Successful from the Inside Out:
an interview with John Gray
by Chris Butterfield
Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus. But that is not all that they are about. Their souls have a diverse fountain of history, which proves them to be originated from so much more than a couple of large rocks millions of miles away. They not only require that intimate relationship needs be fulfilled, they are spiritual, loving, supporting, community-oriented beings who need a synthesis of all these factors to bring themselves closer to their souls calling.
John Gray is the scribe who brought their intimate relationship needs together in 1992 with his best-selling book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. As the result of an ensuing Martian/Venusian demand for more knowledge, Gray toiled away for ten years, attempting to satiate them with numerous works of literature, relationship seminars, and workshops. But as time passed, Gray grew weary of their demands.
As a result, youll no longer find John on the relationship trail. He turned that job over to two hundred eager "Men Are from Mars" workshop experts. Today, you can find Mr. Gray on the self-improvement seminar trail.
"This is my new project: helping people not just improve their relationships, but improve their lives, realize their dreams," said the 46-year-old Gray, a one-time Hindu monk. "These same principles I used to teach 15 years ago in workshops. I always felt like there was this huge challenge, because at that time I hadnt yet achieved enormous outward success. I had achieved inner success and was reasonably successful, but now Ive achieved enormous outer success as well as inner success, and I think that helps give people a greater confidence that these ideas really do work."
Grays success principles are based not just on attaining outer success, but, more importantly, on attaining inner happiness. To attain both outer success and inner happiness, we must consciously go about creating positive thoughts to override our negative thoughts thoughts that we are often not aware of unless we shift our attention toward them. Gray recommends that people set their intention to start off each day with positive thoughts.
"If youre having strong desires from a place of lack, from a place of unhappiness, then youre not accessing your whole potential to create what you want in life," he said. "You may get it, because anybody who strongly follows their ambitions and their desires does get a lot of what they want if they continue wanting it. But if you come from a place of being happy with what you have, experiencing positive feelings, and expressing and being aware of what it is you want, that does attract to you the very things that you want. Truly, if youre putting out positive energy, positive things happen to you."
Gray garnered his principles for attaining personal success over the course of his early years in psychotherapy, when he began to notice patterns emerging among his often materially rich patients, who nevertheless were not satisfied with where they were in life. They were seeking perfection, and no matter how successful they seemed to be on the outside, there was an equally unfulfilled hole inside them. Through his observations, Gray was able to discern that we need not come from this place of emotional poverty; that we can come from a place of being happy with what we have, while continually striving to achieve our hearts desire.
"We tend to live our lives lost in a lot of negative feelings, or in activities to suppress negative feelings," said Gray. "What Ive found is that if people can balance these two values they can have both worlds inner and outer success. By being truly authentic to your feeling self, you find that desiring more doesnt have to make you unhappy at all."
However, creating mental happiness is not something that comes easily. According to Gray, at first we can certainly create positive thoughts and intentions, but to keep these alive and healthy we must receive a fuel in life that he describes as the ten "love vitamins" (see sidebar). By receiving and giving love to the universe around us, whether it is the love of individuals or the love of God, we are able to stay in connection with who we are. As a result, we are able to create the solidity in life that we desire.
The problem with love vitamins is that there are ten of them. For example, if one rarely ingests vitamin C, the immune system is not being properly supplied with the nutrients it requires, and it is thus more likely that one will get sick at some point in the future. In the case of ones mental health, this may mean unhappiness or perhaps even depression.
Different cultures take different love vitamins. Over the course of 1998, John traveled six times to indigenous, tribal societies in southeastern Asia and Africa. There, he observed a people who are less in touch with themselves as individuals, but who by and large have an innate happiness and connection to the spiritual side of life despite inferior outer successes as compared to their Western counterparts.
"Westerners have created in the outer world tremendous outer success, but they dont have the inner success," he said, emphasizing that one does not preclude the other. "What is different in different cultures is that they automatically nourish these different kinds of love in different ways. Our culture certainly nurtures self-love, but it doesnt nurture your relationship with God, which is awareness that we are taken care of, that there is a force that supports us, that heals us, that makes things happen for us and gives us good fortune.
"If you go to Africa, you can see that shamans can walk on fire. They can do different kinds of miracles. They can do instant healing on people. They have access to healing powers that most Westerners dont, and thats because they have a strong relationship with God. Yet they may not experience the kind of autonomy that a Westerner would being in touch with who I am and what I want out of life."
Of course, even if we have a nutrient-rich life, it is inevitable that we have some negative thoughts here and there. It is only when we begin to lose touch with ourselves, due to a lack of love in our lives, that we drift into a morass of negativity that really decreases the quality of our being.
Many people are drawn into this pit because they refuse to acknowledge their negative thoughts. According to Gray, we must acknowledge those feelings and release them to realign us and return to an excited and positive state of being.
One of the ways that Gray recommends for attaining this realignment is meditation. By teaching meditation in his workshops to those who do not yet understand its merits, he often sees an immediate return to a state of happiness and inner contentment. But meditation alone is only one of the vitamins of love.
"Even spiritual paths can be misused as a way to suppress feelings," he said. "Ive seen a lot of spiritual people who are very unhappy in their lives
Healing their emotional self is quite often the issue. If somebody has been regularly meditating for five years, quite often they have nurtured their relationship with God, but they havent really nurtured their relationship to their emotional self. Often they are not in touch with, or they dont know how to deal with, negative feelings, and it is very important to deal with negative feelings to be a full and complete person."
When one does begin to attain true inner happiness, the groundwork is laid for success in ones life. Mysterious, unexplained forces in the universe align themselves to lead you toward your hearts desire, according to Gray. What one must do at this time is simply go out and grab life, experiencing success.
"Its very important that people take risks," Gray said, "act as if Gods right there to help them and things are going to work. It doesnt work to sit back and wait for it to happen. Youve got to put yourself into action, and then the universe supports you. You find success happens and grows as you keep taking the risks to believe in yourself first. The worlds not going to believe in you until you believe in yourself first."
Gray added that it is necessary to be realistic with ones desires. As an example, a person who makes $20,000 one year should not expect to make $10 million the next.
"Its important for a person to say, One day in my life Im going to make that much, but let me make my goals a bit more realistic, " John said, laughing. "As we go through our disappointments, we tend to focus our goals into a more realistic picture for us."
John added that some of our bigger, more unrealistic goals will naturally fall away as we become more in touch with who we truly are. "What happens sometimes is that as youre living life and youre not waiting for the big things to happen, you find that some of the big goals that you had arent even that important," he said, "and they drop away because you find that what you have is perfect.
"Maybe youre wishing for a woman to look a certain way, and now youre dating around and you fall in love with a woman who doesnt look that way, but you find out that she is perfect for you."
Of several obstacles that lie in wait to intercept us and drag us back down, blame is the most dangerous, according to Gray. When we are caught in a place of blame, we are caught in a place of powerlessness. In a sense, he says, we forfeit all the power that we have to create our lives the way we want them to be.
"We live in a litigious society and people too quickly move into lawsuits, making other people responsible for what happened," Gray said. "We need to come back to making ourselves responsible and recognizing that we have the power to create what we want in our lives.
"You talk to a medical doctor. They know that their cures dont cure everything. I had an eye problem. I went to 18 doctors, all specialists. I lost the vision in my left eye. I spent six months going through every exam, every test. They couldnt do anything with it. Finally, I went on a healing diet. I took a vacation, and my vision came back; I healed it myself.
"Im telling people, The truth is whatever your hearts desire is. If the seeds in your heart, that tree can grow. You just have to water and nurture and take care of it properly, and your dreams can come true. All of mine did."
Oh, and one other thing. If you go to Johns seminars, dont ask him too many questions regarding relationships. As you can see, he likes to keep his vitamins balanced.
John Gray has a Ph.D. in psychology and was a board-certified expert in traumatic stress. He will present his workshop, "How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have," February 5 through 7 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle. For information and tickets, please call (888) 627-7836. Visit Johns web site at <www.marsvenus.com>.