Category: Body

Universal Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic

Universal Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic

Starting out in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019, the Covid-19 virus has spread like wildfire all across the globe within just a few months. It is causing tremendous amount of destruction and disruption to our “normal” lifestyle. There are death and suffering everywhere it goes.

However, looking from a more spiritual perspective, this pandemic may be just the prescription humanity needed right now to reset our views and attitudes towards the world and towards each other, for it teaches us a few very fundamental and essential lessons about life.

  1. Accept reality, instead of resisting or fighting it
  2. Humanity must come together as one family
  3. Actions motivated by fear are destructive for everyone

Accept reality, instead of resisting or fighting it

This is examplified by countries that refuse to acknowledge the global nature of this virus, and by leaders who refuse to face the truth or speak the truth, thus causing the situation to become worse rapidly due to inaction or inappropriate actions. The best example of this is Donald Trump and the way he trivialized it until it became too late to act. Precious early opportunities to contain the spread were missed because of this refusal to acknowledge reality.

Humanity must come together as one family

Precious early opportunities were also missed in China in the early stage of the outbreak in Wuhan, also due to the refusal of their leaders to acknowledge it. However, when the outbreak became apparent, the Chinese government went all out to contain it and prevent its spread. During this time, the rest of the world simply watch and do nothing to help. Our attitude seems to be — it’s your problem, not mine. We should have learned from the Ebola outbreak that early concerted global effort can successfully contain a serious outbreak and prevent it from spreading further.

In addition, when a lockdown was ordered in Wuhan, many of their inhabitants willfully “escaped” the lockdown and travelled overseas, thus spreading the virus to other countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Thailand, etc. This created new clusters elsewhere, making it even harder to be contained, and effectively exporting the virus to the rest of the world. This selfish attitude is the actual cause of the pandemic.

However, this selfish attitude is not exclusive only to the Chinese in Wuhan. We see this selfish attitude in other countries and communities as well. In South Korea, the virus appears to have been well contained until participants in a religious congregation started spreading it elsewhere within and without the country. To date, many of the participants have still refused to come forward voluntarily to be tested. Similar challenges were seen in Malaysia.

In order to successful fight this pandemic, human beings must consciously and intentionally come together as one big family to think and care for each other, instead of acting through selfish impulses.

Actions motivated by fear are destructive for everyone

As we can see from the above, the Covid-19 virus is not the real enemy. The real enemy is fear. Fear and actions motivated by fear are the actual causes of this pandemic.

Fear is seen in many forms. Selfishness is one that we have discussed. Another equally destructive one is denial. The outbreak has shown us many examples of how people in denial of having the Covid-19 infection actually put themselves and their loved ones at risk, as well as their community and the healthcare frontliners working to save them. Everyone of us stand to lose when denial is at work.

This Covid-19 pandemic clearly shows us the negative consequences of actions motivated by fear.

On the other hand, we also see examples of positive consequences of actions motivated by love. We see healthcare workers facing the virus head on, putting themselves and their loved ones at risk so that we and our loved ones can stay safe. They are the real superheroes in our lives.

Basic Principles in Personal Transformation

Basic Principles in Personal Transformation

The most basic factor in personal transformation is the desire to change for the better. This desire to change must come personally from within for any chance of success. It is difficult if the desire to change is forced onto someone who does not want to change. So, personal transformation is a personal choice.

Once you have decided that you want to change for the better, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Awareness before change
  2. Believe that change is not only possible but desirable
  3. Courage to be honest with self
  4. Determination

Awareness Before Change

For any change to be possible, there must be an awareness that we have traits and habits that are not serving us well. By this, I mean, we have habits that are harmful to our well-being or are preventing us to actualise our full potentials. We need to acknowledge that we do have undesirable habits.

Some bad habits are easy to recognise and acknowledge. Others are not. Some may be so subtle that we cannot see them, or we may mistakenly see them as being good for us.

So how do we become more aware of our negative habits? Since we are both body and mind, we need to train ourselves to become more aware of our body and mind. To be more specific, personal transformation is better achieved by being more aware of our mind, and that means the two major aspect of our mind – feelings and thoughts.

The goal of awareness, therefore, is to become more aware of what is happening within us, i.e. our inner world of feelings and thoughts, our self-talk and inner voice. It may be useful to be super aware of what is happening outside of us, but this particular outward awareness is not as useful for us in affecting personal change. More useful for personal transformation is the awareness that we direct inward, in getting to know ourselves (self-knowledge), our feelings and thoughts.

How can we increase our inner self awareness? Here are some ways to do it:

  • Journaling
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Meditation

Believe that change is not only possible but desirable

This is another factor that is required for change to be possible. You have to believe that change is possible, and that it is desirable. Without this belief, you will not be motivated enough to even start.

On the other hand, the stronger you believe it, the more likely you are to succeed. Yes, beliefs are that powerful.

Beliefs are very intimately linked to faith and feelings. When you believe in something, you have faith in it, even when there is no evidence to back up your beliefs. People can get very emotional when their beliefs are challenged or threatened. That is why we have to be extra careful with beliefs. A wrong belief can easily destroy life, just as a right belief can inspire one to great things.

Beliefs can be either beneficial or harmful to us. What this means is that in order for us to become better human beings, we will eventually need to examine our own beliefs. We will need to first recognise our beliefs, determine whether they are self-limiting beliefs or life-enhancing beliefs, and then drop or change those limiting beliefs.

Hve you notice that the practice of spirituality begins with beliefs and ends with knowledge? In any religion, you first begin with faith in the teachings. That is a belief. Then, you must put in the inner work that will eventually lead you to discover the fundamental truths about yourself, about life and about existence. You end with personal experiential knowledge about that which you seek out.

Courage to be honest with self

“Honesty is the best policy” is most apt in this situation where we want to improve ourselves. Without this honesty, we will deny our limiting beliefs and habits, and avoid any effort to change.

So only those with courage will take the necessary steps to transform their lives. That is why this is often called the warrior’s path, or the way of the brave. It can be painful to come face to face with our own weaknesses and shortcomings, but this recognition and acknowledgement is a necessary step before change is possible.

The last factor is therefore putting in the commitment and determination to make the necessary changes in our lives.

4 Pillars of a Meaningful Life

4 Pillars of a Meaningful Life

Happiness is not the same thing as a meaningful life. Most people look for happiness in their lives. However, according to author Emily Esfahani Smith, the way to find happiness in our life is to actually create a meaningful life for ourselves. Then, happiness follows.

She listed down four pillars that provide meaning to our lives. They are:

  1. Belongings – Being appreciated for who we are
  2. Purpose – Our ability to use our gifts to make a difference
  3. Transcendence – Inspiration for looking beyond ourselves
  4. Story Telling – The narrative we create about ourselves

Here is a link to her Ted Talk about this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Trdafp83U

Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year 2020!

Wishing you a wonderful new year! May you be blessed with good health, joy and peace!

As you leave behind the old year, and usher in the new year, may you also make a sincere aspiration to live each day well for the new year.

Nourish your Relationships

All important things that you want for your worldly life, you get through your relationships with others. Companionship, friendship, a sense of belonging, a successful career, and even things that you like – they all come from your interaction with others. So, nurture all your relationships well. Give careful consideration to decisions you make that affect these relationships. Be grateful for what you already have. Life is a blessing to be shared.

Nourish you Body

Make a point to take care of your health. Nourish your body with healthy, living food. Reduce preservatives, colourings. Eat fresh food. Be moderate in eating. Take a balance meal. Drink enough water each day. Sleep well. Take frequent long walks. Enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Be happy.

Nourish your Heart

Practice unconditional love – towards yourself as well as others. Remember, you are equally important to life. Your very existence enriches life, adds a unique flavour to it. There is no other person quite like you in this universe. That makes you special. It also means others are equally unique and worthy of unconditional love from you. We are all offsprings of the Creator, so treat everyone with love and respect. Do onto others what you would want others to do onto you.

Nourish your Mind

Spend time to read and learn new things and skills. Knowledge is useful, but it is not wisdom. Wisdom comes from reflections on what you have learned. Wisdom gives values to your knowledge. Wisdom enriches the world, your community, your family and yourself.

Nourish your Spirit

As often as you can, take time off to listen to your heart – that inner being that is truly you. You will find it in the stillness of your mind and heart. In this stillness is all you are, all you will ever need or want. It is here that you see the interconnectedness of all beings, all creations. You will see that we are all brothers and sisters. Peace is our nature, our essense, our rights.

Do these things daily for the new year, and you can be sure that your new year will be an amazing one!

Overcoming the fear of aging

Overcoming the fear of aging

Aging, like sickness and death, is part and parcel of life. Everyone who is born must eventually age and die. This is the natural cycle of life. However, not everyone ages in the same way. Some age gracefully. Others age with fear.

Fear is Optional

If you are fearful of aging, you should know that this fear is not inevitable. It is there only because of your own past experiences, your own beliefs and your own attitude towards it. In the end, it is a matter of choice. Aging is inevitable but fear of aging is not. Aging of this body is a physical phenomenon. That is why it is inevitable. Fear, on the other hand, is a mental phenomenon. It is optional.

Identify Your Fears

If you are fearful of aging, you should try to be more specific and identify what it is that you are really fearful of. Generally, those who fear aging are actually fearful of sickness and death. Those who believe that they can age with a healthy and functioning body have little fear of aging. Those who think of the possibility of sickness and death as they age become fearful.

Having identify our specific fears, it then becomes possible to do something about it.

Fear of Sickness

If it is sickness, then we can start to live a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to start a habit of living healthily. If you smoke, stop smoking. If you drink alcohol, and especially if you drink heavily, then tone it down. Drink less. Scientific studies have actually shown that a small amount of alcohol is good for your physical health but too much is harmful. Sleep early and wake up early. Sleep well. Exercise regularly. Eat healthily. Drink lots of water. Practice yoga or tai chi. Learn to meditate. All these improve the quality of your life, making you healthier mentally, emotionally and physically.

Fear of Death

If your fear is death, then once again you have to be specific. Is it the process of dying that you are afraid of, or is it death itself? If it is the process of dying, then the real fear for most people is actually the fear of a painful dying process. If that is the case, we have good news for you. Science and medicine today have reached a point where we can almost always minimise pain in the dying process. In most cases, we can even totally eradicate pain. However, even without medicine, pain can still be managed well. Physical pain may be inevitable but mental suffering is optional.

The question then is how do we free ourselves from mental suffering in the presence of physical pain? The answer to that is a strong mind. We can train our mind to be strong and resilient. It is a skill, and like all skills, it takes practice. The most common and popular mind training is meditation. So, learn to meditate, and learn it well. Gain mastery over your own mind. Then you will have little to be fearful of.

Fear of the Unknown

Lastly, if it is death itself that you are afraid of, then it is most likely because death is a big unknown. What happens to us after death? This is a spiritual question, and you will need a spiritual answer. It all comes down to your belief system. So, when you talk about death, and especially when you want a solution to this type of fear about death, then you must re-visit your spirituality, and the very nature of who you are.

Are you simply this body or are you more than just this physical body? When you die, is there a part of you that continues on? This is your quest. It is a journey that none can take for you. Only you can do this for yourself.

Meditation

Meditation

The purpose of meditation is to quiet the chattering mind. The practice of meditation takes us away from the familiar everyday thinking mind to the less familiar quiet mind. It helps us to get re-acquainted with our inner quiet mind, to befriend it, to be comfortable with it and to embrace it. Ultimately, what we want to do is to reclaim it as our own and to abide in it.

After all, this is the abode of the Gods (brahma vihara).

How do you quiet a chattering mind? The answer is by tying it to a post. In this way, the chattering mind, like a monkey, can run and jump from one place to another, but always within the confine and perimeter of the rope and post until it eventually tires itself up and rest. This is actually what happens when you focus your mind on a single object of meditation. This is thought directed (vitaka) and sustained (vicara).

Once the chattering mind loses steam, it takes less effort to sustain the concentration on the object of meditation. As the concentration increases from access concentration to absorption concentration, the focus, clarity and energy of the mind increase in tandem. You are now beginning to get face to face with the nature of the quiet mind. As your sense of pleasure (piti) and happiness (sukha) increase, your focus becomes more and more one-pointed (ekagatta).

When finally all pleasurable and happy sensations fall away, leaving only one-pointedness of the mind, you have now entered into the fourth jhana. It is at this level that psychic phenomena can be experienced.

However, one need not wait until the achievement of the fourth jhana to benefit from the fruits of meditation, the rewards of a quiet mind. This is because as your mindfulness and concentration increase, your resistance and struggle decrease, and that in itself takes you closer to the core of your manifestation, your essence.

Achieving Optimum Health

Achieving Optimum Health

“Optimum health is not just the absence of disease but the presence of wellness in mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and social areas. Some would also include financial health.”

Introduction

Optimum health is essential at all levels, from the individual to the society we live in to the environment around us. We have to start thinking of wealth not just in terms of possession of money and properties but also the possession of mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being.

Mental Health

The truth is mind is the forerunner of all states.

With a proper mindset, a poor man can still be happy. Conversely, if the mindset is not right, no matter how much material possessions you may have, you may still be a very unhappy person. Thus, Gandhi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not enough for even a single person’s greed.”

So a healthy mind is one that possesses a mindset that can lead to happiness and contentment with self and the world around us. It provides clarity of thoughts, good insight and the ability to see things through an unbiased mind.

To be able to see things through an unbiased mind is no small feat. It is extremely difficult to note or observe the unfolding of events and phenomena without judging. We habitually associate emotions or feelings to events, and allow such emotions to direct our actions. Our likes for certain things and dislikes for others are closely associated with our emotions.

Emotional Health

It is our emotions that lead us to act impulsively at times. Thus a high level of self-awareness in this area is extremely useful. In fact, it is essential to our well-being. After all, things and relationships that may take us years to build can be destroyed in a moment of anger.

There are positive and negative emotions. Positive emotions such as love, compassion and joy should be cultivated, while negative emotions such as fear, anger and hate need to be eradicated.

When asked about this, a wise sage of India once illustrated with a story:

An old man said to his grandson, “Boy, I have two tigers caged within me. One is love and compassion. The other is fear and anger.”

The young boy asked, “Which one will win, grandfather?”

The old man replied, “The one I feed.”

At times, it may seem that we have no control over our emotions. This is not true. The truth is how well we manage our emotions depends on how aware we are of our emotions, particularly on the arising of our emotions. The earlier we are able to note the arising of our emotions, we better we can manage them.

More and more researches are showing that our well-being is closely linked to our emotional and mental health. Our body’s immune system is generally enhanced by positive mental outlook and emotion. Conversely, it is depressed by negative mental and emotional states. Thus, stress, worry, anger and fear are some states that may lead to physical illnesses such as hypertension, cardiac diseases, peptic ulcers, depression and a host of other ailments.

Physical Health

To maintain an optimum physical well-being, therefore, requires us to focus not only on our body but also our mind and emotions.

On a physical level, our body can be kept healthy through adequate sleep and rest, proper nutrition, regular exercises and a healthy environment that is free from pollution.

Spiritual Health

Throughout the ages, wise men have consistently informed and taught us that we are essentially spiritual beings.

Although medical science has not been able to reveal to us our spiritual nature, there are many indirect evidence that we would be foolish to ignore. Stories from people who had gone through a near death experience (NDE), or dying people with heightened nearing death awareness, or simply a cure from an ‘incurable’ disease all suggest that there is more to life than just the physical state.

Major religions of the world all based their teachings on the belief that we are essentially spiritual beings. According to these teachings, our physical existence is secondary.

While it may be true that we should focus our life more on our spiritual nature than our physical nature, it would be difficult for the majority of people to do so, at least not immediately. Things cannot change overnight. Mindset, however, can, and that is perhaps the best place to start.

Financial Health

However, on a more mundane level, most people are still stuck on how to survive from day to day, where to get the next cheque to pay for the house installment, so on and so forth.

Practically, therefore, we need to look into ways to achieve a financial state that would theoretically free us from the constrain of ‘forced’ work. This is where the concept of financial freedom is so attractive. According to this concept, one should strive for a state where we have one or more than one source of income that can be generated passively, that is, even when we don’t work.

This is what Robert Kiyosaki termed as ‘passive income’.

According to him, passive income can only be achieved by becoming an investor or a business owner, not a sole proprietor or an employee. To become an investor or a business owner, you must spend the time and money to acquire financial intelligence. Unlike IQ or EQ, you can acquire financial intelligence through self education.

To get a financial health check-up, consult an accountant, a banker or a financial planner you can trust.

Healthy Relationship

“No man is an island, entire by itself.”

As a medical doctor, I am in a unique position to confront and comfort dying patients. One of the most important thing that I have observed is that dying people do not ask about their money or possessions. Instead, they focus their remaining energy and strength on trying to heal wounded relationships. It is as though there is an inherent need to get a proper closure to a relationship.

Thus, forming and cultivating a healthy relationship is important for our well-being. Unfortunately, this is something we often ignored until it is too late. If there is any forgiving to be done, or the need to be forgiven, leaving things to the last minutes may end up with an unfulfilled desire for a closure.

Knowing this now, shouldn’t we spend more time and effort in improving our relationship with our loved ones, especially with our parents, spouse, children and siblings?

Author:

Dr. Tim Ong is a medical doctor with keen interest in self improvement, mind science and spirituality. He is the author of several personal transformation books. He also contributed an article in David Riklan’s “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life – Volume 3” with other authors like Mark Victor Hansen, Ken Blanchard, Byron Katie and Les Brown. You can get more inspiring and mind transforming articles at his website at TransformationWork.com.

 

What is Transformation Work?

What is Transformation Work?

Transformation Work refers to the specific efforts we put into transforming our lives. Since all changes begin in the mind, this means that Transformation Work is specifically about training our mind to see and think in a certain way so as to bring about these desired changes.

Perspective

To train our mind to think and see in a new way requires a paradigm shift. This is achieved by studying, analyzing and understanding certain universal truths. Thee truths, once understood, will allow us to see the world and life from a new perspective and will form the basis for our own inner work.

Principles

We also learn about the fundamental universal laws that govern how the universe works. Through understanding these universal laws, which includes laws that govern our mind, we can then start to formulate and follow a fundamental set of life principles that work in accordance with these laws.

Practice

Transformation Work turns this understanding of the working of the universe and working of our mind into small, manageable chunks of life skills and practices that can be incorporated into our daily life.

Summary

In short, Transformation Work begins with a shift in our world view, then in formulating and following a fundamental set of life principles, and finally in cultivating and fine-tuning life skills and practices that lead to the desired outcomes.

Transformation Work is taught in our Personal Transformation workshop by Dr. Tim Ong, the course creator and facilitator.

Related Articles:

  1. Perspective: How You View the World Matters
  2. Live a Principle-Centered Life
  3. Practice Until You Get It Right
The World’s most unusual Therapist

The World’s most unusual Therapist

[An article by Dr. Joe Vitale]

Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients–without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate’s chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person’s illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.

When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane?

It didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t logical, so I dismissed the story.

However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho ‘oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn’t let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more.

I had always understood “total responsibility” to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it’s out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We’re responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does. The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility.

His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.

Dr. Len told me that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients began to heal.

“After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely,” he told me. “Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.”

I was in awe.

“Not only that,” he went on, “but the staff began to enjoy coming to work. Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. We ended up with more staff than we needed because patients were being released, and all the staff was showing up to work. Today, that ward is closed.”

This is where I had to ask the million dollar question: “What were you doing within yourself that caused those people to change?”

“I was simply healing the part of me that created them,” he said.

I didn’t understand.

Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life – simply because it is in your life–is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation.

Whew. This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life.

This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy–anything you experience and don’t like–is up for you to heal. They don’t exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with you, and to change them, you have to change you.

I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in ho ‘oponopono means loving yourself. If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone–even a mentally ill criminal–you do it by healing you.

I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing, exactly, when he looked at those patients’ files?

“I just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’ over and over again,” he explained.

That’s it?

That’s it.

Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, your improve your world. Let me give you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person who sent the nasty message. This time, I decided to try Dr. Len’s method. I kept silently saying, “I’m sorry” and “I love you,” I didn’t say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance.

Within an hour I got an e-mail from the same person. He apologized for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn’t take any outward action to get that apology. I didn’t even write him back. Yet, by saying “I love you,” I somehow healed within me what was creating him.

I later attended a ho ‘oponopono workshop run by Dr. Len. He’s now 70 years old, considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat reclusive. He praised my book, The Attractor Factor. He told me that as I improve myself, my book’s vibration will raise, and everyone will feel it when they read it. In short, as I improve, my readers will improve.

“What about the books that are already sold and out there?” I asked.

“They aren’t out there,” he explained, once again blowing my mind with his mystic wisdom. “They are still in you.”

In short, there is no out there.

It would take a whole book to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves. Suffice it to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there’s only one place to look: inside you.

“When you look, do it with love.”

This article is from the forthcoming book “Zero Limits” by Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Len

Watch what they are saying about the “Zero Limits” workshop:

Zero Limits, Ho’oponopono, Dr Hew Len, Joe Vitale

Click here to learn more about Zero Limits workshop