Living With Your Negatives

Can you REALLY eradicate your negative self?…

If you have been studying personal growth materials for any length of time, you have probably heard it said over and over again that the name of the game is positive thinking. In other words, you must work to reduce and ultimately eliminate negative thinking and emotions from your life.

Well, yes. It’s a nice idea in theory, but the practical reality is something different altogether. Although it is definitely correct and useful to develop an overall optimistic and positive mindset, it may NOT be helpful to try to eliminate ALL negative thinking and emotions from your life. Quite simply, to try to do so is rather like trying to bail out the ocean from a leaky lifeboat, using just a coffee mug. The more you do it, the more there is to do, and the more hopeless the task seems to become.

From a purely human aspect of striving, it is an almost impossible task. Indeed, the problem with getting too hung up with the negative aspects of ourselves is that it can be a very dispiriting experience if you are expecting to see positive improvement, but it never really happens, or else you end up backsliding. Hence, too much focus upon the negative side of your personality can be rather like trying to dig the seeds up every day to see how they’re growing. Ultimately, they won’t grow at all.

Why do people have negative emotions and attitudes? Well, put simply, it’s the human condition, certainly in the unenlightened state. This is a big subject and one we cannot tackle here. Childhood experiences, genetics, influence of peers, even past lives (!) – they probably all play a part. However, what is for sure is that you are very unlikely to overcome the matter in the very near future.

Spiritual teachings emphasize rebirth or enlightenment i.e. a total transformation of consciousness.

Certainly, there are personal development gurus who claim that you can, and even give the impression that they have done so themselves. However, you don’t know them personally, and you are not there in every moment to see if they really have. Maybe their spouse might tell another story altogether! Even the major spiritual traditions emphasize how hard it really is to overcome the negative aspects of ourselves.

Christianity goes as far as to talk about Original Sin, i.e. that we are actually totally helpless to effect lasting change on account of the fact that we inherited this “sinful” condition at birth. We need the heavenly “Salvation” that comes from above, and which is effectively a “new birth”. However, even this only comes into effect in full force when the old body is shed off and the new spiritual body taken on.

Buddhism talks about achieving Enlightenment, which is an analogous concept, but which is tied in more to liberation from ignorance, delusion, and the shackles of the Flesh. Hence, if you think you are going to solve all your personality issues overnight by listening to a twenty minute self-hypnosis tape, or by doing some affirmations… Well, it’s unlikely to happen.

However, that does not mean to say that personal growth is a waste of time. You ARE supposed to accentuate the positive. Just don’t focus on any perceived lack of progress with the negative, or get frustrated with its continued presence. Use “moving towards” motivation, i.e. moving TOWARDS what you want, rather than “moving away from” motivation, i.e. trying to avoid and deny what you do NOT want.

Whatever you focus your mind upon has a tendency to grow in power. Hence, focusing on your negativities has a tendency to make them stronger. Focus rather upon what you wish to increase in your life, and let the negative side of your personality find its own place. In other words, make friends with it a bit, rather than treat it as an enemy. Regard it rather as you would an aching limb. You don’t hate it just because it aches!

Statistics prove that optimism really is better than pessimism!

Statistics show that optimistic people actually have a lower risk of heart disease than pessimistic people. Hence, even from a purely pragmatic health perspective, it IS better to be positive than negative in mental outlook! No doubt about it. Nevertheless, total liberation from the negative side of our personalities does not come without a total spiritual rebirth. This is not a matter of a few months or years of toil. Maybe it will take countless lifetimes for most people, as the Buddhists believe to be the case.

You do well to remember the Eastern perspective of Yin and Yang – the teaching that dark and light are inextricably interwoven and inseparable in this cosmos. That applies within our minds too. To try to separate one from the other, using standard psychological tools, is a pretty hopeless task. Only a new creation, entirely other than this world, can ever reconciles this paradox and live in harmony with it. That is the goal of the spiritual path. So, until then, be easy on yourself. Celebrate every advance, but don’t let any apparent negative personality aspects get you down. May it be so for you, .

Copyright Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.

All Is Karma!

Karma is explored in this video from the point of view of it being a universal law of Nature, namely the Law of Cause & Effect. The Law of Karma’s relationship to the Law of Attraction ( a favorite new age self help topic) is also briefly discussed.

Far from being fatalistic in nature, the law of karma demonstrates that we are ultimately responsible for everything that manifests in our life from birth to death. This responsibility for our lives incorporates the concept of reincarnation; namely that we have lived many past lives (often accessible via past life regression).

Karma is explained as being created by our every thought, word or action. Moreover, it is karma that colors even the way we think, the reactions we have, our emotions, and what we attract into our lives. It is pointed out that our karmic debt stems from countless lives, and only some of it ripens in this life. Likewise, we are creating karma in each and every moment which, along with the karmic potential created in countless previous lives, will manifest in this life as well as all future lives we shall experience.

Every effect has a corresponding cause and this is what the law of karma states, both at the personal level as well as the international political level, e.g. events like 9/11. Although politicians like to pretend that there are effects without causes (e.g. terrorism), in fact there are NO effects without causes. The latter exist but may be hidden from our eyes, even as our own karmic burden, created in past lives, is currently invisible to us. Nevertheless, karma manifests in our lives for good or ill.

At the end of the video, some recommendations are given. We should take responsibility for our lives just as they are, realizing that we basically created them that way through karma. We should take responsibility for every thought, word and deed. Moreover, we should seek out karma cleansing methods to start to rid ourselves of the almost infinite karma that we have accumulated over infinite previous lives.

Enlightenment: Touching Our Real Nature Of Primordial Consciousness

I have long been skeptical of metaphysical teachers of the “You’re already enlightened, you just don’t know it” school of thinking. This kind of concept smacks too much of the “fast, easy, no work” mentality preyed upon by so many marketing schemes, particularly for weight loss and make money bizops. Indeed, there now seem to be an abundance of the “quick and easy” weekend spiritual seminars promoting “Instant Enlightenment” and the like. Hence, the skepticism is justified in the sense that empty words and promises are easy to generate, but substantiating them is another matter altogether.

Nevertheless, the idea that Enlightenment/Realization is not something to work towards, but instead is a part of our ultimate nature is a completely valid one. The problem is that in our dualistic mode of habitual thinking, that which is our Real Nature is forever invisible to our direct senses. It is like the sun obscured by thick clouds; ever-present but unseen.

Traditional approaches to achieving Enlightenment are gradual. They invariably involve renunciation, moral and ethical improvement of the individual, and the promise of eventual Liberation from the sufferings of our conventional Samsaric existence at some distant rebirth in the future. This is, for the most part, the conventional approach.  Moreover, it is appropriate for the majority of people, since most people’s capacity for spiritual realization is relatively limited.

However, there exists an accelerated path to achieve Enlightenment rapidly, even within a single lifetime. If you think about it, this has to be the case since according to written accounts, many of the Buddha’s own disciples did precisely that. Yet, the accounts do not detail how this was achieved.

There are a number of things to be said about this matter…

The Tenth Dalai Lama, Tsultrim Gyatso

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Firstly, there is a lineage involved; meaning that you won’t find this in a weekend “Enlightenment Intensive” seminar by some Johnny-come-lately TV-friendly marketing savvy so-called spiritual guru. This sort of authentic path is available by direct energetic transmission from one spiritual master to the next within an established spiritual tradition that may be hundreds or even thousands of years old. You are tapping into the power of a long-established line of spiritual masters to enable you to awaken in this rapid manner.

For example, in Tibetan Buddhism, the system is called Dzogchen; considered to be one of the most advanced teachings within this tradition. It has been something of a guarded secret but is being more openly taught these days; most notably in the West by Dzogchen Master Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.

Secondly, although the emphasis of the teaching is to achieve direct introduction to your Real Nature, and the processes taught are relatively simple, nobody should be under the illusion that they just need to do these simple practices a few times, and Realization is achieved once and for all. This is more like an awakening process that grows over time, as you progressively involve yourself in the practice and shed off your massive karmic burdens, obstacles and obscurations. Yes, you get immediate access to the Enlightened Nature during your meditative practice, but this may initially be momentary before you revert back to conventional dualistic vision. Hence, the focus of the practice is to persist until what is momentary and fleeting initially becomes permanent and lasting eventually.

Nevertheless, you need to beware of this “instant Enlightenment” stuff as taught by too many Western practitioners, who have sprung up overnight through the power of skilled marketing, and who possess no lineage whatsoever. Be cautious about anyone who claims  to be already Enlightened or uses phrases that imply this (e.g. I can think of at least one famous Personal Growth teacher who says things like “Since I became Enlightened…” Please note that NO highly advanced Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, not even the Dalai Lama himself, would remotely have the audacity to say such a thing!).

In conclusion, our perfected nature needs no improving or gradual process of attainment. It is there from the very beginning, 100% perfected. However, like clouds covering the sun, our karmic obstacles and impediments prevent us from experiencing our perfected reality, and so we live in the illusion of Samsaric conventional reality. There exist processes for realizing our Real Nature, even for just a moment, as well as methods for regularly clearing our karmic blockages. However, these are not so readily available. As they say, when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.

If you have the capacity and interest to pursue such approaches, then you may wish to seek them out. If not, then the gradual and progressive methods are the best for you to stay with. Each according to his/her spiritual capacity.

Copyright 2011. AKS Trading LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Using The Body for Emotional Intelligence & Intuition

body intuition emotional intelligence

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The body is a great source of emotional intelligence and intuitive knowledge that most of us simply fail to tap into. The reason is that in this modern society of ours, many of us live mostly in our heads and are hence out of touch with parts of our very being.

Ancient societies, modern tribal cultures, as well as intuitives and mystics of all ages have long understood the importance of living lives in a fully integrated way, and not merely in parts. When we do this, we are open to all sorts of intuitive, almost psychic, information that is there for our benefit, if only we could take a moment and actually notice its presence.

So what does it mean to be more in touch with the intuitive guidance within the body? It means getting information, sensations, emotions, feelings that give you clear guidance as to what you should do in a certain situation, or the direction you should take when you are posing a specific question.

The conscious mind is only a tiny portion of the intelligence that is available to us. The full power of the subconscious mind is so vast that the conscious mind would look like a tiny blip by comparison. Moreover, the key point is that much of that higher consiousness intelligence is transmitted in non-linear symbolic ways, such as dreams, sensations and intuitions (both physical and mental).

We start to gain access to this inner body guidance and emotional intelligence when we simply begin to develop awareness; to go within and pay attention to what our inner being is trying to tell us through the medium of the physical body. If you have never paid heed to your body and its messages to you, but simply regard it as a vehicle to get you around in life, then you are not only  closed to ANY form of guidance from this direction whatsoever, but you are also at grave risk of ignoring critical messages that the body is trying to communicate to you about your physical health. Illness is most often a manifestation of inattention to the needs of your physical, mental and spiritual being. If you cannot even receive THESE critical messages, then you are definitely closed to the infinitely more subtle refined messages that are available all the time.

To reawaken guidance through the physical body, pay more attention to it. This can definitely be done in a conscious deliberate way through meditation upon the body in a quiet place. It can also be done throughout the day as you monitor how your body is responding, the feelings you are getting on an ongoing basis, as you go from one situation to another. In other words, you practice Mindfulness, as the Buddhists call it, but specifically focused upon your body, its sensations and emotions.

Do you feel an unsettling sensation in your stomach in certain situations that later turn out for the worst for you? Do you literally feel a pain in the neck (!) around certain people who are negative and unhelpful? When you have an illness of some sort, what were you doing and experiencing in the days or even hours prior that might have actually been a direct cause?

As you pay attention to your body, its sensations, and its relationship with your emotions, you will start to pick up on certain specific indicators that are laden with meaning for you. These indicators will be personal for you and will be different for another person. Record them. Pay heed to them when they repeat themselves. Seek to become ever more attentive and ever more sensitive to the inner promptings. As you do so, you are giving your body and higher consciousness permission to reveal ever more to you via this medium that you have opened up. Gradually, you open yourself up to the emotional intelligence that the body can offer you.

You can even use your body for guidance through developing some system for “Yes” and “No” answers. Some people use a simple pendulum of some sort, made by tying an object like a crystal or a stone to a piece of string. This works fine. However, you can also establish a certain feeling sensation, one positive and wholesome and the other negative and unsettling to do precisely the same thing. You then relax yourself, get calm and quiet, ask your question, and see what response you receive.

However, the body can provide much more guidance throughout your life, far beyond mere “Yes” and “No” situations. You can be guided to the right place for you, the right partner, good and bad business transactions and more. In fact, it is said that most top business men and women and unknowing intuitives. After all, what is “gut feeling” but bodily intuition?…

The point of all this is that you have a priceless system of inner guidance within you right NOW. You are doing yourself a massive disservice to ignore it since it is not only a part of you, it is INTENDED to be used in the way that we have been discussing. To fail to do so is to live with only part of your brain switched on.

However, to live in tune with your body and its guidance is to live more truly, more holistically and to live far better because you are receiving correct emotional intelligence guidance, personal to you from the source of All; direct connection to universal intelligence

Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Recommended Resource: If you enjoyed this article, check out my new book Aspire To Wisdom

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The Buddha Says…

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything that agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all then accept it and live up to it.

This is a wonderful truth that is well worth pondering on throughout one’s life. It is very applicable to all areas of our lives, and not just the spiritual. I think the Buddha is almost certainly unique in telling us not to believe what he says simply because he said it, or because some dusty old scripture says so, but to prove it in our own experience. It would be wonderful if more spiritual traditions in the world were as open-hearted as this.

Asoka Selvarajah

Carrying Meditation Throughout The Day

Beyond the ceaseless coming and going of all p...Image via Wikipedia

In Buddhist teachings, there is a critically important concept called Mindfulness. Put simply, it means that we carry a meditative state of awareness throughout our day, not simply when we are sitting (or walking) in meditation.

Thus, the whole of our day and consequently our lives becomes a meditative act. It is not simply to be confined to a holy room and then we can go back to “normality” once we are done with it, rather like holiness for the Christian is not supposed to just be engaged in on Sunday morning during the Church service!

The whole point of Enlightenment is that it is about Awakening – from the deep slumber that we know as everyday consciousness. That is why the Buddha referred to himself as Tathagata, i.e. “he who is awake”.

Consequently, as we learn to pay attention in the moment to each and every act of ours, no matter how small or insignificant, we too slowly but surely train ourselves in the process of Awakening, simply by actually being awake in the moment. This is what Mindfulness enables us to do.

It is a small everyday miracle and one that is easy to practice, but also all to easy to forget to do in the midst of the bustle of our lives and the competing web of mental entanglements that compete for out attention. However, the benefits of giving ourselves to this practice are deep and truly go beyond the power of words to express. Mindfulness lies at the very heart of spirituality because it enables us to really LIVE in the moment, the be fully present right HERE, and to awaken to what IS.

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The Spiritual Lessons Of Falling Trees

Last Saturday, we were hit by a fierce cyclone.

It happened in the early morning at around 6:30AM. I heard rattling all around the house and the sound of the wind roaring, battering the roof. The electricity went down for about 40 minutes and so I had to do my morning Yoga by candlelight.

The whole thing was a short-lived affair of about half an hour at most. Yet, when I opened the blinds on one of my windows, the view looked strangely different.

I could see more of the landscape than I was used to.

“No, it can’t be,” I said to myself, and then rapidly slipped my shoes on and headed downstairs for a closer check.

It was.

Two adjacent trees at the border of my garden, fully 11 meters tall or more, had been knocked over and were lying in the roadway, completely blocking it. Moreover I later discovered that another tree of similar size, further up the line had started to move, and was now leaning perilously against the tree next to it.

The road is a private one connecting the five houses on this hillside. Still, it was not long before the first car came down from the house above to find out that this was the end of the journey.

So now, I had an unexpected major project on my hands. The morning was spent phoning around to see who could do the job of moving the trees and cutting down the leaning one before it collapsed of its own accord. I had no idea how much this would cost and had to therefore be careful who I chose.

It soon transpired that mine were not the only trees in the area to be affected. My neighbor lost three trees. In a nearby cemetery, only 20% of the trees in a row remained. Two fallen trees were blocking the road to the local town. And the local elementary school had lost 30 square meters of tiles from the roof.

Happily, I was able to find a company to clear the trees. They were dragged away by a large tractor with a heavy steel cord to the junction of the road at around 9:15AM. However, then came the bigger job and the tougher decisions…

Several other trees surrounding their fallen comrades showed signs that the earth around their roots had moved. This meant that they too, given their great height, were also at risk of gradually collapsing. If it snowed or rained, that would only accelerate the process.

Hence, two days later and at considerable cost, the same team arrived to cut all of my trees in the front half of the row, i.e. those most affected, to a mere half their former size.

It was a sad day for me because I liked the trees just as they were. I have more of a panoramic view now but it is not a great consolation for the fact that my trees look headless. Plus, there is a huge gap in their ranks where the pair fell. From the road, it looks like a terrorist explosion.

Ironically and very synchronistically, I had been outside the house mere minutes before the trees collapsed, and had suffered a very nasty fall myself. In fact, I slipped and fell sideways onto my right thigh and rib-cage without the support of my arm. In other words, I collapsed just like a tree. It really hurt and knocked the wind out of me. My arm still aches four days later.

I was later taken by this strange synchronicity; namely, that I would symbolically be toppled and fall in the exact same manner as would my two trees just minutes later. In reality, it is not coincidence at all.

Anyway, I think all this serves to teach a spiritual lesson, as indeed all events in our lives do if we would but look for the teaching…

Nothing lasts. Nothing is permanent. Everything is subject to the flux of change. That is what the Buddha taught us.

We cannot hold onto anything, or expect anything to endure. We must expect all things to eventually change, even if the probability of that seems extremely low.

The other thing that I liked was how my house was hidden from view from the road. Nobody could see it, so it was nice and private. Not any longer. Now you can see the house peeping out from over a kilometer away.

Again, we cannot hold onto our preferences. What happens happens and we must take it with calm acceptance. We must take the new circumstance just as they are.

We should also realize that crises are not an unusual visitation, but a normal part of life. Rather than ask, “Why did this happen to me?”, we do better to simply accept that it has happened, that crises happen to everyone and just get on with learning to deal with it and move on.

In any life, we can expect a smooth period where all goes well, followed by an unexpected crisis. You get over the crisis, and recover that smooth road… and then you get hit by another crisis. Sometimes, you get more than one at the same time.

This is normal. It is nothing to write home about. It’s that thing we call “being alive”.

There is yet another lesson here, and it gives you a much broader perspective. While I’ve been fretting about my trees and whether or not I like the new view, as I write this it is believed that 50,000 may have perished in the earthquake in Haiti in the last 24 hours. So you see, if you think you have problems, you really don’t when you get things in perspective. Your worst nightmare would be someone else’s dream life. Think about that the next time you want to complain about something!

Having a spiritual perspective helps in life. And it also enables you to start seeing the connections, such as the strange “coincidence” of my falling down like a tree mere minutes before my trees collapsed.

I teach many spiritual secrets of life in my course, The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your Higher Self. Most importantly in this instance, I discuss the symbolic aspect of everything that happens in life. For the truth is, if you have eyes to see it, all that happens to you happens for a reason. The question to ask is always, “What is the lesson here?”

Asoka Selvarajah

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