Key To Success

What do you do when you come across a key to success in a book you're reading? You ponder over it. Since I read many books and come across many keys, I thought it would be fun to share the ideas that arise as I contemplate a key to success. Reading is not just about absorbing information, it's also about contemplating, allowing the ideas to blossom within, and nurturing a seed tossed in the rich soil of the inner garden.

Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

I got my Master's degree in psychotherapy more than a decade ago. Since then I've studied the human condition with fascination. Over the years, I've learned a singular lesson: your life does not work when you oppose your soul nature. If you want a magical life, you have to drop your inauthentic transactions with the world. You discover your own power when you spend time alone to figure out what you really love to do.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Awareness As A Portal To Flow

Awareness can be seen as a methodology, a plan for personal and professional achievement. It is a way to manage change.

Awareness arises when doing requires learning. In sports, for example. As you play your sport, you are not only acting it but learning about how to act. The more fluid
your actions, the more well-rehearsed your form, the better you will play it.

The absence of awareness is an ungraceful dance between experiencing yourself as both a subject and an object. This method makes skill enhancement a challenge. The challenge arises not because you are self-conscious, but because your self-consciousness makes you self-critical. What makes things even more confusing is having an observer add to your own inner dialogue with comments.

The result of all this criticism is not an improved performance, but a worse one.

Unfortunately, this is the way most people learn new skills. They fumble rather than flow. And the more they learn about how it should be done, the more even the fundamentals escape them.

Somehow, despite all of this, people do learn skills, and sometimes become very good
at something that they once used to be excruciatingly bad at. On the other hand, a lot of people settle for mediocrity or give up altogether.

Introduce awareness into this process of learning, as a substitute for self-criticism, and all the dynamics shift. What was painful becomes pleasurable; what was embarrassing becomes amusing; what was serious becomes playful; and what was rigid and stiff becomes pliable and creative.

Awareness is noticing, and not trying to fix something; it is getting into the feeling and the sensation of something with detachment. Balance, enjoyment, learning, and performance improvement happen by themselves.

The reason for the shift is because the attention is taken from the left hemisphere, which is verbally-oriented, to the right hemisphere, which can perceive patterns much more acutely.

Another way of looking at it is a transference of a critical inner parent to a playful inner child. A parent tends to correct. A child tends to explore.

While awareness, the cultivation of silent attention, is highly useful as a learning strategy for physical events from learning how to play an instrument to playing a sport, it can be used, equally well, for any skill, even mathematics, or art, or the ability to make a speech.

When you are doing something and just can't seem to get it, it is because, in a sense, you are not really in your body, but outside it, feeling disassociated. You are not focusing on what is happening, what an experience feels like. Instead you are focusing on ideas of what should be happening and you are looking at yourself in an unsympathetic way.

The emphasis on what you should do, ought to do, and eventually must do, is, to say the least, unnerving. Your expectation means you are in an imagined future time and the contradiction between where you are and where you want to be throws you off balance. In other words, neither your mind nor your body is processing the existing information. Rather, it is lost in a confused fantasy of future dexterity.

Awareness helps you to hone in on the desired pattern. It is motivation in motion.

One possible reason why the obvious idea of awareness may appear insightful is that awareness asks you to embrace the unknown and make it your ally. It asks you to be vulnerable. It seeks the wisdom of insecurity. Ironically, as you explore this possibility, you find it truly liberating.

Criticism, on the other hand, enforces the known. It is the struggle to embody the known and established theory of how something should be done. In other words, it makes the learning process a lot harder.

Profound learning happens when you learn through yourself.

Generally people are so disconnected from themselves that this feels weird.

The real gift of using awareness as a learning strategy is not learning more faster, but learning how to dance with the movement, falling into its flow, experiencing its inner dynamics and unifying with it completely. It is having a time out of time experience.

Sometimes, it is when you don't try hard that you succeed more easily.

Resource Box

Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you're up to the challenge and want to create the kind of freedom and lifestyle you truly deserve - starting now - then get his free book from


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