"Nothing exists in the mind that did not first exist in the senses." We think through our body'."
The body is the mind.
Literally your posture and physical body are manifestations of your thoughts and emotions. The way you think and talk about yourself... becomes your reality.
Interior life = exterior life.
(But... exterior can also lead to a stronger interior life. More on this in a second...)
I've been running a strength training facility for over 12 years as of writing this piece. And during those 12 years, I never seemed to have enough clients. I never had enough income to do the things I wanted to do with the gym.
It didn't matter the gym was bringing in over $20,000 per month.
I needed to get to $30k and above.
I would tell myself, "once the gym reaches a ['X' revenue]. I'll be able to hire and train my team and create more freedom for myself."
When in reality, all I did was create a trap for myself -- a cycle which led to the belief I had about myself, "I'M A FRAUD!"
I became a slave to my business.
I became a slave to myself.
The results we were getting our clients didn't matter. The lives we were changing didn't matter.
I was unhappy.
Because in the midst of the toxic cycle I created for myself… I was completely detached from God. I was addicted to porn.
And as a result… I was in the worst shape of my life.
Yes, I was still training, but my physical body did not look the part.
I was fat as fuck.
I went from a lean 190 pounds at 10% body fat (with hair ) to a FAT 224 in a matter of 5 to 6 years.
… on every new level there's a new devil.
"Mo money, mo problems" as Biggie Smalls put it.
Every man today spends the majority of his life in the "exterior..." chasing happiness and fulfillment. I call this the "Soul Chasing Life."
It's easy to know if you've been 'Soul Chasing' if you've ever said...
"I'll be happy when..."
I'll be happy when I have more money.
I'll be happy when I find the right woman.
I'd be happy when I lose some weight.
I'll spend more time with my wife and kids when I get my biz/career where I want it to be.
This is a toxic cycle of "When, then..."
"When I have 'X', then I can do 'Y'"
We end up finding identity in the exterior because as men... the world values us for our utility. We find purpose (and identity) in our work. In our ability to put food on the table.
When in reality.
You'll never be lean enough.
You'll never be strong enough.
There will never be enough money.
But here's the paradox…
The Paradox of Externals
We need the externals (to a certain extent). They are gifts from God to build virtue.
- Strength training.
- Dietary discipline.
- The 5 Elements of a Strongman.
These are all voluntary forms of suffering to acquire virtue and are the means of our redemption and sanctification by leading us to our internal breakthroughs.
They are our freedom FROM and freedom FOR.
“The ‘externals’ are designed to get you outside of your comfort zone and push you to your limits. By design, we experience no comforts in the desert. As men, we can only grow by being pushed to our limits and then breaking through.
Now, the internal struggles are a different animal. The external breakthroughs lead to the internal breakthroughs, breakthroughs of the heart.
A lot of men can go to the desert and 'do' hard things for a period of time, but it takes a certain kind of man to go on the 'interior journey,' a journey where he is invited to face himself, his weakness, his poverty, and his brokenness.” ~ Fr. Innocence, Born of Fire, pg. 4
It’s where you strip yourself bare and face the TRUTH.
It's where you detach facts from emotion for a moment.
It's where you face your shadow.
It’s where you face — and learn — the truth of who you are and why you do what you do which keeps you trapped in your toxic cycle.
You see my brother...
We are a body/soul composite with external and internal battles to fight.
External: The Hero's Journey.
Internal: Spirit and Contemplation which only flourishes in an environment of detachment and humility.
“On the one hand, an intense exercise of mortification, abnegation, and detachment — this is the practice of virtue — and on the other hand, an intense application of the life of prayer.
Happy the soul who is strongly attracted to God." ~ Divine Intimacy, pg.421
Re-read that last line.
"Happy the soul who is strongly attracted to God."
Who is God?
In short... He is the very source of love (He IS love).
“But St. John goes even further when he affirmed that "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16): God's very being is love. By sending His only Son, in the spirit of love, in the fullness of time, God has revealed His inner most secret: God Himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and He has destined us to share in that exchange." ~ CCC 221
Men are not happy.
Because we are detached from God.
Who is the source of love.
The new buzz word going around is this concept of "self-love" and/or "self-care" (both of which are rooted in pride).
(News flash... we are called to DIE to ourselves!)
But what is your source of "self-care/self-love?"
Are you the source of love?
In other words... what are you comparing your ability to love to?
What/who is the model/blueprint you are ordering your life to, to understand what love is, so you can love yourself?
The things you have?
The things you do for yourself?
Making time for yourself is not "self-love."
Getting your hair done/cut, massage, going fishing on your boat, etc. are not going to make you happy. I guess they will for a moment but...
... they are all finite parts of the wheel.
Everything on the outside of the wheel is "soul chasing."
(19) Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. (21) Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6: 19-21
What Christ is describing here is living on the outside of the wheel -- i.e., living the "exterior life." The place where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in, steal, and bind you as a strong man.
We've all been there, and are all still there right now. At the end of the day these lead to unhappiness and despair.
So what's the solution?
Develop your interior life by following the blueprint of what it means to BE A MAN.
What it means to love.
The Desert Journey of Your Interior Life
Spiritual Game Plan
To build your interior life, you need a game plan.
A framework to establish the right environment so you can come to know, love, and DO God's will.
Why is this important?
Because "happy is the soul who is strongly attracted to God."
Because you are not the source of love.
And if you want to be a better man?
You need a blueprint to follow which teaches you how to love.
Here is a Spiritual Game Plan Framework I put together for you. Copy it to your Evernote notebook.
If you have Q's, let me know.