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Self Reliance

Self Reliance

Being self-reliant is critical. To make yourself less dependent on others and so-called experts, you need to expand your repertoire of skills. And you need to feel more confident in your own judgment. Understand: we tend to overestimate other people’s abilities—after all, they are trying hard to make it look as if they knew what they were doing—and we tend to underestimate our own. You must compensate for this by trusting yourself more and others less. (The 33 Strategies of War – Robert Greene)

We are lazy fucks. We are always looking for the quick fix, the shortcut, the fast buck, the magic diet, the secret to success the latest gurus and experts to lead the way into the promise land of success, happiness and fulfillment. We are perpetually looking to be led and shown the way, and a lot of people make money off this. There are a lot of magazines and blogs and people just waiting to give you advice and show you how to do things.

And that is good…truth be told, I’ve learnt an immeasurable amount by reading the writings of others, by listening to people and soaking up from my environment.

I learnt something important this year, or perhaps a better way to put it is that I grew a little wiser this year…just a little bit. I saw that almost everyone is selling some sort of dream. No one really knows what they are doing, we’re all really just trying shit until something pops off. Hustling away, trying desperately to make it in a world where success is just as dependent on random luck as it is on hard work and persistence and all that. Nothing is assured; all you can do is increase the odds.

At some point, someone comes around in your life who looks like they have all the answers. They have the secret weapon, formula to get you to where you want to be…and perhaps they really do. And you follow them, soak up their every word and follow their direction judiciously. Over time, the luster fades and you begin to see the cracks, the fallibilities, imperfections and you realize perhaps they don’t know it all…

If you want to build success on a solid foundation, you have to shift your mentality from being so dependent on other people for direction and start doing the hard work of thinking for yourself. Cut the umbilical cord, no one is going to hold your hand and lead you through life. Instead of relying on second hand knowledge of the battlefield, run out to the frontlines and get a feel for it yourself.

Great mentors are invaluable; they have been around longer and have experience, learn from them, grow and when the time comes, move on. Coaches are awesome; the best are dedicated to understanding you and helping you tap into your peak performance. Relationships are great too; they offer a wonderful and enriching support system. In all of these situations however, never lose grip of the wheel. It is one thing to be connected to your core and relax into the tao of life. It’s another to be swept and tossed by the desires and intentions of others.

No one can be more you than you, you must trust yourself, and train yourself, be willing to bet on yourself and push yourself to grow and be as strong as you possibly can. Know what’s most important to you. Do not make people your crutches. Your deliverance, your lucky break, your income is not limited to just one person.

As selfish and self centered as this all sounds, the point is not isolation, but becoming more capable, dependable, strong in mind and spirit and ultimately more useful to the world around you.

Consciousness

Consciousness

Consciousness is the quality or state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control of the mind. (Wikipedia)

I first became aware of the concept of consciousness in 2007, reading some of Steve Pavlina’s stuff. It was only around 2010, I began to understand what it meant. From the books I read and the things I had going on, I came to know concepts like mindfulness, meditation, awareness, etc.

I spent a few years steeped in angst, that background feeling of dissatisfaction, anger, irritation…knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what. I strove to fix it, I tried everything I knew, prayer, talking to people and things only seemed to escalate more until I got so frustrated one day, I switched off the lights and sat in a dark room for an hour, just being with my thoughts, diving in. And to this day, the most useful tool for figuring out problems, direction and dissipating angst has been the practice of mindfulness.

It was such a powerful experience it felt like I woke up. It’s the best way to describe it…waking up. Suddenly being aware of things I had never given thought to before. Asking questions and receiving answers from that still small place within. Over the years, I’ve learnt to trust myself, actually think for myself, and trust the life that has been given to me.

I think consciousness is a main tool of life, on a more abstract scale. A way to success, to a fuller and more productive life and consequently a happier one is the increase of consciousness. Being more organized is a form of increased consciousness. Being able to actually observe your own habits and patterns is a form of increased consciousness. Being a better student is a form of increased consciousness…you are more aware of your coursework, the deadlines, the topics…the actual content. Being a better entrepreneur involves being more aware of your business, of the market place, of the various factors.

It is easy to stay asleep, living in a dream world, glossing over facts and reality, being tossed by emotion and people and things. But as you awaken and grow in conscious awareness, you will see things more like they are; you will develop a sense of anchoring within and you will begin to tap into your true power.

 

Tapas

Tapas

Tapas: In the yogic tradition, this principle of using intense effort to burn through life’s distractions is called Tapas. It’s another Sanskrit world, roughly defined as “heat”, or “essential energy.” The concept is that through a disciplined approach to work and self-sacrifice, Tapas will burn away the negativity that separates us from God. By working our hardest and happily enduring the hardships of life, we are able to create a sense of peace and clarity in ourselves. [Do You – Russell Simmons]

I don’t know if success should be a goal…or happiness for that matter. I don’t know if anyone should go out into the world and have those things as the actual tick off points on their to-do list. I think the more you overtly search for those things, the less likely it would be that you find them. In my experience, things like success and happiness are more a side effect than an actual destination. You focus on doing your best in every moment and without being aware of it, you drift into happiness, you drift into success.

I was reading “Do You’ by Russell Simmons the other week and I came across an old idea that really resonated with me, the idea of Tapas, the idea of Hard Work as a spiritual practice.

I enjoy working hard. I relish the idea of being able to completely absorb myself in the process of creating something remarkable, something worthwhile. The feeling of being engaged in something you enjoy doing and being challenged by it is an amazing one. For the sheer pleasure of the experience, working hard is awesome. We all know the idea of hard work as the path to ‘success’, but the idea of the work itself being a form of worship, a form of spiritual practice elevates the entire experience. To the point where one can focus completely on the sensation of doing the work, releasing all care for the outcome and just engaging excellently in it.

And this works best when the work you do is connected to your purpose, your dharma. When you engage in the hard work of pressing through your purpose, developing your gifts and giving them to the world, you are engaging in tapas, you are getting closer to God.

Even if you are not satisfied with the work that you do right now, or you want a better job, position, whatever. The simple act of giving your very best at your work is sufficient to burn away the pettiness and the junk that clouds our spirits and holds us back from our full potential.

There is so much that lies outside our control from day to day, if we can focus on our efforts, and relish the process, realizing that the results belong to God, we would have happiness, we would have success.

 

Meta Faith

Anyone familiar with the ideas of law of attraction knows that to manifest your desire you must have complete faith/belief that it is already yours and will appear. To create the physical reality you want, you must first shift into and embody the ‘vibe’ of that reality. If you want to be a millionaire for instance, you must shift into the mindset, emotional state and patterns of a millionaire. Once you successfully do this, the physical manifestation of wealth only becomes a matter of time.

But what if you don’t have enough faith/belief?

Then have faith for more faith.

This means that you don’t beat yourself up for not having complete assurance that your desire will manifest. You don’t worry about if your little niggling doubts are holding you back or blocking you. You accept that you are not quite there yet in terms of complete faith, but you have faith that very soon, you will grow into the position of full faith, full immersion in the vibration of the thing that you seek.

All you need is mustard seed faith, just a tiny bit of faith, feed it to itself, watch it grow and soon…you’ll be moving mountains.

 

Stop asking for permission

Over the past few days, a couple epiphanies have been forming in my mind, surfacing and subsiding, all building up to this one – stop asking permission. I’ve been reading a book called “The Way of the Superior Man” by David Deida.  It has brought back to sharp focus for me, the idea of being a man, being a true man. And unlike other books on the subject, it reaches out from a core truth as opposed to talking about things you should know or learn to do as a guy. The main idea here is connect with your deepest self and live from that without compromise.

We get conditioned to always ask for permission from a young age. We want cookies? Often we have to go ask mum for permission to have those cookies. And so on, it’s a good thing then because well, they do know better than us then and they seek to protect us. The conditioning continues into our childhood and beyond. We ask teachers for permission to speak, to go to the bathroom. We learn to look to others for approval and we tailor our behavior to earn it.

This need is childish and unnecessary. To grow up is to come into contact with one’s truest and highest desires and to pursue that regardless or in spite of  people’s opinions and expectations of us. As long as we live from a place of unconditional love and light, we ought to give of our gifts and ourselves freely and without reserve.

In the context of creating something to be appreciated by others – being a musician, designer, artist, actor, etc., we fall into the trap of asking permission to create the things we really want to, the things truly dear to us. We wonder if people would like it, our labour of love. We wonder if they would even understand. There is no need to ask for permission, we must create as we please, from that true place within and put it out there anyway without seeking validation, without craving acceptance.

Stop asking for permission to be yourself, stop asking for permission to live your dream, stop asking for permission to change. Stop asking permission. Take the reins of your life in your hands and take full responsibility for it. Own your successes and own your failures. Stop asking for permission and take charge.

Unconditional (Self) Love

I’ve been doing this thing called ‘morning pages’ from ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron. Every morning for the next 12 weeks I write three pages of pure stream of. I’m on day 3. The goal of these pages is to unearth and release the thoughts and emotions lurking in the subconscious. I do this a lot already through daily contemplation and meditation, but this is still a useful tool. As the debris of unresolved emotions and thoughts are cleared away, I gain clarity and closer contact with my creative muse.

I have a friend who I love unconditionally. I don’t know if I love any of my other friends or people the same way, but with her I know I do. Maybe it is because I know it is mutual, and we understand that regardless of what the other person does or goes through, we love and support each other all the same. We don’t talk all the time, but the idea is a comfort, to know that at least one person completely accepts you, as you really are, no judgments.

What does this idea look like when it is turned inwards? Yesterday, I was writing my stream of thought and halfway through I realized that there are some things I don’t face because they would require admitting to myself that I made a mistake, that I possibly messed up. But how I am going to get healing and move past it if I don’t face it.  It would just remain an issue causing discomfort and pain. To help me face the issues boldly, I must extend a hand of unconditional love to myself. I must say to myself that regardless of my failings, my mistakes, my fuck-ups, that I love myself and I don’t have to work to deserve my own love. I love me; I don’t have to be perfect. Perfection is not the goal. The goal is to LIVE (as messy as life is), to LOVE (as dangerous and wild as love is), to CREATE (as scary and uncertain as creation is).

I’m way better at judging myself and rejecting parts of myself that I don’t like. But if I practice and learn to love myself unconditionally, I know that all my fear will melt away and my true power will be released. I can allow myself to be myself, my full true self. I won’t have to bend to please everybody if it means compromising that which is sacred to me. I will have nothing to prove, and no one to impress, only myself to be true to. I can speak my mind and approach all my relationships from a place of love and acceptance. And the more I love myself, the more I will love others.