“A breathing book? What’s that all about?” I know, it might sound a bit out there. But it isn’t and I will soon tell you why.
I wasn’t ready
But first this. While I was working on this ebook, I couldn’t help but smile. I used to work for a large financial corporation in Amsterdam. The last thing that was on my mind was breathing or meditation. Are you kidding me!? At that time, I thought I had more important tasks to focus on. Despite the fact that I was often feeling quite stressed – I worked long hours, against tight deadlines and the pressure on my performance as an executive didn’t make my life much easier.
It would be way easier for me now to look back on my life and think: “I wish I had known more about breathing and meditation during a time that it could have served me so well”. I could have known all about it, because the science of the breath is not new. It has been practiced for thousands of years. I just very well know that I just wasn’t ready for this. I perceived myself, and the world around me, in a very different way than I do today – from feeling separate from most people around me, to feeling deeply connected to myself, to humanity in general, and to the universe.
Sometimes we’re just not ready and that’s fine. But life can take a sharp turn.
We don’t always ask for change
During a difficult time in my life, when I lost three of my close family members in a relatively short period of time, I was looking to find a way of relaxation and stress reduction.
Many things in life, like grief, are beyond our control. But it is possible for us to calm our state of mind so that we can deal with our emotions in a more healthy way. We can then truly process all that we feel, without being terrorized by the mind. In fact, the daily practice of breathing and meditation has supported me through this traumatizing time. It has also offered me deep insights of who I truly am and helped me to express my deeper feelings and emotions.
People from all around the world have embraced these tools & techniques. Often in times of stress, anxiety, ADD/ADHD or those suffering from all kinds of trauma, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
So when you meet adversity in life, be open because it wants to tell you something.
So I have created the Little Blue Breathing Book (FREE download) with some very simple, scientifically proven, tools and techniques. They help reduce stress, boost your resilience, sharpen intuitive abilities and increase your performance. That sounds pretty cool huh!?
But I didn’t make this book for the ‘cool’. I made it because I know that so many people can and will benefit from these simple techniques on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, I want to ask you how many people you know who could benefit from this? I’d like you to think about it for a minute and then share this post, with the FREE ebook link, with some of your family members and friends. I’m convinced that they will be thanking you for this.
Back in 2013, I had a delightful and inspiring conversation with the world renowned, spiritual teacher Mooji. At some point in the conversation we were talking about “the truth” and as softly spoken as Mooji is, he told me: “Dirk… the truth is simple, but the seeker of truth is often complex.”
Keep it Simple
When I heard him speak these words, I almost jumped up from my chair with happiness! That was so profound what he just said and it was if I was listening to myself. I have to admit to you now, that I used to be very careful sharing my views around the simplicity of life with others, because it had backfired at me before – “I just didn’t understand their current situation” or “that was too simplistic of me to think that way”. And honestly, sometimes I started doubting my own view on life and often pondered the question: “What do they know what I don’t understand?”
These doubts and limiting beliefs stem from my teenage years, when I found out that after going through a full day of career testing, the conclusion of the psychologists was that I wasn’t so smart (I wrote more about it in this blog post). This conclusion by others about my abilities became my truth for more than twenty years, and sometimes, it can still hijack my creative process.
“Do you keep your hand on the stove?”
Yes, I am a sensitive person, and so are you, otherwise you wouldn’t even bother reading my blog posts in the first place. But when you are sensitive doesn’t mean that you always have to live at the mercy of what you see or what others share with you. It doesn’t mean that you will have to keep suffering from the events around you. It also doesn’t mean that you have to follow the most advanced spiritual teachings in order to stay sane.
Keeping your Hand on the Stove
I once heard an analogy from Esther Hicks that really resonated with me. It goes a bit like this.
If you have a stove in your house that’s a perfect and cozy way to give you some extra warmth during chilly winter days and nights, you know that it’s very warm and that you don’t want to touch it with your bare hands for too long. At first it might feel good when your hands touch the cast iron shell, but after a little while it will become too hot and you will burn yourself. You know that it doesn’t feel good to keep your hand on the stove. But why is it sometimes so hard to take your hand off the stove?
You might say: “My mother had her hand on the stove. Her mother had her hand on the stove. Our family puts its hand on the stove all the time. It’s just what we all do. The day I was born, they put my hand on the stove!” And now you get to decide how you like it and you find it hard: “Do I dare take my hand from the stove?” When you risk it and try it, you realize that it is sweet relief. But then you might think: “My mother still has her hand on the stove, and my government still has its hand on the stove. They’ve all got their hand on the stove! Who am I to find the relief of not putting my hand on the stove?” All right, put your hand back on the stove if you want to, but understand that it’s you who gets to allow or not allow. These are your choices.
Does the analogy make any sense to you? It all boils down to the knowing that you do have the ability and the capacity to make conscious choices. You don’t need to have Ph.D. behind your name, or be a spiritual expert to understand and embrace this concept.
During the last 5 years of interviewing authors, spiritual teachers, scientists and musicians, I often looked up to people having so much experience and wisdom – “If I could be like them, then my life would be so great and I would feel so much more fulfilled” is what I often thought.
But one day, when I was hiking with my dogs in the pristine nature near my house, just after I did an interview with don Miguel Ruiz, I stopped because I was in awe with the incredible intelligence and simplicity of life. It was so quiet here. “The trees never seem to worry and the creek flows with so much grace” I thought. I also knew that the same intelligence that keeps the trees growing and the birds singing, is exactly the same force that keeps my heart beating. All life is deeply connected to the same universal intelligence. “And if that’s true, then all of Mooji’s or Miguel’s wisdom lies within me as well!” I thought. The truth is that simple, but I was often too complex. I wanted to keep my hand on the hot stove, just because I was living an old pattern, over and over again. I wasn’t present. I wasn’t connected to my heart and therefore not connected to the intelligent cosmic heart. Wow, that was such an insight for me!
Since that experience out in the forest, my life has never been the same again – I read less and less self-help books. I rarely listen to people’s well meant advices anymore, and I absolutely don’t care what others think of me. Why would I? I AM all that I have been searching for! I get it now!
When I become still, especially out in nature, I start feeling a deep connection with myself, with the intelligence that I am part of, and also with you. I deeply realize that life is not about me. Life’s about us. And that’s when I feel I want to reach out to others in need. That’s when I want to remain in silence for even longer periods, and that’s when I am just grateful for being alive and being connected to you, because I deeply feel (as Rumi used to say) that I am not just a drop in the ocean. I am the entire ocean in a drop.
I am interested to learn in what ways you are able to embrace the simplicity of life and how you make choices to live in the present moment in stead of the past. Maybe you even resonate with what I just shared with you and you want to try this for yourself.
Keep it simple and have fun!
In case you want to work with me to start living in the present moment, so you’re no longer have to live in the past, send me an email and I will forward you some helpful information on how to get started.
Ebook Interview Mooji available here.
A local radio show host asked his listeners this week: “Tell me something good.” He talked about all the misery and violence that’s going on throughout the world, and how it affected his outlook on life so much. So he asked his listeners to phone in and share something good with him.
Do you recognize that feeling? I do! There are days that my life seems to be in such a perfect flow – meaningful synchronicities unfold seemingly out of ‘nothing’, the joy of just being alive makes me feel so grateful and all that I do that day feels effortless!
A minute later I listen to the news on the radio – the reporter informs me about the hell that’s unfolding in Aleppo, where innocent mothers and children are being murdered and no end seems to be in sight. The flow that I experienced just seconds before, vanishes quickly and makes room for deep sadness and despair, and I feel like a helpless victim of a society full of hatred and violence. My first reaction is to yell out: “Please, tell me something good!”
It’s not hard for us to feel overwhelmed in times of intense violence, economic uncertainty, global warming or in the face of personal health or relationship challenges. When we experience stress, emotional pain, anger or sadness, our body literally begins to change too and we start feeling stressed and we can’t think clearly anymore. Research shows that 60-80% of primary care doctor visits are purely related to stress. Can you imagine that? 60 – 80%!
It’s very powerful to just be quiet and recognize your own state and honour the language of your own emotions. Although we’d love to hear something good, deciding to be happy in that moment doesn’t work of course. Our heart knows there are so many people suffering. But never think that you can’t be there for others.
Scientists confirm over and over again that we are deeply connected by a very intelligent field. It’s the same field that created us in the first place. In stead of believing that we cannot be there for others because we seem to be separate, know that you do have influence on other people’s wellbeing and on the state of our planet. This knowing alone can often be enough to inspire yourself and help inspire others.
When you begin to feel your heart and find a new heart rhythm by breathing slower and deeper, your body will automatically synchronize with this intelligent, electromagnetic field. I call it our ‘cosmic body’. It’s an extension of our physical body. When we can find the courage to bless the things that hurt us, something changes chemically. Our new emotions become our physical reality. And when we decide to experience peace, love, compassion, forgiveness, healing and tolerance in our heart, not just our physical body changes, but we also have an equally important impact on the cosmic body. All those who are suffering are connected to that same field. In case you haven’t downloaded it yet, I do have a 10 minute Heart Coherence meditation for you.
This might sound like some kind of New Age theory to you, but it’s a simple explanation of all the scientific research that’s available to you these days. Maybe that’s why we see more and more global initiatives for collective meditations…
I am deeply inspired by a beautiful traditional Buddhist prayer:
May I be at peace.
May my heart remain open.
May I awaken to the light of my own nature.
May I be healed.
May I be a source of healing for all beings.
We are taught to believe in our own limits. But what if we are only limited until we change the way we see ourselves in the world? How differently would we live if we discovered that we are born with the power to choose our relationship to others and even to life itself? Such a radical discovery would change everything about the way we see ourselves!
Feel free to leave a comment or to send me a message. I also organize events and one-on-one trainings and coaching. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
Why are so many people looking for the ultimate happiness? Why is this so important to us? Is it because we lack happiness in our lives or is it because we are always seeking for more?
I’m sure that we don’t think that happy living is obtained by doing extraordinary things or looking for that ‘magical dream’, but by becoming too obsessed about reaching a state of happiness, we become too attached and start feeling anxious. This will make us rigid and causes us to forget our deepest wishes and desires.
As many of you know, I am a down-to-earth guy, living a life inspired by simplicity. When I am present, I can just feel the gratitude for being alive, I am curious about what is, and feel compassion towards others.
I decided to write the 7 Principles of Happy Living, a simple little book, and I suggest the readers to just be humble and using your common sense. Hang out with the people that are doing healthy things. Focus on healthy relationships, full of love. When you learn to trust your inner voice (your heart), then you will know that it’s all good. This feeling will generate all the peace and happiness that you are craving for.
You might want to use The 7 Principles of Happy Living as a guide. One principle at a time. Always make sure you are relaxed about it and try to feel the impact in your body. And if you don’t feel it right away, don’t worry. Just be quiet and listen a little longer.
When you have received this article via your email subscription, you have also received a link to download the free ebook The 7 Principles of Happy Living. In case you don’t receive my emails yet, please sign up below and you will receive the link by email after you have signed up. Below is also an introduction to the 7 principles of happy living.
1. Our Essential Nature
Our essential nature is pure consciousness, perfect balance, simplicity and bliss. The universe is a movement of energy and information and is there to guide us, so that we can live in perfect harmony. We often perceive the world as being harsh and complicated. Well, it’s not the world but the people who make it complicated. And I think it’s for no real reason.
We have probably all heard it before, how a simple act of giving can improve our health, our relationships, our happiness and more…
It is something we already know in our heart – that giving is a key part of every person’s life.
Did you also know that being open to ‘receiving’ is equally important? And why?
3. Conscious Choice Making
We’ve all been provided with a number of incredible and irrevocable gifts that are oftentimes overlooked or taken for granted. Although we’re well aware of the conscious choices, it’s often the unconscious choices that lead to producing our less than desired results, regardless of how badly we may ‘want’ something.
4. Least Effort
This is a principle we can directly learn from nature. Every day, the sun rises without effort, and the birds start to sing. They don’t really try hard, they just sing. This is also human nature, so that we can manifest our deepest dreams in just a perfect and balanced way.
5. Fulfill any Dream
With intention, you can fulfill any dream or desire you might have. You can apply this in your thoughts, feelings, emotions and desires. You are part of this mighty universe, which is a movement of energy and information. Attention energizes, but intention transforms and this is the true power behind your desires.
6. Step into the Unknown
Do you also have things lined up and your life pretty much planned for the next year(s)? Most of us have. It feels good, doesn’t it! It’s our need for security. But what if something suddenly changes? Panic! Here is why it’s helpful to embrace uncertainty. If you’re open to things, they walk through the door and you’ll find yourself at places you never imagined to be.
7. Our Purpose
Have you ever sat down and thought, “What is my purpose in life? What is my passion? Where do I go from here?” The true goal behind what we pursue is often internal – and most of the time, this internal goal is simply to be happy. We like to think that this is too simple. But really, it is enough. Don’t you think so?
Feel free to leave a comment or to send me a message. I also organize events and one-on-one trainings and coaching. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
It has already been a few weeks ago that I organized a beautiful weekend retreat, together with Baptist de Pape, filmmaker and author of The Power of the Heart. We all celebrated the principle of Manifesting from the Heart. What I noticed during these days, is that all participants were very hungry to learn more about the scientific aspect of the heart-brain connection, and that they also loved to practice the tools and techniques that we shared – because they FELT the change!
Life is not happening to us. Life is responding to us.
The people I work with often remind me of how we as humans, can deeply suffer when we live at the mercy of our conditioned bodies. It’s important to understand that it’s not the events that happened in the past that keep hurting us, but it’s the chemical changes in our body as a result of these events that make us feel the way we feel, and experience life the way we currently experience it. So life (as we perceive it) is literally responding to us.
When we are trying to control the outer world (because we believe that life is happening to us), and therefore we are trying to control people’s behaviours, situations and things, we are living by the hormones of stress. We feel the need to constantly react to the outside world and we then become anxious, bitter, impatient, resentful, hurt, and so on.
From my work with the Institute of HeartMath, I also deeply understand the impact these negative emotions can have on our physical bodies, since we literally become less energy and more matter. The results can include, but are not limited to: headaches, dizziness, grinding teeth, heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, weight gain, decreased sex drive, to just name a few.
Mind and Heart in Harmony
The biggest problem we have, is that we believe that we need a reason to be healthy. That we need a reason to be kind. That we need a reason for expressing gratitude and that we need a reason to feel love(d). We are so used to rely on our five senses, and to respond to our environment, that it feels unnatural for us to accept that we are innately whole and balanced. But when I tell people that the best thing we can do is to get out of our own way, I see them smile and nodding. We intuitively know this, yet our conditioned bodies have taken us onto a different path.
Everything you have been reading so far made sense to you because you process all that you read with your prefrontal cortex. One of the basic activities of this brain region is to make sense of life. This part of the brain works closely together with several other brain centres where our emotions and our subconscious beliefs are stored and accessed. But when we are not in balance, not living in the present moment, and when we are experiencing stress, our survival instincts take over and we’re back to square one.
Lasting Change – Heart Coherence
One of the most powerful ways to create lasting change in our lives, is to bring harmony between the mind, the heart and the autonomic nervous system. The recalibration of these 3 essential parts of our physical body, will restore our innate capacity to feel and to be whole again. You can read much more about this on my page about HeartMath, but for now, I want to offer you a FREE, 9 minute, powerful heart coherence meditation that I prepared for you together with my friend and musical master Brian T Collins.
The combined power of the words and music will not just help you to feel more whole and connected to your deeper self, but it will restore coherence between your systems, something your body is craving for – the mind and heart in harmony.
When you have received this article via your email subscription, you have also received a link to download the free heart coherence meditation. In case you don’t receive my emails yet, please sign up below and please send me a message and I will reply with a download link.
I also organize events and one-on-one trainings and coaching. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.