Saturday, 29 December 2012

What is Christmas?

This week most of us have celebrated Christmas.  But what exactly should Christmas mean to us?

Most of my readers probably know Christmas has its roots in pagan religion.  It is a celebration of the death and then the rebirth of the sun – hence the date just after the Winter Solstice, when the sun is the lowest in the sky and then gradually rises higher and higher.

Ancient druids decorated trees with fruit and cakes.  Their custom was much more sustainable than ours.  They left those “Christmas trees” living in the wild rather than cutting them down to brighten a room inside the house for just a week or two.

Kissing under the mistletoe may also have been an ancient druid custom.  This may be because the white berry of the mistletoe was considered to represent the semen of the sun, and therefore kissing under it could perhaps increase the chances of fertility.  If you are attending a late Christmas party where there may be sprigs of mistletoe maybe you should remember this before kissing!

The idea of feasting and exchanging gifts comes from the Roman festival of Saturnalia.  During that festival, which was usually full of revelry which would make most of us blush, those with wealth and power were expected to display some humility and serve those with none.

The original Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, was St Nicholas, who lived in Myra in what is now Turkey – not, I am afraid, at the North Pole.  This real Santa Claus was a wealthy man who gave away his wealth to help the poor around him, particularly young girls who might otherwise have drifted into prostitution.  Santa Claus was particularly fond of and protective of children.

Christians have adopted, and adapted, these early celebrations to create the festival we now know as Christmas.  Celebrating the birth of someone who wanted us to renew our lives and become better people.

Whether you are Christian, Pagan, of another religion, or of none, you should perhaps wish to take the inner meaning of all these early elements of the season.  Reverence for nature, love, humility, charity and generosity all feature in the festival.  A festival of renewal and rebirth.

As John Lennon said in his “Happy Christmas” song, “So this is Christmas, and what have you done?  Another year over and a new one begun.”  A time for renewal.  A new chance to change and create a better life for yourself and for all around you.

Achieve Your Biggest Goal

We are so very close to what is at least the Western New Year.  Many of us make resolutions which we will try to keep throughout the coming year.  A commendable effort, but very often one which we fail to maintain once the first few days of the year are past.

Whether or not you are planning to make New Year Resolutions, I urge you to use this opportunity to achieve a goal you may have had in mind for some time but have so far not managed to reach.

What is the goal you most wish to achieve over the coming year?  Do you immediately know what it is, or do you have to think about it?

If you know what that goal is, then great!  You have already made one of the most important steps towards realising it.  Before we can achieve a goal we must have a clear idea about what that goal is.

If not, then don’t worry.  Begin by brainstorming.  List on a sheet of paper all the goals you really want to achieve.  Write them as though you have already achieved them.

These should not be absolutely impossible goals.  “I can make myself invisible”, “I am the ruler of the world”, “I have X-Ray vision”, all spring to mind.  These are not the kind of goals you should be listing.  Nor should you put "I am a millionaire" unless you already have substantial wealth and can believe this would not be completely impossible in twelve months.  The latter can be a good goal to have, no matter how little money you have now, but it doesn't belong on this list of short term goals.  If you want a money goal, "I have increased my net worth by 10% over the last 12 months" might work here.

Make sure they are personal goals.  “I have helped bring about peace” is personal, but “there is world peace” is not (and is also rather impracticable to regard as being possible over the next year!).  “There is great love in my household” is not personal, but “I have a deep and loving relationship with my wife” is.

Other than those rules (possible, and personal) do not try to judge or think about a goal before you write it down.  And once you have written it down, don’t stop and think about it, not even to consider whether or not it does fit the rules.  Move right on to the next one.

Keep going with listing those goals until you have written down at least 10, all phrased as though you have already achieved them.  If they are all the same kind of goal, keep going until you have some diversity there.  For example, try to include some goals about your relationships, or your career.

Now you can go through and check that all your listed goals fit the two rules.  Any that are not personal or that you feel are quite impossible, cross out.  In the case of the impossible ones, you should then think whether there is some intermediate goal on the way to this which is not impossible and which you have not already listed.  If so, write that down too.

The next step is to choose the one goal on which you most set your heart.  Not the one you think is most achievable – that is a cop out!  The one you really want to achieve more than any of the others.  Which goal would have the biggest impact on your life if you could achieve it right now?  Circle this goal.  This goal is what we will call your “Biggest Goal”.

Now take another sheet of paper and write the goal at the top of the page.  Next to it, write a deadline of one year from today.  Now brainstorm again.  This time, think of all the things you would need to do to achieve your Biggest Goal.  Write as many down as you can as fast as you can.  Don’t stop at 10.  Not even at 15 or 25.  Keep on going until you have written down at least 50 steps you could take.  This will probably be hard once you get past the first dozen or so steps, but keep going anyway.  Don’t worry about the order; don’t try to think what step comes next.  Just write down any steps you can think of that will help get you closer to your goal.

The final stage is this:  Look at the list of actions you can take and start doing them.  Some may be achievable in one day.  Most will not.  But that doesn’t matter, just begin working on them any way.  Every day, do something, no matter how small, which moves you one step forwards towards your goal.

When you have achieved one completely, tick it off.  Not all the actions can be treated this way, as many will probably be ongoing tasks – keep working on them.  But the key is you must do something every day, no matter how small it may seem, to bring you closer to your goal.

And you know something?  Three hundred small steps, taken together, are one gigantic step.  So well before the year is out you will have made major progress towards achieving your goal, and may even have achieved it completely!

If you follow the principles I have outlined here, a year from now you will look back and will be absolutely amazed at the difference it has made in your life!  Start now, and make sure you can achieve your Biggest Goal over the next twelve months!

PS Don't throw away the original list!  You are going to need it soon, as once you have achieved your Biggest Goal you need to start going for your Next Biggest Goal!

PPS Are you ready to make 2013 your most successful year yet?  Join Brian Tracy for his FREE webinar “12-Step Method For Setting and Achieving Your Goals” and reach every goal you set for the coming year! Get more information here: "Setting and Achieving Your Goals".

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Mayan Calendar

Tomorrow is the last day of the Mayan Calendar.  Not the last day of the year in their calendar - the last day of the calendar itself!

Should we be running to the hills for survival?  Not according to John Major Jenkins, an expert on Mayan Cosmology and Mayan sacred science.

John Major Jenkins is the author of two key books on this subject: "Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: The True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End Date" and "Galactic Alignment: The Transformation of Consciousness According to Mayan, Egyptian and Vedic Traditions".  You can purchase either of the above books from Amazon by clicking on the name.  If you wish to pay in pounds sterling or have the books shipped from the UK you may order the first here (Maya Cosmogenesis 2012), or the second here (Galactic Alignment).  Please do not hold Amazon or John responsible if the world ends before your books arrive! ;)

John's full article is appended below.  It is a long article, but very well worth reading.  If you don't have time to read it, though, the conclusion is this:  the end of 2012 is not the end of the world, but it is a time when we are being given the opportunity to sacrifice our self-centered, egotistical view of the world and our place in it, and to replace this view with that of a selfless, higher consciousness.  This applies equally to society as a whole and to each of us as individuals.

Here is the full text of the very carefully researched article by John Major Jenkins on the end of the Mayan Calendar.  It was written in 2010 and refers to what will happen as we enter 2012 as well as what may happen tomorrow, the 21st December 2012 or the last day of the Mayan Calendar.  Do you think he got it right?  My own view is that it really doesn't matter whether or not he did.  What is important is whether we will take this opportunity now to change ourselves, which is the only way we can change society.

The Mayan Calendar and 2012: Why Should We Care?


John Major Jenkins

In my own process of studying the Maya and their traditions, I moved progressively into deeper water with time. Twenty-two years in, I can report back to newcomers that the implications of the Mayan calendar are staggering, its connection to other cosmologies around the globe is deep, and its most famous artifact, the cycle ending date of 2012, encodes an understanding of the cosmos that modern science is unprepared to grasp.

That’s where the investigation leads, but we will not venture so far in this article. Many people will be introduced to the existence of the Maya and their calendar through the attention generated by the 2012 date. You may be one of them. In fact, I hope you are, because this article is written for you. How can we even begin to understand the Mayan calendar and its 2012 date? What is it? What was it intended to represent? What did the ancient Maya believe would happen as 2012 draws close? Sit back and read on, for there are answers to these questions.

In my speaking events and workshops, people ask questions and I’ve noticed that many of them are based on misconceptions. I will anticipate and address these, hopefully guiding you away from dead ends.It is no surprise that 2012, the so-called ‘end of the Mayan calendar’, is a topic filled with images of the end of the world, doomsday, and cataclysm. Many writers have and will exploit such a hot topic to play into human fears. They are not necessarily interested in understanding 2012 as the ancient Maya understood it. Here we must state a guiding principle so we can have a healthy approach to 2012: let’s honour the authentic Mayan tradition.

This seems self evident, but is rarely taken to heart by modern writers. As a result of this unfortunate situation, newcomers are likely to encounter a smorgasbord of ideas, information, opinions, and models about 2012. The loudest barkers in Carnival 2012, as my friend Jonathan Zap reminds me, are likely to be the first ones heard. There’s the Pleiadian faction, there’s the crop circle theorists, there’s the alien invasion crowd, there’s the doomsday tribe, there’s the ascension light workers. People like many choices on the menu, right? Sure, but what about the real ding an sich, the thing-in-itself? Are we interested in getting to the heart of the Mayan insight? I propose that we should be, and that such an approach yields interesting, satisfying, revolutionary, and lasting results.

A little research reveals that a large cycle in the Mayan Long Count calendar ends precisely on December 21, 2012. The precision comes from a painstakingly established correlation between the Long Count calendar and our own Gregorian calendar. Scholars figured it out, beginning in the 1890s, testing and retesting the correct correlation. It was settled by 1950.

The Gregorian calendar and the Long Count calendar are simply two different methods of tracking time. Each one tracks one day after another, but designates the days with different symbols and words. The correct correlation between the two means that, for example, in the Long Count equals May 7, 755 in the Gregorian calendar. We are simply correlating two different systems. It’s the same challenge of correlating the ancient Egyptian calendar, or the ancient Hindu or Roman system, to a time frame we recognise. With the ‘key’ of the correlation, we can make a precise conversion between the Mayan calendar into our own. It’s not rocket science, and there’s no need to mystify it.

What you need to know is that scholars have isolated the precise correlation for the Mayan calendar, such that the end of the 13-baktun cycle in the Long Count (written falls precisely on December 21, 2012. Most importantly, the surviving 260-day calendar (the tzolkin) among the Maya today verifies this correlation, since it confirms that the cycle-ending date falls on 4 Ahau in the tzolkin. Authors that write popular books and broadcast other notions have simply not done their homework.

Next, what is the Long Count and how does it work? The Long Count calendar system was developed about 2,100 years ago in southern Mexico. Archaeologists know this because the first carved monuments with Long Count dates appear in the first-century BCE, mostly in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. Theoretical reconstructions of the calendar that trace its origins further back in time are possible, but for now we can rest safely with the carved monuments that date to the first-century BCE. This is a good indicator of when the Long Count was formally inaugurated and carved in stone.

A typical Long Count date contains five place values. A baktun is a period of 144,000 days. A katun is a period of 7,200 days. A tun contains 360 days. A uinal contains 20 days, and a kin is a day. I’m surprised when newcomers begin to wonder how anyone can possibly know this. Some assert that the Maya disappeared long ago, so how do we know this information about their calendar? Well, the truth is that the Maya have not disappeared, as the popular misconception goes. The reason why we can say things with certainty about how the Long Count works is because scholars have reconstructed its operation from a careful examination of the archaeological evidence. It’s not so mysterious or far fetched for scholars to piece together fragments of a forgotten tradition, especially something as tangible as the basic mathematics of a calendar system.

A typical Long Count date is written The cycle ending date is written After this date, the calendar cycles back to Why? Because there are 13 Baktuns in one Creation Cycle, or Age. We know this because there are several carvings that are called ‘Creation Monuments’, and they tell us that is the completion of a World Age. The Long Count is thus part of a philosophy of time known as a World Age doctrine. It is a belief that many ancient cultures share, that the world passes through a series of chapters or Ages. For the Maya, an Age lasts 13 Baktuns, which is 5,125 years.

The Maya’s Creation Myth contains information about the World Ages, and therefore we can consult it to gain an understanding of what the ancient Maya believed occurs during a cycle ending. General principles can be identified. For example, at the end of all Ages, humanity goes through a transformation and is reborn. A person chooses from two ways, because free will is honoured. One can go the way of Seven Macaw, the vain ego-driven ruler who appears at the end of the cycle, or one can go the way of One Hunahpu, who sacrifices his false self and is reborn whole.

The point is that the Creation Myth actually provides relevant and meaningful information concerning the ancient Maya belief about what would happen as 2012 approached. Therefore, studying the messages in the Creation Myth is an effective approach for understanding 2012.

Another important question is, why did the Maya believe that the year we call 2012 in our calendar would be so transformative? What is so special about 2012? The answer to this has been the focus of my pioneering research. My 1994 article “The How and Why of the Mayan End Date” really broke the case, as it identified how a rare astronomical alignment (the ‘galactic alignment’) was encoded by the Maya into their Creation Myth. My 1995 book The Center of Mayan Time explored my new findings further, by examining the early Maya site, Izapa, that invented the Long Count cosmology. More discoveries occurred in 1995-1997, and were reported in various articles and in my books Izapa Cosmos (1996) and Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (1998). The galactic alignment is the key to understanding why the ancient Maya believed 2012 (or, to be more accurate, ‘the years around 2012’) would be so transformational.

What is the Galactic Alignment?

  A = the solstice sun’s position 4,000 years ago. B = the solstice sun’s position 2,000 years ago. C = the solstice sun’s position in era-2012 (the galactic alignment). Note the dark rift and the crossroads of the Milky Way and the ecliptic.

The galactic alignment is a rare alignment within the cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, or let’s say ‘precession’ for short. Precession is thought to be caused by the slow wobble of the earth on its axis. The earth spins once every 24 hours, giving us the day cycle. But like a spinning top it also wobbles very slowly, making one complete wobble in just under 26,000 years. This phenomenon changes our angular orientation to the larger field of stars and constellations that surround us. One effect of the precession is that the position of the sun on a solstice or equinox slowly shifts in relation to the background stars. Ancient skywatchers might observe the stars of Capricorn rising ahead of the dawning solstice sun. Eight hundred years later, however, it will be the stars of Sagittarius. The constellations served as markers for this celestial shifting.

For the Maya, the bright band of the Milky Way was a very important feature of the night sky. It was seen to be a river, a road, a cosmic snake, a Great Mother, or even a celestial ballcourt. Compared to the very wide constellations, the Milky Way is a better marker for precessional shifting, because it is thin, like a ‘finish line’ in the sky. If the sun’s position on, say, the December solstice, was tracked, skywatchers would notice it shifting closer and closer to the bright band of the Milky Way. According to my pioneering research, ancient Maya skywatchers noticed this shifting, and calculated forward to the future day when the December solstice sun would line up with the Milky Way. They even used a more precise marker for the alignment, the dark rift in the Milky Way, which lies right along the Milky Way’s mid-plane.

Modern astronomers call the Milky Way’s precise mid-plane the ‘galactic equator’. So, a good definition of the galactic alignment is ‘the alignment of the December solstice sun with the galactic equator’. Modern astronomers have largely ignored this alignment phenomenon, but one named Jean Meeus calculated it after being encouraged to look at it by astrologer Daniel Giamario. With his calculation, and recognising that the sun itself is one-half of a degree wide, we arrive at a reasonable ‘alignment zone’ that stretches from 1980 to 2016. This is the ‘alignment zone’ of the galactic alignment. In the mid-1990s I pioneered a comparative analysis of Mayan traditions, such as the ballgame, king-making rituals, and the Creation Mythology, to show how the Maya were aware of this future galactic alignment (also sometimes called ‘the solstice-galaxy alignment’).

The galactic alignment occurs at an important location along the Milky Way – right at the crossing point formed by the Milky Way and the ecliptic (the path followed by the sun, moon, and planets). This crossroads in the sky is a critical feature of Mayan star lore. It is the Mayan Sacred Tree. Most interestingly, this cross targets the ‘nuclear bulge’ of the Galactic Centre. For this reason, the galactic alignment is often described as an alignment to the galactic centre, which it is, generally speaking.

These astronomical features had profound symbolic meaning for the ancient Maya. And some still do for the modern Maya. The Milky Way was the Great Mother, the galactic centre was her womb, and the dark rift was her birth canal. The December solstice sun was also very important, energetically, because that day signals the turnabout in the year, when increasing night shifts to increasing light. After the December solstice, the light begins to return as days grow longer. When THAT sun, the December solstice sun, shifts into alignment with the dark rift ‘birth canal’ of the Milky Way, the Maya believed the world would be reborn. It constituted a good location to place the end of a World Age, in their calendar, and the beginning of the next Age. The cycle ending is ultimately about renewal.

The galactic alignment, so defined, happens only once every 26,000 years. This is the big news, why we should be astounded at what the ancient Maya achieved. If we honour it only as a profound galactic cosmovision, whether or not we believe in its transformational power or correctness, that would be enough to shatter the continuing stereotypes of the ancient Maya as barbaric savages. Progress in understanding the brilliance of the ancient Maya’s achievement is hindered by stereotypes and clichés propagated by an exploitative media, as recent Hollywood movies illustrate. They play into fear and deep-set biases, and newcomers should be on alert for attitudes and books that disrespect the authentic Mayan calendar tradition, the one that makes December 21, 2012 equal to 4 Ahau,

But what of it? Does the galactic alignment somehow ‘cause’ change? This is an inevitable question, and one that is currently not easy to answer within the limits of our science. Astrophysicists look at distant galaxies, peer into galactic centres, and theorise about black holes, quasars, and dark matter. That’s all well and good, but they have not looked at the empirical effects of the galactic alignment phenomena. The possibility that our changing angular orientation to the galactic plane might somehow trigger seasonal changes on Earth, over very long periods of time, should be examined. Speaking from personal experience, however, it’s been very difficult to get astronomers and scientists to engage in a rational dialogue about the galactic alignment, although there have been some exceptions.

I’ve suggested scientific research that may answer the question of how the galactic alignment effects life on planet earth. It is, after all, an interesting question. In my 2002 book Galactic Alignment I discussed the Cosmecology theory of Dr. Oliver Reiser. Combining Reiser’s ideas with the galactic alignment concept, which he was not aware of, results in a possible model by which galactic alignments trigger consciousness. In 1995 I noted that our sun is roughly 26,000 light years from the galactic centre. I wondered if this could mean that precession is somehow entrained to this distance. A principle of sub-atomic physics that I located, later confirmed in the work of Reiser, provides the missing clue. The principle of ‘proton precession’ observes that protons have a varying wobble rate or ‘precession’ just like the earth does. The frequency of the wobble is directly related to the strength of the magnetic field that the proton is in, as well as its distance from the source of field. Here we have a principle that connects distance from source to the precession rate.

I am neither a sub-atomic particle physicist nor am I an interstellar astrophysicist, so this is not really my department. I offer this observation to others who are more interested in exploring the empirical models by which precession, and galactic alignments, may effect consciousness on earth.

We may be on the verge of a revolution in how we, in Western countries, understand the cosmos and our relationship to it. We may be going through a paradigm shift, much like the seventeenth century, when the sun became the centre of the cosmos during the Copernican revolution. Now, inspired by Mayan cosmology (just as Copernicus was inspired by Greek precursors), we might begin to see the womb of the Great Mother as the centre of the universe. This shift has important ramifications for our socio-political assumptions, for ‘god the solar father’ cannot be reborn unless it is through ‘goddess the galactic mother’. A higher principle that has been winnowed out of Western thought is reasserting itself, and our embracing it may be the key to transforming our unstable world into a sustainable one.

What Does 2012 Mean for the Modern World?

The pressing question is ‘what does 2012 mean for us?’ Consider this: the Maya offer us the 2012 date and tie it to a rare galactic alignment that our science barely acknowledges. They believed, for reasons we cannot quite grasp, that such an alignment would signal great transformation on the planet. If we look around us today, and recall events of the last twenty, fifty, and a hundred years, great transformation is indeed what is going on. Perhaps we should pay more attention to what the ancient Maya teachings actually say, rather than injecting modern assumptions and distortions into the 2012 discussion. There is no better place for accessing this Mayan wisdom than the Creation Mythology, otherwise known as the Popol Vuh or Hero Twin myth.

And here it is in a nutshell: 2012 bodes a challenge and an opportunity for humanity to rebirth itself. Such a transformational rebirth can only be accomplished through sacrifice, sacrificing the illusions that bind us to states of suffering and limitation. We can reconnect with the higher source, our true selves, the centre and source of the world. This invitation is reflected in the galactic alignment, our sun’s rare alignment with the cosmic heart and source (symbolised by the galactic centre).

This requires a little context and explanation. In the Creation Myth, the vain and false ruler Seven Macaw appears at the end of the cycle. He deceives and controls people, trying to take all the wealth for himself. He represents the archetype of self-serving egoism. That is the Mayan prophecy for 2012. Today, world leaders, megalomaniacal presidents, and even corporations all exhibit this trait. The Mayan prophecy for 2012 has come to pass. This is no accident. Ego takes control of the world at the end of the cycle, and this is a fact of the dynamics of cycles. We see this insight in many World Age doctrines, from the Hindus to the Greeks and especially among the indigenous peoples of the New World, such as the Maya. Spiritual light at the beginning gives way to darkness. Day turns to night, and at midnight the darkness has maximised. Year 2012 represents galactic midnight in the great cycle of precession. Everything is inverted; the ego denies any spiritual authority higher than itself. But because the ego’s vision is short-sighted, limited only to its own gain, it corrupts the world.

There is a second part to the Mayan prophecy in the Popol Vuh. Seven Macaw’s nemesis is One Hunahpu, the December solstice solar deity. He is the father of the Hero Twins, and much of the story is about facilitating his rebirth at the end of the Age. First, Seven Macaw, the ego, must be put in his place. In order for the higher consciousness to appear, for the mind and heart of humanity to be reborn, the self-serving squawking of ego must be stopped. The whole story is about the dynamic between the limited ego (Seven Macaw) and the eternal soul (One Hunahpu). Since One Hunahpu represents the December solstice sun, the entire myth is framed upon the galactic alignment. And here’s the key to the transformation, the key to putting Seven Macaw back into right relationship with One Hunahpu: sacrifice.

The challenge and the opportunity of 2012 lies within the province of our free will choice to sacrifice our illusions, the illusions that entangle our consciousness with the ego limitation of Seven Macaw. 2012 is not about something that ‘will happen’ in a predetermined sense while we sit around waiting. It is about our free will choice to open up and reconnect with the eternal wisdom, or hunker down in defeatism, closing our minds in fear.

These ideas, found in the Maya Creation Myth, are really perennial teachings. It is very significant that hidden within the depths of the Mayan calendar we find the same spiritual wisdom that resides at the root of all great spiritual traditions. Called the primordial tradition or the perennial philosophy, Mayan genius has linked up this global human heritage to galactic seasons of change timed by the galactic alignment of era-2012.

The ramifications of the 2012 opportunity are critical for creating a sustainable future. The key is embodying the higher wisdom, the higher vantage point, to resolve problems that are impossible to solve when consciousness retains an allegiance to lower consciousness, to the self-serving agenda of egoism.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Here is another video clip from the great man himself, the late Jim Rohn.  It lasts just three and a half minutes.  For some reason the person who uploaded it left a couple more minutes of blank tape at the end.  But those three and a half minutes, asking the question "why?", will blow your mind!

If you would like to have Jim Rohn as your mentor, you can, even though he is no longer with us.  Subscribe now to his "One Year Success Plan".

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Negative People and Situations

How to Shift Your Perception


Admin at Sally M Keys' site,

When you find yourself in negative situations or around negative people ... find a reason and motivation to change how you view your experience in your mind.

Start by asking yourself what you are losing when you feel negative emotion or energy. Ask yourself what is your biggest motivator and how feeding others your energy affects that or reduces that in your life. Say it’s money, for example. How does you losing your energy to others affect your money situation? Does it reduce it? Of course it does.

When you see just how detrimental allowing your energy to go to others rather than yourself truly is, you very quickly find a way to stop it from happening.

What you will find is that the hold that others have on you weakens as you consciously make the choice to stop them from draining your energy. It is possible to take you power back and it all starts with a CHOICE – the choice NOT to allow it to happen any longer.

Somehow it’s no longer about what others are “doing” to you (victim mentality), but more becomes about how you can access the good that resides within you regardless of what is happening around you. And you will very quickly find that by focusing on the inner rather than the outer, that the outer world very quickly responds in a positive manner.

So, try responding more positively to negative situations (internally and externally) and see if that doesn’t shift things for you. Don’t continue to allow yourself to be drained. Turn off the valve that feeds others your valuable energy. For it is the EXPRESSION of your emotion that gives your energy to others, regardless of whether or not you express it to them directly. Feeling it internally is one thing. Expressing it is another entirely.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Book Review

Parables of Success

For those of us who are Christian, our minds are turning this month to the birth of Jesus, a wonderful story teller.  Jesus knew that the best way to get his audience to internalise the truths he wanted to teach them was to tell them those truths in parables.  The Sufi mystic Nasrudin, or Nasreddin Hodja, adopted a similar approach.  In fact, you will find story telling to make the faithful realise a universal truth is integral to most religions.

I felt now would therefore be a very good time to focus on stories that encapsulate some simple truths we should all internalise on our journey of personal development.

Click on the title of any book that particularly interests you and you can buy it right away.  If you want to pay in pounds sterling, or have it shipped from the UK instead of from the States, click on the "UK link" right at the end of each review.

The Richest Man in Babylon


George S. Clason

A review of personal development parables could do no better than to begin with George S. Clason's classic, The Richest Man in Babylon.  This book has led generations to personal and monetary success.  If you have not yet read it and have any interest in improving your financial situation, do not let 2013 fade without doing so!

"This book teaches financial lessons through stories. Every point is illustrated through a tale that explains exactly why certain things need to be done when investing your money.

It's specific advice along with a neat little story proving how it works in real life. This is a crucial point with me and all business advice. If it's not practical and makes sense in reality then it's useless fluff that may sound good but isn't useful at all. And let's face it, finance isn't an area where you want to learn by trial and error using bad advice.

The investment strategies that applied back then are still as applicable today as they were back when this was first written. No nonsense, tired and true business advice. That's what made this a hit for me."

-    Shelby

"A MUST READ for all ages. Clason emphasizes that it is never too late to improve your financial situation. Short stories in the book bring to life the significance of developing a plan to save for the future and/or get out of debt. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this book. The concepts are powerful and relevant."

-    DMerryM

"I read this book 35 years ago when starting out in business and its teachings are timeless. It was written in 1929. The principles have taken good care of me all my adult life. If the young (and the not so young) would apply its teachings then the world would not be in the financial mess it is in today."

-    aspedd

Look Ma, Life's Easy


Ernie J. Zelinski

This novel is a Kindle edition.  It presents a story of personal transformation that will inspire ordinary individuals to feel they can truly achieve extraordinary results in their lives.

"This is a classic personal development book on par with Think and Grow Rich in its impact, depth and usefulness.

The book is part story and part personal development wisdom. The two intertwine perfectly.

The premise of the book is that if you do the hard things in life today your life will be much easier because you will achieve great things and you won't be stuck with the same old problems. It sounds simple, and it is, but the author depicts clearly how this little rule applies to every area of life and how powerfully and immediately it can bring positive change to your life.

I will be reading this book over and over to glean it's wisdom and improve my life even more."

-    Tom Corson-Knowles
Best-selling author of Rich By 22: How To Achieve Business Success At An Early Age

"I'm a fan of Ernie Zelinski. I like his writing style, his humor, and his grasp of humanity. In this fable, Ernie, through his characters, is our cheerleader, our guide, our shrink, and our mentor. He points the way to becoming our best self by asking us to question our assumptions, work hard, to delay gratification, and dump the victim mentality.

His pearls of wisdom throughout the book are even in a different color and font, so they can't be missed. For example: "The past is a nice place to visit. But you better not make it your home." Or, "Just as important as deciding what you want in life is deciding what you don't want."

If you're looking for a roadmap to inspire and change you, one that goes down easy but packs a wallop, get a copy of Look Ma, Life's Easy."

-    Jan Cullinane

"Where has this little gem been hiding, this really is an excellent book from Ernie Zelinski, more people should be aware of it. I especially like the line at the start of the book: "You can disappear into the mainstream, or you can be true to yourself and swim against the current". This sets the tone early on for what becomes an adventure of self-discovery. It is a compulsive and inspirational read, and you won't read it only once, you will refer back to its wisdom time and again."

-    A. Reilly

Twelve Pillars


Jim Rohn & Chris Widener

This novel will inspire you to take your life to the next level and beyond. It will challenge and encourage you to become the best that you can be!

I have sourced a hardcover version here which is cheaper than the paperback version I found on Amazon.  If you want it shipped from the States, be sure, therefore, to click on the link in the title rather than simply going straight to Amazon to find it.

"I am not an easy sell when it comes to financial self-help books because many of them want you to do things that are improbable, or impossible, at certain times in your life. However, this books focuses on making you a successful person inside before starting the outside (material) successes. I really liked that because I believe many people think money will buy them happiness; this book shows that you must first be happy inside to be able to enjoy your outside (material) success."

-    Stacy Howett (BROOKHAVEN, PA, United States)

""Twelve Pillars" is one of my favorite books. The author successfully presents nonfiction self growth content in a novel-style. I've red it several times, and every time I tuned up to tears at the end."

-    Dr. Irina Koles, author of Taste of Thoughts: Improve Your Health and Whole Life

"This is an excellent book for people that want to do something more with their lives than just live a day to day existence. I will recommend this book to all of my friends."

-    Blondie

The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin / The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin


Idries Shah

This is actually two books in one, and includes 100 short aphorisms by the Mulla.  Great to dip into when you only have a few moments.  And great to allow the humour to insert some real truths into your psyche!

It is difficult to describe Nasrudin's style without actually seeing it, so here is an example:

"If you want truth", Nasrudin told a group of Seekers who had come to hear his teachings, "you will have to pay for it."

"But why should you have to pay for something like truth?" asked one of the company.

"Have you noticed", said Nasrudin, "that it is the scarcity of a thing which determines its value?"

Other reviewers' comments:

"One is immediately forced to use one's mind in a new way."

-    New York Times

"(Nasrudin's) antics are parallels of the mind's workings"

-    The Observer, England

"Idries Shah popularized religious teaching stories of the "righteous fool" variety in his three books of Nasrudin stories. The tales themselves come from Rumi, Attar and a host of other sources - written and oral. While I recommend both Rumi and Attar, the retelling of the stories in a concise and oral telling style is a gift to the reader - one is impacted by the story itself and not distracted by the form of the story (poetry of Rumi) or by the frame story (as in Attar).

One should read these stories one at a time and reflect on them as you would a koan, if you wish to treat them as "spiritually beneficial". But they are also enjoyable as a quick read for laughs."

-    M. J. Smith (Seattle, WA USA)

I was unable to source this title at a reasonable price in the UK.  My UK readers should click the title and buy from the States.