The long journey of writing The Solo System
When I started researching the human subjective experience, it struck me how much of it is negative, despite our best intentions to be positive. All authors in the field of ‘self-improvement’ seemed to focus exclusively on ‘positivity’ – perhaps because of the huge potential for improvement.
“If we spend so much effort on creating a positive experience for ourselves, and so much of our experience turns out to be negative despite our sincerest attempts,” so I thought, “then there must be a particularly good reason for the human negative experience.”
I began to wonder what the good reason for our negative experience might be, and this question lead me to the discovery of the Solo System. It revealed that our negative experience can be used as a raw material to create an authentic and fulfilling life – not a flawless and spectacular ‘positive life’ – but a rich and meaningful everyday life, lived with courage and curiosity.
When I started writing The Solo System (in 1998), using negative experience as the starting point for the creative process was a radical thought. ‘Negativity’ was a totally taboo subject. Everybody seemed to be worshipping the ‘cult of optimism’. This has changed. More and more fellow travellers on the journey of life are stepping into their edges, ready to face the real human experience. Some prominent examples are Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty and founder of the Good Life Project, who is particularly interested in how people manage to turn fear into fuel; Brené Brown, researcher of vulnerability and author or Daring Greatly, and Sarah Lewis, explorer of failure and its valuable contribution to an artist’s body of work (all three of them have given popular TED talks).
We are entering an era of recognising that our negative experiences (negative feelings, thoughts, self-images, beliefs, failures, mistakes etc.) are not random events to be avoided or eliminated, but that they provide us with valuable information. They can lead us to our next breakthroughs and greatest discoveries – but only if we are prepared to look at them, use them, and convert them into something that is genuinely useful, of course. I now like to think of all negative aspects of human consciousness as a substance that can be composted and used to fertilise our creative process. I am delighted that other original thinkers and independent free spirits have come to similar realisations.
The focus of my work is not the negative human experience as such but the creative process that human consciousness naturally participates in. The negative experience is an intrinsic part of that process. What we experience as ‘negative’ outside of us is always connected with an immature aspect inside of ourselves. By doing authentic inner ‘acts of creation’ the inner and the outer events can be transformed simultaneously.
As long as we try to cover up negative aspects and silence our own subjective experience, we cut ourselves off from our most reliable source of information. The Solo System has taught me that perseverance with an open mind, and without a hidden predetermined agenda, always leads to answers we can trust.
On this website I publish weekly articles on the inner journey. You can read them here.
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