Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Four Pillars

There are Four Pillars that are necessary to address in order to achieve Balance in one's life. They are the Mental, Intellectual, Physical and Spiritual. Each must be developed in order to achieve the whole. If any one of these pillars is missing, balance collapses.

The Mental and Intellectual aspects would seem to be the same. Mental is a reference to one's frame of mind, attitude, the paradigm with which one views the world. Intellectual would be a reference to one's philosophical development and knowledge acquisition. The Mental is the Mind's Eye, the window upon which one sees the world. The Intellectual would inform the blueprint and provide the construction materials for a more elaborate window and frame.

The Mental

The first step in the deevolution to your natural state, both in application and in terms of importance, is Mental. However, as with all things, your most important ally is also your greatest adversary.

The first thing to do is to let go of desire. Now how do you reconcile this Taoist/Buddhist concept of Desirelessness with being goal-oriented and wanting to achieve more? If you think back on goals you have achieved in the past you will find that while achieving the goal was very satisfying, you very likely got so much more out of the endeavor than you thought you would. For instance, in achieving a goal such as running a marathon, what have you gotten out of it? Just that you ran 26.2 miles consecutively? No. You have gained so much more, that in fact, running the marathon only becomes a quantifiable illustration of what you've achieved. Hopefully what you have gained is the mental toughness and discipline that comes with practice, and a greater understanding of your body and of what you're capable. So the next time you're in an adverse situation, you access that mental toughness, or if you want to achieve another goal, you exercise that discipline, that comes from knowing that you can achieve things you set out to, no matter how insurmountable they might seem at the time you dared to dream them.

Therefore we will set goals, in fact writing them down. You should write everything down. It makes a promise to yourself and makes you accountable. And with these goals the shapeless idea of personal development will take greater shape in more tangible, quantifiable goals. These are not the end result, they are merely points on the horizon, that keep the ship ruddered. When on a ship at sea, you have to look at the horizon. If you look down at the water, you are likely to get seasick. Same as with life, keep looking at the horizon to avoid getting bogged down in the micro-details of everyday life.

So set goals and maintain your desirelessness. They are not in opposition. I will elaborate further on the difference later. The key is to not be married to results, as they will not bring you personal happiness or enlightenment. Rather focus on doing right by you, moment to moment, developing yourself and always keeping the horizon in view.

EXERCISE 1: Write down your goals - what is that you want to achieve? These are the horizons, the destination points. Refer to them daily.

This shouldn't be hard. They can be whatever you like. Maybe, it's to get a promotion, run a mile and a half in 7:30 minutes, or become more of a ladies man. Place one in each pillar.


Don't get bogged down in the minutiae of everyday life. The first step is to limit emotion in your daily interactions in life. The minute you feel your emotions taking over, thereby pushing logic to the side, you need to acknowledge these moments. For instance, somebody cuts you off on the road and you curse and throw up your middle finger in a fit of road rage. That's micro, as emotion has gotten the better of you.

Hear yourself complaining about your boss at work? Listen to what you're saying and it is most likely emotion-based and micro. Acknowledge (to yourself!) that emotion has surfaced and pushed logic to the side and proceed.

Emotion is antithetical to logic. Emotion is the domain of the Feminine. This is not intended to be chauvinistic, and in fact the differences in men and women should be celebrated. We shouldn't be Ziggy Stardusted in to some androgynous automatons, devoid of emotion or sexual characteristics. Women should be celebrated for the wealth of emotion that they have, but your status as a man is clearly dependent on control of yours. Emotion clouds your mind of logic.

Don't believe me? Let's say someone starts some shit with you in front of your girl. This is a highly charged emotional situation. Adrenaline starts pumping through your veins like battery acid. What happens? Women may start crying, or start yelling at the other person further antagonizing them. Guys may start flexing, cursing, or increasing the volume of their voice. And what's the Man do? He's quiet. He's unaffected. He knows what he may have to do, and how he's going to resolve it. He's ready and confident he is capable. He's prepared. And that other guy? Well he can't set the Man off emotionally and he can't intimidate him. Now he's thinking "why isn't he scared? why isn't he emotional?" and now emotion is beginning to cloud his logic. The Man, in controlling his emotions, manages to control the entire situation even outside himself. This is why we begin with ourselves, and not the outside world. It's one of those Wizard Of Oz, new agey things; you carried the answers with you all along. They were inside you. Oh that's rich.

This example is rife with lessons in Meninism, and therefore I will refer to it often.

Exercise 2: Elevate to the Macro
Be mindful of and acknowledge situations where emotions enter the equation for you and for others. If emotion gets the better of you, return to balance as quickly as possible. Logically review the situation and emotion's part in it. What larger purpose did the emotion serve and did it help you (them)? You will find that it serves little or no purpose and is indeed micro behavior.


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