Looking for Help

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything here, but that’s because I’ve been putting the finishing touches to a book I’ve written titled Unleash Your Dreams: Going Beyond Goal Setting. Like many of you, I’ve been frustrated by goal-setting courses that seem to fall short of giving you tools for personal development; instead they just show you how to set goals for work and/or career. This book is meant to fill that gap.

Before I publish the book on the Internet, I’m looking for a few people to proofread it, giving me feedback on any typos and bad grammar, and telling me if it makes any sense to them. After all, I’m human, and I’m using a computer to write it, two well-known sources of error! If I get endorsements as well, I’ll be very happy.

Once I’ve integrated the feedback, I’ll publish the book as a PDF, to be followed by Kindle and paperback versions, if I can get the formatting correct. There might even be an ePub version.

Drop me an e-mail at admin@stephenoliverblog.com if you’re interested, and I’ll send you a draft copy as a PDF. Please send me the feedback within a couple of weeks, so that this doesn’t drag out too long. Anyone who proofreads and gives me feedback will get a free copy of the finished product, format to be selected by the proof-reader.

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The Go-Giver

I hadn’t planned on making a post today, but the Universe intended otherwise.

Last night I downloaded a book called The Go-Giver, which is available in hardback, paperback, audio book and Kindle forms. It was recommended by John Thornhill, whose courses One Month Mentor and Marketing Masterclass I am taking. I started reading it this morning after getting up, missing my breakfast, unable to put it down. When I finished it, I had tears in my eyes, as I did while reading it!

It’s about a young man whose direction in life is changed 180°, because he meets a man who … Well, I won’t spoil your enjoyment by saying any more about the story.

It’s strange, but some of the ideas are ones I have been working with for years, and others, while not new, had implications I had never considered.

I can thoroughly recommend the book to any- and everyone.

This is a completely unsolicited plug, being based on my own enthusiasm for the book.

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It’s a Magical World!

Planetary[*], a graphic novel from Wildstorm, has a particular theme running through the 27 parts. The protagonist Elijah Snow and his assistant Jakita Wagner say on various occasions: “It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.”

They’re almost right. It is indeed a strange world, where the largest living organism is a fungus in the Malheur National Forest in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon, which covers an estimated 2,200 acres, weighs in at over 50,000 tonnes, and is at least 2,400 years old.

Where they are wrong, in my view, is that this is a magical world. We can create miracles and change reality.

I realised this a couple of years after becoming a Reiki Master in 1996. With a simple atunement ritual containing movements, visualisations, words and a special concentration, I can create a profound change in another person’s reality. The end result of the atunements is that the person’s energy fields are modified, on physical, mental and spiritual levels, so that they can tap into the universal source of harmony, healing and energy. Using this, they can then also perform magic; healing themselves and others, as well as preventing illnesses from occurring.

Apart from appearing less spectacular than what we see in films and read in books, how does this differ from the common definition of magic? You change reality with a magical ritual, therefore you are doing magic.

Think about any magic you perform in your part of reality. What miracles are you creating? What miracles could you create? What miracles do you want to create? Why aren’t you?

It’s a magical world. Let’s keep it that way.

[*] Available from Comixology, where signup is free, and you pay only for the comics you buy.

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How Are You Doing?

You’ve had a few days to think about what you want from life. How’s it going? Are your dreams bright and fantastic, or dull and pedestrian?

Among of the biggest problems today are the words “cannot” and “can’t”. From birth onwards, we are told what we can’t do: “You can’t have that last cookie”, “You can’t go out and play”, “You can’t have X as a boy/girlfriend”, “You can’t have a pay rise”, etc. Do any of these sound familiar?

All of these limit our choices, and often those choices become so internalised that they limit our lives. We settle for second (or even third) best, instead of reaching for the stars.

If you’re having problems like this, pretend that you’re six years old. It was a time when anything seemed possible. We dreamed of being policemen, firemen, even spacemen! We pretended to be Superman, Batman, the Green Lantern, and other heroes. Why not pretend that you’re that old, and imagine what you would want to be?

Not all dreams can come true, but that’s no excuse for not entertaining them. For instance, one of my dreams is to walk on the moon. At my age and level of fitness, that’s an unlikely dream, but who knows what may happen? It could be that someone builds a hotel there, complete with spaceships to provide transport, at a price that is affordable (are you listening, Sir Richard?).

What would you want, if you knew you could have it, without any problems and difficulties? Why aren’t you dreaming about that? Who knows what may happen in the future, if enough people dream about it happening?

Now go out and dream and daydream, and find out what you really want!

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What Do You Want From Life?

Do you know what you want from life? Unconsciously, I’m sure you do, but you may not be aware of your dreams. What do you daydream about? What are your wants?

There are so many areas:

  1. Financial
    How much money do you want? Do you want it as income or as lump sum in the bank? How would you spend the money? Would you prefer securities?
  2. Interpersonal
    What sort of relationships do you want? Spouse, lovers, friends? How many do you want? What sort of intensity should they have?
  3. Possessions
    Do you want a new car? What make and model? How powerful? What use would you make of it? How many do you want? Or do you prefer collecting works of art? How about first editions? Watches? What about a house or two? What do you want to own?
  4. Personal
    Do you want to diet or develop a killer six-pack? Have cosmetic surgery? Develop charisma and become a public speaker?
  5. Create something
    Do you want to write a book? Fiction or nonfiction? Paint a picture? Sculpt a bust of your spouse? Write the next app for your iPhone? How can you be creative?
  6. Doing good?
    Who do you want to help? What sort of aid do you want to give? How do you think you can best be of help?
  7. Something else
    There are many other areas of life in which we all have dreams. What are yours?

The most important things to know are what we want and why? The second answer is in some ways even more important than the first. If we know why we want something, it is becomes that much easier to achieve.

For example, if you want a million dollars, do you know why? Do you want just to go wild and spend it? Do you want the financial security of having the money available if you need it? How about using some of the interest to better your lifestyle? What is your reason for wanting that money?

The same goes for any other thing or situation we want in life.

Of course, the base reason for wanting anything is to be happy. We believe that owning a new car, or having a million in the bank, or having a new lover, will make us feel happy. And feeling happy is the be all and end all of wanting something. Wanting something that you know will make you unhappy is the height of insanity, and most of us successfully avoid going down that road.

So, think about what you want in your life, and why. We’ll get back to the subject later, and think about ways of achieving what you want.

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Why Do We Need Mortality?

Going back to the theme of the last post but one, the questions of mortality and immortality have still to be discussed.

If we are indeed immortal, why do we need mortality? My thoughts on the subject, in no particular order, can be summed up as follows:

  • If eternity is endless time, then the biggest problem is going to be boredom. Repeating the same things again and again is going to be mind-numbingly dreary. What better way to relieve the monotony than to enter time with amnesia? We have no idea that we have performed these actions before, and can enjoy them for their novelty and uniqueness. Of course, once we return to eternity, boredom sets in again, in which case …
  • If eternity is timeless and nothing occurs, living in time will be a way of experiencing existence. Things happen!
  • On the other hand, if eternity is timeless and everything happens simultaneously, with action following automatically on conception, living in time will be a way of experiencing change.
  • Having a life with a definite beginning and end allows us to parcel our experiences together. Each life has a particular theme, which carries with it its relevant experiences. The next life could then perhaps contain a mirror image or counterpoint to the previous one. For example, if you are a cook in one life, being a gourmet in another life allows you to experience the same things from a different point of view. Of course, if you commit murder, it might be necessary to experience what it is to be murdered! For me, this could very well be the underlying reason behind Karma.
  • To my mind, the very brevity of our lives, when compared to eternity (in either form), is the core of their advantage. Having only a limited time to accomplish something makes us bundle our experiences together into intense packages. If we knew we had unlimited time to do things, we would take our time doing them, and our experiences would be stretched out and thin.
  • There are many who believe that this is a temporary existence, and that the eternal life is the important one. They rush through their lives, working towards being accepted into their idea of Heaven, whilst avoiding their concept of Hell. They don’t experience the rich intensity of the world. I feel sorry for these people, because they are missing out on so much.
  • Even worse, they might return to eternity, only to discover that they actually disregarded what it was they were supposed to experience. It would be like being told that they had to repeat a year at school, because they failed the exams and assessments along the way.
  • What if the whole purpose of existence is to incarnate, experience the joys, woes and emotions of existence, and then return to eternity to assimilate all that has happened and plan the next lot of experiences? As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
  • And finally, there is the concept of evolution. On the one hand, if we had physical immortality, there would be no evolution of the species. We would all still be single-celled creatures living in a primordial soup. Human beings, and whatever comes after us, would be impossible. On the other hand, if there is only one life to live, there would also be no mental/spiritual evolution. We would be stuck doing the same things over and over again, which was my first point. Only this time, there would be no chance of escaping the boredom!

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Defining yourself

A few years ago, I was eating lunch with a friend of mine who is a Zen priest and teacher. A group of us sat around after the meal, which had been eaten in silence in the Zen tradition, discussing essence and definition, while drinking cooled green tea (which is very healthy and refreshing).

My friend challenged us to define the tea pot without calling it a tea pot, and without saying what it did.  There were various attempts to describe its shape and function, all without success. I said nothing, being fascinated by the various solutions.

My friend looked at me and said: “Stephen, how would you define this tea pot?” In a sudden flash of insight, I realised what the answer must be …

… and poured myself another cup of tea.

This was, of course, the answer he was looking for: I defined the tea pot, and its function, without a word.

Now I have a challenge for you: define yourself.

Who are you?

I want you to define yourself without describing how you look, what you do (privately, socially or at work), or your relationships.

It’s an interesting task, much more difficult than defining a tea pot. See how far you can get.

I’ve no idea what the right answer is, either. It’s something each of us must answer for him or herself. If you find an answer, write a comment, so that the rest of us can learn.

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Time, Eternity and You

When considering our relationship with eternity, we still have to ask the most important question: are we immortal?

We know that physical immortality is, at the moment, a pipe-dream. The individual particles, atoms, etc. of the body do survive, since matter, like energy, cannot be created or destroyed, only changed in form. Did you know that, every time you inhale, you are breathing around one million atoms of air that Julius Caesar breathed?

What about mental immortality? Does some part of us, our memories and personality, survive after the death of the body? Since they are energy forms, they must survive, as energy cannot be destroyed. Does this mean that we are immortal?

How does this immortality relate to eternity? Taking into account yesterday’s post about time and eternity, plus the question of our mortality, I find that the following ideas about immortality can be formulated:

  1. There is no immortality
    If there is no immortality, the question of our relationship to eternity becomes moot, and the discussion ends here.
  2. We are immortal and eternity is endless time V1 – one life
    We live one life, and then exist in an endless eternity forever more. This version contains both the Heaven and Hell of the Christian religion.
  3. We are immortal and eternity is endless time V2 – serial lives
    We live more than one life, switching between time and eternity. This is the basis of reincarnation, believed in by many Eastern religions.
  4. We are immortal and eternity is endless time V3 – parallel lives
    This interesting variation I first came across in a product by Burt Goldman, the American Monk, called Quantum Jumping. The theory is that there are multiple versions of us, each in a parallel universe. Each lives a different life, depending on decisions made on the way. The question is, do we share a common soul, or does each have an individual one?
  5. We are immortal and eternity is timeless V1 – one life
    We come out of eternity and live one life, then return to eternity. My question is: what’s the point?
  6. We are immortal and eternity is timeless V2 – simultaneous lives
    Here, we live different lives at different times, but from the point of view of timeless eternity, they are all happening at the same time. Instead of reincarnation, we could call this multi-incarnation, to coin a phrase.
  7. We are immortal and eternity is timeless V3 – parallel simultaneous lives
    In this case, we lead multiple lives at different times, each having a collection of parallel lives in parallel universes. All these multiple parallel lives would be happening at the same time, from the point of view of timeless eternity.

It all depends on the reason behind the need for multiple lives, if such exist.

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Time and Eternity

Following on from yesterday’s post about time, I would like to consider eternity. In the next post, I’ll talk about how we relate to time and eternity.

Have you thought much about eternity? What is your view of what it is? Depending on my mood, I have two different conceptions:

  1. Eternity is like time, only more so. It’s time that has never begun and will never end, paradoxical as that may sound. Imagine the worst, most boring, rainy Sunday afternoon you have ever experienced, when time dragged on and tea time never arrived. It’s even worse than that; it’s literally endless.The theory of the Steady State Universe, proposed by Astronomer Royal Fred Hoyle and others, builds on this idea; stars may come and go, but they are endlessly replaced by others.

    Of course, the modern cosmologists now believe in the Big Bang theory, proposed by Monsignor Georges Lemaître, which states that the universe had a definite beginning and will have an end. Whether that end is a Big Crunch (where the universe will collapse back on itself) or whether it will just fizzle out, is left open. The latter is a variation of eternity which has a start.

    Another variation of the Big Crunch is the Cyclic Universe, which states that the universe will bounce at the moment of greatest density, creating a new one from the old, like a phoenix. This is not very popular at the moment, although newer versions based on String Theory and M Theory are now being worked out.

  2. Eternity is timeless. There is no beginning and no end, therefore nothing happens. Eternity must be very different from our experience, in this case. Worse, according to Einstein, because time and space cannot exist apart from one another, but only as space-time. If there is no time, then there is also no space. In that case, eternity is nothing, the Void.

If you have any other ideas about eternity, please let me know.

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Handling Time

This is the post I intended to make earlier today.

Have you ever considered how you process time?

I’m sure that you’re aware that our perception of time is variable: there are times when time seems to speed by, and others when it’s at a veritable crawl. It’s all about subjective perception. There are different ways of handling time; the two most common are called in time and through time.

In-time experiences are those when we become totally absorbed in an experience and are completely associated. We aren’t aware of time passing. Think of those times when you are watching an exciting film, reading a gripping book, or totally caught up in a video game. You were living in-time. People who live this way most of the time see the future ahead of them, the past behind, and often live just for the moment, neither planning nor remembering much.

Through time, on the other hand, is when we are disassociated from what is happening. We are aware of time passing, the way the past and the future interact, and even how long something has been going on, or how long we have to wait for the bank to open. We are simply passing through time and are often more like observers, not actually in the experience. People who live this way most of the time plan for the future, carry those plans out, and often have multiple things going on at the same time.

When we live in time, we experience things much more intensely, while when passing through time, we know much better how those experiences affect us, because we see their relationship with everything else.

This explains why so many time management courses fail: they are written by through-time people, who plan and write about how to do things, while in-time people are often sent on them, because they are incapable of doing such planning.

If you are habitually one kind or the other, you should be aware that it’s possible to learn to live the other way, too. Those of us who can switch from one to the other, as the situation demands, are the ones who live the fullest lives.

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