How you rob yourself of happiness

A while ago I wrote about all the habits that people do that are really detrimental to growth (check it out here). These are the foundational habits that you need to change in order to address the real reasons you’re unhappy.

These are the deeper things we do that rob us of happiness. And often, we don’t even realize we’re doing these.

  1. Judging

Yeah, who’s not guilty of this?

Be honest with yourself: you’ve judged everything and everyone you’ve ever met. Including yourself.

These are all simply your ego’s projections onto these things in order to make it feel separate and special.

But all judgments come back to bite you in the butt.

Take this example: you see someone who’s rich and judge wealth negatively. “Oh, he just got lucky, wealth doesn’t bring happiness, being rich isn’t necessary…”

Now you have just partaken in your own demise: you can now never become rich because that would be HYPOCRITICAL of you.

Another simple example: you judge someone as fat. Well, great, now you have NO CHOICE but to work out and eat right because now you fear becoming that which you judged.

Of course, I say “you” judge, but really it’s your mind putting labels on everything. You actually have very little control over it.

  1. Beating yourself up

Again, everyone has done this at some point. But simply no good comes from it.

Has beating yourself up ever helped a situation? No.

The better option is to accept whatever happened as what happened. Better yet, accept it as what happened because it couldn’t have been any other way.

Acceptance has a magical power when you start to tap into it. Life flows so much more easily.

If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it! Laugh at it! See the funny in life! Even the most advanced spiritual masters mess up sometimes.

The good news is, as your consciousness grows, you will blame yourself and others less and less, and start becoming more and more accepting.

  1. “Shoulding”

“Shoulding” is any time you tell yourself “should” in your mind.

“She shouldn’t have left me.” “I should be better at this.” “I shouldn’t be doing this.” “He shouldn’t have said that.” Even “he shouldn’t have been elected.”  😉

Should statements are simply your mind resisting reality.

And we all know, when we resist reality, what do we get? Suffering.

That’s right, Trump getting elected isn’t causing your suffering, YOUR RESISTANCE TO IT is.

So become more conscious of these should statements. They can come in many forms, not just should: “I would have been better in that part…” All part of the same story.

One of the best antidotes to should statements are questions:

  • Do I know for certain that I shouldn’t be doing this / that I should be more advanced…?
  • How do I know this isn’t the best thing that has happened to me?
  • How do I know this isn’t exactly how it’s supposed to be?
  • Can I find any evidence to back up this statement in reality?

Once you start to intellectually challenge should statements, you have to start to FEEL that they are untrue in order for them to start to permanently evaporate. This is a bit more subtle and something I haven’t mastered yet.

The problem with all these neuroses is that they’re very subtle. We’re not aware we’re doing them when in fact we are.

This is where meditation becomes so critical. You get more perspective and awareness on your thoughts, and are able to jump in and question them.

Question all of these neuroses: “Is this judgment absolutely true?” “Do I know that I wasn’t supposed to do that?” “How do I know this error won’t turn into a success?” “Apart from my opinion, can I find any proof to this thought?”

Finally, try to FEEL that these thoughts are untrue. This is ultimately what will keep them from recurrently coming up.

Remember, this is a process, a long one. Don’t expect to be rid of these neuroses overnight.

Another tip: start becoming interested in Truth with a capital T. The Absolute Truth. This will also transform your mind because you won’t be so distracted with petty judgments and such.

So jump in. Trust me, this stuff will transform your life.

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Meditation: the #1 Habit for Personal Growth

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: meditation is the one greatest practice you can have in order to grow yourself.

For those of you already doing it, great. The rest, get started.

There are TONS of reasons to meditate, some spiritual, some health-related, and some just benefits that anyone would want.

  1. Less stress
  2. Increased levels of happiness: it’s a direct consequence from the first benefit.
  3. Scientifically proven to increase productivity and creativity
  4. Scientifically proven to improve brain function and health
  5. Better sleep
  6. More access to feelings and intuitions
  7. Distinction between thinking and awareness: this is HUGE. Too many people live life in their heads, and try to change themselves through THOUGHT. This doesn’t work. You have to become more MINDFUL in your everyday life. Meditation will assist you in this.
  8. Getting rid of addictions as a result of being more mindful
  9. Less dependent on thought, are more able to be critical of your thoughts
  10. Slowing down thought process, will be less likely to be inundated with negative thoughts and emotions.
  11. Able to be happy by doing absolutely nothing
  12. Allowing what is
  13. Better able to do deep work (contemplation, Self-Inquiry…)
  14. Enlightenment

If that didn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

What is meditation anyway? There are literally hundreds of ways to meditate. What’s the real essence of meditation.

It can be defined in lots of ways, but basically it’s:
–   relaxation of the mind

  • letting go
  • surrendering
  • letting go of control
  • (slowly) dissolving the ego
  • seeing there is no meditator
  • distinguishing between awareness and thinking
  • what is
  • allowing what is

All these things basically point to one thing: surrendering control, which is the whole point of spirituality.

What’s the best meditation technique? You can try out multiple ones over the course of a few weeks and see what you like, but I strongly recommend the Do Nothing technique.

It’s simple: you do nothing. Just let go of control and relax.

Here’s a guided meditation from actualized.org that works SUPER well. It is a good one to get started with because it is very peaceful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LscnZCzdak&t=1204s

Personally, I started meditating over a year ago (not with that guided meditation). I know everyone says that meditation is all about blissing out and being peaceful.

Do not be deceived.

The first year or so will be hard. You’ll be confused, you’ll wanna quit, you won’t be seeing any results from it.

That’s OK. Just stick with it.

It was really only recently (in the last few months) that meditation has become a real joy for me, where I can sit and expect to get at least of few moments of peace and relaxation.

So there you have it. Start today. Even if it’s only 20 minutes a day. Everyone has 20 minutes in their day. Then bump it up.

I’d like to finish with a great quote from Marcus Aurelius that drives home the importance of meditation:

“Failure to observe what is in the mind of another has seldom made a man unhappy; but those who do not observe the movements of their own minds must of necessity be unhappy.”

– Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

Even outside of a religious context like Buddhism where meditation is central, ancient sages still recognized the importance it held.

Big Mind, Big Heart, Dennis Genpo Merzel

This is a very original spiritual book.

In this book, Zen Master Dennis Merzel combines two teachings: Zen Buddhism and Voice Dialogue Therapy, from traditional psychology. He does this in order to effectively help us pass through the “gateless gate.”

Voice dialogue is where the therapist asks to speak to one “part” or “personality” of the patient, usually fear, the damaged one, the victim… He lets that part of him express itself so that you can accept it.

Here, Merzel takes Voice Dialogue therapy and uses it to speak to the “voices” of the non-dual: the Way, Big Mind, Big Heart… He allows each voice to say what it has to say.

Now, this seems like a rather ridiculous way to practice spirituality. But it seems to work for most people.

In the version I bought, the book came with a CD. One of the tracks is a recording of him performing the Big Mind method on the interviewer, and she immediately recognized what she was. If you listen along and do what he says, it works.
The book is divided into four parts: one where he discusses the method. He says that if you try to find the voice he asks for, it won’t work. You have to let it surface. As soon as you try, it’s over.

The next three parts all deal with different aspects of the psyche: the first with the dual mind, dealing with voices like Fear, the Damaged One, Desire. The next deals with the non-dual mind: Big Mind, Big Heart, Integrated Free-Functioning Human Being… Finally he deals with integrating the dual and non-dual minds, because this is where a lot of people tend to get stuck: they hang out in the non-dual and don’t hold anything from the dual world as having any significance. This part speaks to Supreme Wisdom, Intention, and Zazen Mind to name a few.

He also gives tips for how to meditate: exactly how to sit, etc. And the meditation that comes on the CD is ver nice: it consists simply in asking to let the Non-Seeking Non-Grasping Mind present itself.

It works. You can try it right now. (Watch out: don’t seek or grasp the Non-Seeking Non-Grasping Mind!)

I’ve started to use this in my regular meditation practice if my mind is particularly noisy.

So the big question: does this process at all work?

I’ve concluded (for myself anyway) that it will let you realize what you are through asking to speak to Big Mind. And that is great because it allows the masses (us) to bypass years of spiritual seeking.

BUT. I don’t think this process works well for clearing up. Clearing up is the process that happens after the initial awakening that “clears up” all your neuroses and allows you to embody what you’ve realized.

The best resource I’ve found for post-awakening work is Adyashanti’s “The End of Your World” (book review coming soon!)

But Big Mind Big Heart is an interesting read, and iI did find it helpful in that it addresses all aspects of awakening and the spiritual process: what you are, compassion, mindful interaction…

Favorite quote:

“We have many words to try to grasp the ungraspable, because grasping obviously requires two things – that which is being grasped and one who is going the grasping – and reality is no two, not dual. It’s not graspable.”

The Verdict:

Definitely a new breakthrough way to look at and practice spirituality. I’m still not convinced it is useful for clearing up.

5 Best Personal Development Habits

This post is destined for beginners who might just be getting into personal development. These are the 5 most important habits you can install in your life, and will form the foundation of your growth.

They’re not difficult habits to install, but do them, and the results will compound over time.

Here’s the list:

  1. Meditation

Oh, man.

Meditation has gotten a ton of press in the last few years with spirituality becoming a bigger pert of society and people realizing the benefits of it.

You don’t have to be a spiritual person to get the benefits of it. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to back up how important a tool it can be. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and cravings, and increase happiness and productivity.

I’ll do another post with all the benefits and implications of meditation, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. This is just an introduction.

As you probably know, there are hundreds of ways to mediate, thousands of guided meditations, and seemingly conflicting techniques.

Don’t worry. There’s nothing to worry about.

The best definition of meditation I’ve found is simply: what is.

I can highly recommend actualized.org‘s guided meditation, consisting of letting go. It’s the one I use every day.

As for how often to meditate? You can go the hardcore 8 hours a day, but just start with 20 minutes. 20 minutes sitting down meditating, if that’s all you can do, is great to start out with. After a while, increase it.

Warning! Meditation is NOT all sunshine and rainbows. You’re dealing with the inner workings of your mind. It gets messy. You’ll get stressed out, then worry about not meditating right, you might fall asleep a few times… Not super relaxing when you first start out.

But essential.

2.   Journal

The next habit to add is a journal.

This isn’t a fixed habit like meditation or exercise are. I just like having a place to right down things that come to mind, or venting, or trying to solve problems on my own.

There are tons of ways to journal, none of them wrong, just go with what works for you. Make it personal, creative.

I also recommend having a gratitude section in your journal.

A journal is great for solving your own problems, as it allows you to get a third-person perspective on your life.

It’s probably the easiest habit to install. Think of it as installing a second brain.

3. Health

This is more of a lifestyle switch than a habit.

Much like meditation, people are starting to wake up and see the many benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

Most people realize the surface level benefits: more energy, longer life span, clearer mind, happier…

What most people don’t realize is that moving your body also impacts your growth on a psychological level.

How do you access your intuition? Access your body. Intuition comes or through the body, not the head. Treat your body like an instrument that you fine-tune.

This healthy lifestyle is made up of 3 aspects: exercise (working out, sports, movement), nutrition (eating a balanced diet), and rest (getting enough sleep, keeping stress levels low). All three are important for a healthy lifestyle.

Again, this is a more personalized topic than meditation. Do what works for you in each aspect: exercise, nutrition, and rest. Go with what feels right and make you feel physical good.

4. Reading

In the spirit of cultivating deeper understanding, which is one of the ultimate goals of all this (click here for that post), we need to read. A lot.

For beginners, try reading 1 self-help book per month. Once you get some areas of your life handled, expand your range of material, mostly into the spiritual realm. Develop a big-picture understanding of what’s going on here.

For examples of good, basic PD books to read, well, you’re on the right site 😉

Reading and learning is a good way to develop yourself, but there are traps associated with it. Beware becoming the armchair philosopher. I know I fell into this trap, and still do. Knowing is only half the battle, doing is the part that counts.

5. Being / Reflecting

The last habit that I want you to install is one of being / reflecting. Our lives are mostly run by doing doing doing, more more more. Take time out of your day to slow down.

As you develop yourself further, you’ll see that the truest thing you can do is simply be. Just sit and do nothing. If you’re not used to it, it can be harder than it sounds.

At some point, being and doing nothing can become the most fulfilling activity of your life.

Another aspect of this is reflecting. Reflect on life, on how little we know, on how lucky we are, on your death, on how you want to feel on your deathbed…

Contemplate the big questions, and the little nagging stuff falls away. It simply doesn’t bother you.

So hopefully this short post gave you some ideas about how to build a foundation for personal development.

Osho: The Book of Understanding

I’ve heard many great things about Osho. This is the first book I’ve read by him, and I found it full of surprises.

You could qualify this book as spiritual. I certainly looked at it from that point of view, because Eastern spirituality has become a great interest of mine. But you certainly don’t have to look at it through the lens of spirituality. I think what Osho has to say is pertinent to anyone in the personal development community.

There was one main thing that I wasn’t expecting. In this book, Osho talks a lot about the union of the East and the West, of consciousness and technology, of science and religion (he calls it “Zorba the Buddha”). Which I think is exactly what this world needs. The surprising part was the very extensive rant on religions as we know them: Christianity, Islam…

I wasn’t expecting such firm and critical views on religion from and Enlightened person. Probably my own projection, but I must say it took a while to get used to.

For that reason, it felt like this book was meant for deeply religious people. And I’m sure they could get a lot out of it. But, just for fun, I tried to replace the rant on religion for science, which is far overblown in our society. Osho talks about the difference between knowledge and beliefs. He has this great quote, “Doubt until the very end, until you know and feel and experience.” This goes for science as well as religion: don’t rely on beliefs: go with what is true for you. “If you think you know, you will never know,” because belief hinders investigation.

One concept that I absolutely loved from this book was trying to be ordinary.

Yes, that’s right. Try to be ordinary.

Doesn’t that feel good? Like a great burden has been lifted from your shoulders?

Don’t try to be extraordinary, that’s what everyone is doing. The ego likes to think it’s special, and because of this it creates suffering in your life. “Become ordinary and you will become extraordinary.” You will feel so complete, humble, simple, and free. Yet another piece of great counter-intuitive advice.

Another part I liked was the chapter on “response-ability” as opposed to reactions. Responsibility, if you break up the word, means the ability to respond in the moment, and is derived from present experience, as opposed to reactions, which are based on past experiences.

Like all spiritual teachers, Osho is big on living in the moment. Live as awareness, act like a mirror to the world, to your mind. You’ll see that the grass starts to grow on its own: the doer stops, but the doing continues. That is authentic living.

And now for the most exciting part of the book: sex. Yes, he talks about sex, and actually has some pretty interesting things to say about it. Sexual energy to him is the basis for all divine energy, and apparently you can achieve a meditative state which having an orgasm, and that will translate to growth (which I have yet to try). I don’t think he’s the first to propose this idea. His advice is to accept sex as a natural part of life, and to move with it, only with more consciousness.

Osho also talks about relationships. This part was kind of a big comfort to me while reading it, because that’s an area of life I’m far from mastering. He says that we have been conditioned to be afraid of the opposite sex, but there is nothing to be afraid of. When you think about it, it kind of makes sense: men are taught to fear rejection, women are taught to be wary of men.

But he comes back with this, which I’ll copy straight from the book: “they are just like you, just as much in need of love as you are, hankering just as much to join hands with you as you.”

It was very comforting to read that. 🙂

The last idea I liked from the book was his breaking down of the word “understanding.” It really is genius: when you meditate, everything “stands under” your awareness. Understanding happens on a different plane than the problem, than the intellect.

Which brings me to the core of Osho’s advice: meditation.

He says that meditation simply makes you aware that you are not your mind. Watch your thoughts, watch your mind, and that will make you realize that you aren’t them.

Keep in mind while meditating to:

  • drop repressions of any kind
  • don’t focus on a “God”
  • don’t think of it as something you do for 20 minutes a day, do it as a part of your being: make it natural, something you do as part of your waking life. Of course, make it a habit, do a set practice every day, but don’t think of it as such

I know that everyone will take something different from Osho, and that different people read him, from spiritual gurus to pick-up artists. It just depends on where you’re at. It probably makes more sense if you’re familiar with concepts like Enlightenment, but he has some very practical and easy mindsets to adopt that will work for anyone.

The Verdict:

Definitely good ideas in the book, which can be interpreted in different ways. Very interested to read more from Osho.

Favorite quote:

“If you express your being in your truest form, you will be rewarded immediately – not tomorrow but today, here and now.”

How to DO Personal Development

How to DO Personal Development

This question had been bugging me for quite some time. A lot of people say they do personal development or self-help without actually doing any work.

And yes it does take work.

The thing is, most people just passively read a book, and assume they have grown.

But personal development is a lot more active than that.

To get results, it has to be.

So in this post, I’m going to give you MANY ways you can start DOING personal development, some of which I’m sure you’ve never thought of.

Ready to start?

Let’s go.

 

How to DO Personal Development:

1.Reading books

Classic. Books contain SO much great information. I’m sure you do this already, just know that acquiring the information without doing anything is the same as not knowing.
2. CDs, courses, and videos

Again in the acquiring information category, you can get a lot of information through the Internet that you won’t be able to get without going to expensive seminars. Which brings me to my next point:
3. Seminars and workshops

Personal development can seem very lonesome sometimes. Going to seminars gives you a support group for that as well as a lot of specialized information you can’t find anywhere else. Not even the Internet, sadly.
4. Taking and reviewing notes

Whenever I see something I find useful or interesting, I add it to my loooong list of PD notes on my computer. Going back over them is useful because it keeps it fresh in your mind and may remind you of something you’ve been neglecting in your growth.
5. Coaching

Not to be mistaken for therapy! Therapy aims to get people to baseline, coaching aims for success and moving way past the baseline. This can be useful for personal problems and tailors what you need to do for you. I’ll admit that I’ve never had a coach, so I won’t say more about that.
6. Journaling

Getting into the more active forms of PD, journaling is one of the best habits I’ve picked up this year. I love it because it acts as a second brain. I use it for brain dumps, answering questions, defining goals, and capturing those “aha!” moments. I also try to reread it often. It’s almost like you’re coaching yourself by getting you out of you own shoes.

Some great journaling questions are:

  • What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?
  • What’s the one thing I can stop doing or start doing that will have the greatest impact on my life?
  • What advice would I give someone else in my exact same situation?

 

7. Gratitude

This goes hand in hand with journaling. I love the feeling of gratitude, it’s an easy way to feel happier!

Here’s my favorite way to practice it, straight from Tony Robbins:
Sit straight up in a chair. Then pump your arms straight up and down while breathing energetically. This will help energize your body. Put both of your hands over your heart, and feel it beating. Breathe into it. One at a time, think of and enjoy 3 thing that you can be grateful for in this moment. They can be people in your life, a situation, a coincidence, a simple object near you, or anything else. Fill up with a feeling of gratitude!

You can also do this in conjunction with writing them down!

 

8. Meditation

This should have been first on the list.

This habit holds the most benefit for you. I’ll write a whole other post on the importance of meditation and specific techniques, but for now just know that this daily practice can change your life.
Can you believe we’re not even halfway through the list?!?

9. Affirmations and visualizations

Ah the great PD classics! These are very basic forms of personal development, and can be very useful for newbies in the area. Proper technique for doing these isn’t hard to find on the Internet.

One of my favorite visualizations is one aimed at self-acceptance. This can be found on Actualized.org on Youtube. Self-acceptance is always the one thing we forget to do while simultaneously improving ourselves. We are so focused on what aspects of ourselves we don’t want we forget to accept that we have them, and that they are us.
10. Psychological exercises

Whichever way you slice it, personal development IS psychology. Some good psychological exercises are psychodramas (playing out episodes of your past), or role-playing (acting out different roles to emphasize characteristics). Writing out past traumatic episodes can also be helpful.
11. Sentence stems

This is a fun way to get answers from yourself! How this works is you have a stem of a sentence and you have to write 6-10 endings for it without filtering.

Here are 2 examples from The 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem, Nathaniel Branden:
“If I am willing to express 5% more of myself today ___.”
“When I suppress my thoughts and opinions ___.”

A few more good ones I like:
“In order to please my father, I had to be ___.”
“The biggest thing I fear about leaving my partner is ___.”
“One area in my life where I’m trying to go too fast is ___.”

Try to do each question or series of questions first thing in the morning over a few days to get as many varied answers as possible.

The beauty of this technique is that it is easily applicable to any situation and any new concept you learn about or any problem you may have. And it’s not hard to come up with new ones!
12. Take action, push your comfort zone

Sure, it’s easy to repeat “I am brave” in front of your mirror for 5 minutes a day. Don’t forget you actually have to go do the thing you’re afraid to do. Consistently pushing your comfort zone will be very beneficial in so many way: it increases confidence, lowers depression, and ultimately makes you feel alive!

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing and you will have the power.”
13. Mindfulness

Just sitting there. Just being. You’ll notice when you start doing this you’ll feel more relaxed, more fulfilled, and have more emotional mastery.

Another reason to do this is to increase your awareness throughout the day. There are many notions in intermediate PD that you do throughout the day that you’re probably not even aware of, like criticizing, lying, judging, people-pleasing, and resisting reality. Even overeating comes from a low level of consciousness. Noticing when you do these and how they affect you is the first step in changing these habits.

This goes hand-in-hand with meditation. I also like to be mindful for example when doing chores or going for a walk.

Remember, Yin and Yang.
14. Taking a walk

Again on the Yin side, this can be very beneficial. Walking for 20 minutes a day increases your mood, your energy, releases stress, and gets your juices flowing for the day. I love to walk to a park not far from where I live and then journal.
15. Bioenergetics / Dynamic meditation

Let’s stick with the theme of the body. I recommend you check out my review of the Language of the Body by Alexander Lowen. Here’s a brief snapshot of what bioenergetics is: it’s a therapy consisting of releasing trapped energy in the body.

So basically let your body do whatever it wants to. Dynamic mediations by Osho also have the same effect.

Let whatever wants to come out come out. Anger, screaming, crying, laughter, hitting stuff. Yep, hitting a cushion is my version of an hour of therapy!

You will feel so much freer after a session of this, not to mention so much more grounded.

A few other exercises I like to do is opening my jaw as wide as possible and holding it, also the bow. The bow consists of putting your hands wither behind your head or above it, and leaning back and breathing. This will induce a shaking throughout your body. That’s a good thing! That’s your life force being freed!
16. Defining and refining values, vision and mission statement

Again back to the classical type of PD exercises! These kinds of exercises and finalized notions can be useful for grounding your work, especially if you’re just starting out.
17. Introspection

Again on the Yin side of things, introspection is a very important part of PD. Asking yourself what’s true for you, what do you want, reflecting on how you’re life is going, all these things can help release anxiety and clarify some things for you. Seriously, some of the deepest things I’ve discovered so far have come from just thinking about stuff!

I most love introspection on deep philosophical topics such as epistemology, metaphysics, and ultimately the nature of reality. Pondering these things can greatly benefit you in the long term (see below).

Another thing to ponder is the shortness of life. This is the only one you have! Think about that for a while to stay motivated and grateful for what you have.

Who knows what’ll hit you?
18. Theater (say what?)

Yep theater.

I’m sure you’ve never thought of theater as being a means of improving oneself.

I’m here to argue otherwise. Theater has started to become a big part of my life and those around me. For those who don’t know, I grew up in the world of theater (both of my parents are singers and actors), and I always noticed that actors have something the rest of us don’t. I was only just able to pinpoint what that was.

Authenticity.

My theory here is that after having tried on so many masks, actors know their own personality very well, they know what fits them. That’s the approach I’m coming at it from.

Also I’ve found that after doing a scene where maybe I play an angry character, I’m left feeling very clam and relaxed. Theater is cathartic in the same way dynamic mediation is.

The last point I’ll make about theater is confidence. Of course! You need to have confidence to go on stage! I’ve seen one friend of mine in particular go from a complete introvert, as in won’t open his mouth to save his life, to cracking jokes at rehearsals!

These three reasons are why I’m putting theater in this list of personal development work.

19. Life purpose work

This is a complicated subject, but an important one if you want to live an impactful, fulfilling life.

Life purpose = how do you become a benevolent force in the way that is most personal to you?

Finding it will take some time, no question about that. Some great ways are doing exercises in books, traveling, working different jobs, generally exposing yourself to more life has to offer, going wherever your interests lead you, and answering questions such as:

If you had 100 million dollars right now, and you had 2 months to use it however you want, what would you do after you’ve spent it all?
20. Questioning and doubting

Now we’re going really deep.

At the most advanced stages of PD, you have to be questioning everything. Ideologies, all beliefs, your identity, ego, thoughts, negative feelings, rationality, societal preferences, morals, knowledge, and the nature of reality itself.

This is where psychology and philosophy meet. You will discover that if you undertake an interest in this area, you will be much more fulfilled and lead a less petty life than most people do.

Also after doubting all these things for a few years, you ultimately come into touch with what you can trust. I recommend checking out Actualized.org’s video on this subject, it will explain it in more detail than I can go into here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypSinz7WB3I

This is an ongoing process for me, and keep in mind I’m not far along it by any means.
21. Enlightenment work

This is the most advanced PD work you can do as a human being, discovering your existential nature. This can be accomplished in multiple ways: Self-Inquiry, Strong Determination sits, mindfulness, and other ways, or a combination of these. Different things will work for different people at different times.

 

This brings me to the end of the list of ways to DO personal development. If you have any more, leave them in the comments!

I think it would do good to remind everyone (myself included) that personal development at its core is getting rid of neuroses. What are neuroses? They come in many different forms, but all of them are destructive and all of them are self-deceptive. Hopefully now you have LOTS of tools and different angles for working on yourself!

Also keep in mind that you are the only one who can do this work. You can do some of it, or all of it, or take some ways of working and not others depending on where you are in your journey.

Will it take work? Yes. Will it be worth it? More than you can imagine.