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Shambhala Life Skills: Self-Validation

Originally the word "health" meant "whole" or "undivided." However, today the word "health" has come to mean something quite different. Today, it is more likely to mean free from illness or able to pursue your daily activities.

Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skills bring us back to the original meaning of the word "health" by recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, the body and the spirit. Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skills unify and strengthen the bond between the mind and the body, resulting in a powerful spirit that becomes your guiding Life-force.

Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skill Number Six Self-Validation

The Shambhala Life-Skill of SELF-VALIDATION will teach you how to check the accuracy of your own perceptions. All too frequently your perceptions of yourself and life are challenged. Acquaintances, friends and loved ones are quick to assert that you are "wrong" or "crazy" if your views do not match theirs.

Because your behavior is strongly influenced by your perceptions, other people have more than a passing interest in getting you to align your perceptions with theirs. Consequently, the Shambhala Life-Skill of SELF-VALIDATION is crucial to regaining your own unique Integrity.

SELF-VALIDATION will enable you to understand that perceptions are not right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate. Rather, they are individual interpretations of what we are experiencing in our day-to-day lives. These interpretations are always based on a combination of past experiences and present needs. No two people view the same situation or event identically. The reason for this is that our perceptual capacities stem not only from our five senses (vision, hearing, olfactory, taste and touch), but also from the subjective conclusions we unconsciously draw about what we think we are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. For example, if you were raised by a mean stepfather who had an insatiable craving for mushrooms, then for you the taste of a mushroom will be flavored by your memory of him. So it is with all of our senses. People see, hear, smell, taste and touch only out of the context of their own personal, highly unique life experiences. Consequently, there is no such thing as an objective perception of reality if the perception originates within a human being.

Knowing this, Shambhala Black Belts are not likely to give up their perceptions for the louder or so-called more "objective" perceptions of others. Shambhala Black Belts understand a person's viewpoint tells a story about him or her. Shambhala Black Belts regard their own views and the views of others as important information about the ways people make sense out of their own unique lives.

SELF-VALIDATION allows you to accept and verify as true for yourself, out of your own both culturally and self-determined values, that your perceptions are real for you. At the same time, you can accept the perceptions of others as real and important for them. Shambhala Black Belts hold the tension of these differing viewpoints. They are able to explore conflicting perceptions ("I wonder why we see it differently.") rather than having to convince others that they "did not see it the way it really was."

Shambhala Black Belts are interested in comparing their perceptions with the perceptions of others, not so they can be assured "they saw it right," but to see if anyone else has new information, new meanings, new understandings to add to their own. Shambhala Black Belts seek out the viewpoints of others as a way of adding to the breadth and depth of their own perceptual capacities.

SELF-VALIDATION opens your mind to the views of others, and it gives you the opportunity to broaden your perspectives. At the same time, SELF-VALIDATION gives you the confidence to make your own choices even when your perceptions conflict with those of others. This new confidence is there first, because you are no longer afraid of the opinions of others. You know that opinions, even those that are loud and laced with rancor, are merely reflections of an individual's past history. Consequently, the opinions of others are not so threatening and potentially life-controlling.

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