Spirituality May Be Underused Tool in Treating Mental Illness

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New research suggests spirituality may offer benefits for people with mental health issues, but people may encounter barriers when reaching out for this help.

Investigators from the University of Southern California School of Social Work discovered that spirituality is often an underused resource in urban communities.

To resolve this shortcoming, and to cultivate spiritual resources that might have therapeutic value, associate professor Dr. Ann Marie Yamada worked with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LAC-DMH) to design and test a new spirituality-based treatment program.

“Stigma prevents many individuals experiencing schizophrenia or bipolar disorders from seeking spiritual or religious support from a faith-based community organization. It is difficult for some people to find a community where they feel comfortable and accepted,” said Yamada, co-author of the study with Dr. Andew Subica of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside.

“These concerns may not be shared with mental health providers as they may perceive spiritual needs are not appropriate to discuss.”

This stigma creates a gap when patients are unable to find spiritual support from either a health care provider or religious community.

“Within the urban community served by LAC-DMH, spirituality has been an underutilized resource. It is a great tool for addressing the health and recovery needs of the largely African-American and Latino patients served by the participating LAC-DMH agency,” Yamada said.

It is essential, she noted, that investigators understand the significance of spirituality and religion in these cultures and respectfully acknowledge the philosophical differences in practices between both groups.

In the program, “The Spiritual Strategies for Psychosocial Recovery,“ spirituality is used as a therapeutic tool to teach practical coping skills.

“After learning that there are few well-documented interventions that incorporate spirituality, Dr. Subica and I wanted to take the best practices already being used and add greater emphasis on coping skills that have been shown to be effective,” said Yamada.

Participants attended group therapy sessions that included breathing exercises, goal setting training, and group discussion to build both social and coping skills.

When people find the strength to improve their coping skills, they are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and see themselves as active participants in their health and recovery.

“When people find the strength to improve their coping skills, they are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and see themselves as active participants in their health and recovery,” Yamada said.

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The Therapeutic Value of Ayahuasca

Image1The following is excerpted from Listening to Ayahuasca by Rachel Harris, PhD, published by New World Library.

Ayahuasca, a psychedelic brew from the Amazon rainforest, is entering the Western lexicon through the popular media, the internet, and first-person reports. Considered a medicine by practitioners, the tea has great therapeutic potential that is just beginning to be studied. As a result of her own personal experience with ayahuasca, Dr. Rachel Harris was inspired to research how this medicine was being used in North America in the largest study of this kind to date. Listening to Ayahuasca describes her findings, including miracle cures of depression and addiction, therapeutic breakthroughs, spiritual revelations, and challenging trips. 

When discussing this aspect of ayahuasca, I prefer to use the term spiritual experience rather than mystical experience because it’s more inclusive. In scholarly research, mystical experience is defined carefully and specifically, and it includes or requires the presence of unity, transcendence of time and space, sacredness, noetic quality, and ineffability. By using spiritual experience instead, I can avoid the academic debate about what constitutes an authentic mystical experience. Certainly, in my study, reports of ayahuasca experiences describe some of the same mystical territory, but they also include aspects not usually mentioned in scholarly circles, like entry into otherworldly realms and contact with spirit entities.

What’s important here is that people describe, both in my study and elsewhere, huge leaps in their personal psychospiritual journey. They experience psychological healing and sometimes physical healing as well. Their way of being in the world undergoes a seismic shift from how they take care of themselves to how they understand their place in the universe. They also open up to what’s referred to as nonhuman worlds, including plant spirits, spirit doctors, personal ancestors, past-life experiences, and sometimes entities from other dimensions or universes.

My best description of the impact of ayahuasca is that it’s a rocket boost to psychospiritual growth and unfolding, my professional specialty during my thirty-five years of private practice. This kind of transformation is called “quantum change” in the professional literature, which acknowledges that psychology knows very little about it. Religious epiphanies are similar and better understood, or at least they are better documented by religion scholars. However, they, too, remain mysterious, with speculations of epilepsy as a contributing factor.

Philosopher William James explained them with his theory of “discontinuous transformation,” meaning that the leap is not a gradual evolution marked by education or practice but, rather, is a sudden, inexplicable awakening. In the case of ayahuasca testimonies, the leap is not inexplicable but directly attributable to the medicine, or to the spirit of the medicine. Perhaps both the chemical impact of the brew and the esoteric power of Grandmother Ayahuasca are involved.

One of the more famous spiritual experiences marked by white light, ecstasy, ineffability, great peacefulness, and a sense of the presence of God was reported by Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. His spiritual experience has touched millions of people through the now-ubiquitous self-help program. It’s not widely known, however, that his experience occurred while he was in an alcoholism-treatment program, which used a mix of drugs that included belladonna, or datura, one of the frequent admixtures to the ayahuasca brew. It’s possible that Bill W.’s revelation, which led to his abstinence, was caused by a plant associated with this Amazonian medicine.

From my study, what we do know is that the spiritual experiences arising during ayahuasca ceremonies lead to great changes in people’s lives. The qualitative descriptions of what people experienced and how they changed are confirmed by hard or quantitative data from the questionnaire. The people who used ayahuasca scored high on the two factors related to spirituality, “Joy in Life” and “Relationship to the Sacred.” When both qualitative and quantitative data are in agreement, we can be pretty sure we’re getting an accurate picture.

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How Sacred Science Addresses What Modern Physics Ignores

dreamstime_xl_79489142-759x500by Tom Bunzel

In a recent attempt to understand how conventional physics “explains” reality, I began to read Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing

Krauss is one of those famous scientists like Richard Dawkins who doesn’t find anything strange about the fact that existence IS.

Instead he takes EVERYTHING for granted and attacks, like Dawkins and Bill Maher, the low hanging fruit of organized religion and its dogmatic, unproven Gods created in our image.

When I tried reading his book I got a bit frustrated and then checked the index for the word “consciousness,” and when I did not find it, I put the book aside.

The question really is — “what” exactly is “nothing”?

First and foremost it is a concept. Nothing does not exist. What exists is, well, everything.

Nothing is the word or placeholder we use for null — similar to zero in math — but in both cases (words and math) they are human abstractions or interpretations of Nature.  As such they are a step removed from reality and flawed by the limitations of our own perceptions  and consciousness — a fact that escapes many modern physicists but which was in fact apparent to great thinkers like Einstein and Schrodinger.

As I’ve noted, we can use the concept “infinitely large” to “understand” the truth about — and yet, for example, while we know what a prime number is, and we know that there must ALWAYS be one larger, we are incapable of going to the “next” larger prime without — now — a supercomputer. We can’t identify the greatest prime, but we can inadequately describe it as “infinite,” and as soon as we do we know that, yes, there must be another.

How he finds geometry within a vacuum, or what science deems to be “nothing,” is similar in my view to finding code (DNA) running in our cells.

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Living Life in the Flow of Universe

by Frank M. Wanderer

On th33788311ad1_www.kepfeltoltes.hu_e ordinary days of our life, you work, educate your children, have some fun, build and sustain connections with others, that is, you live an ordinary life. The question is, whether you are mindful during all these things, or you just perform these activities mechanically, automatically. What is the evidence for me that you are not mindful?

First, that you are not present. To be present means that you are fully alert, attentive, and conscious in the present moment. Whatever you do, you do that fully consciously, you focus your entire attention on that particular activity. Or, do you feel free to declare that you are present in every moment of your life? You are careless most of the time, as a large segment of your attention is bound by dealing with events of your thoughts, events of past and plans for future and your own self. Psychological time therefore displaces the moment of the present, or subordinates it to past or future.
You therefore perform the overwhelming majority of your daily activities mechanically. Your attention only becomes more intensive when you meet someone or deal with something who or that you find interesting, or useful in some way. Or the opposite: the person or thing may do harm to you in some way. If you are mindful, only the Here and Now exist for you. This state of Consciousness is characterized by deep silence and tranquility.

You could ask, how could you access this state of Consciousness?

I would answer you, that in your life you have already lived through this mind state, more than once.

On the grey veil of ordinary consciousness, there are gaps every now and then, and the bright light of the Consciousness shines through the gaps. The gaps are too small for you to get through, but have a glimpse to the reality behind the wall. Such moments are rare in the life of a man, but they are still there for all those who pay attention and want to see them. The toys of your daily life, however, occupy all your attention so much that you do not even notice the opportunity that opens up for you, your attention slips away from the Miracle.

When you submerge in your ordinary consciousness, your attention keeps wandering from past to future. The moments of insight are, however, only available in the Present, only if you leave behind the psychological time, the memories of the past and the expectations of the future all vanish, and you are able to focus your attention to the Miracle that unfolds in front of your eyes in the Present

It has happened to you that you came under the spell of a moment some time during your life. A beautiful landscape, a sunset, a beautiful piece of art, the rhythm of music enchanted you. It may even happen that you are just lost in the silence of a peaceful moment. The common feature of these moments is the mind stops working, the reckless stream of thoughts is suspended. Ego disappears, telling personal history stops, and the line of your accustomed identity is broken. Only the spell of the moment, the mysterious shine of the Consciousness remains.

Why is this moment so enchanting, what is its secret? The secret is that when thoughts disappear, so do your problems and conflicts, and you almost forget about all your sufferings. You virtually step out of the psychological time frame, you stop mulling over injuries of the past, and do not build your identity for the future.

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The Convergence, The Unveiling, The Collapse of the Artificial Timeline and the Migration to the Organic Timeline

10391714_10208493651446399_4278484801416010480_nYou are literally all times and spaces within you.

This is not hippie stuff, it is literally the stuff of advanced technology and operations.

The equations that are used to define the differences between you and other spaces and times are the same equations that define those spaces and times.

It’s not that the differences are negateable or undoable, it’s that they are interchangeable.

Thus, each person’s storyline and experience actually neatly folds into all other storylines and experiences in different ways at different times.

I was guided to not go to deeply into this aspect of The Unveiling of the Hidden Knowledge because the truth about the corruption must come to light first and this is important.

Yes, there is much corruption and this will be handled through forgiveness.

This is because when people truly disconnect from that etheric, psycho-spiritual reactionary stance of feeding into the mental emotional entanglement system then that system falls flat and does not have the energy to continue the process for another cycle of spread the hate and reignite the spiritual enslavement system.

The cycle must be broken, the passing of the hate, the continuing of the fear and injury and refusal of healing.

The other point of this is that when people willfully and committedly refuse to participate in that system the only option to continue the deception and spiritual injury would be to overtly instigate such a ‘manual’ interjection of such action.

This would completely and finally expose the system, the charades, and all players within for what they really are.

As such, this would automatically breach the surface level non-interference agreement, essentially they would have to breach the agreement in order to continue the system.

As a result, the agreement would be open for all parties involved and ultimately the light-faction would be able to step in and participate in the surface level clearing of energies.

This is all an energy battle, it is of the mind. The character of humanity is being tested through these experiences and events.

The issues here are that the surface level population has already been inundated with fears as well as toxins that generate the effect of reducing the humans ease of transitioning into a higher-awareness. The fear programming is designed to confuse and obfuscate the events all around and all groups and individuals involved.

The toxins stop the energies from clarifying and along with the fear increase the likelihood of a continued reaction to the programming rather than the guidance of the self within.

The light faction is literally here to help humanity focus on the self within the immaterial self while the dark faction is attempting to increase the likelihood of lack of self-awareness to further their own agenda.

All sides are hidden and invisible until the exponential shift in both awareness or the ability to perceive the actual happenings of this world as well as the resistance and clearing efforts maximize to the point of not possibly being hidden any further.

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Stop Bullshitting Yourself If You Want to Wake Up (From the True Matrix) Part II: Reloaded

stop-bullshitting-yourself-if-you-want-to-wake-up-from-the-matrix-part-2-600x315Being lost is for losers. Isn’t it?

I certainly thought so.

Being lost is for people who are on the couch eating Cheetos. For people in the unemployment line. For anyone who is addicted to drugs. For the mediocre, mindless masses.

I never thought of myself as a loser, but I certainly am lost.

Almost a year ago I wrote Stop Bullshitting Yourself If You Want To Wake Up (From The True Matrix) and revealed that despite “having it all,” I was terribly unhappy. Despite having a high paying job and a wonderful family, something important was missing.

My life had gone off the rails, and I had no idea what to do about it.

I wrote about all the “tricks” I tried such as changing jobs, eating better, and getting exercise.

None of it worked.

All the distractions and futile attempts to improve my life just added up to more misery, sadness, and loneliness.

In that original post, I wrote, “I think waking up requires one main ingredient that I don’t see anyone talking about… personal accountability.” In the past few months, I have come to realize how nuanced and complicated the notion of personal accountability is and how difficult it is to describe without confusing it with issues such as commitments, projects, personal relationships, and ego.

Personal accountability is one of those things which is so easy to say — it just rolls off the tongue. It’s like promising yourself you’ll only watch one more episode of Breaking Bad, or that this weekend you won’t drink. Then you wake up at 3am on Sunday, with 16 empty cans of beer and hazy memories of Walter White.

It happens, I know.

When I take a moment and bother to think about my own personal accountability, I can’t help but wonder if it is selfish to put myself first, or whether putting myself first is the only way to find the right path towards being a better person for myself and others.  Life had rapidly become a game of “this or that,” a series of choices that felt increasing selfish, or the opposite: being a martyr. I want to live a life of abundance, of saying “and” not “or.”

Since I wrote that post, I’ve slowly realized that I was not going to find important answers from outside myself. But at the same time, I didn’t know how to find them from within. Most of the time my mind would race and I’d defer to sitting in front of the TV or reading a book. Just one more handful of chips. You know what I mean?

I started to wonder about being lost.

I asked myself: “Once you are lost, can you get more lost?”

That may seem like a ridiculous question, but for me it was a real problem. The harder I tried to find myself, the more lost I became.

Shortly after I wrote my original post, I started to meditate on a regular basis. I started with several guided podcasts I had downloaded and committed to giving it a try. It was awkward at first. And weird. I felt so stupid sitting there by myself in the dark. After a few weeks (or was it months?) I started to notice a small voice inside my head. It was whispering to me. And when I finally decided to try to listen, I didn’t much want to hear what it was saying.

“No one is coming to save you,” the whispers said.

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How The Hundredth Monkey Effect Really Works

monkey-earth-640x381By Owen K Waters

In 1981, author Ken Keyes popularized a concept which had been introduced a little earlier by biologist Lyall Watson. The “Hundredth Monkey” effect postulated that, when enough monkeys – or people – catch on to a better way of doing things, then the idea suddenly spreads into the awareness of many others.

The most remarkable aspect of this concept is that no physical contact or proximity is required for a new idea to travel from one group of people to another.

The story began when Japanese primatologists, who were studying Macaque monkeys in the wild in the 1950s, stumbled upon a surprising phenomenon.

On the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.

A young female monkey found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

Gradually, between 1952 and 1958, all the young monkeys and some of the adults learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable.

Then, suddenly in the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes.

The exact number is not known, but as Lyall Watson speculated, suppose that there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Then further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.

That’s when it happened! That day, almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this “hundredth” monkey surmounted the tipping point.

Then, we get to the really interesting part. The habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea!

Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.

But, there is a point at which if only one more person tunes into a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone.

The mechanism for this transference of ideas works the same way for monkeys as it does for all sentient beings. We exist within a global atmosphere of consciousness – a mind belt.

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