In 2015, I was wanting to write a book about the Three Principles that came at them from a primarily spiritual angle, as opposed to the more psychological (The Inside-Out Revolution) or practical (Creating the Impossible).
The thing I’ve learned about titling books in the realms of personal, business, and spiritual development is that the best ones tend to answer one of three questions:
- What’s it about? (The Power of Now, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Deep Work, etc.)
- What’s the key point in a nutshell? (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Stop Talking, Start Doing, etc.)
- What’s the promise? What will it give/do for the reader? (I Can Make You Thin, Feel Happy Now, Getting Things Done, etc.)
When I ran this new book through the three questions, I began with what it was about, and answered it like this:
“There is a space within you where you are already perfect, whole, and complete. It is a space of pure consciousness – the space inside which all thoughts come and go.”
This led to the title we ultimately wound up using – The Space Within.
Answering the second question about the key point led me to this:
Every problem we have in life is the result of losing our bearings and getting caught up in the content of our own thinking. The solution to every one of these problems is to find our way back home.”
That in turn led to the title I pitched the book with – One Problem, One Solution.
But it was in answering the third question that things got interesting for me. What’s on offer for the reader?
“When you rest in the feeling of this space, the warmth of it heals your mind and body. When you operate from the infinite creative potential of this space, you produce high levels of performance and creative flow. When you sit in the openness of this space with others, you experience a level of connection and intimacy that is breathtakingly enjoyable and filled with love. And when you explore this space more deeply, you will find yourself growing closer and closer to the divine, even if you’re not sure there is such a thing and wouldn’t know how to talk about it if there was.”
Which was obviously too long for a title, so I sat with it on simmer at the back of my mind, hoping it would reduce itself down to something pithy. And in the end, while waiting for my bags to come out at one of the many airport baggage claims I visit around the world, it did:
[click_to_tweet tweet=”The point of learning about the Three Principles is that it helps you to fall more deeply in love with life.” quote=”The point of learning about the Three Principles is that it helps you to fall more deeply in love with life.”]
Why does that matter? Where do I begin?
When we’re in love with something (or someone), we forgive it its variance. We don’t only love it when it’s dancing to our tune and giving us what we want; we love it in spite of, not because of.
So when we fall more deeply in love with life, we stop trying to control it, bargain with it, or threaten to leave it behind when it’s not giving us what we think we need to be happy. We engage more fully, enjoy more deeply, and dance with it whatever music happens to be playing in the moment.
We go beyond resigning ourselves to our lot in life or railing against the dying of the light to acceptance; then we go beyond a mere acceptance of what is to a loving embrace. As a dear friend who used to fear getting old told me after her recovery from cancer, “I want to live all the ages.”
And when we love life, it’s remarkable how often we see a hidden kindness in its vicissitudes. We forgive ourselves our trespasses even as we forgive those who trespass against us because we see our collective innocence, knowing that everyone is doing the best they can given the thinking they have that looks real to them. And we embrace the numerous gifts of beauty that are on offer no matter how dire our current circumstances might seem.
There is an old Zen parable about a man being chased by a tiger. As the tiger gets closer and closer, the man realizes he is nearing the edge of a cliff. Forced to decide between being eaten alive and leaping to his death, he scrambles over the edge of the cliff and drops down to a tree branch that’s growing out of the cliff face.
As he hangs from the branch, he looks up and sees the hungry tiger above him; he looks down and sees a seemingly endless drop to the rocks below.
When he looks right where he is hanging, he notices a beautiful strawberry plant growing out from the face of the cliff. He plucks the fruit from the vine, takes a big bite, and exclaims “Wow – this strawberry is delicious!”
And in that same way, when we rest in the presence of the space within, we find ourselves in the timeless present, where every strawberry is delicious and as has been said about the Scottish mystic Syd Banks, where every cup of tea is the best cup of tea we’ve ever had.
We may never fully understand the mystery of life, but every time we look we see a little bit more, and every one of those “bits” soften the edges of our separate selves and wake us up a little bit more to the aliveness at the heart of life. We fill up – with love, presence, gratitude, and wonder – and discover how wonderful life can be when we put our heart into it and embrace it fully.
Or in the words of Syd Banks:
[click_to_tweet tweet=”“A mind full of love and good feelings can never go wrong.”” quote=”“A mind full of love and good feelings can never go wrong.””]
Have fun, learn heaps, and with all my love,