A New Spin on Ancient Teachings
I came across the book “The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity” while reading an article(see below) written by John Cusak, of Say Anything, Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer, etc… fame. While I quickly thought of cute and fuzzy bunnies singing “Roses are red, violets are blue, but love will have nothing to do with you!”, I read his interview with co-author of the Tools Phil Stutz and was intrigued.
Eckhart Tolle speaks of the need for a merger of eastern teachings with western therapeutic methods. This book easily fits that ideal. The authors, both successful psychotherapists, detail a straight-forward path to self-therapy that arms you with five practical tools to deal with difficult life situations. These tools, on the surface, seem simple, and downright implausible to the material-minded, but have hidden power that I can’t describe in words. They need to be experienced.
Alchemy at the Core
The first four tools deal with things that hold us back. In their practices, they have uncovered common things that form the basis of most of our problems. Those being pain and discomfort, parts of ourselves that we do everything to hide from others, closed negative loops that we get ensnared in, and negative feelings toward ourselves and others. These tools deal specifically with moving opposite to dark forces. It’s alchemical in nature, and seeks to reconcile the dark and the light within us, making us whole. You can think of this as forging the Sorcerer’s Stone (not Harry Potter), lol.
What struck me most in reading this is that it takes the teachings of our greatest sages and prophets, and gives us accessible tools to practice those teachings with. Things like love they neighbor, turn the other cheek, accepting yin and yang in everything, dualism, and modern western psychotherapeutic practice are made accessible and simple to grasp, while not calling these things out by name (the book tries very hard to be non-denominational). Practicing these tools is a never ending endeavor, but for the first time I’ve read something coming from our established Western world of doctorates and medicine that takes a holistic and spiritual approach to self-help.
Mindfulness Provides a Jump Start
Mindful practice helps tremendously with these. Through mindful practice, we see our own minds at work. This makes using these tools much easier than coming at it cold. We train ourselves to look at our thoughts, and can see where our major problems lie. This gives us a huge advantage and jump start if we opt to use these tools to help us solve our problems.
Since reading the Tools, I’ve started using them and have to say, from personal experience, they are deceptively simple but effective, for me. I’ve felt the beginnings of positive and lasting change with certain things. Other things will take time, and not all of the tools are immediately effective for me, but I feel their potential once I figure out how best to use them.
All in all, I feel that the Tools resonate with me. They take multitudes of subject matter regarding esoteric practices and make them practical and useable. Time will tell if they are effective, but I’ll see where they go. If the first few experiences are telling, this could be profound. The trick is to stick to certain practices like glue and use them in a focused manner. Let’s see where this goes.