The recent post pointed to how recent research and practice in psychology can help us develop spiritually. Our ability to detect patterns in the world crucially hinges upon our state of consciousness. Jumping from dataset to dataset, trading pattern to trading pattern, and journal entry to journal entry merely adds to the clutter inside our heads. The caterpillar is transformed into the butterfly, not by becoming a better creepy-crawler, but by withdrawing from the world and emerging as a different creature.
As the Radical Renewal book points out, it is no coincidence that the world’s great religions make space for periods of “sabbath”, when we stop doing and instead reflect. If making changes were as simple as writing goals in a journal and re-viewing our actions, we would all be butterflies. What we learn from research in psychology is that important life changes are inevitably preceded by significant emotional arousal. It is the pain of hitting a dead end and the resolution to do things differently that leads us to abandon what isn’t working and embrace a new and different future. But in between acknowledging our dead-ends and finding our new paths is a difficult period when we are withdrawn in our chrysalis, neither caterpillar nor butterfly.
“There is nothing as whole, or as perfect, as a broken heart,” Menachem Mendel of Kotsk observed. It is the broken heart that energizes lasting efforts at change. That is why members of Alcoholics Anonymous embrace the idea of “hitting bottom”. One key to success in developing as a trader: hitting bottom–again and again–without depleting your capital.