Tag Archives: Thoughts

The “Secret” to a Happy Life: Psst, It’s not really a Secret at All

I’m still fairly young by most standards, but I’ve had quite a (both formal and informal). In that time, I have learned (at least I’d like to think so) a thing or two about myself and other humans (by way of my time in psychology). Sometimes, I like to sit in a coffee shop on a busy street corner and just watch “us” interact with “us.” It can be quite entertaining — I recommend doing it at least once.

As I watch these people about, I’m struck by the constant string of perplexed faces. More than that, there are a number of folks who don’t look happy. There could be any number of reasons for that, so I won’t speculate, but I will group them together. Meaning, the expression on their face, I would gather, has to do with something they are thinking. This thing that they are thinking causing this uncomfortable expression, more than likely, is unpleasant. Some would even say that .

So we’ve got the group of folks thinking things that are causing unpleasant feelings. I pan to the right and I see a couple arguing on the street. Relationships can be fickle, so who knows what the surface argument is about. The underlying argument, more than likely, has to do with something that one person is thinking. It’s a similar situation to those who are walking down the street with strange looks on their faces, only in this instance, we have the people expressing themselves (outwardly) in an intentional (or sometimes, not-so-intentional) manner.

There’s the folks thinking and walking and then there’s the arguing folks. There are other examples I could bring up, but let’s stick with these two for now.

I’d like you to imagine these interactions, these people walking and thinking or the couple arguing, if both parties (or the singular party) didn’t assume anything. How would the interaction look different if the rule was to “assume nothing.” Seriously now, take a second to imagine the scenario in your head — (I’ll wait). Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Hey, welcome back. What did you notice? Did the interaction take place differently? I bet it did. Let’s take a closer look.

With the people who are walking and thinking, the looks on their faces are evidence of the thoughts they are having. These thoughts are likely about someone (or something) that isn’t going the way they hoped it would. What’s the underlying cause: assumptions. These people are assuming that what has happened wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) happen. If we eliminate this preliminary step of assumption, the reality that exists is no longer at odds. It just is. There’s nothing to be disdainful about. (It’s pretty hard to be angry with reality.)

Let’s move on over to the couple. Let’s say the are arguing about the cost of parking. One person wants to park on the street, while the other wants to look for more inexpensive parking. The one who wants to look for more inexpensive parking may be operating under the assumption that a) there will be less expensive parking somewhere else, and/or b) we don’t have the money to afford this much for parking. Part b) of that sentence assumes that there won’t be more money coming in from (anywhere or more specifically, an unexpected source). Maybe, when they are hanging their coats up at home, a $20 bill falls out of the pocket — boom! Paid for parking.

Or how about another example that I bet most of us can relate to. You’re driving down the highway in the “fast lane” when all of a sudden, you start to come up really fast on someone causing you to slam on your brakes. How dare they make you have to slam on your brakes. Who do they think they are? You may begin to tailgate (I hope not!) or you may slow down or you may try to pass them on the right (again, I hope not!) But what’s the underlying cause for your anger? You may say that it’s because that person shouldn’t be driving slow in the fast lane or maybe you think (as part of the first half of this sentence), they should move over if someone quickly approaches from behind. I went to driving school when I was a teenager and I don’t remember hearing those “laws.” So, what are they? These are assumptions we carry about driving on the highway and we think that people are supposed to abide by our assumptions.

My purpose in writing this is not to make you feel bad about yourself (or your assumptions), but simply to shed light on the idea that there may be some assumptions that are contributing (maybe even causing) you to feel the things you think you are justified in feeling. And in the moment, you probably feel infinitely justified. However, once the emotion has passed, I would encourage you to look back and see if you can identify an “assumption” that you may have been operating under during that time of distress.

The Scientific Evidence for Distant Healing: Psi Phenomena, Part 5

: The Scientific Evidence for Telepathy
: The Scientific Evidence for Clairvoyance
: The Scientific Evidence for Precognition
: The Scientific Evidence for Psychokinesis

Finally, we’ve reached the last of the “.” Today’s post will be about the scientific evidence for distant healing. I struggled with what to title this post. Within the context of the “Big 5” as coined by , he refers to this psi phenomenon as “.” I think the word psychic can be a bit of a misnomer sometimes, confuse people, or even conjure up images of a psychic (who aren’t necessarily doing the healing at a distance [that is, “regular” people can do it, too]). I think this is a disservice to the phenomenon as there’s nothing “spooky” about it. Others refer to it as “.” While this is completely accurate (nonlocal meaning that the healing is taking place because of something that isn’t “present”), it could be considered too science-y and may not be as accessible as possible. This is why I’ve settled on distant healing.

The has a great . I like it so much that I’m going to use their explanation for :

Distant healing encompasses a broad range of healing practices, many of which are based in ancient spiritual traditions. Virtually all major religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, endorse and encourage the use of distant healing among their adherents.

Two of the most common distant healing practices are offering prayers for those who are ill and using forms of meditation where the practitioner holds a compassionate intention to relieve the suffering of another. Some practices focus on curing a very specific disease state while others emphasize creating a compassionate environment that can have a healing effect. Virtually all distant healing practices are concerned with alleviating the suffering and increasing the well being of others.

As part of my master’s program, I read many of the studies (on healing prayer) that this quotation is referring to. In preparing to write this post, I was initially going to cite a number of them individually, until I found an , that reviews all of the studies that I had known about (and then some). It isn’t a meta-analysis per se, like I had been able to find for some of the other posts in this , but it’s the next best thing (an aggregation).

The first two studies that Benor addresses are what he calls the ‘two best studies’ that address distant healing for human physical problems. The first is a study that was conducted to .The concluding sentence of the abstract: “These data suggest that intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU [coronary care unit].” The second study that Benor addresses is a follow-up the first study called: “.” The concluding sentence from that summary: “Remote, intercessory prayer was associated with lower CCU course scores. This result suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care.”

Both of these studies are more than 10 years old, but one of my favorites on this subject that is just as old comes from the of famous scientist . Elisabeth did a study in conjunction with 3 others to tests the . The conclusion: “These data support the possibility of a DH [distant healing] effect in AIDS and suggest the value of further research.”

There’s no doubt that the sheer volume of studies that have been conducted on this topic should be enough to warrant more and more research. Even the studies that demonstrate the power of our words (on or on ) could be seen as support for distant healing. , along with [two of the more prominent names in the public dissemination of information on this topic], have curated a nearly 20 pages long! (It’s nearly 30 pages, if you include their introduction and answers to some questions about the research. IONS has also compiled a that’s over 10 pages. Daniel Benor has also published a that have compiled a number of resources on this topic.

One more quote I want to share from the Benor article I mentioned earlier in this post. I think it’s a very important point and I will expand upon this when I address healthcare in my . I really implore you to take some time to ponder the implications of this quote:

One would hope that the benefits of such an inexpensive intervention would appeal to those who are concerned over the high costs of medical care.

~

If you liked this paper/series, you might want to check out some of the other papers/series I’ve posted.

Your Words and Thoughts Affect Others – Believe It!

A week ago, I did a post on how our and mentioned that I would be doing a post about how our words not only affect our reality, but the reality of others. In pulling together some outside resources for this post, I was quickly overwhelmed. There is an abundance of material that supports the fact that our words have contribute to the lives of those around us.

In 1993, came out with a book called “.” In it, Dossey explains prayer and healing, describes factors that influence the efficacy of prayer, and cites evidence that support the conclusions.

In 1998, Elisabeth Targ, daughter of famous American physicist, author, and ESP Researcher, , was part of a research team that did a study called: “.” The conclusion of the study:

These data support the possibility of a DH effect in AIDS and suggest the value of further research.

In 2000, researchers conducted a systematic review of the available data on the efficacy of all forms of distant healing in the . The article was called: “.” The conclusion of the study:

Given that approximately 57% of trials showed a positive treatment effect, the evidence thus far merits further study.

In 2003, researches from the published an article in called: “.” The conclusion of the article [emphasis added]:

Previous laboratory research in this domain suggests that DHI [Distant Healing Intention] effects warrant serious study, but most scientists and funding agencies are unaware of the evidence or the relevant literature. By following these evolving guidelines, researchers’ designs and their ultimate publications will conform more closely to the quality of standards expected by scientific journals, and such publications will in turn attract the attention of a broader range of scientists. This seems especially important for alternative healing research in general and for distant healing in particular;  both realms enjoy broad public support but have largely eluded serious attention by mainstream science.

There are even books that have been published that claim to teach the reader . One more study I wanted to mention was one done by the on the to work at a distance.

This pilot study shows that healing intent can be directed at distance, and suggests that healing by prayer is measurable.

Each year, more and more evidence is published to support the effect that our words and thoughts have on those around us. The is a good place to keep an eye on, especially their yearly conferences. Researchers come from all over the globe to talk about their findings with their colleagues. The that I mentioned earlier always has fascinating research that is relevant in this arena. These particular studies are focused on the effect that our words and thoughts have on the healing of others (at a distance). However, in the book I mentioned by Dossey, there’s a chapter called: “When Prayer Hurts: An Inquiry into ‘Black Prayer.'”

To close, I’ll share a first-person experience I had that demonstrates exactly what I’m talking about. During some sort of group bonding or orientation process, the facilitator had us all stand in a circle. He told us we were going to do a little experiment. He picked the smallest girl and put her in the middle of the circle and picked me (one of the stronger males of the group) to go outside and wait in the hall. While I was gone, he told the group that he was going to bring me back into the room and have me try and lift the girl in the middle of the circle and that they were to send positive thoughts and energy towards me. After a few minutes, he called me back in and asked me to lift the girl in the middle of the circle — swoosh! I lifted her with ease! It felt like I could have lifted her with one hand and swung her around like a rag doll.

The facilitator then said that was enough and asked me to put her down and go back out into the hall. While I was there, he asked the group to now send me negative thoughts and energy, while I was trying to lift the girl. He called me back into the room and I went to lift her. Nothing. I thought maybe I was just a little tired from lifting her before, so I steeled myself and got set… lift… and nothing. I couldn’t even get her heels off of the ground. The facilitator then went on to explain what had just happened. He explained to us the power of our thoughts and energy on those around us and more importantly, the power of a group of thoughts on one individual (or to extrapolate, on other groups).

Your thoughts and words have an impact on your life and your thoughts and words have an impact on the lives of those around you. Next time you catch yourself thinking something negative, will you replace it with a positive thought?

Pets Are So Much More Than Just “Pets”

dog standing, dog, smiling, happy, joy, joyfulThe value of having pets far outweighs any of the negatives associated with having a pet. Humans and animals have coexisted for quite some time. Beyond the time of when humans (hunted) animals, someone must have decided that it was going to be a good idea to make one of those animals part of their family. In doing so, the idea of “owning” pets and animals was born. While I understand the word “own” and contextually it might be easier to use this word, but do you really think you own your pet?

Yes, with certain animals, convention tells us that we need to ‘train’ our animals to respond to our commands. And yes, I will admit, I issue commands that I expect my dog to follow, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think there is a better way to do it. Let’s take a look at the language piece of this, first.

According to the [emphasis added]:

  • There are approximately 77.5 million owned dogs
  • Thirty-nine percent of households own at least one dog
  • There are approximately 93.6 million owned cats
  • Thirty-three percent of households own at least one cat

Using these statistics, it is accurate to say that 1 in 3 households has a pet (and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that 1 in 2 households has a pet). Notice that when I referred to these statistics, I said has a pet rather than owns a pet. About 10 years ago, there was an interesting movement in Boulder, Colorado, that advocated the In its place, guardianship. Humans are the ‘guardian’ of their pet, rather than the owner of their pet. This quickly picked up steam and similar in the following year. As of April of this year, “

As I’ve written about before, . In the near future, I will do a post about how our words can affect others (which will cat, cat sleeping, cuddly cat, cute cat, tabby cat, playfulbe more relevant to this post). The subtle difference between ownership and guardianship may really be enough to change the attitude of the “owner” such that they care just a little bit more for their animals. I’d like to think so.

Beyond the ownership vs. guardianship debate, having a pet can prove wonders to the health of the ‘carers.’ There have been scientific studies done (and many books written) on the topic of the many positive benefits to having a pet (a sampling:  and ). Two more things I want to touch on before I wrap this post up. The first has to do with animals and their consciousness and the second has to do with animals and our workspace.

I think one of the main draws to having an animal around is the pure joy that can be seen in them. That is, animals do not hold grudges, they’re not vindictive, they’re ever-present to the moment at handI think that part of their infinite joy stems from their lack of ‘stuff.’ As humans, we have lots of ‘stuff’ that we deal with. We have our stress from work, stress from news, stress from family, stress from kids, stress from friends, stress, stress, stress! Animals — none of it. They live for the moment they are in. When your dog whines at the door, it’s moment-specific. S/he wants to go out and play (or relieve themselves). They’re not thinking three steps ahead that when you let them out, they can run around the tree, sniff over by the bush, and then drink some water. It’s specifically in that moment that they want to go out. I think that because of this, they are much closer to a state of pure joy, more often. When I look at animals, I can feel this warming sensation in my heart. I think this is from that infinite joy they have that my heart is connecting with.

The second thing I wanted to talk about is actually quite practical. Did you ever notice being at your computer that your cat may come and sit on your keyboard or distract away from your monitor? Or maybe as you were moving your mouse to click on something, your dog came and pushed your hand off the mouse with your snout? It is my belief that our animals do this as a service to us. That’s right, a service. They can see the “bigger picture” around us and can tell that we’re in some sort of funk with what we’re doing at the computer and that we may need a break. Or, maybe that specific time that we were spending working on that project or idea would be better done at a later date. The next time your dog/cat (or salamander!) disrupts your computer time, think twice before you push ’em away.

Words Are More Important Than You May Have Thought

“Every thought, word, or deed, either purifies or pollutes the body.” –

“Thoughts become things, choose the good ones!” –

“You are not a helpless victim of your own thoughts,but rather a master of your own mind.” –

“Thoughts are boomerangs, returning with precision to their source. Choose wisely which ones you throw.” – Author Unknown

“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviours.
Keep your behaviours positive, because your behaviours become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.” –

~

I could continue repeating quotes that support the idea that our thoughts have an effect on our reality. There are even theories put forth by scientists that explain how this works. I’ve embedded a video at the end of this post of talking about synchronicity and in the context, explains how/why our thoughts affect our reality. While there is much evidence that supports the idea that our thoughts have an influence on the outcome of our lives, there is just as much evidence to the contrary. In fact, a simple Google search for “” returns almost 3,000,000 results. I wonder what it is about this topic that is so polarizing for people?

I wonder why there are those people who feel adamant about our thoughts having an effect on us and there are those that feel, just as strongly, that the idea that our thoughts affect us is hogwash. To be honest, I was initially a skeptic. While I grew up in an environment that fostered the development of the idea that our thoughts have an influence on us, I had never seen any tangible evidence of this. Going through my early schooling, I still held the idea of this as a possibility, but I also learned about the scientific method. In doing so, I wondered if there would ever be a way to scientifically measure whether or not our thoughts can have an effect on our lives.

Well, in 2005, , came out with his first book, . In this book, Lipton takes the reader on his journey as a student, professor, and researcher, until his discovery about the cell. For years and years, biologists thought that the cell was controlled by something inside itself — the nucleus. Lipton, however, discovered that this is not the case.

Lipton learned through his research that the cell was actually governed by processes outside the cell. More accurately put, there are processes inside the cell that respond to things happening in the environment outside of the cell. Meaning, as the environment that the cell is in, changes, so too does the cell. There is a dynamic relationship between the cell and its environment. Lipton has gone on to extrapolate these results to other areas of our life beyond the cell. Namely, thoughts and by extension, actions. You’ll find many videos of Lipton talking about the importance of ‘,’ and even some .

Something that I find fascinating about one of the conclusions that Lipton came to from his work is that when cells are presented with nutrients, the cells move openly and towards it. When cells are presented with toxins, the cell closes and moves away. Lipton found that a cell could not simultaneously be in a state of growth (opening and moving forward towards the nutrients) and in a state of protection (closing and moving away from the toxin). I think that this applies directly to the first quote I have provided for this post: “Every thought, word, or deed, either purifies or pollutes the body.” So, we are either thinking positive, warm, and loving thoughts that help our body grow, or we are thinking negative, degrading, and unnecessary thoughts that our body must defend against. Which kind are you thinking?

~

Spirituality From an Unlikely Source: Will Smith

I was on YouTube like I had been a and on the sidebar, I noticed a video under the suggestion heading by the title of: . I’ve always subscribed to the theory that our words and thoughts have an effect on the world around us (check out our or , and you’ll see some of the kinds of books that I recommend discuss these principles in their books), but I didn’t expect this kind of wisdom from a famous actor.

It’s not that I don’t think that Will Smith has the capacity to understand or even believe these kinds of things, it’ s just that with entertainers, it’s harder to imagine them outside of some of the roles they’ve played. After watching the almost 10-minute video of many clips spliced together where Will advocates the theory that our thoughts have a decided effect on the outcome of our lives, I couldn’t help but write a post here about it. In fact, I’ve even included the video at the end because I really think it’s worth the 10 minutes it takes to watch it.

One of the interesting perspectives that he offers is on talent and skill. He says:

Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.

I think that there is definitely truth to this and it is backed up by the work of in his book . In it, Gladwell purports that to be over-the-top successful at something, you need to spend upwards of 10,000 hours doing that something. Gladwell cites an example of , explaining to the reader that for 4 straight years, The Beatles were able to perform live in Germany. In this time, Gladwell claims that The Beatles accumulated over 10,000 hours of (practice) at their craft and that when they came back to England, they were an instant-hit. Gladwell also cites the example of Bill Gates who, when in high school, gained access to a computer. Gates spent nearly all of his free-time on this computer, accumulating hours and hours of (practice), which eventually led to .

Another interesting quote from the video:

You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say I’m gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built. You don’t start there. You say, I’m gonna lay this brick, as perfectly as a brick can be laid. And, you do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.

I’m sure this concept is not new to anyone, about “,” but it’s something that I think is worth repeating, and I think it’s also adds a different level of authority to hear someone like Will Smith say it.

I want to do good. I want the world to be better because I was here.

Wouldn’t it just be fabulous if we all walked around with this attitude: wanting the world to be better because we were here. Performing acts, volunteering, making a difference – making the world a better place.

I just believe that. I believe that I can create whatever I want to create.

Around of the video, he begins talking about how our thoughts are physical things in the universe.

Our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams, our ideas — are physical in the universe. That, if we dream something, if we picture something, if we commit ourselves to it, that is a physical thrust towards realization that we can put into the universe. That the universe is not a thing that’s gonna push us around. That the world and people and situations are not something that’s gonna push us around. That we are gonna bend the universe and command and demand that the universe become what we want it to be.

Celebrities can be a mixed bag. They can run the spectrum from those that are having a hard go of things, like , to those like Will Smith who use their celebrity for other means. Whenever I learn that a celebrity is involved in the kinds of thinking that Will Smith is, I can’t help but smile just a little bit, knowing that maybe our world really is changing faster than we know.