Sunday, January 29, 2012

Love, Meditation, Living in the Moment, and Discovering Truth.

To be present, totally present in the moment, is to expand your awareness through separating from all the judgmental and identifying thoughts that your mind has become so attached to through the conditioning of your material focused upbringing.   It is distancing yourself from your ego, the image that you identify yourself with, and allowing you to see life from a much clearer and untarnished perspective.  It is removing the filters or, perhaps more accurately, the blinders over your eyes, which will allow you to see the world in a "new light."

That new light is the light of Truth (eternal truth) and its effects are profound.

The issue that people have with being present is that their thoughts are centered so much on their perceived problems, that they simply can't focus their attention on what is before them, and so they can never really discover anything that is real. They are stuck in their imagination.  They are so attached to their thoughts and beliefs that they're driven to defend them at all costs, even if that means wasting all opportunities at real discovery of the truths about life.

Even worse yet, they constantly compare themselves to other people.  They feel jealousy towards those who seem to have been blessed with a better life, and scoff at those who are perceived to not be as good or righteous as themselves.  They are so caught up in judgment, that they can't accept everything that they see in the external world.   What they see in the world outside themselves is experienced internally as good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly, superior or inferior, worthy or unworthy.

They are so caught up in not being (fill in the blank), that they can never just the moment.  What they may not realize is that this whole process of thinking, of trying to be something,  is essentially just noise and distractions from truth.  The external world and all its properties are not real, it is only what you believe it to be, nothing more and nothing less. The "reality" of the external world is that it is an illusion.  Good and bad.  Beautiful and ugly.  All comparison, all judgement, all competition is created solely by your imagined reality.

In allowing this imagination to run them, they form beliefs that drive their imagination further down more specific paths that will guide their decision making processes by closing their minds more and more, limiting their ability to discover truth.  But they are so wrapped up in their beliefs that reality is such a way and so set on defending those beliefs that they have trapped themselves in this game of finding true happiness and understanding of life "out there."  So instead of basing their lives on what is real, they live only in their mind, by projecting their thoughts, their delusions about themselves and others and how everything relates to one another, onto what would otherwise be reality.  Therefore, to experience the external is not to experience the real, it is the experience of your inner beliefs.  Meaning cannot be found in the external, all you'll find there is the deception built by your mind in its attempt to escape the painful reality that it knows nothing.

As long as people allow their minds to control their reality, they will remain forever stuck in the illusions of their beliefs, and unable to escape their futile search for perfection in that world.   A perhaps very alarming truth that will come to you through expanding your awareness is that anything that is perceived as less than perfect (as it just is) are really only manifestations of your inner insecurities about yourself and fear of what you might be faced with upon discovering truth.  Those perceived qualities in others and all that judgement attached with it are only your inner feelings about yourself being projected onto the 3-dimensional reality that you see as the world.  Because people will always realize this truth at an intuitive level, whether or not they've grown to unconsciously hide from it,  all these types of thoughts will inevitably lead to fears that inhibit their ability to openly explore themselves and the world and live in the moment.

Now an even more problematic question arises: how can one control their thoughts so as not to develop all those inhibiting fears?

Most will come to realize that to not want is to bring about.  That's because the very act of not wanting is to hold the belief that the thing that you don't want exists.  And it is only your beliefs that make anything happen in your external life.  They are the driving force of your line of thought, and therefore your decisions and the consequences of your physical life.  The inevitable truth is that you can't force your thoughts down any road. Your mind has come to accept certain things as true whether or not they are.  Worse yet, most people aren't even consciously aware of all their beliefs - the very things that drive all their decision making processes!

No wonder why people are full of fear.  They are stuck living out their self-defeating belief systems.  They are suffering the consequences of being lost in thought, lost in past memories and all the judgments attached to those memories, and, therefore, are unable to experience truth by living in the moment.

The great thing is no matter how lost you may become, you always know intuitively that something isn't right about your beliefs.  You will always feel a void, an emptiness that some deeper part of you yearns to fill.  That's your inner self, and it yearns for meaning that can only be found in discovering the truth, not in defending your beliefs.  Some, perhaps most, people try to escape this feeling of emptiness by remaining occupied in their quest for happiness in the external.  They may look for it in sex, money, power or fame, but they will never find it.  It will always remain there until you fill it with truth.  That can only be discovered by becoming fully aware of what you are in this moment.  THAT is the aim of meditation.

You don't have to close your eyes to meditate, nor do you have to hold a certain posture.  Meditation is simply awareness of this moment, awareness of the presence that is your TRUE SELF.  It is a look at the true reality of nature and the self, as opposed to the reality formed by the beliefs that you've developed through your past life experiences.

So, to discover truth you must only expand your awareness, or, more accurately, begin to open up to the awareness presence that you are...but you must discover this for yourself for it to have any benefit to your life.

You don't have to control your thoughts.  You don't have to shun your ego.  In fact, you can't shun your ego, for the same reason that you can't ever get what you want by focusing on what you don't want.  The thoughts that you focus on, those that you place the magnifying lens of your mind's eye on, will become a bigger, more influential, part of your belief system.  This is the only way that it can be.  This is how your mind operates.  But, if you can place your focus on the awareness of everything RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW - your thoughts, your feeling, your emotions, your sensations, your entire experience of THIS MOMENT - you will come quickly to learn many things that are integral to your feeling complete.  You will come to learn your true nature and the nature of reality.  You will be exposed to Truth.  You will begin to develop spiritually, and, therefore, begin to fill that void that is inescapable in the physical realm of your mind and body.

Now, where does love come into play in all of this, you ask?

Well, it's your true nature, the nature of your spirit - the eternal, formless, unchanging you.  It's what you'll experience when living in the moment and it is what will give you the strength to overcome the inhibiting nature of your inner fears that materialize in your external world, which cause you to go into hiding.

Love overcomes fear.  It overcomes fear because it is far more beneficial to promote your well being and future success.  In fact, it is the driving force of creation.  That's why you will always experience it in the awareness of deep meditation.  It is the truth underlying your existence and the existence of all else.  With the removing of fear, all the walls of deception will begin to crumble.  Your mind (ego) will naturally become less attached to your thoughts, you will become less judgmental, more accepting, more selfless, and far more loving and compassionate towards others.  Which means, of course, that you will become more loving, accepting, and compassionate towards yourself the more you allow your conscious awareness to expand.  Should you expand it enough, through enough presence of mind (ie meditation), you will be unconditionally loving and forgiving towards yourself, and therefore unconditionally loving and forgiving to all life and the world.

So there you go.  The truth lies within.  It is in your "spiritual heart."  It is, has, and always will be. 

So, how exactly do we open up to this spiritual heart, you ask?

We must place our attention on the awareness of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations, as opposed to with the strong identification and resulting labels and judgements that have formed through our memory, which was accumulated through the filter of our past conditioning and beliefs.

In fact, your conditioned mind is the only obstacle standing in the way of knowing your Self and Truth.  But it can be quite an obstacle to overcome, for it is the grand accumulation of all your past thoughts and its power can be magnified many-fold by those beliefs that you've come to hold firmly.  This conditioned mind is the "egoic self," the thought based self, and it is full of many perceptual errors and ill-conceived notions about the nature of the self and the world.  It is the architect, engineer, and carpenter of your self-image - every aspect of what and who you imagine yourself to be.  It is all your prejudices, all your doubts and fears.  It is the cause of your habits, both those which are perceived to be good and bad.  It is the cause of judgment, and therefore of preferences, likes and dislikes.  It is the cause of the division within your thoughts and those perceived in the world.  It is the glasses that grossly distort how you perceive every facet of reality.  It is the true master of deception, and it has created reality as you know it, which translates more accurately to a world of illusion.

Yes your mind, your imagination, has created a world of illusion in which you are living in right now.  To live in the conditioned mind is to live based on your interpretation of your past conditioning; that is, it is to live out the picture of reality held in your mind, and solely that.  It's to live in the ego.

It's a funny thing, the ego.  Its whole purpose in life is to become wholly fulfilled, to feel whole, and so it constantly seeks this out in life.  The problem being, it always assumes that it isn't already whole and that the solution lies in finding some "thing" outside of itself, something in the external world.  Of course, this assumption presents it with many problems.  The foremost one being that it should feel any lack (emptiness) to begin with.  Perhaps an even a bigger cause for suffering, however, comes in the form of its incessant yearning for control in a world full of competition for control.  The fact is, the ego doesn't know exactly what it needs to feel whole, so it tries to solve this problem by gaining control over as many things as possible, whether it be possessions, money, land, people, etc.  But this is a big challenge for it, because there are many other people who are competing for this same power.  And no matter how much power it may gain, no matter how much control it may have over the world, no matter how much fame it has obtained, it will always fall short, because there will always be more to obtain and competition that threatens to snatch them up before it can.

Many things can happen because of all the importance that is placed on this control in the ego.  One may perhaps even become king of a nation if enough success is found in one's striving to become powerful.  History has shown that even such a person isn't satisfied with their position, as they've historically always pushed to expand their rule over larger and larger areas and more people.  I'm certain that even a king of the world would find some way to be unsatisfied with their power.  At least, they'd still feel somehow incomplete.

On the other end of the spectrum, some may feel that they've had very little material success because of their perceived poor living conditions and go into deep depression because of all the importance that they place on that mental image.  Still others may be in a similar scenario, but they delude themselves into believing that their conditions are better than they are through self-rationalization, allowing them to enter an even deeper level of illusion in which they are somehow choosing to have their living conditions so as to avoid the suffering of not meeting their ego's ideals.

Living in the ego often causes thoughts or feelings of victimization, in which much blame is placed either on others or self-perceived limitations that are viewed as a hindrance to its success.  As I said before, it causes a sense of division, a deep feeling of "me" versus "them" and "us" against the world.  It is the cause of pride, both at the individual and national scale.  It is the cause of racism and any other form of prejudice.  It is the cause of division within people, and therefore the reason why we have imposed boundaries between people like countries, states, and cities.  The ego literally runs the physical world that we all call earth, and that is precisely why you must look within to find true peace and happiness.

All the possessions in the world cannot make your life feel complete.  It won't bring you peace and happiness, but only more suffering, when you inevitably realize that you still feel unsatisfied with all your accumulated wealth. The fact of the matter is, the world out there doesn't have any answers for your deeper problems, they lie only within yourself.  Like I said previously, you've assumed that you're incomplete and that is why you always feel the urge to seek, to want more, to become more, to strive forever onward to find the peace and happiness with which you desire; and, in doing so, you've chosen to live in the illusion of your mind that is your ego.

From the perspective of the ego, to look inside is a complete waste of time, for it has already concluded that there are no answers there, but it is mistaken.  What the ego doesn't realize is that this notion is only imagined to be true, but never really tested.  And so the ego, which is based on this entirely false premise, can only bring further suffering, for it will never take a serious look in the direction that, ironically, is the only direction that can give it what it wants.  While it seeks to fulfill in the form of knowledge, wealth, and power in the physical sense, the deeper yearning that resides over all your thoughts, emotions and feelings comes from your "spiritual heart" that is actually calling out to you from within to look inward and discover the truth that all your answers lie right here with you.  That is the void, that is the emptiness that you feel, in which your ego is trying to fill and can never fill, for it only runs away from the emptiness by focusing all your attention to the external world.

So, the answer to resolve all your problems, all your suffering should be becoming clear by now.  You must look past your conditioned (egoic) mind and hold your attention within, at the root of your existence, the true source of your experience of life - your spiritual heart.

And what is the spiritual heart, you ask?

It is the deepest sense of awareness that exists within you.  It is your inherent awareness that there is a separation between what can be called the entirety of you and your thoughts, emotions, and feelings.  In other words, it is living in the deeper, more intuitive, knowing that you are not your thoughts, nor the feelings or emotions that accompany them.  You are not these things, but you are AWARE of all these things.

Within that awareness, you may choose to place all your attention within those phenomena of your mind thus giving you the impression of being the very thought that you think, or emotion that you feel, or you may choose to become more detached from them, creating a sense of space within, with which you don't feel so caught up in them.  When in this space you'll no doubt notice that they don't appear so big or important to you, nor will they be felt so intensely.  At the same time, you'll, in all likelihood, feel more at peace within yourself than you normally would when focusing your attention outward.  This is because this space is your self-realized truth that your peace lies inside, not out there.  In this space, you can let that be however it is and be at peace, because you realize here that you are not that; you are not that which you can see, hear, smell, taste, touch, or feel, but you are the one who may choose to do all those things, and you are right here, experiencing as you truly are.

At this moment you may believe that this awareness that underlies the more tangible aspects of your mind is only another working of your mind.  In other words, you may currently view yourself as a person who is aware.  But that is only an illusion of your mind.  It is merely the image you've formed of yourself in the reality of your ego.  You actually are the awareness, and nothing more.  Yes, you are the very void that your ego runs away from in its seeking to find fulfillment.  The truth is that everything in the physical world is created by the very consciousness that you utilize to perceive it.  It is nothing more than a game that the awareness that you truly are plays, if only to forget itself for a while.

But don't worry, your conditioned mind will no doubt reject everything that I just said outright and without hesitation and you can continue to live your life in pursuit of what you believe will bring you ultimate peace.  However, if there's a part of you that's interested in what I said, and/or some doubt hanging somewhere in your mind that maybe, just maybe, everything you've fought to believe in until now might just be an illusion of a very powerful force that you've come to know as your mind, then, please, at least consider that finding this space within can be of benefit to you.

The fact of the matter is that you can't take my word for it.  I know this for a fact because I, like all others, have to work with a similar conditioned mind that you yourself do, and I too have an ego, which itself is very skeptical of such claims.  Of course it is, how can't it be when everything we've learned and most, if not all, our experiences based on that accumulated knowledge seems to point in another direction?  All I can say to this is that you must experiment with this on your own.  You must look within yourself and discover this on your own for this to have any benefit to you.  To believe in this is not enough, it will be no different from all your current beliefs, which may have their benefits, but still leave you feeling like you're missing something.  You must KNOW this, for it is the only way that you can be sure and you can know finally whether true freedom can be obtained in this life, or the afterlife for that matter.

Again, you can know this only by focusing your attention deeper inside, towards your source, towards the awareness that you are.  It would be inaccurate to state that you should seek to become the awareness, for you already are that, and nothing more.  However, it will likely feel at first like you are trying to become aware from your viewpoint as you likely have come to strongly associate yourself with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and, therefore, feeling as if they are the entirety of your being.  As a result, it may appear difficult at first to remain in the awareness, or to even find it.  That space may feel very small, and it might seem difficult to remain present in that space when trying to maintain your external life.  But this is only because your ego has held your attention for so long and you've built up so many beliefs and strengthened them so much through reinforcement in your accumulated memories that it can't help but feel like an obstacle between you and self-discovery.  You will, in all likelihood, have periods of feeling very awkward around people that you know as your mind continues to wage in the battle between illusion and truth.  It may often seem like you forgot to know how to act when around them, and this may cause some fear of rejection to arise in you.  Just try to realize that this is only because you ever ACTED to begin with.  Such is simply the outcome of seeing that you weren't being true to yourself before, and slowly dropping the act and allowing your true self to shine - it's a good thing!

Such is why spirituality is seen as such a trial to the human being.  It will likely feel like a battle for you, especially when you first start.  Part of you will feel threatened at even the thought of looking inside.  It should be of no surprise to you by now that that part is the ego itself.  You've so strongly identified with your ego up until now that you likely fear losing it like losing life itself.  It is, after all, all you currently know as your life.  All your current attachments face being lost upon your discovery of what truly matters and so that part of you that gains from those attachments and the very part of you that longs for them will feel threatened by your inward seeking.

The good news is, if you have the courage and persistence to push past the initial resistance, the intensity of the battle will soon die down, until eventually there will be no more perceived resistance at all.  At such a point, it will take no more effort to seek out yourself, it will happen by itself.  For at this point you have tipped the scale over to your spiritual heart.  The ego may still be there, you may still be able to observe it and it may still have some observable influence on your daily habits or activities; however, it will continue to dissolve with every passing moment without even much care on your part as you come realize that everything out there really doesn't much matter.  It will all happen as it does and you won't have any desire to change things nor any urge to judge the things that do happen.  You can let them be as they are, as you remain in the peace of being as you truly are, in that space of awareness.

Recall how Jesus said, " for behold, the kingdom of God is within..."

It just so happens that that is the truth...don't just believe it, but live it by looking in there and finding it.  I'm positive that you'll find that your life is actually much better than you could ever imagine it.

Peace be with you always,


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Inspirational Quote of the Day

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
- Thomas Edison

Friday, January 13, 2012

Law of Creation: The Vibrationary Nature of the Universe

Although it may not be detectable to your senses at the macro scale of your body, EVERYTHING vibrates in the PHYSICAL UNIVERSE.  All matter, all energy that makes up the earth and the cosmos vibrates.  All light, visible or otherwise, is an effect of vibrations within the energy of the objects (ie matter) that make up the universe.

Even heat is an effect of vibrational energy - with higher temperatures comes a higher frequency of molecular (atomic) vibration. Should it heat up (ie increase in vibration) enough, all matter will vaporize and become the pure energy that this universe was prior to the "Big Bang."  Which brings up another point, everything is energy; and it's for this very reason that everything vibrates, as the state of vibration within that energy is what determines the role that any particular energy will play within the confines of the universe.

In fact, every effect in the universe, every aspect of what the universe has become, is the result of this vibratory nature of energy.  In other words, vibration is the cause of ALL effects in the universe, with no exceptions!  It is the true creative force of the universe.

Of course, this must still hold true at the more micro scale of planet earth, and even the scale of your own individual experience of life.  Remember, I said everything vibrates in the physical universe, so it must also remain true for even your thoughts.  And so your thoughts too are a creative force.

We are the masters of creative force on planet earth for we have developed complex minds that allow for original, creative, thoughts; therefore, we have the ability to control the vibrations originating from our minds and thus controlling what we create out of those vibrations.

All living creatures share in this creative force.  Even a Buffalo has creative power over its local environment, but its mind is far more basic than ours so it has less influence over its own conditions than we do.  Most of its thoughts are instinctively driven, based on things like looking out for predators, food and shelter to ensure its own survival and seeking mating partners to promote the continued survival of its species.  You could say that a Buffalo has the life that we observe them to have based on the limits that their more instinct based brains places on them combined with the accumulative effect of "ambient vibrations."  Obviously, things like climate and amount of available food or number of predators present in a Buffalo's habitat will have an effect on their choices and, therefore, how they will be observed to "behave."

In fact, because our thoughts are so much more "powerful" from a creative perspective than that of a Buffalo, or any other animal for that matter, even our expectations of how they behave has a noticeable effect on them.  That's precisely why certain people are able to peacefully co-exist among animals that most people consider dangerous.

It's not that most people aren't capable of training a lion, rather most people aren't in the RIGHT FRAME OF MIND to train them.  That is, we expect them to behave like we were educated to believe how a lion behaves, and so they behave "like a lion."  It's precisely because a lion tamer expects to tame the lion, that it happens.  The lion feels the effect of the tamer's "vibes" and it changes it at the conscious level.  The lion no longer perceives the person as a threat or a source of food. 

That's not to say that the lion tamer completely overcomes the lion's will, but that he has a strong influence on it.  There's an overlap of consciousness, if you will, where the trainer's vibratory (thought) field mixes with that of the lion's.  Since humans have a far greater ability to focus their energy (thoughts), due to their more complex minds, the human has the upper hand in controlling the consequences of this overlap in vibratory fields of thought.  In other words, the lion feels the calm demeanor of the lion tamer and becomes calm itself as the stronger creative force saturates its own.  Should the tamer not be confident in his abilities it'll directly affect the strength of this energy field, and so the lion's own (instinct based) thoughts will likely win when their two fields merge.

You might argue that it's the actions of the person, not the thoughts, that cause the lion to behave differently towards some compared to others.  Obviously, a person who tries to spear a lion is more likely to be perceived as threatening to it than a person who curls up into the fetal position.  But every action is the result of a preceding thought, which is a vibration.  So it can be said that every action is the result of the effect that the vibration of thought has on the physical body.  The mind sets everything in motion, so to speak.

The vibrations of human thought even have a noticeable effect on other humans.  I'm sure you've experienced being in the company of someone with a "magnetic," charming, and/or charismatic personality.  Someone who can wipe the frown off of a complete stranger's face with a simple "hello," when most other people wouldn't have nearly the same effect.  Would you agree that they seem to have a certain energy, vibe, or perhaps even "aura" about them?  Well they do, it's the effect of the vibrations that they are emitting through their thoughts.  It may only be perceived by you at the conscious level of being the result of their authentic fun-loving and caring attitude, or their uncanny ability to deliver words to you in such a way as to raise your spirit, but there's much more happening at the unconscious level.

Detecting their vibrations literally changes your conditions.  Upon entering their energy field, you're experiencing their mental state.  Their feelings and emotions are overlapping into yours, and because they likely possess more confidence in themselves than you do in yours, their field overcomes yours.  So your sadness likely won't bring them down, but their happiness, in all likelihood, will cheer you up.  It may be that the impact of their personality is so great that they beneficially alter your life, or perhaps the lives of many,  for good.  Mother Teresa comes to mind as a perfect example of such a person, as does Muhammad Ali, Jim Carey, Martin Luther King Jr., Dali Lama, and Hitler (just to give it a little balance).

You might see this as a random list of charismatic people with their own unique agendas, which is true, but that charisma is a direct effect of how they chose/ choose to utilize the power of their thoughts.  All those people have far reaching effects on the lives of many, even people who never knew them personally.  In a sense, they created much of the conditions that you must contend with in your  life today.  That's not to say that you can't create new conditions for yourself or take control over your life, not at all, but you can't get around the fact that other people can influence your circumstances, especially highly charismatic personalities like I mentioned earlier.

The effect of one's vibrations (ie energy field) isn't isolated to humans over other humans and animals, but to any form of life over ALL MATTER.  With life - more specifically, with consciousness - comes the power to change surrounding conditions through the creative power of thought.  So you can control much, if not most, of the conditions in your life through your thoughts.  The key to its power in your life comes simply by believing in such a power and your ability to use it.  Much like with any skill, it's with growing confidence that the best results are achieved.  The more confidence you develop in this ability the more power you can exert and the more influential your creative power can become.

There is a group of people out there who refer to what I have described as the "Law of Attraction."  Those who advocate it contend that you attract things to you based on whatever happens to be the dominating frequency that you vibrate at.  So if you're mostly a loving person, you emit a "loving vibration," attracting all those things that resonate or are in tune with that frequency to yourself.  And so the loving person creates a loving world for himself through his love-based thoughts. While this is a mostly accurate depiction of how our thoughts operate to create our conditions, it misses on one important point.  It assumes that the things that we bring in to our lives are already "out there."  But our vibratory (energy) field is not only attractive, it is "creative."

"But wait, are you implying that you can literally make something out of 'thin air' through the power of your thoughts," you ask?

Not exactly "out of thin air," as in instantaneous or spontaneous creation right before your eyes, but I am saying that whatever we can imagine, whether it's already "out there" or not CAN be brought into our lives.  You can't attract what's not already there, but you can create it.  And I'm telling you that anything that doesn't interfere with the laws of the universe, or the laws held within the energy that makes up the universe itself, can be created through the power of your thoughts.

We are intimately connected to nature, so much so that we have the power to re-shape it.  That power lies in our thoughts.  Because the whole universe is comprised of energy, and that energy's form is determined solely by its frequency of vibration, the vibration of our thoughts, should they be disciplined and focused enough, can and will create new objects and conditions out of that energy.  It probably won't be instantaneous, but the means will become clear if discipline is held in the thoughts and so the right things will happen to ensure that the creation comes to be.

Think of it this way, the universe is basically one gigantic energy field in which energy came into various forms, some lifeless (ie objects) and some full of life (ie conscious).  The lifeless energy has no control over its conditions because it lacks the ability to think, but all life forms, which themselves are just energy, possess the creative power of thought and so they can re-arrange the energy around them through the strategic use of vibration to create new conditions by focusing that surrounding energy to make the desired objects appear in their life.

In other words, the imaginative nature of human thought makes possible the creation of objects and, therefore, conditions that would otherwise be impossible to be achieved.  Consciousness is a power that can mold the energy that makes up the universe to form new creations.  Thought doesn't change the energy.  All the potential is already in the energy itself, as determined by the universal laws that were imposed on it from its "initial creation" before the "Big Bang,"  but its vibration and, therefore, its form can be changed with the correct usage of the power of thought.

For instance, airplanes aren't made by nature.  No matter how long you allowed the universe to expand and energy to gather into more galaxies and planets and plants and insects and animals, it would never form an airplane out of its own nature.  It took humans to make that happen.  While it might be true that there are other advanced lifeforms out there that could, or do, also make airplanes, the fact still remains that life was the only possible creative force behind its existence

The airplane may not have literally been created "out of thin air." Rather, it's the result of human thought that evolved from working only from basic elements like dirt, stone and wood in our earliest years to forming all the complex steps to making the airplane like the creation of metal alloys from those basic elements and the understanding of motors and aerodynamics that finally made human flight possible.  Humans never changed the laws of the elements that they used to make the airplane, but they certainly created something out of those elements that would have never came to be should they have never focused their thoughts on such a concept.  The accumulative effect of human's imagination, the collective focus of their thoughts on such a possibility, made possible all the actions (steps) that would follow, that eventually led to its successful creation.  Technology is the sole effect of the collective creative power of human thought, and it's always improving as our creative capabilities continue to expand with an ever increasing history of knowledge and achievement to expand upon and a continually evolving  brain to do it with.

"So how can this knowledge help me," you ask?

Well, it's about time.  This is the ultimate of knowledge to possess for taking control over your life, and perhaps the one bit of knowledge that "the man" doesn't want you to know for he needs you to lack control in order to control you.  Which is probably why you were never taught of the creative power of your thoughts to begin with and, in fact, were bombarded with the opposite message throughout school and through television, advertisements, and music.  Understanding this knowledge and realizing how it can be applied is the key to becoming a cause for beneficial changes in your own life and perhaps even at the world scale, as opposed to being at the mercy of all those who have the knowledge, but dare not share it with you for fear of losing their control over you.

Here's the deal, I've given you the story of how it works and why it works, but that doesn't make it real for you.  In fact, the things that I'm telling you are so far and beyond anything that you were ever taught at school or told by "the man" that you're likely very skeptical towards every bit of content that I gave you.  That's okay.  In fact, it's perfectly normal and even healthy that you don't automatically accept new ideas, especially ones that greatly differ from your current belief system.

What you need to do to make this begin to work for you is to first give it a chance.  Only through experience can you discover truths.  And so, it is necessary for you to experience this working for yourself before you can develop any confidence in the method and eventually a new, more beneficial, and truth-based belief.

"But how do I do experience it for myself?"

That's a simple one to answer.  Remember, the power lies in the vibrational energy of your thoughts.  It's the resulting vibration of your thoughts that is your true creative force.  Therefore, it's your imagination that creates your reality.  Furthermore, you can only experience control over your life's conditions if you can control your imagination.  That can only come with thoughts that are focused on your goals in life, which can only be achieved through practice.

So, to experience this working for yourself, you must commit to focusing as much of your thoughts towards your goals as possible.  First you must have a clear picture in your mind of what your goals are and then you must imagine yourself reaching them.  Visualize yourself already achieving your goals and try to feel all the feelings that would accompany reaching them.  The key is to remain confident in your eventual success and to avoid doubts as much as possible.  In this way your dominant vibration will stay in line with what you want to create, and as long as you feel positive about the likelihood of success you will remain in the process of manifesting whatever that desired outcome is.

Again, it's not like a Rolex watch is going to fall out of the sky just because you visualized yourself wearing one and feeling good about it.  Rather, your life will arrange to allow a clear path to own that Rolex.  It may take additional steps for you like taking up on the new job offer, or buying that used Rolex that just happened to show up at your local pawn shop that's being sold at 50% of the MSRP, but the means will become available to you if you remain open to it - I guarantee it!

Love and peace to all,

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dreams: The World of the Subconscious Mind

Have you ever wondered why you have such odd dreams?  How those strange scenarios that play out during REM sleep can possibly be the product of your own mind?  Have you ever wondered what the purpose of dreaming is, or whether it even does serve a purpose at all?

Well, I'm here to tell you that they do serve a purpose and that they aren't really odd so much as they are "cryptic" in their message to your conscious mind.

To understand dreams you must first have knowledge of how our thinking processes work.

Everything in the mind starts with the thought.  The thought is the building block of what is to become your beliefs.  Every thought is developed through observation of various stimulants, whether internal or external, through the use of one's senses (eg touching, tasting, hearing, smelling, seeing).  Thoughts that are repeated, or reinforced, often, or that have a strong "emotional charge" associated with them will start to literally change the brain chemistry so as to condition the mind towards that way of thinking.  In other words, they form beliefs.  As the beliefs develop they gain a stronger effect on the contents within the thoughts, which in turn strengthens that belief, until it eventually becomes accepted as "reality."  Of course the "reality" of our mind isn't reality in the true sense of the word, but our perceptions of reality.

While some fears are instinctual, most of them were developed through the conditioning that I formerly mentioned.  They were developed either through your own personal observations or through your observations of others around you.  Your most deeply held fears are the ones that you have had the most repeated access to and/or you associate the strongest negative feelings towards. The reason why some people develop fears that others don't is the same as why inner beliefs aren't shared amongst everyone - not all people are exposed to the same "stimulants," or under the same conditions.

The more a mind is conditioned, the less open it becomes to ideas or beliefs outside of that conditioning and the greater the number of repetitions or emotional impact any stimulants (ie external or internal circumstances) must have to cause any psychological changes to occur.  That's why the mind of an infant is so susceptible to change - it's entirely unconditioned.  That's also why it's so important to pay attention to what kinds of messages you convey to children through your words and actions as they are likely to have a huge impact on how their minds develop.

In summary, you have mostly a clean slate at birth.  There are some instinctual things in place, but for the most part, you have no fears, or beliefs for that matter.  Through years of observing your surroundings and how you and others relate to it, your mind becomes conditioned to hold certain beliefs and develop certain fears.  Over the years, your mind will continue to accumulate these types of observations and store them in memory.  Every observation either reinforces or de-sensitizes the dominantly held ways of thinking.  Whatever prevails as the dominant beliefs at any moment will determine how one perceives reality.

The unconscious mind is essentially a massive storehouse of your past experiences.  It's your unique "mental universe" and it is inescapable, for it's the inner reality that forms your outer perception.   The objects of the external world may be fixed, but they can represent very different types of stimulants for people, depending on how their minds associate with it due to its conditioning.  People that are often fearful, or sad, or angry, or depressed are that way because their surroundings are full of things that stimulate that response from them.  Their world is chalk full of negative stimulants.

The problem is, although they may want to change, without conscious awareness of what is at the root of the problem, they will never be able to make the necessary changes to bring about more ideal conditions.  That is where dreams can be a useful tool.

Closing the mind off to the stimulants presented by the objects of the external environment, one's mind becomes free to explore the universe of its own creation.   Many people are often surprised or confused by their dreams, as they often seem outside their ways of thinking.  Common sense tells them that every dream must be the result of their thoughts and emotions; yet, their dreams may be very different from anything they ever recall experiencing, imagining, or thinking.  What they may not realize is that there are many thoughts that are hidden from their waking consciousness, and those are the driving force of the mental universe, which is portrayed in the mental imagery of the dream.

Dreams are a glimpse into your deepest beliefs, the ones that have gained the most control over your conscious thoughts.  Nightmares are a look at your most deeply held fears, those that have the most power to inhibit your conscious decisions.

As it turns out, in the conscious state we can hide from our "true" selves - our most fundamental, instinctual, conditioned, and powerful (ie action guiding) beliefs and fears - but not in the unconscious state of REM sleep.  Dreams are like God's way of reminding us of who we really are, as opposed to the egoic, self-conceptualized, conscious self.

These "glimpses" of your true self, when studied with the intention of interpreting their meaning, provides one with the necessary self-awareness to begin making deep changes in themselves.  One can only improve when they begin to question their most deeply held beliefs and challenge their most deeply held fears;  but the awareness of those beliefs and/or fears must first be present, and that can come through accurately interpreting the symbolic (ie metaphorical) message(s) conveyed in one's dreams.

At the surface, it might seem difficult to interpret what might appear to be a complex, perhaps even convoluted, assortment of symbols.  However, it's your mind that made those images and the feelings attached with them, so it should be clear to you that whatever message stands after giving it deep thought is likely the correct interpretation.  Of course, even upon much introspection, or meditation, you may still reach the wrong conclusions.  In order to ensure accuracy, it would be wise to base your interpretations off of a sample of dreams.

With more dreams to draw conclusions from - a "dream journal" would be ideal, as it would allow you to recall them in more detail - one may begin to see familiar patterns or correlations in how each individual dream plays out and/or how they relate to one another.  In this way one is more likely to accurately "connect the dots," which will likely give them both a more accurate idea of how their inner (unconscious) mind is operating and more confidence in that conclusion.

That confidence is important, because with more of it comes a deeper penetration into your consciousness, becoming a stronger conviction and, therefore, a stronger source of reference in your future quest to change or overcome your unwanted thoughts, beliefs, fears, traits, habits, etc...

Once the knowledge is gained from the dreams, you can begin to aim your focus on actions to "uproot" the unwanted conditions of your mind.  One way to do this is to take the Buddhist (ie Zen) approach of letting thoughts that "feed" that way of thinking pass by without giving it attention.  The analogy that is often used is to not "water" the "seeds" of fear, hatred, anger, sadness, depression, etc., by giving them thought and supplying them with an emotional charge and they will soon begin to wither and eventually die.  At the same time, you can "water" the "positive seeds" (eg happiness, courage, peace, joy, etc.)  through positive self-talk, or positive affirmations, so as to replace the old habits with the ones that you desire.

Explore your mental universe.  Become aware of the core of what makes you you by beginning to look deeper within yourself.  Dreams can be a useful tool in reaching this awareness.  What you do with that awareness is entirely up to you, but at least you'll have the knowledge of why you are the way you are and the power to change, should you make that choice.


Inspirational Quote of the Day: Hope

"Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good."
- Vaclav Havel

Monday, December 26, 2011

Inspirational Quote of The Day

"Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true."
- Leon J. Suenes

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Five Christmas Inspirational Quotes

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."  
- Roy L. Smith

"From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other." 
- Emily Matthews

"When we remember a special Christmas, it is not the presents that made it special, but the laughter, the feeling of love, and the togetherness of friends and family that made that Christmas special."  
 - Catherine Pulsifer

 "There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions." 
- Bill McKibben

 "May peace be more than a season, it is my hope that it may be a way of life" 
- Author Unknown 

These quotes were provided by .

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Life

On this, what originated as a day to celebrate a widely revered spiritual leader - in Jesus Christ - I'd like to take this opportunity to thank God for providing us with his blessings in the form of Jesus' life, and his teachings that have in them more wisdom than the average man could ever hope to conceive and more truths than the average sinner would like to admit.

Whether you believe he was God incarnate or not, you must at least admit that he was a good man who lived for a honorable purpose.

Thank you Jesus for your selflessness and compassion.  You showed us the way to live.  You showed us the path to the "kingdom of heaven" (within).  Your wise words are indeed a key to eternal happiness.

Have yourself a merry Christmas and may you experience great peace and love, and share it with all.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fear's Grip

Ah, courage's ugly cousin - fear. The root cause of all your worries, concerns and troubles. The inhibitor of your true personality - the person you know that you can be, but hold back from being because of worries of how others might respond. The ugly cloud that blocks your spirit from shining out into the world for the benefit of others. The true culprit of feeling small, unimportant, and worthless.

Fear is life's greatest foe. It manifests itself in many forms, causing any number of negative thoughts and feelings, and will grow into an army of millions if you choose to withdraw from the battle. It's what inhibits your growth and your level of happiness. It's what closes life's doors to you, making your world small. It is solely responsible for your feelings of insecurity and inferiority.

Fear literally runs people's whole lives. People will avoid experiences, will avoid other people, and, in extreme cases, avoid living entirely because of fear's grip on their lives. It will relentlessly remind you of past failures, pains, and times of embarrassment. It will manifest in your dreams as nightmares, in your body as tension, and in your mind as stress and depression. It is demoralizing and ruthless. It will suck your life-force dry, if you never face up to it.

Therein lies the answer to your troubles. You must face your fears in order to experience growth. You must face your fears, if you are to ever have feelings of self-worth. Most importantly, you must develop an innate ability to overcome your fears in order to live a truly happy life, one in which your true personality can shine through.

Naturally, people will view those who have overcome their own fears as leaders. They are the charismatic people that light up the room with fun and laughter. They are the courageous people that stand up for their and your rights. They are the genuinely loving and compassionate that will reach out to others, offering their knowledge and strength as guidance. People are attracted to them like a moth to a flame. Indeed, they are a source of light in a vast universe full of darkness and confusion. Their insights are a strong source of inspiration to those seeking a better life. They are a source of hope. A reminder of what is possible. A reminder that you don't have to allow fear to inhibit you from experiencing all the happiness that's your birthright. If only you can find the courage to face up to your own internal conflicts.

I know that it's initially a scary concept to face your fears head-on, but it really isn't as bad as your fear-trodden mind is trying to convince you of. Just like the task of undertaking any lofty goal, your goal of overcoming your fears can be much more easily attained if you break it up into smaller, more readily achievable goals. 

For instance, instead of placing all the pressure on yourself of overcoming your fear of rejection by forcing yourself to go straight into dating women, perhaps you can first work on building more confidence on your initial approach. Once more confidence is built in the process of introducing yourself, it will be a much easier, less pressure filled experience, to move onto other aspects like flirting. Hopefully, a little later on down the road, you will have built up enough confidence to ask her for her hand in marriage The key is to work with it gradually, but to never let up on the throttle. To give up is to allow yourself to shrink back into that small, unimportant, undeserving image of yourself that you allowed to build up over the course of your past experiences.

Which brings up another important point, your self-image -- the way you view yourself in your mind's eye -- is much like a canvass that's painted by your courage and your fears. The more courage you gain, the more beautiful the painting becomes, until eventually it's a masterpiece that can only evoke feelings of happiness, confidence and inspiration for yourself and others. Furthermore, your perceptions of the world around you -- your reality -- is also painted by your grip on your fears. Those fears leave an imprint in your thoughts which forms the images in your mind that represent the objects that make up the "real reality". 

Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his classic self-improvement book entitled "Psycho Cybernetics" summed these mental constructions up perfectly when he said, "You act, and feel, not according to what things are really like, but according to the image your mind holds of what they are like. You have certain mental images of yourself, your world, and the people around you, and you behave as though these images were the truth, the reality, rather than the things they represent" (p.34). He goes on to conclude, " it follows that if our ideas and mental images concerning ourselves are distorted or unrealistic, then our reaction to our environment will likewise be inappropriate" (p. 34).

This could be considered Dr. Maltz's interpretation on the phenomena of "mental projections." Mental projection is essentially the psychological tendency of people to project their own feelings onto their surrounding environment. This would explain why happy people tend to view the world more optimistically and other people more favorably than a sad or depressed person. It's not necessarily true that the happy person views the world any more realistically than the depressed person. In fact, the depressed and pessimistic person's view of the world may be much closer to reality than that of the happy and optimistic, but that doesn't change the fact that life is much more beautiful and satisfying for the latter. The reality of life is that there is no set reality. Our response to our thoughts and feelings, our emotions, paint over the canvass that the universe - or God, if you so choose - laid before us. To see the canvass for what it truly is would be to remove the ego entirely from the picture, to free the mind from all conditioning (more on this later).

While it's possible to lessen the impact of the ego through methods like meditation, which I highly recommend for that very reason, I'm of the opinion that it can never be fully "vanquished". Then again, perhaps the Buddha did this when he became "enlightened." Suffice it to say, most people don't have the faith, patience, or self-discipline that it'd require to accomplish such a feat, even if it were possible. 

However, for those who disagree with my stance or are simply interested in the topic, a man by the name of J. Krishnamurti has a series of books and one in particular entitled "As one is: To Free the Mind from All Conditioning" that cover the topic with great breadth and depth. It is, at the very least, an interesting philosophical viewpoint on life and, perhaps, the key to the enlightenment that the Buddha had once experienced. For those who, like me, don't have that type of patience, changing your self-image and hence your mental projections is a much more feasible approach.

The good news is that by simply recognizing the fact that your perception of yourself and the world around you is so strongly tied to fear, that it's the true root of feelings of self-doubt and lack of self-worth, is the biggest step that you can take towards improving your internal conditions - overcoming your fears and becoming a happier person. It's in realizing this correlation that we can begin to implement tools like "visualization" and "positive affirmations" in order to help strengthen us in our quests to become better, happier, more inspirational people. Perhaps through utilizing these tools for your own growth, you will one day be seen as a charismatic leader; a knowledgeable, compassionate person who openly allows his light to shine for those souls that are still lost much like yours once was.

Inspirational quote of the day

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."
-Walt Disney

Inner Reflection = Outer Perception

The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”
- James Joyce

What you are today is what you thought yesterday. Your life is much like a sculpture, one in which your thoughts mold its every shape. If your thoughts are inclined to be positive, your sculpture is destined to become a thing of beauty, bringing you good health, beautiful scenery, and happy feelings. Should they be sufficiently positive, this sculpture will likely attract many, inspiring them with its stature and beauty; leaving a positive impression on the surrounding people and your environment. If, on the other hand, they tend to be negative, that sculpture will become equally unattractive; bringing about bad health, bad habits, and undesirable circumstances in your life. Should you allow your thoughts to become negative enough, you may find yourself walking the earth as either the one who's walked on or avoided all together; of no more value than the concrete of the sidewalk, or perhaps more vile than the odorous pile of dog...well, you know, found on its side path

Sayings like “you get what you give”, “you are what you eat”, “you get what you deserve”, “you reap what you sow”, are all evidence that people are, at least at some level, aware of the relationship between one's actions and consequences. Since one cannot act without first conceiving that action in their thoughts, I find it perplexing how people seemingly struggle to grasp the concept that it's mostly their own thoughts that bring about their life's conditions.

The fact of the matter is, your thoughts become your reality. There's no way to avoid this. There's no way to cheat around it. No short-cut to take. No deals to cut. It is an inescapable, immutable law of life. If you think positively, you will naturally act positively. Acting positively brings about positive circumstances. Making the mental connection between those positive actions and their positive results will inevitably lead to positive habits, which will bring about even more positive conditions. This will, in all likelihood, cause you to develop a positive, happy, and attractive personality. Consequently, you will naturally attract other positive people towards you that can act as support, if not a catapult, to further your positive development.

Have I said “positive” enough?

As you can see, your positivity – new word! – draws to you positive things. That's not to say that negative things won't find their way into your positive “stream”, but they will be FAR outnumbered and easily overcome by the shear weight of all the positive “energy” that you've already accumulated, and continue to attract. It works much like a magnet, the only difference being that positive attracts more positive. The more positive reinforcement you get, the stronger the magnet becomes, until your level of magnetism becomes so great that you can't help but attract all that is good towards you. This positive energy is the key to your peace and happiness. It is the key to your satisfaction and your success. It's the key to reaching every goal that you could ever conceive

This is an example of the “Law of Attraction” (LOA) that you've likely heard a lot about since going viral circa the release of The Secret; a book, later made into a movie, which essentially claimed that LOA is the sole cause of every aspect of our life. One example used in the movie was of a person who was worried about being late. This person found himself hitting red lights at every intersection he came across. He even got stuck in an unexpected traffic jam, caused by road construction. The explanation that they gave for his unfortunate experience was that his worries about being late brought about those conditions that ended up making him late. That is, his worries literally manifested as his reality through the effects that his thought "vibrations" had on his surrounding environment.

This example demonstrates just how literal they were in their assertions about the power of LOA. Despite what The Secret might have you believe, law of attraction isn't s a universally accepted law. We are currently far from having the means to prove or dispel the notion that there's such a driving force behind our reality; an all-pervading universal law of existence, as it were. Such a proof would be akin to proving whether God exists. One can only choose to believe (have faith) that such a universal law exists – as it turns out, such a belief can have its own benefits irrespective of the level of truth to the beliefs, which I explained in an earlier blog entitled  "Power of Belief: You CAN Achieve Whatever You Believe."

Many would contest LOA on the logic that, if it were truly a law of the universe, you'd expect outcomes precisely in line with one's way of thinking, but that clearly isn't always the case. For example, optimistic people have bad things, even atrocious things, happen to them, despite their minds being ruled by good thoughts.  What they may not consider is the effect that other people's thoughts play on their conditions.  In other words, if the LOA is indeed a universal law, it must apply to all humans, and, therefore, the conditions of the world would be determined by the accumulation of all human thought, effecting all people within.  That would explain why bad things can happen to optimistic people and good things to pessimists.  That being said, it does seem obvious to me that optimistic people are more likely to bring about happier, more successful, circumstances in their lives than pessimists; which is in line with what you'd expect if such a law ruled the world.

But that's enough about  LOA.  While it's an interesting theory, one in which I believe there is much truth to, it's not the focus of this post.  It may very well be the driving force behind how the self-improvement principles of this article work, but it's WHAT WORKS that we'll focus on for now, not HOW it works.  I will attempt to explain how it works in a future article based more on my theory of spirituality.

Whatever results you’re getting, be they rich or poor, good or bad, positive or negative, always remember that your outer world is simply a reflection of your inner world.  If things aren’t going well in your outer life, it’s because things aren’t going well in your inner life.  It’s that simple.”
-T. Harv Eker

I'm sure you're familiar with the common saying that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world? If not, I suggest that you pay careful attention to what I have to say in the following words. If, on the other hand, you have heard this saying before, I suggest that you pay even more attention, because you probably gave it about as much thought as you would concerning the current temperature on the dark side of the moon, before you kicked it to the wayside.

It is, indeed, a fact that your internal world creates your external world. It's not just some mumbo jumbo that some robe wearing bald dudes in Tibet contemplate over during their multi-hour long meditative sessions. It's a cold, hard fact; which is why your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It's also why you should stamp this thought deeply into your mind, for it's one of the most important bits of knowledge that you could ever gather from your existence in this universe. Understanding this fundamental law of life presents you with the key to your happiness; happiness as your most common state of mind!

Your inner world creates your outer world. Am I too much resembling a parrot for your liking? Well, you still haven't heard it enough, so I'll say it again. Your inner world creates your outer world. Read this a hundred times, and still a hundred times more. Affirm this to yourself. Repeat it in your mind. Do it so much that it starts to hurt your head, then take an aspirin and affirm it to yourself some more. Do all that you can to make sure that this most important principle of life gets passed your so-called “logical” mind and into your unconscious mind. That is, do it until you firmly, truly, and wholeheartedly believe it; for it is only in this state of total belief that you'll be able to apply it for the betterment of your life and, consequently, the live's of those who are close to you.

Perhaps you aren't yet convinced that your level of happiness can be separate from your external conditions; your polluted environment, your broken family, your annoying neighbor, your boring job? Well then, they're obviously related for you; and you, in particular, should pay close attention to the following words.

As they say, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. You could say this is true simply because people have differing tastes or opinions, and you'd be partially right. It actually goes much deeper than that. I'm here to tell you that beauty can be found in everything, everywhere, for everyone; no matter what the form, no matter what the characteristics of the external objects or conditions with which any judgment can occur.

In fact, judgment itself is entirely subjective. Objects, as they are in nature, don't have a built in objective scale of how one rates or compares to another. Without someone being there to judge them; to allow their subjective perception of the object to obfuscate its true reality; the object simply exists, it just is as it is. We place on those objects the characteristics that we use to distinguish their perceived qualities and values with respect to our lives. We each set our own individual, subjective, scales for how things relate or compare. We decide for ourselves what is perceived to be beautiful as opposed to ugly; good and bad; weak and strong; positive and negative; light and dark – interestingly, light is present in all matter, although it may not be detectable to the human eye.

Even the concept of morality (sin), then, lies in the eye of the beholder. Again, whether something is perceived as bad or good is totally reliant upon one's own conceptions of what is bad and what is good. One person's view on the topic might be far askew from another's. In fact, in some cases, one's view can be nearly the exact opposite of another's.

An extreme example would be that of cannibalism I'm sure most people agree that it's a horrible thing to do. Most people would have you believe that they'd starve to death before they'd ever even consider eating another person. Yet, there are cannibalistic tribes out there that'll do it without thinking twice; not because they are evil, but because they were raised with the belief that it is a perfectly natural thing to do.

The fact of the matter is, we see in nature and in people – and, therefore, believe – what best suits our conceptions of reality. No two people's realities are alike. No two people share the same views on what is right and wrong, good and bad, attractive or unattractive. No two people will ever agree on all matters, and that's one of the many beauties of life. We are all individuals with our own unique opinions.

As it turns out, most people's conceptions of all these comparative qualities closely resemble one another because of being raised in a society that promotes a certain way of living, and the evolution of the brain that has resulted from those societies' past ways of living. Which explains why the American view of life is quite different from that of the Middle Easterner's, that is much different than that of the Russian's, Brazilain's, Chinese's, and Tribal African's. They each live under different circumstances, with differing needs given their particular living conditions. By nature, their views are more in line with what best helps them to get around their own set of obstacles. That being said, most any human will probably be more alike than they are different, just as any elephant is to another elephant or fly to another fly, as we have all moved through similar evolutionary paths, promoting life and longevity.

On the one hand this evolutionary process has helped us. Our planet now has over 7 billion people with an average life expectancy of around 68 years, when only 200 years ago there was roughly 1 billion people with an average life expectancy of less than 40 years! The evolution of our species and, more importantly, our brains has brought with it the evolution of technology. We now have better tools at our disposal to promote our health and creativity. Better shelters to provide for our comfort and warmth. We have more amenities, more options, more opportunities. However, with more people also came more competition for resources. More potential for destruction and war. More sources to evoke feelings of hatred and fear (e.g. evolution of weapons), jealousy and envy (e.g. increase in availability of material possessions). While human life is indeed flourishing more so now than ever before, each man is still left to himself to find happiness. For happiness too is subjective, and it is just as easy for one to conclude that the ways of life have improved over the ages as it is that they have deteriorated.

This is where one's perspective comes into play. This is where your slant, your conceptions of what is good and bad, right and wrong can and will create your reality. No matter how many people agree that the world is a beautiful place to live in, and no matter how hard they may try to convince you that it's true, you will never see it the same way unless you work to change the lens that you see the world through.

As impossible as that may sound, I'm here to tell you that it can be done. When using the right methods with a strong enough desire to change, you will change. It takes time and effort. It probably won't be easy, but it can be done.

No matter what your slant is on life. No matter how angry, depressed, or negative you may be, you can become a positive, happy, and healthy person. The catch is that you must truly desire this change to occur. You must overcome that initial fear of what you might become, of what you might lose if you change into a more positive person. You must open yourself up to the change, becoming vulnerable. You will likely be faced with the rather uncomfortable situation of interacting with people that expect you to act a certain way after knowing you for many years, or your whole life. You may even risk losing out on friendships, albeit friends that don't really care about you or your aspirations.

You may not like to hear this, but being uncomfortable is a necessary step towards your growth. You will face some difficult times along the way, but the ends will more than justify the means.

As you move along the path of changing for the better, your confidence in yourself will naturally grow along with it. You'll find that you begin to fear less, and suddenly it'll seem as though many doors will open up to you as the walls created by those fears finally begin to crumble. You'll be presented with opportunities that you may have never known even existed. You'll begin to “see the light”, to see the beauty in life. You'll start to become more attractive to other people; especially positive people, who more readily recognize such traits. Perhaps more importantly, you'll begin to become a source of happiness in others.

As you become more and more satisfied with giving to others, you will naturally begin to receive more back as people show their appreciation for what you bring into their lives. You'll become a magnet of happiness and positivity. You'll become known as the life of the party, the person with that magnetic personality. The free spirit, who lets his light shine for the benefit of all. Someone who can bring a smile to the face of even those who are most down. A source of inspiration for all those people involved in your life. A gift from God, sent down to earth to help the rest get back on track. A constant reminder to others of how joyous and prosperous life can be.

The road to this most desirable of destinations starts with yourself. Remember, your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. So you must begin by thinking positively about yourself and your future before it can ever become your reality. Highlight your positive traits and focus on developing them further. Begin to see the good in yourself, and stop dwelling on the bad.

Learn to accept your imperfections, for nobody is perfect. Learn to forgive yourself of your mistakes, realizing that everyone makes them. Most importantly, learn from your mistakes so as not to make them again, but never dwell on them. Instead, focus on how it might help you to grow into a better person. These are some of the key mindsets of the naturally happy and successful person, and the perfect “mental environment” to allow for your growth

In wholeheartedly committing yourself to doing these things, you'll inevitably find that it brings you positive results. This will naturally build your self-confidence. You'll begin to feel more independent as you realize more and more how much power you have over your own life's circumstances. As you finally build up enough evidence to begin believing in yourself – by far the biggest key in overcoming your obstacles – you'll have so much positive momentum built up that no obstacle could ever stop you from progressing. Before long happiness and success will become a habit, built into your personality. It'll seems as if you no longer have to even try anymore to bring pleasure to yourself.

Once all this is accomplished, there's no way to avoid reflecting this outward onto others. Your new positive attitude will naturally show in your actions, words, and mannerisms without any needed effort. You'll attract to yourself those people who most appreciate those traits, people like you; and, wouldn't you know it, you now naturally see the good in other people. Why wouldn't you? They're like you, and you love yourself. You'll begin to take pleasure in helping other people overcome their own issues, as you no longer feel the effects of your own insecurities. Freed from the constraints of your previous life, it'll all seem like some distant nightmare by now. Free to give your love and attention to all who open themselves up to you, you'll do so with passion and joy. As you give, so shall you receive. Your world will be one that fosters love, peace and happiness for yourself and all others that surround you.

Yes, you'll still have your doubters and your haters. Many people will be jealous of your happy attitude and attractive personality. Some will even have themselves convinced that you're a fake, a phony, a wolf in sheep's clothing. You'll especially rub the pessimists the wrong way, the one's who naturally see the bad in people and situations even when it may not be present. They are likely to see you as the delusional guy. The guy who drinks the koolaid. The dude who refuses to take off his “rose colored glasses.” They may even hate you. But the joke will be squarely on them. They will be sorely mistaken, for not only will you be a genuinely happy and optimistic person, but you could be the person that they needed in their lives to help inspire them to become a happy person like yourself. A gift from god, as it were. Why not? He supposedly works in mysterious ways, right?

For myself I am an optimist--it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
– Winston Churchill

“A Lifetime of Mediocrity is a High Price to Pay for Your Safety”
Todd Henry

You might wonder whether such a happy, optimistic view on life would even be of benefit to you. After all, you're probably convinced that your ways of viewing life are more realistic. That you see things for how they really are. You're probably thinking to yourself, why become deluded? Why surround yourself with this illusion that everything is sunshine and lollipops when it clearly isn't?

This question begs of us to define what reality is. If you go back a little earlier in this discussion, you'll remember me saying that reality is never an agreed upon condition. No two people will ever agree to what is the true nature of the universe. That is, after all, why an opinion is worth only 2 cents. A “realist” is only ever a realist in his eyes and the eyes of those who share his opinion. A pessimist is likely seen as a realist to another pessimist, and so on. It's all relative.

Realizing this, why shouldn't you strive to see the positive aspects of life? Think about this.

The important message to take out of this is everyone has a natural inclination to see things a certain way. Some see things more negatively, while others see things more positively. There's no way to remove your feelings and emotions from the picture and, because of this, there's no way to avoid placing a bit of yourself in everything that you see. So, if you see everything negatively, odds are, you've got some internal problems brewing within that are surfacing in the form of your negative slants on reality. Problem being, you probably think that you view things realistically. You might even fear losing touch with reality, should someone present you with another way of viewing things.

Does any of this sound like it might be describing you?

If that's the case, try this hat on for size. You can agree that “realism” is truly a relative term, correct? Good. Now, think about this. Does your realism bring you mostly happiness? If not, you could potentially, even if only hypothetically, benefit from trying out optimism. So, why not try it out? If it doesn't work out, you could always go back to being a realist. It really can become that simple of a decision.

Luckily you have a choice in the matter. Even with all the painful memories of your past. Despite all the bad luck that accumulated in your life. Despite all the harsh treatment from others and from your environment, you can become happy, optimistic and even successful. Once you have the knowledge of how this all works, all it'll take is a strong desire to change and an unwavering determination to succeed. Think about this. Your incentive here is a life full of happiness for yourself and your loved ones. The motivation necessary to succeed shouldn't be too difficult to obtain as long as you keep this picture in your mind.

I never said it was going to be easy. In fact, it'll probably be the single biggest undertaking of your entire life. But the end will more than justify the means. All your temporary suffering. All the fear that you must face by straying off of the comfortable, safe, path of your current ways of living and your current views on life, will soon be met with all the joy and happiness that you could only once dream were possible.

I guarantee you that doubt will try to creep back up on you. Reality will try to stare you down and spit on all your efforts. Just try to remember that those are only the result of your past beliefs struggling to hold on. They are old residue, left behind by a muddied view of the world. Realize that an objective reality doesn't exist for you, it never has and probably never will. Try not to dwell on those things of your past that developed all your negative beliefs. Keep your eyes off of your rear view mirror, focusing instead on the road ahead. For, your undesirable past is no more than dead weight today. It's true that you can't change it, but you can let go of it. It doesn't have to become you. Realize these truths, and continue to push forward. Before you know it, all those old bad habits, the negative ways of thinking, all the limits that you once accepted will lose their grip on you. You will break free from your past, feeling like a new man. Re-born into a much better, happier, more fulfilling life.

I don't care who you are. I don't care what your past was like, or your present is currently like. You CAN become a happy and successful person. Even if you live in the ghetto. Even if your father abused you as a child, or your mother convinced you that you weren't good enough. Perhaps, you labeled yourself as a victim all along. Maybe you placed all the blame and burdens on yourself. Whatever the case, you CAN change. Your past doesn't have to hold you back. Break free from those rusty chains. Forgive yourself of your past mistakes and your lack of understanding. Forgive all others that you may have blamed for all that is wrong in your life, and move on.

If you must, look to others for inspiration. Search the Internet Search through every history book, if that's what it takes. Try to remain open to other's ideas and views, and allow yourself to become inundated with all the wonderful knowledge of our world's great thinkers. Find that spark that re-ignites your innate drive to realize your highest potential. I'm certain that it's out there somewhere.

There are people, somewhere out there, who've had it worse than you and still managed to live happy and fulfilling lives. Find out who they are. Discover how they overcame their obstacles. Put yourself in their shoes, try to feel how the must have felt. Try to think how they might have thought. Attempt to connect the dots on how they went from what they were and what they had to what they are and what they have. Allow their stories to build a foundation of faith and hope in yourself, that you too can succeed despite all your obstacles.

Should you find difficulty in being inspired through the aforementioned suggestions, look elsewhere. Artwork, music, poetry, documentaries, even a good fiction book can all be good sources of inspiration. Make finding inspiration your number one goal and you are sure to find it eventually. The most important thing is that you never give up. Giving up is the only sure fire way to destroy all your self-confidence and, consequently, any chance you may have ever had of being successful in your quest for a better life.

Remember, you get what you give in life. So, if all you plan to do is spend a couple of minutes between video game sessions, trying to bring about a big change in your life, you're setting yourself up for a sure failure. Be real with yourself. Try to understand that these kind of changes don't typically happen overnight. It may take months upon months of concentrated effort to succeed, but your tenacity is sure to pay off huge dividends in your future.

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”
– Thomas Paine

I'm of the opinion that people are inherently good. That being said, we're all given the freewill to choose our own paths in life. We literally have the choice to become whoever we want, however we want to express ourselves. We're born into a sea of infinite possibilities, providing us with a plethora of choices at any given moment that can have a huge effect on what we become and how our perceptions of the world around us is formed. Whether we side with the Jesus or Satan within is left up to each of us to decide.

Once again, good and evil are relative terms that not everyone views alike. What I refer to here is what I believe the vast majority of people would agree upon as representing good and evil. In the context with which I speak, to be good is to be in harmony with the greater good of man (e.g. to be selfless, caring, trustworthy, loving, compassionate, etc.). To be evil in this context would be to be in disharmony with others (e.g. to be selfish, deceitful, harmful, hateful etc.).

Although the media might make it appear like the evil outnumbers the good by always focusing their attention on the “attention grabbing” news like murders and other criminal acts, I think that a short study of human history would convince you that the opposite is actually true. For every Hitler and Mussolini there has been an Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and then some. It's interesting to note which side almost always prevails. There's a reason, and that reason is that the good outweighs the evil. Notice too that none of the people mentioned were 100% good or evil. I'm sure Hitler had people close to him that saw his good side, as I'm sure that Abraham Lincoln's wife saw how stubborn he could be about seemingly small matters. It's only human nature. We aren't perfect, but we do have the option to become as good as our self-beliefs will allow us.

As mentioned in my previous blog, self-belief is the biggest key to developing and maintaining your happiness, and why understanding and accepting that your internal world becomes your external world is so important.

“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” 
 - Frank Lloyd Wright

The power of belief; I'm sure you've all heard that said once or twice before – especially if you read my last article covering this topic. There is, in fact, a great amount of power that can be yielded by one's beliefs, likely a lot more than you could have ever conceived possible. How else do you think Luke Skywalker was able to discover the “force” inside him?

...well, ok, that was a bad example. Star Wars, although a great movie for its time, was most definitely, entirely, and 100% grade-A fictional. As much as I love me some wookie; alas, they don't exist and neither do light-sabers or the force, for that matter. What the power of belief can supply you with, however, is a clear path to riches, riches beyond your wildest imaginations.

Therein lies the problem, feelings of accomplishment, of self-worth, self-confidence, high self-esteem, and purpose can only be reached through using the powers obtain in one's self-belief. Sadly, many people lack this most fundamental of knowledge. Such people have a tendency to struggle with life, feeling as if they are at the mercy of their external conditions, destined to become whatever chance throws their way. Theirs is a world of fate. In acquiring the knowledge of the power of self-belief, a world of true freewill is opened up to you.

To take this point even further, we create our own limits in life. You heard me right, limits are entirely self-imposed. Feelings of lack. Lack of ability. Lack of love. Lack of strength. They are all self-fulfilled prophecies, imposed on you by your belief that you lack those things. Indeed, you'll find that your external conditions match your inner-beliefs, as it can only be this way. Your outer world is a reflection of your inner beliefs.

Something initiated these feelings inside you, these beliefs about yourself, some time in your past. Maybe it was one of your parents that sparked these beliefs. Perhaps it was a teacher, or a student, or even yourself. At some point, maybe further back than you can remember, a seed was planted in your unconscious mind. It could've been some innocent remark, said tongue in cheek, that was misinterpreted as being an insult. Maybe someone really did insult you, or you experienced an embarrassing situation. Whatever the case may have been, the minute you gave thought to the possibility that “they” might be right, you opened yourself up to the idea that it might be true; you planted that seed of doubt in your unconscious The more reinforcement those seeds got over time, the more they gave root and the stronger the belief became, until eventually you needed no more proof and came to accept it as fact. The result is a world created through the perceptual filter of your mind, a world in which you are lacking.

This “perceptual filter” that is your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you think big. If you believe that the world is abundant with good and love, it will reward you with the best life has to offer. If, however, you are like the majority of people out there who think small; who place unnecessary limits on themselves, you will be punished with a life ruled by lack. Once your unconscious mind accepts an idea as a fact it will saturate your reality. It will BECOME your reality.

In fact, you will even be surrounded by evidence that confirms your beliefs, as your unconscious mind seeks to assure itself of its reality. Essentially, you'll begins to see whatever you want to see in your environment in order to maintain status quo, in order to protect the mechanisms in your mind that gave you the power of belief to begin with. What was essentially a mental process that had evolved to work for you, is now working against you, sending you spiraling down through a vicious cycle of self-fulfilled prophecies.

No wonder why you're convinced that you're no good. Your mind has created that illusion by magnifying only those things in your environment that reinforce that thought. It is blinding you with negative bias. Your own mind is deceiving you!

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way. With the knowledge that I'm sharing with you right now, you can begin to reverse the effects that those past circumstances currently have on your thought patterns and behaviors Conscious awareness of the power of belief is the first, and probably most impactful, step in recovering; in gaining back faith in yourself. It is the first step in realizing your true potential; the potential that God – or nature, if you prefer – intended.

To understand this power is to understand that we are the main cause of our conditions, not our environment, not our parents or our teachers, nor the government, but ourselves. The things we give thought to most tends to formulate our beliefs, which determines our actions that bring with it the appropriate results. Therefore, it should be clear that to control one's thoughts is to control one's conditions.

Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

You might have been dealt a bad hand to begin your life, but you don't have to keep it. Muck 'em and save your chips for a better hand. While it's true that some people are set up with better,happier and success promoting conditions to start out, all it really amounts to is a good starting hand in a long game of poker. The ONLY reason why they are more likely to succeed than that of a young boy raised in the ghetto is that they had better initial external conditions to help them realize, direct, and formulate the power of their beliefs internally. It doesn't have to stay that way.

The minute you stop allowing the external world to effect you, to mold and shape your thoughts, a magical thing happens. All of a sudden you discover your ability to mold and shape your reality. While most people listen when so many others keep telling them how bad things are and how we are all powerless to change them, growing to accept it as fact, you don't have to.

You don't have to cement your fate to a world full of doom and gloom. You don't have to hand over the cause of the effects in your life to the multitude. You don't have to be at the mercy of your environment. Take your power back! See their words for what they truly are – opinions – and learn to have faith in your own beliefs. If you should happen to make those beliefs sufficiently optimistic, and should you hold them firmly, for long enough, before you know it your world will take a 180 degree turn for the better. You'll realize once and for all that YOU are the true creator of your life's conditions. You're the master of your reality.

Depending on how you go about utilizing this power, it can bring you success in the broadest sense of the term, bringing you from rags to riches; or it can bring you great happiness despite relatively poor living conditions. What it really boils down to is what you want out of life, and this is the biggest key to life after understanding the power we all hold in our beliefs. For those who are more ambitious, that probably means shooting for the stars. For those who are a little more laid-back, who prefer to go with the flow, that might mean happily accepting having a warm home with food on a table surrounded by a beautiful wife and children.

I don't know about you, but I've heard and read plenty of stories about the rich and famous being clinically depressed, and in some cases even suicidal. Yet, I've seen homeless people who can't wipe the smile off of their faces, granted they were likely high on angel dust... but still. But in all seriousness, there are plenty of people out there who are struggling to pay their bills, who are deep in debt, that are happy. They're happy because they've learned how to control their thoughts. They know how to focus their thoughts on the good in life, on the things to be grateful for. Perhaps they will remain limited to a life much like they've always had – a materially poor life – due probably to limited beliefs in themselves, but they will still remain happy because they've trained their minds to make the best out of what's before them.

Now, going back to the rich who are depressed. Why is that? How can it be that they have all that wealth, all those resources at their disposal, all that popularity, all that glamor and still not be happy? It seems to me that they must sense some void in their live's. They must feel that something is still missing. Maybe they never took the time to figure out what they really wanted out of life. Maybe it took them all that time, all those years of watching money stream to them as if it were magnetized to their wallets, before they realized that money and possessions had very little, if anything, to do with what they really wanted to accomplish in life. Perhaps they didn't foresee the trust issues that having so much money would bring to the surface. Can a person with trust issues ever experience the bliss of love? Perhaps they were focused on superficial happiness all along, when they should have instead focused on being sincerely happy. Maybe they look back and see it as time wasted; time that could have been used for more productive work; for developing true passions, and lasting relationships.

Who knows? The point is, only you can know what you want out of life; what your ultimate goal is. Once you get that figured out, and you truly believe in yourself; not superficially, pretending, even almost convinced that you believe in yourself, but TRULY believe in yourself, then you had better buckle your seat-belt, because you are set up for on heck of a fun ride.

On that note, I'd like to go a little more in depth over possibly the most important life tool in your possession – your self-image. How you visualize yourself and your future has a direct effect on your self-esteem and your future success. The way you view yourself in your mind's eye is, in fact, the grand total of your self-beliefs. Your visualization skills are what powers that thought mechanism that I mentioned earlier, what a man by the name of Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his classic self-help book, Psycho-cybernetics calls the “success mechanism.” It could just as accurately be called the “happiness mechanism” or even the “success in dating mechanism”, the important message to take out of this is that your imagination is what ultimately determines how pleasant or unpleasant your life experiences will be.

It seems kind of strange to me that in a world where we supposedly do all our “living” with our eyes open, that most of our future success is determined in the moments that our eyes are closed. Of course, you're actually visualizing all the time, whether you're awake or asleep, lazily reclined whilst cramming potato chips down your gullet; or caught in the heat of battle, with bullets whizzing past your ears in between every forceful beat of your heart. You simply aren't as aware that it is happening when your eyes are open, as most of your attention is split between all the stimuli of your surroundings.

The human mind thinks through its senses (sights, sounds, feelings, tastes, smells), not in words. The combination of these senses forms a moving, breathing “image”that forms the base of every thought. We have all trained our minds to almost instantly translate the more simple images into words, but the original thought is always in the form of an image. That's not to say that every word that you speak has attached with it an image in your mind, but rather that you hold an image in your mind with which you use to describe with your words. It may take only a few words to describe a simple thought, which would be a rather plain, uncomplicated image. However, a much more complex thought, or more detailed and complex image, might take a lifetime or more to describe. That's really all that communication ever is; an attempt to articulate the images of one's mind so that others can most accurately replicate those images in their own minds.

That's exactly why most people will agree that the best story tellers are the ones whose stories “come to life” with detailed images describing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and physical sensations involved in great detail. A good story teller “paints the scene” in your mind so that you feel as if you are there experiencing what he is telling you. He is, in a sense, teleporting his thoughts, the images he holds inside his head, directly into your mind through his skillful mastery of communication.

Thanks to some recent studies of the human mind, there is much evidence to suggest that the unconscious, or subconscious, mind has a difficult time distinguishing a real experience from an imagined one. Sensitive medical equipment has been used in some of these studies to demonstrate that the neural activity of the brain is nearly identical between experiencing and imagining. Also, the more vivid the imagined experience, the more closely it resembles an actual experience, making it that much harder for the mind to differentiate between the real and the imagined. Realizing the implications of these discoveries provides a clear advantage to anyone who aims to improve their life. It demonstrates that we all have a tool built inside of us that can help us to reach our goals in life. That tool is visualization.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
- Anatole France

Visualization is focused imagination. It's concentrated thought, focused entirely on the goal(s) you aim to achieve. It's holding a clear image in your head, treating it as if it were reality, essentially tricking your mind into believing that you're actually experienced those imagined things. In other words, it's a method to avert the common misconception that you must gain real world experience in order to improve. Not true. Rather, your subconscious must have a specific type of “experience” in order for you to receive any gains, and that can be attained by either physically experiencing or sufficiently visualizing the right things.

Let's not forget how every thought actually starts as an image. That is, the only thought you can ever have will start with your imagination. It's no wonder then, why your inner world becomes your outer world. Your beliefs, your every thought presents your subconscious with an image with which it must distinguish from the real, the experienced. That's to say, if you think something often enough, it's likely to be accepted by your unconscious as it's bombarded by the same images time and time again. This would especially be the case if the thoughts were vivid, or real, enough so as to make it difficult on the subconscious to spot an “impersonator”. Should anything pass as real, it will have all the same psychological outcomes as having actually experienced those imagined things. Every thought, then, is a potential self-belief.

Now you should understand why your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It determines whether your great power – the power of (self) belief – is to be used for or against you; to your benefit or your detriment. For a person that doesn't understand how the mind operates; how powerful one's beliefs are; how important controlling one's imagination is; they're at the mercy of their unguided thoughts. Their unconscious beliefs; their perceptions of reality; are like a bunker that is under constant attack. The bunker itself would represent the mental “barrier” between the deeply held beliefs of the unconscious (inside) and thoughts that try to get in. Something that is imagined without too much emotional intensity or in too much detail might have the equivalent psychological impact of a bullet striking the bunker. Only in great quantities, over long periods of time could these bullets ever have a chance of penetration. However, those images that are felt with great intensity and seen with great clarity. Those that evoke strong feelings, awakening more of your senses, are more akin to a missile. It may take only a few of these types of thoughts to pierce through your “mental bunker.” Once they bypass this barrier, the thoughts become accepted as truth. Those new formed beliefs will inevitably weave themselves into what you perceive as real in your outer world.

That barrier is there for your protection. It's there so that every thought that you have doesn't instantly become a belief. It gives your logical mind time to mull over the thoughts, to test them against your current beliefs so as to determine whether they can be of benefit. Once they get passed this protective barrier, they will be guarded with the same level of resistance as they experienced trying to get in. This helps to ensure that you have power to resist any potential sources that might challenge your deeply held beliefs, whether that be an object, an experience, or a deep discussion with another person.

Now that you have a good feel for how it operates, let's move on to the exciting part: it's application for self-improvement!

First, you should try to remove as much tension from your body and mind as possible. Calm your mind as much as possible by removing as many mental, physical, and environmental distractions as possible. Spend a few minutes to focus on progressively relaxing every muscle of your body from your feet all the way to your head. A method that works for most people is to gently flex and release each individual muscle. A good way of calming the mind is to focus on your breathing. Take long, slow, deep breaths that fill your lungs, causing your stomach to rise and fall. Do this for a few minutes and you're sure to have silenced your thoughts many times over. Once fully relaxed, it should be easy to focus all your attention on your visualization session, sure to get you much better results.

Next, concentrate on picturing your ideal(s) in your mind's eye. Make that image as real and exciting as physically and mentally possible. If you can, focus all your energy on this thought. Try to use all your senses. See all the sights of your realized goal(s), hear the sounds, feel the sensations, even use your sense of taste and smell if you can. Make everything as bright and loud and intense as possible. This is how you can create that missile that I was talking about before. This can be a very effective way to help you change your self-image.

Also, recent research on the effectiveness of visualization suggests that viewing yourself in 3rd person is more effective than that of 1st person. When viewed through your own eyes, your mind supposedly treats the images as memory. Whereas, viewing yourself in 3rd person is treated as a new “experience”. You'll get good results either way, but the latter should bring them to you even quicker.

There are many other methods that can be of great benefit to those aspiring to become a happy and/or successful person. Although I wouldn't suggest it, there are drugs out there that psychiatrists will prescribe, should you fit the criteria of a “mental disorder”, that supposedly change the chemical composition of your mind so as to bring your mind to a happier state. Methods that I've personally found to be beneficial, and that I will cover in more detail in later topics include: meditation, hypnosis, positive affirmations, and spirituality.