Archive for the 'emotions' Category

Embracing Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relationships are Tricky Things in Dreams: Be Careful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lions and Boundaries in Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bear Dreams: Getting to Your Empowerment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Finally Getting Out of Blame and Into Responsibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dreamwork in the Body

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

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


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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dream Work 7: Living Life As If It Were Already the Future Your True Self Wants

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

The question of inner work is always singular.  How do I get out of the stuck state that I am currently in?  There is large body of literature and work about the importance of being present in yourself,  but this should  not in anyway exclude the importance of having a very positive future.    One of the major issues that I see in people’s dreams is that they are relating to the future as if it is going to be the same as the current structure of the world.    This means that we often project the future as having the same issues that we currently face because we are so stuck in the present.

There is no doubt that there are a lot of negative aspects of the current world.  It is too hierarchical, too many people in competition for too few spots, too obsessive about being first,too much comparing, and too much greed that seen as a virtue because the person on top is worshiped like a god.  I heard an absurd thing yesterday about the greediness.   It said that the winner of the U.S. Open golf tournament will win more in one tournament than an average person earns in 32 years of work.

The future world is not going to be like the current world.   All of the negative elements of the current structure are going to change because it is our human nature to strive for a better future and transformation.   It is not our nature to be stuck in a bad state in the present tense forever.    When you are stuck in a really negative state, like when you are really depressed about your current life, it is because of things that have already happened to you.   I work with a lot of young children and I can tell you that very few five year olds are depressed.  They all look to the future with great anticipation.  When you tell a 5 year old about a game that they are going to play, they all cheer wildly with enthusiasm.   You only get depressed when bad things happen to you and then you remember them.  5 year olds don’t have enough bad memories to be depressed.   When  bad things occur, which is inevitable even in the very best of worlds,  they can create fear about the future and then stress in the body.    The key to unleashing a positive future is to process the memory until it becomes a positive resource.   When we do this, the tension in our body releases, and the future becomes amazing.

Who could have imagined even 15 years ago that ordinary people could write a blog and have an audience of thousands of people.    Before all of the media was in the hands of a very small number of people.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the hierarchy has crumbled this much in a couple of decades that the future is going to be even more horizontal.    Right now when you want to publish a book there are still some large publishers who choose what people read,  but in the future who chooses what is read is going to change even more.    If you live only in the present tense that is largely controlled by hierarchies, then you will be paralyzed by having to act as if they are the future.

It is much more helpful to see the future as different than the present.   In the 1980s Russia and America were enemies.   Now they are not.   The future is going to be characterized by much more cooperative relations so why not see the future as it really is going to be and start living in it ahead of time.     When I first moved to Malaysia, there were about 500 people in every running road race.   Now there are several thousand and entries close quickly because the number of spots fill up so fast.   And that is just in 8 years.  This just shows that the future is so much more participative.

To live in a positive future the single most important process is the capacity to ignore the current structure as if it does not exist.   It only really exists because we keep attending to it.     If I see the present as being controlled by a few greedy people, then that is true.   When I see the future as cooperative effort, then that becomes true in the present tense.   

Every dream that you have at night is ultimately trying to take you to a more positive future, one in which today is a little better than the previous.    So see the future with the quality that would most make your life work right now and then live inside that quality.   If, for instance, you see the future world as being in a state of peacefulness, then you can just imagine yourself in that world in that state, then you will be there right now in the present.   If you see it as adventurous or loving or friendly, then you can live in it right now.

Dream Work 6: Using Self-Discipline in Dream Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dream Work 5: Making Your Enemies into Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dreamwork 5: Podcast

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



The Horror of Boston

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

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

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



Dreamwork 4: Taking Responsibility/Leaving Blame Behind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dreamwork 3: When Your Metaphor Hits Resistance

Today I received this dream after the post from yesterday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dreamwork 2: Life is a Metaphor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the second dream bear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Day 17: How to Deal With Negative Leaders

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

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

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

This is my response to the dreamer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the vision that is waiting for you?


Day 15: Being Attracted to the Difficult Thing

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Day 14: The Best Asset is a Positive Memory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 13: Day of Reflection/Meditation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have some reflection time.

Day 12: Challenging Yourself for a Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 11: Communicating With Your Future Self

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will you see your life changing today?

Day 8: The Mother of All Fears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Day 6: Identity and Ego/True Self States

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

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

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

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

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

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





Day 4: Listening to the Spirit Within

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

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

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

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

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

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




Gifts that Come Naturally v. Gifts that Require Great Efforts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety: It Is All an Illusion

Being worried is a very curious emotion.   It doesn’t make very much sense and it is very non-productive.   The other day, after I had been feel anxious at my work,  I began wondering why it suddenly appeared.   I am not normally a very anxious person,  but somehow thoughts started to get into my head which would not leave.

What I realized, after some reflection, is that anxiety is like a disease.   If you are in an environment where there is a great deal of negative thinking and action,  and you are vulnerable to negative thoughts and energy of others,  you pick up the anxiety as if were a cold or the flu.   What seems to happen is that when the dominant people (usually leaders) are negative,  then they send out a vibration that is felt by everyone.    When your mind is not extremely strong,  you pick up the vibration and then start making thoughts that are worrisome.    The thoughts usually do not have any basis whatsoever in fact, and the only thing they do is lead to is a kind of frozen state where you are unable to act.   The same can be true in an environment that is neutral, i.e., not very positive.     Your mind can just be free floating in worry.

For instance, you may be worried about what someone thinks about you because if they think badly of you,  your mind believes you will be excluded.    The worrisome thoughts are illusions.  You have no way of knowing if they are valid or not, but the result is that you cannot go forward with positive motion toward productive outcomes.    Your mind is like a helicopter hovering in the same place endlessly constantly repeating the same negative illusory thoughts never going anywhere.

Jesus has an interesting quote in the Bible.  He says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

In other ways,  we need to find a way to let go of worrisome thoughts and just focus on the problems and difficulties that are in front of us now.  You have to love the quote that tomorrow will worry about itself.    What He seems to be recommending for us to do is to get out of the negative illusions that we have about the future (tomorrow) and all of the bad things that might happen and deal with what is on our plate right now.

The important lessons for me about anxiety are that it is an illusion and that the overall culture of the environment is negative.    To get out of anxiety we first need is to let go of the illusion that is running the brain.   “I am not good looking enough to be liked.”  “I am not smart enough or competent enough to be hired.”     “The world is going to end next month.”
“My boss hates me.”   None of these thoughts have solutions.  The more we try to solve them the more anxiety we accrue.   The best thing is to let go of them.

The second step is to believe that you can do something positive right now that will produce a positive result.  Maybe it is just washing the dishes or taking out the garbage.    The size of the productivity doesn’t matter.   It is getting out of the negative future and into the present in a positive manner.

The second belief that changes anxiety is to be confirmed in the idea that every positive action has an effect on everything else around you.   The more we act in a positive manner, the more the negative anxiety producing environment changes into a confidence building one.

The difference between anxiety and fear is that fear is based upon a memory whereas anxiety is based upon an illusion and is picked up in a negative environment.

Richard Hastings

richard Richard Hastings is an educator and author of Dreams for Peace. He is a Baha'i and currently lives in Malaysia. Read more...

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