Instructions for "Watching Traffic in Your Mind":
Meditation isn't about emptying the mind of all thought, it's about being able to observe thought without getting involved with it.
This is a key skill when doing the Six Step Process. If you are not aware that you are in an upset because you have gotten carried away with it, then you won't be able to recognise that choice point where you either (a) pick up your Six Steps to Freedom book, or (b) you stay in the upset.
This meditation is a great way to practice strengthening the muscle of choice!
"My mind is not my enemy. It is what I do with it and because of it that can hurt me." - Forsyth & Eifert
As strange as it may sound, emotional pain is an experience that I have come to appreciate, deeply.
No, I’m not a masochist. When I feel bad, or hurt, or upset in any way I still want to be free of that painful experience.
But along the way, I have come to see my pain in a new light.
I don't avoid it anymore. Instead, I found a new way of appreciating pain. It has opened me to more joy, more peace with myself and with others.
In the past, my usual way of dealing with pain was to suppress or repress it. Faced with emotional suffering, I tried to push the uncomfortable feelings into the dark corners of my mind. From those corners, the pain would eventually find its way into the body, appearing as disease.
I know firsthand the heartache that comes with having a teenager who struggles with eating disorders and other self-harming behaviour. Helplessness combines with guilt and even shame. I was fortunate to discover how to be happy despite our circumstances, and learned that not only could I be happy, but by being happy I was helping my child. That’s why I must debunk the myth that we can only be as happy as our least happy child. This unfortunate concept condemns parents of unhappy children to life sentences of misery. It doesn’t have to be this way and what’s more, the unhappiness parents suffer contributes to the ongoing misery of their children...
Here are a few reasons why being a happy parent actually helps a child:
One of the key ideas we use here at Choose Again is that “nothing outside of me can bring me anything I want.”
Many of us are already familiar with this idea. We know that "happiness comes from within.” Or at least we have learned to accept this, intellectually. As familiar as this idea may have become by now, it is always worth taking a pause over.
There is a great treasure buried underneath the simplicity of this statement - “nothing outside of me can bring me anything I want.”
In this blog, I would I like to offer a way I have found to “dig deeper” into this treasure. If nothing else, it can offer you a fun and thought-provoking way to think and reflect on a statement that might have already become a dry cliché.
So, allow yourself a few minutes in which to reflect, and to enjoy. If you have a journal nearby bring it, or you can use anything to write down what you will discover.
One question we often get asked at Choose Again is - what is the purpose of a relationship?
And in particular - what is the purpose of a romantic relationship?
The purpose of a relationship - from the point of view of Choose Again - is to reflect back to me the core beliefs that I still need to work on. In other words the purpose of the relationship, is to bring out of hiding all the false ideas I have about myself.
It’s a fact - I will always attract into my life someone who will reflect to me the areas that I most need to work on. In fact, that is the real purpose of the relationship. This is true for all relationships - whether they are intimate relationships or working relationships.
The key is to not be afraid of what my partner will reflect back to me. I need not fear the conflicts in the relationship, but welcome them.
I was looking through some quotes the other day and I ran across one that said something like:
Be good to yourself. Forgive yourself. When you treat yourself well life will treat you well.
I eyed it dubiously and then moved on to other sources. I was bothered by it, though so I went back to re-read it. It is an idea that I have heard many times over the last few years, expressed in a variety of ways.
I am uneasy around it because it sounds like something the small self would grab onto, in pursuit of building a better small self. I agree that it is important to love, forgive and be true to myself. But I cannot do or be any of these things as long as I am attempting, from the ego, or false identity, to be more forgiving, or loving or self-accepting.
It was in February 2017 that I first heard about Diederik Wolsak’s work and the Six Step process.
At that point I had been a student of the Course in Miracles for 4 months and had been hoping for the miracle that would take me out of the deep anxiety and the feeling of hopelessness that I felt on and off for years. My life had become one coping mechanism after another for years, between a desperate spiritual practice, tools and medicine journeys, workshops, study groups and I had spent thousands of Dollars and countless hours in online courses to try to find out what was wrong with me – I figured there had to be something wrong with me because despite all the efforts, and the deep spiritual journeys, realizations and having lived in an Ashram for years nothing seemed to last more than a couple of days or weeks at best, before that same old feeling of desperation and being a failure came back. What was wrong with me??
You will often hear Diederik refer to the 'Ripple effect' of the work we do at Choose Again. This is where one person comes to the Intensive Retreat Centre, or a Workshop, and experiences the transformation that the Six Steps to Freedom provides. Then, they take that transformation back to their family, or place of work, and people are curious about what has caused this change. Then, they try the work for themselves!
This is always a privilege to witness, and we want to share with you the story of one family who took this one step further, and started hosting Choose Again workshops in their purpose built Yurt!
“If you think you're enlightened, go spend a week with your family” (Ram Das)
Many of us, are profoundly dreading the upcoming holiday season. The idea of being in close quarters with a less-than-functional family can send cold shivers down the spine of even the most enlightened being.
“How am I going to handle all the intrigues and unresolved issues that are ever-ready to explode over the dining table? When will it ever end? And how do I get out of this hell-realm alive?”
Thankfully it doesn’t have to be this way.
In conjunction with our upcoming weekend workshop, "Harmonious Relationships make Happy Holidays" we’ve asked the staff at El Cielo to share some reflections about their past holiday experiences. We wanted to find out whether and how their view of the holidays have changed by applying the Choose Again methodology.
We hope their perspective will inspire you.
As many of you know, if you have been to El Cielo or a Choose Again workshop, each day ends with gratitude. Around the dining table, everyone shares the things that they are grateful for or the people they are grateful to from the day - ending it on a high note. It feels terrific!
Studies by psychologists and psychiatrists have concluded that grateful people
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