Jordan Bates • • 9 min read
Follow Your Bliss and the Universe Will Open Doors Where There Were Only Walls
“I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”
― Joseph Campbell
I am in love with my life.
I don’t say this to boast, or to assert superiority.
I’m not saying that I’m perpetually in the Best Mood Ever, or that my life is without darkness and suffering—it’s certainly not.
But I’ve followed my bliss like a madman for years, and it’s worked out pretty damn well.
I genuinely enjoy how I spend my days, and I find substantial meaning and fulfillment in everyday life.
If you like, perhaps I can show you how to do the same.
2018: A Time of Endless Opportunity
Life, especially in the 21st century, is absolutely bursting with possibilities.
It’s never been easier to travel to distant lands, create in myriad artistic mediums, build your own company, meet fascinating and astonishing people, take meaningful action to help the world, and learn most anything in the vast body of human knowledge.
There is so damn much to explore, do, dream, create. It’s truly limitless.
Once you loosen your grip on the outdated life script that tells you to simply get ‘educated,’ get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, and work at the same place for 40 years, an entire universe of opportunity blooms before you.
The first step to finding and following your soul-level joy is to awaken to this reality; fall in love with this reality.
The Internet has opened up stunning new vistas of lifestyles, projects, creations, life paths, and possibilities for human beings to explore.
You could go serve at a yoga retreat center on Bali, or design websites while backpacking around Scandinavia, or become a scuba instructor in Maldives, or build online meditation courses from a cabin in the Rockies, or teach English in Tibet, or publish eBooks about psychedelics from the comfort of your sofa, and on and on.
When you begin to perceive the expansive opportunities all around you, your entire mentality shifts.
You realize that there is always a choice.
If you don’t like your life, you can change it.
Boldly Reinvent Yourself Until You Find Your Path
There’s a great quote commonly misattributed to Einstein that goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Everyone dreams of a better life, but few people are actually willing to take decisive action to change their deeply ingrained patterns of thought and behavior.
Few are willing to consistently disrupt their comfort zone by trying on new modes and methods of living.
Yet this is what you need to learn to do, if you want to seize the opportunity of life.
You need to become an expert in self-experimentation and self-reinvention.
You need to learn to “leap into battle” when it comes to adopting new habits, learning new skills, switching to a new job, or moving to a new place.
As you experiment with more and more possibilities, life-change engineering begins to become second nature.
You realize that what other people view as an insurmountable challenge can actually be broken down into clear, small, manageable actions that gradually cascade into major shifts.
If you’re dissatisfied with your job, don’t whine and moan about it; do something about it:
Take to the Internet and figure out which alternate career paths you already have the skills to pursue.
Or just quit, pack up and move to a new place, and force yourself to figure out a new source of income. Throwing yourself into a new environment accelerates self-evolution more than most anything else.
Or figure out which marketable skills you can teach yourself to open up new paths, then start learning.
The Internet is the greatest educational tool ever created.
Most people don’t use it that way, but it’s all there—all the information you need to do almost anything. It’s the proverbial El Dorado of self-education resources.
Simply get good at using Google to find whatever you need, then actually put in the hours to add new modules to your mind, new tools to your toolkit.
Bruce Lipton has said, “Your perspective is always limited by how much you know. Expand your knowledge and you will transform your mind.”
I would add that your life is limited only by how much you know and how freely you can imagine. Expand your knowledge, unleash your imagination, and you will transform your life.
And as you transform your life—as you test out a variety of paths and projects—you will inevitably begin to discover the modes of being that put you in a flow state and make your DNA dance, at which point the task becomes finding ways to live in those modes full-time.
“If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.”
— Joseph Campbell
What Does it Really Take to Do This?
So it turns out that life is an explosively wondrous land of possibility where you can continuously reinvent yourself until you find a path that lights your cells on fire and makes your soul purr.
The billion-dollar question, then, is: Why don’t more people do this?
Why are most people seemingly stuck in lives they don’t really enjoy living?
One major factor is this: People are afraid and insufficiently determined.
It takes an uncommon level of courage and determination to question every life script you ever received and resolve to author your own rulebook.
It’s much easier to do approximately what your parents, teachers, and other authority figures told you to do.
That is, it’s “easier” in the sense that it requires far less thinking, self-direction, trial and error, and norm-breaking.
In the long run, though, it’s actually much harder to unthinkingly slot into the status quo, as you’re likely to end up in a life you don’t really like, living inauthentically—i.e. in a way that doesn’t reflect or express Who You Truly Are. This is an immense source of suffering for many people.
Again, courage and determination. These are the indispensable attributes. Smarts help too of course, but are not as important.
It takes great courage and audacity to risk the disapproval of your family and peers by pursuing a life of passion and freedom at all costs. Defying norms makes other people uncomfortable, because it forces them to question whether they should be living differently, and often they don’t like the honest answer to that question.
Often it takes tremendous courage to take certain steps along the path—steps that will ultimately catalyze ‘quantum leaps’ in your development.
In 2013, 22 years old and just three months out of college, I moved to South Korea to teach English. I ended up living in Asia for 16 months.
This was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I experienced acute anxiety and fear in the weeks preceding my transoceanic flight. At times, living alone in Busan, I was profoundly lonely and questioned whether I had made a terrible decision.
And yet I did it anyway, because I was determined not to settle for “some job to pay the bills” in the USA and resign myself to wage slavery and a life I wasn’t passionate about. The call to a life of freedom, adventure, and purpose was so resounding that I felt I didn’t really have a choice; I needed to escape the fate of living a life designed by someone else, and I was willing to do whatever it took to make it happen, fear be damned. I believe this kind of iron-willed determination is fundamental, if you truly want to find a life you’re excited to wake up to; you must refuse to settle for anything less.
As you might guess, the chapter of my life in Asia ended up being utterly (trans)formative for me. It was a paradigm shift, level up, and growth accelerator in countless ways. It set the stage for my adult life, equipping me with many new capacities and a much higher level of self-confidence. It opened my mind to a plethora of possibilities and avenues I’d never considered. It introduced me to a network of other people doing extraordinary things—a vital boon on the path to making a habit of doing the extraordinary yourself.
It was when I embarked on that journey to Asia that I truly began to fall in love with my life—to see what a Sacred Opportunity I’d been given—and I haven’t looked back since.
In the 5 years since then, I’ve traveled to ~25 countries, reached millions of people with my words, helped create multiple life-transforming entheogenic retreats, volunteered for one of the most effective poverty-reduction charities in the world, met hundreds of incredible humans, helped create the world’s first spiritual obstacle course, released several philosophical rap albums, and much more, all while living nomadically, never staying in the same place for more than a year straight, usually much less.
Nature Loves Courage
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls,” Joseph Campbell wrote.
And in the same vein, Terence McKenna said, “Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles.”
In my experience, these statements contain mountainous wisdom.
If you can summon the courage and determination to take the leap…
If you commit deeply, with 100% pure intention, to finding a way to live a Good Life, and you are willing to take big scary steps to make it happen…
Nature will reward you.
The people and opportunities you need to find will synchronistically appear, and you will feel a gradual diminishment of anxiety about the future as you realize you can trust your path.
When your heart is in the right place, when you’re giving back, living in integrity, and aligned with your soul-level values and yearnings, things simply start clicking in an uncanny way. You find yourself living a deeply fulfilling life, while also sharing your gifts in the way that seems most optimal for helping humanity and all earthly life.
I don’t know why it works this way, but I’ve seen an absurd amount of evidence in my life and the lives of close friends suggesting that it does.
But the key is that nothing will happen until you start taking action.
Start that blog or YouTube channel or podcast. Travel to a foreign country. Quit that bullshit job. End that toxically one-sided relationship or “friendship.” Teach yourself a new skill. Do that weekend passion project. Move out of that vitality-sapping living situation. Turn your home into a sanctuary. Start doing your absolute best in all your endeavors. Read a bunch of weird books. Start 30 Challenges to Enlightenment. Join us at Apotheosis.
As you start taking action and trying new things, everything will gradually begin to shift.
Be patient; don’t expect a full-on life revolution to occur overnight. What you’re really doing is initiating a lifelong process of constant learning and evolution, and the most dramatic changes take time to come to fruition.
Enjoy the journey, and just keep going.
Gradually, you’ll start to understand your part in the theatre of earthly affairs. Not the role that someone else told you you should have, the role you chose for yourself, the role that your soul already knows it wishes to play.
The purpose of your life is simply to play your part as well as you can, and to enjoy the process.
Resolve now that you won’t settle for anything less than this, then immediately start taking action to shake things up and find out what it is that ignites your neurons in a blissful jamboree. Then do that thing.
Our lives on Earth are mere sparks in the great Bonfire of Being. Before you know it, you and everyone you know will be decomposing.
This isn’t depressing, it’s liberating.
Who the fuck really cares what other people will think?
We’re all funny monkeys rapidly turning to bone dust.
Why the fuck would we spend our precious few hours on Earth doing anything other than that which makes our souls glow?
If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’re alive! You’re not dead!
For now, you have a Sacred Opportunity to live a life worth falling in love with.
What will you do with it?
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