The Hour Of Power
By Asoka Selvarajah, Ph.D
Aristotle said that if you gave him a lever big enough, he could move the world. The same principle of leverage applies in your life. In this case, we are talking about the use of a small amount of time each day to revolutionize the results you get from the rest of your day and your life.
If a person would take just one hour out of every day, and devote it to personal development, he/she would rapidly achieve extraordinary results in life. This is the idea that is being presented to you here, and one you would do well to take seriously. Before you even think of saying that “you can’t afford the time”, consider this: you can’t afford NOT to! Too much of the time, our well-intentioned resolutions for self betterment fall by the wayside. Certainly, we intend to take our personal growth very seriously. Yet, it either never happens at all, or if it does, fails to yield the results we might have hoped for.
This is often because there is little consistency in what we are doing. Sometimes, we go at it strong and appear to make good progress. However, with no set routine to fall back on, we are always at risk of letting the whole thing slide when something “important” comes up. By establishing an hour of power – a regular daily period for self growth – you prevent this from happening and make solid progress rapidly. Many people devote regular time to physical exercise, which is to be applauded. However, doesn’t your mental life, and your very future, deserve the same respect?
What does this hour consist of? To a large extent, you can shape it as you wish. However, there should be certain elements present. There should definitely be time reserved to set and review your goals. This would include writing them out by hand to reinforce them upon your mind. All this could take 10-15 minutes. There should be a period where you actively visualize the successful achievement of your dreams. Here, you use all of your imaginative inner senses to bring your desired future into your present subconscious reality.
You could spend 20-30 minutes of your hour reading a personal growth book, or listening to tapes from motivational speakers. Remember that in order to recondition your subconscious, and raise the vibration of your thoughts and what you attract to yourself, you need to be continually feeding yourself with positive material. If you have spent much of your life thinking negative, and being fed unhelpful ideas by those around you, it is vital that you consciously reverse the process and impregnate yourself on a regular basis with the ideas that actually help you move you forward and upward.
Perhaps 5-10 minutes of your hour of power can be spent actually planning out your day? Alternatively, if you do your hour in the evenings, then you can plan out the next day. This would simply involve listing out the things you need to do, and ranking them in order of importance. Clearly, we are not talking about remembering to do the shopping, or going to see the latest movie. Rather, you need to list and execute the actions you can take that will propel your life forward, and then make sure they get done. Simply listing your activities for the day, ranking them in order of importance, and making sure they get done will change your life dramatically!
Nobody can create your hour of power for you. It is down to you to decide on the components you want to include. Perhaps a period of quiet reflection on your life is something you would wish to include. Decide on what you want to do with the time, and plan it out. Do not just set aside an hour and then drift through it without any plan. Sub-divide the hour into discrete sections, e.g. 15-minute chunks, and have an idea of what you will do in each before you even begin. Indeed, your very first hour of power may be devoted to planning out all the others to follow.
Also, it may not be one hour in a single sitting. You may find it better to do two half-hour sessions, at the start and end of the day respectively. That is fine too, if it works for you and your time schedule. However, do not sacrifice the hour total. You do need that amount of time to make it work. After all, this is not “wasted time”. Rather, it could be the key component in taking you forward towards your dreams and goals.
Give some thought to this idea and consider making the hour of power a key part of your daily schedule. We are so involved in so many activities that we need a solid chunk of the day to revitalize our hopes and dreams, and keep ourselves going on the right path. Yes, given a large enough lever, you could indeed move the world. But first, you have to move yourself!
To Whom Much Is Given
By Asoka Selvarajah
There was a heart-warming story on the news the other day. It seems that there is a multimillionaire in New York city called George Weiss, who has taken it upon himself to personally help as many of the poor black children of Harlem as he can.
He is personally funding the college education of literally hundreds of these needy children, who would not otherwise be able to go. Better than this, he actually gets personally involved in his work. He visits the schools, meets the kids, talks to the parents, and listens to what they’re saying. Kids or parents can even phone him up if they need advice, or are in some kind of trouble.
That’s not all. He’s starting even younger these days; giving the same promise of a college education to the kindergarten children!
This is an inspiring and wonderful example of giving, especially in a world that seems to be increasingly oriented in the other direction. However, it also goes to illustrate some important principles…
The first is that, contrary to the beliefs of many, all rich people are not invariably self-serving, thieving, hard-hearted, nasty SOBs who don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves. It really does prove that you can be a genuinely NICE and CARING person and still become a multimillionaire.
Sadly, many people do not want to become wealthy because they believe they must somehow, by necessity, turn into a cold-hearted monster. They would rather remain poor and “pure” than be rich and “corrupt”. No matter where this attitude was acquired, whether in the course of daily living or from parental influence, it is a FALSE philosophy that does not well serve the person who believes it.
Actually, this is usually an excuse given by people who are simply too afraid to take the risks necessary, or learn what needs to be learned, in order to achieve financial success. It’s so much easier to just “make do”, pretend you could have done it if you had really wanted to, but CHOSE not to out of pure and selfless motives.
Yet, the fact is that most, if not all, self-made millionaires understand the principles of abundance very well. They understand that when one gives, and does so with an open and generous heart, then one activates the laws of the universe to work for you, and to bring you even more abundance.
You have doubtless heard this many times before. However, what you may not be aware of is just how commonly understood and accepted this principle is amongst self-made financially wealthy people, AND how poorly understand, hardly ever believed, and almost never practiced it is amongst people who remain poor by their own choice. It draws a cynical laugh at best amongst the latter group, but virtually never amonst the former.
If you make s study of wealthy people, you will find this universal idea cropping up again and again. Indeed, it is often surprising just WHO firmly espouses it. It is NOT just the people with a sort of “spaced out” mindset, but also the most hard-nosed, determined super achievers in the upper levels of the business world. You might not, at face value, expect these people to embrace such a strange seemingly metaphysical concept, but they have found it to be as real and reliable as the chairs they sit on.
Another point often missed when people claim that they prefer to be poor, and which is well brought out by the Weiss story, is that abundant people can actually HELP many more people than people whose lives are filled with lack. This is true as a general principle, but it especially true of finances. How can you give, if you have nothing to give to begin with?
The plain fact is that rich people can help more, because they have more resources at their disposal. This is true, whether the matter at hand is helping the needy, spreading the benefits of some philosophy or teaching, working to help the environment, or anything else. It’s worth thinking about, next time you wish you could greatly help some worthy cause, but can only afford a few dollars at most.
Now, it IS definitely important to maintain the correct balance between worldly and spiritual activities. It would be a mistake to cultivate worldly affluence at the expense of your soul. Yes, it IS also true that excessive riches, and the pursuit of them, can be a huge distraction from what is ultimately more important in life – namely the growth of spiritual awareness.
However, provided you have not retired from the world to become a monk and pursue the spiritual quest in that manner, you are always going to be balancing financial affairs with spiritual growth throughout your life. Hence, you might as well do both well, rather than just one (or believe that one necessarily excludes the other). Don’t make this balance an excuse for doing one and not the other.
If further proof were needed, ponder what Mr. Weiss is doing with his time and money, and think of the huge positive impact he is having upon society through his generous help. This is a wonderful and valid model for what true affluence means, and the power it gives you to benefit many.
Think poor, you stay poor, and your cup fills with excuses and blame. Think rich, you become rich, and your cup runneth over to benefit many others around you.
Which do you prefer? Take a look at the life you are living and you will see the evidence of your choice. And if you don’t like what you see, remember… you can always change it!
On Developing Resiliency
By Asoka Selvarajah
Life is tough. Of that, there is no doubt. Buddhism actually teaches that the essence of the unenlightened life IS suffering. This is the truth of it. Nobody has it easy. Neither pauper no king, neither bacterium nor whale–all suffer to a greater or lesser extent, and all are subject to that ultimate suffering we call Death. Life feeds on life. People, it would seem, often feed on each other.
Hence, rather than maintain a sugary view of life, it is best to see it (as much as this is possible) as it really is. Granted, this is almost impossible, given that we all see the world through a massive number of belief filters. Nevertheless, by constantly challenging ourselves, we may gradually gain new insights and perceptions. Thus, it truly becomes possible to see reality ever better, and deal with it as it is, rather than as we would like it to be in that present moment. In doing this honestly, we increase the probability that we can shape the future, with intention, into what we would like it to be.
Specifically, it is essential to develop the capacity of Resiliency. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after defeats and setbacks; to not merely recover from suffering and apparent defeat, but to even thrive as a result.
As this article is being written, the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz has just been commemorated. Countless people died there, it is true. However, many people also survived from the Nazi concentration camps, and went on to live normal productive lives. Despite the unspeakable horror that they suffered, a nightmare that seemed never-ending, life DID eventually become better for them, and they embraced it with joy.
The past is the past. Yet, many of us continue to live in mental concentration camps that our physical bodies departed from long ago.
If life was like driving a car, why would you keep your eyes glued firmly on the rear-view mirror? Is that a good indication of what is around the next bend? Indeed, can you even SEE the next bend? Yet that is what many, or maybe it would be more accurate to say, most people are doing with their lives.
As Tony Robbins says, “The Past does not equal the Future”. If you find yourself unable to break out from the shackles of the past–bad relationship, bad job, unhappy childhood, addiction, whatever–you might do well to remember this. The Past does not equal the Future. If it does, then that is entirely your choice. It never HAS to be that way.
The quality of resilience is all about retaining flexibility and holding life lightly. Don’t make such a heavy deal out of everything. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The sun will still shine tomorrow. The birds will still sing. Resilience is about retaining optimism, even in the jaws of horror. It is about knowing that in every adversity lies the seeds of an equal or even greater benefit.
If you maintain an attitude of gratitude to Life, the Universe and God, it is very hard to be defeated for long. Resilience is about knowing that ultimately, God and the Universe are friendly to your plans and to your life, no matter how difficult and filled with suffering life can be.
There is a greater and hidden purpose behind it all. Life is like a training ground. Consider yourself in training, and ask yourself, “What is the lesson here?” In that way, you will receive the most from each and every experience–good or bad–and will not have to continually repeat lessons that you reject and continue to bring you seemingly endless hardship.
Often people become dispirited and bitter because the same terrible things keep happening to them. What they do not realize is that those things will continue to repeat for as long as they fail to learn the lesson that is being taught. Once the lesson is learned, that particular challenge will eventually cease, and the next thing you need to learn will be presented to you.
Realize that you are responsible for where you are now, and you are also capable of getting where you dream of going. It may take a lot of work, effort and sacrifice. You may even have to do a tremendous amount of work to undo the negative consequences of the past–mental, emotional, relationship, financial, or whatever else. However, the truth is that you ARE capable of achieving it.
If you are still caught up in a concentration camp of the mind, it is entirely of your own doing. Take a look for yourself. The gates were opened long ago. All you have to do is to walk out.
We really cannot know why things happen in a complete sense. There are mysteries that nobody can understand, and they probably should not even try. “Why did this happen to me?”, is not really a helpful question. “What can I lean from it, and how can I use it to my best advantage and to the betterment of others?”, IS a valid and very useful question.
No matter what your life circumstance–rich or poor, able-bodied or disabled, black or white, man or woman, smart or dumb–your level of happiness and resilience against adversity is a mental AND physical matter. It is a decision and an attitude of mind that you consciously and continually cultivate every day. It does not just “happen”. It is also a physical respect for, and nurturing of, your body; to make it strong, healthy, and fully able to support you in your desire to bounce back and thrive.
Those people who sit around bemoaning their fate, their suffering, and ask what their lives are worth, are missing the point. THEY have the power of choice, right here, right now. What they experience now arose from previous life choices (and metaphysically speaking, from previous lives too, if you want to understand how situations like disability etc. occur, that we cannot seem to possibly take responsibility for).
At any point, you can choose to take the spiral that leads higher to abundance, gratitude, health, joy and hence resilience. Alternatively, you can take the spiral that leads down to blame, confusion, hopelessness, bitterness, ingratitude and eventually annihilation. The choice is really always yours. Nobody can take it away from you. Nobody can make that choice for you either.
No. Life is not easy and suffering is ever-present. However, the good news is that you can rise above it all, through a mental decision to do so and to hold yourself to the highest standards at all times. As Victor Frankl, a respected Jewish psychiatrist who survived the Nazi death camps said, nobody can take away from you the last human freedom–your freedom and right to choose your own authentic response to any situation. That freedom remains yours, now and forever.
Communing With The Universe: The Power Of Oracles
By Asoka Selvarajah, Ph.D
Until recently, scientists were giving us an increasingly mechanistic view of the Universe. The “billiard ball” model of reality – namely, that certain knowable causes always give rise to certain predictable effects – increasingly dominated all areas of our society. Scientists expected that one day, they would have a complete explanation for ALL phenomena. God increasingly became the “god of the gaps” – the gaps that Science could not explain….yet.
However, the advent of Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Theory in particular have ended that dream forever. Instead of speaking of certainties and laws, we must now deal with probabilities (i.e. likeliehoods) and a constant interplay between Order and Chaos. Royal Society Biologist, Rupert Sheldrake, now threatens to upset the established scheme even further with his theory that there are in fact no “Laws of Nature”, but rather ingrained habits built up through countless repetitions!
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
So everything in Science is in a dramatic state of flux – one that has yet to feed down to the layman. Most people are still caught in the 19th century hangover of Scientific Rationalism. This loosely states that the only things that exist are those that can be verified experimentally, and that logic is the only valid function of the brain for determining true knowledge about reality. This notion still pervades all areas of society.
However, it is an utterly false one. In truth, the universe is increasingly revealed to be a place of profound mystery. The more scientists discover, the more they gasp at the immensity that remains to be discovered. In truth, the Universe is something incomprehensibly complex; from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the vast dimensions of galactic super-clusters. It defies the finite capacities of our minds.
Moreover, for those who have eyes to see, the universe is also revealing itself to be a place of infinite intelligence. Whether it be Dr. Deepak Chopra telling us about the incredible wisdom stored within the Human Body, or Geo-Physicist James Lovelock postulating that the entire Earth can realistically be considered a single living organism – Gaia – many scientists are embracing a holistic approach to reality at all scales.
Within this new reality of the universe as BEING, the ancient methods of perception emerge once more as potentially valid ways of examining reality. In particular, the ancient method of the Oracle deserves our re-appraisal.
Long maligned by Science as contemptible outdated nonsense, and by mainstream Religion as the work of the devil, Oracles nevertheless enjoyed a long and respected history in the Ancient World and throughout prehistory. Science has rightly put an end to such notions as the flat Earth hypothesis, and the belief that earthquakes and storms are the work of unappeased gods. However, Oracles – such as the I Ching and Tarot – seem as resilient today in our modern technological civilization as they ever were. Ironically, Astrology even uses the latest computer technology to do its work far more efficiently and quickly than has ever been possible before!
Before we discount this tendency as solely limited to the realm of the feeble-minded, we should remember that no less a mind than the great Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, took Oracle systems VERY seriously indeed and worked extensively with the I Ching and the Tarot. It is an indisputable fact that numerous Investment Banks around the world use Financial Astrology to assist in their trading decisions. Moreover, the brilliant 19th century banker, J.P. Morgan – whose bank bears his name and is today one of America’s most prestigious financial institutions – is famously quoted as saying, “Millionaires don’t believe in Astrology. Billionaires do.”
Hence, despite the ravages of Science and Religion, Oracle systems remain popular and robust in mainstream society, and are espoused by genius and simpleton alike. Why is this? Why have they not gone the same way as belief in Santa Claus or Werewolves?
Might the reason for their persistence be that Oracles are a legitimate and valid function of the human brain? Could it be that, like concepts of conscious and subconscious, and the left-handed and right-handed functions of the brain, there is actually a part of your brain that is hard-wired to receive and process information in an oracular manner?
This notion might seem revolutionary. However, it is not at all unreasonable. Recall our earlier discussion about how Science seems to be revealing the universe to be a place of Infinite Intelligence and Being. What if the Cosmos really does function through Synchronicity (meaningful coincidences), as Deepak Chopra’s SynchoDestiny work and James Redfield’s “The Celestine Prophecy” suggest? Would it then be unreasonable to postulate that Nature might have directly hard-wired into us a means to perceive Reality this way?
It is not unreasonable at all. In fact, it is quite likely.
This would explain how Oracles thrive despite Rationalism’s best efforts to eliminate them. You cannot eradicate a legitimate function of the human brain through argument any more than you can insist that everyone’s right leg is a useless physical leftover from a primitive past!
So where does this leave us? Quite simply, the Oracle is where our individual soul touches the Soul of the Universe. Whereas logic speaks to the scientific/logical left side of our brain, the oracle communicates information from the heart of the universe, through symbol and image, direct to the artistic/symbolic right-side. Each of us is bombarded daily from society with logical/scientific input. We need to redress the balance by stimulating and using the artistic/symbolic right-side of the brain. This will in turn enhance our overall capacity to function in life. Oracles systems like the I Ching and Tarot can help us do that.
In doing so, we need not approach with an attitude of deep fear, as if we are about to lose our souls. Such fears were propagated by established religion for purely political reasons. After all, if you are truly able to obtain essential knowledge and communion with the Source/God directly, why would you need the expensive trappings of large buildings, the priesthood and regular financial donations?
Rather, we should remember that serious scientists like Jung made studies of the Tarot and I Ching in line with his studies of Symbolism and the Human Mind and that in line with the latest scientific revelations of the Universe, as being primarily a place of meaning and incomprehensible intelligence, Oracle systems – which seem so in tune with these discoveries – acquire a legitimacy and basis of credibility that they could never have had in previous centuries when these facts were unknown.
Hence, you should choose an oracle and use it regularly. The Tarot and I Ching are particularly recommended. Write your results down in your Journal. Regular use will exercise this vital brain function. Like anything that is exercised regularly, this brain function will strengthen and improve and give you increasingly reliable results. In doing so, you strengthen your intuition and put yourself in direct contact with the Source of the Universe itself.
Asoka Selvarajah is a writer on personal growth and spirituality, and the author of “The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your Higher Self”. His work helps people achieve their full potential, deepen their understanding of mystical truth, and discover their soul’s purpose. You can subscribe to his FREE ezine, and get his FREE ebook “Inner Light Outer Wealth” at: http://www.aksworld.com/AspireToWisdom.htm?imk=?COIL