Masculine Diet of the Seven Chakras for Self Discipline – Foundation Of Yang Strength

You can make a decision to start a spiritual path of self discipline in a single moment, and this decision will change your life when you make it. That is because the first step in the right direction is always exactly one step away. You can, in this very moment, decide to transform yourself. You can transform yourself into a powerful person who acts from a center of self discipline. This process can be completed in 30 days, and you can decide to start right this second. Yes, right now. You can start a 30 day Yang power diet of self discipline, and when you emerge from this 30 days, you will be a powerful person who acts in concert with divine guidance and is free from addictions, from sloth, lust, gluttony, envy, wrath, greed, and pride. You must simply learn to preserve your personal power and tune in to your divine guidance. This article will show you how.

As I write about the development of benevolent Yang energy, it becomes more and more clear to me that these lessons apply to women as well as to men. All of us have Yin and Yang energy, and we can all benefit from understanding the Yang side of that equation. Our Yang energy is that which gives us the ability to execute in the world. It is the power to take what we want when we see it. It’s the ability to make the next move, to close the deal, to shoot the arrow. Women need this aspect as well as Men, and both need to exercise control over this personal power.

Usually it is Men who suffer from excesses of their Yang nature. You see this in cases of “male fragility”. You also see it in men who are controlled by addictions and obsessions, men who anger easily, men who react to their emotional responses, and in men who make a mess out of their lives. Men who resort to violence and men who feel a compulsive need to dominate in every situation suffer from male fragility. This can happen in women too, particularly those who are overcompensating as a result of old wounds they suffered. There are many women who have to have their way, and who always want to speak first. Excesses of Yang cause suffering in both genders, and we can all benefit from self discipline.

In our culture, we resist the notion of discipline. We think of it as minor punishment we received for failing to follow the orders of our teachers or parents or whatever outside forces have used punishment and reward to control our behaviors. We think of discipline as something which limits our freedom, and we often hide our true nature to avoid negative external consequences, and this causes our shadows to develop and fester. But this is not what discipline really means.

Those who suffer from a lack of discipline waste their energy all the time. They spew out unnecessary words, eat and drink to excess, obsess about new opportunities to ejaculate, and enter into conflicts every time they come across another strong man. Many indigenous traditions that I have learned from talk about the spiritual diet, and how this diet concentrates and preserves spiritual energy. This “dieta” as they call it, is much more than simply limiting food intake. It involves discipline in each of the chakra centers.

If you want to develop your true power in this world, these chakra disciplines will help you concentrate and preserve your individual power. The dieta works by restoring your personal integrity. Without personal integrity, you can have no power, because your power will leak out where your integrity is broken. Your integrity can be seen as energy flowing through your seven chakras. So as we go through each Chakra, we will talk both about breaks in integrity, and how a dieta can fix this.

The dieta is a regimen of prayer, meditation, and self restraint that takes place over a specified period. For this initial dieta, a period of 30 days is recommended. An important part of this dieta is devoting at least 30 minutes at the beginning of each day to prayer and meditation. It is best to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you are accustomed to waking so that you can do your prayer and meditation before your routine would otherwise start. It is also a good idea to reflect on your day before you go to bed each evening.

First Chakra – Belonging, Tribe, Connection to Gaia and Yin Side

The first Chakra is so often overlooked as a major power center for all of us. This is because it is the root, and as such, it does not move very much, or make a lot of noise. The Root Chakra is where we connect to the earth, to our tribe and to our sense of belonging. Those with a strong root chakra transmit a feeling of presence, stability, calm, and unflappability. People who have a break in their root chakra can never settle down. The fly from place to place, but never seem at home in any of the places they travel. They are the people who might show up, and might be charming, but who can never be counted on. They are the ones who always rise quickly in popularity, but then disappear just when you depend on them. They often suffer from a deep wound of “not belonging” and of self rejection. People broken at the first chakra give their power away through sloth.

The dieta for the first chakra is to stay put for a while. As you go for your 30 days, stay put where you are for your dieta. Identify the communities that you participate in, and stay with them for 30 days. Do you have a community at work, in a church, in a sport, it a book club, in your family, through your heritage, or in a recovery program? Make a list of the community you care about, and give some energy to your community. Resist temptations for the 30 days to run after the next great thing. Decline invitations to new things. This 30 days is about centering yourself where you are.

In your daily meditation, sit on the floor or the ground on a comfortable cushion. Imagine a root growing down out of your first chakra deep into the earth below you. Imagine you are firmly rooted in your position. Imagine a tree, like a palm, with a deep tap root, that can blow and bend in the strongest wind, and never be moved from its place. This is you. You are here. You are ok. You are enough. You are an essential part of your community. You do not need to run. You can stay in your place. These are all thoughts you can repeat in your mind and then let them sink in your body. Embrace these thoughts and feel the difference in your way of being as you receive and accept their strong vibration of belonging.

The discipline for the First Chakra is to resist the temptation to run. When our fight or flight adrenal response activates, flight is a very weak Yang response. If we run every time we have a conflict or a difficulty, we can never have power. The key to the first chakra is to breath and remain in your place when anxiety arises inside you. Men and women can both benefit from this discipline.

After your 30 days of staying put and meditation daily about establishing your root, you will find yourself to be much more stable and self assured. You will feel anxiety arise in your body, but instead of running, you will remain firm and face it. This energy that comes in the anxiety is released when you run. But if you stay put, you can harness and retain this energy in your field.

Second Chakra – Sexual Discipline

Not a lot of people like to hear about sexual discipline. They think it is prudish, but in fact it is quite the opposite. Most men are encouraged to spend their lives pursuing ever more exciting opportunities to ejaculate. How many men do you know who have ruined their lives by letting this urge control their behavior? It’s a very curious subject in American culture. Almost any Indigenous Diet for men includes a prohibition of sex.

But it is not the enjoyment of sexual relationships that depletes our power, rather it is the undisciplined pursuit of ejaculation itself. Think about this for a minute, even if it’s uncomfortable. What power could you retain if you exercised self restraint in this area? Look at all the trouble you would avoid if you no longer allowed yourself to be controlled by this urge. People who are broken at the second chakra give their power away through lust, and this lust can cause a man to throw away everything of value in his life for the pursuit of a few sticky seconds of pleasure.

Many athletes and performers know that they perform better if they refrain from sex before an event or competition. This is because, as any doctor of Chinese medicine can tell you, when a man ejaculates, he releases a tremendous amount of his Chi energy. So for your 30 day diet, try going 30 days without ejaculating. You can still have sex, but stop short.

Can you see how this discipline will improve your life? If you have trouble sticking with a relationship, or if you are addicted to pornography, or if you regularly deplete you own Chi, and this practice of retaining your Chi will bring you incredible discipline. How many men have broken integrity over their sexuality? Either they do their deeds in the dark, hoping nobody will find out, and then they create a huge shadow that festers inside them, or they galavant about society with a different woman on their arm every night, and they can never be happy. All of their money and energy flows away from them because they have no control over their sexuality.

This is one place where women truly are superior to men. Women can have sex as much as they like, because they do not deplete their energy when they do so. If a man is in relationship with a powerfully sexual woman, you can please her a lot more completely and a lot more frequently if you learn to retain your Chi. This is especially important for men as we grow older. Very young men quickly replenish their Chi after ejaculation, but as we get older it takes longer to replenish. You can find your own ideal frequency through experimentation. This is opposite everything we are taught.

Third Chakra – Diet, Exercise, Action in the World

The Third Chakra is where most of our notions of dieting land. In our culture, we think of a diet as a food restriction, most often a calorie restriction. The history of food diets in America is a laughable failure. We have all been given so much advice about diets that we have lost all of our common sense. It has gotten to the point that people are told that they have no agency over their own diet, and that if a person is obese, there is nothing they can do about it. We should never judge our brothers and sisters, but at the same time, we should never encourage them to give away their power by joining the belief that we do not have the power to control ourselves. People who are broken at the third Chakra give their power away through gluttony..

So here is the diet for 30 days. No cigarettes or any form of nicotine. No Alcohol. No Caffeine. No opioids, Nothing sweetened with artificial sweeteners, nothing with even a gram of sugar added. No processed foods like wheat or bread or anything with flour. No sodas diet or otherwise. No french fries. No fruit juices. We are talking about a full on whole foods diet. When you go to the grocery store, make sure everything you buy is simply what it is. No ingredients. Like Kale is just Kale. Beef is just Beef. Apples are just apples. If you buy peanut butter, make sure that peanuts and salt are the only ingredients. Avoid any preservatives. If you go 30 days sticking to this, then you can question whether you want to bring some of these addictions, particularly alcohol and cigarettes, back into your life.

The third Chakra is where you bring your will into material reality through action. This is the principal Chakra where Yang power is expressed in the world. By exercising discipline over our own consumption, then we can preserve our power to strike at what we really want. If we limit our consumption of garbage foods, for example, then we can take highly nutritious food instead. If we chase every opportunity that appears to us without discernment, then our power is spread all over with projects we never finish, and we accomplish nothing.

To develop power in the third Chakra we must exercise the discipline of self restraint. People who have a break at this level often have good ideas that they clearly express, and that they believe in their hearts. They just never get anything done at the material level. They talk all night about the way the world should be, and then they never do anything about it the next day. By exercising restraint here, you can dedicate your energy to making things happen that you really value the most.

Fourth Charka – Dieta for the Heart

How much do you read about how men need to get in touch with their feelings? We read about this all the time don’t we? But really, the dieta for the heart is more about not getting carried away by our emotions. Men who do not have self discipline in the emotional body, often reject all of their own feelings and try to act only from reason. They deny that they have feelings at all. But this never works, because they end up with feelings anyway, which are usually the negative and destructive emotions of anger, fear, jealosy, and especially envy. People who are broken in the heart give their power away through Envy.

The dieta for the heart is one of acceptance. We all look into the world and see what others have, and this produces envy. This is the tendency which causes weak men to see all other men as competitors. Men like this do not see strong brothers as valuable teammates. Instead they see all of their brothers as competitors. Healthy men and masculine energies that are aware of, but not overcome by, the emotional signals of the heart are happy when they are joined by another masculine force that is stronger, faster, smarter, or whatever, because they see their connections as teammates not competitors.

The Dieta of the heart is exercised mostly in constant awareness of the energy flowing through your heart center. As you go about your 30 days, let yourself be aware of the feelings that pass through your heart, but do not get carried away by them. If you feel anger and immediately rush into action, you are wasting your Chi. Instead allow your emotions to inform you about your world. You might see something, or hear something, and this might create an emotional response. But instead of reacting to it, sit with the energy and preserve it. A man who can experience his emotions and not deny them, while at the same time not being overcome by them, is truly on the path to being a spiritual warrior. Stillness and breath are so important here.

People who are broken at this chakra can have good ideas and they may express them well, but they don’t have any emotional connection to them. They live in a cold analytical world with the detritus of emotional outbursts surrounding them. People who can only want what others have already are dominated by Envy and broken in the heart.

Fifth Chakra – Dieta for the voice

Speak little and listen a lot. This is powerful advice given by almost every spiritual master I have ever listened to. If we open our mouth and talk too much, then we are spilling our power everywhere. I had a law school professor who did not like it when students would highlight portions of their exam papers. He said, ‘why are you writing things that are not important? If you highlight sections of your answers, I will assume that the rest is not important, and I will only read the highlighted portions” People who are broken at the fifth chakra often give their power away through wrath.

The voice is how men of power make their will manifest in the world. It is through the power of the voice that a single man can influence a thousand of his brothers. But if he wastes this power, then everyone will turn their ears off. The most common waste of power from the fifth chakra comes when we speak in anger. Our tongue become the whip that lashes the people we love. We say what we regret. We speak in polarities and exaggerate our grievances. We cry wolf, complain too much, and eat more words than we wish.

A thirty day dieta of the throat chakra will involve at least a couple hours of silence every day. Maybe you can set aside an hour each day, and this can include your time of meditation, where you do not speak a word. For the rest of your day, practice discipline in your speech. Before just opening your mouth at the first impulse and letting words and power spew out of your mouth, just take a moment to think and bring your consciousness into play. Each word is an energy you are putting out. To what effect?

People who are broken at this chakra often talk a lot about what they neither think nor feel. They are the liars who think they can get what they want or avoid negative consequences by saying things they neither believe nor feel. You know who these people are because they are easy to recognize. Do not be one of them.

Sixth Chakra – Third Eye and the Mind

Your concept of the world you live in is a construct of the mind and this construct is displayed in the third eye. I remember when I first heard of the “third eye,” I wondered whether it really existed. Of course it does. The third eye is simply that organ inside you that produces the three dimensional model of reality that you think you inhabit. The senses all collect data that are transmitted to the third eye, and from this data, your world view is constructed. The mind is also where we receive and often identify with our thoughts. Our dominate thought pattern is called our ego, and we often think that this is who we really are. People who are broken at the level of the third eye give away their power through greed, because the mind always finds a justification for taking whatever it wants.

To illustrate the power of the third eye, think of what happens when you dream. When you dream you create an alternative three dimensional reality in your third eye apparatus, only this time, the input is not your senses. The input is instead whatever it is that powers your dreams. The same for visionary experiences. Typically when we have a visionary experience, our eyes are closed and we have a waking dream in the third eye where we are shown a vision. This happens very often when people are experiencing plant medicines and receive a vision guided by a divine being.

The dieta for the third eye and the mind is quiet. Simple as that. Almost every meditation technique that we learn about involves the quieting of the mind. We are all so enthralled by our own thoughts and we believe them so easily because we think they are our own. A lot of the time, we have such a direct channel from our thoughts to our mouths, that whatever notion crosses our mind, we spew into the world as fact through our mouths. Thus the dieta of the throat and the mind are very similar. If you shut your mouth the thoughts will continue to bounce around in your mind. They will create and generate emotions and urges which activate your other chakras. The power of your mind flows everywhere, and it is in self discipline of the mind that we can gain control over the rest of our chakras. This is why we call self restraint “will power”

The mind is our friend when we use it appropriately, but we are seldom taught to control our own minds. Instead we ask our minds to control us. This is very common in our society because we have all been cut off from our divine guidance system that comes from the Seventh Chakra. The mind, however, is merely a good puzzle solver and also acts like a radio receiver. Thoughts are received in our mind and processed through our personalities.

The mind is very good at figuring out how to get what it wants, but it is not good at all at figuring out what it should want. Our minds are subjected to constant attacks by forces that seek to control and manipulate us by implanting desires in our thoughts. The mind has no value system except that which it is given from external messages. Just think how often you see something advertised that you never thought about before, and as soon as you see it, you think you’d be happier if you had it, and then the mind goes about trying to get it for you. The undisciplined mind is constantly in pursuit of happiness in the world of the ten thousand things. A man who follows the undisciplined mind gives all his power away by chasing after worthless things.

The dieta of the mind will bring you quiet and tranquility. There are two essential parts to the mental dieta. The first is to limit the input streams into your mind. Learn to be a guardian at the gate of what comes into your mind. It is recommended that you turn off all of your social media for this 30 day period. You can go 30 days without the constant mental stimulation of social media. It is also recommended that you limit your news intake. Limit the inputs of negative people, of bad news, of complaints and negativity. For 30 days focus on keeping guard at the entry points to your mind.

The second aspect for the dieta for the mind comes in our meditation. As we develop our mental discipline we learn to quiet our thoughts and observe inside of us where our thoughts are coming from. It is our dominant thought patterns that create our external reality, and so to change our life, we must first learn to dominate the mind. From this practice we learn to release extraneous thoughts without manifesting them through our words or actions. By exercising discipline in our thoughts we learn who we really are. Your daily meditation is key to developing this power.

Seventh Chakra – Divine Connection

The Seventh Chakra at the crown of our heads is where we receive our divine guidance. Most of us have lost our divine connections in this materialist world. Instead of cherishing our connection to God and creation, we wonder if they even exist. People who have lost their divine connection may appear to be very intelligent and effective in the world, but their happiness is hollow, and they never have any satisfaction from what they achieve in the world. The Divine Connection is where we find our sense of value and purpose in the world, and when we act in accord with our higher purpose, we feel happy and fulfilled in our lives.

Ants teach a very good lesson about divine connection. In observing leaf cutter ants in Brazil, it’s amazing to see how each ant acts individually, and is also perfectly connected to its higher purpose. What good would an ant be if it were working on it’s own agenda? Not much good at all. We cherish in our society our sense of individuality, and so we are often loath to surrender our ego to the divine will. This is an aspect of pride, and this is why people give away the power of their divine connection through pride.

If you can humble yourself and learn to discern the divine purpose of your life, and then you allow this to guide you, then it is your divine purpose that will inform your thoughts, and these thoughts will translate into the words, feelings and actions that you take. This divine guidance will thus flow from your seventh chakra all the way to your root chakra, and this makes kind of a loop that you might already see. For when you do your meditation on your root chakra, you can see that it is the energy of your divine purpose flowing uninterrupted all through your chakras down to your root and then this returns back to your diving purpose.

People who are broken at the divine connection have to find their purpose in the world of ten thousand things. They want what they see in the hands of others. They let their thoughts dominate their desires, and they accept influence from all kinds of sources. If you have no connection to divine power, then you are like an ant who is walking about on his own purpose. You can have no power at all when you are thus alone.

Every day for this thirty days you must pray and meditate and silence the mind. Let your higher self inform your thoughts. Feel the divine guidance resonating inside you, and learn to recognize it. You will be rewarded with a system of values that will direct your actions and words. You will learn to assuage your feelings through acceptance and trust. You will learn self discipline for all your chakras through your divine connection.

The Power is All Yours Already – All you have to do is Begin

If you start this dieta right now, in 30 days your life will be completely different. You will no longer be addicted to any substances, you will already be improving your physical health through your improved nutrition. You will already have quieted your mind and your heart, you will have restored your connection to your community and your divine nature. You will have softened your voice. You will see other strong masculine forces as powerful allies in your own mission, and you will not longer waste your energy chasing things through greed and lust. In 30 days you can be a completely different person. You just have to take the first step, and then keep going.

Good luck and Peace.

Easter Letter to Myself

Do you ever get stuck in a funk of feeling unappreciated or ignored? Does it sometimes happen to you that people want to tell you there problems, but not listen to your solutions? That should not come as a surprise, because most people who tell you their problems are not really looking for your opinion as to how they can make their situation better. Most are just looking for some level of understanding that they are dealing with a situation that they find frustrating or difficult. So instead of offering them some sort of practical solution, a better response would be to say something along the lines of “wow that is a challenge. I hope you work it out.”

You are naturally a problem solving type of person, and it can be difficult for you when people do not want your advice. It may sound to you like people are complaining about situations without really wanting to improve them. A lot of the time, it might seem to you that they are dealing with the same basic pattern over and over again, and falling into the same traps of ineffective responses. Maybe it seems clear to you how they could improve their situation. But the hard to understand truth, is they really don’t want to hear about that. What they really want is to talk about their situation to someone who will listen, and if you are the one who is listening, the best you can do is lend a kind ear and hear them out. You are not going to fix anything for someone who does not want a solution.

This is an important lesson for your new voice, the voice that was born again on Easter. In the past, you have always thought that the value of your knowledge was to share it and help people to move forward in their lives. This was especially true for you as a father, because you raised four sons, and it was in many circumstances, up to you to guide them. But your sons are not children anymore, so now it’s time to respect their independence and let them figure things out on their own.

But sometimes something special might happen. Sometimes, if you let someone struggle with their situation long enough, they might grow tired and actually seek advice. This is a process that you need to let happen. It is the real life experience of trying over and over that will eventually either lead to a solution that they find on their own, which is best, or lead them to seeking advice.

But the key for you is to not want to give the advice. There is some part of you, that is in your ego, that wants people to listen to you. That wants people to do as you suggest and that wants them to follow your advice and then be successful. You see that in yourself do you not? After all, if you give someone advice, and then they follow it, and become successful, then some measure of their success can be credited to your smart idea. You can see how you can become attached to people doing as you suggest and then become attached to the outcome of their venture. This is the source of a lot of entanglement on your part in the affairs of other people, and this is likely as not to end badly. And when it does, if you imposed your advice, it is not credit that you will receive, but blame.

This can even be in very minor situations, like when you suggest a move to an opponent in a backgammon board. If they go on to win, then you have robbed them of some measure of their success, and if the move goes bad, then you are responsible for the bad outcome. They have a hymn for that. It says “You should not give advice to people who do not want to listen”. This is not a negative statement. The hymn goes on “to you we give this instruction, leave them be!”

It is important in learning to use your new voice that you learn not to use it, and to not use it happily. Sometimes you say “fine I’ll just shut up if nobody wants to listen to me.” There is a little bit of a hurt tone underneath this, like you are going to go pout in a corner and say “nobody wants to listen to me.” Well you are just exaggerating when you say that, because it’s not “nobody” that wants to listen to YOU, it’s simply that most people want to figure out things for themselves, and that YOU are really no kind of master. So take your refuge in humility.

Don’t you remember that clear instruction that you have received so many times over and over? Humility is a refuge not a personality trait. When you have hurt feelings because people do not recognize you as wise or smart or knowledgeable, and you take that personally, you are looking for affirmation from other people that you possess these characteristics, when you yourself should know perfectly well what you know and what you do not know. And you, being as you are, fully incorporated in this world, are no better than a fish in a fishbowl. Perhaps you are a very smart fish, but you are still in the fishbowl and have extremely limited perspective. You do not know what is going on in someone else’s head. You do not know what is going on in their lives or what challenges they are facing. So to you, a piece of advise might seem obvious or helpful, but really you might simply bet telling a fish how to go about climbing a tree.

Remember A Course in Miracles. Remember The Manual for Teachers. Remember that it is up to God to bring teaching and learning together, and that all teachers learn exactly what they teach. So if you are blessed with a teaching situation, do not forget that it is you who are the student. You are never superior to anybody. Any lesson you have to offer to even the smallest child is a lesson you really should heed yourself.

Do you remember that T-shirt that you were shown a long time ago that a man was wearing in Coconut Grove…. it said in big letters “Always Lead, Never Follow.” You laughed when you saw that and you thought “does that apply when you are with a group of people in a city that you have never been in before? Does that mean that you should lead and not follow even when you have no idea where you are or where you should be going?” Well that’s the case in most people’s personal problems.

First off, they are only telling you what they want you to hear. They are likely only telling you the part that will provoke the response that they desire from you. One such response might be for you to think highly of them. Another might be that they want you to feel sorry for them. Another might be that they want you to tell them that they are perfectly justified. Another might be that they simply want to feel loved. But it does not matter, because you are only seeing a part of the picture, and then that small part is interpreted by you according to your reactions, experiences and desires. So you are seeing a small portion of the truth through distorted glasses and then you are going to offer advice on how to proceed? It is just like that patently ridiculous T-shirt telling you to always lead and never follow.

You see, if ever there were a strange city that you do not know your way around in, it is someone else’s psyche. The inside of someone else’s experience is no place for you to be a leader. So what can you do? You can offer your experience perhaps. Like in backgammon, don’t ever tell somebody what they should do even if you think they would benefit from your advise. If they ask you for your advice, then you can tell them what you would do if you were in their position, and then let them decide what they want to do. Do you see the difference in the energy there? It’s not about what they “should do.” It’s up to them to decide that. All you can say is based on your understanding of the situation, this is what you would do.

Backgammon is a light example, but sometimes you are talking about people’s finances, and you can get yourself into some trouble if you start telling people how they should invest their money. You have no idea what their true appetite for risk is. You have no idea what they will do when they have an emotional response to market turmoil. And you have no ability to direct their actions in the future. So, instead of telling them what they should do, be careful to offer what you would do based on your understanding of the situation. Let them be the one to take responsibility for their decisions, and then they will be responsible for the results.

But the best advice for you is this. Do not be attached. It is not for you to seek to be large. It is not for you to seek a following. It is not for you to publish a book telling other people what they should do to have a happy life. The spotlight is not there for you. What is there for you is a path by which you may learn to lead a good and happy life for you and your family. The people who come into your life are there to teach you what you need to learn. It’s not the other way around.

So that is a key lesson for you with your new voice. The power of your new voice is not to tell others what to do. The power of your new voice is to speak with humility and learn what it is for you to learn.

Peace.

Lessons from The Rhythm of Life

I have been reading a book titled The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly which a dear friend recommended to me. The gist of the book is that we should dedicate our lives to becoming the best version of ourselves. Matthew Kelly has sold over 40,000,000 copies of his books in 30 different languages. I thought that to have such a following, he must certainly have a few good things to say, and indeed he does. He explains that to be the best version of ourselves, we have four basic types of need–physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. These needs he calls “secondary” needs, because it is assumed that the basic needs of food and shelter and air and water are satisfied. He makes the very good point that we are here to thrive, not only to survive. Once the basic requirements for survival are satisfied, we move on to our secondary needs, which are the things we should pursue in our lives to become the best versions of ourselves.

A lot of what he says resonates with me, and I felt good that my life in general reflects the basic values and priorities that the book recommends. But I have been suffering from a physical malady over the last several weeks that is causing me some concern and that is the result of my somewhat lazy and gluttonous behavior. Early in January, I caught a mild virus that caused me to develop laryngitis. I kept up my routine as usual, expecting that it would go away, but it did not. Now we are on the cusp of March, and so it has been about seven weeks since I first noticed the symptoms, and they continue. My behavior has been to pursue superficial wants and cravings and habits, and to ignore what is truly important to me, which is my physical well being.

The second lesson that really struck me concerns universal emotional needs and how these are interrelated to our physical well being. I have always strived to develop a very independent nature, where my own life and self image are not dependent on other people. I have been resistant to the idea that we “need” acceptance from others. I thought of this as a weakness and a failure to know my own self. Even in my last post I mentioned that I had the emotional maturity of a seven year old in that I see in myself a desire to elicit the approval of others. One of my spiritual teachers in the doctrine that I personally follow has helped me to persevere even when faced with opposition from others. I do happen to be highly effective in life, and I do get a lot of things done, and this often creates conflicts. My Padrinho teaches me that “dogs do not bark at park-ed cars”. The point is that people who are accomplishing things and bringing about change become targets of criticism.

My own work in this area was to learn how to accomplish my life’s work without causing unnecessary upset. I would focus on being considerate and trying to see how my actions impacted others, and also to focus on communication and developing consensus. I learned I could be more effective when I listened to everyone. But at the same time, as anyone has served on a large committee knows, you can’t make everyone happy. So there is a balance between listening and being considerate on one hand, and moving forward and accomplishing things on the other.

I would seek humility as a refuge in these situations, but I would not let the negative attention that I attract from time to time deter me from my purpose. And so it was that I adopted a rather stoic attitude of not “needing” the approval of other people. The Rhythm of Life gave me some very new insight into this area. The book says that to become the best version of ourselves, we need relationships with other people. Other people and our good relationships help us to have clarity and help us to become the best we can be. They also give us the opportunity to serve.

And so it is that we have all kinds of different relationships. We have superficial and transactional relationships and we have more intimate relationships. The author points out that we have to share our lives with others in measure to the relationship. So for instance, if I have a bad day and unload my baggage on someone who is not in close relationship with me, I will perhaps feel somewhat better for having articulated my story, but if I do not have a sufficient level of intimacy in my relationship with the other person, then this will be seen as over sharing, and will alienate them. Instead of feeling heard and understood, I will just feel awkward and embarrassed.

On the other hand, and here I am about to return to my throat, if we do not share enough with people who we are intimate with, then it seems like we are distant and cold, and this can, over time, impair the relationship and leave us feeling hollow and frustrated. In the case of my throat, I do have some fear around the situation. I don’t think I’m alone in that my imagination can start to run a little bit when I have a physical ailment. I have a tendency to stick my head in the sand and to not want to talk about it. And I hate going to the doctor, because I’m always afraid they are going to actually create some terrible condition, like Schrödinger’s cat, by looking for it. This might be a little bit of an aside, but I do believe that consciousness forms our material reality, and so by looking for something we actually create it. So if I have a problem with my throat, and I’m afraid that I might have scar tissue on my vocal chords, the last thing I want to do is “open the box” and find the dead cat. If I can ignore it long enough, maybe it will just go away.

And so for me, to speak to someone about a medical condition is a very peculiar dynamic. It requires real intimacy for me to want to reveal a medical condition, but more than that, it requires that the person I am talking to not to have a reaction of wanting me to go to the doctor. I will use my mother as a good example here. If I talk to my Mom about a headache, she’s going to want me to get an MRI. So I don’t talk to her about it at all.

Intimacy is new topic for me. I always have equated intimacy with sex, but this book has a much more nuanced explanation of the need for intimacy. Intimacy is revealing the true nature of ourselves to another person. This takes a lot of trust and it takes a lot of courage. And sometimes it even takes a degree of detachment from our personal lives.

Even this blog explores the boundaries of intimacy. I am talking about things that are personal to me, and it’s funny because there is a small audience of people reading this (thank you). Some part of me wants to reveal more about my personal life here, but at the same time, I am aware that this will become part of the permanent record, and so someone who is not acting in my best interest might in the future do some background checking on me, and come across this in an adversarial context, and then I will be eating my words. So when I write here, I have to write in a public voice about personal matters, and so they are all discussed at a level of general applicability. For instance, I can say here that my habits are exacerbating my laryngitis, but I do not want to get into detail about my personal bad habits in this public forum.

So this intimacy requires confidentiality as well. Several of the people I love in my life have come to my aid. I promised that I would go to the Ear Nose and Throat doctor if my throat did not improve before we return to Miami from Telluride. Today I went ahead and made that appointment. I have also developed a list of self care practices to see if I can heal this myself before that appointment. These were also recommended to me by people I love and trust, such as gargling salt water and avoiding anything that will cause my throat to become dry and irritated. It’s these people who love me enough and care about me enough that want me to be around for a long time who are causing me to take the right actions to “be the best version of myself” in terms of my physical health.

So there are several different types of intimate relationships that we all “need” to become the best version of ourselves. There is our intimate partner in the traditional sense of the word. And beyond this we need a handful of other intimate relationships with people who truly know us for who we are. These relationships help us to become the best people that we can be, and in turn, it is our joy to reciprocate and help them to become the best versions of themselves too.

I am very fortunate to have my wife and family a handful of these true friends in my life. These are the relationships I really need to be the best version of myself and to fulfill my purpose here. On top of that we have so many more superficial relationships that fit together with our lives and we exchange good with each other, but at a lesser degree of intimacy. I pay to get a haircut and I chat with the stylist, and I get a good haircut and some humorous conversation. Maybe we exchange a few treasures, but it is a level of public persona that engages in these interactions.

We all have so many masks that we need to get through our days. I have the expert in aviation mask, I have the financial analysis mask, and the attorney mask, and I wear these when I go out in public. Then there is the level of people who know me a little better than that. They see my devotion to nature, they hear me play guitar and see me play with my little puppy dog. This is the realm of personal relationships. And then there is a small handful of people who we share our true hearts with.

For me, this case of laryngitis, coupled with this brilliant book, has really taught me an important lesson. It’s to expose something I don’t like about myself to those who I truly love, and then to accept their concern as help instead of criticism. And so I am going to gargle my salt water, and I’m going to go the the ENT and I’m going to keep lozenges in my pocket, and refrain from whispering, and avoid anything that causes dryness of the mucous membranes. I’m going to do all these things so I can be the best I can be physically. And this is really something that I truly want, because I recognize that my health is fundamental to my overall quality of my short life on this awesome planet.

I would also like to offer a prayer of peace and forgiveness for all the suffering in our world right now. May our universal celestial mother cover the world with a mantel of peace.

Peace.