holding heaven

“When we stop thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation,
we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”

Joseph Campbell

A few years ago I did an experiment at the behest of my Tai Chi teacher. It was to not talk about myself for one week. The experience had such a profound, life-changing effect I wrote an article about it and made it the subject of the first chapter of my e-book.

To put it briefly, once I stopped focusing on telling my story I saw that everyone around me was constantly and repetitively telling their own story, to the point that they neither saw nor heard what was going on around them.

I tangibly witnessed that we use language to actively create the experience of our lives. It’s less a communication tool than a spell-casting tool.

With this awareness the natural impulse becomes then to tell a better story. If talking about my problems creates them, then why not talk about how good my life is?

The issue here is that words carry the energy that inspires them. If I don’t believe what I say, or say it in an effort to create specific change, the words will be hollow at best and detrimental at worst. Detrimental because they will still carry the energy of the problem, but on an unconscious level where our most potent creative force exists.

This isn’t to say changing how you talk about yourself can’t have life-changing benefits, but as long as your focus is on improving your life nothing really changes from how you normally talk. This is because making life better is already our instinctive focus.

So, we have an amazing, potent, easy to access tool for creating the best experience of our lives, how do we use it effectively?

In my original article, I shared about how startlingly fast my life got better when I took the pressure off of telling my story. I thought at the time simply relaxing the effort to tell it was what allowed change to happen, and while that was certainly part of it, here’s what really did it:

I got conscious. 

Not being allowed to engage my reflex to talk about myself forced me to become hyper aware of everything I said. I had to listen to the people around me, and respond to what they were saying instead of what it reminded me of.

As an effect, my words became oriented and responsive to the present moment. My language became the language of enlightenment.

If you want to instantly and profoundly change your life, before speaking take a breath and ask yourself one question:

“What can I say that will add value to this moment?”

Talking about yourself or not is inconsequential to using language effectively. It’s orienting to the needs of the moment, not your preferences, that makes the difference.

The deeper lesson here is your life does not require a lot of focus in order to work. The less attention you put on it and emphasize instead showing up in a conscious way, the more your problems will solve themselves.

Essentially, you get what you give. Focus on making your words and presence a gift to your environment, and your environment will get better without the experience of effort.

It is simple to think about, difficult to do. Start practicing, a little each day, until the question, “How can I add value to this moment?” becomes as natural and unconscious a force in your life as the question, “How can I make my life better?” has been in the past.

PS. If something is particularly sticky and grabs your focus, ask, “How can I add value to this situation?” Observe it as something in need of your loving presence, and orient to it with a mindset of giving rather than fixing. Don’t make it a part of your identity or a problem, and it will become incredibly light to the point of feeling easy.