Dreams about your Ex

Almost every week I receive a dream on the “free dream interpretation” page of this blog where someone is sleeping with their ex and then wondering what that is all about since they don’t have a relationship with that person anymore.   It can be very disconcerting to get sexually stimulated with someone you thought you were over when you have such a positive relationship with someone else.  What is that all about?   What do you do with a dream like?

The first thing I would like to tell you is to not worry about your current relationship.  It is not about that at all.   I tell you why.

There is a stage in life, in adolescence, when young people start getting attracted to each other and then enter into relationships.   We all need this because we need to learn how to interact with others in ways that work.    It turns out that we have a tendency to latch onto people who have something inside of them that we need for ourselves.      The problem with the latching process as in dating someone and then naming them your boyfriend or girlfriend is that we get so that we are dependent on the other person.   The more dependent we are the sooner the relationship goes bad.   When you depend upon a boy or girl  for something like being strong or assertive or being compassionate and caring, then when they don’t deliver, the fights begin.   Eventually the fights become greater than moments of joy so the couples break with each other.

The problem is that breaking up does not solve the problem that led to the break up. What you needed from your boyfriend or girlfriend is just as strong as ever.  Your inner being is not going to let go of it.   Fortunately the dream world comes to the rescue by giving you a steamy dream about your ex.   All this means is that your inner self still wants the positive quality they have in them. It shows you in the dream because the message is to be intimate, like you were having sex, with that quality.   To be intimate with the quality means having it inside of you and loving it until it is totally yours.      The new relationship will work a hundred times better when you find out what you were missing that your ex boyfriend had, and then incorporate it in you by working hard to develop it in yourself.

The good news is that you don’t have to have sex in your dreams with only your ex to develop yourself in a new way.  It could be that you could have sex with a famous person or with someone completely random.   They all have different messages and different qualities.

Who have you had sex with in a dream and what is the outstanding positive quality that they have?  That is the important question.

Dream Work and Exercise/Sport

When you fall asleep at night, your body and mind go through a series of cycles intended to give you rest and recovery for the next day.   At the same time,  your spirit or your true self, goes off on various types of journeys when you are in your deepest periods of sleep to further your evolution as a human being.   The dream journey is connected to your body and mind, but also detached from it.   You remember the dream in your mind and feel emotions from it your body,  but the purpose of the experience is always to help you grow as a human being by acquiring new capacities.

All of us as human beings are in a constant relationship with our bodies to get stronger, faster, more flexible, last longer, and be more coordinated.   We just want to be at our peak and not have to face sore muscles and incapacitating injuries and illnesses.   We miss it so much when our bodies are not able to act to our fullest potential.   But since we are human beings, we all have weaknesses.   Without them we would never know where we need to grow.

Dreamwork is about using the messages you get in your dreams at night so that you develop your inner self and your physical capacities.   What is a useful way to think about your dreams,  is that they originate in your body.    When you first start the work, your dreams will begin in the weakest part of your body.    For instance, your dreams may be in your knees or in your neck.  They may be in your lungs or your achilles or your shoulders.    Wherever you are weak, they will be there.

How does it work?   If you have knee problems, which are the most common for people, you may have issues around flexibility usually because of trying to control things too much.    The dreams will show you in a metaphoric manner where the issue is, like where your fear is.   Then you can overcome the weakness and develop the body part as well as the virtue such as being more flexible in your life.    When people start this process, they usually have long standing recurring injury problems.   They are almost always related to the family they grew up in and how that family interacted in its cultural surroundings.    For instance, if you have had an absent father, you probably will face some kind of back problems because of the lack of support.    When you do the work to give yourself more emotional support and then do the corresponding physical work to strengthen your back, then you get amazing growth in every way in your life.

Most of the work begins with negative emotions, usually fear, because most of us do not have methods for working through our difficult problems especially handling complicated emotions.   However, there are also dreams that are strictly positive such as flying dreams.   Flying dreams are related mainly to your lungs because they are about being in the air.    When you get a positive dream and know where it is related in your body,  then it means that that type of exercise movement is open and ready to really develop.

You can start the work fairly simply and easily.   If you are doing an exercise program,  you can notice which movements are the most difficult for you.   This is where your dream will be.   You can write me, tell me what kind of program you are doing,  where your difficulties are along with a current dream, and then I can point out some solutions for doing the developmental work.    If you can’t remember a dream, which is also common, that is great information for me related to the difficulties.

dreamsforpeace@gmail.com

Dealing With Blemishes in Dreams and in Real Life

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.

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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 say that there is a culture that has overcome the belief,  but wherever you go in the world,  it is always ever present. Being imperfect is shameful.   It is so bad in certain parts of Asia that if you make a leader look the least bit bad, even when they have acted horribly, you are the one who is going to get fired because they cannot stand the thought of themselves having imperfections.   They are supposed to be like God.  They even believe that they are God.

Trying to play God is always the problem when it comes to shame.  If you feel shame, it is because you believe that you should be God, perfect.  God doesn’t want you to be God.  He wants you to be human.  Having blemishes seems to be quite ok with God.  When I say my Baha’i prayers each morning, the thing that strikes me is how often they allow me to refer to my weaknesses and relax about them. It appears that God doesn’t want you to be perfect, but only that you are fully engaged with transforming your weaknesses into strengths on a daily basis.   Imperfections are what we call being human.

How do you deal with the blemishes, the imperfections?  The first thing that is important to understand is that shame is the negative emotion you feel when you feel horrible about yourself because of something that is wrong with you.   The way that the culture is constructed, despite all the advances in treatment and technique, makes us try to hide the weakness or blemish, rather than freely admitting it.   Hiding and covering up the blemish, which is what the culture loves you to do, is a strategy that doesn’t work, but just freely admitting it also is not that helpful even though it is better than hiding.

The important first step in dealing with the shame of being imperfect (not God)  is to have a bank full of positive memories that are accessed and available all the time.   This allows you to feel good about who you are despite the weaknesses.  You can freely admit to weaknesses, but if you don’t believe that you have strengths and capacities,  you will not have the motivation and inspiration to move forward in the process of changing weakness into strength.    The culture is based largely on finding weaknesses and exaggerating them.  In my current city in Vancouver I often pass women having a conversation where the tones illustrate the cultural difficulty.   The speech is often has 100% certainty in the negative point about someone.  The sentences are short and cut off.   It is like there is no room for acceptance of weakness.  Who would ever want to admit to anything in that kind of culture?  This morning I saw a taxi driver make a minor mistake in doing a right turn whereby a person on a bike and a nearby pedestrian started super criticizing the driver as if he were a serial killer.   There was no room for the mistake.   The shame is everywhere.   In a culture of encouragement where finding the positive is the rule rather than shaming others,  people are allowed their mistakes and then feel motivated to deal with them freely.      Building the bank of positive memories is what gets us out of shame.  It is the antidote and remedy of shame.   It requires almost always living in a state of positive memory.   It is not only how great of a run I had this morning.  It is also how well I can remember it and relive it. That is what lets go of shame.

Once I can relive my positive memories, then I can deal with my weaknesses because the shame is gone.  When my shame is gone, I can freely admit to the weakness and start transforming it.    Let’s say my weakness is core strength, which it is, by the way.  First I relive my runs and other aerobic activities.   Then the emotional issues blocking the core strength will open to me.

What are my issues?  Since I don’t have a lot of shame anymore after reliving my runs and being ok with imperfection,   it is ok to explore the negative energy blocking the core.   What comes up is a belief that despite doing a lot of work I am still going to be really weak way behind others.   This lets me know that I need to get out of the world of comparing myself to others, to just feel my own improvement and remember it the same way I remember the runs.

In summary,  to get rid of shame, we first need to have the belief that mistakes are part of what it is to be human, that the goal is to NOT become perfect, God.   Then we need to build a bank of positive memories about are capacities and strengths.  We do this by reliving our positive experiences repeatedly.   Then we are free to work with the next issue in front of us.

 

 

Dealing with Nightmares in the Real or Dream World

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 in the dream world are just messengers.   They are not enemies to be killed and forgotten.  How could this be if they feel so intensely bad?   There is a key to doing internal work that is so powerful that once you learn it, everything will change for you.   What is the key?

The key is that almost everything you develop positively in yourself is preceded by something negative.   When I was 21,  a friend of mine convinced to begin running longer distances.   The first couple of days of running were so painfully awful that it was hard to imagine going back to it.   He told me that one day, if I kept with the running, that I would be able to run for an hour easily.  It was something way beyond my imagination because 15-20 minutes were really tough.  Gradually with many repetitions the pain gave way to more joy.  After a few months I was able to run for an hour.   It was exhilarating.

When you are developing a great new capacity inside, it is a similar and sometimes much more difficult process to get to.  If a young man goes off to war and faces the threat of having to kill someone or  of being killed,  it can put him into a really fearful place.   Long after the threat is over, even in the safest of places,  the fear remains, especially in his sleep in the form of nightmares.   Why do they persist?    They persist because what he was supposed to be developing instead of how to kill others was how to live in peace and harmony with others, not war.    The nightmare is a constant memory of undeveloped capacity.     Since creating peace and harmony is such a big capacity to develop, the nightmares and fear serve as a reminder to him just how undeveloped these capacities really are.    They will persist for as long as they are undeveloped.   So it isn’t really that we are trying to rid ourselves of the memories of war or of having been abused, but to develop new capacities that keep war and abuse from happening in the real world.   This is the journey of the soul.   The nightmares are the messengers of just how much progress we have  or have not made.    When a challenge is big like creating world peace, the memories are there so that you won’t give up developing the new thing.

When I learned this key to development many years ago,  I started the habit of getting really excited when I had a nightmare rather than being really upset or despondent.  I realized that when I had a nightmare, it just meant that I had a lot of work to do inside of myself to develop something new.   This all began when I was fired from my employment for the first time.  I used to dream about the person firing me and me swearing at her.   When I woke up from the bad feelings, I just said to myself that I have a lot of work to do to detach from what she did and then keep helping people with the transformation work.

So the key to a nightmare or the key to working with memories of abuse is that they are just messengers that something big and positive wants to develop inside.   When you can get excited about the new thing, the memories and nightmares, though they may persist for awhile, are not so intense.

Building a Culture of Encouragement in the World

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 encouragement to experiment and grow without the interference of criticism.   Yet as soon as person puts on an art show or performs a play or gives a speech hundreds of people are there criticizing everything about it.   We are trained from the moment we enter the world to criticize.

Encouragement is actually almost the same process as criticism only the focus is positive instead of negative. When you criticize, you look for something wrong and then you express it  in some way such as talking about it, writing about it, or doing some kind of artistic representation of the negative.   When you encourage, you do the same except that you look for the positives and then you express them.    The purpose of criticism is to get you to stop doing what you are doing, while the purpose of encouragement is to expand your activities.  They both work.  Criticism is the fastest way to get a person to stop doing what they love to do.  Most people are extremely vulnerable to criticism, that is, they stop the productive things that they are doing when it is present.

Encouragement, on the other hand,  has a much less immediate and continuous effect. Encouragement doesn’t work as fast to keep a person expanding and growing in activity in the way criticism gets a person to stop.   Encouragement seems to be much less efficient in getting its work done. In other words you need a lot more encouragement to grow and change probably as much as five times more, than you need criticism to stop something.     The reason for this phenomenon has a lot to do with survival.  Negative feedback is much more aligned with surviving and so negative emotions are much more readily felt.   We feel negative emotions much more easily than we do positive ones.  Our first reaction when we feel negative, is to try to get the negative emotion from happening, that is, our first response naturally is to try to stop something.  This is because we don’t realize that the negative emotions are just feedback messages that let us know that something inside needs to be changed.   If you are in a position of authority or power such as a parent, the first natural tendency when you start worrying is to find a way to stop it.  And the quickest way to get things to stop is to criticize someone else. It takes the responsibility of changing off of you and puts it on the other person and then you feel some temporary relief.

Self criticism has exactly the same effect, and those of us who self criticize abundantly have a difficult time changing.  Self criticism often happens when you are focusing on some goal, and then you feel a negative emotion such as anxiety or fear that is connected with doing a new activity.  You don’t know how to deal with the negative feelings which then cause inactivity or poor performance,  so you end up putting yourself down for failing.  There used to be a lot of literature that suggested people couldn’t change for this very reason.  When you fail numerous times, you start giving yourself an incorrect label such as depressed, timid, or lazy, when really you are just running into a negative pattern of failure that has its roots in criticism and focus on negativity.  The key in facing the future is to go into it with confidence.  Confidence is gained by a clear memory of what was successful.  It allows you to have the necessary resilience to gain feedback in the new activity without falling apart.   You actually get excited about the feedback that helps you improve.

 

Encouragement depends on the ability to see a positive and then express it in such a way that it seems very important.  It is not only important that you express the positive either to yourself or others, but also that you express it in a way that it is perceived as being significant.   Encouragement normally requires repetition and an expression of enthusiasm about what has been seen.  Verbally this is done through the use of tones in the voice.  In writing it is done through the use of positive adjectives and adverbs, and in painting it is usually done with color.  Criticism, on the other hand, doesn’t need as much repetition or tones.  The words in themselves are usually enough to stop people.  For encouragement to work it needs to be much more present than criticism.  The best formula is to eliminate criticism completely.

 

Encouragement is an act of remembering.  You see something that has already happened and then you express it to yourself or others in a positive way.   If you want to help a person change, the most important thing is to see positives and express them especially if what you are mostly seeing are negative things.    The positives that you are seeing are observations of what is already successful and when you acknowledge success, it fixes it in the mind of the doer, and makes the likelihood of repeated success much greater.

 

Encouragement allows the person to take what he is already doing well and then move to the next step.   The next step is an integration of what a person has already done and then an additional new process.   For instance, when a toddler is learning to walk, he first has to learn how to balance himself so that he can stand in one spot.   He starts by learning how to sit in a balanced position and then eventually stand after hundreds of trials where he is building his leg strength and holding on to supports to keep the balance.  Finally one day he can balance and when he balances, he just naturally does the next thing, he starts trying steps.  And when he tries to take steps, he usually falls because he doesn’t have the balance integrated with the movement.   But after hundreds of more trials, he learns how to walk.  Success in walking is dependent on how well he did the previous stage, balancing, and then integrating that with movement forward.  The previous stage is always an integral part of the current stage and any future stages.  This is why historians are so important because they tell the story of what has lead to success.

 

Criticism tries to do the opposite. It identifies a weakness and then tries to not allow something negative to happen.  For instance, one of the most common fears that people have is speaking in front of a group of people.  Some people will do almost anything to not speak in front of others.  As soon as child is in front of a group of people and expressing himself the parents usually start worrying about all the things that others are going to say.  They forget the lesson of walking.   Parents love when a child says their first words and almost everyone uses encouragement to help the child express more, but when the child starts to express real thoughts and real feelings in front of others, the parents begin to feel worried about what others might say, so they criticize the child and even punish him until he stops expressing himself in public.   Children who are encouraged to express themselves and told how well they are speaking in front of others, or how well they are playing an instrument in front of others,  naturally want to do more, and they learn through observation, and positive feedback what is effective and what is not.  Children who are constantly criticized don’t learn the lessons of public expression because they stop themselves from making the necessary trials and experiments to do it.  Eventually they may even start criticizing each other in a more vicious way than parents.  You know criticism is present when children have a hard time staying with an activity for a long time.  They have the practice of starting, getting excited for a short time, and then quitting.   The criticism works.

 

Occasionally, a child will need to know where the limit is in expressing oneself.  For instance, a child should know that he shouldn’t say negative things about other people and also he should refrain from using swear words.  But it is a lesson difficult to teach a child in a culture where everyone is saying negative things about each other all the time and lots of people swear.  If there is an abundance of encouragement, then it usually is not very difficult to set limits with children.  However, children living in situations where criticism is the rule, resist limits fiercely.   In a culture people are much more willing to follow just laws when they are living with encouragement, than they are when criticism and injustice exist.

 

Since we have all grown up in cultures where being critical is the rule, the challenge of creating a culture of encouragement is immense.  However, there is a very simple way to begin the process.   It takes two steps.  First, we can remember everyday some positive things that we did.  It helps to keep a journal of those remembrances.  We can analyze the successes and find out how we did what we did well so that we can continue doing them.  Then to take the next step, we can ask ourselves what it is that we are feeling that is negative and what is it trying to communicate to us that we need to change.  Everything in life is in a constant state of growth.  The law of creation is that human beings must grow and develop.   And the impetus for growth is relentless.   Remembering allows you to know what you have already developed, and finding out about your negative feelings gives you a clue about the next step.

 

To help a person make a change the first step is to help them realize how fantastic they already are.  You do this by analyzing positive characteristics and patterns and then emphasizing them with tones of enthusiasm.  For instance,  maybe a person can dribble a basketball very well.   So you can ask him how it is that he learned how to dribble.   He might tell you that first he watched some great player dribbling and then he went out and tried it. He just kept watching and kept trying and practicing and eventually he could do it to perfection.  Now he has gotten so confident that he even tries new things.   However,  you also discover that he is having trouble learning how write creatively and what you discover is that he is not doing what he already does well in basketball to learn how to write creatively.   Instead of reading from a great writer and then copying him like he did in basketball,  he is trying to make up some kind of original thought that no one else has done because someone mistakenly told him that creative people only do original things.   He doesn’t know that creativity is mostly allowing yourself to be influenced by the positive things that are already there and then just adding something on to it.  So when you encourage him, you are just helping him to do what he already does well and then try it with other things.

 

The false idea about creativity being originality comes from the fact that we live in a culture of criticism.  People don’t want to remember positive contributions of past artists because when they try to remember, the memories that appear are all negative and critical.   They are used to hearing how bad they are, so they shut off the memory completely and then lose confidence to do new things.  Creativity is much more about copying what is already there and then adding.  Even in the most creative modern artists of our time you can see how they have copied what went before them and then just added something slightly different.  The first step is to bathe yourself in positive memories and expose yourself to the richness of positive memories.  However, it is no easy task to lose the effects of negative experiences in the past.

My daughter, who is an art teacher, uses this technique to develop artistic talent.  When people produce a piece of art and share with others, she has them pass around a piece of paper and ask the people present to write a supportive, validating comment about the art based on the language of virtues and recognizing beauty.  The result is that the artists become extremely motivated to do more art and try more new things.   In the current cultural climate of criticism most people get really criticized, then go into a period of depression and fear,  and have to go through major recovery to get back to the art.

When my tennis instructor teaches me something new with my tennis strokes, he first shows what it looks like to be successful and then puts me through the correct motions.   Then as soon as I start doing the movements, he acknowledges what I am doing.  This lets me know I am doing the right things.  If I cannot do the stroke correctly, he stops the drill and shows me again the correct motion reminding me how to be successful.  Then as soon as I do it correctly he gives a lot of positive feedback.

One of the major problems about creating a culture of encouragement in the world is that the current structure of power gains short term material advantage by trying to keep others from changing.  We all know that the world is moving from hierarchical, top-down, static structures of administration to ones that are based and dependent upon equality, individual initiative, and constant growth.  A hierarchical structure is one where there is a recognized leader at the top and leadership moves down through a series of levels until you get to the bottom.  In models that are based more on equality and individual initiative the leadership is seen more as a facilitation of a process of growth.   People often feel that they have a voice in the organization and there is encouragement to try new things.

 

We know from research that when you start encouraging in a community by systematically remembering positive qualities and then helping people to take the next step, the amount of individual initiative, growth, and  cooperation rise immediately.  But as soon as you implement these kinds of changes you can also almost immediately be assured that you will encounter resistance and it  is almost always from the ones who have a material advantage and are higher up on the hierarchical ladder.   It could be in a family, in an organization, in a community, or in a nation.    The resistance is at the top and it can effectively destroy encouragement in the short run.  The top usually has financial power, more control over communication than others, and can create rules to prevent initiative.   When the top feels threatened, it reacts by using it powers to stop the process of encouragement.   One of its techniques is to find something wrong with someone that is partially true, and then exaggerates the negative thing until it seems like the normal something is really terrible.  It takes the burden of change away from the leadership so that they can remain the same and avoid the change process.

There is really no solution to this type of discouraging practice in the short term.  They will start their campaigns of criticism and undermining and it will cause people to lose courage.   However, on the really positive side, it is impossible to stop encouragement in the long run because the process is so powerful that it actually has an effect on changing the leadership itself.   And furthermore, if leadership is actually done through encouragement, the growth rate is so fast and so positive that people in the group feel constantly in a state of awe and wonderment and then just naturally want to make more positive changes.  The only problem we have now is being able to sustain a long term campaign of positive encouragement in the face of the certain resistance we will face.  My experience on this matter is that it is naive to think that there will be no resistance, and even more naive to think that the resistance is not going to be hurtful.  However,  if and when resistance comes, it is even more important to increase the amount of encouragement because the resistance is really a positive sign that the encouragement is having its positive effect.

 

If we were just to put into practice the one idea of seeing positive things and telling others what we see, the world would change right before our eyes.  But the hurt we feel from criticism is often like a huge hole of inactivity into which we fall.   It is difficult to climb out of the hole because the hurt is so real and its pain so intense.  There is a remedy for criticism but it is very difficult to practice because our natural tendency, when we feel hurt, is to hurt back, to seek revenge.   However, in the long run, the only lasting remedy is to forgive and forget the hurt and then increase the encouragement.   I can’t think of anything harder for me to do than to forget and forgive the pain I feel from criticism  because I have such a great desire to seek revenge by hurting back.  And yet whenever I can manage to forget and forgive, always new doors of opportunity open and the world becomes a different place for me.   The reason, I believe, it becomes like a new world is that the forgetting of the pain allows the memory to experience all of the positive emotions of success in the past, then the positive emotions associated with the actual experience allows for the feeling of confidence, and finally the confidence generates the courage to take the next step.  The door opens and the experience is filled with wonder and joy.

 

Courage is the key quality for doing new things and having new growth,  and positive remembering seems to be the main force that frees up courage to act.  We know that a toddler learning how to walk is only basically relying on his positive psychomotor memory and the thrill of success to propel him forward.   There is no interference from critical thinking because a baby doesn’t have a critical faculty.  He succeeds by remembering how to balance, having confidence in it, and forgetting the pain of falling.  Somehow, toddlers manage to not pay attention to the pain for very long.  They seem to be driven inwardly by the success they already have and the desire to go forward.   It is virtually impossible to stop a toddler from learning how to walk even in really adverse conditions unless you do something physically to stop him or he has a physical impairment.   Every toddler succeeds.  Adults succeed for the same reasons.  They forget the pain and remember the success and are propelled forward by the desire for the goal.  It is only when we don’t pay attention to the positive success in the past that we fail.
So the formula is simple.  Remember the positive past and help others to remember it and they will naturally be propelled toward new goals and new adventures.

Relationship Dreams: Breaking the Old Paradigm

I receive a lot of dreams from young people, often in high school, who are wondering about how to move forward in the area of relationships.   For some reason we have created a worldwide system of education that requires endless hours of math and science,but almost nothing in relationships.   I am not against math and science.   I adore math and numbers,  but where are the curricula in our schools that address how to have a successful relationship?

One of a number of types of dreams that young people have is when they are currently in a dating-type relationship with one person, but getting physically intimate with someone completely different in a dream.  To understand how to respond to a young person or, for that matter, a married person having the dream, you first need to fully understand that the culture we live in worldwide is based upon the principle of exclusion.    More than anything, our culture is a race to the top which can only have one winner.  Everyone else loses and is excluded along the way.     Dating is a reflection of the exclusive culture, and young people race to get to the number one person.   The number one position in the dating race is to have a really great exclusive boy friend or girl friend.   This is the pressure and most people unconsciously participate.

The dream world is not part of the material culture.  It works on spiritual laws that are completely outside of man made exclusion schemes.   So in the dream world it is perfectly ok to have two boy friends.    So why does a young person need more than one?  Why is exclusion such a bad paradigm?  Relationships, when they are actually about the relating rather than the conquest,  are the perfect environments for exploring various parts of your character.    Everyone is unique.  The more people you know and are close to, the more you can learn about your own self.   If you dream about getting close to someone who is not your exclusive partner, it means that there is a part of yourself that you need to explore and develop. The best way to develop it is through relating positively to the person in the dream.   Relating is learning.

The problem with just changing over to a new system of dating and relating is the person at the top. If you are on top because you have this great girl friend, you are not going to want to be exploring and learning.  You are going to want to be keeping your advantage over others.    People at the top in our exclusive world don’t want to share their spot even if they are miserable  and jealous in it.     The key in dealing with people who are stuck in the paradigm of exclusion with huge ambition for making it to the top is to become detached from them.   They are really not that important in the long run even though they think they are now.

Dealing with Embarrassment: A Real Story

Dear Richard,
When I was a little girl, I imagined when I got older the things that stopped me from feeling peaceful and happy would be gone because I would be an adult and be able to choose things for myself. Then I would choose to do things I really wanted to do but wasn’t given opportunities to do, like learn a musical instrument, learn to dance with a group, travel and see beautiful things on earth. I also always loved learning new things and sharing them. When I was little I wanted to be a teacher so I could keep learning and sharing. I’ve found myself as an adult drawn to being in the company of people who also enjoy learning, sharing, and growing.
My big scary dream which has reoccurred in one way or another since I was 7 was of someone I trusted driving a car with people in it into water. When I was a child this dream image then became a “real” phobia so that I would actually get nervous when we drove by water but I am learning to work with this image as a metaphor and work through this issue with the tips you include in these two recent posts about reoccurring dreams and going for big change.

Here is the part I struggle with: even though I want to share this with you and this wonderful online group of dreamers, even now, my fears kick in.

I wonder when is a good time to name the ego and emotion and when is not a good time to share it.  It is always good to name the ego within yourself.  Sharing it with others is always optional and depends upon the listener’s ability to help you with it.   You need to be able to trust the listener.
I am afraid of feeling embarrassed after I send this and of not being clear and of being misunderstood. I’m afraid of something bad happening if I share my feelings.     Sharing feelings out loud is always risky.  That is what happened in your dream.  The person driving you that you trusted drove you into the lake.    This just means that you need to drive the experience.   The reason that you share is to get help, but the embarrassment comes because when you thought you could trust someone, they drove you in a lake.  Now every time you consider trusting someone to share, you are fearful of being driven in the lake so your ego reacts with embarrassment.    Furthermore it happened at 7 years old when you are just being able to hold mixed feelings in your mind, positive and negative at the same time.   For a child that age they have to be able to feel great about how they played, for instance, despite the fact that the scoreboard says they lost.  For your experience you need to be able to be open to learning and experience, and, at the same time, realize that it is not wise to be open with everyone. 

 

Anyway, my question to you is this: what do we do when our dream life presents us with a lot of issues of emptiness and dullness? Emptiness and dullness in dream life means that you are feeling the same in real life.   Dullness in particular is a protective state the ego uses so that you don’t have put yourself out there and be really excited and colorful.   First it is important to realize that it is protection. Second you use it because then you don’t have to trust yourself in situations that require enthusiasm.
What do I do when my dream makes it look like I’ve overcome one part of the reoccurring issue but in real life it looks like it is happening all over again?   The dream presents it this way because you have overcome the issue in one origin.   Often when you have been through difficult traumas, there are multiple origins of an issue because one problem builds on another.   When you keep letting go of the ego at the new place, then real life just keeps getting better and better.

 

 

The Dynamics of Going After Big Change

We all want big change.  There is probably nothing more universal and completely compelling within us than to want to change ourselves.  Growth is part of who we are as human beings.   What are the dynamics?  How do we simplify the process so that is more available everyday to everyone?  What a world that would be!   We know this for sure.   The knowledge of how to change just about anything about us is going to be available and wildly practiced by billions of people.   When that happens who we are now will scarcely be recognized.

in the Anisa Model of Education, a holistic approach to development, human beings are seen as having unlimited potentialities. We are is guided by the concepts of immanence (how one’s past impinges on the present) and transcendence (how one’s future effects the current reality.   When you work with these two realities, you can evoke some rapid transformation.  Here is an introduction.

When we normally think of change dynamics, we try to erase many of the negative limiting aspects of our past so that they don’t impede how we currently function.   When we look at our immanence,however, it represents the sum total of all of the capacities that we have heretofore actualized.   Whatever our current reality is in the real world, the thing we want more than anything, is to be competent in our day to day existence.   We want to have lots of capacities that are available.   Since the immanence represents the positive capacities as they bare on the present, the one thing that is absolutely vital in bringing our immanence to the current reality is remembering everything positive about ourselves.    Without knowing and remembering that we have a capacity, it is generally not available to us.  Remembering that we have a capacity allows our immanence to function amazingly well.

If you are manager or a coach or a teacher or CEO and you want your people to perform well right now, one of the things you need to do is to help them access the memory of what they already do well so that they can bring it bear on what they are doing.  The general rule for managers should be this!!  When you see it, “say it” to the person you are supervising.   Don’t hold back or think the person is going to be spoiled.   The pressure to forget one’s abilities is so great in everyday life that no one could ever possibly get enough validation of their positive energies.

If you are doing your own change work, you need to get a journal and start reminding yourself about all of your positives.   Just write them down and keep writing new ones and keep repeating them all the time.   What can you do? How are you effective?  There is absolutely nothing more powerful in the way of invigorating your immanence to act in the present competently than to remember the things you have already actualized and repeat them often.   The one thing we know for sure about memory is that it needs repetition to stay in shape just like a running needs to run a lot to maintain fitness.

There are lots of reasons for forgetting.  Here is a post on memory that might help. https://dreamsforpeace.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/day-14-the-best-asset-is-a-positive-memory/

When you have your memory in place and your immanence right, then the next part of the dynamic that needs to be addressed is your transcendence (how the future affects the present).    The first problem in dealing with the future is, as has already been said, not being able to remember your past abilities.   We find that with most cultures, parents, teachers and supervisors  make the mistake of trying to remind a person of their weaknesses, those thing which they haven’t actualized and then throw blame on them for not being able to be good at them already.   It is so absurd, but unfortunately the general rule.   It is as if we all believe that if you just say what a person is bad at a million times, then the change will happen.   Well, one thing the research on change is absolutely sure about.  The strategy of blaming a person for what they can’t do doesn’t help anyone to change.   Time to give it up.

What does work?   First of all when we orient toward the future, toward changing ourselves,  it is extremely helpful to understand that we already have a built in mechanism that motivates us to change.   The mechanism is called our ego.   It is not who we truly are, but it is the part of us that feels negative stress or negative emotions when we orient toward developing new abilities.   Suppose that you are trying to learn how to ski for the first time.   If you are not used to taking risks or have really poor balance and strength, then your ego is going to send a message of fear to your mind and body because most likely it will want you to get out of there as fast as you can.   The ego is protective.   Your true self may want you to have the capacity to take more risks, but your ego is going to put emotional barriers to stop you.    If you are young and already have a lot of experience with risk taking, you won’t feel the stress of fear as much, because you will know what the benefits of risk taking are.

It is usually pretty easy to clarify what kind of change we want to make in life like being able to sit down and concentrate for long periods or maintaining a close relationship or finishing what we start,  but often it is difficult to admit to the negative feelings we are feeling that hold us back from moving into a learning dynamic.   The best place to start is with the simple question, what am i feeling?   Is it fear, anger, frustration, hurt, grief, guilt, embarrassment? What is it?   Asking this question and being able to answer it loosens up the tension that is caused by the ego’s resistance to change.   If that were the only question you ever asked, it would help a lot.   Just saying you are afraid before you start skiing helps the risk taking.   I once had a colleague who would say to a group that she was not good at speaking in front of groups, and then go on speaking for 20 minutes.

In the first stage of developing a new capacity, you have to be able to do whatever it takes to lessen the ego’s hold on your action.  What often makes this difficult is our extreme attachment to cultural practices that try to shame a person into change by repeating how bad they are at the new thing.   If we want to stay stagnant, shame is how we do it.   If you want change, name the ego.   The cultural practice of shaming tightens the grip of the ego on protection.   It causes us to try to hide our weaknesses rather than be open with them.   Being open with your own ego does not mean that you need to go on national television to admit it.   It doesn’t even help admitting it to someone else.  The only place where it  helps is admitting it to ourselves and then realizing that it is natural to have negative emotions when dealing with new capacities.

What you do have to watch out for is the second bad cultural process which is something like typology.  Typology is the kind of defense of the ego where it admits to a fear like the fear of heights and then believes it is a permanent condition so that you don’t have to work on developing things connected to it.   Children learn this as early as 5 years old.   Then we give them big long names with the suffix, phobia, on the end.   The ego is always a temporary condition. It is never permanent.   It doesn’t mean that it will be easy to let it go.  If just means that you haven’t figured out how to loosen its grip.   When a child gives up at age 5,  it is like cutting out huge aspects of their lives that they could be totally involved in.   Don’t ever catch yourself saying this popular phase. “I am not the type of person who……….”

The ego is kind of like the brakes in a car only it normally is out of your control when the car stops  rather than being in your control.    Sometimes it is as if you have headed out the door, gotten in your car for a new destination, gone down the road, and then 10 minutes later find yourself back in the garage.   The ego doesn’t really care if you change. It only cares about protection.   The transformation aspect of yourself, the true self, is the one who is really going after the change. It wants the transcendence.   The measure of whether you end up back in the garage and give up or keeping going down the road despite the obstacles of the ego, indicates who is in charge, the ego or the true self.

Transcendence requires that the true self be in charge, which essentially is the belief that the change you want to make is possible, probably, and if you stick with it long enough, assured.   As soon as the change becomes habitual then it becomes your immanence, your past, that allows you to function even better than before.   If it is the right change for you to make, then all you really have to do is stay with the process of letting go of the ego continually while you learn new aspects of the ability.

We find in our current world that people who have been trained technically very well often find themselves in employment positions where they are managing people, which is an area where they are not trained very well.  While they may have been extremely motivated to learn technical skills such as being an engineer or doctor or lawyer, when it comes to managing people, their egos take over. They use management that is based upon leading with one’s ego like using dominance.   While they may keep up on current practices in their technical field, they do not do the same with management.   We used to find something similar with  a lot of children who worked really hard to be great at playing the most recognized sport like soccer, but when they were encouraged to learn a new sport that had less recognition, they made almost no effort.   Instead of using the same kind of determination to broaden their competence, they allowed their egos to take over and putting in little effort.   What this means is that your true self never wants to let you off the hook in the area of transcendence.

It is difficult to meet a lawyer who is also a good parent, because while they have put in humongous hours in the law firm and being lawyer-like, the skill set for being a parent is about as far in the opposite direction that you can go, but requires equally as much effort to get to a level of excellence.   It turns out that, by and large, what our world culture recognizes and rewards, is also the reason why we are in so much trouble worldwide.   A doctor’s daughter may be screaming for some kind of attention, but the doctor consistently puts her off because being a parent brings up huge amounts of avoidance and fear.  And because the doctor’s profession is so regarded as important, he can easily hide from his parental role.

The general rule for transcendence is this.  Look at the world and what it rewards and recognizes.   For instance, football stars can make 200,000 dollars for each game they play.  Then develop the part of you where you are least like to gain public recognition no matter how good you get at it.   I can guarantee you that this is where your true self wants to change first.  When you do it, the whole world changes.   The area where you need to grow isn’t something you choose.  It always chooses you because it is the area where you are the weakest.

Once you know where the weakness is and know what ability you want to have, then the transcendent aspect works best if you have the best possible vision of what that ability looks like in future.   After that it is all about waking up each morning seeing the vision and then recognizing and dealing with the ego that is going to want you to stop doing the work.   If the ego is doing its work correctly, which it always does, then it will always be trying to take the vision away.  That’s its job.  When you are friends with the ego, you can thank it, and then see the positive vision even better.

Not every bout with the ego is easily won alone.  A lot of them require professional assistance.

Recurring Dreams: Transforming your Recurring Issue Changes Everything in Your Life

When you have a recurring dream, a dream that repeats itself over time, its purpose is to bring up a recurring issue in your life that you need to address.     Even if you do not have recurring dreams,  if you track your dreams regularly, you will find that you are dealing with pretty much the same issue as it presents itself in the changing circumstances of your life.  Circumstances change, the issues stay the same until you transform them.  That is how the spiritual domain works.   Issues never go away by themselves by leaving them alone.   They stay and get worse the longer they are not dealt with.

Practically anything can recur in a dream.   The dream I have gotten the most in my life is about returning to my first university, that I quit after 3 years, and starting over again.   Since I went to a military university in the U.S. that was extremely rigid, authoritarian, and had a lot of restrictions and rules,  I tend to be trapped into believing that there was/is something I can do to have made the experience more successful.   In the end the smartest thing I ever did was leave the school and change my whole field of studies.   Nonetheless, my life keeps running into restrictive authoritarian leadership and then I keep trying to figure out what it is I can do to overcome them and be successful.     The solution always remains the same, either physically or psychologically leaving the restrictive leaderships.    What I keep hoping for is that the authoritarianism will go away completely from my life.  I believe sometimes that maybe it is like bad karma, that I am attracting the bad leadership.    What brings the most transformation for me is the strategy that worked in the beginning, to leave them.   They are not going to go away anytime soon in the world.

Similarly I have heard many dreams from people all over the world who reenter their university or high school to face an exam that they wished that they could have done better on in the beginning.    In the case of exams you have to face the reality that no matter how well you do on exam, even if you score a perfect mark with no errors, someone is going to find something wrong with you because the world is full of criticism and fault finding.  Everywhere you turn there it is.

Recurring dreams teach us about how to deal with negative realities in the world that are ever present.   If you live in a place where people have rigid and fanatical ideas about what their religion says,  your dream life will present the fears and anxieties of having to live in this kind of culture.  Likewise, if people in your country worship their cars more than they believe in the spiritual domain,  then your dream life will present you with a lot of issues around emptiness and dullness, and they will recur when you try to go deep into spiritual reality.

The stuff that recurs tends to be related to the big stuff in life and the problems we face in the world around us.   As you enter the new year resolve to transform your recurring issues.  Your family, friends, and the rest of the world will be happy you did.

Visualization is a Powerful Tool But Read About What You May Not Know and Won’t Be Able to Find Anywhere Else

The first thing you need to know about visualizing is that there are really two forms of seeing things inside your mind.   It all has to do with where you are in the process.   You can be inside your head looking through your eyes or you can be looking at yourself as if you are outside of yourself.   In the latter you are seeing yourself out there.   In the former it is as if you are on the inside so you don’t see yourself out there.   Both are really valuable.   I suppose, but I don’t have the data on this yet, that we prefer and are good at one form of the other.

So why do we need both types of visualizing?  What is the advantage of one type over another?   It is easy to understand if you can divide yourself into two major ways of operating in the world.   One way is to be in-going or introverted.   This is not to confused with being timid or shy.  Timidity is a state of the ego, not the true self.   Introverted qualities are those qualities that allow for deep reflection, for thinking about things, or for problem-solving complex issues.   They are reflected in the character by peacefulness, calm, tranquility, and patience to name a few.   People who are great introverts can sit with a problem for a long period of time, like decades, and not grow impatient with the results.   The process of thinking about something is so joyful and exuberant that results rarely seem to matter.    The other way of being is to be extroverted.  Extroverts act on the outside and make connections externally.   They are often seen as being social because they are largely interested in creating bonds, but they are also adventurous,  love taking risks, and are the first to do new things.   Their character qualities tend to be courage, enthusiasm, friendliness, inclusion, and creativity.

When you are visualizing from yourself on the inside looking out through your eyes you are utilizing your inward seeking self.   It normally goes for meaning.  When you are visualizing with yourself out there and you are looking at yourself, you are engaging your outward going self.  It seeks more action and connection.    Both states are extremely important and necessary.  It is hard to imagine a life where you only have one or the others.

Where you have your challenges in your life will often be reflected in which type of visualizing you cannot do?   If you are not very patient or have a hard time meditating or sitting still, it means that you are having a hard time being in-going which will make problem solving and reflection difficult.   If you are fearful of something bad happening to you when you interact with others or when are doing new things, then it means that you are having a hard time being out-going.

Contrary to what psychologists used to say, you can actually become very competent in both aspects of visualizing even though you may be stronger in one or the other.  Just because someone told you that you are introvert does not mean that you can sit in your house all day and be anti-social or blame your lack of taking risks on being inward seeking.    Likewise socially strong people cannot say that it is not in their nature to be reflective and calm.

You tend to live a much happier life when you have both sides well developed.   For instance you may do very good research or be able to spend a lot of time alone with a canvas, but if you cannot relate to your own children outwardly,  you will create a lot of disharmony in the world.

Which one can you do?  Where do you need to grow?

 

When You Deal With Criticism, Listen to the Voices in Your Head

Have you ever noticed that when you watch a very frightening movie, all you have to do is turn off the volume and then the fear goes away.  The movie makers seem to control your state of fear through the way they manipulate sound more than anything else.   Sometimes the scary movies seem a little hilarious when there is no sound to them.

Likewise when we have a lot of fear about approaching a new adventure or doing a new task,  the necessary enthusiasm to look forward to the event dwindles when there is a lot of criticism inside our heads.  It is as if the sound system controls the negative state.   Our minds hear negative voices that tell us that we shouldn’t do something, to be cautious, and to not make any mistakes.    It is like a symphony of negative tones and words that freezes our true selves from getting into positive action.

All we have to do to protect ourselves from developing new aspects of ourselves is to have a cacophony of negativity in our heads.    Then we stop ourselves.  It can be your own voice or someone else’s voice.  It doesn’t matter.  It can be the current you, your mother or father’s voice, or even your voice as a child. Often it is a teacher’s voice.   Someone inside your mind can be very protective and get you to stop almost any kind of new growth.    Most cultures in the world are so good at implanting negative voices inside young people’s heads that creativity and transformation barely get past the slowest snail’s pace.   Actually it usually seems as though we are going backwards.   It is as if the culture is completely aligned against change.

What if it were different?  What if we had positive voices in our minds?

If you watch a group of runners in a marathon,  they will be going along at a certain pace, but when they hit a crowd of people lining the streets yelling positive things to them, they immediately perk up and pick up their pace.   You can often get a child who has practically come to a standstill in a race to suddenly feel more energetic by yelling positive things to them.  It is an interesting phenomenon.   If you have ever played a sport in front of a crowd of cheering people,  it is absolutely electrifying.

We stay the same or regress in our lives when he constantly hear negative voices.   We have a difficult time taking risks.  Fortunately, there are some very simple things we can do to change the negative voices.

When you are thinking of doing a new project or accomplishing a set of new goals, first imagine what it would be like with a mental picture and feeling about what it would be like to achieve the goal.    Next go inside and listen for voices that are critical, negative, and controlling.  Listen to their tones and volume.  Then check your body’s reaction.  Those voices probably make you tense and lessen your ability to get into action.   They can be so effective that they can wipe out the positive mental image you have created in your mind.  Isn’t that interesting?  They are very powerful especially when they come from authority figures.

After you have hear the critical voice and identified who it is and what it sounds like,   then you can also identify the kind of positive voice you need inside.   When you can hear it at least as well or better all the time than the negative voice,  then you will be on your way to change and great new stuff.

To consolidate the voice you can do the following.  First you can hear the negative voice, then turn down the volume so you cannot hear it at all.  Then as it goes to zero volume begin to hear the positive, encouraging, enthusiastic and uplifting voice.   Keep repeating this exercise as many times as you need to until the voice stays in there permanently.

You can test it in the end by holding up the mental image of the vision you are trying to achieve.   When you can hold the image indefinitely and also hear the enthusiasm,  then the voice is in there.    If you only get partial results, it means you probably have some other voices in your head.   You can systematically go through the negative voices and replace them all with positive ones.  Then you will be able to achieve just about anything.

It is amazing how your feelings change toward the person behind the negative voice when you do this work.  You end up with much more compassion.

The Virtue of Courage

In the last few weeks I have spend a lot of time with children teaching them about courage using the medium of rock climbing as the tool for its development.   Even though I have done this for 10 years now, it never ceases to amaze me how fast a child can go from being in a state of fear to a state of courage.   When the 5 year olds come to the wall, it must seem like they are about to take on Everest.   They take the first few steps hesitatingly.  Then something clicks inside of them after just about 10 minutes.   What they thought was so frightening isn’t so daunting after all.  In another couple of lessons they are flying around the wall as if they were walking on the ground.     Of course, everything is in degrees.  Some children move much more slowly through the fear.

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I can say that there is hardly a greater moment of joy for a teacher than to see a child gradually work through a daunting fear  in climbing and then get to a goal that seemed so impossible.  How does it happen?    I wish I knew more about the process.  The one thing I have learned about fear and accompaniment that is phenomenal is that the closer I am physically to a child going through a fearful situation, the more likely they are to achieve the goal.    When I am close to them, it is as if they believe that despite the fear, nothing is going to happen.

Fear is just so real.    The first time I ever did bungy jumping there was so much fear pulsating through my body that I couldn’t even experience one moment of joy.    The only way I jumped is by telling myself that no one else has died yet.  It worked.

Fear and Courage go together always.   When you are developing the virtue of courage,  it means that you are learning to let go of fear.   Fear keeps you from doing the intended goal.  Courage allows it.   Fear presents to you all of the ways that something is going to go wrong.   It puts the negative in your face and often makes it bigger than life.   This protects you from any harm whatsoever because when you see the bear in the forest coming into your campground at night, you decide not to go camping.   When you see people laughing and criticizing you for what you are saying in public, you hold yourself back from speaking in front of large groups.

Courage happens when you let go of the fearful image and replace it with a positive one.   Instead of seeing the bear in the campground disturbing everything and tearing everyone to shreds, you see the people eating around a campfire and enjoying nature and long hikes.   You see the positive results of what you are saying on the faces in the audience.

Courage is simply having a positive image of the desired goal state in a big way and then jumping in.    It doesn’t mean that by courage alone you are going to be successful,  but it does allow you to be jump and be in the experience and then keep going back to it.    People who are courageous just love the thrill of jumping in so much that they easily let go of any hurts that they have had in the past.

How to do you let go of fear?  Usually people who hang onto fear place a big value judgment on mistakes.   And that value judgment is reinforced a 1000 times by people in positions of authority saying negative things about an action.    It is hard to contradict a parent who tells a child that they are lazy or stupid or have embarrassed the whole family.    Letting go often requires that you let go of the value judgment connected to the action.   When you let go of the shame or embarrassment that you have caused by not performing well, then the fear itself is easy to change, but who is ashamed by your actions can cause you to stay in a fearful state for your entire life.

Children can often get other children to stop doing courageous acts by laughing at another child publicly or making fun of what they did.   This is the same as an authority figure because children often value their peers as authorities.   Instead of laughing at a mistake and going forward with courage,  children can often go right into a shell so fearful now that their peers are going to laugh at them again.

People who are good at courage take the authority from their own inner selves rather than outside of themselves.  Mistakes are fun to them because they live inside the goal setting not thinking about other people’s reaction.

Some good questions.

What is my desired goal? Make a brilliant picture in front of you larger than life.

What is the fear keeping me from going for the goal?

Whose reaction am I am most concerned about?

Dream of Surfing on the Moon

“My wife and I were talking and she suggested that we go to the Moon. I told her that I really didn’t want to go to the moon because there really wasn’t anything there. In the next moment I was on the moon’s surface. The scene was in black and white. Shortly thereafter I noticed that there was some water and small waves. I said to myself that it was so cool that the moon had waves. Then the dream changed into color, and I began to surf on a body board doing all kinds of things that are impossible in real life surfing. When that part ended, I began exploring the possibility of skydiving.

When I woke up from the dream, the first question that crossed my mind was that of being attached to the earth.  Why was I so attached to on the earth that made it difficult for me to go to the moon and have that great experience?   What I realized was that I was attached to being at the top or at least defeating those who are at the cultural top.   I was stuck to the earth in complete attachment.    When I detached myself and let myself go to the moon,  then all kinds of extraordinary new things began to happen that I was not getting to while I had my earthly attachments.

Being attached to being #1 is a common earthly attachment for a lot of us, but it just closes so many doors and keeps us from exploring the more radical side of life.

What are you attached to that is keeping you from experiencing the more radical side of life?

Framework for Change Part 2: Getting Unstuck

We all have issues.  We all have difficulties and problems that we have to face each day.  It is built into the very core of being human that we are all facing challenges.   No one escapes from the moment we are born until we die and then probably beyond that.    When I first started doing the change work with myself many years ago, I was just hoping that I could eliminate having issues.    And then I believed that if I made substantial progress on one big issue, then the rest of my life would be a lot easier.    The truth is that the more change work you do the easier it becomes, but the challenges never cease.    This is simply because we were created with infinite potentialities which our inner self is hard-wired to strive after.  There is always an urge from the inside to move forward with new possibilities.  There is no way to stop it nor should there ever be a desire for slowing it down.

The tests, the ordeals are what keep us motivated to change, but they also have the capacity to destroy us if we deal with them in the wrong way.    There are two ways to deal with the testing process.  The first is to go the way the ego, which is our animal nature that we share with other creatures.   It tries to cope with the negative challenges by fighting them or fleeing them in any one of millions of ways to do so.   The second is to find the positive inner energy that our true self want to become and then learn how to live in that energy. 

The amount of tests that you get don’t seem to depend upon what kind of life you are living, positive or negative.   Tests are a function of being human.  We all get our share and more.   If, however,  you deal with the tests in the way of the true self, then your capacities to do positive things grow.  If you are tested and go by way of the ego like fleeing into an addiction, then your abilities weaken, and you become less capable of beneficial action.

How does it work?  When you are faced with a challenge that is beyond your current capacity,  the first thing that happens is that your ego, the protective part of yourself,  sends a message from your brain to your body announcing the unprepared state.   That message is in the form of a negative emotion like fear or anger or guilt.   It says that whatever positive capacity you need inside yourself to deal with the current challenge is not there yet.   If you respond in the protective way of the ego, you will run away from the challenge or you will fight needing to develop the capacity like  blaming others for its cause.  As long as you respond in the protected manner, the negative message in the form of an unpleasant emotion will continue and then grow over time.   The more we run or fight the bigger the message and consequence needs to be to wake us up and develop the new capacity.    It never goes away until we change it.

The reason we run or fight probably has a lot to do with the fact that negative emotions are uncomfortable.    When you have fear, you definitely feel it in your body.  Who wants to keep it there?    The most automatic response is to protect ourselves, and that leads us to being stuck in our lives without growth.     Growth happens when you recognize the negative state, realizing that it is a signal for developing a new capacity,  and then take systematic steps to unleash the new part of yourself.

The first step always involves humility.   It is recognizing that you are in over your head, and you need help.   When you are in a state of humility, you allow yourself to be at the bottom so that learning and assistance can flow to you.   It is for this reason that leaders in a top-down organization often have such great difficulties changing.   They already believe that they are perfect and everyone else is beneath them in abilities.   Wherever there is a great discrepancy in rights and resources, there is a huge lack of humility.    When you have humility, it instantly becomes OK to have fear or grief or hurt.   It allows you to be in a weak state as a starting position.   If you get to feeling as though you are in last place,  then you can just grow like crazy.

The next step is to understand the message that the negative emotion is giving you and what your ego response to it already is.   For the most part human beings start the process of growth and change because of their problems with each other.   Unity, closeness, love, and harmony are where the core issues always start.   The biggest fear that human beings have by far is the fear of exclusion and that is what we, as a human race, seem to do best; exclude.   The exclusion almost always starts in our family or origin.   When we want to get closer to others or be in harmony with them,  we are overcome with fear or hurt that sets off a whole range of coping behavior often in the form of addictions.

To get unstuck from being a workaholic or drug addicted or food addicted or whatever other running or fighting behavior we might have, we first can get to a great understanding of what the fear is like inside of us.   If often goes like this.   Suppose you want to get closer to your spouse.   When you are trying to get closer, the first thing that comes up is the protective emotion of fear that warns you that you may get excluded.    This is because you already have experiences of being excluded.   It may have been the memory of being left alone a lot, in which case the memory may register as you being in a dark place all alone as if something is going to come and get you.  It may have been the memory of feeling like you are not good enough to be included because you were criticized.   The memory may register as a loud angry voice telling you that you are not good enough.   You may have been beaten in which case the memory would be a huge monstrous figure in your mind.    The problem with dealing with the exclusion in whatever form it may take is that the negative memory that runs the fear is what determines the behavior.    A workaholic will seek endless amounts of money and get lots of recognition for achievement, but ignores his family completely.   This is simply because when he goes for closeness he might be left out in the darkness in his head.    Usually where there is a lot of alcohol there is a loud negative voice in someone’s head.

Once you understand what is going on your head, which is not usually advisable to do on your own,  and you also know what kind of coping it causes you to do,  then you can make the steps to let go of the negative memory, to get it disconnected from the coping behavior, then connect to new structures in yourself for the positive new ability.    This principle of connecting to the new structures is that of finding the energy inside that is the positive opposite to the negative structure.    If you have a memory of being yelled at or criticized all the time, then the energy will be a really powerful positive voice that finds the really good things about you and reminds you of them all the time.   If you were alone and in a dark place in your mind, the new energy will be with memories of being close to others.

Disconnecting or letting go of the old memories is not always that easy to do.   It is usually best to seek assistance in the process.   This is because the awakening process can be very fearful which you are now controlling by way of adaptive or coping behavior.  When you open the new energy and go for it, your life will be dramatically changed in ways you cannot currently describe, but mostly it will bring you closer to others and yourself.

Framework for Change Part 1: Who first. What or How much second.

There are basically two ways to go about the transformation process.     The first method answers a what or how much question.  What kind of house do I want to live?  What kind of career do I want?   How much money do I want to make?  How many pounds do I want to lose?  How fast do I want to run? What kind of car do I want to own?    The second method answers a who question.   Who is the person that my true self wants to become?

In the first method the goals always begin from outside of yourself.   If you want to own a home that cost millions of dollars,  then the first thing you need to do in the first method is a have a really clear picture of what that looks like.   When you are set on it and have a time frame in mind,  then who you are going to become is the person that can make enough money to buy a multimillion dollar home.  That is who you become as a person.

In the second method the goal starts from the inside and then proceeds out.  Who do I want to become as opposed to what do I want to have?  In the first method who is decided by the thing you want to possess.   In essence you become your house.  In the second method you decide who you want to become and then the who seeks expression in the outer world.   In the second method you are not your career like in the first method.  You are who you choose to be and then that who decides on a path that may be a particular career.

The problem with the what do I want to have option of transformation is that when you pursue it, you don’t always end up liking the person you have become.   For instance  you have a good home to live in, but you despise your life.  It seems like the way I am going with this framework is to try to lead others to the path of transformation that begins with the who questions.    That would be a correct assumption and I am headed there,  but life is not always an either or proposition.   Usually the two are working harmoniously together to achieve the best possible end for you.   For instance,  if you weigh 150 kilos,  having an identity about being healthy would be great, but you can also be really effective at losing a number on the weight scale so that you can actually be healthy.   When the two methods work in the right order everything ends up marvelously.    But if you go for just losing weight to get down to a number,  but have not answered the who questions, then the person you end up with maybe just as bad off as the person with 150 kilos.  This is why a large percentage of people on the “lose it fast” TV shows don’t keep it off.

There is a big big big problem with starting with who.   It is so dangerous that even though I am suggesting people should start with the who, there is a huge CAUTION sign that goes with it.   The huge caution is this.   Who you want to become is not about choice.  Even using the word want or thinking you have the slightest choice whatsoever about who you are supposed to become is like foul language.   Who questions do not involve choice or want.   Who questions involve submission.  Submission is like sweet nectar to the Who questions.

If who you are going to become is about submitting,  then what are you submitting to?  The best way I can describe this is that we were all born uniquely with our own individual positive destinies.  You have your own destiny.  It is extremely positive and beneficial not only to yourself but to everyone else on the planet.  The answers to a who question and how you go about becoming the who you were meant to become are always on the inside.

It is not as difficult to submit to the inner world as one might think.   In fact it is quite simple.   The reason that it is so so simple is because who you are becoming is changing all the time.   The who question is not static or done one time in your life and then finished.  It has to be asked  at least everyday.   If it were not so, then we would not be the amazing creations that we are.   We would be rocks.  Who questions work when we realize that we are dynamic, ever-changing, and full of unlimited potentialities.

This is how they work.  You start by asking yourself this question.  What is the biggest issue or problem that I have in my life right now at this very moment? There it is.  It is that simple.   Then you just have to answer the question.

“I am so worried that my guests are not going to like the dinner I serve.”   “I am so fed up with my boss.”  “I am so angry with my spouse.”

To do the transformation work you don’t need to list all your problems, just the biggest one.   The reason that you need to pick the worst one is that you can only change one thing at a time about yourself and the worst one gives you the most positive effect in the outer world for that moment when it is transformed.  The benefit of doing the change work with who questions is that whatever energy is released inside of you in a positive manner automatically generalizes to every part of your life.  So, for instance, the problem may be with your boss,  the benefits will show up at home as well as other parts of your life.

Once you have answered the worst issue question, then the next step is to find a positive solution to the issue.   This gives you who you need to become right now.  One of the most common issues people have is being worried about what other people think about them as if we need their approval.  Probably most of the people on the planet have this issue.  The solution to this issue is the belief that who you are on inside is absolutely incredible and needs no approval from anyone except yourself.  When you can get that kind of belief about yourself, then it is just so easy to let go of the worry and need for approval.

Biggest issues are always about something outside of yourself that register inside with a big negative emotion.  Solutions give you added capacity on the inside and always feel extremely positive when actuated.   For instance, consider this issue.  “My boss does not give due consideration to my ideas.”   The negative feeling is anger toward the boss.   The solution is to give your own ideas full consideration and then find an appropriate expression in the places where the ideas will be received with more openness.

Answering the who question in this first phase is an extremely powerful practice because it always keeps you in touch with change at any moment of your life and puts you in charge of the process.   The next part of the change process is looking at how you got to the stuck place you are right now and some initial steps to get unstuck.

 

 

 

Focus on the Positive Energy You are Moving to, Not the Negative Thing You are Trying to Get Rid of

“Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday.”  Baha’u’llah

For many years I have been inspired by the above the quote because, in the simplest of terms, it explains the whole purpose of our life on the planet.    We are hard wired to go after positive change in our life.  It is inherent in our nature.

Much of the world culture is focused in the opposite way.   There is a great tendency to see the negative in each other and then try to shame a person out of their negative state.   It is exactly for this reason that more people do not get involved actively in a change process like seeing a counselor or taking interesting courses or going on retreats.  The change process, as Baha’u’llah describes above, is going from one positive state to another.   It is not an elimination process, but an adding on one.  Your inner being is always in a readiness state for more positive change.  It just wants more and more positive capacities and qualities.   It is thirsty, hungry all the time for change.   “That was great. What is next?”

In the world of shame nothing is ever supposed to go wrong.  People are not supposed to be afraid or nervous or jealous or hurt.   When bad things happen and people feel awful, it is shameful.  Then we all go away and hide or we lash out in anger.    If we were just able to let go of the shaming world for awhile and get into the world of positive change,  we would realize that fear and worry and hurt and other negative states are not things to be avoided.    They are just parts of the positive change process.

Today I might have a lot of patience or calm, and that is so great.  Tomorrow I am probably going to need something else like friendliness or intimacy.   My inner being loves the state of calm, but it is never going to be totally satisfied with that state alone.   It will want something more because tomorrow is supposed to be better than the night before.   What if I had a lot of calm and then I also had intimacy?  What if I had a lot of perseverance and then also be courageous and take risks?

In the shaming world when you have a lot of fear, it means that something is really wrong with you so that is when most people seek help.   They go for help to get rid of the bad feeling inside.   They don’t go for help to get to a more competent state.    The negative emotions like fear and grief are not shameful.  They are just part of the natural process of growth.    We all have them.   No one is free of them.   They are to be welcomed as friends rather than seen as the enemy and shameful.

In my inward world of shame I found out this morning from a dream that I believed that when I got fired from my job a few years ago  I felt like the person doing the firing was robbing me.   As I meditated and reflected on the issue I realized that, in my mind, I believed that because of the firing that I must be really like “crap”.    This put me in a really down state.   Then, after some more reflection,  I worked out that I was really the treasure, and that when the person fired me, he was robbed of the great things I was bringing to the organization.    In my state of shame I was crap, but in my higher state, I was a treasure.

Letting go of the belief of being crap for being fired allowed me to feel really up about how much treasure was inside of me.  As soon as started feeling up like I was the treasure, then I felt like interacting strongly with the outside world.    The shame keeps me feeling bad about myself, but letting go of the shame allows me to see my treasure.  The goal for myself today was not necessarily to eliminate the shame.   The goal was to get to the feeling like I am a treasure.    When I began the work, I didn’t know that the feeling like I am a treasure was what my higher self wanted to move to.   I only felt down for what had happened to me.   The treasure part was concealed, but I knew, based upon Baha’u’llah’s quote, that there was going to be some really positive energy that was going to want to come out.   My being didn’t want to eliminate shame, it wanted to get a new place.   That place for me was the belief about myself that I am a treasure wherever I go.

It makes a huge difference when you have faith that your being is trying to take you somewhere new and positive rather than just trying to eliminate something negative that you are feeling inside.    The negative only really goes when you get to the new positive state.   Now I can’t wait for what is waiting for me tomorrow.

In the next post I am going to write about how you know which capacity or quality you need to have in your life right now.    Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Dreams of Vampires, Walking Dead: Why We Need Them in Our Dreams

When a dream is frightening like a nightmare, it isn’t as bad as you may think.    We need vampires and zombies and monsters.  They give us valuable insight into our own process and help to head is in the right direction in our lives.    You are not a bad person or really messed up because you have a nightmare even though the fear can stay with you for sometime after.    A vampire has a message to give us just like any other symbol.   They are not unlike snakes or sharks or other frightening phenomena.   Why are they valuable?  Why should we not just try to instantly forget them?

Human beings have two natures.  We have a self-centered, materialistic, ego-driven animal aspect to our selves, and we have a higher nature that is full of positive qualities that we call our true self.    The goal of life is to develop all of the positive qualities we can and then put them into practice for the benefit of humankind so that when we cross over to the next domain, we will have much greater capacity.      The two natures always live side by side in us and actually cooperate together to wake us up so that we will transform into better people.     The ego is where the fear is.  It is also home to other negative aspects that have a temporary nature like jealousy, hurt, guilt, greed, and loneliness.

Fear is not bad.  It is just a message from the ego that it feels threatened and wants to protect you.  When you have a vampire in your dream,  it is a message that the ego is under threat from something or someone that wants to suck out all of your blood.   Since blood is the symbol for life,   a vampire is that force that wants to suck out all of your life energy.     Now if you want to change and become more effective and more beneficial to others,  it is very valuable to begin exploring questions around what is sucking out all of your life force.     The other day I was talking to some of my friends who happen to be doctors.  In Kuala Lumpur they often have to work 36 hour hospital shifts.     They are supposed to be helping people back to health, but whoever is determining their work loads is definitely a vampire and turning them into the zombies.

So if your life energy, your enthusiasm and joy, are under threat,  there is a likelihood that one day you could have a vampire dream.    The vampire tells you that your life energy is being drained.   When you understand where and how the draining is occurring, then you can begin to find higher levels of your true self in the form of more enthusiasm.   The vampire is not the enemy in the dream, nor is the real-life metaphoric vampire,  the enemy.  It is just the messenger.   It tells you where the issue is.   Then you have the freedom and responsibility to change it.

When certain shows with vampires and zombies  become very popular, it means that the fear is generalized in the culture.    It was very popular in 2012 for people to be fearful of an apocalypse because of certain misread Mayan prophecies.   Before that people were fearful of misread prophecies by Nostradamus.   Vampires and zombies are present now because we tend to idolize professions that over work people like lawyers and doctors.    And for that matter it is pretty rare when you meet up with happy engineers.    The “Walking Dead” is what we have become as a collective culture.   That is why the show is so popular.  It resonates with our collective ego experience.

It is important to understand that the true self and ego go walking together, not apart.  They are not at war with each other.    When you have the fear that your life energy is being sucked out,  it is just a message that now you can find a way toward higher levels of enthusiasm so that your life can get into balance.   Normally when you get the message,  your ego will have one of three responses.  It will try to run away from the vampire, freeze and hide away, or fight with it.    This is what the ego, animal side does when it is threatened in order to cope with the situation.   None of the coping strategies work.  There is only ever one recourse when you have  a fear-related situation in life, and that is changing to a higher level of a particular capacity or quality.

The “Walking Dead” is depression.   The answer is to be more up, more enthusiastic.

In the modern world we become zombies because we feel powerless against the forces that control most of the economic life around us.    This is because people, both men and women, define themselves primarily by their economic life.    You can stop being a zombie or being fearful of vampires when who you are and what you are aiming for in life is not defined by the work that earns money.

The most important thing to realize about this post is not so much about what to do when a vampire enters your dreams,  but how to deal with really fearful figures that cause nightmares.   I always use a mantra like, “that was a good one.”    I am actually excited about a nightmare because I know that I am going to get to the other end of it, the new positive energy.   I know that the positive energy is waiting for me and calling to me and that the nightmare is just a message along the way to help me find the energy.

Vampires are not bad.  They just are there in our dreams to give us a message.

5 Dream- Success Plan

Every business or organization is a collection of people working to achieve success.   Within every group of people working toward any goal there are strengths, and there are undeveloped capacities which show themselves as weaknesses or issues.    We all have positive capacities, and we all have issues.   No one is perfect.  Our strengths are what make us successful.   When an organization does not have a capacity that it needs, it is vulnerable to failure.

For instance, one of the great capacities of leaders that make them effective in carrying out innovative plans is the ability to handle criticism in a way that doesn’t bother them at all.   Likewise, one of the great abilities of workers in an organization is to let go of comments made by overly critical managers.   If people do not have these capacities when doing innovative work,  the production and spirit for the work quickly dies out.

The more strengths that an organization has, the more likely it is to succeed.    This does not necessarily mean that just because you have talented individuals in the organization that success if guaranteed.   While individuals may have great strengths and capacities to do specific functions, sometimes they are unable to work for the betterment of the whole in a cohesive manner.   How talented people work together is also a capacity necessary for success.

The capacity of a group to be successful lies largely in its ability to know which strengths need to be developed at any particular time and then to be committed to developing those strengths.   More often than not what happens, when success is not what is expected, is that we all start point our fingers of blame at what we think the problem is, but are entirely uninvolved in developing new capacities to be the solution.    Success is about developing new strengths all the time.    What was successful in kindergarten is not enough for grade 1.

Where does dreamwork come in?    It is quite simple.  When you have a dream at night and it is negative in nature, it shows you where you are undeveloped, where you are lacking in capacity.   Furthermore, it shows specifically and perfectly the right capacity that you need at this moment for your life.    It doesn’t matter which person at which level has a dream in an organization.    If you study it,  you will find the answers for the success of the company.

For instance,  suppose you are an owner of a business and you dream about ghosts coming to get you.  What is the capacity you need?   If you have a dream like this and you find yourself hiding away in the dream,  it means that in your life and in your business you have a fear of something invisible (like criticism )  that keeps you hidden away rather than being out there and vulnerable.    The capacity that you need in a ghost dream is to be real about what is already positive and be confident with it so that you can put yourself out there with it.   The ghost of possible criticism holds you back and then keeps the organization down.    So if the leader with a ghost dream will just allow criticism as if it didn’t matter,  then confidence in what is already positive in the organization could be acknowledged and then everyone would be motivated to work hard.

If you are a worker on a factory floor, you might have the fear of being attacked by a powerful animal like a tiger or shot down by someone from above.  This kind of fear keeps you working with your head down and mouth closed even though you may have very good ideas about how to improve production.

You only need about 5 dreams in an organization to turn it around and make it successful.    The above two dreams are dreams that I have heard specifically while living in Asia partly because many companies are run with leaders who never invite input and workers who are fearful of being fired for saying anything negative.

This process works because the dream world is so perfect in its communication to you.  It is not random.

You can also start a dream project in your family.   You just need dreams from your family members,  find the issues and then the solutions and then work really hard to implement them.

Contact me if you would like to start a dreams for success program with your family or organization.

dreamsforpeace@gmail.com

 

 

 

Return to Encouragement: The Most Powerful Tool in the Arsenal

When I first started learning about the power of encouragement, I was living in the Prairies in Alberta, Canada.  It became such a powerful tool for me when I had the self discipline to see and acknowledge the positive in others and also ignore the negatives.    Later I worked on developing the tool in a school setting on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.   It was a great success.    When I moved to Brazil in 1998,  I realized that in both North and South America the cultural patterns centered themselves almost exclusively on criticism rather than encouragement and that people used criticism to advance themselves.   It was a painful lesson, but at the same time important for me to see that encouragement, as powerful as it is, is rarely used.    In 2005 I moved to Malaysia, which is a melting pot of Indian, Chinese, and Malay cultures.   In Malaysia I found that the belief in using criticism as a tool of motivation is so widely practiced that you almost never find an exception ( a family that uses encouragement more than criticism).   Criticism as a way of bringing up children and managing people seems to be a universal way of life worldwide.

Why do we do it?   How do people use criticism to their advantage for advancement?

For the most part what I have found is that criticism is a tool of power.  When you criticize your child or government or workers,  you put the onus of change on them rather than yourself.   You take the negative attention away from yourself and put it onto someone else.  It makes everything a lot easier for you.   If a teacher criticizes his students for being irresponsible and soft,  then he doesn’t have to be creative and figure out solutions to make the learning environment more fully engaging.  Here is an example.   Currently in my teaching practice  I have two young students who fit somewhere on what we call the “autism spectrum” which means that they have huge fears that come up in social situations.     When I introduce something that looks competitive or where they might lose,  they can instantly curl up and freak out and miss the whole game.    Students who have normal abilities in social situations get games like tag and dodge ball even if they don’t like to be tagged out.   Students on the spectrum don’t seem to be able to handle getting “out” in the same way.  They are overcome with huge fear.     With regular students who don’t abide by the rules, you can just put in firm boundaries and then they seem to be able to play much happier.    When you try to enforce ground rules with students on the autism spectrum,  they just totally freak out even more.   If I use the old paradigm of criticism, which puts the onus of change onto them,   then I get absolutely nowhere.   However, if I take responsibility to find out what is going to work to keep the child engaged,  then they can stay and be involved.   It turns out that in a tag game or dodge ball if I stay right with the child for awhile or have another student accompany them,  then they can gradually figure out the game and can play.    The fears of children on the autism spectrum are hugely amplified.   It is not their fault and they are not worthy of blame.   Criticism is such a useless tool because it just doesn’t work.  Nonetheless, it moments of stress it is easy to revert to it because it is always the easier option even if it is undesirable.

Encouragement is built on the premise that everyone has unlimited potentiality and that the job of those in positions of authority such as parents, teachers, and supervisors is to find the positive potential by actually seeing it and acknowledging it.    It is as if you were to go into a gem store and see the biggest stones you could possible imagine and then gasp in awe at what you are seeing.   When you use criticism, it is as if you go into the same gem store, see some dust on the floor and then be horrified by the dust.   As farfetched as this metaphor may seem it is the way most children have been raised in the world.    When a parent looks at the child’s minute specks of dust and then blows them up,  then the parent has control and power over the child.   When you look at a child as a huge gem of great value,  then you are in awe and realize what a great trust and responsibility you have.    For some reason the dust wins in most parts of the world.   Very rarely do people see their children as great gems.

Why is it so hard?  Parents do not want their children to be excluded from the riches of society.  Managers do not want their companies to go under.   Teachers do not want their children to fail.    When we approach life in this manner,  criticism is the tool we use.   When I look at my children failing, then I get stressed and tensed and critical.    When I look in terms of possibilities and see great potential,  then my first tool is almost always encouragement.   With encouragement as the primary tool, which is the ability to see and acknowledge positives both in potential and actuality,  then creativity, really hard work and attention to problem solving and detail soon follow.  When we see failure,  we compare ourselves or others to some arbitrary measures and then get fearful that we will lose out.    It is when we dwell on failing, that fear enters along with negative strategies that don’t work long term.

Encouragement gets us so much further with ourselves and others.   Try this.

Find someone you are having a difficult relationship with.   Then actively put aside everything negative that you see about them as if it were swept aside.   Next focus only on their positives.   For one week say at least one positive thing to the person each day and see the relationship do a 180 degree turnaround.

 

 

Embracing Fear

Most of the dreams that people send me have a lot to do with fear.   When you get to the core of someone’s inner work, there is always a fear that that has to be faced.    It is part of the human condition.   I think that for most of us we just want the fear to go away because being in a state of fear is not very pleasant.   Why do we seem to have so much fear and what can we do about it?

The problem we have as human beings is that we are hard-wired for positive growth.   There will never be a day of anyone’s life on the planet where there is not an internal impetus for developing a new positive part of ourselves.  Whatever our inner beings need in order to be more effective and more beneficial to others will be trying to go from a state of potential to a state of actualization.

If we could just accelerate the actualization when our true selves desire it,  then growth would just be a completely positive experience.   This would be ideal.   You probably have experienced a time when learning a new capacity was relatively easy such as learning a new skill.   However, when it comes to where your inner self wants to grow,  it always picks the most difficult area, the one with the most internal resistance.  That is the problem! And that is where fear comes into the picture.   Growth is most required where the superlative is.   What is my worst fear, the thing most hampering my life, the thing that is ruining my life in the biggest way?   This is always where your true self wants to grow because when you change there you get the most positive impact on your outer life.

When you are in the habit of doing dream work,  then you know that the fears always show up in your dreams, which is usually a better place for them to show up than in real life.    They will show up in real life as well, but the dream world likes to give you the information first so that you can make changes before they hit really hard in the outer world.

Because our inner beings go to our weakest and most vulnerable areas to try to stimulate our growth,  there tends to be a great deal of fear connected to the new energy.    It is as if you are where you are now and you are trying to get to a place that has an amazing new capacity or quality, but in between now  and the future state is fear.   Something has to be done about the fear if you are going to make it to the new ability.    Fortunately or unfortunately you don’t have a choice about facing the fear.   You can try to avoid it or make it go away with drugs or alcohol,  which may alleviate the pressure temporarily,   but the fear will be insistent and it will keep showing up forever until it is transformed.    The reason that it is so insistent is because your inner being has a desire to be extremely beneficial to the world, but it needs you to grow in order to be beneficial.

If fear is so insistent, then how do you make it go away?   The most important thing in the process of embracing a fear is knowing what new capability or quality your inner being wants.    You have your current state and you have the fear, but if you don’t have the future positive state, then the process will be to just try to get rid of the fear only so that you can go back to living how you were living now minus the fear.   Your inner self wants you to live in a new way.  The new state, when it is known, attracts you to the process of dealing with the fear.    In Asia one of the great fears that people have is that of making mistakes especially that are publicly known.   When it happens, people “lose face” meaning that they don’t feel as though they can show their face in public after the mistake.   You have whole populations of people living in the fear of making mistakes and then doing everything they possibly can to avoid them.    The quality that is calling to them is creativity or risk-taking,  but the fear of making a mistake and getting severely criticized, fired, or punished is in between their current state and the creativity.     If a person knew how wonderful creativity is and practiced it, then the organizations and families would advance very rapidly.

Normally what will happen when you have a fear like the fear of making mistakes is that you will tense up and get stressed and work really hard at avoiding mistakes.   With creativity the growth is in the mistakes themselves.  You look forward to mistakes because you know that the mistakes will make the outcome even better.   When you embrace the fear, it means that you are embracing the mistakes as a place to make things better rather than trying to avoid mistakes.

Another common fear is that of losing the position you are in.  In the dream world it is the fear of falling.  Many professional coaches lose their positions the moment they lose games.  CEOs fear it when the bottom line does not show profit.    The fear of losing your position happens because you don’t have enough  enthusiasm for where you are going.   Enthusiasm allows you to have a vision and to be in the middle of the action at the same time.   When you are fearful of losing, you tend to have a conservative vision and stay dissociated from the action.  It makes the fall inevitable.    Like mistakes the place where you need to embrace the fear is in the loss of position.    In order for growth to happen you have to willingly lose your position as it is now framed so that you can get in the midst of action more.    The growth is in the fear in the loss by making the loss a positive.

The growth happens when you  embrace the fear by changing it from a negative to a positive.   Here is one more fear that is common, the fear of being attacked by a stranger.     When you have this fear, you are reluctant to go out in your community.   There is often some reasonable things you can do when there is a safety issue,  but that is really not the issue.   The thing that needs to be embraced is the stranger.   Attacking the stranger in a positive way means seeing the stranger as a friend and then embracing friendship with them.

Seeing the Positive, Ignoring the Negative, Except with Abuse

The following dream is also on the free dream interpretation page of the blog.   I am sharing it to show the principle of being really positive.

Last night, I had a dream about a girl I really like at the moment. She was covered in icing-like makeup, blue and silver, as well as things similar to hundreds and thousands, only larger, in blue and white. She was sitting down, and I picked her up in princess style and started kissing her. Her mouth became smaller, but this didn’t seem to be that important. In all, I still found her beautiful no matter how ugly she would have looked in real life, and really enjoyed the kiss. This dream is really strange, and I cannot find any parallels to help interpret it. 

There are two approaches to behavior based upon the dream above.    You could be like the dreamer and regard the girl as beautiful while ignoring what might be seem as ugly to some or you could see the distasteful parts, accentuate them, and move away from the other person.    What the dreamer does in this dream is perfect.   He puts aside anything negative, sees only the beauty, makes it more enhanced, and then embraces the loved one.  We each have the choice.   For the most part the world chooses the second approach because seeing the parts that are not so beautiful and staying away from others or criticizing them allows us to protect ourselves from any possible rejection or hurt.   

When you see a positive in another person, make the image more enhanced, and acknowledge it to the person,  the benefit goes to both you and the other person.   The person feels encouraged because someone has seen their true self, and you have a chance to get closer to another person which is also beneficial.     When the positives are acknowledged and the weaknesses are ignored, closeness happens and then outstanding results follow.     When we focus on the negative aspects of others, we naturally want to stay away from them.   It makes relating laborious.

There is one exception and that is abuse.   Abuse happens when someone else uses their power against others in a very negative manner.    The motive of abuse is power.   The following dream illustrates the point.

Then I am in a truck sitting between the driver and the abusive person. She gives me the look and then I am joking with her, “Aw, come on?!,” I say, “Really?….That again?” and she’s stuck in her way and I even sort of punch her to try to shake her out of her “zone” when it doesn’t work I get the idea that I’d like to kick her out of the car then and see if she gets a wake up call out of that…but I don’t do it!  

The principle of dealing with abusive people is detachment and staying away from them.  In this case the abuser is sitting next to the dreamer which is entirely the wrong place.   The difference between an abusive person and other people who exhibit weaknesses like most people is that the abusive person only has in mind the goal of using her power to gain an advantage and a drug-like state of temporary euphoria from the use of power.   The dreamer is trying to ignore the abuser’s state and be positive to try to get the truck cab into a positive and uplifting environment, but the abuser has no intention of changing.    And that is the key with abusers.  They have no intention of changing.    The dreamer had the right thought in the dream world which was to kick her out of the cab.     In real life it would be inappropriate because it would be like committing murder.   However, it is perfectly fine in the dream world where there the physical laws do not exist.    When you keep abusive people in your life, they cause no end to trouble and that is their intention.    When you use detachment,  you can forgive their negative state, but also keep your distance until such time as they feel remorseful, which rarely comes. 

So for almost every relationship you have in life, the important thing is to accentuate the positive except in the case of abuse.    This does not mean that you shouldn’t give technical teaching feedback if you are in that role.   I want my tennis coach to tell me how I should hold my racquet for various shots, but mostly I return to the coach when he points out when I am doing the shots well.

Relationships are Tricky Things in Dreams: Be Careful

It seems to me, without actually having done the calculation, that most of our dream life (about 95%) deals with troubles with our relational lives.    I am sure that that is because 95% of our troubles in life are relational ones.

How to have a successful relationship seems to be one of the great mysteries of life?

I have received a lot of dreams from people who have been madly and passionately in love, and then suddenly something happens which results in  them breaking up.    Interestingly enough one of the common dream patterns is the person re-uniting in the dream world with the loved often in passionate embrace.    Why does this happen?  Inevitably the person having the dream really longs to get back together with the ex after the dream.   For some reason they write me to see what I think.   I say no.   This is why.   If you get this, you get the dream world.  If you don’t, the dream world will never fully reveal things to you.

Dreams are metaphors even when the people in the dream are real.

The problem is, and believe me this isn’t very easy,  that it can take a monumental amount of self-discipline to have passionate sex in a dream and then wake up and say that that was a metaphor.   When something seems so real in the dream world, you tend to believe it is real in the real world.  But they are two different worlds with two different agendas.   The prime motive of the dream world is to get you to wake up to who you truly are and where you are going in your life, i.e., sex is not sex in the dream world.  Sex is a metaphor.

Imagine that you are very happily married or not-so-happily married.  Then along comes an old girl friend in the dream wanting to have sex with you.   It is NOT an invitation to call her up and re-unite.  It is metaphor so that you will re-UNITE with your new self fully.   Here is what happens.

Most relationships are like going to school.   When you relate to someone, it is as if you go the school of their inner self and meet their  positive energy.   If you need gentleness in your life and they have that quality in them,  then when you are in relationship, you are on a journey to learn how to be gentle.  When you are in the learning process, which tends to be mutual because you have something they need to learn in your school, then there is a strong bond.   The bond keeps you connected so that you can be around each other and  learn.    When you have gotten the learning,  usually something happens and you break up.    The break up is actually pretty stupid, but it stems from the cultural idea that when you are in a relationship with someone else, you own them.    If you take the ownership out, set boundaries around sexual behavior (i.e. not having it), then the relationship can continue to exist positively.

In our modern world people get into a relationship as if it were a marriage, which it is not, so when they break up, it is full of pain despite the good stuff that went on.    When you have a re-uniting dream, it is because you have forgotten to integrate the lessons and qualities you learned when you were in the relationship.   The dream world wants you to re-unite so that you remember that who you are now is different than before the relationship.  It is much better.   Sex is the union of two positive sets of qualities.   Embrace the qualities and you embrace life to the fullest.

I have a tendency to believe that a relationship especially related to work is open and positive even when all of the outward signs says it is NOT.    I want the relationship to work so that the workplace can be more productive, but if the person with whom I am trying to have the relationship doesn’t have the inner qualities to do the work, even when they are the leader,  then the best thing for me is to drop the expectation and move in another direction.     I like to delude myself, but it is catastrophe for me.

If you have broken up with someone because of their negative qualities, the chances are that even when you remember the positive qualities about them that the dreams present, if you re-unite, you will end up in the same place.   This is because their negative qualities will not have changed and they will cause the same difficulties.

So when you dream about a person in an intimate way,  don’t try to get their number.   Get their positive quality.   It is what makes your life bliss.   A new door is about to open.

Dreams of Being Invisible: The Door to Encouragement and Gentleness

The Invisible Man
(First Dream)
“I was in some sort of shopping mall near an escalator. In the mall there
were a lot of people looking for me. All of them had weapons and had a
very ominous presence. I was hiding and they couldn’t see me. Then I had
this feeling that I could be invisible, that is, I could just walk right by
them and they would not be able to see me. So I did, and they didn’t see
me.”
(Second Dream)
“I was in a prison camp and people were about to torture me. I decided
that I could just walk out and I did. No one did anything; they couldn’t
touch me.”

One of the wonderful things about dreams is that you often find yourself doing things that, in waking life, you are completely unable to do. For instance, you can walk through walls or fly or jump really far. The purpose of these dreams is to show you, through the appropriate metaphor, spiritual abilities that exist inside of yourself. When you learn the
inner meaning and can release the energy from inside of yourself, you will be able to function in your life with a lot more competence. It isn’t that after this dream I would be able to be invisible, but there is something about the energy that enables me to be more competent and guarded, as if I were invisible.

The end of both of these dreams is invisibility. That is, I am capable of walking away from the danger in both circumstances. Being invisible means to go “inside” yourself, into the invisible realm. In the dreams, the problems occur in the beginning. The end is positive, but the beginning is negative. This means that I already am capable of accessing my true self in the invisible realm, which is positive. In the beginning, my fears create a situation that does not allow the invisibility to flourish in real life. Invisibility works in my dream life, not in my waking life, because my fears are too intense to let it happen. In dream-work, the goal always is to make everything positive, to systematically work through the dreams so that each negative aspect is transformed into a contrasting, positive activity. When you do the transformation work, you end up with positive upon positive, thereby increasing your competency. When I work through the fears presented in the dream, it will not only allow the invisibility to fully function, it will also release the energy that has been repressing my fears. When I work through this, it is like a double bonus. It actually shows the double value of invisibility, both in positive
situations and in negative ones.

These dreams present two of my fears that are closely related: the fear of being shot down and the fear of being tortured. I always find it easier to work on an issue that I can take responsibility for, so I try not to blame others for my fears, even when I have been in situations where people have behaved badly. As long as I characterize them as the culprits and myself as the victim, I am less capable and have little control over the situation. When I am both the culprit and the victim of my own inadequate inner workings and negative patterns, I know that I can do something about them. However, making such an assertion and actually doing something about it are two different things. Something is so universal, so easy, so temporarily satisfying about blaming others. People rarely escape its
seductive attraction. When I do my own personal work, I usually start out being furious toward someone else. I blame them and pin lots of guilt on them. Then I slowly and laboriously work through the problem until I find that, whatever I have accused the other person of doing to me, I already am doing to myself. It is a major blow to the ego when you come to the realization that you are the guilty party and you are doing it to yourself.
It also is a huge blessing, because the fears can be transformed into positive opposites, resulting in new abilities and new patterns of positive energy. The energies released from the negative aspects of the dreams are actually a blessing; they make the therapeutic work much easier.

Usually when you have fear, you are facing a situation that already has played itself out in your life, often repeatedly. This is a little different from anxiety, which is an emotion that makes an illusion out of a future negative possibility. Anxiety is related to an illusion, whereas fear is usually based on experience, sometimes the experiences of parents who pass the fear down through their negative responses to things. Even cultures pass down fears based upon negative sentiments about past events. In the two dreams presented here, the origin of the fears doesn’t really matter. I have shot myself down and tortured myself repeatedly.

Consequently, studying my dreams may reveal some new understanding, but it
will always have the same result, the blocking of a fully functional ability to act with invisibility. When I stop putting myself down and stop torturing myself, then invisibility will be more accessible. This is the goal of the dream.

Unlike waking life, in the dream life the end of things comes at the beginning, because the spiritual world wants you to know your purpose, your goal, your objective, before you begin acting. The purpose of the dream is to get me to stop putting myself down and to stop torturing myself, so that invisibility can work. In order to stop doing the negative things, I need to do their positive opposites, which then will allow the really ositive energy to flow.

When I meditate about these dreams, the intrigue first wraps itself up in the ability to be invisible. However, as my understanding increases, the real jewels are in the positive opposites of the negative emotional states. I know that I have the ability to be invisible even without understanding what it is. It is something that I already am competent in intuitively, but I am not yet adept at just letting it flow and work as it wants to. This is because I am forever putting myself down and torturing myself. Overcoming these dreadful patterns is the work. Putting yourself down and then torturing yourself to make sure that you stay down is universal; it exists in every culture. It is hard to imagine that we could ever have peace in the world unless we change these characteristics of humanity.

People have patterns of behavior based upon the false belief that criticizing others and pointing out their faults will improve them. All around the world, people believe it, even though study after study verifies that the opposite is true. Many people believe that when you point out to omeone what they are doing wrong, they know where to improve. However, the research indicates that when you criticize people and are negative
toward them, they feel less motivated, tend to quit more easily, and have poorer relationships.

If I would do the opposite of putting myself down and torturing myself through criticism, blaming and guilt-mongering, I could be more motivated, stay with things longer, and have fantastic relationships. What are the opposites? The opposite of putting oneself down is lifting oneself up by acknowledging the positives and adhering to positive patterns rather than the negative ones. The opposite of torture is extreme gentleness, a quality that I have not practiced very well. Some people regard gentleness as a weakness. Gentleness allows weakness, but it isn’t a weakness in itself. When you make room for weakness, it means that it is permissible to have flaws and faults. If gentleness is such a positive force, why do cultures shy away from its power? We do not stay in the state of gentleness as a world culture, because, when we are faced with a fault or weakness, we experience discomfort. Instead of embracing the discomfort and learning from it, we
run from it and then criticize and blame others. Gentleness allows us to embrace our imperfections, and then it helps us to transform them by making lots of room for them. When we lift ourselves up by finding the positives, and when we also have lots of room for imperfection, without having to be mean and nasty or turn away from it, then personal
transformation is not only possible, it is an easy and smooth process.

Imagine that you planned an event in which everything went well except for a few things. If you use these two strategies, not only are you likely to repeat success, but you also are likely to achieve a new level the next time you attempt it. In the evaluation process, you can spend the majority of the time reminding yourself of all of things that went well. When you do this, it fixes success in your memory; this makes it more automatic and
habitual. This way, you can take the thing that is the biggest weakness and use it to develop new qualities within yourself. If you focus on the weakness, instead of the success, or if you focus too much energy on the weakness and not enough on the success, then you will be practicing the weakness. You will be diminishing or forgetting your success, which could esult in your quitting the projects, becoming less motivated, and losing important relationships.

All new abilities first start in the world of ideas, the world of non-material reality, like the dream world, and then later they appear in action in the real world. A new building or piece of art doesn’t create another new building. A new piece of art or new building emanates from new ideas, and new ideas are produced by their creators going into the realm of the invisible to do their creation. This is where you can find wonderful new ideas and energies. The best way to do it is by creating an extremely positive atmosphere and being really gentle with your weaknesses; you can work on them with the care and tenderness of a good nurse or a good doctor, whose presence allows healing to take place. When a baby is born into this world, mothers are instinctively gentle with their babies and almost always positive. They recognize the weaknesses of their children and give them
lots of room and encouragement. This is how babies develop. However, somewhere in the process of development, of maturation, the whole world forgets how the baby developed. Imperfection is no longer given lots of space and embraced. Instead of being gentle and encouraging, we become harsh, and judgmental, and critical. Our fears take over and squeeze out the positive. We forget how easy success and transformation can be; we
dwell on the negative things, and then quit things easily and have poor relationships. New ideas and new abilities come from this invisible realm, which is facilitated by remembering the positive and being gentle with our weaknesses as we work to transform them.

Meditation Questions

1. What is the worst thing people say about me? What is the positive opposite?

2. What else do people say about me that is critical? What are the positive opposites?

3. What other things do I criticize about myself? What are the positive opposites?

4. Write a paragraph about how your life would change if you lived out the opposites.

Inherited, Acquired, and Innate Qualities

One of the big questions people have, when they are embarking on a new change process, is how to find where the problems originated and then how to let go of them so that the new energy can function fully.   The first question I ask others or myself is what the biggest issue is that they are facing right now.   That is where you always start.  It is pretty easy and developmentally sound.  It is not a big search problem.  However you are feeling the most negative is where you need to change the most.

I broke up with boyfriend.  My best friend betrayed me.   My mother or father died.   I lost my job.  My children are out of control. 

There are three types of origins to issues, and they always unfold in this order.   The first are issues that arise from your inheritance, that began in your family or lack of family.   Whatever weakness your family has, you automatically get also.   Like it or not it is yours to deal with.  No one has choice in this regard because you don’t chose your parents or family.   The problem with doing family-related work is that now that you are older and feeling the consequences of the family weakness, you somehow feel really ripped off and can get to feeling like your parents should give you what they were incapable of giving you when you were young.    If they could do it, they probably would,  but the reason you have the issue is because they were weak and incapable in some aspects.  Everyone goes through this. It is inescapable.    Whatever age you are right now, if you would just start the work on overcoming the inherited weakness, it means that the next generation will not have to do the work or at least not in the same way.    Most people in the modern world have grown up with an overabundance of criticism or neglect so the first process most people need to learn is how to encourage themselves and others by finding the positives within themselves and seeing the positives that exist as possibilities in the future.    This work tends to take a long time, at least a couple of years.    It is a constant process of letting go of the pain that comes from the families we grew up in.  The more you work on it, the better you get at it and the better you are at having your own family.   When you do family work, you usually gain a lot of competence in how to relate positively to other human beings.   It is the number one priority.

Why does family work come first?   Families are the bedrock of civilization.  They are foundation upon which order and progress are made in the world.   When families are strong, everything else works.  For the civilization to get better, the families need to grow and change.

When you have dealt with your family and replaced the issues with new positive energies, then you come to the next set of qualities, innate ones.  Innate qualities are those that are unique to you alone and have nothing to do with your inheritance.   They explain why different people from the same family can have different degrees of intelligence or athletic ability.    The best way I can describe these qualities is that each person has a special drop of pure spirit placed within them at conception that is unique.   My brother and I lived in the same room for many years growing up.   He had an amazing artistic ability in which he had a very steady hand and just sort of knew how to make things appear on paper.   Whenever I tried to do the same as him, it was a disaster,  but I had a mathematical gift that eventually led me to doing dreamwork the way I do.   It was my drop.   My brother and I also shared a lot of inherited gifts like being able to make friends with others and having many of the same athletic abilities,  but our innate abilities were unique.    While the literature on this aspect of development is slowly coming to light,  such as in the book,  The Element, by Ken Robinson,  most people don’t realize that you first have to do the family work to get these kinds of gifts to come out fully.

After you do the family work, then the issues arising with innate qualities come from living in your culture.    For the most part the negative aspects of whatever culture you are in like a caste system or institutionalized racism or inequality will not want you to develop this aspect of yourself because it has the power to do the most change in the culture itself.    You often find yourself tackling with authority issues when you are developing your innate qualities because a lot of authorities have a vested interested in keeping things the same because they have such a material advantage.    The goal usually with innate qualities is to detach yourself from the authority figure’s control and then find how to express the energy in a positive way.   The difficulties come when you are in conflict with the authorities.

The third type of qualities are the acquired ones.    These are abilities that come to you as a result of having difficulties making it in the real world.   They usually begin in school and they are exacerbated by the way one child is compared to another.     They reflect the weaknesses in the education system to help people develop capacities that they are weak in.    The innate qualities tend to give you certain gifts that make it possible to express them in certain ways.   Children with artistic gifts, for instance, tend to have a difficult time doing sequential work, but usually schools ignore the need to express the innate qualities like art, and make them try to do sequential work.    It doesn’t work because the developmental sequence is first to do family work, then innate work, then acquired.  The school wants you to get the sequential work so you can read, but first you need to relate to other humans in an encouraging and loving manner, then be recognized for your uniqueness, and then you can overcome what doesn’t come naturally to you.    The other day I told the taxi driver to turn left when I meant right.  I was sure that left was right,  but it was a quality in the acquired range that I have still to develop.

You can look at the process of change like this.  The inherited work allows you to make the world a happier or more friendly and caring place to be in.   The innate work changes the world in undreamt of ways.    The acquired qualities allow you to function fully in the real world in a responsible way.  They give you capacities that are marketable.

Friendship, encouragement, caring

Uniqueness

Abilities that allow you to make a living and prosper

When you go out of order, the world suffers and so do you.

Letting go of Perfectionism: See the Future as Positive

The other day when I was doing on workshop on the dreaming process, I was approached by an architect who had had a dream in which he saw how to build a magnificent temple based upon the design of a particular type of leaf in nature.    He was truly inspired and uplifted when he shared the dream with me.   When I asked him about whether or not he had put in a proposal for the temple to be built,  he said that he was reluctant because he didn’t feel it or he was good enough for what was being asked.

This is probably the most common issue that exists in the world today that nothing you ever do or create is good enough.   It usually starts at a young age but mostly in school.   In most families in the world when a child makes a score of 90%, the parents are wondering why the grade was not 100%.  They focus on the 10% that was wrong or missing rather than the 90% that was positive.  It is an obsession on the negative to try to make the child capable enough so that their future isn’t in poverty or second class work.    I usually meet those children in my dream meetings when they are 30 or 40 years old and keep having the recurring dream of failing a test or having to take the same test over and over again.

Perfectionism is easy to change,  but it is a worldwide pattern that sustains itself from one generation to another and spawns leaders who believe they are gods of their families, business, towns or nations.    Perfectionism sees the distant future as extremely negative, believes that mistakes make your future even worse, and that the goal of life is to be in constant state of eliminating negatives.   When you use negative patterns that perfectionism engenders, it is because you see the possibility of a future of poverty and second class work.   The way to not be in poverty is to work really hard to be perfect in what others expect without making any mistakes.    Life is about elimination of the negative.     When you parent or manage in this manner, everyone around you feels that they are never good enough just like the architect.   The focus is always on the negative so you stay stuck in the negative.   You have to force yourself to work hard rather than hard work being a flow of constant energy.

The switch to a new pattern is relatively easy.  It takes a shift in belief.   The belief is that when you view the future as positive and full of abundance, then you can work much harder and get much better results.   The shift is believing that when you point out the positives, you can work harder and longer and more easily.   Most parents and cultures do not believe this, but the research bares it out.  It is not counter-intuitive.  It is extremely rational.   When you focus on a negative, it causes your body and mind to tense up and stress.   Then it is harder to work.   When the focus is on positive future and you acknowledge the positive in the present and past, then your body and mind relax.  You can sustain effort for much longer and more easily.

In our current world, where the future is about eliminating a negative future, we tend to get a succession of leaders who are really good at finding fault and pointing a negative finger at others as if that were a virtue.   You are seen as strong if you are good at eliminating others.   In some cultures the fathers take that role as if they are taking the place of God in the family.  They are all-powerful telling everyone what is wrong with them all the time and expecting respect every step of the way.  The children grow very distant from their fathers.

When you want to change the culture around you or your internal culture, there are two things you must do.   First you have to change the thinking about your future from impoverished and negative to one that is extremely rich and positive.  Second you change your focus on the negative you see in people and in yourself to seeing the positive.    It is such an easy formula.   So why do more people not do it?

The answer lies in the fear of the all-powerful leaders.    When you see your father or boss or government leader as all-powerful who holds the power of exclusion,  then you get into doing the same internally which is to eliminating any mistakes which is exactly what the leaders want you to do because when there are few mistakes, they get more power and recognition.  It is a pretty vicious circle.    To change it you can just believe that your true self and your positive energy is  more powerful than them.   This is the big key.

Shift the belief so that you believe that your positive energy is  more powerful than the most negative of leaders.    It is easy to do.   All the architect needs to do is believe in his positive energy, relate to it, and see the temple built.

Lions and Boundaries in Dreams

I recently had these two dreams sent to me and thought about how important they are for so many people.

I had a very vivid dream.  I had no option but to pass through a path to get to the other side. There was a caged lioness and lion cant remember but the lioness I recall very well.  They were in like a cage protected by a cage and electric fence.  I was with a friend who teased the lion. one of the lions tried to attack us I was so afraid the lion went on top of us using the cage and vegetation it tried to attack us it would have killed us. Deep down in my heart walking through this path I knew there was nothing this lion could do but I have never been so petrified. It roared and did all scary stuff to no avail. The vegetation above, the fence and the cage kept us safe.

 The funny thing, I still went back on the same path and got the same fear again.   I woke up my heart pounding. It was so terribly vivid.

 2 weeks earlier, I dreamt I was flying on a broomstick.  It was an amazing dream I soared liked an eagle, it was such ecstasy I would want to relive that dream although broomsticks and witches are connected, I am no witch. It was also a terribly vivid dream I can once in a while drift into the feeling of being able to fly into the sky.

These two dreams show us what happens to a great many people who have extraordinary abilities and why they are so blocked.    Being able to fly in a dream means you are able to free yourself from the day to day experiences of the world, see new possibilities, and then freely get to them.    When a person is soaring in their life, this is what they are doing.

The previous dreams show us how we remain in fear.    There are certain types of individuals that are like uncontrolled beasts like a ravenous lion.    Even when a boundary has been erected to separate you from their viciousness, they still strike terror in the dreamer.    When this dreamer lives in the fear of the lion,  then she cannot do the second dream which is to soar to new heights in her life.

When you are dealing with this kind of person, the most important thing to realize is that you becoming a positive lion with courage is your best defense.   Normally it is the society’s responsibility to protect us from this type of lion,  but it often does not do a good job of it.   We don’t think that we have the right to cut this type of person out of our lives because we believe that it is not a caring and compassionate thing to do.   At that moment we drop the boundary (the fence in the dream) and then we let the lion prey on the innocent.    What is important is to have extremely strong boundaries and protective measures.  A ravenous lion needs prey (innocent people) in order to build its ego power.   When it doesn’t have it, it starves and becomes nothing.   The double or triple fence that is electric or something like it means that while you believe that all human beings have an essential goodness about them, some have been so perverted as to completely cover that good part up.    Compassion does not work in this case.   What is needed is detachment from them by assertively setting boundaries to not relate to them.   This is what it means to be a positive lion.  You are courageously setting boundaries.    This is what the lion needs the most, to be completely isolated and starved so that its ravenous nature can be transformed into a positive one.     Relating the lion in a positive manner only strengthens its resolve to use its power in negative ways.

Once the boundary is set and you feel protected then soaring is possible.  It will be even like having a magical broomstick.   The boundary always comes first.

Bear Dreams: Getting to Your Empowerment

I dreamed I was in a house which was being invaded by bears the size of Sasquatch. Someone told me to not worry they know what they are doing, and they had some sort of trick to get them out, but it seemed to me the bears were going to attack. I felt so small. The presenting feeling was being over-powered – standing close to the bear and it looking down on me. But when I saw it that close it looked like a person in a bear costume who stood about 7 feet tall.

Empowerment is the ability to be able to finish what you set out to achieve by doing what it takes to get where you are going.   It means that you are using your power, your strength, your skills to get to the positive end.   You need strength and skills because any goal worth achieving puts up a lot of obstacles that makes it challenging to get to.    Bears, especially in northern climates, represent empowerment because they are big, powerful creatures who go unchallenged.

Normally bears come into the dream process when you need to be able to have the process of finishing what you begin.   The dream above represents the problem most people have with bears or bear-like energy.    If you are not the bear in the dream,  you are most often small in comparison to it and threatened by its presence.   When you are fearful of being attacked by a bear, it indicates that you are fearful of being attacked by a power that is bigger than yourself, usually abusive in nature.   You will only get a dream like the one above when you have experienced some kind of abuse by the more negatively powerful.     If you have not been abused by an larger power, then the type of bear dream you might get, if you need finishing energy, is much more neutral.   The bear might be curious about you, but not threatening.

The goal in a dream about a bear, as in any animal dream, is to be the bear, itself, as if you are inside its skin because what you need to be able to have is strength.     The first obstacle in the above dreamers process is to overcome the fear of being attacked.   If it were the first time that the dreamer had dealt with the abuse situation,  then she probably would have run out of the house.  This is what most of us do.  We run away from ourselves and try to get away from the abuse to protect ourselves.    She has already dealt with abuse to a degree because, while she has some trepidation that the bears might attack, she goes up to them and sees that it is a person in a bear costume.  This is a much more advanced level because at that level you realize that an abusive person really isn’t being themselves.  They are pretending to be a bear.   The understanding allows you to let go of the fear and then become a positive bear.

The bear’s power resides in the positive memories of the past and its ability to bring them to the fore in the present.    The more access you have to positive memories the more strength you have.   The logic is this.  If you have a skill like being able to cook well, you can only use it to create great dishes when you remember that you have the skill.    The empowerment comes from practicing many types of cooking dishes over a considerable period of time and then remembering all of it.
The key to empowerment is the ability to do an activity, remember it in a positive manner, and then repeat it at a higher level.   This is how strength is developed.

When you have been abused, you run away from the bear which means that you run away from doing the things that will make you strong.    The fear of getting crushed keeps you from staying in a process to its completion.    Empowerment is based upon two primary internal mental processes.  The first is a visual memory of success and the second is an auditory voice that talks about how great the picture is.   When those two are in place, then you start believing that you can be big in relation to the task.  You are the bear in size and the task isn’t so big.

When you are on the other size where the negative bear is big, then the task seems impossible so you do the logical thing, quit.   Being the bear makes the task manageable.   Having positive memories allows you to keep getting attracted back to the task.

When you work with children or young people or someone new to a task, the goal is to create a bank of positive memories of success so that they will keep going back to the activity over and over.  Much of our practices do exactly the opposite.   We build a bank of negative memories of mistakes and then have to force young people to go back to the task.   The golden rule is to give a great deal of positive feedback and then instructional feedback to improve technique.   The ratio is about 5 to 1.    These are the teachers you go back to and love.

The general rule of developing strength in yourself if you have been in an abusive situation and now you are an adult is to find a person who can help you through the process so that you won’t go running.

 

Finally Getting Out of Blame and Into Responsibility

The big difficulty with getting out of blame and taking responsibility for moving your life forward is that there are a lot of people out there that are truly worthy of an immense amount of blame.   When you have been a victim of injustice, the condition that most of the world lives in,  then it is not so easy to move out of the blame state.   There are people that do bad stuff.   You could lose your job,  have things stolen,  or be assaulted in any number of ways.   The list could go on and on.

What I am about the write I sincerely wish I had known a couple of decades prior.   And since I have only really been able to apply it to the dream work and change work recently, I am just beginning to see just how powerful it is.   My blame started when I first got fired in the late 90s.  Then it intensified  when I was fired again a number of years after.  And then it got me into a stage of complete coldness to leaders after the third firing a few years later.

To do the work of getting out of blame is not to be in denial about the injustice.   I don’t believe I was treated fairly any of times they let me go, but I also don’t want to live in the state of perpetual blame and bitterness toward those leaders.   They were just living a different script than mine.    Responsibility for moving on and getting to unexpected growth can be accomplished when you do the change work in two stages.   The first stage of the transformation is in the outer real world and how to deal with that reality.   The second stage is how to deal with the inner world.  This is where the great treasure lies.

It is helpful when doing this work to have a very strong differentiation between the outer world, which is basically the world we live in during our daily lives and the inner world, where time and space no longer exist, where only your inner self exists.   When you deal with how you are feeling and your blaming ways in the outer world, you learn what is open and what is closed in the outer world.  You accept the outer reality and take steps to deal with it.    When you deal with the inner world, the same need for precautions do not exist.  It is just you, the ego, and you the true self, and that is it.

Whatever happens in the outer world is also happening in the inner world.   This is the huge step of acceptance and humility that made a huge difference for me.    If you were stolen from by a thief on a motorcycle grabbing your purse as he drove by,  then that is what happened.   In the outer world you need to make some changes to prevent it from happening again.   Maybe you have to not carry a purse.   When you accept that happened and that injustice exists and that the other person lives in a different moral reality than you,  then you can deal with the outer world and live fully in it.

The big change happens, however, when you realize that you are also being a thief to yourself in the inner world.   You may be fearful of going out and interacting with the world because of having been assaulted in your current living situation,  but the inner robbery happened much earlier.   This is where the really strong fear exists.

In my case with having been fired the outer firings keep from fully participating in change discussions in the organization.   It is not safe to say the truth as I see it because the negative truth is a threat to the way the organization is currently being run.   When I accepted that reality, then in the outer world I can keep my job which is the best thing for family at this stage in our lives.   The problem is how to deal with the inner firings.   When you have a bad outer enemy, it is so tempting to stay in the world of blame and be justified for it.   It is not so easy to get to a place of humility where you have to admit and ask yourself how your fire yourself.   OUCH!!!!

When you take the step of going to the inner world, it is only you and you.   You can only blame yourself or yourself.   The very exact moment when you accept that you have fired yourself or stolen from yourself or assaulted yourself is when you move from blame to taking responsibility.   Even if that is as far as you can get,  it puts you so much more in control of your life than the other culprit in the outer world.   My first step in the process of responsibility is to go inside and ask myself how I fire myself.   How do I fire myself?

Here is the divine irony for me.  When I go back to trace when I fired myself, it was when I first began school when I was five years old.   All I can remember is being totally overwhelmed, that it was all very dark, and that I just retreated inside fearful to speak out and fully participate.   My inner voice of ego protection just told me to stay inside and not come out.   I went into a shell-like experience.    I was my own worst enemy.    At 5 there was no strong positive voice inside telling me things were safe when they really were in the outer world.  So when I created the positive voice inside to replace the negative one,  it just has made every bit of difference.   The divine irony is that I spend most of my waking hours working with 5 years teaching them how to be more courageous.   As I get more courageous in the outer world so do they.    When I started doing this work,  all of a sudden they started achieving in a few days the things that normally take several months or a couple of years to get to.  It is pretty incredible.  Not surprisingly the type of leader who normally doesn’t allow truth telling also left my work environment.   It is pretty miraculous.

Dreamwork in the Body

Every year when I go to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, my son-in-laws and I do some kind of boys day out where we hike or mountain bike.   This year we climbed the Chief in Squamish which is just north of Vancouver.  Shane runs a company called Dare to Evolve 

He asked me if I would begin writing a few posts that connect the Dreamwork that I do with what he is trying to help people do with their bodies.   This is because when you are involved in any type of intense physical activity, the line between what is physical and what is spiritual begin to merge until the two begin to reinforce each other.   This post is my first attempt to really connect to the two.   Besides doing Dreamwork I am also a physical educator of children so the connection is fairly natural for me.

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The connection between the body and dreamwork begins at the moment that you realize that everything that exists in creation including your body is in a kind of benevolent conspiracy to push you into growth in every way.    We all know, in the words of the popular culture, that no one gets out of this earth alive.   As amazing as we can be with nutrition and exercise and healing sooner or later our bodies go back to the earth.    What is left?    What is left is our character which is made up of all the great virtues that we have like self-discipline, courage, honesty, determination, fortitude, and love.

Whenever you seek to improve in an area like yoga or martial arts or tennis or running,  there are two aspects to the development.  One is strictly physical as in increasing your flexibility to do progressively more difficult positions in yoga or improving coordination with tennis.    The other is non-physical or spiritual which has a character element to it.    In Shane’s programs he asks you to find the virtue that will help you the most in your life as you are doing the exercise because his program recognizes that when develop perseverance, as an example, in your physical exercise that it also easily transfers or generalizes to all parts of your life.   Many of us have learned the teamwork that helps us in our work by playing in team sports.  It is never just about the physical abilities that makes a team great, but also in the spiritual ability of being able to cooperate together.

You can say that you have both physical deficiencies as well as character deficiencies that keep you from making substantial performance improvements.  Given a set of virtues most people intuitively know where they are weak.  For instance, if you have the habit of starting a lot of programs but then quitting after a couple of weeks, you are probably strong in enthusiasm, but weak in perseverance or steadiness.   What we tend to not be so good at is changing the character weakness and then repeating the same physical patterns even when they have stopped getting results.  Because of it we usually run into the same physical problems over and over showing up in our bodies.

How does it work?   When you have a weakness in your character, it shows up in yourself by way of a negative emotion, for the most part fear.    You know you have the fear because you feel it in your body somewhere.  This lets your whole being know that this is an area of weakness that needs to be improved.  It is felt as some kind of stress or tension in your body.   At that point there is both a character solution and a physical one.   For instance,  you could be fearful of failing so you won’t ever try new things.    You stick with a safe routine.   When you do the analysis, you realize that the character trait you need is more courage.    As soon as you have more courage, then you can start added new things to your life and to your training, and then you improve.   Since the lack of courage is sustained by the tension or stress in the body,  a lot of the work to get to more courage is the letting go of the fear.

What about dreams?   When you dream at night, it shows you exactly where you need to develop your character for that moment in your life.   It leaves out any guesswork at all.  For instance,  if you were being chased by a lion in a dream, if means that you are fearful of being attacked by a really fierce person.   It means that you need to be ferocious when you go after goals if you want to make progress.    When you are ferocious,  it lets you really attack new projects or things you have to do.

 

 

 

 

Dream Work 8: What You Are in a Dream is NOT the Same as What You Are in the World

Hi… last night I had an odd dream. I am a male, but in this dream I had big breasts and a vagina. I was naked and i started to play with my self and it felt really good… what could this mean? I’m certain I’m not gay, or in any way curious. So what could this mean?

This dream is also analyzed on the free dream interpretation part of the blog.   It is just so interesting.  I was so glad to receive it.   The core belief that I have, which is largely based upon the Baha’i Writings,  is that there are many worlds besides this world and the dream world is one of them.   The nature of those other worlds are mostly shielded from us because if we fully knew  about them, we would abandon this life in less than heartbeat.   Our spirits are housed in a physical body for a short time period before we proceed to the next chapter.   Conceivably the worlds are endless like the stars in the sky.

In the above dream a man dreams that he is a woman and then starts to feel the positive sexual sensations that a woman has.   What is curious is that his first thought is questioning his sexuality rather than enjoying the experience of being a woman.   By definition the dream world is a non-physical world in the way we know it.  It does not have gravity, for instance and the laws of time and space can pretty much do as they please.   In the dream world you can become a woman if you are a man or you can become something else like an animal.    It is much more limitless than the world we live in when we wake up each day.    So why would he dream of being a woman?  Is he gay?

When your focus in life is primarily material because you pretty much believe that this is it or you only have a very vague belief in the next world, then the possibility of being a homosexual when you have feminine feelings rises dramatically.    However, being feminine in the spiritual world like the dream world means something altogether different than in the physical world.    The dream is there to teach you something about yourself that is crucial for your development right now.     There are certain qualities, which in the spiritual dimension, seem to be best described as feminine.  These are qualities like tenderness, being nurturing, and compassion.    Woman tend to be superior than men in developing these qualities, but really they are just positive qualities that are very useful for everyone to have.

Since the history of the planet is largely one of brutes competing for power with a few periods of enlightment,   the opportunity for men to develop these aspects of themselves have largely been put down.   The truth is that when you have a lot of feminine qualities, whether you are a man or a woman, you are much better in all of your relationships.   It is an advantage to anyone to have these qualities.    One of the problems with the way the cultures of the world have developed themselves is that they have made being a brute into a virtue.    It is OK for a CEO or owner of organization to be uncaring or lack compassion especially if that person makes a huge amount of money.   Then he is seen as something of an heroic figure.    If you are compassionate, you are considered weak.

But in the above dream the truth is told to the dreamer, which is that being a woman in terms of your spiritual qualities feels great.   Compassion is a better feeling than the temporary addiction of being a brute, and this is for one very simple reason.    In the spiritual dimension the wealthiest people are those that have the most friends because they have the most positive qualities that keep everyone connected.   The brutes always end up in loneliness and isolation and have nothing when they enter the other dimensions.  Spiritual capital is built by our capacity to connect with others. In the age we are in having “feminine qualities” seems to be a great advantage.   The brutes are holding on, but they are giving way to the more superior energy.

The big lesson of this dream, which can be generalized to every other dream is that though it seems like it should be possible in a physical sense to do the dream,  it is the spiritual interpretation that makes the most sense.