Monday, September 27, 2010

Why your Prayers Aren’t Working

Are you frustrated that your prayers don’t seem to work? Do you ask, and ask, and ASK for something, but the Universe almost never grants your requests? Are you tired of pleading, in desperation, for a miracle to happen in some aspect of your life, only to receive…nothing?
circa 1945:  Studio portrait of a young girl holding her hands in prayer with angel wings on the back of her gown, in front of a dark background.  (Photo by Ralph Hopewell Anderson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Would you be surprised if I told you that the Universe has answered your prayers every time you prayed? It’s true. You are pleading, and begging, and asking and every time you do, you are praying for your lack. You are praying for what you don’t have rather than what you want. The Universe is answering your prayers by giving you more of what you don’t have.

A Little Thing Called Faith

Faith is an important ingredient in your prayer being answered. Here’s what Jesus had to say about faith and prayer.

Mark 11:23-24

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be though removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.

Does this sound like the prayer of someone begging and pleading for what he does not have? NO. This is the prayer of a person who knows his own power to create whatever he desires. This is the prayer of a person who demands that the mountain be removed. This is a person who has the faith that it will be removed.
This person spends no time telling God how big the mountain looks, or how he’s prayed countless times and God has done nothing to the mountain, or how it must not be God’s will to remove the mountain. He simply says, “move,” and the mountain moves.

Believing is Receiving

Before you will receive the answer to your prayer, you must believe—with absolutely no doubt—that you will receive your request. Yes, this is hard to do. But here are some tips that can help you to develop the faith necessary for you to receive the answers to your prayers.

• Never pray for something. Instead, thank the Universe (in advance) for answering your prayer. If done consistently, this will build your faith.

• Use affirmations of achieving your goal or your dream several times a day, but state them in the present tense. For example, say “I always have enough money to meet all of my bills,” not “I will have money to meet my bills.”

• Spend some time each day visualizing yourself in possession of the object of your desire. Try to visualize your desire being true for you right now. Don’t visualize your dream coming to you, visualize it already with you.

• Get emotional. Above all, feel the emotions of having your desire fulfilled. Feel the excitement, pleasure, awe, etc. of actually being in possession of your dream.
When you are able to actually feel yourself in possession of the subject of your prayer, you shall have it. Guaranteed.

By the way, this isn’t just a religious belief. Quantum Physics has proven scientifically what Jesus, Buddha, and other ancient spiritual traditions have been saying for ages:

You’ll see it when you believe it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Belgium Brewery Makes “Full Moon” Beer

That the full moon has an effect on human behavior is beyond dispute. (Though whether this effect stems from mystical or from physiological reasons is hotly disputed). For instance, studies have shown that violent crimes increase during the full moon and that mental patients become more “excitable.” But can the full moon affect the taste of beer?
A full moon is seen behind El Zamalek fans during the Egyptian soccer cup round of 16 match against Al-Ahly in Cairo stadium, May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (EGYPT - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

That’s what one brewery in Belgium believes.

Brewery Caulier, a small family-owned brewery in Peruwelz, is now producing special “full moon” beer. Roger Caulier, the owner of the brewery, got the idea after visiting a friend who told him that his winemaking schedule followed the lunar calendar.

Caulier decided to try his friend’s methods in his beer brewery. According to Caulier, “We made several tests and noticed that the fermentation was more vigorous, more active…the end product was completely different, stronger, with a taste lasting longer in the mouth." (Source: MSNBC)

The reason for the difference?

Brewery experts say that, “The full moon speeds up the fermentation process, shortening it to five days from seven, which adds extra punch to the beer without making it harsh.”

Although Caulier is well versed in the science behind full moon beer brewing, he does not discount the mystical or mythological aspects of the lunar cycle.

So, in the case of a hangover, simply take a sip of some of the hair of the dog…or maybe even the werewolf…that bit you!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

I have a secret to share with you. I have a panic disorder, one that I have struggled with my entire life. Lately, for whatever reason, my panic disorder has been flaring up constantly, leaving me feeling helpless and shattered.
ROQUEREDONDE, FRANCE - AUGUST 22:  His Holiness the Dalai Lama sits on his throne during a tea ceremony in the Lerab Ling Buddhist temple on August 22, 2008 at Roqueredonde in Languedoc-Roussillon region, southern France. The Dalai Lama visited the temple to inaugurate and consecrate the temple.   (Photo by Pascal Parrot/Getty Images)

To deal with my latest attacks, I decided to try hypnotherapy because hypnotism was the one technique that I had never tried. But while calling around for a hypnotist that my health insurance would cover, I found something else—mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

I practice mindfulness therapy…

the psychologist told me on the phone.

My ears pricked up immediately. Mindfulness therapy, as in Buddhism mindfulness?

In further explanation, the psychologist confirmed that this is, indeed, the type of therapy that he practices. I must admit that chills went down my spine at the coincidence of me—me who is fascinated by all spiritual practices—stumbling upon a therapist that specializes in mindfulness.

By the way…you probably know that I don’t believe in coincidences.

What is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?

It seems strange that I had never heard of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy because I have long been interested in the principles of Buddha-inspired mindfulness.

In simple terms, mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware of every moment as it arises. It is a present moment awareness that is said to be truly calming and powerful at the same time. I can see why mindfulness-based cognitive therapy could be effective at treating panic disorder. Most panic attacks are triggered by anticipatory anxiety which, by definition, comes from future-oriented, fearful thoughts. In fact, I have tried to use mindfulness on my own, with mixed results, at combating my panic attacks.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Kabat-Zinn had practiced mindfulness at a Buddhist Center and believed that it would be helpful as part of a psychotherapy practice.

He was right. Although there are few controlled studies of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, the few that exist indicate that it is effective at treating depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

Dr. Peter Strong, a Mindfulness Psychotherapist in Boulder, Colorado explains our reactive emotions this way:

“Depression and other anxiety disorders have an internal structure in the form of habitual cognitive reactions to which we have become blindly attached through the process of identification. The negative thought arises and then we become the thought. A worry-thought arises and we become worried. Anger arises and we become angry. Fear arises and we become afraid. This process of becoming happens quite automatically and is sustained by the fact that we are unaware of the reactive process of becoming. The thought arises and literally grabs hold of us and pulls us into a predetermined state of consciousness against our will or choice.”

Practicing mindfulness literally stands between the thought and your reaction to the thought. This interrupts the automatic and mindless reaction to a negative thought and ultimately weakens the hold –in depression, anxiety, etc.—that such automatic reactivity used to have on you.


My first appointment with a psychologist that practices mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is next week and I’m excited.

Do you have any experience with mindfulness or with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy that you would like to share?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

National Alliance on Mental Health Takes a Spiritual Bent—Sort of

The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) is taking a more spiritual, holistic approach to mental health issues.
HAMBURG, GERMANY - AUGUST 03:    Freizeitsport / Fitness: Tai - Chi, Hamburg; Tai Chi Kurs an der Alster 03.08.04.  (Photo by Kati Jurischka/Bongarts/Getty Images)

As part of its “Hearts and Minds” initiative, NAMI is introducing a number of practices for mental health management and recovery that were once considered exclusively spiritual practices.

For instance, NAMI has a “mindfulness” (think Buddha) section on its Hearts and Minds website, which includes a 10-minute guided meditation along with information and instruction on such spiritual and/or holistic practices as yoga, basic meditation, Tai Chi, and guided meditation. NAMI’s “Hearts and Minds’ section also offers a holistic solution to mental health issues with instructions on using creative outlets—such as dance, writing, and painting—to improve your mental health.

And these spiritual and holistic methods are working.

According to Melodika

“Ed Knight of Colorado Springs says he uses meditation to help control hearing voices and panic attacks: ‘Without the combination of meditation and medication, I would be in and out of the hospital very frequently. I haven't had a panic attack in several years and I have ceased to hear voices.”

I think that NAMI’s new focus on combining spiritual and/or holistic practices with the traditional treatments of medication and therapy is a great first step in merging mind, body, and spirit—and one that is long overdue.

NAMI, by the way, is one of the largest mental health organizations in the United States, with over 1,100 state and local affiliates around the country.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Practicing Yoga Makes you Happier, Says Study

A new study indicates that yoga really can make you happier.
Model Released: Woman in yoga position (Photo by Markus Boesch/Getty Images)

The reason?

It raises important mood boosting chemicals in the brain, say the researchers from Boston University School of Medicine.

Over a period of several months, the researchers measured the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brains of those who practiced yoga compared with those who simply walked for exercise. (They ran these measurements both before and after the study participant’s exercised)

GABA, by the way, is known to be an important mood chemical. Those who are depressed or who suffer from anxiety tend to have lover levels of GABA in their brains than do “happier” people.

The researchers found that those yoga practitioners who did a lot of downward facing dog poses (for an example of this pose, see the YouTube video below) boosted the GABA levels in their brains far more than the group that walked. PLUS the yoga practitioners had greater improvements in mood than did those who walked.

This study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
So…if September being National Yoga Month is not enough to make you try yoga, perhaps the results of this study will inspire you to try it!

Source: My Fox La

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Witnessing your Thoughts

Image by Artem Chernyshevych

Oh, those pesky thoughts! It is estimated that the average human has 70,000 thoughts per day.

Our minds are very busy places. Little wonder, then, that most of us think that are thoughts are us. We identify so strongly with out thoughts. Just think about it…

When we think angry thoughts, our bodies feel the anger.

When we feel fearful thoughts, or bodies feel fearful.

When we think loving thoughts, are bodies feel all warm and fuzzy.


We are not our thoughts!

We are the ageless, timeless, eternal spirits who use thoughts to create, but we are not our thoughts.

Becoming the Witness of your Thoughts

So…in order to free ourselves of the stranglehold that our thoughts have over our true self—the spirit, the soul, the thinker—we need to separate ourselves from our thoughts. Only then will we be able to control our thoughts and not have our thoughts control us.

It’s called becoming the Witness, and here is a meditation technique that helps you to do it:

•Go to a room where you will not be disturbed for at least 20 minutes.

•Sit down in a comfortable char. Keep your spine straight.

•Close your eyes.

•Begin breathing slowly and deeply.

•Relax your muscles and clear your mind briefly, and then…

•Let your thoughts flow freely.

Here’s a good explanation, written by Chuck Gallozzi, that explains what to do next:

“Do not analyze them [your thoughts]. Above all, don't be judgmental. Merely observe and accept. If a negative thought arises, don't say to yourself, ‘I'm too negative. I need to change.’ Just observe; don't judge. But if you do start criticizing yourself, that's okay, too. Witness your self-criticism. Step back and observe, just like you're watching someone else. In fact, that's what you are doing. You are observing someone else because the thoughts are not you. The thoughts come and go. They fade away and change. But your True Self is changeless.”

Oh, you will find being a dispassionate witness or observer of your thoughts almost impossible at first. But keep at it. Start out doing 5 to 10 minute sessions of witnessing your thoughts, and then gradually extend that time to 20 to 30 minutes.

I have been assured that, in time, your thoughts will not have the power over you that they once did. You will be freed of your thoughts. You will control your thoughts and they will no longer control you.

I have to admit that I am such a slave to my thoughts that it’s pathetic. But I’m going to start this technique of witnessing my thoughts and see what happens. Won’t you join me? Try this technique and let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Placebo Effect is Getting Stronger, Say Drug Developers

The placebo effect is a well-established fact of medicine. In clinical trials of drugs, manufacturers routinely test their newly developed drugs against well established drugs and against placebos (pills that have no known medicinal properties).
398861 02: Bottles of the drugs Lipitor (L) made by Warner-Lambert, and Viagra (R) made by Pfizer, are shown February 7, 2000 in New York. Pfizer Inc. is buying Warner-Lambert Co. in a deal that creates the worlds second largest pharmaceutical company. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The placebo effect allows for the power of the patient’s own belief in bringing about his own recovery. If the patient believes that a pill will make her feel better or cure her, it frequently will do just that—regardless of whether or not that pill is actually a sugar pill with no medicinal properties.

During clinical trials, if the placebo effect is as strong (or stronger) than the drug against which it is tested, that real drug is said to have failed and the Food and Drug Administration will likely not approve that drug for sale on the American marketplace.

And that appears to be happening more and more frequently.

Why would the placebo effect be getting stronger?

One reason, according to Steve Silberman of Wired Magazine, “may be found in the drug industry’s own success in marketing its products.”

Since 1997, drug manufacturers have been able to market their products directly to consumers through television and magazine ads. These ads tell consumers how wonderful they will feel by taking that particular drug.
We know how effective advertising can be to make consumers buy products, now we know how effective it can be in increasing the placebo effect.

It also gives us another example of the power of our own minds to affect our bodies.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September is National Yoga Month

September is National Yoga Month. I have practiced yoga on and off throughout the years, and have found it to be very relaxing, both mentally and physically, and a great spiritual practice. But the meaning of yoga practice varies depending upon whom you talk to. Yoga is not always just slow movements, controlled breathing, and long poses (called asanas).
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JUNE 11:  Brittany Ganson (L), a registered yoga teacher, conducts a class June 11, 2008 in Miami Beach, Florida. As the U.S. economy continues to struggle, studies have shown that financial-related stress can lead to health issues. Some workers are turning to stress management workouts such as yoga, where Brittany Ganson says students try to find their inner peace and forget their problems as they participate in the yoga class.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Indeed, there are so many different types of yoga that you should be able to find one that fits your personality, your fitness level, and your needs. Here are just four of the many different types of yoga:

Hatha Yoga is probably the most popular type of yoga and is an excellent practice for beginners. This type of yoga stresses slow and gentle movements. There is also an emphasis on the breath during yoga practice.

Ashtanga Yoga is the polar opposite of Hatha Yoga. Called “Power yoga,” Ashtanga Yoga requires constant movement and provides an excellent cardio workout. But relaxation? Forget it.

Vinyasa Yoga is similar to Ashtanga. Vinyasa is fast paced yoga practice with a lot of different poses. But these poses are seldom held for long. Rather, each pose flows into the next, and the next, and the next…well, you get the idea.

Kripalu Yoga is a very spiritual type of hatha yoga. In Kripalu, there are a lot of breathing exercises, a lot of stretching, and a lot of gentle poses. There is also meditation and a focus on the spiritual self.

The type of yoga that I practice is Hatha Yoga. I have tried Vinyase Yoga, but it was way too hard for me. Have you tried any of these types of yoga and what did you think of them? Have you tried any other types of yoga? Will you start practicing yoga this month now that it is National Yoga Month?