The Four Secrets of the Brook of Life hold the key to understanding and improving the quality of your life, no matter the stage of your journey. The Brook of Life reveals these four ancient secrets in a way that you can apply immediately to your life’s journey. The secrets are interwoven with your desires, thoughts, values and actions, as well as the actions of other navigators of the brook.
So, are these secrets really secret?
No. Many individuals know parts of these secrets. A few might know most of the secrets. However, even those who know most of them might not know how to apply all Four Secrets to their lives and careers. A pragmatic way to employ ancient wisdom to enrich modern lives has been lacking. The practical philosophy of the Brook of Life and its parallel Principles of Purposeful Action have been developed to serve this need.
In the metaphorical Brook, the Four Secrets are represented by the Body (boat for action), Mind (oars for ethical balance) and Spirit (currents of desires), and the Universal Force (encompassing all travelers and the environment). These Four Secrets are illustrated below through images of a navigator of the Brook.
First Secret: Life is the Flow of Actions – Act with Purpose
You are the navigator of your Brook. Your boat represents your actions and the strategy for your journey in life. Life is the flow of actions, so your actions determine who you are and where you are headed.
The secret of action is inspired by Karam Yoga — the Yoga of Action. This was first described by Vedic sages some 6,000 years ago. Karam Yoga is a cornerstone of Sikh teachings.
The Twelve-Step Framework for Purposeful Action integrates ancient wisdom with modern management practices to provide a comprehensive and systematic way to conduct all actions.
Second Secret: Your Values Determine Your Happiness – Be a Giver
The oars of your boat represent your Value System and your ethical balance. The two oars balance your boat and represent the Positive and the Negative Core Values that balance your actions. They also sense the currents in the flow and guide your journey. Your ethical balance determines your happiness.
The Five Negative Core Values of the Brook are derived from the teachings of the ancient Indian Vedic sages. These core values are the five drivers of negative human action: lust, anger, greed, possessiveness, and arrogance. They are the hallmark of Takers.
Five Positive Core Values of the Brook Value System provide the counterbalance to promote positive human behavior. These are truth (integrity), love (commitment), faith (persistence), (oneness) teamwork and (sharing) communication. These positive values foster trust and encourage initiative and confidence. They are the hallmark of Givers.
This Value System for Ethical Living is derived from decades of research into the major world religions and philosophies and modern ethical, management and leadership practices, as well as the personal struggles and life experiences of the author.
Third Secret: You are a Bundle of Desires – Manage your Desires
Four Levels of Desire influence your thoughts and guide your actions. They are stirred by the currents in the waters and transmitted to your mind through your senses. Your growth towards fulfillment is determined by the desires that drive your actions and form your values. The key to the purpose and meaning of life is found in desires.
The secret of the Four Levels of Desire is derived from the ancient Indian Vedic sages. Yet, they are strongly relevant to modern life.
The first two levels of desire promote taking, leading to a life of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
- Lust – desires that spring from lust and the need for survival and procreation, even at the expense of others
- Wealth – desires to accumulate material wealth and power and to be respected and loved by others
The second two foster giving and pave the way for a life of happiness, fulfillment and ultimately freedom from all bonds of desire.
- Service – desires to serve, give to others and to love and care for others
- Freedom – desires to be detached from all desires and to be disassociated and free of the trappings of material existence
The Buddha taught that attachment to the desires of taking were the cause of human pain and suffering. Freedom from pain and suffering, and thus happiness and fulfillment, is found in disassociating from the desires of taking and pursuing the desires of giving.
Fourth Secret: We are All in it Together – Relate to Others
The Six Archetypes and Two Grand Archetypes of the Brook represent you and your fellow travelers in the waters. These navigators of the waters effect your flow; sometimes creating obstructions and distractions and at other times enhancing your journey. No individual is an island. We are all connected — just as all brooks merge into the one Ocean.
The Archetypes of the Brook complete the metaphor of the Brook journey in the real world. Here various types of navigators interact and influence one another and their flows. The concept of Archetypes of the Brook has been developed, tested and refined over a period of three decades. The results of these efforts are coded into the BrookMaster Personal Assessment and Leadership Coaching Game.
Since everything changes and flows all the time, like the navigator we too must continuously evolve and grow. The secrets will guide us along the way to where we want to go. The Purposeful Life is incomplete without the Four Secrets of the Brook.
You can read how Pete Cameron, a young software designer, learns and applies the Four Secrets to his life and career, in If I Had Known.