For the 25th week of the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I read The Mind of the Soul - Responsible Choice by Gary Zukav.
I found this book because I watched an episode of Oprah Winfrey's program on Sunday morning that featured Gary Zukav. Both Oprah and Gary referred to a book that he wrote many years ago called The Seat of the Soul. Oprah had said it had been a life-changing book for her.
So, when I looked for the book at the library I came across several books written by Gary that I checked out. The Mind of the Soul is the first one that I read in the series.
Initially I thought it was a bit "out there" for me and didn't feel a connection to what was being written. However, I was also reading the book in a public place to pass some time so my full attention wasn't on the book.
When I came home and started reading it again without any distractions, I became much more engaged with the book. There were a lot of passages in the book that were very helpful and informative. What is good for me to do is to excerpt these passages from the book and re-read the points that I found were most helpful.
Below are the parts of The Mind of the Soul which I found more relevant to my life and/or that I wanted to remember:
=> The intentions of your soul are harmony, cooperation, sharing and reverence for life.
=> When you die, your personality will come to an end, but you will not come to an end. That part of you that existed before you were born will continue to exist. That part is your soul.
=> You cannot discard, escape, or transcend your personality while you are on the Earth, but you can change it by learning from your experiences. If you do not learn from your experiences, you personality remains unchanged and your anger, resentment, fear, and jealousy continue to control you.
=> From your birth until your death your personality provides you experiences that are tailored for your spiritual growth, to assist you in healing the frightened parts of your personality and cultivating the parts that are healthy and wholesome.
=> Your intuition helps you stay alive and safe. It assists your creativity. It also assists your spiritual growth. It is clarity when you are confused, and the unexpected answer to your question.
=> When you learn in fear and doubt, you become angry, jealous, resentful, vengeful, judgmental, critical, and in other ways attempt to control. When you learn through love and trust, you are appreciative, content, engaged in the present moment, relaxed, and fulfilled.
=> As you heal the frightened aspects of your personality - the parts that compete, hoard, create discord, and exploit - you become more energetic and creative.
=> A compulsion is the need to do something whether or not it is appropriate. You may be late for an appointment, but even so you rearrange the papers on your desk, fold the laundry, and listen to your answering machine before you leave the house. You know you will be late, but you do these things anyway because otherwise you feel uncomfortable. The discomfort you feel as a result is the compulsion.
=> As long as you feel compelled to do something, you still have a part of your personality to get to know.
=> The choices you make while you are on the Earth create consequences that, if they do not occur before you die, will occur afterward.
=> The lessons your soul wants to learn arrive in the form of your experiences.
=> You learn from your painful experiences when you decide to change because you do not want to create them again.
=> Your soul evolves as your personality learns.
=> When you align your personality with your soul, you bring meaning, purpose, joy, gratitude, and fulfillment into your life. You forget to be frightened and you become fully engaged in the present moment, without expectation. You know you have a purpose, and all that you do serves it. People and the Earth become important to you, and your activities have value to you.
=> Authentic power is the experience of having what you need and being content with what you have.
=> You are grateful for your life, even when it is difficult, and you see compassion and wisdom in all your circumstances.
=> Transforming the frightened parts of your personality requires your choice. They will not change merely because you want, desire, or wish them to change.
=> The frightened parts of your personality look for what is not right, what you do not have, and what frightens you most. They make comparisons and find you lacking.
=> When you focus on what nurtures, sustains, and feeders you, you gain power.
=> When you find yourself judging others, you are choosing in fear and doubt. You feel superior, compelled, and you push people away who think and act differently. When you listen with patience and appreciation, even when you disagree, you are choosing in love and trust. When you choose in fear and doubt, you lose power, and when you choose in love and trust, you gain power.
=> Artificial needs come from the frightened parts of your personality. They are the needs you use to gain notice or prestige, or in other ways make yourself feel valuable and safe, and they become increasingly important to you when you feel powerless.
=> The behavior of others is never an issue in your spiritual growth, but your emotional reaction always is. Painful emotions are signals from your soul that remind you to stop and experience what you are feeling before you choose a response.
=> Harmony requires integrity. You cannot control whether other people are authentic, but you can decide whether or not you will be.
=> Authentic power cannot be lost or stolen, and no one can take it from you. Until you create authentic power, winning will be important to you - whether a gold medal, an argument, or a market share - because your self-worth is at stake.
=> When you do not value yourself, you need others to value you and you place your worth in their hands. In other words, the less an individual values himself, the more he needs to win, or at least compete, but the real need is to be accepted, to be loved, and to contribute. Competition cannot fill these needs. Even if you win every gold medal the world has produced, you will fear losing the next.
=> What you share is important, but why you share it is even more important.
=> Sharing requires knowing your intentions. If you give a gift it may be quite important to the other person, but if you are disappointed with the reaction, you will know that recognition, appreciation, or obligation was your hidden objective.
=> When scarcity exists for you internally, external abundance will not fill it. The scarcity that creates the need to hoard is a scarcity of self-value. In other words, self-disdain, self-contempt, and self-hatred cannot be healed with money, recognition, affection, attention, or influence because no matter how much you gain, the need for more is still there.
=> Internal abundance is self-compassion and self-appreciation.
=> Acknowledging a temptation does not mean acting on it, but rather having the courage to face the enormity of what needs to be changed in you.
=> Temptation show you what you are considering so you can choose responsibly.
=> Temptation allows you to locate and heal parts of yourself within your own world of energy before your actions spill over into the worlds of others and create consequences you would not want to create.
Suggestions in The Mind of the Soul were to:
=> Make a list of your top goals (out-tentions) for this year. Beside each goal, write your in-tention. For example: An out-tention may be take a vacation. The possible in-tentions may be rest yourself, impress someone else, avoid confrontation. Another out-tention may be to plant a garden. The possible in-tentions may be to nurture yourself, save money, avoid your feelings.
=> For 48 hours, try this experiment: whenever you react to anything, say to yourself, "I have encountered a frightened part of my personality." Make a note of what you reacted to and how you reacted.
=> List a few of your recent decisions (e.g., decisions about what you chose to say to a friend when you were upset, decisions about activities). Consider each one of your decisions as a choice of a trail. Think about other choices you could have made. Imagine these as trails you could have taken. In a larger sense, ask yourself if the trail you are on now is really the one you want to take.
=> Say to yourself, "I am responsible for the choices I make and the consequences they create."
=> Notice the next time you encounter something that always makes you irritated, impatient, angry, judgmental, jealous, etc. Consider how you could respond differently. Then choose how you will respond.