TS 18 – Celebrate Your Uniqueness

Monday 14 November, 2016

Although I didn’t know it at the time, this turned out to be the last of these seminars. I thought I might do a few more, but the way this one ended was the perfect way to round off a series of talks, blogs, and videos which cover so much of what personal development work is all about. The topic itself is also a suitable way to finish: see yourself clearly, acknowledge your beauty and power, and celebrate your uniqueness; whilst all the time knowing that, paradoxically, you are also one with everyone and everything else in existence.

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TS 17 – Listen To Yourself

Friday 4 November, 2016

The fact that this was one of the best seminars so far was due partly to the variety of subjects we covered: the importance of listening (to the self and others), of writing, and of focusing on our breathing, as well as the role which suffering plays in our happiness. The main reason, however, was the clear demonstration by one participant of the entire point of the seminar. Namely, that we easily dismiss things if they do not fit into our narrow band of relevance, and that when we listen more closely we make life easier for ourselves. (That demonstration appears at 26:34 in the video below.)

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TS 16 – What Happens When We Let Go?

Thursday 27 October, 2016

The last word came from the audience. Having spent much of the seminar looking at why it is so difficult for us to let go – of words, thoughts, feelings, relationships, habits, etc. – we turned our attention to the advantages of releasing ourselves from whatever does not serve us: relief, freedom, space for new things, and the achievement itself of letting go. It was then that the question came: Is some kind of healing possible? Yes. Absolutely. We can heal ourselves by releasing whatever we’ve been carrying; especially when there was never any need to carry it in the first place.

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The material for the first part of this seminar was taken from the blog post, ‘Discovering The True Self’. That piece talks about the quiet space inside us from where we can observe the surface-level of our worldly existence. It is a place of awareness which allows us to see more clearly that veneer of being where we spend most of our time, distracted by the shiny stuff of life, the bright lights, and the thoughts and emotions which accompany us there.

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TS 14 – The Development Process

Monday 18 July, 2016

Personal development is a process, and the latest seminar in this series was a chance to highlight this by summarising the previous sessions (using the example of our emotions to emphasise each stage). Knowing that there is an underlying process makes it easier for us to evaluate where we are, what we need to do, and what the likely outcome will be. It also opens the door to being able to monitor and chart our progress, which is a more powerful motivator than we could possibly imagine. In addition, recording our progress provide us with evidence of our success; evidence which becomes unexpectedly valuable during those times when the mind tries to convince us otherwise.

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TS 13 – Feedback Everywhere

Thursday 7 July, 2016

What if the entire world were your very own feedback mechanism? What if every thought and feeling you have, gave you information about where you are right now. What if every conversation, every person in your life, and every experience you have, told you something about who you are and where you’re heading. Would you listen?

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As one participant highlighted during the seminar: when we surrender, there is no need to fight anymore. All too often surrender is seen as a weakness, but if we are able to see the empowerment which lies at its heart, then we feel encouraged to practise it more and more. And when we surrender our attachment to who we think we are, or how we think life works, or what we think we deserve, or what we think others expect of us, then we liberate ourselves: we become free to do whatever makes us happy, to give everything we have to whatever is in front of us and remain calm and balanced because the results – whatever they are – do not affect us.

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TS 11 – Better Strategies

Friday 24 June, 2016

We begin to strategise much earlier than we think, and if the strategies we choose work – no matter how ineffectively – then we repeat them because it’s easy to do so, and because there is a certain level of risk associated with changing them. In this way our strategies establish themselves so quickly that they soon take on an automatic nature, becoming indistinguishable from our true selves. It therefore takes some effort and commitment to become fully conscious of them; and then more of the same to change them for better ones.

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TS 10 – Calibrate The Machine

Thursday 16 June, 2016

Whereas last week we focused on those aspects of ourselves which are also visible to other people, this week’s seminar looked at the more subtle aspects of our existence  – those signals which only we can be aware of because they come from within. They are the thoughts, feelings and intuitive sensations which are often so subtle that we don’t even notice them; or if we do, we ignore them, or we explain them away as being ridiculous or irrelevant. Life gets easier, however, when we listen to those subtleties.

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TS 9 – Awareness Is The Key

Thursday 9 June, 2016

The message of this seminar – over and over again – was that all you have to do for the transformation to begin, is to see your behaviour clearly. See who you are, and you will notice a momentum of change which has its roots in the observation itself. It is a magical, powerful part of the whole process; one which makes everything so much simpler. It allows us to relax more easily and to trust more readily that we will get where we want to go. And it leaves us with a definite sense that so much can be achieved just by observing our behaviour.

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TS 8 – Relaxation & Balance

Thursday 2 June, 2016

There is a rhythm to life. There are always ups and downs – that’s how it is at every level of existence. One of the keys to being able to relax and lead a balanced life is to accept that life is this way. Surrender to the process. Surrendering is not the same as giving up. It just means that we don’t waste time and energy resisting. That alone helps us to relax. The comment below from Karaj summarises this nicely. It comes from the post, Relax, Enjoy Yourself:

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TS 7 – Don’t Get Cocky

Friday 27 May, 2016

Whilst there are clear benefits of a certain level of self-confidence because it empowers us to take on things without fear of failure, or because it allows us to push ourselves further than we would otherwise go, we should avoid getting cocky (over-confident). Cockiness leads to a loss of focus and we relax too much, thinking we’ve made it. Alternatively, we push ourselves too much, thinking we can do it all. When I was 18 I was playing football and having the game of my life. I felt like I could do anything. Then, 20 minutes before the end, I tried to do too much, tore my cruciate ligament and never played again. That experience, and the constant reminders I received during my training, all help me to remain grounded and not get cocky.

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TS 6 – The Foundations Of Success

Thursday 19 May, 2016

This is an important concept because once you get it, it’s easier to relax: It’s the foundations themselves which are the foundations of success; and any structures you build on top simply become part of the foundations for whatever you do next. We make life difficult for ourselves by focusing too much on the goal and trying to predict how and whether it will all work out, each time giving life to our expectations. Instead, we would be better served by focusing on the foundations and appreciating each step we take, no matter how small.

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The seminar was about the power of thought and how, by creating clarity for ourselves in everything we do, we can improve our lives in a very simple way. It was the best seminar so far. It was also the one with the lowest attendance, which not only highlighted one of the main points of the session – that thoughts influence feelings – it also offered an example of an important aspect of personal development: non-attachment. But more of that later. Here is a brief summary of the seminar’s contents, with links to the relevant blog entries. (The corresponding page numbers of the book are in brackets.)

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