Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Astral Travel

Have you ever arrived somewhere you are sure you have never been before and then found there was something very familiar about that place?  Perhaps you then even remember that you dreamed you visited it before.  That has certainly happened to me.  It is a phenomenon generally known as déjà vu.

Most people will try to explain déjà vu away and say there is nothing "magical" about it.  One explanation commonly given is that there is a glitch in the way memories are stored in the brain.  The immediate memory of something experienced only a few seconds ago, or even a few fractions of a second ago, somehow becomes confused and associated with much older memories.

This may, in fact, be a genuine explanation of déjà vu in many cases.  But it is not always the real explanation.

The reality, I strongly believe, is that when we sleep it is possible for our mind and spirit to disassociate itself from our body and travel to places we may never have visited physically.  This is called "astral travel".

Many people use the term "astral travel" to mean only this kind of experience - travelling in your "dream body" to a physically real place.  I certainly believe this is possible, but to me it is only a small and perhaps even unimportant aspect of astral travel.  To me, astral travel is the same as what is often called "lucid dreaming".  In other words, being aware while I am dreaming that this is a dream, and then taking control of where I go and what happens in that dream.

My last blog article referred to the importance of play.  What if you could play in any way you wished?  In a lucid dream you can!  There are no limitations.  None at all.  You really can do whatever you want!

What if you could, for example, decide to launch yourself into the air, flying over the countryside, and then landing wherever you wished?  Not in a machine of any kind, but simply launching your body into the air without any mechanical aids?  Would that be fun?  It certainly is for me!  Maybe you would find it fun too!  This is something you can easily do in a dream state if you realize you are dreaming and are in control of the dream.

But lucid dreaming is not just about flying to places real and imaginary.  It is, in my view, all about play.  The best form of play.  A chance to experiment without having to worry about the consequences.

The reality is that all of us are playing that way in our dreams anyway.  It is just we are not aware we are playing and therefore cannot get full enjoyment from the play.  Scientists have discovered that all mammals dream, and it seems they use their dreams to test ways of reacting.  If you are a pet owner you have probably observed this.  For example, you may have seen your cat making involuntary movements that are apparently caused by chasing a mouse even though she is not actually awake and running and there is no mouse.  Or your dog chasing a cat.  Scientists have observed and measured these involuntary movements and confirmed what we as pet owners suspected was happening.  Nature has given us all a dream world to allow us to play and to test what strategies may work and what strategies will not.  We can test these strategies in absolute safety.  If the result is that we are almost certainly going to be killed or injured, that happens in the safety of the dream, leaving us alive and healthy to try a different strategy.

You are already playing in your dreams.  So why not take things one stage further and become aware of that play?  Learn to dream lucidly and start enjoying limitless play in the safe environment of your personal dream world.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Play is Important

How much time do you spend playing?  Really playing, not just going through the motions.  Not in a passive mode, such as watching television or going to the movies, but active, participatory play.  Probably not as much as you should.

Do you feel guilty when you do manage to find some time for play?  Unless you are rather unusual I suspect you do have some guilt feelings, even if they are hidden below the surface.  There are so many things you know you should be doing, so why are you wasting time playing instead of getting them done?  Is that a familiar question?  Even if you don't ask that question of yourself, probably someone close to you does - your partner, a parent, etc.

Most children play a lot, of course.  Why do they play?  You could answer "because they enjoy playing", which is true.  But why do they enjoy playing?  Because evolution has set them up to enjoy it.  Play has an important purpose.  It is a key element in their learning curve.  Learning not only about things in the outside world, not only about relationships and ways to nurture them, both of which are very important, but also about their own capabilities and how to stretch and grow those capabilities.  Learning how to improve their problem-solving abilities.  Learning to expand their imagination and creativity.

Think about this for a moment.  Why should you decide there is nothing more for you to learn?  Why decide that you are so perfect at creating and nurturing relationships that you don't need to learn how to do so even more powerfully and effectively?  Can you really say that you have fully explored all your own latent skills and abilities and have developed them to the point where there is nothing you can do to improve them?  Are you as creative and imaginative as you could ever be?  Unless you can really say all this, you still have the need to play!

Even if you ignore all those practical benefits of play, it has other important functions too - one of which is to give us laughter and happiness.  Do you laugh as much as you could and should?  Are you as happy as you could be?  Assuming you laugh a lot and are happy most of the time, is there a good reason you should not laugh even more and be even happier?  I cannot think of one good reason not to laugh and be happy, but know of plenty of reasons to laugh more and be happier.  One reason is that being happy and laughing is a state I enjoy far more than any alternative state.  If I have a choice between an enjoyable state and on that is less enjoyable, why would I choose the less enjoyable one?  Another reason is that people who laugh and are happy have far less stress in their lives.  As a result, they typically live longer.  A double benefit - you can have a longer life, less stress, and be happier in all that additional time the happiness and laughter has bought you.

Now that (if I have done my job properly) you recognize the value of play, you can use this to squash that little voice inside that tries to tell you that you are wasting time, being silly, reverting to childhood, or anything else it can say to make you feel guilty and stop playing or stop enjoying the play.

Decide now that you are going to spend more time playing.  Where will you find the time to do this?  Take a look at all the things you do each day that are not essential but also are not play.  I am sure you will find plenty.  Simply use some of that time to play instead, and start creating a more fulfilled, happier life more filled with laughter and enjoyment.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Use Your Gifts

When I tell members of my tribe that they should use their gifts they usually respond with "what gifts?"

We all have gifts.  We are all really good at something.  Good enough to help those around us achieve what they really want to achieve.

The first step before you can use your gifts is to identify what those gifts may be.  This is a moveable feast, so don't worry that you may not identify them properly.  We all have many gifts, some stronger than others.   You can therefore begin with anything you recognize as a gift, and sharing it will be very powerful even if it later turns out it is not your strongest gift.

The next question is often "why should I share it?"

I don't believe this is asked selfishly, or at least I hope it isn't.  If it is, if the feeling behind the question is "I want to keep this to myself" or "I can't be bothered to share it", then let me remind you what happens when you do not share.  All good things in this universe are there in abundance for each and every one of us.  But that abundance is like a flowing river, not a stagnant pond.  Allow it to flow through you and you will benefit from it enormously, as will the people with whom you share it.  Try to keep it for yourself and you will find it stagnates, is no longer of any benefit, and further abundance does not come your way.  This applies not just to wealth (and it certainly applies there) but also to your gifts.

I think sometimes the question is asked because people don't believe their gifts are valuable enough to be shared.

If that is you, step away from what is probably false humility.  What you have IS valuable enough to be shared.  Also, the more you share it the more valuable and powerful it becomes.  And the easier you will find it becomes to share it again.  As indicated above, not only does it become more valuable and stronger when it is shared, but also less valuable and weaker if it is not shared.

The third very common question is "how do I share it?"

There are many ways to do this.  It is perhaps more obvious with wealth.  Use it to help others.  But the same applies to your gifts.  Use them to help others.  Both directly and indirectly.  An important indirect way of doing so is to train others to develop similar gifts.  Teach them to develop, nurture, and then share those gifts themselves.

As you do this, a wonderful thing will start to happen.  You will find your gift increasing in power.  You become more knowledgeable as you share that knowledge with others.  You become more accomplished and gifted as you share your gifts with others.

I have often heard it said that one of the best ways to improve and consolidate your own knowledge of a subject is to teach it.  As you teach, so you increase your own knowledge.  You create stronger synaptic pathways in your brain which strengthen your memories, allowing you to access them quicker and benefit from them more rapidly.

Try it!  Begin sharing your gifts today and see the world around you improve and your gifts increase in strength and value.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Meaning of Life

What is it that you want to achieve in your life?

This is probably one of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself.  It goes to the very root of another question so many of us ask, perhaps without expecting an answer - what is the meaning of life?

With such an important question you should not simply accept the first answer that comes to mind.  Not even if you believe you already know what you want to achieve.  Spend some time thinking deeply about this achievement.  How will you feel as you begin to achieve it?  What will change in your life and in the lives of those around you as this begins to happen?

Make sure as you do this that everything feels really positive.  If it doesn't, then there is something wrong.  You may think that this is what you want to achieve, but the reality is that there is something quite different that you really want, which is expressing itself in a different way for some reason - as it arises from the depths of your mind and spirit it appears to change, until when it comes to the surface it looks completely different.  So if you do not feel really positive about this achievement you must dig much deeper to find out what your true desire is.

What you should find, once you have properly identified what it is you want to achieve in life, is that it is something that can grow and develop.  It is something that you can begin to achieve, if only in a very small way, very soon after you have identified what it is and have started working towards it.  That is why I have tried to avoid using the word "goal", which you maybe expected to see earlier in this article.  It is more a way of life, of moving along a particular path, than something that you get and then find there is nothing left to do.  It really does become "the meaning of life" for you.

If you have identified this path, this growth, this ongoing achievement correctly you should also be able to identify some "milestones" along the way.  Milestones that show you have made progress but are not at the finishing line.  By definition, none of those milestones can be the finishing line, none of them can say "zero miles to go", as what you are aiming for is a continuous growth, not something at which you can finally arrive.

You should try to identify both distant and very close milestones.  This is important.  Have a distant target in mind, and try to make sure that what you are working on now brings you closer to that distant target rather than further away.  But also have some close targets so you can feel fulfilled in the "now" rather than only in the distant future.

So, what IS the meaning of life?  This is a question that has perturbed many very intelligent men and women over many centuries.  When you have completed the exercise I have suggested in this short article, the answers arrived at by eminent philosophers will probably now seem mundane and unimportant to you.  You KNOW the one answer unique to you.  You know the meaning of your life and know that now your life can be fuller and better every day that passes.