One of the most liberating decisions I have made in my life was that being sad would not restrict me from being happy. Don’t get me wrong: I do not have a natural inclination to sadness. I actually believe that I was born with a positive mindset that has since been nurtured into a moderately hyperactive, grateful, curious and complacent adult personality. My semi-inherent and semi-acquired Pollyannaism however, is not expressed through sporadic pleasure seeks but is actually the product of a step by step project I undertook a couple of years ago.
I was brought up between two national mentalities: that of the United States and that of Europe, being born in Greece. In both continents — and countries, I found a consistent approach to the concept of Happiness. Happiness, people would tell me, is the negation of unhappiness. Happiness is the lack of sadness. It is a negative sadness. And sadness is a negative happiness. Two states of mind and soul, inextricably bound one to another.
However precise and easy to grasp, these definitions were rather grounding to my teenage and evolving aura. Even more so, they constructed a concept doomed to be inapplicable in my life of spontaneous giggles and zeal for adventure. It is not that I did not go through times of sadness. It is just that my happiness-famine could not be sated or tempered for a specific period of time — until sadness faded away.
Growing up, I felt obliged to make a decision between these two states: I would either be sad and be entirely sad or I would be happy and be entirely happy. There was no percentage distribution acceptable when facing a bipolar choice: It was either Happiness or Sadness, never both.
Unable to make a choice and feeling facetious when condemning myself for finding sources of joy in times of unfortunate events, I decided to take a step back from unofficial orders of social conduct and to draw a distinctive line between Happiness and Sadness. I decided to word two new definitions of these feelings but this time without using one to describe the other.
From that moment on, I put together a 5 rule index to live by, in pursuit of Happiness in a world of ample triggers of Sadness. Working on the concepts of Failure and Success and through my online trainings for people to turn setbacks into potential through my Today I Failed At Facebook page, the positive effects of Happiness in one’s journey to self-fulfillment have been proven undeniable. This is why I decided to share them here:
1) Happiness and Sadness are two separate senses that can in fact co-exist. You can be sad about an F on a math test but you have to encourage yourself to be happy about your date to the prom
2) Happiness is not the negation of Sadness and Sadness is not the negation of Happiness. Human feelings, as is human nature, are much more complex than an either/or simplification. Don’t look for clean cut answers
3) You are under no obligation to be consistent when it comes to how you feel. Celebrate your mood swings and never explain yourself for trying to brush off negative vibes
4) Moments of Happiness in life are few and fleeting. Seize them unapologetically and claim a taste of eudaimonia
5) People wont be drawn to you more if you appear to be sad. Yes, some do empathize with you and want to alleviate your sadness when you are in pain but is this really the way that you wish to attract others? Don’t always present yourself pitiful out of fear of losing help and support. Find the turning points and be positive when you get a chance. Inspire your friends and keep them through a contagious state of optimism. Be a fountain, not a drain. People stay with them who are positive
Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
1. Give up your need to always be right
There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question:
“Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer
What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big
2. Give up your need for control
Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
3. Give up on blame
Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life. 4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk
Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs
about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind.”
6. Give up complaining
Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism
Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others
Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change
Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
10. Give up labels
Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open.
“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears
Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses
Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
13. Give up the past
I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment
This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations
Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.
Our thoughts are everywhere. Sometimes they can be handy in figuring things out, or sometimes they can overcomplicate things when they don’t need to and many times they just can’t help but be there, including now as you read this article. The bottom line is: your mind always has something to say.
Although practices such as meditation can be great tools in quieting the mind from its rampant chatter, the greatest tool we can ever develop is to regain control of the roller coaster that our mind takes us on. No matter how often it has something to say, it’s ultimately always up to us in how we choose to react to what it has to say. Just like at an amusement park where we have the choice of which roller coaster we would like to ride, we also have the choice as to whether we let our life’s roller coaster be the 5 out of 5 intensity of the BEHEMOTH, or the 1 out of 5 Jolly Taxi.
Rather than always trying to quiet the mind, here are 6 thoughts that we can all implement right now to throw our mind for a loop and make us all instantly happier:
1) When Has Laziness Ever Gotten Me Anywhere?
We all have a lazy bone within us, and many times succumbing to that laziness can be a great experience and an awesome opportunity to unwind. The issue arises when that lazy bone holds us back from doing something that either needs to be done or involves something that we are passionate about. All of the world’s greatest thinkers, athletes, artists, builders, etc., all became that way because they refused to let laziness control their life.
“I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” – Kobe Bryant
The bottom line is, in this life you are never going to be younger than you are right now, so if not now, when?
What to do if your mind objects: Rather than basking in the idea of how nice laziness can feel at times, and ultimately letting “I don’t feel like it” dictate your decision, choose to look at the other option. Think of how great it feels to accomplish or be a part of something once you get yourself engaged in it. Let that guide you to say “yes,” with the icing on the cake being how much better the relaxation will feel afterwards with the added incentive of having done something.
2) I Already Have Everything I Need
How many of you have ever heard someone say something like this to you? I’m going to start eating healthy and taking care of myself once I finish this project at work, break-up with the girl I’m dating and get my own place. This thought series -or any other one similar to it -I like to call the ultimate creator of being stuck in a limbo state. We identify a change we would like to make, something we are passionate about, but we choose to hold off on incorporating it until a handful of other cards all fall into place. The all too common end result? Those cards never line-up as we expect them to and years go by without us ever exploring the healthy life that we’ve always wanted to.
What to do if your mind objects: Remember that no matter how full our plate currently is, we can always make time to incorporate something that is important to us (think of how we always manage to make time to deal with emergencies.) Even if just in small doses at first -such as making one homemade lunch a week in the example above -these steps show our mind that we are choosing to take control and gets ourselves on a path to a happier version of our self.
3) I Choose To Focus On The Journey, Not The End Result
The world is a vast place with over 7 billion people. Rather than seeing this as a cool fact, many of us see it as a justification as to why we cannot do anything that will have a significant impact. Since our mind will obsess and compare with things of great magnitude, we will often choose to not even bother partaking in or initiating something that we are passionate about -something that if we did, would make us happier.
What to do if your mind objects: Keep two rebuttals in mind: (1) even the grandest things started small, (2) even the smallest thing has an impact on the entire world at a conscious level. We still have plenty of room to grow, but even Collective Evolution started as just 3 guys with an idea, an idea that slowly developed into the website, social media platform and film production company that it is today.
4) I Am Exactly Where I Need To Be
Comparison is at the core of many toxic thoughts, whether it be towards another person, a personal expectation or a socially developed norm. That being the case, our mind often loves to dwell upon the idea of being a failure to this point, which for many people can lead to “settling” or “rushing” to try and get themselves “there” as quickly as possible. Why not instead work on selling yourself on the idea that we are always exactly where we need to be?
What to do if your mind objects: Whether or not your mind chooses to agree with you being exactly where you need to, we can all agree that no matter what, there is nothing we can do to change the past. That being the case, choose to accept your life for what it has been, love yourself for who you are now and be present in the now, with no regard towards regrets. Choose to move forward rather than spend any more time thinking about how things could have gone differently.
5) I Can’t Please Everyone
The mind is a very powerful creator, and speaking from personal experience, one of the areas that it particularly loves to create within is the idea of how others will react to something that you do. It will often create and obsess to the point that many of us choose to hold ourselves back from doing something that we felt pulled to, just to avoid the potential ridicule or friction that may or may not come from others in our life.
What to do if your mind objects: The first thing to note is that more often than not, people are far too consumed with their own lives to ever carry through on the ridicule that your mind expected them to. But even if they do, is it really worth holding yourself back to avoid facing? When you choose to let the potential opinion of others dictate your life you ultimately choose to willingly place yourself in a “safety” box that will likely never expand to explore many of your passions. Does that sound like happiness?
6) I’m Beautiful Just The Way I Am
This is by far the most specific of the thoughts that I chose to put on this list, but I feel its placement is justified because of the superficially obsessed world that we live in. Whether we’re married, chronically single or have never been kissed it’s amazing how many of us regularly inflict the idea of being ugly upon ourselves -myself included. Whether it be focused on particular aspects of ourselves that we feel fall short, or our entire physicality as a whole we seem to love thrusting negative thoughts towards this awesome gift that we have the privilege of inhabiting.
What to do if your mind objects: Choose to opt out of the world’s “idea” of beauty and accept yourself for who you are. Whether or not the rest the world chooses to play along there is nothing more attractive than a person who is comfortable and confident in their own shoes. Be who you are and try throwing some nice comments towards yourself for a change.
The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking. ~Albert Camus
When depression hits, it hijacks your thoughts and feelings. It whispers seductive lies into your ears; lies that gradually start sounding like the truth. I know how that feels, because I have struggled with it too. If on the other hand, you knew the lies depression commonly uses, then you can ignore or replace them with your own inner truth. And every time you do that, you have healed a little bit.
So, here are some common ‘depression deceptions’ to watch out for:
1. It’s a chemical condition. So I can’t really do anything about it right?
I’m a psychiatrist and so I hear this one a lot. And it dismays me. As a society, we have gone from one extreme-thinking that everything was related to your mother-to the other extreme-now everything is a chemical condition that is beyond our control. Both are too simplistic. We are complex individuals with unique and rich stories. There is no one answer that will always fit all of us.
Yes your brain is made up of electrical impulses and chemical substances that change a million times in a day and make up your thoughts and/or emotions. And yes, often times, severe clinical depression requires medications. In fact, they can be essential and life saving in some situations. But, and listen to this very closely, even when they work well, medications alone don’t keep you from getting depressed again. What they do, is give you enough relief to then workon your self, and change the things in your mind and life, so that hopefully, you don’t feel that depressed again.
In fact, some forms of therapy, such as Mindfulness based cognitive therapy, has been shown to be even better than medications at lowering the risk of relapse (as long as you’ve gotten over the worst hump).
The human mind is very powerful but much of it is amenable to change. It’s a tough process, but so worth the effort.
2. Anyone with my childhood/job/marriage/health/finances would be depressed!
Each of us lives in our own heads and so we only can feel our own pain. Yes we can empathize with others, but we can’t fully feel anyone else’s joy or pain as intimately as we can feel our own.
This can lead us to feel trapped by the pain of our own life circumstances.
I used to feel this way as well. My depression would tell me “Your mom committed suicide and your dad is a narcissist. It’s not possible for you to ever be happy”. The worst part was, I believed it for a long time.
Since then, I have been fortunate to feel my own strengths, to learn about the brain, to read books and meet amazing people who have overcome great odds, proving to me over and over again that the human spirit is greater than the sum of past events.
You have great inner strength and wisdom within you. Whatever may have happened in your past is only one part of you. Don’t let it dictate your whole life
3. I’ve tried everything. Nothing works for me.
Do you feel like you have tried every single thing to help yourself? And nothing is working?
If that’s the case, maybe you’re trying too hard. Sometimes chasing happinessmakes it more…..elusive, like a butterfly that will only come and softly sit on your shoulder when you can simply be in it’s presence without chasing it.
Try just surrounding yourself with people who seem genuinely happy. Not the Polly Anna kind of superficial happy. But the folks that exude a sense of deep contentment and peace from within. Don’t compare or force happiness to come to you. Just be in its presence.
4. I’ll be happier once I lose weight/get a raise/buy a home…
I wasted lots of my time in my 20’s hoping that if I just worked desperately toward achieving this or that, I would live happily ever after. Well, I did achieve most of those things, and it did make me feel excited briefly, but soon I had gone back to my usual state of mind. Feeling confused, I would replace it with another “goal” and chase after that, hoping that this time, the happiness would be deeper and long lasting.
And one day I was explaining this theory to a close friend, and she said simply “What’s wrong with now? Why not just be happy now?”
It blew me away. Because she wasn’t telling me to not reach for my goals, but rather that I was missing out on the possibility of NOW.
This very moment is alive with possibility. Whenever you begin to worry about the future or connect your happiness to some elusive goal, take a moment to bring your awareness back to this moment. Use your senses to really see, hear, smell and touch your immediate surroundings. And think of one thing you are grateful for today. Maybe it’s your morning cup of coffee, the hug your son gave you or that your friend called to share a joke. Whatever it is, if you truly loved it, spend a few moments being genuinely thankful that you had that TODAY.
5. I’ve screwed up a lot. I hate myself. I’m not worthy of happiness.
This is a tough one, because when we don’t love ourselves, that’s where the work must start. No foundation, no building.
Whatever you may have done in the past, it’s gone. That moment can never come back.
However, every new breath you take now is a new chance at life. It’s totally fresh and alive for you to shape as you like. And if this one doesn’t do it, that’s fine, your next breath is again a fresh possibility. And the next. And the next.
Until you take your last breath, you have millions of moments to start over and become the person you want to be. It’s up to you what you do with each one.
6. Most of my life is okay, except for that one ‘X’ thing.
I once read a story that goes something like this.
A professor puts up a big white board with a black dot on it, and then asks his students to describe what they see.
Most of them come close to scrutinize the board and blurt out the answer excitedly “The black dot! There is a black dot on it!”
Finally, the professor says “It’s interesting that most of you didn’t notice the whole white board in front of you, but rather chose to focus on that one small black dot”
This is what happens when we focus solely on the negative things. I’m not saying your difficulties are just dot sized. Not at all. All I’m saying is: Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful expanse of white in your life. Because it’s there.
Source: “6 Lies Your Depression Wants You to Believe (& How to Not Fall Into the Trap)”, from thechangeblog.com, by Kavetha Sundaramoorthy
Only as a [spiritual] warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge. A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges. The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse. — Don Juan, as quoted by Jack Kornfield in A Path With Heart
I first read these words in medical school, in the middle of a difficult surgical rotation. I felt depressed and beaten down from working 80+ hour weeks and arduous overnight shifts, and demoralized by poor treatment from my superiors (who were undoubtedly demoralized, themselves). I wanted to be a surgeon, but couldn’t imagine the rest of my life looking like this. And then, out of nowhere, my boyfriend broke up with me. It felt like things couldn’t get much worse.
Then, I read these words in Jack Kornfield’s book, A Path With Heart. I mulled over what he said, and turned it over in my mind. I began to consider whether it was possible to see painful experiences as challenges to work through, and not as bad luck to lament. I wondered, could I see the same circumstances through different eyes? Soon after, I decided to abandon a career in surgery for a future in psychiatry (and haven’t looked back since). Here are some ways we can all cultivate our own inner spiritual warrior — the part of us that faces challenge with wisdom, equanimity, and compassion.
1. Turn straw into gold. Our deepest suffering is often our greatest opportunity to learn about ourselves and take action to be better people. Working through suffering is how you learn to be patient, humble, and grateful. And developing strength in the face of painful circumstances teaches you that you don’t need to fear the natural ups and downs of life, and instead can face whatever comes your way with inner calm and peace.
2. Integrate mindfulness into daily life. Being mindful doesn’t mean you need to spend hours a day meditating — you just need to pay attention. We think we don’t have the time, but it doesn’t need to take any extra time. Practice paying attention when you’re engaged in daily activities. When you’re washing the dishes, wash the dishes, and try not to let your mind wander to the past or future. When you’re eating, eat. When you’re walking, walk, and pay attention to the ground under each step.
3. See everyone as your Buddha. Just as difficult circumstances can be opportunities for growth, so can interactions with difficult people. Imagine that any difficult person you encounter is actually the Buddha in disguise, put there to teach you a specific lesson about life or about yourself. What do you think the universe is trying to teach you?
4. Recognize the difference between pain and suffering. In Eastern philosophy, pain and suffering are two very different things. Pain is the inevitable hardships of life, and suffering is the avoidable negative narrative we add on top of that. Losing your job is pain — telling yourself that this means you’re a failure is suffering. Ending a relationship is pain — interpreting this to mean that you’ll never meet anyone again is suffering. You can’t eliminate pain, but you can end suffering.
5. Set a daily intention. In many meditation and yoga classes the teacher will ask the students to set an intention at the beginning of their practice. The same exercise can be useful in your day-to-day life. Try asking yourself every morning, “What emotion or feeling do I want to cultivate today?” Maybe it’s to be patient, nonjudgmental, self-assured, happy, or open-minded. Whatever it is, set an intention to foster this quality throughout your day.
6. Create space for negative emotions. A common reaction to painful emotions like doubt, fear, or anger is to squash them down and pretend they’re not there. You’ll actually find it a lot more tolerable if you create space for them, instead. Imagine whatever painful emotion you’re feeling as a compact ball of energy at your heart. Now expand that ball of energy to take up the whole room, the whole street, the whole planet, the whole universe. As it diffuses outward, the strength of the emotion wanes. As you pay attention to it, it loses power.
7. Cultivate wise thoughts. So little of how we see the world is based on fact and reality, and so much is based on subjective perceptions and interpretations. This is why unwise thoughts can be so destructive and wise thoughts can be so empowering. Choose to cultivate wise thoughts. We can’t always choose how we feel, but we can choose what thoughts patterns and narratives we want to nurture.
8. Do something you’re afraid of every day. In order to be able to do anything really amazing or courageous, we need to be able to act even when we’re afraid. This is learned skill. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Practicing in small ways can help you build the momentum for something bigger. Maybe it’s asking that cute girl out at the grocery store, or negotiating a price when you don’t feel comfortable haggling, or speaking up at work when normally you keep quiet. Whatever you’re afraid of, practice doing it.
9. Act out of love, not fear. Many people think the opposite of love is hate, but I would argue it’s fear. While fear is a closing and contraction of the heart, love is a warmness and openness to yourself, the people around you, and whatever circumstance comes your way. If you’re ever confused and unsure how to act, ask yourself one question: Does the action you’re considering spring from love or from fear? Always choose love.
Have you ever been stuck over-thinking something that happened or something you think will happen only to get your knickers in a bunch? I know I have! This over-thinking thing keeps most of us stuck. It keeps us rooted in fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It’s a major contributor to the FUD factor and a huge reason why most people can’t find their happy.
I don’t know about you, but my over-thinking habit robbed me of my own happiness and joy. If I could put my finger on it, I’d say the trigger for breaking up with this soul-sucking, life-leeching habit over 10 years ago was when I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had headaches, IBS, and that God awful pit in my stomach that never seemed to go away.
To make matters worse, I was in a toxic relationship (even though I didn’t know it at the time) that made my over-thinking monkey mind spin out of control. I was on my own crazy-go-round 24/7. When life as I knew it ended after my first marriage imploded, I gave up soda, coffee, and over-thinking. (For a while, I gave up men, but that’s another story!)
Here are 10 ways over-thinking destroys your happiness. Leave a comment and let me know if you can think of other ways over-thinking is a buzz kill.
Over-thinking a problem will keep any problem a problem, which will keep you stuck inside the same problem until you quit thinking about it.
Over-thinking a situation will make the situation worse in direct proportion to the time and energy you spend over-thinking it.
Over-thinking anything prevents your creative problem solving skills from bubbling up.
Over-thinking makes you worry, and worry is nothing more than your imagination concocting a negative future state.
Over-thinking is a time suck — you’re so busy in a negative future state or negative past situation (which you can’t change) that you completely forget about right here right now.
Over-thinking robs you of energy that could be better focused on things that are worthy of your attention.
Over-thinking leads you to second guessing yourself and creates self-doubt.
Over-thinking is a TNT drama that occurs on a stage, inside your head, where you are the director, producer, actor, actress, supporting cast, key grip, sound manager, and executive assistant to the executive assistant of the casting director.
Over-thinking fabricates problems and gory “what if” horror stories.
Over-thinking creates heightened feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, fear, doubt, indecision, confusion, etc., as if whatever you are over-thinking is happening in real life.
When you break up with over-thinking it’s like writing your own “get out of jail free” card. It doesn’t cost you anything to end your relationship with the drama inside your head. You can decide to focus on things in the present that are deserving of your time and attention whenever you choose. The here and now is calling… will you answer?
Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?”Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?
2. Give up your need for control. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel. “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.”Lao Tzu
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that. “The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly! “A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind”Elly Roselle
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it. “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.
The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts. –David Bohm and Basil J. Hile, The Undivided Universe.1
“I suddenly developed a severe headache in the back of my head,” the nurse said tearfully. “It was so painful I could not function and had to leave work. This was strange, because I never have headaches. When I reached home and was lying in bed, the phone rang. I learned that my beloved brother had been killed from a gunshot wound to the back of his head, the same place my terrible headache was located. My headache began at the same time the shooting occurred.”
The woman was a prominent nurse leader at a major hospital in northern California. The occasion was a Q and A session after an address I had given to senior staff of the hospital consortium to which her hospital belonged. My topic was the importance of empathy, compassion, and caring in healing and healthcare. I had reviewed empirical evidence suggesting that empathy and compassion are more than vaporous emotions that float in our bodies somewhere above our clavicles. They are part of our biological makeup, I suggested. Although empathy and compassion arise when we are in the presence of another person, as when a nurse or physician is at the bedside of a patient, evidence suggests their effects are also felt between individuals at a distance, beyond the reach of the senses. Distant individuals often share feelings, sensations, and thoughts, particularly if they are emotionally close. These experiences, I explained, are called telesomatic events. Hundreds of such cases have been reported over the years but have been largely ignored.
This discussion had prompted the nurse to reveal her experience to several hundred of her colleagues in the audience. “Now I have a name for what happened between my brother and me,” she said. “Now I can talk about it.” Her story riveted the audience. When she finished, she was not the only person in the room in tears.
Levels of Connectedness
Neuron to Neuron
In 2009, a team of Italian researchers led by neuroscientist Rita Pizzi demonstrated that when one batch of human neurons was stimulated by a laser beam, a distant batch of neurons registered similar changes, although the two were completely shielded from each other.2 See Table 1.
Brain to Brain
In 1965, researchers T. D. Duane and Thomas Behrendt decided to test anecdotal reports that identical twins share feelings and physical sensations even when far apart. In two of 15 pairs of twins tested, eye closure in one twin produced not only an immediate alpha rhythm in his own brain, but also in the brain of the other twin, even though he kept his eyes open and sat in a lighted room.3
The publication of this study in the prestigious journal Science evoked enormous interest. Ten attempted replications soon followed by eight different research groups around the world. Of the 10 studies, eight reported positive findings, published in mainstream journals such as Nature and Behavioral Neuroscience.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
In the late 1980s and 1990s, a team headed by psychophysiologist Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum at the University of Mexico published experiments that, like most of the previous studies, demonstrated correlations in the electroencephalograms (EEGs) of separated pairs of individuals who had no sensory contact with each other.14, 15, 16
Two of the studies were published in the prominent journals Physics Essays and the International Journal of Neuroscience, drawing further attention to this area.17, 18, 19
Experiments in this field became increasingly sophisticated. In 2003, Jiri Wackerman, an EEG expert from Germany’s University of Freiburg, attempted to eliminate all possible weaknesses in earlier studies and applied a refined method of analysis. After his successful experiment he concluded, “We are facing a phenomenon which is neither easy to dismiss as a methodological failure or a technical artifact nor understood as to its nature. No biophysical mechanism is presently known that could be responsible for the observed correlations between EEGs of two separated subjects.”20
As functional magnetic resonance imaging brain-scanning techniques matured, these began to be used, with intriguing results. Psychologist Leanna Standish at Seattle’s Bastyr University found that when one individual in one room was visually stimulated by a flickering light, there was a significant increase in brain activity in a person in a distant room.19
In 2004, three new independent replications were reported, all successful — from Standish’s group at Bastyr University,18 from the University of Edinburgh,21 and from researcher Dean Radin and his team at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.22
Person to Person
Strong evidence that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors may influence someone remotely has surfaced in recent analyses of social networks. James H. Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and social scientist at Harvard Medical School, published a provocative article in 2008 in the British Medical Journal, titled “Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network.”23
Christakis states, “[H]appiness is more contagious than previously thought… Your happiness depends not just on your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people you don’t even know who are one, two and three degrees removed from you. … Emotions have a collective existence — they are not just an individual phenomenon.”24
From 1983 to 2003, Fowler and Christakis collected information from 4,739 people enrolled in the well-known Framingham Heart Study and from several thousand other individuals with whom they were connected — spouses, relatives, close friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They found, says Fowler, that, “[I]f your friend’s friend’s friend becomes happy, that has a bigger impact on you being happy than putting an extra $5,000 in your pocket.” The idea that the emotional state of your friend’s friend’s friend could profoundly affect your psyche created a sensation in the popular media. As a Washington Post journalist put it, “[E]motion can ripple through clusters of people who may not even know each other.”25
It’s not just happiness that gets around. The team also found that depression, sadness, obesity, drinking and smoking habits, ill-health, the inclination to turn out and vote in elections, a taste for certain music or food, a preference for online privacy, and the tendency to think about suicide are also contagious.26, 27
Christakis and Fowler published their findings about the spread of obesity in large social networks in the New England Journal of Medicine, widely considered the most influential medical journal in the world. They showed that obesity in people you don’t know and have never heard of could ricochet through you. They attributed the contagiousness of obesity to a “social network phenomenon” without proposing any specific physiological or psychological mechanism.28
To label something, however, is not to explain it, and to merely call this sort of thing a “social network phenomenon” has all the explanatory value of saying “what happens happens.” In the commentary that accompanied the article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the experts who weighed in took the same tack. They discussed the genetic factors that influence obesity and the connections within and between cells in an individual that may contribute to overweight, but they too were mute about how distant humans might influence one another when they are beyond sensory contact.
Some suggest that the ripples work through the action of mirror neurons, which are brain cells believed to fire both when we perform an action ourselves and when we watch someone else doing it. But when people are remote from each other, there is no one to watch, and therefore no stimulus for the mirror neurons to fire. Others suggest that the spread is through mimicry, as when people unconsciously copy the facial expressions, body language, posture, and speech of those around them. There is a hint of desperation in these attempts to find some sneaky physical factor that mediates changes between distant individuals. However, when all is said and done, Fowler and Christakis 29 say they don’t really know how happiness, obesity, etc. spread. The fact that your friend’s friend’s friend, someone you’ve neither seen nor heard of, is affecting your health has begun to rattle many of the gatekeepers in medicine.
This field may be a bomb with a delayed fuse that is getting ready to explode in the very heart of materialistic medicine. A few medical insiders are raising the possibility that something heretofore unthinkable may be going on, such as a nonlocal, collective aspect of consciousness that links distant individuals. Among them is Dr Robert S. Bobrow, a courageous clinical associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at New York’s Stony Brook University. In discussing the spread of obesity in his article “Evidence for a Communal Consciousness” in Explore in 2011, he says, “Frankly, obesity that develops from social connection, without face-to-face interaction, suggests emotional telepathy.”30
If these experiments don’t take your breath away, they should. They suggest that human isolation is a myth, and that human consciousness can manifest in the world beyond the brain. We are linked, united, entangled.
Almost forgotten amid this flurry of research are hundreds of case reports, such as the experience of the aforementioned nurse, which have been accumulating for more than a century. In them, individuals experience similar sensations or actual physical changes, even though they may be separated by great distances. Berthold E. Schwarz, an American neuropsychiatrist, documented many of these instances. In the 1960s he coined the term telesomatic to describe these events, from Greek words meaning “distant body.”31 The term is apt, because these events suggest that a shared mind is bridging two bodies. Most cases go unreported, however, because there is no accepted explanatory mechanism for them, and because of the social stigma that can result from discussing them publicly.
A typical example was described by the English social critic John Ruskin (1819-1900). It involved Arthur Severn, a famous landscape painter who was married to Ruskin’s cousin Joan. Severn awoke early one morning and went to a nearby lake for a sail while Joan remained in bed. She was suddenly awakened by the sensation of a severe, painful blow to the mouth, of no apparent cause. Shortly thereafter her husband Arthur returned, holding a cloth to his bleeding mouth. He reported that the wind had freshened abruptly and caused the boom to hit him in the mouth, almost knocking him from the boat, at the estimated time his wife felt the blow.32
A similar instance was reported in 2002 by mathematician-statistician Douglas Stokes. When he was teaching at the University of Michigan, one of his students reported that his father was knocked off a bench one day by an “invisible blow to the jaw.” Five minutes later his dad received a call from a local gymnasium where his wife was exercising, informing him that she had broken her jaw on a piece of fitness equipment.
Another example that also involved the Severn clan was more unfortunate. One day, while Joan Severn was sitting quietly with her mother and aunt, the mother suddenly screamed, collapsed back onto the sofa, covered her ears with both hands, and exclaimed, “Oh, there’s water rushing fast into my ears, and I’m sure either my brother, or son James, must be drowning, or both of them.” Then, Joan looked out the window and saw people hurrying toward the nearby bathing place. Shortly thereafter her uncle came to the house, looking pale and distressed, and reported that James had indeed drowned.33
David Lorimer, a shrewd analyst of consciousness and a leader of the Scientific and Medical Network, an international organization based in the United Kingdom, has collected many telesomatic cases in his very wise book Whole in One.34 Lorimer is struck by the fact that these events occur mainly between people who are emotionally close. He makes a strong case for what he calls “empathic resonance,” which he believes links individuals across space and time.
The late psychiatrist lan Stevenson (1918-2007), of the University of Virginia, investigated scores of instances in which distant individuals experience similar physical symptoms. Most involve parents and children, spouses, siblings, twins, lovers, and very close friends.35 Again, the common thread is the emotional closeness and empathy experienced by the separated persons.
In a typical example reported by Stevenson, a mother was writing a letter to her daughter, who had recently gone away to college. For no obvious reason her right hand began to burn so severely she had to put down her pen. She received a phone call less than an hour later informing her that her daughter’s right hand had been severely burned by acid in a laboratory accident at the same time that she, the mother, had felt the burning pain.36
In a case reported by researcher Louisa E. Rhine, a woman suddenly doubled over, clutching her chest in severe pain, saying, “Something has happened to Nell, she has been hurt.” Two hours later the sheriff arrived to inform her that her daughter Nell had been involved in an auto accident, and that a piece of the steering wheel had penetrated her chest.37
But if you stop clinging to coincidence and try explaining this trumpery affair, you might shatter one kind of world. –J. B. Priestley, Man & Time 38
Guy Lyon Playfair is one of the best-known consciousness researchers in Great Britain and is the author of the important book Twin Telepathy.39 He has collected a variety of documented telesomatic cases involving twins and nontwin siblings.
One case involved the identical twins Ross and Norris McWhirter, who were well known in Britain as co-editors of the Guinness Book of Records. On November 27, 1975, Ross was fatally shot in the head and chest by two gunmen on the doorstep of his north London home. According to an individual who was with his twin brother Norris, Norris reacted in a dramatic way at the time of the shooting, almost as if he had been shot by an invisible bullet.40
Skeptics invariably dismiss cases such as these as coincidence, but many are hard to squeeze into this category. An example reported by Playfair concerns four year old identical twins Silvia and Marta Landa, who lived in the village of Murillo de Río Leza in northern Spain. The Landa twins became celebrities in 1976 after being featured in the local newspaper after a bizarre event. Marta had burned her hand on a hot clothes iron. As a large red blister was forming, an identical one developed on the hand of Silvia, who was away visiting her grandparents at the time. Silvia was taken to the doctor, unaware of what had happened to her sister Marta. When the two little girls were united, their parents saw that the blisters were the same size and on the same part of the hand.
It wasn’t the first time this sort of thing had happened. If one twin had an accident, the other twin seemed to know about it, even though they were nowhere near each other. Once, when they arrived home in their car, Marta hopped out and ran inside the house, but suddenly complained that she could not move her foot. While this was happening, Silvia had got tangled up with the seat belt and her foot was stuck in it. On another occasion when one of them had misbehaved and was given a smack, the other one, out of sight, immediately burst into tears.
Members of the Madrid office of the Spanish Parapsychological Society got wind of the burned-hand incident and decided to investigate. Their team of nine psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians descended on the Landa house, with the full cooperation and approval of the twins’ parents. They had hardly arrived when a typical trade-off incident happened to the little twins. When Marta accidentally banged her head on something, it was her sister Silvia who began to cry. The researchers got to work with a series of tests disguised as fun games for the twins. This meant the little girls had no idea they were involved in an experiment.
While Marta stayed on the ground floor with her mother and some of the researchers, Silvia went with her father and the rest of the team to the second floor. Everything that happened on both floors was filmed and tape-recorded. One of the psychologists played a game with Marta, using a glove puppet. Silvia was given an identical puppet, but no game was played. Downstairs, Marta grabbed the puppet and threw it at the investigator. Upstairs, at the same time, Silvia did the same.
One of the team’s physicians next shined a bright light into Marta’s left eye, as part of a simple physical check-up. When she did this four times, Silvia began to blink rapidly as if trying to avoid a bright light. Then, the doctor did a knee jerk reflex test by tapping her left knee tendon three times. At the same time, Silvia began to jerk her leg so dramatically that her father, unaware the test was going on downstairs on Marta, had to hold it still. Then, Marta was given some very aromatic perfume to smell. As she did so, Silvia shook her head and put her hand over her nose. Next, still in different rooms, the twins were given seven colored disks and were asked to arrange them in any order they liked. They arranged them in exactly the same order.
There were other tests as well. The team rated all but one of them as “highly positive” or “positive.”
The Landa tests confirmed what most researchers have found — that children are more prone than adults to this sort of thing, and that results are more likely to be positive when experiments are done not in sterile, impersonal laboratories but in the natural habitat of the subjects and in a relaxed, supportive environment. This latter lesson often has been flagrantly ignored in consciousness research by experimenters who should know better. Researchers have had to learn repeatedly the importance of ecological validity — the principle that what is being tested should be allowed to unfold as it does in real life.
Telesomatic events often are viewed as little more than cute coincidences or weird curiosities, like the simultaneous burn on the hands of the Landa twins. However, there are many instances in which telesomatic happenings are of life-and-death significance. These cases are important because they show that the telesomatic link has survival value, which is probably why it appears to be inherent in humans.
One such case reported to Playfair involved identical twin boys, Ricky and Damien, only three days old. Anna, their mother, would feed them during the night in her bed, propping herself up with pillows. On this particular occasion she had one twin, Ricky, in front of her, while her other son, Damien, lay on a pillow to her left. As she was changing Ricky’s diaper, he suddenly began screaming. This was surprising, for even though only three days old, “he was a really good baby,” Anna said, as was his brother. She could not figure out what was wrong, as he had been cleaned and fed. Then, still screaming, Ricky’s body began to shake, as if he were having a convulsion. Anna reports that the thought suddenly popped into her head that “twins relay messages to each other.” She looked down to check on Damien and, to her horror, saw that he wasn’t there, but was face down in the pillows behind her. She immediately grabbed him and saw that he was blue in the face with his mouth clamped shut. Damien was suffocating. She and her older daughter began artificial respiration and called an ambulance. The terrifying event had a happy ending. Anna concluded, “Without a doubt, Ricky saved his brother’s life. Had it not been for him screaming and shaking, I never would have looked for Damien until I had finished with Ricky, and by then it would have been too late.”41
The theme of shared pain between twins and emotionally close siblings recurs in cases reported by Playfair. In one example, a five month old identical twin awakens as the clock strikes ten, and suddenly begins crying. After 15 minutes he stops, as if a switch was turned. At a hospital several miles away, his brother is having a painful injection. His mother notes the time as 10 pm. In a similar report, the mother of another pair of five month old identical twins reports that when one of them is having an inoculation he takes it calmly, but the other one “yells his head off.”42
Adult identical twins have similar experiences. An example involved socialite Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt (1904-1965) and her identical twin sister, Lady Thelma Morgan Furness (1904-1970). In Double Exposure: A Twin Autobiography, they relate that when Lady Furness was expecting her baby in Europe, Gloria was in New York City. Gloria was planning to travel to Europe to be with her sister in May when the baby was due. But in late March, when she was preparing to go out to lunch, Gloria developed such severe abdominal pains she had to cancel her engagements and go to bed. She said, “I remember saying… that if I didn’t know such a thing was out of the question, I would think I was having a baby.” Gloria managed to sleep for a while, and on awakening she felt normal-and saw on the bedside table a cable from Lord Furness announcing the premature birth of Thelma’s son.43
Sometimes the pain that is shared is emotional and not physical, as in another case reported to Playfair. It involved an American academic while she was an undergraduate at Stony Brook University in New York. She awoke from a deep sleep at six am New York time and cried out, knowing without doubt that her twin sister in Arizona was in trouble. She told her roommate what had happened, and called her mother as well. Her mother informed her that at three am Arizona time a car bomb had exploded just outside her twin sister’s apartment, shattering a window. Fortunately, her twin sister and her husband were unharmed. The time of the bomb blast in Arizona coincided with her terrified awakening in New York.
Although telesomatic exchanges are by no means limited to twins, they are undeniably frequent among them. As Playfair states, in twins we see “the telepathic signal at full volume, as it were, at which not only information is transmitted at a distance but so are emotions, physical sensations and even symptoms such as burns and bruises.”44
Even so, he has found that only around 30% of identical twins have these experiences, but in those who do the phenomena can be mind-boggling.45 Emotional closeness is an essential factor in the twin connection. Also, having an extraverted, outgoing personality has been shown to facilitate the link. And, as we see in the above examples, what twins seem to communicate best is bad news — depression, illness, accidents, or death.
Exceptions to the twin connection can be seen in physicians who emotionally and physically sense when their patients need their attention. A remarkable case is that of Larry Kincheloe, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Oklahoma City.46
After completing his training in obstetrics and gynecology, Kincheloe joined a very traditional medical group and practiced for about four years without any unusual events. Then, one Saturday afternoon he received a call from the hospital that a patient of his was in early labor. He gave routine orders, and since this was her first baby, he assumed that delivery would be hours away. While raking leaves, he experienced an overwhelming feeling that he should go to the hospital. He immediately called labor and delivery and was told by the nurse that everything was going fine; his patient was only five centimeters dilated, and delivery was not expected for several more hours.
Even with this reassurance, the feeling became stronger and Kincheloe began to feel an aching pain in the center of his chest. He described it as similar to the feeling one has when they are 16 years old and lose their first love — an achingly sad, melancholy sense. The more he tried to ignore the sensation the stronger it grew, until it reached the point where he felt he was drowning. By this time he was desperate to get to the hospital. He jumped into his car and sped away. As he neared the hospital he began to feel better. When he walked onto the labor unit, he had an enormous sense of relief.
When he reached the nurses’ desk, his patient’s nurse was just walking out of the patient’s labor room. When she asked why he was there, Kincheloe honestly admitted that he did not know, only that he felt he was needed and that his place was here. She gave him a strange look and told him that she had just checked the patient and that she was only seven centimeters dilated. At that moment a cry came from the labor room. Anyone who has ever worked in labor and delivery knows that there is a certain tone in a woman’s cry when the baby is nearing delivery. He rushed to the patient’s room just in time to deliver a healthy infant. Afterward, when the nurse asked how he had known to come to the hospital after being told that delivery was hours away, he had no answer.
After that day, Kincheloe started paying attention to these feelings. He’s learned to trust them. Having experienced these intuitive feelings hundreds of times, he routinely acts on them. Usually by the time he gets a call from labor and delivery, he is already getting dressed or is in his car on the way to the hospital. He often answers the phone by saying, “I know. I am on my way,” knowing that it is labor and delivery calling him to come in. This is now such a common occurrence among the labor and delivery staff that they tell the new nurses, “If you want Dr. Kincheloe, just think it and he will show up.”
Recently he had the old feeing, called in, and talked to a new nurse who was taking care of a patient of his who was in active labor. He asked her how things were going and she reported that the patient was resting comfortably with an epidural and that she had a reassuring fetal heart rate pattern. He again asked her if she was sure that nothing was happening that required his attention. Exasperated, she said, “I told you I just checked her and everything is fine.” In the background Kincheloe heard another nurse say, “Ask him if he is having chest pains.” Confused, the new nurse asked him. He replied yes. He heard the new nurse relay his response to the older nurse, who said, “Since he’s having chest pains you had better go check the patient again.”
“Just a minute,” the new nurse said to Kincheloe, as she put down the phone and went to check the patient. Then, he heard the hurried sound of her footsteps returning. She related that the baby was nearing delivery, and that he needed to hurry.
Dr Kincheloe’s experiences show how physical sensations can function as an early-warning system alerting us that something important is about to happen. These telesomatic phenomena are like psychic cell phones uniting distant individuals. The wireless service provider is not Verizon or AT&T, however, but a collective dimension of consciousness that unites individuals at a distance.
Witches in the Waiting Room
Dr Kincheloe may seem unique, but it’s more likely that there are a lot of physicians and other healthcare workers who share his views and simply aren’t talking. In his fascinating book The Witch in the Waiting Room, Robert S. Bobrow, MD, mentioned previously, describes how he discovered that many of his patients, nurses, and colleagues privately believe in powers of the mind that are not officially recognized in medicine. Some are practicing Wiccans. They keep their beliefs to themselves because of the negative reactions these views might evoke if they were made public. Dr Bobrow says, “Who knew? … I go to work as a physician every day, and I’m surrounded by witches. I just never knew it.”47
Colleen Rae is a spiritually oriented counselor who, unlike the closet Wiccans and psychics surrounding Dr Bobrow, went public with her abilities. She considers herself a “reluctant psychic.” Rae grew up with a psychic grandmother and was reared in a family that considered these phenomena perfectly normal. She eventually learned that she was an “empath,” someone who has a profound ability to sense the feelings or thoughts of another person. In a typical experience, for several days Rae had felt excruciating pain in her neck and shoulders for no apparent reason. She could barely roll her neck or tip her head side to side. She wrote in her journal the following:
Yesterday, same thing. Again I was in the shower trying to loosen it up with the hot water. Then I called Mom to find out about her doctor’s appointment. In the course of the conversation, she talked of her tension in her neck and shoulders that her doctor agreed is due… to this horrible anti-cancer drug she’s taking. I asked her to describe her symptoms — the first I’d heard of them from my ever-stoic mother. She described exactly what I’d been feeling. “Excruciating?” I asked. “Yes,” she said.
On another occasion, Rae suddenly developed a toothache for no obvious reason. It suddenly stopped the instant her mother had her own bad tooth pulled.
“Being an empath can be hard on the body,” says Rae in her book Tales of a Reluctant Psychic.48 “But I long ago accepted that without the ‘infection,’ I wouldn’t be able to do one of the more interesting parts of my psychospiritual counseling practice.”
What is seen cannot be un-seen. –Folk saying
Many physicians want to unburden themselves of this secret part of their lives and go public with their experiences and beliefs. Bobrow cites a 1980 survey published in the American Journal of Psychiatry that asked psychiatry professors, residents in training, other medical faculty, and deans of medical schools the question: “Should psychic studies be included in psychiatric education?” More than half said yes. The authors of the survey concluded, “Our results indicate a high incidence of conviction among deans of medical schools and psychiatric educators that many psychic phenomena may be a reality, psychic powers are present in most or all of us, nonmedical factors play an important part in the healing process, and, above all, studies of psychic phenomena should be included in psychiatric education. …”49
Many skeptics have done their best to deny and obfuscate these trends. One often hears from skeptics that only a tiny percentage of practicing physicians and medical educators believe in beyond-the-body happenings. These skeptics imply that physicians who believe these things are out of step with the scientific tradition and are trying to take medicine back to the Dark Ages. But as the aforementioned survey shows, belief in these matters is held not by a few renegades, but is extensive in both clinical and academic medicine. Another national survey in 2004 examined the beliefs of 1,100 U.S. physicians in various specialties.
The surveyors found that 74% believe that so-called miracles occurred in the past and that 73% believe they can occur today. (I suspect that for most physicians “miracle” does not mean a violation, suspension, or breach of natural law but an event that is not well understood. Most physicians would likely agree with St Augustine that so-called miracles do not contradict nature, but they contradict what we know about nature. This is my view as well.) Fifty-nine percent of the physicians said they pray for their patients as individuals, and 51% said they pray for them as a group.50 In a review of these trends, author Stephan A. Schwartz concluded, “[T]here is a growing understanding that ineffable considerations, most subsumed under the concept of nonlocal mind, hold considerable sway in the thinking of both the general population and the medical community.”51
Scientists in general hold similar beliefs. A 1973 survey of readers of the British journal New Scientist asked them to state their feelings about extrasensory perception, or ESP. New Scientist defines its readers as being mainstream working scientists, or as science oriented. Of the 1,500 respondents, 67% considered ESP to be an established fact or at least a strong probability. Eighty-eight percent considered psychic research to be a legitimate area for scientific inquiry.52
In another survey of more than 1,100 college professors in the United States, 55% of natural scientists, 66% of social scientists (psychologists excluded), and 77% of academics in the arts, humanities, and education said they believed that ESP is either an established fact or a likely possibility.53
Therefore, the contention that belief in beyond-the-body phenomena is rare among paid-up physicians, scientists, and academics may be dismissed as nonsense. In general, this notion is perpetrated by skeptics who are woefully informed about the depth of research in this field, and oppose it for ideological reasons.54, 55, 56
Mold on a Shower Curtain?
The neuron-to-neuron, brain-to-brain, and person-to-person events we’ve examined are more than quirky, oddball happenings. They are communication channels between distant individuals, one of whom is often in need. They are reminders that beyond our apparent separateness there are filaments connecting us in ways that are not limited by space, time, or physical barriers. The fact that these linkages often involve emotional bonds suggests a more empathic, kinder side of existence than we have recently supposed.
Many great thinkers have valued the unbroken wholeness that exists between people. Plato, for example, in his Symposium, has Aristophanes saying, “This becoming one instead of two was the very expression of humanity’s need. And the reason is that human nature was originally One and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.”57
The experience of oneness, mediated through empathy and love, is an antidote to the deadening effects of the unyielding materialism embraced by many current scientists. An example of this view is that of astrophysicist and author David Lindley: “We humans are just crumbs of organic matter clinging to the surface of one tiny rock. Cosmically, we are no more significant than mold on a shower curtain.”58 Or as Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg famously said, “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”59
These positions can be kept in place only by ignoring the abundance of empirical findings such as we’ve examined. They often involve the deliberate exclusion of crucial evidence, which is scientific malpractice. Moreover, these dismal views have been regularly disputed by some of the greatest scientists. Max Planck, for instance, the leading founder of quantum physics, stated, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. We cannot get behind consciousness.”60 And the eminent physicist Gerald Feinberg said, “If such [nonlocal mental] phenomena indeed occur, no change in the fundamental equations of physics would be needed to describe them.”61 In other words, modern physics does not prohibit the events we’ve examined, but it permits them.
If love does not show up in the equations of physics, and it doesn’t, that is not the fault of love but a limitation of physics. Love nevertheless makes its presence known in scientifically demonstrable ways, as in experiments that demonstrate nonlocal manifestations of consciousness, as we’ve seen. This fact should be cause for celebration in a world worn weary by scientific materialism. It should be good news especially for anyone who likes to compare humans to mold on shower curtains.
Love is a gateway to nonlocal connectivity because love tempers the forces of isolation, separateness, and individuality. Although individuality is a valuable complement to connectedness and unity, when it is excessive it can lead to a hypertrophied ego and sense of self, obstructing the felt realization that we are united with one another and all things. As D. H. Lawrence trenchantly put it, “Hate is not the opposite of love, the opposite of love is individuality.”62
This is not just pretty talk. Overcoming separateness results in effects that can be measured in the lab. In three decades of experimental research at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory, Robert G. Jahn, the former dean of engineering at Princeton, and his colleagues have demonstrated that emotionally bonded couples are uniquely gifted in their mental ability to impart order to strings of random ones and zeros produced by random number generators. Moreover, pairs of emotionally close individuals can mentally exchange information remotely, even when separated at continental or global distances. Summing up how it happens, Jahn says, “[The] successful strategy… involves some blurring of identities between operator and machine, or between percipient and agent [receiver and sender]. And, of course, this is also the recipe for any form of love: the surrender of self-centered interests of the partners in favor of the pair.”63 Put simply, love can change the state of the physical world.
The fact that nonlocal, distant communication has been demonstrated at many levels of complexity, from neurons to organs to whole persons, suggests we are dealing with an intrinsic, embedded principle of nature. This consistency across disparate domains is a highly valued feature in science. It suggests that we are on the right track and are not fooling ourselves.
Our connections are real, and they are life-affirming. As Albert Schweitzer put it, “Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being.”64
Our connections are not optional; they are obligatory and intrinsic. This implies that we cannot secede from the web of life, even if we try. On this realization our future may depend.
for footnotes, etc., go to: http://www.realitysandwich.com/human_interconnection
Author, ‘Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life
How to Intuitively Make Smart Decisions
Posted: 02/09/2013 1:20 am
As an intuitive psychiatrist, I worship my high-octane intuitions: I owe the blessing of becoming a physician to one. However, at 20, when an unwavering inner voice told me I was going to medical school, it was the last thing I thought I wanted. This gut-centered voice committed to your happiness, health, and survival is, with practice, accessible to everyone. But when you deviate even a nano-fraction from your inner voice, energy wanes, whether a subtle seepage or radical bottoming-out. The more ferociously faithful you are to this truth, the more energized you’ll be.
Intuition offers a direct line to your life force, and also, as I experience it, to a divine intelligence. We can’t afford to remain deaf to intuition’s messages. Its expertise is energy; its job is to know every nuance of what makes you tick. A master at reading vibes, intuition is constantly tallying: what gives positive energy, what dissipates it. Who you meet, where you go, your job, your family, current events, are all evaluated — crucial data that you can learn to interpret and apply.
Here’s a formula from my book Positive Energy to help you get started. First, listen to your body: There are positive and negative intuitions about relationships, which highlight compatible matches. Second, act on this information, which is often the hardest part. Let me walk you through the process.
Recognize Your Body’s Intuitions About Vibes
A people-skill most of our parents didn’t know or teach us is intuitively reading vibes. We’ve learned to draw conclusions from surface data: how nice someone seems, looks, education, or if a situation adds up on paper. But intuition goes deeper; to make it work for you, other ingredients must be considered, such as what positive vibes feel like — for instance, a sense of heart, compassion, and nurturance. In contrast, negative people project prickly, draining vibes that put you on guard.
Here is a general guideline of body-based intuitions. Use this checklist at a first meeting, to troubleshoot problems if you’re already involved, or to weigh “opportunities.” Also, feel free to add to it. Being an intuitive, I know that a signature energy always accompanies situations or people. Remember the Lil’ Abner jinxed cartoon character who always had a black cloud hanging over his head? Not a vibe that bodes well for auspicious outcomes. Instead, learn to gravitate toward brightness, a positive intuition your body’s responses will affirm. When tuning into vibes, take a few quiet moments to go into sensing mode, not intellectual analysis. Look for these signs to determine attraction.
Positive Intuitions About Relationships or Situations
A feeling of comforting familiarity or brightness, you may sense you’ve known the person before, as with the experience of deja-vu
You breathe easier, chest and shoulders are relaxed, gut is calm
You find yourself leaning forward, not defensively crossing your arms or edging away to keep a distance
Your heart opens; you feel safe, peaceful, energized, expansive, or alive
You’re at ease with a person’s touch, whether a handshake, hug, or during intimacy
Negative Intuitions About Relationships or Situations
A sick feeling in the pit of your stomach or increased stomach acid, which may prompt an unpalatable deja-vu
Your skin starts crawling, you’re jumpy, instinctively withdraw if touched
Shoulder muscles are in knots, chest area or throat constricts; you notice aggravated aches or pains
The hair on the back of your neck creepily stands on end
A sense of malaise, darkness, pressure, agitation, or being drained
Intuition helps you act from instinct, not impulse — a look-before-you-leap wisdom that points you to positive energy. When it comes to who you love, where you work, or any important decision, the last thing you want to be is vague. Tuning in keeps you specific. Practice the next exercise to get this down.
With Intuition, Learn How to Pin Down and Act on Your Vibes
Now you’re going to tune in, trust your body, and make choices based on the vibes you sense.
Tune In: Choose a relationship or situation that needs clarification about whether or not to go forward. Perhaps a friendship, vacation or move. Begin with an easier target before you take on higher stakes. Run it by this section’s criteria for positive and negative intuitions — or others you find reliable. It’s helpful to make a “top five” list of the most killer indicators of positive attraction. For one of my patients, it includes feeling energized and safe. Another must register an increased aliveness and peaceful sense. Write your top five in a journal so they don’t get hazy. See how they add up here.
Act on Vibes: This is where we must be warriors. I know personally and from patients how much easier it is to tune into than to act on vibes. Insecurity, ego, lust, stubbornness can obscure better judgment. Sometimes it takes succumbing to them all to realize you won’t tolerate such battering again. But if you don’t have to take such a bumpy route, try these options. If the vibes feel overall positive, go for it; explore possibilities. If the vibes are mixed or you’re unsure, take a pass, or at least wait. If there’s just negative, have the courage to walk away, no matter how tempting the option seems. Then observe how listening to energy in this way leads you to the juiciest opportunities.
Now I want you to start listening. Really listening. I guarantee you’ll start making smarter choices. Why? You’ll be operating from a spot inside that’s juicy, core-felt, authentic — not from an impulse to conform or disown your strength. You won’t be seduced by what may look good, but betrays your gut. Intuition is a truth detector.
It’s been said that “regret is insight that comes a day too late.”
For many of us, this insight comes decades too late. We reach a point in our life and look back wishing we had taken a different path, lived a more meaningful life, acted more authentically.
This is what nurse Bronnie Ware learned during her years working in palliative care. As her patients approached the end of their lives, she often asked them what they would have done differently.
The number one thing they mentioned was this:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Wow! Ware’s patients were honest. Facing the specter of finality demands honesty, and they expressed what many of us secretly yearn for — to live a life of our choosing, one that is not controlled by fear or guilt or about what other people think.
Psychologists call this need autonomy — which is simply our natural desire to do things because we want to, not because we are forced to. Personal autonomy is among a handful of psychological nutriments that, like their physiological counterparts, are essential ingredients to a healthy, high-performance life.
It’s only by doing what you love, of your own choosing that you become what you are meant to be.
But autonomy does not mean independence. We are also hardwired to interact and care for others — to feel connected and know that we belong to something greater than ourselves. Think about your most meaningful experiences. We bet you shared them with others.
And herein lies the challenge. How to balance the me with the we. We yearn for self-expression and self-direction, yet are drawn to other people. We want to pursue our own, personal goals and care for those around us.
It takes courage to balance these two competing needs — to be true to ourselves and others. However, it is only here that we can live without regret.
Here’s how to do it.
First, identify what it is that you long for most in your life — your vision of the “good life.” One of the best exercises for identifying this vision is to picture your deathbed experience and then work backward to today. While metaphorically laying on your deathbed, ask yourself these two questions: “What is my legacy?” and “Who is there with me?”
These two questions challenge you to recognize your core values. The first question pushes you to choose your own destiny — autonomy in action. The second challenges you to recognize who matters most in your life — love in action.
Now begin working backward to today. What are major milestones (specific goals achieved) that you would need to accomplish along the way? These should be professional and personal — what you want to achieve in work and life. Begin mapping in your mind your accomplishments, from future to present.
Second, draw a line horizontally across a sheet of paper. On the top write “professional” and on the bottom write “personal.” Moving from left (today) to right (future), write down your above determined milestones. This gives you a map of accomplishments for your journey.
Initially, the various stages of your journey may appear vague, a little undefined. As you continue to reflect upon specific goals and experience small successes, the means to achievement becomes more evident. Start walking your path; it is in movement that your vision continues to unfold and unexpected opportunities present themselves.
Third, make a proclamation. Say out loud the vision that you have discovered for yourself. This is a type of name-it-and-claim-it experience. Write it down and share it with others. Make your expectations known. Now you own it.
Fourth, work toward your vision without regret. You’ll discover here what many have experienced before you — that the journey toward the goal, moving toward the vision, with all the ups and downs, is actually the best part of the process. As you pursue your dreams, be ever mindful of writer Lloyd Alexander’s affirmation that “the journey is the treasure.”
As far as we know, no one has arrived at their deathbed without missed opportunities, failed goals, and relationship blunders. Everyone misses it. However, successful people will tell you that their ability to persevere, embracing the “we and me” experiences along the way, happens because they are in the driver’s seat of their destiny.
Resolve today to live without regret. Don’t wait for tomorrow, next week, or the new year. It is in our daily experiences that we discover who we are and what we can become. Own your own destiny and become who you were designed to be.
J.R.R. Tolkien perhaps sums it up best,
“The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.”
Dr. Frank Niles and Dr. Nick T. Ogle are co-founders and managing partners of Scholar Executive Group, LLC, a boutique consulting firm that provides coaching, counseling, and leadership development training for Fortune 500 companies and influential people.