Recovering our True Self: The Journey Out of Our Negative States

Down through the centuries, spiritual teachers of all traditions have differentiated between our mundane, invented personality so filled with stress, and our true identity characterized by serenity, constancy, and wisdom.  They urge us to discover our inner depths and that vaster Self which enables right action in the world. Everyone of us is meant to live with joy and compassionate outreach to the people around us. We are designed to be masters of our selves, capable of overcoming all the difficulties of life. This is our birthright, but in order to experience it, we must recognize how far we are from living in this manner, why this is so, and what efforts we must make to live in such a way. This new awareness and these efforts are the process that leads us out of our negative emotional habits in order to enter into the depths of our spiritual nature.

positive negative patternTo recover from our ingrained habits and our subconscious imitations of parents and peers is truly spiritual warfare.  It is the narrow way that few want to travel as it requires going against the grain of our own behavior.  It is making the hard choices rather than taking the easy way as we always have.  This process takes place in the trenches of our most ordinary interactions with the world.  Authentic spiritual development takes place in that moment of irritation, that moment of unkindness, that moment of selfishness that we encounter the heat of the battle.  This inner battle determines who we are and how we live this life during our brief journey through time.

Here then are some specific methods for recovering from those toxic habits:

The first and most fundamental effort is the objective study of ourselves. Why? Because nothing real can take place until we know what we are dealing with. We cannot take for granted that we know how or why we function the way we do. If you want to operate a computer, you have to learn the software. Human beings are complex software indeed and are rarely user friendly. So tryobserving yourself from a completely neutral standpoint. Do not judge what you see. Just see it. Observe your reactions, your attitudes, your moods and the many aspects of yourself that take charge from moment to moment. If you do this with sincerity and courage, not justifying every action and passing thought, you will begin to see yourself more objectively and initiate the awareness of the Observing Self who will be the key to your recovery.

This simple effort begins the process of creating a space within you that is not completely hypnotized by external events. Though you still react to external circumstances through ingrained habit, there is now this sliver of your Self that is not pulled out of you. A new space of inner freedom is being created along with a new sense of a deeper identity than the surface personality.

Another critical aspect of this observation is the study of our negative states. You will be amazed at how much of our time is spent under the dominance of these dark moods and thoughts. You will catch yourself grumbling about other people, feeling dejected over this or that event, complaining about the weather, resenting something somebody said. Nothing healthy can grow under the constant downpour of this acid rain within you. Eventually, you will discover that you can free yourself from such unpleasant behavior and states of mind. Step one is to turn off the leaking faucet: stop expressing negative emotions.

This effort is the beginning of separating yourself from them. You don’t have to accept living in those dark states. You are not them. They are bad habits acquired over a lifetime. If you want healing and joy in your life, you must stop the momentum of negativity. One of the important things to observe about negative states is how much energy they take away from us. If you are aware of yourself before and after a moment of rage, you will see very clearly how much energy has been lost in that brief moment. We only have so much energy available to us each day, and we can use it to be healed and renewed, or we can squander it thoughtlessly.

So notice your thoughts before they plant themselves in your feelings and eventually manifest in your actions. Anger at a colleague or spouse can be caught before it has caused internal and external damage. In that more rational, detached place before the feeling has caught you by the throat, you can notice why you are angry. What is it in you that is reacting that way? What is it in your colleague that has caused his or her behavior which is so disturbing? Anger can then turn into compassion, or at least into a new insight about yourself or another.

After self-observation and separation from negative states comes the next all-important practice: becoming present to the moment. Experience the moment as it is, for what it is. Becoming present grounds you in reality here and now and takes you out of the tempests of imagination and inner talking that fill the mind with so much noise. Become present not only to your surroundings, but to your body. Relax the tensions that you haven’t even noticed before: In the shoulders, in the jaws, in the stomach. Begin to experience the revitalizing peace of being alive in this moment. Those of you familiar with meditation know how helpful it is to regulate one’s breathing in order to center oneself. Just breathing in and out slowly to ease the inner tensions is a powerful tool for nourishing your spirit in the moment. Learn to sit quietly for awhile. This is no luxury or idle behavior. We are so wracked with stress and worry that we cannot recover enough to get back in touch with ourselves until we are released from the grip of our anxieties. We rob ourselves of the very joy of living when we let ourselves fall into endless worry and nervous tension. Take time to let go of all that.

This daily effort teaches us to stop or at least to step back from the constant flow of thoughts that creates reality for us. This means that most of our worrying and anxious considerations fall by the wayside and we are able to rise above the clouds of our immediate concerns to the larger picture of our existence as a whole. Sometimes, however, the flood of thoughts refuses to slow no matter what we do. Our nerves are so frayed that we cannot achieve the simple peace of looking out the window and enjoying the view without anything coming to mind. That’s when you might employ the stop exercise. In the midst of a thought or daydream, tell yourself to stop and abruptly cut short what is going on in your mind. Then relax your body and look around you, just seeing what is there. Take a vacation from the inner turmoil.

So our daily practice for recovering from a life polluted with negative emotional habits includes: objective observation of our selves, separation from negative states, quieting the mind, and becoming present to the moment. You will notice how these practices begin to take us out of our usual nervous tension and keep us from mindlessly responding to everything around us by turning a portion of our attention inward and by expanding our perspective in the moment.  We then become more than our self-centered, habitual mass of reactions.

If you apply these techniques regularly, you will soon find yourself living more frequently in that space of peace, of centeredness, of recovery from being victims of automatic reactions. Then you will find that you become capable of a serenity and acceptance of what is, of a surrender of selfishness that empowers you to help others as well as yourself.

Such a journey of emotional and psychological recovery offers us a new spiritual empowerment which enables us to accept life as it comes, even with all its complications and the capacity to act rightly in any given situation. This developing inner power creates a free human being who is no longer entangled in his or her selfishness and constant stream of fears and desires. Such a person can journey through life in peace, with wisdom and compassion. Such a person makes the world a better place.

About the Author

Ted Nottingham is the author and translator of a dozen books, the producer of numerous televised programs, and the pastor of Northwood Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

How to recognise negative energy

Many of us know the harmful effect of negativity. Napolean Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich says; “There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it’s positive or negative.”

negative energyIt is probably easier to be negative than positive. It is easy to slide into a blaming culture, the poor little old me mindset. We all know the importance of being positive and usually more effort is needed to a maintain positivity as it is easy to slide into negativity.

However, you can avoid negativity and disallow it to ruin your life by recognising them. Negative energy in our life can be ourselves and the people around us.

Personal negativity could come in the form of suspicion, mistrust and self doubt. Very often many of us allow negativity to invade our thoughts, for example, doubting the possibility that things are going smoothly, believing that there is a catch somewhere, always wary about being taken for a ride and being jealous of another person’s achievements. As we are the master of our own destiny and our thoughts can make or break us, such negativity will hinder our progress and even destroy something that is going well.

Negativity energy could also come from people could be our colleagues, our friends and family. When you are around people who say things to cast doubts in your mind, complained about almost everything and whatever other people are doing, it can have a negative effect on your emotions and behaviour. These people live in fear and worry. They can’t control their emotions and they are frequently angry. Being around negative people can drain your energy. Their negativity can lead you to making wrong judgement and decisions.

Sometimes, it may not be possible to stay away from negative people especially if they are family members. However, it is possible to walk away from a negative conversation. Stay away from people who make you doubt yourself or your progress

You know you are becoming a negative person when your venture start failing and your progress get stifled. You will notice that positive people stay away from you and you are surrounded by people who are constantly negative. Eventually, you will become an angry and depressed person.

Remember, nothing gets solved being negative and it will only make worsened our life. Recognise the negative energy, stay away from it and make a conscious effort to be positive.

“Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal power comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out.” – Norman Vincent Peale

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Avoid negativity and turn your attention to being positive. Join Jennifer Lim as she shares her experience and articles about being positive and self improvement advice in Learning Curve.

Letting Go Of Your Past

A World of Inspiration and a Little Extra!

Sometimes we spend a chunk of our lives looking back on what was. We are stuck remembering and holding onto something that is no more. We reflect on old issues, remembering things that have happened and moments that have passed. Why do we do this; why is it so important to us that it, in a way, consumes us? What benefit is there from spending so much time reflecting and remembering? Sometimes it seems like our mind wanders there on its own, without our consent. We could be busy, occupied with something else, and all of a sudden we are thinking of our past and once again drawn into a moment that is gone. Why do we do this? Because we haven’t let go of what was, and because we do not fully understand it.

Let-Your-PastWe hold onto moments that have affected us, moments that were hard for us or…

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The Essence of Spirituality

Spirituality, we can say, is the ability to cultivate one part of the man’s nature; his spirit, through meditation, through internalization, by meeting with himself. This experience somehow implies a certain detachment from the dimension of the material and body.

The human being in its depth has the ability to grasp what lies beyond appearances, beyond what is seen and listened, the thought, the feeling. He apprehends the other side of things. They are not just things. They could represent symbols and metaphors of another reality beyond that, a sign from what they were, what they remind, an underlying meaning.

Human beings can perceive values and meanings, not just facts and events. What really matters is not the things that happen to us, but what they mean for our lives and the experiences they provide us. Things then start to have another meaning: remind us of what we have experienced and feed our inner selves. It is not without reason that some people surround themselves with objects that bring to them good memories. Those objects are no longer objects. They are stories, they speak, remember, they are meaningful to the heart.

Perceiving things in this way, the depth of the world, of others and his own depth is spirituality. Spirituality is the moment of consciousness by which we grasp the meaning and value of things. Furthermore, it is that state of consciousness through which we see the whole and ourselves as part and parcel of that whole. The uniqueness of human beings is to experience their own depth. Listening to themselves, they realize that it is from their heart, that feelings like compassion, love, the identification with others as one, emerge. They realize a divine presence that is always with us, always inside us.

Accept this energy belongs to our experience of life, hear it, and integrate it into your lives. It is spirituality in its basic essence. This energy is present in every person and in all stages of life. The depth represents to us the human spirit, feeling it, is what we call spirituality.

This experience has an effect of irradiation of serenity, of deep peace and fearlessness. We can feel loved, accepted and we realize that we are never alone. Spirituality is a way of life, a basic attitude to be lived at all times and under all circumstances. Even within the daily dealings of home, work, even when driving a car, or talking to our friends, or living in intimacy with the loved ones. The person that accepts their own spiritual depth in his everyday life can have more peace, will radiates vitality and enthusiasm, because they know that they carry within themself something bigger. They belong to something wider, as spiritual awareness is within their presence.

This spirituality, in modern life is sometimes so forgotten, though is necessary condition for an integrated and simple life. It can be even a way to understand the cause of our fears and complexes, like those that are more difficult to be understood by many; the transition is one of them.

For a spiritual person transition is a natural process of life, it not a beginning nor end, but transformation of spiritual heart, the next step.

 – About the Author:

Tolga maintains a spiritual website at kumalak.com.au, online psychic shares his passion on psychic readings, psychic chat online, dream analysis and kumalak readings. Kumalak the Mirror of Destiny – One Good Turn Deserves Another.

2012…. Don’t be afraid to ask WHY!

2012.... Don't be afraid to ask WHY! Why do we exist?

2012…. Don’t be afraid to ask WHY!

From the black Eames chair that I have sat in as a therapist for well over 10,000 hours, 2012 parades forth as the catalyst humans need to jar them from their slumber.  Blessings to the Mayans for their implantation of an alarm bell into the future collective consciousness of humanity.

Whether they have predicted the end of times, the beginning of a new spiritual era or nothing at all, we should not delay the existential question most everyone avoids in order to focus on thoughts that keep their self-concept and lives in tact.  Now, let’s ask:

Why do you exist?

Unfortunately for my hapless parents and tolerant friends, I have asked myself this question dozens of times a day from far (far) too young an age.  I ask this question of others for a living and when bored at social gatherings to receive countless blank stares accompanied by the white noise emitted from their overloaded machinery.

The majority’s momentum requires you not ask this basic question.  Life, like molasses, tastes dense and yummy, sucks you in and dumps you into a sugar coma.  Satiated with daily routine and dramatic life turns that we blame on others, life drips by drop by drop.

Why do you exist?

It’s not a scary question, yet 99.9% of humanity waits until they’re ill, on their deathbed or not even then to wonder what we’re doing here. Ask when you’re young, lucid, in good health, still have choices, before you procreate, marry and divorce.

This year, the Mayans dare us to consider the purpose of our existence before it’s too late. We may never know whether their assertion/prediction/invitation is real or not. Yet, we can use it as a tool to recover the inquiry that remains buried under the debris of our lives, beating a rhythm deep in our hearts.  Even as we run from errand to errand, job to home, job at home, laundry, market, dishes, Monday to Friday and Sunday night, again too soon, it’s within us awaiting our attention.

No one wants us to ask.   The world is against it, because the “Why?” contradicts society’s celebrated accomplishments and journeys. Measure, know and scour the material and anti-material energy that comprises everything outside of you to define you, others and your life’s value.

Revered as one of the greatest minds of our time, Steven Hawking’s work wholly concerns itself with the measurement and definition of the endless, unknowable outermost-reaches of the external world.  No human will ever be able to confirm his life’s work.

NASA and its Kepler telescope seek to locate habitable, Earth-like planets.  They’ve discovered numerous, though none of us will ever visit any of them.  Millions of dollars and endless Earth resources spent searching for nothing knowable and incomprehensible to most. Despite my best efforts, I cannot fathom its relevance to any moment of my life.

Our only certainty lives alone, enclosed within our minds, through our perceptions, memories, hopes and moments. Yet we hold our certain truth against the structure and rules that we instructed are real, what society exalts, what we can define and measure.

We stay imprisoned for fear of ridicule and the potential destruction of our relationships and the lives we know.  We live as if a single phone call or a moment in time will not provide the definitive push needed to consider the reason for our existence.

As I write this, my beloved friend approaches death in hospice annoyed that her friends and family are making her transition about themselves. Goodbyes said last week, her room filled with ipads and twitter tweets. She says nothing because she still doesn’t want to upset anyone.  Who cares? They are upset and will be upset any way.

It doesn’t have to be that dramatic if you start today.  Telling yourself that what you do, who you marry, what others think of you defines you or your existence creates a life filled with anxiety, fear and a primal terror.

Countless times I asked friends and clients to strip down what they fear most and have heard:

“People finding out.”

“Finding out what?”

“That I’m not who they think I am.”

Why are we taught to care what others think of us? The prison of societal expectation, real or fabricated, becomes a dangerous shelter in our life, on our way to death.

Solar flares illuminate the atmosphere and reveal the Northern Lights. Under their brightness, take a moment and allow yourself to wonder why you exist in this form, your specific body, with your talents, at this time, where you live. Why?

Dump the Western Psychotherapeutic inquiry of “Who are you?” for “Why are you here, as you, right now?”  The latter inquiry subsumes the former and gives it intention and purpose.

Why we exist includes an other, whether a person, a cause, a purpose that pushes us forward in our development.  It doesn’t need to earn you an Oscar, a spot in the NBA or a billion dollars.  If you feel compelled to love the 100 year-old oak tree outside your house, then exist for that tree.

There is no wrong answer.

No one needs to know.  It can be your secret inquiry.  Too much of mass culture has mocked the question and killed it before its birth.  Humans evolved to need another’s enthusiastic waves of proverbial pompons to ratify action or thought.  We don’t need it.  Ask what brings you your specific joy and, in time, acting upon it will provide comfort and celebration.

My inquiry led me to what lies in the depth, if not the breadth, of this life.  For me, the action which resulted is to give good love.  A consistent, open, humorous and real support that allows others to flourish and live more out loud and less alone in this ever-expanding universe than without my presence.  I exist to love and believe all of us do.

Love that tree, your neighbor, your garden, lost cats, singing, your children, the Dali Lama, baking, Jesus Christ, travel, Bill Maher, little league baseball, cashmere sweaters or medical research.  It doesn’t matter, if you grow from it.

Last Sunday, seven hours of playoff football on television was the best way I knew how to love myself, which allowed me to love others the next day.

Stay focused on the question. 

After you ask and ask, time no longer speeds passed you.  Monday feels like a week, filled with ebbs, flows, joy, stillness, stress, anger and nothing.  All in one day.  No one wants to live a life they don’t remember living.

Dare yourself to ask the question often.  Don’t require action. Your inquiry will lead you step by step.

Somehow the action or the “do” finds you if you stick to the question, give yourself time to answer and accept the answer.  The action doesn’t have to be vast, glamorous or even profitable.  I doubt we get points over there for any of that. We’re created in these individual bodies to discover what lies within, not outside of it.

 

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Mala Mukherji – About the Author:

 

Bio of Mala Mukherji

Born in Los Angeles, California to parents, who immigrated from Calcutta, India, Mala Mukherji began studying the differences between Indian and American cultures from an early age.  Frequent and early trips to India and being raised in Covina, a homogeneous suburb of Los Angeles created the perfect climate for Mala’s future pursuits.

While attending the University of California at Los Angeles, she studied the psychological and sociological impacts of the politics and histories of numerous cultures.  After receiving her degree from U.C.L.A., she attended Pepperdine University School of Law, where she concentrated on issues relating to individual rights.  After passing the California State Bar Examination, Mala practiced law in the Los Angeles area for over eight years.

Throughout her law career, Mala studied and explored Western psychological theory and Eastern philosophy and their practical application to the individual’s experiences.  As a result of those studies, Mala left law practice and created a modality of spiritual psychological therapy, which combines Eastern and Western theory.  She has maintained a thriving therapeutic practice for the past eleven years.  Her clients include numerous leaders in the areas of sports, business and entertainment.

Having worked as a therapist for eleven years and over  10,000 thousand hours, Mala researched and discovered what allows and motivates individuals to grow.  Because not everyone has the resources to partake in therapy, she wrote ASHES, which provides women and men a vehicle by which they may consider the events of their life and how those events effect them in present day.

The Adventure That Is Life

I was the oldest of four boys, and after our father died, mother supported us by taking in sewing. We were quite poor. I got an afterschool job as the janitor in a factory; it was the only way I’d have any money.

what's-your-storyAfter a couple of years I got bored with that, so I beat the pavement to just about every business in our small Ontario town. I found a job hammering nails. The cut in pay from $.40 per hour to $.30 per hour was worth it for the new experience. Unfortunately, this was to be a short-lived adventure; my new boss found out I was only 13, and child labor laws kicked in. I went back to my afterschool sweeping and toilets and kept a low profile…

My mother had always wanted me to go to university, but she died in a car crash when I was 16. Nevertheless, the janitoring and summer jobs financed my big adventure of going off to university. I was the first from my mother’s side to do so.

I had come to realize by the time I was 12 that I could choose to look at my life as a series of crises: drowning and resuscitation, abduction and torture, abduction and sexual abuse, father dying, poverty, my teacher labeling me “slow.” Alternatively, I could choose to look at my life as a series of adventures: solo hiking and exploring, hitchhiking to Toronto to spend a week each year at the CNE, long bicycling adventures, building a boat and riding the spring floodwaters amidst the ice jams on the local river, learning to hunt with a 12-gauge shotgun. I chose adventure over crisis.

When you are confronted with a life event, you are given a choice as to how you interpret it. And let’s face it; life has its ups and downs.

A “down” could be a disaster like a marriage failure… or the opening for the adventure of remarriage. I’ve been blessed with that adventure twice.

Another not uncommon disaster is a job loss or business failure that leads to the loss of your hard-earned material possessions. However, losing our business, our house and our vehicles cut our material ties to the east and led to the adventure of starting over on the west coast. Without the business crash two decades ago, my adventures in writing might never have begun.

Family is one of life’s big adventures, and three of my adult children dying in the last five years have been tragic. However, the time before each one died was one of deep mutual reconnection and re-bonding as we said our goodbyes… and that has been another blessing.

The nature of adventure changes with the lifecycle. I gave up motorcycle adventure touring a couple of years ago (downgraded to four wheels) and am now much more focused on my healing work and internet outreach work.

I invite you to reflect on the positive adventures of your life that have arisen from the ashes of the not so positive.

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 – About the Author:

Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill maintains an active practice on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, with a focus on healthy relationships and life after addictions. He is the author of Living with a Functioning Alcoholic – A Woman’s Survival Guide.  Get a copy of his free report “Codependency and Alcohol Addiction” at www.neillneill.com,