Courses

About five years ago, the noted psychologist George Pransky and I explored the value of certification courses and other programs that train coaches to coach, teachers to teach, or psychologists to be better psychologists. The implicit claim made by those running these courses (and similar courses that exist in other fields) is that by introducing participants to truth-bearing and life-changing principles, they’ll be in a better position to help others. Plus, these courses contend that knowing these principles can assist participants in building their practices or businesses too.

I was not in favor of these courses then, and I am still not today. 

And here’s why:

They don’t work. Plain and simple. Each of us bears proficiencies or talents. And while a course may be fun, may provide a sense of belonging, or may offer a temporary distraction or excursion, if your talents do not include the ability to coach, teach, or counsel—please save your money. No course or course leader can enhance a prowess that you do not possess.

What’s more, those running these programs should take a hard look at themselves. Hinting at outcomes is a slippery slope that the ego relishes. If you’re a coach, teacher, or counselor, and you believe that a certain approach or realization worked for you (made you feel better or improved your life), great. But you have no proof whatsoever that your belief applies to others. In fact, the insecurity or lack that you’re attempting to placate by sharing your beliefs under the guise of a program is actually your sign not to.

In short, this article is a plea to those running these types of courses to consider something vital: What, exactly, are you promising? Can you promise anything more than your unwavering presence, love, and support?

And to be clear, I’m including myself in this inquiry. Can I, Garret, promise a client, organization, or audience the keys to success? Of course not.

Group leader, coach, teacher, or counselor. These are sacred callings, the most trusted of titles. Others reach out to you because nothing has worked. If, as a group leader, you are subtly ensuring a result or implying that you can inspire someone to live a better or more purposeful life, you are betraying this trust. If you are closed-mindedly suggesting that your approach is the answer or is better than another approach, you are betraying this trust. If you are showcasing your own charisma, wit, intellect, stories, or achievements, you are betraying this trust. If you are using a basic understanding of human frailties as a concealed and perpetual marketing tool, you are betraying this trust.

Every person who walks through your door is seeking the road home; the road to Peace, Happiness, and Love. That can’t be found in you, your beliefs, or a certificate. It can’t be found in thoughts, feelings, states of mind, camaraderie, principles, service, more clients, or in anything from the objective world.

If you and your course, or your work in general, are bolstering the very source of one’s suffering—a yearning for and devotion to objects—I ask you to reconsider.

Thank you for doing so,
Garret

 

 

 

 

Keep Going, Keep Being You

As history reveals, nothing draws out the ire of human beings more than pointing to true nature. The mere proposition that we’re not separate entities, but, rather, a plethora of images composed of, and appearing within, a single Consciousness, is sure to bring sarcasm, mockery, and scorn.

Even in so-called spiritual communities—communities that seek solace, comfort, or quiet in spiritual doctrines or principles; communities that worship distinct objects, figureheads, or various versions of God; communities that promote the power to control one's thoughts, words, and deeds—this keeps taking place. As the ego (and its belief in separation and dependence on separation) gets wind that its days are numbered, it knows nothing else but war.

And so, here’s my suggestion for you today:

If you’re a teacher of true nature, if you’ve come to appreciate that the body-mind is not who you are, if you now understand that the true Self does not share the limits and fate of the separate self, if you realize that we share a Being—that “I and my Father are one”—be prepared. Backlash is coming.

This backlash, however, is not what it seems.

It is not war. It is not disagreement. There are no such things. For disagreement to be real, you must have separation. You must have duality. You must have two.

On the contrary, the backlash (which, as you get more precise in your sharing and in your life, will build) is a wonderful and necessary aspect of the journey home. It will challenge your knowing. It will push you past barriers. It will further dissolve programming. The ego’s backlash appears for one fortuitous reason: You’re no longer seeking solace in the objective or spiritually materialistic world.

This is why, with the support of fellow explorers, you must keep going. Keep sharing. Keep being YOU.

Who you are knows no conflict. Who you are sees all objects—including backlash and the ego at its root—as Love.

Thanks for reading,
Garret

 

 

The Oldest Trick in the Book

You know the trick.

In fact, like me in the distant past, you’ve probably employed it a time or two.

It’s the duplicitous (while innocent) psychological trick used by salespeople, ad agencies, motivational speakers, way too many preachers and politicians, and those seeking to gain control in relationships.

What is this oldest trick in the book?

Fortify separation and then provide, and take credit for, the cure.

To illustrate, here’s a common way that change workers (coaches, counselors, consultants, speakers) sell their services—in this case, the marketing copy for a seminar:

"For each of us and in our own personal way, life today presents all sorts of challenges. These challenges bring overwhelming insecurity, stress, and worry. But, thankfully, my simple approach to insecurity, stress, and worry has proved life changing for me and for others. Now, you too can finally find the sustained peace of mind you’ve been after. In fact, people return to my seminars year after year to reignite the wonderful sense of connection, passion, purpose, and love. Book your place today!"

In other words:

Step 1. Ingrain the belief that we are separate beings viewing life from a perspective of separation. 
Step 2. Rightly confirm that this belief and perspective brings with it all sorts of insecurity, stress, and worry. 
Step 3. Provide the “cure”—an approach, distraction, affirmation, meditation, communication or connection strategy—for the separation just ingrained.
Step 4. Generate a high of hope, a temporary good feeling.
Step 5. Note that, for the high to continue, you must come back for more!

Here’s another idea instead: Let’s say we abandon the oldest trick in the book for good.

How’s that accomplished?

Here you go:

Step 1. Explore inward. Discover that we’re not separate beings.
Step 2. Recognize that insecurity, stress, and worry are attributes of separate beings, not of who we truly are.
Step 3. Understand that, because we’re not separate beings, we don’t need to be cured of insecurity, stress, and worry. Good feelings or highs are unnecessary.
Step 4. Appreciate that, because we’re not separate beings, there’s no one to take credit—or blame.
Step 5. Come back for more? We’re cool, but thanks!

Lastly, if you’re guilty of fortifying the illusion of separation and then offering illusory cures, and, thus, this post rubs you the wrong way—good. It should.

Maybe you should get to know yourself a little better.

As I said, it’s innocent, if—in your business, marketing, friendships, on social media, or even in your family—you’re still employing the oldest trick in the book.

But who you truly are wouldn’t dare.

Thanks for reading,
Garret

Now More Than Ever

When you get right down to it, there are but two motivations for our actions:

1. We act as a manner of seeking who we are (Love, Happiness, Peace, Freedom).
2. We act as a manner of expressing who we are (Love, Happiness, Peace, Freedom).

In the first case (which totals 99 percent of our actions), here’s my suggestion for you today:

It is always more productive, for ourselves and the world, to turn that seeking or search inward, away from objects. And we define objects as anything that is known—such as the body, our habits, relationships, popularity, possessions, goals, careers, thoughts, feelings, or moods.

In other words, you cannot find who you are in who you are not. And you cannot improve or upgrade who you are not (an object) in order to find who you are. Trying to find the true Self by moving away from the true Self is impossible, and, as we’re witnessing these days, it can be perilous. 

Now more than ever, self-inquiry—”who am I?”—is vital.

Thanks for reading,
Garret

Practicality

A few weeks back, a former colleague emailed me this significant question:

“Garret, all this talk in your articles and videos about who we are, the true Self, or Consciousness is all well and good, but when are you going to get real and offer some practical advice?”

“Get real.” Funny. Sort of. 

You see, actually, it’s incredibly impractical to offer so-called practical advice—methods, tools, techniques, strategies—absent of a definitive grasp of who we truly are. After all, what good is practical advice if we don’t know who it is that’s receiving the advice in the first place?

Check this out for yourself:

While perhaps you’ve gained some short-term benefit here and there, what lasting value has practical advice provided? Have you found sustaining answers or peace? Or do you keep moving from fix to fix, practice to practice, mantra to mantra, or guru to guru?

Again, absent of understanding that the true Self and the body are not one and the same, all practical advice does is fortify the belief that who you are is, and thus shares the limitations and insecurities of, the body.

On the contrary, what could be more practical than an exploration of true nature and the subsequent discovery that who you are—Consciousness itself—is not only infinite and eternal but perpetually whole, resilient, and free?

In fact, it is this discovery alone that allows you to head back into the material world and perform, not to mention love, without restriction. It is this discovery that allows you to live “all in.”

Want some real and practical advice?

Simple.

There’s nothing more unreal or impractical than the belief that you are the body, and there’s nothing more practical than being utterly certain that who you truly are is so much more.

Thanks for reading,
Garret

The Unlikely Trio of Pierce Brosnan, Climate Change, and the Belief in Separation

This past Sunday, Pierce Brosnan gave a moving commencement address at my daughter Chelsea’s college graduation ceremony. He’s a tireless environmental activist. In the face of mounting climate change, he’s working hard to save the earth. He pointed out all the issues, including those people who must be opposed in order to turn climate change around.

But here’s the thing: A damaged environment is not the result of bad people. It’s the result of the near-universal conditioning that has us believe we truly are individual people; separate selves who lack. This belief has virtually all of us taking from the environment, and some fighting to protect the environment, to fill this sense of lack.

Climate change is but one of many effects of the belief in separation. The belief that the true Self shares the limits and fate of a human being.

This is why—even though I, too, crave to save the environment—more so than ever, I’m now committed to point my audience away from the scourge of this materialistic belief. No one has ever found a separate self, object, or world. Experience is screaming out that separation, materialism, does not exist. We are infinite and eternal and so is the environment.

In fact, many of those with whom I work have found selfless freedom, passion, and purpose by exploring the infinite and eternal nature of the true Self and by recognizing the indivisible nature of experience. To save humanity and the planet, then, we must first and foremost rid the world of the belief that we are anything but whole. Survival of the fittest—and the need to ruin or take—will then be seen for what it is: an unfounded theory whose days are short.

Not on a foundation of science, research, politics, or good versus bad will climate change be solved.

Rather, we must understand who we are. It’s simply impossible for who we are, the true Self, Consciousness, Love, or God, to do damage.

On Sunday, Pierce Brosnan, unknowingly, failed to provide a substantive solution. Like we all do from time to time, he fortified the belief in division. He mobilized an innocently ignorant mentality of “us versus them.”

We share a Being. We—and the environment—are this Being. And we know it deep inside.

On the foundation of this truth, and this truth alone, will we treat the environment as ourselves so the healing can begin.

Love,
Garret

It's Never Our Fault

Here’s an important reminder about the forgetting (and remembering) of true nature and the price we pay for this forgetting:

It’s never our fault.

In fact, the belief that we human beings are personally responsible for the forgetting of who or what we truly are—the belief that it’s our fault when we overlook that we’re merely images or activities of Consciousness; that it’s our fault that we suffer and then take out this suffering on each other (the price we pay)—is innocently ridiculous.

To illustrate, let’s say an actor named John gets so lost in the character he’s playing, named Jim, that he continues to live from perspective of Jim well after a performance. A friend even calls out to John with no response at all. Until, that is, the friend calls him Jim.

So, who was it that overlooked who he truly is? Was it John, or was it Jim?

It was John, of course.

And who or what is it that overlooks who or what we truly are? Is it Consciousness, or is it us?

It is Consciousness, of course. How can an image or activity—i.e., a human being or person—possibly overlook something?

It is Consciousness that creates the appearance of us human beings, and it is Consciousness that gets lost in its own creation.

It is Consciousness that veils its infinite and eternal nature, and then ignorantly overlooks or forgets that a veil is in place.

The bottom line is that for peace, love, and happiness the complete absence of blame is essential. The notion of personal responsibility and harmony cannot go hand in hand.

Rather than ramp up burden or pressure, then, let’s keep in mind:

It’s never, ever, our fault.

Thanks for reading,
Garret

Not Even This Post

Here’s a brief end-of-week reminder:

Never believe what someone else says. Not the words of famous people, gurus, or change agents. Not even this post.

Rather, check in with experience. Your own experience.

For example, just because Viktor Frankl claimed that we control our attitude no matter the circumstance, in your experience, is this 100 percent true? Just because Jesus advised us to treat others as we'd like to be treated, in your experience, are there such entities as others? Just because Syd Banks offered that a positive reality can be created by conjuring up positive thoughts, in your experience, does this actually work or is it even possible?

To be clear, what the above references are missing, what we overlook when we follow these types of teachings or words, is the context in which they were said. Perhaps Frankl, for example, was pointing to the illusory nature of circumstance, and "control" was an added concession based on the current understanding (way of thinking or perspective) of his audience.

We'll never know. And, again, that is why we mustn't blindly adopt or believe what someone else says.

Is the credo you live by, share, or teach built on belief? Or are you living an authentic life with experience as the foundation?

Based on experience, it's worth a look.

Have a great weekend,
Garret

The Difference

Typically, when a performer, team, or organization is considering hiring me for a speaking engagement, to conduct a daylong workshop, or as a consultant, I’m asked some variety of the following question:

“In a sea of self-help experts, motivational gurus, psychologists, and so-called mind coaches, what, Garret, is different about your approach?”

My stock answer (which provokes disinterest about ninety-five percent of the time and curiosity about five percent of the time):

“My approach does not overlay another idea, theory, pep talk, or strategy on top of the personal self or body-mind we’ve been conditioned to be. Rather, my approach—self-inquiry—is the process of questioning the very nature of this personal self.”

In other words, experience tells me that the belief in a personal self is the foundation of all forms of suffering, tension, or turmoil. And while we might find a fleeting good feeling in taking the self through a series of excursions, practices, states of mind, relationships, or techniques, to find lasting peace we must first uproot this belief. We must be utterly certain that who we truly are is not the needy, lacking, and isolated product—a personal self—of our conditioning. We must come to understand that the power to experience, know, and even think does not reside within the body.

To be super clear, I’m not suggesting that self-inquiry is right for everyone. Most of us remain wooed by and dependent on the thrills, chills, and grandeur of the material world. Most of us glorify the body-mind or being human. Thus, we must exhaust all materialistic—including spiritually materialistic—alternatives before we’re prepared for the eradication of seeking in that world, or before we realize that we cannot find who we are by stepping away from who we are. In fact, most of us are simply not satisfied by the basic, standard, or, dare I say, neutral promise of self-inquiry.

But for those called to hold still, for those ready to allow the mind to fold inward, the pathless path is both familiar and fascinating. To them, this approach is the only game in town.

What’s different about self-inquiry?

In one manner or another, it asks the personal self to not satisfy its cravings, and, instead, to take a genuine look at the one who craves.

After all, before we ask others to think, behave, believe, or live in this way or that, shouldn’t they first understand who or what they truly are?

Shouldn’t you?

Thanks for reading,
Garret

Always Consciousness, Never You

Here’s a brief reminder about the process of self-exploration, self-discovery, understanding who you truly are, surrender, or returning home to Source:

It’s not up to you.

In other words, you’re not capable of veiling the infiniteness from which you spring. You’re not capable of overlooking that you’re merely an image or agency of Consciousness (or God). And you’re not capable of ending the search for wholeness, security, or love in the material world and turning back inward.

Only Consciousness is capable.

Yes, I know. You, like all human beings, yearn to be personally responsible and in control. You’ve been taught that being in the driver’s seat is essential. Thus, you believe that it’s you who’s in charge of thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Including the forgetting and remembering of who you truly are.

But check in with your actual experience:

  • Why would you choose to overlook your very essence?

  • Why would you choose to feel separate?

  • What part of you provides the power of forgetting, remembering, choosing, or being in control—where in the body is that found?

You’ll search for the answers forever.

Again, you are the agency through which Consciousness knows manifestation, the agency through which Consciousness becomes caught up in manifestation, and the agency through which Consciousness wakes up to its own creation.

The prodigal son did not wander, or seek, of his own volition. And he did not do an about-face and head for home of his own volition. He was not personally responsible. 

Veiling and unveiling; forgetting and remembering; the appearance of duality and the dissolution of this appearance. These are natural properties of Consciousness.

Always Consciousness, never you.

Thanks for reading,
Garret






Absent of the Personal, Love Abounds

As some of you know, my father passed away three months ago. As only a few of you know, my father and I had, to say the least, a tumultuous relationship. In fact, it was the fallout from this relationship that initiated my journey of self-discovery many years ago. Upon his passing, however, this journey has taken an unexpected and profound turn that I’m ready to share with you today.

Truth is: In the waning months of my father’s life, I became increasingly worried that we wouldn’t clear up the misgivings between us. Even worse, I was terrified that I would live with resentment toward him the rest of my life. And during my visits to Florida to see him or take him to treatment over the past year, these fears were confirmed—he expressed no willingness for compassionate closure and no desire to make amends. It seemed that he just couldn’t face it. And although I kept it to myself, my concern and resentment were building and building right up until the day he died. 

But here’s the unexpected and profound turn I referenced earlier: Now that his body is gone, I’m experiencing no resentment at all. Any sense of blame has vanished. On the contrary, without trying to forgive or let go, my love for my father has never been more present and powerful. It’s virtually impossible to conjure up a memory with pain.

So, what’s this all about? Simple actually: Absent of the personal, love automatically abounds. It is the body-mind that veils who we truly are, love (Consciousness or God’s infinite Being) itself. In other words, love’s not found in a person. My father’s body has gone, and now, the love underneath—a love that’s always billowing beneath the surface—is all that remains.

To be clear, I don’t mean to imply that to know love, the death of the human body is required. Even through heartache, my father and I shared many loving moments where we lost ourselves in sport, in long drives to my games or tournaments, or in talks about our mutual interest in coaching (incidentally, he was one heck of a hockey coach).

What is required to know love, however, is the felt experience that we are not the body-mind. Again, love is the mutual recognition of the Being we share. When a sense of self, or the body-mind, dissolves or passes on, this shared Being is revealed.

Sadly, my father didn’t quite see this. As body-minds are wont to do, he searched for a good feeling—for love—in activities, in environments, and in others. Particularly in me, his oldest child. It was this very seeking that obscured his love. And to be fair, it was resistance to his seeking that obscured mine. 

But no more.

My father and I were love. My father and I are love. And now, effortlessly, this love is building and building with each passing day.

Thank you for reading these words. It means a lot to me.

Love,
Garret

The Foundation

Are you living a life whose foundation is belief?

Is your life built upon the belief that you’re, say . . . an American?

Or a member of a specific religion or community?

How about a race, gender, or orientation?

Or that you’re a liberal or conservative?

An introvert?

A people person?

A competitor?

An environmentalist?

Or the primary belief that you were born and are going to die—that who you truly are is the body and mind?

If so, I’d like to propose another option.

But first, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with the above. It’s just that most of us, without realizing it, are living a life built upon what our conditioning has told us is true. Most of us are living a life built upon labels void of actual experience. Most of us are living a life built upon belief. And that you might want to reconsider.

Why?

Because beliefs change. They’re transient. They come, they go. They can only persist (for a while) via the grind of discipline, tension, or will. Which, sadly, we’re taught is good for us.

But what about a life built upon the only thing that doesn't change?

What about a life built upon the only thing you can say for sure is true?

What about a life built upon your very essence?

In other words, what about living a life with Consciousness (or Awareness) as the foundation?

You’ve never experienced an absence of Consciousness. You’ve never been separated from Consciousness. Consciousness has never come, never gone. Consciousness is ever-present and precious.

Therefore, rather than a belief, eternal Consciousness—and not the transient body and mind—must be who or what you truly are. 

In fact, with Consciousness as the foundation, go ahead and conceptualize, rationalize, even believe.

With Consciousness as the foundation, you’re on the solid ground.

With Consciousness as the foundation, you’ll live a life in the material world but not of it. 

A life of peace.

A life of happiness.

A life of freedom.

A genuine life of love.

Thank you for reading,
Garret