Category: Mind

Practice till You Get It Right

Practice till You Get It Right

Once you have gotten the right and wholesome world view, your mind formulates some life principles to be used as guidance in life. Your life principles become a compass that guides you in everything you think, say and do.

There are, however, some important life skills you need to cultivate and fine-tune if you were to set the wheel of transformation in motion.

Some of the essential life skills are:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Letting Go

Theoretical knowledge will not transform you. Only when you put what you know into practice can you begin to see the changes you desire.

So… Practice! Practice! Practice!

Daily Mindfulness for Personal Transformation contains practical tips, tools and skills that are essential to your practice.

We invite you to join us in practicing and sharing the skills and tools you use for personal transformation. We are a happy family of serious practitioners who are keen and willing to share our experiences with you. Sign up now for our newsletter and begin the sharing.

Perspective – How you view the world matters

Perspective – How you view the world matters

Throughout the ages, philosophers and spiritual seekers have been seeking and debating on the nature of the world and of life itself. Why is this important to them? It is important because how you view the world matters. Your world view and your personal understanding about life and how it works determine how you think, speak and act.

Whether you are aware of it or not, your concept and understanding of how the world works is the foundation of all your subsequent beliefs and behaviors.

Thus, having an accurate world view is fundamental to living a successful and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, not many people have taken time to understand and investigate their own world view.

Do you know what your world view is?

SPIRITUALITY OR MATERIALITY?

There are two world views that are fundamentally opposing in nature. One is a spiritual world view and the other is a materialistic world view. Which do you hold to be true?

Do you see yourself…

  • as a spiritual being inhabiting a physical body, or
  • as a physical being with a spiritual inclination?

Do you see this world as a benevolent universe or a hostile one?

How you view the world can fundamentally change the way you experience your life. This is because your experience is determined by how you perceive the event. Your perception, in turn, is determined by which perspective you perceive from.

If you see it from a spiritual perspective, you get one type of experience. If you see it from a materialistic perspective, you get a different experience. Moving from a materialistic to a spiritual perspective is effectively a powerful and life changing paradigm shift.

Thus, it is essential that you get this right from the beginning.

We invite you to join us in exploring the nature of life as you embark on the exciting adventure of self discovery. Sign up now for our newsletter and let the journey begins.

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.

Is it possible to train your brain to have super mental power?

Is it possible to train your brain to have super mental power?

Many of us have our special ways of dealing with our feelings and emotions. For instance, when we are feeling stressed we might calm our nerves by focusing attention on our breathing. If we have a throbbing toothache, we might try to ease the pain through a meditative technique. And when we are feeling down, we may cheer ourselves up by imagining ourselves in our ‘happy place’. Those who’ve tried similar strategies know they often work, but with varying degrees of success.

Now imagine if you could see what was happening inside your brain as you experienced emotions and sensations such as pain, anxiety, depression, fear, and pleasure – all in real-time. Suddenly, why you feel the way you feel might not be such a mystery, and the effectiveness of the little mental techniques you use to deal with daily life would be clearly visible.

Through practice, you can learn to strengthen control over the mind similar to how a weightlifter targets a specific muscle group.

That’s the idea behind a new technique known as “real-time fMRI”. By receiving specific visual feedback about brain activity while executing mental tricks and strategies, we can learn to consciously control our emotions, sensations and cravings as if they were being manipulated by a volume knob on a stereo. Through practice, you can learn to strengthen control over the mind similar to how a weightlifter targets a specific muscle group – and it raises the tantalising possibility of a future where we can train advanced mental abilities far beyond our own today.

The first demonstration that real-time fMRI could be a powerful tool came in 2005, with a study where researchers taught people how to control pain. Eight people lay in the scanner while subjected to a painful hot sensation on their skin. The researchers showed them a virtual flame to represent activation in the rostral ACC, a brain region involved in pain processing. Through various cognitive strategies, such as “attend toward or away from the painful stimulus” and “attempt to perceive the stimulus as high or low intensity”, participants quickly learned to control the size of the flame, thereby directly altering the level of electrical activation in the pain-responsive region.

Importantly, decreases or increases in this neural signal correlated with subjective feelings of pain, as measured by a questionnaire and a 10-point pain scale. Amazingly, in just a single 13-minute session participants learned to easily control the size of the flame and were able to reduce their pain by over 50%.

Since then, research using real-time fMRI has exploded, and new clinical and experimental uses seem to pop just about every month. The ways of displaying brain activity to people also now includes feedback such as audio sounds or a ‘thermometer display’ via virtual reality goggles.

The training can create changes in the brain that have long-lasting effects.

A 2017 study published in the journal Appetite showed that the training could fight obesity. Over the course of a four-day training period, overweight males learned to increase the interaction between the brain areas involved in executive functioning and reward processing, which improved self-control and led to healthier food choices.

Another study published this year found that by learning control over the right inferior prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is impaired in those with ADHD, adolescents could decrease ADHD symptoms and improve sustained attention. These benefits remained when the participants were tested 11 months later, demonstrating that the training can create changes in the brain that have long-lasting effects.

And a 2016 study found that elderly adults using the technique improved their cognition. It’s possible that younger individuals could boost brain function this way too. In fact, a 2015 study with healthy adults showed that neurofeedback training could improve focus and reduce lapses of attention.

Other recent studies have found that the training can be used to treat PTSD in war veterans, depression, anxiety, and even cigarette addiction. Another study by James Sulzer at the University of Texas, Austin and colleagues showed that participants could learn to regulate levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, an application that could be used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

What would be the ultimate potential of real-time fMRI training if one could practise control over the brain every day?

The research clearly shows that the technology can be used in countless ways, but how effective it can be in the long term, and whether it is even practical, is yet to be seen. Since real-time fMRI requires expensive equipment, its immediate use should be for treating severe conditions that lack more affordable therapies. However, as with any new technology, over time fMRI scanners will become cheaper, smaller, and more accessible.

If a few 10-minute sessions can produce statistically significant results, what could 10,000 hours of practice do?

And this opens up a whole new world of possibilities. To get a sense of the untapped potential, imagine what it would be like for an athlete or body builder to always be working out without ever getting a chance to see their body or the size of the weights. It would be impossibly hard to determine which exercises are working and which aren’t, and exactly to what degree. Effectively honing just about any skill requires visual feedback, and the same could be said for brain training.

What would be the ultimate potential of real-time fMRI training if one had easy access and could practise control over the brain weekly, or even daily, for many years? If a few 10-minute sessions can produce statistically significant results, what could 10,000 hours of practice do? There’s no true way to know, but something akin to “mental superpowers” may not be out of the question.

Neurofeedback training could provide a shortcut to the types of abilities displayed by monks, for example, who can completely block out excruciating pain and change their physiology to dry a soaking towel placed on their back in a chilly room.

So, while the ultimate potential of the technology remains to be seen, it is not unreasonable to believe that the awesome mind-over-matter abilities of expert meditators that take years to develop could one day be learned by everyone in a fraction of the time.

5 Tips for Your Daily Mindfulness Practice

5 Tips for Your Daily Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness requires constant practice. The more you do it, the better you are at being mindful. However, it is almost impossible to be mindful from the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you fall asleep at night. So, instead of trying to be mindful 24/7, it is easier to focus on small chunks.

Here are some tips for your daily mindfulness practice.

1. Set your mind positively from the start

When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you need to remind yourself is that you can set your mental state for the rest of the day. This is especially important if you have the habit of waking up grumpy, not looking forward to the day or with the mentality of having to fight through another day.

Your early morning mental state sets the tone for the entire day. Contrary to your limiting belief, this mind state is within your power to set. You do have a choice, provided that you are conscious about it and not merely functioning on autopilot as soon as you wake up.

To set your mental state, pause for a moment when you wake up in the morning instead of jumping out of bed and running around to rush to work or to whatever you do in the morning. Take a moment to be with the calmness of your mind in the early morning state. Feel the quietness, the peace.

If you are habitually negative in thoughts, focus on three things that you are grateful for. Allow that positive mental state or gratitude to stay for a while. Enjoy this state. Soak it all in. This will help set the tone for your day.

2. Cultivate a habit of introspection

Ordinarily, we put our attention more on external events and experiences than inwardly in our mental landscape. It is important to put aside some time for looking inward as great insights and self understanding can come from this. To cultivate this habit of introspection, slot into your daily schedule some space to simply be with yourself, alone. Even a 5 minutes space will suffice.

Use this space to pause from your hectic daily schedule, to slow down, to find momentary relief, to rest. Center yourself in the present moment by bringing your attention to your breathing. When your mind is centered in the now, it is at rest, not worrying or feeling anxious about the future.

3. Put a space between the experience and the experiencer

This is a practice in being non-judgmental or non-reactive to experiences. Notice how easy it is for you to get caught up in the drama when you personalize or get caught up or suck into all your experiences. Instead, learn to simply watch the events and experiences unfold as if you are a non-partisan scientist curious about how things work. This opens up your mind to more possibilities. There is more than one way to interpret the events or experiences. There is an alternative perspective.

4. Listen attentively

This and the next tip are essential for good communication and relationships. Learn to listen attentively, without your mind wandering away to your own personal things when someone is talking to you. You have to actively remind yourself to focus on the person’s speech and not allow your mind to stray, as is so often the habit.

To be able to listen actively and attentively like this is good training for your mind to be in the present moment. More importantly, it shows respect and care for the person communicating with you. People can sense that you are genuinely there for them, that they are important to you.

5. Speak impeccably

To speak impeccably is to speak truthfully, choosing only things that are beneficial and appropriate to talk about. This is called the triple filter test.

First, is it true? Speak only the truth. If it is not true, why say it?

Then, is it beneficial to the listener? If it is not going to benefit the listener, why say it? What is your motivation? Is it more for your personal agenda, or pride or ego?

Lastly, even if you are going to say something true and beneficial, is this the proper time and place to say it? Is it appropriate now, or should it be said at another time or another place, in private rather than in public?

Happiness is a state of mind

Happiness is a state of mind

Your happiness is not dependent on external things. If it were, it would not be possible to find lasting happiness.

Your happiness is dependent only on the state of your mind. Knowing this gives you the power to determine your own happiness.

The good news is that it means that you have a choice to be happy or not. The bad news is that you can only have this choice when you are totally aware of this fact that your happiness is entirely in your hands. This fact is unfortunately not as obvious as we would like it to be. In fact, most people cannot see this truth. For them, their mind has been so conditioned to think of getting happiness from people and things outside of themselves that to be told that they are the real source of their own happiness is quite simply unbelievable.

Yet, this is the truth. Your happiness is indeed in your hands. To be more precise, your happiness is in your mind.

You do not have to believe me. Instead, you can do an experiment on your own life. Choose to be happy, just for a day. Make it today. Make it this moment. Consciously choose to be happy, and see how your attitude and state of mind change to reflect that choice. Is your mind lighter? Less tense? Less tightly wound up? Less rigid? More open? More liberated? Simply by choosing happiness, you can immediately feel the lightness of your being.

However, if you have been conditioning your mind to be tight, unhappy and fearful all these while, do not expect that it will be easy to simply switch to be happy. It takes persistent effort. Old habits die hard. They keep coming back because they feel familiar. Therefore, to replace an old habit with a new one, you need to be aware as often as you can. Stay alert to your state of mind. Keep reminding yourself to choose happiness. Gradually train your mind to be happy, to relax and to lighten up. Be aware of how you feel when your mind is in this new state. Do you feel better? Happier? Lighter? It is important to experience this new state, and be aware of it. It is very rewarding, and it will continue to motivate you to be alert and aware of your state of mind.

So, how do you make your mind happy all the time?

You simply have to keep doing this – be aware of your mental state, and make a conscious choice to be happy – every day, every moment. Make it a new habit of yours to constantly check on your mind state whenever you remember – when you wake up in the morning, when you shower, when you eat, when you take a break, when you are about to go to sleep. You can do it anytime, any place. When it has become habitual, then you will be able to be happy everyday.

Remember, happiness is a state of mind.

Identifying Limiting Beliefs through Recurring Patterns

Identifying Limiting Beliefs through Recurring Patterns

One of the most common patterns of behaviour that I encounter is a self sabotaging behaviour towards money.

Diane is a lady in her mid 30’s. She is a very kind hearted woman and enjoys helping people. Despite her good nature and pure intention, she constantly complains that she just can’t seem to prosper, no matter what she does. Every business venture that she tries seems to end in failure.

“I do not cheat and I do not lie to do business, yet I am not able to succeed in whatever I do. Perhaps people like me are just not suited for business,” she says.

And there-in lies her problem!

She believes that business is a “dirty” business and good people cannot therefore succeed in business. Furthermore, she also believes that she should not get rewarded for doing good things for others. So each time she gives a good service to others, she dare not charge them a premium rate. In fact, she frequently undercharged them, sometimes resulting in a loss to herself. On the other hand, when she buys from others, she is afraid that they may not earn enough from her, and so she rarely ever negotiate for a good price for her own purchases.

Little wonder she fails in her businesses!

Once she recognises her self limiting beliefs, she immediately make a conscious effort to change them.

“It’s not easy to change.

There is already a set pattern of behaviour. The old habits I have tried to resist my effort to change. At first, it feels very uncomfortable to do things differently, to behave and respond differently, but after a few times it gets easier.

Learning to negotiate was a new experience for me. There is this constant guilt that arises whenever I start a negotiation, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that others seem to accept negotiation as part and parcel of doing business. Some even looked at me with a new respect! Pretty soon, I was trying to negotiate at everything. Of course, I remind myself not to get carried away.”

Dramatic changes sometimes require only a single change in our limiting beliefs.

SELF LIMITING BELIEFS ABOUT MONEY

As mentioned earlier, limiting beliefs about money is one of the most common problems encountered by the masses. Some of these limiting beliefs are:

* Money is the root of all evils
* People who are filthy rich cannot have gotten their wealth legitimately
* Poor is good. It means I am more spiritual
* I don’t deserve to be rich
* When I do good, I shouldn’t asked to be rewarded for my effort
* And many more…

If you have any one of these beliefs, it’s time you recognise them and do something about it. There are many ways to overcome these limiting beliefs and we will touch on them later.

Note: If you’re in a hurry to eliminate your limiting beliefs on money, learn how to do so with Brad Yate’s Money Beyond Belief… The Spiritual Way

How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs

How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs

Beliefs drive attitude and behavior. Self limiting beliefs result in self sabotaging attitudes and behaviors that prevent us from getting what we want in life.

So the first step to self transformation and change must involve a change in our belief system. Without this change, nothing else you do will lead to a permanent change in your life.

However, we acquire most of our beliefs unconsciously. Once accepted and imprinted into our subconscious mind, it takes a conscious effort to remove and replace them with positive life enhancing beliefs. That is the reason why many gurus advocate conscious living.

There are many ways to identify our self limiting beliefs and all require a conscious effort to be mindful of our thoughts, speech and action.

Below is a list of the areas we need to focus on in identifying our self limiting beliefs, beginning with the most obvious problematic area and slowly working towards the more subtle area of the mind.

Recurring problems
Patterns of behavior
Emotion
Speech
Thoughts

RECURRING PROBLEMS

Some people seem to have the unhealthy ability to get into relationships that are obviously going to lead to trouble. For example, there was this lady in her late 20’s who seems to be getting into relationships with older married men over and over again.

As she consciously and mindfully looked into herself, she discovered not one but several beliefs that led to her behavior. She believed…

…that all good men are married
…that mature men are more tender and caring
…that all the young men wanted from her is sex

She further realized that she identifies married men with her father whom she highly respected because he was very loving and caring towards her. He gave her a sense of being loved and protected.

She also realized that her need to feel protected from pain came from several earlier failed relationships with guys of similar age with her in her younger days. Those failed relationships not only gave her a sense of vulnerability but also lowered her self esteem.

After several failures, she believed that she could not establish any meaningful relationships with men of her age. Those failed relationships also led her to her limiting beliefs mentioned above.

Once she recognized her limiting beliefs and where they came from, she can consciously decide to change her beliefs. She learned not to generalize men and instead to treat each person as unique individual, each with his own strengths and weaknesses.

Several months after this, she began a relationship with a single man a few years older than her whom she described as “loving and caring”. He works in the same building but with a different company.

“It’s as if he was there all along but I couldn’t see him because of all the self limiting beliefs I had about men. The moment I change my beliefs, I could see so much more possibilities… and there he was, right under my nose!”

The last I heard, they were happily married.

COURAGE AND TRANSFORMATION

It takes courage to want to change.

Most people prefer being in their own comfort zones, even if they are not happy in them, because they lack the courage to examine themselves. They are afraid of what they might find out about themselves.

All change requires self examination. Many people find it frightening to do that. When you take the courageous step to do that, you’ll find a lot of new possibilities opening up to you. You feel empowered and in control over your life – and that will make all the difference!

Or you can just stay the way you are, joining the mass of men who lives lives of quiet desperation – to borrow a quote from Henry Thoreau. As they say, “Knowledge is NOT power; knowledge AND action is!”

How Beliefs Work

How Beliefs Work

Have you ever bought a car and then all of a sudden you see the same model everywhere on the road? When I first considered setting up my own clinic many years ago, I discovered that all of a sudden there were clinics everywhere I went. There have been there all along but I did not see them until I started to focus my mind on setting up my own clinic. The outer reality has not really changed but what has changed is my inner thoughts and focuses.

Beliefs work the same way.

Once we have decided to take on a belief, most of the time unconsciously, our brain seems to re-configure itself, re-arranging the neural pathways, and we ended up turning our focus on things and events that further validate the belief. We literally attract these things into our lives.

That is why Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Believe it and you will see it” instead of the usual “I’ll believe it when I see it”. He wrote an entire book on this concept.

So when you hold on to a belief of lack or a belief that the universe is hostile, then you will “see” the evidence in your life validating those beliefs. Believe you are not worthy and it is reflected in your low self esteem and other self esteem issues, in the way you avoid relationships or commitments, or in experiencing people in your life who continue to take you for granted or look down on you.

Believe in a benevolent universe and a universe of abundance, and you will begin to see evidence of abundance and generosity, kindness and compassion.

The good news is that you get to choose what you want to believe in.

The bad news is that you can choose your beliefs only if you are highly mindful and aware of your thoughts. This is because beliefs are most often taken in unconsciously and as long as you continue to live your life unconsciously you will continue to take in beliefs without being able to filter them.

Fortunately, there are many ways and tools to remove unwanted life-limiting beliefs and consciously accept life-enhancing beliefs.

Being aware that there is such a possibility is already a step forward. To be able to learn the methods and to apply them in your own life would be truly transformational, and there are many powerful methods to choose from. Look for them and you will find them.

Awareness before Change

Awareness before Change

If I asked you whether you are satisfied with these few areas of your life, what would be your honest answers?

  1. Is your health better today than it was 3 months ago?
  2. Are you enjoying better relationships with your loved ones and friends now than you were 6 months ago?
  3. Are you satisfied with your job or career path right now? Do you see it improving in the next 6 months?
  4. Are you financially where you want to be now?

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