“No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself”….Zen Quote by Tilopa.

How does this quote apply to our lives? It gets to the secret for self-development.

How many self-help books have you read? I’ve read a lot of them and most of them never seemed to help me – at least at first. At the time I read them, the concepts seemed overwhelming, I didn’t have time to do the exercises, etc.

Many of the books conflicted with one another, and my ego “infected” the information. My mind would over-analyze the information, think about reasons why it wouldn’t work, and find ways to reject the book, and procrastinate in applying its principles.

At the time, I thought I had wasted a lot of time and money on the books. Then, one day, boom! I started to get it. Nothing from any particular book. I just started to think differently – less ego-driven, more process-oriented. I was more optimistic, more centered, more focused in the present moment.

I attributed my breakthrough not to books, but to an technique. A walking meditation technique I called present moment awareness, where I walk around, concentrating on the present moment.

But, did I have my breakthrough because the books made me ready? Did they work like a primer – getting me set-up to experience a change in consciousness?

Even now, if I go back to the books, I’ll start getting confused and sliding back. So, I try to avoid most self-help books now.

So what does this all mean? I think that books point to the truth, but they carry a lot of excess intellectual baggage.

Read the books, but don’t treat them like text books from which you will be tested. Just read them as a pleasant exercise. Read self-help information wherever you find it, but approach it in a light-hearted manner. Don’t try too hard to apply their principles. Don’t expect the books to change you directly. They are setting you up for a breakthrough.

Tao of Simplicity is my blog on simplicity, minimalism, zen, taoism.

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