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What does a reformed prison inmate have to do with us?

Last weekend I attended my favourite annual conference, the ‘Life 2.0 Three Principles Conference’.

It was my 7th conference and in that time the number of people attending has tripled to around 900.

On the drive home afterwards the friend I attended with asked me if any moment stood out for me.

All the speakers were wonderful but as I reflected on the question, it was the first speaker of the day that came to mind.

His name was Dave. He walked on to the stage in front of all these people and said he would just talk from his heart.

He shared that he was 35 years old and had spent much of his adult life in and out of prison. He had been a violent man and had a history of making trouble. His stays in prison had often been extended because of his bad behaviour and on being released he was usually back inside after only a short while.

This seemed to be his life’s path.

Then a few short years ago he attended a programme run by an organisation called ‘Beyond Recovery’. Set up by Jacqueline Hollows, they deliver workshops within the Criminal Justice System.

On the programme they share the inside-out understanding.

Dave admitted that on first attending he sat there thinking ‘What a load of c**p!’

But despite all his negative thinking Dave had an insight and the shift was immediate and permanent.

This is one of the extraordinary things about this understanding.

Despite all our beliefs, opinions and positions about how we think life works, there is a fundamental truth common to every single one of us – our true nature.

Because this understanding is beyond the intellect, people can hear something even though they have been determined not to. And we only need to realise this truth for a moment, and we transform.

The speaker after Dave was renowned success coach Michael Neill who said…

Dave is us. We are Dave.

Of course, we have a completely different life to the one Dave was living, but we all have our insecurities that appear real to us. We all have an ego that we invest in. We all have feelings based on the misunderstanding that something other than thought in the moment is the cause.

And this is why we chase shadows – we think that something outside of us can give us what we need. But this cannot ever work.

Dave was very open. His honesty was powerful.

He said that even now he can get the kind of thinking that previously landed him in jail. But he knows it is just thought. He is connected to the deeper wisdom of his true self and lets the thinking go.

Since his being released he knows he will not be going back. He has a new relationship, job and is making his life work in a positive way.

What does this have to do with us?

As I said, we all get caught up in our thinking. Often it is thinking that we are not even consciously aware of.

But wisdom is always alive inside us too, and we only need to listen for it.

When we drop back into this infinite ‘space inside’ the more we are available to do life well.

Why we resist change…

The ego will make up all sorts of things (but this is just insecure thinking). It does not like change because it sees it as a risk.

For example, some of my clients, upon being introduced to this understanding, have expressed the fear that they will lose all their motivation and just do nothing.

That by living in peace of mind, love and well-being it will stop them accomplishing and achieving things.

In fact, I have found the opposite to be true. Pressure and tension are a hindrance, not a help.

With a free mind your productivity goes up. You accomplish a great deal more by doing less. You naturally realise far more of your potential.

And on top of this you have a wonderful time doing it as opposed to the struggle through life that so many ‘high-functioning’ people live with on a daily basis.

John Dashfield

John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.



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