Recently, I received an email from a beautiful seeker. He has been with me since the beginning.
I will share it with you:
As I read your latest discourse, I find myself sitting silently with tears flowing down my cheeks. For the last several years you have inspired me more than any person I have ever met.
Your words bring me more and more realization every day. You were meant to do this, and not just for the top level Professional Athletes and CEO’s, but for millions around the world. I know you will not agree with me. But I know it to be true.
I would love it if you would write a discourse about who it is that inspires you. The way that you have inspired me.
I must confess that when I receive letters like this, I do not know how to respond. I often do not respond to them. For I fear that any response I would give might do injustice to the sanctity of the letter.
I will, however, respond to the question that this letter has posed.
We are attracted to those individuals in this world whose DNA matches our own. Whose sensibilities so beautifully replicate the ones that flow through us.
We feel a kinship with them. We feel that they are the one person in this world who is Just Like Me. When we see them, when we hear them, instantly we know. We quietly say to ourselves, “I finally found him. He is the one. He is the person who was created just like me.”
When we hear them speak, or read their writings, it unlocks something primal and sacred within us. Something only they could unlock.
We could sit with them in a quiet secluded place, and talk forever.
There are three such human beings that I have come across in my life.
One is The Buddha (not his teachings. But the man himself.)
One is Jeremy Jones.
One is Bernard Moitessier
This letter is for Jeremy.
I first learned about Jeremy from a 60 minutes episode with Sharyn Alfonsi (a beautifully rebellious spin on the spelling of her first name. She was destined for this interview).
Immediately after watching the episode I dropped Sharyn a note. I do not remember what I said. But I was completely taken by the episode.
I went online and began to learn about Jeremy. His childhood. Yes! I listened to what he said in videos. Yes! After each thing he said, I said to myself, Yes!
He said that he grew disenchanted with medals and Olympic games, as they were not his true quest. Yes!
He said snowboarding was a spiritual journey. Yes!
He asked a helicopter to drop him off on top of a mountain. When the pilot said that this wasn’t possible, Jeremy said to himself, “That’s just not a true statement.” Yes!
He wanted to access the world’s most remote places. But he could not access them through conventional means. So he became a mountaineer in order to access them. Yes!
The snowboard could not cut through the heavy snow. So he cut it in half and called a “split board.” Yes!
Some of his quotes:
“I’m getting better at figuring out how to go to more obscure places.”
“It’s very easy for someone to sit back and say he’s crazy, he’s selfish to go out and do what he does with family at home. And I struggle with that. But my kids need to see people living life. And drinking life up as much as possible.”
A person on his team (such individuals tend to surround themselves with equally elite individuals) says, “There is another frontier. That frontier is the human power to experience the mountains. That intimacy and depth of knowledge with the snow, the terrain, your own abilities, your equipment . . . You’re going into a whole new realm.”
I am not here to tell you that you should follow your passion, or do what you love. Because a person who doesn’t already feel this way isn’t going to change his DNA.
I will say that all things in this life come down to Obsession, Possession, and Inspiration.
It’s a particular DNA. I don’t know where it comes from. And I wouldn’t know how to instill it in somebody.
The greatest compliment in this world is to be called Insane. I will also, however, say that living as an Insane, Obsessed, Possessed human being is not an easy life.
The artist can never be sane.
It is a life of extremes. Moderation is incompatible with becoming world class. I respect the Buddha more than the Buddhists. And the teaching of the “middle way” is complete bullshit.
“Moderation” may produce a sense of temporary happiness. But there is no way in hell it will produce Enlightenment.
“Moderation” may make one reasonably proficient. But there is no way in hell it will make him a World Number 1.
“Moderation,” and “work life balance,” are yet another example of impotent prescriptions sold to the unmotivated masses.
Mania. Obsession. Rebellion. Reckless Abandon. Possession.
Such things are not only utilitarian, they are the nectar of life.
Because they provide what man has sought for his entire life without knowing that he was seeking it.
They allow one to Lose Himself.
To Disappear in their quest.
I have whispered this into the ear of clients and audience. And one day it will catch fire. One day, when the world sees it as The Truth, it will echo throughout the hills.
The Truth of NO-MIND.
The Zone is a state of No-Mind.
This is what Jeremy experiences on the unimaginably steep spines that he takes on.
It is the raw stuff of life.
It is uncivilized. It is un-societal. It is taking on Nature in Nature’s backyard. With your bare hands and your bare heart.
Life and death are inextricably linked. And the less space there is between them, the more Alive the human feels.
Jeremy, as you read this message, know that your heart has been seen. Your message has been heard.
Brother, you are an inspiration to a generation.
When we meet, we will have a conversation that lasts into the night.