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What is success, really?

How we should re-evaluate the meaning of a successful life

It’s a deep-rooted need in many of us, achieving personal success. It’s something in our DNA that perpetually propels us forward, wanting us to improve.

Along with the drive to improve and develop ourselves, is the innate need to feel safe. It’s not difficult to imagine therefore that our drive for success combined with our need for security translates itself in pursuit of ever-increasing wealth.

Wealth seems to express the degree of success we are achieving and provides the deeply rooted need for security and comfort. It’s hard to argue with this and to a certain extent, it is true.

Then why do so many, trying to actualize this dream, feel so drained trying, and may even be dissatisfied when actually achieving it? Could it be that what we regard as success, i.e. material abundance, is perhaps not really a true indicator of a successful life? Could the paradigm we have been following, both individually and collectively, be flawed at the core?

There is nothing harder than changing a cultural paradigm. With this, I mean a belief system that is so deeply rooted in the collective psyche of a culture that it is taken for granted and regarded as fundamentally true. It’s something that’s not even investigated anymore and upon which we build our lives and form our reasoning and belief systems.

 

 

The notion that more wealth translates to a happier and more comfortable life is one such cultural paradigms. It’s an idea that we, collectively, have accepted to be true and worthy of pursuit. Our educational system, our economic model, our family life, are geared towards the fulfillment of the truth of this paradigm. Even churches preach the Gospel of abundance and pastors drive around in Rolls Royces and Ferraris, ‘teaching’ their flock that as long as you follow Jesus and our abundance model you will become as rich and successful as I am.

Cultures and individuals that don’t follow this paradigm are regarded as primitive, naive or impractical. To truly evaluate the truth of this wealth paradigm we need to have a look at our lives and answer a few questions honestly. Am I feeling happy? Is my life in balance? Do I feel a sense of inner peace and satisfaction? Do I spend enough quality time with my loved ones? Or, am I constantly on the run, trying to make ends meet, hardly have time to sit down, enjoy a few peaceful and intimate moments with my loved ones, and be in tune with nature and within myself?

THE ALTERNATIVE

In my new book, ‘When Souls Awaken’, I dedicate an entire section investigating this issue and have a closer look at what the divine consciousness proposes we do instead. It suggests we introduce a new happiness paradigm. In order to rise above our cultural belief systems and find answers, we need to ‘chunk up’, rise above, and transcend our ordinary day-to-day consciousness. We are presented with an entirely new way to look at what a successful life really is and how by learning to live this new way it can translate to an inner and divinely attuned state of being.

The first step is to re-evaluate our existing wealth paradigm and replace it with a new one. This new happiness paradigm consists of the balancing of three pillars of life, namely, love, safety/security, and spirituality. By learning to balance these three aspects of life we learn to only dedicate a certain amount of energy to the pursuit of material comforts, to have enough left to invest in our need for love and spirituality.

The successful implementation of this new lifestyle translates to a higher inner state of awareness and peace, allowing a happier state of being. It re-aligns us not only with our highest spiritual purpose but also with universal principles and a healthier and more sustainable way to live on our planet that only has limited resources. As Gandhi says, “The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed.”

ABHIR

We have been collectively brainwashed. This is both hard to accept and even harder to change. Fundamental change requires a radical new way of looking at things. Our subconscious mind doesn’t like change and this homeostasis, this inner tendency to keep things as they are, is what is limiting our capacity to step into higher forms of peace and happiness. The most radical of ideas is the notion that at the core we are a divine being having a human experience. Re-awakening this truth, making it a living and breathing reality in our daily lives, will provide us with the required strength to break free from the conditioning that has wrapped itself around us from our early childhood. As the great saint Vivekananda said: ‘ABHIR’. This means ‘be fearless.’ We are eternal souls, traveling from life to life. Why allow this world to limit our infinite potential. We need to break free!

 

This fearlessness is required to re-evaluate our collective belief systems and make the required paradigm changes. Happiness is within reach if we but allow it.

Will I ever be really happy?

How changing your happiness paradigm will change your life

 

A young lady came to see me in my office in Orange County, California and said to me: “I don’t care about past lives, I’m not interested, I just want to be happy. Can you help?” I answered her: “Perhaps. It depends on so many different factors. First of all, how eager are you to be happy? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much effort are you willing to invest in your quest for happiness?”

She said: “What do you mean? How much effort? There must be something you can tell my sub-conscious mind that will make me happier? How hard can it be?”

As I looked at her, it flashed before my mind how many lives she must have lived. What she experiences as her reality today is the result of all her previous actions and of all the thoughts she has ever had. Though it is completely understandable that not everybody is interested in dealing with past lives and just want to be happy now, you can’t just wish the past away. We are the results of our past.
Whether you believe in past lives or not, the principle stays the same. A past-life believer just allows for a larger chain of causality. A non-believer
in past lives says: “I am the result of parental influence, environmental conditioning, and hereditary transmission.” Whereas a past-life believer says: “I agree, but I’m born with these parents, in this environment, and with this body for a reason.”

Effort is required, one way or another. Seeking happiness means changing your mind. It’s not really your external circumstances that make you happy or unhappy, it’s the state of your mind. Two people could be in the same set of circumstances, but
one is happy and the other is miserable. What effort is harder than changing your mind?
 

 

 

Seeking happiness is different from seeking pleasure. Let that be clear from the beginning. This
is easy to understand intellectually, but our subconscious mind avoids pain and seeks comfort and pleasure. Our subconscious tendency is to grasp what’s in front of us that takes the least amount of effort and what allows for the greatest amount of pleasure.

Happiness, on the other hand, is a state of consciousness that is the result of prolonged and intentional work. It’s something you have to build up, by understanding and applying some basic principles. It doesn’t happen overnight.

 

WHAT IT TAKES

 

When I say, happiness is a state of mind, I mean this very literally. Your mind frequency determines your happiness. This may sound strange, as we have been taught to believe that what makes us happy is achieving success, getting a great education and a fantastic job allowing us to find a great partner to build a life with, building a beautiful home or traveling.

It’s of course not untrue that these things allow for a certain amount of satisfaction, and that the fulfillment of these things may as well be an important phase in our evolution and quest for self-actualization. But in and by themselves, do they make you really happy? Do they change your state of mind? And what does it take to pursue these things, what is your state of mind when you go through your quest? And does this quest ever stop?

Peace of mind is not really connected to any of these things. Peace of mind, happiness, happens when the waves of your mind completely calm down. The notion here is that happiness comes from within. The Kingdom of God is within. It’s the light of the Self that is the source of all happiness and you carry it with you. You just don’t know it yet. Or, don’t feel it yet.

When the waves of the mind calm down this inner light is allowed to manifest through the
calmed mind. A restless mind is what prevents this light from penetrating the fog of your own subconscious and conscious mind. Therefore, the principle here to understand is that it’s paramount to get your mind calmed and under control.

Hence the effort part. Once you understand the principle, the idea is actually quite simple. Clean up the debris in your subconscious mind, and calm down the waves in your conscious mind. Where it gets harder is: How do I do this?

To answer this young lady’s question, can you help me to become happy, I had to ask: how much effort are you willing to invest? What is required is to investigate every aspect of your life and see what has led to this unhappy state of mind. What’s needed is to start looking at happiness as something that requires time and a certain way of living. You can’t possibly expect to become truly happy without the willingness to make fundamental changes to your life.

This means that in the beginning, you may have to make choices that can be uncomfortable for a while. Uncomfortable because your mind is used to seeking pleasure versus investing in long term happiness. And the subconscious mind doesn’t like change. So until this change becomes a new habit, you will experience some pain, some discomfort. The idea is that these new good habits will end up contributing to your happiness. This new lifestyle will be one that doesn’t seek pleasure thinking it will lead to happiness. It requires a paradigm shift, a new understanding of what the source of real happiness is. Light and peace come from within.

This young lady approached her quest for happiness in the same way the subconscious mind seeks pleasure: I want it now. She can’t really help it. She’s the product of a consumer society that rewards cravings with instant gratification. Unchanged, the cycle of unhappiness continues.

 

PAST LIVES

 

I do think having an understanding of past lives is very important because it allows us to enjoy a much larger perspective on life. By knowing that I have lived before, I can’t help but accept that I am responsible for what happens to me next. What I am now is the result of what I have done before, and what I may become later on is in my hands as well. So instead of seeking just pleasure, we start to look ahead and ask ourselves: is this going to contribute to my happiness in the long run? Then we are more likely to make enduring choices. And it’s these enlightened choices that end up contributing to the greatest states of happiness. Choice is how we fundamentally change our life.

How do I get peace of mind?

 

As I’m sitting in front of my homemade shrine looking through the large windows over my deck, with the North Carolina mountains in front of me and the American river flowing down in the valley, I realize that peace of mind is acquired because it is the result of continuous conscious decision making over a prolonged period of time.

We all want peace of mind. When we are young we likely seek pleasure and excitement first. And when we couldn’t get it then, it is likely we seek it later on in life. It’s only when we have passed through our worldly excitement phase that we start to value the idea of peace of mind, realizing that peace of mind is a much higher form of excitement. One that aligns us with the inherent divinity of all things.

The difficulty with seeking peace of mind later on in life when we’ve designed a lifestyle geared towards stimulus and fun or career success, is that when we finally decide to strive for a more peaceful existence, we’re fighting a past momentum that moves in a completely different direction.

Turning the past momentum of stimulus and excitement towards one of peace of mind is much harder than one would think. We can’t just decide to be peaceful one day. Everything around and within us is programmed toward perpetual motion.

 

 

 

The collective subconscious, or our culture, has influenced us for as long as we can remember with images of success, enjoyment, and fun and we have unconsciously accepted this to be the way life is. Hardly anybody questions or investigates whether or not this societal indoctrination actually will deliver the promised land, and we design our lives accordingly. We haven’t yet learned to cultivate a state of mind that knows how to deal with the negativity and anxiety that are the result of this worldly direction. Nothing has prepared us for this.

What do we do with the anxiety that this lifestyle produces; the perception of lack, therefore always needing more, the sense of inadequacy, feeling the need to be something or someone else? It’s a vicious cycle. An unenlightened lifestyle makes us endeavor to cover our feelings with more restless activity. Until one day the tank is empty.

Some of you reading this may question: “Is there another way of life possible then? I don’t see anybody around living differently?” It’s easier to look at life from a different perspective if you travel and visit different cultures. During my work as a regression therapist taking people back to past lives, I meet souls living in different cultures and at different times, valuing different things. It’s hard to look beyond your own situation if you don’t have any perspective of other alternatives. We become more likely to be conditioned by media and society with the resulting anxiety and negativity if we can’t counter this continuous cultural bombardment with our own unique and different experiences, helping us to develop a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind.

During my eleven years in India, I was continuously exposed to a culture that, over the millennia, has valued spiritual enlightenment to be the ultimate goal of human life. Society was designed accordingly, and scriptures, temples, and rituals expressed this lofty ambition. Today of course, and even during these thousands of years, India too faced its own kind of problems, so I don’t want to romanticize it, but the gist is that there have been cultures, like India and Tibet, that have had fundamentally different ways of looking at the purpose of life.

 

In your quest for inner peace, therefore, the first step is to have the courage and clarity of mind to re-evaluate your current culture, both within and around you, and ask yourself if the way you do things is really conducive to the inner peace and contentment you seek. Separate yourself from the current that drags you on day after day, and stop to ask the hard question: is this helping me experience inner peace? Vivekananda, a great Indian saint, said in one of his poems: “Thine only is the hand that holds the rope that drags thee on.”

Once I learn to observe and become aware of my negative and restless thoughts so that I can let them go, can I pause and consider how to think and do things differently in order to build a new lifestyle conducive to inner peace. Sure, this means doing things against established norms and values. It means thinking for yourself rather than letting the images of TV and multimedia determine what happiness looks like, what you should own, and what success looks like. Perhaps you’ll discover that you don’t really need as much as you thought you would. Perhaps you’ll discover that success is a state of mind and not stuff, or a certain image, specific career or financial status. Perhaps you discover it means cultivating meaningful relationships with people that can actually think for themselves too.

Whatever this new way looks like for you, it requires you consciously creating it through awareness of your thoughts and feelings. At any given moment you do have a choice. You can choose positive thinking. You can choose detachment from the mad worldly ways of others around you. You can choose love. You can let go of the old and embrace the new.

 

It won’t happen all by itself. It won’t even happen when you retire, because if you don’t change your mind along with inner and outer culture, you won’t reap the results this change naturally produces: inner peace. A peace that is born out of the satisfaction that you listened to your own heart and soul, and had the courage to reshape your destiny accordingly. There is no money in the world that can buy such inner satisfaction. It is, indeed, a self-acquired gift.  

On realizing you are divine

 

During one of my recent Past Life and Life between Lives regressions, my client visited the memories of one of her past lives. In this particular life, she was a native American woman who had been on the run from invaders most of her life. At the end of her life she decided to stay put alone in a remote mountainous forest, letting her other companions, still young and healthy, go on without her. These last few years alone she managed to stay safe, survive and spent a happy period in tune with nature and finding herself.

When we moved on to the Life-between-Lives regression, this theme of self-reliance and living in tune with nature was further discussed. Here her soul rose to an even higher state of consciousness, where she felt herself freed from most of her body and mind identification, experiencing a liberated state of being.

In this kind of state, the soul is almost devoid of conditioning, in a state of pure being. Yet there still remains a trace of ‘I’—consciousness, allowing us to discuss the life of this soul on earth, as well as reflecting on previous lives.

 

 

 

 

The purpose of experiencing such a state of being is two-fold. First, it allows the client to experience one’s true Self; a soul state that is not limited by the things of the world. The body, parents, and world in which the soul is born are temporarily transcended, allowing a tremendous sense of freedom.

Secondly, by being detached, the soul is able to have a bird’s eye view of its life, and past life (or lives), enabling one to put in perspective the things one as a soul, truly considers of utmost importance.

Many of our unhappy moments happen when we don’t see a way out. We feel the weight of the world in which we live, and the ‘reality’ of our embodiment so strongly, that we have totally forgotten that we are a spiritual being whose true nature is transcendent. We have become a complete human being, living in a world all too real.

What if, even for a moment, you could feel that who you really are is an incredibly beautiful and divine light being? What if, even for a moment, you realized that this world you consider so real, is just a temporary journey? And what if, you could, while here on earth, feel this divinity within yourself and others, and live an enlightened and happy life?

Many religious traditions point to a ‘happier place’ after death, Call it heaven, or spiritual liberation, or Mukti. However great this promise is, wouldn’t it be much better if we could experience heaven and enlightenment here and now? Why wait? Why die first?

I have found that when helping people touch that state of light even for a few minutes, their lives change forever. They are reminded, once again while on earth, who they truly are and what their incredible potential is. This potential may or may not be anything particular in the ways of the world, but rather a realization that happiness is within. They are seeing and feeling for themselves what this enlightened state of being is like, here and now.

 

The psychological implications of this experience can be dramatic. Because now suddenly the mind realizes that it has a choice. A choice to be earthly or a choice to be divine. A choice to take everything regarding this world and body very seriously, or a choice to be lighthearted and transcendent. A choice to see the faults in everything and everybody or the choice to see the light in all beings and things.

That same person that previously irritated you, can now be a reminder that he or she too is a soul, also trying to express its potential and on a journey towards the light. That same struggle you experience right now can be regarded as a terrible burden or can be a reminder that you too are working through karmas that will eventually set you free.

The beautiful soul in this regression session realized that her life as a Native American helped her prepare for this life, in which she was able to discover true SELF-reliance. A reliance on a deep inner knowing that whether she is embodied or not, she is divine either way and can give herself permission to feel it and express it freely here and now.

 

You can be as free as you like to be, depending on your thoughts and feelings. The past is gone, the future not here. All you’ve got is this moment and a choice to hold on to the divine within and around you. You’re so much more beautiful, powerful and free than you realize. You are, indeed, divinity itself.

Can I prove reincarnation?

And should I?

Surely you’ve been in many situations with people of different beliefs or those who even claim not to believe in anything but science where you felt you had to defend your believes in reincarnation, or, worse, you didn’t know what to say.

As with all points of view, if you want to argue you will need the ammunition to do so. I’ve written many articles about reincarnations and given speeches and lectures on the topic, and there is undoubtedly a lot to say about it that makes a lot of sense. But as I grow older I find it less and less important to try to convince anybody of my views, and especially about a topic as personal as a belief in rebirth.

During my years in India, I was surrounded by millions of people, predominantly Hindu, who claimed to believe in reincarnation.  I love India and its spiritual culture. For millennia it has been an epicenter of spiritual thought. And yet, during my stay there, I was confronted with corruption at every level and wondered, how can a Hindu nation with such lofty ideas face such corruption? I came to the conclusion that you may ‘believe’ whatever you want, but unless that ‘believe’ becomes a living and breathing reality in your personal life it is of little value.

If there is one thing I learned from living with saints and sages is that all believes have to be turned into personal experience. ‘Religion is realization’, said the great saint Vivekananda. We have to walk the talk. As with all personal experiences, once you know it you know. If you have walked on the moon you will know what it’s like. No matter what conspiracy theorists may claim, you know! And you now have a choice, try to prove this to others and make them believe that your experience was genuine and true, or meditate on the experience and use it to expand the horizons of your inner world.

I’ve learned that the latter stance is more conducive to peace of mind. The questions, therefore, should rather be, how can this believe of mine help me? How can I turn my belief into a personal inner experience that is beneficial to me?

Regarding this topic of reincarnation, and how believing it can help me, I do require some clear thinking. Just believing it won’t do me much good. I need to substantiate this belief with some logic that can throw a punch. Not to others, but to myself, helping me wake up and change the way I do things and move forward. Thinking it through will help me get a deeper understanding of the laws of reincarnation and once I get a grip on these laws I have something I can hold on to, a road map of life.

Because, literally, reincarnation is about life and death. My death. What happens when I die, where do I go to? And is that death in some way affected by the way I live? Does it affect my rebirth? If so, how should I live? What is considered a good life?

 

The concept of reincarnation is intimately connected to the idea of karma; the law of cause and effect. And, importantly, the notion that I am not just a body, but primarily a soul that inhabits a body. Over and over again till one day, when all karmas are cleared, we do not need to inhibit a body again and will be free.

So along with reincarnation comes the idea of karma and the divine eternal nature of the soul. These three concepts are inseparable. This blog is too short to go into this topic deeper but to answer the question as to how I can turn my belief into realization and make it work for me, I have to focus on these two phenomena, karma and soul.

The law of cause and effect, karma, is what governs my every action. I can now ask myself, is this action helping me manifest more of my inherent divinity, leading me to greater unfoldment and happiness, or is this action covering up my soul with endless karmic repercussions. You see, I now become fully responsible and empowered. It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks. Other people’s believes and opinions don’t take anything from me or add anything to me. What matters is how I react to the world around me and, in the grand scheme of things, how I manage to spiritually progress.

 

This is the best thing I could possibly do. Not only will I become a more conscious being, but my very presence will also become incrementally more beneficial to those around me. When I become better, so does the world. So rather than argue, ‘become’. 

How to become peaceful during our current crisis

I read an inspiring statement by Gianni Crow, a native American healer: “My grandfather says: when you feel powerless that’s because you stopped listening to your own heart, that’s where power comes from.”

During these trying times, when you are asked to stay home, it is very likely that you are forced to look within yourself more than you are used to. While for some this may be a very disconcerting reality, for yogis it is an opportunity to reflect on our lives and stand still for a moment to have a closer look. Take inventory, so to speak.

I love the above quote for the simple reason that it is true that most of us are in perpetual motion.

Striving, surviving, working hard and making plans. This continuous outward projection of our energies takes us away from our center, from our hearts.

As I was sitting for quiet meditation this morning I realized how wonderful and peaceful I can be. I also realized that during these last few months I had been on the move continuously and that even now, during meditation, my subconscious mind had a tendency to keep moving ahead, keep planning and worrying about how I was going to survive the next few months without working.

As I was witnessing the workings of my mind I was able to momentarily detach from it. Instead of allowing the worry and striving to continue, I realized I had the capability, like we all do, to step back and let it go. A blissful sense of surrender and peace followed and I realized: “It’s all going to be alright. Just be, let it be.”

You see, peace is within. It’s not something that we need to strive for or acquire. It’s not something that may happen to us after retirement. An Indian saint said: “We spend our entire life making our bed, but nobody gets to sleep in it.” The very fact that we are continuously striving, building, surviving takes us away from a heart-centered state of peace.  What we are striving for and seeking, peace, is actually here now, if we but allow it.

 

OBJECTIONS

“But what about……” or “that may be true but you don’t understand my…..” are some of the first objections your mind will come up with.

But the real obstacle is not any of the difficulties you may find yourself in right now. The real obstacle is the reluctance of the mind to stop and sit still and detach for even 5 minutes. It’s habituated to keep on going. And it will keep on rolling unless we consciously put a peg in its wheel. We greatly underestimate the power we carry within. We are the boss of our minds and not the other way around. That boss is our inherent divinity, our soul, and during meditation, we can connect, each in our own way, with this internal divine being. From here we can look at our minds, our lives, with a blissful sense of detachment and re-orient ourselves to that what is truly important. 

The alternative is to instead allow the fear and insecurity of the collective subconscious mind, the media, and negative Facebook posts to determine our internal state. And it will, if we don’t place proper countermeasures. Instead, we can use this time to enjoy some peace and quiet at home and re-align ourselves with our divine purpose. Irrespective of what goes on in the world and even our own lives, there is an eternal divine dimension both within us and around us that is the source of all bliss, all knowledge and all peace. Whether we call this reality Consciousness, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, the Quantum Field, the Atman or Brahman, it is our unique capability to connect with it if we but choose to. It’s what makes us amazing. Stay in bliss my friends. 

Turning surviving into thriving

I’d been working for days now, prepping my new vegetable garden when a storm hit and destroyed all the plastic hoop covers. My frustration knew no bounds when during the next few days relentless winds kept pounding the area. Every and any attempt at protecting my newly planted saplings were thwarted.

As a ‘new’ gardener I wasn’t really aware of what I needed to do. I have no experience in gardening, nor in the weather patterns of this area, I moved to some 2 years ago.

It made me think about my life, all the struggles I’ve gone through, and the times when apparently at random and without mercy the winds of difficult karma hit my already vulnerable life situation. It always seems to hit you when you are feeling most helpless. 

The idea behind the vegetable garden is to become more self-reliant so that no matter what happens, we can have at least some basic nutrients right here at home.

I like this idea of self-reliance. Looking back, I realize that true self-reliance isn’t as easy as it sounds. Because true self-reliance isn’t just material. It’s mostly a state of mind, a mental strengthening that can be hard to acquire. The moment we rely on anything outside of ourselves we lose some of that self-reliance. Depending on loved ones, family, or even approval of the society and church or temple members, are forms of co-dependency that take away our inner independence. Can we be really and truly independent of these influences?

And then there is the wind, the karmic forces of nature that hit our garden when we least expect it. To nurture our garden and protect it from the elements requires a lot of preparation. We need a solid base, healthy potting soil, and lastly protection from storms, freezing, and animals.

In order to thrive and move towards true self-reliance it is reasonable to expect that as these requirements are necessary to build a successful vegetable garden, it will also apply to us. In a way, we too sprout from the earth and are Mother Earths’ children so we too need a solid foundation, nurturing, and protection.

A yogi’s goal is to come to that state of awareness and consciousness where it is unaffected by outside forces and undisturbed by inner mind fluctuations. In order to enjoy such inner peace and spiritual equilibrium, we need to start at the beginning. We need to investigate where our garden is lacking. Is our base solid, our soil, i.e. our environment conducive to growth? 

 

Are we feeding our internal environment, both physically and mentally (like media) sufficiently rich materials? Are we shielded enough from detrimental external influences? Sometimes we just need to make some radical changes in that regard, when we become increasingly aware we are acting like Sisyphus, trying to push that rock uphill, never quite able to make it. Maybe we just need another rock, one that easier to move.

Is your rent or mortgage too high and you have to work all day long just to make ends meet? How about moving somewhere else? Do you have physical issues that just won’t go away? How about consulting a nutritionist or making some radical dietary changes? Are you surrounded by toxic people? How about just leaving and starting again.

What often stands in our way is co-dependency and old habits. The subconscious mind resents change. When we start to see things more clearly and get a more objective perspective of our inner garden, we can slowly learn to let go of these old habits and attachments and start the process of setting ourselves free. It is at these moments that we need to remember who we truly are. More than anything else we are eternal divine light beings. The urge to thrive, to manifest our greatest potential, are these inner rays of inner divine light starting to shine from within. The more we shine, the more we thrive. Until one day nothing but light remains. It’s not only possible, it’s the truth of our being. 

Once we re-orient our garden towards the sun and it’s well protected and with good soil, it can thrive. At that point, the harvest won’t be far away. 

Beautiful people

As a regression therapist I meet so many beautiful people and by beautiful people I mean divine, thoughtful and deep souls. As I’m watching the news or scroll though my Facebook page though, it’s so easy to get disheartened and negative about what is going on in the world. It’s easy to forget the good that exists, and the amazing people that surround us. It’s hard to say if this kind of negativity is by design or that we as humans are just wired to look at the negative, in some kind of subconscious response to stay alert in order to survive. Whatever the case may be, true survival is not just avoiding danger.

I can argue the case that in order to really survive and thrive we need to focus on love, positivity, and human connection. 

It’s a conscious choice we can make. If, however we allow the negative energy to come to us unfiltered, it may indeed seem like it is the way of the world where we might feel that we do not have a choice.

This week alone I met several seemingly ordinary people that came to see me for past-life and life-between-lives regressions. As we went back through ancient times, from the Egyptians to Medieval Europe, early American settlers and native tribes, I was reminded, again and again, how long and marvelous our soul’s journey is. It’s easy to get stuck in our day to day lives when we don’t see our eternal journey through space and time. We completely forget who we have been and where we have traveled already. We perhaps think the people around us are equally uninteresting and boring. What if we could remember even a small part of that past, and imagine this to apply to everybody else as well? How would it change the way we see others and live today?

Having an accurate sense of perspective is half the cure to our ills. Being able to lift ourselves out of the everyday affairs of our lives allows us a bird’s eye view, a place to ponder from. What could be worse than to think that this is all there is.

 

It is actually possible to realize that our current life is just a tiny part of an eternal awakening process. Not only have we lived many lives before, we are an eternal soul that transcends life as we know it altogether.

Several of my clients, even just this week alone, entered this eternal and transcendental realm where they re-discovered the eternal nature of their own being. As I sat there, seeing one of them shed tears of joy while she got absorbed into a super-conscious state, I felt it too: how beautiful we all are. 

The transformative effect of this kind of experience cannot be overestimated. It shifts something within. It now becomes our own experience where, when things get hard, we can retreat back to, meditate on, talk about, and change the internal dialog with ourselves. It’s possible to say amidst apparent worldly troubles and heartaches: “I am this eternal Self, I am Divine, I am beautiful and Light. I am That.”

If you want peace of mind

“If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, the whole world is your own.” This wonderful statement of Sri Sarada Devi, a 19th-century Indian saint, is profoundly significant. Who doesn’t need peace of mind? At some point in our lives we most probably will look for it. Especially spiritual seekers will make peace of mind a prime life’s purpose.

How can not finding faults with others lead to peace of mind? Or what do these two things, peace of mind, and finding faults with others, even have to do with one another?  The answer is on the one hand very simple, and on the other, very hard to comprehend and practice. The simple part is that we stop wasting time judging others. The hard part is that it requires us to turn within. 

To stop directing our energies towards worrying what others are doing is of course good for the simple reason that we have energy left over to direct it to more constructive things, like looking at our own faults and making inner improvements.

The harder part is to turn within. Turning within can be interpreted in many ways. One way can be understood as going within by becoming aware of something divine within. Another way of going within can be seen as starting to focus on repeating a mantra within or repeating prayers or chants.

In other words, it’s directing the mind from the outside to the inside and learning to hold on to an internal awareness rather than an external awareness.

By being constantly focused on what’s around and outside of us, we are in a perpetual state of action-reaction, a never-ending cycle of externalized energy. This makes the mind restless. It also reinforces subconscious tendencies that, when left unchecked, will dominate our lives. Subconscious tendencies are little habit machines that control how we think, act and react. These are the results of conditioning in our early childhood and, of course, from past lives. These habits never change unless we try to make this subconscious world conscious through meditation and other awareness exercises.

So by redirecting an outer state of criticism towards an inner state of awareness we can start to catch these little habits and change them.

 

Each and every time we criticize someone we send a little, almost imperceptible, negative energy current into our heart and mind. This effects our overall energy signature, and, perhaps worse, shoots little impulses into our subconscious mind, reinforcing and strengthening our old thought patterns. These then, as a consequence, become stronger, making us criticize even more and thus keep feeding the cycle of action-reaction, me versus them, strengthening this subconscious notion that we are different.

The moment I’m different, I need to protect this sense of differentiation, I need to uphold it, feed it, justify it, and so on. And so Sarada Devi says: “No one is a stranger, the whole world is your own.”

Because if it is not, this sense of difference brings about fear. The ego, the sense of ‘I’ needing to protect itself and survive. Fear makes us discriminate verses love, makes us nationalistic versus universal, individual versus One. And we will never find peace as long as there is differentiation.

Peace therefore is found when we become aware of our inner dialog, change it, and start identifying with the eternal part of ourselves, our Self, our Soul. This Self is a part of the universal ocean of awareness of which we are all part. “Learn to make the whole world your own” can become an actual experience. There is peace in Oneness. This Oneness is an internal state of spiritual awareness, of spiritual realization, and is equivalent with peace.

May we try to see everybody as part of ourselves.

Transcending limited beliefs

Have you ever had a moment when a long-held belief you always considered as true, suddenly turned out to be not true? Do you remember how it felt? Such an ‘awakening’ can be rude or liberating, depending on how attached you were to what you believed in.

If you believed in the sanctity and eternity of marriage for example and you suddenly ended up divorced and alone, your firm beliefs were undoubtedly shattered. Or if you always believed that marriage is between men and women only, and you discovered one day that you or a very near and dear one was gay, your traditional beliefs would be equally shattered. Such strongly held beliefs are called paradigms.

A paradigm is a widely accepted example, belief, or concept. It basically means that we as individuals, or collectively as a group, have accepted certain things as true, and make life decisions based on this belief. We can’t even conceive that certain things can’t be true. And therefore we don’t even think about these fundamental ideas we have unconsciously accepted. Paradigms are so deeply rooted that we hold them as self-evident. Such is the force of paradigms.

The secret of inner progress and freedom is to undo these paradigms. There is no end to this shedding of paradigms. These paradigms are like the layers of the onion, and with each layer we shed, the closer we come to the core of what constitutes true freedom, and….reality.

We can say that each layer is a layer of conditioning that we inherited from our parents, environment, and genes. These layers determine how we think, feel and act. Many people never investigate these layers of conditioning and hence are ‘perfectly adapted citizens’ of society. They comply and follow the rules and regulations of society. And, accordingly, are easily manipulated by the layer of society they identity with, be it family, church, politics, or hometown. Since family, church, political identity and hometown is their entire world, and for them there exists no other world outside this world, they cannot conceive of doing anything that would upset it. There is nowhere else to go. Accordingly, they adapt to it willingly. They don’t see they have any other choices. Their consciousness is trapped by the limitations of the paradigm. They are in a bubble and can’t see that life exists outside or beyond the bubble.

The real ‘trouble’ starts when you refuse to comply with the rules of life within the bubble, or have an internal realization that no longer represents the state of consciousness that is the norm within the paradigm. The trouble is two-fold. On the one hand, you have to deal with the inner turmoil of feeling that you suddenly don’t fit anymore and would have to find a new ‘home’ outside the only world you know, and secondly, you have to deal with the people or culture around you that don’t tolerate your ‘out of the norm’ beliefs.

It takes a lot of courage, at this moment, to stand up for what you believe in and choose a new path. Be it changing your religious beliefs, your sexual identity, your lifestyle and so on. It can be extremely scary, for the very fact that you actually don’t see another life beyond your current one. You’re not only attached to your old habits, but you are also equally fearful of the unknown, the apparent vacuum that lies beyond what you currently know.

But paradigms run much deeper. By investigating what holds us down we realize that our conditioning is strong and multifarious. Take the idea of rebirth for example. When I start to believe that who and what I am today is the result of my actions of the past, I am forced to fundamentally change the way I live. I am suddenly confronted with the realization that what I am now is not merely the result of random situations, produced by my birth. Instead, I am forced to take responsibility for my situation, accepting that what I am today is of my own making, and realizing that who I want to be tomorrow is also my own responsibility.

Such a realization can be severely upsetting, especially if I feel sorry for myself and have created a self-identity like feeling victimized around this past suffering. It can also be extremely empowering if I am determined to change. If I’m not part of the problem I can never be empowered to be part of the solution. It would be out of my hands from the start.

We can peel away the paradigm ever further, to realize that even reincarnation is a relative truth and that our true Self is neither born nor ever dies and that we are an eternally free soul, swimming in the ocean of divine consciousness.

The further you peel away the illusions of your beliefs, the greater the implication for your mind and life. Each shedding of layers of conditioning forces us to think about life in a fundamentally different way and puts us at odds with the established and conservative ways of people around us, as well as our own old comfortable ways of doing things. It, therefore, requires an increasingly strong mind to deal with the implications of such realizations.

 

For many people, losing a strong layer of conditioning is too hard to bear. Giving up a narrow-minded church community or religious or political belief for example would automatically mean having to give up the alleged support such a group provides. An insulation layer is ripped off, and a sense of belonging lost. They are not capable or willing of doing this and can’t conceive of the benefits such a change could provide. Growing often means distancing yourself from limiting beliefs, stepping into a new self-image and self-belief that requires a new state of self-reliance and self-responsibility. Often it’s easier and more comfortable to just rely on the approval of a community, group, sect, family or even country. Independence would require too much energy, too much growing up at once, and requires strength and vision that has not yet been developed.

But we need not fear to make such changes. As you shed the limiting beliefs and make these paradigm shifts, you automatically develop the strength to cope. As a matter of fact, by making these changes you willingly allow and force yourself to grow. Though at that very moment you may not yet feel strong enough, it’s only by placing yourself in such a situation that you create the muscles required for it. The courageous ones therefor know that change is good and willingly seek it.

I speak from personal experience. I lived in 5 different countries, each time starting anew. Early on I adopted a distinct Oriental spiritual belief system while living in a small narrow-minded strongly Christian Southern Dutch community. In those days, ideas of yoga were unknown and considered weird, and not fashionable like they are today in certain areas. By always following my heart and my dreams I never allowed the environment to hold me back and determine what is good and proper for me, but instead looked within and beyond, letting the heart determine what is righteous and proper. Did that mean that I had to sacrifice certain things, like the approval of my hometown, country, even race? Yes, but why hold back when in a return you gain internal freedom that makes you a world citizen, teaches you to relate, appreciate, and love all people of all sexes, colors and ideas. All that you do is enlarge a small family for a much larger and much more interesting family circle. The reward of shedding limited ideas and associations always expands your world, internally and externally. 

So don’t hold on. Don’t be afraid. Let go and see how your world expands. Happiness follows suit. The larger the heart, the greater the capacity for happiness. If your current situation suffocates you but you are too afraid to let it go because you can’t see what is waiting for you once you do, trust me, it is always going to be a better world for you. Freedom and internal expansion (i.e. happiness) are on the other side. It is priceless!

Am I not aware?

You hear it everywhere, “Awareness.” Yet it remains an enigma as to its real meaning. Are we not aware now? How do I become aware of more, while I actually do feel I am aware of this moment? Am I not alive now, am I not reading now? What am I not seeing and what am I supposed to see and become aware of?

Before I start a past life / life between lives regression session with my client I always mention this idea of awareness. In our search for our past life memories, and in our attempt to connect to life between life, we may think that we need to become more aware which can leave us wondering if we can do this. Should I become more aware? You read it everywhere and you hear it in the new age community, this idea of increased awareness.

What I share with my clients is the idea that it is not an increased awareness we are looking for, but a change of direction in awareness. Because indeed you are already aware now. If you wouldnt, how could we suddenly create it? Instead, we need to turn the awareness we already have within. 

Change it from the outside to the inside. Its not that we magically need to create a previously unknown phenomenon called awareness out of thin air. No, because you already have it, you already are aware now. Just not within.

This then brings us to the next step; how do we turn within. Its simple. Close your eyes. Yes, it is as simple as that. The moment you close your eyes and stop looking around, you immediately start becoming aware of your inner thoughts. We all know that this is not enough though when we try to travel deeper within. Its the random superficial thoughts of everyday life that stand in our way of looking further within.

It stands to reason then that the next step would be to quiet down these thoughts. Not repress them, or force them away, but kind of let them dissolve into thin air. You can do that in many ways. You could listen to some relaxing music, sit in a hot tub, or lie down. Then just look at the thoughts and see them flow by, like the clouds in the sky. Next take your focus away from the mind for a while by starting to relax the body progressively, starting at the feet then move towards the head.

After a while, you will feel the body relaxing completely and the mind following suit. What really happens is that you start to change the frequency of your brain waves. You can change the frequency quite a bit if you know how. The longer the brain wave, the more the mind will turn within.

So the secret is not to create more awareness forcibly, but to change the frequency of your brainwaves. When this happens, you progressively turn deeper within. When your mind is attuned to a different brain frequency you will start to resonate with everything that exists at that frequency. So you become aware’ of that what exists and lives there.

 

A truly powerful psychic for example has to capacity to always live at a higher frequency and therefore be constantly aware of all things happening at that wavelength. Other beings, other worlds for example may exist at these frequencies and they can see it as clear as daylight. Like a dog sees infrared.

So for me to become more aware I need to start looking at my brain wave frequency first and ask myself: where does my mind go? If I fill it with negative thoughts, fueled by violent movies, video games, and negative companionship, then I will be absorbing and vibrating, that frequency. Even food can be of significance when it comes to providing either negative or positive support.

By truly comprehending this principle I can bring about a paradigm shift within. Another dimension opens up. I can become aware of things I never knew existed. And not just aware of things around me, but, and more importantly, aware of my true Self hidden behind a veil of lower mind frequencies and debris.

 

The yogi aims to reveal the true Self within. This Self is the source of divine light, the source of knowledge, and the source of internal bliss. It doesnt exist outside of us and we need not desperately seek it more and more while trying to find it outside ourselves. It is who we are behind the veil of our own lower frequency old tendencies and thoughts. We have the power ourselves to become one with the God within. Then everything becomes revealed. We become truly aware.

In the eyes of the beholder

Have you ever met someone who somehow just doesn’t seem to get affected by the things around them, be it the prospect of potentially terrible socio-political situations, disturbing family members, or irritating colleagues at work? It could even seem like this person has some kind of superpower of untouchable inner peace. To most of us, it could even be a bit irritating to see someone so detached and peaceful when we are not.  Although this peaceful individual might annoy us just a bit, with some luck their state of mind may awaken in us a quest, a hunger, to become peaceful ourselves.  And consider this example of the great saint/philosopher Vivekananda who proposes
that seeing something as sin is only in the eyes of the beholder:

When you place your bag of gold on a table, and a thief takes it away, how do you think a baby sees it? Would it even be aware of what happens? How would you react? Likely with the mind of someone who is extremely disturbed, knowing that the bag of gold belonged to you.

The idea is that you can only see what exists within you. If the mind is completely devoid of ideas of possession for example, what loss could there ever be? If the mind is completely devoid of ego, what hurt could ever be conceived? If the mind is completely free of internal strife and violence, what aggressive kind of response could ever be given?

It stands to reason therefore that what the philosopher proposes makes a lot of sense. Sure, from a worldly standpoint you may argue that it may not be the most ‘practical’ way to go through life, but such considerations are less relevant or impractical for the one seeking the highest
level of inner peace.

 

 

When we truly understand and apply this principle, we start to realize that the buck stops with us. It also provides us with the tools and attitudes to profoundly change the way we think about life and how to turn it in our favor. External hurt, deceit, loss, and so on, according to this way of thinking, are only able to have a grip on us according to the degree we allow it. It has, in a way, no true power over us if we don’t allow it to. Or, if we go a bit further if these kinds of ideas wouldn’t even exist within us.

To that degree negative thought and impressions exist in the mind, the external world will feed it back to us. It has to be so, as we cannot help but perceive it everywhere and react accordingly. The mind acts as a mirror.

The yogi or mindfulness practitioner therefore always tries to look within first. It is also the best place to look, and the only place where we have control. Nothing outside of ourselves can ever be controlled and by trying to control it, we only end up getting anxious. Sure, we can influence certain external situations, but never truly control them.

Looking within means trying to come to a place of centeredness, a higher frequency. You may call it the Self, or God, or whatever idea provides you peace. Once the mind is centered on for example the Self, when it feels the peace, light, and bliss of the Self, then it has a platform from where to let go of old and limited ideas and emotions. Otherwise, you cannot let go of these things you hold on to or have identified with. You must first come to the shore of safety.  A safe harbor.

So there are two things you need to focus on in your quest for true inner calm. First, find your divine center within. Second; understand that external events are only reflections, external representations, of what is going on within you. And, let them go. Focus on your inner light instead. Feel that light, hang on to it, tune into it, taste it, love it, and everything else has a chance to slowly dissolve and drift away.

 

Does it mean I should just let everybody abuse and use me? No, not at all. I need to have clear and strong boundaries. Everything that detracts from that light I must avoid and let go of. But there is a big
difference between aggressively or negatively reacting to these things and letting them go in a detached manner. Detaching means having boundaries and choosing to not let these things, people, or events bother me. Showing detachment is making a strong statement and placing huge boundaries around my inner state of being. I say: ‘NO I am not ok with this kind of behavior, I am not ok with this kind of negativity or abuse,’ and I choose therefore not to engage in or to entertain it. ‘I choose to go within instead’. Or ‘I choose to walk away’. It’s a misconception to think that turning within or walking away is not taking strong action. And, if required, like in social situations, I can and sometimes have to take external actions. But it still doesn’t mean I should react violently or aggressively.

Finding the Self within is not as hard as it sounds. All it requires is meditation. Meditation starts with first hearing about these things, then reflecting on them, and then finally internalizing and experiencing them. You have to imagine it. Then you can start to feel it and make it come alive. Through practice, I can start to carry that stream of inner light with me
throughout the day. And even if something would at first greatly disturb me, I have a place to retreat to. 

In this way, I can slowly learn to stop reacting to things. It can be a huge waste of energy. When each time I turn within instead, I gradually learn to let go of the negative internal feelings that caused the reaction to begin with. It is when I start to realize I have an internal choice, move to the inner light or react, that life starts to turn in my favor and peace is within reach. It is a daily life practice, and the more I am aware of it and use it, the greater its power becomes. Be still and know the storm shall pass. 

How do we teach our children

I often think back at my childhood, and wonder: what do I wish my parents had taught me? Let me start by saying that in this life I was blessed with wise and loving parents. I wouldn’t have wanted them to have been or have done anything differently. Yet, as I grow and develop new ideas and have internal realizations I sometimes wonder: ‘what if?’ I’m sure you too will sometimes wonder.

So the question as to how our life could have worked out differently had we know certain things we know now is not an unreasonable one. I hope to think that by looking back I can learn from my past.

Perhaps I should rephrase the question: If I would start over with the knowledge I have now, how can I positively change my future? When I accept reincarnation as a reality, this line of thinking becomes all the more important, knowing I have the power to change my destiny, in this life and the next. I am the product of my past, and I am shaping my future every moment with my current thoughts and actions.

 

 

The wiser my soul, the broader the spectrum of my awareness. By expanding my awareness beyond my current situation, and remembering my past lives, perhaps I can project and shape my future beyond the visible spectrum of ‘here and now’. I can gain an understanding of the consequences of my thoughts and actions and how these affect my future, even beyond this life. So what would I have wanted to know?

I wish I had been taught that it is important to focus on 3 areas of life; my body, my mind and my Soul, or Self.

With body I mean the material world, and how my body interacts with it. I wish I had been told that to allow this body to move freely and happily, complete independence is paramount. This means understanding money, not looking at it as all-important, neither neglecting it. I wish I had understood early on that having enough of it will allow this body to be healthier and free. I would have given the pursuit of security more thought and be more aware of proportions, i.e. not over-emphasizing this pursuit, but be enough aware of its importance in the grand scheme of my life. I wish I would have been taught that true independence is also2 a material issue.

With mind I mean my inner world. I wish I had been taught that mind is everything. That without a pure and happy mind life is severely compromised. No matter what I do or don’t do, an understanding of how my actions affect my state of mind will allow me to create happiness consciously. Blind material pursuit (or negligence of it) without understanding how my actions affect my state of mind is living blindly. I wish I had been taught early on about this intimate relationship.

 

 I also wish that early on I would have understood that it is most important to seek happiness within, and that my actions and pursuits would have been primarily focused on my mind. Or, in relationship with the material world, that the things in the world would have been pursued only for the sake of achieving mental/inner happiness. And not have had the illusion that using my mental faculties for the sake of the things of the world would make me happy. I wish I would have understood early on that material independence is only independence when in service of a pure, light, and free mind.

With Souls or Self, I mean my true identity. I wish I would have been taught that at the end of the day, when this life is over, all that remains is my real Self. And that no matter how successful or comfortable I was in this world, the sum total of my actions will determine my future. I wish that early on I would have had the perspective, the insight, to understand that life needs to be looked upon beyond the visible spectrum of the ‘here and now’, and that we need to understand how we got to be here under these circumstances, and where our actions will lead us. I also wish I would have understood that the source of happiness lies within. That the Self is the nucleus, the inner light that, when manifested through a pure mind, allows me to be in bliss. That all other pursuits, material, and mental, are to be subservient to this understanding and need to serve this purpose alone. Freedom in the material world allows for mental freedom, and mental freedom allows the inner light of the Self to shine within, thus creating sustaining and real happiness. A trouble-free mind is a conduit of happiness, not the source of happiness. The source of happiness lies within the Self. 

Taking this understanding with me now perhaps I can start over. Each moment is the beginning of a new life.

How do we teach our children

I often think back at my childhood, and wonder: what do I wish my parents had taught me? Let me start by saying that in this life I was blessed with wise and loving parents. I wouldn’t have wanted them to have been or have done anything differently. Yet, as I grow and develop new ideas and have internal realizations I sometimes wonder: ‘what if?’ I’m sure you too will sometimes wonder.

So the question as to how our life could have worked out differently had we know certain things we know now is not an unreasonable one. I hope to think that by looking back I can learn from my past.

Perhaps I should rephrase the question: If I would start over with the knowledge I have now, how can I positively change my future? When I accept reincarnation as a reality, this line of thinking becomes all the more important, knowing I have the power to change my destiny, in this life and the next. I am the product of my past, and I am shaping my future every moment with my current thoughts and actions.

 

 

The wiser my soul, the broader the spectrum of my awareness. By expanding my awareness beyond my current situation, and remembering my past lives, perhaps I can project and shape my future beyond the visible spectrum of ‘here and now’. I can gain an understanding of the consequences of my thoughts and actions and how these affect my future, even beyond this life. So what would I have wanted to know?

I wish I had been taught that it is important to focus on 3 areas of life; my body, my mind and my Soul, or Self.

With body I mean the material world, and how my body interacts with it. I wish I had been told that to allow this body to move freely and happily, complete independence is paramount. This means understanding money, not looking at it as all-important, neither neglecting it. I wish I had understood early on that having enough of it will allow this body to be healthier and free. I would have given the pursuit of security more thought and be more aware of proportions, i.e. not over-emphasizing this pursuit, but be enough aware of its importance in the grand scheme of my life. I wish I would have been taught that true independence is also2 a material issue.

With mind I mean my inner world. I wish I had been taught that mind is everything. That without a pure and happy mind life is severely compromised. No matter what I do or don’t do, an understanding of how my actions affect my state of mind will allow me to create happiness consciously. Blind material pursuit (or negligence of it) without understanding how my actions affect my state of mind is living blindly. I wish I had been taught early on about this intimate relationship.

 

 I also wish that early on I would have understood that it is most important to seek happiness within, and that my actions and pursuits would have been primarily focused on my mind. Or, in relationship with the material world, that the things in the world would have been pursued only for the sake of achieving mental/inner happiness. And not have had the illusion that using my mental faculties for the sake of the things of the world would make me happy. I wish I would have understood early on that material independence is only independence when in service of a pure, light, and free mind.

With Souls or Self, I mean my true identity. I wish I would have been taught that at the end of the day, when this life is over, all that remains is my real Self. And that no matter how successful or comfortable I was in this world, the sum total of my actions will determine my future. I wish that early on I would have had the perspective, the insight, to understand that life needs to be looked upon beyond the visible spectrum of the ‘here and now’, and that we need to understand how we got to be here under these circumstances, and where our actions will lead us. I also wish I would have understood that the source of happiness lies within. That the Self is the nucleus, the inner light that, when manifested through a pure mind, allows me to be in bliss. That all other pursuits, material, and mental, are to be subservient to this understanding and need to serve this purpose alone. Freedom in the material world allows for mental freedom, and mental freedom allows the inner light of the Self to shine within, thus creating sustaining and real happiness. A trouble-free mind is a conduit of happiness, not the source of happiness. The source of happiness lies within the Self. 

Taking this understanding with me now perhaps I can start over. Each moment is the beginning of a new life.