The Soul’s Revenge Of The Mind’s Excesses
Bill Cottringer

“Everything in excess is opposed to nature.” ~Hippocrates.

What is the real goal of self-growth? After 4+ decades of practical research into the self-growth movement, I have come to a tentative conclusion about this question: The basic purpose of the self-growth process is to reconcile the mind’s wants with the soul’s needs. And the only way this can be done is through the very creative process than runs the universe. It can’t be thought or felt, just done.

The Mind’s Excesses: Artificially dividing the world up into opposite halves: good-bad, okay-not okay, success-failure and desirable-undesirable; and then focusing on and using its force to fully capture the whole “right” side of life’s equation, oddly losing half the prize in the process. But, there is no end to what we can think we want within this one half of life.

The Soul’s Revenge: Seeing the truth in spite of the facts; knowing reality despite the convincing illusions and man-made delusions; wrapping the thoughts of a half-mind so tightly in emotions, that they can’t be seen or understood by more thinking. The little voice inside eventually has its way, because it is more patient.

The key to this reconciliation is in valuing the notion of “balance” enough to recognize and do something about the excesses of the mind. Here is the short list we all can work on:

• For decades, the mass media marketing machine has brainwashed us into an excessive focus on our ideal physical, intellectual and social selves. This creates an ever-widening gap between who we are and who we want to be; and this gap creates excessive conflict, turmoil and unhappiness, which in turn widens the gap even more, along with the accompanying negative feelings.

• The self-esteem movement of the early seventies inadvertently produced a mind model that success and happiness were the only true goals of life and that failure and unhappiness were to be avoided at all costs. Oddly, this resulted in a very negative world in which the only antidote was positive psychology’s excessive positivism to restore balance; but the means quickly became the ends, as it always does when taken to the extreme as an ultimate “cure” to a divergent problem, only manageable, not fixable.

• The journey to true balance includes resisting the tempting, judgmental half-truth that one side of life’s equation is better than the other half, including the journey to excess as opposed to the journey back to balance and temperance.

• The excessive, over-interest in what other people know, think and can do about this process, keeps us locked into perpetual parent-child, doctor-patient, and teacher-student relationships of submission and dependence, and prevents the courageous exploration away from what our mind’s loudly think we want from everyone’s else’s boisterous opinions and views, and towards the whispering truth of what our own souls know we need.

• The lopsided preference of short-term, ephemeral material “enjoyments” over long-term spiritual solace and meaning. In other words, much more separating than re-joining.

The ultimate self-growth goal of reconciling the mind and the soul is a life-long process that can’t happen over night, in spite of what our minds can’t give up impatiently wanting. In the meantime there are some legitimate shortcuts that can help stop the mind from stockpiling excesses that block your view of the truth.

1. Consciously try to see the next situation that comes for the accurate and complete reality in which it is coming apart from the mental package you create and without the things that typically build the mountain of excesses. These are usually:

• The unverified, lazy assumptions about what is or isn’t.

• The unconscious pre-judgments about the goodness or badness of the situation before it even happens.

• The multitude of expectations we are so quick to set in motion about the unknown future relationship between our choices and the consequences and outcomes that will happen.

• The brain’s preference for quantity information over quality knowledge.

2. Gradually allow some more airtime for your heart’s say-so about things, which is really a walkie-talkie system between your mind’s thoughts and soul’s intuitions. The only way to do this is to restore more balance through less thinking and more doing, such as quiet meditation, applying more sensitive listening to the body, and more non-thinking physical activity.

The main goal here is to allow the soul to take its revenge on the mind’s excesses, at least until you get the point of what the real ends are and all the means to get there.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA and also a business and personal success coach, sport psychologist, photographer and writer living in the mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, The Prosperity Zone, Getting More By Doing Less, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, “P” Point Management, Reality Repair, and Reality Repair Rx. He can be contacted with comments or questions at 425 454-5011 or