Wednesday, 20 June 2018

You Are Special


Are you special?

Of course you are!  There is absolutely no doubt about that at all.  You are very special!

How did it make you feel when I said that?  Despite the fact that this is a very impersonal conversation - one where neither of us knows anything about the other and we are not talking to each other directly - I am guessing it made you feel good, even if only for a brief moment.

You are special, but not because someone else says or thinks you are.  You are special simply because you are YOU.  There is nobody else quite like you.  There has never been anyone quite like you in the past, and there will never be anyone exactly the same as you in the future.

This is all true.  So true that you shouldn't need me, or anyone else, to confirm it for you.

The trouble is, most of us DO seem to need constant validation of this simple fact.

This can be especially the case in relationships.  You thrive on compliments from your spouse or significant other.  You want them to tell you that you are more beautiful, handsome, caring, intelligent, etc than anyone else.  Perhaps in the first flush of love that is what they truly believed.  But maybe now they don't.  Not because they love you any the less.  They still love you deeply, but no longer need to believe you are more beautiful, handsome, caring, intelligent, etc than anyone else.  They love you for who you really are, not for the projection of what you believe you should be.

That true, deep love is very important.  And it illustrates a deeper, wider lesson.  That you don't have to be "more".  It is enough that you simply are.

You don't have to be "more successful" than others.  It doesn't matter how successful others are.  Well, it does for them, of course, and we should always be pleased for the successes of our friends, colleagues and relatives.  But you do not have to be more successful than them, only as successful as you want to be.

Life is an experience, a beautiful experience, not a competition.  There will always be someone better than you in almost any aspect, any characteristic, any skill.  The purpose of life is not for you to be the best, but simply to be all that you can be.

You don't have to look in the mirror, ask it who the most beautiful person in the world is, and then expect it to answer that you are.  We all know the fairy tale where someone did that.  Look at the damage she caused before she was forced to wear a pair of red hot shoes (and by "hot" I am not referring to how popular they were!) and dance in them until she dropped dead.  You don't want to be the evil queen in Snow White!  And you don't need to be either!

It is enough that you are special and that you know you are special.  That you are talented (even if you haven't developed all those talents yet) and that you know you are talented.  But especially that you are loving and kind and that the world is a better place because you are here.

You are special, very special, but don't go looking for anyone else to confirm that to you.  It is enough simply that you ARE.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Serenity


In the 1930s  Reinhold Niebuhr wrote what has become known as the Serenity Prayer:

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,  Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference."

All three elements of this prayer are important.  Clearly if we see something that should be changed and know how we can change it, then change it we should!  But it is also very important to take proper note of the other two elements.  Recognizing the things we cannot change and accepting them the way they are.

Most of us interpret the world around us far too personally.  We think that everything revolves around us, just as people before Galileo believed the sun revolved around the earth.  So when things are not the way we think they should be, we view this as a personal attack.  Perhaps not consciously, but definitely unconsciously.

This links back to my previous article.  There I discussed how we take the words of others too personally, which then effectively turns those words into magic spells against us.  What others say to us is conditioned by something in them, not in us.

But this also applies to the world around us in general.  Many people see this as a hostile world.  It is not.  It just seems that way to you.  Sometimes bad things happen.  Not because we deserve them.  Not because of something we did or said.  They just happen.  Yes, sometimes they ARE a result of, or at least influenced by, something we did or said.  But often they are not.

It is good to try to identify when something bad (or something good) has resulted from our own actions or words.  If we can see there is a link then we can change our behaviour to make it less likely something bad like this will happen again, or more likely something good like this will happen again.  That is "courage to change the things I can".  But have the "wisdom to know the difference" and recognize that most things are not personally linked in this way.  They just happen.

I happen to believe we all have a lot of power to change the world around us in a very positive way.  If we use that power properly we can achieve great things and have wonderful, happy lives.  But I also know that the things people say to me, the things they do to me, the situations that arise every day which are not the way I want them to be, are mostly nothing to do with me.  They are to do with those other people, and to do with simply the way things are.  They are not personal and I do not take them personally.

If you can really adopt the Serenity Prayer as your own life philosophy I truly believe you can have a much happier and a much more fulfilled life.  Try it!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Reacting to the Word


In my previous article I referred to the power of the Word.  This is an enormous, one could even say magical, power, hence the title "Abracadabra".  So, if someone uses the power of the Word against you, effectively casting a spell on you (whether intentionally or not), what options do you have?  How can you protect yourself from this spell?  What shield do you have to reflect the spell away from you?

Some would say you have three options:  accept, ignore or challenge.  My position is that actually you only have two: accept or challenge.  You cannot simply ignore it, as that is really a subtle way of accepting.

Imagine I come up to you and say "You are stupid!".  How would you react to this?

If you are like most people your first reaction will be anger, or at least annoyance.  Your first thought will probably be something like "How dare you say this!".  Probably you feel that is a reaction of challenge.  You are angry with the statement because you know it is false.  I disagree with this analysis and would go as far as to say this reaction is an acceptance of the basic underlying premise.  You agree, somewhere below your conscious thinking, that you are stupid, or at least that there is some stupidity within you, and you then become angry with the other person for exposing this stupidity.  So you are accepting the negative magic spell they are casting against you.

Your next reaction may then be a "tit for tat", telling them they are ..... - fill in the magic word here.  If you already know them, you may find some aspect of their personality that offends you.  If you do not know them, you may simply respond in kind with something like "You are stupid too!".

I am reminded of the apocryphal quote supposedly from Winston Churchill.  The Labour MP, Bessie Braddock (or the Conservative, Lady Astor, depending on which version you read) apparently said to Winston "Sir!  You are disgustingly drunk!", to which Winston replied "My dear, you are disgustingly ugly!  But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly!".  A very clever, if somewhat ungallant, riposte.  And one which, if delivered to Lady Astor, was in my view patently untrue.  But note it begins with an acceptance of the original statement.  Winston was not refuting that he was drunk (although a number of versions of this story suggest he wasn't drunk at all, but just tired - which might explain the uncharacteristic lack of gallantry).  His bite back at the accuser acknowledged the truth of what she said and then continued with something even more uncomplimentary about her.  It was also a very negative thing to do.  He was accepting the barb of her negative statement, allowing the spell she cast to find its mark, and then casting an even more negative spell back at her.  The damage he did, if this story is true, quite probably lasted a lifetime.  A truly evil magic spell.

So my position is that the usual "challenge" to unkind words is not a challenge at all.  But what about simply ignoring them?  If you are an accomplished Zen practitioner, if you are close to achieving the state of Nirvana, then you could completely ignore those words as irrelevant.  Personally I am not close to achieving the state of Nirvana, and I know that if I choose to ignore unkind things that are said to me I will be complicit in accepting them.  I will be helping the "evil magician" to cast his or her spell.

In that case, how do you challenge these magic spells that constantly afflict you?

You challenge them by recognizing that the words are not about you at all.  They are entirely about the person who speaks them.  That person doesn't truly know you, even if they are a close friend or family member.  The only person who really knows you is YOU.

Jesus referred to this in a powerful challenge in Matthew chapter 7.  He said:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite!  First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

When others say nasty things to me I feel sad.  Not for myself, but for them.  What they are saying shows that they have a problem.  I don't have that problem - they do.  I challenge what they say firstly by knowing that their unkind words are expressing some weakness, some fault inside them.  And then I affirm the opposite of what they say.  Not out loud.  I am not trying to start or continue an argument.  What that person says is completely irrelevant to me, but I am not going to encourage them to repeat or expand it by being drawn into argument.

If they "You are stupid!" I affirm "I am full of wisdom!".  Note I would never respond with "I am not stupid!".  Focussing on the negative in this way gives it power.  Notice my choice of words - I "affirm".  Just as in your daily affirmations you (hopefully) use to reach your goals through manifestation, you choose to focus on the positive, not the negative.

From now on, choose not to accept the burdens so many people around you try to lay on you with their choice of words.  Recognize that what they say has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.  If you do this, and if you use their verbal negative attacks as an opportunity to affirm the positives, you will be completely protected from the magical spells that so unnecessarily hurt almost everyone else around you.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Abracadabra



When you were a small child you probably read stories, or had them read to you, in which a magician used magic words to perform powerful acts of magic.  Perhaps the word "Abracadabra".  Or "Open Sesame" (as in the story of Ali Baba).

The word "Abracadabra" is particularly interesting.  There are a number of conflicting stories about its origin, but one version says it comes from the Aramaic phrase avra kehdabra, which means “I will create as I speak”.  In other words, this "magic" word itself refers to the magical, creative power of words.

The Christian Bible also refers to the power of words.  Right at the start of the Gospel of John we have the phrase "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  It goes on to say that everything that was created was created by the Word.

I began this article by talking about fairy tales.  Most adults don't believe in fairy tales.  In fact they may even refer to anything that they believe to be untrue as a "fairy tale".

Well, I DO believe in fairy tales!  Not literally, of course, but as ways to pass on inner truths.

The power of the word is such an inner truth.  Words create.  Use the right words in the right way and you can create opportunities.  You can create situations that will turn your dreams into reality.  Use words in the wrong way and they can destroy opportunities.  They can create situations that will turn your nightmares into reality.  Words are very powerful.  Far more powerful than you probably ever realized.

Very recently I wrote a blog about the ways most people "self-sabotage" themselves.  They say something like "I am no good at ...." and this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.  This is the power of words used wrongly.  This is also true about the way people use words to hurt or help others, usually unintentionally.  I hope you are not one of the very many parents in the world who have said to one of their children something like "you will never amount to anything!".  This is so destructive!  This is like a wizard saying a magic spell that will cause harm to another.  It is just as powerful as such a magic spell in one of the fairy tales you read as a child.

Equally, saying to someone "you are so beautiful!", not as a pickup line but because you recognize the beauty within them, is like a magic spell turning an ugly frog into a handsome prince.  Not as quickly as happened in Grimm's tale of the Frog Prince, but just as surely anyway.

With the power of your words you can choose to create love, beauty, harmony and success all around you.  Or you can choose to create discord, ugliness and failure.  Which would you prefer to surround you?  It is entirely your choice - you can use the magic spell (i.e. the right words spoken at the right time) to create whichever you prefer.  I hope like me you will choose the former, not the latter.


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Self Sabotage


"I am no good at ..."  Fill in the blanks - perhaps with "remembering people's names", "public speaking", "negotiating" ... anything at all, really.

Now, is this something you have ever said?  Perhaps out loud to others in an attempt to excuse yourself.  You don't want them to feel bad, so you say "I am no good at remembering".  So it is not that they are "unmemorable" but it is entirely your fault.  You say "I am hopeless at directions".  So it is not that they are no good at giving you directions, but just that you are really bad at following directions.

If you have never said anything like this I would suggest you are very much in the minority.

Perhaps, though, you have never said something like this out loud - but have said it quietly to yourself.  Not to spare someone else's feelings but because you feel guilty in some way and want to excuse yourself.

Whether you have said something like this out loud or simply expressed it internally, what you have done is to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you say "I am no good at maths", then you will be more likely to fail at maths.  Perhaps you weren't particularly good at maths, but by saying "I am no good at maths" you are guaranteeing you will become even worse.  Every time you say this, or even think it, you will worsen your ability at maths.

If you say "I am hopeless at relationships", you will find relationships don't work for you.  You are destroying existing and future relationships simply by saying this!

If you say "I cannot dance - I have two left feet!", you will find no matter how hard you try to dance, it simply doesn't seem to work for you.  Perhaps you wanted to learn to dance properly because your partner enjoys dancing and you want to share in that experience.  But by saying this you are making it far less likely you will be able to share that hobby properly.

Now that you are aware of this problem, try to identify when it occurs.  Keep alert and I suspect you will be very surprised.  Unfortunately most people do this not just once or twice a month, not just once or twice a week, and probably not just once or twice a day!  They do it many times a day!  No wonder they find they are not able to achieve some of the things they would really love to achieve - they have a voice inside that tells them they are no good at .... (and the voice simply fills in the gap with virtually everything they want to achieve).

So stop sabotaging yourself!  Promise yourself right now that never again will you create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure!  When you hear that negative inner voice starting to say "I am no good at ..." counter it with "I am really good at ...".  It won't necessarily turn you into a world expert but at least it will begin to counter the self-sabotage you have probably been conducting for most of your life!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

World View



What is your world view, your "weltanschauung"?

Do you see the world as a hostile place in which you have to fight in order to survive?  Or do you see it as a nurturing place that wants you to achieve whatever you want to achieve and will work with you to get you there?

Whichever answer you gave is the correct answer.  Even though those two answers are complete opposites.  Why?  How can this be?

The reality is that the world in which you live is whatever you make it, however you perceive it.  For too many people that means it is indeed that hostile place even though it need not be this way.

So let me ask a slightly different question.  How would you like the world in which you live to be?  Think about this carefully, as you really do have the power to change it if you wish.  Not through any magical power, but simply because the world really is however you make it, however you perceive it.

If you believe the world is "conspiring" with you to help you achieve whatever it is you really want to achieve, then it will.  I happen to believe there is a universal law that the world around me is continually "re-shaped" by my beliefs and thoughts.  But you don't even need to believe this.  If you believe the world is working with you then you will be looking for and open to the positive things around you that will help you in whatever it is you want to do.  I personally do see the world around me as magical, and constantly wonder at the way this magic works for me.  But there is nothing really magical about the idea that there are things and people around you that will help you.  There ARE such things and people around you all the time and you simply have to open your eyes and see them.

But equally, if you believe the world is "conspiring" against you and working to put obstacles in the way of everything you want to do, then it will do that too.  Yes, because of the "Law of Attraction", certainly.  But also because if you believe the world is working against you then you will be looking for all the negative things and people around you that will get in the way and prevent you from achieving what you want to achieve.  Again, there is nothing magical about this.  Certainly there are such negatives out there.  Certainly there will be obstacles and setbacks.  But if all you can see is those negatives then that is simply the way your life will be.

So, I ask you again.  How would you like your world to be?  Do you want it to be hostile or helpful?  Hopefully, like me, you want it to be helpful.  Take it from me, if that is how you want it to be then that is exactly how it can be.

Yes, there will still be setbacks.  Yes, there will be disappointments.  I am no "Pollyanna" who believes that all that is required is to have a positive mindset and all will be right in the world.  I know that will not always be the case.  But my world view is still that ultimately everything around me can help me move in the direction I want to move if only I will let it.  Make sure you do the same and you can see an enormous and positive difference in your life.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Deception and Imagination



Have you ever played a party trick on someone where you get them to walk along something very narrow and set them up so they think it is quite high above the ground?  Not at a deadly height, but maybe waist height or just above?  And not so narrow there is a strong likelihood they will fall.  If so, you will know that the way they walk is very different from how they would if they knew they were only a few inches off the floor.  In some cases they will refuse to walk across it at all, even if promised a reward if they do so.

Why is this?  As already stated, the width is not so narrow they are likely to fall, so why should they worry?  Why should some people walk very falteringly and others refuse to do it at all?

The answer is two-fold.  First, they have been deceived about the possible consequences.  They believe those consequences are that in the unlikely event they do fall they could hurt themselves.  Secondly, their imagination then takes over and puts all kinds of pictures in their head about those consequences.

Deception and imagination.  A very powerful combination that conspires to prevent all of us achieving what we really want to achieve.

For many people, this spells the end of their dream.  They decide that it is not worth risking suffering those consequences and they give up before they have even started.  For many others, they start anyway, but instead of stepping out boldly and announcing to the Universe that they are here and ready to reap all the benefits they begin the efforts in the same way as those tentative and stumbling efforts of the victim of the party trick.  What they are doing by being so tentative is making it more likely that they WILL fail.  And when they do, that inner deceiver will say "I told you so!", setting them up to be even more nervous they next time they try to achieve anything worthwhile.

I am not suggesting, of course, that you should ignore all the possible negative consequences.  For any new project, for any dream you want to follow, you do need to list all the pros and cons.  This will allow you to make an informed decision.  Certainly consider what you will do in each case of those negative consequences, so you are prepared for any likely outcome.  But then weigh up those pros and cons and don't allow all the negatives to put you off unless you logically reason this is not for you - at least not at this point in time.  And if the decision is to go ahead, don't allow the great deceiver within you to magnify those negatives.  Don't allow your imagination to dwell on them.  You have sensibly considered them but now your focus must be on the postive outcome.  That is the only way you are really likely to succeed and achieve your dream.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Passion




A guest posting by Jimmie Perry.


We’ve all had periods in our lives when we are wondering how we would develop a sense of direction.  How exactly, or when exactly, we would develop that thing called passion that everyone was talking about?  Well, passion is something that we should all develop; we must understand this.  Very few people are born knowing what exactly it is that they will be doing for most of their lives.  Heck, many people don’t even know what exactly they want to do.  That is because passion isn’t something that one is born with.  Passion is something that is developed with time, experience, and commitment.  The method for finding your passion in life can be found by reviewing the life of one of America’s founding fathers, Good Ole Ben Frank.


We are not born with a passion


For starters, passion is not something that anyone is simply born with.  We don’t just come out of the womb and know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our life; it takes time.  Passion comes from a love for doing a certain activity.  A love, or hunger if you will, that stays with us for an indefinite amount of time.  Acquiring passion in any one area requires that we are presented with a desire to solve or understand a problem.

Passion comes from a desire


Most people do not know this about Benjamin Franklin, but he was extremely passionate about putting out fires.  He saw that the fires that were flaring up in his city of New York were causing a serious problem and he sought to find a way to reduce the damage that they caused.  Do you think that the passion to put out fires was something that Ben was born with?  There is no way that he could’ve known about fires at the time of his birth.  His passion for fires was something that he developed as he gained experience with them.  He saw that they were causing massive amounts of people to get injured.  He noticed that the fires weren’t being put out efficiently and that the fire squadrons played a big part in that inefficiency; there essentially was no system.  The issue that arose with fires gave Ben something to focus his energy on which in turn resulted in an insatiable hunger within him.  In short, one of the key parts of finding a passion is finding something that fulfills your desire to solve a problem.


Experience is key


It wouldn’t have been at all possible for Ben to solve the problem if he hadn’t been present when the fires were taking place; he lived in New York and was seeing the damage that the fires were causing.  Again, if he hadn’t been present when the fires were happening, he probably wouldn’t have had the desire that he had to solve the epidemic.  He wasn’t born simply thinking of new ways to make fires more of a rarity or thinking of new ways to make individuals safer; he had to see the fires for himself even to begin thinking of new ways to improve the human condition in that way.  The same goes for all of us; we must go out (or stay in) and experience the things that happen in this world.  We must see all the possibilities (or at least a great many of them) and once we do this we will gain a bit of insight into the things that give us our drive; the things that make us whole, if you will.  We don’t have to explore the world in a physical way.  The world has become increasingly digital in the past few decades and there are now multiple things that can be done in the digital world.  One never knows, you may find comfort in this space as well as your passion.

Cross things off your “Passion List”


A side effect of exploration is that it becomes possible to gain an understanding of the things that we dislike doing.  Our understanding of our dislikes can be leveraged in our quest to find our passions; as you cross things off of the list of your possible passion, you get one step closer to finding the thing(s) that you love and want to do.

Consistently pursue that passion


Remember that neither Rome nor Benjamin’s method for stopping fires developed in a day.  To be honest, Benjamin didn’t even make any major headway in his fire prevention system for a year.  Neither will the thing that is considered your passion be built in a short space of time.  It will require a decent length of time before compound interest begins to show that you are making any real headway into your project; while you are in the process, you may not even notice the progress that is being made.  The point is that once you find that passion, you should relentlessly pursue it.  Don’t allow any lack of progress or apparent failure to stop you from moving.


In short, passion comes, but it’s a process


Passion is something that we can all develop, but it requires a great deal of both patience and exploration before it is ever really found.  This point must be reiterated because so many have trouble understanding it.  Our passions are things with which we become infatuated.  They are problems that we can’t help but put forth countless hours and energy towards solving; they move us.  You will not know exactly what it is that you want to do right out of the gate.  None of us knows what it is that we want to do right away, without any thought or preparation.  If we did, think about how dull life would be; we would literally know what the future held for us.

With that being said, the key to finding our passions in life amounts to these three things:
  • Experience: Go out and explore (or stay in and explore)
  • Reduce: Reduce the number of things that you like doing to a select few
  • Be consistent: Once you find your drive, pursue it relentlessly

------⧫------ 

Jimmie Perry is the owner of JimmiePerry.blog and an avid trader.  In his free time, he enjoys writing about the experiences that he has had, and trading.  He is also currently working on his degree in Business Administration from Madonna University.


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Vibrations of Those Around You



In my last blog article I introduced the concept of "personal vibration and resonance".  This is a very wide topic, and there is lots to learn about it.  So I want to continue the theme here, focusing on the effects of other people's vibrations on us and how we can use our knowledge of this to great advantage.  You may find what I am saying a bit obscure.  If you do, bear with me.  Read this through several times and allow what I am saying here to percolate.  Even if you don't completely follow it intellectually, it will resonate with you at a deeper level and help you to achieve whatever you wish to achieve.

Just as a quick reminder, we all tend to "vibrate" in different ways, depending on how we have tuned ourselves.  There are different categories of this vibration.  At a high level we have spiritual, emotional, and mental vibrations.  Our main focus in life expresses itself in a vibration.  Our desires and ambitions result in vibrations.  The things and people we love or hate result in different vibrations.  We also have permanent vibrations (which we can still change, even though they are permanent) and temporary vibrations.  For example we may have a high level permanent spiritual vibration which results from a genuine love of everyone around us, but that doesn't stop us having "low" moments, perhaps when our spiritual battery is low, when we find it difficult to feel that love.

We can be strongly influenced by the vibrations of those around us.  This is especially the case if we are not well tuned.  The weaker our underlying "permanent" vibration, the easier it will be for people around us to make us resonate to a very different vibration.  It is also the case if we have a very strong underlying vibration and those around us have a similar vibration - then we will begin to resonate almost as soon as they approach us, will be like a sounding board to which they are applying their tuning fork.

This means we need constantly to work on two things.

Firstly we need to get our vibrations tuned properly.  What that means in practice depends on what you are trying to achieve.  If you have a big dream, and if it will cost a lot of money to achieve that dream, you need to have the right vibrations to attract the right money-making opportunities to you.  You also need to eliminate the vibrations that work counter to this - for example the feeling that becoming wealthy is in some way a bad thing.  Or if you want your life to spread love in the world, you need to ensure you are tuned to radiate that love completely naturally.  At the same time you need to be alert to ways you react to people and situations which are not in tune with this vibration of love and work on ways of changing this.

Secondly, we need to become more aware of the vibrational levels of the people around us.  If they are similar to our own vibrational levels, perfect!  Try to ensure you keep those people with you.  The closer you can get them, and the longer you stay with them, the more your own vibrations will resonate with them.  If you are trying to become wealthy and then use that wealth for good purposes, surround yourself as much as possible with others who are on that same path but, hopefully, further ahead than you.

Be aware of both the permanent and the temporary vibrations of those people.  If they drop a level temporarily, by all means try to be there for them to help them move back up.  But keep in mind all the time that you will tend to resonate in tune with them, so do not spend so much time being there for them and helping them that there is a clear drop in your own vibrations.  It is important to get this balance right.  Certainly do not become a "fair weather friend" who is happy to be there when everything is positive but who disappears the moment they have any problems.  Help them now, and some time in the future when you need some help they will probably be there for you and help you.

Start right now on both these major projects.  Strengthen your desire for what you want to achieve and work on your inner vibrations to make sure you are properly tuned to achieve it.  But also find and befriend people who are in tune with you, and start distancing yourself from those who are completely out of tune with you.  Perhaps join groups or clubs where you are more likely to find people similarly tuned.

If you do all this you should find yourself becoming far happier, achieving far more than you had previously managed, and being far more fulfilled.

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.