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Archive for February, 2010

Willpower

Why do some people accomplish more in life than others?  Why are some more adept at achieving what they desire?  Why do some people cause more change in the world?  Willpower.

Willpower is an enigma.  Everybody knows what it means.  They know how much, or how little they have.  They recognize it in others.  But it’s not something you can weigh; not something you can measure.

Willpower is exactly as its name implies.  It is Power, directed by the Will.  If you have little Will, or little Power, then you have little Willpower.  Those people who do have a lot of Willpower, have a tremendous desire that they want to fulfill (the Will). And, somehow, through the practices of their life, they have amassed a large amount of kundalini energy (the Power) to help them achieve that goal.

Perhaps they meditate, perhaps they practice martial arts, or selfless giving.  Maybe, they just lead a very tight life, without wasting a lot of energy.  They might have moved into a home located on or near a power spot.  They may have made friends with powerful people or teachers who could transmit their energy to them.  They may have been a powerful person in a previous incarnation.  There are many ways to gain power.

Ghandi had great Willpower, as did Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa. Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler and even Donald Trump have all had tremendous Willpower… the difference, of course, is the desire each wished to fulfill.

If your desires are for good, then Willpower will help elevate your spirit, and help you change the world in a positive way.  If your desires are for evil, then the opposite may occur.  And, if you are just ordinary, with selfish desires, then you will likely achieve what you wish for, but it won’t make you very happy.  In which case you join the ranks of what they call ‘the hungry ghosts’; beings with a huge appetite that can never be sated.

The navel chakra is the center for Willpower.  If you meditate on this chakra,  you will release a tremendous amount of energy that you may then use to achieve whatever you desire.  When you wish to apply your Willpower, you project a line of energy from your navel center to the navel center of others, and then direct the full force of your will into their energy body.  The stronger your power, the stronger your will, the easier it is to ‘push’ another being into doing what you want.  Don’t look so surprised… you already know precisely how to do this.

If you practice meditation and self-discovery, you are no doubt well aware of this. After beginning my meditation practice and becoming more and more sensitive to energy and chakras, I was shocked at how often people projected their Willpower at me, to control me in some way.  You’re driving down the road and someone pulls up on your rear bumper, and suddenly you feel them willing you to move out of their way.  You go into a restaurant and the waiter is pushing hard to sell you on the special of the day and your navel center starts to burn.  You want to do almost anything to make it stop.  So, what do you do?

Like anything, your reaction generates karma.  You could get angry and push back, hard. But then you end up angry, and someone ends up hurt.  Or you can summon your own power of will to match it, and remain unmoved, locked in a battle of wills… and while  you may win or draw, you’ll still lose a lot of energy in the process.  The best approach is to note what is occurring, decide if it is appropriate to respond and do so if necessary, but if not, then remove yourself from the equation; change lanes, excuse yourself from the conversation, or go ahead and order the special of the day if you don’t really care.  In this way, you’ve made your own conscious choice about what to do, and yet you’ve retained your energy.

When you become sensitive to the Willpower of others pressing in on you, you will also become aware of how often you press your Willpower in upon others.  We all do it to some degree, but it is a question of how much you do it, and what your ultimate intention of doing so is.  If it is for your own selfish gains, or to hurt others, the power will kick back at you and drive you into lower states of awareness.  But to use your power to help others achieve their goals, or just leave them alone entirely and focus on doing things for yourself, that will lead you into higher and higher states of awareness… and success, in all you do!

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Sleep

To die, to sleep—
To sleep—perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come – Hamlet

Sleep is a very important part of life.  It consumes roughly a third of it, and without adequate sleep, the rest of our life goes downhill rather quickly. A good night of sleep can change your whole disposition.  I must have slept well last night, for I walked through the snow this morning and thought what a beautiful day and a beautiful world this is.

There are many reasons why we sleep.  We sleep, in part, to rest and restore our body; the immune system gets a boost during sleep, and the hypothalamus releases human growth hormone in younger people.  We also sleep to rest our mind.  There are periods of deep sleep where there is almost no thought.  Similar, though not quite, like deep meditation.  I believe this period of deep sleep is essential for restoring your energy body as thought drains a lot of your energy away.  And then there are periods of dreaming.  Some dreams reflect business leftover from the course of the day.  Some dreams serve as fantasy, wish-fulfillment, a way to relieve the frustration we may feel in our waking life.  Some dreams are conscious, aware, but aware in a different dimension, an astral dimension.  Australian Aboriginals call this the Dreamtime, sort of an Outback telephone, a way they can astral travel thousands of miles at the speed of thought and communicate with their relatives.  Sleep is very important for a happy and healthy life.

And yet, for something that is so important to our lives, we look at sleep as something we have no control over.  It just happens… or doesn’t happen, or it is fitful or deep or short or too long.  In fact, we can influence our sleep to a great degree with our waking life.  We can do things to ensure the best sleep, and thereby gain its benefits.

Our sleep is affected by what we eat, and when.  Ever have one of those late night spicy pizza dreams?  Sleep is affected by alcohol, caffeine, nicotine or various other drugs.  Our sleep is affected by the amount and types of thoughts we think throughout the day.  If our mind is racing during the day, it will be racing while we dream too.  If we think fearful thoughts during the day, we’re likely to dream about fearful things at night.

So, a little common sense can help us ensure a good night’s sleep.  Don’t eat much late at night.  Moderate your drinking early in the evening.  Avoid caffeine or nicotine entirely, in the evening, if at all possible.  Get in bed before you find yourself nodding off in front of the TV (from one who knows).

Your position during sleep may have a profound effect on your sleep as well.  In the book Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light they indicate that in order to enter into higher dimensional planes when sleeping, men should sleep on their right side, and women should sleep on their left.  This was interesting to me, as I almost always slept on my left side, and frequently had challenging dreams.  Now, due to the configuration of my bunk, it is nearly impossible to sleep on my left side, so I’ve been sleeping on my right, and my sleep has been much more restful.  Additionally, I now notice that when turning over to my left side, my whole digestive system seems to be in much greater stress, so I roll onto my back or right side instead.  I’m not sure of any physiological reason behind this, but it is very apparent to me.

One of the most effective things you can do to improve your sleep, is meditation (is there anything that meditation can’t improve?).  The practice of meditation helps you learn to reduce the number of thoughts you have throughout the day.  It also teaches you to focus on positive things, so when you dream, your dreams will generally be less frantic and more positive.  Meditation greatly increases the energy in your energy body, making sleep less necessary.  People who practice meditation on a regular basis may thrive on six hours of sleep or less per night.  Advanced practitioners may not sleep at all.  They sit absorbed in samadhi instead.  Rather than sleeping, you could say they are waking up!

Pleasant dreams!

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I realize that this is a strange title for a post, but then I’m reading a pretty strange book at the moment called ‘What is the What?’  It’s the story of a boy, growing up in Sudan, who experiences untold hardships during their civil war and the atrocities that followed.

It is a very engaging read and a delightful dialogue to follow, but the reality of what he relates is almost too much to handle.  We would all conveniently like to believe that stuff like this does not really happen, but, in fact, it does.  He talks about mothers, shot through the gut, who press on for miles running from danger, only to die on the roadside, with an infant at their side.  The author rescues one such child, and hopefully it thrives, but one never knows.

Or, his tales of walking through the tall grass, and having his friend, walking steps behind him, taken by a lion.  Our protagonist is never at a loss for words… he’s talking, always talking, always telling his story.  He talks silently in his mind, telling those who he perceives have wronged him in some way, about his story.  He talks as if to say, ‘I’ve endured so many horrible things in my life.  Why do you have to add to my misery?’

I think he talks about these horrible things he’s experienced so that he may get them out of his system.  Like vomiting out a bad piece of meat.  Once he has told his story, he can move on to other things.  This is what attracted me to the story!

When I was about the same age, I was stuck by a car as I was running across a busy street.  I broke both bones in my lower leg.  Not the most serious injury but enough to get your attention as a young boy.

During my rehabilitation, they told me to walk on the leg as much as possible.  And so I did!  I walked a couple of miles a day in my ‘knee cast’ (after a couple of months in a thigh cast), and I was happy to be able to do so.

All the while that I walked, I talked to myself, I told my story.  I poured out all the anger, frustration, injustice that I had experienced in life, to no one in particular… or to the cars speeding by.   It didn’t really matter.  It was ‘talking – as not talking’; talking to vent the frustration, but not to communicate anything to anyone, or to vent on anyone in particular.  The idea was that once I let these thoughts out of my head, they might leave me alone.  And they did!  I suspect this is why Valentino talks so much.

Meditation, I’ve found, is a far more effective way to assuage your thoughts.  You have more control over whether you think or not, and what you focus on when you do think.

But I suppose there are times when the pressure is just too great.  When you have to vent or explode.  In that case, I suggest that  you take a long walk around the block and talk like a crazy person to no one in particular (I suppose you could pretend you are talking on your cell phone), or perhaps write your thoughts down into a notebook, or tell your story in your own mind as Valentino does.

But then leave your thoughts by the side of the road and move on.

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