Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients--without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate's chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person's illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.
When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane?
It didn't make any sense. It wasn't logical, so I dismissed the story.
However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho 'oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn't let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more.
I had always understood "total responsibility" to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it's out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We're responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does. The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility.
His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.
Victor Frankl once wrote, "Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitudes in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Frankl was right. Attitude is a choice. You could be faced with a thousand problems, many or most over which you have absolutely no control. However, there is always one thing you are in complete and absolute control of and that is your own attitude.
When you surrender control of your attitude to what appears to be a negative situation, you will react to that situation. More often than not, reacting is inappropriate. On the other hand, if you were to remain objective, you would respond to the situation appropriately, thereby creating a winning situation.
If attitude is such an important word, why do so few people understand it? To be honest, it wasn't until I was in my late 20s when I finally understood its full impact. All through my teens and into my early adult life, I can't tell you the number of times that I heard, "Bob, if you'd just change your attitude, you would do a lot better." In retrospect I can easily see the cause of my problem. I didn't know what attitude was, let alone know how to change it!
Attitude is the composite of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Your conscious mind controls feeling and ultimately dictates whether your feelings will be positive or negative by your choice of thoughts, then your body displays those choices through action and behavior.
Attitude is actually a creative cycle that begins with your choice of thoughts. You do choose your thoughts and that choice is where your attitude originates. As you internalize ideas or become emotionally involved with your thoughts, you create the second stage in forming an attitude; you move your entire being - mind and body - into a new "vibration." Your conscious awareness of this vibration is referred to as "feeling". Your feelings are then expressed in actions or behaviors that produce the various results in your life. Continue reading →
"You create your own reality" and "You are what you think you are." At first I thought this was great and very simple - all I have to do is think in a particular way and I will be/have all the things I ever wished for. However, there are certain universal laws at work. It didn't take long to find out that, although these universal laws work, it is not so much what we do but more about how we are being that makes the difference.
We choose to be certain ways. We can choose to "be happy" or to "be sad" at any given moment - usually this is an unconscious choice. We tend to allow circumstances, past conditioning and social norms to dictate to us how we act. We then find ourselves reacting to situations instead of responding to them. This can be quite a challenge especially as we are so mind dominated.
When we try to act in certain ways because we think we "should" or have been told that it is good to behave in certain ways, we soon end up with feelings of resentment. When we are peaceful, happy and in a place where we understand that God provides for us exactly as we ask and in accordance with the energy vibration we are sending out, then striving becomes futile. We can then see how weak and insignificant our egos are and the process of being able to "Let go and let God" becomes more natural. We split the natural polarities of the universe in two and decide on one over the other - therefore invalidating one in preference of the other. This creates more of the same, as the polarity that is rejected will keep coming back until it is accepted.
We are pulled between bouts of realized peacefulness and our strong ego desires. By shutting out the chatter of the mind/ego, we can more easily hear the God presence or spirit aspect of us. Bringing the mind, body and spirit into balance - instead of the extremes we create. For example - we can abuse our bodies, feed it foods that don't nourish it and take addictive chemicals into our systems. We can let our ego/mind become so engrossed in having and wanting more, believing that we are our minds and are identified by what we have. Continue reading →
"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." Ok, I have to agree that this is a pretty common saying amongst the life coaching fraternity - but in this complex 'game' we call life, I can't help believing that this little phrase provides a tantalizing clue to what it takes to be a winner! The trouble is, for so many of us, understanding our true life purpose is just not that easy or simple. Can you say, categorically, hand on heart, that you know with clarity what your life purpose is? And if you're one of the fortunate mortals who answered yes to this question, here's another: "Are you living your life on purpose?" Thanks, in large part, to my introduction to life coaching, I now know what my life purpose is, I can honestly say that I feel I am really starting to live it and my life is certainly changing for the better. But you know what? Continue reading →
There is a saying that states, “Knowledge is power.” Although there may be some degree of truth in this statement, it also leaves a lot unsaid. If knowledge in itself ultimately is power, why do we continue to do the things we know are harmful or disempowering to ourselves and to others? If knowledge on its own were enough, surely knowing not to do something should stop us from doing it. There is however, a deeper reality than only knowledge when it comes to our actions. The truth is that what we know is not necessarily enough to make the difference. It goes much deeper than that. The truth is that not only our knowledge, but also ultimately our beliefs determine the outcome.