Tuesday, 14 November 2017

I Have a Dream


On 28th August 1963 Dr Martin Luther King delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech.  Just as a quick reminder, here is a brief extract:

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!"

Dr King had a powerful dream.  One that in his day must have looked impossible to achieve.  We have nowhere near achieved it even today, but we are a lot closer, thanks in no small way to the fact that Dr King had that dream in the first place.

I have no doubt that well-meaning friends told Dr King he was foolish to have such a dream, that the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners would never sit down together as brothers.  Certainly not in Georgia!  I have no doubt they said Mississippi would never become an oasis of freedom and justice.  But Dr King ignored their comments.  He refused to accept their apathy.  Although he knew it was unlikely his dream would be achieved in his lifetime he also knew it would never be achieved unless he and others like him believed it was possible.  And so he worked to achieve his dream, and changed his society radically and forever.

What is your dream?

Do you even have a dream?  If not, why not?  Is it because you do not believe it can be achieved?

Did you perhaps have a dream when you were younger, but through the years found so much cold water was thrown on your dream that there is no longer even a spark there to be ignited into a powerful flame of desire again?

Imagine it is your last day on earth and you know that in just a few hours you will have passed away.  What would you want to be able to feel you have achieved?  What would you want to look back to and be proud and happy that you achieved it?  What dreams would you want to see turned into reality?  What other dreams would you want to see that had still not been fully achieved but were well on the way to becoming reality?

Think about this carefully.  One day, that day will come for you.  Maybe you will have time to reflect on what you have achieved and maybe not.  But that day will most certainly come.  And you can either pass from this life without having achieved anything of value, or you can pass from this life knowing that the world is a better place simply because you lived in it for a short time.

You should have at least one big dream.  Perhaps more than one.  Perhaps many.  Some may be completely altruistic.  Some may be of benefit just to your family and close friends.  Some may even be mainly about you, and what you want to enjoy in this life.  Don't shut out any of those dreams.  There is room for them all.

Dr Martin Luther King did not allow anyone to throw cold water on his dream, and the world is a better place as a result.  It is by no means a perfect world, but it is a better world simply because he had a dream and he lived his life doing everything he could to turn that dream into reality.

What is your dream?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Unseeing and Unhearing


Have you ever sat in front of your television watching a film and then suddenly realized you haven't taken in anything that happened over the past half hour?

Have you ever been reading a book and then suddendly realized you have been turning the pages but not really read anything?

Probably in most of those cases it was because you were half asleep.  But not always.  Sometimes it is because you have focused on something else.  Perhaps something important you have been working on.

Or here is one probably the male partner of a couple will recognize.  Has your partner ever been in conversation with you, got some standard grunts and vague answers from you, but you didn't really hear anything she said - or perhaps didn't even really notice she was talking to you at all?

Recently I just finished reading a "weird fiction" novel called "City and City" in which two cities are intertwined and the residents of one city have to "unsee" and "unhear" the residents of the other city.  Maybe you have read this too.

Why do I mention this?

Because unfortunately it is all too common for each of us to "unsee" and "unhear" things.  It is all too common for us not to notice what is going on around us.  We become so focused on our own problems, on what it is we want to achieve, that we miss all the signals around us which, if we only took the time and trouble to look and listen, would actually get us where we want to go far quicker than any of the strategies we can come up with by ourselves.

Different people call those signals different things.  I call them intuition.

You have probably learned since an early age to "unsee" and "unhear" those intuitive signals, just like the residents of Besźel and Ul Qoma in China Miéville's novel "City and City" have learned to "unsee" and "unhear" the residents of the other city.

Probably at some point in your childhood someone told you to "stop dreaming".  Probably they told you that you have to use logic to find answers to your problems.  And so that is what you have done ever since.

The answers are out there waiting for you to see them, which you can do most easily by daydreaming, and which you can do simply by stopping this "unseeing" and "unhearing" that is ingrained in you and that society regards as "normal".

Now is the time to stop "unseeing" and "unhearing".  Take some time every day to sit quietly and listen to the intuitive voice within you.  See what that inner being wants to show you.

The first time you do this you will probably not see or hear anything.  Only a voice telling you not to be so silly and to get on with your work!  Not just the first time, in fact, but probably many times.  You have a lifetime of "unseeing" and "unhearing" to reverse.  So be patient.  Don't expect immediate results.  But also be ready for any results that may come.  Sit quietly and allow your intuition to get to work.  Daydream, and see where you are taken in your dream.  This is not a waste of time at all, but a very good use of time.  A way to use your intuitive side rather than just your logical side.

Take back your natural intuitive power.  The power that was stolen from you by people telling you not to daydream.  The power that can provide all the answers you need to achieve whatever you want to achieve!


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Prayer for Peace



In this article I hope to bring together people of very different beliefs, some of which are held very strongly.  I believe this is possible, although it is necessary for each of us to suspend any prejudice we may have about the beliefs of others.  Hopefully you will find I am not asking you to change what you believe, but just phrasing that belief in a way that should resonate with all my readers no matter what religion they follow (or even if they follow no religion at all).  Please try to bear with me on this, as the end result if you do could be an enormous surge of goodness and purity into a world that at the moment may seem to be filled with evil, danger, and dark powers.

When I look at the news there seems every reason to despair.  We read of violence in the Kenyan elections.  We hear of Kim Jong-un's threats to devastate the Western world with nuclear weapons.  We hear of Trump's counter threats to destroy North Korea completely.  We hear of 100 people dying in North Korea when a tunnel at its nuclear test site collapsed - and another 1,000 people dying when they tried to save those who were still alive and trapped.  We hear of moves in Japan to strip its constitution of its current pacifist position.  We hear of a threat by Daesh to murder a 4 year old boy (Prince George).  The list goes on and on ......

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the war to end all wars ended.  Except it DIDN'T end all wars.  Since the Great War ended in 1918, according to the Polynational War Memorial, there have been 221 wars in which just over 67 million souls have been lost (compared with the 10.7 million lost in the Great War).

But despite all the above, I do not despair, and neither should you.

Do you believe in the power of prayer?  If you are a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jew, Daoist, Zoroastrian, Wiccan, or a believer in virtually any other religion you almost certainly do believe in the power of prayer.

Do you believe in the power of the mind?  Even if you do not subscribe to any religion, even if you do not believe in the existence of a Supreme Being (which may be called God, Allah, Atman, or something else), you should certainly believe in the power of the mind, the ability of using the mind to create enormous changes around you.

So whatever you believe, I want to ask you to do one thing which can totally negate all those negatives I have listed, all the equally horrendous things happening around us that I haven't listed, and all the horrible issues that are about to arise and that we simply haven't heard about yet.  I am asking you to pray.  I am asking you to use the power of your mind.  I am asking you to help bring Peace into this world.

When you pray, when you send out positive healing waves of thought, do not allow the despair you may feel any entry into your being.  There is an evil power abroad in the world.  Again, what you call it depends on your religion and/or your philosophy.  But whatever you call it, it is out there.  And it does not want you to pray for peace.  It does not want you to send positive, healing thoughts of peace into the world.  It will use any means possible to stop you doing this, and one of the easiest ways is to make you think that your prayer, your positive healing thoughts, will not make any difference.  But this evil power is a liar.  When it tells you that you cannot make a difference with your prayers or thoughts it is telling lies.  Recognize those lies for what they are.  If you are a Christian, when you feel that despair coming repeat the words Jesus himself uttered - "Get thee behind me, Satan!"  If you are not a Christian, think of a way to say something similar that fits your own beliefs.

Another way you can deflect the thoughts of despair, the thoughts that you cannot make a difference, is to use the technique I introduced in an earlier blog about beginning to meditate.  Don't try to counter the thought, just recognize it is there but carry on praying or meditating regardless.  Eventually the Evil One will stop trying to deflect you that way as he will realize it simply isn't working.  But then he will try another tack.  Instead of despair he will try to get you to think about something other than what you are praying about or meditating on.  Perhaps he will tell you that you are thirsty.  Maybe he will tell you that although what you are doing now is important there are other even more important things you should be doing.  But remember that Satan is the father of lies!  Whatever he is telling you is untrue.  So simply recognize that he has introduced this thought but ignore it.

Unless you have any religious objections to doing so, when you start your prayer or meditation session for Peace, use the "Purity" meditation I introduced a couple of articles ago.  I am not going to repeat the entire meditation here, as you can find it here.  But in summary, look up and see above your head a ball of light that represents everything that is good.  Draw this down into your body and allow it to fill you so you are one with it.  Feel it expanding until it fills the world.  Then begin your prayer or meditation for Peace.

Do this as often as you can.  It should only take a few minutes once you are used to doing it.  But especially do it on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when maybe those around you are holding their two minutes silence honouring those who died in a war.  You will be honouring those men and women by asking for Peace, so that their suffering and deaths were not in vain.

I believe just one person doing this is releasing an enormous power for good in the world.  But imagine 10, 50 or 100 people doing it.  If 100 do it I believe it will not simply be 100 times as powerful, but many more times than this.  Spread the word.  Send your family and your friends to this blog so that they all know what to do and how to do it.

Believe me when I say this could be the most important thing you will ever have done in your life!  So do it!  Please!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Saboteur



Have you ever wondered why it is that just as you are about to achieve success someone grabs the prize before you?  A little like the final stage of a race, where you are ahead of the field and then someone (who has perhaps been pacing better) comes out of nowhere and runs past you in the last few seconds.

Or sometimes do you find someone seems to work against you just after you have reached your goal and achieved success?  Completely destroying that success?  An unknown someone.  Invisible.

Does everyone seem to conspire against you, stopping you getting what you really want out of life?

These are very common problems, and probably most of us face them from time to time, if not all the time.  So perhaps we should try to find out who is working against us and why.

Well I think I can answer that question for you right now, even though I know very little about you, your circumstances, and what you are trying to achieve.  The person working against you is YOU!  Not any of your friends or enemies.  Just YOU.

Even when it seems to be clear who has done this, when you can see the person grabbing the prize before you, the culprit is STILL you, and only you.

How can that be, and why?

In the case of someone snatching the prize before you there are probably two factors involved here, both controlled by you.

Firstly, to use a horse racing analogy, you are pulling on the reins to slow the horse down just as the winning post comes in sight and the first prize appears to be within your grasp.  You hesitate.  And he who hesitates is lost.  For some people this is pretty obvious when they stop and think what has happened.  They don't mean to give up right at the last moment, but that is exactly what they do.  Others, perhaps you included, will object and will deny outright that they are slowing down just as it seems they are going to win.  But I can almost guarantee that is what is happening!

Secondly, in most cases you are mistaken in believing there is only one prize, or only a few prizes.  You may think that is the case, but it probably isn't.  Yes, if your goal was to become the president of the United States and someone trumped you to the post (sorry about my sense of humour!), there was only one prize there and you missed it.  But in all likelihood you had the wrong goal.  Maybe the goal should have been to become the president of the United States at some point in your life, in which case the prize has not been snatched away from you unless you are going to die before the next election!  More likely the goal should actually have been something very different anyway, as most of us misinterpret our inner desires, cloaking them in something that is vaguely related but not our true goal - and if we could truly see our real goal we would realize there are no limits there and that it doesn't matter if someone "snatches" the prize ahead of us, as there are many identical prizes.

In the case of the invisible saboteur, if you think really carefully you will realize that saboteur is you.  But why?  Why do you slow down right at the end of the race?  Why do you give up when someone else gains a prize but there are prizes on offer for everyone?  Why, when you finally achieve whatever it was you wanted to achieve, do you sabotage your own success, giving away the prize you worked so hard to achieve?  Why are you a self-saboteur?

There are a number of reasons for this, some of which simply need a change of state.  A change from a permanent negative attitude to a positive one.  Recognition that the world is your oyster and that the only limitations to achieving what you want to achieve are set by you.

But perhaps the biggest reason is that the "inner you" doesn't want change.  And if you are successful that will mean a big change.  Too big for comfort.  So the "inner you" pulls you back into your comfort zone.  Why?  Well it is a basic biological survival instinct.  You are alive, so what you have been doing up to now has ensured your survival.  But if you change things, then you are moving into the unknown, and your inner being believes there is a risk that you are moving into a danger zone.  Evolutionary pressure very naturally tries to steer you away from that danger zone.  Either by making you slow down and perhaps even stop before you reach it, or by making you return to "safety" when you get there.

Just recognizing this may be enough to stop this saboteur (you) in his or her tracks.  But if not, then at least you now understand the source of the problem and can enlist some external help (perhaps from a lifestyle coach) to re-train you so you don't keep missing or even throwing away the success you deserve!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Purity Meditation



In my blog last week I gave you an introduction to meditation.  But an "introduction" that even seasoned meditators have told me really helped them in their own meditations.  The concept was to focus on your breathing and then just ignore any thoughts that try to distract you - and don't get focused on "ignoring", as that is itself a distraction.

I mentioned that once you have got used to using this technique you can move on to meditating on a phrase you find helpful, for example from a sacred text.  I suggest you do this a lot, as you will find it will deepen your understanding of the relevance of that phrase to you, particularly in the stage of life in which you now find yourself.

But you should also try more active meditations.  These can focus both your conscious and unconscious minds on ways to improve your life and to increase your understanding of where you are now in your life.

One meditation I use every day is something I call the "purity meditation".  This gives me enormous benefit, massively increasing my understanding of what I need to do next.

Here is how to use the "purity meditation":

Begin, as always, with a "focused breath" meditation.  As you find yourself slipping comfortably into a fully meditating zone, with your eyes closed, imagine you are looking above your head.  Way above your head you can see a ball of light.  This light is the essence of everything that is good and wholesome in the universe.  Reach up (mentally - there is no need actually to life your arms up, although you can if this helps) and touch this pure light.  You will find that even though the light is hundreds or even thousands of metres above you, when you reach up for it the distance seems to be irrelevant.

When you touch the light, it immediately runs down your arms and fills you with light.  You are now reflecting in your entire body all the purity, goodness, and wholesomeness that the light represents.  Continue breathing deeply and just allow that thought to fill your meditation.

When you feel ready to move on - which may be seconds, minutes, or even tens of minutes later - feel the light moving down through your feet, going right down into the earth, right to the centre of the earth.  Your spirit is within the light, so your spirit is travelling down with it.  Feel yourself at one with Mother Earth.  A warm, comfortable, loving feeling then comes up from the centre of the earth and fills you.  This feeling fills you completely.

The light has filled you completely, but it then expands beyond your body and your spirit expands with it.  You feel yourself filling the room you are in.  Then it fills your house or the building you are in.  Everyone in that building is drawn into the pure light that is both your own spirit and the universe, which means they are now working with you to help you get where you need to be.

Allow it to expand beyond.  It fills the town you are in, bringing everyone in that town into your light and therefore helping you.  It fills your country, the world, bringing the whole world into cooperation with you.

Now it fills the solar system, the Milky Way, the known Universe, the entire Universe, the Multiverses of which our own Universe is just one.  Everything and everyone is with you, supporting you.

At this point, stop your active meditation, and just bask in the Light.  Again, this may be seconds, minutes, or even tens of minutes.  The purity and wholesomeness of the Universe has filled you.  Your aims in life are now focussed on that purity, and you and the Universe are working together in perfect harmony.

As you feel it is right to do so, gradually come back to your own body.  Focus on your breathing.  Open your eyes.

This is the Purity Meditation.  Use it regularly.  Use it well.  And see the big changes it can make in your life and the lives of those around you.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Starting to Meditate



How often do you meditate?  Every day?  Most days?  Every so often?  Never?

If you answered "every so often", let me ask you another couple of questions.  How often do you clean your teeth?  How often do you bath or shower?  Every so often?  When you have the time?  If so, remind me to keep my distance!  You need to clean your teeth at least once a day (most dentists will tell you at least twice a day) to maintain healthy teeth.  If you don't have time to clean your teeth you will not only find they gradually decay and fall out, but you end up having to spend more time sitting in the dentist chair perhaps getting fillings (or extractions).  Work out how long you have to sit in that chair and you will realize not cleaning your teeth because you don't have time is a false economy.  As for not having time to wash every day, hopefully you don't fall into that category!

If you answered "every day", then congratulations!  Although each time you meditate you gain some benefits, you will find the major benefits of meditation are cumulative.  The more you meditate the greater the benefits - although if you only meditate every so often you won't find much of a cumulative effect.  You should aim to meditate daily (or even more than once a day) to start really building up the benefits.

When I ask people the question about meditating, most tell me they don't really have time to do it.  Many recognize the benefits (or at least say they do) but say they don't have time to meditate regularly.  There is an old Zen saying "You should meditate for 20 minutes a day - unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour a day."  This is so true!  Never say you don't have time to meditate.  If your excuse is that you do not have time I can guarantee that if you only took the time to meditate you would find it would actually create more time for you.  You might find something that took you an hour to do only took you half an hour.  The time you sat thinking, trying to find an answer to a problem, might no longer be required, as you could find the answer simply comes to you during or after your meditation.

Others answer that they don't know what to meditate on.  That should never be a problem.  In fact, simply answering the question this way indicates they don't really understand what meditation is!  It doesn't matter what you meditate on!  Just meditate!

Ok, it can be good to have something concrete to meditate on, I agree.  But don't think that is essential.  First learn the skill and habit of meditation itself.  Then you can use it as a tool to meditate on something specific.

Try this simple meditation exercise.  Sit quietly and focus on your breathing.  Don't think about your breathing, just focus on it.  Just be aware of it.  If you can sit there even for just 5 or 10 minutes focussed on your breathing you will have had a powerful meditation session.  Do this daily.  I suggest you do it at roughly the same time every day.  If you do this regularly enough it will become a habit.  My suggestion is you do it when you first get up in the morning.  Make it part of your morning routine, just like cleaning your teeth (or if you have dentures, just like the routine you used to have when you had teeth).

When you do the "breathing meditation" you will probably find lots of stray thoughts appear.  You may find yourself thinking "I mustn't think about anything other than my breathing", and then thinking "Oh, I shouldn't have thought that, as that is really something different from just focussing on my breathing" and it becomes a vicious circle.  The answer is just relax and listen to your breathing and don't worry at all about any thoughts that arise.  There is certainly something within you that doesn't want you to succeed, and it will generate lots of different thoughts to distract you from your meditation.  But those thoughts can only distract you if you choose to allow them.  Those thoughts will arise, but don't add to them by analysing them or trying to stop them.  You will find just that switch in emphasis is so powerful.  Once you realize that it simply doesn't matter, those thoughts lose their power to distract you.  The part of you that doesn't want you to succeed will, of course, keep trying.  Sometimes you will realize that you have been following a trail of thoughts without initially recognizing it was happening.  But when you realize that, simply focus on the breathing again.  Don't berate yourself.  Don't even say to yourself "I mustn't think about anything else".  Just focus on the breathing.

You will probably be surprised by all the tricks the "negative you" uses to try to stop you meditating.  I once found myself trying to calculate how many minutes I had stopped focusing on my breathing so I could add them to the time I would sit there meditating.  And then I realized that just thinking that through was also a distraction from my meditation!  The answer is that it doesn't matter how much you have been distracted.  Don't try to increase your meditation time to allow for the distraction.  If you do, you will make it virtually impossible to meditate properly, which is exactly what the "negative you" wanted!

Practise this breathing meditation every day.  When you feel it is working well, try using your newly acquired skill to meditate on something else.  Something very simple.  Maybe just one word.  Or a phrase.  If you are a Christian, take one of your favourite Bible verses and meditate on it.  If you are a Muslim, meditate on a phrase from the Qu'ran.  If you are a Sikh, choose a phrase from the Guru Granth Sahib.  Or take a quotation from someone you really respect.  Whatever you choose, be very careful.  Don't start trying to analyse it.  Simply hold it in your mind.  Treat it in the same way as you treated the focus on your breathing.  If a train of thought arises, simply be aware of that train of thought, but don't follow it, and don't tell yourself NOT to follow it.  Just hold the phrase in your mind.

What you will find is that the benefits of this focussed meditation will arise later.  After you have finished your meditation.

If you are new to meditation, try the approach I have just given.  If you have tried to meditate in the past but have found it too difficult, try the approach I have just given.  If you regularly meditate anyway, but worry that you are not doing it right, try the approach I have just given.  Do this, and I guarantee there will be positive benefits which will grow as you turn this daily meditation into an ingrained habit.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Identifying Your Goals



In a recent blog post I wrote about stalled goals and how to regenerate them.

Many people have stalled goals, so I am sure this was very helpful to many of my readers.  But also many people don't really have "proper" goals at all.

How about you?  What are your main goals?  Not goals for your business (whether it belongs to you or you are simply an employee).  Not goals you have for others (your partner or your children for example).  Yes, you need business and family goals, but you also need real personal goals.  So what are your personal goals?

At this point I know I will have lost some of my readers, as when they look at their stated goals they realize they don't have any personal goals, just goals for others.  If you are in that group, bear with me.

Now let's have a look at those personal goals and see how real they are.

Firstly, hands up those who gave a monetary goal.  Perhaps an amount of money in the bank (maybe $1 Million?).  Or a regular amount you want to receive every month or every year?  If your hand is up, let me be a bit controversial.  What you have isn't a real goal at all!  It may be a way you can achieve the goal, but it isn't a goal in itself.  Unfortunately, though, many people try to turn this means to an end into the end itself.  Wanting to gain a certain amount of money in order to achieve an end goal is not a bad thing.  But wanting to gain that money with no other aim other than simply to have the money is not a good thing.  Not a good thing at all!

If you felt your goal was a certain amount of money, I would like you to start digging deeper.  Why do you want that money?  What will you use it for?  What will it change in your life?  Whatever answers you get to those questions, as long as those answers inspire you, then those are your real goals, not the money.  Some people will probably feel I am splitting hairs here, and that it doesn't matter what you want the money for, that first you want to get the money and then you can decide how to use it.  You could not get further from the truth!  Your goal has to inspire you.  It has to be a real goal.  Money is NOT a real goal.  It doesn't hurt to include it as one of your goals, but only as a minor goal and not your main target.

The reality is that although money can be used to get whatever it is you want to have, it is not usually the only possible way to get it.  Maybe it is the most likely way - it probably is.  But it is not the ONLY way.  And on the basis of that well-known quote "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" (1 Timothy 6:10) I urge you not to put your main emphasis on simply acquiring wealth without knowing why you want to acquire it and exactly how you plan to use it.

Many people, when they first realize the mistake they have made in confusing wealth and their real goals, suddenly find they have true goals that they didn't really recognize before.  Goals that really excite them.  And even in some cases goals that don't need any greater wealth for them to be achievable.

Secondly, hands up those who gave what, frankly, they would consider an unrealistic goal.  Often this mistake is compounded by being a monetary goal too.  Back to our $1 Million in the bank account when, perhaps, you have a minimum wage job and no more money in your account than is needed for this month's expenses.  Whether the unrealistic goal is a monetary goal or not, if you see it as unrealistic you should modify it.

Notice I have said "if you see it as unrealistic".  Not "if it is unrealistic".  The key factor here is what you truly believe is possible, not what IS possible.  I happen to believe that everything is possible.  But that doesn't mean I will try working towards goals that I know make me flinch when I state them, with an inner belief that this is not achievable for me yet.  Everything is possible, but many of those possibilities are an end goal that seems too far away to excite us into trying to achieve it now.

Identify your personal goals, examine them, ensure they excite you, and ensure they don't elicit from you an immediate reaction that they are not possible.  As a result of this examination, don't be afraid to change those goals.  Your goals should always be evolving anyway.  The goals you have today are most unlikely to be the same goals you had five years ago, and are just as unlikely to be the same goals you will have in five years' time.  If you didn't immediately come up with any goals, then now is the time to try finding some.  Identify real personal goals and, trust me, you will find your life is more meaningful - and the meaning will make you happier.

Work towards real, personal goals, and as you move closer to them and achieve some of them, replace them with other, perhaps more ambitious goals.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Book of the Law


What is the "Book of the Law" that you carry with you?  How do you use it?

Each of us has a "Book of the Law", even those who appear to be pretty lawless.  And most of us, unfortunately, use it in completely the wrong way.  Do you have a vision of Sylvester Stallone wielding his Book of the Law in the film "Judge Dredd"?  If so, that is probably a good image to retain while thinking about this topic.

Let's first look at what I mean by the "Book of the Law".  It is a complete moral and ethical code that determines exactly what you should be doing, what you should be thinking, and what you should be feeling every minute of every day.  Does that sound rather extreme and repressive?  Good!  It should!  None of us should be so totally controlled as this - but most of us are!

If you are religious you may well say that your Book of the Law is the book that is the basis of your religion.  The Bible.  The Holy Quran.  The Torah and the Talmud.  The Book of Mormon.  The Bhagavad Gita.  The Tripitakas.  Guru Granth Sahib.  Kitáb-i-Aqdas.  The Book of Rites.  The Agamas.  Or whatever holy book contains the rules you try to follow.  Even if you are not religious you may still take something from a sacred text and try to live by it as your Book of Law - for example "the 10 commandments".

Maybe you don't identify with any of the above.  You may think you don't have a Book of Law.  But I can guarantee you do.

For those who believe their Book of Law is a particular sacred text, I am now going to say something that may shock you.  Although that text may be a part of your Book of Law it is not the whole of that book, nor even is it the main content of that book.

As I have said, your Book of Law is a complete statement of everything you should be doing, everything you should not be doing, everything you should be thinking, everything you should not be thinking, everything you should be feeling, and everything you should not be feeling.  It may be largely based on a sacred text, but it is certainly not just that text.  For a start, no sacred text, no matter how detailed, can be so complete that it covers everything.  And also, nobody is so insulated from every outside influence that they are only influenced by one sacred text and nothing else.

We each begin "writing" our Book of Law from soon after we are born.  Mummy says "Don't do that!  It's not nice!" and that goes right in the Book.  Daddy says "That's naughty!" and that goes in the Book too.  Big brother says "Stop it!" and that goes in.  Teacher says "No, you are wrong!" and you write that in your book.  You are told to read a sacred text, and everything you read there is copied into your Book.

So far I have mainly covered the negatives.  But all the positive strokes go in there too.  For example your partner says "Yes, that is so good!" and that gets written in your Book.

I have also mainly covered things said to and aimed at you.  But everything you see, hear and feel gets interpreted and is added to your Book.  You see good things happening to friends, and your unconscious tries to work out what actions led to this and then adds a new rule to your Book.  You see bad things happening to friends, and your unconscious tries to work out what actions led to this and then adds another new rule to your Book.  Sometimes this can be a good thing.  Especially if you have ensured you associate with good, successful people.  But it will not always be good, as your unconscious mind does not always interpret cause and effect correctly, and some quite irrational rules can be added as a result.

As you watch your favourite drama on television, and something good or bad happens to one of the characters, you will unconsciously be assessing what actions led up to that good or bad result and then that gets added to your Book too.  The same with films you watch and novels you read.  Perhaps you need to take a little more care over what you expose yourself to - or at least be aware of what is happening here and try to counteract it.

Nothing written in your Book of Law is ever erased unless you take great trouble to erase it.  So when your partner says "Yes, that is so good!" that stays even if you change partners and whatever it was is not enjoyed by your new partner!

How do you use your Book of Law?

Well, obviously one way you use it is to decide what is good and what is bad.  If you are strongly religious you are more likely to modify this if it conflicts in any way with what you have learned from your sacred text.  But the fact that you are first led one way and then have to consciously counteract this can create issues for you.  It would probably make life more comfortable for you if you had some way of finding out what some of those "false" rules in your Book are and then neutralizing them.

But that is not the only way you use it.  You also use it rather like Judge Dredd in the famous comic series and movie.  You judge yourself for having broken one of the laws - perhaps only by fleetingly having thought how nice it might be to do something which is shown in your Book as inappropriate.  Having judged yourself, you then punish yourself.  Unfortunately that is not an end to it.  Every time you remember that you broke this law, your Judge rises again and punishes you again.  This can happen many, many times for just one lapse (or even something that isn't a lapse but that conflicts with your Book).

What is even worse is that you will find there are many conflicting laws in your Book.  There are bound to be lots of cases where something you were told or you worked out was good, there is later something that seems to illustrate it was bad.  Rather than one rule replacing the other, you end up with both rules in your Book.  So you are "damned if you do and damned if you don't".

What should by now be clear to you is that it would be good to have some way of removing all these superfluous, and often completely wrong, rules in your Book of Law.  Fortunately there are a number of tools you can use and a number of coaches who specialize in this area.  Look for terms such as "Limiting Beliefs", "Abundance Blocks", or simply "Blocks".

One coach I have found who is very good at removing unwanted rules from your Book of Law is Christie Marie Sheldon.  She runs a free Masterclass on this called "Unblock Your Abundance".  Check it out at http://mval.li/?a=84&c=1762&p=r&s1=

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Stalled Goals


Do you have any goals you have not yet reached?  I am sure you do, even if you haven't paid much thought to them recently.  Humour me a moment and write down some of those goals, perhaps the most important ones.

Against each of the goals, write down why you have not yet reached it.

If you have written that you simply haven't got there yet, but are on the way, and if this is completely honest, then congratulations!  That is exactly the way things should be!  You should always have goals you have achieved, hopefully many such goals, and also goals you are on the way to reaching.  It would certainly not be a good thing simply to have a whole series of goals you have already reached, and no further goals you want to reach.

I suspect, though, that if you are honest you will not have written "on the way" against every single unachieved goal.  Let us have a look at those goals and see what the problem is.

Sometimes we think we want to achieve something, but as we start working towards it our desires change.  This is no longer something we really want to achieve.  If that is the case, cross that goal out.  It doesn't belong on the list.  Every one of us will have changed some of our goals during our life, not because we think they are unattainable but because we realize we have evolved and those goals no longer inspire us.  There is no problem here - you just need to tidy up your list a little - there is no point pretending to yourself that you want something when really you don't.

But sometimes we also have goals we still want to achieve but we are not making any progress towards them.  These are the goals we need to look at very carefully.

As a first step, make sure none of those goals belong in the "cross out" list.  For each goal, think deeply about this question - do you really want to achieve this?  I know you initially left it on the "want to achieve" list, but does it truly still inspire you?  When thinking about this, don't confuse the issue by trying to decide whether or not it is achievable - just think about whether or not it is something that really inspires you when you think about it.

You may find a few goals do need to be transferred to the "cross out" list.  If so, cross them out.  Don't leave them on the list.  They don't belong there.

So now look through the remaining goals.  The ones you know you would still like to achieve but against which you are not making any progress.  These are what I refer to as "Stalled Goals".

For each of your "stalled goals" you now need to try to work out why they are stalled.

There can be many reasons for this, but I tend to divide those reasons into just three:

  1.  I don't believe it is achievable.
  2.  There is something inside me that seems to stop me from making any progress even though I believe it should be achievable.
  3.  There is nothing blocking me, and I am certain it is achievable, but I simply cannot be bothered.


The division between each of these reasons may be a bit murky.  Perhaps there is a combination of reasons.  But usually you can place the main reason squarely within one of the three.  So I am now going to show you how to start chipping away at the reasons for the stall.

I don't believe it is achievable


There is nothing that is completely unachievable, no matter how ambitious it may seem.  You have to be prepared to move outside your comfort zone.  Maybe by so doing you will find what you thought couldn't happen actually can.

In many cases, though, this is not enough by itself.  Even moving outside your comfort zone you cannot see any way you could achieve this.  Don't worry, this is not the end of the process!

Where you very much want to achieve something but feel it is completely unachievable, begin by breaking it down, where possible, into smaller "jumps".  By looking at the end result, and seeing all the obstacles in the way of achieving it, you are convincing yourself it is impossible - but nothing is impossible.  Nothing!  Imagine you cannot swim, and between you and your goal there is a very big and deep river.  If you just see the goal in the distance and the very wide river you will not even begin to do anything to reach your goal, as it doesn't seem possible to get there.  But now I want you to look much more carefully at what is in the river.  Can you see there are stepping stones there?  When you were focussed on the goal you couldn't see those stones, but now you can see they are there.  Jump from the bank to the first stone.  You are not at your goal, but you are one step closer.  Now jump to the next one.  You are two steps closer.  Keep doing this and you will keep narrowing the distance.  Eventually you will find there is just one more jump and you have reached your goal.

Each time you make a small jump, you are not only one step closer to your ultimate goal, but also you have reached a smaller goal which can also bring you happiness.  So keep making those small steps and keep changing your life for the better.

Something inside me is stopping me from making any progress


This is a very common reason.  Such limiting beliefs are more common that perhaps you realize.  Somewhere deep inside you is an illogical, but powerful argument that says you shouldn't get there.  Maybe it says it is wrong to try, that in some way your goal is sinful.  Maybe it says you don't deserve it.  Sit still for a moment and see what thoughts rise to the surface as you meditate on this goal.  Almost certainly you will find a reason that has no logic.  Once you have identified this reason, give it a form.  For example, make it a small but nasty green monster.  Pick up that monster, tell it that it no longer belongs here, and throw it in a dustbin.  Do this with full focus and you will find the power of this block is greatly diminished.  It has been inside you for many years, so you may need to repeat the exercise several times.  Each time you do, you will take away more and more of its power, until eventually it has gone completely.  You should feel as though a burden has been lifted, and now you can make progress towards your desired goal.

I cannot be bothered


If truth be told, this reason afflicts us all.  We have to take action to get anything that is worthwhile.  Yes, we want it, but we are lazy and cannot be bothered.

The answer to this one is to do something that DOES make us bothered.  Focus on what your life is like now, without reaching this goal, and what it will be like once you have reached it.  Do this enough times and the energy you will stir up inside yourself will be enough to propel you into action so you CAN reach your goal.

Summary


Most, if not all, of us have stalled goals.  But just like a stalled car engine, there is usually something we can do to start it - even if that means calling on a professional who knows how to do it.  So get out there and start your engine!


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Habit of Gratitude


"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breath, to think, to enjoy, to love."

No, this is not something written by a "new thought" guru.  It was written by the Stoic Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, some time between 161 and 180 AD.  Marcus Aurelius was very much a student and practitioner of self-improvement.  He even wrote his "Meditations" (from which this quote comes) in Biblical Greek rather than his native Latin, purely to improve his fluency in that language.

How do you awaken every morning?  How do you feel?  What are your first thoughts and feelings?  Do you open your eyes, smile, and say "Good morning, God!", or do you keep your eyes closed, sigh, and say "Good God, Morning!"?  I hope usually the former, but perhaps at least some days it is more the latter!

The truth is, it really is a precious privilege to be alive, just as Marcus Aurelius said nearly 2,000 years ago.  So perhaps you should try to make your first thought when you awake a feeling of gratitude that you are still alive.  You have many things for which you should be grateful, but certainly being alive must be one of them.

It may not be easy at first to adopt this new habit.  But try to make it that - a habit of gratitude.  First recognize that you are still alive, that you are breathing.  That shouldn't be too difficult, even when you are half asleep and bleary eyed!  Then recognize that you have the ability to think.  Know that you have the right to enjoy this extra day you have been given life.  And feel the wonderful power of love around and within you.

When you first try to do this you will probably find it is quite erratic.  One day you will remember the moment you awaken.  The next day you will forget, and maybe only around midday will you suddenly remember that you forgot your morning "gratitude exercise".  When that happens, don't worry.  Simply feel and express your gratitude for life, thought, happiness and love the moment you remember to do so.  Just try whenever you can to remember to do it first thing so it colours your attitude to the rest of the day.

After a while you will find it starts to become a habit.  Some gurus will tell you that it takes 21 days to establish a habit.  But don't take that as gospel.  Otherwise you will be trapped into worrying when you miss a day and perhaps thinking you have to start counting towards 21 all over again, or at least deduct a few days from your progress towards 21.  The reality is there is no magic number to create a habit, not 21, or 30 or any other number.  So just keep doing it, and don't berate yourself when you miss a day, or even several days in a row.  Just keep going.  Express your gratitude every day, preferably at least when you wake up, but also later in the day - ideally in the latter case thinking of some specifics other than just life, happiness and love for which you have every reason to be grateful.

When gratitude becomes a habit you will find your life changes significantly, and for the better.  As I said before, we all have good reason to be grateful.  If you want to look for reasons to be unhappy I am quite sure you can easily find them.  But I also know you have many reasons to be happy.  So make it a habit to be grateful for those reasons you have to be happy.  By reminding yourself you have good reason to be happy, you will find you ARE happy.  And wouldn't you far rather be happy than be sad?

What you will also find is that things around you begin to change, and you will have even more reasons to be grateful.  Simply by feeling and expressing gratitude you will attract to yourself people and situations that will make you even more grateful, that will give you more reasons to be happy, that will increase the love you have for others and the love others return to you.

What a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breath, to think, to enjoy, to love.  It really is a privilege.  Recognize this, be grateful for it, and reap the enormous benefits you will gain as you do so.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Abundance Blocks


If you have been studying personal development for a while you have probably come across the term "abundance block".  But what exactly is it, and why is it important?

Your unconscious mind is very much like a computer.  Program it in the right way and it will give you the right answer.  But the term "gigo" (garbage in - garbage out) very much applies here.  It has no good way of testing the truth or otherwise of what it is told.  Again, just like a computer.  If you write a program instructing your computer to do certain things, and if you use the right syntax to write the program instructions, it will do exactly what you say.  It doesn't care whether or not there is any logic in what it is being told to do, even though it is an entirely logical machine.  It just does it because it has been told to do it.

On being told this, some people think all they need to do is give the right instructions to their unconscious mind and all will be well.  They prepare the right "affirmations", recite them every day, and then expect their unconscious mind to start creating opportunities which will lead them to their goal.  In theory this should work.  In practice it often doesn't, and it is then tempting to say "affirmations don't achieve anything - they are a complete waste of time and effort!"  But the reason it doesn't work is because there is some deep seated underlying "programming" which is taking us in a very different direction.  This underlying programming creates "abundance blocks".

Abundance blocks can be created at any time, but many of the more powerful blocks were created many years ago, often during very early childhood.

There are many different kinds of abundance blocks.  The way in which they block us differs, but the end result is the same.

A very common abundance block is the belief that we do not deserve abundance.  That abundance may be wealth, and it often is.  But it may be, for example, good relationships, a satisfying career, etc, etc.  Anything, in fact, that we would like to achieve.

So your unconscious mind may have been programmed to believe you do not deserve to be wealthy, or do not deserve to have love, or do not deserve to have a good job.  Often, it is so deeply buried that you don't even realize it is there.  You try to become wealthier, but your unconscious mind "knows" that you do not deserve to be wealthy, as that it what it was programmed to believe many years ago.  And so it refuses to let you become wealthy.  Or allows you to become wealthy for a brief period and then lose it all.

Or it may have been programmed to believe that whatever it is you want is evil.  Typically this will be wealth, although again it may be anything that you would regard as signalling success.  Perhaps it believes you cannot be spiritual if you are aiming for success in one way or another.  There is no conflict between a good, happy relationship and spirituality.  There is no conflict between a satisfying career and spirituality.  There is no conflict between being wealthy and being spiritual.  Did you react at all when you read any of those statements?  Did you feel some resistance inside you?  Perhaps when I said there is no conflict between being wealthy and being spiritual?  Did your unconscious mind feed you some phrases along the lines of "money is the root of all evil"?  This is a very common unconscious belief (sometimes a conscious belief too), which is completely untrue but which has created an abundance block that will prevent you becoming or remaining wealthy.

Sometimes these abundance blocks have arisen from a direct comment.  Perhaps your parents told you when you were a child that money is the root of all evil.  Or they may have told you that if you want to be successful you have to work hard.  On the surface that sounds a reasonable thing to say.  It is certainly good to work for success, to do things likely to lead you to success.  But if your unconscious believes you can only be successful if you work hard, then all the time you are not working hard (because, for example, you are getting the sleep you need, or eating the food you need to eat to stay alive!) it will decide you cannot become successful because you are not working hard.  It has a very simple program equating success with working hard and cannot recognize that sometimes you have to do something else.

Sometimes the abundance blocks have arisen indirectly.  For example, as a young child you may have heard your parents arguing about money.  Maybe not a very bitter, long argument, just the kind of "spat" most of us have from time to time.  But to your young child's mind there is now an association between money and unhappiness.  That will create a powerful abundance block.

Abundance blocks like these are usually buried very deep.  It may take some time to identify them.  One way to recognize you have them is to see how you react to words like "wealth", "money", "love", "success" etc.  Any feeling other than great joy and happiness suggests you have an abundance block you have to remove before you can receive the abundance the Universe wants you to receive.

Although it is possible to identify and remove these abundance blocks yourself, it is a lot easier to enlist help to do so.  Use a coach who specializes in this area.  Personally I have taken programs run by the excellent coach Christie Marie Sheldon.  You can attend one of her webinars free to identify and remove one of your abundance blocks, and then consider following one of her programs to deal with the many other blocks you almost certainly have.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Manifestation and the Supernal Triad



If you really want to manifest your desires you need to use the principles expressed in the Qabalah as the Supernal Triad.

I hope you haven't switched off at this point.  Yes, I know that unless you have studied the Tree of Life what I have just written is probably Double Dutch to you!  But bear with me - the concept is both important and easy to understand.

Before I go any further let me reassure you.  I am not saying you have to learn the basics of the Qabalah in order to manifest properly.  Rather, I am just saying that the Qabalah neatly outlines what you must do in order to manifest your desires, even if when you do so you do not realize what you are doing has a Qabalistic interpretation.

In Qabalah, the Supernal Triad is the top three "Sephiroth" of the Tree of Life.  It is the way the Supreme Being begins creation.  And used properly it is the way we, too, create reality from our inner dreams.

There are three points in the Supernal Triad, as you probably realize from the name.  They are "Kether", "Binah" and "Chokmah".  Some describe Kether as the Soul, Binah as the Womb into which the Soul enters, and Chokmah as the force of Creation that results when the Soul enters the Womb.  But there are also other names for these three Sephiroth, and those names show you what you need to do in order to manifest properly.

Kether, the Soul is also known as "Desire".  Binah, the Womb, is "Imagination".  Chokmah, Creation, is "Visualization".

In order to manifest you must have all three in balance.  Miss out any one of the three and you will have, at best, a very lukewarm power to turn your dreams into reality.  More likely nothing will happen at all and you will walk away from the whole concept of the Law of Attraction complaining it doesn't work.

The work of Manifestation begins with Desire.  If you do not really desire whatever it is you are dreaming of it will remain as just a dream.  Your desire has to be strong.  Like a flame in a furnace you can stoke up your desire as long as there is a spark of desire there in the first place.  But make sure you are focussed on a real dream.  Too many people think they really want to achieve something, but the desire is not strong enough simply because they have not truly identified their real dream.

Once you have fanned your Desire into a passion, it is ready to act - which it does by entering the womb of Imagination to create through Visualization.

Imagination is important.  Too many people go straight from Desire to Visualization and miss out the step of Imagination.  You need to use your Imagination to begin creating the right Visualization.  Stoke up your Desire, and then begin using your Imagination to create the right scene.  If you use your Imagination properly you will find it automatically leads to a powerful Visualization.

If you find you don't have enough Imagination to create a vivid Visualization, such that it seems, when you close your eyes, to be as solid as the "reality" you see around you when you open your eyes, you should work on improving your Imagination.  To some people this comes naturally.  Those are the people who find the Law of Attraction works for them the moment they hear about the need to Visualize, as long as they are Visualizing something they truly Desire.  But it can also be a learned skill.  Like any other skill, you need to study it and then practise it.  One way to build your imagination is to read voraciously.  Pick authors who write powerfully, whose books are filled with descriptive paragraphs.  Read those paragraphs and then picture the scenes in your mind.  After you put the book down, re-visit the scene.  Try to see it in detail.  And don't just see it - use all your other senses too.  Hear it.  What do you smell?  What do you feel?  If, for example, you are reading a Joseph Conrad book with the setting in a jungle in Southeast Asia, imagine yourself in that jungle.  You are so hot!  The sweat is pouring off you.  There are the smells of strange plants around you.  This really works!

I have mentioned Joseph Conrad.  Yes, his novels are now very dated.  But they are also very powerful and a great source of scenes to improve your skills of imagination.  Or try Ernest Hemingway - another now perhaps dated, but very powerful author.  John Steinbeck, perhaps.  If you are into science fiction (or maybe even if you are not!) try Ray Bradbury or Brian Aldiss.  There are very many authors who are really great at building a scene, where you can visualize what they are describing as you read.  Just remember to keep practising re-creating those scenes even when you are not reading.

Once you have gained the skill of re-creating in your mind the scenes from the books, use that same skill to Visualize whatever it is you desire.  Again, use all your senses.  As you do so, fill the scene you are Visualizing with your deep Desire to make this dream a reality.  By doing this properly you will be using the full Supernal Triad which is the Universal force of Creation, and you simply cannot fail.  You are using a Universal Law, and Universal Laws never fail.

If you wish to source any of the writers I have mentioned, try your local library.  Certainly Conrad, Hemingway and Steinbeck should be there as their works are absolute classics.  One disadvantage, though, is that you will have a limited time to practise your imagination skills.  Also, some people find it helps to highlight or underline the passages they want to visualize.  Don't do that to a library book!

An alternative is to buy the book from a reputable source.  I have listed the particular books I think you will find the best for this exercise, and given you quick links to the cheapest copies I have found on Amazon.  Just click the link and it will take you to the right page to order it.  The first list is if you wish to pay in US$ and the second if you wish to pay in UK£.

US Versions:

UK Versions:

Finally, if you would like some help in using words, sounds and images to improve your Creative Visualization techniques, try using Mind Movies.  This is a brilliant way of focusing your Desire through Imagination into Visualization, and therefore using the Universal Law of the Supernal Triangle to create reality out of your dreams.  Click here to find out more.