Fear is a Limited Perspective

From the perspective of your soul, there is no fear.

The soul has a vantage point whereby it sees the larger context, and therefore understands the reasons that we must experience whatever challenges we may be facing.

When we identify completely with the ego, with the constructed psyche of the individual, then we feel only the fear of facing the perceived obstacles in front of us. We imagine and project, that is to say create the pain that keeps us from acting in accordance with our deepest, most authentic motivations.

However, from the vantage point of the soul, we see, or at least feel, the experience awaiting us on the other side of our perceived obstacle.

In this way, acting in accordance with that which compels us toward our desires, is not only the most empowered position we can take, but also the most honest and accurate.

Consider the fearful perspective of a child who feels only the fear of facing whatever seems daunting or even terrifying. This is the ego perspective. This perspective is overwhelmingly the experience of the perceived obstacle or pain.

Now imagine the broader perspective, that of the soul, as akin to the vantage point of the adult.

Let us say, for example, that a child is afraid to take his or her first jump into a pool. Despite the welcoming arms of a trusted parent who will keep their little loved one safe, the child may feel only the fear of imagined outcomes. Or even just the overwhelming, irrational fear of doing something new and frightening.

The adult on the other hand knows that their child not only will be fine, but will experiencing the joy of jumping. To the adult, while they may understand that their child’s experience of fear is very real, and possibly quite intense, they also know that the rewards of acting despite the fear are far more gratifying than the temporary nature of the fear itself.

But fear is not the only sensation the child feels in that moment. They also feel the exhilaration of jumping, and the pride of a challenge overcome.

Even in the situation where the child might not enjoy jumping into the water, she or he is still far better off for having faced the personal fear, not to mention eliminating the uncertainty of whether or not she/he enjoys the activity.

What are we to learn from this example?

Quite simply, if there is some challenge that you are facing, some obstacle to overcome, some question that begs you to answer it, the fear that you may feel surrounding this aspect of your life need not discourage you from pursuing your deeper motivation.

In fact, that fear, most likely, is the barrier between you (at least the concept of you with which you currently identify) and the goal you seek to attain (the broader concept of self with which you are learning to identify). In this way, the fear is far more than a random obstacle. It is the very resistance against which you need push to be the person you feel compelled to become and live the life you  feel compelled to live.

That fear is the very indication that you are standing at a threshold, a current, and if you so choose, temporary, boundary of your “self” as you perceive it from the limited vantage point of the ego.

To be clear, and to reiterate an idea that I introduced earlier, positive, decisive action should not be careless or foolish. When we do take action toward creating our dreams, it should be done with consistency, patience, perserverance, and forethought. But please do not allow your fear to confine you in a life that does not serve you, fulfill you, or allow you to serve your greatest purpose.

When you do act, you may still experience the fear. That is natural, and even necessary. The very definition of courage includes fear. To act courageously, one must feel afraid.

The difference, however, is that the courageous deed is done despite the fear. And when we feel our sense of courage, we also feel the fear turn to exhiliration, and quite possibly, when we have achieved our goal, joy.

So feel it all, act in accordance with your deepest motivations, and watch not only how your life transforms, but, more importantly, how you change in the process as you learn the lessons you as a soul meant for yourself to learn by designing the challenges you created for yourself to face in this life as a human before you embarked upon it.

Are there any deep desires within you urging you to knock down walls of fear in your life? I would guess so, since we all have an ever-expanding self which we are striving to realize.

At your service,

Jon

Small, Decisive, Consistent Action

Following from two of my previous posts, one on consistent action yielding incremental progress, the other on decisive commitment, I want to speak in more detail about what such action will look like. What are some concrete examples of the type of actions that will lead in time to the creation of your dream life?

Most likely, the behaviors are smaller than we might assume. They have been in my life anyway.

As I have mentioned in other posts, my tendency has been toward all or nothing engagement with my pursuits. Quite often, this approach has undermined me.

All or nothing more often tends to be nothing than all.

Think about it logically.

Since it is literally impossible for us to devote ourselves completely to more than one endeavor, with the all or nothing mentality, we cannot possibly pursue more than one goal at a time.

To be sure, we always will have pursuits and facets of our life that we prioritize ahead of others. But if we leave no room for additional aspects of our life to develop because we are focusing exclusively on one with all of our energy, we will we shut ourselves off from the richness and opportunities that accompany a diverse set of experiences. It is even possible that a narrow, closed-minded attitude will limit our progress in the one area upon which we have been focusing so intensely.

Again, I’m not stating that we should dabble indefinitely, withhold our energy from a pursuit about which we are passionate, or spread ourselves so thin that we accomplish nothing in any area of interest. But I have experienced time and again the failure resulting from burnout and unrealistically short time lines for my goals.

Which brings me back to the focus of this post; small, consistent, decisive actions.

When we allow ourselves the gift of a well chosen set of consciously selected endeavors, we automatically acknowledge that our larger goals probably will come to fruition over a longer time frame than we might hope. When we recognize and accept that reality, we are far more likely to sustain our effort for the necessary duration.

And when that happens, we empower ourselves to enact a plan that comes together piece by piece by piece.

The example of fitness is an excellent one from my own life. Especially as my time became increasingly fragmented in adulthood, it became more difficult to implement a workout regimen by jumping into high intensity exercise without building up to that level of intensity.

In fact, the aches and pains that most of us experience in adulthood often have their origins in some injury or accumulated damage sustained by implementing routines and performing exercises incorrectly at a younger age.

For me, running is the best example of what I’ve experienced in my own life that fits perfectly with the larger concept I’m trying to convey here.

To be clear, I fucking hate running. I enjoy sprinting. Long distance running though? Not at all my thing. The shock to the joints, the pounding, the shin splints. No thank you.

But the fact is, there are few exercises that burn fat as well. And I had goals for my fitness level that include a body mass index of below ten percent body fat. Indeed there are other forms of exercise, such as swimming and cross country skiing, that provide equivalent or greater fat burning potential. Additionally, weight training has the potential to burn far more fat than static state cardio (such as forty-five minutes on a treadmill).

But running is far more accessible and convenient than swimming or skiing. And resistance training, while excellent for strength and muscle building, is not as effective for cardiovascular conditioning, which is essential for true fitness. So running is something that I needed to do.

In beginning to run, I discovered that some of the stabilizing muscles and tendons in my lower legs were getting sore and even sprained quite easily. So in order to run more, which I needed to do in order to reach my body fat goals, I needed to strengthen and condition those areas.

Clearly, this is not a situation where I simply could push myself harder. I tried that. The result was a lingering sprain or strain in my left ankle/lower leg that rendered me unable to do any jumping or running on and off for the better part of nine months. In fact, the roots of that injury dated back to a previous attempt to push myself beyond my fitness level at the time.

So I needed to heal. I needed to find an exercise that I liked. I needed it to be relatively convenient and accessible. And I needed to increase the duration, intensity, and frequency gradually.

Enter the jump rope. Now this is an exercise mode that I do enjoy. But when I began jumping rope for the first time as a serious exercise, already in my mid-forties, I had little to no endurance. Again, pushing through pain (as opposed to discomfort) would have been a recipe for further setbacks.

So with no other choice, I had to humble myself by doing far less than my ego would have liked to accept. I found that two to three days per week, a few sets of low reps, regular stretching, and a short run once per week were a good starting point.

The most important aspect of starting small was that I had nearly completely removed any psychological resistance against adhering to my routine. It never required too much inertia to go into the garage, put on some high energy music, and do my short workout. Plus, since it was short, attainable, and not too frequent to begin with, I could push myself that much harder, knowing I was nearly finished, and that I would have earned a stretch or rest the following day.

Thanks to my fitness level being relatively low (based on past fitness levels and my current goals) I saw results very quickly. Within a few weeks, I had increased the number of reps per set.

On one foot rope jumps, for example, I could barely do twenty-five on my left foot when I began, including stops caused by the rope getting caught in my feet. Within two weeks, I was up to seventy-five jumps per foot non-stop, and another twenty-five reps of a set where I alternated single foot jumps (right, left, 1, right, left, 2, etc.)

My standard jumps (with feet together) went from one difficult set of one hundred to two much easier sets of two hundred in about two weeks as well. And not only was I preparing myself for increased running endurance, I was burning fat while I prepared.

One final benefit of the incremental approach was the psychological flexibility that I felt as a result. As opposed to prior situations, in which the intensity, duration, frequency, and expectations were high from the start, this approach allowed me to miss a day if necessary without feeling as though I had fallen off of the bandwagon and needed to start all over from the beginning.

I even found that during times when I may not have maintained proper nutrition or gotten enough sleep over a period of several days, I was able to discern between low motivation and a genuine lack of energy. In those times, I could grant myself additional rest without shaming myself. I recognized that it is better to rest when truly necessary than push too much and risk completely depleting my energy and/or risking an injury that might delay my progress.

This, of course, is merely one example of how decisiveness, consistency, and the accumulation of smaller actions will yield dramatic, long term results. Whatever the endeavor, there will be challenges to overcome in multiple areas.

We may need to learn new skills, dust off old ones, risk embarrassment, overcome physical challenges, exorcise psycho-spiritual demons, make bold predictions, face failure, ask for help, etc. But if we acknowledge whatever task we may be facing us in that moment as the very one that needs to be completed in order to take another step toward realizing our larger vision, bit by bit we will get it done.

And far more important than the external rewards that we may reap, is the person we become in the process. That person is one who lives a life of fulfillment by acting in accordance with his or her divine purpose. Living that divine purpose means serving the universe.

What actions can you take right now to begin living in integrity with your divine purpose?

Please feel free to reach out to me if there is any way that I may assist you.

At your service.

Jon

You Can’t Learn to Swim by Dipping Your Toe in the Water

Piggybacking on my previous post, The Accumulation of Small, Consistent Actions, I want to discuss another facet of progress:

Decisiveness in our commitment.

This may sound contradictory to the previous post, but make no mistake, you cannot learn to swim by dipping your toe in the water.

To be clear, I am not saying that you must jump into the deep end with no flotation device or assistance.

But you do have to get in the water. And that means you may experience discomfort, although no worse than the anxiety born of anticipating discomfort.

All you will gain by dipping your toe in the water is a poor measure of its temperature.

And what then?

Okay. The water is hot, or warm, or cool, or cold.

What if that is not to your liking?

What then?

Now you have reinforced your resistance to getting in the water.

Or if the temperature is to your liking, it doesn’t really make the process of learning to swim that much easier. Maybe a bit. But ya still gotta do it.

If you wanna learn to swim, at some point ya gotta get in the fuckin’ water.

Which is greater, your desire to learn and grow, experiencing something that has compelled you to stand at the water’s edge, staring into it in nervous anticipation, or the fear of a negative experience?

If you allow your desire for comfort and security to be greater than the promise of fulfillment from pursuing your deep, authentic desires, you will get more of exactly what you have experienced up to this point in your life. If more of the same is what you genuinely desire, then I congratulate you on having found a state of joy. If, however, you want something else, there is no avoiding the fact that you have to be the one to change, and you are the one who must initiate that change.

There is the possibility that your circumstances will improve without your effort. It is highly unlikely, however, that the new state of being will be sustainable. External circumstances are quite fickle. Consciousness is not. So you may experience some temporary improvement in circumstances.

Or they could get worse. From the consciousness state of the fear of loss, while focusing on holding on to that which you do have already, you may lose that as well.

As Matthew 13:12 states, “For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that which he has.”

To be clear, I have no formal religious affiliation. But at its core, this quote is a mystical statement of consciousness and gratitude. A wealthy person is one who recognizes and celebrates the blessings in life, one who focuses upon them. Such a person continually discovers new blessings bestowed upon him or her. So he or she becomes ever richer, simply by discovering the endless ways that the universe bestows blessings.

Equally important, a wealthy person determines goals, and pursues them from a state of abundance and gratitude.

Matthew 13:12 also alludes to the truth that a state of gratitude tends to manifest in blessings of a material nature.

However, settling or playing it safe does not equate with a state of gratitude. When we refrain from pursuing our authentic desires because we “have enough”, we are not living in gratitude. Gratitude does not say “I’m fine. I have enough.” It says “I have more than I could possibly ever use, share, or even discover.” And from that state, there is no risk of loss since we can’t possibly lose what we have, when the universe constantly gives us more than we even can fathom.

Having enough is a rationalization for settling for less than what we truly desire. And when we settle, we are not living in gratitude, acknowledging the abundant blessings with which the universe is seeking to shower us constantly.

In the situation where we settle or play it safe, we are actually living in a consciousness of scarcity. We operate from the fear of losing rather than the faith that we should pursue our passion as its own reward and experience the abundance as a bonus. So the result tends to be that we lose what we have.

This may manifest as the appearance of loss through our failure to recognize and appreciate what is already present in our life. Because failing to recognize the presence of a blessing in our lives is equivalent to not having that condition at all. We can’t derive joy from its existence, so in effect, we have lost it, since even when it is present, it is not available to us.

Loss also may manifest itself through subconscious enactment of beliefs. If we believe that we have little or nothing in our lives, then that is the state from which our subconscious will create. Since it is dictating our experiences, decisions, and overall life outcomes a vast majority of the time, if it is programmed for lack or scarcity, that is what it will find. And that is what you will experience.

Please understand that none of this is meant to frighten you into action. Fear based motivation always is severely limited. I am merely illuminating the internal dynamics that determine the results we experience in our lives.

However, I do mean to motivate you simply by illustrating that the only true way to lose anything in life, is by refusing to do that which compels you.

That’s because the external circumstances, results, and experiences are merely outward manifestations of our internal state of consciousness.

So if you feel compelled to pursue a dream, but you refrain due to fear, then fear is the dominant state of your subconscious. If fear of loss is the focus of the subconscious, then the loss around which the fear is based will be the program the subconscious runs,  and loss is what you will experience in your life.

At the very least, even if the external circumstances do not change for the so-called worse, refusing to live by your inner guidance will result in a life of unrequited desire. An unfulfilling life. What Thoreau called a life of “quiet desperation.”

In such a situation, apparent safety and security will not be your ally. Because regardless of what you do have, whatever it may be that you fear losing, all of the external abundance, luxury, and security in the world will not fill the void of unrequitement.

To expect things and stuff to satisfy your deepest desires is equivalent to me building you your dream home or buying you your dream car and expecting  them as legitimate consolation for losing the love of your life. It can’t truly provide that for which you long.

However, it is important to realize that the historical moment in which we are living is significant from a cosmic and spiritual standpoint for the way in which it is affecting humans. Specifically, the universe is pushing us all to live in integrity with our deepest purpose. As such, we will experience discomfort and even pain as a psychospiritual urging to fulfill the purpose for which we came into this life.

This may even mean that we will experience loss for the larger purpose of pushing us into the life we are meant to live. Or for snapping us out of the illusion that some insignificant artifact that we may have deluded ourselves into believing should be the focus of our energy has little or nothing to do with our authentic purpose.

For me the bottom line is that we have come to this human experience with a purpose to fulfill. We came to this life at this time to bring the wholly unique gifts that the world needs. Badly! And fulfilling that universal purpose will fulfill us individually as well.

So regardless of what gets us moving ultimately, be it fear, discomfort, or the joy of fulfillment, one way or another, the time has come to live our deepest truth. No doubt, that will mean choosing fulfillment over fear.

Are there ways that you have been playing it safe, living in fear rather than stepping into your fulfillment? If so, how can you begin acting from your desires instead of your fears.

Please feel free to reach out to me if there is any way that I may help you.

At your service.

Jon

The Accumulation of Small, Consistent Actions

If you spend enough time studying the philosophies and practices of manifestation, peak performance, self-realization, or whatever other tag you might affix to the field, you will come across a powerful metaphor for human development. That of the Chinese Bamboo tree.

The seed of the Chinese Bamboo is so hard that it requires watering and soil cultivation for five years before any sprouts appear above ground. Once it does break ground, however, it can grow to a height of ninety feet in six weeks.

What is important to realize, however, is that in order to achieve any growth at all, the care and cultivation of the seed and the soil must take place consistently for those five years. If this consistency is not present, no growth will occur.

So while it would appear that nothing is happening for several years followed by extraordinarily rapid growth in a short period of time, the reality is that the vast majority of growth took place out of sight, prior to an explosion of observable progress.

The same tends to be true for humans working on our larger life goals.

Historically, I have been an all-or-nothing person. The problem with such an attitude often was my refusal to engage in many endeavors unless I could immerse myself in them completely. I set my expectations so high for my actions, that it became easy to fail to execute them.

This was harmful, first off, since it always left me with some form of excuse as to why I hadn’t achieved success.

“Well, I would have been better at this…

…  if I could have devoted more time.”

… if I didn’t have to do (insert excuse here).”

… if my hair weren’t in my eyes.”

… if the wind had blown the other way.”

… if so and so hadn’t distracted me.”

… if… if… if… if… if… blah… blah… blah…

The “if only” excuse became not only an explanation for prior failures, but also a justification for current and future ones.  I frequently failed to achieve success precisely because I would quit on pursuits when I couldn’t do them “full tilt”.

So then I had all of my bases covered.

“I didn’t succeed with that because I couldn’t give it my all, and I won’t succeed with this because if I can’t give it my all then I shouldn’t devote any energy to it.”

But that isn’t how progress is made.

In truth all progress is gradual and incremental, even in situations where the bloom of results occurs suddenly. The small consistent actions are what yield the fruits.

If progress occurs incrementally through consistent action, then achievement is merely the appearance or clear evidence of results that have been accumulating regularly and incrementally all along. Two significant events in my life showed me this truth.

After two failed attempts, at the age of thirty-three, I finally completed my bachelors degree. During the graduation, as various speakers hailed the significance of the threshold that the day’s graduates were crossing, I understood the purpose of such ceremonies.

Ceremonies and awards are symbols, not of achievements made in that moment, but of the accumulation of consistent actions that culminate in some external result.

Earning a college degree is not a matter of walking across a stage in a cap and gown. It is a matter of applying sustained effort, regardless of, sometimes in spite of, how one feels about the work at hand. It is a result of all-nighters pulled to complete projects, papers, and exam study sessions. Or, in my case, three to nine hours of daily practice on my instrument, ear-training, keyboard harmony, music theory, music history, or the like.

I recognized the same to be true of my marriage. The wedding itself is not a commitment, it is a symbol of the commitment that we have made up to that point in time, and a promise of future commitments.

The commitment to a marriage is not made at the altar. It isn’t a choice made once in the presence of friends, family, a justice of the peace. It is made every day, leading up to, and more importantly, following a wedding day.

Marital commitment is made in the moments when we share our feelings with our partner even though it feels safer to shut down. It is made in the moments when we are vulnerable enough to forgive or ask forgiveness. Commitment to our spouse is manifest in the choices we make regardless of, even in spite of selfish inclinations that may encourage us to choose otherwise.

Along with the notion that progress and achievement are comprised of consistent, incremental acts, is the essential understanding that grand gestures and deeds can be inconsequential, even detrimental to long term progress.

Given my all-or-nothing tendencies, the big action I would take frequently led to a rapid expenditure of energy. Worse, having believed that one big surge of effort would get me to my goal, I would feel disillusioned and frustrated when I met with what I didn’t realize need only be temporary failure. So I quit.

Make no mistake. Our attitude and our actions need to be decisive. But if we grant ourselves the gift of a long term commitment to our goals, and we take the consistent actions necessary, even if we must rest occasionally, even if we don’t arrive there when or how we thought we would, we will reach our destination. And who we have become in the process will be just as important, if not more so, than the rewards we reap as a result.

Are there ways that you may be cheating yourself by acting inconsistently? The best part about resuming our pursuit of a goal with small actions, is that we are never far from getting back to it.

So keep at it, or get back to it. The reward awaits.

Please reach out if I can be of any assistance.

At your service.

Jon

Are We There Yet?

Parenting often feels like a crash course in mindfulness. The past week has provided me with some excellent lessons in presence. Two significant ones came courtesy of our younger daughter.

On both occasions, one the result of a tick that we found on her, and the other the aftermath of a fall from her bike and the ensuing bruises and bloody scrapes, she responded with panic and even moments of hysteria. As she is only five years old, this is to be expected. However, I was struck by a realization in both situations when, in one way or another, she expressed a desperate desire for the experience to be over already.

I have spent a fair amount of time trying to impart to both of our girls, probably far less than ideally, that our best option is to accept the experiences in which we find ourselves, lest we make them more difficult than they need to be.

I am not suggesting we resign ourselves to live in less than ideal circumstances. Certainly, it makes perfect sense to work toward a solution and manifestation of more desirable life circumstances. But when we refuse the experience present at any given moment of our life, we deny ourselves the wisdom, and even joy, present in the only moment that truly exists, the now. And there is a very good chance that if we are resistant to any given experience, we are resistant in one way or another to many situations in our life.

This is, no doubt, a very challenging discipline, requiring much mindfulness and repetition. Although I myself have made significant progress, I am far from what I would consider mastery of the practice. It is difficult enough to experience some form of pain. To accept that pain, even going so far as to embrace it and search for the wisdom present in the experience, is quite another matter.

So as I observed her literally wailing, kicking, and screaming in some desperate attempt to escape the inescapable discomfort of the moment, I became aware of my own desire to be free of the pain present within me.

I felt the pain of witnessing one of my daughters, my dear child, struggling in fear and pain. I felt the pain of the powerlessness that comes with being unable to ease her pain. And like her, I felt the pain of resisting the present moment by wishing to be feeling and experiencing something other than what I was living at that moment.

As I observed this in her and in myself, I felt a longing for her to understand that at this moment, this is what is, and it is what needs to be. And I wished for her to try and accept the moment as it is, since it is what is here, and therefore what she must experience.

However, since I cannot control her ability to realize such a truth of life, the best that I could do, was practice the very acceptance I was attempting to impart to her. After all, I want to be the example of what I am offering to my girls, or anyone else for that matter.

This led me to consider other ways in which there are experiences that I have anticipated and avoided despite recognizing their necessity on some level of consciousness. Challenges I must face in order to achieve established goals. Qualities I must embody despite the discomfort they might cause me directly, or through the discomfort they may cause others. Actions I must take despite the fear and anxiety they evoke within me.

And in these realizations I was reminded to face the challenges which I have been avoiding in my own life. I was reminded that I cannot run from the issues that are facing me. I cannot turn my head, close my eyes, kick and scream and cry in my own way, wishing quietly to myself or out loud to the world for the obstacles I am facing simply to go away and be over.

To get where we want to be in our lives, we will have to experience pain and discomfort that, understandably, we do not want to experience. But we increase the pain by adding our own resistance to what already may be a difficult situation. And we delay our arrival at our desired destination.

Sometimes, we might even find that the pain is minimal or quite possibly completely created by our mind. Often, the only pain we endure is generated by the anxiety derived from some lingering painful memory and our projection of that memory into an imagined future.

Regardless, there are times when we must take a breath, drop the resistance, and do what we have being avoiding.

Are there ways in which you have been avoiding doing or experiencing something despite feeling compelled at a deep level to act? If so, how might you take steps through the fear and into the reality that you feel compelled to experience?

Please reach out to me if there is any way that I can assist you.

At your service.

Jon

 

 

 

Success or Failure-Where Is Your Attention Focused?

One of the most important skills that all professional race car drivers develop is the discipline of focusing at all times on the direction in which they want their vehicle to travel. This is especially important if and when they lose control of the car.

The natural human tendency if we are behind the wheel of a vehicle that is out of control is to look at the potential destination of our current trajectory. If we are headed for a guard rail or the wall of a race track, the chance that we will hit it is dramatically increased by our looking at that potential outcome.

I emphasized the word “potential” twice to make clear that our conscious input is a significant factor in determining the ultimate outcome of the situation. I will reiterate here what I have touched upon in previous posts. Multiple spiritual philosophies have taught for thousands of years what is now corroborated by the field of quantum physics: There are no outcomes independent of either observation or expectation.

Therefore, when driving a vehicle that may be momentarily out of control, by focusing on a desirable trajectory or destination, we create an overwhelming increase in the likelihood that we will steer toward it. The power of the subconscious will direct our body to steer us to safety in a way that the conscious mind cannot. The discipline lies in training our conscious mind to give the subconscious the appropriate instructions. Those instructions come in the form of where we direct our conscious attention.

I could have worded the first sentence of the previous paragraph in terms of the possibility of not crashing the car. But in the same way that we need to direct our attention where we want to go, our thoughts should be aligned with the outcome we want, as opposed to avoiding the undesirable outcome.

This is yet another way in which we have a choice as to where we focus our conscious attention. And the distinction between those choices sends our subconscious mind one of two dramatically different messages with significantly different outcomes.

Driving with Presence of Mind

When we apply racing principles as metaphors for our lives, we have a great deal of profound wisdom at our disposal. This is because race car driving, just like living intentionally, requires enormous presence, focus, and concentration. (And no, I’m not a huge racing fan. The metaphor just works.)

When we live merely “to get by”, to avoid the proverbial car crash, we still are operating from a state of consciousness where we are focused as much, if not more, upon negative outcomes. And our subconscious, the auto-pilot of our life, operates based upon the dominant thought and feeling states with which we furnish it.

Typically, those thought and feeling states originate in some pre-conscious (five years or younger) version of ourselves. So we aren’t always aware of the dominant thought and feeling states that are providing the primary operating instructions for our auto-pilot program.

However, if you find yourself consistently dissatisfied with the events and outcomes in your life, there is a very good chance that you need to replace the dominant thought and feeling states encoded in your subconscious mind. And the way to do that is through the conscious repetition of focusing upon and affirming, with as much emotion as possible, your desired outcomes.

Returning to our driving metaphor, you need to redirect your focus toward your preferred destination. It requires mindful practice, discipline, and repetition. But in time, you begin instinctively to look away from the outcomes that you fear or find unsatisfactory, and instead become focused upon, even consumed by or obsessed with the direction in which you do want to move.

Often We Have More Control than We Acknowledge

Another reason race car drivers learn to direct their attention toward a desirable goal is so that they may determine the outcome of the race to the greatest possible extent rather than being subject completely to the choices of the drivers around them.

Far too frequently in our lives we allow external circumstances to dictate what, when, how, where, and why we take action. This is equivalent to determining which direction we will travel in our vehicle by which way it is facing when we get behind the wheel.

Or imagine getting into your car, opening your preferred driving app or onboard navigation system and simply following the directions to the most recent destination entered into it. You may have been the one to enter that destination even, but it might not serve you in that moment.

What if you’re already there? What if it sends you to your Great Aunt Mabel’s best friend’s neighbor’s sister’s quilting group, but you need to go to the dentist? What if you need to take the little ones to a birthday party, but you end up at the adult toy shop? AWKWARD!

As long as we are subject solely to external conditions, we will find ourselves crashing into proverbial walls, driving off of cliffs, at the very least involved in constant fender benders.

To be sure, we cannot always control road and traffic conditions, the actions of other drivers, or chance encounters like a flat tire. But we can determine our destination, find its location, and make our way there, even if the route we travel in  the end turns out not to be the most direct.

Ultimately, we create, or at the very least influence, our external reality by the condition of our internal state. And sometimes, we act despite the internal state feeling less than ideal to us. In such a situation, the act of doing in the face of adversity will change our internal state.

At such times in fact, we are affirming a new internal state by deciding to feel empowered despite even the biochemical and psychological conditions that would suggest we feel otherwise. We are affirming that despite appearances, circumstances, and even undesirable experiences, we are in control of the final outcome of the journey. That regardless of the conditions that may make finding an alternate route advisable or necessary, we will get where we want and need to go .

Are there ways in which you have been focused consciously or subconsciously upon the outcomes you wish to avoid? Are there ways in which you have been living in fear, rather than faith? If so, your first step toward greater fulfillment and purpose may be to start focusing upon and envisioning your desired outcome.

Please reach out to me if there is any way that I may assist you.

At your service.

Jon

Create Your Own Dream, or Allow Someone Else to Create Your Nightmare

The choice is quite simple.

Either you create your own dream life, or you empower someone else to create your nightmare reality.

The universe has a way of pushing us toward our greatest self. Before we have accepted the extent of our power to achieve our dreams, and before we have begun living intentionally, our own discomfort is necessary to provide the impetus that moves us toward living our deepest purpose.

We have a tendency to prefer familiar discomfort, even intense pain, to the myriad fears that are triggered by changing ourselves, even if that change is the pursuit of a compelling life. Therefore, the pain must be great enough that we feel no choice but to take action toward manifesting fulfillment.

The great French writer Anais Nin stated it this way: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

So know this. If your current thoughts and deeds are not in integrity with your true purpose, you will experience pain as a result. In one way or another you will know the pain of living a less than fulfilling life. This is the universe’s way of pushing you into the next phase of your life. Into the fulfillment of your deeper purpose.

Understand that the goal of fulfilling our purpose is not merely to avoid discomfort or pain. Those conditions are a reality regardless of the life we lead. They are also a necessity. For more on that, please refer to my post “What Am I Meant to Learn from This?: The Purpose of Pain and Suffering“.

As Mark Manson describes it in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, deciding to live a life of fulfillment and purpose is not a matter of alleviating discomfort. Instead it is about choosing the challenges and obstacles that we will face. When we choose, we do so with a sense of purpose. So which would you rather have, troubles that feel petty and meaningless, or ones that challenge you in meaningful and purposeful ways?

And don’t think that the pressure being exerted upon you to change and develop yourself is purely for your own good. Nah. Fuck your own good. Sort of.

To be clear, it certainly is in your best interest to create the life that is beckoning you from within. The personal benefits of fulfilling your divine purpose are immeasurable. It’s humorous even to consider that we silly humans could think that way (“So tell me source energy, God, creator of all that is seen and unseen, comprehensible and unfathomable, perceptible and intangible, what is in it for me if I do live according to the divine pattern for which I’ve been created?”)

Still, your true purpose is for so much more than your own fulfillment. You are here to birth in this world the unique gifts that only you can provide. And this world is in dire need of whatever gifts you have come here bearing. I mean, take a fucking look around. We need you to be the best version of you.

I’m not saying that you need to drop everything and change course immediately. A sudden sharp turn can cause an accident just as easily as driving straight into a brick wall. In my experience, the necessary action is frequently far less dramatic than what I might have imagined it to be.

But you do need to start. Take action. Search within to uncover the compelling vision that is beckoning you, whatever it may be. And it need not be compelling to anyone else than you. It is uniquely yours.

If you’ve already uncovered that vision, work to clarify it. If you have clarity, make a plan for manifesting that vision. Seek out the knowledge and resources necessary to make it a reality in the world of form.

If you’ve done that, get to work. Find assistance if need be, modify your course if need be, but keep working. Consistent, incremental work will yield progress in time.

That life is waiting for you to claim it. And the world is waiting for you to share your gifts. Please don’t keep any of us (including yourself) waiting any longer than we must.

If there is any way that I can help you, please reach out to me.

At your service.

Jon

For the Underemployed

Merriam-Webster defines underemployment as “the condition in which people in a labor force are employed at less than full-time or regular jobs or at jobs inadequate with respect to their training or economic needs.” Admittedly, working fewer hours than we need in order to pay the bills is a legitimate concern. In this case, however, it is not uncommon, as I have done, to piece together enough work to constitute a full time work week.

Likewise, inadequate pay is a very real issue. Relatively few of us are paid enough to live a life of security let alone fulfillment. In fact, receiving fewer than full time hours really is only an issue if we need more money than our current work week provides.

I mean, who gives a shit about getting more hours at work if part-time hours pay enough? Right? Who asks to work more hours at a job that already pays well for fewer hours?

This is a bit of a trick question, since there is a group of people who are willing and even enthusiastic to work more. Who are these freaks of nature you ask? People who love their work. People who are fulfilled by the endeavors that occupy their days, and even nights.

Which brings me to the definition of underemployment that I most want to discuss here. And that is work that is inadequate with respect to training. Of course, I am assuming that the training in question is aligned with a person’s passions. So when a person has trained in a field that is reflective of his or her passion, but cannot find work in that field, to me, that is the most tragic form of underemployment.

Let’s be honest. Most work in today’s modern economy does not pay enough. At least not right away. But there are many people getting paid less than they want or need in jobs that fulfill them in ways that money cannot. And frequently, such people find themselves generating financial wealth as a result of performing work that enriches them initially in the more important, internal metrics of fulfillment, purpose and passion.

On the other hand, there are many people getting paid very well for joyless work at best, and long hours spent under relative to extreme stress at worst. And the money isn’t making them any happier in the tradeoff. But at least they have a sense of security. Not that this can replace deep fulfillment. Still, I’d rather have security and some luxury than not have it. It doesn’t mean I stop seeking true fulfillment. It just means that I’ve checked some important requirements off of the list.

But when we work thankless jobs for shit pay, then we have succumbed to one of the great tragedies of modern life. Because in that scenario we spend a disturbing amount of that most precious commodity of time, merely passing the hours until quitting time. And clock watching is one of the finest ways to waste our life away, dying a slow death measured in minutes until lunch time, hours until quitting time, and years or decades until retirement.

This may seem dramatic, but to anyone who has worked a job that provides little to no stimulation, and lacks any deep sense of purpose, the very thought of going to that workplace is enough to generate feelings of intense despair.

This is not to say that working a menial job is without benefits. Perhaps in your non-work hours you are spending time on some life project that does provide purpose and will create fulfillment. Maybe even wealth as well. Additionally, there is great value in finding the lessons available from any situation, whether we have chosen it consciously or not. And, of course, there is much to learn about humility, patience, compassion, and persistence from work that may not be in our chosen field.

But when we work aimlessly at an unfulfilling job for years on end, never moving toward something larger or deeper in our lives, then we are doing nothing short of wasting the very life we have been given.

Know this. Each and every one of us has assumed this human existence specifically to manifest in the world of form the perfectly unique gifts that only we can present to the world. When we waste our lives withholding those gifts from the world, keeping them locked deep within us as mere thoughts within the mind of God, we are committing the worst sin possible.

The origins of the word sin reveal to us that the true meaning of the word is far different from what we typically believe.  It does not mean to commit some form of wrongdoing in the ethical or moral sense. Sin means “to miss the mark.”

To sin is literally to miss the point of living. To sin is to commit evil only in the sense that “evil”, as the word itself implies, is quite literally the opposite of what it means to “live”. And if to live truly means to derive the fulfillment that can come only from manifesting our purpose in the world by sharing our divine gifts, then failing to do so is literally the opposite, an act of evil, a sin.

In our modern world, one of the most common ways in which people shrink from the divine calling that is living our true purpose, sharing our completely unique innate gifts, is to waste time in an aimless and purposeless job.

I’m not judging. I’ve been there many times. And I’m not suggesting that you quit your shitty job immediately.

What I am urging you to do is begin uncovering the divine purpose for which you are uniquely designed. If you have some sense of what that purpose is, start chipping away at it. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. And it proceeds with each additional step. Until step by step by step by step, you turn around and find that you’ve travelled a long and amazing journey.

Travel long enough, and more importantly, consistently enough, guided by your most authentic motivations, and you will find yourself living a life that resonates throughout your whole being.

Please let me know if there is any way that I may assist you.

At your service.

Jon

 

Faith

“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe.” -St. Augustine

I’ll be brief with this one, because ultimately, it is quite simple. If we are not acting in accordance with our stated beliefs, then they aren’t actually beliefs. They are simply some nice ideas that we’d like to believe are true.

To live in faith is to act in integrity with the reality that we seek to manifest.

No action?

No faith.

No faith?

No manifestation of a greater life experience.

Where I personally have misunderstood this truth is in the size and scope of the actions in question. Typically, I have misinterpreted this axiom of faith to mean that if I don’t step off the edge of a cliff with the full expectation of God’s hand sweeping me to safety, then I am out of integrity with the state of faith.

However, now I understand that the act of faith may be far less dramatic than attempting to climb Mt. Everest barefoot in your pajamas in the dead of winter. Your personal, internal Mt. Everest may be something much more subtle. But to your subconscious mind and your soul, whatever fear is challenging your willingness to act in complete faith is equally formidable.

For me, the fears have been numerous.

Fear of failure.

Fear of humiliation.

Fear of discovering unequivocally that I am not meant to live an extraordinary life of my design.

Fear of asserting my vision of a better world rather than continuing to live in someone else’s nightmare.

Fear of the discomfort I may cause others by insisting that I feel the existence of a better way, a better life.

Fear of the discomfort I may feel by insisting that we should try my way.

Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, blah, blah, blah, etc. ad nauseam.

In stepping into faith, though, I have realized something extremely important. All of the intellectualized understanding I’ve had about my fears, my childhood beliefs that I was born a burden and will never be anything but one, of being undeserving, of all that other psychobabble bullshit that I’ve used to pretend that I truly know myself, none of it means a thing.

At least not until I step into my faith and truly feel the acute, and quite intense experience of my fear. That is truly facing my fears. And when I have sat in and with those feelings for long enough, and I observe them dispersing like wisps of cloud on a breezy day, then and only then am I free of their hold upon me.

It has been said that we cannot heal what we refuse to feel. And ultimately, our greatest fear is not any of the circumstances or conditions that we may have believed to be so threatening. Our greatest fear is actually feeling the full force of our fear, of our pain.

There is a chance that when you step into the faith around which your fear has built a wall, you might not feel an immediate sense of peace, joy, or ease. You may feel intense anxiety, doubt, and despair.

But rather than retreating, I encourage you to remain in those feelings. And simply observe as the ego attempts to convince you to remain in the familiar discomfort from which you are now deciding to emerge. It does so by intensifying the feelings of fear that have imprisoned you for so long.

So watch the thoughts and feelings without engaging them. There is no need to attempt to reassure yourself of your decision. Something far greater and more intelligent than your conscious mind is guiding your choices now.

Likewise, there is no need to argue with the fears, attempting to convince them or yourself why your act of faith was the “correct” choice. Just watch. As you do, those thoughts, which have used your emotions as the very nourishment of their existence, will diminish quite rapidly until they have dwindled to nothing and floated off on a light breeze.

And in their place will be the piece of yourself that you have reclaimed.

Please reach out to me if there is any way that I can help you on your journey.

At your service.

Jon

Manifestation-From the Inside Out

How Do I Find Fulfillment?

Chances are, you have come to this site in search of answers to some large questions in your life. Perhaps you find yourself in some way dissatisfied with your life experiences, circumstances, or situations.

Stressed WomanPerhaps you are working a job that you hate. Maybe it pays you a sizable income, but leaves you little time for LIFE. No time for the endeavors from which you derive PURPOSE and FULFILLMENT. No time for family and friends. No time to care for yourself the way you would like.

On the other hand, perhaps your job is deeply gratifying but doesn’t pay very well. Maybe you are working in your chosen field, and the work is deeply fulfilling, but it ain’t payin’ shit. Which probably means you still don’t have the time and opportunities that you’d like to have in your life for yourself and your loved ones.

Maybe, you have a job that you hate AND it pays absolute shit. That’s a scenario with which I am all to familiar, and it’s a great big shit burger on a sesame bun. Neither delicious nor nutritious. And you eat it how many times per week? Count your blessings if you don’t feel constantly sick to your stomach.

I’ve got good news for you though. Not too long ago, I was in the position of working a low-paying, unfulfilling job with no tangible prospects for fulfillment or financial independence. Burdened with untapped skills and talents begging for expression, but lacking a sufficient outlet. But I’m not in that position any longer. And I can show you how to leave that life behind for good in exchange for one that lights you up inside.

To help determine if this information is of value to you, here is a list of bulleted points outlining what this article covers.

  • Our life experiences are created within the subconscious
  • Our subconscious was programmed by our five year old (or younger) self
  • The subconscious can be reprogrammed by our adult self
  • To reprogram the subconscious, we must learn to speak its language
  • Speaking to the subconscious mind is an extremely accessible skill

It May not Be What You Want, But it is What You Requested

Car BreakdownOur life experiences, circumstances, and situations are external projections of our in-dwelling consciousness. What, precisely, does that mean?

It means that while our life plays out in the external field of experience that we know as the world around us, that life was, and continues to be created within our consciousness. Specifically, within our subconscious mind.

Getting to Know your Subconscious Mind

Everything we ever have experienced or will experience is a manifestation of some thought pattern within our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the dominant force controlling our actions, and it does so based upon the dominant messages it receives. The messages it hears most clearly are recurring, emotionally charged thoughts and feelings. Once absorbed, these messages form the source code of the programs that dictate how we interpret and navigate life.

On the flipside, the subconscious does not respond to unemotional, rational messages such as the ones we send it unconsciously when we make statements like, “I just want enough money to pay the bills and live a stress-free life.” Rational, practical sentiments such as these are typically accompanied by lukewarm emotional states at best. All the subconscious hears is “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”.

If there is emotion in these statements, it is typically some sort of frustration or desperation. We might angrily blurt out something about how a situation is unfair, how we deserve better, how we want more from life. The trouble here is that the subconscious is not hearing the words we are speaking as much as it is receiving the message of the negative thought and feeling state that we are embodying. So it concludes that this negative feeling state is the reality it must continue to create, and it dictates your actions accordingly.

Plus, to whatever extent our words matter, in such circumstances we are reaffirming the negative experiences of our situation by focusing upon what is wrong with this moment, rather than envisioning, expressing, and embodying the state that we desire. In “ This situation is unfair” the subconscious mind hears “life is unfair”. In “I deserve better” it hears “I lack fulfilling and quality experiences”. In “ I want more” it hears “I don’t have enough”. So the subconscious hears what is wrong, and gives us more of that undesirable outcome.

The gag is that the subconscious mind has neither a filter, nor a means of discerning external reality from internal thoughts and feelings. So whatever messages it receives via emotionally charged thought and feeling states, it accepts as reality. The problem is that most of the programs running in our subconscious were installed before we reached the age of five years. So a five year old (or younger) version of ourself is still running our life!

How it Works: A Sample Scenario

Here is an example from my own life that illustrates how these internal dynamics play out in our life. For a number of reasons too long and boring to lay out here, I grew up believing that I was undeserving of the blessings in my life. So up until the age of twenty-nine years I sabotaged many of the relationships, situations, and resources with which life rewarded me.

Consciously I wished to honor and enjoy these gifts. And for relatively brief periods, I could exercise my conscious will to do so. But the conscious mind acts like the portion of the iceberg visible above the surface of the water. It is but a small fraction of the total consciousness, and as such it has far less mass and content. Eventually, the subconscious programming of “undeserving brat” would reassert itself until I found myself despairing over the way my inexplicable impulsiveness and irrationality had ruined yet another blessing in my life.

Disrupting the Cycle

The tyranny of the subconscious mind is true only until we address our old beliefs and replace them with new, healthy ones. And the first step in doing that is fully embracing the dissatisfaction we feel. Since you are reading this, I have incredible news for you. You already have begun the process of awakening to the life of your dreams! If you are looking for an exit door from an unfulfilling life, you’ve already stepped through.

Once we recognize what we do not want, we awaken to the pursuit of determining what we do want. Then, rather than the five year old self programming the subconscious, the adult self, with a much better perspective, can instruct the subconscious as to how to proceed.

Speaking to the Sub-Conscious Mind

St. Augustine is credited with the statement that “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe.” Let us not be fooled into thinking that all we have to do is believe with enough emotion and we can create what we want in life. Remember that action in congruence with our beliefs is the embodiment of faith. But as Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” Envisioning and embodying your why with great detail and emotion can sustain you through the challenges of the how. And it programs your unfathomably powerful subconscious to work tirelessly toward manifesting your inner visions.

Visualize Freedom
Find it first within you

So indulge me if you will in a short exercise. Ask yourself a set of questions. But instead of answering with words or concepts, I want you to answer by shutting your eyes and envisioning scenes. Generate sense impressions. Evoke thought and feeling states. I want you to create the experience that answers the question. Once you have the images, sights, sounds, smells, textures, and feeling states, live in them for at least a few moments.

So… what is freedom for you? When you envision yourself in a state of freedom, where are you? What are you doing? Who is with you? Or are you alone? What do you see? Smell? Hear? What emotions and sensations are you feeling? What thoughts are you thinking?

Take a few minutes to shut your eyes and immerse yourself in an ideal experience.

Here are some questions you can use to prime yourself. Remember to indulge your wildest dreams. Refrain from judging or censoring. Leave plans and rational thinking for later. This time is for feeling.

What do you envision? Scenes of luxury? Your dream home? A fleet of supercars? Vacations to exotic locales?

What are you doing? Relaxing? Traveling? Some deeply fulfilling work? Philanthropy? Advocacy? Serving others in some way? Meditating? Painting? Playing with your children or grandchildren? Basking in the warm rays of sunshine that bathe your face as you recline, eyes shut, in a hammock, swaying in the gentle breeze of a springtime meadow? (For example.)

Take as much time as you can, for as long as you can sustain the experience of your ideal reality. When you are finished, simply return. But carry the residual vibrations of the experience with you.

And relive it as often as necessary for it to become your new state of feeling.

In fact, review and relive it now.

With whom did you find yourself spending time in these scenes? Your life partner? Your children? Extended family? Dear friends? Pets?

In your state of freedom how did you feel? Relaxed? Energized? Blissful? Grateful? Calm?

With enough practice, such an exercise will leave you positively charged. You will feel energized and hopeful, recognizing both the boundless opportunities life has to offer, and your limitless potential in tapping them. At the same time, your subconscious mind is setting to work seeking out people, situations, and circumstances that can lead you to the manifestation of your dream life.

If you place yourself in this elevated state of thought and feeling frequently enough, it will become your default level of consciousness. When this happens, the momentum you generate will carry you to a new level of living.

Please let me know if there is any way that I can assist you.

At your service.

Jon