Several years ago now I attended a global healing conference in Bali, Indonesia. One of the speakers was the Finance Minister from Bhutan. He spoke about Bhutan’s GNH or Gross National Happiness Index versus the Gross National Product/Gross Domestic Product we have based on an entirely different paradigm/frame of reference.
In this mostly Buddhist country you will see a series of hand-painted signs doting the side of the winding mountain road that runs between the airport and the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Instead of commands to cut speed or check mirrors, they offer the traveler a series of life-affirming mantras. “Life is a journey! Complete it!” says one, while another urges drivers to, “Let nature be your guide”. Another, standing on the edge of a perilous curve, simply says: “Inconvenience regretted.”
The Finance Minister told us that since 1971, Bhutan has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.
In other words there is a belief that well being should take preference over material growth. As our world collapses under the breakdown of financial systems, social injustice and wide-scale environmental destruction and degradation we may need to take this way of perceiving life under serious consideration! In fact, let it be the operating system from which we live our lives!!
What is happiness anyway? I could go on for pages and philosophize about the answer to this question, but when it comes right down to it everyone finds the answer within themselves and in everyday lift moments.
So, I won’t go on for pages, but instead am giving you a video to watch that I would like to encourage you to share with many others. After watching it (and wiping the tears away – have kleenex ready) perhaps you will be inspired to do a similar practice. We couldn’t see the people on the other end of the phone, but I bet they were just as similarly affected as those we could see.
Would love your comments on this one! Especially if you try it out….
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by Richard Cawte, Ph.D.
“Dear Brave Souls: Rest your mind and body by gazing upon symmetry that is so beautiful. The neurons in our brains and bodies fire and remember peace and order when gazing on peace and order, in this case pattern that holds, yet sways so beautifully. You heard what I said: our bodies and minds remember peace when we gaze on peace. “- Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Whether it be a “Ta Da” life moment list of milestones and accomplishments, insights, new knowledge, and self-revelations from the year just past, done as a ritual as a new year dawns….or a way of breathing that releases anxiety and brings peace, self value and awareness to the moment…there is no doubt that what we all need more of this coming year is a sense of peace and deep rest within our minds, bodies and hearts.
Nature and art in all of its varied forms is ever at our disposal to bring us not only a respite from the business and chaos of our
lives, but a reminder of who we are at our very core.
Be still, gaze upon the creations that are all around you. Be at peace knowing that you have been brought here for a purpose that is interconnected with all that is around you. If we can drink deeply of these myriad of gifts….then there is hope for our present moment and the moments to come
Happy New Year from Resonance With Life!!
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This post is rather longer than usual, not least because it has been a while since I have been able to write. I hope, however, that it will be useful for those who are concerned at what might happen in the coming months and years. Many people are predicting doom and gloom. I say that there are huge challenges staring us in the face, but that we all have the answers to them, sitting right inside us.
Our reader makes some interesting points. A lot has been said about the whole 2012 “phenomenon” and although the evidence from the few sources that remain (all too few thanks to the Spanish conquistadores who smashed or burned most of the Mayan records) is very slim, there are plenty of other cultures that have predicted a time of great change – not just for humanity, but for the Earth itself.
Yet change is ever in the air, each moment in time a plethora of decisions being made by every one of the billions of people now alive. Perhaps it will help things if we all remember that each one of our choices, small as they might appear to us, are crucial to the wellbeing of all.
You asked me to talk about the financial climate, so let’s begin with that. Will we see a time of wholescale change on the financial front? I think we will. And I think it will be a change that takes a lot of people by surprise.
Our reader talks of the seismic shift in the foundation of what we call currency. I agree with him. There has to be a re-evaluation, whether profound or pragmatic. Hopefully both.
Let’s look at the pragmatic side briefly. There is no doubt that with the multiple trillions of debt in the countries of the Western World, something will have to give at some point. Right now, in Europe and the USA, interest rates are being kept artificially low, which is good news in the short-term for those who are borrowing. But there is a sting in the tail.
Central banks have been printing money like there’s no tomorrow, gifting it in droves to the financial institutions in the countries they service. They don’t do this without calling in the debt at some point. So you can be sure that there will be a period of interest-rate increases ahead. My guess is that this will come in 2014. When it comes, it will most likely be a quick-fire increase, perhaps even a hyper-inflation that will have a dramatic effect. When interest rates are low, an increase of even half a percent can feel huge to the pockets of ordinary folks.
Beyond that is the wider question of whether currencies can survive at all? Will the US Dollar still exist in five year’s time? Will the Euro collapse, sinking other currencies in the process?
Right now we are in the lull before the storm. In Europe, Greece has managed to stall the disintegration of the Euro with its recent elections. I don’t expect this to last. Greece will not be able to fulfil its promises, nor will Spain or Italy – whose debt is the third largest of any country in the world.
I see a different form of the Euro emerging in the next two years. As some countries default, a smaller group will almost certainly protect what they have. Headed by Germany, these countries will elbow out those they see as a threat to their stability. But I expect the Euro to survive in some shape or form.
As will the dollar. But not as you might know it.
The biggest shock I foresee for Americans is that the already long arm of the Chinese Empire will reach right into the heart of the West, dictating the shots to an extent that will leave many shaking their heads. The toxic debt is simply too great to ever be clawed back by simply trading our way out of trouble. China, with greater assets and more liquidity than any country in the world is ideally placed to capitalize on a system that has brought itself to its own knees through excessive lending.
There are those who think that China has over-stretched and it certainly has been guilty in recent years of emulating the western banks’ excessive lending. But the way of the East has always been very different to that of the West. Where we seek instant solutions, the Eastern way is to play for the long term. Patience is the name of the game.
If you think China might collapse any time soon, take a look at Australia, Africa and South America: all of which are now unofficial colonies of the Land of the Dragon. It’s just that no one is talking about it in the mainstream media. Europe and America will soon follow suit.
The other element to look at is the sheer number of people that the Chinese have at their disposal. Manpower is the crucial resource when it comes to creating an empire and China has more manpower than any other country (India still being behind in other ways).
They are also willing to export this resource because they need more space at home. They work harder and longer than any other people I know. And they will undercut the prices of locals who try to compete with them without a second thought.
All this is a recipe for success; for the Chinese rather than the West, where we have come to expect plenty in return for nothing.
But, can the banking systems survive at all? Yes is the answer, but only if the fiat currencies that they currently use are replaced by something “real”: which means returning to the gold standard or devaluing them by subtler means.
As a matter of fact, the governments of USA and Europe are already doing all they can to devalue their currencies without anyone noticing. If they can drive their currency rates close to parity with the price of gold, they will be able to make the transition more easily. Watch this space, as they say.
Opening things even wider, I believe we are undergoing a re-evaluation of what we, the common people, think currency is. It is more than just money, that’s for sure.
Health, Wealth, Spirit, Love and Self Expression are all forms of currency and it feels to me as though the tipping point is coming when enough people begin to remember this. When times are hard, we fall back on things that we truly value, such as love, friendship, connection. And times are going to get “harder.” So, a shaking of the current financial system, which is really nothing more than a high-level con, may be a good thing in long term, releasing us from the bondage of materialism and isolation and paving the way for a more integrated, sharing world.
On the more profound level I also feel our groaning planet saying “enough is enough!” It has had enough of the male-oriented ego-based policies that have dominated the last few centuries and we would all do well to remember the old prophecies (from all around the world, not just the Mayan Calendar) that speak of a time when the Earth itself decides to start a new era, bringing in climatic changes, collisions with asteroids and so on as a way of purging itself.
Already we have seen examples of this, with more droughts, floods, extreme weather fluctuations. It is my view that unless and until we shift the way we do things, this trend will continue. We get what we give – and we are giving our environment one heck of a kicking right now.
I’m not apocalyptic about this. We can change the course of events if we choose to. It’s entirely up to us. But we have to make decisions based on love, compassion and connection, rather than profit, ego and competition. We can do it. We just have to trust ourselves and each other, applying to our true natures; our Divine Selves.
When we relearn the art of respecting the planet on which we live, it will respect us in turn. If we return to the ways of listening to it, following the rhythm of its breath, rather than imposing our own, we will make it through.
It doesn’t have to take a long time either. Seismic shifts in consciousness can happen amazingly fast. One day people thought the Earth was flat, the next they knew it was round.
Whichever way you look at it, there is some kind of financial collapse imminent. An infection must be healed for the body to regain balance. The likelihood is that the whole house of cards will have to come down and be rebuilt. If this happens, you will see scenes like those in post-war Germany, when a barrow load of cash bought little more than a loaf of bread.
How to combat this? For now, it would be wise to consider divesting yourself of some of the “blue collar shares” you may have, replacing them with gold, silver or rare metals. Consider moving out of cities, if you can. You can be sure that we will see more riots and civil unrest in the coming years than we have seen for a generation. Martial Law is not a thing of the past.
It might also be a smart move to change from looking for instant profits to thinking in terms of asset protection. A lot of folks are about to have the roof blown away from over their heads as financial institutions are brought to their knees. In such times, preserving assets is just as good as gleaning profits. Now is a good moment to remind yourself that the return OF your money is more important than the return ON it.
Above all, we can ALL make a difference to the way things unfold in the next few years, simply by turning back to the oldest way of making choices available to us, the way that never fails to nurture both ourselves and the planet on which we live: our intuition.
When we follow our intuitions unerringly we always do what is best for us all, for our intuitions are the culmination of millennia of learning, whereas our ego-based thoughts only came to the fore in recent centuries.
The key is that odd-looking word “unerringly,” whose path one of inner faith.
Until next time,
Learn how you can come through the challenges ahead at www.resonancewithlife.com
When I found this picture it literally demanded to be placed directly in the center of this particular post. A giant redwood in the California Bear Creek watershed stands tall amidst the other trees in this old growth forest. There are many things that caught my attention here. My experience with old growth forests is that they are quite different from forests that have been cut down before. There is a unique smell and feel to the earth and other life forms that inhabit this sacred and beautiful natural resource. The quiet is so pervasive that when there is a sound it immediately draws your attention. It almost feels as if you could put your ear to the bark of the tree and it would whisper untold wisdom into your ear.
When walking in one of these forests, awareness expands and broadens as attention is caught by the fact that these trees have been living for much longer than we have years to count. They have survived natural disasters and encouraged the trees around them to grow and thrive just by their very presence in the forest community. This one tree has obviously been present much longer than the others marked by its sheer size. One might feel by looking at this picture that this one tree is guardian standing as protector with a much more expansive view. However, each tree is deeply interconnected to the others and has its’ unique role to play.
In yoga class this morning our practice was guided by 3 teachings of Milarepa who is generally considered one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and poets.. One of those teachings was “Act so that you have no cause to be ashamed of yourself, and hold fast to this rule.” When I saw this tree standing so much taller than the others I immediately thought of each of us in our lives and whether we consciously make the choice to “stand tall”. By “standing tall” we declare that we are not ashamed of who we are, but instead choose to show the world our fullness and actively bring our unique gifts for all to see. There is no way that this particular tree can hide!
As were the dancers at the event I was privileged to see last evening. Viewing a magnificent expression of the dance arts I witnessed a performance that literally had me mesmerized (and wishing I was back in my youth again!). Each dancer found the energetic flow and rhythm that was uniquely their own expression within the choreography, and then combined it with that of other dancers sharing the stage with them. Even amidst the demonstration of angst and conflict during a few pieces there was a sense of something much larger expanding….a greater story, a more expansive view……… than the small one unfolding before your eyes. At times one or two dancers would take center stage, yet there was always movement happening around them expanding the focus and the story.
What wealth we accumulate in our individual lives when we choose to “stand tall” no matter what is happening. Our actions in every situation and every relationship can uphold living a life of fullness. Each and every one of us is a magnificent expression just as these trees and dancers are. The trees so much lower than the single one are “standing tall” as well in their own unique ways. The Divine Design of our life awaits us to wake up and root our toes into the wealth and creative passion of our lives….. leaving any thread of shame behind. Life is simply too short to waste on anything less……
Standing Tall In Austin, Texas –
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The flower in your wall is a great lesson to us all.
My guess is that it didn’t struggle or doubt as its cells divided and it raised itself up from the crack in the well. Instead it followed the innate programming of its Divine Design and simply grew.
We all have many ideas that germinate within our minds, thoughts that are motivated by a desire to find light. Yet all too often we stunt those ideas before they have a chance to bear fruit.
In their early stages our thoughts are just like that little flower, strong and healthy – but prone to damage by frost. The frost in this case is our fear-based thoughts. Grounded on the foundation of constricting belief-systems, fears can creep in and nip our desires in the bud if we are not attentive.
In the Natural Wealth Course we show you how to dissolve the fears that come from belief-systems. We may not get rid of them altogether, but we can learn to quieten them, to tune out from their interference-patterns and tune in to the frequencies that truly nourish us.
As your beautiful flower proves, seeds can germinate and flourish no matter how barren or challenging the terrain may appear to be. What helps them do this is that they never doubt the power of the Divine Design. They never resist the great force that resides within them.
The biggest lesson I take from your little flower is that instead of trying to impose our ego-based ideas on life, we’re always better off when we hand over to the Divine Design and say “Your way, not my way!”
In essence, when we stop struggling against perceived obstacles and start trusting in the workings of the natural world, we begin to relax and that opens the way for us to grow towards the light.
One phrase that I’ve found helpful at times of doubt is this: “There is a way where there is no way!”
I think your little flower might agree…
With best wishes for a very Happy Easter!
“Where your attention goes, your energy flows” is a personal mantra of mine. It’s a foundation principle for us all, because we really do create success or failure depending on where we put our attention.
As you say, avoiding pain is built deep into our fight-or-flight response mechanisms, but if we become focused on what’s causing us pain, we simply create more of it. The trick is to shift our attention from what is causing disturbance in our lives to a desired outcome. Doing this directs our thoughts away from the negative and moves them into an arena where they are free to play and have fun instead.
That sounds really simple and it is, but it’s not always easy!
Most of us have friends or relatives who direct our attention (and therefore energy) toward the negative. Most of us pay attention to the news bulletins on our radios, television sets or Ipads/phones; and the more attention we pay to those things, the worse we feel. We can even make ourselves “sick with worry” about “how bad everything is”.
So we have to get strict with ourselves and those around us. We have to step in and stop something when it becomes obvious that it’s putting our attention toward something that is dragging our energy down.
With friends it can be a simple process of redirecting the conversation towards something else. With the media, it’s a case of tuning out, switching off the endless stream of debilitating words, images and sounds that makes up 99% of all current-affairs/news items.
Just starting with those two simple shifts in behaviour will make a big difference.
On a wider level seeking out sustainable forms of wealth means broadening our approach. In our definition of wealth, we include money, health, love, perfect self expression and spiritual wellbeing. Those are the five elements of Natural Wealth that you and I talk about at www.resonancewithlife.com. It’s important to put our attention equally to all five, because that leads to being fed and nurtured in a truly balanced way.
To answer your specific question about how we deal with coming changes and possible collapses of whole banking systems: my personal view is that although things appear to be calmer right now, we’re on course for hitting a major ice-berg.
We’re already seeing a systematic devaluing of the dollar and euro and this process will continue. It could be that both currencies have to be completely scrapped and re-started (as the Deutschmark was in Germany last century) which would mean a huge re-adjustment for us all.
Something major will have to happen. Western banks can’t continue to add billions to the coffers, because those billions don’t really exist. It’s a confidence trick: nothing more, nothing less. At some point the “toxic” derivative issue will rear its head and then a real panic could set in.
How to deal with this? As ever, do what few people are doing. Buy what is being sold off and sell anything that ties you to any potential banking collapse. To me this means putting attention towards “real” wealth builders, such as gold and silver and rare metals. Real estate in some places will be a good bet too (again, thinking outside the box, and keeping an eye on where China and Russia are putting their money will help).
Aside of that, shifting the emphasis of wealth from being simply about material gain always helps. Keeping our bodies fit, allowing our creative sides to find expression, spending time with loved-ones: all these are just as important as the pursuit of money – and will set us in good stead should our currencies be devalued.
Think of it this way: money is just one form of currency. Health, love, friendship, creation and laughter are also forms of currency. They’re similar exchanges of energy. And they pay us back in ways that are equally nourishing (if not more).
How do we measure our lives? What are our yardsticks of success? Is what we are currently paying attention to adding to our vitality or depleting it?
Those are questions for each of us to answer. As we seek those answers we can remind ourselves that wherever our attention goes, our energy will flow. So, it pays dividends to pay attention to what we are paying attention to!
And I think it also pays to remember that: “Not all the gold of the richest kings is worth the memory of happy things.”
Until next time,
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Happy Birth-Day to the long awaited book that has many favorite posts from BreathingSpaces within the pages!! My heart is wide open as I deliver this book into your hands, hearts and souls. My deepest wish is that this book will be of service to those who read it and that it will encourage pauses in life to simply be with the breath and the sacredness of this life we have been given.
DEEP GRATITUDE AND LOVE! Gaye
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ADVANCE PRAISE FOR “OUR DAILY BREATH”!
Give Us this Day our Daily Breath is so much more than just a book about breathing. The subtitle of this beautifully-crafted and elegant work sums up its difference from anything else that I have read on the subject: “Weekly Breathing Spaces to Delight, Rest and Reflect In”.
That says it all.
Life has become so hectic for so many of us, with so many things to do every day (and never enough time to do them!). In Give us this Day our Daily Breath, Gaye Abbott gives us a clear, easy-to-follow guide that helps us find places of calmness and deep ease from which the day can emerge in a fresh, vibrant way.
We tend to pay attention to peripheral things in our lives and yet so often the very thing that sustains us – the act of breathing – is something we barely pause to consider. What I love about this book is that it brings the act of breathing to the forefront, allowing the reader to explore his or her relationship with the world through the breath itself. It’s an inspired piece of writing, flowing from the heart.
Giving us weekly practices is a stroke of genius, because it makes it easy for the reader to experiment and adopt new ways of breathing bit-by-bit. That’s why I love the book so much. It’s more than just a book. It’s a road-map to living an in-spired life, a step-by-step manual that invites us to align ourselves with the rhythms of the natural world – and then shows us how.
Life throws up many challenges, but as Gaye says: “the breath is a tool to anchor you. Allow it to be the constant thread around which you weave your life.” Wonderful advice.
Truly a book to read, delight, rest and reflect in!
Richard Cawte, Ph.D., International Business & Author of the Natural Wealth Course, www.ResonanceWithLife.com
weekly explorations of breath.
Give Us this Day our Daily Breath is a wonderful book born from Gaye Abbott’s decades-long practice of yoga, meditation, awareness, mindfulness and joy, celebrating the breath each and every day like the gift and prayer that it is. Inspirational, creative, healing and practical, Gaye offers insights, exercises and easy-to-follow practices that allow us to fully appreciate and embody this act of breathing and all it contains. Gaye writes, “When we come together with another life form, we share the breath in the air that surrounds us. We take of the same breath, so to speak. Down through the millennia this has continued. In fact, we are breathing and sharing the recycled air of the dinosaurs, the very first humans, the dolphins, and the trees…In many of the classes, workshops and retreats, I often have people sit back to back and feel their own breath first, then connect with the breath rhythm of the other without attempting to change theirs. Almost everyone noticed, in a short period of time, that the breath would synchronize and become one.
Perhaps it was always one to begin with. Through this interconnected basic biological process we can feel each other, and with acute knowing understand what is within the other – even if we do not consciously acknowledge it. What if each one of us joined another – or others – in sharing a peaceful breath rhythm. Would the world change?”
Yes it would, and with Gaye as our guide, it is bound to. And what a joyful and transformational journey it will be. Thank you Gaye for giving us this day our daily breath and reminding us of the incredible beauty, grace and power of this thing called breath that we too often take for granted!
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Your last post reminds me of the words of one of my teachers who once said to me: “It’s good to be generous to others, but you must remember to be generous to yourself!”
Perhaps this year’s New Year’s Resolution might be to follow that advice? Often we find it easy to be generous to others. We take pleasure in giving, but find it hard to be generous to ourselves. We tend to be our own worst critics, pronouncing judgements (usually negative ones) on all sorts of things, from our waist-size to the size of our bank balance.
Sometimes it’s just in our casual reactions, like saying “What an idiot I am!” under our breath when something goes wrong. Other times it can mean talking ourselves out of an opportunity. I figure we’ve all done this.
Being generous to ourselves means not talking like that any more: or, when we hear ourselves making a self-judgement, committing to taking it back each time. I find it easiest to talk to myself (sometimes even out loud!) in the third person when I hear myself say/think something negative like this. “Stop that!” I say to myself. I then overlay whatever it was that I just said with a statement of its opposite. The quicker I take action on it, the better.
Being generous to ourselves isn’t a selfish thing. It’s perhaps an essential ingredient in helping others be generous too. As above, so below. As within, so without.
Not a bad starting point for this year’s journey along the path of Natural Wealth…
Enjoy your day!
A bright and beautiful New Year to you! May 2012 bring huge rewards for you, under grace and in perfect ways.
Now that the darkest period of the year is past (we’ve already gained more than 6 minutes of light since the 21st of December!) we tend to look ahead and wonder what the year will bring.
How will 2012 be different to 2011? What gifts will we choose to give and receive? With all the hype surrounding the Mayan Calendar, I thought I would put in my two cents worth and say that, in my opinion, everything will be just fine. It’s all about choices and we can choose whatever timeline we wish to progress along. Whatever anyone says, it’s never too late to change from the dark to the light.
So far as I know the Mayan Calendar did not predict this year would see the end of the world. It simply stated that the alignment on 12/12/2012 would mark an End Time, a transition. Transitions are often accompanied by challenge and we are already seeing the challenges of our transition each and every day in the world around us, but there is nothing to fear when we choose a clear path.
I’d like to open out the image you talked about last time, that we/Earth might simply be a cell in a huge universal brain. We might indeed. In fact, the whole of our universe might simply be a single cell in a vast, inconceivably huge brain. Our universe looks remarkably like a brain cell.
The other side of that coin is that there might indeed be whole universes of existence within each one of our trillions of cells. We’re all 95% hollow. So if we go “in” far enough, seeking out what lies in the spaces between, we may find universes, galaxies, solar systems contained within!
It’s really up to us, what we find there. What do we imagine we are?
Millions of years ago an amoeba decided to split into two, imagining itself into an entirely new existence. That process has been going on ever since. Each jump in evolution is accompanied by a BIG imaginative leap, whether it be a fish imagining a life out of water so that it becomes a frog, or a lizard imagining a life off the ground and then growing wings etc.
So, as 2012 dawns, I am sitting down to write an “Imagine It” list. It includes all the elements I wish this year to bring. Writing them all down helps me, because I think about them in a different way and they become “real” in a different way too.
I won’t imagine HOW the things can happen (not yet). I’ll simply let the mind finger its way around possibilities. Any that put a smile on my face go on the list. That’s my litmus test.
I believe 2012 can be a year of huge progress for us all, both as individuals and as a race. It can be a year of light, love and compassion, if we choose for it to be so.
I imagine it already is.
With very best wishes for a wonder-full year ahead!