We live in a world that lets us believe that we’re somebody else. I don’t say that there’s something wrong with this world – we have however, collectively bought into concepts and beliefs that do not reflect the truth of who we really are.
So we go through life pretending we’re somebody else. We can do this for a very long time, for an entire lifetime sometimes, but these concepts and beliefs will no longer serve us when we’re going through difficult times. Suddenly we begin to realize how fake and useless they actually are, and then we become scared, because it seems that we’ve nothing to fall back on. Our ‘virtual reality’ which has become our truth, has been shattered.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain
This is usually the moment, when you crave to be more real as you begin to understand that the ‘old self’ is merely a collection of memories, experiences and conditioning. Yes, you’ve lived them and experienced them, but they’re not you of course. This process is often very painful and confrontational, because you begin to question almost everything, and you just can’t believe that this has been your truth for so long.
Blaming others and circumstances only works for a short while (unless you keep fooling yourself), because you begin to see a much larger picture, that isn’t just black and white, but contains a full array of colours. Colours of understanding and (self)compassion. In the more spiritual circles they call this ‘the journey’. Personally, I work with this all the time, when helping those with PTSD – uncovering the truth of who they really are. It can be a difficult process, but it is also the most beautiful and rewarding process you can ever experience.
Your future comes with a new awareness
We are now living in incredible times, and we have the opportunity to witness a global collision of two worlds: The old world that no longer serves us. A world of separation, of mental and physical borders, of religious limitations and spiritual boundaries. And there’s the new world that emerges: A world of freedom, of connection, of personal responsibility and collective power.
Thanks to the many challenges in our lives, we are developing a new awareness that has the capacity to propel us into a new and more meaningful future. We are also blessed with new technology, interconnectivity and personal tools and values, to transcend these challenges. As long as technology doesn’t control our lives, it’s a beautiful development. Through social media for example, people start listening more to each other in stead of to their leaders with their political agenda – we move from separation to a deeper connection.
Even though you probably feel overwhelmed, I personally believe that the secret lies in hitting the brakes, really slowing down and understanding ourselves better. One of my beloved teachers once told me that you can be peaceful and fulfilled only if you are authentic and honest with yourself. And if you are authentically kind, if you are authentically powerful, and hold on to what is your truth, and hold dear, you will be called upon to demonstrate this in action, not only in thought.
For the planet to emerge into a more harmonious place, she needs you. She needs you to be bold and real! No matter what others think of your change in attitude or trajectory in life. Do you have that courage to be truly you?
Maybe you feel inspired to watch a talk I recently gave for Unity of Vancouver: Radiating Care.
We’ve been raised to want, dream, accumulate, grow and manifest. The more we do, the more we accomplish. Despite that, I’ve seen more unhappy people, living unfulfilled lives than ever before.
Why do you actually listen to the voice of reason? To the voice of fear and doubt? Why is it so hard to become quiet, fully submerge yourself in this present moment and enjoy it to the fullest?
Is it because you pay more attention to what is expected of you by others? Or is it because you’ve never allowed yourself to feel the amazing vibes that the present moment can hold?
Forced to do nothing
Recently, I was forced to do nothing. I had to lie flat on my back. For about a week. And even after that week, I was carefully moving around, most of the time in pain.
It was one of the most profound experiences ever!
In the work that I do, it’s not too hard to sometimes start losing the grander scheme of why I’m doing this work in the first place.
My desire and passion to serve humanity are very strong and profound. This drive is not fuelled by personal interests or ego. It’s driven by something larger – let’s call it the call of the universe. And the universe keeps offering me insights and messages, and I’m very open to receive and share them. If… I choose to stay balanced and whole.
I needed to slow down for a while and listen more. What a gift! I could have started complaining or becoming fearful. But I knew better, and thank God I listened.
What if now is enough?
While I could only BE there and not DO anything, I listened even more. I clearly heard that it was time for me to embrace more of my infinite creativity and enjoy life even more, just as it’s being offered to me, in the moment – every day.
Several hours each day, I visualized moving around in a strong and balanced body, with such a joy. I did this because I know that my cells (all 50 trillion of them) are listening – 24/7. This process was so much fun! Together with the caring support of a physiotherapist and an acupuncturist, I starting moving into an upgraded version of myself. At least, that’s how I see it.
Can you imagine how I had felt when I would have chosen for fear, frustration, anger or being impatient?
Do you believe that life supports you? That the intelligence that once created you, is the same intelligence that’s always available to heal you? If the answer is ‘yes’, why do you worry then?
What if ‘now’ is not only enough. What if ‘now’ is the only moment that holds the intelligent power to change something? Anything you want! Will you listen, or do you think that you’re smarter than life itself?
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.
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.
Common Sense 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.
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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.
Incredibly emerald blue and full of energy. The elements of nature are so wonderful. We are standing near the beautiful Kootenay River and Sequoyah Trueblood tells us in an inspiring way about the important connection between humans and nature. We are all quietly listening and I notice that his words touched something deep in my heart. An intense feeling of peace comes over me. He is so right. Will our life lessons begin?
Sequoyah takes us out for a hike.
Together with my family I am a guest at the ‘Cross River Wilderness Centre‘ bordering Kootenay National Park, in the west flank of the Rocky Mountains. Coming from the highway, we follow the directions, turn off onto a small forest road which takes us along the Kootenay River to the cozy cabins near the small ‘Cross River’. What a location!
A rustic cabin in the Cross River Wilderness Centre.
Rob and Marilyn Patenaude treat us on a warm welcome. Since 1996, they share this amazing place with their guests. They both speak proudly about the nature, offer educational programs, and offer 8 rustic cabins for overnight stays. These rustic cabins are tucked away in the forest and all have hot and cold running water, a toilet and shower, fireplace and solar power. This is an experience where Europeans can only can dream of.
During dinner we meet more guests and I can’t help noticing how ‘contagious’ everyone’s friendliness is. Brad, a very kind and motivated chef has prepared a delicious, organic meal for us and during dinner time we meet Sequoyah Trueblood, a 72-year-old First Nations elder who lives and teaches here.
Born in Oklahoma, his father is Choctaw-Cherokee-Chickasaw, and mother German-English. As a young Native boy growing up in the 50’s, like many, Sequoyah was separated from his family and forced into the residential boarding school system in an attempt to civilize the so-called ‘native animal’ in him. When Sequoyah left the boarding school at age of 17, he joined the army. He excelled quickly becoming a Green Beret in Vietnam, running Special Operations in connection with a First Special Forces Group and Military Assistance Command. Sequoyah is also the first to admit that his ‘glorious service’ is darkened by his many insights into the wrong doings of American policy makers at that time.
Since his time in the military, Sequoyah has worked extensively with First Nations youth wilderness programs as well as youth treatment centers for substance abuse. Through Native teachings and practices in the sweat lodge, pipe ceremonies, and vision questing, he is beckoned across this great mother earth to guide those who request his help. As a Choctaw Wisdom Keeper, Sequoyah has spoken at the United Nations, advised top business executives from prominent international companies, counselled numerous celebrities, government agencies, and has held council with the Dalai Lama.
The next morning, after breakfast, we follow Sequoyah to his Konkurra Medicine Lodge in the forest. He manoeuvres his tall and frail, but flexible body over a narrow trail and when you see him walking on his flip-flops you would’t give him 72 years of age.
One of the teachings he has shared with us is that of leadership – how to “work from the circle. In the circle, all are equal… leadership is then from within… all have a voice, no one is more important than another.”
He also explains to us that everything flows from the Divine. “Everything that comes through comes through in its own perfection. We human beings, with our intellect, try to divide it up. When we can get to that place in our lives when we can accept each thing that comes to us as just another opportunity to heal ourselves, we can be at peace with it all. Even though it may not look like that at the time, as soon as we are able to say “I don’t know,” that’s when we are able to allow Great Spirit to work in our lives,” he says.
We then leave the spiritual lodge and head out for a hike together through the rugged Rocky Mountain wilderness, wade through the Cross River and learn about edible plants and their healing powers.
Rob Patenaude prepares the hot tub.
Back in the wilderness centre, Rob asks us if we would like to use the wood fired hot tub. Of course we like that and by the time the first stars appear on the sky, the hot tub measures a comfortable 38 deg. C. And while we watch the bright galaxies above us, Brad prepares a bonfire, gets his guitar and plays a couple of songs for us.
Life is so wonderful and Joe Cocker’s lyrics ‘the best things in life are the simple things’ come to my mind. I then close my eyes and repeat Sequoyah’s mantra: GREAT THANKS – GREAT PEACE – GREAT LOVE.