January 5, 2013 ~ On New Year’s Intention Setting: Discerning our Mantra &/or [Sacred] Contract

 Sunday, January 5, 2013 ~ On New Year’s Intention Setting:
Discerning our Mantra &/or [Sacred] Contract

  • Refine your mantra. “I say refine, not choose, because we all actually already have a mantra. We just might not realize that we do. Whatever you repeat constantly in your head is your mantra whether you know it or not, and that is leading you on your way,” she says. “So if you’re repeating, ‘I’m a moron, I’m an idiot, I’m a failure, I’m a jerk, I’m a loser,’ it’s your mantra. So decide whether that’s working for you. Maybe it’s not and then maybe you might want to choose a different thing to try to say whenever you remember that you’re thinking what you’re always doing.”
  • I was given a contract, and the contract is: “We are not going to tell you why, but we gave you this capacity. Your side of the contract is that you must devote yourself to this in the highest possible manner, you must approach it with the greatest respect, and you must give your whole self to this. And then we will work with you on making progress.” That’s sort of what it feels like for me.
“Whatever you hope for this year — to lose weight, to exercise more, to spend less money — you’re much more likely to make improvements than someone who hasn’t made a formal resolution.” ~ 

Malcolm Gladwell on Why People Succeed

‘Intelligence is on an unconscious, instinctive level…’ ~ Malcolm Gladwell

See also:  Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers 1 & 2

10,000 hours (4 hours a day, for 7 years)

Complexity and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule – The New Yorker

 

Forty years ago, in a paper in American Scientist, Herbert Simon and William Chase drew one of the most famous conclusions in the study of expertise:

There are no instant experts in chess—certainly no instant masters or grandmasters. There appears not to be on record any case (including Bobby Fischer) where a person reached grandmaster level with less than about a decade’s intense preoccupation with the game. We would estimate, very roughly, that a master has spent perhaps 10,000 to 50,000 hours staring at chess positions…

In the years that followed, an entire field within psychology grew up devoted to elaborating on Simon and Chase’s observation—and researchers, time and again, reached the same conclusion: it takes a lot of practice to be good at complex tasks. After Simon and Chase’s paper, for example, the psychologist John Hayes looked at seventy-six famous classical composers and found that, in almost every case, those composers did not create their greatest work until they had been composing for at least ten years. (The sole exceptions: Shostakovich and Paganini, who took nine years, and Erik Satie, who took eight.)

This is the scholarly tradition I was referring to in my book “Outliers,” when I wrote about the “ten-thousand-hour rule.” No one succeeds at a high level without innate talent, I wrote: “achievement is talent plus preparation.” But the ten-thousand-hour research reminds us that “the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.” In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals. Nobody walks into an operating room, straight out of a surgical rotation, and does world-class neurosurgery. And second—and more crucially for the theme of Outliers—the amount of practice necessary for exceptional performance is so extensive that people who end up on top need help. They invariably have access to lucky breaks or privileges or conditions that make all those years of practice possible. As examples, I focussed on the countless hours the Beatles spent playing strip clubs in Hamburg and the privileged, early access Bill Gates and Bill Joy got to computers in the nineteen-seventies. “He has talent by the truckload,” I wrote of Joy. “But that’s not the only consideration. It never is.”  (continues)

Which grooves shall you cultivate in 2014?

An Aussie proverb about traveling through the desert,
“choose your grooves wisely, as you’ll be in them a long time…”  

Peaceful Living: Daily Meditations for Living with Love, Healing, and Compassion

by Mary Mackenzie

JANUARY 1

If we ourselves remain angry and then sing world peace, it has little meaning. First, our individual self must learn peace. This we can practice. Then we can teach the rest of the world.

—The Dalai Lama

Setting Goals for the New Year:

What do you want to focus on this year? What are your goals, hopes, and dreams? It’s important to make your goals concrete and specific. Don’t just say that you want to be happier; consider how you would like your life to be different. What if your goal is to support world peace by living your own life more peacefully? Consider the specific ways you will do this, such as learning Nonviolent Communication, taking a course on anger management, working a twelve-step program, or seeing a therapist. If your goal is to contribute to world peace, your actions can be very specific and concrete. Avoid focusing on what you don’t want, such as conflict at work. Rather, focus on what you want, such as harmony at work. When your goals are concrete and positively worded, you can begin to manifest them. This simple process can have a profound impact on your success.

Take a few minutes today to write down your goals for the year, knowing that the goal-setting process is the first step toward manifesting your dreams.

Above excerpted from:  Peaceful Living: Daily Meditations for Living with Love, Healing, and Compassion

Mary Mackenzie & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy

5-Day “Happiest Moment” Challenge

Liz’s Remarkable Journey 

You can take your own spiritual journey every, single day. Liz has three daily rituals that anyone can do anywhere.

  • Start a journal and answer this question every morning: What do I really, really, really want? “You have to say really, really, really three times or else you don’t believe it. And answer it truthfully and do it again the next day and the next and the next,” she says. “Because you can’t set your journey if you don’t know what you’re for.”
  • Write down the happiest moment of every day in a happiness journal. “It’s a way of reminding myself what really makes me happy and what doesn’t,” she says, “and learn and study and look back and see what is it consistently.”
  • Refine your mantra. “I say refine, not choose, because we all actually already have a mantra. We just might not realize that we do. Whatever you repeat constantly in your head is your mantra whether you know it or not, and that is leading you on your way,” she says. “So if you’re repeating, ‘I’m a moron, I’m an idiot, I’m a failure, I’m a jerk, I’m a loser,’ it’s your mantra. So decide whether that’s working for you. Maybe it’s not and then maybe you might want to choose a different thing to try to say whenever you remember that you’re thinking what you’re always doing.”

Liz says the most important thing to remember is that you can take your own spiritual journey without traveling the world. “You don’t need to go and do exactly the things that I did,” she says. “The only thing you need to do is ask yourself the questions I was asking myself. That’s what you need to do. If you listen to that, I guarantee that you’ll get your own journey and it will not look like mine. Although I do hope that it involves pizza.”

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Eat-Pray-Love

The Stubborn Gladness of Elizabeth Gilbert | Spirituality & Health

Elizabeth Gilbert:  I have a mantra that I have used for meditation. It’s a line of Jack Gilbert’s: “We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” That idea of ‘stubborn gladness’ is my meditation. I love that line because it doesn’t deny suffering; it doesn’t deny the existence of suffering; it doesn’t deny that the world is a ruthless furnace. But there is a fierce insistence on staying awake and staying afloat in the midst of that, that I go back to again and again and again.

Self-Help Tips From Elizabeth Gilbert

The Stubborn Gladness of Elizabeth Gilbert | Spirituality & Health

You have written about how important self-forgiveness is in the creative process.

Oh my God, it’s so hard. And we are the last person we can forgive. But it’s necessary—even more than discipline, even more than inspiration—that gentleness [with yourself]. It’s the opposite of what we are taught about the big geniuses creating, with the furrowed brow and the sweat and thrashing and gnashing. There is always such a violence in it.

To me, the best work I have done is when I say to myself, Well, that was a good try. This isn’t a perfect story you just created, but that’s the best we are going to do today, and tomorrow we can pick it up again. When you see artists who lead their life on the battlefield, that’s a missing feature that causes the self-abuse and the torment and the alcoholism—

The archetype of the suffering artist.

It’s really strong, and I think it comes in part from the old Christian theology that you can only trust suffering and pain, and that all pleasure holds the possibility for sin. Only through lashing yourself and denying yourself all comforts can you be certain that you are actually living a serious life. I think it’s now a little out of date. I think it’s in need of a tune-up.

Why do you think that being creative or an artist has become a rarefied thing, something that “other people do” and not a part of our daily life?

A very good piece of fortune I had… (continues at spiritualityhealth.com)

See also:

Elizabeth Gilbert Versus Philip Roth: Is Writing Torture? : The New Yorker

Elizabeth Gilbert Discusses Her Spiritual Journey

The Stubborn Gladness of Elizabeth Gilbert | Spirituality & Health

Q:  Do you feel that creativity and spirituality intermingle?

I think creativity is entirely a spiritual practice. It has defined my entire life to think of it that way. When I hear the way some people speak about their work, people who are in creative fields who either attack themselves, or attack their work, or treat it as a burden rather than a blessing, or treat it as something that needs to be fought and defeated and beaten . There is a war that people go to with their creative path that is very unfamiliar to me. To me, it feels like a holy calling and one that I am grateful for.

I can lay out the biography of it and say, “My parents are big readers, and they spent a lot of time in the library. And I had an older sister who is really creative, and we used to write plays.” I can even break it down and say, “I am really disciplined, and I work really hard, and I put decades of work into learning how to write.” And I could have put decades into playing a violin, yet I wasn’t going to become advanced. I took piano lessons for 10 years; I still can’t play very well.

I was given a contract, and the contract is: “We are not going to tell you why, but we gave you this capacity. Your side of the contract is that you must devote yourself to this in the highest possible manner, you must approach it with the greatest respect, and you must give your whole self to this. And then we will work with you on making progress.” That’s sort of what it feels like for me.

With the exception of the experience of four months of meditating in India in an ashram, there has never been anything in my life that’s even approximated the sense of the miraculous that I feel running deep in this work and the contract that has been played out. It’s beautiful… – See more at: spiritualityhealth.com

TEDTalks (2009) “A New Way To Think About Creativity” Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert on the essense of Creativity

Elizabeth Gilbert: How I Write – The Daily Beast

 

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