Enlightenment, self-help

The Gift

I feel like I have to give this wonderful book a mention. It contains English translations of ancient poems by Hafiz, a Persian 14th-century Sufi master. Whenever I feel that I need to see a bigger picture or find my sense of humour again I go to this book. I’ve been through phases of anxiety where all I can read are Hafiz’s poems. Somehow they always soothe me.

“His poetry bestows its benevolence and ability to comfort, enliven and enrich those in need.” – Daniel Landinsky (BBC)

It’s also fun to use the book like a stack of tarot cards, where you randomly pick a page for a question you have. The poems always bring another insight into any matter you are dealing with. I strongly recommend this book. I keep buying it but I always have to buy it again because I keep giving it to my friends.

My favourite poem of his is:

God and I have become like two giant fat people living in a tiny boat.

We keep bumping into each other and laughing



Enlightenment, self-help

The power of now

Now here’s a life-changing classic. I remember reading it when it first came out thinking: Wow! This is powerful stuff. I also listened to Eckhart Tolle’s lectures, and was swept away by his calming voice and kind sense of humour. I´ve just revisited this book and am happy to share some insights from it.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment takes you on an inspiring spiritual journey navigating your inner life and your relationship to the past present and the future.

Tolle’s practical philosophy emphasises on living in the present moment to avoid much of the pain we usually experience. By doing this we can greatly improve our lives.

It is interesting how Tolle states that a part of you needs pain to survive and that part of you creates most of the pain that is in your life. This pain comes from inner resistance to external things that are beyond your control. The part of you that needs pain to survive is what Tolle calls the “pain-body”. The pain-body is consists of your painful experiences and it gets stronger whenever you feel pain and will therefore try to make you miserable and sad.

According to Tolle the ego is the part of your mind that controls your thoughts and behaviour without you knowing it. Since it is not easily observed it is hard to know to which extent the ego controls your life. Because it depends on your misery to exist, it can make you do or say things that you regret, acting against your own best interest. The ego wants to be the most important part of you and if you let it, it will bring you great suffering.

But what can you do about all of this?

Well you can start by shifting your focus from the mind to the body. By listening to the body you can gain understanding of what is important in your life.

Next you could try to observe your mind without judgement. It is the best way to separate from it and free yourself from pain.

As you are getting better at freeing yourself from your mind you can also adopt another technique called active waiting, an alert state where all your attention focuses on the now. Many spiritual teachers recommend the state of waiting, for example Jesus, who told his disciples to “be like a servant waiting for the return of the master”

At this point you might be asking yourself: But what about real pain like from the death of a loved one? Tolle says that not all pain is avoidable and surrendering to the present doesn’t have to mean ignoring sad or hurtful feelings. Another example of unavoidable pain is the pain inflicted on you by people who are controlled by their destructive mind. When you experience something traumatic that causes real pain all you can do is accepting it for what it is and that it cannot be changed. That way you avoid needless suffering.

Tolle is careful in his teachings. He warns that when you start living in the now it may be hard for your partner but he also states that it can improve the relationship which I believe is true, especially if both are ready for a transformation like this. Tolle has been criticised for focusing only on pain when it comes to the past and the future, since we also have good memories and things to look forward to. I understand the argument but I think it’s important not to take teachings such as Tolle’s too literally. I guess it’s always a question of taking what is useful for you and leaving the rest behind. 🙂


You can heal your life

It is appropriate that the first post on this site is about You can heal your life by Louise L. Hay. It was a pioneering book on the subject of self-help and has changed the life of millions of people, including myself.

According to Louise the success of the book is her ability to ´help people change without laying guilt on them´ which makes sense since the core message here is that you can only change your life if you learn how to love yourself properly. It also promises that if you are ready to do your mental work, then almost anything can be healed. Louise’s methods are very empowering and can be life changing if you are up for the challenge.

In You can heal your life Louise preaches that the root of problems and in fact the most common problem in itself is the belief: ‘I am not good enough’ also known as lack of self-love. She encourages you to ask yourself where these limiting beliefs come from and to find peace with them. She inspires you to accept yourself unconditionally and points out ways to do so, such as:

  1. Replacing should with could in your vocabulary.

Should is a dangerous word says Louise because it makes you feel like you are in position of being wrong and guilty, that is not accepting yourself, which runs contrary to Louise’s philosophy which is never to criticize ourselves. Louise recommends using could instead of should. For example:

‘I should go on a healthier diet’ versus  ‘I could go on a healthier diet’

  1. Releasing the past

The past is over and done and we can’t change it. But we can change our thoughts about the past.

To be able to release the past you must be willing to forgive. Even if you don’t know how and may not want to. The fact that you are willing begins the healing process.

  1. Forgiving

Forgiving yourself and others is an amazing way of letting go of hatred and negative emotions trapped within that can lead to positive changes in your life. Hay details several useful exercises in the book to forgive ourselves and others. Doing so will release you from the prison of the past and lead you towards a new and happier life.

For me to read You can heal your life was such an eye opener since it taught me that my state of mind actually produces the reality that I live in. It also brought to my attention that you get what you focus on. I also find her theory of the connection between diseases and the mind quite interesting and I believe that she cured her own cancer, although I´m also a firm believer in western medicine and have had to put my trust on it in my life. I guess it is all good in a mix. At least using her affirmations has helped me to heal sore muscles and tensions in the body so there must be something there! 🙂