You Are The Answer

You have the answer.

It is not in a book. It is not in a TV show. It is not in the DVD you just got through the mail from NetFlix. It is not in the lecture you are going to hear from your favorite teacher. It is not in the conversation you might be having with your friends at dinner tomorrow. It is not in the Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker. It is definitely not in this blog.

Whatever you are really seeking. Whatever you really need to know. Whatever you think you need to learn and understand by taking in outside information, it is all within you right now.

Deep down you have all the insights you need. The knower, the silent witness – is present in all of us. Our challenge is to quiet the thinking mind to the point where our deep-rooted and all-knowing self can really shine through. This is where meditation and the practice of present moment awareness can be such powerful tools.

Next time you have a big problem, something that has been puzzling you for a long time, something that causes you some level of anxiety or worry. Instead of trying to talk to people about it, read books to find the answer or turning to the Internet; try just quieting your mind.

Go for a walk. Sit in meditation. Go for a jog (no iPod please!). Take a relaxed bike ride. Do something to still your mind. Chances are you will either discover the answer, or realize that the problem isn’t even a problem to begin with and isn’t worth any further attention.

Either way, the solution is a process of discovery, not one of learning. Find the answer within yourself.

The Secret to Personal Transformation

(reading time for this post = ~5 minutes)

Transformation is something we witness. It is not something we do.

There you have it. I did not make you read this entire post to discover the secret, you just read it. However, I hope you will take a few minutes to read on.

This concept, though counter-intuitive – is the fundamental key to transforming any aspect of your life. We may use all our skill, energy and effort to make a positive change in our lives – attending workshops, learning new skills, cultivating mentors and relationships – effectively trying to make transformation happen; but if we are not present enough to witness the change, it is all for nothing.

Trying to force transformation to happen is like trying to swim upstream against a swift current. It can be draining on many levels, with no guarantee of success.

This does not mean that focus, drive and committed activity aren’t super important. They absolutely are. The point is simply that, after doing all those things – the transformation that we are seeking is out of our control. There are far too many factors for us to consider. All we can do it prepare ourselves so when the insight, awareness and deep change happens – that we are open to it.

It is like a farmer who works tirelessly to grow food; by weeding, plowing the fields, enriching the soil, planting seeds, watering, mulching and preparing the environment as best as possible so that tiny little seeds have the chance they need to grow to their fullest potential.

In the same way, all the effort that we put into our own personal development is simply to create fertile ground in which transformation can take root and blossom.

Consider that right now, as you read this post – that your body is changing. It is happening whether you want it to or not. At a cellular level, our bodies are transforming constantly. In fact, the very brain that you are using right now is completely different from the mind you had 12 months ago. Every cell has been transformed – old cells broken down to make way for new growth.

We have new skin generated every month, new organs every year, new bones every few years. In fact, our entire body – from head to toe – completely changes every 7-10 years. This is a scientific fact. Transformation is happening whether we know it or not. All we need to do is bear witness to the process.

In the same way our physical body is transforming, so is our being at mental, spiritual and emotional levels. We are constantly taking in new information, new experiences and new relationships that are transforming our model of the world.

While we might not know exactly which new experience will lead us to a breakthrough, by being present to more moments in our lives, we can witness how our experiences are impacting our body, mind and spirit – for better or worse – and then cultivate those things that are positive agents of change.

So the secret to personal growth and transformation is to cultivate that silent witness of present-moment awareness – that will help you see (really see) yourself change and help you cultivate those things that help you grow into your fullest potential.

The Future Looms Larger Than Reality

The problem with getting caught up in thoughts about the future is that the future always looms larger than reality. Objects, emotions, fears, thoughts, etc….all seem magnified when you ponder how things might be, as opposed to how things really are.

This is big problem.

It keeps you from doing things out of fear of failure. It keeps you from experience things out of fear that you might not live up to your own fabricated expectations. In actuality, fear is a very poor indicator of how things will actually turn out.

You can try your own experiment to prove this in your own life.

Next time you are fearful or nervous about doing something, make note of the fear…and do it anyway. Once the activity or situation has come to pass, write in a journal how the event went, compared to your expectations. Was the fear warranted?

In my own experience, for every case the fear was a false indicator. Disaster never occurred. In fact, I see a strong reverse-correlation. In situations where I feel fear, the outcomes often leave me feeling fulfilled for having done something worthwhile, new an exciting. Now, I seek those situations out.

Fear is no longer fear, it’s an opportunity to experience great new things.

The Stories We Tell

Think of the last time you made an excuse for why you couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t do something.

It is in those moments that you are getting caught up in your stories about why things won’t work out. Too short, too fat, too poor, too busy, too young, too old, etc. The stories have little to no basis in fact, other than the fact that you made them up, but they govern your life all the same.

It is just so much easier to explain away something and justify why it can’t be done, than to venture a chance at it and risk your ego getting a little hurt.

The paradox of all this is that the very stories that you create to defend yourself are the same stories that  preventing you from truly living. That is to say, they keep you from experiencing life in the moment, and growing, learning and truly contributing beyond your means.

Learn to identify your stories when they arise. It is the first step in creating space between who you really are and what your ego says you are. Over time, the stories will lose their grip and the real you will shine through.