The Oasis Within by Tom Morris

Summary
  1. A tale of an uncle and his nephew who are journeying across the desert and through dialogue and events, the uncle passes down timeless wisdom on how to approach and handle life successfuly.
Key Takeaways
  1. Life is meant to be a series of adventures. Enjoy the good along with the bad
  2. The real secret of life is to carry in your heart an oasis every day, a place of rest and refreshment within you. 
    1. Create an oasis through our thoughts. All the power we have starts with our thoughts
  3. Think of your inner telescope – are you making problems out to be bigger than they are?
    1. “Here’s the ultimate secret, my boy. Once you’ve mastered this trick with your mind and understand the power of perspective, once you’ve grown enough in wisdom and knowledge of the world, you can put your inner telescope down and simply look at things as they are. And you’ll know. Most things in reality are no bigger than we can handle. And that’s important to remember.”
  4. Wisdom in life is almost always about perspective. You can see problems as they truly are, think clearly and act well, even in challenging times
  5. Stay in the present – the past is gone and future is not yet come. Can think of future or past but only to the point it helps, not obsessively
  6. The purpose of any oasis is to assist in a journey. It is not the final destination
  7. Balance is very important. However, it is not a steady, static thing. It is ever changing
  8. Real balance simply means changing and redirecting our energy when the time is right. While you’re doing something that’s worth your time, you should do it with all your heart. Then, when the moment for change comes, you can go do something else.
  9. When it comes to important things, only our deepest feelings, our strongest intuitions, linked together with our highest values, can guide us well
  10. Plans help us accomplish worthwhile and important things
  11. We can’t control the day, only what we make of it. We can learn from anything the world gives us
  12. You don’t have to feel brave to be brave. It’s about how you act and what you do
  13. When you pay attention to life, truly pay attention, many good lessons come your way. The most tempestuous things in life often carry with them the deepest and most useful lessons about our actions, our abilities
  14. Many things that have power for good have corresponding power for ill
  15. “Discipline your thoughts and feelings. Pay attention. Be alert to your surroundings and mindful of your emotions. Cultivate a keen sensitivity of what’s real. Don’t allow illusions about things outside you, and false feelings inside you, to blind the truth. Make sure you value the right things. Be aware of both what you know and how much you don’t know.”
  16. We are all here for a reason. We each have a mission in the world. At some point, your personal mission will present itself to you. You’ll still retain the freedom to accept or reject it. It will never force itself on you.
  17. There are two kinds of opportunities – one for particular action and one for directions of growth
  18. People sometimes resist their own best future because of, primarily, some form of fear – fear of the unknown, failure, what other swill think or say or even success that they’re not sure they can handle
  19. Trust the process of living and learning. Keep your eyes open. And be sensitive to the tug of your heart when a path that’s right for you may appear.
  20. What do you aim to do in your life – “I’ll live with as much excellence as I’m able. I’ll act with kindness, compassion and love. I’ll seek wisdom in all things. I’ll be open and understanding. I’ll honor what’s in my heart. And I’ll try to respect the best in others.”
  21. There’s no need to worry about your entire life. Just take care of your life as well as you can in the moment you’re living it and the rest of your life will take care of itself.
  22. Stay in a job you love as long as you love what you’re doing and think you have something distinctive to contribute
  23. Nobility and humility together form the path of true greatness
  24. Far too many people fear their own inner power and turn away from it
  25. Must have your “bucket” ready for when the sky opens and deep insights come to you. Must be open to new ideas, people, experiences at all times. Make sure you are not too busy to be open to inspiration
    1. “The best way to avoid a leaky bucket is to love wisdom in your heart, seek it everywhere, meditate on what you learn, use it all that you can, and be ready at any time to share it freely.”
  26. Wisdom is for everyone and the greatest joy comes in giving it away
  27. Our deepest desires come to us as signs of who we are and what we can do
  28. Wisdom is unique in that the more we seek it the more we find but the more we give away the more expansive it gets. It is not just about words, but actions. An embodied art, a skilled behavior, a way of living – percolates down into habits, dispositions and inclinations of thinking, feeling and doing that will guide your path in life
  29. Triple Double wisdom tool kit – Prepare, perceive; anticipate, avoid; concentrate, control
  30. “There is a war in this world between goodness and corruption, between genuine love and untethered lust. Corruption, greed and blind desire can win a battle now and then, and can even seem to crush their adversaries. But eventually, the good and the true and the wisely guided, will prevail. Love is the greatest power of all. Only it can endure.”
  31. Worry accomplishes nothing. Consider all likelihoods and be prepared for whatever comes
  32. Worry pulls us out of the present to a badly imagined scenario that’s almost always wrong
  33. Destiny – what happens to us and what happens because of us
  34. 7 elements for “true success”
    1. A clear conception of what we want, a goal vividly imagined
    2. A strong confidence that we can attain this goal
    3. A focused concentration on what it will take to reach this achievement
    4. A stubborn consistency in pursuing our vision
    5. An emotional commitment to the importance of what we’re doing
    6. A good character to guide us and keep us on a proper course
    7. A capacity to enjoy the process along the way
  35. Wisdom is a matter of insights and actions. Never words alone
  36. Embrace uncertainty as it allows you to do and become all that you most admire
  37. Most people don’t know what they truly need because they don’t know who they really are
  38. Appendix provides a good overview of the key lessons
What I got out of it
  1. A really good and insightful book on how to learn, approach life and get the most out of yourself and others

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