There is No Spoon

(Quote from the Matrix)

Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Boy: There is no spoon.

 

We all have ideas. Big, Small. Unique, Communal. Inclusive, Segregating.

Each idea we have builds on another and another and another. Before you know it you’ve gone from an idea, to a belief system. A belief system is a living mechanism an organic and organized entity created by you. It is a side effect of the natural human learning process of connecting ideas. You have built a network of ideas about yourself, about others, about what you are capable of and what is beyond your grasp. Some of your belief systems interlock with others and some stand by themselves, seldom used until the right circumstances arise.

 

There are two visuals that help when trying to think of belief systems. The first is a stack of blocks. Each block is an idea upon which another idea is supported. The foundation of the stack is required to support the other ideas above it. If you find a way to question a base idea then the belief system will fall apart. This represents a simple belief system. Most of our beliefs are more complex. An advanced belief system is more like a spiders web. Each connection point would hold another block of the belief system. They have, over time, become in interconnected web of ideas. You can challenge an individual block and remove it, but the web remains. Removing these belief systems are much more challenging because it requires overwhelming evidence that the system is faulty and an openness to change.

 

Whenever we come across a new idea we really have 3 ways in which we can process the idea:
1) Dismissal

2) Acceptance

3) Revolution

 

Dismissal is the easiest. It simply involves the rejection or denial of new information coming in. If a new idea comes in we can always find a means to dismiss it. This is almost a defense mechanism. The idea doesn’t make sense. The premise is faulty. We can even find ourselves dismissing ideas based on the quirks of the person presenting them to us. I didn’t like they way she looked at me. His shirt was a funny color. What’s up with that hair?

 

Acceptance is harder but easy enough if it supports one of our belief systems. When we process a new idea and believe it has merit, then we must bring it into the fold of our belief systems. This is process of adding it to the stack of a belief system that’s comparable with it and compatible.

 

Revolution is the hardest, nearly impossible, and cannot be approached directly. Process 3, Revolution, must be approached through process 2, Acceptance. We do not directly jump into revolution. But what happens when we accept a new idea, but we find it completely incompatible with one or more of our belief systems? We are again faced with Dismissal or Acceptance. If we dismiss the new idea we are back to our original safety net of ideas. But if we accept an idea, then have to begin the painful process of dismantling and rejecting the faulty belief system it is coming in to replace. But this can be done.

 

Some of our belief systems are so deeply ingrained the revolution seems impossible. But at the same time we feel and understand that many of our beliefs hold us back and have a negative impact on us and the world around us. We must continue the subtle work that lays before us. We must continue to find the ideas that hold us back and do us harm and accept the truth, there is no spoon.

Namaste,
Kevin

Attachment, Patience and Perseverance

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It had been about 18 years since I really sat down and watched Forrest Gump. I was all over it when the movie first came out. I saw it in the theaters and loved it. When it was released to video, VHS back in the day, I bought the movie and watched it several times. And then, I’d had enough. I got to a point where I didn’t want to see the movie again and couldn’t really stomach the idea of watching it again… So I didn’t.

Years have passed. Many years in fact, and I recently ate at Bubba Gump in Monterey, CA. I realized that it had been long enough and I wanted to watch the movie again. So I recently sat down and watched it and am happy to report I enjoyed it again. As you would expect there are several good life lessons to be taken away from the movie.

Lesson 1) Don’t get attached.

Don’t get attached to format. I’m pretty sure I threw out my VHS of Forrest Gump years ago. I was able to find it on TV and record it on my DVR and watch it in 3 or 4 sittings. There was a time when I couldn’t bare the idea of spreading a movie out to watch it. But now, with two kids and short times in which to watch a 2.5 hour movie, 3 tries is pretty darn good. But again, the format has changed dramatically over the years from VHS to DVD to DVR. Don’t get to attached to the medium, focus on the message.

Lasson 2) Patience

Forrest is a patient man. You could argue that he doesn’t know any better. But the same could be said for impatient people. Forrest was patient because he didn’t think he could force things to happen, and as a result he flowed through life. Many times we are impatient because we think we can force things to happen. But in the end we just flow through life too… It’s a question of how much we fight the current that we can measure our joy against. Patience and relaxing with the flow will improve your experience.

Lesson 3) Perseverance

I remember looking back at the movie that Forrest had a successful shrimping business… What I didn’t remember until I watched the movie again is that that success came with a lot of hard work and trial and error. He spent a great deal of time catching shoes and toilet seats and junk before he found success. You could argue that he wasn’t smart enough to give up… But often times we aren’t smart enough to keep going.

Perseverance combined with Patience and letting go of the format are a good recipe for life. Keep at it, success may come in a form you don’t suspect at a time you couldn’t have imagined after you’ve kept moving forward long after everyone else quit. And it may take a little longer than that. Be stupid enough to keep going and patient enough to enjoy the ride.

Namaste,

Kevin

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Your Time is Going to Come

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I was sitting at a red light this morning. Stuck behind a car going straight that was blocking me from getting to my turn lane. The left turn light turned green, one car went, and I couldn’t move. The light turned yellow, and I couldn’t gun it to get through the intersection, I was blocked. The light turned red. And then the car in front me moved forward through it’s green light and I could finally get into the turn lane, stop, and wait for my turn. I was frustrated, I had missed my green light… Or had I?

It’s easy to get confused on our path in life about timing. We get excited about things that may happen, or things that should happen. But if things don’t happen, you can usually find there was a good reason. Sometimes that reason is simply that it wasn’t your time. I saw the light turn green and I wanted to go through, but it really wasn’t my turn, it was the other cars turn and I was getting ahead of myself.

There are once in a lifetime opportunities. When these come along we should make every effort to seize them. But most moments, the moments that we tend live each day in, are cyclical moments. These are moments that will come and go, and then come again.

It can be hard to recognize it, if we’re too wrapped up in our own experience, but it’s a privilege that we get to watch these moments unfold for others around us. Like the traffic light, it can be frustrating when you see someone else having their moment and you thought it was supposed to be yours.

Frank just got recognized by your boss in a big meeting for his good work on the last project. You worked on that project.

Sally just won a free car payment from her bank. You’re paying for a car too.

Alan just fell in love. You want to be loved.

But, these are not your moments, these are their moments.

Your time will come.

Like a traffic light, inĀ  your life there are times when you have the green light, and there are times when you have the red light. Remember when a light turns red for you, that means it is green for someone. Except for at that stupid timed intersections where there are no cars going the other way and you just have to sit and wait. Those are just annoying. But that’s a metaphor for another time.

There are times when you see the light turn green and you’re still far away from the light. By the time you get to the light it’s turned red again. You can get frustrated with this, or you can remember, it was not your green light. It was not your time. But your time will come.

Today relax and embrace the cycles. If you see a moment come and go, reflect on the truth that it may not have been your moment at all. But if it was, and you missed it, relax in the knowledge that if you need it in your life, it will come back. You are whole, complete and cared for. Your time is going to come.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

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Work as a Sharing Exercise

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I was talking with my daughter today about my needing to go to work. She began to pout and explain that she was sad that I had to go.

I was about to launch into an explanation that I had to go to work to earn money to put a roof over her head and food in her belly… But I knew my standard explaination wouldn’t land, so I paused and considered what would a 3 year old understand…

So I launched into a simple story that I trade with my boss. I have knowledge, skills and time. And my company has money. I share my time with my company and in exchange they share their money with me.

As I spoke to her, I felt empowered. I’d never really thought of work in these terms, and the new perspective actually made me feel more powerful. It was quite empowering to look at work from a fair exchange vantage point.

Often, especially when the world is filled with financial fear, we view our jobs as positions of subservience. We are working at the whim of our employer. And many employers like it when we feel this way. We can turn the tables and remind ourselves that we work here on the whim of ourselves. But that is simply switching dominance with dominance. This becomes an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth mentality, where everyone ends up blind and toothless.

Instead, moving our thought process to a sharing mindset, we move toward fair exchange and balance. No longer are we in a power-play, or exercise for dominance. We are now exchanging our valuable services for a share in the companies gold.

I very much enjoyed this new way of looking at my job. I choose to share my time and talents and my company has selected me to share it’s wealth with.

I hope this thinking process leads you to a more empowered day.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

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