Official website of Seattle-area actor and writer Nathaniel Jones

• The Little Bear Theory of Life •

Chapter One: Things to do with this book

            This, as you may have noticed, is a book. The usual thing to do with a book is to pick it up, flip to the first page, and begin reading, which you have so far done or else would not be reading this sentence. However, with other books you might expect to find a plot (if it is a novel), or recipes (if it is a cookbook), or a list of Instructions (if it is a how-to-do-something book). This book is not a novel, and it is not a cookbook, and it is not a how-to-do-something book. Instead, it is a kind of Book of Stories and Anecdotes and Theories, written down so that you can Read them, Think about them, find the lessons and perhaps try them out and see how they work for you. That’s the reason for this book.
Since you are reading it, I assume one of three things – you are either in a bookstore flipping through books trying to find a good one, or you already bought the book and you are reading it, or you got it at the library. In case you are flipping through it in the bookstore, I encourage you to buy it, because I think that you’ll enjoy it. I even put in a special chapter just for you – you specifically – and if you don’t buy the book, you might miss out on a very secret personal message just for you. If you got this book from the library, I say ‘good for you for supporting libraries.’ I also encourage you to buy the book anyway, once you’ve finished reading it, because in the following paragraph, I will be talking about all the very amazing things that you can do with this book once you own it.
If you bought this book, I thank you. I also give you a high-five because you were so clever as to go out of your way to buy this book, and now you get all the benefits of what is written inside, as well as all the nifty extra things you can do with it. For example: did you know that in the store-bought version there is a secret cartoon? In the library version there isn’t. So since you bought the book, you get secret entertainment. All you have to do to see the secret cartoon is get a pen, and then draw each frame of the cartoon on the corner of each page, and then when you flip through the pages, the cartoon will go along. That’s free entertainment, and quite a bargain if you ask me. But wait! There’s more!
You know how expensive it is to go to the movies? Well get this – you can use this book to illegally pirate movies that are still in theaters so that you can watch them at home! How? It’s really easy – all you have to do is go to the movie theater, with the book, buy a ticket to the movie you want to see, sit in your seat, and wait for the movie to start. You also need to bring in a mirror and some sort of lens to shrink the image of the movie. So what you do is, when the movie starts, use the mirror and lens to reflect the movie at a smaller size into a corner of the page not containing the free cartoon, and then trace each frame of the movie onto the page. It’ll probably take more than one book to copy the whole movie on, so bring a box of them. Also, the frames go by pretty quick in a movie, so you’ll have to work on your tracing speed so that you can draw the frames as fast as they go up on the screen. Once you have the movie traced, you can just flip through the pages at home and watch the movie as many times as you want for free. Don’t tell the movie industry that you do that, though, because it’s illegal.
So you say ‘fine, I get a free cartoon and a Very Easy Way to pirate movies, what else can I do with this book? Just to name a few, you can keep a table from wobbling, you can use it as a door stop, or a paperweight, or a Hard Object to Hit Burglars With, or a Frisbee, or anything else you like. However, the thing I recommend you use it for the most is as a tool for reading and reflecting and thinking and doing. In order to best appreciate the book, I recommend reading it in the bathtub, or covered in warm blankets on a cold night. You might also like to have some tea while reading it. Be warned, however, that this book is made out of paper, so if you drop it in the bathtub or spill tea on it, it will get wet and won’t be as Pleasant to read, so I don’t recommend dropping it or spilling on it, unless you prefer wet books, in which case, do what you please. And now, since you know what to do with this book, I will get on with writing it. Enjoy your bath, enjoy your tea, enjoy your blankets, and enjoy the cartoons and illegal pirated movies as you continue.

Chapter Two: The Different Planets Theory of Life

            As you read through this book, it is important to note that I use somewhat different language than you may be used to reading, and I hope that as you go along you’ll be able to pick up on the differences and translate into your own language accordingly. There are some different terms that I use, however, that I’ll tell you to look out for now, the first one being the different planets of people. I might mention my planet, or your planet, or his planet or her planet, and you might think that I’m writing this book for aliens or something. However, when I mention planets, I’m referring to my Different Planets Theory of Life.
The different planets theory goes like this: even though everybody lives on the same physical planet, we all have our own personal planet, which is shaped by our values, opinions, experiences, etc. Each person’s ‘planet’ is really their perception, and how they think the world works. For example, in one person’s planet, they might think that Carrot Top is the greatest comedian ever, while in another planet they might think that Pauly Shore is the greatest comedian ever. In each of those planets, that is the way things are.
Not that the differences in planets is purely opinion – there are actually different laws on all the planets, and different cultures, different customs, even different ways that physics applies. Most of the time when we talk about people, we think of everyone as being the same, or if you’re into personality tests, we put people into their Category to explain the differences. However, even if we do put people into categories, it doesn’t take into account the real differences of our individual planets, and this can be harmful to us all. It not only forces people into a label that might not really be a good fit (I know whenever I take a personality test, I usually end up with high scores in more than one category, and so when I’m forced into only one, that category doesn’t cover it), but it also divides us as human beings.
The first thought may be ‘wait – if dividing us into groups is divisive, then dividing everyone into their own planets must be even more divisive.’ However, this is not the case. Think of it this way: if you have two distinctly different groups and you put them together, in the individuals in each group will stay in their own group. Think about school cafeterias: here you have a big room with a bunch of tables, all of them empty. Then the lunch bell rings, the classes get out, and a huge group of people all go from their mixed up classrooms to the cafeteria – how long does it take for that mixed group of people to separate into their own little groups? Within minutes, if you look around the cafeteria, each table has a very specific ‘type,’ and it is rare that you see someone not following that pattern. This doesn’t only happen in school, however – anywhere you see a large group of people together, they always divide into their groups. These groups severely limit our experiences, and as you read this book you’ll see that I really encourage experience. I say experience as much as you can with as many of your senses as often as possible – look around, touch everything, take in the smells of where you are, listen to the sounds, taste a variety of foods. All experiences add to the distinct flavor of your planet.
If you picture everyone as having their own planet, and by interacting with people, you are visiting those other planets (and they visiting yours), you have to change the way to behave towards everyone. For example, ignoring the different planet theory for a bit, if you travel to a different country, you have to realize that their social customs are different from your own. In some countries people kiss each other on the cheek when they see each other, in other countries kissing someone you’re not married to might get you killed. That’s the thing about different countries. Now think about this: if you have to think about how you behave in a different country, how much do you have to consider the way of life on another planet? I’m not saying that you have to be paranoid about everything you do at every moment, what I’m saying is that you have to be aware of the differences in your planet and the people you’re interacting with, and recognize that there are different rules on the different planets that you have to respect as long as you are visiting there.
Let’s say there’s a person on whose planet it is perfectly acceptable to swear profusely and tell dirty jokes and poke fun at other people for a laugh, and that person visits the planet of a person on whose planet doing any of those things would be ‘illegal,’ if you will. If the person who is joking does not take into account the laws of the other persons planet, the second person may feel like his or her planet is being invaded, go on the defensive, and do something that breaks a law on the first person’s planet, causing an interplanetary battle. With so many planets in such little space, interplanetary battles always spread to neighboring planets, and that leads to sad faces.
On different planets, people speak different languages. In order to communicate with people on their different planets, you have to learn to understand the language. Even if both planets speak ‘English,’ the language can vary greatly. For example, if I were to ask someone on one planet “how are you today?” and got the reply “I’m fine” I would know that that person was having a really bad day and didn’t want to talk about it, whereas if I asked the same question of a person on a different planet and got the same response I would know that that person was having a really great day and wants to tell anyone that will listen. That’s the difference in language. There are tons of books on how to communicate so I won’t go into much detail in this book, other than to say that there is a difference in language on Every planet. There’s not one men’s language and one women’s language. Because every language on every planet is different, there is no book that can tell you how to understand the language, and because of that, you have to find out person to person, and the best way to do so is to talk to people. Talk, ask questions, and find out the planet’s culture, language and history. People ask me if I do much traveling, and the answer is no, but really I’ve been to thousands of planets, and that’s much more exciting to me.
Each planet has its rules, and this being so, sometimes one planet’s rules are opposite of another planet’s rules. This is often the cause of most of world’s major conflicts. On one planet slavery is necessary to keeping the country going, on another planet slavery should be abolished. On one planet women should have the right to have an abortion, on another planet that’s murder. On one planet homosexuals should have the right to get married, on another planet that’s evil. The thing is, if the planets start to invade the others in order to force one planet to adopt the rules of another, then we get interplanetary warfare that oftentimes results in death on both sides, on many planets.
The key is to hold on to the culture of your planet, while respecting the cultures of every other planet. In this case, if I believe that slavery is a good thing, that can be a rule on my planet, but if I have a slave then I’m imposing the pro-slavery rules of my planet on the anti-slavery planet of the slave. This isn’t a political book so I’m not going to go into any of the controversies of the times in it, but I’ll just say that when we all respect each others planets, then things will work out for the best.

Chapter Three: The Little Bear Theory

            When I was a little kid, one of my favorite of all books was Little Bear. My mom would read that book to me all the time, and I thought it was just about the greatest book in the world. Then, a few years ago, I found that book again, and I read it, and it made me really think about life. It’s rare that a children’s picture book inspires me to re-examine the way I live my life, and Little Bear is one of those rare ones. You see, in the book, there is a story in which it is snowing outside, and Little Bear goes outside to play in it, wearing nothing but his bear fur. After a while, Little Bear comes inside and tells his mother that he is cold and wants something to wear, so the mother makes him a hat, and he puts it on and plays outside. Then, he comes back in, saying he is still cold, and wants something else to wear, so she makes him a jacket to wear, and he goes back out. He keeps coming back in and going back out until eventually he has a hat, a coat, some pants, some mittens, and perhaps some other items that I’m forgetting, but still he comes inside saying that he is cold and wants something to wear, and so Mother Bear tells him she will give him a fur coat, and then she takes off all the new clothes that she had made for him, leaving him with just the bear fur he had in the beginning, and this time when he goes outside, he isn’t cold anymore.
This story about Little Bear made me think about how many times I think ‘I am unhappy, I really need a _______. That will make me happy.” But then, just like Little Bear, once I get whatever I thought I needed, I was still “cold.” Whenever I buy something new, instead of then thinking ‘okay, that’s one less thing that I need,’ I think ‘okay, I got that, and now I need something else to go with it!’ Anything you can buy, there are things that must be bought with it. If you buy a TV, you need a DVD player, and if you buy a DVD player, you need DVDs, and a DVD burner, and blank DVDs, and a video camera to record movies to burn on DVDs, and film for the camera, and etc. etc. etc. until you have a house full of stuff that needs more stuff added to it all. We, like Little Bear, have all we need with just ourselves, and we don’t need more stuff to make us happy.
The whole Little Bear Theory is that everybody has everything they need, but nobody knows it. People think that there is something missing in their lives, and in order to fill that desire to be whole, people buy things. But it is impossible to buy everything, so no matter how much stuff people buy, it is never enough. The key is to stop trying to fill the void with stuff. I even advocate getting rid of as much of your stuff as possible. At the very least follow my equal in – equal out rule that I’ll talk about later. With stuff comes unhappiness and the need for more stuff, without stuff and with the knowledge that you need no stuff, you can be on your way to real happiness. It’s difficult to do, and even I haven’t succeeded at stopping my consumerist lifestyle, but it’s something think about anyway.

Chapter Four: The Parable of the Robin

            Last year in a writing class we did an exercise in which we had to put ourselves in the mind of a slave working in a field, who is given ten minutes to convince his slave owner to let him go free. What I wrote down was the Parable of the Robin – a story written from a slaves perspective not so much to convince the slave owner to let him go free as much as to convince the slave that he is already free. Whenever I feel like a slave I read this story a few times and it tends to help. Enjoy.

The Parable of the Robin
This morning as I was plowing the field, I looked to my side and saw a robin, singing on the branch of a tree. I thought to myself, why would this bird, with its wings capable of flight, choose to visit such a place as this that hangs heavy with dread and pain? I watched this bird, and imagined what he must be thinking of me, a man, plowing the field like an ox. The bird chirped at me, and I whistled back. We had a connection, that bird and I, and we gained an understanding. We were able to see each other and communicate, and what the bird said to me was "fear not."
I told the bird of my life in that brief moment, and all the pain and fear I felt; how I was helpless, and could not be free. But the little robin just chirped a laugh, and said "You silly human! You are already free! As you plow your field, you are living, and thinking, and feeling. You may feel sadness, but sadness is like rain - it causes discomfort at the time, but beautiful things can grow from it. You choose how to live the life you have received, and all you must do to live free is love with all your heart, feel with all your soul, and forgive with all your body. No amount of pain can keep you prisoner if you do these things. Be free." And with that, the bird flew off into the sky. As I watched that bird fly, I gave a sigh of relief, and continued plowing. But it was not as it was before - the weight seemed to disappear, and rather than plow out of fear, I plowed out of love, and realized that despite my discomfort, I truly was a free man.

Chapter Five: Parable of the Piñata

            The Parable of the Piñata is a story about the circles of time, and how things in the past tend to be repeated in the future. The point of the story is the idea that if you do something to hurt another person now, then someone else in the future will be hurt due to the circles of time. It’s kind of like ‘what goes around comes around,’ but instead of coming around to you, it goes around to someone else, and to you as well. In this way, whatever happens once spreads through a very large number of people, and if the even is negative, it has a much wider negative effect than people realize. The good news is that if the event is positive, it creates a much wider positive effect than people realize. So if you do something nice to someone even if it seems like a little unimportant thing, due to the circles of time the goodness will spread and make the world a better place. And here’s the parable of the piñata:

            When I was very young, I went to a birthday party. The usual games were played – pin the tail on the donkey, hide and go seek, and after the cake and ice-cream were gone and the presents were opened, it was time to break open the piñata. The birthday boy’s dad brought out the big papier-mâché donkey, and tied it to a branch of the tree out in the back yard. We all took turns whacking the piñata, until eventually one of the kids hit it so hard that it burst, sending candy flying all over the yard. We all ran at the free sweets, each trying to get the best pieces. I was one of the smaller kids at the party, and so I wasn’t very fast at grabbing candy. I looked at one of the older boys, who was much bigger than me, and he was running faster than anybody, and he was stuffing as much candy as he could into his pockets – I didn’t even have pockets, so I was limited to what I could hold in my little hands. The older boy got all the best candy, and more of it than me, and I was very upset. “That’s not fair!” I yelled, and my parents told me to calm down – he was a bigger kid, and so he had the right to get more candy. This didn’t calm me down much, but I ate my candy and gave the older kid dirty looks.
I didn’t play with a piñata for a few years after that, and by the time I did, I was one of the bigger boys at the party. When the piñata was smashed, I remembered the big boy that got all the good candy, and I realized that this was my chance to get all the candy that I missed out on the first time around. With my bigger size, I was able to run faster than the smaller kids, and I got all the best candy that I could fit in my pockets. When there was no more candy to be grabbed, I looked around in triumph, proud of my massive stash of sugar. Then I saw a small boy – about the size I was at the first party – pointing at me and yelling “That’s not fair!” I didn’t let it bug me, tho, because I had gotten my candy, and I knew that in a few years that kid would be bigger, and then HE’d get the good candy.
Looking back at it now, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if instead of taking all the candy I could, I had just taken a few. I’m sure that when that little kid got older, he took more candy than he should have, and upset another littler boy, creating a cycle of greed. I wonder, if I hadn’t been greedy with the candy, is it possible that the other little boy wouldn’t have gotten so upset, and then wouldn’t feel the need later to take more candy than he should? It may seem like a petty thing, but I believe it’s these small events that build to larger ones, and every action we take, no matter how old we are, and no matter how insignificant it seems at the time, has the ability to change the world for better or for worse, and it’s our responsibility to always try to make the choice to make the world better.

Chapter Six: Being the Asshole (Warning: This Chapter contains the word “asshole.” If you are offended, skip to the next chapter.)

            This year I’ve had the pleasure of living in a small two bedroom apartment in South Central Los Angeles with four random guys. In my bedroom there were three: (the names will be changed to protect the innocent) Octavio (me), Absalom and Balthazar. Now, we three all having to share one bedroom were quite cramped, and to make matters worse, we all had widely different sleeping schedules. Whereas I, Octavio, preferred to go to bed around midnight and get up around 9, Absalom preferred to go to bed around 3am and get up around 1pm, and Balthazar preferred to go to bed around 9 or ten and get up at some point before I did. This caused stress, as did Absalom’s excessive belching and perpetual TV watching while I’m trying to sleep, Balthazar’s constant state of undress, and a plethora of other annoyances, which caused me to think to myself quite frequently “Man, Absalom and Balthazar are such assholes,” and at one point I even officially declared war against Absalom for turning on the television every time I turned on my music or started a movie on my computer.
However, around Christmas time when I went home to spend the holidays at home in Seattle, I thought about how I really didn’t want to spend another five months with those two assholes, and I started to think about things that I could do. I imagined all sorts of wonderful pranks I could play on them, and the giddy glee I would get from my revenge. But I decided, as a sort of New Years Resolution, that in the new year I would try to make amends with Absalom and Balthazar, as well as Auden and Emil, the two guys that had the other bedroom, so that we could have a happy apartment. However, when I returned, Balthazar was nowhere to be found, so I had the bedroom to share with only Absalom. I figured that would certainly lower the level of the tension in the room right there due to only two people being in there rather than three (there was a third for one day, named Steve, but he left after his first night, presumably because he didn’t think his regular fake name would fit in well with our elaborate ones).
As the semester wore on, I kept trying to be nice, and things were getting better, but I still kept thinking to myself all the time “Man! Absalom is SUCH AN ASSHOLE!” especially when his girlfriend (Trwista) would spend every weekend in the apartment, making it cramped, and she being just as much of an asshole as Absalom, I was nearing the end of my rope, until I realized one morning when I was waking up at 9 and getting on my computer while they were still sleeping in until 1pm, ‘Man! Every morning I get up and turn on the computer, which is rather loud, and I’m typing on here making a ruckus while they are trying to sleep, and that is just as asshole-y as he is when he’s on his computer at three in the morning while I’m trying to sleep.”
Because, you see, from time to time we are all assholes, whether we like to admit it or not. When I’m driving and I move over into a lane not realizing that there was a person over there, and the other person honks and says “Look at that asshole!” I say ‘yes, it is true. I was the asshole this time.” And when Absalom is trying to work and I turn out the light and go to bed, I am the asshole. And when I don’t wash a dish in the sink and Emil finds it and goes nuts, that’s me being the asshole.             However, I don’t need to be hollered at it – I think we all would rather have someone be nice to us when we’re the asshole, rather than start beating us up about it. Is anyone really appreciative when someone honks the horn on the freeway?
I know I’m the asshole sometimes, and since I don’t want people attacking me in my moments of asshole-ness, it’s only fair that I don’t attack others in their moments of asshole-ness. When you keep an eye out for it, as it turns out we all become the asshole quite often in our everyday lives – unintentionally of course, it’s just the way things work out. And if every time you’re the asshole, and you’re honest with yourself when you are, you can say “Okay, I was the asshole this time,” and that is a humbling experience, to admit that you’re the asshole. It’s humbling, and at least for me it makes me think “woops – that was my bad. I’m the asshole. I’m sorry about that” and I can move on, and since that’s the way I like to be when I’m the asshole, I can allow other people to be the same way. I don’t need to be at war with Absalom – when he starts belching I can just think ‘Okay – he’s the asshole. Tomorrow morning I’ll probably be the asshole again. We’re all just a bunch of assholes’ and I don’t have to worry about it. So, to summarize, it’s alright to be the asshole now and then – it can’t be helped. You certainly should try to avoid being the asshole as much as possible, but know that it has to happen, and when someone else is the asshole, know that that has to happen from time to time as well, and that we’re all assholes eventually, and so beating up the other assholes isn’t helping anything, and in the end, it just makes you the asshole even more. And that’s all I have to say about assholes.

Chapter Seven: A Religious Experience

            As I’ve been writing this book, I’ve been keeping it mostly secular, with no mention of any sort of Higher Power. However, this past Wednesday I had a Religious Experience, and it got me thinking about God, and I think that it would be worthwhile to include my thoughts here. Perhaps even those of you reading this book that think there is no higher power of any kind, or ignores all spiritual aspects of life because the Bible doesn’t mesh with your scientific knowledge will be able to get some benefit from reading about them.
I am a catholic, and my family has always been very involved in the church. Both of my parents have worked at the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle at some point in my lifetime, and outside of the archdiocese, our whole family often volunteers at church. My mom, my sister and myself would frequently sing bible songs with the little kids during Sunday School, and I still do when I’m at home. However, when I went to college and started attending masses at the University of Southern California catholic center, I had some very big issues with the priest there, and the way he ran things. As a Freshman, I attended a freshman dinner with the priest, and he served wine during the meal. I’m not a big drinker, but I had a glass of wine during the meal and didn’t think much of it, but there was a girl there who didn’t want any, and the priest was actively pressuring her to have some. I’m not an advocator of underage drinking, and that a role model figure such as a priest was allowing it seems a bit wrong to me, but when he’s actively pushing someone underage who doesn’t want to drink to have wine, that’s just wrong. There are also some problems I have with the way his homilies often seemed to place the importance of USC football over anything spiritual, amongst other things.
The result of all these problems I had with the priest, I stopped going to the catholic center a couple months into my freshman year. Since then I would go every once in a while (for Easter and other important religious holidays), but pretty much all of my religious life was put on the back burner. To replace the organized religion, I would pray every day, and in that way maintain my relationship with god. But after a while, I got busy, and stopped. For about a year I had no contact with God in any way (except when I was at home for vacations), and I didn’t really think much of it. I did notice, however, that I was having some rough times.
My morale was sinking, I was stressing out about things, and things in general weren’t going well for me – until this past Tuesday. On Tuesday I woke up with a smile on my face, feeling at peace with the universe, and seeing the world through rose colored classes. There wasn’t any real reason for me to be exceptionally happy – I was sick, I had some midterms coming up, I was behind in my reading, but instead of being upset, I was full of joy. The joy continued through Wednesday morning, when I was trying to figure out why I would be feeling so good as I made some copies at the Doheny Library on campus. When I walked out the front doors of Doheny Library (the only non-fire exit), I walked smack into a huge Ash Wednesday mass being given on the steps of the library.
In between me and the main thoroughfare of campus there was standing three priests and a few hundred people attending the service – and there was no way around them (without climbing down a tree or jumping into bushes). So I walked past the priests and started making my way through the hundreds of people, when I stopped and thought: “Look at this – I was going about my business, when suddenly there was a religious ceremony physically preventing me from going on. Could this possibly have any significance?” And the answer came back: duh. Here was God standing in front of me saying “Hey! Nathaniel! Look at me! I’m here, I always have been, and you’ve been ignoring me. Knock it off.” So I stood amongst the hundreds for the final blessing, and got the sign of the cross marked on my forehead with ashes. For the rest of the day, I felt closer to God, and since then I have felt that God is a friend of mine once again. See, there are Religious Experiences out there; you just have to keep your eyes open, and accept them when they come around.

Chapter Eight: Self Interviews

            One of the things about life is that we humans often have problems that we cannot work out on our own – dilemmas, problems we can’t get past, and other things that we require help on. Ideally, we would all have a special confidante that we could discuss our problems, but, alas, that’s not always possible. Either the problem is something that we don’t feel comfortable discussing with someone, or perhaps the problem comes about at four in the morning when your confidante is asleep or something like that. In such a situation, there are a few things you can do: if you’re a religious person, you can have a conversation with God, or if you’re not religious or you have trouble hearing what God is saying when you ask questions, you can do what I do: conduct a self interview.
“A Self Interview? What is that?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. A self interview is an interview that you conduct with yourself as a way of figuring out what you need to do with your life’s problems, or just for fun now and then. I find that a good self interview can be fun, and surprisingly informative and helpful. There are two versions of the self interview – mental and written. Both ways work, and have benefits and problems. With a mental self interview, I find these work best while relaxing in a warm bath with some nice music and no distractions. The trouble with the mental interview is that you don’t have anything to read later on. The written interview works best hand-written (although word processors can be used) with relaxing music playing and no distractions. With written interviews you don’t get the nice warm bath, but you do have a written transcript of the interview that you can read later and think about.
As with most everything in this book, every ‘thing to try’ has a different way of working best for each person who tries it, so what follows is what I do, which you can use as a starting off point, and then experiment to adapt it to fit your needs. Let’s imagine that I’m stressed out about life, and so I sit down at my computer with no one around, turn off any TVs or anything that are on, turn off the Instant Messenger, pop in a relaxing music CD (meditation music works, or any other soothing sounds), and open up the word processor and pull up a blank document. For this example I’m listening to some Steven Halpern music. Then I type a greeting from the interviewer, who I see in my mind as a Wise Man on the Hill, who has the answers to all of life’s problems, and who I can ask any question of.
So I type “Hello, Nathaniel.” And then as myself I would type “Hello.” And the wise man might ask “Why is it that you have come to seek my help?” and I would say “I’m feeling really stressed out about life.” And the conversation would continue:
“Why are you feeling stressed out about life?”
“I’ve got a lot of things going on, I’m behind in my work, and I haven’t been getting enough sleep, and I feel yucky.”
One of the keys is to ask questions slowly, and answer them honestly, with the answer that you must believe. Trust yourself that you know the right questions, and believe your answers.
“What do you mean that you feel yucky?”
“I’ve been sitting around, and not showering. I smell bad.”
“Why haven’t you showered?”
“No time to shower. Have too many things to do.”
“Is the showering the main issue?”
“Then lets move on.”
“Okay. Sounds good.”
You may find yourself getting off track, and then just gently nudge yourself back in the right direction. Try and let yourself go through layers of your problem – you may say at first that your problem is stress, or you’re mad at someone, or you wish you had something, but allow yourself to let go of that first problem to try to figure out what the root of your problem is.
“What is it about your life that causes you stress?”
“People putting too many expectations on me.”
“What kind of expectations?”
“People saying that I should do all these different things, and I can’t do them all, and people get mad when I don’t finish things, and that stresses me out.”
“When people say you should do things, how do you react?”
“I try and figure out if I can do it, and then I say yes, I’ll do it.”
“If you have figured out that you can do it, why then do you not?”
“Because I procrastinate, and put things off.”
“Why do you put things off?”
“Because I have other things to do.”
“Such as what?”
You can keep on digging for quite a while before you get to a level where you think that you’re at the base. Once you get there, you keep asking questions, keep giving answers, and you can go on with this interview for hours, if you let yourself. And I encourage you to let yourself. Eventually you’ll get an answer, or a question, that makes you realize something new about yourself or your situation, and then you can save the conversation, turn off the computer, and meditate on what you learned. Through this interview/meditation, it’s amazing how much you can learn about yourself. Try it.

2009 - Nathaniel Jones