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We all think about money some time or another don’t we? When a mail-blitz of bills hit our mailbox or our financial planner software shows us that we are going to scrape it very, very thin till next paycheck, we sit back, take a deep breath and get carried away by an inundation of worrisome thoughts or daydreams about an alternative life in which money comes down thick and fast from a tap.

This takes us down a narrow road in our mind in which we get locked by thoughts of money scarcity rather than solutions.

In the below points I would like to expose some truths but also some false assumptions about money and how it affects our perspective on life: (more…)

Don’t Think Money – Think Life

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Kindness is synonymous with giving and being open and emphatic to others around us. This is of course true. Yet being kind does not stop at being kind to others but we should consider more often the possibility, or rather the necessity, of being also kind to ourselves. This may sound a little bit selfish, but actually it is important to learn and practice kindness on oneself before exhibiting kindness to others. It provides a healthier foundation.

In the following points I have summed up what I believe to be important ways to be kind to ourselves. They are also necessary paths to happiness, mental health and overall well being. Here they go:

1.Give yourself space to grow, learn, imagine and create:

This is the free domain and the highest potential of the human mind. You might be living in environments where play, creativity and thinking big is shunned or frowned upon. Your 9 to 5 cubicle job may be sucking your dreams dry and snuffing out your spark and enthusiasm for life but your outer conditions are no excuse really. So do yourself a favour and stop humming that tune. No one is stopping you from expanding your mental horizons but yourself. Think about it. Think hard. Let your mind roam free. Read, watch, dream, be inspired, loosen and broaden your perception and awareness.

2.Get to terms with your internal critic:

[GARD align=left]We all have it. Yes you definitely have one too. It’s that voice in your head that is always prompt to be judgmental towards your own behaviour, often calling you names and criticizing every action you take. “You made a fool of yourself!”, or “you’re too fat and old” or perhaps “that’s really a stupid ides”. The internal critic grows with us and becomes part of our mental makeup since we are young. It also has a positive role – that of keeping us balanced and in check with ourselves so as to prevent us from doing something crazy or dangerous. But most of the time it is a downer which makes us lose confidence, motivation and perspective. Be aware of it when it pops up and as you recognize it, thank it but dismiss it gently. Think about the same situation in more positive ways.

3.Let go of your guilt:

Guilt can be a strong emotion which ties us to our past. We might feel guilty of something we did or something we have not done but wished we could. In essence guilt is often a misperception of the truth, an emotional attachment which enslaves our heart. Although it can feel difficult to overcome guilt it’s not impossible neither improbable. You just have to remember that mistakes are part of our lives. It’s part of the contract, almost a necessity. The choice is between getting stuck in mistakes that we are all bound to do or whether we learn from them, untie ourselves from them and move on.

(more…)

7 Ways to be Kind to Yourself

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Photo by Wonderlane A Philosopher of ancient Greece before the time of Socrates, named Heraclitus, used to profess that everything in the Universe is in constant flux and that nothing remains the same. “You cannot step in the same river twice” Heraclitus used to say. This is because all the observable world and even the imperceptible one is changing all the time even if it may appear stationary or permanent from our limited subjective observation.

This is true in so many levels and has been echoed in many philosophies and folk wisdom across cultures and centuries all the way down to modern science. The physical world is in constant movement. Matter and energy is exchanged from one place to the other. Even our own bodies never remain the same. As we grow  each and every atom in our body is changed many times and replaced by new ones. In a way you can say that the body you have now is completely different than  the one you had 5 years ago although it looks more or less the same.

Everything Must Go

Nothing stays the same. This is something that we all observe as time passes by, sometimes to our dismay or anxiety because we cannot come to grips with  change, loss or drastically new things.

We all get through that moment in life when we ponder and reflect back on our past and realize that so many things have irreversibly changed or come to an  end. Of course, aging is one of the most obvious signs although not every one is affected by aging in the same way.

It doesn’t mean that we always get nostalgic or panicky when we look back at our past. We get a lot of nice memories of wonderful moments we passed with loved  ones or friends in lovely places or in special episodes of our lives. But there are other times where we get attached to our past or those happier moments in  life and so we end up getting all emotional especially when the present gets a bit tough or the future is more uncertain than usual. As a line from one of  U2’s old song goes “We glorify the past when the future dries up“. (more…)

Shifting Sands: Dealing with Impermanence

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Photo by johnkoetsierI might be breaking away from the crowd and from the common chatter of all things wordly but today I don’t care.

I feel like writing about one of my long-held spiritual beliefs. If you are a loyal reader of this blog but not in the vein of a deep and non-mundane subject then I humbly apologize! 😉

Put plainly and simply I believe in the reincarnation of souls or to use a Buddhist term – the trans-migration of souls.

This view diverges from the strong ultra-catholic setting of the country I was born in. Still, it is not that uncommon to meet people holding alternative beliefs to the simplistic view of eternal life and heaven and hell in this part of the world, let alone in the more secular parts of the west. More people are believing in reincarnation, or suspect that there is a good ounce of truth in it, even if this is not totally in line with their religous background.

For me it wasn’t a choice of fancy or randomness. I didn’t wake up one morning and said to myself that I would like to believe in reincarnation. It was basically an understanding that ‘clicked’ and maked sense.

To begin with, the notion that we have just one life followed by an eternal life, presumably a spiritual one (although the Christian doctrine never had a clear picture of this and a lot of lines are left blank) never made much sense to me. I was always more convinced of a dynamic and evolutionary stance on life and reincarnation answers that call.

(more…)

You Only Live Many Times – Part 1

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Photo by Josa JrWe all know at least a person or two with oversized egos. As you might know, it can be very hard to make people with heavy egos understand or appreciate an alternate point of view for the simple fact that their ego stands in the way between your message and its acceptance. This can very often be a problem when that person is your boss, colleaugue, family or friend. Often the ego is very confrontational, a poor listener and unreceptive to other people’s ideas. Its pride will never make it tolerate defeat and it tends to see threat and confrontation even in friendly and familiar debates or discussion.

This is the nature of the ego. I know a thing about this having once been the owner of a sizeable ego myself and which I have now kept on downgrading until it finally reaches way below problematic levels.

The thing about egos is that they almost have a life of their own. Funny, weird but its a truthful explanation. This is one insight I owe to Eckhart Tolle after having read ‘A New Earth‘. People think of the ego as a trait or state in someone’s personality. I think of an ego as a living entity living inside a person who is often unconscious of its autonomous existence. It’s kind of a little alien parasite living in one’s head.

Let me draw the profile of a typical ego to give you a better idea of what I mean:

1. It is driven by its self-preservation and by the want to be better and superior to others. Hence it will attack anything it sees as a possible threat to its continuation (such as personal change, transformation, openess to ideas, spiritual seeking, etc) And it will react if it sees anyone having something it lacks.

2. It feeds upon attention and attachment. Hence it always seeks attention and is a master in attention seeking behaviour. This can show up in a million forms from flashy possession to drama-laden behaviour. It also attaches itself to ideas and systems of thought and totally abhors change and alternative viewpoints.

3. It can be spotted in: Self-centred behaviour, attention-seeking behaviour, the need to be right, showy behaviour, the need to be praised, gossiping, etc.

4. Although big egos are commonly associated with men, women are as much vulnerable to egoic symptoms although manifested in different forms. (more…)

How to Talk Your Way Around Big Egos

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Lately we have heard so much about the global economic crisis, recessions, job cuts, natural disasters, increasing environmental problems and so on. Continuous talk about these things can easily influence the collective psyche in a negative way.

Even before recent events, we have always been bombarded with news, images and video clips of tragedies, wars,disasters, violence, crime,etc  from a very young age. We are not even consciously aware of the extent to which we are exposed to such negative media. We might think that we have grown ‘immune’ to it or that we have become numb or insensitive to such media.

To a certain extent, this is true but there is a residual effect that acts on our subconscious minds and which can influence us negatively by injecting fear, paranoia, hysteria and anxiety. This has the direct implication of affecting our reasoning and decisions even in everyday life.

More than that it is the ‘collective effect’ which we seem to be more vulnerable to. This means that it is not only our own personal exposure to these stories which affect us most (although they do in certain ways) but it is the way that the general morale of the people around us (even those we do not interact with directly)can leave a sort of after effect on our own mood and attitude.

Since no man is an island, we are all subject to this collective effect. The social environment we live in is a highly connected network of individuals. When a network is highly connected, causes and effects spread out throughout the network very fast and effectively. There is a lot of interdependency.

It should therefore come to no surprise that other people’s moods affect us in many ways. Now although these moods can be both positive and negative, it is the negative thoughts and attitudes that are of a concern. I call it the negativity pandemic. (more…)

How to Survive the ‘Negativity Pandemic’

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I have been annoyed for some time now about the frequent misuse of the term ‘Passion’ in the personal development arena. I must admit beforehand that I was also guilty of the same mistake in one or two of my past articles.

The thing is that passion is most frequently used to mean a positive quality that is essential for personal development, Happiness, goal setting and finding one’s true purpose.

Even the laymen use of the word falls into this misconception. People talk about passion almost with reverence. “He is very passionate about his team” or “He loved her passionately“. It seems as though passion is a very respected quality of a person or of a culture.

I know something about this being born in a southern Mediterranean culture.Southern European people will openly boast about being passionate, hot-headed and warm-blooded people. In Sicily, for example, there were many cases, in the not so distant past, of murders in which people were acquitted or their sentence heavily reduced because their crime was not just any crime but  ‘a crime of passion’. That means that a man (it’s almost always a man who is absolved with a crime of passion) gets away with killing his wife because he caught her having sex with another man and in a moment of blind fury he followed his irrational but ‘justified’ rage. (more…)

Why Passion is such a Bad Thing

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Twitter_watercolorLife is in perfect balance & harmony. It is in dynamic balance or equilibrium, meaning that although it is in constant flux, with things coming and going out of existence, the net effect is total balance.

It is also in harmony because its different forms fit in and blend together. Observing nature you can see a lot of example of co-evolution and interdependence between life forms.

One life form depends on an opportunity or set of circumstances put forward by another at the right time and in the right amount.

Even violent burst of nature such as natural disasters are in harmony with the cause and effects of life seen through a larger timescale.

The Predicament of Modern Man

It is partly due to our nature and partly due to the hectic and chaotic environment we have created that we often fall out of balance and lose harmony within ourselves and with nature. This is the predicament of modern man. (more…)

Save the World: Live in Balance & Inner Harmony

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Ancient Eastern Philosophy has taught a lot about the concept of non-resistance. This view has been deeply rooted as a cultural way of life as can be most popularly seen in the martial arts for example.

Most internal martial arts such as Tai Chi, for instance, are built on this principle of non-resistance and ‘action without action’ (Wei Wu Wei) or effortless doing. The idea behind this principle of effortless action is that when you don’t resist or work against the energies around you but actually work or flow with them, you become aligned and in equilibrium in such a way as to obtain a ‘soft and invisible power’.

The adept martial artist knows how to use the power and momentum of his opponent to overcome him with out exerting any force or power.

Non-resistance is like the nature of water. The strength of water lies in its ability to flow around obstacles and in its suppleness. Its force is soft yet powerful.

On the other hand, resistance is friction, an act of opposing, blocking or impeding something. It generally implies working against natural forces as opposed to working with them. (more…)

The Strength of Non-Resistance

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