GILBERT ROSS: “7 Secrets Of Simple Living You Have Been Made To Forget”

We are living fragmented lives in an increasingly frenetic world. Overworked and overstressed we spread ourselves thin flipping between several roles in a single day. We can be a parent, spouse, employee, organiser, blogger, expert in a field, coordinator, entertainer or whatever role we have assigned ourself or have identified with.

Society and culture have also put on us pressures and beliefs that have sucked us in all this madness. Clearly, we are living a consumeristic culture in overdrive. The expectations from our peers and the messages from the mass media and cultural icons are all set to trance us into this consumeristic mass hallucination. In moments of clarity, many have stopped to ask themselves “How do I make it stop? Where is the emergency stop button? How can I break free from all this and return to a simpler, authentic and stress-free life?” — I’m sure you have, as have I too.

The good news is that living a simpler, stress-free life is not something that is a world apart. Like anything else it comes from our will and resolution but also from making some simple realisations and keeping them present in mind. I have listed seven key ideas about simple living that our constant doing and rushing has alienated us from.

Life Purpose Is Simplicity Itself:

Knowing your life purpose is the most powerful information you can acquire in a whole lifetime. Knowing your life purpose means knowing who you truly are which in turns means doing only those things which resonate with your authentic talents and motivations. Life becomes effortless. On the other hand not being aligned with your life purpose means creating friction and wasting time and energy doing things which do not flow with you.

In my book The Art of Simple Living, I make this very important point — that knowing your life purpose does not require looking for it in some special place or doing something extraordinary. It comes from simplifying. When you start discarding all those things which do not belong to you and simplify your day to day living, your life purpose comes in sharper focus because you understand better who you are.

Your Wants Are Not Your Needs:

The consumerist culture has sold us wants as needs. As we are constantly bombarded by advertising messages on all media, we are made to believe that we ‘need’ that latest gadget or that cool accessory to be at pace with our times and our peers. The clear boundary between needing and wanting has been blurred. So we end up spending time, money and energy trying to acquire stuff or reaching goals because we believe we actually need them when in fact we only want them. As the latest fad passes away, we are only left with clutter and wasted resources.

Being sober about what are those things you really need and those which you only want can drastically simplify your life. You eliminate those things which are inessential to your core living thus opening up more time and space to fill in with meaningful things that are genuinely part of your life purpose.

Less Is More:

Another thing society has seduced us into is the idea that more is better. We measure our success partly by how much wealth, status and accolades we accumulate in a lifetime. What is not measured is the stress and strain produced as an effect of pursuing these socially transmitted goals. Not to mention how far we deviated from our more authentic goals and happiness while doing this. We have been alienated away from the practical truth that less is decisively more powerful.

When you have less stuff, work and false ‘needs’ cluttering your physical and mental space, your life is more streamlined and frictionless. With less noise, it becomes much easier to bring your true aspirations and motivations in clear focus. This is the real power of less.

It’s Not What You Thought About Thinking:

One of the greatest ways to hack into a simpler life comes from your thinking  or rather lack of it. This is another belief we have been sucked into — that we must think to figure out our way and solve problems. Counter-intuitive as it may sound, thinking is on many occasions, the obstacle to the solution rather than the path to the solution. Not because thinking is bad or futile but because thinking or over-analysing a situation can at times create more noise while blocking our inner intuition.

Masters in the art of simplicity know very well how to make use of their intuition and when to refrain from analysing a given situation. This is because while thinking is energy intensive and can complicate matters rather than simplifying them, intuition gives us instant access to information that may have been overlooked by our conscious rationalisations. It is effortless, fast and simple.

You Don’t Need Approval By Anyone:

Most of the time we are not aware how much our life is complicated by the need to be approved of by others. Some people seek approval constantly and feel the need to have their actions and aspirations confirmed by the stamp of approval of their peers or those in authority. The need for others’ approval, whether explicit or tacit, becomes in some cases a compulsive unconscious behaviour. It limits our possibilities but more importantly, it keeps us from being ourselves and living an authentic life.

The effect of all this is that our life becomes complicated and inefficient since we are putting others’ consent, approval or admiration in the equation every time. People who are completely free from what other people think of their life choices, have a much simpler and straightforward line to follow – their heart. Once you ditch the subconscious fear of being disapproved by others around you, you clear up the space to fill in with your own dreams and aspirations rather those of others.

Money Can Wait — Your Dreams Shouldn’t:

How many times have I heard people (and myself in the past) declare: “Once I will settle myself financially, I will be on my way to follow my dreams and aspirations.” The general sense to it is that “right now I am not living my dream — I have put it on the side while I try to make a living doing things I am not passionate about”.

There is a certain rationale that we believe is sane to follow but the truth is that it is partially insane at best. We limit ourselves thinking that we need to get a financial boost to jumpstart our life project. While it is agreed that some form of financial input or funding is needed to create certain projects, it doesn’t mean that you need to shelve it while you are acquiring your funds. What often happens is that you get derailed into other things while you are not actually doing your real stuff and your dream becomes only that — a ‘dream’. Other times, the financial aspect becomes an excuse to procrastinate or else we do not realise that the situation is not as bad as we fear and that for instance quitting your full-time job to get on your project is not half as financially strenuous as you may believe.

The Space Odyssey — Decluttering:

Read any literature about simple living and it is invariably tied to the idea of decluttering. It does a lot of sense of course because living a simpler life means above anything else being free from clutter that makes your life less simple to manage. My idea of decluttering spaces is a bit broader than that. While clearing physical spaces (and maintaining them clutter free) is an absolute necessity for making your practical living hassle free, I also like to emphasise that keeping our inner spaces clutter free is as much, if not more, important.

What do I mean by inner spaces? It is that space through which we listen to our innermost feelings, intuitions and reflections. It is of course not a space in the physical sense although it behaves like one because it can be blocked by clutter — mental chatter, too much information from the media, worries, beliefs, fears, etc. Likewise when it is free from such clutter, it opens up to allow more authentic things to flow into — joy, creativity, solutions, intuitions, etc. Once again, we are limited as too how much of that space we can free up (if at all) by our social demands and expectations.

We are made to follow certain social models and templates — like for instance being the self-motivated manager who is always on the ball and has little or no time for his inner life or introspection. Inner life is seen as belonging to those who are on the ‘wayside’ or have retreated from life rather than those who are on its mainstream. Wrong assumption, of course.

Dedicating no time to declutter your inner spaces through for instance, quiet time alone, meditation, play, art, relaxing, traveling, etc., is what will knock you off from life’s ‘mainstream’. Instead of giving time to listen to your inner authentic aspirations, you would have lived the life of an automaton filling in a role laid down by society.

 

This article was originally published on The Mind Unleashed in 2015.

 

 

~via SoulHiker.com

JESSIE KLASSEN: “12 Simple Steps For Guiding Our Children Into Their Highest Expressions”

Highest Expressions.jpg

A follow up to my article, “5 Important Lessons for Raising Children in these New Energies

As parents during this intense and exciting time on Earth, we accepted and/or chose an extremely important job. We are guiding the next caretakers of the Earth and evolution of humanity.

Our children are growing up in a world where they are faced with challenges unlike those we have ever seen. The world is literally at their fingertips, and although this has great opportunity when applied correctly, it also brings constant distraction and stimulation, therefore pulling them away from connecting with Nature and looking inward and knowing who they are.

Not only this, but with climate change, a contaminated food chain, toxic water, questionable vaccines and out dated school programs, it has never been more important for us as parents to be “awake.”

Because the truth is, we can thrive here if we are living our lives by heart-centered decisions that are led by our intuition, and not by the lies and propaganda that we have been told.

And yes, it may seem impossible to not get caught in the traps, but when we teach our children awareness, and allow their “awakened selves” to shine through, they will be aware of the traps and will be able to see them for what they are. When we are aware, we are impossible to trap.

And essentially, we will be creating the peaceful, joyous Earth that we all came here to create.

A misconception that I have noticed around our children commonly known as the Indigos, starseeds, etc., is that they are automatically “tuned in” and kind or that they would never do or say something rude or questionable.

But what I have experienced with my oldest son, Shep, is that, yes, he is incredibly sensitive, and he is “tuned in”, but he is also clearing SO much old karma and rebalancing back to his Highest Expression of himself in this lifetime, that he has been susceptible to all kinds of interference and questionable behavior.

Shep is, in his Divine Nature, a sweetie. He loves to hug and snuggle, but he also would experience intense and erratic mood swings. You never knew what kind of day you were going to have with him. His highs were high – loving, jokey, and creative. And his lows were low – brooding, angry, sulky, withdrawn. Never mean but constantly unpredictable.

As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your child in this unhappy little body and know that they are in there, but how do you get to them?

It was also heartbreaking and disappointing when we would hear of something completely out of character that he had done, because you just knew that that wasn’t really him.

And afterwards, he always felt awful, but he could barely remember doing it. It was as if he had no control over himself. He struggled to communicate or give any explanation, as there really wasn’t one that he knew of.

Because he really didn’t know, because it wasn’t really the “true” Shep. His energy body was so influenced by energetic cords from past lives and outer stimulations (and we live on a secluded farm), that the real Shep was unable to shine through and be in control all of the time.

So how do we guide our children into the Highest expressions of themselves?

Energetic Cord Clearing

This simple practice has worked wonders for my older kids as they seem to have come into this life with a lot of old baggage to clear out. My article “An Empowering Cord Cutting Exercise for Children” gives an easy technique for doing so, or you can visit an energy worker/healer who can help.

I have found with my kids that explaining how energy works has been extremely empowering for them because understanding how energy works is understanding how EVERYTHING works.

That essentially, everything you “put out there” will come back to you, and that everything you do to others you are doing to yourself.

That energy always attracts energy of the same frequency of vibration, and when we have a “high” vibration, we attract other people and experiences with a high vibration as well. These include love and joy, kindness, compassion, and vitality.

I often ask my kids, “what are you feeding?” Which energy pathway are you focusing on and giving energy to? What we focus on, we strengthen.

Simply knowing how energy works awakens our children to the truth that we are powerful beings, and that they always have control over their own energy.

And when things don’t always go their way?

“It’s all for you.”

These four little words relieve a whole lot of pressure. Because no matter what, the experience was meant to teach you something and help you grow into who you are meant to become. I often ask my kids after something happened, such as, “what did you learn?”

The importance of looking for the lesson is life-altering. We begin to trust Life, because we know that it is always looking out for our best interest. And when we acknowledge and look for the lesson, Life will not have to repeat it.

“You are already good”

Not long ago, when we were going through a major shift and purging, Shep’s behavior was hitting an all time unpredictability.

Whoever he happened to be around at the time, he become. He always joined in and seemed to have no self control.

After a certain incident at school, he came home crying, “help me be good! I want to be good! I don’t know how!”

I hugged him, and the only words that I could think to tell him were, “You are already good. You have always been good. You just have to believe it. I will help you, but I can’t do it for you. You have to believe it yourself.”

Shep made a decision that day to be true to himself, and his willpower shifted his entire energy field. Although we had been clearing constantly, he had to reach a level of maturity and awareness where he could let it go and stand strong in himself.

He changed who he was hanging around with at school as he could recognize their influence. I told him, “You can still play with them as long as they are behaving in a way that is true to you. And when they are not, walk away. You do not have to join in.”

I have to say, Shep’s older sister, Summer, has been a wonderful teacher of this lesson. At ten years old, she has an ability of always being aligned with who she is. She can simply observe from a neutral standpoint and never get carried away and join in.

Affirmations

We did a lot of them. We fine tuned them to project what Shep was wanting most of all; to trust himself, and for his family to be able to trust him as well.

Shep wrote them out and we placed them where he could see them everyday as a reminder to help solidify new beliefs into his being.

They were, “I am good. I am strong. I love myself. I can trust myself to always do what is true for me. My family can trust me too.”

I did constant reminders to him when he would step out the door for school, “be strong in who you are”, or “you will remember who you are”.

Eating clean, high vibration food

What we take into our bodies has to match the vibration that we are encouraging. Therefore, as little processed food as possible, lots of organic fruits and veggies, if possible, and lots of water. My kids have always been exceptionally thirsty during these shifts, as we are moving a lot of energy and as we are mostly made of water, keeping hydrated is essential. Shep still occasionally craves meat, but I always tell my kids, “listen to your bodies”, so we ensure that the meat that is eaten has been ethically raised, which for Shep, happens to be right here on our farm.

Connect with the Earth

Plant a garden or a planter box with your child. Develop a relationship with Nature. Mother Earth is here for us as we are here for her. We form a connection and an interaction by showing respect and kindness to all beings. Set an example by stepping around the bugs, hugging the trees, and giving thanks to Mother Earth for the food that you eat or the home that you live in.

I like to ask, “What does Nature have to teach me today?”

You will soon find Nature responding to you and “seeking you out.” Because as we change the way we look at things, the things we look at will change.

One of the greatest gifts that we can teach our children is that magic is real and is around us at all times. Encourage your child to help Nature with something as simple as setting up a colorful bowl of water with stones for the bees and butterflies to land on while they drink.

My children and I do regular garbage pick ups when we are out and about. I always tell them, “Don’t expect somebody else to do it. If everybody picked up garbage every time they seen it, what a different world this would be. Be kind to Mother Earth. She feels everything you do and she’ll thank you in many ways.” This simple lesson will instill responsibility for the world around them and hopefully a proactive approach to Life as they grow up.

So many have the attitude, “it’s not my garbage, why should I pick it up?”

Well it’s not Mother Earth’s either, so pick it up! Your fellow species dumped it there, so take responsibility for it.

Make self-love a daily routine.

Our children need to feel love for themselves if they are to heal and shine in their Highest Expression. Every night at bed, and every morning when they wake up, I have my kids look into a mirror and say “I love you.” Have them look straight into their own eyes. Encourage them to go farther and give themselves compliments such as , “I love how unique you are”, or “You are so kind to others, you really are making this world a better place” or “You are important and are bringing light to this world.”

Lets face it, the days will go by regardless, so we may as well love ourselves and make the choice to be happy with who we are.

Gratitude

By far, one of the fastest emotions to shift energy to a higher vibration. In the morning, they can thank their bed for a good night sleep or they can thank a pet for their love and comfort. There are literally opportunities for gratitude everywhere we look. And when we are appreciative for what we have, we open our energy pathways to more things to be grateful for. These are the basics that will spark an awakening and cultivate fulfillment and contentment.

“Own your Weirdness”

Afraid of getting picked on, Shep was hiding his interests and his unique qualities that make him special. I told him, “the things that make you weird are your gifts to the world. These are the things that you need to be most proud of.”

We come into this world with gifts, and we are meant to share them. But this can be hard when we are living in a world of conformity and judgement where just being yourself takes great courage.

This hits a personal cord with me, as I have just been recently learning and owning this lesson myself. I can now speak from experience that everything that I was hiding because I was scared of not being accepted, were actually my most special, helpful gifts to the world

Encourage your child daily, and let them know that all amazing things in this world were, at one time, weird.

Forgiveness

Is Shep still getting teased? Of course, as he goes to a public school. Shep is learning that people will always have something to say to those who stand out. But he now knows that he has the choice to let it bother him. He also knows that it is the most insecure children that tease and bully others, so he actually feels compassion in knowing that these children need love the most and are not feeling it. And it’s not that all of these kids come from “troubled” homes either. It’s just that they simply do not understand the basics of energy, because if they knew better, they would do better. When we are truly loving and kind with ourselves, we cannot hurt others, as it simply will not match our vibration. If they understood what they are feeding and bringing back upon themselves, as energy always attracts energy of the same vibration, they would behave quite differently.

I also have Shep do cord cutting with anyone who upsets him, as well as a forgiveness exercise.

I have him imagine that person standing in front of him. Then I have him tell that person everything that he would like to say to them. Let the person really have it, get it out. Then he forgives them and thanks them for the lesson. Then we ask a Spirit guide to cut any energetic cords that may be left. This way there is no “charge” left between them, and Shep feels strong.

Shep looked at me like I was crazy the first time that I told him to thank a particular someone who had been rude to him. But then we discussed how he had now learned what it feels like to be judged, and that he would be more compassionate to others because he knows how it feels.

Bullies are teachers. “Bad” experiences are teachers. Have your child ask, “What am I supposed to learn from this?”

It is important to point out that we do not have to agree with what someone did to forgive them. We are actually helping ourselves and taking back our power when we forgive.

Our children need to remember their power and their strength. And again, when things don’t go the way we thought they should, we have a choice to learn something from it and move on.

If your child is unhappy with their own previous behavior, have them do the forgiveness exercise with themselves. They can also place anyone in front of themselves that they would like to apologize to. This will clear and shift energy and allow your child to move forward stronger in their own being.

Binaural Beats

With the advice from a wise, psychic friend of mine, I also had Shep listening to Binaural beats, which help to develop pathways in the brain and balance energy. There are lots to choose from on YouTube, and I let Shep listen to them and choose which ones he liked. For about a month straight, he fell asleep to them and he would listen to them as soon as he got home from school. His “beats” he called them, helped him feel calm and “happy”. They were also a catalyst for clearing, and Shep did reach an all time high of dreams during this time. A lot of his dreams were past life memories coming up to clear, and they were not always pleasant. But after going through it, he is much lighter now. Comfort your child through these times, listen to them, and don’t tell them it is just their imagination, but let them know that they don’t have to be afraid and that it can’t hurt them.

I have always been very honest with my kids about what is going on, and to them, it’s not really a surprise. Actually, it makes perfect sense. They know that they don’t have to attach to what is clearing, they can just watch it go. It isn’t always pretty, but it is leaving them.

It was during this time that Shep was also having lots of pain in his third eye and crown chakra areas. With the advice from my same friend, a dab of Vetiver essential oil was really helpful when placed on these areas. But other grounding, earthy essential oils would help as well, and there are many to choose from, so go with what feels best for you. Some include frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood, lavender, to name a few.

A different friend was having the same issues with her children, and she found that a glass of water with a teaspoon of Himalayan salt and a splash of lemon juice was helpful for easing the pain as well. (this is also a great detox recipe)

Limit the Gadgets

While it is necessary for our children to know technology and be able to use it, it does have to be limited. I can just “feel” their energy become imbalanced when they have been in front of a screen for too long.

Remind your children that the world around them is real. Nature, people, animals, their family. Make them aware that they are being sucked into something that isn’t real. Encourage them to engage with the world around them. Play a game. Go for a walk. Notice what you see/hear/smell around you. Engage their senses. Invite them into the kitchen and cook a healthy meal together. Discuss the ingredients that you are using.

Limit your social media time when you are around them. Be comfortable in just sitting in stillness while you are waiting. We do not always need to check our phones.

Encourage conversation with strangers instead while you are in a waiting room or at a check out line.

This is your life. Be engaged. Accept it. Show up for it.

I have one last story that I would like to share that will display the growth and progress that Shep has undergone, as well as the effectiveness of these exercises.

Last year, Shep took to wearing fake glasses, not because he needed them to see, but because he liked the way he felt in them. They were a heavy, black framed “Clark Kent” style of glasses that he would wear when reading, drawing, and writing stories. They seemed to allow him to feel his creativity, and essentially, his “true” self.

We let him wear them, but I did warn him, “if you truly want glasses and keep saying that you do, you will end up needing to wear them.”

One year later, we are at the eye doctor because Shep has difficulty reading and comes home from school with sore eyes and a headache.

Yep. Shep needs glasses, for real, not pretend anymore.

As he was quite happily searching the wall of frames, a pair gabbed his attention. They of course have thick frames and a “Clark Kentness” quality.

He excitedly tried them on and exclaimed, “I want these ones!”

The “helpful” lady working there smiled at me, and said “oh, but there are so many to choose from, why don’t you try these ones on?” as she handed a very modern, thin framed pair to Shep.

Shep looked at the glasses in her hand with disappointment, but politely he accepted them and tried them on.

“Well those look nice on you”, the lady encouraged.

I could see Shep’s deflation from the excited little boy he was a moment earlier.

Looking in Shep’s eyes I said, “Shep, you are the one who is going to be wearing these glasses, so it only matters that you are happy with them. Tell me, what does your heart tell you?”

Shep’s eyes lit up and a smile flashed across his face. He swiped the modern frames off his face and replaced them with the Clark Kent’s.

“These ones!”

Relieved to see his spark returned, I said, “Great. Then those are the ones. Don’t even bother looking at the rest, they’ll only confuse you.”

Shocked, but not rude, the helpful lady measured up the Clark Kent frames and assured Shep that they would work just fine.

The lesson for me?

To trust my child in making his own decisions.

Glasses are personal and for Shep, a creative way of expressing himself.

How could I interfere with that?

We are here to guide and protect, not control our children.

We went to the grocery store afterwards, and Shep noticed an elderly lady in the line up behind us at the check out purchasing a couple big bags of cat food.

He whispered to me, “Mom, I’m going to help her lift those into her car.”

“That’s a wonderful idea, Shep. Go for it.”

So Shep and Summer offered their help and the lady, also shocked, but pleasantly surprised, gladly accepted.

When Shep returned, he was beaming, “That felt so good! I love helping people!”

I was beaming as well, but not out of pride or ego, but out of joy for Shep. For he was feeling who he truly is, the Shep that I would always catch glimpses of before he disappeared.

This is who we all are, and this is how we will create a peaceful world.

Shep told me not long ago, “Mom, I finally feel like people can see me. Before this, I always felt like I was “behind the scenes”, and who everyone could see wasn’t really me.”

You can imagine my relief and happiness as a mother to hear him say that.

Although Shep has had his “dark” times, he has emerged true to who he is. He had to learn that happiness comes from within, and that it is not something external that happens to us. It is a choice that we make every moment of every day. He had to learn to trust Life so that he can trust himself. He is learning that our greatest challenges are our greatest teachers.

We all emerge and grow more into ourselves everyday.

Everyday I ask, “Help me guide my children to their Highest Expressions of themselves.”

I have written many affirmations as well, stating that my children are strong in their own beings and are aligning with the vibration of their soul purpose.

I realize that there will always be new challenges, but I have witnessed enough growth to know that there are always tools and answers available to us, if we are open to them.

I have realized, as a parent, that my children are my greatest teachers and have helped me emerge into my Highest Expression of myself.

(oh, and I have also mentioned to Shep that once he has grown tired of wearing glasses, he can decide that he doesn’t want to wear them anymore)

I sincerely hope that you have found this helpful and I wish you joy on the journey.

I would love to hear from you! I can be contacted via my website www.jessieklassen.com where you can sign up to receive my weekly email with helpful advice, lessons from Nature, blog posts and latest articles. My email is hello@jessieklassen.com.

love and blessings,
Jessie

 

 

About the author: Enjoy fun activities and energy exercises to encourage growth, self-confidence, and awareness in you and your child while developing a close relationship with Nature in Jessie’s children’s book, “The Sapling.” An inspiring story from the Trees for the children of Earth, “The Sapling” has vivid, full color Nature illustrations that will appeal to younger children and powerful Life lessons that will grow with your child, just like a Tree! “The Sapling” is the first book in Jessie’s Nature Child children’s book series, committed to helping children grow into who they truly are meant to be. It will be available on Amazon in the summer of 2017.  ~via In5D.com

SAMUEL GENTOKU MCCREE: “20 Ways Sitting In Silence Can Completely Transform Your Life”

20 Ways Sitting In Silence Can Transform Your Life

“Silence is a source of great strength.”  ~Lao Tzu

 

For over two years I spent one out of every four weeks in silence.  At the time I was living at a Zen Monastery and every month we would have a week-long silent retreat.

During this retreat we sat meditation in silence, ate in silence, worked in silence, and only communicated through hand gestures and written notes.

At first living like this was hard, but over time I learned to grow to appreciate silence.  By the time I left I learned that silence was my friend and teacher.

What did silence teach me?

1. Satisfaction

I used to think I needed to watch TV every night.  But at monastery I went without and discovered I didn’t need it.

Silence taught me to be happy with less. 

Pick something that’s weighing you down and let it go.  Your life will thank you.

2. Expression

When you can only talk by writing a note, you only say what’s important.  Before the monastery I talked a lot but said little.

Silence taught me that a few simple words well spoken have more power than hours of chatter. 

Think of one simple thing you can say that would help someone feel better and say it.

3. Appreciation

Being able to speak makes life easy, but when I couldn’t talk I learned how much I relied on others.

Silence taught me to appreciate the value of relating to others.  

The next time you see your friends or family, try to really listen.  Deep listening expresses deep appreciation.

4. Attention

Several times at my first retreat I thought my phone was vibrating.  But then I would remember I didn’t have my phone.  It showed me how my phone divided my attention.

Silence taught me how important it is to let go of distractions. 

The next time you are with someone you care about, try turning off your phone and putting it away.  It will make paying attention easier.

5. Thoughts

I once sat a retreat next door to a construction project.  What amazed me was how easily my thoughts drowned out the noise.  I realized if my thoughts were this loud, I’d better make them as wise as possible.

Silence taught me the importance of shaping my thinking.

Take time each day to notice your thoughts and let go of thoughts that don’t serve you.

6. Nature

Because I sat retreat in every season, I know that the sound of wind in fall is different than it is in winter.

Silence taught me to notice nature.

Take a short walk outside in silence and you’ll discover the wisdom and peace that nature has to offer.

7. Body

During retreat I noticed that whenever I got lost in thought, I lost track of my body.  And when I focused on my body, my thoughts would calm down.

Silence taught me to be in my body. 

Close your eyes and ask, “What sensations do I feel in my hand?”  Learning to feel your body can calm your troubled mind.

8. Overstimulation

Whenever I went into town after retreat, the world seemed so loud and fast.  I came to realize how much our senses have to process most of the time.

Silence taught me the importance of reducing the stimulation. 

Enjoy some quiet time everyday.  The less you see and hear, the more settled your mind can become.

9. Sound

People would come to the monastery and remark how quiet it was.  But living at the monastery I knew all the noises, from frogs, to owls, to the sound of sandals on the sidewalk.

Silence taught me that the world is a rich texture of sounds. 

Sit in front of your house and close your eyes.  You’ll be amazed at what you hear if you listen long enough.

10. Humanity

During retreat I was surrounded by imperfect people who were doing their best.  Some were happy, some were sad, but all were wonderfully human.

Silence taught me that people display great beauty. 

Find a good spot to people watch with an open heart.  What you see may inspire you.

11. Space

For a long time anytime something difficult came up, I would just distract myself.  But retreat taught me that if I avoided something it would never go away.

Silence taught me that space helps me face hard times. 

The next time you face something difficult, pause and honor whatever is arising.

12. Love

I used to think love was this big thing.  But in retreat I found that I felt love for so many things.

Silence taught me that love can be simple. 

Think of someone you haven’t said I love you to recently and tell them.

13. Courage

I used to think courage was about facing danger, but during retreat I realized that real courage is about facing yourself.

Silence taught me the courage it takes to be still. 

When we stop moving everything we’re running from catches up.  The next time you are afraid, stop and wait for it to pass.  There is immense courage inside your heart.

14. Perseverance

Every retreat reminded me that speaking is easy, but staying quiet is hard.

Silence isn’t flashy, but it has an immense power to endure. 

The next time someone doubts you, instead of disagreeing, silently vow not to give up.  Action speaks volumes.

15. Faith

I often ask for reassurance or feedback.  But living is silence meant I had to trust my instincts.

Silence taught me to have faith in myself. 

The next time you begin to feel anxious, sit in silence and see if you can find the space of deep faith that lives in your heart.

16. Honesty

I used to lie so I wouldn’t have to explain myself.  But when I couldn’t talk I began to notice this impulse and how much it degraded my integrity.

Silence taught me the importance of telling the truth. 

Notice times where you tell little lies and try telling the truth instead.  It isn’t always easy but it’s the first step to trusting ourselves and others. 

17. Gratitude

During retreat I didn’t have a lot of comforts.  It helped me see how much I took for granted and how much I had to be grateful for.

At the end of every day sit in silence and ask yourself what am I grateful for. 

You’ll be amazed at the blessings you discover.

18. Simplicity

I used to love drama and conflict. But at retreat I found I was happier when I kept it simple.

Silence taught me that simplicity and joy are close companions. 

Pick one space in your home you could simplify.  Keep it simple for one month and enjoy the ease it offers your life.

19. Connection

I used to think I had to talk in order to feel connected.  I realized during retreat that I can feel connected just by being near people I care about.

Silence taught me that words can get in the way. 

Do something in silence with someone you love.  It will be awkward at first but eventually you will see what it means just to be in someone presence.

20. Truth

I studied philosophy in college and I thought I could read about truth.  But retreat taught me that truth is found in silence.

Silence has taught me a deeper truth than words ever could. 

Sit in silence once a week and feel the truth in your heart.  It’s there whether you can express it in words or not.

 

 

About the author: Samuel “Gentoku” McCree is a Mindful Fitness thought leader, personal trainer, and mindful living coach from Portland, OR. He trained for two years at a Zen monastery, is an endurance athlete, and founder of MindFitMove. You can find his blog and a free Ebook on Your Sexy Brain at mindfitmove.com.  ~via BodyMindSoulSpirit.com

 

JASON LOUV: “10 Ways to Protect Yourself From NLP Mind Control”

Be aware of programming tactics used by minions of the New World Order… and the New Age…

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NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming is one of the world’s most prevalent methods of mind control, used by everyone from sales callers to politicians to media pundits, and it’s nasty to the core.  Here’s ten ways to make sure nobody uses it on you… ever.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a method for controlling people’s minds that was invented by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s, became popular in the psychoanalytic, occult and New Age worlds in the 1980s, and advertising, marketing and politics in the 1990s and 2000s.  It’s become so interwoven with how people are communicated to and marketed at that its use is largely invisible.  It’s also somewhat of a pernicious, devilish force in the world — nearly everybody in the business of influencing people has studied at least some of its techniques.  Masters of it are notorious for having a Rasputin-like ability to trick people in incredible ways — most of all themselves.

After explaining a bit about what NLP is and where it came from, I’m going to break down 10 ways to inoculate yourself against its use.  You’ll likely be spotting it left, right and center in the media with a few tips on what to look for.  Full disclosure: During my 20s, I spent years studying New Age, magical and religious systems for changing consciousness.  One of them was NLP.  I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum: I’ve had people ruthlessly use NLP to attempt to control me, and I’ve also trained in it and even used it in the advertising world.  Despite early fascination, by 2008 or so I had largely come to the conclusion that it’s next to useless — a way of manipulating language that greatly overestimates its own effectiveness as a discipline, really doesn’t achieve much in the way of any kind of lasting change, and contains no real core of respect for people or even true understanding of how people work.

After throwing it to the wayside, however, I became convinced that understanding NLP is crucial simply so that people can resist its use.  It’s kind of like PUA thing that was popular in the mid-’00s — a group of a few techniques that worked for a few unscrupulous people until the public figured out what was going on and rejected it, like the body identifying and rejecting foreign material.

What is NLP, and where did it come from?

“Neuro-linguistic programming” is a marketing term for a “science” that two Californians — Richard Bandler and John Grinder — came up with in the 1970s.  Bandler was a stoner student at UC Santa Cruz  (just like I later was in the ’00s),  then a mecca for psychedelics, hippies and radical thinking  (now a mecca for Silicon Valley hopefuls).  Grinder was at the time an associate professor in linguistics at the university (he had previously served as a Captain in the US Special Forces and in the intelligence community, ahem not that this, you know, is important… aheh…).  Together, they worked at modeling the techniques of Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt therapy),  family therapist Virginia Satir and, most importantly, the preternaturally gifted hypnotherapist Milton Erikson.  Bandler and Grinder sought to reject much of what they saw as the ineffectiveness of talk therapy and cut straight to the heart of what techniques actually worked to produce behavioral change.  Inspired by the computer revolution — Bandler was a computer science major — they also sought to develop a psychological programming language for human beings.

What they came up with was a kind of evolution of hypnotherapy — while classical hypnosis depends on techniques for putting patients into suggestive trances (even to the point of losing consciousness on command), NLP is much less heavy-handed: it’s a technique of layering subtle meaning into spoken or written language so that you can implant suggestions into a person’s unconscious mind without them knowing what you’re doing.

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Though mainstream therapists rejected NLP as pseudoscientific nonsense (it has been officially peer-reviewed and discredited as an intervention technique — lots more on that here),  it nonetheless caught on.  It was still the 1970s, and the Human Potential Movement was in full swing — and NLP was the new darling.  Immediately building a publishing, speaking and training empire, by 1980 Bandler had made over $800,000 from his creation — he was even being called on to train corporate leaders, the army and the CIA.  Self-help gurus like Tony Robbins used NLP techniques to become millionaires in the 1980s (Robbins now has an estimated net worth of $480 million).  By the middle of the decade, NLP was such big business that lawsuits and wars had erupted over who had the rights to teach it, or even to use the term “NLP.”

But by that time, Bandler had bigger problems than copyright disputes: he was on trial for the alleged murder of prostitute Corine Christensen in November 1986. The prosecution claimed that Bandler had shot Christensen, 34, point-blank in the face with a .357 Magnum in a drug deal gone bad.  According to the press at the time, Bandler had discovered an even better way to get people to like him than NLP — cocaine — and become embroiled in a far darker game, even, than mind control.  A much-recommended investigation into the case published by Mother Jones in 1989 opens with these chilling lines:

 

In the morning Corine Christensen last snorted cocaine, she found herself, straw in hand, looking down the barrel of a .357 Magnum revolver.  When the gun exploded, momentarily piercing the autumn stillness, it sent a single bullet on a diagonal path through her left nostril and into her brain.

Christensen slumped over her round oak dining table, bleeding onto its glass top, a loose-leaf notebook, and a slip of yellow memo paper on which she had scrawled, in red ink, DON’T KILL US ALL.  Choking, she spit blood onto a wine goblet, a tequila bottle, and the shirt of the man who would be accused of her murder, then slid sideways off the chair and fell on her back. Within minutes she lay still.

As Christensen lay dying, two men left her rented town house in a working-class section of Santa Cruz, California.  One was her former boyfriend, James Marino, an admitted cocaine dealer and convicted burglar.  The other, Richard Bandler, was known internationally as the co-founder of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a controversial approach to psychology and communication.  About 12 hours later, on the evening of November 3, 1986, Richard Bandler was arrested and charged with the murder.

Bandler’s defense was, simply, that Marino had killed Christensen, not him.  Many at the time alleged he used NLP techniques on the stand to escape conviction.  Yet Bandler was also alleged to actually use a gun in NLP sessions in order to produce dramatic psychological changes in clients — a technique that was later mirrored by Hollywood in the movie Fight Club, in which Brad Pitt’s character pulls a gun on a gas station attendant and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t pursue his dreams in life.  That was, many said, Bandler’s MO.

Whatever the truth of the matter, Bandler was indeed let off, and the story was quickly buried — I’ve never spoken to a student of NLP who’s ever heard of the murder case, I’ll note, and I’ve spoken to a lot.  The case hardly impeded the growing popularity of NLP, however, which was now big business, working its way not only into the toolkit of psychotherapists but also into nearly every corner of the political and advertising worlds, having grown far beyond the single personage of Richard Bandler, though he continued (and continues) to command outrageous prices for NLP trainings throughout the world.

Today, the techniques of NLP and Ericksonian-style hypnotic writing can be readily seen in the world of Internet marketing, online get-rich-quick schemes and scams (for more on this, see the excellent article  Scamworld: ‘Get rich quick’ schemes mutate into an online monster by my friend Joseph Flatley, one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the Web).  Their most prominent public usage has likely been by Barack Obama, whose 2008 “Change” campaign was a masterpiece of Ericksonian permissive hypnosis.  The celebrity hypnotist and illusionist Derren Brown also demonstrates NLP techniques in his routine.

How exactly does this thing work?

NLP is taught in a pyramid structure, with the more advanced techniques reserved for multi-thousand-dollar seminars.  To oversimplify an overcomplicated subject, it more or less works like this: first, the user  (or “NLPer,” as NLP people often refer to themselves — and I should note here that the large majority of NLP people, especially those who are primarily therapists, are likely well-meaning)  of NLP pays very, very close attention to the person they’re working with.  By watching subtle cues like eye movement, skin flush, pupil dilation and nervous tics, a skilled NLP person can quickly determine:

a)   What side of the brain a person is predominantly using;

b)   What sense (sight, smell, etc.) is most predominant in their brain;

c)   How their brain stores and utilizes information (ALL of this can be gleaned from eye movements);

d)   When they’re lying or making information up

After this initial round of information gathering, the “NLPer” begins to slowly and subtly mimic the client, taking on not only their body language but also their speech mannerisms, and will begin speaking with language patterns designed to target the client’s primary sense.

 

An NLP person essentially carefully fakes the social cues that cause a person to drop their guard and enter a state of openness and suggestibility.

For instance, a person predominantly focused on sight will be spoken to in language using visual metaphors — “Do you see what I’m saying?”“Look at it this way” — while a person for which hearing is the dominant sense will be spoken to in auditory language — “Hear me out,” — “I’m listening to you closely.”

By mirroring body language and linguistic patterns, the NLPer is attempting to achieve one very specific response: rapport.  Rapport is the mental and physiological state that a human enters when they let their social guard down, and it is generally achieved when a person comes to the conclusion that the person they’re talking to is just like them.  See how that works, broadly?  An NLP person essentially carefully fakes the social cues that cause a person to drop their guard and enter a state of openness and suggestibility.

Once rapport is achieved, the NLPer will then begin subtly leading the interaction.  Having mirrored the other person, they can now make subtle changes to actually influence the other person’s behavior.  Combined with subtle language patterns, leading questions and a whole slew of other techniques, a skilled NLPer can at this point steer the other person wherever they like, as long as the other person isn’t aware of what’s happening and thinks everything is arising organically, or has given consent.  That means it’s actually fairly hard to use NLP to get people to act out-of-character, but it can be used for engineering responses within a person’s normal range of behavior — like donating to a cause, making a decision they were putting off, or going home with you for the night if they might have considered it anyway.

From this point, the NLPer will seek to do two things — elicit and anchor.  Eliciting happens when an NLPer uses leading and language to engineer an emotional state — for instance, hunger.  Once a state has been elicited, the NLPer can then anchor it with a physical cue — for instance, touching your shoulder.  In theory, if done right, the NLPer can then call up the hungry state any time they touch your shoulder in the same way.  It’s conditioning, plain and simple.

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How can I make sure nobody pulls this horseshit on me?

I’ve had all kinds of people attempt to “NLP” me into submission, including multiple people I’ve worked for over extended periods of time, and even people I’ve been in relationships with.  Consequently, I’ve developed a pretty keen immune response to it.  I’ve also studied its mechanics very closely, largely to resist the nonsense of said people.  Here’s a few key methods I’ve picked up.

1.  Be extremely wary of people copying your body language.

If you’re talking to somebody who may be into NLP, and you notice that they’re sitting in exactly the same way as you, or mirroring the way you have your hands, test them by making a few movements and seeing if they do the same thing.  Skilled NLPers will be better at masking this than newer ones, but newer ones will always immediately copy the same movement.  This is a good time to call people on their shit.

2.  Move your eyes in random and unpredictable patterns.

This is freaking hilarious to do to troll NLPers.  Especially in the initial stages of rapport induction, an NLP user will be paying incredibly close attention to your eyes.  You may think it’s because they’re intensely interested in what you’re saying.  They are, but not because they actually care about your thoughts: They’re watching your eye movements to see how you store and access information.  In a few minutes, they’ll not only be able to tell when you’re lying or making something up, they’ll also be able to figure out what parts of your brain you’re using when you’re speaking, which can then lead them to be so clued in to what you’re thinking that they almost come across as having some kind of psychic insight into your innermost thoughts.  A clever hack for this is just to randomly dart your eyes around — look up to the right, to the left, side to side, down… make it seem natural, but do it randomly and with no pattern.  This will drive an NLP person utterly nuts because you’ll be throwing off their calibration.

3.  Do not let anybody touch you.

This is pretty obvious and kind of goes without saying in general. But let’s say you’re having a conversation with somebody you know is into NLP, and you find yourself in a heightened emotional state — maybe you start laughing really hard, or get really angry, or something similar — and the person you’re talking to touches you while you’re in that state.  They might, for instance, tap you on the shoulder.  What just happened?  They anchored you so that later, if they want to put you back into the state you were just in, they can  (or so the wayward logic of NLP dictates)  touch you in the same place. Just be like, Oh hell no — you did not.

4.  Be wary of vague language.

One of the primary techniques that NLP took from Milton Erikson is the use of vague language to induce hypnotic trance.  Erickson found that the more vague language is, the more it leads people into trance, because there is less that a person is liable to disagree with or react to.  Alternately, more specific language will take a person out of trance.  (Note Obama’s use of this specific technique in the “Change” campaign, a word so vague that anybody could read anything into it.)

5.  Be wary of permissive language.

“Feel free to relax.”“You’re welcome to test drive this car if you like.”“You can enjoy this as much as you like.”  Watch the f*k out for this.  This was a major insight of pre-NLP hypnotists like Erickson: the best way to get somebody to do something, including going into a trance, is by allowing them to give you permission to do so.  Because of this, skilled hypnotists will NEVER command you outright to do something — i.e. “Go into a trance.” They WILL say things like  “Feel free to become as relaxed as you like.”

6.  Be wary of gibberish.

Nonsense phrases like  “As you release this feeling more and more you will find yourself moving into present alignment with the sound of your success more and more.”  This kind of gibberish is the bread and butter of the pacing-and-leading phase of NLP; the hypnotist isn’t actually saying anything, they’re just trying to program your internal emotional states and move you towards where they want you to go.  ALWAYS say  “Can you be more specific about that” or  “Can you explain exactly what you mean?”  This does two things: it interrupts this whole technique, and it also forces the conversation into specific language, breaking the trance-inducing use of vague language we discussed in #4.

7.  Read between the lines.

NLP people will consistently use language with hidden or layered meanings.  For instance  “Diet, nutrition and sleep with me are the most important things, don’t you think?”  On the surface, if you heard this sentence quickly, it would seem like an obvious statement that you would probably agree with without much thought.  Yes, of course diet, nutrition and sleep are important things, sure, and this person’s really into being healthy, that’s great.  But what’s the layered-in message?  “Diet, nutrition and sleep with me are the most important things, don’t you think?”  Yep, and you just unconsciously agreed to it.  Skilled NLPers can be incredibly subtle with this.

8.  Watch your attention.

Be very careful about zoning out around NLP people — it’s an invitation to leap in with an unconscious cue.  Here’s an example: An NLP user who was attempting to get me to write for his blog for free noticed I appeared not to be paying attention and was looking into the distance, and then started using the technique listed in #7 by talking about how he never has to pay for anything because media outlets send him review copies of books and albums for free.  “Everything for free,” he began hissing at me. “I get everything.  For.  Free.”  Obvious, no?

9.  Don’t agree to anything.

If you find yourself being led to make a quick decision on something, and feel you’re being steered, leave the situation.  Wait 24 hours before making any decisions, especially financial ones.  Do NOT let yourself get swept up into making an emotional decision in the spur of the moment.  Sales people are armed with NLP techniques specifically for engineering impulse buys.  Don’t do it.  Leave, and use your rational mind.

10.  Trust your intuition.

And the foremost and primary rule: If your gut tells you somebody is fucking with you, or you feel uneasy around them, trust it.  NLP people almost always seem “off” — dodgy, or like used car salesmen.  Flee, or request they show you the respect of not applying NLP techniques when interacting with you.

Hopefully this short guide will be of assistance to you in resisting this annoying and pernicious modern form of black magic.  Take it with you on your phone or a printout next time you’re at a used car sales lot, getting signed up for a gym membership, or watching a politician speak on TV.  You’ll easily find yourself surprised how you allow yourself to notice more and more NLP techniques… more and more… don’t you think?

(For more on NLP, check out the book Introducing NLP by Joseph O’Connor or the immensely useful Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Dummies).  As a bonus, here’s a great video breaking down the use of NLP techniques by media outlets on both sides of the political spectrum, from FOX News to Stephen Colbert.  It gets a bit into Christian conspiracy thinking, but is VERY good information.)

 

~via HowToExitTheMatrix.com

MICHELLE DAWN: “What Happens When the Mind Looks at Itself”

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In the absence of mindfulness, it is easy to get caught up in difficult situations without even realizing we’re caught up in them. Perhaps it is a difficult person, an obstacle in a relationship, or a financial struggle. It could be any type of burden upon the spirit. When we start investing more energy toward observing the burden than toward the cultivation of our self-awareness, we begin to experience suffering. We may even sometimes project the suffering onto other people. We may [unintentionally] judge someone when we are suffering in this way — especially if we perceive that person to be the cause of our suffering.

This is not compassion. 

This is not awareness.

In a past situation when I acknowledged that my lack of personal awareness was what was truly affecting me, I could see that I was putting too much effort in trying to be helpful (and getting nowhere in the process) which I believed was causing me to suffer. Implementing mindfulness allowed me to communicate calmly, openly, and honestly. I now have an entirely different view and a deeper understanding of things, as well as a clear view of my own path.

We can only move forward when we recognize what it is in ourselves that is allowing the suffering to occur. Perhaps we can find ways to grow in the situation, or perhaps we find that it really is time to move on from it in order to grow. Either way, choosing to stay in the situation without any hope for it to improve infects and disrupts the situation further.

“The human mind has the capacity to look at itself.” — Thay Phap Luu

I was deeply moved by a dharma talk by Thay Phap Luu “The Practice of Non-Fear” which helped clarify how, through mindfulness alone, we can embrace difficult, unexpected, and emotional situations.

The Steps to Mindfulness

Breath | Mindfulness. Practice of mindfulness begins by following the breath. Simply noticing the breath as it flows into and then back out of the body, the way the lungs expand when we inhale, and then contract again when we exhale.

Recognizing | Developing Concentration.   We cultivate our awareness as we learn to follow the breath all the way through the inhale, continuing all the way through the exhale. We notice when our attention comes away from the breath and must come back to the breath through our intention. Thay Phap Luu defines this as recognizing.

Embracing | Experiencing the Body. We can then begin to apply recognizing to other situations. For example, when we are able to recognize when our emotions are difficult, we can choose not to plant the seed of that emotion or allow those challenging feelings to turn into negativity. We can simply recognize them, choose to embrace them, and then more easily choose to let them go.

Soothing | Calming the Body. We create a larger capacity to soothe ourselves as we continue to train ourselves to recognize and accept who we are. Through this we are not only settling the mind, but also calming the body. This leads us to the threshold of creating the habits which can lead us to personal freedom.

Experiencing Joy. By continually choosing to care for ourselves in this way, we create conditions for joy to become possible. The experience of joy is a sign of freedom in the purest form.

While developing a mindfulness practice, it is important to remember that it is not something to be perfected, but rather something to be practiced. It is a continuum. The beauty of practicing is that we can and will learn from each experience, as we consciously guide ourselves to becoming more emotionally and spiritually mature.

 

 

 

 

 

~via ForestandCrow.com