Could Self Help, Personal Growth & Development be hurting you?
In today’s day and age, self-help, personal growth and development have taken the world by storm—so much so that today it is a 9.9 billion dollar industry.
Before we move on, the goal I would like for you to take away from this piece is to take it with a grain of salt, and as Bruce Lee once said…
“Take what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely yours.”
The ability, the want and the desire to grow as a human being is certainly not a bad thing, and I would never believe otherwise.
However, it may be hurting you internally.
It would seem blasphemous to those who feel that they grow exponentially and continue to want to do so.
I’m coming at this from the standpoint of spirituality.
The term “spirituality” has a billion and one different definitions, depending on who you speak with.
It’s a lot like the term “happiness” in that there are just about as many different definitions as there are people.
In fact, most people feel that you have personal growth and then you have your spiritual growth.
And a lot of people see them as the same thing, that if you grow on a spiritual basis then you are growing on a personal level.
More on this and the paradoxical truth that lingers later…
I don’t like to use the term Spirituality because of the subjective nature of the term, and, more so, about knowing existence, reality, and knowing the truth directly, which are all synonymous and different words that mean the same thing.
I know what you’re thinking. So he’s going to discard the opinions, perspectives and outlooks of others in order prop his own up, in order to be superior in the understanding of spirituality.
And yet, this is not about my opinion, perspective or outlook; it’s about the most concrete, most direct knowing that there is.
It’s not knowledge; it’s not opinion, perspective or outlook. It’s about what is directly here, right now, prior to the way that the mind tries to understand reality.
In order to be non-bias, non subjective you have to look at what is constant in everyone regardless of the way that you perceive reality.
And that is thoughtless presence.
There is level of awareness in the body, a dimension within that you know directly and you know it directly without thinking about it.
This is also known as thoughtless awareness or as I call it thoughtless presence.
You don’t need to have an opinion, perspective or outlook to be aware of this thoughtless awareness directly, in this instance.
If this thoughtless awareness exists, not only in the 7 ½ billion humans, it IS the source of all that is, because it is changeless, no matter who you are.
So, really, it could also be looked upon as thoughtless Oneness awareness or thoughtless Oneness presence.
The reason that it’s considered spirituality is because the bare bones of spirituality is about looking inward; awakening to the inner dimension from within, or the feeling aware thoughtless presence; awakening out of thought dominance and into the inner body awareness, which is really to know reality, existence and the truth in this moment.
And the knowing happens without a thought and without the passing of one second.
The whole entire point to know this is because a great deal of human beings is living their entire lives inside of the mind.
All they know is thought, the experiences from the situations and circumstances that accompany it.
This is a very superficial way of living, and only until one awakens to that thoughtless awareness will true life begin to know itself.
The inner body ALIVENESS can only be felt by knowing the presence that you are.
This inner aliveness, as a result of knowing presence, is the one internal freedom.
The reason why it is the one internal freedom is that it does not leave you, no matter what your mind experience is.
In this world, no matter how much you achieve, no matter how much you grow as a human, you will go through the continuous fluctuation of pain and pleasure.
When you are going through pain, it will pass, and when you are going through pleasure, it too shall pass.
So, to think that you can pinpoint an impermanent experience based on how much you grow, or how much you achieve, will always cause more suffering than is necessary.
I’d like to distinguish, however, what it truly means to grow in the terms of self-help, personal growth and development.
Being, that who you are in the absolute sense is thoughtless awareness, then who is actually the one growing and developing?
It is the human mind.
It is in the human mind where the personality exists, where the desire for more starts (motivation), and where the reason to want to get out of bed in a world that’s random begins (inspiration).
The fundamental challenge I find with personal growth and development is that every book that is trying to develop your mind is coming at you from their perspective of what part of your mind needs to grow and to improve.
Growing and developing is in the eye of the beholder.
And, if it’s coming from the standpoint of being able to overcome life’s challenges, that would tend to happen naturally, simply by experiencing life.
The human mind thinks in terms of patterns. The mind it is an artificial intelligence in its own right, being that it recognizes patterns.
Now, are there decisions that one could make or not make that would lead to a path that would not cause one harm or no harm. Sure.
However, that’s also assuming that the situations and circumstances that you’re in are also completely in the mind’s control.
The point is, that personal growth and development, in terms of being able to ultimately free inside, is limited.
For what good is one’s life if they are not able to find that one true source of internal freedom?
My entire time on this planet is forever dedicated to being internally free.
And the one, the true, internal freedom that there is, is existence, reality and the truth, which is.
You don’t need to do anything, to achieve, to become more than what you already are in this moment.
Your internal freedom is timeless because it does not require a second to pass.
If, however, you see your personal growth and development as a means to an end, to get somewhere so that eventually through growing you can be free, then it will cause a lot of internal harm.
It means that the one thing, which isn’t really a thing but awareness that can free me is seen as a stepping-stone to get to some future point.
“But we cannot really honor things if we use them as a means to self-enhancement, that is to say, if we try to find ourselves through them. This is exactly what the ego does. Ego-identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. It is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which it is a part. Some economists are so attached to the notion of growth that they can’t let go of that word, so they refer to recession as a time of “negative growth.””
What can happen to someone is that they begin to grow their mind, only to find out that there is always something missing.
And they think that, by continuing the growth process, the need for more, for the future to come, they will fill the void that is missing as a result of not who they are in the absolute sense, which “IS”.
In spiritual growth, who you are is not actually growing, it is unbecoming everything you thought you were, to bring you closer to your most natural and completely free state.
Spiritual growth is about increasing the intensity with which you can allow all thoughts to stop for this moment.
This is where one must dis-identify who they are with their thinking-mind. It is the thinking-mind that thinks it must grow so that somewhere in the future that growth process can liberate it.
It’s not going to liberate you because you are timelessly free; the mind is trying to liberate what you are not.
What happens when one dis-identifies who they are with the thinking-mind is that it will allow them to be here more fully.
This is where the paradox comes in. When one expands conscious awareness of thoughtless awareness, then simultaneously they grow as a human being.
You can never have enough of who you already are, however, as you begin to awaken to who you absolutely are, it can just as easily become a version of self-enhancement.
That would look something like this…
“Once I continue to awaken more to this timeless presence in the future, I can be even more internally free in the future.”
There is only one time that you can be absolutely and completely free, and that is right now.
“Heaven is naturally high, the earth is naturally solid, the sun and moon are naturally bright. Do they cultivate these attributes?” – Alan Watts
You are complete, as in no more, no more need, no more want and desire for more.
Just this simplicity itself is enough, full stop perfection is.
With this being said, once you know who you are through the body, the thoughtless awareness, then personal growth and development can be seen as a fun way to experience this world in different ways, challenging you to step out of your comfort zone, so that life continues to be fresh, new and alive.
Personal growth and development can help you achieve your dreams, reach to new levels in your company, have better relationships, overcome challenges and everything in between.
However, growing as a human being will be coming from a place of already being free inside rather than needing this world to give you something that you don’t already have now.