A LESSON IN THE WATER
I was going to write something about nutrition or exercise but I decided against it. If you can’t tell from reading my articles, I think the mental component is pretty darn important and without a proper understanding of the mind (your mind), your decisions related to nutrition, exercise and lifestyle will be sub-optimal, and further, in most instances you will fail to get to the root cause of whatever dysfunction may be present. So on with a story.
Imagine you are on a boat in a vast sea where you can’t see land in any direction. It is you and one other person on the boat. This other person who I will call Jack is in the front of the boat. You are in the back of the boat controlling the speed and direction of the boat. But you are not making any decisions about the speed and direction, Jack is doing that for you. He tells you when to turn, when to go faster, when to slow down (although you rarely slow down). For years you just follow Jacks' orders and don’t really question anything. One day something changes, and you begin to start asking questions. Hey Jack - Why are we going in this direction? Why are we always moving? Why don’t we stop for a little while? Jack gives you some persuasive answers about how we must keep moving forward in the direction that he says (although he won’t tell you where we are going). He says if we stop, something bad might happen to us. You say okay, but then ask him why he is the only one allowed to give navigational orders. He says because he knows more than you and he has more experience in open water and if you were to take over something bad would happen. You ask a number of other questions and Jack always seems to scare you into listening, so you continue to listen to Jack.
One day, you just can’t take it anymore, You stop listening to Jack. He doesn’t like that and tries really hard to get you to listen. He yells at you, he shakes the boat, he throws things at you, he tells you that the boat will sink, that you will wind up lost at sea, that you don’t have enough knowledge to steer the boat, that you know nothing about these waters, that you will die. At first you fight back, but that only makes the attack more intense. You then do all you can do, you stand your ground in the back of the boat, you hold on, you close your eyes and you ignore Jack with every fiber of your being. Eventually, the boat stops rocking and Jack stops yelling. You experience a deep sense of peace. You open your eyes, Jack is gone, you are still alive. The sea is more beautiful than ever and you are just floating in open water in a state of complete contentment.
The truth is Jack never existed in the first place and he never had control of the boat. If you didn’t figure it out by now Jack is the human ego or should I say the false ego. We all know it. Do you ever notice how you are constantly giving yourself advice (in your head). Who is the voice giving you advice? The ego is designed to make us think we need to keep moving, keep achieving something, keep controlling life. It is designed to make us think we can’t move forward without it. It convinces us that we are not good enough and that if we get this or do this we will finally be good enough. But then we get there and the ego tells us we need more.
Guess what, if you stop paying attention to the ego life has a remarkable way of guiding you. The wind, the current, the waves will take you where you need. It might not always be pretty, but sometimes that is where you need to go. And in the event that you do need to steer, which might happen from time to time, you will know exactly what to do and when to do it. Enter the wave state.
I understand this concept flies counter to the idea of success, ambition and life. If you think I am telling you to just sit back and chill you are missing the message, although that would probably be a good place to start.