How Deep Relaxation Can Transform Your Life

There is a zone of relaxation where the mind is at its most powerful, intuitive and creative. This is the ‘Alpha State’, where the two halves of the brain are in balance. Being able to reach this restful, deeply relaxed state is a life enhancing skill, because the mind works best when you’re cool and calm. And it’s easily learned.

Deep relaxation is a state of calmness which allows the mind to idle and drift. It is a profound state of calmness in which all physical and mental tension is released.

Regular deep relaxation brings about a state of enhanced harmony in your daily life. Benefits include:

Greater peace of mind and mental calm

Improved health, greater vitality

More economical and productive use of energy

Protection against stress and stress related disease

Enhanced intuitive and creative abilities

More rapid healing and pain relief

Improved digestion and lower blood pressure

More refreshing and satisfying sleep

Better concentration

Improved ability to handle important occasions

With daily practice, deep relaxation also improves relationships. It’s easier to get on with others when you are relaxed and it’s easier to get on with yourself too). It also enhances self-awareness and self-esteem.

Young children have no problem relaxing, but it seems that most of us lose this ability as we mature. We become more tense, and tension may disrupt our social and working lives, sexual activity, digestion, sleep and brain-body coordination. It can also result in a variety of fears and phobias.

Deep relaxation can help relieve all these problems. Many people with chronic health problems benefit enormously. For instance, Alain suffered from severe stomach cramps and a nauseous feeling for years. Doctors had no idea what was causing it, but within two weeks of learning and practising deep relaxation twice-daily the pains were much reduced, and after six weeks, they’d gone altogether.

Calm

Practical Ways To Relax

Try this:

Sit up straight in a chair with your back and neck supported. Place both feet on the floor, legs uncrossed, hands resting comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and let it out slowly.

Take another deep breath. Hold it for a few moments, then slowly exhale. Allow yourself to be completely relaxed and comfortable.

Once more, take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and slowly let it out. Relax.

Now simply sit in silence, breathing slowly, for five minutes without moving any part of your body. Concentrate on being quiet, still, peaceful and relaxed. Then open your eyes.

Always start by finding a time and place where you will not be disturbed. Don’t attempt it if you  need to pay attention to what you’re doing.

If you want to have music quietly in the background choose something slow and calming, such as gentle classical music or specially composed relaxation music. You’ll find it seems much louder once you’re relaxed.

A relaxation session comprises four stages – induction, deepening, autosuggestion/imagery, and termination. Don’t rush your relaxation sessions, and don’t worry about whether you are succeeding or not; this is counter-productive.

Induction

Start by picking a spot on a wall or ceiling and focusing your gaze on it. When your eyes start to tire, count five deep breaths backwards. When you get to one, your eyes will be closed.

Next, focus on your breathing: allow yourself to relax a little more on each out-breath. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the breath.

Then select one of the following:

  • Sigh breath: take a very deep breath. Release it suddenly, sounding a prolonged ‘aaah’ as you do so. Allow a wave of relaxation to sweep down your body. This is excellent for relaxing very quickly.
  • Three deep breaths: take a very deep breath. Fill your chest and lungs completely (but not so as it becomes uncomfortable). Hold for a count of four, then slowly release. Do this three times. Think the word ‘calm’ or ‘relax’ as you exhale. Increase the count to six, eight or ten as you become more practised.
  • Imagine a cloud of peace and calmness filling your body as you breathe in. When you breathe out, imagine it taking with it all stress and tension. If you like, imagine the cloud having a soothing colour of your choice.

Deepening the relaxation

Next, take your attention to different parts of the body/groups of muscles in turn and consciously relax them. (This is called ‘progressive’ relaxation.)

Relax your toes and feet

Relax your calves and ankles

Relax your knees and thighs

Relax your buttocks

Relax your stomach muscles and solar plexus

Relax your back and spine

Relax your chest

Relax your neck and shoulders

Relax your upper arms

Relax your lower arms and wrists

Relax your hands and fingers

Relax your eyes and face

Now try one or two of the following techniques. Everyone has their own style of relaxation, so choose those which work best for you:

  • Rag doll: Imagine your body as a rag doll, limp and floppy, muscles soft, loose and without tension.
  • Count down: Slowly count down from ten or twenty to one on each out breath. Imagine yourself descending a flight of steps, a lift or escalator one level at a time, letting go a little more with each step or level.
  • Affirmation: When you are deeply relaxed, slowly repeat the following affirmation:  ‘I relax easily, quickly and deeply. Each time I relax, I go deeper and deeper. I am at peace.’
  • Relaxing place: imagine that you are somewhere tranquil such as a garden, beach or special sanctuary. Images and sounds of water can be very soothing. So can imagining the feeling on the warm sun on your face and body.

Once relaxed, create visual images, sounds and feelings and repeat the affirmations that will help you to get what you want from the session.

Triggers

You can easily create a trigger or ‘anchor’ to help you to relax at will. This is how:

When in deep state, gently put the thumb and fingers of your dominant hand together and whisper the word ‘Alpha’. Then silently affirm, ’Whenever I put my thumb and fingers together and say ‘Alpha’, I will instantly and easily relax deeply.’

Within a few days, with practice, whenever you close your eyes, put your thumb and fingers together and whisper ‘Alpha’, you will feel yourself easily drifting down into relaxation.

My mentor became so proficient at this he was able to go deep into Alpha in seconds while leaning on a traffic barrier in London’s Piccadilly Circus. If it can work there, it can work anywhere!

Termination

To finish, first affirm that beneficial changes have taken place in the unconscious as a result of the session and affirm that you are using your deepest inner resources to bring about the changes in thinking, attitudes and behaviour that you desire.

Then, if you are relaxing during the day, count slowly from one to five and open your eyes. Wiggle your hands, shrug your shoulders and move your feet. Tell yourself you’re fully alert, and when you are ready, resume your normal activities.

Alternatively, if it’s last thing at night and you wish to go to sleep, simply drift off (telling yourself that you will wake refreshed and re-energised in the morning).

Conclusion

Relaxation has many proven benefits – studies carried out by leading doctors and psychologists show that this is not in doubt. It is a skill easily acquired through practice. If you find it hard to begin with, don’t worry, just persist. Most of the early problems you encounter will soon disappear, and you’ll quickly find you feel better, happier, more content and more peaceful.

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.10.2018

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The Firewalk – Creative Imagery in Action

The most convincing demonstration of creative imagery for me took place a few years ago. About three dozen of us gathered in a field in Somerset one cool April evening. A five metre lane of burning hot embers was prepared, and one by one we tentatively stepped onto the fire, muttering ‘cool wet moss’ and imagining the glowing embers as crunchy popcorn.

The only preparation we’d had was an hour and a half visualising that we could do it, affirming ‘I am cool and calm’, ‘I am powerful’ and ‘I walk through fear’, imagining the soft, pleasant coolness beneath our feet.

Firewalk

The fire walk is a convincing demonstration of mind over matter. There is no logical explanation, but it’s been done by millions of people all over the world, people just like you and I, every one a testament to the power of creative imagery, autosuggestion and affirmations.

Creative imagery is powerful. Creative imagery works. What you visualise today can become your reality in the future, so make sure you only visualise what you desire for yourself and your loved ones.

Try this:

Pick something you know well – a close friend, your house, car, a favourite scene etc. Close your eyes and visualise it. If you can’t visualize the whole thing, pick a part of it such as their face, a tree or the front door. Play with the image. Make it bigger, smaller, brighter, dimmer? Can you make it more colourful, hazier, clearer? Touch it – how does it feel? Add movement, for instance, walk round the house and see it from a different angle, get in the car and go for a spin. Practise until the image becomes stronger, more animated.

 

If you are a newcomer to creative imagery, be patient. Not everyone can conjure up crystal clear pictures in full colour. Most of us find it difficult at first and all can improve.

If you’ve tried it for a while and are still finding it difficult, it could be because you’re just not naturally a visual person. People process information in many different ways. Some are visual – they primarily use pictures; others are auditory, which means they function better through sound. A kinesthetic person experiences the world primarily through feeling and touch. Which are you?

If you’re auditory, try to ‘hear’ sounds you associate with your chosen outcome. If kinesthetic, ‘sense’ or ‘feel’ the result you want. This makes use of the way in which your brain functions. Whatever you’re most comfortable with is absolutely right for you.

If nothing seems to happen, don’t give up. Perhaps you are trying too hard or have allowed doubts to creep in. Or maybe something better awaits you. Your intuitive Superconscious mind may be trying to direct you onto a different course. Keep an open mind. You’re harnessing powerful energies, so don’t misuse them.

©David Lawrence Preston, 9.10.2017

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Exercise – Luxury, Pleasure, Necessity?

Oscar Wilde once said that whenever he felt the urge to exercise he would lie down and rest until it went away. Shame! This is a certain recipe for physical ill health, stress and mental deterioration. However, the amount and type of exercise needed to stay healthy are well within the grasp of most people.

One of the most disturbing aspects of modern life is how little physical activity many of us undertake. In Britain, eight out of ten adults are so physically inactive they are damaging their health, and the numbers are rising. Three-quarters of young Britons have less than two hours’ physical education per week at school, and almost a quarter of 12-15 year-old wheeze after a brief jog. And it’s getting worse. Research in 2015 – three years after the London Olympics that were supposed to help raise participation rates in the UK – nearly half a million fewer people were participating in physical activity. The biggest culprits were distractions such as TV and computers.

The benefits of regular exercise are too numerous to list. They include more energy and stamina, increased resistance to disease, lower cholesterol levels, deeper, more satisfying sleep, and a more youthful appearance. Exercise also brings mental benefits such as increased self-confidence, better concentration, improved memory and greater resilience to stress. It is also vital for weight control. The metabolic rate is raised both during exercise and for hours afterwards, burning off fat and excess calories.

As little as thirty minutes rapid walking four times a week can provide up to ten years of rejuvenation, making the heart more efficient, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and significantly increasing life expectancy. Indeed, sixty year-old men who have exercised regularly throughout their lives have reaction times equal to, or better than, inactive men in their twenties and women who exercise have lower rates of breast and reproductive-system cancers.

Exercise is also a natural tranquilliser and antidepressant. It helps releases the stress chemicals which flood the body when we are stressed. We’re also happier when we exercise because the ‘happy hormones’ known as endorphins are released into the bloodstream bringing feelings of elation which can still be felt long after. Endorphins also block feelings of pain and help manage stress and depression.

What Kind of Exercise Do You Need?

Twenty to thirty minutes a day sufficient to raise the rate of breathing is adequate for most adults to maintain good health. Make discreet adjustment to your lifestyle. For instance, walk or cycle instead of using motorized transport and use the stairs instead of the lift. Buy a push mower – gardening is excellent aerobic exercise.

You need:

  • Endurance exercises to build stamina, improve breathing and condition the cardiovascular system.
  • Flexibility or stretching exercise to loosen the muscles, build suppleness and prevent stiffness; aches and pains in the joints as we get older are not so much the result of aging or arthritis, but lack of use.
  • And you need strengthening exercises to increase or maintain muscle power.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise

Aerobic increases the oxygen supply in the bloodstream (aerobic means ‘in combination with oxygen’). It increases lung capacity, burns fat and builds stamina. It includes anything that can be done at a steady rate without becoming breathless: walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, dancing, etc.

Aerobic exercise also helps burn off excess adrenalin and the harmful toxins that result from stress and tension. We can’t always respond to frustration and stressful situations with instant fight or flight, but we can work it off walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.

In contrast, anaerobic exercise burns starch and builds strength. ‘Anaerobic’ means ‘in the absence of oxygen’. Any activity which leaves you breathless is anaerobic. It involves short, intense bursts of energy which impose a much greater strain on the body.

If you’ve been physically inactive, start with gentle aerobic exercise and increase your work rate gradually. Make sure you can do it without discomfort before attempting strenuous anaerobic exercise.

Stretching and loosening

Stretching and loosening builds suppleness, prevents stiffness, relieves muscle tension and reduces the risk of injury. Create a regular routine of stretching and moving the joints and muscles is recommended. One excellent way is yoga. Anyone who does yoga regularly will be supple well into their later years.

Hints on exercise

Within a few days of beginning a sensible exercise programme, anyone who hasn’t taken regular exercise will find they’re looking and feeling better than they’ve done for years.

  • If you are over forty, have a medical check up before you start exercising, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly for a while.
  • Don’t try to do too much to begin with. Stay within your limits and increase your work rate gradually.
  • Always warm up first. A few minutes of gentle loosening and stretching protects the heart, muscles and joints from injury.
  • Exercise at least three times a week at a time to suit you. Choose activities you enjoy.
  • Never miss a session (unless you’re ill). It’s easier to get out of shape than into it. It takes several months to reach peak condition, but your fitness can be lost in two or three weeks of inactivity.
  • Cool down afterwards, e.g. a few minutes of gentle loosening and stretching.
  • Don’t overdo it. You should feel better five minutes after completing exercise than you did before. If you feel breathless, slow down until your body is safely used to it.
  • Don’t exercise too hard if you are ill. Your body needs the energy for recovery.
  • Allow yourself plenty of recuperation time between sessions. Your body will recover more quickly and you will be less likely to get injured.
  • Smile! Nothing else benefits the facial muscles as much.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Weight Control

An obese man was given a list of permitted foods by his doctor. ‘Fine,’ he said having read the first few items – lettuce, carrots, celery, etc – ‘but do I take them before or after meals?’

Unless you have a medical condition which interferes with metabolism, there are only two ways to lose weight – eat less and exercise more.

If you are overweight, first get yourself checked out by a doctor. Then, if there is nothing medically wrong, avoid eating and drinking between meals (no nibbling and snacking), eat smaller portions (you’ll soon find that a smaller amount of food makes you feel satisfied and comfortably full) and choose only health giving, low sugar, high fibre, low fat foods and drinks, which are consistent with a slim figure.

Reinforce your weight control programme by using the I-T-I-A Formula:

  1. Clarify your intention by setting firm, challenging but realistic goals. Set deadlines by which you intend to achieve your milestones.
  1. Changing your thinking and beliefs about weight (e.g. reinforce the idea that if you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight – no excuses!). Affirm that things are already changing and you will succeed.
  1. Mentally ‘imagine’ yourself having reached your target weight.
  1. Take action, monitor your progress, make adjustments if necessary, and persist until you succeed.

The types and amounts of exercise needed to reap the rewards are well within the reach of most people, even those who have not previously exercised regularly. Go for it!

 

©Feelinggoodallthetime, 27.6.2017

Nothing herein is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor or qualified health care professional about any condition that may require diagnosis or treatment.

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The AcuPearl Sport is designed to support the body during exercise. Further details – www.AcuPearl.co.uk.

 

How to Books, 2010

Adventure before dementia

Saw a sign on the back of a camper van today. It read ‘adventure before dementia.’ It made me think. I know people who have played it safe, stuck to the same profession for forty years and even worked in the same building for several decades. Some of them are retired now and living very comfortably on a good pension where they do the garden, read the newspaper, go out for Sunday lunch and watch the detective dramas on ITV3.

My life has been completely different. I’ve worked as a market researcher, university lecturer, hypnotherapist and life coach, tutor trainer, training manager, tour guide, marketeer and mail sorter. I’ve pursued by interests in health, spirituality, happiness, energy medicine and wellbeing to the nth degree. I’ve visited every inhabited continent except Africa, stood for Parliament, taught in Moscow, North Carolina, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. I lived in Brazil for a while, have been married three times, had four beautiful children (all grown up now and thriving) and published eight books. All of this while having undiagnosed Aspergers!

I’m 64 now, still taking risks and show no signs of letting up. There’s no sign of dementia (yet), but still plenty of adventure! And I hope it stays that way until the day I die!

 

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Forgiveness

I’m often struck by the spectacle of people who’ve just suffered some tragedy – like a close relative being murdered – being placed in front of the TV cameras and being asked one of the most stupid of stupid questions – how do you feel? Soon after the event, they’re usually too shocked to say anything sensible. Often they just burst into tears.

Sometimes they express their anger and their desire for vengeance. They say things like ‘how can I sleep until the killer has been brought to justice?’ or ‘If I could get my hands on them I’d tear them limb from limb…..’ They tell how they can’t sleep, their health has suffered, they can’t work because of the worry that consumes them – a natural response to shock in the short term, but in the longer term a sign they haven’t really dealt with it.

Then time passes, the culprit is caught and the same people say, ‘How can I ever forgive them?’ or ‘No punishment can repay what they did.’ ‘Some even say, ‘I don’t want to forgive? Why should I?’

We all know revenge can’t bring back one’s loved ones or change the facts if a terrible accident has taken place.

Fortunately most of us are never in that situation.  We suffer various lesser setbacks, we perhaps feel someone has cheated on us, stolen from us or done us harm in some other way. Our instinct is to try and get our own back, ‘I’ll show him’, get angry, seek revenge or perhaps cut them out of our lives completely.

But there’s a problem – several problems in fact.

  • Anger clouds or judgement. We find ourselves doing unwise things, and sometimes inadvertently sabotage our own well-being.
  • Anger, bitterness, resentment etc. make us ill; they flood the body with toxic stress chemicals, cause the muscles to tighten, leading to physical problems.

It’s said that acid only harms the vessel that contains it.

There’s an old Chinese saying, ‘If you’re going to seek revenge, you’d better dig two graves.’

But let’s not be glib about this – forgiveness isn’t easy. It’s all too easy to say you’ve forgiven because it’s what people want to hear, even though you’re doing it through gritted teeth and deep down you haven’t forgiven at all. And the reason Oscar Wilde gave to forgive isn’t very helpful either. He said, ‘Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys then so much.’

Why forgive

Here are four reasons to start with:

  • When we forgive we heal our pain. Our bodies feel different – less tense. The person or event we’ve forgiven becomes a memory, no longer charged with emotion. You’ll be able to meet the other person as if the situation had never happened between you.
  • Everything we give out boomerangs back on us. Fear and anger come back to hit us. But when we forgive, when we radiate positive energy, negativity dissolves and the boomerang effect doesn’t take place.
  • Forgiveness is not about condoning wrong doing. It is not saying you’re glad it happened or that you would like someone else to change, but about taking total responsibility for your own life.  I often hear people say, ‘Why should I forgive after what they did? How can anyone forgive that?’ But that’s not the point – you don’t do it for them – you do it for you. You do it to get rid of the harmful ‘stuff’ you’re carrying around with you.
  • Above all, you open up the possibility to creating a better future. When you forgive, a transformation takes place in your life. You let go and move on. It brings space into your life for new thoughts and new experiences.

Intention

To say, ‘Just forgive,’ is too glib. There are times when we’re not ready to forgive; when the wrongs we believe we have suffered are too great. We must ask ourselves if we would really like to be able to forgive, if it is something we would like to move towards?

Simply having the intention to forgive – wanting to – sets you on the way to making it happen. That’s why I feel sad for those people who say ‘I’ll never forgive, I don’t want to forgive, why should I?’

The way forward is to create more understanding, more compassion, more wisdom into ourselves. Then over time the pain will ease and the tension gradually fades away.

When we express the willingness to forgive, we’re taking a major step towards letting go.

Thinking

Examine your beliefs about forgiveness. If you believe that you have to get your own back for every wrong that has ever been done to you or it’s a sign of weakness, think about this carefully. Is this belief serving you well?

Work on eliminating unforgiving thoughts. Listen to your self-talk. Tell yourself you don’t want to think this way. Release the energy you’ve been putting into holding on to blaming thoughts.

Use Affirmations – establish in your mind positive attributes such as love, compassion and forgiveness.

Affirm: ‘I now establish forgiveness in my consciousness. Perfect order is now established in my mind. I am at peace.’

Imagination

Make a mental image of the person with whom you are angry and send them love. ‘From this moment on, I send you love and light.’  Surround this image of them in pure white light. ‘See’ yourself as connected to this person. If you cannot yet forgive, imagine yourself looking down on the situation from a higher perspective. Very often the Earth-bound self cannot forgive, but the Higher Self can.

Action

Inwardly or expressly thank those who made life difficult and tested you. They have contributed to your life’s purpose. If you respond wisely, they have aided you in your purpose and your growth.

Stop taking those petty actions of revenge. Extend your generosity and compassion to all. And hardest of all – go to that person and ask forgiveness, or do it in your imagination (they’ll pick it up one way or another).

The Spiritual Perspective on Forgiveness

What about you? What do you need to be forgiven for?

In order to forgive you must have done several things:

  • Judged.
  • Blamed.
  • Experienced fear (or become defensive through fear).

Once you stop judging and blaming, forgiveness is no longer an issue. If you had never judged or blamed another, there would be nothing to forgive.

And don’t forget to forgive yourself – you deserve it as much as anyone else! If you’ve been judging another harshly, you too must be forgiven.

True forgiveness is a permanent state of being, not just an occasional act. Let go and let the universe handle it through the natural Law of Cause and Effect. Others will have to face up to their responsibilities and learn from them, just as we do. We need do nothing. Lessons will be learned. Justice will be done.

Wouldn’t it be good to let those people on the telly have the good news? It would save them a lot of suffering.

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©David Lawrence Preston, 19.2.2017

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How To Books, 2007

5 reasons to forgive

Practise forgiveness

Judging, blaming, bearing grudges and forgiveness are closely related. Before you need to forgive you must have judged, blamed and felt a measure of fear. Otherwise there would be nothing to forgive.

It is not for you to decide whether the recipient deserves to be forgiven is not. Forgiveness is not about condoning wrongdoing, but is part of the process of righting wrongs and putting something better in their place.

Five irresistible reasons to forgive

  1. When we forgive, we free ourselves from anger, bitterness and resentment and create inner peace. Our bodies feel less tense. The incident becomes merely a memory, no longer charged with emotion.
  1. Everything we give out returns to us. When we forgive, the bitterness evaporates and we avoid being on the end of others’ bitterness in future.
  1. We take responsibility for our lives rather than expecting something outside our control to happen or someone else to change.
  1. We forgive not so much for the other person (they may know that we’ve forgiven them). We do it for ourselves. Who benefits the most when you forgive – YOU! There’s a wise old saying: Acid harms only the vessel that contains it.
  1. Forgiveness brings our awareness to the present. We let go of the past, stop plotting for the future, let go and move on.

Forgive yourself too

Guilt is one of most disempowering emotions and one of the most common. Many people fret over things they can do little about, and some even feel guilty knowing they’ve done nothing wrong.

Guilt is a futile emotion because it is rooted in the past which, of course, can’t be changed. All we can do is change our thoughts and feelings about it.

What about you? You deserve forgiveness as much as anyone else. What do you need to be forgiven for? You have made mistakes – we all have. Instead of feeling guilty, look for the lessons and don’t make the same mistakes again.

Do you find it hard to forgive?

Do you ever feel you’re not ready to forgive? You want to, you know it makes sense and yet those blaming thoughts keep coming.

If so, start by wanting to, then intending to forgive. The willingness to forgive is a major step.

  • Examine your beliefs about forgiveness. Do you believe that you have to get even for every wrong done to you? Do you believe that forgiveness is a sign of weakness? Do these beliefs serve you well?
  • Eliminate unforgiving thoughts. Sow thoughts of love, empathy and forgiveness. Affirm – Perfect order is now established in my mind. I am at peace.
  • Picture the person who you wish to forgive. Surround this image in white light and affirm, ‘From this moment on, I send you love and light.’ ‘See’ the two of you as connected.
  • Extend love, generosity and compassion to them and avoid petty acts of revenge.

 

©David Lawrence Preston 6.6.2017

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How to Books, 2007

Simplify your life for happiness

If you really want to be happy and less stressed, simplify your life. Reduce your dependence on possessions. Surround yourself only with things that meet your needs and delight you.

  • Give up the need to have more. ‘More’ is one of the mantras of the ego, which believes ‘I never have enough’ and ‘If I don’t get it I won’t be happy’.
  • Give up the desire for luxury.
  • Shun ostentation.
  • Choose simple tastes that place less strain on the environment.
  • Learn to use less expensive things in more creative ways.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be less prosperous. Truly prosperous people do not need to burden themselves with unnecessary personal possessions. They know instinctively that they will always have sufficient for their needs.

When you’re gripped by an impulse to acquire something new, ask yourself:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Why?
  • Will it bring me more ‘pleasure’ than ‘pain’?
  • Have I kidded myself I need it to be happy?

If you don’t need it, don’t buy it! Resist the persuasive skills of the marketing and advertising industries! Research has repeatedly shown that once we have enough to feed, clothe and house ourselves, each additional item makes little difference to our happiness and well-being.

Clear the clutter

Free yourself of unnecessary paraphernalia. Don’t hang onto things just on the off-chance that one day they may come in useful. This attitude is born out of fear that one day your needs won’t be met, which keeps you rooted in poverty consciousness.

If you don’t need it, get rid of it. If you haven’t worn something for a while, let it go. Recycle anything you can’t use or give it to charity. Clear out your drawers, cupboards, shelves and every nook and cranny, and once you’ve cleared a space, don’t refill it. A good clear-out leaves you feeling lighter and clears the channel of supply enabling you to receive more of what you really need and value.

‘Wealth beyond what is natural is of no more use than an overflowing container.’

Epicurus

©David Lawrence Preston, 5.6.2017

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How to Books, 2007

Buddhist Economics and Good Work

One of the greatest statements on living simply is to be found in E. F. Schumacher’s book, ‘Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered’.

One chapter, ‘Buddhist Economics,’ points out that consumption is not the purpose of life but merely a means to an end. Our aim, he argued, ‘should be to obtain the maximum well-being with the minimum of consumption.’

Using clothing as an example, he suggested that the most economically efficient approach would be to provide warmth, comfort and an attractive appearance for everyone, with the least amount of effort and minimum destruction of natural resources. Collecting a wardrobe full of clothes we hardly ever wear simply doesn’t make sense. We could toil less and have more time for other pursuits. This would also put less pressure on the environment.

When we go for maximum well-being with minimum consumption, we help to make the world a kinder, gentler place, and it doesn’t mean depriving ourselves because we’re gaining much more than we lose, including time for ourselves and our loved ones.

Good work

Another E.F. Schumacher book, ‘Good Work,’ spells out the two main purposes of work – to provide for our needs and, just as importantly, to express our gifts and powers. This is equally important because if we work only for money, we never be prosperous regardless of what we earn.

If your work is unfulfilling, change it. Find work that you enjoy, uses your talents and allows you to make your best contribution. When you do what you love and put your heart and soul into it, providing it benefits others and not just yourself you will be taken care of according to Spiritual Law.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 1.2.2017

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How to Books, 2007

 

Usui Reiki

Dr Mikao Usui was born in the small village of Yago, Southern Japan, in 1865 into a prosperous family. A keen and talented student, he travelled widely, including to Europe and China, and studied history, medicine, psychology and the Taoist, Buddhist and Christian scriptures. In young manhood, be became a successful businessman. But in his fifties, his health and his businesses began to fail.

Legend has it that Mikao Usui discovered the Reiki principles while meditating and fasting on top of Mount Kurama, believed to be a sacred mountain. He felt an incredible energy, and soon after found he could heal himself and others by laying his hands on them. This led to his rediscovery of the ancient hands-on healing method that he named ‘Reiki.’ Reiki means ‘universal life energy’.

He opened a clinic in Tokyo in April 1921.People came from far and wide. He also gave workshops to spread the knowledge. In 1923 a dreadful earthquake shook the city, and he gave Reiki treatments to the survivors. The clinic became so popular that it couldn’t handle the numbers, so he built a larger one and was honoured by the Emperor for his work.

He founded an association called Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho. It had 2,000 students and 21 trained Masters by the time of his death.

Usui was said to be a warm and gentle man, modest, humble and courageous. Contemporaries said that people were drawn to him for his charisma and wisdom. He did not see healing as separate from his spiritual teachings.

In 1926, at 61, he suffered a fatal stroke. By then, there were Reiki centres throughout Japan.

Dr Hayashi

One of Usui’s students was a medical doctor and retired naval officer, Churijo Hayashi. He was initiated as a Reiki Master in 1925. He opened a clinic and adopted a scientific method to his practice. He carefully logged his treatments and results and used this information to create the ‘Hayashi Healing Guide’ which included detailed treatments for specific conditions. These included specific positions on the body on which the hands re to be placed to facilitate flow.

Mrs Takata

One of Hayashi’s patients was a Hawaiian, Hawayo Takata (1900-1980). By her mid-thirties she was desperately ill. On a visit to Japan she was taken into hospital to be treated for gallstones, a tumour and emphysema, but she claimed she heard a voice telling her that the operation was unnecessary, discharged herself and consulted Dr Hayashi. She received daily treatments for four months as was completely cured. Impressed, she persuaded Dr Hayashi to teach her Reiki and was initiated as a Reiki Master in 1938[1].

She worked tirelessly to take Reiki to the USA, from where it spread to Europe and around the world. She initiated 22 Reiki Masters, who taught others and spread the teachings.

There are now an estimated million Reiki Masters in the world. The Reiki taught by Mrs Takata was a somewhat watered-down version of Usui’s original methods, designed to be more palatable to the West. Many Reiki practitioners regard Hayashi and Takata as a kind of lineage; others set up splinter groups of their own, each claiming to be the authentic successors of Usui. However, there is no evidence that Usui himself intended to initiate such a line.

Today’s Reiki is much more structured than the intuitive method practised by Usui, for example, the hand positions now taught originated with Dr Hayashi and were developed by Mrs Takata.

Moreover, Usui did not approve of taking a fee for giving Reiki – Mrs Takata overturned that and spawned a whole industry. Even Reiki Masters have to make a living!

©David Lawrence Preston, 18.3.2017

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[1] For further details, see William Rand, The Healing Touch, Vision Publications, Southfield MI, 1991

Basic Principles of Reiki

Reiki is an ancient healing art rediscovered and popularised by Dr Mikao Usui in the early years of the last century. Reiki is a form of energy healing. Anyone can use it, and it is easily learned. It involves the practitioner ‘channelling’ energy into the biofield of the patient, thereby restoring the flow of energy and information to support healing and wellbeing.

One of the most important principles of Reiki is that the practitioner must set aside their own desires, will and ego aside, and allow the Reiki energy to direct itself to where it is most needed. The giver is never drained, because it is not their energy: this is the secret. The energy flows through not from the healer into the person being healed.

Healers often report feeling ‘at one’ with their clients, of being with the client in an energy field that transcends their physical presence. Patients too often report a feeling that they are in the presence of a third party, something bigger than themselves.

You can also draw on this energy for yourself, whether you’re ill or in need of a boost, by learning Reiki.

Training is normally given by a Reiki Master, who gives the basic instruction and attunes the students to the Reiki energy. Reiki 1 enables the student to practice on themselves, family and friends; Reiki 2 qualifies him or her to practise professionally.

Scientific Explanation for Reiki

Scientific studies provide an explanation for Reiki. This explanation has been presented as a testable hypothesis by Dr James Oschman, a scientist with a conventional background who became interested in the practice of energy medicine. In the Winter 2002 issue of Reiki News Magazine, he discussed a number of studies that point to a scientific basis for energy medicine based on the laws of physics and biology.

The basis of Dr. Oschman’s hypothesis is the electrical currents that run through every part of the human body. These currents are present in the nervous system, organs, and cells of the body. For instance, the electrical signals that trigger the heartbeat travel throughout all the tissues and can be detected anywhere on the body.

Ampere’s law indicates that when an electrical current flows through a conductor, an electromagnetic field is produced that reflects the nature of the current that created it. Tests with scientific instruments indicate that electromagnetic fields exist around the body and around each of the organs of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, stomach, etc. The heart has the strongest field, which has been measured at a distance of 15 feet from the body.

The fields around each of the organs pulse at different frequencies and stay within a specific frequency range when they are healthy, but move out of this range when they are unhealthy. The hands of healers produce pulsing electromagnetic fields when they are in the process of healing, whereas the hands of non-healer do not produce these fields. When a healer places his or her hands on or near a person in need of healing, the electromagnetic field of the healer’s hands sweeps through a range of frequencies based on the needs of the part of the body being treated.

Faraday’s law indicates that one electromagnetic field can induce currents into a nearby conductor and through this process, induce a similar field around it. In this way, a healer induces a healthy electromagnetic field around an unhealthy organ, thus inducing a healthy state in the organ. A detailed explanation of Oschman’s hypothesis, including descriptions of the scientific studies, diagrams, and references is presented in the journal cited above.

Five Principles for Happiness

Usui believed that the recipe for a happy life is to work on what could be improved and accept what can’t be changed. He wrote:

‘The secret art of inviting happiness, the miraculous medicine for all diseases:

At least for today, do not be angry.

Do not worry.

Be grateful.

Work with diligence.

Be kind to people.

For improvement of mind and body.’

Dr Mikao Usui.

 

©David L Preston, 18.3.2017

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