This concept of the narrow path is NOT something that is my creation, but it is so important to one’s success that I knew I had to write a post elaborating on this very important topic. As mentioned in a previous post we live in an interdependent world so no idea is truly original and has come from just one individual. However, for convenience I will give credit solely to RSD Tyler for introducing this concept into the “mainstream.”
So what is this narrow path? It is built upon principles from yogi’s, zen, and other spiritual leaders. According to Buddhism an enlightened individual is referred to as the awakened one. Enlightenment is the pinnacle of any spiritual practice because it means you are NOT controlled by subconscious thought/action patterns ingrained by the past nor do you act impulsively. You maintain rapt attention to the present, and are only making conscious decision about how the unfolding of your life will occur. Living this narrow path is how to live your life to ensure that you are progressing towards achieving enlightenment. Throughout the rest of this post I will refer to the narrow path and enlightenment interchangeably.
Okay so you now have an abstract definition for what enlightenment is, which may be helpful for some of you, but I know for myself I needed this idea to be fleshed out more to truly understand it. I found defining what enlightenment is NOT helps clear up a significant amount of the confusion associated with this elusive concept.
One can deviate from the narrow path in two primary ways:
- Unconsciousness – This is primarily fueled by excessive consumption of highly stimulating and rich foods such as pizza, and ice cream or excessive alcohol consumption. The rest of this post will not be concerned about how to help steer you from this area back to the narrow path as it is relatively easier to identify the problem and fix it. However, if you struggle with delving into unconsciousness to mask unpleasant feelings I implore you to read this post on Understanding your Negative Emotions and this post on making positive change. These two posts will really help support you in moving back to the narrow path.
- Getting lost in frenetic and ungrounded energy – This is what the rest of the blog will be dealing in great detail how to combat and get back on the narrow path because in my experience this problem is much more pervasive and insidious because in today’s day and age it is deemed completely normal. What are examples of things that contain this frenetic and ungrounded energy that pull you away from the narrow path. Things such as facebook, twitter, or gossip. Essentially anything that is spewed out to excesses or compulsively checked by you “smart” phone is going to pull you away from the narrow path.
So how does one shift from being lost in frenetic and ungrounded energy to getting back to the narrow path?
The most important step towards combating the unconscious and frenetic energy all around us, that we can so easily get lost in is to understand the primary source of it. So for the vast majority of people the primary source of this unhealthy energy is their “smart phone.”
Okay so now that we have highlighted that your “smart phone” is the primary culprit of introducing this negative energy into your life and pulling you from the narrow path, how can you combat this?
This is going to be very similar to concepts mentioned in a couple of previous posts about the importance of batching your tasks and to never multi-task, but the discussion is going to be limited to how to wrest control back from your phone so it does not drag you off the narrow path. The following action steps will allow you to do so:
- Do NOT bring your phone in your bedroom: There should be NO electronics in your bedroom as introducing the frenetic and ungrounded energy right before bed or as soon as you wake up can drastically decrease your sleep quality or put you off the wrong foot to start the day. Your bedroom should be used for only two things and two things only: sleep and sex (maybe reading a book if you are a nerd like me). It’s as simple as that.
- Eliminate and Batch: This is something that I definitely had to do recently as I was becoming overwhelmed with the volume and variety of incoming stimuli I was receiving from itouch,cell phone, and email. Therefore I aggressively eliminated the avenues through which people could reach me. Then to further simplify I batched how I responded to these incoming messages. Instead of indiscriminately replying to messages as soon as they come in (which gives the power to the sender) you should rely when it is convenient for you. This tiny difference has helped drastically reduce my stress levels and drastically increase the quality of my communications
- Keep phone on airplane mode or turn off service when you should not be checking your messages: As a mentioned in a previous post increasing the activation energy slightly for an activity you do NOT want to take partake in can be surprisingly effective. This little trick works wonders in preventing me from getting pulled from the narrow path into the area of frenetic and ungrounded energy.
I hope this post helped elucidate what the narrow path to success and happiness consists of and what are the potential pitfalls to falling off of it and how you can safeguard against them. If you happen to have any other suggestions or tricks you use to help stay on the narrow path to success please feel free to comment below!