Not a subscriber?

Join 900+ readers mastering their minds and monetizing their knowledge:

Subscription received. If you don't get your confirmation email, check your spam folder. Still nothing? Email dan [at] dangoldfield [dot] com and I'll add you manually 💙
Tech fail 😑 Please try again or email dan [at] dangoldfield [dot] com and I'll subscribe you manually.

DAN KOE

ALEX MATHERS

TAYLIN SIMMONDS

Founder, KorteX
3.5M followers

medium.com top writer
120K followers

BRAND CONSULTANT
79K followers

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★★

"If you want practical strategies to maximize your own well-being, then create a profitable internet business around your passions, interests and curiosities – Goldfield is your guy."

DAN KOE

Today I’m going to tell you how to get over a weird challenge that no wisdom tradition has ever dealt with.

I discovered this challenge as I studied various spiritual teachings and encountered a conflict.

Most, if not all these teachings claimed to be ‘the one way’ to enlightenment. But how could this be true for all of them? The awkward question that arose was:

"Which ‘the one way’ is THE ‘the one way’?"

In other words, how could I know which teaching and practice to follow?

They each had their differences, yet the teachers all spoke with conviction.

This became the single biggest roadblock I ever experienced in my quest for truth.

This problem is unique to modern practitioners in the information age. Never before has one practitioner had access to so many teachings from different cultures.

My own teacher, having entered the monastery before the internet was invented, had no context for this issue. This meant I had to figure it out for myself.

If I’d had this newsletter in 2017, it would have saved me a whole year of inner conflict.

Every mindfulness student I work with now faces this unique issue and I’ve not seen anyone else solving it.

I’m going to tell you what I tell them.

Context Is Everything

All the old wisdom teachings were given in contexts quite different to ours.

Imagine a Buddhist monk sent out of the monastery to teach in 100 B.C.

The first village he arrives at has all kinds of strange beliefs and rituals.

🔹They sacrifice goats to try to bring about rain
🔹They sacrifice children to win the favour of their gods
🔹They take toxic plants and govern their village based on hallucinations

The monk, who has figured out how to be satisfied with things just as they are, sees only one way to address his new friends.

‘Forget the other teachings,’ he says, ‘I will show you the one way to true peace and happiness.’

Even modern religious doctrine has no evidence for many of its claims. So when you are in possession of a method that reliably brings about peace, joy and mutual benefit—right here, right now— I recommend that you speak strongly about it, too.

What the monk in this story didn’t have was any awareness about the other monks in other cultures, who were having similar experiences.

These teachings were all written down, and only now—in the 21st century—are we able to bring them all together. Thus, now, we have several teachings that claim to be THE teaching.

So what are you to do about this?

Stop Looking At The Differences Between Wisdom Teachings; Start Looking At The Similarities

In 2017, I was frustrated and stuck in my mindfulness practice. I’d deeply investigated dozens of teachings at this point, most of all:

🔹Theravada
🔹Zen
🔹Taoism
🔹Advaita Vedanta
🔹Vajrayana

I’d managed to simplify my possibilities into two types of practice: active and passive. And I’d chosen my favourite methods to represent these two.

My active practice was step 10 of the Buddha’s ‘anapanasati’ method: gladdening the mind.

My passive practice was the most profound instruction from Tibet: rest naturally without seeking or describing anything.

A newsletter isn’t the place to dive into the specifics of these methods. What’s important is that I was in conflict over which of them to do in a given moment.

I felt I had to determine which one was superior so that I could perform it to the exclusion of the other.

🔹I tried to convince my teacher of the validity of the alternative practice
🔹I read and listened to hundreds of teachings from both traditions
🔹I considered accounts from fellow practitioners
🔹I practised my ^ss off

But as long as I was pitting these practices against one another, I was frustrated.

Progress came only when I made an important flip. I started seeking the commonalities in these teachings and practices, instead of focusing on their differences.

The Trap of Words

The ultimate ‘goal’ of any spiritual practice is to relax into the nondual awareness that is your natural condition (which is equal to peace, freedom and contentment).

But words are dualistic.

We speak, write and hear ‘about’ things. Words are labels, they’re not the real thing.

So, even if two wisdom teachers in different cultures are speaking about the same truth, they’re almost certain to speak about it in different ways (appropriate to their individual cultures).

When I realised this, I flipped my approach 180 degrees.

Now, I started assuming that these teachers were talking about the same truth in different ways, and my conflict started to resolve.

Where previously, ‘resting’ and ‘gladdening’ had seemed like contradictions—one being passive, one being active…

Now I began to see the possibility that in resting I became glad! And in gladdening, I found rest!

Test Those Similarities In Your Direct Experience

The Buddha is on record many times as having insisted that people don’t take his word for what he taught. He encouraged, rather, that people test what he said for themselves, in their own direct experience.

How much more important is this in 2023, when we have access to so many different teachings?

Of course, there’s no way you can test all of them, so I recommend doing what I did. Whittle down the practices that seem to make sense to you. Practice their moment-to-moment application, then run experiments.

‘What happens when I do x?’

‘What happens when I do y?’

‘What happens when I do x then y?’

‘What happens when I do y then x?’

But avoid the trap that I fell into. Avoid trying to use one practice to disprove the other.

Zen is sometimes described as a finger pointing at the moon. Teachers then caution students to not mistake the finger for the moon. In other words, to not mistake the teaching for the truth to which it points.

Of course, you may have doubts if you’re trying to do this alone, so…

Check In With A Teacher Who Knows Their Shit

You’re not alone in this. I made the study and practice of the most reasonable-sounding wisdom teachings my main focus for 5 years. I befriended a senior monk in one of the most pragmatic Buddhist traditions and spoke with him for hundreds of hours. He gave me lineage to the historical Buddha, but I didn’t stop there.

I went on to test my understanding against the pinnacle teaching of the Tibetan tradition—and received formal transmission of that teaching from a teacher under the guidance of the head of his school.

Having triangulated my position, I gained confidence and began to teach.

Now I’m here to support you.

If you wish to discuss anything I’ve mentioned in this newsletter, ​schedule a call with me.​ I look forward to meeting with you 😌

See you again next week.

share this article:

Social Share

Enjoyed this post? Click here to subscribe and get the next one delivered straight to your inbox.

Previous Issues of
The Freetirement Files

How to Win on Social Media

(Escape the Rat Race)

42% of solo business owners earn over $50,000 per year. And "solopreneurs", as a group, contribute a total of $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy annually—with zero employees. Clearly, starting an online business is no longer an unsafe bet. Here's how to build the foundation of your own...

Continue reading →

How to Create Your Ideal Future

(Without a Vision You're Lost)

‍One of society’s greatest lies is that employment is stable. And one of society’s greatest blind spots is that the same technologies which are disrupting the workforce can enable you to create your own stability (from your couch). Here's how...

Continue reading →

10 Mindful Money Megahacks

(Delete Beliefs that Keep You Poor)

I was broke till I was 36. Then finally I found a way to earn money without sacrificing my wellbeing and integrity. Here are the 10 mindset shifts that made it possible.

Continue reading →

Mindful Money-Getting In 8 Steps

(How to Make Your Work A Spiritual Practice)

If you can't earn enough money, it's because you're not spiritual enough. And please don't listen to anyone who tells you that money will disrupt your spiritual practice. Money can't do that—it's just paper and metal. But what it can do is enable great benefit in the world. Here's how...

Continue reading →

How to Stop Killing Your Better Self

(The 5 Self-Help Non-Negotiables)

It's never been easier to settle for an average life. But this makes the winnings that much greater for those who rise up. Learn the 12 problems self-helpers are trying to overcome, the 6 problems with the most extreme solution, and the 5 non-negotiables that'll finally get you to your fullest potential.

Continue reading →

How to Make Dream Clients Come to You

(Without Spending a Single Dollar On Ads)

I look forward to every coaching call I host. Once I knew how to create my dream career it took just 5 months to go from my old life of compromise, fatigue, and selling my time for money... to my new life of passion, purpose and profit. You can make this shift too.

Continue reading →

The Self-Help Cheat Code

(How to Get Actual Results)

$7.52 billion: the current valuation of the self-help publishing industry. Yet only 3% of readers apply what they learn. It's clear: the answer you're looking for is not in the next bestseller. Here's how to get out of the trap.

Continue reading →

How to Make a Living on Social Media

(The Zero-Follower Money Method)

Everyone thinks you need 100,000 followers to make money online. Bullsh!t.There are people with over a million followers making no money. And there are people with 3000 followers doing $10K months (I achieved the latter myself). Here's the quick & dirty way to make it happen.

Continue reading →

The FIRST Thing to do About Any Problem

(How to Struggle Less)

"If you want good things in life, you have to suffer for them." That's what traditional schooling and parenting taught us, anyway. But the highest achievers of the East have been doing things differently for thousands of years. Here's their secret...

Continue reading →

How to Profit From Your Problems

(In 13 Little Steps)

some people never solve their problems. most people solve their problems without thinking about how their solution could be shared with others. but in the "freetirement" economy, we can do better...

Continue reading →

How to Earn Money Helping People

(3 Steps to Your Ideal Future)

People pay me $300 per session for coaching. They pay me this much because I help them solve problems that are costing them more than that. But over the past 6 months people have started asking me to help them with a different problem: they want to know how to help people like I do (so they can quit that job they hate). Here's what I tell them...

Continue reading →

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up

(The Sustainable Way to Motivate Yourself)

You can’t force motivation. The more you try, the more it escapes you. So after 30 years trying to whip myself into shape, I experimented with going the other way. Here's how I 100X'd my motivation (without hustling).

Continue reading →

The One Question You Must Answer

(Before You Can Find True Happiness)

I contemplated this question for a whole year. But it was worth the wait, because once i had my answer, everything changed: I became happier than i ever thought possible, married the love of my life, and transitioned out of my old "time-for-money" business into my new "expertise-for-money" mission. Let me accelerate the process for you.

Continue reading →

How to "Freetire" Yourself

(Without Leaving Your Sofa)

Solopreneurs made $5 TRILLION in 2023. 0.00002% of that will make you a millionaire. Here's how to start your own internet business (with zero experience or capital).

Continue reading →

The Real Reason You Can't Stick to Anything

(Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work)

Only 1 in 100 people will take their new year’s resolution all the way to december. ​So why does everyone keep trying? Because no-one knows about the better option. Here it is...

Continue reading →

How to Stop Working Too Hard

(And Earn MORE Money)

55% of U.S. employees failed to take all their paid time off in 2023.​ They may as well be walking to the ATM, drawing out days' worth of pay and sliding it into their employer's wallet. Don't spend the rest of your life in this trap. Here's how to wriggle out of it...

Continue reading →

How to Get the Ultimate Perspective on Yourself

(Let Go of Your Emotional Baggage)

The way you see things determines your entire reality. So of course it's pretty damn important how you see yourself. In this guided meditation i'm going to lead you through a brief study of the breath, the body, the emotions and the thoughts. Then, finally, we'll relax into the ultimate perspective on all of them, enabling you to let them go and be free.

Continue reading →

How to Take Back Control of Your Life

(In Just 3 Weeks)

1 in 2 people will develop a mental health disorder in their lifetime. You do NOT want to end up on the wrong side of that statistic. Here's a simple process for keeping yourself in control and off the psych ward.

Continue reading →

How to Get, Have, and Be Anything You Want

(Without Even Trying)

Since 2017 I've married the woman of my dreams, 5X'd my income and tripled my energy. But no-one in my own culture could've told me how to do so. I had to look elsewhere. Let me save you 7 years and give you the solution right here...

Continue reading →

5 Relationship Tips From a Guy Who Married a Psychologist

(Twice!)

In 2016 I was needy as hell, which was quite a turnoff for the ladies. But by the time I took my wife on our first date in 2019 I was 100% self-validated. Here's what I learned in those 3 years...

Continue reading →

How to Delete The 6 Mind Viruses That Keep You Poor, Sick & Miserable

(In Just 12 Weeks)

I get up at 5, do creative work for 4-8 hours, develop new ways to help people, share my ideas, go to the gym, coach, talk to my audience and other creators, have dinner with my wife, study, read, go to bed, then get up and do it all again. 7 days a week. I’m effectively retired because I’d be doing this same routine if i were already a billionaire. But this was only possible once I did what i’m going to share with you here…

Continue reading →

How I Meditated My Way to Freetirement at 36

(Retirement Is For Losers)

Imagine i approach you right now and say i want 40 hours of your life every week for 47 years. If you make it to the end of those 47 years I’ll set you free. Any wear and tear on your body, mind and spirit is forfeit. I won’t guarantee you’ll make it to the finish line. Nor will i guarantee how long you’ll live into your freedom. Sound like a good deal? No? Ok, here's a better offer...

Continue reading →

How to Earn More Money By Relaxing

(Why Hustling Is No Longer Optimal)

The most harmful belief in work culture is that simple effort is the magic spell for earning more money. This is harmful not only because it builds up heart attack levels of stress… but because it doesn’t f¥cking work—not in the 21st century. Here's the better way to boost your income (without busting your balls)...

Continue reading →

3 Lessons on Happiness From a Senior Monk

(And How They Saved Me From Depression)

i spent the whole of my 20’s in chronic pain. and the solutions i was trying were digging me into a pit of depression. 29,366 hours of mindfulness later, things are pretty f¥cking different. Here are the 3 best lessons I learned on happiness from my ~300 hours in one-to-one conversation with a senior monk.

Continue reading →

How to Release Trauma In Meditation

(Heal Your Inner Child)

I grew up terrified of sex. But millennial British culture told me i had to get as much of it as I could (and more). So for 15 years I tried everything to get laid—for all the wrong reasons. Much later, in deep meditation, I had an encounter with my inner child that put everything right. 2 weeks later, I met the woman who would become my wife. Here's what I did to make myself ready for her.

Continue reading →

How to 48X Your Meditation in 4 Weeks

(Without Going On Retreat)

The average meditator aims for 15 mindful minutes per day. So what about the other 945? If you really want true happiness, you're going to have to learn to be present in EVERY moment. Good news: this isn't as hard as it sounds. Let me explain...

Continue reading →

10 Mindfulness Success Stories

(For The Doubters & Procrastinators)

If mindfulness feels like a chore you're doing it wrong. You need proper motivation. And nothing is better motivation than a good success story. So here's 10...

Continue reading →

Here's Why You Need "Spiritual Practice"

(It's Simpler Than You Think)

I have a student who feels free and easy for a while but then falls back into a familiar mental trap. If this sounds like you, we need to make sure you're clear on what spiritual practice is, what it can do for you, and how to proceed with it (so you're not just going round in circles).

Continue reading →

1 Step to Instant Enlightenment

(The Direct Path to Effortless Wellbeing)

You don't have to meditate for years. You don't have to develop wholesome qualities. You don't have to contemplate the nature of reality. All you have to do is recognize what's already true. Here's how...

Continue reading →

Do This When You're Stuck In Life Or Business

(7 Steps to Finding Your Perfect Mentor)

Without the guidance i’ve received throughout my life i’d be a drunk, broke, fat, lazy mess. Intelligent co-operation is the unique edge of our species, and nowhere is this more obvious than in our ability to learn from one another. if you’ve never had a mentor, you're WAY behind where you could be in life. But it’s not too late. Here's how to get the guidance you need, step-by-step...

Continue reading →

How to Perform Like The Top .1%

(Without Beating Yourself Up)

Millions of people squeeze a 20-minute meditation into their morning routine, then hope it’ll sustain their performance throughout the day. They may as well believe in magic. Here's how to GUARANTEE consistent peak performance (without hustling yourself into burnout).

Continue reading →

3 Steps to Realize Ultimate Wellbeing

(The Simplest Way to Ditch Your Emotional Baggage)

Most people overcomplicate spiritual awakening. But in the 21st century, we're finally able to cross-reference wisdom from different cultures, ditch the baggage, apply modern science and get down to what really works. Follow these 3 steps to cut the cr^p and ditch your anxiety, depression and self-hatred for good.

Continue reading →

The Biggest Challenge In My Spiritual Journey

(Save a Year by Skipping This)

If you've ever been confused about which spiritual practice to commit to, you're not alone. I spent a whole f¥cking YEAR looping on this. But the solution was right under my nose the whole time. Let me give it to you right now (and save you a lot of headaches)...

Continue reading →

How to Make Friends & Enjoy Win/Win Arrangements

(Without Even Trying)

Everything great that humans have achieved has been achieved by teamwork. Unfortunately, many people struggle to unlock their true friend-making potential because of insecurity, doubt and anxiety. Here's a simple 3-step process you can use to delete your fears and start getting all the benefits of collaboration.

Continue reading →

How to Stop Wasting Your Time In Meditation

(7 Insights to Save You 1000 Hours of Practice)

Over 8 years, I spent 29,366 hours experimenting with every mindfulness technique available. I checked my results with a senior monk and a neuropsychologist. Want to know a secret? Meditation isn’t necessary. Contemplate these 7 insights. If you understand them, you can save yourself a lot of time.

Continue reading →

How to Avoid The #1 Cause of Stress

(3 Steps to Avoid Early Death)

A 2012 study by NHS Scotland found that "psychological distress is associated with increased risk of mortality from several major causes." It's proven: stress is literally a matter of life or death. Here's how to get out of the trap (and stay out).

Continue reading →

How to Get What You Want In Life

(3 Steps to Stop Feeling Lost)

Unless you know what you want, it’s impossible to get it. Sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many of my 1,000+ one-to-one students have been confused on this subject. Here's how to find your north star and get on the road to a life of wealth, freedom, love and inspiration.

Continue reading →

How To Attract Your Perfect Life-Partner

(Avoid the #1 Killer of Attraction)

A strong romantic partnership is the ultimate team. Sadly, most people never even meet their perfect partner—let alone attract them and make them happy for a lifetime. Here's how to make sure you don't miss out on the most significant relationship you'll ever have.

Continue reading →

How to Maintain Healthy Social Boundaries

(The Power of Saying No)

The main reason you struggle to say "no" is fear of what will happen if you do. But have you ever seen things going badly for someone who has their boundaries dialled in? Me neither. Here's how to value your time properly and take it back (before you run out of it altogether)...

Continue reading →