(A looking forward question)
Let me begin with a question. If you were to invest in your future best self, where would you put your time and energy? When this question was asked in a millennium survey of college students, the most frequent response was “money and fame.” Think about it. “What would be your response?”
(A looking back study)
In a much earlier Harvard University study, started in 1930, 2000 children were randomly selected and then followed-up every 2 years over a period of 85 years. The most recent report of the findings was issued in 2015. Of the original 2000, 60 are still living. They were asked, what was the most important criteria as they look back on their long life? Most answered, “Good relationships, as defined by trust, honesty, appreciation and thoughtfulness.” In today’s environment would this be a better response?
(Learn from hindsight)
Psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Waldinger, the latest director of this long Harvard study, reported, it is primarily the quality (and not the quantity) of the relationship that counts. Throughout the years of the study Dr. Waldinger relates, “It became obvious that the best predictor of happiness, health and longevity was not your cholesterol level, nor genetics, or what you eat, but an on-going successful relationship. Neither fame nor success were even on the radar in the reporting.”
(An action item)
Turning the Self Inside Out is about you and your relationship with all of life. The argument is, if you agree with the narrated premise, taking action early in your life will pay dividends in your future happiness. This can only happen behaviourally, to take control of your life you need to become consciously aware of the self within. The best time to do this is right now. Frankly, this might very well be the most important time of your life, to take an attentive look at the inner self. Let me explain.
As a youngster, I will always remember my first ride on a Ferris Wheel. It was both thrilling and exhilarating but not without fear. I was filled with mixed emotions, a feeling of ‘letting go’ but ‘out of control’; reaching new heights but unsettling; feeling ‘crazy good’ on the outside but nauseating on the inside.
Once the ride was finished, I looked up in wonderment and noticed the new riders were vocally expressing what I just had experienced. How I longed to get back on the ride. I begged my parents to let me take the ride again wanting more of their excitement. Much later, when I rode the Wheel with our daughter, I noticed there was another part to the Ferris Wheel that I had never before considered. There was much speed and excitement on the outside of the Wheel but a “stillness” at the centre and an “On top of the world” feeling.
Liken this to our human life experience. It is a ride of temporary excitement, when we are often oblivious to others due to the speed with which our time passes. When the ride is coming to an end we are left with wanting more. Hopefully we can find a centre of permanent stillness and tranquility where we can observe all that is going on with little desire of wanting anything more.
Turning the Self Inside Out is a journey about recognizing permanency and the joy of living (called, the observer) and respecting the centre (the observed). When the observer and the observed become one, only then are we in complete control of life.
What is the goal of the course? To become more aware and fully acquainted with the inner self (the centre); and from this superior vantage point take control so that we can invest in a happier, more meaningful life.