Rise Above Pain, Frustration and Failure with the Magic Power of Psycho-Cybernetics and
Theatre of the Mind
Self-Image Exercises Tap the Unlimited Resources of Your Subconscious Mind
Welcome to the Official Site of Psycho-Cybernetics and Theatre of the Mind. This is where we do as the good doctor, Maxwell Maltz, did for so many years. We heal internal scars. We give you an emotional face lift. We transform the agonizing pain of defeat, failure, frustration and loneliness into courage, confidence, love, gratitude and peace of mind. We help you reach your goals by showing you how to remove the obstacles that you think are standing in your way.
As a reconstructive plastic surgeon, Dr. Maltz realized that although “plastic surgery” benefited 0.5% of the population, the other 99.5% had unresolved emotional scars from the past, and that these could be removed by changing your self-image. Once these internal scars were irradiated, what followed was a life of success and happiness with you reaching “the greatest port in the world: peace of mind.”
On this blog, I will be giving you Psycho-Cybernetics success tips for transforming your self-image, as well as making recommendations on books, courses and seminars that will take you to the next level. Make sure you subscribe to our email list as well because we have special offers that you’ll want to see.
Matt Furey, President, Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, Inc.
June 11th, 2014
Back in 1995, when I first learned how to “finally” write a book and get it published, I was shocked to hear the following two statements being made:
1. Writing a book is the easy part.
2. 95% of creating a best-seller is the marketing – not the actual writing of the book.
Hmmm, I thought. I got it all backwards. I figured that writing a book was 95% of the process in creating a best-seller. Now I’m learning that I’ve got the numbers flip-flopped. Writing the book is only 5% of the process.
In virtually everything I’ve ever been involved in, creating a winner, becoming a champion, getting good at something, etc. – in the beginning, I always had the percentages wrong.
The 95% was 5% and the 5% was 95%.
When it comes to creating a book/DVD or course of some kind, I can assure you that my earliest mentors were correct.
Writing a book is the easy part.
Now, this may derail some. Those who think that writing a book is hard, hard work don’t know the shortcuts or the secrets to doing it – and/or they have no gauge to compare their efforts to because they don’t engage in marketing of any sort.
Writing a book can be done in a weekend – or in a day. I wrote Combat Conditioning in a week. I wrote 101 Ways to Magnetize Money in Any Economy in a single day.
I wrote Expect to Win – Hate to Lose over a period of several years. That may sound like drudgery, but it was truly quite simple. I wrote one column per month for a martial arts magazine. The column took me about an hour to write. After six years, I compiled the columns into a book – then edited them.
Voila. Instant book – six years in the making – one hour at a time – once a month.
As for DVDs, I’ve shot most of them in an hour or two. I trained myself to be a “one-take” guy. I know what I’m going to say – in a general sort of way – and then I say it.
Now someone else can edit the DVD for me.
Okay, so how then do I market what I’ve created?
There are many ways – but the KING of all methods is still what I championed years ago: e-mail.
There are right ways and wrong ways to write emails to promote your product or service.
Most people follow the wrong way. They send boring, dull, image-driven drivel that quickly goes into the trash.
Then there are the great emails you read – the ones that have a connection of some sort to “yours truly.”
These are the emails that are personal.
They give you a glimpse of what life is like inside the walls of the writer’s office or abode.
Emails that follow the Furey Method are “simply irresistible.” Once you start reading you can’t stop.
And do you know what? Writing a simple email like the one you’re reading right now – looks incredibly easy.
And it is – ONCE you learn the thinking and the creative tension and structure that goes into each one.
Entrepreneurs and best-selling authors from all over the whirld own a copy of The Tao of Email Copywriting that Sells. They listen to it again and again – and then they get busy writing emails to their list.
When they do this, the 95% starts to shrink. It begins to feel more like 5%. Ah, such a simple thing. All I gotta do is get on it and stay on it – day in and day out.
What’s really cool is that the emails you write – overtime, become a collection that can become yet another book.
Huh? You kidding me? Nope. I know several best-selling authors who wrote their emails first. They had no book to begin with.
From their emails/blogs, they developed a following – and after writing a considerable number of pieces that “popped” – the emails were assembled into a book that sells.
So you don’t need a book to start writing emails – and you definitely need to start writing emails if you already have a book.
And there’s no finer way to learn how than T he Tao of Email Copywriting that Sells.
I have a friend who sends his daily emails to a list of just over 1,000 people. Not only do these people buy his books but they’re beating down his doors to train with him.
Several of my friends and clients are doctors. They’ve used emails to sell books, supplements, coaching programs and seminars before thousands of raving fans.
What a way to live.
Get up. Breathe. Write an email. Reap rewards that go beyond space and time.
If you don’t already own a copy of The Tao of Email Copywriting that Sells, then I strongly suggest you claim your copy today. It may change the way you think, write and LIVE – forever.
P.S. I should point out that this isn’t a program for M.D.s or PhD’s. Goodness gracious no. Many of my top followers, friends and clients didn’t even
go to college – and they’re raking in the mongubwas (a term I just coined – literally, right now).
Think of it:
All of our lives we’ve heard this crap that “you gotta go to college to get a good job.”
The way I see it, you have options: You can by-pass the $100,000 student loan program as well as the partial or full scholarships. You can bypass the years of drinking and drugging and “horsing” around.
You can go straight to the essence of what makes people and societies move – WORDS and the energy they contain.
Discover how to use WORDS as well as the energy behind them in The Tao of Email Copywriting that Sells.
Get yours NOW.
June 10th, 2014
When it comes to the subject of mind-power, creating what you want, achieving your goals, being successful and so on – there’s one key factor that makes everything work.
Without this factor, regardless of what you do, you’ll get negligible results. You’ll flounder. You’ll always come up short.
This most important factor isn’t goals. It isn’t writing down your goals. Despite the Harvard study of the 3% – a lot of people set goals – write them down – and don’t achieve them. And so, regardless of what you’ve heard, putting your goals in writing doesn’t guarantee anything. It doesn’t even put you into the class of 3%.
How do I know?
I know because I’ve seen a lot of people achieve spectacular goals without writing them down.
I’ve seen people become medical doctors without written goals. I’ve seen athletes win awards without writing their goals. I’ve seen entrepreneurs make enormous sums of moohlah without written goals. And if you really want to get right down to it – I think most couples who have children, did
not put a goal in writing that said: “I am having a baby.”
Okay, does this mean I am against written goals?
Not at all.
I believe written goals help – but ONLY if you understand and utilize the MOST IMPORTANT MIND-POWER FACTOR.
And once you do, you’ll become the type of person who can and will succeed whether or not you put your goals in writing.
How’s that sound? How’s that grab you?
Well then, I suggest you grab yourself a copy of Theatre of the Mind – so you can discover exactly what makes YOU get what you want, over and over again.
You might think it’s positive thinking. It’s not.
You might think it’s visualizing. It’s not.
You might think it’s following a special diet. It’s not.
Last week, Charlie, a man who’s purchased virtually every self-development program on earth – and who is, by almost all standards, very successful, wrote to tell me the following:
“I have bought 100’s of Nightingale Conant programs, every thing Wayne Dyer has ever done, and all the others you mention from time to time. this is not a surprise to you. I credit a good part of my success to the hours listening to them in the car, while working at the house or the office on the weekends etc.
I have also probably spent many tens of thousands of $$ over my career buying other people tapes, books and stuff that would solve the exact issues that they describe to me. I am sometimes in a position to know exactly what they need to do. Trouble is they don’t read them or their mind is closed. (my ex-wife was a perfect example)
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!”
Your TOTM is the best of them all, my question is, How do I give that program to someone (my boys especially) in such a way that they are motivated to at least listen to it once – and keep it as a resource?
I pose this to you because, it’s good for your business, and for me and a lot of other people who share the enthusiasm and experience, and want to share.
Been meaning to ask you for some time!”
My answer: Charlie, the answer you’re searching for is contained in the very email you just sent me. Tell your sons what you just told me – and leave it at that. Glad you like the TOTM program so much. Can’t wait to hear how much they’re liking it – and how much it’s helping them. Thank you for spreading the word.
Well, my friend, that’s all for now.
June 5th, 2014
Three days ago I was talking to a group of young ball players, telling them about the time, some 10 years ago, when I was flying to Las Vegas.
Across from me sat a legend.
I knew he was such for two reasons. The first was the World Series champion ring he wore – the other was his incredibly calm demeanor. When you meet someone who is as calm as this man was, you KNOW they’ve seen a lot of battles – and they’ve seen the light at the end of them.
During the entire flight, for some odd reason, I couldn’t place this man’s name. I knew he was a Big League manager – but what was his name?
Yes, I could have leaned over and asked, “Hey, you look familiar. Did you manage an MLB team or something?”
But that would be embarrassing. You don’t do that to someone of this man’s stature. If you’re too forgetful to remember his name, don’t ask.
Whilst departing the plane, the man with the colossal ring walked ahead of me. I made sure I let him go first. Out of respect. Out of selfish reasons: I wanted to watch his walk.
As he made his way into the airport, I observed every detail of his stride.
I thought to myself, Yep. That’s him. That’s the exact walk of an MLB mangager going to the mound to remove a pitcher. You can’t fake that. He’s been there.
But what was his name?
Upon arriving at my hotel, his name hit me like a thunderclap.
He’s the manager who got into an altercation with Pedro Martinez, and got whirled through the air. He’s the manager who showed class and apologized, with tears in his eyes, for the role he played in it. He said he was sorry and meant it – it wasn’t just a public relations move.
Don Zimmer – that’s his name.
I got on the Internet and searched. Yep, that’s the guy who sat across from me. That’s him.
Years later, when I was a season-ticket holder with the Tampa Bay Rays, Don Zimmer was there, as an advisor.
On more than one occasion, I saw him behind home plate – and unlike the flight to Las Vegas, I always remembered his name and always called out to him.
Zimmer would turn to me, smile, wave and say hello.
Truly, he would.
This is not something a lot of Big Leaguers will do. They pass fans by with expressionless faces, hoping they don’t get asked to sign yet another autograph.
I never asked Don Zimmer for his autograph. To be in a position, more than once in my lifetime, to say hello to him, that was enough.
To have a chance to remember his name and let him know I knew who he was, that was enough.
Baseball lost a great man yesterday. Don Zimmer, age 83, the last remaining player from the original Brooklyn Dodgers.
Just watched a tribute to him.
This man epitomized what it is to be a “professional human being.” Not a professional baseball player or manager.
First and foremost – a professional human being.
That’s something all of us can become. Most people will not make it to the top in a profession.
But ALL of us can become professionals in how we live our lives. All of us can live our lives to the full – if we so choose.
Be a professional human being today – every day.
How do you do that?
Same way you do anything. You practice – and practice – and practice some more.
author of Theatre of the Mind
June 4th, 2014
Back in 2007, when I was talking with Steve Chandler, author of far too many books to list here, he told me a tale that I’ve seen play out in business, sports and much more.
“If someone is playing a great game of darts, the easiest way to get him off target is to pay him a compliment,” he said.
“I think I know exactly what you mean,” I replied.
“Suppose someone hits a bullseye three times in a row,” he continued. “If you say, ‘Wow, that’s three in a row you’ve just thrown. You’re awesome,’ watch how he misses on the very next dart.”
“So true,” I said. “In baseball, when a pitcher is throwing a no hitter or a perfect game, there’s a reason that NO ONE comes up to him and says anything. Literally. NOTHING. Not only that, but no one even sits near him. They don’t want to get inside his lucky aura and disrupt it.”
Okay, how does this message apply to you in your everyday life?
I’ll answer with the following story:
“One day, Bing, was practicing Tai Ji in a park near Beijing. He’d been training each day, religiously, for three years. During this time, no teacher had ever paid him a compliment in any way.
He was only taught to practice hard, to “chi ku” (eat bitter) – as well as to watch his breathing and pay meticulous attention to every detail of every move. Bing did exactly as instructed.
On this particular day, Chen, a well-known Master, came by and watched Bing train for a few minutes.
When Bing finished his set, the Master Chen gave him a thumbs up and said, “Your form isn’t bad.”
Young Bing smiled from ear to ear. Finally, a compliment for all his hard work.
But then the Master continued, “But it’s not so good, either. Keep training.”
Bing’s smile turned to confusion as the Master walked away. He wondered to himself about the meaning of the Master’s words.
Was he playing a game with me? Was he trying to trick me?
Why did he immediately follow his words of praise with words of criticism? Why did he build me up just to tear me down?”
After several days, Bing realized the Master did him a favor. He gave him balanced feedback. He gave him the yin and the yang of the situation.
“Your form isn’t bad.” – this is not really praise – but Bing saw it as such. And look how he immediately reacted. He smiled and felt proud. Why? Because the “compliment” fed his ego.
Unbeknownst to Bing, the ego interferes with success, it puts the focus on yourself instead of upon what you’re working to accomplish.
“But it’s not so good, either.”
This line from the Master was designed to put Bing back into neutral, to make him lose his addiction to praise as well as to help him not take criticism personally.
“Keep training.” This advice was the best thing the Master said to Bing. Keep your focus on what you are doing – not on how you feel about someone’s praise or criticism.
Back in 2005, at one of my seminars, I taught the following:
“Remain emotionally neutral about both praise and criticism, yet wise enough to see how either can be used to your benefit.”
I still think the same way today on this matter.
Beware those who flatter you, who tell you how great you are, who praise and coddle you. These people are not going to lead you to success.
Find the coach who tells it to you like it is, the one who wants you to succeed far more than he wants to hear you tell him how great he is.
I realize the above isn’t practiced too much in society today. And that’s precisely why there will never be tens of millions of people running around who’ve mastered something.
P.S. Want to truly master something? – then go here.
June 3rd, 2014
Not sure what age each of us learn the three dumbest words ever uttered. For some it might be four years old while it strikes another at age six.
Regardless of when you start using these words, the effect is the same. Your mind freezes. You go numb. You stop learning. You even stop searching for answers.
“What are the three dumbest words ever uttered?” you ask.
“I don’t know,” I reply.
“Huh? I thought you said you knew the three dumbest words. Do you or don’t you?”
“Okay, what are they then?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? Stop playing games with me.”
“I’m not playing games. I’m telling you the truth.”
“Okay, great. So what are they then?”
“I don’t know.”
“Uggh. Enough of you. I got better things to do with my time.”
Alright, a tiny spin-off of “”Who’s on First?” by Abbot and Costello – and not nearly as good, I might add, but I think you get the point.
Play a little game with yourself to really feel how true the above is.
Read the following questions along with the dumbest of answers:
Who’s the first president of the United States?
I don’t know.
Okay, what type of grass is that you have surrounding your
I don’t know.
Alrighty then, what type of car is that you’re driving?
I don’t know.
How much do you weigh?
I don’t know.
How tall are you?
I don’t know.
Are you stupid?
I don’t know.
Sadly, this is what a lot of people have reduced themselves to in the Zombie whilrd surrounding us.
“I don’t know” means “I don’t care” and “I don’t want to learn.”
Now, I realize there are probably only a few people on this planet who never use the words “I don’t know” – and I’m NOT one of them – yet.
I catch myself using these words far too often – but as soon as I do, a switch gets flipped and I begin to ask questions. Or I follow the three words with – “but I’ll find out.”
“I don’t know – but I’ll find out.”
One of the reminders I’d like to give you about the power of your brain is as follows:
In your forebrain, you have a reticular activating device that Dr. Maltz called your servo-mechanism. This servo-mechanism automatically guides you toward the goals you have in mind – and/or to answers for the questions you are asking.
And so, if your stock answer to questions is “I don’t know” – your servo-mechanism pursues the goal of “shutdown” or idiocy instead of knowledge.
On the other hand, let’s say you refuse to say “I don’t know” – or you do but you quickly add, “but I’ll find out.”
Guess what happens?
Your servo-mechanism sends out energetic missiles designed to bring you some really good answers.
If you’re a writer, let’s say you’re facing a blank page. That ever happened to you? Um, everyday, right?
Okay, if you begin your day with, “I don’t know what to write” your goal-seeking mechanism searches for something called “not knowing what to write.” And this leads to something called “writer’s block.” In reality it’s writer’s wrong thinking.
How would I counter the words, “I don’t know what to write?”
How about the following:
“I don’t know what to write – but it’s coming to me.”
“I don’t know what to write – until I start writing.”
“I don’t know what to write – but if I just start typing a bunch of B.S. onto the page it’ll come to me and I’ll be fine.”
I’d like to challenge you to go beyond the words “I don’t know.”
I know. It can be hard, especially when you want to take a brain break.
So start with one area, one thing and one question.
What can I do today to achieve my goal?
I don’t know – oops. Caught myself.
I don’t know but I’m going to find out – right now – and when I do it’s going to be AWESOME.
Give it a whirl my friend.
author of the Nightingale-Conant audio/DVD program,
Theatre of the Mind
June 2nd, 2014
There’s something I’ve been wanting to do for the past month – and I never “got around to it” – until yesterday.
What is it that I’ve been wanting to do?
Well, how about this?
I’ve wanted to get a bird bath and a bird feeder for my back yard.
Matt Furey wants to feed and flip the birds. He wants to make play around in his back yard. He wants to attract cardinals and blue jays and many other exotic birds.
So he can sit outdoors and watch them chirp and feed as he reads and writes and consults with his clients.
What a novel idea, but I believe I’m on the right track. And here’s the proof:
Late yesterday afternoon, after a torrential downpour, along wih my son, we pulled out of our driveway and began our journey
to “buy some stuff.”
Guess what happened within 1/4 mile of leaving our home?
A large hawk flew over my car, then trailed me for a couple houses, glided onto a rooftop three houses away and watched as I drove by.
Never had that happen before.
But then – a couple seconds later another hawk appeared to my right. He was flying over us and quickly disappeared above us.
“That’s two,” I said to my son.
Not more than 50 meters further, I spotted another hawk. This one was lighter colored with white and golden feathers. He was perched to the
left on a cement fixture.
I stopped the car and rolled down the window to get a closer look.
“Where’s my cell phone?” I asked, wanting to take a picture.
Once I had phone in hand, I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo. Twas so much better to only take a look.
Upon driving off I noted that I’ve never seen three hawks appear so quickly in all my life. I wondered if there was a special meaning to this.
Later that night my son and I lugged our bird bath to the back yard. Twas heavy – but a good workout for both of us.
After filling it with water I opened the bird feeder box. Read rhe instructions and began to assemble it. Once the feeder was filled with seed I looked outdoors and saw how dark it was.
Oh well, I’ll put it out in the morning.
At 7 a.m. I looked out the window. No birds in the bath water yet.
I retrieved the bird feeder from it’s place on the counter and went outside to hang it.
And then I took a seat outside and waited.
I waited some more.
At this point I had a flash back. It was 1987. I was in Soquel, California. I’d just opened my first gym – a place where I would train young high school wrestlers as well as adult men and women who wanted to get fit.
I took out an ad in the weekly tabloid known as “Good Times.”
The day the ad came out I was beyond excited. The phone would ring off the hook. I’d be filled to the brim with people to train.
I sat behind my desk – waiting for the phone to ring.
I began to use my will – trying to command the phone to ring.
It refused even more.
Hours went by.
Impatient, looooooong, arduous hours.
I was hungry. I needed some food. But I didn’t want to miss a call. So I waited some more.
Ultimately I gave in.
An hour later I returned to the gym. A light was blinking on the answering machine (remember those?).
I moved closer to take a peek. Two messages.
I hit play.
Both messages were from prospective clients who saw my ad.
I made a note.
The same thing happened the next day.
When it happened a third time – I saw a trend.
Today I’d like to give you the lesson I learned in 1987 – that I revisted today: “Mind power is effortless power. The more you strain the less you gain.”
It sounds strange, I know. In order to get good at anything – you need to WORK on it.
But with the mind, your work is done with a spirit of relaxation. In a sense, your work is to make your job effortless. To make it strainless, painless and easy.
How do you do this?
Through hard work.
I know. It’s an oxymoron. But the reality is that the ONLY way you can get to the state of effortless flow – is to put in your time. You work hard at not working hard WITH STRAIN. You learn to give maximum effort by not tensing and tightening your muscles, your face or your eyes.
You run faster when your body is relaxed. You hit a ball harder and further when your body is free of tension. The same goes with writing, singing, dancing or painting.
“The more you strain the less you gain.”
Now, if you’re the person who strains, how do you stop?
You keep working. And while you work you continually remind yourself to let go of unnecessary tension.
When it comes to the “mental game” – you do the same. You don’t try to force your goals to become reality. You simply picture them and add positive emotion and feeling instead of effort and strain. Most importantly, you get busy doing OTHER STUFF.
Once you get this “mental game” thing down – you get to enjoy what you’re doing a lot more.
If you have something to write – you do some deep breathing to unwind – then you write. You don’t sit and think about what you’d like to write. That’s effort. That’s strain. Just write. And as you write, after you get past the first few paragraphs, your brain is warmed up and the rest just flows out of you.
This is part of what i teach in my Tao of Email Copywriting that Sells program. It’s worked wonders for aspiring entrepreneurs all over the world. Why not be the NEXT ONE?
When you are, you, too, can take some time to smell the roses – or to watch the birds flip and feed.
The birds (and the words) will come. Not by force – not by will – but on their own accord when everything is in flow.
Get into flow first – and watch the good times roll.
P.S. By the way, my list of clients back at my gym filled very quickly. Nowadays I have them all over the whirld. And a ton of them tune in to me regularly on the Matt Furey Inner Circle member’s site. I think you’ll enjoy the plethora of free stuff you get with your membership – and a whole lot more is on the way.
May 16th, 2014
Whenever we encounter a trouble of some sort, whether it’s an argument, a tense situation or a misunderstanding – it’s a good idea to see if we can clear the air.
There are many ways to clear the air.
You can put your thoughts on paper. You can meet with another person and talk about it. You can speak by phone.
These are the most obvious ways to clear the air.
But what if none of the above are possible because those you’d like to meet with, speak with and write to are no longer living?
Well, normally you could resolve the tension by attending a funeral, a wake or a memorial.
But what if that’s not even possible because the body of the person who died is involved in an investigation?
That’s a tough one.
Yet, a few days ago I saw this situation handled by a pro.
Although the baseball season was already over for the high school my son plays for – the coach held an honorary practice for the young man whose life and future was tragically taken away last week.
The practice was two hours long and involved the typical hitting and fielding drills that took place while their former teammate was still with them. Except for one important detail: The boys played “AS IF” their friend, Colin Campbell, was still right there with them.
Some of the players hit “bombs” over the fence – others made the best throws or catches of their lives – all in Colin’s honor.
At the end, the team huddled up in the outfield and made their peace with their departed friend. Some told stories, others told jokes. And the healing process took off – sending positive waves throughout the park.
This was one of the best examples of clearing the air I have ever witnessed.
No media was allowed or notified. Just a humble practice to say good-bye to a departed friend.
My son got in the car with me after practice and we drove away. His pain and hurt transformed into healing energy.
As we’ve so often seen in the past, great tragedy often precedes great triumph. We don’t ask for tragedy so we can triumph. No one asks for it. But if and when tragedy strikes, knowing we can turn it into something else, knowing we can use the experience as fuel to make our lives better – that gives us a positive goal to focus on and a new path to create for ourselves.
In Theatre of the Mind, I spoke about my coach at Iowa, the legendary Dan Gable, who won Olympic Gold in 1972, while competing on one good knee. Even so, he never surrendered a single point in six matches.
What drove Gable to such great success? In large part, it was due to the fact that his sister, Diane, was brutally raped and murdered while young Dan was on a fishing trip with his Mom and Dad.
Upon the family’s return, young Dan dedicated his entire career to his sister. He hung her picture in the basement, and when he trained, he spoke to her.
After being undefeated throughout high school he went to college – and he was unbeaten there as well. Until his final match of his senior season. With a record of 181-0 – Gable lost in the finals of the national championships.
On the victory stand, when Gable was presented with his 2nd place plaque, he openly sobbed and wept – covering his eyes with his hand.
Why did he weep? As Gable told his parents – who came to the locker room to console him, “I let Diane down.”
The next day’s headlines: GABLE LOSES. GABLE FAILS.
In a talk given a short time after his defeat, Gable told the crowd that he would use his loss as even greater motivation. He would train harder and he would rededicate himself to his goals of being a world and Olympic champion.
In 2007, I had the honor of bringing Coach Gable to Tampa, to speak at one of my seminars.
In his talk, Gable spoke about the death of his sister – and how it affected him. He said that you can take anything that happens to you in life, no matter how tragic – and figure out a way to use it as fuel to help you achieve your very best – but only if you look for it.
These were not hollow words that sounded good. These were words Gable lived and breathed. And still does to this very day.
Turning tragedy into triumph. It’s a reality that comes to those who ask for the guidance and are given the grace.
May 10th, 2014
Spent yesterday working with my coaching groups.
Part of what I taught, appropriately so, was the value of suffering.
There are two types: the suffering we willingly choose in order to excel at something. This is the sort I went through as a collegiate wrestler, as a martial artist, as a writer, and so on. You endure things that most cannot fathom – and you do so with a greater cause, a greater goal in mind. This makes 80% or more of the suffering feel good.
It’s pleasurable even though it’s painful. You willingly subject yourself to it because you know it’s for your greater good. 20% of the time you spend working toward the goal feels like torture; it feels unbearable.
And at times, about 3% of the time, perhaps, you’re on the verge of giving up, of quitting, because you have doubts about whether you’re going to make it.
The second type of suffering is the type that is thrown at us. We don’t feel like we’ve willingly chosen it. But it’s there. Someone close to us dies, or gets sick, or gets injured. Or we undergo a trauma ourselves. We’re left wondering “why?” We’re jarred backed into the “present.” We hurt even though we don’t want to. We feel we shouldn’t have to suffer. We try to avoid the pain – yet we cannot do so completely – so we surrender to it and allow the energy to be transformed – and along with it, ourselves.
This type of suffering, if willingly embraced, helps us grow. We become more compassionate, more loving, more caring toward others. We feel more connected – and we are.
Ultimately, no matter how painful, if we search for the seed of how the suffering makes us better human beings, we will find it.
True, you don’t have to ever feel a bit of compassion, a bit of pain. You need not feel empathy for anyone.
You don’t need to suffer, ever. You can go through life without shedding a tear. You can attend funerals with a smile on your face.
But are you really living life to the full if you can only experience the gamut of emotions from A-B?
It would be like playing the piano, but only hitting the ivory keys, or only the ebony. Wouldn’t be much of a piano player now, would you?
It’d be like only being able to play a couple notes on a flute – or only being able to play one or two strings on a guitar.
As I wrote in my email two days ago – You Cannot Escape from This – which you can view on my blog – Life is Not Suffering – but it is part of life. So is happiness. And part of being human is balancing both at the very same time. I’m happy – yet I hurt. I hurt – yet I’m happy.
Thanks to everyone who wrote me, posted here, sent test messages and/or called.
author of Theatre of the Mind
May 8th, 2014
In my former days, if I said, “You can’t escape from this,” I’d be talking about some sort of submission hold from my grappling or martial arts training.
But today, I’m coming at you from a different angle, a different direction.
This Friday, my son’s high school baseball team was going to have their “end of year” banquet – followed by a trip to watch a minor league ballgame with the Tampa Yankees.
Everyone was excited. Everyone was pumped.
At 8:21 AM I received an email notice from the coach saying that an optional hitting practice after school was cancelled.
Thought nothing of it.
At 12:39 PM I received another email from the coach, saying the weekend banquet was cancelled. And so were workouts
for the rest of the week.
Then he wrote something that caught my attention. For REAL.
“Please give your loved ones a hug and keep all of our families and boys in your thoughts.”
What the hell happened?
I wrote the coach. No reply.
I then went through all my emails, looking for clues. Somehow I had overlooked an email from the school that was sent at 8:37 AM – entitled “Family Tragedy.”
I read the email and it mentioned two students by name and year, Megan (9th) and Colin (12th) Campbell.
I just saw Colin the night before, at batting practice, working on his absolutely gorgeous swing. My son and I talked about how good he was after practice. How he had a scholarship to play baseball in the fall.
And now I’m hearing about a tragedy?
I started to scour the Internet for news – for anything, as I wasn’t in a place with televsion.
I texted my son at school. I asked him what happened.
He texted back, “Colin died.”
I couldn’t believe what I read.
How? Why? What happened?
And then I learned that the whole family died. Father, mother and sister – along with Colin – in an early morning fire in one of the most prestigious and “protected” areas of Tampa.
All the details haven’t surfaced yet – but one thing is certain – no one has heard from any of the Campbells.
As a father, as a coach, as a man who enjoyed talking to Colin’s father at ball games and watching his son clobber the ball – this situation brings me to tears. It really hurts. You see children with such bright futures, and parents who support them – and in a flash – they’re gone.
I spent much of the afternoon and evening yesterday with my son, talking to him, answering his questions as best I could. Mostly just listening. Being with him.
“Did you ever lose a friend when you were only 13 years old?” Frank asked.
“No,” I replied.
“Do you think we should have his initials on our uniforms next year? A ‘CC patch?”
“That would be nice.”
We went to the outdoor handball courts to blow off steam, whacking the ball over and over again. Then we drove around and talked some more.
As the evening unfolded I sat outside, looking into the heavens, wondering and asking questions I’ve never really asked myself before.
How could God let something like this happen?
Where’s the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit in this?
Is there a message in this for me? Something that will help me and others?
The answer came to me as I searched my soul.
They are as follows:
“You cannot escape suffering. It’s part of life. Even the enlightened beings suffer. Jesus suffered. Buddha suffered. All human beings suffer. No matter where you go, there will be suffering. Someone you know will die. Someone you know will get hurt or sick. Or you will.”
“You can move into the richest neighborhood on the planet. You can go where they have armed guards protecting you. And you will still see suffering – and you will also suffer. You can evade and elude suffering for awhile, but eventually you will encounter it yourself.”
“No matter how clean your Karma, you will suffer. No matter how good your past lives were (for those who believe in such a thing) – you will suffer. No matter how positive your thinking – you will suffer.”
“Life itself isn’t suffering – but suffering IS part of LIFE. The same holds true of happiness.”
“So what to do? Embrace suffering as part of life. Don’t fear it. Don’t try to avoid it. Recognize it for what it is – and allow yourself the opportunity to transform your suffering into compassion, love and happiness.”
“Those who have not suffered have not experienced what it is like to be truly human.”
These are the thoughts that came to me as I sat all alone last night, looking into the sky, listening to the frogs croak and the crickets chirp.
These thoughts don’t answer the “Why’s” – but they do help me to see the essence of what is going on – what is always going on.
Suffering, Compassion and Happiness. Three sides of the same triangle.
Author of Theatre of the Mind
P.S. Those of you coming to Tampa this weekend for training, I’ll be ready for you. See you soon.
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