Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Google Makes You Smarter, Facebook Makes You Happier, Selfies Make You A Better Person

Google Makes You Smarter, Facebook Makes You Happier, Selfies Make You A Better Person

Writer Sherry Turkle is using selfies to promote a popular argument: that technology harms the way we relate to each other. But she’s wrong and outdated--and listening to her makes us miss what’s really important.

When you take a selfie, your soul is ripped away like meat off bone. You are a shell of a person, the selfie having captured the last life in your eyes. This, finally, is the deadening conclusion printed in the New York Times yesterday after our months of collective selfie obsession. “It does things to us,” author Sherry Turkle warns with a trembling finger, “changing not just what we do but who we are.”
This is a familiar form of scaremongering. Facebook makes you lonely! Google makes you stupid! Apple Maps make you go the wrong direction on the highway! That last one, of course, is true. The rest? They’re based mostly upon misinterpreted science--studies, say, that show neural pathways altering in response to computer use, just as the brain does when you learn to drive a car or play guitar. “Change” is not always bad; it can be natural. But just look at how Turkle casts it: It is an existential threat.
I know a few things about selfies. I launched a Tumblr called Selfies at Funerals, which was one of Tumblr’s most viral of the year. It culminated rather spectacularly with President Obama’s selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. I’ve also taken plenty of selfies--not at funerals, but just about everywhere else, as has every friend and colleague. Despite what Turkle says, we are not victims because of it. Anyone who finds value in technology should resent the condescension.
Turkle isn’t the only one to make these arguments, but she makes them the loudest and most frequently. She has a book called Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, and she’d like you to buy it. You’re more likely to do that if you’re afraid of your cell phone, so she’s stirring unnecessary fear founded on either total misunderstandings or intentional ignorance. Which is it? To find out, let’s pick her latest piece apart, selfie by selfie.

Turkle Claim #1: Selfies stop us from connecting the right way

Last spring, I had the occasion to spend a day with the actor and comedian Aziz Ansari discussing our mutual interest in the psychology of texting. As we walked through Los Angeles, people approached him every few minutes not to ask for an autograph, but to demand a photograph. Mr. Ansari is gracious to his fans. He explained that instead of a photograph, he would offer a conversation. He inquired about their taste in music, what they liked about his performances, his stand-up, his sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” His fans were mollified but they were rarely happy. They had to walk away with nothing on their phones.
Let’s assume that Aziz Ansari does this all the time, even when he’s not trying to make a point with an anti-technology academic. That is unusually generous of him. And here, Turkle sets up her strawman: There is an ideal, pure, and uninterrupted way that people should connect. Let’s give it a name: The Perfect Talk. As you’ll see as we go through her essay, Turkle is always finding that technology blocks our capacity to achieve The Perfect Talk. That is the core of our loss, the thing technology has robbed us of.
In this instance, what is The Perfect Talk? It is a fan coming up and having a meaningful conversation with Aziz Ansari. Turkle doesn’t consider that perhaps fans don’t want to connect with him in that way--not because of selfies, but because actors and fans have a transactional relationship. The actor produces, and the fan receives. I’ve met many of my favorite actors and athletes, and though it’s fun, I often have nothing meaningful to say to them. I just want the experience of saying hello, and a memento.
A selfie beats an autograph, and sometimes it even beats a conversation. It just does. And that’s okay. We want different things from different people. We always have.

Turkle Claim #2: Selfies cause us to miss out on life

A selfie, like any photograph, interrupts experience to mark the moment. … The selfie makes us accustomed to putting ourselves and those around us “on pause” in order to document our lives. It is an extension of how we have learned to put our conversations “on pause” when we send or receive a text, an image, an email, a call. When you get accustomed to a life of stops and starts, you get less accustomed to reflecting on where you are and what you are thinking.
Turkle claims an activity is either an experience or an interruption. It isn’t that simple. Have you ever pulled your friends together for a photograph, and struck a pose? Have you ever crowded heads with your boyfriend or girlfriend, making faces into a camera to make each other laugh? These aren’t interruptions of a moment; they are a moment. Some selfies are frivolous, of course, but so are some conversations. Technology can create togetherness. Turkle won’t concede this.
Then she raises the stakes: Selfies not only take us out of our experiences with others, she claims, but also rob us of the ability to reflect “on where you are and what you are thinking.” The funeral-selfie takers on my Tumblr may have seemed disrespectful, but consider, for a moment, that most were expressing themselves in the most genuine way they thought to. Childhood is solipsistic; we see the world through our own experience of it. The selfie gave these kids a moment to quite literally look at themselves in their environment, and reflect on where they are and what they are thinking. It provided what Turkle claims it stole away.
Yes, their selfies look different from whatever Turkle did in her introspective teenager years. But that doesn’t mean introspection isn’t happening. What does she want--for kids to sit still and meditate? What kid did that even before the iPhone?

Turkle Claim #3: Selfies change the way we communicate

We don’t experience interruptions as disruptions anymore. But they make it hard to settle into serious conversations with ourselves and with other people because emotionally, we keep ourselves available to be taken away from everything. I talk to young people about etiquette when they go out to dinner, and they explain to me that when in a group of, say, seven, they make sure that at least three people are “heads up” in the “talking” conversation at any one time. … All of this has become the new normal.
It’s true, some kids can be rude. But they’re also rabid communicators. Turkle’s right: We’re witnessing a new normal. Here are some other grumpy seniors that stared down a new normal:
Socrates, who came from a culture with a strong oral tradition, was concerned by the rise of people writing things down: “[Writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.”
In 1906, composer John Philip Sousa feared how recorded music would destroy the ability to socialize at parties: “The country dance orchestra of violin, guitar and melodeon had to rest at times, and the resultant interruption afforded the opportunity for general sociability and rest among the entire company. Now a tireless mechanism can keep everlastingly at it, and much of what made the dance a wholesome recreation is eliminated.”
In 1925, Princeton University Dean Howard McClenahan tied the car to a moral crisis: “The automobile gave increased opportunities on Sunday and thus lessened the chances of church attendance. The general effect of the automobile was to make the present generation look lightly at the moral code, and to decrease the value of the home.”
History is full of Turkles, and naturally so. Hers is such a terrifying idea, and yet such an appealing one: If we are at the vanguard of social change, then we--that is, we the elders, roughly ages 30 and up, who can remember a time before the latest disruption--are the precious and special last bearers of humanity.
It’s flattering, but it’s untrue. We aren’t special. We just grew up doing things the way we learned to do them. Now we see the next generation acting differently, and we cannot imagine it working. We forget that this is how it’s always been. We forget that we experimented as well. We turned out okay.

Turkle Claim #4: Selfies stop us from seriousness

We have every reason to believe that President Obama revered Nelson Mandela and thought deeply about his relationship with what Mandela stood for. But when he took a selfie at Mandela’s memorial service last Tuesday, he showed us how he, too, lives in our culture of documentation. It is easy to understand how he, like most of us, did not allow himself an uninterrupted time of reverie.
Obama took that selfie--a groupie, really--two hours into a four-hour ceremony that was full of dancing and music. He’d written and given a speech. He’d reflected, and he’d shared his thoughts. He’d surely allowed himself “uninterrupted time of reverie,” either at the service or before. But now he was sharing an experience with those near him, and that experience was made possible by a camera.
Turkle imagines that any interaction with technology somehow negates all the time spent doing other things. She also imagines that we must devote ourselves in only one way to every task: At a dinner table, we are only serious and focused on conversation; at a memorial service, we are only mournful. That is not the way we live. It’s never been the way we live. And that’s the beauty of technology, which Turkle cannot see: We can use it for all purposes, to express joy and sadness, to have long conversations or send short texts. We made it. It is us.

Turkle Claim #5: The young will show us the way

I see the most hope in young people who have grown up with this technology and begin to see its cost. … A 14-year-old girl tells me how she gets her device-smitten father to engage with her during dinner: “Dad, stop Googling. I don’t care about the right answer. I want to talk to you.” A 14-year-old boy reflects: “Don’t people know that sometimes you can just look out the window of a car and see the world go by and it is wonderful. You can think. People don’t know that.” The selfie, like all technology, causes us to reflect on our human values. This is a good thing because it challenges us to figure out what they really are.
These quotes aren’t from teenagers who “begin to see [the] cost” of technology. They have grown up knowing nothing else. The change already came. What these kids are expressing is the joint frustration and wonder of youth, and nobody’s giving up their iPhones.
There is a danger in inaccurately interpreting the effect of technology on kids. The journal Pediatrics displayed this in 2011, when it triggered a media storm by suggesting that Facebook causes depression. In fact, says Massachusetts psychologist John Grohol, who sits on the board of the journal Cyberpsychology, the studies showed no such thing: They just showed that depressed kids use Facebook, as do happy kids. But the Sherry Turkles of the world only trumpet the negative. “So if a patient comes in complaining of depression, the doctor could say, ‘You need to cut back on Facebook,’” Grohol says.
That doctor would have identified the wrong culprit, because he was convinced it was the obvious one. That’s the danger of listening to Turkle.
Is it good that a dad pays more attention to Google than his daughter? No, of course not. That guy should put down his phone. But we should be careful about distinguishing between actual problems and perceived ones. The phone is not, by itself, the problem. In fact, if that dad closed his Google app, opened his camera app, and took a selfie with his 14-year-old daughter, I bet she’d be thrilled.
They’d have had a moment. Turkle wouldn’t recognize it.
[Image: Flickr user Sarah Van Quickelberge]


Monday, November 18, 2013

What kind of person sees ghosts?

What kind of person sees ghosts?

By Tomas Rees
The human mind is naturally attuned to try to spot hidden agents. In fact, we're too good at it, because we tend to interpret all sorts of random environmental noise as actually being caused by someone.

It's widely thought that this tendency contributes to religious belief, and yet it's also the case that many religious people don't claim to have seen any spiritual agents directly at work - and many no-religious people see ghosts from time to time.

Kirsten Barnes and Nicholas Gibson, at the University of Cambridge, surveyed 583 people (mostly women, 50% atheist/agnostic) who were in their survey data. Most were from Britain, some from Australia and Canada, and others from all over.

They asked them whether they had ever had a spiritual, religious, supernatural or paranormal experience. For those that had, they asked to describe the experience - what happened, where they were, how they felt at the time, etc. And they asked them to complete a battery of personality tests.

They found that those who had had some kind of supernatural experience were also more likely to have had other unusual experiences (meaning ones where the person sensed or felt odd, but not necessarily supernatural), and were less neurotic (although this link was weak and may have been spurious).

Intriguingly, given the study I covered in my previous post, people who had had a spiritual, religious, supernatural or paranormal experience in the past also scored higher on empathy and trust. 

However, when they looked solely at experiences that involved a supernatural agent, this link disappeared. This suggests that the link between empathy and religion is not down to the ability to "read minds".

Whet do they mean by supernatural agent? Well, here's a couple of verbatim examples given by participants:

“I went to the prayer room where I really had a physical sense of God’s presence—I remember reaching out my hand to feel it”
“In a house I used to live in, I was usually visited by a being that took the form of a pre-teen girl. She was lithe, pale skinned and had straight, dark colored hair”

They found that, relative to other kinds of supernatural experiences, non-religious, supernatural agents (AKA ghosts) were more often seen when the environment was secluded, dark, quiet, and threatening. Those who had seen ghosts also reported being anxious or upset at the time. That wasn't the case for religious supernatural agents.

The authors found that people who see ghosts are inclined to magical thinking, which may explain the link. Or it could be that people with no religious framework are more likely to report these experiences as threatening. Or it might simply be that people remembered the experience as threatening, and only later came to remember their surroundings at the time as being threatening.

What this suggests is that anxiety and distress combine to make it more likely that people will see ghosts, but that this relationship doesn't hold for religious experiences. 

It';s interesting to contrast this with other research showing that anxiety and uncertainty can make people see things that aren't there, and also that religion is more popular in environments that are threatening or dangerous.

Maybe turning to religion is one way to reduce the distress caused by supernatural experiences that are caused by threatening environments!

Monday, October 14, 2013

some of my favourite QUOTES

I’m going to turn on the light, and we’ll be two people in a room looking at each other and wondering why on earth we were afraid of the dark. ~Gale Wilhelm

Come to the edge, He said. They said: we are afraid. Come to the edge, He said. They came. He pushed them, and they flew. ~Guillaume Apollinaire

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller

Life can only take place in the present moment. If we lose the present moment, we lose life. ~Buddha

Why wait? Life is not a dress rehearsal. Quit practicing what you’re going to do, and just do it. In one bold stroke you can transform today. ~Marilyn Grey

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. ~Robert Frost

The more a man knows, the more he forgives. ~Confucious

Make it a rule never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say, “I have made one human being at least a little wiser, a little happier or a little better this day.” ~Charles Kingsley

Night is purer than day; it is better for for thinking and loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning. The tragedy of man is that he doesn’t know how to disinguish bewteen day and night. He says things at night that should only be said by day. ~ Elie Wiesel

I don’t break the rules. I merely test their elasticity. ~Bill Veck

I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation. ~George Bernard Shaw

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ~John F. Kennedy

Beauty is not caused. It is. ~Emily Dickinson

Forever is composed of nows. ~Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. ~Emily Dickinson

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams not mortal ever dared to dream before. ~Edgar Allen Poe

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~Nelson Mandela

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  ~Marianne Williamson

Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60′s. Or maybe I was just a girl… interrupted. ~Girl, Interrupted (Film)

I know what it’s like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can’t. How you hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside. ~Girl, Interrupted (Film)

Was I ever crazy? Maybe. Or maybe life is… Crazy isn’t being broken or swallowing a dark secret. It’s you or me amplified. If you ever told a lie and enjoyed it. If you ever wished you could be a child forever. They were not perfect, but they were my friends and by the ’70s most of them were out living lives. Some I’ve seen, some never again, but there isn’t a day my heart doesn’t find them. ~Girl, Interrupted (Film)

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. ~Abraham Maslow

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am, I am, I am. ~Sylvia Plath

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. ~Edgar Allen Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary. ~Edgar Allen Poe

Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence – whether much that is glorious – whether all that is profound – does not spring from disease of thought – from moods of mind exalted at the expense of general intellect. ~Edgar Allen Poe

To grasp the full significance of life is the actor’s duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.  ~Marlon Brando

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. ~ Mark Twain

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior. ~Henry C. Link

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything; but I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Hale

People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves. ~Salma Hayek

Every one of those keen moments has left its trace, and lives in us still, but such traces have blent themselves irrecoverably with the firmer texture of our youth and manhood; and so it comes that we can look on at the troubles of our children with a smiling disbelief in the reality of their pain…Surely if we could recall that early bitterness, and the dim guesses, the strangely perspectiveless conception of life that gave the bitterness its intensity, we should not pooh-pooh the griefs of our children. (George Elliot – Mill on the Floss – Chapter VII)

I am the entire human race compacted together. I have found that there is no ingredient of the race which I do not possess in either a small way or a large way. ~Mark Twain

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes. ~Douglas Adams

Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish. ~John Jakes

There has to come a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complete package. Take me…or leave me. Accept me – or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision. When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad – you will be amazed at the opportunities life presents you. ~Stacey Charter

Individuality is only possible if it unfolds from wholeness. ~David Bohm

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. ~ Dr. Seuss

You’re only given a little spark of madness. Don’t lose it. ~Robin Williams

The only worse thing than being talked about is not being talked about. ~Oscar Wilde

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. –Krishnamurti

Laughter is the closest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. ~Gilbert Highet

Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart. ~Washington Irving

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded. -Maya Angelou

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K. ~Ted Theodore Logan

Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation. ~Unknown

Have you had your existential angst today? ~Unknown

my lotus flowers

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Singing is good for your body and soul -study

11 July 2013, 03:30
Singing is good for your body and soul -study

LONDON. July 11. KAZINFORM As scientists show that choir practice is healthier than yoga, Sarah Rainey - who does both - praises the power of song.  After years of singing in the shower and warbling my way through karaoke duets, 18 months ago I finally joined a choir. Every Thursday evening, I head to a church hall in Marylebone, central London, where, along with 30 others - mostly women, the occasional bloke - I spend 90 minutes belting out Motown, gospel and pop classics, from Abba to Bon Jovi. I'm more of a keen amateur than a wannabe soloist, but even the odd off-key note or wrong lyric can't detract from how good singing makes me feel. I leave every session uplifted, buoyed by a flurry of endorphins flooding through my body.

So it comes as no surprise that scientists have shown that not only does singing in a choir make you feel good, it's got health benefits, too. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found that choristers' heartbeats synchronise when they sing together, bringing about a calming effect that is as beneficial to our health as yoga.

The scientists asked a group of teenagers to perform three choral exercises - humming, singing a hymn and chanting - and monitored their heart rhythms during each. They showed that singing has a dramatic effect on heart rate variability, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

"Song is a form of regular, controlled breathing, since breathing out occurs on the song phrases and inhaling takes place between these," says Dr Björn Vickhoff, who led the study. "It gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing. It helps you relax, and there are indications that it does provide a heart benefit."

Having done both yoga and singing, I'm inclined to agree. Panting one's way through a downward dog just isn't as soothing as a floaty aria; nor does contorting oneself into the shape of a cobra make you feel quite as good as a burst of Aretha Franklin. Yoga may supposedly be relaxing, but it's also sweaty, tiring and often painful. Singing, on the other hand, never fails to leave me feeling fabulous. But is it really better for your heart?

Sponsored Remedies for a sneezy summer
Over the years, scientists have found that crooning has a number of health benefits. The Gothenburg researchers proved that with singing we can train our lungs to breathe better; similarly, a study at Cardiff University in 2012 found that lung cancer patients who sang in a choir had a greater expiratory capacity than those who didn't. Singing has also been shown to boost our immune system, reduce stress levels and, according to a report published in the Journal of Music Therapy in 2004, help patients cope with chronic pain. A joint study by Harvard and Yale Universities in 2008 went one step further, claiming that choral singing in a Connecticut town had increased residents' life expectancy.

"Singing delivers a host of physical and emotional benefits, including increased aerobic exercise, improved breathing, posture, mindset, confidence and self-esteem," says Jeremy Hywel Williams, who leads the Llanelli Choral Society in Wales. "While singing alone is good, singing with others can be even better."

It explains why we Brits are flocking to choirs in our thousands. There are more than 3,000 groups listed on the British Choirs on the Net website, and the body that runs my choir, Rock Choir, has over 16,000 members in 250 communities nationwide. There are said to be more choirs across the country now than there are fish and chip shops. Gareth Malone, the preppy choirmaster credited with reigniting our interest in choral singing through his BBC Two series The Choir, helped a new generation of singers realise the benefits of making music; his Military Wives Choir had a Number One hit in December 2011.

Tom George, a Rock Choir leader in Surrey, says singing takes his members' minds off physical and mental illnesses. "We receive many emails from members telling us how Rock Choir has helped them," he adds. "People recovering from depression, arthritis, surgery, dealing with the effects of cancer and many other ailments find it a real tonic and have even suggested it should be prescribed on the NHS."

Do choristers agree? David Webb, 30, part of the Amore quartet that serenaded the Queen during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, equates singing with a session at the gym. "Using your whole body as you sing is massively important," he adds. Rachael Brimley, 25, from Bedfordshire, whose vocal group Les Sirènes was named the 2012 Choir of the Year, agrees: "The discipline of breathing often feels like a good workout, as you are using the core muscles and focusing your energy to achieve a great sound."

Alex Bucktin, 25, a graphic designer from Harpenden, joined a choir in March and says singing has helped her sleep more soundly. She adds: "I have done yoga and pilates, and singing uses so many muscles and so much concentration on your breathing that it exerts your body in the same way." Suzie Jennings, 30, a London-based resource manager, says she has slept better since she started singing last year, and has noticed a positive mental effect. "A few months ago I was made redundant on the day of choir practice," she explains. "I went along feeling pretty depressed, and while singing didn't solve my employment issues, it made me feel a million times better."
Choral singing has been used as music therapy in hospitals, care homes and hospices for decades. "Singing enables people with dementia to access memories and joy in times when communication is faltering," says Sarah Teagle, co-founder of the Forget-Me-Not chorus, a charity for dementia sufferers.

Can as much be said for the downward dog? Those living in Los Angeles don't have to choose between the two: vocal yoga is the latest trend in the US, combining the health benefits of both in a single class. Back in the UK, no such newfangled activity exists - but joining a good old-fashioned choir can provide benefits aplenty. The science doesn't lie: singing really is better for your health than yoga. And, in the words of Ella Fitzgerald, "the only thing better than singing - is more singing".





The process of awakening is a phrase or term that is used in the field of spirituality or metaphysics that refers to “waking up in awareness and understanding” of your spiritual essence or your eternal true self, that which you are in pure consciousness and how it relates to your physical incarnation in a human body. It is an individual process of healing and letting go of fear and illusions that culminates in an expansion of love and growth in consciousness.

The awakening process is about uncovering what already exists within your consciousness. It’s the study of consciousness, how it’s related to your body, mind, emotions, and soul, and then applying this knowledge to your everyday life to create for yourself and others a Heaven on Earth. At the highest level, it’s possible to merge your personal consciousness with the universal consciousness of All That Is that exists in all things. At this level, you become a Christ-like being and live and act from a focus known as Christ Consciousness (Master Jesus displayed this level of consciousness on Earth). The awakening process doesn’t stop there. Higher levels of consciousness exist, to be sure, but this goes beyond the scope of our discussion.


Awakening is a process that never ends because the Source of Life is eternal, and the real you, your spiritual essence, is the image and likeness of the Source of Life. So, try to get used to the fact that there is no end to the process of awakening. You are eternal consciousness and sometimes you incarnate into a physical body because it’s your freewill choice to experience the play of consciousness on Earth. For you are Spirit in physical form. When you are in-between physical incarnations, you go back to your spirit form in consciousness, and there you continue your awakening process.

At some degree, you are already awake. Everybody is, whether they believe it or not. All of us have an awareness and our own understanding of our spiritual essence or eternal true self because we all have consciousness. And, all of us are aware of our consciousness. Some of us might not pay much attention to the health of our consciousness, and some of us don’t have a clue about the connection between our consciousness and Source of Life, some don’t care about the answers to these types of questions, and some of us don’t want to change or don’t understand why it’s in their best interests to change for the better. And, that’s OK. Love allows everybody to be where they want to be, and doesn’t feel threatened by it.

How do you know if you are getting close? I believe it’s best to re-phrase the question to: How do I know if I’m waking up in my spiritual consciousness? You can measure your awakening by asking yourself these questions, and being brutally honest with yourself, for if you fudge on the answers, you are only hurting yourself.

--- Am I more loving and truthful today than yesterday with myself and others?
--- Am I changing for the better?
--- Am I more positive in my thinking today than yesterday?
--- Am I sharing my love with others?
--- Am I more peaceful and joyful with myself and others today than yesterday?
--- Am I less judgmental or critical with myself and others today than yesterday?
--- Am I mastering my emotions by healing my fear-based beliefs and healing the intellect of illusions not in alignment with the truth within me?
--- Do I forgive and forget easily?
--- Do I see and feel the divine presence of the Source of Life in others as I see and feel it in myself?

Nobody can answer these questions for you because it’s your responsibility because it’s your life. If you can answer “YES” to all these questions, then you will progress rapidly in your awakening process. But, wherever you answer no, there is something to look at closely, to heal and allow love to replace the void that fear leaves. The awakening process will lead you to the heart of the Source of Life, and within its heart you will find unconditional love.


Learn to live the path of love to its fullest.

Only you can decide what this means for you. If you are looking for an easy formula or an authority figure to tell you how to live your life, then you will become a dependent person. But, if you want to wake up to a greater and greater degree to the radiant, powerful, sovereign being that you are, then you will have to do the journey on the path of love. Here are some general guidelines I recommend for you to incorporate into your life.


Take a blank piece of paper, or compose this on your word processing program. At the top of the paper write “Awakening Analysis.” Then, fold the paper into three columns. Draw a line down the folds of the paper. In the left column, write the words: My Concept of My Real Identity. Then describe your concept. Be clear, concise, and state your truth. Don’t show it to anybody. It will become the beginnings of your daily journal. If you haven’t explored the advantages of journaling for personal growth and spiritual freedom, then I suggest you look into buying a book on the subject that resonates with you.

In the right column, write the words: My Awakening Goal. Then describe what your awakening goal looks like to you, how far you want to go with your awakening process in this lifetime.

In the middle column, write the words: My Path of Awakening. Then describe what you believe you must do to awaken yourself, the path you believe you must walk that will give you greater personal growth and bring you to an understanding of living in the Light. Write down all the things you believe you need to do to achieve this goal. There are no wrong answers. And, the list you write now may change over time. Everything you think, do and say will contribute to your path of awakening.

Remember! The awakening process is about uncovering what already exists within you. Since your essence is love, the better you can live the path of love, the more awake you will become. This is not to say that you won’t experience challenges along the way. They will be there, and they are part of your awakening process of waking up to the love essence that you are.


To discover the heart of the Source of Life or Universal Consciousness within you, all you have to do is to uncover what’s already inside you. What is inside your consciousness, inside your ego, inside your heart, inside your lifeforce energy system, inside your mind, inside your thoughts? Once you find out what’s inside you, then move on and discover, how to work with it to bring you joy, bliss, prosperity, abundance for yourself and others in the world.


Awakening to Divine Love or Universal Consciousness within you can be summed up in these brief guidelines:

Develop a passion for your own awakening. Keep the fire going. Awakening from the dream of forgetfulness to Oneness is a very real possibility within the span of a single lifetime. The Source of Life has disguised itself in its own creation, and cannot avoid responding to the sincere call of a devoted truth seeker.

To deepen your spiritual life, to go beyond the limits of mind and ego, commit to living a love-based lifestyle in thought, word and deed. Withdraw your attention on the way you view other people: dirty, mean, greedy, selfish. Their behavior is of no concern to you. Instead, re-focus the searchlight of your perception into your own thoughts, words, and deeds. Clean up your act! It is love that attracts the divine response of the Source of Life because your essence is Love. And, be open to accepting the miracles that will come into your life as a result of choosing a love-based lifestyle.

Transformation of consciousness is a process of healing the mind of illusions, and healing the emotions of fear, whereby the truths of Divine Love that already exist within you become revealed in pristine clarity. It can be likened to cleaning the dirt away from a diamond to reveal its purity and brilliance.

The secret to finding and knowing the Indwelling Spirit of Love (which is your true
Self) is learning to live a love-based lifestyle in thought, word and deed. Love has a magical
way of transcending and healing all things that are out of alignment with it, and returning it
to Love. It positively affects consciousness in people, places and things.

Everything in life is designed for your awakening and spiritual growth. It is vitally important for us to raise our awareness (energy vibration) to the heart lifeforce energy center and beyond. We can achieve this by living a love-based lifestyle, and practicing the qualities of the heart.

Love is the attracting quality because love is your essence, and it is the foundation upon which the universe is built. The more you give yourself permission to live a lifestyle of Love, the more you will deepen your spiritual life, and the more your life will turn into the miracle that it is.


MEDITATION is the highest priority of the day. I can’t emphasize this enough. It is the primary tool for Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness. Try to meditate 30-minutes twice a day, morning and evening. There are many ways to meditate. If you desire to uncover the truth of what’s already within you, to feel love and bliss in your life, and attract the experience of Oneness, you’ll want to use a method to interiorize the mind. Use the meditation technique in my eBook (Google: The Sinless Reality), or find a meditation technique that works for you.

PRAYER  – in the language of your heart, pray to the divine Source of Life within you. Pray for your enlightenment, and the enlightenment of humanity. Ask it to awaken you, to reveal your true nature to you, to experience yourself as radiant light and boundless love, and to lead you to all the answers to all the questions you have about awakening and the nature of your true self.

GRATITUDE – be grateful for all the blessings and gifts you have received, as the source of your abundance and prosperity is Love itself. And, be grateful for all the blessings and gifts that have not manifested yet in your life because they are already created in consciousness. Gratitude is your acknowledgement that Love itself is the source of your eternal being and all supply.

THE POWER OF VISIONING – The mind’s eye is the vision center within the human being. Here you can visualize your dreams, and infuse passionate intention into them, and allow them to manifest in your life as reality. The power of visioning will help you manifest everything you want.

DISCOVER & ACHIEVE YOUR LIFE PLAN – You came to Earth to fulfill an important purpose – your life plan. You planned a full life of learning lessons or experiences to gain knowledge of the experiences you chose in human form. This is a custom-made plan that was designed by you, before your birth, for you, and only you can achieve it. Achieving your plan gives your life purpose and meaning and motivation, and lets you feel alive. It is possible to know the details of your plan through quiet reflection and observing yourself.

LIGHT-HEARTEDNESS is your natural state of being. It is the joy of Divine Love within each of us. Humor is a very important part of growing into Divine Consciousness. Don't take life so seriously. Life is not meant to be all work and no fun or play. Laugh a lot! Especially when there’s no reason. Meditation and practicing your spiritual principles will develop joy in you, and ultimately will establish you in joy and bliss from which you will not slip out of.

THE DIVINE PRESENCE - The secret to getting the Divine’s attention is developing a powerful love-call to attract the Divine response in your life. Sweet talk the Divine like you would a lover. Tell the Divine how much you want to know it in the experience of Oneness. Ask the Divine to reveal itself to you. Pray deeply and sincerely.

SHARING, GIVING AND RECEIVING - It is a great joy for Divine Love to share itself because its intrinsic nature is limitless abundance and prosperity. Hence, the reason we feel joyful in sharing our love with others. Scarcity or “lack” does not exist in the mind of Divine Love or in its kingdom. It knows itself only as limitless supply of abundance and prosperity.

FORGIVENESS is the sweetness that lets human relationships run smoothly, and allows Divine Love to heal the hurt. When you forgive someone, you are already forgiven. Learn to forgive, yourself and others, no matter how much pain it costs you.

HEALING the mind and emotions of fear-based thoughts and beliefs will empower you. As you learn to master your mind and emotions, you will awaken more and more, and draw closer to your true identity (true self), and eventually experience the Light within.

TRANSFORMATION of consciousness is the inevitable result of healing from fear to love, healing from illusion to truth, healing from the belief that you are separate from Love to the Oneness of Love.

Keep your body healthy. Eat nutritious foods. Maintain a wholesome attitude towards your body, but don't be vain about it. Exercise your body vigorously, on a regular basis. It keeps the body limber for meditation. The energies in the Lifeforce system can flow easier, helping to keep your body healthy.

Conserve your sexual energy. It can be used as a valuable partner in the awakening process. Learn to transmute its powerful energy into constructive pursuits such as creativity, deeper meditation, or strenuous physical activity.

Let go chaos and drama in your own life. Don't buy into the world’s fears and illusions.

Avoid the tendency to gossip or criticize others. Focus on your own awakening.

Watch your thoughts. Master your emotions.

Empower yourself! Cultivate heart qualities: in addition to the ones already cited, patience, insight, tolerance, non-judgment, non-attachment, honesty, integrity, joy, peace, calmness, helpfulness, sharing, stillness of your racing thoughts, a reverence for all life, etc.


On the path of awakening, there is a breakthrough event known as an experience of enlightenment or Oneness. In Christianity, it’s called Mystical Union with God. This is when a person experiences his or her spiritual essence. Because each person is unique in the awakening process, this breakthrough experience can take many forms. The experience of enlightenment is when it happens, but it’s all part of the process of awakening. There are many schools of spiritual thought that seek to offer methods and exercises to awaken a person to this sublime experience because enlightenment reveals the essence of your life and takes a person beyond this physical world that many of us believe is the only reality in life. When enlightenment happens for you, you awaken to a greater loving reality within yourself than you knew existed before. The desire to understand your enlightenment then becomes the path of your continued awakening process.

If one does not experience enlightenment in one’s lifetime, it does not mean that he or she is not on the path of awakening, or that one’s life is unworthy or meaningless. Every person on Earth is on the path of awakening, whether they believe or not – because life is more than we have been taught. The primary goal for each lifetime is to achieve the greatest amount of awakening possible so that the individual can grow in spiritual awareness and draw closer to the Source of Life (or as some would call it “God”). Each lifetime for all of us is profoundly important.


I would like to introduce you something that more and more people are becoming conscious of. If you are not familiar with what’s known generally as The Great Shift in Consciousness 2012 (it’s called by other names too), then I suggest you become familiar with it, because this is the direction our world is headed.

The Great Shift 2012 is the most amazing, most evolutionary event in human history. It coincides with the end of the Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012. Mother Earth has made the decision to return to full consciousness in the fifth dimension, and those of humanity that want to go with her are being asked to raise their vibration. Hence, the importance of meditation and practicing spiritual principles cannot be underestimated at this time. Everybody is going through a metamorphous, new chakras are emerging into our lifeforce energy systems, the human body is gaining DNA strands to withstand fourth and fifth dimensional life, and the whole human system is transitioning into a lightbody. If you are not familiar with this event, I suggest you become very familiar with it if you want to transition with Mother Earth.

Here are some sources you’ll want to check out:

Master Kirael is a seventh dimensional being that is channeled through Fred Sterling. You can ask him questions and receive answers on his weekly internet radio program. The book, “Kirael: The Great Shift” and other books he offers might be interest to you. Sign up for free updates.

Shelden Niddle is a channel for The Planetary Federation, a galactic association of thousands of star nations. His mission is to spread the word about the role our galactic brothers and sisters play in The Great Shift. His book, “Your First Contact” is a great read. Sign up free for a weekly email updates.

Dianne Robbins is a channel for the civilizations that live inside the Earth. Her book “Messages from Hollow Earth” is mind-blowing. She also channels messages from Earth’s Cetaceans and Crystal People. Sign up for free email updates.



Monday, September 23, 2013

cute animals amulets

Omamori - Japan Talisman

An omamori from a shrinein Kumamoto. This item claims to "grant protection" to the user. The logo above denotes a Jōdo Shinshū temple

The word mamori (守り) means protection, with omamori being the sonkeigo (honorific) form of the word, "to protect". Originally made from paper or wood, modern amulets are small items usually kept inside a brocade bag and may contain a prayer, religious inscription of invocation.[ Omamori are available at both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples with few exceptions and are available for sale, regardless of one's religious affiliation.
Omamori are then made sacred through the use of ritual, and are said to contain busshin (spiritual offshoots) in a Shinto context or kesshin (manifestations) in a Buddhist context.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Healing Hands


Iron is one of the elements highlighted in the Qur'an. In Surat al-Hadid, meaning Iron, we are informed:
And We also sent down iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind… (Qur'an, 57:25)
Iron ingot
The word "anzalna," translated as "sent down" and used for iron in the verse, could be thought of having a metaphorical meaning to explain that iron has been given to benefit people. But, when we take into consideration the literal meaning of the word, which is, "being physically sent down from the sky," as in the case of rain and Sun rays, we realize that this verse implies a very significant scientific miracle. Because, modern astronomical findings have disclosed that the iron found in our world has come from giant stars in outer space.38
Not only the iron on earth, but also the iron in the entire Solar System, comes from outer space, since the temperature in the Sun is inadequate for the formation of iron. The sun has a surface temperature of 6,000 degrees Celsius, and a core temperature of approximately 20 million degrees. Iron can only be produced in much larger stars than the Sun, where the temperature reaches a few hundred million degrees. When the amount of iron exceeds a certain level in a star, the star can no longer accommodate it, and it eventually explodes in what is called a "nova" or a "supernova." These explosions make it possible for iron to be given off into space.39
One scientific source provides the following information on this subject:
There is also evidence for older supernova events: Enhanced levels of iron-60 in deep-sea sediments have been interpreted as indications that a supernova explosion occurred within 90 light-years of the sun about 5 million years ago. Iron-60 is a radioactive isotope of iron, formed in supernova explosions, which decays with a half life of 1.5 million years. An enhanced presence of this isotope in a geologic layer indicates the recent nucleosynthesis of elements nearby in space and their subsequent transport to the earth (perhaps as part of dust grains).40

Surat al-Hadid is the 57th in the Qur’an. The numerical value of the word “al-Hadid” in Arabic is 57. The numerical value of “hadid” on its own is 26. As can be seen from the periodic table to the side, 26 is the number of the iron atom. With the verse revealed in Surat al-Hadid Almighty Allah indicates how iron formed, and with the mathematical code contained in the verse He reveals to us a scientific miracle.
All this shows that iron did not form on the Earth, but was carried from Supernovas, and was "sent down," as stated in the verse. It is clear that this fact could not have been known in the 7thcentury, when the Qur'an was revealed. Nevertheless, this fact is related in the Qur'an, the Word of Allah, Who encompasses all things in His infinite knowledge.
Astronomy has also revealed that other elements also formed outside the Earth. In the expression "We also sent down iron" in the verse, the word "also" may well be referring to that idea. However, the fact that the verse specifically mentions iron is quite astounding, considering that these discoveries were made at the end of the 20th century. In his book Nature's Destiny, the well-known microbiologist Michael Denton emphasizes the importance of iron:
Of all the metals there is none more essential to life than iron. It is the accumulation of iron in the center of a star which triggers a supernova explosion and the subsequent scattering of the vital atoms of life throughout the cosmos. It was the drawing by gravity of iron atoms to the center of the primeval earth that generated the heat which caused the initial chemical differentiation of the earth, the outgassing of the early atmosphere, and ultimately the formation of the hydrosphere. It is molten iron in the center of the earth which, acting like a gigantic dynamo, generates the earth's magnetic field, which in turn creates the Van Allen radiation belts that shield the earth's surface from destructive high-energy-penetrating cosmic radiation and preserve the crucial ozone layer from cosmic ray destruction…
Without the iron atom, there would be no carbon-based life in the cosmos; no supernovae, no heating of the primitive earth, no atmosphere or hydrosphere. There would be no protective magnetic field, no Van Allen radiation belts, no ozone layer, no metal to make hemoglobin [in human blood], no metal to tame the reactivity of oxygen, and no oxidative metabolism.
The intriguing and intimate relationship between life and iron, between the red color of blood and the dying of some distant star, not only indicates the relevance of metals to biology but also the biocentricity of the cosmos…41
This account clearly indicates the importance of the iron atom. The fact that particular attention is drawn to iron in the Qur'an also emphasises the importance of the element. In addition, there is another hidden truth in the Qur'an which draws attention to the importance of iron: Surat al-Hadid 25, which refers to iron, contains two rather interesting mathematical codes.
"Al- Hadid" is the 57th sura in the Qur'an. The abjad of the word "Al-Hadid" in Arabic, when the numerological values of its letters are added up, is also 57. (For abjadcalculations see the section on Numerological Calculations (Abjad) in the Qur'an.)
The numerological value of the word "hadid" alone is 26. And 26 is the atomic number of iron.
Moreover, iron oxide particles were used in a cancer treatment in recent months and positive developments were observed. A team led by Dr. Andreas Jordan, at the world famous Charité Hospital in Germany, succeeded in destroying cancer cells with this new technique developed for the treatment of cancer-magnetic fluid hyperthermia (high temperature magnetic liquid). As a result of this technique, first performed on the 26-year-old Nikolaus H., no new cancer cells were observed in the patient in the following three months.
This method of treatment can be summarised as follows:
1. A liquid containing iron oxide particles is injected into the tumour by means of a special syringe. These particles spread throughout the tumour cells. This liquid consists of thousands of millions of particles, 1,000 times smaller than the red blood corpuscles, of iron oxide in 1 cm3 that can easily flow through all blood vessels.42
2. The patient is then placed in a machine with a powerful magnetic field.
3. This magnetic field, applied externally, begins to set the iron particles in the tumour in motion. During this time the temperature in the tumour containing the iron oxide particles rises by up to 45 degrees.
In a few minutes the cancer cells, unable to protect themselves from the heat, are either weakened or destroyed. The tumour may then be completely eradicated with subsequent chemotherapy.43
In this treatment it is only the cancer cells that are affected by the magnetic field, since only they contain the iron oxide particles. The spread of this technique is a major development in the treatment of this potentially lethal disease. In the treatment of such a widespread disease as cancer, the use of the expression "iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind" (Qur'an, 57:25) in the Qur'an is particularly noteworthy. Indeed, in that verse, the Qur'an may be indicating the benefits of iron for human health. (Allah knows best.)
38. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur’an, 110-111; and www.wamy.co.uk/announcements3.html, from Prof. Zighloul Raghib El-Naggar’s speech
39. Ibid.
40. Priscilla Frisch, “The Galactic Environment of the Sun,” American Scientist, January-February 2000, www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/21173?fulltext=true.
41. Michael J. Denton, Nature’s Destiny (The Free Press: 1998), 198.
42. www.inm-gmbh.de/cgi-bin/frame/frameloader.pl?sprache=en&url=http://www.inm-gmbh.de/htdocs/technologien/highlights/highlights_en.htm.
43. "Nanotechnology successfully helps cancer therapies," IIC Fast Track, Nanotech News from Eastern Germany, Industrial Investment Council, October 2003; www.iic.de/uploads/media/NANO_FT_Nov2003_01.pdf 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

6 Tips to Boost Your Positive Vibes with Negative Ions

6 Tips to Boost Your Positive Vibes with Negative Ions

March 16, 2011
By Guest Blogger

by Stuart Watkins
Have you been getting your daily dose of negative ions? We need exposure to negative ions to be more positive in our life. I know, it sounds a little backward at first, doesn’t it? Negative ions are invisible molecules that clean the air around us by attaching themselves to positive ions (from dust, smoke, electronics, car exhausts, our breathing, etc.), so they’re not just floating around for us to breathe into our system. Generally the more populated a city is, the fewer negative ions and the more positive ions.
As I write this, I’m in India’s capital city, Delhi — one of the most polluted cities in the world. Having spent the previous four weeks nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in a town called Tapovan, Rishikesh, my love for negative ions reached new heights. I can’t help but compare the difference in how my body and mind feel in Delhi as compared to Rishikesh. I don’t think I will ever take fresh air for granted again!
Every morning a powerful breeze would howl down from the Himalayan mountains bringing healing energy from this sacred land. As we practiced yoga every morning at sunrise, the magical breeze would flow through the ashram and through our bodies creating a magical environment. The cleansing, strengthening and mystical effects were apparent from day one. Through the deep meditation practices I could literally feel the negative ions flowing into my system, cleansing, healing and creating space for an abundance of vitality and joy.
Negative ions help relieve stress, increase vitality, strengthen the immune system and so much more. That’s why we all feel so incredibly good after being at a waterfall, in the mountains or at the beach. The human body is meant to be absorbing negative ions on a regular basis, so it’s no wonder why there are so many health problems related to fatigue, depression and immune disorders. It’s no wonder why so many people find it incredibly hard to let their true nature shine. Most people aren’t exposed to nearly enough negative ions. All the technology around us has virtually eliminated the positive ions in the air — unless you live at a beach with no cars or electronics or out in the wilderness or mountains, etc.). Oh, wonderful Rishikesh!
Often people think they can escape pollution by staying indoors. It’s quite common for indoor environments to be just as, if not more than, polluted as outside. When you look around most bedrooms or offices, there are at least a couple of electronic devices. Think about it … laptops, mobile phones, televisions, lights, heaters, electric blankets and so many of the countless electronic gadgets available these days. They all release positive ions galore! Even man-made fibers in carpets, clothes and furniture all reduce the level of negative ions and increase the positive ones in the environment. The house you live in or the place you work at could very well be more polluted than outside! Combine this with other pollutants (if you live in a populated area) and you can almost guarantee that you’re getting exposed to way too many positive ions. This over-exposure to positive ions contributes to the body being in toxic overload, unless small steps are made to make your environment richer in negative ions.
Here are some tips to help bring more negative ions into your life:
-Use Himalayan rock salt lamps or an ion generator or purifier in your house and in your office, if possible. These lamps and purifiers mop up positive ions and help bring back natural harmony to your environment.
-Place potted plants (real ones) throughout your house and office. It’s very common for modern houses to be more polluted than outside, so enjoy bringing the beauty of nature into your home.
-Connect with nature. Get barefoot and walk on raw earth. The earth is charged with negative ions! Our feet are conductors to absorb negative ions, so go outside and experience a lovely barefoot walk. Simply walking on the earth is so healing.
-Spend time at the beach or a waterfall. There’s a reason why we feel so good after being at the beach or at a waterfall. Because of the crashing pure water, these precious parts of the planet are especially charged with negative ions.
-Use natural, preferably organic deodorants, body washes and creams. You can even use Himalayan rock salt soaps, which are quite mainstream now.
-Use organic sheets, towels, clothes and dishwasher and laundry detergents, if you really want to go the extra distance in your efforts to increase negative ions and decrease positive ones in your life.
So, if you’re not feeling as good as you know you could feel, it may be as simple as looking at the environment you’re in and making some small changes here and there. To me, it’s all about getting back to our true nature, which is full of joy and vitality. We’re meant to connect with nature, not pollutants, so in gratitude for the body we have been blessed with and in gratitude for the amazing planet we live on, do yourself a favor and bring some negative ions into your life.


Stuart Watkins is a holistic fitness and lifestyle coach based out of Australia. Stuart’s love for travel and new knowledge has taken him all around the world, while achieving certifications as a Holistic Fitness Practitioner, Holistic Life Coach, Yoga Teacher, Personal Trainer, Massage Therapist and Stress Management Specialist. He draws on his knowledge in these areas to ensure each of his clients journey to true health and happiness is in good hands.