Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Brothers, Hermano's, look up, breath and lets win at this thing we all share called life.
If you deeply within want to see change, big or small in your circumstances, feelings or your thinking then this is for you
I always look around for inspiration wherever I can find it but I'm sure you like me find it hard sometimes especially when you look for male benchmarks and influencers with a true agenda.
Sure, there are plenty guys out there doing good things in their own way advising us on style, grooming, attraction and Chelsea boots (No dig, I have 5 pairs and will add more) but it seems much is centered on the material world.
In most cases we are looking for an answer and those material solutions seemingly help us along the way because who doesn't like wearing some fresh shoes and crisp clothes and feeling increased confidence for a second. But we all know it, they're just temporary fulfillments as we then go back onto our path of discovery and purpose.
I've recently been inspired by 2 men and a lady I watched giving Ted Talks who all shed revelation on the hindrances that deter us, the ego's that stall us and the amazing transformations that can happen in our mind and brains when we become aware.
So lets start with Master Shi Heng Yi , a Buddhist Shaolin Master who inspired this ManTheMaze Christian.
He starts with a story of a man who wants to climb the biggest mountain, yet he spends his time asking others who got to the peak, what is it like? By the time he asks 30 he abandons the climb because he has the info already. But the one thing sharing others experiences does not do and only the self journey to the peak can bring, is clarity.
We all need this clarity, I think this hits home right away, we can be guilty of not walking out own paths all the way because we are so distracted by the wrong things, other people, assumptions and it just leaves us in a lost state.
With clarity, you see more clearly, when you see more clearly, interrelations become apparent, there is no need to believe others opinions. You can distinguish for yourself the right direction to take, which decisions you have to make for your aspirations to take shape.
He highlights that along each and everyone of our personal journeys we will encounter problems, challenges which will either prevent or stop us moving on and climbing the mountain.
These challenges are categorized as 5 Hindrances otherwise know as 5 States of Mind.
- Sensual Desires
Arises in the moment when you are paying attention to something giving you positive emotion from seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling. You climb that mountain and after 1 mile of walking you see a restaurant, smell the food and the temptation diverts you, taking you off course. You don't want to leave it, the sensual desire turns to an obsession meaning you cant get clarity.
State of mind arising from negative emotions, a dislike against object, situation, person
Whatever it is you dislike (object , situation, person) , you climb a mountain and it rains but you don't like rain, the road is bumpy and you don't like bumps, it wont make it a pleasant journey unless you get rid of the ill will.
-Dullness and Heaviness
Non motivation, sleepiness, lack of energy, depression.
Imprisonment, locked in a cell.
Hard to make mental or physical effort
Only way to continue your path, you need to get out of this cell.
State of unsettled mind.
Cant settle in the present moment, worrying about the future or travelling into the past, judging events that happened.
Monkey mind constantly jumping from pone branch to the other, unable to stay in 1 place.
- Skeptical Doubt
Indecisiveness, getting lost in thoughts, is this the right path, what will the others say, what if, mind cannot synchronize with actions anymore, when the way is filled with too many doubts more often you will get stuck.
You need to align and structure your life in a way to prevent those hindrances from arising.
Or use techniques to remove them.
Each hindrance places a dark cloud on your mind or climb, simply remember just one thing,
"Just let it Rain!"
I've spoken of this in the past too, we all have a tendency to get emotional about something we don't like, making it way worse, once you realize its happening, be at peace with what you can control.
4 steps to remove.
1)RECOGNIZE in what state of mind you find yourself in
2) LEARN to Accept, acknowledge and allow the situation to be as it is
3)INVESTIGATE your mental and emotional state and ask questions why it arose, what will be the consequence if you remain in that state.
4) NON IDENTIFICATION is the practice, saying "I am not the body" or "mind" or "emotion", its just that I can see them and they are aspects about me.
"Our lives are too unique to copy the path of someone else."
To bring meaning and value to your life you need to learn about yourself and not let the hindrances stop your journey.
I think Morgan Freeman can bring us out of the temple and put it straight, "get busy living or get busy dying", go get your clarity and stop focusing on the hindrances around you.
Next in Line is Jonathan Gravenor who highlights the other side of ego, he is fighting late stage cancer and realizes he had lived his entire life for himself, successful as a TV Anchorman and Journalist, a material man who lived his life for status, not even his daughter liked him.
Before summarizing let his end point get you thinking, "I started to realize that I wasn't so scared of dying, I had just been scared my whole life of living".
So the story is this, he starts Chemo and each time he goes for treatment, he leaves the clinic and just walks the streets to get lost in humanity, disregarding the outreach of his family to help and chooses to fight or die alone.
He keeps seeing a homeless man with a sign saying help.
After days of ignoring him he pets his dog and then gets the man a sandwich the next day and the dog some food.
The homeless man says I will only eat it if we share.
The homeless man later pulls some pills which are for schizophrenia , Jonathan again in judgement says is that why you are begging? The man says "what?, I'm not begging, I'm here raising money for the needy."
Jonathan had been judging this guys looks all along mistaking him in his view as a bum who should get a job with no real problems vs him dying and others in the clinic dying, which overruled the true, gracious nature and intentions of this person.
From then on , he would sit with this guy, down on the ground connecting and watching the public walk past as people would look down on them ignoring them, the sea of people with places to go, things to see and do.
He realized he always strived to be like them and wanted that view up there, looking down but realized he was at his happiest with the best view down in the presence of connection with the man.
"The best things are said when we don't exchange words , we just exchange space"
Upon the man seeing that Jonathan had cancer, he encouraged Jonathan that he was going to be ok because he had much more to do in life and a greater purpose.
I think we can all relate to being in that sea of people going about their day with what we believe in the moment to be the priorities, but honestly, we have to really snap out of it and connect with people.
Jonathan goes on to say "We can all die in just a minute, but we can all live a million amazing moments"
Jonathan would then be totally transformed, heal wounded relationships and gain that clarity he had been seeking wrongly throughout his entire life. He had a purpose, one not built on wealth but built on connection with people and changing their lives like that man had changed his.
Upon comparing Jonathan and Master Shi's stories its clear to me that connection is the most valuable aspect to our lives, connection with self and connection with others. By connecting with others we can share experiences we never could have planned that transform our lives in a moment and by keeping our inner connection above the hindrances it allows us to have peace in our own paths.
All practical and whether spiritually in tune or not we all have a mind, we all have a body and can enforce these tips to see the changes in our own mental states.
For me I know the significant importance of this practical execution however all of it anchored on my spiritual identity in Christ, but if this isn't you then carry on and hear about your brain and what actually happens when you learn something new on your path.
Now if you like Science and even if you don't this will open your eyes!
Lara Boyd is a Neuroscientist and tells us what our Brains are actually capable of when we take action, if you want clarity as to whether you can ever change or break away from your limitations, now's the time.
It is a misconception that we only use parts of the brain, even when we are at rest our brain's are highly active
The most exciting discovery is that every time you learn a new skill you actually change your brain, its called Neuroplasticity
After puberty it was said any changes were negative or on the downward spiral but its untrue.
"ALL our behaviors change our brain"
Brain reorganization helps to support recovery after you even damage your brain or have a stroke, the key is Neuroplasticity
Our Brain changes in basic ways,
Chemical- The brain can increase concentrations of signaling between neurons. Short term motor skill change.
Physical- The brain alters its structure- long term motor change.
The examples of people who prove this can be seen in Blind people who read brail, they have larger hand sensory areas in their brain to others.
Even London Taxi Drivers who have to memorize the map of London to attain their license have larger brain regions devoted to "mapping memories".
Function- The brain alters its function, As you use a brain region it becomes more excitable and easy to use again.
Our Brains shift how and when they are activated through the excitability
That's all well said and done but why cant we learn to change our circumstances and gain clarity?
Lara determines that the one thing that determines learning more easily, is Behavior.
Therapies prepare the brain for learning, stimulation, exercise and robotics
But you have to learn, It creates greater structural change. Mind blown, everything we do physically changes our brain!
"Behavior that you apply every day is important, each one changes your brain"
Some thrive in traditional education settings, some learn any sport quicker, its not an indicator of how smart or dumb you are, its just that you need to learn to take action and push your capabilities to learn and allow your brain to be exercised through to a repeat excited state.
How fascinating is this?
"You are shaped by the world around you, everything you do , encounter and experience changes your brain."
So those who want to learn a new language or learn to defeat their negative thinking, seek out the course or book on that very topic and get learning. Struggle through it, fight through it, persevere because every moment of effort is shaping your brain to handle more, be capable of more until it gets into a state of excitability where you learn with ease.
So yes, basically you are capable of being Neo in the Matrix and downloading way more than you ever thought into your memory simply by your behavior change and with that comes "The One", Clarity.
So next time you say, "im not creative", or start a sentence with "I cant", just remember that your excuse is the only thing stopping your breakthrough to newer clarity, both mentally as covered by Master Shi and Jonathan and physically, scientifically stated by Lara Boyd.
So lets bring this back down to earth with a quote from one of my favorite films "The Internship", no not the scene with Will Ferrell highlighting his point with his neck tattoo that says "make reasonable choices."
Billy McMahon's statement, "If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them"
Your path to clarity is determined by your own desire to take action, be above the hinderances and not identifying as them, focusing on inner and outer connection and to know that every single thing you do can create a positive, physical change in you and possibly life altering change for others.
Write in, open up, share, encourage.
The links to those Talks are listed below: