Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Spirituality and Materialism

Do you believe personal development should be all about spiritual development?  Or for you is it all about manifesting wealth?  Or something in between?

There is a big debate about this.  Some people feel very strongly it should focus on spirituality and that any talk about wealth is selfish.  Others feel developing their spirituality is something best done in church and that it doesn't have any real meaning in their every day lives.

I certainly don't agree that spirituality is all about going to church (or the mosque, or temple, depending on your religion).  To me, spirituality is very much something that should be part of day to day life.

Much of what I study in the personal development field has a spiritual nature.  But certainly not all.  I believe I am a spiritual person.  But I am also materialistic!  Not in a negative sense - I don't believe material things are more important than spiritual things for example.  But I also believe that we live in a material world and that the material things around us are not there by accident.  We are intended to enjoy them.

So I am a mix of spiritual and materialist, and I hope many of my readers are too.

I want to improve my material lot in life, and so I practice manifestation.  I invite the Universe to bring me wealth and riches.  Is this wrong?  Many, unfortunately, would say it is, but I strongly believe it is the right way to live.

I should also point out that in order to have the Universe bring you material things you need to express love and you need to express gratitude.  Not just gratitude when you get what you are trying to manifest, but gratitude now for what you already have.  Love and gratitude are spiritual qualities, yet they are the essence of any really good training in how to manifest material things - certainly in any of the programs I use and promote.

It is important to have your priorities right.  Material things cannot bring lasting happiness.  I work on my inner spirit for that.  But if I acquire them in the right way, ethically and morally, and if I use them to improve the lot of others, then this is the right priority.

If you, too, want to be wealthier, if you want more money in the bank, a nicer home, a better car, then affirm this without guilt.  The Universe wants this for you too.  There is nothing immoral about it.  You are not endangering your spirit by wanting these things and going after them.  Go for it!  But work on improving spiritually too, and literally enjoy the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


What is abundance?  If you have spent any time at all looking into personal development you must have come across this term so many times.  But what exactly is it?

According to my dictionary, the word "abundance" means "the state of having a large quantity; plentifulness".  But a large quantity of what, precisely?  Plenty of what?  The answer, of course, is "everything".

Or perhaps, more accurately, "everything that is good".  That is not the dictionary definition, which could apply equally to everything that is not so good.  But in the way it is used by me and by everyone else involved in personal development "abundance" is only that which is good.

This is a very important point to get your head around.  "Abundance", in the way in which we mean it, can only be good.  If you can really take that in and accept it, you will already have removed one of the biggest blocks to abundance which most people seem to have.  The belief that there is something wrong about wanting abundance, that it is selfish, that the things you want are not good for you.

If whatever comes to you when you pursue abundance is only good, then it cannot be wrong to want it.  It cannot be selfish. It cannot be bad for you.  Know this for a certainty.  Believe it with your inner core.  If you do, you will find it so much easier to achieve whatever you want to achieve.  But if you do not, you will find it almost impossible.

One thing that many of us pursue is "success".  Is it wrong to want to be successful?  Of course not!  How could it be?  Otherwise it would be right to want to fail - and that certainly cannot be right, unless you mean as a step towards final success such as experienced by Edison.  Most of us know this superficially, but deep down there is something in us that contradicts it.  We see other people who have achieved what society calls success and notice they are not always happy and fulfilled - sometimes they are quite miserable and are very poor role models.  Inside, we say "if that is success then I don't want anything to do with it!".  Everything comes back, though, to what you mean by success.  I would argue that none of those people are truly successful.  They may have become famous, they may be wealthy, but they are not successful.  Decide on your measure of success, ignoring what the world tries to say success must be, make sure it is fully aligned with your inner nature, and then go for it!  You will find, if you do this exercise properly, that your definition of success is a good thing for you and also if you determine to achieve it you will.

Another thing so many pursue is "wealth".  Is there anything wrong with wealth?  Again, of course not!  Wealth is neutral when it comes to good and evil.  Everything depends on how it is used.  Look at how Bill Gates has chosen to use his wealth for example!  Some people feel it is wrong to want to be wealthy, believing the only way you can become wealthy is by depriving others of what they need or want.  Ridiculous!  Yes, it is possible to become wealthy through selfish or even illegal means.  But that is not really abundance.  And the Universe has a way of restoring the right balance.  If not in this lifetime then in the next.  But often in this lifetime - there are so many cases of people who have acquired their wealth selfishly finding it is all frittered away in next to no time.  The best way of becoming wealthy is by giving great value to others - who then add to your wealth in return.  Do this properly and you will find you become truly wealthy in an abundant way.

Get your mind straight on the true meaning of abundance and you too can have everything you truly desire.  The Universe is truly abundant and is simply waiting to share that abundance with you.  Go out now and accept that gift with gratitude rather than ungraciously continually to throw it back in the face of the Universe!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Cultivating Happiness

"Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars."  Frederick Langbridge

When you get up in the morning, do you feel full of joy and energy, ready to face whatever the Universe throws at you?  Are you a "Good morning God!" or a "Good God, morning!" kind of person?  Do you look up at the stars or down at the mud?

I have met many people who seem to have everything anyone could wish for and yet they are miserable.  And I have met plenty more of very humble means who are joyful and full of passion.  How can this be so?

Happiness in this life is not down to what you own.  It is not down to the friends and family you have around you.  Not that I am suggesting for one minute that we should not strive to better ourselves.  If you have read much of my blog you know I feel quite the opposite.  And I am certainly not suggesting we should not try to surround ourselves with good people, with people who bring out the best in us.  Of course we should!  But what I am saying is that the most important thing is how you feel inside.  It is not the circumstances themselves that make you happy, it is how you react to them.

Please read the above paragraph again.  It may be one of the most important lessons you will ever learn!  If you want to be happy, then be!  And who does not want to be happy?

Begin addressing this first.  Before you try to do anything about gaining wealth and possessions.  Before you try to do anything about changing your relationships.  Before you try to do anything about changing your circumstances.  Because once you have learned this secret you are better placed for a happy life than almost everyone around you, no matter what their own circumstances.

When you try to do this I can guarantee something inside you will object strongly.  The something inside you that has had you in its power all these years and can now see that power slipping away.  It will tell you that you cannot be happy until ........  The gap is there because what that voice will say will differ from individual to individual, but the beginning of the sentence will always be the same.  "You cannot be happy until ...."  Actually, it will almost certainly come out as "I cannot be happy until ....", because that voice wants you to think it is you - but it is not!  Don't listen to it!  All it knows is lies, but clever, apparently very logical lies.

When you first begin you will probably find it hard to make much progress.  Don't be disheartened!  This is normal.  If it were that easy, then everyone would be happy all the time.  But also don't feel it is too difficult.  It is not.  You have the power within you to do this.  You can feel that happiness spreading from the inside, seemingly oblivious to what is happening on the outside.

Cultivating this permanent state of happiness is a bit like trying to meditate.  When you first try, it seems impossible.  Maybe you get a fleeting moment, and then suddenly a horde of negative thoughts and feelings appears.  Meditation masters tell us not to get irritated when stray thoughts appear.  If you focus on them in an attempt to get rid of them, they have won.  Just accept that they are there and continue cultivating your still mind - and eventually, after many repeated practice sessions, you will find they start to drop away.  Only to attempt to distract you again maybe many sessions later just when you think you have it cracked!  This will happen, too, with your practice in cultivating happiness, and the remedy is similar - just ignore these attacks and gradually they will fade.  Then, later, circumstances will conspire to make you unhappy again, and you will need to focus on cultivating that inner joy.

Don't just take my word for it.  There is a definite scientific basis for what I am proposing here.  Take a look at the following TED talk by Dan Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University.  I actually wrote this article before I watched Dan Gilbert's lecture, and have added this paragraph later.  But it is clear from what Dan says that my experience is not something unusual, not some wacky idea that only applies to a fortunate few.  Long term, external circumstances cannot bring us happiness or unhappiness.  Happiness is something we have to create for ourselves.  Here is the link to the TED talk:

Once you have begun this process you can then address the other issues.  You can make sure your life is properly aligned with your inner passion, which I can guarantee will make it a lot easier for you to maintain this new state of permanent happiness.  But more of this another time!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


What is suggestion?  And is it by definition immoral and evil?

Tackling the second question first, of itself suggestion is not wrong.  Is electricity wrong?  Of course not!  But can it be used for evil purposes?  Yes, of course it can.  And just like electricity, suggestion is a natural force which can be used for good or evil.

Suggestion can be anything that bypasses the "censor" most of us have to stop us being unduly influenced.  It then affects our emotional side, often resurfacing as an original idea we have just had.

It can be deliberate or accidental.  And it need not even be caused directly by a person.  A piece of music, a hint of perfume, a flash of colour - all these and many more can have suggestive influence.

It can also be directed inwardly, as in auto-suggestion or self-hypnosis.

Everything around us is capable of suggestive influence.  When you listen to a piece of beautiful music you can find your mood changes and you may become more capable of achieving your goals.  You can also create suggestion around you in your own environment.  For example, when I had to study and work at home I designated one room as my study and office.  I never did my study or work outside of that room and once in the room I never did anything except study and work.  It did not take too long for the room itself to become a very powerful suggestion.  The moment I entered it I was immediately in the right mood for work.  Also, the moment I stepped outside I could feel I had left my work behind and was able to relax completely even if there was unfinished work to be done.  Once you are aware of this it is much easier to guard yourself against undesirable suggestive influence, and also to create the right suggestive influences to help you achieve whatever it is you want to achieve.

Suggestion works much better if it is very repetitive.  The first time we sense a suggestion our censor will often block it completely, recognizing it as an outside influence which may be undesirable.  The second time it may still be blocked, but our censor is slightly more relaxed about it, now recognizing it as something a little familiar.  By the third time it is likely our censor will relax completely, believing that this completely familiar suggestion is something from within.

It also needs to be clear, not giving mixed messages.  For example, if you are using music to get you in the right mood to achieve something you might want to pay careful attention to the lyrics if there are any.  If those lyrics are not aligned with that mood you want, then maybe you had better choose something else!  If you are using auto-suggestion to achieve a goal, again make sure it cannot be misunderstood when it bypasses your internal censor.  For example, if you are trying to become better at remembering people's names, you should not try using an auto-suggestion such as "I will not forget people's names", as the suggestion that gets through is talking about forgetting names - the very thing you want to counter!  Instead, it is much better to say "I always remember people's names" - that is a much more powerful suggestion which is clear and is properly aligned to what you want to achieve!

So much for auto-suggestion, but what about influencing others through suggestion?  Is this the right thing to do or is it immoral as so many people seem to believe?  Well, I come back to my point that everything is capable of suggestive influence.  So whether or not you wish to do so you are actually influencing those around you all the time.  Even those who believe it is wrong to influence others are still doing so all the time.  You should use this knowledge to improve the way you are influencing people - to ensure you are a positive influence rather than a negative one.  Make sure the messages you give encourage others to be better people.  And NEVER send out messages like "you will never amount to anything!" or "you are such a bad child!" - if these are the messages you send they will easily become self-fulfilling prophecies.