Author Archives: Imagine Life Coaching

Expectations

Phew but 2016 was a tough year! What made it tough though? Well, normally the amount of emotional pain you feel is roughly equal to the distance between your expectations of reality and reality itself. In other words, if reality does not meet up to your expectations of reality, emotional pain results. This is so true for relationships as well.

If you had to take all your expectations of your partner and have them embodied as a person, you would be presented with a demi-god! So near perfect would this divine creature be. The reality is that you get a flabby, belching, farting, forgetful, complaining, grumpy human being. In just about every relationship, the reality of what is received is far removed from the expectation of what is wanted.

This is the main source of pain in your relationship, that feeling of “This is not what I ordered!” The truth is that relationships are not made to order, you will always get what you need (in order to grow and become a better you) and very rarely what you actually want. So how about this year you embrace what you have, warts and all, and let go of your unrealistic expectations? Let’s be real, you don’t match up to your partner’s expectations either. No, you really aren’t that perfect.

Perhaps it is for you to learn and grow from what you have. How would a stronger, healthy you handle the relationship you have? Is it time to say “NO!” to that abuse? Is it time to receive the love you are being given and give up on that notion that you are unlovable? Only you know what it will be.

The truth is that expectations are usually wrong. Whether you are expecting perfection and getting a human, or expecting to be mistreated and getting real love instead. Let’s make 2017 the year that you let go of these expectations and start living in the real world!

Mind Games

How many times have you personally felt in your relationship that you were expected to be a mind reader? You were expected to just know what the other person was thinking or feeling, or know what you (according to the other person) have done wrong. It’s easy to start thinking that your partner is playing mind games and is just being vindictive. After all, they surely know that you can’t read their minds? Come on, they can’t read yours so how can you be expected to read theirs?

I challenge you, for the sake of your relationship to consider that this isn’t the case after all. Think about it for a second, when you know something is true, when something is very obvious to you, you assume that it is so for everyone else. This is why other people’s behaviour bothers you so much. We tend to think that everyone shares our beliefs, and has their moral compasses set the same way as ours, so when someone behaves in a way that you wouldn’t, you feel offended. Surely they know better? They don’t. If they did they wouldn’t behave that way, and who says what is better?

So now think about your partner in those moments when they get upset over something YOU did, and expect you to know what it is that you have done wrong. They are falling into the very same trap that you fall into on a regular basis, now you know that they probably aren’t playing mind games and really do believe that you know exactly what they are thinking. Let them off the hook.

How do you deal with this, though? Most people just attack the other person and it becomes one of many fights. You won’t like the answer, but it is the way forward. In that moment when you feel like attacking, take one for the team. Wait until cooler heads can prevail, and then when the moment has passed you can discuss it CALMLY and RATIONALLY. Don’t think you can deal with it in the heat of the moment, no one ever thinks straight in the middle of a furnace.

http://www.imaginelifecoaching.co.za

The Negativity Bias

Back in the day, way, way, way back in the day. Joe, let’s call him Joe, or Susan (because it could have been a woman), was taking a power walk through the jungle when he (or she) heard rustling in the bushes. Now these being dangerous times (as they always are) he (or she) had a decision to make: run – because there is a tiger in the bushes; or, run – because there might be a tiger in the bushes. A mistake at this juncture could mean one less Joe or Susan on the planet. So, Joe (or Susan) decided that for the sake of all Joes (or Susans) on the planet that it would be far safer to make the mistake of thinking that there is a tiger in the bushes (when there possible isn’t) than making the mistake of thinking there isn’t a tiger in the bushes (when there actually is). In other words, Joe (or Susan) quite happily made the first mistake over and over and over to avoid making the second mistake (and thereby becoming lunch, after all, you are only lunch once). We have been following in Joe’s (or Susan’s) footsteps ever since. It is called the negativity bias.

Say I handed you a list call “5 Things about You”, and it read as follows:

  1. I like your generous nature
  2. I think you are very tolerant
  3. Your sense of humour needs some work
  4. You are an excellent cook
  5. You have great taste in clothes

What would you take away from that? If you are like most people you would be thinking, “So what is your problem with my sense of humour anyway?” If you thought you were pretty amazing after reading that, you can stop reading this now. See most people would gloss over the glowing compliments and focus on the one negative thing that was said about them. No, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with you if you do that so you can relax, remember the tiger in the bush? We are programmed to focus on the potential (if non-existent) threat. We are Teflon to the good things and Velcro to the bad.

Think about it, you are driving to work and for just about the entire trip everything goes a-ok, but then some #$@! cuts you off and for the rest of the day, you are thinking about how well the trip went, NOT! You are fuming and steaming about that idiot, what you should have said or done, and gosh darn it, your day is ruined! A bad event gets a lot more screen time in your mind than good events. Let me rephrase that, a helluva lot more. So basically, you go through your day glossing over the good things, obsessing over the bad, and anticipating the other shoe dropping. It’s not to say that you don’t enjoy the good times, but one bad event is equal in emotional power to about ten good events.

Ok so we have a predominantly negative focus, we tend to major on the minors, but surely this serves to keep us safe? Perhaps, but if you think of all the missed opportunities and shipwrecked relationships that we have left in our wake because we only think there is a tiger in the bushes it is in our best interests to face this bad habit head on. The truth is that there is very little in life that is really life threatening, and all the negative things that you tend to obsess over are really inconsequential. There is much in life that is not worthy of the f***ks you give them.

So how do we break this habit? Bad news folks, you don’t. It is a deeply ingrained evolutionary quirk (you can thank Joe for that). There is something you can do to shift the balance somewhat though. Firstly, you can let yourself off the hook for it, instead of thinking that you are just a pessimistic and hopeless case, realise that you just simply a regular Joe (or Susan). Secondly, when the good things come (and there are so many if you look) like the cup of coffee, the blue sky, the flowers, the birds, the smile of your child, the hug of your spouse etcetera, then allow yourself to wallow in the moment. Start training that brain to prefer the good things, to seek them out. Lastly, you can pursue inner peace like a cat chasing a laser pointer. If it doesn’t bring you peace (be it an experience, or if you can’t avoid the experience, then your thoughts about that experience) avoid it like the plague, and choose something that does bring you peace.

Choosing love over fear in this way can have untold positive effects on your life. Who knows what it will bring to you. If nothing else you will certainly feel a lot better about life, and when you feel better about life then you start making better choices.

http://www.imaginelifecoaching.co.za

The Best of You

Does your partner still get the best of you, or does he/she just get your frustrations and bad days, your fears and your temper? Are you giving your relationship your “supreme effort” or the dregs of what is left?

“Familiarity breeds contempt”, so the old saying goes. Perhaps we don’t grow to despise the person we are with, but over time we just take them for granted and stop making the effort. If that person isn’t going anywhere, then why should you work at it? “Life is full of stress and demands,” (we say to ourselves) “And I give my best to everyone else, when I get home I just want to dump my clothes on the floor, put on my slippers and stop caring!” You start to notice the effect of this thinking when you start snapping at each other for no real reason and when disagreements just turn into arguments that have no real point to them.

This is what happens, mediocrity in, mediocrity out. You are getting back what you are putting in. What you no longer feel you need to work for – you no longer work to keep! It isn’t like you woke up one morning and decided to stop working at it, it happened over time. Just like when you got that new car and you were pedantic about keeping it clean and safe, and then one day all that didn’t really matter that much anymore. It is human nature, but the fact is that if you want your relationship to continue being successful after 5 or 6 years, then you will need to work against that nature.

You have forgotten (as has your partner probably) how incredibly lucky you are to have found each other; you have stopped seeing the value of the other person (you once thought of them as a prize to be won); you have stopped being intentional about your relationship and you think it can survive on auto-pilot. So, if you are wondering why things are just not as good as they once were, ask yourself if your partner is still getting the best of you.

http://www.imaginelifecoaching.co.za

The Balance

I havescales-art-1162553-1279x1244 spent a few years trying to make the Law of Attraction work for me. By that I mean get more of what I do want in my life and less of what I don’t want. I must admit, the idea of being able to manipulate the stuff of life in order to stack the odds in my favour is still pretty alluring. I think that when anyone of us is in a situation where we feel powerless and out of control it would be nice to move things in the right direction.

So far the results have been mixed. Here is the thing though; there have been results, mixed as though they are, and I remain convinced that somehow, someway, I am responsible for the creation of my own reality. For me, and you, what you see “out there” is a reflection of what you have (tap yourself on the chest) “in here”. It gets quite frustrating though, the things I really want seem to elude me, and some things that I think about in passing appear quickly. So I think, “Aha, that’s the key!” and I become nonchalant and think about the things I really want “in passing” and they still elude me. It often feels like I am trying to bake a cake without a recipe, I know I have the ingredients, but I can’t seem to get the details right. I read this book, and that book, and watch this film and that, and the science is all there, the teachers seem to be products of their philosophies, but when I try the recipe it flops.

Is there information that is being held back? Or, is there something about this that ALWAYS gets lost in translation? I think it is the latter. Either that, or every guru that I have listened to is a con artist, but I personally don’t believe that. I believe that the best they can do, and that I as a teacher can do, is to give coordinates and point you in the right direction. The rest is up to the individual. That kind of sucks though, we want the recipe, and we want someone else to have done the heavy lifting so that we can just enjoy the results. I just don’t think it works that way, not soul work anyway. That would be like asking your friend to go and get a tattoo for you, it makes the idea of trying what somebody else has done and then quitting because it doesn’t work for you seem pretty ludicrous. You have to get the pieces and assemble the puzzle for yourself.

The thing with the Law of Attraction is that is isn’t the techniques that you see that make it work, but the things going on inside the person. It’s not about the little tip of the iceberg; it is the mysterious mountain beneath the surface. The teacher will teach a technique, but will not be able to adequately communicate the work that is going on inside. It is a lot like trying to describe water to someone who has never encountered it. So in truth, the best you can really hope for is to gather the pieces and start figuring it out for yourself, and that can take time.

I always chuckle when I hear a teacher say “I lived in poverty for ten years, but now I am prospering and here is what I have learned so you can prosper too!” Kudos, but this power comes with a price that we all must pay, so putting into practice what the teacher learned through pain isn’t going to get us any more than mixed results, we have to pay the school fees.

So here is another piece of the puzzle for you, and this came to me last night when I woke up and went to get some water (as the best ideas tend to do). What you get in your reality is the balance of what is going on inside of you. If you think of a set of old fashioned scales, like the scales of justice. One the one side you place your intention and on the other you place your counter intention (or resistance), and what is manifested in your reality is the balance.

So practically speaking, let’s say you wanted a new job (or whatever else it is that you really want). The intention is to get this new job, so that gets placed on one side of the scale, on the other side goes all the counter intention, and this would be all the limiting beliefs and feelings (I am not good enough, what’s the point, it won’t happen to me blah, blah, blah). If the counter intention outweighs the intention (as it more often than not does) what you will get will be the resulting balance, which will be more of the counter intention in your life. What has the most weight has the biggest impact, it is not about how much weight it has but rather that it has the most.

If there was some intention and a lot of counter intention you would get few desirable results. If there was a lot more intention and equal counter intention then you would get…..tadaaa….mixed results. If you had intention but no counter intention, then you would write a book about it, the results would be that obvious. Intention can be either good or bad, and the same goes for counter intention. So when you have wanted to die (intention) but there was so much in you that really wanted to live (counter intention – even though at that point you weren’t consciously aware of it) you didn’t get what you wanted. When you wanted that new car (intention) but had a whole bunch of unconscious fears and doubts (counter intention), you didn’t get it. This explains why those things that you think about in passing (good or bad) seem to manifest quickly, there is little or no counter intention. When it comes to the things you really, desperately want, these things are usually heavy laden with volumes of counter intention, so they stay out of your reach.

So the trick would be to remove the counter intention from the one side of the scale, and to continue doing so until it is clear of counter intention. As the balance slowly shifts you start to see subtle changes in your reality, but there may be so much counter intention that you do a lot of clearing and see no results. Most people quit at this point, but the guy who did it for ten years didn’t and now he has written a book about it. That’s the thing though; I don’t know how long it will take for you.

Some things will come quickly, some will take a long, long time (even longer if you quit, or worse, do nothing). Not even you can tell how much counter intention you have to deal with, and the best you can hope for is to deal with it as and when it comes up. There is one thing you can do to speed things up though, and that is to simply do the work. Spend time imagining having what you want (as if you had it now) then see what comes up to counter it, and then deal with it using a clearing/cleaning tool of your choice. How long will you need to do this? Some things will come quickly, others won’t, and there is just no way to really know. Here is a hint though; those things that you really care about and that you really want will take the longest. Those things that mean little to you, and don’t really matter either way, will seem to come easily. Could this be saying that the key to getting what you want quicker is to stop wanting it? Hmmmmm.

My advice as you navigate this confusing terrain is to live in the present moment, learn to let go and be happy now, deal with counter intention as and when it comes up, keep on doing the work, and never ever give up!

Keep the shiny side up!

Anthony.

http://www.imaginelifecoaching.co.za

Summiting Everest

DCF 1.0I have been a student of the Law of Attraction for some years now, and I am not ashamed to say that it has been with little success. When I say success, I mean in terms of creation that is consciously directed and not the result of the subconscious mind directing events from the shadows.  In other words, I still struggle with a life that is the product of my old programming and not a life that is reflecting what I truly want. I am a Master Life Coach; I should have gotten there by now, right? I thought so too.  Believe me when I say that I have tried a LOT of things, things that truly have done marvellous things for other people, but I still seem to be in a similar place. All I can say about that is that we are all summiting Everest. Some people find a route that works quickly; I have been searching a bit longer. I think as a Coach I have spent a lot of time helping others find their paths; I perhaps should have spent some time finding my own. Well, it is what it is, and I have learned so many fantastic things that will all come into their own pretty soon I am sure.  I must state here that just because a thing doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean it is useless. To use a more brutal analogy, a headache tablet won’t help much with brain cancer.

Enter Greg Kuhn and his book “How Quantum Physicists Build Better Beliefs”.  What excited me about this book is that it applies the same idea to belief change that I do to goal setting. What I say is that if you are attempting to achieve a goal you start exactly where you are and take the smallest possible and totally believable steps to get there. If you stray too far outside of your comfort zone you will pretty much sabotage your own efforts. In his book (and you will also find a similar idea in the works of Abraham-Hicks), Greg states that the pain you feel in life is the distance between your desire and where you are now. In other words, your level of discomfort in life tells you how far away you are from your desire. Basically, you so badly want to be rich, but your unconscious mind says that you are poor.

You get what you unconsciously expect to get, so you can affirm and hypnotise yourself all you want, you will still get what you unconsciously expect. Don’t get me wrong, affirmations and hypnosis (and a host of other great techniques) really do work, but the immediate results you see in people’s lives are usually because they are reasonably close to their desires in terms of their unconscious expectations. Those who are a considerable distance from their desires may find these techniques to be unfruitful and frustrating. In my life I notice there are areas in which I create and manifest quickly, and areas in which things just don’t seem to be happening.

I always thought that those techniques would shift my beliefs and get me the results I wanted. To return to my goal setting theory, your unconscious mind will not accept a new belief that is too strange, or too far outside of its comfort zone. It is programmed to keep you safe, and normal is safe. So these techniques will work, if what they are doing is close enough to your unconscious expectations, but if they are not you will get a firm “no” in response to your efforts. That’s just the way it is.

Your expectations need to match your desire if you want to see those results in your life. So what needs to happen is that the unconscious mind’s beliefs need to be moved upwards, towards the desire, but always within its comfort zone. Using an incrementally increasing feeling scale that you can find in his book, and in the works of Abraham-Hicks, you can chart a step by step course to the feeling that matches your desire. Let’s be honest, if you find that you are not getting results, you will find that your true feelings about your desire are nowhere near close to being compatible. So you start where you are and increase your feelings tiny bit, by tiny bit.

But why feelings when beliefs are what matter? Feelings are your beliefs. A belief is a feeling that has become habitual; the language you use to explain the belief is nothing more than the English words you use to explain the feeling. Your unconscious mind does not speak English; it speaks in feelings which are translated into pictures, and then words. It all happens so quickly that the words are usually all you can get with your conscious mind. You say “I believe such and such” when in truth it is you describing your feelings about something.

The movement up the scale is so small, and the feelings differ almost imperceptibly. This is so that your unconscious mind will accept the process with no resistance. For this reason it is a process that is guaranteed to work, and while it may feel like a long process (weeks or months), it is certainly quicker than being stuck indefinitely. Eventually the dark feelings become lighter, brighter, and then brilliant.

So what makes it work so well? Firstly, it is consciously directed, so you are now in charge and not your unconscious mind, and secondly, you are doing it in a way that is both respectful and loving to your unconscious mind, so it gladly cooperates.

Here is the third reason: I was listening to Bruce Lipton this morning, and he was talking about harmonic resonance, and a penny dropped for me. If you have two guitars in a room and you pluck the A string on one, the A string on the other (and none of the other strings) will begin to vibrate. This is called harmonic resonance. Here is the thing though, if you stop the A string on the first guitar it will begin to vibrate again. In other words, the second guitar is affecting the first guitar. A has an effect on B, which in turn has an effect on A.

This process that Greg puts forward in his book is about harmonic resonance.  You feel a certain way and you get a certain result, which in turn causes you to feel a certain way. I have spoken about this before. I call it a “feedback loop”; feeling – result – feeling. So as you begin to climb the feeling scale you start where you are: feeling – result – feeling. Then you choose a very similar feeling that is higher on the scale and you begin to live from that feeling, and very quickly you notice harmonic resonance: feeling – result- feeling. The process continues, but what you notice is that the results start improving. It is foolproof if it is done properly.

If you want to learn more about all of this, and it excites you as much as it excites me then I recommend a three course meal. Get Greg’s books, supplement with Abraham Hicks, and wash it down with Bruce Lipton.

My love and best wishes to you all,

Anthony.

http://www.imaginelifecoaching.co.uk

The Observer Created Reality

1445352_97799378aA belief is nothing more than an assumption about reality, this is why there are so many of them, and they can change with the discovery of a new fact. Beliefs are nothing more than our observations, the judgements we bring to our responses, the meanings we add to the things we encounter. Quantum physics has gone a long way to prove that we live in an observer created reality,  which basically means that it is the assumptions we hold about life that shape our reality. The judgements you hold about other people will make them so in your experience, as I have said before, reality is nothing more that energy arranging itself to match your beliefs. It also means that if you change your assumptions/judgements/observations/beliefs about reality then the reality you are observing will change.  

It is quite possible that you have held the opinion for most of your life that your reality is something separate from you and you are subject to its whims, this is how it appears to you. When you sleep through life, your reality is created by default but as soon as you become aware then the magic begins.  I have had the delight of seeing client’s change their circumstances noticeably by simply shifting their observations. Some people simply can’t accept this as a fact because they have lived so long as a victim to their circumstances that those circumstances just seem like brutes that they can neither control, change, or overcome. Their experiences certainly seem to back up their belief, but what they don’t know is that it is their beliefs that have given them those circumstances. This idea that reality is an absolute deal, and you are either lucky in life or very unlucky, is firmly entrenched in their neural pathways, and when something is that entrenched it is the law.

What I am saying about the true nature of reality, according to Quantum Science, will be to some people what they idea of a spherical earth to the “flat earthers”. People get burned at the stake for presenting ideas that go against entrenched laws. As we have found through time, just because it is widely believed, does not make it so. So how do you change your observations? Life will give you plenty of opportunities. Let’s use a test case, you have been standing in a queue for a while and someone pushes in front of you, how do you react? You see most people go through life reacting and they spend a lot of time justifying those reactions. What judgements would you bring to this situation? How would you judge the other person? Do you find yourself being “pushed in front of” a lot?

The problem with a reaction is that it deals with the content of a situation. Something happens to you and you attach meaning to it. “That person pushed in front of me and that means they are rude,” or “People always push in front of me and that means I am invisible”. All these meanings have to do with the content of the event, and you will find that you will be given a lot of opportunities to judge people as rude, or feel invisible. It will be an ongoing cycle; your reality will confirm your beliefs for as long as you hold them. 

So what if you looked from a contextual position instead? What this basically means is that you look outside of the content for possible meanings for the event, and believe me there are more possibly meanings that you can come up with. “The person is from a culture that doesn’t queue,” “They didn’t notice the queue,” “This is an opportunity for me to meet a new person”, how about, “This is a delay designed to keep me on the perfect track,” or, “I needed to meet this person and I wouldn’t even have known about them if they hadn’t stepped in front of me.” Any one of those can shift your reality, and even in some significant ways. You see nothing is good or bad until you place judgement upon it, but how you judge will determine how reality unfolds for you.

Think for a moment about the last long trip you took, you were very certain about the destination, but how uncertain was the actual trip? There were, no doubt, some minor delays and other things you didn’t expect. Have you ever heard anyone remark on how they were delayed and then came across an accident and realised that if they had left on time it could have been them. You can see life as conspiring against you, or you can see life as working with you to get you where you want to go.  Guess what, if you feel the life is conspiring against you then conspiracy is what you will experience, but, if you think life is helping you and guiding you on the best route through the uncertainty then you will experience benevolence.

Work with what comes up in life, if you need to change then change, if you need to move then move, if you experience delay of some sort then be thankful because you cannot see the potential dangers ahead. It is a moment by moment practice, and it takes awareness. The question for you is are you going to just react the way you always react, or are you going to take a moment and respond in a new way and break the cycle? Your dream life could really be just as far away as deciding to see life in a new way!

Namaste!

The Free Will Myth

1135097_49004906webLast week in Johannesburg, South Africa, just up the road from where I live, there was a road rage incident. A driver and a motorcyclist lost their cool and had a shoot out, leaving one in hospital and one dead. It amazes the calm people that angry people don’t ask “What am I expecting when I pull this trigger?” It made me realise that free will does not exist. All of your choices, behaviours, beliefs, and values are not yours to choose. Every decision, from who you vote for, what you wear, who you are friends with, to who you marry, is not yours. I know what you are thinking, you are pretty convinced that you have the freedom to choose, and indeed you do, but you still aren’t the one making the choice. The bad choices you made weren’t yours, but neither were the good. You should feel no shame and take no credit.

How can I make such a ridiculous sounding statement? Because, like the two men who had the shootout, and certainly would never have “chosen” to do what they did, everything happens within a context. The truth is that nothing happens in a vacuum, and you are inseparable from your environment. Still to say that your choices are not really your own is to suggest that you are a puppet, a glorified robot.

Let’s take a closer look, a simple (for some) decision, what to wear today. You stand at your wardrobe and think about it. The choice is yours, so you think, but when you consider all the influencing factors you realise that it really isn’t. What are the influencers? What you are going to do that day, what you personally prefer (which has the entire history of your life behind it), who will be seeing you, who you will be seeing, what has been said to you, what you have worn before that got attention, and so the list goes on. Change any one of those influences and you will make a different choice.

Consider that red shirt that you love to wear because it suits you, what if someone said it looked ugly on you, would you make a different choice? Probably. So it goes for all the choices you make, your ego based fears are possibly the biggest influencer. That person you marry – is he just like your father? Does she feel like a safe choice? Does she have your tastes? Is he accepted by your friends and family? There are boxes that must get ticked, but change a box and the choice changes.

The entire history of the world happened the way it did so that you would make the choices you make. This is what makes religion (not spirituality) such a strange thing, your religion is chosen for you, if you consider what your parents do, what you have been taught, what your friends do, what will get you the most acceptance, you realise that there really wasn’t much of a choice at all. This is the thing though, our choices are usually those that we think will give us the most shine, get us the most acceptance, or on the other hand, the ones that will keep us safe, another way of putting this is that we do what we do to either get pleasure or to avoid pain. Even these motivations are wholly dependant on history – our experience and what we have been taught.

Think of each decision and behaviour as the outcome of complex theorems, or the result of a computer program, then you realise that your decision making process is not as free as you once thought. The chances are that if the variables stay the same, then you will make the same choice. So you are where you are by design, as a result of your history and programming, but you are far from helpless to do anything about it.

This is why prisons fail though, why drug addicts relapse, why children stay unruly, and why your own attempts at behaviour modification always fail. So many personal development things fail because they are an attempt to fix the result and not the programming or environment that causes the result.

So how do you fix things? Well here is where your free will comes into play, forget trying to change decisions or behaviour right now,if you try to do that I will guarantee that you will hear yourself saying, “I never meant to say/do that!” You need to realise that your decisions and behaviour are a response to, and a result of environment and influence. so in order to change things you need to focus on feeling good. By feeling good I am referring to that, “all is right with world, I am at peace” feeling. I am not talking about a hedonistic “If it feels good then do it” way of living, but a way of living that seeks for balance. Eating to support life, exercising to support life, pursuing spirituality to support life, relating to others in a life supporting way.

The way you feel when you make life affirming choices results in the kind of “good feeling” that I am talking about here. Hedonism (the pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake) ironically is not life affirming, but rather seeks to avoid that which is life affirming. Hedonism is a direct response to the pain of life itself, an attempt to distract oneself or an attempt to just rip the tops of the weeds off leaving the roots intact.

When you make life affirming choices in all you do (choices that build and don’t destroy), you face the cause of the pain head on, you tackle the roots.  In other words choices that increase health in all aspects of life, this will lead to a feeling of wellbeing, when this is your context, the content must follow. Surely one of the most life affirming choices you can make will be to surrender that which is cause you so much “death”?

You cannot fix the self, as the one doing the fixing is the very self that needs fixing, but what you can do is surrender the obstacles to this wellbeing. I will teach more about raising consciousness in posts to come, raising consciousness is about changing the context which will change the content, so forget about behaviour modification and the like, it might work in the very short term but not in the long term. You will be amazed at how quickly your behaviour and decisions change as you change the context (internal and external context).

Here’s to raising consciousness,

Anthony.

Lifting Ships

1306682_86475666It is safe to assume that if you are reading this, and by virtue of the fact that you subscribed in the first place, you are interested in personal development. Perhaps for some of you that is putting it lightly, for some of you is it more like “Stop the bus! I want to get off!” Allow me to shed some light as to why most of you are feeling the urge to evolve.

Most of you, as I calibrated (if you want to know what that means then I encourage you to buy Dr David Hawkins amazing book – Power vs Force), are on consciousness level 125 – desire. What this basically means is that you will tend to view God as the one who has it all but is denying it from you. In other words, pray all you want, it ain’t gonna happen! Your view of life is that is it mostly disappointing, if there is a good life then it is avoiding you. The primary emotion that you are experiencing is anxiety, and the life process you will be experiencing is enslavement. In other words, you feel like you are missing out, stressed out, and trapped.

Your reality is how it is because of the consciousness level you are on, as your life will reflect your consciousness level. It is really good news, as it means that there is hope and change is a reality. SO how do you change your life? There is the way you have been trying to do it, and there is the way you don’t want to do it.

Most of the work you have been doing to change your life has been that of the ego, and as you will have discovered, it hasn’t brought any lasting sense of happiness or fulfilment. The ego has this crazy idea that inner happiness comes from the outside, so it sets you off on a mission to try and achieve this happiness by rearranging the pieces, like arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.You may feel a bit better but you are still sinking.

So it seems that happiness will come when you fix yourself, but fixing yourself is very hard work and largely unsuccessful. Even most life coaching fails over time because it focusses on making the ego more comfortable within you, and when you challenge the ego it strikes back and you find yourself right back where you started.

Trying to fix yourself and circumstances is like trying to lift yourself by your shoelaces, and I know so many of you have tried to fix things, perhaps seen counselors, a psychologist, or even a life coach, and none of them have helped. I know lots of you have read books that promised so much, and tried the “law of attraction”, perhaps made dream boards, used affirmations, and so many other things. I bet you saw some progress but over time found yourself back where you were.  Is this you?

What you have been trying to do is the equivalent of “lifting ships”. If everyone who read this blog got together and we all went to the harbour and tried to lift a ship we still couldn’t do it. Trying to fix our lives by working with the content just can’t be done, because if the context of your life stays the same the content will too. You will find yourself constantly putting out fires.

Since it is the content that causes so much trouble people rarely think that the context is where the problem lies. Think about it, plant a seed and try to force it to grow on your terms, it won’t happen, but provide an environment where growth can happen and it does. Think of your consciousness level as the container and the “stuff” of your life as the content, as it says in the Bible, “you can’t put new wine in an old wineskin,” so trying to get better content in the same old container just won’t happen. Einstein put it this way, “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that caused it,” so in order to change your life, you need to change the environment it is happening in.

No, you can lift a ship (fix the content), but you can raise the level of the ocean and then lift all the ships. So the key to changing your life is in raising your consciousness. As your consciousness level rises, so does your experience, or rather, perception, of reality.

So how do you raise your consciousness level? There are two simple ways, and you need to do both: Sacrifice and love. People think sacrifice means giving up what they like –  living a painful life in order to experience spiritual good, but this is not so. Sacrifice in this case means consistently surrendering everything to the Higher Power, knowing that you don’t know it all, that you need outside help, and that you are not smart enough to know what is best. You surrender what is causing you pain so that you might know peace, and you surrender that which is making you happy so that you can experience what is even better. It is unconditional, and it means leaving things up to the Higher Power. The job here is not to try to fix yourself, but to surrender yourself. You surrender it by intending to do so, “I surrender this to….” and then you quit worrying about it, or wrestling with it.

Then there is love, you love everyone and everything as though it was yourself. You quit judging and criticising and you start loving. You accept that everyone is doing the best they can even if you don’t like it, and you treat everyone like royalty. You will be amazed at the result. I practice this myself, and I get the best service and so many free gifts wherever I go. You don’t do it for that reason though, you do it because it is who you really are.

Essentially it means allowing the rain to fall where it will and seeing everyone as divine beings and not in terms of their standing in society or behaviour.

When you consider how you have been programmed to live, it is not hard to understand why we struggle in life in terms of consciousness levels. Most people judge, criticise, and blame other people, and they allow their reality to dictate who they are instead of the other way around. It is the difference between living from the inside out or from the outside in. It’s the difference between embracing the world, or pushing it away.

Sleeping Giants

1359625_70184374webIt is a handful of people who make a quality decision to change their lives, and commit to that ideal. I take my hat off to the small percentage that does that and sticks with it. In my coaching practice I have clients who commit and see it through, and clients who give up early on for whatever reason, and go back to the life they know. There is always a valid excuse, be it time or money or just plain old “naafiness”. If you don’t know what NAAFI means, it is simply a state of “Ambition and F**kall interest”. The thing is about excuses is that they are lies wrapped up in reasons.

Let me break some news to you, you are going to fight to stay in that comfort zone that you are stuck in, no matter how badly you want to get out. Comfort zones are always comfortable after a fashion, and here is why: There is a little almond-shaped collection of neurons in the brain called the Amygdala which has the purpose of managing and maintaining your comfort zones. A comfort zone is nothing more than a condition you have accepted as normal in your life, and the Amygdala is there to ensure that you stay within what is “normal” because “normal” is predictable, and predictable is safe, supposedly. When you start to move out of your comfort zone your Amygdala goes to work and orders you body to release hormones that make you feel all kinds of bad, and following those feelings come the rationales that it would indeed be better to just simply go back to what is “normal”, and you are seemingly powerless to do anything about it. In fact, the Amygdala succeeds in making your comfort zone look good and preferable to change.

Change is simple, but it isn’t easy, and that is why so few people do it. We are forgetful creatures, and it is so easy (thanks to the Amygdala) to just forget that you are in a bad place. “It’s not so bad after all,” you tell yourself right before you fall back asleep. This is why it is the rare individual that breaks free and shines, while the rest of the population calls them special, admires them, and goes on sleeping.

If you think this brief stint on earth is simply “A job, a car, a house, a grave,” then you are mistaken. There is nothing wrong if you want just that, but it is a tragic waste. Still it is your choice, stay asleep or wake up.

So where are you now? In his book “Power vs Force” Dr David Hawkins states that there are 17 levels of consciousness, ranging from shame to enlightenment, here is the list from bottom to top:

  1. Shame
  2. Guilt
  3. Apathy
  4. Grief
  5. Fear
  6. Desire
  7. Anger
  8. Pride
  9. Courage
  10. Neutrality
  11. Willingness
  12. Acceptance
  13. Reason
  14. Love
  15. Joy
  16. Peace
  17. Enlightenment

Personal power only makes an appearance at level 9 – courage. It is my experience that a great majority of people are somewhere between levels 1 and 8 inclusive. Hawkins confirms in his book that upwards of 85% of the world’s population is below level 9 and than any meaningful human satisfaction cannot even commence until level 10 where personal power (or self confidence) begins to emerge. It’s no wonder then that people stuck between 1 and 8 inclusively can’t change their lives; there is no power to do so.

When a client comes to me, they are usually stuck on one of the lower levers, and coaching helps them to move to level 10 – neutrality, this is where the client becomes flexible and non-judgemental towards life.  Once personal power makes an appearance the client starts to become their own coach, once the client reaches level 11, then my role as their coach becomes supportive and the client is now their own life coach.

If the client quits before then, and it is quite easy to do so, they will likely just go back to where they were before they made the decision to change their lives (the place where the problem wasn’t yet too painful) until the pain of existence increases and they feel the call to move again.

You can move yourself forward though, and at least get to a place where you let yourself be helped, and stick with it! Recognise that all the junk that you are experiencing is symptomatic of lower level consciousness, it offers you an opportunity because once you recognise that dissonance, that experience of what you don’t want, then you can declare what is it that you do want, and if you don’t know what that is then just say the opposite of what it is that you don’t want. Make a commitment to yourself that you are ready to do whatever it takes, write your desire and your commitment down – “I declare that I no longer want………What I want is………And I am prepared to do what it takes to get there!” Of course, there is no guarantee that you will stick to it; in fact you might not, so it will take a few more moments of recognising the dissonance and declaration. I would strongly recommend coaching, but that is only for people who really want to change their lives and that isn’t you, is it?

Here is to waking up!

Anthony.

http://www.imagineif.co.za