Some Reflections on Steve Jobs

December 21, 2011

I just finished Walter Isaacson’s compelling biography of Steve Jobs. Undoubtedly a visionary genius yet he seemed a very unresolved human being. From my perspective as a Spiritual Coach he appeared a classic example of someone who explored their spiritual nature but not the psychological dimension. The result is that his spiritual aspirations towards Zen Buddhism do not be appear to be reflected in his day to day life and I can only surmise the dissonance that this must have created at some level of his being. Jung suggests, “When the inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate.” I have long believed that one of the pitfalls of our age is when people evolve spiritually but don’t explore their psychology or the meaning of their lives.

My work with Inspire Health gave me a lens to consider Jobs’ response to his cancer. It focuses on the patients’ health using an integrated approach that combines nutrition, exercise, emotional and spiritual support with standard cancer treatments. I facilitate a men’s’ support group and my observation has been that two of the fundamental responses that help people through cancer are life change and stress reduction. Every single person in my group has at some time expressed the belief that his cancer was a gift. In fact Isaacson does not mention whether Jobs ever sought meaning in his disease but the suggestion is that he did not.

Although I do not necessarily hold with the concept that all disease represents an underlying metaphysical context or meaning, I am always curious when I get sick to peek into Louise Hays fascinating little book Heal Your Life so I could not resist looking up pancreas and cancer. The pancreas represents the sweetness of life; cancer can be deep hurt, longstanding resentment, secret grief and carrying hatreds; I cannot not help but wonder whether Jobs’ unresolved issues got in the way of the sweetness of his life.

Steve Jobs appears an enigma in so many ways. His profession of Zen Buddhism was all about non- attachment yet his creative and inspirational genius likely created more attachment to “things” than any other person of his time. As I complete these thoughts I find the elegant refrain from Mark 8:36 haunting me, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

The Daily Intention – Another Soulful Gift From My Clients

December 2, 2011

My practice as a spiritual coach is founded on the principle that each client has the power of discerning their own best course of action, my role is to reflect back their experience and perhaps offer a context that may help to facilitate their journey to soul connection and insight. Recently one of my clients was challenged by the morning monkey mind that greeted him as consistently as the dawn. “My mind becomes an endless, frustrating and at times discouraging to do list.” His solution was blindingly simple and a wonderful insight. Each day he replaces his to do list with a single word or phrase of intention. For example one day it may be “today I am a machine.” He then focuses his attention on that phrase and bypasses the list. The magic occurs as he grinds through the list like a machine without ever thinking about it. Yet another wonderful example of the power of intention and attention at play together.

The Life Jar

December 2, 2011

I am often gifted by hearing of my client’s soulful practices and although I can’t take credit I do have permission to share.  The Life Jar is one beautiful example. Five years ago my client courageously picked a year for his own death then went out and purchased from a hobby store sufficient white pebbles to represent every week of his life. At the end of every week he performs a ritual to let go of the past seven days. Sometimes it is to let go with relief that the events of the week can be consigned to history and other times his heart is full of gratitude for the magical moments that have transpired. Following his reflection, he tosses one pebble into his pond now lined with stones representing the passages of his life. The beauty of this ritual is not only that it gives special significance to the importance of every week that passes but it is an act of surrender. I think this a wonderful example of honouring our time on this earth walk. And as Rumi so wisely says in his poem the Guest House, “Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”