The Line Between Fear and Trust

There is certainly no shortage of things to worry about these days. From politics and war to climate change to health, so many people I know are caught, almost gleefully, in a state of addictive fear. Various forms of media feed the fire. Conspiracy mentality isn’t confined to the fringe anymore. It’s gotten to the point that some of my friends become agitated if I’m not worried and fearful enough. They believe that turning away from fear and trying to indulge in a bit of trust in the Universe is reckless, even offensive.

Of course, there is such a thing as recklessness. Most people would not advocate taking a small child to a dangerous cliff and letting them run about at random. On the other hand, is it okay or not to let your child test their limits in a potentially dangerous sport? Where is the line between fear and trust, between wise precaution and recklessness?

I have a friend who is a afraid to let her children attend school because of all the media about gun violence and drug use. To me, her elementary-school-age son seems angry and trapped at home. While homeschooling can be a positive thing for some children, it doesn’t seem that way to me in this case. Has my friend’s inordinate fear created a prison for her son?

Reflecting on this, it occurred to me that perhaps the line between fear and trust should be chosen, by each person, based on how it makes them feel. Think about it. Have your fears put you in prison? Are you trapped by them? Have your days become swallowed up in fearful worry and self-protective measures? If so, it may be time for you to engage in a little trust.

One book that I have found to be very useful when I need an extra dose of trust in my life is The Trust Frequency. I like to read it in small bites — I find it calms me. Over the past several years, I’ve read it three times when I’ve needed a “trust-injection”.

What are the kinds of trust you might consider entertaining?

When it comes to health, how about trusting that your body usually knows how to heal itself? Marvel at the healing of a wound the next time you cut yourself. Your body has amazing abilities! Trust that your body will actually help you stay healthy. Treat it right with good food, water, rest and moderate exercise, and you’ll be amazed at what it can do for you. In contrast, running to doctors and taking all kinds of test and pills can imprison you in a state of chronic health worry, as you yield to the “no-cebos” of the medical machine — negative health messages that often serve as self-fulfilling prophecies.

How about trusting that a difficult period in a relationship or at work will ultimately turn out for the best? Rather than staying trapped and immobilized, what about deciding to be more courageous and open yourself up to confronting and working on a problem? Or taking action to leave a relationship or job if that seems like the best solution for you?

Rather than obsessing and worrying about some event in advance, how about trusting yourself to handle the situation and do the right thing when the time comes? Once you’ve done a bit of preparation, why waste more time on worry?

Or how about trusting that, in the long run, we are all part of an evolutionary process on Earth that, despite ups and downs, will ultimately turn out as it should? Maybe not in our lifetimes, but at least in the long run? Isn’t it possible that dark times create new opportunities for light? Instead of fighting the darkness by hiding or promulgating fear and hopelessness, why not work for progress in a way that fosters hopeful solutions? Even if humanity ends up in darkness, at least each of us will have filled our life with as much light as we can.

In the end, you must trust yourself. Trust your emotions. Are you happy or trapped in a prison of fear and avoidance? Let your internal compass be your guide. This compass is never wrong if you learn to understand it and listen to it. Much of the information and meditative exercises in Active Consciousness can help you achieve this. Let each day be a new opportunity to convert a little bit of your fear and worry into trust.


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Clinging Never Works

Whenever we approach Valentine’s Day each February, I usually write about the blessings of love. But what about the flip side? Lost love? Or clinging to those we love? Just as Christmas-time can be painful for many, so can Valentine’s Day.

Sometimes it’s hard not to cling to the things or people we love. We all succumb to that at some point. But ultimately, it never works.

Let’s start by talking about clinging to what has been lost in the past. If our loved one dies, or we lose all our money or a beloved object, it’s right and healthy to mourn. In fact, suppressing our feelings of loss just perpetuates the pain of loss, because it will get buried in the subconscious (and often manifests later as physical disease). For this reason, consciously grieving is essential, because eventually it frees us to move on. If we cling forever to a person or an object that is gone, we become stuck in the past. We are not facing what is. We are living in a painful dreamworld and missing out on life. (For those struggling with the death of a loved one, I highly recommend the book The Courage to Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum.)

Resentment is another form of clinging to the past — clinging to the idea that things should have been different. They weren’t. What’s past is past. Clinging to the past in this way doesn’t change a thing — it just poisons your present and future.

So what about clinging right now to the things we love?

Visualize the energy of love versus the energy of clinging. Love is open, it is flowing, it is freely given and received. Clinging is about grabbing and clutching. It is a form of desperation born out of fear.

If you are clinging to someone, they can feel it, even if you aren’t physically touching them. That’s because you are energetically sending out cords that grab at them. We all know what that feels like and how we react to it: “Get off of me! Yuck!” No one likes the sensation of being clung to. We may tolerate it with our young children, but in general, clinging just generates revulsion. And it doesn’t work.

What about clinging to objects? There is a difference between saving your pennies or cherishing an object versus clinging to these things. In the extreme, clinging to things become hoarding, gorging, binging. Once again, it’s about fear, and sometimes it’s about addiction. Ultimately it backfires because we become trapped by the objects we cling to. The energy of clinging may draw things toward us, but eventually these things entomb us, bury us, weigh us down.

Of course, sometimes it’s very hard not to cling to the ones we love. Fear of loss is a hard thing to overcome and I struggle with it myself. Here’s a few pieces of advice that I have found helpful.

First, consider the fact that we can literally “call our fears to us.” That is the message of the Rabbit in indigenous lore. The rabbit runs around saying “Don’t eat me! Don’t eat me!” and thereby draws its predators to it. In other words, what we perpetually focus on is brought nearer into reality.

Second, consider what the Sedona Method has to say about fear — that subconsciously we often want what we fear. Even if it this sounds counter-intuitive, I encourage you to consider this possibility. By consciously trying release any subconscious desire for what we fear, we can often release the fear itself.

Finally, refocus on Gratitude and Trust — gratitude for what you are actually receiving, and trust that the future will play out as it is meant to and should. By blending our energy with these more open states, we not only feel better within, but we create a world that is better for all of us. The meditations and exercises in Active Consciousness will also be helpful in achieving this.


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Homeopathy to the Rescue! My Voyage of Patience and Trust in Homeopathy in Dealing With A Centipede Bite

Even though I’m the author of Impossible Cure, I too have trouble being patient and trusting in homeopathy in moments of crisis. Here’s the story of my recent voyage of healing from a painful and scary centipede bite.

It was the last night of our recent trip to Kauai when our car got stuck in the mud of our friend’s yard and I stepped into a puddle wearing sandals, only to be bit on the side of my foot, near the arch. What pain! I can only liken it to 10 simultaneous bee bites all in one spot. Others describe it as being like a gun-shot wound. Luckily our friend is a healer and knew what to do. Within minutes my wound (in the form of two puncture holes) was cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, I had taken doses of Apis 30c and Ledum 30c as well as Vitamin C and activated charcoal, she had applied a slice of raw onion to the wound, and had my leg resting in her lap. I calmed down, and by the time we left a couple of hours later, the bite wasn’t that painful. I slept with the onion taped to my foot that night and took more doses of Apis, Ledum, and also Hypericum to deal with the recurring pain.

The next day we flew back to the mainland and I only took the remedies as needed on the flight and that night. The following few days, however, I got a bit cavalier and went about my normal routine — swimming with flippers and taking a long hike — all of which irritated the bite. (Lesson 1) Five days after the bite, I started developing an itchy rash of red spots near the bite. I took another dose of Apis and Ledum — perhaps the wrong move. Was it too much of a good thing? (Lesson 2)

Then, about 12 hours after an upsetting emotional blow-up within the my family (Clue 1), my foot took a more ominous turn — it started to swell up. Soon, my whole foot and toes were red, swollen, and burning, and it was starting to climb up my ankle too! I’ll be honest — I was freaking out! I felt like I was going to die for sure (Clue 2) and almost had my husband take me to the hospital in the middle of the night — not something I would do lightly, given the fact that I have an inherent (and I’ll admit somewhat irrational) fear of doctors. I took a Benadryl and managed to get a bit of sleep.

In the morning, my foot was the same. Calls to my doctor just yielded advice to go to urgent care. I knew that the docs in my suburban area of California would know little about centipede bites and would just recommend a tetanus shot (nope!), antibiotics (can’t tolerate them), cortisone, and antihistamines. Luckily, my homeopath immediately returned my husband’s call (by this point I was convinced I was on death’s doorstep and didn’t have the wherewithal to call myself) and I learned why I title this newsletter “There’s Hope With Homeopathy!”

After taking my case, my homeopath recommended Aconite 30. It definitely matched my acute mental state. It also has an acute/chronic relationship with my constitutional remedy. Within an hour, I was really calmed down. Over the next few days, the swelling and burning slowly receded. My homeopath checked in with me daily for a couple of days and I also applied Calendula gel occasionally to the bite. I must tell you, it required patience on my part to stay the course and not take any more remedies! A week later, the foot was merely itchy (especially at night). The Calendula would consistently get two small lumps to appear under the small scabs covering the two bite holes, as if it was drawing the poison up. That gave me the idea to also occasionally apply a poultice to get any remaining poison out. I found one formula online, which was a paste made of epsom salt, baking soda, and activated charcoal, all of which I had at home.

It is now four weeks post-bite and three weeks post-Aconite 30. The bite wounds are still visible with two very small bumps underneath them (I have the feeling there may still be some poison in there), but they are not bothering me very much. I’ve also been busy processing that emotional family upset I mentioned. After another checkup yesterday, my homeopath recommended Aconite 200 to complete the process and I must say, I’ve been feeling great since taking it, though the bite now occasionally stings just a little bit — hopefully a slight aggravation and part of the healing process. Let’s see what happens next.

In the meantime, though, I hope my experience has taught you some of the important lessons that I myself learned once again:

  • Don’t get bit by a centipede!
  • Make sure you have Apis, Ledum, and Hypericum in your travel kit.
  • Onions really help with the pain of a centipede bite. Apparently papaya mush does too.
  • Take wounds seriously — don’t overdo and irritate them.
  • Be patient and don’t keep taking remedies unnecessarily. This can be difficult to remember when you are panicked or in pain. However, MORE is not always better, and in fact, can make things worse.
  • Emotional upsets can trigger aggravation of physical symptoms. Triggering emotions, and emotional symptoms in general, can also provide a very important clue to the correct remedy for physical symptoms.
  • Trust your homeopath!
  • Be patient!
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Celebrate Homeopathy Awareness Week by Viewing Just One Drop — From the Comfort of Home!

Filmmaker Laurel Chiten has decided to help celebrate Homeopathy Awareness Week (which starts on April 10, Hahnemann’s birthday) by making her film, Just One Drop, available for live streaming. You can elect to make a contribution or watch it for free. To find out all the details, click here.

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You Are Only As “X” As You Want To Be

Here’s a phrase I’d like you to contemplate as we begin 2018: You are only as X as you want to be.

That means: You are only as happy as you want to be. You are only as wealthy as you want to be. You are only as successful as you want to be. You are only as healthy as you want to be.

It does not mean: You are as happy as you want to be. You are as wealthy as you want to be. You are as successful as you want to be. You are as healthy as you want to be.

In other words, although we may consciously want something, we also, often unconsciously, put limits on it. For example, we think we’d like to be much wealthier, but what do we really think of wealth or wealthy people? Most of us have various beliefs about wealth or judgments about wealthy people. Do we actually put a limit on how wealthy we’d allow ourselves to be?

Or what about happiness? Do we really think it’s okay to be very happy most of the time? Or do we, instead, think we should only be happy sometimes or only somewhat happy, because: Our friends or relatives are suffering in some way, so it would be wrong to be too happy? Our parents were never happy, so we can’t or shouldn’t be too happy either? We have the belief that too much happiness will bring misfortune? We believe we should actually be unhappy most of the time because we feel that the world is going-to-hell in a handbasket? (Indeed, many of us engage in misery-fests online with friends. As the saying goes, misery loves company!)

You get the idea. Often without knowing it, we may think we want something, but there is a part of us that wants the opposite. And that limits us unnecessarily.

Think about it. Does being happy really bring misfortune? Or, instead, does unhappiness perpetuate misfortune? Does being unhappy actually help the world? Instead, wouldn’t your happiness and positivity help bring more happiness to others and motivate you to help others in a positive way?

I began thinking about this whole conundrum while working with the Sedona Method about various anxieties I have. The Method suggests that, instead of just releasing an anxiety about X, begin by releasing “I want to have anxiety about X”. It seemed odd at first — of course I didn’t want to be anxious about X! That’s why I was doing this!

Or did I want that anxiety? Does being anxious actually serve some subconscious desire of mine? Next, the Method suggests going deeper by examining how a particular want is actually rooted in a deeper want — especially three types of wants: the want to be secure, the want to control, and the want for approval.

Did I actually want to be anxious about X because it made me feel more secure to be anxious? More in control? Or was it a subconscious way of getting approval because my mom was always anxious about X? (Although my mom has passed, it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t think I need to be “loyal” to her by being anxious just like her.)

Interestingly, I found that releasing my unconscious desire to have an anxiety was more powerful than releasing the anxiety itself!

As you enter into 2018 with resolutions and desires for a better new year, ask yourself: Do you put limits on yourself? After all, you can only be as “X” as you consciously or unconsciously want or allow yourself to be. As I discuss in Active Consciousness, part of manifesting anything is releasing those things that put a break on that manifestation — whether it be doubts or actually not wanting it to manifest.

Finally, if you do discover that you impose limitations on yourself, I suggest you decide to dig deeper and take a hard look within. But don’t berate yourself! After all, we all limit ourselves. Instead, take it as an opportunity to further excavate inner truths and by doing so, allow yourself to find even greater freedom.


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Separating Fact from Fiction

In this world of “fake news” and conventional media outlets that constantly repeat falsehoods about subjects like homeopathy and vaccines, it’s hard to know what to believe. I’m afraid there are no easy answers, so all one can do is to diligently exercise discernment, while also keeping an open mind. Here are a few important recent items relevant to the world of health and homeopathy.

The Rate of Autism Has Gone Up — But Has Not Been Reported in the Media

I’m sad to report that the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and CDC have released the latest numbers on autism rates in the United States. 1 in 35 children (8-12 years of age) now have autism. This is up from 1 in 68 children reported in 2010. Since the rate in boys is higher than in girls (four times as high), that means that 1 in 28 boys (3-17 years of age) have autism. Moreover, more than 6% of our children (1 in 16) and 8% of boys (1 in 12) have a developmental disability.

The new report can be downloaded here. Amazingly (but perhaps not surprisingly), it states that the increase in autism rate from 2014 until 2016 is not very significant because it’s “only” up from 2.24% to 2.76%. But do the math. That’s actually a 23% increase between 2014 and 2016! It also means that on average, there is now one autistic child per average classroom. In previous newsletters I have graphed the rate of increase in autism. (See the graphs here.) It’s still a bit early to say for sure, but this new statistic indicates that we are following the exponential growth curve rather than the linear one. At this rate, 1 in 10 children will have autism by 2030 — just 12 years from now. What will this mean to the economic and social health of the United States and the rest of the world, whose rates are following close behind?

The Flu Vaccine Is Ineffective and Potentially Dangerous. Try Homeopathy for This Year’s Flu Instead.

Due to a strain mismatch, this year’s flu vaccine has been reported largely ineffective (10%), even by mainstream media. Indeed, there are various reasons why getting a yearly flu vaccine actually primes you to get more sick from the flu, especially if the strains don’t match (which has become increasingly common). For one thing, vaccines prime your body to fight a specific antigen, which weakens its ability to fight another. It also lowers the rest of your general immune response. And let’s not forget all the toxic ingredients in flu vaccines — including aluminum and mercury. You can read more about what Dr. Mercola has to say about this topic here.

But never fear! There is hope with homeopathy! There are many approaches to treating and preventing the flu and I have written about them before. According to Paul Herscu, ND, who does a particularly good job at tracking each year’s flu and what remedies seem to be working, Gelsemium (one of the most important classic flu remedies) was working initially, but Lycopodium (not as standard) has now emerged as very important. However, I have noticed that the flu this year has many different presentations, ranging from a stomach-type flu to a sinus-infection type flu and more. So please individualize as always! Herscu’s article provides some guidance here. Taking your constitutional remedy can also be very helpful. I also highly recommend using supports like Vitamin C, honey, a neti-pot for nasal congestion, and a humidifier for the cough (but don’t add menthol or eucalyptus — they antidote remedies.)

Is Access to Homeopathic Remedies in Danger?

There has been a lot of alarm circulating recently online saying that the FDA is about to essentially make all homeopathic remedies illegal because they haven’t been tested in formal modern drug studies. I felt very skeptical about these reports. Earlier messages circulating within the homeopathic community had simply stated that the FDA was thinking about cracking down on mixed remedies with a large number of high potencies (perhaps a good idea, since the practitioners who use these often don’t know very much about homeopathy), as well as nosodes (not such good news, especially since these remedies are very important in the treatment of autism and other serious diseases).

I contacted Dana Ullman about what was going on and he echoed my skepticism. As he told me, the AAHP (American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists) has an important statement on their website, and do not appear very worried, at least right now. Dana is also currently writing a report about this subject and is asking for your financial support to help him do so. Dana’s articles often appear in venues where they get a lot of notice, like the Huffington Post.


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Tending the Soul of the Earth

A version of this article first appeared in the December 2012 newsletter, but it remains timely! Enjoy.

The idea of “tending the soul of the Earth” was first brought to my attention at the 2012 Science and Nonduality (SAND) conference in San Rafael, California. In several of his talks, Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee stressed something I had never fully considered up to that point: that the challenge of climate change is something that must be tackled not only on a physical level, but on a spiritual level as well.

This concept also brings together several key points that I make in Active Consciousness :

All things possess an energy body, at least on the etheric level, and many living things have energy bodies on even higher levels.
The Earth can be viewed as a living organism (sometimes called Gaia).
As beings who have evolved as part of Earth, we are all elements of and in many ways inseparable from the larger “holon” of the Earth.
As above, so below; and as below, so above. What is happening on the physical level to planet Earth is also occurring on all levels.

In his lectures, Vaughn-Lee stresses that environmentalists have been missing the role of the Earth’s soul in their battle to stem the tide of climate change. While it is clear that the body of the Earth is suffering and changing around us, and that we humans are a part of and even probably the primary cause of this change on a physical level, the soul of the Earth has also been crying and suffering as well. Indeed, what is cause and what is effect?

There was a time when humanity was exquisitely tuned in to the magic and soul of the Earth. Every tree, every storm, every sowing and reaping of the harvest, was imbued with spiritual meaning. Native people understood their spiritual relationship with the animals and plants around them. We blessed, thanked, and asked forgiveness for our interactions with and intrusions upon our fellow Earthers, both animate and inanimate. We understood that a balance had to be kept.

With the coming of the enlightenment and the rise of science came materialism and the complete disenchantment of the Earth. Many of us may not have forgotten our own souls, but we have definitely forgotten about the souls of the Earth and our fellow creatures. We ‘thing’ed them. And as we know from the fields of war and humanity’s holocausts, when we ‘thing’ someone or something, we feel free to destroy it. It is soulless to us. It is no more than a machine. It is merely matter, not soul.

But just because we do this ‘thinging’ in our minds does not make it true. The Earth and everything in it does possess a soul. To help our Earth, we must not only heal its body, we must also heal it on an energetic or soul level. Just as energy medicines like homeopathy and acupuncture and Reiki tell us, it is actually on this energy level that true disease originates and where true healing must occur. In fact, after healing at the energy level, physical healing usually follows. While completely healing the Earth on a physical level now seems almost impossible, leaving us in a greater and greater state of despair and hopelessness, perhaps there is still hope for healing the soul of the Earth. And if we do so, who knows what healing effects on the physical level may ensue? Indeed, this might be the precise “magic ingredient” or approach that we need to pursue for success.

That’s where each of us comes in. Each of us is part of the Earth holon. By healing ourselves we may be able to heal the Earth. By re-enchanting the pieces, we can begin to re-enchant the whole. You can start today in your own home, in your own backyard, in your own neighborhood. Bless your food. Talk to your plants. Thank your trees and hug them. Feel the energy of your flower garden and commune with it. Sense the soul of your street and send healing energy throughout your neighborhood. Sense the stresses and joys within your dwelling. Create a ceremony for the healing of your home energy. Tune into any intuitions about changes that may help ease tensions or contractions.

If each of us heals the soul of the small space around us, the healing of the whole can begin. And who knows? If we tend to the healing of the soul of the Earth, the body of the Earth may begin to respond as well. As above, so below! As below, so above!


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Homeopathic Bits and Pieces to Contemplate at Year’s End

As 2017 comes to a conclusion, here are some interesting tidbits to check out.

Interesting Articles:

  • Another interesting article by Dana Ullman full of compelling facts, figures, and scientitic studies that support the efficacy of homeopathy.
  • My own homeopath, Deborah Olenev, also runs a successful homeopathic creams company, FirstAidCreams. You might consider these creams as a holiday gift! Deborah’s personal practice website includes some amazing articles to check out. I have learned many things from them!

Consider supporting homeopathy in Africa by contributing to one of these organizations:

  • My good friend, homeopath Richard Pitt, has been running the Kenya School for Integrated Medicine. They are committed to providing educational opportunities for students from all backgrounds, so donations toward their educational fund directly contribute to a student’s education and future life possibilities. Check out the school’s website and donate here.
  • The excellent work by Camilla and Jeremy Sherr for over 8 years at their clinic in Tanzania. You can learn all about it at Homeopathy For Health in Africa.
  • The work of the Amma Resonance Healing Foundation, and their inexpensive PC remedies for AIDS, malaria, and trauma.

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The Uncertainty of the Now

Anyone who takes an interest in meditation and consciousness is probably familiar with the phrases “The Power of Now” and “Be Here Now” — titles of landmark books by Eckhart Tolle and Ram Dass (respectively). By letting go of our constant mind-jabber, which is usually focused on the past or the future, we can find healing power in simply resting in the present moment, exactly where we are.

But at turbulent times like these, many (if not most) of us find ourselves overwhelmed by the uncertainty of our world. What is really going on and what does the future hold for us? It seems like most people’s thoughts and emotions these days are dominated by fears and anxieties about climate change, overpopulation, politics, wars, never ending news about sexual assault and harassment, terrorist attacks, mass murdering sprees, police killings of innocent people simply because of their skin color or ethnicity, and attacks on our civil liberties. Indeed, the media storm that perpetually overtakes us each of our waking moments works hard to feed and exploit our fear, anger, anxiety, and sadness. I have found that any attempt to buffer oneself from this barrage (as my husband and I try to do) can be seen by others as naive or even dangerous.

In other words, it’s quite easy to feel nothing but uncertainty about the now!

In my January 2017 newsletter article I talked about the importance of letting go of this pattern if we really want to see positive change in our world. The truth is, living one’s life in a constant state of fear and negativity merely perpetuates the problems we face today. It only helps to create more of the same. The myth that we need to be “freaked out” in order to do something positive is backward! Yes, you don’t want to hide your head in the sand. But you will accomplish much more positive action by releasing the emotions that trap you in an unhappy state.

How to do that? There are lots of tools out there, many of which I have written about in Active Consciousness and my various newsletter articles. Of course, there’s meditation. Then there’s the Sedona Method, which I recently discovered for myself and have found to be truly life-transforming if you earnestly engage with it. Another is the healing power of gratitude. By focusing on what we are grateful for, instead of what we dislike, we become instantly transformed. Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s meditation series “Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude” can be very helpful in achieving a focus on gratitude.

But here’s the key point of my missive today: the inherent uncertainty of the Now also gives us reason for hope!

All of us here in Northern California (where I live) have recently experienced quite sudden, rapidly-spreading, and horrific wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties. In fact, close friends of ours who were evacuated from their mountain-top home lived with us for a week. Luckily, their house narrowly escaped destruction. So as those who lost everything are now acutely aware of, life can turn on a dime.

Yes, tragedy can strike in an instant. But so can a change for the better. The smallest act of kindness or one person’s vibration of positivity (which inevitably — though perhaps subconsciously — is felt by everyone around them) can have an enormous impact — indeed, impact that is hard to predict. That is the great and positive news about the uncertainty of the Now.

If our world functioned like a machine governed by clockwork-like rules — or even if the most probable outcome always held sway, yes, there might be cause for dismay about the current state of our world. But we are all creators in the Now. The future may be uncertain, but because it is uncertain, it can be tipped toward the positive and become incredibly bright in ways we can’t even imagine right now!

Your take away message today is this: your personal state of mind can have an enormous impact! Certainly, it has a huge impact on your personal health. For that reason alone, it is important to work hard on transforming your state into one that is more positive and productive. It may take a lot of hard work and deep inner reflection, but it’s worth it.

As Thanksgiving approaches, let’s begin by focusing on gratitude — for nature, for the people we love, for the wonders of the world we live in, for the inherent good will of most people that keeps our society functioning day-to-day, for the smile of a stranger, for each act of kindness, for the food we eat and those who helped bring it to us, for the amazing entertainment available to us, for the beauty of a flower, for the rain and sun that brings life, for our very existence! By constantly reminding ourselves about what we are grateful for, we can literally transform the world.

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Death — or Transition?

With Halloween and the Day of the Dead upon us, it seems like a good time to discuss the topic of death. What really happens when our physical body dies?

While modern science and medicine is convinced that our physical bodies are all there is to us, every ancient culture and wisdom on Earth disagrees. When we die, they say, only our physical body dies. Afterward, another part of us moves on or transitions into another realm of being.

While hard-headed materialists say that belief in an afterlife is all wishful thinking, I tend to side with the wisdom of the ages. In my view, what’s the harm in doing so? Of course, one doesn’t want to waste one’s life on Earth focusing on or being manipulated by others, in the hopes of a better afterlife. But if nothing truly exists after death, what’s the harm in believing there might be? And if something does exist after death — well, believing otherwise seems an awful lot like spending your life feeling empty, scared, and depressed about something that never was true in the first place.

Actually, there is quite a lot of evidence for the afterlife, and I have a few personal experiences of it. Take, for example, the work of psychiatrist Dr. Ian Stevenson about reincarnation. He found many children who had memories of their previous lives — including obscure details that were later verified. There are even online videos and movies made about stories like this. (Just type in “child with memory of afterlife” to YouTube.)

Then there’s mediumship — the art of communicating with the dead. For a while, my husband Steve and I occasionally visited spiritualist churches, including a trip to the spiritualist town of Lilydale, New York. Spiritualism is a religious belief system whose goal is connection to the unseen realm of the afterlife. Adherents train themselves in the art of mediumship, as well as other psychic abilities. I believe there is a lot to be said for visiting a medium, even if the bulk of contact information is bogus. For example, contact with a recently-passed loved one can do an awful lot to lift debilitating grief; I myself had the experience of this.

Here is a description of one contact with the dead that was particularly convincing and noteworthy to Steve and me. While still in our car in the parking lot of a spiritualist church, I focused on the intention to contact my father who died in 1971 at the age of 72. Although I said nothing to anyone except Steve about this intention, the medium came to me during the service and told me he was receiving contact with an older man. The medium kept telling me he was being shown the image of a baby falling out of a carriage. I told him that this did not ring a bell for me, so the medium moved on to someone else. But later, Steve told me that this had actually happened!

Steve had forgotten all about it, but about 20 years earlier when our son Izaak was a baby, Steve was pushing him in a stroller but had forgotten to fasten the seat belt. When the stroller hit a bump in the sidewalk, Izaak fell hard, face-first onto the pavement. The odd thing was, Izaak didn’t cry at all and was unhurt, despite quite a bad fall. Steve was shocked at the time; he was sure Izaak was going to have some kind of injury. In fact, he didn’t tell me about the accident because he thought I’d be angry with him! When Steve and I told the medium after the service about this occurrence, he said that sometimes the dead tell us information like this to let us know that they had intervened to prevent an injury.

Now, had this medium really made contact my father? Or was he just psychic and “reading” a long-forgotten event from Steve’s mind? In either case, it’s rather amazing!

As I discuss in detail in my book Active Consciousness, spiritual teacher Rudolf Steiner taught the following about the death process. First, our physical body dies. Then, over the course of the next few days (Buddhists say three days), the energy or etheric body dissipates. The etheric body is likely related to the electromagnetic field and is the fundamental lattice upon which the physical body is built. It is also the primary realm of operation of energy medicines, like acupuncture and homeopathy.

After the physical body dies and the etheric body dissipates, the higher level energy bodies — the emotional astral body, the mental body, and the causal body — continue on. As I discuss in Active Consciousness, I believe that these higher (or deeper) parts of ourselves likely operate in higher dimensional space. They are also part of us when we are alive (even if we are not conscious of them), and give us access to things like psychic abilities and sudden inspirations. I also think that these three bodies correspond to the “Basic Self” (astral body), “Middle Self” (mental body), and “Higher Self” (causal body) of Huna, a spiritual system based on Hawaiian shamanistic beliefs, which I have written about quite frequently in past newsletters.

Although we now only exist as an astral/mental/causal being, we are still essentially “ourselves”. Although we don’t have a physical body living in three-dimensional space, we can create worlds that seem much like the one we departed. As I discuss in Active Consciousness, this isn’t suprising if we are actually operating in four-dimensional space. This realm of being is essentially like the one we sense in our dreams. In fact, Steiner said that our three higher bodies detach from our physical body during sleep or out-of-body experiences. Our primary memories of such experiences are largely those of our astral body.

A very detailed cosmology based on this kind of belief system is described in the work of Waldo Vieira and is taught by the International Academy of Consciousness. I took a couple of weekend workshops with this organization a few years ago and found it fascinating. One of their main focuses is on teaching people to have out-of-body experiences. The organization is based in Brazil, where beliefs of this type are much more common. In fact, a Brazilian movie, Nosso Lar (Our Home) is based on these ideas. I recommend it to all of you — it’s fascinating, and the music is great — written by composer Philip Glass.

There is so much more that I could write about this topic. I hope this short article has provided food for thought and ideas to explore during your Halloween season!

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