James Ballard What's the Rush?

ISBN 13: 9780767903103

What's the Rush?

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9780767903103: What's the Rush?
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"This is a book you can use to train yourself to get balance back in your life."
--from the Foreword by Ken Blanchard, Ph.D.

A beautifully simple guide for finding peace--and a better pace--in every step of life.

These days, the world seems to be moving faster and faster, while we rush through our days at home and at work just to keep up.  We live at a quicker pace than ever before, but we find ourselves stuck in thinking at the same speed--making both our thoughts and actions unfocused and frantic.  Now, in What's the Rush?, business consultant Jim Ballard shows us how to step out of the race and stop setting unrealistic "finish lines" for ourselves--and finally find the pace at which we were meant to live and work.

As Jim Ballard reveals in this book, rushing blindly isn't the solution to negotiating the rocky terrain of our work and personal lives.  Using the metaphor of running consciously, Ballard offers us a way to restore balance through the technique of "dreamrunning," which allows us to trust our own intuition to guide us, freeing us to reason and act from an inner source rather than merely react to outer stimuli.  Ballard guides us in discovering ways to live comfortably with the transience and impermanence that are an inescapable part of modern life--from job and career changes to the ups and downs of relationships.  What's the Rush? also teaches us to live in the moment.  As Ballard writes, "The present moment is where we have power and awareness.  It is where everything is happening.  The more we live in it, the more we see that time is a resource, not a taskmaster."

Through a combination of spiritual meditations, exercises called "recipes for the sole," and words of inspiration called "footnotes," What's the Rush? shows the way to:

Make uncertainty our friend and be energized instead of discouraged by change
Choose realistic goals for managing long-term projects
Focus on the present so that life doesn't pass us by

Showing us how to balance logic with intuition, control with surrender, and thinking with feeling, Jim Ballard puts us on the path toward a life-changing experience.  For all of us who feel that there simply are not enough hours in the day, or that life is passing us by while we stand around, helpless to stop it, What's the Rush? reveals the sheer joy of running free.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

James Ballard is a management consultant and motivational speaker for Blanchard Training and Development, which will help launch his Dreamrunner Seminars nationwide in the spring of 1999.  He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

I wipe a mirror and place it in your hands.
--Edward Carpenter

What's the rush? Good question for most of us in these turbulent times.  With all the stresses and demands on us, it seems we must run faster and faster just to keep up.  But where is all this rushing getting us? Is it satisfying for us? Are we doing more tasks, but finding less meaning in them? If so, it's time to take stock.  We must separate what is important from what is merely urgent.  Are you happy with the pace and tenor of your daily life? Do you like the way things are going? If not, this book will help you to make changes.  It will guide you to step out of the race .  .  .  free your mind .  .  .  change your life.

Living in today's turbulent world, it's easy to feel fearful about the uncertainties that accompany rapid change.  Lacking assurance about how things will turn out, it seems easier to just run faster, do the next thing, fit one more thing in, and tolerate the frustration and exhaustion, than to stop, take a look at what's going on, and begin to take action to correct the situation.

Many people today see themselves as victims of a world in constant change.  Uncertainty haunts them.  They wake up each morning with a vague sense of dread, a low-grade anxiety associated with their inability to predict or control their futures.  They feel powerless; they worry about the future, about money, about their health.  It seems they can do nothing to change things.  But they can do something--they can change their minds.

Experience is not what happens to us; it is what we do with what happens to us.  This means we don't need to change the world, but the way we look at it.  What is required is a self-science: the scientist is the individual self; the laboratory is the mind; the experimental activity is dreamrunning, the subject of this book.  What is dreamrunning? It is the practice of deliberately shifting attention away from the mind's accustomed ways of defining experience into another perspective, where the self appears to be not the cause but the instrument of action.  When a person has this experience, he or she achieves a balance between "making things happen" and "letting things happen" that feels right.

This balance removes stress and makes life more enjoyable and fascinating.  Worry goes away, alarm and tragedy disappear.  It seems whatever happens is meant to happen, because while we occupy this space of the mind we are free of the fears that restrict us in our ability to deal effectively and creatively with life.  We experience a natural connectedness with things.  We can see clearly so that we recognize solutions which formerly were hidden from us.

The core experience in What's the Rush? is captured in the words of South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim: "I am not a player, I am played." It is the exhilarating realization that we are not the "doers" of the activity in which we engage.  This experience tunes us in to the life force that is behind all our activities, the source of energy by whose agency we are enabled to think and act.  By practicing dreamrunning techniques we align ourselves with the hidden wellspring of our being, which goes unknown and unacknowledged when human beings mistakenly believe that they are the originators of their actions.

What's the Rush? is designed to help people use their minds to catch up with their experience.  Why running? Because in these turbulent times we are all running--running to keep up, to stay ahead, to get everything done.  Running is a metaphor for all the hurrying and rushing about that people are doing these days.  What's the Rush? is not so much about jogging the body as jogging the mind out of its ruts.  The goal is to achieve and to maintain a state of "inner fitness." This inner fitness, achieved by self-effort and practice, creates an antidote for the growing sense of dislocation, the spiritual emptiness so many are feeling today.  The conviction that drives this book is that our true home, our rightful sense of belonging and security, is found not in the outer world, but within ourselves.

The Three Noetic Practices

What's the Rush? is a manual for how to use the mind to be happy by gaining inner control amidst the uncertainties of life.  Things we used to count on and take for granted are shifting before our eyes: job security, permanence of home and career, neighborhood continuity, dependability of institutions such as marriage and family, our role as a nation, etc.  In the world of business, all is in flux--markets, customer needs, and competitors seem to change overnight.  Even though we don't have much control over events and circumstances, we can train ourselves to be assured of an internal control that brings us peace and well-being.  This book describes why we have lost this important sense of inner control.  It shows how to recognize the signals that tell us we have lost it.  And it suggests ways to regain it.  I call these techniques for gaining control Noetic Practices.

The word noetic (from the Greek nous, meaning mind or ways of knowing) refers to the scientific exploration of mind and consciousness as the roots of human experience.  The noetic self-science described in this book is about transforming our experience by deliberately and continuously changing the way we see things.  Working within the laboratory of our own experience, we develop our ability to see things in new ways, and in the process we come to know ourselves.

This practice is based on what might be termed militant optimism--a ferocious commitment to being happy.  As students of this discipline, we begin by abandoning our lifelong careers of trying to change the world.  Whenever we find that we are stressed or upset, rather than assigning cause or blame to the outside event, we assume distortion in the way we are perceiving things.  This is more than "attitude adjustment." It is the practice of truth--making our perceptions match the way things actually are.  We are taking each unhappiness-making instance as a personal challenge, an opportunity to go inside and examine our belief structures.  By this process we gradually gain mastery over reality (defined as "the way I am seeing things").

By no means does this commitment to scrutinizing our own mental processes imply abandonment of ambition, or of thinking for ourselves, or of asserting our way in the world.  This optimistic self-science is based on a ruthless examination of distorted notions and attitudes and on a deep trust in intuitive perception.  When successful, we achieve an elegant balance between the rigidity of intellect and the fluidity of intuition.  Maintaining this balance sharpens thinking to a fine creative edge, awakening and attuning wise discrimination.  Noetic Practices involve us in a sort of psychic alchemy which has the magical power to transform our experience.  Paradoxically, the very simplicity of the practices makes them easily accessible for use in extremely complex and demanding circumstances.

I examine three Noetic Practices.  They are:

1. Dreaming the World
2. Reframing Experience
3. Playing with Time

As we regularly and consciously activate each of these Noetic Practices, we become more attuned with life as it unfolds moment by moment.  We begin to develop an ability to deal more effectively with our daily experience.  Instead of being tumbled about and disoriented in the chaotic rapids of our circumstances, we can view the stream of change from a calm perspective.

Ascending the Noetic Practices (NP) Pyramid

When people grapple with the uncertainties of relentless change, they can easily come to feel like helpless victims of all the changes.  Getting beyond this victim state of mind means essentially rising above it.  The three Practices outlined above enable us to do this, provided they are activated continuously and deliberately as a mind-management program.  A symbol that combines elevation by means of three forces is the three-sided pyramid; it is used here to illustrate how use of the Noetic Practices elevates us above the churning waters of change, giving us a loftier perspective and allowing intuition to kick in and reveal the truth about our situation.

Overview of the Book

What's the Rush? consists of two main parts: theory (the ideas behind the practices) and practices (the collection of dreamrunning techniques called Recipes for the Sole).  The Recipes have been interspersed among and between the chapters in order to remind the reader that the self-science I call dreamrunning is not merely a collection of concepts, it is about things you actually do with your mind and body.

Chapter One, "On the Run," explores the problem for which dreamrunning is the treatment.  It shows how change itself has changed over the past few decades, culminating in the present condition of "constant white water." Amidst this turmoil, we are in danger of drowning--unable to keep up with our new ways of living--because of our old ways of thinking.

Chapter Two, "Escape from Littlethink," is the outcomes-and-benefits chapter.  It details what dreamrunning can do for you.  This chapter hints at the joyous power to be found in using the three N...

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