Self Mastery

Critical Voice In Your Head

The critical voice in your head telling you whether you are succeeding or failing at things is actually pretty stupid. It sounds smart, acts confident, and pretends to be an expert.  However, it hasn’t actually done any of the things it is criticizing you about. It has no expertise in learning the skill, or in coaching and guiding you to learning a skill. Sometimes it is just a fraud and you are better off not listening to it.

The Critical Voice in Your Head 27 min

It behaves as a biased scorekeeper, always marking you down. It doesn’t apply how we really learn a skill, which is through a lot of trial and error repetition. It somehow expects perfection on the first try, even though that is not in reality how we get better. When you become aware of it’s impact you discover that it isn’t actually making you better. The result is that it acts more as a saboteur to demotivate you to continue learning and practicing. Your counter move to it’s antics is awareness and that will allow you to not believe what it says.


Social Anxiety from Unconscious Beliefs

Most of your emotions arise from unconscious beliefs. In this podcast I describe a process to dig into the layers of your unconscious beliefs, and release the emotional beliefs trapped there. A man shares what he discovers as the source of his social anxiety that  began when he was in 3rd grade. You can use this method to discover and change the source of negative thoughts, anxiety, and other emotional reactions.

Social Anxiety from Unconscious Beliefs

Sometimes the cause of the negative chatter in your head is from repressed memories and emotions that generate internal thoughts long after the event happened. These memories form a kind of belief. You may not remember the event, but it can still cause you to have negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors years later.

Helpful methods to change these find and change these beliefs can be found in the Self Mastery Course, the Releasing Emotions Exercise, and the Recapitulation Series in located for purchase in the members area. 

Origin of Ego and False Beliefs of Identity

Ego and the False Beliefs of Identity

What are the false beliefs that form our Ego?  Where do our false beliefs come from?  When did we begin to get these false beliefs o our identity and lose touch with our authentic self? What is our identity when we shed our mind’s version of who we are?

Origins of the Ego and False Beliefs of Identity

Podcast 25 min

A critical step to getting back to an authentic self is that we have to dissolve the labels and stories (thoughts) that fill our mind with descriptions of our self. This version from the mind will always be a false version.

For practical steps on how to rid the mind of the chatter of thoughts beliefs and emotional reactions check out the Four Free Sessions of my Self Mastery course. Or my book, MindWorks. 

This post by Gary van Warmerdam


How Do You Recognize The Truth?

How can you tell if something is truthful or if it is a lie? From a consciousness perspective, even statements that are factual are still not the Truth. Words are what we use to describe a thing, or facts. But words are not the thing itself. The words used to describe a chair are not the chair itself.  The best words can do is to give you a factual description of the something that is true.  But believing in the words, is not the same is believing in something that is true.

Recognizing Truth mp3 15 min

As Alan Watts describes, “The menu is not the meal.”  Don’t confuse a good description, or even facts with being the truth.  A description of what “Love” is, is not the same as love. A description of what “Beauty” is, is not the same as Beauty.

by Gary van Warmerdam
Original Post at


Why Lie To Your Self?

Lying to your self can cause a response in the reasoning part of your brain that makes you feel good. Sometimes people confuse this good feeling with being right, or feeling that they have just agreed with an explanation that is truthful. Sometimes people are relieved from their “need to know” or a feeling of uncomfortable confusion by believing something that isn’t true.  Often times our analytical mind, or what I call the reasoning part of the mind doesn’t care if an answer or explanation is true, it only wants to be satisfied with having an explanation.

Why It Feels Good To Lie To Ourselves. mp3 32 min

For some reference reading you might pick up Noble Prize winner for Economics Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow.


Self Loathing

Self Loathing is a strong hatred towards oneself.  You will also find with it a lot of internal thoughts of criticism and self judgment.  Underneath that there will be a layer of beliefs relating to worthlessness.  This layer of beliefs about being bad, unworthy, or inferior somehow justifies the emotional punishment of hate and anger one pours on themselves.  What makes this cycle perpetual is that the beliefs involved in the unworthiness and emotional punishment cycles don’t have enough awareness to look around and see if there are other options.  There is a kind of certainty that this is the best course of action and that the hate and anger are deserved.

Self Loathing  – and more on Unconscious Beliefs  Podcast #53  45 min.

I this podcast we explore the unconscious beliefs that can be behind self loathing and self hatred.  I also explore why getting rid of these habits can be accompanied with resistance, fears, and objections from our own mind. You can learn how to do this process through my Self Mastery Course or through my book MindWorks: A practical guide to changing thoughts, beliefs, and emotional reactions.

Unconscious Beliefs

Unconscious beliefs are agreements we have in our mind that we have no awareness we are holding.  In spite of not having any intellectual knowledge of our own beliefs, they can still cause us to have emotional reactions and sabotaging behaviors.  Often these beliefs are formed early in our life, either through a strong emotional event, or through subtle repetition. In this audio I discuss a woman’s fear of flying that formed when she was 5 years old.

Unconscious Beliefs mp3 24 min

She avoided the issue for years, mostly by not flying or through taking medications.  When we took an inventory of the belief and when it was formed she discovered that her fear had nothing to do with flying. Beliefs in a powerless identity, feeling helpless, the world not being safe, and the fear of death, were all fused together when she was on her way to her grandmothers funeral.These unconscious beliefs can mask themselves for years or decades behind a smart intellect that makes excuses, a denial system that distracts and deflects the issue, or white knuckled under repressed emotions. The way to change the emotional reactions and sabotaging behaviors that these unconscious beliefs may be causing is through an honest inventory of beliefs and behaviors. You can learn how to do this process through my Self Mastery Course or through my book MindWorks: A practical guide to changing thoughts, beliefs, and emotional reactions.

Personal Power and Responsibility

When you take responsibility for your life, you also accept a power over it. Taking responsibility for the good stuff is easy, it is the not so good stuff that feels uncomfortable. But this is what you want the power to change. When you are in the expression of blame, you personify a victim attitude that is powerless.  When you accept some responsibility for your half, and this does not mean blame your self, you begin to change your story.

 Personal Power and Responsibility  20 min mp3

by Gary van Warmerdam
from Pathway To Happiness Awareness and Consciousness Podcast

Anxiety – Understanding it Differently

Attempts to overcoming or at least reduce anxiety tend to fail.  Perhaps our efforts fail because we are applying the wrong understanding, and therefore the wrong model for changing it.  Anxiety isn’t the kind of thing that responds to our intellect. That is why very intelligent and highly educated individuals often are susceptible to issues of anxiety, anxiety attacks, and panic attacks.  Their efforts to change are often intellectual or through a system of knowledge that they are familiar with.  There may be a different way to understand anxiety that can help.

Anxiety – Understanding It Differently. 

Becoming the Observer

Becoming the Observer – Mindfulness Practice

Becoming the observer requires that we do it in a neutral witness manner.  It is not enough to just think about our self, any egotistical person can do that. If this were the case, the narcissist would be very self-aware when this is actually furthest from the truth.  When the ego part of the mind thinks about our self it often does it with a sense of comparison. That part of the mind will compare us to someone else, or an idealized version we hold in our belief system.  It is evaluating how well or how poorly we did something. It might even judge us for not being very spiritually aware. It is an egotistical thought that says we are not meditating enough or not doing enough mindfulness practices.  While these may seem like observations, they are not. They are criticisms with an agenda.  The result of which is that we feel worse.

Becoming the Observer – Mindfulness Practice  ( 25 min)

When we act in the way of a neutral observer we notice different things. We notice when those thoughts are arising from parts of our ego and the emotions they produce. We can also notice the idealized version in the background of our mind being used as comparison. We might notice the idea that we could sit down and spend some time in quiet meditation, and then notice how our emotions, thoughts, and body reacts to that idea. As an observer we might notice negative thoughts rebut why it is not a good time, we are busy, or that we will be better served by exercising today. The Observer state of mind doesn’t see any of these rebuttals as a problem as that would have an agenda. It just notices these rebuttals as if it were a car driving by with an interesting paint job. If it were to think anything about them it would say, “I notice a rebuttal coming from other parts of my mind,,, interesting.”

Read this article for more on being the neutral witness observer

Reality, Projections, and Illusions

How much does our mind project into what we see and distort our perception of things?  Is it possible to know the truth about things? What is reality? What is Illusion?  All these questions first require that we understand perception.  When we begin to understand how we perceive the world, or our self, we become immediately aware that the mind has the capacity to distort and project on to what we see in ways that are difficult to spot.

Reality, Projections, and Illusions mp3  (32 min)

Once you realize that the mind that is distorting things is at the beginning of our perception and interpretation of events, you become aware that perceiving reality is much more difficult.  The mind affects and changes what we see before we get a chance to be consciously aware.  Not only are the images we see with our brain processed by turning them upside down, but two 2-D images are converted to one 3-D image without us noticing.  Who knows what else it might be adding or changing.

You can help your self untangle the stories of drama in your mind by applying the Self Mastery sessions.  You can begin with the first four exercises as a free trial.



Affirmations Can Backfire

Sometimes people get poor results with affirmations. When they say positive things about themselves the dialogue of thoughts in their head pushes back with harsh negative comments. Those harsh criticisms cause them to feel more negative emotions than were produced with the positive affirmations.  The overall result of the affirmation process is to end up feeling worse than before one started. This is what I call pushback from our ego’s belief system.  This is also known as the “Backfire Effect.”  The net effect of this affirmations attempt is that our self-image and self-esteem is pushed down instead of up.

Affirmations Can Backfire and Make You Feel Worse mp3  20 min

The same kind of backfire effect, or pushback, happens when other people give us compliments.  Often the automated response from our ego’s belief system is to dismiss or contradict the compliment.  Our mind effectively minimizes or dismisses their kind uplifting words and expressions people give us about our self.   In this unconscious manner of speaking, our ego does not allow to fully receive positive thoughts of our self that would improve our self-image and self-esteem.  The first step to solving and changing this dynamic is to be aware and mindful. Before we can change this pattern of dismissing and countering positive thoughts and expressions we must first be aware of what we are doing.  Once you are aware, you can then begin to intercede with a more positive response in that moment. Without that awareness you won’t notice the critical moment to change your response.

For more insights you can read my book MindWorks.  

Podcast by Gary van Warmerdam
a Pathway To Happiness production.

The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey was outlined to me through the works of  Joseph Campbell years ago. It is the classic tale often told through movies and stories going back to The Odyssey Homer and many modern versions including Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Matrix. It’s appeal is that it represents our journey to create peace and happiness within our self and our own mind.  The “Dark Forces” that we are challenged by our our inner demons of false beliefs, false self images, unpleasant emotions, fears and those loud voices in our head that spew negative thoughts.

The Hero’s Journey 

The challenge is to make a commitment to claim the kingdom of your mind and put order to all the contradicting voices and create peace and harmony in your mind, and in your heart.  Until you do that, you will not find peace within.

Persistence and Resistance

Jamie is one of the most persistent people at doing personal change work that I know.  She is also resists change, happiness, and unconditional love more than just about anyone I know.  What does resistance look like and how do you navigate around it to make changes in your self?  In this interview you have an opportunity to get a good look at it.  There are also some clues on how to be aware of resistance so you can move through those fears and limiting beliefs faster.

Persistence and Resistance to Personal Change (70 min)

Jamie’s approach to dealing with her resistance to unconditional love and being happy was and unrelenting and persistent drive for the Truth.  In the process Jamie is completely re-writing the story of her life.  It’s an inspiring story of change, and one that she is not finished telling yet.

It will be interesting to see where it goes.

Overcoming Insecurity

Overcoming Insecurity and Creating Confidence

Attempts to develop confidence often fail because they revolve around projecting a positive self image or achieving success.  Unfortunately these two things don’t eliminate other beliefs causing feelings of insecurity.  To Overcome the feeling of insecurity effectively it is necessary to identify and eliminate the beliefs that generate feelings of unworthiness, fear, and anxiety.  It is not enough to just cover them up with positive self images.  That won’t achieve a solid feeling of confidence as long as the beliefs connected to insecurity are still intact in our mind.

Overcoming Insecurity and Developing Confidence    

More on this topic on my article about Overcoming Insecurity 

For practical steps to identify and change the core beliefs causing insecurity, use the exercises in my Self Mastery Course.


Stop Beating Your Self Up

Due to an internal dialog of negative thoughts you can really beat your self up.  If the self berating thoughts are strong enough it can induce feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, and even depression.  People often try to remedy this by willing their negative thoughts to stop.  I’ve never seen this work, and with very good reason.  To effectively change the thoughts and beliefs we beat our self up with it is important to look at the problem differently.  That’s what I do in this free audio on what specifically happens when you are “beating yourself up”

Stop Beating Your Self Up    mp3  (32 min) 

This audio helps clarify what is going on in your mind when you do this.  Once you understand this situation better, you will see why trying to will it to stop is a set up for failure.  You will also have other practical solutions available to you in the Self Mastery Course.

The reason you can’t stop the “beating your self up” with shear will power is that those negative thoughts aren’t being directed by you.   They are being driven by a part of the mind that has taken on a life of it’s own and is not under your control.  But you can get it under your control.

Meditation for Beginners

This simple meditation lets anyone begin to enter into a state of mindfulness using a very common sense practical approach. What our mind construes as a deeply mystical thing like meditation doesn’t have to be so esoteric.

Meditation for Beginners free mp3 audio 37 minutes

This free audio explains a simple way to begin using meditation for relaxation and stress reduction. It also covers what to expect when you begin to meditate so that you can avoid being surprised and become disappointed or frustrated. This will help you continue with your practice and become more successful and mindful in the process. It also explains suggested guidelines and what they are for so you don’t become distracted by what rules to follow or not follow.

Self Awareness and Mindfulness

Understanding how your mind creates emotional reactions is key to making personal change.  This understanding of the mind is done through mindfulness, also know as Self Awareness.  In a basic level of awareness you might notice how someone’s mood changes.  A deeper level of awareness allows you notice your own mood, and how it affects your behavior and interactions.  A deeper level of awareness will allow you to perceive the factors affecting your mood and change them.

Self Awareness and Mindfulness    Podcast #41    38 Min

Self Awareness, also called Mindfulness, is an important step to permanently changing your negative thoughts, emotional reactions, and self destructive behaviors.

What is a Belief?

A belief begins as a conceptual idea in our mind.  Then our imagination turns it into something like a dream, or virtual reality.  A belief, particularly a false belief, has the capacity to create an illusion in our imagination that seems like reality.  We then react to that illusion emotionally as if it were real.   The emotions we  feel as such as fear, anger, jealousy, or insecurity are real, but the illusion we are reacting to in our mind is not real.

What is a Belief?   (free audio podcast #40 37 min)

Beliefs not only alter how we see the world, but also how we see our selves.  Within a belief we can create a false identity of who we are; an ego identity.   We then falsely believe that this character of our imagination is us.  This is how we end up believing and feeling that we are not good enough, broken, unlovable, or that there is something wrong with us.  In reality there is nothing wrong with us.  At the central core of it all you are fine.  However you may not feel fine because you are having emotional reactions to all the negative thoughts in your head and false beliefs.

The Self Mastery program provides you a process to identify and change your false and fear based beliefs.  The first few sessions are free for you to sample.


Self Mastery Course Results Interview

David served in the Army and National Guard. After responding to the World Trade Center and Afghanistan he came home and discovered that his emotional reactions were out of control and inappropriate. In this interview he shares how the Self Mastery course has helped him.

Interview David about the Self Mastery Course Experience
Podcast Audio (42 min)

David first signed up for the free sessions in July and purchased the Basic Self Mastery series two months later in September.  When we did this interview in March he had only received the last of the Basic Series sessions about 2 months prior.  That’s not a lot of time to put all the tools and techniques together.  However he was making personal change in his emotional reactions and was feeling much better about being in the world as he learns to become more efficient with the tools he is learning.

David shared with me that when he came back from Afghanistan he didn’t feel like himself.  His emotional reactions weren’t appropriate.  The  “thing” that gets turned on in your mind in a war zone that helps you to survive doesn’t just turn off when you get home.  His emotional and physiological systems were still operating in that heightened state for survival even when he was walking into the grocery story, the gas station, or going to the gym.  He realized that he needed to make some changes and found that the Self Mastery Course Exercises has helped.


Confusion about Love, Compassion, Hope, Integrity, and Loyalty

Love, Compassion, Hope, Integrity, and Loyalty are the subject of this audio.  This is an excerpt from a talk I gave at a Spiritual Retreat in 2010.  Our mind has the ability to imagine in a myriad of ways.  Because of this it also has the ability to distort, confuse, create chaos, and emotional drama as well.  One of the ways that this happens is through the mis-use of language.  Even the basic building blocks of language such as words can be distorted and made confusing by how the mind alters their meaning when we are not aware.

Elements of Confusion (podcast 38   27 min)

If you want to implement changes in the way your mind works, how you feel emotionally, or negative behaviors, start by downloading and listening to the free audios from the Self Mastery Program

Anger Management

I don’t think we should just manage our anger.  I believe in eliminating anger.  Trying to control triggers, circumstances, and other people so we don’t become angry is too much work. It is much easier to identify and change the core beliefs causing our anger.  In this free audio podcast I outline what the process of managing and eliminating anger looks like when you do it with awareness.

Anger Management mp3 audio  39 min

If you want to eliminate anger, and the core beliefs that cause anger follow the step by step process outlined in the Self Mastery Course.

Sexual Performance Anxiety

Sexual performance anxiety can cause a lot of stress in a relationhip. It creates guilt, shame, and  fears, that corrupt the emotional connection and can lead to and disconnection. In this podcast I outline what goes on in a man’s head and some of the core beliefs at the root of the issue.

Sexual Performance Anxiety (35 min) MP3 Audio

At the core of sexual performance anxiety are fear of failure, rejection from our partner, and self rejection.   These expressions take place in our mind and affect our emotions.  When we are caught up in these core beliefs of rejection our attention becomes so focused on these beliefs and emotions that we are no longer present with our partner and sexual experience.   At that point it is difficult to get aroused when what you are focused on is the beliefs in your head and the emotions they are producing.

In order to change this dynamic it is necessary to identify and change the beliefs causing projections in our imagination, and to unhook our attention from them and focus on what we are doing with our partner and our self.    This shift in our mental state is all parter of better awareness and mindfulness.

Spiritual Journey Interview

Carolyn shares her experience on the 7 day Spiritual Intensive she took with me to Teotihuacan Mexico.   She discovers what it is like to shed fear based self judgments from her childhood and embrace the experience of unconditional love.  It’s no longer an intellectual idea that she reads about in books. It is a tangible way of living life that is now a very real possibility for her life.

pod35-Spiritual Journey Interview (29 min)

She discovered that the journey wasn’t about the place, the mythology, or the history.  The important focus of the journey was her and the process for transforming the emotional quality of her life.

You can find out more about these spiritual  journeys and retreats on my events page.

Inception and the Life of an Idea in the Mind

The Inception of an Idea.  The idea that ideas are alive has been around a long time.  Careful observation reveals that  ideas, thoughts, and beliefs behave as if they are alive in the mind.  When ideas grow and link together with other ideas they become big stories and can have multiple points of view and tangents.  Large story ideas intertwined with emotion act more like dreams.  There are daydreams when we are awake, and dreams in our mind when we are asleep.  The key to changing these ideas, stories, dreams, and the emotions they carry is for the dreamer to wake up.

Life of an Idea from Inception. mp3  34 min

Richard Dawkins term for ideas that live like parasites in the mind and have a life of their own is meme.   I suggest watching this video first.

This video from Dan Dennett on Memes and dangerous ideas that direct their host to kill the hosts of other meme’s is worth watching.

Scientist and author Richard Dawkins published “The Selfish Gene” in 1976.    Some background is provided here on this Wikipedia page.

Topics covered in this podcast include, ideas the the mind, how they act as parasites, references to the movie Inception, how ideas spread, have a life of their own, go viral, how our ideas control what we do.  Our mind is a host of ideas.

The Most Important Thing For Your Happiness

The process of overcoming fears, identifying and changing core beliefs, dealing with emotions, meditation, being present with your emotions, and all the other myriad of steps you can take towards living a happy and fulfilling life can be overwhelming.  So sometimes it helps to take a step back and have a sense of humor about the process.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Happiness mp3 (38min)

For details on how you can take practical steps towards some of these most important things you can do the exercises in the Self Mastery Audio Program on my site.  The first few sessions are available free for you to sample.

Miguel Ruiz and The Fifth Agreement

Interview with Miguel Ruiz about The Fifth Agreement in this mp3 audio podcast.

Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the book, The Fifth Agreement.  It is a follow up and completes the teachings he started in The Four Agreements.  In this interview he talks about how the belief system of the creates a virtual reality, Judgment Day, Human Sacrifices going on today, How we distort Love, Having Respect for Your Self, How to use Doubt to question your beliefs.
Miguel also shares about the development of his son, Don Jose Luis, and his intense passion for the truth that inspired him to write the book together. As well as how they both experienced his heart attack and how we was facing death without fear.

Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the book, The Fifth Agreement.  It is a follow up and completes the teachings he started in The Four Agreements.  In this interview he talks about how the belief system of the creates a virtual reality, Judgment Day, Human Sacrifices going on today, How we distort Love, Having Respect for Your Self, How to use Doubt to question your beliefs,
Miguel also shares about the development of his son, Don Jose Luis, and his intense passion for the truth that inspired him to write the book together. As well as how they both experienced his heart attack and how we was facing death without fear.

In short the Fifth Agreement is “Be skeptical, but learn to listen.”  However just having this agreement doesn’t serve you as well unless you have the context of why it will lead you towards inner peace and happiness.   In The Fifth Agreement Don Miguel explains the structure of language, and how from language we create symbols in our mind to explain experiences of life with our rational mind.   He calls it knowledge.  Over the years that language of symbols becomes alive in our mind and takes on a life of it’s own until we can not even stop our own thinking.  We end up with a voice in our head that we can not control.  In the process we lose the experience of inner quiet and peace.  When you learn to be skeptical you take your faith out of all those symbols and recover the joy of peace and quiet in your own mind.

A link to where you can purchase a copy of The Fifth Agreement

Overcoming Anger Using the Self Mastery Program

I interviewed Joe who used the Self Mastery course to overcome his anger and anxiety reactions.  He’s started to be aware that some of his emotional reactions are completely gone  At other times he finds it enjoyable to experience emotions that used to be unpleasant.    He’s still working towards emotional mastery but is well on his way.   In this interview he shares how the course has changed his anger reactions in traffic, relationships with his wife and kids, and experiences at work.

Overcoming Anger and Anxiety using the Self Mastery Course (podcast 31 48min)

After the interview I share some insights on why I think Joe’s approach is successful.  He’s not approaching his emotional change with a sense of urgency.  Rather he’s consistently addressing what’s going on in his belief system  10 and 15 minutes at a time.  The fact that he’s working through things without being in a hurry means that it has a much larger strategic importance to him than just something you need to do in a hurry.  When we are trying to change things in a hurry it’s usually because there is a fear driving our urgency.  When you are trying to change an emotional state like anger or anxiety, and fear is driving you to do it, you are really only adding fuel to the fire.

An urgent approach is what you use when fear is driving your solution path.  And you’ll probably give up working on the change when your emotions cycle again.   A consistent approach is what you do when change is important enough to work at it long term.

Related Articles

The Self Mastery Course

Understanding Anger

What Causes Anger

PS…. Joe is a lawyer by trade…   If a lawyer can make embrace love, forgiveness, and happiness, then there’s hope for everyone.   Either that,,, or we just got the whole lawyer stereotype completely wrong.

Faith: The Power Behind Your Beliefs

Faith is more than a set of beliefs there is no evidence for or a doctrine of religious beliefs.  Faith is a force.  It is an aspect of your personal will power that you can use in various ways.  One way to use the power of your faith is to invest it in conceptual ideas.  In don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Fifth Agreement he outlines a more impeccable use of the power of your faith.

Faith:  What You Don’t Know   (26min)

We’ll be delving deeper into the insights in don Miguel Ruiz’s new book, The Fifth Agreement, in future audios.   I think this one help fills in some gaps about the concept of faith and perhaps makes it a little less abstract.

Conscious Awakening

Waking up to the unconscious beliefs in your mind is an unconfortable and disconcernting realization.  Realizing your unconscious beliefs have been leading you in a dream world of unnecessary emotional reactions, and sabotaging behaviors, all based on illusions in the mind is confusing and we often react with judgment and denial.  It can also create a reaction where you feel powerless because you see these things controlling your mind and you can’t stop it.

Conscious Awakening Podcast #29  53 minutes

In this podcast I outline what is happening so you can keep the process in a larger perspective. When you wake up you have no control over this and it takes some work to develop control over your attention and begin dismantling beliefs.  The specific steps in how to do this and what to do are in the Self Mastery audio program.

Reasoning Your Way Out of Fear

Most fears are not rational.  When we apply some skilled common sense and awareness to them we can detach.  However applying reasoning skills to overcoming fears is an uphill battle.  That’s because the emotions we feel push us against accepting truthful reasoning.    That’s because our fictional, or false beliefs often make us feel better emotionally.  This doesn’t mean that our false beliefs make us happy.  Rather they just make is feel a lesser degree of bad.   Our effort to overcome fears is furthered hampered because part of our reasoning mind is more concerned with just having an answer than it is with knowing the truth.  When you direct your attention and intent towards knowing the truth, the truth will set you free from your fear based beliefs.

Reasoning your way out of Fear  (mp3 40 min)

This podcast is from the site Pathway To Happiness

Focused on developing Self Awareness, Changing Core Beliefs, and Creating Happiness in your Relationships

Overcoming Fear of What Others Think of You

There is a structure of beliefs that support the fear of what others think of you. When you dismantle these beliefs, your fear dissipates, as well as the internal dialog that it drives. In this podcast I guide you through some of the resistance you will probably find when you attempt to overcome your fears.

Overcoming Fear of What Others Think of You (podcast #27 41 minutes)

This podcast probably won’t do every thing you need to strip away your fears, but will help you strip off one of the layers of resistance.

This podcast is part of my series on overcoming fears.  When overcoming fears it is not just a matter of letting go of fear.  You also have to work through the resistance to letting go of fear.   One level of this resistance is the illusion that our fears help us to be safe.   The claim I often hear people make is that their fears help them avoid dangers of getting hurt.   This appears true, but isn’t.  It isn’t the fear that helps us to be safe, but rather the heightened level of awareness that our fear raises that helps us to avoid painful outcomes.

Without awareness, fear could just as well be blinding us from something helpful.   When we are in a panic attack our fear doesn’t seem to help us at all.  We are so full of fear that we have difficulty seeing our way out.

So it is not the fear that helps us, but the heightened awareness that brings our attention to the situation that is the real help.   If you find your self defending fear, then it is likely that you are misunderstanding it’s merits.

You will find practical exercises and steps to overcoming the false beliefs that generate your fears in the Self Mastery audio program.

Overcoming Controlling Behavior of Jealousy and Anger

David started the Self Mastery audio program because he discovered some things about himself that he didn’t like.  It was principally the emotions and behaviors of jealousy, anger, and being controlling in relationships.   He had been doing it for more than 25 years but was not aware of it.  It was difficult to see himself having this problem because David’s belief system masked and justified his behavior as “helping people.”  In his mind he was serving and helping people.   He was so busy playing the role of the hero that he didn’t see himself behind the mask.

Overcoming Jealousy, Anger, and Controlling Behavior  mp3 (42min)

Becoming aware that we have a controlling side of our personality can be painful, but only if we judge our self.  However, not making changes in our controlling behavior is even more painful when we realize what it does to the people we love, and the people that love us.  Great relationships are based in respect.   You can’t be respectful, and believe you know better than someone else at the same time.

The first step in overcoming controlling behaviors of jealousy and anger is to change our perspective.   We have to start looking at things differently and see different choices before we can make those choices.

You can listen to the 7 1/2 minute short audio David mentions. It is on the page about Overcoming Jealousy.

You can access the Self Mastery course that David has found as a means for so much personal change by signing up for free.

Fear and Origins of the Financial Crisis

I cover how to use awareness to break free of fearful resistance to taking action.   Jut for fun I also get into understanding origins of the financial crisis.   Credit default swaps, lobbying by banks to lower their equity reserve requirements, and speculation  is not what caused the financial bubble and subsequent meltdown.  These changes in the direction of the economy were actually the results of something else, a system of beliefs based in illusion, and propped up by faith.   The problem with bubbles, financial, romantic, or otherwise, is that they originate in the mind as illusions.  With enough faith in those illusions we create irrational exuberance, and people lose their commons sense to the hype of emotions generated from being overly optimistic.

Fear and Origins of the Financial Crisis  Podcast #25 (30min) mp3

Preventing future bubbles will not depend on good laws and government oversight, although that should help.   What is really needed is a dose of awareness and skillful skepticism at what is going on in the realm of the imagination in terms of assumptions and beliefs.  Skip becoming aware of how your mind creates illusions and we follow self destructive behaviors at your own peril.

It wasn’t just the general public that was caught in illusions.  The lobbyists, investment bankers, legislators, were in a world of assumptions when they put laws into place.  Unless of course you believe in those conspiracy theories that purport that high level banking types had a master plan in the meltdown.    In which case I propose to you that they were lost in even more subtle, and deeply fear based set of illusions.

Dealing With Financial Fears

Dealing with and overcoming financial fears isn’t a one step process. Those fears can be intertwined with real survival needs for the body like food, shelter, and providing for your children. Financial fears can also be from projected scenarios in the imagination that have nothing to do with reality. The imagination is a big source of fears that appear to be irrational. Financial failing can bring up fears related to self image, what others think of us, and self worth. Shedding your financial fears is a multi step process of un-layering beliefs in the mind. I’ve found that breaking free of financial fears is a process that is best addressed in steps. The first step is awareness.  The second step is to get hold of your attention.

Financial Fears and Money Worries mp3  Podcast #24  27min

Some people address their financial fears by trying to amass enough wealth so that they feel financially safe. The assumption is that their money will protect their health, their physical security, and even protect them from emotional suffering. The truth is that no amount of money can protect you from fear. Money doesn’t give your mind immunity from fear, and the false beliefs that cause you to be fearful. In fact, for some people, having more money only exaggerates their financial fears. Wealth will allow you to build physical barriers around you and hire a medical team to assist your health.  But the best protection against fear and other emotions of suffering is awareness.

To free your mind from fears, including financial fears, will take more than a good financial plan. It will take awareness and vigilance to keep your mind free from illusions, denial, and false hope that conspire to create emotional suffering.

In this podcast I address issues of denial about our financial situation, addressing resistance, and not judging or blaming our emotions of fear.  This just puts a layer of confusion in the mind as to what is happening.

The Self Mastery audio program will help you with exercises that raise your awareness, inventory and change your beliefs. It is awareness and consciousness that can free you from fear, not money.

Change Your Life – Interview

You can change your life, but first you have to change your beliefs.  Beliefs are those mental constructs that drive our emotions of fear, and sabotaging behavior.  In this interview I follow up with Holly who I interviewed in early 2007.  She has continued to practice the exercises in the Self Mastery program, and added the practices from the Advanced Series.  The result is that she has transformed her emotions from fear to love.  That emotional change has impacted her relationships as well.

Changing Your Life  – Follow up interview with Holly. (35 min mp3)

Fear Doctrine: The Creation of Anger and Agression

Fear is at the core of anger and aggression.  Yet we become so busy with the strategy of control and the act of aggression we rarely see the cause.   We can see the emotional dynamic at work whether we look at our internal thoughts, relationships, or the macro relationships of countries.   The basis if aggression is a primal instinct for survival.  Through awareness we can elevate our self to make a different choice, a choice of kindness, compassion, love, and respect.   Failure to awaken to this choice will leave humanity in a perpetual state of fear and emotional suffering.

Fear Doctrine:  How Fear leads to Anger and Aggression  Podcast #22 (60min 30 MB)

People who choose aggression can be very intelligent.   Intelligence is no defense against the insanity of violence.  This is true whether that violence and anger takes place in our personal relationships, or international affairs.   Read the articles and chapters by Ben Ferencz ( I was not able to find some of the material that I had read earlier.  His website has changed but you can probably find it in his books or website if you look.  Here is a short excerpt below.

From his website

Now, I do not wish to compare any Americans to the Nazi leaders. But after hearing Rumsfeld’s words, I could not avoid being reminded of the argument put forward by the lead defendant in the Einsatzgruppen (Group of the SS in Germany under Hitler) trial at Nuremberg, S.S. General Otto Ohlendorf. When asked to explain why his unit murdered more than 90,000 Jews, including their children, the remorseless defendant casually explained that it was justified as anticipatory self-defense.

Germany anticipated an attack from the Soviet Union, Ohlendorf argued, and since Jews were perceived as supporters of Bolshevism, they presumably posed a potential future threat to German national interests. And if Jewish children knew that their parents had been executed, he continued, they, too, might become enemies of Germany, and therefore they had to be killed.

In a carefully reasoned judgment by the three judges presiding over the case — all of them American — Ohlendorf’s defense was held to be untenable, and the S.S. general was hanged.

Sixty years later, I am afraid, this and other lessons from Nuremberg are lost on the Bush administration.

Benjamin Ferencz was chief prosecutor in the Einsatzgruppen trial at Nuremburg.

Interesting read on the history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes by Pulitzer Prize winning author Tim Weiner It should help Americans with a perspective of how much of the world sees the US.

From one of my favorite programs, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

From the interview of Dough Feith, asst Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld during the second Iraq war.  The specific line that points to the paradigm of fear is near the end of the second video. (time 9:55)  Jon Stewart’s reply is, “With that standard of evidence, we’d have to take out,,, maybe 15 countries.”  It all begins with assumptions based in fear.

Notice in the interview how the paradigm is different.  The type of thinking is different.  What is specifically different is the fear involved that drives the logic.  It is late in the second video that that Doug Feith specifically refers to “worry”.  Which is an intellectual and academic way of describing fear.  The principle difference in the point of view is that of the underlying assumptions of fear based beliefs.  The arguments you end up with very much depend on the assumptions you start with, and this is the real source of the problem of aggression and violence.

How to deal with agression

There is more to this answer than I can put in a post.  But certainly becoming an aggressor is not the answer.  It only leads to fear on the other side, and a reaction of aggression in return.   The first step is to address the reactions in your self, and that means dealing with your own fears.  That includes your fear of death.    I found this video about Sergio Vieira de Mello.  Perhaps his experience of what he learned in his life can help you.

Richard Feynman invites us to take another point of view and expand the way we question what we believe and what we do.

There are several more videos that follow this section that I don’t include here for space.  You can find them on Youtube.

A man who is not afraid is not aggressive; a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

For specific practical exercises to identify and change core beliefs and perceptions of fear practice the work in the Self Mastery Audio Program. The first few exercises are free.

The Value of a Spiritual Teacher or Mentor

If the emotional quality of your life and relationships were solely dependent on how smart you were then you wouldn’t need a teacher.  But that isn’t the case.  A book can’t teach or model for you self acceptance, respect, love, or gratitude.   Being happy in this chaotic world isn’t based on how smart you are.  Even changing beliefs or negative thoughts isn’t easier because you have a high IQ.

As this free audio explains, mastering your mind and emotions is more like a skill.  Swimming, playing an musical instrument, or flying an airplane are all skills.  If you wanted to learn any of these skills would you get a coach or mentor?    Then if you desired to change your emotional reactions and be happy, wouldn’t it make sense to get some good guidance as well?  More about this in this free audio.

The Value of a Spiritual Teacher or Guide  Free Audio Podcast (40 min 26 MB)

Understanding the Spiritual Journey

All self help, personal development, growth, and self awareness work is part of the Spiritual Journey. That’s because Spirit Means Life. And all of these endeavors should have an intent to facilitate greater happiness in your life. The mystery of the Spiritual Journey is that it happens within in the realm of your perceptions, mind, emotions, and consciousness. There is no common external reference for clear communication. Much of what is passed down often gets distorted into myth and superstition by fear, self importance, and ignorance. In spite of all these distortions and illusions the journey continues.

Understanding the Spiritual Journey        Free Audio Podcast #20 (43 min 19MB)

In this audio I attempt to put this in the language of common sense as much as possible.

Items covered in this free audio:

What is the value of ceremony and ritual?
Why reading all those self help and spiritual books won’t help much.
How do you measure your progress?
What is Dreaming?
What is the value of meditation, ceremony, ritual?
What is The Initiation of Death.

I also introduce the important element of your Point of Perception that is the critical element in determining all your beliefs and emotional state. Part of the intent of this podcast was to answer some of the questions I get about what goes on the Spiritual Journeys I lead.

Changing Habits and Overcoming Addictions

Overcoming Addictions and Changing Habits

People attempt to change a habit or addiction by going cold turkey. This often raises the expectation too high and can set a person up for failure if they don’t yet have a lot of personal power or discipline. The result is failing and self judgment. That can lead to more emotional suffering. The alternative is to perceive your addiction or habit as comprising many small habits and then to systematically change those small habits.

Overcoming Addictions and Changing habits Free mp3 audio (15 MB – 38min)

Each action we take that is negative or self destructive is based in a false belief. That belief is only powerful because you put your faith in that idea. The conceptual idea could be the idea that we are not worthy, lovable, or that we are smarter than someone else. We then act, on that belief in a way of action, or inaction. These actions or inactions often become habits because we maintain the same beliefs. When those habits are self destructive, and we have difficulty changing them we call them addictions.

When you change the core beliefs behind an action, it becomes easy to change the habit. The steps to changing a habit or addiction are:
Awareness and perception: You can not change what you are not aware of.
Desire: If you have no desire to make change, then you will take no action.
Intent and commitment: Your intent is the channeling of that desire towards a new expression or action that involves change.
New Action: A new action will replace your old habit. Sometimes that action might just be refrain.
Manage Expectations: If you set the bar too high, or have not prepared your self for your actions, you can fail. That will usually lead to self judgment.
Acceptance: What will derail your persistence is self judgment. When you judge your self as a failure, you can put your self into a downward emotional spiral. That emotional spiral starts with self judgment, and is broken when you practice self acceptance.
Persistence: Some habits are bigger than others and will take longer to break and replace. You may fall down many times, but it only matters how many times you stand up. Your ability to persist in breaking your habit or addiction, even after you have fallen, will be depend on your awareness, and desire.

The Self Mastery course offers practical exercises in building self awareness, changing beliefs, and self sabotaging habits and addictions.

Self Judgment

Self Judgment is the most common type of abuse. It’s self abuse. No one is more critical of you than the voice in your head. If anyone else talked to you the way the Judge in your mind spoke to you, you would fight back, or walk away from them. We can’t stop what other people think and say about us, but we can change what we think and say about our self. However, this is easier said than done.

Self Judgment mp3 Audio 31min

I cover all this in detail in this free audio on Self Judgment.

We can tell our selves we won’t be so hard on our selves, but that rarely changes the dynamic. In actuality, that bit of advice is very often a condemnation of a behavior we don’t like. When the self judgment in laced in the advice and good intention, it is like having poison in the medicine.

What does it take to stop being hard your self? In this audio I break down the belief system behind a self judgment. You’ll be able to see why those negative thoughts keep coming back. In the Self Mastery program I provide a series of exercises that allow you to let go of self judgment permanently. The first few exercises are free.

You can find out more about the course and programs provided at

Faith and Personal Power

The Importance of Keeping Your Faith

What is Faith? What is a Belief? What is the relationship between your emotions and what you believe? Do thoughts have power? Why it’s not that important to stop your negative thoughts. How can you recover your personal power? How do you heal a broken heart? These are all issues that I address in this Free MP3 Audio Podcast on Faith.

Recovering The Power of Your Faith (mp3 30min 13.7 mb)

Faith is a force. It is part of your life force. When you express your faith you are expressing part of your personal power. If you are seeking to develop more personal power, one of the fastest ways is to recover your faith from all the beliefs in your mind you have invested it in. You will find exercises and practices in how to recover the personal power of your faith in the Self Mastery Audio Series. The first several sessions are free.

This free audio gives some background awareness on the topic of faith, personal power, emotions, and relationships. You can find other free audio on Awareness and Consciousness in the podcast area on this site.

If you find this free material useful and helpful, then please take a moment to post it and share it on one of the social book marking sites listed below.

The link to this page is

Finding Your Self

Finding your Self or figuring out who you are is one of those eternal questions. We often struggle with it as teenagers, then again in our thirties, or during a mid life crisis. The struggle to know thy Self is as old as spiritual traditions that attempted to answer the question.

Listen to this Finding Your Self — MP3 Audio Podcast (29 min)

And get a lay of the land of the different worlds to be explored and the some areas of illusion that get in the way of knowing your Self.

It is this quest for personal integrity that forms the journey of the mythological hero. When you become self aware and conscious you realize that you are a multi-dimensional being and you live in a multidimensional world. It can appear complicated and confusing at the start, but when you have awareness, Life becomes clear and simple.

To Know Your Self does not mean to define your self. Being completely authentic is not a process of declaration or creating your self in any way. Finding Your Self is more a process of discovery. In that process of discovery you peel away all the layers of illusion and false self images that interfere with knowing and feeling authentic.

Note: This page is used for posting of podcast material. To view the main website content go to You will also find more articles written at my blog on Happiness.

Free Will

Do you have free will? Is there even such a thing as Free Will? It is true that we are to some degree products of our environment. Our minds get filled with ideas, beliefs, and emotional patterns as we grow up. We are socialized to become a collection of habits and behavior that correspond to the culture we grew up in.

Free Will Audio mp3 (30 min)
Just how much does this make us live by an automatic program and how much of our own free choice remains? More importantly, can you regain your ability to choose and recover your personal will power so you can choose to be happy.

In this podcast I explore what free will is and whether a person has it. I also identify how people often delude themselves with the idea that they have free will.

For a quick measurement of your free will pick an emotion of happiness, gratitude, joy, or any other emotional state based in love. Then decide how long you want to feel that way. I suggest starting with a short period of time like one day. When you have an emotional reaction you will have either lost control over your choice, or lost control over your will power.

If you are going to recover your free will you are going to first have to admit when you don’t have it. This is a humbling step. However it is those with humility that shall inherit a new world of power.

For more on steps to take to recover and develop will power and create happiness in your life, download and listen to the free sessions in the Self Mastery Audio Program. 

How to Tell If a Relationship Will Work

How can you tell if a relationship will work out? There are specific indicators to tell if your relationship will run into trouble down the road. The signs aren’t found in how much love, romance, or physical attraction there is. Two people can have great chemistry but still not be compatible.

How to tell if a relationship will work Podcast 14 mp3 audio

How can you tell if your relationship will work out? You have to learn what the critical factors are and then develop a level of awareness to notice those factors. Many people will say that communication is the key to a healthy relationship. This is true. However there are fundamental elements that form the basis for good communication. If you don’t have the elements to support sharing and listening it will fall apart down the road.

At the same time two people who haven’t studied relationship communication may think that they communicate well. However they may not know what they don’t know. Important steps to improving your relationship skills is to first admit what you don’t know and be willing to learn more.

In the best selling book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking author Malcolm Gladwell shares insights on determining how a relationship will turn out. Researcher John Gottman can predict with 95% accuracy whether a couple will be together in 15 years or not. What is impressive is that he can do that with only about 30 minutes of information.
If you know what to look for, and have the awareness to see it when it is in front of you, you can tell a lot about a person and their relationships. Probably the most important place that we can use this awareness and insight is in our own relationships.

In this mp3 audio podcast I share my perspective on important ingredients in a healthy relationship. How to tell if a relationship will work out or whether it is headed for the rocks. I had recorded it before I read Gladwell’s book and it was interesting to note some of the similar themes.

What Gladwell doesn’t cover in the book is how to go about changing the sabotaging behaviors that destroy relationships. Robert Gottman might know how to do this. However he might have spent all his time learning the indicators that he hasn’t spent time developing a cure for relationship drama.

If you are interested in cleaning up the emotional drama and conflict from your relationship I suggest listening to and practicing the activities in the Self Mastery Audio Course.

It will help you identify and become aware of those tell tale signs that make a relationship work, and the signs that help determine if you should be looking elsewhere. More importantly it will give you the tools to change the attitudes, emotions, and behaviors you may not have been aware of before.

I want to highly recommend Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking“>Blink: Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.   It is an extraordinary detailed look into a thin slice of time called judgment.  He does an amazing job of clarifying the subtle and yet powerful aspect awareness plays in our decisions.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

How to Not Take Things Personally

In the book, The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz outlines a code of conduct for creating love and happiness in your life. One of his Four Agreements is “Don’t Take Anything Personally. In this podcast I describe some of the hidden assumptions that cause us to take things personally. I then explain how to stop taking things personally by shifting these interpretations. The first step is to identify these automatic assumptions and then by replacing them with new assumptions closer to the truth.

How to Stop Taking Things Personally. MP3 audio (28min) Podcast 12

It isn’t as easy as it seems. We have been conditioned over years to react emotionally in certain patterns. This is particularly true of people that we perceive to be of authority.

Listening to this podcast won’t give you immunity from emotional reactions. It will tell you what specific issues in the mental and emotional programming of the mind to be changed. I share an alternative interpretation of how to in perceive critical comments that will help.

If you are seriously interested in how to stop taking things personally and stop unwanted emotional reactions begin by practice the exercises in the Self Mastery Course.

For information about upcoming events:

Your Authentic Life Workshop in Zion National Park
Spiritual Power Journey to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan Mexico

The Ego Mind and Consciousness

In a Four Agreements workshop I shared a model for understanding consciousness and the ego mind. I recorded the workshop and part of it makes up this mp3 audio podcast. Understanding the ego mind and understanding consciousness means becoming aware of the way our mind dreams. The ego mind has more than just thoughts and beliefs; it has emotions, memories, visual images and a life of its own. When we believe what our imagination dreams we can get lost in a world of illusions and emotions that have no basis in reality. This is what happens if we don’t have self awareness. We lose our happiness.

MP3 Audio Understanding the Ego Mind and Consciousness (21MB)

In this audio podcast I touch upon fear and how we create resistance and obstacles to change and why some self help approaches don’t work. How your mind sabotages efforts for self improvement. However, because this is only a podcast and not a video cast you don’t get my wonderful illustrations and pictures of the mind to help with your understanding.

I also cover how we can go from one emotional reaction to another very quickly in our mind. How we end up judging our self for judging our self. I cover the importance of being the observer in stopping emotional reactions of the mind and how awareness is the key to awakening this observer consciousness.

When you understand this being a Spiritual Warrior and their quest to be free of the mind and emotional reactions makes a lot more sense. I even touch upon the topic of death and how we can use a ceremony to free ourselves from the ego mind and from its’ chatter and emotional reactions.

As consciousness we can perceive so many things in our mind from so many points of view. Understanding this capacity as consciousness to perceive in multiple dimensions is a helpful step in dealing with our thoughts, beliefs, and emotional reactions. It can help to realize that we are not going crazy as our consciousness expands through our personal and spiritual growth.

Miguel Ruiz mentions in the back of the Four Agreements that the next steps to take are awareness and to make an inventory of your core beliefs. These are important undertakings if one is to really live the principles of the Four Agreements. Exercises for increasing awareness and how to effectively make an inventory of beliefs are two of the items you will learn in the Self Mastery Audio course. These are two steps that people usually ignore, and is why they continue to struggle with emotional reactions and taking this personally.

What I cover isn’t new. It has been taught by many teachers in many traditions. I’ve only attempted to repackage it here in a language of common sense. Living a life of happiness is simple. We don’t need a lot of knowledge. We just need to dissolve the sabotaging stories and false beliefs in the mind so that we can focus our attention where and how we choose.
May happiness fill all the days of your life.

Can You Change Your Life

I often get asked if people can really change their life. They want to known if they can overcome fears, stop the judgments, and quiet the voice in their head.  The answer is yes. However, when people ask, they usually ask with such fear and doubt that almost no amount of words will suffice.  Perhaps this audio interview will help overcome some of those doubts.  When you hear about other people making changes in their life, it can help you not believe some of the doubts and fears in the mind.

Podcast:  It’s possible to change your life mp3 (35min)

In this podcast I interview one of my self mastery audio course subscribers, Holly, who went to work making changes in her emotional state.  She not only wanted to rid her self of fear and judgments, she also wanted to get rid of old coping and compensating strategies that she spent so much energy on.  Holly call those energy draining strategies “Murphy-Proofing”.   Holly was about 8 1/2 months into taking real action when we did this interview.  I think you will agree that it is possible to change your self, and your life. If Holly can do it, then you can do it.

To some people it might sound as if I am podcasting an infomercial.  It just turned out that we ended up talking about a process that worked for her.  I didn’t do the podcast to claim that my program will work for everyone or that everyone should do it and how great it is. I did this show because I so often get asked questions from people in fear and doubt about whether they can really make changes in their life.  Is it really possible to be happy?  It might take some effort and some actions that are unfamiliar, and maybe even uncomfortable, but it can be done.  It is possible to change the emotional quality of your life, and your relationships. It’s possible to be happy.  If Holly can do it, then other people can do it.

Fear of Love and Happiness

It might be hard to believe that we fear love and happiness, but it is a real dynamic that happens in the mind.  It is easier to understand if we consider the mind to be a living being with many different aspects.  If we attempt to change our beliefs and behavior, then we are making changes to our personality.  We are essentially killing off false self images of our personality.  These aspects and self images have a life of their own like any living being.  They might very well respond with resistance and objection as any living being would to death. 

Fear of Emotional Change (mp3 Audio 30 min)

Those habits that we seek to let go of fight to stay alive in our personality.  When they react with fear to their impending end, we often mistake that fear as our own fear.  We might feel as if we are somehow going to die and that is uncomfortable.  In this way we resist change, even if the change will lead us to greater love and happiness.

Spiritual and religious traditions have often created ceremony and rituals around the death of false self images to help people move through this process.  The bottom line is that if we wish to make changes in our behavior and happiness, we will need to let go of aspects of our personality and be willing to let them die.  That process brings up a fear that we may be uncomfortable with.  In order to make real change towards happiness and love in our lives we will need the skills to deal with this fear of change.  This begins with awareness of what we are dealing with. 

Related Material

Obstacles and Resistance to Self Help

Overcoming Fear 

Fear and Overcoming Fear

Overcome fear by gaining mastery over your core beliefs.

Fear is that emotional force that drives us in a direction away from joy, happiness, and love.  Fear can paralyze us to the point that we feel helpless and suffocated.  Often fear appears irrational, but it only looks this way at the surface.  When you scrutinize the stories and agreements you generally find a logical dynamic in the mind.  The trouble is that while the fearful logic is rational, the core beliefs at their foundation are not logical at all.  It is the core beliefs that are irrational.

Podcast Audio: Overcoming Fear mp3 (24min)

If you have a desire to permanently overcome fear, then you will need to address the false core beliefs at their foundation.

Fear of public speaking isn’t about speaking in public.  It isn’t even about fear of failing, looking like an idiot, or other people judging you.  Failing, performing poorly, or other people’s opinion of us doesn’t hurt.  There is no emotional pain in any of these aspects.  However these events often trigger us to judge and reject ourselves.  It is self rejection that is emotionally painful.  The pain we seek to avoid is the pain of self rejection. The fear of public speaking is really a fear of triggering our own self rejection.

Self rejection is an act based on core beliefs about a false self image.   (See post and podcast on “feeling not good enough”

When you gain mastery over your beliefs you no longer believe stories of self rejection that occur in your imagination.  With Self Mastery you accept and love yourself just the way you are, no matter what.  With self acceptance you have immunity from emotional pain.  Without the threat of emotional pain you no longer have a reason to fear.  By practicing self acceptance you are no longer afraid of expressing yourself or failing.  You give your self permission to try something new.  You are not afraid of what others think about you.  You are not even afraid of what you will think of yourself.  No matter what happens you will not reject yourself.  When you no longer hurt your self in this way many of your fears go away.

Complete acceptance and unconditional love for your self will allow you to overcome your fears.

Take the first step.  Make the agreement with yourself that you will accept and love yourself just the way you are no matter what.

Related Material

Fear of Love and Happiness
More articles at Pathway To Happiness

Identify and Change Core Beliefs

What are core beliefs and how do you identify them? That’s what many people are realizing they need to do to change their emotional reactions. The problem is where do you look to find core beliefs? They are in the mind but can be hard to pin down, particularly when it is the mind that we use to go looking for them. The mind has difficulty identifying and recognizing itself much the same way that the eye doesn’t see itself.

Podcast Audio: Identifying Core Beliefs

If you want to find and change your core beliefs begin with the internal dialogue. That’s the stuff you think and hear in your mind when you are all by yourself. Pay particular attention to the comments and stories that have a lot of emotional charge around them. You are likely to find the bigger core beliefs in the topics that have more emotional reactions.

Once you write down the internal dialogue you then go back and decipher the structure and meanings behind those words. A comment as simple as “I’m disappointed with my performance” has a number of imbedded beliefs beyond just the obvious.
1) There are criteria in the mind that we hold of how well we “should” have performed. Call these expectations. In the beginning they are often hidden until we have an emotional reaction and go looking for them.
2) The comparison of our self against this imaginary image is grounds for self rejection. This comparison is what the inner judge does.
3) We also have the belief that we deserve the self rejection that our inner judge is placing on us. This is a victim interpretation. If we didn’t at some level agree we wouldn’t accept this self judgment.
4) We might also hold the belief that emotional self rejection will somehow make us “better.” The idea that punishment will help us avoid a bad behavior in the future is usually learned very young. Motivation through self punishment is the dynamic the beliefs are dictating.

5) By this logic the more unhappy we become the successful we will be. Pretty twisted the mind is in creating unhappiness. The term “No Pain, No Gain” may work in the gym, but it is not a healthy way to exercise the mind.

In the process of identifying core beliefs it is prudent to include the characters of the judge and victim that create interpretations. They are a big part of how these core beliefs determine our emotional reactions, what we feel, and the actions we take.

When you really notice the logic of the belief system it’s any wonder why you would allow your mind to go making decisions and having emotional reactions without your oversight.

In this audio I introduce you to the idea of looking beyond the internal dialogue to find core beliefs that are at the source of emotional reactions and drama in relationships. But that is only part of the process. The real transformation happens when you change them.

How do you change core beliefs? I’ve managed to break that down into a simple process of many simple steps. It takes a little effort to learn and practice but once you know how to do it, it is simple. You can learn how to inventory and change core beliefs in the self mastery audio program. The first few sessions can be downloaded free just by signing up with an email address.

Related material
Core beliefs about the body and body image
Core belief inventory about frustration with a boss
How to identify core beliefs

Impeccability and Gossip

Ask Gary
A friend of mine, Alice, broke up with her boyfriend. When I talked to another friend on the phone (she also knows Alice) I told her that Alice and her boyfriend broke up. Of course I asked myself the question: why am I sharing this info with my friend?   Would this be gossiping? So my question: where does the need to share information (without giving an opinion about it) with other people come from?  Which character does this?
Many thanks in advance,

Gossip and Impeccability 

You can find the reply at my new blog at impeccability and gossip

I wil be using this blog directory for podcasts only in the future.



Love Relationships Part II

Understanding Conflicting Desires

Our body has physical desires, our emotions have a desire to express love, and our mind has a desire to have its beliefs and expectations met.  This can create some internal conflict that gets more complicated when we add another person’s desires to the mix.  The desires from the body and emotions are natural and intrinsic.  The needs of the mind are artificial and often put limitations and unnecessary criteria on our emotions.

Love Relationships and Understanding Desire (mp3 Audio) Part 2

How do we deal with conflicts between what our mind says and what our emotions desire?  Being aware and conscious of the desires of the body, the emotions, and the mind create an opportunity to eliminate conflicts and make better choices.

People often make a list in their mind of what they want in a partner or a relationship in order to satisfy their desires.   They have in their mind what the relationship should look like, how they are supposed to be and how their partner is supposed to be.  This list is what the mind assumes will satisfy the emotional and physical wants.  This list is usually filled with expectations and beliefs of what the mind wants.  When this happens the mind becomes the master and the emotions become secondary.  This is a recipe for conflict in relationships because the mind doesn’t usually have good information on satisfying our emotional needs.

When the emotions of love and respect are given priority and the mind becomes the servant we have an opportunity for harmony.  By placing the emotional quality of the relationship as the priority we become aware of how we want to feel in our relationships.  How we feel becomes more important than what it looks like.  Our expectations and what it is supposed to look like become secondary.  Our mind then becomes the servant to make agreements, and manage expectations in order to honor the quality of love and respect.  The way we communicate becomes more respectful of how we feel and how our partner feels.  We address differences with the emotions of respect and kindness instead of with emotions of frustration and anger. We may still have disagreements to dissolve but we do it with a completely different approach.

When the agenda in the relationship is to meet the expectations and agreements in the mind it is with the hope and desire to satisfy our emotional and physical desires.  We might as well recognize that the emotions are the priority and stop letting the mind place the expectations first.

More on understanding how we create emotional drama in relationships in my article on the Relationship Matrix

Related Material

Love Relationships Part 1

Love Relationships Part I

Understanding Desire and Yearning in Relationships

Desires for a relationship come from deep within us.  They aren’t desires for a specific person so much as a need for expression and experience of connection and feeling that we can have with another person.  Those desires include the emotion of love, physical affection, and sexual satisfaction.  It is by satisfying our desires that we experience pleasure.  An intimate partner is a fabulous way to satisfy these desires, but not the only way.  The strength of these desires can be so strong when they are not met that they fee like yearning, or even painful aches.  The mind often seeks out relationship interactions to relieve us of these aches.

Relationship Desire mp3  (mp3 Audio ) Podcast

In a conscious aware relationship it is not just important to be present with our emotions and our desires.  We also need to manage the stories, expectations, and illusions in the mind that can create so much misunderstanding.  In this audio I outline some of the desires we have for relationships, and how the mind is programmed to create answers about satisfying those desires.  Of course the mind’s solution may not be the best one possible.  It can only choose the best one it sees within its limited paradigm of experience and beliefs.   This can lead to some unhappy and painful experiences in our relationships.

Understanding relationships includes awareness of our physical and emotional desires, as well as the mental constructs and expectations our mind creates. Our mind often interprets that a partner, soul mate, or some special match will be the answer to our needs.  This is an exaggerated responsibility to place on our partner for our happiness and leads to emotional drama and reactions.

Our yearning is satisfied by the expression of our love, not by receiving it from someone else.   It is the mind that makes assumptions about how our deep feelings will be satisfied and those assumptions, learned from an emotionally dramatic society, are usually wrong.  In a truly conscious and aware relationship you will have to manage the beliefs and expectations in the mind to enjoy happiness all the time.

Related Material

Love Relationship Part 2
Understanding Emotional Drama in Relationships

Relationship with Your Body

An audio course subscriber who had dissolved many of her beliefs about her body, and her body image wrote in with the following question. 

Dear Gary,
How do you care enough about your body in order for it to be healthy, without getting too stressed about it?

Dear M,


Treat your body like you would your favorite pet.  Would you feed your dog a candy bar?  Would you feed your body a diet coke?  Would you get your dog drunk or have it smoke cigarettes?  Would you feed your pet dog an extra helping of dessert?  No, and you wouldn’t let anybody else mistreat your dog that way either.

The remainder of this post is at the new blog 

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Can Money Buy Happiness?

Money can buy comforts and our comforts can help keep the mind distracted from fears that eat away at our happiness.  

Money doesn’t buy happiness.  Happiness is an emotional state.  From one point of view inanimate objects can’t create emotions within us.  The things money can buy does allow us to occupy our mind with things that we love.  It is through the expression of love for what we do that we create happiness.  It is not the money’s doing. 

The Dalai Llama lost his home, many of his people, and his country.  By most standards he lost everything   He’s not unhappy.  For him happiness is simply a matter of focusing his attention and expressing love.

Children, whether they are wealthy, or have almost nothing, are happy.  Much happier than the average adult.  It only takes a few examples of being happy without money that breaks the rules or our assumptions.  If we think that money relates to happiness it is because we look to the average adult for an example. 

We don’t notice the powerful effects our mind plays in focusing our attention and expressing emotion in the process of creating happiness.  There is a whole middle part the mind plays between the money and the emotion of happiness.  If we discount it we miss the truth about what really creates happiness.

Children and those that have developed a self mastery over their mind and emotions have a great deal more insight into creating happiness than the average lottery winner.

Ideas from Mother Jones , Consermist, and Dr. Deborah Serani blogs

Power Control Fear and Freedom

Inspired by Tim Boucher’s blog article on fear and power and way too much time in front of the computer screen.  

I’ve observed that many people who seek power do so out of self created fear.  Their mind drives scenarios of misfortune.  Without awareness, they invest belief in their imagined stories and create fear.  Their imagined stories usually involve some outside entity as the cause instead of accurately identifying their uncontrolled imagination.  To fend off the uncomfortable feeling of fear they form a compensating strategy involving protection from the imagined external foe.  Power is needed for protection to control the situation or another person.  This approach to safety does nothing to clear the mind of fear, only buries it under strategy.

Power could be in the form of knowledge, a witty put down, money, a gun, or a cell phone to call someone if the car won’t start.  It could also look like insurance, a legal agreement, or a big SUV for safety.  All are instruments to protect us from the uncomfortable thoughts in our mind.  What we cling to for safety seems very odd.  A feeling of safety is generated by health insurance, a cell phone, and money in the bank.  Yet at the same time we are on a tiny ball of dirt, with a liquid molten core, spinning at thousands of miles per hour, hurtling through space at tens of thousands of miles per hour, around an exploding fireball called the sun.  What part of this do we think we can control and protect ourselves from?  The only sane approach is to accept the reality that we are hurtling into the unfathomable unknown of life in every moment.  The mind may find this frightening. However consciousness, the soul, and the emotional body, experiences this dynamic of life as a euphoric freedom filled with inspiration and opportunity. I suppose you could choose either. 

Related Articles

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Controlling Relationships

Dear Gary,

In a situation like the one I am going through (overcoming jealous and controlling behavior that is alienating my partner), how do you avoid overcorrecting too far the other way. You want to avoid being passive aggressive so you hold back on what you say and do. But you don’t want to become completely submissive to your partner. How do you balance the feeling that you are being controlling when you are attempting to stand up for yourself. It seems like a catch 22.

Thanks, A. L.

Gary’s Perspective, 

Go to this post for a perspective of emotionally controlling relationships.  I’ll answer his specific question below.

Here are some places to start looking.

First the feeling of being controlling comes from the belief in being controlling. It will take some discernment not to apply this belief to every action you take. Be aware that at some point down the road, when you no longer exhibit controlling behaviors, you will have to drop this belief as well. With it will go the last of the feeling and judgment about it.

Two places to look to help with the discernment of being controlling in the relationship.

The first area to be self aware is the emotions. When you are expressing what you want, what is the emotional quality? Is it with kindness, respect and love? Or is there an edge of frustration disdain, anger or fear etc?

What is the emotional reaction, if any, if you don’t get what you want? If it is toxic, then you probably have some of that filtering into the request. Fear of your own reaction, or her reaction, is enough to put an edge on statement to stand up for yourself.

Some times we are standing up for ourselves but we do it with such an edge of emotion that it is perceived as an attack or rebuke because of the emotion we communicate. This can facilitate a reaction from the other party. Listen to my podcasat on emotional reactions for more detail on this.

Second area to apply some self awareness: Does expressing what you want include what you want from your partner? If standing up for yourself includes expectations and requirements of your partner then we may be crossing the line into being controlling, or pressuring.

Expressing what you want for your self that doesn’t affect her isn’t generally controlling. However, since you are married things are very closely intertwined. The actions you take for your self affect other people in the house including children.

In this type of situation when you choose something for yourself you affect other people. In this way honoring your self can be passive way to control another.

Something else that makes this more complex is the perception other people have. You might ask for something just for your self, with no requirements from your partner. It might be done with complete kindness and respect. But she may have a different interpretation of what you are asking, or how it will affect her. She might interpret it with filters of past behaviors. Amplified by her judge and victim archetypes she might interpret that you are being controlling when you are not. You say it with love and respect, but she interprets it through a different emotional filter.

Different interpretations about the same expression are common.

My suggestion: Talk with your partner about what you are saying and how she is interpreting it. Both of you put your filters on the table for inspection. Discuss how the interpretations are corrupting communication and affecting emotions.

Even bring the your questions about the Catch 22 to the conversation and ask for her input. The more you share with her your process the more open the communication becomes. This builds transparency, and honesty, and that builds trust.

That’s my first cut at it based on limited information. No blame, no fault, no judgments. To see all the layers, and there are probably a few, requires an inventory of the core beliefs, stories, characters, and emotions.

I hope this helps, Good luck in love,

The path can be as narrow as a razors’ edge.

from “The Razor’s Edge” one of my favorite movies.


Happiness As Choice

Most people spend their whole lives looking for some measure of happiness. Why is it so elusive?  What creates happiness?  People will tell you that material things or other people won’t make you happy.  Experts will advise you that in order to be happy you first have to make yourself happy. What they usually can’t explain is how to make your self happy. What I try to uncover in my work and in this audio is some of the mystery that surrounds an individual’s happiness. 

Happiness is a Choice mp3  ( 30 min Podcast Audio)

Happiness is simply an emotional state.  It is created by expressing emotions based in love.  If you express love, gratitude, and joy, you feel happy. If you create and express the emotions of fear, anger, or sadness, then you will experience fear, anger and sadness.  There are no hidden secrets to be revealed in order to live a joyful life.  Express love and you are on your way.

You are the creator of your emotions, and then you feel the emotions you create. We aren’t used to looking at our emotions with this sense of responsibility so it might seem a bit foreign.  It was a long time before I understood things this simply.   What can make it difficult to grasp is that we are used to having an intermediate step to our emotions.

Some of the required criteria the mind sets up might look like, “I will be so happy to lose 10 lbs.”   “It will be so nice to get away for the weekend.”  Through years of patterning we set ourselves up to express love only when certain criteria are met.  When this criteria isn’t met we deny ourselves the joy of expressing love and remain unhappy instead.

We often don’t notice the mental criteria we use to determine the expression of our emotions.  Because we overlook these mental factors, it appears that the source of our happiness is external.  More about this in my article on the Pursuit of Happiness.

When you gain mastery over your mental criteria you can choose when to express love without needing the world meet your mental construct.   Your mind can create some pretty complex criteria before allowing you to express love.  And that can be a big roadblock to living in a state of joy.

Why is happiness so elusive?  How we feel emotionally is determined by what we express and that can change moment to moment.  Our expression can change as fast as our mind changes a thought.  We can have a reaction to image in our imagination.  That emotional reaction is our expression that we then feel.  When our imagination goes uncontrolled our expressions are uncontrolled.  Without the ability to direct our mind and imagination, our ability to maintain happiness is elusive.

When you develop mastery over your thoughts, beliefs, and imagination you will have mastery over your expression.  In this way, happiness is no longer something you pursue.  Happiness is something that you exude and share.

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Emotional Reactions

When it comes to stopping or changing emotional reactions people often approach the problem like they are fixing a car.  They ask, “How can I change this reaction?” or “How can I stop my jealousy, anger, frustration etc.”  The assumption seems to be that if we change one thing the whole problem will go away.  People are looking for a fix as if it were like changing a spark plug.  In my experience this approach and attitude to change emotional reaction does more harm than good.

Podcast Audio:  Changing Emotional Reactions  mp3 29 min

Our desire to be free of emotional suffering and pain is real and authentic.  However, when we express our desire for change with an attitude laced with judgment, rejection, disdain, or frustration, it now becomes another emotional reaction.  We are now having emotional reactions about our emotional reactions. 

To change emotional reactions we would be better served to think of our mind and emotions as a garden.  It is a living growing field of emotional energy that we plant seeds in, water, nurture, and bring to life.  We want to nurture the fruit that bears emotions of joy and gratitude and we want to pluck out the weeds of fear and anger.  Every expression we make goes into that emotional field.  When you express judgments about emotional reactions you are planting and watering another weed in your mind.

We can’t get rid of the weeds by throwing weeds of judgment at them.  We are going to need a different approach in order to be effective.

Some people choose denial as a way to stop their emotional reactions.  I personally did emotional denial for a long time.  Growing up as a male in this society, I was unknowingly encouraged.  Fortunately I was so good at denying my emotions that I never felt guilty about it.  Think of this as spraying weed killer on the whole garden.  You kill the weeds, but you also kill the fruit.  You don’t feel much anger and pain, but you don’t feel any love, joy, or happiness either.  Numb is the word.   

Behaviors, perspectives, and beliefs that create happiness will take some time to grow strong roots.  You don’t expect trees to bear fruit in one week or one month.  You invest some effort and action in the beginning so that you can feed your self emotionally thereafter.  This is a garden approach that bears fruit.

You can fix a car in a hurry, but you have to grow an emotional field of joy and happiness with attention and patience.

At the same time there needs to be a continual weeding out of the beliefs and assumptions that create emotional reactions.  Keep an eye out for the interpretations in the mind that create reactions.  The seeds behind these emotionally harmful beliefs are archetype attitudes of the victim and the inner judge.  When we eliminate the seeds of the judge and victim point of view all our energy goes directly to the roots of love, gratitude, and happiness.

Each person has their own personal field of emotional energy that they have grown.  I am not saying this as a metaphorical statement.  It is a literal statement.  I’ll say it again.  Each person has grown their own personal field of emotional energy.  When we have an emotional reaction, that field gets agitated and we perceive its intensity.  In the book The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz refers to this field as a parasite that steals our energy.  Ekhart Tolle refers to this field as the Pain Body.  Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean that it isn’t real.  We don’t see emotions, but they can be powerful factors affecting our choices in life. 

Even if you don’t believe each person has an emotional field, it may help to think of issues using this model.  It will cause you to change the kind of question you ask.  It won’t be about fixing something that is wrong.  The questions will shift to, “How do I create and grow love and happiness in this situation.  When you ask a different question your mind opens to different possibilities.  It is also helpful to understand that you can completely transform this emotional field. 

One of the reasons that stopping emotional reactions is challenging is that we haven’t been introduced to ways to deal with our own emotional field.  It doesn’t respond the way we might think.  We might be attacking it like a car when it behaves more like a garden.  With the wrong approach our efforts to change emotions only agitate them further.  When you become more aware of how your emotional field operates, practice what to do, and what not to do, you can completely change your emotional reactions. 

In this audio podcast I discuss how this emotional field behaves, both with an individual, and in relationships.  Most importantly I cover what not to do, and why, when trying to change emotional reactions.  When you stop doing the things that agitate your emotional field, your emotional reactions dissolve all by themselves.  Learning to shift certain expressions is like not watering the weeds in the garden anymore.  When you don’t water weeds anymore they die. 
Topics covered in this audio are
Field of emotional energy and how it reacts
The Four Agreements: Impeccability
Judgment and rejection
Changing or fixing emotional reactions
What not to do
How the emotional field creates emotional reactions in relationships
Being the witness observer and why it is so important
Archetypes of victim, judge, and hero

Understand more about how the audio coaching sessions guide you to change emotional reactions located on my website.

The Law of Attraction Beliefs and Thoughts

I had a few thoughts on a post Steve Pavlina wrote about the Law of Attraction.  I look at it a little differently.  Maybe it is really the same but I am interpreting the words differently.  This is always a difficulty with language, particularly with written words. 

Steve writes: “The Law of Attraction simply says that you attract into your life whatever you think about.  Your dominant thoughts will find a way to manifest.”
I think it would be helpful to make a distinction between thoughts and beliefs. Because we have thoughts doesn’t mean that they will manifest.  If that were the case, teen age boys would be having a lot of sex.  When I was a teenager I had a lot of hidden beliefs about sex that were much stronger than thoughts.  It kept the action repressed.  The beliefs were very different than the thoughts.   

It isn’t the dominant thoughts that manifest.  It is the dominant beliefs that manifest through the law of attraction.  But there are still other forces out there beyond that.
I don’t see people manifesting what they think about.  I see them manifesting according to how they express themselves.  How they express themselves is based in their beliefs. Thoughts are a type of expression with very little power to manifest.  It is the emotion and beliefs behind them that do the attracting and creating.

We can observe conflict and have thoughts about it, without creating any conflict.  With acceptance and compassion we are aware of the conflict and can have expressions about it that are without victimization and judgment.  The result is no conflict within, and no conflicting expression created.  We have our attention on the chaos and can share thoughts about it.  Sharing compassionate thoughts about conflict, child abuse, or wars, doesn’t manifest them when done is this way. 

We can point to the transformation of apartheid in South Africa as an example.  That change didn’t happen because people stopped thinking about it. Change accelerated as more people were thinking about it.  The speed of change was facilitated by many people paying attention to the conflict and expressing in a constructive way about it. 

There is a distinct difference between the emotional quality we express ourselves with and what we are expressing about.  The emotional quality of expression is important in how we create.  It has much more power to manifest than thoughts.  The topic of discussion has very little to do with what is manifested. 

The strongest expression to manifest is belief.  When you have 100% belief in something, you have faith.   With a singleness of purpose you take action and can do things like pick up a car.  Later when asked what they were thinking, people reply to the effect that they weren’t thinking.  They just took action and did what needed to be done.  Creating with the power of faith has little to do with the mind and so thoughts are silent. 

Expressing belief and even faith can be silent.  It is more noticeable as a feeling,  specifically an attitude of confidence while expressing energy.  Most of the time people do not access the power of faith because they don’t have a strong enough need or their thoughts are too distracting.

Maybe some of these ideas are in the article, or Steve covers them elsewhere, but I thought the distinctions between thoughts, beliefs, and faith, were significant enough to mention.  An example of the difference between our thoughts and beliefs can be found when we do a core belief inventory.   

I’ve read enough of Steve’s stuff to know it is helpful material.  And he is also tireless in his pursuit.  If he hasn’t got the clarification between thought and beliefs somewhere in his site yet, keep reading because it will show up eventually.  Of course, they might also be right there in the words, but I’m not interpreting them the way he means them. 

At least that is the point of view from this perspective for this moment.

The Four Agreements and Hidden Assumptions

Of don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements most people will say that the hardest one to keep is Don’t Take Anything Personally.  I don’t agree.  The most challenging agreement is actually Be Impeccable with Your Word.  In taking something personal you take what someone said and express an interpretation that makes it personal.  We invest our faith in the belief that what someone says about us is accurate.   Your interpretation is the expression of your own word and it is a distortion from the truth.  Expressing your faith in your false interpretation is off the mark of impeccability.  Our interpretation also often has a component from the inner judge and victim voices’ in our head.

Podcast Audio: The Four Agreements: Hidden Assumptions mp3 (30 min)

Basically if you are taking something personally you are not being impeccable as well.  It also means we are making false assumptions about our self image.  It appears that not taking things personally is the agreement we most often break because it is the one we notice because of the emotions.   We dont’ usually have emotional reactions when we make assumptions, but we set ourselves up for them.

The interpretation we make has the assumption that what someone says really applies to us.  We don’t usually see this assumption because we are often busy in an emotional reaction by then.  The assumption might seem to be hidden but it is not.  It is out there plain as day but we aren’t use to noticing them.  In the same way we aren’t use to noticing the windshield of our car as we drive.  We train ourselves not to notice by looking right past what is filtering our vision.

How often do we make false assumptions?  If you are taking something personally you can be sure that you have some false assumptions in your perception and interpretation. 

How do you stop making assumptions that are the set up to emotional reactions?  The first step is always awareness.  You can’t change a behavior pattern until you realize and accept responsibility for doing it.  That includes patterns in the mind. 

In this podcast  I cover some places that assumptions hide.  I do a little poking around to show you what they look like.  I also show how they lead us down dark alleys chasing illusions in our mind.  Becoming aware of those dark alleys of mental illusions will make it easier to get out.

Some of the beliefs and stories I cover in this audio about Hidden Assumptions are:

What kind of parent am I?
Am I a bad mother?
Am I a good dad?
Ever wonder if you are a good lover? 
What is my life purpose?
Do you want to know what God knows?
Do you want to be like God?

For a look into how asking a different question can give send you in a different direction check out this article.  It proves that if you want better results then it helps to pay attention to the questions you ask.  Even if the questions appear essentially the same we come up with different answers.

Feeling Not Good Enough – Beliefs

I wrote an article about feeling not good enough. It relates to issues of insecurity. A big component of feeling insecure is the image of perfection that we create in our mind. When the voice in our head compares us to that image of perfection it concludes that we are not good enough. Buying into this comparison with an imagined self is what creates the feeling of not being good enough.

Feeling not Good Enough MP3 Audio podcast

It’s kind of silly to determine that we are not good enough based on an imaginary image in our mind but that is what we do with our beliefs. I battled this myself. When I unraveled the core beliefs structure behind the not good enough agreements a whole world of duality was exposed. When it was exposed to common sense awareness it fell apart because it was made of non-sense.

The feeling of not being good enough is created because we believe in stories and images in our mind that are not true. If I can change it, then you can change it too. I put the story in a podcast that you can listen to.

Related Material

Feeling “not good enough” and unworthy article

Empowerment Programs and Claims to Empower People

There are many programs and organizations that describe what they do as empowering people.  Empowerment of people might even be in their mission statement.  This is common language among personal development and personal growth organizations.  The idea is appealing, and the organizations probably do good work.  However be aware that there is a hidden sabotaging message behind the symbolic offer to empower you.

The rest of this post has been moved to the new blog at: 

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Judge and Victim Stories in the Mind

Hi Gary,

After doing the first couple exercises that you gave us I begin to see the whole (or part of) judge-victim story. Man, how many judges and victims are there?  It is a bit overwhelming sometimes. So, my question is; is it ‘normal’ to feel a bit powerless, to think that there are just too many beliefs to change?  It’s tempting to give in to the judge and say ‘forget it, I cannot do this’. Any ideas on how to silence that judging voice or should I just hold on and will I learn how to do that as the audio coaching sessions progress?
Thank you for your time,
M ______

The response to this post is now on my new blog at:

Stop Thinking about Thinking

I happened upon a website called Pop Occulture which is no longer active. It is a blog by Tim Boucher. I liked the article he wrote on overcoming thought addiction. That’s when your mind won’t stop making commentary. And when your mind becomes aware of what it is doing it makes comments about all the comments it makes.

I sent an email to Tim and offered to show him how he can turn off his internal dialogue. We should be able to do it in about 20 minutes over the phone. Afterwards he should be able to do it on his own at will. He seems game for it and we will carve some time into our schedules. It is a technique that I teach to my clients and in workshops. It is a way of shifting perception that takes out the filter of commentary that the mind layers over what we see.

Check back for the results. If Tim posts anything about the experience I’ll put a link to what he writes. In the meantime I’ve had a chance to read a couple other posts and I like is material. Check it out.

UPDATE: Tim eventually took me up on the offer and I am now getting around to putting the link up to the post he wrote about his experience. We had a phone call and I walked him through one of the 14 exercises from my Self Mastery program. The circumstances were not ideal, but he was able to experience his mind stop thinking.

I saw this post that I wrote a ways back.  Update on Tim’s experience.  He found what he was looking for.  His heart was opened, and his mind discovered peace and quiet.   It wasn’t the single exercise that I shared with him in one phone call that did it.  He kept working at it and over time he broke free of the noise from all that internal dialog.  He wrote about the experience but that post got taken down.

The Word “God” in Prayer

Dear Gary,

After reading the articles on your website (very inspiring by the way).  (early website  I don’t know which article she was reading.)    I was wondering how you would describe the concept of ‘God’. I find myself struggling with the meaning and the word ‘God’. For me the word God is associated with a person sitting somewhere up in heaven, telling people what’s right and wrong, who are sinners and who are not. In my eyes, this is a God made up by people and it’s not a God that I can relate to.
How would you describe ‘God’? Do you have any suggestions on another word to use, when referring to a ‘higher spiritual force/being’?
Many thanks in advance,

Response to this question has been moved to my new blog at

Thank you,


Respect in Relationships


My lover consistently takes actions I feel are disrespectful and my reaction is that my desire to do loving things for her (sweet talk, flowers, even regular conversation) decreases dramatically.

Q1 How do you determine whether you are withholding your love or preferring not to be disrespected?

Curiously, JS

The reply to this question has been moved to the new blog at

More articles at 


The Truth Doesn’t Hurt

It is sometimes said that the truth hurts.  

This isn’t my experience. Often there is a pain that comes with a truthful realization, but the hurt isn’t from the truth.  The pain is from the shattering of our illusions in the mind.  There is literally an energetic field of energy that breaks ups when an illusion breaks.  Sometimes this happens quickly.  Other times the uncomfortable emotion may linger for a while as the emotional energy invested in the illusion dissipates.  This process affects our emotional body and it can feel uncomfortable, even painful.

This post is continued on the new blog at



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