Self-Improvement and Interesting Knowledge

The world is changing very rapidly. We are being bombarded by new bits of information everyday, at a rate that would have driven our ancestors insane. TIME has just made YOU, that’s you and me and everybody else, person of the year. YouTube has created a universe that we might not have pondered just a few short years ago, and who knows what is on the horizon in the years to come.

Information, information everywhere! Introspection, self absorption, personal development, self motivation, personal growth, and internal development. The World Wide Web has opened our eyes to things that would make a demon’s toes curl. You can watch Saddam being murdered or you can watch the miracle of a new birth. You could buy a book on anything that you might wish to know about…That’s anything! What a miracle, or are we doomed because we live in such interesting times?

As any decent Taoist would tell you, all things are made of positive and negative furies. There is a positive and negative to all of this information overload; the positive is that we live in a time where many of the mysteries of our universe are being revealed to us, a time when we have more potential then we have ever had before. The negative is that we have too much information, and a big majority of it is BS, or worse yet, partially BS.

This Site will help you with what we see as some of the most negative aspects of our information age. Firstly it is a central bank of varied and helpful information. Here you will find information on all aspects of self development, information on self gratification, and information that will allow you to appreciate the vastness and the mystery of the world at large.

Secondly it is a BS free Zone. Now, all things are relative and what might be truth to a Christian might be BS to an atheist. But there is a big difference between Belief System and BullShit, I hope that this Site will also help you see the difference in that.

Look, enjoy, mark as favorite. It will take time to go through all of the information contained here. Just think of this site as a refuge and a coach

In an earlier article I introduced you to a method that would show you How to Beat Insomnia. This article introduces you to the method of keeping completely still in order to willfully put yourself to sleep.

This article will focus on the same technique but the outcome this time will be slightly different. I am going to teach you a very simple method that you can use to attain deep meditative levels. Essentially it is a method that you can use to get almost asleep and in this way be able to attain a greater understanding of your psyche and your subjective reality.

This meditative technique is incredibly simple and if it is done with diligence, it can open up incredible new vistas for you. These vistas that I speak of are inner ones; I hope that through this method you will begin to realize the depth of your inner reality, a reality that exists all the time even while you are wide awake.

This is such a simple way of meditating that there is no reason why you can’t put it into practice right now. It will require only one thing : Will Power. But even this is the simplest of things. It is so simple and so natural as a matter of fact that that you could actually say that it’s not really doing anything at all.

To begin, I want you to take a very comfortable sitting position. You must be seated to do this meditation because there is a natural tendency to want to fall asleep and this is not the goal that you are after now.

Therefore take a seat perhaps in a very comfortable chair or you can sit cross legged as you prefer. I personally recommend reading the article on how to sit properly. The reason is that as I said there will be a natural tendency to start falling asleep so you will want to sit in a way that will allow you to sit for a long time with minimal or no physical effort at all. You will see what I mean when you start to nod off or when your back start to bow and you lose your posture.

Once you have a good seat and you are confident that you can stay seated like this for a long time, I want you to completely stop moving. This is the basic core of this meditative technique; you need to sit for fifteen minutes to half an hour without moving in the slightest.

You must keep your physical body completely immobile. If you get an itch, you can’t scratch it. If parts of you start to fall asleep from lack of blood or discomfort, you can’t move them. Your body must become a statue just not a tense rigid one. This is why I advised you to find a very comfortable sitting posture; a posture that you don’t have to hold but a posture that is quite comfortable that requires little or no effort from you at all.
If you can stay completely immobile for fifteen minutes to half an hour, you will have helped yourself immensely because this exercise takes will power. To train your will is one of the greatest, if not the greatest things that you can do for yourself. It might actually be good for you to get an itch just so that you can see if you have the will power to go for the allotted amount of time without scratching it.

Try to increase the amount of time that you can go without moving. As I said, you can begin with fifteen minutes but see if you can increase this to half an hour, then forty five minutes and so on.

But we are not done…
What is your mind supposed to be doing all this time you might ask?

Well let your mind do whatever it wants. Do not try to do anything. Do not focus on anything. Do not focus on the here and now, do not focus on your breathing or any imagine. Do not focus. Let your mind do whatever it wants and think about whatever comes to mind.

The only thing that you have to do, is to BE AWARE of whatever it is that you are thinking about. Whether it is good or bad, whether it is pleasurable or painful; pay attention to what you are thinking about. Let your thoughts flow on their own and watch them as they interconnect and link together. Perhaps ponder what they might mean or follow a line of thought and see if you can use this time to solve some problems but DO NOT MOVE.

Eventually you might notice that you moved. You might suddenly and involuntarily jerk in place from the surprise, but once you regain your external senses, you will realize that you had not moved at all and what you thought was physical movement, was actually internal. That is you moved subjectively in a daydream but your body was perfectly still (unless your jerked in place before in surprise). If you begin to explore these feelings of subjective movement, you might begin to understand how your consciousness can move without moving. Experiment with this.

Because your body is so completely still, you will be able to focus all of your attention on your thoughts and your subjective experience. Your subjective reality is the window to your psyche and by exploring and understanding the thoughts, ideas and emotions that fill your head; you will begin to understand yourself.

The exploration of your inner environment is actually the exploration of your outer one. Perhaps it is better to say that your outer environment is colored by the makeup of your inner reality. In order to understand who you are and where you find yourself, you will need to focus on what you are inside.

Practice, practice, practice; doing this bit of nothing and I guarantee you that you will find a world that you never thought existed through the power of Inner Space Meditation.

Is it me or do there seem to be more disasters lately? I am sure that if some research was done on the subject, it would be the case that disasters, hurricanes and volcano eruptions are no more prevalent today than at any other time. But to set my mind at ease, I submit to you the following article.

Water is the lifeblood of all that we do. We run our bodies with it and we also run our machinery with it. The average person can live only about three days without water.

Since one should always be prepared for the unexpected, I want to give you some basic knowledge on finding water in a survival situation and how to treat the water that you do find.

The most important thing to remember about water is that it follows a certain pattern of movement that can be studied and predicted. You can use this knowledge in a survival situation to help yourself survive.

The different processes are as follows:

•    Precipitation is condensed water vapor that falls to the Earth’s surface. Most precipitation occurs as rain, but also includes snow, hail, fog drip, graupel, and sleet. Approximately 505,000 km³ of water fall as precipitation each year, 398,000 km³ of it over the oceans.
•    Canopy interception is the precipitation that is intercepted by plant foliage and eventually evaporates back to the atmosphere rather than falling to the ground.
•    Snowmelt refers to the runoff produced by melting snow.
•    Runoff includes the variety of ways by which water moves across the land. This includes both surface runoff and channel runoff. As it flows, the water may infiltrate into the ground, evaporate into the air, become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be extracted for agricultural or other human uses.
•    Infiltration is the flow of water from the ground surface into the ground. Once infiltrated, the water becomes soil moisture or groundwater.
•    Subsurface Flow is the flow of water underground, in the vadose zone and aquifers. Subsurface water may return to the surface (eg. as a spring or by being pumped) or eventually seep into the oceans. Water returns to the land surface at lower elevation than where it infiltrated, under the force of gravity or gravity induced pressures. Groundwater tends to move slowly, and is replenished slowly, so it can remain in aquifers for thousands of years.
•    Evaporation is the transformation of water from liquid to gas phases as it moves from the ground or bodies of water into the overlying atmosphere. The source of energy for evaporation is primarily solar radiation. Evaporation often implicitly includes transpiration from plants, though together they are specifically referred to as evapotranspiration. Total annual evapotranspiration amounts to approximately 505,000 km³ of water, 434,000 km³ of which evaporates from the oceans.
•    Sublimation is the state change directly from solid water (snow or ice) to water vapor.
•    Advection is the movement of water — in solid, liquid, or vapour states — through the atmosphere. Without advection, water that evaporated over the oceans could not precipitate over land.
•    Condensation is the transformation of water vapour to liquid water droplets in the air, producing clouds and fog.

(This information was gathered from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Please use this link if you wish to read more on the subject https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cycle)

Using the above information, you can begin to imagine the natural flow of water as it makes its natural cycle. Runoff is very important for the average disaster survivalist and through mental contemplation you can foresee and guestimate where major water currents will go(if you find yourself in a flood) and where water has gone in the past so that you might be able to find small creeks, and pools to satisfy your thirst.

Remember that water always seeks the lowest point. See the lay of the land before you and try to imagine where water has gone after a rain. Since water needs the sun (heat) for evaporation, look around you to see where pools of water might still exist even weeks after a rain. Sheltered embankments, wooded areas or rock formations can hold water for days or weeks.

You must assume that any water that you find in a survival situation will be highly contaminated with pollutants. We will cover water cleaning and preparation shortly.

Condensation can be a great friend to the survivalist looking for water. Condensation occurs when water vapor is cooled and transforms from vapor to water. That is the reason why you will see all those water droplets around a cold container; the hot water vapors come in contact with the cold container and as they cool, they are changed into liquid all around your cold container.

Using this principle, a survivalist can collect large quantities of fresh and clean water. To do this, you must wake up very early in the morning and using a small rag, begin to collect the dew that is created from the morning mist.

You have to use a small rag to wipe down the surface of things where the dew has collected. By wiping your CLEAN rag over all of the cold surfaces that you can find, you will be able to collect enough water to get you through the day.

You can either squeeze the wet rag over your mouth so that you can instantly drink the collected water or you can squeeze your rag into a container and save the water for later use. With patience and some hard work, you will be surprised at how much water you can collect.

DO NOT collect water in this way from any surfaces that are questionable. There could be pollutants on the surface of things so please be careful how and where you do this. Grass and any kind of plant life are your best bet for collecting water this way.

This method works best by the sea or in a wooded environment. A large city will usually have very little of this morning condensation because the concrete absorbs most of the moisture in the area.

The best defense in an emergency is to have a fresh supply of stored water. Try to have a minimum of three days worth of fresh water but if you can help it, make it a week. Most people need at least a quart of water a day so plan for a quart for each member of the household.

If you do not have enough water in your house, and the city has cut the water supply, there is still some water trapped in the pipes of your house. In order to get to this water, close off the main shut off valve in the house (usually located in the basement). This traps the water in your pipes so that it doesn’t drain out. It is important therefore to shut this valve off as soon as you suspect that the water from the city has stopped.

Once this valve has been turned off, go to the top floor of the house and open all of the taps; both cold and hot. Drain any water that you get into a good container. Work your way down all the way to basement. In the basement drain the water taps that feed the washer. Finally drain out the water that is in the water heater.

Be careful though, as I said before, do not assume that any water in a survival situation is clean. Even the water that you collected in your home can be contaminated so treat everything before you ingest.

TREATING WATER

The best way to treat questionable water is to filter it through a commercial water filter. Camping stores carry many different brands and models so it is a very easy thing to make an investment and purchase this life saving device.

Try to get a heavy duty model that will meet all of the requirements of your household. Don’t skimp on cost.

If you do not have a water filter then begin any water treatment by filtering any murky or dirty water through a handmade filter. The best thing to use in a pinch is a clean cloth.

After your water is as clean as you can get it by filtering with the cloth, you will want to boil it. Water must be boiled for at least twenty minutes to kill all possible bacteria, anything less is risking sickness.

You can also use distillation to clean water. In order to do this, you need to bring water to a boil and then collect the water vapor that you are creating. Finally this water vapor is cooled, once again returning water to liquid form.

One of the best ways to do this is to use a water kettle. The kettle will bring the water inside to a boil and will send all of the water vapor out of the spout. In order to condense the vapor back into liquid from, attach a long copper pipe to the end of the kettle spout.

You can get copper piping by taking apart some of the water piping in your basement. To attach the pipe to the end of the water kettle spout, use cloth and make sure that it is wrapped very tightly around the connection point so that you have a water tight seal.

I recommend using anywhere from one to three feet of copper tubing. It’s better to start with a longer tube and then shorten it if you have to. Make sure to bend the tube slightly so that the water vapor has time to cool off before it exits the tube.

Also make sure to place a container at the end of the copper tube so that you can collect all of the water that you have distilled.

Knowledge is power. I hope that this will help you to always find good water; Stay safe.

(resources; Wikipedia & “Tom Brown’s Field Guide to City and Suburban Survival” by Tom Brown, published 1984)

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. “
— Frank Herbert, Dune

I like that quote. I like it because it is very true, fear is the little death;  it obliterates your mind and your common sense. Fear, if unchecked can destroy any good effort that you might achieve. Everyone gets nervous, anxious, and fearful. But if you let these emotions overpower you, YOU are lost…literally.

Let us take for example one of the biggest fears that people have; the fear of Flying. This fear is so powerful that many of us have had nightmares about it. According to the TIME magazine’s article What Are We Afraid Of?*  the fear of flying is our biggest present fear and it even outranks the dreaded fear of public speaking.
But how do we define fear? Dictionary.com defines fear as:

1.a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Simple enough to understand; you imagine or perceive danger and you become fearful of possible danger??
If you have an image of a snake eating itself, then you have a basic understanding of what most fear really is. What this means is that you correctly or incorrectly perceive or imagine danger. This is a healthy thing and it allows you to steer clear of things that might harm you or worse kill you. But if what you have perceived or imagined is wrong, then you are really fearful of self created illusions which build on themselves until the snake eats itself out of existence.

The fear of flying is like this; you perceive danger but in reality flying is far safer than driving. It is actually one of the safest forms of transportation that we can use. The average airline pilot has a decade of flying under his belt, he is using top of the line equipment that has to meet rigorous testing and your entire flying experience is coordinated by hundreds of trained professionals. Compare this to the average highway trip and you begin to get the basic idea.

But, what about if you perceive danger and there is danger. Let’s take a closer look at the fear of public speaking. What about if you have to give a speech in front of a large audience and your future depends on you doing a good job?

Then you have a righteous fear. You perceive an obstacle that can make you or break you. You have to stay aware and focused because if you screw it up, you are done. Certainly then fear is good , it keeps you focused?…Well yes it will make you very present orientated which is good, your sharp; but unless you have a great deal of mastery over yourself, fear will come on you like an avalanche and suffocate the life right out of you.

Fear does not have a dial. Its fight or flight, all go. Standing on a tarmac or on a podium, you have nothing to hit and nothing that you can run from.
So what do you do?

Well I hope that the following technique can help with this. It is very good and tried and tested, an old bald guy with a big moustache taught it to me. I like to call this technique ‘The Third Person’.

The best way to understand this technique is to think of the points of view that a story can be written in. A story can be written in the first, second or third person. If you write something in the first person, then you are writing about it from your personal point of view. Everything is me , myself and I. For example you can say, “ As I stepped on the stage, I saw the audience and I felt a nervous spasm pass over me.  I was instantly scared out of my wits!”

Writing from the second  person point of view involves talking directly to your audience. The writer will use a lot of ‘you’ language. For example, “You have to give this speech. It’s in your better interest so don’t screw it up!”
Lastly we have the Third Person point of view. Writers use more DISTANT language. There will be a lot of “he”, “she”, “it”, and “they” used. In this case, the writer is looking down on a scene, he is writing a report of what he sees from a distant position, usually seemingly above the epic scene below. “ As William stepped on the stage, he looked at his audience in fear and discomfort. He fumbled with his notes and prepared himself for his first words.”

Imagine if you could automatically put yourself into a Third Person perspective. What if you could get away from yourself, your fear, and from any terribly frightening situation in general? You could look down on yourself, separated from your emotions, seeing everything, and most importantly seeing everything with a clear vision that is not distorted by fear or anxiety. What you need to do to control your fear then is to start seeing everything in the ‘Third Person’.

To do this, imagine that you are having an out of body experience. Imagine that your consciousness flies up through the top of your head and in one instant you find yourself looking down at your body and the entire scene below.
From this position you can see everything that is going on around you and you can keep a special eye on your body below. Funny as it might seem, you can even control your body, sort of like a puppet master. Very cool.

HOW TO MASTER THE ‘THIRD PERSON’ PERSPECTIVE

I want you to practice the following exercise at home on your own until you feel very comfortable with the Third Person perspective. It will allow you to get into the third person very quickly, and through this technique, you will find that you will be able to conquer just about any fear. Actually as long as you have perfect concentration, there is no fear that cannot be conquered by this method.  The goal is to be able to put yourself instantly into this new perspective, at the drop of a hat, when you need it most.

To begin the exercise I want you to take a comfortable seat in a quiet area. This designated area can be inside or outside but it has to be in a quiet place away from others. After you have sat down in your quiet area, I want you to imagine, with your eyes open, that you are somewhere else in the room. For example; if you are sitting on the bed in your room, I want you to imagine that you are standing next to the far wall on the other side of the room.
I want you to imaginatively look at the world around you from this new perspective. If you are imaginatively standing by a wall, then I want you to imagine what the wall from your new perspective looks like. Perhaps you are right next to the wall in your new imaginative location, do imagine that you can actually see the wall really close up.

You can touch the wall from your new location, since you are imaginatively standing right next to it. So touch the wall with your imagination with your imaginary hands and imagine how the wall feels. Feel the wall therefore with your second imaginary hand. Is the wall cold and smooth perhaps? Imagine what things feel like to your second self.
Do this with all your senses so that there is a real you that is perceiving one thing and a pretend you that is standing a few feet away perceiving things from a slightly different angle.  You are creating a double for yourself. An imaginative double that can be anywhere you want him to be and can do anything that you want him to do.

This exercise will take time and good visualization skills but its fun and most people get good at it very fast. Keep your double close at the beginning of the exercises, no more than a dozen or so feet from you. The trick of the exercise is to try and imagine with each sensory organ what it would be like to be in the doubles position. See, hear, feel, smell, and taste through your double.

If the exercise seems to be too hard, close your eyes. Open them from time to time to get reference points so that you can picture yourself and your environment correctly but after you have taken a mental picture of your room, close your eyes and imagine yourself by the wall again.

Practice this exercise until you can keep your eyes open and still have two very different perspectives of your room. One is your actual physical perception and the other is the imagined perception from your double.
After you have become really good at seeing the things around you from your doubles perspective, I want you to look at yourself and see yourself as your double would see you. Weird stuff right! You are looking at yourself looking at yourself! Imagine again what it would be like to see yourself sitting on your bed from your doubles position. Practice looking at yourself from the new perspective until it becomes easy and second nature.
When you have a good grasp of the exercise above and are confident with your skill, I want you to go outside and imagine that your double is flying above in the air looking down on you. The double is not too high up, it’s about three to six feet above your head and a bit to the right.

Imagine once again what the world looks like to your double. Imagine what the world looks like through your doubles eyes, what and how does it see. What does the world feel like from your doubles position, what does your double hear and smell from up there. You certainly have a better visual perspective from your double’s point of view. Use this new visual perspective to your advantage, look at everything. Get a lay of the land.

When you are good at this newest variation of the exercise and are comfortable with your new imaginative doubles position, I want you to go for a short walk. Just a nice short walk around the block, but I want you to imaginatively see, feel, hear smell and possibly taste everything ONLY from your doubles point of view!
Try really hard to only keep the doubles point of view. This is a pretty hard exercise at first but with a bit of practice, you will be amazed at how good you can get at it. Practice this until you are good and can extend the length of your walk as much as you want without losing focus.

So let us tackle fear number one; You are about to get on a plane and you have cold sweats and there is a big possibility that you might lose your lunch.

Instantly get into Third Perspective. Hopefully you have practiced and are very good at imagining that a second you is flying three to six feet above your head and is looking down on you. Go to your double now. Imagine that you are up above looking down on your scared self.

Look through your doubles eyes, FEEL through your double. Look at all of the things around you through your double’s senses. Put most of your conscious self in your doubles place.

As you do this, and if you do this with enough concentration, you will notice that you will feel distant and detached from the scared person below. By changing your point of concentration, you will instantly change how you feel. By changing your point of view, you will see other angles and this will give you alternatives if you need them.

The you up above, your Double, is objective and detached. Maintain your focus on the perceptions of your double and forget about the feelings of the person below. You are an objective viewer of the happenings below. You are the puppet master controlling the avatar below+.

The idea here is to see your physical self like just one of many players on a play below. You are up above and you are watching the actors below. You can make the one main actor, your avatar, do anything you like, you have direct control over him/her. But during the duration of this trip and until you feel comfortable again, the real you, your conscious being is going to be seeing the world from the doubles perspective up above.
If it’s a long trip, then at anytime you can return to First Person position and see how you feel. If you feel panicky once you get back to first person, then go right back up to your double’s position. If you fall asleep, when you wake up you will most likely wake up in First Position and you can wake up a bit panicky again. If this is the case, instantly take a deep breath and go to Third position. Don’t worry, it’s that easy to quickly leave your First self and begin to see the world again from the Third perspective.

How about giving a speech in front of people? Well again you want to go into the ‘Third Person ‘ position.  You have hopefully rehearsed your speech so that you won’t have to look at notes too much but if you do; you will find switching perspectives is very easy. You can read something from your physical perspective for example but you can instantly return to the doubles perspective up above.

Remember how I told you to think of the person below as just another actor in a play or show, well using this premise, let you actor/avatar/physical self act below. This is an easy task with a bit of practice, and you will not believe the results that you will get.

If the avatar needs to wave at the audience then have him/her wave. See the avatar waving from your position up above. Have the avatar smile and make eye contact with the audience. Forgot a line of your speech? Then have the avatar look at his notes, see through his eyes and then return to your higher position and continue with the speech.

When the tension is over and you find yourself in a quieter place again, then go back to First person. You should be able to switch positions now at a moment’s notice.

With this method; properly mastered and extensively practiced, there is no fear that you won’t be able to overcome. I hope you well.

*Thursday, Mar. 29, 2007 By BILL TANCER

+Those of you that are video game players and gamers in interactive worlds like ‘Second Life’ will have a great time with this exercise.

If I were to give my very best friend a present, what would it be? Certainly money is high on the list but I am not a rich man and I doubt that lint from my change pocket would fool anyone.

If I were to give my dear friend the greatest gift that I could think of, then I would give him the gift of peace of mind and freedom. To me these things are worth more than money because money doesn’t necessarily provide these things. Money can also be fickle; here today gone tomorrow.

But what if I had a way to give peace of mind and freedom in a different way, doing a simple exercise that could be done by almost anyone and almost anywhere. Well that’s a present that I like and a present that I can give.

Please don’t think of me as being self centered and lost in my own feeling of grandeur. I truly wish to give this gift to you with a feeling of friendship and love. I don’t expect anything in return except a positive comment or two and the hope that it helps you as much as it has helped me. I would not be over exaggerating when I say that this technique has helped to keep me sane.

I must admit though that I will get large helping of personal gratification if this gift is to your liking. I give because it makes me feel good. I make no apologies for that.

The gift is a very simple one and it seems rather simplistic at first, but is has certain variables that give it great power.

My gift is this; I want to teach you how to take a walk, a simple walk that will help to ease all of that clutter in your head and help you to realize that freedom is just a matter of perspective. Or a better way to say it would be to say that freedom is really a matter of focus.

Find a nice quiet place where you can go for a nice long walk. Ideally the place for your walk would have a lot of nature and it is a quite peaceful area. Not everyone has access to this type of ideal walking area so if this is not possible for you, then a walk around your neighborhood will do.
Begin your walk and as you walk I want you to just begin to relax. All of the calamities of the day will naturally start to flood your mind and before long you will find that you have been thinking about a future deed that needs to be done or about a past experience that has become embedded in your mind.
So here is where the fun variable comes in; I want you to try with all your might to stay focused on your present moment. I want you to let go of the past and I want you to stop worrying about the future. I want you to begin to notice all of the things around you. I want you to look at the light from the sun and the shape of the clouds. I want you to pay attention to the noise around you. Weather it is a pleasant noise or not, I want you to focus only on the things right before you, right now.

If your thoughts wonder and you find yourself thinking about past or future events, I want you to strongly refocus your attention on the present moment. Walk and walk, taking one step after the other, concentrating only on the things that are before you.

After a while and when you find that you are getting pretty good and used to the idea that the only thing the exists right now is what is before you, I want you to also realize that you are only the you that is right here, right now.

If you do not look back in time or for that matter forward into what you have to do, you just become that which is here at the moment. The person that is here/now has no family, no friends, no responsibilities, no needs aside from taking one step after another.

All that you have and all that you are is right here, right now. If you must, I want you to pretend that you have amnesia and you do not remember who you are or where you come from. I want you to trick yourself then into believing that you are here alone and that the only thing that you really know is that you must be here and you must walk.

The best thing to do though is to just concentrate on the present moment and to forget about everything and everyone else.

Perhaps you think that this is a bad thing because you should not forget your children and your loved ones but believe me that when you help yourself in this way and you take the time to do this exercise, you are helping them. This exercise will rejuvenate you and it will allow you to find the peace that you need so that when you get back to “reality”, you will have the strength to carry on.
So please take the time, sometime this week and go for a walk and listen to the world around you. Use this gift to find freedom in your life.

 

We tend to hear a lot of terrible things about the ego. How the ego destroys your life by burying you selfish emotions and acts. I have written a few articles myself on how the placation of the ego can be a most draining and self defeating idea.

But I think that there can be a great mistake made if you pursue this to extremes. The problem comes when we get lost in semantics and when slight variations in language obscure the greater reality. This happens when as Alfred Korzybski said, we “confuse the map with the territory”.

Tomato and tomatoe might sound different yet be the same thing , while ego for the sake of self centered self importance might be one thing while ego for the sake of personal power, might be something all together poles apart.

The inability to write down in a coherent way, what you know and what you have experienced is a topic that has kept philosophical debates alive and well for centuries, and this subject matter is much to deep to pursue right now, it is also not the matter of this present article.

I want to discuss something that seems altogether simpler yet if understood in its profundity, if grasped beyond the map level to the point where you can make it your own at a personal level, it can change the way you function and can turn your efforts into truly grand endeavors.

The ego is a black sheep in the modern psychological cosmology.  The infusion of Eastern and specifically Buddhist thought, have put a black cloud over the ego and its selfish ways. Me culture is bad culture and we are reminded everyday about how terrible it is by watching the latest Hollywood star giving the bird to the cameras as they snort coke and mistreat everyone around them.
Sadly the poor ‘self’ sufferers from a case of simplification and before you know it; everybody wants to eradicate something that is literally holding them together. An explanation of the power of the ego is perhaps in order so that all the righteous ego killers can be somewhat appeased.

The ego as we understand it is the one thing that holds the being that you call (I) together.  Your ego is you. Within your psyche, you find an infinitude of individual thoughts, beliefs, ideas and selves that fight for dominance over your present being.  I am legion, means that you are made of a multitude of selves that are constantly asserting themselves for dominance over your individual being.
The Ego is the one cohesive factor that holds them all in place, and a healthy Ego maintains a living network of realities that coalesce into what you call ‘you’.  I am at times practical, while at other times I can be quite clever or subtle or loud or strong, etc. At each one of these moments, I assert a differ part of myself, a different part of the legion of me’s the exists within my psyche.
If my Ego is strong and healthy, then my selves are never over dominant, to anyone degree or another. I am balanced knowing that right now I might feel timid and afraid but that this is not the totality of myself; but just another facet that will most likely be replaced shortly by an equally powerful and dominating me.
Therefore thank your Ego for it is the lord of the manor and the holder of the keys to the castle. A person that has a weak Ego, or an Ego that has been damaged in some way by a traumatic experience, would show any one of the many symptoms that you see in an insane asylum.

But beyond this we must realize that a strong sense of ME identity is a very good thing. In order to face the world in a powerful way, you need to have a strong self presence. You need to believe in yourself, in your abilities and in your destiny.
I am that I am.

Certainly I will fall but I will get up to fight again because I am strong and I will prevail. I was meant to be happy, and wealthy, and I am here to see and feel all of the joys of this world. I am that which loves and I am that which hates.

It is the weak Ego that falls for the seven deadly sins. It finds that it cannot contain its desire to eat and eat, or rage and hate, or…pick your poison.

In order to be strong, the Ego must be made stronger. The old masters forever tell their pupils to let go of the self and attain perfection; this is a case of semantic error. The master does not mean eradicate yourself, what he is trying to say is that you must develop a more educated Ego. An Ego that can encompass the idea that there are times when it has to let go of the reigns ever so slightly so that ‘I’ can accomplish that which ‘I’ could not accomplish before.

I was scared and that scared self KNEW that it could not jump over that chasm but I let go of all those things in me that held me back until something inside me made me jump, and when I awoke, I was standing on the other side. Afterwards I knew that I was the one that was holding me back, but now I have become more than I was, and I now understand that I can be the scared person that will not dare and the person that can transcend that person who could not.

So the Ego was not terminated, and it is not the lack of Ego that will set you free. What will allow you to do the impossible is the ability to let your Ego grow in complexity and strength. To do this you will have to learn to stop your current self or selves from asserting their dominant beliefs upon you, ever trustful that your strong Ego will hold together the totality of your being. And when you act and are successful, a new self will be born that will understand that what it thought was impossible was just a limiting thought held by a different self, and at a different time. A self that is not the totality of your being but just one of the many aspects of your being, a wonderful being, with a strong and flexible Ego as its front line general.

So begin your journey towards a better you by loving yourself. Tell yourself that you are great and that you will do great things. That all the pleasures of the world belong to you and whatever hardship might come, you will overcome.

Realize that you are more than what you believe that you are. That even if you fell into the chasm of everlasting darkness, You will survive for you are never ending.

I am myself but I can also imaginatively be that tree over there. I will not stop being myself, for I cannot be destroyed, so I will learn to allow myself to be the tree completely, and the person that imagines that he is the tree completely. And in this way my Ego grows so that while just before I was just me, I can now be; me, the tree, and myself being me and the tree together.
I am that I am.

Improve Yourself and Find Peace

Sometimes, when we feel the full weight of all our insecurities and doubt, a little internal dialog starts that goes something like, “I wish I was somebody else.” More often than not, we think and believe that someone or rather, most people, are better than us… The reality of course is that most people are as insecure and scared as we are.

We are in a constant state of over and underestimating those that we meet as we make our way through life. If you are overconfident then you underestimate those that you meet and most likely critic everything that they do. But if you are feeling lost and the in the throes of self doubt then everyone that you meet seems to be perfect and content while you are the biggest loser on the planet.

Weather its the beautiful girl that we see across the room or the successful young man that drives past us in his cool new car. Our self image is always measuring itself against others and most often it is telling us that we are second best. If you could read the thoughts of others, you would find that their internal dialog is full of the same self recrimination and doubt that fills our heads and heart.

Do not judge yourself and you will find that you will lose the need to judge others. We are ALL filled with the same doubt and fear, so give other people a break. There is nothing better to improve your self image then to be able to distance yourself from it. Try to see your self in the bigger picture. So that you are not looking at the world from the inside out but you are looking at your being from the outside in. The best way to do this is to imagine that you are an author that is writing a novel on the story of you. The author, that is the new you, writes, “Bob is entering the room, he feels nervous about himself and has always had a complex about his large nose”. You are no longer Bob but the person looking down on Bob.

This new perspective will open your eyes to a new reality of being. ‘Life through the third person’ as I like to call it is the cure for all self doubt and fear. It will open your being and hopefully help you to become more empathic and aware. When ever you can’t handle it anymore or you think that you are about to go postal from all the stress; do a little ‘life in the third person’.

I have a friend who never gets tired of talking. And in most conversations, she is the only one who seems to be interested in the things she has to say. So all of our other friends tend to avoid her immediate circle whenever she’s around, and she doesn’t notice how she is effecting others negatively. The moral is that you must learn to be more self aware so that you know what needs change.

One key to self improvement is to LISTEN and TALK to those that would give you honest criticism. Find someone who you can comfortably open up to, someone that you can talk about anything. Ask your confidant questions like “do you think I have bad manners?”, “Do I argue too much?”, “Do I talk too loud?”, “Does my breath smell?”, “Do I ever bore you?”. Once the other person stops laughing and poking fun at your obviously silly questions, and if you persist, they will realize that you are serious and if they are worthy of being your confidant, then they will give you some of the best advise of your life. Listen, and shut your yap for a while, to what your friend has to say, do not counter their comments, no matter how silly they might seem to you, with something like “Don’t exaggerate! That’s just the way I am!” Open up your mind, and heart . And in return, you may want to help your friend with constructive criticism that will also help her/him improve.

Unless someone asks you directly, do not go around telling people how they can improve themselves. Make yourself an example of personal contentment and self refinement and let others learn from you from example only.

Don’t ever think that you are less then someone else. Learn to love yourself truly. Stop that internal dialog that berates you. Stop that annoying voice at the onset of its nasty comments. Love yourself, heck adore yourself if you can and if it all gets to be too much and the voice seems to be winning then take a break from it all and do life from the third person for a while.

You can hold the belief that we all suck or that we are all perfect but the one thing that you must do is to stop comparing yourself to others. I personally think that all beings are amazing and I am just one more of those amazing little monsters living and breathing on this fantastic planet we call earth. Happiness comes from self acceptance, so accept yourself and learn to find true happiness.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines empathy as:

em•pa•thy
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek empatheia, literally, passion, from empathēs emotional, from em– + pathos feelings, emotion
1:the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this



Empathy is one of the most essential skills. With it you will find success in most walks of life. It will allow you to experience many different perspectives which are necessary for personal growth and understanding. In my opinion, empathy is the one skill that will begin to transform this world and create the type of societies that we all envision.

To empathize means to be successful with the opposite sex. Through empathy you can become a dynamic powerful speaker. You can become a great business person, and in general achieve many of the things that you set out to do in life.

The reason for this is that empathy allows you to understand what the other person or being is thinking. It allows you to know the desires of others so that you can do your best to meet them. If you are a businessman, you will be able to know what the customer wants, and by satisfying these needs, you will achieve success. As a lover, you will know what your partner needs, sometimes even before they consciously know it themselves, which will make you the best lover that they have ever had.

Being able to empathize with your environment and the people around you will keep you safe. By understanding the intentions of others, you will be able to steer clear of those that would harm you. You can also learn to empathize with a geographical area so that you can actually read subconsciously all of the signs that can warn you of danger. Through empathy you can learn to avoid that dangerous alley or stay away from a certain building or vehicle that might be doomed.

Empathy will also make you a better, more creative human being. Remember that famous saying that implores you to, “walk a mile in another man moccasins”, before you judge him. This is sound advice that will allow you to get into the perspective of someone other than yourself so that you might be able to understand their actions, feeling and motives.

The ability to empathize is really the ability to get outside of your ego. Another way to say this would be to say that empathy allows your ego to grow so that it learns to see through different eyes. In order to begin to understand what I mean by empathy, I want you to do the following exercise.

Empathy Exercise

Take a comfortable seat in front of a plant. A house plant would be perfect but if you don’t have one, you can always go sit outside in front of a bush or tree in a nice quiet area. You will want to place yourself in a position where you can comfortably gaze upon the plant. Hopefully you are indoors in a quiet room or outside in a nice place where you won’t be disturbed.

Next, lightly gaze at the plant. From this light gaze, I want you to slowly begin to focus exclusively on the plant before you. Without strain, I want you to try and see into the plant. That is I want you to pretend that you can see into the plant and into its inner soul. This exercise will take a number of imaginative leaps. These imaginative leaps should be performed without strain, think of them more as a child’s pretend game rather than any kind of work.

As you gaze into the soul of the plant, imagine that you feel a tug from the plant so that your soul and the plants soul are now directly connected. This connection that feels like a small almost surreal tug at your insides, allows you to send a piece of yourself directly into the plant. You are now imagining entering the plant with a small thread of yourself. This little thread becomes one with the plant so that now you feel that you are you but you are also the plant.

Imaginatively feel what it’s like to be this being that you are gazing at. How do you as a plant feel the world around you? Using your imagination, try and feel what the plant is feeling at this very moment. Plants do not have eyes but they can feel the world around them in a way that is most amazing. Plants are very sensitive to emotion, temperature and humidity. Their entire bodies are very complex receptors that can tell them about the most minute things in their environment. Imagine that you can see the world through the plants eyes. What do you see/feel?

Practice seeing the world through the plants eyes for a while. Through your empathic vision, you might begin to understand why it is a little droopy or why it’s starting to turn a little yellow. The plant might be able to show you the room or the environment it sees, which will allow you to see this environment in a whole new way.

 

This kind of exercises is basis for all empathic work. You don’t have to work with plants. Anything animate or inanimate will work. It is pure egotistical garbage that makes you believe that a chair or a pencil don’t share as much individual reality as anything else. All things are rich in information and experience that you can tap into.

As you grow in your empathic work and become better, you will start to see a greater depth of detail. You will have access to more information and understand some of the subtleties of that information better. Finally you might want to try this exercise with another person. Perhaps your lover or best friend. The intuitive understanding that you will develop with each other will blow your mind!

The body is flexible. It is supposed to be flexible. You must be able to bend and reach that something you dropped on the floor. You must be able to zip the back of your favorite dress on your own. You must be able to reach that book you need to read at the top shelf.

These are simple activities. Nothing grand about them, you merely stretched out a bit. However, if there are difficulties in doing such simple motions, then you have to stretch your limits. You already need a stretching program.

What is stretching?

benefitsofstretching-01Stretching is simply the act of extending to full length the body or simply a part of it. This activity involves straightening or stretching the structure or the limbs.

How do you stretch?

Stretching is fairly easy. As mentioned in the introduction, it is involved in the normal activities. It can be done by any people, regardless of age.

However the extent of stretching and flexing differs. The muscles tighten as a person ages. The range of joint movements can be minimized. This can very well obstruct an on-the-go lifestyle. That is why as the person grows older, bending or flexing becomes more limited. This is why stretching regularly, as part of a routine is very important.

Simple stretches can be done every day. It can be incorporated in the lifestyle and the daily activities. It does not require much of your time.

Stretching exercises can also be done while training. Actually, stretching is an essential part of any training or sport. It must be done first before anything else. Stretching the body and the limbs is a good preparation for a more rigorous activity.

Most athletes would do the sit and reach, wherein they position on the floor, extend their legs and reach the tip of their foot with the tip of their hand. Actually, most trainers actually require their athletes to really do the stretching before playing.

There is actually an ideal length of time in stretching. It is best to do it in 10 minutes. This will give the body enough opportunity to move and flex the muscles, thus preparing it for more complicated and strenuous movements.

Experts however would frown upon going way beyond 10 minutes. Stretching the exercise to 30 minutes or more will already wear out the body. This will not be favorable if you are preparing for a game.

What are the benefits of stretching?

Increase the Range of Movement

As you continue to do the stretching exercises, the length of the muscles and the tendons increase. This will help in increasing the range of your movement. Thus, the limbs and joints will be able to move, way before an injury can take place. You are definitely physically fit.

Increased Ability to Perform Skills

When you have a wide range of movement, the more you will be able to do more things. For example, you can jump high without feeling any pain when you land back on the floor. This will also help you start a new sport or improve more if you are in one. Stretching in this aspect also allows you to have a more active lifestyle.

Injury Prevention

You can prevent injury to joints, tendons and muscles with stretching. When the muscles and tendons are well-flexed, they are considered in good working order. This will help in a faster recovery and decreased soreness. The muscles of the body will be able to take more exhausting and rigorous movements with less probability of being injured.

Reduce Muscle Tension

If the muscles are given their regular exercises and stretching, it is less likely that they will contract. This will definitely relieve you of any muscle pain or problems.

Enhance Energy

Being able to move more will also give you more energy. Stretching will also help enhance your awareness, like knowing that you have a body that is capable of doing many things. As such, you are going to be more driven to move rather than sulk in the corner.

Reduces Cholesterol

Research also shows that doing prolonged stretching exercises, like yoga, will help reduce the cholesterol in the body. This of course must be done with a healthy diet at hand. This could prevent and even reverse the hardening of the arteries, allowing you to avoid coronary diseases.
Incorporate stretching in your everyday lifestyle. It has benefits you can’t say no to. It also does not require much. It can be your usual activities, bending and flexing every now and then. After all, your fitness is everything so do what it takes to keep the body healthy.

Self Esteem means staying positive about yourself, and having a real good Self Image. Self image is the idea that you have about yourself. When you look into the mirror of your mind’s eye, what do you see?

There are a number of things that can bite at our self esteem as we make our way through planet earth. Sometimes it even feels like the world is actually conspiring to give our self esteem a nice right cross. But we must realize that the way we perceive things has a great deal to do with how we perceive ourselves.

Knowing what you think of yourself, that is what image you have of yourself deep in your mind’s eye, can be a bit tricky. Usually when we introspect and try and catch a glimpse of our inner self, all we see is a mild mannered “just me”. It seems that the only time that we approximate seeing ourselves for what we really are, is when the world starts to throw pies at us.

So what I am trying to say is that we seem to have a really hard time knowing who we are as people until it hits the fan. Therefore next time that you find yourself driving down the road peacefully, and have some yokel do his best to send you to your early grave by driving his pick-up truck up your posterior, sit back, relax and watch the internal show. Certainly you will be perturbed and will most likely be very angry, but once that initial reactionary emotion wears off…What do you hear yourself saying to yourself?

Certainly you should not pay too much attention to your internal reality or you will be the cause of an accident yourself, but lightly observe your emotions and reactions to this bad situation. Emotions are a wonderful source of energy and most importantly they are a great way to reveal hidden personal beliefs.

A positive self image would be telling itself that this kind of stuff happens to everyone. That if you were the cause of some bad driving, then you will do your very best to do better next time so that you won’t endanger anyone in the future. And if you were not at fault in any way that people are not perfect and they are sometimes mad and in a hurry and it’s not up to you to judge or hate this person without first really knowing why they would be driving so erratically in the first place.

A positive self image also allows itself to feel anger or fear or any other thing without self recrimination. It feels what it has to feel freely and then it doesn’t make any judgments but if it does, it makes positive judgments about itself.

So when yo-yo yokel just tried to run you off the road, what did you feel? And what did you feel about what you felt? If you felt anything but a positive feeling about yourself; weather its recrimination about wanting to kill someone, or self hate at the fact that you are always bullied, or at the fact that you are such a terrible driver, and then you need to explore what belief you have about yourself that makes you feel this way. The idea is to not patch up yourself by putting on a fake happy face that will have you going postal in a week. Learn to explore yourself at these critical times, so that you can learn about yourself and the personal beliefs that you hold.

But what do you do when you find a very negative personal belief that you have about yourself? Well the simple answer is that you change it. You change it by realizing that the belief that you now have is wrong and its causing you grief. You change it by replacing it with a positive belief. For example if your belief is that you don’t have the right to get mad because you are a terrible person and a bad driver, then realize that you are not a bad person at all. Truly make the personal realization that you are not a bad person and that driving is a relative thing. Realize that you are always improving yourself and your driving in all ways. Every time that you find yourself having these thoughts of self deprecation, stop yourself and remember that you are a good person. Don’t let your inner rambling go unchecked. As soon as you start to have negative thoughts about yourself, change them. Change bad thoughts through the realization of how good you really are.

It might take a little while at first but if you persist and learn to always examine yourself and you personal beliefs about yourself image, you should be able to change those negative ideas in no time. I have witnessed people make extraordinary changes overnight, this usually happens when the self realization of themselves as being good decent beings is so overwhelming that there is no more room for a negative belief. Aspire to overnight but be content with the idea that slowly but surely you will learn to create and foster a wonderful self image.

Be aware that beliefs on self image tend to travel in packs. You could be working on one belief that you might have uncovered but there might be many others that are related and need be uncovered and changed as well.

Don’t give up, and stay persistent in yourself examination. Self Esteem is created from the inside out and not the other way around as some of the more popular self help books would have you believe. Stay with it and you will be very glad that you did. If there is one thing that is most important in life its self esteem!