Archive for April, 2011
“Do not make the mistake of thinking you are a powerless individual in a vast world. Know that you are armed with three great powers. You have the power of the body—the source of all action; the power of speech—the source of all expression; and the power of the mind—the source of all thought,” writes Tai Situ Rinpoche in The Way Ahead.
Effectively, whether we are aware of it or not, everything we think, say and do has an effect on everyone and everything else. This means that our thoughts and actions can lead to chaos and destruction as easily as they can to healing and friendship. It also means that we have enormous resources available to us at all times.
Our actions, obviously, have the most direct impact on others. The destructive results of believing that whatever we do has no bearing on anyone or anything else can be seen throughout our natural world. Every action we take, even the smallest and simplest of everyday choices, has a consequence. For instance, in southern Egypt we traveled by truck into the desert. From where the truck left us, we hiked far up a dry riverbed into silence and beauty and rubbish: piles of polystyrene and plastic dumped in the middle of nowhere. On an island in Greece, we found large bags of garbage washed ashore that had been tipped into the Mediterranean by passing boats. While in the exotic paradise of Sri Lanka, Deb was happily swimming in the beautiful Unawatuna Bay when human feces floated past her. Apart from polluting the land and water, such garbage and raw sewage is devastating to the surrounding plant, animal, and sea life.
“Nothing exists by itself; everything exists only in relationship,” says Marc Ian Barasch in Be The Change. “This leads to the realization that life is not just about my own pursuit of happiness or search for comfort, but the ego is always wanting gratification and this can lead to all sorts of problems. For instance, as we don’t like to scrub and scrape our cooking pots, we invented Teflon and nonstick pans. But now toxic perchlor fluoride from Teflon manufacturing can be found in the umbilical cord blood of 98% of newborns. Everything exists in relationship.”
posted by Isha Judd Apr 23, 2011 9:09 am
Are you a rigidly structured person? Do you feel trapped within your own ideas, as if you were in a box? If so, the big question is… are you ready to change?
Just becoming aware of this rigidity within yourself, is a very good thing: until you are aware of something, you cannot make a conscious decision to change it. When you do realize what is going on, you can start to do the opposite: if your rigidity has reached the point of causing you high levels of stress, if the slightest deviation from your expectations of how things should look brings you great anxiety, it is time to start knocking down the walls of your opinions. This doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable process – ultimately it is incredibly freeing – so approach it in a lighthearted way; start opening the boxes of your mind with the excitement and wonder of a child on Christmas morning.
With the willingness to change, you can approach each box and start to discover what lies within. Maybe you will come across some old ideas that might have seemed very intelligent at the time, but now no longer serve you. Or maybe you will unwrap some subconscious attachments, that maybe it is time to let go of as well.
Make no mistake when it comes to attachments: this is not abandonment, you are simply letting go of the fear you have projected onto the person or object in question. As a result, you are really only losing that which limits you and keeps you from absolute fulfillment, permanent peace, unconditional love of self and of the world.
People with many boxes also have very beautiful aspects: they have a certain rigidity that allows them to be highly focused, so use that to focus on being free, to focus on practicing that which does you good, use it to bring out the best of yourself. If you are a stubborn person for example, use that quality to stubbornly choose for that which heals you, to love yourself. Be hard headed, but to love yourself! Use it in your favor.
As you continue opening your boxes and emptying them, you will find yourself living in one enormous box, big enough to contain the whole of totality. It is a ‘box’ full of love, with no walls and no limits; when you make a commitment to healing yourself, this limitless no-box becomes your objective.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/thinking-outside-the-box.html#ixzz1KZZdCEyQ
If you don’t love yourself, nobody else will. Not only that- you won’t be good at loving anyone else. Loving starts with the self.
Dr. Wayne Dyer
I would add that this can only be done through complete self-acceptance!
The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.
posted by Deepak Chopra Apr 12, 2011
We each have a soul, but because we are each observing from a different place and a different set of experiences, we do not observe the same things in exactly the same ways. The variations in what we observe are based on our minds’ interpretations. Our minds interpret the observation differently.
Interpretation happens at the level of the mind, but it is our individual souls that are conditioned by experience, and through that memory of past experience the soul influences our choices and interpretations in life.
These tiny kernels or seeds of memory build up in the individual soul over a lifetime, and this combination of memory and imagination based on experience is called karma.
Karma accumulates in the personal part of the soul, the wave at the core of our being, and colors it. This personal soul governs the conscience and provides a template for the kind of person each of us will turn out to be. In addition, the actions we take can affect this personal soul, and change our karma, for better or worse.
The universal, nonlocal part of the soul is not touched by our actions, but is connected to a spirit that is pure and unchanging. In fact, the definition of enlightenment is “the recognition that I am an infinite being seeing and seen from, observing and observed from, a particular and localized point of view.”
Whatever else we are, no matter how much of a mess we may have made of our lives, it is always possible to tap into the part of the soul that is universal, the infinite field of pure potential, and change the course of our destiny.
Adapted from The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press).
For people with mental health problems, care can be elusive
http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-healthcare-mental-health Michelle Andrews Kaiser Health News March 21, 2011
In any given year, more than a quarter of U.S. adults have a diagnosable mental health problem — from depression to bipolar disorder — yet fewer than half get any kind of treatment for it. The figures are similar for children.
Many who do receive care get it through their primary-care physician rather than a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist. That’s partly by choice: People prefer to talk to someone they know and trust about medical problems, and for many, there’s still a stigma in seeing a “shrink.”
But part of the reason people turn to their primary-care doctors or go without care is that it can be tough to get an appointment with a mental health expert. Psychiatrists, in particular, are in short supply especially in rural areas.
A recent survey conducted for the Tennessee Psychological Association, for example, found that the average wait to see a psychiatrist for a non-emergency appointment was 54 days for patients with private health insurance and 90 days for those covered by TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, says Lance Laurence, director of professional affairs for the TPA.
“It’s a huge access issue,” says Katherine Nordal, executive director for professional practice at the American Psychological Association, a trade group for psychologists.
Psychologists say they have a solution to help address the access problems: Give them more authority to prescribe psychotropic medications. They can already prescribe in New Mexico and Louisiana, as well as in all branches of the military and the Indian Health Service. A half-dozen other states are considering measures that would give more psychologists prescribing authority.
Some of those states have considered and rejected such legislation before, but Nordal says her group is “cautiously optimistic” that it may succeed in a few states this year.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors with a specialty in psychiatry; psychologists have doctoral degrees, and their training includes coursework in diagnosing and managing mental illness. Any medical doctor, from dermatologist to surgeon, can prescribe psychotropic drugs; but before psychologists can prescribe drugs — in the jurisdictions that allow it — they must complete work equivalent to an additional master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology, says Nordal. With the exception of psychiatrists, she says, no medical professional is as well versed in medication for mental disorders as prescribing psychologists.
In addition, psychologists provide other types of treatment, such as talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, in contrast to psychiatrists who often only prescribe drugs. A national survey found that only 10.8 percent of psychiatrists offer talk therapy to all their patients. “We have a bigger toolkit than many others do that prescribe,” Nordal says.
Health insurance generally covers prescription drugs to treat mental illness, but coverage for therapy sessions with a mental health provider is less routine. This has resulted in an over-reliance on drug therapy in recent years, all agree. Experts say this imbalance should change under the Mental Health Parity Act which took effect last year; it requires mental health benefits, if offered, to be at least as generous as benefits for medical and surgical care. Even if the type of treatment shifts somewhat, however, many patients will still need drug therapy.
Physician groups such as the American Medical Association and some patient advocacy groups, however, are cool to the idea of letting psychologists prescribe drugs. “These are serious drugs with serious side effects,” says Mike Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness a consumer advocacy organization. “We feel strongly that [prescribing] should be handled by someone with medical training.”
Unfortunately, even some doctors have difficulty prescribing medication for patients with mental disorders. Primary-care physicians, for example, prescribe 41 percent of all antidepressants, but research shows that they may misjudge the correct dose and don’t schedule necessary follow-up visits.
The problem is likely to become more acute with an estimated 32 million people expected to gain health insurance under the health-care overhaul law. The Assn. of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of 45,000 primary-care physicians alone by 2020.
Experts agree that solutions lie in better integration between primary care and mental health care. This makes sense in part because for more than a third of patients with mental health problems, the only practitioner they see is a primary-care provider.
In addition, people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma are significantly more likely to have mental health problems than those without chronic illness. People with serious mental illness, in fact, die 25 years sooner, on average, than the rest of the population.
The health-care overhaul, with its emphasis on medical homes and accountable care organizations that take responsibility for managing a patient’s health rather than just providing medical services, offers promising models for integration, experts agree.
In clinical psychologist Benjamin Miller’s primary care “dream world,” mental health providers work alongside primary-care physicians, in the same office. Miller is an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado’s school of medicine in Denver. Part of his job is to integrate mental health into the family medicine department’s clinical, education and research functions.
“There’s a range of mental health needs that will be seen in primary care,” he says. “You can’t tease it out from the other conditions that an individual is facing.”
-Andrews writes for Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service and a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan healthcare policy research organization. Neither Kaiser Health News nor the foundation is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times
Ten Steps to Peace Consciousness
(taken from Peace is the Way, by Deepak Chopra)
1. Change doesn’t start on the surface. It’s generated from consciousness. This has been true throughout history. If both Buddhism and Christianity could begin with one person, let us not think in terms of numbers and odds. It may sound grandiose to compare ourselves to great spiritual guides, but we act collectively, as an alliance. Our strength comes from critical mass.
2. We aren’t here to make the world evolve. We are here to evolve as individuals and then to spread that influence. In the wisdom tradition of Vedanta, the stream of evolution is known in Sanskrit as Dharma, from a root verb that means ‘to uphold.’ This gives us a clue how to live: the easiest way for us to grow is to align ourselves with Dharma. We don’t have to struggle to grow–that would be unproductive, in fact. The Dharma has always favored non-violence. If we can bring ourselves to a state of non-violence, and connect with others who are doing the same thing, we have done a huge thing to reinforce Dharma.
3. Societies get into the grip of their own self-created story. It’s helpful to realize that we can choose not to participate in that story. Realize that national and tribal stories are limited, self-serving, based on the past, reinforced by orthodoxy, and therefore opposed to real change. Stories are incredibly persuasive. Wars are fueled by victimization that runs deep, for example. So let us not try to change anyone’s story. Let us only notice and observe ourselves when we buy into it and then let us back away from participating in it.
4. Let us not demand of ourselves that we alone must be the agent of change. In a fire brigade everyone passes along a bucket, but only the last person puts out the fire. None of us know where we stand in line. We may be here simply to pass a bucket; we may be called on to play a major role. In either case, all we can do is think, act, and say. Let us direct our thoughts, words, and actions to peace. That is all we can do. Let the results be what they will be.
5. Let us realize that engagement and detachment aren’t opposite—the more engaged we become, the more detached we will have to be. Otherwise, we will lose ourselves in conflict, obsessiveness, anxiety over the future, and feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Keep in mind that we are pioneers into the unknown, and uncertainty is our ally. When our minds want closure, certainty, and finality, let us remind ourselves that these are fictions. Our joyous moments will come from riding the wave, not asking to get off at the next station.
6. Since most misery is born of failed expectations let us learn to minimize expectations so
that we will feel far less guilt and disappointment.
7. We aren’t here to be good or perfect. We are here as the antennas for signals from the future. We are here to be midwives to something that wants to be born. Good people have preceded us. They solved some problems and created others. As one wise teacher said, “You aren’t here to be as good as possible. You are here to be as real as possible.”
8. I know this sounds difficult, but let us try to be tolerant of intolerance. This is a hard one at times, but if you try the opposite—showing a hard heart against those with hard hearts of their own—all we’ve done is expand the problem. It’s helpful (but often difficult) to remember that everyone is doing the best they can form their own level of consciousness. Trying to talk a terrorist out of his
beliefs is like trying to persuade a lion to be a vegetarian. All we can realistically do is seek openings for higher awareness.
9. Let us resist the lure of dualities. These include us versus them, civilized versus barbarians, good versus evil. The good, civilized people of Europe managed to kill millions of themselves, along with millions of “them.” In reality we are all in the same boat of human conflict and confusion. Sometimes it helps to admit that the doctor is not far from being a patient.
10. Let’s create an atmosphere of peace around ourselves. Imagine that we are like a mother whose children come home crying about fights at school. Would it be her job to soothe their wounds or to arm them for fighting back tomorrow? Simplistic as it may sound, the male principle of aggression can only be healed by the feminine principle of nurturing and love.
…expect the best at all times. Never think of the worst. Drop it out of your thought. Let there be no thought in your mind that the worst will happen. Avoid entertaining the concept of the worst, for whatever you take into your mind can grow there. Therefore, take the best into your mind and only that. Nurture it, concentrate on it, emphasise it, visualise it, prayerise it, surround it with faith. Make it your obsession. Expect the best and spiritually creative mind power aided by God power will produce the best.
The Power of Positive Thinking for Young People Norman Vincent Peale p.94