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What if you could develop new habits that increased your productivity, and even 5x, or 10x it in the most key areas of your life? What if you could finally find that time to read, exercise, or spend more time with your family?
This is as close to a catharsis book as you can get. This book is a book I wrote to my younger self, and if I would have applied this wisdom at a younger age I feel I would have had a more positive, productive youth, and I also feel I would have recognized more opportunities as they came my way. As a coach for over 20 years now in all aspects of health and wellness, my research over this time has led him to one certainty: That the body follows the mind. If my mind would have been clearer at a younger age, my self awareness would have been miles ahead of where it is now. This book is armed with practical information I interpreted from spiritual leaders such as Ram Dass, Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts, Steve Jobs, and Bob Dylan of all people. Through the extraction of this information I lay out a road map for your own personal success through 7 simple steps.
What if you woke up tomorrow and….
• You had a sense or feeling that you were getting ahead in the world.
• You had a sense of bliss from the minute you opened your eyes every morning.
• You understood what to do to make more money, and then you shockingly went out and did those exact things.
• You felt accomplished and fulfilled with the work you were doing, and you had a sense of purpose in your life.
• You were free from worry or concern.
• You felt like you were in control of every aspect of your life.
All of that and more is laid out in an easy to read format.
In this book you will learn:
• How to let go of so called “crap” emotions that are holding you down from moving forward in your life.
• How to change your internal dialogue and instead think of more productive thoughts stimulating your creativity.
• The difference between gratitude and thanks and how one of those can increase more prosperity in your life.
• How to master the art of consciousness for more rewarding relationships.
• How to reduce stress and clutter in your life by eliminating one simple thing in your life. (It’s not what you think).
• How conscious love can help you identify your REAL priorities in your life.
• An easy to do form of meditation that will increase your self-awareness, which can catapult your earnings beyond your wildest dreams!
This isn’t self-help, this is self improvement. My crowning achievement in my career has been to train a friend of mine to become a Navy SEAL. To be a SEAL does not mean you need to be a hard ass; to make the SEAL teams means you need to develop the mental capacity to push yourself beyond your limits, or not have any limits at all. Here is my friend explaining his experience in his own words (I have to black out his name because he is still active):
The self-help genre is saturated no doubt. What I present in this book, not only helped me help myself, but helped me help a lot of other people as well. My Navy SEAL friend is just the most impressive, which is why his letter appears here.
If you found me, this page, and my book, then you are here for a reason. Click the button on the right and pick up your copy today!
“No man is crushed by misfortune, unless he is first deceived by prosperity.”
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca
The laws of Karma are inescapable to those who believe in it. Karma in a literal sense is every action we perform as human beings. Walking, talking, praying, breathing, thinking, everything physical or mental is considered Karma and each action leaves a mark on us.
Dharma is another law that is inescapable to those that believe in it. There is no single word that defines Dharma and there are many different meanings given to it depending on which Indian religion you follow. For argument’s sake, when we use the word Dharma, we will be talking about the “right way of living.” In a metaphysical sense, Karma is the action, and Dharma is the path. In a physical sense, Karma is the body, and Dharma could be considered the mind.
This is a common practice in Eastern Philosophy, but creates much conflict when we try to adapt it to Westernized living. In America we are taught from a very young age that when you do something, you “deserve” something in return. One of the issues that are arising now that thankfully I did not have to deal with in my generation is the issuing of participation trophies. When I was growing up, places first through third got a trophy, and any team after that got bupkis.
By issuing these participation trophies we teach our young that no matter what you do in life, you are going to get something back in return. An easy term we can think about to help make the connection is entitlement. Lost becomes the idea of working in a soup kitchen, or doing community service. Lost becomes the idea of stories like the Good Samaritan. Lost becomes the idea of even helping a friend move.
When I was running a CrossFit gym I took an online business course about selling memberships and was introduced to the acronym WIIFM. The instructor asked if we knew what that meant and I was dumbfounded. I thought it was an Instagram hashtag. He then went on to explain it means “What’s In It For Me.” I was shocked. He told us that in order to generate more sales we need to explain why exercise is beneficial to a potential member. To my mental constructs this was incredible. Explain why exercise is beneficial? I thought it was obvious.
There’s no denying that this is the world we now live in. Some want to say it’s failed parenting and I could see that. I’ve been to many lacrosse, baseball, and football practices where I watch 30-something-year-old parents sitting on their cell phones while their kids play their hearts out. My parents were always at my practices, hell, my Father even coached my team for a couple years, but I digress.
While most of what we just talked about has no bearing on this lesson, what it does do is set the stage for one of the utopian ideas I spoke about in my introduction, and that is the idea of Nishkama Karma, or more commonly called Karma Yoga. To first introduce this concept, we will use a story.
There was a holy man who used to practice meditation sitting on the bank of a river. One day he saw a scorpion being carried away by the current of the river. Out of compassion he grabbed hold of it and released it on the ground. As soon as he touched the scorpion it stung his hand, causing him terrible pain.
After a while the scorpion fell back into the water and was again about to be carried away by the current. Again, the monk rescued it and was stung by the ungrateful creature. A third time the scorpion fell into the river, and seeing its pitiable condition, the compassionate monk started to rescue it.
At that moment, a bystander said to the monk: “Sir, I have been watching you. I saw how that scorpion stung you several times. Still you are trying to save its life?”
The monk replied: “The nature of a scorpion is to sting, and the nature of a holy person is to do good to others, so I am following my nature. It is true the scorpion stung me, but that does not mean I must be cruel.”
Saying so, the monk picked up the scorpion once more and carried it to a distant place so that it could not again fall in the water (1).
I know what you’re thinking. That guy is soooooooo dumb right! I mean who in their right mind would continue to pick up a scorpion after it kept stinging him. After all it is just a scorpion, he should have just let it float on down the river and die. But that’s not the point if you are a believer of Nishkama Karma, which is the fourth lesson we need to adhere to in order to be welcomed into The Everspace.
Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu Monk who lived in the late 1800’s and was the chief disciple of the 19thcentury saint Ramakrishna. Vivekananda is credited with introducing Hinduism and yoga to the western world. Many of his talks were transcribed and turned into books that still get sold to this day.
In his book, Karma Yoga: The Yoga of Action (2), he lays out a road map (Dharma) for what one would consider their life’s work and it is a complete 180-degree shift from what we are taught in school growing up in the West.
Many people want to discount that knowledge by saying it just isn’t relative in today’s economy but I tend to disagree. People in his day lived a much quieter lifestyle than we do today without cell phones, cars, and alarms and could “hear” the message of intuition much clearer. He goes on to describe Karma’s many key aspects on the nature of our soul.
In chapter 1 – Karma in its Effect on Character, he states that as human beings evolve we start to realize it is knowledge we are after, not happiness. He contends that all knowledge comes from the inside, but is stimulated by the outside. That the external world in which we live day to day gives us subtle suggestions to remember what we already know. We are not learning per se, but discovering our truth as we get older and experience more and more.
In Karma Yoga, all work is simply there to bring out the power of the mind to wake up the soul. Enlightenment is not knowledge we are obtaining, it is knowledge we are rememberingand that is why it can also be called “Awakening.”
The moral principle of Karma Yoga states that we “have the right to any type of work we want, but we do not have the right to the fruits there of.” To Western society this is an absurd way of thinking. If I work hard I better get paid for it and somebody better damn well notice the amazing job I did. If not, what did I do it for? I see it often in our youth who need constant reinforcement of the great job they had done. I hear stories of kids misbehaving in school and parents then reprimanding the teacher for reprimanding their perfect child. If I got in trouble in school, I got in trouble at home as well. It was just that simple.
If I had to develop a Karmic law for The Everspace it would be this, “The Everspace does not care how you do what it is asking you, and it even does not care if you complete the task, it will simply move the idea on to someone else.” If the Divine asks you to not have expectations from your work, how can it have expectations of its work?
Rather than the 10 commandments, there are only two laws those who believe in Karma must abide by.
- Every unselfish action is good
- Every selfish action is bad.
If you’re performing a task for a reward or praise, then ultimately that is a selfish action. We all need to make money in order to live, that is not what he is talking about here. You can go to your day job and ask for a raise if you feel like you are underpaid. The tasks being referred to are the mental constructs we create as to how we feel the world should work. Vivekananda says,
“In the first place, a man who can work for 5 days, or even for 5 minutes, without any selfish motive whatever, without thinking of future, of heaven, of punishment, or anything of the kind, has in him the capacity to become a powerful moral giant. It is hard to do it, but in the heart of hearts we know its value and the good it brings. It is the greatest manifestation of power – this tremendous restraint; self-restraint is a manifestation of greater power than all outgoing action.”
That’s pretty terrifying stuff. This totally erases the theories on intention and the basic notions of Karma where I feel if I do good, or if I help this person, that the good deed will bring fortune to me in the future. Did you ever hear of someone loaning somebody a thousand dollars and then that person never pays them back? The person who lent the money then says, “That’s ok, I know it will come back to me.” This seemingly selfless act – the act of forgiving a loan of your hard-earned money – is still considered selfish if you believe the Universe will look kindly upon you when you next need it most. To Karma Yoga standards you are still wrong.
What do we do then? We give it up. We detach from the benefit any work, or help we do on our behalf for another being or the rest of humanity. Even believing that you are the doer of the work that is being done is bondage and therefore not Karma yoga. We are all mediums through which the divine acts we are not the creators.
We can see this depicted well in the movie The Man Who Knew Infinity (3). It is the story about a young Indian man named Ramanujan who from a simple math text was able to extrapolate theories that upset many mathematicians because there was simply no proof to his conclusions. Ramanujan knew that what he was writing down was true and wanted to get his work published feverishly so he would send out letters to Colleges in hopes that someone would see his genius and bring him over to publish his work. A man by the name of G. H. Hardy who was a Professor at the Trinity College in Cambridge soon realized his genius and brought Ramanujan over to further his computations. However, the College’s Professors denounced every new theory that Ramanujan came up with and one day demanded to know where he was getting them. His answer? God. This created further problems because now to the Professors Ramanujan looked like a trickster, and Mr. Hardy looked like the tricked.
Eventually, as Ramanujan’s theorems prove to be correct, Hardy elects him for a fellowship. He is unsuccessful the first time, but succeeds remarkably the second. During his discourse on why Ramanujan should be accepted, the writers do something interesting. Hardy is shown throughout the entire film as being an atheist, and even comments at the end that “the only romantic relationship he ever knew was with Ramanujan.” In his speech to the Fellowship council, Hardy’s notions of God and the divine soften for a bit when he defends Ramanujan’s claims that he gets his theories from God. Hardy says,
“He told me that an equation for him had no meaning unless it expressed a thought of God.
Well, despite everything in my being set to the contrary, perhaps he is right. For is this not exactly our justification for pure mathematics?
We are merely explorers of infinity in the pursuit of absolute perfection. We do not invent
these formulae, they already exist and lie in wait for only the very brightest of minds, like Ramanujan, ever to divine and prove. So, in the end, I have been forced to consider, who are we to question Ramanujan, let alone God?”
This illustrates Vivekananda’s points very well. All knowledge is contained in the infinite. Our minds are the mediums through which we remember this knowledge. Ultimately, when we put the knowledge into practice, we must not “Think” we are the ones doing the work.
By understanding the tenets of Karma Yoga, we have now laid the groundwork for how this great, infinite knowledge works. It is not driven by reward; it is driven by BELIEF. All you have to do is believe in The Everspace and you are granted access. The problem is two-fold though. You either don’t know about this space because you have not been taught very well, or you have this hunch, this little pecking in your mind, your heart or your soul, giving you all of these ideas, but you dismiss them as pure rubbish. How many times has a thought popped in your head but then you think, “Naw, I could never do that.” This is because The Everspace does not discriminate! This is what was meant when Jesus said, “We are all equal in the eyes of God.”
If knowledge is simply accumulated through experience, then how do you explain people like Ramanujan? Or Mozart? Or Picasso? Or Blaise Pascal? We’ve already heard the story about Ramanujan, but did you know that Mozart wrote his first symphony at age 8? That Picasso was thinking about painting before he could even speak? Or that Pascal was studying geometry in the 1600’s against his father’s will at the age of 12? When his father found out he was shocked that his son had recomposed the theories of Euclid and thus began taking him to weekly meetings with elite mathematicians in Paris. To slam-dunk my point, have you ever heard of Pascal’s Wager? It’s a philosophical bet created by Mr. Pascal, which states that believing in God costs you nothing if you are wrong, but everything if you are right. And that’s my guarantee to you, believing in The Everspace will cost you nothing if I am wrong. There’s no membership fee (besides the price of this book) or sacrifices associated with joining this elite group of creatives. If I’m wrong you can still keep your job at Microsoft, Chevron, or Abercrombie and Fitch, but if I’m right, and you do everything I say in this book, you’ll be living your true purpose here on Earth, and you will become happier than you have ever imagined.
Before we get into some extraordinary stories of these models, there’s some sciencey stuff we need to discuss first.
I love science. Being a Strength and Conditioning coach for 18 years, I considered myself to be an experimenter of the human body. Like I said in my introduction, in my early 20’s I became agnostic. I was doing all of this research on the body and figured that science had everything figured out. So why believe in God? There’s nothing mystical going on here, it’s just cells and chemical reactions. That all changed when I read McTaggart’s book, The Field. That book bridged the gap between science and God for me. It showed that what science is studying is God. Just like G. H. Hardy said in his defense of Ramanujan, they are all pursuing the infinite. What is infinite? God is infinite. All mathematicians are looking for this one equation that is absolute and explains everything in numbers; scientists are doing experiments to explain everything in words. In my opinion they need to choose their words a little more carefully.
Your brain is the medium through which The Everspace helps you manifest its ideas. To understand how this occurs, we first need a short crash course on how the brain perceives the external world.
There are two hemispheres we need to be concerned with, the right and the left. The right hemisphere is connected to the left eye, and concerned with creativity, and the left hemisphere is connected to the right eye and concerned with language. You can see this in the picture below.
Right Brain Functions Left Brain Functions
Art Awareness Analytic Thought
Music Awareness Numbers
Left-Hand Control Right-Hand Control
Right in-between both parts of the brain are a dense series of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum that allows both sides to communicate.
In medicine, there are certain cases where all other modalities fail in mental illness and doctors actually go in and cut the corpus callosum in order for the patients to stop having seizures and the like. These people actually live a pretty normal life, but when you now retest their cognitive abilities with the hemispheres severed (split brain) you start to learn a lot more about how the brain works as a whole.
David McRaney wrote a book titled You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself(4). In it he talks about how split-brain patients have been studied since the 1950’s and the researchers have come up with interesting results. If you look at the picture of the brain again, you’ll see the left brain controls language, but the right brain controls creativity. So if you have an idea for a new product, how does this come out in split-brain individuals? Very weirdly, as we will find out.
Psychologist Michael Gazzaniga at The University of California at Santa Monica was one of the first to study the limitations of these split-brain individuals. In one experiment, subjects looked at a cross in the middle of a computer screen and then the word “truck” was flashed on the left side of the screen only. Now the right side of the brain should have picked that up and communicated to the left side of the brain to tell the vocal cords to say truck, but when asked, the split-brain subjects couldn’t say anything. They didn’t know. What is even more amazing is when these subjects were given a pencil and were asked to draw what they had seen with their left hand, they easily doodled a truck. If you look at the diagram of the brain again, you will see that the right-side brain controls the left hand.
Now let’s take a step back. Swami Vivekananda talked about Karma Yoga and the outside being a stimulus for what our mind needs to remember. This is how we learn. Your brain is doing this all-day long. Both sides are talking to each other; the new experiences are stored away, and the repetitive ones like turning a key are already ingrained so they are discarded. But what about if we want to create something like a painting, or build a tree house, or write a song? There’s one key factor that scientists just discovered.
In May of 1965, Bob Dylan was on tour and it was not going very well for him. The fans were raving about his songs, the venues were packed, and the news people and cameramen were constantly in his face asking him how he came up with such amazing songs. What isn’t going well you ask? It was at that point where Dylan was considering quitting the music business.
Dylan was burned out from touring so much and playing songs that he just didn’t like. He was sick of the questions about where he got the ideas for his songs, or what his great message was because he just didn’t know. He wrote and made music because that’s all he knew how to do and he was sick of all the attention. In his book,Chronicles: Volume One (5)he says,
“People think that fame and riches turn into power, that it brings glory and honor and happiness. Maybe it does, but sometimes it doesn’t. I found myself stuck in Woodstock, vulnerable and with a family to protect. If you looked in the press, though, you saw me being portrayed as anything but that. It was surprising how thick the smoke had become.”
His amazing talent was being ruined by fame, but as we know, Bob Dylan would persevere.
In an article written by Jonah Leher entitled: The Neuroscience of Bob Dylan’s genius (6) we pick up where Michael Gazzaniga left off with a man named Mark Beeman, a young scientist at the National Institute of Health in the early 1990’s. Beeman was studying people who specifically had damage to the right side of their brain. These patients would come in and they would talk about how their doctor said how lucky they were because the right side of the brain is barely used and it’s not responsible for language and so on. Besides those statements, Beeman still saw that these people had some pretty serious cognitive problems. Some of these people couldn’t understand jokes, or sarcasm or metaphors, and others had a really hard time looking at a map or deciphering a painting.
Being intrigued with this, Beeman set up a study. He theorized that the right side of the brain, which is the creative side, would take over after the left side of the brain (analytical side) ran out of options. For instance, saying something like, “Give a baby a hammer and the whole world becomes a nail” to people who do not have right brain damage does not mean that the world literally turns into a nail. The left side picks up the language and the right side makes sense of this till you realize it is just a figure of speech. This doesn’t happen for people with right-brain damage, and it seems metaphors are the hardest thing for them to pick up. What Beeman was starting to realize is that the right side of the brain helps us to build a subtle connection to unrelated things when a blatant answer is not staring us in the face.
The icing on the cake then was a talk Beeman was listening to in 1993 by a psychologist named Jonathan Schooler. Schooler had given subjects a problem. There is a heavy steel pyramid sitting upside down on a $100 bill. How do you remove the bill without moving the pyramid? He then hooked the subjects up to a funky set of goggles that allowed them to flash a word in one eye at a time. When they flashed the hint on how to solve the problem in the right eye (concerned with language) the subject wouldn’t pick it up, but when they flashed the hint into the left eye (creating subtle connections) the answer came to them in an AH HA! sort of way (The answer is to burn the $100 bill). This is how our brain generates an insight.
Beeman now had better direction, but he needed to devise an experiment which sometimes provided insights to solve it and sometimes didn’t. The puzzles he and partner John Kounios created were word plays. They would give the subjects three words like age, mile, and sand and ask them to figure out what single word would make them compound (In this case you would use Stone: Stone Age, Milestone, Sandstone). The subjects had 15 seconds to solve the puzzle, and if they did, they were to answer it the answer arrived by and insight or if they had to analyze it first.
Beeman and Kounios soon found what they were looking for. They realized that while it seemed like the insight answer came out of nowhere, the left hemisphere was actually paving the way for the right hemisphere to do its job. Within a few seconds the left side got tired and the subjects became frustrated before passing the task on to the right side. What’s interesting is the frustration is an essential part of the creative process. How many times do you hear a story about someone being on the brink of quitting and then BAM the idea they were searching for popped into their brain like a magic lightning bolt? The frustration tells the right brain it better get to work to find alternatives for the answer we are seeking.
About 30 milliseconds before the insight arrives, Beeman and Kounios could measure a sudden burst of gamma wave rhythm coming from the anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG), a small fold of tissue, located on the surface of the right hemisphere just above the ear. This is named the “neural correlate of insight” and is where scientists believe our insight comes from.
You’re going to remember that I said a little bit ago I would like to see science choose their words more carefully. As you can see, the word “from” is in bold in the previous paragraph; I would like to change that word to through. We need to start to look at the brain as a medium like I discussed before. It is a passageway to the infinite knowledge that the Universe is trying to share with us. We all have this ability. The insights depend on what niche we are in, what our passion is, or where our talents lie. For Bob Dylan, it was music.
Reading Chronicles: Volume One, you get a sense that Dylan was made up of two parts. He was one part Everspace, and one part Karma Yogic. He is found saying, “I really was never any more than what I was – a folk musician who gazed into the gray mist with tear-blinded eyes and made up songs that floated in a luminous haze.” To me, it seemed like the man just wanted to make music and have those songs be what they are. He didn’t want credit for how good they were, and he didn’t want to explain them or where they came from because he didn’t know.
In relation to The Everspace, Dylan, who rarely granted interviews spoke to Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes in 2004 and admitted that it wasn’t him writing the songs (7). In the interview, Dylan recites the opening lyrics of “It’s Alright, Ma” which go:
“Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying.”
He then goes on to say that his early songs were almost magically written and he has no idea about how he came up with the lyrics. Mr. Dylan was tapping into The Everspace, because those songs needed to be written and this magic used him as a medium to bring it to the world.
To me, it seems as though Dylan wasn’t aware of his powers. Once again, in his book he is found talking about how most singers tended to put the focus on them, and he wanted to put the focus on the songs. To do this he was reading books from Voltaire, Rousseau, John Locke, Montesquieu, and Machiavelli. He was memorizing the longest poems Edgar Allan Poe had to offer and would read articles in newspapers on microfilm from 1855 to about 1865 just to see what daily life was like. Ordinary folk singers in his time were not doing these things so it would then be no surprise when your audience regards you as extraordinary.
When it comes to art, the true reasons of the art live and die with the artist. We can interpret all we want, but we will never truly know. And as you can see in this case, Dylan didn’t even know himself. He was a Titan in his time; the most commanding of all mythological creatures.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a wonderful book, but it’s not the one she is best known for. Eat, Pray, Lovewas fantastic, yes, but what we are going to discuss is her self-help book on creativity called Big Magic (8).
Back when the idea for this book was coming through me, it seemed everywhere I turned there were more and more signs pointing to help me derive a basis for what I call The Everspace. Big Magic is an example of that. Amazon sent me one of their trillion emails with the subject like, “Books recommended just for you!” I rolled my eyes, had my finger on the delete button and then something said, “Just check.” As I opened the email there it was, marked down $9. I jumped on it without even reading the description. The sentiment, “sometimes the book just chooses you” rang loud and clear here.
In the book, Gilbert first talks about a man named Jack Gilbert (no relation), a wonderfully gifted poet who once again like Dylan lived in accordance to the laws of Nishkama Karma. Jack Gilbert’s first collection of poems was published in 1962 and won several prestigious awards as well as winning over audiences and critics of all genres. Instead of taking the walk of fame he disappeared. He went and lived in Europe for 20 years, became largely forgotten and then published another book which people instantly loved as well. Again, Jack disappeared. When asked, he said he found his fame to be boring, and uninteresting. He was looking for a certain richness in life that could not be found through fame. Jack Gilbert was writing for writing’s sake. He manifested what he needed to and left it for the world to decide. He didn’t ask for anything in return, and in return life took care of him.
Towards the end of his life it seemed as though Gilbert had a need to pay it forward and took a position in the creative writing department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. When asked by his students what he was like, they said he was the most extraordinary man they have ever met, and, “didn’t seem of this world.” He told his students to write for the “delight” of it or out of “stubborn gladness.”
How many of us take jobs for the delight of it, or because it makes you stubbornly glad? People will say that not everyone can be that lucky, but we are, and they are failing at lesson one already with a poor perspective. If you picked that up beforehand, good for you, you’re learning. Now let’s learn some more.
Ms. Gilbert then goes on to tell us about ideas. She says they arrive by inspiration; they work by manifesting themselves through a human partner (she says they are constantly swirling around us); and then we find out what happens when we say no. Once again we have another highly creative person claiming that ideas come from a sort of Ether. Call it the Universe, the Divine, The Everspace, the Ether. It’s all relative, and it’s real, but not until you believe it so.
In 2006, right after Gilbert published Eat, Pray, Love, she was sitting around wondering what she was going to do next. She was interested in writing a novel, but wasn’t sure of the direction she wanted to take. Soon, an idea manifested based off of a story her sweetheart Felipe told her about when he was growing up in Brazil.
In the 1960’s the Brazilian government got a wild idea to build a highway through the Amazon. Yes, the Amazon. It turns out that at the beginning construction was going fairly well, until well, the rainy season came. As it began to rain, as only it can rain in the Amazon, the crew found themselves trying to work in several feet of water. They had to disperse and come back when the rainy season was over. To their surprise, when they returned, the jungle slowly, but surely swallowed all that man had started to build. The road, equipment, and machines with tires as tall as a human were all buried. Nature wasn’t having it.
This got Gilbert thinking of a murder-mystery-romance novel she called Evelyn of the Amazon and got to work on it right away. She started studying Portuguese, was calling experts, and purchased several books on Brazil. Then, right in the middle of writing her book, life happened and she got sidetracked for almost a year.
When she returned to writing, the idea was gone, and as hard as she tried, she just couldn’t pick up where she left off. All of her notes, and research, and pages of this book she wrote were thrown in the trash. The manifestation of this book was finished, or was it?
Just around the time Gilbert realized this idea had gone away, she met another author named Ann Patchett in New York City at a panel discussion about libraries. She befriended Ann and they developed quite a relationship. After leaving New York, they actually became pen pals. Not through e-mail or social media; they wrote on real paper and sent the letters in real envelopes! Almost a year had passed before they had met face-to-face again for an event in Portland, Oregon. They met up for breakfast the morning of the event and starting telling each other about what they are working on next. To Gilbert’s surprise, Ann starts talking about an Amazon jungle novel she is working on. Besides Ann’s being contemporary, and Gilbert’s being set in the 1960’s, the storylines were almost EXACTLY the same. Gilbert was amazed. As they recounted when Gilbert lost the ability to manifest the idea, and Patchett received the idea to manifest it, it was right around the same time.
Funny thing is Gilbert had heard of ideas coming and going before when she talked to poet Ruth Stone. Stone grew up on a farm in Virginia and told Gilbert stories about when she was working the landscape and could actually “hear” a poem coming towards her like a stampede of buffalo. Stone said she would run like a crazy woman to her house and grab a pencil and a piece of paper so she could write down the poem as it passed through her. Where things really get interesting is when she would barely get there in time and she would literally grab the end of the poem as it was passing through her and she would have to write it on paper backwards! That’s some seriously big magic there folks.
Stories like this are becoming more and more common. In Vishen Lakhiani’s book: Code of the Extraordinary Mind(9) he talks about how Michael Jackson would wake up at 3 a.m. and call his manager saying he has to make a song right now or else Prince is going to do it. His manager thought he was acting ridiculous but it doesn’t seem so now that we know what we know. While The Everspace may be easily accessible to others without even knowing it, for people like you and me it needs to be learned and we need to start teaching that it can be TAUGHT. Talent is something we all have, but most of us don’t know how to truly access it. The talent it takes to be extraordinary lies in having these selfless capabilities of Nishkama Karma. In order to get a clearer picture of this spiritual value, or way of thinking, we will analyze one more real-life story, which is probably the most shocking of all.
“You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed. People may not notice at the time, but that doesn’t matter. The world had been changed nonetheless.”
-Julian Barnes, Levels of Life
Stephen Segerman and Craig Strydon grew up approximately 480km from each other in suburbs of South Africa. They both shared a calling that would wrap their fates together and eventually change one man’s life along with theirs and several others forever.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s South Africa was still wrapped up in Apartheid, and even though Stephen was 10 years older than Craig, they both served in the South African Military due to this civil unrest. It was here that their destiny would be shaped even though they didn’t serve at the same time, didn’t even fire a bullet at the enemy, and exited the Army as fast as they possibly could. Rather than stress, adrenaline, or any of the other bonds that forge men of battle, Stephen and Craig would come together because of music.
Sixto Rodriguez was born in Detroit in 1942 and grew up the sixth son of two Mexican immigrant workers. Even though most of the civil rights cases were blacks against whites at that time, being brown was of really no benefit either and Sixto ended up being raised in a hotbed of race riots where a lot of tough things happened to a lot of tough people. Hard work was the only work these people knew. Sixto’s Mother died when he was three, and it was now up to his older sister to step in and fill those shoes, since their dad was off working all day every day. When Sixto reached the age of 16 he signed up for the Army but for reasons undisclosed was rejected. It was at that time he picked up his first guitar and started playing.
Hank Williams, and Bob Dylan were big at that time. When they sang, they told stories, and as we heard already in the case of Dylan, people resonated with these stories very deeply. Rodriguez soon picked up on their vibe. By the age of 20 he was playing a bunch of small gig’s around Detroit singing deep, meaningful songs that touched the hard-working class he lived amongst. Even with this talent, and a pretty good following, it wasn’t enough to live on. With a wife, and their first child on the way Rodriguez was forced to earn more money, and ended up taking a job at one of Detroit’s auto factories. While working one day, Rodriguez’s attention must have wandered and he lost a finger on his left hand. As a right-handed guitarist, he had to use his left hand to finger the cords up top. This meant he had to teach himself how to play the guitar all over again.
After four more years of playing small gigs here and there Rodriguez’s music caught the ear of Harry Balk who was the head of Impact Records and he ended up signing a deal to make music with him for five years. At 24 years of age, the young Rodriguez was well on his way to realizing his dreams as he laid 6 tracks down on his new album. In August of 1967 his first two singles were released, and got pretty good reviews. Impact released it under the name Rod Riguez because they thought his full name would have sounded too Hispanic and could hurt sales, and airtime. These were the delicate times people had to deal with then. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, Impact records ended up going out of business less than a year later, so he soon found himself jumping from club to club again until friends took some light recordings of his to a man named Clarence Avant, the owner of Sussex Records. Clarence loved his sound and agreed to produce his first full album.
After getting a band together and remixing some of his previous songs, the album was complete and released in March of 1970 with the title “Cold Fact.” The entire band, and label felt like they just finished a Grammy winner. When the album hit the airwaves, the reviews coming in were extremely positive. The problem was that with little money to promote the album, the release of The Doors’ Morrison Hotel, and Van Morrison’s Moondance,Sixto’s album got lost in the cracks like a gold coin in the couch. It was a total flop and Avant is quoted as saying literally only 6 copies were sold, mostly to family. Unbeknownst to anyone, Festival Records imported 400 copies into Australia, and A&M Records released Cold Fact on the Radio in 1971, both areas far, far away from its creator.
Steve Rowland marches into his friend Freddy’s office one day in the UK and notices something interesting on his desk. Freddy was heavily mixed up with Elvis at the time so he kind of knew what he was talking about when it came to music. It was the cover of Cold Fact that caught his eye and he asked Freddy if he could listen to it. Freddy said sure, and off Steve went into the listening room. Within minutes he became incredibly excited by what he was listening to. He marched back into Freddy’s office and said if Sixto is going to make a second album, he wants produce it. Avant got wind of this and since it was a pretty epic time for anyone to be recording in London, he pulled the plug at Sussex and sent Rodriguez overseas.
With 10 new songs already written by Rodriguez, recording started the day after he arrived and everyone working with him was excited. It is rumored that they finished the album in three weeks, which is lightning fast in the music business. Sixto’s second album Coming From Realitywas released in November of 1971 to rave reviews. As Rodriguez and his crew sat back and waited for it to take off, they were met again only with confusion. The album wasn’t selling. In December of 1971 Sussex Records dropped Sixto from his contract, and in July of 1975, Sussex itself folded into oblivion.
With his music career seemingly over, Sixto went back to working construction in Detroit. Juggling work, a family, and a couple small gigs here and there, he figured that if he can’t make a difference with his music, he would do it through politics. He got involved with various Chicano and grassroots organizations, as well as some Native American pow-wows. Rodriguez would run for office 8 times as well, losing every single time. This guy couldn’t catch a break and when people asked him why he did such backbreaking labor or why he wanted to make a difference his only answer was “It keeps the blood circulating.” Most people would have given up, been complaining up a storm, or turned to drugs to numb what most consider to be failure, but to those closest to him Rodriguez was a staunch advocator of never looking back, and only pressing forward. He was not one to ask what’s in it for him; he was doing what he was doing to help others (The amazing thing was that with all of this going on Rodriguez also managed to get his PhD from Wayne State University’s Monteith College in 1981).
Even with these new endeavors, Rodriguez never stopped playing music. His wife said he would roam from room to room everyday looking for the best sounding acoustics, or sometimes he would lock himself in a single room and play for hours. He was also a fixture at the main Detroit library, which was within walking distance from his home. A lover of Philosophy, he read all he could on the subject. Nearing 40 years of age Rodriguez just accepted his path in life. Artists are told that if you don’t make it by the time you’re 30, chances are slim to none you ever will. With life normalizing, Rodriguez would get a phone call one day in 1979 that may just make him part of the slim to none category.
One fateful day in 1979, Sixto Rodriguez received a call from a tour promoter in Australia. Rodriguez was informed that his albums have been flying off the shelves and they wanted to know if he would be willing to set up some tour dates. What’s amazing is Rodriguez never asked where all of his royalties are for the sold albums. He doesn’t start hiring 16 attorneys and start suing everyone. Overwhelmed, and humbled, Rodriguez simply agreed to the tour and off he went with his wife and two children down under. While touring, people noticed how he was almost embarrassed to be on stage with so many people idolizing him. In an article published by Rolling Stone magazine, when Rodriguez was once asked to go onstage for an encore and say something to the fans he could only manage to squeak out, “Eight years later, and this happens. I don’t believe it (10)”. With the tour being incredibly successful, the promoters brought him back for a second one in 1981. Again, playing to sold out shows Rodriguez could not believe the fame he acquired through these songs he all but forgotten about. After returning to the USA from his second sold out Australian tour, Rodriguez was hoping someone in the States was going to hear about his fame in Australia but nothing ever came about. The phones never rang. In classic Rodriguez style, he went right back to what he knew best, which was sweeping out homes and digging dirt on construction sites.
In mid-1997, while Sixto Rodriguez was still earning a paycheck through construction, Steve Segerman, and Craig Strydon were sitting in a coffee shop in Cape Town, South Africa in comparing notes. They met each other through e-mail and also found out they shared a similar passion for finding the artist known as Sixto Rodriguez. To them, Sixto was a legend, but he was also a ghost. They had both became enchanted by Rodriguez’s music when they were in the army as Cold Fact (Rodriguez’s first album) was somewhat of an Army anthem and would frequently be played over the loud speakers in the morning. Naturally, when an artist inspires you, you want to learn more about them. As both of these men went digging for answers they couldn’t find anything. The Internet was too young so information on Sussex Records was nonexistent, and what was even worse was there were rumors floating around that Rodriguez was dead by his own hand.
The answers were different every time someone mentioned it. “He shot himself on stage after reciting his own epitaph.” “He died in a fire when his electric guitar malfunctioned.” Or my personal favorite, “He set himself on fire on stage at one of his concerts.” This was not just South African people making up crazy lies. In Australia they believed Rodriguez died of a heroin overdose in a New York City gutter. How these rumors started nobody knows, but Rodriguez’s legendary status in South Africa because of them is comparable to how people became much more interested The Doors when Jim Morrison died. Steve and Craig spoke for about an hour that day but ended up leaving with the same questions. Is Rodriguez alive? If so, where is he? If not, how did he die? Steve figured rather than them looking for information, they should have the information come to them so he created a website asking people with information on Sixto Rodriguez to come forward. One day, Rodriguez’s daughter just happened to stumble on to the website and ended up sending an e-mail to Steve letting him know that her father is alive and well. Steve informed her of how big he is in South Africa and once again they had no idea. She said Rodriguez has not seen a dime in royalties from his music that has sold in South Africa and Steve was shocked. Steve gave his phone number to her and asked if she would have Rodriguez call him. She said she would, but that her father was a private man and she couldn’t guarantee anything. To Steve’s surprise he got a late-night call that same day from the man himself.
Even though his voice was unmistakable, Steve couldn’t believe that he was talking to the man whose records (and whereabouts) he had been obsessing over for nearly 20 years. Once again Rodriguez didn’t ask about royalties or any money he was owed, he was simply overjoyed to hear that his music was appreciated by so many. The humility of Rodriguez, more importantly the Nishkama Karma spirit this man has shines through on so many levels. In the book Sugar Man: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez(11), there are multiple accounts of people talking about his hard work ethic, his generosity, and his selfless nature. A few recognizable quotes are:
“(On touring) How sweet they are to even notice me because there’s so much music out there, and that they made that happen, I owe them so much, man.”
“(On him as a performer) What I do as a performer. I let the guitar win them over. I accept my craft and I give it back to them, and they recognize it.”
“(On his lack of fame in America until now) “I was too disappointed to be disappointed, besides, nothing beats reality.”
Vivekananda says we are entitled to our work, but not the fruits thereof. Sixto Rodriguez has been a shining example of this statement as you can see even from the previous three quotes.
Once the people of South Africa got ahold of Sixto Rodriguez they would not let him go. He has done several tours there, drawing bigger and bigger crowds each time. An amusing part of the story is that the tour promoters actually had to convince people Rodriguez was alive and that they were not just going to see a look-alike. Once he got onstage for the first time the voice was unmistakable and people knew it was really him. A few years went by and a record company called Light in the Attic based out of Seattle, Washington acquired the rights to Rodriguez’s music and re-released both albums in 2008, and 2009 respectively. Both albums were positively reviewed and after nearly 40 years, Rodriguez finally had his recognition among the American people. In 2012, a documentary about his life entitled “Searching for Sugarman” won an Oscar and that set the stage for talk show appearances galore among other gigs. He was asleep when the announcement came that the documentary had won and is the first to admit he only appears in the film for 8 minutes. If his music is for the people, then his movie is too.
Sixto Rodriguez had every reason in the world to be a bitter man. Some artists are bitter or head down a road of self-destruction even though they can get their talents to the masses. Fame, or lack of fame is kind of like tasting ice cream for the first time. Ice cream is what we call hyper-palatable food. Your brain sends your hormones into overdrive because fat, sugar, and salt do not occur together anywhere in nature. Now imagine you just had a bite, and your body is going nuts from the taste. You can’t control the cravings you just want more. This is your brain on fame. Now imagine you can see on TV or hear people on the radio talking about how good ice cream is but you can’t have any. This is your brain on not achieving fame. That will drive someone crazy too. Nishkama Karma teaches us to work hard so other people can have your ice cream. Crazy, right?
I don’t think Sixto Rodriguez would agree with you.
One of the most difficult concepts for human beings in developed countries to grasp is the idea of non-attachment. We think because we bought something, or because something has our name on it, that it is ours; that we OWN it and nobody has a right to it but us. Some people take this concept so far that they think they can actually “own” another person, and I’m not just talking about slavery. From a legal standpoint, you may own an object, but The Ever Space, as you can see, does not care about ownership. What it manifests is for everyone to enjoy.
In order to fully access this space to have abundance given to us, we must believe in abundance first. Some people have a scarcity belief in life, that there is not enough to go around so you need as much as you can, and if you lose any of it you’re screwed. This limits your thinking and always put you on the defensive. You become dualistic (which we will talk about in the next lesson) and now have to protect everything you own. Now this isn’t saying that you can’t own nice things, it’s simply saying that like your body, everything on this planet is only rented to us, we never truly “OWN” anything. You come in with nothing and you leave with nothing. You can make money, have nice houses, and marry the prettiest girl in the world, but just remember that none of it belongs to you.
Many people lose a job and feel their life is over. Other people lose a boyfriend, girlfriend, or get divorced and swear they will never love again, but you will. Negative lessons in life teach, positive lessons in life reward. Which would you rather have more of? How do you expect to grow in your life if you do not learn from the negatives? Your girlfriend wants to go out with her friends for the fourth night in a row? Let her and be happy. That not YOUR girl. She is not an object and does not belong to you. Someone at work took your idea and now looks better in front of the boss? Good for them, the true beneficiary is going to go to the needs of someone else, stop worrying about your own. These are tough, tough concepts that take time to learn and implement but pay off big when it comes to your mental health and well-being. Having a mind clear of regrets, and resentment brings you into a more present state and in turn closer to what you truly desire.
Every once in a while, when you have the time or the mood strikes you, do something for someone, or a group of people, without letting them know, and without taking credit for it. Work at a soup kitchen for an afternoon without telling anybody where you were or making it your Facebook status update. Give the cashier at a random coffee shop $50 and tell him/her to pay for the next 10 customers or until the money is used up. Don’t leave a name, and don’t tweet about it. You can even just put the money in an envelope and just hand it to someone behind the counter. If they keep it, then that’s on them, and we don’t mind because THAT’S NOT OUR MONEY ANYWAY! You can wash someone’s car when they’re not home, or leave a gift basket on a neighbor’s doorstep early in the morning. You can even leave a movie card on the desk of a coworker you have difficulty getting along with. You may even include a note admiring them for a job well done. The possibilities are endless, but hopefully these few got your gears moving.
- Help Others, But Don’t Expect Gratitude in Return | Nishkama Karma of the Gita. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2016, from http://www.spiritualbee.com/posts/nishkama-karma-bhagavad-gita/
- Vivekananda, S. (2015). Karma Yoga: The Yoga of Action (Art of Living)[EditionNEXT.com].
- Brown, M. (Director). (2015). The Man Who Knew Infinity[Motion picture on Amazon Videos]. UK: Animus Films.
- McRaney, D. (2011). You are not so smart: Why you have too many friends on Facebook, why your memory is mostly fiction, and 46 other ways you’re deluding yourself. New York: Gotham Books/Penguin Group.
- Dylan, B. (2004). Chronicles: Volume one. New York: Simon & Schuster.
- Lehrer, J. (2012). The neuroscience of Bob Dylan’s genius. Retrieved November 16, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/apr/06/neuroscience-bob-dylan-genius-creativity (I realize Leher lied about quoting Dylan in this article and his book on creativity, but I used it for the science, and the science still stands).
- Bob Dylan: Songs were “almost magically written” (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2016, from http://top.adlesse.com/en/i/871353166015052722/bob-dylan-songs-were-almost-magically-written
- Gilbert, E. (2015). Big magic: Creative living beyond fear. New York: Riverhead Books.
- Lakhiani, V. (2016). The code of the extraordinary mind: Ten unconventional laws to redefine your life & succeed on your own terms. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.
- Greene, A. (n.d.). Rodriguez: 10 Things You Don’t Know About the ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ Star. Retrieved November 16, 2016, from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/rodriguez-10-things-you-dont-know-about-the-searching-for-sugar-man-star-20130328