Nurturing Insight

•December 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Insight Program: Audio CD by N/A

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If you’ve had some experience with insights, you know they can’t be called up on command. The best we can do to encourage the arising of insight is to create hospitable conditions. Reflecting, meditating, journaling, attending a silent retreat and walking meditation are some activities that are frequently associated with the arising of insight. Our relationships, too, are rich sources of insight. Once an insight sprouts up, we do have a wonderful opportunity to nurture its potential to create positive change.

Insights come in many varieties. One insight might invite us to alter our behavior or adopt a more compassionate attitude, while another may encourage us to view our past from a fresh new perspective. More rare is the insight that shifts our entire take on reality, like when Krishna revealed his true identity to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. Whether heart opening or mind blowing, an insight is a precious gift that springs from our own deep wisdom. How can we honor this offering? How do we nurture this seed of wisdom into a full flowering so that it serves the highest good?

Sometimes an insight is such a strong experience of knowing in every cell of our body that it doesn’t require much cultivation. This happened to me once when I was practicing walking meditation on a silent retreat. The insight—about the negative way I was occasionally communicating with my partner—was such a complete body-mind experience that tears sprang to my eyes before my brain fully understood why. My knees felt like they might buckle under the intensity of this sudden revelation of the harm I could be causing. After I returned home, I completely abandoned that hurtful behavior and it was almost effortless to do so. I have heard Phillip compare this kind of dramatic insight to the experience of picking up a pot that is too hot. Our entire being knows that we need to set it down.

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A Powerful Tool For Your Happiness Arsenal: REBT

•December 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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REBT

 

Many of us have established “being happy” as one of our main goals in life. However, our own self-talk often interferes with our ability to achieve this goal.

 

We express our beliefs through our self-talk, and these beliefs can be rational or irrational. While rational beliefs are realistic, irrational beliefs are those that don’t accurately represent the world. There are several categories of irrational beliefs, and we’ve all been guilty of having thoughts that fall into one or more of these categories at some point or another.

One of the best ways to increase our happiness is to replace “irrational” self-talk with more realistic and adaptive self-talk. This post will explain a great tool for doing this; it’s called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) In a Nutshell

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.” – Epictetus

 

In the mid-1950s, Albert Ellis–an American psychologist– developed a form of psychotherapy which today is known as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). The philosophical basis of REBT is the principle that a person is not affected emotionally by the events that take place in his or her life, but rather by his or her interpretation of these outside events. In short, our thoughts cause our emotions.

Keep reading to discover how you can begin to apply REBT in your own life in order to increase your happiness.

 

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10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Today!

•November 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Photo by Ester Inbar    Quote By Gail Lynne Goodwin

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 Dr Christina Hibbert

Overcoming, Becomin ,Flourishing

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Today!

 

 

When asked what 3 things he would like people to know about gratitude, top researcher, Robert Emmons, said: “First, the prac­tice of grat­i­tude can increase hap­pi­ness lev­els by around 25%. Sec­ond, this is not hard to achieve–a few hours writ­ing a grat­i­tude jour­nal over 3 weeks can cre­ate an effect that lasts 6 months if not more. Third, that cul­ti­vat­ing grat­i­tude brings other health effects, such as longer and bet­ter qual­ity sleep time”.[1]

First, 25% happier? Who doesn’t want that? Second, we can see lasting results in only a few weeks? And third, we’ll not only be happier–we’ll be healthier too? If this is true (and it is), then we would be crazy NOT to practice gratitude! Hopefully these reasons, as well as those I outlined in my recent post, “10 Benefits of  Practicing Gratitude,” are enough to inspire you to give it a try!

Before You Get Started: What You Need to Know

Before you implement a gratitude practice, there are a few things you should know that might help:

1) Remember, the goal is to actively practice gratitude, not just wait around to feel grateful (more on this in “10 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude”).

2) Studies show, the best way to make gratitude a habit is to spice it up with different types of gratitude practice. Choose two, three, or all of the exercises below to get you started. They’re all beneficial, so choose those that most resonate with you, and feel free to “mix it up”. The best gratitude practice for you is the one you will stick with!

3) It doesn’t matter exactly how often you practice gratitude; what matters is that you do it routinely. Every day, once a week, three times a week–whatever works for you, just stick with it and keep it consistent. You can even set a goal for how long your gratitude practice will continue. In 2008, I practiced gratitude for my “yearly theme” (my alternative to New Year’s Resolutions). For one full year, my focus was to simply be more grateful each and every day. It was one of my favorite personal goals of all time, and most of the practices I started during my “year of gratitude” I still practice today!

Now that you have the three “rules,” check out the list of ideas below. Then, pick one and get started. Don’t delay–start today!

 

 

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Be The Change : Nebraskan Woman Is Weaving Hundreds Of Mats From Plastic Bags For The Homeless

•November 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Nebraskan Woman Is Weaving Hundreds Of Mats From Plastic Bags For The Homeless

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True Activist Exposing the truth one lie at a time

No act of kindness is ever too small, especially when some people haven’t witnessed much kindness in their lives at all.

Plastic is a burden to the environment, and homelessness is a crisis in need of remedy. Can both be lessened, however, with a bit of creative philanthropy?

If you were to ask volunteers with the Faith Westwood United Methodist Church in Nebraska, the answer would likely be ‘yes’. 

KMVT News reports that every week, dozens of women, and a few men, gather inside the Nebraskan church for an intriguing purpose. The volunteers collect, sort, de-wrinkle and smooth out thousands of plastic grocery bags – a common item most, unfortunately, throw away – to weave into woven mats for the homeless.

By using a method tested again and again by one of the group’s volunteers, Marilynn Jones, thousands of plastic bags are repurposed into mats homeless individuals can sleep on in less than satisfactory conditions.

So often, the homeless shelters in the metro are filled to capacity and people are forced to sleep on the floor. The plastic mats at least provide some comfort to those who need it most.

More than 1,000 plastic bags are required to make one mat. The group has so far made hundreds, but Jones is by far considered the “plastic bag weaving” pro.

Credit: KMTV News

Credit: KMTV News

She told KMTV News that she learned how to quilt 70 years ago and hasn’t stopped practicing the craft since. The first afghan she ever made, with the help of her grandmother, hangs in her home.

Regarding the plastic mats, “They tell me I’ve done 248. I don’t keep track,” she said. Jones presently makes two per week.

Jones began experimenting with the plastic bags two years ago shortly after losing her husband.

“I do this mainly…I lost my husband 2 years ago, and that’s when I started. I needed something to do with my hands and it worked out real well for me,” she shared.

Like many compassionate individuals, she’ll tell you no act of kindness is ever too small, especially when some people haven’t witnessed much kindness in their lives at all.

“I think the fact that I’m making something worthwhile, where I know where it goes and people that use it need it — I don’t like to just crochet for an afghan or something – that doesn’t help me – I just need to do something for someone else,” she said.

Not only is the practice helping to fill a void in heart, it’s blessing hundreds of others at the same time.

Comment your thoughts below and share this positive news!

Researchers from California University in Berkeley say studies show great nature and art boost the immune system

•November 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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The Telegraph

Art does heal: scientists say appreciating creative works can fight off disease

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

People visit the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Photo: Getty

The healing power of art and nature could be real after scientists discovered they boost your immune system.

Seeing such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon and Sistine Chapel or listening to Schubert’s Ave Maria can fight off disease, say scientists.

Great nature and art boost the immune system by lowering levels of chemicals that cause inflammation that can trigger diabetes, heart attacks and other illnesses.


Monet’s Water Lily Pond paintings

In two separate experiments on more than 200 young adults reported on a given day the extent to which they had experienced such positive emotions as amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride.

Samples of gum and cheek tissue – known as oral mucosal transudate – taken that same day showed those who experienced more of these – in particular wonder and amazement – had the lowest levels of the cytokine Interleukin 6 which is a marker of inflammation.

Psychologist Dr Dacher Keltner, of California University in Berkeley, said: “That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests the things we do to experience these emotions – a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art – has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy.”

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“We Are Not Alone” The Shamans Of The World Tell Us

•November 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Collective-EvolutionCollective Evolution

shaman

To disregard the problems facing the Earth and to proceed with business as usual in education would be a betrayal of trust. Our students want to know how to make a difference. They need hope. And it won’t come if all we can offer is another scientific theory or technological fix. We must expand our vision to seek non-scientific alternatives. To make a difference, we must search for different understandings. Let us look to the wisdom of our ancestors. They believed that intelligence is not restricted to humans but is possessed by all creatures – plants as well as animals — and by the Earth itself.

They also believed in spirits. Human welfare was understood to depend on tapping into these wellsprings of wisdom, and all ancient societies (just like indigenous peoples today) had specialists skilled in communication with the natural world and with spirits. These people we now call shamans, and this article argues for the inclusion of shamanic practice in the educational curriculum. Shamanism gives working access to an alternative technique of acquiring knowledge. Although a pragmatic, time-tested system, it makes no claim to be science. Its strengths and limitations are different from those of the sciences and thus complement them. Being affective and subjective, shamanism offers another way of knowing.

Reason sets the boundaries far too narrowly for us, and would have us accept only the known – and that too with limitations – and live in a known framework, just as if we were sure how far life actually extends. . . . The more the critical reason dominates, the more impoverished life becomes. . . . Overvalued reason has this in common with political absolutism: under its dominion the individual is pauperised. – Carl Jung

Of course science will offer some valuable new directions, but at the same time we must expand our vision to seek non-scientific alternatives. To make a difference, we must search for different understandings. I am fortunate to live in a country, New Zealand, where many of my compatriots have an understanding of past and future that is fundamentally different from the prevailing ‘Western’ view. Most in our civilisation consider it self-evident that we stand facing the future with the past behind us, but traditionally for New Zealand Maori it is the future that is behind them.

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New reports indicate that Monarch Butterfly populations are actually beginning to grow again.

•November 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Monarch Butterfly Populations Are Rising Again After Years In Decline

New reports indicate that Monarch Butterfly populations are actually beginning to grow again.

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

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This year, we have published several stories about the dwindling monarch butterfly populations and some of the efforts that have been made to save the species. New reports last week have indicated that these efforts may actually be paying off, because Monarch populations are actually beginning to grow again. In Mexico, one of the main breeding areas for these butterflies, scientists believe that this year there will be at least three times as many of them this year than there was last year.

During a recent conference at the Piedra Herrada research reserve, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that Mexico and the US will be working together to create pesticide-free zones for the butterflies to flourish.

“Mexico, the U.S., and Canada have many species that don’t know our political borders, that cross the borders freely,” she said during a conference at the Piedra Herrada research reserve, adding that the three countries will be working together to rebuild the populations.

She told the audience that they hope to see “225 million monarch butterflies returning right here to Mexico every year. We believe we can get there by working together and it sounds like we may be on our way, we hope.”

“We are very glad to report that calculations done before the landfall of Hurricane Patricia showed the monarch presence could cover up to four hectares, a clear indication that the efforts mentioned by Secretary Jewell are having a positive effect,” Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano said.

“We estimate that the butterfly population that arrives at the reserve is as much as three and could reach four times the surface area it occupied last season,” he added.

For years, environmental experts have been warning about the steady decline of monarch butterfly populations. The causes of this decline have been largely speculation until recently, but a new report suggests that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup Ready could be responsible.

The report was recently released by US environment watchdog Center for Food Safety and sheds new light on what has been happening with monarch butterfly populations.

According to the report, Monsanto’s herbicide has wiped out 99 percent of milkweed in corn and soybean fields in the US Midwest since 1999.

This has resulted in a decline of nearly 90 percent in monarch butterfly populations in the past 20 years.

Without the milkweed, the butterfly’s food supply is entirely cut out because caterpillars eat only milkweed plants, and then milkweed is needed again when it is time for the butterfly to lay their eggs.

Although this is a very serious problem, it is something that the average person can help to solve. Anyone with some space in their lawn or garden can plant milkweed to help reverse the trend that Monsanto started.

Below are some PDF guides which give you step by step instructions on how to plant milkweed and create habitats for monarch butterflies:

  1. Planting Native Milkweed Species
  2. Avoiding Non-Native Species
  3. Create Habitat for Monarchs
  4. Gardening for Monarchs

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com. This article (Monarch Butterfly Populations Are Rising Again After Years In Decline) was made available via

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