I was doing a coaching intensive last week with a self-described “control freak” who was eager to master the inside-out understanding and get even more of the benefits of that understanding for herself. Based on the increased feelings of fearlessness, insight, and freedom she had already experienced, she told me that she was willing to commit fully to the process and put every strategy I shared with her into immediate action.
What I suggested instead was that she would benefit greatly from reading my new book, Disempowering Yourself: A Guide to Letting Go.
While I was joking, what I was trying to point out is that one of the main reasons people struggle to get insights into the nature of the human experience is that they think they have to struggle in order to get them. All transformation comes about via a shift in consciousness – a vertical leap to a new level of understanding, clarity, and well-being. And almost anything you do to try to make this kind of transformation happen “on demand” actually gets in the way of it happening all by itself.
During the course of our time together, a couple of metaphors occurred to me which point to how the shifts in consciousness that lead to personal and professional breakthroughs can occur without your having to do anything to get them…
|1. The Elevator of Consciousness
In The Inside-Out Revolution, I describe the “elevator of consciousness” like this:
While pure Consciousness is a formless potential, as individuals we all experience life at different levels. It’s like being in a glass elevator – the world looks different depending on what floor we’re on. And the elevator of our personal consciousness goes up and down all day long. When our level changes, our view changes right along with it: the higher our level, the clearer our view.
What I find so hopeful in this metaphor is that it’s possible for any one of us to make a ‘vertical leap’ in consciousness at any time. Each new insight we have into the nature of the human condition opens up a higher perspective, a deeper understanding, and a clearer view of what’s really going on. It’s like making the move from an elevator that runs between the fifth and fifteenth floor of a building to one that will take us up to the twentieth floor. While we’ll most assuredly continue to experience the ups and downs of life, our access to common sense, wisdom, and well-being grows exponentially with each leap.
As with a real elevator, we aren’t that involved in making the glass elevator of consciousness go up and down. Short of “pressing the button” by looking within and waiting for the doors of perception to open, there’s not a lot for us to do. And if we keep running around looking for stairs or a ladder while we wait, we’re liable to miss the elevator when it comes.
|2. The Hyperbaric Chamber
While its efficacy as a treatment modality is still a source of some debate, the idea of a hyperbaric chamber is simple. By pumping high volumes of oxygen into an air-tight chamber, more oxygen gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Proponents of this therapy claim that spending time in an oxygen rich environment stimulates and can even accelerate the body’s natural healing capacity.
Some athletes also use hyperbaric chambers to promote the “superman effect”. By spending time (and even sleeping) in air that has higher levels of oxygen, they feel that they have greater strength, endurance, and clarity of mind when they leave the chamber and go back to operating in normal air.
Best of all, you don’t need to actually do anything to get the benefits – just by hanging out in the chamber, your body naturally absorbs the oxygen and you experience the positive effects without any effort on your part whatsoever.
It seems to me that the transformative conversation works in much the same way, except the “oxygen” in this case is the presence of Mind – the deeper energy and intelligence behind life. Some people call this energy “the life force”; others refer to it as “the big mind”, or “God”, or “the oneness of life”.
It is that which animates our bodies, ensures that acorns become oak trees, and shows up in our lives as an innate wisdom and well-being that guides our path through life if we let it. And as with the hyperbaric chamber, simply hanging out in the energy of Mind brings about the benefits all by itself.
Something inside of us “wakes up” at a deeper level, and we are able to take our enhanced clarity, heightened sense of well-being, and increased access to wisdom with us when we go back out into the “real world” The transformative conversation “turns up the oxygen” both by presencing this underlying life force through dialogue and by taking advantage of the heightened resonance that seems to occur whenever two or more people connect at this more fundamental level. Coach and client simply enter the chamber together, turn up the deeper feeling, and see what happens.
There is nothing else for you to do, and there are no prerequisites to “getting it” other than showing up, turning up the deeper feeling, and staying in the conversation long enough to begin experiencing the benefits for yourself.
While most people balk at the idea of “disempowering themselves”, I am not suggesting that you abandon responsibility for your actions or go back to living life as a victim of your circumstances. It is simply that when you stop trying so hard to be the predominant creative force in your life, the natural creative force begins to come through you more and more.
That is, for me, the real meaning behind the phrase “let go and let God”. Not that we are meant to give up on our hopes and dreams, but that when we give up on thinking that we’re in charge of the universe, whatever force that spins the planets and illuminates the stars can move heaven and earth to make the seemingly impossible possible.
With all my love,