Uploaded by SEIvideo on 06.04.2011

What a nice feel.
I want to thank Avra and John
and the translators,
and all of the rest
of the trainers and QM’s for
making some time for me today.
I promised you a talk about impressions,
but before I go into that
I’d like to give you
a short graduation talk
for the new Avatars that are here.
How many new Avatars are here?
Good, good - that’s great.
There’s an old public relations slogan that proclaims,
“Thousands decide what the millions will do”.
You’re the thousands.
You will change the world,
but you won’t do it
through any campaign of terror
or political action committee
or leveraged accumulation of wealth.
You will do it
with your care and compassion.
You set a model for future generations.
Always train your mind to follow your heart.
Differences in viewpoint
should trigger curiosity,
not hostility.
And remember that everyone
has an effect on everything,
no matter how small.
So improving yourself,
helping others,
will improve the whole world.
And it requires inner strength, but
kindness and instruction
are the best strategies
for changing the world.
Now if you were one step away from
tipping the balance toward an
enlightened planetary civilization®,
would you take the step?
And the next question is,
how do you know that you’re not one step away?
And if the next step doesn’t get you there,
how about the step after that?
Sooner or later
we are going to arrive,
and today we’re one step closer
because of the work that you’ve done this week.
So, thank-you.
In the coming days
I wish you confidence,
love, and peace.
Live boldly,
do the right things.
And I don’t expect you to create good lives,
I expect you to create great lives.
Thousands decide what the millions will do.
So let’s talk about impressions.
An impression is a mark
that is left by something
pressing in to something else.
And when two things
bump into each other,
one or both of them tend
to have an impression of that contact.
And the contact can be very light,
a smile
I’ll always remember her smile,
it left a beautiful impression
in my memory.
Or, on the other extreme,
an impression can be catastrophic.
A meteorite colliding with the planet
That impression we call a crater.
And between these extremes
there are thousands of varieties of impressions.
The stamp on your passport is an impression,
the machine that stamps a coin leaves an impression,
the bug that hits your windshield leaves an impression.
Things interact in many different ways
and impressions are the result.
And the impression marks can be subtle,
barely noticeable,
or they can be powerful and
completely change the character
of one or both of the parties.
Think of the impression that
a brick makes on a window,
the shattered glass on the floor is
the impression left by the brick
And the longer you study existence
the more you’re going to notice that
a lot of things are
pressing, bumping, colliding with each other,
and leaving impressions.
And the impressions that are left
coax us to tell stories to explain them.
An impression is actually the beginning of a story.
Impressions lead to expression,
sort of an inhale-exhale sort of thing.
And explaining our impressions is
probably the motivation behind
the development of language.
Here’s an impression that was found
on the Navajo Indian Reservation
in Tuba City, Arizona.
It’s a good impression,
but it doesn’t inspire much of a story.
It’s the footprint of a theropod,
which is a three-toed family of meat-eating dinosaurs.
And the impression is
approximately sixty-five million years old,
and guessing by this theropod's shoe size,
he was about ten feet tall.
So we have a character for a story,
but there’s really no plot action.
I mean, what did the theropod do?
And, well - what can a theropod standing on one leg do?
It’s not the kind of impression that
generates attention-fixing questions.
And without the fixed attention,
there’s little motivation to create a story.
Now here’s another picture.
Here’s some impressions that generate
more questions and fix attention sufficiently
that they generate stories.
These are from the Paluxy river in Texas.
And the gentleman that described them,
described a set of tracks
just to the right of center,
the ones that go straight down the riverbed,
as “man tracks”.
And the three other sets of tracks
were made by theropods.
Now these impressions are unusual
enough that they’re interesting,
and you have to tell yourself
a pretty good story
to explain their existence.
Now depending upon whose story you hear,
the tracks either show
three hungry theropods chasing a man,
or a hungry man chasing three theropods.
I don’t know how they got
that they were hungry
my guess is that they were just
throwing in an instinctive behavior
to round out the story.
Makes you wonder what kinds of stories
they would have told
if they had thrown in the mating instinct.
Anyway, these impressions generated
a heated controversy that went on for years:
was the man chasing the dinosaurs,
or were the dinosaurs chasing the man?
The man in pursuit of dinosaurs crowd
believed that because the man tracks
ran straight down the riverbed,
and the theropod tracks
run toward the edges of the riverbed,
that the man was chasing the dinosaurs
kind of like a fox running through
a flock of chickens and they scatter.
On the other side of the controversy,
the dinosaur in pursuit crowd
believed that the straight man tracks
showed that the man was running for his life,
and the reason the terrapod tracks
go off to the side is because
the dinosaurs were flanking him for a kill
and down the middle was the only way he could go,
sort of a dogs chase cat scenario.
Anyway, the local Baptist minister,
who was a champion for the
dinosaurs pursuing man story,
worked the story into his sermon.
And you might say that he invested
in the dinosaurs chase man story,
because it reminded the parishioners
that life is vulnerable.
And that increased the number of
dollar bills in his collection plate.
So he had an agenda for telling
the story in his way.
The tracks, he said,
were left by Adam,
driven from the Garden of Eden
by giant reptiles because
he didn’t obey the word of God.
Some versions of a story give
better returns in terms of
attention or sympathy or dollar bills,
or even Academy Awards,
than other versions.
Stories influence our behavior.
And I don’t know if anyone figured out how to profit
from the other version
of the Paluxy story but,
I suspect someone tried.
After a few radio broadcasts
the preacher gained considerable
public attention for his
‘dinosaurs hunt Adam’ sermons.
And this is when he came to the notice of
a professor at the University of Texas,
and the professor felt called upon
to correct the story.
The professor explained that
man appeared on earth about two and a half million years ago,
and the Paluxy River dinosaur tracks are sixty million years old.
Heh - well, that was that…
Right away the minister knew
he was facing a financial crisis.
Time is one of those pesky details that
can transform your whole story;
sometimes for the good,
sometimes in the other direction.
Now if the preacher had been really clever
he could have introduced a time machine into his story,
or some marooned ancient astronaut,
or he could have even taken a clue from the town drive-in
and brought in alien reptiles from another planet.
God works in mysterious ways
if you know what I mean…
But there’s only so far that you can push
the holy scriptures,
and putting Adam
in front of a running dinosaur
was pretty much the limit.
A fifty-seven and a half million year delay
between a man running by
and a dinosaur chasing him
is hard to explain.
Not to say there wasn’t a time I might have tackled it…
Now remember, the inspirations
for these stories are a few impressions
in a layer of limestone,
and the impressions are worn.
I mean, they were underwater
at the bottom of a river
for sixty million years;
that’s six hundred thousand centuries.
That’s a long time.
Which tells us something important;
even sixty million year old
washed-out impressions
can fix enough of people’s attention
to coax the more creative of us
to make up a story.
And the gamble is that
we might hit the jackpot
and recover some or all of the
attention that the impression has trapped.
And most of us are willing to give it a try.
You know the saying,
making a mountain out of a molehill?
It means to make a big
deal about something minor
make mountains out of molehills.
Just for clarity,
this is a molehill,
and this is a mountain.
Some of you figured out where I’m going with this talk
and you’re already ahead of me.
A gentlemen colonel from Virginia once said,
“I prefer to lead from a distance in the rear”.
So here’s the point I’m making,
from some distance in the rear:
limestone is not the only thing that records impressions.
Consciousness also records impressions.
The events of life leave tracks
in our consciousness,
mental theropod footprints
that inspire us to tell ourselves
stories to explain them.
And there’s not a lot we can do about
the impressions that life leaves,
I mean, things happen.
Events, relationships, harsh words,
they press into us and they leave their mark.
And things fall on people.
Cells go crazy,
turn into cancer.
Things blow up,
dogs bury bones in your flower bed.
Sometimes good things leave
impressions on us as well,
but they’re not as likely to fix our attention.
Kids are born,
love blooms,
sunshine picnics;
but because we enjoy the good things
so thoroughly while they’re happening,
not much attention is left behind.
But the things we don’t enjoy,
the things we resist,
they leave deep tracks,
deep impressions in our consciousness.
And those impressions fix attention
and the attention inspires future stories.
And the interesting thing about this is that
it’s not the impressions
that influence us long-term,
or that shape our lives.
It’s the stories that the
mental impressions motivate.
Impressions are just there,
some marks from passing events,
old scars.
But the stories that we tell ourselves
about the marks
continue to influence us.
The stories can make us rich,
make us poor,
unhappy or happy,
attractive or unattractive,
make us feel powerful
or make us feel weak.
And the more we repeat the stories
the more influence,
for good or bad that
they have on our lives.
We don’t suffer from past events,
we suffer from the stories we tell ourselves
about past events.
Have you ever noticed that
two people can experience
the same impressions,
like the Paluxy dinosaur tracks,
and they tell themselves
a completely different story?
One person tells himself a sad story
full of blame and injustice,
and the other person tells himself a happy story
full of adventure and discovery.
And oftentimes they are talking
about their memories
of the same event,
they just process the event differently.
A few months ago
I had a friend, a Wizard,
who died of cancer.
The cancer, and its treatment,
had a fatal impact on her body.
Now some people would have resisted the cancer,
fixed a lot of attention on it,
and they might have been motivated
to tell themselves a victim story
undeserved suffering,
abandoned by God,
poisoned by the world.
And it’s just the nature
of a victim story
to cause more
anxiety, suffering, and unhappiness
for both the person who tells it and
the person who hears it.
I’m proud to tell you that my friend
integrated the experience of the cancer
and never told herself,
or anyone else, a victim story.
I mean, this is wizardry.
She turned lead into gold.
She honored her own experience,
she owned it,
and in the final weeks she wrote me a letter and she said,
“This is one of the best things that ever happened to me”.
The cancer was destroying her body,
but her story was about
gaining courage,
having time to reflect,
and learning to welcome death as an adventure.
The choice of story is something that we each have,
but what strength it took
for her to choose that story.
I felt sad because she had to leave,
but in another way I had to thank her
for such a beautiful lesson
about choosing our stories.
She traveled her path
swiftly, honestly and valiantly.
She lived and died boldly,
and she left a lovely impression.
So the success or failure
of your life is all about
the story you choose to tell.
And what you experience
is the story you tell yourself,
especially when you tell yourself
from the viewpoint of source
then the story makes all the difference.
And this is a bonus perk
for doing Avatar
because you get to deliberately shape
the story you tell yourself.
None of us can go back and change
anything that happened in the past,
but we can change
the story we tell ourselves about it.
We can take the resistance off,
we can accept our own human weakness,
we can forgive the human weakness of others,
and we can re-label the event as a lesson.
And the power to change the story
is the power to change your life.
I’m not done, though…
A group of frogs
were hopping through the woods,
going about their froggy business,
when two of them fell into a deep pit.
And all the other frogs gathered around the pit
to see what could be done to help their companions.
Well, there wasn’t anything to be done.
When they saw how deep the pit was
the group agreed that rescue was hopeless.
They told the two frogs in the pit that
they should prepare themselves for their fate,
because honestly,
they were already as good as dead.
“Sorry, mates, you’re goners.”
“Die well.”
“There’s no way out.”
Of course the two frogs in the pit
began to jump with all their might,
and the other frogs continued to shout
“Oh, save your energy and give up.”
“You’re as good as dead already.”
“Accept your fate, don’t fight it.”
“Rest in peace.”
Finally one of the frogs in the pit takes heed of
what his fellow frogs are shouting
and he lets out a deep groan,
and he tips over and dies on the spot.
The other frog in the pit continues to jump with
every ounce of energy he has, and
though he’s exhausted and he wants to quit,
he just keeps jumping.
His companions up top, they continue yelling
“Accept your fate.”
“Just relax.”
But the weary frog, he jumps harder and harder,
zig-zagging off the walls of the pit,
and wonder of wonder,
he finally flops out of the pit.
And the other frogs gather around him in amazement.
“Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?”
The frog pointed to his ear and said,
“I don’t hear - I am a deaf frog."
"I saw you shouting encouragement and I told myself
I didn’t want to disappoint you.”
Other people may try to influence
the story you tell yourself, but
you don’t have to listen.
And you don’t have to tell yourself
the story that others suggest,
or the story that they try to force on you.
It is your story,
if you know what I mean.
And sometimes the only thing that
you can do to save yourself
is to be a deaf frog.
Have you got time for one more story?
Once upon a time,
an orphaned lion cub named ‘Kashi’
was adopted by a flock of sheep.
And on snowy nights the lion cub found comfort
in huddling, cuddling, and snuggling with the sheep.
He loved to huddle, snuggle and cuddle in their soft wool.
And to everyone it was plain that he was different, but
sheep like to huddle, cuddle and snuggle, too.
And his fur was soft.
And Kashi learned to talk like the sheep,
and eat mountain grass,
and he would run and jump with the other lambs,
and they would finally fall in a heap on the ground
where they would huddle, snuggle, and cuddle.
And he learned all the rules to being a sheep.
There were a lot of rules:
when to play,
when to sleep,
whom to follow,
how to stand,
and the lion cub learned them all
and in his mind he told himself,
“I am a good sheep” stories.
And the seasons passed and he continued to grow.
And that became a problem…
He grew so large that the other sheep
began to avoid cuddling, snuggling and huddling with him.
And cuddling, hugging and snuggling
were the things that Kashi liked best.
And more than once he approached his sheep peers
only to have them go silent and then,
one by one, draw away.
Lonely nights left an impression,
even deeper than the cold and the dark.
He began to tell himself
“there must be something wrong with me” stories.
And as the last snow of his third winter began to melt,
his heart ached, and he left his sheep friends
and he wandered into the night alone.
And he slept alone,
no one to huddle, cuddle and snuggle with.
And when nights are long and cold
we need to comfort each other, but
Kashi had no one.
Have you ever heard a lonely lion cry?
So what happens now?
Well, one day a Wizard returning from Orlando
happened upon the sad lion.
And Kashi’s eyes were red and swollen,
and his whiskers were droopy and caked with mud.
“Lion, what’s wrong?”, asked the Wizard.
“Baaaahhhh…. - just everything.”
“Baaahh?”, says the Wizard.
“That’s a funny thing for a lion to say.”
“Lion?”, says Kashi.
“That’s a funny thing for a Wizard to say.”
So the Wizard opened his pack and handed Kashi the Source List.
“Start at the top”, the Wizard instructed.
Kashi reads, “I am lion, king of beasts.”
“Do you have any doubts?”, asked the Wizard.
“Baaaaahhhh, baaahhh, baaaahhhh.”
“Ok”, says the Wizard, “say it like you mean it.”
“I am lion, king of beasts.
I am lion, king of beasts.
I am lion, king of beasts!”
And Kashi’s eyes brightened and he starts to understand.
He shakes the mud off his whiskers.
“So that’s what it was. I always wondered”, said Kashi.
“I’m a lion, I’m not a sheep.”
“You are a fine lion”, says the Wizard.
And Kashi’s head drooped down,
and his lion smile disappeared.
“I suppose now I will have to live alone like other lions.
I’m sure going to miss the huddling, cuddling and snuggling.”
“Hmmm, maybe not”, says the Wizard,
pulling out an Avatar registration form.
One decides what the many will do.
That’s Kashi on the far right.
Thank-you. I love you. Thank-you.