Dream Work 6: Using Self-Discipline in Dream Analysis

Many times I receive dreams from people that appear as though they could happen in real life just as they happen in the dream world.    For instance, what do you do if your happily married, but you are having sex with someone else than your spouse in a dream?   How do you get your head around that kind of dream?  If you were to act on the dream in real life because you felt so attracted in the dream world, then they results in your marriage would be disastrous.

What is needed and often missing with most people’s analysis is the quality of self-discipline.   Self discipline allows  you to have control over your own thinking process rather than having it run away from you by being so literally-minded.    The key to dream work is to stay metaphoric for as long as you need rather than slipping into the laziness of the ego.

When you are attracted to another person in a dream and want to have sexual relations,  but you are already married,  it means that there is something in the other person that you really admire and want to have in yourself.   It is usually a quality that is currently lacking both in yourself and in your spouse.    The dream world shows the person with the quality and then asks you to have a relationship with that energy until it is fully incorporated in you.    Self discipline is necessary both for the analysis and for the internal process work.

The most important understanding about dreams is that they happen in a different kind of world than the waking world we live in.   They are meant to be much more metaphoric than literal. 

When you lack self-discipline, you become captivated by the ego and then cheat in the relationship which causes the marriage bond to weaken.    The lack of self-discipline is pretty epidemic because for the most part people give into their egos rather than doing their own spiritual work.   If you need the quality of discernment, for instance,  which is a quality many cultures are not allowed to have,  that is what you have to work on until you are able to have a discerning eye and it is second nature for you.

Self-discipline in dream work means you don’t think literally and you don’t jump into the physical world and act on things just because you have bodily urges.    Self-discipline stops the engine of the ego-machine and allows the spirit to incorporate new and higher energy before moving forward again in a new direction.

The dream world presents you with situations ahead of time so that you will develop the right energy before  huge stress happens in your life.    So in the above dream about having sex with someone else other that your spouse, it is a message that says you and your marriage need this quality now.  It will cause your life to flourish.  If you don’t do the work, then there will be lots of external stress which will cause you to have to do the work anyway.   And if you take the undisciplined way,  you will still need the energy but it will be harder to develop because of the cheating.

Life always wants you to take the higher road and the dream world will always lead you to that path and tell you which energy to work to make your life work right now.    If you use self-discipline, you can save a lot of real life pain.    It doesn’t mean that we can avoid suffering completely because a lot of the bad things that happen in the world are caused by the way the human family now acts.    We all need a daily process where we take account of what is happening, analyze are strengths and weaknesses, and then develop new aspects of ourselves.    It is the act of self-discipline that allows you to set aside the time necessary to do transformation work and stay with it daily until you get the desired results.

The next time you dream about something that seems like real life stop yourself and tell yourself that this is a metaphor and that this in not the real world.   “I am in a dream and the dream wants me to change my life to make my life better.”     Avoid the urge to be literal.

Dream Work 5: Making Your Enemies into Friends

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

Most of us have faced our fair share of enemies in the dream world from dinosaurs to witches to ghosts to former real-life enemies.   A few years ago  we were on a bus in Vietnam touring around the area of Ho Chi Minh City.  On the seats in front of us were 3 Japanese girls and next to us were two Russian girls.  The Japanese were the enemies of my father’s generation,  Russians, our Cold War enemies, and the bus was in the country of my enemy as a youth, Vietnam.    It struck me, at that moment, that our past enemies as a country were now our friends and so it was on the bus.   How does that happen?

War and conflict, internally and externally,  is caused by an ego state often trying to gain dominance and being out of control.   The problem that the ego has in trying to be in control over the higher states of peace and unity is that it cannot maintain its negative energy for extended periods of time.  Sooner or later it gives way to a more lasting energy like friendship and cooperation.     The ego tries really hard to be on top, but you can see with your own eyes that America and Japan prefer peace between each other.   Vietnam is similar.  With each passing year the ties of cooperation and friendship grow stronger between the two countries.     War is not a state that people can sustain because it is just too costly to the development of the people.   Nonetheless, we as world try to dominate.

Just as nations have to eventually submit to being cooperative with each other so too do we need to get out of conflict with our own selves.   If you watch sports like tennis or golf, you can see just how pronounced the internal conflict can be.   You can be yelling and swearing at yourself as if someone inside of you is a big enemy.   It strikes me as kind of funny to think of being the person inside someone famous who yells a great deal at themselves.   It must be like you are under major attack.   I think most of us do it, so it is worth going inside and being the person under attack from the inside perspective when the person outside is the one making all the mistakes.

When you think of yourself in these terms,  the person on the outside yelling represents the ego because its goal is one thing, domination of others and its fear is that of losing.    Who is being yelled at on the inside is the positive true self who has all of the capacities and good character traits.   It is like we are yelling at our greatest friend and resource.    I do this just like you when I play tennis.  It is really a ridiculous way to play, but my ego wants to dominate my opponent and then gets really angry when it is not happening.

Every single bit of research in this area says that speaking to yourself as if you are at war is detrimental to growth and improvement.   It is clear that what works is not to be at war with yourself but to honor and acknowledge the positive abilities that you have.     When you are getting beaten,  the best strategy, according to the science, is to remember your positive abilities, acknowledge them, and then, lo and behold, they come to the forefront and perform.    Here is another way to say it.  When we are performing poorly, like we all do periodically,  we are forgetting to remember. 

The problem with the era of the Cold War was that communism, the ideology of “equity” was at war with capitalism, the ideology of initiative.   When they were at war they forgot to remember the positive aspects of the ideologies because the goal was domination instead of cooperation.   Equity allows people to have a fair playing ground and ensures that the people with lesser abilities are not discarded or excluded by the more capable.  Initiative allows people to try new ideas and expand where opportunities lie.   When they cooperate together you have amazing development, but when they fight with their egos, you have the potential for massive destruction.   When the U.S. Congress cannot agree with itself, the international economy suffers.  It forgets to remember.

So it is internally.   The ego cannot be the force that rules the human being.  Otherwise,  it gets out of control and creates destructive elements.   To get out of the conflict each side, the true self and the ego, need to be appreciated and worked with in the proper way.    It is very helpful, when dealing with your ego, such as in the case of the tennis player who is fearful of losing  to think of the fear as your friend, rather than the enemy.

When you approach the ego in a friendly manner, then it changes your relationship with it completely.   When you approach it as an enemy,  then you normally want to stay away from it, speak badly to it, and run from it.   But being friendly to something like the fear of losing can produce such amazing insights and changes.   For instance, you might ask something like this.  I wonder how I ever developed the fear of losing?  I wonder what my life would be like if winning were not so all consuming?   I wonder how I can go after  high performance, but not be fearful?     The tone of being friendly with the ego is usually that of being curious.  The relationship with the ego when it is the enemy is war-like as if you are drawing a line in the sand.

Just as being friendly with your ego causes you to be more curious and understanding and compassionate, so too being friendly with people’s egos whom you regard as enemies opens up new doors in your relationship with them.  Instead of fighting them or avoiding, you can approach them and then begin to discover who they truly are and have a relationship to them.   I am often a miserable failure in this regard in real life because like you,  I have had my share of being hurt by meanness.

But today I am making a vow to be friendly with egos, not to treat them as enemies.   I wonder what my life will be life tomorrow?   I wonder what challenges I will have in doing this goal?

 

Dreamwork 5: Podcast

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

http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/living-on-purpose/2013/04/202-dreams-peace

 


 

The Horror of Boston

In the 1970s when I first began to run consistently on the roads of the Midwest in America,  the Boston Marathon was the Eden of the running world.   In those days 1000 people in a race was a huge number.    Today the unthinkable happened.   I have been emotional all day often with tears when I turn on the news.   To me bombing a running race is like bombing a hospital.    A running race is where people go to celebrate healthy living.    This act was personal.   It was an attack on me.

I am trying to come up with ways in my mind to prevent this kind of terrorism.   It is as if the perpetrator is trying to stop us from living healthy and meaningful lives.   The only thing I can think of is to do exactly the opposite of what they were trying to do which is to do more running and organize more events and to encourage more people to have a healthy lifestyle that involves aerobic fitness.

It is a very sad day for humanity, for me.

 

 

Dreamwork 4: Taking Responsibility/Leaving Blame Behind

The way I teach dream work requires that at some point people identify the origins in their lives when negative experiences happened which caused the ego to go into a survivor/protector mode.    The theory of working with the ego is that because it is an aspect of our animal heritage,  it therefore belongs to the earth, and hence, inheres in time.  This means that is has a beginning and therefore, can also end.   When you release the protective energy of the ego,  the true self is freed up to operate in a positive manner that is beneficial to humankind.     Since it has a beginning, it is useful to explore and understand the way it began so that you can get a specific reading of what energy the true self is going to unleash such as endurance,  kindness, honestly, or courage and then what part of those qualities is needed given the trauma.     The problem with the work is that when you go back and find an abusive parent or an abusive teacher, for instance,   the great tendency is to put blame on them for your pain. Indeed you can argue that they are responsible for your pain and deserve some pain of their own,  but having that kind of attitude breeds an attitude of revenge where both sides end up in more trauma.

So the challenge is to be able to understand the protective way your ego is operating at the origin, which may be finding  the people associated with your pain, but to stay out of the realm of blame.   The only reason to go back there is to get to the new energy.    For instance,  if you were physically beaten a great deal with a great many bruises at a time in your life when you needed a great deal of support and encouragement, then your ego may protect you by being fearful of being curious or of doing new things.   You can blame your parents and seek revenge,  but it won’t get you to where your true self wants to go, which is to being able to explore and do new things.     What you need to do is to learn how to be curious.

There are a good number of bad folks in the world who do a lot of nasty work.   When they act in their selfish and sometimes brutal ways,  the people on the receiving end of the selfish behavior react with their egos trying to protect themselves.  The reaction is fear-based.     Instead of our minds feeling positive and up about doing positive acts,  our minds have the positive acts associated with fear.   It tends to paralyze actions.

So the key is to retrain the mind so that it associates positive acts with positive energy rather than fearful energy.    Then every time you want to do something of a positive nature, it will be full of joy.   

When we hold onto blaming someone else such as the leader of our company or our country,  it is an admission that the mind is still in the old pattern of protection with fear.    It is common place to blame because most people are fear-based in their daily living.   We mostly all do it.   The alternative to blaming is to take responsibility for your own transformation.   This accelerates the pace of change in yourself.    But you also need some commonsense.    A person with bad intentions and a bad temper doesn’t change into a compassionate soul because you are changing.   They tend to remain in their patterns which means you need some commonsense about how to deal with them.

Getting out of blame usually requires getting out of the mindset that someone else is responsible for all of your misery, and then realizing you are the one causing yourself pain and anguish.   When you shift the responsibility from them to you,  you have a lot of control over the outcome.   It doesn’t mean that they are not going to act cruelly.    It means that you control your own happiness and joy and development in spite of difficult conditions.

Who are you blaming?   How are you keeping away from taking responsibility for your joy and change by blaming them?    How do you cause your own misery?  What does your mind do to keep you in miserable feeling?    How would your life change is you didn’t feel negative toward others?  

Dreamwork 3: When Your Metaphor Hits Resistance

Today I received this dream after the post from yesterday.

This morning I had a dream I as swimming along a beach trying to get to a distant goal along the beach. About 100 yards out from the beach was a huge wall. I was trying to swim towards the shore, but I got pushed back by the currents until I was against the wall. I looked and it was storming and these huge waves were coming towards me. I told my father that I would be okay, I just had to wait it out. I closed my eyes and didn’t fight the huge waves. When they were finished I knew I only had limited time before they came again so I swam as fast as I could towards the shore. I just made it when I woke up. Could the waves be the tests and trials in my life right now and I just have to wait them out, be patient?

One of the ways you know that a metaphor works for you is that it is something your true self is drawn to.   When you are operating out of an metaphor from your ego,  then your life is being controlled from forces outside of your true self that are usually not all that pleasant such as “I feel like I am a slave at work” or “life is a bottom line.”     What happens to most people is that they find themselves living in a bad metaphor because they have never really consciously attempted at living in a metaphor that they have chosen that resonates with them.   Maybe your metaphor is a jazz band or a symphony orchestra or maybe it is a science lab.    A lot of us lose control over our spiritual life around the age of  5 or 6 when school starts taking over the metaphoric life of children.   That is why choosing a playful metaphor resonates so profoundly with most of us.   When we have time off, we want to do our metaphor.

From the above dream you can assume that the operating metaphor of choice is life is a beach because that is where she is in the dream.    If life is a beach is your metaphor, then the goal is often warmth and closeness.   In this case the dreamer is trying to swim to a distant goal but the currents keep pushing her back until she is up against a wall.   Water is a relational element so swimming is an appropriate activity when you want to get close in a dream.    This is good news for the dreamer because if she were somewhere else, it could mean that her life was extremely distant from the goal.

The problem in a dream is often stated in the opening line.   In this case “I was trying to swim to a distant goal”.     If the goal is closeness or warmth, then seeing something at a distance is the wrong metaphor.    The dream uses it to show the mental error so that it can be easily correctly.    Instead of thinking of the goal as distant she can bring the goal closer to her in her mind until it is as if she can touch and feel it.    The switch is mental.   It has nothing to do with swimming itself.   It has to do with how you see a goal.   When the goal is far away, it means that it takes a long time to get there.    When it is close up, you can start actualizing the energy right away.

The next step is to deal with the currents.  So to do metaphoric work you just ask yourself what they are. What is a current that pushes me against a wall?    A current could be the negative energy that many people have in the culture that make closeness so difficult.   It could be criticism, fault-finding, backbiting, or malicious gossip.   They create negative currents that push you against a wall and keep you from getting close to people.      So the goal here is to change the negative current to a calm and tranquil one.   The way you get calmness is to ignore all of the negative talk and then fill the environment with positive vibes such as validating and supporting others.    An environment that is validating and supportive is always very calm and tranquil.

Finally the dreamer has to deal with the big stormy waves.   Big stormy waves are usually brought on  by big leadership figures because closeness is a goal that they do not want you to have.   It is the biggest threat to people who have a lot of authority and power.   The dreamer does two amazing things in the dream.  She waits out the first set of stormy waves and then goes to the shore to wait out the next set.   Any energy that is ruled by the ego can only sustain itself for limited periods of time.   So when you have a negative leader who is ruled by the ego,  they try to create storms so that people will remain distant from each other.  Closeness passes control from the leader to the rank and file.  This is why it is such a threat, but they can only sustain a storm for so long before it is its own consequence.   The best strategy is patience which the dreamer observes about herself in the final question.

Patience is a highly underrated virtue because it is a different energy than something like assertiveness or enthusiasm.   However, when you lose patience, you lose all of your opportunities for achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.    Patience allows you to take all of the time you need to do something which is exactly what you need to make a relationship work.    It is also the most important energy you need for doing dream interpretation and dream work because it allows you to take time to understand a metaphor and then change it.    So if you have a big organization task, when you use the beach metaphor you have all the time in the world to do it.  That is how you get it done by patiently working through it as if you were on the beach with lots of time.

Most of the modern world is caught up in speed because profit making is about doing something fast.    Most things that are worthwhile and lasting require patience which is the ability to leave the people addicted to profits out of the picture and put those you really want to be with in the picture.  It is like you can let them make their profits while you achieve closeness.   When the storm blows over, what is left is closeness and warmth.   The ego is gone.    It is when we get caught up in the storm that we are in big trouble.

 

Dreamwork 2: Life is a Metaphor

O MY SERVANT! Thou art even as a finely tempered sword concealed in the darkness of its sheath and its value hidden from the artificer’s knowledge. Wherefore come forth from the sheath of self and desire that thy worth may be made resplendent and manifest unto all the world.  Baha’u’llah

The thing that differentiates the dream world from the material world is its metaphoric nature.   So I often find it useful to dream about my life on the planet in metaphoric terms.  The other day I had a dream that instructed me extremely well about what my life’s main metaphor should be right now, a sport camp.   It really works for me,  but it isn’t for everyone.  I know it is the right metaphor for me because when I think about life as that metaphor and feel its energy, I am really motivated in all kinds of ways.   The main virtue is playfulness, which means that I am light and experimental and active, not taking life too seriously.

When I started doing my dream work on becoming more sports camp-like,  I found some interesting other metaphors blocking my way that were mostly related to being a workaholic lawyer-type or doctor-type.    It isn’t that a lawyer is a bad metaphor, but it just doesn’t work for me right now.   It comes into my process from time to time because I think my culture in my head believes that that is what it means to be successful so I should be doing that one.   However, when I do life as a sports camp in my mind, then I am much greater service to others.   Life is a fun game to be played.

The other day I got a traffic ticket for answering my cell phone in car.  ( A big no-no. Sorry Oprah.)  Well when I was thinking of paying it, my mind made it into a big operation like it would be major surgery.  That is a bad metaphor.  So today I change the metaphor to a sports-camp.   Paying a traffic fine in Kuala Lumpur can be complicated business.   So in my mind I just thought that paying this find is like playing a game.  The game I played was “Go Ask a Policeman”.    So I walked to my local station and they could only tell me generally where the place to pay was, not specifically.  But it was like getting a hit and being on first base.  They said just drive to such an such a place and then ask someone else.   So when I got close to the area I saw another policeman and asked him.  He gave me some more directions which got me to second base.  When I got to that place, they said it was the right name, but wrong location, so they told somewhere else to go.  When I got there, it felt like I was on third.   Then I made it to the counter, paid the fine, home run.

Had I played the game of lawyer-judge, which I often do, then I would have judged the police at every place as being incompetent, but when I played the game “Go Ask a Policeman”, they were all really friendly and helpful and I eventually made it.

So how do you find your metaphor?    It is often easier to begin with the metaphor you are living that is ego-based and is not working like life is hell or life is a pain, or life is an attempt to be a cover girl.   First you take the big tests or difficulties in your life that are causing you misery,  then turn it into a metaphor.   So if you have a lot of frustration for instance, then it could be that your life is a battering ram and your head is the target.    The current big metaphor you want is something completely the opposite which in this case might be, life is a beach.  When life is a beach, then the energy that you need is more like the virtue of warmth rather than trying to push your agenda through as a battering ram.

When you live metaphorically, you are already doing dream work.   Try it.

Dream Work 1: Where Do Dreams Come From and How Do I Begin to Understand Their Meaning

Dream work is the ability to take a dream,  analyze and understand the messages it is trying to convey, and then do the internal transformation to actualize new positive energy that the dream is trying to move you toward.      Dream interpretation is one part of the dream work process.    It is the purpose of this new series to assist people in obtaining a better understanding of how to do dream work. 

Where do dreams come from?   If you think of human beings as animals with  superior brains like many scientists and people do in the today’s world,  then you will be looking to find the origin of dreams inside peoples’ brains.  If this were the case, then we would believe that we might better be able to control the contents of dreams like in the movie Inception.  Indeed some people do try to direct their dreams.    In my approach to dream work, however,  human beings are spiritual creatures having a material experience.   This means that we are spiritual beings and we are material beings at the same time.   While the brain is involved,  dreaming  is essentially an experience of the soul.

When you relate to dreams in this manner, there are two ways to understand the experience.   Whatever way you choose has it value.   The first way to relate to it is by seeing dreaming as a kind of voyage of the soul.   When you sleep, your brain and body go into a state that is the closest thing to approximating death.   The brain particularly goes very inactive.   So you can see the dream as the time when your soul can go away from the body and experience a different reality that is meaningful to you and still leave a memory of its experience.    The other way to see the world of dreams is that it is a world inside yourself where the rules of time and space are suspended, something like the world you enter during deep meditation.    When you view dreams more like soul travel, then you experience its connectedness with all life.    Seeing it as inner world allows you have a deeper understanding of who you are and what your purpose is on the planet.

One of the main keys to working with your dreams is the ability to let go of the process of trying to control their content.   Controlling the dream world is like trying to control the future.    It is better to let the dream world do as it wills outside of your direction in the same way that it is better to leave the future alone.   What happens to you when you try to control a spiritual dimension is that your inner world becomes apocalyptic and then you end up in your own personal hell.  In order to be able to trust the dream world by letting go of control, it is helpful to believe that there is a larger spiritual force which most of us call God or the Holy Spirit who is extremely benevolent, has our best interests in mind, and is infinitely better at directing the show.    When we try to do it, we always screw it up badly.     If you do the dream work long enough and see what positive things it can do to people’s lives, it is pretty hard to deny a supreme being.    When you want to have more control over the transformation process, it is much better to believe that the spiritual dimension or the dream dimension is within yourself as in God within.    When you want to feel a sense of freedom,  then see the dream world as a journey of the soul outside yourself.    Whatever way you use, let go of control and trust the experience.    Believe that God knows best.

The dreams are just too perfect to come from you.  You will never be that intelligent to come up with what you need through thinking.     Baha’u’llah says it this way.  He is quoting from past traditions.

How can feeble reason encompass the Qur’án,
Or the spider snare a phoenix in his web?
Wouldst thou that the mind should not entrap thee?
Teach it the science of the love of God!

The big lesson in dealing with dreams is to trust in the spiritual world.

 

Day 19: Why the Future World is So Unrecognizable to Us

O Thou our Provider! Send down Thine aid, that each one gathered here may become a lighted candle, each one a centre of attraction, each one a summoner to Thy heavenly realms, till at last we make this nether world the mirror image of Thy Paradise.        Abdu’l Baha

The future world is very difficult for most of us to imagine because of some of the structures and ways of being in the current world.   For instance, the leadership in the present day society is largely seen vertically.  There are a few people at the top who usually act out of self-interest and power and then there is a whole culture trying to climb vertically.    There is a small percentage of people who have an abundance of the resources and then everyone else trying to be like them and worshiping them.     When we are striving to advance to the top or fighting against the top,   we fail to see and participate in the way the future is going to be.     The easiest way to begin glimpsing the world of the future is to look at things around you right now, then think of a world that is exactly the opposite.

A vertical way of operating in the world which the few at the very top love to perpetuate is gradually crumbling.    What is going to replace it is world that is much more horizontal.   Just how that will look is hard to say, but if you add the word shared into things like leadership and ownership and resources,   you can begin to see a new world.   It sends shivers up the spine of the very top,  but it is a much happier place for the rank and file and I would guess for the people at the top as well.  When you are a leader of a group, if you do something like have a shared agenda rather than one that you dictate,  it is amazing the change you can create by that simple act.

The key to living in the future world right now is to stay out of the struggle with those who want to keep things as they are because as long as you are in a fight, you remain tense and are thrown out of the joy and wonder of the new world.      It is better to believe that the new world is already here and it is already functioning.    We just have to find it, be in it, and help it to expand.  For instance,  the future world is about creativity.  When you practice the virtue of creativity and then surround yourself with others who have this virtue,  everything changes all the time.   Everything becomes new and fresh.     I think that maybe the most positive aspect of the future is closeness.    When we have unity, it seems as though anything is possible.   So if we are going to live in the new world right now, we need to live in unity with others.

My problem, ever since I first went into the U.S. military, has been that I am in a wrestling match with tradition and authority so that I can bring them into the future with me.    What is finally dawning on me is that the traditional practices that sustain exclusion and favoritism do not want to go into the future.   They get their life blood from being in the past and keeping things the way they are.    When I fight with them to bring them into the future,  I always lose.   It is 100% guaranteed.     So the answer to tradition that excludes others is to let it be.   It is hard for me to do.  I guess it is because I am a Taurus.

When I let exclusion be,  what happens is that opportunities for inclusion open up all around me.    So this is it.  The final day of my transformation program is about letting the old world be and finding opportunities at every moment to live in the new world.

Here are the transformation questions.  What virtue do I want the future to have?  How can I start acting with that virtue right now?  What part of the past traditional practices can I let go of?  

Day 18: Out of Contentious Relationships and Into Intimacy and Play

Observe, how thou art asleep in a dwelling, and its doors are barred; on a sudden thou findest thyself in a far-off city, which thou enterest without moving thy feet or wearying thy body; without using thine eyes, thou seest; without taxing thine ears, thou hearest; without a tongue, thou speakest. And perchance when ten years are gone, thou wilt witness in the outer world the very things thou hast dreamed tonight.

Now there are many wisdoms to ponder in the dream, which none but the people of this Valley can comprehend in their true elements. First, what is this world, where without eye and ear and hand and tongue a man puts all of these to use? Second, how is it that in the outer world thou seest today the effect of a dream, when thou didst vision it in the world of sleep some ten years past? Consider the difference between these two worlds and the mysteries which they conceal, that thou mayest attain to divine confirmations and heavenly discoveries and enter the regions of holiness.   Baha’u’llah

There are certain mysteries that happen all around us all the time that science may have a hard time explaining.  It may not even want to touch.   The main one that continues to astonish me still after working for 20 years in this area is how elegant, perfect, and reliable the dream world is.    A few days I had received that wonderful dream about the bear and the wolves from someone who occasionally sends dreams to me.   It explained so many truths in such a simple and exact manner.  Then this morning someone sent me another bear dream that explains the dynamic between ego power and true intimacy in an amazing way.

When you live in the realm of astonishment or awe, the proper response is gratefulness for the bounties because unlike many phenomena,  the content of our dreams is out of our control.   No one creates their own dreams at night nor is it desirable to ever try.    How is it that the same bear appears in the dream life of two different people?

Here is the second dream bear.

I dream I am entering into a large, crystal clear swimming pool. It reminds me of the pool setting at a resort. Pristine and elegant. There is a huge water slide and water playground. My daughter is swimming there too. I notice her under the water, and she can talk without getting water in her mouth. Hmmm…interesting. She comes up and then starts floating out to swim with friends. As I move out I realize I have to use the washroom. I don’t want to get out because the water is so warm and refreshing, but yet I of course don’t want to urinate in the pool either. I decide to just hold it in.

As I swim out to the deep end I hear someone say “Bear!” and notice a bear comes through the door into the pool area. It’s walking like a human but has a bear body and head. people are moving around and away from it. It swats at a pre-adolescent aged boy, and he flies through the air, nearly landing in the pool. I want to pull him into the water but he is too far away from the water, and my going up on the deck would threaten my own safety. Then this bear leaves and another bear enters, and he flings his own baby into the pool. Then there is this little bear cub who can hardly swim floating in the water. I also want to help the cub but want to stay out of the way of the cub so as to not to get close to the mama bear if she comes in the water.

In this dream we see where the previous dream about the bear and wolves on top of the snow mound is headed.   In that dream the goal was to warn the dreamer to stay out of conflict with ego-power so that extremely negative things wouldn’t happen.   In this dream we get chapter two of the transformation process by showing were we are headed if we stay in process and stay out of conflict.   Many people would argue that we ought to fight with negative power so that the side of right gets on top,  but that approach has never worked in human history.

The dream starts in swimming pool that is both crystal clear and has playful elements to them.   Water is a relational element.  In the previous dream the form of water was snow which is characterized by coldness in human relationships.   Here the water is clear and playful, invites you,  and allows you to be child-like and speak in depth.    These are some of the characteristics of very positive relationships that create closeness.    By first doing the work of the first dream by staying out of conflict, then we end up in the second dream which is closeness with each other.

Much of the world believes that the goal is to be on top of the heap of snow, but this dream teaches us that relationships and closeness are ends unto themselves that are much more valuable than being number one.    The problem in the dream which signals the work begins when the dreamer has to go to the washroom.   Holding in urine in a dream means that you are holding in anger.  This is the problem.  It probably happens because she doesn’t have confidence that the pool is going to be there when she comes back meaning that the warm and loving relationship will not be there when she lets go of the urine.

Because she holds in the anger rather than letting it go in the washroom meaning processing the anger,  then the bears return to disrupt the intimacy when she is trying to get deeper.   This is the principle of dealing with ego-power.  When you hold onto anger and try to continue your positive life, the ego-power elements return.    When you process the anger, the intimacy returns only even much greater.   There are several teachings here about ego power that the dreamer (we) needs to know.

First is that when we have been affected as a young person by an abuse of power most often by one’s parents,  it is like being swatted by a big bear.    It creates anger inside of us that most of us hold onto because we would like to get back at the bear.   The goal is to let go of the anger and let go of any motive to get back at the bear, to stay focused on creating love and unity in relationships.   Here is why.   When the second bear comes in, it swats its own baby into the water to drown.    This means that when you stay out of contention with ego-power and focus on relationship-building, the bear kills its own future.   As long as a bear is fighting others it gets stronger and keeps moving up.  When we stay out of the fight and focus on unity and intimacy, the bear throws away its future.  This is simply because intimacy and unity are so much stronger than ego-power.

So the goal for us when we are incensed about what is happening around us by corrupt leaders or an abusive history from our families is to go through a process of letting go of our anger and continue on our path to closeness to each other believing that if we stay true to our path, that the days of the bear are truly numbered.

Get close to your kids.  Tell your loved one how much you appreciate them.

 

Day 17: How to Deal With Negative Leaders

 Remember how Adam and the others once dwelt together in Eden. No sooner, however, did a quarrel break out between Adam and Satan than they were, one and all, banished from the Garden, and this was meant as a warning to the human race, a means of telling humankind that dissension — even with the Devil — is the way to bitter loss. This is why, in our illumined age, God teacheth that conflicts and disputes are not allowable, not even with Satan himself.
                                    (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 275)

It is has taken a long time to get to Day 17 of the transformation program.    About a week ago someone sent this wonderful dream that explained so much about the tests and difficulties I have with some of the current leaders in the world.

Hi Richard, Here is the dream.
I was looking out my front door…It was winter…to the left of the parking lot was a huge mound of snow probably 30 feet high……….The family dog was outside.  Suddenly this huge bear appears on the top of the mound of snow………..the bear would be probably at least 20 feet high with a huge head/way beyond the size of a real bear……beside him were two wolves / they were the normal size of a wolf……one on each side of him. My dog, a black, long haired mix , size of a big German Shepherd let’s say is disturbed by the bear and jumps up the 30 foot snow mound. barking.  The bear with one gesture opens his mouth and tears the dog’s head right off and ingests it………turns around to leave ,dragging the rest of the dog’s body with him. The wolves just turn around with the bear and leave………I am yelling to my family to stay inside that this has occurred and it is not safe out there.
That is it………the dream was over…….I woke up perplexed but not in terror or panic which rather surprised me…………………that is it…..

This is my response to the dreamer.

This is a pretty amazing dream.   The symbol of looking out your front door has to do with being in yourself and opening the door to possibilities in your life.   The left in a dream can mean to the wrong side as in left and right.  The right side being the right choice, but it is not that critical other than when you look out at the current world what you see is what exists in the dream.   The  big bear and wolves on top of snow mound are representative of negative powers that sit atop of coldness using their power as they please and being very good at it.
The positive qualities of a dog are usually friendship and loyalty because that is what they do,  but when a dog which can be aggressive tries to go up against negative powers, it gets easily swept away and killed.    The reason for the metaphor is that it teaches us to not try to get into conflict or be aggressive against people who use power as means to advancing.    People who are in that mode see using power and disregarding people as a virtue because they are addicted to it like a drug.

The solution to the dream is go in the opposite direction by not confronting the bears and wolves or trying to make logical arguments or use principles.  Their sole goal is to be on top and they will do what it takes to get there.    This means that when you let them go by not attending to them, there is a whole other realm full of possibilities that are open to you.   The realm of possibilities open to you has more to do with creating closeness and intimacy with others.   It is a safe place to go because the bears and wolves are extremely frightened to go there.

The purpose of the dream is to keep you out of confrontation with negative power by showing the consequences of it.   It is also to help you go in the other direction which is about warmth and love and intimacy.    You must have had some problems around confronting people who use power or being in conflict with them or you would not have needed the dream.    I can tell you that it is a thrill for me to read this dream because it explains a lot for me.  I keep thinking that if I attack the leaders on the basis of logic and principle that they will change,  but in their world logic and principle are unimportant.  Power is how they protect themselves from having to deal with intimacy.

The quote also explains it very well.   The Baha’i belief about Satan is that there is not an actual being named Satan.  This is meant to be allegorical and not literal,  but it just explains that if you have a satanic figure in your life who will try to advance at any cost,  being in conflict with that person will throw you both out of the garden because when you are in conflict, you are not attending to the spirit.   This does not mean that you cannot disagree with others in consultation or stand up for justice.    People who are ambitious of power and advancing are like the ravenous wolves and bear.  They are extremely good at destruction.

Day 16: Returning to the Vision of Your Life with the New Virtue

The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom…. Baha’u’llah

Last night I had a very interesting dream in which I was in the next world (according to the dream).  It wasn’t like I had experienced a death or anything like it, but I walked into a grassy park like area.  Inside the park were some friends from out of the past.   Mostly everyone was playing various games.   I thought to myself I wonder if this is what the next life really is about because it was so enjoyable.

When I woke up and started processing the dream,  I realized that if I did the change process correctly, the dream was telling me what my life could be like.  I have all my friends around and it would be playful and joyful.   I had chosen playfulness as the virtue for my transformation process so my dream was saying that when I have the process in place it will be like going to a brand new life.   I began to ask myself the questions that would allow to get into that life right away.   It was a great lure.

The main question, which is the question  I usually start with, is to ask what it is that is keeping me back from being fully in that playful state right now?   What I found was that in my life I was trying to get support to do various projects in my employment from people who do not know how to give support.  The way I was doing that was to work really hard for them as if I was feeding them so that they would turn around and support what I was doing.   It is a strategy that leaves me not only unsupported, but also very burnt out from trying harder and harder.  Eventually the pattern puts me off into a corner where I just kind of give up on things, a type of depressed feeling.   Physically I found myself eating the wrong foods like dairy products that would make my guts all knotted up because I was just feeding their projects and not my own. 

To turn it around I first had to let go of trying to do projects that needed support that they were not going to give.   That was a big step because I was really wedded to those projects.   But according to the dream I am about to be reincarnated into a new life that is a lot more playful and where I am much closer to others.   I decided to just let go of those projects and go for those where the support was coming from me. What I was trying to do before was like having some kind of chord that connected my stomach to theirs where they got all of my energy and resources and I was left with nothing, fully depleted.   So in my mind I took out the chord and reattached it to me.    The first thing that happened physically was that I started to want to eat better food again like fresh fruits.   Before my digestion was too tensed up.     Then today, despite not having made a long run of  more than 10 k for over two months  I ran 18 k and felt relaxed and comfortable all the way.   This was after having run 10 k the day before and also having a tennis lesson for an hour which included lots of runs.  

To get the vision of me in my new reincarnated life with more playfulness and closeness simply means to stop trying so hard to do projects that require support from others who are not going to give it.     The projects that are waiting for me are much more self-supporting and in keeping with the life that my true self really loves and wants to live.   It is a very interesting journey.

Oftentimes in the transforming process, as my son-in-law, Shane, has just written about on http://daretoevolve.tv/,  we don’t keep returning to the vision of our theme or new virtue for the year.  This dream really helped me a lot because I see now that my new life is waiting for me.   All I have to do is to step out of trying to support the wrong things and step into my own play.

What is the vision that is waiting for you?

 

Day 15: Being Attracted to the Difficult Thing

O SON OF MAN! If adversity befall thee not in My path, how canst thou walk in the ways of them that are content with My pleasure? If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?  Baha’u’llah

The other day I was working with someone in a counseling session.   She was telling me a dream that she had sent me that was filled with fearful images including being threatened by someone throwing a snake at her.    When she was finished, she said,  “That was a good one.”   I told her that that was something I would say.   Very few people encounter and internal state of immense fear and then have positive energy toward working on it.   Usually when people have fear, they tend to do everything they can to not have to transform it.

Within the confines of doing dream work or change work  fear is not seen as a negative even though it is felt that way in the body.  In actuality fear only becomes a negative when it is present in your everyday waking life.   When you are involved in the process of changing it,  it is a positive thing.   In fact it is hard to imagine, although it is possible, to do significant change work without a large dose of a fear-related emotion.   Fear is good because it gives you the script through which to get the positive energy on the other end.    A dream with a great deal of fear in it is even better because it is like a spiritual guide to where you want to go.

Facing a large fear is like training on hills.   Hill work is a lot more challenging than running on a flat surface because every step up is worth two or three on the flat.

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No human being on the planet is completely free of fear so when we have them, the best attitude toward them is being able to look forward to working on them.   You can look forward to transforming a fear in same way that you look forward to taking a holiday.   Every time you make progress on the fear it brings more positive energy into your life.    It doesn’t matter how long it takes to overcome a fear because some fears are pretty complex and built with a lot of life experience.  Your soul becomes fitter every time you look into the ego, see the dark places, then change them to light.

Today I am having a uniquely Malaysian experience.  Last night we had some guests at our house that left large piles of dishes.   I was so delighted at seeing the dishes because today is the day our maid is supposed to come and clean our house.   However, we found out a little while ago that she is not coming.  Now the mountain in the kitchen is mine to tackle.   So the challenge for me is to to be able to think about it in a positive way.   This is where the rubber really hits the road.

Having a positive attitude toward overcoming fear is an absolute necessity to a life of change, but some fears can be so crippling that you need a lot of help in overcoming them especially when you have a history of alcohol-related abuse and other abuse in your past.   You can still have a positive attitude about facing the fears.  You just need the right avenues for help.

The work for today is do the thing you least want to do, but have a positive attitude doing it.

Day 14: The Best Asset is a Positive Memory

Thus is it incumbent upon us, when we direct our gaze toward other people, to see where they excel, not where they fail.  Abdu’l Baha

You have just come out of a really bad meeting with your supervisor who has managed to tell you what an awful job you are doing at work.   It is devastating to you.  You feel depressed and rejected.   What do you do?

What most supervisors do not understand is that the meaning of communication is the result that it has on the hearer and not necessarily  the intention of the speaker.   Criticizing is a type of communication that may give some short term results, but doesn’t usually work in the long run.   Self-criticism is equally as bad.    When you talk to yourself in a negative manner like in the middle of a match, it doesn’t make you play better even though logically you may think it does.    Speaking in a negative manner to someone usually makes them go to a negative place inside themselves where they find even more stress and tension.

What allows us to keep functioning with positive energy in the present tense is when we evoke the positive past even the immediate past.    When you tell  athletes that they are playing really well,  you are not talking about the present because what you are observing is already past even as you are observing it.   You see a behavior and then remember it.    When you tell the player that they are playing well what you are saying is that they played well 5 minutes ago, but not now.   The reason for using this kind of encouraging talk is so that they can fix a positive memory in their mind so that they keep playing at a high level in the present.  You can be losing a match in a very one-sided manner, but still be playing better than you have ever played before.   The score can trick you into believing that you are playing poorly in the same way that a supervisor’s words can trick into believing you are now performing well at work.  When the stock market crashes, all investment counselors perform badly.    The best ones are the ones who maintain a positive attitude in the midst of losing a great deal of money.

The difficulty with accessing positive memories is that negative experiences generally have more power over most people than a positive one does.   When a supervisor is primarily critical, for instance, it is because they are trying to exercise control over the other person’s behavior so that they will become fearful of some bad consequences like being fired.    It just makes the worker  have to work with the added pressure of the fear of being fired.

The transformation goal and practice is to be able to let go of the fear and the hold it has on your mind,  access positive memories of past successes, and then act in the present.   When you let go of a fear, the mind automatically starts accessing positive past experiences like making a hole in one or being close to your spouse or finishing tasks well.   They are the best assets.

You can confidently go into the future when you have a series of positive memories one after another.   As soon as we start losing confidence it means that we can do a 180 walk back into the past and find positives where we were resourceful and effective.

Day 13: Day of Reflection/Meditation

The light of a good character surpasseth the light of the sun and the radiance thereof. Whoso attaineth unto it is accounted as a jewel among men.  Baha’u’llah

After having done a day of maximum effort, it is often very valuable to do a day where the focus is reflection.    In today’s material world especially places that are revved up at maximum speed reflection is a not often seen as a valuable commodity.  When the values of a culture swing more toward being outgoing rather ingoing,  then most of the culture does not take the time to slow down and give an accounting of how things are going.    Outgoing and ingoing are like breathing.  You act and then you reflect.  Breathe in and breathe out.

After a very challenging day you usually have several points where the results are not what you had hoped for.    These often carry with them a certain amount of stress.    It is at the points of greatest stress where there is a need for change.    The reflection recounts the positives and then also focuses on where change is needed.   Change is needed where there is tension or stress.    For instance, on my challenge day I could get to mid-afternoon with a series of classes and then I began to run out of steam.   My mind started to get into a battle of whether or not I should keep the standard high or back off.     So after the reflection I decided that I needed to work on my endurance so that I could have steady energy throughout the day.    Maybe on your challenge day things went bad right from the start.  If that were the case, then maybe the way you begin your day would be called into question.

Challenging yourself allows you to realize where your points of strength and weakness are.   If you cannot push yourself on a challenge day,  it means that when you have pushed yourself in the past that something has happened like injury or burn out.   It is just great to get the feedback within yourself so that you can adjust and change.   For instance, you might ask yourself how you can push yourself further without being burned out or injured.

Since the world as a whole is moving away from autocratic tendencies,  the fear of not being able to think for oneself and take initiative is gradually lifting.    However, much of humankind still faces this kind of fear so it is natural, especially when you come from an autocratic family,  to be afraid to  both challenge yourself in ways that are positive for your true self and to reflect on your experience.    Both processes are essential to transformation.

If you are helping or companioning someone in the reflective process,  then it can be beneficial to have them see where they were successful and also what was difficult.   How were you successful?  What was difficult for you?     These two questions are magical.    The general rule is that the more difficult something is for you, the more help you need in overcoming it.   If it evoked a great deal of fear or jealousy or hurt,  then it just means it is time to get some help.    Fear is good feedback, but sometimes you need assistance to overcome it.    By going for help it allows you to stay in the process of change rather than giving up after a difficult experience.

Have some reflection time.

Day 12: Challenging Yourself for a Day

Make thou an effort that thou mayest take thy place under the sun and receive an abundant share of its dazzling light.

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 56)

The reality of any kind of transformation plan is that it requires a great deal of effort.   You cannot become fit by sitting on a couch.   I was watching a recent interview with Li Na, one of the best women’s tennis players in the world, where she was describing the workouts she was doing to prepare for this season.   When her husband came to visit, he said to her that he was tired just watching her work out.    Sooner or later all change requires a strong commitment to effort and action.    Why not put in a maximum effort rather than a small one.    The main reason we don’t do more is that at the end of the day it is very tiring and we end up with a lot of soreness.

It turns out that when you are feeling the burn in your body from a work out, it means that you are becoming stronger and more capable.   Every change worth going for requires big days with a lot of effort.   However, just like athletes you don’t have to do the big huge days everyday.   The days where you train hard and long reap a great deal of benefit, but if we have to face them everyday, then after awhile we just burn out and destroy our bodies and spirits.   Change does not means that you have to change the same amount everyday.    One day you work out extremely vigorously and then the next day you have a mild one and then a moderate one.   The big days teach you a great deal so they are really worth doing.     When people train for a marathon,  they usually have one long run a week that may be twice as long as their other runs.  Then they have a relaxed day.

When you think of change in a temporal way by varying the amount of effort, then it becomes very manageable.   The more you vary from huge to small to moderate the more you increase your capacity to manage larger amounts of change.

The exercise today is to plan for a big day where you make a lot of effort and get very exhausted by the end of the day.   The next day can be more reflective. 

Day 11: Communicating With Your Future Self

“Honesty, virtue, wisdom and a saintly character redound to the exaltation of man, while dishonesty, imposture, ignorance and hypocrisy lead to his abasement. By My life! Man’s distinction lieth not in ornaments or wealth, but rather in virtuous behaviour and true understanding.”  Baha’u’llah

One of the important aspects of transformation work is the ability to use the quality of faith or belief in the future positive state.    The reason that people join a new movement or new religion is because the current reality of the world does not work very well.   What the new religion does is help you believe that the current world with all of its prejudices, injustices, and inequities will change.   You can deal with the unpleasantness of the present by exercising faith that a more positive future is going to happen.

When I was studying Neuro Linguistic Programming, one of the techniques that I learned was to imagine a future state of myself and then communicate with it to understand what it is that I need to do in the present to get to the future self.   The future state already lives inside of us and wants to come out,  but our finite selves can only handle so much change at one time so we tend to need to move through the change systematically.    If you are going for a virtue like peacefulness, for instance, then you can first imagine yourself with peacefulness out there in the future that is much more advanced than you are now.  When you have a good image or a good sense of it, then you can ask the future self with the peacefulness what you should be doing now to get to that state.   Sometimes it is good to have a number like three things you can do now.    The future state may say something like you should learn how to meditate, go out for long walks, or take a yoga class.     When you get the guidance from the inner future self and then act on it,  the transformation takes place and you become a new person.

It is not really the purpose of Day 11 to think so much about how you stay with the guidance over a long period like several months.  Today’s exercise is to imagine your future state, ask it what you should be doing now, and then begin acting on it.

 

Day 10: Projecting Yourself into the Future with the New Virtue

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

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 410)

Now that you have an idea of what the ego and some of the obstacles might be, it is valuable to think of what you will be like when you have the virtue fully in place.   It is the nature of our minds to only be able to imagine as far out into the future with positive energy as we are capable of currently actualizing.    If you can imagine it, you can go for it.   And then if you start taking steps toward it,  it will become real.

The key to this kind of visualization is to see yourself out there as if you are detached from your body.   This is a different than the kind of visualizing that you get when you are just seeing a vision through your eyes.  Both are valuable, but, in this case,  because you are changing the self  you should do it as a detached self.    If you can see yourself clearly out there with the new quality, then taking steps toward should be a pretty straightforward process without huge obstacles.     When it is not as clear,  it just means that there is some significant learning to do along the path to attainment to the virtue.    The more challenging the virtue and vision the less likely it is to be so clear.   Challenges are good.    The difficulty is that when we don’t maintain the vision we tend to forget that we even set the goal.

As the above quote says you shouldn’t dwell so much on the present situation because it has not yet actualized what you are looking for.   The mind needs a lure.  The vision is the lure.   So when you see yourself more courageous, joyful, honest, organized, everything about your life begins to take you there.   So why not go for something that you really need in your life.

The exercise is to see yourself with the new virtue and then attempt to make it clearer.  The next day is about making a plan. 

How will you see your life changing today?

Day 9 Change: Fear or Anxiety?

“The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds; he whose words exceed his deeds, know verily his death is better than his life.”  Baha’u’llah

In dealing with transformation issues it is often very helpful to understand the difference between fear and anxiety.   Anxiety is the feeling that you get when you already have a certain amount of competence in a particular area, but you are unsure of yourself, worried what others might think if something goes wrong, or overwhelmed by what seems like an immense task.    The solution to nerves is the ability to remember your competence and then hold the memory and keep going back to it as you act.    Unlike fear,  the key to anxiety is the ability to have a very strong memory of past success or past positives.     When you step into your positive memories and feel them fully, then it is as if you relive the success and competence.   Then you can keep acting forward in a positive direction.

Fear occurs when you are facing something new such as a new obstacle or new skill.    Anxiety is based upon looking into the future and seeing something going wrong,  but fear is based upon a memory that has already occurred.   The key to breaking fear and going forward to gaining the new ability or having the new experience is the ability to let go of the memory of the fear.   With fear you are not trying to remember the past, but to let go of it so that you can dive right into a new experience.   The reason young people tend to be more fearless than the elderly is that they do not have so many many negative memories to let go of.

When you get really good at letting of past memories of negative things, then you strengthen your ability to keep learning and going after new and exciting things.   You often see this with new technology learning.   Young people often learn much more quickly because there is no negative memory holding them back.

You can see why it is important to differentiate.   If you have nerves like in the middle of a match,  the important thing is to access positive memories rather than thinking something is wrong with your strategy or that you don’t have all the shots.   If you have fear like the fear of being beaten really badly, it is because you have experienced this already and you were not equipped to play your opponent.   Fear tells you that you need to work on something new, but anxiety lets you know that you need to practice what you already know how to do.

The exercise today is ask yourself, in the thing you want to work on the most in your life, do you have more fear or more worry.   If it is fear practice letting go of the bad memories of past experiences and instead seeing the future as bright and hopeful.   If it is worry, practice the skill area repeatedly and remember times that you were successful.  Let go of your bad imagination.

Day 8: The Mother of All Fears

“Ye were created to show love one to another and not perversity and rancour. Take pride not in love for yourselves but in love for your fellow-creatures. Glory not in love for your country, but in love for all mankind.”  Baha’u’llah

Sometimes good ideas like having 19 consecutive days of doing this transformation plan run into obstacles that slow things down.   Friday I had an all day huge elementary school track meet to organize and run and then today I was at a tennis tournament for my high school team.

Sooner or later the reason most of us abandon our plans comes down to fear.   Since we are a social species and count on our survival by being part of a group,   the mother of all our fears is some form of exclusion.     Today as I was watching my tennis team perform and interacting with them, nearly all of the players were nervous.   They worried about the results and were fearful of being eliminated.   If we all just had the quality of playfulness and could stop the thinking so much about the results, we would probably perform at a much higher rate.

When we think about exclusion, our minds go out into the future and imagine how it is we might get eliminated in one form or another.   There are an infinite number of ways to be excluded.   Then we experience some kind of tensing which causes hesitation, resistance, stopping, freezing, paralyzing, or any of a number of other coping strategies.   As soon as the tensing happens our performance suffers.     The interesting thing about the mind is that it cannot go off into imagination land with a fear unless we have already had experiences of exclusion.    First you experience the abandoning feelings, then it goes into memory.    When you set about doing something that requires full attention in the present,  your mind immediately goes to imagining abandonment.   If you can let go of the memory and imagination and tension, then getting to where you want to do is relative easy because you have no resistance inside.

We all come from a world culture that is largely based upon systemic and institutionalized exclusion.    No one escapes it.  We have memory banks full of abandonment.   Everyone on the planet has the fear.    It is why the most important issue of our era is unity.    The first place to go when you are starting to look inside to see the things that are holding you back is how you have been left out or pushed out in one way or another.

For instance, if you are a member of race who has been excluded in the culture,  you will have a lot of negative memories about it, and the memories are going to get triggered.   You cannot escape the triggers.    The key to achieving success with yourself and getting to the transformation you want is to not let the exclusion take over your mind and cripple you, nor  should you take violent steps toward those who have done the excluding.    When fear takes over the mind,  we cannot achieve the success we are after.

We achieve success by recognizing the triggers, understanding the source, and then letting them go.   It is important to feel them and acknowledge them because without the consciousness, they just act independently for survival sake in an unconscious manner.    What is needed is the new energy because spiritual qualities like patience, joy, love, honesty, and courage always create a more united world when they are practiced correctly.

The exercise today is to understand the source of your exclusion by answering the following questions.

What is the virtue you are after and how does it create unity in the world?

How have you been excluded and how does it make you cope for protection sake?

Let go of imagining that you need protection.   Let go of the memory and tension.   Make a plan for using the energy of the virtue. 

As with previous posts it is important to recognize that some fears are too huge to let go of alone, usually when there is some form of abuse attached to them.   Seek help.  It is fun to change.

 

 

Day 7: The Culture is Usually Wrong

O SON OF BEING! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.  Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah

Usually when our life is a big mess it is simply because we are doing the wrong things, and most of the time doing the cultural path is the wrong thing.   I have always found it useful to live my life by looking at what most people do in the culture, and then do the exact opposite.   It is usually the better path.

In the above quote Baha’u’llah explains the dynamic of love that most people don’t get.   Our culture says that you if you look a certain way or have the right things or listen to the right music,  then you are going to get love.   We live our lives hoping and waiting for love wondering what we need to do to attract love.  Baha’u’llah says it pretty clearly.   Love does not come to us unless we first give it out to others.  

Last weekend when I was in Singapore at a meeting on the topic of love and unity,  an extraordinary person shared a really great story that taught me a lot.   She said that she had been upset for a long time that her father never had conversations with her.   It left her feeling alone and wanting like she had missed out on love.   Then someone told her that she could give to her father what she had never gotten because it is what had been missing in his life as well.   So she just started being really light and starting conversations with him.  Then he began to be much friendlier and happier around her.

This story blew me away because I always thought that this kind of change was a lot more complicated.  We seem to be more or less stuck in pattern of waiting for love to come to us from somewhere in the past, but it never comes.    The story above is a practice of the message from Baha’u’llah.   You can just love by giving out love and then love comes back to you, but if you do not love first, but just wait, then love will never arrive.

You don’t need to wait to be filled up with love before you start giving it out.  You just practice giving out love in whatever form and then magical things happen.  When we are stuck in the belief of needing love,  then our life tends to spin out of control and get pretty depressed.   We do all of the wrong things.

The corollary of the love thesis can happen with other virtues.   If you are enthusiastic, others will be enthusiastic back.  If you wait for others to be enthusiastic you will just get sadness.   If you are patient,  others will be patient with you.

The exercise today is to just find a way to practice your virtue as if it were already really functioning in you.   Don’t wait. 

 

 

Day 6: Identity and Ego/True Self States

Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form
When within thee the universe is folded?   Ali quoted in Seven Valleys

The word identity in a transformational context means that you so experience and  act on the energy of a particular virtue that you and others start referring to you as a person with that quality as if it were one of your names.   When you are in the first stages of transformation the quality feels as though it is practically non-existent.   Many people feel this way about the virtue of patience especially those who live in a fast-paced culture or work in a demanding corporation.   Sometimes people have so little patience that it can be seen as a hindrance to achievement rather than enhancing it.

When I first seriously started studying emotional processes in the mid- 1980s,  I knew almost nothing about it and had very few competences.  But gradually over the course of a number of years I learned more and more.  Then one day I was in a group where people were validating each other, and someone named me as person with a lot of emotional learning.  It was quite gratifying.    You can change your identity.

The most common mistake people make in transformation work is to have identity with an ego state.   They say things like I am inflexible or I am not the kind of person who is adventurous or I am bad with math.   Whenever you label yourself as an ego state such as reticent,  then it makes the change seem like it is an impossibility because identity is experienced as a permanent condition.

The key is finding a way to name yourself in a positive manner without overstating your competence.  You can say I am in the beginning aspects of being flexible.   This way you are not lying,  but you are moving in a positive direction.   To become anything you simply need to attend to learning and changing each day.  Then you wake up one day and you have actualized so much that it becomes one of your names.

The exercise today is find places in your life where you have identified yourself in a permanent way that is negative.     Write down a few areas related to the process or virtue that you have chosen where you have a negative identity.   For instance, if you are wanting to be more playful, you are maybe saying something to yourself like I am a really serious person.    You can change it by writing some like I am starting to learn how to be playful.   By doing this you take the cement out of the change process and put it into a flow.   The key is to just flow

 

 

 

 

Day 5: Dealing with the Ego

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

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

If you think of the ego as a positive force rather than a negative one even though it feels negative,  you can regard it as the communication you need to motivate you to wake up and transform.   Whenever you have uncontrollable fear, envy, greed, lust, depression, guilt, or shame that generate negative patterns of repeating behavior, then you know you have an ego that needs to be worked with.   No one on the planet is free from ego and everyone has work to do each day with it.  In a lot of ways the ability to overcome ego conditions of protection is what defines us as human beings.   When we are able to deal with our egos successfully, we rise above the animal state and can achieve remarkable things that are beneficial in nature.

The important thing in doing transformation work and identifying an ego condition is to not get stuck in it.   If you are wanting to become more inclusive, for example,  you may have an ego state in you that is fearful of being abandoned which causes you to stay away from people.   Transformation is the process of actualizing more of the higher state such as being more inclusive, and finding a way to let go of the lower state.

The simplest way to deal with the ego is to recognize it, set it aside, and then do the opposite which is the new virtue.   The more intensive the ego state,  the more difficult it will be to set it aside.

In today’s exercise you recognize the ego state that is most related to the energy you want to develop.    For instance,  maybe you feel sad often which causes you to sit and do nothing when you want to get out and go for it. 

So one thing you can do is draw a picture of what the ego is like,  It may be an angry  lion or a dark cloud or a raging fire or a big mess.     Then on another paper draw the opposite such as a sunny day, a warm candle, an orderly area.    Look at the two pictures together and then just set the ego one aside so you don’t see it anymore.   Repeat it two or three times.  

It doesn’t matter if the ego doesn’t completely go away.  What matters is that you begin to feel more of what your virtue is like inside.   When you come to a full understanding of the ego and have a more accurate description of the process, then the ego will set itself aside.

Note:  Put the exercise aside if you gets too negative for you and then seek some outside help to work with the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Listening to the Spirit Within

“So far as ye are able, ignite a candle of love in every meeting, and with tenderness rejoice and cheer ye every heart.”    Abdu’l Baha

One of the first keys to any transformation experience is the ability to have a positive experience and then remember it.    Because of the way the world is often organized, many of us live our lives according to the dictates of someone else, usually  a leader.   This leads to an inability to remember our own positive experiences.    We might pray for change,  meditate to try to quiet our minds, but then not stick around for what the spirit might tell us.   This is partly due to the belief in many of us that the space around us does not belong to us.   It belongs to the leader or the government or our parents or whoever is above us.

What is helpful is to believe that the space around you belongs to you and you can share it with others.   You cannot transform yourself by believing that the space belongs to someone else, because then you always have to ask for permission from someone else to change and to act.   Transformation is the space that everyone has been given by God.   The earth belongs to you and everyone else at the same time.  There is no ownership when it comes to transformation.

When you are feeling uncomfortable in a space, you can simply say that this space belongs to me.  This space is mine.   Then it is yours.  It helps you take control of your own transformation process.

Today’s exercise is to remember positive experiences where you felt really great.   First remember a single experience that was amazing.   Go inside and hear, see, taste, touch, and feel the experience.  Then ask yourself to name one of the virtues you demonstrated like awe or joy.  Then repeat the exercise 9 times with 9 virtues.

For instance, today I went for a run in the Botanical Gardens in Singapore.   I was so carried away with awe and wonder that it just sent my mind into all kinds of positive thoughts and possibilities.

 

 

 

Day 3: Connecting to Positive Energy

“And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves.”  Baha’u’llah

For most people in the Western world and other places God is an angry man in the sky shooting out lightning bolts when people do bad things.   I am really not sure how God ended up in the sky, but when you are doing inner work, it is better that you relate to the divine as an inner being rather than an outer one.     It is not that God is in the sky or inside of you, but these are constructs for helping us to understand divine forces.   Remembering God when He is on the inside can mean remembering the positive forces that move inside of you which we often call virtues.   When you have patience and acknowledge it, then it is acknowledging and remembering God.   When you don’t acknowledge and honor it, then the divine leaves you and you forget who you are.   That is when the negative happens.

Because criticism and negative is so epidemic and often seen as being a virtue, most people have a difficult time relating to positive aspects in themselves and others.   Being positive is oftentimes equated with being soft especially if God is an angry man in the sky.     The purpose of today’s activity is to begin to relate to positive energy in others and then eventually to yourself.

Make a list of 9 people who are important to you and then write down a very positive aspect about them such as gentleness, accepting,  organized,  courageous, wise, etc..

With each person go inside and feel what it is like to have their energy as if you were inside their bodies looking out at the world.   

If you can,  write, call, or say in person to all those people the positive energy you see because what you are seeing is the divine force within them.   It is nice if they know you see it, because it creates a bond.

 

Day 2: How the Virtue Will Change Your Entire Life

O SON OF BEING! With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof.      Baha’u’llah

The advantage of choosing a process or virtue for your focus of change this year is that virtues and processes are automatically generalized to all parts of your life, not just the one that may be giving you the most problem.   When you learn how to have endurance, for instance, you can stay positive for long periods of time with any project.  However,  it is my experience that the mind often needs some help in the process of generalization.

The activity today is to make a list of the various parts of your life and then describe how the virtue will assist you in each one.  Of course the more you understand what the energy of the virtue is the easier this will be.   The divine world is their to assist you so it is very helpful to have a daily prayer asking for assistance in learning about and applying the energy to your life.   God does not just handover to anyone a particular energy.    You can’t go to your place of worship and expect that you will suddenly become a new person.

We have been given a free will and an ability to make efforts.  These are gifts that are aspects of every human being.   God expects us to use them because that is our nobility, but the divine world is also there to support and guide us along the way if we reach out to it.   The communication from the spiritual dimension never stops flowing.    For instance,  something like world peace is not going to be delivered on a silver platter one day to us.  We have to learn our way to it.   A lot of people make the argument that God let such terrible tragedies happen in the 20th Century,  but He has always done His part which is guidance and support.   The problem for us is that we often don’t listen to the guidance.   We do not have world peace right now because we don’t follow the guidance.   Ask for help, listen for it, and then make lots of efforts and your world will change.

Get out some paper or use your computer and make the list.

Happy changing today.

 

 

 

Day 1: Choosing the Focus of Change

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

Most people, when setting goals for change have the idea that is widely spread throughout the world, that if you want to accomplish something that you need to have a specific target so that you will see it all the time in your mind’s eye, and then you will know when you have accomplished it.    While this approach to goal setting is valuable when doing material goals, it is detrimental to an inner transformation process.   Material goals are connected to the earth so their value is finite in nature.  When they are over, they are over.    Once you have the million dollars or have lost the 20 pounds, the goal is finished.

Inner goals are achieved in a different way because the purpose of inner change is to  unleash a process inside of you that you are going to keep forever.    When you go after inner transformation,  you pick a target that is general, usually something like a virtue.   (courage, love, enthusiasm, honesty, joyfulness, patience).   These are qualities that everyone has inside of them in potentiality.   If you want to see a virtues list, go to http://www.virtuesproject.com/virtueslist.html.    By keeping a goal general like a virtue,  you recognize that you are not in control of how you are going to get to the process.   In the inner world, you realize that there is a spiritual dimension, a higher power,  God,  that guides the learning.     When you get too specific in the initial stages, you cut out the guidance that comes from the inner world.

The way to choose an inner goal is to first go inside and ask yourself a superlative question that is usually a little negative in nature.

What is the biggest mess in my life?

What is the worst thing I am facing?

What is the biggest challenge for me right now?

It is always good to write the answer.  The biggest mess is my relationship with my children, with my boss, with my spouse.   The worst thing I am facing is bankruptcy.

When you set an inner goal,  its purpose is to solve the superlative questions.   Do you need peacefulness, patience, assertiveness, enthusiasm,  determination, hope,  calmness, love, empathy,  tact, generosity, gentleness,  joy,  courage?   Whatever you need, is a solution.

Pick a virtue or process for yourself right now after having done the superlative questions.

Besides having an exclusive focus on material goals, by far the thing that always stops the actualization of virtues is the lack of daily work.   Most people, whether they set material or spiritual goals,  tend to set the goal and then  stop.   So after you have set the focus, the next step is to commit yourself to a daily process of change which is the purpose of this program.   Inner goal work is successful to the degree that you work on it everyday.

On the first day of the program you can use the name of the virtue every time you run into obstacles.    Here is an example.  The other day I was taking a tennis lesson. The instructor was teaching me a new way to hit a forehand, but when I tried it I kept hitting the ball into the net or hitting it too long.   I realized that I had been dealing with some rejection issues so I just picked acceptance as the virtue I needed.   When I repeated the word acceptance,  every ball went over the net into the court just how I wanted it.  It was pretty incredible.

You don’t have to do anything else on the first day other than pick a virtue and then start naming it when you get to obstacles.   Today is a good day to do it.

Note:  If you have been in abusive situations in the past and have not gotten good help for working through the issues,  doing this work may start to call some of that energy up.  If you feel yourself going into a panic or an out of control fear,  that would be natural for you.  You can do this program as long as your negative emotions don’t run away with you.  If they do, it just means you need to go to for some help.   There are lots of competent people in the world to assist.

Please feel free to post comments.  They are helpful to others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falling in Love with Death Dream

I had a dream I fell in love with the grim reaper (death). I was not scared of him and never felt threatened by his presence but we fell in love with each other!

This maybe one of the most extraordinary dreams I have ever read.   You might have a tendency to think that it is a bit morbid to have a dream like this.  After all, falling in love with death!!  Sounds like Meet Joe Black, the film in which a young woman falls in love with Death, played as Brad Pitt.   I guess if you are a woman and death is Brad Pitt, maybe death is someone you would really want to love.

My method of dream work relies heavily on the emotional content of the dreamer  during the dream.   Specifically if you are feeling really positive in a dream like this dreamer is,  it means that death is a good thing.  If you were in love with death, but you were, at the same time, full of negative feelings like fear, it would mean quite something else.   So for the dreamer, death is like Brad Pitt.

The question that arises when death is a positive object rather than a fearful thing has to do with what the advantage of being in love with death is.    For sure it is not about running down to the gun shop and committing suicide.   Suicide is about negative depressive feelings.   Loving death is a positive experience.

If you have read my postings about certain types of dreams in the past, you will know that I am for having a lot of self-discipline about not going for a literal interpretation of dreams.   It is sort of the like the hype around the Mayans saying that 2012 is the end of the world and then everyone expecting the world to end on December 21st.  Here we are.  It is already the 24th.    I am sure that the literal interpretation sold better, but the metaphoric interpretation of the world ending is just so much more exquisite.

The Republican Party in the United States experienced a kind of death in the last elections because their candidate didn’t win.  The difference between the Party and this dreamer is the notion of love.   Falling in love with death is a good thing if you know how to work with the metaphor, but if you read the Revelation of St. John in the Bible and think some scary sea monsters are going to appear in the world,  you are just so in the wrong dimension.    It is much more meaningful and helpful to work in the non-literal world of metaphor which dreams and prophecies are for the most part.

So what is so great about death as a metaphor?    To understand this it is  useful to realize that we have two selves, an ego, that is selfish and materially oriented, and a true self, that is full of positive potentialities that are beneficial for others.    When you are in love with death, you are in love with dying to your ego.

Baha’u’llah in His book, The Four Valleys,  describes it like this.

The story is told of a mystic knower, who went on a journey with a learned grammarian as his companion. They came to the shore of the Sea of Grandeur. The knower straightway flung himself into the waves, but the grammarian stood lost in his reasonings, which were as words that are written on water. The knower called out to him, “Why dost thou not follow?” The grammarian answered, “O Brother, I dare not advance. I must needs go back again.” Then the knower cried, “Forget what thou didst read in the books of Síbávayh and Qawlavayh, of Ibn-i-Hajíb and Ibn-i-Málik, and cross the water.”

The death of self is needed here, not rhetoric:
Be nothing, then, and walk upon the waves.

When you dive into something new or begin a new journey or are setting out boldly for a new project,  you always first need a death.   The most common death needed, as Baha’u’llah describes here, is the death of listening to the people who have come before whose voices are very convincing about why you shouldn’t do something.    Tradition has a big voice and knows how to use it to create fear about doing something new that is untried.
When you are in love with death,  you just love not listening to all the reasons why you can’t do something.  You dive in and cross the waters.     When you listen to your forefathers telling you how wrong it is to do something, then what happens is that you experience a long, slow painful literal death because all of the things that you could have done,  you don’t do.   You end up living life the way everyone else lives it and the way it has been lived for centuries.
So being in love with death is making a break from the past.   The grim reaper brings death to all of the worn out ideas and habits that no longer serve the present and future.   It is not complete death to the past.  A positive past gives you your earth like qualities such as fortitude, determination, and reliability.    In the modern world we often throw these qualities out believing that technology or material things are going to make us better.  Then we forget to have things like perseverance and endurance.
But for this dreamer, she needs to be in love with death, which mean some kind of severing of ties from the past.   There is always an element of conservation of the past and one of letting go of it.   Conservation keeps the valuable things, whereas giving death to the past allows for the new growth to appear.   We are always evolving and changing because it is our nature to do so.   You cannot change without a healthy love relationship with metaphoric dying.
In the movie, Meet Joe Black,  the girl falls in love with death which allows her to sever herself from her old life and old relationships, and then find the relationship and life that she really wants.   It is an extraordinary metaphor.
So as we are coming to the end of the calendar year this dream will help us with our New Year’s resolutions.   When we are visualizing the new us with less pounds or more strength, there are certain things that we will need to die to and love doing it.

 

Gifts that Come Naturally v. Gifts that Require Great Efforts

In my other job besides doing dream work I work in the area of physical education with young children between the ages of 5-7.    The other day I was reminded of the principle in the title after meeting with the parents of one of my six year olds.   The student received great evaluations in all areas except for mine where in comparison to others his age, he is developmentally behind.    The parents were well aware of his situation because they have a two year old who in many ways is more advanced in terms of coordination and motor ability.     The child is very bright and will sit down with the father watching The Discovery Channel and then having long conversations about science-related things.

When the child comes to me for class, I see him as needing a lot of work to develop the physical education skills, but in most of the rest of the curriculum teachers see him as gifted.    This is sometimes the case with physical education, but usually it is the opposite where we have very gifted athletes who are not so gifted academically.

The meeting with the parents reminded me that the child was very gifted naturally in the area of science, but in order to develop competence in the area of physical education, it was going to take massive efforts.    So then it dawned on me that, in my view, it was perfect for that child.    He has a natural gift for science, but he also has a responsibility to develop his body.    The former he breezes through with little effort and gains all kinds of key insights,  but up until this point the latter has suffered to the point where he gives up so easily on himself with physical activities.   I told the parents that it was great for him that he had to make so much effort to make physical progress because that is where he was going to learn how to solve the very most difficult problems that require effort.    Up until this time everyone had given recognition to his gifts in science, but had given up on his physical abilities.

Something magical happened between the time that I met with the parents and the next class which was today.   When he came to class, he made a massive effort and started accomplishing things that I didn’t believe he could hitherto ever accomplish.  It was pretty spectacular.

If you had read the book, The Element, by Ken Robinson,  you know that his focus is on recognizing the gifts that come naturally to a person, but are often missed in school.   This is because schools are not oriented toward looking for gifts and developing them.   They are looking to develop abilities to serve the current machine.   If a person has a natural gift such as someone like the great tennis player, Roger Federer,  basically the work of developing their ability is to put them in the right environments with the right teachers, and then they flourish.  This is what is usually missing in our culture because we are fearful of our children living a life of poverty outside of the current economic culture.

The less explored territory is how to take an area that is extremely weak in comparison to the rest of yourself or others and develop it until it becomes a gift.   The traditional approach is to look at someone’s weakness and then try to develop those areas by a lot of extra work.   For instance, if a child is great tennis player, but a poor math student, then the thinking is to give the child a lot more math.    The reason it doesn’t work very well is that the being of a person puts up a great deal of resistance when the natural gifts are not first recognized and nurtured.   So the first step in the development of the above scenario is to provide the environments were the tennis can grow.   When that is secure, then the being relaxes and becomes open for the secondary so-called weaknesses to become strengths.    Both practices seem to need to go on simultaneously.

If I am in doubt about myself,  then I usually rely on my dream life to tell me where the priority is, but generally speaking if you have developed in the area where you have a great deal of natural skill,  then at some point the weaker areas will want their turn.    This is where the really difficult transformations take place and where most of us do our hiding from ourselves.    This is where we get lazy and give up on ourselves and tell ourselves that we cannot change.

Before anyone starts the secondary work,  you really have to do the initial work which is to go against the culture and forefathers to develop your primary gifts which always have a rebellious element to them because they are intrinsic designed to change your family and culture.   The primary gifts, the ones natural to you,  transform the world.  If you actualize them, people’s lives around you change for the better.   The secondary work gives you a belief in yourself that absolutely anything is possible because you change the most stubborn part or weakest one.

To do the secondary work,  you first need to ask yourself where you are most likely to give up on yourself or in your life.    Where do you feel the least amount of hope for change?    Once you have discovered the answer to those questions, then you need to have a strong belief that you can transform the weakness into a gift.

Then you can do the transformation work daily until that weakness becomes a strength.   You know you have done the complete work when your identity changes.  So for instance, if people used to call you shy, now they would name you as outgoing or courageous.   If you used to call yourself sloppy and disorganized, now you would name yourself organized.    These gifts take a lot of work because there are usually a great many negative emotions wrapped around them that need to be dealt with, but when this work is done you get an even a great satisfaction than developing your natural gifts and then anything becomes possible.

Dealing With Abandonment: It’s All About the Memory

Likewise is it written, “And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves. These are the wicked doers.”  Baha’u’llah The Four Valleys

One of the ways I have learned to look at the above quote is to substitute the qualities of God for the word God.   When you do that it means that when you forget the qualities of God within you such as love, compassion, honesty, joyfulness, courage, or determination,  then you are forgetting who you are.  You become ego and then the cause of negative action.    It stands that the corollary is also true.   When you remember your positive qualities, you remember who you are and then you can do positive in the world.

It is difficult to imagine being able to do positive action in service to the world unless and until our positive memories of our gifts are cemented in our minds.   When we access our positive memories until they become strong and fortified,  then we are propelled into the present tense with a lot of positive energy.   But getting there isn’t always so easily.

One of the ways that we lose our memory of our gifts is by feeling abandoned.   For me abandonment is like being in a dark pit with no support, no encouraging voices, just the alone feeling.  I am sure that others have other images like being stranded or marooned.    I have a hard time not going for the blame frame when I get to the feelings of abandonment.   I can pick out any number of targets, but one thing is for sure.   Blaming keeps me in the hole.   It may feel good for a couple of minutes so I usually partake, but long term it doesn’t work.

The surprising thing that gets me out of the hole is to start making a list and then picturing what my positive gifts are.    God has placed an abundance of gifts in each of us, and it is when we access are memories of them that we started feeling encouraged and then acting with them.

Abandonment can have another darker side than just blaming.   It can start in blaming,  hold the negative memory of how you were abandoned, and then act in gradually increasing harmful ways that are both self-centered and destructive.   It seems like the worse the abandonment is within someone, the darker their actions become.

The key to getting out of abandonment is to first recognize that you are feeling it.   Then you can it describe usually metaphorically.    This does not help the feelings go away at all, but at least it gives you a starting point for taking responsibility for the issue.    The best way to describe abandonment is to think about it as a state of not having access to the memories of your gifts.     When you can access your gifts in memory, then you don’t feel alone anymore.   It is that simple or that complicated.

So the simplicity is to find pictures in your memory of your gifts.  It is as if you are walking into the positive past and picking out all the positive feelings that you want to feel.   Then when you have the memories inside of yourself,  you can walk back into the present and do some incredible things that are beneficial in nature.

The difficult step is to let go of the dark pit or stranded island feeling of being alone and abandoned because it is easy to get attached to someone else getting you out of your pit as if someone else should do it because after all they left you alone.   However, expecting someone else to rescue your abandonment just doesn’t work.   So it is best to give it up and start taking the walk in the positive past.    The dark pit is a mental state, not an actual one.

You cannot have been abandoned by someone unless they are already abandoned themselves.   This is why it is so not good to take things personally.  Easier said than done I suppose.   So let’s get out of our pits and start remembering our gifts.