Lao Tsu (604 - 531 BC) said something very beautiful and profound: "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage." Love, real love is what we all look for. Love is a mystery. Just as we will never phantom the mystical nature of God, so the ways and paths of love mystify us.
Through my behavioural kinesiology practice, I have learnt that the one prerequisite for experiencing this above sublime and wonderful love in our relationships, is to first love and accept yourself totally. Only then are you able to love freely, out of your heartfelt desire, not out of a need or a void that you are trying to fill. Loving yourself makes you free and therefore courageous and fearless.
In 2001 I set off on a journey of self discovery. Following the break-up of two relationships one after each other (where I felt that I was manipulated, used and not being true to myself) I had an appointment with American spiritual healer and kinesiologist Sue Myers in Cape Town. She helped me tremendously to take a step in the direction of claiming my own personal power back. After my session with her I committed myself to attend her three day Discovery Course in May 2001 in Cape Town.
Following this initial course I made plans to spend four weeks at the Breakthru Institute in Cape Coral, Florida in January and February of 2002. It is here that my real transformation began. I have always been extremely self orientated. Should somebody mention a certain kind of behaviour in conversation, I would always internalize it and check if I was "okay". This, of course, all meant that, deep down, I was not really alright. I have had great success in my sporting and academic careers, but these achievements were merely the result of hard work and dedication. The point was to prove to myself and the world that I really was indeed 'okay'. At Cape Coral I had to look beyond this, to learn to take the Inner Journey. Every morning at Cape Coral we had to draw an Angel card, read the accompanying message, think about it and then write about these inner feelings in our journals. These thoughts had to be shared in the group. Initially my journal entries were very self-orientated, fitting the paradigm of myself. The other seven people on the course wrote beautiful poetry or used inspirational analogies for their own spiritual growth. The one day Sue, perplexed, shouted at me: "Why are you so self-absorbed, Sibis?" The rest of that session revolved around Sue trying to sort me out, to help me to accept myself. Following this revelatory session I was better able to look away from myself, just live life freely and in the moment. I started to really listen to the others in the group. Slowly my journaling improved and I too was able to write more beautiful and sublime words. What a breakthrough! And all of this was all because my whole life I had had the deep inner feeling that I was not important, that me, as I am, was not enough. Most of us have something that we have to work at, some mistaken beliefs that stem from our past. I slowly realized that I am okay, I can love myself just as I am, that I am acceptable and kind and wonderful and good, without the labels of World champion, PhD, Triathlete etc.
Throughout my life I have always been very spiritual. I grew up as a Christian but on my spiritual quest left the formal church in the nineties as I had issues with the narrowness and confining views. But at Cape Coral, I was offered a different spiritual path that made complete sense to me: the belief that God is a Being of Love, Elohim; not the judgemental, punishing God of my upbringing.
Once I felt that what this loving God gave me, that just being myself, was fine, I leapt into a much softer, a more peaceful and harmonious world. I did not have to battle, struggle or fight the odds; I could just be me! This was the start of my career in helping people; in having enough love inside to want to share it, wanting to reach out. I will never forget the four weeks of spiritual coaching and guidance that I experienced in Florida. Carl Rogers said: "The curious paradox is, once I accept myself, I can start changing". That is exactly how I feel now that I have started on my journey which followed the Freedom and Qualification Course in the U.S.A. I have had to make peace with my deep inner being, have had to look at my 'shadow' side and accept it. Through prayer and meditation and a lot of spiritual reading I am better able to accept my weaknesses. I have accepted that I can be controlling, but by acknowledging this I can see when I am in "controlling" mode and can reduce it, so I am now less and less controlled by it. Equally as I am aware of it I can work on the issue! Gandhi said "You have to be the change so the change can happen in your life". Self acceptance is a big door to stepping into Paradise! The real you is the one you see emerging from all your emotional and spiritual work.
Spiritual teachers often tell one to frame the photo of anyone that presses your "buttons". You should walk by the framed photo each day, put your hands together and thank this photo! They are teaching you the lessons that you need. The baggage that I carried from my previous relationships (that I was not worthy, that I was not enough) has led me to examine the flaws in my belief system. The journey of life is mostly self discovery; the lessons will come to you personally and you must deal with them and learn from them.
In the early nineties, when I was in the elite Springbok team for triathlon, I used to train with a group of triathletes, mostly men. Our leader was a man whose egoistic behaviour used to irritate me. He always talked about his own fitness condition, about his own races, his own performances. Looking back on it, I can understand that he was just a mirror for my own self absorbed and selfish behaviour. I was denying these same traits in myself. Look at your reactions in your relationships, they will show one the way to deeper self knowledge.
Spiritual teachers often refer to the "Law of Attraction"; something that puzzled me for quite a while. As a very logical scientist my reaction to: Like attracts like and Opposites attract was: 'So what?' or 'it is neither here nor there'. Gradually, I however started to see that the effect of these two attractions is different. We will be involuntarily attracted to somebody who mirrors our own inadequacies. While we may not like this mirror effect it can help us work through our own healing process. On the other hand, we also like to have what we don't have; so for instance, the inner strength of another person will involuntarily attract us. We wish to get this inner strength for ourselves. The consequence of "like attracts like" is for us to heal, the consequence of "opposites attracts" is for us to claim this desirable quality for ourselves. So the aim is about becoming more whole and balanced.
Natalia Baker, international spiritual counsellor based in Cape Town, is well known for her writing and lectures on the Male and Female Balance and on Sacred Sexuality. In one of her talks at the Sufi Temple she talked about "The Mystical Marriage". She said: "Every relationship (also with yourself) is a dance of love when you are in balance. Then you are also fully connected to the Divine - the marriage of the God and Goddess within you". When we are living in this balance we feel more at one with God and start to approach the nature of the great spiritual teachers like Buddha or Jesus. Our increase in love and our greater appreciation for the beauty of nature and creation makes us feel part of everybody. So we come to realize there is only one Being, there is no shadow; heaven and earth are one. In behavioural terms, I formerly displayed characteristics associated with the male mode: assertive, aggressive, earning my own living etc. On my journey I was suddenly coming more into balance and exhibiting more of the female energy: loving, accepting, in touch with my own feelings and fully intuitive. I was becoming whole.
To become whole means that we are willing to listen to our inner voice. This voice is more audible when we are silent or still. Practices that enhance our inner growth are prayer, meditation and having a quiet time. We are essentially spiritual beings; we have one long life (or book) with many chapters in between. Maybe we do have many past lives as the numerous prophecies of American Edgar Cayce claim. I have always been doubtful about reincarnation. However, I am slowly starting to accept that this might be a possibility. My research turned up the information that the church fathers, at the Congress of Nizza in 503 AD, decided unanimously to cut the concept of reincarnation from the Bible. Now, in the 21st century, the inner or ongoing journey has become much more written about and accepted. In the Gospel of Thomas (found in a sealed jar at the base of an Egyptian cliff in 1945) there is no reference to the final judgement day of doom. In this Gospel the value of self knowledge and understanding the nature of this world as it is now, is emphasized. Individuals can now step out and use their own power; use their God-given ability to create the life that they want. The church has lost most of their usurped and controlling power stemming from the "Dark Ages".
Once you accept yourself as a spiritual being with a soul that has eternal life, the physical life can be seen more and more as an illusion. It is created by the observer. Interpretation of physical life and reality differs from mind to mind. Your deeper self ultimately creates your outward reality. Since we live in the physical world, we have to cope with and survive in it. The best armour is to accept your Divine origin and then to accept yourself. Let go of all need for external approval. Know that you are worthy as you are and approve of your self. It does not matter what everyone else thinks. This will give you a great sense of freedom and will empower you to create the life that you want.
We have to grow in our Divine nature and learn how to know our Creator more and more. This is the only path that leads to the real fulfilment of our heartfelt desires. God's power, which is given to us freely, cannot move through us if there is not the same consciousness as the Creator within us. God's Spirit must find something of itself in you. This is our quest. This is the road that leads to Paradise. God is always on the side of more happiness, more fulfilment. He/She holds nothing back. Once you fulfil this, you can have perfect health, peace, prosperity, success and all that is needed in your life to achieve perfect harmony. When the universal mind starts working for you, you start to realize your unlimited potential. From that moment, you never look back again. Then you will have found your ultimate purpose; your reason d'etre (reason to live). We are ultimately here to serve one another as one community, one brother/sisterhood to step forward in love and harmony.
Thom Hartmann manages to describe the 100th monkey syndrome in his wonderful book "The Prophet's Way" so marvellously. In 1952, several scientists studied the behaviour of the Macata Fuscata monkeys on the island of Koshima near Japan. They fed the monkeys by throwing sweet potatoes in the sand on the beach. The first day only one of the monkeys went down to the sea to wash the sweet potato. The other monkeys simply ate the sweet potatoes with the sand grinding between their teeth. The next day this monkey mother started to teach her family what she had learnt - to go down to the sea and to wash their sweet potatoes before eating, for it makes for a much more pleasurable meal. So more and more monkeys started to go down to the sea to wash their sweet potatoes. Then one day, something startling happened: every monkey in the troupe went down to the sea to wash their sweet potato. What was even more startling, was that other scientists on the mainland of Japan who were involved in a similar project, noticed that all their monkeys also went down to the sea on that same day to wash their sweet potatoes. This phenomenon is now called the 100th monkey syndrome. In the work of biologist Rupert Sheldrake, this phenomenon is described as "morphic resonance". It ties in with the quantum theory that sees the whole world as one vast whirling dance of energy. We live in a timeless universe where we are all connected.
Scientific research has shown that our will and intentions can have a powerful influence on this energy field. So you can be, I can be, each one of us can be that 100th monkey that changes the consciousness of our human race, who transforms our current reality into a newer and brighter tomorrow. Step into your power today!
Photo 1: Transforming ourselves at the Breakthru Institute, Cape Coral, Florida - January 2002. Sue Myers standing far left, myself standing far right.
Photo 2: Freedom!