The Ultimate Guide to Connection

Hello readers!

We’ve been deeply exploring various components of a mindset for effective action, this time we will get a bit more abstract and consider connection as it relates to effective action.

 

What is it?

Big Idea: Trusting that your fate is as it was meant to be.

Basically: What happens, was meant to happen.

Connection is presence, in the simplest terms. It is feeling that you are one with the current moment, there is no disconnect in the form of thought stuck in the past or the future, the labeling of things is also minimized. It is depth over breadth.

The emphasis with connection is on the deep feeling of presence. A sensation of stillness where your mind is clear of anticipation, anxiety, and time. There is no identification with a self or objects around you, the labeling of things is removed and the moment is simply experienced, without judgement.

A deep sensation of surrender and trust flows over you in the form of patience and acceptance. It is as if the vibrations of energy that nearby lifeforms, such as plants and animals, put off is picked up by you and your awareness widens, thought diminishes, and a feeling of peace and presence bubbles up ever so gently.

Presence and stillness is a shift in consciousness. When such a state is arrives, there is a sensation of your brain shifting between gears. It is a letting go, a release, a surrendering to the moment, it is trust.

This connection can be experienced with every moment of every day, but an even bigger idea is this concept applied to something that is bigger than yourself. This can be anything that strikes a profound sensation of awe and wonder. Action that flows from a state of such a connection is a strong candidate for effective action. The alternative is action from ego or a state of feeling you are bigger than something else.

Ego comes from feeling larger, connection comes from feeling smaller. Feeling smaller in the sense of being awe-struck by something like the beautiful view off the side of a mountain, or contemplating your existence in the face of the giant universe. Connection comes from realizing that you are just a cog in the wheel, a component of the bigger picture, not the whole picture itself. This sort of connection is ripe for effective and meaningful action.

Ego is a state of feeling special. You are disconnected and thought to be separate from others in some superior way. You combat such feelings of separation with connection.

Since connection is the realization that you are just a piece to the puzzle, then it makes sense that things such as volunteering, religion, spirituality, gratitude and relationships are all seen as avenues for connection.

 

Why is it Important?

Big Idea: Connection combats ego and ego is the ultimate form of resistance.

Basically: Connection removes the resistance between you and growth.

It is common for people to have experienced moments in their life when their emotions got the best of them and they acted out in some way that they later regretted. This moment is often accompanied by a sense of haste. Haste is directly connected with impatience and as a result this sort of state is opposite of presence. Moments like these are those where a terrorist attack is happening and you freeze or lose your ability to quiet your mind to access the situation. This may very well result in loved ones or even yourself being severely injured.

Connection with a bigger-picture entity promotes still-minded thinking and serves as a source to always return to when you are overwhelmed. This source provides you with a still place to recollect yourself and recenter. This is exactly what is meant by spiritual phrases such as “connect to source”. It is a trusted place in your mind that you can pull from when you need to reconnect to a place of presence and still-mindedness. Meditation is a great tool to practice this “returning to a place of stillness or quietness”, because after all, it is the practice outside of the game-day moments that allows for the effective action that is experienced on game-day.

Basically, connection promotes your ability to remain present by promoting trust and allowing a safe way to surrender to what is. Resistance is minimized, and as we have seen in The Ultimate Guide to Clarity, resistance is the primary cause of ineffective action.

Presence discourages ego from taking hold. Ego distracts and holds you back. Connection combats this by delivering awe. Ego is a feeling of being bigger than a thing, and awe is a feeling of being smaller than a thing. When you feel bigger than a thing the human-tendency to abuse the power becomes too tempting. Bullying comes from such a place and is why the stereotypical bully is usually seen as the kid who has grown faster than others his age and has a large ego.

In the grand scheme of things you are small. Compared relatively to the universe and the simple fact that no one truly knows how, or what we are doing here. This mentality is far more likely to be an accurate perspective on life and as a result allow for more effective action. This is because this mentality is more aligned with nature as opposed to resistance of nature.

Action that comes from this place is more effective due to promoting presence and absorption in the task at hand. There is no haste that comes from impatience, doubt and resistance are also minimized. This is how quality work can be done.

Ego makes it difficult to have a “beginner’s mindset”, which makes learning and growing difficult. To grow you have to have somewhere to grow, ego works to convince you that you are at the top of your game and the biggest fish in the pond. To consistently grow, a beginner’s mindset is necessary, beginners grow fastest in all regards (e.g. muscle, strength, running, new technical subjects, etc.)

Ego promotes thinking that you know. Knowing is the enemy of learning. If you claim to know something, or claim to understand something, you are closing yourself off to learning more. Curiosity is destroyed because why do you need to be curious when you already know? But curiosity is a principle of effective action as it relates closely to exploration. To live effectively, you need curiosity, but claiming you know something destroys curiosity and makes you less sensitive to new information. Being less exposed to novelty will lead to your brain atrophying and your overall life quality diminishing, you may even experience time flying by faster than usual (with less and less quality and fulfillment from the time spent) as your everyday activities become habituated and their execution becomes unconscious. Life is an active sport, to live life passively is to fail at living life. Effective action, and therefore effective living, has a prerequisite of being active.

At best, claiming that you know something will be a snapshot in the past of everything you’ve learned up to the point of claiming you “know” it. But as another principle of effective action states, life is dynamic and therefore always changing. To claim you know something is to restrict yourself to the past. You have officially disconnected from the present moment since that statement was in the past. Perhaps it was stated just a few second ago, but as soon as it is said you have shut yourself off to learning more or at least have added resistance to doing so. If you’re talking with someone and they say something that you claim to “know” already, then you’ll be far more likely to stop listening to them and think about what you can say next as to show just how much you know about that subject.

To claim you understand someone is, in itself, proof that you don’t understand someone. Understanding is a never ending process and should be seen as a dynamic verb. Just like loving someone. It should be shown through actions in every moment, not a claim and then be like “oh okay, I’ve convinced them of that, time to put this in my back pocket and forget about it”. Just as loving someone, understanding someone is a constant seeking, it is like a scientist who has a hypothesis but avoids speaking with words that suggest they know (e.g. instead saying things like “our data so far shows…”).

The scientist is constantly open to dropping their current beliefs in favor of new information as evidence suggests, they are disconnected from an identity or ego and connected to the truth. The truth is something that can not ever be known and therefore you must always be open to new information, this can be seen by how often the health industry changes their recommendations for a “healthy” diet.

Life is dynamic, the one thing you can always trust is that things will change. This isn’t what most people want to hear because they want the comfort of knowing, but this slows you down and if the aim is effective action, then you should swing 100% in the opposite direction. People fear the ambiguity of not knowing what will happen, this is something that can be worked on through experience and understanding that ambiguity can be best addressed through things such as context and experience. Notice experience popping up again, hence why it is a principle of effective action. Consider human communication and body language, even a scream could be considered ambiguous, is someone in danger, someone excited, or was someone surprised about something? If the scream sounded like a child and followed by laughter, that context suggests that the person is safe, if the scream came from a dark alley as you walked by a building a night, that scream may be interpreted as something completely different due to context. A fist with a thumb sticking out can be seen as a “good job” (or even “go ahead” in certain contexts) in America or “up yours” in Australia.

The point here is that ego prevents this sort of effective action and presence, as is obtained through connection with a bigger-picture entity, promotes effective action. This sort of connection allows for trust, acceptance, and the removal of thought. Inner resistance is diminished and a sense of quality can be added to the work that you do and the suffering and struggles that you face are now open to positive meaning. The positive meaning that you apply to the struggle recursively promotes quality and effective action.

Furthermore, from this state of utter acceptance and removal of thought, forgiveness bubbles up, even if just for that moment. How could you be upset with someone in a state of such peace? Impatience and resistance makes this practice of presence much more difficult. Impatience often comes from a state of ego and is the ultimate form of resistance, it is a resistance to what is in the present moment. The resistance must be dropped for true presence to be experienced.

 

How do I Develop it?

Big Idea: Work to diminish the grip of ego by being exposed to awe-striking experiences.

Basically: Explore mindsets and interpretations that promote presence.

Ego can come easily once you identify with forms such as objects, roles, responsibilities, and even your own body, and being conscious makes identification with form highly likely. So ego is usually the default way of living as a self-aware being, you have to pass through such a phase in order to become more “awake”. So addressing the aspects of ego is a great way to increase your ability to connect and therefore your ability to be present.

You can combat the tendency of impatience by asking the simple question “what is between then and now?” when noticing you’re resisting or being impatient and hasty. This, of course, implies awareness, which is the first step to just about everything. See The Ultimate Guide to Awareness for a deep dive into it. This question isn’t necessarily one to be answered with words or explicit thought, it is more of a question meant to direct attention, explore the world around you, and recapture your objective. It serves as a means to orient you to the objective and bigger purpose behind your actions and helps to drive attention from far off in time to closer and closer to the present moment.

The power of this question comes when it is applied in a recursive manner. When asked, your attention may be directed to something just a bit closer, but then when considered again you may find something even more immediate in the present moment which directs your attention even closer to the a single action of the moment. For example, while running a long distance you may find your mind wondering off to how far you have to go, this is very discouraging and overwhelming. If you were to instead ask “what is between the end of this run and now?” you may realize that you ought to focus on the next mile or landmark, then asking this question again you may find yet a closer landmark, or just the next half-mile.

After recursively asking this question you may come to considering even more minute things, such as the feel of the wind or the smell of the air. Going even further, your running form may come into your awareness, and even further, the feel of your foot on the pavement. This question can recurse so far as to consider the individual parts of a single step while running, such as the foot leaving the ground to being in mid-air to finally contacting the ground once more. Focus applied to this sort of action is exactly what presence is.

An important point to take away from here is that you shouldn’t expect to go from distracted or impatient to present in a snap second, that itself is impatience. Developing presence is like developing reduced breathing practices or building intelligence in a particular subject or developing the strength of a very nuanced muscle such as the pelvic floor, it requires a very subtle and gentle approach. The objective with such subtle skills is to focus on progress, not on the end-objective, which is why those who have the most difficulty developing skills such as these are those that are the most impatient.

This recursive questioning can be interpreted in another way as a means to break apart a bigger problem or challenge into smaller tasks by asking a simpler question of “what is the next smallest step“. Where now the focus isn’t on the big hairy task but on the smaller task that is of most important right now. In the running example, it is realizing that the next step you focus on should be on some landmark far out, then a closer landmark, and then ultimately just the incredibly subtle movements of your form. A similar strategy was considered for improving your ability to struggle effectively in The Ultimate Guide to Challenge.

This sort of mentality promotes quality of action since it removes rushing and impatience, which both promote resistance and sets unrealistic expectations. This is why the best musicians or the best individuals at a particular skill are those who love the practice so much that they would “do it for free”, meaning it isn’t a means to an end. They love the task so much that they can’t help but be absorbed in the every movement they engage in, they are the epitome of what presence can do in terms of effective action. The point here is that this sort of absorption can be learned and applied during any moment of every day.

As might be expected, journaling and meditation are useful in improving your ability to be present. Journaling can be used to draw attention to your current moment by writing about what your physical experience is like, this can be helpful in situations when you feel emotionally overwhelmed or annoyed. Meditation is a great tool to improve your ability for presence since it essentially develops your ability to “stay” given discomfort such as an itch. Even using the word “stay” as a mantra to survive the “one-second decisions” (i.e. the peak urge to quit) mentioned in The Ultimate Guide to Challenge is a great way to recenter yourself once stimulus starts to become intense and overwhelming. The practice of separating yourself from your thoughts and viewing your experience as an observer, or an awareness, is a great skill that promotes your ability to remain present. Refer to The Ultimate Guide to Awareness for more details and practical applications on this.

A particular type of mindfulness that is especially useful for presence is focusing on the breath. Correct breathing should be using the diaphragm (belly should move, chest and shoulders should remain mostly still). Breathing should be slow, rhythmic, calm, gentle, small, and relaxed. It is hard to be present when you are in the typical stress stance, which is shoulders hunched up, shallow breathing from the chest, and overall tension from the jaw down to the stomach. Breath is a great way to recenter yourself and relax into the present moment. It is one physical state that has great influence over your ability to be present.

Since presence is a shift in consciousness that is accompanied by a feeling, it can be invoked under particular physical states. The typical characteristics of presence is relaxed breathing, wide-eyed, and open to the environment, you are relaxed and accepting to what is without judgement or labeling. This can be simulated by broadening your awareness.

You can broaden your awareness through widening your eyes to take in more of the environment and at the same time relaxing into your body, ., You can do this by relaxing the focus of your eyes and letting them glaze over as things fade out of your vision, try to expand your peripheral vision. The feeling is like a “sitting back” as opposed to a “leaning in”, you are sort of pulling away from attaching to what is in-front of you and relaxing into your body. This pairs nicely with feeling your inner body itself, feel the energy in your hands, the aliveness of your limbs. Basically, ask yourself (without words) how you are aware that you have feet, or whatever body part, when you are not looking at it. This immediately promotes presence as your focus is on the sensations of the present moment at that region of your body, you may feel the energy and aliveness of that region.

With your eyes wide, relax your body, let your shoulders fall, bring an awareness to what areas of your body are tense. Your shoulders? stomach? legs? pelvic floor? jaw? eyes? Wherever you notice tension gently relax it by bring attention to that region, no forcing necessary, it may feel like you are letting go of something as a release occurs. Relax the eye-sockets themselves.

This state of relaxation promotes presence by removing tension that may be easily interpreted by the mind as reason to contemplate some potential future threat or some past experience that may be the cause of the tension. A relaxed body is far more capable of being present, even under struggle and stressful situations, if you approach them with relaxing any added tension the added psychological resistance falls away and you can rest assured that you are doing what you can to ensure effective action.

In this relaxed state, take in the situation fully. No judgement, no labeling, just complete and open acceptance. No thought, only experience. Whatever is there, whatever stimulus, whatever sensations, just experience. This sort of situational awareness and relaxed body is a trait of highly attuned and present individuals such as Sherlock Holmes. This leads them to incredible abilities of awareness and self-control as well as the ease of picking up subtleties in their environment. This relaxed state also promotes the ability for the mind to store the information you are exposing yourself to more thoroughly (since body resources aren’t being focused towards fight or flight, survival activities).

This is the sort of state kids and other rapid learners are in. They are completely absorbed in the present moment. Interest is an easy way to encourage this present state but the point here is that you can simulate such a state and therefore reap the same clear and still minded presence that leads to effective action.

One of the most impactful feelings I’ve ever come across is that of being able to move through space with a sense of calm aggression. Being assertive while remaining mentally still and physically relaxed is a feeling of true power and control. This state is one where there is no tension or hostility needed. You don’t get taken over by your emotions, you remain fully in control. This is the sort of calm assertiveness that Martial Arts teach.

The more you find tension accompanying assertiveness or aggression, then ego, stress, or dysfunction is likely at play. Tension usually comes from a place of fear. If you find yourself tense at any point in time, then this signifies to you that you are fearful of something. Relaxation comes from a place of control, trust and ease. It is a feeling of abundance, not scarcity. Abundance gives room for space, and space allows for stillness.

A scarcity mindset is one stemming from fear. All fear comes from a scarcity mindset. An abundance mindset is therefore a very effective way at combating fear.

Tension is a great metric for determining a lot of things related to presence. The most useful is how fearful you are. Fear brings stress. The less tension you have, the less fearful you will be, and therefore the less stressed as well. Perhaps the tension you are feeling is due to impatience, you want to be somewhere else other than where you are right now.

Relaxing is about releasing into wherever you are right now and trusting the ride. I’ve trained my ability to be fairly relaxed, especially during meditations. So it was a surprise when I encountered a new depth to stillness that I never experienced before, even years after practice. Slowing my breath down, breathing onto my finger through my nose, I entered a state of true stillness. It was scary, overwhelming. An urge to do something to avoid it came bubbling up. An urge to sniff, swash saliva around in my mouth, move my eyes, something. Just the utterance of a thought scared away the stillness. This is when I had a glimpse into the incredible depth of stillness.

It was as if I was more the awareness of my existence than ever before. I already thought I lived in a fairly aware state most of the time, but this felt more of an out of body experience. There was a feeling of connection, acceptance, and calm. My fan was blowing in the background and other sounds were around me, but they all seemed to dull themselves and I was left with a sense of control. It lasted only a few seconds before my thought patterns interrupted the state. I have since began to be able to make these more and more frequent. It is most easily achieved through slowing down the breath immensely and after 24 hours of fasting. I slow my breath and release tensions in every area of my body, with a focus on my cheeks and lower abs.

I have learned a few things from this experience. This reinforced the concept of abundance and depth. There is always more, beyond what one may think possible. We limit ourselves but yet are limited by the reality we create in our minds from our experiences. I saw what an even further removal of the ego looked like. I had insight into what may be holding back many from achieving a similar state. The impact of the distractions we expose ourselves to everyday became more clear.

I’ve learned the impression that thought has on our ability to be still and the importance of limiting mental chatter. Thought is the enemy of true stillness. Ego seems to try and hold on through thought. Maybe this interplay is where consciousness arises. Furthermore, I’ve realized the fact that even if we have convinced ourselves of being a present individual, there is an objectively higher degree that you can always develop to. I’ve learned the importance of continual practice and never assuming that I can’t learn anything new.

You never now just how much you are living in a state of stress until you get a glimpse at the other side. You may think you have green grass, but then you see a yard with even greener grass. The greenest grass you’ve seen sets the stage for how green you think grass can get. This belief slowly dissolves over time as you challenge it and see more and more greener grass. After a while, you will begin to realize just how little you know, just how green things can get. This has been my experience when it comes to stillness.

I think there are a lot of similar scenarios when it comes to the mind. We are all walking around with our own, very different, perception of reality. We act as if everyone views the world as we do, but this can’t be further from the truth. The world is constructed in our mind based off of the sensory organs that we have available, the relative intensities of stimulus, and the compounding nature of our experiences. This opens the door to a wide variety in how people can see the world, from anxiety and depression to Schizophrenia. We are limited because we can’t get a glimpse of reality from someone else’s perspective.

As you may have noticed, the mindset used in your approach to life makes all of the difference in the degree of effective action you experience. A mindset that captures many important principles of life that I have found personally impactful is living life like it is a video game. This “Main Character” interpretation of or perspective to life is directly related to the idea of connection as it promotes the concept of your body being a vessel and your existence is to be a servant for a bigger-picture entity such as was explored in the Physical Realm of the Life Simplified series.

If you’re hearing this idea for the first time it may be tough to grasp, so please refer back to its exploration in the Physical Realm. Basically, realizing that your body is a vessel through which the universe acts and consists of a bunch of sensory organs to feed information to your brain (which is trapped in a dark skull with no other way to experience the world), is an effective perspective to view struggle and hardships with.

Viewing life like a video game does a few things:

  • Aids in not taking life so seriously, promoting a sense of play with your actions
    • Play, as in the subtle enjoyment of the motion of things such as working hard, doing dishes, running, solving challenging problems, etc.
    • The joy is in the journey, not arriving at the destination
    • In the end you won’t be thinking of all of the things you have accumulated, but of the experiences that have led you there.
  • Ties directly with the notion of Awareness as you are the observer of the character
    • You are not your thoughts, you are the awareness that is above thought
    • This is also important when dealing with any moment of struggle
  • Events that happen all tie in someway to the bigger picture
    • Even the so called “set-backs” contribute to the larger story
    • Everything is as it is meant to be
  • Exploration is vital in understanding the world around you
    • You can not assume that you know the “rules to the game” once you pick up the controller for the first time.
  • All sensation, experience, and stimulus is temporary, it will pass
  • You develop your character to be able to fight bosses or enemies that you once were unable to, even if at one point in time it seemed impossible to overcome them.
    • These enemies can be seen as obstacles in life
  • You start off with a particular set of skills, that may differ from others, but each of which can be further developed through practice.

There are a lot of benefits to this perspective. It is important to realize that this is an interpretation of life, meaning it is a full mindset, lifestyle, framework, etc. for how to approach everyday experiences in life. It is basically a philosophy.

Taking this mindset one step further you can change the victim mindset of “why me” to one where you think “of course me”. This is because with this “Main Character” interpretation of life, you are observing the events in this “game” as if they are all tied to the bigger picture. In a video game this is more obvious, consider watching a movie or reading a book (any story-like scenarios), each action that you experience from the story you expect to tie back in to the story in some way. Every quest in the video game has a bigger purpose, even if you can’t see it just yet.

So when you engage in a struggling experience in life, instead of thinking “why me” you instead realize “of course me”. Of course things go my way, of course things work out in the end, of course I have these experiences. Even if they are negative experiences, of course you experience them because perhaps that experience will allow you to help someone else out who is going through a similar situation, perhaps a child of yours in the future will encounter that and could benefit from your wisdom. Due to not being able to see the full picture and everything that plays out from beginning to the end of the movie that is our lives we assume that negative experiences have no benefit. But this isn’t how you watch a movie or play a video game, deep down you realize those events all play back into the story somehow, even if you don’t, quite yet, know how.

With this “Main Character” interpretation, you take the same perspective as you would while watching a movie, but the movie is your own life, you have the same exact ability to view your experiences just as objectively and with just as much awareness. The difficulty in this level of self-awareness often comes from ego, which is to say the identification with form, since it feels so personal to you you struggle to give yourself the same level of objectivity as you would a character in a movie. This is why it is common to hear advice such as “what would you suggest a friend to do if they were in the same situation as you”.

This promotes thoughts such as “If things don’t seem to be positive or add to the bigger picture, then I must just not have all of the pieces to put the puzzle together”. Just like a video game, you’re only aware of you, the main character, all others around you could be bots for all you know, so of course my character is the one to be successful, survive, experience these positive and negative experiences, etc. Consider watching a movie where the main character is in trouble, you may know that somehow the character will escape and be fine because “he is the main character, he can’t die, the story is about him”.

Now, this probably isn’t reality, but it is an interpretation of reality to promote effective action. Just as bats experience the world with echolocation, snakes through their tongue, or dogs through their noses, we can not assume that our obvious experience is by any means reality. Our obvious view of reality is not reality, but just what our brains have gathered from our sensory organs as an effective way to survive long enough to reproduce (for whatever reason). We perceive reality the way we do because it has proved useful for our survival, just as a dog experiences its view of reality primarily through smell due to its usefulness for survival as their environment suggested was useful. This has interesting implications with the concept of “initial conditions”, where the slightest changes near the start (e.g. where a gun is aimed, childhood, etc.) drastically impact the events later down the line (e.g. the large distance between where the bullets hit relative to a slight change in the gun’s initial position, or how the child will develop later in life). The interesting implication here has to do with that even just the slightest change in the environment of some ancestor of the dog could lead to different senses being developed which in-turn influences how that species experience its environment and thus how its biology feels it ought to adapt to promote its survival.

The point here is that we can’t assume that our “natural” interpretation of reality is even reality, it likely isn’t, it is just what was found as being useful for our survival. Since we are conscious we can choose our own interpretation of reality, and therefore we should choose one that is most influential to living effectively (however you define that). This “Main Character” interpretation is an interpretation of reality that I have found particularly useful and it serves as a great metaphor to capture a lot of big ideas in life such as a mindset to handle struggle, building awareness, the importance of deliberate action, a growth mindset, etc.

When faced with adversity, approach it with this “of course me” mentality and look for the opportunities that it provides. It is safer to assume that there is something in your future that this experience will help with than to assume that it won’t. Even just this assumption can promote removal of psychological resistance and therefore effective action. This assumption is required since you can’t see the future and don’t have all of the pieces, but the trust in that the dots will all connect in the end is highly useful in remaining effective in action and thought.

When it comes to presence, the true difficulty lies within remembering to slow down and find stillness. This is a problem of Awareness. For example, while running your heart may be racing and the breath may be chaotic, this fight or flight scenario can keep the brain preoccupied with survival such that all the “tools” or even the “purpose” you have derived can feel out of reach. This is where practice comes in, repeatedly putting yourself in such situations and recalling that deeper purpose, during these tough situations it also demands that your purpose is something truly authentic since a purpose made-up as a means to an end won’t have the impact that you’re wanting. At the end of the day, true and genuine necessity is the most powerful way to promote presence as it drives attention into the present moment.

Additionally, dropping the need to feel special is a great way to increase your presence during social situations. When engaging in conversation an urge to sound smart or have the attention on you far too easily bubbles up. This desire is a need to feel special and it destroys one’s ability to be present. True presence comes from a place of acceptance and openness, you are listening completely, with minimal to no judgement. Dropping the need to feel special also helps to combat the ego from rising up. Ego is a killer of charisma and presence as it is full of resistance. impatience, and a need to feel special.

People often mentally run during struggle, they resist and pretend it isn’t happening, perhaps distract themselves in some way. This is running from the problem which will still be there the next time you face the struggle. Instead, aim to get comfortable with that discomfort, this is far more effective. This relates to the lean-in mentality discussed earlier on working with struggle.

Learn to tap into a higher state of awareness during these intense moments so that you can be present and mindful during physically demanding situations. This is where all athletes aim to be, where, despite the struggle, they are centered and focused. Yes, discomfort will still remain, but less so due to the psychologically added pain from resistance being removed. Be present with the discomfort, don’t resist it, allow it to be, place your awareness on it without judgement this isn’t easy but it is necessary for effective action. With practice this will begin to become more natural.

This will be explored more deeply and directly in the discussion on Meaning.

 

Summary

Big Idea: Connection begets presence which begets meaning which begets effective action

Basically: Quality work has the greatest impact on the world, and it comes from presence.

Connection is more than just the relationships in your life or a spiritual concept. Connection is at the very heart of presence and understanding. Realizing that you are just a cog in the wheel, just a spec in the universe, that your existence a blink in the grand scheme of things, helps to diminish the psychological pain and resistance that comes from ego and impatience. This connection even provides a framework through which to effectively interpret struggle, pain, and any other stimulus through the realization that your body is just a vessel to serve the universe, a sack of sensory organs.

The reason the concept of connection is so powerful is closely related to the power of Awareness, in that it helps to separate you from identification of form. It gives you a step back from the stimulus itself by realizing that you are not the stimulus but you are the awareness behind the thought and the experience. This is a fundamentally different feeling than being absorbed in the illusion that your senses provide which can easily convince you.

Taking connection to the next level introduces the concept of meaning, which will be explored next.

 

Your Call to Action

Thank you for reading!

The power of connection was an unexpected insight in my life, coming from someone incredibly skeptical about such things, but the effective action that results can not be ignored. I want to hear from you: What hesitations have you experienced towards this concept of connection? How has it impacted your life? Share in the comments section below!

Don’t put off contemplating what the insights from this article mean, find a quiet location and think deeply about what it might mean for you. Just 10 deliberate minutes can make a large difference, set a timer, do it regularly and you will notice the changes within a few weeks. You improve your ability to think and therefore make effective decisions by spending more time deliberately thinking about the relevant subject. Consider applying journaling and meditation to see more profound changes, these are just more deliberate and concentrated forms of quiet and focused thinking. Slow down, find stillness.

I am always looking to improve my reach and the impact that I have with my writing, please provide your feedback in the comments below.

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