Last month, author Kamal Ravikant joined Glenn to discuss alternative paths to success and the importance of personal empowerment. Ravikant found himself at rock bottom and with a newfound focus on mind and self, he was able to start over. On radio this morning, Glenn reflected on a passage from Ravikant’s book, Live Your Truth, that he happened to stumble across last night after a particularly trying day
Below is a partial transcript of the monologue:
Last night, I crawled into bed after a day of watching the news… I had seen my country that I love and that you love, again, torn apart… I went to bed last night after I spent some time with a very good friend of mine – a guy who's like a brother to me and and his wife who is like a sister to my wife. They came over last night to say goodbye because they are moving away. I love this family. They are great people.
I got into bed, and I could've been defeated, honestly, because I don't have any idea what the hell I'm doing in life… I read some Scriptures and then I picked up another book. I picked up a book called Live Your Truth by Kamal Ravikant. He was in our studios a couple weeks ago, and he's an amazing guy. And he's a guy who bottomed out and didn't know what to do with his life. And then he just let go.
This little book, I don't even know, a couple hundred pages… he talks about just trying to find his way and trying to find anything. And he goes to a monastery one weekend where he was just going to be quiet and he was just going to listen. And in the book, he writes:
It feels late but I'm not tired. Outside, pitch dark, the cottage is quiet. I checked the time. It's barely ten. Life works on a different schedule at the monastery. I put layers on and I go for a walk. I can't remember the last time I saw so many stars or heard such silence, but not in my head. The world left behind just two days ago still bounces around in my mind.
A lot has happened in the last year. Beginning and endings. Opportunities and goodbyes. There is a rhythm to everything – to music, battle, even a mounting horse. You can't ignore it. Rhythm. To be in harmony with others in a rhythm, to be out of harmony with them. If I could add to that, rhythm of being in harmony with yourself. Life just happens. Series of events occur. Some I judge good. Some I judge bad. Some I want to have happen. Others I don't. The latter I usually fight against in my mind, wishing there weren't so the former. I wish for more. Love, pain, fears, hopes, dreams, desires, they all arise from the mind.
We're stuck in our heads walking around reliving old stories and patterns and belief. The ever-constant human drama. I don't know why our brains are wired that way. They just are. But knowing that helps me immensely. I know that regardless of the situation or whatever the external experience is, I choose who I am going to be in this moment. And I choose to feel in this moment. Often it feels like we're on autopilot. We just go on like drones. But if you examine your thoughts closely, you know that's not true. Everything you feel every second of every day is your choice. So I work hard on myself to make conscious choices. Moment by moment. Day by day. It's a practice. There is a rhythm to it. I often fail. I fail spectacularly. But there are times when I succeed and each moment of success is a reinforcement, a new thought pattern. One that serves me, one makes me better, one that makes me who I want to be.
Here's what happens. When I change my mind, my world changes. If you think about it, it makes sense. When you're sense of self and happiness comes from within, and isn't a rollercoaster ride dependent on others or circumstances, if you approach to life is different, you'll make better choices. You draw to you the people and the situations that matter. And the others will just fall away.
A lone pair of headlights weaves across the highway below. I stop. I watch the car until it's out of sight. And then I stare up at the stars.
When I was five years old, I spent a year living with my grandmother in New Delhi. We would spend the lot humid summer nights sleeping on the roof. It was a common practice. Aunts and uncles and cousins would join laying out on cots and blankets on the cement. They'd talk and joke and laugh and slowly one by one, we would grow quiet. And then it was just crickets and the occasional sound of someone on the street.
The stars. I remember the stars. How they covered the sky. Each night I tried to count them, thinking that if I really tried, I could number them all. There were a lot. But not so many that a dedicated five-year-old couldn't tackle it. And that's how I drift off to sleep. Counting stars, losing track, starting over, counting stars. Never seemed to bother me, though. There was a patience, a knowing that the exact number didn't matter. What mattered was that I saw the stars one by one as I lay on my back and explored the sky.
These days, living in a city, it's rare that I see a sky full of stars. A few here and there. But that's about it. And the night like tonight when I'm away from civilization and I see this glittering sky above. Rather than counting – I know it's impossible for some reason that stops me now – I think of the light reaching my eyes. The light that I'm seeing existed millions of years ago. And I'm actually looking into the far, far past. And out there, beyond the gaze and the haze of the Milky Way, galaxies and nebulas, and more galaxies, so many are just a minor speck of sand in the beach of the universe. And when I think of that, I think of myself – so tiny and so brief. And yet who I am – the potential of me – so vast and so big.
Whether accidental or designed or a cosmic joke between green aliens, the human existence is an unbelievably amazing one. Our ability to love and to create. That alone makes this entire experiment worthwhile. It's moments like this that I feel the rhythm of my life. The ups and the downs. The intense beauty of it all. My life is a piece of music. And if I look at it that way, knowing that pitch is a crucial component, that naturally calms the mind down. And I can't help but be grateful for it, for this crazy ride that somehow or another I signed up for.
I may not be able to change someone. I may not be able to even change my circumstance, but I can change myself. How I respond, who I am being. And that is where all of the real power resides. Inside.
A shiver passes through me. I wrap my hands around myself and rub my sleeves for warmth. So many stars. For a moment I'm tempted to count them all. I smile and I walk back to my cottage.
How many of us have spent the time to think that way recently?
Maybe this summer, we try to look at our summer the way we used to look at summers when we were a kid: As a chance to reset and restart this fall. A chance to drink summer in – to smell the fresh cut grass, to maybe take on a few tasks like just putting on the headphones and going out and mowing the lawn or not putting on the headphones and just listening to the roar of the engine. How many of us will just go out in the back patio, if we're fortunate enough to live away from a city, and be quiet – without a drink in our hand – and look up and count the stars?