As I sit by the fire sipping red wine and watching the sun set behind clouds that are obscuring the full moon, I am reminded of what has become a very important lesson I received as a teenager.
I have many friends who are life coaches, motivational speakers, Tony Robbins fans etc who are into what I think of as the “Push Mindset.” Simply put, they are constantly pushing themselves, pushing their bodies, pushing their lives…and aren’t happy unless they are pushing. Some of them even enjoy screaming motivational lines to themselves as inspiration.
Nothing wrong with this approach as it does have its merits, feels good…and will certainly wake you up in the morning.
But I am reminded of a time when I was a teenager and was as type A as could be…always full of questions, always wanting more, etc.
I had the opportunity to spend several periods of time with a Japanese meditation master. Our 10 day trainings were very structured – they would start before dawn and include hours of meditation and work practice known as “samu-gyo.” Samugyo is well known to anyone who has done it as it is essentially mindless work. In our case it often involved hours of pulling nails out of boards.
Curiously though, between all of the intense structured activities, Sensei would schedule breaks…2 or so hours of rest time where he would retire to either work on one of his books or just take a nap. This puzzled me as it seemed like a waste of time to someone who wanted to ask more questions, wanted to push harder, go on a hike, learn the secrets of wizardry, etc. Lunch and dinner were also long ordeals that sometimes lasted so long that my legs would become numb sitting on the floor.
As I got to know him more and more I realized he was one of the few people I had ever met who truly had his life together…and while always busy with what he called the “next challenge,” he always took lots of time for rest, tea, and light hearted conversation. And he was the happiest person I had ever seen.
This led me to realize over the years that one of the secrets that has helped me create success is perhaps the opposite of this push mindset. It’s the notion of creating space and allowing. Within this sacred space that can be the matrix for anything we wish to manifest, there is no need for screaming, no need for pushing, and no need for constant output or ego strengthening.
Simply put, it is the way of getting out of our own way so that we can *realize* our true potential as opposed to attempting to force it.
All things in the universe seek to be in balance. Yin seeks yang and yang seeks yin hence the bonds that happen between male and female. This push mindset is very akin to the behavior of American football coaches in that it is way out of balance yang. This tends to be a very American mindset as we do much to engage our egos. It’s ingrained into the fabric of our culture.
The major problem with the Push Approach is that it creates an addictive behavior pattern – not unlike meth, you have to get your daily fix whether that comes from your own rituals or needing to attend the next seminar. Additionally, you an never have enough – what is the end point? What’s the goal even?
It also strengthens and builds the ego in that it creates an identity that becomes part of who you are and you are left maintaining a persona.
Many of the coaches and speakers I know in this category must exert a lot of energy maintaining their personas when the reality of who they really are they keep buried but it is very very different from what they show the world.
The thing about my early trainings with the Japanese master is that they were perfectly balanced. Periods of yin meditation were balanced with yang work. Periods of yang hiking and exertion were balance with rest. And the meals were an elaborate interplay of yin and yang. The end result – balance. There was no need to strengthen our egos because every moment of the training was so real.
As I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve noticed that other cultures move slower and lighter, they take more time for meals and for rests during the day. How often do we find ourselves rushing to the next meal with so much on our minds that we forget something we left behind? This kind of living stresses the adrenals and leads to premature aging.
So my challenge to anyone who reads this is to ask yourself if you need to SLOW DOWN. Would it be helpful for you to create some space in your day and reflect upon how you get in your own way? If you want to manifest something in your life, do you have space for it or are you spending energy chasing? The act of chasing actually pushes the goal away.
And, how much of a hurry are you in? Do you Need to have it now or are you willing and able to create the space and trust the proper timing to the Universe?
Ultimately is the goal to prove that you can accomplish or to accomplish while evolving into a peaceful and balanced life.
As the Japanese monk used to say: “So you good practice everyday, soon you get creative life, happy life.”