A life force flowing through us

In surveys, when people are asked if they believe in a Higher Power, many say they do, but when asked what they mean by this, they can’t say.

Perhaps there’s a scientific explanation. Anyone who watches a flower bloom, holds a new-born baby, gazes at the night sky or contemplates the ocean senses a life force flowing through us, an energy field of which we are all a part. But to explain why, our intellect is of little use. As Max Planck, Nobel Prize winner for physics, wrote:

‘Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.’

My logoHow can a finite being possibly understand the Infinite? Should we even try? Isn’t human intelligence too limited to encompass anything so vast? Muslims understand this completely. Allah, the creative force, is beyond description. Allah can’t be seen or heard, has no shape or form and no gender, but has always existed, will always exist and knows everything that can be known.

The creative force can’t be detected through our five senses. It can’t be seen or heard and has no smell, taste or texture. It can only be inferred through advanced mathematics and sophisticated scientific instruments.

Much of the physical world is beyond the range of human sensory parameters. Dogs can hear and smell things we can’t, eagles have much better sight, bats sense radar-like vibrations we cannot, and we know from looking into a microscope that there are infinitesimal organisms living on our skin and in our bodies which we can never see with the naked eye.

If so little of the material world falls within our sensory parameters, how much harder is it to visualise intelligence or an energy field! Take electricity. We can’t see, hear, taste or smell it, but we know it exists. We can put it to good use. Similarly, we can’t detect a creative force through our senses but we can observe the effects. When we appreciate that there is more to life than meets the eye we have taken a big step towards grasping our spiritual nature.

There is only one prevailing power in the universe, the one that set off the Big Bang and brought our universe into existence. It flows through every atom and every cell of every living thing, through our bodies, activating our minds.

There is no absence of life, potential or intelligence anywhere, fortunately, for we are dependent on it for everything, including our very existence.

©David Lawrence Preston,21.6.18

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Getting High In Bournemouth

I lived for a while in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba. Photographs taken fifty years ago show a pleasant, open town dominated by attractive Portuguese colonial architecture, centred on a series of squares with green spaces, trees and a traditional cathedral. Go there now and it’s quite different. A wall of concrete stretches as far as the eye can see, look upwards and you can only see a small fraction of the sky, and the lovely old buildings lie hidden and overwhelmed by twenty of thirty stories of ugly skyscrapers.

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Looking at Bournemouth today, where I have lived for the most of the last thirty years, I shudder at what I see. Heading towards the town centre from Meyrick Park, the lovely old buildings around the Square are obscured and in shade, Horseshoe Common is dominated by a new block of flats, and the walk from the Square to the pier is becoming a gauntlet of concrete and glass.

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As for Lansdowne, the cranes tell their own story. Wall after wall of concrete reach up to the sky. The buildings are inseparable to the eye, just one huge block. Charming old buildings are obscured in the shade.

I regret what the planners and developers are doing to our city. Stop! It’s too late to turn back the pages, but not too late to draw a line under what’s already been done and draw a halt. No doubt someone is making a lot of money out of these developments – what a shame these people hold all the power to wreck our town. And, as always, ordinary people get no say.

Remember the waterfront complex? It’s happening again.

©David Lawrence Preston, 21.6.2018

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What holds it all together?

Scientists tell us that matter is made from atoms and atoms come from waves and particles – but that the particles that make up the atoms don’t really exist! What, then, holds it all together? According to Max Planck (1885-1947), the theoretical physicist who originated Quantum Theory and who won a Nobel Prize for his work on the atom:

‘All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.’

What is this force? What is this ‘Mind’ that is the matrix of all matter? Is there really a creative intelligence from which all energy and matter originates?

The human mind is so limited we can only ever see a small part of the picture. All we can do is try to make sense of the evidence and be willing to amend our ideas when new evidence becomes available.

Mahatma Gandhi said,

‘Whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that changes a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and re-creates. That informing power or spirit is God.’

Of course, the word ‘God’ has negative associations and is very off-putting to many people. Read the words of J. Krishnamurti, a distinguished 20th Century teacher educated in both Eastern and Western traditions. He urged us not to be put off the idea of a Creative Intelligence by worrying about what we call it:

‘I am not going to use the word ‘God’. I prefer to call this Life.’

Frankly it doesn’t matter what you call it. ‘God’ is just the personification (or symbol) of this omnipotent and omnipresent power. I prefer to avoid this term. I refer to it mainly as Creative Intelligence because this conveys precisely what it is.

If there was a ‘God’, don’t you think he/she/it would find the descriptions given to it by humans laughable?

D0 you have a preference? Do you accept the notion of a Creative Intelligence, which is endorsed by many scientists, but don’t know what to call it?

Are you put off by any particular term? Why do you think that is?

Tell me what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

©David Lawrence Preston, 19.6.18

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Science and Christianity

Christianity has always had an uneasy relationship with science. Many scientific discoveries have appeared to question the very basis of this religion.

The problem for Christians is that some of the statements in the Bible are just plain WRONG. For example, at the time the Genesis creation stories were written, the Hebrews believed that the Earth at the centre of the universe, it was flat and covered by a dome above which were ‘the waters’. Occasionally the dome leaked (it rained). The sun and stars were fixed to the inside of the dome, and below the ground was the place of the dead, portrayed by the ancient Greeks as Hades.

It’s hardly worth stating that we know better now.

In the Middle Ages, scientists were harshly treated for publishing theories which were perceived to contradict Biblical teachings. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) published an astronomical model in 1543 which had the sun at the centre of the universe and the Earth and the other planets rotating around it. He did not attract the censure of the Catholic Church at the time, but Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) was not so lucky a century later when he propounded a similar view. The church declared his findings false and contrary to scripture and forbade him to promote his theory.

Galileo later defended his views in his ‘Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems’, which angered the Pope and the Jesuits, both of whom had supported him up until this point. He was tried by the Holy Office, found guilty of heresy and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took 359 years to rectify this wrong. In 1992, Pope John Paul ll acknowledged in a speech that the Catholic Church had erred in condemning him.

For several hundred years, science and religion staged an uneasy standoff. Scientists avoided making contentious statements about religion and vice versa. Then came Charles Darwin, the author of ‘The Origin of Species’. He was declared ‘an enemy of God’ for daring to advocate a theory that refuted the church’s view of creation. Even so, he never lost his belief in a creative force behind the universe. He wrote, ‘When I wrote The Origin of Species, my faith in God was as strong as that of a bishop.’

Some pioneers of science had no difficulty seeing science and religion as compatible. Albert Einstein was viewed as a heretic by the church, yet he had a profound belief in a universal mind, spirit or creative intelligence that transcended the universe and was beyond our comprehension. He and many others, including Sir Isaac Newton and the ‘Father of Quantum Mechanics’, Max Planck, shared a sense of humility and awe at what they discovered in the natural world and gave the credit to this creative intelligence.

Nowadays the church is more comfortable with scientific research. The Catholic Church, for instance, employs ordained scientists to investigate such diverse subjects as the big bang, epigenetics and global warming, but their starting point is always the Bible teachings. They seek to fit the data to the Bible teachings, not find the best explanation that fits the data. We are without doubt gaining a greater understanding of how the material universe works, but are no nearer to understanding why the universe is as it is than were the ancient Hebrews or Greeks.

©David Lawrence Preston, 12.6.18

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10 years hiding in a room

A young friend of mine, Naomi, has spent the past ten years hiding in her room with the curtains closed, scared to go out because she dreads being seen in public. On the rare occasions she ventures out, she smothers herself in makeup and wears a floppy hat or balaclava, scarf and baggy clothing to conceal her features. A slim, pretty woman, she spends a disproportionate amount of time looking in a mirror.

Burkha

Naomi has been diagnosed with a condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD. BDD sufferers are obsessively preoccupied with thoughts about their appearance. They believe that some aspect of their physical makeup – usually the face, skin or hair – is so blemished they must take drastic measures to hide it.

Now in her early thirties, Naomi’s problems started in adolescence. She was teased for her red hair and puppy fat at school and became excessively shy and depressed. She left school without any qualifications and took a series of poorly paid jobs in shop and cafés before withdrawing from the world. Today she relies on social security handouts and her mother’s generosity to get by.

Nobody knows what causes BDD, although there are likely to be a complex mixture of genetic, developmental and social factors. In Naomi’s case, there is no history of childhood abuse or neglect and no major health concerns. She has always been an introvert. She has a narrow range of interests which she pursues with intensity. She is obsessed by ‘class’ and ‘style’ and is something of a perfectionist. Anything that attracts her interest fully engages her to the exclusion of all else, giving the impression of extreme selfishness.

Her obsession has led her to save up for laser treatment for her skin at an expensive London clinic. Local doctors and psychologists have tried to deter her, stressing that there is nothing wrong with her skin, but to no avail. Experience shows that cosmetic procedures have little hope of relieving her distress and every prospect of making it worse, especially if the treatment goes wrong. But you can’t tell her; she gets extremely angry if anyone points this out.

Clinicians estimate that around 2% of the population suffer from BDD, and it affects men and women equally. It is closely associated with other mental illnesses such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety Disorder and high levels of suicide. Quality of life is understandably poor – lack of natural sunlight can cause major health problems, as can social isolation, few career opportunities and lack of direction.

Diagnosis and treatment are currently problematic. BDD sufferers go to great lengths to conceal their condition and few general practitioners seem to recognise it. Some medications have been shown to help, especially the antidepressant group SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Naomi has been resistant to psychiatric intervention, although Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has a reasonable track record at helping confront and reprogramming irrational fears.

Sadly, unless she decides to engage, there is little prospect of her getting better, placing additional pressures on her family. And sadly, diagnoses of BDD are likely to get worse as people are becoming more preoccupied with their image and appearance than ever before.

©David Lawrence Preston 8.6.2018

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What are you?

What are you? When you think, exactly who or what is doing the thinking? When you stare into a mirror, who is doing the looking?

There’s a story of a young philosophy student who went to see his professor. ‘Please help me,’ he pleaded. ‘There’s a question that’s been eating me alive. I can’t sleep through worrying about it. Tell me, do I exist?’

The professor turned to him with a withering look and replied, ‘Who wants to know?’

The question of what we are and why has always occupied great minds. Socrates, for instance, advised anyone who would listen to ‘know yourself’. Someone asked, ‘You tell others to know themselves, but do you know yourself?’ He replied, ‘No, but I do understand something about this not knowing.’

Nowadays, we know a great deal more than in Socrates’ day. Powerful microscopes reveal the building blocks of our physical form at cellular level and quantum level. We now understand the brain so well that we know which clusters of tissue house which types of mental activity. We can even predict whether an individual is at risk of certain diseases from their thought patterns and emotional make-up. And yet how many of us can truly say we know ourselves?

A human being is a complex organism made up a body, a mind, and an energising force that brings life to the physical form. This energising force – call it Spirit, soul or anything you like – is present in every atom and cell, and when it leaves, we die. That’s why we don’t become spiritual beings – we already are.

‘You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.’ (C.S. Lewis)

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.5.18

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A Good Night’s Sleep

Everyone knows what a struggle the day can be if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Our energy and performance levels suffer, and so do our stress levels and our mood. Yet we can’t ‘make’ ourselves go to sleep and more than we can make ourselves remember things.

More than a third of adults have problems sleeping. If you’re one of them, you don’t have to suffer. There are many things you can do to help yourself without resorting to drastic measures like sleeping pills.

  1. First of all, try to maintain regular bed times and wake times, including weekends.
  2. Eat early – at least two hours before you go to bed. It takes this long to digest a meal. Late eating can cause indigestion, which disturbs sleep. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and helps with getting to sleep at night.
  3. Drinking close to bedtime can also disturb your sleep, so avoid drinking within two hours of bedtime and don’t drink stimulants (such as tea and coffee) after 6pm. An early evening drink such as chamomile tea can be helpful. Avoid alcohol – it may help you fall asleep but will dehydrate you, causing you to wake early with a dry mouth and throat.
  4. Exercise regularly, but don’t do anything strenuous within three hours of bedtime. Late afternoon is the best time. Regular exercise makes it easier to fall asleep and helps you sleep more deeply, but exercising close to bedtime makes falling asleep more difficult. It makes you more alert and raises body temperature (a cooler body temperature facilitates sleep).
  5. A very pleasant way to drift off to sleep is to practise physical and mental relaxation. Use a relaxation CD or DVD if it helps. Practise during the day so that when you need it the skill is easily used.
  6. Deep, rhythmic breathing helps enormously if you want to get to sleep. Combine it with visualising a peaceful scene.
  7. Clear your mind. An active mind interferes with sleep. If your mind is over active as bedtime approaches, write down whatever you are thinking about. Listing things you have to do tomorrow helps prevent worrying. Keep work-related things out of the bedroom – these may trigger anxious thoughts.
  8. Nightly rituals can send a strong message to the unconscious that it is time for sleep, for example, a warm bath, listening to soothing music or reading something calming in bed.
  9. Remember, we all need different amounts of sleep. Try out a few things, find what works for you, and don’t worry if you’re not sleeping as much as other family members. They may need more than you.

Ironically, the thing that prevents people sleeping the most is worrying that they won’t be able to sleep, so practise relaxation, and if you fancy it take up meditation.

Many people have overcome sleeping problems using the above techniques. I hope they work for you. But if they don’t take a look at http://www.acupearl.co.uk/acupearl-chillout-mk3/

©David Lawrence Preston, 22.5.2018

 

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Placebos – the Best Medicine

It is well known that pills and potions with no active ingredients can be just as effective as pharmaceutical/chemical medicines. Sometimes they are more effective, depending on how they are administered. They can cure illnesses for no other reason than the patient trusts the doctor and believes they can.  Despite the research evidence, placebos are still treated as a bit of a joke, as if patients are ‘fooled’ into getting well.

Of course, the pharmaceutical industry hates them – where’s the profit in simple, unbranded sugar pill? Or the credit? So the medical establishment – bankrolled by big pharma – considers them unethical. They say that giving patients pills with no active ingredients while pretending they are something else is deliberate deception. They dismiss them as useless and – worse – dishonest. Of course whether they are dishonest is a moot point, but useless they most certainly aren’t.

Placebos utilise the power of suggestion. Suggestion is a major influence on all our lives. Advertisers and politicians know this perfectly well, of course, and so do parents. When you were a child, did your mother ever ‘kiss it better’ when you hurt yourself? And it did feel better, didn’t it, even though there was no logical reason why it should? Doctors’ waiting rooms, white coats, stethoscopes and prescription pads are all loaded with suggestion. So are crystals, incenses, relaxation CDs, coloured lights and massage oils.

Research has shown over and over again that the effectiveness of placebos can be enhanced by skilfully enhancing their suggestive power. The colour of the pill, its name and packaging, the practitioner’s manner, the layout of the consulting room and waiting room, the language used and so on can all be manipulated to increase its healing power.

We may congratulate ourselves that this is a recent discovery, but it’s actually as old as our ability to smelt iron and build pyramids. We’ve always known that there’s a close connection between body and mind. Anxious thoughts can give rise to headaches, an upset stomach and so on. We tremble with fear and feel excitement at the sight of a lover.

So why did the Western medical establishment ignore the mind-body connection for so long? Put simply, you can’t see thoughts and you can’t measure their progress through the body. Then in the nineteen seventies and eighties, mainstream scientists  discovered the physical processes by which thoughts and emotions manifested as physical changes in the body.

Today, most doctors have made the connection. They understand that many illnesses have a psycho-somatic component, but there’s still much work to be done before it is fully understood, and we’re a long way off finding effective treatments for many psycho-somatic conditions.

It’s all a matter of belief. Most treatments only get optimum results if the patient believes in them. On the other hand, some beliefs are toxic. People who believe that illness is a sign of failure on their part, a punishment for wrongdoings and errors they have made heal slowly, if at all. And research shows that those who believe their illness is related to something that happened in a past life heal the slowest of all.

I used to know a lady who read palms, tarot cards and a crystal ball. Her readings were widely known in the area for their accuracy. I asked her what she actually saw in the crystal ball. She said nothing at all – it was just a ‘prop’ to add a touch of mystique to the proceedings. Smiling, she told me, ‘The information comes to me directly, as thought-impressions, words, mental images and sometimes physical sensations. The crystal ball is just there to impress the clients and make them feel they’re getting their money’s worth.’

I know some complementary practitioners who get excellent results with their clients by intuition. They quickly sense where the problem lies by observing and asking questions, and whatever tools and techniques they use – crystals, reiki, flower essences and so on, even homeopathy – are less important than whether the client thinks they work.

Some very sophisticated appliances – including computerised scanning devices with impressive graphics that utilise the language of energetic medicine and quantum physics – are little more than random number generators. Readings are hit and miss, cannot be verified nor replicated. Some of the ‘remedies’ connected to these devices have no demonstrable effect yet are sold at great expense; they are nothing but placebos. Sure, some clients get well, and that can’t be a bad thing, but many feel no benefit. It all depends on the confidence projected by the practitioner’s ‘performance’ (for this is what it is). If the client is unwilling to suspend disbelief, they get little or no benefit while paying through the nose for the experience.

However, just because there are some sharp operators in the market does not mean that we should dismiss placebos in general. The fact that they can work tells us something very important about illness and recovery. It actually tells us more about the way humans heal than any number of double-blind trials. They are the proof that, given the right circumstances, the belief in our ability to heal and that healing is taking place is all that is necessary.

Rather than polluting our bodies with chemicals and suffering their nasty side effects, wouldn’t it be better for the medical profession to investigate placebos more fully, and find better ways of using them? A medical version of the crystal ball – one that helps people to get well without causing them harm – would surely be a major advance!

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 18.5.2018

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Your Inner Power

We all have a unique and wonderful power within us which holds the key to our ultimate happiness and fulfillment. It originates from the way we think, and what we imagine, say and do.

This inner power is non-physical. When we are attuned to it and allow it to guide and support us we are enriched in every way. We are happy, prosperous and at peace. We have the courage to follow our dreams.

There’s a Native American parable about an Indian brave who found an eagle’s egg when out hunting. He took it back to his village and placed it among some eggs being hatched by a hen. In due course, the eaglet was hatched along with the baby chicks. As it grew, it scratched the earth with its claws and pecked at worms on the ground. It learned how to flap its wings like the other baby chicks. It even clucked like a chicken.

Then one day when he was old, he looked up and saw a magnificent bird gliding across the clear blue sky. He was in awe. ‘What’s that?’ he asked the chicken next to him. ‘That’s the Golden Eagle, the king of the birds,’ came the reply, ‘but don’t you try that. We can’t fly. We are chickens.’ The old eagle never gave it another thought and died, as he had lived, thinking he was a chicken.

You are an ‘eagle’. But do you think, feel and act like one? Or do you think and behave more like a chicken?

Oprah Winfrey once said: ‘People do what they know how to do, and when they know better they do better.’ In other words, we all have the means to raise our consciousness, improve our lives, be happier and play our part in making the world a kinder, more loving place.

Some find this a rather frightening prospect. At the start of a recent seminar, I promised participants that they would feel happier, more fulfilled, less stressed and more at peace with themselves if they took on board the ideas presented that day. Immediately a smartly dressed lady rose from her seat and left. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘I’ve made a mistake. This isn’t for me.’

Down the years I have acquired a vast number of insights and shared them with thousands through my teaching, speaking and coaching. They have worked for everyone who applied them. But don’t take my word for it – find out for yourself. You will soon find out how powerful they are.

What Do You Really Want?

When it comes to deciding what we want out of life, most of us set our horizons low. Generally people want to be happy, healthy, prosperous and secure; to feel good about themselves, have a circle of friends, good family relationships, peace of mind, and work which is personally fulfilling and makes full use of their talents; a variety of social and leisure pursuits, happiness and fun. They also want to be respected by others, to love and be loved, and be free.

Does this ring true for you?

  • Do you love what you do?
  • When you feel frustrated, do you still maintain a deep feeling that what you’re doing is right for you?
  • Is there anything you’d rather be doing?
  • Do you cope easily with the stress in your life?
  • Do you have a positive attitude most days?
  • Are you prosperous?
  • Do you enjoy rewarding relationships with most of the people you meet?
  • Do you feel enthusiastic about life generally?

In the past, a sign of success was having time that wasn’t committed to earning a living. Do you find a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from your, or do you work mainly for the money?  If you work only to earn money, you will always feel poor! There are many unhappy millionaires, and many relatively poor people who enjoy contentment and peace of mind.

Imagine the kind of life you would like to lead. Think about this carefully. Be aware that one of the main reasons why people don’t get what they want out of life is that they’re not clear on what they want.

Which of these are these important to you?

  • Being able to live as you choose and do what you want, making your own choices, not beholden to others.
  • Being able to use your time as you wish.
  • Knowing that life has some meaning for you and that you feel good about what you do.
  • Health – being free from illness and having sufficient energy to carry you through each day.
  • Enjoying the people you live with, including your partner, your children and wider family.
  • The pleasure that comes from an active, varied and fulfilling social life.
  • Interests and pastimes that provide enjoyment and take your mind off the pressures of life.
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you have made a contribution to society. You don’t have to make a global impact –  helping those around you is just as important.
  • Enjoying life and trusting that things work out for the best.
  • Feeling good about yourself and growing as an individual.
  • Being comfortable with yourself as a spiritual being.
  • Have I missed any?

Many people have never given these questions much thought; but without clarity our inner power is stifled, like the eagle that thinks it’s a chicken!

©David Lawrence Preston, 6.5.18, all rights reserved.

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Body Rhythms

Each day the body’s activities go through a natural cycle of change. Many of its rhythmical activities are tied into a 24 hour cycle, and many health problems can arise when these natural daily rhythms are disturbed.

Although this is a relatively modern discovery for Western medicine the Chinese were aware of this centuries ago. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine at any one time of day one of the 12 meridians will be more active than the others, hence the concept of the Chinese Meridian clock.

Circadian rhythms TCM

Also through the day the brain wave patterns alternate between Alpha (rest), Beta (active), Delta (deep sleep) and Theta (sleep). Also at a general level in the morning the body reinvigorates itself ready for the day and at night it prepares for sleep.

Wouldn’t it be good if there were a simple, easy-to-use way of synchronizing the body’s circadian rhythms (24 hour body clock) and brain wave frequencies? A simple device which automatically runs a series of programs to ensure this synchronization?

It’s no longer a pipe-dream. Such a device already exists, offering a world beating, ultra-sophisticated approach to maintaining healthy circadian rhythms. It is supremely compact, easy to use and discrete, and can be worn as a pendant or attached to a strap or belt.

It’s called the AcuPearl Circadian Balance. The C-Balance was launched in January 2016 and can be purchased from http://www.acupearl.co.uk/

 

©AcuPearl UK,6.4.18

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