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meaning | ˈmēni ng |
noun
what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action
adjective
intended to communicate something that is not directly expressed

meaningful
| ˈmēni ng fəl |
adjective
having meaning
• having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dealing with Anxiety

Hi Darwin:

It would be great to hear your advice on managing anxiety.


mandy

Hi Mandy,

I'm not sure why, but I feel like I should start my reply off by saying thanks. My life is very much dedicated to helping others and thus when that connection is made I'm grateful.

So let me start off by explaining that I'm not a big believer in our medical establishment's approach to treating depression or anxiety. I'm not against medication, but I believe our society has been dealt a dis-service in these drugs being positioned for long term care. Many people don't see results from anti-anxiety medication and my belief is that this is because they don't treat the root cause of anxiety.

My position on medication is that it should be used to help you get the clarity of mind and presence to deal with the root cause. If you're having frequent panic attacks then it would be difficult to work on the root cause. Thus if taking anti-anxiety medication provides you with the peace of mind to focus then that's great. But thinking that there is something wrong with you and that you need a drug to make you "normal" for the rest of your life...that sounds crazy to me.

I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on T.V. So please do anything I recommend without talking with your therapist of physician first. ;)

The good news is that I'm not trying to sell you any herbs, miracle techniques or anything else that costs $19.95.

The difficult news is that I have a completely different view on why we experience anxiety and depression. My wife has struggled with anxiety for the last several years and my approach has helped her.

Before we get to "what to do" we must first establish "what we are." Most people walk around believing that they are that voice in their head. Lots of new age people like to talk about "that voice" but few explain what we're supposed to do with it. So too a lot of people talk about changing our thoughts, focusing on the positive and lots of other mind tricks to change that voice in our head into something different. I think that's a huge waste of time.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with this concept, but if you're asking yourself, "What voice?" then it's that voice that you're having a conversation with about not having a voice in your head. But since you're dealing with anxiety, I think I can safely assume you know what voice I'm talking about. ;)

That voice isn't "you" but it is part of you. That voice is the internal dialogue of your Mind. As your Mind considers thousands of choices throughout the day, it considers each and every option. And with each option it "thinks" about the probable outcome, benefits and detriments. The internal dialogue that you're hearing is your Mind considering all the potential options. And listening to that dialogue can be a bit disturbing sometimes because our Mind considers both the sane and insane options in its review of all possible options.

And that's actually a good thing. You wouldn't want it any other way because you want your Mind to consider all the possibilities and make the right choice. Clearly your Mind is doing a great job with a nearly perfect track record of making good decisions. Sure, it makes the wrong choice once in a while, but considering the billions that it got right...statistically your Mind is doing an awesome job.

The point is that your Mind has a job to do (mainly to keep you alive) and thus there isn't anything wrong, broken or disabled about it. It doesn't have faulty wiring, a bad hormone dispenser or a broken controller. The one problem it does have is that it is an egomaniac. It wants all the attention and it doesn't trust anyone else to be in charge of you.

But you're more than just a Mind. You also have a physical Body that makes thousands of decisions every day to keep you alive. For example, your heart has over 40,000 embedded neurons (brain cells) that enable it to operate as its own intrinsic nervous system. With every beat of our heart, an electro-magnetic field is generated that is 5,000 times stronger than the field produced by our brain. This field is so powerful that it can be detected by electro-magnetic sensors over eight feet away from the Body.

And what is the purpose of the electro-magnetic field generated by the heart? It is one of four ways our heart communicates with the brain (The four ways that the heart communicates with the brain is through neurological impulses, biochemically via hormones, biophysically via pressure waves and energetically via the electro-magnetic field it generates).

Thus you are both a Mind and a Body. They communicate back and forth to function in the world and to keep you alive. When they are in balance, they work fluidly together.

But you're more than a Mind and the actions it commands your Body to do. In some way, you also have a Spiritual side to you. Thus instead of thinking of ourselves as a physical manifestation of that voice in our head, we should be conceptualizing ourselves as a Body, Spirit and Mind.

You've probably heard these terms discussed by thousands of new age practitioners. And when they're freaked out about mentioning God, they'll drop the Spirit and refer to us as the Body-Mind. But these are more than cute descriptions about our human nature, they actually represent what we are.

And thus you can think of yourself as the combination of your Body, Spirit and Mind. This is the part of the message where you might think I'm going to tell you to find Jesus, read the Bible and find a local church. Those are all great things, but that's not my point. And I personally don't think any of those things will eliminate anxiety in your life. You can pray until the cows come home and you'll still be dealing with anxiety.

Instead I'd like you to think of yourself as both the connections and the three parts of you as one. Thus your Mind is one part of you, but so too you have a Body that is a major component of the overall Mandy. But Mandy's Spirit is also a major component of you. You're all three combined.

But most of society operates as if they're only the Mind. They live a mental existence where their entire lives are lived according to the logical ways of the Mind. And as that relates to making decisions to keep us alive or driving on the freeway, that's great. But there are many things in life that can't be reduced to turning left or right, choosing right from wrong or making the best of a situation.

So the first step to alleviating anxiety is to bring one's self into a place of balance. Now I don't know how much you want to eliminate anxiety from your life, but if you're anything like my wife you would do almost anything to never have another panic attack, racing heartbeat or restless night. In fact, you might even want it out of your life so much that you'll take medications that have potential side effects that are really, really, really dangerous.

And like I said before, in the Spirit of obtaining peace of Mind and presence, that's fine. But my prescription for alleviating anxiety is designed to rid it from your life forever, rather than masking it to shut down your brain. But it takes work and requires more effort than taking a pill. It requires balance.

To conceptualize balance, imagine energy flowing throughout this new concept of Mandy. You are the combination of your Body, Spirit and Mind and the communications that flow between each part of you run along a meridian of energy. This is the part of the discussion where you might think I'm going to recommend you see an acupuncturist. But that too is not my point.

Instead of yourself, imagine this energy flowing between the three parts of someone that is perfectly in balance. Their Body, Spirit and Mind are working in harmony and each part of them is regularly nourished and cared for. There is no blockage, restriction or containment of this energy. Each part of them takes the energy it needs, puts it to use and allows it to continue flowing.

Instead of yourself, now imagine someone that is horribly out of balance. They spend their entire existence "in their heads," deny their Body exercise and have no spiritual connection to their own Spirit. Despite the connective bonds being incapable of being severed, these connections have atrophied like a muscle that hasn't been used in years.

As energy flows into this person, it is funneled to the Mind where it spins out of control. Overwhelmed with too much energy, the thoughts of this person accelerate and the consideration of every possible thought becomes magnified. Simple considerations become blown out of proportion simply because this energy is overwhelming the system.

With too much energy being funneled into the Mind, the excess energy spills over into the Body where this person directs it to their area of greatest need. For most people this is the heart, which symbolizes their longing for love, connection and to unite humanity. But with too much energy being held in the heart, it starts to suffer and reacts by racing with palpitations and aches.

Does that sound like anxiety?

Thus when people talk about treating anxiety through exercise, healthy eating, loving relationships and a connection to faith... they're on the right track. But our goal isn't simply to burn off this energy by directing it into other parts of our self. Our goal is to harmonize and bring the system into balance.

Balance is really hard when we don't know "what" to balance. Work, home, career, kids, parents, friends, housework, investments, personal time, exercise, (this list can go on forever).

But all we really need to do is balance our Body, Spirit and Mind. Every person is different in this regard, so there is no single prescription to bring these three parts of Mandy into balance. But you can start by asking yourself these three questions at the end of each workday:
  1. What have I done today to nurture my Body?
  2. What have I done today to nurture my Spirit?
  3. What have I done today to nurture my Mind?
If the answer to any of these is "nothing" then you know what you need to do that evening. The nurturing doesn't need to be huge. You don't have to run 5-miles a day to nurture the Body. Start with a healthy dinner and a walk around the block.

So too nurturing the Spirit doesn't require that you meditate every night or spend every waking moment at your house of worship. Starting with a short meditation or attending a prayer group is great start.

The Mind is the hardest to nurture because we already live a mental existence. To nurture the Mind is to expose it to a new experience. This can be as simple as taking a random topic, entering it into Google and clicking the "I'm feeling lucky" button. You can then learn whatever comes up.

Unfortunately all of what I've just shared with you is simply a prescription for just about anyone. Not specifically for someone that is dealing with anxiety. For anxiety, we actually need to investigate why you're getting so much of this energy in your life.

Remember the depiction above where your Mind is getting all this energy channeled to it without an outlet? In this, we need to ask ourselves why are we receiving all of this energy?

The answer comes from an understanding how the Body, Spirit and Mind communicate with one another. In my book Inspiration Divine, I go into explaining this in much greater detail, but I'll cut it short here and just explain that the Body talks to the Spirit, the Spirit talks to the Mind, and the Mind talks to the Body. If you draw this as a triangle with arrows showing the flow of communication you'll see how this is a closed loop.

The point here is that your Spirit is communicating and transmitting energy to your Mind. Your connection to your Spirit may be weak, but the connection is there and energy flows along that connection none the less. While your Mind and Body are constrained to the physical limits of your Body, your Spirit is not constrained an exists outside of the confines of your Body. Thus your Spirit is directly connected to God and the Spirits of other beings.

And thus we can see that our Spirit is not constrained by the logical thoughts of our Mind nor does it care about the physical limitations of our Body. Whereas the Mind cares about the logical reasons of "why," our Spirit only focuses on choosing love, uniting Humanity and expanding God's presence. So too your Spirit is not constrained by a temporal Universe (time based) and knows where you need to be in the future.

So imagine your Spirit living outside of the confines of your Body and Mind with a complete understanding of what is best for Mandy. And to help you accomplish your hopes and dreams, your Spirit is transmitting to you all the energy you need.

Now imagine yourself in balance. Each part of you is nourished on a regular basis and you're living your life in complete harmony with your Body, Spirit and Mind. You're in tune with your Spirit's communications and you take the energy provided to you and put it to work in the world (as it was intended). The energy flowing through you spreads to others as you choose love, unite Humanity and expand God's presence in the Universe (by creating that which didn't exist before).

Or your one of millions of people on the planet with a malfunctioning nervous system that needs pharmaceutical drugs to be "normal." I just can't accept this philosophy.

There are no quick fixes as the prescription here is more of a practice than a pill. As we struggle to deal with anxiety in our lives, we can look to ways that we can use this energy to unite humanity. My wife has established a relationship with a local women's shelter and when she gets her anxiety attacks she stops by to give them a hand. The point is by helping others we provide this life force energy an outlet in the world rather than bottling it up inside of us.

I know I've shared a lot with you here and it's a lot to digest. I hope I've provided you with a different way to view anxiety and a method for alleviating it. I personally believe that people that experience anxiety are those that are called to do great things in this world. Your Spirit is trying to get your attention by turning up the volume. We may not know now to listen, but by bringing ourselves into balance we begin to speak this language and make a difference in the world.

I truly hope you find peace and inspiration. If you're interested in this approach, I post quotes and inspirations daily on my Facebook Author Page.

Blessings,

darwin

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Darwin, What about a person who takes, takes, takes?

Dear Darwin:

Please tell me, what would you say to someone who is constantly taking all you have, not returning it, asking for more, and it happens all over again all the time. I want to help this girl and i do! all the time! but she doesn't want to help HERSELF! what do i do?????? I'm getting so tired of getting taken advantage of. I need to go do some yoga. please help me!

Stephanie

Hi Stephanie:

I can empathize with your situation as this is a very common issue with interpersonal relationships. When we put ourselves in a position to regularly help others, often times we encounter people that are attracted to our willingness to give. This isn't to say that these people are purposely trying to take advantage of us, but rather that they've developed a repeating pattern of drawing energy from others.

The first thing we should always do in these situations is to have compassion for the other person. A person in balance wouldn't operate in this manner and thus we can immediately recognize that they're out of balance. Thus, without balance, they're unable to attain the strength and energy necessary to objectively see their behavior or chart a course of change. Nobody wants to be in a situation of continually needing help from others and by approaching resolution through compassion we can engage the person with love.

We've all met people like this in our lives and our Minds have fabricated lots of different stories about why these people are the way they are. But what we should recognize is that their behavior is the result of a number of factors rather than a single factor. Our logical Minds love to come up with patterns and no doubt we've discovered part of their reason for acting this way. But there is always much more to the story than meets the eye.

The bottom line is that they are not thriving and, through their relationship with you, they're able to derive a bit more energy into their life. When this is communal, this exchange of life force energy is both healthy and central to being human. However, when this energy is flowing primarily in one direction, it can be unhealthy for everyone. Unfortunately, these "energy suckers" are often unaware of their unbalanced ways and thus talking to them about the problem rarely resolves the situation.

Instead, we should take our lay-psychologist hats off and instead envision the relationship as a back and forth, flowing of energy. I know this sounds like fluffy, metaphysical jargon but hear me out. For starters, let's describe ourselves, not in the way that voice in our head describes, but rather as we truly are:

"You are the collective consciousness that radiates from the connections between your Body, Spirit, and Mind." - Inspiration Divine, p 22.

Thus, instead of simply being a physical manifestation of that voice in your head, you're actually the active combination of the Body, Spirit and Mind. If you look closely at this sentence, you'll see that you are the "connections" between the Body, Spirit and Mind:
  • You're not your Body, because you'll continue to exist after your dead and buried.
  • You're not your Mind, as you're more than just that voice in your head.
  • You're also not simply your Spirit, as your Body and Mind play an active, participatory role in your life.
In essence, you are both the connections and the individual entities at the same time.

As we imagine sensations, feelings and thoughts flowing between the Body, Spirit and Mind we can visualize these communications as pure energy. A thought originates in the Mind, which causes the Body to act and the Spirit to react. In a healthy and balanced individual, this natural flow of energy exists in effortless harmony. As you can see, keeping ourselves in balance is key to living an enlightened life.

Now visualize two people in a harmonious relationship. Rather than the sensations, feelings and thoughts flowing within the individual, they are shared and exchanged between the two. This ebb and flow of energy is central to being human and our social nature is by Divine intent. We are called to love one another and unite all of Humanity. Thus when we interact with one another we share much more than sensations, feelings and thoughts...we exchange energy with one another.

However, when we encounter someone who is out of balance they tend to take more energy than they give. Most people tend to avoid people like this because they find these people to be draining, exhausting and even depressing. In the cosmic exchange of energy, these people are living off of the energy of others.

There have been times in our lives when we too have operated like this. We all have unfortunate times in our lives when we need the helping hand of another. Each of us can recall a time in our lives when we needed help and our friends and/or family were there for us. Our nature is to help one another and during these times of imbalance in our lives we sincerely appreciate those that give without expectation of return.

But some people unknowingly become stuck in this way of living their lives. Through years and years of repeating this same pattern in their lives, they've developed a dependency on other people to help, guide and even rescue them. Often these people have trouble maintaining long term relationships with friends and family as they have become accustomed to seeing people through the eyes of what they can do for them. They live in a world of expectation and thus are missing the communal blessings of balanced relationships.

Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do” Luke 23:24

Unaware of their imbalanced ways, these people are not conscious to the damage they're causing in their relationships or of the balanced life they could be living. And because they've developed deep, repeating patterns (ruts) in their mental approach to life, talking to them about this situation is rarely effective. The reason is that they're living their lives entirely within the logical constructs of their Minds. Thus when you talk to them, they're only hearing you through the isolated consciousness of their Minds.

To effect change, they must move to a more balanced approach to life where the Body, Spirit and Mind are all participating in the conversation. Again, remember you can't convince them of this by talking to them about it. Without the lines of communication flowing between their Body, Spirit and Mind, your words will simply be logically referenced against their pre-existing construct of life. In this construct of life, you are a source of energy. And if you're not going to supply them with the energy they need to thrive, they're not going to continue the relationship. Hence, why talking to an unbalanced person about balance rarely works out.

Therefore, to help someone who has developed this approach to life, we must do two things:
  1. Set Healthy Boundaries - to protect oneself in this exchange, we should establish healthy boundaries when we are of sound Body, Spirit and Mind (e.g. when we're calm, rather than reacting to a situation). We seek boundaries that allow us to help the person, but also have defined limits. Although you'll likely be ignored, you should communicate these boundaries to the other person and stick to them.
  2. Engage their Body, Spirit and Mind - it is impossible for the connections between the Body, Spirit and Mind to be severed, but they can become atrophied like a muscle that hasn't been used for years. We can help the other person turn this around by inviting the other person to join us in activities that nourish the Body, Spirit and Mind. For example, going to the gym together, taking a meditation class together or joining a reading club.
As more energy begins to flow into their life via their own Spirit, they'll naturally move away from being dependent on others for this life force energy. When these connections begin to blossom, they'll be opening up to their true self. As a good friend, you'll be there to guide them along the way and help them over the small bumps in the road. Through modeling a balanced life, they'll slowly find ways to regain balance in their own life.

In every relationship, we play the role of Father, Mother or Child. People who drain energy from others have become stuck in a child phase rather than developing. Helpless to recognize that their gestation period has passed, they're insuring that they remain in this phase of life by refusing to stand on their own two feet. What they don't realize is that we regularly cycle through the phases of Father, Mother and Child in our lives and this means that someone needs them to play the role of Father or Mother in their life. By not progressing with their own development, someone else in their life is struggling. Someone else is unable to move onto their next phase in life, because this person isn't evolving. By helping them find balance and the flow of God's life force energy in their life, we not only help this person but also the people who need them.

We live in a cause and effect world where we want simple and definitive solutions to our problems. Instead of working towards a solution, our Western Minds crave absolutes and instant fixes (hence the predominance of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications on the market). We usually like to tackle a problem head on and confront it with brute force. However, this is an un-compassionate approach to someone who is struggling with imbalance in their life. Without communications and energy flowing through their Body, Spirit and Mind, their lives are hard, difficult and a struggle. We seek to truly help them by guiding them to a place of balance where energy flows through them, rather than to them.

Before I close, I must add that I love the fact that you answered your own question. In final line, you said you needed to take a yoga class. And as yoga is the balance of the Body, Spirit and Mind...you were already on the path to the answer of your own question.

Blessings,

Darwin Stephenson

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dear Darwin, What about Forgiveness?

Dear Darwin,

What advice would you give someone who has forgiveness, but has not been forgiven.

Patty

Hi Patty:

Ironically today I also was invited to join a group on Facebook dedicated to Forgiveness. So I guess you could say that forgiveness is the theme of the day.

I find a lot of beauty in the simple precepts that I've been given and write about in Inspiration Divine. I particularly find them beneficial in my life as they apply in so many situations. As you'll recall, they are:

1. Choose Love.
2. Unite Humanity.
3. Expand God's Presence in the Universe.

I believe that forgiveness ties into both choosing Love and uniting Humanity. When we forgive someone else (regardless of sharing that forgiveness or not) we actually change the Universe because we are letting go of the emotional binds that prevent us from growing. Without forgiveness, we are hopeless to avoid the same mental ruts that we follow over and over again in our lives. In this, our past becomes our future because we are using the same script over and over again in our lives.

In forgiving another, more life force energy is directed into our lives because we are nurturing our Spirit as opposed to following yet another logical repeat performance of our Mind. Our Spirit desires us to choose love and unite humanity so it is directly nurtured when we forgive others. And thus our forgiving directly channels more of God's energy into our lives.

But your question was about not being forgiven, rather than forgiving...

In this, I feel that we're also drawn to love and uniting humanity; but in this regard this a longing for which we have no control. We cannot bring someone else to choose forgiveness as this is an awakening that one can only come to through their own discovery. And this is particularly hard when we long to be forgiven or seek forgiveness for a loved one.

My advice would be to forgive the person for not being forgiving. I know this sounds like a circular reference, but try to look at it from a flowing of energy perspective. As you forgive someone, more life force energy flows into both of your lives. Much like your Spirit is nurtured in this exchange, their Spirit so too is nurtured. And like priming a pump, this can be the kick-start of awakening that opens them up to forgiveness.

We truly aspire to be forgiven so that the other person can experience the beauty and bliss of forgiveness. Although we feel blessed to be forgiven, it is actually our love for the other person that drives this desire. In essence, we want them to feel the love that comes through forgiveness.

There is no way to mentally force forgiveness to happen as this gift comes through a connection to Spirit rather than the Mind's logical ways. This is why you can't convince someone to forgive. Thus we can really only influence this Divine transformation of another by loving and forgiving them ourselves. And that take time.

Hope this helps and I hope you can find the forgiveness you seek.

Blessings,

darwin

Thursday, December 10, 2009

God Bless America

In these times of struggle, we Americans understand the true meaning of hope. Our lives are filled with conflict ranging from the challenge some face to put food on the table for their children to fighting for our country's security half way around the world. We know there is a better day in our future and we persevere because that is what we Americans do. We are no strangers to struggle and we inherently know that brighter days are ahead.

Our elected politicians face the daunting challenge of piloting our future, while representing the needs of today's community. And while they are talented and skilled, we are to be reminded that they are human. Like our personal struggle to prosper, they too are doing the best they can and we trust that they have our best interest at heart. In this, we Americans also know the true meaning of trust.

Our one nation under God faces struggle in the plurality of our religious diversity. The golden rule to treat thy neighbor as thy self emerges from God's role in our life and we are reminded at this time of year that all God loving beings aspire for peace. There is no enemy in peace and we aspire for a day when brotherly love is known to all.

Let today be the day that we find hope, trust, peace and love in our lives. Let us model for the world the American way of life in which we look past our differences and find commonality in the future of humanity. Let each of us find a way to make a difference the life of another. And, in this, let God bless America.

Darwin Stephenson

in reference to: The White House (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Beauty of Oprah

So let's pause for a moment and consider Oprah's contribution to the world outside of the topical discussion of the day. Throughout history and any given day in your life, there are voices that awaken you.

That awakening may be a new perspective or as simple as a new way to organize your living room. The point is that this change in awareness came about through another person. In this case, it came about through the world of communications that is Oprah. And regardless of what you think about the topic of the day, this introduction of new information into your life is a potential seed of change.

We all can't be Oprah, but we can learn from this simple model of sharing. Creating and sharing with others is elemental to the human condition. And while we may quibble over what is the right topic to share, we can reflect on the divine nature of this exchange. We are all creative, spiritual beings that are called to create that which did not exist before and share it with others in our lives.

It is said that, "to give is better than to receive." We often say this around holiday moments in our lives, but is this not also true in our everyday existence? In those moments when we have helped someone without expectation, we catch a glimmer of the true love of humanity.

With the pace of life increasing at a breathtaking pace, it is sometimes difficult to see the benefits of our sharing. And that is the crux of the problem. When we do not receive feedback from our sharing, we wrongly assume that there was no value given or received. But this is merely our egoic Mind trying to logically control our life. When we let go of the expectation associated with our giving, we shift our consciousness to a more spiritual state. And in this loving exchange without expectation, we find ourselves experiencing the same love that we found when we helped someone.

What Oprah has done is built a worldwide system for sharing. Her messages touch more people than could ever possibly provide her feedback. Yes, her production team surely monitors how this content is received, but beyond the qualitative measures that guide the show there is an expression of sharing that goes beyond the commercial enterprise. And I would argue that her success comes directly through the value of sharing.

As spiritual beings, we too can find ways to share with others in our life. Try it out today by simply sharing something you've learned with someone else. I think you'll be surprised how this small act of generosity can spark change. And we all could use a bit more spark in our lives.

Namaste,

Darwin Stephenson
Author of Inspiration Divine

in reference to: Oprah.com - Live Your Best Life - Oprah.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Caregivers, Healing and Traumatic Brain Injury

Question
My husband and I have been married for 35 years and have two sons. Almost 10 years ago my youngest son who was attending his 5th and final year of university for computer sciences was hit by a car. We lived in a motel room for a year to be by his side while he was in a coma and slowly was able to be brought home. Our son has severe brain damage but is aware of who he was and how close he was to reaching his dreams that he had worked so hard for. The lawyer we hired ended up leaving our son so short of money that we cannot afford for him to be placed in residential care where we know he would flourish with peers and activities.

We live in rural Canada and there are no services for our son. He requires 24/7 care and this has taken a huge toll on us... and all those who love him. My son is lonely and unable to even watch t.v. or amuse himself for a minute... he requires one on one care day-in and day-out. It is beyond heart breaking to look into the very eyes of your child and miss him as you do. Our greatest fear is what will happen to our son when we are no longer here to watch over him.


We have been banging our heads against walls trying to find help, and each time the bottom line is, you don't have enough money. And now our son's behaviours are so bizarre and socially unacceptable that we can no longer even go out in the community... I have maintained a positive attitude throughout and yet nothing seems to ever be enough. Our oldest son has drifted away, no one visits us because the injured son is all consuming, and we can't even have a conversation without him needing something.


I was wondering if you had any word of advice for us. We feel hope fading, we feel helpless, scared and heart broken. Our lives, all of our lives, have been twisted and there seems to be no end in sight. My dream is to see our son happy and content among peers and have activities; to feel he belongs and that he counts. I appreciate any input or advice that you might have for us. Thank you.


- Mother of a family in distress for too long

Answer
First of all, let me say how sorry I am to learn of your story. As a father, I understand the hopes, aspirations and unconditional love that we have for our children. To see them suffer and unable to enjoy life is a pain no parent should ever suffer. My heart goes out to you and your family.

I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to maintain hope in your lives with the constant care that your son requires, his apparent lack of progress and the impact it is having on your lives. Thus my counsel to you is twofold, one part for your son and another for yourselves. As caregivers, the healing energy that flows through you is directly correlated with your well being. What this means is that you need to nurture your Body, Spirit and Mind so that you can help your son. And as difficult as that might seem to be for you, it is imperative that you nurture yourself. We all need nurturing, but those that care for others need it the most.

I want to assure you that there is a path of healing for all of us including your son. As an individual, your son consists of a Body, Spirit and Mind that was on a path to becoming complete before this unfortunate accident. In this, try and imagine his growth from birth until the accident in terms of his Body, Spirit and Mind as separate entities. For example, your son was born with no knowledge whatsoever but his Mind began a rapid growth towards becoming more complete up until his accident. In his fifth year at University, your son was at the pinnacle of his mental growth. And then this unfortunate accident occurred and his mental growth plummeted.


As you can see in the chart above, your son's Mind was rapidly growing up until the moment of his accident. With a traumatic brain injury, your son's Mind is unable to grow on its own because his brain is not directly providing him with the usual inputs, information and experiences. It is as if the foundation of his house was suddenly built on sand rather than solid footing. Thus his efforts to continue operating as usual are thwarted because his brain isn't sending him the same signals as before. But that doesn't mean that his Mind is unable to function, he just isn't getting the information he needs to grow.

So too his Body was maintaining health or a slight decline due to aging. I can't tell anything about your son's physical condition from your letter but I surmise he was living a youthful existence:


Whereas we would expect your son's Body and Mind rapidly growing towards becoming complete at this stage in his life, the chart above depicts the opposite occurring as you described. Without the ability to function as before, your son's Body and Mind are not being nurtured as they should. And as much as you try to facilitate this for him, I'm sure you've experienced the difficulties present in doing this for someone who cannot function on their own.

But your son's Spirit is undamaged and unencumbered through the accident. In fact, your Son's Spirit is not only flourishing, but is capable of sending everything your Son needs to heal. The reason for this is because our Spirits are not constrained to our physical Bodies and are connected directly to God. As such, your Son's Spirit has direct access to the healing life force energy of God.

Whereas your Son's Mind and Body may be on the decline, your Son's Spirit is strong and needs the Body and Mind in order to thrive. We are all called to fulfill our purpose by choosing love, uniting Humanity and expanding God's presence in the Universe. Your son is no different in this regard and God wants nothing more than for your son to be a healthy, thriving member of Humanity.

I know it is difficult in these situations to not conceptualize God as a judgmental being that chooses who gets in car accidents and who does not. But God neither chose this for your son nor chose not to intervene. In the limitless lives we experience with God, this is but a moment in the immortal life of your Son's Spirit. Thus this temporary time is but an isolated experience in the total life of your Son. But that doesn't mean that he must spend this lifetime trapped by his injury. Healing is possible.

The key to healing is to communicate to the Spirit that your son is a thriving, contributing member of Humanity in the present moment. Your job is to express to his Spirit that your son requires more, not less, life force energy to achieve his purpose. As you'll see in Inspiration Divine, the Spirit lives in the domain of the future and therefor only aspires for what your son can be. While the Mind lives in the past and the Body in the present moment, the Spirit's focus on the future is what provides the means to channel God's healing life force energy to your son.

The Body communicates to the Spirit through the language of sensation so enlivening the five sensual dimensions is how you'll open up your son's line of communication to his Spirit:
  1. Hearing - speak in the Body's present tense and communicate how your son is a thriving member of the human race. Tell the Spirit what it wants to hear by describing how your son is choosing to love, uniting Humanity and expanding God's presence by creating that which didn't exist before. You know your son better than anyone so imagine what he would be accomplishing if the accident weren't to have happened. Let your prayers be vocal and convey what is going to be but in the present tense.
  2. Smell - awaken your son's sense of smell by incorporating a wide range of smells into this communication experience. From pungent to sweet, employ a dynamic range of aromas to bind your son's experience and trigger distant memories.
  3. Taste - bring your son's sense of taste to the surface by incorporating different flavors. Bring your son's favorite foods into the mix.
  4. Sight - regardless of your son's reaction, expose his eyes to stimulating visuals of the human condition. Before his accident, your son experienced a whole host of visual experiences and you should stimulate his visual senses like you would strengthen a muscle. Variety and intensity (within range, of course).
  5. Touch - You mentioned that your son was studying computer science prior to his accident and I can imagine his fingers touched a keyboard several times a day. Thus one of your son's primary input sensations was through his fingertips. Without expectation of function, provide him with the feel of a keyboard, the experience of typing or any other tactile sensation from his past.
Think of these techniques as therapy. You're slowly opening up the lines of communication between the Body and the Spirit. By flooding the Spirit with input of your son's experiences and communicating his active lifestyle necessitating energy for expansion, your convincing the Spirit to give your son everything that he needs to heal.

And as the Spirit communicates to the Mind, the healing life force energy of the Mind is directly channeled to where your son needs healing the most. By continually bathing your son with God's healing life force energy in this way you'll be awakening what has gone dormant.

I can't tell you that this will bring swift or dramatic results. But what I can tell you is that the healing life force energy of God knows no boundaries and healing is possible for your son. As his caregivers you are also his primary healers. During this time, I highly encourage you to practice your faith and include your son in your religion. As a member of your family, his Spirit needs nurturing and the nurturing of your Spirit will also nurture his Spirit.

I look forward to the complete recovery of your son. God wants your son to be at his best and I hope this provides you with hope for the future.

Namaste,

Darwin Stephenson

Monday, November 2, 2009

Finding Your Path

After this morning's yoga class, I had an engaging conversation with a couple of the other students about energy. One of them has started a zoning practice and she was explaining to me how the work helps her too, because in preparing to rid her clients of negative energy, she first forms an intention to build up lots of positive energy within herself.

I commented that, in general, I would have a tough time with that approach to healthcare as I fundamentally don't believe in the duality of positive and negative energy.

"What?" the other student chimed in. "You don't believe in negative energy?"

You would think I stood up in a church and proclaimed that Jesus Christ never existed (which, for the record, I would never say). "No," I responded. "I don't buy into the whole evil spirit possessing people theory of life in the Universe."

"Oh, well neither do I," she responded. "But how can the energy that causes an injury, for example, not be negative? It surely isn't positive."

"Au contraire," I replied. "You label it as negative and bad because it doesn't bring you pleasure and it hurts. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it is evil."

I could go on describing this dialogue and, in fact, it wasn't as if we were debating each other on the topic. My actual point is not to necessarily convince her (or you) that I'm right and she is wrong. And neither do I aim to change the world's acceptance of this duality. My point is that these are the underpinnings of our belief systems and we should explore them.

From the day you were born, you have lived in a society that expresses to you how things operate in the Universe. Chances are you grew up around largely like minded people and your upbringing brought with it a fair amount of their beliefs. I would challenge anyone that believes otherwise (presumably because they pride themselves in being an independent, free thinker) that they are deluding themselves. The truth of the matter is that we cannot help but be influenced by the beliefs of the community in which we live. This is not to say that we cannot step outside of these belief systems, but they are inherently part of our understanding of life.

Before you get all fired up about the duality of good and evil or how your community is influencing what you believe, consider the concept of truth in a very simplistic level. Without getting too deep, we're simply going to distinguish what is true from what is not true. Philosophy students, settle down. This isn't intended to invoke a model for finding the truth, but rather to open up our Minds to the truth.

On one side, there is the truth. And on the other, there is the absolute furthest point one could get from the truth. Graphically we can represent this as a gradient of color ranging from white to black:


In this example, we'll let white represent the truth and everything that isn't white to represent "not-true." As you can see, there are many representations of not-true and only one representation of true (pure white). However in our lives we live mostly within this grey area and rarely spend any time in absolute truth or absolute not-truth. We may spend a lot of time aspiring to live in the truth but the reality of our everyday lives is far from this.

In this, imagine if you needed a ride to the airport and you had two people to choose from. However, your flight isn't for a couple of hours and both myself and another driver have offered to run you around town for some last minute errands. Lucky for you, because this allows you to preview our driving skills and decide which person you trust to get you to the airport safe and sound.

In this example, you getting to the airport alive and in one piece is represented by white and every other outcome is represented as not-white (with presumably the option where you die in a car accident defined as black).

Your first test drive is with me and I demonstrate fairly normal and reliable driving habits. I drive on the correct side of the road, stop firmly at intersections and I'm extremely polite to other drivers. Heck, I even managed to get you to the store and back without texting on my phone.

And now the "other" driver. In comparison, this driver appears to be crazy. He drives on whatever side of the road suits him, obeys hardly any traffic laws and seems to gauge how fast to drive based on emotion rather than logic. Whereas I calmly offered other drivers the right of way in an intersection, he enters intersections boldly with his horn honking.

It is time for you to leave for your flight. Between here and the airport one of these two drivers will get you to your flight safely. Who do you choose?

Beyond choice ask yourself, "Which driver is the right driver to choose and which one is wrong?"

You've got a long flight ahead and you were looking forward to catching a little nap in the passenger seat in route to the airport. Have you made your choice yet?

Before you make up your mind, let me share one additional piece of information with you about where you're at right now. Instead of your home environment, you're in Bangalore India. Before you make your final choice, watch this video that my good friend Mark Charmer filmed in Chik Ballapur:



Suddenly my driving skills don't seem all that useful. In fact, my following the rules might actually get you killed (especially if we're driving one of those motorcycles). In fact, honking your way through an intersection might be the difference between life and death. Yet, despite the apparent chaos depicted in this video there is also a rhythm to the traffic. Our sense of order is completely displaced but within this culture the rules of the road are quite clear.

And thus we're back to the concept of positive and negative energy. I'm not advocating one belief over another, but instead asking that we peel back the layers of our belief systems to expose that which we never question. Our decisions of right, wrong, happy, sad, fun, horrific, etc. are all based on this fabric of belief that contains both concepts we've thought a lot about and a whole lot of "stuff" that we've never questioned. And because we logically analyze everything according to what we believe to be true, our acceptance of new thoughts is often so heavily influenced by these underpinnings of belief that we decide before we've every really considered.

So before you decide so quickly about such topics as divine, evil, reincarnation, negative energy, pathways to healing or anything else new, consider what logical framework you're operating within. Have you really given the new thought proper consideration or is your determination of truth overly influenced by what you've experienced by way of upbringing, cultural heritage and individual experience?

These are not heavy topics only to be considered by philosophers, theists and stuffy university professors. Your entire framework of how and why you operate in the world the way you do is based on these beliefs. You owe it to yourself to consider them fully before making snap judgments about what is true and what is not.

And, for the record, I wouldn't choose me to drive myself to the airport in Bangalore. I'd call at taxi.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What is your purpose?

One of the central messages of Inspiration Divine is that through discovering and pursuing one's purpose, we can put ourselves on the path to health, happiness and enlightenment. The concept is fairly simple and yet one that many find difficult.

In essence this process is about becoming in tune with the life force energy that is flowing from God. This energy pervades everything in the Universe and moves everything in line with God's intent. Mankind has attempted to define God's intent, but it is also possible to become present to this flow of energy rather than simply reading about it. When you oppose this energy you experience friction in your life and when you flow with this energy you experience harmony. With your purpose being in-line with God's intent, you will find your hopes and dreams manifesting because of this harmony.

Thus when we go through life disconnected from our Spirit and out of harmony, we experience chaos and friction in our lives. Our logical Minds come up with all kinds of reasons why the world works the way it does, but this too is simply a distraction from truly connecting with God. Of course, this sounds easy in principle but without an awareness of this energy force we find stepping into this new framework to be daunting (and scary).

As a result, we attempt to logically deduce our purpose. Society tells us that we need more education, more experience, more talent, more skills and more knowledge. We tell ourselves that when we get what is missing, we'll be complete. But as those that have everything that you desire will tell you, this is a never ending quest. You will never satisfy the thirst to become more complete.

In truth, you already are what you desire to be. You are perfect, whole and complete. Even if you have yet to discover or achieve your purpose, you are already complete. Achieving your purpose will not fill that hole in your heart. This is not because the hole is never ending, but rather because there is no hole.

The hole you feel compelled to fill is nothing more than a compulsion to unite with the Divine. Yes, this seems grandiose and esoteric (e.g. impossible). But that hole is a thirst to unite Humanity, to choose love and to expand God's presence. No amount of money, possessions or prestige can fill this hole, but through your purpose you will experience joy instead of pain.

Despite this being a universal calling, no other person can tell you how to discover and achieve your purpose. Many people have opinions on "the only way" you can find peace. And the path to discovering and achieving your purpose may very well come from following their advice. But, then again, it may not. Your purpose and path is as unique as your fingerprints and only you can navigate this journey.

Discovering your purpose is not difficult and yet many struggle with this basic tenet of being human. Your Spirit is perfectly aware of your purpose and communicates it to you each and every day. As you amble through life, your Spirit is sending you messages, people into your life and guiding you towards a personal discovery. Of course, you may not be listening but the communication is still occurring.

And thus we have the task before us. We are to connect to our Spiritual side and unite our Body, Spirit and Mind in balance. Learning to listen is akin to learning a foreign language. What we experience as noise today, will slowly illuminate the message that has been trying to get through to you throughout your life.

There are many people (including me) that are here to help you. And along the way you too will find that helping others is central to being human. Together we will unite and Humanity will choose love. This process begins with you and cannot continue without you. For this reason, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

So I ask you, "What it is your purpose?"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Experience


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Bliss


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Connection


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Hope


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Limitless


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Renewal


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Blessing


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Light


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Confirmation


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Awakening

Thanks!


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Outside of Comfort Zone


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Joy


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Process


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Empowered


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Connecting


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

It will be different...


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. But, for some, one word is just too confining. How do you read this?

Loving Kindness


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kick Ass Fun


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Whole



At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Thank You


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Serenity


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Peaceful


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Peace


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Moving


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Love


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Life


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Hope


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Gratitude


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

God


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Freedom


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Free


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Exploratory


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Curious


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Compassion


At the end of every Inspiration Workshop, we ask the students to give us one word that represents what the workshop was for them. What does this word mean for you?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Living Outside of Judgment

I write a lot about living outside of judgment. At the core of our confusion, judgment is both the beginning and the end of what keeps us from having a true, meaningful relationship with God. In judgment, we divide Humanity and separate our thoughts into the good/bad camps. We've invented the concept of a judgmental God in order to convince ourselves that our judgmental ways are absolute, but in truth we find that an all-knowing, all-loving God has no use for judgment. And this chasm between us and God defines the separation we desire to close.


So one must ask, "If we were conceived by a perfect Creator, why are we inherently judgmental?" After all, if judgment keeps us from a true relationship with God, then why on earth would He (excuse the gender reference) design life with this flawed way of operating in the Universe?


You could conclude that judgment is divine and thus to judge is to act as God intends. However, this rather simple deductive reasoning doesn't stand up to real life consideration. So many of our most ugly acts against Humanity are rooted in judgment.


So too you might conclude that living outside of judgment is impossible. Each and every day we make choices between two or more options and judge one choice to be better than all the rest. But there is a difference between choice and judgment. We assign meaning to so many of our decisions in life but upon closer review we find that we simply made a choice. Sure we considered many facors that resulted in our conclusion, but the subtle difference in assigning meaning or not to our choices is the fine line between choosing and judging.


Thus to live outside of judgment is not the definition of living a divine life but rather to live outside of judgment is the aspiration of living a Spiritual existence. Only God is capable of being non-judgmental and as we seek a true relationship with God, we aspire to be non-judgmental too. Living in a free-will environment requires making choices in order to survive and thus in order to live in this environment we must exist in a judgmental reality.


So we're brought to a correlation between judgment and free-will. What is the benefit of living in a free-will environment that would be enhanced by judgment? For me, the payoff of living in a free will environment is the wondrous creations that result from surviving in a world where not every choice is good for us. In finding more than one option, we are called to find the poor choices unacceptable. Thus the purpose of judgment is not to comdemn, but rather to fuel inspiration.


In finding a choice unacceptable, we are called to be in action to create a better alternative. Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity to contribute and create. The result of living in this exponential reality is that we find purpose in how we navigate through life. When conscious of divinity, we operate in judgment as a means to embrace life and bring meaning to our purpose. We aspire to not let judgment become our way of life, but rather as a means to sharpen the pencil.


Ever present in our lives is a grounding connection to God that pulls us away from living a judgmental existence. The Mind craves judgment but our Spirit calls us to let judgment be but a tool that we employ rather than a way in which we live. Thus we can never really live outside of judgment for this is the nature of the Universe in which we are intended to thrive within. But we are called to lead a Spiritual existence in which judgment is a sword we both respect and fear in fulfilling our purpose.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Pursuit of Truth

I'm struck by how much we accept as truth without ever considering the details behind the stories. From politics to religion and further into the fabric of everyday existence. We're sold a story, we ignore the facts and then we embrace the pitch as the truth.


Before you start thinking that I'm referring to 'other' people being duped by the allure of the pitch or that I'm attacking your ideology, take a step back and consider how our brains take in and process information. We are incapable of considering every bit of information that we experience, let alone store everything for a later consideration. As such, we ignore much more than we experience so that we can cope with the overwhelming amount of information we take in. And this is why we quickly assess a situation, make our conclusions and move on.


What this means is that we are quick to make conclusions so that we can free up our Minds to consider other situations. Our survival instinct seeks to keep our Minds uncluttered so that we can think through the next situation presenting itself to us (e.g. a tiger trying to eat us). No wonder we are hardly willing to reconsider conclusions we've already resolved. To do so would be wasteful of the precious energy we consume thinking.


And so when our politicians tell us a story of our survival being in peril (e.g. weapons of mass destruction, nearby countries conspiring against us, swine flu, etc.), we quickly take in the available information, consider the available options and render a conclusion which then represents the truth.


Do you remember when people were banning the purchase of products from France because the French opposed our war against Iraq? Are those same people still not consuming French products now that more information is known about our tactics and motives?


My point is not to judge Humanity for quick conclusions or to say that we're all dopes. I'm more of the opinion that slowly we're becoming a nation of awakened beings. The ways of the past are slowly eroding with more and more people questioning. By asking questions, those that are entrenched in their beliefs will be uneasy. For our questioning undermines the foundation upon which their (maybe your) beliefs are based.


So I ask you, "What if it all were untrue?"


How would you cope if everything you believed to be true were revealed to be untrue? Not just those that believe in established ideology, but also those of you that have branched out to consider alternatives. What if it all were untrue?


Would you still find meaning in life?

Could you still have a passion for living?

Might you still bring forth creativity?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Are you Serious?

You're seriously telling me that we've got the meaning of life all figured out. With your science, religion and philosophy...this is what life has to offer?


I know it is hard to let go of your construct of life because it holds so much together for you. But there is meaning beyond what you understand. Instead of hiding, I challenge you to take a stand and engage your beliefs with passion. Are you seriously going to let another year go by with the same approach to life?

Are you seriously going to let another year passively pass?

Are you really just a cog in the wheel or are you ready to take an active role in being all that you can be?

I believe in you...when will you believe in you? How much longer are you going to let your dreams be just dreams? Instead when will you make them be your reality?