Monday, 13 July 2020

I sound like a philosopher

And if that's the idea held by the parents, the teachers, and the administrators, you can bet your life that's the idea the kids will have. They don't want to go to school, and they don't want to learn. And when they don't learn, they feel angry at themselves and others and totally frustrated in their efforts to know the world and themselves. And they suffer false guilt which, in turn, may become real guilt as they aggressively fight back at the system through acts of violence or vandalism. We are expected to feel good about ourselves and our parenting as we raise our children naturally and intuitively, while poring over more parenting articles and magazines than ever about how to raise smart and creative and empathetic children who practice piano on their own, sleep nine hours a night, and play varsity soccer as freshmen. We are expected to take up the mantle of those authoritarian experts we abandoned in the fifties and function as professionals both at home and at work. As we sift through the reams of parenting advice, we are left to strike our own balance between work and home, trust in our instincts, and trust in the experts. Today, parenting is less oxytocin-soaked rosy glow, more adrenaline-fueled oncoming-headlight glare. According to a post on Parenting magazine's website about today's most pressing parenting questions, we parents are concerned with the minutiae of parenting, such as Will I spoil my baby if I pick her up every time she cries? Should I be worried? While our focus has shifted from matters of life and death to the small details of children's mental, physical, and emotional development, the concluding item on the list exposes the concern at the root of all these parenting details. When we beg for answers to all those other nitpicky, insignificant questions, what we really want to know is How will I know if I am a good parent? The answer, for most of us, is found in the moments when parenting feels good. I feel good when my children are safe, warm, and fed, of course, but what really feels good, what makes me feel like an A-plus parent, is when I show my kids I love them by rescuing them from disappointment. Attention to a relaxed yet strong posture is also conducive to comfort. The way I've been taught to attend to posture during meditation is to keep my heart open--open heart and strong back. Actually it's a gesture of enormous bravery to sit up when you find yourself slumping, when you find yourself closing down. You can actually help your mind and heart to open by sitting with an open front. So the head and the torso, which is from below your neck to your waist, is like a straight line that just drops from the top of the head down through your body. Whenever you find yourself slumping, just lift up again.

Open your heart. Good posture for sitting meditation--a posture that allows us to be relaxed and settled in our bodies--involves attention to six points: seat, hands, torso, eyes, face, and legs. To begin, you want to find a nice, stable base. Sometimes I call it a flat bottom, but it's basically just a stable base. In the words of Errol Morris, filmmaker of A Brief History of Time, philosophy aims to know the underlying order in the world,4 or as Victor Cousin said, It describes and establishes what is. As Wilfred Sellars writes, Philosophy in an important sense has no special subject-matter which stands to it as other subject matters stand to other special disciplines. This is why we have the philosophy of science, the philosophy of politics. Sellars continues, The aim of philosophy. It is therefore, the 'eye on the whole' which distinguishes the philosophical enterprise. Philosophy for this reason gives us a unique way to come up with answers which may lead economists, historians, and even mathematicians to look at their work differently, even though their own fields limit such an exploration for these answers. Knowing this, it's little surprise that philosophers, as a profession, lead the top 10 of the most influential people who ever lived as seen in MIT's pantheon list. Sadly, many today see philosophy as outdated and useless. Using complex words and jargon makes it sound like it's from an alien civilization. Religions have priests to help explain any unclear messages in their holy articles, but philosophy lacks such teachers. Experiments on the effects of one or two weeks' separation of monkey babies from their mothers can therefore be viewed with interest. It has been found that when a monkey baby is separated from his mother he undergoes a period of extreme distress followed by apathy and inactivity. After being reunited with his mother there is a marked increase in the baby's clinging, and in some cases tantrums occur when the mother rejects the baby. In one such study monkeys were separated from their mothers for six days when they were about twenty weeks old. At the age of thirty months they still showed signs of disturbed behavior, less locomotor activity and less social play. They were also more timid and less adventurous than monkeys who had not experienced separation.

Separation anxiety occurs when a mother leaves her child for only a few days. It also results from mothers going to work, or from a child being sent to nursery school before he is ready. Bowlby has discovered that the longer the separation, the `worse and more prolonged are the effects. There are mitigating factors, however. The unwelcome fact is that sexual passion and arousal, in particular, are uniquely prone to habituation. Laboratory experiments that track changes in sexual arousal in response to repeated presentation of erotic pictures or instructions to engage in sexual fantasies have found that both men and women show reduced arousal (assessed both by simply asking them and also by measuring actual genital engorgement) over time. In Raymond Chandler's words, The first kiss is magic. The second is intimate. The third is routine. By contrast, novelty can serve as a powerful aphrodisiac, as illustrated by the Coolidge effect. According to legend, one morning former president Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Anna Goodhue were visiting a Kentucky poultry farm. During the tour, Mrs Coolidge asked the farmer why so few roosters yielded such a large number of eggs. The farmer proudly explained that his roosters performed their duty dozens of times each day. Coolidge was very impressed by that and pointedly replied, Tell that to the president. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase during strenuous activity. Add the body's natural response when exposed to the cold--constricting arteries and narrowing blood vessels--and you have a perfect storm for a heart attack. If you shovel for 30 minutes, you'll burn 200-250 calories. In order to minimize the frequency and effect of the injuries, follow the principles of the PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method of treating minor injuries. Not surprisingly, the first step is protection. If you know that a certain body part is hurt or weak, do not overuse the muscle and, if possible, use a wrap or brace during exercise to give the area more support and minimize your risk of injury.

There are all types of knee, ankle, wrist, and elbow protective wraps commercially available. In addition, you'll likely need sunglasses if you are rowing; Notice how professional golfers always have hats or caps to protect their eyes, as well as a driving glove; Men planning on cycling will surely need a helmet and a brightly colored shirt/jacket to make them visible to motorists. That's the bad news. The good news is, what has been learned can be unlearned and changed. Listening to Your Automatic Thoughts Hearing your automatic thoughts is the first step in gaining control of unpleasant emotions. Most of your internal dialogue is harmless. The automatic thoughts that cause harm can be identified because they almost always precede a persistent painful feeling. To identify the automatic thoughts that are causing an ongoing painful feeling, try to recall the thoughts you had just prior to the start of the emotion and those that go along with the sustained emotion. You can think of it as listening in on an intercom. The intercom is always on, even when you're conversing with others and going about your life. You are functioning in the world and are also talking to yourself at the same time. Whether you like it or not, if you're human, you have a shadow. If you can't see it, just ask the people in your family, or the people you work with. They'll point it out to you. We think that our masks keep our inner selves hidden, but whatever we refuse to recognize about ourselves has a way of rearing its head and making itself known when we least expect it. Embracing an aspect of yourself means loving it--allowing it to coexist with all your other aspects, not making it more or less than any other part of yourself. It is not enough to say, I know I am controlling.

We must see what controlling has to teach us, what gift it brings, and then we must be able to view it with awe and compassion. We live under the impression that in order for something to be divine it has to be perfect. We are mistaken. In fact, the exact opposite is true. It was, therefore, not surprising to most people that young Crazy Horse demonstrated a sincere concern for the welfare of others; So, while his battlefield exploits drew the attention and loyalty of other fighting men (and the focus of non-Indian historians), his quiet nature and compassion endeared him to everyone else. In Lakota social structure the number of leaders was not as important as the qualities a leader possessed. Or as one Lakota elder put it, One man with good character is better than ten who have none. Men such as Gall, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse epitomized the Lakota ideal of leadership. They accomplished this not only through their bravery or powers of persuasion, but most importantly through the depth of their character. THE FIRST PRINCIPLE: KNOW YOURSELF The best that any of us can do is face life with our strengths and weaknesses--but to do so we must be brutally honest with ourselves about both. Anything less is misleading at best, and potentially dangerous. Skills and abilities not applied consistently become dull or rusty over time. It can be hard to find the confidence to leave behind the way things once were, but a certain amount of fluidity and communication can really help. Your Partner Partner relationships are tricky on their own--we've all dealt with a certain degree of drama, I am sure. Add pregnancy and a new baby into the mix, even with a solid relationship, and things can escalate. Numerous studies indicate that, on average, couples' satisfaction decreases after the birth of their first child and continues to decrease with each additional child. That doesn't have to be you, though, especially if you actively decide to prioritize your relationship.

Don't be alarmed at me

I have been blessed by the wisdom of the universe. It comes to me every time I close my eyes and listen. Thank you, God, for allowing me to express this information. Thank you for guiding me and protecting me. From the deepest place in my heart, I love you. This article is dedicated to Thank you for giving me the gift of life and for being my mom. More than twelve years ago, I sat down to write my first article, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. At the time I had no idea how it would be received or if it would even be published. But because of my personal transformation, which was both radical and heart-opening, and the urging of my sister Arielle, I felt a deep longing to put down into words the wisdom and the process that had finally changed my life. Does having a position of authority automatically make someone a leader? The generally accepted answer to this question seems to be yes. What about passionate or persistent espousal of a cause--does that make someone a leader? Sure, we say, often buying into someone's authority based on the volume of their rhetoric. Yet, according to most dictionaries, the true definition of a leader is one who leads by influence. Perhaps most of us are too busy just trying to survive and make a living to focus much attention on how our society functions. To be sure, people in authority will and do have an impact on our everyday lives. The actions and decisions of mayors, board chairmen, governors, chief executives, city council members, state legislators, and members of Congress affect most if not all of us in one way or another. These people may think of themselves as leaders because of the titles they hold or the authority vested in them, while we ordinary citizens accept them as leaders for no other reason than the jobs they have. Too often we give people our trust without really knowing what does, or does not, qualify them for the positions they hold.

I considered the excitement, nervousness, exuberance, fear--a mix of potent emotions that can make you feel knocked out one minute and utterly elated the next--pregnancy brings with it. I wanted this article to help bolster you through that emotional roller coaster, providing a modern and customizable and, most importantly, judgment-free approach to this new stage of your life. Whether you're currently pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, the constant negotiation of new feelings and experiences can be overwhelming, as can the flood of information and anecdotes coming from friends, family, and even strangers. Rest assured, you are far from alone in these feelings. Many women feel this way in the same circumstances--and now you've got me by your side to help you. As a professional doula--which comes from the Greek term for women's helper--I've spent the last decade helping scores of moms-to-be through pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood, offering physical and emotional support, friendship, and answers to their many, many questions. I help women feel more connected to their pregnancy, and to the idea and reality of becoming a mother. In doing so, I consider the whole woman--not just her medical record. I consider how she sees herself in the world, how she takes care of herself (including rest, diet, sleep, and emotional nourishment), and what's happening to her body and the baby growing within. I provide her with unconditional support and help her translate the influx of information barreling toward her at every turn. The power that each of us is born with is a part of God, the spiritual aspect of our being, which is perfect. This power is a creator, or generator, of energy that is either potential or kinetic. Potential energy is passive energy, energy that is stored, waiting to be used. Kinetic energy is active energy, energy that is being used. As active energy, this power is neutral and may be used to create sickness, loneliness, poverty, crime, or war--or good health, wealth, peace, friendship, happiness, and fulfillment. God has given us what some call free will, but what I prefer to call the option of choice. We have the choice to use our power positively or negatively, constructively or destructively. If that is so, you may ask, why on earth would anyone choose the negative? No one would consciously make such a choice. And that's the point!

Over the course of my first decade raising two boys and teaching hundreds of children, I began to feel a creeping sense of unease, a suspicion that something was rotten in the state of my parenting. But it was only when my elder child entered middle school that my worlds collided and the source of the problem became clear to me: today's overprotective, failure-avoidant parenting style has undermined the competence, independence, and academic potential of an entire generation. From my vantage point at the front of a classroom, I'd long viewed myself as part of the solution, a champion of my students' intellectual and emotional bravery. However, as the same caution and fear I witnessed in my students began to show up in my own children's lives, I had to admit that I was part of the problem, too. We have taught our kids to fear failure, and in doing so, we have blocked the surest and clearest path to their success. That's certainly not what we meant to do, and we did it for all the best and well-intentioned reasons, but it's what we have wrought nevertheless. Out of love and desire to protect our children's self-esteem, we have bulldozed every uncomfortable bump and obstacle out of their way, clearing the manicured path we hoped would lead to success and happiness. Unfortunately, in doing so we have deprived our children of the most important lessons of childhood. The setbacks, mistakes, miscalculations, and failures we have shoved out of our children's way are the very experiences that teach them how to be resourceful, persistent, innovative, and resilient citizens of this world. As I stood there in my middle school classroom on the day of my personal epiphany, looking at the students before me and seeing my own parenting clearly for the first time, I resolved to do what I needed to do to guide both my children and my students back toward the path to competence and independence. The principle of nowness is very important to any effort to establish an enlightened society. You may wonder what the best approach is to helping society and how you can know that what you are doing is authentic and good. The only answer is nowness. The way to relax, or rest the mind in nowness, is through the practice of meditation. In meditation you take an unbiased approach. You let things be as they are, without judgment, and in that way you yourself learn to be. The mind is very wild. The human experience is full of unpredictability and paradox, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. We can't escape any of these experiences in the vast terrain of our existence. It is part of what makes life grand--and it is also why our minds take us on such a crazy ride.

Many who devote their lives to something end up thinking it's the key to everything, but the idea that the first version of a work is perfect, is likely wrong. No human creation stays the same forever. It eventually changes in some way. It may take an hour or a thousand years. If what's written here is good enough, it will be further improved by others in the future. If you feel any hesitation when you're reading, know that I also have felt it. This article tries to leave something more lasting than the latest trends. It's not about imposing my own views masked as magical truths on those who need to believe in something. The question of the meaning of life is at the root of our existence. It's likely the most important question we can ask. The average relationship between parent and child is characterized by disappointment, frustration, conflict and pain. Some parents accept this situation as unavoidable. Others turn for help to the rash of child-rearing articles that have appeared in response to their needs. Unfortunately these articles are almost all confusing and contradictory. They offer good ideas for solving problems in specific situations but they have no simple rules that can be applied to all age groups and all problems. Here this article departs radically from the standard literature. The methods it describes are based on a simple philosophy that is consistently applied to all aspects of the parent-child relationship. It provides basic guidelines that can be easily applied to any new problem that arises. It aims to show that parents and children can live in mutual respect, esteem and happiness, and share the same values - values so elementary that they can be thoroughly integrated by the age of five. Because this article advocates that parents treat their children as they would another adult, some of the ideas may at first seem radical or even outrageous.

When a negative change of fortune befalls us, our reaction is often supersized. We feel that we can never be happy again, that our life as we know it is now over. My relationship is in trouble. I've achieved my dreams but feel emptier than ever. My work isn't what it used to be. The test results were positive. I have huge regrets. What I hope this article will make singularly clear is that although it may appear that some of these major challenges will definitively and permanently change our lives for better or for worse, it is really our responses to them that govern their repercussions. Indeed, it is our initial reactions that make these turns of events into crisis points in the first place, instead of the foreseeable and even ordinary passages of life that they actually are. Unfortunately, our initial reactions compel us to choose dramatic (and often devastating) response paths. Becoming older means becoming smarter, wiser, and more mature; The self-care needed to age well depends on how we think about ourselves and our future lives as older men. We can extend the quality of our everyday lives and our bodies' health by eating well, remaining active, taking some time for ourselves, and managing stress. We need to resist the negativity so common in anti-aging messages and stay engaged in our relationships with family, friends, and our communities. The message in this article is for men, but it will also help women better understand their brothers, fathers, and husbands. Working to make the second half of men's lives physically and emotionally healthier than the first can pay enormous dividends. We explore the challenges and the pleasures of growing older and offer all kinds of information useful for middle-aged and older men. Everything in this article--from the realities of how aging changes our bodies to understanding wills and trusts, from caregiving to retirement decisions, from sexuality in later life to how much friends matter--is to provide you with information you need to live a healthier life for many years to come. There is much for everyone to learn about adult men's health and healthy aging experiences. MODERN AGING: NO LONGER PAST YOUR PRIME

It's so hard to wait

God is the true Self of you. It can't be hurt, thwarted, or vitiated in any way. If you find difficult people in your life, surrender them to God, declare your freedom in God, and let God take them under His care. You will then find yourself in green pastures and beside still waters. Reap the Benefits of Traveling with God I went on a lecture tour recently in Europe, visiting Portugal, France, England and Ireland. As I traveled east from California, on alighting from the plane in New York City, I met an old friend, jack Treadwell, author of a popular article, The Laws of Mental Magnetism. He told me of an elderly man in the hotel where he lived who had been crippled with arthritis. He had suggested to him that he try affirmation therapy, and he gave him a special affirmation to use: God's Healing Love is now transforming every atom of my being into God's pattern of wholeness, beauty and perfection. Be he a lord or be he serf, The gallows are what he deserves. Should he come upon a house, He will thence be chased right out. Should he find a ditch as haven, He will be eaten by ravens. Should he come upon a stone, He will break his neck and bone. Sympathy, Antipathy, Sympathy used to be and still is simply another word for magic in many rural areas.

To the extent that love in turn reshapes these biomarkers--a prediction we're poised to test in the coming year--upward spiral dynamics ensue, in which love and health dynamically cocreate each other. How, then, your DNA gets translated into your cells next season may to some degree be up to you. By practicing healthy patterns of emotional expression, you may be able to sculpt healthy patterns of gene expression. Countless times in this article I've suggested that your body was designed for love's positivity resonance and indeed cries out for it. My team is currently homing in on ever more precise statements about which of your genes, differentially expressed in your cells, contribute to this cry the loudest. Pilot Yourself How can you tune in to your body's cravings and hear its subtle cries for love? It hardly sounds possible. Actually, becoming attuned to these cellular messages may be easier than you think. By nature's design, you come equipped with a ready indicator of whether or not you're meeting your body's basic needs. This man affirmed these truths for ten or fifteen minutes every day. At the end of a month he was walking freely, joyously, and easily. All the calcareous deposits, which cause arthritis, were eliminated. He had decided to travel with God mentally, spiritually, and physically. There is nothing miraculous in this healing. The Infinite Healing Presence that created his body had always been within him, but he had failed to use it. Jack Treadwell taught him how to stir up this gift of God within him. This is what the Bible means when it says: Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee . When you walk, talk, and travel with God, everything unlike God is dissolved in your mind, body, and circumstances. How to Travel with God

This is where terms like sympathy and black sympathy originated (we would call it white or black magic today). The belief in sympathy makes the basic assumption that everything has a soul or a kind of energy vibration. Therefore, some things are sympathetic or familiar to each other based on their similar vibration. A warming plant like ginger, for example, has an excellent effect on feverish colds because it fights fire with fire. Antipathy is considered healing through opposites in folk medicine. In this case cooling plants like mint and eucalyptus are used to combat colds accompanied by fever. The neutralization that occurs when two separate influences act on each other and create equilibrium is key here. Hot and cold create lukewarm. Folk magic utilized both principles equally. No strict blanket formulas exist about which variation to use when. Feeling good is that indicator. What's more, the biochemistry of your brain has been carefully orchestrated by natural selection to keep close track of the contexts in which your good feelings arise, even when you're busy thinking of other things. That's because good feelings trigger a cascade of neurochemicals that makes you like whatever caused it. It's as if feeling good sets off a localized firework that comes to cover the people and objects in its radius with enduring glitter dust. The new sparkle draws your eye and pulls you back toward them, impulses that operate even outside your conscious awareness. Think of this as your innate and automatic positivity-fueled navigation system. If you follow it, you'll find yourself enticed back, time and again, to circumstances that enliven you most, including those life-giving micro-moments of positivity resonance. You do, of course, need to keep your wits about you as you tune in to positivity's navigation system. Sure enough, peddlers are forever standing by to tempt you to find your bliss in commercial goods and services, both legal and illegal. Such commerce is often carefully engineered to set off the emotional fireworks that create brand loyalty, and even addictions.

Whenever I take a trip or go on a lecture tour, I recite the following affirmation: My journey is God's journey, and all His ways are pleasantness and all his paths are peace. I travel under God's guidance led by the Holy Spirit. My highway is the Royal Road of the Ancients, the middle path of Buddha, the straight and narrow gate of Jesus, the King's Highway, for I am a King over all my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I send my messengers called God's love, peace, light, and beauty before me to make straight, beautiful, joyous, and happy my way. I always travel with God, meeting His messengers of peace and joy wherever I go. I know that with mine eyes stayed on God, there is no evil on my pathway. While traveling on an airplane, bus, train, car, or by foot, God's spell is always around me. It is the invisible armor of God, and I go from point to point freely, joyously, and lovingly. The Spirit of God is upon me, making all roads in the heavens above or on the earth beneath a highway for my God. Nearly all of us buy into what I call the myths of happiness--beliefs that certain adult achievements (marriage, kids, jobs, wealth) will make us forever happy and that certain adult failures or adversities (health problems, not having a life partner, having little money) will make us forever unhappy. This reductive understanding of happiness is culturally reinforced and continues to endure, despite overwhelming evidence that our well-being does not operate according to such black-and-white principles. One such happiness myth is the notion that I'll be happy when ____ (fill in the blank). I'll be happy when I net that promotion, when I say I do, when I have a baby, when I'm rich, and so on. The false promise is not that achieving those dreams won't make us happy. They almost certainly will. The problem is that these achievements--even when initially perfectly satisfying--will not make us as intensely happy (or for as long) as we believe they will. Hence, when fulfilling these goals doesn't make us as happy as we expected, we feel there must be something wrong with us or we must be the only ones to feel this way. The flip side is an equally pervasive, and equally toxic, happiness myth. This is the belief that I can't be happy when ____ (fill in the blank).

Men who are getting older are redesigning later life to emphasize new vitality. When the baby boomers started to hit 50, then 60, their decisions and plans helped to reshape the nation's thinking about how older men are supposed to act. Most men in their late fifties and midsixties are sexually active, plan to launch themselves into new jobs or postretirement encore careers, are resilient and more frugal, and believe that their lives are better despite the Great Recession setbacks. This group refuses to embrace the ageist stereotype of men who are winding down, sitting on a porch or deck without an agenda. They feel healthier than their parents did when they turned 60, are captivated by the possibilities of their longevity bonus, and intend to remain productive as they create an adventurous new life stage that begins in their sixties. Well, I'm 77, and I can't climb on the roof any more. At first, I felt I had lost something, I don't know what, but it did affect me. Now, I couldn't care less about it. If I can't do it, then someone else will. That's my attitude to anything now, but it takes a bit getting used to. You'll learn how thoughts influence feelings and how habitual negative thoughts can impact your mood. You'll also find tools for changing your thoughts in order to relieve anxiety, depression, and anger. The full benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy can be realized only through regular practice over time. Simply understanding a technique is of little value without firsthand experience. In other words, this is not a article for passive reading. You have to do the exercises, fill in the worksheets, and carry out real changes in how you think and behave. The length of time required to practice a particular technique will vary. See the Time to Mastery sections for an idea of the time required to develop each new skill. Because regular practice is the key to successful change, practice the exercises daily. Some of the techniques will need to be overlearned so they become automatic responses.

I just can't seem to get moving

Instead, she argues for considerably more flexibility in what makes for an emotion. Posing an assumption-shaking challenge to the field we share, Barrett contends that your brain comes preset only with the capacity to represent what she calls core affect, the more amorphous pleasure or displeasure of your bodily states, along with some degree of arousal.What makes for a specific experience of anger, fear, or joy, then, is your ability to weave together your appreciation of your body's current state of pleasure or displeasure with your conceptual understanding of what's happening to you in that very moment. In other words, higher-order mental processes--like memory, learning, knowledge, and language--are the more basic ingredients of mind that combine together with core affect to create the various recipes for states like anger, fear, or joy. Although aspects of Barrett and colleagues' constructionist view of emotions can be traced back to earlier scientists, theirs is the first to be backed by modern neuroscientific evidence. What does this mean for love? What does it mean for you? For millennia, your ancestors felt energized by markedly good feelings when they interacted and connected with others. Those were the moments that made them feel part of something much larger than themselves, more energized, alert, and alive than they felt in other, more ordinary moments. Piecing together the commonalities across the many and varied situations that gave rise to such powerfully energizing good feelings led your ancestors to come up with words, rituals--and indeed whole religions--fashioned to represent and cultivate those longed-for feelings, in themselves and in others. Having such words and rituals makes a big difference. I know God is my real Employer and I am working for Him. The real Self of me is God and cannot be hurt, vitiated, or thwarted. I realize I am the one who has hurt myself the most by my self-criticism, self-condemnation, and self-denigration. I send kindness, love, and joy to all people; Three weeks transpired; How a Beneficial Philosophical Attitude toward People Was Developed I had an interesting conversation with a Japanese businessman in Hawaii, who philosophized along these lines: I have been in business 50 years and have traveled extensively. I have learned that people are basically good and honest. I take people as they come.

Distance healing was common in the old days as well. When a patient was too sick to make the trip to see the healer, friends and relatives went instead to ask for help for the sick person. They often brought a few hairs, nail clippings or similar things with them, so that the healing work could be specifically tailored to the patient. Nowadays people primarily use photos. Of course, all this carried with it the sensitive question of what to do if people request help on behalf of a sick person who is unaware of the request? What to do with a worried mother, for instance, who would like her daughter to be worked on even though the daughter is against alternative healing methods and would consider her mother's endeavor laughable hocus pocus? Or what to do when someone cannot communicate due to health reasons and cannot answer questions? There are several different approaches to this. Some healers flat out refuse to work with cases like these while others have no problems with it and are happy to help. In the old days people were of the opinion that if the illness is bad, it needs to go. Research coming out of Barrett's lab and other labs, including my own, demonstrates that even the particulars of people's bodily experiences hinge on the labels and ideas each person holds about emotions. For instance, inspired by Barrett's work, Lindsay Kennedy and Bethany Kok, working in my PEP Lab, were drawn to test whether the bodily effects of anger depend on whether the person experiencing it believes anger to be an emotion, as is typically the case, or whether he or she is led to believe that anger is not an emotion, but instead an instinctual response to an imbalance of resources. Fitting with Barrett's view, people's understandings of the unpleasant state that they were just then experiencing shaped their bodily response: Those who took anger to be an emotion showed the typical jumps in heart rate and blood pressure, whereas those for whom the idea that anger is an emotion was debunked had an appreciably more muted cardiovascular response. This means that the mere act of reading this article may well have added a new and powerful emotion to your repertoire of interpersonal experiences. How you come to think about love actually stands to reshape the way your body experiences it. A global poll, released on Valentine's Day, 2012, revealed that most married people, or those similarly coupled, identify their significant other as their most important source of happiness. Likewise, nearly half of all single people say they yearn to find their own happiness by finding their own special person to love. While these numbers certainly varied culture by culture, they strike me as a worldwide collapse of imagination. Thinking of love purely as the romance or commitment that you share with one special person--as it appears most on earth do--surely limits the health and happiness you derive from micro-moments of positivity resonance. Put differently, your beliefs about what love is become self-fulfilling prophecies.

They are all different: they have had different training and conditioning; I know complaining about people and getting angry with customers won't change them. I don't let them disturb me; I refuse to let anybody get under my skin. I bless them all and walk on. How collections of unpaid bills were made He showed me a list of ten customers who owed him considerable sums of money and who had ignored his several bills. He said, I have been praying for each one, morning and night, realizing God is prospering them in all ways and that God guides, directs, and multiplies their good. I pray that each pays his bills gladly and that they are honest, sincere, and blessed in all ways. I started a month ago doing this; Today we tend to start ruminating on whether or not the illness could possibly serve as a warning to the patient and may help them change his or her behavior (I am not speaking of karma or what most people understand it to be, or of guilt, but of instances where people may have an epiphany). If we begin working with it and thus shorten the illness, we may deprive the individual of an important process of realization. As I wrote about in my article Magie Leben (Living Magic), I do believe that we can work for this patient; Figuratively speaking, this is like creating an energy depot for someone while letting the subconscious of the person decide if and how it will accept the energy. You will need a connection to the affected person in order to do distance healing. It can be a name or a birthday, but also hair, nails, worn clothing, writing samples and many other things are imaginable. A photo is ideal, of course. One depicting the whole body is best. The affected area should be on the photo. If someone has back problems, for example, it is recommended that the photo shows the person from behind.

If, for instance, you think love can in fact also bloom between you and the utter stranger with whom you connect for only a few minutes at the airport, then it more readily can. If, by contrast, you think love can bloom only between you and a special, predesignated one, then you've severely limited the prospects for yourself and that kindly person at the airport. Think of the old-school view of love as pouring a thick layer of cement over a garden that has been planted with a thousand flower bulbs. Although any single flower might still push its way through cracks in the cement and bloom nevertheless, the odds are severely stacked against it. Yet by upgrading your view of love to recognize its full scope, you break up and remove this cement to let a thousand flowers bloom. Positivity resonance exists, whether you adopt a new view of love or not. It remains the ancient life-giving, soul-stretching state that your body craves. The difference you get with an upgrade is whether you are awake to the thousands of opportunities that surround you for fulfilling this craving. When you awaken to this new understanding of your heart's potential, a new and life-changing emotion is born within you. Do-It-Yourself Gene Expression? There are two to go, but I know they will pay, too. He discovered that when he changed his mental attitude toward the delinquent customers, they changed, also. The Key to Happy Relations Treat people with respect. Honor and salute the Divinity in the other. Radiate love and goodwill to all. Realize that nobody acts in a contentious, hostile, antagonistic, and surly manner who is well adjusted. Know there is a mental conflict somewhere. As the Kahuna says, There is something eating them inside. There is a psychic pain somewhere.

The person can be dressed in normal clothing, of course. What's important is simply that the person can be seen from head to toe and that the affected area is in the picture. I am ending this article with an old article theft blessing I found by accident during my research. Finding thieves and preventing theft was actually an additional job for many healers in the old days, as surprising as this may sound today (but not so surprising if we see that shamans do exactly the same things even in modern times). Theft was a widespread problem in the old days; The so-called theft blessing was supposed to prevent such pilfering. Healers were often active in warding off thieves as well. Precious as articles were in these days, they had to be especially secured. This article is loved beyond belief He who steals it is a thief. Also in the span of time that I've written this article, my research team and I have been making new discoveries about how your experiences of love may be either amplified or muffled by the expression of certain genes within your cells. As sketched back in article 3, we've already discovered that people with higher cardiac vagal tone somehow extract a larger and more immediate positive jolt out of their efforts to practice the style of mediation, LKM, that I've featured prominently in part II. Even more inspiring, we found that practicing LKM actually raises people's vagal tone such that positive feelings and higher vagal tone feed each other over time. In our most recent experiment, we obtained blood samples from study volunteers before they tried out meditation for the first time. By the flip of a coin, they tried either LKM or a different style of mediation, one that does not aim to cultivate loving feelings. Before and immediately after their assigned guided meditation, we asked them to rate the extent of their positive feelings. We then processed the blood samples in my collaborator Karen Grewen's lab at Carolina, and later shipped them to my newest collaborator, Steve Cole, the director of UCLA's Social Genomics Core Laboratory. Using sophisticated computational techniques, Cole analyzed each person's RNA to determine whether any differences in gene expression uniquely predicted whether people had especially positive reactions to LKM. A compelling pattern of differences emerged. While it's too soon to say exactly what this pattern of differences means, it is consistent with the more general hypothesis that my team has been testing: that certain biomarkers, like cardiac vagal tone, inflammation, gene expression patterns, and perhaps even body mass index, can either amplify or muffle the good feelings you get when you try to cultivate love.

You've got to have it right now

A lot of people are too impatient. I will exaggerate a bit to make my point: they want to read a article and be a good healer afterward. It's a nice idea, but how is that supposed to happen? You can't gain experience from a article. You can only gain it by doing. This requires time, patience, and commitment. Let's assume you are working with a spell and experience success with it. You have gained important experience, namely the fact that it can work. You are now in a different position than before when a article promised you that it works, but you still had your doubts that it was possible. So you continue your path and try out other spells. The work of science, after all, is never done. Even though the latest discoveries about love's impact on your body, brain, behavior, and future prospects can fill volumes and fill you with amazement, it's equally humbling to recognize how little we actually know about love's full impact. New discoveries about love's power will continue to unfold. As they do, you and I alike will be called to upgrade our views of love, time and again, to reimagine this life-stretching experience from the ground up once more. Whatever your prior beliefs about love, my hope is that I've piqued your curiosity to begin to see love as your body experiences it, as positivity resonance that can momentarily reverberate between you and virtually anyone else. Before these reverberations fade, they initiate biochemical cascades that help remake who you are, both in body and in mind. It's also worth considering whether you've unwittingly placed constraints on your own experiences of love by following cultural norms. These constraints may have been holding you back from reaching your full potential for health and happiness, and from making deeper contributions to the lives of others. Beyond sharing the latest science on love, my aim in this article has been to release you from these constraints. The task of upgrading love remains incomplete without self-reflection and self-change.

What being true to inner self means This doctor had learned to be true, as he said, to the God-Self within him and to respect the same God in the other. Shakespeare said, To thine own self be true; This doctor had learned that to understand all is to forgive all. He is still intolerant of false ideas, but not people. He remains true to the truths of God and eternal principles. How a Man with a Grudge against God Learned a Great Lesson in Human Relations A man with whom I went swimming in the ocean adjacent to the beautiful and majestic Maui Hilton Hotel said to me, I'm here to get away from it all. He began to criticize everybody in his organization, as well as the government; In fact, he told me he felt he would get along better if God would just leave him alone. Over time you will find out which areas suit you and which questions seem to lead you nowhere. You will learn the talents and gifts that you were given, and surprises are sure to find you along the way. You walk your path in life, not in a article. Your inner spirit will awaken and start to pull you toward experiences and information that will be helpful for your further development. Sometimes they can even come in the proverbial form of problems that are opportunities in disguise. The nuts you will need to crack in order to move ahead are often very hard. Don't throw in the towel too soon, but allow yourself to be present and patient. A lot of people get nervous when something doesn't happen for them right away and they immediately give up on the whole subject. Instead, stay vigilant and see if you can't learn something from the whole experience. Such stumbling blocks are often like tests and, as a thank you, a door opens afterward.

Years ago, when I sat in a silent meditation retreat sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute held at the retreat center cofounded by my friend and collaborator Sharon Salzberg, one of our teachers shared a joke with us. It went something like this: On learning of a friend's new (or renewed) devotion to meditation practice, an observer quipped, Practice, practice, practice! All you ever do is practice! When's the performance? After a muted wave of chuckles rolled through the meditation hall, our teacher went on to say that there is indeed a performance scheduled; This is the mind-set about the practices in part II that I urge you to adopt. Whether you choose to shift your focus with formal meditation or with the informal micro-moment practices I've offered, I can guarantee you that merely dabbling in them one or two times will lead to no appreciable changes. You well know that engaging in one bout of vigorous physical exercise, or eating one stem of broccoli, will not do anything to improve your health. Your path to physical, emotional, and spiritual vitality is no different. So find activities that speak to you, and identify the recurring cues that might trigger you to do them. He asked me, What can I do to have better human relations and get along with these ugly people? I suggested to him that research has demonstrated that much of the difficulty many people have in human relations is that they don't look within themselves for the cause. The first step would be to get along with his own difficult self. I pointed out to him that much of his trouble with his employees and associates came from himself primarily and that these other people might be called secondary causes. He admitted he was full of hidden rage and hostility and was deeply frustrated in his ambitions and plans in life. He began to see, however, that his suppressed rage kindled the latent hostility or anger in those around him; He discovered that what he termed the animosity and hostility of his associates and employees reflected his own hostility and frustration to a great extent. I gave him a spiritual affirmation, which he was to repeat regularly and with conviction: I know that there is a law of cause and effect, and the mood I generate is returned to me in the reactions of people to me and in conditions and events. I realize my inner turmoil and anger sets off ugliness and anger in men, women, and even in animals.

Sometimes the timing isn't right, but that does not mean you should then abandon the whole matter. If a subject is truly important for your path, if it is fate of some kind, it will find you again. You may not have a use for it immediately. It may take weeks, months, or years. Subjects like this are like seeds that slumber in the earth; You won't lose anything. What is truly important rests within you already. It cannot be forgotten or overlooked because it will come to life on its own when the time is right. If you prefer to work for others, respect their preferences and life circumstances. A lot depends on the familiarity you have with each other. Let the micro-doses of positivity that these activities bring draw you to practice, practice, practice. Let these practices help you build new and life-expanding habits, habits that little by little remake you and the course of your day and your life from the inside out. Even as I have been writing this article, the equivalent of a scholarly earthquake has been shaking the foundations of the science of emotions. The question at the root of this rattler is ages old, yet repeated most cogently now by my fellow emotions scientist Lisa Feldman Barrett with the force of considerable data. What Barrett and her collaborators (including one of my newest Carolina colleagues, Kristen Lindquist) have asked is simply, what is an emotion? William James himself devoted considerable attention to this very question back in 1884. In the current era, a typical scientific answer to this question describes a momentary emotional state--like anger, fear, or joy--as an organized set of responses to some new circumstance you face--like an insult, a clear danger, or sudden good fortune. These coordinated responses show up as discrete and identifiable changes in your facial movements and cardiovascular activity, in your subjective experience and action urges, and so on, all presumably orchestrated by discrete and identifiable changes in your brain. A hidden assumption is that the unique states of anger, fear, and joy are given to you by the basic design of your body and brain, as sculpted over millennia by Darwinian natural selection. Barrett's answer to the question, what is an emotion?

I know that no matter what I experience, it must have an affinity in my mind, conscious or unconscious; I give myself this mental and spiritual medicine many times a day. I think, speak, and act from the Divine Center within me. I radiate love, peace, and goodwill to all those around me and to all people everywhere. The Infinite lies stretched in smiling repose within me. Peace is the power at the heart of God, and His river of peace floods my mind, my heart, and my whole being. I am one with the Infinite peace of God. My mind is a part of God's mind, and what is true of God is true of me. I realize and know that no person, place, or thing in the whole world has the power to upset, annoy, or disturb me without my mental consent. My thought is creative; As an example, I once heard of a man who thought it was horrible to have hands laid on him. It felt uncomfortable to him, but he did not say anything because he thought this was the way it had to be. Issues like this can only happen when people do not clearly discuss their expectations and the course of the treatment ahead of time. Apparently even during the man's session there was no room to discuss this. Open communication is vitally important in healing sessions. What are your expectations? What is the procedure? Are both sides okay with it? Distance Healing Those who think the subject of distance healing is a modern development are wrong.

A perfect combination ever since the world began

Toni proved that seeing the Presence of God in the other and adhering to that great eternal truth pays fabulous dividends in human relations, spiritually as well as materially. To Understand All Is to Forgive All This is an old aphoristic statement containing a profound truth. I had an interesting conversation with a social director in one of the hotels here in Maui. She pointed out that occasionally when she says to a guest, It's a wonderful day, the guest says, What's good about it? I hate the weather here, I don't like anything about the place. She added that she knew that particular guest was emotionally disturbed and driven by some irrational emotion. She had studied psychology at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and remembered that her teacher had pointed out to her that one does not get upset or resentful toward a person who is a hunchback, for example, or who suffers from any other obvious congenital deformity; One should have compassion for them. Understanding their mental and emotional chaotic state, it is easy to overlook and forgive them. Having such an attitude does not mean that you are a bad healer. If you are extremely good at something and are well versed in it, it is a thousand times more valuable than knowing a little bit about twenty techniques. Psychology also comes into play here. When you help someone and are sure of what you are doing, the other person will perceive you very differently than if you are unsure of yourself. This goes for yourself as well, since you can't fool yourself. Under no circumstances should you start healing work with any sense of vanity, overestimating your capabilities because you want to look good. Stay courageous, but humble. Don't let others put you on a pedestal or put pressure on you even if you have a sure hand for some things. This is important because we tend to put pressure on ourselves to the tune of: It has always worked. Hopefully it will work this time as well.

Religion has long anchored the subjective side, whereas science anchored the other. Likewise, the languages of poetry and emotions marked one pole, whereas mathematics and reason marked the other. Spirituality, poetry, and emotions were all deemed soft and subjective, whereas science, mathematics, and reason were all deemed hard and objective. Historically, the two poles simply didn't have anything to say to each other. But just as borders melt away when you feel that elemental oceanic feeling, today these old oppositions no longer hold water. In particular, the new and amply objective science of emotions allows us--for the first time--to systematically explain transcendent spiritual experiences and unravel their poetic mystery. We no longer need to stop at calling the varieties of religious experiences altered states, ekstasis, or oceanic. We can instead examine them through the lenses of the science of positive emotions. These new scientific lenses reveal facts that can be deeply moving. Those potent, boundary-blurring and heart-expanding experiences of positivity resonance that you share with others are not merely an academic concept or a poetic flourish. How understanding builds immunity to hard feelings This young lady is gracious, charming, affable and amiable, and apparently nobody can ruffle her feathers. She has built up a sort of Divine immunity, and she fully realizes that no one can hurt her but herself. That is to say, she has freedom, as anyone has, to bless the other person or to resent the other person. She has decided to bless. She knows very well that the only one able to hurt her is she herself (ie, the movement of her own thought, which is under her complete control). How a Musician's Subconscious Worked Wonders for Him through Affirmation A young musician who plays a stringed instrument at night to pay his way through the University of Hawaii where he is studying law told me that he had experienced friction with some of his teachers and that his memory had failed him during the oral and written examinations. This young man was tense and resentful. I explained to him that his subconscious mind contained a perfect memory of everything he had read and heard but that when his conscious mind is tense, the wisdom of the subconscious does not rise to the surface mind.

Over time you will develop an intuition about how to proceed. Think about who and what you want to include, and respect your personal preferences. You don't have to be instantly good at everything. Not everyone likes plants, stones, or wants to lay hands on people. Find your own way. As a little help for starting out, I made up a little list of questions for you. * Which spiritual power/presence do I want to bring aboard? Do I want to skip this for now? * Are there certain stones I would like to use? * Should plants be involved and if yes, what kind and in which form? Positivity resonance changes your biochemistry in ways scientists are only just now beginning to grasp. As these moments become more and more typical of your daily experience, they even alter the foundational rhythms of your heart, increasing your vagal tone, resulting in a closer synchrony between the actions of your heart and the actions of your lungs. High levels of vagal tone, scientists have now firmly shown, are linked not only to greater social attunement but also to more efficient self-regulation and improved physical health. In this way, love and health cocreate each other in your life. At the same time, this reciprocal, upward spiral dynamic between micro-moments of love and lasting changes in your health forges a path toward your higher spiritual sense of oneness. It may well be these cell-nourishing moments of positivity resonance that, according to Karen Armstrong, touch us deeply within and lift us momentarily beyond ourselves and, according to Sharon Salzberg, embody the active, open state of faith to take the next step. I've encouraged you, throughout this article, to take the next step toward loving all, without borders. I hope that I've convinced you that this step is indeed glorious, as Thomas Traherne promised in the opening article quote. This is the step that will take you closer to your highest aspirations, your highest spiritual ground. It will open you up to create more and better opportunities for flourishing and for physical health.

Accordingly, he meditated on the following affirmation every night and morning: Infinite Intelligence in my subconscious mind reveals to me everything I need to know, and I am Divinely guided in my studies. I radiate love and goodwill to my teachers and I am at peace with them. I pass all my examinations in Divine order. Three weeks went by and I received a letter from him saying he had passed his special examination with flying colors and that his relationship with his teachers is now excellent. He succeeded in incorporating the idea of perfect memory for everything he needed to know into his subconscious mind by reiterating the affirmations I gave him. His emanation of love and goodwill was subconsciously picked up by his teachers, resulting in harmonious relationships. How a Doctor Healed Himself of Crippling Anger Haleakala Crater, once a fiery, gaping depression, is now a cool, cone-studded aftermath of a violent volcano. I was with a group of people, some of whom were from such widely diverse localities as Denver; * Do I wish to use a spell? * Do I want to lay my hands on someone or work with direct contact (blowing, stroking, brushing, etc)? * Would I rather work magically with symbols and candles? * Will nature be involved, for example, by leaving symbols of the illness at rivers, trees, or special places, or do I want to magically pass on ailments? * Do I want to incorporate the days of the week and the phase of the moon? If you are unsure, stick to the formula less is more. It does not help to pile on multiple methods. It is important simply that you truly feel something and can tell by the results that you are making progress. This is your path. Don't expect it to happen instantly.

All your waking moments give you opportunities to practice opening your heart. You choose the best way for you to do this. It may well be best to meet your new ideal of loving all by adopting the more modest aspiration of loving one more and then renewing this more achievable aspiration time and again. Your goal can be to see past the borders that traditionally constrain love, and to exclude no one. By nature's design, your genetic and psychological makeup grant you the capacity to recognize, protect, and cherish your kin and the other special loved ones to whom you have bonded. Just as surely, however, evolution has also designed you to benefit from sharing micro-moments of love with even the most distant and dissimilar other. Don't miss out on your chance to give love . A Closing Loving Glance I NEVER KNEW HOW TO WORSHIP UNTIL I KNEW HOW After spending months building the case for this article for why it's worth upgrading your view of love, I've become convinced that this simple call opens the door to an endless process. Pittsburgh; Stockholm, Sweden; I sat next to an Australian doctor and his wife in the limousine. He told me that volcanic eruptions causing havoc similar to the results of the volcanic activity at which we were looking had taken place in his life because he was in the habit of judging people too harshly. The gist of his conversation was that he used to boil over with rage at what the columnists wrote in the newspapers. He wrote poisonous, vindictive and vitriolic letters to members of parliament, to heads of the various unions, etc This internal seething and turmoil brought on two physical eruptions in two severe cardiac attacks plus one volcanic eruption in the form of a mild stroke. He recovered from these attacks and realized that he had brought them on himself. While in the hospital, a nurse gave him the 91st Psalm to read, saying, This is the medicine you need. He began to dwell on it, and gradually its meaning sank into his soul (his subconscious mind). He pointed out that he had long since learned to adjust to people, realizing that they are all conditioned differently and that this is a world of imperfect human beings striving toward God's Perfection.

Soul of a woman, soul of a man

Following in James's footsteps, I take spirituality to revolve around expansive emotional moments like these. Consistent with the idea that words fail to capture the essence of spirituality, in his 1902 classic, The Varieties of Religious Experience, James wrote: Feeling is the deeper source of religion, and . More than a century after James equated spirituality with emotions, Karen Armstrong opened her 2009 article, The Case for God, with a vivid and harrowing description of what it feels like to make your way down some sixty-five feet below ground level--at times crawling on your hands and knees in complete darkness--to explore the ancient caves on the border of France and Spain where you can view the elaborate paintings created by our Stone Age ancestors some seventeen thousand years ago. She concludes: Like art, the truths of religion require the disciplined cultivation of a different mode of consciousness. The cave experience always began with the disorientation of utter darkness, which annihilated normal habits of mind. Human beings are so constituted that periodically they seek out [what the Greeks called] ekstasis, a stepping outside the norm. Today people who no longer find it in a religious setting resort to other outlets: music, dance, art, sex, drugs, or sport. We make a point of seeking out those experiences that touch us deeply within and lift us momentarily beyond ourselves. At such times, we feel that we inhabit our humanity more fully than usual and experience an enhancement of being. In these islands you meet people of every ethnic group and of diverse religious beliefs living together harmoniously, peacefully, and enjoying the sunshine of God's love. The native who drove me from the airport to Maui Hilton Hotel told me that his antecedents were a mixture of Irish, Portuguese, German, Japanese, and Chinese. He pointed out that the people here have intermarried for generations and that racial problems are unknown. How to Get Along with Others One of the chief reasons some men and women do not get ahead in life is their inability to get along with others. They seem to rub others the wrong way. Often their attitude of pomposity is tactless and offensive. The best way to get along with others is to salute the Divinity in the other person and to realize that every man and woman is an epitome or example of the entire human race. Every person who walks the earth is a son or daughter of the Living God; How a Waiter Promoted Himself

Several bone breakers in Eastern Friesland (the traditional name for bone setters in that area) still use this method with horses that require treatment. Originally this widely spread method was also used on humans. Another custom said that to banish an illness, a sick person should hammer three nails (into a wood block, for example) with all their might. Back when people used to use fire strikers or fire steels to start a fire, they were used for inflammations, in keeping with the belief that an item that has a specific effect (in this case to start a fire) also has the ability to take it away (here: the fire of the inflammation). Fire strikers seem to have been a very popular remedy. They were also placed on tumors, broken bones, and headaches. It is obvious that we should reasonably go to the doctor in cases like this today, although the additional application can't hurt. Fire strikers can be purchased at Renaissance fairs and via the internet. Charles Godfrey Leland gives this translation of the charm in his Gypsy Sorcery and Fortunetelling: Be thou, be thou, be thou weak (ie, soft) To Armstrong, religion is doing, not belief. It's the effort you put into repeatedly cultivating such peak, unbounded epiphanies that stretch open your heart and mind, and make you more attuned to boundless possibilities. As Armstrong notes, religion isn't the only path to expanded modes of consciousness. Back in article 4 I drew on that age-old metaphor about swinging open the doors of perception, first used by William Blake, and then more than 160 years later by Aldous Huxley. Your own commonplace experiences of positive emotions can open those doors as well, expanding your outlook on life and setting off spiritual experiences. At times that expanded outlook is hardly noticeable at all, whereas at other times it can take you by surprise, like a powerful gust of wind that clears away debris and allows you to see things with fresh eyes. The point I wish to make here is that your experiences of love and connection need not overwhelm you to open your perceptual gates. Scientific evidence now documents that far less intense positive emotional experiences reliably open those same doors and raise spirituality. By regularly engaging in the kinds of formal and informal practices I offer throughout part II of this article, you can learn to infuse your day and your life with more of the expanded and spiritual modes of consciousness of which James, Armstrong, Huxley, and countless others write. Toward this end, consider the spiritual lessons from Buddhism.

While visiting one of the chain of hotels in the Koanapali Beach district of Maui, I had an interesting conversation with a waiter. He told me that every year an eccentric millionaire from the mainland visited the hotel. This visitor proved to be a miserly type who hated to give a waiter or a bellboy a tip. He was churlish, ill-mannered, rude, and just plain ornery. Nothing satisfied him, and he was constantly complaining about the food and the service, and he snarled at the waiter whenever he served him. This waiter said to me, I realized he was a sick man. Our Kahuna (a native Hawaiian priest) says that when men are like that there is something eating their insides, so I decided to kill him with kindness. How the special technique worked wonders This waiter consistently treated this man with courtesy, kindness and respect, silently affirming, God loves him. I see God in him and he sees God in me. And very soon perish! Go thou into the earth, May I see thee never more Bring knives, knives, Give (ie, put) into the earth. The principle for healing work of any kind is this: as much as necessary, but as little as possible. You should also stick to this rule when it comes to magical healing work, since body, mind, and soul should be nudged to do their own job rather than weakened, which can result if we ease their burden too much. Use it or lose it. This work is not about spinning a soft healing cocoon around ourselves, but about getting fit again, so we can stand up to our daily lives as well as possible. Sometimes relief is the first and most important goal.

In his acclaimed 1995 article, Living Buddha, Living Christ, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh wrote that he resonated with how a Catholic priest once described to him the Holy Spirit as energy sent by God. Nhat Hanh shared that this phrasing both pleased him and deepened his conviction that the most reliable way to approach the Christian Trinity was through the doorway of the Holy Spirit. Integrating this with his Buddhist perspective, he likened the Holy Spirit to mindfulness and its fruits: understanding, love, and compassion. When you purposely tune in to the present moment, this view holds, and see and listen deeply in an open, accepting manner, you open a door to divine oneness. As does Armstrong, then, Nhat Hanh sees both Christian and Buddhist spirituality in the doing. From this vantage point, love, compassion, and other deeply moving spiritual experiences become holy states that you can cultivate through your own intentional efforts to be present, grounded, and mindfully aware of both yourself and others. Learning to trust that your deepest emotions can lead you somewhere good is what my collaborator and American Buddhist writer Sharon Salzberg calls faith in her 2002 spiritual memoir by the same name. Faith, or alternatively trust or confidence, is the usual translation of the ancient Pali word saddha, which Salzberg points out literally means to place the heart upon. Like Armstrong and Nhat Hanh, Salzberg emphasizes that faith is a verb, an action--something you do--not a received definition of reality or belief system that explains away life's mysteries. In Buddhism, to have faith is to open your heart to your experiences, or as Salzberg puts it, to be willing to take the next step, to see the unknown as an adventure, to launch a journey. He practiced this technique for about a month, at the end of which time this eccentric millionaire for the first time said, Good morning, Toni. How's the weather? You're the best waiter I have ever had. Toni told me, I almost fainted; I expected a growl and I got a compliment. He gave me a five hundred dollar bill. This was a parting tip from this difficult guest, who at the same time arranged for Toni to be made an assistant manager eventually of a large hotel in Honolulu, in which he was financially interested. And a word spoken in due season, how good is it! A word is a thought expressed. This waiter's words (thoughts) were addressed to the soul (subconscious mind) of the cranky, cantankerous guest, they gradually melted the ice in his heart, and he responded in love and kindness.

Not everything can be healed completely, even if the trend of believing everything is possible spins fine yarns in this regard. A friend who is a physical therapist developed a system for her work which you can use or adapt as needed. Since many patients come to her with the expectation now fix me right away and like to announce their displeasure when decades of stress or strain fail to disappear in a single session, she asks patients to estimate how they are feeling before the session on a scale from one (really bad) to ten (excellent). She asks them after the session which point of the scale they see themselves at now. This shows much more realistic results. Don't try to collect every available method, but rather concentrate on that which truly moves you forward, and polish it over time. We often subscribe to the erroneous belief that everyone has to know as many methods as possible. The old healers viewed that very differently. They had their pet subjects, but there were also areas in which they deferred to other people because it was simply not their area of expertise. They knew their limitations and knew that it is normal to have some limitations. Faith is a way of leaning in toward your feelings of love and oneness, trusting that--somehow--they will nourish you and lead you closer to your spiritual higher ground. Faith, according to Salzberg, is an active, open state that makes us willing to explore. It draws you out of the safe and familiar territory of labels and constructs, and into the more challenging and always changing flux of your own inner experience. From what I've highlighted so far, you won't be surprised to learn that I especially resonate with how my friend and Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant, an expert in adult development, defines spirituality. In his 2009 article, Spiritual Evolution, he equates spirituality with positive emotions, noting that these states are what connect you to others, to the divine, and over time help you attain wisdom and maturity. Succinctly, he concludes, Love is the shortest definition of spirituality I know. I see no need to improve upon this definition. To be sure, casting spirituality as an altered state of consciousness is hardly new. Viewed one way, it's simply another description of the human practices that yield exalted emotional states in the first place. Descriptions like these didn't take us very far in the past precisely because they remained on the same soft side of the opposition between subjective and objective ways of knowing.