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You have probably heard the quote that "happiness is an inside job."  (William Arthur Ward) An inside-out approach sounds nice in theory and you probably sorta get it, but the practical implementation of it can be daunting. Afterall, we didn't take this course at ANY level of academia.  So now we are cramming this deep wisdom into our already full lives as an elective class.  Our information-drenched world gives us drips of information from a wide variety of sources, but it's hard to piece together the connective tissue of this knowledge so it makes sense.  

This weeks wisdom will unlock why it's so dang hard to approach life from the inside out and then present a full-proof formula that will bust open your path to joy and help you live to your highest potential.  Ready?  No? Oh, I'll wait.  Now? Ok, then let's begin.

Query #1:  Do I really have an inner world?  

You bet you do!  And it's starving for your attention.  We have to begin by knowing that it exists (all the time) and to build an intimate relationship with it.  Why?  Because the outer world easily dominates our attention.  The goal is for the inner world to radiate brightly enough that it's a significant player in the daily choices you make.

Query #2:  What the heck does my inner world contain?

Each day your body-mind is exposed to a wide variety of external experiences.  Inside, the body-mind acts like the hard drive of life that is recording and storing all this data for possible future use. The mind is the primary reservoir of your inner world and it heavily influences your joy-factor. However, your nervous system, cells, breath patterns, and five senses act as supporting players in the data your mind saves.  

Query #3:  How does my inner world reflect my outer world experience?

How you feel on the inside truly does shape your lens on life.  What you choose to eat, drink, how you sleep and digest the world from the inside-out largely influences how people react to you when you walk into a room.  If your muscles are relaxed, spine tall, and your mind is open, clear and present, then people will sense that intuitively.  It's your vibe.  How you act and speak vibrates from the space of how the body-mind feels.  

Query #4:  How do I get to know my inner world?

Awakening your inner world starts with daily practice, and it's a step that you can't bypass.  It's just too difficult to learn your inner world when the speed of life is simulating you with continual distractions.   Dedicated time and space to understanding the body, breath, and mind are what makes your inner world light up.  You have to make the inner world experience real and tangible. That's what practice achieves.  Think of this as a math or science problem: if I breathe this way, and move/shape my body this way, then this happens to my mind.  When you practice from this approach, then you have less doubt about the process and feel empowered to take active control of this inner dimension.  

Query #5:  What is the formula that will unlock my happiness/joy?

Shakti + Vayu > Karma = Freedom 

Important Note: The above equation is from the book The Four Desires by my teacher, Rod Stryker.  He calls it The Creation Equation (see page 120 from the book) and states that "it's a formula I devised to explain the universal principle of attainment or, in practical terms, the process of how one move (or doesn't move) from desire towards its fulfillment." In this blog post, I'm applying this equation to the attainment of happiness as an inside job through daily practice.  So here I am giving you the attainment goal.  Feel free to use this equation for all desires you wish to achieve.)

Shakti: You need that vital spark to achieve anything in life.   How much do you want it?  Since you have achieved many things, great and small, this feeling is not unknown to you.  However, when it comes to the abstract inner world, it can seem less tangible or urgent.  Once you ignite the inner light, it gives you the power to focus and achieve your aims.  

Vayu:  You needed tools and means to reach those goals, so this is all about the necessities that are required in making your desires become a reality.  Rod defines this as "all the forces you will summon physically, mentally, emotionally, materially, socially and spiritually."  

Karma: Here, the word karma is referring to the inherent resistance or obstacles (internal and external) that might impede you from going all the way.  Identifying what the resistances are is vital but using the equation, you can eliminate karma's effect by amplifying your shakti and vayu which will lead you to fulfilling your desire - in this case, my self-imposed goal of daily practice.  :) 

Query #6: How can I apply this formula to my inner world?

Shakti: We all need the inner spark to want to know ourselves on a different level.  Your desire to connect with your body, breath, and mind is a large factor in learning what the "inside job" is all about.  It's not easy since it has to come from an authentic place.  Self-imposing this can lead to more obstacles.  This doesn't mean you become passive, but just more curious about the house you live in, called your body.  When your level of investment increases you will organically light that inner spark (shakti).

Vayu: You need to have a treasure chest of resources to connect to your body, breath, and mind. Learning about self-reflection, meditation, relaxation, deep breathing, body movements or postures will apply your experience of the inner world and give you something tangible to take into your daily life.  Once you have enough tools, you will be able to adapt and connect to the body-mind in the time and manner that suits your life.  A good teacher, another part of your tools and resources, will amplify the best practices to focus on and accelerate your knowledge and progress.  

Karma: Life doesn't provide an easy path towards connecting with the inner world.  John Lennon was right about "life getting in the way when you are busy making other plans."  So, karma is about becoming super-sensitized to all the moments that you let the practice time become less important and the outer world more important.  It's easy to justify dealing with something you can see in the outer world vs. something you can't see in the inner world.  If you accept that there is this battle going on, you will be keen to make sure you do all you can to increase your shakti and vayu to overcome the forces of karma.  Note: As long as your shakti and vayu are always being amplified, then they will outweigh the negative resistance that might cause you not to practice.

Query #7: What is the bottom line, Joe?

If you don't practice, you will not get to know the vital, potent, expanding sides of your self that are more powerful than the ordinary mind.  I hope that the Creation Equation will give you a structure to succeed in creating a daily practice.  Come to terms that this "inside job", this happiness stuff, is actually a JOB.  I mean, what else will change on the inside if you don't take the bull by the horns and become the C.E.O. of your life?  How you design the world you live in is directly related to you accessing the deep well of influence, wisdom, and knowledge that lies beyond the ordinary thinking mind.  Practice, in all its amazing glory, offers a unique refuge for you to dive into waters that provide the most profound answers. These insights will guide you to the happiness, joy, and freedom that wait patiently for your arrival.  What are you waiting for?