6 Common Traps To Avoid When Doing Personal Development

6 Common Traps to Avoid when doing personal development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much did you change since you began your personal development journey?

If you haven’t seen real change in your life, it may be because you fell into some common traps on the way.

In this article, I would like to warn you against several traps you may fall into when you decide to seriously pursue personal development, and encourage you to go deeper into your own personal development journey. I must mention that I experienced most of the traps myself in the past and still experience some of them today.

Here are the 6 common traps to avoid when doing personal development.

1. Being a personal development junkie

Personal development like anything else (drugs, food, sex, work, games…) can become very addictive. Actually, most of the personal development website online are designed in a way that entice you to read more and more articles. Of course, there is nothing wrong here. Everybody wants to build traffic and make money out of their online business.

Articles will give you a shot of dopamine, some hope or boost your motivation, which is fine. However, it would not have a lasting effect. To create lasting change in your life you will have to go deeper and understand the fundamentals.

If, in spite of all the books you read, all the workshops you’ve been to, you haven’t seen real changes in your life, it is probably because you are escaping from your fears rather than facing them. Personal development became simply another way to distract yourself or just a hobby.

2. Not understanding the fundamentals

You can read as many articles as you want, but nothing will really change unless you understand the fundamentals. Here are some of those fundamentals:

Most of our problems are the results of a lack of awareness regarding how our own psychology works. Thus, self-observation appears as one of the most important practices we can acquire to become more aware of our own psychology.
How well do you understand the fundamentals?

If you haven’t got it yet you can get my free ebook “The 5 Commandment of Personal Development” here. Inside this e-book I talk a lot about the fundamentals.

3. Getting lost in the mass of information

Have you ever getting lost online while looking for personal development resources?
There are thousands and thousands of personal development websites, which makes it very hard to find the right information in an organized way. Often, personal development website are not very well structured. They will entertain you for a while, but they might not give the fundamentals you need to create lasting impact in your life.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that my own website is extremely well organized, but I’m trying to provide you with some structure via my free ebook and the series of email I send to my new subscribers to help them get started. I will keep improving the structure (your feedback is more than welcome!)

Honestly, I don’t read many personal development articles online. I think that books are way more structured and more effective to create real change providing you take appropriate actions. In my article Step 1: Everything Starts with Your Mindset I share some resources you can use to get started. (I personally recommend Jim Rohn’s audiobok The Art of Exceptional Living to get started.)

Having said that, if I were to recommend you personal development blogs I would recommend the 2 blogs without which I wouldn’t have started this blog.

1. Leo Gura’s blog: actualized.org
Leo Gura considers himself as guinea pig for personal development. He is one of the rare persons I know that really goes deep into personal development and human psychology. His videos are quite long, but I encourage you to check some of them when you have time. It is by looking at his website and video that I realized that it was exactly what I wanted to do, which is probably one the main reason this blog exists.

2. Steve Pavlina’s blog: stevepavlina.com
Steve Pavlina’s website is one of the most popular personal development website and contains more than 2,000 articles. Steve Pavlina’s articles are insightful and go quite deep so I encourage you to read some of them during your free time. He also greatly inspired me to start my website.

I do browse online from time to time to find other interesting resources and articles to share, or to find inspiration for my blog. However, if I didn’t have a blog on personal development I wouldn’t do that. Rather than spending your time reading articles online I encourage you to focus on a few great books and do all the exercises before moving to something else. You will value way more the content if you invest some money than if you get it for free.

4. Not taking enough action

You may already be reading tons and tons of books about personal development. However, in the end, if you don’t take action on what you read nothing will change. Here are few things you can do to ensure that you take action consistently:

  • Invest money in the best resources you can find. It will force you to take action and will avoid you to waste time looking for free resources. Even if you can get the same content for free, I would still recommend you to invest in books or programs that are well structured unless you have a lot of free time to look for free stuff.
  • Have regular meetings with people you will be accountable to. For instance, you can join a group of like-minded people you trust, have an accountability buddy or hire a coach. Personally, I really feel the need for regular meetings to make sure I’m moving forward with my goal and boost my motivation. I’m still working on building the adequate structure for me.
  • Set clear goals. Setting goal is extremely important. It is a great way to achieve more in your life and to clarify what you want to get done in the coming weeks, months or years. You can check my articles on goal here, or my goal setting e-book here

5. Not being open-minded enough

If you consider yourself to be a rational person, you will inevitably come across a lot of woo-woo stuff that you will immediately discard as being total non-sense. It is how I used to feel and how I still feel for many things. However, I would encourage you to stay as open-minded as you can while remaining skeptical (See Why Your Level of Awareness Sucks). Many different visions of the world exist and, strangely enough, we all tend to believe that our vision of the world is the only one valid! Don’t you think right now that your vision of the world is right? Be open to the possibility that it is actually very likely to be wrong.

6. Not going deep enough

How much deeper can you go into your personal development? Do you really understand who you are? Are you aware of all the beliefs that are holding you back in life?

It’s easy to stay at the surface than to go deep. You probably prefer to stay with your current version of the world and believe you are right than to challenge most of your beliefs. However, to make profound change in your life, you will have to spend more time observing yourself and analyzing your beliefs more and more carefully.

In fact, one of the major problems we encounter in our personal development journey is our lack of awareness. We cannot possibly be aware or know higher state of consciousness because by definition we aren’t aware of them.

It’s very much like modern people believing that they understand the world or are very close to understand it. They happily delude themselves in believing that they discover almost everything that had to be discovered. Of course, this is not true at all!

Personally, I feel like I barely scratch the surface. There are so many things as the subconscious level that I’m still not aware of. I have a lot of wrong beliefs that I need to get rid of and a lot of limitations that I need to overcome. (See 6 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know Your Mind Could Do to see what cool things you can do with your mind)

Remember: being open-mind (but skeptical) is a good start.

In Conclusion:

When starting personal development we may fall prey to many traps. I hope that this article will help you avoid those traps and live the life you were born to live. Let me remind you of the 6 traps to avoid:

1. Being a personal development junkie

  • Ask yourself honestly whether you are really facing your fears

2. Not understanding the fundamentals

3. Getting lost in the mass of information

  • Focus only on 1 or 2 blogs you like
  • Buy books or programs catering to your needs

4. Not taking enough action

  • Take consistent actions on every book or article you read
  • Have someone to be accountable to
  • Set goals

5. Not being open-minded enough

  • Accept that your current beliefs may be wrong
  • Be open-minded but remain skeptical

6. Not going deep enough

  • Challenge your beliefs and stay open-minded

What about you? What is the most common trap that is stopping you from growing? Leave a comment below and let me know?

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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

Should You Improve Yourself Or Drop Yourself? – The Terrible Dilemma Between Self-improvement and Self-Realization

self-improvement and self-realization

You don’t want to give up this identity because it has a nice side. It’s just that you want to get rid of the not-nice side and just be a very good ego basically. It is true. For everybody it is like that. It is what keeps the game going because you still feel “I’m still this person you know, but I’m improving you know, I read so many self-improvement books. I’m getting there. I’m getting there.” And must people go “well done darling, very good”. Then someone tells you “but this person does not exist.” What?!? – Mooji

Before you read this article I highly recommend you to read my article What is the Ego? as well as my series of articles on spiritual enlightenment.

As you pursue your personal development journey, you may reach a point when you start to question whether personal development is actually necessary. You may start wondering: “Why do I have to work so hard, trying to achieve more and more and never feeling satisfied?” or “Why do I always feel like I’m never good enough?”

During the past few months the following question has been haunting me: should I focus on self-improvement or should I focus on self-realization? And can I do both?

In this article, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts regarding that topic. Let’s start by briefly defining self-improvement and self-realization so that we are clear on the differences between the two. Then, we can talk about whether it is possible to reconcile both.

What is Self-Improvement?

When I started my blog and decided to call it “Whatispersonaldevelopment” I had no idea that “What is personal development?” would become a question I would ask myself very seriously.

I was super pumped up and firmly decided to become the best version of myself and to accomplish as many things as I possibly could during my time on this planet. Personal development seemed like a very powerful thing.

However, as I started looking closely at every single of my accomplishments, at every time I got something “more”, I realized that it had very little impact on my level of happiness. It seems like the problem wasn’t that I needed more, it was that I needed to realize that I already had everything I needed. If I were to solve all my issues before finally being happy and live the perfect life, it would take me many lifetimes!

More importantly, I realized that my level of fulfillment in life had never really changed over time and thus I saw no reason to believe that getting everything I ever wanted would make me supremely happy (at least). Have you noticed how quickly we stop appreciating things? We get used to things very quickly and after a brief moment of happiness we are back just where we were.  We often say that happiness comes from within. If you look closely enough without getting distracted by all the pleasures of life you will realize how true it is.

Self-improvement is about improving oneself to become a better person. Currently, we all have a certain image of ourselves we are clinging to. What we are trying to do with self-improvement for the most part is to improve that self-image. You may also call it identity or person. What is that self-image about?

Let’s try to give a definition of what self-image is:  “Self-image is the result of a story based on our personal interpretation of past memories”. What it means is that our self-image can only be from the past. Since we have no power to actually change the past to modify our self-image, self-improvement is simply about reinterpreting our past, changing our current beliefs for more empowering one and adopting new behaviors that will reinforce that new image.

There is nothing wrong about improving our self-image, and it is certainly better to believe in yourself and have a positive mindset than to be totally depressed. However, we may notice some logical flaws.

We mentioned that self-image can only be from the past, and we know that the past does not exist anymore, therefore our self-image has no tangible reality. If our self-image does not exist, why do we need to improve it? Make sense no?

That is what self-realization is pointing at.

What is Self-Realization?

To be, you must be nobody. To think yourself to be something or somebody is death and hell. – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

I can’t remember what got me interested in self-realization in the first place. Of course, as everyone else I had heard about the Buddha’s story many years ago but I didn’t pay much attention to it. I’m not going to spend much time explaining what self-realization (or spiritual enlightenment) is in this article as you can read more about it in my series of articles dedicated on spiritual enlightenment.

Put it simply, self-realization is the realization that the person you think you are does not exist! It is realizing through direct experience that you are neither your body nor your mind and that everything you think you are is just a belief. What you are is simply awareness, and for some reason, awareness believes itself to be a person.

A good analogy would be the following: you are the screen onto which the movie (what you call your life) is projected, but you imagine yourself to be in the movie. A screen cannot be affected by the movie. So is awareness.

Recently, some scientists start seriously to believe that we may be living in a virtual reality. It is in fact quite close from what sages have been telling us for thousands of year.

Sages describe awareness as timeless, spaceless and shapeless. It is beyond any concept of the mind. Awareness doesn’t need to be good enough, it doesn’t need to be confident, happy, successful or famous. All those concepts are coming from the mind and mean absolutely nothing to awareness. Awareness is beyond all of that. People who rest in awareness experience unfading joy and peace which are the natural characteristics of what we really are: awareness.

Are Self-Improvement and Self-Realization Contradictory?

Person development is about becoming a better person, but if I’ve never really been a person in the first place, isn’t doing personal development simply keeping the illusion alive? Can I work hard on myself and at the same time work hard on realizing that I don’t exist? It sounds quite contradictory, doesn’t it?

Let me give you some examples of how the worldview of enlightened beings significantly differs from that of personal development gurus.

  1. Enlightened beings tell me to drop all desires; personal development gurus tell me to visualize every day what I want as vividly as possible.
  2. Enlightened beings tell me to forget about the past and the future and to focus on the present moment as it is the only thing that is real; personal development gurus tell me to change my personal story (past), and envision myself being already where I want to be (future).
  3. Enlightened beings  tell me that I don’t need any purpose in life and that the only thing I need is to realize the beauty of just being. What needs to happen will happen after I realized my true nature; personal development gurus tell me that I MUST find my life purpose.
  4. Enlightened beings tell me that setting goals is not necessary; Personal development gurus tell me that I need to set goals to help me achieve my dreams.
  5. Enlightened beings tell me that lasting happiness is my natural state and that I just need to realize it; personal development gurus tell me I need to accomplish more, become more and keep growing in order to be happy.
  6. Enlightened beings tell me to wake up and realize that there is no problem in life. All problems come from the belief that I’m a person to whom these problems happen. When that person is seen for what it is: an illusion, there is no more problem; personal development gurus tell me to improve as a person in order to get better at solving my problems.
  7. Enlightened beings tell me to burn the manual “How to Live”. There is no need to learn how to be happy, how to love or how to live. All these things come naturally when we realize our true nature; personal development gurus are expert in telling me how to live, how to love, how to be more productive, how to be happier etc.
  8. Enlightened beings tell me to observe my thoughts and emotions with detachment and come to the realization that they have no power on me and aren’t defining me; personal development gurus tell me that I should control my thoughts and my emotions to create a better life, as thoughts and emotions create my reality.
  9. Enlightened beings tell me that pleasure and pain are the same thing and that looking for more pleasure will create more pain in my life. Pleasure and pain simply reinforce the sense of being a person; personal development gurus tell me that pain is necessary sometimes to obtain pleasure and that I should seek more pleasure and experiences in life.

Confusing no?

Benefits of Self-Realization and Self-Improvement

So now we have a better understanding of what self-improvement and self-realization are, but what do we do with that?

Obviously we can decide that self-realization is bullshit and forget about it. Similarly, we can decide that self-improvement is an illusion and ignore it.

Let’s look at some potential benefits and possible traps for each case.

Focus on self-improvement only

Potential benefits: if you are dedicated to it, you will probably have a better job, more money, better relationships and so on.

Possible traps:

  • Lack of deeper self-reflection and inner work which may lead to limited improvement of your level of happiness regardless of your external success.
  • Big ego that may cause suffering under various forms (pride, greed…)
  • Underlying sense of not being good enough or not being complete

Focus on self-realization only

Potential benefit: If you attain self-realization, lasting happiness and fulfillment; end of problems

Possible traps:

  • Failure to reach enlightenment and limited results in term of the peace of mind achieved
  • Use of self-realization pursuit as a way to escape your fears and neglect your daily responsibilities
  • Inability to see through the countless tricks the mind is playing on you:
    • Doubt on whether spiritual enlightenment is real or not
    • Doubt on whether you are good enough or not
    • Creation of new beliefs/identity like “I’m a spiritual seeker”
    • Fear of losing your identity “what will happen after spiritual enlightenment? Will I get married? Have a job…
    • Etc.

My personal experience

Now let’s look at my personal case.

Self-realization

benefits:

  • Start feeling more detached. I dwell less and less on the past or on things that happened to me during the day. I forget things very quickly and my negative emotions don’t last long.
  • I’m even less attracted to materials things than before and have less needs.
  • I’m more at peace and even more quiet than before. I generally feel less the need to talk especially when I realize that it is coming from my ego.

traps:

  • Tendency to escape from my fears by using self-realization as an excuse.
  • Postponing self-realization opportunities by buying into my mind’s stories. One of them being that I need to go away for 1 or 2 years to focus on self-realization.
  • Reading more and more books and watching more and more videos on self-realization as a way to procrastinate.
  • Believing that I will not have a girlfriend, a wife, or more generally a normal life after self-realization.
  • Doubting on whether self-realization is real or not
  • Getting lost between my desire to live my passion and my desire to attain self-realization. Is my desire to help people coming from my ego or is it real? Should I listen to it or not?

Self-improvement

Benefits:

  • More confident
  • Better at communicating with people
  • Better at controlling my thoughts
  • More positive mindset (adoption of more empowering beliefs…)

traps:

  • Tend to get motivated and want to do more and become the best, but wonder whether it comes from my ego?
  • Feeling that I’m never going to be satisfied

Note that it is not an exhaustive list but just a few things that came to mind.

Are Self-Realization and Self-Improvement Compatible?

Can we focus on both self-realization and self-improvement at the same time? It may be possible if we can find a common ground.

One of the main reasons why we don’t accomplish what we want in life is fear. Imagine what would be possible if you had absolutely no fear at all. Fear generally manifests when our self-image is threatened. For instance you may be afraid to fail because you are worrying about what others are going to think of you. Or maybe, you are wondering what is going to happen to you in the future if you fail at your new business.

While thinking about whether I should focus on self-realization or self-improvement, I realize that I may actually be using self-realization as a way to escape my fears. On other occasion I forget about self-enlightenment (or my mind make me forget about it) and refocus on self-improvement or end up stuck in the middle.

So can we focus on both at the same time? I think that it is not an easy thing to do but that it is possible. In order to do that the solution is to focus genuinely on our fears (See This Magical Question Will Guide You Through Your Entire Life). By asking yourself on a regular basis “Right now, am I really facing my fears or am I just running away from them?” you can both start acting less out of your ego in your self-improvement journey (trying to be good enough, looking for fame…) and prevent yourself from escaping from your fears on your self-realization journey.

“Am I doing this because I want to attain self-realization or am I doing this because I’m trying to escape my fears?” is another question you can ask yourself.

Understanding Your Ego And Destroying Fear

From a self-realization point of view, ego equals fear. (See What is The Ego). Your ego is the result of you believing you are a person and trying to protect your identity at all cost. People who don’t face their fears and reduce their ego may be insanely successful from the society’s point of view but will be inwardly dissatisfied, unhappy or even depressed. That’s why, during our self-improvement and self-realization journey we must focus on getting rid of fears by confronting them or realizing that they are not real. If you think self-realization is bullshit or aren’t willing to work toward it that’s perfectly fine. Just remind yourself to face your fears and you will be fine. Confront your fears from the most evident ones up to the most subtle ones and your true self will be revealed.

So are you getting rid of your fears?


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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

Is There Really Such A Thing As The Subconscious Mind?

Is There Such A Thing As The Subconscious Mind?

We are occupied with one little corner of consciousness which is most of our life; the rest, which we call the subconscious, with all its motives, its fears, its racial and inherited qualities, we do not even know how to get into. Now I am asking you, is there such a thing as the subconscious at all? – J. Krishnamurti

In my article about hypnosis I mentioned a TV show where a guy under hypnosis lay down in a bathtub for more than a minute. You may think: “What’s the big deal?” Well the water was only 3°C and the guy didn’t seem to feel any discomfort at all. A “normal” person could not do that. But wait a minute; he didn’t do it, his subconscious mind did it right?

So what is this mysterious thing that we call the subconscious mind? It seems to be a totally different entity separated from us, but is it really? People say, “I need to reprogram my subconscious mind” or “my subconscious mind is preventing me from ….”(fill in the blank with your favorite excuse).

If the man in the previous example can do such a thing under hypnosis why can’t he do it in his normal state? Is hypnosis giving him some kind of superpowers? Is hypnosis really changing who he is?

Is There Such A Thing As The Subconscious Mind?

We generally imagine our subconscious mind as some kind of strange entity totally separated from us and largely out of control. Here is a question for you: “Why do you think the subconscious mind exist in the first place?”

The fact is that the subconscious mind is very convenient. It is very much like a closet or an attic. You can hide in it everything you don’t want to see. What do we hide in it? Our fears! How convenient! Then, we don’t have to face them anymore.

“What fears? I have no fears. It is not me, it’s my subconscious mind so there is nothing I can do about it.”

Now we can go on living our life, pretending to be someone we are not, appearing very civilized and calm. It is as if all of our fears had miraculously vanished. (See Are You Who You Are Or Who You Think You Should be?). In reality, our fears are so well hidden that we may not even know about them.

Are You Responsible For Your Subconscious Mind?

In my article How To Be Fully Responsible For Your Life I explain that we need to take full responsibility for our life. Though I didn’t mention the subconscious mind, it could very well have been on the list.

Don’t get me wrong; my intention with this article is certainly not to blame you for not being able to control your subconscious mind. I’m full of fears too. We all are. My intention is simply to make you realize that your subconscious mind is part of who you are; not a separate entity that is totally out of control.

Your subconscious mind is actually trying to help you to deal with your fears. It doesn’t want you to have to go through your past traumas one more time. That’s how phobias work for instance; you had a painful experience in the past and your subconscious is trying to protect you by keeping you away from anything that could recreate that terrible experience.

More Awareness Means Less Subconscious Mind

We did not create our subconscious mind voluntarily. The process is largely taking place at an unconscious level. What can we do to become more aware of our subconscious mind? We need to start observing ourselves more carefully and develop mindfulness. We need to look at what is really behind our insecurity, our fears, our shyness, our anger, our jealousy, our greed, our stress etc. We need to have the courage to look at all these unpleasant things instead of running away. All our fears are part of who we are. We have a choice: leave them in the closet or open the closet and start cleaning the house.

In order to do that, our emotions are probably the most powerful (and probably only) compass we have. Using our awareness to bring focus on our emotions is I believe the best thing we can do.

If you have phobias or other traumas that you are unable to solve by yourself, you can of course seek help from a hypnotherapist. He will help you access your subconscious mind.

Now, let’s come back to the man in his bathtub before he freezes to death. Have you noticed how some monks or people who have been practicing meditation for a long time are able to do similar things? The most impressive thing I’ve heard of is this Buddhist monk in Vietnam who burned himself to death. He didn’t even move!

So, is there really such a thing as the subconscious mind? Can we really hide our fears forever pretending they are not there?


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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

What Is Your State Of Consciousness?

What is your state of consciousness?

Victim consciousness is a choice. As we mentioned, from our experience, most people choose to live this way. – Jim Dethmer, Diana,Chapman & Kaley Warner Klemp,The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership

In a previous article I asked you if you were as aware as Jean-Claude Vandamme. In this article I would like to share with you a model that actually describes several states of consciousness and that will help you increase your awareness.

By the end of this article you will know what is your main state of consciousness.

The model comes from the book The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership and is called “four ways of being”. Though the book is focusing on leaders and use these models to describe different ways of leading, in fact everybody can benefit from that model. Actually, I encourage everyone who wants to learn more about consciousness and increase their level of awareness to get the book.

Here are the 4 states of consciousness:

  1. TO ME – Life  happens to me
  2. BY ME – I make life happen
  3. THROUGH ME – I cooperate with life happening
  4. AS ME – At one with all

Note that these are states and NOT stage of development.  You may alternate between these states througout your day.

Now let’s get into more details and describe each of these 4 states.

1) TO ME – Life Happens to Me

Why does it happen to me? This question sounds natural to you? That’s because in the To Me state of consciousness we play the role of the victim. You can call this state “victim consciousness”. It is a state of consciousness that is very disempowering and extremely toxic. People in that state like to complain and blame other people or situations.

Playing the victim is a very easy pattern to fall into as, as strange as it may seem, we actually get a certain pleasure out of it. It allows us to create a certain identity, “the victim”, and reject responsibility. Indeed, it is much more easier to play the victim than to face our problems and to undertake the necessary changes.

I must admit that I often find myself in that victim mindset. However, I became clearly aware of the battle that takes place within myself between the part of me who enjoys being a victim and the part of me who wants to take 100% responsibility and move forward.

What about you? In what area of your life are you playing the victim?

2) BY ME – I make life happen

What can I learn from that situation? That is the type of questions that someone in a By Me state of consciousness would ask himself or herself.

The shift from the To Me state to the By Me state of consciousness occurs when we take full responsibility for our life. Instead of thinking of ourselves as victims, we become the creators of our life.

Everything in our life becomes a feedback and we see in each situation an opportunity to learn more and develop ourself. Life is seen as one big learning university and challenges are seen as opportunities for us to grow.

3) THROUGH ME – I cooperate with life happening

What wants to happen through me? In the Through Me state of consciousness we see ourselves as co-creators. We start becoming curious about life and begin noticing that there is something beyond ourselves. Some may call it the universe, other God or love to name a few.

In that state, we let go of our desire to control things, events and people. Anyway, we didn’t really have control over them in the first place, only the illusion of control.

People in that state of consciousness start to ask themselves questions like “What is life’s highest idea of itself that wants to manifest in and through me.” They become very clear about their individual purpose and align with it. As a result, they end up living more in integrity with who they really are.

4) AS ME – At one with all

No more questions, just knowingness. It is the state of consciousness reached by enlightened being. There are no more problems and no one to solve them. There is no person to take things personally, no one to get defensive, no ego to be found. People in that state experience a sense of unlimited freedom and peace. (See my series of articles on spiritual enlightenment). The author of “The Sedona Method”, Hale Dwoskin summarizes that state as follow: “In the As Me space, there are no problems and there is no you to have a problem.”

Concrete Examples

Now, in order to understand the mindsets and belief systems characterizing these different states of consciousness, let’s have a look at two important concepts: purpose and love.

What purpose means in each state of consciousness

To me: What purpose? I should have one and I don’t. I just have roles I play.

By me: It’s my purpose. I declare it and go out and get it.

Through me: Transcendent purpose. There is no wanting and I receive my purpose through listening.

As me: What purpose? Being and purpose are the same. It’s impossible to be off of it.

What about you? Which of these states can you relate to? (You might want to check out my article Step 4: Find Your Life Purpose)

What happiness means in each state of consciousness

To me: It is a fleeting moment of pleasure (ice cream, vacation, sex) and it depends on circumstances.

By me: I choose to make myself happy. I can make happiness if I bring the right ingredients.

Through me: Happiness is here now and it has a deep lasting quality. I relax into joy.

As me: Happiness is just another state, it is just one of many vibrations passing through

How to move from one state to another

So how can we move to a higher level of consciousness? Below is the formula:

TO ME + responsibility → BY ME

BY ME + surrender → THROUGH Me

THROUG ME + oneness → AS ME

What about you? Do you like this model? Which state of consciousness do you think characterizes the best where you are right now?

My hope is that you will take this opportunity to reevaluate your current beliefs and see in which areas of your life your victim consciousness is manifesting. I’m sure it is manifesting in some areas of your life!

You can download the one-page pdf file with the 15 Commitments at this page for free.

For your information, here is the first commitment:

I commit to taking full responsibility for the circumstances of my life, and my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. I commit to support others to take full responsibility for their lives.


I commit to blaming others and myself for what is wrong in the world. I commit to be a victim, villain, or a hero and take more or less than 100% responsibility.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about these 15 Commitments 😉
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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

Why Giving Can Set You Free – The Little Known Fact About Unconditional Giving

Why giving can set you free

How often do you give something to someone without expecting anything in return?

Most of the time, people are expecting to get something in exchange of the time and effort they spent helping someone else.

Do you know what happens when you start giving without expecting anything in return?

In this article I will show you why unconditional giving is your way towards more freedom.

The Limits Of Reciprocity

Have you ever bought a product you didn’t need because someone gave you free sample in a supermarket? Have you ever been tricked in giving someone something you didn’t want to simply because he gave you a something and get the whole reciprocity thing moving?

While reciprocity is a great thing to ensure that we all help each other and cooperate, it can also become a problem if you don’t know how to handle it.

Here are some things that may happen to you:

  • You feel obliged to help someone even though you don’t have time
  • You feel obliged to help someone while you could have done something more valuable for society and for yourself
  • You do something that is not in line with your values or go against your standard of ethics in order to help someone
  • You feel bad if you don’t help someone that helped you

Unconditional Giving As An Alternative Mindset

So far we mention the traditional mindset that most people take for granted: I gave you something so you are expected to give me something back in some ways. Or, you gave me something so I should give you something back.

What if there was another possibility? What if you could decide that each time you can think of a way to help someone, you will help that person without expecting anything in return?

You could contact someone because you found a great book that would help that person in his or her career. Maybe, someone you know is working on a project and you have the right skills to help him or her. Or perhaps, you’ve just discovered a great French restaurant you thought your colleague would love to take his new girlfriend for Valentine’s day.

You Don’t Owe Anyone Any Interaction!

When someone helps me in any way my train of thoughts is as follow:

I didn’t force them to help me, they chose to help me. Therefore, whether they expect me to help them in return or not is their problem. I have nothing to do with that. Sounds cruel?

Well, if people help you because they want you to help them, I don’t call that help, I call that manipulation. It’s like people who give you a free sample in the supermarket expecting you to buy the whole product because you feel the psychological need to reciprocate. That’s non-sense.

Similarly, I don’t want people to feel like they owe me something because I did something for them. I value freedom more than anything and I want people to reciprocate only if they really feel like it.

You don’t owe anyone any interaction and nobody owes you any interaction.

Free Yourself Through Unconditional Giving

Now, imagine that your mindset is: I help people without expecting anything in return, and in exchange I expect people to act the same. Are you going to feel guilty about it? Well, if you sincerely help people around you whenever you can you are likely to feel less the need to reciprocate in a mechanical way, that is: you gave me something so I need to give you something back soon and it should be of the same amount or value. Instead, you become more flexible and allow yourself more freedom.

Here are some benefits that unconditional giving will provide you with:

1. You Will Feel Less Obliged To Help Someone

Because you are constantly helping other people you have a broader view on giving. You stop seeing giving as a highly codified contract between two people. You see it as a flow going into any direction and coming from any direction. You help someone but you don’t expect him or her to help you in return. You have no expectation in term of what or when they should give something back to you, or even whether or not they will help you in return.

Also, because you help people around you as much as you can, you feel less the need to reciprocate when someone gives you something or helps you in anyway. You know that sometimes you will help people that won’t reciprocate in any way, but it is also true that you will also receive help from people that you may not help in return.

2. You Can Focus Your Time On What Really Matters

By giving unconditionally, you allow yourself more freedom in term of how, when, to what extent, and also whether you should reciprocate. You feel also less guilty about not reciprocating.

As a result, you can focus your time on what really matters to you. However, in order to do this, it will help you a lot if you are clear on your core values (See Step 3: Identify Your Core Values).

Sounds selfish?

Well, I believe that it allows you to better focus on what you are good at and help as many people as possible rather than getting stuck in helping people with things that you are not good at, that are not in line with your core values or that are against your standard of ethics.

Thus, I believe that overall it is a better philosophy than to constantly worrying about whether you are reciprocating enough or even refusing to receive people’s help by fear of not being able to reciprocate.

3. You Can Receive Help More Freely

Often, people really want to help you and want you to succeed in life. However, for various reasons like pride or fear of disturbing other people, you may be reluctant to accept their precious help. Giving unconditionally to people will help you feel more entitle to receive their help.

Personally, I like to think of help as a gift people want to make you. Have you ever refuse a Christmas Gift from someone? I haven’t. How do you feel when you genuinely want to offer your help or give something to someone, and that person refuse it? Not so good do you? So do people who are trying to help you!

Start giving more and it will be easier for you to receive.

4. Giving Makes You Happy

I believe that we are designed to give. Studies actually show that spending money on others makes us happier than spending money on ourself. Giving makes us happy, but it must be a choice, not a duty. Unconditional giving allows you to tap into this natural instinct by freeing you from a rigid agreement or contract between two people that we tend to impose on ourself. Through unconditional giving, you gain more freedom in term of whether you should give something to someone and you can start choosing to give rather than just feeling obliged to.

Unconditional giving goes beyond the traditional concept of reciprocity. It sees giving and receiving as a flow and prevents us from getting stuck in rigid relationships that are neither beneficial to us nor to society as a whole.

What about you? Are you practicing unconditional giving? If not, how do you think unconditional giving could help you in your life? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

The Story of Mr. Fear and Mr. Love

The Story of Mr. Fear and Mr. Love

Have you ever heard of the story of Mr. Fear and Mr. Love?

Once upon a time in a small village in South France lived two gentlemen, Mr. Fear and Mr. Love. They were both perceived as relatively smart and had a very similar life by many standards. Physically speaking they also looked very similar and in fact many people mistakenly believe they were brothers. The biggest noticeable difference between them was probably that one loved cheese while the other hated it. (Is it possible for a French not to like cheese?)

More seriously, the real difference between them was that Mr. Love was significantly happier than Mr. Fear. Why was that? I let you guess!

So how were these two gentlemen different? Let’s have a look now.

1a. Mr. Fear was controlled by his fear

Mr. Fear never fully realized that his lack of satisfaction in his life was the result of underlying fears! Never noticing that fear was his biggest enemy, he would use excuses all the time and stay comfortably in his victim mindset making sure that he would never have to face his fears. He enjoyed pitying himself for not being good enough, being too old or not knowing the right people to do what he wanted to do. He could easily have filled a whole book with his never-ending blaming list.

Eventually, he turned himself into a self-help junkie going to many seminars on personal development and investing thousands and thousands of dollars in personal materials. However, that it didn’t work. That’s was simply another distraction to keep him away from his fears and make him feel momentarily good about himself.

1b. Mr. Love faced his fears and outgrew them

Mr. Love realized that when it comes to personal development, one very simply criteria was enough to tell whether he was evolving towards a more fulfilling life: It was whether he was getting rid of his fears or not. Or, to put it in a different way, whether he was getting out of his comfort zone or not.

When he felt a butterfly in his stomach or an uncomfortable feeling while he was about to do something, he knew that he had to do it. He became almost addicted to that feeling as he realized that each time he got out of his comfort zone, his fears weakened and the field of possibilities expanded. What an exhilarating feeling!
He didn’t even need to read personal development books or go to self-help seminars anymore. What he was doing was pure raw personal development work: destroying fear!

2a. Mr. Fear cared too much about his self-image

Mr. Fear was constantly worrying about what other people would think of him and was trying hard to control his self-image. However, he failed to realize that his self-image was largely a creation from people around him who wanted him to be a certain way. He was living up to other people’s expectations not his own. As a result, he often felt like people around him had no clue of who he really was. It is because he wasn’t taking responsibility and being himself.

Even worse than that, in order to be accepted, he was constantly trying to please everyone. His reasoning was that if he did everything other people wanted him to do, they would love him. Wouldn’t they? He was pretending to be nice to everyone, but in reality he was simply afraid of being rejected. His inability to say no was eroding his self-respect and creating resentment towards people who were constantly asking for his help. Deep down, he didn’t feel like he was worthy and was hoping that people around him would tell him that he was. Similar to a drug addict, he needed his regular dose of approval.

He had to admit that he felt quite comfortable acting like a nice guy and pleasing everyone? Was he such a nice guy? Arguably not? Why? He wasn’t pleasing people because he liked them, but out of fear: the fear of being rejected, the fear of not being part of the group. It was nothing more than a selfish act.

2b. Mr. Love was just being himself caring little about his self-image

On the other hand, Mr. Love was doing his best to be honest with everyone he met. He was being himself and weren’t afraid to say no when necessary. His reasoning was very simple: if I don’t want to be liked for someone I’m not, I’d rather be myself. He knew that if he were himself, some people would like him for who he was. He also knew that other people wouldn’t like him. However, that was unavoidable or even necessary.

Rather than pleasing people to keep his self-image under control, his focus was always on doing and saying what was best for them even if it meant being hated from time to time. He realized that in order for him to be himself, he had to let go and to stop trying to control people around him. After all, he couldn’t force people to like him.

3a. Mr. Fear was never good enough

Mr. Fear had a deep feeling of not being good enough. He was constantly comparing himself to others and tended to focus his attention on what he « wasn’t good enough at » making him even more insecure. To overcome this sense of insecurity he was working harder than anyone else trying to gain power and become more popular and chasing one recognition after the other. However, nothing seemed to satisfy him.

3b. Mr. Love never compared himself to others

Mr. Love understood very well the danger of comparing oneself to others. His father taught him early on that he should NEVER compare himself to others. Never! His father simply said to him that since we are all different, comparing oneself to other people wasn’t totally irrelevant. « Son, comparing yourself with other will only bring you pain and sorrow in life. The sooner you will understand that the better». That was his words of wisdom.

4a. Mr. Fear was all about competition

Mr. Fear was a very competitive guy. Well, how does it relate to fear? Why do you think people compete in the first place? To win of course. What do they need to win for? To prove themselves? Why? Because they are afraid that deep inside they are not good enough as they are. That is a fear-based mindset.

4b. Mr. Love was all about cooperation

Mr. Love, him, believed in cooperation over competition. He understood that he couldn’t do anything on himself and that by leveraging other people’s strength and inspiring them to become the best version of themselves, he would get better results and everybody will win. He wasn’t against « friendly » competition but winning wasn’t a concept he liked very much. He believed cooperation was way more powerful than competition and didn’t think that competition could be the solution to the world’s major problems. Not everybody can win but everybody can cooperate.

5a. Mr. Fear’s focus was on getting

As Mr. Fear doesn’t feel good enough, he is constantly trying to get something out of every interaction. A little bit of approval here, some recognition there, some more power over there. How can I get more? He would ask himself. How can I receive so much love, recognition, fame, power and money that I will finally feel good enough?

5b. Mr. Love’s focus was on giving

How can I serve more? How I can help more people? That is what Mr. Love was always focusing on. Mr. Love understood that the first step to receiving was giving. He also noticed that the more he was giving to people and helping them, the more fulfilled he would feel. Each time he thought of a way he could help someone he knew, he would do it. If he had found some information that could help an acquaintance he would happily share it with him/her. His motto wasn’t “I give therefore I shall receive” but “Because I’m giving I’m already receiving”.

How the story ends

Eventually, stress took a toll on Mr. Fear’s health. His doctor told him that he had only 3 months live. In an instant, all Mr. Fear’s trouble about not having enough and not being good enough vanished. It was just irrelevant. He then realized that all his life he has been asking himself the wrong question: It wasn’t “how can I get more so that I can become more?” but “how can I can become myself more so that I will receive more?”

Are you more like Mr. Fear or Mr. Love? What fears are you running away from? In fact, you probably already know what kind of fears you are running away from, but you won’t admit it to yourself would you?
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you fears are.

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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

Stop Pretending to Be Someone You Are Not

Are you who you are or who you think you should be?

In order to observe the movement of your own mind and heart, of your whole being, you must have a free mind, not a mind that agrees and disagrees, taking sides in an argument, disputing over mere words, but rather following with an intention to understand – a very difficult thing to do because most of us don’t know how to look at, or listen to, our own being any more than we know how to look at the beauty of a river or listen to the breeze among the trees. – Krishnamurti

Are you really showing your true self to others or are you showing a constructed image of yourself?

Many of us are living way too much in our head trying to be what we think we should be rather than just being who we are. We are overly relying on our intellect while forgetting about our true self.

We certainly need to use our intellect to make a living. We are expected to be able to think rationally at work and in a variety of other situations. In that sense, constantly developing our intellect is certainly a necessary step to evolve in our career. However, I believe that in today’s society we are too obsessed with the intellect.

How many of us can honestly say we are perfectly in tune with our emotions and who we really are? We are generally more concerned about maintaining a certain self-image to fit into society than being who we really are. We act out of our intellect rather than out of our being.

So why is it such a big deal to rely heavily on our intellect?

1. Because We Aren’t Ourselves Anymore

Each of us has an image of what we think we are or what we should be, and that image, that picture, entirely prevents us from seeing ourselves as we actually are. – Krishnamurti

Most of us have a fairly good idea of how a civilized person should act. Let’s assume that you want to become the next Gandhi or Mandela because it sounds like a lot of fun. That’s easy! All you have to do is simply read their biography and act the same way they did. Then, you will likely become like them, right? Well, only in theory.

The problem is that there is a huge difference between doing something because it is what we think we should do, and doing something because it reflects who we really are inside.

For instance, it is not necessarily difficult to know in what situations we should feel compassionate. But, does it mean that we will necessarily feel compassionate when put into these situations?  We may pretend and believe we should be. However, deep down, it may very well not be the case

Feelings like compassion or love are not something we can know. Neither are they beliefs. They don’t come from our intellect, they come from our being. Thus, they cannot be learned by using our intellect, they can only be uncover by identifying less with our intellect.

2. Because It Prevents Us From Growing

By using solely our intellect, we may very well appear to be almost perfect, full of compassion, full of love, and always nice. It is certainly better to use our intellect to control our emotions that way than to act in a barbarian way.

However, there is one problem with that approach: it prevents us from growing. How are we going to live a truly fulfilling life if we are overly concerned about our self-image and how others perceive us. How can we happy if we are disconnected from our emotions?

One question you might want to ask yourself is: “Do I really care about people and sincerely desire to please them at my being level, or is it just an intellectual thing? In another word, do I genuinely perceive these feelings or do I force myself to be that way to fit in with the image I want to have about myself?

Our Feelings Reflect Our Level Of Consciousness

Whether you are full of love, compassion and joy, or greedy, jealous, controlling, insecure or apathetic, is likely a reflection of your level of consciousness.

In our modern society, we tend to greatly value the intellect. However a higher intellect isn’t equal to a higher level of consciousness. One of the reasons for that, is probably the major role that play science and rationality nowadays. We want to analyze everything rationally. In science that’s wonderful, but when it comes to people it might not be very relevant. I tend to see people as irrational beings that like to rationalize everything afterwards. Aren’t we?

Note that it is possible to be highly “successful” from the standpoint of society (money, fame…), but still be largely out of tune with our emotions, haunted by fears.

The other main reason why some of us are relying so much on our intellect is because it is a great way to hide our feelings. Instead of expression our feelings genuinely we hide them. Why? Because of fear? What if I get hurt? What if they reject me as I am? What if I appear weak in front of others? Expressing our feelings candidly is actually a great sign of strength as it requires courage; the courage to be who we are and to accept the consequences instead of trying to control people and situations by managing our self-image.

Using your intellect is trying to be rather than being. It is trying to care rather than caring, trying to love rather than loving or trying to be happy rather than being happy. It is living in a world of shoulds.

My Personal Experience

I found this concept of intellect vs. being to be very true in my personal life. Recently, I’ve been asking myself why I was trying so hard to be? I’ve been reading so many self-help books, but have I really changed? Have I really raised my level of consciousness or did I simply strengthen my intellect?

Am I really being or am I trying to be? What are the fears that prevent me to be? Am I truly caring for people or am I simply helping them because I believe I should?

I wonder how many of you can relate to that. I feel like I’m still relying too much on my intellect and that I have a lot of work to do on myself in order open up, raise my level of consciousness and live a more fulfilling life.

Let’s see now how we can be, forgetting for a while about the intellect.

How To Be And Stop Trying To be

Being doesn’t require any intellectual effort. You don’t need to use your brain and think in order to be. You already exist without doing anything.

So in order to be, we must stop relying so much on our intellect. We must stop trying so hard to control our self-image and our environment. Here are few things you can do to reconnect with yourself.

1. Accept all your feelings

You are who you are, not who you think you should be or wish you could be. You can use your intellect to hide who you really are, but that doesn’t change anything.

Accept yourself as you are. Then, you can start to make the necessary changes.

If you feel no compassion then you feel no compassion. Why denying it? If you feel jealousy in an inappropriate situation, accept it.

2. Speak honestly and unarguably

Express your feelings to other as you perceive them.

People can disagree with your vision of the world, they can even disagree with facts that they may see as opinions, but they can’t disagree with your feelings!

If you express genuinely your feelings regarding a certain behavior of a colleague for instance, he/she will likely perceive you as honest and appreciate the fact that you have the courage to show your emotions. He/she may be encouraged to doo the same in return.

3. Listen without judgment

Listening is not hearing. Listening is an active act that requires practice, focus and concentration. When you listen without judgment you stop imposing your vision of the world to what people are saying. You forget for a while about how things should be and accept things as they are. Here is what active listening takes:

  • Not judging what someone is saying but putting ourselves in their shoes
  • Resisting the urge to interrupt your interlocutor
  • Not thinking about what you are going to say next, but staying in the present moment
  • Not getting lost in your thoughts
  • Listening beyond the words: what the person’s body language/tone of voice is telling you?
  • Being self-aware: are you tensed? Are you relaxed? Is your body/mind reacting to something your interlocutor is telling you? Why? Are you listening objectively or are you interpreting what the person is telling you?

Not so easy, right?

4. Meditate

Spend some time just being. Stop trying to control everything even for a few minutes. Observe your thoughts without making any judgment. Are you your thoughts? What about your emotions? (See Is Meditation For Everyone?)

5. Practice mindfulness

Observe yourself as you go through your day. Try to understand yourself. Look at your feelings without judging them. Watch out for the times when you are out of sync with your being. For instance, do you say to someone “It’s okay” when you know it is not, rather than sharing your feelings?

6. Trust your intuition

Listen to your guts feelings. Learn to trust your intuition and see what happens. Stop being overly rational. (See Lynn Robinson’s Divine Intuition – Why You Should Listen To Your Inner Voice)

I hope that this article helped become more aware of the difference between being and trying to be (intellect). It is an important step towards a more conscious life.

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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

What is Personal Development Really About? – These 4 Topics Will Keep You Up At Night

What is Personal Development

What is really personal development? What is this person that we are trying to develop? Is there any specific purpose for doing that?

In this article I decided to provide you with a list of experts in a variety of controversial topics related to personal development and to introduce you to some unconventional resources.

The experts in the list have been spending their entire careers researching in their areas of expertise. Because I find it fascinating and because it is relevant to the topic of personal development, I’ve included reincarnation, near-death experience (NDE), out-of body experience (OBE), past life regression and spiritual enlightenment.

What Is Personal Development Really About?

You may wonder how the previously mentioned topics are related to personal development. Well, all tend to point out that we are here for a specific reason: to grow and become love. It departs from scientific materialism that sees people as biological machines with no real purpose, apart from, maybe, reproduction. In that sense, whether we are spirits, souls or consciousness, or simply a physical body does matter a lot! If we are indeed spirits, personal development takes a entirely new meaning.

It’s not anymore me against others. It’s definitely not anymore about what I have but about who I am. Being smart or having an encyclopedic knowledge is not what it is about.

It’s not about me getting rich, famous or loved by everyone. That would be me working for my ego.

It’s about me overcoming my fears. It’s about me getting rid of my ego. Where there is fear, there is ego.  (see What is the Ego)

Fear may take various forms and may be hidden deep in our subsconscious mind. Some of these fears may be:

  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of death
  • Fear of being laughed at
  • Fear of being lonely
  • Fear of not being loved
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of not being in control

Shyness, greed, jealousy, lack of confidence, need to control, desire for recognition… All are the manifestation of underlying fears.

If we are indeed experiencing life on Earth to grow the quality of our souls, then overcoming our fears is what we are here for. Sounds crazy? Anyway, fear divides people whereas love brings people together. In that sense, it is not a bad idea to get rid of our fears, isn’t it?

Am I Crazy Or What?

I will give you a list of some people you might want to check out. Most of them have spent 30 to 40 years or even more doing research on controversial topics while in many occasions it would have been easier (and safer for their career) to simply stay in mainstream science or psychology. In that regards, I think they deserve that we spend some time reading their work while staying skeptical of course.

However, surprisingly, it is not uncommon to see word-class scientists who believe themselves to be the most skeptical people in the world but who have very little knowledge (when they have some) regarding the work done by scholars in fields like NDE, OBE or reincarnation.

Still, they have no difficulties discarding these things as nonsense. For people who claim they want to find the truth of our existence, answering questions like « where do we come from? » or « why are we here? » their lack of curiosity is striking to say the least.

I remember an interview of Lawrence Krauss where he was asked about reincarnation. He said it was nonsense: It’s just as likely that reincarnation exists to me as there is the likelihood there’s a teapot orbiting Jupiter. Now I can’t prove there isn’t.”

It is not because we believe reincarnation to be highly unlikely to exist that we should refuse to look at evidence. Lawrence Krauss argues that there is no evidence for reincarnation. However, Ian Stevenson and more recently Jim Tucker, both researchers from the University of Virginia, have done research on reincarnation using a rigorous scientific method. The result of their research lead them to conclude that, in the cases they study, reincarnation was the only explanation they could possibly think of.

The least that I would expect from a top-notch scientist like Lawrence Krauss, especially since he claims to be extremely skeptical, is to investigate and find out whether there was some flaws in their method, and if there is, to point it out. Saying that there is no evidence without even looking at the evidence is not what I call skepticism. At least he should admit his ignorance on the subject. Some evidence for reincarnation may also be inferred from NDE, OBE, past life regression or even spiritual enlightenment. Discrediting researchers in these areas just because it doesn’t fit one’s model of reality is not a very wise thing to do.

I don’t know if reincarnation is real, but if it were, would it be that much crazier than the Earth being round or the double slit experiment in quantum physics? Lawrence Krauss would, without a doubt, have criticized quantum physics for being total nonsense, had he been living in the 1920s.

In fact, even today, quantum physics is going against most scientists’ models of reality. Reality might not be as objective as we would like it to be. Richard Feynman, who received the Nobel Prize in physics and was probably the best expert in quantum physics said himself: “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”

Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see big paradigm shifts in the 21st century as we deepen our understanding regarding quantum mechanics or consciousness. (if you don’t know about the double slit experiments, check Dr Quantum’s short video on Youtube. It is one of the most fascinating experiment ever!). The laws of physics have surprised us many times in the past and will likely keep surprising us in the future too.

Interestingly, two or three years ago, I would probably have agreed with Lawrence Krauss’ conclusions. I believed that spiritual or religious people where simply afraid of death and needed a God to give them meaning and reassurance in life. That’s probably why I never bothered digging into “nonsense” subjects like reincarnation or OBE.

However, now, I believe that there is lot more going on, though I don’t know what exactly. I just can’t deny all the work that has been done on NDE, OBE and past life regression; I can’t deny the experience reported by enlightened beings.

Since I consider myself as very skeptical too, I can’t help to ask myself « Are people way smarter than I am, like Lawrence Krauss or Richard Dawkins, missing something, or is it me who is totally deluded? ». Who is really being deluded here? Sometimes it becomes an obsession.

Then, I remind myself that the present moment is the only thing that I have, and I stop obsessing myself over all these metaphysical questions for a while.

Just take a deep breath Thibaut. Relax! Yeah that’s good.

Time now to introduce you some experts in the previously mentioned areas and let you form your own opinion.

1. Out-Of Body Experience

Robert Monroe

Always know and remember that you are more than your physical body. – Robert Monroe

Robert Monroe is a pioneer in the OBE field and the founder of the Monroe institute. When he had his first OBE experience he thought he was going nuts. He consulted with psychologists, psychiatrists, and a parapsychologist but they all said he was perfectly sane. He went on researching about OBEs through direct experience until he came to the conclusions that his experiences were real.

Suggested reading: Journeys out of body (I haven’t yet read that book)

William Buhlman

Recognizing that we are more than physical beings opens entirely new levels of personal development. I strongly believe that self-initiated and controlled out-of-body experiences are the cutting edge of accelerated personal development. – William Buhlman

William Buhlman is also a leading expert, with around 40 years of out-of-body exploration. He is a certified hypnotherapist and gives lectures and workshop at the Monroe Institute.

Suggested reading: Adventures Beyond the Body

2. NDE/SDE

Raymond Moody

I have absolutely no fear of death. From my near-death research and my personal experiences, death is, in my judgment, simply a transition into another kind of reality. – Raymond Moody

Ramyond Moody is a philosopher, psychologist and physician. He is the one who coined the term near-death experience.

One of the common critic regarding NDEs is that they are simply hallucinations due potentially to the release of chemicals in the brain (like a built-in mechanism to cope with one own’s death). It could be the case, but what about shared-death experience?

Shared-death experiences (SDEs) are similar to NDEs but happened to people who are at the bedside of a dying person. Still, they could also be hallucinations. Joe Nickell, an investigator into the paranormal, says that “if you’re looking for something hard enough you’ll find it”. It could be hallucinations that a person creates to better cope with a loved one’s death. However, it doesn’t really explain why SDEs also happen to nurses and doctors. What the heck are really NDEs?

Suggested reading: Glimpses of Eternity

Eben Alexander

The unconditional love and acceptance that I experienced on my journey is the single most important discovery I have ever made, or will ever make, and as hard as I know it’s going to be to unpack the other lessons I learned while there, I also know in my heart that sharing this very basic message – one so simple that most children readily accept it – is the most important task I have. – Eben Alexander

The interested thing with Eben Alexander, is that he is a neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience. He knows how the brain works! In his book, he firmly refutes the idea that NDEs could be just hallucinations. He explains how his brain’s functions (he fell into a coma) would have made it impossible for him to have hallucinations.

Suggested reading: Proof of Heaven

3. Past Life Regression/LBL Hypnosis

Past life regression is an interesting topic. By regressing patients in their past lives, past-life therapists have been able to cure them from chronic pain, phobias and other ailments as Michael Newton and Brian Weiss point out in the following videos.

Michael Newton

Souls don’t represent all that is pure and good about a body or they wouldn’t be incarnating for personal development. Souls come to Earth to work on their own shortcomings. – Michael Newton

He is the founder of the Newton Institute that trains life between lives hypnotherapists.

In the video below he explains how he got into Past life therapy. Very interesting!

 

Suggested reading: Destiny of Souls

Brian Weiss

You are not here by accident or by some coincidence of nature. You are a spiritual being learning lessons of love in this earth school. – Brian Weiss

Brian Weiss went on from being a past-life skeptic to becoming a past-life expert. In the video below he explains why.

 

Suggested reading: Many lives, many masters (I haven’t yet read that book)

4. Spiritual Enlightenment

If you are not familiar with spiritual enlightenment I highly encourage you to read my series of articles on this topic here or to look at my enlightenment playlist.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense ‘I am’ and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense ‘I am’. It may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked! – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was an Indian Guru. His book, I Am That, brought him wordlwide recognition.

Suggested reading: I Am That

Eckhart Tolle

People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind. – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle was depressed, very unhappy and suicidal for many years. Then one day, at the age of 29, he had a spontaneous spiritual awakening without doing anything in particular. A complete separation between his body-mind, and his being occurred and everything became suddenly so peaceful. At the time, he didn’t know what happened to him and it is only later that he learned about Enlightenment.

Suggested reading: The Power of Now

Anthony de Mello

Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. – Anthony De Mello, Awareness

Anthony De Mello was the director of the Sadhana Insitute of Pastoral Counseling in Poona, India, he was widely known in English- and Spanish-speaking countries for his retreats, workshops, seminars on prayer, and therapy courses. In his book, “awareness”, he urges us to wake up.

See “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello – Time to Wake Up!

Suggested reading: Awareness

Mooji

Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not. – Mooji

Mooji is a spiritual teach from Jamaica. He was the student of the Indian Guru Papaji. All his satsangs are available on Youtube and on his website.

What about you? What is your take on reincarnation, NDE/SDE or spiritual enlightenment? Do you think it may be true or do you think it’s nonsense? Leave me a comment below and share your thoughts with me 😉

The future will tell us who was right.

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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

What Is The Meaning Of Life? – Which Of These 3 Views Do You Agree With?

What is the meaning of life?

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. – Albert Einstein

Why are we here? What is our purpose? This is probably the most important question that human beings have been trying to answer for centuries now.

Do we actually have a purpose or do we create our own purpose in life? The answer largely depends on our current vision of the world and our beliefs.

In this article, I would like to look at 3 distinct worldviews and their implications in term of the meaning they give to life. These worldviews are:

  • Modern science (we are biological machines)
  • Nondualism (we are pure consciousness)
  • Reincarnation (we are souls that incarnate on earth to grow)

You might argue that modern science is not a view of the world but simply the reality and that nondualism and reincarnation is nonsense. After all modern science is strictly based on facts, isn’t it? It’s not exactly true; modern science is also operating under some assumptions and certain scientists are questioning these assumptions.

What Modern Science Tells Us

There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it. – Richard Dawkins

In modern science, the general assumption is that the universe is made primarily of matter. From that perspective, every object, people and living beings are perceived to be distinct entities. Over time, through an evolutionary process, human beings have separated themselves from other living beings through their ability to think. From that point of view, like any other living beings, we obviously don’t have any purpose at all, apart from our biological need to survive as a species. It is not very surprising then that we kill each other our destroy our environment. There is no purpose in life anyway. If I can just have 2 children to satisfy my ego and give me the illusion of immortality, f*** the rest. After all, it’s the survival of the fittest, isn’t it? Well, within a same species, to survive cooperation is generally a better idea than war!

From the point of view of scientific materialism – our modern science – consciousness is something that exists inside our brain. However, is it really the case? What about all these spiritual teachers that have been telling us for hundreds or thousands of years that everything is consciousness? What about people who have out of body experiences or near-death experiences? Are they all completely deluded? Not necessarily but for mainstream scientists they must be or their model of reality won’t work anymore.

The biologist, Rupert Sheldrake, in his controversial TED talk “The Science Delusion” argues that modern science is based on assumptions and dogmas that are presented as the absolute truth while they are not. Here are the 10 dogmas he identified:

  1. The universal is mechanical
  2. Matter is unconscious
  3. The laws and constants of nature are fixed
  4. The total amount of matters and energies is always the same
  5. Nature is purposeless
  6. Biological heredity is material
  7. Memories are stored inside your brain
  8. Your mind is inside your head
  9. Psychic phenomena like telepathy are impossible
  10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works

Many of these “dogmas” may seem like they are not dogmas but simply facts. But are they?

Sheldrake’s TED talk has been removed from TED official website and Youtube channel because it was considered to be pseudo-science, and is only available on ted’s blog (http://blog.ted.com/the-debate-about-rupert-sheldrakes-talk/). Fortunately, it was reposted on Youtube via other channels. I highly encourage you to watch his TED talk and form your own opinion. Is it pseudo-science?

He also gave a great talk at  GoogleTech

Nondualism – What’s That?

The body and the mind are only symptoms of ignorance, of misapprehension. Behave as if you are pure awareness, bodiless and mindless, spaceless and timeless, beyond “where” and “when” and “how”. Dwell on it, think of it, learn to accept its reality. – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

From a nondualistic perspective, everything is interconnected and there is no real separation. There is no subject or object, only reality. Non-dual teachers include people like Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Maharshi, or more recently Eckhart Tolle. According to them and on behalf of their own experience – you are free to believe them or not, or better, to emulate them – they teach that separation is created by the mind, which falsely identify itself with the body from an early age on. However, what we really are is in fact pure awareness.

While modern scientific materialism is based on the belief that consciousness can only exists in our brain, nondualism sees consciousness as the only reality in which mind and matter manifest themselves. Consciousness was first.

From a nondualistic perspective, the purpose of life is to see through the illusion of the ego and to realize that we are neither our body nor our mind. Once we reach spiritual enlightenment, this question of purpose doesn’t come to mind anymore and simply becomes irrelevant. We know what we are and can enjoy life at least! No more sense of being not good enough or incomplete.

Soul’s Development And Reincarnation

Souls come to Earth to work on their own shortcomings. – Michael Newton

You might have heard of NDE (Near Death Experience), OBE (Out of Body Experience), life between lives hypnosis or past life regression. All these experiences tend to indicate that we are souls with a body and not a body with a soul (or with no soul). If it is true, the question we must ask ourselves is then “why are we incarnate in a body? What for?”

Indeed, the idea of (re)incarnation implies that we must have a purpose! It is generally thought that we are on earth to learn and to grow. It seems like we are doing personal development over multiple lives. (See Do You Believe in Reincarnation?)

If that is the case, what is that growth about?

That growth has nothing to do with our intellect. It seems that we are here to grow our level of consciousness by destroying our fears and becoming love. We don’t become more loving and caring by using our intellect. If it were the case, all smart people would be wise people; and we know that it is absolutely not the case! Love comes from more awareness not from a higher IQ. By going through many lives, we can progressively get rid of our fears and move toward a higher level of consciousness. As a logical conclusion, making money, becoming famous or gaining power is irrelevant unless it is the consequence of us getting rid of our fears and improving the quality of our consciousness.

Let’s assume that reincarnation does exist, how come we don’t remember our past lives then? The best answer I came across is “because it won’t help us grow”. Imagine, if you had to remember all your past lives (there could be hundreds or even thousands of them), how could you make any sense out of that flow of information? Look at how much time we already spend dwelling on the past. Look at how we become more and more dogmatic as we grow older. Many people in their 40s or even younger are already completely stuck with their vision of the world. They refuse to change their beliefs no matter what and stopped growing and learning. From that perspective, you understand now that it won’t be beneficial for us to keep past lives memories with us in our current life. However, obviously, the spiritual growth that we gained in our previous life remains.

As far-fetched as it may seem, reincarnation is not just pure fantasy. It has been the object of serious researches from Ian Stevenson, who was professor of psychiatry at University of Virginia School of Medicine. He studied cases where young children seemed to remember their previous life. In certain cases, children were able to remember details that only reincarnation could explain. Past life regression and life between lives hypnosis also seem to indicate that reincarnation could be real.

What To Conclude

Who are we? What is the meaning of life? Unfortunately we can’t tell for sure. We must find our own truth.

Are OBE and NDE just hallucinations? Are people who talk about their past lives while under hypnosis making things up? Are enlightened being deluded? You can either discard all these phenomena as nonsense while calling yourself a skeptic or you can start digging seriously.

When both supposedly smart people with PhDs firmly believe in totally opposite things, it might be very hard to find which one is telling the truth. And it’s happening all the time. So frustrating!

Eventually, the best way to know whether these things are real is through direct experience. Is OBE real? Practice until you manage to get out of your body and make your own mind. Do it hundred of times until you can prove to yourself whether it is real or not. Then you will know. Let’s assume you find out it is real. Awesome! Now, everybody is going to listen to you and be amazed by your discovery right? Very unlikely. Most people don’t change their beliefs like that.

Is spiritual enlightenment real? Do your meditation and your self-enquiry and find it out. Watch spiritual teachers’ videos online.

Does reincarnation exist? Try life between lives hypnosis and see it for yourself. Read Ian Stevenson or Michael Newton’s books with skepticism and draw your own conclusion.

I hope to experience all these things in the future and then hopefully I will know. It is so much work, why bother you might say? Maybe you’re right. Maybe it is just my ego that wants to know and feel good about it.

What I realized is that, whether we are biological machines, pure consciousness or souls incarnating on Earth, it doesn’t really matter.  In the end, it doesn’t change anything; the guideline to follow in my life will still remain the same:

  • Live in the present moment (the only thing that truly exist)
  • Get rid of fear (get out of my comfort zone and grow)
  • Become love (get rid of my ego)

What about you? What is your view of the world? What do you believe is your purpose in life?

Leave me a comment below to let me know 😉

To go further

Modern science

The Comfort Of Religion And The Purpose Of Life, Richard Dawkins (video)

 

Spiritual enlightenment

My series of articles on enlightenment

My Youtube playlist on enlightenment (I recommend you to watch them in order)

Mooji TV (Many videos from Sri Mooji)

Books on enlightenment (I recommend you to read them in this order):

Life between lives hypnosis

 

Suggested books:

Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Live, Michael Newton
Life Between Lives: Hypnotherapy for Spiritual Regression, Michael Newton (more like a manual for hypnotherapists)

 OBE (Out of body experience)

 

Suggested book:

Adventures Beyond the Body: How to Experience Out-of-Body Travel, William L. Buhlman

 NDE (Near death experience)

Suggested book:

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

 

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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

Nothing Has Ever Upset You!

Nothing has ever upset you

In this article I would like to talk about what I believe is THE most important concept that one can understand in life. It is very simple, self-evident, and at the same time incredibly empowering. Yet, it is largely overlooked.

Here is the principle: nothing in the world has the power to upset you. Nothing upset you, you always upset yourself on the occasion of something. Reality is never upsetting. The very concept of “being upset” is a creation of our mind, as any other concept.

You can try it yourself! Look for any situation in your life where you get upset and see if it is reality that has a problem or if it is you!

Why do we get upset?

Because we don’t see reality as it is!

We get upset because we have an idea of how the world should be. We would like the world to be the way we want. Why should it be? We mistake fiction for reality. We project ourselves in the future and fantasize. Then, when reality clashes with our expectations or delusions – and it will happen – of course we cannot help to get upset. However,  at no point was reality upsetting. We were simply deluding ourselves.

Similarly, we want to control our family, our friends or our colleagues so that they behave in a certain way that suits us. When they are acting in an unexpected way, we get upset. Why? Because of the gap between the image we have of them and their action. But again, we are mistaking our version of reality for reality. We are no seeing them as they are but through a certain image we created of them in our mind. People are much more than we believe they are. However, our mind reduces reality to concepts and people and things to images in order to comprehend and interprete the world.

In reality, we never really know people. We just make hypothesis out of our experience interacting with them and refine it over time to come up with a certain preconceived image that satisfy our mind’s desire to know. Someone you believe you know very well does something surprising or something that upset you and suddenly you think “It doesn’t look like him or her”. How do you know? The reality is: it doesn’t look like the image you have of him or her!

Sadly, the image that people have of us is often what prevents us from being truly ourselves. People around us want us to behave in a certain way that corresponds to the image they have of us. They generally don’t want us to be free or to be ourselves because then, they would have no control over us. By fear of being disapproved of or rejected, we end up playing along and act as people around us want us to act.

We want people to see us in a certain way. Why should they? We have a certain image of ourselves and we would like others to perceive us in a similar way. However, that is not possible. Our self-image is a pure construction of the mind. It is simply our own interpretation of our past memories.  We consciously or unconsciously selected certain thoughts from the past and created a story out of them; they became deep beliefs and eventually came to shape our identity. In fact, our current self-image is only one possible image amount an infinity of possibilities. Then, how could people see you as you see yourself!

In a similar way, other people have a certain self-image and their vision of the world is greatly biased too. As a result, they cannot help but project their own perception of the world (bias) on their preconceived image of you (bias).  No matter how you try to control your self-image, nobody will ever see you as you want him or her to.  The best thing to do is probably to be yourself and to let people see you as they want to.

“Nothing upset you” is not a cliché

The fact that nothing can upset us is not just a cliché to help you cheer up a little bit. It is something that should be meditated on again and again. This simple truth is, in fact, one of the most powerful compasses for your personal growth. Taken seriously, it will give you tremendous opportunities to grow.

For me, each negative feeling offers a great opportunity for growth because it reflects certain beliefs I have. If I get upset it means that I’m seeing a situation through a certain filter of reality.  What is this filter made of? Beliefs! Beliefs are always a distortion of reality. Reality simply is and doesn’t need any belief to exist. When you catch yourself getting upset about something, you can ask yourself the following questions: how am I distorting reality here? What is the belief that leads me to upset myself? By repeatedly doing this, you will become more and more self-aware. Your false beliefs will gradually fall away and you will get closer and closer to reality.

For example, can the following situations be said to be upsetting?

  • Does the rain is upsetting in itself or do I upset myself because of it?
  • Is someone’s criticism upsetting in itself or do I upset myself?
  • Is losing my job upsetting in itself?

All sufferings in the world come from people’s projection of their own “reality”. However, reality doesn’t give a damn about your projection. It simply is. The sooner you realize it the better. Nothing has ever upset you and nothing ever will.  The question is: are you really willing to embrace that reality? Are you willing to put it to the test relentlessly and see through your conditioning? It’s up to you 😉

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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

The 5 Commandments of Personal Development