Combing The Cotton

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by DCH Park

I am sometimes asked if it’s truly necessary to become aware of the workings of our own minds and emotions in order to transcend them. Isn’t it possible to simply avoid certain subjects and focus on creating success, love, harmony, or happiness and enjoy those creations without delving into the muck of unwanted anger, fear, comparison, etc.?

To be fair, there are disciplines that promise release of such emotional blocks without having to deal with them directly or even consciously knowing what they are. Many teachers, including Napoleon Hill and Abraham Hicks, have advocated doing exactly that – focusing on the positive creation of what you prefer in life and eclipsing focus on what you don’t want.

Both of these approaches favor putting new energy where we want it instead of continuing to blindly send it where we don’t want it This encourages the former and leaves the latter to languish. Eventually, as the positive grows, the negative will tend to diminish, either through starvation or the natural process of losing relevance as life circumstances change. As we grow older and more experienced, how much energy do we devote to the intrigues of our lives in fifth grade?

However, Hill admitted himself that the path he taught was slow, it being typical for someone to strive for 20 years or more before fully realizing goals and dreams. Abrahams’ advice is more subtle but it goes to the same place. Both simply ignore or resist focus on negative thoughts. Rather than dwelling on how frustrating it is that your desires haven’t manifested yet or how hard it is to continue to slog through the daily grind en route to the golden circle, more positive things are emphasized.

Of course, this makes perfect sense – “whatever you resist persists.” Avoiding or actively suppressing certain unwanted experiences or expectations will only make them stronger. But there is a thin line between choosing to focus on positive creations and avoiding (which is the thin edge of resisting) one thing in order to focus on something else.

However, those who embrace these approaches often find themselves confronted by the same issues again and again. Like a weed that grows back if it is pulled up but the root is left intact, the blocks that are handled with such indirect techniques often re-emerge. As long as such re-emergent blocks are smaller and more easily recognized and dealt with over time, progress is moving in the right direction. Is this the best we can hope for?

Perhaps more is possible. By developing a habit of witnessing the emotional roller coaster you find yourself on without resisting the ride itself, you can notice your experience of the emotion becomes less sticky. Eventually, you are free to release the emotion altogether. This can be the first step in witnessing the block and its emotional baggage very deeply – all the way to it roots. Releasing the block from its roots eliminates it entirely, just as digging up a dandelion by its roots will eliminate it from your garden forever.

Imagine raw cotton. Freshly picked, it is full of seeds, sticks, stones, and dirt. In fact, cotton was so notoriously full of foreign debris and hard to clean by hand that it was considered largely useless commercially without slaves to provide free labor. This is why the cotton gin was so important historically. By combing out the seeds and other debris, the natural softness and strength of the cotton fibers could be appreciated.

It might be possible to use cotton in some way without combing out all of the debris first, but it’s unlikely that you could use it to spin thread or weave cloth. If you tried, the result would likely be poor and unsatisfying. How many sticks, seeds, and tiny rocks would you tolerate in your shirts or underwear?

Combing the cotton allows the natural qualities of the fibers to come through, enhancing its beauty, versatility, and strength. In the same way, combing out your body, mind, and spirit to remove emotional debris uproots blocks and allows the full truth, beauty, and creative strength of your being to come through.

The natural state of a human being is joyful and creative. To witness this, you need only look as far as the nearest healthy child. When we don’t see this in ourselves it is because our emotional attachments and ego drama get in the way of our realization and expression of our creative power. One way to understand or characterize spiritual work or growth is in terms of combing out the cotton of our beings. Our creativity and power shine into the world naturally and effortlessly once the blocks are released.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Striving For Happiness

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by DCH Park

I sometimes hear people talking about their personal quests for happiness or peace as if they are physical objects that can be acquired or lost. To be fair, I doubt that there are many people who honestly believe that happiness can literally be found in a physical possession or drug. Nevertheless, we naturally tend to speak about becoming happy using the same words, phrases, and patterns that we use to describe getting a new job, lots of money, or a new TV.

There are many prescriptions for achieving success. Many of them focus on manifesting – or bringing into your personal experience in the world – experiences of wealth, prestige, security, achievement, or love. Napoleon Hill, who is recognized by many as the original motivational speaker, focused deliberately and plainly on success and getting rich. However, as he pointed out himself, he did so as a means of providing people with an endeavor both engrossing and illuminating so that personal growth occurs as an inevitable side effect. He is actually interested in personal growth toward true freedom and happiness. Wealth was simply the means he chose to sweeten the offer.

Hill’s ideas can be found echoed in the writings of many who have come since. Whether this is a reflection of imitation or parallel discovery is ultimately not important. There are probably cases of both. In the final analysis, what really matters is what resonates with your own experience and what helps you to move forward in your own life.

A common question in this regard is, “How can I be (more) happy?” This question takes different forms that all come down to the same thing. Common variants include, “What makes me happy/joyful?” and “What do I have to do to be/deserve/earn/feel happy?”

I find that when I hear such questions posed, I am reminded of the old comedy routine of the clown who drops his hat and walks over to pick it up. With his big, clumsy, clown feet, as he bends down to pick it up, he kicks it away. The harder he tries to get it and the faster he runs, the farther he manages to kick it away.

Happiness is like this. The more deliberate you are in seeking it out or creating it and the harder you try to hold on to it, the more elusive and slipperier it seems to become. If you are in a place in your life where you enjoy more happiness than not, the striving and doing attitude will tend to powerfully draw your awareness away from your happy state and toward concerns over what you will have to do to maintain it or “buy” more. How happy are you if you strive to gain happiness only to turn your attention to further striving instead of enjoying what you have gained?

This is a natural aspect of the striving attitude. Striving leads to more striving. Even if your desired state is achieved, the continued effort required to maintain your desired state of happiness will become exhausting as the thrill of achievement fades away. You may ultimately realize that the happiness you strove so hard to achieve is hollow and unfulfilling. I knew one person who achieved so much in his life by such an early age that by the time he was in his 50’s, he was tired and jaded. He no longer believed that happiness was real. However, he was sadly unprepared to consider alternatives to the striving that he’d dedicated himself to for his whole life. He was left with cynical, self-conscious pursuit of distractions as a sullen alternative to depression.

Striving is a quality of ego and the dramas that egos construct. Descriptions of the experience of great creative achievement from all human endeavor, from athletics to business to healing to family to science to art all describe a sense of continuity and flow that is both effortless and effulgent. There is no striving in the moment of effortless connection and flow. It simply is.

Ironically, by striving for such connection and flow, you block yourself from fully experiencing it. Continued progress becomes effortful. By striving to be happy, you make being happy part of your ego-drama so that even if you achieve the desired happiness, it’s still only part of the ego’s shadow play and inevitably leads to more struggle.

Happiness, flow, peace, purpose, wisdom, and healing are all aspects of the greater self that accompany our experience of ourselves whenever we are present in our lives as/with our deepest sense of truth and beauty. It is not unlike the color of our hair. It comes for free as an effortless bonus part of the package. Whenever we recognize our little selves – our egos – for what they are and release attachment and identification with them, we free ourselves to return to our true selves – our greater selves – and happiness just is.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Nature of Miracle

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by DCH Park

I sometimes hear people objecting to lessons contained in Napoleon Hill and the Law of Attraction on the grounds that if everyone only did what they wanted to do, nothing would get done. This point of view strikes me as valid from a certain perspective and funny from another.

To someone who is thoroughly immersed in a daily struggle to keep trudging forward, the prospect of being free from the drudgery seems as bright as it is unsustainable. When I have been in that perspective, the only thing that I could think of as a desirable alternative was to sleep, eat ice cream, spaghetti, and sushi (probably not all together), read, and watch movies and TV. Naturally, if everyone were to do things like that and only things like that, the world economy would grind to a halt. With no one to make and deliver the ice cream to my local store, how am I supposed to get it?

However, my experience is that this perspective is a temporary one. It is predicated on the prospect of distancing myself from the drudgery I am escaping. It only has appeal due to the sense of contrast it promises with respect to the drudgery. Once the drudgery is no longer salient, the appeal of eating gallons of ice cream on the beach fades as well.

Once that happy glow diminishes, the question arises naturally: What do I do now? To answer that question, it helps to note that mystics from many traditions have noticed that we each have an internal compass that unerringly guides us toward what we most love to do and what we do best. It is invariably true that these two things are actually the same thing. In every sphere of human endeavor, the ones who are the most successful and talented are the ones who enjoy the endeavor the most.

The popular characterization of the wannabe who loves something but has no talent for it regardless of how hard he or she practices is a cultural myth. In real life, the situations in which this seems to be true are actually situations in which the person doesn’t actually love the thing. Rather, he or she generally loves something else. The thing symbolizes what is loved or represents a means of acquiring it.

For example, someone who tries very hard to build a business but is unsuccessful may in fact be focused on developing sufficient income to set her own schedule so she can write a book. She doesn’t love the business or business in general at all. It is a means to an unrelated end.

Someone else who grew up playing catch with his father in the back yard may feel love for baseball but not be able to play well. He might actually be loving his deceased father and responding to baseball because it symbolizes his relationship to his father. He doesn’t actually love the game itself, with all of its intricacies, the feel of the bat, catching a line drive, or the taste and feel of the dirt as he slides in to steal a base.

Those who do love the minutiae of baseball or any other activity can’t help but improve as they engage in it. When they do engage in it or simply observe it, they have a heightened awareness the whole process and their engagement in it that results in a level of insight and performance that is summed up with the term “talent.”

This is one aspect of miracle. That we are composed in such a way that we have an unerring internal compass. This compass is accessed through our awareness of what we respond to with happiness. The activities that make us happy – the things we love to do – are the things that we tend to do well and improve on quickly. They are therefore also the things that represent our greatest gifts to the world.

How amazing that the things we love to do are the things we do well and the things that represent our greatest gifts to the world! This is what lies waiting patiently for us to discover on the far side of eating gallons of ice cream on the beach – exercising our greatest gifts and loving it. By choosing to pursue those things that we most want to do, we actually do good in the world.

As if this were not miracle enough, consider that each person has a different point of view and a different experience of what he or she most loves to do. The universe is so composed that as we each step out into the world to honor and offer our gifts, existence conspires so that everything works. Things that otherwise may not have been reasonably expected become effortless as other people who are also doing what they most love to do show up and connect with us. Their talents align with our needs and our talents answer their needs.

Miraculously, the universe is so constructed that everything that must get done is done. If we choose to do what we love, our experience is joyful. As everyone moves toward doing what they love, everything will still get done. The difference will be that everything with get done joyfully.

It may seem incredible, but someone will choose to pick up the garbage, grow the food, manage the books, organize files and drawers, and clean the streets, not because they have to or they are getting paid, but because they love to do those things. The world probably won’t look quite the same once (most) everyone chooses from love and joy instead of from fear and lack. Some things will probably fade and disappear, but things that go away will mostly be things that are rooted and sustained primarily out of fear, anger, and other manifestations of ego. Other things and dirty jobs will probably be replaced by new jobs that are created by those acting from joy.

This is a third aspect of miracle. It is stable. The world tends toward greater and more common expressions from joy. As more and more individuals practice this and anchor their awareness of themselves and their power in joy, the world itself will shift. Part of this shift inevitably involves release of old patterns, institutions, and ways of doing things in favor of new ways grounded in joy. As we establish these new ways, the tendency to revert to the old ways vanishes.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Never Alone

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by DCH Park

Last week we considered the fact that energy and emotion that we share with others creates a recursive loop that effortlessly grows in strength. As each person receives or resists energy transmitted by the other while sending the same energy back to the other, the energy builds. This works with distrust, anger, and hatred as well as it does with openness, joy, and love.

It is a fundamental principle that can be observed in operation everywhere. Wherever there are two or more people interacting there is the potential for this principle to come into play. It is one way to understand the phenomenon of group or cooperative creation – what some call brainstorming. Napoleon Hill called it the Master Mind principle and recognized that it can be a powerful way to bring desired outcomes into your experience.

A successful Master Mind generates far more energy in much less time with much less effort than a lone person working in isolation can. Attitudes of openness and mutual support allow creativity and insight to deepen as the whole group enters a virtuous spiral that can carry them to great heights.

Of course, the same mechanism is also in operation when mutual distrust, antagonism, or one-upmanship is in play. Unfortunately it is currently common for people to find themselves in downward spirals. They often don’t even recognize the nature of the spiral that they are creating together. As this changes, and people realize that they have a choice, these downward spirals naturally become increasingly less prominent features until they virtually disappear.

Beyond this, though, notice that you don’t even need another person with whom to practice such mutual sharing and reinforcement. For example, notice the dynamic that a person shares with a beloved pet. Dogs are particularly well suited for this but just about any mammal and many non-mammals, especially some birds, do it very well, too.

For example, if the person feels agitated or excited, the pet will pick that up and begin to exhibit the same emotion. Then the person may feel it more intensely, emotion building as focus on the interaction sharpens. This serves to reinforce the pet’s behavior, which ramps up, and so on.

Even more interesting, it is not even necessary to have a pet or other animal to practice with. For example, spend some time in the woods, go for a walk in a safe place at night, take in the stars or moon, notice a pretty painting or flower, or sit alone in a quiet room. Notice how the sense of connection and ease of flow increase. After a while, the flow opens to reveal an ever finer structure of joy and love.

This is the nature of existence. All things are acts of joy and love. When we seek to create a new experience for ourselves, the universe or source does not simply bring the thing that we seek to us. It resonates with our desire and becomes the thing we seek. All things – including other people and pets – are made of the same divine essence.

That is why mutual sharing is so powerful. We reflect in however small a way our divine nature in becoming what is asked and shown. How could that be anything but powerful?

This also why, in truth, you don’t need another person to practice with. Another person can help in providing a convenient focus, but you are never far from your own divine nature nor the divine nature of everything. Even the most mundane experience is in essence divine and full of wonder and beauty. Allow your awareness of this beauty, wonder, and joy to be felt. Notice how your appreciation of these things can form the foundation of an upward spiral whose boundaries are potentially limited only by the extents of existence itself.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Positive (or Negative) Expectations

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by DCH Park

It is popular in some circles to embrace juicy displays of excitement and joy as part of the creation process. Perhaps partly due to a widespread misunderstanding or too literal interpretation of lessons in The Secret and other texts, the notion that joy, gratitude, and excitement about your creation should be strong and palpable is very popular.

If this is your natural mode and it works for you, then by all means, continue. Some people are very joyful and excited. They veritably vibrate with excitement and appreciation. Their energy seems almost tangible. They are able to pass that excitement on to others, which can be a powerful motivator for action.

The emotional impact of such individuals is almost physical in its effect. In fact, the Huna view of such raw emotion is that it is felt through the Basic Self, which is associated most closely with the body and subconscious. Huna also suggests that since the Basic Self is equally capable of feeling negative emotions, these same people are as prone to strongly feel and radiate their negative emotions as they are their positive ones.

However, there is a full range of emotions and wide variety in the ways that people experience and express them. Notice that there is another way to feel the reality of a new creation even before it is ready to be experienced in the physical world. Notice the sense of certainty you have in taking a step in the dark. You can’t see the floor before you, but you step out with a sense of surety that it is there. Beyond that, you have a sense for what it feels like and where it is. On those occasions when the floor wasn’t where you expected it to be, the moment your foot passed through the space where you expected to find the floor, your sense of surety instantly passed into alarm.

By the same token, if the floor was where you’d expected but felt different than you’d expected (for example if it was carpeted instead of hardwood or if it was wet), you probably felt surprise. Not alarm to be sure, but the swiftness and dynamics of change in your emotional state was probably nearly identical.

This sense of certainty is a subtler thing than the keen, body-felt excitement of the Basic Self. It is also very powerful, arguably more powerful than the excitement. Napoleon Hill identifies this sense of certainty as the single most powerful emotion in creating new experiences. Hill calls it Faith.

The story is told of a man familiar with the Law of Attraction who had befriended a powerful Native American shaman in the southwest. They were experiencing a drought, having already gone many weeks without rain. The shaman announced that he would perform a rain ceremony to bring rain.

The man asked his friend if he could come to witness the ceremony. The shaman agreed. The man was very excited. He was eager to see how the shaman, who was well known for his ability to bring rain, would pray for rain. Would there be long meditations, chanting and drumming, exotic rituals?

They walked up onto a high plateau. After a long time the shaman announced that they had arrived at the proper spot. He drew a circle in the dry dirt and took off his shoes. Then he stepped into the circle and stepped out again. He put on his shoes and motioned for his friend to follow him back down the slope. The ceremony was over!

The man was startled. Had he missed something? Was his friend pulling his leg? Maybe they would do the real ceremony after they’d both had a good laugh.

He asked the shaman what had happened. The shaman answered that he had pictured in his mind the rain falling and felt the mud between his toes when he stepped into the circle. He believed that the mud was there instead of the dust. That was the creation.

The next day, it rained.

This quite certitude is characteristic of the High Self in Huna. In contrast to the broad flush of excitement and joy that are like blunt instruments powerfully wielded by the Basic Self, quiet certainty and faith are like a fine instrument – a surgeon’s scalpel. When handled with deftness and precision, it can do much more in less time and with less effort than the blunt instrument can. It doesn’t take a gigantic effort to bring down a giant. It only takes a small stone applied to the right spot in the right way.

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Forming Powerful Resolves

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by DCH Park

Consider the manner in which powerful resolves are made. Also called manifestations or creations, resolves are statements about what you desire and choose to call into your experience.

Whether you embrace Abraham and the Law of Attraction, Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, and the principles of success, Huna, or any other philosophy of success is immaterial. The ability to compose powerful statements about what it is that you intend to create in your life is useful, even if it’s only to firmly set your goal in your mind so that you don’t waver as you proceed.

Of course, many schools of thought and philosophies of success recognize the importance of taking action to reach your goals. The ability and readiness to recognize and act on opportunities when they arise is a vital part of creating success. You can never know ahead of time from which quarter a new opportunity may arrive and often situations that present themselves at first as burdens, disappointments, or distractions lead to or morph into huge opportunities later on.

Action in the world is no doubt a key component in successfully realizing your creation(s) in the physical world, however, the creation of whatever it is that you may prefer begins with your resolve. Napoleon Hill was neither the first nor the last person to note that “thoughts are things.” All success and all failure have their beginnings in the thoughts that we cultivate long before either success or failure are realized.

There are several principles or guidelines that may prove useful to keep in mind as you form your resolve. In no particular order, these are:

  • Be clear and definite.
  • Be simple and direct. Use as few words as possible.
  • Define your desire in positive terms.
  • Be aware of the feeling tone that accompanies your recitation of your resolve.
  • Believe it. If you don’t or can’t believe it, it won’t happen.
  • Begin with baby steps – “Crawl, Walk, Run.”
  • Use images. Images that evoke strong felt experience are best.
  • Powerful words that evoke images are good. Excessive verbiage disconnected from images is poor. Language can actually impede the creation process.
  • Express your resolve in the present tense.
  • Include yourself in the picture.
  • Relax. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is yours. You can refine it, restate it, or change it altogether at anytime as you learn and grow.

Clarity and definiteness sound obvious, but in practice, achieving them can be challenging. Generally, it is better to be as specific as possible about the desire while at the same time releasing all notions about the manner in which your desired creation will appear in your life in the physical world.

The classic interpretation of this principle emphasizes specificity about worldly details, so instead of saying, “I have lots of money,” the principle is taken to be a recommendation to be specific about the amount, “I have $10M in the bank.” Extraneous details about the desire, especially about how it might be achieved, are revealed in this way as being counterproductive.

However, as worded, the desire that “I have $10M in the bank,” in its focus on the physical details, entirely misses the context which gives that $10M significance. For example, $10M in the bank sounds good unless you owe $20M. Alternatively, consider that 50 years ago $10M would have seemed like an impossible sum and 50 years from now, $10M, though still a lot, may seem more like what $500K seems now or what $100K seemed like in the past.

One common response to this shortcoming is to add more words to describe the context, but this rapidly deteriorates into long, wordy statements that would be more appropriate in a legal contract than in powerful manifestations. This practice is reminiscent of trying to reason back to the object that casts shadows on a wall from nothing but shadows. To even have a chance of being accurate about the object, you have to take into account any imperfections and irregularities in the wall as well as in the light. Is the light bright, steady, dim, or flickering?

Even after adjusting for all of that, you still have no way to knowing from just the shadow if the object is a dog or someone casting a shadow that looks like a dog or even if there are several objects that line up to cast a composite shadow. You may not have any idea at all of what the nature of the object is.

In a similar vein, perhaps the statement “I have $10M in the bank” is definite but not clear. The focus on the $10M might be like focusing on the shadow. Is $10M really what you want to enjoy or is the $10M simply a familiar cultural proxy for something deeper, truer, and more personal? Incidental details shift as the context changes, just as the shadows on a cave wall shift as the fire dances, but the inner truth is constant, just as the object casting the shifting shadow remains unchanged.

The unchanging truth that you might be reaching for through the proxy of $10M might be a sense of wealth and ease firmly rooted in the felt knowing and embodied experience that when you need or want something, it is there for you. That, in other words, the experience of privation and self-denial that characterizes a lack of resources is as abstract for you as the temperature on the far side of the moon might have been to the Ancient Mariner.

Embracing clarity and definiteness about this deeper reality – the personal, felt experience of wealth and ease – not only makes your resolve much more powerful and immediate, it opens up possibilities through which you can enjoy its realization that you would probably have otherwise remained closed to. Letting go of your focus on $10M allows you to explore and appreciate the true abundance and variety of your wealth and the richness of the universe.

It is best to state your resolve so that your desire is directly identified. Stating your desire in terms of its opposite actually defines the opposite more than the desire. One person, tired of always fighting with his spouse, focused on “not fighting all the time” rather than something like “I love and appreciate my wife.” They ended up divorcing each other. Although divorcing his wife did ironically provide a means to realize his resolve of “not fighting all the time,” it was precipitated by continued and escalating conflict with his wife. By focusing on “not fighting,” he actually manifested more fighting.

To understand this, most success and attraction gurus content themselves with hazy statements like, “the universe doesn’t understand (or respond to or accept)‘not’ and ‘no.’” Although these statements are accurate observations, they have very little or no power to illuminate. They merely articulate another rule to remember and follow from the mysterious rulebook of life.

I have personally always had a hard time accepting that. In my experience, when rules are put forth with little, weak, nonsensical, or absent explanation, it indicates that someone is hiding something (like an agenda or ignorance) or that I am missing or misunderstanding something. Happily, Huna provides a philosophy of success that illuminates the situation.

As mentioned above, images are very powerful. Huna makes clear that images are the means by which messages are sent and received outside of and beyond what people commonly experience as physical reality. Thus, the resolves that you formulate are communicated to your High Self and the universe beyond in the form of images. Notice that it is impossible to negate an image. If you picture something, say an apple, and then try to negate the apple, you end up with the apple or something else instead. There is no negative apple.

Negation is a function of language (the trope of a circle with a slash is culturally defined and thus a linguistic artifact). Since spirit communicates with images, there is no negation in communicating with spirit and resolves defined in terms that negate something actually convey a desire for the thing being negated.

As with anything, you must crawl before you walk and you must walk before you run. It may be too much of a stretch to go directly to your ultimate goal. In that case, it can help to start small and build up a track record of relatively smaller successes. For example, if you are very ill or badly injured, it may seem like nothing more than wishful thinking to resolve to be fully healthy with full use of arms and legs.

However, smaller goals, such as not feeling so achy, being able to eat and hold down a meal, or just sitting up in bed may be good places to start. As successes mount, your expectations will naturally shift so that bigger and bigger things become possible. Soon, things that once seemed impossible become natural.

This is an interesting subtlety. The emotional tone with which you state and hold your resolve is critical. If you are negative and pessimistic when you embrace your resolve, the net effect is to delay realization of the goal or in fact to create the experience of lack, which naturally engenders greater pessimism. You can ride the spiral down as easily as you can ride it upward. Some people take this to mean that feelings of joy and exuberance are important in making resolves. However, others note that the feeling of certainty or faith is the most important and powerful feeling tone.

When you go to a distant place full of beauty and wonder, especially if you have been anticipating being there for some time – for example the Grand Canyon or Disneyland – there is a sense of reality to the place that only serves to underscore the impact of being there. It is akin to the knowing that water is wet and fire is hot.

This is the faith or knowing that can transform a resolve into reality. Emotionally, it is already real. From this point of view, it makes no more (or less) sense to be exuberant or bubbly over your resolve than it does over the fact that fire is hot or that Disneyland is. Holding a resolve in such faith has amazing power. It can instantly transform your perspective. Actions can suddenly seem possible, even matter-of-fact. Success can become as inevitable as the morning sun.

As Annie sings, “tomorrow is a day away.” It tends to be self-defeating to resolve that you will have, be, or do something “some day.” It can be equally frustrating to resolve that you “want to” be, do, or have something. Resolving to want something is immediately self-fulfilling. You already want it. Ta-da! You’re successful. You created what you desire.

Instead, state your resolve in the present tense. Rather than “I will create a fortune,” state “I have a fortune.” What is even better, focus on the experience of having the fortune. What does it feel like? This also has the virtue of putting yourself in the picture. It does little good to picture piles of money if you aren’t there to enjoy it. Similarly to creating in the present, picturing piles of money, a new house, new car, or new spouse without including yourself in the picture is easily realized. These things all exist in the world. Focus instead on your experience of yourself enjoying these things.

In conclusion, remember that words are generally not the best vehicle for making or stating your resolve. They can be helpful as tools to explore how you want to define your resolve and for accessing it quickly. However words are a poor vehicle for capturing and conveying your resolve. Images and body sensations are far more powerful. Beyond the emotional and physical solidity of faith and belief, body sensations can help make the resolve more vivid and immediate.

For example, if you desire a vacation in Hawaii, an image of a white sandy beach may be potent but compare that to imagining yourself on that beach. Feel the weight of your body as you sink into the sand, the warmth of the sun and sand on your face and back. Smell and hear the ocean.

If you are having challenges in forming your resolve, begin with what you have and be aware of what does and does not work well or feel right. Use it. State it. This is often quite helpful in uncovering lacunae that you don’t see because a conceptual blind spot hides it. If this happens, you can always refine or change your resolve. It is yours.

For example, one person felt that she had a good idea of what she wanted because she had always had a sense of what success would be like or look like and she felt successful, at least on paper. However, when she did an exercise that called for her to state her resolve clearly, she discovered that she did not have a succinct, powerful statement. She had only vague and poorly defined notions of what she wanted.

Yoga Nidra is an excellent practice for this sort of realization. The name translates as “the sleep of the yogis” and it is a means for putting the body to sleep while remaining awake in order to gain conscious access to the creative imaginal mind. More information about Yoga Nidra and other practices will be available in these pages shortly.

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Importance of Speaking Out – III

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by DCH Park

Speaking out is a powerful process. It has many effects. One obvious one is that it helps to shift dialog and consciousness. It is not necessary to become a public figure or convert anyone to a particular view to have a positive effect. In fact, setting out to deliberately change people’s views or shift or control discussion to favor one position over another is counterproductive, regardless of what the position might be.

It is not necessary to dominate, debate, or disagree. Simply being aware of and honoring your point of view in your life and being open and ready to share about your view of the truth and hear about others’ perspectives is all that is needed. Of course, it helps if there exists a safe environment within which such dialog can take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation.

Sadly, many people’s experience is that their everyday fora – at work, in school, or at home for example – are not safe places. They feel that their reputations, their livelihoods, or even their personal safety may be endangered if they give voice to opinions that run counter to the group norm or would not be understood or respected.

When faced with such situations, most people choose to “keep quiet and keep their heads down.” This is understandable. It is what most people have been drilled to do during years of schooling and religious and other social training. Such training is not education, although many try to dignify it with that name.

Napoleon Hill makes the point that the word education is drawn from the Latin word educo, which is the same root for educe, meaning to draw out. True education is a process of drawing out the student. A truly educated person, according to Hill, is one who has drawn out and lives in accordance with the full expression of his or her own wisdom.

Of course, in a situation that does not feel safe, comporting yourself as an educated person can be difficult. Fortunately, the first step is typically the hardest and once it has been made, the very fact that you are living true to yourself changes the situation for everyone. It automatically becomes safer for everyone because one person is living honestly.

Naturally, there will be situations in which some person or group will believe that its own interests are tied to maintaining a certain perspective or keeping a certain other group suppressed. In these situations, you may encounter resistance, either in the form of “dirty politics,” such as rumor-mongering, or even open threats and violence. However, such mean-spiritedness cannot not withstand genuine openness, honesty, and loving engagement forever. It will ultimately melt.

Unfortunately, this does not mean that there is no risk involved, especially in the short term. This is why people speak of the strength of the Spiritual Warrior. Dan Millman calls it the Peaceful Warrior. Most popular notions of a warrior are defined in terms of fighting prowess and the ability to crush enemies on the battlefield. The image of the warrior who has conquered all opposition and claimed victory over the bodies of fallen foes has been extensively romanticized.

However, what has been lost or diminished in most popular romances is that in order to grasp such victory, the warrior must first conquer him or her self. This mastery of self is by far the greater challenge. It has been observed that such mastery of self is the true victory. Outward challenges shrink to insignificance in comparison. The war in the outer world is only a reflection of the inner truth.

There is a remarkable scene in Seven Samurai in which two sword masters meet in a field. Obligations and codes of honor dictate that they must do battle, although if freed from such entangling alliances, they would most likely be great friends and allies. They stand facing each other, swords drawn, completely motionless for long minutes. Each is meditating and connecting with his experience of himself, truth, and the honorableness of the cause and company he fights for.

Suddenly, they both lash out with furious speed and intent. Blades flash as they rush past each other in the sun. One falls, dead. The physical action takes almost no time at all. The true battle is won and lost in the inner landscape of each warrior’s deepest being.

Fortunately, there is little need to engage in life-and-death combat to test your warrior spirit in the modern world (or perhaps that is unfortunate – battle can focus energies and attention to a remarkable degree). Opportunities abound to exercise your ability to either honor your deepest wisdom and connection to truth or to compromise and choose to serve your apparent needs of the moment.

The true warrior honors the truth, even when doing so might feel inconvenient or uncomfortable. The spiritual warrior speaks out for the truth through the manner in which he or she lives and connects with others and the world. Even when saying nothing, the warrior speaks volumes.

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“Importance of Speaking Out – III” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Success Mastermind

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by DCH Park

Popular entertainments commonly revolve around struggles between a villain and a hero. Although it is no longer fashionable to call the villain in such pieces an “evil mastermind,” the pop culture characteristics are still very evident. The evil mastermind is a wicked genius who is also driven by a very old injustice in which he or she was somehow wronged, cheated, or hurt.

Sometimes the injustice is ancient – so ancient that the details are lost and the villain is characterized as simply “evil.” Sometimes the injustice is revealed to be predicated on a misunderstanding. In the latter case, the possibility of redemption exists, but in either case the villain acts out the pain, suffering, and fear of further injustice by seeking to punish, control, or sacrifice the whole world in order to avenge past suffering or escape further suffering.

It is interesting to note that some popular morality tales describe the origin of the hero in similar fashion to that of the villain, except that the hero’s vengeance is tightly focused and limited to the actual perpetrator of the original injustice or those allied with the original perpetrator in deed or spirit.

In any case, the evil mastermind is portrayed as obsessed. He (or she) has a plan which is usually brilliantly complex and layered. It often takes the hero’s own actions into account and makes them critical components in moving the evil plot forward. In other words, the popular portrayal is accurate in many respects but gets a few critical details wrong, making the whole concept of a “mastermind” unsavory.

The term “Master Mind” was used by Napoleon Hill to describe the power by which successful men and women achieve their goals. In The Law of Success he describes how Andrew Carnegie first described the manner in which he brought together and organized a team of people dedicated to creating a fortune through the manufacture and marketing of steel.

Carnegie himself had no knowledge of how steel was made. He didn’t have to. His expertise was in creating and leading the team whose members already knew everything they needed to know about making and selling steel. Carnegie’s role was to forge and lead this Master Mind group. In the process he made himself and many of his employees very wealthy.

The Master Mind is an emergent phenomenon that comes out of the coming together of two or more minds “in a spirit of perfect harmony.” Under such circumstances, Hill observed, a “third mind” emerges that is greater than the sum of the individual separate minds that have come together. It carries with it a level of excitement and commitment that can be exhilarating. It also provides a connection to insight and creativity that can lead to previously unimagined solutions to difficult problems.

Hill is very clear that the Master Mind is the means by which great power and success are achieved, regardless of how one defines success.

No individual may have great power without availing himself of the “Master Mind”. … Analyze the record of any man [or woman] who has accumulated a great fortune, and many of those who have accumulated modest fortunes, and you will find that they have either consciously or unconsciously employed the “Master Mind” principle.

Thus, the popular notion of the lone mastermind hatching plots of diabolical intricacy by virtue of his (or her) incredible genius is a phantom. According to Hill, it is the other way around. The levels of creative imagination and insight that become available to members of a successful Master Mind can propel them to operate at the level of genius. In fact, Hill speculates that the inventive genius of Thomas Edison and the brilliant business acumen of Henry Ford were due in large part to their personal association in a Master Mind group, though it is unlikely that they called it that.

The other elements of the popular mastermind – clarity of goals, focused direction bordering on obsession, persistence that spans years or decades, consistency of effort, and formulation, execution, and refinement of a plan – are all necessary elements to realize success in the real world. For those who wish to be successful, it would be wise to keep sight of these truths while forming a Master Mind.

There is one further caveat to bear in mind. Hill is careful to point out over and over again the importance of “perfect harmony” in the formation and operation of a successful Master Mind. This is of such paramount importance that he even recommends that married couples who are unable to achieve and maintain harmony with each other would be better off divorcing so they can find more compatible partners.

Unfortunately he is silent as to exactly how to foster harmony in a group. He does observe that there are many ways in which harmony can be induced by leaders. Although this is, according to Hill, the most important characteristic of a leader and, in fact, the thing that distinguishes a leader from a follower, each leader must discover individually what leadership style works best.

Leadership style aside, Hill does state clearly that not every mind will be compatible with every group. In some cases this might simply mean that the mismatched individual would be better suited and very valuable in a different group or environment. In other cases it may mean that the individual is not well suited (by temperament or habitual outlook, for example) to cooperation in “perfect harmony” with others in general.

There are certain minds which… cannot be made to blend in a spirit of harmony. This principle has its comparable analogy in chemistry. For example, … one atom of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen will not produce water; moreover they cannot be made to associate themselves in harmony!

… Just as the combining of certain elements changes the entire nature, the combining of certain minds changes the nature of those minds, producing either a certain degree of what has been called a “Master Mind” or its opposite, which is highly destructive.

In such extreme cases, according to Hill, the responsibility of the leader is to remove the negative influence from the group in order to foster robust harmony within the Master Mind.

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The World Is A Reflection…

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by DCH Park

You may have heard that the world is a reflection. “A reflection of what?” some might ask. One answer is, it’s a reflection of your expectations. This is another way to understand and appreciate the ways in which the physical universe – or at least that part of it which you experience – is merely an illusion or dream and you are the dreamer.

The idea that the world is an illusion or dream can be found in many teachings ranging from ancient Vedic to Taoist to Platonic to shamanic. It is also a powerful way to understand and work with manifesting and abundance creation. Learning to dream more deliberately can open a path to enjoying a life more to your liking. This is at the heart of messages and lessons from sources as diverse as Abraham Hicks, Napoleon Hill, the Bible, Hawaiian mysticism, and Mahatma Gandhi.

One aspect of working with the illusion that we call reality is rooted in the realization that what we accept and believe as real becomes real in the world. The power of the dream comes from belief. “It’s not the power of the [dream], it’s the power we give it.”

Does this mean that we can make unpleasant things disappear by closing our eyes, covering our ears, and singing loudly to ourselves? Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), no. Things don’t work this way. By reacting this way, we resist the unpleasant and as Jung observed, “What you resist persists.”

To understand this better, notice that when you resist something, your focus and energies are directed to two things for the most part. One is the thing you are resisting. The other is your resistance. You are not present to relaxing into or appreciating a joyful life. The things you are giving power to are the thing you resist and your struggle to resist it. Naturally, these are the things that grow.

Some people try very hard to embrace thoughts about things they enjoy in order to drown out or distract themselves from things they don’t like. This can easily slip into a form of “whistling in the graveyard,” and thus, a form of resistance. In focusing so forcefully on sunshine and dewdrops are you in fact papering over your fear or dislike of illness, failure, or something else? Would you whistle so determinedly if you weren’t walking through a scary graveyard at night?

If the honest answer to the last question is “no,” then you probably are resisting something instead of simply enjoying whistling or thoughts of gummi bears dancing in a sunny meadow. Imagine a world in which the mature, responsible, evolved response to unwanted experiences was to close your eyes, cover your ears, and sing a song. That would be silly. Just as the child who shuts his eyes and covers his ears is silly. If you see your reflection in a mirror and notice that your collar is turned up or your hair is mussed, how do you react? Do you turn your body so you only present your kempt side to the mirror or cover your eyes so that you don’t see the collar?

Alternatively, do you try to reach into the mirror to fix your reflection? Of course not. Why would you try to reach into your reflection to change yourself? No one who understands what a mirror is would even think of trying to reach into the reflection. They would understand immediately that to fix the reflected image, they need to tend to themselves.

In exactly the same fashion, you can use your experience in the world as an indicator of what you can tend to in yourself to improve your experience. Just as the mirror shows you that by combing your hair or fixing your collar you can change your appearance (and thereby change your reflection), you can understand an unpleasant pattern in your life as a reflection of something in you that is attracting that experience. By changing yourself, you can change your life and your reflection in the world will lead you directly to the thing that can be changed to your benefit.

This is by no means a clever way to blame yourself for misfortune. Rather, it is a path to recognizing where and how you can heal and grow. It turns on responsibility, not blame. It is a path to profound self-empowerment and freedom. Fully grasping your personal responsibility for your experience in the world and exercising the power to enjoy what you want while changing what you don’t want is profoundly liberating.

The key is to change those parts of yourself that are reflected as unpleasant experience. Old wounds and obsolete beliefs and desires anchor unwanted patterns. Recognize that those patterns are guideposts to the unhealed wounds. By accepting those unwanted experiences, (rather than resisting them) you can give yourself permission to follow those guideposts and ultimately to heal the wounds. It all begins with recognizing the value of your reflection in the world.

Once old wounds are healed and beliefs released, the patterns they anchor dissipate. Rather than a never-ending struggle, a sense of revitalized energy and optimism emerge. Just as a leg wound can either be dealt with and healed or ignored and fester, emotional and spiritual woundings will fester and worsen as long as they are ignored or resisted but once they are properly addressed and healed, their associated impairments fade into memories.

Of course, you are always free to defiantly struggle with the impairment instead of tending to the deeper wound. You are at liberty to focus only on external appearances and struggle to “fix” things or people around you in order to make yourself feel better, just as you are at liberty to ignore a festering leg wound and go from a limp to a wheelchair. In either case, a strictly external focus is ultimately self-defeating. It’s like holding two bar magnets together so that like poles touch. You might be able to hold them in place, but as soon as you take your hand away, they flip.

Similarly, changing something in the world requires constant effort. As soon as you relax that effort, the external world reverts. Lasting change can be gained by going into yourself, to the true source of external events. Just as with your collar in the mirror, the surest and quickest way to change what you see is to change yourself.

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To Make Your Success More Powerful, Share It

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by DCH Park

There are those who say that it’s important to keep your dreams to yourself to keep them alive. Motivated perhaps by fear that telling others your plans and dreams opens you up to criticism and
theft, they counsel that it’s best to avoid letting others know in the first place. Some even say that you should write your plan out and hide it in a box whose location only you know.

That is perhaps a more traditional view of how things work, but in a more modern view it is clear that sharing your plans and dreams with others can actually make them more likely to be realized. Naturally, it’s a good idea to avoid telling your plans to someone who would not understand or would be openly hostile, but sharing your ideas and dreams with someone who is open-minded and supportive can be very powerful.

Especially for those things that are exciting, the more we talk about them with others, the more excitement we feel. Not only that, but our excitement becomes contagious and others feel it too. Pretty soon a whole group of people can be excited about your idea and suggestions and help will show up from friends of friends whom you never even spoke to.

In this way, sharing your dreams with others can be the most powerful way to make them happen.

Sometimes in the telling, you realize that there are problems or roadblocks that you’ve overlooked. This is also good. It represents an opportunity to revise and refine your plan, increasing your chances of success. Alternatively, it represents an opportunity to reevaluate your plan and come to a better understanding of how well it serves you. In some cases you may find that the plan doesn’t serve you well at all and that it is better forgotten.

What about theft? Might not telling many people about your plan make it possible for someone to steal your idea and implement it first? This is a concern that many would-be inventors and entrepreneurs have regarding sharing their ideas with investors. As strange as it may seem, the idea or invention in such cases is only one piece of the puzzle that investors are interested in. In fact, it’s the smaller piece. By far, the more important piece of the puzzle is the excitement, focus, and insight that the inventor or creator feels about the project. This is something that no one can copy or steal.

The same is true about any plan or dream that we may have. Even if some unscrupulous character were to copy every detail of your plan he or she would be unable to do it the same way you would. His vision (or lack of vision) would be different than yours. His energy would be different, the experience and expertise that he brings to the challenges that come up would be different, and his motivations would be very different. So the final result would naturally be very different from anything you would create.

Beyond this, in a very real sense, if someone is stealing from you or you discover that someone else is doing something very similar in parallel, it’s good news. The fact that competition exists means that the market is good and that opportunities for success are plentiful. Seasoned entrepreneurs have the attitude that copycats and also-rans are always welcome for exactly that reason.

One of the most powerful way to share your idea with others is in what’s called a Master Mind group. This is a group of typically 2 to 20 people each one of whom has a serious commitment to his or her own success as well as to the success of everyone else in the group. Master Mind groups can be organized around a single success goal that everyone shares or each member can define for him or herself what success means.

For example, the team of analysts and advisors that Pres. Kennedy gathered around himself to handle the Bay of Pigs crisis is often studied as an example of an excellent team working together. Obviously, in this case everyone was working for a common goal. Other Master Mind groups can be organized along industry lines – for example a writers Master Mind group focused on publishing books or a real estate Master Mind group focusing on acquiring and fixing up properties.

Regardless of whether a Master Mind group has a single, shared goal or has many members each with a separate goal, they all share certain key characteristics. Beyond a dedication to their own and each other’s success, members of successful groups also share a willingness to hold each other accountable, clarity about the principles of success, and an eagerness to apply those principles in their own projects.

Beginning next week we’ll look at several key principles of success as developed in the work of Esther and Jerry Hicks, Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, and others.

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“To Make Your Success More Powerful, Share It” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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