Seek To Understand

How quick we are to judge someone for the very same thing that we ourselves do.

Kelly, my girlfriend, came home from subbing a yoga class at a studio she doesn’t normally teach at. It was her second week subbing, so there were a few people who were there the week prior. Once Kelly took to the front of the room, one of these women became clearly dismayed to see her again. She expressed her un-welcomed surprise by asking this question in front of the entire class: “Are we actually going to flow today?”

For my non yogi friends, what this woman was conveying is that she did not like how Kelly taught her class, and was hoping for something that would fit her expectations of her usual teacher.

Of course, like any human-being getting publicly shamed, Kelly did not feel very confident standing up in front of the class. Alas, she went on to teach in her more anatomically functional, less “Let’s see how hard and fast everyone can move” style. She came home to tell me of this story.

I was livid.

“How rude of this woman! She clearly does not understand the purpose of yoga, what an unkind thing to do.”

I played out the scene in my head as if I were there. In defense of my loved one, I saw myself getting in the woman's face, telling her how disrespectful she was, and that she didn’t get the purpose of yoga. I thought she deserved to hear how wrong she was.

As I went on with my day, I continued thinking about what happened. Each time that I replayed the scene, I felt the same anger, coupled with the feeling of wanting her to tell her how rude she was. It came up so many times that I had to ask myself, “Why is this effecting me so much?” It’s then, the cold hard truth hit: It wasn’t her who wasn’t getting it, it was I.

At that moment, I saw clearly that I was doing the same thing she did to Kelly; judging her based on my own expectations. It’s that moment I was reminded of a verse in The Prayer of Saint Francis, a prayer I repeat often to myself. The line in essence says, “Seek to understand rather than to be understood”

It’s then I thought how could I understand this woman rather than judge? What would that look like? I imagined a few scenarios.

Maybe her partner left her. Maybe she's in child-custody battle and doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe the dependability of her 8 AM hot yogaflow is the only thing that she can depend on. Maybe it's her saving grace in the midst of a scary & unknown situation. Maybe it’s what is keeping her going, and the fact she couldn’t get that made her project the frustration of her life’s turmoil.

"Seek To Understand, rather than to be understood."

Now, I don’t know if anything like this is remotely true. But It’s not totally unlikely, and it’s also not the point. Just by shifting my intention to view her not as rude & judgmental, yet as a human with human issues, it lightened everything. I no longer held that anger and I could feel my heart open a little. All from allowing me to explore, "Maybe".

What if we gave up needing to be right? What if we gave up needing to tell people all the ways they don’t fit our world-views, and notions of how things “should” be. Could we be happier?

I think the answer is yes. But it’s practice.

It’s this story that inspired this weeks' meditation: Seek To Understand.


I hope it helps you soften some of the grudges you hold with others.

 
 

PS. My Insight Timer course is out. What I shared today is so aligned with the core lessons of the course. If this email resonates, or if ANY of my work resonates, I really hope you take the course. I know you’ll take a lot of value out of it. You can enroll here: Learn to Stop Caring What Others Think.

PPS. If you love the prayer of Saint Francis as much as I do, let me know. :)

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Let It Move Through You

As the adage goes, the only way out is through. But what does that really mean? 

Here’s one take. Let’s start with an idea you have. You receive a spark of inspiration: a project to work on, a business start, a social post to share. The excitement takes hold of you. Your eyes widen and you sit up in your chair. You say yes, I’m going to do this! 

Then you get distracted. It’s Friday. Life gets in the way. You say, I’ll work on that Tuesday right after that thing, then I’ll have the time. The weekend comes and you tell a friend about the idea. They aren’t as enthused as you are. They even project some doubt. 

Tuesday you wake up in a weird mood. You think about that idea, but your mood clouds your mind, you remember what your friend said and you succumb to doubt. You doubt whether it’s any good, you doubt your ability, you doubt anyone is going to care. 

I mean, who are you anyway? You’re not a genius. You’re not a business person, you’re not an “Influencer”. People will just make fun of you.

Yea, you know what... it’s probably not worth your time. Better get back to staying in your comfort zone. Make sure your head’s not poking too far out from the crowd, that way you can stay safe. 

Weeks, months, years go by. More sparks of insight come, yet you continue to doubt. Continue to let the ideas pass on...because remember, you’re no genius right?

Wrong. 

What if we flipped the script? What if what was dumb was not our ideas, but the fact we don’t believe in them? What if the dumbest thing of all is actually how we’ve been living our entire life? 

Krishnamurti put it like this, “It’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”  

Because doubt and small mindedness is where most people stake their camp, we think that’s what we should do. We’re wrong. And it’s costing us our ability to act on trying something new. It’s costing us our ability to live full, vibrant, & creative lives. 

Ideas come to us for a reason. When we feel inspired that is a call to action. I love how Elizabeth Gilbert puts it in her book, Big Magic:

“I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form … And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner.”

How many ideas have came to you & you let pass? 

Luckily, if we have our breath, we have the time. We are the faucet, not the water. We must separate our small mindedness and let the dis-embodied ideas move through us. 

I’m not saying they're all going to be world changing. They’re not. Some will suck. Some won’t even be worth trying. But letting inspiration out is a muscle that we build. A genius is someone who has tried so many bad ideas that they finally land on a great one. 

Everyone has ideas. If only we can learn to trust that it’s not by mistake, we’ll be an example for others to trust as well. Belief is contagious. 

Recently I was shown the magic of what happens when we let what wants to come through, out.  I shared my Poem, “Greatness is a Whisper” on Insight Timer. It was the first poem I shared, and I was hesitant people would not like me putting something different out there. Turned out I was wrong. It instantly became my highest rated and mostly engaged piece of content ever.

When you let your inspiration through, you will surprise yourself. You’ll also stop taking the credit. A shift for me is that when I have inspiration and go into doubt, I give it up to God. (Whatever idea or word you use is fine.) The purpose is that It’s out of my hands. I don’t own the idea. We are simply the vessels who must allow it through. 

You have no idea who needs what you’re meant to create. You’re only job is to get out of your own way, and be present and allow that energy out. The Truth of who You Are is so much greater than your petty doubts.

Step into your Greatness.

That is what these two practices will help you do. Both my Poem: Greatness is a Whisper.

And a guided practice: Let it Move Through You

Before I sign off, this concept of letting it move through you is two part. Just as we let our greatness move through, we must also let our darkness move through as well. The pain, the despair, the worry, the stress; are all part of the dance of duality. 

Let it In. Let it Be. Let it Move Through You.

All darkness has a purpose. It's there to help you you grow into what you can’t see yet. 

So what are you feeling: inspired or pained? 

Can you let what chose you in, and let it Move through? 

Please. We need You. 

 
 

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This Is Your Training

Let’s talk about stress & anxiety. 

First I must say, I’m very Lucky. I get to work on projects I choose and on a business I’ve created. A business that is actually starting to have more money coming in than out. It’s been a long time for me to be able to say that.

With that success, obviously it’s brought more work, and with more work, more responsibilities, or ya know “Mo Money, Mo Problems.” More recently it’s felt like, Mo Money Mo Stress & Anxiety. 

This was apparent a few weeks back while I was sitting in a 20 hour weekend training absolutely IN IT. When I say IN IT, I mean like every 2 seconds my mind wandering to the week ahead, with a panicky feeling that “I don’t have it all figured out yet” I need to get out of here and prepare!

Yet with 10 hours stuck in one place and a 2 hour commute, it wasn’t likely I was doing any preparing. So at lunch during our first day, I went on a long walk to clear my head. While it didn’t ease my mind completely, I did receive this 4 word insight that helped: This Is Your Training.

Everything I was stressed about I had been asking for. What we forget is that when we ask for things we think the process of achieving is going to feel blissful the entire time. It’s not.

Your physical muscles need stress to grow, your emotional muscles need the same. 

Through the training of the journey it’s purpose it to grow you into the person who can handle what you’re asking for. Growing pains don’t end in high school!

The real appreciation for what you accomplish comes from these moments. Only you know the mental mountains that you’ve climbed. It’s why you don’t sign up for a marathon and then take a taxi to the finish line. Moving through our fear and stress is what brings real fulfillment.

So what are you stressed or anxious about?
Is it helping you to become the best version of yourself?
Can you see it as your training?

Or as one of my favorite writer’s Ryan Holiday would say, Can you see “The Obstacle as The Way?” 

I hope you can. Or if you can’t yet, maybe this practice can help. 

Enjoy my new meditation, This Is Your Training.

Listen to it here on Soundcloud.

And always, let me know what you think. :)

 
 

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