Have you seen marketing and promotions that make you believe you can “hack” your life? In fact, it’s become such a buzzword that spiritual corporations, mindful gurus and yoga experts are promoting the shit out of this word making you believe there is a hack to everything – love, conscious engineering, abundance and finding your soul mate.
Besides making the article, video or product “click bait” material, every “expert” has found the new way to make you believe that shortcuts are possible. It's as if the lessons that humans have learned throughout the last thousands of years are no longer worthy. Well, if there’s one thing I learned while living in Germany is that I’ve become what I term, “a realist spiritualist” and the German certainly toughened me up in many areas of life.
As a spiritual person, I believe(d) in much of what we learn in this school of thought about positive thinking/energy and manifestation. I came to realize that a lot of spiritual thinking is hopeful and wishful, which is very positive and necessary for growth and change. However, what my life experience has given me is actual knowledge and understanding of change and spiritual growth. It never once gave me some “hack” or short cut into life. That is where my realistic thinking kicked in. At times I became so logical in Germany that it actually made me more spiritual. It sounds crazy and illogical, but it was true (at least in my brain) because I accepted and honored life’s lessons.
Since we live in the Information Age, we are presented with opportunities to make things faster, which in turn makes us want things faster and quicker. Money, promotions, weightloss, text messages - we want it all and we want it now. But is that really the case?
I find that there are more efficient ways to doing something, but it’s not necessarily quick-fix hack like most marketing gimmicks makes you believe. The informal definition of a hack is, “a tip, trick or efficient method for doing something or managing something.” If there’s one thing that technology has taught us, is that there are better ways to doing something.
It takes years for a 500-pound person to get back to a normal weight. Most marriages are not repaired after one counseling visit and most people do not become John Mayer after the first time he or she picks up a guitar.
Everything in life takes time and experience. But it’s about how much energy you put into something. My kundalini yoga instructor once told us that one of his students wanted clarity and movement with a business opportunity. He told her to do this specific mantra every day for 120 days and see the results. Disciplined, she did what she was told and the opportunity did present itself.
In some way, that is a hack as using the power of mantra and vibration, but she still had to do her part. It's not a seven-day program or 30-days to the best life you ever wanted. She spent a quarter of a year applying herself to this mantra. Thus, a lot of work, energy and dedication was put forth for her to reap her reward. And that there is the reality that you must put forth your own effort. I’m sure for many people after day 7 they’d become tired, hopeless and question if something like this works.
In simple terms, the word “hack” should not be replaced with speed or quickness.
Now, some people are blessed in this world, no doubt, but for most of us we still need to “work” to overcome or to get things.
Acceptance is another lesson. Last year, I went to the Spanish Balearic Island, Ibiza. I visited the most popular Hippie Market and there sat a palm reader shading himself under an umbrella. The one thing I’ve struggled in my life is financial security, like most people. Without saying a word, he said, “All your fortune will come through hard work. You are not meant to get rich through other people or something like winning a lottery. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you must work hard for your fortunes.”
In some ways, we all hope to be discovered with our creative efforts. I’ve taken a ton of abundance classes and courses and although I think life grants abundance through different means (which I’ve personally experienced), I’ve never struck it rich like any of those books, webinars or courses taught me (and instilled in my brain) years ago. If you do try to hack something you must be realistic in some ways.
I will share an example of how manifestation works, but how time also dictates the fates of life. I moved to Germany 2.5 months after my husband. Right before he left for Germany, I wanted us to see one last movie together. Somewhat sad on the bus to work, I stressed about my finances since I recently spent over two thousand dollars on moving costs. I don’t really know why but I walked a different route than usual to work that day. I thought about whether or not we should go to the movie. I wanted to, but my mind kept fighting, “you need to save money.” I walked through the back parking lot at work (which I never do) and glanced down at the ground. In my mind I screamed, “Holy shit! It’s a twenty-dollar bill. Thank you universe!”
I began reading books about mindset in 2007. That 2014 experience was the first time I “won” or “earned” anything over one to two-dollars. Although I felt it was a divine intervention to let us go to the movie, I accepted the gracious gift with appreciation and a reality that money doesn’t grow on trees. Thus, moving abroad without a job would require me to be smart with money.
So, the reality is that anyone has the potential to earn money, but the reality of when it can happen is out of your control. .
Life is not always easy, but we humans are complex beings. So when someone says you can hack your life, understand there are a lot of factors that weigh into it, and very rarely is anything in life a quick fix.
Presently living in Seattle, the development of this city to aspire to be the next San Francisco is pushing out the creative artist / average-waged person and catering rent and jobs to the high-earning tech people. The homeless population has exploded, causing a state of emergency situation. Last weekend, I offered a homeless guy food who declined saying, “No thanks. I just got off work and already ate. Thank you though.” This guy began bundling himself into a sleeping bag prepping himself for the next day of work. This is the unfortunate reality of life in this city at the moment because of human choices. Life is miraculous, but maybe the "hack" or wish for that homeless guy was just to get a job. Sadly, it's not enough to pay market rent ($2,000-3,000 for a 1 bedroom), but the course of his life will progress to a better situation if he stays focused on that dream.
Another spiritual "hack" is the promotion of "meditate like a zen master in minutes per day." I'm sorry but I spent time at a Buddhist meditation center and these masters dedicate their life to spiritual work. Like a snowball, the more you meditate the quicker your mind and body will respond to the physiological changes, but meditating in less than 12 minutes per day cannot be categorized on the same level as a master. It's more realistic to believe that even the smallest amounts of meditation will decrease stress. But what happens internally when you get so frustrated at your efforts? You beat yourself up, you get frustrated, you quit and then your belief systems change. Don't you see how these marketing tactics do more damage than good?
Although I do believe some people’s experience goes against what I just said, just remember there are no short cuts in most areas of life. There are better and more efficient ways of doing something, but just like the injured person who skips his or her physical therapy - the body cannot heal without that discipline to do the exercises.
So if your "hack" doesn’t work, don’t get down on yourself. Just note that things will manifest when its time, but you too have to dedicate energy to your goal/dream. When we get caught up in the details we lose hope.
But in all honesty, if someone (or a program) promises you life-changing results or a six-figure income in 30 days or less, I'd question it. To me, it smells a lot like bullshit.
Can you really hack your life? What do you think?
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com