“The secret is not in what you do to yourself but rather in what you don’t do.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Survival

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I can honestly say that I don’t know where this post is going – but I have a lot of thoughts in my head, I feel the connection and I hope to make it concrete through writing. What triggered this was a brochure I saw this morning of a person I consider to be an alternative medicine professional. This person has opted to create a brand (and I assume service) of “Well being coaching”. I was really disappointed to see this.

Something is happening!

I feel that something is happening in the world, there is a shift and change – I gather this from a sense of instability all around – both in my life, in people I know and from what little information reaches me about the world at large. Instability contains a great potential for change but it also brings with it much discomfort – it it unpredictable. When people encounter unpredictability they experience friction and generally try to counteract it – to reinstate stability. There are endless ways to go about doing this – some are quiet and peaceful, some are private and personal, some are sweeping and grandiose, some are violent and explosive, some have immediate effect, some are very subtle and barely noticeable.

Survival

I live in a country where the prevalent state-of-mind is survival. I have done much (without actually leaving) to free myself from this perception – and though things have changed, I still carry it with me.
Yet on a basic level I feel that this is an experience shared by most of the people on the planet. In the west it may be less immediate and threatening – but still people work to finance their lives, pay their mortgages, etc. In third world countries it is an extreme recurring daily threat – will I eat today and will I be able to feed my children? But there is a basic pattern at work.

My Survival

Yoga, as I experience it, suggests that the mind comes equipped with a set of skills – each skill can be functional or dysfunctional. A prominent function of the mind is apprehension, and a prominent dysfunction is misapprehension. From what I have studied and from my own personal experience, when the mind experiences friction such as instability, it tends to gravitate towards misapprehension. I have lived most of my life with a misapprehension that I need to make money. How do I know this to be a misapprehension? Ironically, most of my life I managed to make money yet I was unhappy (sometimes – clinically unhappy!) – the whole thing didn’t make sense. The last years have been and continue to be financially distressing but I am a happy – I am doing meaningful things, meeting interesting people and having a hard time comprehending why this is not reflected in my bank account. But a hard time is OK – I can manage hard!

Making Money

Over the past years I have encountered both coaching and and MLM (multi-level-marketing) – I have had some experience with the former, and I have been approached by wannabe friends with the latter. Though my gut feeling about these things is not good, I have tried to put it aside. I don’t know enough about either to offer a qualified opinion. I can say that all (except one – which I will get to promptly) the people I met were driven to these enterprises to make money. They had grown tired of their existing financial paradigms and were looking to change it. Both systems (coaching and MLM) are often falsely presented as easy money. With coaching the hourly rates are ridiculous and with MLM ‘earning money by leveraging the work of other – you will earn money off of their work’. I assume that professional in both professions will denounce these claims completely. There is much misapprehension.

The problem here is that people don’t seem to be doing anything to establish clarity – to restore apprehension. Here lies one of my key objections to both of these systems. They are about making money – which is fine. They attract people who are looking/need to make money. They then falsely introduce idea such as wellness-of-being to establish a popular image. Why is this image necessary? The people at the top of the chain are probably excellent business and marketing people – they know how to sell – how to make money. But in the lower levels many people are not good at making money – and many of them never will be. So the people at the top give them tools they can understand and wield (with pride) – “wellness”. Who can refuse “wellness”?

So you have people who are ignorant about health of the body prescribing foor additives and people who have not achieved fulfillment in their lives consulting others about how to go about doing it.

Remember that one exceptional person I mentioned earlier? Most of the people I met had not managed to achieve financial success with either coaching or MLM – they were either getting started – or still working at it. I did meet one person who succeeded at MLM. This person did not entice me to get started with MLM because she didn’t think it would suit me. This person also admitted that MLM did not lead to a feeling of satisfaction. It made enough money to make life easier and more pleasant – but it did not offer fulfillment.

Use & Abuse

Apprehension and misapprehension in the mind are reflected in our actions as use and abuse. If you want to make money – go and acquire tools to make money – be clear about your motivations. I presume (this is not my interest and I do not have experience with this) that there are tools and techniques for making money. If you want to work towards fulfillment – go and acquire tools and techniques dedicated to doing this (with this I have more personal experience).

My personal experience indicates that survival itself is a misapprehension. Therefore pursuing money for survival is, in my opinion, a dead-end (I have a feeling that the people that are really good at making money – are not really trying to make money and are not in a state-of-mind of survival). When I accepted this I was able to start on a different path – a path of fulfillment. It’s a challenging, difficult and worthy path.

It makes me sad that a skilled person, one who has invested years in gaining knowledge and experience in truly helping people – is lured by forces of survival into misapprehension that leads away from a personal path of heart. Yet I realize that in the end even this deviation will be a step on that path. It’s the way of the world – and it’s a beautiful world.

Final Thoughts

On Coaching. Change takes a long time and a lot of effort – no one can do it for you. One thing you can bring into your life to support change is inspiration. You will know when you find it – and you are better off finding it in friends and friendships where there is heart and compassion.

On Wellness (which has nothing to do with MLM). Eat well, take care of your body, learn to breath, foster healthy and inspiring relationships, listen to your heart, be present and persist.

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