Thursday, 30 June 2011



Your task is not to seek love,
but merely to seek and find all
the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
Rumi

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Lester Levinson, Byron Katie and many of the great sages tell us that LOVING is the answer, we often wrongfully believe that being loved is what makes us happy. If you have tried yesterdays Heart Math exercise or have reflected deeply on your feelings you too will have realized that it loving others is what beings fulfilment and joy.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Institute of HeartMath has generated a large body of convincing scientific evidence that it is indeed possible to create love. HeartMath’s research shows that emotions work much faster, and are more powerful, than thoughts. And that—when it comes to the human body—the heart is much more important than the brain to overall health and well-being—even cognitive function—than anyone but poets believed. Its dominance inside the body is now clearly demonstrated. Thinking clearly with your brain is useful. But feeling positively from your heart provides an amazing boost to health and creativity.

Briefly re-experiencing a cherished memory creates synchronization in your heart rhythm in mere seconds. This increases the release of healthy, energizing hormones, while at the same time decreasing levels of damaging stress hormones, at the same time your immune system is strengthened, blood pressure decreases … and health and focus increase. Using a simple prescription that consists of a number of exercises that anyone can do anywhere in a few minutes—the details are coming shortly—HeartMath is successfully battling the greatest threat to health, happiness and peace in this world: stress.

HeartMath programs utilize an innovative biofeedback system—developed by founder Doc Childre—whereby your finger or ear is hooked up to a sensor that shows the heart’s activity on a computer screen. The feedback is not a precondition for the result of the HeartMath exercises, but seeing your heart rhythms live on a computer screen makes it easier to convince critics of the favourable effect of positive feelings.

Measuring internal feelings using modern instruments is not new in itself. For example, with the help of the electroencephalogram (EEG), it has been proven that meditating yogis produce completely different brain waves than—say—stock traders on Wall Street. But HeartMath’s heart-driven method extends much further than relaxation through meditation. McCraty notes, “Meditation is mainly geared towards consciously separating yourself from the reality around you. That has totally different physical consequences than our approach, which is geared towards actively adding positive energy to a particular situation.”
To measure the heart’s reaction to particular events, HeartMath uses a relatively new concept—one that is currently a hot item in mainstream medicine—as an indicator of a healthily functioning body: heart rate variability (HRV). Research conducted 10 years ago by Dr Andrew Armour of Dalhouse University in Halifax, Canada showed that the heart has its own neural network–in essence, a little brain. HRV—the rhythm of the time period between two heartbeats—plays a key role in that network. It has now been demonstrated that the heart sends signals to the brain and the hormonal system via nerves which carry the heart rhythm patterns. It doesn’t matter so much how many times a heart beats per minute; it’s the rhythm of the heartbeat that counts.

Childre, McCraty and HeartMath’s research team have discovered that certain patterns in the heart rhythm correspond to a particular emotional state. McCraty explains, “With every heartbeat, information is supplied that affects our emotions, our physical health and the quality of our lives.” This means that feelings of compassion, love, care and appreciation produce a smoothly rolling—HeartMath calls it “coherent”—heart rhythm, while feelings of anger, frustration, fear and danger emit a jagged and capricious—”incoherent”—image. But this is more than a statistical difference. HeartMath’s research shows that a different heart rhythm leads to other chemical and electrical–even neurological--reactions in the body.

Simply put: when people experience love, they not only feel happy and joyful, but they also produce, for example, more DHEA, the hormone that prevents aging, and gives us feelings of youthful vitality. Not surprisingly, a synthetic form of the hormone is currently sold in pill form at drugstores and health food stores. At the same time, the production of damaging stress hormones like cortisol is reduced. High levels of cortisol have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression and fatigue. By contrast, a “loving body” absorbs less cholesterol, thereby preventing arteries from clogging while boosting production of immunoglobulin A, an important biochemical that boosts immune function. In addition, blood pressure stabilizes. McCraty links this effect to problems many organizations face: “There is a clear connection between healthcare costs and blood pressure levels. When your blood pressure falls, so do visits to the doctor…” And so HeartMath concludes that love is both an emotional and a physical state: positive feelings—like love—generate health. The reverse is also true. Someone who is angry produces less DHEA and more cortisol. And so on. HeartMath’s slogan—a change of heart changes everything—pretty much sums it up.

But how do you “change your heart?” According to HeartMath research, it is much simpler than it looks. McCraty says, “If you consciously shift your attention to a positive emotion, like appreciation or care, or if you allow your thoughts to return to the feeling of a cherished memory, your heart rhythm changes immediately.

Here is a simple Heart Math Exercise I first posted a few years ago (but still great) for you to try again.

Step 1: Heart Focus

Gently focus your attention on your in the area of your heart.It may help to place your hand over your heart. If your mind wanders just keep bringing your attention back to the area of your heart.

Step 2:

Heart Breathing

As you focus on the area of your heart , pretend your breath is flowing in and out through that area. This helps your mind and energy to stay focused and your respiration and hearth rhythms to synchronise. Breath slowly and gently, until your breathing feels smooth and balanced.

Step 3:

Heart Feeling

As you continue to breathe, recall a positive feeling, a time when you ' felt good inside.' Now try
to re experience the feeling. This could be a feeling of appreciation or care toward a special person, a pet, a place you enjoy, or an activity that was fun. Allow yourself to really' feel ' this good feeling of appreciation or care. If you can't feel anything, it's okay, just try to find a sincere attitude of appreciation or care. Once you have found a positive feeling or attitude, you can sustain it by continuing your heart focus, heart breathing, and heart feeling.

I have found that finding simple happy feelings work best for me - the feeling in my body when I'm giving a hug to someone I love.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Single Whip Application

Michael and Sara investigate aspects of Single Whip

video

Saturday, 25 June 2011

" The importance of touch as a form of positive mirroring and therefore a source of self-creation and ontological security, was explored in 'The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedhoff. Liedhoff began to understand the role of being held in human identity formation as a result of the time she spent living with the Yequana Indians of Brazil. Yaquana babies are held-"in arms" as she puts it - twenty-four hours a day for at least the first two years of their lives. The result is that they grow up not experiencing any gap, or sense of having an empty space within themselves.They do not, she says spend their entire lives trying to prove that they exist, or trying to make up for a missing sense of self. Confiscation is a rupture in the continuum of life, which is a biological continuum . The Yequana , get only very mild doses of this or none at all. So where we moderns spend most of our lives trying, indirectly and unconsciously , to repair the ruptured continuum, the Yequana never have to think about it - they can just live and enjoy life. For most of us the Self comes to be defined as wanting, the Other as withholding. Our basic orientation to life is future-oriented. I'll be all right if..... I'll be happy when.....etc. This desire for tactile mirroring, for physical reassurance , says Liedhoff , is not about sex - at least not in the narrow sense of the term. In fact, the modern Western preoccupation with sex is really a symptom of continuum rupture. Sex is only a nodal point on an erotic, object-relalions continuum. The search for a universe that is loving (not just friendly)is the real issue here. A friendly universe gases approvingly on the infant , whereas a loving universe holds it. The search for the lost Other is in first and foremost an ontological, or cosmological, project, but in practice it turns into an erotic one as well."

I'm finding Morris Berman's 'Coming To Our Senses' a fascinating read. This book looks at body and spirit in the hidden history of the west. It is helping me understand why Tai Chi and other somatic practices are still very much a minority interest.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011



Afoot and light-hearted I take to the
open road,
Heartily ,free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading
wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I
myself am good fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more,
postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries,
querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open
road.
'Leaves of Grass' - Walt Whitman


Tuesday, 21 June 2011



Deep deep postures
wordless wisdom
heartfelt gratitude

Monday, 20 June 2011

"Count your blessings," we're often told -- but what good does that do us? Plenty, according to Robert Emmons, the world's leading scientific expert on gratitude. After a decade of research, Dr. Emmons has found that people who practice gratitude have stronger immune systems, feel happier and more optimistic, and are more generous and compassionate.

The benefits of gratitude include :

Physical

Stronger immune systems
Less bothered by aches and pains
Lower blood pressure
Exercise more and take better care of their health
Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking.
.
Psychological

Higher levels of positive emotions
More alert, alive, and awake
More joy and pleasure
More optimism and happiness.

Social

More helpful, generous, and compassionate
More forgiving
More outgoing
Feel less lonely and isolated.

How to increase ones sense of gratitude :

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.

2. Remember the Bad. To be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.

3. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”

4. Learn Prayers of Gratitude. In many spiritual traditions, prayers of gratitude are considered to be the most powerful form of prayer, because through these prayers people recognize the ultimate source of all they are and all they will ever be.

5. Come to Your Senses. Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction, but also a gift.

6. Use Visual Reminders. Because the two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness, visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude. Often times, the best visual reminders are other people.

7. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research shows that making an oath to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Therefore, write your own gratitude vow, which could be as simple as “I vow to count my blessings each day,” and post it somewhere where you will be reminded of it every day.

8. Watch your Language. Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. In gratitude, you should not focus on how inherently good you are, but rather on the inherently good things that others have done on your behalf.

9. Go Through the Motions. If you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude.

10. Think Outside the Box. If you want to make the most out of opportunities to flex your gratitude muscles, you must creatively look for new situations and circumstances in which to feel gratitude.

- Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Monday, 13 June 2011



I am not I.
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives,gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.
- Juan Ramon Jimenez