Resignation or Surrender?

What’s the difference between resignation and surrender? To me, resignation seems to have a hopeless aspect to it, giving up on possibility. Surrender doesn’t have that flavor. It’s more a letting go of control, so that life can bring possibility to you instead of your clutching at it. Yet, perhaps there is more to resignation than first meets the eye. What if you have to go through resignation to get to surrender? What if in resigning yourself to life not turning out the way you thought it would, you let go at such a deep level that complete surrender is at last possible? In expecting nothing, you open the door to everything.

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Love the World

Are we really so separate?

The Practice:
Love the world.

Why?

To simplify and summarize, our brain has three primary motivational systems – Avoiding harms, Approaching rewards, and Attaching to “us” – that draw on many neural networks to accomplish their goals. 

Lately, I’ve started to realize that a fourth fundamental human motivational system could be emerging as well.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors depended upon their habitats for food and shelter. Today, over 7 billion of us are pressing hard up against the limits of Lifeboat Earth. To survive and to flourish, cultural and perhaps biological evolution are calling us to love the world.

The world is near to hand in the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the weather and climate in which you spend your days. And then in widening circles, the world extends out to include complex webs of life and the physical characteristics of the land, the sea, and the sky.

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How can your intellect serve or hinder you?

It requires inner work for you to cultivate a perspective within yourself that sees your intellect as a servant, not as your identity.

To the extent you are capable of doing that, you can then play the game of academia, do the work that only can be done in that analytic fashion without being trapped in it, and have your interaction with other people through the game.

It’s like Monopoly in which you’re the top hat and I’m the thimble, but behind it you’re here, I’m here, and you’ve gotta be there. The predicament in academia is many people identify with their thoughts so much that they think they are an academic, instead of being a being who’s doing academics.

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One Way to Change Your Subconscious Mind

I recommend making, and listening to, audio recordings of your own voice that are positive and in the present tense, as if the belief or feeling you are wanting to reprogram has already happened. For example: “I am healthy” or “I am worthy and loved.” The function of the mind is to create coherence between your beliefs and your reality. Listening to positive and present tense affirmations helps to create this coherence.

Remember:

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Trusting that Still, Small Voice

Have you ever had a gut feeling, decided not to listen to it, and then later regretted that decision?

This has been the case for so many people. In the last 30 years of my work, talking with tens of thousands of individuals, nearly all have said they regretted ignoring their gut feelings. In fact, never in all those years have I heard someone say, “I had this gut feeling, this inner voice, and I went with it, and boy do I regret it.”

It’s time to do the math. When we regret ignoring that small, inner voice 100% of the time, we should learn that trusting it is the obvious way to go.

We know we should listen to that gut feeling, and yet we override that small voice all the time because we doubt it; we think we’re not enough; we think we couldn’t possibly know more than the authorities or those who have come before us and so on. What we must understand is that we are built of creativity and are destined to come up with new answers and solutions –  to bring new ideas that work and to be innovative –  and oftentimes those ideas start with that small, inner feeling in our gut.

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Self, interrupted: What constant external influences are doing to our being

Have you ever felt lost? Not in the Google Maps kind of way but in life? Do you sometimes feel like your life is not going anywhere? You feel overwhelmed, you don’t know what to do, where to go, who to turn to—you simply don’t know what to do with yourself. It happens to the best of us sometimes. But why? 

In our connected world, too many people and other stuff find their way to us competing for our attention. The digital world, particularly social media, gave birth to a new way to get us addicted to consuming content that’s not always good for us. In truth, even those that are seemingly inspirational and beneficial for us, can prove to be detrimental. 

There also seems to be way too many experts, teachers, influencers and gurus who claim that they could change our life and solve all our problems. How many times have you fallen into that trap? Reading countless books, enrolling in courses, attending workshops and seminars that’s supposed to change our lives but we end up in the same place—lost, confused and even more overwhelmed than when we began. Why? They’re supposed to help us, right? What gives?

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How The Experts Calm Themselves Down

One of my favorite saying is this: “if you don’t want to burn out, stop living like you are on fire!”

My fantasy is that I “glide through life,” and yet my reality is more like, OMG! Holy Shit! and I race around like the world will end if I don’t finish my To-Do list. Of course this creates tons of stress, anxiety, crazy fears that something bad is gonna happen, etc.

As I mentioned last week, my go to solution is EFT Tapping and I decided to ask my friends what they do to bring themselves back to neutral, sanity, or whatever happy place they want to be.

See if any of these solutions work for you!

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First Take a Breath & Center Yourself

When I was young, my Dad would always tell me to “think and breathe before you speak.” He was one of these very thoughtful men who never went anywhere without a book in his hand. He was all about learning, about expanding our view of the world, and he was all about being grounded and centered before opening one’s mouth. He spoke 14 languages fluently (although with a strong accent.) He taught me words were everything, and even more to listen deeply beyond the surface to what is not said too.

I, on the other hand—rebellious, reactive, noisy, always challenging everything asking “Why?” and not giving much credit to his love of clear focus and being discerning with one’s words. 

He’d remind me, “Be careful once you say that because you can’t take those words back.” 

This week, in particular, I’ve made a commitment to do that. Think and breathe before I speak. But that actually doesn’t work (sorry dad) because it’s backward. Breathe first, think after—then speak! 

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Do We Really Have Infinite Potential?

The human potential movement has existed for several decades, and in many ways is an alternative name for self-improvement. The urge to improve oneself exists naturally in everyone, unless outside forces like poverty damp it down. But the human potential movement is far more ambitious. It aims to open up a vast area of unexplored potential.

I argue in a new book titled Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential that the true foundation of human potential is infinite. At first that seems like a drastic overreach. Everyone experiences personal limitations that stop far, far short of the infinite. But let me make the case by first turning the whole premise of self-improvement on its head.

The typical way that human potential is approached starts with the limited individual and seeks to lessen these limitations. There’s a school of thought that believes in achieving a 10% increase in happiness, which is seen as a major step. The notion is that happiness is so difficult to understand that any improvement would have to be small. In an area like IQ, the goal is even smaller, because intelligence is accepted among experts to be fixed, budging very little from childhood. A third example is creativity, which would seem to allow for enormous improvement, but finding out what makes creative people creative has proved to be a frustrating and baffling business.

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The End of Philanthropy: A Re-Vision

In U.S. history books, well-known philanthropists such as Carnegie and Rockefeller are described as generous and charitable. They donated part of their great wealth to good causes such as building schools and libraries. However, what is often overlooked in this version of history is that the very basis of their philanthropy was inequality. Their fortunes were built on the backs of working people, whose labor and minimal wages allowed those at the top to accumulate large amounts of money, which they used to build mansions for themselves filled with extravagant possessions. They gave a portion of their money to good causes. Meanwhile, those who were the actual source of their wealth often could barely afford to feed themselves and their families. This scenario continues today.

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The Bench

The path next to our home opens up to unlimited hiking, biking and horse riding trails.  It also leads the way to a stone bench that is situated on a saddle between two peaks.  I have fallen in love with both the trail and the mystical meeting place. It is here that I connect with family, friends, spirits and always Mother Earth.  Or maybe, it is here that I stop and really open up.

I leave my house by 8:00 in the morning, this is when the temperatures are only in the high 80’s.  Durning the weekdays I might see a couple people, usually I encounter no one.  Most of the path is a mild climb with dirt and sharp rocks.  It is not until you choose a trail that climbs to one of the peaks, that you get steep terrain.  Even the mountain bikers have to get off and carry their bikes on parts of the technical trail.  Everyone I meet is happy and enjoying the sun and the expansive feeling. Or maybe, my happiness is just being reflected back😊

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Leave the Red Zone

Are you stressed or upset?

The Practice:
Leave the Red Zone.

Why?

There I was recently, my mind darting in different directions about projects in process, frazzled about little tasks backing up, uneasy about a tax record from 2010 we couldn’t find, feeling irritated about being irritable, hurrying to get to work, body keyed up, internal sense of pressure. Not freaked out, not running from an attacker, not suffering a grievous loss, my own troubles tiny in comparison to those of so many others – but still, the needle on my personal stress-o-meter was pegged in the Red Zone.

Then that quiet background knowing in all of us nudged me to cool down, dial back, de-frazzle, take a breath, exhale slowly, repeat, start getting a sense of center, exhale again, slow the thoughts down, pick one thought of alrightness or goodness and stay with it, exhaling worry about the future, coming into this moment, just sensations, calming, mind getting clearer, focusing on what I’ll do this day and knowing that’s all I can do, the body sense of settling down yet again sinking in to make it one bit easier to settle down the next time. Leaving the Red Zone, not all the way to Green, more like Yellow, but no longer even Orange. Whew.

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Why Adults Need Regular Playtime

Kids aren’t the only ones who need to play, adults need regular playtime, too.

Earlier this year, my wife and I spent a month living in a beachfront house in Maui, Hawaii. We had done the same thing last year and went back this year because it was such an amazingly fun and bonding experience for us.

Every morning, I got up early and did my regular meditation and yoga or qigong routine. Then I ate breakfast and spent two hours writing.

After that, the rest of the day was devoted to playtime.

My wife and I went swimming, snorkeling, sailing, and hiking. We relaxed on the beach and enjoyed some incredible meals at some great restaurants. And we spent our evenings reading, socializing with friends, playing Scrabble, listening to music, and watching our favorite TV shows.

And you know what?

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What Do You Do To Avoid The Pain Of Life?

How do you try to avoid the painful feelings caused by others and events, and what is the result?

We all learned many way of avoiding the existential pain of life when we were growing up, because we could not manage feeling it when we were little. Now, as adults, most people continue to protect in the ways they learned, even though today, adults, we can learn to manage our core pain through Inner Bonding.

Most of our core pain comes from others being unloving to us or to themselves, disconnecting from us and from themselves. We all desire connection with those important to us, and we naturally feel these deeper painful feelings, especially when someone important to us disconnects from us with their own protections – their anger, blame, withdrawal, and so on.

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Staying Centered and Sane in A Crazy World

Lately many of my conversations with friends have been around just how stressed out everyone is. More than normal. Anxiety. Fear. Depression. Uncertainty. All seem to be rampant.

My theory is that we all have our “usual” mishigosh to deal with and now, with all the troubles in the world, we’re also feeling the collective angst in the field.

One of the ways I manage myself is with a simple, easy to do, and fast technique known as EFT Tapping. I suggest you give it a try, here’s a link to a free 5 minute video from my genius friend Nick Ortner.

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3 Steps to Financial Healing

I LOVE sharing my mantra: BUILD WEALTH FROM THE INSIDE OUT! 

Think about how empowering that is. When you build wealth from the inside out, you are building your financial future from a place of strength. It means you are making sure that your values, needs, goals, and desires are the driving force behind the choices you make with your money.  

But how do you make that happen? Below, are three tips to start healing financially. But you have to take into account not only your financial life and how you manage your money, but also your work life, your family life, and your personal life. 

Let’s look at, say, your personal life and your physical being. 

It’s essential to find balance in our personal life, and that includes taking care of our bodies and minds. And I find a surefire way to both calm my mind and keep my body strong is to get out in nature. Few things are more healing for me than taking long walks along Lake Michigan near where I live.

I’m also fascinated by a rising movement called Forest Bathing. It’s been practiced for years in Japan and is now embraced in England. Even the Duchess of Cambridge has based her garden on it. (Cheerio, y’all!) Forest bathing encourages participants to slow down and feel present. It’s about allowing nature’s calming scents and sights to dissolve issues and inspire peace and calm.

Take the time to get back in tune with yourself in nature. Find a large park or head to a forest preserve. Get into that harmonic lifestyle so that you can live more in the present moment and release more of your past to create the future you really truly desire.

Let’s focus on the three steps to financial healing.

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Finding Your Stillness

“If the path you are on doesn't lead you deeper into yourself, it's not the right path.” – Lalah Delia

I've Been Thinking...

I’m all for getting back into the post-Labor Day swing of things, so long as it’s not the same swing that I was in before my break. (And, to be honest, I hope Congress feels the same way, because none of us want them to swing back into business as usual — especially when it comes to critical life and death issues like gun reform.) 

My pre-break life was harried and hurried. I felt more distracted than present. I had more “should’s” on my calendar than “want to’s.”

More often than not, I felt like I was running in place. I was doing way too much, all while feeling like I was either not doing enough or wondering whether I was doing anything at all.

Breaking a pattern is never easy, but I’m determined not to go back to the way I was. I’m determined to move forward with focus, ease and this new feeling of calmness that has eluded me most, if not all, of my life.

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Know Your Power To Be More Than Any Misery-Making Thought or Feeling

At our current level of consciousness, as different emotional energy states come into us, they define and shape our interaction with each moment. Seeing this, we identify with each state, thinking it is who we are. For example, when anger comes through us, we believe “I am angry.”

But the fact of the matter is, there is no such self. Not really. There are only these states of energy and the fleeting sense of self produced as each one surfaces. If it’s a negative state we fight and resist it. If it’s a pleasing one, we embrace it. In either case we believe we’re acting for ourselves, from ourselves, and that we’re unique for our experience.

Then in a heartbeat, because that momentary state isn’t really ours and only washes through, the minute its nature has moved on, so does the sense of self we had derived from it. Now a whole new and unwanted feeling floods in, leaving us asking ourselves, “Hey, I seem to be missing something here. Where did my life — my sense of self — just go?”

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It’s Much Better to Be Conscious than Smart

If you had the choice, would you rather be smarter than you are or more aware? Go a step further. If a wizard came to you and said you could be either the smartest person in the world or the most aware, which would you choose?

It’s a symptom of the times, I think, that most people would choose to be smarter. We live in a world based on technology, wealth, and entrepreneurship. You have to be smart to succeed in those areas, and if you feel you are only average in intelligence, you are not likely to expect enormous success. The argument for being more aware is rarely made, yet by far choosing to be more aware is the better choice—and unlike IQ, you can increase your awareness.

I made this the theme of a new book, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, so let me encapsulate the argument. Being smart, even very, very smart, doesn’t immunize you from living unconsciously. An unconscious life is driven by habits, fixed beliefs, second-hand opinions, social pressure, peer-group values, and old conditioning. To realize this, and then to escape its grip, requires awareness, not IQ.

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La Dolce Vita: A Sacred Journey Through Italy

Few other places in the world offer a unique blend of rich history and culture and in such an immensely beautiful setting like Italy does. With the array of endless encounters of historic sites and experiencing la dolce vita, the sweet life, as you wander through markets and taste the local cuisine; we can think of no other place better suited for a spiritual journey like Italy.

Ruins of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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