Can We Really Think And Grow Rich?

In the Victorian era success was believed to be about hard work, serious effort, application and persistence, and maybe a slice of privilege or good luck.

Later Deepak Chopra and other ‘New Age writers taught that by raising our consciousness we achieve everything while doing nothing, and it doesn’t matter what our background.

Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, writing in the 1930s, laid one of America’s most influential and barely recognised authors, Dr Napolean Hill.

I first came across his seminal work, Think and Grow Rich, in the late 80s. At that time I taught in the business department of a university. One day, the secretary of the students’ association invited me to attend a talk given by a former professional footballer who had gone on to make a fortune in the insurance industry. The subject was Think and Grow Rich.  At first, I wasn’t attracted to what I thought (wrongly) was just another book preaching ‘greed is good’. Remember, in this was the Thatcher era. Government ministers showed little empathy for the poorest in society, and every week on TV Harry Enfield’s comic character ‘Loadsamoney’ could be heard mocking the lowly paid as traditional industries collapsed around them.

But I attended. An hour and a half later I was convinced that this was exactly what we should be teaching our students. This was the missing link between academic and vocational success and in many ways the key to happiness at all levels.

Napolean Hill was just starting out on his career in journalism when he met the industrialist Andrew Carnegie, at that time reputedly the world’s richest man. Carnegie, a Scot, had arrived in the USA penniless. He was convinced that the formula for success could be identified and expressed in simple terms that anyone could apply. They made a deal. Carnegie would introduce the young journalist to five hundred of America’s most financially successful men. Hill would interview them and publish his findings. No money would change hands since Carnegie reasoned that once Dr Hill had completed his task, he would need no payment from him.

TAGR was first published in 1937. It was an immediate success. The first five thousand copies quickly sold out despite there being no advertising. Another ten thousand copies were printed, then another twenty thousand, and all sold out within a few weeks. To date, more than fifteen million copies have been sold.

What is the formula that Dr Hill so eloquently articulated? It is based on two sets of ideas – The Six Steps to Riches and the Thirteen Step Programme to Wealth and Success.

Here are the Six Steps:

  • Fix in your mind precisely what you want. ‘Know what you want’, wrote Dr Hill, ‘and you’ll generally get it.’
  •  Determine what you intend to give in exchange. You have to give before you can get, and nothing comes for free.
  •  Establish a definite date by which you intend to have it.
  •  Make a plan and start right away. If the plan isn’t working, amend it, but never give up.
  •  Write a statement of intention on a small card and place it where you can see it. This keeps your goal permanently etched in your mind.
  •  Read the statement several times a day. Let your subconscious mind absorb it.

These Six Steps are complemented by thirteen action points and principles:

  • Desire is ‘the starting point of all achievement, and the first step to riches.’ Dr Hill wrote, ‘All success starts with selecting a definite purpose, the desire to achieve it, and commitment to it.’
  • Faith: ‘a state of mind which may be induced or created by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind through the principle of autosuggestion.’ ‘There are no limitations other than those we impose on ourselves,’ wrote Dr Hill, ‘because both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.’
  •  Auto-suggestion: self-administered suggestion in the form of affirmations to be used morning and night and frequently in between.
  •  Specialised knowledge: Contrary to the well-known maxim, knowledge is not power, but potential power. It only becomes power when it is organised into plans of action and directed to a definite end
  •  Imagination: Everything starts out as an idea waiting to be brought into expression. Imagination may be cultivated through relaxed visualisation, which also strengthens belief in attainment.
  •  Organised planning is the crystallisation of desire into action. To be sure of success, argued Dr Hill, you must have plans that are faultless. You also need a Plan B (and a Plan C and maybe D).
  •  Decision: Lack of decision is a major cause of failure. It causes procrastination, ‘a common enemy which practically all must conquer.’
  •  Persistence: Dr Hill had much to say on this subject. ‘Persistence is to the character of man what carbon is to steel,’ he wrote. ‘No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.’  And ‘every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.’
  •  The Master Mind: No individual has sufficient knowledge and experience to succeed massively without the cooperation of other people. The Mastermind is the harmonious coordination of knowledge and effort between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.
  •  Sex Transmutation: Sex energy is the creative energy of all geniuses, but it must be channelled into constructive activity.  This means the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression to thoughts of some other nature.
  •  The Subconscious Mind:  Dr Hill wrote that the subconscious is ‘a field of consciousness in which every impulse of thought is classified and recorded and from which thoughts may be withdrawn as letters may be taken from a filing cabinet’. It receives and files impressions or thoughts, and draws upon the forces of Infinite Intelligence for its power.
  •  The Brain: Every brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought being released by other brains. ‘Our brains become magnetised with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds,’ and ‘the circumstances of life harmonise with the nature of our dominant thoughts.’ Dr Hill was teaching the ‘Law of Attraction’ long before it entered the popular imagination.
  •  The Sixth Sense (or intuition) can be understood and assimilated only by mastering the other twelve principles.  This is the receiving mechanism by which ideas, plans and thoughts flash into the mind, and the medium of contact between the finite mind of the human being and the Infinite Intelligence.

So what made Think and Grow Rich the runaway success that it became? Well obviously it offered hope at a time of great economic hardship and was based on thorough research and experience. ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve,’ became his most famous phrase. Since we all have the ability to desire, to think, to imagine, our destiny is in our own hands. Moreover, since the Infinite Intelligence does not play favourites, riches are within everyone’s reach.

But there’s more. Far from being a mere formula, it is a profound work of practical and spiritual philosophy. Hill believed there were universal forces beyond our intellectual understanding and identified the blockages that prevent most of us rising above the daily grind, most of which exist only in our limiting thoughts and imagination. He drew on ancient wisdom, that we accomplish nothing without the Power (or ‘Infinite Intelligence’) that works within us. And he gave us tools that anyone able to think and act for themselves could use.

There’s little doubt that virtually every Western success coach and motivational speaker owes Dr Napolean Hill a huge debt without necessarily acknowledging his influence. Most of the self-help books that I have read merely regurgitate his ideas using modern, NLP-influenced terminology and up to date examples. Many of today’s motivational gurus are slick, polished performers well versed in the persuasive arts (take a look at the YouTube clips of Napolean Hill and you’ll see he was none of these things), but scratch beneath the surface and you soon discover that they add little to Dr Hill’s original work.

But here’s the rub. On the surface, TAGR appears to be about financial success, but look a little deeper and you realise it’s much more. ‘Riches’ do not just consist of money – they are anything just and worthwhile that your heart desires. Dr Hill said so himself.  Health, happiness, friendship, peace of mind, love… all are ‘riches’, subject to the same principles of acquisition.

Can we think and grow rich? Certainly. And as Dr Hill concluded, ‘when riches begin to come, they come so quickly and in such great abundance, that you will wonder where they have been hiding during all those lean years!’

 

© David Lawrence Preston, 22.2.2018

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All visible things come from the invisible and depend on the ‘unseen’

Before Einstein, the world was thought to be a collection of atoms behaving according to fixed and observable ‘laws’, and space was exactly that – empty space. This explanation seemed to fit the data in Newton’s day, but it changed with the advent of Quantum Physics. We now know that matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. Break an atom down to its ultimate components, and we find microscopic particles spinning at great speed around a central core. What appears solid is actually more than 99.99% empty space: billions of tiny particles flying in formation, held together by an invisible force field. Everything in the universe is made up of energy. Even space is not really empty: it is a ‘presence’, an inexhaustible ‘potential’ that manifests in places as matter.

Moreover, when particles are studied in detail, they don’t actually exist! Rather, they are tendencies to exist. They appear and disappear millions of times a second and move at inestimable speeds. We can’t even assume they exist when they are not being observed. Quarks – subatomic particles – change according to who’s observing them and the nature of the observer. For instance, if the observer is angry, he creates irritation in what is being observed!

Biofield

Everything, including you, came out of an invisible energy field which, when investigated, is shown to have nothing in it!

How does it feel to know that everything you see, hear, smell, taste and touch is made up of particles that don’t actually exist?

If nothing exists, then how is it that things appears solid? It’s because our consciousness (our awareness and beliefs) tells us so. It is playing a trick on us. Nothing is solid, except in our imagination.

For example, take a pile of bricks. You can’t see through it. It feels solid. You believe it is solid. If you were to try and break it with your hands, you would injure yourself. Your belief would be proved valid through painful experience.

A martial arts expert looks at a pile of bricks differently. He does not perceive it to be solid. He focuses his mind, directs his energy and smashes it with his bare hand without the slightest pain. His belief is also proved to be correct.

Who is right? Both! If your consciousness tells you that something is so, it is. For you.

©David Lawrence Preston, 15.2.18

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Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day. For many people this means it is a day of flowers, chocolates and greetings cards slushy, humorous or both. We may think this is a recent invention like Fathers’ Day, but that’s far from true. Valentine’s Day dates back many centuries and has its origins in 3rd Century Rome.

St Valentine is thought to have been a priest who conducted marriages against the wishes of the Emperor Claudius who believed married men made poor soldiers.  When Claudius found out he sentenced Valentine to death, but even while languishing in gaol Valentine fell in love with the gaoler’s daughter. He wrote her a letter on the day of his execution, February 14th, signed ‘from your Valentine’.

Valentine’s Day celebrations originated from a Roman festival called Lupercalia during which boys picked the names of girls from a box. The chosen would become their girlfriend for the festival. If they got on, they would get married. Later the church adopted Lupercalia as a Christian event in which St Valentine would be commemorated. In the Middle Ages they believed that February 14th was the start of the mating season for birds.

The first known Valentine’s Day message dates from 1415, a poem written by the Duke of Orleans to his wife when he was incarcerated in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt.

Valentine’s Day is now an annual love-fest welcomed and enjoyed by millions. It’s a day of flowers, chocolates, romantic meals and intrigue – tradition has it that cards should be sent anonymously and some people go to enormous lengths to disguise the sender’s identity. Sometimes messages are serious, sometimes just a bit of fun. And maybe that’s the point. Enjoy it, but don’t take it too seriously. It’s the froth on the coffee, not the coffee itself!

Want to know more? Visit http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2018/02/love/

Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing

I was asked to give a talk on love for Valentine’s Day. I accepted. Shouldn’t be too hard, I thought. After all, everyone wants to love and be loved, don’t they? I soon wished I hadn’t. Like Prince Charles I couldn’t even decide – what is love?

I trawled the internet. I found the views of poets, philosophers, psychologists, theologians, novelists and neuroscientists. This merely confirmed my suspicion that the word means very different things to different people. For example:

  • My dictionary says love is ‘Deep affection or fondness; a concern for, and commitment to, each other.’ (But what about love of life, love of country, etc?)
  • At a conference of sociologists in America in 1977, love was defined as ‘the cognitive-affective state characterized by intrusive and obsessive fantasizing concerning reciprocity or amorant feelings by the object of the amorance.’ (Are you any the wiser?)
  •  Psychological researcher Havelock Ellis took a simple view: love = sex + friendship. (Not very satisfactory.)
  •  M Scott Peck (Author of ‘The Road Less Travelled’) defined love as ‘Concern for the spiritual growth of another.’ (A good one, but what does it really mean?)
  •  In his book, ‘The Four Loves’, CS Lewis says there are four main types of love – affection, friendship, eros/romantic love, and charity. (Would Aslan agree?)
  • My favourite came from Plato, written 2,500 years ago, that love is a noble idea, or ‘form’.

Love as a ‘Form’

Plato believed that behind every tangible thing is an idea, or ‘form.’ These are independent entities which exist whether or not we are aware of them and able to grasp them with the mind. For example, behind the physical form table is the idea of table. So love exists in the universe as an idea and as an ideal. We only become aware of it when it enters our experience. My experience of love is different from yours, meanwhile, the idea of love (also wisdom, justice, honesty, beauty and so on) remains constant, permanent and unchanging.

Plato’s ideal of perfection was love that is:

  •   Fearless
  •   Constant
  •   Non-discriminatory
  •   Unconditional
  •   Completely unselfish, and
  •   Endlessly forgiving

He urged us not to judge by appearances, but seek what is real, not what merely looks real. And perhaps that’s where many of us go wrong. We confuse real love with something rather less, and in doing so, we condemn ourselves to constant disillusionment and disappointment.

So let’s consider love from a number of different perspectives, to try and discern what is real.

Sexual attraction

Anthropologist and ‘love expert’ Professor Helen Fisher, author of ‘Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love’ (2004), regards love as merely an instinct driven by a collection of physical and hormonal changes over which we have no control. She claims that the brain has three chemical systems for dealing with love – one for sexual attraction, one for romantic yearning and another for attachment. The first draws you to a person; the second motivates you to focus your attention on them; the last enables you to stay with a mate long enough to rear children.

When working properly, these systems ensure we meet the right match and sustain that connection over time. But it can also warp our senses, distort our perceptions, play havoc with our thinking and cause us to behave – to put it mildly – most unwisely! And in no area is this more true romantic love. For example, research has shown that men lose the ability to think rationally in the presence of a pretty woman (did we really need research to prove this?). The face, body and any sexual signals given off consciously or unconsciously can easily override common sense.

Romantic love

Romantic love is usually thought of as strong feelings reserved for one special person. Sometimes indistinguishable from infatuation, it is unpredictable and frequently beyond our conscious control. When we fall in love, our bodies are flooded with feel-good chemicals such as testosterone, dopamine and serotonin. It’s as if a switch has been thrown and a different programme has started to run. In the early phases, when sophisticated bio-feedback sensors are attached, scientists find the effect on the body is similar to the effects of an obsessive-compulsive disorder!

The main problem with romantic love is that something suppresses the usual fault-finding mechanisms – we’re blinded and deafened to the reality of the other, including their so-called defects. That’s why a honeymoon has been described as ‘a short period of doting between dating and debting’.

And yet romantic love is highly prized in Western Society. Our media are obsessed with it and full of articles on how to find it. They mostly focus on attracting the person you fancy by appealing to their five senses: how to dress, how to use your voice, what perfume to wear, how to kiss, choosing sexy foods, and so on.

Romantic love renders our normal self-protection systems useless. Perceptions are distorted, clear thinking faculties disabled. Our biology knows this, which is precisely why the feel-good chemicals that act as they do. If they didn’t, our DNA would have a much smaller chance of being passed on!

If the loving relationship is to survive, romantic love must transform into something else – deeper, long lasting – and more practical. So our biochemistry adjusts, as we shall see.

Love as needs fulfillment

Motivational experts tell us that all motivation and ultimately behaviour is based on perceived needs. These needs may be physical or emotional, rational or irrational.

A friend told me this story. Two elderly men were talking.

‘I hear you’re getting married,’ said the first.

‘That’s right.’

‘Do I know her?’

‘Don’t think so.’

‘Is she good looking?’

‘Not really. She has a face like a pig.’

‘Is she a good cook?’

‘Dreadful!’

‘Then she must have lots of money.’

‘Not at all.’

‘Is she good in bed?’

‘No idea. Never tried.’

‘Then why on earth do you want to marry her?’

‘Because she has a car and at 82 can still drive!’

It’s interesting to think of what needs love fulfils – or what needs we hope, expect or want love to fulfil. There are physical needs of course, but in this day and age, in the West at least, most of our needs are, in fact, emotional. Some psychologists believe that love is simply a blend of emotions with survival value.

Love as an emotion

Emotions are part of our biology – they are, in effect, physical responses to our thinking and our belief systems. They can feel wonderful, but they can also bring misery. They can ruin our ability to think clearly, which is why acting on our emotions is not always the best way. As we mature, we leave childish emotions behind and earn more adult ways of functioning. Or do we?

Not always. Many of us fall in love with people who aren’t necessary right for us. ‘Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with?’ Among the reasons people make this mistake are:

  •  Looking for someone to take their pain away, to remove loneliness, self-doubt, poverty, etc.
  •  Trying to make themselves complete through another person.
  •  Romantic delusions: For example, ‘We need each other so badly’, or ‘I want to marry you and have your children – see how much I love you? How unselfish I am!’

Needs based ‘love’ is all too often bound up with emotions such as fear and selfishness. It can arouse fierce passions such as jealousy, possessiveness and revenge, and can easily be confused with:

  •   Co-dependence – ‘I need you; I can’t live without you.’
  •   Conditionality – ‘I’ll love you, but only if…’
  •   Lust – ‘I fancy you.’
  •   Romance – ‘I love the fantasy I have of you.’
  •   Hope – ‘I love you but I wish I could change you.’

Long-term loving relationships

The things that first attract us to each other are not necessarily those which keep us together. It used to be said that humans are one of the few species where a couple naturally stay together to support the offspring they have created. In reality, this may no longer be entirely true, but is still seen as the ideal. Stable societies depend on stable family groupings, which is why it is regulated by law and enshrined in religion and custom.

Old couple

Where the will to stay together is present, the transformation to long-term loving relationships is supported by our body chemistry. The feel-good chemicals endorphins and oxytocins replace the sex hormones, and the hormones that initially made us blind to the reality of the other person subside. Now we see them as they are, warts and all! Unlike romantic lovers, long established couples are all too aware of their partner’s failings!

We may ask ourselves in this cynical age whether ‘happy ever after’ is still a realistic possibility? Or indeed, whether it ever was? Perhaps people in previous generations were simply more orientated towards duty and necessity?

I believe it is, but only if both partners realise:

  • No-one person can meet all your needs. Don’t expect them to. And don’t allow them to expect it of you.
  • No two people match perfectly. We may never be fully understood by the person we had hoped would understand us.
  • You are still individuals even when together – as Kahlil Gibran advised, ‘Let there be spaces in your togetherness.’
  • And remember, love does not equate to idolatry

But as we all know, sadly it doesn’t always happen. A man was attending the burial of his recently-deceased wife when someone asks: ‘Who is it who rests in peace here?’ ‘Me, now that I’m rid of her!’ he replied.

This joke is at least 1600 years old. It was discovered with some ancient Greek writings. Nothing changes!

Perfect love

To return to Plato – how many loves do you know that meet his criteria for perfect love? If you are in a one-to-one relationship, ask yourself: Is our love fearless? Unchanging? Non-discriminatory? Unconditional? Completely unselfish? Endlessly forgiving?

Romantic love by its very nature cannot meet these criteria, being needs-based, short-lived, conditional (‘I’ll only love you if you do all this for me’) and unforgiving. It is also discriminatory – exclusive to one person.

But you may disagree.

Moreover, even the happiest long-term relationships are likely to have most, if not all, of these characteristics. After all, many long-term relationships work on the basis that ‘I’ll do just enough to stop you leaving, if you do just enough to make me stay.’

Again – you may disagree.

Higher love

There’s a third type of human love. It’s a love that goes beyond our families and friends and encompasses all of humankind, perhaps even the whole of creation. Again we must be careful. It’s easy to profess love for those caught in an earthquake on the other side of the world and ignore the illness and suffering right under our nose.

One of the great passages on love was written by Paul of Tarsus. Professor Henry Drummond, a 19th Century scientist and theologian, was so impressed by this passage he wrote a book on it and urged his students to read this passage daily for three months. Many reported that it had transformed their lives.

‘Love is patient and kind. It is never jealous. It does not boast, it is not proud; it is never rude or self-seeking; it is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil and delights in truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, to persevere.’

(1 Corinthians, 13, 4-7)

‘You will find as you look back upon your life,’ wrote Drummond, ‘that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.’

I challenge you: read these words daily. Then put them into practice. After three months, look back on your experiences. You may experience a profound awakening.

But there’s an even greater form of love:

Universal Love

Human love is a pale shadow of the love expressed by the creative intelligence that sustains us, whether you see this in theological terms or as the information fields that quantum physicists tell us underpin the entire physical universe.

Chemically-driven, delusional romantic love, and needs-based, co-dependent love exist only within the confines of our own skin, shaped by human instincts and emotions; but universal love is not an emotion, lays down no conditions, and it does not discriminate. It is the very Life-Force within us. And it meets all of Plato’s criteria – it is fearless, constant, non-discriminatory, unconditional, completely unselfish and endlessly forgiving.

The late, great spiritual teacher, Anthony de Mello, wrote:

‘Is it possible for the rose to say, ‘I will give my fragrance to the good people who smell me, but I will withhold it from the bad? Or for a lamp to say, ‘I will give my light to the good people in this room, but I will withhold it from the evil people?’ These are images of what love is about.  It is around you like the air you breathe and in every atom of your body.’

Think about it: if this were not so, the universe would quickly self-destruct!

You can ignore it, deny it, cut yourself from it (and hence destroy your own happiness), but you can’t stop the flow. Be quiet and still, and you can feel it pulsating in every part of your being. Let it radiate! When we awaken the infinite power of love that lies within us, anger and fear dissolve. Inner peace and contentment are ours.

To quote Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (a French Jesuit priest who died in 1955):

‘The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.’

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 8.2.2018

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The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Fear is at the root of many emotional problems.

  • Fear paralyses; it introduces hesitation and doubt.
  • It creates inner panic; you lose your reason and sense of proportion.
  • Fear looks to the past; it replays images of failure, hurt and disappointment – a reminder that the past could repeat itself.
  • It de-motivates and sabotages self-esteem.
  • Fear can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. You often get what you fear simply because you focus too much of your attention on it.

The irony is that fear is a natural response designed to protect you. It’s a warning, telling you to take care.

When you perceive yourself in danger, your unconscious brings about powerful physical changes. The hormonal glands give your body a shot of adrenaline, your heart beats faster, you breathe more rapidly, take in more oxygen, blood thickens and is diverted to the muscles to give them extra strength. This is the ‘fight or flight response’ – you’re ready for action, and that could be a great blessing. Many people have showed superhuman strength when faced with fear.

Misguided perceptions

The problem arises when the perception of danger is misguided. Many people suffer from unfounded fears; often they know they are irrational, but are unable to do anything about it. For instance, many people are terrified of house spiders, even though very few people have ever been harmed by one. Fear of balloons – the sort found at children’s parties – is widespread. I’ve also come across people terrified of red traffic lights, wheelbarrows, rubber gloves and even going to the toilet! And thousands are held back in their careers by a fear of speaking up at meetings or public speaking, even though it’s hardly life-threatening.

There are over three hundred terms for irrational fears of one sort or another (agoraphobia, claustrophobia, hydrophobia, arachnophobia etc.). What’s happening? These unfortunate individuals are being misled by their own senses. It probably happens to you too sometimes.

Have you ever taken a ride on a fairground simulator, one that promises you all the thrills and spills of a bob sleigh run, a speedboat, glider or Formula One car? Although you know you’re seated in a metal box which never leaves the ground, watching lights flickering on a screen, feeling your seat moving, it’s possible to feel sick with fear. But you’re not really in danger – your brain has merely been fooled into thinking you are.

Realise that, although many fears are instinctive, most are the result of conditioned responses. The perceived danger is not real or of such low probability that it’s not worth getting worked up about. Remember the mnemonic: False Expectations Appearing Real. Fear projects your mind into the future and focusses on what may go wrong. The extent of your fear is directly proportional to your pessimism.

Handling fear

The best way to deal with any kind of fear is to try and understand it. Recognize the fear as soon as it occurs. What’s causing it? Where is it coming from? What’s it trying to tell you?

One of the most debilitating fears is the fear of failure. If you go through life ruled by a fear of failing, failure is guaranteed. When things don’t work out, observe where you are going wrong, make corrections and try again. Don’t call it failure – call it ‘experience’ and learn from it.

Another common fear is the fear of rejection. People go to ridiculous lengths to avoid it. The only way to deal with rejection is to refuse to entertain and don’t allow it to undermine your confidence and self-belief. Other people’s rejection can only hurt you if you have first rejected yourself. Realise that nobody can please all the people all of the time.

Remember, many successful people have been rejected many times, including Colonel Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame), actor Sylvester Styllone (Rocky) (both of whom were turned down over 1,000 times), the Beatles, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Richard Branson.

All too often, as Franklin D. Roosevelt famously remarked, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’

Thirty-odd years ago, Dr Susan Jeffers wrote a ground-breaking book called ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’. It’s a must read. Dr Jeffers taught us not to surrender to fear, but harness it. Focus on your goal not the fear, and remember courage is not the absence of fear, but being willing to proceed in spite of it.

©David Lawrence Preston, 27.1.18

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The Law of Attraction is not what it seems

The two great principles that are said to determine what we make of our lives are the Law of Cause and Effect and the Law of Attraction. Some people have always known their significance, and now this knowledge is becoming known to many more. As the Buddha said,  ‘All that we are arises with our thoughts; with our thoughts we make our world.’

We have the power to think. That’s what makes us human. It’s also what puts us in charge of our lives. What we think about and the way we think determine how things work out for us. Life is like a mirror, reflecting our thoughts back to us as the circumstances of our lives.

But it’s not just a matter of playing with words or repeating affirmations parrot-fashion. The Law of Attraction works at all levels – conscious and subconscious, physical, mental and emotional – and to get the most from it you have to believe and feel with your whole being.

Of course, a positive attitude help you to live a healthier, longer life and be more successful at everything you do. When life is tough, pessimists lapse into in negative self-talk and limiting beliefs and quickly become demotivated. Not only does it lower their chances of success, it actually weakens the body’s natural defences.  Optimists, on the other hand, stay focussed, seek solutions and act quickly to put things right. They have the courage to try out new ideas and are more fun to be around.

But – and this is a big but – there are many misconceptions about positive thinking.  If you were to read some of the mass market books on the Law of Attraction, it sounds so easy. But it’s not. You could be forgiven for thinking that all you have to do is focus your thoughts on something you want and it will show up in your life. Then you’ll be happy.

There’s a downside. If you use this Law from a consciousness of selfishness or greed, you may get what you want, but you will also reap the effects of your intentions. You will attract the effects of selfishness, greed and uncaring (yours and other people’s) and like King Midas will not benefit from what you have.

The Law of Attraction only works to your advantage when you align your thoughts with the highest good for all – love, joy, prosperity and health, not just for yourself, but for everyone and all beings.

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©David Lawrence Preston, 24.1.2018

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A Bioenergetic Recipe for Healthy Eating

Good nutrition is obviously vital for sustaining health, preventing disease and maintaining a positive mental and emotional state, but it cannot be viewed solely in terms of its physical and chemical composition. Food and drink has energetic and informational aspects in addition to the physical; we must get not only the right biochemical components from our food, but also vital energy.

In the modern world, few grow and harvest their own food. Much of the food sold in supermarkets is chemically adulterated and nutritionally lacking compared with the foods of yesteryear, but at least we can make wiser choices to maximise the vital energy in our diet.

Living organisms – including us – are sustained by a vital force or ‘life force’ that cannot be explained in terms of traditional physics and chemistry. To eat and drink healthily, we must know:

  1. What vital energy comes with what foodstuffs? And
  2. What foods are appropriate for you, to provide the vital energy you need, taking account of your body type and lifestyle, etc.

Cooking Methods

The way food is prepared and cooked has a huge bearing on the vital energy it delivers to the body.

There’s nothing wrong with cooking – it is often necessary to make food digestible and destroy harmful enzymes. But we should aim to cook the same way as the body cooks:

  • Lightly sautéing and steaming.
  • No deep frying, which adds loads of fat and reduces the vital energy.
  • Avoid microwaving and refrigeration if possible; they appear to destroy vital energy.
  • If you eat out, look out for the healthier options. Fast foods have little vitality. Restaurant meals in general are prepared under pressure, and may lack vitality.

A Healthy Diet

There are only a handful of rules for a bio-energetically healthy diet. One of these is to choose food that not only contains beneficial macro- and micro-nutrients, but also contains substances (mostly enzymes) for the absorption of these nutrients and the elimination of waste. These substances are found primarily in fruit and vegetables. So:

  • Choose ‘living foods’ (fresh, raw fruit and vegetables, juices etc.) rather than ‘dead’ foods (almost everything else) as much as possible.
  • Choose organic food whenever possible, preferably grown locally and freshly harvested. Growing your own food increases its vital energy.
  • Meat should be raised naturally, grazing in the open air, to avoid the phenomenon of ‘angry meat’ which comes from stressed/unhappy animals.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Many people are functionally dehydrated. Individuals need to ingest healthy fluids equal to their body weight in kilograms divided by 30, in litres. Hence a 75 Kg person needs 2.5 litres of water, fruit juice, herbal or fruit tea etc. per day.
  • Sprouting beans multiplies the nutritional value several fold and is especially good for vegetarians.
  • Consider not only the health impact of one’s nourishment system, but also their environmental and social effects.
  • Make the largest component of your diet fresh vegetables with fruit. Choose fruit and vegetables of different colours; the secondary phytonutrients responsible for the colour are mostly highly effective antioxidants or contribute to lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of disease.
  • Omnivores should choose the lighter sources of protein like fish and lean lamb, chicken and turkey.
  • Vegetarians should make sure they get sufficient high quality protein by including beans, lentils, quinoa and other sources in their diets.
  • Reduce saturated fatty acids. This should be a priority. Replace them with Omega 3, 6 and 9 alternatives such as in avocados, nut butter and seed oils.
  • Sugar addicts should reduce their consumption to an occasional ‘treat’ and replace sweets with fresh fruit and yogurts.
  • Avoid chemically preserved foods and foods with artificial additives (colourings, emulsifiers, sweeteners etc.) as much as possible.
  • Maximise your intake of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules used by the body to stop damage to the cells by free radical molecules[1]. Deep green vegetables, broccoli, red grapes, tomatoes, whole grains, all kinds of berries (especially blueberries), tea, seeds and sweet potatoes all contain high levels of antioxidants.
  • Don’t depend too much on supplements. Supplements are energetically lacking since vital energy comes from the whole food, not just a part. For example, you can take the vitamin C out of an orange, but all the other energetic components are lacking.
  • Prepare food with a harmonious, relaxed attitude. Eat slowly, bless your food and take your time!

Juicing

Juicing deserves special mention because it can have a very positive effect on health. Just one pint of juice a day can have a wondrous effect. Juicing offers up to five times the amount of enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients in ten minutes than you would have during a normal day of eating, without five times the calories. They can also speed up recovery from illness.

  • Juice large amounts of greens, like lettuce, watercress and spinach.
  • Fruit, beetroots and carrots generally have too much sugar, so only use them in smaller quantities (no more than ¼ to ½ the total juice content). Choose green apples rather than the sweeter varieties.
  • Give your body a wide variety of everything the earth has to offer. You have plenty to choose from – kiwi fruit, celery, carrots, parsley, watermelon and so on.

Elimination

It is important to keep the bowels clean. Waste products become toxic after a while, so keep to a routine and move the bowels regularly. A healthy diet (plenty of salads, fibre, wholegrain) assists this process.

Enjoy your food

Think about what you’re actually eating and drinking. The idea that we can pop a vitamin pill to make up for all our bad eating habits is a fallacy, so correct what you’re eating before spending lots of money on nutritional products.

Create your own form of individual nutrition, based, of course, on a sound basic knowledge of the physical, chemical, energetic and informational properties of nutrients.

If you’re not sure what you’re eating, keep a nutrition diary for seven days. At the end of the week, ask yourself what proportion of your intake is accounted for by fats, carbohydrates and proteins? What proportion is fresh fruit and vegetables? Confectionery? Wholegrains? Anti-oxidant rich foods? Etc?

And relax! You don’t need to give up all your favourite foods or make eating a chore!

© David Lawrence Preston, 18.1.2018

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[1] Free radicals are reactive molecules in the body that damage cells and contribute to disease and the effects of ageing.

A Bioenergetic View of Nutrition

Nutrition is one of the most important topics for maintaining good health, preventing disease and maintaining a positive mental and emotional state. But few conventional doctors are trained beyond the basics in nutrition and most understate its importance. My doctor told me less than a day of his seven years’ at medical school was devoted to the subject!

Conventional Western medicine looks at nutrition largely in terms of its physical and chemical composition. It takes account, for instance, of the metabolism of macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micro-nutrients like vitamins and trace minerals. But the Science of Bio-energetics takes a broader perspective. It recognises that food and drink has energetic and informational aspects too, and that people must get not only the right biochemical elements from their food, but also vital energy.

Nutrition must be considered not only from a biological and chemical point of view, but also as a provider of energy such as light and information.

Nutrition from a Biological and Chemical Perspective

Conventional medicine considers food in three main groups – proteins, fats and carbohydrates – plus vitamins, essential minerals and so on.

Carbohydrates are made of sugars and starch. But simple sugars provide only ‘empty’ calories. They have high calorific value but do not contain any vitamins or minerals. Starch is made up of more complex sugars and provides the main energy reservoir of grains, roots, bulbs and seeds.

Fats are energy providers; they have twice the biological calorific value of carbohydrates or proteins and store huge amounts of energy. If there is a deficiency of carbohydrates, fats and proteins are converted into energy. Vegetable fats are primarily composed of mono- and poly-saturated fatty acids. Animal fats are primarily made of unsaturated fatty acids and have a more solid form. Fats (fat pads) pads protect organs from injuries and serve as temperature insulation; they facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins; and are flavour carriers for fat-soluble flavours and aromas.

Proteins are made of amino acids. There are essential and non-essential amino acids. The essential ones cannot be synthesised by the body and must be supplied through food. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, proteins cannot be stored in the body and must be provided on a daily basis. Their best-known function is to build up muscles, but they also serve to store certain minerals, maintain the body’s shape, regulate enzymes and hormones, maintain immune defence and transmit nerve impulses.

Vitamins are crucial to body function and support the healing process, but cannot be synthesised by the body. There are fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K ) and water-soluble vitamins (the rest). Fat-soluble vitamins can only be taken up with fat, which means that we can gulp down lots of fat-soluble vitamins but without fat they cannot be absorbed.

Essential minerals include calcium, potassium and magnesium and trace minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, selenium and iron.

Revitalise

Bioenergetic Nutrition

Subtle energies play a significant role in nutrition. Every cell has innate intelligence so the body knows instinctively what is good for it and what is not. It recognises and welcomes healthy sources of nutrition that meet its needs.

The body also knows what is not healthy and tries to eliminate it, sometimes drastically (i.e. sickness or diarrhoea). Unfortunately many people bombard their digestive systems unhealthy nutrition – sugary drinks, excessive fat, food that has had the goodness processed out of it or is cooked to extinction – until the body is overwhelmed and at the last resort packs up altogether.

Living organisms are sustained by a vital force or ‘life force’ that cannot be explained in terms of traditional physics and chemistry. It (or its lack) is responsible for much that happens in health and disease.

To eat and drink healthily, you must know:

  1. What vital energy comes with what foodstuffs?
  2. Bearing in mind that people are different, what foods are appropriate for you, to provide the vital energy you need? How do you take account of your body type and lifestyle, etc.?

A significant part of your energy comes from food, but food is more than just a source of thermal or chemical energy – because the magnetic, gravitational and light energy of your nutrients are the basis of all of the building and repairing molecules that become your body.

Individual differences

The ancient healers were aware of the need to take account of different body types. For example, the Chinese identified yin (cold) and yang (hot) types. Hot body types need cold food (e.g. vegetables and salads) and cold body types hot food (e.g. meat, onions and spices).

Ayurveda works with three elemental energies or humors: vata (air & space – ‘wind‘), pitta (fire & water – ‘bile‘) and kapha (water & earth – ’phlegm‘). When these three are in balance, the body is healthy; if not, it is diseased. Everyone has a unique combination of vata, pita and kapha. One ingenious way of assuring a balanced diet in Ayurvedic Medicine is to include some of each of the six tastes – salt, sweet, astringent, bitter, pungent and sour – in the diet every day.

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Biophotons in Food

Recent discoveries about the bio-photons that radiate light from the cells of plants and animals reveal a great deal about the health of the body and the food we eat.

In the 1970s, Dr Fritz-Albert Popp showed that living systems depend on light. They exist inside a coherent photon field, and biophotons are responsible for cellular communication and regulating biological functions. He later developed a device to detect biophotons from plant and animal cells which is now being used to determine the quality of food.

Popp also found that healthy people emit light rhythmically and in a balanced way. For example, cancer patients lack these rhythms; multiple sclerosis sufferers exhibit too much light. He concluded that health was a delicate balance between chaos and order. Too much coherence causes the system to collapse. (Consider an army which staggers its steps when marching across a bridge. If all footsteps fell at the same time, the bridge could collapse.)

Some conclusions

Nutrition is crucial in health and healing. It’s also a popular subject in the media – they give out loads of healthy eating messages, many of which are confusing and contradictory.  Healthy eating is big business – large companies promote a variety of eating regimes which achieve mass popularity, only to be discarded when the next fad comes along.

Doctors advocate a ‘balanced diet’ in general, but don’t always give nutrition the attention it deserves, nor grasp the differences between individual patients from a nutritional point of view. Holistic healers have known for centuries that nutrition is important. Dietary therapy is a vital plank of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the Ayurvedic practitioners of India developed a sophisticated approach based on individual body types and the characteristics and tastes of foods.

Mainstream science has a problem with ‘vital energy’ because it can’t be seen, smelt, heard or tasted. Hence it is often ignored. But the best bio-energetic practitioners understand what vital energy comes with which foodstuffs, and how it can be best preserved though the storage and cooking process.

In general, the fresher and more natural the food, the fewer additives and the less processing, transporting, storage and cooking, the higher its bio-energetic value. This is what we should all be aiming for.

©David Lawrence Preston, 15.1.2018

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One Source of Everything?

Today, many scientists believe that we cannot dismiss the notion that there is but one source of everything. For example, in December 2004, a professor of astrophysics from Cambridge University, a man who has spent a lifetime studying the origins of the universe, made this astonishing statement on television:

‘We cannot discount the possibility that the universe and everything in it was created entirely for our benefit.’

Is it possible that the next great scientific discovery will be proof that the universe was brought into being by one all-pervading intelligence that this maintains balance and harmony in the universe? Some leading scientists – including Albert Einstein –  believe so.

For example, when asked about his religion, Professor Einstein replied:

 ‘I do not believe in a God who maliciously or arbitrarily interferes in the personal affairs of mankind. My religion consists of a humble admiration for the vast power which manifests itself in that small part of the universe which our poor, weak minds can grasp.’

Awe inspiring!

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.1.18

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The Best Exercise

Among all the hype for expensive gyms, personal trainers and trendy keep fit programmes, it’s easy to forget that the very best exercise costs almost nothing and is available to almost everyone.

According to research by the LSE, people who regularly walk at a brisk pace for more than 30 minutes at a time are slimmer and fitter than those preferring gym workouts, swimming or cycling. Previous studies had also shown that walking can be effective at warding off disease, lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and countering stress, anxiety and depression.

To get the full benefits, you need to walk for 30 minutes, five times a week, at a pace that makes you slightly breathless and lightly perspiring. Try to walk around 10,000 steps per day – most people walk only 3,000-4,000 steps. Start the walk slowly, speed up, then ease off as you get towards the end. A few gentle stretches before and after to warm up and cool down are also beneficial.

10,000 steps may seem a lot, but simply leaving the car at home and walking instead of catching the bus for short distances can help enormously, as can using the stairs instead of a lift or escalator. However, nothing beats walking in the country at weekend, a stroll in the park or (if you’re lucky enough to live by the sea as I do) a walk on a beach.

And after all – it’s what your body was designed to do!

©David Lawrence Preston, 6.1.18

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