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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.

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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.

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Reality can be what we think it is and we can think again

Very often we can get stuck on a train of thought and we think life is truly like this, that it is our reality, and in thinking like this so deny ourselves the opportunity to gain different outcomes for ourselves.

There are those that think that reality is a given, outside our experience and control, and there are those that think that reality is what you perceive it to be. So it depends what you think! The interesting thing about the latter approach is that if you think it enough, lo and behold it happens, at some level. It’s important to reflect on this if you find that your thoughts are too often focused on a particular outcome that you don’t want. You might be getting something happening, or something could be going to happening, that is not where you want to go.

The self aware often get very conscious of where their minds tend to go. It comes with the territory. You start to notice a lot that preoccupies you. The danger here is, if you then start to think that that is your world, then that is how things are. This is the trap. There’s actually a choice. We hold, according to quantum physics, multiple possibilities in the present moment, all co-existing. You could go down one route, and then you could go down another. It’s your choice. You are creating your reality moment by moment.

Thus, the skill is to notice an unproductive train of thought and get off it. Yet, that presupposes you have it all clear in your own mind, for example that you know who you are, where you are going and what you really want. Then you know what to “get off it” for, what your intention is. Thus really useful personal development work can be to get clear your direction, purpose and intent, and be clear who you really are. Then you are more likely to be able to make these distinctions, to work out which is the choice that will better serve you.

Until then you are very likely to be a prisoner to your thoughts and to the results you then get.

We run courses to help people get clear who they are, what they want, where they are going and what their purpose is, so as to be far better able to challenge their negative thinking. Click here.

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Create space for your inner creativity to emerge

You can feel deeply frustrated when you’re stuck in a rut in terms of ideas for a way forward. You’d not be alone, though it can feel lonely. We can, many of us, thrash around for new ideas and although we might come up with something, it might not in the end get us anywhere. Then we can think we’re missing the plot and be losing out in the rush of competition. Apart from a classic ego error, that of comparison with others, this can also miss some important truths about how the mind works in terms of creativity.

In our action-focused world, it is powerfully tempting to quickly get into action around any new ideas. Thus we can quickly generate ideas and put them into practice. The drawback however of this approach is to cut off access to more powerfully creative possibilities. Often we are schooled to think that “being clever” and “intelligent” means coming up with ideas quickly. It’s almost seen as a hallmark of intelligence.

Yet, it is not so often appreciated that good ideas come after lots of thinking and reflection. This can be when we actually go against the above pattern and take time out to be still, letting go of this fast-paced thinking stuff, and meditating instead. Or being in nature, walking, appreciating beauty around us, or listening to profound music, being around great art, going on a retreat, going away to where you don’t go everyday but where you feel inspired, being in the presence of the creativity of nature and life itself. Or just being around others, but just for the sake of it.

This is to actually slow things down and and be still in ourselves, so that our intuitive self can do its thing. Doing this is deliberately to allow the subconscious to work for us, to allow the inner recesses of the mind to present to us what we might otherwise miss. This is when the hermit within us can come out and teach us of the profundities of life. In this stillness new insight can emerge, new possibility, new awareness, unattached to the ego stuff that can distort our thinking when caught up in the pressure and rush of everyday life.

So it is important to have your own personal retreat, your own space where you can go from time to time, to allow this creative space to do its thing, and to deliberately create space for your inner creativity to emerge.Laparade garden angel

This is my space, a beautiful hill-top village in south-west France, very quiet, warm and rich in summer, full of green abundance, and with bright light, vibrant with energy, and yet still too, nourishing the soul, and opening to inner creativity. Where’s yours? If you don’t have one, how about going about creating one?

Of course, there’s two sides to this, there’s the outer space, the physical place, and then there’s also the inner dimension, the inner space, of your own heart. Both are helpful, the outer journey and the inner one.

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Adversity might be teaching you your true life purpose

When we’re faced with adversity, it can seem we’re really caught up in it and that is all there is, like that is how our life is. These are times when we can disconnect from our life purpose, or need to establish one, and thus have some focus in the background to return to.

The point here is that when we’re up against it, we think that that is all there is, when it is really just a perception, albeit a hard one. We think that what we’re absorbed with is our reality. Yet, when we let go of it, and shift our mood, or whatever, then it can seem quite different. This also can apply to long periods, even depression.

Getting clear on your vision and purpose and setting intentions however, is quite a different energy. This lives in the realm of positive creativity, when we’re focused on what we want, invested with positive feeling, and with a strong, clear intention behind it. Under the Law of Attraction, we are then drawing to us what we want.

Thus when you are in a negative state you then do have in the background another possibility that you can potentially turn your attention to. You just need to shift your state. That might be easier said than done and when things are going badly it can seem very hard to do. This then becomes the focus of the journey, learning ways to shift your state. It is an effort of will and takes practice.

However the role of purpose and intention is that there is a direction you are going in. You know what you are about and what is important to you. And at some level you keep on with it.This is the reality you are living to, what you are choosing to manifest.

The difficulty many are faced with at present is that the recession seems to limit their options, cause cut backs in their dreams and in what they are doing, such that it can seem like they are going nowhere. This is when we need to go back to our purpose and take a second look. Is this really what we’re about, or is there something much more powerful and deep, really aching to come out and be realised? Once we’ve clarified what it’s all about we then get back on with it. Then it’s our minds we’re working on and what limiting beliefs and decisions we need to get out of the way, so as to connect more purely with who we really are. Here can be the breakthrough we need. Maybe then the recession is there for us to finally get that, and find that life finally has meaning, a true life purpose.

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We can move on

It is curious, were it not also so painful, to see how absorbed we can get in our own misery. It gets a perverse fascination, such that we keep on and on at it, even though we know, in part, that it doesn’t do us any good.

I was reading a story about that great mythical Indian character, Sheikh Nasruddin. Stories about him are often told by gurus, to illustrate a point they are making. Here’s one from Swami Muktananda. Sheikh Nasruddin had noticed people buying chillies in a market and had seen that they were very popular. In fact they are only eaten in very small quantities but Nasruddin concluded that since so many people bought they must be very tasty. So he bought a whole stack and went away and sat under a tree to eat them. Very quickly his eyes were streaming and his mouth was hurting and his nose was running, and he was in agony. But he carried on, finishing one and starting another, thinking that surely at some point they would start tasting good. All the time he was suffering, but as he went on he thought, “Surely at some point it will get better”. After a while someone who had been watching him came over and pointed out that one only ate chillies in very small quantities, and usually in cooking. Hearing this, Nasruddin carried on eating. Asked why he was doing this, Nasruddin replied, “I bought these chillies and I have to finish them. I’m not eating chillies any longer. I am eating my money!”

It’s not doing us any good, but we carry on with it because we’ve made the investment. Perverse, isn’t it? We keep on, hoping that what we do will lead us to fun, enjoyment, satisfaction, contentment. But we get more hell. It reminds me of the old saying that since you’ve made your bed, you have to lie on it.

Well do we?

Yes, we can change direction. We can stop. We can let go. We can drop it. We don’t have to carry on what we’re doing. We can move on. But it’s when we want to, when we choose, when we really commit. Till then, as the Chinese saying goes, “If you don’t change direction, you’re likely to end up where you’re headed.”

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Shifting into a positive creative state for 2012

The post-Christmas sluggishness. People here, those that are on holiday that is, seem to go into a kind of torpor in which we feel sleepy and disinclined to do much. Not that we really behave like others in the animal kingdom as shortly we’ll be springing back into frenetic activity. So it’s an odd one in some ways as we’re also coming to year-end calendar-wise, there are the usual New Years Eve celebrations, and many are also thinking about what might be different about next year. And after the Christmas hype, there’s also the let down, with its accompanying depression for many.

So, it can be useful to shift your mind to moving on, and put some energy into making plans: what are you looking forward to in 2012? What do you intend for this next year?

Of course from one point of view it’s just another date and, from the perspective of living in the moment, why does it matter? Yet these collective thoughts have an impact in that a lot of us think about it around now, and we could say that it is convenient to have times to take stock of how things have gone, think about changes we’d like, things we want to continue and what we might do to carry plans into action.

The current economic climate tends to induce a feeling of helplessness, as though we’re a victim of circumstances, which is another good reason for doing this. It’s well-known that recessions, especially big ones, produce innovation, and this can occur at a personal as well as a collective level. Also, why surrender to collective impassivity? This time of year is a good time to be thinking about what you want, and what you want to create.

In setting intentions, we’re connecting to the creative impulse of the universe, which is in any case waiting to respond. The pure thought of connecting with what you want sets off waves that go out to those forces for whom it has meaning and they respond. The thought needs to be positive and put out in a positive state. So, you would be thinking about what you are creating, not what you are against or don’t want. So you’ll need to ensure there’s no negative creation there. Also, it follows that the thought is free of “negative” feeling and rather that you are in a good state emotionally. Then you will be creating with great power. So, think about what you want, phrase it as something you intend, make it as specific as possible, SMART even, and ensure you’re doing it while in a positive state.

You might of course need to let go of any negativity in order to do this. Otherwise you’ll actually be sending out mixed messages and not get what you want. Imagine how others might feel if you expressed what you want while feeling say resentful. They won’t want to oblige, and may even respond more to the resentment. The same goes for the universe.

So, now is a good time to start working on your dreams – despite how things seem, which is in any case an illusion.

I do coaching to help people develop and manifest their plans and their dreams.

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Recessions are opportunites for those willing to seize them

It’s been interesting to read that the UK economy is stagnating at the moment. That sounds like it could be a revealing mirror image for many of us perhaps of our own lives. Life on hold, not adventuring forward, fearful of going back, perhaps an inability to get things done, businesses and individuals not spending, nervousness, a fear of things getting worse. Yet this can be just the time to be planning and making preparations for the future.

Recessions are opportunities. They are often when new businesses start, often with new ideas. Well-known examples are GE, when Edison developed the light bulb, Microsoft, HP and CNN. So too with individuals. Economic difficulty is often a stimulant to new thinking, new ways of doing things, action to overcome the current limitations, new perspectives. A challenge many of us face is in what we think and our motivation. So often we can allow the current perceived situation to describe for us what we think is possible, what in NLP is referred to as the boundary conditions of our thought. What we believe to be so, is so.

In seeking to manage the mind, we can challenge that mind set. We can choose another way of seeing things. Yes, it takes an effort of will, and we need to combat the tendency of the mind to get sucked back into its habitual ways of thinking.

There’s masses of material on this out there, dating back to books like Napoleon Hill’s classic “Think and Grow Rich”, which was based on a study of the most effective lines of thought. An interesting contemporary and very accessible study of this process is available to anybody who reads for example the books by Esther and Jerry Hicks about the Law of Attraction, or the material surrounding “The Secret”. Of course, we don’t have to limit this to what we can learn about making money, although that is probably the big draw for very many people. We can apply this to life in general, and whatever change you want.

This is about challenging the habitual thoughts of the mind. It also means thinking about your vision and purpose, where you are going and why, and about setting intentions, with clear goals that you are motivated to act upon. And it means doing it. All through such a process, we are watching and monitoring our thinking. When setbacks occur, it’s about re-focusing. It means managing our own morale, taking care of ourselves, having practices which sustain us, and which serve to support us in staying on track. It is of course an effort, as any successful entrepreneur will say, and the same applies to any life-change work.

At the beginning of all that is the re-think of your vision, purpose and goals, based on a thorough assessment of the current situation. This is exactly where getting a good coach is important, someone to support in developing your thinking, challenging the resistances and keeping you on track moving forward.

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It is all in the mind

How conscious are you of turbulence in the world at the moment?

As I write, it is a windy, almost stormy day here in the UK. Not unusual at this time of year; after all we speak of “March winds”. The balmy, sunny days of the last few days have gone, replaced by wet and windy weather. Out in the wider world, we have continuing alarming news about radiation from the Fukushima reactors, people are struggling to rebuild their shattered lives in north-east Japan, the Arab spring continues to rumble on and we have a civil war in Libya, there is another civil war with reports of atrocities in the Ivory Coast. Perhaps, nearer at home you have various disruptions going on. And then you may not.

As has been written before in this blog (and what’s wrong with repeating it?), what we focus on, grows. The world mirrors back our internal state, at some level. So, it is worth attending to our inner state, what’s going on in our mind.

I had an interesting time over the last 3 days, travelling to Birmingham to deliver a workshop, and then to Edinburgh for something similar, both interestingly on leadership. I began to become aware that my journey was anything but smooth. For example, in no particular order, the motorway was blocked, my hotel room had various non-functioning bits of equipment, my car battery was flat (I left a light on), one event was not apparently running as advertised and therefore nobody seemed to know about it resulting in my wandering pointlessly round a very large campus, and so on. A very good time for very deep breaths and letting go, big time!

What is useful is to pause and notice what’s happening, and to ask, “What am I creating here?” Pausing is vital, interrupting the mental process that is potentially keeping the stuck state in place. Doing this brings us back into the moment, and potentially disengages us from our stuff. To also ask, “What am I creating here?” may puzzle people but the point here is to take ownership of our own part in what is happening, or appears to be happening, at any given moment. And then to let go, surrender, give it up and crucially let go of any attachment to things being the way we might want them to be, to let go of ego investment in a particular set of circumstances that may not be serving us.

If you want to learn more about this process, I’ve written an introduction on the methodology here which you can sign up for and get sent to you over a period of time. click here.

However, what has all this to do with what’s “going on in the world?” Well, everything. This is about attending to our inner state. And letting go.

What can be very powerful is to meditate on peace, to move to a state of inner peace within us. Then you can attract to you more positive things in your life. But while we focus on conflict, disaster and upheaval, we get more of that. We’re not separate from it. It is also part of us, uncomfortable though that might be to contemplate. This is why so many people are now really focusing on their own contribution to global events and seeking to change their own approach. So, when we read of more disaster or conflict, this is yet another invitation to attend to our own inner state.

One suspects this will get stronger, until we finally really get it. And then that too might be another negatively attracting thought! So, think again!

I was sent another Youtube video on this theme from my very good friend, Jules, for which many thanks, and I pass it on in case you find it useful.


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What happens is what you create

How do you get on with the idea that what happens in your life you create yourself?

It can come as quite an uncomfortable realisation.

And that when we do it together, we co-create it.

Surely, you might think, I wasn’t responsible for that idiot driving into my car the other day? I didn’t create having my house burgled? I didn’t generate Hurrican Ike! I didn’t create the credit crunch!
I remember being on a workshop on humanistic psychology when I was in training, listening to a whole host of complaints about this idea. People were ready to concede some level of responsibility. But not the whole wopping 100%!

Of course the level of ownership of one’s experiences varies from person to person. Some of us won’t have it at all. To them, everything that’s happened to them has been the result of their unfortunate life, the deal they’ve been given and the misdeeds of others. That’s their reality. That’s their experience. For them, it’s real. If you see it, if you experience it, if you feel it, it must be so.

Recent publicists on the Law of Attraction will tell you that what happens in our world we create. We draw it to us. And a lot of it is outside our conscious awareness. This doesn’t just have a basis in readings of channelled spirits called Abraham. A study of phenomenology will show that what happens in our worlds is a function of our perceptions. Each of us do it, all the time.

However, what is also fascinating, is that if we create what happens, then we have the power to change what happens. This was another of the great insights of the Third Force psychology movements of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Have you ever noticed that if you are in a bad mood, various things start happening that somehow seem to reinforce the bad mood? We’ve given them names, like having a “bad hair day”. Have you also noticed that if somehow you shift your mood, you shift your state, things start happening differently. I’ve often been struck how I can create a totally different experience and set of events purely by being in a positive state of mind. In fact I’d go so far to argue that this is crucial: changing one’s state opens up a whole new world.

So, how about an experiment? Deliberately go about having a happy hour. No, not a booze-up!! That’s an avoidance tactic. Instead, deliberately focus on happy, positive thoughts. It doesn’t matter what. Just keep the focus on something that is uplifting. You can even fake it, if you want. Artificial laughter can merge into a genuine laugh. It shifts the chemicals and people end up really laughing. Even the smile does it. Keep your mood intentionally like that.

Then notice how you view the world.