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Head shot of Patanjali Sokaris

Patanjali Sokaris

Pondering the universe

Experience junkies

Many want more to their lives, and so attend workshops and seminars to gain more knowledge. However, they can then get caught up in the experience and high of a workshop, and so spend a lot of time jumping from one to another.

Workshops can be a good way to get information compared to books, because you are supposedly getting it from people who are enthusiastic about the material. You get see how it works for them by how they come across to you. It can appear real because you are seeing it being experienced, as opposed to it just being up to what you imagine it to be.

However, if you are not the type of person who can generate your own enthusiasm, through running with things of your own volition, you will probably feel very lifted up by the presenter's and participants' enthusiasm, and so take on some of that as your own.

Presenters know that that sense of enthusiasm is needed to help participants be present and involved in the workshop, but it also helps the participants be more inclined to try out the information and skills in practice. It fosters a willingness to suspend disbelief, just like for books and movies, so it overcomes your inclination to be sceptical long enough to see if it works for you.

But that process does not work if, instead of spending time experimenting with the information, you think that you would rather just have more of the high of the experience, and so go to another workshop or seminar soon after the last.

If that is what you repeatedly end up doing, you have become addicted to the experience of the high, and not the content. You may then feel you have a lot to give, but because you are not actually living like the knowledge is really part of you, to others you will come across as empty and as if you are fooling yourself.

Knowledge isn't grounded until its allowed to find its context in your life. That is, you have found a way to express it in what you do and how you do it. Until then, it is just an interesting idea. That means that to get the benefits of knowledge, you have to see where you can apply the knowledge in your daily life. But that doesn't really have a chance to happen if you are off to another workshop pretty soon after the last.

Serially going through workshops without adequate time to asborb the content means that you are more likely to keep being attracted to workshops with a similar focus, and so keep getting the same information. While repetition is supposedly one way of remembering information, it doesn't work if it doesn't end up meaning anything deep to you. You may be able to recite some of the content soon afterwards, but time sends it to oblivion.

Experience hunting doesn't just apply to workshops and seminars, but can extend to websites, where you get off on the busyness of them, rather than the depth of their content, which can appear boring in comparison (like this one!), or you are attracted to people who dazzle you with their personalities, rather than help you improve yours.

The end result of experience hunting is that you pass a lot of time, but you don't get much wisdom, because you haven't really changed yourself. Worthwhile experiences will transform you in some way, so that you get a new view on your life, and what you can do better now and in your future.

However, if you are jumping around experimenting, it may be because you are not finding what really jells with you, and you are not wanting to commit until you do. Commitment is a big deal, and means devoting your time and resources to something that may not be what you really want.

Perhaps it is better to invert that thinking, by taking a leap of faith and seeing what it will bring. Commitment does not mean doing it forever, but enough to give yourself a chance to understand it and whether it will be good for you. It may only be something you need to do for a short amount of time in order to be ready for the next stage in your life.

You may be expecting some sort of sign will flash when you get to the 'right' course, but many times we have to commit to a course of action to open up our understanding of ourselves and see some other opportunities that we would have been blind to otherwise.

Life is an experiment, and we cannot progress unless we make choices and commit to them enough to see where they may lead, and thus see what is better for us to do, rather than spend our time fretting over taking any action to begin with.

Also, choices in life are often about what path we want for our lives. They will not be simple choices such as whether to buy chocolate or vanilla ice-cream, but about whether we want a luxurious life or one where we are making a difference, or a job with higher pay or one with a better working environment.

We are all presented with many opportunities to choose, mainly between indulging our personalities or helping ourselves become better people. The two outcomes are very rarely occurring on the same path.

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