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Lessons From Integrity

What is Integrity?

We are multi-dimensional beings. We have emotions, but are not our emotions. We have a mind, but are not our mind. We have a soul but are not our soul. We have a body but are not our body. We also have a consciousness, a Spirit, and more.  We are in Integrity when all the aspects of our Self are aligned and working together.

It is called Lessons from Integrity, because you are learning from what is deep inside you.

A new on line video class from Gary van Warmerdam

This Course on Integrity is not open to every one. You will have to have completed the Basic Self Mastery series, and be well into the Phase II (formerly called the Advanced Series) to participate.  This background work will make the advanced practices we will be working on much more effective. You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.

Lessons will begin April 22nd. A schedule is below.
We will meet on line in a video classroom once a month for approximately 3 hours.

You may begin signing up in the Members area after April 1.

I am starting a new program later this year.  It will be Lessons from Integrity.  Integrity has to do with integrating all the different parts of our self. We are more than just a mind, a body, and emotions. We have a Spirit, a Soul, and a Consciousness as well.  In the Self Mastery Course I have principally focused on the beliefs in the mind that create negative thoughts and contribute to emotional reactions.  For changing one’s life, I feel this is the best place to start.  However, if we are to live truly happy lives, we will need more.

We have emotions that are from other sources than our belief system or mind made.  We have genuine authentic emotional experiences and are a valuable part of our life.  They inform us and help guide our decisions, relationships, and behavior.  If you want to be in a healthy relationship you will want to feel these natural emotions.  Our natural emotions also help guide us to work in a career we enjoy and is fulfilling to our soul.

We also have desires that arise from our soul. Instinctively we seek out community and social connections. This nurtures something in us at a Soul level.  At the same time, our Spirit may desire some peace and quiet that requires us to be alone.  These opposing desires won’t make any sense to us at the level of our mind. Our mind is looking to organize these desires in a simple logical way and so the conflict is confusing.

Living in our Integrity is about balancing these different forces, feelings, and desires within us. They are only in conflict because our mind hasn’t been informed of the larger picture and how to include all of them. We need time and connection with our community and family. We also need time alone, or in nature, to satisfy the yearning of our Spirit. Men may need more time alone than women for reasons too involved to explain here.

All of this comes down to a deeper level of work that I will be sharing beginning in the summer.  It will help you listen within and get in touch with what is in alignment with your own Integrity.   Since the process will build over time it is not feasible for people to drop in and out, or to start late.  There will be homework assignments to practice in the weeks between and probably support groups to share what is going on with the changes in your life.  We will take one or two practices/exercises and go deep with that process for the month. Each will allow you to recover personal will power, develop discipline, and eliminate the distractions to our attention.

If this is something that you are seriously interested in, I suggest you begin the practices of the Phase II this month if you haven’t already started.

Schedule:

4th Saturday of the month.  12 to 3 pm Eastern. (We may not use the full block of time, but in case questions and discussion is needed I am allowing for it.  I expect there to be 30 min follow up from the previous exercises, then a 90-120 min class, and then questions. Block it on your calendar Now!
December’s class will be on the 3rd Saturday of the month.
Series goes for 12 months.  (We will consider extending for more sessions if the group wants to continue, and I agree.)

Price:  $45 monthly.

It is my intent to record the video and audio of these sessions and post them in a separate area for people to view/listen to in case they aren’t able to make a class and to be able to review the lesson later.

Much of the material was taught to me in a processes my mentor Miguel Ruiz called Dreaming.  Some of these practices we did with him in the years prior which were incredibly helpful preparation for that process. They are methods to cleanse the mind, physical body, emotional body, and recover a connection with our Soul and Spirit.

The types of we will be using and teaching include:

Recapitulation – a technique for releasing the past and emotions, memories and beliefs.
Developing Personal Will Power.
Cleansing the body with fasting.
Practicing Silence – for gathering personal power and Impeccability
Cleansing the mind of all Judgments. We called this process, The Last Judgment.
Building Community
Understanding the World of Beliefs and why Humanity does what it does which should help greatly with compassion.
Power of Gossip and Opinions
The nature of Intent and Spirit
Practicing with the power of Ceremony and Ritual. This part is most effectively done at events, but will work out in the course as a place to practice.

What a lot of these assignments will do is force you to break habits and routines, both in your external world, emotional patterns, and in your mind.  The result of this will free up a great deal of personal power.

A Process For Change

Like the seasons, every year I go through a process of change.  I take time to reflect on what I do, how I have spent my time, what I enjoy, what is fulfilling, and what doesn’t work. It isn’t the only time during the year that I do this, but at the end of each calendar cycle I take extra notice.

I put aside some projects that don’t seem fulfilling, or that I assume won’t bear much fruit.  Projects that inspire me are moved to the top of my list to work on this year. What I spend my time and attention on is considered. Most importantly I look at how I feel emotionally, and prioritize things around my happiness.  It is more a feeling and emotional process than a logical one.

I don’t know what the results will be so I can’t make a decision based on that. I can only make assumptions about future outcomes.  I only get to know how I feel about doing it right now.

You don’t get to know what the results of your labor will be. You get to change your expressions and your actions and then measure the results.  I think of planning for the future much like blacking out the front windshield of your car and looking in the rear view mirror.  You can’t see what is in the future.  You can only see what is behind you in the rear view mirror, the past.  Based on the past we make assumptions and decisions about tomorrow, what will work, and what won’t, and we steer our life in that direction.  It’s not the best decision making system, but since we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, it is better than none. I know that I don’t know, but I will consciously make an assumption, and in that I have the confidence to move forward. Most of the stuff I plan and intend doesn’t turn out the way I pictured it.  Such is life.  We keep taking actions as we create. Don’t let this not knowing cause you to hesitate very long.

This process of change for me has a format. I use it in my life, and I use it at my events, and it can be found in my Self Mastery Course.  I take time to gain some perspective on how I have been spending my time, my emotions, and my beliefs, and behavior.  I look at what works for me, and what doesn’t, as best as I can decipher in my rear view mirror.  I then let go of what doesn’t work.  I may do this in some journaling process, breath work, a meditation walk on the beach, or a ceremony.  I make some conscious decision and commitment to cut with that expression of energy. The commitment is followed up with vigilance and practice to change the habit.

By not expending any more energy on that expression, I have extra personal power to direct towards a new expression. That new expression might be a work project, or more personal, like how my wife and I communicate.  The important element here is that I first eliminated something and recovered personal power. This gives me a valuable resource with which to create something new.  There must be a death before there is a rebirth.

My events usually have the same process.  We spend time at the beginning taking a close look at ourselves and identifying what doesn’t work. What is important about this step is that we do it compassionately. We must reflect on ourselves in a very non-judgmental way.  We are not there to criticize, or find fault.  If this is happening, then we are not changing, we are just reinforcing a habit of our Judge voice.

Developing this compassionate attitude, or neutral perspective with which to reflect on our life, or year, or meeting, is necessary for good change.

As you make intentions for change I suggest you include these elements into your process.

  1. Take time to reflect in a compassionate way.  Do your best to view, without fault finding or criticism what you have been doing with your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.  The best version of your self now, is not a fair standard for the best version of yourself last decade, last year, or even last week.  You have traveled further down the road, and can now see things in the rear view mirror of your life that your past self couldn’t see looking forward.  Be compassionate for the former versions of your self that didn’t have this awareness.
  2. Take ownership and responsibility for the expressions you made.  This responsibility is an important part of tapping into the power that we create with.  When you put your attention and presence in the emotion and energy of those expressions, however painful they might be, you also tap into the force of life that propels you to express in that way. Tapping into that source of life, you can redirect that energy in a new way.  This is only possible when you compassionately take responsibility for how you created expressions in your past.
  3. Commit to expressing more beautifully.  This doesn’t mean a commitment to having a better image. How you look to your self and others is actually a byproduct of how you express your self.  Do the first and the second will come.  Expressing better sometimes means difficult changes that take us in a direction of new beginnings.  Whenever you are working to do something new, such as be more honest, vulnerable, and present in your relationships, you will be self conscious and fumble in the beginning.  Allow your self this learning curve. You have to fail at something for a while before you will be good at it.
  4. Use your mistakes as a chance to learn instead of a chance to beat your self up. Earlier in my life the voice in my head would beat me up for a mis-step as if this would somehow make me better. It was a lie.    We don’t play the guitar better because someone is yelling at us.  We don’t do anything better over the long period because of negative reinforcements. This is true even if it is coming from our own mind.  In reality we get better because we use an awareness of our mis-steps to improve. Self criticism isn’t part of this improvement loop. Allow yourself a learning curve for new habits to be integrated into your nervous system.  The Judge voice in your head might say that you are a screw up, but you will find that when you really look at it, the Judge character in your head doesn’t know what he is talking about. It might take a year or two to learn how to see the Judge this way, but it will be worth your time.
  5. Write out your intent. The clarity that happens through articulating it in writing will help solidify it and make it stronger.  It can also be helpful to carry it on a 3×5 card in your pocket and look at it once in a while.  Each time you read it you are making your commitment stronger.  This focus of your attention will help sustain the necessary conscious repetition in the long game.

Any one of these steps of the process can be your intent for change and growth.  You might just make it a year long commitment to develop a compassionate neutral observer attitude toward your self. This is just one step in a change process that will help you in all growth in the coming years. You might make it your intent for the year to let go of certain behavior patterns, emotions, or stories in your head.  You can do a ceremony or journaling that makes the commitment at this time of year, and then allow your self the year to do the step by step process of the work. Giving yourself a year to change a lifetime habit is compassionate, and realistic. Give your self the understanding that it will take repetitions of conscious practice to build a new habit.

If that critical voice in our head was any good at getting us to change, we would have already changed by now. So try it a different way.

Controlling Your Mind

Hi Gary,

I’m sorry that I e-mail you again. But I have this big problem that might be hard to explain but I’ll try. Your whole course depends on the belief that you can control your mind instead of the mind controlling you. Of course nobody wants that the mind has control over them but I’m starting to believe more and more that I cannot control my mind. And this realization alone makes me feel terrible. The reason why I feel good when I listen to your audio sessions is that they make me logically understand how you can control your mind. But that does not manifest in my experience – maybe I did not do the exercises enough – I’m planning to do the whole Self Mastery course again btw. Also what really makes this belief stronger as well is that my friends don’t seem to have this problem even though they never meditated or did any spiritual stuff.

I know that I should not think certain things in certain situations because I know better. But I still think them anyway – and this uurrgg freaks me out. It makes me feel that the mind is the boss over me while it should be the other way around. This is also the reason why I hate it so much that I cannot really implement your changes in my life even though I want to – because I think your course makes a lot of sense. Probably that I did not do the exercises enough is probably also because of the mind. I probably need to force it with all my power.

I hope you have some words that can regain my trust again :)

Feeling Frustrated,

 

Hello Feeling Frustrated,

I don’t think I am professing that we can take control of our mind this week, or even this month. I believe we can take control, but it takes time.  In the meantime we have to acknowledge that there are times we don’t have control and to make our peace with that until we develop more or our skills and will power. I think the process actually goes like this.

 

  1.  We don’t have any awareness that our mind controls us. So we aren’t trying to get control back.
  2. We get some awareness and discover that our beliefs (mind) are controlling many of our emotions and thoughts automatically.  (See session 2)
  3. We try to take control of our mind and get frustrated because we can’t even stop a negative thought.   (See session 3)
  4. We learn to practice acceptance that we don’t control our mind. (See session 6)
  5. We learn that we may not be able to control our mind just yet, but we don’t have to believe it, or let it control us. (Session 4, 5, 7 plus others)
  6. We learn ways to control our mind and attention at times, (session 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and a lot of the others )  This includes an identification and inventory of the beliefs that influence our behavior and emotions.
  7. We practice ways to gain better control over our attention and emotions, and the faith we put in our beliefs and gain more control.
  8. We get better at it.

 

Your friends might not have any issues with controlling their mind because they are not trying to (or other reasons) One of the reasons for this is that they might be at step 1.

 

Hope that helps.

Testimonials

Self Mastery Testimonials from Course Subscribers

Some feedback that I have gotten… just some. It would be too much to put it all here.

Hi Gary,

Hope all is well. I have finished the advanced series and have been reviewing older material since, really trying to integrate things that I missed or wasn’t fully aware of. At 24, I am probably younger than some of your listeners/clients but I found that this material spoke in a way that was unparalleled to the affirmation based material that is seen everywhere else. Some characters have been harder to dissolve than others, but I would like to think it is a fair assessment to say that I am much more accepting and authentic then before. I paired the self mastery course with the relationship course because disillusionment with my gf was truly the catalyst for this endeavor. That being said, it has become so much more than just about her. I use to be in such a rush to take in this material, that I developed a standard to judge myself against for material that was suppose to break me out of that loop! The awareness of that was big for me, and now it is different. I would never expect to break two decades worth of patternization and conditioning into a year of practice, but I do believe it is noticeable by others and myself, that some fundamental shifts have been made. I am truly grateful for this material, and I hope you release more material in the future. 
Best, Christian   Oct 2016
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Good Stuff.  I am on lesson 8 and have already felt some impact of what I have learned.  I seem to take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back (the judge has a pretty good hold on me).  The beliefs and emotions I am trying to dissolve have been with me most of my life so I realize that process could take awhile but I am so hopeful, for the first time in a long time, that this process will free me from a long standing emotional pain I have experienced and I take all the credit for it.  It has been all me causing the pain and the refreshing thing, is that since taking your course, I realize that if I am the source of the pain, I can also be the solution.  I am committed to founding happiness and probably more important, find contentment in my life.  Thank you Gary.

David  Oct 2016

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Gary,
I am listening to your Self Mastery series and  I have listened to all of your podcasts. 

First, thank you so much for your incredible work in this audio format. Your philosophy, approach of using personal stories and the tone you use in your recordings have engaged me and transformed my self esteem. 

Regards, Julie   Sept 2016

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Dear Gary,

I am so grateful for discovering your program. I started it about 15 months ago and have seen many changes in myself since I started it. About 15 months ago I really hit rock bottom in my life. I felt so insecure and miserable. Growing up I was a rather happy person but that started to change when I internalized a lot of negative comments that were made towards me when I was around 19 years old. It was then that I started to form an image of perfection and belief that I just wasn’t good enough, and that eventually led to anxiety and depression. I didn’t feel like myself at all and I didn’t want anyone to know how awful I felt. A couple of years ago I started articling at an accounting firm working many long hours and the frequent criticism from managers was very painful for me. It was then that I came across your course and I’ve made it a priority in my life ever since. A couple of months ago I went on a study leave at work which has allowed me to really focus on the exercises. While I still have emotional reactions here and there, I have been able to eliminate the cause of many of my reactions and insecurities. Peace and happiness are starting to become my normal emotional state. I’ve gained so much awareness and understanding of what goes on in mine and others’ minds. Now I am able to avoid the trap of feeling not good enough. My relationships with family and friends have also improved as I find myself judging a lot less and just accepting people as they are. I don’t know where I would be if I never found your course. It has absolutely changed my life and I can’t wait to grow even more. So thank you very much.
Best regards,
Eliza           Sept 2016
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Hi Gary,
Hope all is well.
In the beginning of studying the audio traning it was just a lot of words to sort through which the places the words fell upon was not very deep. As time has gone by and I listen to the material again it penetrates at a deeper depth with greater understanding and a higher  emotional quality that was not present before.  I’m finding that because I didn’t react in the patterns that the people  around me react to they often misunderstand and take my behavior for weaknesses .I often think about what may have happened to me or where I may have ended up if not for these types of ideas.Thanks for bringing this materials to my attention.
Eduardo  Sept 2016
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Hi Gary –

Thanks for your email and also thanks for your course!
I first came across your site last November when I was in a very dark period.  I was struggling a lot with work.  It was a situation where – in my mind – I was being treated incredibly unfairly and with very little respect.  i didn’t see any way out and, on a whim, I just decided to google “how to deal with frustrations at work”.  Your article popped-up and when I read it the lightbulb basically went on.  it suggested another solution that had never even occurred to me.
Thus began my journey with your series of MP3s (and your book).
I can honestly say that my perspective on life has changed radically since I began your course.  There was so much eye-opening stuff that really enlightened me.  The latest thing that had a big effect on me was your MP3 on “Service”.  Whoa… that was a big game changer for me and completely changed how I am operating in the world now.  I think so many things in your course have helped me deal with an underlying anxiety that was making life pretty sour for me – even though others would look at my life and say “man, you’ve got a great life”.  But – as you know – nothing means much if your are locked inside your mind, having a constant battle with it.  That just gets tiring.
I’ll continue to listen to your stuff and work on things.  I know it’s a life-long process, but it’s worth it for sure.
Best wishes
Scott    Aug2016
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Hello Gary,

It’s been awhile since I’ve been in touch so I wanted to say hi.  I just received an auto email that it’s been about a year since I started the journey on pathway to happiness.  I found it interesting that so much has changed for me. I’m definitely happier but I think soon I will go back and re listen to some audio.

After Zion, I felt so renewed and free of so much guilt and shame. It really did wonders for my soul. Almost immediately upon return, things opened up for me and I acted.  I’m now back on Colorado as of last week where I got a great job  I feel as though I healed in Florida and now I’m back to start fresh and with a renewed spirit.

I hope all is well with you too.

Thanks again for everything.

Talk to you soon.  Laura  Aug 2016

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Hi Gary,
I’m still doing the self mastery work with the archetypes and am sending you a big thank you for the work you have done. Take care.
Peter    Aug 2016
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I had missed the target. I had difficulty truly understanding where and what the core beliefs were…about 4 months ago I got angry over a small thing with my GF.
I had “controlled” myself pretty well for some time and felt I had made good progress to that point. It triggered her to break it off with me saying I had not changed….calling me a drama king.
Well, I knew I messed up. Fyi, my outburst was not violent, thats not been my problem, anyway, I follwed the rabbit hole of what is drama, all the way to my core belief which was fear of abandonment…with side shoots of a few others…it was then that I started to understand your lessons clearly.

To get closer to the source of your lessons I purchased all of Don’s books and his detail in his message made it possible to finally have the light come on. I had finally understood and now the change I was attempting to make actually took place.

It all seems so simple now. Why was it so hard to see?
I know why now…
I informed my GF that my discovery caused a breakthrough and that I could now finally change my behavior for ever.
Her and I are together again, she is skeptical but did not want to loose what was good about us if I had found the key to eliminate useless behavior.
So far so good….in all areas of my life.
Relationships I have are much better.
I’m happier then I’ve been in a long while.

I’ve always been generally happy but my beliefs aquired though out my life were not correct and under certain circumstances I would get angry or make wrong choices…now..its a different day.

I still know I have to keep on top of it but like you’re example…to know how to see the exit sign is key. Now I see and I take the exit from my old ways…which feels so much better.

Its amazing how the old belief system justified poor behavior and clouded the truth of what it actually is.

So thanks to you and Don. I’m making the changes stick.

I’m also receiving counselling which involves disusing this technique to understand what and how the Brain operates…

I’m out of the woods!.

Dave   Jul 2016

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Gary, I am a 68 year old Vietnam Veteran and have had a long term unhappy, negative existence due primarily due to, I believe, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that went undiagnosed and I continued to bury my unhappiness for years until it felt like that was just the way I was suppose to live my life.  I have tried your first 4 free lessons and it has made more sense to me than anything else I have read or tried.  I am going to sign up for the basic lessons and look forward to improving my life.  I know that I have had a lifetime of tapes running through my mind that I hope I will be able to shred and through away and create a better existence for myself.  I just wanted to thank you in advance for creating a nonsensical approach to changing a very painful way of living and hopefully, change it permanently for a happier way of life.  I look forward to your insight and your lessons.  Again, I feel this is just the beginning of my life.  I just wish I would have heard about you many years ago.  Although, as you would say, it just wasn’t my time but now it is.

Gratefully,

David   Aug 2016

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Gary,

I wanted to share something that I experienced yesterday that has given me a new point of view to see life through. 

I was taking a nap on the couch yesterday, August 7th, 2016, while my wife read at my head.  I dozed off for an hour and woke up prior to having to wake the kids from there nap.  I was extremely relaxed and comfortable, I didn’t want to move, so I closed my eyes and began to count my breath and meditate.  While meditating I began to feel this intense love for myself.  I could feel myself loving each part of my body and being extremely grateful while doing a body scan.  I then dozed off because the next thing I remember was becoming aware that the body was asleep and I was awake, I being my consciousness.   My consciousness new the body was asleep and decided to step outside of the body.  I picked up out of the body, looking at it, and began to move down the hall.  I felt a bit timid to move to far away from the body.  While stepping out I noticed losing consciousness and beginning to think I was dreaming.  I then went back to my body and stepped into it.  Whenever my consciousness filled the body I felt the most intense pleasure of my life, beyond words.  I, the awareness, began to focus the pleasure all through the body with incredible pleasure.  Not sexual pleasure, just sensation all through the body, where I could feel in great detail everything moving within the body.  I was aware of my wife reading at my head and wondered if she could see my body shaking.  My consciousness was very curious like a child learning what the body could feel.  I then stepped outside of the body and focused between my growing area next to my wife.  The pleasure was so strong that I had to move back to the body.  I could feel and hear the body’s breathing and shaking changing.  I was awake, aware, and alive, I was the consciousness that filled the body, but was separate from the body. There were no thoughts, just actions, I was beyond thought.  I had complete control over the body in every movement and instance.  I sat there in the pleasure for a little while longer and then commanded the body to open its eyes.  I sat up with feeling like my life had changed, overtaken with happiness.  The mind then returned and I went about my day trying to figure out what the heck just happened (of course the mind has to “know” right)!  Just thought I would share, hope you have a good day. 
Austin                 Aug 2016
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Gary,
Thank you for your email. I meant to email you but got caught up in some family stuff ( good stuff).
I feel good. I am not carrying any of the self doubt /loathing that I had and look forward to things unfolding for me.
Another interesting thing happened. I realized that the fixer voice is very loud inside me and in most of my friendships I take on that role. It’s not really that satisfying.
I have a friend who is going through a divorce and sometimes behaves in the same dramatic way my mum used to as she was going through her trauma.
After the session with you, my friend called me, hysterical and crying over an issue and for the first time I had no desire to fix it. It’s not being mean or unloving, but I just did not have any desire to hold her hand as I have over the past few years. From a place of integrity and non judgement, I could see plainly what role I had been playing( saving my mum) and how a lot of her experiences are coming from her own self.
I kind of became reclusive this past week and spend time with my mum who is visiting from India.
A lot of rage was coming up. Just old stuff and like most humans I hate the emotion of fear and anger, but this time, I just sat with it, looked at it and let it play out.
I didn’t suppress it. I just listened to all those voices screaming at me, and let the have their field day, without moving to fix myself. They finally stopped on their own and I went back into my state of joy I usually feel.I really love your work. For me personally, it made me get it on a level that I have not been able to previously and mostly it’s given me a tool. I know when I feel life is coming at me, it’s just a voice orienting me from my past experiences and all I need to do is not connect to it and observe.Do you have a teacher training course? That is something I would consider doing.Thank you so much,Warmest Regards,
Simmi                         July 2016
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Hi Gary,
I don’t need a call but wanted to share with you something I realized today: I believe I was born bad (!).  And therefore not deserving of love and happiness.  All those other stories on top of that were just to hide that I wasn’t good enough or try to prove to the world and myself that I am, and then reactions to circumstances that took that thin veneer away.  Anyway I think this is a huge revelation for me. 
Also the other day I was not happy with something my boyfriend did.  But the thing was, I could see his point of view and why he did it so I wasn’t angry about it but wasn’t happy about it either.  So I decided to wait and think about it for awhile.  I let it sit for a day or two and then had a calm discussion about it where I asked for what I wanted in our relationship and was understanding of his point of view, and he also understood mine.  Progress right????
Anyway I just wanted to share, and to say thank you so much for everything.  I’m starting to have fun again on this journey  :)
All the best.  Kris      July 2016
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Thank you Gary!!
I’m halfway through your self mastery series and I look forward to the rest. The series has been a useful tool for gaining more control over my emotional state. I particularly like the fact that you don’t go into putting a lot of new beliefs into our existing belief structure, rather, you help guide us towards breaking down our own structure of beliefs. I also enjoyed your book Mindworks. I appreciate you sharing.
Austin    June 2016
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Hi Gary,

Many thanks,

It’s been a pleasure taking this course over the last year, and beginning this journey. I send you my thanks for putting together such an insightful website and program, and I look forward to continuing the practice over the days and years to come.

Sincerely,

Kim   June 2016

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 Dear Gary,
I am reading your book “Mind Works” and I can say after reading the first few chapters and doing one of the exercises, my life has changed dramatically. It was an instant thing where suddenly I could see the workings of my mind. I felt this separation. The voices, me and then an observer beneath both those. I actually initially went through an evening of disorientation and confusion, when the voices stopped talking to me and I could not figure out who I was or where I was. A little fear came from that, and then I saw I could re-orient myself to a different set of voices or stay in that non oriented state which became quite peaceful once I realized I still existed despite those voices/thoughts.Then, another interesting thing happened. I was driving and suddenly I felt my awareness expand and I felt as though I was in all beings and all objects and that I knew their inner workings. The world seemed very simple and very small and I could focus on it anywhere and know everything about it. I was still aware of myself but I was also completely aware of everything and everyone else.  This lasted for about 10 minutes and then it stopped. I feel this happened because my consciousness got freed from the mind trap.All this from just starting your book.I feel more alive, more at peace and more happy than ever before.I want to thank you sincerely,
Sim    June 2016

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Gary,

I wanted to circle back with you on this newest installment of forgiveness and I must say that it could not have been more timely. Over the weekend my preteen daughter was assaulted by another girl at a sleep over. There are few things that a parent or a mother can go through when a child tells you something of this magnitude that is as hurtful as this.
At first, the judge came out about the other person and people needing punishment and then the victim in my mind came and that I was powerless to do anything about it. I did approach the parents of this other child and held in my mind the expectations that I had thought would be upheld at a trusting scenario like a sleepover. When that didn’t turn out as I had expected, the cycle started another vicious momentum. I had put myself in hell. Actually, I was there, rented an apartment and had started charging rent.
 I had started to punish myself over the next week and suffering, working out and sleeping less, not eating. waking up early, mentally abusing myself without any consideration. And then today I heard your message. It was hard to listen to, I’ll admit. Mostly because the Judge wanted to continue terrorizing and the victim accepting it. But then I did as you said. I stepped outside of the argument these personas were having and said, “Who is it that we are angry with” and they all shrieked, ” YOU!!” we’re ALL angry at YOU because (filling in blank)…SOMETHING must be done…. So I asked, “Exactly what is it that can be done??” And they paused and said, “Well, honestly we don’t know, but this seems like a good idea to continue harassing you and   It seems to FEEL like we’re doing something, so maybe we should just keep doing this?
It was actually really, really funny and I started laughing.  Here I was, nearly in tears over this admittedly unfortunate situation with my daughter and my personas leaped on to my emotions  like a pack of ravenous wolves.
Finally, I became the forgiver and it was like a dimmer switch in my head. they became less and less visible, less and less noisy. They aren’t all the way gone, but it’s much better to an extent.
I will continue to monitor how I do over the coming weeks.Thank you.
Anita    June 2016
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Gary,
Thank you.
Two words that can’t quite express my gratitude for the time and energy you’ve put into creating courses that have absolutely changed my life, in amazing (but sometimes challenging) ways ;)
I am sure there are so many people out there with similar stories, but so often you probably don’t hear them – that’s why I wanted to write and tell you what a difference your work has made to my life. Six years ago I was living a life I thought I should live, that looked picture perfect on the outside, but I felt numb and empty on the inside. Now, I’ve turned that around and live a full, meaningful and whole life. As you would know that doesn’t mean there aren’t ups and downs, but I am able to see the beauty, lessons and growth in everything that comes my way.
Keep doing what you’re doing and maybe one of these days I’ll join you at one of your retreats :)
Love & blessings,
Jo      April 2016
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Gary,

Thank you very much for creating this series and making these insights and tools available.
My name is Matt E———-.  I recently purchased your Mindworks book on kindle after reading some of your blog and listening to your recordings. I have found your material to be the most concise explanation of the dynamics of emotion and suffering I have encountered to date.   Without going into too many details I have had opportunities to dig deep into how my mind works after going through a painful period of addiction, recovery and now divorce.  I am a successful professional and have had to come to grips with the dysfunctional beliefs and patterns that I developed from childhood on.  I have spent countless hours in recovery meetings, professional counseling sessions and have read a number of self-help books looking for a way to alter the dysfunctional patterns that have become engrained in my brain.  Your suggestions have been very helpful and I find them very easy to implement.  I have experienced a significant benefit in a short time.
Sincerely,
Matt
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Hello Gary,

I am very happy with your courses.  I have never seen anything so advanced and placed in such an incredible perspective.  I have read nearly every toltec book there is but your ways of explanation are different and easier to understand.  I have signed up a few weeks ago for your self mastery courses beyond the four free ones.  I am joyful to finish them all and move onto the next sessions, right now I am on session 7.  Your simple gift to us all is one that is worth more then getting the best job or making the most money because I know if that I don’t dissolve these parasites, it does not matter what I do or accomplish.  I won’t be happy. I am amazed at the mind and how these characters seem to have a mind of their own, that they understand when they are being hunted or have been discovered, or that as you put it in one of the sessions, “they know they don’t stand a chance when being hunted,”. I do admit that they have put up unrealistic expectations on me and I feel down sometimes because for so long I failed to understand what the victim really was, but now I think I do and realize for now that my victim parasite is my primary villain and the other minions, many of them fall underneath the victim’s power.  I hope I am getting it right.  My mind is doing everything to stop me.  Incredible that these faulty programs can exist and have there own mind in some regard.  But I am not quitting or giving in.  I thank you so much, tears almost come to my eyes from the incredible work you have done.

Sincerely

Mark in Canada   March 2016

Healing and Reconciliation

Conflicts are bound to arise, whether they are in our marriage, with our children, or between groups in society. The resolution of conflict involves something different than figuring out who was right. Ego’s take us away from understanding and towards prolonged conflict and unhappiness.  To create a peaceful coexistence both parties need to listen and understand each other. Once both parties understand the other, you are a step closer to reconciliation and in some cases you have peace.

After you have been harmed, there is something in the human psyche that seeks a confirmation from the other party about the past indiscretion. Often this is done just by recognizing remorse in the other person. At other times this can be done with a simple apology. We learned to do it at 5 years old on the playground.  If one child hurt another, the teachers stopped the fighting and got the two kids to understand the other’s experience. Once that was done, there would be an apology and they could go on and play and be friends again.

It looks simple but there are some critical social steps that need to happen in that process that are often overlooked as adults. Because these elements are lacking is why problems in your relationship, protests in society, and conflicts between cultures can go on for years or generations.  What we need as humans to reconcile our past relationships whether between our spouse, or another race are often the same.

Imagine that you are at a concert. It’s your favorite band and it’s rocking and rolling.  The person in the next seat is excited, jumping up and down, and they accidentally bump into you. Maybe your neighbor steps on your foot, or maybe you get an errant elbow. Its not really painful, but it is bothersome.  You are polite and you don’t say anything.  You figure they noticed and so you let it go.  But then it happens a few more times.  It’s all in good fun, but it is interfering with your enjoyment of the concert.

What do you want in that situation? What would help?

Maybe they play a mellow song next and so your neighbor calms down. But in your head you are still bothered by what might be coming when the beat picks up again. The problem looks solved in the moment, but maybe it’s just the mellow song? You can’t be sure. You want to be able to just let it go and trust that it won’t happen again, but you don’t have any way of knowing.

You could take a moment during the mellow song to point out what they were doing.  What kind of response from your neighbor would work to alleviate your concerns so you could enjoy the show? What kind of response wouldn’t?

What you want is for them to acknowledge what happened and recognize the impact it had on your toes, or your person.  If they respond with concern or remorse you can trust them to be good human beings that will be more careful. When they have empathy or remorse for what you experienced something in you registers that it will be okay now.  You are understood at an emotional level. When that happens you may not even need an apology, or a promise that it won’t happen again. Something in your consciousness recognizes that they are now aware and will be more careful.  These are seemingly small, but crucial elements in this exchange. Without them, you will feel that you can’t trust the situation, and you will worry about elbows coming your way.

Until you can register the right response in their facial expression, emotion, tone, and attitude, you will live in doubt, and some fear of having your toes stepped on again. What we seek in this communication is for them to know how you felt, or what we could call empathy, or compassion. This understanding between you and the other person isn’t just about acknowledging the past infraction, apologizing and moving on. We need this recognition in order to go safely into the future.

We want confirmation that we can have a future that will be free from the type of hurts we received in the past.  Something happens in that emotional recognition of empathy that not only heals the past, but ensures a new bond going forward.

Without that social confirmation our mind will be on guard with fear, looking out for possible problems with every new song for the whole show. Even if it doesn’t happen again you will not have enjoyed the show because you were  on edge for the two hours.

A Reply that Escalates

What if they reply that they aren’t doing anything so mind your own business?  Factually they are correct. Right now the song is mellow and they aren’t doing anything.  Facts about the present moment don’t alleviate your concerns for safety and comfort.  You would like to just let it go for now and stop living in the past, but something in your mind still fixates on it.  You have not gotten them to listen and understand.  You had no indication that there was empathy or an understanding or a caring for your well being.

Maybe they talk about how they were just enjoying the music, and that everyone here is having a good time, and why don’t you just go with the flow. Maybe they talk about how you are being rude and inappropriate about interrupting their enjoyment of the show. You might like to but something in your mind concerned for your safety can’t.  The less you are acknowledged and the more you are dismissed, the more you are tempted to raise your voice.  You want to be heard. And being heard means more than physically listening with their ears.  Being heard means something shifts in the other person’s understanding at an emotional and compassionate level. It happens when they know what you felt, and acknowledge their responsibility, even if it was unintentional.

You don’t want them to be punished or kicked out of the show. You don’t need restitution for the past indiscretion. Your main concern is to be able to go forward without having to protect your toes. Your psyche is looking for a signal that you are safe and that means that they have an awareness and concern for your well being that they didn’t display in the past. Until that happens, you will be tempted to raise your voice, interrupt what they say, and call security. The more they do the talking, interrupt, or change the topic from your concern, the more your anxiousness rises.

If your relationships aren’t healing, then likely it is because your communication process lacks compassionate and empathetic listening.

You don’t need that person to feel bad. You don’t need them to feel sorry, or have pity. You don’t need any special treatment. Most people today aren’t even asking or demanding restitution from the past.  They just want to know, that you know at an emotional level, what the past experience was like for them. They trust that if the other party knows the experience of another human’s pain, our social instinct will guide us to be more careful.

Did it hurt emotionally when your partner criticized your cooking or made a joke about your weight?  What kind of acknowledgement and understanding do you need to feel safe about it not happening again?

Their awareness will expand to have concern for our well being.  Just like when we realize something we have done has hurt another, we instinctively change. This is remorse.

Once we recognize remorse in a person, we can drop our concerns about our toes being stepped on.  It is this essential emotional component that changes human behavior. Intellectual understanding will not suffice.

The Larger Scale of Protest

This is what is happening today. People are seeking to be heard. They want to go forward with the concert of their lives feeling safe that old patterns of mistreatment will cease. People have been speaking up for a long time, and still don’t feel heard. It is why the same issues can last for decades in a family, or society. Some people are marching in the streets wanting that understanding and empathy from others.  Some understand and give it. Others protest back and tell them to get over it. The latter wouldn’t work for you at the concert and it doesn’t work for them in their lives either.

People protest in many ways, some take a knee at a sporting event, some march in the streets with signs, some camp out in the streets and occupy a plot of land for days.  What do they really want? They might want a policy or law to change. In the case of racial discrimination and police violence, they want police behavior to change. But before that change can happen, and what is at the core of this expression of protest, is they want to be understood at an emotional level. They are seeking compassion for their pains and empathy for injustice. This is a human emotional need, even though they may not be asking for it, or even realizing it consciously. Until this happens we can’t constructively move to the next phase of the conversation and reconciliation.

By seeking understanding of their past, and acknowledgement of responsibility, they are also seeking assurance of safety and peace in the future. People may be going about their protest in a ways not everyone agrees with. Some people listening are not responding with understanding. Some even respond with a complaint of their own about how the protest is inappropriate. It’s like that person that bumped into you says, “Mind your own business. Just let it go and enjoy the concert.” It wouldn’t work for you.  It doesn’t feel good and so the tension and aggression escalates.

In this escalation a false belief is operating. “I will try harder and louder to do more of the same thing that didn’t work, and expect a different result.” If we start yelling at our neighbor for stepping on our toes they are not likely to be concerned with our well being. They will be on the defensive now and seeking their own safety from our violent words and emotions. We need a different process so we can move on from this echoing of hurts masquerading as reconciliation.

Reconciliation for Both Sides

One of the other problems in this layer cake is that the person stepping on the toes, probably hasn’t been heard and acknowledged either. They just went to that concert to let off a little steam, and enjoy some free expression in their life. That police officer might be too tightly wound from too many dangerous situations of violence. Given what they have witnessed and experienced they are going to be more careful. Unfortunately, that means assume the worst of every person, and situation, until they know they can feel safe.  The police have had more than their toes violently walked on at some point. He or she may need to be listened to and understood as well until they feel safe in their community. We need to listen with compassion and empathy to them too. We need to understand and acknowledge what their life is like. It is likely that everyone’s toes are still sore and still hurt from someplace in the past.

Now, take your concert experience and multiply it by a factor of 10 or 100 for physical, economic, and emotional abuses. Then multiply the evening by years and lifetimes and you will begin to have an idea why people are so loud in their protest and of the desire people have for empathy. In that magnitude you will know the pain that drives their protest.

Often the problem here is that when a person protests loudly we see a person who is loud and disruptive. It becomes easy to miss the hurt they want us to see and understand. Do your best to look past the loudness and the anger of people and with your awareness look to see what the hurts are behind them.

Then take a seat and be prepared to close your mouth for a while and listen, to both sides. No one is asking you to agree with their point of view. You didn’t have their experience, they know that. They are only asking that you listen and do your best to understand their experience.

If you find the need to interrupt, to change the topic, dismiss what they say, or correct them on the minor details of factual points like names, places, and times, then you stopped listening to understand their experience and emotions.

For some major issues in this country this honest compassionate conversation hasn’t happened yet. Our racial tensions continue to exist because there has not been a full and honest acknowledgement of past hurts. People are still seeking confirmation that injustices be acknowledged so they feel they can go on safely with their lives without repeat.  This kind of deep listening was accomplished in South Africa, and other places in Africa through  Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. It was only after all sides got heard, emotionally heard, and understood that reconciliation happened and progress in restoring relationship bonds could be made.

How do you want to be listened to and acknowledged when you have been slighted?  What can you do to listen to another when they have been mistreated?

You can call it compassionate listening, empathy, or listening to understand.  I call it a pathway to healing and happiness in relationships. You don’t have to heal all of society, but it might be good to begin with practicing with your spouse, your children, family and friends. Once we take that step, we can take the next one.

 

Gary van Warmerdam

For more on how to eliminate the chatter and emotional impulses that often interfere with listening and healing check out the free sessions of Gary’s Self Mastery Course, and his book MindWorks

And for imporving your relationship communication I suggest The Relationship Course Exercises. 




The Self Mastery Course: Practical Tools for Getting Rid of the Emotional Drama in Your Life
  • Stop Emotional Reactions
  • Change Core Beliefs
  • Quiet the Criticizing Voice in Your Head
  • Develop Communication and Respect in Your Relationships
  • Create Love and Happiness in Your Life
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