Deep Living 101: A Quick-Start Guide for Pursuing Your Own Path

[Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of the Deep Living 101 series describing what The New Pursuit is all about.  Read Part 1: Defining What it Means to Live Deeply in a Shallow World. Or Part 2: My Personal Journey of Discovering Life's New Pursuit.]


Life path, ben heine, the new pursuitWe all have a role to play in life — a road to journey.

For some, the road is easy to spot, easy to go down. For others — myself included — it takes time and a bit of self-discovery. A yearning that is driven by some iota of self-awareness. The tugging of our spirit from someplace unknown.

From dissatisfaction comes resolve; from despair, hope; from desire, realization.

I don’t have all the answers. But I do have some experience and it is that I am hoping to start to share with you through this post (and continue in the future). Whether you are seasoned in this path or just starting out, perhaps there is a little something for everyone. Consider this post an introduction; the quickest of quick-start guides. (Then make sure you read the announcements at the end of the page.)


It’s tough to boil it all down to one thing. Maybe there is a ‘Secret’ — I don’t know. What I am absolutely sure of though is that our happiness in life will never, ever come from a thing. Just yesterday I was trying to explain this to my two oldest children (7 and 5). My message to them is that happiness comes from within and is amplified by those people and experiences around us that allow us to shine.

We all go through this natural Happiness Life-cycle: We’re taught both directly and indirectly to equate happiness with material gain, doing whatever we have to to realize it. At some point in our adult lives we come face to face with the realization that this promise is shallow, false and in direct conflict with the true essence of our being. At that point — assuming our resolve is pure — we decide to pursue the true Real Life.

I believe strongly that we have a moral obligation to stop this cycle in its tracks. To start teaching our children from Day One the pathway to True Happiness. Removing any chance of them wasting so much of their precious life going down the wrong path. Can you imagine how different society would be if this came to be?

Actions to Move You Forward
Here are a few things to help you shift your perspective and get you going.

  • Resolve. Whether softly to yourself or aloud for all to hear, resolve yourself that today is the day you commit to the path of True Happiness. Make this an offering unto yourself.
  • Purge. You know that feeling when you have cleaned a room or a basement or a shed. Seize that. Shedding the unnecessary—whether it is stuff, thoughts, emotions, or media—makes room for what is truly important in our lives. An empty vessel can be filled with wonderful things. Perhaps you might want to start a Digital Detox with your TV.
  • Reset. Expectations and priorities have a way of getting away from us. With a centered mind and uncluttered view, go ahead and hit the reset button. Clean slates are a pathway to new ways of being and doing. Minimalist masters espouse focusing on only a small number of activities daily. Doing so allows you to accomplish your goals well.
  • Recharge. If your batteries are low, everything you do will be far from your best. Take the time to get outside and soak in Nature’s energy. Or do something that you haven’t done in a while that use to get your motor running. If you are purging the unnecessary from your life you will have more time to do more re-charging. It’s amazing how those dots connect.
  • Reconnect. Having the time to reconnect with family and friends leads to all sorts of things. It could be as simple as a game of kickball with your kids or reading them a story at night; or having a quiet conversation with your special someone after the hustle and bustle of the day is over. These moments are what living is about.

Resources to Help You
So many to choose from here. I like to highlight the work of new(er) voices in addition to the established ones:


Until humans can shift their perspective on how they see and witness the magnificence that is this planet we call home, we will be beholden to saving it. Through our own supposed ingenuity, we have put in motion a way of living that compromises the long-term vitality of the Earth and every living being that shares it.

Reconnecting with our deep roots in the natural world is not that hard though. By immersing ourselves in Nature, we will begin to feel it again; our awareness of the life it provides will grow; our resolve to ensure its perpetuity cemented. You begin to move away from the Throwaway Culture of Convenience and find new respect in the resources that Mother Earth provides.

This shift is happening on a grander scale. Humans are evolving in terms of their spiritual connection with Nature. I believe it is the next step in the mainstream environmentalism — the rise of an eco-being movement.

Actions to Move You Forward
Here are a few things to help you shift your perspective and get you going.

  • Get outside. Whether for five minutes or five hours, getting outside can do so much for our bodies, minds and resolve. From sipping your morning coffee to your lunch break to an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood, just get out there and allow yourself to be One with your surroundings.
  • Know thy brothers and sisters. Learn the names of the trees, animals, waterways, and other forms of life that surround you. Doing so helps you connect with them. We are more likely to care about that which we know.
  • Grow some food. Nothing connects you more with the life-giving essence of Earth like growing a bit of your own food. Whether it’s a set of raised beds or a few pots on the porch, the satisfaction (and sustenance) is still the same.
  • Consider Becoming Vegetarian. Or embracing a vegetarian meal on a regular basis, like Meatless Mondays. So good for you, the animals and the planet.
  • Learn. Take time to learn about important things like sustainability, permaculture, planned obsolescence and deep ecology. These insights can be catalysts for changing your perspective on Nature

Resources to Help You
I am inspired by the work of some really great bloggers out there.

And when it comes to books and films, there are too many to list. Some of my favorites that you could probably get through your local library:

  • Small Ways to Make a Big Difference compiled by Raam Dev
  • Reclaiming the Commons by Brian Donahue
  • Turtle Island by Gary Snyder
  • Deep Economy by Bill McKibben
  • Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
  • $20 Per Gallon by Christopher Steiner
  • Food Inc., (film)
  • 180 Degrees South (film)
  • Earthlings (film)

Tapping that beauty which is inside of us is probably the greatest step you could ever take in living deeply each day. Centering ourselves helps to bring each day into focus; helps us ride the waves of life better; gives us a pathway for connecting for all the other beings that we share our life with. It allows love to blossom and flourish.

If you are a parent like me, developing your sense of being can do wonders for helping you connect with your kids and handle all the craziness that comes with the territory. When you’re ready to teach your children about enjoying the moment, consider the lessons from this post.

Actions to Move You Forward
Here are a few things to help you shift your perspective and get you going.

  • Breathe and Meditate. The simple act of breathing is amazing. It calms and centers you. Focusing on your breath is a sure path to being in the moment. Know when you are breathing in; know when you are breathing out. Such clarity allows you to see and feel deeper, allowing that rejuvenation to really take hold.
  • Practice Mindfulness. The ability to embrace, thrive in and enjoy the present moment is a key skill to develop. You can practice it anywhere. And once you tap into it, your day-to-day takes on a whole new flavor.
  • Contemplate Your Place in the Universe. Life is much bigger than we are. Yet, we are intimately tied to it. I love taking the last few minutes of each day to go outside, gaze up at the stars and allow myself to be up there. Sounds crazy, but having quiet time with the Universe does wonders.

Resources to Help You
There are so many amazing resources out there to help you tap your inner being. Inspiration abounds. Here are a few of my favorites. I am so humbled to have made their acquaintance:

When it comes to books, there are so many great reads to explore. Some of my favorites that you could probably get through your local library:

  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gilbran
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Dhammapada translated by Gil Fronsdal
  • New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
Some Announcements

I hope that this (quick) quick-start guide will help you take those next steps in your journey. One of the things that I have valued most in my own journey has been the lessons and well wishes from those who are traveling along with me. Sharing our own experiences in Life, Nature and Being can do absolute wonders for helping others. And so with that, I welcome you to share your own story through the new “Share Your Story” page.

Second, I realize that a single blog post doesn’t do such help justice in terms of the depth of content that could be presented. So with that, I’m announcing that I am starting work on my first FREE e-book to expand upon this post and provide more inspiration and know-how to help you in your journey. I expect this to ship sometime in mid-fall. Stay tuned for more details.

As always, thank you so much for your readership, comments and willingness to share your own experiences. I appreciate it more than you know!

Be well,

[image: Ben Heine]

[Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a new series focused on described what The New Pursuit is all about. This post explores my personal journey on the path of deep living. The final installment will offer resources and encouragement about pursuing this path yourself.  Read Part 1: Defining What it Means to Live Deeply in a Shallow World.]d

11 Responses to “Deep Living 101: A Quick-Start Guide for Pursuing Your Own Path”
  1. Amanda says:

    “What I am absolutely sure of though is that our happiness in life will never, ever come from a thing.” What a wonderful truth that sums up my realization recently. I plan on submitting my story to the “Share Your Story” page when I have a second to spare.

    Congrats on the beginnings of your first e-book!

  2. Vanessa says:

    Great post! Thank you SO much for the mention :D !

    I really love how in depth this post is. I’ll surely be bookmarking it to check out all the different resources. Sometimes I think I have too much of a monkey mind to create such a comprehensive post but I’m working on it :P

    The Share Your Story idea is great! I can’t wait to add my own and see what other people are doing to positively change their lives.

    I also wish you so much good luck creating this ebook. I’m sure it’ll be awesome and extremely helpful.

    Love, love, love everything you’re doing. Keep rockin’! :)

  3. Bill Gerlach says:

    Hi Amanda // First off, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! You know, having that conversation with my two oldest kids forced me to break it down into its most basic elements. Not dumb-ing it down per se, but finding the essence of that argument so that it resonated most to their young and impressionable minds. But you know what? It helps with adults too!

    (Checking out your blog now. How come we haven’t connected yet? :) )

  4. Bill Gerlach says:

    Hi Vanessa // You’re welcome. Your blog is worth promoting. :)

    Honestly, I was a tad leery about such a long post. You walk a fine line between too much and too little content. But it is good to know that folks are able to take something away from it. There is just so much to be said — so much I want to share. That’s why I’m starting the e-book — to better organize things; to expand and extrapolate; to help me accomplish some goals I set out for myself when I started The New Pursuit. I hope people will find it helpful.

    Be well and thanks again for the well-wishes.

  5. Sandra Lee says:


    This is a terrific resource. Can’t wait for the e-book. I love your emphasis on happiness coming within and the moral imperative to teach this to our children from the get-go. And there’s so much more here.

    I’m so happy to have connected with you. And thanks very much again for the link.

  6. Bill Gerlach says:

    Sandra // You’re welcome. I am finding great value in your words — and know that others will too. I don’t think it is by accident that people connect — there are deeper (though not always known) reasons at play.

    Thanks for the well-wishes. I agree — there is more to explore in terms of teaching our kids these kinds of life lessons. You’ve given me some good food for thought. :)

  7. Lori Alper says:

    I am so grateful that I stumbled upon your site-through Sandra Lee’s site. Everything in your post makes perfect sense to me. Life is full of cycles…all part of the journey. It is so important to connect with others who are willing to share their journey-there is always something to learn from others-regardless of where you are on this journey. Thank you for making yourself available and making space for us to share our experiences. Really appreciate what you are doing.

  8. Bill Gerlach says:

    Hi Lori // Thanks so much for stumbling by! I hope you consider sharing some of your own journey in the future. I like what you’re writing about at Groovy Green Livin — kids, family, gardening, consumption with a conscience, simple steps — great stuff. You’re right — we all have a role to play. Be well!

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