In this truncated podcast series, I read from the first 120 pages of my book, Evolution By Natural Reflection. It’s a story of reflection, self-awareness, and personal development during four challenging and life-changing years spent under the guidance of my uncompromising and unconventional teacher, Karaj.
(Please note that the websites mentioned in these podcasts – The Instruction Manual and Tile 9 – are no longer available. All the information from those sources has been consolidated on this website. The 9 Tiles, for instance, can be found here.)
These episodes were recorded in 2019, and look back predominantly on my journals from 2000, and later writing from 2011. There are only 7 podcasts covering that first year, but the current plan (2023) is to record the rest of the book (which may require another 25 episodes).
Episode 1 introduces the idea of Tile 9 (as well as some of the other 8 Tiles), and begins with the initial entries of a journal which will eventually chronicle a fascinating four years of insight and discovery.
The idea is to offer the listener some insight into the power of written reflection by sharing with you my own. This way, hopefully, you will see how useful it can be to record your experiences, your insights and your learning points. Something you also end up recording, as a consequence, is your progress.
Episode 2 begins with an excellent example of how writing stuff down can help you to record and see your progress. There is the first notable progress where things begin to come together after ‘only’ two months of work. And along with references to many of the other Tiles, there is also a warning that some vital insights might even got lost or overlooked along the way
Episode 3 opens with how easily the mind goes to work and how difficult it can sometimes be to resist the pull to go with it.
“…that is a choice we always have. Believe the constructs of our mind and immediately create a whole scenario around it with conflicts, confrontations, and emotional conclusions. Or calmly gather the facts, look at the evidence, consider the possibilities and choose to believe in the good in the world.“
There is also another choice for me to make – follow my inner journey or remain preoccupied with the external world and what I think is expected of me. Significantly, it looks at the effects family can have on us, introducing the concept of Script (from Transactional Analysis) – the idea that we decide very early on how we are going to live our life…
Episode 4 is book-ended by two weekends away with friends. They are very different experiences and one is certainly more insightful than the other, but there are nevertheless learning points to be taken from both. Which just goes to show that we can use any and every experience to move ourselves forward in life. There is also more about the mind (inevitably), as well as patience because these things take time. Comparisons and their futility also make an appearance, and there are numerous references to how we are the creators of our own reality. If we don’t like what we see, then all we have to do is see things differently. In addition, there are two entries which serve as progress reports. These are important because it is vital that we see our progress, otherwise we may easily become disillusioned and give up.
We begin Episode 5 with an entry about making a connection. This is an important skill to develop – not just connecting with other people, but connecting with life, the world, and with your own experiences. It makes life easier, illuminating the way everything fits together, helping to dispel any feelings of separation which might exist. I talk about worry; how unnecessary it is and what we can do about it. One simple but effective trick is to focus on your breathing.
Throughout Episode 6 there are a number of simple words, all of which carry a powerful force with them. There is nothing complicated about personal development work. It’s always simple… but not necessarily easy. It takes practice and reminders of what we need to be doing. Words like ‘non-attachment’, ‘boundaries‘, ‘discipline‘, ‘boredom‘ and ‘observation‘ come up, but perhaps the most important one in this episode is ‘relax’. Take every opportunity to practise relaxing so that when you really need it, you can do it without thinking.
Having made a good start on the work of writing stuff down, Episode 7 highlights once more that the basics of the work are simple and powerful, and absolutely worth repeating. We begin to see more clearly the patterns in people’s behaviour. There are pointers to the fact that we need each other to do this work effectively and that there is no need to prove what you already are. And there is a powerful reference to Dürckheim’s ‘The Way Of Transformation‘ which shows the link between annihilation of the self and the indestructible nature of who we are which lies at the core of our being.