Saturday, September 28, 2019

Can my brain heal my body?


Can my mind heal my body?
ID 66541726 © Alphaspirit  Dreamstime.com


“Can my mind heal my body?” That’s what Dr. Michael Mosley, a British science journalist, TV presenter, and author wanted to know. So he created a study with BBC to find out.

He invited people with incurable back pain to join the study for a new analgesic. He chose 117 people who had tried everything from morphine to tramadol, many had been hospitalized, all without relief from their pain. He told them that half of them would receive a new trial drug and the other half would receive a placebo. In truth, everyone on the study was given a placebo made of ground rice. Everyone was required to create a daily video diary of their results.

The study was very thorough in masking the placebo. Even the bottles of inert substance were labeled, “keep away from children”. The pills were blue and white striped because that’s what research shows evicts the most pain-killing effect.

Jim, a 71 year old, had become an invalid, sitting in a wheel chair all day, due to his pain. At the end of the study, he said in his video he had not had any pain since he began the program and even stood up out of the chair, walked a few steps, and claimed fantastic results.

Unsurprisingly, they were shocked by the truth: “I can’t believe I’ve been taking nothing, yet I feel so wonderful”; “Something’s working. I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is I hope it carries on working.”
Scientists have been studying various aspects of the placebo effect to see how it impacts each individual:
  • Another aspect to the above BBC study included the amount of time spent with the physician at the beginning of the program. One study showed a minimum of 40% effectiveness of the placebo when the patient spoke for 9 minutes and 22 seconds with the doctor (the average patient visit) but 51% effective when the patient spent 20 minutes with a doctor trained to show very empathetic behavior toward the patient.
  • Another study considered the type of person most likely to respond to a placebo. One might assume it was the “simple-minded” person. However, the study showed it the “most aware” and the person “most interested in new experience” who received the most effect from the placebo. They identified these people by scanning the “responders” and the “non-responders” with an MRI. All patients that had positive effect in a particular study also showed a marked difference in the amygdala from those that had no effect from the placebo.
  • Another research showed that there is a genetic predisposition to someone that experiences the placebo effect.
What is now recognized by science is that the mind is playing a powerful part in the process of healing, such as the personal beliefs and expectations of the patient, the symbolism and reaction of the patient regarding the size, shape, color of a remedy, how the doctor speaks to the patient, the strength of the ritual, etc. By ritual, I mean, it is found that an injection (and all that goes with it) seems to be more powerful than a pill; a surgery and all that goes with it, is even more powerful than the injection. So the mind believes something powerful is happening, even if it’s a placebo (a saline injection, rather than drugs; a sham surgery rather than a therapeutic surgery). By the way, 4 popular surgeries have been tested and found that placebo surgeries equal the results of the therapeutic surgeries!

The mind is closely connected to the body! What is the difference between health and disease? It is determined by our thoughts, our beliefs the way we use our minds.

Were these outward dramatic experiments necessary to activate the mind? Or could one induce their own mind toward healing effects?

Imagine if we could learn to still the internal chatter, those subconscious beliefs that run constantly about problems, limitations and lack. Instead, we could learn to experience life again in the present moment. Have you ever dropped a single stone into a quiet pond? What happens? Perfectly concentric ripples spread across the water. This is like having one thought only moving through the mind. The mind is coherent, it is orderly, and it is powerful.

The Art of Ascension teaches a series of procedures for the mind. These cause the mind to change from its old habits to new upward spiraling habits of creativity and possibility. This practice does not require concentration or effort. It is only necessary to devote the time to learn the practice.

Contact me for more information about how you can learn these simple techniques.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What I Wish I Knew When I First Developed Chronic Pain


What I wish I knew when I first developed chronic pain

ID 28075777 © Konstantin Yuganov | Dreamstime.com

The International Association for the Study of Pain has offered the following definition of pain: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience…” Due to the opioid epidemic, more research has been looking at different aspects of pain. Having dealt with chronic pain myself for many years, research is bearing out what I learned firsthand.


Some of the most interesting research opening new vistas has been designed and run by physicians who themselves have become experts in chronic pain because their own chronic pain had not been relieved through any of the traditional methods. Below are some common misconceptions about pain and the research giving new conclusions.

Myth 1:  The intensity of the feeling of pain correlates to the seriousness of the injury.

This was first proven to be false in 1965 by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall by showing how pain is transmitted through gates.  However, many other studies have supported this, including studies with pain continuing after the area shows to be completely healed!  Some “individuals with functional pain syndromes report considerable anguish in spite of having no observable tissue damage”.

Myth 2:  Chronic pain is similar to “acute pain”.  (Acute pain is the original pain indicating a warning about a physical injury).

Neuroplasticity is both a blessing and a curse; “chronic pain is actually brain plasticity gone wild” according to Dr. Norman Doidge.
“Chronic pain often outlives its original causes, worsens over time, and takes on a puzzling life of its own. Chronic pain alters brain anatomy.” Says Clifford Wolf, pain researcher.   “Neurons have been re-wired in a way that exaggerates pain perception and perpetuates the experience of pain. Pain itself often modifies the way the central nervous system works, so that a patient actually becomes more sensitive and gets more pain with less provocation.”
So you could rightfully say, much of chronic pain is learned behavior.  Also, due to neuroplasticity, often chronic pain isn’t in the body anymore; it’s is in the brain.

Dr. Moskowitz, originally a psychiatrist, became injured and could not work due to his intense chronic pain.  For 13 years, he tried everything. Nothing helped.  Then, he learned about neuroplasticity and began studying the research. He analyzed the areas that fire in chronic pain, he observed that many of those areas also process thoughts, sensations, images, memories, movements, emotions, and beliefs when they are not processing pain. He realized why, when we are in pain, we can’t concentrate or think well and why we can’t control our emotions very well, become irritable, and have emotional outbursts. The areas that regulate these activities have been hijacked to process the pain signal.

Moskowitz defines chronic pain as “learnt pain”. It not only indicates illness; it is itself an illness. The body’s alarm system is stuck in the “on” position.

Myth 3: Drugs are the best way to deal with chronic pain

One of the most important revelations coming from Moskowitz’s work is that opioid narcotics, popular for treating pain, actually make pain problems WORSE because of neuroplasticity. The brain adapts to the opioid, becomes less sensitive to them and more sensitive to the pain, so the patient becomes more dependent on the drugs.
Given the evidence in his analysis, Moskowitz set out to reclaim the areas of his own brain that had been co-opted by the pain by retraining the brain and giving it something else to do.  He states that you must be ruthless when you notice pain by giving your brain something else to do. He became pain-free by changing his brain and then began a pain clinic in California. 
Myth 4: Changing the brain (neuroplasticity) is caused by a placebo effect (more belief oriented).
Moskowitz describes the difference between the placebo effect and neuroplasticity.  The placebo effect works fairly quickly and then its effects dwindle over time. But retraining the brain, utilizing its own plasticity is not a quick fix.  Neuroplasticity takes time to work.  Its effect actually increases over time, as long as one continues to train the mind; which is why a regular practitioner of meditation gains huge benefits.
A 2011 study at Wake Forest University showed that brain pain centers were 57% less active after just 4 days with a brand new practitioner of meditation. Subsequent studies have shown that long term meditators can show over 90% improvement from their pain. Leeds Beckett University, performed a study that showed meditation improved pain tolerance, pain threshold, and decreases anxiety towards pain. 
The Art of Ascension offers a simple practice of mechanical techniques to retrain the mind, similar in practice to meditation. It retrains the mind by giving it something that charms the mind, vehicles based on Praise, Gratitude, Love, and Compassion. 20 minutes with the eyes closed gives the mind and body more rest than sleep.  Since the body knows how to heal itself, this rest is a very powerful aid to healing what is causing chronic pain. 

The practice is unique in that you can do it anytime, anywhere. It can even be used during the day as you go about your busy life. I had a habit, common for those in chronic pain, called attentional hypervigilance for pain. In other words, feeling the repetitive need to “checkup” on the area that has experienced pain to see how it is doing. Research has shown that retraining the attention during experiences of pain have reduced sensitivity to pain.  Using the Art of Ascension practice with my eyes open throughout the day, allowed me to retrain my brain.  Rather than being consumed by pain, I found something more charming to do with my mind. Using the practice with the eyes closed began to rewrite those old programs. The practice replaced pain, fear, and quite a number of other habits that did not serve my life with Praise, Gratitude, Love, and Compassion.  Who doesn’t want more of that in their life?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Do you believe your own thoughts? Do you want to believe them?

Do you believe your own thoughts?  Do you even want to believe them?


  

A poll of 2,000 British workers found they spent nearly two hours every day feeling tense; spending the equivalent of 27 days a year worrying, stressing 3,676 times every year, and six in ten believe these stresses impact their well-being.

Whatever the reason for all of this stress, it may be even more concerning how people are reacting or trying to cope with all this stress:
  • According to a Credit Karma survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, 52 percent said they shop impulsively to deal with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. 
  • More than half the adults in the UK study said they like to drink to cope with their stress.


There is an alternative. The alternative is to culture a state of consciousness. If our world-view is not giving us everything we desire, if we are stressed or not filled with continual joy of life, it is neces­sary to intro­duce a new way of living, a new way of perceiving a new level of consciousness into our lives. To do this, we must allow our old, cherished beliefs to change. For it is exactly our beliefs that structure our perceptions and our world.

It is possible to retrain the mind so that the deepest grooves are those that lead to expansion of consciousness, to liberation rather than stress. The Art of Ascension charms the mind during every phase of this transformation. The mind is always greedy for more experience, more love, more peace, and more knowledge -- always more. The fortunate fact is that the field of most already lies within -- the mind just needs to learn how to take the correct angle, then the entire process is perfectly automatic.

As we align life with this new way of being, we need no longer make the choices that lead us into more stress. We can experience the events that come our way in a completely new way.

If you would like to know more about The Art of Ascension, The Ishaya Foundation offers an audio introduction. Visit www.ArtofAscension.com for more information.


Monday, September 9, 2019

Science of Compassion



Training your brain to pay attention to compassion produces a giant step toward a better, more enjoyable life according to Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin.

A study just published in May 2018 from the University of Wisconsin defines compassion as connecting with the suffering (of others and oneself) along with a genuine wish for freedom from suffering. The connection requires the courage to see the suffering rather than avoid or deny.

This study trained half the participants in a compassion meditation while the control group was trained in reappraisal training (which reviews past traumas to reduce negative emotional responses). Researchers tracked participants’ time looking at suffering vs. non-suffering as well as amygdala responses (a brain region involved in negative valence, arousal, and physiological responses typical of fear and anxiety states). The study found that those trained in compassion spent more time observing the suffering and had decreased amygdala responses compared to the reappraisal trained control group.

"Compassion meditation may shift habits of becoming overly distressed when we encounter another's pain," says Helen Weng, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. "The pattern of these findings -- an increase in looking at suffering while simultaneously down-regulating neural circuits associated with negative emotion -- is a winning combination that may be beneficial for a wide range of conditions including autism and social anxiety disorder in which gaze aversion and social discomfort are hallmark signs," Davidson adds.

In the practice of the Art of Ascension, the Compassion technique is taught in the beginner’s workshop as a key tool. One of the great things about using this tool is that you don’t have to understand all of the components of compassion, or figure out how to make it happen. You use the tool and compassion becomes one of the by-products of the practice.

Another aspect of the Art of Ascension Compassion technique (as with the other tools of Praise, Gratitude, and Love) is that it can be used all day long when you are going about your active life. So, Compassion can be cultivated whenever and wherever you are.

Call Jyoti to see how easy it can be to set up a course in your area. Check out some current course offerings at shininglightonlife.business.site.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Effects of Love on Bunnies


Oh, the power of love!  Odes and sonnets have been written, yet the power of love to heal is just beginning to be researched by science. 


Here is a favorite story that astonished the scientific community in the 1970’s. This is an excerpt from Deepak Chopra's Quantum Healing: "An Ohio University study of heart disease in the 1970's was conducted by feeding quite toxic, high cholesterol diets to rabbits in order to block their arteries. Consistent results began to appear in all of the rabbit groups except for one, which strangely displayed 60 percent fewer symptoms. Nothing in the rabbits' physiology could account for their high tolerance to the diet until it was discovered by accident that the student who was in charge of feeding these particular rabbits liked to fondle and pet them. He would hold each rabbit lovingly for a few minutes before feeding it; astonishingly, this alone seemed to enable the animals to overcome the toxic diet. Repeat experiments, in which one group of rabbits was treated neutrally while the others were loved, came up with similar results."

Who would have believed that feelings of love can reach out and affect diseases to create healing? …Even when the intent of the experiment was to bring about illness!

Depending on the study, lonely and depressed people have been shown in numerous studies to be 3 to 10 times more likely to get sick and die prematurely compared with people who have a strong sense of love, connection, and community.

The cardiologist, Dean Ornish, who first proved that hearts can self-repair in his book, Reversing Heart Disease, said, “Love and intimacy — our ability to connect with ourselves and others, is at the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well”.

Furthermore, our unresolved issues are mirrored in our world. Gregg Braden gives a key saying, “The ancient key to allowing our love to heal us is to let it into our lives. To do so, we must find a way to change our greatest hurts into our deepest wisdom.” When we change by transforming our unresolved issues into love and acceptance, we change chemically, change our DNA, and that transformation becomes mirrored in our world.

The Ishayas teach that the healing of the world begins with the healing of the self. This healing does not occur from working on our issues, because what we focus on grows. It comes from a daily practice of love and acceptance in all our life situations.

Ishayas’ Ascension (aka the Art of Ascension) is made of simple and effective techniques.  They are not just for meditation but also for daily life.  The practice utilizes and then generates more Appreciation, Gratitude, and Love in the user’s life. Appreciation is the force, the driving emotion that causes Ascension. You might look at this as a continuum, that there is some appreciation in Praise, more appreciation in Gratitude, and more appreciation in love. It is just appreciation expanding and building on itself. It is a natural by-product of using the techniques taught in the Art of Ascension.

If you are interested in learning more about this practice, visit "Learning to Ascend" for more information. Also the book by MSI, An Analysis of the Art of Ascension, provides a good overview of the workings of the mind and love.