backwards to go forwards
Understanding Past Life and Life-Between-Life regression
by Colleen-Joy Page
Past life regression, Life-Between-Life regression or Spiritual Regression are the names for the popular modalities that are rapidly growing around the world.
What is Past Life regression (PLR)?
Age regression techniques have been successfully used by Hypnotherapists for decades to assist clients to retrieve detailed memory from their current life events. This is helpful when details from the past are needed but cannot be accessed by the conscious mind. In exceptional cases hypnotherapy regression techniques are also used to unblock amnesia.
A past life regression is essentially an extension of age regression, whereby the client is guided to the retrieval of their memories from previous lifetimes. Past Life regression can happen spontaneously during an age regression, as was the case for Michael Newton PhD and Dr Brain Weiss, both internationally highly acclaimed authors and professionals who literally stumbled across past life regression while using traditionally therapeutic hypnotherapy for clients.
It is now commonly understood that all of our memories, including those of past lives are stored in a part of the mind that is not freely available to the active conscious mind. The conscious mind is the mind that we use every day to function in a wakeful state of consciousness. The subconscious and super conscious minds are the minds that are accessible during deeply relaxed states. Although therapists may use different terms and argue over the semantics, it is generally understood that the subconscious mind holds detailed, even photographic records of our entire current life experience i.e. this bodys life experiences from the womb to present. The superconscious mind is the term given to the mind that holds the detailed memories of the soul, i.e. detailed records of our life as souls before this physical incarnation.
Both the subconscious and superconscious can not be easily accesses by the conscious mind. Although many methods and modalities have reported success in being used to retrieve past life memories, by far the most reliable and well documented are those that use hypnotherapy.
Here is a list of some of the common methods used to retrieve past life memory:
Note that all the methods mentioned are related to a persons direct access of their own memories. This is not about using a psychic to get information about your lives. This is about you getting your own memories and information.
What is Life-Between-Life or Spiritual regression (LBL)?
Life-between-life regression, or Spiritual regression (same modality, different name), are the next natural step after Past Life regression.
A Past Life regression offers flashes, story sequences and information from memories of other lifetimes, this sometimes includes the death scene of the other life. Typically the death scene is consistently experienced as leaving the body, often felt as a floating upwards above the body, and then inevitably the departure of the soul from the physical life towards the "light", or "home" in spirit. In most past life regressions the memory of what happens after the death is brief, containing some detail of the souls encounter with benevolent beings, sometimes an overview of the life lived, but most regressions of past did not offer much about the life of the soul in-between lives. Rather, the clients mind would flash to another incarnations memory. Glimpses of the afterlife were scattered and brief. The work of Michael Newton PhD (USA) has pioneered a new field of regression hypnotherapy. Now retired in his 70s he literally spent 30-years of his career as a hypnotherapist doing life-between-life regressions, documented in his books "Journey of Souls" and "Destiny of Souls".
A life-between-life regression (LBL) is an extension of a past-life regression where the client is facilitated to sufficient trance depth to access their memories of being soul, between physical lifetimes.
The trance depth needed for LBL work is much deeper than that needed for past life recall.
Our waking alert state of consciousness is called a Beta state, (named after the dominant brain waves prevalent during alert wakefulness). Simply put: just under the Beta state is "Alpha", which can be accessed by relaxing the body and mind. A shallow alpha is a relaxed state where intuition, creativity and memory recall are greatly enhanced. Some people get spontaneous past life recall from a shallow alpha state. Others need a deeper alpha state to gain past life memory. Deep alpha is a trance state. Trance states are natural parts of our daily life, not to be feared or misunderstood. It is simple a deeply relaxed state of being, with focussed awareness, where the conscious mind is distracted or set aside so that the subconscious and superconscious can be accessed. You go into an Alpha state when you are bored, on your way to sleep, during parts of your sleep and dream cycles every night, when you are doing a repetitive task, etc. Just under Alpha is the "Theta" state. According to Michael Newton solid LBL requires a Theta state.
After doing thousands of LBLs for clients from a very broad spectrum of cultural and religious bias, Michael Newton found consistent information about the structure, nature and functions of
Michael Newtons international non-profit organisation TNI, (The Michael Newton Institute for Life Between Life hypnotherapy) now trains Hypnotherapists from around the world to do professional LBL work.
A professional LBL is at least 3.5 to 5 hours in length*. The Newton method of LBL is structured as follows -
Whats the difference between Past life and LBL regression?
A past life regression explores your past physical incarnations; an LBL explores your immortal identity and spiritual heritage. The LBL requires a deeper trance depth and uses the past life death as an entry point to souls home and identity.
How do we know its real?
For sceptical minds Past life regression memory can be checked against historical records, can be researched and validated, but LBL work stands without the luxury of this kind of confirmation. There are no solid ways to confirm or deny the authenticity of LBL memory. Other than Michael Newtons credible methodology and the sheer volume of consistent case studies; an LBL is an inner experience without external validation. For most, its authenticity comes from a deep feeling of knowing, and from the emotional responses their bodies feel when experiencing their immortal selves and home. Many describe the peace and love of the spirit world as being too much to contain or comprehend physically.
Regardless of the methodology used, the greatest obstacle to accurate past life and spiritual regression work is Conscious Mind Interference.
Conscious mind interference is the ability of the conscious mind to:
For most clients, the conscious mind is active to some extent throughout a regression; this is especially true with a lack of trance depth. Trance depth must therefore, be constantly monitored and deepened to lessen the effects of conscious interference. So most importantly, the therapist must be prepared to challenge the clients mind when interference is suspected. Often a client is doing the best they can with the limited vocabulary and knowledge of their human self to interpret vastly broader concepts and realities. Mistakes and misinterpretations do occur and must be worked with.
All LBL work and PLR work is subjective. Think about the enormity of the task at hand. With PLR we are attempting to access information from other times and other places that this current body and brain has no context for. With LBL work we go a step further; we are bringing in information and wisdom from a non-physical, non-linear reality, where communication is beyond human language, is telepathic, and not restricted to our 3 dimensional physical limitations.
The fact that LBL work is fallible does not make it less valuable. The LBL therapist that admits fallibility and works actively with potential problem areas like conscious mind interference and looping (client coming out of trance depths), is able to do the most service to his/her client, by being an advocate for deeper truth. The regressions that doesnt guard against the fallibilities of the work risks the ego and conscious mind tainting the information.
The LBL therapist is an advocate for the client, pushing the frontiers of the human mind to draw resources and information to the surface from the deepest levels of soul.
What are the benefits of having a regression?
Some would say leave the past alone. Some would say, leave heaven alone, thats Gods business. Others feel a call from deep within to search for an internally referenced, personal truth. They are not happy to accept surrogate truth, born of externals, born of beliefs. They want personal experiences, to make their own minds up, to find their own God, to find their own soul. For the seekers, LBL and PLR work is a valuable path to personal answers, personal wisdom and knowing rather than believing.
From interviews I recently had with other members of TNI in the Bedford UK during a training program on offer there, here are some benefits of LBL work:
"Reconnecting with your soul purpose and fully experiencing unconditional love, beyond mere concepts and beliefs, but as true knowing." - Paul Aurand (USA) President of The Michael Newton Institute for Life-Between-Lives Hypnotherapy TNI. When asked about the challenges offered by LBL work he said, "It is a true bearing of ones soul, and therefore you should carefully select a therapist that you are comfortable."
"An LBL provides a client with the means to understand their path, that transcends their physical existence." Pete Smith (Australia) a practising LBL hypnotherapist.
"An LBL provides a client with an opportunity to define with clear vision, ways to develop the intrinsic ethical qualities that exist at the heart of all humanistic wisdom". Paul de Bell (USA), Director of Education TNI, psychiatrist and LBL therapist.
Michael Newton PhD, founder of TNI says, "The major benefit of LBL work is the Spiritual Integration of the soul with the human body, through professional hypnotherapy.The public should work with a professionally trained TNI hypnotherapist."
It goes without saying that past life and spiritual regression must be dealt with responsibly and with maturity. On occasion a client is blocked from access to certain information that would interfere with their life choices and the learning of their current lives. Many LBL therapists would agree that the LBL balances much of the potential confusion and disruption that a PLR might result in.
Sometimes memories of past lives alone; without the therapeutic value of the LBLs soul perspective, guide input and general wisdom; can be haunting and limiting. For example a client may remember a past life suicide, the trauma of this memory is greatly healed and put into therapeutic use when the soul perspective is gained in the LBL. By seeing the bigger picture, and mostly by feeling the unconditional love and acceptance of teachers and guides the clients past life memory trauma is healed.
In another example, seeing the souls of loved ones and finding the connections of soulmates in the spirit world is clearer from the soul perspective than from the past life perspective.
The past life regression gives the perspective of another physical body, in another time, in another place. The LBL gives the immortal aerial perspective of all lives, and one is invariably left in awe at the freedom, love, wisdom, peace and compassion that is the reality of soul.
And how should you best prepare for a regression?
Many LBL therapists will tell; you based on what they hear from their clients in LBL; that the spiritual information is being "allowed" through the veils of human amnesia because the earth needs it to face the challenges born of overpopulation, drugs, crime and disillusionment.
Think of PLR and LBL as opening a door, every inch open is valuable. You dont have only 1 shot at this; you can open the door to your subconscious and superconscious mind a little at a time to find the treasures of asking, seeking and digging for truth. The treasures you unearth are a deeper and personal understanding of your immortal self, more integrated into your life and physical body.
Then we earn the deepest truth, that the light that we seek to guide us through the darkness of earths troubles, is the light of our own souls.
shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time"
*Editor's note: It has been the editor's experience that a full LBL sessession can be achieved in 2.5 to 3 hours.
Singing - Experiential Dream Exploration Through Song
by David M. Pierce, C.Ht.
Dreams provide us with a rich source of material about our inner experience. Some dreams contain messages or lessons that seem to have their source outside of our own self-aware ego consciousness. At times, the dream itself may even seem to have a consciousness of its own. As a hypnotherapist, the author frequently utilizes the abundant source of potentially therapeutic material contained in clients' dreams. When working with an individual I generally employ a gestalt methodology such as that described by Randal Churchill in his text on working with dreams: Become the Dream - The Transforming power of Hypnotic Dreamwork(1). In a group setting however, Dream Singing is my preferred vehicle.
I was introduced to the Dream Singing process by Sedonia Cahill and Barton Stone(2) in the early 1990's. Dream Singing is an essentially gestalt process. Instead of engaging in a talk-oriented, cognitive analysis of symbolic images, the dreamer role plays image-characters as a way of getting to the meaning of the dream experientially. In addition to "becoming" parts of the dream, in Dream Singing the dreamer is asked to, quite literally, sing the dream, in present tense, improvising a melody as they go. Dream Singing usually also involves group participation. Once the dreamer has sung the dream in its entirety, the facilitator asks the dreamer to sing, in first person, present tense, the dream of a specific image from within the larger dream. As the dreamer sings this fragment of the dream, the group will sing the dream back to the dreamer using only images and words that the dreamer has already provided.
Singing adds another dimension of information to the gestalt process. Through melodic, dynamic, and rhythmic variations, music communicates the emotional content of images much more palpably and efficiently than words alone. The effort of producing a melody may also serve to focus the dreamers attention and distract them from analyzing or editing the material they are recalling. Singing also appears to affect brain activity related to recall and cognition to a greater extent than speech does(3).
The Dream Singing process
During the Dream Singing process, all verbal interaction takes place in the form of song. The facilitator sings requests and any instructions to the dreamer, and the dreamer sings their responses.
Singing, the facilitator asks the dreamer to sing the dream in its entirety, in present tense. This, and all requests are sung to the dreamer, i.e. the facilitator sings: "(Dreamer's Name), please sing me your dream."
The dreamer sings the dream in its entirety, in present tense, improvising a melody as they go. Other group members simply listen and observe at this time.
Once the dream has been sung to its completion, the facilitator then selects an image from within the larger dream, and asks the dreamer to sing the dream of the selected image, i.e. "(Dreamer's Name), please sing me the dream of the (specific image)."
The dreamer sings this portion of the dream in first person, present tense, i.e. "I am a stuck door." The dreamer continues to bring out aspects of themselves and their experience as the image character.
At this point the group begins to support the dreamer by singing the dream back to the dreamer. They may only use images that the dreamer provides and, at this point, only images from this first round. They may not bring in outside images or images from the larger dream. It is not, however, necessary to reproduce the melody sung by the dreamer. The group supports the dreamer. The volume of the group should not overwhelm the dreamer's song. The round will come to a natural close as the dreamer feels that there is no more material to be brought out.
Once the round has come to a close the facilitator may select another object from the larger dream, or from within the round that has just been completed. The dreamer sings again in first person, present tense. Again the group supports the dreamer by singing the dream back. In this round the group may use images from the preceding round, as well as images from the current round. Images from outside the dream and, unless they were introduced in the previous round, images from within the larger dream may not be used. The round proceeds until the dreamer feels that there is no more material to be brought out and brings the round to a close.
The process continues for several rounds as additional images, taken from the larger dream or from previous rounds, are sung. With each subsequent round the group has more images available to sing back to the dreamer. Any image that has been introduced in previous rounds may be used by the group. Images from outside the dream and those from within the larger dream that were not introduced in the previous rounds may not.
Generally, three or four rounds of process are sufficient to bring the core message of the dream to conscious awareness. The facilitator may have to rely on their experience and intuitive sense of the process in deciding if it is time to bring the process to a close. When in doubt one can also ask the dreamer if they feel the process is complete.
At the outset, it is important that the facilitator instruct the group in their role of supporting the dreamer. The wash of sound and reflected images generated by the group usually provide energy and inspiration for the dreamer to immerse themselves deeply in the experience of the dream. However, care must be taken not to usurp the dream, and the group's volume should not overwhelm the voice of the dream singer.
Selecting images for processing:
In the author's experience, dreams are holographic. Individual images are expressions of the larger dream in microcosm and represent the dream viewed from different perspectives. While each object within a dream has the potential to unlock the mystery of the larger dream, some images seem to hold special keys. These are often the "smaller" and more obscure images. I suspect that this is because the larger and more dramatic images are more likely to catch the dreamer's attention. The dreamer is likely to have already formed a set of ideas about their meaning.
Recognizing objects that may unlock the dream requires that the facilitator be very attentive. The facilitator's challenge is in recognizing images that may have escaped the probing spotlight of the dreamer's search for meaning. These fugitives are more likely to catch the dreamer by surprise and break the seal on the vaults of meaning. For example; a dreamer sings a dream in which she is riding north, up a redwood tree lined coast, on a powerful black Harley-Davidson motorcycle that has red flames painted on it. Clearly the most striking image here is the red-and-black Harley Davidson motorcycle. One might choose this image for the first solo image round. As subjects for subsequent rounds one might choose the highway, the redwood trees, the ocean that the dreamer is driving past, or perhaps the red flames painted on the motorcycle. One doorway, that may open into unexpected vistas, would be to have the dreamer sing the dream of being the North. This, after all, is the direction the dreamer is headed, but the significance of the north would likely be missed by the dreamer.
In general it seems to be more effective to select specific objects rather than ideas. For example: singing the dream of (being) the stuck door, versus singing the dream of wanting the door to open.
Finally, there should be only one facilitator. Members of the group should refrain from calling for a dream image to be sung, unless the facilitator has opened the round to suggestions from the group.
Dream Singing can be a dynamic and inspiring process. Some participants tell me that they now sing all their dreams, even to themselves. On their own, they select and sing individual images, looking for the one that unfolds the dream puzzle box. One dreamer tells me that when she unearths a particularly inspiring and empowering image-song, she will sing it as she goes about her day, perhaps while exercising, riding her bicycle, or doing chores.
The novelty of this approach, the communal experience that it creates, and the dramatic and often poignant revelations I have witnessed in working with Dream Singing make it this author's primary choice for working with dream material in a group setting.
Churchill, Randal, Become the Dream - The Transforming power of Hypnotic Dreamwork, Transforming press, 1997 (back to article)
Sedonia and Stone, Barton Co-founders of The Great Round, a non-profit organization
that uses Vision Questing, the Circle, Self-generated Ritual and Drumming
as methods to explore, develop and restore a sense of connection to our
True Self, to the Earth and to the Sacred Community of all beings. On 3
February 2000, the author received word that Sedonia Cahill, one of the
most significant teachers in his life thus far, was killed in an automobile
accident while traveling in Morocco.
(back to article)
is a large body of research on the effect that singing, and other forms
of music therapy, has upon brain activity in Alzheimers Patients. Abstracts
of a number of these studies can be found on the University of Wisconsin-Eau
Claire, Music Therapy Research web Pages at: http://www.uwec.edu/academic/curric/rasarla/research/litandgoals/alzheimers/patients.htm
(back to article)
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and Your Health
by Pat Cougar, R.N., Reiki Master & David M. Pierce, C.Ht.
With our busy lives, many of us have begun to accept stress as a natural part of life. Not all stress is bad. Low levels of stress can motivate us to move forward, take action or accomplish goals. We expect some anxiety when there are changes in our life such as the birth of a child, moving, changing jobs or starting back to school. Eventually, due either to the cumulative effects of continuous lower levels of stress, or a traumatically stressful incident, we can reach a point where stress becomes distress.
When our mental and emotional distress continues and increases in severity, most of us start noticing physical symptoms. Headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, disturbances in sleep, and gastrointestinal symptoms, are just a few problems which can occur. We now know that several major health problems, such as heart disease and cancer, are related to stress levels. The functioning of our immune system is greatly affected as well.
As experiencing some stress is unavoidable, stress management becomes the goal. prevention is the key in successfully managing our stress and maintaining our physical and mental well-being. Taking time each day for moderate exercise, as well as time to be peaceful, better enables us to handle daily stressors. Setting priorities, allowing yourself to put some things "on the back burner", developing awareness of your "thought habits" - changing negative thoughts to positive thinking, and humor, are all things that contribute to positive and healthful stress management. We now also know that maintaining your "spiritual health" is a vital part of living a healthy, well balanced life.
If you find that you are having difficulty lowering your stress levels, seek support. Talking with family, friends and counselors can help. Take a class that teaches you ways to manage your own daily stress. Examples of these classes would be such things as yoga, tai chi, biofeedback, self-hypnosis, meditation, or energy work such as Reiki.
Don't wait until a major physical symptom or disease takes you to a medical doctor. be active in your own well-being. be around to celebrate life.
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by David M. Pierce
On 3 February 2000, I received word that Sedonia Cahill, founder of The Great Round and one of the most significant teachers in my life thus far, was killed in an automobile accident. The following article is a small tribute to her and the ways learning from her altered the course my life.
With happy anticipation I waited for the email message to finish downloading. The sender was listed as "sedonia cahill" and, curiously, the subject was "Sedonia". I always enjoy hearing from her, and get a renewed sense of that deep connection to events and people that forever changed my life for the better.
The e-mail program's filter tucked the message neatly away in a special mailbox I had created for our e-correspondence. As with my eating habits - saving the best for last - I read all the other messages, that had found their way to my machine that evening first. Then navigating my way to the mailbox labeled "from Sedonia Cahill", I selected the digital morsel I had been savoring.
David, I'm sorry to be sending you this news by email,
but we have been unable to find your telephone number.
I'm afraid we have some very bad news: Sedonia was in an automobile
accident while travelling with her son in Morocco, and she was killed."
It seemed as if a fist had just crashed into my heart. "Oh my god!" a voice that sounded like mine spoke in shock and disbelief. "Oh my god" I repeated, now aware that I had spoken, while my mind struggled to find some way to undo this reality, as one might undo the outcome of some virtual-reality game.
Grief is selfish. It took a while before I began to consider what happened to those with her, her son, his wife and her sister; the implications for their lives, the rest of the family, for those who circled with Sedonia regularly, and for all of us around the world who's lives had been reshaped and transformed by our contact and work with Sedonia.
For me the transformation began in 1988, my fourteenth year in the emergency medical services. I was then working as a paramedic. I was driving back to the central valley California town of Chico after a visit to the coast. The tape-recorded music I was listening to had reached the end of its length. The tape deck ejected the cassette and the radio came on. I grabbed the cassette, flipped it over and was about to reinsert it into the player, when the phrase "prayer arrows" caught my attention. It was an interview with Sedonia Cahill and her partner at that time, Bird Brother (Barton Stone), on KPFA.
They were describing their vision quest work, and though the words "vision quest" were never mentioned during the portion of the interview I had inadvertently tuned into, as I listened to these people and what they were describing I felt a deep need to connect with them. I headed for the next freeway exit and pulled into a fueling station so that I could concentrate on listening to the interview and write down any information that might enable me to contact these people. Conveniently, the interview was winding down and the announcer gave out an address and phone number. I had managed to find a pen but, lacking paper, I scribbled the information on the van's dashboard. It was at the close of the interview that I realized that there was no reason that the radio should have been dialed (it was the old, analog scale-and-pointer type) into that particular frequency. In my home region there is only static on that frequency. I was now even more determined to get in touch with Sedonia and Bird. It could be said that their "prayer arrow" had found its mark in my soul.
In August of 1989 I undertook my first Vision Quest with Sedonia and Bird, on Black Mountain in the Bristle-Cone National Forest. Almost exactly a year later I undertook a "Death Lodge" quest with them in the same place. The significance of these quests and their impact upon my life cannot be overstated. I point to this period as the place my life began anew, for it was in the Death Lodge that I truly chose life and committed myself to the living of it as an expression of passion and gratitude. I realized that I had been trying to "earn" the right to exist through trying to be a "good boy", "special", and "the hero". There in Sacred Space, I awakened to the truth that life is a gift that is impossible to "earn" or "repay", and staring unflinching into the terrifying eyes of The Lady of Death (impeccably played by Sedonia) I claimed the gift of my own life. The David who returned from that desert is very different (and much happier) than the one who entered it.
As I examine my present life, I can point to my work with Sedonia as the beginning or transformation point of so many of the significant expressions of who I am. My departure from my job as a paramedic and the beginning of my work as a group facilitator with The Singing Drum, a series of workshops I created featuring Drum-making and Drumming as a tool in psycho-social-spiritual integration and transformation, arose directly from the vision quest experiences with Sedonia. It was the transformative work in the Wolf Clan, the first of the Great Round's apprenticeship groups, that set me upon the course that led to my becoming a hypnotherapist. The expression of my spirituality, which has matured from a modeling of quasi Native American forms, to an expression that arises from that which is most deeply authentic within me, was catalyzed by Sedonia and the vision quest. And it was on my second vision quest that I met my life partner and soulmate, Pat Cougar.
I consider Sedonia to be one of my greatest teachers. I will always be grateful to for the positive changes that she so competently facilitated in me.
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figuring out what I came here for
by David M. Pierce (with apologies to Dr Seuss) 8 October, 2001
puzzled and puzzed till my puzzler was sore.
Then I've puzzled and puzzed and puzzled some more.
I've consulted the tea leaves; consulted the stars.
I've consulted the IChing, psychics, and cards.
I've chanted, and panted, danced dervish dances, and Quested
And done some things that nearly have got me arrested.
I've catharted frustration and tried meditation.
I've read text after text on "Self-actualization".
Then one day, in trance, I asked of the blue:
Please tell me, just what is it I'm s'posed to do?
"My friend, you're in luck!", spoke bright little voices.
"You've been blessed, and yet cursed, with so many choices.
Now here is a thought that may take some chewing:
It's what you are being while you're busy doing".
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Suggestions for Living Fully in Times of Crisis
by Bill Martin
October 30, 2001
Be very careful in your use of media. By its very nature, modern mass media must appeal to either hope or fear in order to grab attention. In this case, hope is actually just a corollary of fear - we hope that what we fear will not happen. Therefore daily headlines and newsbites are chosen, edited, and written to arouse concern and worry, not to inform, despite what journalists may claim. You might consider using a thoughtful weekly magazine to keep informed of the issues and refrain from the daily seesaw of carefully selected and worded tidbits of fear food. The thoughts that arise in our mind during the earliest part of the day exert an extremely powerful influence on our moods and actions for the rest of the day. So whatever media you utilize, consider refraining from the urge to use it in the morning. Wait until midday when you have already set the tone for the day and your mind is less susceptible to programming by external sources.
Cultivate Present-Moment Living. The ordinary moments before you right now are the most important moments in the universe. pay close attention to them. These are your life. I highly recommend a little book by Eckhart Tolle titled, The power of Now, for learning more about the importance of the present moment.
Don't hesitate to enjoy. Pleasant activities are still pleasant activities. Walks in the park are still beautiful. Loving another person is still remarkable. Food is still wonderful. Friends are still a blessing. In fact, all of these things are even more wonderful when experienced with the full attention that can come from a renewed sense of appreciation.
Practice your spirituality. Have you been waiting to establish a meditation or prayer practice? Have you been meaning to gather with people and groups who encourage and support your faith? Are you still waiting? Why?
Learn to let go. As your fears and distractions are hooked by a conversation or thought, notice how it feels, label it: "I'm feeling anxious and worried again," then count several deep breaths and return to that which is in front of you. be careful of indulging your fears by rehashing them with friends.
Get enough exercise and more than enough rest. Be aware that times of crisis often take a hidden toll in stress build up. Keep active through whatever means are pleasant for you. A walk around the block is far better than another 20 minutes of fretting or distracting. Do not listen to media before bedtime. Turn the lights low two hours before retiring and read pleasant books or play quiet games with family. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal.
Assume the best about yourself. We each have within us wonderful natural virtues that we often ignore until they are needed. Courage and compassion are your birthrights and are waiting within you. You don't have to generate them by willpower.
Keep your perspective. The elements of life have always been impermanent. In the next ten years it is likely that 7,000,000 people will die of AIDS in South Africa alone. Let the suffering of the world awaken our compassion rather than our fear. Death is certain, only the time and place are unknown. Will awakening to this fact immobilize us? Or will it move us to live with full awareness, hope, zest and courage?
I continue to be hopeful that the entire world is entering the birth pangs of a truly universal consciousness. We cannot force that to occur. The only responsibility each of us has is to awaken to our own true Self. From that will arise all the courage, compassion, and healing needed - individually and socially. Be of good hope.
to us all,
Martin is cofounder of:
The Still Point - Center for Contemplative Living
Bill is also author of a number of books, including: The Parent's Tao Te Ching; The Couple's Tao Te Ching; and The Sage's Tao Te Ching
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