I was laying on the grass in the sun DOING absolutely, sweet nothing. I could hear birds and bees, wind in the trees. Life was just going on, doing its thing. Being life.
But yet, there was no boredom.
I was bursting with joy and aliveness, because I had remembered that simply BEING is incredible.
I suddenly felt an impulse, something I’ve never felt quite like this. I got up and ran to my room to get my notebook and pen, ran back and laid on the grass again…. opened the book, and just unleashed.
Line after line came through me as, my hand barely keeping up with the torrent of expression coming from somewhere way beyond thought.
Once the last word was written, I closed the book, rolled over onto my back, arms spread wide like an eagle and mind-flew across the impossibly vast blue sky.
A song had been born. A prayer had been channeled. Creation from being-ness.
Cultural Brain-washing & The Machine
Have you ever stopped to think about the cultural brain-washing that programs us to work harder and longer? The myth goes that the more you “do” the more you will have.
Somehow the awful idea that doing a lot of stuff equates to having an awesome life, has stuck around….and become reinforced.
This is a tragic and toxic residue from the agricultural/ industrial age that plays a big part in keeping humans repressed, limited and servile to fears.
Here we are in 2017, and most businesses optimise for measurable quantity, over less measurable quality.
Office workers may have 32 inch screens and ping pong but they are still sitting shoulder to shoulder like battery farm chickens, shuffling into rooms with artificial lights for the ego face off we call in our culture “meetings”, so they can hit targets and KPIs.
For most of the business world, “shareholder value” means more than actual value that benefits human beings, and our home.
We educate our kids in systems that strip out the human being-ness factors, and ultimately measure them with a test score.
Popular entrepreneurial figures are still banging on about “hustling harder”, and how “you gotta really want it.”
No shit! Of course you aren’t going to be successful by playing Mario Kart all day with the bong by your side. What about the rest of the equation?
How can it be that smart people in 2017 are telling other smart people that the path to mastery and greatness is mostly about banging out more hours or hitting a score?
It’s a pretty de-humanising message, considering the staggering intelligence and sophistication that you embody, and the mind-blowing diversity of value creation and artistry that humanity on the whole has the potential for.
As we enter the age of artificial intelligence and robots, for our wellbeing, it is critical that we dismantle this programming and replace it with upgraded awareness of what it means to be human.
Otherwise, we will see something far sadder than humans as machines: we will see vast numbers of humans who once were machines, now decaying in scrapyards.
WE ARE NOT MACHINES
We gotta get this message spread far and wide.
We are conscious beings, artists and creators.
Our “output”… is not merely measurable output.
What we give is our expression, which is a manifestation of our state of consciousness.
Our consciousness is what makes us human, not machine.
If we treat ourselves like machines, by measuring ourselves, judging our output through metrics… we are lowering our level of consciousness, and becoming less human.
Look- I’m not talking about scrapping all the goals and structure, in favour of sun-gazing our 3rd eyes into the manifestation of all the goodness.
We must learn to MERGE the doing and being, planning and allowing, mechanical and quantum, Yang and Yin. The doing rational stuff, with being an explorer of the mysteries of life.
So how do we do this?
Re-framing the whole “work ethic” thing is an interesting one to begin with. Let me share a quick story about work ethic in Japan.
Japan, as you may know is the land of paradox.
Living there as a 22 year old, I would love watching masters at work. Yoshi-san, who made my sushi every day was a true master, spirit of the Samurai.
His “work ethic” was not borne of a fear-driven idea that god punished laziness, or that being a good Christian meant martyrdom through long hours… or that you would bring shame on yourself and your family if you didn’t sacrifice yourself on the alter of hard work.
Yoshi-san’s work ethic was borne from an innate knowing of how mastery emerges, and a profound sense of self-respect and self-awareness.
Mastery, as Yoshi knew, does not come from showing up for 10,000 hours as a machine, unconsciously moving body parts in repetitive patterns that yield the same result over and over again.
That’s the shitty sushi you get at the shopping mall with avocado that stops halfway in.
Mastery comes through the upgraded level of consciousness that results from the consistent application of mind, body and spirit over time.
That’s the indescribable sushi that melts in your mouth, flavours bombastically firing off, fusing with delicately balanced textures.
Yoshi-san put his soul into my sushi. He dropped into a state of creation every time he had a knife, piece of fish or ball of rice in his hand.
I witnessed his state shift daily. (Yes I ate sushi nearly every day for 2 years).
On the other hand, in Tokyo I used to observe with shock and awe, the Japanese “salary man”, perpetually rushing, getting squeezed onto trains, looking frazzled, a busy bee in a hectic hive… a slave to a system… a machine part.
Fear, guilt, shame, twisted cultural notions of honour manifesting in disconnected drones passing out in exhaustion on the train ride home.
What was the difference between these 2 archetypes?
Connection with life force energy- connection with source and balance between Yin and Yang.
So how can we replace old “hustle harder” dogma, with something more sophisticated, sustainable, powerful and natural?
This is fundamentally about transcending from a creature of “DOING” to a creature of “BEING and then DOING”.
1. Contemplate on “Clock time“, versus “now time”.
How is it that you can spend 3 hours struggling so hard to plan out your next project, or write that proposal, and drop into state the next day and get it done in 20 minutes?
I think Im going to make a watch that just says “NOW”. Clock time is a useful thing, for cooking and lots of other things to be honest. But beware its domination on your thought processes.
Optimise for the type of DEEP IMMERSION where time does not even exist.
You may want to check out “Flow sessions” for this.
2. Stop, detach, rest, recharge…. Return
If you are feeling really tired, worn down, sensitive, numb… or anything less than awesome.. take a break. The cultural brainwashing is telling us to “double down”, “toughen up”, “just get it done”.
But in my experience, and in the experience of the startup CEOs I work with, stepping away from that zone of struggle by sleeping, resting, being in nature…. and then coming back to it is a powerful way to upgrade quality and long term results.
Often our own ego won’t let us take a break to do what is best for us. How silly is that? Override your ego with your powerful BEING.
3. Go deeper not longer.
How are you designing your life?
If you are working for someone else, its likely that you will have to fall in line with some standardised idea of what human schedules should look like, which is probably a derivative of what some dudes came up with in the 1890s, so that factory owners could get more output from the human machines they hired.
Frederick Winslow Taylor (no relation of mine) was a so called progressive who did so much to ensure humans went down a path of mechanisation. He was all about improving industrial efficiency through workflows and repetition and all the stuff you might see if you went to a Toyota factory floor today.
Now… if you have any wriggle room at all to design your work life, you have an absolute responsibility to tear down all remnants of “industrial efficiency” and become part of the movement to re-humanise humanity.
*Warning!* This may mean you surf more, play with your kids when you are fresh and full of life, and STILL PROVIDE for you and your family, while feeling more alive.
Optimising Our Life for Higher states of Consciousness
When you consider that as human beings, we have CONSCIOUSNESS and that we can be in low states or high states of consciousness, the next logical step is to realise that high states of consciousness correlate to higher performance in every way.
Practically speaking, this means designing your life so that you are in flow. If you run a business this means designing your business, so that it flows.
This means honouring the level of consciousness that comes from being relaxed, in flow, and in service to the world around you.
You might be thinking- “hang on, this sounds nice in theory. You are talking about nice things like space, stillness, resting and relaxing… but we live in a world with deadlines and budgets and many other finite things and metrics…. ”
We also live in a world that has a mechanical reality and a quantum reality.
We have brains that emit beta brainwaves when we think really hard, and alpha/ theta brainwaves when we are not thinking but feeling.
We live in a world with night and day, sweet and sour, male and female, cities and nature.
Flow is about integration of polarities.
Learn to integrate the energy of planning and finiteness… with the energy of allowing, trusting to infinity.
Work with the power of BIG outrageous visions… but also with the practicality of to -do lists and weekly plans.
Spend time in an office… but immerse in nature.
Think for hours… then go play.
But most of all. Optimise your life for a higher state of consciousness. Make this the most important thing you can do with your life.
p.s Here are 3 of 12 verses that came through me laying on the grass that beautiful day of being.
Memory I tap… deep deep inner space…
Gives me power to escape the rat race…
I find stillness and space in a spiritual place.
Sliding on waves for days, oceans motherly embrace.
What emerges is wisdom, deep inner knowing,
Being not doing, I’m growing by flowing.
I belong to this earth- the truth emerges in the slowing
New roots going deep, steadfast in the blowing
Of the hurricane winds of self-flaggelation
Constant expectations and ego temptations,
I’m that young Jedi, scared, lost and forlorn
Yet.. the urge to rebel against the dark side has been born.