Take Back Time Part Eight: On The Precipice

So I travelled far and wide, all over the world: Africa, China, Europe, America, seeking out the most beautiful and desolate places on earth…

So I could ask them the question…

I walked naked through the Gobi desert alone, stood on mountaintops and sang to the peaks with not another soul as far as the eye could see…

Avalanches, lightning storms, hurricanes, all the most powerful and violent forms of nature…and the most beautiful…I saw them all…

And do you know what is there…?

Only what you take with you…

I did not find god or reach enlightenment, though I thought I came close…

I did not find some font of eternal youth, or some mythical wish granting fish…

I only found the self…not myself, I can already see some of you cringing at that statement, this is a far too overused phrase…

What I found was The Self

The Precipice

2 years into my travels I sit here staring out over a 1000ft drop down to a verdant jungle. This is one of the hundred secret places of Zhangjiajie, Hunnan province, China.

A towering sandstone obelisk sticks out of the ground in front of me, its base thinner than its top. And from a crack down its entire length, life spills out like a great wound…

I am all alone, and I am trying to overcome my fear by sitting on a precipice so thin and narrow I can’t even see stone beneath me…

At first the fear grips me and I cannot relax, my body tense, my breathing erratic. One false move and I could slip…

What if the rock breaks? What if the wind blows too strongly and I fall? What if I get dizzy and collapse? All these questions harrow me like crows circling around my head…

After what seems like an eternity, the fear slowly subsides, and at last I begin to relax…

The air moves around me every so softly, the warmth from the rising sun slowly bathes my body and the sound of absolutely nothing surrounds me…

As this feeling of relaxation spills over, I do the unthinkable: I fall asleep…

And in my sleep I have a dream…

The Dream

In this dream an ever changing figure traipses an endless plain of white. A shadow stretching on the ground without a body to create it, like a candle made of darkness…

Eventually the figure transforms into a white bird and flies off. The world becomes the scene in which I sit again and the white bird flies towards me and when it reaches me it becomes a winged horse and beckons me onto its back…

Suddenly I wake and realise that I had fallen asleep, that I’m sitting on a precipice and reaching out into the empty air in front of me, millimetres from death.

Fear strikes me in the heart once again, but it quickly fades and as I overcome it I smile deeply.

“I am here” I whisper “and I am not afraid.”

“I see you.” It says back.

Was this some kind of vision? A metaphor for my own life? A message from God? No. It was just a dream, and this is just a memory.

The Reason

You see I used to think I travelled the world looking for a place to call home.

Then I met someone I called the love of my life and thought that I had instead been looking for someone to share the whole world with.

But on that day I saw that, while both of those thoughts were true to me at the time, they were merely oversimplifications of a common truth.

And what is this truth you ask? Well, it is as different for me as it is for you.

Some people follow their favourite sports team religiously, some follow religion itself, some pour all their energy into their career, or family, or a noble cause such as justice or politics.

In truth, though people may appear to want very different things, they are all seeking the same thing:

Absolute happiness.

You can call this fulfilment, gratification, enlightenment, whatever you like…

The feeling is indescribably unique and yet universal to everyone.

So I ask myself: “I have none of these things. Does this make me lost?”

“While I may not have anything in particular to focus my attention on: no faith, no cause, no state; am I destitute?

On the contrary, in the last 2 years I have experienced happiness almost constantly and I know that because of my personality, I will always continue to do so.

I move from occupation to occupation, from place to place, I explore the world and experience great things, things others only dream of.

This is the life I have cultivated for myself, and as I sit here staring over this indescribable scene, I am beginning to realise this, or rather remember it.

You might call this a life of self-indulgence, and you may be right – by your standards – but what’s important to you is very different from what’s important to me.

I don’t care where I sleep, what tomorrow brings, or what troubles yesterday served, as long as I have this happiness, this freedom.

And I don’t judge others, or consider their lives less meaningful, or less fulfilling than my own. We barely understand ourselves, let alone those so different from us…

But all of this is essentially irrelevant.

I am happy in this life because, for the first time in my life…

I have the knowledge in my heart that when I die, I will become dust and nothing more.

Even if I leave behind a family, a legacy; within two generation my actions, no matter how great, will be forgotten.

Do you know the name of your great-grandmother? What did she do? I don’t.

This rock that I sit on was once a billion grains of sand, which were once a part of a billion other rocks, and in another billion years they will be sand once more.

We have been on this earth for such a short amount of time that we forget that the earth has barely noticed us at all.

We are but a breeze in eternity.

What does it matter what we do in our short lives? Who will it matter to a hundred, a thousand years from now?

We will be but dust and air…

If I were to pick up a stone and throw it from this cliff, would you miss it? So then, if I throw myself instead, will the world miss me?

I twist the stone in my fingers and ask it… “Are you afraid?”

It says nothing…

“Then why am I afraid?”

Six Seconds

“When you hit the ground you will smash into pieces, but those pieces will become a part of the forest floor, and one day they will become a part of this rock again…

“I will be long dead by then, but you’ll still be here…”

And what will have happened in between…?

I will have lived my life…and I will have died…and other people will have been born and died…

“So why am I afraid…?”

“I am afraid because I think that the end of my life is the end of everything.”

And why do you think this?

“Because I have been so afraid that I couldn’t let myself think about anything else.”

Why?

“Because I am afraid of living in fear…”

Why?

“I am afraid that this fear will stop me from truly living…”

Why?

“Because I want to live my life without fear!”

And How Will You Do This…?

I throw the stone over the edge of the precipice…

It is six seconds before the rock smashes into pieces and the echo of its existence travels up to my ears, and in that time I have overcome my fear of death…

“I will no longer be afraid, because I know that I am the same as the stone!”

I was once dust, and over millions of years this dust formed into the thing that is currently me

And when I die I will become dust again

And in millions of years this dust will once again form a person and they will be alive!

“I am an inseparable part of this universe…and the life of the universe is my life…and the universe is infinite…I am infinite…”

Six seconds…

Once I found out why I needed to rid myself of fear….it took me six seconds to figure out how

In Part 9…

So what did I do after I discovered the answer to my fundamental question…?

After I had learned the secret to finally conquering fear…?

Did I throw myself off the rock? No.

There’s an old Chinese proverb…

“Before enlightenment: chop wood, paint fence…

 After Enlightenment: chop wood, paint fence…”

Life, as it is, goes on…

In Part 9 I am going to tell you about The Great Separation, why people perceive themselves as separate from the rest of the universe.

Subscribe to find out how you can become one in Part Nine: The Great Separation.

Take Back Time Part Seven: The Dancer

I was walking down a deserted beach in Kenya when I came across a young man dancing in the sand. I thought this was the most wonderful thing I’d ever seen, so I joined it.

Little did I know that this would be one of the most important discoveries of my life….

Baraka

He First introduced himself to me as Joseph, and we spent long days dancing on the beach and wandering amongst the deserted streets of a tiny, run down town near Mombasa.

After we got to know each other a little better he told me his real name.

“Dean, my name is not Joseph.” He said to me one day, with a deep frown. “Joseph is name the Christians gave to me. My real name is Barakka. I don’t think it’s fair to take someone’s name away from them…”

He stared out over the ocean, watching the brooding clouds in the distance, and then he told me a story.

He had been in love with a beautiful local girl named Beckah and they had been happy, but she had been scouted to become an actress.

After a while she began having nice things and this made Barakka feel less of himself. He felt that if he could not give her nice things then she would not love him.

His hair was shaggy, his clothes were old and he could not take her to places she wanted to go.

Even though he was in love and had everything he had ever wanted, he was afraid of losing her.

He was afraid that she thought less of him for not having money, or clothes, or being able to give her nice things…

So he left her…

She still loved him and she came after him, begging him to come back to her, but he told her that until he had money, they could not be together.

So after telling me this he looked at me and said:

“Dean, I have a dream. My Father, he had a friend like you, an Englishman named Mr Phillip, and his dream was always to do business with this man. So one day I want to come to England, like you have come here. Then maybe I can have my Beckah…”

What could I say to Barrakka then?

The Traveller

After a few days I left that part of Kenya, but before I did, I wrote Barrakka a story and left it with him.

The story went like this:

There once was a dancer who lived by the sea. He had a happy life, content with what god had given him, but each morning he would walk on the beach and stare out at the ocean, dreaming of dancing on distant shores.

One day he was walking on the beach and he saw a strange man. This man was not like anything he had seen before. His clothes were different, his hair, his skin, but the man stared longingly over the seas as he did.

“Who are you?” asked the dancer.

“I am a traveller.” Replied the man, “and I have come from a distant land.”

“From where have you come?” asked the dancer excitedly, for he had never met someone from another place before.

“It is the land of dawn.” Replied the traveller with fond recollection “and it is good and righteous, for the people who live there make great things and do fine deeds.”

“Where is this great land?” asked the dancer, for he saw the strange clothes and manner of the traveller and wished greatly to see it.

“It is to the west, across the distant sea, under a bright sun.”

And for a while the dancer danced, content with dreaming of the land of dawn.

The next day he did not walk along the beach, but instead lay in bed all day dreaming, for each time he opened his eyes he saw only the plane things he had and wished to dance under a new sun.

Eventually, he could not lay in bed any longer and went down to the beach once more. There he saw the traveller walking and ran to him.

“Show me something from this new land.” He said, and the man brought forth a strange object from beneath his coat.

It was smooth and golden and moved without any effort from the man.

“This is a watch.” said the traveller “Each time the hand ticks, time moves forward.”

“Will it tick forever?” asked the dancer.

“No.” the traveller replied “Time is always running out and one day it will stop for you and I.”

And the dancer danced happily again, for he had seen a great thing.

The next day he did not walk on the beach, but he could also not lie in bed, for he remembered that time was always ticking and that one day it would run out. He paced up and down thinking all day about the new sun and dancing on a distant shore. In the morning he ran to the beach, for he could not wait any longer.

“How do I get to the land of dawn?” he asked.

The traveller looked at him gravely and said:

“It is a long journey across the sea and you would need a fine ship.”

“But how would I get a ship, for I have only plain things and know nothing of great deeds?”

“Cut down these trees.” said the traveller “And I will instruct you.”

Many days the dancer spent cutting down the trees, thinking about the new sun and dancing on distant shores, and when he was finished, he asked the traveller:

“I have cut down the trees as you have said. What now must I do to see the land of dawn?”

“Now you must cut the trees into planks and lay them side by side.”

“But how will I make the planks?” he asked, for he had no knowledge of such things.

“I will instruct you.” replied the traveller.

And for many months the boy cut the trees into planks and laid them side by side, thinking always of the land of dawn and of the ticking clock.

When he was done he asked the traveller:

“What must I do next to see the land of dawn?”

“Now you must make nails to hold the planks together and arrange them into their proper shape.”

“But how will I do all these things?” asked the dancer, for he had no knowledge of them.

“I will instruct you.” replied the traveller.

For many years the dancer worked on the ship and the traveller instructed him, until the traveller grew too old and would just stare out over the sea.

But the dancer continued, thinking always of time and of the completion of his labours. When the ship was finally finished, he asked the traveller:

“Now I have done all things you have told me, instruct me how to sail the seas and find the land of dawn.”

The old man brought forth the watch and turned it over.

“This is a compass” he said, “it will guide you to the land of dawn.”

And the traveller gave it to him.

“Will you not travel with me?” he asked.

“I am old and I shall travel no more.” he replied.

And so he left the traveller and sailed the seas in his fine ship. Long he sailed until he reached a distant shore to the west where the sun was setting.

“This cannot be the land of dawn.” he said “For it is the same as my homeland.” and he sailed on.

For many years he sailed the seas, searching for the land of dawn, always with the watch in his hand, but each time he landed, the sun was setting and it was just like his homeland.

One day, so conscious of time, he sailed all night and arrived at a new shore at dawn. There he saw a man dancing on the beach and asked him:

“Is this the land of dawn?”

“Yes.” replied the dancer, and the traveller climbed ashore, weary of his long journeys. “And where have you come from on such a fine ship?”

“I have come from the land of the setting sun.” he replied.

“Then perhaps you have news of my father,” asked the dancer “for he sailed for that place long ago.”

“I have met your father.” said the traveller. “This once belonged to him.” and he gave him the watch.

“What is it?” asked the dancer.

“It is time.”

“What shall I do with it?” he asked.

“Do with it what you will, for it is done with me.”

“Will you not dance with me?” asked the dancer.

the traveller looked out over the sea to the east longingly.

“I am old.” He said “and I shall dance no more.”

 

You see the problem is not just confined to you. It is not just you who suffer. It is a problem as old as time.

Everywhere in the world there are people who feel the same way.

They feel like something is missing in their lives and that they will find it somewhere else.

What else could I say to Barakka? Had I not left England searching for some other life? And now he wanted to go back the way I had just come to find a new life for himself.

We were both the same…

Do you know what his question was?

“Will I ever be free from doubt?”

So why wasn’t I happy? What was I searching for?

That’s the problem…I didn’t know.

I didn’t know what I was looking for.

Was it divine inspiration? Enlightenment? Some greater purpose to hold onto that was bigger than myself?

What was the answer?

I looked at Barrakka that day, tears ready in my eyes…

But he was smiling…

He had the same look as me when I first started out on my journey: He had hope…

In Part Eight…

I sat there on the precipice of a 1000ft drop, on a ledge so small…

All I needed to do was to lean forward and I would have been free of my fear…

In Part Eight I’m going to tell you the story of how I finally overcame my fear of death.

Subscribe to find out how in Part Eight: On the Precipice…

Take Back Time Part Six: Infinite

The reason I thought I left the UK at the time was that I wanted to find another way to live my life…

So I would say to myself always when I arrived at a new place: “Is this the life for me?”

But that was not really My Question.

I hadn’t found it yet…

Livingstone’s Dream

In Africa I saw many other ways to live.

In Malawi people are literally starving to death, but you will never meet a more lovely and happy people. It really is the warm heart of Africa.

If you go to a village there they will line up to shake your hand and introduce themselves. You can take a baby from its mother’s arms and she will walk off, content and trusting in the fact that everyone takes care of everyone else.

And do you know why…?

I once heard a story that a missionary went to confront the slave traders that would take the people from Malawi across the great lake to be sold to the Arabs.

This man Livingstone, sat under a tall tree with his umbrella and waited for the slave master to come…

And when he came Livingstone, even though he was a Christian, would preach Suryas from the Quran about how one should not own another man’s life.

And at first the slave master laughed and took the slaves…

But each year he would return and Livingstone would be waiting for him with his umbrella, and he would preach from the Quran…

And this went on for many years with no success, but Livingstone did not give up…

Then one year there was a draught and all the leaves were gone from all the trees and the only shade around was the shade of Livingstone’s umbrella…

And when the slave master came he offer him to sit under his umbrella with him, and the slave master sat down…

Then Livingstone preached to him under the shade of his umbrella, and by the time the sun had set that day the slave master was in tears…

He realised that his whole life had been led in sin and he repented everything to Livingstone…

That day he promised not to take slaves anymore and Livingstone gave him his umbrella and said:

You are forgiven. When next you come to this village hold not your gun high but this umbrella, so that all can see that you have come in peace…

And that night after the slave master had left a great fruit from the tree fell through Livingstone’s tent and killed him…

And everyone in the village said that it was a good death…

You see when you live your whole life knowing what your purpose is, knowing why you do what you do…

You see when you finally find the answer to that question, you have lived fully, and you can die well…

The Little Boy

After I heard that story a little boy came up to me and took my hand and we walked together…

I was with a group of other tourists and all the other westerners were giving the kids sweets, or money, or pencils to use in school…

And they were all being mobbed by hundreds of kids and throwing out these gifts like they were feeding pigeons…

But I was just walking with little Timmy…

And when we left that village I couldn’t bring myself to give him money, because I knew that his family would just take it from him and that it would make little difference to his life…

So I took a pen and I asked him to hold out his hands…

And on the back of each hand I drew two symbols, positive infinity and negative infinity…

And I told him to stretch out his arms as wide as he could, and I said:

“Everything you need in life is between your fingers…You are infinite…”

And though I’ll never know if he truly understood what I had given him…he smiled at me that day…

And that day I thought I understood a little better, that people can be happy even when they have nothing, as long as they have what he had…

You see happiness, true happiness, does not come from anywhere outside your reach…

It comes from within…

You are infinite…

So that even if you are in the most dire straits, if you have not even the money to eat, or to buy clothes, as long as you have that thing in your heart, that trust in yourself…

If you can see that…

You can be happy…

And that was what I was beginning to see…

In Part Seven…

There I was staring at the man I could have been…and though we lived worlds apart, we were both looking for the same thing.

In Part Seven I will tell you about a young man I met who showed me the error of my ways.

“If you journey long enough you will meet yourself…”

Subscribe to receive email notifications and look out for Part Seven: The Dancer

Take Back Time Part Five: The Question

We all have a fundamental question that lives in our hearts, and it guides almost every action we make.

For some it may be something simple like: “Will this make me happy?”

When you are choosing whether or not to have a regular coffee, or an orange mocha frappacino, you may ask: “Will this make me happy?” and the choice is obvious.

But to someone else who has a different question in their hearts, they may ask: “Will this make me lose weight?” and then the choice is obviously the opposite.

Everyone has a question that lives deep inside their hearts. Some may have two or three, but there will always be an overarching question…

The great writer Alexandre Dumas once said that a man’s fundamental drive should be:

To seek all pleasures that can be honourably sought, whilst avoiding all pain that can be honourably avoided.”

So his fundamental question when taking any action would be: “Is this honourable?”

Why do you do the things you do…? What fundamental question drives you onward? What question will help you overcome this insurmountable wall before you?

“Find your why and you will find your way…”

Not How but Why

The problem then becomes not how you will overcome this wall, but why do you need to?

What dream, what desire it is that lies on the other side?

What fear or pain is it that makes up this wall?

Why? Why do you want to break it down so much?

Why do you need what’s on the other side so badly that you’re willing to risk it all, spend your entire life hitting at it and chipping it away, staring at it, cursing at it, screaming at it to break, only to one day slump down against it old and grey and regretful…

When you find out why…this fundamental thing that drives you, then how is really obvious…

The Five Why’s

When you encounter a problem in your life you should always try to break it down to find the root cause. Because the first answer may only point to a symptom.

“Why were you late today?” Asked the boss in a huff.

“My car wouldn’t start.” Replied the employee apologetically.

The boss huffed in disbelief and marked him down on his next quarterly review for being late.

So what if the boss had asked him again: “Why wouldn’t your car start?”

“Because it’s broken and I need to take it to the shop.” Replied the employee.

“And why haven’t you?”

“Because I can’t afford it.”

The boss’s expression turns to mild surprise. “Why?”

“Because my wife left me and took everything in the divorce.”

The boss’s expression turns to one of mild shock. “Why?”

“Because I’m an alcoholic!” Cries the man and breaks down on the floor.

The boss stands there and stares at him for a moment and then his expression turns to one of deep regret. “I’m sorry.” He says, and puts forward a proposal for a company sponsored Alcoholics Anonymous program.

SAD

So let’s have the conversation between Mike and his doctor:

“I’m depressed.” Says Mike.

“Why?” Asks the Doctor.

“Well…It’s not all the time, it’s just in winter.”

“Why?”

“Well…I suppose it’s because winter is depressing.”

“Why?”

“Because…well, I just hate winter.”

“Why?”

“Because winter makes me depressed.”

“You have Seasonal Affective Disorder.” says the doctor. “Winter is why you are depressed.”

“Then I’ll live somewhere there’s no winter!” cries Mike, and off he goes to Rwanda.

This is How.

And you see that once you have realised Why you have a problem then suddenly you have an epiphany, suddenly How is so obvious that you look up from the sand and see the sea.

In Part Six…

So what was my question? In Part Six I am going to share with you the struggle I went through to find what my question really was. I searched all over the world for answers, but it wasn’t until I found My Question that I was finally able to understand my fear and conquer it.

Subscribe to receive email notifications and look out for Part Six: Infinite…

Take Back Time Part Four: The Journey

There will be times in your life when there seems to be this wall in front of you. You have gone down the straight path all your life without ever looking around and suddenly you find that you cannot go on.

But it is in these times that you wake up from the trance you have been in and shake your head and suddenly you realise that you’ve been searching in the sand all your life for a drop of water, not realising that it was a beach and that there was a sea right next to you…

You see there is always a choice.

You can stare at this wall and think about how high it is, and how difficult it seems to climb, and that the ladder you had been on your whole life is now in tatters on the floor…

Or you can look around and realise that the wall is only blocking you from what is on the other side…

You see if you travel with a river, so that you swim along with it, you’re going with the flow and everything is moving with you…you are at rest.

It’s only when you try to swim against it that the water rushes against you and pushes you back…

And what happens to a river when it hits a wall? It simply flows around it.

As long as the river flows, that is as long as life flows, the water will always find another way.

There is always another way…

You only need know there is a way and you will inevitably find it.

And there IS a way…

This is the key.


To Africa

So I took the money from the medical trial and the money from my redundancy settlement and I disappeared…gone with the wind…

I decided that I would do everything I’d always wanted to do. My old life had nothing left for me anymore and so I decided that I would find another way to live.

I had nothing to lose right?

So I went to visit my friends in Africa. They were living in a small house in Rwanda with no hot water, no cooking and barely any electricity.

Mike was a bicycle mechanic for the Rwanda cycling team and Melba was starting her own jewellery up-selling business.

I hadn’t seem them for years and they had been living the most extraordinary lives all over Africa, living from hand to mouth, from country to country, doing what they could to get by.

And I thought “Wow, how can they be living like this?”

So I asked Mike “Are you happy?” and he said to me “Dean, all I ever really wanted was for it to be warm.”

You see Mike has Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. He get’s depressed in the wintertime, and on the equator there is no winter…

For him it was a choice as obvious as whether or not to wear a rain coat in a storm. He saw the problem and saw the solution.

Because you see a problem is really just a solution upside down…

Problem: you hate winter. Solution: remove winter…

Does anyone else have a problem like that?

Problem: I’m fat…solution: remove fat…

But these things can be difficult, as I’m sure we all know.

So the question really is ‘How?’ Right?

Wrong…the question is not how.


So you’re friend says “I’m depressed.”

You respond: “How will you fix this problem?”

“I will become happy.”

“How?”

“I will think happy thoughts, and do happy things and pretend that everything is alright.”

Does this solve the problem? Does that ever solve the problem?

No. Because you never really find out what the problem is…and if you don’t know what the problem really is, you’ll never find a solution.

The question you need to ask is not “How?” but “Why?”

If you can find out why you are unhappy, why you are afraid, why you do the things you do, why you are at this wall, not how you got there, then you will be able to break free.


The Why

“How is it that you can do so many things?” asked the boy to the adventurer. “You can build a ship and sail it across the seas, and read the starts, and always find your way home. How do you do it?” pleaded the boy.

“It’s not how you should be asking” replied the adventurer sombrely, “but why.”

“Why?” asked the boy, confused, “but why?”

“Why do you do the things that you do?” asked the adventurer. “Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you eat breakfast, why do you look up at the stars and wonder what they mean?”

“Well…” hesitated the boy, “Well, I don’t know.”

“How comes after Why my boy.” whispered the adventurer with a secret smile, “It is his little brother. It follows him, learns from him and aspires to him. It grows to him, feeds from him and finds all paths that lead from him, no matter how hard or far: it always meets him in the end. So do not worry about How, find your Why and you will find your way…”


In Part Five…

In Part Five I’m going to tell you about The Question. There is a fundamental questions that lives in all our hearts, that guides almost every action we take: it is Your Why.

And if you know what your Why is then your How will become obvious.

Subscribe to get email notifications and look out for Part Five: The Question

Take Back Time, Part Two: The Invisible Ladder

Have you ever felt like your whole life has been building up to something, but that you’ve never really arrived?

Do you ever get that anxious feeling like there’s something you’re supposed to do, or that time is running out?

Are you always thinking of the future at the expense of the moment?

It happens to all of us and it’s the route of so much anxiety. So What’s the rootof it all?

The Root

The famous philosopher Alan Watts once said:

“Don’t you remember when you first went to school and suddenly there was a path already laid out before you?”

Before you’d just been playing in the sand, now your teacher begins telling you all the things you’re going to learn and all the things you have to do in your life in order to become part of ‘The World.’

And you’re captivated…It’s like an oracle is telling you your future. So you climb aboard this ship that is your life and begin to sail.

You go through your first year at school and there’s this pressure to learn so that you can do well in the next year, and before you know it you’re sitting your first exams, and this is the moment you’ve been preparing for your whole life…or so it seems.

And then you’re in secondary school and it’s a whole new world, and you sit down with your new classmates and your new teacher tells you that all of that was just child’s play, and that now you will be really learning, and there’s all this stuff to prepare you for.

So you go on up the years and there are more tests and more pressure, and then you graduate from secondary school and someone sits you down again and says:

“OK, so you made it this far, but that was just a stepping stone, and now you need to study hard to go to college, and university, and if you ever want to be a part of the ‘real world’ you better do well, or else!”

So you go to college and you go to university and every step gets harder and harder and there’s more pressure, and when you finally graduate you go out into this famous world…

And there you begin the struggle for success in the workplace.

And again it’s like there’s a ladder before you and you have to do well so you can get a promotion and climb up the next rung, so that you can have that house and that mortgage you’ve always been told about.

And somewhere along the line, maybe when your 40 or 45, in the middle of your life you wake up and go:

“Huh…I’ve arrived. And you know what I feel just about the same as I’ve always felt, in fact I don’t know if I don’t feel a little cheated.”

Again, stop me if this sounds familiar…

And some people work all their lives until they’re 60 or 65 and when they retire they say “Aha! Finally I can live my life…but now I’m old and have no teeth, and a bad hip, and two bad knees, and I can’t climb that mountain I’ve always wanted to climb, or skinny dip in that lake because I’m all saggy and old and I don’t want people to look at me anymore.”

Because you see you were fooled…You are always living for somewhere you aren’t.

And when you finally get to that future and it becomes now, you’ve not really there, because you’re living in some other future that hasn’t happened yet.

And so you will never be able to truly inherit the fruits of your actions.

You can’t really live at all…unless you live fully…now.

The Proof

One morning a violinist stood in the middle of a subway station in Washington DC and began to play. He played for nearly an hour, and in that time no more than a handful of people stopped to listen. He made about $50.

This was the great violinist Joshua Bell who has commanded millions of dollars playing in the some of the greatest venues in the world. The case where people threw their change usually housed a $1,000,000 violin.

You see people are so engaged in attempting to climb this invisible ladder, that they never actually stop to appreciate the beauty in the world all around them.

And their anxiety springs from the fact that they are always reaching for something that they cannot grasp, so they will never be happy with what they have, because they’re always looking for something more.

Forever is not a point far in the future, or something that happened a long time ago. Forever is now!

So Live Forever!

In Part Three…

In part three I will tell you about The Wall. This is the moment in your life when you feel you cannot go on, when some insurmountable object lies in your way. I’m going to tell you how I came across The Wall and how I got around it.

Subscribe to get email notifications and look out for Part Three: The Wall

Take Back Time, Part One: Death

Why are you here?

Hi, my Name’s Dean O’Shea and I’m going to teach you how to take back time.

Disclaimer…you won’t gain immortality from reading this. I’m not God, or the Devil. I’m not going to give you some pill for immortality in exchange for your soul.

But what this story will teach you, is how to let go of the fear and pain in your life so that you can finally start living the way you want to.

There’s a fundamental question that guides almost all of our actions, but there’s a fundamental fear that stops us from ever finding out what that question really is.

If we never find out what that question is, we can never truly understand why we are here, and if we do not know why, then we can never truly live.

I’m going to help you find out what that question is and show you how to conquer the fear that stands in your way.

Then, and only then, will you be able to live fully, forever.

If you are reading this it is probably because you have been searching for the answer to this question before. You may have followed other gurus, or travelled the world in search for answers, or even paid a therapist, or a hypnotist to pry them from your brain.

Don’t worry, I am not a therapist, this is not a journey with no end, and I’m not going to hypnotise you and then bill you at the end. All I want to do is show you the path I walked and help you walk it for yourself.

It can be scary to tread the path, or to uncover your fears. Most of us keep them buried our whole lives. But what you will discover is that once you truly understand what they are, and how to deal with them, you can conquer them with ease.

You may be suspicious as to what my motives are. In truth, I had lived my whole life in fear, and now that I have finally conquered it, I feel like it’s my moral obligation to help others to conquer theirs.

I believe that this journey has had more of a profound impact on my life than anything I’ve ever done, and that it is the most noble pursuit anyone can undertake.

I cannot tell you in words the feeling of joy and gratification letting go of my fears and embracing my life has given me. My friends, my family, my relationships, even my wealth has improved seven-fold from what it was before.

And you can experience those things too.

So sit back, relax, and let me tell you a story…

The Fear

When I was a child I used to be terrified of death.

I would lie awake at night and imagine what it would be like to experience nothingness, forever and ever.

I would panic that if I went to sleep I might never wake up again, that’s probably why I’m a bit of an insomniac.

I’m sure we’ve all felt it, that inescapable fear that keeps us awake at night…that follows us through life…and may still do to this day. But that’s why we are here right?

I remember one night, I must have been about 24, I couldn’t sleep and started having a panic attack. I started having convulsions, saying “No! No! No!” over and over again. I leapt out of bed, paced around, tried to distract myself, but I couldn’t.

It was as if death were knocking on my door right then!

In my desperation I picked up the phone and I called my ex-girlfriend. It was late at night and when she answered she was confused.

I asked her to do something I’ve never asked anyone to do before, or since.

I asked her just to talk, to not ask me why I was calling, or what it was about. I made her promise to never ask why I called her, or ever mention it again.

And we just talked about nothing. After half an hour or so I said thank you, I put down the phone and I went to sleep.

And we never spoke of it again.

Why did I do that? Why didn’t I tell her? She would have understood, maybe even been able to help.

I didn’t tell her because I was so afraid of death, it was the worst thing I could possibly imagine, and though I was destitute and had no-one else to turn to, to save me from my fear, I also couldn’t bring myself to infect another person with it.

It was like a disease.

And so I held on to it my entire life, without ever telling anyone I carried this horrible secret, this vile illness, festering inside of me, because I thought that if I ever told anyone, it might awaken inside of them and spread.

And now I am here, in front of all of you, sharing this terrible secret. Why?

Because I’ve finally found the cure…

In Part Two…

In Part Two I will tell you about the ladder that we’ve been led to believe is our lives, and why it is so important that we break away from it.

Subscribe to get email notifications and look out for Part Two: ‘The Invisible Ladder