There are two ways to play the game of life—outside-in and inside-out.
We live in a culture that is heavily oriented toward outside-in. Unfortunately that’s a losing strategy. When we seek happiness through relationships, money, achievements, etc, we are setting ourselves up for a life of struggle and stress. When we don’t have the things we think we need, we’re unhappy. Even when the circumstances of our lives are to our liking, we’ll be afraid they won’t last.
Fortunately there is another option, inside-out. This means making our inner objectives the priority. Unlike the outer stuff which is constantly changing, coming and going, the inner riches are always present. Finding them is really just a matter of breaking our habit of looking outside, bringing our attention inside, and finding that what we most deeply yearn for is already here.
When we play inside out, we’re freed up to play our best in the outer game. Let me give an example. Say you’re playing tennis (a game I’ve spent umpteen hours playing and coaching). If you’re playing outside-in, you’re focused mainly on the score. You put a lot of pressure on yourself to win. Because of this, your strokes are likely to be tight and not as consistent as they could be. You certainly aren’t enjoying the game fully. If you do win, you might experience some momentary relieve, but probably not real joy. If you lose, you’ll be miserable.
On the other hand, if you go out on the court with the goal of simply having fun and enjoying hitting the ball, then you’ll be relaxed. Your strokes will be fluid and natural. You’ll play your best while having a great time. Of course, you still might lose the match if your opponent is a better player than you, but this won’t disturb your happiness.
The same principle works in a job interview. If you’re desperate for the job, you’ll be nervous and won’t be at the top of your game. If you walk in focused on enjoying getting to know the interviewer, you’ll relax, connect deeply, and do your best. It may happen that someone else is much better qualified and gets the job, but you’ll have won the inner game and played your best in the outer game, which is all you can truly ask for, in the outer game.
If you want to begin or deepen a shift to playing life inside-out, taking a spiritual retreat is a very powerful step. The choice to take a retreat is a powerful affirmation of your desire to make this shift. Then, while you’re on retreat, away from all the distractions of your daily life, you have a golden opportunity to relax deeply into your own heart.
Mount Shasta is a uniquely powerful place for deep spiritual retreat. The pure energy of the mountain reflects and amplifies your own True Self.
If the outside-in strategy isn’t working for you, turn your life inside out with a Mount Shasta spiritual retreat
Andrew Oser has been offering spiritual life coaching, along with guided retreats on Mount Shasta since 1982. Through hikes to little-known sacred sites, guided meditations, spiritual life coaching, and time drinking in the silence of the mountain, he helps clients to deeply renew themselves in body, mind, and spirit and receive clear vision for their lives.