How to end up with the rest of the sheep

ROBERT COLINS LESS WORK
Photo: Robert Colins

Greater effort doesn’t mean faster (or better) results.

Higher-order refinement aka mastery, in any field, has more to do with what you don’t do than what you do.

Take martial arts for example. At the highest, most esoteric levels, ability comes through stripping away all effort, thereby allowing a soft, gentle…yes…childlike…approach.

In those rarefied skill levels, a perfectly placed step, outstretched hand or flexed knee are more devastating than a full-out punch or kick.

Such devastation isn’t possible unless you are trained not to resist the natural order of things. That training never involves hard work. It always involves play.

Devastating ability is not a product of what the budoka is doing, it is a product of what she is not doing (thinking, trying to make something happen, resisting, anticipating). For in the absence of all that doing she is present to higher-order intelligence, that which has already decided the battle and orchestrates events, including her moves, toward that end.

The same is the case with all things. Life is recursive. Meaning: in every instance, large or small, you will find the same life lessons repeated over and over.

You don’t need a 15th degree black belt to develop then apply this mastery in your life. What you do need is a willingness to go against the grain of “common” wisdom.

You can lead a sheep to wisdom, but you can’t make it think

You’ve likely heard all this before. In the same way you have heard how to get fit, succeed in life, break a habit or form a new one.

We all have knowledge.

But a lot of us are still overweight, still struggling to find success (however you define that), chewing our nails, addicted to masturbation or porn or both, or wanting to go to bed every night before 11 p.m. but still ending up awake at 1 a.m.

Knowledge is useless unless it is applied in a framework capable of producing mastery. Being caught up in the way everyone else is doing it rarely leads to mastery or success. Instead, you end up with the rest of the sheep.

This guy got it. And this guy, in the realm of finding a job.

Both followed their inspiration, not what everyone else was doing. Both got extraordinary results.

Both stories tell of events no one could orchestrate – seemingly random (it’s not random) single events, dovetailing with others leading to the outcome both desired.

You’re no different. What you want is already yours. What’s holding back the having of it?

Perhaps it’s the stories you’re telling yourself – more in your actions than in your words – which perpetuate the same results everyone else is getting.

Follow your internal guidance and the world becomes your oyster.

But first, you gotta figure out how to hear. Hint: It starts with play.

Taking fulfillment beyond the yoga mat

FB Beyond the yoga mat fereshteh azadi.jpg

There’s something about yoga that keeps many Portlanders coming back for more.

Maybe it’s concentrated focus borne of asana mastery. Or maybe it’s realizing skills, confidence and strength built from years of practice. Or, perhaps it’s love for a particular instructor.

What keeps you coming back?

While yoga can be fulfilling, many Stumptowners lose what they’ve gained once they’ve left the yoga mat.

Common mortal hood waits just outside the studio, with daily stresses, anxieties, relationship drama, work “to dos”, personal insecurities….sheesh…enduring fulfillment can be as fleeting as a chocolate high.

Yoga was meant as a spiritual practice leading to higher consciousness states. How is it it rarely comes that? And when it does, it leaves us as soon as we return to daily life?

Is permanent, ongoing happiness attainable in modern society?

The answer is: yes.

And it’s available to everyone.

It doesn’t require any physical mastery, yoga or otherwise. It just depends on discovering what you’re made of, where you come from, and then living from that.

From there, seemingly miraculously, everything starts to work in life. Negativity disappears as does anxiety and fear.

Long-held and forgotten dreams and desires begin to be fulfilled too.

Happiness becomes the theme of the day, every day. Before you know it, life becomes what it is supposed to be: amazing.

Positively Focused clients, like Stefano, used to think happiness was a fleeting emotion, with no rhyme or reason why happiness came, or went. One moment it’s here, the next gone.

In fact, many Portlanders just like Stefano, never really experience even fleeting happiness.

Many deal with anxiety, depression, seasonal affective “disorder” and runaway substance consumption habits as they try to manufacture a facsimile of real happiness, contentment or distraction at the very least.

And can you blame them?

We have to deal with Portland winters after all. Hello?

What are emotions for anyway? And why are the good ones so fleeting?

At Positively Focused, we know happiness not an end state. It is just the beginning.

Human life holds the potential to deliver not only happiness, but a joy that has no ceiling. That increasing joy can be a continual moment-by-moment experience.

And, that joy can create a life experience where desire after desire is fulfilled. No desire is too small, or too big.

“You wanna die today?”

The other day we were enjoying this state, walking along the Max Station at Pioneer Courthouse Square. We were greeting those around us with our smile and our eyes. We were in joy, understanding that all that is is working in our favor. The next moment, we caught the eye of a young man.

What you looking at faggot! You wanna die today?” He yelled at us.

Do you?” we immediately replied.

Yes!” he said, as he averted his eyes and hurried off.

A shocking exchange of to say the least!

Clearly, this young man, by the look of his dress and the anger in his voice, was struggling. We couldn’t tell whether his struggle was emotional, financial, relationship-related, substance-related or a combination of these.

What was clear: he craves fulfillment and happiness. We all do.

Yet that was not his life experience. Our reflecting his grief back to him, in the same intensity, but through the opposite emotion left him exposed. Not to us. To himself.

His attempt to destroy us with his words revealed him to himself. Faced with our in-the-moment happiness, our young man had no other choice but to speak truth: his life experience is so unfulfilling, he wanted to die.

This brief, intense encounter, showed us, as life always does when you’re positively focused, evidence of what’s possible for everyone: life mastery. A freedom and personal invincibility so profound you become impervious…even to violence.

Happiness and invincibility: everyone has access to such states. It is how life is supposed to be. Yoga is great. It’s as “Portland” as Blue Star Doughnuts.

Like doughnuts, though, it can’t compare to a life filled with lasting happiness, invincibility and a joy that becomes more and more day after day.

How to become invincibly happy

The key to lasting, invincible happiness is simply learning what you’ve forgotten, then practicing daily habits that restore your memory. You are surrounded by everything you need to cultivate these habits. The internet offers tons of information about them.

Like yoga, a daily practice is required. Picking out peacock from a list of asana pictures is one thing. Knowing how to do peacock is another. Actually doing it is yet another.

In the same way, cultivating daily habits leading to invincible happiness comes from daily practice. You may intellectually know the daily habits (you do). Maybe you even know how to do them. But results come from doing them. Regularly. Consistently.

The good news is, unlike learning peacock, lasting happiness doesn’t require learning something new. It only requires remembering what you forgot.

The bad news is it’s hard to know something you forgot. That’s why we offer assistance.

Back to the habits.

One of these habits, for example, is expressing appreciation. Super simple, right? That simplicity masks a bewilderingly powerful habit. Habitually acknowledging all the great things that make up your life, by itself, can do wonders.

Ever heard the phrase “the best place to hide something is in the open”?

Life is like that. We are surrounded with an unlimited number of things worthy of appreciation. Especially in Portland. Can you name a few? We think so.

And in the naming of just a few of those things, with the right mind set, you automatically get a glimpse of what being consistently happy can do for you. Whether you’re on, or off the yoga mat.

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