Filed under: autism, disability, Scotland, success, Technology | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, autism, Autism Resource Centre, Autism symptoms, coloured lenses, Ian Jordan, visual problems
Well this is strange, but my world feels different. New glasses may, reasonably, be expected to cause me to see the world differently, but to feel differently? Interesting, and strange.
When I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, Anne Marie Gallagher of the Autism Resource Centre suggested I might want to visit an optician, Ian Jordan, in Ayr, who has had some success in treating the symptoms of autism with coloured lenses. This year, at last, after a long delay, I have finally got around to having him test my eyes and today I got my new glasses, happily at no greater cost than I would normally pay.
I must admit I am surprised at how quickly they have made a difference. I had expected them to help cut out excess light, I had not expected the other benefits. The first, and most obvious benefit, is that my new blue lenses reduce the brightness of the light I receive. One of the unforseen, but welcome benefits is that my lower back and sacroiliac pain fades while I am wearing them, it does mean that my glasses go on as soon as I wake. Another reason for putting my spectacles on when I awake is that when I am brushing my teeth I can comfortably brush the molars at the back of my mouth; in the past because of my strong gag reflex it has been uncomfortable to brush my teeth, but now it presents no difficulty.
I enjoy a sense of calm when I wear my blue lenses and it is my impression, admittedly I have not measured it, that both my stimming and involuntary movements are reduced. Another welcome benefit is that I can successfully see people’s faces as a whole rather than individual features commanding my attention so that their faces had the appearance of a collage. At one point I took my glasses off and remarked to my wife that I had not hitherto realised how hypersensitive I was, she replied, “Oh I had!” She also observes that I am calmer and less prone to obsession, which she explained by saying that, normally, if I am doing something I will go on and on, refusing to pause, exploding at interruptions, until I was finished, but now I am more relaxed. I still have my tinnitus, but it seems less intrusive. However when I take off my spectacles I am assaulted by a cacophony of stimuli, auditory and visual, calmed instantly when I replace them.
I don’t believe there is a cure for autism. Behavioral interventions can alleviate some of its effects, some of its comorbid conditions can be treated too. I do know that some of the symptoms I experience are now alleviated by my glasses, not cured, they return when my glasses are off, but I’m happy with that. In the past I have not wanted to wear my spectacles and have tended not to, now I find I don’t want to take them off.
Filed under: autism, disability, Gardening, NLP, Scotland, success | Tags: Daily Greatness Journal, Darren Eden, Lisa Nolan, My Future Listography
My second week using my Daily Greatness Journal could have been blighted by a bug which slowed me down somewhat. However looking back on the journal I can see how productive even a week smitten by a virus can be. That is one of the benefits of the journal it helps keep a realistic sense of proportion.
Going into my Circle of Sovereignty every day meant I approached even my illness positively and powerfully. Rather than endure the frustration of a thwarted schedule, I allowed the illness to teach me patience. I learned that if I have enough planned alternatives in my schedule I need not feel thwarted (I love that word, so expressive!), I merely select the best alternative. Darren Eden might describe it as the most appropriate bridge to move my focus from my beliefs and back to what I love.
One of the things I discovered this week thanks to Neelam is Lisa Nola’s “My Future Listography”. I learned a long time ago that just writing my goals gives them an energy that makes their accomplishment more likely. My Future Listography is a journal of lists of all the things I’d like to do, it is subtitled, “All I Hope To Do In Lists”; each alternate page has space for a list with headings like, “List modes of transport to take.”, List places you could see yourself living.”, or, “List things you hope to receive someday.” and each facing page a picture for inspiration. My Future Listography is not a goal planner, but a book for dreams and visions to create an unlimited space into which to live; it is, above all, fun.
One of my symbols in meditation was not an image, but a phrase, a voice told me to take, “The Sunny Side of The Street towards joy”. I only mention it because it felt so good, and to remind people that a symbol is not always an image, but may occur in any “Rep System”, in this case, auditory. I am definitely on the sunny side of the street, reviewing my gratitude daily reminds me that I have so many reasons to be joyful and so much for which to be grateful.
Reviewing my journal I realise how many lessons each day offers up. Perhaps my big lesson of this week is that, Intuition and feeling are as important as logic when it comes to setting my goals. So every day I begin in my Greatness Circle, my Circle of Sovereignty and I end my day in my Circle suffused with a sense of well being and accomplishment; the accomplishments may not be huge, but at least I am aware of them, and upon that of which I am aware I can build.
Filed under: NLP, success, Writing | Tags: anchoring, Daily Greatness Journal, Darren Eden, Joseph Campbell, journaling, nlp, personal development, Robert Dilts, Sean Patrick, the Hero's Journey, The Power of Sovereignty, Werner Erhard, Your Call To Greatness
The first week is over, so it’s time to look at a week of using my Greatness Journal, hand in hand with what I have learned from Darren Eden’s work.
One of the practises of the Greatness Journal is a daily morning meditation. In Darren’s courses we learn how to create our Circle of Greatness, our Sovereign Circle, or as I like to think of it, my Circle of Splendour. I now begin my morning meditation, and my day, by creating my circle. I come out of my meditation with a symbol to feed my intuitive understanding of my day’s focus, but I also come out into an intuitive and creative state which is a great place in which to do my morning journalling.
The journal has eight daily steps over two sessions, one in the morning the other at night. The first step is the morning meditation, after the meditation I put into my journal any insights which have presented themselves to me, however if I remember a dream on wakening, I enter that even before my meditation. After my meditation I am in the perfect state to set up my day and the journal has a space for that. The captions on each section change from day to day so that the practice does not become routine hence one day the creative section may begin, “Today I am going to…” on another, “Today is my opportunity to…” or perhaps, “Today I would love…” I find the different wording stimulating because it compels me to give each section some thought.
Every morning there is a gratitude section, and we should spend some time every day considering the many things we have to be grateful for, even when life appears not to be going well. A daily habit of gratitude has me start the day in a positive frame of mind even when I am anticipating events to which I am not looking forward. Going into those events in a positive frame of mind makes it much easier to call up my circle of sovereignty, and being in my circle tends to make any event better than anticipated, even enjoyable.
Everyday the journal asks me to write down my three “inspired actions” for the day. This is very much what Darren would call, “the obvious action” and it is similarly arrived at, largely intuitively. The key lies in the word “inspired”, these are not duties or obligations, they are not the things logic dictates, and they may be, these are the actions to which my passion calls me. In `Nicolai Tesla: Imagination and The Man Who Invented the 20th Century’ Sean Patrick says, ” as the preeminent mythologist Joseph Campbell said, deep down inside, we don’t seek the meaning of life, but the experience of being alive.” It is focusing on what we love that gives us the experience of aliveness. Inspiration comes from love and inspiration means, as I’m sure you know, to breathe in; without love there is no aliveness.
Another important section is the one in which I state my intentions for the day. In the Greatness Journal each intention begins with, “I Am” because a powerful intention is not a wish or hope, it does not occur as a thought; a powerful intention is integral to whom we are, it exists on what Robert Dilts calls the Identity Level. In the Est Training Werner Erhard taught us to begin our statements of intention with the phrase, “Iam that…” it is a powerful formula.
The journal has check boxes for having done daily meditation, exercise and having sought inspiration; these I call ‘nourishment boxes’. Exercise is important because our body is the instrument we use to experience life. The ‘Inspiration’ check box is all about nourishing our mind and imagination by actively enjoying the arts or by reading.
In the evening the journal has review questions. We look back at the accomplishments of the day and the lessons learnt. There is an opportunity to consider behaviours l want to upgrade and finally the day ends with a last look at the things I have done well so that as I go to sleep I program my dreams with positivity.
At the end of each week the Greatness Journal has a Weekly Check-in and a Planner for the succeeding week. The check-in contains check boxes to note that I have reviewed my Greatness Blueprint and Purpose Statement, for updating the 90 Day Planner and for planning the next week. In the review there is a space to note projects completed that week; sometimes we forget just how much we have done and it is good to remind ourselves, being aware of what we have done provides impetus and inspiration to propel us into the new week.
The next space looks at our continuing greatness; it asks, what is going well and why? This is an opportunity to learn, we are engaged in a continuing process and our awareness of it. No worthwhile activity comes without challenges and the next section encourages us to look at the things we have found challenging and draw from them an opportunity.The lessons we learn from overcoming difficulty are the source of our growth. We next consider a key action for the next week that will bring about the biggest results in our life.
The next four sections look at my attitude. What am I happy about? Is a question that makes me look at what is good in my life; if we look there is always something about which to be happy.The next question has me evaluate my use of time so that I can use it more productively. The journal has me assess my attitude and consider the improvements I can make. The last written section looks at the fears that hold me back; however it is obvious to me that the fears that hold me back are the same as Darren Eden’s ‘core beliefs’.
Finally on the review page is what I suspect is going to be one of my favourite sections,habit changing which substitutes an unwanted habit with a new one supported by new actions and an affirmation. The exercise ends with a weekly planner.
So what am I getting from this? l am finding it inspiringand useful to be able to observe the progress of my projects and plans. Needless to say, as a person with Asperger’s, I find structuring my days both empowering and comforting. I like the idea of structured change, in fact it’s the only change I can really handle. The greatness journal and the processes learned from Darren Eden are certainly making life more enjoyable and interesting. Darren Eden is running ‘ Your Call To Greatness’ again next month, March 15th and 16th in London http://www.academyofgreatness.co.uk/Your_Call_To_Greatness.html
l think it’s a great place from which to begin an adventure.
Filed under: Justice, success, Writing | Tags: Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, christian conditionalism, hell, Jesus of Nazareth, original sin, reincarnation, restoration, salvation, St Gregory of Nyssa, St. Isaac of Syria
So about Hell? It’s occurs to me that most people do not have any problem with Hell, the most religions believe in some form of continued existence after this life, it is only Christians and Muslims, and then not all Christians, who believe in eternal punishment. The name Hell drives from the Old English for a grave as a place of covering up or concealment.
Hell as a place of punishment came quite late to Judaism . Originally as in many other religions the dead were believed to go to be with their ancestors. As religions evolved so did beliefs about life after death. Because YHWY was originally a sky god for Jews death meant separation from him because the dead went beneath the ground to Sheol. However Sheol was not originally a place of punishment , but merely of separation from the god of the living. In time Sheol was seen as a place to which one went temporarily pending resurrection; thus the Psalmist says , ” you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay . You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” and in Job we read,” I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the Earth and after my skin has been destroyed yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I and not another. Also in Isaiah 26 we find the prophet saying, ” but your dead will live; their bodies will rise.”
Atheists have no fear of hell because they do not believe in it, just as they do not believe in God. Christian Conditionalism teaches that eternal life is predicated upon belief in God, so anyone who does not believe in God will be annihilated at death; therefore the atheist is correct not to fear hell, whether or not God exists, because for him hell will not. Only those who believe in God can go to hell.
In Hinduism and some eastern religions we find, instead of the belief in hell, a belief in reincarnation. Again in these religions there tends to be a place of temporary rest after death . Reincarnation underpinned by the doctrine of Karma; which briefly postulates that a person is responsible for their own actions and every action has a consequence, that rebirth enables them to restore any imbalance in the universe which their previous actions may have caused. In Hinduism it is believed that each individual has a path which is right for them to follow, each individual has their own duty. If a person follows the correct path they will eventually be free of the cycle of birth and death . In Hinduism the individual is entirely responsible for their own lives and their own salvation.
Things are in some ways more complicated in Christianity. For many centuries Christians have been told that the only way to find salvation is through the church, but one must ask, “which church?”. Christianity is divided into many groups whose teachings differ one from another . What does appear to be common to all these groups is a teaching that salvation is exclusive to them. However it should be noted that Cardinal Murphy O’Connor in Two thousand and five expressed the hope that Protestants and nonbelievers are also destined for heaven, which, at the very least supports my assertion that the doctrines of religion evolve. St. John wrote, ” God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” There is nothing in that which suggests that one must be bound by the teachings of any particular group.
One of the problems of Christianity is the doctrine of Original Sin, which holds that because Adam sinned all humanity is condemned to hell unless God forgives them. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the means by which we are saved. There are several objections to this, quite apart from the one that the creation story is scientifically inaccurate. We need to be responsible for our own lives and our own choices; Original Sin takes from us our freedom , our free will , it replaces love with fear and makes it impossible for people to respond to God to from love. Sin is not an hereditary disease like syphilis that you get from your parents, but a free choice ; indeed sin may be said to be a matter of definition, what one person or one belief system considers sinful may be perfectly acceptable to another. Jesus over Nazareth acknowledge teach the doctrine of original sin , it is not until some five centuries after the death of Jesus event that a church council confirmed the doctrine as orthodox .
Personally I find questionable that a committee of interested parties can determine the will of God ; surely it is blasphemy for a human being to pretend to know what God is thinking or to be able to measure the power of God? If a ballot conducted by humans can determine the will of God it opens up that will to deal making and political interference. The Christian Church did not declare the belief in reincarnation heterodox until the Third Century. The confirmation of the doctrine of Original Sin is, when looked at, moor about factional squabbling than divine inspiration. The establishments of all religions have a vested material interest in controlling the beliefs of the people and this must be considered before accepting any form of religious rule.
The belief in eternal punishment denies that the nature of God is love. Love is given freely and requires an unconditional response, love shown to avoid punishment is not love, but merely a response driven by fear. Thus anyone who obeys the laws of any religion to avoid punishment cannot be said to love God; whoever drafts laws which impose conditions on God’s freedom to relate, to love, are committing the sin of placing barriers between a person and God. As Jesus said, “Wrote to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter will are trying to.” He goes on to heap condemnation upon condemnation on those who come between people and God, but he ends, not with eternal condemnation, rather with a promise, `I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ “
God is love and throughout history in every religion and every land there have been many who have approached him with the logic of love, the bhaktas of India, the Sufis of Islam and the mystical saints of Europe. It is a logic that knows that, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” It is a logic that says God is not bound by the laws made by men, even the leaders of religions and that love is greater than the law. It is this logic that gives rise to the belief in the eventual restoration of all things to the original state, Saint Gregory of Nyssa expressed it thus, “The annihilation of evil, the restitution of all things, and the final restoration of all things, and the final restoration of evil men and evil spirits to the blessedness of union with God, so that he may be `all in all´ embracing all things endowed with sense and reason.” This does not mean that laws should be blithely cast aside, but they must be informed by love which is why Jesus summarised all the teaching of The Law and The Prophets, that is to say all of scripture into two rules, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind” the second is “Love your neighbour as yourself”. I know that some will argue that Jesus, in the parable of The Sheep and the Goats did say that those who did not show charity to others in need would go to eternal punishment; however he makes it clear that the rule is simply to love. Rather than fret about Hell it is simpler merely to love others and remember the words of Saint Isaac of Syria, “A handful of sand thrown in the sea, is what sinning is when compared to God’s providence and mercy. Just like an abundant source of water is not impressed by a handful of dust, so is the Creator’s mercy not defeated by the sins of his creations”.
Filed under: NLP, success, Travel | Tags: Darren Eden, Lent, nlp, Reiki, St Francis of Assisi, Werner Erhard
The story is told of how, when St Francis found himself near Lake Trasimene at the the start of Lent he chose to spend the fast alone on one of the lake’s the islands, Maggiore. He was rowed across to the island on Ash Wednesday, taking with him only two loaves of bread. On Holy Thursday when his host came to take him off the island he discovered Father Francis had eaten only half a loaf. According to Brother Ugolino, the writer or editor of the Fioretti, the saint only ate the half loaf so that the glory of the Lenten Fast should be reserved to Jesus alone.
I could not help but compare the humility of Father Francis with the leaders of today’s “new age spirituality” and personal development movements. I have been involved with things like Reiki and NLP for many years and find it quite sad how desperately people strive for self aggrandisement. It is not enough to use the teachings and discoveries of those who have gone before, but it is essential to rebrand and copyright them, then cash in on them. I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with earning a living, a good living even, but give credit where credit is due. Many years ago I did the est training, Werner Erhard created it from many sources, but those sources were acknowledged as anyone who read “Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, The Foundation of est ” by WW Bartley, III will remember. However Werner’s course was an original creation bringing together his sources in a new and powerful way, sadly many of those who have used Werner’s work have not seen fit to acknowledge him, equally many have. I was chatting to Darren Eden at the weekend about some of my teachers and said he was, in my opinion, on the same level; he took it as a compliment and said, “it’s enough to be compared to Werner Erhard!” Of course Darren is secure enough in himself to acknowledge his sources, neither is monetary gain his priority. On the other hand there are many who must be seen not as a conveyor of truth, but as a chosen prophet their sources concealed, their debts unacknowledged, they advertise themselves and package enlightenment or sanctity as a commercial product. Along with the DVD of their course, or whatever, you can buy your own Angel set with your birthstone, perhaps a set of cards to aid your search for truth. Still none of this is new, as long as people have been seeking enlightenment or God, there have been people happy to seize upon the business opportunity the gullible present.
I am reminded once more of the Fioretti which tells of how much Francis disliked anyone to call him “Master” because of that same humility that had him eat the half loaf on his Lenten Fast. He was very present to St Matthew’s Gospel which said to him, “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant and whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”. Today the village that grew on Maggiore after St. Francis’ visit is still there, the Friars Minor and the other Franciscan orders still work in the world although, around them, the Church has contracted and come under criticism. It seems to me that Francis knew what he was doing and some of our modern self appointed “spiritual teachers” may have got things backwards.
Filed under: autism, disability, Justice, NLP, Parenting, Politics, Saivism, Scotland, success, Writing | Tags: Aneurin Bevan, death, Harold Wilson, immortality, Lao Tzu, legacy, Margaret Thatcher, memorials, memory, Tony Blair
Some further thoughts on death and people’s relationship with it
What is all this concern that people have about leaving a legacy? I am not talking about leaving some cash for those we leave behind, but this desperate need some people seem to have to be remembered after they have gone. It seems to be a particular concern of politicians and other people in public life. I suspect it is motivated primarily from guilt and from feelings of inadequacy. When we look at the legacy of politicians very few of them leave anything of which to be proud. There are some who left a worthwhile legacy; Aneurin Bevan left us with a national health service and Harold Wilson , the Open University. On the other hand Margaret Thatcher left the legacy of a divided Britain; divided between rich and poor, North and South, trades unions and employers. She left the British people with an abiding distrust of and contempt for politicians, a political class more interested in feathering their own nests than on serving their constituents. And she drove a wedge between the peoples of England and Scotland that will never be removed. Although Tony Blair has not yet died, I think we all know that his legacy will be equally contemptible. He will be remembered for waging war on women and children without the sanction of the United Nations , and condemning hundreds of the children of the people of his country to die overseas , while keeping his own children safe at home.
I am pleased to know that some industrialists do leave a positive legacy obviously we have Andrew Carnegie but also more recently Warren Buffet and also the Bill Gates Foundation. I know that some say that the Bill Gates Foundation’s work in India is geared more to opening new markets then to helping people, but I think this is unfair, besides whatever his motivation he is doing good. Another group that seems to be desperate to be remembered are the artists, when I say,”artists” I refer to the creative professions as a whole. However whether it be politicians, soldiers, actors writers, industrialists or musicians, people seem to be gripped with a terrible fear of being forgotten. There is little point in telling them they cannot take anything with them when they go and most go only when they have no other option.
When people say they need to “leave a legacy” , I am inclined to respond with the NLP Meta Model challenge , ” Who says you need to leave a legacy?” There have been some spiritual giants who have left behind them philosophies and religious orders, but there have been very many more content to pass through the world almost unnoticed and to leave nothing behind. Werner Erhard says, “All there is to do today is what you get to do today.” The same may be said of life; a successful life is not necessarily one that leaves much behind, but rather one that is lived well and lived completely. Of what value is a legacy that leaves behind obligations, it is nothing more than a burden however well intentioned? The greatest gift anyone can have is the freedom to live their own life unconstrained by debt and obligation and to be allowed to find their own way and walk their own path. Lao Tzu was correct wham he said that when a great leader finishes his work the people say, ” We did it ourselves”.
The wise do not seek to be remembered for that is an attachment, it is better to be unthanked and free than feted and bound by the needs of others, worse still by one’s own need. Better to leave no footsteps for others to follow than walk looking over one’s shoulder rather than at your way ahead; let the wind erase your footprints while you walk towards your own light.