10 Ayurvedic Tips for Avoiding Sickness

The traditional Hindu system of medicine known as Ayurveda has been used for millennia to diagnose, treat, and maintain human health. Meaning “life knowledge” in Sanskrit, it is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a fine balance between mind, body, and spirit — essentially what we have come to know as the mind-body connection today.

In Western culture, we tend to compartmentalize our aliments, treating mind, body, and spirit as separate and disconnected elements rather than interlinked parts of a whole, connected organism. Ayurveda recognizes that all these systems of the body are interconnected and it is important to keep each one functioning optimally for our best health.

Here are 10 simple Ayurvedic practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to stay healthy and live a long life.

1. Drink a Full Glass of Warm Lemon Water in the Morning

Popularized in recent years, this practice has its origins in Ayurveda. The benefits from this simple task are many, and your body will definitely thank you for doing it each day. It is a great way to fire up your digestive system in preparation for the day and to flush out unwanted toxins. Lemon water also cleanses the liver and will give you a boost of vitamins and minerals to help start your day on the right foot and boost your immune system.

2. Eat Moderately and Don’t Drink Too Much While Eating

Eat until you are no longer hungry and you feel full, but not like you are about to burst. Try to avoid drinking any liquids half an hour before mealtime and for about an hour and a half after. Drinking too much liquid while eating dilutes stomach acid, making it more difficult to digest your food. If you must drink while eating, try to keep liquids to 250 ml or less, and make sure they are warm, not cold.

3. Allow 4-5 Hours Between Meals

Give your digestive system time to fully digest your last meal before adding more to it. You should also space out the amount of calories you consume throughout the day so your body has adequate energy to function optimally all day long. Digestion is hard work, after all. Try to avoid snacking, if possible.

4. Give Yourself an Abyanga Oil Massage Weekly

It’s safe to say that most people love a good massage!. But why save this special treat for when you have the time to visit a masseuse and can afford to pay them for one? You can give yourself a massage whenever you want and you definitely should, because it is tremendously beneficial to your health and well-being.

The effects of Abyanga are said to be similar to those received when one is saturated with love, so just like the experience of being loved, Abyanga can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth. Abyanga restores the balances of the doshas — your unique blend of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics — and is said to enhance longevity.

Simply massage your body from toe to head with a good oil like coconut oil (or without oil) at least once a week to experience the benefits of this practice.

5. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is believed to not only help detoxify the body, but whiten teeth and freshen breath as well. There have been several studies that confirmed the effectiveness of this practice for reducing plaque, gingivitis, gum decay and more.  From personal experience, I can say it definitely helped to whiten my teeth; I noticed a difference after the first try. Oil pulling involves swishing sesame or coconut oil in your mouth and pulling between teeth for 20 minutes, then spitting out before brushing.

Some reported benefits of oil pulling include: relief from migraines, reduced allergies and inflammation from arthritis, improved sleep, energy, and vision, elimination of eczema or acne, heavy metal detoxification, and healthier gums and teeth.

6. Tongue Scraping

Not only does this practice eliminate foul smelling morning breath, but it can rid the body of some unwanted bacteria as well. In Ayurvedic terms, this practice is a way or removing Ama from your physiology. Ama refers to any accumulation or toxic residue in the mind or body. Tongue scraping can also enhance your taste reception, which can in turn reduce cravings for excess sugar and salt. This practice is also believed to aid the overall digestive process.

Scrape your tongue with a copper tongue scraper daily first thing in the morning to remove unwanted toxins. Do this even before drinking your morning lemon water.

7. Exercise

This one should be obvious by now. We all know that it is important to exercise, but knowing it and actually doing it are two different things! Make it a habit to move daily. This can be as simple as stretching and/or going for a walk every day, or as intense as you’d like to make it. Either way, you’ll feel better physically and psychologically, and chances are, you’ll sleep better, too.

8. Avoid Cold Beverages

Even though nothing is as satisfying as an ice cold glass of water on a hot summer day, you should try to avoid them, especially close to or during meal time. Drinking cold water hinders digestion, it will solidify any fats or oils you have ingested and make them much more difficult to digest. and can actually cause dehydration. Rather than using its energy to digest your food, your body must waste energy trying to regulate the temperature of the water to match it to your internal temperature, which can lead to water loss. Drinking cold water after a meal, on the other hand, can create excess mucus in the body, which can decrease immune function.

It may take a bit of time to get used to, but consider drinking room temperature water and other beverages. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and I can definitely say I prefer it this way!

9. Eat in Peace

When you sit down for meals, focus your full attention on the food in front of you — that means no computer, cell phone, or television to distract you. Simply put, distracted eating leads to overeating. However, sitting down to eat with friends or family, while not always an option, is ideal because it makes you fully present to the experience and generally leads to slower eating. Studies have also shown that people tend to eat more sugary, salty, and fatty foods while sitting in front of the television.

Eat mindfully: chew your food slowly and thoroughly, put down your fork between bites, and really think about the sensation of eating each piece of food. Stop just before you feel full, to allow your brain to catch up to your stomach.

10. Follow a Routine

Follow a daily routine. Incorporate any of the aforementioned practices into something you do every day, and recognize that self-care is an essential part of physical and emotional health. It may be difficult at first to establish these new routines, but once they become habit, you will begin to look forward to these moments in your day.

The more of these you can do the better, but only do what feels right and good for you.

Have you already been practicing any of these daily rituals? How have they benefitted you? Please share in the comments section below.

Much Love

Author: Alanna Ketler – Collective Evolution

Breath Awareness: 4 insights on how to breath can provide mind-body healing benefits

How many times have you been worked up, and had someone tell you to “breathe”? That one word holds so much power. As soon as someone brings to our attention that we’ve escaped our breath, we immediately take an indulgent inhale. Breathing is innate. We do it without thinking simply because our bodies require it to survive. But there is much more to breath than meets the eye.

Our breath reveals a lot about our current state. When we’re uncomfortable, stressed, anxious, or fearful, we may find ourselves breathing very shallowly. When we’re relaxed, we breathe slowly. We can spin ourselves into a tantrum, and we can soothe ourselves into a safe and secure space, all by how we breathe. There are countless breathing practices to relieve physical and mental ailments, bring about a sense of calm, and even raise our vibrations. These practices makes breath so much more than essential, but incredibly transcendental. To shift our state of being through our breath so much so that we can change our wellbeing is a beautiful thing.

In practices like yoga, martial arts, and biofeedback, breath is used as a meditation. The breath is consciously sped up or slowed down to achieve awareness of our mind, body and soul on a spiritual level as a source of wisdom. If you’ve never practiced mindful breathing, these four insights on breath will help you to get you more acquainted with the power it holds.

4 Insights On How Breath Can Provide Mind-Body Healing Benefits

1. In ancient yoga, it is believed that each one of us is given a certain amount of breaths that determines our lifespan. If you take this into consideration, then it holds up that the shorter our breaths, the more time we lose off our lives. Breathing slowly and deeply makes way for more days to enjoy. This sanskrit proverb says it best: “For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.”

2. We can change our mood through our breath. Anxiety, stress, and moodiness are indicators that we’ve lost touch with our breath, and we need to stop and reconnect. Long, deep breaths can manage stress and panic attacks, lower blood pressure, and help your mind to reset and adjust your attitude towards a situation.

3. You can change your habits through breath, including your desire to overeat. Eating is not only essential, but it’s truly a joyous experience. The colors, the smells, the preparation, and of course, the tastes, are all wonderful experiences for our wellbeing, but many of us find it hard to stop, which takes away from the nourishment it brings to the mind, body, and soul. In fact, we often find food a comfort mechanism in times of despair. Breathing exercises can be used to help you from succumbing to this unhealthy coping mechanism.

4. Breath is the gateway to healthy living. Think of how many ways we use breath to prosper; to make life flourish. It is at the base of childbirth. It is used to transition between poses in yoga. It is used to help us connect within during prayer and meditation, warding off thoughts and outside distractions. It gives runners that “high” that brings about a sense of euphoria.

There are so many things that separate people. Culturally, environmentally, educationally, we find things that make sense in our world. But breath transcends all of that. It connects each and every one of us. Just think of the vibrations a room full of monks exhaling to the sound of “om” can bring about. It’s a unison unlike any other. And both individually and connectively, it has the power to change us for the better in so many ways.

 

Author: Alexa Erickson – Collective Evolution 

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Why Education Must Come Back to Nature

“Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.” – David Suzuki

Humanity has lost its connection with the Earth. As a species, we too easily distance ourselves from the war being waged on the environment. Most of us are opposed to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the oil pollution in our oceans, yet we continue to let it all happen. We care, but we don’t care enough to put a stop to all the madness. Why? Because we have lost touch with nature. Sadly, we do not feel the planet’s hurt. Her cries of protest are falling on deaf ears. For the most part, we have become anaesthetised by modern society and the trappings of economic pragmatism.

We have a responsibility to the future generations to make sure they do not make the same mistake that we have made in severing our connection to the land. Our children must learn to empathise with the natural world if our species is going to reverse the damage we have done. The youth are the future caretakers and custodians of the planet, and the Earth’s fate will one day rest in their hands. The only way for our children to experience a real connection with nature is to immerse them in nature. Education cannot be confined to the classroom. We cannot teach our children about plants, animals, rocks and streams through textbooks and computers. They need to experience these things for themselves in the real world. They need to get out of the classroom as much as possible and learn through direct exposure to the natural environment.

Children need to be given the freedom to explore and discover the world around them. I’m not talking about excursions or field trips that happen once every year or two, or even the occasional school camp… I’m talking about a revolution in education where children regularly spend time learning outside the traditional classroom. One of the big problems with the education system is that we think that in order for children to learn they have to intellectualize everything. We think that they don’t gain any important lessons unless they can put pen to paper and demonstrate they have acquired the concepts set out in the curriculum. What our schools keep failing to understand is that life xperience imparts a far greater wisdom than any teacher could. The rivers and the mountains and the songbirds have much to teach us, but as pupils we make no attempt to understand the language they are speaking. If we only learned to attune to that language, we would defend and protect the natural world at any cost.

Schools should be introducing children to the marvels of plant consciousness. At the Federation of Damanhur in Piedmont, Italy, plants have been taught to express themselves through song. By hooking up an electrode to the leaf of a plant and then connecting it to a MIDI-synthesizer, plants are able to create their own music. The plant controls both pitch and rhythm entirely by itself, only the instrument is predetermined by the synthesizer. You can see a video of this phenomenon here.

Experiments carried out in the 1970s by Cleve Backster, a former CIA polygraph specialist, showed that plants are capable of telepathy. Backster hooked up a common houseplant to a polygraph machine to gauge its reaction to various stimuli. After establishing a baseline reading, he dipped one of the leaves in a mug of hot coffee and the polygraph needle did not move. He figured that the plant would be more likely to react if he burned one of its leaves with a match. Immediately on the intention entering his mind to burn the plant, the polygraph needle jumped across the page. Backster had not moved from his seat. He had not physically reached for his matches. Somehow, the plant picked up on his intentions to cause it harm. He repeated the experiment and found that the plant did not react when he merely pretended to burn it, but only reacted when he fully intended to burn the leaves.

 

Fascinated by this, Backster continued his research on plant telepathy. He set up another experiment by placing brine shrimp in a dish suspended above a pot of boiling water. He configured the apparatus to tip the brine shrimp into the pot after a random interval of time, more than a few hours. In a separate enclosed room, well away from the apparatus, but in the same building, he hooked up a houseplant to a polygraph machine and established his baseline reading. Backster then left the building and drove hours away from the lab. When he returned to check the reading on the plant, he found a huge spike in activity at the precise moment that the brine shrimp fell to their death in boiling water. Sadly, much of Backster’s work has been scoffed at by the mainstream scientific community and this area of research still remains largely underground. For more on plant consciousness, see the documentary The Secret Life of Plants.

There is much about our natural world that still remains a mystery. One thing is for sure – these experiments give great credence to the notion that we are all bound together by the fabric of consciousness that makes up the entire universe. It is absolutely crucial that children are able to establish a conscious connection with nature if they are to learn to respond to environmental injustice with action instead of indifference. We need to completely change the way we educate our kids so that we can sustain life on our planet for many generations to come.

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Author: Will Stanton – Wake Up World

Active Dreaming: Exploring the Vivid Dreamscape

It is possible to enter a lucid dream directly from waking. Usually this entails lying down, relaxing, and allowing the body to fall asleep while the mind stays awake. Difficulties include falling asleep along with the body, or the body staying awake with the mind. Decoupling body and mind so that the latter can stay awake while the body falls asleep is difficult but possible.

The Process of Sleep

To enter normal sleep we begin by letting our thoughts wander until they turn into daydreams that either dissolve into oblivion along with our self-awareness and volition or else spontaneously evolve into hypnagogic imagery (short vivid hallucinations) that eventually cohere into a full-blown three dimensional dreamscape.

Whether drifting off takes us into oblivion or into a vivid dreamscape can depend on how far we are into our nightly sleep cycle. Early in the cycle, sleep tends to consist of delta brainwave activity and no REM (rapid eye movement), which indicates consciousness is off elsewhere. Most likely the soul is running its astral errands while the body does its repairs. Later in the cycle after these tasks are out of the way, or when taking a nap, the delta stage is replaced by immediate onset of hypnagogic andREM activity after mental relaxation. But these are passive dreams since lack of lucidity in them implies impaired volition.

Why are dreams so much more vivid than imagination? Because the images are being projected by the subconscious, not the conscious mind. Why do we lose self-awareness when we go to sleep? Because as we let our thoughts wander, the subconscious starts to influence our consciously projected internal images (imagination, visualization, daydreaming, mind chatter) while the conscious mind takes on a more passive and self-obliterating role. Not long after that, the subconscious takes over the role of projector and that is when mere mental images become virtual realities. The trade-off is that we have already abandoned ourselves by the time the dream projection kicks in.

We can understand the various states of internal imagery as being the result of either the conscious subconscious either directing or projecting these images:

Active dreaming: conscious directs while subconscious projects.

Passive dreaming: subconscious directs and projects.

Daydreaming: subconscious directs while conscious projects.

Visualizing: conscious directs and projects.

Inducing lucid dreams from a waking state therefore requires that the conscious mind retain its awareness and volition while the subconscious is given free reign to begin projecting the dreamscape. The prerequisite is total relaxation of the body, usually done in a step-wise fashion from head to toe, either by focusing on relaxing a particular body region, or tensing and releasing that region. A good exhausting workout that leaves you wiped out can also accomplish this.

Watching Phosphenes

One method of keeping your mind awake while falling asleep involves watching the phosphene images behind closed eyelids. These are the glowing blobs of static noise patterns that always fill our vision but are more easily noticed in the dark. Unlike passive dreaming, this keeps one’s visual faculties active and focused on real sense impressions instead of turning within and getting lost in consciously projected daydreams or visualizations.

Active Dreaming - Exploring the Vivid Dreamscape 2

Why is this important? Because notice that in dreams your “eyes” are focused on an environment existing “outside” you, seemingly as real as anything you might see with your physical eyes while awake. Also notice that in a dream, despite both your thoughts and the dreamscape being all “in your head”, you can still imagine things internally that are separate from the surrounding dreamscape. This means that the full blown 3D dreamscape is always perceived as an external phenomenon to your five senses, than mere imagination which is internal and runs in parallel to your surroundings. So staring out into the field of phosphenes involves a similarly externalized point of focus, even though eyes are closed. In this way, one aspect of the dream experience (the external visual focus) is already established. It therefore does not take long for hypnagogic images to start up this way, although these can startle one back into full consciousness. With repeated exposure they become less startling, especially if you cultivate a calm, detached, nonplussed attitude and ease into these images without becoming self-conscious and excited, which can snap you awake.

The next issue is becoming so quickly absorbed in the phosphenes and hypnagogic images that one loses self-awareness before the subconscious is ready to begin fully projecting a dreamscape. To counter this, a second technique may be employed: quickly opening and shutting your eyes every two or three breaths. This allows enough real sense data to come in, and is so intentionally controlled, that the mind has better chances of staying alert. And yet since this involves mere movement of the eyelids, the rest of the body is not prevented from doing its thing to fall asleep. One can keep this up until the hypnagogic state kicks in, then continue watching those and the phosphenes.

Sleep Paralysis

Very soon the body falls asleep by entering sleep paralysis, which feels like a sudden sinking, melting, tingling feeling. This is not your body going numb with boredom from having lain still for an hour. Sleep paralysis comes with a release of the soul from the physical body, and that induces the sinking or melting feeling. You may also notice your breathing suddenly becoming deeper, effortless, and automatic as the parasympathetic nervous system takes over. If your mind is still highly active, your breathing restricted, and your body simply numb from lack of stimulation then you’re not in sleep paralysis. You literally have to fall asleep, but with your awareness intact.

The subconscious is then at the verge of fully projecting the dreamscape, and one has only to retain enough self-awareness throughout the onset of sleep paralysis to allow the final consciously directed nudge to kick off a dream. (After catching your body falling asleep, before a dream begins you can visualize and intend to roll out of bed and that will induce an astral projection instead of a dream). Or you can visualize something and “get into it” and that will initiate a dream.

It is the intent combined with visualization that puts the subconscious fully online, and a dream begins. Then you can do reality checks (flipping a light switch, looking for inconsistencies) or astral checks (seeing your body still in bed with correct clothes on) and lucidly go from there.

Active Dreaming - Exploring the Vivid Dreamscape

Take note that because this technique requires immediate access to REM sleep, it must be done after already having slept five or six hours, or during the day when napping. If you’ve had a long day and are beat, and crawl into a cozy bed for lights out, you’ll have a tough time retaining awareness and your brain won’t initiate heavy REM activity right away. Rudolf Steiner talked about remaining aware regardless as being a qualification for occult initiation, and that in doing so you get to witness what happens during the delta non-dream sleep. He says one visits the spirit realm and experiences things there are harmonies and colors (which is probably all that the conscious mind can decode of that experience at first, whereas the subconscious or higher mind during this experience is probably having a very involved time “up there”). But for active dreaming purposes, later in the sleep cycle or during a nap is better.

Some induction techniques start off with visualization, whereby the conscious mind directs and projects mental imagery until the subconscious takes over the role of projector. The above technique of staring into the phosphene void and looking at hypnagogic imagery that arises does not use intentional visualization until the final nudge, thereby allowing the subconscious to start projecting more easily because it does not have to wrestle that role away from the conscious. To repeat, visualization is not necessary until the final stage when the body is asleep, otherwise it might interfere with the subconscious stepping into its role as projector. You can indeed use visualization, and Steiner’s method as well as Theun Mares’ method employ that, whereby an imagined visual suddenly blooms to life when the subconscious takes over and turns it into a dream experience (Steiner himself got that technique from Goethe, who wrote of experiencing exactly such a imagination -> dream phenomenon).

Applications

Why is active dreaming important? Because it allows access to the dreaming faculty at will and is therefore more repeatable at will compared to other methods of lucid dream induction involving autosuggestion, dream signs, periodic reality checks, and so on. However it is also more difficult to implement due to having to be conscious the moment the body falls asleep. But like any activity that requires finesse, whether hitting a golf ball or parallel parking, it can be trained with practice.

When you have achieved this state, which Robert Monroe termed “mind awake, body asleep” then you are effectively on a launch platform for dreaming, astral projecting, scrying, remote viewing, healing, entity evocations, past life exploration, spirit releasement therapy, subconscious reprogramming, communicating with the higher self, etc. This state of mind, which some claim consists of theta brain waves overlapped with high frequency gamma waves, is the state from which most occult maneuvers are performed.

Mnemonic Anchoring

When the body has entered its melted tingly state, it is possible to anchor this mnemonically using some tongue position, breathing pattern, eye movement, visualized sequence of symbols, hand mudra, or command phrase. When the anchor is repeatedly associated with this state, later the anchor can be invoked to cause the body to reflexively enter the state, dramatically shortening the induction procedure. But creating the association takes much repetition. Theun Mares’ technique and the Silva Method employ such mnemonic triggers.

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Author: Montalk – Wake up World

Sacred Space – What Is It and Why Do We Need It?

In a recent conversation, a dear friend for many years asked me, “I wonder why it is that people need to hold this special view of what is sacred… why some things are sacred and others aren’t.” This is fascinating inquiry, one that invokes a number of subjects, such as the nature of healing, activism, our working definition of spirituality, and our emotional lives — all of which I hope to touch on here.

Sacred Space is time and space we set aside, or which spontaneously arises, to experience a depth, richness, and sense of meaning that usually escapes us in fast-paced everyday life when we are not as connected as we could be with our body, intuition, good thinking, compassion and empathy, and other emotions.

I imagine that many reading this article consider everything to be sacred. Some of you might even consider evil and suffering to be sacred, since the world is full of dark and light. For me, the word sacred has a definite earthiness to it, a sense of being here engaged in some ritual or activity connected with everyday life. Whereas, what is “divine” to me has more connotations with things ethereal, with a non-material influence or presence in our lives. We could say, in a sense, that what we consider sacred is a certain holiness of earthy things and what is divine is the holiness and immutability of invisible forces.

These are the loose definitions I’ll hold for this discussion, and if your meanings are different, no worries, just use your own words to substitute for what I have defined as “divine” and “sacred.” After all, I don’t mention these definitions to impose my perspectives, but for the opposite reason — so that you know what I mean, so that you can find your own meaning for what is discussed here. The point, after all, is not to get hung up on the words, but on what the words mean and the things and experience to which they point.

So, in a nutshell, we’ll consider sacred to be the presence of something “divine” in an embodied or earthy way. Yet, many of us still, unconsciously or not, hold some aspects of life to be sacred and others non-sacred. Some of us also maintain huge distinctions between what is sacred, what is spiritual, and what is not. No doubt, some of this separation has arisen from religious traditions that maintain God and Spirit to be separate from material existence, and certainly our everyday, mundane activities.

While I’m not here to tell you what is sacred and what is not, I am here to help you clarify what the word “sacred” points to in your own experience, or whatever word you might use to describe what I have called sacred, and then to consider how your perceptions, and divisions, of what is sacred might be holding you back from more richness, fulfillment, and joy in your experience.

Finding Meaning

So, let’s begin with positive sacred experiences. Popular sacred experiences might include spending time in nature, yoga and meditation practice, morning prayer, in church or a synagogue, tender love-making with your partner, a sharing circle, any kind of ritual or ceremony, or a healing session. Other sacred space moments might include feeding birds on a park bench, playing or reading with your child, watching a meaningful movie, making art, petting and cuddling with a pet, sharing deep feelings with a loved one, helping someone in need, giving someone your full attention, or saving a piece of nature.

All these experiences have something in common: we find meaning in them, and/or they make us feel good. If something isn’t meaningful to us or makes us feel not so good, we tend to push it away as non-sacred. So, either unconsciously or consciously, we tend to make a separation in our perception of reality. We separate “positive” experiences from “negative” ones, and we consider some things more meaningful than others.

Now, sometimes we consider ordinary reality less sacred not because it is inherently meaningless, but because we haven’t yet found the meaning in it. So, part of sanctifying what we consider less sacred aspects of life is finding meaning in them. This requires a change in perception and/or a change in heart. For me, this is a spiritual pursuit: finding meaning in what I have previously found meaningless by opening, or spontaneously being opened, to its wisdom. This does not mean making up stories about reality, not infusing meaning into things through denial, but finding real intellectual and emotionally honest meaning in my experience and the nature of reality. And this usually means letting both my heart and mind break open.

In particular, difficult emotions — such as anger, grief, remorse, guilt, and despair — is a domain I have found great meaning in over the years. I have found that when I stay with and welcome these difficult emotional states, they change, and change me for the better. In fact, my very welcoming them and feeling and expressing them allows them to change, allows them to truly transform me into more breadth and depth, so that I can keep my heart clear and open to the rest of life. So, all these emotions have become sacred to me, and they also allow me to experience more meaning and richness in the rest of what I consider sacred.

If we consider certain aspects of life not to be sacred, then we might hold them out of our hearts. When we hold parts of life out of our hearts we hold them away from our love and healing. Things I tend to want to hold outside of sacred are pollution, GMOs and toxic agriculture, dishonesty, and needless violence. And I confess, these are all still largely non-sacred to me because they desecrate the very fabric of life. But, if they spur more compassion, more revolution, more love, and more care for our environment, then they acquire some sacred value. And I do see that they inspire these qualities, however seemingly unnecessarily.

With this said, these industries don’t show enough transformational value, as with difficult emotional states, that I consider them worth keeping, at all. In other words, while they might elicit sacred internal moments, and sacred activism, they don’t create enough goodness in the world, and in fact, do great damage. And the good they do is only in the context of our trying to get rid of them! So, right or wrong, I do have a limit to what I consider good and “sacred.” What destroys the planet and our lives, with little redeeming value, is not sacred to me. With this said, destruction and death are natural, and sacred to me, but not when they are avoidable (largely by natural means) and go against the inherent wisdom of nature.

Love and the Sacred

So indeed, part of what is sacred relies on what we find meaningful and valuable. I find the Earth and its biosphere valuable. I find the proliferation of other species valuable. I consider clean water, soil, air, oceans, and forests valuable. So, I hold judgment over what injures these. And the sacred meaning I find in these negative influences is fighting against them and more deeply regarding as precious what they injure. I consider this gritty form of revolution part of the love revolution, as we protect what we have defined to be sacred. And since part of what fosters care for our planet involves feeling our anger and protection, our sadness and despair, these emotions increase our participation for what we love, for what is sacred. Love, then, is more than just a feel-good experience. And so is what I consider sacred.

When we can join what we consider non-sacred to what we do consider sacred, we join Yin and Yang, and we bolster the cycle of fertility and sustainability through ordinary activism, which is love in action.

For this reason, it’s important for me to keep my mind open to what I might be in denial of or blind to. For, if I misread part of reality and deem it evil when it is not — as certain religious and “spiritual” doctrines and edicts have done for too long, and I think many times in gross error — then I myself become a negative force. Discerning reality, therefore, is important to our sense of the sacred and our love. If I suddenly become aware of the great value of toxic agriculture, pollution, and mercenary greed, then I might be able to embrace these more and consider them sacred. So far, I have not found much grace, much sacredness, in these enterprises.

We can create an external space with similar qualities we want to cultivate inside us. And, we can bring qualities inside us that we want to see in the external world.

So, if you are torn up inside, find sacred space outwardly to help heal yourself inwardly. And if you are in chaos outwardly, summon your sustainable and enduring inner resources to the aid of the external moment.

Spiritualizing the Ordinary

A popular domain of the sacred is what many include in their definition of spirituality. Rituals, ceremonies, and gatherings of all sorts that we consider sacred are often held in a special space with special preparations. This has been the case for millennia in all cultures. Part of my struggle, however, has always been how to integrate the meaning and quality of attention common to these special functions and experiences into everyday experience. How to spiritualize “ordinary” life.

Indeed, many don’t even try to integrate “sacred space” in to “everyday space.” Their spiritual life is separate from everyday life. This creates a schism between what we consider sacred and what is not. I have never been satisfied with a spiritual life that does not directly and practically influence my everyday life, thereby spiritualizing the mundane.

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Author: Jack Adam Weber – Wake Up World

Meditation as a Self-Healing Tool

The body is equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that can be flipped on or off with thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that originate in the mind. This is great news, because it means, in essence, that you can heal yourself. But how?

One of the many simple ways you can flip on your body’s self-repair mechanisms is via meditation.

What Does It Mean To Meditate?

Dictionary.com defines meditation as “continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation,” but I prefer Harvard professor Dr. Herbert Benson’s definition. He defines it as “Repetition of a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or muscular activity while passively disregarding everyday thoughts that inevitably come to mind and returning to your repetition.” With this definition of meditation, anything can be a meditation – not just sitting with your eyes closed in the lotus position, but walking, making art, cooking, shopping, dancing, driving… whatever.

How The Body Heals Itself

In my medical training, we were not taught that the body knows how to heal itself. Yet it is equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that repair broken proteins, kill cancer cells, fight infections, prevent aging, and maintain the homeostasis of the body. When the body gets sick, whether from the common cold or something more serious, like heart disease or cancer, it’s almost always because the body’s self-repair mechanisms have broken down, usually because of stress.

When the nervous system is stressed, as it is during the “fight-or-flight” stress response that is so commonly triggered in modern day life, these self-repair mechanisms are disabled and the body is at risk for disease. Only when the counterbalancing relaxation response is activated, when the sympathetic nervous system is turned off and the parasympathetic nervous system is turned on, can the body heal itself.

Why Meditate?

So how can you turn on that relaxation response so the body can heal itself? One of the simplest and most effective is meditation!  Meditation has been scientifically proven to activate the relaxation response, and as a result, almost every health condition improves. In his research at Harvard, Herbert Benson demonstrated that meditation is effective in treating angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmias, allergic skin reactions, anxiety, mild to moderate depression, bronchial asthma, herpes simplex, cough, constipation, diabetes mellitus, duodenal ulcers, dizziness, fatigue, hypertension, infertility, insomnia, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, nervousness, postoperative swelling, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, side effects of cancer, side effects of AIDS, and all forms of pain – backaches, headaches, abdominal pain, muscle pain, joint aches, postoperative pain, neck, arm, and leg pain. (Most likely it helps many conditions not listed here, but Dr. Benson just hasn’t gotten around to studying them yet!)

Meditation has been shown to decrease stress-related cortisol, reduce respiration and heart rate, reduce the metabolic rate, increase blood flow in the brain, increase activity in the left prefrontal cortex (which is observed in happier people), strengthen the immune system, and lead to a state of relaxation.

Meditation also reduces work stress, anxiety, and depression, promotes cardiovascular health, improves cognitive function, reduces alcohol abuse, improves longevity, promotes healthy weight, improves immune function, and heightens quality of life.

How To Start Meditating 

Deepak Chopra recommends the “RPM” (Rise, Pee, Meditate) approach to meditation, suggesting that those who can will be well served to meditate first thing upon arising.  However, if you, like me, have young children, you may find it easier to meditate when the kids are napping or away at school. If you work outside the home, you may find it easier to meditate over your lunch break or just before bed.

Regardless of when you do it, it’s crucial to make the time in your schedule to help your nervous system relax.

Here are Some Tips to Help You Get Started with a Sitting Meditation Practice:

1. Create a peaceful environment

If you’ve never tried a sitting meditation before, start by creating a peaceful environment in which to meditate. I have two altars I’ve created at home, one in my bedroom and one in my home office, which I sit in front of to meditate. When I sit down to meditate, I light the candles, burn some incense, and take a moment to let my altar soothe me.

Some people have rooms exclusively dedicated to meditation.  Even a small closet can be tricked out to become a special space designed to help your body relax and your soul connect. Meditating outside can also be lovely. Because I live on the California coast, I often meditate at the ocean on a rocky beach that is usually deserted or in Muir Woods, among the peaceful redwoods. If you have access to quiet spots in nature, try a beach, a riverfront, a meadow, or a forest free of distractions. 

2. Minimize disruptions

Turn off the TV, silence your phone, and play soothing music if you like. The point is to create an environment conducive to freeing your mind from its daily clutter and relaxing your body.

3. Choose your meditation position

If you can, sit on the floor and close your eyes. You don’t have to sit in the lotus position unless you want to, but sitting on the floor helps you feel grounded, connects you to Mother Earth, and roots you into your body when you meditate. Feel free to use pillows, cushions, and other props that help you feel comfortable. Keep your back straight so you can breathe deeply with ease. If sitting on the floor is too uncomfortable, sit in a chair and place your feet firmly on the floor to develop a sense of grounding.

4. Set a timer

If you’re new to meditation, start with just five minutes per day and aim to work up to twenty. Set a timer so you don’t have to interrupt your meditation to check your watch.

5. Close your eyes

Closing your eyes minimizes visual distractions, helps you come back into your body, and starts to settle you.

6. Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale

Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield suggests that if you notice yourself remembering, planning, or fantasizing, refrain from judging yourself, but do call it out. “Hello remembering.”  “Hello planning.” “Hello fantasizing.” Then return to the present moment, focusing on your breath. The minute you notice your thoughts starting to wander, come back to your breath and try to empty your mind. If your mind continues to wander and your breath isn’t enough to empty your mind, try counting your breaths or repeating a one word mantra like “peace” or “one” to clear your mind.

7. Release judgment

Most importantly, don’t judge yourself as you learn to meditate. Criticizing yourself for meditating “badly” or beating yourself up because your monkey mind won’t calm down will only stress you out, defeating the purpose of making attempts to help your body relax so it can repair itself. Remain compassionate with yourself, and pat yourself on the back for any progress you make.

Can’t make it more than 10 breaths into your meditation? Give yourself a hug and try again the next day. Like anything, it just takes practice. As someone who resisted meditation for most of my life, I can attest to the fact that it really does get easier with regular practice, and the benefits are so worth the effort. 

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Author: Lissa Rankin – Wake Up World

Emotional Energetic Healing: The Future of Medicine is Here

“Everything is energy.” ~ Albert Einstein

Energy medicine is at once time-honored and new. Whether using traditional forms like acupuncture, t’ai chi and reiki or modern applications such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), magnetic, vibrational or music therapy, working with the human energetic system to create wellness is an esteemed practice that produces tangible results.

According to Dr. Erin Olivio in the article Energy Medicine: “The field of energy medicine involving putative energy fields is based on the fundamental premise that all physical objects (bodies) and psychological processes (thoughts, emotions, beliefs and attitudes) are expressions of energy. Therefore, all bodies are believed to be infused with a “subtle” energy or life force. This life force is known by a variety of terms corresponding to different traditions. Intraditional Chinese medicine it is called qi (pronounced CHEE), in the Judeo-Christian tradition it is called spirit, and in Ayurvedic medicine it is represented in the doshas.”

What the ancients recognized, science is now validating. Candace Pert, PhD, is one researcher who has significantly contributed to the legitimate study of Mind-Body Medicine.

How emotions affect physiology

“Most psychologists treat the mind as disembodied, a phenomenon with little or no connection to the physical body. Conversely, physicians treat the body with no regard to the mind or emotions. But the body and mind are not separate, and we cannot treat one without the other.” ~ Dr. Candice Pert

In Dr. Pert’s book, Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, she explains how a class of proteins called peptides (including endorphins) act as a nervous system, delivering information throughout the body. Her theory is that the surface of each cell is covered with receptors for specific peptides. These free-floating molecules function as messengers. When we have a specific emotion, a cascade of peptides are released that ultimately influence our body.

Paul Trachtman explains how this sequence works in Smithsonian Magazine:

“… it’s through the emotion-modulating peptides that an embarrassing thought can cause blood vessels to dilate and turn a face beet red. In the same way, the molecules of emotion can mobilize immune cells to destroy an incipient tumor. Techniques like meditation or visualization may also act as forces to set those molecules in action.”

The question is: If emotions alter the functioning of the body, how do we experience healing by addressing subconscious negative emotional patterns?

This is the topic of a cutting-edge documentary on Mind-Body Medicine: E-Motion.

The energy of emotions

Leaders in the field of energetic medicine — including Sonia Choquette, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Bradley Nelson, Don Tolman, and others — explore the connection between emotions, the body and health in the documentary.

Taking into account the subconscious mind is 1000 times more powerful than the conscious mind, we are likely to ask: What actually controls it? The answer lies with unresolved emotions.

When we have traumatic perceptions buried in our subconscious mind, these emotional memories — when triggered — will cause a reaction in the body that sets-off a cascade of stress hormones, thereby altering our physiology.

How are these negative perceptions created? By our thoughts, because thoughts create emotions. And when we feel an emotion strongly enough, it will become trapped and disrupt the energy field of the body. Anger, aggression, anxiety, depression, sadness — these negative emotions will lodge themselves in the body and are the leading cause of physical pain. Eventually, if the blockage isn’t cleared, disease will develop.

Dr. Joseph Mercola provides an example:

“… those suffering from depression will often experience chest pains, even when there’s nothing physically wrong with their heart. Extreme grief can also have a devastating impact — not for nothing is the saying that someone “died from a broken heart.” In the days after losing a loved one, your risk of suffering a heart attack shoots up by 21 times!”

He also points out:

“Your body cannot tell the difference between an actual experience that triggers an emotional response, and an emotion fabricated through thought process alone — such as when worrying about something negative that might occur but has not actually happened, or conversely, thinking about something positive and pleasant.

“The fact that you can activate your body’s stress response (which produces chemicals that can make you sick) simply by thinking means that you wield tremendous power over your physical state in every moment. Moreover, it means that you can literally manifest disease, or healing, by thinking.”

Needless to say, in order to enjoy vibrant health, it’s vitally important to release emotional baggage.

Tips on how to ditch toxic emotional imprints

The team of experts in E-Motion believe there are active steps we can take to heal the body, the subconscious mind and our overall health. Here are a few:

  • Always remember that our mind is the key to healing.
  • Expect good things in life.
  • Slowdown when you feel a negative emotion arise and acknowledge it, then honor and release.
  • Be clear about your purpose in life. To discover your calling, answer the question: “If I weren’t afraid, I would …”
  • Focus on the color of food to heal the chakra centers. For example, exposure to sunlight + eating pineapple and oranges will help fortify the 2nd and 3rd chakras, which helps alleviate depression.
  • Participate regularly in a water fast to clear problematic emotions from the body.
  • Learn The Emotion Code technique by Dr. Bradley Nelson to rapidly release stuck emotions.

And finally, never underestimate the healing power of gratitude and liberal self-love.

 

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Author Carolanne Wright / Wake Up World 

3 Steps to Healing Any Relationship

Do you have a relationship that you would like to heal?

In order to heal any relationship it is first important to understand the dynamics behind relationship issues. Relationship issues don’t occur because two people are different or they do not agree. People do not need to agree, or be similar, in order to get along great. Issues occur because one or both people are practicing judgment. It is judgment that causes all the issues in relationships. Without judgment, relationships thrive and when you release judgment, relationships heal.

Why is judgment so detrimental to relationships? When we feel judged, it invokes a feeling of rejection, so we either close down or we judge in return, in order to protect ourselves. Either reaction causes distance and discord.

When we are the ones who judge, we push the other person away, regardless of our justification for judgment. It does not matter if you feel you have a right to judge or that you really do know better, judgment is the best way to alienate a friend, lover, partner, parent, co-worker or child.

Even if we call our judgment by the name of love and caring, it is still judgment and it will always do the opposite of what we intended. If you want to lose someone, judge them.

You cannot love someone and judge them at the same time.

Releasing your judgment for another will help to heal the relationship, but it is not the whole story. There is a little trick to this healing process. If you follow this 3 step process below, you have the power to heal any relationship.

Step 1. Heal Self-Judgment

The entire world is a reflection of your conscious and subconscious beliefs. Therefore, if someone is judging you, his or her judgment must be a reflection of your own self-judgment. You cannot expect another to stop judging you, when you are judging yourself. The key is to identify how the other is judging you and then look inside yourself to see how you are judging yourself in a similar way. It might not be the exact same judgment but try to focus-in on the connection. Once you clearly make this identification, it is time to consciously release your self-judgment.

You do not need to share this with anyone. This process is something that you do privately. You will know when you are successful in releasing self-judgment because the other person will also reflect this by being more accepting of you. If he or she continues to judge you, go back inside and clear out any remains of self-judgment.

Step 2. Heal Your Judgment About the Other Person

How are you judging your friend, spouse, parent or child? Remember, do not confuse caring with judgment. Caring is not judgment. No matter what is going on in his or her life, you have no right to judge. You might want to make a list of all the ways in which you are judging this person and one by one, give up your judgments. Maybe even look to see how you are judging yourself in the same way and release those judgments, as well.

The fact is, no matter how wise you might be or how well you know this person, you do not know what is best for him or her.

If you care about someone and you want to help, the best you can do is to support her, in listening to her own heart, and by encouraging her to ask herself the right questions, so that she can make empowered choices. If you are insightful, you might even offer a question that will allow her to find her own clarity.

Don’t give advice unless asked and even then be careful that it does not contain any elements of judgment. If you judge, you alienate and if you alienate, you blow your chance for making a difference.

If you really want to be a positive influence, be a great example. Stay in integrity with your own beliefs and model this behavior but do not try to preach or meddle – because another will experience this as judgment and your message will fail to have the impact that you desire.

This article is about healing adult relationships, but even small children react negatively to judgment and positively to encouragement. You can be a more empowered parent without judgment, and you can effectively guide a child of any age without the punitive force of judgment.

Step 3. See the Other Person as Perfect and Whole

Make a list of all the things that you love about him or her. Focus only on these things every day. Do not give your attention to the things that you do not like or the problems at hand. Only focus on what you love about this person – without the issues. I knew that this can be challenging, especially when there are problems between the two of you, but if you can consistently focus on the positive and ignore the negative, before long things will begin to change – it is all up to you.

The other person will change because how you see this person changes. The amazing part is that you never have to say a thing to him or her. You only have to silently focus on the positive. You will be very aware of the changes in this person and in the relationship but he or she may be oblivious to any difference. By mentally and emotionally aligning with the positive aspects of your friend, partner, parent or child, you literally invoke a higher version of the person and a higher version of the relationship.

If you can drop your judgments, rationalizations and justifications, and you can take complete responsibility for the relationship and your experience of the other person, you have the power to not only heal the relationship but to create the best possible relationship that you can imagine.

There was once a woman in a class that I taught – she asked what she should do about her daughter who was so judgmental. My answer was, “Stop judging your daughter.” She said, “No, you don’t understand. It is my daughter who is judgmental – what should I do?” Again, I said, “Stop judging your daughter.” At this point the whole class got it – everyone except this woman. Finally, on the third round, her face went blank and she got it. If you want to change someone, you must be the change you want to see in them.

Judgment can be tricky because often we don’t even know when we are doing it, but we always feel when someone is doing it to us. If someone is reacting negatively to you, stop and look at yourself; where might you be in judgment? Even if you are not verbalizing it, your energy always projects your thoughts and feelings.

Healing Requires Time and Patience

Keep in mind that there is often a time gap between your inner release of judgment (and your mental shift) and the outside world catching up as an accurate reflection. So patience in the process is a good idea.

This means that the other may still be critical of you and show discord – allow him or her their experience and maintain your course. How long you ask? For as long as it takes. Giving it a deadline only makes it take longer and you may not reach your goal. But, if you can stay true to course in both loving yourself and the other, sooner or later a huge transformation will unfold.

At first you may notice less tension between the two of you or an openness that was not there before. Do not jump at the first signs of success. Just keep loving and be appropriately responsive in a positive and encouraging way. Sometimes there are bumps in the road, so don’t react if things are improving and then an issue arises – just stay aligned with this three step process and any issues will begin to smooth out again.

If you stay the course, success is imminent. However, if you go back to your old ways of judging, the relationship will digress as well, and you will be back to where you started. If this should occur, begin again.

This 3 step healing process does not exclude setting boundaries. If someone is judging you, you can say, in a kind and respectful manner, “I’m sorry, you probably did not know this, but no one is allowed to judge me.” When he does judge, you can say, “I’m sorry, I cannot hear you when you are judging me.” This sets a boundary for you and gives the other person important feedback on how to treat you. Make sure that your actions are in integrity with your requests.

This relationship healing process requires great spiritual maturity. In order for it to work you must rid yourself of pride, arrogance and self-righteousness. You must cast blame to the wind and you must take complete responsibility for every relationship. Others do not need to wake up, be responsible, apologize or do anything different. Only you need to shift. You must be the change you want to see in the ones you love.

Any two people in the world can have a great relationship if they surrender judgment and they embrace each other from a space of pure appreciation.

Relationship Affirmation: I love you more than “who I think you should be,” so I am just going to let you be you, and I am going to love you without needing or wanting you to change in anyway.

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Author: Nanice Ellis / Wake Up World

6 Stories That Will Make You Believe In the Power of Your Mind To Heal You

My book Mind Over Medicine is full of data scientifically proving that the mind can heal- or harm- the body. But data can be dry, and sometimes what resonates most deeply within our souls are stories. So sit back, grab a cup of tea, and let’s have story time. I’m going to tell you a few true stories that will demonstrate to you how powerfully the mind affects your physiology.

Mr. Wright

As reported by Bruno Klopfer in the Journal of Projective Techniques in 1957, Dr. West was treating Mr. Wright, who had an advanced cancer called lymphosarcoma. All treatments had failed, and time was running out. Mr. Wright’s neck, chest, abdomen, armpits, and groin were filled with tumors the size of oranges, his spleen and liver were enlarged, and his cancer was causing his chest to fill up with two quarts of milky fluid every day, which had to be drained in order for him to breathe. Dr. West didn’t expect him to last a week.

But Mr. Wright desperately wanted to live, and he hung his hope on a promising new drug called Krebiozen. He begged his doctor to treat him with the new drug, but the drug was only being offered in clinical trials to people who were believed to have at least three months left to live. Mr. Wright was too sick to qualify.

But Mr. Wright didn’t give up. Knowing the drug existed and believing the drug would be his miracle cure, he pestered his doc until Dr. West reluctantly gave in and injected him with Krebiozen on a Friday.

To his utter shock, the following Monday, Dr. West found his patient walking around out of bed. Mr. Wright’s “tumor masses had melted like snowballs on a hot stove” and were half their original size. Ten days after the first dose of Krebiozen, Mr. Wright left the hospital, apparently cancer free.

Mr. Wright was rockin’ and rollin,’ praising Krebiozen as a miracle drug for two months until the scientific literature began reporting that Krebiozen didn’t seem to be effective. Mr. Wright, who trusted what he read in the literature, fell into a deep depression, and his cancer came back.

This time, Dr. West, who genuinely wanted to help save his patient, decided to get sneaky. He told Mr. Wright—that some of the initial supplies of the drug had deteriorated during shipping, making them less effective, but that he scored a new batch of highly concentrated, ultra-pure Krebiozen, which he could give him. (Of course, this was a bold-faced lie.)

Dr. West then injected Mr. Wright with nothing but distilled water. And a seemingly miraculous thing happened—again. The tumors melted away, the fluid in his chest disappeared, and Mr. Wright was feeling great again for another two months.

Then the American Medical Association blew it by announcing that a nationwide study of Krebiozen proved that the drug was utterly worthless. This time, Mr. Wright lost all faith in his treatment. His cancer came right back, and he died two days later.

The Hexed Girls

As described by George Engel in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Baltimore Case Study Number 469861 was an African American woman born twenty-two years earlier on Friday the 13th in the Okefenokee Swamp near the Georgia-Florida border. She was the third of three girls delivered that day by a midwife who proclaimed that all three girls, born on such a fateful day, were hexed. The first, she announced, would die before her 16th birthday.  The second would not survive her 21st. And the patient in question was told she would die before her 23rd birthday.

The first two girls died within one day of their 16th and 21st birthdays, respectively. The third woman, terrified that she would die on her 23rd birthday, showed up at the hospital the day before her birthday, hyperventilating.  Soon afterwards, before she turned 23, she died, proving the midwife’s predictions correct.

The Blind Women of Khmer Rouge

As described in Anne Harrington’s The Cure Within, two hundred cases of blindness were reported in a group of Cambodian women forced by the Khmer Rouge to witness the torture and slaughter of those close to them, particularly the men in their lives. Examination of these women found nothing physically wrong with their eyes. The conclusion those trying to help them came to was that by being forced to view the unbearable, “they had all cried until they could not see.”

Multiple Personalities With Different Health Issues

Anthony Robbin’s Unlimited Power describes a case of a psychiatric patient with a split personality. One of her personalities was diabetic, while another was not. Her blood sugars would be normal when she was in her non-diabetic personality, but then when she shifted into her diabetic alter ego, her blood sugars rose, and all medical evidence demonstrated that she was diabetic. When her personality flipped back to the non-diabetic counterpart, her blood sugars normalized.

Psychiatrist Bennett Braun, author of The Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder, describes the case of Timmy, who also had multiple personalities. One personality was allergic to orange juice, and when this personality drank orange juice, Timmy would break into blistering hives. However, another personality drinks orange juice uneventfully. If the allergic personality was in the midst of an allergy attack and he shifted back to the non-allergic personality, the hives would disappear instantly.

Stamatis Moraitis

Stamatis Moraitis was a Greek war veteran who was living in the United States when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and told he had only 9 months to live. He was offered aggressive treatment, but after 9 doctors apparently assured him that it wouldn’t save his life, he decided to save his money, decline treatment, and move with his wife back to his native Ikaria, a Greek island where he could be buried with his ancestors in a graveyard overlooking the Aegean Sea.

He and his wife moved into a small house on a vineyard with his elderly parents, where he reconnected with his faith and started going to his old church. When his friends got wind of the fact that Stamatis was back home, they showed up with bottles of wine, books, and board games to entertain him and keep him company. He planted vegetables in a garden, basked in sunshine, savored the salty air, and relished in his love for his wife.

Six months passed, and not only did he not die, he was actually feeling better than ever. He started working in the untended vineyard during the day, making himself useful, and in the evenings, he’d play dominos with friends. He took a lot of naps, rarely looked at a watch, and spent a lot of time outdoors. At one point, 25 years after his diagnosis, Stamatis went back to the United States to ask his doctors what had happened. Apparently, the doctors were all dead. Stamatis finally died this year in Ikaria. He was 102 years old.

Anita Moorjani

In her book Dying To Be Me, Anita Moorjani tells the story of how she was dying of end stage Stage 4 lymphoma when she experienced the classic “white light” near death experience many have described. As she traveled to the other side, she was able to look down upon her loved ones, even though some of them were not in the same room with her. Her heart was filled with a feeling of profound unconditional love, and she was happy to be free of her dying, tumor-riddled body.

Then she was told that she had a choice. She could stay in the white light and die, or she could go back and share her story with others. She didn’t want to come back. Her body had been in so much pain, and her soul had been suffering. But she was told that if she came back, her cancer would be cured. She believed what she was told, and felt called to come back so she could share her experience.

Anita’s cancer was gone within several weeks. This all happened under the care of her bewildered doctors, who documented her spontaneous remission. Anita is now on the Hay House speaking circuit with me, spreading the message that death is nothing to fear.

Have Your Heard Stories?

When we doubt the mind’s power to help – or harm – the body, it helps to share stories. Have you had a personal experience with the mind’s power to affect the body? Share your story!

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Author: Lissa Rankin / Wake up World

 

9 Healing Benefits of Music

Music… loved, cherished, and admired by humans for countless ages. It’s shaped culture and society in very profound ways. It has started social revolutions and shifts in collective consciousness. There is a magical feeling that can come from music and its enchanting spell has affected billions of people in sometimes life-changing ways, as it continues to do to this day.

In recent decades, many studies have been done on music to see exactly how much of an impact and just how influential it is on human beings and other sentient life. The discoveries are absolutely fascinating.

Music as a Healer

Mystics, sages, and others have mused about the healing properties of music. They realized such qualities existed because they experienced them first-hand. As convincing such evidence may have been for such individuals, such proof does not hold precedence in modern western society, where scientific empiricism reigns supreme. Thankfully, many studies have been done to show that music does indeed have healing powers.

If a person has a stroke on the left side of the brain, where the speech centers are located in most people, that “wipes out a major part of communication,” said Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, chief of the Cerebrovascular Disorder Division and Stroke-Recovery Laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. But if the right side, where a lot of music is processed, is intact, some stroke patients can use “melodic intonation therapy,” which involves singing using two tones (relatively close in pitch) to communicate.

Schlaug’s research suggests that with intense therapy some patients can even move from this two-tone singing back to actual speech. Stroke patients with gait problems also profit from neurologically based music therapy. At the Center for Biomedical Research in Music at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, director Michael Thaut and his team have shown that people partially paralyzed on one side can retrain to walk faster and in a more coordinated way if they practice walking rhythmically, cued by music or a metronome. Combining rhythmic training with physical therapy also helps stroke patients recover gait faster.

A number of studies show that music therapy – the use of music for medical goals – can reduce pain. In a 2001 study on burn patients, whose burns must be frequently scraped to reduce dead tissue, researchers found that music therapy significantly reduced the excruciating pain. Patients undergoing colonoscopy also seem to feel less pain and need fewer sedative drugs if they listen to music during the procedure, according to several studies. Another study done at Glasgow Caledonian University found that people who were listening to their favorite music felt less pain and could stand pain for a longer period.

Music therapy may also improve mental state and functioning in people with schizophrenia, according to a 2007 Cochrane review. Premature infants who listen to lullabies learn to suck better and gain more weight than those who don’t get music therapy. And Deforia Lane, director of music therapy at the University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland, has found an improvement in immune response among hospitalized children who played, sang, and created music compared to children who did not get music therapy.

Finally, research conclusions have identified how the affect of music could replicate the effects of hormone replacement therapy in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Sound is a Harmonic Healer

Wave forms and frequencies permeate everything from the smallest sub-atomic particles to the largest structures – through solid objects and energy fields – even our thoughts and emotions. When we are feeling good, all aspects of our being can be said to be in harmony. When we are experiencing discomfort on any level, or sickness occurs, the vibrations of certain sounds can help bring us back to a harmonic, healthy state.

Along with healing and transformation, making sounds through sacred instruments or our voices has been a joyful part of human life throughout human history. It is only recently that watching TV or listening to recordings has virtually replaced the pleasure of making sounds together. Modern science is proving how sound vibrations can improve health and enhance our lives. A research team in Sweden discovered the most effective way of clearing blocked sinus passages was humming! Some participants in these sound healing sessions have noted how relaxing and uplifting the experience is, while others find it has helped relieve pain, bring them to a more joyful state, and many other benefits.

The Awe of Music

Music has also been shown to have the wonderful power to awe humans. Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute, for instance, have found dramatic evidence on brain scans that the “chills,” or a visceral feeling of awe, that people report listening to their favorite music are real.

Music that a person likes – but not music that is disliked – activates both the higher, thinking centers in the brain’s cortex, and, perhaps more important, also the “ancient circuitry, the motivation and reward system,” said experimental psychologist Robert Zatorre, a member of the team.It’s this ancient part of the brain that, often through the neurotransmitter dopamine, also governs basic drives such as for food, water, and sex, suggesting the tantalizing idea that the brain may consider music on a par with these crucial drives.

Listen to Music, Develop More Neurons

Music, the universal language of mood, emotion and desire, connects with us through a wide variety of neural systems. Researchers have discovered evidence that music stimulates specific regions of the brain responsible for memory, language and motor control. They have located specific areas of mental activity linked to the emotional responses elicited by music. An outstanding discovery recently has shown that children listening to music have increased neural development. Neurons are the oldest and longest cells in the body. You have many of the same neurons for your whole life.

Although other cells die and are replaced, many neurons are never replaced when they die. In fact, you have fewer neurons when you are old compared to when you are young. However , data published in November 1998 show that in one area of the brain (the hippocampus), neurons can in fact grow in adult humans as well. The discovery that new neurons develop in children can also mean that they can develop in an adult. It would seem a reasonable assumption, although it is not yet clear empirically if this is the case, but those that cherish and love music will tell you anecdotal evidence that they feel they do have more brain power than before.

The Brain Loves Harmony

“Undeniably, there is a biology of music,” according to Harvard University Medical School neurobiologist Mark Jude Tramo. He sees it as beyond question that there is specialization within the brain for the processing of music. Music is a biological part of life as surely as it is an aesthetic part. Studies as far back as 1990 found that the brain responds to harmony. Using a PET scanner to monitor changes in neural activity, neuroscientists at McGill University discovered that the part of the brain activated by music is dependent on whether or not the music is pleasant or dissonant.

The brain grows in response to musical training in the way a muscle responds to exercise. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston discovered that male musicians have larger brains than men who have not had extensive musical training. The cerebellums, that part of the brain containing 70% of the total brain’s neurons, were 5% larger in expert male musicians. Researchers have found evidence of the power of music to affect neural activity no matter where they looked in the brain, from primitive regions found in animals to more recently evolved areas thought to be strictly human such as the frontal lobes. Harmony, melody and rhythm invoke distinct patterns of brain activity.

Attaining Full Consciousness Through Music

Attaining full consciousness, meaning that one utilizes both sides of the brain equally has been shown to manifest in musicians and those who are exposed to music for a good portion of their life. Vanderbilt University psychologists have found that professionally trained musicians more effectively use a creative technique called divergent thinking, and also use both the left and the right sides of their frontal cortex more heavily than the average person.

Instrumental musicians often integrate different melodic lines with both hands into a single musical piece, and they have to be very good at simultaneously reading the musical symbols, which are like left-hemisphere-based language, and integrating the written music with their own interpretation, which has been linked to the right hemisphere. The researchers also found that, overall, the musicians had higher IQ scores than the non-musicians, supporting recent studies that intensive musical training is associated with an elevated IQ score.

A Music-Memory Connection

Music surprises us yet again; this time revealing that it helps us remember. In a recent study, Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at University of California, Davis said that “what seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head. It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person’s face in your mind’s eye.” Janata began suspecting the medial pre-frontal cortex as a music-processing and music-memories region when he saw that part of the brain actively tracking chord and key changes in music.

He had also seen studies which showed the same region lighting up in response to self-reflection and recall of autobiographical details. In his own study, Janata saw that tunes linked to the strongest self-reported memories triggered the most vivid and emotion-filled responses – findings corroborated by the brain scan showing spikes in mental activity within the medial prefrontal cortex.

The brain region responded quickly to music signature and timescale, but also reacted overall when a tune was autobiographically relevant. Furthermore, music tracking activity in the brain was stronger during more powerful autobiographical memories. This latest research could explain why even Alzheimer’s patients who endure increasing memory loss can still recall songs from their distant past.

Music as an Identifier of Emotions

In a study detailed in the European Journal of Neuroscience, an interdisciplinary Northwestern research team for the first time provides biological evidence that musical training enhances an individual’s ability to recognize emotion in sound, which is quite a useful skill in any facet of life. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation, found that the more years of musical experience musicians possessed and the earlier the age they began their music studies also increased their nervous systems’ abilities to process emotion in sound.

Previous research has indicated that musicians demonstrate greater sensitivity to the nuances of emotion in speech. In fact, recent studies indicated that musicians might even be able to sense emotion in sounds after hearing them for only 50 milliseconds.

Immerse Yourself in Music

By now, the intimate role musical harmonics play in your life should be abundantly clear to you. There’s so many incredible benefits you can have to your overall wellness by incorporating music into your daily life, be it listening to music in whatever way you do, playing an instrument for fun or professionally, or using specifically designed healing music right before bed or in a meditation session.

However you use music in your life, you will definitely experience the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits that music provides us. Enhance your life experience with the added element of music whenever you are able to and you will find yourself living a more surreal and more transcendent life.

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Author: Paul Lenda / Wake up World

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