Worrying About What Others Think

My high school had a very active and somewhat (locally) prominent athletic program: football, track & field, lacrosse, basketball to name just a few. In fact, one of my classmates became a player in the NFL. Many of our school activities revolved around athletics including pep rallies and the actual games / meets. For each event, nearly the entire school (about 2000 students) attended.

Except me.

In my four years there, I attended just one game.

Was it because I didn’t like sports? No, I loved sports. I even ran track for a bit and tried out for the football team.

The reason I didn’t attend the events was because I felt like I didn’t fit in.

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The Secret of Success – Revealed

Back when bookstores were more prevalent, I often found myself perusing the most popular business, psychology, and philosophy books. All these great minds sharing their collective wisdom in one place.

My quest was to find the synthesis between living and producing in the world while experiencing inner peace.

Great books are like great religions – at their innermost core, they all say the same thing. It’s the surrounding fluff that creates sects, schisms, and strong opinions.

The challenge is that strong opinions reinforce belief, the same way repetition strengthens a habit. Thus my focus was moving through the fluff in order to get to the underlying essence of these eminent writings.

And here’s what I discovered: our thoughts create our life.

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I Am So Stressed

One of the most common comments I hear when speaking with friends or colleagues is this: I am so stressed.

You can see it by the strain in their face, hunched posture, and bodily fatigue. The pressures of the world weighing them down – with no end in sight.

And the effects of stress aren’t just emotional. Stress causes cortisol (a hormone in the bloodstream) to rise – leading to the common effects of stress such as muscle tension and increased blood pressure.

But here’s the ironic thing about stress – it doesn’t exist.

You can’t touch stress, you can’t point at it and say “there it is”, and you certainly can’t package it into any sort of container. It isn’t real.

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Best Friends

When I was growing up, my best friend was a kid named Bob. He and I were inseparable – we did everything together. After school we’d hang out and do homework, and on the weekends we’d be involved in some sort of various intramural sports. And when we were old enough to date, we’d often go on double-dates.

We helped each other in school, in sports, and in life. When one of us was suffering (either through some sports injury or a sad breakup) the other felt some of the pain.

Then college came along and we drifted apart – that friendship of youth a forgotten memory. The times we did reconnect over the years never contained that same spark of brotherhood and bond from our youth. Where we once could count on each other to help through a difficult situation, the other was no longer there.

And such is the experience with many people in our lives. There for a bit, but ultimately diminishing in connection as life and circumstance intervene.

Imagine, though, if we could have a friend who was always there for us. And not just any friend – but one who had very special powers. The power to instantly bring a huge, genuine smile to our face. The power to transform any negative situation into an immediate positive. The power to lighten our load and fill us with an overwhelming sense of incredible peace.

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In The Beginning …

In the beginning, there was no beginning.

A beginning implies a start. A start infers a point from which to progress.

But from a place of infinite oneness, there can be no starting point – or ending point.

Here’s the problem with the word infinite. It conjures up images of something very, very large. We think that an infinite number of apples is bigger than, say, a billion apples. But there is no point at which more and more apples equals an infinite number. There are no number of apples that could ever be added to the original billion to achieve an infinite number of apples.

Infinite, by definition, means unlimited. No limits. No beginning, no end. Just infinite. Our brains can’t even grasp the concept of infinite. We use words and theoretical frameworks in an attempt to describe the indescribable.

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