4 years ago, during the most uncertain time of my life – unemployed, broke, homeless after Hurricane Sandy – the seed of this book was born. This weekend an advance copy arrived from the California Hay House headquarters to my New York City apartment and hit me like a bolt of lightning. I am grateful and blessed to have received the responsibility of bringing this book to life.
4 years later, one thing is clear. Uncertainty, while it can be uncomfortable, is nothing to fear. From uncertainty comes opportunity, and from opportunity comes space for self-actualization. As the world tumbles into another 4 years of uncertainty, I ask that we use this time as an opportunity to trust ourselves and know that there is purpose even in chaos. I promise that it is our inner courage, not our outer circumstances, that protects us. Do not fear evil, but rather trust the goodness within yourself to be a force field in tumultuous times.
Depending on our perspective, life can either be an ecosystem or an ego-system. In an ego-system, everything is measured by wins and losses, yet even wins are greeted with a nagging futility. In an ecosystem, there is nothing to win and nothing to lose, and everybody celebrates together anyway.
Being a straight white male, like every identity, is more complex than any one-sided stereotype. Am I racist? Homophobic? Sexist? The answer is not “yes”. But it’s more complicated than a clear cut “no”. Read my latest on The Huffington Post.
Today is my birthday. When I woke up this morning, after gracefully letting myself sleep in later than usual, I made coffee and said to myself, “Last year was pretty good. I finished a book, moved to Manhattan, became a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, slept in the Maui jungle, and fell in love. Now, what do I want for my 34th year?”
The answer hit me like a lightning bolt. “Trust yourself.”
We all have power. Our power is not the result of how much money we have, or how prestigious our job title is; our power is the result of how connected we are with our inner presence. When we stand confidently in the stillness of our presence, our words and actions assume a self-evident power. Doors open. Others notice. Greatness can not be obtained; it is already within us. We simply must strip away resistance and stand in the power of our presence.
The process of moving from station to station and breaking through one level of reality into another, and thereby inventing a higher version of yourself, rarely, if ever, happens overnight. Transformation requires time, and therefore requires persistence. There will be obstacles. “You are not allowed to do that,” your boss says. “That’s not who you are,” your friends say. When the world around us conflicts with our dreams, we tend to begin doubting ourselves and resist the reality that confronts us. Resistance is pressing the brakes. Resistance is believing that the conventions of the world must be right and our vision must be wrong. Resistance is when fear creeps like a black spider into your daydreams; it lingers, then you forget. At the moment of resistance we have two choices. We can either sink back into our same old patterns, and die another small death, or we can proceed with courage and greet our obstacles in a state of poised flow. Resistance is natural; so is perseverance. Dreams remain dreams to the degree that we take our resistance seriously. Keep up. Those standing at the end of the race, the heroes of their story, are those who learn to transform their resistance into persistence.
If something makes me uncomfortable, I have come to realize, it means that I should do it. Walk into my boss’s office and ask for a raise? Cringe. Yes. Venture into Manhattan to attend a book signing alone? Cringe. Yes. Follow a girl I just met into the jungle of Maui to stay in a hut overlooking the ocean? Cringe. Yes.
The anticipation of facing cringe-worthy moments can be crippling. Hell, I’m even afraid to send this email. But when we play it safe, we never learn anything. The best things in my life have happened moments after I nearly turned around. More cringe, please.
When I arrive for Sadhana at 4:30 a.m., I sometimes wish I had never enrolled in Kundalini Yoga teacher training. But by the end of the meditation, I remember why it matters. Thank you, and sat nam, to everyone who came before me in this tradition.
Happiness is a choice. When work is crazy I can still choose happiness. When people around me freak out I can choose to become infected and spread the virus of stress, or I can reach within and spread the virus of happiness. My environment does not decide my mental health. My focus decides. Reality is a mirror. Because my reality is a reflection of my thoughts and beliefs, the sustained state of my mind will, over time, create my environment. We get back the stress and happiness we project. Choose wisely.