Category: Harmony / Order


From time to time, we all have experiences when restlessness and discontent fade away, and we’re filled with a sense of ease, well-being and harmony. We become free of pressure to keep busy and the need for stimulation, and rest at ease within ourselves and within the present moment.

I call these experiences ‘harmony of being.’ They usually occur when we’re quiet and relaxed and there’s stillness around us – for example, when we’re walking through the countryside, working quietly with our hands, listening to or playing music, or after meditation, yoga or sex. The chattering of our minds fades away and we feel a natural flow of connection between ourselves and our surroundings or other people.

Sometimes these experiences seem to come out of nowhere, for no apparent reason. You might experience harmony of being for a brief moment when you wake up in the morning after a good night’s sleep – just for a few seconds, before your thoughts start chattering away about the day ahead, your mind is empty and still, and you’re filled with a sense of well-being and wholeness. Or another morning, when you wake up early, go downstairs and sit at the breakfast table. There’s quietness and stillness around you, and you feel quiet and still inside too, a glow of contentment spreading through you. You look through the window at your garden, just beginning to reveal itself in the dim light, and you’re suddenly you’re struck by how beautiful it is. You feel as if you’re seeing it in a different way to normal, seeing flowers and plants that you don’t normally notice, and the whole garden seems so still and yet at the same time so wild and alive.

Or you might experience harmony of being when you’re watching your children play in the garden in summer. You look around you, at the sunlight splashing through the trees and the perfect blue sky above you, and listen to your children’s laughter – and the scene seems so perfect that time seems to stand still. Or even when you’re driving down the motorway and are suddenly struck by the beauty of the evening sun, shining between the clouds and across the fields – just for a few moments, you feel lit up inside too, and a warm glow of well-being flows through your whole being.

Harmony-Generating Experiences

Spontaneous experiences of harmony like these are quite rare though. Usually harmony of being is linked to certain activities or situations. For example, there are some sports which often give rise to the state. Several joggers and long-distance runners have told me that running has a powerful psychological effect on them, making them feel very calm and alert, and more ‘grounded’. One colleague told me that he goes running every day because ‘It helps clear my mind, helps me get back to myself. It puts me back in tune with the world again, after all the hassles of work. All the work stuff fades from my mind and I just take pleasure from where I am, from the elements around me.’

Swimming can also give rise to harmony. Once, when I was talking to a group of students about meditation, a young woman said to me, ‘That’s what I do when I go swimming!’ She went on to say that…

When I’m swimming, I get into the rhythm of my movements and the gliding feeling of going through the water – I get so into it that I forget everything. I just feel the water against my skin and look up at the light shining on the water and the waves moving across the pool and it all looks perfect. When I get out of the water and get changed I feel happy and peaceful.

More dangerous and demanding pursuits can generate harmony too, such as climbing, flying or diving. Activities like these require so much concentration that they help us to forget the niggling concerns of daily life. The demands of the present – to make the next maneuver or avoid a potential danger – focus the mind so much that thought-chatter fades away and the future and the past cease to exist. As a result, climbers or pilots sometimes experience a sense of wholeness and contentment, becoming intensely aware of the beauty of their surroundings, and even feeling a sense of oneness with them.

Sex often gives rise to harmony too, for similar reasons. The sensations we experience during sex are usually so pleasurable and powerful that they have a mind-quietening effect; thoughts about the past and future fade away, as we become completely present. Afterwards, you’re filled with a soothing glow of well-being, lying there with your partner in your arms, listening to the sounds of the night and staring into the warm, rich darkness. And then, you might pull back your curtain and look at the scene outside your window and feel that everything is somehow different. The clouds gliding across the sky seem somehow more real, as if an extra dimension has been added to them, and the black spaces between them seem somehow richer and thicker than before. And on the streets everything seems to be in its right place, the cars parked in front of your house and the trees and the streetlights along the side. The light of the lamps seems radiant and somehow benevolent.

Contact with nature is a major source of harmony too, and one of the main reasons why so many of us love the countryside. The beauty and grandeur of nature draws our attention away from thought-chatter, and the stillness and space relax us even further. As a result, our minds become quiet, and our ego-boundaries become softer, so that we transcend separateness and feel connected to our surroundings.

Building design in harmony with nature, Styria, Austria.

The Sources of Harmony

So what is it about meditation, sex, climbing or running which generates harmony of being?

The most important factor is that all of these activities provide a focus for the mind. There’s a steady stream of attention directed at a particular object, and this has the effect of quietening our thought-chatter. And when the mind is quiet in this way, we become free of both the disturbance and negativity of our normal thought-chatter. We feel a sense of inner stillness because there literally is stillness inside us. Our being becomes calm, like the still surface of a lake. And this also means that the super-critical person inside our heads – who’s always criticising our behaviour and reminding of the things we should feel bad about in the past and worry about in the future – disappears. There’s no one to make us feel guilty, to make us worry about the future, or bitter about the past.

In these moments, we become aware that, although the surface of our being is filled with disturbance and negativity, beneath that there is a deep reservoir of stillness and well-being. The surface of our being is like a rough sea which sweeps you to and fro and makes you feel disoriented and anxious. But if you wear diving equipment and go beneath the surface, you’re suddenly in the midst of endless silence and stillness.

The lack of discord inside us means that we’re free from the compulsion to do, and able to be. In fact, this ability to do nothing is one of the most pleasant aspects of harmony of being. We can sit down at the table or walk around the house and be content just to be here. There’s no impulse to turn on the television or the radio, to reach for a magazine or to check your e-mail or to phone a friend for a chat.

Permanent Harmony and Sanity?

These moments of harmony don’t have to be fleeting. In fact, this is basic aim of all spiritual traditions, and all spiritual practices: to generate a state of permanent inner harmony. This is what we call ‘enlightenment’ – a state in which the discord of the human mind is truly healed. In my new book Back to Sanity, I propose an eight-stage path of self-development leading to a permanent state of harmony, including practices such as ‘transcending negative thought patterns,’ ‘Healing the mind through quietness and stillness’ as well as traditional practices such as service and meditation.

In harmony of being, life becomes a glorious adventure, full of joy and wonder. And one of the most striking things about this state is how natural it feels. That’s because it’s our most natural state, a state in which we come home, to our innermost nature.

How to Generate Harmony of Being

  • Have contact with nature. The stillness and beauty of nature can quieten the chattering of
    our minds and bring a sense of inner peace.
  • Help other people. Altruistic acts connect us with us and help us to transcend separateness.
  • Mindfulness exercises. When you have a shower, brush your teeth, eat your meals or any other daily activity, give your full attention to the experience rather than to thoughts inside
    your head.
  • Make friends with quietness and inactivity. Timetable periods for ‘doing nothing’ during the
    week. Quietness allows our minds to settle into a state of harmony.
  • Go running or swimming. Sports like these can heal the surface discord of our minds puts us
    in touch with the harmony underneath.
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“First there was a distinct rumbling sound, then a roaring explosion, followed by a brilliant flash of light. I felt as though my body was turning inside out, ejecting me in the process. The explosion of light pulsed like a freight train up the center front of me, hit my brain, and kept right on going, carrying me into what looked like the depths of outer space…”

The Evolving Human is the compelling true story of one woman’s struggle with a sudden, spontaneous “awakening of kundalini,” the ancient Eastern term for a massive awakening of the powers of consciousness. From the surprising beginning, through the confusing, sometimes life-threatening events that unfold, to its profound conclusion, it becomes more and more clear that the awakening of consciousness is the entry into spiritual development. What is unexpected, however, is the fact that we are all designed and built to evolve in this way and that the evolution of human beings into truly spiritual creatures is a far more extensive and life-changing process than anyone may have suspected.

Penny Kelly holds a degree in Humanistic Studies from Wayne State University, is a Naturopathic Physician and is working toward a Ph.D. in Nutrition. She maintains a large spiritual counseling practice, and is co-owner of Lily Hill Farm and Learning Center in Lawton, Michigan.

A FEW EXCERPTS:

From Pg. 10: “There was total silence and stillness, and I was peacefully afloat in an endless, timeless place of completeness. My ordinary sense of myself and the everyday world disappeared, and whatever was left of that self was floating like a brilliant point of light in a sky filled with other points of light.”

From Pg. 33-34: “Instantly the dream disappeared and, fully conscious but not in my body, I found myself in the bedroom on Jefferson Avenue, floating above the bed. I looked down fearfully at Ben and I, both sound asleep, and thought, ‘This can’t be happening! I’m not in my body again…oh no…this can’t be…’

“With this thought and mounting fear pushing me, I floated toward the ceiling and right on through it, noticing the dust, dirt, nails, and general construction of the house as I passed between the ceiling and the floor above. Continuing upward through the floor, I found myself standing in the empty, unusued, and unremodeled bedroom above the room that Ben and I shared. … Suddenly it was all too much. Refusing to return by merging back down through the floor into the bedroom below, I went screaming down the stairs, hysterically calling for my Grandma…I ran through the kitchen, half jumping, half floating over the large round table and four chairs, and into the bedroom where I rose over the bed and hung there for a moment.

“My physical body was now tossing wildly about, mumbling and crying. Absurdly, I hesitated to get too close to the waving arms, fearing I might get hit, but the terror was too great and, fully conscious, I merged into it at a pace that seemed to take forever. As the merging took place, my body began to toss and cry more violently and as soon as I was fully back in it, my screams for help and cries for Grandma went echoing through the darkened house, waking Ben and finally my physical self.”

From Pg. 41: “The summer and I hung in suspended animation. I was awake and in a state of conscious awareness around the clock. Even when I could hear myself breathing the slow, deep breaths of someone whose body was supposedly sound asleep, some ineffable part of me was wide awake, full of energy, and engaged in one reality or another, realities that were as vivid and intense as everyday living.”

From Pg. 93: “…I began to have a recurring dream that I was a tall, bronze woman with long black hair and a Polynesian or Hawaiian face. When the same woman appeared for the third time in a dream in which her feet were rooted in my right hip and her head was sitting on my right shoulder whispering in my ear, I began to take serious notice of her. When I had a fourth dream in which the tall, bronze woman told me that I had been herself in a former life, I began to experience long moments when I felt her presence. It was as if she was inside me, looking out through my eyes at the world I lived in.”

From Pg. 138: “For weeks afterward, I luxuriated in the triumph of my understanding. Finally I knew what kundalini was. It was a serious, even dramatic change in the range of frequencies that formed the basis of the electromagnetic – and therefore the electrochemical – operation of the body/mind system. I knew the signs, I had experienced the symptoms, and I had lived with the effects. it seemed truly a miracle not only that such a thing was possible, but that it had happened to me–and I had survived!”

From Pg. 179: “The problem with most people was that development did stop at that age (age 14) and this left most people with an adult body and a teenage mind. Thus, the reality we had constructed here had many of the flaws of a half-grown adult’s immature, unrealistic thinking. The huge majority of humans were suffering all the problems that went with what I came to think of as arrested development. Very few enjoyed the benefits that the later stages offered–the transcendent love, the expanded perceptual skills, the sense of meaning and purpose, the inner authority…”

From Pg. 215: “My abilities to see forward and backward in time had continued to expand and refine themselves. There had been a mushrooming of my ability to communicate with other forms of energy regardless of whether they were people, animals, trees, plants, insects, elves, devas, the wind, the rain, the deceased, or the unborn.”

From Pg. 223: “Sometimes when I look back, I ask myself, ‘If I could go from absolutely no psychic abilities to a reality-shattering array of psychic gifts that I did not even know existed, and if this could happen almost overnight, then are there any limits to personal evolution and self-development if we work at it in an ongoing, purposeful way?”

Penny Kelly – Preparing for Global Crisis

Published on Sep 18, 2015

In the last few weeks on the Honest-to-God Series, we spoke about Climate Change, Cosmic Waves, Drought and Financial Collapse. In this episode, Penny Kelly predicts an impending global financial crisis. We invited Penny Kelly to answer questions and give her advice on how to prepare for the approaching global financial collapse!. You might find some amazing and shocking answers here! http://worldofempowerment.com/penny-k…

Originally published in Natural Health magazine, 2012.

From time to time, we all have experiences when restlessness and discontent fade away, and we’re filled with a sense of ease, well-being and harmony. We become free of pressure to keep busy and the need for stimulation, and rest at ease within ourselves and within the present moment.

I call these experiences ‘harmony of being.’ They usually occur when we’re quiet and relaxed and there’s stillness around us – for example, when we’re walking through the countryside, working quietly with our hands, listening to or playing music, or after meditation, yoga or sex. The chattering of our minds fades away and we feel a natural flow of connection between ourselves and our surroundings or other people.

Sometimes these experiences seem to come out of nowhere, for no apparent reason. You might experience harmony of being for a brief moment when you wake up in the morning after a good night’s sleep – just for a few seconds, before your thoughts start chattering away about the day ahead, your mind is empty and still, and you’re filled with a sense of well-being and wholeness. Or another morning, when you wake up early, go downstairs and sit at the breakfast table. There’s quietness and stillness around you, and you feel quiet and still inside too, a glow of contentment spreading through you. You look through the window at your garden, just beginning to reveal itself in the dim light, and you’re suddenly you’re struck by how beautiful it is. You feel as if you’re seeing it in a different way to normal, seeing flowers and plants that you don’t normally notice, and the whole garden seems so still and yet at the same time so wild and alive.

Or you might experience harmony of being when you’re watching your children play in the garden in summer. You look around you, at the sunlight splashing through the trees and the perfect blue sky above you, and listen to your children’s laughter – and the scene seems so perfect that time seems to stand still. Or even when you’re driving down the motorway and are suddenly struck by the beauty of the evening sun, shining between the clouds and across the fields – just for a few moments, you feel lit up inside too, and a warm glow of well-being flows through your whole being.

Harmony-Generating Experiences

Spontaneous experiences of harmony like these are quite rare though. Usually harmony of being is linked to certain activities or situations. For example, there are some sports which often give rise to the state. Several joggers and long-distance runners have told me that running has a powerful psychological effect on them, making them feel very calm and alert, and more ‘grounded’. One colleague told me that he goes running every day because ‘It helps clear my mind, helps me get back to myself. It puts me back in tune with the world again, after all the hassles of work. All the work stuff fades from my mind and I just take pleasure from where I am, from the elements around me.’

Swimming can also give rise to harmony. Once, when I was talking to a group of students about meditation, a young woman said to me, ‘That’s what I do when I go swimming!’ She went on to say that

When I’m swimming, I get into the rhythm of my movements and the gliding feeling of going through the water – I get so into it that I forget everything. I just feel the water against my skin and look up at the light shining on the water and the waves moving across the pool and it all looks perfect. When I get out of the water and get changed I feel happy and peaceful.

More dangerous and demanding pursuits can generate harmony too, such as climbing, flying or diving. Activities like these require so much concentration that they help us to forget the niggling concerns of daily life. The demands of the present – to make the next manoeuvre or avoid a potential danger – focus the mind so much that thought-chatter fades away and the future and the past cease to exist. As a result, climbers or pilots sometimes experience a sense of wholeness and contentment, becoming intensely aware of the beauty of their surroundings, and even feeling a sense of oneness with them.

Sex often gives rise to harmony too, for similar reasons. The sensations we experience during sex are usually so pleasurable and powerful that they have a mind-quietening effect; thoughts about the past and future fade away, as we become completely present. Afterwards, you’re filled with a soothing glow of well-being, lying there with your partner in your arms, listening to the sounds of the night and staring into the warm, rich darkness. And then, you might pull back your curtain and look at the scene outside your window and feel that everything is somehow different. The clouds gliding across the sky seem somehow more real, as if an extra dimension has been added to them, and the black spaces between them seem somehow richer and thicker than before. And on the streets everything seems to be in its right place, the cars parked in front of your house and the trees and the streetlights along the side. The light of the lamps seems radiant and somehow benevolent.

Contact with nature is a major source of harmony too, and one of the main reasons why so many of us love the countryside. The beauty and grandeur of nature draws our attention away from thought-chatter, and the stillness and space relax us even further. As a result, our minds become quiet, and our ego-boundaries become softer, so that we transcend separateness and feel connected to our surroundings.

The Sources of Harmony

So what is it about meditation, sex, climbing or running which generates harmony of being?

The most important factor is that all of these activities provide a focus for the mind. There’s a steady stream of attention directed at a particular object, and this has the effect of quietening our thought-chatter. And when the mind is quiet in this way, we become free of both the disturbance and negativity of our normal thought-chatter. We feel a sense of inner stillness because there literally is stillness inside us. Our being becomes calm, like the still surface of a lake. And this also means that the super-critical person inside our heads – who’s always criticising our behaviour and reminding of the things we should feel bad about in the past and worry about in the future – disappears. There’s no one to make us feel guilty, to make us worry about the future, or bitter about the past.

In these moments, we become aware that, although the surface of our being is filled with disturbance and negativity, beneath that there is a deep reservoir of stillness and well-being. The surface of our being is like a rough sea which sweeps you to and fro and makes you feel disoriented and anxious. But if you wear diving equipment and go beneath the surface, you’re suddenly in the midst of endless silence and stillness.

The lack of discord inside us means that we’re free from the compulsion to do, and able to be. In fact, this ability to do nothing is one of the most pleasant aspects of harmony of being. We can sit down at the table or walk around the house and be content just to be here. There’s no impulse to turn on the television or the radio, to reach for a magazine or to check your e-mail or to phone a friend for a chat.

Permanent Harmony and Sanity?

These moments of harmony don’t have to be fleeting. In fact, this is basic aim of all spiritual traditions, and all spiritual practices: to generate a state of permanent inner harmony. This is what we call ‘enlightenment’ – a state in which the discord of the human mind is truly healed. In my new book Back to Sanity, I propose an eight-stage path of self-development leading to a permanent state of harmony, including practices such as ‘transcending negative thought patterns,’ ‘Healing the mind through quietness and stillness’ as well as traditional practices such as service and meditation.

In harmony of being, life becomes a glorious adventure, full of joy and wonder. And one of the most striking things about this state is how natural it feels. That’s because it’s our most natural state, a state in which we come home, to our innermost nature.

How to Generate Harmony of Being

  • Have contact with nature. The stillness and beauty of nature can quieten the chattering of our minds and bring a sense of inner peace.
  • Help other people. Altruistic acts connect us with us and help us to transcend separateness.
  • Mindfulness exercises. When you have a shower, brush your teeth, eat your meals or any other daily activity, give your full attention to the experience rather than to thoughts inside your head.
  • Make friends with quietness and inactivity. Timetable periods for ‘doing nothing’ during the week.
  • Quietness allows our minds to settle into a state of harmony.
  • Go running or swimming. Sports like these can heal the surface discord of our minds puts us in touch the harmony underneath.

Dr Steve Taylor is the author of several best-selling books on psychology and spirituality, and is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University. For the last four years he has been included (this year at no. 62) in Mind, Body, Spirit magazine’s list of the ‘100 most spiritually influential living people.’ His books include Waking From Sleep, The Fall, Out of the Darkness, Back to Sanity, and his latest book The Calm Center. His books have been published in 19 languages, including Dutch, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese, Polish and Spanish. Eckhart Tolle has described his work as ‘an important contribution to the shift in consciousness which is happening on our planet at present.’ Andrew Harvey has said of his work, ‘Its importance for our menacing times and for the transformation being birthed by them cannot be exaggerated.’

Steve has a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology from Liverpool John Moores University. His articles and essays have been published in over 40 academic journals, magazines and newspapers, including The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, The Journal of Consciousness Studies, The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Psychologies, Natural Health, Kindred Spirit and Resurgence. His work has been featured widely in the media in the UK, including on BBC Breakfast, BBC World TV, Radio 4 and 5, and in The Guardian, The Independent and The Daily Mail. Steve lives in Manchester, England with his wife and three young children

Spirituality Unveiled puts forward a succinct and compelling synthesis of numerous spiritual traditions. While weaving together insights from contemporary and past masters of spirituality along with holistic and Earth centred wisdom it beautifully highlights teachings about the essentials of creative unfoldment.

Spirituality Unveiled invites readers to join in the important search to find a healthy interaction with life. Key areas include the power of creativity, the effects of positive and negative actions and harmonious living with the natural world.

(Stephen Wollaston) was given the name Santoshan, meaning ‘contentment’, by an English swami of the Bihar School of Yoga. He has taught a variety of subjects in schools, colleges and at a university. He is particularly known for his creative background as a spiritual writer, graphic designer and musician. He was the principal electric bass guitarist of one of London’s first punk rock bands, The Wasps, and has served as a council member of GreenSpirit (www.greenspirit.org.uk), is a member of their editorial and publishing team and the designer of GreenSpirit magazine.

He has authored and co-authored several books on spiritual matters, including ‘River of Green Wisdom: Exploring Christian and Yogic Earth Centred Spirituality’ (GreenSpirit, 2014), ‘Spirituality Unveiled: Awakening to Creative Life’ (Earth Books, 2011), ‘The House of Wisdom: Yoga Spirituality of the East and West’ (Mantra Books, 2007) and ‘Realms of Wondrous Gifts: Psychic, Mediumistic and Miraculous Powers in the Great Mystical and Wisdom Traditions’ (revised ebook edition, 2012).

He has also been best friends with the former Benedictine and UK medium, Glyn Edwards, for more than 25 years and worked on two popular books with him, which were revised and republished in 2011: ‘The Spirit World in Plain English’ (originally titled ‘Tune in to your Spiritual Potential’) and ‘Spirit Gems’ (originally titled ’21 Steps to Reach your Spirit’ in the UK and ‘Unleash your Spiritual Power and Grow’ in the US).

Stephen holds a degree in religious studies and a post graduate certificate in religious education from King’s College London, a diploma in typographic design from the London College of Printing and a certificate in advanced psychosynthesis psychology. He prefers to have no labels, unless it be ‘integral non-dualist’ or ‘creation centred universalist’. Individual pages for his books and a general page about him can be found on Facebook. ‘Spirituality Unveiled’ has its own website.

LOOK INSIDE

Spirituality Unveiled

‘Spirituaity Unveiled: Awakening to Creative Life’ (O Books, Feb 2011) by Santoshan/Stephen Wollaston (GreenSpirit Council member, designer of GreenSpirit magazine, author and coauthor of five books on spiritual matters and former-punk rock musician – ‘The Wasps’) with a Foreword by Ian Mowll. Described as ‘a masterful synthesis’ and ‘integral thinking at its best’ by Marian Van Eyk McCain, editor of ‘GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness’ and co-editor of the GreenSpirit Journal.

For more details visit:
http://www.spiritualityunveiled.com/

A special thanks goes to Rafael Szaban for use of the inspiring and beautiful music from the CD ‘Journeys into a Gold Horizon’. Visit http://www.indigoseamusic.com for more details about Rafael’s music, compositions and collaborations with various world musicians. A big thanks also goes to Terry Rogers for assisting with the voice recording and giving encouragment. Finally, the biggest thanks goes to Mother Earth for supplying the inspiration needed to write this book.

Imagine you realize that you’re not as happy as you should be in your life, and decide you need to take some steps to enhance your level of well-being. There are a number of new activities and practices you could take up: meditation, dancing, singing, running, consciously performing acts of kindness, religious worship, and so on. Research has shown that all of these activities can increase well-being. But one of the most effective things you could do, according to research, is to take up gardening.

Let me say first of all that I am not a gardener myself. I’ve always associated gardening with hard work. Apart from regularly mowing my lawn (which I do actually enjoy) I have never devoted much time to the activity. But I’m beginning to think that I should start.

Research published last year in the UK found that 80% of gardeners feel satisfied with their lives, compared to an average of 67%. The survey also found that the gardeners who devoted most time to the activity were the happiest. Those who spent more than 6 hours a week gardening had a 7% higher level of well-being than those who gardened less. 93% of gardeners also believed that the activity improved their mood. (1)

These results are similar to an earlier US study of 600 gardeners, which found that those who gardened for five hours or more per week were significantly happier than normal. This study found that the activity had pronounced physical benefits too: on average, the 600 gardeners had significantly better overall health, with fewer chronic health problems and longer life spans.

As a result of findings such as these – and a burgeoning interest in the field of ‘ecotherapy’ in general – in the UK, gardening has begun to be used as a therapy for individuals suffering from depression and anxiety. As an alternative to prescribing anti-depressants, doctors in a pilot study are signing patients up for 12 week gardening courses. The ‘Grozone’ project teaches patients basic horticultural skills and encourages them to grow their own plants, which they can take home afterwards. As well as the act of gardening itself, the belief is that the outdoor exercise and social contact will also be beneficial to patients. (2)

Why does gardening have such a positive effect on well-being?

I would suggest a number of reasons why gardening can have such a positive effect. These reflect the fact that, although it superficially seems a very simple activity, there are a number of different aspects of gardening.

First of all, it is well established now that contact with nature in general has a powerful therapeutic effect (hence the term ‘ecotherapy’).Research has shown that a daily through a park or the countryside improves the symptoms of people suffering from depression and schizophrenia. Contact with nature improves children’s concentration and well-being too. Gardening can obviously be seen as a form of ecotherapy.

This begs the question of why ecotherapy is effective. I believe that part of the reason is that human beings – and all our evolutionary forebears – have been closely bonded with nature for almost all our existence. It’s only in recent times that many of us have been confined to man-made environments. For us, contact with green spaces is therefore like going back home, and fills us with the same sense of safety and belonging. Gardening strongly relates to this, because it is such an ancient pastime. Human beings have been tending and farming the soil for 10,000 years, and even before then, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle our ancestors led involved constant contact with vegetation (especially for the female gatherers). The symbiotic relationship with nature which gardening entails is instinctive to us, a powerful part of our human heritage.

Flow and Mindfulness

Another major reason why gardening can have such a positive effect is that it is an effective way of producing the psychological state of ‘flow’ – the state of active absorption in which we lose our awareness of ourselves and of time. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research has shown, in flow the normal restless (and often negative) chattering of our mind fades away, and we feel alert and alive, as if our mental energy has become more intensified.

At the same time – or at other times – gardening can induce a state of mindfulness. Flow and mindfulness are similar states, but the main difference between them is that in flow our attention is mono-focused, narrowed down to one particular object or area, and closed off to what is outside of that area. In mindfulness, however, our attention is open and panoramic, alert to the whole field of awareness. Mindfulness means living in the present, free from the anxieties of the future, and being open to the beauty and wonder of the world. Over an hour or two of work, a gardener probably switches regularly from flow to mindfulness and back again – as well as, perhaps, to some intermediate states.

Gardening provides a sense of accomplishment too – you can see the tangible results of your activity, even if they may take weeks or months to unfold. Gardening involves physical activity, and nurturing too – both of which are also known to enhance well-being.

And one of the best things about gardening is that it’s free. (In fact, other people might even pay you for doing it.) The pioneer positive psychologist Michael Fordyce observed that most of the experiences which bring us well-being involve very little expense and very little planning or organisation. And gardening is one of the best examples of this. Why spend thousands of pounds or dollars on material goods whose positive effect quickly fades, when you can just throw on some old clothes and step into your garden? And as psychologists and medical professionals are beginning to realise: why spend millions of pounds on psychiatric drugs when short periods of contact with nature are just as – or perhaps even more – effective than them?

And now I’m off to the hardware store to buy some tools….

~ Steve Taylor, Ph.D. is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author of Back to Sanity View Here

http://www.stevenmtaylor.com

Notes:

(1) http://www.gardenersworld.com/downloads/PDFs/happiness-survey-res…

(2) http://www.valeroyalccg.nhs.uk/news_items/7303-grozone-project-ai…

Come See the Garden That Is Your Life

When Zen teacher Karen Maezen Miller and her family land in a house with a hundred-year-old Japanese garden, she uses the paradise in her backyard to glean the living wisdom of our natural world. Through her eyes, rocks convey faith, ponds preach stillness, flowers give love, and leaves express the effortless ease of letting go. The book welcomes readers into the garden for Zen lessons in fearlessness, forgiveness, presence, acceptance, and contentment. Miller gathers inspiration from the ground beneath her feet to remind us that paradise is always here and now

Karen Maezen Miller is a wife and mother as well as a Zen Buddhist priest at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. She and her family live in Sierra Madre, California, with a century-old Japanese garden in their backyard. She writes about spirituality in everyday life. She is the author of Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life, Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, and her writing is included in numerous anthologies.

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Paradise in Plain Sight by Karen Maezen Miller

Karen Maezen Miller Interview

Karen Maezen Miller, author of Momma Zen and Hand Wash Cold, on The Fulfilling Life with Kelly Dahl. Find the video and more at http://www.perchedtofly.com

An internet search for “Spiritual Ecology” and related terms like “Religion and Nature” and “Religion and Ecology” reveals tens of millions of websites. Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution offers an intellectual history of this far-reaching movement. Arranged chronologically, it samples major developments in the thoughts and actions of both historic and contemporary pioneers, ranging from the Buddha and St. Francis of Assisi to Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement and James Cameron’s 2010 epic film Avatar.

This foundational book is unique in that it provides a historical, cross-cultural context for understanding and advancing the ongoing spiritual ecology revolution, considering indigenous and Asian religious traditions as well as Western ones. Most chapters focus on a single pioneer, illuminating historical context and his/her legacy, while also connecting that legacy to broader concerns. Coverage includes topics as diverse as Henry David Thoreau and the Green Patriarch Bartholomew’s decades-long promotion of environmentalism as a sacred duty for more than 250 million members of the Orthodox Church worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.spiritualecology.info.

Sacred banyon tree and spirit house in Bangkok, Thailand.


Leslie E. Sponsel earned the BA in Geology from Indiana University (1965), and the MA (1973) and PhD (1981) in Biological and Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University. Over the last four decades he has taught at seven universities in four countries, two as a Fulbright Fellow. In 1981 he was hired to develop and direct the Ecological Anthropology Program at the University of Hawai`i. His courses include Ecological Anthropology, Environmental Anthropology, Anthropology of Religion, Spiritual Ecology, Sacred Places, Anthropology of Buddhism, Ethics in Anthropology, and Anthropology of War and Peace. Although retired since August 2010, usually he still teaches one course each semester and then devotes the rest of his time to research and publications.

From 1974 to 1981 Sponsel conducted several trips to the Venezuelan Amazon to study human ecology with the Yanomami and other indigenous societies. Almost yearly since 1986 Sponsel has made research trips to Thailand to study various aspects of Buddhist ecology and environmentalism together with his wife, Dr. Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel. In recent years their work in northern Thailand has focused on exploring sacred caves.

Among Sponsel’s extensive publications are more than two dozen journal articles, three dozen book chapters, 29 entries in seven different scientific encyclopedias, and two edited and two co-edited books, most peer-reviewed. Henceforth he will focus on publishing other books integrating his previous articles and chapters on several different subjects. Next up is the book Natural Wisdom: Exploring Buddhist Ecology and Environmentalism. He is developing the Research Institute for Spiritual Ecology (RISE) and its website as founding Director:
http://spiritualecology.info.

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Food is our most intimate and telling connection both with the living natural order and with our living cultural heritage. By eating the plants and animals of our earth, we literally incorporate them. It is also through this act of eating that we partake of our culture’s values and paradigms at the most primal levels. It is becoming increasingly obvious, however, that the choices we make about our food are leading to environmental degradation, enormous human health problems, and unimaginable cruelty toward our fellow creatures.

Incorporating systems theory, teachings from mythology and religions, and the human sciences, The World Peace Diet presents the outlines of a more empowering understanding of our world, based on a comprehension of the far-reaching implications of our food choices and the worldview those choices reflect and mandate. The author offers a set of universal principles for all people of conscience, from any religious tradition, that they can follow to reconnect with what we are eating, what was required to get it on our plate, and what happens after it leaves our plates.

The World Peace Diet suggests how we as a species might move our consciousness forward so that we can be more free, more intelligent, more loving, and happier in the choices we make.

Will Tuttle has a master’s degree in humanities from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in the philosophy of education from the University of California. A professional pianist and teacher, he has for the last thirteen years toured progressive churches, vegetarian and macrobiotic conferences, and intentional communities throughout the country. He trained in Korea as a Zen Buddhist monk and has worked extensively in Tai Chi, yoga, massage, and dance and movement. He lives in Healdsburg, California.

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The World Peace Diet

Uploaded on Jun 7, 2011

A presentation by Will Tuttle, Ph.D..

Dr. Will Tuttle will present the main ideas in his book, The World Peace Diet. It has been called one of the most important books of the 21st century: the foundation of a new society based on the truth of the interconnectedness of all life. It is the first book to make explicit the invisible connections between our meals and our broad range of problems psychological, social, and spiritual, as well as health and environmental. Dr. Tuttle offers powerful ways we can all experience healing and peace and contribute to a positive transformation of human consciousness.

Dr. Will Tuttle, acclaimed pianist, composer, educator, and author, has lectured and performed widely throughout North America and Europe. His doctorate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, focused on educating intuition in adults, and he has taught college courses in creativity, humanities, mythology, religion, and philosophy. He is a recipient of The Peace Abbey${q}s Courage of Conscience Award and is a Dharma Master in the Zen tradition. See worldpeacediet.org for more details.

Filming and editing by Dr William Harris M.D. on September 8, 2009 at Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse, Honolulu, Hawaii
Sponsored by: Vegetarian Society of Hawaii http://www.vsh.org

A BOLD NEW VISION FOR A NEW WORLD

Our way of life isn’t working anymore. People are losing their jobs, their homes, their neighborhoods—and even their hope for a just society. We urgently need a new story to live by, based on fairness—not simply on the accumulation of wealth and “survival of the fittest.”

The Bond offers a radical new blueprint for living a more harmonious, prosperous, and connected life. International bestselling author Lynne McTaggart demonstrates with hard science that we are living contrary to our true nature.

In fact, life doesn’t have to be I win, you lose; we have been designed to succeed and prosper when we work as part of a greater whole. The Bond proves that we are weak when we compete, and thrive only when we cooperate and connect deeply with each other.

In this seminal book for our age, McTaggart also offers a complete program of practical tools and exercises to help you enjoy closer relationships—across even the deepest divides—encourage a more connected workplace, rebuild a united neighborhood, and become a powerful, global agent of change.

Lynne McTaggart is one of the central voices in the new consciousness movement bridging science and spirituality. She is an award-winning journalist and author of six books, including her latest, The Bond, and the worldwide bestsellers The Intention Experiment and The Field, both translated into 30 languages.

Lynne is also the architect of the Intention Experiments, the largest mind-over-matter experiments in history. McTaggart, her book and the web-based experiment have been prominently featured in Dan Brown’s latest book The Lost Symbol, and in part inspired one of its characters. She’s also been featured and seen by millions in the documentaries What the Bleep!?, The Living Matrix and I Am.

All three of Lynne’s books are considered seminar books of the New Age. Over the years she has been referred to as a ‘metaphysical rock star’, ‘the Madonna of the Quantum World,’ ‘the Malcolm Gladwell of new science’ even ‘The Dalai Mama.’ For two years running Watkins Review has voted her one of the world’s top 100 spiritually influential people.

A member of the Transformational Leadership Council and the Evolutionary Leadership Council, Lynne is an inspiring worldwide speaker who holds lectures and workshops around the world. She lives in London with her husband Bryan Hubbard and their two daughters.

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The Bond

Lynne McTaggart: Intention, quantum physics, the bond – Bridging the science and spirituality

Lynne McTaggart is a best-selling author, researcher, and lecturer whose work has rightly been described as “a bridge between science and spirituality”.For the past 20 years she has been researching medicine and its shortcomings, and quantum physics and what this means for you and the world we live in.http://www.lynnemctaggart.com

To support the juicy living tour and to watch more video interviews, visit http://www.JuicyLivingTour

A guiding principle of the spiritual journey is to “look within.” Biochemist Dr. Sondra Barrett has done just that-and discovered that our cells offer us invaluable wisdom for inspiration, transformation and healing. With Secrets of Your Cells, this scientist and mind-body teacher takes readers on a provocative journey into our inner universe. Each chapter explores a specific aspect of the cell’s astonishing architecture, intelligence, and ability to work in harmony- off ering practical exercises to help readers apply the lessons our cells have to off er. Join Dr. Barrett to learn more about:

  • Wisdom for incorporating biological principles of balance, fluidity, identity, and cooperation into our everyday lives
  • How your cells listen to your beliefs and thoughts-and practices for sending life-affirming messages to your body
  • Rituals for making direct contact with the “soul of the cell”
  • How cells reflect sacred art, as revealed by Dr. Barrett’s intriguing color photographs of the inner world

“Our cells are more than just fortuitous arrangements of chemicals,” teaches Sondra Barrett. “They are a community of trillions of sentient entities working together to create a sanctuary for the human soul.” Drawing on the insights of indigenous practitioners, energy medicine, and the powerful wisdom of our body’s fundamental building blocks, Dr. Barrett offers readers a thoroughly-researched and accessible resource for putting cutting-edge biology into action with Secrets of Your Cells.

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Sondra Barrett – Cells and the Sacred.mov

Cells and the Sacred, explores the science, spirit, and intelligence of human cells. Become a “cytonaut” with medical scientist Dr. Sondra Barrett to discover what your cells can teach you about learning, life and love. This introduction to Cells and the Sacred workshop expands the new biology to make practical how to access, engage and influence the health of your cells. Learn to love your cells, listen and embrace their practical wisdom. http://sondrabarrett.com

The enneagram is a proven personality typology that describes nine different personality types. The theory of the enneagram is that each person belongs to one of these nine types. Each type employs a specific strategy for success, which however also has its drawbacks. The enneagram is applied in a variety of ways in management, for instance in team-building, coaching, management development and organizational change.

This book provides an introduction to the enneagram and its potential for application within the daily practice of managers and professionals.The book not only helps to provide insight into human behavior within organizations, it is above all an encouragement to all those who wish to gain deeper knowledge about themselves and about the motivation for human behavior.Since 1993, Oscar David has introduced the enneagram to thousands of managers and professionals in a large number of international organizations. This book expresses, in part, the result of his broad practical experience and knowledge.

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Oscar David – ‘Consciousness in Government and Business’ – Interview by Iain McNay

Oscar is author of the book, ‘The Enneagram For Managers.’ He works in Holland with Government officials, Army Generals, Police officials and Business leaders on how to integrate more understanding and harmony within their organizations.

A powerful exploration of diverse world views long ignored by the Western world that suggests possible solutions to the environmental and social problems that face us in the next millennium.

Our civilization is in crisis. Overpopulation and over-consumption have jeopardized our survival and the great promises of technology have resulted in environmental disaster. This situation, says author John Broomfield, results from the serious error the Western world makes in equating one way of knowing with all ways of knowing–mistaking a thin slice of reality for the whole. Broomfield argues that the necessary wisdom to chart a new course is available to us from many sources: the sacred traditions of our ancestors; the spiritual traditions of other cultures; spirit in nature; feminine ways of being; contemporary movements for personal, social, and ecological transformation; and the very source of our current crisis, science itself. Other Ways of Knowing shows us the wisdom of other cultures who may hold the knowledge necessary to arrest our headlong race toward destruction.

From the ancient Polynesian navigational technique of remote viewing to the formative causation theory of Rupert Sheldrake, Other Ways of Knowing examines perceptions and practices that challenge the narrow perspective of the Western world and provide answers to the complex questions that face us as we move into the next millennium.

John Broomfield was Professor of modern Indian history at the University of Michigan for twenty years and has written extensively on the impact of the modern West on non-Western peoples. He has studied shamanism with Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman and was President of the California Institute of Integral Studies from 1983 to 1990. He now lives in New Zealand.

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When they think of India, many people still have the shining image of it as a rising economy, one of the four most promising in the world, in fact. As one of the BRIC countries, along with Russia, Brazil and China, India’s rise from a long history of poverty raised hope for the rest of the developing world. So it’s startling when Fareed Zakaria recently asked on CNN, “Is India the broken BRIC?” In the same vein, Jim O’Neill, the most important global economist at Goldman Sachs, and the man who coined the term BRIC, considers India the biggest economic disappointment with its 5 percent fall in growth since 2010.

What makes the disappointment worse is that since the early 90s, as Western media and business people were jetting back and forth between India and China sizing up these two growing economic giants, business magazine covers, famous economists and top CEOs at conferences were saying, “India is the one to watch, not China.”

How did so many brilliant prognosticators miss so badly? As economists ponder what went wrong, the Gallup data gives telltale clues on the human side. Economics comes down to millions of individual workers and what they experience at work. The worker’s story from India is discouraging. A staggering 33 percent of employees are what Gallup scientists refer to as “actively disengaged,” meaning not only are they miserable at work, but they walk the halls and petition their colleagues to be as miserable and discontented as they are. On the positive end of the spectrum, a tiny 9 percent of Indian employees are engaged. These are the people who build new products and services, generate new ideas, create new customers and ultimately spur an economy to create more and more good jobs.

The workplace tends to be symptomatic of society as a whole, and here the picture is just as gloomy. India’s state of mind is severely troubled right now. Gallup’s World Poll, currently in its eighth year in the field, finds more Indians than ever are “suffering” — 31 percent — while fewer are “thriving,” just 10 percent. This is among the worst in the world.

When any society reaches a low point of well-being with a sizable number of people suffering, it is in trouble. When the quotient of suffering sharply rises (as it did in Libya before the Arab Spring and is happening today in Egypt), social turmoil often results. The street rioting over sexual harassment of women in India — an endemic problem that the government and judicial system turned a blind eye to for decades — is another warning sign.

What will happen next? Officially, India is being upbeat about its economic projections, with a forecast of growth between 6 and 7 percent for 2013 after falling below 7 percent for the past two years and generally underperforming since 2008, according to a recent story in the New York Times. In the Gallup data, 36 percent of the Indian population rated economic conditions as “good” or “excellent” in 2012, as compared to nearly half (46 percent) who thought so in 2008.

Of course, we are rooting for India’s economic uptick, but the human side needs deeper examination. In many ways India is facing a crisis of the soul. When only one person out of 10 is thriving, and around that number feel engaged at the workplace, it indicates that the vast majority are not reaching a desirable level of fulfillment — far from it.

A nation’s soul is the sum total of all interactions between all people in that society. Every moment lasts a few seconds and is positive, negative, or neutral. In those moments, people may make very tiny decisions that, as they accumulate, can profoundly change their day and even the rest of their lives. An old adage says, “Miss a bus, and you change the rest of your life.” In our world of unprecedented interconnectedness, that axiom may need updating: “Miss a bus and you change the rest of the world.” With India’s vast population, there are trillions of interactions per year. If they swing too far to the negative, the society’s soul is suffering a malaise.

Analysts point to large-scale problems, such as the widespread corruption that persists in Indian government, local and national, and the failure of reform parties to gain a strong political footing. But we think the story of moment-to-moment experience counts the most. What if every interaction with a bureaucrat brings expectations of obstacles, red tape or a bribe? What if every woman walking out alone expects catcalls, whistles and physical intrusions from men on the street? What if domestic violence and rape go hugely underreported and when reported lead to minimal consequences for the perpetrator?

India needs to come to terms with its soul sickness, and slowly, haltingly, it seems to be. Most Indians are lodged in the slot of low expectations. The Gallup data shows a surprising complacency, because despite the alarmingly low level of well-being, around 60 percent of Indians between 2006 and 2011 said that they were satisfied with their standard of living. The bubble seems to have burst since then, however, with that figure dipping below 50 percent in 2012.

There is something important here that India’s leaders — and all global leaders — must consider: A nation’s soul precedes its human development. Organic human development will not occur in India if the majority of everyday experiences are negative. Even so, India’s resilience and optimism — along with its resignation in the face of problems going back for generations — gives hope that the country will look to its soul. A great culture can only persist by doing so. We are pained to deliver gloomy news, but our deepest feeling is that the most spiritual nation on earth, and its largest democracy, can find a path to reform, with the well-being of its people held out as a primary goal.

Genetics No Longer Blamed for Majority of Disease:

New Film Unveils Health Breakthrough & Distributed Free to the Sick

Life-changing film gifted to patient communities to inspire and give hope

A revolutionary film featuring top doctors, scientists and spiritual leaders shows thoughts and emotions have the power to contribute to and create disease, as well as aid the healing process. It also:

*dispels the myth that most of our disease is genetic and introduce a new health order. Facts show less than 10% of all disease is passed on through genes.
*proves that our thoughts, beliefs and unresolved emotions may be one of the greatest threats to our health.
*explains there is one major factor that may determine whether we stay healthy or succumb to a disease—and it is within our control.
*inspires through personal accounts of people who overcame extreme health challenges, when doctors had lost hope and given them just days to live.


Every human body is brilliantly designed for vitality and longevity. Why then is our health and life expectancy declining? Have we lost our connection to our natural way of living? Is it possible there is a powerful and effective means to address our health and disease that can assist in tapping into our natural healing capacity of our profoundly powerful human body?

The Cure Is… unveils one of the most profound ancient health formulas to be released in over a century. Amazing true stories, woven with testimonials from top scientists, doctors and evolutionary leaders creates a mind-blowing journey of self-discovery that will radically shift the way you look at health and disease forever

It is time for us look beyond the band aid approach of medicine in our western culture and deeper into the unlimited healing capacity of the human body.

The Cure Is… Join the revolution to health and happiness!

http://www.thecureismovie.com

Panache calls himself an internet service provider for Divine Love. He acts as a modem or DSL line between you and Divine Consciousness. Whatever is needed for your ascension is downloaded directly to you resulting in greater levels of peace, possibility and presence. Called a Spiritual Master by those who come into his presence, he is a uniquely gifted vehicle for spiritual transformation.

Panache has committed his life to traveling the world carrying this divine energy to people of all nationalities, all religious beliefs and ideologies. He has activated thousands of people through his divine presence. He is a vehicle of profound peace, love and light.