Self-Reflection is good – but too much of it isn’t! – 24 Sep 16

I have started writing a little bit about self-reflection yesterday. I explained how great it is to look back and marvel about your development. Today I would like to go a bit further into the question as to how far you should actually go with your self-reflection – because I know a lot of people who go much too far!

How can you go too far with self-reflection, you ask? Well, it all starts with a little judgement. We all think about our past from time to time. That is nothing bad, as I said yesterday, however there are some people with the tendency to self-criticism who look at the past and start judging each of their decisions, regretting several or complaining about the outcome. One thought of the past turns into a whole series of negative thoughts and even complaints.

This will not actually bring you any further. It won’t help you on your way and you really won’t be any happier from this! In fact, it will only put you down because you won’t start thinking about what you can do now but only lament about the past!

Putting yourself down is actually one of the best ways to get into depression and waste time for at least several hours, if not much more if it becomes a habit!

Think about how you can be more positive. Consider your actions with others and right away implement any changes that you think you should do – so that you have a positive effect in the presence. This will help you get something positive out of your self-reflection instead of bringing yourself down!

Check yourself: are you a Control Freak? – 15 Sep 16

Today I would like to write you about a rather complex problem which is not easy to solve or even to recognize for the person having it. Nearly always however it leads to the state which is nowadays called ‘burnout’. So if you read this and realize that you are going down this path, you may even be able to avoid burnout before it even happens. If you recognize it in someone else, please let them know, too – it is important to stay sane!

The problem starts with people having an urge to control. You can call them control freaks but even without wanting to be impolite and rude, you can express that they feel the need to check on everyone in the surrounding whether everything is done right. Generally, this seems like nothing too bad. The problem is however when this intensifies over time, usually over the course of some years.

This kind of people don’t stop with just having a look at what others are doing. No, they start giving completely unnecessary instructions before and during any process. They tell what is actually obvious. They come to check in on others although it is clearly not their task. They think ahead and in all directions possible where else they have to supervise, control or give advice.

You see where this is going? There are two consequences and both are not pleasant at all. Number one: people start disliking you if you are like this. Of course! It makes you feel bad if someone all the time comes over and points out what you are doing wrong. Or reminds you of things you would have known to do yourself! You feel as though the other one thinks you are a complete moron – why else would he show you, tell you and advise you for things you have lots of experience with or simply know how to do yourself? You would like to choose yourself, do things at your pace instead – and the result would be the same!

Number two is something that is maybe harder to notice than the growing dislike of your surrounding: you get into a lot of mental pressure if you do this! The reason is that it becomes a habit for you to think about every possible topic and try to find a solution for every problem. Along with that, you develop the idea that you are necessary for finding all these solutions and it would not happen if you were not there! Over the course of time, this thought gets bigger and bigger – subconsciously of course – and you find yourself thinking that you are responsible for each and everything. Inside yourself, you believe that everything would collapse without you. Nothing would work, you have to do it all.

That’s how burnout happens. You do and you do and you do and suddenly, the easiest task is too difficult. Stop before! Realize that the world was turning before you started controlling everyone and everything. The show will go on without you, too! You are allowed to take some time out and you can rely on others to complete their tasks successfully, too!

Please notice when you feel like you are the one who has to do everything himself. Notice when you tell someone what he would anyway already know and next time stop yourself before even saying it. Reduce your pressure by taking time out and occupying your mind otherwise. Enjoy that time and you will see that it gets better! You will get along better with others and be able to relax.

Most of all: you will save yourself from real trouble later on!

Have Fun – especially when Life is hard at the Moment! – 7 Sep 16

I yesterday gave a few ideas as to what you can do when it all just gets too much. I mentioned that you need some time for yourself and also time to wind down in the evening before going to sleep. For anybody who is facing such a situation or other problems like burnout, there is one more very important thing which you have to calculate some time for in your day: fun!

Yes, that is a very important part which you have to remember: don’t forget that enjoying life is an integral part of being alive! When you are in the middle of a problem and don’t seem to find a way out, it doesn’t get into your mind that life could be fun in any way. That is the issue however: as long as you don’t take even a few minutes in a day to enjoy, your mental and emotional situation will get worse and worse!

For everyone, there are different ways to enjoying life. For some it can be playing with their kids, for others it is taking a run in the park, for others it can be dancing in a club and again for others it can be having a nice dinner with friends. Whatever it is, remember to put away your sorrows and enjoy those moments.

If anybody criticizes you for it – because it seems immoral to have fun in such a difficult situation – just wave them off. I wouldn’t even bother explaining because anybody who really cares for you would see the effect: laughing and enjoying recharges your batteries like nothing else. It helps you cope even with the worst of events. You will be able to see things in a different light and deal with situations better.

Mostly, we are anyway not in the worst situations that life can bring. There are often people who are much worse off than we are: refugees whose complete families have been killed by war and who had to leave their country due to this, parents who cannot afford feeding their children and have to see them hungry,… the list is long. We are usually not one of these. Mostly, we can find someone whom we can look at and discover that our problems are really not as big.

So let’s take out a few minutes, just a short time in a day and enjoy life. It is truly important and helps you so much. Once you are through your ordeal, you can look back and say: oh yes, it was a difficult time but those moments made me get through it!

And you will get through it one day!

Anxiety, Depression or Burnout? – Meditation Guide by an Atheist and former Guru – 15 Oct 15

A lot of people nowadays have problems with depression, panic attacks and anxiety, they suffer from burnout after a huge amount of stress they have to bear in their daily life. I have met a lot of them, I have spent time with many, I have talked with and counselled them. I have meditated with them and today I would like to write a little guide for those who are in this situation. You may think of today’s blog entry that it is bordering on being esoteric and going against what I usually write here. I also know that I have once written meditation doesn’t need guidance – but I know that this has actively helped a lot of people! It may help someone to read this today.

Here are a few lines for you if you ever feel like the world is crushing down on you. If you feel like you are alone. If you feel like nothing can ever be good again.

First of all, calm down. Let’s relax the body first – the mind will follow. Sit on a good chair or comfortably on the floor, your back to a wall and breathe. Close your eyes if you feel alright with it, otherwise concentrate on any small item close to you. A button, a flower or a pattern on a curtain for example. Concentrate on your breathing and count. Three slow counts in, five slow counts out. Let your heartbeat slow down.

Now we’ll relax every muscle, one after the other. Start with your toes. Think of the muscle strings that lead until your toes. Move on to your feet, ankles, up the legs, taking your time. Feel each limb consciously. If you are in pain at any point, register it but don’t stick there with your thoughts. Move up to your hip and further up, through your belly and back until the shoulders. Relax the muscles there, through the complete neck, into the arms and down until your fingers. Again, bring awareness to each single finger – and feel how tension leaves your body.

Once you have reached this point, you are already quite far and will notice that your mind is much calmer already. Now simply realize a few things by consciously bringing them to your awareness:

Whatever happens, life will go on. You are breathing, you are alive.

You are not alone. No matter how many of your friends or relatives have let you down, there are people on this world who can help you. And there are people who care about you as well!

You are strong. You have come until this point and you will make it further.

There is a light in the darkness that you see around you. Once you feel strong enough, stand up and reach for it. Do you still feel alone? Call someone who can help you – a friend, relative, a therapist or even a hotline! If you need help, don’t hesitate to get it!

Most of all, don’t look back and don’t feel guilty or ashamed. It’s alright to have such moments or periods of time. We will grow with them. We will come out even stronger than before!

Meditation – A fake Idea to tame your Mind – 13 Apr 15

Today I would like to write about a topic that I believe is always important, no matter how many times I have talked or written about it: meditation. Meditation and the many different ways of it that exist, that are promoted and with which people struggle. And here we get to my main point: meditation should never be a struggle!

It is true, for many people it is just that: a fight against their own mind. Their purpose and reason to sit down on their mat may be relaxation in the first place but the execution of this plan does not normally work the way it should. The reason is that they think – or get told by popular meditation guides – that their aim is to stop thinking. That their mind should be empty, without thoughts.

What happens is however that they sit down on the mat and their mind starts going everywhere else and does anything but staying with them in the present moment. They have thousands of thoughts, travel to the most distant countries in their mind and then realize: oh no, I should be here, on this mat and in this moment! They get angry at their mind, frustrated about the fact that they are not able to keep it in the presence and just all in all upset.

The next time they decide to meditate, it is as though they shield themselves for a battle. The battlefield is the yoga mat or their meditation cushion. They go in their armour and with their weapons: incense sticks, calming music and maybe even recordings of instructions how to breathe and how to meditate. They are ready for the fight!

The battle is hard, both opponents are strong, the mind fighting with sometimes unfair means. The outcome is usually a victory for the mind!

You won’t tame your mind like this. Maybe sometimes you feel like you managed but the next time you try, you will realize you didn’t! I tell you however that there is a different, much easier way: let your mind go!

Yes, you don’t need to struggle and fight! You have enough struggle in your daily life, which is why you have the wish to relax your mind in meditation in the first place! Let it go and relax! The aim is to be in presence – but not necessarily with crossed legs on a yoga mat!

You can just do whatever you feel like doing, be that going for a walk, swimming, reading, painting or even working. Just immerse yourself in what you are doing. Don’t multitask, don’t think of the hundred other things you should be doing but get into your actions with your complete being. If you are painting, think of the colours, if you are walking, smell, breathe, be in your body, if you are working, get fully into your work! That is real meditation – when you are aware of what you are doing, no matter what that is!

If you are constantly ready to fight with your mind, it cannot ever relax! Be in peace with your mind and you will notice that your mind will relax as well! Don’t fight – let it go!

Keeping the mind open for the other – how my Wife and I influence each other – 19 Mar 15

Yesterday I wrote about the dangers of giving others access to your mind. Letting others close enough for them to influence your mind and your world is of course just natural and also necessary for a fulfilled life. Although there are dangers if the wrong people influence you, there is also the possibility of the most beautiful exchange of influence: in love, with your partner, spouse, loved one.

When you are in love and in a relationship, you open your everything to the other one. That's at least what you should do to have an honest and healthy bond of love. The other one needs to be able to know you, to understand your way of thinking, to see your world and to get to know every bit of it. What you are imagining, what your motivation is and why you are reacting the way you do. Only like this, you will have this deep connection.

It is a process that takes a while and that doesn't only reveal the other one to you but you to the other as well. You will find good and bad in the mind of the other and cannot be afraid to show your own dark spots as well. It is a journey that you take together – and you cannot avoid getting influenced and influencing at the same time!

Ideally, you take the good of each other, understand your own weakness and accept it. You can learn from the other one and implement what you find in your own life as well! Finally, you embark on a further journey of development together!

I can tell you from experience that it is the most beautiful, exciting and wonderful trip you can ever make!

Ramona and I have spent eight years together on this path and we cannot count the many ways that we have influenced each other! Coming from two different cultures, speaking at first in a language that is not my mother tongue nor hers, then learning each other’s mother tongues, getting to know the other one deep inside and just being there, changing with each other and with everything that comes to us from the outside. We grew together. A lot.

It is difficult for me to explain how exactly Ramona influenced my mind but she did very much. I was able to open myself to my partner and she to me. There are no layers anymore in between us. And that is why we are proud of our relationship.

Of course we remember that especially on days that are special for us – like today, Ramona’s birthday. Eight years ago, I sent her birthday wishes for the first time. Looking back, we can see just how much we have already changed together with each other. And I am looking forward to a lot of changes in the coming years and decades!

Happy Birthday Ramona!

The Dangers of giving someone Access to your Mind – 18 Mar 15

I yesterday wrote about mental and physical dangers of creating an imaginary world far away from reality. There is one more danger which I have not mentioned so far, as there needs to be said a bit more: when you allow someone to influence your imagination, your belief and thus your world – and he or she takes advantage of that!

If you have followed my explanation day before yesterday on how we all create our own world, you can understand already what I mean with that. We normally have our own thoughts and imaginations and when we decide to put belief in certain ones, it becomes reality for us. Now imagine someone being able to manipulate your thoughts! It will change your world, your reality!

It can be a lot of different people who actually have this influence. It starts with parents, who for exactly this reason have a huge responsibility: they have access to soft minds that are there to be shaped and formed. They create worlds. Your family, then teachers, friends and later more people whom you trust or whom you consider as authorities, whose thoughts you appreciate. This includes all kind of leaders, spiritual, religious or even political!

A responsible person will take care of the people whose thoughts he or she can influence. Obviously, this power can as well be misused – and you probably know about the thousands and thousands cases in which gurus, religious leaders and heads of sects have done exactly that: they use their influence not to help people but to make them obey their word, to make them do as they say. To control them, manipulate them and often enough do things that helps nobody else than the leader himself. They are brainwashed, fed with thoughts and imaginations, made believe and thus placed into a world, created by their outside, directed and controlled.

The result: the guru, sect or organization gets richer every day, the more people submit themselves to their influence. These followers, like blind sheep, live in that world, follow orders and even cut decade-old ties, break friendships and break with their families. Many of them stay in this manipulated world for years and years. Sometimes forever.

For some, there comes a point at which they suddenly have a doubt. The doubt grows and they finally start thinking on their own again. It seems dangerous, it is like learning to walk again! And of course it destroys their whole world which they have got used to for years. Their guru, whom they respected and loved, is suddenly an enemy and with him or her all their current friends as well.

So someone can actually control your mind if he gets access to your creation process. But only if you allow this access! Take good care whom you let come this far – and once you feel that he takes advantage of this privilege or doesn’t use it responsibly, deny access!

Take care of yourself!

Creating your own Reality too far away from Reality – 17 Mar 15

I told you yesterday about the power of your imagination and belief, how you create your own world and how everyone around us does the same. You have every possibility that your fantasy can give you but there is a very big danger to this: you have to stick to certain limits that reality gives you, otherwise you can get hurt, ill and in mental conflicts.

Unfortunately I have seen this happen with people in both, religion and the esoteric scene. They create their own world but with imaginations that don’t stick to the laws of physics. They are flying in the air, often unaware that their belief cannot be real, is proven to be wrong. They get lost in their world, even claiming that things which everyone accepts as proven facts are actually wrong.

That is where it becomes dangerous. It doesn’t hurt anybody if you believe in a soul, in energy, in angels. It can be good for you, you can take willpower and strength from this belief. It can even help you overcome certain physical problems. You just need to take care not to take this too far. Yes, meditation, visualization and positivity or prayers may help you to deal better with pain or a headache for example but when you break your bone, you will need to go to a doctor, there is no way around it.

I know that there are nowadays people who perform ‘spiritual surgery’, claiming to do surgery and cutting out pieces of the body without a knife, without even cutting skin. They make these ‘patients’ believe that they are actually curing them, using chicken blood to make dramatic effects. It is dangerous because they won’t go to see a real studied and certified doctor!

A lot of people don’t only get deceived by others but make themselves believe a whole lot of these things. Coupled with a vivid fantasy, they soon have worlds full of fairies, angels and energies. Their worlds are mixtures of fantasy books like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, esoteric texts and lectures they have read and heard and of course religious mythology of various countries! Things are black and white, there are good energies and bad ones, you get sucked out by bad ones that make you ill and all of this is responsible for everything bad in this world.

For some people, this has been the road in mental illness. Their world and the real one, the basic one which we all share with certain physical laws, principles and facts that you cannot avoid, have drifted too far apart! They are only flying in the air and have no connection anymore to what we others call reality. They get paranoid, hearing voices that are not there, seeing dangers where there are none. They get scared of things that are only in their imagination and their own world.

It is dangerous, physically and mentally, to be living so far off in your own imagination, belief and creation that you ignore reality. The reality that others share, not the one that you have created! Please keep that in mind when you try believing in something else, when you decide to put your belief in another imagination. Stay with both feet on the ground, in the real world!

You create your World – for Placebo Effects and Happiness! – 16 Mar 15

Today I would like to write about a very interesting phenomenon of our life: how we create our reality with our imagination and thoughts. If you just believe in something, you start creating it – and bring your thought into real life. In this way, we all live in our separate worlds.

The other day we were sitting in my father’s room after dinner and I watched his actions with fascination: he took out a tablet of Ayurvedic medicine, put it in the mouth, then opened a bottle of club soda and swallowed the tablet with that. Upon looking down, he saw my questioning look and answered the unspoken question: ‘With club soda, medicine works better!’

We all had to laugh and he, too, couldn’t help but join in while still remaining firm on his point that any medicine’s effect would be better and quicker if you took it with sparkling, fizzy water instead of just plain water.

Psychologically, this obviously has a great effect, a placebo effect, created by yourself, your own imagination, thoughts and mind! Of course, depending on which symptom you took it for, pain can get less, you feel better, you have the impression that you have more blood, that your blood is healthier or that your skin is itching less. Because there was a fizz in your water!

What this example shows very clearly to me is that we are the creators of our own world. With our belief, we can enforce a thought or an imagination so much that it becomes reality – at least for us.

This works perfectly well in the complete esoteric field, where there is no proof for any claim, any thought, any imagination you have! There is no biological, physical proof that what you are saying is wrong – so you can always believe it is right. And if you put your belief in it, it is reality for you that there are angels that guide you, that you are connected to certain energies that can harm you or that you can talk to dead people. Or, for that matter, that God exists.

Obviously everything surrounding religion also falls into the same area. The belief in a divine being, in rules that he – or she – has set for humans on this world, that you commit a sin if you don’t follow and that you are saved if you obey. That a prayer can save you, heal you, help you.

Imagination, belief and finally your reality. You can believe what you want, it can become true for you. There is great power in this but at the same time great danger. About these dangers, I will write tomorrow.