There are certain goal/attitude/visualisation/memory-selection combinations that have been found to enhance the quality of life and relationships more than any others, when you sustain them in your mind by an act of your will. We do not have single words in English (or perhaps any modern language) to describe them, but they were described in Aramaic. Perhaps this is why we have not been able to use them fully. After all, if you did not have the word "hair" in your language, and I said "Go and get your hair cut", you could not possibly know what to do or how to do it!
The practise of these goodwill patterns, or mind-sets, makes forgiveness easier. Refer to the section on The Will and the Mind for understanding of "mind-set" if you need to. The use of the forgiveness process makes it easier to practise the goodwill patterns. They thus work together, forming a beautiful structure in your mind. In the old days, people spent years dedicated to building beautiful buildings (cathedrals, temples, palaces etc.) Today, you may not be able to do that, but you are able to build a beautiful cathedral of your own consciousness.
The forgiveness processes and the goodwill patterns could be regarded as the anatomy of unconditional love. Woven together in practise, they form a kind of tapestry, a stable structure in your consciousness. The Aramaic words are quite beautiful, and I will use them here, describing their meaning as best I can, and give exercises to help you to develop these qualities and capacities yourself which were originally developed by Edith Stauffer. There are levels or stages in developing these qualities. When you understand the levels, you can then decide what level you want to choose to operate from. Just as you cannot decide to speak two languages at the same time, so you cannot hold two different levels of a mind-set at the same time.
The practise of the goodwill patterns plays its part in "bringing heaven to earth" wherever they are practised. A fuller description of these is contained in Dr. Edith Stauffer's book, "Unconditional Love and Forgiveness" where they are called transpersonal mind-sets, which I urge you to read. What follows is drawn from her work.
Kenoota describes a mind-set of "hunger and thirst for Fairness-for-All," of wanting Fairness for All more than food or drink, i.e. being willing to make some sacrifices for it.
Hunger and thirst are basic needs with considerable driving force behind them, and it is an equivalent driving force behind the desire for Fairness-for-All that is hinted at here. Hunger and thirst are essential tools for survival of the individual, and if we think about it, Kenoota, the hunger and thirst for Fairness-for-All, is essential to the survival of the group, Humanity, on this planet.
There is a kind of spectrum or sequence:- Revenge < Retribution < Legal Justice (for one party) < Fairness-for-All. The quality of mercy enters into the higher goal of Fairness to All - it is fairer to all that mercy should be shown and the wrongdoer be healed rather than merely punished.
Kenoota is the mind-set that lifts us to seeing the best kind of outcome for all in any given situation. It is a group-conscious, or transpersonal, attitude/goal combination. It stems from our deep need and longing to be in harmony - with the natural world, with each other, with the Source of Life. Its outcome is a kind of "vertical" alignment with what is best in us and our approach to living together, and a "horizontal" release of goodwill into any situation in which we find ourselves .
One who practises Kenoota will become increasingly aware of the interrelationship of everything and everyone - "No man is an island..."
Fairness-for-All is as essential to our life as food and water, and the instinctual drive towards it is as right and proper as hunger and thirst. It is the driving force behind the instinct to share.
(It is interesting that the Swedish name "Knut" means "the Fair One")
AN EXERCISE: Imagine positive images for Fairness for All. Feel the soundness and the goodness of being treated fairly. Imagine treating others fairly, wisely, equitably. See and feel yourself doing this. Feel the naturalness of acting this way - like "coming home". Find a symbol for Kenoota that has the essence of it for you. Sketch it. Let the quality of Kenoota enter you and develop. See the difference between revenge < retribution < justice of different qualities < and Fairness-for-All.
After 5-10 min. write ideas of how you can be more Fair and Equitable, in some of your relationships. Be aware of your willingness to express these transpersonal qualities.
In practical everyday life, look for opportunities to use your Will to express them. See and feel the difference between when you are wanting your own back (plotting revenge), wanting legal justice, and working towards whatever is truly fairest to all. Compare to yourself the differences in your inner voices as you do those three patterns. Which brings the long-term benefits? Which do you choose for yourself?
It is interesting how often the symbols or scenes people choose to show Kenoota in action are to do with sharing. And perhaps deep down we all recognise that peace on earth can only come when the earth's resources are shared fairly among all people.
Khooba is the mind-set that is first of all an intention to have complete openness to seeing, and giving attention, to the good - in oneself, others, and in Life. Without it the mind tends to scan only for "badness" in various, sometimes devious, ways.
This active seeking to perceive the good in self, others, and Life, modifies perceptions, thoughts, reasoning, judgment and discernment, - and thus the output of behaviours, internal processes, chemicals, feelings, and energies of a person. Khooba perceives and focuses our minds on the good energies stored in our memories about a person, and de-emphasises the negative ones. This starts to open the channels for love to flow once more. It opens the door. It develops the Heart Centre.
Unconditional love includes the use of the Will to practise Khooba independently of the behaviour of others.
We choose and will to look for - and recount - the good in others, and to own the good that is in us. The behaviour of the other(s) has no effect on our choice to look for the good in them as persons, or in ourselves. We also look for the potential good in a person or even in suffering. We might respond to suffering by trying to make it all happy and comfortable again - or by looking for the needed lessons that are being learned, the potential growth that can emerge. The latter perspective may increase foresight, wisdom, and keep alive those qualities that stimulate growth.
This can have very extensive beneficial effects in ourselves and in our relationships. (For example, if quarrelling, separating, or divorcing parents always recount to their children the good in the other parent, the self-image of the children as they grow will include this good 'part of themselves', internalised as part of their psychological 'inheritance'.)
See the good in each other, in this room, in this situation, and tell several people about it.
See the good in others, especially the young. In other places and situations, in your work, in 'problems' and challenges, in accidents and illnesses.
Look for the good in someone whose actions you don't particularly like, and start a (truthful) "Good Rumour" about them, - tell some others about the good you see in that person. Keep silent about your purpose of creating Right Human Relationships.
ALWAYS SEPARATE THE ACTIONS FROM THE DOERS OF THEM, AND THEIR POTENTIAL, IN YOUR OWN MIND.
Condemn the action, perhaps, but look for the good in the doer. The mind-set, Khooba, includes letting others be totally responsible for their actions, and still seeing and fostering the good (even if latent) in them as people.
I well remember a patient on my list, a lady who died well into her 90s with all her family around her. They told me afterwards - "We never heard her criticise or speak ill of anyone. She always spoke about the good she could see in them". She had hardly ever been ill and I had only prescribed once for her, a few aspirin for a sprain.
(developed by Edith Stauffer)
1. Decide if you are willing to improve the atmosphere in your workplace, home, or other environment.
2. Decide that you will put some effort into creating this beneficial change. Decide to do this as your own personal project. Tell no one what you are doing - then you won't have to explain anything to anyone, nor will you get sabotaged.
3. Make a list of the positive qualities about another person and keep it to yourself. You may see and hear plenty of negative ones, but you are choosing not to focus on them for this period of time, in order to concentrate upon the positive qualities .
4. Once you have this Appreciations List, select one item with which to start the first rumour. Whenever it is appropriate, say to a fellow-worker, family member, or whoever, something like "I really like how neat and clean Nancy looks today.", or "Did you know how well Mary looks after her children (dog or whatever)?", or "I appreciate John's always being so prompt." This must be a true feeling. Even if the response is negative, do not comment, just let it be. Even though you may agree, you are looking for and have found something good, and are concentrating solely upon it.
5. You may repeat this truthful rumour if you wish, or in a day or so, select another quality you appreciate and share with another person. Continue this process and observe how the atmosphere begins to change, subtly at first, then more obviously.
This process is like choosing to water the flowers in your garden in preference to watering the weeds.
A mind-set, (goal/attitude combination), which is openness to perceive truly and accurately the needs of others from their position ( including an awareness of their start in life, their historical setting (e.g. the great depression, wartime etc.), their family of origin, childhood, teenage and adult experiences).
It includes the deep desire (goal) to meet those needs if practical, that is, to give Service. It is the basis for looking for "win-win" solutions in relationships, business, and international affairs.
It is accurate empathy. It can be used to determine one's own true needs also.
A basic law affecting all life is that each seeks to meet their own needs (see list at end of this section) as established by their nature, conditioning history, environment, and available level of Will. One expressing Makikh will know the working of this law when observing someone.
S/he will recognise that the other is trying to meet their needs, even if caught in an unpleasant or destructive pattern that may bring harm to himself or others. S/he knows s/he is not really the target of the other's unpleasantness, but that it arises out of the pain of an unmet basic needs.
Hostility and/or preconceived notions tend to close down our ability to see the true needs of others from their position, and to see our own. They also turn scant evidence into proof that we have correctly determined the other's needs. A green filter will "prove" that the person we are looking at is "green"!
Great care is needed to maintain an attitude of Makikh at all times, lest we deceive ourselves into thinking that we know another's needs the way they see them, when in fact we do not. Without Makikh, the needs of others as they see them are blocked from our minds, (neighbours, family members, boss or employees, friends, opponents, etc.). So also can be our own true unmet needs ("I can do without love!......").
All behaviour is a form of communication. Illness and unpleasant behaviour can also be a communication of unmet needs.
Certain qualities are characteristic of Makikh:- Inner silence and patience which allow the needy one to express their need in their own way and time. The inner silence allows openness, and acceptance of the other. These in turn permit access to the transpersonal energies, establish connection with the promptings from the Higher Self. Ideas and information come then to us from the transpersonal levels of our being - ideas and information not usually available to us on the personal and intellectual levels alone.
This deep inner silence "washes out" our own busyness and activity so that we can become available to intuitive wisdom coming to us from higher levels. This wisdom also enables us to see the difference between needs and wants. Needs are necessities, and meeting them brings satisfaction. Wants come from desires which are stimulated by the environment; meeting them often leads to more wanting.
Focusing on the quality of the service one gives helps one to assess the level of contact with the Higher Self, and to increase that contact: "Help me to truly see and meet the needs of others wisely and lovingly."
It has been said that: "Service is the instinct of the Soul", just as hunger, thirst, etc., are instincts of the lower self. A deep sense of joy begins to pervade wherever this is occurring, even in unpromising outer circumstances. This is different from "reluctant service" performed as a "should", which is usually painful, and is based on conditional love, which is an earlier form of unconditional love.
Service rendered with an attitude of Makikh brings prosperity to all parties, and this can be on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels according as to whether is it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual needs that are being met. Such service will always be sought after, whether it is goods or intangibles that are needed, and whether it is for customer, client, family member, friend, or even "opponent". The transaction brings benefit to both parties. A person who practises Makikh will never be unemployed for long. Employment opportunities open up to those who are willing to love themselves and serve the needs of others. Learning how to see the needs of others (and one's own) takes practise.
1. Makikh opens your mind to perceive the needs of others. It has the goal of meeting those needs if practical.
2. Awareness of your own needs is essential so that you can know if it is practical for you to meet the needs of the others at this time.
3. True success in relationships is not possible without an attitude of Makikh.
4. Needs are basic. They are necessities of life. When true needs are met, there is satisfaction. Wants are desires, stimulated by our outer life, and can be endless.... When wants are met, there is incomplete satisfaction or none at all.
5. Makikhers become excellent listeners and communicators.
6. Meeting the needs of others when practical brings prosperity to all those involved.
Sharing ideas may often meet needs more fully and more lastingly than "doing for" an other. Teaching skills brings confidence and self-reliance. "Doing for" may keep a person weaker than they need to be, and also can lead to resentment.
7. Arrogance is a sign of lack of Makikh. True humility is present in one practising Makikh. (Unfortunately the English words "meek", "humble" and "humility" have developed mixed meanings and an association with lack of power and even in some cases a lowered opinion of self). Makikh is a strong act, of conscious will.
8. The Transpersonal qualities of inner silence, wisdom, and service develop with Makikh.
9. Makikh is essential to the Forgiveness Process which leads to unconditional love.
Make a decision to practise Makikh, say, for a certain time each day - (1,2,3,5,7 or 8 hours at first?).
For that period of time, listen for and sense out the needs of others.
Some say, "I need so much money to meet my needs" others say "I need tea in bed in the mornings" others say "I need a cigarette, a cup of coffee, a whisky, a Valium etc. to keep me going" others say "I need you to be good"
Ask yourself "Is that really the need?" Or is what is really needed a creative idea that would supply the inner needs for years to come?
The great wisdom of the transpersonal level of consciousness is available to you, and by asking at that higher level you may receive an idea, immediately or over the next few days.
Be willing to take the answer as it comes, even if it does not seem to "fit" immediately or seem practical at the moment, - the path may open with time.
It could be practical assistance that is needed, or ideas, or skills, or direction to a resource, (their own or another's), or love and understanding as they live out their lives in difficult circumstances. Or, something else - let it not be limited, allow creativity its full play.
In time, you may want to increase the time each day that you set aside for Makikh, until it becomes second nature.
LIKE THE OTHER MIND-SETS DESCRIBED HERE, MAKIKH IS NOT AN ATTITUDE ORIGINATING IN THE PERSONAL SELF, IT IS DEFINITELY A TRANSPERSONAL ATTITUDE. MEDITATION HELPS TO REACH TRANSPERSONAL REALMS.
to truly understand how someone's needs might be met
Sit quietly with the spine erect. Let the eyes close softly to turn in and up, and let the body be relaxed.
Become aware that Life is breathing you.... Feel gratitude for that rhythmic life-sustaining process...
Set aside emotional concerns for this period of time, let the emotions be calm and serene...
Still the concrete mind that likes to reason, and name and compare things....Let the creative mind be awake, alert, and aware...
Lift your consciousness up into the light of the Naphsha or Higher Self and imagine there the qualities of Makikh...
Be aware of the quality of silence, that enables one to listen to others and truly hear them...
Be aware of the quality of wisdom, that causes one to quickly and easily
see the difference between needs and wants...
Become aware of the quality of service, that causes motivation to serve the needs of others...
Allow the essence, the spirit, of silence, wisdom, and service to merge and fill your consciousness...
Draw these qualities into you and merge with them...let them fill you...Now imagine one specific person whose needs you would like to understand more fully, (not necessarily someone you like). Connect with your willingness to understand their needs from their position.
Imagine unconditional love filling your consciousness and flowing out to this person by an act of your will...
Now....allow yourself to become aware of his or her unmet needs as seen from their position... Begin to see any unpleasant behaviour they show as a cry for love or help, perhaps from the "hurting child" within them... Begin to wonder what happened to them, how their needs have not been met.... and what those needs truly were and are.... (It may help you to go through the list of needs on page 56, one by one, as you do this).
Drawing upon wisdom...see if it practical for you to meet those needs... If so, allow ideas to come as to how you could do so...
Now... in your imagination see this person's needs being met....see in your mind's eye the potentials of this person being developed and expressed...
Imagine this person joyous and happy and fulfilled...
Feel deep gratitude that you can see these possibilities for them.
Now bring your consciousness down to the personal self..... to your body and to the room...
AT THIS POINT YOU MAY WISH TO MAKE A "WILL STATEMENT" RELATED TO THE ABOVE EXPERIENCE, such as "I will to comfortably meet the needs of .........................(name)..................as presented in this meditation; or: "I will to practise Makikh in my life."
You will quickly see that someone practising Makikh will not take personally other people's negative behaviour, for s/he will recognise that the unpleasant behaviour stems from one of more unmet needs, and will direct attention to getting those needs met or at least out in the open and understood. From an initial reaction of maybe being attacked and propelled back into a child-state of fear (bottom line in the diagram below), s/he can lift up in consciousness, appreciate he/she is "not the real target" of the other person's unpleasantness. Using intuition or direct asking, s/he will ascertain what the unmet need and perhaps what it was that happened to the aggressor in childhood which created such a negative pattern. Skill in doing this is greatly assisted by knowing what all the Basic Needs are. The diagram "reads" from below upwards, as the person on the left first of all reacts to their aggressor on the right, then disidentifies and becomes "centred", and then reaches the mind-set of accurate empathy, or Makikh, becoming able to relate to the "hurting child" within the aggressor.
Needs are necessities of life, and failure in their being met leads to diminishment, failure to fulfil potential, and maybe illness or death. The most important needs may have a different pattern of emphasis for different people, or for the same person at different times in life. "Special love" and "Special hate" relationships are often based upon expectations of meeting or not meeting needs.
Being "for-giving" means being open to others getting their needs met as well as our own. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" takes on a more practical meaning as we become aware of each need in turn, and examine our behaviour around it, in ourselves and others.
PHYSICAL: Food, liquids, shelter, sleep, oxygen, light, warmth, exercise - all of good quality and in the right amount. Enough money flow, or ideas on how to get it harmlessly. (=access to enough of the earth's energy. How much is "enough"?)
PSYCHOLOGICAL: To have security, to receive love, (incl. affection, right touching, tenderness, gentleness, mutual trust with absence of fear), to be cherished, to belong (to family, group, or tribal tradition), to be deeply understood, to be deeply accepted and recognised, to , to be forgiving, to have self-respect, to have self-esteem (esp. from parents or parent figures.) To give love. To love one's self (one's parts, one's history (especially the Inner Child), one's potential)
SEXUAL: To accept and respect one's own body and the bodies of others. To accept feelings and urges as proper and vital (even if choosing to not always act on them). To learn the difference between sexual and affectionate touching, and be comfortable with either. To accept one's need for psychological and physical intimacy (sexual intercourse does not always remove loneliness and estrangement). To learn what it is to be a man or woman, and how to be with a person of the same or opposite sex appropriately. To accept one's sexuality and the sexuality of others. To accept one's desire to reproduce, protect, and nurture children or, to find a channel for one's creative energies that is wise, loving and satisfactory.
SELF-ACTUALISATION NEEDS: To grow, to develop our potentials, and to have challenges. To be curious, to find out, to know, to understand, to seek meaning, to achieve progress, to gather the resources that one needs while still recognising the needs of the whole of which one is a part (ecosytem, groups etc.) To choose, to make choices and learn how to use Time skilfully and wisely, from what happens. To develop one's capacity to love. To train oneself in the right use of the will.
AESTHETIC NEEDS: Beauty in sound, form and colour. Fun and humour.
FREEDOM: To speak and to be heard. To choose. To do what one believes is right for oneself if it is harmless to oneself and others. To inquire. To defend oneself. To be just, to be honest, and to be fair.
SPIRITUAL NEEDS: To grow and live as a soul-infused person. To improve (spiritual and other) skills. To practise the Goodwill Patterns:- to learn and practise true humility (Makikh), to learn and practise fairness to all (Kenoota), to learn and practise unconditional positive perceptive love (Khooba), to learn and practise loving self-diagnosis and self-correction of errors in the mind (Abilii), to learn and practise peace skills (Rukha), to learn and practise holistic or synthetic vision (Dadcean Libhoun). To learn and practise unconditional love. To know one's deepest values, and to develop a stable hierarchy of values by which to make decisions. To have a meaningful existence: To relate to others, individually, in group, and as a human family, in meaningful ways. To contribute. To relate to something greater than oneself. To recognise a scheme of things in which we have a part - a pattern in which we logically belong, with a purpose to account for the vicissitudes of life. To have a sense of inner life - an "essence" impregnating matter, some subjective, spiritual, "plus" factor, no matter what it may be called , which links us with some wider field suggesting continuity. At a very deep level each human being knows they are part of something larger than self, larger than the life visible to them, larger than the earth-system, more than three-dimensional. We need to have a loving attitude towards the Source of Life.
To have order. To contact one's own inner source of peace and express
the peace and other qualities latent within the Higher Self Harmony. To
seek for truth, and to understand ourselves - our composition and why we
function as we do.. To trust life. There is a deep need to serve others
and develop one's potentials.
We value getting our needs met. We also value developing certain skills and higher qualities. We cannot escape the fact that our thoughts and behaviour reflect our hierarchies of needs and expressed values - things, thoughts, actions that we value more than other things, thoughts and actions. Our expressed values may not be in accord with our deepest values, however, unless we make a conscious choice and use our will to set goals and make this happen.
Perhaps one of the most important things anyone can do is to develop a stable hierarchy of values which will enable decisions to made easily by reference to it. For example "I value developing courage, love and trust more than fear, security and stagnation" could enable one to risk meeting someone at a deeper and more satisfying level than otherwise. To stay with the need for security may mean that the need for personal growth is neglected. The forgiveness processes are based upon meeting higher needs and upon valuing unconditional love more than its opposites, fear and laziness.
We are responsible for meeting our own needs, and our demand that others meet our needs as a condition for us to love ourselves, them or the Source of Life is one of the underlying causes of our need for using the forgiveness process. The basic needs must be met before the higher ones can get much attention. It is hard to work for beauty if one is starving. But our higher needs remain crucial to our development, and abandoning our higher needs and values to meet our lower needs causes us distress in the long run. What we call crises are sometimes a time when a higher need or value is crying out for fulfilment.
"Neurotic" may mean having unmet basic needs. The word "neurotic" has often been used as a kind of put-down, and therefore has lost any usefulness it may have had. If you are tempted to call someone "neurotic" remember the following mnemonics:
Patterns of behaviour arise at times when our needs are not met in any significant way, and these can persist years after they are no longer appropriate or even working. If someone appears to be attacking you by their behaviour, there is a high probability that they are attacking because you or the situation reminds them of a past trauma - in many ways "you are not the target". They are acting out of their previous pain. Makikhers can see this. Perhaps one day we will all see "bad" behaviour simply as a call for love.
A mind-set that is openness to compassionate Self-correction. A mind-set , set in place by an act of Will, which has the goals: (i) of allowing errors in one's own mind-processing to come into awareness, joyfully, and with love towards oneself for so doing, and
(ii) of revisioning correction of the error(s) with love and joy rather than self-castigation, self-denigration or remorse. The intention is to learn from the errors and enjoy the self-development that follows.
In Aramaic psychology it was noted that relief or cure of mental stress came with this mind-set, or goal/attitude combination. There is no word in English which adequately conveys this, thus the idea has been hidden from us. We tend to agonise over our mistakes, and being "wrong" is associated with blame, "sinning" with the idea of necessary punishment, perhaps for ever; and these concepts have sunk deep into the mass unconscious of the Western world. Thus it became painful to be aware of our errors, and we have given the message to our minds to keep our errors from our awareness. A poor self-image can arise from this.
Suppressing both our awareness of our errors together with the idea of inevitable punishment can cause us to choose pathways in life that tend to bring about that "punishment". Energy follows thought, and the images made in the mind tend to actualise. There is no need to condemn ourselves or others while learning how to do things better and more wisely, nor to waste energy in remorse. There is no reward for so doing. The energy is better used to impress the mind (and memory-bank) with the desired and improved version of the behaviour we want to have for the future.
Distinguish between goofs, sin, and evil. Goofing is error through ignorance. Sin derives from an ancient archery term that means, simply, "missing the mark". After missing the mark, the archer took aim again, making the necessary corrections. No remorse. Evil could be:- Without conscience choosing courses of action that are against Life, with no feelings of guilt about the consequences. Harming or destroying the life, or potential for growth, of others while believing that one is in the right.
It is time to challenge the belief in "sin" requiring punishment. It is time to challenge the belief that therapy must be hard work, and that you must work through your pain, rage, grief, anger etc., before healing it. These beliefs delay healing. The first truth is that "sin" is best seen as error that simply requires joyful Self-correction of the unskilled behaviour in the future, and punishment hardly ever causes that. The second truth is that therapy can be fun, playful, and satisfying.
We cannot change that of which we are unaware. The evening review is a tool that can be used to develop Abilii. We spend time at the close of each day studying our actions to learn how to improve them - a technique widely used by successful athletes all the time nowadays, with constant improvement and refinement of athletic performances the world over. We are not our actions, but we are responsible for them, and for learning from their outcome. Essential to Abilii is maintaining an attitude of love for ourselves while we are learning, - it is an act of love for ourselves and others
We do the EVENING REVIEW lightly, with humour, and we do not replay negatively charged scenes forward, with their associated mind-body-emotion patterns. This only impresses them deeper into the memory-bank. We do it literally backwards, just like a video running backwards. One person who had been apple picking all day watched the apples fly back onto the tree - while at the same time recognising for the first time that he had spent the whole day harbouring vengeful thoughts against another! He was delighted to discover this error in right human relations before it led to harm.
The material from the review is instantly revisioned as any errors come into awareness. Evocative Self-questioning that could be helpful could be:-
What errors do I need to become aware of: In human relations; in developing my character; in regard to my health habits; in regard to my belief systems - are they working out satisfactorily, or are there errors? Are changes needed in my beliefs about myself, others, or the world? Are there changes needed in my goals, attitudes, judgments, behaviour (actions and habits)?"
In short, "Where in my life have I been missing the mark?"
Professor Theodore Billroth, who in the 1880s was the first surgeon to risk operating inside the abdomen, a great man whose name is still remembered by being attached to a particular stomach operation, was one of the few who was willing to discuss his failures openly with his colleagues. He said, when one of his assistants failed to request a post-mortem on a patient Billroth had operated upon so as not to discomfort the professor, "Failures must be acknowledged at once, without groaning over our mistakes. An unsuccessful case is more important to learn about than a dozen successful operations. We owe the patients that". (You will have seen the group conscious nature of his thinking, characteristic of the Higher Self).
What is also not generally known is that many people who have been called
"successful" have actually also experienced and acknowledged more
episodes of "failure" than less successful people. They had learned
from these experiences, perhaps even with a kind of exhilaration. Not failures,
but lessons in how to do things better. Analyse the TYPE of errors - usually
there are only a few TYPES even if many errors. This will simplify your
The Evening Review is a very ancient exercise. Here it has been adapted to developing Abilii - it can be used to develop any spiritual quality you choose.
To develop our capacity to Self-correct our thinking (perceptions, beliefs, goals, attitudes, imaginings), and behaviours joyfully. To turn all experiences into useful learning, thus improving our physical, emotional and mental health, and the quality of our relationships. (The Evening Review can also be used to develop certain qualities for personal growth - e.g.. patience, compassion, understanding, unconditional love. One can set the goal to practise the quality each morning, for a week, or month etc., and review one's progress each evening to see how to express that quality better.)
Any time after 5pm (best not just before sleep so as to be more alert, and improve the quality of the evening), find a quiet place. Breathe deeply to relax the body. Close the eyes to turn inward. Review the day backwards, as if looking at a reversed movie - this makes it much lighter and prevents the negative emotions that "replay" if you do it forwards. It keeps you objective and in charge. Refrain from any criticism of yourself or others, and from any remorse. Doing any of these wastes time and energy.
At each point where you find preferences that you had thought or acted differently, with no criticism, decide how you could have acted differently (not how others could have acted differently! They are responsible for their own actions.) With that change in mind, imagine yourself in the same and similar circumstances. Now you have the chance to act differently; do so. Run it through several times in your imagination until you have in mind the ideal thought patterns and behaviours. This will then become impressed in your memory and be available to you in the next similar circumstances.
For instance, you might in the review find a time when you were impatient with another. As you re-vision the incident, you now see yourself acting patiently, and almost certainly understanding why the other(s) took so long. You are aware of your inner calm, and the behaviour of the other(s) does not affect you. You bring a patient serenity into the circumstances, and you begin to see the possible benefits of that for yourself and the other(s). You may even begin to feel grateful that the other gave you the opportunity to learn to develop the quality of patience in your life.
Also look for errors of perception, beliefs, and interpretation about yourself or others - e.g. perceiving only the bad about others or yourself, or perceiving only in terms of the past. Perceptions do not have to be fixed by our past. Perception is continually shifting and changing, accepting or rejecting, organising and reorganising. You can choose how you will perceive yourself and others, and this will greatly affect your thoughts, feelings, body, behaviour and relationships.
Doing this review each evening helps to discover, - (joyfully, remember) - where in life we are missing the mark. Spend no time in regret! That would weaken your pericardial, or heart-constrictor meridian. Spend the energy changing the scene before it becomes a fixed structure in the brain which is more difficult to change later!
Test out certain evocative questions, say, for a week at a time:
Did I set and maintain an unconditionally loving attitude today? Did I look for the good in others, and myself, today? Did I set the attitude of Home in Rukha today, and how did I maintain it? Was I critical of myself or others today? Did I feel compassion for myself and others today? Did I seek to understand the needs of myself and other(s) today, and to meet them if practical? Do I need to forgive myself or others for any events of today (or before today) - am I still holding on to disappointed expectations and their harmful consequences? Did I strive for Fairness for All? Where in my life am I missing the mark, and if not, how can I change that for the better, joyfully?
At first, you may feel uncomfortable doing this, until the more usual attitudes of self-criticism and self-denigration fall away. But as you continue, you will become progressively more aware of the benefits to yourself and others around you.
TEST:- Document your results in your journal, and evaluate your progress. A Monthly Review, and Yearly Review can also reinforce the benefits, and provide a good reason to make an appointment with your Self on a regular basis.
This word conveys more than just "peace of mind". To be "at Home in Rukha" means to be in contact with the place of deep inner serenity that exists deep within each person's Self, to feel and to be in harmony with one's self and others, whatever the outer circumstances are doing. In this "place" within one's own psyche, one can see the life of the personality as the place of trial and error - a learning ground for the development of all kinds of important qualities. There is a broader perspective than when one is 'caught up in' the ever changing concerns of everyday life. We are in touch with our intuitive wisdom there.
More than that, Rukha has within it a further idea, - namely that, when present, Rukha can be felt, sensed, and directed, like an invisible gentle force that tends to penetrate into relationships and promote harmony. Its presence makes things "the way they ought to be" so that it is like "coming home" when we experience it, - whether in a family, an office, clinic, factory, meeting, Parliament (Yes!) etc. Meetings where people "centre themselves" and become relaxed and at peace before discussions begin do go so much better. It can be imagined to be like a field which aligns things in an overall pattern (like a magnetic field aligns compass needles, iron filings etc.). Rukha aligns people with the best pattern for the group. One person expressing Rukha in an office, for example, can harmonise many people working there. I have used this together with clients at the beginning of consultations now for some time, and find it to be of real practical value.
It is available to us to use whenever we use our Will to lift our consciousness to levels above the personal self.
The Hebrew word "Ruah" means "the Breath of God", or life energy. Life energy was called by the Greeks, "thymos", by the Chinese, "chi", by the Japanese, "ki", by the ancient Indians, "prana", by Paracelsus, "archaeus". The thymus gland is now known to be important in maintaining immunity, or "sense of Self and Not-Self", and seems to have a controlling influence on the acupuncture meridian system, the flow of life energy around the body.
On waking, stand and stretch slowly and gently, then breath deeply, 6 times. Now sit with back straight and close your eyes. be aware of your body and let it be relaxed. Reach up in consciousness (raising your awareness above your head). Imagine there Home in Rukha as a centre of light and rest above your head. It is in your Deep or Higher Self that the source of your love, wisdom and inner strength lies. Feel gratitude for the things in your life that you are thankful for.
Identify with the Self: "I am the Self! I have choice. I have will. I am in charge of my self, my actions, my mind and my emotions. I now choose to be calm and serene. I am in charge. I can use my inner wisdom to show me what is really important now."
Contact the quality of Peace in your Higher Self, or Naphsha. Let that Peace, like a golden light, flow into your mind, emotions and body. Imagine a calm peaceful lake, and let your body mind and emotions be calm and peaceful like the surface of the calm water. Let that peace pervade your consciousness. Rest in that Peace. Let it radiate out into relationships where it is needed.
Make the usual preparations for meditation: Relax your body, calm the emotions, and still the concrete mind. Lift your consciousness above the level of the personal concerns to that of the Higher Self, the Light within, the Naphsha.
Become aware of your ability to set goals and use your will. Now get in touch with your will. Examine your willingness to make a decision that is right for you. Be aware now that you are above the level of anxiety and concerns. Ask within yourself: "What is the message this situation and my tension have for me?" "What am I to learn here?" "What is the best that can come out of this for everyone?" "What is the Spirit of Peace able to bring to this situation?" "What best serves Peace here?"
Ask any question that is appropriate for you at this time. Wait for the answer to come. This is not a mental process, do not try to think it out. If you are using a mental process, lift higher in your consciousness. Allow the answer to come from your Naphsha, which is located above your head.
Below are some seed thoughts about peace that you may like to dwell on for a few minutes, drawing inspiration. Then, when you feel perfectly at peace and have the answers to your questions make a will statement such as: "I will to hold the attitude of Home in Rukha all this day comfortably. I will to maintain this spirit of calm, peace and serenity about me and in all my relationships all this day."
Become aware of your body and breathing, open your eyes and go about your day in peace.
Serenity when in the face of scorn or harassment, when one's own behaviour is sound is needed to hold one's course and not be led by mass consciousness of pressure from others. This is the test of our capacity to maintain love for another despite his/her tormenting actions.
We need the attitude of the Source of life itself, which gave free will to all others to conduct their lives as they choose. We need to restate the Basic Law of Life and maintain the transpersonal mind-sets. If we do so, our experience can be one of complete inner peace, we would be functioning fully at the transpersonal level of consciousness. (Consider people like Jesus Christ, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King etc.)
If we experience hurt when being unjustly criticised, we are not conforming to the Basic Law of Life. We are forgetting that the tormentors strike out of their own inner pain, their own history of unmet needs, their lack of connection with transpersonal levels of consciousness. To be strengthened in this way is not to live in an ivory tower of illusory "sweetness and light". It is to experience personal hurt and to rise above it.
Is it Feedback or Criticism?
Distinguish between "Feedback", which is sharing of feelings and perceptions about what has happened, (without demands that the other should change, for love and goodwill to continue to flow), and "Criticism", which is giving an opinion about a person (with an implied demand that the person should change, for goodwill or love to flow again). Honest feedback can help you to grow.
A. Explore the criticism through questions only. Explore one question fully before shifting to another. The order of these question can be altered to suit the circumstances.
Establishing rapport is essential and for that questions 1,2,7,9, & 10 are most useful. The others are more aggressive and are best used only after good rapport has been established.
1. Clarify the content of his/her criticism and substantiate your understanding through "Do you mean ....?" questions.
This method can be very powerful in establishing rapport with your critic. It can often defuse anger and weaken the resolve to push the criticism. You will learn a great deal about and from your critic and gain his/her respect. Thus a setting is created for dealing constructively with the issues.
However, this method needs you to be calm and clear-headed enough to be open to your critic. Avoid rushing to your own defence, or using sarcasm or provocation. Be willing to thank you critic for feedback.
Project an atmosphere of impartial enquiry. This becomes easier with practise, so allow yourself to be grateful to anyone who gives you the opportunity to develop these skills. In this way they become your collaborators in your personal growth programme.
If you are too emotionally charged, not in an appropriate mental state, then use method B, below.)
2. Explore the grounds for the criticism by asking for examples and probing the basis (reasons) for his/her judgment. Ask why the person thinks you did what you did.
3. Empathically ask how it makes the critic feel, and why. (This can be deepened: Does s/he have different feelings if other people do the same thing? If so, why?) This is asking for feedback in place of criticism.
4. Ask when it was first noticed.
5. Ask why s/he waited till now to mention it.
6. Ask if the issue is only between the two of you or if it also bothers him/her in others, or is like anything that has happened in the past.
7. Ask if there are other things about you that cause similar feelings and judgments. Is there anything else?
8. If any theories or underlying beliefs about you or people seem implied by your critic, make them explicit by asking, for example, "Do I understand correctly that you believe that .................... etc.?"
9. If your critic seems annoyed by the process or impatient for you to take a stand, then ask permission to explore the criticism further.
10. Before taking any stand on the criticism:- Ask if you have fully explored and understood the criticism.
11. Sometimes the best end to unwanted criticism is:- "I hadn't thought of that - you could be right. Thank you. I will think about it."
B. If you are not in an emotional or mental state conducive to exploring the matter, admit it and ask to schedule another time for discussing the matter. Do the catharsis exercise to release pent-up emotion safely, do the forgiveness process, and then return to the negotiations. You will be surprised at the difference in outcome.
C. Counterattack. First use the exercise for Abilii, to double check that you yourself are not in error! Then consider carefully whether it is counter-attack that you really desire to do.
When your critic merely puts you down (with no constructive intent to give you useful feedback) you could reciprocate. But better, you could use "I statements" (e.g. "I feel hurt by what I hear you saying about me") about how you feel. This is owning responsibility for your own feelings, and is much wiser than "You statements" (e.g. "You make me angry") which will tend to aggravate the break in the relationship). It also gives your critic a chance receive feedback about the effects of his/her criticism. Your firmness serves to release any anger it caused you and to teach your critic that you do not tolerate such abuse. Counterattack may not necessarily be the wisest course, especially if your critic is physically violent or paranoid (in the psychiatric illness category).
It is always more effective not to put your opponent down, but merely to state and restate your own position and feelings. It is not necessary for the other to be wrong for you to be right. It is better to give feedback, not criticism.
D. Doing the Forgiveness Process before, during, or after an interaction, is often essential to heal hurts resulting from the effects of criticism. Critical thinking blocks love flow and diminishes the critic as well as the criticised one. It is essential that we all learn to refrain from thinking critical thoughts about ourselves and other people; that we learn to separate doers from their actions in our thoughts; and that we learn to relate to the good and good potential in others, ourselves, and situations.
This exercise can be used to attain the truth about some situation or relationship.
Select a quiet place, sit with the back straight (it may even be better to stand), become comfortable. Let the eyes close, become aware of your breathing, and how Life is breathing you.
Set aside emotional concerns for this time. Still the concrete mind that likes to analyse and compare and reason. Let your higher mind be awake and alert. Be aware of the Source of Life.
Raise your consciousness to your Naphsha, your Higher Self, your Soul, above your head, as a centre of light and energy where you are all-wise and perfect.
In this light create an image of yourself whole, in perfect health, filled with joy and gladness. Imagine yourself aligned with the will of your deepest, truest Essence. Imagine yourself in this state of wholeness, fulfilled by doing some kind of service for others. This may be something you have never done. It may even be your main life's purpose - what fulfils you most of all. Imagine yourself doing this happily, easily, and with joy. Hold this picture and allow this joy to express itself through your body. Retain this image in the light of the Higher Self or Naphsha for 3-5 minutes.
Connected with your Higher Self, you are enabled to "see" with greater purity, to see things whole, from a greater perspective, with no faults in the mind. As if from a mountain top, from this more elevated and broader perspective you can also look down on your personal life on earth, and see the inter-relatedness of past, present, future, and the interdependence of different people and peoples, the human family, and the other creatures who share this planet.
This broader perspective can often cast further light upon the situation or relationship about which you were seeking knowledge, and your way becomes clearer through intuition rather than just reasoning it out.
You also "see" without the clouds of prejudice, insecurity, fear of lack, fear of illness, fear of inadequacy. You "see" without projecting past negatives onto the future, for these are expectations that give you no peace. Enlightenment is (among other things) the ability to no longer confuse a partial truth for the whole truth. Purification is the process of eliminating that which inhibits soul vision and the full expression of soul qualities. Disease is the result of inhibited soul life.
Now just let the image go. Become aware of your body, your breathing and where you are. When you are ready open your eyes and return to your usual activities.
"Love is perceptive understanding, the ability to recognise what has produced a situation, and a consequent freedom from criticism. It involves that beneficent silence which carries healing on its wings, and occurs only when a man no longer has to still his lower nature and quieten the voices of his own ideas in order to understand and achieve identification with that which must be loved.
Can you follow the beauty of this concept and comprehend the nature of this silent depth of true understanding?
Wisdom is the sublimation of the intellect, involving the sublimation
of both the higher and the lower aspects of the mind. It is a blend of intuition,
spiritual perception, cooperation with the plan (of the Evolution of the
Universe, of God) and a spontaneous intellectual appreciation of that which
is contacted, and all this is fused and blended with and by the love defined
above, plus an esoteric sense of energy which must be unfolded as consciousness
expands". Alice Bailey
The usual preparations for meditation.
Contemplate the seed thoughts: "I will to align myself with the Source of Life". Or:- "I will to will Thy Will".
Become aware of the all-wise part of you, the spiritual part, that longs to align itself with the Source of your life, which knows all about you, your potentials, your talents, and your abilities. Become aware of your deep hunger and thirst for "coming home" to the meaning of that sentence to you.
Allow this energy to surround you, fill you, and nourish you. Feel gratitude for the all-wise part of you. Allow yourself to be filled with this loving nurturing energy, and rest in this fulfilment.
Return your awareness to the external environment, knowing that your spiritual hunger and thirst can be satisfied.
Energy follows thought. Meditation on these goodwill patterns and qualities will bring them into your life. Here is a suggestion: You could take one each day, or one for a period of time, say a week or a month. You could make tapes in your own voice of the meditations to guide yourself through them. It is especially effective if you work with a small action group who are helping each other to do forgiveness work together
The group takes one of these goodwill patterns to work with for the interval between meetings. Each person in the group agrees to do the meditation on the desired quality each morning, and to keep a diary of their experiences. Members then share their experiences at their next meeting, and give each other support and encouragement in developing the goodwill patterns.
The chart below shows how each of the Goodwill Patterns can be expressed at progressively higher levels, from the primitive "reptile brain" reaction based on fear or threat, through the intention to do what serves oneself better, and then on to what would even better serve not only oneself but also include the good of others also.
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