How to Understand the Wisdom of Peace In a World on the Verge of War


Take a moment and step back from the everyday news bombardment regarding the latest terror threat, terror alerts and other pretexts for future war. Let’s be reflective and non-reactive and examine where we are from within a wider lens.

Worthwhile Perspectives on War From the Most Unlikely Sources

My claim is simple, if you want peace, you need to know your war. It seems that many of my younger friends understandably lack the context of what it means to live in a country continuously at war and in a country whose leadership in retrospect has purposefully manufactured and manipulated consent for the United States to go to war throughout its modern history.

The questions, “Why would our political leaders purposefully lead us into war? And who benefits?,” are actually remarkably easy to understand.

Let’s begin with an excerpt from Norman Cousins’s 1987 book, “The Pathology of Power.” Cousin writes,

 

“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military–industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

That was 1987 – long before our next enemy invention (although in all fairness the United States began grooming, arming and funding the post-modern Jihadi Taliban and Al Qaeda movements as anti-Soviet proxies during this period).

Since the fall of Communism, we have indeed invented a new convenient enemy, one that can never be beaten because it’s neither an army nor a country – it’s a mere idea, a word, a thought – and it’s called, “terrorism.”

The military budget of the United States for the 2014 fiscal year was $515.4 billion. Adding emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending brings the sum to $651.2 billion. This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget. Overall the United States government is spending about $1 trillion annually on defense-related purposes.

If we are not already in one, we are in danger of being in a permanent war economy.

 

“Men who during war, who have tasted the powers of coercive control, may find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the humbler roles they will then have to play in peaceful times.” – Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

 

In his farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the American people to keep a careful eye on what he called the “military-industrial complex” that developed in the post-World War II years. The phrase, “military-industrial complex,” is neither conspiratorial nor a scary possibility – it’s living and it’s factual.

A fiscal conservative, President Eisenhower had been concerned about the growing size and cost of the American defense establishment since he became president in 1953. In his final presidential address to the American people, he expressed those concerns in terms that frankly shocked some of his listeners.

President Eisenhower began by describing the changing nature of the American defense establishment since World War II. No longer could the U.S. afford the “emergency improvisation” that characterized its preparations for war against Germany and Japan. Instead, the United States was “compelled to create a permanent armaments industry” and a huge military force. He admitted that the Cold War made clear the “imperative need for this development,” but he was gravely concerned about “the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.” In particular, he asked the American people to guard against the “danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a defense-scientific-technological elite.”

Eisenhower’s blunt language stunned some of his supporters. They believed that the man who led the country to victory in Europe in World War II and guided the nation through some of the darkest moments of the Cold War was too negative toward the military-industrial complex that served as the backbone of America’s defense. For most listeners, however, it seemed clear that Eisenhower was merely stating the obvious. World War II and the ensuing Cold War resulted in the development of a large and powerful defense establishment. Necessary though that development might be, Eisenhower warned, this new military-industrial complex could weaken or destroy the very institutions and principles it was designed to protect.

Worse still, the military-industrial complex and related defense industry subsidiaries contribute heavily to incumbent members of Congress. Take the sugar coating off of that statement and a direct question is being asked for you to ponder, “Are our political leaders either too cozy or are pawns in the pocket of an industry that far too often may be short-sightedly and diametrically opposed to peace and the very welfare of our country?”

There’s nothing but hard evidence here is my claim, so “What are the names of some of these companies within this so-called military-industrial complex?”

 

“Companies that employ millions of American workers?”
Danger 101: An Ongoing War Economy: Some of America’s Largest Employers Need/Needed War as a Profit Center Just to Stay in Business:



Boeing 

General Dynamics 

Lockheed Martin Corporation

General Electric 

North American Aviation 

United Aircraft 

AT&T Corporation 

Hughes Aircraft Company 

Sperry Corporation 

Raytheon 

McDonnell-Douglass



After Our Wars – Construction and War Re-Construction is Big Business, and a Few Companies Consistently Manage to Win Supply and Infrastructure Project Contracts:

Bechtel

Halliburton Kellogg Brown and Root

Fluor

Foster Wheeler

Washington Group Intl

ABB USA

McDermott Intl

Jacobs Engineering 

Black and Veatch

Tyco

Aker Maritime

Contrack International 

Interestingly, it would be very simple to work in any of these industries and never really take stock as an employee in just what exactly the overall magnitude of violence and death that you’re involved in actually is. It is also the case that one could be a soldier, for all the right reasons, but be a cog in the wheel of something larger than what is immediately recognizable.

If you live long enough and pay just a little attention you can’t help but notice the same themes playing out over and over. After World War II and until the fall of the Soviet Union there was an idea that was fought for repeatedly without end – that idea was called Communism.

The Western world was full of hope – the year was 1991. Communism had completely collapsed. The long-awaited peace that the free world had always wanted was finally here. While the fall of communism was an extremely hopeful moment for the people of the world, there were some very painful and predictable side effects: There were layoffs at US defense contractors, there were the closing down and downsizing of armed service bases, a decreasing number of uniformed personnel – all were becoming increasingly common. Many heated debates were fought in the House and Senate about which bases would remain open as base closures were vital for many American cities viable health and survival.

For all the problems Communism created, it also provided the US with a consistently reliable source of military jobs, a firm tax base, defense contractor positions, and a large military on constant stand-by. There were always huge cost overruns, but there were also major technological achievements that came from these developments.

This was the era of the Cold War and there were continuous low to mid-level conflicts at all times from Central to South America, to Africa and the Middle East, all the way to SouthEast Asia. Enormous sums were spent on telecommunications, intelligence, space and satellite development to justify the enemy, for if there were no enemy – these sums, lives lost and energy would be both morally and financially unjustifiable.
American industry benefitted tremendously from continuous conflict. The contractors benefitted not just on the side of the war machine, but especially on the side of the construction and the reconstruction machine. Eisenhower was unfortunately right.

Whatever damage the United States did by tearing apart countries with its politics, bombs and guns it made right by turning right around and putting a friendly government in place and performing exactly the same tried-and-true routine: After overthrowing or undermining governments around the world, putting U.S. friendly governments in place – we then conveniently always helped them to rebuild. Always.

The first item on the agenda was to always have the new U.S. friendly government take out a series of loans from international banks that the U.S. and it’s close allies controlled: namely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. There were commercial banks too, but these were the principal entities.

With US friendly leadership in place, these new governments would take out loans – specifically reconstruction and infrastructure loans. Almost all contracts for infrastructure would go to American companies, and that is how the world was geopolitically structured until the end of the Cold War. With great frequency, and conspicuously when the United States needed a specific vote at the United Nations, debt was often forgiven.

The best part of these new infrastructure loans that were made largely from the World Bank – they were made with often unreasonably long pay-back periods, but at a reasonable interest rate with this caveat: the currency the country would now use would either be the dollar or pegged directly to the dollar.

The United States was directly creating global hegemony on a scale that British colonialists from the 19th century could only envy. One consistent difficulty with this new American Century was that all of the governments that the US would put in power, all seemed strikingly opposed to the very people that they were supposed to represent. While the US was friendly with these self-created autocratic puppet governments, in most every case the people that lived under those governments understandably began to despise the United States and its self-serving foreign-policy.

From the overthrowing of the President of Iran, to the placement of Manuel Noriega in Panama, to befriending the likes of Saddam Hussein, to sustaining the brutal Saudi regime – the U.S. managed to isolate itself from the goodwill of the world for the sake of a wayward foreign policy run amok by defense, food, oil/energy, telecommunication, mining, and infrastructure contractors. All of this was financed by several very large international banks that held sway over the “free-world’s” governance through pegging US loans to the dollar as a float, without any further underlying standard.

One last item: the number of US military bases spread rapidly worldwide after World War Two to contain the spread of, “the idea of Communism.” The proportion of the U.S. economy controlled by Defense and Intelligence was sky-rocketing. The United States quickly became dependent on its Defense/War machine for its very economic survival. We became a nation that quite literally – had to be at war both to survive and justify its way of life in the eyes of more than just a few powerful interests.

Meanwhile the collateral damage were US friendly authoritarian (anti-democracy) rulers in place worldwide, millions of dead and wounded worldwide and thousands of honorable dead and wounded US soldiers.

Our future soldiers were often conscripted from high school ROTC, recruitment stations at lower-income shopping malls in rural areas, and from exciting television ads promoted at sporting events – far from the privileged class that was benefitting and pocketing from the spoils of war. Time and again the political leaders that were sending our children to die overseas evaded the very service they were now leading and had every financial and political power incentive to maintain.

To this day it amazes me that popular sporting events in our country have somehow become aligned and associated with and used as recruitment propaganda tools. Just what exactly does one have to with the other? Why are we saying the national anthem and having military jets fly overhead at stadiums? Just what exactly do football and baseball have to do with war? Why exactly do so many toys, video games and films glorify something so obscenely grotesque as modern warfare? Is there a purposeful attempt being made to familiarize, normalize and propagate war in every level of our social conscience?

Why exactly do the news channels voraciously repeat certain sensational acts of terror over and over again even though they are significantly disproportionate to the number of events taking place? Not until you leave the United States and live overseas (and I don’t mean in an Army Base or work for a contractor or work for the U.S. in anyway) would you truly discover how very weird all of this really is. We live in something of an odd container of an all-encompassing, all too-often violent sound bite news cycle.

To this day only thirty-eight percent of Americans have ever left the country and that is up substantially as of late according to current State Department statistics – simply because Americans now need a passport to travel to Mexico. Few other places are quite like the United States when it comes to violence. We are unique – something of a gladiator society. Even boxing has lost its popularity as a sport for us – it apparently has nothing compared to the latest rage: human cock-fighting. Armed to the teeth with guns – truly violence and household armaments are an incredible economic industry. Travel and you will see that the rest of the world, except where we have armed it – is anything like us at all.

From a certain perspective – much of what is taking place is well-beyond the banter of conspiracy buffs – it has simply becoming patently obvious by the oversized defense budget and the number of simultaneous low-grade continuous conflicts that are taking place. No other country comes close to what we spend on war. We dwarf all other countries – there is no arms race.

“Friendly US governments” were bought and paid for as was evidenced by almost strict uniform results of vote tallying at the United Nations along Free World-Communist lines until the end of the Cold War. It was a great time to be an investment banker on Wall Street, a lobbyist on K Street, or a politician who was under the heavy and corruptive influence of both, or a shareholder in these stable blue-chip companies. Ah, the good old days.

Well, they’re back. And they’ve been back. Perhaps there was a small hiatus between the fall of communism in 1991 and September 11, 2001 but we have a new idea to fight and it’s much more elusive than the old one. This new elusive enemy is called “Terrorism,” and it is a convenient idea but can never be beaten, but will always keep us employed. We can only kill terrorists but we can never beat an idea called terrorism. We are being sold a very deadly bill of goods. The war machine is back, the reconstruction and construction machines are back. The banks are back. And they’re all back with a vengeance.

There will be no end to this greed, there will be no end to this corruption until we as a society are educated, fed up with the fear and propaganda from select news, fed up with war, and begin to truly reevaluate our economy and transition it to peace.

There will always be a bomb that goes off here, a bomb that goes off there, there will always be a pretext for the next arms shipment, proxy war or invasion.

Realistically the Middle East hasn’t looked any less spiritually difficult for thousands of years. The only thing that’s different now, is the location of oil. Religion is a pretext. Clash of civilizations is a pretext. We are not stepping into a war with ISIS – we are just about to step into another war with a deception – a machine that cannot be seen, until you step back and see the wider context in which you are being asked to fight once more. Step back from the thirty second propaganda sound bites of breaking news. Get a birds eye view. There are larger forces at work.

We were never attacked by the people of of Afghanistan or Iraq, yet we’ve been at war with them for 15 years. We have never been attacked by Syria but we are being prepared to go and fight an enemy that appears we have largely created and tailor made to meet our war economy once again. The wisdom of peace is to not play into or at least minimize your part in this money and blood thirsty cycle of violence and never-ending war.

Paul Wolfowitz was conveniently nominated by George W. Bush to head the World Bank after the Iraq war was declared Mission Accomplished, and if you were in the Bush Administration, to some degree the mission in 2004 was indeed accomplished: a new friendly US government was in place, reconstruction had begun, the loans and the contracts were flying. And the oil was said to be flowing once more. From beginning to the end none of this was true. Literally trillions of dollars were erroneously and surreptitiously spent on a war to find non-existent weapons of mass destruction. The United States destroyed and then ineptly tried to rebuild Iraqi society – by all accounts a complete failure unless you were part of the machine that profited.

Truly a disgusting waste of human lives and a breeding ground was all that remained for the very worst of Saudi funded Wahhabist extremists to thrive in.
In Afghanistan, outside of attacking a few tented terrorist camps in Kandahar and a few caves at Bora Bora most of Al Qaeda had melted into Pakistan and beyond. New oil leases are ready to be exploited in the disputed Syrian Israeli-held Golan Heights and just offshore are thought to be some of the biggest reserves in the world.

Americans won’t be fooled by a simple oil pretext again, but perhaps a murderous group of Christian killing Islamist extremists might do the trick, that might be just enough pretext to ignite our war machine into full gear once more. And of course, Syria will need to be rebuilt after the fall of Assad. If you want to understand what we’re getting into, and how we might avoid another round of pain – follow the money, not the pretext for war.

In conclusion I leave you with a final gift as I attempt to coerce you toward the more noble aspirations of peace and love – from the Nuremberg diary of American prison psychologist G.M. Gilbert and his interviews with one of the chief architects of the The Third Reich and Commander of the Lufftwaffe, Hermann Goering:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, “I did not think the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.”

 

“Why of course the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a Democracy, a Fascist dictatorship or a Parliament, or a Communist dictatorship.”

“There is one difference,”I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only the Congress can declare war.”
“Oh that is all well and good,” Goering replied, “but voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

 

Since World War II the United States has been in an almost continuous state of war and this is exactly how many times Congress has used the War Powers Act: Zero.

The people’s wish for peace are being circumvented by powerful lobby’s and interests, we are being sold a bill of violent goods through the pretext of a War on Terror. If you want peace you must see through the mirage, you must speak up – silence is the hidden enabler of violence. It is patriotic to want peace.

It is patriotic to want an end to the violence and destruction. It is human and it is humane to wish to leave this world a better place than we found it for our children and for our environment. Each of us is responsible to find our voice of peace and love.

May we be happy, may we be well, may we be safe, and may we peaceful and at ease. May we find peace within and may there be peace in our world.

Reality Check

detachment-nothing-should-own-you
It’s impossible to own anything; a possession, a person, a child, nothing at all. These things are not yours and could never be. One way or another, you’ll eventually discover this to be true. To accept this is both freeing and uplifting, but it might take some getting used to.
It’s easy to get caught by things that are not catchable. Take stock: names on a piece of paper are all that can be shown to demonstrate something as being yours. Temporary lease holders at best – squatters perhaps, but certainly nothing to spend a life trying to acquire, possess and maintain. Enjoy the temporary illusion of what you have, but recognize the illusion, before the illusion possesses you. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the display, but recognize it for what it is, a temporary feast for the sense faculties.
The Dalai Lama described this condition, the human condition, to a group of monks sitting on a hillside in the Indian Himalayas seventeen years ago.

He stated to us that the suffering of human beings was a life spent by trying to:

(1) We get what we want

(2) We maintain what we have

(3) We spend our lives trying to be near people we like 

(4) We  avoid people we don’t like. He said, with regard to these four things: these     thoughts are futile, impossible, an illusion that brings suffering. Enjoy the illusions of life, respect their momentariness, their impermanence, but without attachment.
The litmus test: Stand in front of a loved one, a child, a friend or a possession and say to yourself, “This is not mine, this does not belong to me.” Feel how that resonates. If a smile comes to your face and you can breathe easily, this is recognition. If there is suffering, take the time to contemplate, explore and examine just exactly how you rationalize that this could be yours.
Free your Mind🌷

 

Being In An Extraordinary Relationship Might Mean Finding The Courage to Stop This One!

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Please never settle for a lackluster, a painful, or even worse – an abusive relationship. What are you (or were you) thinking? You’re fully capable of being happy and in a healthy, extraordinary relationship!

Finding the courage to leave a relationship that’s over is a battle I watch many of my clients go through, and we’ve all been there. The usual questions and ruminating thought processes are: The pain of repeatedly wondering, How can I be sure it’s over? I’d rather be in this than face the fear of being alone and starting the long process of starting all over again. What will people think? It will be too messy financially, and if there are children involved, what kind of message am I telling them if I quit? Can’t we work through this? What about counseling? Isn’t love enough?

When we begin to probe deeper, the checklist in sum or in part that it may be time to move on includes but isn’t restricted to:

  • The sexual intimacy is absent or has become rote or a duty, the blame game (exacerbated by name-calling) has become quietly or overtly routine, only one or neither side enjoys spending time together, the feeling of walking on eggshells in the presence of the other person, the absence of joy, the shared goals and vision of the relationship have diminished or are absent, the thoughts of being with another person are becoming frequent or emotional and/or sexual contact with other prospects has begun.
  • Don’t wait for the other person to end it when you know it’s over! The worst thing you can do in this situation is to begin behaving so poorly that the other person will be forced to end this because of the pain associated with your destructive behaviors. Be compassionate, end the self-sabotage and confront the fear.
  • Can’t we walk it back to how it used to be? Try again? You feel like you’ve exhausted all efforts, and you’re still there. It’s okay to give yourself permission to stop, to let go, to value yourself and the other person enough to move on. It’s okay to stop the fight. Admitting that it’s over does not equate to failure. With maturity and emotional responsibility there’s even the possibility of friendship in the future. Trust that you’ll be okay, that you’ll handle the outcome, you’ll survive and life will begin again. It’s vital to confront your fears, to not waste your life away in an angry roommate scenario, to go on and live your life. At the end of the day, you are not responsible for how the other person feels or their actions, but you are completely responsible for yours. If you need help, it’s okay to reach out to find resolution. You’re worth it. You can be in an extraordinary relationship, one that you’ve always dreamed of, you either need to reinvent this one, or find the courage to move on to the next. Either way, confront the fear.

Free your mind.

Prayer for the World❤️

  
When other’s hearts are on fire, be patient, be the cool water. Nothing good has ever come from violence, and nothing good ever could. Please think before unleashing the next round of pain. Honor the dead by honoring the living. Have the foresight to see that revenge will only breed another generation of hatred. An eye for an eye is leaving everyone blind. There will be no victory through violence. This does not have to be us versus them, because there is no us versus them except for those whose eyes are shut to the broad view of the needless cycle of pain. Anger is our closest enemy.
Every act of extremism from both sides breeds more extremism. Forget who started it. Be a part of the peace that ends this. What has been done is so horrible that we can no longer hear what each other are saying. People’s behavior at all times is a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves. If you wish for peace than you must be peaceful. It’s very simple – you cannot continue to attack and retaliate if you want peace. Violence does not bring peace. Compassion brings peace. Love brings peace. Forgiveness brings peace.
May you be the medicine for those who are sick. May you be a bridge for those who wish to cross over. May you be a lamp in the darkness. For those who are weary, may you provide a resting place and shelter. May you be a guide for those on the path to light and peace. May you bring sustenance to those in need. For as long as there is suffering, may you endure until all beings are freed from sorrow, until all are free from pain.

THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI


Make me an instrument of your peace,


Where there is hatred, let me sow love.


Where there is injury, pardon.


Where there is doubt, faith.


Where there is darkness, light.


Where there is sadness, joy.


O divine Being, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.


For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Self-Discovery: An Inner Journey

Integrative-Medicine

Roughly five hundred years before Christ, Socrates issued his famous dictum, “That a life unexamined was a life not worth living: Know thyself.”

At approximately the same time in Northern India the ascetic wanderer Siddhartha Gautama, soon to be known at the Awakened One, the Buddha, was exploring the depths of mind, consciousness, and body through a process called mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the ability to non-judgmentally and non-reactively observe thoughts, emotions and physical sensate experiences (pain and pleasure) come and go without attachment. The result of this process is a deep inner-contentment, a joyful release, and a freeing of being pushed and pulled by sense faculty desires and aversions, stories created by the mind and the ensuing emotions that follow. Freedom from stress and suffering – in the beginning a temporary freedom, and finally a lasting freedom known as awakening or enlightenment. In effect, mindfulness at its deepest levels is a knowing (insight) of oneself that finally transcends the very egoistic self that was restlessly pursuing the very freedom it was seeking. This realization is known as Nirvana.

In the interim there is a massive reduction in the production of the four primary stress hormones (cortisol being primary), high blood pressure, insulin levels, bone density loss, a massive reduction in afflictive and destructive emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression and guilt. All of this is quite testable and done without medication. A deep acceptance, love, and compassion for oneself and others are the results of long-term practice.
Our next ten day retreat begins the day after Christmas and can be found at:

Mindfulness Meditation Centers

Please put aside the typical excuses such as I can’t sit still or my mind can’t calm down..of course we know this already, this is what everyone says..this is precisely what we do, we help you learn exactly how to manage and understand these very processes.

We do not promote Buddhism or any other religion, only introspection and self-examination. There is no need to be frightened by the process of sitting quietly with your own mind and body without electronic distractions for a few days. Unplugging is good for you – healthy, and inspiring. You will have a penetrative understanding of your own being, you will learn so much about yourself by sitting still and being radically simple that you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done this sooner.

Thousands of people of all ages, races, genders and sexual orientation walk through our doors each week (donation only) from all levels of socio-economic status.

Mindfulness is for everyone.

Angels Among Us

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A smile in a moment of despair; someone to hold your hand; someone to guide you when you needed direction; a word of encouragement when you least expected it. The teacher who took the time to help you understand a difficult subject. An open door when your hands were full. A job offer when things weren’t looking so good. Someone to hold you in the dark. Medicine when you were sick.

A ray of sunlight, a gust of wind. A glass of water to quench your thirst. There are angels if you’ll open your eyes.
Angels come in other forms too: Perhaps your Mom and Dad. Your child. Family or a friend who needs assistance. Angels come in other forms you’d least expect: A homeless person asking for help. Someone who cuts you off in traffic. An unkind word. Cancer. A terribly painful and difficult relationship. Betrayal. The loss of someone you truly loved. Death and dying. Lessons on gentleness, generosity, patience, impermanence, the fragility of your life – the lessons are abundant.

The greatest teachers in your life, the greatest teachings, the lessons learned – you don’t know who is who exactly, angels come in many different forms. In the tradition that I have matured in, we come to understand that they are everywhere, you just have to open your eyes. Perhaps you’re an angel in the making, temporarily fighting off the demons. Look beyond yourself, beyond the ordinary view, in your life right now, there are people who are trying to help, love, and cherish you. Open your heart. Life is very different with this change of view – beautiful and magical, a series of unending teachings and instructions. A gift. Do you see them?

Cultivating the Gratitude Attitude ❤️

  

“The paradox of education is precisely this, that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”
James Baldwin

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Be Grateful Year-Round:
It’s that time of year where many people begin thinking about everything they have to be thankful for. Although it’s nice to count your blessings on Thanksgiving, being thankful throughout the year could have tremendous benefits on your quality of life.
In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits:
1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2104 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank-you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
5. Grateful people sleep better.Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychologyfound that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.
So, how to cultivate gratitude exactly? 
As part of my work with clients, each is required to text first thing in the morning three things that they are grateful for. And again three more gratitudes just before sleeping. For 90 days. That’s 540 different gratitudes over the course of three months. What is the demonstrative effect? Almost all of my clients in conjunction with a few other daily exercises consistently report a depression score of 0-1 which means either non-existent or minimal depression. This is without anti-depressant medication (SSRI’s Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Lexipro etc…). Quite literally – we go Beyond Therapy. 
Want to lean more? or be added to the mindfulness counseling schedule (currently on a short wait-list): 941.416.1890 or email: Michael@mbsgroup.org


We also begin a new meditation class Tonite in Tampa or it can be viewed on-line. Contact davitamoodley@gmail.com
I’ll be teaching Mahamudra meditation which explores the nature of mind – thoughts, emotions, identity and consciousness itself. These instructions are the exact method used to gain liberation from suffering or enlightenment for the last several thousand years in the Buddhist tradition and has been my primary meditation practice for the last twenty years including the instructions taught during three year retreat in Tibet. All are welcome although a minimum 45 minute daily commitment to meditation is required for attendance. 🙏
The 12 week meditation course begins Tonite in Tampa and is held every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 pm in Tampa at the Centre for Women in the back conference hall. The course can also be viewed on-line. If these precious classes are missed or you want to view them again they are recorded and can be viewed at your convenience on our Vimeo site. A minimum 45 minute daily meditation commitment is required for attendance. I will give precise instructions so there is no need to worry. The book used for the class is titled, “Mind at Ease,” and can be downloaded on Kindle for $10. All are welcome to attend and meditation – like gratitude, will offer you a very different and healthy way to experience the beauty that is your very life.


Discovering the Power of the Present Moment 

  

When asked, “How am I supposed to function in daily life if I’m constantly bringing my attention back to the present moment?
My response is quick and sharp: “Finally.”

Until certainty and stability are gained in recognizing the ground of the present moment – which is where you happen to be at all times actually – life is generally spent with little ground in reality at all.

Meandering around in past and future thinking with corresponding and concurrent painful emotions is no way to live a life. You’re a sentient being designed to avoid pain – so the only reason that you would bring pain unto yourself by your own thinking is because you were unaware at one or many different unconscious levels that you were doing so.

Past and Future: There will be no bargaining with things that no longer exist or have not yet occurred. We cannot will ourselves a better or less painful past. Recognize the groundlessness of the past and future before giving them emotional value and energy. The only way to reason with an illusion is to stop accepting it – your mirages will never change into something real. It’s so important for your well-being to run out of faith for the illusions of your mind after recognizing them. All psychological negativity is caused by both a denial of the present and the demand that this moment be different than it is.

Past and future thinking do have their place of course.

Retrospective thinking is vital for remembering lessons learned, recalling memories, and following directions for example. Futuristic thinking is obviously important for planning. It’s vital to bring these conventional thought structures into our lives and it’s just as important to neither spend too much time there and certainly to never suffer for them.

The present moment has this to offer you: The discovery that there is nothing inherently or intrinsically wrong with you. You are neither damaged goods nor a psychological catastrophe. Who and what you are in any given moment is where and how you focus your attention. Train your mind again and again in being completely present and you will discover something both exhilarating and beautiful about yourself: Without the past weighing you down and the future to worry about you are complete and perfect – unlimited and spacious – pure potential.

There is actually nothing blocking your ability to be happy. There is no obstacle to unburdening yourself from the heaviness of your own being. In every moment – You are free.

May you be happy, well, safe, peaceful and at ease🌷

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