The key to personal development (a little known secret).

Via Ben Ralston
on Nov 8, 2010
get elephant's newsletter

I will share with you now something that is little known, yet highly important for personal development.

Many people are working on developing themselves in many ways. If you google ‘therapy’ (or ‘healing’, or ‘personal development’), you’ll find literally thousands of different kinds of modalities.

Almost all of them are either energy based (reiki, bio-energetic techniques), or emotional based (heart based healing, E.F.T), or psychologically based (NLP, psychotherapy).

A common reaction to healing, especially to the energy / heart based techniques, is a feeling of euphoria, often accompanied by tears of joy. People often believe that they’ve “really healed it this time” because the feeling is so intense.

However, the truth is that if you have this kind of tearful reaction to therapy, you’ve probably only healed yourself on the energy / emotional level. The symptoms are healed (hence the feeling of euphoria – it’s a relief!), but the relief is only temporary. Very likely the problem will persist, perhaps in a different form.

Similarly, with therapies that are based on psychological healing, it’s often slow going: I’ve met people that have had years and years of therapy and not really shifted anything significantly.

True healing works on the level of cause. When you heal the cause of the problem, the symptoms simply fall away: sometimes immediately, sometimes over time. There won’t be any ‘fireworks’ though – no tears, no euphoria. Just a slow unwinding, as every level of your being (physical, emotional, mental, energetic, and causal) shifts subtly back into alignment.

When this happens, what you’ll most likely feel is a slight tingling sensation. You’ll feel lighter and strong. You’ll feel morecomplete.

True healing is really letting go of something false – a blockage that was in between the present you (with a problem), and the real you. You want to be healthy and happy: we all do.

The thing that most people don’t realize is that they are already healthy and happy! Healthy and happy is our natural state of being – our default setting if you will.

Healing is about letting go of whatever is getting in the way.

Your body will heal itself very efficiently when it is allowed to.

Your state of mind will automatically shift towards joy if you relax (let go) deeply enough.

So here’s the secret: the cause of almost all of our problems is a subconscious blockage that relates to either survival / safety, or reproduction.

It relates not to the head (psychotherapy); nor to the heart (emotionally based healing); and not to the ‘energy’. It is connected primarily to our ‘gut’ – the area below the solar plexus and above the genitals.

The gut is the place where we feel our deepest feelings, which are always about safety and survival. Many people’s greatest fear for example is public speaking: surveys have shown that many people would rather die than have to speak in public! That kind of fear is always felt in the gut.

So, when I am healing someone, I am looking for the cause of the problem, and it’s always something that relates to a ‘gut feeling’.

When you are working on your own personal development, be aware that the most important centre of awareness that you have – important in terms of influence that it has over your life – is in your gut.

The reason I’m writing about this now is that I know from the many years of personal development work I’ve done that most people ignore their ‘lower centers’ and focus on the higher ones. There is a myth in spiritual and healing circles that we should focus almost exclusively on the heart, or the third eye.

I learnt all this when I studied Reference Point Therapy and became an RPT therapist and teacher: my own personal development and my work with others shifted tremendously. I learnt how to very quickly and efficiently let go of ‘stuff’ that otherwise takes people – and took me – years and years of struggling.

This is all very theoretical, I know, so I’ve written up my latest client / therapist session, which was a great example of a truly amazing healing session, typical of the kind of results that you can get with RPT. It was a simple skype session: client in America, me in Slovenia, and he got much more than he bargained for!

You can read about it here on my weblog, Grounded Spirituality.

Before you go, please be aware that I would like to share this information with as many people as possible… you can help me to do that by simply giving a facebook ‘like’, sharing with your like-minded friends, and leaving a comment below. Thank you!


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


33 Responses to “The key to personal development (a little known secret).”

  1. Tomaž Kežman - Kemo says:

    When I read your articles my love for this world expands. ALWAYS. We need you. Keep on doing your mission on this earth. I am grateful.
    With love.

  2. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you Kemo!
    What's most beautiful about your comment, to me, is that it feels really honest and 'heartfelt'. It moved me. Thank you.
    With love, Ben

  3. Little Miss Sunshine says:

    Great work Ben. Not many people even in this line of work realize what you've just explained above. So thank you for putting the information out there. And big thanks for all that you've helped me personally, and still are….

  4. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hi Little Miss Sunshine!
    It's really true that not many people understand the importance of the 'gut' center: that's where trauma affects us, so that's where our deepest problems originate.
    I'm very happy I've helped you…!
    With love,

  5. kim says:

    I can't wait to read the link Grounded Spirituality. Thank you, Ben.

  6. Ben_Ralston says:

    Ha! That's music to my ears… or eyes… or something : /
    Thank you Kim!

  7. Thank you, Ben. As always, a joy to read and helpful on so many levels. Cheers!

  8. "Your body will heal itself very efficiently when it is allowed to." – I love that line, Ben. I don't think enough people truly know this. I always look forward to your posts and will immediately LIKE this, read your Grounded Spirituality and do more research on RPT – any websites or info to point me to would be appreciated. Namaste.

  9. Doreen Hing says:

    I absolutely love personal growth, I have a life coach and I use the Landmark Education. My life coach was the first person who helped me to recognise the power or disempowerment of gut feeling, and how it can stop or stunt life/action, rather than use it as a guide or an area of investigation. Landmark Education defines its existence, as part of the mechanism called the Personal Test and combines it with the heart/feelings. Similarly, I like how the LE uses it to help me push past these fears, pointing out that there are several Tests, that control our way of being,ie. the Personal Test;(gut, feeling, emotion), The Interim Test; (rules determined by society) + The Ultimate Test;(reality).
    The Personal Test creates a feeling, head, heart or gut. You make a decision based on this. If still unsure, then you evaluate it with the Interim Test, what society determines is correct operating procedure. More often than not, you make a decision for action based on this. However the real factor that should best determine actions is the Ultimate Test, what the reality is. Kind of similar to what you said, for me the Landmark Education gave me some structure and whys behind, some of the decision + thought making… Personal Growth rocks, because it give you a common language for to help you see your crap for what it is, and to not take it personally or at least if you do, know that you are taking it personally.

    Thanks for your post, it was timely as I dish out my crap often, either from the head, heart or gut, but at least I have tools to investigate it further + at least recognise why I, no one else, has chosen how to be, + thus act/in act in every situation that comes my way…

  10. I like the article and totally agree that we nned to work through any blockages in the lower chakras before we move up. The gut is very important area which I call also our "power house" if we know how to use it.

    I'm curious though to hear more about the Reference Point Therapy (RPT), it sounds like EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy) which I have just recently learned as I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Yoga teachers as well. I would love to hear more about the RPT. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hi Maureen – check out the reference point therapy website (link in the article above) and their blog.
    Loads of interesting stuff there as well as on my blog.
    Thanks for your encouragement and support, it's invaluable to me!
    Love, Ben

  12. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you my dear bespectacled monkey! you have a beautiful day too 😉

  13. Sarah Oakley says:

    Great article Ben, thank you. For me this is a great reminder for me to live by my gut (and not my confused head!). Have you heard Deepak Chopra's views on the gut…

    "When you say, "I have a gut feeling about such and such," you're not speaking metaphorically anymore. You're speaking quite literally because you're gut makes the same chemicals as the brain makes when it thinks. In fact your gut feelings may be a little more accurate because gut cells haven't yet evolved to the stage of self doubt." Deepak Chopra

    love & gratitude

  14. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hi Doreen, LE sounds very interesting… I don't know much about it but I've heard some good things before now too.
    Personal growth does indeed – and I like your 'technical term' so I'll repeat it! – ROCK! It's not easy sometimes… but at the end of the day it's the only way to live really.
    Thanks for the comment,

  15. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hi Shanti,
    yes, the gut is indeed a power house! It's where we do our most important work – digestion.
    In Ayurveda it's where our 'fire' is at… and in martial arts it's where our power comes from.
    It's so often overlooked in spiritual work – often just sidestepped… but I think that more and more people are beginning to wake up to it's importance…
    RPT is actually quite different from EFT – I would say that it goes quite a lot deeper, and that the results are more permanent. However, I'm not an expert on EFT.
    Check my blog, or the RPT website + blog for more info on RPT.
    With love,

  16. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hey Sarah!
    Thanks for the comment 🙂
    That Deepak guy sure seems to know his stuff huh?
    It's true – the gut has been found to have very similar qualities to it as the brain. In RPT we learn that actually our 'mind' is not in the brain: or rather, one of our minds is in the brain, one is in the heart, one is in the gut… yes, we have multiple 'minds' (centers of awareness), and they all need to be balanced.
    Love + gratitude to you too 🙂

  17. Hi Ben,
    what a great way to start the day, looking to the gut.
    I have put a link to this article on my blog, which I then added to my facebook and twitter page. I believe that this imformation is important.

  18. rootstowings says:

    Very true Ben. Most people have blockage in their 3rd chakra area. This can manifest itself in many ways, head, neck, shoulder, back pain, rounded upper back. Improper diet often makes it difficult to circulate energy in this area of the body and with whatever subconscious blockages we have, it can be very problematic. In the US, I'd say the vast majority of the public is blocked in this area. Healing this area takes time, focus, and effort. ____

  19. Ben Ralston says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I start every day looking to the gut – thinking about breakfast!

    Thank you for sharing so generously. I also think it’s important.

    With love, Ben

  20. Shannon says:

    Such great timing for me to read this article. I've been having weird nausea & gut related issues for awhile, but esp. the last 5 days, I barely want to eat, and only can stomach small bits of just carbs 95% of when I do eat right now. I believe in the mind/body connection so started looking up symptoms on Louise Hay's "List", and have lots of personal issues I have been working on for years, as you mentioned, and then realized I should read up on the third chakra , which I did, just last night . . . and then tonight, here's your article. Serendipity for me! Such a great confirmation of the conclusion I'd been coming to, that I have some big power/use of will stuff literally rumbling around in me right now . . . I'll be checking out your site/blog. Thanks you, Ben. Blessings!

  21. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hi Shannon,
    Sounds like you have some suppressed emotion that wants to get out! Something you 'can't stomach' any longer.
    Probably relates to a long-term hurt or abuse. At the moment of the original trauma there was a feeling that you resisted, making it subconscious – that's what causes the problems now.
    I'm sure I could help you with it…

  22. Shannon says:

    Love that quote, thanks, Sarah! 🙂

  23. jeff brown says:

    Most of the world is still vibrating at the root chakra level. This is where the collective unconscious remains, and even in cultures that appear to be more economically advantaged, survivalism and our root chakra issues are usually just one trigger away. This is the great challenge for those of us who long for a world that is vibrating at a more subtle level- how to, for example, honor divine purpose when our consciousness is still gripped at the root? To shift this, work has to happen on many levels, both the individual work to thaw, move and heal the primal holdings, and also the collective work to ensure that more of us are protected by rule of law, safe and sound, so that we can let down and release holdings and invite our consciousness to the next stages of its development.

  24. Ben Ralston says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for commenting here. I’ve followed your work for a while on FB, and although I haven’t got your book yet (been busy expecting our first child), I know I will.
    I agree in part with your first statements, but I feel that it’s somehow a little more complicated… yes, the root is a problem, but I don’t think it’s because that’s where people are vibrating – of course many are, but for them there’s not much we can do but wait 🙂
    I feel that there are many people who are kind of yo-yo-ing up and down. They are ready to shift consciousness to a higher level, but the lower levels are blocked. So they are trying to live, let’s say, more consciously, but constantly sabotage themselves due to the subconscious blockages in their lower centers.
    I’ve found through my work that these blockages always relate to trauma (whether obvious or subtle), and as you say, they are easily triggered… but the good news is that the blockages themselves are easily released.
    What is the ‘collective work’ that you propose in the last sentence of your comment?
    Love, Ben

  25. yogajunkie says:

    Fantastic work Ben. I am very excited about the concept(s) that you are exploring. There is an intense connection between the bodymindspirit parts of our being. They cannot be treated as independent and I love that you don't.

    Thanks for the intellegent post 🙂


  26. I love it every time someone helps me expand my mind on a subject. You certainly did in this article. I've bookmarked your site as I love to read more from your hand.
    Thank you 🙂

  27. Yogi Mat says:

    Healing at cause level. Letting go of something false. Subconscious. Survival. Lower energy centres. Happy and healthy is the default. I smell transcendentalism. Truth is – there is nothing to get over – nothing to heal. nothing to see. Move along now -there is nothing to see

  28. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you Stephanie

  29. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you Aase 🙂

  30. Jennifer Green says:

    Hi Ben and thank you so much for your wonderful post! I learned about RPT about 2 months ago from another article you did. I immediately jumped right in to researching more about this healing modality and loved everything I learned about it. It feels right "in my gut" and I chose to begin my new career as a holistic nurse by signing up to take the level 1 certification in May. I am so excited about the endless possibilities opening up in front of my eyes and I have you to thank for placing me on the perfect path. Thank you again and I look forward to speaking with you about it further following my first class in 3 weeks. Namaste! Jen

  31. Ben Ralston says:

    That’s wonderful Jennifer, you’re going to love learning RPT. I recommend all three courses – it’s one of the best investments I ever made, if not the best.
    Enjoy! And yeah, I’d love to know how you get on…