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Personal Growth
Private Lessons/Workshops

jay dancing bear

If you have gotten interested in personal growth, and would like to speak with a man who has been actively pursuing his own personal growth for the past 42 years, i offer you my services.

After thinking about it for years, I am now hanging out my shingle as a personal growth advisor. I want to make clear that I am not formally trained as a teacher by any particular school, and I make no claims other than that I am sincere in my desire to share my knowledge. These ideas may work for you or may not, I make no guarantees, and I take no responsibility for any effects or consequences you experience, good or bad. You are responsible for the use you make of what I offer, just as you would reap the gains or losses of stock market  advice. I am simply giving you my best understanding as of now, and next week my understanding might grow to a different realization, as might yours.

I have spent a lot of time and money in pursuit of my own personal growth. I have meditated, done yoga, tai chi, worked with my diet, have taken workshops, read countless books, listened to tapes, watched videos, lived at Esalen and Harbin, and spent many, many hours of my life doing practices. It is the main focus of my life, what i live for. I love it, and it has improved my life so much. I am far from perfect and still have challenges in my life, but the skills and tools i have learned have served me well and, i believe, will serve you to be healthier and happier. My life has improved tremendously as a result of the techniques and practices which I have learned and practiced.

INDIVIDUAL GUIDANCE SESSIONS

I offer very simple sessions. We talk, perhaps over tea, perhaps while taking a walk. You tell me a little bit about what's going on in your life, what you're looking for, i offer you some suggestions on how to manifest it, how to be happier and healthier. Then it's up to you to do the practices. 

Personal Growth Workshop
For Beginners

The goal of this workshop is to give you an experience of being awake, alive, in your body, in community.

This is a beginner's workshop, we're not going to do anything radical.  It's for people who are becoming interested in personal growth, and want an easy introduction, from an experienced walker on the path. Remember, you have the choice to participate or not in any exercise. 

This workshop is a grab bag of different things i've learned over the years. It is different every time. if you take it ten times, it will never be the same twice.

The opening is the same,
I will say, as a musician i know that the most important thing is to tune up before we start. Sound tunes our energy, our chakras. Let's stand up, hold hands in a circle, right hand down, left hand up, because traditionally we give with our right and recieve with our left, forming a circle of energy, and let's tone, opening our mouths and throats, allowing the sound OMmm to vibrate us. We're going to do this for a while, maybe 5 minutes. It's not about how it sounds, as far as quality of singing voice, it's about how it feels in your body, letting it vibrate you.

The next thing we will do is sit down, in a circle, and briefly introduce ourselves, giving our name and why we're here.

After that, we'll see.

If you want, you can get some friends together,
and we'll set up a workshop just for you!

 Benefits

     *    Learn ideas and practices which will help you to be healthier
           and happier   

     *    Get a new perspective on our needs and priorities

     *    Be more comfortable with ourselves and other people

     *    Reconnect with ourselves and natur

     *    Be in community with people who share our interest in
           personal growth


Methods

toning
movement
breath

music
singing
dancing

mirror work

council work
honesty

massage (clothes on)
journaling

and more!

jay dancing bear
415-513-8105

jaydancingbear@gmail.com

go to my writings page, click on the recommended readings

RATES

Beautiful Path
.

I walk this path
every day
watching my breath and
hearing my mind race

It’s a beautiful path
often I don’t see it
but when I do

it’s a beautiful path


personal growth
a work in progress
jay dancing bear

4/24/09 This is still very much unfinished. Parts are cut and pasted from other things.
There are mistakes, duplications, etc. My method is to write first, edit later.

You may ask, by what authority do i write this. I am a person who started out life with a lot of problems, and through honest self examination and diligence has experienced much improvement, and still has more to come.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive manual, but rather a guide to those teachers and teachings which have served me.
With a few exceptions, i am not giving details of practices, and i am making many statements which i am not giving the proof for in this little work. Think of this as a roadmap, or perhaps a guidebook with suggestions on where to go. Take it with a grain of salt.  For some reason i feel the urge to write this. This represents the best i know now. Try these ideas, see if they work for you.

------------------------------------------------------
Overview  

The goal of our lives is to be happy and healthy
.
The question is, what are the best ways to do this?

ask yourself these 2 questions:

1) am i willing to be,
am i allowing myself to be,
do i feel i deserve to be,
happy?

2) am i willing to,
am i allowing myself to,
do i deserve to,
know the Self?

Certainly we need the material things in life, good food, shelter, etc, and material pleasures are not to be scorned; they are a gift to us from the Universe. As we learn and grow, we discover that there are higher joys and fulfillments to be found, the satisfactions of a job well done, appreciation of art, and other non-material pleasures. At some point we find fulfillment in our interactions with others, our emotional relationships. Later still, we realize that we truly are all connected, that for us to be happy and healthy, we need to live in a happy and healthy world, and so we find ourselves finding deep satisfaction in service, perhaps even service to people we may not even meet personally.

Yet, beyond all this, there is a peace and joy which the mystics speak of, a quote I read in The Perennial Philosophy, by Aldous Huxley, "joy is the surest sign of the presence of god", and this is referring to mystics of all faiths, not necessarily christians. I write as one who has had a few small tasters of this experience, just enough to know that it is the real thing, worth paying any price for. I only wish i knew how to make it a permanent experience. Short of that, i pursue the goal of being the best human being i can be.

Actually, I believe that it is everyone's purpose in life to be the best human being they can be. It amazes me that people spent worlds of time pursuing material goals, yet do not even take the time to give their bodies the rest and movement they need to be physically healthy, yet alone do the work of becoming mentally and emotionally healthy. People seem to invest in everything but themselves. I realize the fear that drives so much of this, and i realize that often the drive for material success is based on self worth issues, and i think that it is so important to invest the time necessary to do the things which truly create health and happiness.

The whole message i wish to convey is very simple
It is everyone's assignment in life to be the best human being we can be.
Make that top priority in your life, put in the time and diligent effort, and you will prosper.


My firm conviction is that our unconscious runs our lives. Everybody says they want to be healthy and happy, but from what i can tell, their conscious minds may be saying yes, but their unconscious is saying NO!

 Step 1, from which all else naturally follows, like water flowing downhill

1) Get in touch with your unconscious. discover the reasons which cause it to block your health and happiness, for example, by keeping you self destructive in your eating, and get it to the place of being willing to allow yourself to be fully happy and healthy.

This is not done by willpower, but by listening and finding better alternatives for your subsconscious to achieve it's goals. Also, noticed i use the word allowing. We all so clearly have the urge to be happy and healthy, and i don't think we have to force ourselves to do the things which are good for us, i think that we would naturally do them, if our subconscious motivations were truly to be happy and healthy.

The best explanation i have found for why we don't do this, is that in our earlier years we get an attitude towards ourselves, an attitude which says "i deserve to be happy", or an attitude which says " I deserve to suffer", and then we do everything in our power to make this come true.

For a start, explore these books
NLP, The New Technology of Achievement
You Can Heal Your Life -Louise Hay
Bodymind Ken Dychtwald

Once your conscous and unconscious are truly in alignment with the goal of creating  health and happiness for yourself, then there are a million practices andd techniques, and you will naturally be drawn to the ones which are best for you in any given moment.

People have physical body, mind, emotions (which are the link between body and mind), and energy body. For everyone i would recommend daily practice of meditation and Qigong, which nourishes the energetic pathways of your body. Just as your car needs gas, and your cellphone needs charging, so too does your energy. Then, at the most basic, your physical body basically needs proper nutrition, movement/exercise, and rest

------------------

"Everything you want to be, you will be in the end",
the Moody Blues, from the song nights in white satin

"Do the work, get the paycheck"- Jay Dancing Bear

Practices are what transform us.

We spend hours reading the paper or watching TV and think nothing of it. Is it such a big deal to meditate or do yoga for an hour?

The phrases personal growth, higher consciousness, enlightenment, get used a lot. What do they mean?

To me, personal growth and transformation means, are we better off than we were, even though we're not perfect yet, and probably never will be. In my own case, i used to have a mind filled with angry thoughts all the time. I have a lot less these days. In that way, i feel i have higher consciousness than i did, more peace, better health.

Perhaps there is some absolute state called enlightenment, I don't know. What I do know, is that
What we can all experience is to feel better.

Information is like hearing about food. Yes, it's important to know what to eat, and Practices are the eating. Whether it's a yoga workout, a sufi wazifa, tibetan tong-len, or Christian Stations of the Cross. Do the work, get the paycheck. There are no shortcuts.

The secret of practicing is to focus on what you do, not what you don't do. For years i set myself goals, i will do yoga one hour a day, i will eat this, i will not eat that, and of course so often i didn't do it. I always felt like i was behind, trying to catch up, to make up for the workout i missed yesterday, or the ice cream i ate. It didn't work. The day i started making progress in my life was the day i started counting every bite of good food as a victory, every minute of yoga as a victory, feeling good about what i had done, not worrying about what i hadn't.

Just do something each day. If you don't do exactly the workout you planned, OK, just do something. It all adds up.
Intention, motivation are key. The more your motivations are unselfish, the more power there is in your practice,
and the truth is, we all start from selfishness. We all start from where we are, right now, in this moment.

Start Now!

____________________________________________

Selfishness causes dis-ease

Wealth and poverty
wealth of time
wealth of love
wealth of peace and joy
sensual wealth of being in your body
wealth of family, friends, community
wealth of meaning and purpose
wealth of experience


Healthy Values and Intentions lead to
Healthy Thoughts which lead to
Healthy Emotions which lead to
Healthy Body
and underlying all those is connecting deeply with spirit through
meditation, prayer, and other practices


Peace, happiness, prosperity, ultimately everything is a state of consciousness. Everything you think you want is just a way to get that feeling, isn't it.


True health and happiness=clear mind, open heart.
All else follows.

We all want to be happy and healthy. The question is, what is the best way to do this. The single greatest key is what we choose to think about.

Loving, wise intentions, thoughts and emotions, words and deeds create health, are health,

unloving, unwise intentions, thoughts, emotions, words and deeds create dis-ease, are dis-ease.


a quote from the Dhammapada, a buddhist wisdom book. translation Thomas Byrom, Shambala books, 1993

We are what we think
All that we are arises with our thoughts
With our thoughts we make the world
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart

We are what we think
All that we are arises with our thoughts
With our thoughts we make the world
Speak or act with a pure mind

and happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakeable

"Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me."
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate

"Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me."
Abandon such thoughts and live in love

In this world we encounter and are aware of much bad behaviour. It is important to do our best to not condone or allow this, but the spirit, the state of mind, we have towards these "wrongs", is crucial to our own health and happiness.

i feel compelled to add one thought here. I said that the greatest key is what we choose to think about.
The mystics tell us that the key is connection with Spirit, what some call God.

I believe that this is true, but for most of us, on the level of consciousness we live on, the more immediate answer is watching the content of our mind and choosing good thoughts. On the simplest level, if we find ourselves thinking "he abused me," etc., we can recite some affirmation, mantra, prayer, or even baseball statistics, anything to keep from going into anger and bitterness.

Wisdom is realizing
Them is us

Can i explain that? No. You either feel it to be true, or not.
Let's leave it at that.
-------------------------

Be as conscious as you can be in every thought, word and deed of your life
that's a pretty tall order, but that's what being alive is about, being fully conscious.
"you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"

.What we all really need and seek is love
Once you get past our physical needs, which are what most people focus on, I think our deepest need is love. Love is connection. This implies connection with others, connection with spirit, and connection with ourselves. Connections and intimacy of all sorts, including touch, conversation, sex, understanding, fulfillment, self expression, being of service to others, and you can probably add to this list


Time is the coin of the realm
Whatever you do in your life, you need the time to do it. Time is subjective. If you are low energy, an hour can feel like five minutes. If your chi is high, five minutes can feel like an hour. No matter what, you must make the time available to yourself to charge your own batteries, which means doing practices such as meditation and yoga.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint
Sustainable
is an important word these days. Living a sustainable life is not just about how you spend your money, it's about how you live your life. Are you living a life which creates joy and health, for yourself and others, or are you run down, tired, unhappy? Could you live the life that you are living:
eating the food you eat,
doing the job you do, for the amount of hours you are working,
functioning emotionally in the way you are functioning,
and all the rest
for the next 40 years, and be happy and healthy?


Be totally honest with yourself
about who and how you are and have acted.

As far as i can tell, so many Americans come out of their childhoods deeply wounded, and then ignore or deny their pain, and sooner or later it catches up with them. Now i'm not suggesting wallowing in your pain, because that's almost worse, but there is a balance to be struck, and it starts with facing as it is, now, here, in this moment.

Be willing to face every shadow in your psyche, and remember the deepest truth, that ultimately  we are spirit. Don't get stuck in problem solving, and don't use that as an excuse for not facing your flaws.

Love, accept and forgive yourself exactly as you are right now, in this moment, with all your faults and sins, with whatever mistakes, small or terrible, you may have made.

Extend that love, acceptance and forgiveness to all beings, particularly to those against whom you have any sort of anger or grudge. To the extent to which you forgive them, you are forgiven.

Remember that the bottom line truth of many, perhaps most, spiritual teachings is that there is nothing but god, or spirit, or whatever word you want to use, which means that we are part of It. Underneath our human imperfection is divine perfection, and the best problem solving you can do is to realize that truth, and i am not speaking about intellectual realization, but spiritual realization that you feel.

The deepest, most important changes in a person's life
are the changes in consciousness
.

The more we bring our human consciousness into alignment with divine consciousness, the healthier our thoughts, words and deeds, the less mistakes we make, and the easier and happier our lives get.

Pain and suffering
Pain is a physical sensation. Suffering is wanting things to be different than they are. Resistance is suffering.

This is subtle. Certainly if your child is sick, or if people are being tortured, it is important to do everything you can to help. However, if in your mind, the voice is saying "this sucks, this really sucks, they are horrible people", and as a consequence, you are getting stressed, your blood pressure is going up, etc., that helps nobody, and hurts you, and hurts your ability to help and be effective in your attempts to help.

I realize just how easy this is to write, and how hard it can be to practice. All we can do is the best we are capable of, in any given moment, but remember, the mind thinks only one thought at a time. If you consciously recite an affirmation or mantra or prayer or anything, that is what you will be thinking, rather than "he beat me, he robbed me, he abused me".


_______________________________

Why do we so often not do what is good for us,
and do what is not good for us?

.

Smokers know they shouldn't smoke, junkies know it's killing them, women consistently attracted to bastards know they are suffering, yet they all continue.

We all know we should eat right, exercise, rest more, yet so often we don't. 

Why is this?

I found an excellent answer in the Louise Hay book, You Can Heal Your Life,  probably the best self help book i've ever read. Her answer, as i understand it, is that it all stems from our internal attitudes toward ourselves.  Do we really love ourselves, not in a narcissistic, superficial way, but in a deep way. Do we believe that we deserve good, or do we somehow believe that we are bad, and deserve punishment, and so our lives vary from attracting and creating pain and suffering into our lives, to the less extreme not allowing ourselves all the joy and abundance we could have, to really letting ourselves feel good.

I'll give you an example from my own life. I know that doing my daily yoga practice is the best thing in the world for me, yet i sometimes go weeks without it. Now Louise has an exercise, in which you look into a mirror and say to yourself, i love myself, over and over again. Sounds hokey, doesn't it. Well, when i do this, suddenly i find myself doing my yoga, eating better, feeling better. It works. For whatever reason, i was not allowing myself to feel good.

I'll go a little farther. I personally believe that we are all telepathic, that on some level we call people into our lives, that somehow we know the opportunities out there for jobs, etc., and allow or don't allow ourselves to manifest them. On a more basic level, our attitudes, whether we wake up feeling positive, or negative, because everything comes down to a feeling, doesn't it.

The common world view is that we are victims, the events of our lives often just happen to us. I'm not going to go so far as to say everything that happens is under our metaphysical control, but i will say that my belief is that we live in a loving universe that wants us to be happy, and if we love ourselves, we maximize the joy available to us, and i really do believe that so often, we create our own suffering. This is a deep subject, why is there suffering in the world.  

Chi, prana, energy The Chinese word is Chi, the Hindu word is prana, what it means is your vital energy, your life force. Think of it in the same way you think of the energy in a battery, a rechargeable battery. Step one is to learn how to recharge your battery. Step two is to learn how to run on electricity, so to speak, how to tap into universal energy as you go about your activies.

The word energy gets used very loosely. I am talking about a specific, quantifiable force which, if we had the proper equipment, we could measure and say, for example, you have 85 units of life energy. Perhaps we could measure before and after a set of angry thoughts, saying, you had 85 units before getting angry, now only 70 afterwards.

My experience of my life is that if i have done practices to build my chi, my personal energy, then all of a sudden everything seems to go right. Appointments are on time, sessions are good, i perform well whatever i am doing. Conversely, when my energy is depleted, things seem to tend to go wrong. Start noticing in your own life if this is how it is for you, and if so, you now have a tool to make a bad day turn good, which is to take some time to do some practices.

Take responsibility for your emotions
it is just as much of a mistake to take offense, as to give offense

Many people go through life blaming others for their feelings.
They have very little or no control over their reactions, and they suffer for it.
Nobody "made" you feel angry, sad, whatever. They acted a certain way, you reacted a certain way. It is your responsibility to learn techniques of the mind to keep balance. The buddhists stress this. It can be learned.

Let's distinguish between pain and suffering. Pain is when someone slaps you. Suffering is how your emotions feel in reaction to that.

Speaking from personal experience, life becomes a lot more pleasant when we practice this. We humans make a lot of mistakes, many of them with our words, many of those words spoken thoughtlessly, in haste, fear, anger. Let's all cut each other some slack for our mistakes.

What do you value?
The song said everything you want to be. Well, what do you want to be, what is your ideal, as Edgar Cayce put it. Forget the lip service, be honest with yourself. Put your time and energy at the service of what you value and you'll get it,. See deeply, with insight, as the Tibetans put it, what is truly valuable, and then be honest with yourself, and if you really want to be rich and famous, go for it, because you can't lie to yourself. Sooner or later life will educate you as to what is truly valuable.

there is no security in this world
No matter how much money you have, no matter how good your health, how wonderful your family, how great your job, you could lose it all. A car crash, stock market crash, hurricane, etc., your life changes. The only real security is your relationship to God/spirit/the universe/whatever you call it, your only dependable resources are the treasures of character/spirit/soul, which you have built up through practices. Knowing this, we appreciate what we have more, because in truth, we can not take anything for granted.

The Body Doesn't Lie
You can tell yourself anything, but your body will tell you the truth, and if the way you are living isn't serving you in the deepest sense, your body will call your attention to it, probably you'll have health problems.
If you don't feel physically good, if you are not experiencing the joy of being in your body, if your mind is not at peace, if you do not have good relations with people, if you are always rushing around, never have enough time, you are poor, no matter what your net worth. It's time to do some work on yourself.

Nature is the healer
One of my definitions of poverty is being indoors in nice weather. Being in nature is healing to body, mind, and connects us with soul. Nature is the temple. It's a pity that some people have become so cut off from the sky, the breezes, the trees, the air.

If you are some poor soul who has become so used to heated rooms and conditioned air, you may have to make a gradual transition. Bundle up if you feel cold, take it slow, but get used to being outdoors and the odds are very high your spirits will improve.

have-do-be or be-do-have
I took a number of workshops with a woman named Dominique Sire. She used to say, most people think you HAVE something, for example money, so you DO something, for example take a vacation, so you ARE something, for example happy.
She used to say that actually it works the other way. You ARE something, for example peaceful and happy, so you DO something, for example create a work of art, so you HAVE something, for example, money when you sell it

In Zen they say, no attainment, and nothing to attain.
happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.
be here now, it's all you really have
Peace=acceptance

(not to be confused with inaction or condoning bad behaviour)

So far much of what I have written seems to be directly opposed to these ideas. It is not. If you are feeling the need to make changes in your life, acceptance is accepting that feeling and doing the work. The masters tell us that at some point one gets the understanding that it's all perfect just as it is. I believe that, but not being there yet, the path of spiritual evolution involves doing the work. The Buddha's last words were "work out your salvation with diligence", even though eventually we may see that it was all a game.

______________________________________

The 168 exercise:
there are 168 hours in a week. How do you spend them? And how would you like to spend them?
Get 168 coins, chips, etc.
First, the ideal
How many hours a week would be healthy for you to sleep. Put those off to the side.
How many hours personal grooming, showers, etc. Subtract.
How many hours would be good for you to exercise, meditate, study spiritual texts.
How many hours for quality food preparation and eating.
How much time with family and friends. Time is the most important family value.
How much time to be a good citizen, educating yourself about issues.
Ideally, how many hours of meaningful work, including commute.
What else.

Now the way it is.

First, how many hours work and commute.
Now go down the list.

I realize all the difficulties of how jobs usually work, paying for health care, etc., etc., and it is important to tell the truth. Allow yourself to see how it really is, how so many important parts of your life get shorted,then do your best to realize the ideal.

What you will probably find is that in an ideal situation work would occupy 15-25 hours a week, including commute.
This means you probably need to
want less, so you need less money, which includes be very efficient with every dollar you spend, and
earn more per hour, a minimum of $25/hr.
This probably means that you must work for yourself, because most employers don't pay that.
  
 
as for children,
in truth, the economics of this society are not set up for having children, at least not having time to spend with them, and if you have no time for your child, isn't it cruel to bring him or her into the world


______________________________

The Forgiveness Mantra

I,___, forgive ____ for any harm they may have done me, knowingly or unknowlingly, intentionally or unintentionally, by omission or comission, in thought, word, or deed, and I,___, ask forgiveness for any harm i may have done ___, knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, in thought, word, or deed.

My ideals 

which is to say, the ideas which I have found will benefit me the most, are

    1. Open the heart
    2. Live mindfully

1) Open the heart-how can one describe intangibles such as open heart or closed heart? In my experience I can feel them almost as physical sensations, warmth or coldness in my body and emotions. A lot of practices involve becoming sensitive to what is going on inside ones self, body, feelings, mind. One can feel the state of the heart and it’s effects in our life.

To get philosophical for a moment, until we feel our connection with other beings, we are alone on a desert island, unable to manifest those parts of ourselves which can only exist in relation to others. How to keep connection with others, without feeling overwhelmed by all the pain and suffering in the world? What is one’s role and responsibility regarding others? These are keys which require developing spiritual understanding.

As of this writing this is the key issue I am working on. How to see all the mistakes made by people, mistakes which hurt themselves and others, mistakes which seem to be made over and over again without learning seeming to take place, especially my own stupidity and mistakes which I have made a thousand times, how to see all that and not get fearful, angry, judgmental, resentful, patronizing, or close the heart, that is the $64,000 question.

Put another way, if there is a God, or some sort of guiding, benevolent spirit in the world, how can all this suffering be? The little glimpses of answer I have found have come in meditation or in Spiritual texts, which say that our true nature is spirit and this world is like a movie we go to, but we always go home at the end. According to these texts we are all manifestations of Spirit, as all the cells in our bodies are parts of us, as all the drops of water in the ocean are all part of the ocean. Literally, to hurt another is to hurt oneself.

2) Live mindfully

How much of the time are we really awake, really feeling what is going on in our bodies, feelings and minds?

How much of the time are we on automatic, going through the motions without really being there?

How much do we really feel the sensations in our body?

How much are we aware of what our motivations are, what’s really going on inside our psyches?

The western technological world is filled with distractions which keep us from awareness. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese buddhist teacher, says to live without being mindful is to be almost like a dead person. I think he’s right. Have you ever eaten without tasting the food because your mind is busy, or not enjoyed what you’re doing because you’re thinking of what you’re going to do next. I have, all too often I still do, and it’s not fun. I want to enjoy my life.

Quieting the mind of the endless mental chatter and worrying which I can feel draining me. The times my mind is peaceful I feel my body more, get more done and am much happier. The mind is a very useful tool, and has an important place in life, but just like a chainsaw it’s better to have it quiet and not using up power when not in use.

My Basic Practices

The core of my practices are:

    1. meditation- mindfulness practice, giving attention to body, breath and mind, quieting mental noise, noticing any toxic thoughts, such as anger, fear, resentment, which in the past I have been quite prone to
    2. movement, such as tai chi and yoga
    3. healthy eating
    4. Reading and listening to beneficial books and tapes

I’m basically selfish and practical, I do this stuff because it helps me, because I have found that I feel happier and healthier than when I don’t do it. When I do these practices I feel better immediately, and as time goes on I can feel the cumulative benefits. I measure the progress of my life by how much peace, health and happiness I experience on a moment to moment, day to day basis, not how much wealth or fame I have

Goals The goal of my life is to find peace, happiness and health, which includes living in a peaceful, healthy and happy world. The best way I have found to do this is by doing practices which benefit me, such as meditation, yoga and healthy lifestyle, and then acting in the world from a centered, healthy space.

My current challenge is to more manifest my inner knowing as worldly action, an area in which I have been deficient.

I've always looked to role models, people to look to for examples of how to live. For many years it was Ram Dass. Now it is the Dalai Lama.

________________________________________________________________________________________
Self Educating

When we grew up, most of us were handed a program for our lives, something like go to school, get out of school and get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, etc. There are other programs too. There's nothing wrong with that program, the question is, is it the right program for you? You have to look inside, something you were probably never taught to do, perhaps even discouraged from doing, and find your own truth.

finding your calling

finding your calling in life is one of the most important elements of human existence, because it gives you a sense of purpose.

Your calling is what you want to do, what moves you, what inspires you, what you enjoy and want to spend your time doing, in a deep sense. It could be art, it could be plumbing, which can really give you the satisfaction of a job well done. It could be being a parent. There are no higher or lower callings. If you love seeing a clean floor, it is just as valid a calling as being an attorney.

Your calling may or may not be the way you earn money, although, given a creative approach, it's amazing how often a way can be found to have your calling support you financially.

My belief is that everyone has a calling in life. Some people are lucky enough to know what it is right away, most people have to look for it. The way to do this is through practices, such as various forms of vision quest, prayer,  meditation, through purifying your energy. If you keep seeking, sooner or later it will come.

educating yourself

In school you were taught what employers needed you to know, so that you could be a good slave.
Obey authority without questioning. sit inside on a nice day, ignore your body, esteem yourself based on test scores, work for rewards, and worse.

Bob Dylan said "those who must obey authority, that they do not respect in any degree"
true authority is earned, people grant it because they feel the integrity and rightness of what is being said,

Now it's time to learn the skills you need to be useful to yourself and others.

The most important life skills are:
1) how to take care of yourself, body, mind, emotions, spirit
2) how to communicate and deal with others
3) how to be a good citizen of city, state, country, planet


My basic suggestions would be to: learn to meditate, do chi gung and yoga, learn non-violent communication, study books by great teachers, cultivate compassion for all beings, eat organic and simple food, work to heal your own psychological issues, keep a good attitude, and do service for others through finding your calling.

That's just what i know, what has worked for me. It's up to you to find your own path.

Mind

You Can Heal Your Life
, Louise Hay

Non Violent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg
The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler
NLP, the new Technology of Achievement


At one point in time i wrestled with the question of whether thoughts create emotions, or emotions created thoughts. By observation, i was led to the conclusion that thoughts create emotions.

When we tell each other our stories, they are filled with names, dates and places. All well and good, and there's more. The real story is what went on in our minds, how we felt. For example, my own story. When i was younger, my mind was filled with thoughts of anger and resentment. He did this, she did that, over and over, and of course my health suffered, especially my health and digestion.

One day, one particular moment, in my 30s, i had one more angry thought, and i noticed a twinge in my stomach. I started observing, and i noticed that whenever i got an angry or resentful thought i would get a twinge in my stomach, so i started using tools, such as affirmations, to replace the negative thoughts. From that day my health started improving. I still sometimes slip into negativity, but now i know conclusively that i injure myself when i think, say or do any sort of violence.

The Forgiveness Mantra

I,___, forgive ____ for any harm they may have done me, knowingly or unknowlingly, intentionally or unintentionally, by omission or comission, in thought, word, or deed, and I,___, ask forgiveness for any harm i may have done ___, knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, in thought, word, or deed.

This has helped me to make peace with so many people i was angry at.
When i first learned this, at the California Vipassana Center, it changed my life.

Everyone knows that if you hit someone, that is violence against them, but
what if saying an angry word against someone is also violence?
What if even thinking an angry thought against them is violence?
and all violence to others is violence to ourselves,
to our own happiness and peace of mind


My belief is that every living being in the world is telepathically connected, that this is part of what goes on in the so-called "unused" part of our brains. What if that's true. What if every word we ever spoke about people is known to them. How do you feel when somebody says something bad about you?

What if all the hate speech against george bush and the government is percieved by them on some level. What if the loose words i spoke about ___ somehow are felt by them. What if all the suffering life forms on the planet are part of the reason for the epidemic of depression and prozac in this country, because we really do feel their pain. What if we really accept the idea that hurting others is hurting ourselves.


Even if all that is too far out for you, it is true that physiologically negativity equates to stress and creates toxins in our bodies.

Louise Hay

I’ve read a lot of books, listened to a lot of tapes, gone to a lot of workshops, learned a lot of practices. Information is useful, but only insomuch as one does the practices and gets transformation. In all of the "spiritual" (what isn’t?), metaphysical, self help and health stuff I’ve encountered perhaps the single most useful idea I have come across is from Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, which I most highly recommend to everyone. Whenever I feel stuck, coming back to the practices and ideas in this book helps me.

To paraphrase and embellish, Louise believes that our lives mirror back to us how we really feel about ourselves, that we attract or create circumstances which reflect our inner self opinion.

Do we really love, accept and forgive ourselves, not in a vain, small way, but more in the sense of the unconditional love of a mother for a child, or the Christian idea of Jesus loving, accepting and forgiving everyone, or do we feel bad about ourselves, judge, despise, criticize ourselves, have low or no self esteem, etc? Do we feel bad about ourselves because of our bad or stupid actions, or do we commit bad actions because we feel bad about ourselves? I believe it’s the second, we mess up because of bad feelings we have about ourselves.

A key distinction is between a person’s self and their actions. Loving and forgiving oneself does not mean condoning bad actions. In her book Louise says people think they need to feel bad about themselves or else they think that they won’t change, but she thinks that just perpetuates the cycle. I agree with her. In my experience, when I do the exercises in her book a few hours later or the next day I find myself naturally doing a long session of the practices which make fel great, without making any special effort, and I find myself not doing foolish and self destructive actions.

1) negative thoughts affect the body in the same way as stress, releasing toxins into the body.
2) forgiveness grants us peace of mind, and improves relations with people
3) feeling good about yourself improves your life in every way

to simplify and paraphrase, she says that early in life we pick up attitudes towards ourself, for example believing that we deserve good things in our life, or deserve punishment, and we then attract people into our life and create the circumstances to make those beliefs happen. Read this book.

We view the world through the sunglasses of our beliefs. What are your beliefs about the nature of God/the universe/whatever you call it.
Do you believe:
a) the universe is a hostile place
b) the universe is neutral
c) the universe loves us and wants us to be happy

Is there a set of rules we have to follow to keep god happy? do we need to earn love?
do we have to struggle to survive?
is there enough for everybody?


Body
Bodies need good food, good movement, good rest

Hanna Somatics

Yoga
Chi Gung/Tai Chi

FOOD


There are many theories of what to eat, and they all agree on certain basic points:
1) Don't eat poison. Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. The suffix cide means poison.
"Organic" food means it was grown without poison.
Is it really that radical a concept to say, don't eat poison?

2) Eat whole foods. The less processed the better.
3) Cut out the white sugar
4) how you eat is as important as what you eat.
    Take the time to relax and enjoy your food.
5) Microwave ovens belong in garbage cans, not kitchens
6) filter your water or buy spring water. Flouride is poison

there is so much more i could say. Google the following topics
Macrobiotics
Raw Foods
Food Combining
Food Complementarity.

For too many people in this society, one wonders why their spirits bothered taking a body. They don't eat good food, don't move much, don't enjoy satisfying sex. The main function of their bodies seems to be to give them pain.

Hedonism and over-indulgence lead to spiritual emptiness; fear and suppression, lack of pleasure, leads to spiiritual emptiness.

Many spiritual traditions teach that the body is an obstacle, something to overcome. I come more from the tantric idea, our bodies are a way to enlightenment. The channelled entity Emmanuel says, you're in school, why not take the program.

We have bodies, let's enjoy them.

here is poem i wrote.

Naked Pagan

A naked pagan 
dancing with the sky

I am alien in your world

Your houses, factories, TV sets
It is difficult for me to understand
how can you live this way?

but you do

I need trees, grass, sky

Rushing rivers and willing consorts

fresh strawberries picked from the ground

You tell me of vaccines, hospitals,
guaranteed food supply
heat in the winter

Yes, these are good things
when enjoyed properly
but why give up

the joy of feeling
the sun on your heart

the waves on your flesh
trances
the companionship of spirit

Why do you seem to lack
joy,contentment,fulfillment
serenity, and
integrity

You sell yourself to the highest bidder and
live in fear of not selling yourself
Why can you not find a way to have it all

If this technology is so wonderful
why are so many unhappy

sick at heart

filled with all manner of diseased emotions
and
homeless in the streets

I don’t understand

The gifts I offer
you think worthless

I offer the sand, the sea
the earth, the sky
compassion

and deep feelings

What you want from me is to be a robot
For that I may earn enough to buy food and pay rent
since you have set a price on every inch of the earth
by what right do you control this land

I don’t understand
but, after all
I am only

A naked pagan


On being a Vegetarian

I believe that the evidence of our bodies is that we are built to be vegetarians.
Fingers-suitable for ripping out a throat, or picking a strawberry?
Teeth-better for ripping out a throat, or eating an apple?
Intestines-carnivores have relatively short intestines for their body size, herbivores long. our intestines are much closer to herbivore.

When i got the name dancing bear, in 1988, i had been a vegetarian for 7 years and i had a lot of attitudes about it. being given a native name got me thinking, because the Native Americans ate meat and still do. Also, i've know people who were vegetarians for 18 years and started eating small amounts of meat. When i asked them why, they said they felt their bodies needed it, and i have to respect that.

What i decided was that, to me, how the animal lived is the most important thing. I'm not happy with the idea of killing, but there's a big difference between:
a) an animal living a free life, killed with respect and appreciation, by people who only take what they need, and
b) concentration camps for animals (yes, that's really what they're called, CAFO concentrated animal feeding operation), where animals are systematically tortured (that's what it amounts to), cruelly butchered, chickens can't even peck.
supplying people buying non descript red packages, that has no resemblance to an animal, so nobody has to feel bad.
see Diet for a New America, by john robbins

It just feels wrong.

So i say this. If you want to keep Elsie the cow in your backyard, then one day cut her throat, and hack her into little bits, go ahead.
If you feel you must eat meat, how much do you need, a big steak, or more like chicken chow mein, with little bits, and always try to buy from an animal that was treated decently during it's life and killed as painlessly as possible.

I believe that people do take on the consciousness of what we eat, and i believe that the cause of much of the suffering people experience is the energy of the animals they ate. 

I wrote a song called

HITLER

Hitler slaughtered the jews, his actions were monstrous
he put them in ovens and pulled out their teeth
and one thing we do, that hitler never did
raise them to kill them, and eat them for beef

hitler's actions were monstrous, oh yes that's true
and what about all the things that we do
to all the animals, we eat and use
and all of that pain, all comes back to you

all of those souls, all of that suffering
crying for help, where is relief
one thing we do, hitler never did
raise them to kill them and eat them for beef

hitler took six million lives
and how many pigs are waiting to die
to turn into bacon, to sausage, and ham
baked in an oven and fried in a pan

baked in an oven, fried in a pan
baby cows into veal, baby sheep into lamb
cows into beef, pigs into ham
baked in an oven, fried in a pan

copyright 2008 JDB


Personal Growth Guidance 
Sessions and Workshops

If you have gotten interested in personal growth, and would like to speak with a man who has been actively pursuing his own personal growth for the past 36 years, i offer you my services. 

After thinking about it for years, I am now hanging out my shingle as a personal growth advisor. I want to make clear that I am not formally trained as a teacher by any particular school, and I make no claims other than that I am sincere in my desire to share my knowledge. These ideas may work for you or may not, I make no guarantees, and I take no responsibility for any effects or consequences you experience, good or bad. You are responsible for the use you make of what I offer, just as you would reap the gains or losses of stock market  advice. I am simply giving you my best understanding as of now, and next week my understanding might grow to a different realization, as might yours.

I have spent a lot of time and money in pursuit of my own personal growth. I have meditated, done yoga, tai chi, worked with my diet, have taken workshops, read countless books, listened to tapes, watched videos, lived at Esalen and Harbin, and spent many, many hours of my life doing practices. It is the main focus of my life, what i live for. I love it, and it has improved my life so much. I am far from perfect and still have challenges in my life, but the skills and tools i have learned have served me well and, i believe, will serve you to be healthier and happier. My life has improved tremendously as a result of the techniques and practices which I have learned and practiced.

INDIVIDUAL GUIDANCE SESSIONS

I offer very simple sessions. We talk, perhaps over tea, perhaps while taking a walk. You tell me a little bit about what's going on in your life, what you're looking for, i offer you some suggestions on how to manifest it, how to be happier and healthier. Then it's up to you to do the practices. 

Personal Growth Workshop

For Beginners

The goal of this workshop is to give you an experience of being awake, alive, in your body, in community.

This is a beginner's workshop, we're not going to do anything radical.  It's for people who are becoming interested in personal growth, and want an easy introduction, from an experienced walker on the path. Remember, you have the choice to participate or not in any exercise. 

This workshop is a grab bag of different things i've learned over the years. It is different every time. if you take it ten times, it will never be the same twice.

The opening is the same,
I will say, as a musician i know that the most important thing is to tune up before we start. Sound tunes our energy, our chakras. Let's stand up, hold hands in a circle, right hand down, left hand up, because traditionally we give with our right and recieve with our left, forming a circle of energy, and let's tone, opening our mouths and throats, allowing the sound OMmm to vibrate us. We're going to do this for a while, maybe 5 minutes. It's not about how it sounds, as far as quality of singing voice, it's about how it feels in your body, letting it vibrate you.

The next thing we will do is sit down, in a circle, and briefly introduce ourselves, giving our name and why we're here.

After that, we'll see.

If you want, you can get some friends together,
and we'll set up a workshop just for you!

 Benefits

     *    Learn ideas and practices which will help you to be healthier
           and happier   

     *    Get a new perspective on our needs and priorities

     *    Be more comfortable with ourselves and other people

     *    Reconnect with ourselves and natur

     *    Be in community with people who share our interest in
           personal growth


Methods

toning

movement

breath

music

singing

dancing

mirror work

council work

honesty

massage (clothes on)

journaling

and more!

Beautiful Path
.

I walk this path
every day
watching my breath and
hearing my mind race

It’s a beautiful path
often I don’t see it
but when I do

it’s a beautiful path

jay dancing bear
415-513-8105
jaydancingbear@gmail.com

RATES

go to my writings page, click on the recommended readings

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