- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
The Journey Begins
What we care about —our hopes, dreams, values, and aspirations—are often buried deep in the unconscious. Most of us were raised in a society that supports making deals with ourselves and others in order to survive. We trade what we care about in order to get what we think we need Or we trade what we care about for what we are told we are supposed to want. We are socialized to place a title, recognition, or a position above that which might give us pleasure, satisfaction, or fulfillment. Yet, deep inside, so many people are asking, "Is this it? Is this what I've been working so hard for? Is this what I really want?"
An early part of our journey together is to help you uncover your true identity from a soul level, your true sense of Self. This leads you to discover and accept openly and fully your personal gifts and talents, your wildest hopes and dreams, your personal sense of purpose, and the gifts you wish to share with the world. It involves an honest look at your life, what works and what doesn't, which of your paradigms are serving you and which are keeping you from achieving what you desire At its core, this is a journey of personal transformation. In this chapter, we will discuss the "how-to" process of discovery and transformation and lay the groundwork for your soul-mission quest.
Personal transformation does not necessarily mean "doing the job better," moving into a higher income bracket, getting a promotion, or improving a skill Any of those things and much more may happen as a part of your journey, but they are all part of your "outer" life. Personal transformation is an "inner" life process that begins at a fundamental level It is about becoming your true person rather than a new person. It means reevaluating who you are, what you do, why you do it, and with whom or for whom you do it. It is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and to the world, because ultimately you are giving the gift of you in your highest and most fully developed form. It's the gift of stepping out of the mindless rhythm of daily life to see the bigger picture and the hidden agendas and meanings behind all that you are and do as you present yourself to the world. It's about recognizing all that you are capable of as a divine creation. It's about knowing yourself completely, and through that knowing, being able to harness all of your power and love. It's about living as a dynamic and creative being in the universe.
Transformation means shifting paradigms. Paradigms are belief systems or structures that, consciously or unconsciously, shape every aspect of your life. James Ray, author of The Science of Success, defines "paradigm" as "the sum total of our beliefs, values, identity, expectations, attitudes, habits, decisions, opinions, and thought patterns—about ourselves, others, and how life works. It is the filter through which we interpret what we see and experience." For example, a child who is constantly criticized for everything he does develops the belief that he can't do anything right. This becomes a paradigm that says, "I will always be a failure." On the positive side, the new college graduate who has great success in her early professional life develops a paradigm that says, "I am confident and capable, and can succeed at anything I choose."
We begin forming our paradigms unconsciously from life experience during infancy and early childhood. (We will talk about how that happens in chapter 9.) Through adolescence and early adulthood, those paradigms begin to shape our lives. As time goes on, new paradigms form as outgrowths of the original ones and the life experiences they have shaped. It becomes a circular process. Experience leads to paradigm formation, which leads to more experiences, which lead to new paradigm formation.
We can easily go through life oblivious of the whole process, wondering why we are where we are and why things didn't turn out the way we thought they would. Transformation, however, is a conscious process—one that demands our intention and attention. Personal transformation means change. And if you want to change your life, you must first change your paradigms.
I invite you to look closely at your life and recognize where you are perhaps stuck in a box of limited thought, as well as to acknowledge and celebrate where you experience freedom. What do you allow to define your life? If your job defines your life, you have allowed the job to become a box for your life, confining you to its parameters and limitations. However, if you see your life as a moving, breathing, dancing essence of Love that uses your job as a vehicle for expression, you are free. Your job serves you rather than you serving it. If you allow your religion to define your beliefs and lifestyle without your conscious choice, your religion has become a box and a lens through which you perceive and process life. If, however, your religion is a living, breathing, flexible structure through which your sense of spirituality dances freely and finds its home, you are free.
Any belief system, lifestyle, or spiritual practice lies somewhere on a spectrum that is at one end complete liberation and at the other a deadly trap. A free life is one that is ever expanding, renewing, discovering, revealing, and becoming. It is your choice as to how you create your life, and how much freedom or limitation you wish to live with.
When we live within limiting paradigms, we tend to make uninformed choices. We see choices as black and white or either/or, recognizing very few possibilities. For example, one such limiting paradigm might be that in order to achieve personal gain, someone else must lose or be pushed down. Another might be the assumption that something is impossible simply because we haven't yet been able to accomplish it. We hold on to paradigms and preferences based on habit, not on what we really know in our heart of hearts that we want. We have gotten used to certain patterns in our lives, and are reluctant to shift those patterns. However, we are living in delusion if we expect our lives to get better without making an effort toward personal change.
Perhaps the most limiting paradigm of all is that our way is the best way. When we have found something that works for us—a belief system or way of doing things that we perceive has made our life better—we feel compelled to get others to believe and live as we do. However, there are many paths on the road to enlightenment. Rigidity, too many rules, or too-tight structures leave little room for individual expression and freedom. And that's what this journey is all about—expressing your individual, divine essence as a soul set free to experience the ecstasy of doing what it came here to do.
Gandhi said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." His words are an important key to this journey. Ultimately, we cannot change anyone or anything outside ourselves that does not wish to be changed. However, we can change ourselves, our perceptions, and attitudes. By disciplining thoughts to create new paradigms, we free ourselves to construct a world we wish to live in. If we want our world to change, we must first change ourselves.
Changing yourself begins on the inside. If you are unhappy in your job, simply changing your job will not necessarily make you happy. Unless you address the root of your unhappiness, which is probably a much deeper issue than just your job, the chances are good that you will draw another job to you in which you are once again unhappy. When you come up against conflict in relationship, walking out of the relationship may seem like a quick solution. However, the same fundamental conflict will continue to come up in subsequent relationships until you address the inner conflict that the outer situation is mirroring. It is like going in search of a new mirror because you don't like the reflection you see in the old one. Changing the mirror will not change the reflection. Only a change in you will create a new reflection in the mirror. Rarely is there a time in our lives when a problem we face does not reflect an inner issue that we need to address. The challenges we face in our outer world help us see the challenges we need to recognize and work through in our inner world.
So, how exactly are we going to do all of this shifting, changing, growing and transforming? The answer is in a step-by-step, systematic process. And the first step is to look at our concepts of process.
Although our Western, rational thought process tries to make it so, life is not linear. It never was, but the slower pace of past generations created the illusion that life was a linear process. A hundred years ago, one could expect that, at least in appearance, life would flow in a straight line from point A to point B to point C. This is not the case in the 21st century world. As time seems to be speeding up and life is becoming increasingly complex, we more easily see life in its real circular or spiral pattern. This is not circular as in geometry, but rather a flow of moving in and out of truths, concepts, life circumstances, lessons, and thoughts. A century ago, you could expect to be born into a family, follow the accepted educational or vocational training for your gender and social standing—raise children and keep house if you were a woman, or go to work for the family business, a factory, or other establishment if you were a man. If you followed this path, you could expect to live out your life in relative security. Security went beyond having a stable income source; it included knowing the rules for living, and being certain that no one would change them without you knowing about it.
Today, you are born into a family, begin an educational or vocational training path of your choice—regardless of gender—and may take time to explore many possibilities before settling on a career path. In fact, you may change career paths a number of times within your professional life. We rarely find someone who begins at point A even knowing what points B and C will be, let alone exactly what the path is to get there. It seems that we start at A, have some vague idea of what and where B might be and begin the journey, only to have many other opportunities and possibilities come up long before we ever get to B. If there are 10 steps to a process, chances are we begin with step 1, then move to step 2, then maybe to 4 or 5 before returning to pick up 3, and then on to 6, and so forth, as we make our way to complete all 10 steps. We may also do more than one step at a time. Or, we may complete the first several steps and realize that we are being instinctively called to another path and set of steps entirely.
In today's pop culture, people speak of living "in the box" or getting "out of the box." "The box" refers to a carefully-constructed box of beliefs or circumstances that create a feeling, albeit often false, of safety and security. The reality, however, is that "the box" doesn't work anymore. The rules of life are changing so fast that it often seems there are no rules anymore. What a liberating feeling and what a tremendous challenge, all at the same time! I saw a poster years ago with a quote from Thomas Edison: "There are no rules here. We're trying to get something done." I share that quote with every new group of students as we begin our work. Letting go of the rules sets the soul free to create as it wishes. The ego, however, longs for a structure that sets boundaries and makes the rules for us.
Full-spectrum living involves being willing to start from scratch, listen to soul mission, and create your own set of rules. It involves creating a structure for life that provides stability while at the same time sets us free. Then ego can feel secure once again. The difference is that this time the structure and rules were created by soul rather than by outside forces that may or may not be in harmony with your true mission. Role models for how it has always been done, for "in the box" living, abound. However, role models for full-spectrum living built on freedom and soul mission are much harder to find. We must be our own role models, and find our own way. And the way is a circular process—in, around, and through, weaving the web of our lives. We must learn to listen to the wisdom of our soul and trust its guidance.
Although we may not recognize it as so, our education process is circular. Reflect back on your schooling; most everything you've ever studied you first began to learn about at a fundamental level in the first few grades of school. From then on, you kept coming back to the same subjects, each time adding a new layer of knowledge and understanding. In kindergarten and first grade, you first began to know the alphabet and then began the first levels of reading. Each year you continued to develop your reading and comprehension skills, in part by formal education, and in part by simply using those skills on a daily basis. In those early grades, you learned about numbers and how to add and subtract. As time went on, you studied multiplication and division, geometry, algebra, and you have continued to work with numbers your entire life. In each subject, year by year, you learned more details, refined more skills, and developed deeper understandings of concepts. You kept coming back around to the same basic subjects and taking your knowledge and skill to the next level. Yet every new level of study required that you remember everything about the previous levels. Sometimes you had to go back to review previously learned concepts so that you could take the next step on the learning ladder.
The same is true with this book. We will learn some fundamental concepts, and then keep coming back to those concepts and looking at them from different perspectives, exploring them at deeper levels, and understanding them more fully and completely. Your linear self will say, "You've already talked about that." But your circular Self will say, "Good, I'm glad we're here again. I want to understand this concept more fully and apply it to where I am right now."
Our Western cultural tendency is to think of learning as acquiring knowledge, developing a skill, memorizing facts, taking in information. However, learning can be so much more. Learning, at its highest level, is personal transformation. Learning at this level involves questioning views, opinions, and beliefs, acknowledging areas of our lives where we need to grow and expand, and opening to the possibilities that lie within our boundless potential.
Learning is a proactive process. It involves moving forward, not standing still. It involves developing awareness through personal experience, not just reading about it in a book or collecting facts. To really know something in a dynamic way, it has to get into your cells. You must have integrated that information into every aspect of your life. In our 21st-century world, the facts are always changing, or being influenced by other facts. When we embrace the concept of circular flow in the learning and development process, we can move forward at an astounding pace.
I define "Spirit" as the all of the everything that is. It has no particular form yet it embodies all forms. You may call it God, Love, Universal Mind, Creative Force, Great Mystery—whatever term you are comfortable with is the term you should hold in your mind when I say Spirit. I have worked in partnership with Spirit for many years. That partnership has evolved to the place where I live in constant dialogue with Spirit, not only in my daily meditation practice, but in my activities, as well. The dialogue began in my early days of meditation simply as a sense or feeling of Spirit being present. In time, I began to feel as though Spirit was communicating ideas or thoughts to me. As I got more comfortable in receiving that guidance, our communication expanded to include words and visual images. I heard a "voice" speaking to me and saw inner "pictures" or "movies." As I disciplined myself to focus and receive from Spirit, many beautiful teachings were given to me—teachings that I knew I was to share.
Excerpted from Soul Mission, Life Vision by Alan Seale. Copyright © 2003 Alan Seale. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
|Part I||How Life Works: Understanding the Human Experience||1|
|Chapter 1||The Journey Begins||11|
|Chapter 2||Choosing Freedom: Claiming Your Life||25|
|Chapter 3||Creation by Intention||39|
|Chapter 4||Entering the Silence: The Gift of Intuition||45|
|Chapter 5||The Laws of the Universe||57|
|Chapter 6||The Human Energy System: Chakras||85|
|Part II||Identifying Mission, Creating Vision||113|
|Chapter 7||Soul Mission||115|
|Chapter 8||Life Vision||127|
|Part III||Paradigms, Mind, and Thought||139|
|Chapter 9||Paradigms: Hidden Keys to Creation||141|
|Chapter 10||The Universal Trinity of Creation: Concept, Form, Action||153|
|Chapter 11||The Power of Mind and Thought||159|
|Chapter 12||Taking Stock of Your Present Situation||179|
|Part IV||Manifesting Your Vision, Living Your Mission||191|
|Chapter 13||The Manifestation Wheel||193|
|Chapter 14||Manifestation House 1 Intention||199|
|Chapter 15||Manifestation House 2: Peace||207|
|Chapter 16||Manifestation House 3: Energy||219|
|Chapter 17||Manifestation House 4: Guidance||229|
|Chapter 18||Manifestation House 5: Empowerment||239|
|Chapter 19||Manifestation House 6: Action||253|
|Chapter 20||Manifestation House 7: Surrender||267|
|Chapter 21||Manifestation House 8: Legacy||275|
|In Conclusion: The Journey Forward||281|