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To Give or Not To Give? Part Two: How Altruism Can Be Used for our Personal Growth

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Mahatma Gandh

Altruism – the giving to others without seeking anything in return – is definitely a means of finding ourselves and an opportunity to move beyond our egocentric actions and reactions. Many spiritual traditions echo this philosophy. In fact, having a generous nature is woven into the very core of our DNA. It is a natural thing for us to do. It brings many rewards and yet, should be done from a giving heart rather than the desire purely to receive those rewards.

Our hunter gatherer ancestors knew that altruism within the tribe promoted the passing on of genes. It also supported their reputation amongst other tribe members as it was important to be seen to be sharing the spoils of one’s labours and giving back what they themselves had received: if you give me some special roots to eat today, I must be seen to give you some special roots to eat tomorrow so I appear benevolent in the eyes of others. Since those early days, our willingness to help others has evolved considerably and we are now willing to help those far outside our tribe and who we do not even know. Read More

To Give or Not To Give? Part One

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

Two afternoons a week I volunteer at a local dog rescue centre. There is one dog at the centre I especially like: a young German Shepherd Dog called Isla who came from a couple who felt they could no longer cope with her. In truth, they had made little effort to train Isla and, with her very intelligent mind, it had not taken her long to become a very badly-behaved dog.

I felt so sorry for Isla, an active, highly sensitive dog living 24/7 in a small kennelled area, that I aimed to give her an enjoyable time twice a week. I used to give her a long walk and then come back and play ball with her which is her favourite pass time. She was difficult to walk: lunging out at passing cars, joggers, cyclists and, viciously, towards other dogs. It took all my strength to hold her.

On one walk, I was pondering how I could use a principle that I believe in to overcome the difficulties with Isla’s behaviour: when we focus on the challenges, faults and foibles of people’s personalities, all we perceive are those personality deficiencies. When we train our ‘seeing’ to look beyond their flaws and instead see the innate goodness and lovliness of their True nature, we quite naturally come into better interpersonal relationships with them. Read More

Change: Why is it so Blinking Difficult For Us?

This video is a follow up to my Focus For The Month: What are the Ingredients of Miracles? In business? In relationships? In life? July 2017

A couple of months ago my daughter, Joni, went to see a friend off from our local station. As it was a quiet Sunday evening, she propped her bike by the railings outside and went onto the platform. When she came back out only a few minutes later, her bike had been stolen. She called me, understandably upset, and we drove around the nearby village but couldn’t see anyone with her bike. She loves cycling and was frustrated with herself for not locking it up. At the time, I remember praying that she would get her bike back. It was a really good bike and cycling gave her a sense of freedom, independence and the ability to gain perspective on the pressures of school life.

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Integrating your True Value and Worth into Self-Help Techniques

This post is a follow up to my Focus for the Month: Can Self-Help Help? 1st May 2017.

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” Carol Burnett

I have recently been interviewed for The Times of India, a reputable newspaper, about the mounting concern that surrounds the self-help industry. I was questioned about the rise of the ‘anti-self-help movement’ and why this might be occurring. This lead me to reflect on my experiences with the industry, both as a participant on self-help courses and as a coach and trainer for 16 years. Read More

Who are we? Small Self, Big Self or True Self?

We live in a psychologically-sophisticated age. We know we need self-esteem, self-worth, self-compassion, self-love and we need to do self-care. We know we have an ego or personality that can behave badly at times. We know we need to work on ourselves to overcome our negative character traits. We may too have an awareness of an inner essence that is more magnificent than all of this. But who actually are we? A mix of all of this? One self at one moment… and another self at a different moment? Let me try and clarify it. Read More

Oxygen: The Optimal Fuel for our Body and Brain

We focus on eating healthily. Moving regularly. Sleeping well. Training our minds. But, do we also provide our body with the optimum fuel to keep us alert, vitalised, thinking clearly and relaxed? Fuel that helps us recover from stress, boosts our immune system and enriches every cell in our body?

What is that fuel? Oxygen.

How do we ensure that we get it in large quantities? Through breathing effectively.

We all know how to breathe. We can do it with no conscious thought at all. Yet how much of our unconscious breathing is taking in the oxygen we need to provide us with all the benefits we can obtain from breathing well? Read More

Attention: The Hoover in Our Brains

“Attention works much like a muscle—use it poorly and it can wither; work it well and it grows.” Daniel Goleman

Attention, from the Latin word ‘attendere’ means to ‘give heed to’, ‘to stretch towards’, as if we are reaching our minds towards something. Think about this: whatever you pay attention to, both good and bad, you are stretching your mind towards.

Neuroscience supports this, highlighting that our minds act like a hoover, hoovering in whatever we spend time focusing upon. Drawing our chosen awareness into our neural pathways. Consequently, being very vigilant about the placement of your awareness is paramount. Read More

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