I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a husband. I’m a father. I’m not a monk. And yet I crave the same Inner Peace and depth of consciousness as those on the monastic path.
The last decade of my life took me on a journey of what I call Applied Spirituality. With the guidance of masterful spiritual teachers I began to see that one can maintain inner peace and full conscious awareness WHILE ALSO tussling with the world. My karmic purpose calls me to do more than sit in a cave meditating (as blissful as that sounds).
- What I’ve learned is that inner peace is achieved when your capacity to maintain equanimity is greater than the level of intensity experienced by your nervous system. This implies you can either decrease the intensity, or you can increase your capacity. If, like me, you’re not a monk then decreasing intensity is not really an option. So the first fundamental practice of Applied Spirituality is to increase your capacity. This can be done deliberately with specific practices that I’ll explore in future essays. (see Increasing Nervous System Capacity)
- Inner Peace is not really enough. At some point we start to wonder what it’s all about. Questioning the nature of reality. Conscious awakening is a stabilized moment-by-moment awareness of awareness itself. That thing that’s left when we remove all sensation and all form. But that requires us to also become aware of everything that is NOT that. Which ironically expands our sensitivity, and thus the intensity experienced by our nervous system. So it’s probably best to start with inner peace practices. The second fundamental practice of Applied Spirituality is increasing awareness, which is best done through meditation or Practicing the Art of Consciousness.
Doing both while doing it all
- Maintaining equanimity in the face of nervous system intensity, while holding a stabilized awareness of awareness itself, while ALSO starting companies, making money, having sex, raising a family, helping people… is in many ways a greater challenge than the monastic path.
- But what else are we here for? Glad to have you along for the ride.
1. I’m saving the rabbit hole of internal intensity that arises in deep meditation practice for another essay.