ADVENTURES ON THE QUEST
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This Activity Book is your Quest companion. It will serve as a bridge to take you from the teachings of the Guidebook to their adventures in everyday life.
The value of any adventure lies in its ability to lift us to higher ground - to serve as a stepping stone to a better life. Think of this Activity Book, then, as a hand-holding companion to lead you ahead on your journey of rediscovery. Follow along with us, step-by-step, as you bring each new adventure to life.
FOLLOW THE MAP
There is really only one way to journey on your quest: SYSTEMATICALLY. Imagine how little progress you'd make if you set out on an expedition and then didn't follow your maps. With no definite plan or purpose, you would soon be lost - overwhelmed by your surroundings. The same applies to THE QUEST. To attempt it in a directionless, undisciplined manner would only lead to confusion and frustration.
THE QUEST is a progressive, evolutionary process. It is going to move you into unknown territory. Right now you are at the start of your expedition. Are you willing to go the distance? You have to make that commitment to yourself if you intend to attain the treasure of transformation. THE QUEST requires that you proceed with purpose and self-discipline, one day at a time, one-step-at-a-time, until you've completed the process.
You may be tempted to skip over an activity that seems too basic, too elementary, for your present level of spiritual maturity, but it's good to touch base with the fundamentals. Somehow we never really outgrow them. A circling back can only strengthen you and give you impetus to reach for further heights.
Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach, believed strongly in basics. He felt it was the key to the great success of his teams. In fact, Lombardi was so dedicated to the basic fundamentals of the game that, in order to make the point with his players, he began each new football camp the same way. Addressing his players, most of whom had already been playing the game for more than a decade, he would hold a football above his head and say, "Gentlemen, this is a football."
A friend told us a story about a chemistry class he took. The class was made up mostly of chemistry majors, with a handful of physics majors like himself who were required to take the course. On the first day of class, the professor announced, "The physics majors will do better than you chemistry majors, and here's why. We'll be starting with basic chemistry but there will be a few new twists. Of course, the physics majors will study this because it's all new to them. But you chemistry majors will not study because you think you know the basics, and when the course heads into new territory, you chemistry people will not be properly prepared." As it turned out, his predictions were right on target.
We like to think of the basic level of THE QUEST as a kind of base camp for our expedition. Participating in these early maneuvers will serve to give you a solid footing for progressing deeper into the journey. It will give your quest a sense of wholeness and completeness. Even a climb up the highest mountain begins in the foothills.
The bottom line is that the basics are important. Professionals practice basics long into their careers. Musicians play scales, dancers practice positions, athletes hone techniques, all in an attempt to perfect basic fundamentals. It is to your advantage to follow this Activity Book as it is laid out, conscientiously completing each activity before going on to the next.
FOR THE ADVENTURER
Rising up behind the shore of the French Riviera are mountains which can be traveled by way of three roads called "corniches." Closest to sea-level is La Corniche Inferieure, providing safety and attractive local scenery. Then comes La Moyenne Corniche for those who want a medium altitude with wonderful views of the coast below. Above that is La Grande Corniche for travelers who want the most spectacular views. This road is very high and full of unexpected twists and turns. It is for people who want to make the extra effort required to traverse the peaks. Travel is slower and the experience quite intense, but the views are absolutely sensational. As you would expect, there is very little traffic up there.
La Grande Corniche is not used by people who are interested in getting from one place to another in the most direct, safest way. It is off the main trail, available when one simply feels the need of a more intense experience. For most travel, however, the other roads are much more practical and preferable.
THE QUEST, like the mountains of the French Riviera, can be handled on several levels. Each teaching can be worked with to whatever degree you select. You decide how far you want to take it. It is your quest - your journey. Travel it as you wish. The activities in this book are your main trail. They will provide ample opportunities for you to exercise your spiritual muscles as the trail follows the terrain of your life.
We have made provision, however, for the adventurer who wants to explore an area off the main trail. So, if you ever feel the need to take yourself a step beyond, and have the time and willingness to stretch yourself a bit, you can venture into the activity called OFF THE MAIN TRAIL. Please note that these are purely optional activities.
Now here's the plan. Read The Teaching in the Guidebook first and then its corresponding Adventure in this Activity Book--back and forth, back and forth, until you complete the entire process.
You will soon see that all Adventures in this Activity Book have certain activities in common:
Soul-Talk - Each Adventure begins with Soul-Talk. This is a call to action which you'll be decreeing often for the duration of that particular chapter. Make it your constant companion. Repeat your Soul-Talk statement, silently or aloud, as many times a day as you can think of it.
In addition to speaking it, you'll be writing out your Soul-Talk three times. This will serve to impress it on your memory and in your consciousness (which is your soul - hence the name "Soul-Talk"). But rather than writing the statement over and over quickly, as if it were a punitive exercise, write it slowly one time. Then stop, close your eyes, take a deep breath and be still for a short time - ten or fifteen seconds. Then write it again and follow with another deep breath and pause. When you are ready, write the statement a third time. This helps you to assimilate the very personal meaning which each Soul-Talk holds for you.
Soul-Thoughts - After you have completed writing your Soul-Talk, close your eyes, become quiet, and allow whatever thoughts and feelings that have been generated to present themselves. Any impressions you have about the Soul-Talk or about any of the current teaching or any thoughts about THE QUEST should be noted here. This is an extremely important section because it will become the log of your journey.
The significance of this exercise cannot be overemphasized. The more time you can spend with this Activity and the more honestly and accurately you can identify and express your feelings, the richer will be your experience.
WRITING THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS - Do not miss any part of the journey, especially the writing assignments. Sometimes it might be tempting to skip over them, thinking that it's enough to answer the questions in your mind, but writing encourages you to focus your thoughts and more precisely identify your feelings. They--your thoughts and your feelings - are the most important part of this Activity Book.
SteppingStones - Each chapter ends with a task to perform: a simple change in life-style (a baby step) designed to help pave the way toward bigger changes.
It's not enough to want to change. That's only the beginning. A desire without a deed is a dead-end. After all, if we don't change something, how can we expect anything to change? The act of physically doing something different every day rousts us out of our natural inclination to preserve the status-quo.
You will notice that these SteppingStones are not big changes. They are very simple changes of habits, attitudes, opinions, and reactions. But it is exactly these types of little changes that make the more important changes easier.
Look at it this way. If you change the speed, size, or direction of even the tiniest gear in a machine, all gears are affected! Similarly, if you change the direction of even the tiniest habit, attitude, opinion, or reaction in your life, all thoughts and actions will begin to change, and that's the magic of these SteppingStones. Whereas it's difficult to make the big changes that we all want to make (if they were easy we would have made them long ago!), it's easy to make the small changes. And each small change acts like a stepping-stone, taking us further on the path of transformation.
Most of the SteppingStones won't seem to tie-in with the chapter they're in. You will notice this right away. Don't let it confuse you. In fact, only a very few SteppingStones are designed specifically for particular chapters. This may seem haphazard, but we assure you it is not. These SteppingStones have one purpose and one purpose only: They are designed to lead to change. Change is what THE QUEST is all about. The more changes you make in your life, the easier it is for your life to change.
You will also notice an almost childlike simplicity to these SteppingStones. That's because foundations are the first part of a building. Stone by stone you are creating a solid base, so it's important that you incorporate the SteppingStones into your daily behavior. Each SteppingStone assignment is to be used the entire time you are working on that Adventure.
A BRIEF SUMMARY -
To briefly summarize how you will be proceeding in this Activity Book:
1) READ - After completing the Guidebook chapter, read the entire corresponding Adventure in this Activity Book, including the questions. Don't attempt to answer the questions at this time. Just get an overall flavor for the Adventure.
2) STEPPINGSTONE - Now is the time you want to incorporate the SteppingStone into your daily schedule. It appears at the end of the chapter but don't wait until then to use it. Start it after your first reading of the chapter.
3) SOUL-TALK - Write the Soul-Talk three times, pausing between each time. Then use the phrase as many times a day as you can during the week.
4) SOUL-THOUGHT - After completing your Soul-Talk writing, allow time for your thoughts and feelings to clarify themselves and then write them down.
5) ACTIVITIES - Follow the directions for each activity in order. Write your answers as thoroughly and completely as you can.
6) OPTION - Decide if you want to step "OFF THE MAIN TRAIL". If you do, complete this Activity before going on to the next Adventure.
PERSONAL PROGRAM -
Whether you choose to make this great adventure alone or in a group, THE QUEST is your personal program. It is something you will be doing for yourself. It just might be the most important endeavor you will ever undertake.
You will be making the effort, but it will be you who reaps the benefits. Know that you deserve every bit of the good that lies ahead for you on the path.
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