Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Resonance

What is resonance, and what does it have to do with spirituality and personal development?

Resonance is the way something vibrates in response to the vibration of something else near by.

Before we think about resonance itself, let's just think about vibration, and again what it might mean in our personal development studies and practices.  Everything has its own natural vibration.  A number of musical instruments use this characteristic in order to allow us to create beautiful music.  We can change that natural vibration by altering the tuning, for example by tightening or loosening a guitar string.

Spiritually we also have a natural vibration.  This vibration can allow us to create beautiful spiritual "music" in the world around us, or if we are not tuned right we can create great discord instead.  By focusing on and developing our spiritual beliefs and qualities, especially the latter, we can determine whether the world hears beautiful music from us or, as St Paul described, a clashing cymbal.  Not that I want to criticize cymbal players or other percussionists who play their part in orchestras all over the world.

So, which would you prefer?  To create beautiful music that all around you can enjoy or to make a horrible discordant noise that will make life a misery for all who encounter you?  I hope it is the former.  We are all human, so sometimes we will be out of tune and won't be able to help making a horrible noise, but just as a violinist can learn to produce a beautiful sound rather than the awful screeching which no doubt he or she created when first taking up the violin, so can we learn to become more beautiful inside and produce beautiful spiritual music.

Back to resonance.  If you have tuned yourself to produce a beautiful sound, that is the sound you will produce when something or someone nearby is tuned in the same way.

Students of physics will be aware of the concept of "forced vibration".  If you take a tuning fork and strike it with a mallet it will produce a sound, but the sound is very quiet.  But if you now place that tuning fork on something able to vibrate at the same frequency, a board of some kind, everything will vibrate and a very loud sound will be produced - a beautiful note.  This is a form of resonance.

We can do the same in life.  If we have tuned ourselves the right way spiritually we will respond when someone or something else nearby is on a similar spiritual  frequency.  Also, we will cause the environment around us to resonate, and our small quiet voice can become a mighty, powerful sound.  A sound that will attract similar frequencies in those around us, perhaps lifting them to higher spiritual levels.

I used the word "attract" quite deliberately.  Like attracts like.  If you have spiritual vibration that is full of love and beauty you will attract to you other people and even other things and situations of a similar vibration.  This can only make your life, and the lives of those around you, happier and more fulfilled.

This concept may seem rather obscure, but it is so important!  Work hard on improving your tuning and allowing yourself to resonate to good, pure, helpful feelings.

For further help in both understanding this concept and developing and using it, take a look at this video by the "spiritual vibration" specialist, Christie Marie Sheldon:

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Money is the root of all evil


Money is the root of all evil.  Isn't it?

Actually, no, it is not!  Most certainly not!

What actually is money?  What it should be is a measure of the value that you have given to society.  Sometimes that measure doesn't work very well, with society giving greater value to some things and lesser value to others than perhaps should be the case.  But, for all its faults and limitations, that is what money is supposed to be and what in principle it is.

If money is a measure of the value you have given, how can this be evil?  It may be faulty; it may not be as good a measure as we want it to be; but clearly it is not evil.  Not unless you believe giving value to others is evil!

So where does this idea that money is the root of all evil come from?

It actually comes from a misquote of something St Paul wrote to his young disciple Timothy.  What Paul wrote was "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil."  That is quite different.   Paul was certainly not saying there was anything wrong with money itself, just with the way some people respond to it.  Money itself is not evil, nor is the possession of money evil.  What is evil is simply greed.

Unfortunately, the misconception that money is the root of evil is buried deep in almost all of us.  Consciously most of us know that money is neutral - it is how you view it and how you use it that can either be good or evil.  But unconsciously we have this deep-seated belief that money itself and the possession of wealth are both evil.

It is very important to try to unearth this deep-seated and quite wrong belief about money.  Until you do you will find you have two big problems.

Firstly, you will feel uncomfortable about any wealth you have now, be it very small or very large.  You may not recognize that this is the way you feel, so it will probably just express itself as a general feeling of dissatisfaction.  Don't allow this to happen.  Why feel uncomfortable for no reason whatsoever?

Secondly, your subconscious mind will "know" that as money makes you uncomfortable it is best not to let you have any.  That is a disastrous situation!  Your subconscious is extremely powerful, and if it has decided you should not have money, or at least should not increase your wealth, you will find it extremely difficult to become any wealthier than you already are.  And that is exactly the situation most people are in!

One way to begin countering this unwarranted prejudice is to start thinking about what I have said money is - a measure of the value you give.  Think about it very positively in this way.  Think about the value you give to your employer if you are an employee, and to your clients if you are in business for yourself.  If you feel you do not give much value, then maybe it is time to think more carefully about what you are doing and whether, in fact, you should be doing something different.

Think about other ways you can give value to society and to those around you.  As you do this, gradually you should find opportunities begin to arise for you to give that value and to receive money in return.  The more you focus on this the more such opportunities will arise.

The other way to counter it is to think about all the good you can do with any increase in your wealth you might achieve.  Good you can do for your family and friends.  Good you can do for others around you.  There is so much good you can achieve if only you have enough wealth to fund those plans.

Perform both these exercises regularly and you should find that your money "blocks" will gradually disappear.  As they disappear, opportunities to increase your wealth will arise.  Many of these opportunities have actually been there all the time, but you did not recognize them because you were restrained by your wrong inner belief that money is evil.  Other opportunties will also arise, gravitating to you by the Law of Attraction, which is another subject for another day.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Exciting Goals


Have you identified your true goals?  Your real goals?  The goals that excite you because you know your life and the lives of those you touch can be very different when you achieve them?

I wrote a few months ago about identifying goals.  This is such an important topic I make no apology for addressing it again now.

Unfortunately many of us seem to have lost the excitement we once had when we formulated our goals.  Many more never had that excitement right from the start.  And without excitement it is very unlikely you will achieve your goals.  Why?  Because day to day life will "get in your way".  There are too many distractions competing for your attention.  Without excitement driving you forward you will be sidetracked by those distractions.  In fact, hijacked by them.

If you don't believe this, look back to the last day you didn't have to go to work or study.  If you don't work or study, look back to yesterday.  If you do, then perhaps look back to last Sunday or Saturday.  What did you achieve?  Did you achieve anything at all?  If you did, congratulations - you are in a pretty small minority.  But if you achieved something, how much closer did it take you towards any of your goals?  Be really honest here.

I tried this exercise just before writing this blog, so let me give you my results.  I didn't actually achieve anything significant at all.  I have a good excuse for this.  I have been working hard, so my last weekend (actually, a long weekend as there were a couple of public holidays too) was simply a chance to relax, do nothing, and feel good about it.  A chance to rest before going back to the grind of day to day work.

There is nothing wrong in this per se.  In fact for many of us it can be an essential exercise.  And if you go back to work refreshed and energized then you have achieved something.  But if you are in a similar position to me and find that your last rest day was simply that, a day of rest, then how about going back a week before?  What did you achieve then on a rest day?  And how about the week before that?  Surely you made great progress towards one of your major, exciting goals then?  No?

Unfortunately this is a common story for most of us.  We spend all day working hard, in order to have enough money to pay for the house in which we spend so little time because we are away working hard.  To pay for the car that we mostly use to get to our place of work rather than to take us to somewhere we can enjoy life.  So, what are we actually working for?  What do we really want to achieve in life, and is what we are doing right now getting us any closer to it?

For most of us these are very uncomfortable questions.  So uncomfortable we may try to brush them aside as being silly or irrelevant.  But they are not silly, and they are not irrelevant.  They are very uncomforable, but they are also very important.

Take some time right now to look again at your goals.  If they don't excite you they are the wrong goals.  And if you are aiming for the wrong goals you will either never achieve them anyway because they do not excite you, or you will achieve them and then wonder why you bothered in the first place.

Are your goals exciting?  If so, great!  Keep pushing forwards and achieve those goals.  If not, be ruthless and change them!  Replace them with goals that truly excite you and then make sure that every day you take at least one step to get you closer to those exciting goals.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Could You be Superman or Superwoman?


Do you believe in superpowers?  Could you be superman or superwoman?

If your answer is no, then think again.  Whatever spiritual beliefs you may have, and whether or not those beliefs encourage belief in certain powers such as healing abilities, I can assure you that superpowers of a kind really do exist.  There is nothing esoteric about this, just the wonderful facts of nature.

For example, how about a normally quite frail and certainly not muscular person suddenly demonstrating enormous physical strength?  Is this possible?  Certainly!  Has it ever happened?  Many times!  Typically this is a mother lifting a car off her child.  Search the internet and you will find countless examples of this.  Some may not be completely verifiable, but there are enough that are for us to know for certain that this has happened in the past and will happen in the future.  There is even a scientific term for this superpower - "hysterical strength".  What seems to happen is a combination of a release of the hormone noradrenalin, to give a temporary additional power to the muscles, and a number of endocannabinoids and opiods to deaden any pain the person may feel when using that increased strength to the maximum.

As I have said, there are very many verified examples of people lifting cars to save a person's life.  But one example of hysterical strength which I found very inspiring was the case of Lydia Angiyou who managed to fight off an adult polar bear that was trying to kill her seven year old son and two of his friends.  She had no gun, or other weapon, just her hands, her determination, and her hysterical strength which saved the lives of her son and friends.  I am sure most of my readers have seen a polar bear in a zoo and know just how big and heavy it is and how lethal its massive clawed paws and teeth can be.  Imagine yourself standing alone in unarmed combat with a polar bear.  It doesn't bear thinking about, does it!  But that is exactly what Lydia did, using her superpower strength.  Lydia received the Medal of Bravery from the Governor General of Canada for her actions, so you can be sure this story is very true.

Superpowers are, of course, not simply limited to hysterical strength.  We all have many powers that could be described as superpowers.  Most of us simply don't know the powers we really have.  The power to heal - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  The power to turn evil into good.  The power to attract to us whatever it is we may need in order to achieve whatever it is we wish to achieve.

In Matthew 17:20 we are told "if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Personally I have never moved a mountain this way.  Nor have I ever heard of anyone who did.  Most Christians would probably say this was not meant literally.  But actually, I believe it was.  Just because there are no recorded instances of it happening that doesn't mean it never will.  I know many will disagree with me here, but that is my personal belief.

What I particularly like in this quote is that last sentence: "Nothing will be impossible for you.”  I believe this.  I know that superpowers exist because there is enough evidence out there to prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt.  I know that those powers generally appear when they are most needed.  And I believe the words of Jesus that if we have enough faith we can use superpowers to achieve marvellous results in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Cave of Shadows


Imagine a group of people sitting in a cave.  They are unable to turn around and can only see the blank cave wall in front of them.  Way behind them is a fire.  Life goes on between the fire and the people in the cave.  They experience that life only as shadows on the cave wall - the shadows cast by the light of the fire being obstructed by the people and objects between that fire and the cave people.

Really imagine this.  What would those cave people see?  How closely would it reflect reality?

Some of what they see could be close to mimicking reality.  Most will not.  But some will be close.  Perhaps close enough for them to work out what might happen next.  But certainly not close enough for them to be able to say they understand reality.  Of course, they will say this, as they do not realize that what they are seeing is only shadows, a very poor reflection of reality.  They will only begin to see the truth if someone releases them and turns them around so they can see what is passing between themselves and the fire rather than just the shadows of what is passing.

You may be familiar with this little story.  It is called the "Allegory of the Cave", and was written over 2,400 years ago by the Classical Greek philosopher, Plato, in his book "The Republic".  Plato believed that we are just like those prisoners in the cave.  What we see around us in "real" life is just shadows.  We never see the true forms that give rise to those shadows.

St Paul stated something very similar in his first letter to the Corinthians, no doubt recognizing that as Greeks they would be very familiar with the concept.  Paul's interpretation of Plato's story, depending on which translation you use was "For now we see as through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known."  When Paul spoke of a "glass", he was referring to a primitive mirror.  It was not possible to see anything truly in such a primitive mirror, but only to see it "darkly" or very much obscured.  His analogy was therefore very similar to Plato's story of the people in the cave who could only see shadows.

Shakespeare, too, referred obliquely to this concept when he said, in Hamlet, that "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Has anyone ever said to you "I only believe in what I can see"?  Or have you even said this yourself?  What you can see is the shadow on the blank wall of your cave.  What you can see is the dark reflection in a primitive mirror.  It is not reality at all, just a very imperfect reflection of reality.  So do not be so quick to say "I only believe in what I can see".  There is a big, unknown, but actually a very welcoming universe out there.  One which we cannot yet see.  One which wants to help us achieve great things in life if only we will allow it to do so.

I have my own thoughts about the reality out there, and where it comes from, but I don't allow my thoughts to become rigid absolutes, as I understand I can still only see shadows, only see through a glass darkly, but one day will really see the truth - which may be very different from what I had believed to be the case.  What is important is that I do know what others may view as impossible need not be impossible at all.  I know that the Universe, or God, or the inner Spirit, or whatever you want to call it or him or her wants me to live a good and happy life and to do all I can to help those around me live a good and happy life.  I will do all I can to achieve this and will always be thankful for this wonderful life I and others can live.  Will you do the same?

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Negativity



Is there a place for negativity in your world?

On the surface, the answer should be a resounding "no".  I will get to that in just a minute, but first I want to be a bit controversial and say why I prefaced this with "on the surface" rather than outlawing negativity outright.

Life consists of a continuous cycle of creation and destruction.  Without the destruction there could be no new creation.

In the Hindu religion Kali is the destroyer of evil.  The spiritual equivalent of organisms such as funghi, which break down dead organic matter so it can be used to feed new life.

In Islam there is the concept of Jihad.  To me this is pretty much the equivalent of the Hindu Kali.  Jihad is a holy struggle.  This includes finding and destroying those things within yourself that prevent you living a holy life.

I strongly believe in the place for this concept.  We all have things within us that don't belong, and we should search them out and destroy them.  So we should all be involved in Jihad (in its true meaning) whether or not we are Muslims.

But having identified the place in our life for the destructive force, let me come back again to negativity in all its other senses.  I do not see a place for this in anyone's life.  Yes, find and destroy negative traits (which in itself is a negative action), but do not ever allow negativity itself to creep in and take over your life, which is what it will do if you let it.

Negativity is what causes unhappiness.  The situation you find yourself in does not, and cannot, cause unhappiness.  Only your negative reaction to that situation.

When negativity takes over, almost every situation seems hopeless and unwanted, no matter how good it may actually be.

Have you ever found yourself on holiday moaning about the poor quality of the hotel, the bad weather, the inedible food?  It may be true that the hotel is not up to scratch.  Perhaps the weather is not as good as you had wished.  Maybe the food is well below Michelin Star standard.  But you are on holiday in what is probably still a lovely place.  Relax!  Accept that things will be different here from home - in fact, rejoice in that difference! 

Don't allow negativity to take over.  See the good in every situation.  If you focus on what is bad, you will attract more of the same and the negativity will become a vicious circle.  Focus on the good and you will attract more of that instead, and your positivity will become a virtuous circle.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Daydreams


Is there a place in your life for daydreaming?  Should there be?

I believe the answer is a very firm "yes"!

"Daydream" time is your opportunity to explore what it is you really want in life.  Most of us are so busy trying to get somewhere that we have never stopped and thought whether or not that is where we really want to be!  We also often "borrow" other people's ideas about what we should want.  Perhaps we have goals that were originally set by our parents.  Or that we have read about or heard friends discuss and think they should be our goals too.  Perhaps they should!  But also, perhaps not!  Or maybe we should retain those goals but there are other goals out there that really should have our name on, but that we have simply never considered.  So one reason to daydream is to allow new possible goals to arise and then to try them out and test them, see whether they fit.

You may already believe strongly in the power of visualization and practise this whenever you can.  Certainly this is a very good thing, and in a few days' time you may be reading an e-mail from me about visualization and distinguishing it from daydreaming.  I certainly encourage you to visualize and to do so powerfully.  But visualization is a very clear and directed process.  It is not the same as daydreaming.  When you visualize you already know very clearly what it is you want to achieve and that is what you focus on.  But when you daydream you are in a much freer state than when you visualize, and the purpose is quite different.  It is a time when you should completely let go and stop trying to control everything.  Allow the daydream to take over.  Just relax and let it flow.

After the daydream is over you can then analyze it.  How did it make you feel?  Did it introduce anything that you haven't previously considered?  Should you now consider that element or those elements?  I suggest you keep a daydream diary.  Record the results in that diary.  Then, from time to time get a bigger overall picture by reflecting on a number of different daydream sessions.

Try to create a habit of daydreaming.  This is easiest done if you try to do it at a similar time on a regular basis.

How often should you daydream?

This is a big question.  I suggest the answer will vary depending on where you are in your life right now.  If you have a lot you need to do and are under a lot of pressure then perhaps a daily practice would be too much.  But even if you are under pressure try to have a daydream session at least once a week.

How open should you be about spending time daydreaming?

Unless you are very lucky you will probably find even your closest loved ones may not understand why you need to daydream and may try to convince you not to "waste time" doing it.  It is probably easier simply to daydream when you can be by yourself and when nobody else will know that is what you are doing.  Maybe just say you are going to take a brief nap.  That is not really a lie, as it is more or less a kind of nap.  Your loved ones will probably believe you are tired and are having a nap to recover, but you haven't told them this, they have simply assumed it, so there are no untruths here.

Go on!  Try it!  Spend some time daydreaming.  You will find you should emerge from these sessions feeling more refreshed and energized, as well as quite possibly discovering something new and important about yourself and some of your hidden desires.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Law of Attraction


I have often referred to the Law of Attraction in my blog posts.  But what exactly is it, what does it do, how does it do it, and how important is it to you and your own personal development?

First let me clarify.  The Law of Attraction is not something you can choose to use or to ignore.  Whether or not you like it you are "using" it all the time.  Whether or not you believe in it, the Law of Attraction is working right now and even as you read this it is bringing certain things into your sphere of influence.

The concept is actually very simple.  Like attracts like.  If you focus on certain things, those things are more likely to be attracted into your life.

Most of us, unfortunately, use the Law of Attraction in completely the wrong way, and that is why we get the wrong results.

Notice I said if you focus on certain things, those are the kinds of things the Law of Attraction will bring to you.  Not necessarily exactly the same things, but at least vaguely similar.  Also, maybe only indirectly.  Perhaps what will come into your sphere will be an opportunity to begin obtaining what it is you have focussed on.  But you have to recognize that opportunity.  Most people do not recognize it and therefore do not take advantage of it - and then they complain that the Law of Attraction did not work because it did not bring them the things they wanted.  That is a very lazy attitude, and if you are lazy you are unlikely to get very far in obtaining whatever it is you want.

Even worse, far too many people focus on what is wrong in their life rather than what is good and could be great in their life.  If you focus on what is wrong you will simply attract more of it.  The Law of Attraction will work.  It will respond properly to the instructions you are effectively giving it.  But those instructions are for completely the wrong things.

Take wealth, for example.  When you consider your own wealth do you focus on the fact that you are not wealthy enough?  That you don't have the money you need in order to achieve whatever you want to achieve?  If so, you are probably condemning yourself to losing even the wealth you currently have.  Certainly you are making it much more likely that you will lose it.

Jesus told his disciples "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." (Matthew 13:12).  There are a number of different interpretations of this, but one is that if you are someone who "does not have" it means you are focussed on that lack rather than the abundance you could have.  Focus on what you do have, albeit so small, and be thankful for it, and you will find it will increase - maybe directly, or maybe indirectly, with the Universe putting you in the right place at the right time to create more of that good in your life.

So take away these three things:

  1. Stop focussing on things you do not want to have in your life.
  2. Be grateful for all the good things in your life, and express that gratitude
  3. Recognize that the Universe brings opportunities to you all the time to increase those good things in your life - look for those opportunities and be ready to seize them.


Do this and you will find that little by little you are using the Law of Attraction properly, and more and more good things will begin to appear in your life.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Saint Valentine

If you are reading this blog article on the day it was published, in many parts of the world today is Valentine's Day.  A day that celebrates romantic love.

The story behind St Valentine is shrouded in the mists of time.  There is even uncertainty about who this man was, with at least three different possible candidates.  But many believe he was a Roman Priest, cruelly executed in 269 AD by the emperor Claudius.  Those who believe this tell the following story about his "crime" and its link to romantic love.

Emperor Claudius issued an edict forbidding young people from marrying.  Why did he issue this edict?  Because he wanted all young people to be available to serve in his army, and he believed soldiers who were married and experienced true romantic love were much less likely to kill.  St Valentine believed that romantic love was a God-given emotion and that it was wrong to forbid young people to marry.  So he conducted weddings secretly, despite the edict expressly prohibiting this.  He was arrested for this "crime", and beaten, then stoned, and finally beheaded.  Before he died, he sent a note to the young lady he loved, the daughter of his jailor Asterius, and signed it "from your Valentine".

This is not the only story behind Valentine's Day, but to me it is the most powerful.  Is it true?  I really don't know, and nor does anyone else.  As I say, the story is lost in the mists of time and we can never be wholly certain which bits of it are true.  But it doesn't really matter.  Historical truth is important if you are trying to piece together exactly what happened and when, but the power of myths and legends does not rely on historical truth.  Their power is vested in the way they influence our beliefs and actions.

I truly believe that love reduces the capacity for violence.  Sometimes propaganda can distort our love for friends and family and make us believe that it is necessary to fight in a war in order to protect them.  But I believe, as did Claudius, that the overall effect of true love is to make it far more difficult for anyone to twist the way you think and feel and make you do anything designed to cause suffering.

Do you love anyone?  I really hope you do!  In fact, I hope you love everyone.  If you do, and you allow this love to influence you and determine the way you think and behave, this will have a very positive effect on you and on all around you.  This applies not only to romantic love, which is emphasized in the story of St Valentine, but also to a broader and more general love.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Epigenetics and Personal Development

When I studied biology at university in the 1970's there was a small but significant resurgence of belief by some geneticists in the theories of the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.  This biologist developed an evolutionary theory well before Charles Darwin wrote "On the Origin of Species".  Lamarck believed that every organism develops during their lifetime characteristics that are useful to them, and that they pass on those characteristics to their offspring.  Darwin agreed with the first premise, that all organisms develop useful characteristics, but fundamentally disagreed that those characteristics could be passed on.

Lamarckian evolution as originally stated by Lamarck is no longer regarded as scientifically correct.  However, the concept that we can pass on to our children characteristics developed during our lifetime IS an accepted scientific fact.  Rather than Lamarckian Genetics this is referred to as Transgenerational Epigenetics.

This is not a blog on biological science, so why am I referring to the ability to pass on developed characteristics to our children?  For one very important reason.  If you join with me in believing you can pass on your non-inherited characteristics to your children you will want to ensure you give them the best possible start by ensuring you have worked hard on your own personal development.

Some people seem to think that working on their own personal development is a selfish activity, especially if they are spending money on it - money which could be used in other ways to help their family.  I want to reassure you that this is never the case.  It is always a very good thing to develop all the positive characteristics you can in yourself - and now you know that if you try to remove anything that is negative and improve anything that is positive you will be giving any children you may have a better start in life.

This is not, of course, restricted to epigenetic transmission.  It is also environmental.  Your children will recognize the positive aspects of your character and this will help them to develop positively themselves.  So it applies to children you already have, not just those who will be born in the future.

But what if you are no longer of child-bearing age, and your children are fully grown and developed?  Even then, this is still an important thing to do.  Adult children respect their parents, even if they don't always show that respect, and they can still learn from you.  And you can extend this even further - by developing positive traits yourself you can influence those around you, family, friends, and colleagues, to consider working on their own personal development.  Never underestimate the power of personal development to change the world around you.

Finally, you should note that just as you can pass on traits to your children, environmentally and epigenetically, so too you will have received such traits from your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.  Traits that may be hidden deep within.  Hopefully many of those traits will be positive, but not all will.  Some may have been appropriate many generations ago when they were first developed but are no longer so.  Use meditation, and other personal development techniques, to identify any traits within you that may no longer be helpful and to eliminate or modify them appropriately.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Unlocking Your Potential


Has anyone ever told you that you should unlock your potential?

It is very true - but what exactly does this mean?

If you are being encouraged to unlock your potential, then this must mean it is locked away somewhere.  Locked away - not simply sitting there unknown and unrecognized.

Think about that for a moment.  If you are like most people you probably believe that the potential within you is hidden away and just needs to be recognized in order to flower in all its beauty.  It is true that this is the case with some of your potential.  All of us have powers and abilities within us that we have never noticed.  Certainly we should do what we can to identify and develop those powers and abilities.

But unlocking potential is something rather different.  If it is locked away then clearly it is not something that has never been noticed.  It was once seen, and then locked so that we would no longer have free access to it.  But why?

There are two possible reasons for locking something away.  The first is because we believe it would be dangerous to leave it free and uncontrolled.  We have imprisoned it.  Probably with an "indeterminate sentence" - which means it cannot be released until we are convinced it will no longer be a danger to ourselves or others.  The second is almost the opposite.  We have locked it in a safe because it is so precious that we don't want anybody to steal it away from us.

In some cases both reasons apply, even though that seems illogical.  We are frightened of that potential.  We fear if we set it loose it will change us in ways that make us feel uncomfortable.  But at the same time we recognize it is very powerful and are afraid others will recognize this and take it away from us.

Most of us, if not all of us, have enormous potential that we have locked away for one or even both reasons.  And this is the potential which can change our lives beyond all recognition if only we are prepared to release it and let it do its work.  Don't be afraid of that change.  Allow those hidden powers and abilities within you to develop and you will indeed experience massive change, but it will be change for good.  For your good and for the good of those around you.  Don't be afraid that others will take it from you.  They cannot.  It is yours, and yours alone.  It can, and indeed should, be used to help others, but this is something that you yourself do with it, not that they take from you.

What potential have you locked away?  Don't say "none", as that is most definitely a lie.  I can guarantee there is something deep within you that you have locked away and that needs to be released so that your life and the lives of those around you can be improved dramatically.  When you say "none" what you are actually doing is guarding the key that will unlock your potential.  Stop guarding the key, and instead use it to unlock your hidden potential.  Decide right now that the "indeterminate sentence" has come to an end.  Decide right now that you will release your potential and let it do its powerful work in the world around you.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Integrity



Do you have integrity?  Is it important to have integrity?  What does it mean anyway?

My dictionary gives two definitions of integrity:

  1.  Honesty and holding oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards
  2.  Being whole and undivided


Most people view these as two different and unconnected definitions, but to me they are inextricably linked.  The link words are "consistent" and "undivided".

Deep within you there is a moral compass.  For some people this may be the voice of God, or the Holy Spirit.  Others may not choose the "God" word, and may refer simply to the Spirit within.  Yet others may not see it as anything other than their own code of conduct.  But whatever you may choose to call it, wherever you may feel it comes from, this compass guides you through your life, telling you what is right and what is wrong.  Most of the time you are fully aware, consciously, of what is the right thing to do.  But sometimes it is not so clear and the signs your moral compass gives you are more important to follow.  One aspect of having integrity is being aware of the leadings of that moral compass and consistently following them.

Notice I said "deep within".  It is important to dig deep and make sure you are truly listening to the leadings of your moral compass.  Many of us think we have consistent, undivided standards, only to find if we look very carefully there is a conflict between them.  Search deep within and you will find a clear, consistent signal.  Learn to trust that signal.  It is never wrong.  Sometimes, though, the signal is clouded by all the noise between your deep centre and your conscious mind.  So the signal we receive gives us a different message from that which is intended.  This can lead to great tragedy.  It can make you do things that are very wrong, but that you do with conviction as you believe they are the right things to do.  This particularly happens when people decide to focus on what they truly want to get out of life.  The right signal initially arises, but as it travels through your unconscious and subconscious it can change and no longer read true.  Continuing the compass analogy, it is as though there are many different magnetic elements within you which can distort the reading.

How can you know whether or not you are receiving a pure, unclouded signal from your moral compass?  As with most things in life, with practice.  Take time regularly to sit quietly.  Think of nothing.  When thoughts appear, do not allow them to distract you; do not react by trying to get rid of them, but just ignore them.  There is a big part of you that will object to this and will try to stop you doing it.  The only way it can stop you is to create those distracting thoughts and hope you follow them.  Don't.  By sitting quietly and ignoring all distracting thoughts you are allowing the "magnetic noise" within you to disappear.  This will then allow the true moral compass deep within you to reveal itself.

It doesn't come, of course, as a "big reveal".  You probably won't hear trumpets and suddenly know exactly what you must do.  It doesn't normally work that way.  Most of the time you will feel nothing has happened.  You have simply sat there in silence.  But what HAS happened is that you have opened and cleared a channel.  The more often you do this, the clearer that channel will be.  And when you actually need the leading of that inner compass it will be much easier to receive the right signal.

But how important is it to have integrity?

It is vital.  If you don't have integrity you will never be as comfortable as you should be.  If you truly have integrity life will feel so much better.  You will feel fulfilled.  The reason you will feel this way is that you ARE fulfilled.  You are living life the way it is meant to be lived.

If you truly have integrity you will find others respect you more.  They may mock you at times, but deep within they will know they can trust you.  This means over time you will find opportunities arise that would never have arisen if you hadn't spent time searching for that inner compass and following its leadings.

If you have integrity you will find that you are in tune with the Universe.  What you truly, deep within, want to happen will begin to happen.  It simply has to, as what you want is also what the Universe wants, and nothing can be more powerful than that.

So think about this deeply and carefully.  Do you truly have integrity which guides you absolutely on your path through life?  Spend time in silence allowing proper communication with that moral compass within and you will become unstoppable and totally fulfilled.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Creating a New World


What kind of world do you want to live in?

Think about this seriously and carefully for a while.  Don't put any limitations or boundaries on your thinking.  Imagine you have an absolutely clean slate and can make the world around you exactly as you want it to be.

There may be something you regard as of vital importance.  If so, then certainly change this, but don't stop there.  Imagine the world with that one thing changed but then, keeping this new world in focus, move to the next thing you would like to change.  Work on this for a while and build up an inner picture of this lovely new world you are creating.

Quite probably you will have changed the physical environment around you, perhaps in ways that only seem possible if you are very wealthy.  But don't get stuck in thoughts about this environmental change to the detriment of everything else.  What about the people around you?  Would they be any different?  In what ways.  Be specific.

Imagine what life is like for you in this new world.  How does it make you feel?

Spend as much time as you like creating this lovely new world.  It feels good, doesn't it!  So spend time creating it and immersing yourself in it.  Get the most out of this experience.

There are a number of very powerful things you are doing when you use this exercise and create your new world.

  1. You are making yourself feel good.  There are plenty of things around that can make us feel bad if we allow them to do so.  By following this exercise you are countering those influences and allowing yourself to be happy.
  2. You are creating an inner picture of what you would like to achieve and what you would like the Universe to help you achieve.  Most of us do not spend enough time working out what we want to achieve.  If you don't have a clear vision of where you want to go, how can you expect to get there?
  3. You are sending out very powerful creative signals.  I happen to believe in an all-powerful creator, and perhaps you do too.  But I also believe the life force itself is creative.  Look around you and you will see signs everywhere of what you have created.  Some, perhaps most, will be good.  Some will be not so good.  But it has all been created by you.  Focus your creative energies on the right targets and you may be surprised by just how much change you can make in the world around you.
  4. You are telling the Universe what you want to achieve and what you want it to help you achieve.  This is similar to the third reason, but also goes beyond it.  With the power of the Universe behind you there is so much more you can create and change in your world.


You are recognizing, perhaps for the first time, what is important for you.  Once you recognize this then you simply have to go out and get it.

Probably one of the things you wanted to change was the way people around you treat you.  Is that the case?  Even if you didn't originally include this in your vision, now that I have raised this is there anything you would like to change about the way you are treated?  I am sure if you think deeply about this you will find many changes you would like to see.  Well I am now going to let you into a secret.  Creating this change is not difficult.  This change begins in you.  How do you want to be treated?  Well start treating others around you in exactly this way.  Some will not respond well at first, but don't give up.  Keep behaving in this way, doing unto others what you would have them do to you.

My Christian friends may have recognized a quote from the Bible here.  Matthew 7:12 - "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." 

In fact, the exercise we have just been practising is really summed up in the verses leading up to this.  Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-12:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

I realize not all my readers are Christian, but this "Golden Rule" is not just a Christian belief.  Here is what, according to the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammed said on the subject:

The Prophet said: "As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don't do to them."  Kitab al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 146

In the Talmud, Hillel the elder said "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn." Shabbath folio:31a, Babylonian Talmud

For my Hindu friends - "One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires." Brihaspati, Mahabharata (Anusasana Parva, Section CXIII, Verse 8)

For my Buddhist friends - "One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter." Dhammapada 10. Violence

In Sikh teaching - "Precious like jewels are the minds of all. To hurt them is not at all good. If thou desirest thy Beloved, then hurt thou not anyone's heart." Guru Arjan Dev Ji 259, Guru Granth Sahib

No matter what religion you follow, there is a version of this "Golden Rule" within it.  In most religions, as indicated in the above texts, it is one of the most important instructions to follow.  But also if you have no religion, if you even hate the idea of religion, the "Golden Rule" is still for you.  It is the underlying basis of Humanism, in which it is known as the ethic of reciprocity.

I recommend you make creating your new world a daily exercise.  Every day do the above visualization, and every day put the Golden Rule into practice.  Bit by bit you will see a whole new and better world unfolding around you.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

GIGO and Laughter



Have you ever heard the term "garbage in - garbage out"?  This is often expressed as the acronym "GIGO".  It is commonly used to remind people that no matter how clever a computer program may be, if you feed the wrong or inappropriate information in, then it will probably come up with the wrong or an inappropriate answer.  That is not because there is anything wrong with the computer, but because the person trying to use it is not using it properly.  Computers can be wonderful things, but you cannot expect them to read your mind and do what you hoped they would do if you don't give them the right instructions!  To a certain extent, what is called "fuzzy logic" can sometimes seem to work miracles in this way, but there are still limits and you still need to understand what it is you want the computer to do before you start giving it instructions.

You have probably read somewhere that your unconscious or subconscious mind is like a powerful computer.  I truly believe this.  Just like any other computer, it relies on having the right programming, and receiving the right instructions.  Program it correctly, give it the right instructions, and it can indeed perform miracles for you.  But always remember that, just like a computer, it is subject to GIGO.  You must program it correctly and you must give it the right instructions.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to program your subconscious, and what instructions to give it.  But just because it can be difficult you must not give up.  Don't think that you can just ignore it and not "bother" to give it instructions.  You are giving it instructions all the time, whether or not you intend to do so.  So it is vital you look carefully at the instructions you are giving it and ensure you are not setting yourself up for massive failures.

One deliberate way of instructing your subconscious is by using what are called "affirmations".  Statements that show it what you want to achieve and that are expressed in a very positive way in order to use your subconscious to help you reach your goals.  You will find plenty of material online teaching you how to create affirmations properly, including articles in my own blog (check the label "affirmation"), so I am not going to repeat this here.  Any time you spend researching this will be time well spent.

But what I want to remind you is that whether or not you consciously create affirmations you are still giving your subconscious instructions all the time.  If you DO create an affirmation, but then continually give the opposite instruction to your subconscious you really should not expect that affirmation to have much, if any, effect.  In fact, I would suggest that the main reason so many people complain that affirmations don't work is not necessarily because they are not using them properly (although that can also be the case), but because they are constantly countermanding those affirmations.

A lot comes down to how you feel all the time.  Feel happy, and you will be sending a message to your subconscious that you WANT to be happy.  OK, I know it is a bit of a vicious circle.  Sometimes it can be quite difficult to maintain positive emotions.  But the vicious circle works in both directions.  Prime it in the right direction and it reinforces itself, making it easier and easier to maintain the positive emotion.

I have said this in previous articles, but I make no apology for repeating it here: adopt the right posture to go with the positive emotion and you will find it a lot easier to feel that emotion.  Do the things you would normally do when you had that emotion.  The more you act as though you are feeling that way, the more you WILL feel that way.

Many years ago I studied Aikido in the "Hombu Dojo", or world Aikido headquarters in Tokyo.  One of my teachers was a shinto priest.  He started every session by making us laugh.  I don't mean he did or said something funny.  Nor did he tell us to think of something funny.  He completely bypassed all of that and told us simply to make the noise of laughter.  We had to feel that laughter arising in the solar plexus and then radiating up the centerline of our bodies, erupting from our mouths as the sound we call laughter.  Let me tell you, it worked!  Soon we were all really laughing, not just making the sound.  At that point he stopped us and the lesson began.  It made a huge difference to the way we internalized the lessons he taught us and how positive we felt about those lessons.  It also set us up for a happier and more productive day.

You don't need a shinto priest or an Aikido instructor to tell you to do this.  Just know that you CAN do it.  Try it for yourself - preferably when you are alone, unless you want to get a rather odd reputation!  I can assure you it really does work.  And once you realize what a difference a simple action like this can make to your state of mind, your emotions, and your spirit, you will realize just how easy it can be to create positive emotions within you if you are only willing to try.  Create those positive emotions, and allow them to influence the workings of your inner computer, your subconscious mind, and you will find your life will soon begin to feel better!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

History Does Not Exist


"If only I could start over!"

Have you ever wished you could have a new start?  Have you ever said to yourself "if I could start over I know I would do far better"?

Most people I ask agree that they have said this to themselves.  Some confirm that they regularly say it.

Take a good look at your life right now, and find something in your life where you wish you could say this.  Perhaps your relationship with your partner?  Your own business?  Your career?

If you could start again, what would you do differently?  How much difference would that make to where you are now?  Would your business be so much more profitable?  Would you have been promoted and now have a much better position with a much bigger salary?  Would you have a much stronger and more meaningful relationship?  Would you be so much happier?

Now I am going to let you in on a secret.  You CAN start again!  What is stopping you?

50 years ago I read a book by the American anthropologist Carlos Castaneda, in which Castaneda outlined the shamanistic training he received from a Yaqui sorceror, Don Juan.  At the time I found this book quite challenging, but also fascinating and eye-opening.  But one statement the sorceror made puzzled me.  He told Castaneda that if he wanted to become a true sorceror he had to erase his history.  In fact, he had to recognize that his history did not exist.

I found this concept troubling.  I imagined forgetting all my friends and family, and felt this was not something I would wish to do.  I imagined wiping out everything I had achieved so far in my life, and realized I was not ready to do this even if it did mean I could never become a sorceror like Don Juan.

But what I didn't realize at the time was that "erasing history" was a very powerful tool I could use in order to achieve better and greater things.  A tool that would allow me to start again in any endeavour or relationship and turn it into something much closer to my dream.

Look again at what you said earlier you would do differently if you could start again.  It may not be possible to do all of it, as your starting point is now different.  But if you look carefully there WILL be some things that you CAN now do differently and that will improve your situation.

Yes, you probably have what we call "baggage".  Some of this you wouldn't want to change.  It may seem to be in the way of one of your life goals, but at the same time it is something you want in your life.  If so, then you certainly don't want to erase it and start again.  Although you should be aware that it IS possible to erase it, no matter how challenging that may seem.

Have you ever read "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan?  It may have been written 340 years ago, but it has some eternal truths which can help you along your journey through life.  One of those truths is the main underlying concept of the novel - that each of us is carrying a burden which is stopping us achieve what we should be able to achieve.  The hero of the story, Christian, carries this burden for many miles and finds it is weighing him down and making his journey more and more difficult.  But when he reaches the "place of deliverance" the straps, which are holding the burden to his back, break and Christian finds himself completely free of his burden.

Bunyan wrote this as an allegory of the sins that weigh each of us down and which we can cast away when we accept salvation.  I don't want to trivialize something that means so much to committed Christians, but I believe this allegory can apply to far more than what Christians refer to as salvation.  We all carry burdens which stop us achieving what we want to achieve, but never stop to wonder why we continue to carry them.  These burdens are our history.  And what I learned from Carlos Castaneda is that we don't have to keep carrying those burdens unless we want to do so.

Recognize that your history cannot stop you achieving what you wish to achieve unless you allow it to do so.  Know that you CAN start over.  That every day is a new day with enormous potential if only you are prepared to take advantage of that potential.  Whatever it is that you want to do differently, just do it!  At first it may seem strange.  You may find resistance from unexpected quarters.  But keep on going in this new direction and don't allow your history to stand in your way!

If you would like to obtain a copy of "Pilgrim's Progress", just click here.

For an edition in the UK, click here.

To obtain a copy of Carlos Castaneda's first book, click here.

For an edition in the UK, click here.