Always on the hunt for clear skies, especially through stormy times.

Music helps.

Immerse yourself in the rapture of music.
You know what you love.
Go there.
Tend to each note, each chord,
Rising up from silence and dissolving again.
Vibrating strings draw us
Into the spacious resonance of the heart.
The body becomes light as the sky
And you, one with the Great Musician,
Who is even now singing us Into existence.”

tantry ādi vādya śabdeṣu dīrgheṣu krama saṁsthiteḥ | ananya cetāḥ pratyante para vyoma vapur bhavet | | 41 | |

Lorin Roche – The Radiance Sutras

[from our very own John Carey]

And a song made fresh in my mind today thanks to Jeremy Frandsen (and baby Groot!)

Maxims are universal ethical rules of conduct that guide us when we encounter unexpected or difficult situations in life.

It was asked on Quora:

If you could write a rulebook for being a man, what “Man Law” would you write?

Don’t feel limited by anything. Think about what you would want to see in an ideal man. What are the qualities of a good husband, father, brother? What one thing would you want to see in your daughter’s boyfriend or husband?

Here is the wise list of guiding maxims espoused by Dr. Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto and clinical psychologist:

  1. Encourage children through play.
  2. Promote the best in people.
  3. Keep the sacred fire burning.
  4. Guard the women and children from harm.
  5. Confront the eternal adversary.
  6. Build the crystal palace.
  7. Confront death with courage and return.
  8. Dare to cut down a tree.
  9. Offer your sons up as a sacrifice to God.
  10. Protect your daughters from exploitation.
  11. Store up wealth for the future.
  12. Consult the ancestral spirits.
  13. Read great books.
  14. Speak the truth about unpleasant things.
  15. Pay close attention.
  16. Make a worthy temple for the Lord.
  17. Keep the howling winds of winter at bay.
  18. Stand up for the oppressed.
  19. Provide a warm and secure home.
  20. Be a prince of peace.
  21. Don’t be too civilized. (related video)
  22. Organize yourself with other men. (related video)
  23. Be faithful to your wife.
  24. Be hospitable to friends and strangers.
  25. Rout the wolves and chase the lions so the shepherds can eat.
  26. Establish a destination – and a path.
  27. Bring heaven to earth.
  28. Take on the sins of the world.
  29. Dig the wells and mine the gold and copper.
  30. Gather everyone to the banquet.
  31. Grow up and take responsibility. (related video)
  32. Resist pride in all things.

[source: Quora]

What would you add? Or what do you think needs more context?

For a more thorough understanding of maxims, see this video about Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy and conscience in the film Kingdom of Heaven, particularly at 1:45

Ever since I lost two of my best friends at age 20, Chris and Kareem, I’ve spent the last 14 years looking — around the god forsaken globe mind you, in every dark corner I could find — for hope.

This man helped set off a chain of events that helped me find my misplaced faith again, and take important responsibility for certain things in my life.

The process was not easy. It cost me everything I had. But I am rebuilding myself stronger than ever and with a much clearer understanding of why I’m here than ever before.

Jordan B. Peterson is a controversial professor at the center of the sociopolitical culture war erupting in the West right now who has been vilified in outrageous ways by his critics.

But I believe Peterson — of all the wildly different people I’ve encountered across four continents — I believe this man may be the most important living intellectual of our time, akin to a modern-day Joseph Campbell.

You may disagree with his views, but what the professor of psychology at the University of Toronto is doing just may tip the scales in humanity’s favor and help warring tribes and hostile brothers come to understand each other.

Right when we most need a miracle.

0:30 Introduction/Rise to Fame & Gender Pronouns
3:28 “Radical in a Conservative way”
5:54 Jung/Archetypes/Collective Unconscious
10:30 Integrating of the Logos
15:45 Bringing yourself into Alignment
19:06 Nature of Responsibility & Rights / Message for Men
22:00 Masculinity in the West
25:50 Post-Modernism
29:40 Integrating your Shadow, “You are the Locus of Evil”, Mind and Body alignment
34:50 Relation to the Raising of Children
37:50 Piaget’s developmental model and continual integration vs Freud
39:00 Speaking the Truth
41:02 On Atheism, Rationalism, Morality, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins etc.
44:10 Intellectualism, embodiment
45:20 Motivation for true understanding

Following along with his Maps of Meaning and Personality & Its Transformations courses at the University of Toronto was a transformational process that helped me understand a lot of the deeper wisdom in the value system I was raised within. Not only that, but working through the Self Authoring program he and his academic colleagues created is also helping me create a much more accurate mental map to navigate the trials and challenges of life.

Along with the work of many others, including Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, Peterson’s work has helped me through the most challenging times of my life, and helped me learn to navigate incredible failure, suffering, pain, and face immense terror with a newfound zen-like faith in the process.

Life is suffering.

Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated.

Truth is the handmaiden of love.

Dialogue is the pathway to truth.

Humility is recognition of personal insufficiency and the willingness to learn.

To learn is to die voluntarily and to be born again, in great ways and small.

So, speech must be untrammeled, so that dialogue can take place; so that we can all humbly learn, so that truth can serve love, so that suffering can be ameliorated, so that we can all stumble forward, so to speak, towards the kingdom of God.”

–Jordan Peterson

 

 

“We’re in a freefall into the future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a VOLUNTARY act. It’s a very interesting shift in perspective, and that’s all it is. Joyful participation in the sorrows, and everything changes.”

Joseph Campbell, Sukhavati

Embrace your pain, go to the places that scare you, take joy in life’s terrible challenges as they burn away your weaknesses in a baptism of fire, nail your old Self to the cross and die through your own terrible crucifixion to be reborn as something more, turn your suffering into something beautiful, share your Truth, and live on PURPOSE.

Join a group of living heroes courageous enough to walk the path:

Join the HERO Project >

Luang Prabang

As I sit looking out the window at the mountain, bathed in heavenly rays of light as the sun begins its journey downward to slowly disappear over the summit, I face a situation I have put myself in what feels like a million times before.

Do I join the friend who has been making promises for weeks up in the beautiful mountainous countryside? Or do I endure the long and painful journey back to the big bustling city?

Robert Frost’s words come to my mind:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

At 33, I’ve finally learned about myself that I’m not a city slicker.

But Bangkok, in all its sweaty, greasy, seedy glory, is one step closer to Home. One step closer to my beloved family, who are are on a terrorist-infested tropical island far away.

Freedom means accepting responsibility, and the necessity for making painful decisions.

God only knows what I’m missing. What I may have learned, or who I could have become. I will never know.

But it’s time to stop chasing, and take one step closer to where my heart is, rather than one step further away.

We recently returned from celebrating my birthday on the beach with a wonderful group of friends.

springtime

March 20th (my birthday) is the vernal equinox, and the first day of spring (or the first day of autumn in the southern hemisphere).

On the equinoxes, the sun passes directly over the equator. The northern and southern hemispheres of the planet are equally illuminated on about March 20th and September 22nd, and as a result, the length of day and night is nearly equal — all around the globe.

The March equinox marks the time when the sun crosses from south to north over the celestial equator – the imaginary plane that divides the sky above the Earth’s equator. The light overtakes the darkness, the sun’s warm rays finally dispel the winter and we welcome in the Springtime.

spring-rebirth

I never knew this growing up, but March 20th is a highly symbolic day in many ancient traditions, marking the end of one astrological year and the beginning of another.

This is the Solar New Year, and there are ancient monoliths and sacred sites around the world that were built thousands of years ago to align with our sun on March 20/21.

The light from our sun is what governs the natural cycle of life and death on this planet, so it is for good reason that humans have celebrated the coming of the spring for as long as we can remember — as the seasons were especially important for more agrarian civilizations, and even for hunter-gatherer tribes.

The Earth grows greener, more animals come out of the woodwork, as the sun grows brighter and the daylight hours grow longer.

So it is a natural time for us to focus on themes of growth and rebirth as the season changes. You can argue with it if you like, but just observe around you as many people become more active with longer daylight hours, shake off the winter blues, or begin to make significant changes in their lives, their careers, and relationships.

It is a time for “spring cleaning”, vacations, and the call of adventure. Time to dust off and let go of old things.

We are a species with amnesia, who have forgotten our past, but we are inextricably connected to the sun — the original energy source of all life on planet Earth, and everything across our solar system.

Is it any wonder why we celebrate Easter, and the resurrection of the Son, as the spring starts to heat up?

The spring equinox represents the rebirth of the natural world, with its archetypal symbols including things like flowers, eggs, and rabbits. (Those wascally wabbits!)

So why am I droning on and on about such esoteric stuff? Well in the words of the late great Joseph Campbell:

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”

If there is a natural time of year to try to rejuvenate the soul, to “reset” and reconnect — both with the Self and with the natural world — it’s the advent of spring.

As I’ve spent the last few months diving deep into mythology, philosophy, and cross-cultural spiritual studies — the mystical world I first began to explore 15 years ago with my college degree — I’ve set an annual challenge for myself: to utilize my birthday as an opportunity to untether from electronics and social media, to reconnect with my body and with nature — in the sand, in the ocean, in the jungle — and to surround myself with good friends and loved ones for a special shared experience where we focus on our own individual “Hero’s Journey”.

As an unofficial launch celebration for my new business, I even sponsored Krabi’s first free springtime beach party.

spring-equinox

“That’s what a birthday is for,” Joseph Campbell would say, as he spent his birthday (March 26th, coincidentally enough rounding out our week together) every year for more than two decades surrounded by friends at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, along California’s breathtaking coastline.

Campbell would often tell the story of how Carl Jung had realized the importance of “what it means to live with a myth, and what it means to live without one.” When Jung realized he didn’t know what personal myth he was living, he wrote:

I took it upon myself to get to know *my* myth, and I regarded this as the task of tasks.”

So what myth are you living by? What is YOUR journey? What call to adventure have you rejected? Who do you truly aspire to be?

If you’re ready to take a fantastic journey through the Unknown, to reconnect with your Higher Self and your guiding purpose, to explore psychology and philosophy and face your own inner demons, to discover what treasures and superpowers lie buried deep within, then I hope you will join me and over 400 of the most legendary heroes I know.

Today only, you can join our HERO Society premium membership for a one-time low payment, and help us to uncover timeless truths and develop a transformative new framework for personal growth.

And mark your calendars for March 2018, to join us in my absolute favorite paradise on Earth for the next Hero Spring Break!

I am often reminded of this old Chinese fable about a farmer and his horse.

There are many varying versions of the story, but it goes something like this:

Alan Watts’ telling of the story.

The Chinese farmer’s attitude illustrates a deep understanding of how seeming bad fortune can often be a blessing in disguise. And vice versa.

I believe I first learned this story from Derek Sivers, whose telling I’ll quote in full below, along with his 1998 song based on this classic parable:

My favorite fable (塞翁失马)

A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away.

His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses following. The man and his son corralled all 21 horses.

His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, breaking both his legs.

His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.

His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

Reprinted from Sivers.org here. Listen to Derek’s song “Still Too Soon to Tell” below:

If you enjoy this timeless parable, and the beautiful song Derek composed to retell the tale, you might find my exclusive interview with him here interesting.

principle is a concept or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed. The principles of such a system are understood by its users as the essential characteristics of the system, or reflecting system’s designed purpose, and the effective operation or use of which would be impossible if any one of the principles was to be ignored.

In seeking well-organized principles to live by, I’ve not come across a better, more comprehensive example than these shared by Dr. Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto (also author of the upcoming book 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos).

In response to the question: “What are the most valuable things everyone should know?” These are the forty lessons the good professor had to share. Hard to beat:

  1. Tell the truth.
  2. Do not do things that you hate.
  3. Act so that you can tell the truth about how you act.
  4. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
  5. If you have to choose, be the one who does things, instead of the one who is seen to do things.
  6. Pay attention.
  7. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you need to know. Listen to them hard enough so that they will share it with you.
  8. Plan and work diligently to maintain the romance in your relationships.
  9. Be careful who you share good news with.
  10. Be careful who you share bad news with.
  11. Make at least one thing better every single place you go.
  12. Imagine who you could be, and then aim single-mindedly at that.
  13. Do not allow yourself to become arrogant or resentful.
  14. Try to make one room in your house as beautiful as possible.
  15. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
  16. Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens.
  17. If old memories still make you cry, write them down carefully and completely.
  18. Maintain your connections with people.
  19. Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or artistic achievement.
  20. Treat yourself as if you were someone that you are responsible for helping.
  21. Ask someone to do you a small favour, so that he or she can ask you to do one in the future.
  22. Make friends with people who want the best for you.
  23. Do not try to rescue someone who does not want to be rescued, and be very careful about rescuing someone who does.
  24. Nothing well done is insignificant.
  25. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
  26. Dress like the person you want to be.
  27. Be precise in your speech.
  28. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
  29. Don’t avoid something frightening if it stands in your way — and don’t do unnecessarily dangerous things.
  30. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
  31. Do not transform your wife into a maid.
  32. Do not hide unwanted things in the fog.
  33. Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated.
  34. Read something written by someone great.
  35. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
  36. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
  37. Don’t let bullies get away with it.
  38. Write a letter to the government if you see something that needs fixing — and propose a solution.
  39. Remember that what you do not yet know is more important than what you already know.
  40. Be grateful in spite of your suffering.

[original source: Quora]

Isn’t it strange, to live life through just one pair of eyeballs, and to know for a fact, that at the very same time, there are literally billions of other eyeballs having their very own, sometimes wildly unique lives, recording their own crazy experiences simultaneously.

And that’s just taking other people into account. Not to even mention the countless other lifeforms, just on this planet.

And who knows what else lurks out there in the deep reaches of outer space, in the great beyond, the Unknown World…

How important we think we are. Our experiences, our perspective.

And we tend to think other people share the same views on things, or at least that they should. But we forget how myopic others are, just as much as ourselves.

Humans tend to focus on the areas immediately around them — the objects in their immediate surroundings.

Jobs, and screens, don’t help.

There were times in millennia past when men did very little but watch the horizon for enemy tribes, or for predators. And there are still a few men throughout the world today who lead their lives in a similar fashion — seafarers, pilots, herders, hunters, outdoorsmen, certain kinds of nomads.

But most of us spend the vast majority of our hours and days indoors. In cities. Enclosed.

Our eyesight goes early because we spend years of our lives staring at screens or surfaces of one form or another. Our ancestors did not evolve to do the things we do today.

And keep in mind, the modern human brain essentially developed over 50,000 years ago.

For 99.8% of that time, humans were living very different lifestyles — occupying themselves with incredibly different things than we do today.

As I write this, I’m watching the construction men across the road building a magnificent piece of engineering.

construction

These guys (and a few gals, props to ’em) are working now on the seventh floor, out there in the breeze, no ropes, not one safety net that I can see from where I’m sitting.

Some of them have been practicing their craft for so long, they’ll stand right on the edge looking straight down.

And they’re talented.

But I bet you could point a gun at most of them from the next nearest rooftop, and nobody would see it coming. Because of the nature of their work (and this is a somewhat extreme example, I’ll admit) but they are hyper-focused on their immediate surroundings.

It’s not a bad thing. They get excellent work done.

But for a lot of people, it could cost you your life sometimes if you take your eye off your day job.

And most don’t get out enough to fully appreciate the real healing powers of being in our natural environment.

I feel people sometimes lose sight of the fact that we are not well-adapted to live with our technology.

Technology’s great. But we are in fact hard-wired through millions of years of evolution to do very different things than we do in 2017.

And that fact underlies most the problems YOU experience in life — from health issues, injuries, relationship challenges, emotional and mental wellbeing, to your failure to find meaning in your work, poor sexual performance, or struggling with unhappiness.

Even money (as you know it) wasn’t even a thing until the last 1000 years.

So if you’re struggling with that game, don’t worry. So am I. It doesn’t come naturally to anyone.

I have several friends who’ve managed to find a way to make millions, and then lose it all.

I’ve got to imagine that bites. Hard.

But I still respect them. Plus it just shows — we’re all only human.

If you’re struggling with any of these things — your emotional world, your fitness and health, your wealth, your relationships, or otherwise getting what you want out of life — I bet you probably don’t typically think in your day-to-day life that maybe something about how your ancestors evolved had much to do with it.

But just maybe…

***

Once in a while, it’s nice to get out of the city. It’s nice to get out into nature, somewhere you can stretch out and breath. Somewhere you can spend time with the wanderers, the seagoers, the adventurers.

Somewhere far away from your day job. Somewhere you can look out across the open sea, or examine the world from mountaintop.

I even just love sitting here on my balcony every chance I get, watching the world go by. It gives you a different PERSPECTIVE on life, and the world.

But with the increasing harvest season smoke and smog here in Chiang Mai, I’m thinking of getting away from it all, getting a change of perspective and going to immerse myself in the great outdoors, in my preferred natural environment.

It’s been quite a while actually, since I visited my good friends there… sat on my favorite beach listening to the ocean speak, went rock climbing, or sea kayaking, or even just jammed at one of the great reggae bars filled with friendly warm faces.

Heck, last time I took a group of new friends there, we swam with sharks, braved jellyfish stings, we shared unforgettable moments together around a beach bonfire, under an open sky full of stars.

hiking guided tour krabi

If anybody wants to join me soon in my favorite paradise, I’m thinking of making another escape to Krabi, Thailand.

But this is a HEROIC Escape! We always build incredible deep bonds with new friends, push ourselves to grow in challenging but fun ways, and tend to really experience some breakthroughs through a change in perspective, and through more physical, natural challenges than many folks might be used to (at least in their day-to-day life).

I always find it’s a great reset, and I always deepen some pretty valuable new relationships with fascinating people. I’ve even connected some new friends with VC money in the millions, or with publishers, for example, through these wild experiences.

And I’ve been blessed to witness some incredible transformative moments that people have had — simply challenging themselves in weird new ways and sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience together with other like-minded people.

I spent 2 years living in Ao Nang, Krabi, and developed many amazing friendships and invaluable connections in this very magical place.

If there is a Shangri-La, this is it as far as I’m concerned:

In the 35 countries I’ve traveled so far, I haven’t found a beach I love more than this place.

Let me know — I’m considering taking my Queen and our son for their first time for much of March, and I’m toying with the idea of throwing a little beach festival for my 33rd birthday.

If you’d be interested to join, let me know here.

And keep your eye on the horizon, friends.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ve seen the Promised Land.

Absolute Legend. A Hero. Mine Eyes Have Seen.

Who are your biggest real-life heroes?

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES:  US civil rights leader Martin Luther King,Jr. (C) waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC (Washington Monument in background) during the "March on Washington". 28 August marks the 40th anniversary of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which is credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Martin Luther King was assassinated on 04 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray confessed to shooting King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: US civil rights leader Martin Luther King,Jr. (C) waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC (Washington Monument in background) during the “March on Washington”. 28 August marks the 40th anniversary of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which is credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Martin Luther King was assassinated on 04 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray confessed to shooting King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)