Personal Growth 101

6/26/17 Just getting back to this after 2 years. been working on it sporadically for last 10 years. it will be finished when it’s finished.
6/27 a few edits to first few paragraphs


your guide to an increased sense of peace and well being



Most people have a pretty good idea of what makes them healthy and happy and what things make them not so healthy and happy, yet so many people, present writer included, have very often done the “wrong things” and not done the “right things”.

Let me ask you two questions:
1 Why do you think that is?
2 Are you living in ways that serve you? Whatever your answer, think about why or why not? If your answer is that you are not, what are you going to do about it?

ask yourself:
am i willing to be,
am i allowing myself to be,
do i feel i deserve to be,

Personal growth can mean a lot of things, but bottom line it’s about being healthier and happier.

Imagine hearing, in the distance, a beautiful bird singing in the morning, and then a chainsaw starts.

The bird is your sense of peace and well being. The chainsaw is your mind. Quieting the restless mind which is disturbing you with endless noisy thoughts, both the conscious mind and the deeper subconscious mind, is the greatest life skill one can learn. Actually the skill is systematically training the mind and developing good mental habits, including when to just feel and not think, including meditation. To a large extent most personal growth boils down to this. In practical terms our thoughts run our lives and create our emotions, which also run most of our lives.  There are times to use a chainsaw, but if it’s going all the time, you will never hear anything else, and when you have good mental habits it’s not noisy like a chainsaw anymore, it just purrs along when it’s being used and is quiet other times. Wouldn’t you like that?


  • what your sub/unconscious frames are about yourself and the world, how you believe the world works, how you believe you work, the “rules of the game”.
    What happens is just a statement of details; the interpretation you put on it is what determines how you feel and react, how you see the world and how you live in the world

  • what you put your attention on.
    so much is going on, what you focusing on is really your choice.

  • What you spend your time on
    In business they talk about ROI, Return On Investment. The greatest asset you have to invest is your time. Are you investing your time in pursuits which bring you health and happiness?


Ultimately success is feeling a sense of peace and well being. Of course we want and deserve to have all our needs met, emotional and spiritual as well as physical. To  live a happy, healthy life, fulfilling all parts of our life here on earth, including manifesting our gifts in the world, the gifts we are here to share.

Most people are so caught up in the struggles of everyday life, often so habitually run by their subconscious programming that they don’t even begin to consider that they might have gifts they are here to share, but they do.

As human beings we have a dual nature: our human personalities, with all their wounds and challenges, and our eternal natures as a part of all-that-is, as a cell is a part of your body.

As human beings, we have our conscious mind, our subconscious mind, our bodies, and our emotions. Some would say we also have superconscious minds, which are our connection to all that is.

Our conscious minds are often stuck in blahblahblah, noise, the chainsaw. To experience peace and well being, we need to quiet this.

Our subconscious minds, which we are often unaware of, carry a lot of old programming, much of it negative. Fear, shame, guilt, etc. The analogy of an iceberg has often been used, that the conscious is like the %10 above water, the subconscious the %90 below water. In practical terms, for most people the subconscious is running their lives. Cleansing and releasing negative programs, replacing them with positive ones, is the key to peace and happiness. The analogy of software for a computer is very apt.

Ultimately, personal growth means living in higher states of consciousness, meaning higher states of peace and well being, the highest being realizing, having the experience of being what the yogis call the Self, your oneness with all that is. Notice the word experience, which is so totally more than intellectual understanding. Understanding that food is tasty is one thing, eating it quite another.

In more down to earth terms, personal growth means
1) accepting your power to make positive changes in your life, starting with your mental states. Most people want to go straight to doing, but until you change your mind, you’ll get the same results you always have.

2) releasing and healing the wounds that keep you creating your problems, whether through action or inaction. Letting go of victimhood, he did this, they did that, she didn’t do that, I can’t do this, I’m too (fill in the blanks).

That’s not to condone bad behaviour, not saying you shouldn’t stand up for yourself, it is saying that as long as you stay in blame and judgement, including self judgement, you stay stuck. In most normal life situations, your state of mind is your responsibility (I am not talking about extreme examples), and your happiness and effectiveness is a direct result of your state of mind.

3 Going beyond healing to a state of feeling whole and good about yourself. Not that you won’t have challenges, but your basic framework is that you are healthy in a spiritual and mental sense.

This is a very important point.
Are we just broken, damaged beings that need to be fixed somehow, or are our problems and negative traits like clouds hiding the sun, [negative meaning they cause us to feel less ease, peace and joy].

My own experience is that the longer i am on the path the closer i get to feeling the second to be true, so even though a lot of what i write here is about fixing problems, ultimately the highest teaching is that our true nature is perfect, and for most of us that sounds nice but doesn’t change feeling our wounds dragging us down. That’s OK, just put one foot in front of the other and keep going on the journey of healing, AND it’s a lot more hopeful to feel you are removing obscurations than trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, which i have felt like at times.


Many people remain in denial about their wounds, usually childhood wounds. I believe that is because they believe that they can not change, can not heal, and so it is less painful to remain in denial. Sometimes it’s just ego.

Think of your wounds as a bag of garbage in a kitchen. Unless you take it out, it’s just going to stink more and more and more as the years go on. You can spray perfume on it, but it will still stink, until you take it out.
Take out your garbage.

3) Manifesting positive states of health, happiness, behaviours. Taking care of yourself, manifesting your dreams in the world. Having healthy relationships. All the stuff of a fulfilled human existence. However, people who “have it all” often report that they feel some sense of something missing. That something is connection with, experience of your spirit.



  • Releasing any resistance and fears of being more than you are, of having what you say you want. If you are really honest with yourself, you will find reasons, usually in your subconscious, why you are afraid of having/being what you say you want.
    For example, many overweight people say they want to lose weight, yet psychologists understand that weight provides a feeling of safety, that many of these people felt very unsafe as children.
  • Deserving. Deep in your subconscious you have very definite self judgements on just how much good, or bad, you feel you deserve to have. Picked up in childhood, perhaps in past lives, you allow and attract people and experiences in accordance with these judgements. They can be changed, but not without realizing what they are in the first place.Until you release your resistance and get to a place of feeling that you deserve good, it is probably going to be very, very difficult to create positive changes in your life.Conversely, when you really align with no resistance and deserving, you will attract and allow great good into your life almost effortlessly.It is not as simple as all or nothing. Most people are somewhere in the middle. Assess where you are, and immediately begin to work on improving. Tools to use are affirmations, NLP, subliminal tapes, self hypnosis, mirror work, and more.Read the Louise Hay book You Can Heal Your Life, it is all about this.


1) Any use or misuse you make of these ideas is your own responsibility.

2) Don’t believe a word just because I say so. Check it out, try it out in your own experience. I am giving you the best I know. I could be wrong. Don’t trust my or any authority, trust your own.

3) I have read thousands of personal growth and “spiritual” books, listened to countless tapes, cds and mp3s, done a bunch of workshops, and done tens of thousands of hours of practices. If there is an original idea in this work, i’d be hard pressed to identify it. This represents my own synthesis, my own understanding of all that I have learned. I have not deliberately copied anyone. I have learned from many. I wish to particularly recommend the following for starters

1) Louise Hay-You Can Heal Your Life
2] Feel Free to Prosper Marilyn Jenett
3] NLP-The New Technology of Achievement
4] The Dalai Lama, particularly the book The Art of Happiness, by the DL and Howard Cutler
5) Ram Dass-Be Here Now
6) Basic Principles of the Science of Mind-Frederick Bailes
7) Joel Goldsmith-anything

Ram Dass and the Dalai Lama are more or less my personal heroes.
I have no desire nor do I think it necessary to duplicate here items which have been so well done elsewhere. What I do want to do is frame them in a way which I believe has value, and guide you to many of the sources I learned from.

Section A
i was asked to contribute 75 words for publication  which expressed the essence of what i have to say. Here they are

1) Are you somatically conscious of, present in, your body?
Where in your body are “you”?

2) Are you lost in your thoughts, or conscious of your thoughts?

3) Are you aware of your sub/unconscious programs?
How “on automatic” are you, how “here now”?

4) Do you identify yourself with “all-that-is”?

5) Have you articulated clearly your spiritual/metaphysical belief paradigm,
your values, intentions and priorities?

6) How much time do you spend working on yourself?


Wealth and poverty
wealth of time
wealth of love
wealth of peace and joy
sensual wealth of being in your body
wealth of family, friends, community
wealth of meaning and purpose
wealth of experience

Healthy Values and Intentions lead to
Healthy Thoughts which lead to
Healthy Emotions which lead to
Healthy Body
and underlying all those is connecting deeply with spirit through
meditation, prayer, and other practices

Peace, happiness, prosperity, ultimately everything is a state of consciousness. Everything you think you want is just a way to get that feeling, isn’t it.

True health and happiness=clear mind, open heart. 
All else follows.

We all want to be happy and healthy. The question is, what is the best way to do this. The single greatest key is what we choose to think about.

Loving, wise intentions, thoughts and emotions, words and deeds create health, are health,

unloving, unwise intentions, thoughts, emotions, words and deeds create dis-ease, are dis-ease.

a quote from the Dhammapada,
a buddhist wisdom book. translation Thomas Byrom, Shambala books, 1993

We are what we think
All that we are arises with our thoughts
With our thoughts we make the world
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart

We are what we think
All that we are arises with our thoughts
With our thoughts we make the world
Speak or act with a pure mind
and happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakeable

“Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate

“Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Abandon such thoughts and live in love

In this world we encounter and are aware of much bad behaviour. It is important to do our best to not condone or allow this, but the spirit, the state of mind, we have towards these “wrongs”, is crucial to our own health and happiness.

i feel compelled to add one thought here. I said that the greatest key is what we choose to think about. 

The mystics tell us that the key is connection with Spirit, what some call God. Eastern mystics talk about realizing our true nature as divine.

I believe that this is true, but for most of us, on the level of consciousness we live on, the more immediate answer is watching the content of our mind and choosing good thoughts. On the simplest level, if we find ourselves thinking “he abused me,” etc., we can recite some affirmation, mantra, prayer, or even baseball statistics, anything to keep from going into anger and bitterness.

Wisdom is realizing
Them is us 

Can i explain that? No. You either feel it to be true, or not.
Let’s leave it at that.




Most people go through life never knowing explicitly the unconscious “frame” they view the world through.

What d
o YOU believe?

  • Are there higher laws which control material reality, or is it all just what we can touch, smell and taste? Are people material beings, or are we, as Wayne Dyer says, spiritual beings having a material experience

  • What do you believe that we need to be happy

  • Is the universe basically a safe and loving place, or a hostile environment?

  • Why are we alive?

  • Are our lives at the mercy of forces beyond our control, or is society a co-creation of all of us, the result of our collective choices? How important are our individual choices? Do we have choices?

  • Is there enough or not enough abundance in the world for everyone to have a decent material existence. Is the world like a sporting event, in which for one person to win the other must lose, or is it like a trade agreement, which if skillfully done benefits everyone?

  • Is it “every man for himself” a/ka “dog eat dog” a/k/a competition or is it “we’re all in this together” a/k/a “the human family”. What are our boundaries of compassion=who/what is it ok to treat badly/exploit. Is it OK to profit by somebody else’s suffering?

  • Do people have to do or be something, (smart enough, ambitious enough, whatever), to deserve (whatever)

  • Are there bad people, or are bad actions the result of woundedness and ignorance. Do your mistakes mean that you are a bad or defective person, or or they lessons to learn from?

  • Do we believe in dominating or dialoguing and cooperating with others?

  • Can one person win if another loses, speaking in spiritual terms?

  • Do we care about others, including animals? What are the boundaries of our caring? Ourselves, family, group, race, nation? Where do we emotionally draw the line?

  • What are our beliefs and relationship to nature? Is the earth and it’s ecosystem just a commodity for our profit, or do we value them for their own sake?  Do we have any responsibilities to the earth?


In NLP, neuro linguistic programming, there are very useful tools for understanding why people make the choices they do, for example why some people spend their money without thinking about the future, why some minds seem stuck in the past, etc. Rather than repeating what is in other books, go get some NLP books from the library. I believe they are a cornerstone of understanding how your and other minds work.

WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES IN LIFE? This is not about right or wrong, it is about telling yourself the truth about yourself. What are your priorities? Name and fame? Sex? Money? Success at work? Relationships? Whatever else? Whatever your priorities, usually they are unconscious. Take a sheet of paper and write them down, in order of importance, and you will have a guide to how to make choices in your life.


In this work, for the most part I have been talking about the subconscious mind, but there is another perspective that has validity, another way of understanding the issues.Most of us, when we think or talk about our body, we mean our physical body. That’s it, the only one we have. Is it?

In yoga, they say we have five bodies, among which is an energy body. Along with this they say that we have energy centers, organs of the energy body which serve certain functions such as health, relationships, etc. (this is a gross simplification). Every problem of life can be viewed as an issue in one of the chakras, and worked on accordingly.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they talk about meridians, lines through which energy flows, almost like blood vessels for energy, almost like plumbing. When you have a block in your kitchen plumbing you have problems. A block in your energetic plumbing means problems.

Negative feeling and emotions, anger, resentment, guilt, shame, hatred, etc. creates blockages in chakras and keeps your energy from flowing properly, blocks you from health and happiness. Even with the technical descriptions of the energy system, what you are giving your energy to is all important.

In Shamanic work, they talk about someone stealing, or you giving away a piece of your soul to people in your life, often parents, lovers, close personal relationships. Now if we said someone stole your ring, or you gave it away, we would all understand that, but what if in some way they take a piece of your energy. Picture that, almost as if someone reached into your wallet and took out something, or you gave it to them.

Once you start picturing yourself as having additional bodies it changes your whole perspective in life. When you meet people, even before you shake hands or whatever, your energy bodies may have touched. Your energy bodies may be touching someone a thousand miles away. Just play with the idea for a while, see how it feels, how it changes your perspective on relationships and interactions.

Along with this idea is the idea of an energetic cord between people, as if there is a power line going from one house to another. Everyone has heard stories of people tapping into a neighbors’ TV or power or whatever service. What if the same thing has happened between you and a parent, in some way they are drawing part of your energy. Caroline Myss talks about this a lot. Also find Sandra Ingerman’s work, and Cyndi Dale, and others. Also Marie Manuchehri’s work.

So maybe what you need to do to heal is what in Shamanic work is called a soul retrieval, or perhaps you need to do other practices so that you are not giving away or leaking energy. Try it, see if it works. It does in many cases.


Lynn McTaggart has excellently written several books in which she went to scientists all around the world, and the answer seems to be yes. Oln some level, we have access to every signal in the universe. Akashic records, thoughts, it’s a big concept. If this idea catches your interest, read her book The Field as well as her other works.



Be as conscious as you can be in every thought, word and deed of your life
that’s a pretty tall order, but that’s what being alive is about, being fully conscious.
“you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.

What we all really need and seek is love
Once you get past our physical needs, which are what most people focus on, I think our deepest need is love. Love is connection. This implies connection with others, connection with spirit, and connection with ourselves. Connections and intimacy of all sorts, including touch, conversation, sex, understanding, fulfillment, self expression, being of service to others, and you can probably add to this list

Time is the coin of the realm
Whatever you do in your life, you need the time to do it. Time is subjective. If you are low energy, an hour can feel like five minutes. If your chi is high, five minutes can feel like an hour. No matter what, you must make the time available to yourself to charge your own batteries, which means doing practices such as meditation and yoga.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint
 is an important word these days. Living a sustainable life is not just about how you spend your money, it’s about how you live your life. Are you living a life which creates joy and health, for yourself and others, or are you run down, tired, unhappy? Could you live the life that you are living:
eating the food you eat,
doing the job you do, for the amount of hours you are working,
functioning emotionally in the way you are functioning,
and all the rest
for the next 40 years, and be happy and healthy?

Be totally honest with yourself
about who and how you are and have acted.

As far as i can tell, so many Americans come out of their childhoods deeply wounded, and then ignore or deny their pain, and sooner or later it catches up with them. Now i’m not suggesting wallowing in your pain, because that’s almost worse, but there is a balance to be struck, and it starts with facing as it is, now, here, in this moment.

Be willing to face every shadow in your psyche, and remember the deepest truth, that ultimately  we are spirit. Don’t get stuck in problem solving, and don’t use that as an excuse for not facing your flaws.

Love, accept and forgive yourself exactly as you are right now, in this moment, with all your faults and sins, with whatever mistakes, small or terrible, you may have made.

Extend that love, acceptance and forgiveness to all beings, particularly to those against whom you have any sort of anger or grudge. To the extent to which you forgive them, you are forgiven.

Remember that the bottom line truth of many, perhaps most, spiritual teachings is that there is nothing but god, or spirit, or whatever word you want to use, which means that we are part of It. Underneath our human imperfection is divine perfection, and the best problem solving you can do is to realize that truth, and i am not speaking about intellectual realization, but spiritual realization that you feel.

The deepest, most important changes in a person’s life
are the changes in consciousness.

The more we bring our human consciousness into alignment with divine consciousness, the healthier our thoughts, words and deeds, the less mistakes we make, and the easier and happier our lives get.

Pain and suffering
Pain is a physical sensation. Suffering is wanting things to be different than they are. Resistance is suffering. 

This is subtle. Certainly if your child is sick, or if people are being tortured, it is important to do everything you can to help. However, if in your mind, the voice is saying “this sucks, this really sucks, they are horrible people”, and as a consequence, you are getting stressed, your blood pressure is going up, etc., that helps nobody, and hurts you, and hurts your ability to help and be effective in your attempts to help.

I realize just how easy this is to write, and how hard it can be to practice. All we can do is the best we are capable of, in any given moment, but remember, the mind thinks only one thought at a time. If you consciously recite an affirmation or mantra or prayer or anything, that is what you will be thinking, rather than “he beat me, he robbed me, he abused me”.


Why do we so often not do what is good for us,
and do what is not good for us?

Smokers know they shouldn’t smoke, junkies know it’s killing them, women consistently attracted to bastards know they are suffering, yet they all continue.

We all know we should eat right, exercise, rest more, yet so often we don’t. 

Why is this?

I found an excellent answer in the Louise Hay book, You Can Heal Your Life,  probably the best self help book i’ve ever read. Her answer, as i understand it, is that it all stems from our internal attitudes toward ourselves.  Do we really love ourselves, not in a narcissistic, superficial way, but in a deep way. Do we believe that we deserve good, or do we somehow believe that we are bad, and deserve punishment, and so our lives vary from attracting and creating pain and suffering into our lives, to the less extreme not allowing ourselves all the joy and abundance we could have, to really letting ourselves feel good.

I’ll give you an example from my own life. I know that doing my daily yoga practice is the best thing in the world for me, yet i sometimes go weeks without it. Now Louise has an exercise, in which you look into a mirror and say to yourself, i love myself, over and over again. Sounds hokey, doesn’t it. Well, when i do this, suddenly i find myself doing my yoga, eating better, feeling better. It works. For whatever reason, i was not allowing myself to feel good.

I’ll go a little farther. I personally believe that we are all telepathic, that on some level we call people into our lives, that somehow we know the opportunities out there for jobs, etc., and allow or don’t allow ourselves to manifest them. On a more basic level, our attitudes, whether we wake up feeling positive, or negative, because everything comes down to a feeling, doesn’t it.

The common world view is that we are victims, the events of our lives often just happen to us. I’m not going to go so far as to say everything that happens is under our metaphysical control, but i will say that my belief is that we live in a loving universe that wants us to be happy, and if we love ourselves, we maximize the joy available to us, and i really do believe that so often, we create our own suffering. This is a deep subject, why is there suffering in the world.  

Chi, prana, energy The Chinese word is Chi, the Hindu word is prana, what it means is your vital energy, your life force. Think of it in the same way you think of the energy in a battery, a rechargeable battery. Step one is to learn how to recharge your battery. Step two is to learn how to run on electricity, so to speak, how to tap into universal energy as you go about your activies.

The word energy gets used very loosely. I am talking about a specific, quantifiable force which, if we had the proper equipment, we could measure and say, for example, you have 85 units of life energy. Perhaps we could measure before and after a set of angry thoughts, saying, you had 85 units before getting angry, now only 70 afterwards.

My experience of my life is that if i have done practices to build my chi, my personal energy, then all of a sudden everything seems to go right. Appointments are on time, sessions are good, i perform well whatever i am doing. Conversely, when my energy is depleted, things seem to tend to go wrong. Start noticing in your own life if this is how it is for you, and if so, you now have a tool to make a bad day turn good, which is to take some time to do some practices.

Take responsibility for your emotions
it is just as much of a mistake to take offense, as to give offense

Many people go through life blaming others for their feelings. They have very little or no control over their reactions, and they suffer for it.
Nobody “made” you feel angry, sad, whatever. They acted a certain way, you reacted a certain way. It is 
your responsibility to learn techniques of the mind to keep balance. The buddhists stress this. It can be learned.

Let’s distinguish between pain and suffering. Pain is when someone slaps you. Suffering is how your emotions feel in reaction to that.

Speaking from personal experience, life becomes a lot more pleasant when we practice this. We humans make a lot of mistakes, many of them with our words, many of those words spoken thoughtlessly, in haste, fear, anger. Let’s all cut each other some slack for our mistakes.

What do you value?
The song said everything you want to be. Well, what do you want to be, what is your ideal, as Edgar Cayce put it. Forget the lip service, be honest with yourself. Put your time and energy at the service of what you value and you’ll get it,. See deeply, with insight, as the Tibetans put it, what is truly valuable, and then be honest with yourself, and if you really want to be rich and famous, go for it, because you can’t lie to yourself. Sooner or later life will educate you as to what is truly valuable.

there is no security in this world
No matter how much money you have, no matter how good your health, how wonderful your family, how great your job, you could lose it all. A car crash, stock market crash, hurricane, etc., your life changes. The only real security is your relationship to God/spirit/the universe/whatever you call it, your only dependable resources are the treasures of character/spirit/soul, which you have built up through practices. Knowing this, we appreciate what we have more, because in truth, we can not take anything for granted.

The Body Doesn’t Lie
You can tell yourself anything, but your body will tell you the truth, and if the way you are living isn’t serving you in the deepest sense, your body will call your attention to it, probably you’ll have health problems. If you don’t feel physically good,
 if you are not experiencing the joy of being in your body, if your mind is not at peace, if you do not have good relations with people, if you are always rushing around, never have enough time, you are poor, no matter what your net worth. It’s time to do some work on yourself.

Nature is the healer
One of my definitions of poverty is being indoors in nice weather. Being in nature is healing to body, mind, and connects us with soul. Nature is the temple. It’s a pity that some people have become so cut off from the sky, the breezes, the trees, the air.

If you have become so used to heated rooms and conditioned air, you may have to make a gradual transition. Bundle up if you feel cold, take it slow, but get used to being outdoors and the odds are very high your spirits will improve.

have-do-be or be-do-have
I took a number of workshops with a woman named Dominique Sire. She used to say, most people think you HAVE something, for example money, so you DO something, for example take a vacation, so you ARE something, for example happy.
She used to say that actually it works the other way. You ARE something, for example peaceful and happy, so you DO something, for example create a work of art, so you HAVE something, for example, money when you sell it.—————————————————————————————-—————————————————–


In Zen they say, no attainment, and nothing to attain.
happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.
be here now, it’s all you really have

(not to be confused with inaction or condoning bad behaviour)

So far much of what I have written seems to be directly opposed to these ideas. It is not. If you are feeling the need to make changes in your life, acceptance is accepting that feeling and doing the work. The masters tell us that at some point one gets the understanding that it’s all perfect just as it is. I believe that, but not being there yet, the path of spiritual evolution involves doing the work. The Buddha’s last words were “work out your salvation with diligence”, even though eventually we may see that it was all a game.


The goal of our lives is to be happy and healthy.
The question is, what are the best ways to do this?

ask yourself these 2 questions:

1) am i willing to be,
am i allowing myself to be,
do i feel i deserve to be,

2) am i willing to,
am i allowing myself to,
do i deserve to,
know the Self?

Certainly we need the material things in life, good food, shelter, etc, and material pleasures are not to be scorned; they are a gift to us from the Universe. As we learn and grow, we discover that there are higher joys and fulfillments to be found, the satisfactions of a job well done, appreciation of art, and other non-material pleasures. At some point we find fulfillment in our interactions with others, our emotional relationships. Later still, we realize that we truly are all connected, that for us to be happy and healthy, we need to live in a happy and healthy world, and so we find ourselves finding deep satisfaction in service, perhaps even service to people we may not even meet personally. 

Yet, beyond all this, there is a peace and joy which the mystics speak of, a quote I read inThe Perennial Philosophy, by Aldous Huxley, “joy is the surest sign of the presence of god”, and this is referring to mystics of all faiths, not necessarily christians. I write as one who has had a few small tasters of this experience, just enough to know that it is the real thing, worth paying any price for. I only wish i knew how to make it a permanent experience. Short of that, i pursue the goal of being the best human being i can be.

Actually, I believe that it is everyone’s purpose in life to be the best human being they can be. It amazes me that people spent worlds of time pursuing material goals, yet do not even take the time to give their bodies the rest and movement they need to be physically healthy, yet alone do the work of becoming mentally and emotionally healthy. People seem to invest in everything but themselves. I realize the fear that drives so much of this, and i realize that often the drive for material success is based on self worth issues, and i think that it is so important to invest the time necessary to do the things which truly create health and happiness.
The whole message i wish to convey is very simple
It is everyone’s assignment in life to be the best human being we can be.
Make that top priority in your life, put in the time and diligent effort, and you will prosper.

My firm conviction is that our unconscious runs our lives. Everybody says they want to be healthy and happy, but from what i can tell, their conscious minds may be saying yes, but their unconscious is saying NO! 

Step 1, from which all else naturally follows, like water flowing downhill

1) Get in touch with your unconscious. discover the reasons which cause it to block your health and happiness, for example, by keeping you self destructive in your eating, and get it to the place of being willing to allow yourself to be fully happy and healthy. 

This is not done by willpower, but by listening and finding better alternatives for your subsconscious to achieve it’s goals. Also, noticed i use the word allowing. We all so clearly have the urge to be happy and healthy, and i don’t think we have to force ourselves to do the things which are good for us, i think that we would naturally do them, if our subconscious motivations were truly to be happy and healthy. 

The best explanation i have found for why we don’t do this, is that in our earlier years we get an attitude towards ourselves, an attitude which says “i deserve to be happy”, or an attitude which says ” I deserve to suffer”, and then we do everything in our power to make this come true.

For a start, explore these books
NLP, The New Technology of Achievement
You Can Heal Your Life -Louise Hay
Bodymind Ken Dychtwald

Once your conscious and unconscious are truly in alignment with the goal of creating  health and happiness for yourself, then there are a million practices andd techniques, and you will naturally be drawn to the ones which are best for you in any given moment.

People have physical body, mind, emotions (which are the link between body and mind), and energy body. For everyone i would recommend daily practice of meditation and Qigong, which nourishes the energetic pathways of your body. Just as your car needs gas, and your cellphone needs charging, so too does your energy. Then, at the most basic, your physical body basically needs proper nutrition, movement/exercise, and rest


“Everything you want to be, you will be in the end”, 
the Moody Blues, from the song nights in white satin

“Do the work, get the paycheck”- Jay Dancing Bear

Practices are what transform us.

We spend hours reading the paper or watching TV and think nothing of it. Is it such a big deal to meditate or do yoga for an hour?

The phrases personal growth, higher consciousness, enlightenment, get used a lot. What do they mean? 

To me, personal growth and transformation means, are we better off than we were, even though we’re not perfect yet, and probably never will be. In my own case, i used to have a mind filled with angry thoughts all the time. I have a lot less these days. In that way, i feel i have higher consciousness than i did, more peace, better health.

Perhaps there is some absolute state called enlightenment, I don’t know. What I do know, is that

What we can all experience is to feel better.


Information is only useful to the degree it leads to transformation, otherwise it’s just entertainment. There are tons of books giving detailed metaphysical explanations of how the Universe works. Great, how will that help you be happier, healthier, more at peace? It may but only if you use that in some way, if it affects your understanding and behaviour. Otherwise, should we go to a movie tonight, or have a past life reading, or read about the 7 spheres? Nothing wrong with it, but don’t confuse that with growing and evolving. The key is the use you make of it to change yourself, and that is about practices.

Information is like hearing about food. Yes, it’s important to know what to eat, and Practices are the eating. Practice is what transforms us. Whether it’s a yoga workout, a sufi wazifa, tibetan tong-len, or Christian Stations of the Cross, or even just thinking deeply on what you have read or heard or observed.
Do the work, get the paycheck. There are no shortcuts.

The secret of practicing is to focus on what you do, not what you don’t do. For years i set myself goals, i will do yoga one hour a day, i will eat this, i will not eat that, and of course so often i didn’t do it. I always felt like i was behind, trying to catch up, to make up for the workout i missed yesterday, or the ice cream i ate. It didn’t work. The day i started making progress in my life was the day i started counting every bite of good food as a victory, every minute of yoga as a victory, feeling good about what i had done, not worrying about what i hadn’t.

Just do something each day. If you don’t do exactly the workout you planned, OK, just do something. It all adds up.
Intention, motivation are key. The more your motivations are unselfish, the more power there is in your practice, 
selfishness causes disease,
and the truth is, we all start from selfishness. We all start from where we are, right now, in this moment.

Start Now!


we are all on this planet for tens of thousands of years in a whole succession of bodies. Some souls are older, some younger, some aged, some infant, and we’re all in this one room schoolhouse called planet Earth and the cosmos. When you see bad behaviour, usually ugly treatment of others, is that the result of people being bad, or is that spiritual immaturity, because the lesson we are here to learn is that All is One, and people who realize that to whatever degree are more compassionate and kind to others.

If indeed we are on this planet for long years, and this life is like one day in a lifetime, and we came here to learn lessons, the biggest being love one another and realize the Self, your identity as a part of all that is, then some of the difficult periods in our lives may make a lot more sense, in the way taking two hours on tuesday morning to work on a difficult task makes sense, unless you think that is all there is.

BUT, it makes sense only if you apply yourself to the task. Do not use eternity as an excuse for not being here now and washing your dishes. The reason we do not remember our past lives is because it would distract us from the task at hand, this life. If we remembered our lives as murderers or kings or whatever most of us would get so lost in regret or vanity or whatever that we would lose focus on this life.

Important note: when I say the task at hand, part of our job here on earth is to enjoy our life. Pleasure and enjoyment are important, in balance, as a part of life, not the goal.


The 168 exercise:
there are 168 hours in a week. How do you spend them? And how would you like to spend them?
Get 168 coins, chips, etc.
First, the ideal
How many hours a week would be healthy for you to sleep. Put those off to the side.
How many hours personal grooming, showers, etc. Subtract.
How many hours would be good for you to exercise, meditate, study spiritual texts.
How many hours for quality food preparation and eating.
How much time with family and friends. Time is the most important family value.
How much time to be a good citizen, educating yourself about issues.
Ideally, how many hours of meaningful work, including commute.
What else.

Now the way it is.

The Forgiveness Mantra

I,___, forgive ____ for any harm they may have done me, knowingly or unknowlingly, intentionally or unintentionally, by omission or comission, in thought, word, or deed, and I,___, ask forgiveness for any harm i may have done ___, knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, in thought, word, or deed.

This has helped me to make peace with so many people i was angry at.
When i first learned this, at the California Vipassana Center, it changed my life.

Everyone knows that if you hit someone, that is violence against them, but
what if saying an angry word against someone is also violence?
What if even thinking an angry thought against them is violence?
and all violence to others is violence to ourselves,
to our own happiness and peace of mind

My belief is that every living being in the world is telepathically connected, that this is part of what goes on in the so-called “unused” part of our brains. What if that’s true. What if every word we ever spoke about people is known to them. How do you feel when somebody says something bad about you?

What if all the hate speech against george bush and the government is percieved by them on some level. What if the loose words i spoke about ___ somehow are felt by them. What if all the suffering life forms on the planet are part of the reason for the epidemic of depression and prozac in this country, because we really do feel their pain. What if we really accept the idea that hurting others is hurting ourselves.

Even if all that is too far out for you, it is true that physiologically negativity equates to stress and creates toxins in our bodies.


BREATHING-THE Most Important Exercise to do

You can live a month without food, days without water, 5 minutes without air.
Take a breath in through your nose. Release it. In again, out again. Notice the sensation in your nostrils. In again, out again. Notice where in your body you are feeling the breath. In again, this time HOLD for a moment, out again. Notice the sensations in your body.

Both Andrew Weil and Gay Hendricks have excellent guided exercises available. I strongly recommend them.


Personal Growth
Private Lessons/Workshops
Socrates Thalassos

If you have gotten interested in personal growth, and would like to speak with a man who has been actively pursuing his own personal growth for the past 46 years, i offer you my services.  After thinking about it for years, I am now hanging out my shingle as a personal growth advisor. I want to make clear that I am not formally trained as a teacher by any particular school, and I make no claims other than that I am sincere in my desire to share my knowledge. These ideas may work for you or may not, I make no guarantees, and I take no responsibility for any effects or consequences you experience, good or bad. You are responsible for the use you make of what I offer, just as you would reap the gains or losses of stock market  advice. I am simply giving you my best understanding as of now, and next week my understanding might grow to a different realization, as might yours. I have spent a lot of time and money in pursuit of my own personal growth. I have meditated, done yoga, tai chi, worked with my diet, have taken workshops, read countless books, listened to tapes, watched videos, lived at Esalen and Harbin, and spent many, many hours of my life doing practices. It is the main focus of my life, what i live for. I love it, and it has improved my life so much. I am far from perfect and still have challenges in my life, but the skills and tools i have learned have served me well and, i believe, will serve you to be healthier and happier. My life has improved tremendously as a result of the techniques and practices which I have learned and practiced.

INDIVIDUAL GUIDANCE SESSIONS I offer very simple sessions. We talk, perhaps over tea, perhaps while taking a walk. You tell me a little bit about what’s going on in your life, what you’re looking for, i offer you some suggestions on how to manifest it, how to be happier and healthier. Then it’s up to you to do the practices. 

Personal Growth Workshop
For Beginners

The goal of this workshop is to give you an experience of being awake, alive, in your body, in community.

This is a beginner’s workshop, we’re not going to do anything radical.  It’s for people who are becoming interested in personal growth, and want an easy introduction, from an experienced walker on the path. Remember, you have the choice to participate or not in any exercise. 

This workshop is a grab bag of different things i’ve learned over the years. It is different every time. if you take it ten times, it will never be the same twice.

The opening is the same,
I will say, as a musician i know that the most important thing is to tune up before we start. Sound tunes our energy, our chakras. Let’s stand up, hold hands in a circle, right hand down, left hand up, because traditionally we give with our right and recieve with our left, forming a circle of energy, and let’s tone, opening our mouths and throats, allowing the sound OMmm to vibrate us. We’re going to do this for a while, maybe 5 minutes. It’s not about how it sounds, as far as quality of singing voice, it’s about how it feels in your body, letting it vibrate you.

The next thing we will do is sit down, in a circle, and briefly introduce ourselves, giving our name and why we’re here.

After that, we’ll see.


*    Learn ideas and practices which will help you to be healthier
and happier   

*    Get a new perspective on our needs and priorities

*    Be more comfortable with ourselves and other people

*    Reconnect with ourselves and natur

*    Be in community with people who share our interest in
personal growth




mirror work
council work

massage (clothes on)

and more!

One thought on “Personal Growth 101

  1. I have been going through a period of intense self work. The bottom line seems to be
    “I am willing to recieve the love of Spirit” “in the form of ______(whatever i am wanting to manifest)


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