk about it another day. You want to throw some pitches?”
And off we went.
Flash forward a decade, both Ryan and I “get it” a whole lot clearer now.
While experiences come and experiences go, the ever-present space of consciousness is permanent (i.e., essential). Like the screen on your computer, consciousness remains the same. What projects out of the screen—sometimes wonderful, sometimes regrettable—does not.
As for the reason why understanding the above is the source of such a strong and loving union, here you go:
Because you cannot be in love and lack something at the same time, love is the complete absence of anything personal. Love has no personal wants, no personal needs; no push, no pull; no ego, no demands. Love makes no attempt to derive something from the other.
Rather, love is a deep knowing that two people share, and are sourced by, the divine presence of consciousness. Not an exploration of two separate or impermanent selves, love’s an exploration of only what’s essential; only what lasts forever. It’s through this mutual exploration, or journey, that two human beings become ONE.
Thank you for reading,
Here’s a question (not a life-changing one, that comes later) related to last week’s article, http://garretkramer.com/the-worlds-an-illusion/: Why would a good portion of readers become offended when faced with the suggestion that the objective world exists solely in experience, or that the objective world is not a subjective reality?
Before I answer, let me tell you, this is precisely what happened last week. Never have I received so many disgruntled messages. Many of you just couldn’t wrap your heads around this inside-out aspect of my teaching. And some of you took it personally—extremely personally.
But why? Why would the mere suggestion that objects and situations are illusory seem to set so many people off?
The answer is important, so I’ll do my best to explain.
Have you ever experienced tragedy, heartbreak, abuse, or bullying? All of us have. Have you ever experienced good fortune, joy, friendship, or love? All of us have. And here lies the confusion. From birth, we’re conditioned to believe that these experiences result from people, places, and things. If a person experiences either bullying or love, for instance, that’s because of the presence and actions of another human being.
But then, some whacky dude like me comes along and points to the possibility that the whole outside-in paradigm just might be flawed. I ask: What if another human being, the bully or the love, only exist in experience? What if he/she doesn’t exist outside of mind; outside of consciousness? What if the world you live in, and everything about it, is created from the inside (from consciousness) out?
Now, mind you, I’m not saying the above is true; although it’s logical to me. I’m simply asking a what-if-it-were-true type question. And, again, what transpired when I did? Some reached out and exclaimed, “C’mon, G, how dare you say my heartbreak (or tragedy or joy) didn’t happen? Who are you to say the love of my life isn’t real?”
As I said last week, this suggestion—that experience is real but the content of experience is not—is an affront to everything that most human beings THINK is accurate. It’s an affront to their sensibilities; an affront to their belief systems; an affront to their culture (which has taught them to place attention on possessions, goals, environments, circumstances, and people OVER the consciousness from which they spring), so this reaction is expected. And 100 percent innocent. Thus, it’s perfectly fine with me.
You might be interested to know, however, that reminding those with whom I work that experience is merely a projection from within—that the seer and what’s seen cannot exist independent of each other—appears to light a spark in others, and bring freedom and relief, that’s beyond the description of words. That’s why I’ll end this article with another relevant, while perhaps slightly strange question. One I ask about ten times a day:
Have you ever interacted with the objective or material world OUTSIDE of an experience (or outside of a perception, or outside of consciousness, or outside of awareness, or outside of the true self)? Settle in before you respond, the answer just might change your life.
Thank you for reading,
“Objects are an illusion.” “Other people are an illusion.” “You’re an illusion.” “The world’s an illusion.”
Indeed, certain spiritual teachers and philosophers, since pretty much forever, have inferred or flat-out insisted that the external world and objects in it are nothing more than projections from within (i.e., from consciousness, universal mind, or God). Sydney Banks, for instance, called the world a “divine illusion.” Heck, I even pointed readers in a similar direction two weeks ago: http://garretkramer.com/experience-and-reality/. But what exactly are these spiritual teachers and philosophers attempting to convey when talking about illusions? Are they actually saying that the phone or computer on which you’re reading this article doesn’t exist?
Well, sort of, but not exactly. I mean, you’re at least somewhat immersed in the experience of reading this article on a phone or computer, aren’t you? Of course you are, and there lies the answer. When spiritual teachers and philosophers say that the world and objects like phones and computers are illusions, what they mean is this: While experiences are real, what you experience, or the content of experience, is not. In other words, what you experience is merely a figment of the universal power TO experience. Independent of that power, objects would cease to exist.
Trust me, I get it. For most, this principle—the foundation of the inside-out paradigm—is a complete affront to the rational mind. Everyone’s been brought up to believe that objects are real; that they’re experienced because they exist. And in this article, I’m suggesting that objects exist because they’re experienced. Yet, here’s a relevant question to ponder: How are we fairing under the current outside-in, objects-are-real-and-meaningful, framework? Are we living in peace? In tolerance? In generosity? In love? The answer is obvious.
Perhaps, then, living in peace and prosperity isn’t about striving for objects for the simple reason that objects aren’t real or made of matter, after all. Rather, they simply appear real in the moment. If that’s true, the implications are endlessly positive. Endlessly encouraging. Starting with this: Objects can’t cause feelings because they’re nothing more than the transient content that experiences are made of.
What is meant when spiritual teachers and philosophers talk about the illusory world of form? Short answer: There’s no such thing as an unreal experience. The images experienced, however, are pure mirage.
Inward and up,
When I first got involved in Innate Health, I heard a lot about unconditional love being the answer, no matter what the problem might be. Back then, it sounded nice, but meaningless, to me. I was stepping into this new world from a life that was totally transactional, a life of “If…then”. If I got this contract, then I could give my employees a Christmas bonus; if my daughter got straight A’s, then we would take her to DisneyWorld; if I lost five pounds, then I could wear the red dress to the party… Everything was conditional, including love. Both my husband and I would say things to each other that started with, “If you really loved me, you would…”
Now, 30-some years later, it is so vividly true to me that unconditional love is the answer to everything that it brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. Unconditional love has nothing to do with human transactions. Unconditional love arises in the spirit. It is the pure, uninhibited joy of being alive and integral to the universe.
Conditionality is a human transaction, a product of thought that imposes ideas on how things should be. We make and believe in our own assumptions without any understanding that they are our fabrications. We do not embrace the unpredictable variability of life or of everyone and everything in it. Anything we find acceptable must conform to our opinions and expectations. We reject people and things that don’t fit our ideas or do not make sense within our world view.
Unconditionality is the inchoate vitality before formed thought. It presents no judgment about life or anything in it. We surrender to the flow of it. Without expectations or judgments, we are immersed in being. Unpredictability, variability do not look disorderly or strange as life unfolds moment-to-moment. It just is. We just are. Everything is rich, fascinating, and materializing in the moment.
Unconditionality is profound love of life, of the beautiful energy surging through the universe and through us, and of the wonder of being united with the essential formless force, and yet creating our own passage within it. Unconditional love is the fullness of heart that emerges from pure appreciation of all of it — the darkness and the light, the perfect and the imperfect, the same and the different, the known and the unknown. Unconditional love is deep, soothing peace. In the “isness” of the universe, there is nothing and no one to fear. We are safe in each present moment in the emerging wisdom that is always available to us. Wisdom is the knowledge that binds the universe together through the creative dynamic of being.
Why is the state of unconditional love the answer, no matter the problem?
The simple fact is that a person who is living with a free and clear mind in that unconditional feeling of gratitude and reverence for life does not bring to mind thoughts of harming or being harmed. No selfish, greedy thoughts. No mean, hurtful thoughts. No disappointed, discouraged thoughts. No resentful, vengeful thoughts. No anxious, fearful thoughts. That state of mind, that state of being, brings with it access to the flow of wisdom and confidence, moment-to-moment, that we can count on to guide us through life’s ups and downs. Wisdom propels us forward. Entertaining negative or dysfunctional or destructive thinking feels wrong and unpleasant if it enters the mind. Those who understand the nature of thought turn away from such ideas — just allow them to pass without action — and look to quiet their thinking and embrace wisdom once more.
Is it unrealistic or even wildly pollyanna to imagine that such a state could come to dominate the experience of humanity? That is an unanswered question. Until we turn our backs on the belief that the content of our personal thinking is more important than our understanding of the true spiritual being through which we are generating that thinking, we will not know the answer. Beliefs seem powerful. They look very real to us while they are on our minds, especially when we don’t know how they got there. As more and more people come to recognize themselves as the agents of life, rather than seeing circumstances as the agency of their life, the ease with which humanity can find personal peace of mind and act from wisdom increases. When wisdom informs more and more of human choices, we will live in a different world, grounded in peace and hope, filled with unconditional love.
Once unconditional love is illuminated as the quintessential power to live, then who would not want to call it home? Who would willingly turn away from natural peace and joy?
Today, in the worlds of mental performance and self-help, it seems like everyone has a strategy. If you’re reading this article, you probably know that bigger and better strategies are introduced on a daily basis. Yet, here’s something that’s almost always overlooked when it comes to strategies that seem to work: They’re a byproduct of understanding (i.e., inner wisdom, knowledge, or instinct).
Meaning: Without understanding, strategy falls apart. Or, a said a different way, it’s understanding, not strategy, that causes excellence. That’s why the multitude of people who bypass understanding and go straight to some strategy that they find in a book, see on TV, or copy from a coach or advisor, ultimately struggle to find excellence.
To illustrate, when it comes to the sport of golf, no strategy is more widespread than the “pre-shot routine.” This strategy—designed to fend off nerves, control feelings of pressure, and thus hit desired shots—is pretty much a staple at all levels of the game. However, in the history of golf, a pre-shot routine has never caused a desired shot. Not once. What does? Well, relative to talent: understanding. Understanding that all feelings are normal and no feeling is superior to another. Players with understanding may indeed go through pre-shot routines. Instinctive routines, that is. On the other hand, players who, void of understanding, execute pre-shot routines in an unnecessary quest to fix feelings or cope, tend to jam instinct (programming behavior always does) which prevents wisdom from rising up and excellence from occurring.
Last thing: Don’t be fooled by the short-term results that may appear to come from adopting someone else’s strategy as your own. Correlation does not equal causation. The foundation of excellence is, and always will be, understanding. And the more strategy you intentionally put into practice, the more you obstruct understanding.
It’s a one-way street. From understanding, great strategy is born. This formula, however, never works in reverse.
Thanks for reading,