Abundance

The flow of abundance in life is directly related to our personal “reality”. It’s been shown that we tend to receive exactly what we expect, although often our “expectations” can be largely subliminal and can consist not only of our conscious thoughts and feelings, but also of those that we’re not really all that aware of normally. Of course, even “abundance” can be broadly interpreted and quite subjective. What you or I consider an abundant life will no doubt be vastly different from either a billionaire investor or a beggar on the streets of New Delhi.

Abundance might be material, for example, earning enough to meet all the physical needs of our family; having plenty of food, clothing, a comfortable place to live, and other physical resources. It might, on the other hand, be far more abstract: abundant relationships, a wealth of personal experiences—for some, abundance might be visiting the ocean and watching the sun setting. It might be simply having mental and emotional health and happiness, regardless of external circumstances.

Even if we think of abundance mainly in financial terms, what do we really mean? After all, what is money? Isn’t it merely a symbol? Do small pieces of paper, round metallic discs, or numbers in a digital file have any real value in and of themselves? Of course not. We have simply agreed collectively that these symbols will represent the stored energy of “worth” or “value”. But isn’t this “value” also quite subjective? Isn’t this value simply whatever we decide, collectively, that it is?

Are tickets to a Beyoncé concert really worth the same as it would take to feed a family of four for two weeks? So if the value of money is merely symbolic, and even the comparative value of the various resources which money represents is personal and subjective, doesn’t true value come down to a personal choice? When we limit our assessment of our own abundance based on how much money or material possessions we happen to have at a given moment, that limitation is a perceptual one, not an actual one.

We do need certain physical resources to be healthy and secure. We need food. We need shelter from the elements, appropriate clothing, a safe environment, etc. If we have anything more than these, isn’t that a form of material abundance? I’m not saying we shouldn’t aspire to more, I’m simply suggesting that we might consider opening to reinterpretation some of our unexamined self-defeating perspectives on our own moment-to-moment conditions and circumstances.

Ultimately abundance is an experience, and because of the amazing creative, goal-seeking capabilities of our subconscious minds, when we choose to experience our current circumstances as abundant, we begin naturally creating, attracting, and manifesting more of whatever we personally value. The choice to experience abundance here and now, regardless of our current situation, powerfully re-programs the goal-seeking subconscious mind to unerringly seek out and bring about the “goal” of more abundance, in whatever form is most meaningful.

This is why gratitude is such a powerful creative energy. Gratitude is a potent psychological/emotional state which programs the subconscious mind to seek out, create, and attract more of whatever we are most grateful for. Essentially I’m making the case for choosing to experience this moment, in whatever form it may present itself, as filled with abundance. Because in truth, it is. Life itself is filled with an abundance of experience: physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Why not celebrate it here and now, and thereby create more of the same?

Podcast Interview

I’m really excited to announce that I’ve just been featured in a prominent national blog and podcast interview on JenningsWire.  Here’s the intro to the blog post:

Inspirational speaker, human potentials expert, and award-winning magician, Mitch Williams, is the author of the book, A Call to Magic – the Artful Science of Transforming Self and World. Mitch offers practical solutions to help us completely reframe our lives and to consistently experience more happiness, fulfillment, and peace of mind. He challenges us to bring some real “magic” into our lives and “magically” transform not only our own lives but also the lives of those around us as well.

READ MORE…

Resistance Causes Persistence

What you resist persists

It is a simple and basic truth that in the process of self-improvement, personal-transformation, achieving goals, or for that matter, in life in general, the more we struggle against the various obstacles in our way, the stronger they become and the more difficult to overcome. This is true regardless of whether the obstacles are inner, personal blocks and negative habit patterns, or outer circumstances, situations, or other factors that stand in the way of realizing our objectives.

That’s why things like the “war on drugs”, the “struggle against injustice”, and the “war on terrorism” are all doomed to failure, so long as this is the context and framework through which we perceive and approach these and other similar issues. I’m often reminded of the aphorism from the Star Trek television programs that “resistance is futile.” I’d expand on that to say that resistance is not only futile but is in fact extremely counter-productive.

But why should this be so? Why should fighting against something only serve to further empower it?

The answer lies in the working out of a basic and foundational principle of human nature—the fact that we are at our most fundamental levels essentially creative beings. Whether we know it or not, regardless of whether we acknowledge it or believe it to be true, human beings are constantly creating—everything in our lives! We are using our innate creative capacities in every moment of every day—for good or ill. This is the wonderful (or potentially terrible!) magic of being human.

In his classic self-help book Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz introduces his far-reaching discovery that human beings function as “goal-seeking servo-mechanisms”, like a guided missile that is programmed to seek out and find its target. This is how our creative abilities function.

Essentially, whatever we program into our subconscious mind, it accepts as a goal and immediately goes to work to bring it about as a present and fully realized fact. We “program” our subconscious mind by visualizing or holding a mental image of whatever it is that we wish to create or achieve. This basic creative human ability goes on continuously without our conscious awareness, and it functions perfectly and consistently regardless of whether we know it or not.

This is true whether the images we hold in our imagination are deliberately chosen and consciously applied or simply consist of whatever thoughts and emotions we happen to have from one moment to the next. If we don’t consciously and deliberately choose our inner landscape, the subconscious mind will instead go to work creating the results that best reflect whatever—negative or positive, purposeful or haphazard, progressive or destructive—imagery we happen to hold in our minds regularly. This is especially true of inner images that are emotionally charged in some way, since strong emotions act as a powerful energizing and activating force for our subconscious mind to create, attract, and manifest our goals.

As powerful and far-reaching an understanding as this no doubt is, what does it have to do with why we only empower that which we struggle against? Why is it that, as psychologist Carl Jung asserted, “What you resist, persists. What you fight you get more of.”?

It is simply because when we struggle against something, we’re sending a clear and distinct message to our goal-seeking subconscious mind. When we believe we must struggle against something, we’re essentially saying that it (whatever we resist) is powerful and is a potent obstacle to realizing our desired outcome. The subconscious mind then accepts this premise as a goal and dutifully goes to work to bring it about.

And the more we struggle against and resist—literally anything—the more potently we program the subconscious mind to further empower whatever we struggle against in our experience of it. It becomes a vicious cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies.

So how do we escape this destructive cycle? Does this mean we should ignore obstacles in life or refrain from trying to get through them? Not at all.

If we wish to make progress in any area of life, it is absolutely necessary that we address those obstacles which prevent our moving forward towards whatever objectives we set for ourselves. But the most effective way of addressing a situation is never in resisting it. It’s in bringing awareness to it.

Resistance and struggle come from a negative, emotional perspective on the situation that more often than not has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual situation itself. Limiting circumstances, whether they are inner limitations or outer obstacles, are simply a set of conditions, neither inherently good nor bad. When we judge them as “bad” or “intolerable”, that’s just an emotionally based distortion based on fear.

To address any obstacle truly effectively, simply notice it. Bring your attention to it, and examine it dispassionately. If some response is appropriate and necessary, you can then take positive action without the need to fight against anything! Through attention, you become more aware of the true nature of the obstacle, and through this awareness will arise naturally an intuitive sense of an appropriate response, which is always moving towards your objective, rather than resisting the obstacle.

No resistance is necessary.

While the application of this principle may be a bit more complex in many cases, nonetheless as we practice bringing non-resistant attention to any situation, the obstacles invariably begin to fade away and in many cases even resolve themselves. Whether the obstacle is an inner block or an outer concrete situation, if you make your only intention to see the situation clearly, sooner or later the solution will become blatantly obvious. You’ll know exactly how to address it, and its resolution becomes simple, straightforward, and inevitable. (So long as you don’t slip back into resistance again!)

Resistance causes persistence, but awareness brings resolution and progress. Still in doubt? Try if for yourself and see!

The Magic of Transformation

transformation

The essence of “magic” is transformation , beginning first in the imagination and ultimately manifesting in the outer world of our everyday life.   This is true regardless of the type of transformation.  Personal transformation works the same as group transformation.

We envision a different outcome, and then we move towards its realization. This is the magic of creating “something from nothing”; of beginning with a simple vision of a new possibility and then bringing it into material reality. Transformation is a given. It is an unavoidable and foundational aspect of nature itself. All matter in the universe is in a constant dance of continuous transformation.

We human beings are in the unique position of being able to deliberately and consciously (or mindlessly and unconsciously!) direct the specific nature of the transformation in our immediate and extended environment. We can choose what forms the transformations, both within us and around us, will take. These choices begin in our creative imagination.

If we don’t consciously and deliberately direct the images held within our minds, (which is how we program our subconscious minds for creative transformation) our creative energy will instead act upon whatever images we are holding by default. If we worry or complain or judge, those negative “thought-forms” become the “goals” that our subconscious mind acts upon, directing the transformations in our lives to create similar negative events, circumstances and outcomes.

This is the “dark magic” of the ego or fear-based false self. We can instead choose to take charge of our minds and direct them to positive, progressive, beneficent outcomes, through simple mental discipline. This is as true of an individual as it is of a group, a society, or of all of humankind as a whole. And as units within the whole of humanity, we each play a part and help to direct the transformations that we manifest collectively in each moment.

Whether or not we will create new transformations is not a question. Transformation is a fundamental law of nature. The only real question is what direction the transformations will take. And we, individually and collectively, choose that direction, for good or ill.

We are all “magicians of transformation”. We all have the ability, and the responsibility, to direct the transformations of our personal and collective worlds.

As an individual, what are you choosing to make the focus of your inner mental and emotional movie screen? Do you expend the majority of your time and energy focussed on terrorism, poverty, despair, and hopelessness? Or do you choose to deliberately envision a future of harmony, cooperation, and shared abundance? Where and how we focus our imagination determines what we are bringing into the world through the use of our innate magical creative abilities, both for ourselves and for the world as a whole.

Choosing a focus of hatred, prejudice, “otheration”, worry, negativity, frustration, anger, blame, finger-pointing, and complaining all create specific forms of transformations in our outer landscape, whether we realize it or not, and whether we want to admit it or not. We are all creating the world around us, in each and every moment.

Creating unconsciously through fear and anger is simply a form of abdicating responsibility through mental laziness. If we want to see a better world, we must discipline ourselves to see a better world, first in our imagination and in our belief in positive possibilities. This is how the magic of transformation works.

First we must envision the transformation we want. We then empower the vision with emotion and belief. Once it becomes crystal clear in our imagination, we begin automatically acting on its manifestation. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. And we get to decide which ideas’ time has come through our imagination and our belief.

The entire world around us is the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why not predict a better world, both for ourselves, and for everyone else as well. The choice is always ours to make. Will we make it? Will you?

Great Conversation!

In case you missed it, I had a terrific, inspiring conversation with Teal Gray and Tui Snider on the Teal Gray Worldwide Radio program on Tuesday night.  We talked about my book, about magic (both the performing kind, and the “magic of life” kind!), and got in-depth on the topics of inspiration, creativity, higher awareness, and living in the moment.  If you’d like to check out the replay, you can access it HERE.

Radio Interview

Just a quick note that I’m being interviewed this evening on the Teal Gray Worldwide radio program, beginning at 7:00 PM CST.  Be sure to tune in…  I’ll actually planning to do some magic on the radio program!

Sharing Thoughts on TV

In case you missed it, here’s the Facebook video of my appearance on News 25 Today from earlier this morning.  I share some thoughts with Garry and Gina, and even use my book, A Call to Magic!

Still Relevant Today…

I caught this interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the old Merv Griffin show this evening.  His comments on the Vietnam war are to my mind still as relevant to our situation today as they were at the time.  We so need clear thinkers like Dr. King who was able to so articulately spell out the specifics of our social ills and the power of non-violent approaches to addressing them.  This is well worth the time to watch:  Dr. King’s lucid grasp of a variety of complex inter-connected issues is simply amazing and inspiring.

What I Learned from the Holidays

Over the past few years, I’ve experienced conflict over how to celebrate the Holidays. I’ve been concerned with the rampant materialism and the need to not contribute to it in any way. This has included my feelings for both the often gaudy and extravagant decorations, as well as the expectations of giving people gifts, often things that they don’t really need or that aren’t benefiting them in any way other than to add to the craving for personal materialistic gratification. At times I’ve felt so strongly about this that I’ve even considered opting out of the whole “Holiday” thing entirely.

I’m happy to say that I was able to resolve many of these conflicts this year, simply by shifting my perspective a bit. My wife, Kathi, always feels strongly about wanting to decorate for the holidays, to put up the Christmas tree (whenever possible, on the day after Thanksgiving), and to hang lights and other decorations. I’ve always gone along with her desire to do so, but have felt some inner resistance to it and conflict over how I really felt about it in terms of contributing to a materialistic and superficial expression of “things”.

Something she said about it this year really resonated with me though, and has helped me to resolve these feelings of conflict. She’s always conveyed that for her, the Holidays were a time to express and experience connection and closeness with the important people in our lives. She mentioned that for her, decorating, especially when we’re going to have guests during the Holidays, is about creating an inspiring environment that contributes to the experience of connection.

Kathi is masterful at creating inspiring environments, so her decorations for the Holidays always have an esthetic sense of balance, beauty, and perfection about them. One of the treasures that Kathi has brought to my life is a greater awareness of the impact that environment can have on us, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. She is consistently able to create environments that transcend the outer appearance and inspire a deeper sense of tranquility, warmth, and nurturing. It is in a real way, a sacred space.

People often talk about how they love seeing Christmas lights and decorations with a certain nostalgia for how it makes them feel. But I’ve realized that there is really something much deeper at work here. It’s not just about “warm fuzzies” in any purely superficial sense. It’s not about mere gratification or “feeling good”. It’s about transformation and transcendence and connection. It’s about celebrating the deeper and truer value in our lives.

It’s about sharing and generosity and gratitude. It’s about Love.

Peaceful, esthetically inspiring, warm, welcoming, and nurturing environments have the ability to impact us subliminally but profoundly. Often without even realizing consciously how we’re effected by them, they help to shift us into a deeper state of inner peace, of receptivity, and of communion. When we had my family over to our house on Christmas day, I noticed how everyone was seeming a bit worn out and stressed from all the rushing and shopping and preparations over the preceding days. And I noticed how they relaxed in the environment that Kathi had created. They were at ease and more receptive to sharing the connections between us. I realize now that “Comfort and Joy” are not merely nice platitudes. They represent a deeper potential to be realized and shared.

And once I reframed the whole thing in these terms, and better understood specifically the potential value of both decorating and of giving gifts, the conflict I’d been feeling went away. I’m still concerned with avoiding anything that reinforces a materialistic approach in any way. But I’m much clearer about how to do that.

We can decorate and choose gifts in ways that align with our goals of connection, inner peace, compassion, connection, sharing, and gratitude. We can do it creatively, and artfully, and with inspiration. We can come from a place of inspiration, express that inspiration, and share it with others, leading to the possibility of their own experience of inspiration, connection, and joy.

We can choose gifts mindfully, with the desire to give something that actually contributes to the life of the person we’re giving it to in some way. Regardless of whether we’re completely successful with this, the thoughtfulness will be conveyed, and gift-giving can actually have deeper meaning than mere materialistic gratification.

When we think of decorating as creating an inspiring sacred space, it completely transforms the way that we decorate. We eschew gaudiness and gross displays of affluence in favor of artful and soulful expressions of peace, tranquility, joy, and “Home”, with all that that word connotes.

And this, to my mind, is the true magic of the Holidays. It goes to the heart of the childlike sense of wonder and makes it clear how we can recapture that wonder and magic. And it also flows forth into our lives throughout the rest of the year, reminding us to experience wonder and inspiration and magic and connection.

I hope your 2016 is abundantly filled with all of these!

The Magic of Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices and meditation have recently become quite popular for stress relief and a variety of other health-related benefits. Mindfulness simply means the practice of paying attention to the experience of the present moment. Being mindful can simply entail stepping back mentally and noticing the specific elements of your present moment experience, paying attention to thoughts, feelings, sensations, and other aspects of present moment awareness.  (As opposed to getting lost in mind wandering and being caught up in a focus on past, future, worry, anxiety, judgement, guilt, and other negative mental and emotional states.)

The magic of mindfulness practice is that it allows us to fully appreciate whatever we are experiencing right this moment, and brings peace of mind and a much healthier state.  While this might seem a bit abstract, it also has some very practical applications as well.

Earlier this year, I used a form of mindfulness meditation to significantly reduce and manage some rather severe flu symptoms.  Over the holidays we spent a lot of time with family members in intimate, enclosed spaces, many of whom were battling the flu bug that had been going around. My immune system apparently succumbed to the constant contact, and I came down with a really nasty case of the flu.
I began experiencing a hacking cough, fever, nausea and upset stomach, and a splitting headache.  In practicing mindfulness, in each case, I simply discipline myself to relax and pay attention to the particular discomfort, becoming aware of it as a sensation in my body, and also similarly become aware of my breathing and how it feels in my body as I take each inhalation and exhalation.
Even my seemingly relentless coughing has been calmed by this approach.  Almost without exception, as I become aware of the discomfort, I begin to realize that without being fully aware of it, I’ve been “resisting” the pain or discomfort.  For example as I experience the nearly unavoidable need to begin coughing my brains out, as I begin to pay closer attention to what I’m feeling in my body, I notice that I’m resisting the coughing by constricting the muscles in my chest, abdominals, and lower back, and that as I become aware of this, I can also feel that the tension itself has significantly increased my need to cough.  As I become more aware of the tension I’m holding, I’m able to release it, my breathing becomes less constricted, and my need to cough decreases, sometimes even going away entirely.
With the headaches, I also focus very specifically on the exact location and sensation of the pain and discomfort.  Almost without exception, I find areas where I’m resisting and holding tension, often in my facial muscles, neck, shoulders, etc., and to the degree that I can locate them and just “notice” them rather than resisting, I’m able to relax and relieve the discomfort.
The same is true with the other symptoms as well.
I’ve written briefly about a similar experience with this in my book: A Call to Magic – the Artful Science of Transforming Self and Worldhttp://bookShow.me/147932034X
Try this practice the next time you have a headache or other discomfort and see if you can learn to relieve your own symptoms through mindfulness.  It’s certainly been a magical practice for me.