A: You are right that there are many effective meditation techniques that don't use mantras. I have often recommended breath meditation myself for many years. However, what is important in selecting a spiritual technique is not whether it uses a mantra or not, but how effective it is at taking you beyond its own practice—getting you beyond the mind. Whenever you start meditating you are using the mind to think or attend to something (even trying to clear the mind is a mental activity). The mental activity of the practice itself keeps you in your mind and out of the unified experience of the Self, which is beyond the duality of the mind. The trick is for the mental activity of the meditation to lead you past the mental activity itself. Meditations that do this allow you to quickly progress on the path to Self-realization. Mantras are sounds based upon the elementary quantum mechanical structures of existence. Mantra comes from the word “mantrayate,” that which takes away the mind. When they are used properly they permit the active level of mental functioning to settle down to that fundamental non-dual state. While mantras are certainly not the only way to go beyond the mind, they are invaluable gifts the ancient seers have handed down to us to make access to the Self easy.
Q: Can you please elaborate on intentions and meditation. I believe you said that there are specific meditations for manifesting, and other meditations for silent witnessing, and the two should not be mixed. It's still unclear how exactly one goes about performing the manifestation meditation, and how often one should do it to get results. Should I focus on the breath and keep repeating my intentions like a mantra for the entire meditation period? Also, how often should one do the manifestation meditation versus the silent witnessing one?
A: One should practice silent meditation regularly every day. It should not involve any procedures to manifest desires while you are doing it. Manifestation meditation is something you can do in addition to your other meditation if you feel the need to accelerate the fulfillment of your desires. You may find that manifestation meditation is not even necessary. So that is part of the reason why the directions for manifestation meditation are vague, because there is no set rule for how much you should do it. If you want, you can do it every day, or whenever you feel the need. There are many types of meditation for fulfilling desires. Some involve repeating intentions, some visualizations. You can use whatever works best for you. Some of the practices involve first settling down deep enough to find out what your heart really wants. Those will be the intentions that bring the fulfillment of your desires in a balanced, harmonious way that is of greatest benefit to you and to everyone else as well. Through the practice of silent meditation you have established a deep baseline level of awareness from which intentions can manifest. The basic idea behind those manifestation meditations is to first settle down to a quiet state of simple awareness and then gently introduce your intention and let it sink into that silence. That is releasing the intention into the gap. Then allow your attention to return to that abstract silence for a few moments or half a minute or so, and then introduce your intention again into the silence. You can continue doing that for 5 or 10 minutes.
Deepak Chopra, M.D., bestselling author and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad. Learn your personal mantra and Primordial Sound Meditation over the Weekend Apr 8-9 or May 20-21, 2006. For more information, visit chopra.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888.424.6772.
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Water: Source & Sustainer of Life
In June 2000 NASA announced that their robots
on Planet Mars had detected evidence of water. This discovery was met with jubilation, for evidence of water is evidence of the possibility of life. Water is the single most important molecule of life. Yet, in terms of the water we ingest and its impact on our bodies, medical science is barely scratching the surface of this vast ocean of knowledge.
If we go back billions of years, primordial creatures were beginning to make their way from sea to land. In the ocean, these creatures had semi-permeable membranes, which allowed ocean water to be identical to the inner water contact of the early sea creatures. When life began to "grow feet" and walk onto land, the challenge for sustaining life was in developing a system for maintaining an internal environment similar to that of the ocean. In fact, the Earth is 70 percent water and the human body is 70 percent water.
Many of us have lost our inner wisdom about when to drink water and how much. Wild animals provide a clue that is highly worth considering. Upon rising, the first thing that animals do is go to the water hole and drink. The reason for this behavior is simple. While we sleep, we are not drinking, and we lose a significant amount of water through breathing (respiration) and perspiration.
The human animal wakes up and then has coffee and food. It is worth considering the experiment of drinking a glass or two of water upon rising . . . waiting awhile . . . and then eating. I do not have science to back up the suggestion, only the wisdom of the animal kingdom. In general, animals are much wiser about healing than we humans are. They know when (and how much) to eat, drink, rest, and sleep. An injured animal, let's say a bird with a broken wing, will wait and rest for weeks until the fracture has healed before it attempts to fly. Very few of us will take the rest that our bodies cry out for when we have a "broken wing." Likewise, we are totally out of touch with our body's water requirements. Nature has been quite clear about what we need for survival, namely air and water. Without air, we suffer brain damage within 10 minutes. Without water, we become dehydrated within 24 hours and die in a week or less. In disasters, people have survived weeks without food. We do not survive weeks without water! Here is a simple equation for life: Oxygen (O2) + Water (H2O) + Food + Spirit = Life. This equation requires that the "reaction of life" take place within specific parameters of temperature, sunlight, pH, exercise, etc. Because it is the very nature of water to circulate, exercise dramatically empowers the "reaction of life" . . . for blood and lymph must move, and exercise creates that movement.
Our blood is more than 80% water our brain over 75% and the human liver 96%. A 5% drop in the body's volume of water will lead to dehydration. So, how do you know if you are not drinking enough water? The early warning signs are dryness of the mouth, thirst, overly concentrated urine, and simply not feeling well.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Dehydration is the result of loss of water and salts from the body. Water plays a critical role in every major function in the body, including: regulating body temperature, carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, creating energy, maintaining ideal body weight, removing waste, cushioning joints, and protecting organs and tissues.
When dehydrated, in addition to thirst and dry mouth, we soon develop: reduced amounts of urine production, dark yellow urine, irritability, dizziness, cramping in the arms and legs, water retention, and emotional and behavioral disturbances. Furthermore, dehydration makes the body more acidic, further compromising health.
Because water is critical to survival, when we are not drinking enough water, the body sees its survival threatened and begins to conserve water. Swelling of the feet, legs, and hands occurs because water begins to get stored outside the cells. Increased water intake will decrease swelling.
When dehydration has gone on for months or years, chronic illness sets in. In chronic dehydration, in addition to acute symptoms, one experiences fatigue and increasing discomfort. As dehydration becomes more severe, one can experience nausea, dizziness, disorientation, fever, and accelerated aging of every bodily function and organ system.
The elderly need to be even more watchful than younger people about water intake because we begin to lose an accurate sense of thirst with age. An elderly person may not feel thirsty even if he is dehydrated. Watch for this in yourself, your parents, and grandparents.
Dehydration is not just a problem with decreased water intake. It is also an issue of mineral imbalances, because the water we drink is supposed to have minerals in it, including sodium. Dehydration is a problem of both water and mineral volume. Mineral content becomes a problem for us as we search for better sources of water to drink than San Diego tap water.
Functions of Water
Dehydration causes so many major problems because of the many critical functions it performs. All body functions take place in water and require water. The major functions include: assimilation of vital nutrients, digestion, absorption of nutrients, blood flow, cellular reproduction, metabolism, energy production, immune system support, detoxification and removal of toxins, and the maintenance of electrochemical balance.
Proper digestion and nutrient absorption require an adequate intake of water. In order for our body to get the nutritional value from our foods and supplements we must consume plenty of good water. Water is a solvent, and is critical to helping dissolve and absorb the food we eat. Intestinal symptoms of dehydration include heartburn, gastritis, and constipation.
Detoxification and Lymphatic System
Water is our body's way of flushing out toxins. In our "chemically toxic society" we are exposed to literally hundreds of harmful substances daily, including toxins added intentionally and unintentionally to our water supply. We cannot totally avoid toxins and keep them from getting into our body but water will help get rid of them. The body has two circulatory systems. One carries blood, through arteries, capillaries, and veins, and the other is the lymphatic system. Everywhere in the body, these two circulatory systems run side-by-side, and they require water to function.
The brain is 85% water. Dehydration decreases the level of energy production in the brain, resulting in depression, chronic fatigue, memory problems, migraine headaches, mental confusion, and delirium.
The kidneys filter blood, concentrating waste and sending them out into the urine. Dehydration causes the kidneys to conserve water and to hyper-concentrate urine. Over time, kidney damage can occur. We remove toxins primarily through the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract, so we cannot afford to compromise either system.
Our energy is greatly affected by the amount of water we drink. A 5% drop in body fluids can cause a 25% loss of energy. Over 80% of our population suffers some fatigue and energy loss due to minor dehydration.
Unfortunately, we drink rather filthy water É or at least bathe in it. In order for the Colorado River to get to San Diego , it has to pour through hundreds of miles of concrete and metal aqueducts. Some of the concrete dissolves and is carried along with the water into our homes, in spite of the best efforts of the various water purification plants. In Henderson , Nevada , the Colorado River picks up perchlorate from rocket fuel spills. Pesticides from farming pour in from many sources.
It is beyond the scope of this article to tell you what is in our tap water. EPA documents, in my experience, are deceptive, and water quality varies throughout the county. Instead of telling you, in parts per billion, what is in our water, what follows is a brief list of contaminants that occur in various locations, but not all in one place:
Carcinogenic ethylene dibromide, lead, coliform bacteria, 3 cancer-causing radioactive contaminants, uranium, arsenic, MTBE (a gasoline additive), and trihalomethanes or TTHMs, cancer-causing chlorination by-products.
Over the past year, it was discovered that very high levels of lead are present in several parts of Camp Pendleton .
To research water contaminants for yourself, check out: www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/uscities/pdf/sd.pdf
Where's The Good Water?
I have always had a problem with San Diego water, because I grew up in Denver , where the tap water tasted better than any bottled water (or tap) I have tasted in San Diego . Denver is the first city to drink from the Colorado River , and San Diego is the last, and 12 th city, to drink from it. Just to give you an idea of how good that water is and was, I have hiked up to the glaciers, high in the Rocky Mountains, whose run-off waters form a tiny creek, which eventually becomes the Colorado River. It is most delicious to drink from that creek with ice cold, mineral rich, pure water.
It is now customary in holistic circles to recommend water intake of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (the 8-8 system). There are several other systems for calculating your requirements. Frankly, they are all controversial. If one assumes that the 8-8 system is correct, it must be correct for the average person. Is that an average male or female? What does he or she weigh? How old is he or she? Obviously, you need to tailor a general recommendation based on your age, height, weight, and also to your intuition. If you are not thirsty, generally feel well, and do not have dark, yellow urine, you probably are drinking enough water. A word of caution: caffeine and alcohol do not count toward your daily intake of water, as these both cause dehydration.
Because we do live in a toxic world, we are concerned about how and where to get our water, and so we turn to bottled water, well water (which we are never quite sure really came from a well), filtered water, distilled water, reverse osmosis filters, and more. There are pros and cons to all of them. With distilled water, you are drinking very pure water, but it lacks minerals, so you must make up for the mineral loss you suffer with distilled water.
We also have to struggle with the debate about whether or not we want chlorine in our water systems. Chlorine definitely does dramatically cut back on pathogenic bacteria and parasites, which is a good thing considering that when 7 major rivers on the West Coast were tested for the parasite, cryptosporidium, they all tested positive. Chlorine kills them. However, ozone, which is safe, is more effective than chlorine in killing cryptosporidium and other pathogens. You can purchase devices that remove chlorine at your tap. Likewise, you can obtain filters to remove pieces of the concrete aqueduct that brings the Colorado River to your homes.
Maintaining the Charge
Electrical impulses can travel quickly through water, depending on the mineral content of water. The human body contains multiple electro-magnetic (EM) fields. The electroencephalogram (EEG), measures electrical activity of the brain, and the EKG measures electrical activity of the heart. The entire nervous system is a complex command and control center for electrical impulses. The water within our bodies makes these electromagnetic fields possible . . . and stable. Some of these electromagnetic fields follow obvious anatomy, such as the paths of nerves. Other EM fields and pathways do not follow visible structures. Acupuncture, which is based on pulse reading, works with the flow of energy through meridians. The acupuncturist is essentially feeling the pulse of water when he reads your pulse. This complex set of invisible meridians of chi, or energy, most likely is closely related to water. What follows, the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto, may shed further light on the energetics involved with Chinese Medicine.
Dr. Masaru Emoto and Water Crystals
Beyond the obvious life and death issues surrounding water, I am quite fascinated by the implications of the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto with water crystals, which was featured in the movie, "What the Bleep Do We Know?" He showed that if one prays over water or even writes a positive word like "Love" or "Gratitude" on a piece of paper, and then wraps that piece of paper around a vial of water, the water will develop beautiful, hexagonal crystals overnight. Dr. Emoto believes that the hexagonal shape is the basic geometry of Nature.
While the science is not yet in to prove this idea, it occurs to me that Emoto's work has profound implications for the human body. Would it be wise to pray over our water or tape "love and gratitude" to our water containers overnight before drinking? Probably so. I can only imagine that positive crystalline structure of water improves our health and well-being.
Beyond that, consider that our bodies are 70% water. Our thoughts and emotions do affect the crystalline pattern of water, although distilled water will not respond by creating crystals. Is it possible that our thoughts affect the structure of the water in our body? Do our emotions affect the crystalline structure of our blood, lymph, and intracellular water? We can think of thought as vibration. Vibrations impact the entire body, including the structure of water. At this point, Dr. Emoto has not found that thought affects the structure of bodily fluids. However, if one sufficiently dilutes blood and other bodily fluids, they will form the classic hexagonal crystals. I am yet to be convinced one way or the other, for Dr. Emoto has not been able to do a study of fluids within the body. He has to remove substances from the body to study them. Time will tell. For now, the possibility that the mind could affect the crystalline structure of water throughout our bodies has vast implications. Water could prove to be the single most important component of the mind-body connection, and would help explain why a positive mental outlook is so important for health and well-being. I will continue chanting the mantras that I have been using for decades, as part of my spiritual practice. And, until the facts are really in, I will believe that this practice is positively affecting the water within my body.
What is it that really intrigues us about water? We are drawn to bodies of water, pulled to the oceans, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. We feel good there. We feel a spiritual presence as we watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean . There is truly something sacred about water. Consider the healing water of Lourdes , the act of Baptism, or the sacred waters of the Ganges River . It is as if water magnetizes us to it, a fact not explained by the negative ions generated by moving water, ions that make us feel good and that are good for us.
It is as if water is a call back to our beginnings and to our source. With the reverence that we hold for water, it is only natural that we regard the water within our own bodies with the same reverence.
To quote Dr. Emoto, "Water reflects the consciousness of the human race." Whether our consciousness affects our internal water is not known for certain, but it is known that our consciousness does affect the large bodies of water from which we get our drinking water.
David Gersten, M.D. practices nutritional medicine and transpersonal psychiatry out of his Encinitas office and can be reached at 760-633-3063. Please feel free to access 1,000 on-line pages about holistic health, amino acids, and nutritional therapy at www.aminoacidpower.com. Access 800 pages about mental imagery at www.imagerynet.com.
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I've read many of your books and found them helpful. Unfortunately, I'm at a point in my life where I'm finding it extremely hard to walk forward. I'm in a rather vicious cycle (of my own creation) of overeating, feeling extremely guilty, being depressed (the weight is coming back on), angry at myself for being so weak, and trying with all my might to get back on track . . . only to repeat the cycle. My life isn't really all that bad, but I feel a sense of fear about moving forward and embracing the new life I've created for my two boys and me. I feel that I'm cheating them with my behavior, also. Please help me to find the path that will lead me out of this horrid depression. I feel lost and confused.
K.A., New Zealand
Your letter is a series of negative affirmations. As long as you continue to think in this way, you're stuck. So let's begin to change the way you're looking at yourself. What I see is someone who is truly ready to let go of the past. I want you to do a lot of deep breathing and stay in the present moment. Affirm: “I am safe in this moment.” Say that a lot. Don't look forward or backward.
Also affirm: “In this moment I am safe.” Embrace your life in this moment. Stay in this moment. Laugh with your children in this moment. Your path out of this negativity is in this moment. Breathe. Say: “In this moment we are safe.”
Take it one moment at a time, and in a month you'll be in a new and safe place.
Overeating has been an issue in my life since I was a child. I've thought about the millions of reasons this pattern emerged, and have tried to understand, make peace with, and let go of them all, but this seems to be an enormous barrier, and I seem to be stuck in spite of my work. I trust and believe that I can change this through the power of my own thoughts and right consciousness, but I'm not quite there yet. Any suggestions to help me get there?
M.C., New York
There is no “there” to get to. You can only live now. The past, where you learned your negative patterns, is long gone. So please, let it go in your mind. In this now, the only now you have, you're free to do things differently. There's no barrier, only an old thought that doesn't even exist anymore except in your memory bank. Close that account! There's no such thing as being stuck, for each moment is fresh and new and has nothing to do with the past. So in this moment choose to think: I am free of all past barriers, restrictions, and beliefs. Right now I am over all overeating, for that no longer exists for me. Right now I love and cherish who I am. In this moment I am lovable!
I've transformed myself a lot in the last 20 years, I'm 46 now, but one thing I still haven't been able to change just yet is that every time I think I've found the real love in my life, the guy disappears. It's like he appears to fall in love with me; starts to promise me everything I've been dreaming of: love, passion, security, and support; and I prepare myself for happiness. Then he starts to avoid me like I have a terrible disease. I always try to remain friends at least, but the man runs away like mad. So I'm really starting to give up. It seems that I have to face that I won't be able to remove this trauma.
All traumas are removable, and you can do it—especially if you're willing to forgive! It sounds like this was a pattern of love in your home when you were a child. Either your parents treated you in this manner, or they treated each other in this way. How love is expressed in our homes when we're growing up is how (on a subconscious level) we expect to experience love when we grow up.
Parents aren't to blame, for they usually treat their children as they were treated. So if you can (without blame) begin to forgive them, you'll be on your way to creating a new shift in your relationships. Personal counseling would help you release this pattern.
In the meantime, affirm: I forgive all mistakes from my past. I am ready to let go of all patterns that no longer serve me. Those from the past are free, and I am free. Everything I need for my complete healing comes to me now.
Louise L. Hay is a metaphysical teacher and the bestselling author of numerous books, including You Can Heal Your Life , Empowering Women, and I Can Do It! . Subscribe to the Louise Hay Newsletter! Call for a Free Issue: (800) 654-5126. Questions for Louise? Write to: Dear Louise Column, c/o Hay House, Inc., P.O. Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100 (letters may be edited for length and clarity). Visit Louise and Hay House at: www.LouiseHay.com or www.hayhouse.com.
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