In ancient times, people lived holistic lives. They didn’t overemphasize the intellect, but integrated mind, body, and spirit in all things. This allowed them to become masters of knowledge rather than victims of concepts…They valued old ways that had been proven effective, and they valued new ways if they could be proven effective…If you want to stop being confused, then emulate these ancient folk: join your body, mind, and spirit in all you do… Allow your work and your recreation to be one and the same…Serve others and cultivate yourself simultaneously. Understand that true growth comes from meeting and solving the problems of life in a way that is harmonizing to yourself and to others. If you can follow these simple old ways, you will be continually renewed.
– Lao Tzu, Hua Hu Ching, 43
Yesterday I wrote about pain. Some people experience constant pain and find temporary relief in an activity that can be described as addiction. I recently listened to a podcast interview by Russel Brand who sat down with Dr. Gabor Maté. They have a very honest conversation about addiction and the underlying trauma that has to do with it.
Russel Brand is an English comedian, actor, radio host, author and activist while Dr. Gabor Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction and is also widely recognized for his unique perspective on Attention Deficit Disorder and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health.
After having read it I immediately decided it goes onto my “I need to read this again soon“ shelf. In this book Gabor explains his view on the connection between the mind and the body, how it impacts health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.
Gabor sees addiction as something far broader than just illegal substances:„Addiction is manifested in any behavior that a person craves, finds temporary relief or pleasure in but suffers negative consequences as a result of, and yet has difficulty giving up. In brief: craving, relief, pleasure, suffering, impaired control. Note that this definition is not restricted to drugs but could encompass almost any human behavior, from sex to eating to shopping to gambling to extreme sports to TV to compulsive internet use: the list is endless.“ You can find the full text here.
I resonate with this definition. What about you?
P.S. I am following the work of one of Gabor’s sons, too. His name is Daniel and I recommend you check out his new website about a very special kind of service he is offering. This truly seems to be a calling for him.
Pain is a symptom of an underlying condition. Manifested in different forms, e.g. mental or physical pain, it will inevitably claim your attention by screaming for a solution. If you neglect it for too long it will rise in fortitude and challenge you even more.
Pain can break you if you are too stubborn to look yourself in the mirror and acknowledge its relevance. You might choose to see it as a natural occurrence instead that can serve as a trigger for important change, it is up to you.
For a while now, we as a human race are undergoing a huge societal shift, it is happening in many places and inside of many minds all around the world. This kind of change is not intentionally created, it is a change where a new kind of world is slowly emerging.
We are shifting from an industrial, modern world to a post-industrialist, transmodern world; transmodernity means Knowledge Society. These two worlds believe in opposing values.
Values of the Industrial Society vs. the Knowledge Society
If you grab a dictionary and look up “expert“ it will reveal something like “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area.“
There are many experts out there. Their knowledge, particularly if it stems from actual experience, is a gift to the world and other people can learn from them. When it comes to mindset, though, it can lead to a dead-end. The more you convince yourself you know all there is to know in a particular field, the more you get stuck in being right.
If you are the kind of person open to learn and develop, you might want to cultivate a beginner’s mind instead: wonder, ask questions, explore, test things out and hopefully delight in the journey of discovery.
Maybe Charles Barkley, the former NBA player, is right when he says: “Only God is an expert.“
When I was a small boy I started to develop a love for stories about mythology, particularly Greek mythology. To this day one of my all time favourite books is Die schönsten Sagen des klassichen Altertums from Gustav Schwab.
I went on to take classes of Latin during seven out of my nine high school years. During this time I enjoyed reading so many remarkable mythological stories.
One of the great teachers within this realm is Joseph Campbell. To him mythology was “the song of the universe, the music of the spheres”. There exists a fabulous TV series, created by PBS, where he is interviewed by Bill Moyers. Here is a short intro video about it which lasts 0:31.
I wish I would have met him in person and listened to one of his lectures. What I can do, though, is to write about him and express my gratitude for all of his work. His book, The Power of Myth, is another of my all time favourites. It is a book that contains excerpts of his conversation with Bill Moyers.
Below is a great video, it lasts 11:28, by Tom Bilyeu, in which he is sharing his thoughts about how this book impacted his life.