After a couple of decades studying the cutting edge of human performance, we noticed a really weird thing:
Most of the workshops and retreats designed to get rid of our egos, make us more entitled and neurotic than ever!
So here’s a quick story on how we’ve seen that happen (and what to do about it).
We were teaching one summer at the Esalen Institute. It's that gorgeous and historic retreat center on the Big Sur coast of California that the New York Times once called "the Harvard of the Human Potential Movement."
Standing in the open air showers overlooking the Pacific ocean, we were getting ready to soak in the natural hot springs.
And right then, in the midst of all that awesome beauty, our buck naked little five year old daughter started to giggle and sing.
It was a spontaneous and sweet moment, the kind that you're lucky enough to experience from time to time with the people you love...
But it didn't end well.
After about 30 seconds, a woman came rushing out of the "silent room" and hissed at us to get our daughter to quiet down because she was "ruining" her massage.
The innocent singing of a child was somehow "ruining" someone's spiritual experience!!!
We beat feet, down to the tubs to enjoy the hot water, and watch the sea otters and whales down below.
But that encounter got me thinking…
What is it about so-called "spiritual" paths these days that leaves so many people uptight and unhappy?
How is it that the very people who are devoting the most time (and money) towards personal development and self-transcendence often end up the most uptight and joyless?
Then it hit me… We're doing it all wrong.
99% of Personal Development/New Age/Self Help tries to help people get rid of their "egos" by...talking directly to their egos.
Earnest seekers read books or attend therapy or go to workshops (like that one at Esalen) to learn by reading, talking or listening––how to outwit the very part of themselves that's doing all that reading, listening and talking.
It's like trying to hide your own Easter eggs!
No wonder the folks most invested in that approach often grow a little frustrated, bitter, or desperate.
Once you realize that central contradiction, that it's next to impossible to experience the freedom and release of Selflessness by shunting all your learning right through that very same self you're trying so hard to get free from, it forces a whole different set of questions.
And top of that list, is "is there a better way to learn to shift our states of mind other than through our state of mind?"
Thankfully, after a decade of research involving some of the top academic and professional organizations in the world––from Harvard to Oxford to DARPA to Google––that answer is a resounding "hell yes!"
And it's exactly backwards from how we've been taught, and how the overwhelming majority of programs and methods go about it. It’s actually impossible to use your ego to get free of your ego.
No wonder that poor massage lady at Esalen got so salty!
That's plenty enough reading for now…
Stay tuned for the next chapter, where I'll unpack the "Sunday Morning Epiphany" I had while training with one of Harvard's top developmental psychologists.
It gave rise to the entire Flow Genome Matrix––the simple roadmap to hack our states of awareness and letting us "lead the witness" without getting stuck in our old self...
All the best,
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