In this chapter we will continue the questionnaire and the inner search which we started in chapter five on self-analysis.I encourage you to answer these questions for your self as you read along, or return to these questions when you have completed your reading. Each of us has different goals which we would like to fulfil before departing from these physical bodies. We have each chosen to be born for a special purpose. We can never feel totally content and fulfilled in life, until we recognize and begin to live that purpose for which we have incarnated and begin working toward fulfilling it. Many people have no idea why they are here, and wander aimlessly, discontentedly through life, feeling unhappy and dissatisfied. A person who does not know what he wants from life will never be able to concentrate his energies so as to accomplish what is important to him. Each of us will benefit by taking the time to look deeply within ourselves in order to discover what we really want from life. We can then organize our energies and thoughts in such a way as to really attain that for which we have incarnated. We remind you that the questions are expressed and answered in the third person, so that you can get used to the idea of answering in this way, for increased objectivity.
A. What are her goals and ambitions? What would she like to have accomplished before leaving this physical body?
Let us now consider some possible answers which Mary might give to this question.
1. Mary would like to see that her children grow into healthy, happy beings.
2. She would like to make her husband happy.
3. She would like to have a healthy and attractive body.
4. She would like to develop spiritually.
5. She would like to learn to draw artistically.
6. She would like to overcome her fears and become a more loving person.
7. She would like to be well read and intelligent.
8. Mary would like to be socially respected and well known.
Again, the possibilities are endless depending on each individual’s orientation. The next step is to put these goals into preferential order.
B. List these goals in the order from what is most important to what is least important for her at this moment in her life. The order in which she places these goals may change during the various periods of her life. For example, the goals concerning the family may dominate during the years in which the children are growing up. But after the children leave, she may then become more motivated by the desires to develop herself mentally, artistically and spiritually. The need for spiritual development may then take the lead, as she approaches the years previous to her departure from the physical body. Let us assume that Mary has now reached the age in which her children have just left home and she is now turning her energies toward her own development. She may possibly list her goals in the following way.
1. To overcome fears and become more loving.
2. To learn to draw artistically.
3. To be well read and intelligent.
4. To make her husband happy.
5. See that her children are healthy and happy.
6. To develop spiritually.
7. To have a healthy and attractive body.
8. To be socially respected and well known.
In many cases it may not be easy to place them in preferential order, in that we may want some things equally. Now we will want to analyze what may be preventing us from realizing these goals, and how we can most effectively use our energies toward the realization of these goals. We will have to consider the following factors:
1. Which fears, aversions or attachments may be blocking us from using our time, energy and thought towards the realization of these goals?
2. Some goals may be in conflict with other goals. For example Mary’s goal having an attractive body or being socially well known may at times conflict with her goals for self-development.
3. We must analyze how we are using our time each week and see where we are spending time on activities, which are not helping us move toward the fulfillment of these goals, or may even be preventing us from moving forward.
These concerns form the basis of the following questions which require deep and honest analysis on our part.
C. What fears, attachments or aversions are preventing her from realizing her goals?
The reader will have to remember Mary’s answers to the questionnaire on attachments, aversions and fears in chapter five. In answering this question, Mary will now get a clear idea of which attachments, fears or aversions she must begin to work on transforming now, so that she can realize her goals and potentials. She may find that her attachment to her husband’s presence and need to mother her children now prevent her from developing her artistic, mental and spiritual capabilities. These attachments may also be creating negative reactions from her husband and children who may feel smothered or trapped by her needs. This reaction will then create suffering for the whole family. She may discover that her fear of not having enough money, is preventing her from being able to concentrate on the present moment, and be as loving and happy as she could be, and of course prevents her from realizing her top priority goal which is «to overcome fears and become loving». Mary will also become aware that her attachment to sweets is preventing her from realizing her goal of a healthy and attractive body. How else do the attachments, aversions and fears mentioned prevent Mary from realizing her goals? And more important, how do her attachments, aversions and fears prevent her from realizing her goals.
D. Do any of these goals which she has listed conflict with each other?
Mary has now realized that at times her goal of making her husband happy may conflict with her need for her personal artistic, mental or spiritual development. This is especially true if her husband is not really «happy» about Mary’s new interests. The other fact, that Mary may have realized by now, is that one person cannot really make another person happy. We are each responsible for creating our own happiness and unhappiness. This does not mean that Mary becomes inconsiderate to her husband, but that she realizes that she can not make him be happy, especially if he does not want to be happy. She may also realize that her goals to be attractive and socially respected, and well known may compete for time, energy and thought concentration with her goals for artistic, mental and spiritual development. She may have to make a choice as to how to spend her time. Now we come to the analysis of how we spend our time. This will be he true measure of our “goals in action” at this present time. What we have written in answers to these questions are our theoretical values. Our real present values are measured by the way we spend our time and our money, our two most precious forms of energy. Thus by answering these next questions, we can see any conflicts which might exist between our theoretical values and our present activities. It is only natural for this discrepancy to exist, as we are in a state of evolution, and we will be first inspired mentally by certain values, and then, gradually, our lives and the way that we spend our time and money will come into alignment with those new values. By that time, we may have even newer values, and thus this process of change takes place continually in our lives as long as we are growing. This questionnaire will help us determine more objectively what changes we would like to make at this stage of our evolution.
E. Please calculate, as well as you can, how many hours she spends each week on the various types of activities in her life. (A week has 168 hours. Does her otal hours approach this number? Add any activities which may not be listed).
2. Preparing food, eating it and cleaning up
4. Cleaning up around the house
5. Caring for the family (except cooking, cleaning and shopping)
6. Working for money
7. Offering service to others without pay (except to family)
8. Spiritual practices (meditation, exercises, breathing techniques, prayer etc.)
9. Reading books (what types)
10. Reading newspapers and magazines
11. Watching TV And movies + sports events
12. Cultural activities (theatre, opera, concerts, lectures, etc.)
13. Creative activities (i.e. Dance, music, art-participating; not watching)
15. Attending classes
18. Playing with her children
19. Sports (practicing)
20. Keeping a diary
21. Talking on the telephone
22. Others (please specify)
The amount of time we spend on the above mentioned activities may vary from week to week, but we can find an average which represents how we usually spend our time. Now we want to analyze whether we are actually spending our time in such a way so that we are moving towards our goals mentioned. It is entirely possible that we may find that very little of our time is dedicated towards the fulfillment of the goals which we have stated are most important to us. Thus we come to the next question.
F. Now compare her goals with the way she is spending her time. Are her activities leading her toward the fulfillment of her expressed goals, or are they unrelated? Are there any activities which she would like to diminish or omit? Are there any activities which she would like to add or increase so that her life is lived more in harmony with her goals?
As mentioned earlier, our activities are not always in harmony with our present goals, because our goals generally change before our habits. It is because we change our values and goals, that we are motivated to change our habits. This is especially true of individuals who have recently begun the process of self-discovery. They begin to change their belief system and values, but they are still in the grips of habit patterns, developed on the basis of old beliefs and values. Thus it is entirely possible that we will find that we are spending much time in activities, which once gave us much enjoyment and had much meaning for us, but now are losing their interest for us. We may realize that we want less social activity, and more time for ourselves to read and be peaceful inside, so as to put our lives in perspective. We may find that we are more interested in spiritual or psychological discussions than in the news, politics, fashion, food and sports. Our interests may change, but we may find it difficult to so easily change the pattern of our behavior, especially when it has to do with our social and personal relationships. Our new interests and goals may at first be in conflict with our old social and personal contacts. Often there is resistance on the part of the family and friends to any changes which we may be going through. They may feel insecure and react negatively. So in each case, we have to analyze exactly what we want and gradually and naturally allow our activities to harmonize with our new goals and values. Those who really love us, and really are our friends, will understand and flow with us through this transformation, although there may be uncomfortable moments. If they reject us altogether, then it might mean that they are reflecting to us a part of ourselves which is not sure about these changes, or which doesn’t believe that we have the right to make them, or which believes that others will reject us if we do change. In such a case we will need to work on these inner doubts. We must be sure also that we too are able to continue loving others as they go through their changes and transformations. So in analyzing this question, Mary may discover that she would like to cut down the amount of time spent in socializing, watching TV, and movies, shopping, reading magazines, and daydreaming, and spend more time on reading uplifting books, spiritual practices (such as body exercises, breathing techniques, praying, meditation) and offering service so as to improve society. What changes you may want to make will depend on what you have stated as your goals. It is possible that you may not want to make any changes whatsoever. The only way to find out is to spend some time analyzing this aspect of your life.
ABILITIES, TALENTS AND QUALITIES
One’s abilities and talents show the way in which he may develop his positive qualities and find self-fulfillment, while at the same time bettering the quality of life for the society around him. Fears, attachments, habits and lack of self-confidence often prevent the natural development of positive abilities, talents and qualities lying latent within the individual. We have much to gain by discovering our positive qualities and developing and manifesting them for the benefit of all. We will simultaneously increase our self-fulfillment, self-confidence, self-image, self-love and self-acceptance. This will, in turn, give us the inner security, which will allow us to desire the same fulfillment for others. We will then want to help them work towards their own self-confidence, love and acceptance. When we are secure and content within ourselves, we naturally want the best for others. When we are insecure, we often experience envy, jealousy and secretly hope for the others to fail. This, is another proof of the truth that we can love and accept others only when we love and accept ourselves. And, of course, the opposite is also true; we can love and accept ourselves only when we love and accept others. Here are some questions which will help us discover and manifest our abilities, talents and positive qualities. A. Please list all of her talents, abilities and positive qualities. List all types of abilities simple and difficult: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
Our friend Mary might come up with the following list: Cooking, cleaning the house, caring for the children in every necessary way, driving a car, playing the piano, drawing and painting, dancing, massaging, knitting, sewing, typing; she can speak English, Greek and French, can make translations from one language to the other; she is good at listening to her friend’s problems and giving compassionate help when needed, she can take care of her body and mind through exercises, relaxation and meditation, she is good at decorating the home so as to make it a pleasant environment, she has the ability to give up her personal needs in order to help the others when there is need, and she has the ability to love even when people are negative towards her. If Mary were to analyze even more deeply, she would probably find even other talents and qualities which she just takes for granted.
B. Would she like to develop any of these abilities or qualities listed above, or any others which she has not mentioned, more fully?
Mary might answer that:
1. She would like to develop more fully her artistic abilities.
2. She would like to perfect her massaging technique so as to help others even more.
3. She would like to develop more concentration in her meditation.
4. She would like to develop a previously unexplored talent for writing, for she would like to share her experiences and discoveries with others.
5. She would also like to now develop the quality of Universal Love for all beings.
C. How will she go about developing the abilities and qualities mentioned in the previous answers?
Possible answers might be:
1. She will take some classes in painting and dedicate one hour each day to practice.
2. She will take a refresher course in massage and practice more regularly on her family and friends when they need it.
3. She will meditate more regularly and clear her mind with exercise and breathing beforehand.
4. She will begin to keep a diary of her personal experiences and thoughts. When inspired, she will write small articles, stories or poems and submit them to magazines.
5. She will try to see each person, as a soul and not as a body or personality, and develop the ability to love each even more, in spite of any distasteful qualities. She will remember to love herself more unconditionally so that she will have the peace and contentment to love others. She will meditate on love and allow feelings of love to spread throughout her body and mind when meditating. It will be useful at this stage to make a large sign with our decisions and place it in our bedroom, or elsewhere, where we will see it daily so as to be reminded about our decisions. Such a program is useless if not applied. The next step in the Self-transformation process is to work on removing blockages which one has towards loving and accepting himself and others.
POSITIVE PROGRAMMING: REMOVING BLOCKAGES
Because of our past experiences we tend to hold on to certain negative image patterns of ourselves and others in our subconscious mind. We feel guilty about certain things we have done or not done. We feel that we are «not good», based on these subconscious memories. These negative self-feelings undermine our success in all fields of our life, including work, study, artistic expression and personal relationships. We are programmed to believe in this way that we cannot succeed or that we «do not deserve» to succeed or be happy. It will be useful to bring any of these lingering thoughts up to the surface, so that they may be clearly analyzed in the light of the logic of the conscious mind and also the spiritual truths which we are presently learning. When properly analyzed, they can be released through self-understanding and self-forgiveness. Also those who are religiously oriented, can ask for forgiveness from God who has promised to forgive any one who sincerely wants to change. Psychology today is discovering the strong undermining force of guilt on our mind. Most of us are not aware of the extent to which guilt for our own mistakes, and bitterness towards others for the injustice they have done us, control our subconscious mind and thus 95% of our emotional life, and state of health. This may seem exaggerated to, you as you are first hearing it, but some years of self-analysis and deeper contact with others will prove to you that this is true. Thus I would suggest that you work sincerely on the following questions. You may have to spend some time “regressing back” to recall experiences that you have forgotten. You may want to talk to your parents or others, who were there with you in your childhood years, so as to see what kind of experiences and messages you were subjected to, and how you reacted to them then. Also it is important to realize that we are two (or actually many more ) persons. One is conscious and realizes that we are secure, content and worthy of love, acceptance and respect. Yet there is another subconscious part of us, which is still like a child, and doubts whether we are actually safe or worthy, or whether others can love us or not, or whether we are acceptable or not. This second part of us is responsible for 95% of our emotional life, until we free ourselves from the various illusions which control us. This will require acknowledging the existence of this inner child, and communicating with it, and respecting and loving and reeducating it, so that it understands the truth about itself and the world. Because we have understood something, or forgive something, in our selves or others consciously, does not mean that the subconscious has done the same. Because we have overcome a fear consciously, does not mean that we have overcome it subconsciously. We have overcome and understood many things consciously, as adults, which our inner child still fears and doubts. So we would do well to dig deeply and honestly as we answer these questions.
A. List all the things which she holds against herself, for which she has not forgiven herself. What does she not like about herself or feel guilty about.
The secret guilt and reasons which cause people not to like themselves are infinite in variety, and often quite surprising to others, who wonder “how someone with so much logic, and who is such a good person, continue to feel guilty about such a thing, as he does.” At the same time, if we were to share our secret guilt, we may find that we have much in common, since we have been conditioned in similar ways. Some of the common themes are:
1. Having sexual feelings or experiences as a child and in the present.
2. Not having done one’s duty.
3. Having harmed someone.
4. Having failed at some endeavor.
5. The death of close ones before we have a chance to harmonize our relationship with them.
6. Our children’s «failure».
7. Overeating, cigarettes, alcohol or harming the body in some way.
8. Having committed some crime.
9. For weakness or indulging in unwanted habits.
10. Being unable to make others happy.
11. Being a burden to others.
12. Being unable to live up to the expectations we make of ourselves.
The next step is to look at each of these cases, and to realize that we have done what we could at the level of awareness we were at that moment in the past. There is no value in holding on to the experience, except as a motivating force to move forward in our spiritual growth, and free our selves from the ignorance, fear and attachment which led us to making any past mistakes. We can forgive ourselves for each case individually, consciously learning from each mistake we may have made. We cannot change anything we have done in the past. The most we can do is learn from our mistakes and not make the same mistake in the present. Forgiving ourselves for the past, frees us from these past blockages, and we can put our energy and thought to more effective use in the present. We can allow ourselves to succeed and feel happy.
B. Now let her consciously forgive herself for each of the above factors which she does not like about herself. Let her forgive herself and feel self-love and self-acceptance on three levels; orally, in writing and subconsciously.
There are three ways in which we can work on removing these blockages.
a. We can repeat verbally that we forgive ourselves for these past acts.
b. We can write 20 to 50 times that we forgive ourselves, and accept ourselves, in spite of each mentioned past act individually. Another aspect of forgiveness through writing is to write down, on a paper, any aspects of ourselves which we cannot accept (from the past or present) and then burn the paper in a type of ritual as we pray, meditate or chant, imagining that these aspects of our selves are being purified or removed.
c. We can relax the mind through mind-control, meditation or any relaxation technique and auto-suggest ourselves in this relaxed state that we forgive ourselves and accept ourselves. We can create positive images of ourselves in our mind. There is also a fourth way to experience this forgiveness. It requires another experienced person. It is called psychodrama, in which we let the other person imagine that he is us, and we talk to “ourselves” in the form of the other person and forgive him for his mistakes. The other person may react in various ways, or answer us, or ask questions, or resist the idea of forgiveness and through this small “drama” we experience more fully this forgiveness.
After having cleared up the blockages we have with ourselves, we will then want to clear up the blockages we have with other people.
C. List all the negative feelings which he holds against others in this life i.e. mother, father, children, spouse, lover, brothers, sisters, close friends.
Each of us is holding on to certain feelings of bitterness, resentment, disillusionment, mistrust, anger, jealousy, envy, or fear towards those with whom we have had closer personal relationships. These feelings block our ability to freely experience and express the love which could flow between us. We are thus interested to analyze what kind of negative feelings we may be harboring within us towards these people. Otherwise our relationships will be superficial or even poisoned by these feelings. These feelings will also function destructively in our other relationships, although they do not have to do with these others. For example, a woman may have many feelings towards her husband which have nothing to do with him but are actually for her father. The same could be true towards our wives, children and friends. In general our relationships with our parents, because they are our first and were experienced at and vulnerable age, are projected later on in life onto all of our other relationships. Thus we will need to pay special attention to any hidden feelings towards our parents. Remember that you are two persons, one logical conscious being, and another illogical child, who still lives within you. We may have made expectations which were not fulfilled. Our feelings may have been hurt by some criticism, suggestion or punishment. Our security may have been threatened when we felt a lack of love or interest. Our pride may have been hurt when we were not treated with kindness and respect. Our addictions, aversions and fears may have been stimulated by those around us, thus creating negative feelings within us. We waste tremendous amounts of energy, time and thought when we hold on to such negative feelings, and create whole «court cases» in our mind, so as to prove that we are «right» and the others are unjust. The only result is that we create unhappiness for ourselves and the others, but mostly for ourselves who have to experience constantly these negative thoughts. It would be much better to express our disappointment, fear, hurt, resentment, jealousy, envy etc. to the person involved in a centered peaceful way, while taking at least equal (if not more) responsibility for the reality created within our own mind, which we have created, in a certain way, through our attachments, aversions, fears and conditioning. We could have reacted in another way. We could have ignored the event completely. We could have acted with strength, understanding and compassion. We could have let go of our expectations and weaknesses which created our disappointment and hurt. We could have understood that the other was acting negatively because he has some problem of his own; that he does not feel well within himself and that this is his way of releasing his tension. We could see him as a child, who cannot do any better, and we could understand and forgive.
D. Now let her understand and forgive each of those people in this life towards which she holds negative feelings. Let her forgive them for each specific event in some combination of four ways; in writing, subconsciously, in psychodrama and then personally with that person.
1. We may write a letter, expressing our feelings to the person, and finalize with our desire to now forgive and forget the event or situation. This letter may be sent to the person, or not, depending on the situation and what is best for all. We may also burn the letter while simultaneously feeling that we are burning up our negative feelings. We will most probably need to write two letters; one first with all of our complaints, bitterness and negativity, until that is released. We may need to write many of these negative letters so that the tension is released before we can proceed to forgive. It is important to release negativity before we try to forgive, or else we run the risk of creating even greater internal conflict between that part of us, which has forgiven, and the subconscious part which is still holding on to the pain and bitterness. In the many seminars which I have conducted, I have seen many people who believed that they had forgiven , but when they went inside, usually through deep relaxation regression, to childhood years they discovered that there was still a great deal of pain and bitterness which needed to be expressed. Thus, to forgive before we release our negativity, is like polishing the floor before we sweep and wash it. In this way we close in the dirt forever, or until we remove the polish. Or another metaphor would be driving a car. We need to go through first and second gear for some time before third and fourth gear can be effective. Thus we need to do through a period of time of searching inwardly and expressing before we can go on to forgive. It is not important that the others receive our letters or hear our complaints. What is important is that we are able to express them. From the spiritual point of view, they have done absolutely nothing to us which was not perfect for our evolutionary process. We actually should be grateful for them, for playing those roles which life gave them, so that we could now have this opportunity to search within, and discover our real self beyond all that pain. Everything in our lives has been perfect until this moment. And thus we can forgive everyone for everything because we are the only causes of our reality. But these spiritual truths are just now seeping into us and thus are not functioning in our subconscious mind yet. Thus we will need to go through this process of release before going on to forgive.
2. We may use any relaxation method we know and visualize ourselves forgiving and embracing the other with openness and love. As explained previously, however, we may want to experience a few guided deep relaxation sessions in which we express first our pain and bitterness, either silently or verbally. Then we can go onto visualizing that forgiveness while in the state of relaxation.
3. We may now do a psychodrama with a person experienced in this technique. He can play the role of the person to whom we want to express our pain or negativity. He will ask us various questions which will help us to express even more clearly what we felt, what we thought, what we needed and the beliefs which were created within us by those events. Then after a few sessions we can do a forgiveness – psychodrama in which we verbally forgive the other.
4. When we feel we are ready (and if the other person is still living) and we believe that