This is a bundle of seven Insight Salon classes that I've led in 2020 (over 8 hours total):

  • The Ground of Being
  • The Ladder of Consciousness
  • Gentle Discipline
  • Fixing vs Creating
  • The Myth of Purpose
  • A Light in the Dark
  • The Art of Unknowing

Insight Salons are what I consider to be some of the fundamental consciousness teachings that I wish everyone had but that even few people within my transformational communities are familiar with. The architecture of these events includes a mix of teaching, direct experience, and group inquiry. These topics come from a synthesis of my explorations within coaching, Three Principles, Process Work, Luminous Awareness Institute, Dzogchen-based awareness, the Work of Byron Katie, Relational Alchemy, and shamanism.

About Michael McDonald

Michael is an Integrity Coach, writer, facilitator, and speaker. He’s devoted to bringing more consciousness into leadership and more integrity into transformational work. As a transformational coach he works with entrepreneurs and executives in many areas including leadership, life optimization, intimacy, and enlightenment. He is the creator of Relational Alchemy and Leadership from the Inside Out.

“Something awesome is trying to happen, and your job is to allow it.”

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The Ground of Being

The Ground of Being is that infinitely intelligent, reliable, and unshakeable foundation that we each have inside of us, 100% independent of circumstance. It is our comfort when we think we are falling. It is our leverage from which we create. It is that which most are seeking outside of themselves, because it doesn’t occur to them that they already have it.

In this salon we will be exploring this Ground, finding our own individual doorways to recognize it, and both understand it better and understand why it’s so seemingly elusive.

The Ladder of Consciousness

The Ladder of Consciousness is a simple yet powerful metaphor that I use with most of my clients which explores the ever-varying degrees of consciousness, both within yourself and in relationship to others. From an understanding of the Ladder, other people and the human experience simple make more sense.

This exploration of consciousness is about better physics, not better engineering. It’s not a trick or strategy for what to do or how to solve your problems; it’s an exploration of the very nature of problems. The utility is that when you have a deeper understanding of the physics, engineering becomes easier, more effective, and creative.

Gentle Discipline

There are two popular myths that are destroying our health, productivity, and potential:

  1. That the best way to motivate ourselves is to apply willpower, and
  2. That we need to feel a certain way (‘motivated’) in order to take action.

It turns out that you don’t need to cultivate an angry, all-or-nothing, Full Metal jacket drill sergeant to beat yourself up into following through on the habits you want to create, or to stop the bad habits. Gentle Discipline is what naturally arises as we recognize that those myths are both not true and (more importantly) not helpful. Even Tony Horton, the founder of P90X admits that he doesn’t get fired up about exercise most of the time.

Habit change starts to become surprisingly easy once you start catching all of the ways that you’ve been innocently getting in your own way. Gentle Discipline reintroduces a foundation of self-compassion, honesty, and ease. You become an unstoppable force not through intensity or will, but through simplicity, tiny actions, and not overthinking it.

Fixing vs Creating

“You can't change anything by fighting or resisting it. You change something by making it obsolete through superior methods.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

When you treat the world as a problem to be solved, you create a life that is inherently problematic. You motivate yourself through fear and dissatisfaction, always unsatisfied and doing your best to ‘get through’ life with the vague dreadful realization that you will never be finished. Most of your efforts are wasted trying to control things that you don’t control.

When you see the world as something you are creating, moment to moment, you still have access to logic but you also become attuned to imagination, possibility, and the strokes of genius don’t just solve the situation but transcends it.

In this class we’ll be exploring this distinction between Fixing and Creating, and how to shift into a more receptive, playful, and possibility-oriented mindset that is not only more fulfilling but is also the key to high performance and innovation.

The Myth of Purpose

“What is your true purpose in this world?”

The myth of purpose is that you will someday be able to answer that question with an eloquent 10-second sound bite, your Statement of Purpose that will finally provide you clarity, ease, and passion for the rest of your life. And if you *just think hard enough* to figure out what you’re *really* supposed to be doing, then you’ll discover what that purpose is…

That is the myth. It is a struggle that leads people away from purpose, not towards it. It leads people towards waiting, and confusion, and attachment. And it creates a life pattern in which even if you ‘succeed’, you are still unsatisfied.

So what, then, is ‘purpose’? What is it that we are really seeking?

A Light in the Dark

“Don’t just be a flashlight in the dark. Become a lighthouse in the storm.”

What work are we called to, when the world looks dark?

How can we help people, without trying to ‘fix’ them?

What can we do, when we don’t know what to do?

There is no room for proper problem solving where there is a low level of consciousness. What the world is starving for right now is altitude, not attitude. To be a light in the dark, waking people up to their own light within.

The Art of Unknowing

One way to look at knowledge is as the habits of the mind. We’ve gathered together what we believe and habitually think and pay attention to as a function of navigating and creating within a complex world. But like habits that we started and built our lives around years and decades ago, some of what we ‘know’ really isn’t so, and needs to go.

One of the pathways to peace of mind, creativity, and high performance is simply to hang out in the unknown. To let fall away those beliefs that no longer serve you, no matter how real they feel or how long they’ve been there, including the belief that it must take a lot of time and effort to do so.

Unknowing is an essential human skill which has been marginalized in most ‘civilized’ cultures. Join me for an exploration of the power of the unknown and how to not get so caught up in knowing, so that the wisdom of unknowing can move you.