Friday, December 25, 2009


"Validation" is a fable about the magic of free parking, starring TJ Thyne & Vicki Davis. It's writer/director/composer is Kurt Kuenne.

To date, it has garnered the following awards:
Winner - Best Narrative Short, Cleveland International Film Festival,
Winner - Jury Award, Gen Art Chicago Film Festival,
Winner - Audience Award, Hawaii International Film Festival,
Winner - Best Short Comedy, Breckenridge Festival of Film,
Winner - Crystal Heart Award, Best Short Film & Audience Award, Heartland Film Festival,
Winner - Christopher & Dana Reeve Audience Award, Williamstown Film Festival,
Winner - Best Comedy, Dam Short Film Festival, and
Winner - Best Short Film, Sedona International Film Festival.

P.S. Regardless of one's status and accomplishments in life, everyone's existence and self-worth need to be validated once in a while. It really does not take a lot to validate someone, and often, a simple smile will do. Merry Christmas to all with whom I have the honour and privilege of sharing this wonderful short film . :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lakota Instructions for Living

(As passed down from White Buffalo Calf Woman)

Friend, do it this way:
that is, whatever you do in life, do the very best you can
with both your heart and mind. And if you do it that way,
the Power of the Universe will come to your assistance,
if your heart and mind are in Unity.

When one sits in the Hoop of the People,
one must be responsible,
because all of Creation is related,
and the hurt of one is the hurt of all,
and the honor of one is the honor of all,
and whatever we do affects everything in the Universe.

If you do it that way,
that is, if you truly join your heart and mind as One,
whatever you ask for,
that's the Way It's Going to Be.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why are we happy?

(By Dan Gilbert)

The same speech as well as Dan Gilbert's detailed profile can be found at the following site: The full text of the lecture is enclosed as follows:

When you have 21 minutes to speak, two million years seems like a really long time. But evolutionarily, two million years is nothing. And yet in two million years the human brain has nearly tripled in mass, going from the one-and-a-quarter pound brain of our ancestor here, Habilis, to the almost three-pound meatloaf that everybody here has between their ears. What is it about a big brain that nature was so eager for every one of us to have one?

Well, it turns out when brains triple in size, they don't just get three times bigger, they gain new structures. And one of the main reasons our brain got so big is because it got a new part, called the frontal lobe. And particularly, a part called the pre-frontal cortex. Now what does a pre-frontal cortex do for you that should justify the entire architectural overhaul of the human skull in the blink of evolutionary time?

Well, it turns out the pre-frontal cortex does lots of things, but one of the most important things it does is that it is an experience simulator. Flight pilots practice in flight simulators so that they don't make real mistakes in planes. Human beings have this marvelous adaptation that they can actually have experiences in their heads before they try them out in real life. This is a trick that none of our ancestors could do, and that no other animal can do quite like we can. It's a marvelous adaptation. It's up there with opposable thumbs and standing upright and language as one of the things that got our species out of the trees and into the shopping mall.

Now -- (Laughter) -- all of you have done this. I mean, you know, Ben and Jerry's doesn't have liver-and-onion ice cream. It's not because they whipped some up, tried it and went, "Yuck." It's because, without leaving your armchair, you can simulate that flavor and say yuck before you make it.

Let's see how your experience simulators are working. Let's just run a quick diagnostic before I proceed with the rest of the talk. Here's two different futures that I invite you to contemplate, and you can try to simulate them and tell me which one you think you might prefer. One of them is winning the lottery. This is about 314 million dollars. And the other is becoming paraplegic. So, just give it a moment of thought. You probably don't feel like you need a moment of thought.

Interestingly, there are data on these two groups of people, data on how happy they are. And this is exactly what you expected, isn't it? But these aren't the data. I made these up!

These are the data. You failed the pop quiz, and you're hardly five minutes into the lecture Because the fact is that a year after losing the use of their legs, and a year after winning the lotto, lottery winners and paraplegics are equally happy with their lives.

Now, don't feel too bad about failing the first pop quiz, because everybody fails all of the pop quizzes all of the time. The research that my laboratory has been doing, that economists and psychologists around the country have been doing, have revealed something really quite startling to us. Something we call the impact bias, which is the tendency for the simulator to work badly. For the simulator to make you believe that different outcomes are more different than in fact they really are.

From field studies to laboratory studies, we see that winning or losing an election, gaining or losing a romantic partner, getting or not getting a promotion, passing or not passing a college test, on and on, have far less impact, less intensity and much less duration than people expect them to have. In fact, a recent study -- this almost floors me -- a recent study showing how major life traumas affect people suggests that if it happened over three months ago, with only a few exceptions, it has no impact whatsoever on your happiness.

Why? Because happiness can be synthesized. Sir Thomas Brown wrote in 1642, "I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty to riches, adversity to prosperity. I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me." What kind of remarkable machinery does this guy have in his head?

Well, it turns out it's precisely the same remarkable machinery that all off us have. Human beings have something that we might think of as a psychological immune system. A system of cognitive processes, largely non-conscious cognitive processes, that help them change their views of the world, so that they can feel better about the worlds in which they find themselves. Like Sir Thomas, you have this machine. Unlike Sir Thomas, you seem not to know it.

We synthesize happiness, but we think happiness is a thing to be found. Now, you don't need me to give you too many examples of people synthesizing happiness, I suspect. Though I'm going to show you some experimental evidence, you don't have to look very far for evidence.

As a challenge to myself, since I say this once in a while in lectures, I took a copy of the New York Times and tried to find some instances of people synthesizing happiness. And here are three guys synthesizing happiness. "I am so much better off physically, financially, emotionally,mentally and almost every other way." "I don't have one minute's regret. It was a glorious experience." "I believe it turned out for the best."

Who are these characters who are so damn happy? Well, the first one is Jim Wright. Some of you are old enough to remember: he was the chairman of the House of Representatives and he resigned in disgrace when this young Republican named Newt Gingrich found out about a shady book deal he had done. He lost everything. The most powerful Democrat in the country, he lost everything. he lost his money, he lost his power, What does he have to say all these years later about it? "I am so much better off physically, financially, mentally and in almost every other way." What other way would there be to be better off? Vegetably? Minerally? Animally? He's pretty much covered them there.

Moreese Bickham is somebody you've never heard of. Moreese Bickham uttered these words upon being released. He was 78 years old. He spent 37 years in a Louisiana State Penitentiary for a crime he didn't commit. He was ultimately exonerated, at the age of 78, through DNA evidence. And what did he have to say about his experience? "I don't have one minute's regret. It was a glorious experience." Glorious! This guy is not saying, "Well, you know, there were some nice guys. They had a gym." It's "glorious," a word we usually reserve for something like a religious experience.

Harry S. Langerman uttered these words, and he's somebody you might have known but didn't, because in 1949 he read a little article in the paper about a hamburger stand owned by these two brothers named McDonalds. And he thought, "That's a really neat idea!" So he went to find them. They said, "We can give you a franchise on this for 3,000 bucks." Harry went back to New York, asked his brother who's an investment banker to loan him the 3,000 dollars, and his brother's immortal words were, "You idiot, nobody eats hamburgers." He wouldn't lend him the money, and of course six months later Ray Croc had exactly the same idea. It turns out people do eat hamburgers, and Ray Croc, for a while, became the richest man in America.

And then finally -- you know, the best of all possible worlds -- some of you recognize this young photo of Pete Best, who was the original drummer for the Beatles, until they, you know, sent him out on an errand and snuck away and picked up Ringo on a tour. Well, in 1994 when Pete Best was interviewed -- yes, he's still a drummer; yes, he's a studio musician -- he had this to say: "I'm happier than I would have been with the Beatles."

Okay. There's something important to be learned from these people, and it is the secret of happiness. Here it is, finally to be revealed. First: accrue wealth, power, and prestige, then lose it. (Laughter) Second: spend as much of your life in prison as you possibly can. (Laughter) Third: make somebody else really, really rich. (Laughter) And finally: never ever join the Beatles. (Laughter)

OK. Now I, like Ze Frank, can predict your next thought, which is, "Yeah, right." Because when people synthesize happiness, as these gentlemen seem to have done, we all smile at them, but we kind of roll our eyes and say, "Yeah right, you never really wanted the job." "Oh yeah, right. You really didn't have that much in common with her, and you figured that out just about the time she threw the engagement ring in your face."

We smirk because we believe that synthetic happiness is not of the same quality as what we might call natural happiness. What are these terms? Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don't get what we wanted. And in our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind. Why do we have that belief? Well, it's very simple. What kind of economic engine would keep churning if we believed that not getting what we want could make us just as happy as getting it?

With all apologies to my friend Matthieu Ricard, a shopping mall full of Zen monks is not going to be particularly profitable because they don't want stuff enough. I want to suggest to you that synthetic happiness is every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for. Now, I'm a scientist, so I'm going to do this not with rhetoric, but by marinating you in a little bit of data.

Let me first show you an experimental paradigm that is used to demonstrate the synthesis of happiness among regular old folks. And this isn't mine. This is a 50-year-old paradigm called the free choice paradigm. It's very simple. You bring in, say, six objects, and you ask a subject to rank them from the most to the least liked. In this case, because the experiment I'm going to tell you about uses them, these are Monet prints. So, everybody can rank these Monet prints from the one they like the most, to the one they like the least. Now we give you a choice: "We happen to have some extra prints in the closet. We're going to give you one as your prize to take home. We happen to have number three and number four," we tell the subject. This is a bit of a difficult choice, because neither one is preferred strongly to the other, but naturally, people tend to pick number three because they liked it a little better than number four.

Sometime later -- it could be 15 minutes, it could be 15 days -- the same stimuli are put before the subject, and the subject is asked to re-rank the stimuli. "Tell us how much you like them now." What happens? Watch as happiness is synthesized. This is the result that has been replicated over and over again. You're watching happiness be synthesized Would you like to see it again? Happiness! "The one I got is really better than I thought! That other one I didn't get sucks!" (Laughter) That's the synthesis of happiness.

Now what's the right response to that? "Yeah, right!" Now, here's the experiment we did, and I would hope this is going to convince you that "Yeah, right!" was not the right response.

We did this experiment with a group of patients who had anterograde amnesia. These are hospitalized patients. Most of them have Korsakoff's syndrome, a polyneuritic psychosis that -- they drank way too much, and they can't make new memories. OK? They remember their childhood, but if you walk in and introduce yourself, and then leave the room, when you come back they don't know who you are.

We took our Monet prints to the hospital. And we asked these patients to rank them from the one they liked the most to the one they liked the least. We then gave them the choice between number three and number four Like everybody else, they said, "Gee, thanks Doc! That's great! I could use a new print. I'll take number three." We explained we would have number three mailed to them. We gathered up our materials and we went out of the room, and counted to a half hour. Back into the room, we say, "Hi, we're back." The patients, bless them, say, "Ah, Doc, I'm sorry, I've got a memory problem, that's why I'm here. If I've met you before, I don't remember." "Really, Jim, you don't remember? I was just here with the Monet prints?" "Sorry, Doc, I just don't have a clue." "No problem, Jim. All I want you to do for me is rank these from the one you like the most to the one you like the least."

What do they do? Well, let's first check and make sure they're really amnesiac. We ask these amnesiac patients to tell us which one they own, which one they chose last time, which one is theirs. And what we find is amnesiac patients just guess. These are normal controls, where if I did this with you, all of you would know which print you chose. But if I do this with amnesiac patients, they don't have a clue. They can't pick their print out of a lineup.

Here's what normal controls do: they synthesize happiness. Right? This is the change in liking score, the change from the first time they ranked to the second time they ranked. Normal controls show -- that was the magic I showed you, now I'm showing it to you in graphical form -- "The one I own is better than I thought. The one I didn't own, the one I left behind, is not as good as I thought." Amnesiacs do exactly the same thing. Think about this result.

These people like better the one they own, but they don't know they own it. "Yeah, right," is not the right response! What these people did when they synthesized happiness is they really, truly changed their affective, hedonic, aesthetic reactions to that poster. They're not just saying it because they own it, because they don't know they own it.

Now, when psychologists show you bars, you know that they are showing you averages of lots of people. And yet, all of us have this psychological immune system, this capacity to synthesize happiness, but some of us do this trick better than others. And some situations allow anybody to do it more effectively than other situations do. It turns out that freedom -- the ability to make up your mind and change your mind -- is the friend of natural happiness, because it allows you to choose among all those delicious futures and find the one you most enjoy. But freedom to choose -- to change and make up your mind -- is the enemy of synthetic happiness. And I'm going to show you why.

Dilbert already knows, of course. You're reading the cartoon as I'm talking. "Dogbert's tech support. How may I abuse you?" "My printer prints a blank page after every document." "Why would you complain about getting free paper?" "Free? Aren't you just giving me my own paper?" "Egad, man! Look at the quality of the free paper compared to your lousy regular paper! Only a fool or a liar would say that they look the same!" "Ah! Now that you mention it, it does seem a little silkier!" "What are you doing?" "I'm helping people accept the things they cannot change." Indeed.

The psychological immune system works best when we are totally stuck, when we are trapped. This is the difference between dating and marriage, right? I mean, you go out on a date with a guy, and he picks his nose; you don't go out on another date. You're married to a guy and he picks his nose? Yeah, he has a heart of gold; don't touch the fruitcake. Right? (Laughter) You find a way to be happy with what's happened. Now what I want to show you is that people don't know this about themselves, and not knowing this can work to our supreme disadvantage.

Here's an experiment we did at Harvard. We created a photography course, a black-and-white photography course, and we allowed students to come in and learn how to use a darkroom. So we gave them cameras, they went around campus, they took 12 pictures of their favorite professors and their dorm room and their dog, and all the other things they wanted to have Harvard memories of. They bring us the camera, we make up a contact sheet, they figure out which are the two best pictures, and we now spend six hours teaching them about darkrooms, and they blow two of them up, and they have two gorgeous eight-by-10 glossies of meaningful things to them, and we say, "Which one would you like to give up?" They say, "I have to give one up?" "Oh, yes. We need one as evidence of the class project. So you have to give me one. You have to make a choice. You get to keep one, and I get to keep one."

Now, there are two conditions in this experiment. In one case, the students are told, "But you know, if you want to change your mind, I'll always have the other one here, and in the next four days, before I actually mail it to headquarters, I'll be glad to" -- (Laughter) -- yeah, "headquarters" -- "I'll be glad to swap it out with you. In fact, I'll come to your dorm room and give -- just give me an email. Better yet, I'll check with you. You ever want to change your mind, it's totally returnable." The other half of the students are told exactly the opposite: "Make your choice. And by the way, the mail is going out, gosh, in two minutes, to England. Your picture will be winging its way over the Atlantic. You will never see it again." Now, half of the students in each of these conditions are asked to make predictions about how much they're going to come to like the picture that they keep and the picture they leave behind. Other students are just sent back to their little dorm rooms and they are measured over the next three to six days on their liking, satisfaction with the pictures. And look at what we find.

First of all, here's what students think is going to happen. They think they're going to maybe come to like the picture they chose a little more than the one they left behind, but these are not statistically significant differences. It's a very small increase, and it doesn't much matter whether they were in the reversible or irreversible condition.

Wrong-o. Bad simulators. Because here's what's really happening. Both right before the swap and five days later, people who are stuck with that picture, who have no choice, who can never change their mind, like it a lot! And people who are deliberating -- "Should I return it? Have I gotten the right one? Maybe this isn't the good one? Maybe I left the good one?" -- have killed themselves. They don't like their picture, and in fact even after the opportunity to swap has expired, they still don't like their picture. Why? Because the reversible condition is not conducive to the synthesis of happiness.

So here's the final piece of this experiment. We bring in a whole new group of naive Harvard students and we say, "You know, we're doing a photography course, and we can do it one of two ways. We could do it so that when you take the two pictures, you'd have four days to change your mind, or we're doing another course where you take the two pictures and you make up your mind right away and you can never change it. Which course would you like to be in? " Duh! 66 percent of the students, two-thirds, prefer to be in the course where they have the opportunity to change their mind. Hello? 66 percent of the students choose to be in the course in which they will ultimately be deeply dissatisfied with the picture. Because they do not know the conditions under which synthetic happiness grows.

The Bard said everything best, of course, and he's making my point here but he's making it hyperbolically: "'Tis nothing good or bad / But thinking makes it so." It's nice poetry, but that can't exactly be right. Is there really nothing good or bad? Is it really the case that gall bladder surgery and a trip to Paris are just the same thing? That seems like a one-question IQ test. They can't be exactly the same.

In more turgid prose, but closer to the truth, was the father of modern capitalism, Adam Smith, and he said this. This is worth contemplating: "The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life seems to arise from overrating the difference between one permanent situation and another ... Some of these situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others, but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardor which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice, or to corrupt the future tranquility of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse for the horror of our own injustice." In other words: yes, some things are better than others.

We should have preferences that lead us into one future over another. But when those preferences drive us too hard and too fast because we have overrated the difference between these futures, we are at risk. When our ambition is bounded, it leads us to work joyfully. When our ambition is unbounded, it leads us to lie, to cheat, to steal, to hurt others, to sacrifice things of real value. When our fears are bounded, we're prudent, we're cautious, we're thoughtful. When our fears are unbounded and overblown, we're reckless, and we're cowardly.

The lesson I want to leave you with from these data is that our longings and our worries are both to some degree overblown, because we have within us the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience.

P.S. Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes -- and fool everyone's eyes in the same way -- Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.

The premise of his current research -- that our assumptions about what will make us happy are often wrong -- is supported with clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience. But his delivery is what sets him apart. His engaging -- and often hilarious -- style pokes fun at typical human behavior and invokes pop-culture references everyone can relate to. This winning style translates also to Gilbert's writing, which is lucid, approachable and laugh-out-loud funny. The immensely readable Stumbling on Happiness, published in 2006, became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Divine Matrix by Greg Braden

(Book Review by Ismini Apostoli)

"Almost universally, we share a sense that there’s more to us than meets the eye. Somewhere deep within the mists of our ancient history, we know we have magic and miraculous powers within us. From the time of childhood, we fantasize about our ability to do things that are beyond the realm of reason and logic. And why not? While we’re children, we have yet to “learn” the rules that say miracles can’t happen in our lives."

Gregg Braden has spent over 20 years studying spiritual and religious texts and is considered by many an inspired spiritual teacher. Most people interested in spirituality are already familiar with his previous works like “The Spontaneous Healing of Belief“, “Awakening to Zero Point“, “The Science of Compassion“, “The Isaiah Effect“, and “The God Code“.

The special message contained in Braden’s new book, The Divine Matrix, is that we are not observers but creators of our own personal worlds, and we have the power to transform our lives by gaining a better understanding of our relationship to all-that-is, learning how to listen to its messages, and learning to communicate with it in its own language.

The Divine Matrix is divided into three parts. Part I, “Discovering the Divine Matrix: The Mystery that Connects All Things” examines and combines ancient wisdom with recent breakthroughs in quantum physics to give us an understanding of this net of energy that contains all.

Part II, “The Bridge Between Imagination and Reality: How the Divine Matrix works”, describes in great detail our ability to connect with and re-program the matrix to mirror more desirable effects on our lives.

Part III, “Messages from the Divine Matrix: Living, Loving, and Healing in Quantum Awareness” teaches us how to listen to the Matrix and how the Matrix reflects our emotions in the relationships we form with others and with our world.


Braden describes it as a field of energy, which provides the container as well as a bridge and a mirror for everything that happens between the world within and the world without. He also invites us to look at the Divine Matrix as a cosmic blanket, which is many layers deep and is everywhere and all the time. Braden tells us that from a quantum perspective, everything in existence from an atom to a whole planet can be thought of as a disturbance in the fabric of this space-time blanket. In the Vedas, this blanket is “the unified field of pure consciousness” that bathes and permeates all creation. According to Hsin-Hsin Ming (the Taoist Faith-mind Verses) it’s described as the essence which is the container of all experience and the experience itself.

Combining the wisdom of our oldest traditions with some findings of quantum physics, Braden concludes that there are three principles that govern the Matrix:

1. Everything exists within the Divine Matrix and everything is inter-connected.

2. The Divine Matrix is holographic, which means that any portion of the field contains everything in the field.

3. The past, present and future are intimately joined. As a container of time, the Matrix provides continuity between the choices of our present and the experiences of our future.


We connect to the Matrix, not by thought, but through the language of emotion. Our feelings of love, hate, fear, forgiveness etc. are actually instructions that program the Divine Matrix. Within this emotional communication and connection to the Matrix lies our power to bring healing, more joy and peace to our lives. According to Braden, the Matrix can be thought of a huge computer into which, through our beliefs, feelings and emotions, we program commands that produce the results we see in our lives.

In Part III, Braden provides us with 20 keys to conscious creation which if studied, understood and applied can help us greatly in getting in touch with our miraculous potential to heal and create joy, love and peace in the world.


Key 1: The Divine Matrix is the container that holds the universe, the bridge between all things, and the mirror that shows us what we have created.

Key 2: Everything in our world is connected to everything else.

Key 3: To tap the force of the universe itself, we must see ourselves as part of the world rather as separate from it.

Key 4: Once something is joined, it is always connected, whether it remains physically linked or not.

Key 5: The act of focusing our consciousness is an act of creation. Consciousness creates!

Key 6: We have all the power we need to create all the changes we choose!

Key 7: The focus of our awareness becomes the reality of our world.

Key 8: To simply say that we choose a new reality in not enough!

Key 9: Feeling is the language that “speaks” to the Divine Matrix. Feel as though your goal is accomplished and your prayer is already answered.

Key 10: Not just any feeling will do. The ones that create must be without ego and judgment.

Key 11: We must become in our lives that we choose to experience as our world.

Key 12: We are not bound by the laws of physics as we know them today.

Key 13: In a holographic “something” every piece of the something mirrors the whole something.

Key 14: The universally connected hologram of consciousness promises that the instant we create our good wishes and prayers, they are already received at their destination.

Key 15: Through the hologram of consciousness, a little change in our lives is mirrored everywhere in our world.

Key 16: The minimum number of people required to “jump-start” a change in consciousness is the 1% of the population.

Key 17: The Divine Matrix serves as the mirror in our world of the relationships that we create in our beliefs.

Key 18: The root of our “negative” experiences may be reduced to one of the three universal fears (or a combination of them): abandonment, low self-worth, or lack of trust.

Key 19: Our true beliefs are mirrored in our most intimate relationships.

Key 20: We must become in our lives the very things we choose to experience in our world.

Undoubtedly, Gregg Braden is a great spiritual thinker and visionary of our times. Like many of his contemporaries he also tries to bridge science with spirituality. In part, this is in response to modern man’s need not to take things on faith, but have his faith backed up by scientific evidence. In The Divine Matrix, Braden attempts to link quantum physics to metaphysics and spirituality. Does really such a link exist? The average lay person, would still have to take Braden’s scientific “evidence” on faith. The more scientifically oriented reader would tend to consider the link very tenuous and the evidence presented to prove it, arbitrary and sketchy.

Quantum physics is a highly complex science firmly rooted in reason and logic. Metaphysics, on the other hand, is deeply rooted in feeling, emotion, intuition and faith. Braden attempts to blend reason with intuition in his effort to broaden our understanding of our world. How successful and convincing his attempt is, is up to the discerning reader to decide.

P.S. Ismini Apostoli is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, practicing in Greece and offering online services throughout the world. She is particularly interested in self- esteem, self-development and self-actualization and helping people uncover their special gifts and talents. You can find out more by visiting

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Facing The Giants

The following slogan is taken from an Adidas Advertisement Campaign.

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Ho'oponopono – The problem is never out there

(By Lena Chen)

Have you heard of Ho'oponopono? Ok... it's quite a mouthful, but this is by far the most powerful teaching I have heard, and it's literally transformed the way I look at everything.

Here is the story written by Joe Vitale who was featured in The Secret, which introduced me to Ho'oponopono.

"Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients--without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate's chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person's illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.

"When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane? It didn't make any sense. It wasn't logical, so I dismissed the story.

"However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called Ho’oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn't let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more. I had always understood "total responsibility" to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it's out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We're responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does--but that's wrong.

"The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility. His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous.

Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.

"Dr. Len told me that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients began to heal.

"'After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely,' he told me. 'Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.' I was in awe. 'Not only that,' he went on, 'but the staff began to enjoy coming to work. Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. We ended up with more staff than we needed because patients were being released, and all the staff was showing up to work. Today, that ward is closed.'

"This is where I had to ask the million dollar question: 'What were you doing within yourself that caused those people to change?'

"I was simply healing the part of me that created them,' he said. I didn't understand. Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life - simply because it is in your life--is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation.

"Whew. This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life. This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy or anything you experience and don't like--is up for you to heal. They don't exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn't with them, it's with you, and to change them, you have to change you.

"I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in Ho'oponopono means loving yourself.

"If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone, even a mentally ill criminal you do it by healing you.

"I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing, exactly, when he looked at those patients' files?

"'I just kept saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you' over and over again,' he explained.

"That's it?

"That's it.

"Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world.

"Let me give you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person who sent the nasty message.

"This time, I decided to try Dr. Len's method. I kept silently saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you,' I didn't say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance.

"Within an hour I got an e-mail from the same person. He apologized for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn't take any outward action to get that apology. I didn't even write him back. Yet, by saying 'I love you,' I somehow healed within me what was creating him.

"I later attended a Ho’oponopono workshop run by Dr. Len. He's now 70 years old, considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat reclusive.

He praised my book, The Attractor Factor. He told me that as I improve myself, my book's vibration will raise, and everyone will feel it when they read it. In short, as I improve, my readers will improve.

"'What about the books that are already sold and out there?' I asked.

"'They aren't out there,' he explained, once again blowing my mind with his mystic wisdom. 'They are still in you.' In short, there is no out there. It would take a whole book to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves.

"Suffice It to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there's only one place to look: inside you. When you look, do it with love.

Cool huh?

I have practised Ho'oponopono in my life many times, and often, the shifts that result are very noticeable. Here is one instance. There was a client who hung up on me when I asked him how come he needed to reschedule his session with me a second time. Needless to say, I was quite irked by his rude response. So I did EFT on my feelings of annoyance, and then I said "I'm sorry, please forgive, I love you, thank you" which are the four main phrases in the practice of Ho'oponopono, addressing the part of me who was offended by that client.

Since I was at work, I only did it for a few minutes and by then, I felt totally peaceful.

End of story? Nope!

Less than an hour later, the same client called me back. He apologised for his rude behaviour and told me that his appointment that clashed with our counselling session just got cancelled. In the end, he managed to make it for our original appointment and we had a really great session.

Apparently Ho’oponopono doesn't just work on human beings. A friend's friend did Ho’oponopono on a computer problem - and it got fixed within minutes!

If you understand that everything is energy, then you might somehow be able to grasp that it's all about shifting our energies from a state of conflict and chaos into a state of harmony and synchronization. Ho'oponono is a profoundly simple and effective way to do it, and so is EFT. There are many other ways in this world too, but Ho’oponopono and EFT are by far the easiest and fastest methods that I know of for now.

And guess what? You can do EFT and Ho’oponopono combined. This is also a good alternative for those of you who never seem to know what words to say while tapping. You can simply think of the issue, and tap on the EFT points as you repeat the 4 phrases "I'm sorry, please forgive, I love you, thank you."

Today's tapping exercise? It's a really simple and enjoyable one. :) Click on this link: and tap as you view the video, with the intention of healing a certain issue.

Do this daily, and I'm pretty sure that you will see transformations happening within you AND in your surroundings.

And here's some Ho’oponopono to end this article off with... I'm sorry, please forgive me, I love you and THANK YOU!

N.B. Lena Chen is a practicing holistic therapist who specialises in Emotional Freedom Techniques (“EFT”) as well as Past Life Regression. Other than being a certified Emotional Freedom Techniques (“EFT”) Practitioner, Lena is also the author of a book entitled “Emotional Freedom At Your Fingertips”. Lena also conducts EFT Level I and II workshops as one of her life purposes is to empower other people and helping others to learn EFT definitely empowers them to manage their emotions and challenges more effectively. Lena has a natural gift and passion for counselling, writing and teaching. She has been interested in spirituality and self-development as a young teenager and while she has strong Buddhist roots, she also sees parallel teachings in other religions and feels that all religions ultimately lead us to the same place. She listens to her very strong intuition which helps her to facilitate healing for her clients to bring about deep and powerful transformations. She is constantly learning from those around her and strives to gain greater self-awareness and self-acceptance, which she believes is the key to breaking through negative patterns and achieving enlightenment.

Personal note: For me, this is also by far the most powerful teaching I have learned to date. It too has transformed the way I look at everything. To tell you the truth, I would have never known Lena at all if the normal circumstances prevail. I used to subscribe at my workplace to a newsletter on the various types of training programs available for corporate purposes. I have never read any of them despite the convenience of them having sent periodically into my inbox at my email address. For some unknown reason, I decided to clean up my subscriptions one particular day and being a person who constantly seeks to persevere equity in all aspects, I opened just one of the many newsletters randomly to see what it is all about before unsubscribing it (I had obviously forgotten why I had subscribed to this newsletter in the first place!). As expected, I did not find the content particularly compelling or informative and just before clicked on the unsubscribe link, I saw an article on a review of Lena’s EFT workshop. At that juncture, I did not know what EFT was (and of course had always wanted to understand the concepts behind EFT) and was therefore instantly gravitated towards the article. To cut the long story short, I ended up subscribing for Lena’s newsletter, and yes, I also unsubscribed the other newsletter. And if you were to ask me why I had subscribed to Lena’s newsletter, I would then encourage you to read any one of her newsletters and you will know why. Lena is genuine and sincere in whatever she says and those are more than adequately conveyed through her writings.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How To Be Happy Everyday

(By Alan Tutt)

Most people feel that they can only be happy when things are going well in their lives. For these folks, they need a reason to be happy, something to make them happy. I’m here to show you how you can be happy any day you choose, whether you have a ‘reason’ for it or not.
However, before I dive right in, I want to say that I’m one of these people who don’t do anything without a reason. As you’ll see in this report, when you choose to be happy, good things happen, and this is perhaps the BEST reason to create happiness in your daily life.

Put Things Into Perspective

Okay, you may not be living a life of joyous abandonment, but really, how bad is it? Are you about to be put to death? Are you being mutilated and tortured with physical disfigurement? Are there billboards on every street corner with your photo and the words, “Hideous Evil-doer”?

Probably not. (Have you cracked a smile yet?)

Unless your life will definitely come to an end today, there is always hope that tomorrow will be better. And when there’s hope, there’s a reason to be happy. When things are at their worst, they HAVE to get better, right? So cheer up, and before you know it, life will get better and better.

Now, just to make sure I cover as many possibilities as I can, I want to say that there’s also a reason to be happy even if your life WILL end today. At least the pain and suffering will be over, wouldn’t you agree? You can be happy simply because you’ve come to the end of your journey and it’s time to rest. And if you believe in re-incarnation, you’ll have another opportunity to live a happier life next time around.

The main point I’m trying to make here is that when you put your life into perspective, it’s not as bad as you may think it is. In fact, this phrase brightened up the darkest days of my life, and may help you too.

“It’s not as bad as I think it is.”

Count Your Blessings

Most of us take for granted many of the conveniences we enjoy in our daily lives. First of all, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have access to a computer and the Internet. That alone puts you into the upper brackets in terms of wealth. There are whole COUNTRIES of people who do not have computers or Internet access.

Do you have indoor plumbing? How about electricity? And let’s not forget things like television, radio, and the ability to shop in grocery stores! Did you have to make your own clothes, or did you purchase them? You certainly don’t have to sleep in caves, nor do you sleep on the ground. I’m sure you have a bed as well as other furniture that makes life much more enjoyable.

What I’m trying to say here is that there is much in your life you are taking for granted. Yes, most of the people you know also have these things, but this doesn’t mean that everyone in the world has them.

The feeling of gratitude creates happiness into your life. Imagine if you had nothing, how happy you’d feel to be given a small thing like a pair of shoes or a bed. Be grateful for the things you have now. As strange as it may seem, the feeling of gratitude has a tendency to attract more good things into your life.

There is a quote from the Christian Bible that has been slightly altered from its original meaning. The quote goes something like: “To those who have, more will be given. But to those who don’t have, even that which they do have will be taken away.” The original meaning was “To those who have the feeling of something, more will be given. But to those who don’t have the feeling of a thing, even that which they do have will be taken away.” What this means is that there is a spiritual principle which will attract prosperity to those who feel they are prosperous, or happy events to happy people. I tend to simplify this into the phrase, “Whatever you focus on, you magnify in your life.”

Focus on what is good, and more good will appear. Focus on what is wrong, and more will go wrong. Allow yourself to enjoy the things that are good, and there will be more good things to enjoy.

Take Time For Yourself

Too many of us these days spend far too much time working and not enough time playing. It’s important to take some time for yourself and just have a bit of fun. It doesn’t have to be a whole month, or even a week. Sometimes just a few minutes is all you need to recover a sense of balance and poise so you can continue with what needs to be done.

Try this experiment.

Right now. Yes, I mean RIGHT NOW.

Sit back, close your eyes, and relax as much as you can. Take a deep breath and release it slowly. Don’t hold it, just let it go gently and easily. Do the same with 6 more deep breaths. Don’t rush it, don’t push, don’t think, and don’t ‘try’ to do anything. Just relax as much as you can for these 7 breaths.

Most people feel a sense of happiness and joy emerging from deep within them. Even if you didn’t feel it this time, I guarantee if you do it a few times, you’ll start to notice a feeling of joy and happiness welling up within you, proving a point that many authors have expressed – your natural state of being is joy, and when you relax and simply BE who you are, happiness comes naturally.

Of course, if you haven’t taken ANY time for yourself in years, you may need to do a little more to restore your inner balance. On the other hand, if your situation is different, and you’ve spent too much time in one physical location (behind a desk, for example), you may need to engage in some physical activity to restore your inner balance.

If you’re struggling to meet your current (or past) responsibilities, it may seem like you can’t afford to take the time you need to just play. I definitely know how you feel, because I’ve worked myself into just such a corner at various times in my life.

The secret in these situations is to take small amounts of time here and there. Don’t worry about taking a week’s vacation. Just take 15 minutes at a time, or an hour if you can, and do something fun. Grab a basketball and shoot hoops. Put on some music and dance. Go for a walk. Do anything you enjoy doing that also gets you moving.

Do Something Worthwhile

Although it’s important to relax and allow your natural (and joyous) state of being spring forth, it’s equally important to spend time doing something worthwhile that you can be proud of.

Actually, our physical bodies NEED a certain level of activity in order to remain healthy. One of the major reasons why people lose the ability to do many things as they get older is simply because they stop doing as much as they did when they were younger. Our bodies adapt to whatever level of activity is required of them, and when there’s not enough activity, our bodies adapt in a negative way. As the old saying goes, “use it or lose it.”

Additionally, our MINDS need a certain level of engagement as well, and for much the same reason. Believe it or not, smart people don’t necessarily have better brains; they just use them more often.

As an example, I spent a number of years doing very little brain-work, spending most my time meditating and doing a minimal amount of physical labour to earn a meagre living. After 5 years of this, I had difficulty thinking of things to say in social conversation, and was generally regarded as “weak-minded”. Once I saw what was happening and reversed my pattern, taking time to exercise my mind as often as I could, I regained my previous mental capacity (I used to be a ‘A’ student) and was again considered to be intellectually gifted.

The more we do, either physically or mentally, the more we are capable of doing, and the easier it is to do whatever we set out to do. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s much easier to be happy when Life’s problems are more easily dispatched.

However, this isn’t the main point I want to make here. To be happy, truly happy, it’s important to have a sense of pride about your work.

This isn’t to say that you have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. You can be proud of what you do no matter what your job may be. If your job is flipping burgers at the local fast-food restaurant, you could be proud of the fact that you help thousands save valuable time fuelling their bodies so they can focus on more important matters.

If your job is picking up trash, you could be proud of the fact that you serve to keep your city clean, and without you, the city would eventually turn into a garbage dump.

If your job is working on an assembly line in a factory, you could be proud of the fact that you are an integral part of the team that produces whatever product your line manufactures. Obviously, the product serves some valuable purpose, or else no-one would buy it. Look at your job in terms of the value your product conveys to the people who do buy it.

No matter what type of job you have, you can find something about it for which you can be proud. And if not, take it as a sign that it’s time to find a new job. Or to create one for yourself.

One of the great things about feeling good about your job is that it gives you more energy to do better work. And when you do your job better, it tends to lead to other good things, like promotions, pay raises, and a chance to enjoy yourself more. This is truly a case where happiness leads to more happiness.

Choose To Believe In Yourself

The next major step towards being happy every day is to choose to believe in yourself. Most of the time, we’re unhappy because we believe our experience of life is not good, and that we are incapable of improving it.

Think about it. If you believed your current situation was great, you’d be happy, wouldn’t you? And even if your current situation isn’t good, if you believed you could easily improve it, happiness wouldn’t be too far away.

If this isn’t self-evident, then consider what it means to be depressed. Being depressed means that you believe your life situation to be bad with no hope for anything better. Anyone who says differently has something to sell you. A new drug, perhaps?

Here again, I can offer an example from my own life. Many years ago, when it seemed the world was against me and there was no way I could make things better, I felt so depressed, I literally contemplated suicide. Luckily, there was at least a shadow of a belief that things could get better, so I never actually followed through with it. I found my inner motivation again when I started working with the power of belief.

At first, I couldn’t imagine that everything would just magically turn out for the best, so I started with a small belief, a tiny step in a better direction. It’s one I mentioned earlier in this report.

“It’s not as bad as I think it is.”

As I repeated this thought to me over and over again, I started to think about how things could actually be better than I thought they were. Maybe I didn’t see things for what they truly were. Maybe I have misinterpreted what people meant by the things they said and did. Maybe there was an opportunity I wasn’t seeing because I didn’t believe it was there.


My belief in myself started to grow within a matter of moments. And I felt new energy welling up inside me, and a new sense of hope.

The next step was to build on this and take it to a higher level, affirming that I could solve whatever problems were facing me, and that I would indeed come out okay. As surely as the previous affirmation got me out of despair, this line of thinking gave me the motivation to move forward.

I’ve come a long way since then, and these days I tend to use different techniques to shift my beliefs. I also tend to focus on maintaining a sense of immense joy rather than just getting out of a dark hole.

Make A Firm Decision To Be Happy

When it comes right down to it, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “a man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.”

Most of the time, shifting yourself into happiness is as easy as making the decision to do so. Other times, you only need to make small adjustments to release the bonds holding your happiness inside.

What makes you feel good? We’ve already talked about taking care of your physical and mental needs, such as getting plenty of rest, exercise, and having pride in your work. There are many other things which can help too.

Things like opening a window to get fresh air, or getting outside to take a walk. Getting plenty of oxygen into your system helps in so many ways.

Music is a great way to shift the energy in your environment, and playing happy music is a great way to create happiness within yourself. Dressing up in good clothes is something that works for many people, as does being well groomed. For many folks, when they look good, they feel good.

Basically, anything that makes you feel good can increase your happiness. I have one final story to tell you about the magic of happiness.

Back when I lived in Kansas City, I had a small job cleaning apartment buildings. Little stuff, like vacuuming floors, washing windows, and sweeping doorsteps. My boss was a very negative person, and for quite a while, there wasn’t a day that went by without him finding something about me or my work to criticize.

Well, one day, I made a firm decision that, no matter what, I was going to be happy that day. If this guy said anything to disrupt my happiness, I would just leave and find another job if I had to. This was during a time when I was testing the power of setting firm intentions.

The result of setting this intention to be happy was that my boss said almost nothing to me all day. I got to work, he showed me what he wanted done, and left me to do it. When lunchtime came around, we got something to eat, ate it in virtual silence, and went back to work. It was one of the quietest days I had on that job.

The next day, I wanted to see if the experiment would work a 2nd time. Again, I set a firm intention to be happy all day long, and if anything happened to threaten my happiness, I would walk away. And once again, my boss didn’t say anything critical or unkind.

After hundreds of such experiments, I can tell you that when you set a firm intention to be happy, the world around you tends to change to support your decision. Sometimes, you are presented with something you have to do in order to create the thing you want, such as reading a new book, or going a different route to work, or whatever else it may be. In these cases, it’s best to just go with the flow, and let the Universe guide you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Can You Create More Time?

(By Sara Childre, President, Institute of HeartMath)

What if you could somehow shift time in your favour, gather up a few moments here, an hour there, and use it any way you like? Would you be willing? We all would like that and there is a way it can be done. There is a new tool called Ease Frame that I would like to share with you in this article.

Time-shifting is not just some concept born of science fiction or tales of the future. It is a simple process in which time is saved and gained as you change your perceptions of it.

Recall any situation that elicited a negative response from you and consider how much time you spent entwined in that response: a minute, five minutes, an hour, or was there one in which you threw up your hands and said, "That’s it – I’m outta here!" Then the rest of that day was spent wallowing in your response. What if you had stepped back immediately and told yourself, "OK, it happened, but nothing to gain by dwelling on it all day"? How much time would you have saved then, or would have saved in the past year in similar situations?

Why does it seem like we never have enough time?

In this fast-paced age we hear that every minute counts. Day after day, week after week, all this pressure to achieve, meet goals, finish daily tasks begins to build up inside of us until one day we are locked in the throes of time pressure.

A chief contributor to time pressure is "emotional identity." This happens when you invest a great deal of mental and emotional energy in a situation. All that energy can create tunnel vision, leaving you unable to see or appreciate other important things in your life. When someone or something interferes with that focus, the result frequently is irritation, anxiousness and frustration, especially when deadlines must be met. You push people away, neglect other areas of your life, but still proceed until eventually you lapse into emotional chaos. In the end, time pressure can seriously damage not only your relationships and quality of life, but even the situation in which you buried yourself – to the exclusion of all else.

Time pressure takes a toll on our nervous, immune and hormonal systems, and left unattended will likely produce cycles of anxiety, fatigue and temporary despair. As this process continues it makes us more susceptible to health problems.

Do you recognize any of these time pressure symptoms in your life?

1. Always rushed, too much to do, not enough time
2. Mentally scattered, not feeling in control
3. Tunnel vision, irritation at anyone or anything that breaks your focus
4. Internal pressure, a gnawing feeling in your solar plexus
5. Impatience, lack of compassion for self and others
6. Feeling a constant slow burn inside
7. Low-grade stress and strain
8. Feeling disconnected from life
9. Decreased enjoyment of projects, relationships or life in general

The Ease Frame Tool ™

Here is the tool I mentioned earlier, it’s called Ease Frame.

Many people are using it and getting helpful results especially in the areas of anxiety, overload and time crunch. Ease Frame is slowing down on the inside even though you have so much to do and the world around you is going faster than ever. As you go about your day, and especially when you feel time pressure, begin telling yourself to Ease Frame.

Here is how it works.

When you start to experience overload and anxiety, your objective is to breathe easily for a few moments while imagining yourself slowing down your mind and emotions on the inside. By slowing down on the inside, you reorganize scattered energy that creates anxiety, self-doubt and compression. This eases up your system within that time frame. This can help you reconnect with your capacity to discern, make decisions and release self doubt. If you do this process genuinely from the heart, it helps to regain balance and flow.

By slowing down on the inside, you are actually creating more time because you operate with more flow and less ‘energetic traffic jams.’ With practice, Ease Frame can help you move through daily modulations while making it easier to replace stress with resilience. One of the most important benefits of using Ease Frame is that it helps you to connect with that place of resilience inside that we all have – until self doubt clouds the connection. Often, when we quietly connect with our heart, we free up the resilience to suit the need of the moment.

Here are some additional benefits as you continue to practice Ease Frame:

1. New sense that you have the time you need
2. Hopeful feelings that replace hopeless feelings
3. More time for things that really matter to you
4. Improved outlook on life
5. More patience with people, less irritable
6. More relaxed, greater enjoyment at work and play

Remember to anchor your efforts in the heart and don’t get discouraged if you have a setback at times. We all know that certain situations are more challenging than others. We also know that we have surprised ourselves at what we can do when genuine commitment is applied while putting our hearts into our intentions.

N.B. The Institute of HeartMath is an internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to heart-based living – people relying on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with their minds to conduct their lives at home, school, work and play. HeartMath has been researching heart intelligence, stress and emotional management for more than 18 years and applied its findings to practical, easy-to-use tools that have been scientifically developed and tested.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

When Anubis talks, Men bark - Compensation & Karma

(By Dimitri Halley)

In life, there’s always an opposite force called forth to confront us when we are too one-sided. The mechanism in depth psychology is the western version of what the East is called Karma, a natural process aimed at establishing or maintaining balance with the psyche. Yet given that the mind can affect the physical, we have found that this compensatory force also operates in our own bodies.

The conscious mind is selective. It excludes everything that threatens its image of itself. This makes the conscious self-orientation one-sided. The contents that are excluded and inhibited sink into the unconscious, where they form a counterweight to the conscious orientation. The strengthening of this counter-position keeps pace with the increase of conscious one-sidedness until finally the shadow can split off and return in physical or psychological form to terrorise the dominant side in the self. The repressed unconscious contents break through in the form of dreams and spontaneous images in order to compensate and balancing the conscious lopsided conscious orientation.

The aim of this compensation of the demon within is to boycott the deceiver in us and vice versa.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Introductory Coherence Technique

(By Global Coherence Initiative organised by the Institute of HeartMath)

Being coherently aligned while radiating compassion and care increases focus and effectiveness. However, any genuine care and compassion you radiate benefits the planet, whether or not you are in total coherence. You can radiate care and compassion for the planet while riding down the road, exercising, working in the yard, standing in a grocery line or at any time you can squeeze it in. It all counts and adds to the collective intention.


1. Breathe and calm yourself in whatever ways you choose.

2. Choose something you appreciate – a person, pet, nature, etc. – and radiate the feeling of appreciation to them for about 2 minutes. This helps open the heart more and increases your effectiveness when you start sending care to the planet or to a situation in need.

3. Now evoke the genuine feelings of compassion and care for the planet.

4. Breathe the feelings of compassion and care going out from your heart. To help with focus, some people imagine the compassion and care flowing out the way an ocean wave flows toward a beach. Some imagine their compassion radiating as a beam of light. Others simply radiate it out with the rhythm of their breath. There are no hard and fast rules on how you do this. People are different, so find what suits you.

5. Radiate the genuine feelings of compassion and care to the planet or to a specific area of immediate need.

6. See yourself, along with other caretakers, participating in this process of healing and facilitating peace.

How long should you do the technique?

That’s for you to decide. Most people do it at least 5 minutes a day to help build their personal coherence. As people increasingly understand the wholeness benefits of coherence for the sender and the receiver, they often increase the length of time. Sometimes you’ll want to spend more time and other times less, based on how you feel and your schedule.

N.B. This technique is taken from the Global Coherence Initiative website. The Global Coherence Initiative is a science-based initiative uniting millions of people in heart-focused care and intention, to shift global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace. This project has been launched by the Institute of HeartMath, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), a recognized global leader in researching emotional physiology, heart-brain interactions and the physiology of optimal health and performance. The Global Coherence Initiative is designed to help individuals and groups work together, synchronistically and strategically to increase the impact of their efforts to create positive global change. They can be reached at the following website:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Meditation - A Powerful Tool for Human Evolution

(By Kevin Schoeninger)

The research is pouring in on the profound benefits of meditation practice. Science now confirms what practitioners have known for centuries: Meditation is a powerful tool for human evolution.

How could sitting quietly “doing nothing” possibly make such a difference in your life? The truth is found in many dimensions. We’ll explore some of the most important points in this brief article. Of course, to fully understand, you’ll have to meditate for yourself. If you need some inspiration or re-motivation for that venture, read on.

Let’s talk about the benefits of meditation in four dimensions: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Meditation in its best forms is a truly holistic practice; it works on all levels of your being. It has the power to improve your health and immune function, increase your emotional sensitivity and emotional balance, clear and focus your mind, and strengthen your sense of spiritual connection. Let’s go through each of these in turn.

Dr. Herbert Benson began his research into the physiological changes during meditation practice at Harvard University in 1968. He published a groundbreaking book, called “The Relaxation Response” in 1975. In this book, he described a state of deep relaxation that occurs in meditation that counters the physical and emotional effects of stress or the “fight/flight” response.

Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system which puts us in a state of hyperactive readiness that can be useful during real emergency situations. However, chronic stress is a condition that tears down the body and inhibits its ability to adapt, grow, and repair itself. Chronic stress shunts blood away from the internal organs to the extremities which hampers digestion and immunity. Our muscles tighten into a state of persistent tension, blood pressure rises, emotions get locked into a protective fear mode, and our mind is less able to process new information and find creative solutions.

In addition, chronic stress is associated with chronic inflammation in the body which is being linked to almost every major disease, including cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune dysfunction. With the speed, pressure, and intensity of human life at an all-time high and on the rise, it’s absolutely imperative that we learn to master stress and relax our bodies.

The relaxation response described by Dr. Benson activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is our recovery and repair mode. People who learn to activate the relaxation response using a simple meditation technique show almost immediate positive physiological changes. Their breathing slows and deepens, their hearts come into rhythmic coherence, their brainwaves slow and synchronize, and they experience a pleasurable sense of relief and relaxation.
Long-term meditation practice lowers blood pressure, increases the release of “feel good” neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, and stimulates the production of DHEA, a hormone which helps the body repair and regenerate itself.

When you meditate, your body not only comes down from stress, but you feel better and more in charge of your inner life. You are more aware of your inner feelings and more able to manage them. Research at the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania shows that meditation practice develops the anterior cingulate, a structure in the midbrain that enables you to manage your thoughts and feelings and increases your ability to empathize with and have compassion for others. In other words, meditation is good for your personal well-being and for building strong relationships.

Meditation also develops the prefrontal lobes in the front of the brain, just behind your forehead. The prefrontal lobes enable you to focus your attention and integrate your experiences in meaningful and productive ways. Studies with Tibetan monks at the University of Wisconsin have shown increased thickness in the prefrontal lobes and increased neural connections between the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain in those who have meditated for extended periods of time.

Research at the University of Pennsylvania also suggests that meditation practice enhances memory formation and retention. This points to its use as a possible preventive measure for Alzheimer’s and other conditions associated with aging and the brain.

Not only does meditation have these powerful effects on the body, emotions, and brain, but there are more profound and less easy to study spiritual effects. In general, meditation develops your ability to feel connected to life. People often describe their deep meditations as times when they feel most like themselves. They also experience themselves as part of the One Life that we all share. Meditators often describe a deep sense of trust, support, and guidance that comes in their meditation practice.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scared Geometry

(By Tiffiney Whitmire)

"All things throughout our universe seem to follow the same fundamental blueprint or geometric patterns. These geometrical archetypes, which reveal to us the nature of each form and its vibrational resonances. They are also symbolic of the underlying metaphysical principle of the inseparable relationship of the part to the whole. It is this principle of oneness underlying all geometry that permeates the architecture of all inseparability and union provides us with a continuous reminder of our relationship to the whole--a blueprint for the mind to the sacred foundation of all things created."

We call this blueprint "Sacred Geometry".

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stories are how we understand best

In Athens back in 388 BC, Plato petitioned to the City Fathers (or members of the city’s municipal council) to exile and banish all storytellers from the city for the “safety” of its citizenry. He argued that they are threats to the society at large by reason that they do not communicate ideas in an open and rational manner as with philosophers. Instead, the storytellers hide their ideas within the seductive emotions of art.

Plato knew that storytellers have the ability to influence the citizens by concealing potent ideas in compelling yet deceptively straightforward stories. Plato argued that each well-constructed story will deliver a charged idea out into the minds of the citizens, and therefore effectively compelling them to believe and accept the idea, even if it may be morally repugnant. Plato knew that concealing an idea within a story magnified the power of that idea far beyond simply sharing the idea alone.

The reason for this is that stories emulate the way we think. In our daily lives, we literally think in narrative structures as if we are telling an ongoing story of ourselves. May it be talking about the events which occurred during our day, connecting with a friend over a cup of coffee, or reflecting on our experiences just before we go to bed, we inadvertently think in a storyline format. It is because of this, stories naturally imprint themselves into our minds without any effort on our part.

Stories are how we understand best.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Magic of Creative Flow

Originally posted in Evolution Ezine at the following site:

Artists describe it as “rapture”.
Mystics describe it as “ecstasy”.
Athletes describe it “being in the zone”.
Taoist scholar Chuang Tzu describes it as a state where "perception and understanding come to a stop and the spirit begins to move where it wants”.
And Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Me-hi Chicksent-me-hi), a research psychologist and former chairman of the psychology department at the University of Chicago who has devoted his life to the study of flow, describes it as an optimal experience during which people feel that they are engaged in a creative unfolding of something greater than the task at hand. As a result of this engagement, they experience a deep sense of fulfillment and spontaneous joy.

Flow is achieved any time when we are able to experience full, positive engagement with what we are doing, that is, whenever we are able to put everything we have into the engagement. The nature of the activity, may it be art, problem-solving, innovation, games, sports, work or hobbies, does not matter in the least. It is during the total un-self-conscious tuning into the present as well as the activity in which we are engaged when our emotions are positively energized and completely aligned with the task at hand.

Csikszentmihalyi has identified and outlined several elements of the experience of flow, of which the following six are the most characteristic:

The flow is a state of self-forgetfulness.

While in the flow, we are performing at their peak, and we are so fully absorbed in their task at hand that welose all self-consciousness. Moments of flow are egoless. When experiencing the flow, we are unconcerned with how we are performing, or whether we will succeed or fail. In fact, we are not even consciously experiencing satisfaction or joy. In fact, if we were to stop and think, “Oh how happy I am” or “I’m doing this so well”, the flow may as such be interrupted by the shift of focus from the task to the self. And feelings of deep satisfaction, elation, fulfilment that accompany the flow are usually consciously realized in retrospect.

In the flow, there is no perception of space and time.

While in the flow, the outside world fades away, while full focus is maintained on the task at hand. Distractions are excluded from consciousness. Performing artists will become unaware of the audience, and in fact, after the performance is over, they may not remember much about it too. A skier who won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in 1994, when interviewed about her experience, said that she remembered nothing about it except being immersed in relaxation. She said: “I felt like a waterfall”. While in the flow, time becomes an ever-present "now" in which awareness and action are merged into one. Instead of the individual being in charge of the process, the process seems to be in charge of itself. Each step emerges out of the previous one seemingly in one, single extended moment.

In the flow, the brain is in a “cool” state.

The quality of attention while in the flow is highly focused, yet completely relaxed and at ease. When people reach this effortless state of flow, their brain actually quiets down even though the activity may be quite challenging. But once we become totally attuned to the task at hand, as well as are positively and emotionally immersed into it, our brains work unhindered by any other concerns such as worry or fear. The zone of flow is described as an “oasis of cortical experience”, with only a bare minimum of mental energy being expended.

The flow occurs when the activity is “autotelic”.

In other words, the activity is done just for its own sake, and is perceived as an end in itself. Researchers have found that flow is achieved more easily by artists who just focus on their artwork, instead of focusing on the future benefits of fame and wealth that their artwork may bring. The same results have been found in self-reports from athletes, writers and innovators, who have begun their tasks at hand or undertaken their specific challenges not as means to an end, but as ends in themselves. In this case, they are perhaps perceived them as opportunities to try something new, to excel in something, or to stretch and outdo themselves.

While in the flow, people are tireless.

When the brain is operating at peak performance, even very challenging tasks that require very hard work are experienced as refreshing or replenishing rather than draining. This occasionally may have some negative side-effects, because the brain does get tired eventually and fatigue may ensue. Most people who have learned to get into the zone of flow usually know when to take a break or stop working on their tasks for a while, but at the same time also know that they can get back into it anytime they want.

The flow is “addictive”.

This happens for two reasons:

1) Because the flow frequently occurs when an activity challenges us to the fullest of their capacities, our skills will tend to improve or increase in the process and therefore the next challenge would need to be heightened for us to get into the flow, like a larger dose of a drug.

2) The flow feels good and is intrinsically rewarding; for this reason, people tend to want to repeat the experience of flow as frequently as possible. An owner of a large retail company once described the elation he felt in applying some new systems in the organization of his company to improve company-customer relations. His high level of involvement in the project could be felt tangibly as he talked about it, and it could be seen in his shining eyes the excitement and rapture that he felt. As soon as his project was complete, and when the new systems were running perfectly, he immediately embarked upon a new project with “even better” systems for improving the company's customer relations that he had in the meantime discovered. In other words, he was hooked on the flow.

How easy is it then to experience flow?

The whole key to getting into the flow is achieving the state of self-forgetfulness that the experts stress on, by totally focusing on the task at hand with positive expectation and total emotional engagement. Usually, our brains will create some “static” in the first few minutes until they becomes completely aligned with the task at hand. By then as if by magic, we would be suddenly thrust into the zone experiencing the magic of the flow.

P.S. Ismini Apostoli is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, practicing in Greece and offering online services throughout the world. She is particularly interested in self- esteem, self-development and self-actualization and helping people uncover their special gifts and talents. You can find out more by visiting the following site: