October 30, 2007

A Mentor For The Hopelessly Introverted

You are only moments away from discovering the most intuitive teacher you will ever have access to...

A mentor can be a valuable resource for when you need to adjust your attitude, view your life from a different perspective or reflect on surprising new insights. Turning to a person that you respect and that has the wisdom to help you grow is a vital component to your continued success. If you are an introvert like me, however, you may have found that it's quite difficult to find valuable mentors in your life, if only because you don't meet many people.

Fortunately, your most effective mentor may not even be a person!

A number of years ago, I picked up an intriguing technique from Peter McWilliams's book, "Life 101." The only prerequisite is that you need to be comfortable with meditation. Once you have reached a state of relaxed concentration, then the fun begins!

Every student needs a school, so your first task is to visualize a place where you can go to relax and to learn. One of the best techniques is to imagine you are walking down a long hallway, and you come to a door. As you put your hand to the doorknob, you realize that you will soon open the door to your perfect place for mental relaxation and refreshment -- a personal sanctuary. Then, open the door and let your mental sanctuary appear.

This is a matter of discovery rather than construction, so it shouldn't feel forced. What you find should come as no surprise, for it is such a natural and obvious reflection of yourself. It is not an "aha" moment so much as it is an "oh...of course" moment.

Your classroom/sanctuary need not be indoors. While some people might imagine a cozy study in an old Victorian home, others might imagine an isolated spot on the beach. Some people might imagine a combination of interior and exterior locations. My perfect place is a clearing in a birch forest with a babbling brook trickling through it. There is a simple wooden bridge over the brook that leads to a modest cabin. The cabin itself is a single room, barren of all furniture and decoration. It is bright, clean, and quiet. Ah, I feel relaxed just thinking about it.

Now that you've found your classroom, you need a teacher. That is an easy process, for you find your teacher the same way you found your classroom. When you are ready to meet your new mentor, imagine a doorway across the room from you. If your classroom is an exterior location, you can still imagine a door a few feet in front of you...after all, we're working in the realm of imagination. You see the doorknob turn, and are struck by the realization that your perfect mentor is about to come into the room. Then, watch the door open and allow your mentor to appear.

As with your classroom, this is a discovery instead of a creation. It will again be anti-climatic because it suits you so perfectly and obviously. But, even though you may not be surprised by your mentor, your mentor may very well be surprising. Your mentor may be somebody you know, or your mentor might not even be a person at all! It's quite possible for an owl to fly through the door, if that's what represents your perfect mentor.

And now, with your mentor at hand, you can begin your learning. What should you ask your mentor? He (or she, or it) is open to any question you have, but is such an amazing resource that you'll find you don't want to waste petty questions on him. You will find that, in a state of relaxed awareness, the right questions come easily. As always, it is best not to "sweat the small stuff." How you work with your mentor will grow and adjust just as you will.

Your greatest challenge may be adjusting to your mentor's style of responses. Mine rarely gives me direct answers, but instead asks thought-provoking questions that get to the heart of the matter. Or, in especially obscure moments, my mentor directs me somewhere else for answers. In response to the question how can I become more successful, my mentor replied, consider the leaves of the trees, or the water in the stream. Upon considering the water, I realized that if a river stops moving, it becomes stagnant and putrefied. I was getting lazy when a healthy, vibrant life is one of action. Considering the leaves reminded me that actions alone are insignificant. A leaf by itself withers and blows away, but it is full of life when connected to the tree. Any action is more effective when it is part of something larger. Having active goals, then, helps maximize the value of all of your actions.

Earth-shaking? Hardly. These insights are not special. Obviously, success is the result of action. Of course goals help you to achieve more. But the value of this exercise is that it reminds you of the exact things you need to be reminded of right when you need to be reminded of them.

In retrospect, my mentor has always provided the best possible responses to all of my questions. After all, great mentors don't teach you new things. Great mentors challenge you to apply what you already know.

Also At Babblermouth:
Image Streaming: Here Goes!
The Next Big Challenge
Who Are You?

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