I'm in the midst of a change of direction and it's bloody hard. As part of this I'm training more, reading more, surrounding myself with positive influences and delving deep into my fears. Three recent books have been helping:
THE MIND ASKS WHY? ANSWER IT!
There's a moment in Goggin's book where he is doing an ultra marathon and he is realising his brain is starting to complain. He calls this 'the governor' (like that on a car to control the speed). He has learned and practices the skill of overpowering and outthinking his governor. "The mind knows all - it knows your fears and your weaknesses. It will tell you your not good enough. It will ask you the hardest question in those moments - Why are you bothering to try this!?" What Goggins realised is that you have to have an answer prepared for that question, especially in those painful moments. You need to remember a deep truth, an intention that you committed to for a very very good reason.
GOGGINS HAS A CLEAR MISSION
For Goggins he wanted to be the Hardest 'Mutha-F**ker God Ever Created'. He wanted to develop mental toughness because he could see that this is all a mind game. So he saw all these physical challenges as positively 'callousing the mind'. He learned to give the pain purpose and this was his answer each time in the dark night of the soul, in the midst of his suffering he responded to 'why bother?' with "Because I don't want to! I am callousing my mind against that soft, weakness of fear. I am becoming the hardest man ever!"
HAVE A SIMPLE MISSION PREPARED
I love that. Though I may not share his mission I can relate. If we can connect to a deep truth - a purpose that touches something profound in us, and we recite it regularly then we are prepared for those moments in life when the mind challenges our resolve. The mind forgets why we started and so its up to us to 'prepare to remember.' To have the answer, the deep truth, the 'mission' etched into our mind, ready to respond when fear and panic tempt us to give up and convince us that we are not good enough. The mission must be simple and clear and inspiring.
NO FINISH LINE
Another part of Goggins race mentality that haunts me is the idea that there is no finish line. Give up waiting for the finish line and embrace this suffering. Wow! What if that's true? What if there is no finish line? What if, even in life there is no finish?
I have used death as a comforter many times. The idea that I will die one day, maybe today, helps me to drop my worries and relax. I'm here to enjoy myself. It's not a race, it's a dance. But Goggins' idea popped my bubble. What if death is not the end? What if the journey continues. More suffering in the next part? Maybe I keep repeating this life forever? OK, or as Goggins says 'Roger That!'
The point is to realise that if I keep comforting myself with the idea of an ending to my problems then I just wait for that to happen, which encourages me to rest back instead of pushing forward. I'm in a point in my life where I have been resting back way too much, because I've been comforting myself, getting soft and it's time to delve deep into my truth and start to embrace the difficult things. In order to do that I'm entertaining the idea that there may be no finish line. This suffering is it. This is life. This is where the joy and growth is. No waiting around for the end. Live, live now. As Jocko Willis says (another hard man) "Fight that ticking clock with everything you got!"
WhN'T JUST GO WITH THE FLOW - FIGHT!
I've lead a lot of my Mindfulness career trying to find the easy path. The least resistance. The way of the lazy guru. This 'go with the flow' attitude has value, because it helps me to relax and I needed that for a time. But it also has negativity. If we are always going with the flow we are not in any control and we are being propelled along by life and by the mind. If there's one thing I know about the mind it is that it has a negativity bias. It looks for problems to solve. It draws us into conflict and drama. It's time for me to wake up and take charge of the boat, put some work in and to go against the flow - take the path of most resistance. Fight that clock and that governor within my own mind. Fight hard and delve deep into my truth.
THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
We all face the dark night of the soul when we do this. The moments where you actually turn and face your fear. We often do it alone. Ultimately we must do it alone, but I am learning now that I can also do it with some additional resources, which have been partly inspired by the way Will Smith surrounds himself with family and friends:
1. Trusted Friends: I've been cultivating a great group of friends. I have often struggled to reach out to them and this morning I realised it's time to call on them for help and support. It's going to be a challenge to overcome my inner resistance there too.
2. Mirror work and reparenting: So what's been helping me is... me. The man in the mirror. I've been making a practice of taking a good quality mirror and sitting with it in conversation. I see in the mirror the father I always longed for - supportive, loving, encouraging, disciplined, kind and emotionally intelligent. He wants to guide me but he also wants me to do the work myself. I can cry in front of him and he stays with me, with infinite patience. I talk to him for about 10 minutes every day and it alwsys ends with a shower of encouragement from him.
It's been amazing and I'm excited to keep this journey going, with no finish line and overpowering my internal governor with a connection to my deepest truth: Because this experience is helping me to become the greatest counsellor and coach to others, so I can empower them to reconnect to their deepest truth and to act from a loving place, rather than the fear of a panicked mind. This is my newest mission and I practice it every single day. I leave you with three questions:
Neil Morbey is a meditation teacher, group facilitator and inspiration guide for Positively-Mindful.com