Part 8 in the MindValley Reunion=Mind Blown series, which continues next week
While Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley, challenged us to think and act in ways that are humanity+ versus humanity-, including choosing to start, run and/or work only for humanity+ corporations, our Sunday at the MindValley Reunion held in San Diego in August started out a lot more solemn.
My Lyft driver had asked me if I was on my way to church, like some of his other fares for the morning, and I had said, “no,” but the experience of watching Don Miguel Ruiz, world renowned author of The Four Agreements, speak resembled the church experiences that I enjoyed most.
The room was full of reverence, and I had a front row seat. He spoke slowly and deliberately, and if I allow my focus on his image to grow fuzzy, I could see a glow around him, as though he was connected to a higher source and was channeling it to us. Though I absorbed every word, I only captured about a third, as I wanted to remain present, entranced, and really take what he was saying deep into my consciousness.
All the following excerpts are quotes from Don Miguel Ruiz, with my reflections below:
“Gratitude becomes generosity.”
My own perception of what he meant was that if we give without being grateful, we can harbor resentment. We must give from a place of gratitude, knowing that we are provided for and supported by the divine. Once we fill ourselves with the gratitude of our own blessings, we tend to want to spill it out onto others. So, focus first on gratitude, and then generosity.
“The problem is our domestication and disillusion.”
I am going by my impression, because it has been some time now since the actual event and the context of his intention is forgotten. My interpretation of this based on the notes I took that followed this are that we focus on our material needs and perceive separation between us and others. This causes us to perceive life as a struggle for survival, an “us versus them” or “us or them” mentality. However, we are more than physical beings, and our separation from each other is merely an illusion that we create needlessly.
He proclaimed the Human Manifesto: Preserve our planet and morality
This theme emerged from several of the speakers throughout the weekend. If we do not allow the progression of our nature from what we have been and how we have lived to what scientists, spiritualists, and intuits agree is the movement toward higher consciousness, then we just may destroy ourselves. If you pay attention, you’ll see this emerging everywhere around you, too.
“Awareness allows you to see possibilities of what you can do with your life.”
Awareness of what? Your own true nature and the nature of everything. To start simply, use the awareness that there can be other ways to be, to live, to act. Question the status quo, especially if you see things around you that concern or irritate you. If that is not the way, what are the other ways? Perhaps your noticing is your soul calling you to a higher purpose. However, as Jeffery Allen warned, we have to be careful not to become elitists in our higher consciousness. And as Vishen advised, the way to help others see your side is to seek understanding first, and to debate worthy issues without alienating people. Alienating those who opine differently from you will only cause them to become stauncher and give them motivation to hold on to their ways of thinking.
“We want to have the eye of the artist. We follow that beauty…Every single human is an artist…creating a story in which we are the main character.”
This reminds me of quote from T. Harv Eker, “Nothing has meaning except the meaning you give it.” Your life is an empty vessel, even with your past. We are meaning-making machines. And in the consciousness we have been living we have created many stories, many of which don’t serve us, such as the epidemic belief that fuels most misery, “I am not enough.” Marisa Peer, the next speaker I will chronicle in this blog series, attributes this belief for epic suffering, even among the rich and famous and royal. It’s prevalent, and if you want to know if this belief is part of your story, ask yourself why you do certain things – buy the products you buy, pine for the job you never really try for, decline to make a connection with someone. But is it true? Not if you see yourself from the Divine’s perspective. Whatever your story has been, you can change it – Right NOW!
“I am not real. I am the force that make [that story] happen.”
From a quantum physics perspective, we are energy; everything is energy at an atomic level. It cannot be created nor destroyed, only change forms. Remember this physics lesson: “An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force?” That outside force can be you. It can be a conscious decision and the actions resulting from that decision. What makes something matter is our perception of it. This can be applied to physical matter, or things we deem important. What are you making important, and is it really? Why? Does that empower your or disempower you? If the latter, this is something you can change.
“A dog doesn’t know it’s a dog. A cat doesn’t know it’s a cat. And they don’t care. Why should we?”
A lot of time and energy is invested in trying to live up to a standard either set by ourselves or society. When we perceive ourselves as failing to reach that standard, suffering ensues. Many believe it is in our nature to continually grow, and we have been taught that setting goals is a positive step in achieving them. I am not refuting this. However, there is a very powerful question that we need to ask if we are to commit our time, energy, or even money, in becoming that version of ourselves – why? Why do you care if you earn $100K+? Why do you want to own a beautiful home? What does being CEO really mean? What criteria are we using to define how we want ourselves to be? Whose criteria are we using? Who are you really? Does it matter if you live up to standards? Can you love yourself unconditionally? Can you allow others to love you unconditionally?
“We only have 100 years to enjoy our physical body, or to suffer our physical body.”
This one hit home for me, as I have been confronting my self-image after gaining back all the weight I lost and then some and seeing my skin decline into continual painful breakouts. I just climbed a mountain on Saturday, and I am thankful that in spite of my lack of conditioning, I was able to do it. At times, the grade was so steep that I had to use my hands, and it had rained the day before, so with the rocks and leaves, it was very slippery. My body came through, and I was very proud of it. It also made it down the mountain – 8 miles in total. I want to make it a regular practice to see what my body can do and be grateful for that rather than spending time being critical of how it looks and comparing it to how it used to look or comparing it to how others look. This is very challenging. Don Miguel had suffered a heart attack, so this was coming from a place of life-experience wisdom, not just Toltec wisdom. Can I look into the mirror and instead of noticing a few white hairs, wrinkles, and painful cystic acne appreciate the joy of my smile, the eyes given to me by my father, the lips given to me by my mom? Can I appreciate that my own daughter has gotten the same lips, and my other daughter has gotten my nose? Can I see my scars and be thankful that…well, I don’t know…I’m still working on it. I got a book written by Wayne Dyer’s daughter, who suffered a painful skin condition that she healed herself by accepting and loving herself as is.
“You can create your own personal paradise or you can create your own personal traumas, your own personal hell, but it’s not real; it’s just your story. Your challenge is to face the main character of your story…Face the end of your story as you know it, and [create] a new beginning.”
Here is a blog I published in 2015 explaining some things I learned both from Landmark Education and Vishen Lakhiani on flipping the script of your sad story. I will be honest – it has not happened overnight, and I continue to identify sad stories I have been telling myself from a very young age. They have kept me in a victim mentality, from taking action on my own behalf, and from following through on what could have been huge opportunities. In essence, the stories of my past have been perpetuating into my present, and will continue to do so in my future UNLESS I am aware of them and can take back my power to create a new story. Technology has been developed, and continues to be developed, to help you access and override these stories, including John Assaraf’s and Brent Phillips’ brain entrainment programs, isochronic and binaural beats (Yes, Pearl Jam’s Binaural album was produced with these, but you have to experience them with headphones to benefit), and Marisa Peer’s Rapid Transformational Therapy (more about that next week.)
“I believe in angels. I believe in you – because you are angels. You are a messenger. But what kind of messenger are you? Are you a messenger of truth [or of story?]”
This is what resonated through from the day before. What kinds of messages am I perpetuating when I share my opinion? What are my intentions and are they pure? Are they good? Am I needlessly and even harmfully creating divisions between myself and others or between others? My most popular post shares an all too common practice of recruiters to blacklist candidates. Though my intention was to help prevent people from unconsciously burning bridges with recruiters, the article had an impact I did not expect. The majority of the comments were job seekers sharing their disappointment, and even disgust, with how [some] recruiters operate. By no means did I intend to justify any unjust or immoral recruiting practices, nor did I intend to instill a fear of recruiters, but my headline certainly did leverage potential fear. That is probably what garnered so much readership. In spite of how excited I am by the number of readers and the high engagement, I am choosing to be more conscious of my headlines. I am using the post to attempt to generate conversations that encourage people to be more empathetic, and to see people from all parties as people, flawed, but innately good.
Don Miguel’s son and co-author of The Fifth Agreement,” Don José, also relayed some powerful messages that complimented his father:
“The minute we let our art come out, something happens > judgment.”
“How do you want to hurt the human mind when the human mind is suffering the same mistake a hundred times over and over again?”
“Now it’s time for my will to be loyal to my body.”
“What brings us happiness is to be loyal to the sacred heart; it’s our intuition.”
“Mistakes teach us what we want to participate in in life, and what we don’t want to participate in.”
“If you created the virus, you can create the anti-virus.”
“Decide – it ends with me!”
“Magic is in every word that you speak. You can break a spirit or we can lift a spirit with the words that you speak.”
“You are here to make a masterpiece out of your life.”
When Don Miguel and Don José left the stage, nearly all of the 800 attendees were in tears and gave them a standing ovation. The host came out in tears, and it seemed to dishonor the experience to just move on to the next speaker. Instead, she told us to meditate or journal on what kind of messengers we are and want to be. I realize that I cannot recreate the reverence of the room on that blessed Sunday where I was about 12 feet from one of my literary heroes. But I hope that you can take about 5 minutes to meditate or journal on even just one of these excerpts, or start writing a new story for yourself. It is the best way I can think of to pass on the blessing of that experience to you, and gratitude leads to generosity.
Please share your insights in the comments below.
Binaural is the sixth studio album by the American alternative rock band Pearl Jam, released on May 16, 2000 through Epic Records. Following a full-scale tour in support of its previous album, Yield (1998), Pearl Jam took a short break before reconvening toward the end of 1999 to begin work on a new album.