Synchronicity of the Month!

I just can’t resist telling you about an amazing synchronicity I recently experienced. For the past several years, I have utilized an excellent journal called The Sacred Journey. Among other things, it involves “pulling cards” from a divination deck of your choice to reveal a message for each month. I utilize the Medicine Card deck, based on the symbolism associated with various animals. Over time, because of the process of “conditioning” that I describe in Active Consciousness, the accuracy of these cards has grown to be increasingly apt, significant, and helpful to me.

Recently, I entered a period of time for which I drew the Opossum card in the “upside-down” position (the meaning of the cards differs, depending on if you pull them in a rightside-up versus an upside-own orientation). A couple of days later, I began to notice a peculiar smell in my bedroom. As it grew stronger, I realized that it was the odor of a dead animal. I live in the country, so an occasional dead rat in the crawl space beneath my house is a fact of life. “Oh great!” I thought. “Now I have to find that dead rat under my bedroom.” Before I got around to it, however, I was doing some qi-gong exercises next to the sliding-glass door of my bedroom, with the air from my outside deck blowing in through the screen. “Odd! That smell is now definitely wafting in from outside!”

When I was done with my exercises, I suddenly got the notion that I should look beneath the boards of the deck. And right there, just outside the door and beneath the deck boards, was a dead opossum! Talk about synchronicity! There was my upside-down opossum right outside my bedroom door!

Now, I have lived in my house for 33 years, and never have I found any dead animal under the deck, let alone a dead opossum. In fact, that part of the deck is very low to the ground and accessing underneath it is very difficult. Luckily, there was an access door within a foot of the opossum and I was able to pull it out and dispose of it in a place where I wouldn’t have to smell it.

You can be sure that I read and and re-read the Medicine Card message for Opossum after that synchronicity! The ways of the world are ever mysterious.

 

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Face Your Feelings

Just a few weeks ago, my friend Lise told me about the Sedona Method. I vaguely remembered hearing of it before. Originated by Lester Levenson in the 1950s and now taught by his protege Hale Dwoskin, I eventually realized that I had read an ad about the method in an airline magazine. With this new recommendation from Lise, I decided to explore it further — and I’m glad I did!

Just like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), the Sedona Method enables one to truly face and release life’s difficult emotions and experiences. The Sedona Method, however, is particularly simple and rapid in effectiveness. In fact, you can easily watch a few videos on YouTube and read free content on the Sedona Method website and start to use it right away. I’ve been finding it extremely useful for releasing a few of the anxieties I tend to experience.

It wasn’t long after I started reading Hale Dwoskin’s book about the Sedona Method before I realized that it is actually a perfect illustration of homeopathic principles and philosophy. Just as most allopathic treatments focus on suppressing troublesome symptoms, most of us tend to suppress our uncomfortable emotions, often by distracting ourselves with entertainment, alcohol, or even with suppressive drugs.

Homeopathic philosophy, in contrast, teaches us that suppression is never truly curative. Instead, suppression of physical symptoms usually only works for a short time, and if a symptom is completely suppressed, it often leads to deeper and more serious physical problems. Similarly, suppression of emotions never works in the long run. We might evade our feelings for a while but they return. And even if we completely suppress our emotions and don’t experience them consciously anymore, they are still buried in the subconscious, often deepening into physical symptoms (which we then suppress too). For example, we might effectively suppress our anger at our spouse, only to develop recurrent heartburn and bloating, which, after repeated suppression with over-the-counter medicines, eventually develops into chronic colitis.

The homeopathic approach, of course, is to meet like with like — to meet our suffering head on. To treat a symptom, a homeopath will prescribe an energetic dose of a substance that normally could cause the symptom in question. The resulting healing can sometimes be quick and nearly miraculous — a spontaneous release of even chronic symptoms. (To learn more about homeopathy, consider reading my first book, Impossible Cure.)

With the Sedona Method, we likewise meet like with like — indeed we welcome and actively experience our feelings. And miraculously, using a simple three or four step inquiry process, these feelings can be released — often quite quickly. With repetition (just as repeating a remedy is sometimes needed), chronic psychological complexes can also be released, sometimes revealing underlying feelings that formed a foundation for the problem in the first place.

This uncovering of underlying layers is also analogous to the homeopathic healing process. In particular, the successful healing of a physical problem often uncovers the suppressed physical problem that preceded it. For example, homeopathic treatment of colitis might revert into the less intractable gastrointestinal problems, which can then be treated homeopathically too. Eventually, the buried anger at our spouse is revealed, which might be addressed with a remedy — or with a technique like the Sedona Method. Of course, it would have been simpler to use the Sedona Method in the first place!

If you think about it, we all could sure use a daily dose of the Sedona Method. Our daily lives can often be a veritable roller coaster of anxiety, anger, guilt, and fear. We tend suppress it all with drugs, entertainment, coffee, booze, sex, and more. The net effect, of course, is deeper psychological and physical problems — which we then suppress again. No wonder health care costs are eating us alive! Even using alternative healthcare modalities can be expensive.

Why not nip it all in the bud in the first place? That’s why I’ve become so fascinated lately with learning and writing about self-care techniques that don’t cost a dime — techniques like EFT, the Sedona Method, teachings based on Hawaiian shamanism (like Huna), and more. After all, the answer is almost always within. And it doesn’t have to be hard and complicated. Release and happiness can be only a hair’s breadth away, if we only let ourselves see and feel it!

 

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Some New Articles Relevant to the Legality of Homeopathic Practice and Remedies

As I’ve stressed in Impossible Cure, homeopathy can only thrive and grow if its practice is legal (enabling more homeopaths to be trained and become available to patients) and if homeopathic remedies are freely available too. These recent articles by health freedom lawyer Diane Miller (who I worked with when I got involved in passing California’s health freedom bill back in 2002) are relevant to these issues.

Homeopathy and the National Health Freedom Coalition

Homeopathy and the Federal Trade Commission: Policies for the 21st Century

 

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The Meaning of Life …. According to Amy!

Check out this short article I wrote about my views about the meaning of life.  It was solicited by a site that collected this material from various writers. The content of the site has now been published as  a book.

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Homeopath — Heal Thyself!

Check out this recent article I wrote about how homeopaths need to start taking better care of themselves. This article appeared last year in The American Homeopath journal, and now appears online on the excellent site, Hpathy.

p.s. When I say, “heal thyself” I don’t mean treat thyself!

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Our Addiction to Suffering

The Buddha said that suffering arises from craving — for instance, craving for more love, more possessions, more physical prowess or beauty. But sometimes I wonder if the truth is more akin to the reverse — that we crave our suffering. In other words, are we actually addicted to suffering?

In the past, I have occasionally mentioned my brother in my writing. He has suffered from mental illness all of his life and lives in an assisted living facility for the disabled in my hometown. I call him every Sunday. Some weeks are good, others are bad.

Yes, my brother has physiological reasons for his suffering, but he also tends to become unnecessarily mired in it. Because of his sensitivity, things that would seem minor to most of us can send him into a tail spin. Recently, relatively minor problems with his car freaked him out so badly that he ended up in the hospital for a day. Other days, an offhand comment or look from someone (who was probably just having a bad day, or perhaps meant nothing at all) can land him in bed for days. He often engages in negative self-talk and regrets. Simple day-to-day tasks for most of us, like bathing and teeth-brushing, are actually goals to be achieved for my brother. Some weeks he succeeds, some weeks it’s all too much.

I’ll admit that I can get frustrated with my brother’s suffering. But lately I’ve begun to wonder if it’s all just a matter of scale. After all, what may seem major to each of us might seem like a minor problem to other people. Haven’t you obsessed and suffered over a problem that weeks later is forgotten in the mists of time? How often do relationship woes that plagued you for weeks or months blow over when you realize it was all a misunderstanding or, if not, all for the best? And doesn’t it often seem as if the moment one cause for suffering clears up, we manage to find another? As a person who tends to be a worrier, I’ve really tried to catch myself when I find a new worry to substitute for another that has passed.

Why do we cling so much to our suffering?

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research in the area of self-healing methodologies. I have written in the past about the ideas and techniques utilized in Huna, a system of thought and practice based on Hawaiian shamanism. As it turns out, Huna is also fundamentally related to other systems such as hypnotherapy (check out this recent book by my hypnotherapist Alba Alamillo) and recent writings of people like Joe Dispenza (“You Are the Placebo”) and John Sarno (“The Divided Mind”) — though they all use different terminology and come from different world-views.

Many of these authors point out that our brains and bodies actually become addicted to habitual thoughts and emotions. In other words, our suffering thoughts and emotions may literally be ingrained as deep pathways in our brains. Moving out of these patterns feels uncomfortable, and given the chance, we’ll fall right back into these habitual ruts of thought, emotion, and behavior. In fact, we’ll tend to notice things that support our habits of thought and ignore things that don’t. For example, if we tend to worry about our health, we’ll fixate on comments or articles that support these worries, but completely ignore evidence that contradicts these fears.

Humans also tend to have a negativity bias. For example, if we hear a negative comment about ourselves (or hear negative news in general), we will fixate much more on it than if someone praised us or something good happens in the world. In the past, this bias helped to keep us alive. We had to pay attention if lions were seen in the neighborhood; the cheerful comment of our mate necessarily carried less weight. But today, our tendency to notice and obsess over negativity has gone overboard.

The media know this well. All you need to do is pick up the morning newspaper to see that. Our entertainment has also become more and more frightening and negative. Even so-called “comedies” are more akin to chagrin-fests, with nary a chuckle evinced. My husband Steve and I need to look further and further into the past to find movies and TV shows that allow us to sleep at night. Even action shows of 20 years ago seem like comedies compared to today’s fare. All of us have become more and more addicted to horror, and the creators of our media and entertainment keep upping the ante to keep us that way. All of this is operating like a true addiction — with stronger and stronger fixes needed to keep us stimulated — whether it be sex, coffee, drugs, fear, or our own personal miseries.

How to break our addiction to suffering? The first step is to start noticing it. Notice those negative thoughts — putting yourself down, starting up new worries and fears. And as quickly as you can, replace them with positive thoughts — even if you can’t quite believe them at first. In fact, write them down. Say them out loud. Our “basic self” (once again, see this article I wrote about Huna) or our subconscious is more impressed by action than just thought.

It may feel weird and even uncomfortable at first to establish new pathways in your thoughts. Keep at it. Many researchers say it takes 3 weeks of effort to start getting better at this. Joe Dispenza also recommends combining your new positive thoughts with extremely heightened positive emotions like gratitude and joy. It’s like creating a huge wave of positivity that wipes out the deeply grooved negative thoughts in the sands of your mind. Much as I recommend in my book Active Consciousness, getting into Now+ — a meditative state of joy and gratitude in the Now — increases your ability to create a new future.

It is possible to break the pattern of habitual suffering. Even a positive thought or suggestion here and there can make a difference. I even see this with my brother. Rather than just commiserating with his suffering each week, it actually makes more of a difference if I say to him — “Try to get out and take a walk today”, or “Try to brush your teeth this week — you can do it!”. More often than not, he will tell me the following Sunday that he forced himself to do it because I said so, and felt better for it. My positivity and words of faith in him helped bounce him out of his suffering, at least for a while.

It is your own mind that keeps you addicted to your suffering. We all tend to do it. But you also have the ability to create new patterns and thoughts and emotions. Begin today!

 

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Check Out My New YouTube Channel, “What’s Going On?”

I’ve recently begun a new experiment — creating short videos for YouTube. I’ve called my “channel”, What’s Going On?. My intention is to use it as a vehicle for expressing my opinions on a variety of subjects — whatever happens to be on my mind.

Admittedly, I’m just getting my feet wet at this point, learning how to create the videos, etc. I’ve begun by creating video versions of my feature newsletter articles. Readers of the Active Consciousness Newsletter will recognize my two videos so far — entitled Nature Almighty, and Are Competitive Sports Actually A Good Thing? I hope you enjoy them — and feel free to spread them around!

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The Collapse of Consensus Reality

I have long been aware that, at the deepest personal level, each of us is living in our own reality. This was driven home to me when I was practicing homeopathy part-time for a couple of years. An important part of the homeopathic process is for the patient to share with the practitioner, not only their physical symptoms, but their complete emotional state, their entire life story. This information is then used to select their best-fitting remedy.

An initial homeopathic-intake interview can take several hours. For the patient, this interview alone can be cathartic and relieving. For the practitioner, receiving this information is invariably like being given a peek into a wholly different existence, the unique view of life being experienced by the individual. After such an interview, I often came away thinking — “Wow! It’s amazing that our society hangs together! Everyone is walking around with a completely different perception of reality!”

Of course, it’s easy to see that people from completely different parts of the world, with strongly differing religious backgrounds, or living in extremely divergent economic situations, will have different views and experiences. But in general, we assume that the people we come into contact with day-to-day are on the same page as we are, more or less.

Somehow, though, this assumption seems to be breaking down. Perhaps the most glaring sign of this, at least recently, is among the American electorate. Those who support or oppose President Trump’s agenda seem to have a completely different perception of what’s true or false. The phrase “alternative facts” has become a meme, a symbol, of this phenomenon. And perhaps the biggest driver of this state of affairs is the internet. With a bottomless supply of information created and shared each moment — information that is targeted specifically to the very people who will agree with it and spread it around some more — it’s easy to see why this is happening. Gone are the days when Walter Cronkite or Chet Huntley and David Brinkley told us all what was happening, what “the facts” were.

As a writer of fairly “alternative” content (both about consciousness and health), I experience reality dissonance pretty frequently. In general, I’m okay with it. I know my views about many things differ from those of my neighbors and most of my friends. But I must admit, it still rattles me when haters come out of the woodwork.

I recently had a “hater” experience when I was slowly baited by a parent of an autistic child over a series of emails. He claimed to be confused about what to do about vaccinations and about their possible dangers (something I often write about), and he kept asking me a series of short clarifying questions. When he got enough ammunition, I was hit with a threatening barrage of anger and insult.

It’s at moments like this when I am thankful for my meditation practice. I knew immediately that I had to do some work to regain my equanimity and to view my experience with this man as one for learning. I needed to let go of my own anger and fear. And the experience certainly did underscore the fact that this man was living in a different reality than I was. In fact, it was the inspiration for me to write this article.

What to do about this growing breakdown in consensus reality? Will society ultimately break apart? Is the ultimate endpoint of this splitting, a world in which each person exists in a solipsistic reverie, wearing his or her virtual reality headset? Or is this state of affairs a harbinger of the transition to a wholly new world, a world in which people recognize their interconnectedness and oneness, despite differences in opinion? Certainly, I hope the latter is true.

Whatever the outcome, we do need to deal better with this conundrum during our day-to-day interactions with others. Perhaps the best advice I can relay to you is to watch this short video by Charles Eisenstein. In it, he recommends that, when confronted with someone’s different and challenging viewpoint, simply ask yourself “What is it like to be you?” (i.e. that other person). In other words, take the time to view him or her as a real person (not “the enemy”), someone you would actually agree with or behave like, if you came from the same situation as them.

This approach, at the very least, creates a bridge of understanding. It is a path forward. And even if the bridge is not a two-way street (as in the case of my recent hater experience), this exercise can create clarity and a better state of mind. It’s a beginning. It’s a way forward to a better outcome — a world in which we acknowledge our common humanity and interconnectedness, despite our differences.

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What Happens After the Dangers of Vaccines Are Acknowledged?

I hate to say it, but the storm clouds have only begun to gather. And what a storm it will be.

As discussed in my previous article, if nothing changes, the autism rate (and the rate of other types of neurological and autoimmune disorders becoming increasingly prevalent among children today) will only rise as the number of mandated vaccines increases and forced vaccination becomes the norm. If the vaccine industry were wise, it would begin to quietly make their products safer and stop the acceleration of this trend. Alas, this is not happening, at least not yet. Only 2% of children are now autistic, and look at what’s already happening in our society as vaccine wariness grows. What will happen when the rate is 10% of children? 20%?

Just as the medical complex inadvertently created the monster of antibiotic-resistant disease through overuse of antibiotics, they have also created a monster in the increasingly prevalent autoimmune and neurological disease among today’s children — most likely, thanks to the over-zealous use of vaccines. Indeed, today’s vaccines are even more dangerous than they used to be, due to the synergistic effects of ingredients like aluminum and polysorbate-80, which have been added to make them “more effective.” Unfortunately, these synergies allow bacteria, viruses, and toxic metals to cross the blood-brain barrier.

The medical-industrial complex now admits they are stymied by and fearful of the growing incidence of antibiotic resistant disease. How will they deal with it? More antibiotics? At least they are now trying to cut back on antibiotic use.

But how will they deal with the storm brewing as more and more families refuse to vaccinate — especially the industry is finally forced to acknowledge that they themselves have created the mess by grossly amping up the vaccine schedule, beginning in the late 1980s (when they were also indemnified for any harm they caused)?

Interestingly, the easiest solution to both antibiotic resistance and the vaccine-conundrum will probably only be found in something that most conventional doctors and Big Pharma will be loathe to embrace — alternative treatment modalities like homeopathy.

Truthfully, I understand the panic within the medical complex about growing vaccine wariness and what open acknowledgement of vaccine dangers will mean. Because weaning off our dependence on vaccination will be a complex challenge for modern society. Why?

Even if the general population does not understand it, most doctors do know that the two populations most vulnerable to injury from the childhood diseases are adults and infants. Most young school-age children are not harmed, and usually even benefit, from experiencing diseases like the measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox. Only 60 years ago, it was understood that a five year old child is supposed to get the measles; but a 25-year old or a 5-month old is not. Unfortunately, the vaccination campaigns have made the 25-year old and 5-month old much more likely to get the measles than before vaccination for the childhood diseases began. Why?

I am 61 (born in 1955). Nearly everyone my age got all the childhood diseases. I got them all. It was no cause for panic whatsoever; it was a normal part of life. (The “dangerous scourge” of measles often reported in the media actually occurred in third-world countries, that did not benefit from advanced sanitation and medical care.) In my childhood, when kids go sick with the measles or mumps or chickenpox, we just stayed home from school for a few days. The experience was no worse than a bad cold. In fact, I remember those days at home as kind of exciting, like a rite of passage. Parents would even take their kids over to an infected child’s house to “get it over with.” Afterwards, the child would become immune for life. Many pediatricians also noted leaps in cognitive development and robustness too. And since everyone got the diseases as children, every 25-year old was immune too. In contrast, today’s vaccinated adults do not have true immunity to these diseases. And even if they are repeatedly re-vaccinated, the net effect for many is only a weak immune response, or none at all.

And what about a 5-month old infant? Just 60 years, ago, because an infant’s mother was immune and breastfeeding, breastmilk usually provided sufficient immunity until the child was old enough to experience the diseases safely. Even the gestation process itself afforded protection to the infant for about a year. Unfortunately, however, as more and more vaccinated generations of moms accumulate, breast milk and gestation have become less and less protective.

So yes, slowly dismantling the wholesale use of vaccines will be tricky. But eventually, there may be no other alternative. How else will our society survive when most of our children are chronically ill and brain damaged?

Over the next few decades, as vaccine injuries and vaccine wariness grows, I fear that today’s media shaming and blaming may escalate into a full-scale witch hunt and ghettoization. It’s already beginning to happen here in California, with non-vaccinators (or modified-schedule vaccinators) forced to homeschool. Many families are leaving the state. Are we facing a future with the US population split into “vaccinated states” and “unvaccinated states”? Or even more gruesome scenarios?

Fortunately, there are some options. Here are some conventional medical approaches that could be utilized:

1) Adults could keep taking the vaccines. They are less prone to vaccine injury than children, and the vaccines will afford some level of protection, or at least render the disease less serious in adults. The danger, of course, is that the normally stable childhood diseases will mutate. This is already beginning to happen.

2) Sick children could be quarantined and cared for by truly immune individuals (such as their grandparents). Right now, this means people over the age of 60, but obviously, this population will age and decline in number, the longer we wait. Truly sick children could be cared for in hospitals or take immunoglobulin (see #4 below).

3) Babies’ immune systems could be bolstered by the use of various beneficial supplements, like vitamin A and D. And perhaps naturally immune mothers (as they grow in number) could provide breastmilk to help infants too.

4) A recent article by immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD points out (in an excellent article that stresses why unvaccinated children pose no risk to society) another therapeutic backup. Infants and other vulnerable individuals can receive immunoglobulin, a potentially life-saving measure that supplies antibodies directly against a virus to prevent or ameliorate disease after exposure.

Most promising, however, would be the use of alternative medical approaches — perhaps the foremost among them being homeopathy. The fact is, homeopathy has a proven historical track record in treating and serving as a prophylactic for epidemic diseases, including the childhood diseases.

Indeed, back in the early 1900s, the use of homeopathy was sometimes permitted (and was successful) as a substitute for vaccination during the smallpox vaccination campaigns. In modern times, population-wide experiments with homeopathic prophylaxis were recently conducted with success in Cuba, and have also been successful in South America during a meningitis outbreak.

Happily, the homeopathic treatment and prevention of the childhood diseases can be accomplished with a small set of well-known remedies. Thus, “homeoprophylaxis” for and treatment of the childhood diseases is an option that could be applied easily on a broad scale, to adults and babies for prevention and treatment, and to treat school-age children to enable an easy recovery.

Is it possible that, just as was true in the mid-1800s, the popularity of homeopathy will explode because of its success in treating epidemics? Let’s hope that necessity will open the eyes of skeptical medical authorities as the inevitable storm ahead hits us full on.

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Are Competitive Sports Actually A Good Thing?

First, let me confess. I’m not a competitive sports person. No one in my nuclear family is. In fact, if any of us were to watch the Superbowl (or even know who was playing in it!), it would be me. And when I do watch competitive sports, I can get pretty worked up. In fact, I try to use the  intentionality tricks I describe in Active Consciousness to help “my side” win.

But in general, I don’t really care much for these kinds of sports, nor have I ever played them. I’m a solo sports woman — swimming and canoeing being my favorite forms of exercise. And playing on a team has always been an uncomfortable experience for me.

Truthfully, I’ve always assumed that my feelings about competitive sports were not only “antisocial” in some way, but even a sign of weakness. But a recent episode of the early 90s comedy-drama, Northern Exposure got me thinking otherwise.

By the way, if you’ve never watched this amazing TV show (or even if you have), I’d recommend getting into it. It was one of the first shows (or perhaps the first show) that featured excellent, sophisticated writing and amazing character development. It was a cult favorite at the time. Set in a small town in Alaska, Northern Exposure seems quite unusual in today’s TV landscape; it’s an hour-long show that dabbles in magical realism, combining comedy, spiritual themes (especially Native American wisdom), emotional depth, romantic tension, and often profound explorations of life’s deep questions. And it’s a great show to watch before bedtime — no fear and angst! Really, I can’t recommend it enough. Each show makes you think too. In fact, the show has often provided inspiration for my writing.

This happened when I recently watched an episode entitled “Birds of a Feather.” As is often the case, several parallel story lines explore this theme throughout the show. In one thread, a character named Holling confesses that he loathes baseball and all team sports. The irony is that Holling is probably the most “manly” man on the show. He owns and runs the town’s bar/restaurant, is an accomplished hunter, and is the kind of guy who, in one episode, felt the deep need (which overcomes him every few years) to plow a field by hooking himself up to a plow! Not only that, but he is in his 60s and is married to the hottest girl in town — who is around 20. That’s not as creepy as it sounds. He’s just that virile.

But Holling is also a thinking man. Although he endures his customers always watching the games on his bar TV, he finally can stand it no longer. When the “secret” that he hates baseball comes out, he becomes the butt of jokes around town. He says to his wife Shelly, “For people to judge a man’s worth and his very manhood according to the way he feels about sport and not to recognize it for the piddly inconsequential goings on that it really is… What is it really? It’s nothing! Right? It’s just a game!

Later in the show, Holling wins a bar “pool” on a baseball game and is teased mercilessly by all the guys. In response, Holling turns off the TV and gives his winnings to another man at the bar whose life revolves around the game, saying, “Aren’t you the man who watches all those grown men chase little balls around all the time — half your life doing that!” He then continues, “You people. You think a man’s a man because he wears team colors and guzzles beer in front of the tube? Can’t you see boys, the sands of time are dribbling through the hourglass. Don’t you ever thirst for a little discourse, hunger for a little knowledge? Can’t we even try a little “Face the Nation” for a change, I mean maybe a little CSPAN or Discovery Channel? My God! There is a whole world of information on that thing. I mean all about pygmies and whales and the Battle of Verdun. Would it pain you so much if we watched my programs for a bit?

I found myself wowed by this exchange. Today’s world, and perhaps especially the United States, has become more obsessed than ever with team sports. The money is huge. In fact, parents these days seem to care more about their kids’ sports team activities than about their school studies. Many teenagers are sleep deprived because they are over-programmed with these demands. My sons were “A” students at a challenging school, but had lots of free time after finishing their homework — because they didn’t have to spend hours before or after school on sports teams. And this was at a school that has become notorious nationwide for a recent spate of suicides by stressed-out, depressed teens.

I understand that competitive sports supposedly engender “team work” and are good for physical fitness. But let’s think more deeply about that. We can become physically fit by exercising our bodies in a million other ways. And are school sports teams really so wonderful? In my experience, they are often just another opportunity for competition, anger, stress, and shaming. Not to mention injuries that can plague people for a lifetime.

And what is all this hype about professional sports really about? People get so worked up at a game that they sometimes commit acts of violence against those supporting the opposing team! You might argue that humans are naturally violent and competitive and that it’s better to channel this aggression into sports rather than onto the battlefield. But is this really true? And do we really need to foster idolization of today’s modern gladiators, who sometimes ultimately suffer the same fate as their predecessors from Roman times, dying from sports-related concussions and other illnesses?

Truthfully, I’m not sure about the answers to these questions. But I am sure that the competitive sports phenomenon has only become more intense in my lifetime.

Why can’t we channel our energy — and especially our children’s energies — into other challenges? Like fighting for and tending the Earth, working to protect the lives of fellow citizens, or solving our world’s many other problems? Such efforts also require team work and often foster physical fitness too. Why is it more socially acceptable — or even required — to fritter our life away watching others play a game on TV, rather than getting out and doing something constructive for the world? Indeed, I think spending some time each day simply meditating (and especially, teaching our children to meditate) would be more constructive.

Something to think about.

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