Photo by Ahmed Amir

RELAXATION (also known as Flow, Stagnation, Suspension) is one of seven possible goals in life, chosen by a soul before taking birth. It drives the personality to live an unplanned, carefree existence.

The goal of no-goal

With all other life goals, life is a means to an end. We may live in order to know more truth (Growth / Retardation), or to better love ourselves and others (Acceptance / Rejection), or to make things happen in the world (Dominance / Submission) … We are trying to go in a certain direction through life, and trying to fulfil an underlying goal.

With the neutral goal, however, none of that applies. Life is not a means to an end that requires hard work or struggle. Living effortlessly is the goal. Short-term choices and actions are not instrumental to some longer-term fulfilment. The aim is to simply be present without pushing into a better future, and to find contentment with whatever shows up.


This is, if you will, the goal of no-goal, or the goal-less goal. It’s like leaving your path in life unspecified or undefined. Rather than going this way or that, you simply allow yourself to be assimilated into the flow of life itself. (Hence, this is an assimilation-oriented goal.)

Typical traits: casual, laid-back, happy-go-lucky, easygoing, unmotivated, rudderless, apathetic

“But I’ve seen this called something else…”

The neutral goal has been given various names over the years. The original Michael teachings called it Stagnation, but this better describes the negative expression of the goal. Later versions have used Flow, but I think this is more apt for describing its positive expression. We need a more neutral term.

For a while I went with the term Contentment, to emphasise the idea of being content with whatever happens, and without trying. But I don’t like standing out from the crowd too much, so I’ve gone with the more common term Relaxation. We could also consider it as Surrender, Non-Attachment, Allowing, Equilibrium, Undirectedness, Fluidity. Another good term is the French laissez-faire, meaning an attitude of letting things take their own course. But there seems to be no English word which quite hits the mark. Improvisation perhaps?

Common features

Whatever we chose to call it, the main thing is to understand what this goal is about, namely:

  • Going along with whatever happens in life, like you’re just along for the ride.
  • Lightness, buoyancy — ‘floating’ rather than ‘swimming’ — moving just enough to stay afloat without sinking.
  • Allowing life to manifest its own way without trying to impose on it any particular direction, purpose or objective of your own.

By the way, this is not the same as the goal of Acceptance. Acceptance (in this context) doesn’t mean allowing anything to happen — the goal of Acceptance is about deliberately seeking positive relationships (mutual acceptance) with others, with life, with self. The neutral goal (Relaxation/Flow/Stagnation) has no such thrust or focus.

Generally, a soul chooses this goal when it fancies a “life off”; that is, when it just wants to relax and let go following a particularly challenging series of lives or a particularly traumatic life. It could also be a way to learn how to let go and be more relaxed in life.

Having the goal of Contentment

I have a close friend called Sally who has this goal, and she has given me some wonderful descriptions of it from her experience:

It has been a nightmare to search my soul for what I want to ‘do’ with my life and come up with nothing, whilst seeing others acting on divine inspiration and clearly getting enormous fulfillment from working towards or achieving their life’s ambition. Oh, to have a goal or a cause that I can really get behind! So I’ve ended up pretending, with all the emptiness that carries, in order to ‘fit in’ with the more visible, socially acceptable, models of adult behaviour.

In truth, all I’ve ever wanted to ‘do’ is the next immediate thing on my horizon that looks like it might be fun, peaceful or entertaining, be it a something or a nothing, and when I’ve allowed that to be my unhindered reality with no greater portent, my life has indeed flowed. If there’s something I feel particularly attracted towards doing, that is a goal, but the thing is attracting me only for its own sake, and it’s a short-term endeavour.

When I’m in Flow, Life happens just as it does when I’m not, but it’s then effortless. It needs no push or shove or direction… it doesn’t matter how it happens; all things that come my way are good at worst and entertaining and funny at best — no matter what they are. There’s such a powerful and beautiful sense/awareness of how much it doesn’t matter what pitches up next…

My life is filled with examples of this. I wanted to get my pilot’s licence, and with thoughtless happy excitement I ‘coincidentally’ I spotted an advert for a scholarship. With thoughtless happy excitement I applied and wasn’t too attached to the outcome — it was like entering a competition — no big deal — ‘would be nice’ if it worked… I won the scholarship, and all the lead-up to that was just fun and excitement — Would I get it? Wouldn’t I? I just enjoyed the ride and the experiences I was having. Later I duly cycled a 12-mile return journey twice a week and thought nothing of it, rain and shine, as I learned to fly. Honestly, the ease and the flow at such times are to die for…

But as soon as I’ve brought meaning into the doing, or consequences (this will help me towards that, or that will help me achieve this, or I’m doing this in order to learn/recover from/ help others with that etc) it has stopped flowing as well. Over-driving is as inefficient as too much passivity.

If you are operating from this goal, you probably find that you have a very casual approach to life compared to most other people. While others strive, you stroll. While others try to swim against the current, you just float along. Life is unpremeditated. Your personality has a laissez-faire quality.

This might make you come across to others as unambitious and half-hearted. Your life may appear to have no consistent aim or direction.

It’s not that nothing ever happens, and it’s not that you never do anything. Life will have its fair share of ups and downs. It’s just that there is little or no force behind anything. You are OK with whatever direction it takes.

Being undirected in life is rather like just floating on the sea being carried hither and thither by the tides and currents, going along with whatever happens. With time, one might learn to trust that the universe will provide all that is necessary, so any direction you end up being carried in is perfect just as it is.

To be clear: this goal isn’t about being completely passive. You may have to “work” at letting go, especially if you’ve been brought up to think that ambition and striving are all-important.

Think of various leisure activities such as skiing, surfing or gliding. We don’t do things like this for some greater purpose, but purely for the fun of doing them. But they are still activities — you have to apply yourself in order to enjoy yourself. Although the waves carry you while surfing, for example, you still have to focus on keeping your balance. But when you get it right, you’re in the flow.

With the neutral goal, you are trying to surf the waves of life. You don’t care where you are going, but that doesn’t mean you are hopelessly passive. Your small effort is all part of the fun so long as you are present enough to enjoy it.

On the other hand, if you have this goal then you probably find that you don’t have to work too hard to get from A to B. While others fret over how to make life work, you just walk up to a door and it magically opens for you. Just as others’ worries and concerns attract the very things they worry and get concerned about, the state of relaxed openness that comes with being neutral attracts openings and opportunities.

When you are in the flow, the universe simply tosses you whatever takes your fancy. How to get there is not an issue.

So does this mean that this goal is all magic and wonder, the basis of an easy and happy life?

Not quite. First, there is a built-in challenge: how to positively go with the flow, which leads to contentment, and not just stagnate or sink to the bottom out of complacency?

Second, how to just enjoy the present activity without trying to determine the outcome — or give it some other purpose beyond the sheer fun of doing it?

Third, it is quite a challenge to casually drift contentedly through life while living in a culture which expects you to show drive and ambition. In fact, you could grow up with an instilled need to work hard only to reach maturity and find that this is not who you are — that being true to yourself means letting go.

Relaxation: positive and negative

Positive pole


Negative pole
Flow. Contentment. Alignment. Stagnation. Apathy. Torpor.

In the positive pole of this goal, you contentedly relax into alignment with the natural unfolding of life, the way of the universe.

Flow is one word for this, though perhaps the best term I have come across is the Chinese Wu Wei, which means “effortless doing”. In Taoism, this is the art of going through life without interfering with it, just letting go and letting be, or what Chuang Tzu calls “purposeless wandering.”

Being in the positive pole is about moving freely and easily with the flow of life. It is what the Abraham teachings refer to as the Art of Allowing, being in alignment.

In the negative pole, one becomes overly passive and apathetic. As a result, life loses its impulse and you attract a life in which nothing of significance changes. Instead of surfing the waves, you end up sinking lifelessly to the bottom, and — from the soul’s point of view — stagnating, living without purpose.

The only way out of stagnation and torpor is to temporarily adopt one of the other goals — any will do, as they are all equally accessible from the neutral mid-point. For example, consciously reaching for some comprehension of what life is about, which is the positive pole of Growth, will help pull you back into the flow of life. Having found something worthwhile and of interest, one can then relax into it.

Some famous examples

Note how they all share the same look of relaxed, laid-back contentment!

Hugh Hefner
William Shatner
Barry Manilow
Ringo Starr
George Hamilton
George Hamilton

Goal: the driving force of the personality





The Michael Teachings

32 thoughts on “Relaxation

  1. Yeah, I think I have this goal, I’m not 100% sure though.
    Things naturally come my way. Once I was without a job and a friend
    called me up out of the blue and offered me one. I’m still with
    that same job four years later. My boss even invited me to stay at
    his home in Panama, rent free, for the entire duration of
    winter.(The job is only seasonal) Girlfriend’s seem to just pop up
    when I’m single, I never had to struggle to get one to date me. And
    I’m really lazy, I hate work of any kind. I just sloth around
    really. I’ve never put a tonne of effort into anything, I just
    never felt compelled to do so. Hmmm. I was channeled to be in
    Acceptance, but I’m convinced I just slide into the positive pole
    of Agape a lot. I’ve gotten in so many arguments and fights that
    having that goal just doesn’t seem right. Besides I’ve never
    falsely flattered anyone just to get them to like me.

    • Yep, sounds like classic contentment to me. Of course any of us can get good at going with the flow – it’s what the whole Abraham Teachings are about, allowing good things to unfold. But if it’s your basic pattern already, then it’s probably your chosen life goal.

  2. I’m continually finding your articles to be a great introduction to new spiritual concepts at my stage in life – I’m going to have to pick up my own copy of the Micheal Teachings book you’ve mentioned.

    This section has given me a lot to think about, since I feel most connected to Contentment when thinking about how I run my life: always in the present, always accepting of my current situation and optimistic on where that situation will take me. Maybe because I see something positive in most outcomes (there’s always a brighter side), all these “good” things that fall in my lap are seen as blessings simply because of my attitude towards them. I’m rarely in a rush and let things happen as they come and handle them as they come. My husband is a planner, so this gets very interesting at times.

    The only problem is that if I truly have a life goal of Contentment, the idea of being somewhat goalless is a tough pill to swallow, especially being an artisan. You want to feel that the things falling in your lap are an indication of some great purpose building up; that all the creative skills, hobbies, and ideas taken on are leading to a great overall artistic achievement. Initially I thought my goal would be Growth because of these thoughts, but my lifestyle seems to lean so heavily on Contentment that it could mean I’m just in denial. I do dabble more than focus my skills on just one thing in the long term to keep me happy and varied in the short term. Sorry, I always write a novel when I delve into things…there’s a lot to think about!

    By the way, the scholar-artisan couple analogy you referenced before from Liz Puttick – like a bag over your head with a fly buzzing in it – was spot on in my husband’s opinion. We both got a laugh out of that one.

    • Hi Mandy.

      Sounds like goal of Contentment is resonating for you the most. What you describe sounds similar to my friend Sally (the one I quote in the article). She is a Priest, hence naturally imbued with a sense of purpose, so reconciling that with going with the flow – rather than purposefully leading a flock – has indeed been a challenge.

      But ultimately I don’t think there is any actual conflict or contradiction between the soul’s natural impulse and Contentment’s path of “letting go”. It helps to have a kind of “bi-focal” vision of yourself. Your goal applies at your everyday personality level – it’s an outward manifestation. Your soul is the ever-present inner being, the Big You who is playing the game of life. As an Artisan you always have a creative and expressive impulse, but this time around (it sounds like) you have a personality that is not not striving to steer life in a particular direction (like with Dominance or Acceptance or Growth), but instead is just willing to let it happen to you moment by moment – knowing at a soul level, perhaps, that this approach will bring you a relatively peaceful and happy life.

      My guess is that the more you trust the flow at the personality level, the more the universe will provide opportunities for your soul’s inner impulse to be fulfilled.

      Another thought: If the Michael teachings can be boiled down to one single teaching it is that there is no purpose to life other than the whole experience of making choices – the expansion of consciousness that results. Ultimately there are no right or wrong choices to make (no “sins”, for example), there is just the personal process of choosing, and the personal experience of what happens as a result. If we don’t like the result, we can choose again. From a cosmic point of view, whatever we choose is OK. In terms of our soul’s evolution, however, we gradually explore and refine our ability to make choices – gradually assuming more responsibility for our choices, for example.

      The reason why I say all this is that I suspect that having the goal of Contentment can be used as a valuable challenge to one’s understanding of choice and making choices. As human beings, we typically feel that it is important to make the “right” decisions, and that doing so is often a struggle. But from the soul’s point of view, that is just a human myth. It’s OK to choose just whatever makes us feel good in the moment – and it’s OK to choose to make no specific choice.

      So the lesson for you could be – (and I’m speculating here, so don’t take this in if it doesn’t resonate) – that just letting good things fall into your lap is actually OK, despite what most people think or whatever we expect of ourselves.



  3. I have this goal as well…it’s funny, I have beaten myself up over not working hard enough to achieve my dreams, but then I tend to stress myself and “sink” into an apathetic state of mind. Now that I think about it, so many wonderful opportunities and moments have just fallen into my lap when I allowed them to happen. When I have no expectations but seek out what makes me happy and fulfilled, things always seem to fall into place.

    Ironically, my chief feature is “impatience.” I always feel like I’m missing out on something if I’m not pushing myself faster and harder. Going with the flow creates anxiety for me because I think that I’m not reaching my goals fast enough. A happy medium between aggressively working toward my desires and procrastinating/not working hard enough is difficult.

    For example, I wanted to finish my college education as quickly as possible, and I was doing everything I could to get all A’s. I also wanted to study abroad in Ireland, a dream I had been working toward for years. After stressing myself out over grades and other tumultuous events in my life, I ended up developing a chronic immune problem that has taken a very long time to recover from. My GPA and motivation to finish my schoolwork took a nosedive. I decided to go to Ireland even though there were all of these red flags that told me to wait. I didn’t listen, and ended up having a very challenging experience over there. The dream I had actively pursued for years turned into a huge disappointment, and it took a while before my health (and grades) recovered.

    The same thing applies to my love of fiction writing. If I don’t have an investment in the outcome and just write for the love of writing and the creative joy of it, everything comes naturally to me and I write some of my best work. If I stress out and worry how others will receive it, what I’m doing right or wrong, or how badly I want to be a successful writer, it becomes much harder to articulate my thoughts and feelings, to shape characters, to build an interesting plot. My well of inspiration dries up.

    I would like to add a couple of suggestions that might help someone else with the goal of “contentment.” The first is having the courage to take opportunities as they come to you. There have been too many times when I have let a great opportunity slip through my fingers because I was too busy working up the courage/motivation to follow through. Hand in hand with this is the importance of being prepared. I think this can instill us with courage to take those leaps. Don’t forget to organize your passport in the front of your luggage, practice something you love every day or as often as possible, gather your thoughts before you speak. Preparing for the future can be just as important as living in the moment, even if your plans are just two steps ahead. And your passions will be your happily ever after, so even if they don’t bring you immediate success or rewards, don’t give up on them!

  4. Thanks, Barry! You have some great information on this site and I’m really enjoying reading your articles! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. I definitely have this goal as well. I’ve spent a large part of my life envying people who knew exactly what they wanted to do in life. I’ve also spent a long time now agonizing over what I want to do with my life, feeling that all my intelligence and talents need to be used for something great. Other spiritual sources (namely numerology) have also helped me see that I need to relax and this article helps to support this as well. It’s funny because besides the whole “what to do with my life” thing I’m very go with the flow and content with whatever’s happening at the time, which obviously leads to a lot of indecisiveness.

    I also agree with Achan, my “chief feature” also seems to be impatience, with the opposite being apathy. I have found that over time I am swinging back and forth less and starting to see glimmers of true patience. Also learning to deal with what is in front of me and allow the universe to place things before me at the proper time. Still working on not freaking out that things aren’t in place though, although that could definitely be environmental imprinting issues.

    Through reading your other articles, I’m seeing a lot of information that comports with things I’ve been saying my whole life! Especially about soul ages, I can sort of sense when people are older or younger than I am. By the way, according to the Michael model, I’m a Mature Scholar like yourself. Not sure what step though, I’m guessing 5 as well because I’m very much into helping others with their lives and spirituality and I am always sharing my spiritual knowledge with others. It’s kind of funny that I’m the neutral position both with goal and soul type. I don’t know about you, but it’s great to find other people in the world that are similar to you so you know you’re not the only one! Sally’s words are very encouraging to me.

    I was also thinking about something this morning, in that for your “false personality” before mid-life (even though I’m 26) can sometimes take the appearance of re-progressing through previous stages before cementing yourself firmly in your actual stage. For instance, my mother is clearly a (perhaps step 4-5) baby soul, and my father a (probably step 4 or 5) young soul, so all of what they told me as a child, and continue to do so are from that perspective. A few years ago I started to feel like I was much older than both of my parents, and now I see them completely differently than I did as a child as I come out of that false personality. Although I will say that I had an old soul grandmother (seriously, I would be very surprised if she chose to come back) who cemented my spirituality very young in life (both before and after her death).

    I’ve only found your blog yesterday, but I really enjoy your writing and views (probably since we agree on a lot of things), like yourself I’m also in psychology (currently pursuing a bachelor’s in it) so I think our lines of thought are also very similar. Looking forward to more good stuff.

    • Contentment with impatience – what a fascinating combo! The chief feature always works by luring you into the negative aspect of the goal, which in this case would indeed be apathy or stagnation.
      Great to hear from you. Thanks David.

  6. I have been channeled as having the goal of Contentment, and if it had not been channeled I would have no idea what could be my goal. In fact, I really don’t know what to think about it. If it is really this goal I have, most of my life has been in its negative pole of stagnation/inertia/passivity. I then did all I could do to understand and go out of that (psychotherapy typical of the Mature soul). I am also trying to professionally push my life in a more rewarding direction (i.e. my website is about this new direction), but it does not come easy. In fact I have disliked most of my life, and to make sense of this chore, had to get some aim and objective. As such it has been more like the goal of Growth, but not entirely either. Now, the goal of Contentment seem to imply about being “content” of my life, and in this regard it’s a total failure.

    • Hi DOK

      So do you have a sense that your truest inner drive is to just let go and let be, but your mind keeps setting up these goals for you to strive towards, because, after all, that’s what people are “supposed” to do?

      Also, it wold be good to know what your Mode, Attitude and Chief Feature are – there could be some “interesting” interactions going on. And of course, if you are an action-oriented Warrior, say, then the idea that “doing nothing is not an option” might be playing a role!


  7. Contentment and naturally “going with the flow” seem to be very prevalent themes im my life. Until recently, I have been strugling my whole life to find ambition. But none of that felt right to me. So I’ve come to accept and embrace the fact that I have no ambition. I guess being part of a society and culture that places so much emphasis on ambition has made it difficult for me to deal with my lack of. Now that I am allowing things to flow freely I often find myself very content. And I want to thank you Barry, your site is so unbelivably helpful.

  8. Which experiences have led you to this stage of identity development? Use personal examples to illustrate different stages/statuses of your racial/cultural identity development.

  9. My goal is flow.
    I slide to Acceptance and Discrimination to get out of the pits of Inertia.

    The goal of Flow is a lot like riding down a river. 🙂

    Flow is about learning to navigate ones life, rather than struggle against the momentum it seems to be throwing back at oneself.
    If you try struggling against the currents and move in the opposite direction life is taking you, it’s just exhausting and you ultimately feel you’re getting no where.
    Inertia is the feeling that you can’t control the direction you’re moving in, even if that’s the direction of stuck-in-a-rut.
    Freedom is the feeling of being able to manage the countless currents of your life.
    You might not be able to turn those currents the other way but you can navigate them manage them in your own suitable ways.
    Point is, you have oars, so use them! XD

    My ways of being free are to slide to Discrimination(discern what exactly it is I want from what I’m struggling) or Acceptance(surrender to the flow and accept that it’s just as is(this is a kind of gratitude))

    However that’s not to say I also feel the -Poles of Outright Picky Rejection and False/Manipulative/Pressuring Acceptance

  10. I’d like to know if it’s possible to blend goals. I have always felt that “contentment” was my goal in the sense described here. (I have had a lot of things come easy to me, and I have said that everything I do comes from a bed of idleness.) Yet it is always elusive. And at a critical juncture in my coming of age I fell apart. (Stubbornness is what I think is my Chief Feature.) Yet I see aspects of “growth” in myself having had to develop this in response to hard knocks. When I look at my picture I don’t see the true contentment in the photos on this page. Do you think that a soul can be knocked so hard it changes mid-stream? Or that we can choose something else mid-stream? I’ve also had, and continue to have, periods of stagnation and inertia, sometimes this is agony for me until things get moving again but I have had to learn that it will come back. On the soul types I think that I am a young Scholar. In years I am middle aged. I have taken on a serious life task that has challenged me to stay in a flow but even there things have come easily or not at all. Wonder how to make sense of this?

    • Hi bluedragon,

      Contentment + Stubbornness is interesting. Both are neutral still-points. One means allowing Life to do its thing on your behalf, which you have good experiences of. But the other means refusing to be pushed into any new experience against your will. So I can see the potential for internal conflict. The more you resist change, the more you step out of the flow.

      It’s not that we can blend goals exactly, like blending colours. But we can switch from one to another, like switching gears.

      Usually it’s when we get stuck in the negative pole of our goal that we switch to another goal as a way to get back on track, to get the energy flowing again. And the one we usually switch to is the ‘opposite’ goal on the same axis.

      Growth < ——> Retardation
      Acceptance < ——> Rejection
      Dominance < ——> Submission

      For example, I have goal of Growth and, occasionally … um, frequently … I can get stuck in the negative pole with feelings of overwhelm and confusion. It feels like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew (let alone swallow or digest). So then I feel compelled to swing over to Retardation – the drive to pull back, retreat, simplify – which gives me the space to de-stress, regroup, see things more clearly – and then throw myself back into Growth.

      The interesting thing with the goal of Contentment is that, being neutral, there is no ‘opposite’ goal. That just means that when you feel stuck (stagnation, inertia), all other goals are equally accessible so you can switch to any of them.

      Doing something by choice, with focus and effort, is what pulls you out of stagnation. Growth, for example, means choosing to seek deeper insight and understanding. And once you feel like your life has got some movement or momentum from that, I guess you then just let go of Growth and go with the flow contentedly, wherever it takes you.

      Not sure if that’s fully addressed your query, but it’s what occurs to me for now.

      Best wishes


  11. Chinese Wu Wei, which means “effortless doing”. In Taoism, this is the art of going through life without interfering with it, just letting go and letting be, or what Chuang Tzu calls “purposeless wandering.”
    Another good term is the French laissez-faire, meaning an attitude of letting things take their own course.

    This are the 2 very term that i am never been able to grasp. by the way i Understand and Speaks Mandarin fully knowing all their deep meaning and theoretic.

    To the People who prefer effortless doing and purposeless wandering and letting things laasie fraiz often tell me that i am never content if i were i should listen to them and act in a certain way and behave like them. This is what’s puzzling because logic tells me Input = Output, not Do nothing = Output. Therefore i have always strive to be that = sign guiding and finding way for employees to do something that will eventually lead to output, which are their wages so that they can bring back home to provide food and security for their family, and whenever i am unable to be that equal sign, which basically means not being able to create a sustainable business model that will guarantee me that tomorrow i am able to pay wages to my employees, that in turn won’t be able to feed and provide security for their family, i am unable to sleep knowing that all these life as well their family are directly affected by your action.

    To me Wu wei or purposeless wandering people only create burden for others by making others believe and follow their set of ways of doing nothing. If everyone in this world do nothing i have no idea how are we going to survive?

    • Hello Patson,

      Thank you for the comment. I can appreciate your concerns, and the weight of responsibility you feel for the well-being of your employees.

      As I see it, there are different ways of living life – different paths leading to different goals.

      I think it is important to recognise that we do not all have the same goal in life. It is also helpful to know that whichever goal or path is most natural for you, it will feel right, it will make you happy, and it will also be your gift to the world.

      For some people, it is natural to follow the path of wu-wei or non-doing, just contentedly “going with the flow”. But I know only a few people who can live like that. It is certainly not natural for everyone to do the same, no matter what our philosophers or religions say.

      It seems that both Taoism and Buddhism teach that non-doing or wu-wei is the “best” path or the “right” path for enlightenment, or at least for happiness. It worked for the Buddha. But that doesn’t mean it will work the same for everyone. We are all different.

      Islam, in contrast, teaches that Submission is the “true” path. The word “islam” means “submission”.

      Christianity is also different; it teaches the path of Acceptance, in the sense of accepting all other people with an open heart, treating others with kindness.

      But I really do not believe there is one right path for everyone.

      Each of us has our own natural goal in life – Dominance, Submission, Acceptance, Rejection, Growth, Retardation or Contentment/Flow. When we follow our own natural path, our life unfolds successfully and we feel satisfied. When we try to follow a different path, it feels unnatural and it leads to conflict and frustration.

      My goal, for example, is Growth. My life path leads towards understanding. I know that is my path because the more I understand, the better I feel, and I become a better person as my understanding transforms into my gift to the world.

      I have tried focusing on Dominance (leadership) and failed terribly. I have tried focusing on Acceptance but it doesn’t feel right or natural for me. Only Growth is right for me in this life.

      My wife, in contrast, has a goal of Acceptance – she has a natural urge to connect with others with an open heart. The more she accepts others in that way, the better she feels, and certainly her ability to reach others with her heart is her beautiful gift to the world.

      When we follow our natural path, we find happiness in ourselves and we give happiness to the world.

      But whenever one person tries to impose his preferred path upon another person, it can only lead to conflict.

      If a person’s natural path or goal is really Contentment/wu-wei, then they should not have any motivation to compel others to be the same. Demanding others to follow their way is a contradiction of the path! If one is truly content with the present, and with non-doing, then one has no reason to make others change how they life their own lives!

      I can see that you have a great commitment to serving the well-being of your employees in the best way that you can. It certainly sounds like wu-wei is not for you. I also suspect that many of those who teach it as “the correct path” are actually far from the path. Perhaps they are just using the concept to justify their own laziness?

      To conclude: Contentment is not the right path for everyone. Nor is it the wrong path or everyone. It is appropriate for a few people (maybe 7% of the world). If they are happy, good. But if those who preach that path are not content to see your commitment to your business, your dedicated input, then clearly it is they who are at fault.

      best wishes,


  12. Hi Barry,

    I came across your website randomly one day about a month ago. Since then I have read every article for the most part, its very interesting stuff to me. The last year or so I’ve started taking an interest in researching spirituality, meditation, etc. Reason being is because I have never really been attracted to religion, even from a very young age because it has never really made sense to me. I’ve questioned it since 8 years old. I remember asking my priest when I was 12 how do I know this is all real and his answer was to simply just have faith and I thought that was the dumbest unsubstantiated answer he could have gave. I don’t discount a higher being, nor judge those that have a particular religion (there’s 100s, how is any particular one right?), it’s just not my cup of tea. This is one reason why I set out to explore alternative meanings to life, hence this website.

    As a back round, I am 28 years old, married, about to start a family, and have had a steady career since undergrad. I would most certainly say I am Scholar cast Sage, as I constantly enjoy learning about new things and seem to be constantly thinking all the time. I always catch myself constantly analyzing facial cues, emotions, and or just thinking about something completely different when speaking someone. Sometimes I have to force myself to focus on the conversation at hand. This also goes hand in hand when I’m working on something, as I constantly jump around still completing every task, just in no specific order. As an example, while reading your articles I would tend to have 10 of them open and read a little bit of one, jump to another, and come back to the original one later, then jump to the comments of another. The Sage in me, I feel, is my ability to tell stories in person in a very entertaining and fun way. I always been complemented on my humor. I always been a pretty good people person too. I tend to meet new people and they will just start telling me all there problems and or life story with no reason at all. If there is usually problem in the family or friends, I am always the one that’s asked to talk to them because “you’re the only one that might get a point across”, no matter the age of the individual. I always wondered why this is. I also had ex-girlfriends wonder why I don’t get excited about things. It’s not that I’m not excited about things, I truly enjoy the moment, I just don’t see the need to jump for joy if something great happens and or sweat the small stuff if something bad happens. If its bad and I’m not going to care about it in a couple days. why care/get worked up in the first place.

    The goal that most resonates with me is contentment. Things have always had a knack for working themselves out for me for some reason and typically with little effort on my part. For example, my career. I went through a couple extended interviews at places that didn’t work out and started to think about getting into a different career and then out of nowhere I got phone call a couple days later and the rest is history. I have trouble with this goal as I seem to not have a specific drive towards anything. I enjoy a lot of things and am very good at a lot of different things I do, but nothing in particular resonates with me as yes, this is what I want to do with my life. It’s a question I really can’t answer for some reason, hence why I found this website I think. My goal is to not be working in the corporate world by the time I’m 40. My reasons are once I learn something it will start to lose its luster, for example, my current career; I have it down pretty pat. I also dislike some of the people I meet in this corporate world. I find a lot of them lacking of common sense, having questionable morals, and selfish or boring. I want to be my own boss if anything, doing whatever it may be. I do not need to be uber wealthy in life, but would like to have enough to do whatever I felt like in life. I don’t need a yacht, jet, 10 houses, or things of that nature, but it would be nice to travel on a vacation anywhere I chose, or buy a new (reasonable) vehicle without hesitation, be debt free, etc. My soul level I would guess is mature something, since I still have an affinity towards some earthly things. My favorite color is green if that means anything.

    I know I am not asking any direct questions and sorry if this is long winded. I just felt the need to share myself with you, with the possibility of you shedding a little more light on my situation or why I am the way I am and where I could or should be heading.

    • Hi Barry,

      I would like to note some great and a couple odd experiences I have had in the last week since writing my original post.

      I feel like people have been more energetic or expressive around me. I have just had a great week with people. I received a significant raise at work about 4 days ago, which was great and out of nowhere. I am very appreciative of it though.

      I was at the store a couple days later this weekend and the store was packed. Every aisle was filled with people waiting to check out. This guy was in front of me in line and he was reaching over his cart into the basket part for a few items he had left to get. I said,” Here, let me help you with those.” And I set my basket down. He replied with, “Ah, a gentlemen scholar. There’s not too many of us left. It is alway’s nice when you see one.” I just thought to myself, what an odd thing to say to someone. Then as I was leaving the store a random lady said I wish you great fortune. Another odd thing to say to a random person I felt. Maybe I am reading into these two things too much, but it felt odd to me at the time.


    • Hi Justin,
      Sounds like you are in the zone, or what Abraham (another teaching source) calls your vortex of attraction. In other words, you’re in alignment with who you are and what you seek, offering no resistance to how the universe manifests for you. It may feel like life is showering you with random goodness, but perhaps it’s more a case of allowing what you’ve been attracting all along. I’ve had similar “episodes”, and each time it coincides with an internal sense of being more aligned with the bigger picture, and less fixated on the mechanics of everyday problems. If that makes sense…

    • PS – I just watched a very uplifting true-life biopic about a British guy who clearly (to me) has the goal of contentment and has spent most of his life in the zone of receiving goodness. And what’s more, he appears (at least to me) to be an Infant soul, perhaps a 7th level Infant Sage, or possibly a Baby Sage. It’s a made-for-tv film called ‘Marvellous’, and he’s played by actor Toby Jones. His life has been an unbelievable series of fortunate events. Quote: “I realised all I wanted was to be happy. So I decided to be happy.”

    • Hi Barry,

      Thank you for taking the time to reply to me. It makes sense, thanks for the explanation. Any additional information you may have would be appreciated. This has all been very interesting for me to learn. I will have to watch this true-life biopic, sounds fascinating.

      Out of curiosity, if you don’t mind. From speaking to me relatively briefly, would you say my description of myself is fairly accurate? Scholar-Sage, with a goal of contentment. I think I am a early old or possibly late mature soul. The old soul description resonated most with me while reading. If there’s any additional information I could share that would help you get a more accurate description, please do not hesitate to ask.

      Best Regards,

    • Hi Justin,

      Oops. Your first post is one of many that have slipped under my radar lately.

      My first impression of you for some reason was Scholar – Sages are usually more effusive. However, it sounds like you have a non-expressive mode (e.g., repression, caution, or observation), which could make you a relatively unexpressive Sage. But the way your mind zips around, going off conversations, is more typical of an Artisan. And the way that all manner of people will listen to you – that can also be a Priest or Server thing, offering friendly advice.

      So without knowing more about you, it’s hard for me to judge. Definitely Mature or Old, possibly Scholar, Sage or Artisan, or Priest… Seeing your face might help. But if you really want to know, of course, you can always get a reading from one of the channels.

      In any event, it’s what resonates for you the most that counts, not what someone else says. Self-validation is the bottom line.

      The goal certainly seems to fit though.


    • Hi Barry,

      My facebook is fairly private, I’m not sure you will be able to see a picture of me on there without being a friend. Is there an e-mail address you have I could possibly send you some pictures?

      I can see being an Artisan as well after going back and reading a little more about it.

      Thanks for replying to me.


    • Hi Barry,

      In addition to my message above, I had another question.

      I often find myself experiencing something through personal reading, television, radio, etc. and having it come up in general conversation that day/next or sometimes a week later with someone. This happens a lot to me. The topic is unprovoked by me. In other words, “It’s funny you say that, I just read about that or seen something about that yesterday.” Its almost like a deja vu moment, and can often relate to completely random things. Sort of like, what are the odds of me coming across this information the morning of a conversation I will have about it this afternoon. I hope I make sense. Any idea to why this is?


    • It doesn’t have to be in relation to people either. I might read about something that morning and for example a random sitcom T.V. show I may be watching that night might be about the exact same subject matter I had just read about that morning coincidentally or a commercial could do this as well. Its just happened too many times for me to merely chalk it up to coincidence.


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