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Don’t be a metaphysical glutton(DW #822)

If you are anything like me, you get very inspired with books and lectures on self-growth, and love to keep making positive changes in your lives.
 
If you come across some wisdom that applies to your life, you are eager to implement it.
 
So far, so good. Small but continuous positive growth is what it is all about.
 
A word of caution, though.
It is a good idea to focus on one area of your life at one time. Pick something to work on and install that before tackling something else.
 
It is a recipe for crashing and burning if you try to address every area of your life all at once (don’t ask me how I know this!)

I love how American philosopher and writer Ken Wilber (often referred to as the "Einstein of consciousness studies") puts it: Don’t be a metaphysical glutton.

In other words: Don’t try to change EVERYTHING AT ONCE.

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Higher highs and lows(DW #820)

If we have bad days and go off track, how do we know that we are still on the path of self-growth and not in fact, truly regressing?
 
Because although we will have highs and lows, our highs will be higher AND our lows will be higher too.
 
Our baby steps and compounded progress on the journey will mean that

1)   Our good days are better than the previous good days

2)   Our bad days are not quite so bad as our previous bad days and

3)   Overall, we have more good days than bad days.

 
If we take time to pause and notice, we may even find that our bad days are better than what our good days used to be.

And that, my friends, is progress!
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Setbacks and relapses(DW #819)

We all have days when we fall short of our standards for ourselves and feel disappointed, even hopeless in our perceived lack of progress.

At least I do.

It is just part of the process. Set backs and relapses into old habits and ways of being do not signal lack of progress because:

GROWTH IS NOT LINEAR.

Growth does not occur in one beautiful, straight line from where you are to where you want to be. Growth looks more like a jagged zig zag line than a straight up-and-to-the-right line.

As George Leonard tells us: As we negotiate our path of mastery and let go of old habits, we need to have a "willingness to take one step back for every two forward, sometimes vice versa."

Sometimes vice versa!! This means that sometimes, on the journey, it will appear that you are taking only one step forward and two or three or four steps backwards.

The trick is to recognize the back slide AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. And get back on track.

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The compound effect of change(DW #816)

Even those of us who are minimally financially savvy, may have heard about compounding savings or the magic of the doubling penny.

Here is how it is often explained:

You have two choices:


1. You receive $2.5m in cash today.

Or…

 

2. You get a penny and then you will get double of the previous sum every day for a month.

 

What should you choose? The $2.5m today or the doubling penny?

 

Well, if this choice presented itself in February, you would be better off with the $2.5m. After 28 days, your doubling penny is worth "only" $1.3m.

 

But for ALL OTHER MONTHS, you would be better off choosing the penny today.

 

Here is the math:

 

That one penny goes from 1 cent  to 2 cents to 4 cents to 8 to 16 to 32 to 64 to over a dollar in 8 days … (slow progress, right?)

 

And then it starts to take off. As it keeps doubling over the month, it becomes $1.34m after 28 days and then it leaps from $1.34m to $2.7m on Day 29. Then from $2.7m to...
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The discomfort of self-awareness(DW #811)

Self-awareness, as we have mentioned before, is the first step on the journey of self-growth. We cannot really deal with something we are not even aware of.

Here is how Don Miguel Ruiz puts it in The Four Agreements: "The first step toward personal freedom is awareness. We need to be aware that we are not free in order to be free. We need to be aware of what the problem is in order to solve the problem."

Self-awareness, however, is not a comfortable feeling, ESPECIALLY before we have had a chance to address and change what we have become aware of.

 
When we first become aware of our shortcomings, we can begin to feel despondent and hopeless. We may feel impatient with ourselves and wonder why we have still so much work to do on ourselves.
 
At times like this, we need to remind ourselves to

"Encourage yourself by remembering that any detection of negativity within you is a positive act, not a negative one.Awareness of your weakness and confusion makes...
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The journey and the destination(DW #809)

Today let us further emphasise the point that self-growth is a journey rather than a destination. It is a journey that ends at the same time as our time on this planet.
 
Some of us may be thinking: "But, that’s such a very long time. Surely, I will get to a stage where I have figured it out and will not have to keep trying so hard."
 
As our children would say: LOLZ (translation: its funny that you think that because no that will not happen)

 

We will (inshallah) have many enlightened moments, times when we are proud of the way we behaved in a particular situation and are pleased with how far we have come.
And we will also have times when we think that we have not progressed at all.
 
In other words, there will never be a time when we don’t have to do the work, to keep practicing our virtues and living our values. And keep coming back to them when we veer off track.

 

If we are serious about living our best selves and actualizing our...
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Difference between Adl and Ihsan(DW#803)

ihsan quran selfgrowth Sep 23, 2020
To summarize our discussions over the last couple of days, while Adl(justice) is the foundation of social interaction, Ihsan means to go above and beyond the basic requirements of justice and to act with beauty, kindness, virtue and grace towards other beings.

 

In a social context, we know that we deal with imperfect human beings. People that we interact with have flaws and they make mistakes . . . and if we dealt with everyone only on the basis of justice, things would become quite difficult for everyone. We would be forever demanding rights and making sure that things are exactly fair.
 
So Allah orders us to deal with grace, to overlook and forgive, and to resist retaliating with an eye for an eye.
 
In a tradition, Ali (as) says: "Justice is achieved once you provide people with their due rights, and kindness is applied when you go beyond this and do them a favour."
Let us use examples of two professions which are currently going above and beyond their...
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A gift to ourselves(DW# 797)

Dr. Lerner explains that a good apology can restore our own self respect and also how much others respect us.  
 
Our self-respect and level of maturity rest squarely on our ability to see ourselves objectively, to take a clear-eyed look at the ways that our behavior affects others, and to acknowledge when we’ve acted at another person’s expense. The good apology also earns us respect in the eyes of others, even though we may fear the opposite.
 
I would add that although taking responsibility earns us respect in the eyes of others, the greater benefit is that we restore our own self respect and self esteem.
 
When our conscience is pricking because we have harmed someone, it is so easy to try and make ourselves feel better by trying to avert the blame from ourselves and onto the other person. This does NOT work. We may distract ourselves in the short term but it comes at enormous spiritual and emotional cost.
 
The path to apologizing may...
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Getting help(DW# 794)

feelings opinion selfgrowth Jul 09, 2020
Please know this: no matter what, the journey of healing from abuse can be long and challenging. AND there are some things that you can do to make it easier on yourself.
 
Please consider getting professional help if at all possible. On your own if you have to. Do not hold back because the person who "needs help" refuses to get it. There is a saying amongst the therapeutic community that people often seek out support in order to deal with people who refuse to! This saying is very relevant to a situation where you have been the victim of emotional abuse.
 
Victims of abuse often lose confidence in their own thoughts and feelings and find themselves nervously double-checking themselves on a regular basis. It can feel isolating and shameful. You may find it hard to share what you have been through even with close friends because you may begin to think that you should have known better. Or you may want to stay in the relationship while everyone you share your story with...
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Can relationships heal after gaslighting has... (DW# 786)

We have been discussing gaslighting and its significant impact on a relationship.

The question we will explore today is this: is it possible for a relationship where there has been gaslighting to heal and become healthy?

Of course, it is not a good idea to write anyone off since people can surprise us and change in healthy ways when we do not expect them to.

However, we also need to be realistic about what is probable.

In relationships where gaslighting is a pattern, or used as a tool of emotional and characterological abuse, change is only possible if the perpetrator is open to intensive and long-term individual therapy. This requires some level of self awareness or awakening on the part of the perpetrator to realize their behavior has damaged another human being’s psychological wellbeing. Since abusers and perpetrators of gaslighting are rarely open to such treatment or to examining their own behavior and its impact, it is often up to the victim of gaslighting to seek...
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