Making Personal changes

How do make personal changes in your life?

Sometimes making changes in your beliefs, emotions, relationships, and elsewhere in your life is counter-intuitive.

When you are riding a bicycle,,, how do you turn the bike to the right?   You turn the handlebars to the left.    How do you change the negative thoughts in your head?   We’ll maybe you get the best results in a similar way.  Don’t try to push more positive ones on top of them.  Sometimes when you do you end up going in a negative direction.

Turning the handlebars to the right in order to turn the bike to the right makes logical sense if you aren’t aware of the other factors like the gyroscopic effect of precession.   Don’t know what you are doing when it comes to changing your beliefs or emotional reactions and you are likely to end up goring in the wrong direction.

The Self Mastery Course can help steer you in the right direction.  Some of the things might seem counter-intuitive, but they will make more sense when you have more awareness of how belief systems operate.

Originally posted at Making Personal Changes

ToltecSpirit.com, a resource for living by the Four Agreements.

 

Four Agreements Companion Book

A question from a subscriber to my on line course in Self Mastery,,,

Hello Gary,

I started reading The Four Agreements Companion Book yesterday and noticed that it had exercises like your Self Mastery program.  The first exercise in the book was dealing with image of perfection but I’m still about ten sessions away from your Image of Perfection session.

I am aware that the sessions in your program are in an order for a purpose, so I wasn’t sure if it would be okay to continue reading the book or not.

Should I… continue reading the book and do the book exercises with your program? or stop reading the book until I finish your program?

Thanks for your time,

Curious

Hi Curious,

The Four Agreements Companion book is great and I recommend that you read it.  However most people I’ve talked to that have attempted the exercises have gotten overwhelmed.   They see so much of their belief system so fast without first having control over their attention that they slip into a victim point of view.  That induces a feeling of overwhelm, powerlessness, and then hopelessness.   Then their inner judge kicks in and berates them for failing.   They lose motivation and close the book,,, stop the exercises…  defeated.   They end up feeling worse than when they started.

So that’s one of the reasons why I don’t start with the  Image of Perfection beliefs.  It’s also why I have people develop some other skills over their attention and beliefs before trying to change their whole belief system.  It’s like eating beef.  It’s much easier to do one bite at a time so you don’t get crushed by the whole animal.

By all means read the Four Agreements Companion Book.  But, I’d suggest doing the exercises in the Self Mastery before starting the exercises in the book.  And if you want to challenge and dissolve your Image of Perfection beliefs, (which is a necessary step to eliminating self judgments) then I suggest the using the steps in the Advanced Series of the Self Mastery program instead of the Four Agreements Companion book approach.   In the Advanced Series I not only walk you through changing the Image of Perfection beliefs, but also walk you through the different issues of resistance that come up to letting these go.

After that, you’ll be better prepared to do the exercises suggested  in the Four Agreements Companion book.

Hope that helps,

Gary

Original post at ToltecSpirit.com a Four Agreements resource for Spiritual Warriors
http://www.toltecspirit.com/2009/12/four-agreements-companion-book/

The Big Lie: Change is Hard

It’s actually a much harder life if you don’t change the fears and false beliefs that are driving your unhappiness.

The most common comment of resistance that I hear while guiding people through the process to change their beliefs and emotional driven behaviors is:  “This is Hard.”

It’s a simple enough comment and we might easily accept it as true.    But here’s the trap.  It’s a lie that makes the changes you are attempting more difficult.

Yes it is difficult to change beliefs.  It is challenging.  However to say that it is hard, implies that doing nothing is easier.  And this is a lie.  It is actually harder to continue to live with the same false beliefs that are driving your unhappiness.

This post originally at Change is Hard

ToltecSpirit.com is a guide for Spiritual Warriors using the Four Agreements

Some people say change is hard.  It’s one of those things that sounds true, but turns into a big lie.   Change is challenging,,, but not to change,,,, that is a really hard way to live.

Nobody is Perfect

Sometimes you will  hear people say, “Nobody is Perfect.”

Generally they include themselves in this category of not being perfect.
It’s an odd kind of self judgment.

It’s an odd kind of self judgment based on this idea of perfection.  However, there’s nobody in this category of “Perfection.”    And if perfection is an empty group then “perfection” doesn’t really exist.

The consequences of that is that “imperfection” doesn’t exist. Then there is no one that is imperfect either.  Including you.

Saying that you aren’t perfect is like saying that Tuesday is not tall enough.   “Not tall enough” does’t exist as a category for Tuesdays.   Then the category “Too Tall” doesn’t exist eigher.   The categories don’t apply.

So applying the category descriptions of “perfect” and “imperfect” to your self, and other people, doesn’t make much sense.

This post originally published at  www.ToltecSpirit.com  a blog about the Four Agreements.

For practical exercises in being Impeccable and Not Taking things personally listen to the audio sessions in the Self Mastery program.

The Challenge of a Spiritual Warrior

The challenge of the spiritual warrior is daunting.

A recent email from a client working his way through an emotionally challenging divorce caused me to share with him something about the challenge of a spiritual warrior.   In his breakup he is often overwhelmed with anger, sadness and frustration.  Outbursts still happen as he does not yet have control over his attention.   My reply:

It is a war,,, that’s why we call it being a Warrior.

In the beginning we will lose most, or almost all of the day to day, moment to moment battles for our attention.  In a way that is to be expected.  The benefit of understanding this is that you will not beat your self up when you fall into a story of drama, anger, or sadness etc.   The danger of telling you this is that your judge and victim in your belief system might distort the challenge into being so hard and convince you to not even try.

What will you do with the information that this is a challenge?  What will the judge and victim of your parasite do with the same information?

It is a risk to share this with you, and a risk to keep it from you.

My advice… do not measure the progress of your war by the results of a single moment, or even one day.

God Speed

Some of the bet guidance I can give can be found in the free audio and Self Mastery exercises at PathwayToHappiness.com The program is derived from my personal study with don Miguel Ruiz and the principles of the Four Agreements.

Speak to us of Love

Excerpt from The Prophet by Kahlil Gilbran

“Speak to us of Love,”  someone asked.

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.

And with a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

The book is worth reading more than once, as well are his other works.

This post originally posted at

http://www.toltecspirit.com/2009/06/love/


When Relationship Are Confusing

When a man describes his relationship as “confusing”  or “It’s complicated…

It doesn’t mean that it’s really confusing or complicated.  It usually  means there are 3 or more emotions present and he doesn’t know how to make logical sense of what’s going on with that many responses .

To help you sort out what emotions are going on in your relationships, listen and practice the exercises in the Self Mastery audio program at Pathway to Happiness You might also take advantage of the free audio on awareness.


This post is by Gary van Warmerdam and the original is located at  his website about the Four Agreements


The Four Agreements – Why is it so Hard?

Living by the Four Agreements,,, why is it so hard?

We read the book the Four Agreements and feel better by the simple clarity it presents.  It tells us something about our self, other people, and the world that we have always known, but not been able to put into words.  With that clarity we have a sense of hope and excitement about changing our life and our relationships.  It is possible to end the drama of emotional suffering and be happy.

We take the next step and adopt the four agreements as principles and practices that we continually live by.  We are excited about the possibility, but then the reality sets in. Living our lives by the Four Agreements is challenging.  It can even appear impossible.  Why is it so hard when they are so simple?

We Make Endless Assumptions

It is because we have been practicing doing the exact opposite for almost our entire life.  From the time we were 2 or 3 years old we have been making assumptions.  We do it so continually we aren’t even aware how automatically we do it so often.

We Take Everything Personally

We also assume that we are the center of the world.  We assume that people do things because of us.   People react to what we say or do and we think it is about us. We aren’t aware that they have their own beliefs and interpretations that cause them to react.  This assumption blinds us to personalize everything to our own point of view.  We have done this for years and practiced it until we do it automatically.  We have become masters of taking things personally.

We don’t believe we do our best.

The judge in our mind has been hard at work telling us what to do for years.  It has been a constant reminder of what we should and shouldn’t do.  In our child hood we learned to follow it as a god like authority in our life.  We wouldn’t dare question what it tells us we should be.  Because our obedience to that inner judge we never feel like we are doing our best.

Living by the Four Agreements is a Life Changing Commitment

All of this, making assumptions, interpreting everything from our own personal point of view, and living by the voice of the inner judge is the exact opposite of the Four Agreements.  And we have been doing it for years.  Practicing it every day for years,,, the exact opposite of the Four Agreements.

When you decide to adopt the Four Agreements you are changing the course of so many of the habits of your life.  You will not make these changes in one day, or even one week.  However, if you work at it over time, you can make extraordinary changes in your life.

If you decide to adopt the Four Agreements as a means to change your relationships and your life, don’t do it for a day or a week.  Decide to do it a little bit each day for a year.  Then see how much you have changed.  To attempt to measure your results in a week, or a month is to make a gross error assumption in the magnitude of your undertaking.
For practical exercises in implementing the Four Agreements take advantage of the free sessions in the Self Mastery Audio Program.

This post originally posted at The Four Agreements by Gary van Warmerdam

Be Impeccable with your Word

In the book The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz offers the suggestion, “Be Impeccable with your Word.”    Some people interpret this to mean, “keep your word.”   It doesn’t.  Impeccability is not that simple.   For starters, being impeccable with your word has more to do with expressing your self in the direction of truth and love.  Other aspects are of significance, but this interpretation is most important.

It is important to use your word carefully. The way you express your self will impact your life, and others.  You have to be aware of what you say, and how you express your self to do this.  One of the results of impeccability is that you will say only what you mean, and you will mean what you say.   From the outside this appears to mean “keep your word.”

When the meaning of “Be Impeccable with your Word”  is taught as “keep your word” it is because one of two reasons.  First, the person leading the teaching is not familiar with the more important expression of truth and love.   The second happens when the person leading the group has an attachment to controlling the behavior or actions of others.

If you subscribe to the idea that impeccability is really about keeping your agreements, then you subject your self to possible harm and abuse unnecessarily.  Very possibly you end up using these four agreements to inflict emotional suffering on your self instead of freeing your self from it the way they were designed to do.

Suppose that you make the agreement to get married.  You make a big commitment to love, honor, and respect another for all the days of your life.  But perhaps after months or years together, the person you are married to changes.  Perhaps they become abusive.  Perhaps they are emotionally withdrawn, involved in addictions, or have an affair.

At a certain point you become tired of being abused and you want to end the relationship.  But by now you have this new spiritually enlightening agreement to Be Impeccable.  You think the agreement means that you can’t change your agreements.  With that interpretation you use the idea of impeccability to remain in a relationship that is abusive and disrespectful to your self.   This is not being kind and loving to your self.  This is not expressing love towards your self.  You are breaking the more important meaning of impeccability.

Besides, if you are in a relationship and your partner is disrespectful, unkind, and abusive, they have already broken the relationship contract.  They have not kept their side of the marriage agreement.  If someone is abusive to you, you do not have to keep your agreement to stay with them.  Staying with them all the days of your life was made within the context of love, honor, and respect in the relationship.  If they can not hold up their end of the agreement, then the agreement is broken.  You are free to go.  If you try to keep your half even when they have broken their half, that is not being honest and truthful about what has happened and therefore not impeccable.

Of course the two of you can each work on your half of how you treat each other.  It is very common to have lapses.   If your partner has lapses, but they have remorse, and they make an honest effort to improve, it can be worthwhile to work through the challenges.  However, it is very subjective to each person how much patience to have with someone.  No one can make that decision for you.

If and when you decide to end that relationship, you do it because of the love you have for your self.  You love your self so much that you want to be happy.  You also abide by the truth that you deserve to be happy.  With that impeccable expression of your love, you break your agreement to stay with the person abusing you.   In this case it is completely impeccable to break your previous  promises .

To be impeccable does not mean that you live your life according to the agreements you made in the past.  Practicing impeccability is just as much about freeing your self from the fear based and self limiting agreements of your past.
For exercies and practices in mastering the Four Agreements download and listen to the Self Mastery audio sessions.

Original post located at Be Impeccable with Your Word

Positive Thinking

Proponents of self help espouse the benefits of positive thinking.  I don’t argue with the benefits of focusing your attention on something positive, and making a positive expression.   However, what I propose is that there is something more valuable.

What about all those moments when our mind wanders and where our attention has strayed?  What are we creating in those moments we are not aware and in control of our conscious expression?   I say that is is far more valuable to become aware and gain control over your attention in every moment of your day.  Eliminate all the negative expressions and unpleasant emotions in those moments of unconsciousness, and you will do far more to change your life.

Positive thinking can certainly help you to create more happiness and beauty in your life.   However it first requires that you have control over your attention, so this is the place you should start.