Tag Archive | The Obstacle

Spiritual Reps

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. (Chuang Tzu)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I deal with these negative thoughts?”

“What’s within your control?”

“I can’t keep them from appearing, so that’s outside my control.

I guess what I can control is how I respond to them.”

Always focus on what you can control.

Don’t resist them. Flow with them.

Accept and appreciate them, for they are manifestations of the Inner Obstacle.

Every encounter with the Inner Obstacle is a Beautiful Opportunity, an aspect of the Beautiful Practice. You could call them spiritual rep(etition)s.”

The Obstacle is the Way 3

Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. (Marcus Aurelius)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Why did you have The Obstacle is the Way tattooed on your left forearm?”

“This has become the central idea of my life. I find it unbelievably beautiful, and profound.

I want to have it always foremost on my mind, as a guide for action and thought. Having it tattooed is a strategy for achieving just that. You could call it ‘persistent-priming‘.

It’s a memento, 
a constant reminder that,

without obstacles, there is no game,
without obstacles, there is no growth,
without obstacles, we wither away and die before our time.

It’s a constant reminder

to always move TOWARDS obstacles, 
and use them as FUEL for my Inner Fire,

to APPRECIATE each and every one of them,
for the beautiful opportunities that they are,
for making me STRONGER, in mind and body,
for helping me mobilize my resources,
for opening up creative possibilities,

and, when none are in sight,

to CREATE them.

The Obstacle is the Way 2

There are only two paths: the Easy Path, and the Right Path. (Paul Jarvis)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“The Right Path is the Path of the Obstacle.

Obstacles are an essential nutrient. Without obstacles, we would not grow.”

“When you say ‘growth’, what do you mean?”

“There’s many ways you can think of it. One of them is growth as expansion. For instance expansion of our comfort zone, which expands our possibility-space.

You could say, obstacles are oracles that reveal our limitations, and the limits of our comfort zone.”

“You use a lot of metaphoric models.”

“It’s a kind of perspective-taking. Each model offers a different perspective, which adds nuance to the idea.”

“What other metaphoric models do you use for obstacles?”

“Obstacles as…
– nutrients/nourishment
– oracles

– beautiful opportunities
– stepping stones
– creative limitations
– teachers
– design space
– reminders/memento
– fuel (for our Inner Fire)
– quests
– training ground (for acquiring and maintaining skills)

“How does failure fit into your model?”

“Failure is just another obstacle. I call it the failure-obstacle.”

The Philosophy of the Obstacle 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

The Outer Obstacle and the Inner Obstacle go together, in the same way the object and its shadow go together.

Are you thinking of the Outer Obstacle as the object, and the Inner Obstacle as its shadow?


I’d reverse the metaphor. The Inner Obstacle is the object, and the Outer Obstacle is its shadow. The Outer Obstacle reveals the Inner Obstacle, in the same way an object is revealed by its shadow.

The real Obstacle is within yourself.”

The Obstacle is the Way

For some the way is over,
for others it’s around,
some you have to carry,
and others just let go.
Varieties are endless,
however in the end,
they have one thing in common:
all of them you must face,
and lovingly embrace.

The Philosophy of the Obstacle

The Obstacle is the Way
(Ryan Holiday)

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. (Marcus Aurelius)

For me, Parkour is the Philosophy of the Obstacle, which is grounded in ancient Stoic wisdom.

I see the Obstacle as fundamental for Self-Actualization. Not just as something to overcome. But as something to joyfully and playfully embrace, and endlessly seek out.

I see the Obstacle as a Gift, as something to be profoundly grateful for.

Not just the Outer Obstacle, but, more importantly, the Inner Obstacle.
Not just the Macro Obstacle, but, more importantly, the Micro Obstacle.

Your relationship with the Obstacle shapes your destiny.