Your Inner Power

We all have a unique and wonderful power within us which holds the key to our ultimate happiness and fulfillment. It originates from the way we think, and what we imagine, say and do.

This inner power is non-physical. When we are attuned to it and allow it to guide and support us we are enriched in every way. We are happy, prosperous and at peace. We have the courage to follow our dreams.

There’s a Native American parable about an Indian brave who found an eagle’s egg when out hunting. He took it back to his village and placed it among some eggs being hatched by a hen. In due course, the eaglet was hatched along with the baby chicks. As it grew, it scratched the earth with its claws and pecked at worms on the ground. It learned how to flap its wings like the other baby chicks. It even clucked like a chicken.

Then one day when he was old, he looked up and saw a magnificent bird gliding across the clear blue sky. He was in awe. ‘What’s that?’ he asked the chicken next to him. ‘That’s the Golden Eagle, the king of the birds,’ came the reply, ‘but don’t you try that. We can’t fly. We are chickens.’ The old eagle never gave it another thought and died, as he had lived, thinking he was a chicken.

You are an ‘eagle’. But do you think, feel and act like one? Or do you think and behave more like a chicken?

Oprah Winfrey once said: ‘People do what they know how to do, and when they know better they do better.’ In other words, we all have the means to raise our consciousness, improve our lives, be happier and play our part in making the world a kinder, more loving place.

Some find this a rather frightening prospect. At the start of a recent seminar, I promised participants that they would feel happier, more fulfilled, less stressed and more at peace with themselves if they took on board the ideas presented that day. Immediately a smartly dressed lady rose from her seat and left. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘I’ve made a mistake. This isn’t for me.’

Down the years I have acquired a vast number of insights and shared them with thousands through my teaching, speaking and coaching. They have worked for everyone who applied them. But don’t take my word for it – find out for yourself. You will soon find out how powerful they are.

What Do You Really Want?

When it comes to deciding what we want out of life, most of us set our horizons low. Generally people want to be happy, healthy, prosperous and secure; to feel good about themselves, have a circle of friends, good family relationships, peace of mind, and work which is personally fulfilling and makes full use of their talents; a variety of social and leisure pursuits, happiness and fun. They also want to be respected by others, to love and be loved, and be free.

Does this ring true for you?

  • Do you love what you do?
  • When you feel frustrated, do you still maintain a deep feeling that what you’re doing is right for you?
  • Is there anything you’d rather be doing?
  • Do you cope easily with the stress in your life?
  • Do you have a positive attitude most days?
  • Are you prosperous?
  • Do you enjoy rewarding relationships with most of the people you meet?
  • Do you feel enthusiastic about life generally?

In the past, a sign of success was having time that wasn’t committed to earning a living. Do you find a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from your, or do you work mainly for the money?  If you work only to earn money, you will always feel poor! There are many unhappy millionaires, and many relatively poor people who enjoy contentment and peace of mind.

Imagine the kind of life you would like to lead. Think about this carefully. Be aware that one of the main reasons why people don’t get what they want out of life is that they’re not clear on what they want.

Which of these are these important to you?

  • Being able to live as you choose and do what you want, making your own choices, not beholden to others.
  • Being able to use your time as you wish.
  • Knowing that life has some meaning for you and that you feel good about what you do.
  • Health – being free from illness and having sufficient energy to carry you through each day.
  • Enjoying the people you live with, including your partner, your children and wider family.
  • The pleasure that comes from an active, varied and fulfilling social life.
  • Interests and pastimes that provide enjoyment and take your mind off the pressures of life.
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you have made a contribution to society. You don’t have to make a global impact –  helping those around you is just as important.
  • Enjoying life and trusting that things work out for the best.
  • Feeling good about yourself and growing as an individual.
  • Being comfortable with yourself as a spiritual being.
  • Have I missed any?

Many people have never given these questions much thought; but without clarity our inner power is stifled, like the eagle that thinks it’s a chicken!

©David Lawrence Preston, 6.5.18, all rights reserved.

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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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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.

Wire Opera, Curitiba (2)

©David Lawrence Preston, 24.1.2018

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Simplify your life for happiness

If you really want to be happy and less stressed, simplify your life. Reduce your dependence on possessions. Surround yourself only with things that meet your needs and delight you.

  • Give up the need to have more. ‘More’ is one of the mantras of the ego, which believes ‘I never have enough’ and ‘If I don’t get it I won’t be happy’.
  • Give up the desire for luxury.
  • Shun ostentation.
  • Choose simple tastes that place less strain on the environment.
  • Learn to use less expensive things in more creative ways.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be less prosperous. Truly prosperous people do not need to burden themselves with unnecessary personal possessions. They know instinctively that they will always have sufficient for their needs.

When you’re gripped by an impulse to acquire something new, ask yourself:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Why?
  • Will it bring me more ‘pleasure’ than ‘pain’?
  • Have I kidded myself I need it to be happy?

If you don’t need it, don’t buy it! Resist the persuasive skills of the marketing and advertising industries! Research has repeatedly shown that once we have enough to feed, clothe and house ourselves, each additional item makes little difference to our happiness and well-being.

Clear the clutter

Free yourself of unnecessary paraphernalia. Don’t hang onto things just on the off-chance that one day they may come in useful. This attitude is born out of fear that one day your needs won’t be met, which keeps you rooted in poverty consciousness.

If you don’t need it, get rid of it. If you haven’t worn something for a while, let it go. Recycle anything you can’t use or give it to charity. Clear out your drawers, cupboards, shelves and every nook and cranny, and once you’ve cleared a space, don’t refill it. A good clear-out leaves you feeling lighter and clears the channel of supply enabling you to receive more of what you really need and value.

‘Wealth beyond what is natural is of no more use than an overflowing container.’

Epicurus

©David Lawrence Preston, 5.6.2017

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Buddhist Economics and Good Work

One of the greatest statements on living simply is to be found in E. F. Schumacher’s book, ‘Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered’.

One chapter, ‘Buddhist Economics,’ points out that consumption is not the purpose of life but merely a means to an end. Our aim, he argued, ‘should be to obtain the maximum well-being with the minimum of consumption.’

Using clothing as an example, he suggested that the most economically efficient approach would be to provide warmth, comfort and an attractive appearance for everyone, with the least amount of effort and minimum destruction of natural resources. Collecting a wardrobe full of clothes we hardly ever wear simply doesn’t make sense. We could toil less and have more time for other pursuits. This would also put less pressure on the environment.

When we go for maximum well-being with minimum consumption, we help to make the world a kinder, gentler place, and it doesn’t mean depriving ourselves because we’re gaining much more than we lose, including time for ourselves and our loved ones.

Good work

Another E.F. Schumacher book, ‘Good Work,’ spells out the two main purposes of work – to provide for our needs and, just as importantly, to express our gifts and powers. This is equally important because if we work only for money, we never be prosperous regardless of what we earn.

If your work is unfulfilling, change it. Find work that you enjoy, uses your talents and allows you to make your best contribution. When you do what you love and put your heart and soul into it, providing it benefits others and not just yourself you will be taken care of according to Spiritual Law.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 1.2.2017

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Let go of envy

Let go of envy.  Envy does untold harm to physical and mental well-being.

When you envy what someone else has (or appears to have), you establish poverty thinking patterns in your consciousness. You divert your attention away from factors under your control (your thoughts, words and actions) to those beyond your control (what others do, say and have). And what do thoughts such as these attract? More envy, more scarcity!

So what if someone has more than you? They are no better or worse; they have just made different choices. You cannot know the struggles they have gone through to acquire that ‘stuff’, nor debts they owe, nor the weight of responsibility it brings.

Instead, take pleasure in others’ prosperity and wish them well, thus adding to your own feelings of contentment.

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.2.2017

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Is it unspiritual to be poor?

Some religious people and theologians believe that it is unspiritual to be poor. They argue that poor people are unaware of the spiritual principles by which our wants and needs are satisfied. Wealth, they say, is a cosmic ‘thank you’ for our contribution to the world. If we have plenty, it’s because we give plenty. If not, it’s because we don’t give enough.

What nonsense! Do cosmic ‘thank you’s’ only come in material form? Does every wealthy person offer above average service to humanity?

What about those who inherit wealth, hoard it, or make their money by trading arms, child pornography, tobacco products, illegal drugs or people trafficking and so on? What about those whose businesses or investments pollute the oceans or destroy the rain forests? And isn’t this insulting to the millions who work hard to provide for themselves and their families without ever becoming rich, many of whom are far more spiritually attuned than the mega-rich?

Spirituality and wealth are not related. You can be poor and unspiritual or rich and unspiritual; you can be rich and spiritual or poor and spiritual. What matters is the consciousness with which you approach life.

However, spirituality and prosperity are related. Spiritually aware people manifest what they need, use it wisely, share it with others and feel good about what they do. That should be your aim too. Enjoy what life has to offer, but don’t get so caught up in worldly matters that you lose sight of the bigger picture.

Do you have to be poor to be spiritual?

Most of the great spiritual teachers (including Yeshua of Nazareth, Prophet Mohamed and the Buddha) had few possessions. Some gave up great wealth to spread their teachings.

So do you have to live in poverty to be spiritual? Not at all. There is nothing inherently spiritual about living on the bread line. Even the Buddha, who turned his back on inherited wealth to live as a humble monk, taught that it is not necessary to deprive ourselves. It is selfishness and greed – not material sufficiency or comfort – that clash with spiritual values.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.2.2017

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Prosperity theology

It is popular in some religious circles (especially in the USA)  to argue that accumulating wealth is not only a worthy pursuit but also a spiritual activity. I disagree.

I attended a seminar some years ago given by a minister of a ‘prosperity church’ from the USA. She argued that it is OK to acquire as much as you can because when you take more, supply expands and there is more to go round.

This argument contains a glimmer of truth; it’s true there is plenty for everyone’s needs (although as Gandhi pointed out, not for our greed). The universe teems with energy and intelligence, all capable of manifesting into physical form. However, until we harness it and use it to provide for all in an equitable manner, we risk ignoring the less well-off, squandering resources and destroying the life support systems of the planet, all of which are consequences of pursuing narrow self-interest.

Today, half the world’s population is undernourished while the other half suffers from excess. Every year, more people are born into absolute poverty and ever-increasing areas of land become infertile due to soil erosion and global warning. Poverty breeds crime, violence and war – they’re the price we all have to pay.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 4.2.2017

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How to Books 2007

Everything material is impermanent

Every material thing you have will one day cease to exist in its present form. Even your body will return to the dust from which it was made.

The consequence is clear: if you chase after possessions, hoard them and rely on them for security, you make yourself a slave to things that inexorably deteriorate. They are not a stable basis on which to build your happiness.

People who are highly acquisitive are often too busy or stressed to enjoy life. Think of the effort and expenditure to which some go to ensure that they are up to date with the latest fashion trends so they can win the admiration of others similarly inclined – and yet in a very short time, the items on which they relied for their feelings of pleasure lose their appeal.

Wouldn’t it be better to attend to something that brings lasting benefit – the qualities of consciousness that bring lasting security, happiness, love and peace of mind?

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.2.2017

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How to Books, 2007

 

The Joy of Simplicity

‘There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at this present moment and it’s because you’re thinking or focussing on what you don’t have.’

Anthony de Mello

There’s a paradox in matters of prosperity and spirituality. We live in an abundant universe and yet most of the great spiritual teachers were exponents of the simple life, shunning wealth and status. Do we have to deprive ourselves to get in touch with our spirituality?

Absolutely not! But there is a balance to be achieved between seeking material possessions and pursuing spiritual goals. Modern life appears complex and busy, but our needs are really very simple.

Socrates, a leading proponent of the simple life, loved going to the market in Athens. When asked about this, he replied, ‘I love to go and see all the things I’m happy without.’

Once we have a steady supply of the essentials, a little for pleasure and some put aside for a rainy day, extra money and belongings make very little difference to our happiness.

When we live simply we discover, like Socrates, that there are pleasures that do not depend on possessions and countless things we’re content to live without.

‘It’s the preoccupation with possessions more than any other things that keeps us from living freely and nobly.’

Professor Bertrand Russell

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.2.2017

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How to Books, 2007