The Invisible Hand

The whole world, as we experience it, is completely of our own making. No laws have been imposed, no circumstances have come uninvited, no accident has befallen. The invisible hand that shapes our destiny is none other than our own. Why rail against the stupidity of my dance when I am the puppeteer. Why praise the transcendent gods when I hold the scepter of power.

But why is the hand invisible?

It is simply that we have been all conditioned to believe that we are impotent. This does not change the fact that we hold all the cards, all the time, but we believe that we do not. So the events that make up our lives appear to come from the outside, uninvited and against our will. We have become unconscious of our power and so the world seems to operate on its own without my consent.

It is, in fact, operating not only with your consent but according to your every whim. You are the captain of a great ship that has contracted amnesia and forgotten that you are the captain. You are running around the decks complaining that the ship is zigzagging all over the place and doesn’t appear to have any direction.

You demand to talk to the captain. No one knows where he is, despite the fact that you are standing there in the captain’s uniform. Eventually someone comes along and holds up a mirror for you and the truth dawns. You are the captain and the ship has been wandering because it has been following your directions to a tee. Now you assume control once again, correct the course and start heading for your ultimate direction.

The Master has returned and the hand is no longer invisible.

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The Purpose of Life

I once heard the Dali Lama speak and he was asked the question “What is the purpose of life?” A hush fell over the crowd. The Dali Lama was about to reveal the purpose of life. His response was succinct. “I don’t know. You’re here. Do something” Not what the audience expected. But that really does sum it up.

We all have gotten the idea that the purpose of live, or the meaning of life if you prefer, is something you discover or find. It exists out there as an objective fact somewhere and, if you find it, you will be fulfilling your mission in life and live happily ever after. But here is the kicker. The purpose of life is not found. Its created. You make it up. It is not givien. It is chosen. You decide what to do and that is it.

I know, not very exciting. We would all prefer that some super being out there give us a great purpose, a great mission, a destiny to find and fulfill. Like some Medieval knight or Joan of Arc. And that is our dilemma. When we discover that no one is going to give us purpose and we have to pick one ourselves it becomes a little more complicated.

In the absence of a purpose we end up with one by default. Someone else’s. To put it bluntly, we become a slave to someone else’s purpose if we don’t have one of our own. So choosing a purpose is critical to a meaningful existence. Its just that if you work on someone else’s you will be fulfillng theirs and not yours. They will have lots of meaning. You will have none.

So what do we do? Well… choose what your purpose is to be? “What, right now choose my life’s purpse? Are you kidding?”

I appreciate your concern. Its seems like a big deal to just choose a life’s purpose one morning. I mean the angels didn’t sing last night. No voices were heard (or channeled), no ghostly visitor appeared.

A life’s purpose can be a calling an artist, a doctor, a leader, a teacher. But it can also be an attitude. No matter what I do I am going to do it to my best, in good humor and with patience and persistence. The way life is approached can be a life’s purpose.

It can also be a mission that you have no dea to fulfill, like I am going to establish world peace or eliminate the suffering of all beings. I personally like the ones that you have no idea how to fulfill. They are usually closest to the heart.

A true life’s purpose comes directly from your own nature and reflects who you are. It is a reflection of that which is most importatnt to you. To You! Trying to force yourself into something that doesn’t fit, no matter how noble it may be, is only going to lead to misery and disillusioment.

To find one’s purpose  you have to be able to answer the question “What is important to me?” and answer from your own heart and experience. If the answer comes from what you believe should be important to you it will be false. This is of course, where most of us get off the track. We substitute what we have been taught should mean something to us for what we actually feel. That is the most significant compromise of our integrity and if that has happened to you it needs to be corrected first. No discovery of your purpose can happen until it is.

If what you feel is right for you is labeled as selfish and you believe it, you will do whatever the authority that taught you that wants. You have compromised your own authority for another’s. The chain of suffering has begun.

Yeah I really do mean suffering. The worst thing a human being can suffer is being alienated from their innermost self, their heart’s deepest desire. It doesn’t matter what you have sacrificed it for, you have lost your soul. And contrary to popular belief your soul will not be given back to you. You must take it back yourself by reclaiming the lost territory, coming to know yourself and choosing that which is most aligned to the deepest you. Only then can you “discover” your life’s purpose.

And then you find out something really paradoxical. You didn’t choose a purpose after all. You did received it. But not from someone outside yourself. You discovered the purpose that was already there all along. For your life’s purpose, it turns out, is none other that your very own nature.

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That Annoying Voice

I have been a musician all my life and a composer for over 30 years. But I also had another gift that has been with me for almost as long. The gift of helping people. The gift of coaching. I have always had an insatiable interest in things spiritual and in healing. That combined with a gift of insight into other people made me a natural counselor. People would just be drawn to me and I would instinctively know what they needed. I don’t know how I knew. I just did. And I loved it!

I was not the least bit interested in the psychology of the time which was mostly behavioralist in nature. The self-help/personal growth movement had not yet started. Spiritual/consciousness psychology was still many years off. So that was not an attractive career choice. At that time the term coach was reserved for gym teachers.

Besides, I really wanted to be a famous musician.

But I ended up not doing either. I spent many years doing other things to make a living. I was quite successful at other things, made a good living at them. But never at the things I was most passionate about. And even though I did have success, I was never quite satisfied. That feeling of dissatisfaction was to become my best teacher. That annoying voice was to tunr out to be my best friend.

There are lots of ways to quiet discomfort. In this culture we have all the distractions one could ask for. I thought that that annoying voice was a problem and I tried all sorts of techniques to get rid of it. But no matter what I tried, it persisted. I was utterly perplexed by this until  one remarkable day a very different perspective occured to me. Maybe dissatisfaction isn’t a problem to get rid of. Maybe it isn’t a problem at all. Maybe it had something to tell me. And here is the kicker. Maybe what it had to tell me was true.

That was a life transforming insight. The dissatisfaction was persistent because it was legitimate. It was telling me that I wasn’t following my own path. I wasn’t obeying my own nature. I was out of integrity with myself. The lack of inner quiet was not a problem. It was the honest voice of myself. I recognized that I needed to make a choice. How was I going to spend the rest of my life? How did I want to spend the rest of my life?

In my last blog I mentioned that you have to decide “the what” first and then, and only then, will “the how” show up. But in order to decide on “the what”, you have to remain open to that often silent, inner prompting that wants to tell you what it is you really want. And that voice usually does not appear as angels singing. It appear as as a pesty little annoyance telling you something is wrong. And it won’t go away.

But I wasn’t clear yet. At first, I thought that I hadn’t really commited myself  and so “the how” had not shown up. So I decided to rededicate myself to composing. I updated my studio, got that latest libraries, created new CD of solo piano music, created music of all sorts for a variety of formats. I also applied several techniques I use for clearing away blocks to success.I did a lot of personal work to move through the obstacles.

But the wierdest thing started to happen. No music opportunites opened up. Not one. But opportunities to coach did. Odd I thought! Yet something told me that this was significant and I should pay attention to it.

So I created a little exercise to help explore my inner landscape. I would visualize myself successful in both roles, the coach and the composer. I would go back and forth between the two and as I visualized them I would pay very close attention to how I felt. After a while a consistent pattern emerged. As I visualized composing there was a slight heaviness, a lack of energy. As I visualized coaching there was a lightness and a marked increase in energy. The more I did it the more intense the feelings became.

I began to understand this language of the feelings. It was clear where my real passion was. I would be spending the rest of my life coaching others. But a new thing appeared as well, that I hadn’t seen before. I saw a way to organize the way I work with people into a teachable system. It even came with a name, “The Freedom Process”. I realized I could teach others to coach.

S0 here are three important insights:

  1. The feeling of dissatisfaction is oftentimes the voice of our innermost self, pushing us towards what really matters for us.
  2. It wasn’t until I actually made a choice that the energy became focused. It didn’t matter that at first I chose the wrong thing. It was the energy of commitment that made me recognize the mistake that and change course. 
  3. I actually did know what I wanted. It was a matter of learning how to listen.

The process allowed me to explore the inner landscape to discover how I really felt. Staying with the picture of myself doing what I wanted to do and monitoring my feelings eventually led me to understand the language of feeling and rightly interpret them.

And so I found my way and committed to it. And guess what? Paid coaching clients started showing up. Opportunities to teach and lead groups started showing up. New information as to to how to present myself showed up. How to organize the material to teach it became clear. I even saw a way to teach these techniques in a corporate setting and several people showed up to help participate in that. Everything started to flow.

And that little voice of dissatisfaction? Gone! It was no longer needed. I was paying attention and following the path that is right for me. I am sure that if I ever stray that little voice will show up again. But this time I won’t ignore it. I will drop everything and listen.

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Well Why Don’t You?

When I was 20 years old, I was attending college majoring in music. I had started playing drums when I was 5 years old so I was a percussion major.  One day I wandered into the studio that had a large organ in it and there was a woman playing beautifully. It was an impressive site, the dual keyboards, foot keyboard, all those buttons and switches and a huge sound. I said to the woman, “Wow, I wish I could do that”. To which she replied “Well, why don’t you?”

It stopped me in my tracks, quite literally. I couldn’t think of a reason not to. I had just assumed I couldn’t. I was a drummer, right? I had been a drummer for 15 years. I was one of the best drummers in Chicago. A year later I was a pianist and an organist and had started composing. I left the drums and never looked back. You can hear my compositions at It has been a lifetime love affair.

All it took to change my life completely and permanently was recognizing that the only thing I needed to do was make a decision.

We get stuck in our patterns of thinking and behavior and believe that we do not have alternatives. We do. We always do. Yes I was a young, unattached man when I made that complete change so it was easier than for someone who is say married, has a lot of responsibility and established in a career. But the principle is the same. And the principle is:

The decision comes first, everything else follows

Let me point out the one mistake we all make when considering a big change for our lives. We want to know how before we commit to doing what we want. We want to make sure its going to work. But it doesn’t work that way. Here is what I believe to be one of the basic laws of human experience.

In order to attain your dream, anything valuable or life changing you have to decide to do it first. The how always comes second.

When you commit to something then the whole human system goes into action. Without that decision the mechanism remains in its static state. Unless you get from “Gee I wish I could….” to “I am doing this no matter what” absolutely nothing is going to happen. Why? Because when you don’t decide your instructions to your body, mind and emotions are leave everything as it is. And they obey.

In my coaching practice I use a couple of different processes helping people move from “I wish…” to “I am…” But I am not a skills based coach. I am a transformational coach. I work with people to achieve their dreams from the inside out. I find that once the decision is made to do something that the skills become rather easy to acquire. The process of deciding actually makes us more attuned to the environment and opportunities which we didn’t see before become visible.

This is the natural functioning of the system. Stay the same unless there is a compelling reason to change. The most compelling reason I can think of is “I really want (fill in the blank)“. But it has to move to “I am going to (fill in the blank)

Tell me again why you can’t do that

But what if you don’t have something that is compelling you like that, something you really want? Well either everything is OK as it is. That is great! You should be at peace. Or you, just like me all those year ago, had never been asked ‘Well, why don’t you?” and honestly attempted to answer that question.

If you are not completely at peace then you do have a dream you have kept hidden from yourself.

I can guarantee you. If you decide to make a change the change will happen. If you don’t it won’t. It is now and always has been up to you.

GP –

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