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Life Lessons For A Modern Peaceful Warrior

Life Lessons For A Modern Peaceful Warrior

The strength to face the challenges in our life always rewards us with refinement and evolution of our soul regardless if we win or lose the battle.

We all strive to live our soul’s purpose, but sometimes our mind conflicts with our feelings and causes confusion. The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Hindu text that has important teaching for those of us who experience this internal struggle. In this story, Arjuna the peaceful warrior is faced with a choice to act or not act in what he feels is a no-win situation for himself. If you have ever felt confusion or inner conflict holding you back, then the timeless wisdom in this story can bring clarity and relief.

Ahimsa is the principle of non-violence, which is a fundamental tenet of Hinduism. It is rooted in the belief that all lives, both human and non-human, are sacred. This is why on the eve of a great war, the choice between duty and non-violence leaves Arjuna in a state of inner conflict in this story. Being a peaceful warrior requires you to stand firmly in your spiritual path, dharma, but sometimes we don’t have the clarity to know what the best choice is. This requires an active fearlessness and non-attachment, which is embodied in the famous parable of Arjuna and Krishna’s discussion on the battlefield.

The story begins with a young prince, Arjuna, who realizes that the enemies he’ll be fighting in an upcoming battle are his own relatives, beloved friends, and revered teachers. He turns to his charioteer confessing his conflicting emotions and his fears. His charioteer is actually the eternally wise Krishna. Here Arjuna talks to Krishna about his confusion:

…it is not proper for us to kill our own kinsmen, the sons of Dhritarashtra. For how, Krishna, shall we be happy after killing our own relatives? If the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapon in hand, should kill me in battle, me weaponless and not defending myself, that would be better for me. – Bhagavad Gita

As he contemplates no action at all and allowing his enemies to kill him, he hopes to stay true to his dedication to non-violence (ahimsa), but Krishna recognizes this as a cop-out. Compassion is said to come in the form of a lamb and a lion. We must accept that we are not perfect. This humility allows each of us to evolve forward from the place that we stand, rather than jump to absolute ideals.

Though Arjuna has mentally justified that he is being fearless and selfless to let his enemies kill him unarmed, he is actually avoiding his own dharma and here Krishna reminds him of this:

One’s own duty, though defective, is better than another’s duty well performed. – Bhagavad Gita

This is a call to hone one’s own inner voice and stay true to it; trusting that there are no wrong choices, only lessons to be learned. Duty is usually associated with something we don’t want to do, but it can feel quite empowering once we accept our role in a situation. When I was in my 20s, I was passionate about the environment and saving the world, but I was broke. I had gone past being able to be picky about a job that would help me pay the bills or feed myself, so I begrudgingly took a job as a landscaper.

Swinging a pick-ax in the hot sun, I was given the task of putting irrigation lines in to grow plants and grass that should not have been planted in the arid climate of Arizona. Non-native, drought-tolerant plants waste precious water in the desert landscape. I was miserable while I worked and felt a bit self-righteous about my sustainability ideals. Angry at the universe that I should have to do such a lowly chore, I put my nose to the grindstone and woke up early every day to make ends meet.

If you have ever felt conflicted about your life path then you will understand this feeling. In acceptance of the task at hand comes a certain humility, self-compassion, a sense of service, mental liberation, and even empowerment. This is central to karma yoga, which teaches us not to be attached to the outcome of our work but to do it as a form of devotion to our own inner evolution.

Your business is with action alone; not by any means with the fruit of action. Let not the fruit of action be your motive to action. Let not your attachment be fixed on inaction.Therefore, always perform action, which must be performed, without attachment. For a man, performing action without attachment attains the Supreme. – Krishna to Arjuna

Even the most mundane actions in our day-to-day life are the result of choices we have made. The parable of Arjuna’s indecision on the battlefield is an extreme expression of this common circumstance and that is why it holds such value for us today. With the clarity of mind or mindfulness, along with personal accountability and non-attachment to the outcome, we can have the courage to face any battle. A situation can be terrifying and feel like life or death even if it is not. The strength to face the challenges in our life always rewards us with refinement and evolution of our soul, regardless if we win or lose the battle.

To one that is born, death is certain; and to one that dies, birth is certain. Therefore, you should not grieve about things that are unavoidable. – Krishna to Arjuna

Sometimes it is the fear itself that dies (or an ego death) on this journey. Each one of us is here at this time for something greater than we can know or understand. The world is filled with terrifying possibilities, and mistakes are easy to come by. Sometimes the fear of making the wrong choice is scarier than the choices themselves, yet we are all here to fail as much as we are here to succeed.

Anyone with great success can also boast many failures. In this process, we learn to be more compassionate to ourselves and to those who have wronged us with their own poor behavior. The journey of soul evolution continues regardless. We must always put one foot in front of the other, and the path will appear with each step.

In this path to final emancipation, nothing that is commenced becomes wasted effort; no obstacles exist; and even a little of this form of sacred duty protects one from great danger. – Krishna to Arjuna

Knowing that we are in line with our dharma, and on the path (not the right path or the wrong path, just on the path), we begin to liberate and empower ourselves. These ancient parables, like the one, told in the Bhagavad Gita, are meant to remind us of the eternal challenges that humans face and how to conquer our demons, even if we’d rather do nothing. Arjuna contemplates not taking up arms in battle, but after speaking with Krishna he follows his dharma and fights.

Being a peaceful warrior does not mean that you should be without your sword, as you never know when you might be called to unsheathe it. You can stand fearlessly in whatever circumstance you may face, knowing that you are not alone on the journey to personal evolution.

Article from: https://www.collective-evolution.com/2018/11/11/life-lessons-for-a-modern-peaceful-warrior/

What Does It Even Mean To “Be The Best Version Of Yourself?”

Walking down the self-help aisle of any bookstore may yield you a plethora of book titles and subtitles referencing ‘becoming the best of version yourself.’ You might pick up a book, turn it over to read the back cover and find a series of recommendations from prominent authors stating ‘this book will bring you to a whole new level’ or ‘this book truly unlocks your hidden riches.’ Excited, you might open to the table of contents, hoping to find some early insight or tips on what you can try right away:=

“Today’s challenge,” “Who are you?,” “Learning to love yourself,” “Being the best you.” These may be the first few chapter titles you come across, but you may be left with the question, that may not even be answered in the book, “What does it mean to be the best version of yourself?’

A question that many are trying to answer.

I will start by saying marketing a book can be a difficult task. I have been working towards publishing my first book and every publisher I talk to wants to know that title and subheadline right away so they know how easy it will be to sell your book. The insurgence of self-help books has been huge over the last few years. Thousands of inspired and well-meaning authors have felt the urge to write a book, and so they do.

But from my experience, many are repeating what has been learned in one book or another, or seem to be coming from a place of learning, but not quite a mastery. Something that shouldn’t stop someone from writing a book, but more so reveals that the advice we’re getting in these books can often be incomplete, inexperienced or based on egoic ideas of the subjects being discussed. This isn’t to say any of this work is bad or anything, just that there is much more to the picture.

Are We Running In Circles?

I have been working on myself for 12 years and have been through many different phases. In no way would I call myself a leading expert in self-help or anything, but I’m consistently let down by the state of consciousness within many of these books. I feel it keeps people running in circles, chasing one thing or the next or it has people feeling like they need to act a certain way in order to appear a certain way. Are we really getting to the core of what we are seeking?

I’ve been writing a book for quite some time and note that there are many important nuances that are learned and expressed with much internal observation and practice. Yet it seems today we want quick fixes and instant healings in order to move past what we feel. Yet I feel in many cases, through the popular work being spread around, we are only temporarily band-aiding the inner aspects of ourselves that are crying to come out and be released.

It’s in the marketing and in the lack of experience that I feel the term ‘live the best version of yourself’ truly comes from. It has an allure that somehow you will find the best aspect of you and live it always. It suggests, vaguely, that perhaps this will unlock your wildest dreams or make you be the best at something. The fact that it leaves room for interpretation is great for marketing, but does it push us towards a goal that is actually contrary to what most of us who end up buying these books are truly seeking?

IN BRIEF

  • The Facts:The self-help space often markets the term ‘living the best version of yourself.’ But what does this even mean? What are we truly seeking?
  • Reflect On:Humanity is in a deep exploration to find higher states of consciousness and live our authentic self. Finding and expressing your authentic self can be practiced by exploring the questions and reflections laid out in the article.

Walking down the self-help aisle of any bookstore may yield you a plethora of book titles and subtitles referencing ‘becoming the best of version yourself.’ You might pick up a book, turn it over to read the back cover and find a series of recommendations from prominent authors stating ‘this book will bring you to a whole new level’ or ‘this book truly unlocks your hidden riches.’ Excited, you might open to the table of contents, hoping to find some early insight or tips on what you can try right away:

“Today’s challenge,” “Who are you?,” “Learning to love yourself,” “Being the best you.” These may be the first few chapter titles you come across, but you may be left with the question, that may not even be answered in the book, “What does it mean to be the best version of yourself?’

A question that many are trying to answer.

I will start by saying marketing a book can be a difficult task. I have been working towards publishing my first book and every publisher I talk to wants to know that title and subheadline right away so they know how easy it will be to sell your book. The insurgence of self-help books has been huge over the last few years. Thousands of inspired and well-meaning authors have felt the urge to write a book, and so they do.

But from my experience, many are repeating what has been learned in one book or another, or seem to be coming from a place of learning, but not quite mastery. Something that shouldn’t stop someone from writing a book, but more so reveals that the advice we’re getting in these books can often be incomplete, inexperienced or based on egoic ideas of the subjects being discussed. This isn’t to say any of this work is bad or anything, just that there is much more to the picture.

Are We Running In Circles?

I have been working on myself for 12 years and have been through many different phases. In no way would I call myself a leading expert in self-help or anything, but I’m consistently let down by the state of consciousness within many of these books. I feel it keeps people running in circles, chasing one thing or the next or it has people feeling like they need to act a certain way in order to appear a certain way. Are we really getting to the core of what we are seeking?

I’ve been writing a book for quite some time and note that there are many important nuances that are learned and expressed with much internal observation and practice. Yet it seems today we want quick fixes and instant healings in order to move past what we feel. Yet I feel in many cases, through the popular work being spread around, we are only temporarily band-aiding the inner aspects of ourselves that are crying to come out and be released.

It’s in the marketing and in the lack of experience that I feel the term ‘live the best version of yourself’ truly comes from. It has an allure that somehow you will find the best aspect of you and live it always. It suggests, vaguely, that perhaps this will unlock your wildest dreams or make you be the best at something. The fact that it leaves room for interpretation is great for marketing, but does it push us towards a goal that is actually contrary to what most of us who end up buying these books are truly seeking?

Scratching ‘The Best Version’ Idea

First off, I strongly feel we need to let go of the whole idea of ‘being the best version of ourselves.’ I feel we’ve played with polarity long enough and are ready for some deeper truths.

What I’m going to share is what I’ve gathered from my own life’s experience. I have been exploring myself, my consciousness and reflecting on how I BE in this world for many years. I have done this with the help of a mentor and many hours of personal reflection. Instead of moving from book to book, I was fortunate to start my journey by simply spending a lot of time with myself, exploring meditation and developing a strong connection to my inner knowing, yet remaining open to asking for help when needed. I’ve remembered that there is no ‘best version of yourself.’ There’s simply you.

You can be a funny word in itself. Is it ‘you’ the mind? Is ‘you’ the soul? Is ‘you’ the higher self? Is ‘you’ the ego? Is ‘you’ your personality? Who are you?!

This is an important place to begin because it changes so much of how we seek to live the best version of ourselves, or as I like to call it ‘our authentic self.‘ Like I said above, scratching the idea of ‘best version of yourself’ is a great place to stop playing within polarity and ideas, and instead recognize knowing and neutrality. Higher consciousness, what many of us are seeking whether we are consciously aware of it or not, plays in a realm of neutrality, where we recognize experiences are what they are, we can learn from them as they take place, and where we don’t seek to see everything as right or wrong, worst or best.

To Be Fair

The actual definition many of these books are portraying for ‘the best version of self’ can be different, and some can actually be quite authentic. However, I still find there is much room to consider re-thinking the subject, or rather, begin feeling about it.

To me, the self-help space could really be summed up as humanity seeking ways beyond our self-imposed limitations, belief systems, and suffering, ultimately seeking to live our true authentic selves. We are, in some ways, a society that does not seek deep truths but instead moves from platitude to platitude as we search for deeper understanding. Like my mentor taught me, taking the road straight to the core is a lot easier and less painful than spending years jumping from trend to trend or belief system to belief system. While my journey has had phases, the core understanding and methods for how I move past pain and challenges has never changed – I go to the core, no band-aids needed.

What does it look like to live your authentic self? It means being aware of how we often operate from our minds, ego’s, belief systems, societally programmed beliefs, patterns etc. and instead begin living from a deeper knowing within ourselves. Something that touches how we truly FEEL about decisions, situations, and experiences in our lives. Not what we think we should do to impress someone, uphold a certain stature or because that’s the ‘smart’ thing to do, but because we truly connect with and feel it.

An example of this is choosing to walk away from a relationship we are not happy in even if it means the other person will have to grow past the initial pain they will feel when the relationship ends. Not only will it be growth for you within yourself, but the other person will also find themselves through the process as well so long as they choose to do the work.

Another example might be learning to move past the complaining we often do about a particular job, to move onto a job or experience we’ve always wanted to do. First off, we may not always be doing ‘the most ideal job’ but it doesn’t mean we can’t find peace and be our authentic self within that job. While there, communicate with others based on your TRUE authenticity, make decisions and deal with challenges in the workplace based on that authenticity. Your actions and ways of being in these situations can bring higher consciousness to the workplace in a deep way. We don’t always have to ‘serve’ by doing work in the ‘consciousness’ space, we can serve anywhere, at any time.

Further to the example above, perhaps we have always wanted to leave our current job, are ready to but are fearful of taking the leap because of what others might think or that we might not make enough money in another position. Living authentically might look like taking that leap past the stories and fears that are holding us back from doing what we know inside is what we want to do. In this case, we’re not judging our current job, hate it or hate the people there, we are simply at peace but fearful of the unknown. A great time to further explore and express our authentic self.

Exploring Your Authentic Self

The examples above give an idea of how we can look at our current lives and see where we are or aren’t living authentically to how we feel inside. Be careful to observe belief systems on this. Sometimes we may still think it’s our authentic self to do something based on a prior belief system we have because we did not connect deeply enough with what we know inside. Sometimes it may take time for us to see this, that’s OK, we are always seeing what we need to in each moment that is exactly what we need for us to keep evolving. The trick is; are we paying close enough attention to move through the signs and knowing that comes from within? Or are we caught up in the mental chatter and daily distraction of everyday life? This is why meditation is key.

Aside from that, you can explore your authentic self, and whether or not you’re living from it, simply by asking yourself reflective questions when you are unsure. Am I truly making a decision based on what I feel? Or am I making a decision based on what I’m defending, trying to protect, or think I’m supposed to do?

This deep inner knowing may not come overnight. It’s a muscle, a practice, and a feeling that takes time to develop. You notice when you are living your authentic self that your life feels different, you are calmer and more in tune with yourself, others and the planet. This muscle takes time to build, and letting go of the old ways of being, states of consciousness and belief systems can take time. Just keep noticing, keep reflecting and keep exploring. There is no wrong in this, it is simply an exploration.

The Takeaway

An individual living their authentic self pushes theirself into higher states of consciousness. This makes an incredibly powerful impact on those around us and in our everyday lives. Beyond this, it also makes an incredibly profound impact on the collective consciousness. This is how we go from creating change within ourselves to creating change within our world.

The path to the changes we are all looking for is practicing living our true authentic self.

Article by: J. Marino with https://www.collective-evolution.com/2018/12/03/what-does-it-even-mean-to-be-the-best-version-of-yourself/

What Does It Even Mean To “Be The Best Version Of Yourself?”
Scientists Show How Gratitude Literally Alters The Human Heart & Molecular Structure Of The Brain

Scientists Show How Gratitude Literally Alters The Human Heart & Molecular Structure Of The Brain

Gratitude is a funny thing. In some parts of the world, somebody who gets a clean drink of water, some food, or a worn out pair of shoes can be extremely grateful. Meanwhile, somebody else who has all the necessities they need to live can be found complaining about something. What we have today is what we once wanted before, but there is a lingering belief out there that obtaining material possessions is the key to happiness. Sure, this may be true, but that happiness is temporary. The truth is that happiness is an inside job.

It’s a matter of perspective, and in a world where we are constantly made to feel like we are lacking and always ‘wanting’ more, it can be difficult to achieve or experience actual happiness. Many of us are always looking toward external factors to experience joy and happiness when really it’s all related to internal work. This is something science is just starting to grasp as well, as shown by research coming out of UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. According to them:

Having an attitude of gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps gray matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier. When you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. You are more peaceful, less reactive and less resistant. Now that’s a really cool way of taking care of your well-being.

There are many studies showing that people who count their blessings tend to be far happier and experience less depression.  For one study,  researchers recruited people with mental health difficulties, including people suffering from anxiety and depression. The study involved nearly 300 adults who were randomly divided into three groups. This study came from the University of California, Berkeley.

All groups received counseling services, but the first group was also instructed to write one letter of gratitude to another person every week for three weeks, whereas the second group was asked to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about negative experiences. The third group did not do any writing activity.

What did they find? Compared to the participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counseling, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health for up to 12 weeks after the writing exercise ended.

This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns. In fact, it seems, practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief. (source)

Previously, a study on gratitude conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami randomly assigned participants to be given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another group recorded daily troubles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the troubled group. They reported fewer health complaints and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more. (source)

Researchers from Berkeley identified how gratitude might actually work on our minds and bodies. They provided four insights from their research suggesting what causes the psychological benefits of gratitude.

  • Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions
  • Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it
  • Gratitude’s benefits take time & practice. You might not feel it right away.
  • Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain

The brain part is very interesting. The researchers at Berkeley used an fMRI scanner to measure brain activity while people from each group did a “pay it forward” task.  During the task, the participants were given money by a “nice person.” This person’s only request was that they pass on the money to someone if they felt grateful.

They did this because they wanted to distinguish between actions motivated by gratitude and actions driven by other motivations like obligation, guilt, or what other people think. This is important because you can’t fake gratitude, you actually have to feel it. If you don’t feel grateful or practice trying to feel grateful by taking the necessary steps like keeping a gratitude journal, you may not experience as much joy and happiness.

In a world where emotions aren’t really taught in school and the importance is put on striving for high grades, it’s not abnormal to have difficulty feeling grateful. This is especially understandable if you’ve been brought up in the western world, which is full of consumerism and competition, a world where we’re constantly made to feel we are lacking so we need to strive for more.

Participants were asked to rate how grateful they felt toward the person giving them the money and how much they wanted to pay it forward to a charitable cause as well as how guilty they thought they would feel if they didn’t help.  They were also given questionnaires to measure how grateful they felt in general.

We found that across the participants, when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt and the desire to help a cause. More specifically, we found that when people who are generally more grateful gave more money to a cause, they showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making. This suggests that people who are more grateful are also more attentive to how they express gratitude.

Most interestingly, when we compared those who wrote the gratitude letters with those who didn’t, the gratitude letter writers showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex when they experienced gratitude in the fMRI scanner. This is striking as this effect was found three months after the letter writing began. This indicates that simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain. While not conclusive, this finding suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and this could contribute to improved mental health over time.

It’s also interesting to note that a recent study just discovered a brain network that “gives rise to feelings of gratitude. The study could spur future investigations into how these ‘building blocks’ transform social information into complex emotions.” (source)

What About The Heart?

The work and research above is great, but where do we actually experience these feelings? They are clearly not a product of our brain, they are products of our consciousness, and when we feel them the brain responds.  Researchers are now discovering that the heart also responds and that it might actually be the heart that’s responsible for sending these signals to the brain.

A group of prestigious and internationally recognized leaders in physics, biophysics, astrophysics, education, mathematics, engineering, cardiology, biofeedback, and psychology (among other disciplines) have been doing some brilliant work over at the Institute of HeartMath.

Their work, among many others, has proven that when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a different message, which determines what kind of signals are sent to the brain.

Not only that but because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, the Institute has been able to gather a significant amount of data.

According to Rolin McCratey, Ph.D., and Director of Research at Heartmath?)

“Emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.” (source)

Another great point made below by the Institute:

“One important way the heart can speak to and influence the brain is when the heart is coherent – experiencing stable, sine-wavelike pattern in its rhythms. When the heart is coherent, the body, including the brain, begins to experience all sorts of benefits, among them are greater mental clarity and ability, including better decision making.” (source)

In fact, the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends in return. What’s even more amusing is the fact that these heart signals (from the heart to brain) actually have a significant effect on brain function.

Research findings have shown that as we practice heart coherence and radiate love and compassion, our heart generates a coherent electromagnetic wave into the local field environment that facilitates social coherence, whether in the home, workplace, classroom or sitting around a table. As more individuals radiate heart coherence, it builds an energetic field that makes it easier for others to connect with their heart. So, theoretically it is possible that enough people building individual and social coherence could actually contribute to an unfolding global coherence. –  McCratey

So far, the researchers have discovered that the heart communicates with the brain and body in four ways: neurological communication (nervous system), biophysical communication (pulse wave), biochemical communication (hormones), and energetic communication (electromagnetic fields).

“HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive function. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect. It facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability.” (source)

Gratitude and Positive Feelings Can Change The World

It gets deeper:

Every individual’s energy affects the collective field environment. The means each person’s emotions and intentions generate an energy that affects the field. A first step in diffusing societal stress in the global field is for each of us to take personal responsibility for our own energies. We can do this by increasing our personal coherence and raising our vibratory rate, which helps us become more conscious of the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that we are feeding the field each day. We have a choice in every moment to take to heart the significance of intentionally managing our energies. This is the free will or local freedom that can create global cohesion. – Dr. Deborah Rozman, the President of Quantum Intech (source)

Overall, this type of work suggests that human consciousness, in general, can change the world.

One study, for example, was done during the Israel-Lebanon war in the 1980s. Two Harvard University professors organized groups of experienced meditators in Jerusalem, Yugoslavia and the United States and asked them to focus their attention on the area of conflict at various intervals over a 27-month period. Over the course of the study, the levels of violence in Lebanon decreased between 40 and 80 percent each time a meditating group was in place. The average number of people killed during the war each day dropped from 12 to three, and war-related injuries fell by 70 percent. (source)

Another great example is a study that was conducted in 1993 in Washington, D.C., which showed a 25 percent drop in crime rates when 2,500 meditators meditated during a specific period of time with that intention.

This type of information is heavily correlated with quantum physics, as many experiments in that area, as well as parapsychology (telepathy, remote viewing, distant healing), indicate similar findings. (source)

This holds true as far back as 1999. Statistics professor Jessica Utts at UC Irvine published a paper showing that parapsychological experiments have produced much stronger results than those showing a daily dose of aspirin helps prevent heart attacks. Utts also showed that these results are much stronger than the research behind various drugs like antiplatelets.

This type of work has statistically significant implications, yet is heavily ignored and labeled as pseudoscience simply because it conflicts with long-held beliefs we have trouble letting go of … But times are changing.

“For many years I have worked with researchers doing very careful work [in parapsychology], including a year that I spent full-time working on a classified project for the United States government, to see if we could use these abilities for intelligence gathering during the Cold War… At the end of that project I wrote a report for Congress, stating what I still think is true. The data in support of precognition and possibly other related phenomena are quite strong statistically, and would be widely accepted if it pertained to something more mundane. Yet, most scientists reject the possible reality of these abilities without ever looking at data! And on the other extreme, there are true believers who base their beliefs solely on anecdotes and personal experience. I have asked debunkers if there is any amount of data that would convince them, and they generally have responded by saying, “probably not.” I ask them what original research they have read, and they mostly admit that they haven’t read any. Now there is a definition of pseudo-science-basing conclusions on belief rather than data!” – Utts, Chair of the Statistics Department, UC Irvine (Dean Radin, Real Magic)

The Takeaway

Emotions and other factors associated with consciousness have the power to transform our inner world in ways we don’t fully understand yet. These findings show how consciousness can actually transform the physical/material world, and that’s huge. This validates the idea that if we can change our inner world through gratitude, empathy, compassion, and meditation, we can make our outer world more peaceful.

Article Credit: https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/02/14/scientists-show-how-gratitude-literally-alters-the-human-heart-molecular-structure-of-the-brain/?fbclid=IwAR22KaiX0EgsXPGXNNesYnjFTIpsaYW0YTQdtX951bVo0hJe1P60-qSuIkk

Protect Yourself From Negative People – Even From Yourself!

Learn how to stop the toxic spread of negativity!

We all have many types of friends, some make us laugh, others offer amazing advice, and then there are those we know we can count on no matter what the situation. There are also those who are constantly negative about anything and everything. Though these pessimistic friends completely drain our energy, for some reason we continue to maintain the friendships.

And if we are not careful, it is all too easy to allow ourselves to also fall into these negative states.

So whether these other people want to smell the smoke or not is irrelevant, because as a result of one person’s actions they now have to endure the smell of the smoke – and not just the smell, the toxic chemicals as well. This is much like how the negative energy of one person can spread to others in his or her path.

Though the smoke comes and goes, the harmful chemicals remain within the unsuspecting victim, much like negative energy is passed from one person to another – and that negative energy expresses within the body as stress! And this type of stress can lead to:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Pain Syndromes
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Hormonal changes

…and eventually, it can lead to more serious illnesses.

Look at it this way, have you ever known a person to become sick as a result of being overly positive and optimistic? Have you ever said, “I laughed so hard it depressed me”?

And though this is no big surprise, there are many studies to prove that stress caused by negativity lowers your immune system.  Some of these studies were performed by Suzanne Segerstrom, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky, and Gregory Miller, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia. As reported by the American Psychological Association:

“Their meta-analysis discerned intriguing patterns. Lab studies that stressed people for a few minutes found a burst of one type of “first responder” activity mixed with other signs of weakening. For stress of any significant duration – from a few days to a few months or years, as happens in real life – all aspects of immunity went downhill. Thus long-term or chronic stress, through too much wear and tear, can ravage the immune system.”

Have you ever finally let go of certain people in your life who are determined to spread their negativity and drama and then later feel the sense of relief that comes from freeing yourself from that destructive and life-draining energy? I am sure you have! Making this type of change in your life can be a positive game changer for sure! However…

There is an interesting obstacle that often appears. The realization that there is another source of the negativity.  You!

Have you ever paid attention to your own inner chatter? It is fascinating to learn just how many negative thoughts you may have even before getting out of bed in the morning. In fact, many of us have become so accustomed to it, that we hardly blink an eye when it occurs. Or perhaps we make excuses such as “we are protecting ourselves from getting hurt by events, especially those that have not yet occurred”.

When I realized this about myself, I have to admit that I was shocked! I always considered myself a positive person so learning that I had so many negative thoughts that I had apparently adapted to stopped me in my tracks. This was something that I needed to address immediately because after regaining my health from a diagnosis of MS and years of anxiety…it appeared that I still had to confront my own inner chatter before this would affect my health…again!  

I decided to carry a hand tally counter so I could easily keep track of any negative thoughts that crept into my mind. Every time I had a negative thought, I’d click the counter. Literately there were hundreds! Are you surprised there were so many? I was! How about you? Do you think you may have as many? Well before you answer that, there is an important thing to consider. Negative thoughts don’t always present themselves in an obvious manner such as, “I could never be good at that.” They are masters of deception and are often disguised. And three prominent favorite camouflages are in the form of assumptionsperceptions, and judgments. Make no mistake, we are all guilty of this.

We assume things about ourselves and others based on perceptions (often falsely) and then proceed to render our judgment.  All before knowing any actual facts! Or we may make assumptions simply based on past experiences, which of course does not allow room for a possible different and positive outcome.

Once I realized this, whenever a negative thought would appear (in any disguise), and before making a judgment based on that negative thought, I would ask myself a simple question:  Do I know this as a fact or is it an assumption? Above all, I needed to be 100% honest with myself, otherwise, I’d be opening the door to negative thoughts. Negative thoughts will never hesitate to enter your mind if allowed, and then once they are there – they will fester. 

This is why it can be so difficult to maintain positive energy. It’s difficult because it requires a bit more work since the vibrational frequency of positive energy is much higher than negative energy; just like it’s easier to walk downhill than it is to walk uphill or to become out of shape and unfit than to stay fit. Staying fit requires effort, and so does maintaining a positive mood and state of mind.

But there is good news! Once you realize that you can tame those negative thoughts (and thus negative energy) a new world will open up to you right before your eyes! Just by being aware of the negative thoughts that you have, and the fact that they can be disguised, you can begin the process of freeing yourself from them. There are now times when I am able to laugh at certain negative thoughts because, in reality, they are so completely ridiculous and out of character for me.  The ability to do this causes them to retreat instantly!

Another way to look at it is to imagine those thoughts as an actual person who is constantly talking this way all day and all night. What would you tell that person? You’d tell them to shut up and get lost! Right? So why put up with it within your own mind?

And it is easier to stop that inner chatter than you might think. Try this experiment right now. Likely your inner chatter has been going on all day. So take this moment to close your eyes and listen to your thoughts – focus on them, observe them. What do you hear?

I bet you were surprised that for a few seconds, all you heard was silence! This is because for a few seconds you were in complete control of your own thoughts.

 

Article from: https://www.onlineholistichealth.com/protect-negative-people/

Protect Yourself From Negative People – Even From Yourself!
4 Truths About Flower Essences

4 Truths About Flower Essences

Wondering how flower essences differ from essential oils and aromatherapy? You’ve come to the right place. There are a few things you will need to know as you embark upon your love affair with flower essences.

1.    Flower essences do not have a floral scent.

When most people think of flowers, they think of beautiful, breathtaking aromas. We can’t walk by a gorgeous flower without stopping to sneak a sniff of its scent. The truth is, however, that flower essences do not carry a scent. An essence in its pure form contains the powerful, vibrational signature of the flower without having a floral aroma. In fact, most flower essences have a faint smell of alcohol from the preservative used to guarantee quality and cleanliness. Some essence blends, like our Angel Spray, carry a scent because of the addition of essential oils. The essential oils on their own possess powerful healing properties, so when combined with the powerful, vibrational energy of flower essences we can create a transformative healing blend.

2.    Flower essences are different than essential oils and aromatherapy.

Quite frequently flower essences are confused with essential oils and aromatherapy. The truth is that they differ in a number of ways. As mentioned above, essential oils carry a strong aroma, while flower essences do not. Because the work of flower essences is performed on an energetic level, they do not need to carry the aroma of the flower in order to provide their healing benefits. Essential oils and flower essences also differ in that essential oils require a large amount of the plant to create oil, while flower essences only require as little as one flower to craft an essence.

3.    There are no adverse side effects of taking flower essences.

Ever watch a prescription drug commercial and find yourself completely perplexed and utterly frightened by the never-ending list of negative side effects from a drug for relieving eczema? Is silky, smooth skin worth the risk of depression and blood clots? Luckily, with flower essence healing, you don’t have to make that choice.

With flower essences, users cannot overdose. They also are free from possible adverse side effects. When using flower essences, the worst that can happen is nothing. The best that can happen is a magical miracle. Now that’s a risk worth taking!

4.    Flower essences will transform your life from the inside out.

Flower essences carry the energetic signature of flowers, allowing them to perform their healing work, not on a physical level, but on the energetic level. The energetic properties of the flowers interact with your body’s energetic system, enacting change from the inside out. When using flower essences, you begin to transform the energetics of your body, which in turn transforms the energetics of your life!

Article from: https://www.staressence.com/blogs/news/4-truths-about-flower-essences

Photo from: https://www.annmariegianni.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flower-essences/

 

5 Simple Yoga Practices to Bring You Lasting Peace of Mind

During yoga and meditation practice, even beginners notice a shift toward silence—their minds are relieved by a sense of quieting down. But first impressions of silence in yoga gradually lead to the realization that for lasting peace, many layers of mental activity will need to be digested.

Five stages of practice can help us acquire a deeper level of silence within:

  1. Body awareness The path toward inner stillness begins with asana work. Asanas help us reconnect with our body and start to quiet verbal chatter. They supply just the right combination of physical engagement and internal feedback to hold our attention. When our energies are collected and focused on simple posture work, the intensity of mental distractions is naturally diminished.Postures create a subtle shift in the mind. No longer drawn from thought to thought by an unfocused chain of associations, asana sessions replace noisy thinking with the relatively silent work of stretching, strengthening, lengthening, aligning, and integrating. Like a musician completely absorbed in the sound of his music, asana work focuses the mind thoroughly, so that other levels of experience do not intrude.
  2. Body and breath awareness combinedThe quieting influence of asana work is deepened when postures are linked to breathing. Lift your arms to the side and then overhead. You will probably find yourself inhaling. Bend forward even a little and most likely you’ll exhale. These and many other movements naturally coordinate with breathing. When awareness of breathing and movement are combined, distracting thoughts become less intrusive.But some movements are too fast or too slow for a direct correspondence with breathing. For example, swing your arms forward and back to warm up the shoulder joints, and you’ll find the movement is too fast to link with breathing. Shift to very slow motion or hold postures still, and again your movements will lose their direct correspondence with the breath. Despite this, you can keep both the body and breath in awareness. Breath awareness transcends awareness of the body alone. It acts like a thread that runs through every phase of posture work, quieting the nervous system and mind.

    The process of observing the breath makes us aware of the subtle differences between involuntary breathing, voluntary breathing, and non-voluntary breathing. Involuntary breathing is breathing that is generally out of our awareness. It flows automatically. Voluntary breathing is the result of conscious control. We use it to speak, to hold the breath, or to whistle. Breathing impacted by pain, emotion, and stress is sometimes called non-voluntary breathing. Simple examples include the forced breathing resulting from anger and the tense breathing often caused by stress.  Fortunately, the deep effects of stress and emotional reactivity on breathing can be quieted. When you encounter stress in your breathing you can modify it—restoring calm, even breathing. In other words, you can reduce sensations of anxiety and pain by breathing deeply and smoothly. This is how breath work leads the nervous system and mind toward silence.

  3. Breath awareness aloneWhen you are performing postures, your efforts to coordinate body and breath contribute to a natural refinement of your mental focus and a deepening of inner quietude. During periods of relaxation and meditation, breath awareness transcends bodywork altogether. Metabolism slows and physical demands are minimized. Then, awareness of the body becomes transparent (the body barely intrudes our awareness at all), and the mind is filled almost exclusively with sensations of breathing. It is then that you will learn the art of effortless breathing.Breathing flows involuntarily most of the time. But by becoming aware of the breath, shaping it, and then returning it to a relaxed and effortless flow, you can become the calm witness of your breath. This helps to quiet your mind even further.

    During relaxation and meditation, outer distractions and physical discomforts are greatly diminished. The mind’s quiet is disrupted instead of memories, wants, wishes, and cravings arising from within. A steady, relaxed breath makes it possible to reduce the energy we give to these forces—and to remain less reactive in their presence.

  4. Breathing combined with mantraUltimately, however, the mind is not fully quieted by concentration on the body or breath. Postures and breath awareness reduce mental chatter, but they do not fully relax the mind. To accomplish this, we’ll need to meet the process of thinking even deeper in the mind.This involves supplying the mind with a verbal focus, internal support, in which to rest. In the yoga tradition, this is accomplished through the use of a mantra. Most meditators begin with the mantra Soham (pronounced so-hum). This mantra is said to be the natural sound of breathing and means “that pure and infinite Self within—That I am.” By reciting the mantra in coordination with the breath (so on the inhalation, hum on the exhalation), the mind reaches a deeper level of self-awareness.

    But the idea that the mind can be quieted by the recitation of a mantra may appear at odds with itself. How does the recitation of a mantra lead to silence? The answer to this important question has two parts. First, a mantra quiets the mind in the same way that all forms of relaxed concentration reduce mental noise. It replaces distractions with an object of concentration. Since this object supports the mind’s efforts to become quiet, it is called an alambana in Sanskrit—a supportive factor. The mantra focuses attention deep within the mind, at the place where thoughts arise, rather than at the levels of body or breath. With this core level of support, meditation feels especially quieting.

  5. Mantra aloneWhen your attention rests in the gentle pulsing of a mantra, and even your breath has become a distant awareness, a more refined level of silence awakens within. (This answers with even more clarity the question, “How can the mind be silent if it is reciting a mantra?”) Silence is an experience of being. When the everyday mind, the mind of thoughts and sensations, is restfully focused, a transformation occurs that engages us with this experience of being. We become a witness, an observer—most importantly, a silent observer. We see the mind resting in its focus. But we do not speak about it, even to ourselves. We enter a realm of silence that exists unceasingly within us, uninfluenced by passing thoughts and desires.This experience of silence is amplified by concentration. Conversely, when the concentration is abandoned, silence is diminished as well. A mantra, then, is a sound that leads to silence. This silence, gradually acquired through an awakening of the inner observer, is both transforming and lasting. It is the culmination of a climb to a higher place—a place that, like Cadillac Mountain, gives a breathtaking view of dawning light.

Article from: https://yogainternational.com/article/view/5-simple-yoga-practices-to-bring-you-lasting-peace-of-mind

5 Simple Yoga Practices to Bring You Lasting Peace of Mind
10 Reasons You Need Reflexology!

10 Reasons You Need Reflexology!

How the ancient therapy Reflexology can change your life.

1. Relaxation – Reflexology is a deeply relaxing therapy and some people like to have the treatment purely for its relaxation benefits.

2. Improve general wellbeing – Reflexology is a holistic therapy and so works to balance the whole of the body and help it work as effectively as possible, which in turn can help prevent dis-ease.

3. Stress relief – Reflexology can help you feel more balanced and allow you to let go and relax for an hour, which can only have a positive impact in terms of reducing your stress levels.

4. Reduce tension – it is amazing how much tension we carry in our body, even in the feet! Reflexology is an excellent way of relieving tension in the whole body.

5. Improve circulation – Reflexology helps to improve circulation throughout the body, and especially in the feet and legs.

6. Detox the body – Reflexology helps the body to gently detoxify, which is why it is important to drink lots of water after a treatment in order to flush the toxins out of your system.

7. Strengthen the immune system – Reflexology boosts the immune system by kick-starting the body’s own self-healing techniques in order for it to be as balanced as possible.

8. Improve sleep – the very fact that a Reflexology treatment is so relaxing means that you will probably find you sleep better. Most individuals report having an amazing night’s sleep after a Reflexology treatment.

9. Calm the mind – even though Reflexology is a physical therapy, it can also work on a mental/ emotional level. By allowing yourself an hour-long Reflexology treatment to relax and unwind, your mind is also able to calm and slow down.

10. Increase energy – many people report feeling generally sluggish which can be a sign your body isn’t working as efficiently as it could. The balancing effect of Reflexology means that you can feel re-energized and re-vitalised.

Photo credit: https://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/foot-reflexology-in-singapore-best-spas-for-relaxing-foot-massages/

Article from: https://www.naturalhealthmagazine.co.uk/complementary-therapies/10-reasons-you-need-reflexology

8 Powerful Ancient Qigong Exercises for Cultivating Healing Energy in the Body

What is Qigong and Why is it Essential?

Qigong (pronounced: chee-gun), which combines meditative and physically active elements, is the basic exercise system within Chinese medicine. Qigong exercises are designed to help you preserve your Jing, strengthen and balance the flow of Qi energy, and enlighten your Shen.

Its dynamic exercises and meditations have Yin and Yang aspects: The Yin is being it; the Yang is doing it. Yin qigong exercises are expressed through relaxed stretching, visualization, and breathing.

Yang qigong exercises are expressed in a more aerobic or dynamic way. They are particularly effective for supporting the immune system. In China, Qigong is used extensively for people with cancer.

Qigong’s physical and spiritual routines move Qi energy through the Twelve Primary Channels and Eight Extra Channels, balancing it, smoothing the flow, and strengthening it. Chinese medicine uses Qigong exercises to maintain health, prevent illness, and extend longevity because it is a powerful tool for maintaining and restoring harmony to the Organ Systems, Essential Substances, and Channels. Qigong is also used for non-medical purposes, such as for fighting and for pursuing enlightenment.

Anyone of any age or physical condition can do Qigong. You don’t have to be able to run a marathon or bench press a car to pursue healthfulness and enjoy the benefits.

When you design your qigong exercise/meditation practice, you will pick what suits your individual constitution. Some of us are born with one type of constitution; some with another. We each have inherited imbalances that we cannot control but with which we must work. That’s why for some people it is easier to achieve balance and strength than it is for others. But whatever your nature, Qigong can help you become the most balanced you can be.

Qigong is truly a system for a lifetime. That’s why so many people over age sixty in China practice Qigong and Tai Chi. The effects may be powerful, but the routines themselves are usually gentle. Even the dynamic exercises—some of which explode the Qi energy— use forcefulness in different ways than in the West. The following are some effects of Qigong exercises practiced regularly.

The Benefits of Regular Practice

Maintaining Health
Qigong exercises help maintain health by creating a state of mental and physical calmness, which indicates that the Qi energy is balanced and harmonious. This allows the mind/body/spirit to function most efficiently, with the least amount of stress.

When you start practicing Qigong exercises, the primary goal is to concentrate on letting go, letting go, letting go. That’s because most imbalance comes from holding on to too much for too long. Most of us are familiar with the physical strength of muscles, and when we think about exercise, we think in terms of tense muscles. Qi energy is different. Qi strength is revealed by a smooth, calm, concentrated effort that is free of stress and does not pit one part of the body against another.

Managing Illness
It’s harder to remedy an illness than to prevent it, and Qigong has powerful preventive effects. However, when disharmony becomes apparent, Qigong exercises also can play a crucial role in restoring harmony.

Qigong movement and postures are shaped by the principle of Yin/Yang: the complementary interrelationship of qualities such as fast and slow, hard and soft, Excess or Deficiency, and External and Internal. Qigong exercises use these contrasting and complementary qualities to restore harmony to the Essential Substances, Organ Systems, and Channels.

Extending Longevity
In China, the use of Qigong exercises for maintaining health and curing illness did not satisfy those Buddhists and Daoists who engaged in more rigorous self-discipline. They wanted to be able to amplify the power of Qi energy and make the internal Organ Systems even stronger. This arcane use of Qigong was confined mostly to monasteries and the techniques have not been much publicized. One of the most difficult and profoundly effective techniques is called Marrow Washing Qigong. Practitioners learn to master the intricate manipulation of Qi—infusing the Eight Extraordinary Channels with Qi, and then guiding the Qi energy through the Channels to the bone marrow to cleanse and energize it. The result, according to religious tradition, is that monks can extend their life span to 150 years or more. The Daoists have a saying, “One hundred and twenty years means dying young.”

Although few if any of us can devote our lives to the stern practices of the monks, the health benefits of Qigong exercises certainly do improve the quality of life of everyone who practices it.

Waging Combat
Around 500 CE, in the Liang Dynasty, Qigong was adopted by various martial artists to increase stamina and power. For the most part, the breathing, concentration, and agility were assets to the warriors and improved their well-being.

Attaining Enlightenment
Buddhist monks who use Qigong exercises in their pursuit for higher consciousness and enlightenment concentrate on the Qigong’s ability to influence their Shen. Mastering Marrow Washing allows the practitioner to gain so much control over the flow of Qi energy that he or she can direct it into the forehead and elevate consciousness. The rest of us can enjoy the influence of Qigong on our Shen (spiritual body/energy) but at a lower level.

Whatever reason you use Qigong, the practice should raise your Qi to a higher state if you increase concentration, practice controlled breathing, and execute the Qigong routines.

The Foundational Techniques

Here are the basic Qigong exercise techniques.

Concentration
Concentration leads to and results from Qi energy awareness, breathing techniques, and Qigong exercises. It is a process of focusing in and letting go at the same time. Focusing does not mean that you wrinkle up your forehead and strain to pay attention.

Instead, through deep relaxation and expanding your consciousness, you are able to create a frame of mind that is large enough to encompass your entire mind-body – spirit’s functions, yet focused enough to allow outside distractions, worries, and everyday hassles to drift away.

This inward focus that expands outward to join you with the rhythms of the universe epitomizes Yin/Yang. Yin energy tends to be more expansive, and Yang energy more concentrated. You discover your Yin/Yang balance by treating Yin and Yang as ingredients in a recipe: Add a bit more Yin, toss in a dash of Yang to make the mixture suit your constitution or circumstances.

Some people need more or less Yin or Yang, depending upon the situation. ‘Extending the Qi exercise’ outlined below provides a clear demonstration of how you can practice establishing your balanced blend of Yin and Yang.

You will find that as you do qigong exercise and meditation you become more adept at this form of concentration because it is the natural expression of the practice. As you learn to concentrate more effectively, you will find you have greater power to affect Qi energy through the various Qigong exercises in this chapter or through the use of other focused meditations and Tai Chi.

Breathing
In the sixth century BCE, Lao Tzu first described breathing techniques as a way to stimulate Qi energy. From there, two types of Qigong breathing exercises evolved: Buddha’s Breath and Daoist’s Breath. Both methods infuse the body with Qi and help focus meditation.

Buddha’s Breath: When you inhale, extend your abdomen, filling it with air. When you exhale, contract you abdomen, expelling the air from the bottom of your lungs first and then pushing it up and out until your abdomen and chest are deflated. You may want to practice inhaling for a slow count of eight and exhaling for a count of sixteen. As you breathe in and out, imagine inviting your Qi energy to flow through the Channels. Use your mind to invite the Qi to flow; you want to guide the flow, not tug at it or push it.

Daoist’s Breath: The pattern is the opposite of above. When you breathe in, you contract your abdominal muscles. When you exhale, you relax the torso and lungs.

As you travel through these steps, remember that Qigong is a process of building awareness. However, you are comfortable doing the routines is what’s right for you at that time.

Warm-Up Exercises (10 to 15 min.)

Qigong Exercise One: Gentle Sway

1. For five minutes, move both of your arms from your shoulders in a gentle swinging motion. The motion itself is initiated from your waist: Twist from the waist as though your torso were a washcloth that you were wringing out. Don’t twist from the knees or you may harm them. Furthermore, twisting from the waist provides a massage to the internal organs and provides you with the full benefits of the exercise.

2. To get started, move your arms side to side across your torso, and then back to front.

3. Keep your knees slightly bent. Let your hips sway. Allow your mind to clear. At first, focus on the release of unnecessary and unconscious stress. After several weeks, you may shift your focus so that you think only about the swaying of your arms and the motion of Qi energy.

This introduces you to the concept of being mindful of the present, much the same concept as found in Zen walking.

Qigong Exercise Two: The Bounce

In the beginning, try this for one to three minutes.

1. With your feet parallel and about shoulder’s width apart, bounce with your knees loose and your arms hanging at the sides like a wet noodle. They should feel empty and neutral. This is the zero position for your arms. When you are bouncing back and forth, your arms in zero should get a nice jiggling effect.

2. Keep your shoulders natural; neither pull them back or let them slump forward too much. When the zero position is used on the whole body, you should receive a feeling of deep relaxation and your internal organs and skin should hang down. This process brings awareness of internal tension so that you can do something to dispel it if you choose.

The combination of exercises one and two gently massages and tonifies the Organ Systems, which helps promote longevity.

Awareness Exercises

Qigong Exercise Three: Accordion

In this, you feel the Qi energy by using your hands like the bellow of an accordion or a bicycle pump.

1. Close your eyes halfway. Clear your mind and concentrate your attention on your palms.

2. Allow your breath to become slow, easy, without force. In a way, you are creating the very lightest trance.

3. Bring your hands together, palms touching and fingers pointing upward. The palm chakras, called Laogong, located in the center of the palms, should be touching. These chakras are areas where Qi can be felt emanating from the body.

4. Slowly move your hands, keeping the chakras aligned. When they are about 12 inches (30 cm) apart, slowly move them together using the least amount of physical effort possible.

5. You will be compressing the air between them as an accordion would.

6. Feel a warm or tingling sensation at the Laogong points on your palms.

7. Move your hands slowly back and forth, varying the range of the bellows. Repeat the accordion technique in different directions: horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.

Qigong Exercise Four: Making the Point

1. Using your index finger is a powerful way of directing Qi energy. If you are right-handed, use you right index finger; if you are left-handed, use your left index finger. Point it directly at the flat palm of your other hand. That hand should be perpendicular to the floor with your fingers pointing straight up.

2. Use your index finger like a paintbrush to swab back and forth across your palm.

3. Begin with your fingertip about 8 inches (20 cm) from your palm. Slowly move it closer and farther away, swabbing all the time.

You may feel a tickling sensation, a cooling, or a warming of your palm.

Qigong Exercise Five: Extending the Qi

If you have Deficient Qi, you should perform this exercise with your eyes half closed to cultivate and accumulate Qi energy.

1. If you have Stagnant Qi, the exercise may be done with your eyes fully open.You will inhale swiftly through your nostrils with your eyes open or half closed when you exhale.

Note: You should exercise caution when practicing Qi exercises at home—without a teacher nearby—because they are powerful, and Qi can leak out your eyes.

2. Once you can sense the Qi, exercise your intention (which is the mind/spirit part of the exercise) and use your mind to move your Qi out from your body, expanding the zone in which you are comfortable. You may allow the Qi to drift out on the exhalation and then hold it there as you inhale.

3. First move the Qi into an orbit 1 inch (2.5 cm) from your skin. In increments of 6 inches (15 cm), move it outward, aiming for 3 feet (91 cm), but find the point where you are comfortable with it. Then bring it back in until it returns close to your body.

This qigong exercise allows you to communicate with your Qi energy. By increasing the distance away from your body that you can feel Qi, you expand your area of comfort—your field of generosity—in the world around you. You will have less fear and greater abilities. By being able to bring your Qi halo in to skin level (or inside your skin) you may become more centered, calm, and self-assured. When you have learned to be comfortable expanding and contracting your Qi, you will feel stronger, healthier, and more in harmony internally and externally.

Qigong Exercise Six: Pumping the Qi

This is a tricky exercise that moves the Qi energy along the two connecting Extraordinary Channels: the Du Mai and Ren Mai. You may think of it as evolve, devolve, because your posture goes from a slumped, gorilla-like stance to an upright extended pose. It is adapted from the Wild Goose Qigong exercise routine.

1. The first position pushes the Qi down. As your hands push flat down, your spine and head straighten upward. Then as you allow the Qi to flow back upward, your hands rise, elbows bent and palms parallel to the floor. Your shoulders hunch. Repeat this six or seven times, inhaling as your hands come up and exhaling as your hands go down.

2. When you are comfortable with this Qigong exercise, you may combine it with a slow intentional walk forward: left knee bent and raised in an exaggerated stepping motion. When your knee comes up, your hands go down and back and your spine straightens; when your foot touches the ground, your hands come up and your back hunches. Place your feet very gently on the ground and allow each step to proceed in slow motion, at a tempo that soothes and relaxes. Remember to maintain a breathing pattern, too. Inhale as your hands come up and your shoulders hunch. Exhale slowly, expanding your chest as you straighten your back. If this feels awkward, don’t despair. Even in a classroom situation, it takes a while to catch on to what to do.

Qigong Exercise Seven: Blending Qi

This exercise should help you become aware of various resonations of Qi energy and learn to blend them into a harmonious flow.

1. Stand with your feet a shoulder’s width apart, with your knees slightly bent. Allow your hands and arms to hang at your sides.

2. Shift your weight slightly to the balls of your feet. Simply be aware of the front side of your body. Concentrate on the Channels that pass along the front of your legs and torso, the top of your hands and arms, and your face.

3. After one minute, shift your weight to your heels. Become aware of the back of your body: the back of your head, your arms, your spine, and your legs. With practice, you may hold these postures for up to five minutes or longer.

4. You can also do this for the left and right sides of the body.

5. In each instance, you may want to become aware of each section of the body.For example, the side of your head, the side of your arm and torso, your outer hip, the side of your leg and ankle, and the length of your foot. This makes the exercise a meditation.

6. Now, shifting to a more Nei Dan form of Qigong exercise, repeat the first three steps, but the motion should not be detectable visually. Use your mind to shift your weight forward and backward, feeling your Qi flowing along the front and back of your body.

7. Next, try to feel your Qi flowing along your back and front simultaneously.

Students are often bewildered by the idea of feeling two sensations at the same time, but a useful analogy is to think of the color yellow and the color blue. When you blend those two colors together, you produce green. That green then becomes its own entity with its own wavelength. The same is true of blending the Qi energy from your front and from your back. The blend becomes another entity with its own resonation.

Advanced Qigong Breathing Exercise

Breathing can direct Qi energy through the body like the wind filling the sails of a ship. Qigong breathing exercises can invigorate or sedate, depending on how you use them.

On alternate days, practice the following routine, using Buddha’s Breath and Daoist’s Breath breathing techniques.

1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed in lotus or cross-legged style. This is important so that Qi energy does not enter and become Stagnant in the lower body, but follows the breathing path through your torso and your head.

2. Inhale to a count of four to eight, depending on what you are comfortable with. For Buddha’s Breath, extend your belly, filling it up from the bottom. For Taoist’s Breath, inhale, contracting your abdomen, and exhale, letting your abdomen relax outward.

3. As you inhale, turn your attention to your nose. Guide the Qi energy downward from your nose toward the Dantian, 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) below the navel. Women should not concentrate on the Dantian during their periods. Concentrate on your solar plexus instead.

4. Exhale to a count of eight to sixteen and move the Qi energy down the torso, around your pelvic region, and up to your tailbone.

5. Inhale and move the Qi up the back to the top of your shoulders.

6. Exhale and move the Qi up the back of your head and back to your nose.

7. If you cannot feel the Qi clearly, patience and practice will make it more apparent.

8. Once you are comfortable with this Qigong practice, you may increase the pace by completing the cycle in one inhalation and one exhalation. On the inhalation, move Qi energy from your nose to your tailbone. On the exhalation, move Qi from your tailbone back to your nose.

This article on qigong exercises and qi energy is excerpted with permission from The New Chinese Medicine Handbook: An Innovative Guide to Integrating Eastern Wisdom with Western Practice for Modern Healing by Misha Ruth Cohen, published by Fair Winds Press.

Photo credits: https://pixabay.com/en/qi-gong-pose-lichtspiel-landscape-761095/

8 Powerful Ancient Qigong Exercises for Cultivating Healing Energy in the Body
What are Flower Essences? How Do They Work?

What are Flower Essences? How Do They Work?

Flower essences are herbal infusions or decoctions, made from the flowering part of the plant, which uniquely addresses emotional and mental aspects of wellness. The first 38 flower remedies were formulated by a British physician, Dr. Edward Bach, in the 1930s, although new remedies from other plant species are now available. Physically speaking, flower essences are the energetic imprint of flowers captured in pure spring water at the height of their bloom. Once collected from the wilds, the flowers are either infused, by floating them in the water underneath the sun’s rays, or lightly boiled. In this way, the water becomes the carrier of that particular flower’s energy. The infusion is then preserved with grape brandy and diluted into stock bottles to be taken as drops in a glass of water or directly onto the skin.

The Philosophy Behind Flower Essences

Flower essences are predicated on the belief that we, as individuals, exist on many levels. We have spiritual selves, as well as physical identities, and communication between all our layers of being is vital to maintaining a happy, healthy, and above all, fulfilled life. Native American Shamans were experts at traveling between these different levels, communicating and healing illness at the source. Within this framework, it’s easy to see how our own intuition or sparks of desire are actually bits of guidance from our higher selves. These out-of-nowhere motivations are meant to direct us further along our life path or destiny. If you have ever had a crucial hunch that proved inexplicably correct, you will know the precious importance of trusting your inner knowledge. For one reason or another, however, we often block our own intuition. By ignoring what we might consider the dictates of our own souls, we create unhappiness, discordance, and imbalance within ourselves. Flower essences help to transform the negative thought patterns that hinder communication with our higher selves. By transforming these mental and emotional ruts, flower essences help to cleanse the “psycho-toxins” of negativity out of our spiritual metabolism, reestablishing our resonance with our inner voice.

Flower Essences in Practice

Illness or disease is the cumulative result of ignoring energetic and emotional imbalances. This idea is nothing new; science has known for decades that negative feelings and stress can weaken our body’s systems. In the flower essence worldview, illness is actually a sacred signal, our soul’s way of telling us that we are in a state of disharmony, out of alignment with our life purpose or greater truth. In this way, illness can actually be seen as a gift, a condition to be worked with and learned from in order to prevent even further error or harm.

Flower essences are incredibly individual and their effects will be different for each person. Each essence is indicated for a specific personality type and their corresponding negative patterns. For example, those who feel disconnected from reality, floaty, flighty or ungrounded will be able to re-root into their everyday existence by taking Clematis.

How do flower essences work?

To understand how flower essences work requires a recognition that the human being is more than a physical body but also incorporates a “body” of life energy, a “body” of sensitivity and feelings, and a spiritual essence or Self. Flower essences are energetic imprints of the life force of plants which interact with these subtle bodies of the human being and evoke specific qualities within us. We can say that they work in a similar way to inspirational music or art, which carry meaning through the vehicle of sound or light, while the flower essences work through the medium of water.

Modern physics has known for nearly a century that matter and consciousness are intertwined. However, medical science still generally works with a nineteenth-century model of the human being as a mechanism in a world of machines. We expect that in the coming century medical science will develop ways of studying the impact of consciousness on health, and we will learn more about the ways in which flower essences work. However, empirical research, which consists of the collection of case studies and practitioner reports, will remain the primary source of knowledge about how flower essences work.

Article from: http://www.fesflowers.com/product-info/flower-essences/what-are-flower-essences/
Article from: https://onewillowapothecaries.com/what-are-flower-essences/