Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Recently I saw a dance performance by a 3-year-old boy on "China's Got Talent".  When asked why he danced he said he did it because it made people laugh, and that people who laugh are happy.  So he wanted to keep dancing so he could keep making people happy.

There are a number of lessons in this for all of us.  Yes, no matter our age we can learn lessons from a 3-year-old.

The first lesson is the link between laughter and happiness.  This is very important.  Of course, whatever makes us laugh can of itself give us happiness.  I was certainly happy watching that little boy, and not simply because I was laughing.  But the act of laughing or smiling itself makes us happy, even if there is nothing there that should be making us laugh.  Even forced laughter makes us happy.  It may seem false to laugh when there is nothing to laugh about, and we may initially just be forcing laughter we don't actually feel, but keep forcing that laugh and you will find  it creates a significant mood change anyway.

Just in case you don't believe me, I want you to try an experiment.  Start laughing right now.  It doesn't matter that nothing funny is happening.  Laugh anyway.  Don't say "I can't laugh unless there is something funny".  Just open your mouth and make the sound.  Don't worry that it doesn't sound quite right, just keep doing it.  Soon you will find it turns into natural laughter - even if that is only because you are laughing at your silly attempts to laugh!  Now that you have done that, how do you feel?  Miserable?  I think not!  You will find you feel happier than you felt before.  This works particularly well when you are miserable, as there is a very clear contrast.

This is a very important lesson.  If you want to change your mood, simply change it by doing whatever is associated with the mood you want.  That association will attract the mood.  Most people think they only laugh because they are amused, but what they don't realize is that it also works the other way around.  They can become amused simply by laughing.

Laughing is very infectious.  In her poem "Solitude", Ella Wheeler Wilcox said "Laugh, and the world laughs with you", and how true this is!  The little Chinese boy understood that if he could get some people to laugh they would be happy, and also that this happiness would spread as more and more people laughed.

This means it is really very easy to create happiness in the world, to make people around you happier than they were.  Laugh.  And do things to make others laugh.  That little boy knew this, and at only three years old he was putting this in practice.

I like to laugh and smile whenever I can, and to help those around me laugh and smile too.  I know this is the way to make this world a better place.  Every day I make at least one person happier by laughing or smiling is a day well worth living, a day when I have added something good to this world.  And it is so easy to do.  So much easier than all the wonderful ideas so many people have about making the world a better place; ideas that may be great ideas but that are very difficult to realize, consistently, day after day.  Just laugh and smile!

And to me that is perhaps the biggest lesson this lovely Chinese boy has imparted to us.  That it is our role in life to make people happy.  Be happy yourself and help to make those around you happier.  Do this, and you will know that each day you really are making the world a better place, that the world really is a better place simply because you are there doing what you do.  Wouldn't that be a lovely epitaph to have when you eventually passed away?  "He made the world a better place!"  "She made the world a better place!"  Well, this really can be your epitaph.  You don't have to do anything spectacular to earn this epitaph.  Simply make sure that each day you do what you can to make those around you happier.  Do this by trying to laugh and smile as much as you can.

I shall end this little lesson by quoting the entire poem "Solitude".  Read it and take it to heart:

   Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
   Weep, and you weep alone;
   For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
   But has trouble enough of its own.
   Sing, and the hills will answer;
   Sigh, it is lost on the air;
   The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
   But shrink from voicing care.

   Rejoice, and men will seek you;
   Grieve, and they turn and go;
   They want full measure of all your pleasure,
   But they do not need your woe.
   Be glad, and your friends are many;
   Be sad, and you lose them all,—
   There are none to decline your nectared wine,
   But alone you must drink life’s gall.

   Feast, and your halls are crowded;
   Fast, and the world goes by.
   Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
   But no man can help you die.
   There is room in the halls of pleasure
   For a large and lordly train,
   But one by one we must all file on
   Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017


How important are parables in determining the way you view life?

I would say very important.  It is no coincidence that Jesus chose to pass on his wisdom by telling stories that were not actually intended to be historical truth.  He did so because he knew that the deeper truth embedded in those stories would have a lot more impact and be recognized and understood better that way.

I am sure you have heard the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words".  Some things can be understood quite easily, but not easily put into words.  This is particularly true of many aspects of personal development, whether spiritual or otherwise.

Using parables is a great way of getting your message across.  If you really want to change the way others think and feel, use parables.  Even more important, if you want to change the way YOU think and feel, use parables.  Whether or not you are a Christian, read or re-read some of the parables in the New Testament - they are very powerful and the underlying messages are certainly very important.

A friend of mine regularly uses parables to change the thinking of those around him, and they usually don't even realize that is what he is doing.  He does it when he needs to get across something that his listeners would regard as a criticism and would probably react by trying to justify themselves rather than taking in the fact that they have done something wrong.  His usual method of doing this is to tell a story of either something he did or something someone he knew did, and the negative consequences that arose because they did it.  As his listener doesn't believe the comment is about themselves they don't feel the need to resist and justify, and instead actually take in those negative consequences.  The next time they are tempted to say or do the same thing, subconsciously they will recall the parable and may then think twice.  This is a very powerful technique.  You may feel it is dishonest, but I don't.  I think it is far better to bend the truth a little (sorry to my fellow Quakers - no real dishonesty intended here!) in order to ensure no offence is given but that the inner meaning is properly absorbed.  Jesus thought so too.

Try it!  Use it to spread a little more morality and create a better world around you.  Use it to take in some inner truths yourself.  There are plenty of online examples.  The next time you see a lovely story online, don't immediately go to "Snopes" or some other myth-buster site to find out whether or not it is historically true, as the historical truth doesn't matter.  By all means check out the historical truth before posting it yourself, and maybe include a comment that this is not intended to be a true story but that you found it very touching.  But don't focus on whether or not it is the truth in the historical sense - the deep inner meaning IS true if it inspires you and others to become better and do better things in what can often seem a very mediocre world.

Whatever your religion, go back to your holy book(s) and recognize that probably most of what is written there is in the form of parables.  It doesn't matter whether or not it is historically true.  That is really not the point at all.  What matters is whether or not the underlying message is good or bad - and usually you will find it is good.  Read the holy books of other religions in the same way.  Do this even if you are not at all religious.  You will not be "getting religion" - just allowing some hidden wisdom to help you become a better person and create a better world around you.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Who Knows Best?

Have you ever found you wanted something so badly, maybe prayed for it, used "manifesting" techniques, used "affirmations", used all sorts of other techniques you have learned, and it simply didn't materialize?  Be honest!  If you are truly honest I can guarantee that either you never really want anything so strongly or you WILL have experienced this.

Is it because prayers don't work?  Certainly not - they DO.  Is it because "manifestation techniques" don't work?  Not at all.  They do too.

So why is it that this sometimes (perhaps often) happens to all of us?

Well, one reason can be, of course, that you are not doing it right.

I find, for example, that praying for something I want is never a good idea.  I do pray regularly, but not with a kind of "Santa wish list".  It would feel wrong to me and clash with my deep inner beliefs to do this.  That does not mean it is not right for you.  If you do it in the right way, and it doesn't feel wrong to you at all, then it most certainly can work wonders.  But my own inner beliefs would tell me that God is not there at my beck and call to give me the things and experiences I think I want.  It doesn't really matter whether or not those inner beliefs are correct.  All that matters is that I have them, and that is enough to ensure any attempt by me to pray for what I want is unlikely to produce the results I expect.

When it comes to using affirmations and other manifestation techniques it is, of course, important to get them right.  If you don't, they won't work.  And the very first step in getting any of them right is for you to have the right desires and the right attitude.  I have covered off "right desires" in other blog articles, but in essence I mean digging down to your inner core and making sure what you desire is not in conflict with your deep-seated inner beliefs, your spiritual values.  If it is, then the exercise is doomed to failure.  As for the right attitude, again I have covered this elsewhere, but in particular you should maintain an attitude that properly reflects the abundance of the universe.  Don't be fooled by the tendency of most people to believe in "limited good".  Recognize that there is not a limited supply of whatever you want but rather an abundant supply.  Know that you are not taking anything away from anyone else when you gain whatever it is you want.  This change in attitude is vital.  Without it, you will find it is very difficult if not impossible to use any manifestation techniques.  Also, never focus on the lack.  If you want something "badly", you are probably already moving in the wrong direction.  Even that word, "badly", is a negative.  Never focus on negatives, only positives.

But often I find that even though I am doing everything right I still don't get what it is that I think I want.  And I am sure that is the case for you too.


Because sometimes what I want is not really the right thing for me at that time.  It is not in conflict with my inner beliefs or values.  There is nothing wrong with it.  But it is simply not the right thing for me at this time.  God, or the Universe, or whatever label you want to use, knows best.  He/she/it knows there is something even better for me at this time, and that is what is delivered instead.  Over the years I have come to recognize that very often it is not me who knows best what I really want or need.  God knows best.  The Universe knows best.  I have learned to trust implicitly in this and so I am just as happy when I DON'T get what I have asked for as when I DO.  Learn to recognize and trust in this too, and you will have a much happier life.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Hurdles and Obstacles

What obstacles have you identified which are preventing you from achieving what you want to achieve in life?  Are there any such obstacles?

I assume there are, as otherwise you would have achieved your dreams wouldn't you?

Some people may answer this by saying "I don't really have any dreams".  If this is you, then you are kidding yourself.  Somewhere within you, maybe deep within, there is a dream waiting to be released, waiting for you to see it and fill it with emotion.  The obstacle in this case is your failure to recognize you even have a dream.

Many will say something like "dreams are only for dreamers, and I am no dreamer!"  They say this with pride.  As though the rest of us who do have dreams are to be pitied or are perhaps idlers and fantasists.  I say the same to these people - deep within you there is a dream waiting to be released, waiting for you to see it and fill it with emotion.  The obstacle in this case is your failure to recognize you even have a dream.  Probably because you are too frightened to admit that you might have one.  You are afraid if you admit this to yourself you will only fail to achieve your dream and then this will make you unhappy.  Does that sound familiar?

And most of the rest do have dreams they want to achieve, but have pulled up at the first obstacle.  That is a bit like a hurdler running along the straight and then pulling up at the first hurdle and saying "I cannot go any further because there is a hurdle in the way!"  Yes, there is!  And the idea is to jump over that hurdle, not simply stand there looking at it and wishing it wasn't there.  Wishing it wasn't there won't make it go away!  So if you just stand there miserably looking at the hurdle you will never make any progress towards the finish line for your dream!

How can you jump over the hurdles that are bound to be there on the road towards your dream?  How can you pass around the obstacles you are bound to confront?

The answers are actually in the questions.  Jump over the hurdles.  Pass around the obstacles.  Really, it is as simple as that!  When you start to do this you will find many of the hurdles are really not very high.  They just look it because they react to your initial fear or despair by appearing to grow to an impossible size.

Your obstacle, your hurdle, is Oscar Zoroaster.  Who is that? you probably ask.  Oscar Zoroaster, the conman from Omaha, Nebraska who took the name "Oz" and ruled the kingdom of Oz by pretending he was far more powerful than he really was.

Be like Dorothy and her friends and challenge your obstacle, your hurdle, your Wizard of Oz.  Challenge it and usually, just like the Wizard in that immortal story, it will shrink away and you can continue on the the yellow brick road to reach your dream!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Have you chosen to be abundant?

What is abundance?

It seems to be a simple enough word.

According to my Oxford Dictionary it means "a very large quantity of something".  Well that is certainly not what I mean when I refer to abundance.  Not a "large quantity".  And certainly not a "very large quantity".  Those concepts very much suggest "more than is needed", and even "more than is deserved", and that is most definitely not the abundance I and others like me enjoy.

Another dictionary definition is "plentifulness of the good things of life".  That is certainly closer.  A lot closer.

"Plentifulness" is a good word and one that certainly applies.  It means there is enough around for everyone.  Not "loads for me and nobody else can touch"!  Enough for everyone to have their fill.  Enough to allow me to do whatever I wish, and enough left over for everyone around me to do exactly the same.

"Good things" also very much applies.  There is absolutely no point in having lots of something available if it is not good!  If you are having breakfast would you like there to be a plentiful supply of burnt toast?  As many slices of burnt toast as you like and plenty left over for everyone else?  Well personally I am not a fan of burnt toast, so a plentiful supply of it would not epitomize abundance for me!  And "good things" has more than one meaning.  It means "what is good for me", which is often not the same as "what I want".

The Universe knows what is good for me and constantly surprises me by delivering something completely different from what I had expected.  Something that later I realize was far better than what I thought I wanted.  That is true abundance!

It knows what is good for you too, and probably constantly delivers that to you.  The problem may be, though, that you do not realize this is what is happening.  A bit like someone in the 1860's complaining about all that black, horrible smelling liquid that keeps pouring out of the ground and messing up their crops - not realizing they have been given a gift that will make them very wealthy if they change their thinking and adapt to the new circumstances around them!  If this is you, then eventually the Universe will see you do not want to take advantage of its free gifts and it may simply stop trying.  This is a reversible state.  All you have to do to reverse it is to open your mind and be grateful for what the Universe gives you.

Finally, to me "abundance" is a state of mind rather than something physical.  It is knowing that I have everything I need.  It is knowing that if something changes in my life and I need something else it will be there for me.  It is knowing that I don't necessarily need lots of money in order to achieve what I want to achieve, but also not rejecting the idea of lots of money if that happens to be the right thing for me at this time.  And as "abundance" is something within me rather than without, it means nobody and nothing can take it away from me.  It means I don't have to wait for someone or something to give me more.  That, to me, is the true meaning of "abundance".

How abundant are you?  Have you chosen to be abundant, or do you (like most people) believe there is a limited amount of everything and that if one person has lots that means there is not enough left for anyone else?  There is not a limited amount, there is abundance.  Leave your "limited good" thinking behind today and take advantage of the true "abundance" that is waiting for you to recognize it is already here!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Gratitude List

Take a clean sheet of paper and start writing down all the things for which you are grateful.  Keep writing until you can think of no more.  And when you get to that point, don't stop the exercise.  Sit there quietly meditating, and allow more thoughts of gratitude to come into your mind.  Carry on overleaf, and even on another sheet of paper if you fill up both sides.  That instruction alone should give you some idea of just how much I believe should be on your "Gratitude List"!

When I went through my own reasons to be grateful, I listed one that will probably shock you.  My prostate cancer!

I can hear the cogs going round in your brain right now!  "How could he possibly be grateful for having had prostate cancer?"  Well there are many reasons for this:
  • I am grateful for the way in which my prostate cancer surfaced.  It gave me symptoms (I understand it usually doesn't), and so I was able to get treatment quickly.  The speed with which I was treated almost certainly saved my life!
  • I am grateful that I live in a country where I can receive good medical treatment and that I don't have to pay for that treatment.  That is something for which I should be very grateful, and I am.
  • I am grateful that the cancer I contracted was one that can be treated if it is picked up quickly enough, as I know there are many forms of cancer that are much more difficult or even impossible to treat.
  • I am grateful that I was insured against cancer, and that I was able to use the insurance payout to pay off my mortgage and start a part time online business.
  • The list goes on ...

Every morning when I wake up I am grateful that I have been given yet another day to achieve something.  Another chance to change the world.  Yes, change the world!  Everything we do results in changes in the world even though we may not see them.  When I smile at a stranger I have no way of knowing what effect that smile may have.  But what I do know is that the effect is much more likely to be good than bad.  Perhaps the person I smiled at was feeling unwanted and unloved, but then the smile comes and they think "even this person who doesn't know me likes me and is smiling at me".  This may change their life completely, and for the good.  Another person may find the unexpected smile so uplifting that they smile at the next few people they meet, some of whom then have a similar reaction.  The ripple effect!  My smile may literally travel around the world and back, changing hundreds of people!  And no, I don't believe that is an exaggeration.  I truly believe that can be the case.  Not with every smile, but every so often.  And I don't just smile, of course!  I try in other ways to make the world around me a better place.  And so, as I said, I am thankful that God has given me another day to change the world, and I do what I can to change it for the better.

When I first taught myself to sell, I read about a door-to-door salesman who had what seemed like a strange habit.  Every time someone rejected him he thanked them.  Most didn't comment and probably thought no more about it, assuming he was just being polite.  But one day someone asked him why he always thanked the people who rejected him.  I think the "someone" was a trainee salesman who had been told to "shadow" him, as he was the best salesman in his company.  Then the salesman explained he really was grateful.  Like any good salesman, he knew his statistics.  He knew that most people would reject him, but a certain percentage would want to buy what he was selling.  I cannot recall the figures, but let's just say it was 1% who would want to buy.  One in a hundred doors knocked.  So our salesman saw each rejection as one step closer to that one sale.  He knew he had to meet 99 people before he found the one who wanted to buy.  The person who just said "no" was one of the 99, so now there were just 98 left!  How is that for a positive view on life?  How is that for a reason to be thankful?

If you do put down anything on your list that could look negative, like my cancer, or the salesman's rejection, make sure you write a bit next to it explaining why you are thankful.  I strongly recommend you do this.  It can make a massive difference to the way in which you view the things in your life that seem to be negative.  And it is your attitude to what happens which really counts.  Nothing outside you can make you miserable.  It is your reaction to what happens that either makes you happy or sad.  Personally I prefer to be happy rather than sad, so I try to find the good in everything that happens - as you probably realize from what I said about my cancer.

So spend some time now thinking about all the positive outcomes from what might look like bad things that have happened, and add those positive outcomes to your list.

If you have done this properly you should now have quite a few pages listing all the reasons you have to be thankful.  Just producing this list will make at least a small change to the way in which you react to things in the future.  And you should look at this list often, so you become more and more positive about your life.

Do this, and the Universe will see you are thankful for what it gives you.  And guess what?  The Universe gives more to those who who are thankful for its gifts!  This is one very important step in the process called "Manifesting", which you can use to attract to you the things you want to receive.  Make sure you do this regularly, make sure you are always thankful for the many good things you receive and you will find, apparently mysteriously, the good things you receive will gradually increase.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

I Have a Dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have a dream today!"

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

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

What is your dream?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your dream?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Unseeing and Unhearing

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

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

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

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

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

Why do I mention this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Prayer for Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

How can that be, and why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Purity Meditation

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

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

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

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

Here is how to use the "purity meditation":

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Starting to Meditate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Identifying Your Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Book of the Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you use your Book of Law?

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

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

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

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

One coach I have found who is very good at removing unwanted rules from your Book of Law is Christie Marie Sheldon.  She runs a free Masterclass on this called "Unblock Your Abundance".  Check it out at