You Can’t Start a Fire or Finding Your Transcendent Zone

The most important fact I have learned about creating, writing, painting, formulating theories, is that my mind must be free from distress.

Certain issues, an argument with my spouse, a sick animal, an upset family member; any of these can block my ability to focus on a goal if I let them.

I don’t think I’m unusual in this trait. In fact, I’m probably pretty typical; for almost everyone, personal trouble interferes with deductive and inductive reasoning. I’ve always had a little trouble (okay, a lot, sometimes) locking out the negative emotions attached to everyday life.

Recognition of this truth about myself has slowly surfaced over my fifty years in the working world. A system of freeing my mind from real life interference has also evolved over that time; a system that allows me to become peaceful and to produce creatively even when the world around me is in chaos.

As Bruce Springsteen brilliantly points out in his song This Gun’s for Hire;

“You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart…”

We all have our little worlds and they tend to fall apart frequently, simply because modern life is so complex and demanding that it pushes us to the very brink of tolerance. Daily life can easily interfere with the calm you need for inventing solutions to problems. Daily life can stop progress on your goals. Daily life can block new ideas. Daily life can sap energy and redirect or UN-direct your focus.

If you can’t detach yourself from your daily life and human issues, at least for a significant period, it’s going to be almost impossible to make a difference in this world.

I want to make a difference. To do that, I must free my spirit from the world of the ordinary and allow it to enter a world of achievement and new ideas. A world I call my “transcendent zone”.

But detaching is not easy. It has to be learned and practiced. Certain techniques are to be followed. A failure at detaching leads to the failure to succeed.

Let me give an example. My aunt had mild to moderately poor health most of her life. Mostly allergies and chemical sensitivities. She was also very bright and worked as a rural school teacher for a decade or two.

But she obsessed, night and day, about her health. Back and forth to the doctor, she took pills, she read constantly on health and disease. She worried she would die early. She spent most of her energy on worry. She always had a negative outlook on life and pessimism ruled her attitude.

Aunt Gerry’s creative needs pushed her to artistic bents; she made her own clothes. She made some of my clothes when I was in grade school. Her desire to learn to paint beautiful paintings lead her to purchase paint-by-numbers kits, easy enough for a child. She wanted to write books but, instead, settled for reading romance novels by the hundreds. She wanted to do so much more, but her worries got in the way. She couldn’t learn or focus. Anything she did had to be simple. Sewing for her was mindless since she had made her clothing all her life. At least she could worry while she sewed.

My aunt never learned to detach. She worried about her health and about dying early until the day she closed her eyes for the last time at age 87.

For most of us, the issues that tie us to day-to-day life involve money, possessions, rules, politics, relationships, fear of failure, and health. We judge others, we fear other’s judgment of ourselves, we compare ourselves and our possessions to those of others, we fear change and loss, fear loss of control, fear poverty, failure.

Most of us fear death, or at least the pain that can accompany death. Most of us don’t want to die. Not that we have a choice, but we do want to put it off as long as we can. Truthfully, though, can we ever really enjoy life until we accept that it will end unpredictably? As anthropologist/author Carlos Casteneda learned from Yaqui Shaman Don Juan, “death rides on your shoulder” and we all need to accept that, then revel in every moment we are alive. Use every precious moment to experience joy and pursue our destiny.

To live in peace, to rise above, to marshal your energy toward creativity, you must learn to “allow”, to remove yourself from the clutter, the negative facits of your existence. You must release yourself from judging others and yourself.

You must ask yourself, “does this really matter enough to for me to allow it to suck the energy from my goals”?

How do you detach from all the craziness of day to day life? How do you remove yourself from the unnecessary burdens of everyday life and free yourself into a world of tranquility and creativity?