Recently, I’ve found myself advising people on different aspects of personal-development. Most of them belong to some kind of group — a mastermind group, a martial arts group, or a study group of some kind. While it is possible to develop skills and interests alone, everyone of us can benefit from group practice. Here, I want to briefly look at eight essential features that are necessary for building an organization, regardless of its raison d’etre, and regardless of whether it’s a small, local group or a larger network.
(1) A Common Interest:
The group must have a core interest. This might be spirituality. It might be motorbikes. It might be physical training. Or it could be something entirely different. What matters is that the members of the group are passionate about its core interest — its purpose for existing. There might be other aspects to the group which help it to run properly or that bring the members closer together — raising finances, social functions, and so on — but the core focus of the group should constitute the core practice around which everything else revolves.
Continue reading “How To Build An Organization”
The more secular we become, the more myth we need. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings continues to fascinate. Modern movies like The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones — and, of course, the outpouring of superhero movies — are all largely mythic. And politics — which we like to think of as rational — is highly mythic. Leave aside the mythical narratives of communism and fascism, we are not given a balanced view by the media but, rather, a picture of good versus evil and of love versus hate. It is us against them. Angels versus demons. And if a few facts have to be tweaked or forgotten to make the narrative convincing, who cares? Facts are boring. We want the story.
Myth is ancient, of course. The priest, the brahmin, the elder knew the myths of the tribe or village. And he knew what they meant and what they told man about life and death.
Continue reading “The Necessity Of Myth In A Secular Age”
“The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong,” said Swami Vivekananda.
In contrast to our image of the aesthetic, holy man of India, Vivekananda placed great emphasis on strength. To be truly religious, an individual (perhaps especially a man) had to be strong. Why?
In the modern era, spirituality, like television, is often a kind of escapism. We can imagine a world of peace and plenty, where there are no disagreements about anything worth fighting over. In such a world, all of our relationships would work out. And everyone would be our friend. Even the animals would love us.
Continue reading “Life As An Initiatic Test”