Pointing Toward Truth

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.

Garret

Relishing the Journey

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,
Garret

Test Post

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.

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When Nothing is Wrong

This simple thing occurred to me the other day: It really doesn’t matter what is happening. It only matters how we hold and use our thoughts about it.

For more than 30 years, I have understood that we can find peace of mind “regardless of circumstances,” and I thought I understood fully what that meant. But suddenly, the other day, it meant much more. I realized, all circumstances exist only within our own minds. All “circumstances” are our thoughts.

Everything comes down to a core simplicity: Circumstances — in my life, in my community, in my workplace, in my state, in my country, on my planet, in my galaxy, in my universe — can only be what I bring to mind and how I think about it . The only power any perceived circumstance can have over me is the power I give it through what and how I am thinking about it — or even IF I think about it at all.

Oddly enough, this came to me when I was reflecting about education, and the common understanding that the “system” somehow isn’t working, or is “wrong” for our current needs. Everyone in education talks about that as though it explains “problems”. I know that any “system” is just an accumulation of thought and it only explains how people see a “problem”, but I suddenly recognized that even talking about the “system” is a total waste of time, as though it was an actual thing that had some force to hold us back.

What passed through my memory was a photograph a colleague at the University of South Florida showed to a meeting after returning from volunteer work in a school in a refugee camp in Africa. A group of children were gathered on rickety chairs in front of splintery tables, focused on a teacher putting math problems up on a small, worn blackboard with a tiny piece of chalk. Their faces glowed with enthusiasm for what they were seeing — the fascination of math. They were smiling and fully engaged, intent on the teacher. There was no “system”. The classroom was a hut. They had no texts, no resources, barely any paper and pencils. They appeared to be different ages. School was uncertain, but whenever there was a teacher, there was a class. They had love of learning and a teacher who really wanted to share something wonderful with them. The learning had nothing to do with a “system”; it all emerged from a feeling in the moment, a connection between teacher and students.

With that thought, I realized, once more and with greater clarity, the power of the illusion that something that appears to be “outside” holds over us. We try to fix that “problem”, as though it matters, and thus we are stymied and endlessly frustrated. We tinker with the educational “system” at the same level of thinking and feeling as that with which we create and sustain it. It’s an endless, pointless, circular effort. We forget that learning only happens from insight in the moment.

The “cure” for any system is not thinking about it, but thinking beyond it. I recognized this in a comment from my colleague Anni Poole when I was working with her in England in November. She said, “We already have everything we need in education; we have schools, we have materials, we have children in classes, we have teachers.” That’s true. She was pointing to the one thing we don’t always have: understanding of the magic, the deep, powerful magic, of the profound connection that occurs when teachers and students are in a quiet, open, state of mind as wisdom bubbles to the surface in the form of shared learning. Seeing things fresh. Having new ideas.

I remembered when my daughter was in high school. The science lab was in an older temporary building that was scheduled to be removed as soon as a new wing of the school, under construction, was complete. She was in the last group of students ever to use the old building. When I saw it, I was appalled. Peeling paint, wet spots on the ceiling where rain penetrated, mold, horrible old chairs and tables, ancient equipment, heating and cooling system working marginally. She hadn’t noticed. She loved that class, and the teacher, and everything she was learning. When I asked her about the classroom, the question didn’t even register with her.

When we’re not thinking about what is wrong, nothing is wrong.

The true educational resource, the true capacity we have to be at peace and happy regardless of circumstances, the one solution that will transcend all the things we call “problems” now is understanding and owning our own gifts to think, to let thinking pass when it draws us away from the present moment, and to experience the power of insight flowing through a free and clear mind.

In that state of mind, there is nothing but the the joyful moments of teaching and learning.

Why Understanding the Phenomenon of “Separate Realties” is a Necessity

I’m sure you’re familiar with this common mantra: “Every human being lives in his or her own separate reality.” Perhaps you even appreciate the value in knowing that no two people can share precisely the same perspective on an event, circumstance, environment, or the world. But have you considered what’s at the crux of the phenomenon of separate realties? What causes human beings to live in separate realities? Or why understanding this phenomenon is so important?

I’ll do my best.

Separate realities exist because the experience of human beings is 100 percent an inside job. What we see, smell, taste, hear, even our touch is a byproduct of an uncontrollable state of consciousness from moment to moment. When, for example, my head is momentarily jammed in personal thought, my senses will construct a negative, unsightly, or rocky reality. But when personal thought falls away, my senses will construct positivity, compassion, and splendor. Same, of course, goes for you.

In other words, “separate realities” doesn’t actually mean that you and I see the same reality in a different manner. It means that, right now, you and I are forming and then experiencing different realties altogether. Take the current political climate in the United States. One person describes the president’s actions one way; another person, a different way. Are they both observing the same actions? Not exactly. They’re both observing a construct of their own thinking and subsequent state of consciousness. Alternate realities, optics, or universes entirely.

This is why it’s futile to try to convince others of your personal point of view. Even the most logical of evidence (to you) cannot be experienced by another person. Again, human beings can only experience what their thinking allows them to experience right then and there. You say Trump denounced hate; I say he didn’t. No one is wrong. We’re each describing what our current state of consciousness projects—what looks real, and justified, to us in the moment.

Remember: Realities are not transmittable. When we try to force our reality on others, hostility and division follow. Yet when we look within, to the fact that each of us creates our own reality via thought, hostility and division lose their grip. Do you truly want tolerance, progress, and love for the human race (or for your family, team, organization, or community)? Only with a firm understanding of the phenomenon of separate realities will they effortlessly emerge.

Thank you for reading,
Garret

We Are Not Our Differences

We Are Not Our Differences

Look at this. Was it a Black man? An Asian woman? A 15th Century Moor? A 20th Century mixed racial girl? A 12th century peasant? A transgender man or woman? A gay or lesbian man or woman? A Priest? A thief? A Buddhist? A Muslim? A rich man? A poor man? A King? A soldier? No way to know. But look at it, and immediately you know this bony frame once supported a living person, a soul, a member of the human race. The particulars don’t alter that. The essence is the same.

Our humanity, our brief experience in this life as thinking, feeling human beings, is what binds us together. Everything we make up about ourselves and each other beyond that is the source of what pulls us apart.

At what point will we all stop dividing the entire human population into friends and enemies, good and evil, right and wrong, strong and weak? At what point will we stop organizing people by race, religion, ethnicity, heritage?

When will we see that we are all part of the human race? No more, no less. Perfectly human. Human at the core. Human from the heart and soul. Human because we are all spiritual beings inhabiting one form or another of a body. Human because our common ground is that we are all thinkers and we all navigate our lives the same way. We generate thoughts which appear real to us, and that appearance becomes our understanding of experience. Superficial differences have nothing to do with the essence of humanity. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from or what you look like: if you’re a human being, you’re making up every moment of your experience of life with the gifts we all share: the energy of life itself flowing through our minds as thoughts of which we become conscious.

What we have in common, no matter who we are, is that we are living in the world we create with our own thoughts, moment-to-moment-to-moment. As soon as we generate a new thought, our world looks different. What we don’t always know is that we are the authors of our own story, the creators of all we “know” and “see”. And the only way the story can change is if we change it. Each one of us. Using our power to think to make up something entirely new.

When will we look at the way children easily interact — non-judgmentally and playfully and fearlessly — and realize that we are born with love and joy to share, and we are drawn unconditionally towards relationships with each other? We give that natural affinity away as we grow older. We are born with it, but we can think ourselves out of it.

Despite being naturally inclined to relate to other human beings comfortably, as we grow up, many of us figure ways to sort ourselves out and find reasons to be suspicious, or angry, or hateful, or judgmental, or fearful. This is not natural. This is all invented, innocently, by the way we use our own thinking to organize the world around us. We could just as easily use our thinking to take stock of all the beauty in diverse humanity and take stock of the gifts all people have. Thinking, and what we put into our thinking, is strictly volitional, and subject to change in a moment.

The future of all humanity and our planet depends on stepping back and seeing who we all really are: human beings using our infinite power to think to create our particular version of all the experiences we live in. We can lose our ability to see each other’s souls by getting emotionally aroused by thinking about each other’s thoughts, and then getting mutually insecure over them. We can forget that thoughts are not WHO we are. Thoughts are only WHAT we do to create, moment-to-moment, what we make of our life. The power to change all thought lies within each one of us. A different experience of everything is only one thought away.

We have the immediate power to change our minds, the power to think anything at all. At some point, I hope we share the remarkable collective insight that if all the effort, energy, treasure and lives humanity has squandered through the ages battling thoughts had instead been expended expressing mutual respect and love, we would live on a peaceful planet, without suffering.

The Foundation of Outstanding Leadership

It’s been an interesting ten days here in the US. I’ll leave it at that. What I will address, however, are the multitude of opinions on the subject of whether or not, under the leadership of the current president, the US is becoming increasingly divided. Or more to the point: Why is it that some leaders seem to unite people, while others seem to drive a wedge between them? What exactly is the foundation of outstanding leadership?

Here’s my answer; an essential take that you probably haven’t heard before:

No one is born seeing themselves as dissimilar or detached from others (think of the color-blind nature of infants). But as we age, everyone falls for the physical illusion of “the personal” or “the self.” Some call this illusion diversity. Some separateness. Some inequality. Some discrimination or “I am better than you.” Now, certain individuals tend to recognize (within themselves and others) this common human frailty. And because they recognize it, they rise above it more often than most. It is these individuals who become outstanding leaders. In spite of the physical and outside-in illusion of inequality or diversity, they understand that every human being is equal; that the human race is one.

Imagine, if you will, a family, team, organization, community, country, or world that’s guided in this unifying direction. Since the leader rarely sees himself or herself as separate from others, virtually no hierarchy or selfishness could exist. Harmony then flourishes as personal judgments, and thus personal clashes, remain at bay.

A leader’s role, then, is to simply direct the masses away from the alluring and mind-bending illusion of the personal or separate self—and toward the resolute principle that we are all fragments of the same spiritual puzzle. Leaders point others toward equality, oneness, and love. The foundation of outstanding leadership is a deep inner knowing that this direction is true.

Inward and onward,
Garret

Moral Equivalence is an Oxymoron

Moral Equivalence is an Oxymoron

We come into life with a deep, intuitive sense of what is “right.”

Philosophy expounds on morality at length. All the arguments around it are interesting diversions for the intellect. But the gut knows the truth in the moment. Right ideas, right actions, that which is in harmony with life itself, are experienced in peace and contentment, with a good feeling about ourselves and the world. Not-right ideas, not-right actions, that which is out of synch with life itself, are experienced in confusion and distress, with a troubled feeling about ourselves and the world.

Ask yourself: The last time you did or said something you “knew” deep-down was not “right,” how did you feel?

We have an internal guidance system. Wisdom, intuition, insight come to us with a beautiful, inspired feeling. That feeling tells us we’re right. As we come to understand that more and more, navigating the rocky shoals in life gets very simple. Confronted with dilemmas, we go to quiet reflection, we look to, and follow, what comes to us in peaceful, positive feelings. We recognize the “Aha!” moments that bring us solutions, and act on those. We recognize the ideas and actions that emerge from love and understanding and shared humanity, and act on those.

What is “right” is not “either-or”, “this-or-that”, “maybe-maybe not”. When we know or see that something is right, it is a solitary choice. THIS, this is right. THIS, this makes sense. THIS, this is a constructive idea. THIS, this will move us forward. THIS, this, brings us peace. It is a certainty. It arises from within us, from our own consciousness, from our connection to the order of the universe.

From this understanding, conversations about “moral equivalence” simply mean “we don’t have an answer yet and we’ve stopped wondering.” Right is clear. Moral equivalence is a pretty term for lack of clarity, absence of wisdom. Moral equivalence is a disguise for nagging insecurity that overwhelms the courage to speak what we know is right, if and when we do know it.

Insecurity is just as important a feature of our internal guidance system as beautiful feelings. The feeling of insecurity simply lets us know that our thinking is chaotic, and heading into the maelstrom that drags us down through doubt, fear, blame judgment, sadness, misery, despair. Insecurity is the harbinger of impending calamity. If we feel it coming on, though, it is our most reliable guide back home. Why? Because the feeling of insecurity dissipates quickly when the mind quiets, when stormy thinking is allowed to pass, when we settle down into reflection and wait for insight. Turning away from insecurity turns us back to our innate well-being.

What allows us to do that? A simple fact of being human: We are born into the flow of life, propelled through our part of it by the energy of the life force. We use that energy to “see” and find our way through life by forming thoughts in our own minds and then experiencing those thoughts. Insecurity is the experienced feeling of insecure thoughts. If we don’t like it, we can pause, and await new thoughts. The natural tendency of a quieter mind is clearer, more neutral thinking. That is the power of humanity, shared by all, always. Always accessible; not always accessed.

Oh, world! Oh, beautiful, troubled world! If only we could pause together, take a few moments of quiet, shut down the roaring engines of our racing minds, and hear the silence. Feel the ease. Listen for the harmony. Sense the impulse and glimpse the spark of insight. What might come of it? What healing ideas might arise? What doubts and fears and arguments might fall away? What appreciation for the powers of vision inherent in simple human being might come to light? What mental clouds, like moral equivalence, might dance across the sky into obscurity?

A Rare, But Important, Friday Post

Friends,

There are many on this email list. If the direction I point below strikes a chord in one of you, then it was worth sending out this rare Friday post.

Thank you for reading it. Here goes:

There’s nothing more despicable in this world than bigotry. Yet, at the moment, we’re falling into the same trap that’s held bigotry in place forever. Hating a hater adds a new hater. Protesting bigotry energizes bigotry. Prejudice against the prejudiced feeds the cycle of prejudice.

Rather, we must point to the root of bigotry. It’s not culture. It’s not biology. It’s not one’s past. It’s the widespread and age-old misunderstanding that one’s feelings are caused by something external.

When people wake up to the fact that feelings are only caused by the ebb and flow of energy within, it stops being logical to look outside and blame others.

And when people stop blaming others for the normal ebb and flow of their feelings within, bigotry becomes impossible. So does premeditated violence. So does war. What then emerges is LOVE.

Yes, it is that simple.

Garret