Category Archives: Self Care

Self Discovery & Discovery Exercises

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Self Discovery & Discovery Exercises

http://www.forwardsteps.com.au/ForwardStepsSelfDiscoveryExercises.html

We are all so busy just “doing”, in our day to day activities, being pulled from pillar to post. Rarely do we just sit and be with ourselves for a moment to search for what we want and where we truly want to take our lives.

At this page you will see Personal Development Assessment and Self Discovery Exercises that may help bring you back to core and refocus your attention. It is a handy page for visiting at those times you feel like you’ve lost direction or simply want a quick reminder exercise or activity to help you get back to your larger life goals and life purpose.

These Personal Development Assessment and Self Discovery Exercises are listed in random order, so there is no ranking value or preference attributed to the numbering. Items are numbered for easy reference.

You must go to http://www.forwardsteps.com.au/ForwardStepsSelfDiscoveryExercises.html to use these exercises:

1. Dreaminder is a free tool that helps you remember what you said you want from your life. Reflect on your life, you dreams, your vision for yourself and write it into the box provided. On the day in the future when you receive your dream reminder, you can see how far you’ve come.
2. These questions will inspire and motivate you to take your goals and life to greater heights. Make some time to answer the following 50 Power Questions online, or take away a PDF format. Each set of questions has an accompanying audio to guide you through them.
3. Every time we slide out from promises to ourselves or promises we make to others, we are training our mind and diminishing the power of our words and thoughts. Stay on track for 12-months with a weekly reminder, by completing a mini Set Your Intentions exercise.4. Set aide at least 90-minutes for this exercise. Intuitively fill the columns with your responses. Trust whatever feelings come to you as you record your responses. The Clarity Exercise is meant to be fun and lighthearted. You can glean what you need from your responses after you have completed everything.5. Make time for Daily Meditation rather than listening to negative messages thrown at us via mainstream media, and to take a mini-break from all the hype – there are so many fantastic benefits to meditation. Whatever you do with awareness is meditation.6. You have more natural energy when you are complete with your environment, well-being, money and relationships. The Clean Sweep Program has 100 items which, when completed, give you new vitality and strength. The program can be completed in under a year.7. Use the Sphere Of Life to get a snapshot of your life. There are no right or wrong answers here. Take a look with honesty, at the life areas of career, money, living spcae, fun, creativity, health, personal growth, spiritual path, family, friends, relationship and service.8. This exercise will help you live in Holographic Time, it’s called the “Powerful Indivisible Sphere of the Present”. Thank you Christopher Westra, author of I Create Reality for creating and sharing this. Experience success in using Holographic Creation to manifest the events and things and emotional states you desire.

10 Steps on Your Journey to Personal Spiritual Growth

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10 Steps on Your Journey to Personal Spiritual Growth

Spirituality is a belief system in which a person seeks to relate to the rest of existence (whether that is God, humanity, the universe, nature or life itself). It is a pursuit of peace, love and understanding. Many people want you to believe that the secret to spiritual growth and development can be found in a book, a lecture or some other product that will magically unlock the doors to happiness. But the truth about spiritual growth is that it comes from within. It is all about you and the way that you view the world. Here are 10 steps to help you on your journey of personal spiritual growth, and none of them cost a thing.

1.  Want Change
It may sounds silly, but the first and most important step toward personal spiritual growth is the desire to grow. All of the self-help classes, spiritual gurus and inspirational books in the world won’t make a lick of difference until you make a conscious decision to change. Spiritual growth and development is not a goal; it is a lifelong journey that requires time, energy and dedication. If you are looking for a quick fix or overnight results, you will be disappointed. When the novelty of your new spiritual growth technique wears off, you may be tempted to give up. It is much easier to let life carry you along as it pleases. The only difference between people who exist and people who really live is motivation. If you are properly motivated,2.  Start Small
There are many spiritual practices out there, and information is readily available over the Internet. But don’t make the mistake of trying to take on too much too soon. It is best to start with one new practice. Begin a meditation, prayer routine or yoga class at your gym. Attend a lecture on reiki at your local community college. Once you are comfortable with your new skill, add another element.

3.  New Adventures
One of the great joys in life lies in learning new skills. If you never tried anything new, your life would grow stagnant. Take up an activity that you are curious or passionate about, such as writing poetry, practicing yoga or painting water colors. Enjoy the process of learning and improving your new skills. By embracing people and things that are outside of your ordinary routine, you open yourself to personal and spiritual growth, and you diminish your fear of the unknown.

4.  Release the Past
The past is history, and there is nothing you can do to change it. Holding on to past events keeps you from experiencing new ones, and the emotional baggage will only weigh you down. Accept these past events, both good and bad, as learning experiences and move on with life.

5.  Take Responsibility
Sometimes you cannot control the events that happen to you or the people who do them. But you always have control over how you respond. Focusing your attention on what or who caused a problem does not offer any solutions. Instead, concentrate on your response and what you can do to improve the situation and prevent it from occurring again.

6.  Pause and Reflect
Life moves so fast that sometimes it is important to stop, take a step back and really examine yourself and what you are doing. You can do this by practicing meditation. Meditation allows you to quiet your mind and clear your thoughts. Through meditation, you can step outside yourself and observe your life. Are you using your time wisely? Are you taking proactive steps to reach your goals? Are you happy? These quiet moments of reflection, when performed regularly, can help you right yourself on your spiritual path.

7.  Stay Open
From a young age we are taught to judge and label actions, thoughts, words and people as “good,” “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly judging others by how they look, what they say and more. But to feel connected to everything around you, first accept people and things as they are. It takes a conscious effort to stop looking through the lens of a critical eye, but if by looking for the possibilities and potential resources in life, you begin to grow spiritually.

Consider the difference between these two life philosophies: “Everyone is out to get me” and “Everyone is doing the best they can.” Imagine how much more stressful the first person’s life must be? Allow others to be themselves around you. Treat their uniqueness with respect rather than criticism. Remember, love is the heart of spirituality.

8.  Appreciate the Present
It is easy to get caught up in a materialistic mindset and focus on wants, needs and desires. When you begin pursuing possessions, you lose sight of what you already have. The world becomes an obstacle, standing between you and what you desire. Increase your personal spiritual growth by developing what you already have. When you do this, the world becomes an ally in helping you achieve your goal.

9.  Accept Unhappiness
We all know someone who seems perpetually happy. She is always smiling, and her can-do attitude never fails. You might envy this person or even resent her. You might think, She’s so lucky. I wish I could be that happy. In reality, happiness is not a personality trait. It is not a gene that some people are born with and others aren’t. Happiness is a choice. And unhappiness is a natural part of life.

Everyone has their good days and bad days. It is how you deal with those bad days when they come along that matter. You are quick to treat your physical ailments, so don’t hesitate to treat your emotional and spiritual ailments (such as depression, insecurity, fear, mood swings and bad tempers). Use meditation, yoga, prayer or relaxation techniques to soothe your soul when you find yourself unhappy.10. Don’t Fear MistakesMistakes and bad decisions are some of our greatest teachers. If you never did anything wrong, you would never learn anything new. Think of mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, and give yourself full license to make them. We are all imperfect people. If you are able to embrace your imperfections and laugh at yourself, you will become more flexible and open-minded. Remember: We live in an imperfect world so that we can better understand perfection.Have patience on your quest for spiritual growth. The process toward enlightenment is slow and unnoticeable at first, and you may feel compelled to give up. Just keep in mind that spiritual growth is a lifelong commitment to love, peace and understanding, and it is meant to be taken one day at a time. Like so many other things in life, spirituality is about the journey, not the destination. To quote the Buddha, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”
http://www.lifescript.com

The Experience of Finding Balance

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The Experience of Finding Balance

Written by Sen on May 5th, 2013 http://www.calmdownmind.com/finding-balance/

In a state of “low awareness” the tendency of a being is to be unconsciously imbalanced (in varying degrees), however, as one’s awareness starts growing/evolving the natural pull, or pressure, is towards finding conscious balance – it becomes inevitable. The state of low-awareness is also what I call the state of “unconsciousness” – which is similar to the state of being in sleep, where you are lost to the vagaries of any dream that you get involved with, in a completely reactive manner.

The state of higher-awareness is also what I call the state of being “conscious” where you are no longer lost to the dream, rather you understand what’s really going on – in this state you are involved with the dream but in a state of “aware intelligence”; the dream doesn’t stop but you are no longer lost to it, you are no longer in a state of delusion. Your higher-awareness brings an intelligence of its own, and this is what I call “aware intelligence”, which is also what allows you to no longer behave like a “reactive” being, rather you become a conscious being who now has the choice to stay in a state of balance and thus have a balanced experience of life.
What does “awareness” really mean?

Different teachings (spiritual or otherwise) use the term “awareness” in different contexts. I use the term “awareness” to imply the capacity for “observation” and sensitivity. So when I say “low awareness”, I mean a state where a being has a lower capacity to observe/introspect and a lower sensitivity. At a human-body level, you can imagine how a kid usually has “low awareness” and is mostly pre-occupied with his toys and candies, he’s not really bothered about what’s going on in the world, and he’s also not very sensitive towards how his behavior affects others (of course, there are some kids who are highly sensitive from the onset). As this kid starts aging his awareness also starts growing in many ways, this can be attributed to the growth in the brain’s capacity as well as more exposure to the outside world. So, the capacity for awareness can be defined purely at the “brain level”, however, that’s not the complete picture because awareness is also an attribute/capacity in you as being/soul, it’s not just an attribute of the body/brain alone.

A soul also has its “age”, starting from the time of its creation – infant soul, kid soul, young soul, mature soul and old soul, may be terms used to categorize some general phases of development of a soul. The infant soul has the lowest level of awareness, just birthed into life and hence low on experience and exploration (just like a new born human kid). An old soul has a very high level of awareness, and when an old soul incarnates into a human form, he/she has the tendency to be highly sensitive while also being highly wise/mature towards the worldly ways, along with a highly developed ability to sense non-physical aspects (like being a profound psychic).

The only reason why I mention “soul age” is to clarify that your level of awareness does not just depend on your human body/brain, but also depends on how old you are as a soul. Of course, if you are someone who doesn’t want to bother with concepts of soul/spirituality, then you don’t have “believe” in all this – it’s just that this understanding resonates with me, I am not trying to hold on to these understandings as a “belief”, I am okay with none of this being true. So, if you want to see yourself purely as a human body, and the idea of being a soul doesn’t really resonate with you, that’s fine too, as long as you understand that “awareness” is simply the capacity to observe, introspect and be sensitive – it’s a capacity which has the potential to keep growing as a part of your evolution.

For those who can resonate with the aspect of being a soul, in a human body, you can see your “awareness” as the capacity that you have developed through your life-time as a soul, along with the capacity in your current human brain. Usually souls choose compatible human bodies – so, if you are a soul with higher awareness you are likely to choose a human body which has a brain with a higher capacity for awareness. For example, if you are a mature soul you are less likely to choose a body which has a certain brain disability that incapacitates it to have a capacity for higher reasoning/introspection, you will choose a body with a brain that’s suited to your current level of awareness as a soul, so that you can live from your full potential and grow further from there. However, it’s also true that the level of awareness, in a soul, is the deciding factor – a soul with a higher awareness can bring this capacity into the human body/brain. This explains why some kids are highly mature, and display high sensitivity, from a very early age (even when the brain is yet to be fully developed).
Inner freedom is required to handle higher-awareness

When you start growing in awareness you are bound to feel dis-oriented, fearful and inundated by questions (about life or about yourself), for a while. In fact, the growth in awareness also causes you to become aware of all the suppressed emotions, become highly sensitive to outside reactions, become keenly aware of your mind/thinking (and the various movements of thought), become deeply aware of the imbalances around you (and in you), become aware of the nature of life (especially its dark aspects, which you were avoiding till now) and become aware of the “reality” in everything.

It can be quite a staggering process in itself, though it’s a positive process, and a natural process – it’s simply the natural growth/evolution in you as a being. The reason why people feel fearful, and confused, as they move into higher awareness, is because they lack an understanding of what’s really going on, and also because they are yet to develop the “space of inner freedom” to really allow all the past imbalances to be released for an alignment with balance. In this sense, one has to find inner freedom in order to handle the dynamics of higher-awareness living – without this space of inner freedom one is bound to have a hard time dealing with the flux instigated by this growth of awareness.

Inner freedom simply refers to the capacity, in you, to be “independent” of all influences. At a root level there are just two influences – emotions and thoughts. Of course, emotions are triggered by thoughts, and thoughts are triggered by certain emotions, and hence thoughts and emotions are simply inter-linked. In this sense, inner freedom is the capacity to be free of the “cyclic” influence of emotions and thoughts – it’s not about wanting to get rid of emotions/thoughts, it’s about having the freedom to allow them to “be”, without succumbing to the pressure of their influences, this is how you can “release” the past momentum. Eventually, in this state of openness, as the release keeps happening, you will observe that the emotions and mind-pull start losing their intensity, and thus their influence on you – you will experience that you can be “sensitive” without being pulled around by your sensitivity, you can be thoughtful without being pulled around by thoughts, and thus your motivations are rooted purely in “wisdom” rather than being rooted in the imbalanced pull of emotions/thoughts. You can imagine what a different state of living this is compared to the state of being at the mercy of emotions/mind.

Initially, the pursuit of inner freedom can feel like a real effort, it can feel like a huge challenge, because you are so mired in the pull of emotions/thoughts, and this pull has a strong momentum within you. For a while, you have to go through the “detox phase” (or phase of release) where you simply stay in a space of total allowing, or just a conscious openness, to everything that arises in you, in all its intensity, without trying to sort it out, without trying to find an escape, without trying to seek “relief” – it’s a challenge to be in this state of openness, but eventually this is what is required to really allow a full release of the past momentum of the accumulated imbalance. I talk about this is, in detail, in the post – The Phase of Release.
Higher-awareness gets you in touch with reality

In order to ride through the phase of release you need to have the “attitude” of inner freedom (read the post – The Attitude Required for Inner freedom). Quite simply, it’s about having the attitude of not wanting to cling to any form of assurance, or understanding, or belief, or trust, or hope, or certainty – the courage to simply allow everything that arises, without trying to sort it out through your “reasoning”. Once you develop the capacity for inner freedom you can use your “reasoning”, and introspection abilities, to resolve some inner conflicts, or confusions, gain a deeper understanding about life, develop the mindset of balance, and live from a place of objective/practical wisdom. When you seek understanding from a place of inner freedom you are more likely to find clear perspectives (or reality-oriented perspectives), rather than holding on to deluded perspectives, on life. This is why I would always emphasize on finding inner freedom first, before you venture into satiating your need for understanding aspects of life/living. Your reasoning abilities are highly balanced, and wisdom-based, when you are operating from the foundation of inner freedom.

When you lack inner freedom you are likely to keep looking for ways to satiate your need for “quick relief”, and thus would be wary of seeing “reality” in any situation, and would prefer holding on to certain delusions (like some blind belief that you find security in). Eventually, higher awareness is unavoidable, and hence seeing through all forms of delusions is unavoidable, no matter how desperately you try to cling to them – there is really no hiding, as your awareness keeps growing you can’t hold on to even a speck of delusion or imbalanced behavior. Everything, within you, get touched by this awareness and is brought to its state of balance, after which you start living the “expression” of your inner balance in your work, in your relationships and your life-style per se (of course, there is no universal standard for the life-style that a balanced person “should” lead – it’s a personal deal).

In the beginning of this post, I mentioned that if you don’t find resonance, with the discussion of soul/spirituality, it’s “fine”, but the truth is that you will, unavoidably, see yourself being moved towards understanding life more deeply – you can’t simply hold on to a narrow view, just because you find it convenient. You can’t avoid/ignore the push within you, triggered by your higher awareness, to understand life at a deeper level. It’s not my belief, it’s just my knowing, that who we are is “non-physical”, this physical body is simply a vehicle we are involved with to have the experience of physicality (for enjoyment and growth) – to understand the “spirit” nature (or non-physical nature) of who we are is what true spirituality is, and to understand the aspects of physicality is what objectivity/practicality is, one has to integrate the two in order to have a balanced physical life. Spirituality is not about living some idealized “spiritual lifestyle”, life-styles are individual choices, some prefer to be a hermit while some prefer to be a playboy model – spirituality is simply about understanding the non-physical aspect of you, to know yourself as deeper than just the body, it’s a part of self-realization. Of course, the foundation of inner freedom is primary, without this foundation one can easily make spirituality (or any understanding) into some form of a crutch to hold on to, which is no different from how a drug addict clings to his drugs.

If you are too attached to your physicality, and ignorant of your non-physical nature, you are bound to feel the suffering created by this lack of connection with the “reality” of who you are. Just because a teaching makes you feel “uncomfortable” doesn’t mean that you can simply discard it, you have to be open to sensing if your discomfort is coming from a place of “fear” where you afraid of facing a certain reality which something within you already “knows” to be true. Sometimes I get emails from people stating – “this concept of xyz, in your blog, doesn’t resonate with me, can I just let it go?” – and my answer would be – “Sure, but also remember that just because something doesn’t resonate with you doesn’t mean that it’s not true, it’s very possible that you are currently in a state of low-awareness/imbalance and hence the truth doesn’t resonate with you. You can try to let it go, but if it’s a part of reality it’s bound to keep coming up, until you are open to exploring it within you. You can’t escape reality”. The pointer of – “follow what resonates with you” – is only true for people who are willing to be authentic with themselves, who have a willingness to find truth (above just seeking a temporary relief), who have the inner freedom to align with reality instead of wanting a delusion. I cannot give the pointer of – “follow what resonates with you” – to a person who is imbalanced (with low-awareness), because such a person is not really in touch with his/her wisdom neither does he/she have the inner freedom to be willing to see reality in its true form.
When balance becomes a choice

Balance is not a choice in the state of low-awareness because there is no conscious freedom in such a state of living – one purely lives in a reactive manner, pulled around by the forces of influence, be it emotional or mental, be it from within or from outside. In order to find balance one needs to have a higher-awareness and a space of inner freedom. If you only have higher-awareness but lack “inner freedom”, you still lack a choice, you are still reactive, it’s just that you are highly aware of your reactions now. When you come to a place of inner freedom, you are no longer resisting the dark nature aspects of life and you are no longer overly clinging to the light nature aspects of life, and hence you have the perfect foundation to find balance, consciously.

To summarize, when you move from a state of low-awareness to a state of higher-awareness (usually triggered by sensitivity towards the suffering created by your inner imbalances), you will have a sense of “higher negativity” for a while (owing to your keen awareness of the imbalances – it feels like seeing everything through a magnifying glass) until you move towards finding inner freedom, and once you do that you can have the choice of working from a mindset of balance, mostly through becoming aligned with the reality of life (the reality that life has a light and dark nature, and both these aspects need to be accepted equally without resistance, or over-identification, with either). This mindset of balance constitutes the experience of inner wholeness. Without the space of inner freedom you don’t really have a choice towards exercising the mindset of balance. You can see how higher-awareness, inner freedom and inner/external balance are all inter-linked, and are all part of the required growth in a being towards higher maturity.

The experience of finding balance starts with the triggering of higher-awareness in you (through a wake-up call). After that, the journey is inevitable. Once higher awareness is triggered you can’t go back to the state of low-awareness, there is no possible way to “regress” – though some people do try their best to somehow go back to the old-state of low-awareness, by trying to numb themselves in some way (through food, alcohol, drugs, spiritual entertainment, material entertainment etc), it’s all eventually futile because it’s not possible to suppress your growing awareness.

Evolution is a forward movement, growth is a forward movement, life is a forward movement, there is no possibility of regression, there is only a possibility of temporary suppression which can at best cause some temporary delay, nothing more. Of course, it’s very normal to want to go back to the familiar domain of the old-state of low-awareness, because we find security in familiarity, and the state of higher-awareness feels like a highly unfamiliar domain. And it’s natural to keep fighting this growth of awareness, thinking it to be something “negative”, until you either get tired of fighting it, or you gain an understanding about what’s really going on and see that it’s not something negative, it’s just a part of normal/natural growth in you as a being.
Embracing your inner aloneness

Everyone eventually does need to go through this transition from low-awareness to higher-awareness, from unconscious imbalance to conscious balance – it’s just that each of us is an individual soul, and have individual journeys to ply. In one sense, you are totally alone in that no-one can live your journey, only you can. Also, no-one can completely understand what you are going through, not 100%, only you can. It’s important to embrace this reality of “inner aloneness”, even if it frightens you to sense this aloneness in you – once you embrace it, it becomes your strength, it becomes a part of your inner freedom, where you are no longer looking to the outside to act as a “crutch” for your balance.

Of course, you do need to work with the “outside”, your co-operation is required for the collective harmony, and you also need the co-operation of others in your life in order to function to your best potential – however, without having a space of inner freedom you can’t deal with the outside in an efficient and wise manner, you will either feel constantly threatened by the outside or feel overly dependent on the outside (making you feel helpless and also repulsive, to the outside, due to your dependent/needy behavior). Finding balance implies that you embrace the reality of your “inner aloneness” (the fact that you are an independent/individual being) along with the reality that you are part of the collective life – some people get too lost to the “outside”, while some people try to detach completely from the outside, both these states are rooted in imbalance.

A Fearless Self Discovery

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A Fearless Self Discovery

A Fearless Self-discovery
Written by Sen on August 5th, 2012

If you are on this journey towards self-discovery, you are inevitably also on a journey towards a fearless expression, what I also call your natural expression unfolding. The mind immediately will associate something “spiritual” with these terms, basically because we always seem to associate this journey of self-discovery with some deluded notion of becoming unworldly – most of us have a very screwed up idea about what “spiritual” even means. Though a good part of self-discovery is about understanding your nature as the “spirit” (life-energy or stream of consciousness), that you are in your essence, this understanding is then used to burn through all the “hang ups” you have in your human nature, which you’ve created through holding on to fear-based/limiting thoughts, and thus realize your authentic expression – each of us is unique in our human nature, and so this discovery is very personal, and only you can explore this discovery in yourself, you can’t trust anyone else (not even your intimate spouse or your therapist of 10 years) with it because only you can meet yourself 100%, no-one else can do that for you.

The deal is that in order to discover yourself you have to be willing to be fearless of what you discover, and how your life will change with these discoveries; of course, the more you discover yourself the more aligned you feel, and the more abundant your experience of life is. It’s a fair warning that as you delve into this journey of self-discovery, you will reach a point (soon enough) where you realize there is no “U turn”; basically, when you see a truth about yourself, clearly enough, you can’t “un-know” it again, ever – it becomes a point of no return. Of course, there is nothing more liberating than the truth, and you will discover that the more you simply go with your truth the more interesting/enjoyable, and aligned, your life becomes – so this is not a “risk” rather it’s a path towards the freedom your being/heart desires so much. Basically there are two ways to live

1. You trade your inner freedom, or inner alignment, for a sense of pseudo-security

2. You don’t compromise on staying true to yourself

Both these choices are valid ways of living life, I am not saying one is higher than the other, it’s just a choice you are making based on your present state of understanding/awareness, and it’s where you are right now – of course, when you have a deeper awareness of your true nature as life-energy, you can’t help but make choice 2 as your default choice, and a conscious movement towards choice 2 is a natural path of growth. Also, when make the choice 2, long enough, choice 1 is no longer available to you because you lose the grip of your mind’s fear-based pull (which is required to live choice 1). Choice 2 also takes you into the realm of fearless expression, but by “fearless” I don’t mean “reckless”, a better way of putting it would be that you live an expression aligned with your true nature which includes operating from a place of inner wisdom.
Freedom from suppressing your natural expression

Basically, when you understand that what you call “your mind” contains a lot of thought patterns which are not really yours, rather they were fed externally by the outside influences or created through some misguided interpretation, you realize that you may be living a very disconnected life by following these conditioned patterns blindly. So many beliefs get seeded in the mind, and take roots because we don’t question them. Your journey of self-discovery will inevitably make you see all these unwanted weeds (some in the form of deeply rooted trees) growing in the space of your mind/being, and seeing them is a point of no-return, because when you see something false in you, you can’t go back to believing it fully.

When you make a commitment that you only want the truth, above anything else, this journey of self-discovery becomes a living movement in you. I can just give you an assurance that the truth is what really sets you free, the truth is what makes you feel liberated, it’s what makes you feel alive, makes you live what you desire to live in your heart. However, it’s very normal to have a strong fear towards discovering the truth, especially about yourself, about your human nature, about your non-physical nature, and about the reality of life in general. So how do you know what’s the truth? It’s quite simple, by it’s very nature, your being only finds interest/resonance in the truth, and the truth is what “sticks” when you let go of all forms of fear-based suppression – it’s only your fear-based grip that keeps you from seeing/discovering the truth on a constant basis.

A few ways in which you keep yourself from discovering/living from a place of truth, are as below

– You feel the need to keep convincing yourself about something. (truth doesn’t need convincing, it just sticks), for example, you may keep trying to convince yourself that you enjoy your job or that you need to be a millionaire

– You get scared if someone opposes a certain thought/belief in you (this fear just indicates doubt, and doubt indicates you are not clear about the truth).

– You find yourself “trying” to convince others about your beliefs (or your way of being), the inherent strategy being that the more people you can convince about your “beliefs” the stronger you will feel about the truth of it.

– You try to find groups who believe in the same things you do, and find security in this group. There is also fear about leaving a certain group that you associate your identity with.

– When you discover some truth about yourself, you try to “hold on” to it with all your might instead of being open to a constantly evolving expression. For example, you may discover that your expression is to be monogamous right now, but it’s possible that in a couple of years you may want to experience being polygamous – if you try to make “I am monogamous” as a conceptual truth about yourself which you hold onto, you end up creating resistance to what feels like a natural flow of inspiration.

– You are not flexible in incorporating new understandings. You don’t realize that the moment you try to hold on to a certain understanding, you’ve already missed the point of the process of awareness; it’s never about holding-on, it’s always about being open to discovery – anything that’s really true will remain true even if you don’t hold on to it.

– You give in to your fears and cling to what feels like “familiar” grounds, rather than develop the trust in your life-stream’s intelligence to fully take care of your well-being/abundance as you live your truth. You don’t realize that when you live your truth, you can’t help but feel abundant.

The primary step towards living your truth is to reduce your mind momentum. If you have a high mind momentum, there is a constant resistance, and emotional pressure, created by the negativity in the mind which keeps blurring out, and opposing, your movement towards self-discovery or your natural expression. Reducing the mind momentum takes time, and it’s very similar to a “detox” program, only here you are weaning off from your addiction towards your own mind – like any detox/rehabilitation period, it’s not very pleasant at-times, especially when there is an inner war between the mind’s fear-based pull and your space of being. The way you reduce the mind momentum is through coming to a state of inner allowing, where simply allow a free movement of mind/emotional-space in your open awareness, without attaching to these movements. (A lot of posts on this blog give a deeper understanding of the process of allowing – the practice of relaxed awareness, the state of total allowing, the space of being and reducing mind momentum are just some posts you may want to start with).
Beyond ideas of spirituality

Since Siddhartha Buddha became popular as someone who discovered his truth, the whole process of self-discovery has taken on a “sitting under a tree, in spiritual garments, with a divine smile and an angelic halo” tint, which is actually the reason for a lot of spiritual imagination around this process. It’s strange, but a lot of teachers who talk about self-discovery usually fit in (or try to fit in) with the “spiritual imagination” (the deal of a slow way of speaking, a sweet tone, a beatific smile, a larger than life charisma, slow gestures), mostly because this is the image of an “enlightened being” the masses associate with – I am not saying that these teachers are pretending/projecting, it could well be that this is their natural human personality, just like Siddhartha Buddha or Ramana were living their natural personality. It’s just that this type of “spiritual” personality can create a lot of false ideas in the minds of their students/seekers about how one would be after growing in awareness. These ideas can severely inhibit your process of self-discovery; always remember it’s a process of discovering who “you” are, not a process of making yourself into some image of who you think you should be.

Awareness is a process of “honest discovery”, the word “honest” is of essence here – if you don’t have the courage to be honest, within, you can’t really know yourself. It’s so easy to idolize personalities that we admire or feel in awe of, and it’s not long before we start trying to emulate this person’s way of being. If you truly want to grow in self-discovery you have to be willing to stand alone without holding anyone/anything as a model for your life – as long as you stay a “follower” you can never connect fully with yourself. It may seem easy to just stay a follower, and it’s totally fine if that’s what your present state of being is, but if you want to go on this journey of self-discovery you can’t hold on to the comfort of depending on the outside to tell you how to be.
The aloneness of self-discovery

A lot of people who get on this journey talk about feeling a sense of being alone, and of course you can’t help but feel this way because that’s the reality, life inherently is alone because it’s all there is, and you being the same life-energy are bound to sense this aloneness when you start sensing your reality/truth – once you embrace this feeling of aloneness you realize the freedom of it, it doesn’t mean you have to be alone and secluded on the outside, it’s just an inner feeling, it’s just a sense that you will always have your own individual journey to stay true to. This also means that you no longer cling to your “group” or even the sense of belonging to a certain ideology – only in this total inner aloneness can you really start seeing yourself clearly – it’s a total intimacy with yourself.

It’s mostly this sense of inner aloneness that people fear, and it’s one of the fears you need to transcend if you really wish to be true to the highly personal nature of self-discovery, especially in your human nature. If you fear being alone with your journey, you will eventually start making a fear-based choice towards clinging to a sense of belonging. This is definitely an initial challenge for many, but as you let go of this fear and continue on the journey you soon realize the sense of inner wholeness that lies beyond the feeling of aloneness – you stop feeling isolated, rather you feel fully connected with all there is, a sense of deep oneness, a state of real belonging, and this can reflect on the outside with you finding compatible relationships.

The fear of being alone is just one of the major fears you will contend with, as a human, as you venture on this journey of self-discovery, the other fears would be the fear of becoming dysfunctional, of being ridiculed/ostracized, of being different, of being financially un-supported, of becoming a failure/loser, of messing up your life, of becoming reckless, of becoming “bad”, of staying confused and unproductive, etc – you can imagine that it’s quite a challenge to move through these fears, but eventually you notice that these are just the fears of the mind based on its imagination; the process of self-discovery, of coming to your truth is nothing like what your mind fears, rather it brings you to living your true potential, and nature, in a fearless and abundant manner. http://www.calmdownmind.com/a-fearless-self-discovery/

How to Attract People You Can Count On

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How to Attract People You Can Count On

Article by http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/2013/03/11/how-to-attract-people-you-can-count-on/

I aspire to be the kind of person that Mr. Rogers would be proud of.

The kind of person who gets dressed up — and shows up.
The kind of person that friends feel comfortable calling at 4am, with a genuine crisis.
The kind of person who never (ever!) cancels a commitment at the last minute via text message, without a trace of remorse.
I’m getting there.

I’ve noticed, though, that over the past couple of years, I’ve started to attract increasingly steady, sane & reliable people into my life. And (not surprisingly) this phenomenon is directly proportionate to my own ever-increasing steadiness, sanity & reliability.

Here’s how I’ve learned to attract people I can count on — including some of the language I use, to hold commitments in place.

❤ Lay down the law — with a dash of love.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but when you give people even a little bit of wiggle room — they usually take (advantage of) it. I know, because I’ve seen it. Annnd I’ve done it.

At the beginning of this year, I established a new policy for workshop registrations. It looks a little somethin’ like this:

Once you make your payment, your workshop registration is non-refundable.

If you are unable to come, you can absolutely give or sell your ticket to somebody else. If we have a waiting list for the event, I’ll do my best to help match you up with that ‘somebody’.

But, except for highly unusual circumstances (think: illness, divorce, heartbreaking catastrophe) I don’t offer straight-up refunds. Thank you for understanding.

It’s sensible, sane & humane. And, it helps me keep a rock-solid headcount for each workshop. WIN!

❤ Model the behavior you want to see.

Un-flaky people are attracted to their fellow un-flaky people. The easiest way to become … less flaky? Use resentment as a litmus test to guide you into projects & relationships that genuinely light you up.

When you commit to something you love, that’s a commitment you tend to keep.

❤ Use shame … sparingly.

Once upon a time, when I was a shamefully flaky 18 year old, my then-sister-in-law invited me over for dinner. In my spongy adolescent brain, this meant “come over, or not, it’s cool, whatever.” But to her, this meant, “buy a special organic Cornish Game Hen, lovingly roast it for hours, set out the nice china.”

When I texted (I know, I know, it’s heinous) to cancel a few hours before dinner, she was understandably upset. And she gave me a schoolin’ I will never forget. And you know what? Her shamestorm genuinely affected me. I resolved to grow up, on the spot.

❤ Trust the beginning.

Buddhists often say: “As in the beginning, so in the middle, so in the end.” Which basically means: if someone seems unreliable the first time you meet them, that’s probably how they’re going to be … for the duration of your relationship.

Of course, people do change — all the time. They change their minds. They change their jobs. They change their haircuts. But when it comes to deeply-embedded habits — chronic tardiness, disorganization, lying — people rarely change overnight. So the question becomes: how many nights are you willing to wait?

❤ Express your appreciation.

Mr. Rogers used to sign off his hand-written letters (and later, emails) with four simple words: “I’m Proud Of You.”

His friends, family & TV production staff completely adored him — and were deeply devoted to him, right through the end.

The lesson? Expressing your affection & gratitude inspires people to rise to the occasion, to stick by your side, and to bend over backwards for you.

I’m a big fan of tangible gifts (I’ve been sending out BirchBox subscriptions & Vosges chocolate, lately — people are rarely disappointed!). I’m also a staunch advocate for courageous compliments, unexpected love notes, and purposeful praise.

Try starting with: “I can always count on you to …” / “It’s so refreshing how you …” / “I really appreciate the way you …”

❤ Know what you want.

Is there anything sexier than clarity? Nope.

If you make precise declarations – “I’m looking for an assistant who knows more about WordPress than God himself, and can proofread like an English major hopped up on a gallon of green tea.” — then people have a chance to step up, and deliver.

If you’re vague & open-ended with your requests, well … that’s what you’re gonna get served.

❤ When all else fails: accept flaws & fold them into your rhythm.

Let’s say you’ve got an amazing friend who is chronically fifteen minutes late (to everything!) but incredible in every other way. You know what? You can probably handle it.

You can try giving her a deceptively-early arrive time (“Oh yes, it begins at 10:35am. Sharp.”) and then bring a nice book, just in case. She’s worth it. You’ll live.