Daily Change: Chapter 1 What Are You Paying Attention to?

Chapter 1
What are you paying attention to?

One must see in every human being only that which is worthy of praise. When this is done, one can be a friend to the whole human race. If, however, we look at people from the standpoint of their faults, then being a friend to them is a formidable task.(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 169)

You are being asked to give a speech in front of a group on a certain topic. Instead of feeling hopeful and enthusiastic about the message that you are about to deliver, your body is filled with fear.

Many parents and teachers in the world have the idea that if they point out to children all of the things that they are doing wrong, that they will somehow learn to be much better in life in all things. Instead of paying attention to the positive things that their children do, a lot of people almost exclusively attend to the negative. If you have a grown up in a world like this, where your negatives have been constantly pointed out, then your mind will have the habit of looking for the negatives in everything you do. If you have a room full of people ready to hear you, your mind believes that they are all going to find only your negatives. My own experience, fortunately, was quite the opposite. When I was young preparing for a speech, my father and mother prepared me well to appear before a group. They taught me how to deliver a speech and how to make it interesting so that when I delivered it, I received very positive responses from the audience. Later, if the opposite happened, that is, I didn’t get the response I wanted, I learned to adjust the presentations to get better responses, but I never have had a lot of fear about public speaking because in my mind I see positive responses.

So when we want to change, the first thing we can do is simply find the way the mind is paying attention to the current situation. When there is fear, it means that the mind is attending to something negative.  Consider what happens to your mind when you are running a marathon.  At 38 kilometres in a marathon, the mental battle between the part of you that wants you to stop and the one that wants to finish in a positive way is extremely brutal. It is like a blitzkrieg of negative energy trying to get you to stop. Getting one leg to follow another is like a debate in the Security Council at the United Nations. One part has so much logical sense in why you should not go forward in what seems to be a really foolish endeavour, while the other is full of hope and confidence in a successful ending. At 38 kilometres, despite the pain, the end is too near to give into its constant chatter and so a happy ending usually occurs.


Training for running a marathon is a process that requires keeping your mind constantly focused on positives. Almost everyday in training the negative feelings can get so intense that you want to stop. The thing that keeps you going is that the mind keeps paying attention to positives, keeps seeing the positive end.

When a five-year-old child faces the climbing wall for the first time, they inevitably feel fear when they get to a certain part of the wall. Instead of attending to the joy of climbing and reaching new heights, they attend to the possibility of falling and hurting themselves which sends feelings of fear throughout their young bodies. As they practice, the fear gives way to the positive thoughts by taking a few more steps each day. This is really what daily change is all about. You train your mind to attend to the positive things by changing how the mind is attending to the negatives.

Daily Change: Introduction

The Power of Daily Change
The End is in the Beginning

“Consider not the present condition, but rather foresee the future and the end. A seed in the beginning is very small, but in the end a great tree. One should not consider the seed, but the tree and its abundance of blossoms, leaves and fruits.”   Baha’u’llah

“We are going to Vancouver.”

It is 5:00 PM the day before the last day of school, the day of anticipation of the long awaited and deserved rest period. I have just arrived in my apartment and am about to lie down on the living room couch to get a few moments of rest. The phone rings. It is the executive secretary of the acting director. She tells me that I have a meeting with the executive committee of the school council the next morning. I fear the worst in the same manner that any of the 750 students do when an administrator suddenly pulls them out of the middle of a class. It must be bad, but I quickly dismiss it with a host of other reasons for the meeting. When I mention the call to my wife, she is certain that my fear will be realized. She calls our children in Vancouver to say that we may be spending the next year with them. Then we sit down at the dining room table to consult about our options should the worst actually occur. Should we stay or should we go? That is the question. We both agree to return to Vancouver if it happens. Our children are already leading cheers for the worst in hopes that our bad is their gain. We also talk about going to the Pantanal, a huge watershed in Brazil, known for wildlife observing if the worst does not happen. My wife begins to pack and make a list of all the household items we should sell. She is certain.
Before the meeting I tell her that in an hour I will tell her whether we are going to the Pantanal or to Vancouver. I walk into the meeting and realize that the end has come. They tell me that I am disconnected from the school. It is a strange word for me even in Portuguese to be disconnected as if I had ever been connected to them. They give a few reasons. I ask them why I haven’t been informed previously about the perceived weaknesses. They tell me that they have been giving me signs, but I haven’t been reading them correctly. At that point I know that any chance for justice is impossible. I arise from my chair, turn, and walk away.
From the meeting room to my wife’s classroom is about a 100-meter walk. I move slowly and deliberately trying not be noticed. The reality has not fully set in. I approach her door, gaze at her, and say, “We are going to Vancouver.” The words now spoken make the decision of the Council suddenly feel real. My voice cracks, tears begin to flow.

I am not expecting to make such a radical departure from Brazil, but it happens. The executive committee changes my life in a flash. It is traumatic. Like most traumas the first moments of shock seem rather unreal as in the death of a relative or close friend. It is a radical change, but not the one that I had planned for. Being fired as abruptly as I was alters everything, or does it?

As in previous traumas when I am suddenly forced to make a change, I begin by searching through the inspirational writings of my faith, the Baha’i Faith. In one of the mystical writings I find some solace. It recounts a story of a lovesick young man who is ready to end his life because he has lost his lover. He leaves his house in the middle of the night ready to be finished with his weariness, when, on a sudden, a watchman sees him and begins to chase after him. The weary lover begins a frantic attempt to escape by running as fast as he can. After awhile other watchmen enter the chase, and it seems as if his life will be ended not by his own hands, but by the guards. He comes to a dead end where the only choice he has to survive is to scale a huge wall. With all of the effort he can muster, he climbs the wall and leaps down to the other side. There he finds himself in a beautiful garden and before him is his lover holding a ring.

The writing goes on to say that if he had known his end in the beginning, he would have paid the watchmen a big sum of money, but as he was blinded, he could only moan and complain. He had been stuck in his grief, but the seeming injustice of the watchman became the cause of him finding his heart’s desire.

Since I am newly fired, my ears want no thought of paying riches to the executive committee for firing me as if it will be the cause of finding what I am truly looking for like in the story of weary lover, but this is the change I must make if I am to have a bright future. How is it possible to think positively when I have just been thrown out? I want revenge. My temporary solace is that all of my staff are angry, crying, and shocked. Their evaluation of me is 180 degrees opposite of the executive committee. A new leaf is about to turn over in the book of my life, full of bright and new opportunities and wonder, but right now I am sitting in huge pool of grief and anger.

I read the story of the weary lover again and again hoping that the brightness of the future will burn away the pain of the current moment. The pain lingers. I am worn out. I retreat to the living room couch and turn the TV on hoping it will dull the pain and let me forget for a little while.

How to get the bright lights of the future to turn back on again after having had such a dark thing happen is what ‘daily change’ is all about. Being fired, losing a loved one, having a devastating illness, or having all of your money stolen are tough. Imagine the difficulties of a child survivor of the great tsunami of 2004 who has lost his parents and all of his brothers and sisters. How is his light ever going to be bright again? Who wants to be hopeful about a future where the possibility of things being taken away is so great?

Lesson one in daily change is the belief that the future is bright; that there are unlimited possibilities ahead and that the greatest source of learning is the book of your own life, especially the dark chapters. No one wants painful difficulties, but everyone has them. It is part of being human. It is where the great learning is, the rich reference libraries from which you can do great research. A life without much negative experience has less potential for positive things to happen.

Lesson two is that lesson one about the future being bright is not a guarantee. Everyone learns his way to a bright future. There is no such a thing as a positive future that is just given to you. World peace is something that humanity is going to have to learn. It is not coming down from the clouds. If it were going to come down from the clouds, it would have already come. We need difficulties and challenges so that the future can keep growing in brightness. But just having difficulties is no guarantee that you will deal with them in the right way. Most people don’t. Most people are overcome by them. Tests are hard. Life can be hard, but getting to the bright side is worth all of the work.

Lesson three about having a brighter future is that the brighter it is, the brighter it can become. We used to think that a person’s potential was fixed. Now we understand that every time we actualize a new capability, we open the door for more positive capabilities that make things better. Therefore, change is done best, when it is done everyday. Don’t try to change all at once nor expect that world peace is going to come in one moment. The future is made better by making positive change habitual. Monumental change is done by changing everyday.

If I want to have big change in my life, then what I can do is just change everyday. I don’t have to have some great restructuring scheme or magical plan. What I need is the ability to make key changes everyday and when I consistently do that, they become huge. It seems to me that the great majority of us are trying to change by hitting the jackpot. We are hoping that one day we will win the lottery so that our whole life will be better. Executives often try to do a whole restructuring of companies or organizations to try to make their companies a lot of profit in a short period. It is certain that winning a large sum of money will change some things from one day to the next and that a company may get some short term growth by restructuring, but if a couple was fighting constantly as a way of resolving problems before they won the money, the money isn’t going to stop the fighting nor will restructuring solve the reason a company had the problems in the first place.

I am not against restructuring as a concept even though, like most of the people who are reading this book, I have lived through some really horrendous restructuring schemes. I wish that restructuring or winning the jackpot worked, but the premise just doesn’t make common sense to me. You can help the grass grow with fertilizer and sunshine and water, but you just can’t yank the plant out of the seed. When you make a physical restructuring of a company or win a big sum of money, you still basically have the same people running and working the company who haven’t yet made very many personal changes. The people who have won a large sum of money usually have the same bad strategies that kept them from having money before; so getting lots of it will just mean that they will use the same bad strategies with a lot more money. If they were used to losing their money very quickly before, now they will just lose a lot of it very quickly. Change, first and foremost, is about changing our own selves and the way we do things. When we change ourselves, the restructuring and the jackpots follow more naturally and actually work.

What should make you suspicious about restructuring, if you are not so already, is the fact that the people at the top keep getting wealthier while the people at the bottom become fewer. Now if a company would cut wages at the very top that would be radical change, but for the most part companies just replace one person with someone else who has been reared with basically the same strategies and then pay them more. Real change rarely occurs because you can’t get top executives who think that what they are making in comparison to the bottom is ludicrous. If you compare the growth of salary for someone, who is at the top, like a television anchorperson on major networks in the United States with the growth of salary of reporters or camera operators since the 1980s, you will see that the people at the top have grown in salary maybe 100 times what they were getting in the 1970s. The camera operators maybe have raised their salaries 1 time. If that doesn’t make you suspicious about the people at the top and their motives, I don’t know what will.

It is the spring of 1998. I have been fired from a job that I was in for 8 years where I have had nothing but very high evaluations. I am victim of restructuring. But right now that is not on my mind. I have about 6 kilometres to go in 42 k marathon in Vancouver and I feel like I am going to die. Some children offer me candy from the side of the road along the way which I take hoping that anything will spur me forward. I walk for a while, and then continue the run. At last as I approach the finish line the announcer calls out my name. I am in the middle of the pact of some 2500 runners. He is calling out my name over the PA system. I feel so encouraged. As I cross the finish line I find that I am overcome with emotion that I simply cannot explain. I am fired, but I am still running. I am on the wrong end of restructuring for the first time in my life. My future feels really bright. The small group who did the restructuring do not know it, but their days are numbered. Soon they will be gone as will the organization. It takes about 8 years before their doors are permanently closed. My running days have barely begun.

The idea of restructuring is that you can gain a lot of physical reward, by making sudden shifts in the physical structure. It is the same reason so many athletes want to take a drug to help their performance. Restructuring is like trying to take drugs to improve your life. At its best it gives short-term benefits. At its worst it kills us. It is a form of cheating; taking the easy way out and it just doesn’t work in the long term. If we attack a country to have a change of government believing that the change of government is going to greatly benefit the country overnight, we are in for a rude awakening. If the old government was characterized by cheating and corruption, restructuring is not going to change what is essentially a systemic process issue. There is always only one way forward in life, changing your own self for the better.

I wish I could just point a finger at the re-structurers in the world and tell them that they need to change, but the truth is, that as a member of the culture that created restructuring and lotteries, I am quite vulnerable to its way of thinking as well. I just want change right now really fast with a huge share of the rewards so that my life will be better and happier. I wish that I could say that I was completely free of restructuring thinking, but the truth is I am not and it would be difficult to find even one person who is not at least partially infected by its curse.

We are living in a time when two strategies of change, the jackpot-restructuring approach and the consistent process approach, are in a competitive struggle with each other. I have participated in many sports in my life and was in highly competitive sports all through high school. What we all worshiped was being number one, the winner, and we didn’t want to be second place, so when my high school football team came in second place in the state playoffs, it was extremely painful for me even though I can remember that it was one of the best games of my life and that we had had the best team in the history of the school. I was in playing very hard and doing some things that I hadn’t been able to do before, but because we lost, I felt dejected and heart-broken. I wanted the game to be the jackpot, to have it give me a lot of rewards, but we lost the game and I missed the point. Fortunately, in the 1970s a huge new movement of physical activity began in the world, a movement based upon the value of participation over the value of winning or losing. One of the manifestations of the movement was road running. Whereas before there were only a few crazy cross country runners, suddenly large numbers of people began training to run huge distances like 5 kilometres. With 1000 people in a race the chances of winning were very slim, but the joy of participating and winning a participation shirt drew large numbers into a field where before there had only been a handful. Although we still had the super athletes, the participation movement gave rise to the idea that every ordinary person was capable of changing their lives for the better. You could finish in the middle of the pack and feel fantastic because you made a huge effort and maybe set a personal best.

Although the 1980s saw the jackpot theory reappear more viciously with such ideas as trickle-down economics where the rich made a lot more money than ever before and where they were suddenly supposed to give it to everyone else, but to no one’s surprise kept it, participation as a dynamic since the late 90s has increased dramatically as a powerful force. People have taken to the streets in larger numbers than ever to improve themselves.
We have, on the one hand, a culture that rewards the best athletes, the top executives, the big stars with huge amounts of money. A person playing baseball can earn $10,000 just for playing one game for a couple of hours. A soccer player in Europe can earn $250,000 per week. On the other hand we have millions of people participating in sports like never before without the hope of any financial reward. They do it because they love it and the participation brings a lot of satisfaction about the growth they are experiencing.

A few people, on the one hand, have really hit the jackpot financially in the sports world or other financial worlds, and at the same time, millions and millions of people are hitting the participation jackpot as well, that is, they are reaping the rewards of change through constant participation.

We could argue for a long time about the justice of whether or not a player or company executive doing restructuring should earn so many 1000 times more financially than the ordinary participant. It hardly seems fair especially since the amount of effort isn’t a 1000 times more, but the purpose in writing about change is not to focus on justice or the need for it. The world is obviously in a state of extreme injustice. We have all probably been treated unjustly and been hurt in horrific ways by it. I don’t doubt that it will continue for some time to come. I am not interested at this point in history in restructuring the way we pay people especially how much more we pay a few people. What I am interested in is encouraging the movement that has already begun in the rest of us, the daily change movement. At some point, I am sure that the injustice will right itself because the force of the daily change movement, which is based in participation, will be just too large for the jack potters to resist and it is just so much more rewarding than the physical rewards.

We now stand on the threshold of creating a new culture, one where change is constant and daily and where we all take over the world and participate in it fully.  Stay tuned for Chapter 1, What Are You Paying Attention To.

How to Get to Results that are Better than you Imagined.

There I am looking down the barrel of a gun.  I am about to be killed.  I start to beg for my life and try to get away.    The person with the gun laughs at me in my humiliated state and let’s me go. This dream is followed by a series of other ones where some plans are killed or people walk away from me.

I know enough about dreams to realize that when a nightmare or super negative dream occurs that I am at the beginning of a new process.   In the dream world a gun is weapon people use to put others down so that they feel better or higher.   I am put down and full on into fear just by the thought of a put down in the dream.   How could this happen after so much work with put downs?   It is like my plans and memory of my higher self are killed with the imagination of negative criticism.

Because  the imagined thought of criticism can destroy or kill my plans,  I realize that the capacity that is calling me is that of being able to get to places that are better than my positive mine can imagined.  The difficulty is the fear of being so killed in a psychological sense that my ego takes completely over.  I have worked with people over the years who are so into power and dominance that there true self seems to have completely left them, but I have forgotten when I was in a state where fear had so completely taken over me  that it was as if my true self  was not there at all.    This happened somewhere around the age of 18, my first year away from home, when I was in a very negative environment.   It is a memory I have buried or not wished to face, but one that one of best friends pointed out about a week ago.

It is sobering thought for me to realize that a group of people could have had that kind of power over me and that I was so weak that I seemed to have completely lost my true self.   They did it through constant criticism and a lot of yelling where nothing  I did was ever quite right.   Not everyone lost themselves in that environment which makes my feelings about myself even worse.   I seemed to have buried myself.   What was left was a lot of acting on the basis of fear.

After processing the fear state for about an hour this morning and answering some dream emails,  I decided to go out for a walk.   The new process of being able to get further than the imagined state was starting to kick in.   Instead of walking for about 15 minutes as planned, the walk ended up being 90 minutes.  It was not  particularly taxing exercise for me, but it showed the progress.  My imagination went for a 15-20 minute walk, but my true self went for 90 minutes.   Is that really possible that your true self can go further than your imagination.  It is counter-intuitive for me.

The killing process was deliberate or so they said.  They actual said it out loud.  The plan was to destroy me (us) as I knew it and then be recreated in their image.   While I never was remade in their image,  I now realize and have to be truthful that they achieved the first part.  My true self got buried, blurred, difficult to access.   I ended up quitting one thing after another for about two years.   It was only when my mother gave me a copy of the book, Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz that my true self seem to rise from the grave.   Shortly after that I left the school.

Forget about putting restrictions on guns if you are an American.  What you really need to work on is eliminating how vicious criticism kills the soul.   It killed me.   I wished that I would have been stronger, but I was not.  Call me a wimp if you will.  I was.

It was not until I began to do the Psycho-Cybernetics exercises that I could regain a sense of who my true self really was.  By and large it is memory work.   It is positive memory work.  It is remembering positive aspects of yourself and then living in those memories.  It is not easy to let go of loud and constant memories of authority figures telling you that you are worthless scum. That is what I was up against, a killing machine, much more deadly than the thousands of nuclear warheads we had.   It is a soul killer.

What is the key to reviving your soul?   I am not sure that I have all of the answers, but the process is pretty straightforward.  Here are some initial steps.

  1.  Realize that anyone who is doing a lot of negative mongering is doing it for their own gain.  There is no positive intention other than domination.   When you understand this, it puts you in a state of mind that allows the yelling and criticism to be let go of.   There must of been a part of me that believed them.   I wish that I would have been stronger back them, but I wasn’t.
  2.  The second step is to stop listening to the negative criticism in your head by just turning down the volume.   You can just turn it right off.   You start listening and then you turn it off.  It is simple.  Try it.   Imagine someone really criticizing or yelling at you and then just turn it right down to nothing.
  3.  The third step is access your positive voice inside your mind that reminds you of all of your positive abilities.   Just turn up the volume and hear it.  It will probably generate positive visual memories as well.
  4.  After that you can start with negative and as you are turning the volume down, you can turn the volume of  the positive up.   This will change from dead to alive right before your ears. 

You will need to practice the above exercise lots of times if your memories are severe.

The next step is to imagine positives things and then go out and do them.   If you have extremely positive memories being generated in your mind rather than fear, the reality is actually going to end up better than the imagination.   You have to try this.   Start with the hearing yourself speak about your positive capacities and memories, then feel yourself inside the memory.  After this do the imagination work.   Your results are going to surprise you.

Wild Fires in the Dream World: Building the Virtue of Hope

Counseling Work with Richard Hastings

I am currently in a small town in northern British Columbia in Canada after having done a workshop with some young people on the weekend because our car had some troubles as we were leaving town.     It just so happened that this area was hit really hard this past summer with raging fires on large areas of land.  Thousands of the people had to be evacuated.  Everyone has a story about the fires.

It got me to thinking about the metaphor of raging fires in nature and what it means in terms of one’s functioning in the world.   Here is a short post with some of my thoughts.   The way you are overcome by fire inside  means that something is burning you up.   Being burnt up inside happens when you are stuck in the negative present tense.  What does this mean?  If you are a coal miner in the U.S. or used to working in lumber mills in Canada, you could be stuck in the negative present tense because how you made a living is no longer as viable.  You look around and become angered about the fact that something that used to be so lucrative is now gone.   It is the emotion of anger about the present conditions that causes the roaring fire inside.   It can literally consume your mind and actions.

When a fire like that is burning inside of you because of the current conditions,  you can just be so caught up in blame that your life becomes ruined.    At first you may look for a leader who is going to get  your work back, as is the current case in the U.S., but really an industry like coal is a dead one.  What works instead is to engage the virtue of hope.    Hope is what moves you into the future.  It sees positive possibilities of a different kind of future and then gets you into action toward them.    Hope is an amazing energy, but to get to it you absolutely have to let go of the fiery blaming conditions inside.   This is the key.

To exercise hope you can practice this exercise.  When you take your next vacation, just plan your destination and maybe a couple of nights of where you are going to stay.  Leave everything else open.   When you get to the destination, starting feeling hope by checking out all of the positive possibilities to do in the location.  Then do them one after another.   By the end hope will be huge in you.

My Recurring Dream of the Air Force Academy and Why People Think the Current President is Correct

This is where I spent the first three years of my university education.  It is called the Air Force Academy.  Its purpose is to train young men and women to become officers in the U.S. Air Force.   When I was a young person and they started recruiting me because I was a good student and played football,  I somehow believed that if I went there I would be able to handle everything in life much better.  I wanted to not be affected by criticism or be timid in life.    I don’t know how I came up with this kind of imagination.    It just looked like the place to give me that kind of confidence.    Unfortunately or fortunately depending on the way you look at it, it didn’t work.    The methodology of the military is that if you are in a higher rank you can criticize wildly and are expected to do so to the lower ranks.   If you are of a lower rank, you are just supposed to obey and take it.    Criticism of the lower ranks to the higher ranks is like a mortal sin.   So after about 3 years of fighting with myself,  I realized that I really didn’t want to have anything to do with that kind of system.  I packed my bags and left.

Over the course of the last 40 years I continue to have occasional dreams of the Air Force Academy.   In the dream I am the age I am currently going back there to try to graduate.    Somewhere in the middle of the dream I realize that it is not the place for me and I have to figure out how to quit again.   It is a stubborn recurring dream.  It doesn’t want to go away.  Last night I had it again so I decided to try to find out why.   That is when I discovered the illusion that graduating from there was going to somehow magically make me overcome timidity and difficulty handling criticism.   I am still holding onto the illusion that a military environment is the key to my transformation.  I am actually pretty embarrassed to admit it.      I could go on for a long time about why a military environment doesn’t work,  but science has already done a pretty good job of proving why it is ineffective.   The kind of environment that is conducive to change includes a high level of encouragement,  frank and open consultations,  respect for everyone’s role, and also respect for the authority.    Criticism has consistently been shown to be the least effective method of change,  yet most military organizations still cling to it, but only in one direction, downward on the chain of command.   Effective organizations invite feedback from everyone.

I am slow to let go of the illusion despite the science.    Why is that?   Today I am letting it go.

The current president of the U.S. comes from a military school training and his method seems to be what they taught us at the Air Force Academy which is that it is OK and highly desirable for the positions of higher rank to criticize the lower rank, but not the other way around.    If you give him feedback on his actions, like criticizing an officer in the military,  it seems to be viewed as insubordination.   This is the same thing that happens in so many families in the world.  A father assumes the military authority that he can criticize at will and others have to do exactly as he demands.   Feedback to him is insubordination.     The real fear in the officer corps at the Air Force Academy was that maybe the feedback of the lower ranks was actually right. We were right when we gave them feedback on the haircut policy.   The length of one’s hair had nothing to do with self-discipline as they claimed.   So if they were wrong about that, what else were they wrong about.    Stopping the feedback allows them to not have to face their own incompetence.     They can make others look bad so they are not seen as incompetent.

Race is a perfect place where this kind of attitude comes into play.   If you are of race that has traditionally been seen as higher and treated as a higher ranking race,  you may have the tendency to see other races as insubordinate when they give feedback like taking a knee during the national anthem.     This happens because you don’t want to be seen as incompetent.    If you are of a superior rank, how could someone of a lower rank give accurate feedback that is actually true.    If you accept the feedback, you accept the equality.    If you accept the equality, you have to come to terms with your own incompetence.

The dream says that the illusion that the military way of doing things where the higher rank is allowed to criticize the lower rank, but not the other way around is a strategy that is ineffective because it doesn’t make people less timid or able to handle criticism better.  It makes them more timid and less able to receive feedback.   What works is encouragement,  seeing the best in others and honoring it, not criticism.   Encouragement is an effective change strategy because it builds the will to change the weaker parts.     When you are confident in who you are already, you will be excited about developing those aspects of yourself that are not so strong.    The meaning of the dream is that encouragement works.

In Search of a Better World: Book Promotion

In Search of a Better World is an incredible book that helps us all move from the world of not knowing what to do about the conditions of the world to being inspired to act in our communities on the theme of justice.    Payam recounts his own challenges growing up in Canada as an immigrant after having been a religious refugee from Iran in the 1970s.   This is done in the back drop of the historical conditions of the world.   It is not written in an us versus them format, nor does it claim to have clear definitive answers.  It is one man’s struggle to promote justice after having been a lawyer in the war crimes trials for the atrocities committed in Bosnia and witnessed the aftermath in other places like Cambodia and Rwanda.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get your hands on this incredible book.  You won’t be able to put it down.

Are You Planning Your Life According the Old Paradigm or the New One?

What is the Old Paradigm?    In the old way of doing things there was an effort on people who had the advantage like leaders or certain cultural groups to keep things just the way they are.   While they won’t admit it, the effort is to hold onto the status quo where they have the power and control.  One of the keys to maintaining the old paradigm is to have an enemy.    The current enemy seems to be immigrants, terrorists, and money for social improvements.   You are living unconsciously in this paradigm if you are planning your future as if things are going to be the same in a few decades.    The essence of the paradigm is that those who have privilege are going to still have it in the future.   You can also be living in the paradigm on the side of exclusion by remaining in fear of not having resources or privileges.    The people with privilege are obviously not going to change that willingly,  but the people who are excluded also can have a terrible time with change because they often believe that the solution is for them to have privilege.

The new paradigm is built on one major process,  change.     What is happening and is just going to accelerate is the ability for people to make significant changes in their lives.  The science of change is improving all the time.    The future is going to look so different that we will hardly recognize it, and not like those post-apocalyptic movies.   It is going to be extremely positive in every way except to those who want to keep privilege.   Privilege is on its way out.  What is in is the ability to get better and more positive everyday.   People are going to get so good at change that they will not be able to imagine that a day can go buy where they are not involved in a major change process.   Everyday they will looking forward to a new capacity coming in.    Every capacity and new ones will be developed by millions and millions each day.  The time is coming when material things will not be the major concern.   The major concern will be for the welfare of the whole and everyone in it.   We will be like a living organism of constant growth.

Which paradigm or you in?   Time to get into the new paradigm.  Start changing and learning how to do it.

The Miracle Cure for Negative Self-Talk

As you are reading this post imagine that you could go out into the future and visit your positive self that had solved the current biggest challenges you are facing.   That self, out there in the future, would have a voice, most likely a very enthusiastic one, and it would be so giving you tons and tons of encouragement.

When you watch tennis matches on TV, you are seeing professional players who have been training incessantly day in and day out for years upon years.  They have made it to where they are with raw talent that is combined with good coaching and hard work.    But they sometimes have days where the opponent frustrates them completely or days when they frustrate themselves.    When this happens, you can see them going into their negative self talk to begin the process of beating themselves up.    It is as if they have this belief that if you talk negatively to yourself in a loud and harsh manner, that it is somehow going to knock themselves out of their current state and into a more positive one that can solve the opponent.

When we get stuck in a cycle of negative self talk about a particular situation like what to do in a relationship or how to get a business moving forward,  it is called ruminating.  It would be so great if we could just turn on a clock, start ruminating, and then come out on the other end with a positive solution.    The problem is that it just doesn’t work.   Negative self talk is critical, blaming, judgmental and all of the bad things we say that you shouldn’t do to yourself or others.

The miracle cure for negative self talk that will get you moving in a positive direction is to hear the positive you out in the future that has already solved the situation.   The reason that it is a miracle cure is because that future self is upbeat, positive, encouraging,  devoid of all of the negative characteristics of the negative self-talk.  When you hear that positive voice, it gets you aligned with your higher positive self,  then the solutions begin coming to you.

The problem with ruminating is that it just keeps throwing the same tired solutions, that didn’t work in the past, right in your face.   It is a no-win process.   The positive voice out in the future aligns you with your higher being that is aligned with the Greater Spirit.  Then all positive things begin to happen.   Back to tennis!  Roger Federer, who already is way beyond the age where nearly every professional retires, won two grand slam tennis tournaments this year.   How did he do it?   Basically he seems to have the ability to keep a positive frame of mind and then solve the problems that are in front of him.    He keeps inventing new solutions to his game that solve the challenges in front of him.    You hardly ever see him engaging in negative self talk.  He keeps positive and then looks for new solutions.


Why is it a miracle?   It is a miracle because it takes you out of your ego, your lower self, that keeps repeating the same mistakes,  and puts you right into your higher self, that is aligned with the energies where are the positive solutions are.  Try listening to the voice in the future that has solved the current challenges.



Why People Cannot Develop Their Own Gifts

My last two posts were about how being confident with your gifts is the antidote to worry.   This short post is about some cultural factors that don’t allow most people to develop their inner unique talents.

I don’t want to get too complex about this.   If you go to almost any school in the entire planet (with a few exceptions),  there are basically three virtues that teachers and administrators love to see in their students,  obedience, respect,  and determination.  “Do what I say and do it for as long as you can?”   When students act in this manner,  teachers are really happy.  I am not saying that there are not a lot of teachers who promote creativity, taking risks, or lateral thinking.    It is just that the system in general is preparing students to work really hard so that they can be workaholics for others.    If you look at some of the treasured professions like law and medicine,  the professions are characterized by extremely long work hours that follow prescribed ways of acting.

To get to other gifts besides determination and respect and obedience you need environments that allow for less production and more experimenting and curiosity, less results and more risk taking.   In the last school that I worked in a typical student in the International Baccalaureate program hardly had a moment to breathe and no free time on weekends.  Every moment from early morning to late at night was taken up by someone else’s requirements.  It is nice an environment that is conducive to developing your own uniqueness and special talents.    It is for your participation in the culture as it is.


Counseling Work with Richard Hastings

What is more helpful which many companies are beginning to realize is that you need both determination-type qualities and those that allow more freedom and exploration.   It is a dynamic balance, that is not that easy to achieve.  You shouldn’t try to pack your whole calendar for the week, for instance, because you need time for emergent outcomes that come out of creative inspiration.   It is not an either-or proposition.  It is a both/and dynamic.   We can work hard and we can be free and creative.

My experience is that when you are tuned into your dreams or your inspiration, then the gifts you need to develop will readily come calling.   You just have to be paying attention.

Dealing with Worry Part 2: How to Not Allow Worry to Take You Over the Edge to the Dark Side

In part one of dealing with worry I was trying to show that when you are confident with your internal gifts and act out of them, then positive things begin to show up all around.   What happens when worry gets the better of you?  

Human beings have two aspects to themselves, an ego, which is where there negative emotions are, and their true selves, which is where their positive capacities that do beneficial things live.   Both work together in a dynamic way to help you grow.   Since the ego is our animal heritage, it has a tendency to do what animals do under threat, fight or flee.   If the ego is in control of the person,  it just completely blocks the true self and does all kinds of things for self-interest or self-glorification or self-protection.

  • Worry, in our current world, seems to be at epidemic proportions.  It is definitely in control.  The internal true self of the world is definitely not in control.  It is moving and becoming stronger, but  worry is still having its day, hopefully its last day.   There are certain historical leaders who really took advantage of their worried states and then became extremely brutal.  How did they do it?   Worry sees the future as negative.  It sees threats from various directions and makes one feel out of control with it, often overwhelmed.    If you are on the fighting end of an ego response and you win some fights, the result of winning is a feeling of power.   It is a drug-like feeling.   As a person continues to fight and win, the addiction to the power grows and then the ego is totally out of control and becomes brutal.   It can be in a family, a city, or a nation.  There is no difference.

If worry is on the fleeing side, it still starts with seeing the future as negative, but instead of fighting and perhaps winning,  it runs away into areas other than where you are gifted.   When you flee with worry, you stay far away from your true self. You can seriously into mental illness.

The first step in dealing with worry or for that matter any negative emotion is to become friendly with it.  Think of worry as your best friend.  If you know the secret to transformation, then it is relatively easy to make it your best friend.   You are not trying to get rid of worry.  You are just trying to act more and more out of your gifts.   Worry will go away by itself when you know what it’s purpose is.   The purpose of worry is to wake you up and tell you that you are not acting out of your gifts.

When an emotion like worry is at epidemic proportions like it is right now in the world, it simply means that the masses of humanity are not acting out of their gifted selves.   They are either fleeing or fighting into their protected selves to deal with the negative future that they are perceiving.   It is why parents in certain cultures never allow their children moments when they are free to think or play.   They just try to keep them busy in structured activities from the time they wake up to the time they sleep.  They are worried that if they don’t do this, that they are going to end up on the street or in a less paying profession.  They see the future as negative.   Worry is the wake up call that lets you know that your future is really messed up.   It needs an overhaul.    All we have to do is change our futures from negative to positive and then begin acting out of our gifted selves.

Change your negative future right now.  See a positive future where people cooperate,  get along, help each other.


Getting Over Worry and Living Freely in Your Gifted Self

Worry a.k.a. anxiety is the negative emotion that projects a negative illusion onto the future so that you can maintain your present state in a protected manner.   If you are more conservative in your views or politics,  you see the future as someone coming in and taking away what you already have.   It causes you to fight for the present state.   If, however, you are more liberal in your views,  you will see the future as more of the same where, for instance the rich have a decided advantage.   Then you will fight for the present state where the possibility of change is alive.     Here is something that you may not have considered.  The enemy isn’t the other party or people who espouse the opposite views.   The enemy is worry.

Take the Republican Party in the U.S. or the Conservatives in the U.K..   In their worried future they see foreign invaders coming to take all of the jobs and promote terrorism.   On the other hand the Democrats or Liberals feel threatened by the conservatives closing all of the doors to the less wealthy and all opportunities to expand commerce with other countries.   Both sides have really valid arguments.   The problem is that when worry rules the day, as it does right now,  both sides gets entrenched.

How does worry work and how do you let it go?    Worry happens when people do not have confidence in their own gifted selves.   We all are extremely gifted by nature.  There is no one left out,   but when we stop relying on our gifts and being extremely confident in them,  then the future goes from a positive state to a negative one.   If you are relying on your own inner gifts,  then you naturally will be enthusiastic and positive about the future.  As soon as worry creeps in, the future changes in a negative direction so that the present can be protected.

We all just need to feel more gifted.  Then we will be able to talk to each other and find mutual solutions.   When we lose our worry, we start seeing people as gifted and then we want to be with them even though they may be of a different culture or religion.   When we relate inwardly to our own gifts and then outwardly to other people’s gifts, then our worry goes away because we act out of our true selves with very positive energy.    We don’t have to label ourselves as conservative or liberal.  We can say that we are gifted.

Exercise to get rid of worry.

  1.  Start to feel worried and then see the negative vision that it projects.    Write the negative vision on a paper.   If you can then turn the negative vision into a metaphoric vision it will be better.    For instance, you may be worried that your child is not going to university because he/she doesn’t work hard.   Feel the worry, project the image,  and see if metaphorically like he is going to end up in wasteland with no food or drink.
  2.  Say to yourself that this is just worry.  It is not real.   I need to live in my gifts.
  3. Make a list of your top 5 gifts such as your ability to connect to others, your ability to attend to details,  your ability to solve complex problems, or your ability to hold firm to a principle.   Then with each gift write some times when you acted out of that energy.   Relive the experiences as many times as you can.
  4. As you relive your gifts,  you will notice that your future begins to shift from negative to positive.  You might even feel enthusiastic.
  5. Take the vision of the negative future and let it just vanish away while you take on a really positive one where you are using your gifts.


Dealing With Blemishes in Dreams and in Real Life

This is really great for being self-conscious especially with young people.

Dreams For Peace

A blemish in a dream is an imperfection.   Everyone has blemishes because everyone is imperfect.   The modern culture seems to want me to be like this photo below.   I pick up my copy of Runner’s World Magazine which is full of good articles and good advice, but the cover shot is the perfect man image.   The visual image is the unconscious goal, not everything else about a healthy life style, good health, etc..  Look perfect like the guy in the photo!  That is the message.


How did we get here to where we have to look perfect all the time?   This is actually not a new phenomenon.  It has been with us for quite some time now, more with women than men.   Making mistakes, having weaknesses, blemishes in appearance have been and continue to be a source of great shame in the culture.   I wish I could…

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Catastrophe/Apocalyptic Dreams

This post was written about 5 years ago, but it is just as applicable today. When you think of an apocalypse, make it personal rather than global because you can change your own personal apocalypse into something amazingly wonderful. You can land in paradise.

Dreams For Peace

A few nights I was in Singapore doing a dream meeting with about 25 people.  There were quite a few interesting dreams as there always are, but one thing that really caught a great deal of interest for me was that of dreaming about catastrophes.     In the particular dream, the dreamer said that he dreamt that something extremely terrible was going to happen, that he was frozen in his response to it, and that he rarely remembered many dreams.

When you do dream work,  it is always solution oriented.  This is a bit different than when you go to a therapist’s office and get dream analysis based upon the the therapist’s interpretation of the symbols.    The symbolic work is pretty straight forward.  It just requires having a pretty lengthy knowledge of analogies.  The purpose of dream work, while it includes analysis,  does not stop there.   The important…

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Sometimes the Fear You Feel is Not Yours

I woke up with a dream this morning that reminded me of some feelings that I had in elementary school.    The primary feeling was fear, but there didn’t seem to be any reason for the fear.    I was reluctant to relate to people even though they were friendly, open, and hospitable really wanting me to join them.    When I woke up, I thought to myself,  “What am I afraid of?”

Then I remembered my first-ever day of school where I felt completely overwhelmed and hesitant to go into the school setting.   There wasn’t a lot to be afraid of,  but what I was feeling, which at the time was completely unconscious to me, was all the fear and anxiety from everyone else.   It was their feelings that I was feeling, but it felt so much like my own feelings.   I was absorbing their fear.    I am sure this is the case for many people. It could explain why it is so  difficult for people to reach out and readily initiate inclusion in the world.   In fact it seems to me that it is the people who are less empathetic that seem to be running the world.

Empathy is a positive quality because it informs you of how others feel, but if you have no way of knowing which feelings are yours and which belong to others,  then it can be a huge nightmare.   Sensitive people, without training,  can get totally overwhelmed and wiped out.

What I have learned is that you can sense what others are experiencing and be trained in how to recognize the different states,  and then even young children are good at helping others cope with what they are feeling,  but to be unconscious of the feelings of others means that you will probably take them on as if they are your own.    Once you know that the state belongs to someone else,  then you can begin to have a lot of choice about what to do in the environment.    You can ignore the situation or help the person with fear, for instance.   You can maintain your functional state rather than being overcome by all of the fear.




Lucid Dreaming When You Are Awake

Dreams For Peace

Two nights ago I had a dream where I was going downhill in a sort of half walk, half- run trot about the speed of a camel, and as I approached the bottom a group of about 4 children around the age of 10 or 11 went racing up the hill full of energy and life.

The speed I was running in the dream was about the same that I had done in real life the day before at Cherating Beach in Malaysia after I had been surfing the day before for a few hours in water that had a really strong current which made paddling and walking a real effort.

So when I woke up after the dream and prepared to go out and a do a run I was already feeling tired and depressed, but I also realized that the boys in the dream were symbols for how…

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Dealing with Nightmares in the Real or Dream World

Dreams For Peace

What should your attitude be after you have had an intense nightmare or have gone through a horrific experience in real life?

When most people begin working with what is happening with themselves,  the first goal they have is to get rid of the recurrence of the negative feelings.   When you are feeling a great deal of fear because the memories of some horror like being in war or being with an abusive person get triggered constantly,  the actual experience in your body of the negative emotion can be so awful that the only thing you can think of is getting rid of it as quickly as possible.     Most people do a lot of coping strategies like alcohol or drugs or relationships to forget the pain.

As awful as the feelings are to cope with, the goal is NOT to completely forget the nightmare or keep it from recurring.  Nightmares…

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When You Dream About Snakes, Start Looking for Jealousy

Dreams For Peace

If you have ever been to one of my dream meetings, you will almost always hear me say that snakes are about change, transformation especially at the beginning stages of change, but there is hardly another animal on the planet that evokes so much fear as a snake.   Part of the problems with snakes is that you can’t see them until you are right upon it.    If it is poisonous, then its effects from biting you can be really deadly.

Jealousy as an emotion most simulates the way a poisonous snake acts.    People who have problems with jealousy tend to use vicious poison in a hidden way so that they can protect the power and things, especially relationships, that they already have.  Its dirtiest weapon is usually backbiting.  Backbiting is the act of trying to maintain what you have by purposely spreading negative information about another so that they will…

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How to Deal with Criticism: Changing What’s In Your Head

Today I woke wondering why I have this mental habit of trying to get everything done all at once or in a very short time period.   It is as if my mind refuses to live in a sequential, time-based, rhythmic world.   I have trouble doing sequences-based tasks like following recipes or sticking to an exercise program whose increments are gradual.   What I discovered, when doing the internal processing work, the kind you do with NLP,  is that  when I do sequential work or try to do it, my mind runs into the fear of criticism.    This is what happens.

  1.  My mind imagines being criticized by someone, not too dissimilar to what would happened in real life, and then it automatically turns up the volume until it is like screaming.   To avoid actual screaming I do everything I can to not let it happen by trying to get done all of my tasks before any criticism can occur.   It isn’t a very effective pattern.
  2.  There is a lot of tension connected with trying to get things done quickly rather than taking time and doing it in a more relaxed manner.

The change takes place when I go back in my mind to various times in my life such as entering school and then replace the screaming with a sweet encouraging voice.   It has a kind of calming effect that relaxes the tension.   In turns out that I have had a lot of time periods where in my life where I do the strategy of raising the volume of the criticism.

Beyond the change of screaming to sweetness in the quality of the voice,  I also noticed that I easily held on stubbornly to negative feelings against those who did the criticizing as if they were now eternal life long enemies.   Needless to say with the screaming and the holding onto negative feelings,  my ego was in a huge over-reaction out of protection.     To let go of the negative feelings toward the other people the thing that seems to help after I have the sweet voice implanted in my mind is to have a lot of understanding for the trauma that the criticizers have been through.

The combination of understanding and changing the screaming to sweetness allows the sequence of action to just happen much more easily.

Healing or Development: Finding Out What Stage You are in Makes a Huge Difference on How to Act

Healing or Development

Change is always basically the same process of changing negative energy to positive energy, but where you start from to do the change process depends upon how dysfunctional you are in your overall life.   You will have to find where you are coming in last place, where you are kicked out of Eden, but you can start from one of two major categories, healing or development.     There is nothing scientific about the difference.  They are made up inventions, nothing that is truly reality, but the distinctions may be helpful.

Seeing change as healing is a metaphor that lets you know that the negative energy is so great that it is making it impossible to function well in your life.    The advantage of being in the healing mode is that you can feel that you can take all the time and gather all the support you need for the change.   Healing is about surrounding yourself with all of the best supportive measures you can to change the negative into a positive.  Healing to me is like going to a great resort and this is probably why our collective vacation mindset thinks often of resorts.   Resorts help you relax and regain your lost energy from the stresses and strains of everyday life.   The difference between a healing environment and a developmental one is the difference between how a stress-filled parent thinks about a resort versus how a child relates to it.   A child thinks about adventure and doing one activity after another until there is no time left in the day.   A parent thinks about relaxation and recuperation and sitting in the hot tub and eating food that delights their palates.    If you want to go on a holiday and sit by the edge of the pool or walk slowly on the beach, then the resort is healing and recuperating the stresses of your life.   If however, you take a holiday doing adventurous things like repelling from 100 meters or jumping off of cliffs, then the holiday is aimed at development in the same way that a child sees the holiday.

If you need healing, you need to think in terms of resorts, but if you need development, you can think in terms of adventure.   The more stress-filled your life is, the more you will opt for a resort approach to change, and this is the place where most people need to start.   Eventually, when your positive energy reaches a certain threshold, then the healing switches to development where you begin with the positive energy that you have and give yourself an interesting challenge.  It is not a contest; one is not any better than the other.   If you need healing, that is what you need, and no matter how hard you try, you will only end up in a worse state if you go for development when you need healing.   Likewise, it is easy to get attached to the healing mode when development is the choice you need.   When you need to train for a marathon, you shouldn’t be thinking of going somewhere where everyone takes care of your needs.

Healing is recognizable when you have that feeling that you just can’t take it anymore, or you haven’t been able to take it for a long time and you are using all kinds of coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol or sex to keep you going.    I had a friend recently tell me that he had been feeling really depressed in which case he went to a doctor for some help.   The doctor prescribed an anti-depressant, which caused his hair to start falling out and a huge loss in his sex drive.  This is an example of a practice of many physicians who try to keep people functioning in the developmental mode by giving them a drug, when they should be in a more profound program of total healing.    Healing is about giving yourself all the support that you need to recuperate your lost abilities and regain the confidence of a young child in exuberant play.   It usually requires suspending a certain amount of activities so that the healing has time to work.   The worse the condition the more you have to suspend.

Development is what you do when you are already functioning well and you want to get to a higher level.  When you are feeling positive generally already, but you feel the urge to achieve more and develop a new part of yourself, then you know that you are in the developmental phase.  This is not to be confused with someone who has a lot of money although it doesn’t exclude them.   If you have an area of your life that is severely dysfunctional like in the area of relationships, your growth is not considered development; it is considered healing.   The reason it is necessary to call it healing is that success at the expense of relationships is not success; it is failure because something about your life is completely false and you need all of the support you can possible get in order to change it.   If you cannot understand this logic, just think about the world and all of the powerful leaders who gain territory and riches at the expense of the people, then you realize how sick a person can really get when they are just after wealth.   It would be disastrous for a person who is a failure in relationships like so many movie stars, for instance, to think about their career goals until they change their relational life.  Their lives are a disaster.   One of the best movies that illustrates this principle is Regarding Henry with Harrison Ford as the principal actor.   In this story he is a very successful lawyer making gobs of money, but his relationship with his daughter and his wife are in the last place category.  Suddenly one day he is shot in the head while buying some cigarettes.   He goes into a long extended healing and then when he is cured, he changes the whole direction of his life.   At the end of the movie, you could say that he had moved from the healing phase to the developmental phase.

This is why this process is called radical change because what is being asked of people, who we consider to be so successful, is to consider that maybe they have been considering the wrong things.   There is really absolutely no difference of someone wealthy who has lived a false life and someone who is living on the street and has lived a false life.  They are both in the same situation and if we support them, maybe their lives will get better.   Wouldn’t it be ironic that if community service groups would turn their attention on the very wealthy and reach out to them to help them out.   Now that would be radical.  I am not suggesting that every wealthy business person is living a false life, far from it, but it is not a big stretch of the imagination to see that the majority are in the healing phase, pretending like they are in the developmental phase.

The difference in the process of development versus healing is the orientation you have in time.   In the healing process all of your personal goals are suspended other than the area of healing, that is, you put your life on hold so that you can deal with the great healing that you need.   In development the setting of personal goals is the stimulus for change and growth.  Healing is an orientation toward the past with an eventual awakening of the future, whereas, development is an orientation toward the future with an occasional trip to the past to deal with negatives.   In healing you are dealing with some really difficult energy that has covered up your true self and its capacities.  It is oriented toward traumatic events or cultural trauma or the trauma of your family.  When you heal, you end up with a great deal of confidence and energy and then you are ready to challenge yourself.     With development you challenge yourself with a difficult goal and this allows you to face very difficult energy that stimulates your growth.  Radical growth in development means that you give yourself a big challenge and then fail miserably, learn from the failure and then keep going forward until you have achieved the goal learning each step of the way.   Healing is like opening the hood to the engine in your car and realizing that the car has serious damage.

Maybe the biggest veil here is the culture.  The world culture has become almost entirely ruled by material values that regards who has the most stuff as the most important.   If the world culture were oriented toward spiritual values, then the most important value would be who can do the best service because it would oriented toward qualities and not to quantities.  But as we are oriented almost entirely by the pressure of the bottom line, that being quantities, the people we value the most are the ones who have the most. Unfortunately this does not mean that they are doing anything at all beneficial to themselves or to others and usually means that they are doing a lot of harm.

If it sounds like daily change is against wealth, it is a misinterpretation of the process.  Daily change is a process whereby first you become wealthy in spiritual qualities and then the quantitative wealth may follow, but the opposite is not true.  It is like division.    36 divided by 9 gives you 4, but 9 divided by 36 gives you ¼.  To do daily change you must start in the non-material dimension (spiritual) and then the material.   Money does not generate a quality, but a quality can generate a material outcome with implications for money.   When you have a united family working together, they are capable of doing the impossible, but having a lot of money does not guarantee a united family.    Materialism is just as prevalent among the poor as it is among the rich because it depends upon where you start in the process.     Money is subordinate to the spirit, but in the overwhelming majority of the world, the spirit is subordinate which makes it possible for a person to be spiritual once a week for a few hours and subordinate that work when working with money or material conquests.

The primary concern, whether you are doing healing work or work that is more developmental in nature, is that you begin by feeling the impoverished state of your true self and work on your negative energy until it releases enough positive energy that you become functional and thriving.  In the non-physical realm poverty is a positive and it is a great idea to make friends with it because it is the motivation upon which all change is possible.   Without humility radical change is impossible.

Giving Out Honey When You Receive Poison

“Act in accordance with the counsels of the Lord: that is, rise up in such wise, and with such qualities, as to endow the body of this world with a living soul, and to bring this young child, humanity, to the stage of adulthood. So far as ye are able, ignite a candle of love in every meeting, and with tenderness rejoice and cheer ye every heart. Care for the stranger as for one of your own; show to alien souls the same loving kindness ye bestow upon your faithful friends. Should any come to blows with you, seek to be friends with him; should any stab you to the heart, be ye a healing salve unto his sores; should any taunt and mock at you, meet him with love. Should any heap his blame upon you, praise ye him; should he offer you a deadly poison, give him the choicest honey in exchange; and should he threaten your life, grant him a remedy that will heal him evermore. Should he be pain itself, be ye his medicine; should he be thorns, be ye his roses and sweet herbs. Perchance such ways and words from you will make this darksome world turn bright at last; will make this dusty earth turn heavenly, this devilish prison place become a royal palace of the Lord—so that war and strife will pass and be no more, and love and trust will pitch their tents on the summits of the world.”
Abdu’l Baha

I have spent the better part of the last two decades trying to apply this quote in my daily life with moments of success followed by a great deal of internal difficulties and failure. The purpose of this post is to share some of the lessons I am learning and hope that you too will take up this amazing challenge. The promise of the quote is world peace which is the theme of my site and we all hope for.   It is coming.

Lessons Learned.

  1.  If you take out the factor of time when dealing with this quote, you don’t have to feel so bad about not being able to do it instantly.   In order to apply the quote, what you first need to be able to do is to forgive, which is the ability to let go of hurt.    If I were a more advanced soul, I wouldn’t get hurt so easily, but as I am just in the process of developing, I still get hurt and still react in negative ways.   The tendency of the ego, when it is hurt, is to act by either fleeing, fighting, or freezing.   Mostly I feel like fighting back as if fighting back is going to evoke some kind of transformation in the other.   If it worked,  we could all be fascists or mobsters and the world would get to peace.   It just doesn’t work.   The goal is not to give back what you have received that is negative.   The goal is to give back something positive when you receive negative.  The first step is to process the hurt.   Processing a hurt can take time.  Sometimes it takes decades, but if you let go of the hurt and give back some honey after a decade,  then you have created world peace.    It is a big ask to expect oneself to do it instantly even though that is the end goal.  When you are first trying to give back a positive, allow yourself a lot of time and space to deal with the hurt.   It is OK to stay away from a person who fired you if you maintain feelings of hurt toward them because being around them while you are hurt just brings out ego patterns that are not helpful.
  2.  How to deal with the hurt.  It is my experience, and this is just one of many hundreds of methods that might work, that hurt is best dealt with as a metaphor.  I don’t know why exactly.  I have just had a lot of success with myself and working with others to keep hurt as a metaphor.   The metaphor explains the feeling.  For instance,  the first time I was fired from a job,  I felt like I was thrown off of cliff.   I was crushed.   You can see the benefit in the metaphor.  It makes the feeling so much more dramatic and then allows you the extended time and space to process it.   Some cultures particularly the worldwide male culture has the tendency to tell you to just get over it, but if you feel like you have been run over by a truck or pushed off a cliff or stabbed in the back,  it will probably take some time.
  3.  How do you explain the metaphor?   If I felt like I was thrown off a cliff,  that means that before the event (the being fired) I gave the employers a lot of power over my life. I gave them the power to make me feel negative.   It was like they were the owner of my feelings, positive and negative, and whatever they did would effect them.  If they were good, I was good.  If they were negative, I was hurt.    How did I ever allow them to have control or power over my internal state?    When I understand that they are just human beings with positive and negative qualities,   then, even if  I do get fired not so justly,  it isn’t like being thrown off a cliff.  It is more expected because they are just acting human.     Being thrown off the cliff means that my expectations for them were much too high.
  4.  Once I bring them back down to earth and back into being a human,  then I can begin to transform the metaphor from such a drastic negative to a positive  where I have internal control.    What is a metaphor that I can have that puts me in control of my own internal state?   The key is in the old metaphor.   What I am doing is transforming the metaphor of being thrown off a cliff and falling.   What is a likely metaphor that works?  What works for me is the metaphor of flying like superman to reach my positive goal.  If I feel like superman inside,  then when they act out of their negative egos,  it doesn’t much affect me.   I can give them back the opposite of what I was given.   In this case I can invite them into my home and show generosity.

I am inviting you into the wonderful world of this magnificent quote.  Have a go!!!

Radio Talk on Dreams


Hi Everyone, I just did a talk this morning on dreams on the radio station below. You can click the link if you would like to hear it. It has a couple of minutes before the show of some music and announcements before it begins. Enjoy it.

The Best Case Scenario Thinking

The other day I found a new gear in my skiing.   Literally I have gone from really slow and fearful on the easiest green runs, to gradually adding a blue run (intermediate level) to just relaxing and flying down the mountain.   Some switch flipped and there I was feeling so free with the speed.   It happened.


Last year I spent a whole huge wad of money to go to arguably the best ski resort in the world, Whistler-Blackcomb, tried to get back to snowboarding at age 65 after not seeing snow for two decades, ended up on icy narrow runs, fell repeatedly, was so destroyed an hour in that the rest of day was ruined by me ending up in the medical clinic getting x-rays.

What is changing in me?  I am not exactly sure, but something is positive.  Hooray!! First let’s go back in history nearly 20 years.  Over that time I was fired three times in three different countries on three different continents.   You may  think being fired is not traumatic because maybe it isn’t for you.  It was for me.   It was the thing I most feared.  Why?  Imagine yourself on another continent where you are full of hope about your future, you are making a decent living, and then one day the plug gets pulled.  The fear has a lot to do with putting food on the table and being a long way from home.  When I wasn’t earning,  I was worrying a lot about the future.   I got used to seeing the worst case scenario and then trying to protect myself from it.    That is exactly what happened in the snowboarding crashes.   The worst case thinking scenarios took over.  I froze up and was fired.  I crashed myself.

This post is not about blame.  I could rant on with truckloads of blame, but the fact of the matter is, I turned from being a person who sees a relatively positive future to protecting myself from the worst case scenario.    It is a bad way to live.  Believe me.  Don’t do it!!!   It is quite understandable after a history of dismissals.     I am not whining.   I was just not as positive as I used to be after the third time.    I won’t go into the reasons for the firings.  In my opinion I was right and they were wrong.  In their opinion I was wrong and they were right.    Either case, I ended up in the emotional train wreck of seeing the worst case scenario and protecting myself from it.

Then a magnificent thing happened.  I retired.  Well at least I retired from the kind of work I was doing.   When I first retired,  I spent a lot of months waiting for the other shoe to drop again.   Only the only shoe dropping was being done by me as in the case of snowboarding.    No one was firing me or threatening me except myself.   It dawned on me  today that the reason that the first day of skiing was so painfully fearful was that the way I had been looking at the future was just hugely in the worst case scenario and then tensing to try to prevent it from happening.   If you would have seen me going down the runs the first couple of times, you could have spotted it plain as day.

Gradually it shifted.  The protective part of me realized that maybe it was overworking.  It didn’t need to be there anymore (if it ever did).    Now I am making the shift to the other type of future, the best case scenario.    It was never for me as if the best case scenario about my life didn’t exist.   It did.   It was more like the worst case scenario thinking was hugely dominant.   How I planned to do my life upon retirement is exactly how I am living it, but now when I get on the ski slopes or tennis courts or do therapy with people, the best case scenario is so apparent.   It is becoming the dominant force.

How to do it?  I suppose that each person has their own unique roadblocks that they have to overcome in the way of fear and other negative emotions,  but really the essential aspect of it is to see the best possible future, the best outcome, and then have an absolute belief that you can make it there.    What is my best future?  How does it benefit humanity?   Those are the two essential questions.    You have to do the second question because we are hard-wired that way.    A self-serving life will crash.




The Essentials of Accelerated Learning

I wouldn’t call myself an expert in the area of how to accelerate learning so it may be a bit arrogant of me to title this post as if I know what the essentials of accelerated learning actually are.  It fascinates me that a young person can be brilliant in almost every academic subject,  but have a great deal of difficulty learning how to be socially competent. 

  1. The first essential is knowing that learning in one type of area such as science can be very different than when you are learning how to play soccer or learning to  positive relationships with others.    If you do exactly what you do in science when you are in social situation, you may find that you are being overly critical and judgmental.   It works in science because you have to make critical judgments all the time, but if you are critical and judgmental in a relationship, you just put off the other person.   In human relations you have to suspend judgment.   Consider the difference between reading a book and playing a soccer or hockey game.   In reading  one word follows another in an endless sequence that eventually gets to an end.   In playing soccer a person has to pay attention to the other players while also attending to the ball.  The learning can accelerate when you know how to learn in a specific area.
  2.    The second essential is to be free of fear and other negative emotions when learning.   This seems so obvious that it hardly bares saying, but when was the last time you had an instructor in anything who helped you let go of fear in the process of learning.   Fear and other negative emotions have the effect of putting resistance in the way of learning.   It isn’t that difficult to learn how to stand up in front of a group and deliver an interesting speech,  but the fear of the reaction of the audience paralyzes lots of people from being able to deliver one well.   If you can let go of the fears/emotions that cause the tension and resistance, then the learning is going to be hugely accelerated.
  3. The third essential is the ability to remember successful attempts and repeat them until they are consolidated.   Because we all live in a technologically-based society that rewards science way over other types of learning,  the tendency with everything in life is to be super critical.   The culture is permeated with criticism.  Because of this people tend to focus on everything that they are doing wrong rather than what they are doing right.   When you learn anything new,  the process is to remember what was successful, repeat it, and then add a new step in the same way.   Mostly what you need is positive feedback about what you are doing right and then small corrections to get to the right movements or processes.
  4. The fourth essential is have unending curiosity about how to learn in an area.   When you face internal resistance, the appropriate response is curiosity, not devastation.  For instance, if you are learning how to ski, but you are terrified, you can get curious about the terror inside.  If you let yourself have the terror, then eventually you will learn from it, and it will go away.   Last week I returned to skiing after being some 20 years away from it because of living in tropical countries.   I felt very fearful on the first run.  I proceeded down the mountain very slowly.   I realized that the fear and tension in my body had nothing to do with skiing, but what had happened to me in work-related experiences when I wanted to have a lot of joy.  There was huge resistance inside.   Gradually, my fear lessened.   By the third run my memory of how to ski returned, the tension lessened and I had a great time.   On the second day the fear had completely disappeared and the learning began to accelerate.

Why Retreating into the Past is a Bad Idea!

In 1975 I started my first professional teaching job in a small city in North Dakota.  During that time period there was a big movement in education, probably the most exciting time of the last century,  in which many of the old practices came into question.   The old practices came into question because many young people were not making it through the education system.  They were not learning, failing, and dropping out.   We wanted to know why and what we could do about it.

Some experiments were tried.   Some were good, and some were questionable, but before any of them had a chance to prove themselves,  a big wave of “going back to the past” which was called “back to the basics” gathered momentum and virtually snuffed out the alternative education movement altogether.    “Back to the Basics” was presented in a way that made the past seem like paradise, while at the same time assailing the mistakes of the new experiments as if they were the anti-Christ.

The big mistake of the back-to-anything movements is the way they shut the doors on the future.   They retreat to the past to find the answers.    Imagine Thomas Edison doing the back to basics strategy.   Whatever filament he was using for the light bulb that wasn’t working, he just goes back to and tries again.   What got him to the filament,  was trying out new things until his team found one that worked.    He continually went into the future.

It is not so much that “past” is the bad guy in the scheme to make things improved.   The past is a mixed bag.  There are positives to keep and a lot of old patterns that need to be discarded, but when you over-glorify the past, you don’t allow yourself to take an objective look at the old patterns that are no longer working.

More often than not the group advocating the retreat to the past is fearful of losing what it has or has lost what it had.   It is the loss that motivates the movement backwards.    To move forward one needs to go out in the future, see what is to be gained, and then become inspired to go for it.

The biggest gains in the future are going to be made by cooperating with others rather than retreating into our private cocoons.   In America, Iran is the enemy, but in Iran, America is the enemy.  To China the outside world is the enemy, but to the outside world, China is the enemy.   It goes on and on.   When we are friends with another, we will do anything to help and support each other.   We will sacrifice in all kinds of ways for the benefit of our friends.    This is because the love we share is such an amazing feeling that we will do anything to keep it.

The future is about friendship and love and cooperation between all peoples.   We are moving in that direction.  The sooner we see that future and how bright and wonderful it is the better it is going to be for all of us.    Love your enemies is the way Jesus put it.



Dealing with a Friend’s Darkness

I am slowly walking down a lonely corridor.  It is bright and sunny outside, but inside the shades of my feelings range from a misty gray to the blackest night.   What was once a corridor full of hope and joy has now turned to painful attacks.   I am walking toward my wife’s classroom ready to tell her that the time in this country is over.   I have just been asked to leave the school, dismissed.   It is one thing to be fired in your own country, quite another in a land outside of your birth.

If you were my friend and you were walking with me, this is what I would hope you do.  First, let me have my darkness.  It belongs to me so don’t try to take it away.   Don’t tell me how everything is going to be OK, that this is God’s will, or some other cliché.   Just let me know that I am not alone in the dark.   Let me express every dark thought and feeling that I have.

I am certain that I will be fine in the future, but right now I need to have whatever is mine.  They took away my livelihood,  so let me have my moment in dark emotions.  I need them.   One day the light will break forth again,  but now my only possession is abandonment.  Let me be with it.    Tomorrow I will be thinking of the new life ahead,  but today I am just not understanding how people can treat others in this fashion.  Let me have that mistreatment.   Don’t tell me to let it go right away.   I am going to let it go.  Soon.   Today I ask for your patience.   Walk with me for a ways on my dark day so that I really know what abandonment feels like.    Tomorrow I will return to my bright and joyful self,  but not today.

There is a great power in being patient during someone’s trials.   They need the difficulty and the negative emotions for their learning.   Without them they have a hard time progressing.     Ask a person how they are feeling.   It is the power of being patient.


“Going Off the Deep End” in Your Life

I am driving in northern Mexico not far from the city of Monterrey.   There are 5 of us in a paneled van having just spent a few days in the beach town of Tampico where we were trying out our limited Spanish in hopes to get in with some of the locals.   It is mid afternoon.  I look out the window eyeing a simple Mexican farmer walking alongside a donkey-driven cart and then it strikes me.   It could have been a lightning bolt, but it was not.  It is a feeling that springs from the inner recesses of what I can only guess is my heart.   And then I say it.  “I quit.”

I have been forcing myself for three years to remain in what I can say is  possibly the worst environment ever invented for my true self.   It is the U.S. Air Force Academy.   I cannot say that it is absolutely worst space for everyone.  It just doesn’t work for me.   It takes seeing a simple man walking along the road in a sparsely populated region in Mexico to wake up my intuition.   I know that it is time to leave.    I tell my traveling companions.  As life would have it, it turns out to be one of the top 2 or 3 decisions of my life.  At that moment it was the best by far.

Going off the deep end in my life never seems to be a prolonged decision making process.  The intuition comes.  It feels right and I act.   Not exactly the scientific approach, but somehow it works.    When I think about the process of going off the deep end,  it seems to require a fair amount of trust, trust that it is the right decision, that things are going to work out.    This means trusting in a positive future even when you cannot see it.

The force that keeps people from going off the deep end in their lives centers itself in the need to be safe and secure.  It keeps them in the shallows never experiencing the deeper aspects of life.   They remain conservative and timid about life even when it beckons them fully.   Going off the deep end for me is a very pragmatic thing.    I didn’t quit the Air Force Academy because of airy-fairy reasoning.   I was just being real.   It didn’t work for me.    I want to be living in a life that works and gets results.   By and large when we try to be too safe,  we get meager results.

Take a leap, but be pragmatic.   Leap into the things that give you positive results.

Dying to the Past in Your Dream/Real Life

Death is not such a bad thing in your dream life for one very amazing reason.   img_4317

Death in real life is only death to the body.  It is not death to the spirit which has a life that continues on long after it leaves  the body.   Death, in the metaphoric sense like in a dream,  always means that you are leaving a past life behind.  It is not a past life life in the new age sense or how the reborn Christians see it although I think they are both on the right path.  It is being born into a new, higher state as if you are leaving the old life behind and the new ones begins.

As people begin to age there is a huge tendency to stop the process of leaving the past behind and awakening into a new self.   We especially see it as people begin to approach 50.  They over-glorify the past as if it were so much better than their current lives.  This is simply because their current lives are very problematic.  They don’t have a proper orientation to the future especially about life after death and the continued growth process of the soul after it leaves the body.  When I was studying education in the early 1970s, there was a big move to change the traditional course of the teaching of reading because so many children were failing.    A few brave souls began experimenting in new ways especially helping people to get out of the old boxes that they were stuck in, but as soon as the experiments went forward, a wave of traditionalists stomped them out before they had a chance.   They called their movement back to basics which preyed on people’s  fear of a future.    Not surprisingly a lot of people of my generation are stilling doing the same in America.   They want to go back to a past that never really functioned very well.

It is a scary thing.  You look out into the future and see that you might fail if you try something new.  This causes you to be conservative with the same strategies that never served you well in the first place.   There is a quick fix to the fear. It is so simple that it just surprises me why people don’t do it more often.  If you have this process, you will make huge progress and be unbelievably successful in ways you never dreamed of before.

Here it is.   When you have a death dream, it is a big sign that it is time for this process.  The change is this.  In your mind’s eye go out in the future and then see the most positive future you can.  See the thing you want to change the most in your life and see yourself being wildly successful.   For instance, see yourself getting along with your siblings or see yourself being really friendly with others of other countries.  Don’t give into the fear of being unsuccessful just because you didn’t succeed in the past.  Stay with it. Focus on the positive future and then just live it. It is so simple.  Don’t be a conservative.  Be into change all the time.

People who over-glorify the past do so because what they really do not want to remember or have to re-live is the trauma in their past.   If they have been severely rejected in a relationship, or abused or abandoned, they set into motion a pattern that allows them to forget the trauma and over- glorify a past that never really happened. Then they protect themselves from change.   Not remembering a trauma is not the same thing as letting it go.  

If you want to let go of a trauma, it has to be done consciously.   (See Dreamwork https://gumroad.com/l/FbZe#, if you want a detailed discussion of why we forget.)   Dying to your past means letting go of the trauma and then facing the future with a great deal of optimism and courage.    Most people need professional help to do this.   You cannot just bury trauma.   If you do, it will work unconsciously.   You will sabotage a positive future. Your future will be a false past.  You will end up in a bar recounting stories of how things used to be so great or fearing an apocalypse.   When your apocalyptic fears are huge, it means that you have already lived a huge apocalypse.  Now you want protection.

Real change depends upon having an extremely positive view of the future and then living the vision.   At the core of every human being’s positive vision of the future there is a desire for close relationships with other people and a desire to leave a positive impact on the world.  If your vision of the future is not aligned to this kind of vision, it is because you are still traumatized.

Think about your future as if it were a muscle in your body that needs to be trained and have workouts to get fit.   Everyday you can stretch to get it to the most positive.  Let go of the past that doesn’t serve you, keep the past that does, and stretch your ability to have a positive future.

The sun is just beginning to rise. img_4258





Building a Culture of Encouragement in the World

This is a fairly long article that I wrote in 2004. Take your time reading it maybe over a couple of days. It is still so relevant.

Dreams For Peace

Note:  I wrote this piece about 10 years ago, but it is obviously more relevant than ever.

Everyone in the world no matter which culture or remote island you are from suffers from the lack of living in a culture of encouragement.  We have all grown up in cultures where criticism is the rule, that is, where recognizing negative energy is the item mostly highly prized. A few people have escaped partially by living in families that encourage and maybe even a mildly encouraging community, but there is nowhere in the world today where you can find a culture that encourages as a way of life.   We have all been traumatized and even beguiled by criticism, often thinking that it is a really important part of our lives.   For instance,  we know that people produce the best art when they are surrounded in an environment of support and lots of…

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Day 5: Dealing with the Ego

This is a really important step in the transformation process.

Dreams For Peace

“Let them at all times concern themselves with doing a kindly thing for one of their fellows, offering to someone love, consideration, thoughtful help. Let them see no one as their enemy, or as wishing them ill, but think of all humankind as their friends; regarding the alien as an intimate, the stranger as a companion, staying free of prejudice, drawing no lines.”   Abdu’l Baha

Whenever you go about doing any transformation, it is important to realize that human beings have two natures, one that is highly positive and beneficial to others, the true self, and one that is limited and animal-like in nature, the ego.   The dynamic of transformation recognizes that the ego is ever present, self-centered, negative and trying to make its way to controlling the life of the individual.     When you choose a new virtue or process to strengthen your life,   it is usually because you are…

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Dreamwork 5: Podcast

This podcast was done a few years ago. You might enjoy it as it explains a lot of principles of dream work.

Dreams For Peace

Recently I did a podcast on Dream Work that you can hear by clicking the link below.  It is also on the blogroll on this blog.


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