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Lucid Dreaming – What Is Lucid Dreaming?

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Author: john

Lucid dreaming is the process of dreaming while you are still awake or at least consciously aware that you are dreaming. This is different than daydreaming, which is simply a short-term attachment of one’s immediate surroundings where it looks the subject is simply ‘dazing off’ or has a blank stare. Unlike lucid dreaming the subject is awake and alert during a daydream and they can easily be brought back to reality.

They generally happens at night when the subject is attempting to sleep. The primary factor of lucid dreams that sets them apart from regular dreaming is the subject has full control and influence over their dream. In this manner they can essentially ‘control’ their dreams. It has been extensively researched by the scientific community and there has been much debate about its existence, although current scientific theory is that it does exist and can be controlled to some extent.

However, the results cannot be achieved by everyone. It can be a very difficult process to initiate a lucid dream and actually control the dream once you’ve established one. The most common type of lucid dream occurs when the user is already sleeping and they start dreaming. At some point during the dream the subject becomes aware that they are sleeping but also dreaming at the same time. While the subject is not ‘awake’ per se, they are able to exhibit some degree of control over the dream and control the subject matter.

English: Zhuangzi dreaming of a butterfly (or ...

Zhuangzi dreaming of a butterfly (or a butterfly dreaming of Zhuangzi) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other type which is much less common is called wake-imitated lucid dreaming. This of it is much more difficult to achieve and can only be achieved with practice, determination and meditation. There is no apparent lapse in consciousness (such as falling asleep) upon entering a wake-induced lucid dream. Instead, the subject simply goes from being awake to dreaming while at the same time being aware of their surroundings, the time of day, where they are, who they are, etc. Scientifically a wake-induced lucid dream occurs when a subject enters R-E-M sleep mode without even realizing it. This phenomenon is known as losing self-awareness when exiting the waking state and entering the dream realm.

It can be very difficult to achieve but the results from doing so can be incredible. Oftentimes people use lucid dreams to find out their path in life, fix nightmare problems, determine their future and recover from past issues in their life that may be haunting them.

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John Wonder – Please Visit: What-Is-Lucid-Dreaming


Understanding Bipolar Disorder and Ensuring a Spiritual Approach is in the Treatment Plan

English: Emil Kraepelin

German psychologist Emil Kraeplin first distinguished between manic–depressive illness and “dementia praecox” (now known as schizophrenia) in the late 19th century – via Wikipedia

This article is a good example of how the Catholic Church understands many psychiatric issues. I almost didn’t post it because imo a few points are simplistic. Mental health and illness is a complicated topic, and I think the power of the scientific ethos can have a deleterious effect on some individuals when it is uncritically (or incompetently) applied. Having said that, we must begin the discussion somewhere. And Brother Christopher makes a good stab at it, given the reservations just mentioned. — MC

By Brother Christopher

Once called manic-depressive illness, Bipolar Disorder it affects around 5.7 million American adults or about 2.6% of the population in the United States. According to the literature most people will start to see symptoms of bipolar when they are around 25 years of age or older. Race, creed, culture, gender, social class, and age do not seem to have any bearing on the diagnosis.

According to the study done by the National Institute of Mental Health, more than two thirds of people living with Bipolar Disorder will have a history of bipolar disorder within their family, which typically includes at least one close relative who has the diagnosis or unipolar major depression.

Statistically there are three times as many women over men who experience rapid cycling bipolar. Other studies show that women tend to have more depressive episodes and more mixed episodes than men do.

When it comes to children with bipolar and the teens who present with it, they usually have one parent who has the disorder. Children who have parents with this illness will have a risk of 15% to 30% to be diagnosed with Bipolar. If both of the parents have it then the risk will be increased to 50% to 75%.

So, what are the symptoms of Bipolar? Bipolar Disorder causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior—from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of severe depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder will last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with the ability to function in life’s day to day challenges. The initial symptoms can be subtle and confusing and many people with Bipolar Disorder are often overlooked or misdiagnosed—resulting in unnecessary suffering for all involved. But with proper treatment and support, everyone can lead an abundant and satisfying life.

During a manic episode (the high), a person might impulsively quit their job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping only two hours sleep, if that. While during a depressive episode (the low), the same person might be too exhausted to get out of bed, and be full of a self-loathing and hopelessness temperament over being unemployed and in debt or just disgusted with life in general. These cycles of up and then down wreak havoc on not only the individual but the family and friends in his or her circle. And those friends and family, often stressed themselves by the actions of the individual’s disorder, often separate themselves from the afflicted over time. The causes of Bipolar Disorder aren’t completely understood, but it often it appears to be hereditary. A 2000 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry it was reported ‘in those with bipolar disorder, two major areas of the brain contain 30 percent more cells that send signals to other brain cells.’ This report theorizes that ‘the extra signal-sending cells may lead to a kind of overstimulation, which makes sense considering the symptoms of bipolar disorder.’ Other studies suggest that a low or high level of a specific neurotransmitter such as serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine is the cause of the illness; while other studies suggest that an imbalance of these substances is the real problem, i.e., that a specific level of a neurotransmitter is not as important as its amount in relation to the other neurotransmitters. And still other studies propose that they have identified evidence that a change in the sensitivity of the receptors on nerve cells may be the causing issue. In summation, researchers are quite certain that the neurotransmitter system is at least part of the cause of Bipolar Disorder, but further research is still required to verify the exact underlying cause. What we have determined is that research has found that stressful life events can lead to the onset of symptoms in bipolar disorder. These can range from a death in the family to the loss of a job; from the birth of a child to a move (stress affects each of us differently). The stressful event can be just about anything. Once the disorder is triggered and progresses it takes on a life of its own. Once the cycle begins both the psychological and biological processes take over and keep the illness active.

So to provide an exact cause of the illness the best explanation, according to the current research available, is what is termed the ‘Diathesis-Stress Model.’ (Diathesis meaning’ a physical condition that predisposes a person more than usually susceptible to certain diseases.) The Diathesis-Stress Model states that each person inherits certain physical vulnerabilities to problems that may or may not appear depending on what stresses occur in his or her life. The bottom line in the causality of Bipolar Disorder is something you were born with that lays dormant until something in your life sets it off; at least this is the working model until research finds something new.

There are different faces of bipolar disorder in which the medical community classifies the illness.

Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode) – This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode.

Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression) – In Bipolar II disorder, the person doesn’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.

Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression) – Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.

The most effective treatment for Bipolar Disorder is a combination of medications and counseling. Physicians often treat the mania symptoms associated with bipolar disorder with one set of medications, and use another set of medications drugs to treat the depression. Specific medications are also used for ‘maintenance care’ to maintain a stable mood over time. And although chemic al (medication) treatment is primary, ongoing counseling is important to help patients, and their families better cope with the disorder.

Today, the recommended treatments for Bipolar Disorder may include medications like lithium, anticonvulsant medications, antipsychotic medications, mood stabilizers, or a combination of any these medications they are prescribed with the goal of tempering moods without igniting the manic episode. It is important to take the medications exactly as prescribed and not to stop them. Should the patient feel the need to stop the medication both the patient and the family together should consult the doctor. Many of these medications have harmful effects if discontinued suddenly and should be tapered under the care of the prescribing physician.

As a pastoral counselor our role is to be involved with the counseling aspect of the treatment. ‘Talk’ therapy is an important part of the treatment for Bipolar Disorder. During therapy those involved, both patient and family can talk over their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that are causing problems within their lives. It’s easy to feel alone and abandoned by God. But God has not abandoned his faithful. It is the person who abandoned God because of the way their disease performs. It is here that a program which includes not only mind and body approach, but an approach to strengthen the spiritual relationship with God; a renewal of faith must be part of the healing process.

Such a Christian approach to treatment is based on the belief that:

God who created us and loves us (Genesis 1:26)

-Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’

Jesus the Christ who redeems us (Isaiah 53:5)

-But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

The Holy Spirit who guides us (Acts 1:8)

-But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

Within this approach the goal is to minimize symptoms, help individuals address life problems that they have in developing their lives, and to provide the tools to live a more fulfilling life. While God certainly has the ability to work miracles and cure any malady, He often allows us continue our journey with a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to remind us that He is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:7–9).

2 Corinthians 12:7–9

7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

If a Christian had diabetes or cancer, he would seek medical advice from trained doctors, take prescribed medications and treatments, and seek righteous counsel on how to deal with both his physical and emotional symptoms. The same must hold true for a believer with Bipolar Disorder. Because Bipolar Disorder affects the way a person thinks, finding spiritual counsel and spending time in God’s word are essential to reconnect to God. In order to do what is right, we must identify what is True. Bipolar Disorder alters a person’s perceptions of reality, so a strong and consistent foundation in truth is a necessity when dealing with its symptoms. Followers of the Christ should treat the afflicted with Bipolar Disorder with the same Jesus-like compassion they would show toward everyone else.

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About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.

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Meanings Of Some Common Dreams

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I always take dream interpretation articles with a grain of salt. The human personality is so complicated that to reduce the mystery of any dream to a few lines seems unwarranted. But I have had dreams about being late or unprepared for tests, and this piece covers that to some extent. So maybe there is something to it. Maybe there are some common dreams and a few general rules for their interpretation. I don’t know! — MC

Meanings Of Some Common Dreams

By Anne

Each of us has peculiar dreams appearing in our own sleep, and messages they convey to each of the individuals are unique. However, according to Association for the Study of Dream, there are still some common kinds of dream, which carry specific meanings. People have attempted to disclose meanings of such common dreams known as vague images we are aware when having slept for many years. Of course, not all of the interpretations are totally easy to understand. Let’s read to learn this issue of the spirituality more.

Meanings Of Dreams Related To Falling or Sinking

Most of us have ever experienced feelings of falling or sinking in our dreams because it is common. In this type of dream, we typically fall down the ground from the sky, and this frightens us. At times, sinking in water in our dreams also causes the same feelings. As for the meaning of this type of dream, it indicates that the dreamer feels insecure and lacks support in their life. If we meet problems which make us want to give up everything in the reality, this dream will occur. Let’s deal well with all of the troubles, and this type of dream will go away.

Missing Teeth

Dreams regarding missing teeth are quite common. In this sort of dream, when we open our mouths, our teeth suddenly fall out one by one. Many people think that the missing-teeth dream is premonition of illness or death. Nevertheless, another interpretation says that we can be afraid of being found unattractive or feel a fear of embarrassment or lose power in real life. Thus, don’t let this dream disturb you during the next day.

Failing A Test

 Dreams about failing a test often occurs to people who have gone out of school for a long time. In this kind of dream, they can not pass a test because of some reasons. Perhaps, they have not finished the test on time, missed equipment, or failed in finding the test room. The primary interpretation of this dream is that the dreamers have feelings of being tested in some ways or not preparing well for something to able to follow right ways to their targets in their real life.

Being Lost Or Trapped

Dreams related to being lost or trapped manifest themselves in people who have conflict between different decisions about how to tackle some problems in real life. The dreamers often try to escape from a forest, a large building, city streets or suchlike. Further, they can be also trapped, caught in a web and buried alive, but their legs are unable to move. This dream genre shows that they are meeting troubles which trapped them in the real life, and they have yet to find any possible solution.

Missing Public Transport

Perhaps, you have experienced feelings of missing some kinds of public transport such as a bus, boat, train, or plane in your dreams many times. The prospect in these dreams is often that you will try your best to catch the public transport, but miss it. The main feeling occurring to you is frustration; this signifies that you have let good opportunities slip out of your hand in real life.

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Q/A – Religions and Schizophrenia

One of several versions of the painting "...

One of several versions of the painting “The Scream”. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do volunteer work at Sometimes I get kooky questions. Other times I get really boring questions. One time someone down in the States threatened me physically because s/he didn’t like my suggestion that s/he seek counseling. The threat only reinforced my impression that s/he could benefit from professional help.

Being a volunteer isn’t always easy. I disabled the ratings feature at Allexperts because I’m not doing it to be at the top of the heap, or anything like that. Instead, I find it’s a wonderful way to contribute.

Volunteering also keeps me on top of things. If anyone has ever tried to teach they’ll know that teaching is the best way to learn. People ask questions on all sorts of topics, some I’m only vaguely familiar with. But I’m usually confident enough in my research abilities to get to the heart of the matter and offer something of value.

After all, a lot of the ideas found in religion, mysticism, and parapsychology are interrelated. If you know something about “A” “B” and “C”, chances are you can muster up something intelligent to say about “D”, even if it’s a relatively new facet of the same old recurring themes. And if a question is just too far out of my area of expertise, Allexperts gives the option to decline. So it’s all good.

Photo of Tabaret Hall with the Desmarais Build...

Photo of Tabaret Hall with the Desmarais Building in the background, on the University of Ottawa campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day I got a question on the relation between mental illness and religion. I actually wrote an essay about this in a required Ph.D. seminar on “methodology” in the department of Religious Studies, University of Ottawa. Back then I tried to apply postmodern insights about deconstruction to some of the truth claims forwarded by mystics and psychiatrists, alike.

So that’s the background to this recent question/answer at The questioner is asking about religions and the idea of schizophrenia. I can’t reproduce my answer here for copyright reasons, but I checked with and they are totally okay with my linking to published answers at their site:


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On The Subject Of The Mind

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Excerpt from the About page @

About stress & residual stress: Science has uncovered much knowledge about stress and over-stressing in the fields of engineering, architecture & building. Yet very little knowledge about stress & over-stressing where a child’s delicate mind is concerned…especially residual stress. That becomes a retained product in the human physiology out of the stress of traumatic experience to the mind and body…especially in childhood. It could be said that ‘residual stress’ trapped in the mind & physiology, is constantly interfering with the thought process and well-being of the individual.

Note: Certainly the dedicated disciplines of psychology & psychiatry have come to understand much about the mind and it quirks…and full marks for doing so. Because until we understand the mind, we will not understand ourselves or Nature. Plus, evolution demands that we make progress to understand ourselves as a highly intelligent species. Especially if we wish to survive the Technology Age and enter the Age of the Mind on the ladder of unstoppable evolution. It is also not the intention of the author to question the knowledge these disciplines have acquired. Merely to suggest adding another tool to their Medicine Chest to help deal with the growing problems of the mind. This very old tool if accepted, will in time, prove to be a practical method to help dissolve the problems of the mind. Working with and in conjunction with the existing tools & knowledge of psychology & psychiatry…not against it.

The following explanation of the subject matter is kept as simple as possible, because like the mind, it can be a very complex subject. Yet it needs to be explained in simple terms as a first step to grasping its significance. It should be also mentioned, that while the cure for the ailment is lengthy in time, it is simple to administer and not complex. Thus open to all walks of life in its treatment to be administered by the individual themselves. The symptoms of residual stress will be well known to the psychology & psychiatry professions, but not the terminology or cure to be carried out by the patient.

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It could be said that every adult human being, has a greater or lesser amount of residual stress left over from our inescapable childhood trauma. The location of which, is centered in the subliminal mind (sub-conscious) and physiology of the human being. If we were fortunate enough to have had a happy, relatively conflict & trauma free loved childhood, then residual stress plays a minimal part in adulthood. But if the reverse is true, then residual stress will undoubtedly debilitate both the child and the adult in later years. For those afflicted with this not uncommon problem, it become a question of ‘physician heal thyself’, because no one else can cure the problem for you. They can certainly help, but the cure rests firmly with the individual. Therefore the responsibly to enable a cure to happen lies firmly with the individual…no one else.

Residual stress trapped in the mind & body is not something we can see & measure. Yet those severely afflicted can certainly feel and experience its debilitating effects…especially in the form of unhappiness, misery, clouded minds & emotional pain. Because the mind of both child & adult, will not function to its full potential with this acquired nemesis. That has been created out of the experience of severe trauma and its retained product of residual stress trapped in the layers of the mind. Superimposed on the matter of the brain is another descriptive for its location..

How the conscious & sub-conscious mind deals with internalized trauma in childhood, is how the conscious & sub-conscious mind deals with trauma in adulthood…out of habit. The thought process of the undeveloped mind in childhood, instantly represses traumatic experience…shuts it off with the power of thought. Out of habit, the adult conscious & sub-conscious mind deals with acquired traumatic experience the same way. It does not want to think about the experience and the protective sub-conscious located ego, shuts it off from conscious thought. Unfortunately, psychosomatic, psychological, emotional and personality disorders eventuate from its sustained suppression. To become locked into the workings of the sub-conscious mind, unable to find outlet through the conscious thought process.

Clarification: When thought is continuously repressed by the protective sub-conscious ego, the energy of the thought becomes trapped in the sub-conscious component of the mind. That means the thought, has not been allowed to flow through the mind to complete its cycle and dissipate its energy naturally. i.e. through speech, emotions and physical expression. Whenever the traumatic experience that caused this interruption of the thought process is triggered, residual stress will build up in the mind out of trapped thought energy. This continuing unnatural process in the mind, eventually causes what is called a ‘nervous breakdown’ or ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ to arise. The mind simply refuses to function or goes haywire and crashes…like the delicate computer it is.

The remedy for this problem is another subject matter not discussed here. But briefly, when we learn to meditate correctly, we by-pass the subliminal component of the mind and its content in the process. We also acquire the ability to leave thought behind and develop a silence in the mind. From that developed platform of acquired silence, residual stress is released naturally, without becoming involved with its process. With time and practice, the retained trauma also begins to dissipate without having to relive its experience. Obviously this miracle does not happen overnight for the many and, for those with long held severe mental disorders, help is still required from the disciplines of psychology & psychiatry.

Compassion is Consciousness...

Compassion is Consciousness… (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

One size does not fit all…as is Nature’s way.

Everyone is different in how they respond to this unorthodox treatment for severe trauma & residual stress. Some will become easy patients, while others will become difficult patients. Some will make slow progress, while others will make fast progress. Down its path, some may eventually reject any interference to their mind and become staunch objectors of its practice. This denial problem has its roots in the content of the sub-conscious mind and its protective ego…not the intelligence of a human being. The only cure, is to bite the bullet and continue innocently with its harmless practice.

To sum up:

If the patient sticks to the simple path and observes the simple rules, then one outcome is the inevitable end result…the cure. All experience will be different on its inward path to acquire silence and definitely not to acquire words…or the creative imagination of human beings. Because the abstract product that eventually cures the problem, knows not of words or anything physical for that matter. A paradox that is one of many to be found in human beings and ultimately solved through first acquiring the means to solve it.

Kind regards from the author to the reader.

Excerpt from the About page @

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What is Your Personality Type in Business?

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By Vincent McFarley

An ancient philosophy of understanding a person’s personality type can now be seen in main stream business. This has become invaluable in businesses because it helps manager grasp the different perceptions of different people. This philosophy essay discusses how this philosophy of personality types is affecting businesses.

A lot of companies have been answering questions about the system of enneagram, a metaphysical system based in ancient philosophy that classifies a people into nine different personality types. They believe that understanding this system can help them understand the kind of people they are dealing with which in turn can help them bring more efficiency to their work place.

An enneagram is an ancient mystical symbol depicting a circle with nine points, each point which represent a different personality type.  Many businesses in the West are adopting the system of enneagram to judge a person’s personality based on his motivation, fears and other behavior; this has helped them to improve teamwork, entrepreneurship and interpersonal communication. The key factor in this system is that a person is able to judge his personality type and can change or continue it to better develop himself; hence basically it is a short way for people to know about their strengths and weaknesses.

The nine different personality types are discussed briefly below:

Type 1- Reformer: A person with this type of personality has an ego fixation for resentment. He dislikes corruption and imbalance and is a strong advocate of integrity, honor and harmony. His greatest weakness is anger and his virtue is serenity and calmness.

Type 2- Helper: This person has an ego fixation of flattery. His basic desire is to be loved and has a fear of not being wanted or remaining unloved. His greatest weakness is pride and his virtue is humility.

Type 3- Achiever: This person has an ego fixation of vanity. He wants people to consider him as valuable and worthy and hates feeling that he is not worth anything. His greatest weakness is deceit and his virtue is truthfulness.

Type 4- Individualist: This personality type has an ego fixation of melancholy. He loves his uniqueness and hates to have no sense of identity. His greatest weakness is envy and his virtue is emotional imbalance.

Type 5 –Investigator: This personality type has an ego fixation of stinginess or retention. His greatest fear is to be helpless or incompetent and strives to develop mastery of every field. His greatest weakness is avarice and his virtue is non-attachment.

Type 6- Loyalist: His ego fixation is cowardice and his greatest fear is to be without guidance. His greatest weakness is indecision and doubt and his virtue is courage.

Type 7- Enthusiast: His ego fixation is planning and anticipation. His greatest fear is to be in pain or deprivation and he likes to be satisfied and content. His greatest vise is gluttony and his virtue is sobriety.

Type 8- Challenger: This personality type has an ego fixation of vengeance. His basic fear is being controlled or dominated and he has mastered the art of self protection. His greatest vice is lust or forcefulness and virtue is innocence.

Type 9- Peacemaker: the person with this personality type has an ego fixation of indolence. His greatest fear is to be separated from the things he love and he prefer to be whole and complete. His vice is sloth, disengagement or disinterest and his virtue is action.

The symbol of enneagram can be tracked back to the ancient Greek civilization; yet it gained popularity in 1960 when a Bolivian philosopher used it to explain the psyche of humans. This system is also being used in therapy and education, but the field that it was first used in and adpted is business.


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Vincent McFarley is a research writer and analyst for Researchomatic digital library. You can see some of her sample papers here and get your academic papers formatted by its MLA citation creator.


The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Copyright © Linda Stuart 2013. All rights reserved.

Forgiveness Nurtures Love

The embodiment of Jesus’ love for mankind is found in the words he spoke from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

In Luke chapter 7, we are taught a powerful lesson concerning forgiveness. Jesus is invited to dine at the house of a Pharisee named Simon. While he is there, a sinful woman comes to Jesus and washes his feet with her own tears, wipes them with her own hair, kisses them and anoints them with perfume. The Pharisee, being a self-righteous man, observes the woman’s actions and says, if Jesus were a prophet, he would know “what sort of person this woman is who is touching him”. Luke 7:39

In response, Jesus tells Simon a parable about a moneylender whom had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii and the other owed fifty.

Luke 7:42 “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”

Luke 7:43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

Then Jesus says to Simon, when he entered the Pharisee’s house, Jesus was not given water to wash his feet, nor was he given a kiss, nor was his head anointed with oil by his host. However, this woman who has washed his feet with her tears has loved much, and for this reason her sins, which are many, have been forgiven.

Luke 7:47 “But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Forgiveness Sustains Health

Dr. Frederic Luskin of Stanford University’s Center for Research in Disease Prevention has found through recent controlled studies that forgiveness training can be an effective way of reducing anger and distress associated with feeling hurt. According to the Stanford Forgiveness Project, this may have important implications for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Research suggests unmanaged anger and hostility can be harmful to, not only a person’s physical health, but also one’s psychological and emotional well-being. In studies involving heart attack patients, research shows that patients whom acted in a more forgiving way were often able to demonstrate less anger and hostility, and thus reduce morbidity and improve overall quality of life.

In his new book “Forgive For Good” (Harper Collins, 2002), Dr. Luskin outlines nine steps to forgiveness. One of the principles central to these nine steps is: “Forgiveness is for you (the forgiver) and not for anyone else.” As Dr. Luskin explains in his book, forgiving someone for a past wrong does not necessarily mean the offending action is being condoned, nor does it necessitate reconciliation with the person who has caused the offence. According to Dr. Luskin, forgiveness is about finding peace for oneself.

Can these two notions — forgiving offenders through God’s example or forgiving for the sake of one’s own health — be reconciled? Perhaps what modern medical research fails to take into account is the healing power of loving one’s fellow human. In offering forgiveness to an offender, we help to mend and strengthen the fabric that pulls all of humanity together. Whether or not spiritual and scientific approaches to forgiveness can be harmonized, one thing is obvious — forgiveness is a powerful act of love that benefits both forgiver and forgiven.


Sunday Reading

English: Moses, supported by Aaron and Hur, is...

English: Moses, supported by Aaron and Hur, is praying for victory (Painting by J.E. Millais, 1923) Deutsch: Moses, Aaron und Hur beten für den Sieg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exodus 17:8-13 – New International Version

The Amalekites Defeated

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.



Following the Catholic liturgical year, today’s passage is from Exodus, a book of the Old Testament. A lot of folks are turned off by the Old Testament. It doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of life. Instead, we read all about war, treachery, lying, adultery… the list goes on. Of course, there’s a lot of really good stuff in the Old Testament too. The Old Testament contains a beautiful love poem about conjugal love, The Song of Songs. And it tells of how God is merciful, just and protects us from evil.

But there’s one key ingredient that we need if we are to be truly protected. And that’s faith. From faith, and a growing relationship with God, we can better learn how to do the right thing.

Now, I’m a psychologist at heart, so I tend to interpret scripture from the perspective of psychology and religion. And when I look at today’s reading, I see someone under attack. And he only succeeds in overcoming this attack when “the staff of God” is held high. Whenever it isn’t held high, his enemies begin to win the battle.

So from a psychological point of view, we can see this as exhorting us to overcome bad things through the power of God. I really don’t believe that we can overcome attacks – from within ourselves or from others – without God’s help. Oh, we can choose to be positive, go for a jog, or take medications. And these things can be an integral part of God’s plan. I don’t deny that. But ultimately, for Christians and many others, the true source of healing and betterment is God.

This sounds great but unfortunately we don’t always feel close to God. Sometimes we get tired from the fight, our faith might waver, and we need help from others. We may need a wake-up call, encouragement, group prayer, or the communal celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

And when we receive God’s help through others, that’s when Aaron and Hur hold up our hands.



Living the Serenity Prayer

Photo credit: Abby Lanes via Flickr

Photo by Abby Lanes via Flickr

By Dr Kevin Ross Emery

Several months ago, a friend approached me with a question. If I were to get up in front of a large audience and speak about something I thought would make their lives better, what would that subject be? For the last several years of my teaching and speaking career, my first response would have been to say, ‘Empowerment.’ This time however, I looked at my friend and without missing a beat said, ‘The Serenity Prayer.’

When he asked me why I would choose this subject, I told him that I had used the Serenity Prayer for almost 20 years in my spiritual coaching and counseling practice to help my clients.

In this article, I would like to explore the serenity aspect of the prayer. As often times is the case, when I begin to talk or write about something, I like to see what Webster’s Dictionary has to say about it.

One definition I found for the word ‘serenity’ was, ‘A place of calmness and tranquility.’ The question that brought up for me was, ‘Is serenity a place where we go, or a state that we live within?’

Rather than just answering this question on my own, I decided to see what other people had to say. Many of the people I asked said that serenity is associated with acceptance, as in The Serenity Prayer: ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.’ However when asked where they found the calmness and tranquility that defines serenity, some replied that when they did find it, it was when they meditated or chanted; or did yoga or T’ai Chi. For others, it came by listening to certain kinds of music. Some said that playing or singing music could also create that state of serenity. And then there are those that find serenity while cooking, knitting, or even shooting hoops.

Did you notice that all these things required the effort of setting aside a period of time and doing something? It was a place they went to or an activity they participated in. It was clearly not a state of being they experienced in their ordinary day-to-day activities.

Another definition I found for serenity referred to being free from stress or emotion; the absence of mental stress and anxiety. Again, a question arose in my mind. ‘Does that mean that serenity is only achievable when we are empty of emotions and thoughts?’

Even the possibility of eliminating emotions and thoughts made no sense to me.  So I did what I do best and allowed my soul to take me to the place where the answer might lie, at least where it might lie for me. As often happens when I go to my intuitive self for guidance, I flashed onto something from my past that guided me to an answer.

For close to twenty years when people ask me what I do for work, I tell them that I don’t do work, I do joy. I do joy because about 90of the time, I am in joy, and part of that joy comes from what I do that some people may call work. I can tell them this because I realized that joy, in and of itself, is not an emotion, but how fully you live, learn, and move through the emotions that you have at the time that you are experiencing them.

Now why would I bring up joy when I am speaking about serenity? Simple — because to be in joy is all about acceptance; accepting exactly where you are, and doing so fully and without judgment. This is the first thing that one prays for in the Serenity Prayer. Serenity is clearly tied to acceptance. So what then is acceptance? Often, we associate acceptance with giving up on something, turning the other cheek.

However, when I hear that, I think of a statement that Simon Peter (St Peter), one of the beings who sometimes comes through me when I trance channel, made through me: ‘Sometimes you turn the other cheek, and sometimes you stomp down on their foot so they don’t do it again.’

Acceptance is about clearly seeing and being in the reality of any situation; not just thinking about how you would like for it to be, or fear it might be. It also means dealing with the situation from that place of acceptance. We can accept something and still have unhappy emotions or thoughts about it. Frustration, anger or sadness don’t change our acceptance of a situation, they just are, and they make us feel a certain way, which we in turn also accept.

Living in serenity isn’t about having no emotions, no stress, or no thoughts but light and fluffy ones. It is all about acceptance. In the Serenity Prayer, we ask God to grant us the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change. Yet isn’t it the ability to accept that which you cannot change that leads to serenity?

The acceptance of what you are not willing to change, but know that you could change, can also bring serenity. It is possible to realize that we can change something, and at the same time decide that now is not the best time to change it. But sometimes, we tell ourselves that it is okay to leave things as they are, and then proceed to beat ourselves up over the choice.

If we cannot be in peace about living with something for the moment, then perhaps, we really can’t wait in serenity. Realizing this is the difference between timing and avoidance. If it is truly just timing, then you actually can be at peace with the choice, if you can’t than it is probably avoidance. In other words, one does not find serenity without acceptance, and acceptance brings serenity. One of the great spiritual paradoxes!

Acceptance in all forms is what brings one to live in the place of serenity. Some might even call it radical acceptance, and this is what makes it possible to not only ‘find’ serenity in certain activities, but to live in serenity.

So serenity is not about living without, or in emptiness, but it is about living fully within all that life brings you, fully embracing all of your emotions and each situation as it appears, so that at the end of the day, you can joyfully accept that you are just are as you are, living in each moment.

We began by discussing how some people can find moments of serenity for themselves, but the most important question is:  How can we bridge the gap between moments of serenity to a life of serenity? The answer to this question involves four steps:

  1. Doing the things we know bring us serenity as often as possible.
  2. Daily spiritual practices.
  3. Getting out of fear and staying out of fear.
  4. Living in the now.

It is as simple and easy as that, which is neither simple or easy, but can be accomplished.

Can we really live in serenity? Better yet, can we live in serenity when we are living in a world that is fearful, judgmental and full of unknowns? Absolutely, in fact it is the only way we can live fully in this world.

Article Source:

About the Author

Dr. Kevin Ross Emery is a popular author, psychic, coach, consultant and teacher. Dr. Kevin travels internationally, offering lectures and workshops to empower people from all walks of life. He’s also available for phone (and Skype) consultations. Dr. Kevin’s primary practices are in Portland, Maine and Haverhill, Massachusetts. Visit his website for his radio show and additional articles at

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Your Angry Voice Demolishes Your Brilliant Argument

Angry by Alberto Cerriteño

Angry by Alberto Cerriteño via Flickr

by Diane Neuman

Sound trumps logic! The QUALITY OF YOUR VOICE hits your listeners with more impact than does the quality of your argument! I have absolutely no doubt that you are capable of formulating a sensible, clear, logical, passionate statement or response.

It is understandable that in the intellectual or political passion of the moment your voice will rise and tighten. You and I can probably get by with this less-than-lovely sound among family and friends. However, you simply cannot afford this carelessness at any social or business event. The more important your argument is to you, the more you need to be aware of how you sound!

Why Does An Angry Voice Matter?

As sophisticated as we are as a species, we still have a few remaining survival instincts. MOVEMENT IS ONE. That is why there are handsomely paid experts who train speakers how to gesture (or not). A speaker can repeat the exact same speech but change his posture and his gestures and the audience will respond differently to each variation.

SPACE IS ANOTHER. Why are you uncomfortable when a stranger stands too close to you in a bank line? Even if that person is a harmless 80 year-old woman, she will annoy you.

Another protective primitive instinct is TONE OF VOICE. An unpleasant or angry voice triggers the listener’s primitive response. Your unpleasant tone reaches their brain a split second BEFORE they can process your information.

Does This Mean I Should Never Be Angry?

Hardly! Very angry men and women brought about some of the greatest changes on this planet. I should hope that you feel passionate and angry about so much injustice and cruelty in our modern society. But the more important your argument is to you, the more important it is that you deliver it in way that does not cause your listeners to shut down and tune out.

What Actually Happens To Change My Voice When I’m Angry?

Your voice is only as good as your breathing. Repeat after me: YOUR VOICE IS ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR BREATHING. Try inhaling and talking at the same time! Funny, huh?

The breath is pushed out and sucked into your lungs by the muscles sandwiched between your ribs and by the big elastic floor of your ribcage. Each exhalation slips across your vocal cords on its way out and you make beautiful words by an incredibly sophisticated and complicated dance of tongue, jaw and lips.

Your breathing muscles freeze up when you are angry frustrated and stressed. When your chest, neck and jaws tighten up, your deep slow steady breathing becomes shallow and erratic. As a result your voice becomes erratic, high-pitched and strangled. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PLEASANT, ANGRY VOICE.

How Can I Change How I Sound When I’m Angry?

1. Take your time. Don’t rush. A two-second delay will allow your brain to refine your thought. You sound unsure when you rush. Also you don’t allow time to build up air under your vocal cords.

2. Watch an outstanding person whom you admire being interviewed or grilled on television. The more difficult and challenging the host becomes, the calmer the guest seems to be. Would you still admire that person if he or she began to yell and sputter? It’s difficult to give credibility to a shrew.

Change usually begins with awareness and so it is with changing your voice. You’ve already come most of the way if you have finished this article. Practice points #1 and #2 and you will soon discover how important it is that the quality of your sound matches the quality of your argument.

About the Author:

Diane Neuman founded The Yoga Workshop in San Francisco where she taught for 11 years. Neuman wrote and illustrated HOW TO GET THE DRAGONS OUT OF YOUR TEMPLE (Celestial Arts). Currently Neuman writes and illustrates a health blog that draws on her 50 years of studying yoga, advanced breathing techniques, stress management and relaxation exercises. To find her blog and learn a new breathing lesson every week, check into Breathing Deep Exercises

Article Source: Your Angry Voice Demolishes Your Brilliant Argument


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