Removing Burden

On the heels of last week’s article, http://garretkramer.com/why-the-theory-of-personal-responsibility-is-irresponsible/, and the multitude of questions that ensued, here’s more on why most of us habitually try to take on the burden of personal responsibility, and why it’s never, ever, in our best interest.

To me, it’s fascinating. From being written in scripture to being uttered by virtually every sage, spiritual teacher, or great coach throughout history, “Look within for the answers you seek” is wisdom that seems to have stood the test of time. But, in truth, this wisdom has only served those who’ve grasped its real meaning. And, regrettably, most of us have not.

In other words (throughout history), most of us have innocently assumed that the word “within” means that God, consciousness, inspiration, or salvation lies within us; within our bodies, or within the separate or personal self. But “within” actually means “entos,” which, translated from Greek, means “in the midst of.”

So, to be precise, the term “look within” means that:

A.  Your body lies within (in the midst of) God or consciousness.
B.  God or consciousness does not lie within you.

And this is not a semantic difference.

In my years of experience in the world of mental-performance coaching, I’ve never met a person who didn’t feel uneasy, and even squirm a bit, whenever a teacher, counselor, or coach pointed them within their physical bodies, or within themselves, for inspiration or salvation. Why did they squirm? Because, again, God/consciousness doesn’t lie within them; they lie within it. And intuitively, every human being knows this. They also know that it’s a waste of energy to dig and dig and dig in a personal quest to find something that’s just not there.

Keep in mind: Truth removes burden. Mistruth multiplies it. A helper helps remove burden not by pointing others to the made-up (and burden-enhancing) theory of personal responsibility or “it’s in you.” But by guiding others to the comfort of consciousness. By reminding them that they are not separate; that the universe has their back; that they rest within God’s arms—always.

Thank you for reading,
Garret

Why the Theory of Personal Responsibility Is Irresponsible

I’m about to make a claim that many of you will take umbrage with. How do I know? Because I’ve made this claim to every person, group, or audience I’ve ever stood before, and that’s precisely what’s happened (at first). In spite of that fact, here goes:

There’s no such thing as personal responsibility.

In other words, you don’t possess the personal power to control or coordinate your thoughts, choices, or behaviors. Taking umbrage? If yes, it’s cool, just consider these simple questions: Do you control the millions of processes that are taking place within your body right now? Do you control your mood? Do you control your reflexes? Do you control whether or not you cry at the movies?

If you’re honest, the answer to all of these questions is no.

So, then, why are you living under the false assumption that it’s you who’s personally responsible for your thoughts, choices, and behaviors? I mean, is it actually possible that you’re not responsible for or don’t control 99.99 percent of what takes place within you, yet you do control .01 percent? Seriously?

Actually, I don’t blame you at all. “Control what you can control” is a familiar mantra thrown around in virtually all coaching and self-help circles today—with attitude, effort, positivity, and body language being among the so-called “controllables.” Yet, the surprising truth is: Those who buy into the notion that they’re personally responsible for their comportment and actions are the ones most bound-up and sullen. They’re the ones whose behavior is most out of control.

And here’s the reason:

The human experience appears to flow between clarity and clutter; between wholeness and separateness; between humility and ego; between non-duality and duality; between the impersonal and personal (and it’s normal for it to appear this way). From the personal—or standpoint of the separate self—we feel insecure, alone, and distinct from the world. From the impersonal—or standpoint of the True Self (consciousness, God)—there are no distinctions between ourselves and the world. Now, when the separate self shows up, those who don’t know that it’s normal will attempt to manually find their way back to a safe feeling of wholeness and connection. But since human beings don’t possess the power to shortcut the human experience, in trying to do so they actually get in the way of what would have occurred intuitively (had they not manually intervened). That is, in trying to exert personal responsibility or control over something that can’t be controlled, they obstruct their intuitive ability to return to the impersonal standpoint of the True Self from which everyone, and I mean everyone, will behave in concert with the universe or greater good.

Remember: Sometimes you’ll feel separate (that’s normal) and sometimes you won’t (that’s normal, too). One feeling is not better than the other, so trying to choose between the two is never in your best interest. As the title of this article suggests: Adopting the false theory of personal responsibility or burden breathes life into the separate self—who will always behave irresponsibly.

Thank you for reading,
Garret

A New Year’s Message for Millennials

Two weeks ago, at the end of a presentation, I was asked this question: “What would your advice be for today’s younger generation?” Practically word for word, here was my answer. I hope you find it helpful.

“Be encouraged by those who implore you to speak up and take a resolute stand on injustice. The world today needs courageous young leaders in the mold of Martin Luther King Jr., Gloria Steinem, Jackie Robinson, and Harvey Milk. However, I cannot stress enough the significance of not falling for today’s way-too-common message that tries to try to teach you to be offended. This message is sweeping across college campuses and it’s a main theme on social media. To be clear, when it comes to my personal stance on most social issues, I lean to the left. But someone like Donald Trump cannot make me, or you, feel a certain way. And the more you take his or anyone’s actions personally, the less resourceful, insightful, and courageous you become. It’s simple, you cannot change the world for the better if you’re living under the misconception that what takes place in the world has the power to offend you. This misconception causes you—in a quest to feel better—to attack those who see things differently than you. And this holds mankind’s perpetual cycle of hate and prejudice in place.

In other words, avoid messages that suggest that someone or something can affect the way you feel; messages that indicate that your experience of life is contingent on circumstances or events going the way you or a specific ideology says they should; messages that infer that you’re better than others; messages that claim that human beings experience life from outside to in.

Rather, to change the world for the better, please understand that the world, and everything in it, does not exist separate from you—and you don’t exist separate from it. It’s this overwhelming sense of separation, and the pain that follows, that causes dysfunctional behavior. It causes people to cope, lash out, show aggression, and shun. No matter how you may feel, every sentiment, emotion, or state of mind—everything you experience—is sourced from within, from consciousness, from God. This means that what you experience can never be wrong, or bad, or damaging. You cannot mend what’s not broken—and you can never be. When you recognize this: that you are perpetually whole, capable, and connected; without trying, you’ll regulate back to resilience, determination, and compassion. Answers will rise up and changes of heart will occur. Universal wisdom will guide you, while it will no longer be about you. As distinctions fade, you’ll see yourself in everything and everyone. And, most important, you’ll find love everywhere you look.”

I suppose my message isn’t only for millennials, but for you and me, too. Happy New Year to all.

Love,
Garret

Pure Love on Christmas

Sometimes, during the holidays, we feel distant, isolated, and anxious. Whether alone or surrounded by others, we seem separate, the world seems separate, and God does, too. Yet, every now and then during the holidays, it’s the opposite: we feel connected, whole, and secure. At these moments, it’s clear that nothing or no one actually exists that we can be separate from. These momentary glimpses of pure love reveal what is true. These momentary glimpses are the essence of Christmas.
Merry Christmas, and love, to all,
Garret

Target Practice

Have you ever intentionally narrowed in, or focused, on a target, goal, venture, or something that you wanted to accomplish? Before you answer, I know that coaches, teachers, and performance experts often suggest that you try. But have you ever, on purpose, successfully narrowed your focus?

I bet you anything, the answer is no.

Now, I’m not saying that you don’t think that you have. I’m sure you’ve experienced rare moments of deep, freeing, and crystal-clear focus. The question, however, is: How does this occur? And what prevents it from occurring more often?

In order to answer, let’s talk about how it appears that you, and all human beings, experience or observe targets or goals, and then I’ll provide my take on how you really do.

In short, it looks like targets or goals exist independent of observation; that you experience them because they’re real, made of matter, or permanent. For example, it looks like the tree (the target) that a golfer is aiming at prior to hitting a tee shot would still exist even if the golfer wasn’t on the tee about to hit a shot. But, believe it or not, it doesn’t actually work that way (outside-in). It works inside-out. The target is actually a projection from within. Without the observer, the golfer in this metaphor, the target wouldn’t exist.

Indeed, I’m well aware that most people will find the above assertion ludicrous. The outside-in theory, or theory of duality, which claims that objects or anything from the physical world exist before and separate from observation has been accepted as true for ages. But, sadly, separating the subject (the observer) from the object (what’s observed) has also confused human beings for ages because it’s just not possible. An object cannot exist without a subject. That’s why you can’t narrow your focus on purpose and why you, like every person I’ve ever worked with, struggle or feel uneasy when trying to do so. Again, the target or goal is nothing more than a momentary projection from within the one who observes. It’s not a separate thing. And you cannot focus ON something that’s not a separate thing.

The bottom line is that trying to focus on a target or goal takes you away from moments of oneness, alertness, beauty, and love. It jams the mind and distances you from the true self. Sure, there will be times when you merely fall into focus. And afterward, when you attempt to describe what happened, it will appear that objects are separate entities that first exist, and then you become aware of them. But no. Focus is strictly an inside-out phenomenon. Human beings simply cannot start outside and reverse engineer how experience works by going back inside.

The inside, or observer, creates the outside, or what’s observed. They’re joined at the hip; they’re ONE. And when it comes to envisioning targets and striving for goals, that’s an essential principle to understand.

Thank you for reading,
Garret

So You Want to Be an Inside-Out Coach?

“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.”

Why?

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,
Garret

What’s Essential

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?”

“Perfect.”

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,
Garret

A Life-Changing Question

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?”

Whoa.

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,
Garret

The World’s an Illusion?

“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,
Garret

Strategy Versus Understanding

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,
Garret