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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!

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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

The 79th Organ

334551_7761aThere are 78 organs in the body, that’s what medical science tells us. Today I want to tell you about the 79th. The trouble with medical science is that much of it is based on Newtonian physics, that is to say that the human body is a machine and it is separate from the environment that is in. There is you and then there is everything, and everyone, else “out there”. It is strongly suggested that there is no real connection between you and what’s “out there”. Thankfully not all science agrees with this, and the rest of science is slowly catching up. Spiritual traditions have long taught that there is no “out there”, and that may in fact be true.

How do you know what is “out there”? How do you know what your reality is all about? How do you get to experience it? What you “see” is information in the form of light entering the eyes and then being passed on to the brain for processing. What you “hear” is sound entering the ears and the getting passed on to the brain for processing. What you “smell” is particles coming in through the nose and then being passed on to the brain for processing. What you “taste” is particles coming into contact with the tongue and then being passed on to the brain for processing. What you “feel” is contact with the skin being passed on to the brain for processing. Basically it all happens in the brain.  We call the result of all of this processing “perception”.  “Out there” is actually all happening “in here” so to speak. Your experience of reality is nothing more than perception, and it all happens in the brain. It is next to impossible to prove that what is “out there” is really “out there”. It is possible to hallucinate, to imagine, to dream, in such vivid ways that it is believed to be “out there”.  I can only take your word for it that you really exist, but I cannot prove it beyond reasonable doubt. My entire experience of you is nothing more than what my brain is processing, you are really just “in my head” so to speak.

Two people can experience the same thing in different ways. One person can love chocolate ice cream, the other prefers vanilla. Your perceptions are truly unique, they are what makes you “you”. Perceptions are made up of your beliefs and get developed over time, they are capable of change and are constantly evolving. If perceptions are the product of our beliefs and reality is determined by those perceptions then reality must perfectly match our beliefs. If those beliefs are changed then reality must change as well. I propose that the the working of our perceptions make up what I call the 79th organ.

Imagine for a moment that reality, as you know it, is an organ in your body. I could assume a number of things from this. Like any other organ in your body your reality can be healthy or sick. Your reality can be affected by the health of the rest of your body. Your reality has certain requirements if it is to be healthy. Your reality also serves a vital function that is crucial to the wellbeing of the rest of your system. Your reality contains so much information but it will require you to slow down and stop in order to learn from it. Like zipping down a highway you miss so much that you drive past, but being in the passenger seat in a slow moving vehicle makes you go “Wow, I never saw that before.” I have a wonderful metaphor that will help you understand just how your reality is simply a part of you and not really separate from you.

You are reading this blog on some sort of computer right? What you see on the screen is not the computer, but a representation of what is going on in the computer. If you had to look at the raw data it wouldn’t make any sense to you at all, it would look like this 1011011000111010110101101….except in electrical form. Yet on the screen you can see information about the health of the computer and you can even use the information given there to diagnose and fix the computer. So it is with your reality, it is a representation of your personal energy presented to you in a form/s you can understand. Or, should understand. The trouble is that we have been taught that reality is separate from us and outside of our control. We have been taught to fear it, and rely on it for our happiness. In truth, you have learned to serve your reality, when reality should actually be serving you.

Reality is information. It is there to serve you and lead you to a life of well being. The trick is learning how you use that information. When you get an error message on a computer then it is either a problem that can be fixed in the software (on the screen) or it is a hardware issue (a physical repair). This means that reality will give you information that will lead you to change your beliefs or change your lifestyle. There are changes that will specifically affect the way you think and changes that will have a specific impact on your physical body. We can look at this another way as well. Driving is all about safety and peace, but there are things that can alert us when this is not so. Perhaps there is a light on the dashboard that tells you that you need petrol or oil, or the car is overheating. Perhaps the traffic is bad on the route you are taking and you need to go a different way. Basically, you will either need to work on an internal matter or change something externally.

In life you will be faced with all kinds of situations, you can either choose to use this information to improve your life, or you can be a victim and cry foul. Guess which one will serve you better? If you choose to use the information then you will always have one of two choices: work internally or change something externally. Here is an example: Your boss is always irritable with you. Most people would complain and grumble, but if you use that information then you could do something like this:

Is my boss irritable with me or is he irritable with everyone? If it is everyone then he may have problems I don’t know about and I can choose to not let it affect me and show some understanding. Let’s face it, we all go through stuff and behave badly sometimes, that’s not to excuse bad behaviour but a little tolerance for the human condition please. If he is just irritable with me, then I either need to fix my behaviour or I need to fix something in the situation – perhaps confront the boss or get a new job.

Sounds incredible simple doesn’t it? We do you know how to change a belief or fix a behaviour? Do you know how to constructively confront someone? Do you have the courage to quit your job? It may just open up a world of learning for you.

Nothing is ever wasted in nature, not a single thing. Everything is used for growth and well being. Since you are a part of nature it would serve you well to live like this too. Most people sleep their way through life and miss what their reality is teaching them, and then they get stuck and wonder what has happened. When you understand that reality is there to serve your highest good, no matter how terrible you think something is, then you can stop reacting, slow down, and pay attention to what is being communicated. You are only ever where your decisions have taken you. Wake up, accept the help being offered, and start paying attention. Your life awaits.

Keep the shiny side up 🙂

Anthony.

Need help?….go to www.imagineif.co.za.

Tune in to my weekly radio show – www.blogtalkradio.com/imaginationstation , it’s like this blog on steroids!

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

heart_1289Love 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?

Remember, it’s ALL in your mind! www.imagineif.co.za

Want life change on the go? Listen to “Imagination Station” on Blogtalkradio.com, new shows weekly. Available on iTunes and other podcast sources, you can also download it from www.blogtalkradio.com/imaginationstation

 

The Law of Exchange

577013_43317695aWhen 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 🙂

Anthony.

Need help getting balanced….go to www.imagineif.co.za.

Tune in to my weekly radio show – www.blogtalkradio.com/imaginationstation , it’s like this blog on steroids!

 

The Only Guaranteed Thing

1426637_85746838a 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,

Anthony.

 

Me, myself, and I, and I, and I

383193_9453I have long suspected that I have multiple personality disorder. Put me in a room full of people and I get shy, put me on a stage and I perform. I am calm in traffic, but impatient when my PC drags. Call it what you will, I am a different person in different contexts. Wierd. I am wrong about one thing though, it isn’t a disorder.

The fact is that we all have multiple personalities. We flow effortlessly from personality to personality as the situation requires, the only time it becomes a disorder is when that flow gets disrupted and we get our personalities confused. You would not be the person you are at work when you are with your kids right? You would be the person you are with your girlfriend/boyfriend when you are with your parents right? Surely this is just the same person choosing different behaviours? Perhaps, but when you understand personality you will see that a rose is not a rose when it is a daffodil.

Personality is nothing more than the unique product of a number of beliefs and values working together. Like the ingredients of a cake they produce the yummy end result, but change an ingredient and you no longer have the same cake. The reason why you are a different person in different circumstances is because you are accessing a different set of beliefs and values to match that environment, you pick the beliefs and values that will produce the kind of behaviour that you think will be the most appropriate. The fact that you sometimes produce the wrong behaviour is not a symptom of a disorder, but rather a sign that you need to keep learning.

Personality, in other words, is nothing more than what happens as a result of learning to cope. It always has a goal, personality is designed to get you something. Think about, you crack a joke, why? You pass an opinion, why? You hold your tongue, why? Personality is a strategy designed with a specific outcome in mind. Think of you computer, it has many programs that are all different, you wouldn’t say that any of them are the same program, yet all a program is is code arranged in a certain way to produce a certain result.

There is a lot of freedom in accepting that your personalities are nothing more than programming designed to get a certain result. It means that if you can learn to design a personality then you can pick one that will get you the results you want. This raises an interesting question, if you are not your personality, then who are you?  For now it is suffice to say that “you” are the one who can observe all your personalities. Try this, take a step back (mentally) and watch the stream of thoughts flowing through your mind, now you are getting closer to the real you. So personality is actually nothing more than a coat you wear, and you can change it at will (although it is mostly done unconsciously). Try something else now, pretend to be happy for a second, go on, try it. Smile, stretch, throw your head back. Now pretend to be cross, knit your eyebrows, fold your arms, growl. You just changed clothes and it was that easy.

Ok, so I know that you simply react in a circumstance, it’s not like you consciously choose to behave a certain way. What starts out as a reaction, if repeated enough times, becomes unconscious behaviour. The same also applies if you choose to respond in a certain way in a circumstance, if you repeat that response a few times, it will become unconscious behaviour. Reacting is basically a fear response, it is fight or flight in action. A life of reaction results in undesirable behaviours. Responding on the other hand, is stopping and thinking and choosing your behaviour – and choosing means choosing the best possible ones. If a certain behaviour doesn’t work, you choose another, and another, until you find one that does. This is how a brilliant personality is formed.

A documentary came out recently that nicely demonstrated this point. “Kumare” is about a young man who decides to grow a beard and pretend to be a Guru, and then film the journey. He “pretends” to be the best possible version of himself (actually not really a version, a whole different personality). The results was that he gained followers, he changed lives, and most of all, he changed himself in the process. It makes a powerful statement about the choices you make and stick with (behaviour wise). I dare you to try it, think of the best possible version of yourself and pretend to be that person. Every time you look in the mirror, decide to be someone you really like and admire. It’s not easy, so just try it a little here and little there. You will be astounded with the results. Actually you probably won’t even notice them, real change is like that, it happens quietly over time.

It’s all in your mind! http://www.imagineif.co.za

 

The Strength of the Weak Tie

1215912_73521777aWatching people is a hobby of mine; it amazes me how people drift through life pretending to be isolated individuals. We keep to ourselves, have few friends, and hide behind the walls that we think are keeping us safe. Ask any individual if he/she wants to be successful and the answer will invariably be “YES!” How about you? Do you want to be successful in any small or large way? If you answered in the negative then you can close this document now and go and get your pulse checked. To love life is to want to succeed according to your own definition of success.

Wanting to be successful doesn’t always lead to being successful though, as I am sure you are finding out. So what is it that makes some people succeed and others stay put? Lots of reasons I am sure but one thing that certainly makes a huge difference is what sociologist Mark Granovetter called “The strength of weak ties”. As pointed out by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “The Tipping Point” it’s not the close relationships that lead us to success but the weak ties we form with people as we go through life.

Weak ties? Let me give you a personal example. When the time came for me to upgrade my phone I wanted to downgrade my account and still get the phone I wanted for “free”. No problem there. The provider I chose didn’t have stock so I went to the competition that did – no problem. I have learnt to form weak ties so I got chatting to the sales rep, asked her name and where she was from ,cracked a joke or two, and when the process did hit a snag (something that I was supposed to do myself) she was only too happy to get on the phone and sort it out. To top it off she waived the charge for a new sim card and said “You are a nice customer.” Everywhere I go I get great service. Why? I form weak ties.

Here is another example from Gladwell’s book,

“In his classic 1974 study Getting a Job, Granovetter looked at several hundred professional and technical workers from the Boston suburb of Newton, interviewing them in some detail on their employment history. He found that 56 percent of those he talked to found their job through a personal connection. Another 18.8 percent used formal means—advertisements, headhunters—and roughly 20 percent applied directly. This much is not surprising; the best way to get in the door is through a personal contact. But, curiously, Granovetter found that of those personal connections, the majority were “weak ties.” Of those who used a contact to find a job, only 16.7 percent saw that contact “often”—as they would if the contact were a good friend—and 55.6 percent saw their contact only “occasionally.” Twenty eight percent saw the contact “rarely.” People weren’t getting their jobs through their friends. They were getting them through their acquaintances.”

The world revolves around weak ties, and the person who learns to forge them inherits it. That’s how it seems to me. For some people it’s a walk in the park, smiling at and chatting to strangers is easy, but for others it requires significant change. It’s a change in an area that scares most people to death. Public speaking ranked 6 out of the top ten fears in a study released by Discovery Health; it’s up there with snakes and getting buried alive. For the same reason we are terrified of talking to strangers.

Change is necessary if you want to be successful. There is a systems law called the “law of requisite variety” which states “the sub system within a system with the greatest flexibility of behaviour will control the system”, forming weak ties is skill that can be learned. The more you learn the greater your influence. Learning this one simple skill will give you an unfair advantage, almost nobody does it. I do advise starting small, you are, after all, dealing with your comfort zone. Try asking the person you are dealing with their name, comment about the weather to a stranger in a queue, or get some personal information, like a birthday, from a colleague you never speak to then give them a card on their birthday, in such ways are weak ties forged. You will be amazed how everyone treats you better when you start doing this.

You will generally find that very successful people have a few close friends but lots of acquaintances, the opposite is true for not so successful people – they have a few strong ties but few if no weak ties. This is what the whole idea of network marketing is about. Those who succeed are those who understand that it is about making weak ties and not about sales. It is the difference between making one sale and making a hundred. You might not sell to the person with whom you make the weak tie, but you might end up selling to the 100 people they know.

Let’s face it, life is about network marketing and the product is you. Spend less time trying to sell “yourself” and start buying into other people in small ways. That would be like getting your money to work for you instead of you working for your money.

Forming weak ties makes you memorable. So few people do it that it really makes you stand out. I get a wave every time I walk past the mobile phone store and I know that if I ever need help with my contract I will get fantastic service. What is amazing is that I know people who deal with the same store and say that the service there is lousy, I just say “Speak to so and so and tell her that I sent you”. The strength of the weak tie.

Why not visit me on my site ww.imagineif.co.za or tune into my weekly radio show on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/zeronaughts