Toastmasters Speech #10: Inspire your Audience
When you were younger, did you ever want to change the world? Make the world a better place? I did. But I grew up and became cynical. I abandoned that dream, until I came upon a startling realization. You can change the world, or rather your world…by changing yourself. And you can change yourself by doing the inner work. Today I’m going to talk to you about why you should do the inner work, and discuss a path that succeeded for me.
Imagine this! (I begin to jog.) Two different people go jogging in Seoul’s Hangang Park, James and Sukyung. James isn’t enjoying himself. In fact, he’s afraid. He knows that parks and jogging paths are dangerous places. He read about a robbery in a park just last week. James had a friend in college who was mugged while jogging. His mother always told him to be careful of strangers, and this place is full of strangers.
Look at that man up ahead wearing a red beret. He’s weird! James moves far to the right when passing him. That makes the man he passed feel bad about himself. Oh! Look at that shadow! James saw a TV show where a bad guy stepped out of shadow with a knife, and plunged it into his victim! By the time James finishes his jog, he’s physically and mentally exhausted.
Sukyung is jogging in the park along the Han River, too. She loves to jog outside and oh, what a glorious day! The river ripples in the wake of a boat, and feel the breeze! She loves to watch people. Look at that sweet old man wearing a red beret. Sukyung smiles at him. That makes him feel good about himself. Sukyung and her mother used to go jogging together. This brings back fond memories. Plus, Sukyung recently saw a TV show about how important it is to exercise. Jogging’s great for her health. (Stop jogging.) Sukyung finishes her jog feeling physically and mentally exhilarated.
Would the experiences of James and Sukyung be much different if they were jogging in Tokyo, or Paris? No. Because wherever you go, you take yourself with you.
What is it about James and Sukyung that make their experiences different? Their beliefs. They both have reasons for their beliefs involving TV, their mothers, and past experiences.In the end, though, it really doesn’t matter where their beliefs came from. What matters is that their beliefs create their personal reality.
Beliefs are like filters, you see. James experiences his jog through the filtering belief “Jogging is dangerous.” So what he sees are the weird-looking man and the scary shadow. Beauty surrounds him, too, but he doesn’t focus on it. Sukyung’s belief filter is: “I love jogging.” Through that filter she sees the rippling river and the sweet old man.
Here’s a fun exercise to help you explore the power of belief filters. I’d like you to adopt two different viewpoints, one at a time, and notice whether things change.
Viewpoint #1 is: “I’m very different from you.” Go ahead and adopt that idea, really believe it, or at least imagine it. Now, take a look at the people around you through that viewpoint: “I’m very different from you.” Notice what you observe. Notice how you feel. Notice your thoughts and judgments. (Wait quietly while people do this.)
Now, let that one go. I’m going to ask you to switch gears, and take on Viewpoint #2: “We’re so much alike.” Adopt that idea, really believe it. Take a look at the people around you through the viewpoint: “We’re so much alike.” Notice what you observe. Notice how you feel. Notice your thoughts and judgments. (Wait quietly while people do this.)
Certain beliefs are helpful, like Viewpoint #2. They make you feel more connected to others, and to life itself. Certain beliefs are harmful, and sometimes we don’t even know we’re holding them. They’re transparent. We operate right through them without realizing they’re there.
Indeed, our minds are cluttered with beliefs, like a closet cluttered with stuff. When we make the effort to sort through the closet, we may find: a toy police car we played with when we were four years old, and—goodness, I didn’t know that was there—a second-grade art project. And there’s a tennis racket from high school. I don’t need that anymore. (Pantomime throwing it away.)
When we make the effort to sort through our minds, we find—well, I don’t know what’s inside your mind, because every mind is different, but I’ve been through mine and found beliefs like: “You’re not good enough. You’re never going to be good enough. You have to be perfect!” and “You’re just a mean gossip, so you should stay away from people.” What? Where did that come from? I didn’t even know that was there! I was a gossip in high school, but not anymore. Has this belief kept me separate from others?
When you hold beliefs that are harming you, you can’t just paper over them. James really does believe jogging is dangerous. Saying mantras or positive affirmations won’t change that belief at its core.
And here’s where we get really metaphysical. If someone comes to the jogging path with an intent to attack a jogger, which one is he more likely to choose: James or Sukyung? We attract experiences that reinforce our beliefs.
There’s a mystical saying, “Act is if your thoughts are broadcast across the heavens for all to see. For in fact, they are.” At some level we send out vibrations. What James is sending out is: I’m a victim, attack me. Does that mean that James is doomed to live in fear his whole life? No. He can do the inner work and change, and so can we.
Ladies and gentlemen, the mystics tell us there are thousands of paths that eventually lead to the same destination. Paths that help us do the inner work. I encourage you to seek until you find the path that’s right for you. That feels like coming home.
I’d like to tell you about a path that worked for me called the Avatar Course. The Avatar Course began in 1986, is now taught world-wide in 21 languages, and is especially popular in English and Korean-speaking countries. Avatar is a set of readings and exercises that help you to explore your consciousness and see what beliefs are rattling around in your mind, especially ones you didn’t realize were there. It then provides a gentle set of tools to help you get rid of beliefs that are holding you back, and to adopt beliefs that will help you in life.
Here’s what’s cool. Nobody tells you what to believe. You decide. So many of our beliefs are indoctrinated into us: by religion, by family, by culture. Avatar says: believe whatever you want to, but not because someone else told you to believe it. Believe it because you deliberately choose to. Take responsibility for your beliefs, and live deliberately.
Avatar is taught as a 9-day course in 3 sections. The first section is a playshop called Resurfacing. It’s for the intellect. (Hold up an apple.) It’s food for thought. It offers you new insights about how your life works, or why it doesn’t, and you begin to become aware of your own creative power. You will be amazed at how powerful you really are!
Section II is nicknamed the Starvation Diet for the Intellect. (Put on a safari helmet and pick up a flashlight.) You become the explorer, and take expeditions into the backyard of your own consciousness. You learn how to shine the light on what’s there, and what to do if you see something you don’t prefer. You develop your ability to create personal reality, and to experience reality without judgment or separation.
In Section III you explore the fundamental beliefs that create the universe. Wow! You learn a new technique to manage beliefs, and use it in a series of rundowns to help remove conflicts and persistent conditions.
If you do the inner work, you can change your world. But just think! If you do the inner work, and I do it, and enough people on the planet do it, together we can change the larger world. The Avatar Course says, “When we perceive that the only difference between us is our beliefs, and beliefs can be created and discreated with ease, the right and wrong game will wind down, a co-create game will unfold, and world peace will ensue.”
If you think the Avatar Course might be right for you, learn more at www.avatarepc.com. Whatever path you choose, I hope you choose to do the inner work.