I have a client I’ve been working with for a couple of years who recently fell off the self-help wagon and then found her way back onto it. I share this story with you because, to me, her experience is emblematic of so many people who are trying hard to make the most of their lives.
I also use this particular woman as an example because she is smart as a whip and equally committed to her own growth and development. When she is on the “self-help” wagon she is fully awake, appreciating all of life, being of service to others in the work she performs, and shining a light for others to follow. She is a leader who hasn’t yet found her footing.
I know there are many others like her out there—smart, capable, committed—and to all of you who haven’t found your footing, I share my most recent email to this woman:
I read your last email to me with great appreciation for your insights. I especially valued the following paragraph your wrote about how you are keeping yourself conscious and awake.
The combination of paying attention to my first thoughts upon awakening, doing my meditation and the 90 second reset has proven to be a huge advantage and is key to keeping myself awake every day. I am much more focused, cheerful and have energy and enthusiasm without being manic. I have this combination be delightful in me. I drift and slip around occasionally—catnaps of consciousness—but I am able to catch myself before I am so far gone that I get lost in the illusions of my own thoughts and feelings of “not good enough” or “should” or “never will.”
Nowhere To Go
In my opinion, what you are describing is enlightenment, or more accurately, “enlightening” ourselves moment by moment. For me, the answer to life’s challenges has been this kind of continuous effort that you describe. That’s it! There is no destination, just this continuous process of managing our thoughts and moods. Some of us get to a place in which we delight ourselves in this very process and we stop seeking a destination.
The way I think about this for myself is that I care more about my personal conduct than arriving at some destination. When my conduct is what I desire it to be, regardless of the circumstances of my life, I am completely satisfied. Whether I am responding to bad news or coping with my own limitations, if I conduct myself well, I satisfy myself.
What you describe in your email—I suppose for most people—may not sound very sexy, maybe not all that appealing. I will share with you what I see as a slightly sexier version of enlightenment, which has to do with learning to sculpt reality. This is what Live Conscious offers us, the ability to become sculptors of our own lives. This involves understanding that meaning is malleable. To get good at this requires practice which leads to mastery. And although mastery means that we don’t have to manage our thoughts and moods as often, the need to manage never goes away completely—this is my belief.
Somewhere To Be
The work that Hannah and I are doing—teaching Live Conscious seminars around the world—is our attempt to share this remarkable process of self-enlightenment. But, I think that many people seek the destination, not the journey.
I wonder if this path will hold your attention for the rest of your life or if you will bore yourself or disappoint yourself, veering off—looking for ways to avoid your feelings? Or, will you go looking for a quicker, easier fix? That’s what most people do. I think it’s probably what you’ve done once or twice in the time that I’ve known you, but something about your new level of awareness and awakeness strikes me as different.
Maybe you understand how I frustrate myself at times with people who know all of this and drift off. I want to scream at them, “Don’t waste your life!”
But I no longer do so because I can no longer tolerate such loud noises, not even when it’s my own voice. And, I realize that I have certain advantages other people don’t have, so who am I to tell them how good life can be when they don’t believe that they have a great partner or a great job.
But, I got my great partner and my great job by following this path. I hope you choose to stay the course.