Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously (Osho)

  • The more fearless a person is, the less mind he uses. The more fearful a person, the more he uses the mind.
  • Life is not a problem. To look at it as a problem is to take a wrong step. It is a mystery to be lived, loved, experienced.
  • Fear is nothing but absence of love. Do something with love, forget about fear. If you love well, fear disappears. If you love deeply, fear is not found.
  • If a man knows what peace is, and what mind is, he cannot write a book entitled Peace of Mind, because mind is the cause of all unpeace, all restlessness. Peace is when there is no mind.
  • Why does one feel bored? One feels bored because one has been living in dead patterns given to you by others. Renounce those patterns, come out of those patterns! Start living on your own.
  • Boredom simply means that the way you are living is wrong; hence it can become a great event, the understanding that, ‘I am bored and something has to be done, some transformation is needed.’
  • Committing many mistakes, one learns what is a mistake and how not to commit it. Knowing what is error, one comes closer and closer to what is truth. It is an individual exploration, you cannot depend on others’ conclusions.
  • You cannot bring the new in your life; the new comes. You can either accept it or reject it. If you reject it you remain a stone, closed and dead. If you receive it you become a flower, you start opening… and in that opening is celebration.
  • You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence, courage comes first and everything else follows.
  • Love is not a relationship. Love is a state of being; it has nothing to do with anybody else. One is not in love, one is love. And of course when one is love, one is in love—but that is an outcome, a by-product, that is not the source. The source is that one is love.
  • To me, to be blissful is the greatest courage. To be miserable is very cowardly. In fact to be miserable, nothing is needed. Any coward can do it, any fool can do it. Everybody is capable of being miserable, but to be blissful, great courage is needed—it is an uphill task.
  • Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens if you go on being courageous and more courageous. That is the ultimate experience of courage—fearlessness: That is the fragrance when the courage has become absolute.
  • Basically courage is risking the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar, the comfortable for the uncomfortable, arduous pilgrimage to some unknown destination. One never knows whether one will be able to make it or not. It is gambling, but only the gamblers know what life is.
  • Insecurity is an intrinsic part of life—and good that it is so, because it makes life a freedom, it makes life a continuous surprise. One never knows what is going to happen. It keeps you continuously in wonder. Don’t call it uncertainty—call it wonder. Don’t call it insecurity—call it freedom.
  • All that is beautiful and all that is good and all that is divine can be felt only by the inner sense. Stop being influenced by people’s opinions. Rather, start looking in… allow your inner sense to say things to you. Trust it. If you trust it, it will grow. If you trust it, you will feed it, it will become stronger.
  • Only at the moment of death do [people] recognize the fact that they have not lived. Life has simply passed as if a dream, and death has come. Now there is no more time to live—death is knocking on the door. And when there was time to live, you were doing a thousand and one foolish things, wasting your time rather than living it.
  • It is difficult to love real people because a real person is not going to fulfill your expectations. He is not meant to. He is not here to fulfill anybody else’s expectations; he has to live his own life. And whenever he moves somewhere that goes against you or is not in tune with your feelings, emotions, your being, it becomes difficult.
  • To live dangerously means to live. If you don’t live dangerously, you don’t live. Living flowers only in danger. Living never flowers in security; it flowers only in insecurity. If you start getting secure, you become a stagnant pool. Then your energy is no longer moving. Then you are afraid… because one never knows how to go into the unknown.
  • Those who are courageous, they go headlong. They search all opportunities of danger. Their life philosophy is not that of insurance companies. Their life philosophy is that of a mountain climber, a glider, a surfer. And not only in the outside seas they surf; they surf in their innermost seas. And not only on the outside they climb Alps and Himalayas; they seek inner peaks.
  • To grow to your destiny needs great courage, it needs fearlessness. People who are full of fear cannot move beyond the known. The known gives a kind of comfort, security, safety because it is known. One is perfectly aware, one knows how to deal with it. One can remain almost asleep and go on dealing with it—there is no need to be awake; that’s the convenience with the known.
  • Whenever you have been in love with someone, even for a single moment, was there any fear? It has never been found in any relationship where, if even for a single moment, two persons are in deep love and a meeting happens, they are tuned to each other—in that moment fear has never been found. Just as if the light is on and darkness has not been found—there is the secret key: love more.
  • The word courage is very interesting. It comes from the Latin root cor, which means ‘heart.’ So to be courageous means to live with the heart. And weaklings, only weaklings, live with the head; afraid, they create a security of logic around themselves. Fearful, they close every window and door—with theology, concepts, words, theories—and inside those closed doors and windows, they hide.
  • Everybody is afraid—has to be. Life is such that one has to be. And people who become fearless, become fearless not by becoming brave—because a brave man has only repressed his fear; he’s not really fearless. A man becomes fearless by accepting his fears. It is not a question of bravery. It is simply seeing into the facts of life and realizing that these fears are natural. One accepts them!
  • Nothing can be secure, because a secure life will be worse than death. Nothing is certain. Life is full of uncertainties, full of surprises—that is its beauty! You can never come to a moment when you can say, ‘Now I am certain.’ When you say you are certain, you simply declare your death. Life goes on moving with a thousand and one uncertainties. That’s its freedom. Don’t call it insecurity.
  • That is one of the problems: people have been taught never to do anything wrong, and then they become so hesitant, so fearful, so frightened of doing wrong, that they become stuck. They cannot move, something wrong may happen. So they become like rocks, they lose all movement. Commit as many mistakes as possible, remembering only one thing: don’t commit the same mistake again. And you will be growing.
  • The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is to live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move in the unknown. It is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths. Life is dangerous, and only cowards can avoid the danger—but then, they are already dead. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown.
  • They say all that is old is not gold. I say, even if all that is old is gold, forget about it. Choose the new—gold or no gold, it doesn’t matter. What matters is your choice: your choice to learn, your choice to experience, your choice to go into the dark. Slowly slowly your courage will start functioning. And sharpness of intelligence is not something separate from courage, it is almost one organic whole.
  • You were born as a no-mind. Let this sink into your heart as deeply as possible because through that, a door opens. If you were born as a no-mind, then the mind is just a social product. It is nothing natural, it is cultivated. It has been put together on top of you. Deep down you are still free, you can get out of it. One can never get out of nature, but one can get out of the artificial any moment one decides to.
  • [Listen] to the heart consciously, alertly, attentively. And follow it, go wherever it takes you. Yes, sometimes it will take you into dangers—but remember, those dangers are needed to make you ripe. Sometimes it will take you astray—but remember again, those goings astray are part of growth. Many times you will fall—rise up again, because this is how one gathers strength, by falling and rising again. This is how one becomes integrated.
  • In India it is common wisdom that the world is like a waiting room in a railway station; it is not your house. You are not going to remain in the waiting room forever. Nothing in the waiting room belongs to you—the furniture, the paintings on the wall… You use them—you see the painting, you sit on the chair, you rest on the bed—but nothing belongs to you. You are just here for a few minutes, or for a few hours at the most, then you will be gone.
  • Have you ever gone climbing the mountains? The higher the climb, the fresher you feel, the younger you feel. The greater the danger of falling, the bigger the abyss by the side, the more alive you are… between life and death, when you are just hanging between life and death. There is no boredom, then there is no dust of the past, no desire for the future. Then the present moment is very sharp, like a flame. It is enough—you live in the here and now.
  • Meditation should be an inner shelter, an inner shrine. Whenever you feel that the world is too much for you, you can move into your shrine. You can have a bath in your inner being. You can rejuvenate yourself. You can come out resurrected; again alive, fresh, young, renewed… to live, to be. But you should also be capable of loving people and facing problems, because a silence that is impotent and cannot face problems is not much of a silence, is not worth much.
  • People come to me, they always say, ‘The other is not loving me.’ Nobody comes and says, ‘I am not loving the other.’ Love has become a demand: ‘The other is not loving me.’ Forget about the other! Love is such a beautiful phenomenon, if you love you will enjoy. And the more you love, the more you become lovable. The less you love and the more you demand that other should love you, the less and less you are lovable, the more and more you become closed, confined to your ego.
  • People come to me, they always say, ‘The other is not loving me.’ Nobody comes and says, ‘I am not loving the other.’ Love has become a demand: ‘The other is not loving me.’ Forget about the other! Love is such a beautiful phenomenon, if you love you will enjoy. And the more you love, the more you become lovable. The less you love and the more you demand that other should love you, the less and less you are lovable, the more and more you become closed, confined to your ego.
  • What’s most interesting to me is how deeply connected both types of adventuring are. It is very similar to the connection between breathing in and breathing out. Adventuring on the outside is the expansion of the lungs—it is the breathing in of all that the world has to offer. Adventuring on the inside is the contraction of the lungs—it is the breathing out of all that you have inhaled and synthesized from your experiences. One leads to the other and the other leads to more of the one.
  • So much has been given to you. Do you deserve it? Have you earned it? Existence goes on pouring so much over you that to ask for more is just ugly. That which you have received, you should be grateful for it. And the most beautiful thing is that when you are grateful, more and more existence starts pouring over you. It becomes a circle: the more you get, the more you become grateful; the more you become grateful, the more you get… and there is no need to end it, it is an infinite process.
  • Drop all fears and love more—and love unconditionally. Don’t think that you are doing something for the other when you love; you are doing something for yourself. When you love it is beneficial to you. So don’t wait; don’t say that when others love, you will love—that is not the point at all. Be selfish. Love is selfish. Love people—you will be fulfilled through it, you will be getting more and more blessedness through it. And when love goes deeper, fear disappears; love is the light, fear is darkness.
  • Looking at a flower, become the flower; dance around the flower, sing a song. the wind is cool and crisp, the sun is warm, and the flower is in its prime. The flower is dancing in the wind, rejoicing, singing a song, singing alleluia. Participate with it! Drop indifference, objectivity, detachment. Drop all your scientific attitudes. Become a little more fluid, more melting, more merging. Let the flower speak to your heart, let the flower enter your being. Invite him—he is a guest! And then you will have some taste of mystery.
  • The young child is free of fear; children are born without any fear. If the society can help and support them to remain without fear, can help them to climb the trees and the mountains and swim the oceans and the rivers—if the society can help them in every possible way to become adventurers, adventurers of the unknown, and if the society can create a great inquiry instead of giving them dead beliefs—then the children will turn into great lovers, lovers of life. And that is true religion. There is no higher religion than love.
  • If love appears, who is going to go to the temple? For what? It is because love is missing that you are searching for God. God is nothing but a substitute for your missing love. Because you are not blissful, because you are not peaceful, because you are not ecstatic, you are searching for God—otherwise, who bothers? Who cares? If your life is a dance, God has been attained already. The loving heart is full of God. There is no need for any search, there is no need for any prayer, there is no need to go to any temple, to any priest.
  • Meet people, mix with people, with as many people as possible, because each person expresses a different facet of God. Learn from people. Don’t be afraid, this existence is not your enemy. This existence mothers you, this existence is ready to support you in every possible way. Trust, and you will start feeling a new upsurge of energy in you. That energy is love. That energy wants to bless the whole existence, because in that energy one feels blessed. And when you feel blessed, what else can you do except bless the whole existence?
  • Life can only be lived dangerously—there is no other way to live it. It is only through danger that life attains to maturity, growth. One needs to be an adventurer, always ready to risk the known for the unknown. And once one has tasted the joys of freedom and fearlessness, one never repents because then one knows what it means to live at the optimum. Then one knows what it means to burn your life’s torch from both ends together. And even a single moment of that intensity is more gratifying than the whole eternity of mediocre living.
  • The good news is that courage can be learned—it’s not something that you either have or you don’t. It’s something that can be improved upon from whatever level it is currently at. Courage is not fearlessness. It is not an absence of fear. It is not only grand, heroic gestures and actions. Courage is simply the ability to act in spite of fear. And since everybody’s fear levels are different and everybody has exercised their courage muscles differently throughout their lives, everybody’s courage should be expected to be called upon differently as well.
  • Once you have heard a truth it is impossible to forget it. That is one of the qualities of truth, that you don’t need to remember it. The lie has to be remembered continually; you may forget. The person habituated to lies needs a better memory than the person who is habituated to truth, because a true person has no need of memory. If you say only the truth there is no need to remember. But if you are saying a lie, then you have to continually remember because you have said one lie to one person, another lie to another person, something else to somebody else.
  • To accept the challenge of the unknown, in spite of all fears, is courage. The fears are there, but if you go on accepting the challenge again and again, slowly slowly those fears disappear. The experience of the joy that the unknown brings, the great ecstasy that starts happening with the unknown, makes you strong enough, gives you a certain integrity, makes your intelligence sharp. For the first time you start feeling that life is not just a boredom but an adventure. Then slowly slowly fears disappear; then you are always seeking and searching for some adventure.
  • Ordinary people love only when their conditions are fulfilled. They say, ‘You should be like this, only then will I love.’ A mother says to the child, ‘I’ll love you only if you behave.’ A wife says to the husband, ‘You have to be this way, only then can I love you.’ Everybody creates conditions; love disappears. Love is an infinite sky! You cannot force it into narrow spaces, conditioned, limited. If you bring fresh air into your house and close it off from everywhere—all the windows closed, all the doors closed—soon it becomes stale. Whenever love happens it is a part of freedom; then soon you bring that fresh air into your house and everything goes stale; dirty.
  • When I say live dangerously, I mean don’t live the life of ordinary respectability—that you are a mayor in a town, or a member of the corporation. This is not life. Or you are a minister, or you have a good profession and are earning well and money goes on accumulating in the bank and everything is going perfectly well. When everything is going perfectly well, simply see it—you are dying and nothing is happening. People may respect you, and when you die a great procession will follow you. Good, that’s all, and in the newspapers your pictures will be published and there will be editorials, and then people will forget about you. And you lived your whole life only for these things?
  • It is very easy to think about love. It is very difficult to love. It is very easy to love the whole world. The real difficulty is to love a single human being. It is very easy to love God or humanity. The real problem arises when you come across a real person and you encounter him. To encounter him is to go through a great change and a great challenge. He is not going to be your slave and neither are you going to be a slave to him. That’s where the real problem arises. If you are going to be a slave or if he is going to be a slave, then there is no problem. The problem arises because nobody is here to play a slave—and nobody can be a slave. Everybody is a free agent… the whole being consists of freedom. Man is freedom.
  • There are two types of living: one fear-oriented, one love-oriented. Fear-oriented living can never lead you into deep relationship. You remain afraid, and the other cannot be allowed, cannot be allowed to penetrate you to your very core. To an extent you allow the other, but then the wall comes up and everything stops. The love-oriented person is one who is not afraid of the future, one who is not afraid of the result and the consequence, who lives here and now. Don’t be bothered about the result; that is the fear-oriented mind. Don’t think about what will happen out of it. Just be here and act totally. Don’t calculate. A fear-oriented man is always calculating, planning, safeguarding. His whole life is lost in this way.
  • When the child is ill, take care of his body but don’t pay too much attention. It is dangerous, because if illness and your attention become associated… which is bound to happen if it is repeated again and again. Whenever the child is ill he becomes the center of the whole family: daddy comes and sits by his side and inquires about his health, and the doctor comes, and the neighbors start coming, and friends inquire, and people bring presents for him… Now he can become too much attached to all this; it can be so nourishing to his ego that he may not like to be well again. And if this happens, then it is impossible to be healthy. No medicine can help now. The person has become decisively committed to illness. And that’s what has happened to many people, the majority.



Turning the Mind Into an Ally (Sakyong Mipham)

  • Enlightened society is where the flower and the rock will meet.
  • True happiness is always available to us, but first we have to create the environment for it to flourish.
  • True happiness is always available to us, but first we have to create the environment for it to flourish.
  • One of my favorite Tibetan sayings is Even if you’re going to die tomorrow, you can learn something tonight.
  • Love is the saving grace. It’s the buddha in you standing up and saying, Even though it’s dark, I have this jewel.
  • Meditation stabilizes us in our inherent power as humans. It introduces the possibility of living our lives in a continually conscious, confident, and balanced state of mind.
  • Our intention is that of a shepherd, but our actions are those of a loving, wise, compassionate leader. If we all act according to this code, we will create an enlightened society.
  • This is what we’re doing by learning to peacefully abide in sitting meditation: creating the space for our garden to grow. Then we can cultivate qualities that will allow us to live our lives in full bloom.
  • We have to accept responsibility for the state of our own mind; it doesn’t work to blame others for our confusion or expect them to encourage or confirm us in our practice. We have to look to ourselves as the source of our own confusion—and our own enlightenment.
  • The journey of the bodhisattva warrior starts with the basic attitude of enlarging our motivation to include the welfare of others. This is a simple response to this dark age. Let’s begin right now by engaging love and compassion however we can—not tomorrow, but today.
  • Understanding the meaning of impermanence makes us less desperate people. It gives us dignity.  We no longer grasp at pleasure, trying to squeeze out every last drop.  We no longer consider pain something we should fear, deny, and avoid.  We know that it will change.
  • If we want to undo our own bewilderment and suffering and be of benefit to others and the planet, we’re going to have to be responsible for learning what our own mind is and how it works, no matter what beliefs we hold. Once we see how our mind works, we see how our life works, too.  That changes us.
  • Our minds become more supple as we develop ourselves on the meditation seat. Each time we acknowledge a fantasy or thought, we’re softening up our mind by becoming less bound to concepts and emotions. Following the technique fosters curiosity instead of dullness, appreciation instead of disheartenment, and imagination instead of limitation.
  • With an untrained mind, we’ll live most days of our lives at the mercy of our moods. Waking up in the morning is like gambling: ‘What mind did I end up with today?  Is it the irritated mind, the happy mind, the anxious mind, the angry mind, the compassionate mind, or the loving mind?’  Most of the time we believe that the mind-set we have is who we are and we live our day from it.
  • Generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation, and wisdom keep turning our mind to enlightenment like a flower seeking sunlight. This brings genuine delight.  The more awake we are, the more connected we feel with other sentient beings.  The more awake we are, the more we want to help others achieve the same freedom. ~ Sakyong Mipham, Turning the Mind Into An Ally (Page 210)
  • Tilling the ground of our own minds through meditation is how we begin to create a community garden. In doing so we are helping to create a new culture, a culture that can thrive in the modern world and can at the same time support our human journey in an uplifted and joyous way. Such a culture is called enlightened society. Enlightened society is where the flower and the rock will meet.
  • Suffering is the state of mind that regards itself as real. We can spend our whole life trying to create a solid, lasting self.  We can spend our whole life looking outside ourselves for something to reflect this delusion of solidity, to be as real and lasting as we wish ourselves to be.  Search though we will, it’s impossible to find what doesn’t exist, and the perpetual search causes suffering.
  • We use discipline to clear the road for the future by deciding what to do and not to do now. It’s learning what to accept and what to reject.  We’re able to see more and more clearly the difference between virtue and nonvirtue—gewa and migewa.  Our minds are strong through practice, so we’re not seduced into acting on negative emotions, even in our mind.  We know such actions will create more pain for us. 
  • It’s fine to take pleasure, to enjoy good food, and to listen to beautiful music. Becoming curious about how we suffer doesn’t mean that we can no longer enjoy eating ice cream.  But once we begin to understand the bewilderment of our untrained mind, we won’t look to the ice cream and say, ‘That’s happiness.’ We’ll realize that the mind can be happy devoid of ice cream.  We’ll realize that the mind is content and happy by nature.
  • In Tibet people don’t seem to worry as much about aging. When I hear my mother and her generation of Tibetans talk about getting old, the tone in their voice is proud.  They’re proud to have lived so long.  They’re cheerful.  They have young minds.  They’re continuously curious, always learning.  One of my favorite Tibetan saying is ‘Even if you’re going to die tomorrow, you can learn something tonight.’  With this attitude we don’t feel so old.
  • We can say blue, but until we see the color blue, we don’t really know what the meaning is. We can say that something is hot, but until we touch it, we don’t know what hot means. We can talk about bringing our mind to compassion by saying May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the root of suffering, but until we feel the pain of others, pain is only a word. We have to crack its shell to let its meaning infuse us, seep into our lives.
  • We can say ‘blue,’ but until we see the color blue, we don’t really know what the meaning is. We can say that something is hot, but until we touch it, we don’t know what ‘hot’ means.  We can talk about bringing our mind to compassion by saying ‘May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the root of suffering,’ but until we feel the pain of others, ‘pain’ is only a word.  We have to crack its shell to let its meaning infuse us, seep into our lives.  Sakyong Mipham
  • Like weeding a garden, dealing with obstacles is an ongoing aspect of meditation. Working with these challenges on the cushion is another way we build confidence and courage to go further.  We can be grateful for obstacles, because they push us forward in our practice.  After a while it is even possible to feel a spark of delight when we see an obstacle coming up, because we know it’s an opportunity to keep sharpening our minds.  The more obstacles we face, the more confidence we feel to deal with them.
  • Contemplating impermanence can be a liberating experience, one that brings both sobriety and joy. In essence, we become less attached.  We realize we can’t really have anything.  We have money and then it’s gone; we have sadness and then it’s gone. No matter how we want to cling to our loved ones, by nature every relationship is a meeting and parting.  This doesn’t mean we have less love.  It means we have less fixation, less pain.  It means we have more freedom and appreciation, because we can relax into the ebb and flow of life.
  • To meet our basic goodness, we meditate. Through peaceful abiding, we learn to rest fearlessly in our natural state.  We see what an enlightened being sees: basic goodness is the ground of being, the nature of everything; it’s an indestructible continuum, a diamond hologram with infinite facets.  Through contemplation we discover that, like the reflection of a jewel in the sunlight, it is empty.  In continuing to contemplate, we see that this emptiness is vibrant and dynamic—a playful display of thoughts, emotions, and perceptions.  This is luminosity.
  • The journey of the bodhisattva warrior starts with the basic attitude of enlarging our motivation to include the welfare of others. This is a simple response to this dark age.  Let’s begin right now by engaging love and compassion however we can—not tomorrow, but today.  By cultivating courage and confidence in ourselves and maintaining our seat, we can enjoy creating a sane environment; we can enjoy creating an enlightened society.  This doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Start by looking at your own life and see what you can do, one step at a time.  Love is the saving grace.
  • We often conduct our life as though it’s going to last forever. With this attitude, we want everything.  The fact of death puts a limit on what we can have, what we can do.  We don’t need to think about death all the time, but to ponder it, to contemplate it, gives us perspective and inspiration about living our life.  It also makes us less spoiled.  It makes us look at the balance of our life and determine what needs to come first.  What is important to me?  How shall I use my life?  We’re able to enter situations more openly once we’ve related with death.  It makes our love more powerful.
  • Impermanence is always pounding at the door. Of course, acknowledging impermanence doesn’t mean we get permanence.  It means we’re more in tune with reality; we can relax.  As we relinquish our attachment to permanence, pain begins to diminish because we’re no longer fooled.  Accepting impermanence means that we spend less energy resisting reality.  Our suffering has a more direct quality.  We’re no longer trying to avoid it.  We see that impermanence is a river that runs through life, not a rock that stands in the way.  We see that because we resist impermanence, pain and suffering are constants.  We realize that pain comes from our desire for permanence.
  • I’ve said before that our bewildered mind is like a wild horse. I have a very high regard for horses.  When I was in high school, I spent some time working on a ranch in West Texas.  A stallion in the distance on the high plains is a powerful sight to behold.  We don’t tame such a strong majestic creature by beating the spirit out of it.  Instead, we work with its raw power and turn that energy in a certain direction.  Where do we want to take that horse?  Where do we want to go riding?  We want to make a real journey.  We want to ride in the meadows of compassion, the gardens of awakened heart, the fields of wisdom.  This is the essence of the practice of contemplation: we learn to direct the energy of our mind toward enlightenment.
  • Beginning meditation practice is an excellent opportunity to contemplate how we spend our time. How much of what we do is important and truly necessary?  One of the obstacles to meditation is being pulled in too many directions.  What drains us; what nourishes us?  Are there activities we can postpone or eliminate?  It will be helpful to ask questions like these at the outset.  Awareness lays the ground for a strong commitment to practice.  Taming our mind isn’t a hobby or an extracurricular activity—it’s the most important thing we could be doing.  It can even help streamline a pressured situation because it gives us clarity, peace, and fortitude.  So while we may need to simplify our life in order to meditate, a benefit of meditation is that it will make our life simpler..
  • Obviously, meditation can sometimes be difficult. We may want to run away from practice, run from the cushion, even run from the word ‘meditation.’  We can run as far as we like, but what we’ll discover is that there is no better environment than meditation in which to build the stability, clarity, and strength of our mind.  At the same time, the difficulty of making it to the cushion, the difficulty of staying with the technique, the difficulty of abandoning discursiveness, isn’t going to disappear.  In procrastinating, we’re avoiding the one thing that really is going to make a difference in our lives.  Meditation stabilizes us in our inherent power as humans.  It introduces the possibility of living our lives in a continually conscious, confident, and balanced state of mind.
  • The point of awareness—and the point of meditation, for that matter—is to know what’s happening. We have to be awake.  Otherwise we fall into lethargy, which is one step away from sleep.  Without awareness, meditation will lead nowhere.  In the first stages of peaceful abiding, awareness acts as a spy who watches us meditate, alerting mindfulness to bring us back to the breath when we stray.  For a while it might be clumsy and intrusive, because as beginners we need to be watching constantly.  But as we practice, awareness continues to develop.  The mind becomes more stable, and our ability to know what’s happening becomes stronger.  Awareness becomes the sheriff who can sense that our mind is about to become distracted and remedy the situation before it even occurs.  We don’t see the sheriff running around everywhere; we just know he’s there.  Because we have more confidence, awareness no longer feels intrusive.
  • When we’re in any kind of pain, we can use it to open our hearts to the reality that people are always suffering. Pain is something everyone experiences.  We can use it to ground us in the fundamental truth of our being.  Pain gives us firsthand experience by which to be kind and generous to others.  It gives us direct access through our empathy to helping others.  We can use pain to activate compassion.  We’d like others not to experience pain, and we can extend ourselves to them.  We can contemplate the words, ‘May all beings be free of pain.’  Our direct experience of pain only makes our wish more potent.  It may even decrease our pain, because it increases our joy.  This becomes a wonderful meditation, to sit there and contemplate the relief of pain and suffering of everyone, of the whole world—not only because it changes our attitude toward our own pain, but also because it’s opening our mind of enlightenment.  This kind of prayer is always healing.
  • We’ve been born in a time and place where we have the luxury of hearing, contemplating, and putting into action teachings that awaken us to our enlightened mind. We’re relatively healthy, we have a roof over our head and food in our mouths.  We have family and friends.  We’ve encountered someone who can teach us how to train our mind and open our heart.  Being threatened by nuclear war, terrorism, and global warming is a reminder that we can’t take such conditions for granted.  We’re just these tiny vulnerable beings riding on a blue dot in space.  Yet sometimes we act as if we’re the center of the universe.  The enlightened alternative is to appreciate how incredibly rare and precious human life is.  The enlightened alternative is to appreciate everything.  By appreciating whatever we encounter, we can use it to further our journey of warriorship.  We are good as we are, and it is good as it is.  Once we have this understanding, we’ll see that we are living in a sacred world.



Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions (Russell Brand)

  • There is no freedom without forgiveness.
  • In justifying our misery we recommit to it.
  • If we all feel that we are alone, how alone are we?
  • You can never quench your spiritual craving through material means.
  • You can’t think your way into acting better but you can act your way into thinking better.
  • A theist is a person who has seen through the material and mechanical world and doesn’t commit suicide’.
  • You build the pain into the story of who you are until it isn’t pain anymore, it’s just another piece of who you are.
  • We have been taught that freedom is the freedom to pursue our petty, trivial desires. Real freedom is freedom from our petty, trivial desires.
  • I have no power at all over people, places and things, and if I ever for a moment mistakenly believe that I do, and act as if I do, pain is on its way.
  • Yes, people made mistakes but that’s what humans do and I am under no obligation to hoard these errors and allow them to clutter my perception of the present.
  • The condition in extreme is identifiable but the less obvious version of addiction is still painful and arguably worse because we simply adapt to living in pain.
  • Sell me phones and food and prejudice, low cost and low values, low-frequency thinking. We are in a cult by default. We just can’t see it because its boundaries lie beyond our horizons.
  • Part of that change is forgiveness and the willingness to look at our lives and the world differently. Ask yourself ‘Do I really want to change or do I just want to justify staying the way that I am?
  • Me and the plan just need a bit more time’, I used to think, a bit more time and a bottle of wine, a bit more time and one more pipe, a bit more time and a slice of cake, a bit more time and a threesome, for luck.
  • Pain is a signal, it’s some aspect of us that’s beyond our somewhat narrow conception of ‘self,’ communicating. A pain in the leg means ‘don’t put pressure on this leg’; a pain in the mind means ‘change the way you live.’
  • The feeling you have that ‘there’s something else’ is real. What happens when you don’t follow the compulsion? What is on the other side of my need […]? The only way to find out is to not do it, and that is a novel act of faith.
  • Our relationships with people become the instantiations of negative attitudes to ourselves: I believe myself to be ugly; I behave in an ugly way; I then have relationships with others that confirm my belief. A self-perpetuating doctrine.
  • We crave connection, but so much of the time we are not alive, neutralized. Who are you when you’re listening to the radio in traffic? You are not you, you are on standby. Mostly we are free-floating and disengaged, lost in the spectacle.
  • There’s an expression in the performance world that nobody can outperform his/her own self-image. Meaning, how a person thinks they’ll end up performing is how they’ll most likely end up performing. Self-image becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Oddly, counterintuitively, in our culture of individualism and self-centered valour, it is by surrendering that we can begin to succeed. It is by ‘admitting that we have no power’ that we can begin the process of accessing all the power we will ever need.
  • The instinct that drives compulsion is universal. It is an attempt to solve the problem of disconnection, alienation, tepid despair… the problem is ultimately ‘being human’ in an environment that is curiously ill-equipped to deal with the challenges that entails.
  • None of us can adequately control the meteorology of other people: they’re nice, they’re nasty, they come, they go. We have no choice but to address, alter and amend the inner coordinate if we want to have a different model of reality, if we want to have more choices.
  • Addiction is when natural biological imperatives, like the need for food, sex, relaxation or status, become prioritised to the point of destructiveness. It is exacerbated by a culture that understandably exploits this mechanic as it’s a damn good way to sell Mars bars and Toyotas.
  • There is no objective history, this we know, only stories. Our character is the result of this story we tell ourselves about ourselves, and the process of inventorying breaks down the hidden and destructive personal grammar that we have unwittingly allowed to govern our behaviour.
  • What I used to think of as happiness was merely distraction from the pain. The pain of disconnection, of separateness from you. All longing, all yearning, all thirst, flung on unworthy surrogates, false idols, unsated by unworthy objects, still pulling us unwillingly back together.
  • In your life you’ve faced obstacles, inner and outer, that have prevented you from becoming the person you were ‘meant to be’ or ‘are capable of being’ and that is what we are going to recover. That’s why we call this process Recovery; we recover the ‘you’ that you were meant to be.
  • I live in negotiation with a shadow side that has to be respected. There is a wound. I believe that this is more than a characteristic of addiction. I think it is a part of being human, to carry a wound, a flaw and again, paradoxically, it is only by accepting it that we can progress.
  • Plus how much time have I given over to watching TV or staring out of windows or pursuing pointless relationships or looking at my Twitter mentions? Those hours all add up and are sadly deducted from the overall life total. They are not a break from life, these ‘harmless’ distractions, they are life. They are life and they are death.
  • You need only allow gentle hope to enter your heart. Exhale and allow hope, and give yourself some time. This is a process of change that requires a good deal of self-compassion, which is neither stagnant nor permissive. We can just start by being a little kinder to ourselves and open to the possibility that life doesn’t have to be bloody awful.
  • It is commonly understood that the opposite of addiction is connection. That in our addictive behaviours we are trying to achieve the connection. Think of it: the bliss of a hit or a drink or of sex or of gambling or eating, all legitimate drives gone awry, all a reach across the abyss, the separateness of ‘self,’ all an attempt to redress this disconnect.
  • It is commonly understood that the opposite of addiction is connection. That in our addictive behaviours we are trying to achieve the connection. Think of it: the bliss of a hit or a drink or of sex or of gambling or eating, all legitimate drives gone awry, all a reach across the abyss, the separateness of ‘self’, all an attempt to redress this disconnect.
  • My authority comes not from a steep and certain mountain top of po-faced righteousness. This manual for Self-Realization comes not from the mountain but from the mud. Being human is a ‘me too’ business. We are all in the mud together. My qualification is that I am more addicted, more narcissistic, more driven by lust and the need for power and recognition.
  • In a sense we re-write our past. We change our narrative. We reprogram ourselves. There is no objective history, this we know, only stories. Our character is the result of this story we tell ourselves about ourselves, and the process of inventorying breaks down the hidden and destructive personal grammar that we have unwittingly allowed to govern our behaviour.
  • I believe that what the 12 Steps and their encompassing philosophy, which I will lay out for you in these pages, will provide is nothing less than a solution to the dissatisfaction of living, and dying, to anyone with the balls to do the work. And it is work. Indeed it is a personal rebirth and the journey entails all manner of uncomfortable confrontations with who you truly are.
  • If we all feel that we are alone, how alone are we? If we all feel worthless then who is the currency of our worth being measured against? Perhaps this program is a personal and social tool that illuminates the truth that religious people have long known and physicists have proven: all the energy that has ever existed has always existed and will always exist. Form and separation are temporary. We are all one.
  • When you start to drink, wank, eat, spend, obsess [excessively] you have lost your connection to the great power within you, the great power in others, the great power around all things. There is something in you speaking to you and you don’t understand it because you’ve never learned its language. So we try to palm it off with porn and consuming but it is your spirit calling and it craves connection. Spend time alone, write, pray, meditate. This is where we learn the language.
  • Beyond today your projections of life are conceptual. You don’t have to not drink for twenty years today. You don’t have to give up white bread for all eternity, right now. And if you do make it through today, and wake up tomorrow, what does it really matter that you didn’t act out yesterday? I mean, you’re not accumulating tokens for punitive pleasure. This ‘one day at a time’ cliché when taken plainly is no less profound than any ‘be in the moment’ Eastern wisdom I’ve since encountered. Today is all I have.
  • By forgiving the perpetrator, I release myself. I can revise the event. I can see it as something that gives me more compassion and understanding. I can let go of it. There is no benefit to establishing an imaginary judicial system in my own mind where I carry out punishments to people who have wronged me. By letting go of this long-held inner drama I become a little more liberated and useful. In essence it’s bad that it happened but it’s worse that I allow myself to be affected by it now. I cannot control the past but I can control the present through forgiveness.
  • The fact is that it doesn’t matter if you are gambling to the point where it harms you, if you are drinking too much, if you are lost in your life and afraid to articulate even to yourself how unhappy you are, how fearful of the future, of death, of other people, of being poor, of not being good enough, sexy enough, thin enough, tough enough, famous enough, if you feel that you are not enough and that if you could only ‘X, Y, Z, then everything would be fine,’ I believe you are on the spectrum of addiction. By this definition: ‘Trying to solve an inner problem by outer means, in spite of negative consequences.’
  • Forgiveness is a powerful spiritual tool, without it we are damned as individuals and as a people. Forgiveness means letting go. It means being willing to accept that we are all mortals flawed and suffering, imperfectly made and trying our best. That sometimes there is a collision of instinct. Am I determined that the world must be as I decree. Do I see a future in that way of thinking, especially when it’s done nothing but bring me pain so far? What am I holding on to? What is gained by withholding forgiveness, for ruminating on a concluded event, by holding on to bygone pain and wishing ill upon a man just like me? Nothing.
  • Are there things about yourself which you have never told anyone? Way back upon the creaky floors of your childhood, in your solitude, the shadows of your private mind, the things you’ve done and said and thought that compound and contain you: shameful things, sexual things, often solitary acts, but sometimes not, sometimes agonizing stabs of cruelty you’ve inflicted on people you love, or the moments where reality itself seemed to tear as they looked into your eyes and told you ‘you are nothing’. And for a moment you stand there adjusting to the pain, the pain that someone could say that to you, and what that must mean about who you are.
  • I believe that the mystery of creation and the laws of the universe hold great power in them. I believe that the innate love that human beings have for one another is a power. I believe people’s willingness to suffer for a cause is a power. I believe the healing of an injury is a power. Muhammad Ali’s sacrifice for what he believed in is a power. The music of Mozart (or Moz), the Sistine Chapel ceiling, George Best—all these allude to some Power that is greater than me. The chances that I have had in life, the people that have loved me and been there for me. There are many examples of a Power greater than myself, alone, with my addiction and my thoughts.
  • A counsellor at the treatment centre where I got clean, herself a woman in recovery, surprised me when she said, ‘How clever of you to find drugs. Well done, you found a way to keep yourself alive.’ This made me feel quite tearful. I suppose because this woman, Jackie, didn’t judge me or tell me I was stupid or tubthumpingly declare that ‘drugs kill’. No, she told me that I had done well by finding something that made being me bearable… To be acknowledged as a person who was in pain and fighting to survive in my own muddled-up and misguided way made me feel optimistic and understood. It is an example of the compassion addicts need from one another in order to change.
  • We adapt to the misery of an unloving home, of unfulfilling work. Of empty friendships and lacquered alienation. The 12 Step program, which has saved my life, will change the life of anyone who embraces it. I have seen it work many times with people with addiction issues of every hue: drugs, sex, relationships, food, work, smoking, alcohol, technology, pornography, hoarding, gambling, everything. Because the instinct that drives the compulsion is universal. It is an attempt to solve the problem of disconnection, alienation and tepid despair, because the problem is ultimately ‘being human’ in an environment that is curiously ill-equipped to deal with the challenges that entails. We are all on the addiction scale.
  • ‘Sought’ is from the verb to seek; I have always been looking for something. I see that now, for as long as I can recall I harboured fantasies of how some object or experience would heal me, would make me whole. Sometimes before Christmas I would be so euphoric at the prospect of the following day’s gifts that I’d vibrate until it felt like I might shape-shift. What was I imagining the millennium Falcon or whatever it was would bring? What was the inherent drive that was so fiercely engaged? I always felt these artefacts would bring completion. It was like I was born with the yearning to be whole and continually felt that each new object or encounter, particularly if enthusiastically heralded, would bring redemption.
  • A theist is a person who has seen through the material and mechanical world and doesn’t commit suicide’. I like this quote. To see that it is all bullshit and not to clock off, that requires faith. Only faith will do. Only faith. Even if you’re double certain that there is nothing but space and dumb molecules out there, clattering about into symphonic and faraway futures, if you believe that’s all there is and don’t check out, you are hardcore. You must really love football or fucking or money or something and be okay with those things being only what they explicitly are, without implicit power, with no unravelling flag blowing behind them in limitless wind, back to before some unknowable moment of creation when this universe’s heart first began to beat.
  • They say all the energy that has ever been is still here now and will always be here. That means there is a totality and I am part of it. When I have an opinion on suffering, it is only that, an opinion. I do not and cannot understand the full context of events that occur in an infinite and eternal universe. It’s as if within my finite lifetime I glimpse a second of a three-hour movie and try to understand the entire plot. All I must do is engage with this idea: I will become open to the idea that my conceptions, beliefs and experiences are limited. I will become open to new beliefs and new possibilities. I will become open to the idea that I can live a better, more loving and useful life, even if I don’t fully understand how I will do it or what it will be like.
  • My best efforts, my best intentions will be sucked into the quagmire if I am not vigilant. You too, you may think, ‘yes, I am an addict, I will change the way I drink or eat or think or relate to sexual partners,’ but surely the craving will find a new expression, like a magnetic field ordering iron filing. You can replace the filings but the pull stays the same. It is only by finding a more powerful magnetic pull that you can change the patterns completely. This can be the program itself, sedulously applied. It can be a support group, made up of like-minded people. It can be an orthodox or traditional idea of God. It can be nature. It can be a unified field of consciousness that supports all phenomena. It frankly doesn’t matter and it is entirely for you to choose, as long as it is loving, caring and more powerful than you.
  • I don’t wake up in the morning and think, ‘Wow, I’m on a planet in the Milky Way, in infinite space, bestowed with the gift of consciousness, which I did not give myself, with the gift of language, with lungs that breathe and a heart that beats, none of which I gave myself, with no concrete understanding of the Great Mysteries, knowing only that I was born and will die and nothing of what’s on either side of this brief material and individualized glitch in the limitless expanse of eternity and, I feel, I feel love and pain and I have senses, what a glorious gift! I can relate, and create and serve others or I can lose myself in sensuality and pleasure. What a phenomenal mystery!’ Most days I just wake up feeling a bit anxious and plod a solemn, narrow path of survival, coping. ‘I’ll have a coffee’, ‘I’ll try not to reach for my phone as soon as I stir, simpering and begging like a bad dog at a table for some digital tidbit, some morsel of approval, a text, that’ll do


The Shadow Effect (Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson)

  • You get the emotions you think you deserve. Deepak Chopra
  • You are not in the world. The world is in you. Deepak Chopra
  • The level of the problem is never the level of the solution. Deepak Chopra,
  • Only in the presence of an unwavering commitment to facing our demons does the doorway to self-discovery open. Debbie Ford
  • To the shadow, the light is an enemy. But to the light, the shadow is nothing. It simply does not exist. Marianne Williamson
  • More damage is inflicted by people who think they have it all together than by people who have been humbled by the realization that they probably do not. Marianne Williamson
  • We can’t fight darkness with darkness. We have to find compassion, and embrace the darkness inside of us in order to understand it and, ultimately, to transcend it. Debbie Ford
  • We heal when we feel forgiven. We heal in the presence of compassion. If you really want someone to change, the miracle lies in your ability to see how perfect they already are. Marianne Williamson
  • Just as you take a shower or bath in the morning to get yesterday’s dirt off your body, you do your spiritual practice in the morning to get yesterday’s thinking off your mind and heart. Marianne Williamson
  • Inside you is the cause of every war. It is your violence, hidden and denied, that leads to wars of every kind, whether it is war inside your home, against others in society, or between nations. Krishnamurti
  • Big, blown-out fantasies about our lives stem from the pain of our unrealized potential, but true dreams are a reality we are willing to work for, fight for, stay up late for—this is a future that is within our reach. Debbie Ford
  • [When asked if she held any anger towards Hitler] I wouldn’t hold on to any anger toward Hitler. If I did, he would win the war, because I would still be carrying him around with me wherever I went. Edith Eva Eger, Auschwitz survivor
  • How much better this world would be if more of us would cultivate the sacred in our daily lives. Our busyness is often our enemy, making it hard for us to slow down long enough to breathe in the ethers of the spiritual planes. Marianne Williamson
  • Whatever we judge or condemn in another is ultimately a disowned or rejected part of ourselves. When we are in the midst of projection, it appears as though we are seeing the other person, but in reality we are seeing a hidden aspect of ourselves. Debbie Ford
  • Our power to override their destructive intensity lies in our ability to love with as much conviction as they show in hate. Hating with conviction, they draw forth more hatred; when we love with greater conviction, we will draw forth more love. Marianne Williamson
  • Sometimes, we forget that we ever wanted anything different from what we have. The repetitiveness of our toxic memory can lure us into years of accepting more of the same and wasting away in a mediocre existence that fails to meet even our own expectations. Debbie Ford
  • Every one of us has constructed an ego-based identity in which we have assigned ourselves an acceptable role that eventually smothers our full self-expression. Rather than being who we really are, we become a characterization of the person we think we ‘should’ be. Debbie Ford
  • Only when we stop pretending to be something we are not—when we no longer feel the need to hide or overcompensate for either our weaknesses or our gifts—will we know the freedom of expressing our authentic self and have the ability to make choices that are based on the life we truly desire to live. Debbie Ford
  • When we expose our dark side, we understand how our personal history dictates the way we treat those around us—and how we treat ourselves. This is why it’s imperative that we unmask it and understand it. To do this, we must uncover what we’ve hidden and befriend the very impulses and characteristics that we abhor. Debbie Ford
  • Although ignoring or repressing our dark side is the norm, the sobering truth is that running from the shadow only intensifies its power. Denying it only leads to more pain, suffering, regret, and resignation. If we fail to take responsibility and extract the wisdom that has been hidden beneath the surface of our conscious minds, the shadow will take charge. Debbie Ford
  • Poet and author Robert Bly describes the shadow as an invisible bag that each of us carries around on our back. As we’re growing up, we put in the bag every aspect of ourselves that is not acceptable to our families and friends. Bly believes we spend the first few decades of our life filling up our bag, and then the rest of our life trying to retrieve everything we’ve hidden away. Debbie Ford
  • We possess every human characteristic and emotion, whether active or dormant, whether conscious or unconscious. There is nothing we can conceive of that we are not. We are everything—that which we consider good and that which we consider bad. How could we know courage if we have never known fear? How could we know happiness if we never experienced sadness? How could we know light if we never knew dark? Debbie Ford
  • When we hold on to our resentments toward ourselves or anyone else, we bind ourselves to the very thing that has caused us pain by a cord stronger than steel. As my dear friend Brent BecVar shares, refusing to forgive those who have hurt us ‘is like being a drowning person whose head is being held under water by someone else. At some point you realize that you have to be the one who fights your way back to the surface.’ Debbie Ford
  • It sounds strange, but feelings have feelings. Being part of you, they know when they are unwanted. Fear cooperates by hiding; anger cooperates by pretending it doesn’t exist. That’s more than half the problem. How can you heal an unwanted feeling when it’s trying not to cooperate? You can’t. Until you make peace with negative feelings, they will persist. The way to deal with negativity is to acknowledge it. Nothing more is needed. Deepak Chopra
  • We all have a mental image of what a desirable physical body is like—trim, healthy, youthful, fresh, pleasing to look at. But we don’t use those qualities with regard to our emotions, our ’emotional body.’ The emotional body, like the physical body, must be properly nourished. It can grow tired and flabby when the same responses to the world are repeated over and over. It becomes diseased when exposed to toxins and unhealthy influences. Deepak Chopra
  • t’s ironic that to find the courage to lead an authentic life, you will have to go into the dark rooms of your most inauthentic self. You have to confront the very parts of yourself that you fear most to find what you have been looking for, because the mechanism that drives you to conceal your darkness is the same mechanism that has you hide your light. What you’ve been hiding from can actually give you what you’ve been trying hard to achieve. Debbie Ford
  • To be a whole human being, we have to acknowledge the existence of all our feelings, human qualities, and experiences and value not just the parts of ourselves that our ego has deemed acceptable, but everything that we have deemed wrong or bad. If we are willing to allow our dark side to be a part of the whole of who we are, we will find it comes equipped with all the power, skill, intelligence, and force needed to do great things in the world. Debbie Ford
  • The conflict between who we are and who we want to be is at the core of the human struggle. Duality, in fact, lies at the very center of the human experience. Life and death, good and evil, hope and resignation coexist in every person and exert their force in every facet of our lives. If we know courage, it is because we have also experienced fear; if we can recognize honesty, it is because we have encountered deceit. And yet most of us deny or ignore our dualistic nature. Deepak Chopra
  • Why do we have access to so much wisdom yet fail to have the strength and courage to act upon our good intentions by making powerful choices? Why do we continue to act out in ways that go against our value system and all that we stand for? […] It is because of our unexamined life, our darker self, our shadow self where our unclaimed power lies hidden. It is here, in this least likely place, that we will find the key to unlock our strength, our happiness, and our ability to live out our dreams. Debbie Ford
  • I believe that the shadow is one of the greatest gifts available to us. Carl Jung called it a ‘sparring partner’; it is the opponent within us that exposes our flaws and sharpens our skills. It is the teacher, the trainer, and the guide that supports us in uncovering our true magnificence. The shadow is not a problem to be solved or an enemy to be conquered but a fertile field to be cultivated. When we dig our hands into its rich soil, we will discover the potent seeds of the people we most desire to be. Debbie Ford
  • Your character defects are not where you’re bad, but where you’re wounded. But no matter who or what caused the wound, it’s yours now and you’re responsible for it. The only person who can bring it up and release it is you. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you got your character defects anyway. They’re yours now. You can’t live with a sign around your neck saying, ‘It’s not my fault. My parents were difficult.’ Your only way out of your conundrum is to take total responsibility for those defects. Marianne Williamson
  • Like the lotus flower that is born out of mud, we must honor the darkest parts of ourselves and the most painful of our life’s experiences, because they are what allow us to birth our most beautiful self. We need the messy, muddy past, the muck of our human life—the combination of every hurt, wound, loss, and unfulfilled desire blended with every joy, success, and blessing to give us the wisdom, the perspective, and the drive to step into the most magnificent expression of ourselves. This is the gift of the shadow. Debbie Ford
  • Let us not underestimate the power of the shadow. It’s not enough to just meditate sometimes; we should meditate daily. It’s not enough, if you’re a recovering addict, to attend a meeting every once in a while; you should attend a meeting every day. It’s not enough that we forgive a few people; we must try our best to forgive everyone, for only love is real. If I withhold it from anyone, then I withhold it from myself. And it’s not enough to love only when it’s easy; we must try to expand our capacity to love even when it’s hard. Marianne Williamson
  • The shadow does not leave when it is attacked; it heals when it is forgiven. We do not take off our shadowy mask in the presence of someone who blames us, but rather in the presence of someone who says through words or behavior, ‘I know this is not who you are.’ We miraculously heal in the presence of someone who believes in our light even when we are lost in our darkness. And when we learn to see others in the light of their true being, whether they are showing us that light or not, then we have the power to work that miracle for them. Marianne Williamson



You Can Heal Your Life (Louise Hay)

  • Every experience is a success.
  • I cross bridges with joy and ease.
  • I am flexible. I welcome other viewpoints.
  • This is the only moment we can experience.
  • Love is always the answer to healing of any sort
  • I expect my life to be good and joyous, and it is.
  • If a thought or belief does not serve you, let it go!
  • We mistreat our bodies with food, alcohol, and drugs.
  • What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us.
  • The words we speak are indicative of our inner thoughts.
  • Deep at the center of my being there is an infinite well of love.
  • You are wonderful. I love you. How often do you tell yourself this?
  • I believe life is really very simple. What we give out, we get back.
  • The universe supports every thought we choose to think and to believe.
  • By far the biggest category of resistance is fear–fear of the unknown.
  • I am not a healer, i do not heal anyone,i juzt think of my self-discovery.
  • Trust your Inner Guidance to reveal to you whatever it is you need to know.
  • The only diet that does work is a mental diet—dieting from negative thoughts.
  • Good health begins with loving the self. So do prosperity and love and creative
  • When there is a problem, there is not something to do, there is something to know.
  • The most powerful way to do affirmations is to look in the mirror and say them out loud.
  • When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.
  • I forgive you for not being the way I wanted you to be. I forgive you and I set you free.
  • Self-approval and self-acceptance in the now are the main keys to positive changes in every area of our lives.
  • Almost all our programming, both negative and positive, was accepted by us by the time we were three years old.
  • I forgive you for not being the way I wanted you to be. I forgive you and I set you free. This affirmation sets us free.
  • All is perfect, whole, and complete. I support myself, and life supports me. I see evidence of The Law working all around me
  • In blaming another, we give away our power. Understanding enables us to rise above the issue and take control of our future.
  • Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.
  • Your mind is a tool you can choose to use any way you wish. The thoughts you ‘choose’ to think create the experiences you have.
  • In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete. I no longer choose to believe in old limitations and lack.
  • If you don’t have the thought, you won’t have the feeling. And thoughts can be changed. Change the thought, and the feeling must go.
  • It’s hard enough to make changes when we want to, but to try to make someone else change when he or she doesn’t want to is impossible,
  • We need to understand that they were doing the best they could with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge they had at that time.
  • Be kind to yourself. Begin to love and approve of yourself. That’s what the little child needs in order to express itself as its highest potential.
  • knowing that in my life, All is good. I love who I am and all that I do. I am the living, loving, joyous expression of life. All is well in my world.
  • Blame is useless. Blaming only gives away our power. Keep your power. Without power, we cannot make changes. The helpless victim cannot see a way out.
  • I find that when we really love and accept and APPROVE OF OURSELVES EXACTLY AS WE ARE, then everything in life works. It’s as if little miracles are everywhere.
  • Each one of us has a three-year-old child within us, and we often spend most of our time yelling at that kid in ourselves. Then we wonder why our lives don’t work.
  • If a thought or belief does not serve you, let it go! There is no written law that says that because you once believed something, you have to continue to believe it forever.
  • and in every area of my life. I reinforce that which I learn in joyous ways. My day begins with gratitude and joy. I look forward with enthusiasm to the adventures of the day,
  • Release the past, let it wash away. Take back your own power. Stop dwelling on what you don’t want. Use your mind to create what you do want. Let yourself flow with the tide of life.
  • No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for we are the only thinkers in our mind. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.
  • I never believe it when clients try to convince me how terrible they are, or how unlovable they are. My work is to bring them back to the time when they knew how to really love themselves.
  • Your security is not your job, or your bank account, or your investments, or your spouse or parents. Your security is your ability to connect with the cosmic power that creates all things.
  • Think thoughts that make you happy. Do things that make you feel good. Be with people who make you feel good. Eat things that make your body feel good. Go at a pace that makes you feel good.
  • You’re security is not your job, or your bank account, or your investments, or your spouse or parents. Your security is your ability to connect with the cosmic power that creates all things.
  • We all have lessons to learn. The things that are so difficult for us are only the lessons we have chosen for ourselves. If things are easy for us, then they are not lessons, but are things we already know.
  • The past has no power over us. It doesn’t matter how long we have had a negative pattern. The point of power is in the present moment. What a wonderful thing to realize! We can begin to be free in this moment!
  • Love who and what you are and what you do. Laugh at yourself and at life, and nothing can touch you. It’s all temporary anyway. Next lifetime you will do it differently anyway, so why not do it differently right now?
  • In the infinity of life where I am, All is perfect, whole and complete, I no longer choose to believe in old limitations and lack, I now choose to begin to see myself As the Universe sees me — perfect, whole, and complete.
  • Attracting Love Love comes when we least expect it, when we are not looking for it. Hunting for love never brings the right partner. It only creates longing and unhappiness. Love is never outside ourselves; love is within us.
  • Impatience is just another form of resistance. It is resistance to learning and to changing. When we demand that it be done right now, completed at once, then we don’t give ourselves time to learn the lesson involved with the problem we have created.
  • If we want a joyous life, we must think joyous thoughts. If we want a prosperous life, we must think prosperous thoughts. If we want a loving life, we must think loving thoughts. Whatever we send out mentally or verbally will come back to us in like form.


  • Blame is one of the surest ways to stay in a problem. In blaming another, we give away our power. Understanding this enables us to rise above the issue and take control of our future. The past cannot be changed. The future is shaped by our current thinking.
  • Whenever we are ill, we need to search our hearts to see who it is we need to forgive. The Course in Miracles says that all disease comes from a state of unforgiveness, and that whenever we are ill, we need to look around to see who it is that we need to forgive.
  • If you want to understand your parents more, get them to talk about their own childhood; and if you listen with compassion, you will learn where their fears and rigid patterns come from. Those people who did all that stuff to you were just as frightened and scared as you are.
  • Well, I believe you created those experiences over and over because they mirrored something you believed about yourself. It doesn’t really matter how long we have had a problem, or how big it is, or how life-threatening it is. The Point of Power Is Always in the Present Moment
  • Interestingly, migraine headaches can almost always be alleviated by masturbation if you do it as soon as you feel a migraine coming on. The sexual release dissolves the tension and the pain. You may not feel like masturbating then, but it certainly is worth a try. You can’t lose.
  • There is so much love in your heart that you could heal the entire planet. But just for now let us use this love to heal you. Feel a warmth beginning to glow in your heart center, a softness, a gentleness. Let this feeling begin to change the way you think and talk about yourself.
  • Love is everywhere, and I am loving and lovable, and to hold on to that new affirmation and to repeat it often, then it will become true for me. Now, loving people will come into my life, the people already in my life will become more loving to me, and I will find myself easily expressing love to others.
  • One of the first affirmations to use is: I am willing to release the NEED for the resistance, or the headache, or the constipation, or the excess weight, or the lack of money or whatever. Say: I am willing to release the need for. . . If you are resisting at this point, then your other affirmations cannot work.
  • Would you really dig into yesterday’s garbage to make tonight’s meal? Do you dig into old mental garbage to create tomorrow’s experiences? If a thought or belief does not serve you, let it go! There is no written law that says that because you once believed something, you have to continue to believe it forever.
  • Loving the self, to me, begins with never criticizing ourselves for anything. Criticism locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves helps us to move out of it. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.
  • When a little child is learning to walk or talk, we encourage him and praise him for every tiny improvement he makes. The child beams and eagerly tries to do better. Is this the way you encourage yourself when you are learning something new? Or do you make it harder to learn because you tell yourself that you are stupid or clumsy or a ‘failure’?
  • Loving the self, to me, begins with never ever criticizing ourselves for anything. Criticism locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves helps us to move out of it. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.
  • What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us. I believe that everyone, myself included, is responsible for everything in our lives, the best and the worst. Every thought we think is creating our future. Each one of us creates our experiences by our thoughts and our feelings. The thoughts we think and the words we speak create our experiences.
  • We forget that we create the situations, then we give our power away by blaming the other person for our frustration. No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for we are the only thinkers in our mind. We create our experiences, our reality, and everyone in it. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our mind, we will find it in our lives.
  • I ask my clients to pick up a small mirror, look into their own eyes, and say their names and, ‘I love and accept you exactly as you are.’ This is so difficult for many people. Seldom do I get a calm reaction, let alone enjoyment from this exercise. Some cry or are close to tears, some get angry, some belittle their features or qualities, some insist they CAN’T do it…
  • We need to choose to release the past and forgive everyone, ourselves included. We may not know how to forgive, and we may not want to forgive, but the very fact that we say we are willing to forgive begins the healing process. It is imperative for our own healing that we release the past and forgive everyone. I forgive you for not being the way I wanted you to be. I forgive you and I set you free.
  • I believe that should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use should, we are, in effect, saying ‘wrong.’ Either we are wrong or we were wrong or we are going to be wrong. I don’t think we need more wrongs in our life. We need to have more freedom of choice. I would like to take the word should and remove it from the vocabulary forever. I’d replace it with the word could. Could gives us a choice, and we are never wrong.
  • When we want to change a condition, we need to say so. I am willing to release the pattern within me that is creating this condition. You can say this to yourself over and over every time you think of your illness or problem. The minute you say it, you are stepping out of the victim class. You are no longer helpless; you are acknowledging your own power. You are saying, I am beginning to understand that I created this. I now take my own power back. I am going to release this old idea and let it go.
  • If we were to take a three-year-old child and put him in the middle of the room, and you and I were to start yelling at the child, telling him how stupid he was, how he could never do anything right, how he should do this, and shouldn’t do that, and look at the mess he made; and maybe hit him a few times, we would end up with a frightened little child who sits docilely in the corner, or who tears up the place. The child will go one of these two ways, but we will never know the potential of that child.
  • I have never understood the importance of having children memorize battle dates. It seems like such a waste of mental energy. Instead, we could teach them important subjects such as How the Mind Works, How to Handle Finances, How to Invest Money for Financial Security, How to be a Parent, How to Create Good Relationships, and How to Create and Maintain Self-Esteem and Self-Worth. Can you imagine what a whole generation of adults would be like if they had been taught these subjects in school along with their regular curriculum?
  • If we take the same little child and tell him how much we love him, how much we care, that we love the way he looks and love how bright and clever he is, that we love the way he does things, and that it’s okay for him to make mistakes as he learns—and that we will always be there for him no matter what—then the potential that comes out of that child will blow your mind! Each one of us has a three-year-old child within us, and we often spend most of our time yelling at that kid in ourselves. Then we wonder why our lives don’t work.
  • When people come to me with a problem, I don’t care what it is—poor health, lack of money, unfulfilling relationships, or stifled creativity, there is only one thing I ever work on, and that is LOVING THE SELF. I find that as we really love and accept and APPROVE OF OURSELVES EXACTLY AS WE ARE, then everything in life works. It’s as if little miracles are everywhere. Our health improves, we attract more money, our relationships become much more fulfilling, and we begin to express ourselves in creatively fulfilling ways. All this seems to happen without even trying.
  • Often what we think of as the things ‘wrong’ with us are only our expressions of our individuality. This is our uniqueness and what is special about us. Nature never repeats itself. Since time began on this planet, there have never been two snowflakes alike or two raindrops the same. And every daisy is different from every other daisy. Our fingerprints are different, and we are different. We are meant to be different. When we can accept this, then there is not competition and no comparison. To try to be like another is to shrivel our soul. We have come to this planet to express who we are.
  • In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete. Change is the natural law of my life. I welcome change. I am willing to change. I choose to change my thinking. I choose to change the words I use. I move from the old to the new with ease and with joy. It is easier for me to forgive than I thought. Forgiving makes me feel free and light. It is with joy that I learn to love myself more and more. The more resentment I release, the more love I have to express. Changing my thoughts makes me feel good. I am learning to choose to make today a pleasure to experience. All is well in my world.
  • It is essential that we stop worrying about money and stop resenting our bills. Many people treat bills as punishments to be avoided if possible. A bill is an acknowledgment of our ability to pay. The creditor assumes you are affluent enough and gives you the service or the product first. I bless with love each and every bill that comes into my home. I bless with love and stamp a small kiss on each and every check I write. If you pay with resentment, money has a hard time coming back to you. If you pay with love and joy, you open the free-flowing channel of abundance. Treat money as a friend, not as something you wad up and crush into your pocket.
  • Attracting Love Love comes when we least expect it, when we are not looking for it. Hunting for love never brings the right partner. It only creates longing and unhappiness. Love is never outside ourselves; love is within us. Don’t insist that love come immediately. Perhaps you are not ready for it, or you are not developed enough to attract the love you want. Don’t settle for anybody just to have someone. Set your standards. What kind of love do you want to attract? List the qualities in yourself, and you will attract a person who has them. You might examine what may be keeping love away. Could it be criticism? Feelings of unworthiness? Unreasonable standards? Movie star images? Fear of intimacy? A belief that you are unlovable? Be ready for love when it does come. Prepare the field and be ready to nourish love. Be loving, and you will be lovable. Be open and receptive to love.
  • If you want to clean a room thoroughly, you will pick up and examine everything in it. Some things you will look at with love, and you will dust them or polish them to give them new beauty. Some things you will see that need refinishing or repair, and you will make a note to do that. Some things will never serve you again, and it becomes time to let those things go. Old magazines and newspapers and dirty paper plates can be dropped into the wastebasket very calmly. There is no need to get angry in order to clean the room. It is the same thing when we are cleaning our mental house. There is no need to get angry just because some of the beliefs in it are ready to be tossed out. Let them go as easily as you would scrape bits of food into the trash after a meal. Would you really dig into yesterday’s garbage to make tonight’s meal? Do you dig into old mental garbage to create tomorrow’s experiences? If a thought or belief does not serve you, let it go!
  • Your problem no longer needs to be the truth for you. It can now fade back to the nothingness from whence it came. You can do it. Remember: you are the only person who thinks in your mind! You are the power and authority in your world! Your thoughts and beliefs of the past have created this moment, and all the moments up to this moment. What you are now choosing to believe and think and say will create the next moment and the next day and the next month and the next year. Yes, you, darling! I can give you the most marvelous advice, coming from my years of experience, yet you can continue to choose to think the same old thoughts, you can refuse to change and keep all your problems. You are the power in your world! You get to have whatever you choose to think! This moment begins the new process. Each moment is a new beginning, and this moment is a new beginning for you right here and right now! Isn’t that great to know! This moment is the Point of Power! This moment is where the change begins!
  • Exercise: Letting Go As you read this, take a deep breath and, as you exhale, allow all the tension to leave your body. Let your scalp and your forehead and your face relax. Your head does not need to be tense in order for you to read. Let your tongue and your throat and your shoulders relax. You can hold a book with relaxed arms and hands. Do that now. Let your back and your abdomen and your pelvis relax. Let your breathing be at peace as you relax your legs and feet. Is there a big change in your body since you began the previous paragraph? Notice how much you hold on. If you are doing it with your body, you are doing it with your mind. In this relaxed, comfortable position, say to yourself, I am willing to let go. I release. I let go. I release all ten- sion. I release all fear. I release all anger. I release all guilt. I release all sadness. I let go of all old limitations. I let go, and I am at peace. I am at peace with myself. I am at peace with the process of life. I am safe. Go over this exercise two or three times. Feel the ease of letting go.



The Pursuit of Perfect (Tal Ben-Shahar)

  • If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.
  • Our behavior toward others is often a reflection of our treatment of ourselves.
  • Change is not a threat but a challenge; the unknown is not frightening but fascinating.
  • As J. P. Morgan once remarked, ‘I can do a year’s work in nine months, but not in twelve.’
  • The pain associated with the fear of failure is usually more intense than the pain following an actual failure.
  • Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard noted ‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare, is to lose oneself.
  • The problem in today’s corporate world, as well as in many other realms, is not hard work; the problem is insufficient recovery.
  • If the only dream we have is of a perfect life, we are doomed to disappointment since such dreams simply cannot come true in the real world.
  • Taking the constraints of reality into consideration, the Optimalist then works toward creating not the perfect life but the best possible one.
  • Focusing on the good does not mean ignoring the bad, but rather the understanding that the most effective way to eradicate the bad is to do good.
  • Abraham Lincoln once jokingly asked, ‘How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?’ His answer? ‘Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.
  • Those who understand that failure is inextricably linked with achievement are the ones who learn, grow, and ultimately do well. Learn to fail, or fail to learn.
  • Acceptance is not a call for mediocrity, for compromise, but rather a prerequisite for the attainment of optimal success and happiness on a personal as well as interpersonal level.
  • It is doubtful whether any heavier curse could be imposed on man than the complete gratification of all his wishes without effort on his part, leaving nothing for his hopes, desires or struggles.
  • Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
  • Paradoxically, our overall self-confidence and our belief in our own ability to deal with setbacks may be reinforced when we fail, because we realize that the beast we had always feared—is not as terrifying as we thought it was.
  • Matt, the student who jokingly threatened to report me to his roommate if he saw me unhappy, thought that a person teaching happiness should radiate joy 24-7. Matt’s idea was not only unrealistic, it was in fact a recipe for unhappiness.
  • The notion that we can enjoy unlimited success or live without emotional pain and failure may be an inspiring ideal, but it is not a principle by which to lead one’s life, since in the long run it leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
  • The first step was to accept the reality that I could not have it all. While it seems obvious that you cannot work fourteen hours a day and remain fit and healthy and be a devoted father and husband, in my perfectionist fantasy world, nothing was impossible.
  • Helen Keller, who in her lifetime knew much suffering, as well as joy, noted that ‘character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
  • In essence, Perfectionists reject everything that deviates from their flawless, faultless ideal vision, and as a result they suffer whenever they do not meet their own unrealistic standards. Optimalists accept, and make the best of, everything that life has to offer.
  • Why the double standard, the generosity toward our neighbor and the miserliness where we ourselves are concerned? And so I propose that we add a new rule, which we can call the Platinum Rule, to our moral code: ‘Do not do unto yourself what you would not do unto others.’
  • If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
  • low self-esteem, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychosomatic disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, alcoholism, social phobia, panic disorder, a paralyzing tendency to procrastination, and serious difficulties in relationships.
  • Optimalists tend to be benefit finders—the sort of people who find the silver lining in the dark cloud, who make lemonade out of lemons, who look on the bright side of life, and who do not fault writers for using too many cliches. With a knack for turning setbacks into opportunities, the Optimalist goes through life with an overall sense of optimism.
  • The emotional life that the Perfectionist expects is one of a constant high; the Optimalist expects his life to include emotional ups, emotional downs, and everything in between. The Perfectionist rejects painful emotions that do not meet his expectation of an unwavering flow of positive emotions; the Optimalist permits himself to experience the full range of human emotions.
  • In the psychological realm, injuries come in the form of emotional harm; feeling lethargic, anxious, or depressed are some of the signals that we need some time to recover. These signals, unlike physical injuries, are more subtle and easier to discount. And it is not uncommon for a person to continue working just as hard, if not harder, while the mind and the heart are pleading for a break.
  • When the Dalai Lama was then asked to clarify whether indeed the object of compassion may be the self, he responded: ‘Yourself first, and then in a more advanced way the aspiration will embrace others. In a way, high levels of compassion are nothing but an advanced state of that self-interest. That’s why it is hard for people who have a strong sense of self-hatred to have genuine compassion toward others. There is no anchor, no basis to start from.’
  • The rising levels of mental health problems, coupled with improved psychiatric medication, are thrusting us toward a brave new world. To reverse direction, rather than listening to advertisers who promise us the wonder drug, the magic pill that will improve performance and mood, we need to listen to our nature and rediscover its wonders. Regular recovery, on the micro-, mid-, and macrolevels, can often do the work of psychiatric medicine, only naturally.
  • … psychologists today differentiate between positive perfectionism, which is adaptive and healthy, and negative perfectionism, which is maladaptive and neurotic. I regard these two types of perfectionism as so dramatically different in both their underlying nature and their ramifications that I prefer to use entirely different terms to refer to them. Throughout this book, I will refer to negative perfectionism simply as perfectionism and to positive perfectionism as optimalism.
  • Perfectionism and optimalism are not distinct ways of being, an either-or choice, but rather they coexist in each person. And while we can move from perfectionism toward optimalism, we never fully leave perfectionism behind and never fully reach optimalism ahead. The optimalism ideal is not a distant shore to be reached but a distant star that guides us and can never be reached. As Carl Rogers pointed out, The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.
  • The word appreciate has two meanings. The first meaning is ‘to be thankful,’ the opposite of taking something for granted. The second meaning is ‘to increase in value’ (as money appreciates in the bank). Combined, these two meanings point to a truth that has been proved repeatedly in research on gratitude: when we appreciate the good in our lives, the good grows and we have more of it. The opposite, sadly, is also true: when we fail to appreciate the good—when we take the good in our lives for granted—the good depreciates.
  • The basic premise of cognitive therapy is that we react to our interpretation of events rather than directly to the events themselves, which is why the same event may elicit radically different responses from different people. An event leads to a thought (an interpretation of the event), and the thought in turn evokes an emotion. I see a baby (event), recognize her as my daughter (thought), and feel love (emotion). I see the audience waiting for my lecture (event), interpret it as threatening (thought), and experience anxiety (emotion).
  • One of the wishes that I always have for my students is that they should fail more often (although they are understandably not thrilled to hear me tell them so). If they fail frequently, it means that they try frequently, that they put themselves on the line and challenge themselves. It is only from the experience of challenging ourselves that we learn and grow, and we often develop and mature much more from our failures than from our successes. Moreover, when we put ourselves on the line, when we fall down and get up again, we become stronger and more resilient.
  • We all have an image of our ideal self, an elaborate construct of the kind of person we would like to be. While it is not always possible to feel as this constructed self would (fearless and compassionate at all times, for example), we can act in accordance with its ideals (courageous, generous, and so on). Active acceptance is about recognizing things as they are and then choosing the course of action we deem appropriate and worthy of ourselves. It is about recognizing that at every moment in our life we have a choice—to be afraid and yet to act courageously, to feel jealous and yet to act benevolently, to accept being human and act with humanity.
  • The goal of cognitive therapy is to restore a sense of realism by getting rid of distorted thinking. When we identify an irrational thought (a cognitive distortion), we change the way we think about an event and thereby change the way we feel. For example, if I experience paralyzing anxiety before a job interview, I can evaluate the thought that elicits the anxiety (if I am rejected, it will all be over and I will never find a job) and reinterpret the event by disputing and replacing the distorted evaluation with a rational one (although I really want this job, there are many other desirable jobs out there). The distortion elicits an intense and unhealthy fear of failure; the rational thought reframes the situation and puts it in perspective.



How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (Dale Carnegie)

  • Nobody kicks a dead dog.
  • Our thoughts make us what we are.
  • Every day is a new life to a wise man.
  • Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
  • No matter what happens, always be yourself.
  • If you want to keep happiness , you have to share it !
  • Those who do not know how to fight worry die young. Alexis Carrel
  • Today is our most precious possession. It is our only sure possession.
  • Two men looked out from prison bars, One saw the mud, the other saw stars.
  • Shut the iron doors on the past and the future. Live in Day-tight compartments.
  • Keep busy. The worried person must lose himself in action, lest he wither in despair.
  • 0ne of the worst features about worrying is that it destroys our ability to concentrate.
  • So, to prevent fatigue and worry, the first rule is: Rest often. Rest before you get tired.
  • The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.
  • Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.
  • Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.
  • Let’s do as General Eisenhower does: let’s never waste a minute thinking about people we don’t like.
  • You do not not get stomach ulcers from what you eat. You get ulcers from what is eating you. Dr. Montague
  • It has been said that nearly all of our worries and unhappiness come from our imagination and not from reality.
  • Nobody is so miserable as he who longs to be somebody and something other than the person he is in body and mind.
  • Seventy per cent of all patients who come to physicians could cure themselves if they got rid of their fears and worries.
  • Let’s not allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. Remember “Life is too short to be little”
  • De minimus non curat lex’— the law does not concern itself with trifles. And neither should the worrier—if he wants peace of mind.
  • For every ailment under the sun, There is a remedy, or there is none; If there be one, try to find it; If there be none, never mind it.
  • When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.
  • There is only one way to happiness,” Epictetus taught the Romans, “and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.
  • Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?” 2. Prepare to accept it if you have to. 3. Then calmly proceed to improve on the worst.
  • Let me repeat: do what the Army does—take frequent rests. Do what your heart does—rest before you get tired, and you will add one hour a day to your waking life.
  • The sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if your cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. William James
  • Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher, warned that we ought to be more concerned about removing wrong thoughts from the mind than about removing ‘tumors and abscesses from the body.’
  • Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied; and the purpose of this book is to remind you of what you already know and to kick you in the shins and inspire you to do something about applying it.
  • The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.
  • Let’s never try to get even with our enemies, because if we do we will hurt ourselves far more than we hurt them. Let’s do as General Eisenhower does: let’s never waste a minute thinking about people we don’t like.
  • …the best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.
  • Obviously, circumstances alone do not make us happy or unhappy. It is the way we react to circumstances that determines our feelings. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is within you. That is where the kingdom of hell is, too.
  • Relaxation and Recreation The most relaxing recreating forces are a healthy religion, sleep, music, and laughter. Have faith in God—learn to sleep well— Love good music—see the funny side of life— And health and happiness will be yours.
  • One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon—instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
  • You can sing only what you are. You can paint only what you are. You must be what your experiences, your environment, and your heredity have made you. For better or for worse, you must play your own little instrument in the orchestra of life.
  • No one living has enough emotion and vigor to fight the inevitable and, at the same time, enough left over to create a new life. Choose one or the other. You can either bend with the inevitable sleetstorms of life—or you can resist them and break!
  • So, I banish about 90 per cent of my worries by taking these four steps: 1. Writing down precisely what I am worried about. Writing down what I can do about it.    3.  Deciding what to do.   4.  Starting immediately to carry out that decision.
  • The words “Think and Thank” are inscribed in many of the Cromwellian churches of England. These words ought to be inscribed in our hearts, too: “Think and Thank”. Think of all we have to be grateful for, and thank God for all our boons and bounties.
  • I know with conviction beyond all doubt that the biggest problem you and I have to deal with—in fact, almost the *only* problem we have to deal with—is choosing the right thoughts. If we can do that, we will be on the highroad to solving all our problems.


  • When I asked him -Mr.Henry Ford- if he ever worried, he replied: “No. I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe that every-thing will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?”
  • A good deed, “said the prophet Mohammed, “is one that brings a smile of joy to the face of another.” Why will doing a good deed every day produce such astounding efforts on the doer? Because trying to please others will cause us to stop thinking of ourselves: the very thing that produces worry and fear and melancholia.
  • I realize now that people are not thinking about you and me or caring what is said about us. They are thinking about themselves—before breakfast, after breakfast, and right on until ten minutes past midnight. They would be a thousand times more concerned about a slight headache of their own than they would about the news of your death or mine.
  • So let’s be content to live the only time we can possibly live: from now until bedtime. ‘Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, from now until nightfall,’ wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. ‘Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means.’
  • I spent twelve years working with cattle; yet I never saw a Jersey cow running a temperature because the pasture was burning from lack of rain or because of sleet and cold or because her boy friend was paying too much attention to another heffer. The animals confront night, storms, and hunger calmly; so they never have nervous breakdowns or stomach ulcers; and they never go insane.
  • Professor William James, the father of applied psychology, has been dead since 1910. But if he were alive today, and could hear this formula for facing the worst, he would heartily approve of it. How do I know that? Because he told his own students: ‘Be willing to have it so… Be willing to have it so,’ he said, because ‘…acceptance of what has happened is the first step in overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.’
  • Experience has proved to me, time after time, the enormous value of arriving at a decision. It is the failure to arrive at a fixed purpose, the inability to stop going around and round in maddening circles, that drives men to nervous breakdowns and living hells. I find that fifty per cent of my worries vanishes once I arrive at a clear, definite decision; and another forty per cent usually vanishes once I start to carry out that decision.
  • Do I tend to put off living in the present in order to worry about the future, or to yearn for some ‘magical rose garden over the horizon’? Do I sometimes embitter the present by regretting things that happened in the past—that are over and done with? Do I get up in the morning determined to ‘Seize the day’—to get the utmost out of these twenty-four hours? Can I get more out of life by ‘living in day-tight compartments’? When shall I start to do this? Next week? … Tomorrow? … Today?”
  • Think of your life as an hourglass. You know there are thousands of grains of sand in the top of the hourglass; and they all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle. Nothing you or I could do would make more than one grain of sand pass through this narrow neck without impairing the hourglass. You and I and everyone else are like this hourglass…if we do not take [tasks] one at a time and let them pass…slowly and evenly, then we are bound to break our own…structure.
  • George Bernard Shaw was right. He summed it all up when he said: ‘The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.’ So don’t bother to think about it! Spit on your hands and get busy. Your blood will start circulating; your mind will start ticking—and pretty soon this whole positive upsurge of life in your body will drive worry from your mind. Get busy. Keep busy. It’s the cheapest kind of medicine there is on this earth—and one of the best.
  • Psychiatrists declare that most of our fatigue derives from our mental and emotional attitudes… What kinds of emotional factors tire the sedentary (or sitting) worker? Joy? Contentment? No! Never! Boredom, resentment, a feeling of not being appreciated, a feeling of futility, hurry, anxiety, worry—those are the emotional factors that exhaust the sitting worker, make him susceptible to colds, reduce his output, and send him home with a nervous headache. Yes, we get tired because our emotions produce nervous tensions in the body.
  • What is the answer to this fatigue? Relax! Relax! Relax! Learn to relax while you are doing your work. Relax in odd moments. Let your body go limp like an old sock.”   Work, as much as possible, in a comfortable position.  Check yourself four or five times a day, and say to yourself, ‘Am I making my work harder than it actually is? Am I using muscles that have nothing to do with the work I’m doing?’  Test yourself again at the end of the day, by asking yourself, ‘Just how tired am I? If I am tired, it is not because of mental work I have done but because of the way I have done it.’
  • Your heart pumps enough blood through your body every day to fill a railway tank car. It exerts enough energy every twenty-four hours to shovel twenty tons of coal onto a platform three feet high. It does this incredible amount of work for fifty, seventy, or maybe ninety years. How can it stand it? Dr. Walter B. Cannon, of the Harvard Medical School, explained it. He said ‘Most people have the idea that the heart is working all the time. As a matter of fact, there is a definite rest period after each contraction. When beating at a moderate rate of seventy pulses per minute, the heart is actually working only nine hours out of the twenty-four. In the aggregate its rest periods total a full fifteen hours per day.
  • When we are harassed and reach the limit of our own strength, many of us then turn in desperation to God-“There are no atheists in foxholes.” But why wait till we are desperate? Why not renew our strength every day? Why wait even until Sunday? For years I have had the habit of dropping into empty churches on weekday afternoons. When I feel that I am too rushed and hurried to spare a few minutes to think about spiritual things, I say to myself: “Wait a minute, Dale Carnegie, wait a minute. Why all the feverish hurry and rush, little man? You need to pause and acquire a little perspective.” At such times, I frequently drop into the first church that I find open. Although I am a Protestant, I frequently, on weekday afternoons, drop into St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue, and remind myself that I’ll be dead in another thirty years, but that the great spiritual truths that all churches teach are eternal. I close my eyes and pray. I find that doing this calms my nerves, rests my body, clarifies my perspective, and helps me revalue my values. May I recommend this practice to you?
  • Some readers are going to snort at the idea of making so much over a hackneyed proverb like ‘Don’t cry over spilt milk.’ I know it is trite, commonplace, a platitude. I know you have heard it a thousand times. But I also know that these hackneyed proverbs contain the very essence of the distilled wisdom of all ages. They have come out of the fiery experience of the human race and have been handed down through countless generations. If you were to read everything that has ever been written about worry by the great scholars of all time, you would never read anything more basic or more profund than such hackneyed proverbs as ‘Don’t cross your bridges until you come to them’ and ‘Don’t cry over spilt milk.’ If we ony applied those two proverbs—instead of snorting at them-—we wouldn’t need this book at all. In fact, if we applied most of the old proverbs, we would lead almost perfect lives. However, knowledge isn’t power until it is applied; and the purpose of this book is to remind you of what you already know and to kick you in the shins and inspire you to do something about applying it.



Romancing the Shadow (Connie Zweig & Steve Wolf)

Shadow-work is the gateway to wholeness and authenticity

  • When one can hear the voice of the Self and learn to obey it, one walks and talks with authenticity.
  • Relate to the shadow as a mystery, rather than as a problem to be solved or an illness to be cured.
  • The shadow… requires endless patience, keen instinct, fine discrimination, the compassion of a Buddha. It requires one eye to be turned out toward the world of light, while the other eye is turned in toward the world of darkness.
  • To live with shadow awareness is to turn away from the peaks toward the valleys, away from the heights and the rarefied air, toward the depths and the dark and the dense. It is to turn toward the unpleasant thoughts, hidden fantasies, marginal feelings that are taboo – our secret lust, greed, envy, rage. To live with shadow awareness is to move our eyes from up to down, to relinquish the clarity of blue-sky thinking for the uncertain murkiness of a foggy morning.
  • Shadow-work enables us to alter our self-sabotaging behavior, so that we can achieve a more self-directed life. It expands our awareness to include a wider range of who we are, so that we can attain more complete self-knowledge and eventually feel more genuine self-acceptance. It permits us to defuse the negative emotions that taint our loving relationships, so that we can create a more authentic intimacy. It shows us how to reclaim our projections onto the Other and open our hearts to more compassion. And it opens the storehouse of creativity in which our talents remain hidden and out of reach – our lost creative dreams, our sacrificed gifts. In each of these ways, shadow-work permits us to find gold in the dark side.

The challenge of romancing our shadow is that it is subtle and multifaceted 

  • Denial is entrenched because the shadow does not want to come out of its hiding place. Its nature is to hide, remain outside awareness. So the shadow acts out indirectly, concealed in our sour mood or sarcastic remark.
  • …culture teaches us to be extroverted, quick, ambitious, productive. Workaholism is lauded; contemplation is shunned. But shadow-work is slow, cautious; it moves like an animal in the night. It moves us against the collective mandate to think positively, be productive, focus outwardly, and protect our image.
  • …the shadow might become an initiation, a call to remember the multifaceted complexity of human nature and the fertile depths of the human souk. We need to start by acknowledging the dark side.
  • When shadow-work is neglected, the soul feels dry, brittle, like an empty vessel… But when the shadow-work is attended to, the soul feels round, full, sated. When shadow-work is invited into a life, the soul feels welcomed, alive in the gardens, aroused in passion, awake in sacred things.

The art of shadow dancing in relationships is evoke evolution and awakening

  • Your partner is your best mirror.
  • …no one is right or and no one is wrong. Both of you have your own experience and point of view and are entitled to be heard and understood.
  • A conscious relationship does not breed complacency; it does not offer the security of a warm blanket. Instead, a relationship is a cauldron in which to cook the soul. Its aim is heat, not warmth; movement, not rest. The goal of a relationship, then, is not make order or to sit back and relax in idyllic paradise. Rather, it aims to share the mystery of evolution – and evoke evolution through confrontations with the shadow.

The family shadow brings out the best and worst in us

  • Just as individuals remain unconscious of their personal shadow material, so family members remain unconscious of the family shadow, which contains buried secrets like a treasure chest stowed away in the attic.
  • The family holds mythic power—the source of all good, the defense against evil. It’s exalted as a sacred ideal, which promises roots, blood relations, future generations. It ties each individual life to its fat, imprinting it genetically, biochemically, and psychologically with blessings and curses. To imagine life without family is to imagine life in free fall, without a container, with a ground on which to stand.
  • But with shadow-work the unconscious wounds of the family can set up on the path toward consciousness. Instead of remaining profane wounds, instilling feelings of bitterness or thoughts of revenge, which restrict awareness from the ego’s point of view, they can become sacred wounds from the soul’s point of view, opening our awareness to a higher order.
  • Parents, children, teachers, clergy, and friends add to the mix, helping to determine what is allowed to be expressed and what is not. For some families, emotional vulnerability and crying are encouraged; for others, they are banished into the shadow. For some families, anger and conflict are tolerated; for others, they are the worst taboo. For some families, nakedness and natural bodily processes are accepted; for others they are banned. For some families artistic talents are supported; for others, they are considered a waste of time. In this way, anything can become shadow content; its not determined by the nature of the material but by how the family members related to it.

Shadows among friends can evoke envy, anger and betrayal

  • A friend offers us a place to feel special; a friend permits our authentic specialness to be seen.
  • Today, only a few people experience the kind of friendship in which they offer to stand in for another’s fat or to speak from their specialness. Instead, for many of us the word “friend” has degenerated to mean buddy, acquaintance, companion, neighbor, diminishing our fantasies about this potential bond. And, as a result, the deep reciprocity of soul friendship has been lost to us.
  • A soul friendship is a safe place in which to experiment with authentic power – that is, the power that issues from the voice of the Self. But if we use inauthentic power, which is tied to the ego, to relate to others, we end up creating power struggles and feelings of superiority and inferiority, which do not lead to safety but instead to competition, envy, and jealously.
  • … our worship of individual autonomy and shaming of dependency needs makes it difficult to admit our deep affections for others or to display our reliance upon them. Men, especially, tend to fear intimacy with one another; they are taught to deny their vulnerability, and they are often refused closeness by their fathers. As a result, they typically find it difficult to lean upon other men or to ask for help. Many rely solely on their wives or lovers for, intimacy, which puts a tremendous burden on their romantic relationships.

Authentic shadow work is reclaiming your unlived life

  • At the end, we return to the beginning. The cry of the banished soul, hidden in the cellar of childhood, can no longer be silenced. Taboo traits and forbidden feelings resurface as fully formed shadow characters who pound their fists on the table, demanding to be heard. If we turn our back on them and deny their needs, the kingdom falls into the hands of a tyrant or a victim, or it disintegrates into chaos. Either way, the precious gold in the dark side remains concealed.
  • …with ongoing shadow-work we can halt the transmission of intergenerational family sins. We can learn to risk expressing our feelings with authenticity, shadow-dance with our partners, work shorter hours to spend time with family and friends or on spiritual or creative pursuits, and respect the autonomy of our children’s souls.

Shadow-work is soul work.

  • Romancing the shadow is not a way to slay the shadow; it’s not a heroic gesture, a killing off of a monstrous part of ourselves. And romancing the shadow is not a way to harness the beast to do the ego’s work. Instead, it’s a way of being with a part of ourselves that is repulsive or grotesque. It’s a way to witness it, be present for it, and understand it; but, more deeply, it’s a way to honour it.

Not Nice (Aziz Gazipura)

What we fear most

  • If they saw the real me, how I really am, they’d be turned off, repelled, or disgusted.

The drawbacks of always striving to be nice

  • I saw that clients who were trying the hardest to be nice people also felt the most anxious, guilty, and frustrated.
  • I discovered that being nice can make us secretly less loving and more burnt out over time as we stray further and further from our authentic selves.
  • At its core, being nice is about being liked by others by making everything smooth. No waves, no friction. It’s based on this (woefully inaccurate) theory: If I please others, give them everything they want, keep a low profile, and don’t ruffle feathers or create any discomfort, then others will like me, love me, and shower me with approval and anything else I want.
  • One of the biggest traps of niceness is the pressure to stay nice. It’s the idea that being a nice person is the same thing as being a good person.
  • Being nice does not come out of goodness or high morals. It comes out of a fear of displeasing others and receiving their disapproval. It’s driven by fear, not virtue. In fact, I discovered that being nice can make us secretly less loving and more burnt out over time as we stray further and further from our authentic selves.
  • Being nice is blocking you from standing up for yourself, being honest with others, creating deeper relationships, or boldly expressing yourself in the world.
  • Being nice does not come out of goodness or high morals. It comes out of a fear of displeasing others and receiving their disapproval.

Instead, know who you are and be your best self

  • The opposite of nice is knowing who you are, what you believe in, and what you value. It’s you being powerful and going after what you want because you are no longer held back by the fear of what others will think of you. It’s you being fierce, determined, and courageous. It’s you being your best self.
  • To live in your reality means you own who you are, what you like, what you believe in, what you stand for, and what you think and feel in the moment.

Take full responsibility for your own happiness

  • Time to step up and take full responsibility. No one can care as much about your internal, moment-to-moment experience as you can. Because they’re not in it. They’re not in your body, in your mind, and in your heart, experiencing everything you are. They have their own internal experience to feel and navigate. You are responsible for you. That means deciding, right here and now as you read this page, that you will shift your priorities and put yourself first. You no longer confuse self-denial with being a good person. You see clearly that always putting others first creates deep resentment, destroys your happiness, and is unsustainable. And you acknowledge that putting yourself first allows you to meet your needs in the most skillful way. This, in turn, increases your happiness, joy, and capacity to love, so you can give freely and create healthy relationships.
  • In that moment, I decided: I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I will study whatever I need to, practice whatever I need to, force myself to take action and do anything—no matter how scary or uncomfortable—again and again and again until I break out of this cage and create the life I want. I will not quit. I will not stop.
  • Once we make a decision from our core, and turn it into a powerful commitment, there’s no stopping us. Our success becomes inevitable. It’s just a matter of time.

Realise you are not responsible for other people’s feelings

  • Here’s the thing. You are not responsible for other people’s feelings. They’re not incompetent children. They’re adults who can handle their own feelings. They can work through disappointment, hurt, anger, sadness, and upset. In fact, doing so will make them stronger and healthier in the long run. You cannot stop others from feeling all discomfort, or all pain. It is an impossible task, a fool’s errand.

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people

  • I slowly moved away from and ended relationships that did not serve me, including ones with drama, chaos, or frequent negativity. Over time, my energy rose higher and higher. Now I am surrounded by supportive, inspiring, intelligent, and loving people. I spend time with those that bring out the best in me and inspire me to grow even more.

Let go of obligation-based relationships

  • Life without obligation-based relationships is full of so much more love, appreciation, energy, freedom, and fun.

Let go of the need for comfort

  • And if comfort is a prerequisite for action, then you will never take action.

Tell the truth

  • Politeness and diplomacy are responsible for more suffering and death than all the crimes of passion in history. Fuck politeness. Fuck diplomacy. Tell the truth. Brad Blanton

You have a right to be here and to be you

  • You have a right to be here. You belong. You matter. Why? Just because. You exist on this planet and you have a right to be here just as much as anyone else.
  • I have the right to approach anyone I want to start a conversation with. I have the right to change the subject or end the conversation whenever I would like. I have the right to insert myself into a conversation and interrupt someone who’s speaking. I have the right to say “no” to anything I don’t want to do, for any reason, without needing to justify it or give an excuse. I have the right to ask for what I want. I have the right to ask why and negotiate if someone initially says “no.” I have the right to offer anything to anyone, any number of times (and they have the right to say no). I have the right to change my mind; I do not always need to be logical and consistent. I have the right to ask questions whenever I’d like to know something. I have the right to disagree with others (even if they know more about the subject than I do). I have the right to share my perspective, even if someone might disagree or temporarily be uncomfortable. I have the right to make mistakes, mess up, or otherwise not be perfect. I have the right to not be responsible for others, including their feelings and problems. I have the right to take time and space to be by myself, even if others would prefer my company. I have the right not to have to anticipate others’ needs and wishes. If they have them, they can express them. I have the right to say yes to having sex, to enjoy sex, and to pause during sex to have a conversation. I have the right to be treated with respect. I have the right to expect honesty and integrity from others. I have the right to feel all of my feelings, including anger, grief, sadness, and fear. I have the right to feel grief about something for as long as that grief persists. I have the right to feel something or do something without needing to justify myself to others. I have the right to feel angry at those I love, and to express it in a responsible manner. I have the right to express my feelings assertively while respecting others. I have the right to choose how much I want to see a friend or someone I’m dating, and end the relationship if it does not feel desirable to me.

Thoughts on freeing your children of the need to please

  • I’m interested in establishing a longer-term form of influence that doesn’t condition fear-based people-pleasing into my children. I’m playing the ultra-long game. Because the standard approach doesn’t quite make sense. When they’re young, we hammer in the “don’t defy me” message. But then, once they become adults, we want them to go out into the world and be direct, assertive, confident, persistent, bold, outspoken, and a leader who doesn’t take no for an answer. Guess what? After all this conditioning, the vast majority of people are not like that. (Shocking!) Most people are terrified of disapproval and rejection. Most people don’t know how to be skillfully assertive, speak up for themselves and speak their minds. So they either act out aggressively in the wrong place at the wrong time, or just passively stuff it all down. Most people are too polite, too timid, too obedient, and too subservient. Most people are too nice.

No More Mr Nice Guy (Robert Glover)

Qualities of Nice Guys

  • Nice Guys are givers.
  • Nice Guys fix and caretake.
  • Nice Guys seek approval from others.
  • Nice Guys avoid conflict.
  • Nice Guys believe they must hide their perceived flaws and mistakes.
  • Nice Guys seek the “right” way to do things.
  • Nice Guys repress their feelings.
  • Nice Guys tend to analyze rather than feel.
  • Nice Guys are often more comfortable relating to women than to men.
  • Nice Guys have difficulty making their needs a priority.
  • Nice Guys often make their partner their emotional center. Many Nice Guys report that they are only happy if their partner is happy. Therefore they will often focus tremendous energy on their intimate relationships.

Nice Guys believe they must be nice to be loved

  • By giving these men the label Nice Guy, I’m not so much referring to their actual behavior, but to their core belief system about themselves and the world around them. These men have been conditioned to believe that if they are “nice,” they will be loved, get their needs met, and have a smooth life.
  • The working paradigm of the Nice Guy is this: IF I can hide my flaws and become what I think others want me to be THEN I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem-free life.

Nice Guys can be dishonest, secretive and manipulative

  • Nice Guys are dishonest. These men hide their mistakes, avoid conflict, say what they think people want to hear, and repress their feelings. These traits make Nice Guys fundamentally dishonest.
  • Nice Guys are secretive. Because they are so driven to seek approval, Nice Guys will hide anything that they believe might upset anyone.
  • Nice Guys are manipulative. Nice Guys tend to have a hard time making their needs a priority and have difficulty asking for what they want in clear and direct ways. This creates a sense of powerlessness. Therefore, they frequently resort to manipulation when trying to get their needs met.
  • Nice Guys are controlling. A major priority for Nice Guys is keeping their world smooth. This creates a constant need to try to control the people and things around them.
  • Nice Guys are often terrible listeners because they are too busy trying to figure out how to defend themselves or fix the other person’s problem. Because of their fear of conflict, they are frequently dishonest and are rarely available to work all the way through a problem.

Nice Guys often hide toxic shame

  • Nice Guys believe they should be able do everything on their own. They have a difficult time asking for help and try to hide any signs of imperfection or weakness.
  • Toxic shame is the belief that one is inherently bad, defective, different, or unlovable. Toxic shame is not just a belief that one does bad things, it is a deeply held core belief that one is bad.

Nice guys tend to be afraid

  • Nice Guys are afraid of making a mistake, afraid of doing it wrong, afraid of failure, afraid of losing it all. Right alongside these fears of disaster is the paradoxical fear of success.
  • Afraid that if they are truly successful: They will be found out to be frauds.  They won’t be able to live up to people’s expectations.  They will be criticized.  They won’t be able to handle the increased expectations.  They will lose control over their lives.  They will do something to mess up everything. Rather than facing these fears — real or imagined — Nice Guys typically settle for operating at a fraction of their full potential.

Nice Guys give to get

  • Nice Guys give to get. Though Nice Guys tend to be generous givers, their giving often has unconscious and unspoken strings attached. They want to be appreciated, they want some kind of reciprocation, they want someone to stop being angry at them, etc.
  • The Nice Guy gives to others hoping to get something in return. When it doesn’t seem that he is getting as much as he gives or he isn’t getting what he expected, he feels frustrated and resentful. When this frustration and resentment builds up long enough, it spills out in the form of rage attacks, passive-aggressive behavior, pouting, tantrums, withdrawing, shaming, criticizing, blaming, even physical abuse.

Nice Guys pretend to be perfect…

  • Most Nice Guys pride themselves on being honest and trustworthy. Ironically, Nice Guys are fundamentally dishonest. Nice Guys will tell lies, partial truths, and omit information if they believe it will prevent someone from focusing on them in a negative way.
  • Striving for perfection keeps Nice Guys focused on their imperfections.
  • Trying to do it right robs Nice Guys of their creativity and productivity. Striving for perfection keeps Nice Guys focused on their imperfections. Attempting to hide flaws and mistakes prevents Nice Guys from taking risks or trying something new. Following the rules make Nice Guys rigid, cautious, and fearful.
  • How does your perfectionism or need to do it right get in the way of realizing your passion and potential?

…not realising that people are not drawn to perfection

  • Nice Guys have a difficult time comprehending that in general, people are not drawn to perfection in others. People are drawn to shared interests, shared problems, and an individual’s life energy.
  • Hiding one’s humanity and trying to project an image of perfection makes a person vague, slippery, lifeless, and uninteresting. I often refer to Nice Guys as Teflon Men. They work so hard to be smooth, nothing can stick to them. Unfortunately, this Teflon coating also makes it difficult for people to get close. It is actually a person’s rough edges and human imperfections that give others something to connect with.
  • Imperfect humans can only connect with other imperfect humans. Most folks tend to be attracted to individuals who have some substance and sense of self. Chameleons usually don’t draw much of a crowd or get many ovations.

Trying to appear needless and wantless prevents nice guys from getting their needs met

  • Nice Guys often believe it is a virtue to have few needs or wants. Beneath this facade of needlessness and wantlessness, all Nice Guys are actually extremely needy. Consequently, when they go about trying to get their needs met, Nice Guys are frequently indirect, unclear, manipulative, and controlling.
  • The Nice Guy’s covert contract is simply this: 1) I will do this (fill in the blank) for you, so that 2) You will do this (fill in the blank) for me. 3 ) We will both act as if we have no awareness of this contract.
  • Identify at least one cover t contract between you and a significant other. What do you give? What do you expect in return?

Nice Guys are not always nice

  • These men tend to swing back and forth between being nice and not-so-nice.
  • He’ll just keep it in and it will build like a pressure cooker. I won’t have a clue that anything is bothering him. And then out of the blue, he’ll explode.

Nice Guys crave validation, especially from the opposite sex…

  • Nice Guys seek external validation in just about every social situation, but their quest for approval is the most pronounced in their relationships with women. Nice Guys interpret a woman’s approval as the ultimate validation of their worth. Signs of a woman’s approval can take the form of her desire to have sex, flirtatious behavior, a smile, a touch, or attentiveness. At the other end of the spectrum, if a woman is depressed, in a bad mood, or angry, Nice Guys interpret these things to mean that she is not accepting or approving of them.
  • Nice Guys see sex as the ultimate form of acceptance.
  • Nice Guys constantly report that their own moods are often tied to the moods of their partner. If she is happy and doing OK, so is he. If she is angry, depressed, or stressed, he will feel anxious until she is fixed.
  • If a woman says he is “wrong” or thinks he is a “jerk,” a Nice Guy will be inclined to believe she is right.
  • Nice Guys believe they must hide or distract attention from any perceived shortcoming.

…thus surrendering their power

  • Seeking women’s approval gives women the power to set the tone of the relationship.
  • Seeking women’s approval gives women the power to define men and determine their worth.
  • Nice Guys tend to be wimpy victims because their life paradigm and childhood survival mechanisms require them to sacrifice their personal power.
  • I define personal power as a state of mind in which a person is confident he can handle whatever may come. This kind of power not only successfully deals with problems, challenges and adversity, it actually welcomes them, meets them head on, and is thankful for them. Personal power isn’t the absence of fear. Even the most powerful people have fear. Personal power is the result of feeling fear, but not giving in to the fear.

More qualities of Nice Guys

  • Seeking the approval of others.
  • Trying to hide their perceived flaws and mistakes.
  • Putting other people’s needs and wants before their own.
  • Sacrificing their personal power and playing the role of a victim.
  • Disassociating themselves from other men and their own masculine energy.
  • Co-creating relationships that are less than satisfying.
  • Creating situations in which they do not have very much good sex.
  • Failing to live up their full potential.

More drawbacks of being a Nice Guy

  • Nice Guys often report feeling frustrated or resentful as a result of giving so much while seemingly getting so little in return.
  • Nice Guys are passive-aggressive. Nice Guys tend to express their frustration and resentment in indirect, roundabout, and not so nice ways.
  • Nice Guys are full of rage. Though Nice Guys frequently deny ever getting angry, a lifetime of frustration and resentment creates a pressure cooker of repressed rage deep inside these men.
  • Nice Guys are addictive. Addictive behavior serves the purpose of relieving stress, altering moods, or medicating pain.
  • Nice Guys have difficulty setting boundaries. Many Nice Guys have a hard time saying “no,” “stop,” or “I’m going to.” They often feel like helpless victims and see the other person as the cause of the problems they are experiencing.
  • Nice Guys are frequently isolated. Though Nice Guys desire to be liked and loved, their behaviors actually make it difficult for people to get very close to them.
  • Nice Guys are often attracted to people and situations that need fixing. This behavior is often the result of the Nice Guy’s childhood conditioning, his need to look good, or his quest for approval.
  • Nice Guys are usually only relatively successful. The majority of Nice Guys I’ve met have been talented, intelligent, and moderately successful. Almost without exception though, they fail to live up to their full potential.
  • By trying to please everyone, Nice Guys often end up pleasing no one — including themselves.
  • As a consequence of playing it safe, Nice Guys experience a lot of needless suffering. Suffering because they avoid new situations. Suffering because they stay with the familiar. Suffering because they procrastinate, avoid, and fail to finish what they start. Suffering because they make a bad situation worse by doing more of what has never worked in the past.
  • I sometimes refer to enmeshing Nice Guys as table dogs. They are like little dogs who hover beneath the table just in case a scrap happens to fall their way. Enmeshing Nice Guys do this same hovering routine around their partner just in case she happens to drop him a scrap of sexual interest, a scrap of her time, a scrap of a good mood, or a scrap of her attention. Even though they are settling for the leftovers that fall from the table, enmeshing Nice Guys think they are getting something really good.
  • Ironically, trying to be nice robs a man of his life energy. The more a Nice Guy seeks approval and tries to “do it right,” the tighter he clamps a lid down on any kind of energy that might actually draw a person to him. Once they have repressed all of their life energy, there is little about them to get anyone’s attention or turn them on.
  • Seeking external validation and approval keeps Nice Guys stuck in mediocrity.

Ask yourself this…

  • If you did not care what people thought of you, how would you live your life differently? If you were not concerned with getting the approval of women, how would your relationships with the opposite sex be different?

Recover from Nice Guy syndrome by becoming integrated

  • Recovery from the Nice Guy Syndrome isn’t about going from one extreme to another. The process of breaking free from ineffective Nice Guy patterns doesn’t involve becoming “not nice.” Rather, it means becoming “integrated.” Being integrated means being able to accept all aspects of one’s self. An integrated man is able to embrace everything that makes him uniquely male: his power, his assertiveness, his courage, and his passion as well as his imperfections, his mistakes, and his dark side.
  • An integrated male possesses many of the following attributes: He has a strong sense of self. He likes himself just as he is. He takes responsibility for getting his own needs met. • He is comfortable with his masculinity and his sexuality. • He has integrity. He does what is right, not what is expedient. He is a leader. He is willing to provide for and protect those he cares about. He is clear, direct, and expressive of his feelings. • He can be nurturing and giving without caretaking or problem-solving. He knows how to set boundaries and is not afraid to work through conflict.
  • An integrated male doesn’t strive to be perfect or gain the approval of others. Instead he accepts himself just as he is, warts and all. An integrated male accepts that he is perfectly imperfect.

Integrated persons…

  • Accept themselves just as they are.
  • Use their mistakes as valuable learning tools.
  • Stop seeking the approval of others.
  • Experience loving and intimate relationships.
  • Make their needs a priority.
  • Find people who are able and willing to help them meet their needs.
  • Learn to give judiciously, with no strings attached.
  • Face their fears.
  • Develop integrity and honesty.
  • Set boundaries.
  • Build meaningful relationships with men.
  • Create healthier, more satisfying relationships with women.
  • Experience and express their feelings.
  • Deal with problems directly.
  • Develop an intimate and satisfying sexual relationship.
  • Find peace with the changing complexities of life.

Learn to approve of yourself

  • Instead of seeking external validation and avoiding disapproval, recovering Nice Guys must begin seeking the approval of the only person who really matters — themselves.
  • Pay attention when trying to impress or get approval.

Take good care of yourself

  • Taking good care of the self is essential for changing one’s belief about the self. If a Nice Guy believes he isn’t worth much, his actions toward himself will reflect this belief. When a recovering Nice Guy begins to consciously do good things for himself, these actions imply that he must be worth something.
  • As they become aware of how much time and energy they spend trying to garner approval, they can begin living an inside-out kind of life. “What do I want,” “What feels right to me,” “What would make me happy?”
  • Exercise, work out, go for a walk. Eat healthy food.  Get enough sleep.  Relax, play, goof off.  Get a massage.  Go out with buddies.  Buy a new pair of shoes.  Get shoes polished.  Get dental work done.  Get a physical.  Listen to music.
  • Make a list of positive affirmations about yourself. Write them on note cards and place them where you will see them regularly. “I am perfectly imperfect.” “My needs are important.” “I am a strong and powerful person.” “I can handle it.” “People love and accept me just as I am.” “It is OK to be human and make mistakes.” “I am the only person I have to please.”
  • Plan a weekend trip to the mountains or beach. If possible, plan a vacation or retreat for a week or longer by yourself to a place where no one knows you. Visit a foreign country by yourself if at all possible. Use this time as an opportunity for self-observation and reflection. Keep a journal. Practice good self-care.
  • Importance of making his needs a priority and taking responsibility for finding ways to meet them.

Release toxic shame and come out into the open

  • When Nice Guys try to hide their humanity from others, they reinforce their core belief that they are bad and unlovable. Changing this core belief requires that they bring their humanity out into the open, release their toxic shame, and receive more accurate messages than the ones internalized in childhood. By necessity, this process requires a safe person or safe people.
  • Over time, the recovering Nice Guy can begin revealing the things about himself that he is the least comfortable letting others see. Once trust has been established, he can begin to reveal things about himself that create fear and shame.
  • Begin to realize several important truths. They are not bad.  They don’t have to do anything to win other people’s approval.  They don’t have to hide their perceived flaws or mistakes.  People can love them just as they are.
  • Intimacy implies vulnerability. I define intimacy as “knowing the self, being known by another, and knowing another.” Intimacy requires two people who are willing to courageously look inward and make themselves totally visible to another. Internalized toxic shame makes this kind of exposure feel life-threatening for Nice Guys.

Realise having needs is ok.  It’s part of being human

  • Do you believe it is OK for you to have needs? Do you believe people want to help you meet your needs? Do you believe this world is a place of abundance?
  • Mature people make meeting their own needs a priority. They can ask for help in meeting their needs in clear and direct ways.  Other people really do want to help them meet their needs.  This world is a place of abundance.

Take responsibility for your needs

  • No one was put into this world to meet your needs but you.
  • You are the only person on this planet responsible for your needs, wants, and happiness.

Realise putting yourself first has rewards for all concerned

  • They increase the likelihood of getting what they need and want. They can give judiciously — giving what people really need.  They can give without resentment and expectation.  They become less needy.  
  • They become more attractive. Most Nice Guys will really like the last benefit on the list. Helpless, whiny, wimpy, and needy are not attractive on a man. Confidence and self-assurance are. Most folks are attracted to men who have a sense of self. Putting the self first doesn’t drive people away, it attracts them. Putting the self first is essential for getting what one wants in love and life.
  • When Nice Guys take responsibility for their own needs and make them a priority, those around them benefit too. Gone are the covert contracts, the guessing games, the anger outbursts, and passive-aggressive behavior. Gone are the manipulation, the controlling behavior, and the resentment.
  • Experiment with putting themselves first for at least a week.
  • When the Nice Guy puts himself first there is only one voice to consider — his own. Decisions are now made by one individual, rather than by a committee. He no longer has to mind read, predict, or try to please multiple voices with conflicting agendas. When putting himself first all the information he needs to make a decision is within him: “Is this what I want? Yes. Then that’s what I’ll do.”

Learn to ask for help and receive

  • Nice Guys are terrible receivers. They are terrified of asking for help. They are completely miserable when others try to give to them. They have difficulty delegating to others. Because they believe they have to do it all themselves, Nice Guys rarely live up to their full potential. Nobody can be good at everything or succeed all on their own. Nice Guys believe they should be able to.
  • What kind of helpers do you still need? How can you use these helpers more effectively? How do you prevent these people from helping you?

Surrender and let go

  • Surrender doesn’t mean giving up, it means letting go of what one can’t change and changing what one can.
  • Letting go doesn’t mean not caring or not trying. Letting go means letting be. It is like opening up a tightly clenched fist and releasing the tension stored inside. At first the fingers will want to return to their former clenched position. The hand almost has to be retrained to open up and relax. So it is with learning how to surrender and let go.
  • Surrender allows recovering Nice Guys to see each life experience as a “gift” from the universe to stimulate growth, healing and learning.
  • The essence of all life is evolution and change. In order for this process to occur naturally and completely in an individual, a person has to be willing to let go of control. Letting go allows the beautiful, serendipitous chaos of creation to resonate through one’s self. The result is a dynamic, fulfilling life.

Take responsibility for your feelings

  • Don’t focus on the other person, “You are making me mad.” Instead, take responsibility for what you are feeling: “I am feeling angry.”
  • Don’t use feeling words to describe what you are thinking, as in “I feel like Joe was trying to take advantage of me.” Instead, pay attention to what you are experiencing in your body: “I’m feeling helpless and frightened.” In general, try to begin feeling statements with “I”, rather than “you.”

Stop repressing your masculine energy and reclaim it

  • Most Nice Guys believe that by repressing the darker side of their masculine energy they will win the approval of women.
  • As Nice Guys try to avoid the dark side of their masculinity, they also repress many other aspects of this male energy force. As a result, they often lose their sexual assertiveness, competitiveness, creativity, ego, thirst for experience, boisterousness, exhibitionism, and power.
  • This frustration is due to the reality that in general, women view men who try to please them as weak and hold these men in contempt. Most women do not want a man who tries to please them — they want a man who knows how to please himself. Women consistently share with me that they don’t want a passive, pleasing wimp. They want a man — someone with his balls still intact.
  • Reclaiming one’s masculinity involves: Connecting with other men.  Getting strong.  Finding healthy male role models.  
  • Embracing one’s masculinity mean’s embracing one’s body, power, and spaciousness. In order to do this, recovering Nice Guys have to stop putting junk into their bodies and train them to respond to the physical demands of being male.
  • Connecting with men is essential for reclaiming masculinity. Connecting with men involves doing guy things with guys.
  • The best thing you can do for your relationship with your girlfriend or wife is to have male friends.
  • Developing male relationships makes recovering Nice Guys less susceptible to seeking women’s approval or allowing themselves to be defined by the opposite sex.

Examine your relationship with your father

  • Most Nice Guys do not report having had a close relationship with their father in childhood. Either their fathers were passive, unavailable, absent, or defined in some negative way. Reclaiming their masculinity requires that Nice Guys examine their relationships with their fathers and take a look at them through adult eyes.

Set boundaries in relationships

  • Your wife is telling you the truth. She doesn’t feel safe knowing she can push you around. She wants to know that you will stand up to her. That is how she will feel secure in the relationship. But, here’s the catch. She has to test to see if she can trust you. The first time you set a boundary with her she may react intensely. She will push against it. She will tell you that you are wrong for setting that boundary. She will do her best to find out if your boundary is for real.”
  • She will also come to know that if her partner will stand up to her, he is also likely to stand up for her.

Pick the right partner

  • Nice Guys have a tendency, due to their own insecurities, to pick partners who seem like they need a little polishing. When recovering Nice Guys create relationships with people who don’t need fixing, they improve their odds of finding the love they want.

Transcend sexual fear and shame

  • All Nice Guys have shame and fear about being sexual and about being sexual beings. Vagiphobia is a syndrome where the penis tries to stay out of vaginas or gets out quickly once it is in.  “Flirting without fucking.”  As long as the Nice Guy doesn’t put his penis in a vagina, he can exchange all kinds of sexual energy yet convince himself he hasn’t really had sex or hasn’t done anything wrong.
  • Sex that focuses on trying to please the other guarantees a routine, do-what-worked-last-time kind of experience. Trying to be a great lover pretty much insures that a Nice Guy will not have many passionate, reciprocal, spontaneous, serendipitous, or intimate sexual experiences — hardly a recipe for good sex!
  • Cleaning out sexual shame requires accepting, non-judgmental people. A Nice Guy cannot do this work on his own. To release sexual shame and fear, the recovering Nice Guy must expose every aspect of his sexual self to safe, supportive people. This revealing allows the Nice Guy to release his shame and fear and free up the emotional energy it took to keep them hidden and repressed.
  • Women consistently tell me that even though they may be initially drawn to a Nice Guy’s pleasing demeanor, over time they find it difficult to get excited about having sex with him.

Thoughts on good sex

  • As long as a Nice Guy is willing to settle for bad sex, he limits his opportunities to experience good sex.
  • Good sex consists of two people taking full responsibility for meeting their own needs. It has no goal. It is free of agendas and expectations. Rather than being a performance, it is an unfolding of sexual energy. It is about two people revealing themselves in the most intimate and vulnerable of ways. Good sex occurs when two people focus on their own pleasure, passion, and arousal, and stay connected to those same things in their partner. All of these dynamics allow good sex to unfold in unpredictable, spontaneous, and memorable ways.
  • Let go of the concept of being a great lover. They practice being clear and direct.  They choose available partners.  They don’t settle for scraps.  They decide that bad sex is not better than no sex!
  • Until a Nice Guy can be sexual with himself without using pornography or fantasy to distract himself, he won’t be able to have sex with someone else without needing similar things to distract him. Healthy masturbation is a process of letting sexual energy unfold. It has no goal or destination. It’s not just about orgasms. It does not require outside stimulation from pornography and doesn’t use trances or fantasy to stay distracted from shame and fear.
  • Consider going on a sexual moratorium. Consciously refrain from sex for a predetermined period of time. No matter what your sexual situation is, it can be a powerful learning experience.

As in nature, the greatest aphrodisiac is self-confidence

  • As recovering Nice Guys become comfortable just being themselves, they begin to look more attractive. Self-respect, courage, and integrity look good on a man.

Transcend fear

  • Name a tangible fear from your life. Write down how you will confront that specific issue. Then, take a small step toward facing that fear. Ask someone to encourage and support you. Don’t try to do it alone.
  • If it frightens you, do it.

Tune into abundance

  • Look around at the wealth — the cars people drive, the houses they live in, the trips they take. You can’t argue with the sheer material abundance that can be created in our world. If other people are living full, abundant lives, why not you? Remember, what one man can do another man can do.
  • Once you are relaxed, picture yourself living in an abundant world. In this abundant world, there are no restraints or limitations. Good things flow past you continuously. Imagine every abundant thing you have ever desired — car, home, friends, love, joy, wealth, success, peace of mind, challenge. Visualize yourself living your life surrounded by this abundance.