The Mayan Calendar and 2012: Why Should We Care?

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The Mayan Calendar and 2012: Why Should We Care?

by

John Major Jenkins

In my own process of studying the Maya and their traditions, I moved progressively into deeper water with time. Twenty-two years in, I can report back to newcomers that the implications of the Mayan calendar are staggering, its connection to other cosmologies around the globe is deep, and its most famous artifact, the cycle ending date of 2012, encodes an understanding of the cosmos that modern science is unprepared to grasp.

That’s where the investigation leads, but we will not venture so far in this article. Many people will be introduced to the existence of the Maya and their calendar through the attention generated by the 2012 date. You may be one of them. In fact, I hope you are, because this article is written for you. How can we even begin to understand the Mayan calendar and its 2012 date? What is it? What was it intended to represent? What did the ancient Maya believe would happen as 2012 draws close? Sit back and read on, for there are answers to these questions.

In my speaking events and workshops, people ask questions and I’ve noticed that many of them are based on misconceptions. I will anticipate and address these, hopefully guiding you away from dead ends.It is no surprise that 2012, the so-called ‘end of the Mayan calendar’, is a topic filled with images of the end of the world, doomsday, and cataclysm. Many writers have and will exploit such a hot topic to play into human fears. They are not necessarily interested in understanding 2012 as the ancient Maya understood it. Here we must state a guiding principle so we can have a healthy approach to 2012: let’s honour the authentic Mayan tradition.

This seems self evident, but is rarely taken to heart by modern writers. As a result of this unfortunate situation, newcomers are likely to encounter a smorgasbord of ideas, information, opinions, and models about 2012. The loudest barkers in Carnival 2012, as my friend Jonathan Zap reminds me, are likely to be the first ones heard. There’s the Pleiadian faction, there’s the crop circle theorists, there’s the alien invasion crowd, there’s the doomsday tribe, there’s the ascension light workers. People like many choices on the menu, right? Sure, but what about the real ding an sich, the thing-in-itself? Are we interested in getting to the heart of the Mayan insight? I propose that we should be, and that such an approach yields interesting, satisfying, revolutionary, and lasting results.

A little research reveals that a large cycle in the Mayan Long Count calendar ends precisely on December 21, 2012. The precision comes from a painstakingly established correlation between the Long Count calendar and our own Gregorian calendar. Scholars figured it out, beginning in the 1890s, testing and retesting the correct correlation. It was settled by 1950.

The Gregorian calendar and the Long Count calendar are simply two different methods of tracking time. Each one tracks one day after another, but designates the days with different symbols and words. The correct correlation between the two means that, for example, 9.16.4.1.1 in the Long Count equals May 7, 755 in the Gregorian calendar. We are simply correlating two different systems. It’s the same challenge of correlating the ancient Egyptian calendar, or the ancient Hindu or Roman system, to a time frame we recognise. With the ‘key’ of the correlation, we can make a precise conversion between the Mayan calendar into our own. It’s not rocket science, and there’s no need to mystify it.

What you need to know is that scholars have isolated the precise correlation for the Mayan calendar, such that the end of the 13-baktun cycle in the Long Count (written 13.0.0.0.0) falls precisely on December 21, 2012. Most importantly, the surviving 260-day calendar (the tzolkin) among the Maya today verifies this correlation, since it confirms that the cycle-ending date falls on 4 Ahau in the tzolkin. Authors that write popular books and broadcast other notions have simply not done their homework.

Next, what is the Long Count and how does it work? The Long Count calendar system was developed about 2,100 years ago in southern Mexico. Archaeologists know this because the first carved monuments with Long Count dates appear in the first-century BCE, mostly in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. Theoretical reconstructions of the calendar that trace its origins further back in time are possible, but for now we can rest safely with the carved monuments that date to the first-century BCE. This is a good indicator of when the Long Count was formally inaugurated and carved in stone.

A typical Long Count date contains five place values. A baktun is a period of 144,000 days. A katun is a period of 7,200 days. A tun contains 360 days. A uinal contains 20 days, and a kin is a day. I’m surprised when newcomers begin to wonder how anyone can possibly know this. Some assert that the Maya disappeared long ago, so how do we know this information about their calendar? Well, the truth is that the Maya have not disappeared, as the popular misconception goes. The reason why we can say things with certainty about how the Long Count works is because scholars have reconstructed its operation from a careful examination of the archaeological evidence. It’s not so mysterious or far fetched for scholars to piece together fragments of a forgotten tradition, especially something as tangible as the basic mathematics of a calendar system.

A typical Long Count date is written 8.16.3.12.5. The cycle ending date is written 13.0.0.0.0. After this date, the calendar cycles back to 0.0.0.0.1. Why? Because there are 13 Baktuns in one Creation Cycle, or Age. We know this because there are several carvings that are called ‘Creation Monuments’, and they tell us that 13.0.0.0.0 is the completion of a World Age. The Long Count is thus part of a philosophy of time known as a World Age doctrine. It is a belief that many ancient cultures share, that the world passes through a series of chapters or Ages. For the Maya, an Age lasts 13 Baktuns, which is 5,125 years.

The Maya’s Creation Myth contains information about the World Ages, and therefore we can consult it to gain an understanding of what the ancient Maya believed occurs during a cycle ending. General principles can be identified. For example, at the end of all Ages, humanity goes through a transformation and is reborn. A person chooses from two ways, because free will is honoured. One can go the way of Seven Macaw, the vain ego-driven ruler who appears at the end of the cycle, or one can go the way of One Hunahpu, who sacrifices his false self and is reborn whole.

The point is that the Creation Myth actually provides relevant and meaningful information concerning the ancient Maya belief about what would happen as 2012 approached. Therefore, studying the messages in the Creation Myth is an effective approach for understanding 2012.

Another important question is, why did the Maya believe that the year we call 2012 in our calendar would be so transformative? What is so special about 2012? The answer to this has been the focus of my pioneering research. My 1994 article “The How and Why of the Mayan End Date” really broke the case, as it identified how a rare astronomical alignment (the ‘galactic alignment’) was encoded by the Maya into their Creation Myth. My 1995 book The Center of Mayan Time explored my new findings further, by examining the early Maya site, Izapa, that invented the Long Count cosmology. More discoveries occurred in 1995-1997, and were reported in various articles and in my books Izapa Cosmos (1996) and Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (1998). The galactic alignment is the key to understanding why the ancient Maya believed 2012 (or, to be more accurate, ‘the years around 2012’) would be so transformational.

What is the Galactic Alignment?

A = the solstice sun’s position 4,000 years ago. B = the solstice sun’s position 2,000 years ago. C = the solstice sun’s position in era-2012 (the galactic alignment). Note the dark rift and the crossroads of the Milky Way and the ecliptic.

The galactic alignment is a rare alignment within the cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, or let’s say ‘precession’ for short. Precession is thought to be caused by the slow wobble of the earth on its axis. The earth spins once every 24 hours, giving us the day cycle. But like a spinning top it also wobbles very slowly, making one complete wobble in just under 26,000 years. This phenomenon changes our angular orientation to the larger field of stars and constellations that surround us. One effect of the precession is that the position of the sun on a solstice or equinox slowly shifts in relation to the background stars. Ancient skywatchers might observe the stars of Capricorn rising ahead of the dawning solstice sun. Eight hundred years later, however, it will be the stars of Sagittarius. The constellations served as markers for this celestial shifting.

For the Maya, the bright band of the Milky Way was a very important feature of the night sky. It was seen to be a river, a road, a cosmic snake, a Great Mother, or even a celestial ballcourt. Compared to the very wide constellations, the Milky Way is a better marker for precessional shifting, because it is thin, like a ‘finish line’ in the sky. If the sun’s position on, say, the December solstice, was tracked, skywatchers would notice it shifting closer and closer to the bright band of the Milky Way. According to my pioneering research, ancient Maya skywatchers noticed this shifting, and calculated forward to the future day when the December solstice sun would line up with the Milky Way. They even used a more precise marker for the alignment, the dark rift in the Milky Way, which lies right along the Milky Way’s mid-plane.

Modern astronomers call the Milky Way’s precise mid-plane the ‘galactic equator’. So, a good definition of the galactic alignment is ‘the alignment of the December solstice sun with the galactic equator’. Modern astronomers have largely ignored this alignment phenomenon, but one named Jean Meeus calculated it after being encouraged to look at it by astrologer Daniel Giamario. With his calculation, and recognising that the sun itself is one-half of a degree wide, we arrive at a reasonable ‘alignment zone’ that stretches from 1980 to 2016. This is the ‘alignment zone’ of the galactic alignment. In the mid-1990s I pioneered a comparative analysis of Mayan traditions, such as the ballgame, king-making rituals, and the Creation Mythology, to show how the Maya were aware of this future galactic alignment (also sometimes called ‘the solstice-galaxy alignment’).

The galactic alignment occurs at an important location along the Milky Way – right at the crossing point formed by the Milky Way and the ecliptic (the path followed by the sun, moon, and planets). This crossroads in the sky is a critical feature of Mayan star lore. It is the Mayan Sacred Tree. Most interestingly, this cross targets the ‘nuclear bulge’ of the Galactic Centre. For this reason, the galactic alignment is often described as an alignment to the galactic centre, which it is, generally speaking.

These astronomical features had profound symbolic meaning for the ancient Maya. And some still do for the modern Maya. The Milky Way was the Great Mother, the galactic centre was her womb, and the dark rift was her birth canal. The December solstice sun was also very important, energetically, because that day signals the turnabout in the year, when increasing night shifts to increasing light. After the December solstice, the light begins to return as days grow longer. When THAT sun, the December solstice sun, shifts into alignment with the dark rift ‘birth canal’ of the Milky Way, the Maya believed the world would be reborn. It constituted a good location to place the end of a World Age, 13.0.0.0.0 in their calendar, and the beginning of the next Age. The cycle ending is ultimately about renewal.

The galactic alignment, so defined, happens only once every 26,000 years. This is the big news, why we should be astounded at what the ancient Maya achieved. If we honour it only as a profound galactic cosmovision, whether or not we believe in its transformational power or correctness, that would be enough to shatter the continuing stereotypes of the ancient Maya as barbaric savages. Progress in understanding the brilliance of the ancient Maya’s achievement is hindered by stereotypes and clichés propagated by an exploitative media, as recent Hollywood movies illustrate. They play into fear and deep-set biases, and newcomers should be on alert for attitudes and books that disrespect the authentic Mayan calendar tradition, the one that makes December 21, 2012 equal to 4 Ahau, 13.0.0.0.0.

But what of it? Does the galactic alignment somehow ‘cause’ change? This is an inevitable question, and one that is currently not easy to answer within the limits of our science. Astrophysicists look at distant galaxies, peer into galactic centres, and theorise about black holes, quasars, and dark matter. That’s all well and good, but they have not looked at the empirical effects of the galactic alignment phenomena. The possibility that our changing angular orientation to the galactic plane might somehow trigger seasonal changes on Earth, over very long periods of time, should be examined. Speaking from personal experience, however, it’s been very difficult to get astronomers and scientists to engage in a rational dialogue about the galactic alignment, although there have been some exceptions.

I’ve suggested scientific research that may answer the question of how the galactic alignment effects life on planet earth. It is, after all, an interesting question. In my 2002 book Galactic Alignment I discussed the Cosmecology theory of Dr. Oliver Reiser. Combining Reiser’s ideas with the galactic alignment concept, which he was not aware of, results in a possible model by which galactic alignments trigger consciousness. In 1995 I noted that our sun is roughly 26,000 light years from the galactic centre. I wondered if this could mean that precession is somehow entrained to this distance. A principle of sub-atomic physics that I located, later confirmed in the work of Reiser, provides the missing clue. The principle of ‘proton precession’ observes that protons have a varying wobble rate or ‘precession’ just like the earth does. The frequency of the wobble is directly related to the strength of the magnetic field that the proton is in, as well as its distance from the source of field. Here we have a principle that connects distance from source to the precession rate.

I am neither a sub-atomic particle physicist nor am I an interstellar astrophysicist, so this is not really my department. I offer this observation to others who are more interested in exploring the empirical models by which precession, and galactic alignments, may effect consciousness on earth.

We may be on the verge of a revolution in how we, in Western countries, understand the cosmos and our relationship to it. We may be going through a paradigm shift, much like the seventeenth century, when the sun became the centre of the cosmos during the Copernican revolution. Now, inspired by Mayan cosmology (just as Copernicus was inspired by Greek precursors), we might begin to see the womb of the Great Mother as the centre of the universe. This shift has important ramifications for our socio-political assumptions, for ‘god the solar father’ cannot be reborn unless it is through ‘goddess the galactic mother’. A higher principle that has been winnowed out of Western thought is reasserting itself, and our embracing it may be the key to transforming our unstable world into a sustainable one.

What Does 2012 Mean for the Modern World?

The pressing question is ‘what does 2012 mean for us?’ Consider this: the Maya offer us the 2012 date and tie it to a rare galactic alignment that our science barely acknowledges. They believed, for reasons we cannot quite grasp, that such an alignment would signal great transformation on the planet. If we look around us today, and recall events of the last twenty, fifty, and a hundred years, great transformation is indeed what is going on. Perhaps we should pay more attention to what the ancient Maya teachings actually say, rather than injecting modern assumptions and distortions into the 2012 discussion. There is no better place for accessing this Mayan wisdom than the Creation Mythology, otherwise known as the Popol Vuh or Hero Twin myth.

And here it is in a nutshell: 2012 bodes a challenge and an opportunity for humanity to rebirth itself. Such a transformational rebirth can only be accomplished through sacrifice, sacrificing the illusions that bind us to states of suffering and limitation. We can reconnect with the higher source, our true selves, the centre and source of the world. This invitation is reflected in the galactic alignment, our sun’s rare alignment with the cosmic heart and source (symbolised by the galactic centre).

This requires a little context and explanation. In the Creation Myth, the vain and false ruler Seven Macaw appears at the end of the cycle. He deceives and controls people, trying to take all the wealth for himself. He represents the archetype of self-serving egoism. That is the Mayan prophecy for 2012. Today, world leaders, megalomaniacal presidents, and even corporations all exhibit this trait. The Mayan prophecy for 2012 has come to pass. This is no accident. Ego takes control of the world at the end of the cycle, and this is a fact of the dynamics of cycles. We see this insight in many World Age doctrines, from the Hindus to the Greeks and especially among the indigenous peoples of the New World, such as the Maya. Spiritual light at the beginning gives way to darkness. Day turns to night, and at midnight the darkness has maximised. Year 2012 represents galactic midnight in the great cycle of precession. Everything is inverted; the ego denies any spiritual authority higher than itself. But because the ego’s vision is short-sighted, limited only to its own gain, it corrupts the world.

There is a second part to the Mayan prophecy in the Popol Vuh. Seven Macaw’s nemesis is One Hunahpu, the December solstice solar deity. He is the father of the Hero Twins, and much of the story is about facilitating his rebirth at the end of the Age. First, Seven Macaw, the ego, must be put in his place. In order for the higher consciousness to appear, for the mind and heart of humanity to be reborn, the self-serving squawking of ego must be stopped. The whole story is about the dynamic between the limited ego (Seven Macaw) and the eternal soul (One Hunahpu). Since One Hunahpu represents the December solstice sun, the entire myth is framed upon the galactic alignment. And here’s the key to the transformation, the key to putting Seven Macaw back into right relationship with One Hunahpu: sacrifice.

The challenge and the opportunity of 2012 lies within the province of our free will choice to sacrifice our illusions, the illusions that entangle our consciousness with the ego limitation of Seven Macaw. 2012 is not about something that ‘will happen’ in a predetermined sense while we sit around waiting. It is about our free will choice to open up and reconnect with the eternal wisdom, or hunker down in defeatism, closing our minds in fear.

These ideas, found in the Maya Creation Myth, are really perennial teachings. It is very significant that hidden within the depths of the Mayan calendar we find the same spiritual wisdom that resides at the root of all great spiritual traditions. Called the primordial tradition or the perennial philosophy, Mayan genius has linked up this global human heritage to galactic seasons of change timed by the galactic alignment of era-2012.

The ramifications of the 2012 opportunity are critical for creating a sustainable future. The key is embodying the higher wisdom, the higher vantage point, to resolve problems that are impossible to solve when consciousness retains an allegiance to lower consciousness, to the self-serving agenda of egoism.

Posted by Graham Dragon at 04:58 1 comment: Links to this post
Labels: Baktun, Creation Myth, end of the world, Galactic alignment, higher consciousness, John Major Jenkins, Katun, Long Count calendar, Mayan calendar, Milky Way, Tun, Tzolkin, Uinal
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Why?
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Here is another video clip from the great man himself, the late Jim Rohn. It lasts just three and a half minutes. For some reason the person who uploaded it left a couple more minutes of blank tape at the end. But those three and a half minutes, asking the question “why?”, will blow your mind!

If you would like to have Jim Rohn as your mentor, you can, even though he is no longer with us. Subscribe now to his “One Year Success Plan”.
Posted by Graham Dragon at 05:42 1 comment: Links to this post
Labels: Jim Rohn, why, why not
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Negative People and Situations
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How to Shift Your Perception

by

Admin at Sally M Keys’ site, http://www.psynergywellness.com

When you find yourself in negative situations or around negative people … find a reason and motivation to change how you view your experience in your mind.

Start by asking yourself what you are losing when you feel negative emotion or energy. Ask yourself what is your biggest motivator and how feeding others your energy affects that or reduces that in your life. Say it’s money, for example. How does you losing your energy to others affect your money situation? Does it reduce it? Of course it does.

When you see just how detrimental allowing your energy to go to others rather than yourself truly is, you very quickly find a way to stop it from happening.

What you will find is that the hold that others have on you weakens as you consciously make the choice to stop them from draining your energy. It is possible to take you power back and it all starts with a CHOICE – the choice NOT to allow it to happen any longer.

Somehow it’s no longer about what others are “doing” to you (victim mentality), but more becomes about how you can access the good that resides within you regardless of what is happening around you. And you will very quickly find that by focusing on the inner rather than the outer, that the outer world very quickly responds in a positive manner.

So, try responding more positively to negative situations (internally and externally) and see if that doesn’t shift things for you. Don’t continue to allow yourself to be drained. Turn off the valve that feeds others your valuable energy. For it is the EXPRESSION of your emotion that gives your energy to others, regardless of whether or not you express it to them directly. Feeling it internally is one thing. Expressing it is another entirely.
Posted by Graham Dragon at 03:41 2 comments: Links to this post
Labels: negative emotion, negative energy, negative people, negative situations, Psynergy, Sally M Keys
Sunday, 2 December 2012
Book Review
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Parables of Success

For those of us who are Christian, our minds are turning this month to the birth of Jesus, a wonderful story teller. Jesus knew that the best way to get his audience to internalise the truths he wanted to teach them was to tell them those truths in parables. The Sufi mystic Nasrudin, or Nasreddin Hodja, adopted a similar approach. In fact, you will find story telling to make the faithful realise a universal truth is integral to most religions.

I felt now would therefore be a very good time to focus on stories that encapsulate some simple truths we should all internalise on our journey of personal development.

Click on the title of any book that particularly interests you and you can buy it right away. If you want to pay in pounds sterling, or have it shipped from the UK instead of from the States, click on the “UK link” right at the end of each review.

The Richest Man in Babylon

by

George S. Clason

A review of personal development parables could do no better than to begin with George S. Clason’s classic, The Richest Man in Babylon. This book has led generations to personal and monetary success. If you have not yet read it and have any interest in improving your financial situation, do not let 2013 fade without doing so!

“This book teaches financial lessons through stories. Every point is illustrated through a tale that explains exactly why certain things need to be done when investing your money.

It’s specific advice along with a neat little story proving how it works in real life. This is a crucial point with me and all business advice. If it’s not practical and makes sense in reality then it’s useless fluff that may sound good but isn’t useful at all. And let’s face it, finance isn’t an area where you want to learn by trial and error using bad advice.

The investment strategies that applied back then are still as applicable today as they were back when this was first written. No nonsense, tired and true business advice. That’s what made this a hit for me.”

– Shelby

“A MUST READ for all ages. Clason emphasizes that it is never too late to improve your financial situation. Short stories in the book bring to life the significance of developing a plan to save for the future and/or get out of debt. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this book. The concepts are powerful and relevant.”

– DMerryM

“I read this book 35 years ago when starting out in business and its teachings are timeless. It was written in 1929. The principles have taken good care of me all my adult life. If the young (and the not so young) would apply its teachings then the world would not be in the financial mess it is in today.”

– aspedd

UK Link

Look Ma, Life’s Easy

by

Ernie J. Zelinski

This novel is a Kindle edition. It presents a story of personal transformation that will inspire ordinary individuals to feel they can truly achieve extraordinary results in their lives.

“This is a classic personal development book on par with Think and Grow Rich in its impact, depth and usefulness.

The book is part story and part personal development wisdom. The two intertwine perfectly.

The premise of the book is that if you do the hard things in life today your life will be much easier because you will achieve great things and you won’t be stuck with the same old problems. It sounds simple, and it is, but the author depicts clearly how this little rule applies to every area of life and how powerfully and immediately it can bring positive change to your life.

I will be reading this book over and over to glean it’s wisdom and improve my life even more.”

– Tom Corson-Knowles
Best-selling author of Rich By 22: How To Achieve Business Success At An Early Age

“I’m a fan of Ernie Zelinski. I like his writing style, his humor, and his grasp of humanity. In this fable, Ernie, through his characters, is our cheerleader, our guide, our shrink, and our mentor. He points the way to becoming our best self by asking us to question our assumptions, work hard, to delay gratification, and dump the victim mentality.

His pearls of wisdom throughout the book are even in a different color and font, so they can’t be missed. For example: “The past is a nice place to visit. But you better not make it your home.” Or, “Just as important as deciding what you want in life is deciding what you don’t want.”

If you’re looking for a roadmap to inspire and change you, one that goes down easy but packs a wallop, get a copy of Look Ma, Life’s Easy.”

– Jan Cullinane

“Where has this little gem been hiding, this really is an excellent book from Ernie Zelinski, more people should be aware of it. I especially like the line at the start of the book: “You can disappear into the mainstream, or you can be true to yourself and swim against the current”. This sets the tone early on for what becomes an adventure of self-discovery. It is a compulsive and inspirational read, and you won’t read it only once, you will refer back to its wisdom time and again.”

– A. Reilly

UK Link

Twelve Pillars

by

Jim Rohn & Chris Widener

This novel will inspire you to take your life to the next level and beyond. It will challenge and encourage you to become the best that you can be!

I have sourced a hardcover version here which is cheaper than the paperback version I found on Amazon. If you want it shipped from the States, be sure, therefore, to click on the link in the title rather than simply going straight to Amazon to find it.

“I am not an easy sell when it comes to financial self-help books because many of them want you to do things that are improbable, or impossible, at certain times in your life. However, this books focuses on making you a successful person inside before starting the outside (material) successes. I really liked that because I believe many people think money will buy them happiness; this book shows that you must first be happy inside to be able to enjoy your outside (material) success.”

– Stacy Howett (BROOKHAVEN, PA, United States)

“”Twelve Pillars” is one of my favorite books. The author successfully presents nonfiction self growth content in a novel-style. I’ve red it several times, and every time I tuned up to tears at the end.”

– Dr. Irina Koles, author of Taste of Thoughts: Improve Your Health and Whole Life

“This is an excellent book for people that want to do something more with their lives than just live a day to day existence. I will recommend this book to all of my friends.”

– Blondie

UK Link

The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin / The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin

by

Idries Shah

This is actually two books in one, and includes 100 short aphorisms by the Mulla. Great to dip into when you only have a few moments. And great to allow the humour to insert some real truths into your psyche!

It is difficult to describe Nasrudin’s style without actually seeing it, so here is an example:

“If you want truth”, Nasrudin told a group of Seekers who had come to hear his teachings, “you will have to pay for it.”

“But why should you have to pay for something like truth?” asked one of the company.

“Have you noticed”, said Nasrudin, “that it is the scarcity of a thing which determines its value?”

Other reviewers’ comments:

“One is immediately forced to use one’s mind in a new way.”

– New York Times

“(Nasrudin’s) antics are parallels of the mind’s workings”

– The Observer, England

“Idries Shah popularized religious teaching stories of the “righteous fool” variety in his three books of Nasrudin stories. The tales themselves come from Rumi, Attar and a host of other sources – written and oral. While I recommend both Rumi and Attar, the retelling of the stories in a concise and oral telling style is a gift to the reader – one is impacted by the story itself and not distracted by the form of the story (poetry of Rumi) or by the frame story (as in Attar).

One should read these stories one at a time and reflect on them as you would a koan, if you wish to treat them as “spiritually beneficial”. But they are also enjoyable as a quick read for laughs.”

– M. J. Smith (Seattle, WA USA)

I was unable to source this title at a reasonable price in the UK. My UK readers should click the title and buy from the States.

Posted by Graham Dragon at 08:46 No comments: Links to this post
Labels: book review, Chris Widener, Ernie J Kelinski, George S Clason, Idries Shah, Jesus, Jim Rohn, Nasreddin Hodja, Nasrudin, parable, personal development, Sufi
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Swinging on a Star
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One day in either late 1943 or early 1944 (can any reader help me here and fill in the gap?) one of the sons of the legendary Bing Crosby complained he did not want to go to school but wanted to stay home and play instead. Bing replied “If you don’t go to school you might grow up to be a mule. Do you wanna do that?” Song writer Jimmy Van Heusen was there, and thought this could be the beginning of a great song, so he took the idea to lyricist Johnny Burke. Together they wrote the song “Swinging on a Star” for the movie “Going My Way”. The song was released in February 1944 and became one of Bing Crosby’s greatest hits.

Why am I writing about a Bing Crosby song in a blog on personal development? At the end of this article I have reproduced the full lyrics and have also included a video of Bing singing this song in “Going My Way”. Read the lyrics carefully and thoughtfully (ignoring the insults to some lovely animals!) and I think you will see exactly why!

This song may have originally been aimed at children not wanting to go to school, and the lesson there still applies (my younger readers take note!). But the lesson is actually very much wider.

Where do you really want to be in life? Are you aiming at the stars or settling for something far more mundane? If the latter, why? If the former, what are you doing right now to get closer to your dream?

This is not simply about material success, although it applies equally here of course. What “aiming for the stars” really means is a very personal thing. It may simply mean becoming a much more loving and caring person. Making a real difference in life. But whatever it means to you, take inspiration now from this song and start doing something to make your dream a reality. You can do it!

“Would you like to swing on a star,
carry moonbeams home in a jar,
and be better off than you are,
or would you rather be a mule?

A mule is an animal with long funny ears.
He kicks up at anything he hears.
His back is brawny but his brain is weak.
He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak,
and by the way if you hate to go to school
you may grow up to be a mule.

Oh would you like to swing on a star,
carry moonbeams home in a jar,
and be better off than you are,
or would you rather be a pig?

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face;
his shoes are a terrible disgrace.
He has no manners when he eats his food.
He’s fat and lazy and extremely rude.
But if you don’t care a feather or a fig
you may grow up to be a pig.

Oh would you like to swing on a star,
carry moonbeams home in a jar,
and be better off than you are,
or would you rather be a pig?

A fish won’t do anything but swim in a brook.
He can’t write his name or read a book.
To fool the people is his only thought
and though he’s slippery he still gets caught;
but if then that sort of life is what you wish
you may grow up to be a fish.
A new kind of jumped up slippery fish!

And all the monkeys aren’t in the zoo;
everyday you see quite a few.
So you see it’s all up to you,
you could be better than you are
you could be swinging on a star.”

Posted by Graham Dragon at 00:00 6 comments: Links to this post
Labels: Bing Crosby, personal development, self help, self-improvement, Success, Swinging on a Star
Saturday, 24 November 2012
Self Esteem
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In my humble opinion Jim Rohn, who died at the end of 2009, was one of the world’s greatest teachers of success principles. In this video he expounds on the benefits of what he terms “intelligent self interest”. Doing things that others may think silly, but that increase your self esteem. Put this into practice and you will be a better person:

If you would like to have Jim Rohn as your mentor, you can, even though he is no longer with us. Subscribe now to his “One Year Success Plan”.
Posted by Graham Dragon at 06:02 No comments: Links to this post
Labels: Charitable Giving, Jim Rohn, self esteem, self interest, Success
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Stop Multi-tasking
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STOP Multi-tasking Madness with Mind Chi!
by Vanda North – Founder of “Mind Chi” (www.mindchi.com)
Do YOU multi-task?

The pressure is ON to do so, people proudly wear their ‘I’m a multi-tasker’ badge. The trouble is that on the other side of that badge it says ‘And I do NOTHING well’!

That is a provocative statement and done to remind you that your brain canNOT do two things in the same band width at the same time – one or the other will suffer. Have you ever been speaking to someone on the phone and know that they are doing their emails at the same time? Yes, you do know! And you also know that they are only paying partial attention to what you are saying, which is actually rude. Better to say ‘I just have a few minutes, how can I help you?’ And then concentrate afterwards on the email, so you don’t push send before you have double checked it.

It IS possible to do several tasks at the same time that operate in different parts of your brain, so cooking a dish that you know well while talking on the phone are ok – as long as you don’t need to concentrate.

Multi-tasking is the source of that constant stressed feeling, it is what tires you so, it doubles the pressure on you, whilst diminishing your effectiveness.

You also miss out on the beautiful feeling of concentrating on just one thing – the joy of losing yourself in an activity – of truly being ‘in the flow’. These are the moments that re-fuel your brain, stimulate your creativity, energise you and make you feel life and work are worthwhile. Further, you will be quite amazed at what you can achieve in even a 15 minute time of uninterrupted thought, better than in a whole day sometimes.

So fight back! Take care of your brain, let it work well for you and enjoy the benefits.

Posted by Graham Dragon at 06:00 3 comments: Links to this post
Labels: concentration, Mind Chi, multi-tasking, personal development, stress, Vanda North
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Embrace Life
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56 Reasons to Fiercely Embrace Life
by: Anne – Sophie Reinhardt

Life is grand, full of magic, hope and possibility.

However, sometimes it’s hard to see how lucky and fortunate we are to be here. We get so caught up in our daily stresses that we completely forget how awe-inspiring and miraculous living really is. We go through the motions, get in a rut and are busy putting out one fire after the next in an attempt to keep our lives in balance.

Yet, drama happens all the time.

Our projects don’t work out, our businesses aren’t going the way we had hoped for, our relationships experience troubles, the economy is bad, politicians let us down and life is just not the way it’s supposed to be.

It’s easy then to get sucked into a spiral of self-doubt and weariness. It’s easy to loose hope, feel listless and ready to just give up.

Speaking from experience, I know how destructive these feelings can be and how easily they overshadow your entire world. But if you take a moment to breathe, open your eyes and see, just see, all the marvels of this world, it’s hard not to be speechless, feel grateful and happy to be alive.

Since I know I’m not the only one who sometimes lacks inspiration, I created the following list of reasons to love being alive, living on this beautiful planet and sharing these times with so many incredible fellows.

Ready? Let’s go.

1. The roar of the ocean on a windy day.

2. Receiving help in unexpected ways.

3. The wistful longings of a heart in love

4. Hearing my grandfather express his undying love for my grandma (OK, that’s a very personal one, but I couldn’t not mention it).

5. Hearing the soulful sounds of music that go straight to your heart.

6. Experiencing the beating of your heart after a long, hard workout.

7. The touch of your mom lovingly going through your hair.

8. The belly-laughter experienced when you’re with great friends.

9. The promises of a new day when watching the sunrise.

10. Witnessing the genius of writers who work magic with their words.

11. The excitement in the eyes of your favorite pet when coming home.

12. The sheer joy of seeing friends long lost.

13. Seeing a loved one succeed in life.

14. A blue blue sky.

15. The work of photographers that portray a model’s soul.

16. Tasting the sweet deliciousness of chocolate.

17. The wonderful aroma of coffee beans.

18. The safety of being wrapped into your loved one’s arms.

19. The freedom of knowing that you’re worthy of love.

20. The delight in sharing your wisdom and knowledge with others.

21. The pleasure of feeling the sun on your face or the wind in your hair.

22. Feeling the melancholy that comes with winter deep in your heart.

23. Seeing the beauty of white, white snow glistering in the sun.

24. Experiencing the warmth streaming through your body when drinking a hot chocolate on an ice-cold day.

25. The wonder of exploring new places and worlds.

26. The look up in a star-filled sky that puts life and the world into perspective.

27. Seeing the innocence in a toddler’s eyes.

28. Experiencing the trust of true friends.

29. The awe-inspiring performances of world-class athletes.

30. Listening to the beautiful sounds of Mozart’s genius.

31. The growth as a person on every single day.

32. The beautiful smell of the air after heavy rain.

33. The powerful realization that your potential is limitless.

34. The thrill of speaking foreign languages.

35. Tuning into the miraculous workings of our bodies.

36. The luscious green of the rain forest.

37. Falling into your bed after a long and hard day.

38. The refreshing feeling of putting on freshly washed clothes.

39. Experiencing the humbling feeling of seeing friends have your back

40. The empowerment of getting yourself out of a mess.

41. Spending a day in bed with breakfast and a captivating book.

42. The pride of holding an Asana for the very first time.

43. The first signs of spring after a long, cold winter.

44. The first signs of fall after a hot summer.

45. The breathtaking view out of an airplane’s window.

46. Witnessing two people promising to stay together all of their lives.

47. Finally figuring out what you’re truly hungry for.

48. Giving to others and experiencing their joy.

49. Seeing ordinary people change the course of humanity.

50. Listening to the wealth of wisdom shared by your grandparents.

51. A cold shower on a brutally hot summer day.

52. The overwhelming feeling of seeing the Grand Canyon for the very first time.

53. The grace of ballet dancers floating across the stage.

54. Falling in love with your glorious body.

55. Coming home.

56. The realization that life, after all, is immeasurably valuable.

What are your reasons to lovingly and fiercely embrace life?
Posted by Graham Dragon at 08:37 1 comment: Links to this post
Labels: gratitude, inspiration, self-doubt
Thursday, 8 November 2012
Book Review
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Books on How to be Successful

Very many of my readers orginally found this blog because they were looking for ways to be more successful. For my November Book Review I have therefore focused entirely on books that are aimed at exactly that – how to become more successful. And I believe the authors I have chosen are amongst the most qualified to help us all achieve this.

Click on the title of any book that particularly interests you and you can buy it right away from Amazon.

For my UK readers, or anyone who wants to pay in pounds sterling or have the booked shipped from the UK, click on the “UK Link” right at the end of each review.

The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

by
Jack Canfield & Janet Switzer

“Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer have created something different in the self-help literature – a compendium of the principles that have stood the test of time. The book is organized in several sections to make these references easier to follow. The authors also provide many free tools to help you succeed. If you have already read much of the success literature, you probably think this book isn’t for you. I beg to differ. Seeing so many good ideas in one book will help you weld together good habits and actions in even more constructive ways.”

– Donald Mitchell

“If you want to be truly succesful in this life, you need to read this book. It gives you the proper information to succeed. It touches on principles such as time management, money, goal-setting, creating successful relationships and so on. If you follow these principles you will literally transform yourself into a success.
This book gives you valuable information on finances. Money isn’t everything, but it can make your life a little easier and this book will show you how to earn more, spend less, and give away while still being prosper.
If you apply these principles to your life, you will see and feel changes for the better. I have applied the recommendations on managing my time and I already see the benefits of a more successful life. I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to transform their life into a success.”

– Rob P

“As an Author, Coach, and Motivational Speaker I read a lot of books about people, their motivations, and their relationships. The Success Principles is an outstanding example of an educational, inspirational, and motivational guide to success. I love the stories of the people Jack and Janet chose to interview to model the principles. The Success Principles is an excellent book and I give it an A+.

– Kevin A. Decker

If you want to get a flavour of Jack Canfield’s message without buying this book you can tell his organisation you would like a free coaching call (not one to one, I should add!) and you can listen to him for 70 minutes without spending a dime! Click here to book this free coaching call.

UK Link

The Law of Success: The Master Wealth-Builder’s Complete and Original Lesson Plan forAchieving Your Dreams

by
Napoleon Hill

This may be a very old text on the subject, but it is as relevant today as it was when Napoleon Hill wrote it, and it forms the basis of many of the success systems marketed today. Here is your chance to get it from the horse’s mouth!

“By applying many of the 16 fundamentals of the Law of Success philosophy we have built a great chain of successful stores. I presume it would be no exaggeration of fact if I said that the Woolworth Building might properly be called a monument to the soundness of these principles.”

– F. W. Woolworth (Yes, THE Woolworth!)

“I have now had an opportunity to finish reading your Law of Success textbooks, and I wish to express my appreciation of the splendid work you have done in this philosophy. It would be helpful if every politician in the country would assimilate and apply the 16 principles upon which the Law of Success is based. It contains some very fine material which every leader in every walk of life should understand.”

– William H. Taft, Former President of the United States and Chief Justice

The above two reviews were, of course, written many decades ago. But the next one was written in September 2012:

“This is one of those wonderful life-companion books that will be forever at my bedside table.

It is beautifully bound and typeset, and knowing that the words are direct from from the pen of Napoleon Hill gives it an uncanny presence. But it is the content that is the real kicker here. There is no “secret” here, this is the success teachings from which all others stem, written in superbly articulated, engaging and vivid language that feels more like the memory of a recent personal conversation than lessons of life. Don’t wait, get it!”

– W Sitte (Brisbane, Australia)

UK Link

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams

by
Deepak Chopra

“No matter your station in life, this quick-but-poignant read should be considered required reading for all. I make a point of re-reading it almost weekly, and have bought copies for my grandkids to do the same. Regardless of your particular belief system, the message is generic, pure, and enlightening. Great job as usual, Dr. C!”

– Harold Smith (Bedford, Texas, US)

“I used to not read Chopra, his belief system in my mind was opposed to mind (closed minded, I know).

Then I heard him interviewed by Anthony Robbins and his medical discussion along with spirit blew me away.

I have shared with 1000s of people one thing he said, “We have 60,000 thoughts a day.” He went on to share that many people have 95% of the same thoughts the next day.

The statement revolutionized my life and thinking.

Then I read “Do You” by Russell Simmons and he said he gives The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success to all his staff. So I picked it up; and am glad I did.

His discussion about state of mind, gratitude and giving is filled with wisdom. Here is where I appreciate Chopra, he believes people are meant to fulfill their dreams. He believes God has placed us here to be happy, and that there is enough for everyone. I now have several of his books.

Turns out he and I are not so far about in what we believe. ”

– Tobin B. Crenshaw (Canton, OH)

“Love love love this book! Just what I needed…. I recommend this to all. I feel more at peace. It is as though I have connected myself to what I have always known. Read it!”

– E Jones

UK Link

Posted by Graham Dragon at 10:07 No comments: Links to this post
Labels: book review, Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Napoleon Hill, Success
Friday, 2 November 2012
Your Philosophy
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Jim Rohn: Your Philosophy
an original article by Jim Rohn

“Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out.”

If you want to know how an Idaho farm boy can make it to Beverly Hills, then take the journey toward achievement by discovering the cornerstone for total and lasting success: building your philosophy. I was broke at 25 and a millionaire by 31. At 25, there was nothing in my bank and I needed to provide for my family. As I was considering what to do, I met John Earl Shoaff, a wealthy entrepreneur who became my employer for the next five years. He revolutionized my life and taught me the importance of developing my philosophy. It isn’t a complex or mystical process, but a principle that can make a difference in how your life turns out. As we go forward on this journey toward success, remember you need to keep looking for those few things that make the most difference in your life, and spend most of your time doing those things. Effective time management is the best-kept secret of the rich. While there are five major puzzle pieces for success, without the first — developing a sound philosophy — the other pieces are of little value.

Set Your Sail

The winds of circumstance blow upon all of us. We all have experienced the winds of disappointment, despair and heartbreak, but why do people arrive at such different places at the end of the journey? Have we not all sailed upon the same sea?

The major difference isn’t circumstance; it’s the set of the sail, or the way we think.

In spite of our best efforts, we have moments when things just seem to fall apart. The rich and the poor have the same challenges that can lead to financial ruin and personal despair. It isn’t what happens to us that determines the quality of our lives, it’s what we do after we’ve set our sails and the wind decides to change direction. When winds change, we must change. We have to struggle to our feet and reset the sail in a manner that will steer us in the direction of our own deliberate choice. The set of the sail, how we think and how we respond, has a far greater capacity to destroy our lives than any challenges we face. How quickly we respond to adversity is far more important than adversity itself. The great challenge of life is to control the process of our own thinking.

Learn From Success and Failure

The best way to establish a new and powerful personal philosophy is to objectively review the conclusions you’ve drawn about life. Any conclusion you’ve drawn that isn’t working for you could be working against you. The best way to counteract misinformation and wrong data is to input new and accurate information. Gather information from personal experience. If you’re doing something wrong, evaluate what you did wrong and change things.

Seek an objective, outside voice about how you are and what you’re doing. An objective opinion from someone you respect can lead you to early and accurate information about your decision-making process. Listen to the freshness of an outside voice — someone who can see the forest and isn’t lost in the trees.

Observe the successes and failures of other people. If people who failed were to give seminars, it would be helpful. You could see how people mess up and you wouldn’t do what they did. You could find out what poor people read and decide not to read it. Past failures and errors prompt us to amend current conduct so we don’t replicate the past.

Study from people who do well. Each of us should be in a constant search for people we admire and respect and whose behavior we can model. It’s far better to deliberately choose the people we will permit to influence us than to allow bad influences to affect us without our conscious choice.

Read All You Can

People from all walks of life who’ve had some of the most incredible experiences have taken the time to write of these experiences so we can be instructed and amend our philosophies. There are two books you need to read to build your philosophy: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. The contributions of other people enable us to reset our sails based upon their experiences. Books offer treasures of information that can change our lives, fortunes, relationships, health and careers for the better.

Keep a Journal

A journal is a gathering place for all of our observations and discoveries about life. It’s our own handwritten transcript that captures our experiences, ideas, desires and conclusions about the people and the events that have touched our lives. The past, when properly documented, is one of the best guides for making good decisions. The very act of writing about our lives helps us think more objectively about our actions. Writing tends to slow down the flow of information and gives us time to analyze and ponder the experience. The intense scrutiny of journal writing can enable us to make refinements in our philosophy that are truly life-changing.

Jot down what you learn and be a buyer of empty books. It’s the small disciplines that lead to great accomplishments.

Observe and Listen

Pay attention during your day, watch what’s going on and become a good listener. Find a voice of value and stay for a while. Surround yourself with people you respect and admire. Find people whose personalities and achievements stimulate, fascinate and inspire you, and then strive to assimilate their best qualities. This is called the skill of selecting. Don’t waste your time on the silly and the shallow.

One of the major reasons people don’t do well is because they keep trying to get through the day while a more worthy cause is to get from the day. We must become sensitive enough to observe and ponder what is happening around us. Be alert. Be awake. Often the most extraordinary opportunities are hidden among seemingly insignificant events.

Be a good listener. With so many voices vying for your attention, you need to develop the skill of selective listening and only dial into the radio station that appeals to you. If a voice is not leading to the achievement of your goals, exercise caution in how long you listen.

Be Disciplined

Every day is filled with dozens of personal crossroads, moments when we’re called upon to make a decision regarding minor as well as major questions. These decisions chart a path to a future destination. With careful mental preparation, we can make wise choices. The development of a sound philosophy prepares us for making sound decisions. When we eat healthy foods, we experience positive results in a short time. When we start exercising, we feel a new vitality almost immediately. When we begin reading, we experience a growing awareness and a new level of self-confidence. New disciplines practiced daily will produce exciting results. The magic of new disciplines causes us to amend our thinking.

Don’t Neglect

Neglect is the major reason people don’t have what they want. If you don’t take care of things in your life, neglect becomes a disease. If you neglect to do good things with your money, you probably neglect to do good things with your time. If you don’t know what’s going on with your health or your bank account, you could be at risk. Set up new disciplines to change your life. Don’t neglect.

Everything is within our reach if we will read books, use journals, practice the disciplines and wage a new and vigorous battle against neglect.

Build your philosophy. Commit yourself to a new journey and say, “I’m going to change my life.” Once you do, you’ll never look back.
Posted by Graham Dragon at 09:16 3 comments: Links to this post
Labels: discipline, failure, Jim Rohn, listening, philosophy, Success

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