Monday, May 29, 2006

Natural Health Web

Natural Health Web is a rather useful directory of web sites concerning healing and all forms of natural health.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Finding your negative intention

The shadow is the part of us which we don't "see" or "know". The human ego is willing to let us experience only a portion of ourself. There's a wide range of thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs and more which bubble inside us, which we don't always see or realize are there. Our friends probably see them very clearly, but our ego doesn't let us see them.

Some of the shadow is hurtful or harming. Maybe we don't want to admit to dominating or intimidating others. Maybe we don't want to admit to self destructive attitudes. Maybe we are scared of success, for whatever reason, and a part of us will sabotage any path towards success. But those aspects of ourself aren't pleasant to know about, are they? Therefore the ego will keep these aspects of ourself secret. This sort of shadow self is known as the dark shadow.

Another kind of shadow, the golden shadow, is the excellence we are unwilling to admit to. Maybe we are beautiful or brilliant or athletic or creative, and don't admit to this.

Last night I had an experience of the negative intention in my life, and wanted to share a learning about the shadow.

In thinking over my life a series of life-threatening, sometimes near fatal, experiences came to mind. A thought occurred to me that it was as if a part of me didn't want to live at all, and I'd rather die than live. A piece of my shadow, perhaps.

As I often do, I asked the divine guidance to help me see if there is a part of me holding this intention. That is, if a part of me really wants to die rather than live, or whether this is simply something my mind made up. The mind can create all sorts of scenarios and ideas, and it's always good to check the truth of an idea.

Well, we did find some truth to that thought, which I'm sitting with. But that's not the point that I'm inspired to write about.

The learning I spoke of, that I'm inspired to write, is this: It's that seeking out the shadow only leads to pain or suffering.

Yes, the shadow self exists inside us. It is an important spiritual quest to learn of this shadow, throwing some light on the shadow. It's by doing so that our shadow becomes less strong, over time.

However this is not done by seeking out the shadow. Instead one seeks out the light within. I once heard a wise statement: That which you pay attention or give love to grows, that which you ignore withers.

By seeking out the shadow, you are giving attention to your shadow, and your shadow will grow stronger.

This is why, instead, the spiritual practices of many traditions teach us to explore the divine. As we give attention to our positive aspects, the divine part of ourself, that part of ourself will grow. It's not that we would ignore our shadow, but that we would give attention to the divinity within us. As we practice our shadow will automatically show itself. As I said above, there is an important spiritual quest to learn of the shadow, and throw light on the shadow. By practicing the experience of our inner divinity, that's where we get the light to throw on the shadow.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

FDA Warns that Paxil Makes Depressed Adults Suicidal

FDA Warns that Paxil Makes Depressed Adults Suicidal is a rather alarming article about the supposedly anti-depressant drugs and a major side effect, namely increased risk of suicide. The author is Peter R. Breggin, M.D., a rather outspoken psychiatrist who has been researching and documenting the dangers of psychiatric drugs for years.

The story from mainstream medicine is that psychiatric drugs help, etc. Dr. Breggin's work has shown otherwise, however, only to be met by official stonewalling.

But, a recent study released by the FDA shows: Depressed people are 6.4 times more likely to become suicidal while taking an antidepressant than while taking a sugar pill. The study had a group of patients, one set taking sugar pills (placebo) and another group taking Paxil. Both groups had depression. The group taking Paxil were much more likely to have suicidal thoughts than the placebo group.

The article has a lot more details.

For some in-depth reading, may I suggest one of Dr. Breggins books: Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications

"Don't give on the outside, give on the inside"

I was just at Whole Foods and saw this statement at the checkout stand: "Don't give on the outside, give on the inside" It was targeted to charitably minded people who would give food or money to the homeless people who congregated outside the store. Rather than give to the people who congregate outside, give to a charity who then gives to those people.

Interesting concept, but my mind took a very different direction from this.

The statement is very Buddhist in nature, even if the program is not. In Buddhist teaching we are told that everything we see in the world is a projection from inside us. Put another way, every part of the world is inside us, because the whole world is one identity, and our supposed separate identities is some kind of illusory madness.

For example, if you witness some kind of pain in the world the tendency is to go to that pain and try to fix that pain. That's an example of dualistic thinking, that the pain you're witnessing is outside yourself and therefore must be corrected outside yourself.

A Buddhist way of dealing with an "external" pain is to meditate on what that pain brings up inside you, sitting with it to learn about it.

What struck me as I walked outside and was approached by someone soliciting for donations is ... when I give to a charity, in a way it affirms or witnesses some form of lack in the world. They need money, therefore I will give it to them.

But, where am I needy inside myself? What part of myself feels it is lacking something? And, wouldn't it be more honest for me to find a way to satisfy that inner feeling of lack? And, wouldn't it be wonderful if everybody had a way to learn to satisfy their inner feeling of lack?

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Accepting the worst

This thought is in my calendar: "Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst" -- Lin Yutang

What comes to mind is that having acceptance for "the worst" then you cannot be knocked out of peace.

I think this challenges the common belief of what is peace. So, what is peace?

Is peace the absence of chaos? The absence of war or violence?

I've thought about this quite a bit, and for me the analogy for peace is a forest. A forest is more than the trees contained in the forsest.

One time I was sitting beside a road going through a redwood forest outside Santa Cruz. Sitting facing into the forest, my back was facing the road. And I noticed this stillness in the forest, yet at the same time there's a lot of activity in the forest. What happened is that after any event, such as a tree branch falling, or an animal rustling, that the forest would quickly envelope that event and peace would reign. But some events could not be swallowed by the forest, because the forest was not sufficient to envelope them.

For example, when cars drove by on the road that disturbed things in a way the forest could not encompass. Yet when the road had no cars, then the road became encompassed in the forest.

I think that peace is not the absence of chaos, but instead acceptance or encompassment of chaos. The forest is not at all without chaos, instead any forest is a living thing which is in constant change. Yet, the forest is the very example of peace, so what's going on? I suggest what's going on is that the forest has acceptance of whatever happens within itself. And, to a degree, no matter what happens in the forest, the forest can envelope that event.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Your poison is your medicine

I had an inspiration the other day which I want to share.

In Buddhism, and many other spiritual practices, they teach compassionate self awareness as the path to enlightenment. The Buddha had a long series of teachings about this, but what's interesting is their meditation practice. One sits and stays in awareness of whatever is going on inside themself. But, instead of trying to change what you see inside, instead of trying to fix it, you're guided to have compassionate acceptance of whatever you find inside yourself.

No matter how nasty or how wonderful what you find inside yourself, compassionate self acceptance is the Buddha's guidance.

My inspiration is, this is just like homeopathy.

In homeopathy the remedies are usually made by taking a poisonous substance and diluting it. You dilute it, and dilute it, and dilute it, and dilute it some more, until there is nothing of the original substance left over. The dilution process is very specific to homeopathy. What results is a remedy for the condition caused by the original substance.

Isn't that just like compassionate self awareness?

If you sit and observe yourself, you will find various pains, doubts, fears and more. You have a few choices, don't you? For example you can try to change those things, you can reject them, you can try to cut them out of you and toss them off a cliff, you can try to give them to someone else, you can ignore them hoping they'll go away, etc. Or you can accept them.

When you accept your pain in love, it is absorbed in love. As you accept your pain into love, it will, over time, be diluted. As you accept your pain into love, as a continual practice, the dilution process will be ongoing, and over time your pain becomes more and more diluted. Until ... your pain becomes dilute enough to become the remedy for whatever caused the pain.

That's an idea for you to ponder.