What Spurs Growth?

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: What is it that spurs personal growth? Why is it that some people seem to stay where they are in their lives, while others seem to dramatically change, try new things, and reinvent themselves?

A: There seem to be a variety of characteristics that promote change and reinvention. Here are some of them:

  1. You are on fire to change. You are unwilling to accept the status quo any longer.
  2. You have a realization of a vital truth. You can no longer keep doing things the same way after you have had this insight.

  3. You have a clear vision of what you want and a plan to reach it. You believe your plan is doable and achievable. You take constructive action to begin to enact your plan.
  4. You see yourself in your core as perfect and whole. You note a shadow over this vision of yourself—you begin to consciously hold your attention on that darkness to begin to dissolve it and break it up, so your innate perfection can emerge and shine through.
  5. You identify specific issues that hinder or sabotage your path to success and achieving what you want. You process those issues to completion, and you re-choose and re-create a new way of thinking, believing, and acting that yield better results.
  6. You have absolute faith, courage, and conviction. You make a resolute decision that what you want shall be made manifest.
  7. You sense that you are organically growing and developing into a pre-formed pattern that is within you. You feel that you are moving inexorably into this next step of your personal growth.

If you sense this undercurrent of growth within you—in whichever of these forms it takes—open yourself to it, and let it begin to change you. Your fear and your clinging to what is safe will resist this transformation, but if you stop fighting it, you will move into your next step of growth—you will do things that you cannot now believe are possible for you and achieve things that you thought were unattainable. When the inner forces of personal growth summon you, embrace them.

New Year’s Process

One of the things I do when each new year begins is that I do a process to help me complete my old year, and set goals for the next. I’ve done this as a webinar, which I’ve recorded and edited for you. Want to listen in and do this for yourself?

Get out a sheet of paper and write down your answers as I ask the questions and do this along with us.

The Seven Varieties of the One-Pointed Mind

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: I find myself being wavering and ambivalent much of the time. I never keep my resolutions. It’s hard for me to decide on what to do and to make commitments. How do I reach the state of “one-pointed mind” that the most dynamic and successful people have?

A: There are seven “power states” of the mind. These are:

  1. Concentration – This occurs when you collect your mind stuff, which produces mental alertness and presence.
  2. Decision – This happens when you select one action from other options, together with putting aside other options.
  3. Commitment – This operates as an emotional affirmation and tenacity to complete a long- term goal.
  4. Union – This is the state of mystic union or Samadhi, in which your attention in a state of voidness and Being, or united with an essence of consciousness.
  5. Investigative focus – This is a state of inquiry in which the mind asks continual questions until it arrives at correct answer, exact knowledge, clear understanding, and full realization and mastery of the object of inquiry. This intensive discernment opens the Buddhic capsule of the Soul and brings about enlightenment.
  6. Faith – This is the absolute conviction of the existence and Presence of God through establishing a dynamic connection with the Divine through the cord of faith. Your reception of God’s comfort and love, God’s communication of guidance and direction to you, and your expression of love, devotion, and worship for God mark the presence of faith. This may also face the form of igniting the love and devotion of your spirit, together with an irresistible yearning to go back to your Divine Source.
  7. Creation – This occurs when you generate one-pointed intention marshalling the forces of your attentional principle to create and manifest what you desire. This can take the form of an affirmation, decree, or powerful suggestion. Making attunements also uses this magnetizing of your intentional force.

You can activate these “power states” through remembering an incident in your life when you experienced these states in your life. Inquire, what were the circumstances, the way your saw the world, when you were able to muster these powerful focusing forces within you.

See if you can replicate that energy through focusing your attention upon it, and notice what enables it to come forward.

You can also observe another person who models this quality, and determine what enables him or her to express this quality. Cultivate this quality in yourself. [My mentor, Eben Pagan, used to say that if you want to become successful, spend time with people who are more successful than you, and their qualities will rub off on you.]<./p>

Resolve to learn how to acquire these seven “power states” of mind. Do not stop until you have developed them to a state of proficiency.

If you understand how each of these “power states” of the mind operates, you can readily acquire them.

  • Concentration arises from one-pointed intention. Intention is a faculty of your intentional consciousness, which we call the attentional principle. You use intention to collect your attention and move it to discrete focal points. [We teach this practice in our Introduction to Meditation Program. We show you how to focus your attention and explore each level of your Conscious, Subconscious, and Metaconscious mind, and activate your abilities at these levels.]
    Decision arises from the faculty of volition that is anchored in the Self at the core of your personality. Your intellect frames the options available to you, and their pros and cons, and you choose the option that appears to be best.
  • Commitment engages your desire body, which provides the tenacity, courage, perseverance, and long-term staying power to stay with a decision you make for as long as it takes to reach your goal. This can take the form of obtaining a college degree, sustaining a marriage to raise your children together and spend your retirement with your life partner, or saving for your retirement throughout your working career. If you can make an important life decision, activating your desire body can translate your choice into the motivation that will drive you forward through the difficult periods and get you to your goal.
  • Union unites your attention with an object of meditation. Your intention focuses your attention on that meditation object. Your awareness opens. You become completely absorbed, at one with this object of meditation. [We teach you how to produce the state of union through our training in Raja Yoga, which is a part of our intermediate training, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.]
  • Investigative focus activates your faculty of reason through your will. It can stimulate your quest to find out the causes of selected phenomena; in this aspect, it is the driving force of scientific research and discovery. In its higher form, it appears as incessant questioning that you direct to your attentional principle, your spirit, or your Soul. This opens the Soul’s illumined mind, and progressively leads your attention to the state of enlightenment—when all of your Soul’s wisdom and knowledge is opened to you. [We teach you how to tap into your intuitive stream that can answer your questions through our training in Jnana Yoga, which is a part of our intermediate training, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.]
  • Faith connects you with God through the cord of faith and remembrance. Through this connection, you establish a dialog and loving relationship with the form of the Divine to which you pray and invoke. Its higher counterpart awakens when you focus your attention on your spirit. [We teach you how to awaken your spirit and show it how to travel back to its Divine Source through our training in Nada Yoga, which is a part of our intermediate training, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.]
  • Creation focuses the forces of thought, contemplation, suggestion and affirmation to anchor what you intend in the Subconscious and Superconscious mind. Its higher counterpart is to “carry the Light” and make attunements. [We teach you how to activate the power of creation through affirmation and how to do attunements in the Invocational Methods and Agni Yoga modules of our training, which is a part of our intermediate training, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.]

Develop these “power states” of mind within yourself, and you will transform the way you study and learn, the way you operate in your career, and the way you achieve your personal goals. It will also enhance your meditation and communion with God.

The mind does not work at its best in a state of duality, polarity, or ambivalence. Find the point of clarity, synthesis, and purpose: this will enable you to summon forth these “power states” of mind. This will connect you with your innate ability to do what you say you will, to complete and achieve your personal goals, and to fulfill your spiritual destiny. Settle for nothing less.

On Making Resolutions

The Gentle Art of Making Resolutions and Making Them Come True

By George A. Boyd © 2018

As we again come to the turning of a new year, you may be making new resolutions that you hope to accomplish in the the coming 12 months of 2019. It is a common experience for people to set resolutions, and not follow though on them, despite their best intentions.

It is important to understand the mechanism through which you actually carry out a resolution. This process starts with getting an idea of what you want to change or implement in your life. If you are clear about the exact process through which you turn an idea into reality—which we call concretizing ideas—you can begin to actualize your resolutions and produce the change that you want.

I have written on this topic, and I share it with you here:

Concretizing Ideas

By George A. Boyd © 2017

It is relatively easy to get an idea. You can brainstorm. You can get a tip from someone. You can listen to advice from a friend or relative. You can read something in a book or on the Internet.

Ideas are plentiful. There is no shortage of ideas. Maybe there is a plethora of ideas in the world, with so many opinions and no one seems to agree what is the right idea is to solve your problem.

But in spite of this, you have settled on an idea that you believe will solve your problem; something you believe is a workable solution to your dilemma. But how do you run with this idea? How do you turn it into action?

  1. You first need a vision of how you will implement it.
  2. You examine alternate ways to implement it.
  3. You select the best alternative, based on your research and the information that you have.
  4. You set a goal to achieve it.
  5. You make a step-by-step plan to implement it.
  6. You make a commitment to the plan and determine you will do whatever is necessary to make it happen.
  7. You take action, working on the first step of your plan.
  8. You monitor the effects of your actions, and you adjust your course if necessary.
  9. You arrive at your goal. You have made your idea real.
  10. You measure your effectiveness in achieving this goal and look for ways to improve on your performance and your product.

People typically get stuck at steps one, six, and eight.

People get stuck at step one when they don’t know how to do it. This requires that they learn how to do it.

They get stuck at step six because they have lingering doubts, and they can’t make a commitment to their goal. So they procrastinate.

They get stuck at step eight when things go wrong or are don’t go as expected. They often give up here.

Think on these steps and see if you can take an idea and bring it to fruition and make it real. The more you do this, the more effective you become at translating ideas into reality.

Think about what you do that sabotages your resolutions year after year. Try using this ten step process and see if you aren’t able to actually carry out your resolutions this year.

Getting Down to Change

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: What interventions are successful to help people change?

A: Ultimately, people must take action to change at the personal level. While people can change their understanding of what is impacting their situation, alter their perception or mindset, modify their beliefs and attitudes, most personal change occurs when you take new action.

Let us use an example of someone who is trying to lose weight. She can read some articles and watch some videos on the Internet to gain greater understanding of how the mind works and what is contributing to her addictive behavior around sweets. She can alter her perception that she is doomed to be overweight her whole life and recognize that men and women, who were overweight just like her, lost as much or more weight than she wants to lose and kept it off.

She can adjust her attitude: she can stop regarding herself as a “fat slob that nobody loves,” and recognize she is a good, loveable person. She can have some compassion for her struggle to lose weight. She might change her belief that it is impossible for her to change, and instead believe that if other could people overcame obesity, so could she.

While all of these are helpful measures, taking action is the key to her actually losing the weight that she wants to lose is to take action. This might involve doing some exercise, modifying what she eats, reducing portion sizes, or substituting foods that are nutrient dense and low calorie for foods that become stored as fat.

Many of the interventions people offer as advice, support, help, or guidance—while they can create change at the level of perception, attitude, or belief—they might have no impact on someone’s behavior. Since you cannot get behind someone’s forehead and make choices for him or her, often the best you can do is to facilitate their behavior.

We can look at different methods for influencing others to enable them to change, and note how effective this is at actually getting them to take new action:

  1. Promoting intuitive insight – You could do a psychic reading for someone or do some type of psychological process that enables them to gain understanding of what motivates them, or what something means or signifies. At this level, you get insight into why you do something—or why you don’t do something that you believe you should do; or want to do, but don’t. You might also get ideas or inspirations about what you could do. The impressions you gain at this level, however, are vague: they must be concretized into a plan and action steps.
  2. Program or strategy – This broad-brush identification of the steps to achieve a goal, the issues that need to be resolved to succeed, the areas on which you need to focus can help you formulate goals and make some choices that will start the change process. Many coaches and professionals will present their programs at this level, with a training offer to learn specific skills to implement these strategies.
  3. Theory – Teachers adopt this approach when they present relevant research that sheds light on the areas in which you want to improve. At this level you can identify which methods yield the best probability for success, so you can employ effective measures, and not waste your time with strategies that don’t bear fruit. Theory generally proceeds training, as you need to understand the why—the rationale for doing certain practices—before you begin to learn how to do something.
  4. Training – This takes the form of in-person training or video presentation that shows you how to do something. Here you implement what you learn through doing it. Through regular practice, you turn the behavior you learn into a habit. With further practice you can innovate and improvise on that skill, and gain greater mastery and proficiency with the skill.
  5. Benchmarks – Benchmarks test your proficiency and mastery of what you have learned. Academic tests are one type of benchmark. These scales or evaluation criteria that measure your performance tell you how well you are doing relative to others in your comparison group. Knowing how well you are doing compared to others can spur you to improve your own performance. If the task appears to be impossible, however, it may paradoxically lower your motivation to continue—you might even give up if it seems you can never reach the high standards or lofty goal that is ahead of you.
  6. Guidelines – These give you frames for behavior: when to do it, when not to do it. When to use a method, when not to use a method. Guidelines seek to channel your behavior into the most productive, effective, and efficient pathways, and steer you away from ways that don’t work as well, may produce unexpected consequences, or may wind up harming yourself or others. Guidelines share practical wisdom with others, and may provide shortcuts to trail and error.
  7. Behavior – This is when you actually do something. You might have learned about what to do, but this is where you implement your learning; this is where you use the skills you’ve practiced. This is where you actually create the change in your life.

Coaching aims for behavior change: improved performance, better results, reaching benchmarks, achieving goals, and actualizing potential.

Psychotherapy and hypnotherapy focus on removing internal blocks or barriers that stand in the way of you taking constructive action. Counseling clarifies choices, and looks at the potential outcomes of following each alternative—action follows from resolute choice.

Not all action leads to success; in many cases, it leads to failure and frustration. But not taking any action leaves you where you are now: if you want to change, you must take new action.