For as long as humans have existed on this Earth our species has been studying the stars, planets, galaxies, and other astrological bodies, as well as their (and our) home - the universe. It is so immense that no one actually knows where it begins or ends. In fact...there isn't a person alive who can be certain that it has a beginning or an end, or...if there aren't other universes. Perhaps we live in a cosmos of multiverses.
Yet, there is one thing that I am sure of - you, my blog reading friend, are most certainly the center of your universe. Okay, you may not be the center of MY universe, but...I can tell you this - without you, your universe wouldn't exist.
You see, everything is relative. No one knows what another person's view of reality is. Nor can we be able to fully understand what goes on in another human's (or for that matter, any other living thing's) mind. So, without you, your universe wouldn't exist. It would cease to be. Or, as Monty Python might (also) say..."It is no more."
Just as the age old question asks, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" the same holds true for everything else, including our "universal concepts." In other words...the universe exists for you only because you are in it, can observe or detect it, use your senses to identify it, and call on your (and others') knowledge to "verify" that it is an actual entity.
However, what happens when you're gone? Once YOU'VE ceased to be...does the universe, as you now know it, continue to be "real." A philosophical conundrum? Indeed! But - one that will never be fully answered because of who must answer it.
As we go through life, we are constantly swimming through a sea of concepts and constructs. Many of which are believed by most, some of them believed by many, and a few of them believed by a small number - perhaps just one. So...before you make absolute statements, think about the dilemma each of us faces on a continuous basis, and even then - you may only be right for yourself.
Have fun dissecting things my friends...it certainly is an invigorating exercise - at least it is for one person I know...me!
Life coaching has become a catch-all phrase used by all sorts of people and organizations to promote a better, happier, more productive, and successful life. Some people opt for schools (a relatively new phenomenon) that certify folks to be a coach. Of course...who certifies the schools and, more importantly...who certifies and monitors the certifying agency and the certifiers? It's a question, I, and many others have asked. And, just like any other schools and those who attended them, your teacher could have graduated at the top of his or her class or the bottom - yet no one ever asks. In fact - when was the last time you asked your doctor his or her rank in their graduating class? My guess is...never. That notwithstanding, I tip my hat to the thousands of qualified coaches who help millions of people everyday!
I've been coaching people for many, many, years. So long in fact, that I actually had hair on my head when I started and my beard was all dark! I love helping people and thoroughly enjoy it when I, and they, see real progress in their lives. Getting people to understand who they are and why and how they do things, opens up doors for them that they may never have realized. Finding new success in their lives, whether from a business perspective, materialistically, emotionally, or spiritually, never ceases to make me feel wonderful.
One of the greatest things a life coach can experience is when his or her client moves away from fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, jealousy, anger, hate, and self-sabotaging and self-defeating behaviors, and begins to find the person they were hoping to be their entire life.
I began formally coaching in 1972 when I worked with my employees to help them grow and live a happier, more successful life. Now...I coach and train groups, both large (amphitheaters, huge hotel meeting rooms, and banquet halls), and small (corporate conference rooms, classrooms, and individuals' homes and offices). We're, both my clients and myself, always learning. That's why I see my capacity as a university professor as an extension of my coaching and training. I also love the fact that I continue to, through the magic of computers and teleconferencing, coach people all over this amazing planet.
If you are a life coach or have, or will, use the services of a life coach...I salute you. If you're stuck, feel "down," are looking to reach the potential you've always thought you could, want to be more content, happier, more enlightened, have better relationships, or just want to experience that "balance" so many people seem to have lost...perhaps the guidance of a coach can help. But - ultimately, it's up to you to make sure your journey is fruitful.
Inner peace seems to be what we are all in search of. Some humans realize it, others don't. Many people mask their desire for inner peace by overcompensating with and/or about other things. Often the material world becomes their substitute for inner peace. It brings them a costume, a form of self deception that hides their inner being, or so they think. However, those who recognize the depth and reality of inner peace are not taken by the mask, they know that the material only covers the nakedness of the soul.
That does not mean that one can't have material things, wealth, physical desires, and inner peace as well. It's only when the physical/material world is so pervasive in one's mind that their soul is lost in the process.
I am only an individual like you. One who has had his ups and downs and has dealt with health, happiness, sickness, and death. Through it all I have learned that inner peace can come by way of a long process or enter one's life as an epiphany. It arrives from knowledge and the wisdom of using one's mind in a cognitive way. By not being led except by one's self. It is derived through questioning...everything - and accepting nothing until all pertinent information has be deciphered. It means having an open mind and not being judgmental. The paradox comes when you finally know that you may never know. When you can flow with the energy of life as if it is a river. And...when you can enjoy the beauty of life for its own sake.
The calmness of inner peace is unveiled when one understands that a cloudy day presents its magnificence in a different, yet no less incredible, way as a day when the sun is brilliant and sheds it light on all that can be seen - like a blanket covering the Earth with a golden hue that cannot be matched by the greatest of artists. Inner peace comes when the sound of children laughing soothes one's soul like the music of a philharmonic. And...when all the things of life are viewed as a huge fabric textured by every nuance that each day brings - that is when one is engulfed by the realization that inner peace is a continuum.
With that, I have listed 7 steps that may help in one's discovery of inner peace. They are as follow:
1. Love all: Every being on this Earth desires love, including one's self. It is hard to give love when a person does not love himself, or herself, first. Be loving to yourself. That also means to forgive yourself and others so that your love is unencumbered.
2. Help many: No one can help everyone. That's impossible. But...each one of us can help a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Whether you give of your time, your money, your effort, or your advice...it doesn't matter. It is the act itself that counts.
3. Care kindly: Many people will care for others in a begrudging way. It may be their job, profession, or...they may feel that it's their obligation. The caregiver who gives without kindness is not giving care at all, but just performing a function. Kindness makes care a caring service.
4. Enjoy others: Each of us needs enjoyment. We all have to laugh. As I often say, "Laughter is the nectar of the soul." Laughter and smiling, fun and enjoyment, are all emotionally and physically beneficial and makes everyone feel better and calmer about themselves.
5. Choose wisely: Life is filled with choices - constantly. We choose every action, everyday. Think about how your choices affect your life and the lives of others. The peaceful individual realizes that his or her energy and actions can create havoc or harmony, for themselves and others. Choose harmony.
6. Want little: The pursuit of material things often produces feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, distrust, greed, and many other emotions that take one's being away from peace. The most important things we have are ourselves, each other, our Earthly home, and time. The more time and energy you spend chasing a fabricated need for an over abundance of the material, the less time you will have to enjoy the peace and tranquility of life.
7. Need only yourself: Ultimately we only have ourselves on this trip called life. Of course, each one of us has other people and animals that we care about, love, and desire to be close with and to. Yet, when all is said and done...we are alone within the multitude. No one should ever be totally dependent on another person. Knowing how to be calm and relaxed in solitude is a wonderful experience. It frees us to realize that true peace materializes when we can be at peace with ourselves first. Then...one can begin to know the beauty of inner peace.
The search is never ending. Our species has been doing it since we could get up on two legs and walk. Perhaps...even before that. We have this urge to know. A deep seated desire to understand our purpose and reason for being on this Earth remains with so many of us throughout our lives. And so we look for someone, or something, to explain it all. Many people attend religious institutions hoping that those who lead the congregations will tell them the secret. Others, see no justification in doing so. Yet...those same people, more often than not, still question.
We have followed stories of prophets and messiahs, gurus and yogis, saints, angels and gods. And...to a large degree, created myths that lead to the worship of others - hoping that we will finally find the ultimate answer. So much of our energies have gone into making sure that after we die, something good will happen to us. We will float in the sky - at peace. Or...if we haven't been an exemplary being, perhaps - we'll be in an eternal blast furnace (not a good things, to say the least).
But...I tend to look at life a different way. Do good things because that's the right thing to do. Show love, because we all need it. Treat others with respect because that's how things should be. After I'm gone, well - who knows. I haven't met anyone who has come back from the dead to explain to me what does or doesn't happen "on the other side." My choice is to live as a loving, caring person. That is what I find the secret to be. Believe me...I have had my share of metaphysical experiences, but would rather view them as the abilities we all have within us, yet...too few of us have taken the time to understand, or master them.
That brings me to the point of the title of this post: "Except for one - there are no spiritual leaders...only guides." What one normally thinks of as spiritual leaders shouldn't be worshiped, because - that belittles you as an equal person to them. Too many of these so-called leaders are great at making themselves appear to be better than others and worthy of some kind of a hierarchical position, which then makes others subservient to them. Usually, that also involves power and money. However, there are some people who are certainly worth being embraced as a guide. People with wisdom and knowledge - individuals who are humble and have learned and can pass on their experiences so that you may learn as well - and those who take the time to listen and address your needs, sometimes before they do things for themselves.
Take a good look at yourself...and realize that YOU are your own spiritual leader. No one else. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The secret and purpose of life is that you're here - to love, to care for yourself and others, to be good and do no harm, to educate, learn, and become wise. All the rest, as I see it, is a business. When it comes down to it, believe in yourself...but learn from others. You'll soon find out how far that can take you.
1. Step away from your "self" so that you can gain new and broader perspectives of yourself, and your life.
2. Stop trying to keep up with "The Joneses." Chances are they're trying to keep up with someone else. It becomes a never ending, emotionally, psychologically, and financially, draining cycle.
3. Learn how to Forgive. As Nelson Mandela once said, "Forgiveness sets you free." Try it and you'll quickly find out how true his statement is.
4. Don't live in the past. It's gone forever. You'll never be able to retrieve it, so why dwell on it? Emotions like jealousy, regret, hate, guilt, and worry, are time wasters and only hurt yourself...no on else. They eat away at a person unnecessarily and often become self-defeating and self-sabotaging behaviors that lead to emotional paralysis.
5. Live in the "Now." We're only on this Earth for a short and finite period of time - "Life is Permanently Temporary." Enjoy each "Now" moment. And...keep moving forward.
6. Be kind, tolerant, loving, and non-judgmental, but not weak. Everyone is different. No two people act or look the same. We can learn so much by being open to each other instead of thinking that we're always right. Our species is a beautiful fabric of different textures, why not enjoy the aesthetics of the entire tapestry? Each one of us needs the same things: Love, Respect, Shelter, Food, and the other basics of life. Know that none of us is greater or better than the next person...just different. And...while you keep an open mind and heart, be sure to maintain your strength of character and well-being.
7. Listen. Everyone has a story to tell. You already know yours. People bond quicker with those who listen to them (and their stories). How else will you learn if you don't use your ability to listen? Don't let active and intense listening become a lost art in your life.
8. Be grateful. Whatever you have, or don't have - there is, more than likely, someone else who would trade places with you "in a heartbeat." Sometimes it's hard to "see the forest for the trees," but you can bet, you're better off than lots of people...no matter how hard the advertising, marketing, and media industries try to convince you otherwise.
9. Exercise your body and your mind. Walk, run, workout, read, do puzzles, write, converse, visit museums, watch interesting movies, videos, television, and discuss it all with yourself, your family, and your friends and acquaintances. Get opinions about all the different aspects of life. Intellectual discourse is a great way to stay "sharp."
10. Sleep and take time to relax. Not much is better than a good night's sleep. Don't deprive yourself of that luxury. It refreshes your body and your mind and enables you to function at your peak. And, ahh...how wonderful it is to relax and take in life next to a flowing stream, on the beach, in the mountains, on your couch, your deck, porch, front lawn, or wherever you choose. Relaxing and having a good night of sleep are two of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself.
11. Eat right. A balanced diet translates into a balanced being. Healthy food makes the engine of life perform at its most efficient level. When you can...eat "organic" products. I'm not saying to be a vegetarian (of course, if you are that's great). We've evolved as omnivores, yet so many of our meats, vegetables, dairy products, fruits, nuts, and grains have been tainted by science in the name of "progress and profit." Beware. No one knows what all those pesticides, herbicides, genetically engineered, and factory farmed products will ultimately do to our systems. Why take a chance?
12. Laugh, sing, and don't take things too seriously. Come on! Why not? As I said before..."Life is Permanently Temporary." Do you really want to spend the better part of it worrying about things that have mostly been made up anyway? Remember...we live in a world of mental, societal, and social constructs. Once you realize that, you begin to see the absurdity in so many of the things we take as real or important. Laugh! You'll be much better off for it!
What is a “Yogic Lifestyle?”
While most people have a concept of yoga…mostly of people sitting in the lotus position, some other more physically demanding position, or just meditating, there is another method of yoga that I practice on a constant basis. I call it “Broadview Yoga™” or “Viewenics™.” It is a method of separating yourself from your self. This enables a person to watch themselves as if they’re in their own movie…the movie of life.
There are exercises that can help a person reach that “state.” I have taught it to some of my students and many of them have told me about the positive results they have achieved.
When you practice “Broadview Yoga™” or “Viewenics™ you start to realize how your energy affects yourself and those around you. You become more aware of your surroundings, which empowers you to see things from a new and broader perspective. Most people don’t think about how their energy can cause negative or positive consequences, they may recognize the aftermath of their actions but, all too often, they do not use their ability to watch things unfold.
Taking a more expanded view of life can enable an individual to become a more peaceful person, as well as one who may realize how, when watching one’s self, he or she can see amazing things.
My yogic lifestyle requires no specific positions and mantras (although I don’t deny the fact they those things can certainly be beneficial). It only requires a certain awareness that can be with you constantly, or called upon when needed.
Being the “star” of your own life movie while watching yourself in your “role,” can change your life for the better and forever.