Posted on 1 Comment

There’s so much fear around at the moment and people are pessimistic

People say that there’s so much fear around at the moment and people are sad and pessimistic about the future. Events, issues and personal circumstances combine to give a negative outlook on life. In fact we can get completely absorbed in it. Is this how things are? Need they be?

Early spring sunrise - fear around
Early spring sunrise

I’ve been struck how people are saying that everything seems really miserable at the moment. Maybe it’s the weather, repeated bouts of very cold spells when we’re weary with winter, even as spring is in the offing. For many, national and world events are troubling and there seems so much conflict and anger around. People seem so divided from one another and antagonistic. Then, others have illness or difficulty in their personal lives too, and there’s a lot of unwelcome change. It’s as if the world’s conspiring to dump a whole load of negativity on us all at once.

What also happens is that we get absorbed in it. Almost without noticing, it becomes the norm. We live in it. That’s how life is. Then our work on ourselves, our focus on what uplifts us, fades into the background. Faith recedes. It can almost feel like a personality change. “God, I’ve become so grumpy!” one said the other day. I wondered what God thought about that.

Notice what you focus on

When life gets like this, and it does, it’s important to notice that it’s got like this. Not to beat ourselves up, just notice. It’s the most powerful thing to do.

Where we place our mind, what we focus on, is what is, in awareness terms. That’s what we get. So we see around us, and experience more of, what we focus on. Such is the power of the mind, for better or for worse.

It’s not who we really are, much though it seems otherwise. It all an illusion, maya. And, what ever it is, “this too shall pass”. Things move on, and we can move on.

One big point in personal and spiritual development is to build an awareness of our inner truth of who we really as spiritual beings. Then we have more to hold on to during times of negativity, which do happen, since we are human after all!

So, once we’re aware that we’re absorbed in negativity, just pause and be still. Breathe in, breathe out and let go. Just let that moment be there, when you can notice that there is so much more, that we are so much more, than whatever we are habitually being caught up in.

Even in the midst of stuff going on, whatever that is, trust that within you there is so much more, that you are so much more, than whatever our ego self is doing right now.

Maybe make a commitment to spend just a few moments each day when you do this. Meditate if you can, but you can just have a little pause. It’s a reminder, a re-minder.

And spring is coming. New awakenings!


Posted on

Acceptance gives you true freedom

Acceptance of your situation can feel like the opposite of what you want but its power lies in it being a paradox

We can encounter situations in life where our customary response is to dig our heels in, fight like mad for what we want and think we can by our efforts triumph in the end – and yet frustratingly get nowhere. Acceptance of the situation can feel like surrender, giving up, “giving in”, and somehow losing in another of life’s struggles. Nobody wants to be a “loser”: feel the shame of that! Yet true acceptance is not about this. It is about letting go, embracing what is, and allowing the universe to bring you what you truly need.

I was recently talking with someone about the physical pain they were in, a result of a severe back problem that seemingly wouldn’t go away. Rather the reverse, it looked it was there permanently and they might have to face living the rest of their life in pain, discomfort and restriction. This can be seriously hard to contemplate, especially if you have lived a lot of your life thinking the world’s your oyster and you can have anything you want. You can come down with a really hard bump if you suddenly realise that that isn’t so and that things are much more finite and limited than that. We think we’re immortal, and it can hurt when we discover that, in the material sense at least, we aren’t.

Acceptance of the situation

In this conversation, as I heard all the efforts that were being fruitlessly made to tackle the problem, I was suddenly struck that maybe what this person needed to do was accept the situation.

Now, you might think that this would have meant “giving in” and no longer working to bring about change. Surely what people should do is get into a positive mindset, challenge the situation and harness mind, body and spirit in the healing process? There is of course merit in this: look for example at how people have recovered at some level from back injuries that might otherwise have left them permanently disabled. However, one difficulty with focusing on the problem is that one can create more of the problem. According to the Law of Attraction, you draw to you more of what you focus on. So it depends on your approach. Getting the balance right is crucial.

To accept your situation is to embrace it and let go of it. It’s a paradox, almost like a contradiction. In accepting and letting go, we release ourselves of any attachment to the problem. It just is, like life.

It might be hard of course. Back pain can be pure hell. There could be lots to let go of, and grieving to be done for what we’re letting go of. When we let go and accept, we’re no longer resisting. “What we resist, persists”. Now, we truly allow it to be.

Here lies freedom. All sorts of possibilities can now come in.

In the case of our back problem, we might for example relax. With the release of tension the body can more easily re-adjust and potentially more easily allow the healing that’s needed. Some new possibility for a way of being can now come in that was being kept away by the resistance, for example by living life in a calmer, more stress-free way. Maybe there’s a learning there that was needed and can now be completed, for example allowing oneself to receive support from others rather than thinking one has to do it all oneself. Thus life can henceforth be lived at a new level of contentment that was previously excluded.

What do you need to accept that you are currently resisting?

Posted on

To let go of control is to allow life to happen as we intend

“Get back control” seems to be a mantra for our times, except that it can seem frustratingly difficult to achieve, especially where it’s in the gift of others. Yet the more we try to assert control, the more we don’t ultimately get what we really want.

I often used to hear business people tell me how important it was for them to have control, whether it was over others, a system or process, or the direction in which things were headed. To lack control was to be at the mercy of others or the system. and to be tossed about amidst a sea of uncertainty. People feel they have lost control to remote, alien and malign forces and that the world is no longer what it was. The sense of community and collaboration seems to have been replaced by a doctrine of “every man for himself”. Others are deciding things without consulting them and taking account of their interests.

To have control can however be an illusion. The universe operates as one and seeks for balance. When things are out of balance, the tendency is to restore balance. Thus humankind thinks it can control nature, until it hits back with massive destructive force: “I told you so”. Climate change is ironically a sign of nature’s re-assertion. How hard it is to remember that we need to go with the flow, not push against it. If we push against it, we get back what we put out, which is more obstacle and resistance.

“When we let go of control, we are in control”. This is a different way of seeing things. To surrender intentionally is not giving up. It is allowing things to be. Rather than being “nowhere”, directionless, out of control, we allow nature flow to occur, be “now here”, in the present, where our intention draws to us that which we need, and life happens in accordance with our plan for it. Control is replaced by a state of allowing things to be, guided by our intention. Thus we are aligned with the creative force of the universe.

Life can be so much easier when we allow it to be.

In the present, we don’t know what is going to happen. We have intention, but we are also surrendered. Hard though that can be for very many people in today’s highly goal-focused, driven and stressed existence, it is where we let go of ego, and be in what medieval mystics referred to as the “Cloud of Unknowing“.

It might be that we need to let go of what we are attached to, what we want. To fervently want is to be attached to desire. Then we push it away from us. We get what we put out, which is wanting. Surrendered to our Cloud of Unknowing, we can instead allow what we need to come to us, trusting in the process.

In today’s world, very many people are very anxious and fearful of the future, and think bad things are going to happen. This is exactly when it is time to step back, be aware of what is happening, re-connect with our core of Who We Are, be in the state of Being and surrender to the process, remember our intention and allow what we truly need to be revealed to us.

Life is so much easier when we let it happen.

Posted on

Are you disillusioned with life?

Has life not turned out as you thought it would? Has it dawned on you that things have not worked out as you had hoped? There can come a time when our hopes and dreams for life don’t materialise. We feel disappointed or disillusioned. Then we can get downhearted, depressed, cynical, cease to believe in what is possible, lose our faith, and give up on life.

Life’s disillusionments

This can occur at any stage. Perhaps you have had a dream of how you want your life to unfold. Maybe you have had career plans. Then you’ve had a desire for your ideal partner, have pictured where you’d be living and what you’d be doing. Perhaps you had a sense of how you’d be. It could be that when you started out, life seemed exciting, full of expectations. When you thought of the future, you’d have a thrill of excitement. Things were going to be really good.

Then life comes along, with its way of throwing up challenges. The job wasn’t what you had wanted. You had difficulties getting the career project off the ground. Your partner wasn’t quite who you’d longed for. The relationship proved rocky. You didn’t end up where you wanted. Money has been a constant challenge. Maybe you have had health problems. It could be that you didn’t get that ideal family and home. Perhaps some big crisis came along which spoilt all those plans.

We can attribute life’s difficulties to all sorts of things, other people, events, our own mistakes, our upbringing, our education, or flaws in our character. The list is endless. In fact we can get into a blame outlook about this, and give others, ourselves, God or life itself a hard time.

Your thoughts about your life are crucial

It is crucial, as an awareness skill, to notice that you have this thought about your life. I say awareness, since this view about our life can get habitual and ingrained, such that we don’t notice this underlying thought. I call these root thoughts, underpinning but often not seen.

The skill is to catch ourselves doing this. It might not be a thought in the obvious sense, but maybe a sense or feeling that we don’t articulate as such, until we do some self-enquiry, and become aware that this is going on.

Then you can notice that this is what you think about your life.

When you become aware, you then potentially have the tools in your hands to challenge and change.

Because it doesn’t have to be like this.

What you think about your life is what occurs. You are at cause.

Become your own creative force

When we lose our faith in life, and cease to proactively choose what we want, and believe in the outcome, then we start to be at the effect of it. It happens differently. If we have negative thoughts, we get negative outcomes.

Thus we need to do our own inner exploration, get what we’re thinking at a root level, and then let go and create new purpose and set new intentions. When we truly let go and intend healthily, if I can use that word in a non-medical sense, life happens and it’s OK. It happens because we have let go, of need and expectations, and are no longer attached to our illusions. Thus to be disillusioned is to be dis-illusioned, without illusion, maya, a construct of the ego. We can then be who we truly are.

I coach people who have got stuck on their path in life. Contact me

Posted on

Our thought becomes reality

Thought is highly creative. Our thought becomes reality, at some level. Where we place our thoughts is what can occur, at some level, until we think differently when as a result we get different outcomes. This can be a hard one to get, until we notice how on “good” days when we’re thinking positively lots of nice things happen, and when our mind darkens we get a stream of negative things happening. The key to this is often in the feeling. Where we feel good, we get good results, and vice versa.

In Indian philosophy there’s an interesting concept, maya, illusion, where we live our lives until we become enlightened, part the 60,000 veils, know the Self and become liberated from the ego. In this tradition, the ego is the limited or illusory self, not who we are. Not surprisingly, when we feel really good, full of love, at One with life, contented and at peace, we say that this is who we are, not the miserable self we can be at other times. Yet this can be our opposite polarity in the world of duality, and it is only when we transcend this and know Oneness that we are no longer buffeted back and forwards by the world of opposites. We become anchored in contentment.

Much of the time we live in the world of opposites, good and evil, right and wrong, superior and inferior, better and worse, successful and a failure, happy and miserable, lively and dull, and so on. This is part of the pattern of limited thinking when we don’t know the nature of who we are. This, we need to find out. It can be done.

In dealing with our limited thinking, where we get stuck in a negative spiral for example, it is important to use mindfulness, to become aware that that is what we are doing and that it is not who we are. The great power of mindfulness is that it provides us with a tool to step back from the machinations of the ego, to be present, centre ourselves, and be the witness of our thoughts rather than caught up in them Then, when you are feeling calmer, less perturbed and at peace, you can choose again. Then you can affirm your vision, re-connect with purpose, and focus on what you really care to think.

This is invaluable practice. Yet it comes with one big caution, one many people don’t care to attend to. We still need to do our journeying, we still need to get familiar with what generates those negative states, and especially identify the core, root thoughts, the really prevalent beliefs we hold about ourselves, other people and life itself. Then we know what we’re really dealing with, and need to be the witness of and let go of. Till then we are shadow boxing and missing the fundamental limitations that keep tripping us up. This includes knowing our shadow self, one we suppress or deny and project on to others. Then we can really let go and be who we are. Then we can know real peace of mind and connect with who we really are.

I coach people who want to change the results they get, address what holds them back and be more of who they are. To learn more, click here.

Posted on

Thought is truly creative

We can be very careless with our thoughts, allowing them to run their course as if they have a life of their own. We don’t realise that thought is truly creative and determines our outcomes. Thus it is very important to attend to where we place our thought.

Most of us probably are accustomed to letting our minds do their own thing. In fact people will express frustration at how their minds will as they say “run away” with them, and go where they don’t want them to go. Yet in letting this happen we don’t realise what we are allowing to happen. We also don’t realise what we can achieve when we consciously seek to manage the mind.

When we place a thought in a particular focus, it is a powerful energy. There’s a reason for the thought, though we might not be aware of it. The more we think it, the more real it becomes. It can be interesting, for example, to notice how once we think a thought, events around us seem to confirm or be related to the thought. The thought can keep recurring, sometimes despite us. The thought attracts a response in the universe, which will work to deliver according. The world configures itself accordingly. Thus we attract an outcome to us. This is well written about in such literature as The Law of Attraction.

Thus if we keep having negative thoughts, we will continue to get negative outcomes. Until that is we literally change our minds.

When we change our thoughts, and really do this, we can start to attract different results. However, it needs to be wholehearted. This is not about superficially thinking one thing whilst inside we still feel something else. Emotion is powerful too, and is related to thought. Belief can be deeply entrenched. We might be trying out a new thought whilst our habitual thoughts still point in another direction and so we need to attend to what’s really going on for us.

When you can re-align your vision and develop clear intention, and wholeheartedly be clear what you really want, you can then put a different process in train. When you shift your underlying beliefs, let go emotionally and rest in a centred place, you open up new neural pathways in the brain, and new channels of thought that emanate outwards to the universe which will then bring you a new set of so-called realities.

So now is a chance for you to think again, literally.

I coach people in changing how they think and in building far more fulfilling realities for themselves. To learn more, click here.

Posted on

Do you feel driven by wanting and desire

How much are you driven by issues around wanting and desire? As notions like getting what you want or getting your needs met are very common, this might seem an odd question to ask. Surely, one might think, asking for what I want is a natural thing to do? We as humans have needs that need to be met, as it were.

Yet desire, wanting, has huge issues attached to it that can lead us into all sorts of difficulties, ones that don’t serve us. So it’s worth reflecting on how much desire can get in the way and where to let it go.

What thoughts have you recently been having that are desire-related? For example, as you get into your work today, and the day’s nice and sunny, did a part of you want to be somewhere else, doing something else, being with somebody? Have you recently been wishing you had more money, that there isn’t enough at the moment for what you want? Do you feel frustrated by what you have currently and that you’d like to change, like your house, your job, or something else? Do you long for a particular person in your life, or not feel satisfied with the person you are with at the moment.

If you start to think about it, you can notice that thoughts that are desire-related can run through your mind all day and in your dreams too! In the world out there others who make contact with you will ask the same question! “What do you want?” they ask! Our economy functions on desire: notice the importance economists attach to consumer demand. Overreaching, frustrated or competing desire can lead to wars.

You might still be wondering, what’s the problem? From a personal development perspective, one answer could be that being mindful of the function of desire can alert us to where our thoughts about desire are interrupting our balance and equipoise and leading us to unhappiness.

Meditators are often cautioned about how desire can be the great interrupter of a calm meditation. It is often desire that engages the ego and takes us away on to often negative paths. So, also in life in general, if you attend to it, pay attention to it, you will see how it can kick in very easily, especially if you are already well-attuned to it and it is part of your wiring, so to speak.

That doesn’t mean that wanting what we might consider to be the basics of life are legitimate. It’s perhaps about make the distinctions about what serves you and what doesn’t, a different matter, and about being aware of where you or I get unhealthily attached to less useful strategies. So you might need to get fed, clothed and housed and have a good relationship, let’s say, but not necessarily be attached to having an income that is proving impossible for you to achieve.

To follow this single example, many of us go through our lives feeling we’ve not got enough, that there is always something missing. A common way this shows up is an attachment to not enough money. The more we want, the more we get the “want of it”, or in other words the lack of it. And then we feel unhappy.

I could extend this to all sorts of areas of our lives where there is a sense of unfulfillment. And it shows up repeatedly and causes us suffering. Till we learn to let go of it and not be attached to it. Make the distinction.

Posted on

That we get what we pay attention to can be an unwelcome idea to get

That we get what we pay attention to can be an unwelcome idea to get. The thought that our thinking creates our reality brings us up against the awkward thought that by repeatedly thinking a certain way we are attracting to us all sorts of nasty things. It can leave us perplexed because we can then feel helpless because we keep doing this, keep thinking like this. It’s habitual.

First it is important to recognise that our mind does this. Many of us will find our minds absorbed by what we call negative thinking at some stage. It is now estimated that almost 1 in 5 in the UK suffer from anxiety or depression. As the article in the link just showed, possible factors include being without a job, divorce or separation, health issues, being a carer, and aging. However, it might be all sorts of matters, like being under a lot of stress, relationships, one’s own personality make-up, major change events, and so on. A lot is now being made of the sheer pace at which so many people now live their lives. A recently commented-upon issue has been the phenomenon of extreme commuting, the very long distances so many of us travel to and from work. You would need considerable resilience to sustain this over a long period of time without beginning to feel some aspect of what I’m discussing. Certain people are more prone to so-called negative thinking, as others to positive, eg. whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. Do you habitually tend to see it as half-empty? (Be honest!)

These are patterns of thinking, whatever the cause. Our challenge, in terms of personal growth, is to find ways to change the pattern. There comes for many of the above a point that they decide that enough is enough and it is time to move on. As I have shown in earlier posts, this is a choice that has powerful consequences, because we then tend to seek our other means and other solutions.

The fact that you have become aware of the pattern is in itself very powerful, although it may not seem so. It’s very common for people who try meditation to suddenly be aware that their minds are terribly busy, and so think they “can’t” meditate. This misses the very important step of becoming aware of what’s going on. They just need to persevere.

With mindfulness what we seek to do is pay attention to attention, such as where our mind tends to go, what preoccupies it. Finding that our mind tends to get preoccupied with thoughts that don’t serve us, what we do is step back from what occurs, be in the moment, notice what occurs from the perspective of the aware self, the witness, and re-focus, by such methods as attending to the breath. This requires practice and discipline, but also having knowledge of what distracts us and of the process by which we let go and re-focus.

This practice is widely documented, and supported by a large and increasing body of research by neuroscientists and psychologists, and shown to significantly impact the kinds of challenges outlined above. We can let go of our patterns of what we call negative thinking and move on. We can re-focus our minds on what uplifts us and brings more positivity, and more positive outcomes, into our lives.

This is what we teach in our life-changing programs. To learn more, click here.

Posted on

We can very easily miss the simple solutions in life that are naturally available to us

When things are not going so well we can very easily miss simple solutions in life that can make things better for us by using the  simple gifts naturally available to us, like breathing or laughing!

It’s curious how the simple things in life are so hard to get, were it not for the barriers we’ve put in their way.

That can sound almost inappropriate, if we don’t realise the power of these very available things. Breathing consciously, focusing your awareness on the action of breathing in and breathing out, is a mindfulness technique that brings you into the moment and offers the opportunity to break your state. The same applies to laughter, even if you fake it.

Wrapped up  in whatever is going on for us has an addictive quality to it. It’s sort of compulsive. We keep on with it. With mindfulness however, you learn the skill of being able to realise what’s going on, step back from it, see what’s happening and let go. This is simply through the action of breathing. When you learn the technique, and understand the thinking behind it, it is instantly available to you.

Similarly with laughter, you can learn how to trigger a laughter state, and thus shift away from what had you so caught up in something that wasn’t serving you. In addition you get access to healing energy. Breathing consciously, you calm yourself down and get away from behaviours that can damage your nervous and cardio-vascular systems. Laughter is a cardio-vascular workout, as well and triggering the release of positive endorphins in the body. People as variously famous as Norman Cousins and Kylie Minogue laughed themselves well, through the conscious application of what is naturally available – and you don’t even need a so-called “sense of humour” or to “see” the humour in something!

You can even test this out a bit by watching this video about some people laughing on a metro train in Paris and then seeing how you feel afterwards! Bodhisattva in Metro

Both mindful breathing and laughter can be learned, as you can find out for yourself on our courses. Click here to  learn more.

Posted on

Having expectations can be a set-up for not getting what you want

People are often mystified when I challenge them in coaching for having expectations. “What’s wrong with that?” they ask. I don’t mean it is wrong because that would be a judgement, but I do question its efficacy in certain situations. It usually requires some explanation, and invariably is related to the particular expectation the individual is making and the level of investment they have in the outcome. Here are a few general pointers.

Expectations from a self development perspective  is a requirement of other people, life and the universe by you or I. We are expecting that something will or won’t occur. This is distinct from intention, which is a goal, aim or plan, is related to the originator, and is generally a lot more powerful. When you set an intention, you engage your own creative force and do it with freedom, letting go of any resistances you may have and instead allowing things to occur, so that the universe can flow accordingly. With expectation, you are requiring something from others, which may or may not fit with their free will. Moreover, with expectation, you are pushing against the flow of the universe, and potentially setting up barriers for yourself. It will depend on your investment, and any negative involvement, even at subtle levels.

The potential danger is that actually we get invested in the outcome, at the ego level. Some aspect of our ego identity is at stake. In effect we are saying that “I” (often at a fear level) want something to be, with some level of penalty if it doesn’t occur. It can feel like, “it had better be, or else.” If we explore it, from a self-enquiry perspective, we may find we are afraid it won’t happen or that things are at stake and we may lose out or be disadvantaged.

With expectation, there can be a requirement that life unfolds in a particular way. We may want certain things to occur in our life, but instead of going for the intention, we invest the energy of expectation, and our hopes and fear get involved in the outcome. When we get invested like this, with our wellbeing or whatever other important aspect of “us” is involved, then the failure of the expected outcome to occur will leave us feeling a lot, like anger or disappointment. So there’s a lot at stake, and “we” might lose out. And of course, in Law of Attraction terms, it is potentially setting us up for failure.

With intention we let go and allow. “We” are not invested in the outcome. “We” in the ego sense is not involved. Thus, if it doesn’t happen, “we” are unaffected in essence. From a mindfulness perspective, we simply observe the process. We remained centred. In this space, it’s much more likely to happen.

Funny old world.

I coach people to accomplish their goals: click here to learn more.