Monthly Archives: August 2013
Love has been given a bad name, it’s not love’s fault as love didn’t do any of what love has been accused of doing. It’s more a case of mistaken identity. If it looks like love, sounds like love, feels like love, and smells like love, then it must be love right? Trouble is, it still isn’t love. We have confused love with neuropeptides, and put the cart before the horse.
Remember that I mentioned last week that the “Law of Attraction” is a group of laws working together to produce a result? I also said that knowing the laws is one thing, how to work with them is another. Love is the thing that makes it all work, so if you don’t understand love, then you have a problem. Before I tell you what love is, lets look at what love isn’t.
How do you know you love someone or something? The answer would seem simple, because of how you feel. We have even coined the phrases “to fall in or out of love”, and we can declare that the spark is gone, we don’t feel the same way anymore, or we get tingles, feel light headed or as some doomed lover once declared we feel like “the king of the world”. Euphoric and goose bumpy equals in love, miserable or indifferent equals out of love. You will hear songs about how he still gets goosebumps ten years later when he sees her, or how he is like a pill that makes her ill. Some guys will scale mountains or swim oceans, some girls get restraining orders. Mostly its starts out warm and fuzzy and ends up with complaints that the romance has died. Sounds like I am talking about the rise and fall of love, but I am not. None of this is describing love anymore than the feeling of contentment describes the pizza I just ate. Love is not a feeling. Love sometimes results in a feeling, and often it doesn’t.
Still think that the feeling is love? I don’t blame you. TV says it is, the radio says it is, the magazine says it is, the gift shops makes a fortune on Valentines Day saying that it is. Feelings are powerful things, they can start wars and unite nations, but here is why love isn’t a feeling: It can so easily go away. Look closer at what a feeling really is and you will wonder how we could reduce love to such a basic biological response. First of all let’s refine our definition. When we are talking about feeling love, we are really talking about an emotion. The feeling is how the emotion makes itself known to you. Let’s take happiness for example, the emotion you call love and the emotion of happiness both have their source in the Limbic System, without going into too much detail, happiness is nothing more than neuropeptides that get released in response to a thought and connect to the trillions of cells in your body, resulting in the feeling. That feeling you call love is essentially the same thing, except that it is a cocktail of hormones and peptides that converge to produce a powerful effect. What you call love is nothing more than a naturally occurring and highly addictive cocktail the works within the body to elevate mood and inspire irrational behaviour. It is nature’s way to fool you into procreating. The love between a parent and child is nothing more than a supremely powerful instinct, some parents don’t have it.
It might take a little while for the shock to wear off, the truth is you have been crowning an impostor. You have based the health of your relationships on the presence or absence of a feeling that ironically is not designed to last, certainly not in the way you experience it at the start of a relationship. You have also allowed yourself to base your sense of self worth on the presence or absence of this feeling.
So what is love then? God is love. Ok, that might not fly with you, so let me explain. If you want to know what love is, then you will need to buy a plane ticket and fly to South America, trek deep into the Amazon Jungle and find a place that has not been interfered with and just watch for a season or two. If you can’t do this, here is what you will notice: Effortless abundance. This is achieved by an unseen force that manages the balance of the ecosystem: Something dies, something is born, something hunts, something flies, something is poisonous, something is edible, sometimes the rain falls, sometimes it doesn’t. All of these seemingly random acts occur so that there might be balance – so that there might be abundance. Love is the force that works to maintain the balance that results in abundance.
Understanding this is crucial to repairing the mess we make in our lives. When we choose fear instead of love we start interfering in our own lives. We do this by forcing things. We rush into relationships, we take out bank loans, we drive too fast, we push our kids too hard, we strive for the things we think we want, we look for distractions instead of engaging with our world. Fear leads us to believe that relationships must always feel good, that there must always be plenty, that our kids must do as we say, and that working hard is the right way to get what we want. Fear makes us want to be in control.
Love doesn’t work that way. To choose love instead of fear is to let go of control and accept that everything that happens in your life, whether you like it or not, is designed to restore or manage the balance of your life, and that is the only natural way to a life of abundance. Wow is that ever easier said than done though? To the ego, letting go of control is tantamount to suicide. Have you ever tried just allowing the pieces to fall where they will and accepting it? It means that sometimes you will feel bad, and that’s ok. Love moves us through the feelings, this is why we have things like forgiveness – feelings are not designed to be lived in, but moved through.
As I have said before, you can only grow when you are balanced. If your life is spent catching up, you will never get ahead. So if you are always pushing yourself off balance, then how do you expect to enjoy the abundance that comes from balance? But then how do you achieve balance? You stop interfering and controlling, you take a deep breath and a step back, and you accept life as it is. I might as well be saying, “Put a gun to your head and pull the trigger”, it’s really that hard. So you have to make it easy, start small, do it in scenarios that aren’t too painful, and build from there. You have had a lifetime of interfering and controlling, it’s all you know and you certainly are encouraged to continue doing this by society.
So living a life of love will really be going against the flow for you, but enjoying the fruit of it is worth it. Compassion, joy, peace, generosity, beauty, kindness, all these and more are the results of living a life of love. Examples abound: Jesus Christ, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Ghandi, Richard Branson, the list goes on. These are all people who in their own way “Let go and let God”. I know you may be thinking, “No thanks, it’s not for me!” So how is your way working for you?
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When people first heard about “The Law of Attraction” it began a new era for the self help industry, books like “The Secret” became the “must reads” and people started discussing Quantum Physics at the dinner table (though I am sure they didn’t know it at the time). Here, finally, was an explanation, an understanding of how the world worked, and it made sense! It was logical; if you tune a radio to a certain frequency then you “attract” a certain radio show, tune your personal “vibration” (how you feel) to a certain frequency and you attract matching frequencies (circumstances and material things). What’s more, the books abound with testimonies from all the people who have used these principles and achieved the wondrous, but the truth is that about 98% of the people who tried changing their lives through using the principles outlined in these books failed to do so and now believe the Law of Attraction is rubbish. I tried it myself and it also didn’t work for me but deep down I knew that something was missing from the whole thing. What I came to realise after a few years of trying and trying is that the Law of Attraction is just a term used to describe the result of many other laws working together in harmony, and that leaving one out ruins the whole thing, much like leaving out an ingredient would ruin a cake. The truth is that if the Law of Attraction isn’t working for you then you are leaving out an ingredient. What about those people whose testimonies are featured in the books? Well, firstly, you aren’t getting the full picture, or secondly, they are the lucky few who managed to get the ingredients right. I have yet to read a book about this topic that gives the whole recipe, either ingredients are withheld or the authors simply don’t know themselves.
I am not claiming to know it all myself, I am still trying to figure it all out, but I have learned some things along the way. It’s like I am sitting with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and I am trying to figure out the 11 herbs and spices from taste. In my last blog I mention one of them, and I think this is a very important one, “The Law of Balance” which suggests that the universe operates in a way that maintains balance and won’t do anything to create imbalance, unless that imbalance serves to restore balance over time. Another one of them is what I call “The Law of Exchange” which simply states that “in any interaction or relationship there needs to be an equal (either perceptual or factual) exchange of value or the interaction or relationship will collapse.” This law is violated all the time in the western world and boy do we pay for that, the recent recession was a result of this law being violated.
Imagine, if you will, a man walking a tightrope and holding a long pole horizontally to help him balance. One side of the pole is called “input”, and the other side of the pole is called “output”. If there is more on one side that the other then the poor man is going to lose his balance and fall to a certain death. The problem for most individuals and businesses is that they are unable to achieve this balance (for whatever reason) and then end up dying a hard death, and as I mentioned last time, the universe needs there to balance before there can be growth. When it comes to “The Law of Exchange” you are solely responsible for achieving and maintaining balance.
So what does it all mean? Basically it means that there needs to be as much coming in as there is going out. This can take many forms. First a question: How do you know when a business is about to go under? The answer is simple – when the prices go up and the portions go down (in size or quality). This is easiest to see in a restaurant and I have yet to see it work out differently, either the restaurant closes or gets new management. Think of what might be happening to the man on the tightrope in this scenario. Why does this happen though? Fear. Inflation goes up, the cost of consumables goes up, and that initially means less money for the business. I suppose the most natural response from the perspective of fear is to lower the quality or portion size and then bump the prices, and that works for a little while too. Now think about what you would do in this scenario: I sell you a pack of five oranges today for 50 cents an orange, you feel this is good value for money. Next week you come back to me to discover that I am selling only four oranges but at 70 cents an orange. You might buy the oranges the second time around, but you would feel cheated and either buy from someone else or not buy at all. Now imagine instead that when you came back I sold the five-pack for 45 cents an orange, most people would buy two packs and tell their friends. You see what the business who lowers the quality or portion size and bumps up the prices fails to realise is that the loss in customer revenue will be greater than the loss they would feel if they simply kept the prices and quality the same. Business owners might not agree with me, but the ones that had to close would.
This does apply to you as an individual, as you are prone to making two mistakes. Either you are the one paying more for less, or you are the one accepting less for what you give. Back to our tightrope walker, he understands the importance of balance. What you put out must be equal in value to what you get back in. You should be in a job where you are paid what you are worth; you should be in an equal relationship. When times get tough people do one of two things, they either increase what they give and lower what they expect in return, or they give less and expect more in return. Are you in a situation where you are getting more than you are giving, or giving more than you are getting? There is trouble ahead.
What about altruism? The act of selfless giving? It doesn’t really exist, not even for Mother Teresa, there still needs to be a return of equal value on what you give. Please note that I said a return of “equal value”. There are two types of value, perceived and actual, and they are both equally valuable. Say you come across an old lady who needs help crossing the road, you help her and you feel pretty good about doing it. You have just received perceived value. Say you charge her five bucks to help her (as if you would) you would receive actual value for helping her. Based on the situation you know that the old woman can’t afford to pay you, so instead of leaving her to struggle you decide that feeling good about helping her is enough reward. The act falls in line with the “Law of Exchange”. But does your job? Some people don’t get paid much for what they do, but they are deeply fulfilled and love what they do, their job falls in line with the “Law of Exchange”.
If you are unhappy in life it may just that you are violating this law. Some people do it all the time, they give and give and give, or they take and take and take. I have yet to meet someone who lives that way and is happy about it. From the smallest interaction, to the largest, make sure that you obey the “Law of Exchange”. Happy is the person that gives more actual values and receives perceived value for it.
Keep the shiny side up 🙂
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There is only one thing you can count on for sure and that is change. Everything else might have a good track record but also might let you down. One thing is for sure, you are either coming out of a change, in a change, or facing change. It seems random, yes, it does seem to just smack you upside the head but what if I told you that every change had a message and that you were the author of change in your life. Hmmm. Some things have happened in my world (not to me personally) that were quite big and I just know that the people involved never saw them coming. We rarely do, ask the Romans. What brings change? It is like a complex cake with many strange ingredients.
There are three kinds of changes that I want to address here, the first is what I call “the great balancing act”. I believe that there is an auto-correction feature built into the universe; some spiritual traditions call it karma. I am sure you have seen the Ying/Yang symbol that comes from China – the circle in two halves, one white, one black. Each half of the circle represents the sides of a mountain with the white half being the sunny side and the black half being the side in shade. This symbol shows that there are two types of energy – passive (the black half) and active (the white half), and that these energies must be in perfect balance. This is where karma comes in, or the auto-correction feature I mentioned earlier. If the balance is shifted in any way then nature steps and restores it. This is done in one of two ways – either by taking something away or by adding something. When we add something to our lives (without allowing it to naturally flow into our lives) then nature takes it away. When we remove or deny something in our lives (that nature has not removed or has not vanished due to decay) then nature moves in and adds something. There must be balance. Desperate acts always result in this change. The relationship we rushed into, the rash purchase, the love we deny ourselves, the job we take without thought, these acts of interference bring the turbulence we call change into our lives. The more we force things the more turbulence we experience. The best way to deal with this is to simply relax and allow life to unfold as it will, acting when we need to act and resting when we need to rest. In other words, we need to actively pursue balance in our lives so that nature won’t need to do it for us. The less you interfere the more peaceful life will be.
The second type of change has to do with what is popularly known as “The Law of Attraction” or “The Law of Vibration”. You know, like attracts like. The basic belief is that if we think about money, money, money, then that is what we will attract. If only it were so. Upwards of 90% of the people who attempt to “use” this law to improve their lives fail to do so. It does work, so why do so many people fail? Because they simply do not really understand the law. The Law of Attraction works in perfect harmony with the principle of balance stated above and you cannot “attract” something that will unbalance you, nature simply won’t allow it. Why is it that you “feel” unbalanced when something “bad” happens then? Feeling sad is does not necessarily mean that you are off balance. I have heard many people say that “I did not attract this so how did it come?” meaning that they weren’t consciously thinking about it. Here is the truth, and listen closely, this may be the thing that changes your life! How do you feel when that “bad” thing happens? That’s what caused it! But wait a minute, I feel that way now, how could I have caused this thing? Can feelings travel back in time? Glad you asked, and it may be that they can (quantum physics suggests as much) but what you are feeling is what has been triggered by the event, in other words, emotional residue that has yet to be processed, in more other words, symptoms of an existing imbalance. What you have been given is some valuable information, deal with (process) that stuck feeling (and coaching will certainly do it) and you will never experience that event again. You won’t need to. You see, the auto-correction feature of the universe reveals our imbalances to us so that we can sort them out, and it will keep revealing them to us until we do. Instead of wallowing in misery, use the information and make some positive changes in your life. The universe cannot reveal imbalances that are not there, so the “cleaner” you are, the less change of this nature you will experience.
The third type of change I want to discuss is one that you cannot do anything about ever! Here in South Africa we are on the verge of Spring (sorry if you are in the North), what I always notice about this time of year (as we face the changing of the seasons) is that the warmth seems to come in waves….warms up…cold front…warms up….cold front. Yesterday it was warm, today it is cold and rainy. It seems that change on a major scale does not come all at once, it comes in gradually increasing waves. This seems to be a pattern in nature as well, the tide doesn’t come in all at once, and since we are a part of nature the same thing happens in our lives. The trick is to see the pattern and not treat the waves as signs of you moving backwards but moving forwards. Drug rehabilitation rarely works all in one go, there are relapses in the forward movement, as there is in any forward movement. Remember this, relapsing is not relapsing, it is nothing more than what a cold front is to the coming spring. Its not that you are returning to old behaviour but that you are layering the new behaviour and adapting to the change. What you find is that the “new reality” starts to last longer than the periods of “old reality” until “new reality” is all there is. Fighting the old or the new will not help you here, it will only make the inevitable uncomfortable. Nature has shown us that there must always be change, constant movement, without it things die. Embrace it, accept it, welcome it. You might not understand this change as it happens, but in time, and with the benefit of hindsight, you will see that you were moving forward and growing, and becoming who you are meant to be.
One thing that is certain about change in its various forms is that perspective on what is happening is difficult to get when the change is happening to you. Sometimes emotional judgements are all we are capable of, so it helps to begin a practice of meditation as this will train you to create space and be able to observe what is happening more objectively and then respond rather than react. Of course, I would always recommend the help of a good coach to enable you to develop inner “technology” that will make you a change wizard.
The only guaranteed thing is change, what isn’t guaranteed however, is that you will handle it in the best way.
Yours, in this ever changing world,