Monday, December 20, 2021

Can a single weekend of Meditation change your life?

Can a single weekend of Meditation change your life?

Can a single weekend of meditation change your life?

Probably in less time than you surf the web, you could increase your cognitive judgment, your emotional resilience, and reduce your stress through meditation.

Jha, director of the University of Miami’s Contemplative Neuroscience said “We found that getting as little as 12 minutes of meditation practice a day helped the Marines to keep their attention and working memory — that is, the added ability to pay attention over time — stable.”  Our attention is fragile. Jha likens our attention to “a flashlight you can direct to whatever you choose.” “If they practiced less than 12 minutes or not at all, they degraded in their functioning.”
One 15-minute meditation may help people make better choices, according to new research from researchers at INSEAD and The Wharton School. The findings are published in the February issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"Most people have trouble admitting they were wrong when their initial decisions lead to undesirable outcomes," says researcher Andrew Hafenbrack, lead author on the new research and doctoral candidate at INSEAD. "They don't want to feel wasteful or that their initial investment was a loss. Ironically, this kind of thinking often causes people to waste or lose more resources in an attempt to regain their initial investment or try to 'break-even.'"   Co-author Zoe Kinias said, "First, meditation reduced how much people focused on the past and future, and this psychological shift led to less negative emotion. The reduced negative emotion then facilitated their ability to let go of sunk costs."
Then, in the emotional well-being area, one recent study found that a brief meditation practiced for 25 minutes for three consecutive days diminished meditators’ stress level. Published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, this provides an initial indication that brief meditation training reduces stress reactivity, but also increases cortisol reactivity to social evaluative stress. This seems to indicate that brief meditation training fosters greater active coping efforts, resulting in reduced psychological stress appraisals and greater cortisol reactivity during social evaluative stressors. 

Some people think they may not have enough time available in their life to meditate. Of course, the studies show many more benefits for daily regular meditation over months but the above studies show that even a beginner, with as little as 12 -15 minutes can gain benefits with meditation.

The Ishaya Foundation and offers a weekend course that can teach you the basics of The Art of Ascension in a retreat setting. The network of teachers from the Ishaya Foundation teaches globally. See the list of courses available and the list of teachers available. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Upward Spiral of Praise

 Upward Spiraling Current in Creation

 "With lightning speed, one rises to complete consciousness once one taps into the upward flow of Creation."

There is an upward spiraling current that runs through all of Creation. Normally, we are so busy thinking 50,000-100,000 thoughts, we're not even aware of that flow.  Divine Order continually flows like a river that's taking us to our goal of going down to the ocean and becoming One with everything. We judge our life, and so instead of joining with the river, we just hold ourselves back from it.

Praise is simple appreciation. It's a driving force that takes us to deeper levels of Reality.

This video plays a clip of the sound of crickets, slowed down.  It is an example of how everything in nature praises continually, except humans. You can purchase a 30 minute audio of the crickets slowed down.

When I had an angel store, I played the track of the crickets and asked people to guess what it was.  Amazingly, the most common thing they said was, "It sounds like Angels singing the Hallelujah chorus."  

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Who Falls Sick and Who Remains Healthy?

Attitude on Healing

Two people are exposed to the same virus. One gets a full blown version of the virus, the other remains healthy. Why? Someone is given a diagnosis of a terminal condition and yet survives many years later. How does this happen?

Studies now report that positive or negative emotional traits influence a persons’ susceptibility to infection. People in studies who report positive emotions show greater resistance to objectively verified colds. In a database created by IONS of 3,500 spontaneous remissions, the attitude change of the patient was cited as a key element in their remission.

OK, so maybe that is not really new information to many people. But, what about once you do get a cold? How long do you think it should take to get over it and how difficult is it for the body to heal?

Deirdre Davis Brigham, a psychotherapist, noted a case of one of her patients with multiple personality disorder. Personality number one had a case of the flu with all its attending symptoms, difficulty in breathing, congested chest, running nose, and laryngitis. When personality number two came out all the symptoms disappeared in just about six seconds. No congestion, no running nose, no symptoms of the flu. Same body, two different beliefs.

Another woman, admitted to a hospital for diabetes, baffled her physicians by showing no symptoms of the disorder at times when one personality, who was not diabetic, was dominant.

If one changes their mind, it affects their body and their universe. A sudden reversal in a disease (what we might call a “miracle”) comes from a deep change of mind. Meditation has been shown in one study to produce significant increases in left-sided anterior brain activity, which is associated with positive emotional states.

Ascension Attitudes are called Attitudes because an attitude is a way of looking at the world. They are not called Ascension Beliefs because there is no need to believe in the Ascension Attitudes for them to work. One does not need to believe that a carrot seed planted in the ground and properly tended will grow a carrot. Belief is not required. Belief is a powerful force which can be quite useful or destructive, depending on how it is applied, but it is not required to change the nature of our lives. Carrot seeds grow carrots. The seed thoughts of the Ascension Attitudes grow a new way of looking at and living life.”

Ascension Attitudes are 3 pronged mechanical techniques that work simultaneously at the level of the heart, mind, and body. The first four Ascension Attitudes deal with the stress of the modern world. These keys open new pathways to improve life at all levels. These Ascension Attitudes are taught in classes world-wide. They are never written in a book, always taught in person to fully activate the Attitudes and begin the physical integration.

Please contact me for current information and ways to learn this profound practice.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Fake Compassion or True Compassion

Fake Compassion or True Compassion

As part of my 2020 focus on Agape, I want to continue the exploration by diving more deeply into compassion. I began in January saying that the word that comes to us in the New Testament often translated as Love or Charity is the Greek word Agape. (See the original blog article). However, as often is the case, some of the words from more ancient languages have no English equivalent. The word agape could also be translated as compassion (and is, when it talks about Jesus having compassion when he saw his people lost in illusion).

Our culture typically has an incorrect view of compassion. Often compassion is confused with sympathy, empathy, needing to share the feeling of the person that is suffering. Often, compassion is considered “doing the kind thing” or maybe even doing nothing and allowing others to abuse us.

I want to differentiate the common meaning of compassion with the meaning that comes down from the ancient traditions of Enlightenment. First, True Compassion at its most profound is the ability to recognize the suffering, to desire the end of suffering, to be motivated by transcendental wisdom as well as unconditional love which requires a direct connection to the Source, and then, to be willing to do anything necessary to end the suffering of the world.

Someone has said that if we were to name the masculine and feminine aspects of God, they could respectively be called Loving Intelligence and Intelligent Love. That sets the tone for True Compassion. See the list:

Here are some thoughts on fake compassion vs True Compassion.

Fake compassion  True Compassion 
I’m doing something  Non-dual, Non-doing 
Is emotion or feeling  Result of meditative practice; immovable 
Needs/desires recognition  No Expectations, no reciprocity required 
Help give them what they think they want  Raises their consciousness (their true desire) 
Comes from a feeling of concern, caring  Unconditional Love plus wisdom from Source 
Directed to the individual  Goes to all sentient beings 
Idealistic  Authentic from complete innocence 
Limits of how we (little “s” self) can help  Transcendental wisdom without limits 
Contains our stresses and judgments  Ahimsa, non-violence (no judgments) 
Arises from our concern for a person  Arises from all above as well as desire to end the suffering of the world 

When you see the above list, you will realize compassion is not something the little ‘s’ self can do, not something that can be done from the intellect. True Compassion requires a direct connection to the Source of All That Is. It would require a person to get out of the way, let go of any ideas they have, it would require higher states of consciousness as well as a complete surrender to the Will of God.

More articles coming on Agape and compassion.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Did you know humans make their own cannabinoid?

Did you know humans make their own cannabinoid?

Did you know there is a bliss chemical in human beings? Anandamide, the bliss chemical, is produced naturally when we pray, meditate, breath correctly, and are at peace with the world.  The name anandamide is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss.

In lay terms, research has found that the body has natural cannabis receptors.  This bliss chemical, a cannabinoid, is produced and consumed by your own system and has wondrous effects for your health and well-being, with no bad side effects. 

 What does anandamide do in the human? For starters: anxiety relief, appetite enhancement (compounds similar to anandamide have been discovered in dark chocolate), suppression of nausea, relief from the symptoms of glaucoma.  Anandamide is the chemical that gives you the "chills", the little orgasmic thrill you get from noticing something beautiful. It is the supreme pain killer and much stronger and more effective than morphine.   A study published in 1998 shows that anandamide inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation.

How does that connect with the Art of Ascension?  MSI said “Praise leads to Bliss in the shortest possible time”.  We begin to live Praise, and life unfolds for us in ways that we previously could not imagine.  More of this human manufactured cannabinoid is being produced.  The first Ascension Attitude one learns is the Praise Attitude; that cuts away at our judgements about our experience of life, replacing judgement with appreciation.  Every time we use it, we are beginning to structure the highest state of consciousness.   

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

How to Meditate in Bed Without Using Your Phone

How to meditate in bed without using your phone

Free photo 2994648 © Adam Borkowski -

As more and more people are hearing about the benefits of meditation, they are turning to all kinds of methods.  Many new apps are available as well as guided meditations and books on meditation.

Most people tend to believe that in order to “meditate successfully”, they need to learn to control their mind or turn off their thoughts and achieve a certain feeling of calmness.  Research indicates that none of this is not true.  The mind is similar to an ocean.  The surface level of the ocean has many waves which vary in size and quantity depending on a variety of circumstances.  But at the depth of the ocean, all is calm, quiet, and very still. 

The surface level of the mind experiences a variety of quality and quantity of thoughts, similar to the waves of the ocean.  But, if one knew how to dive deeply into the depths of the mind, what is commonly called the unconscious, they would find a calm and stillness. 

Due to mass consciousness and the busyness of life, the vast majority people only experience the surface level of the mind, thousands of thoughts.  On rare occasions, often involving nature or creativity, time falls away, you experience no conflict, no doubt, and no self-criticism, but have a deep calmness, possibly euphoria.  One study found that only 2% of the general population have peak experiences, but Maslow believed that nearly everyone has peak experiences. Because most people have little to no context for the experience and cannot make sense of the experience, the memory may eventually fade away. 

Peak experiences also have a physiological response, that of coherent brain waves as well as an alertness of mind and deep rest. After studying peak performers in a variety of fields, they found that peak performances often coincided with peak experiences. Said another way, the more peak experiences a person experienced, the more likely they would be successful. 

Dr. Herbert Benson from Harvard, one of the early researchers on meditation, showed through his research that given a simple and effortless technique, people began to experience coherent brain wave patterns more often, as well as deeper levels of rest than sleep.   He called this as well as his book describing the research “The Relaxation Response.”  His latest research shows positive genetic upgrades.

Ishayas’ Ascension offers a simple, effortless mental technique.  Ascension means to rise beyond.  In this case, it means to effortlessly move beyond the busy thoughts, mental filters and veils to allow the mind to dive into the depths of the mind.  As with the ocean, one does not need to stop the waves in order to experience the depths, one merely needs to take the correct angle to dive deeply. Ishayas’ Ascension charms the mind into the correct angle for the deep dive.  It is effortless and can be done by everyone.  It can even be done in bed!

With Ishayas’ Ascension, you need nothing but the technique.  You don’t need an app, music, incense, etc. as these keep you at the surface level of the mind.  So, you can meditate in bed or wherever you are!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Can my brain heal my body?

Can my mind heal my body?
ID 66541726 © Alphaspirit

“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.

Monday, September 6, 2021

How to Boost Your Immune System Without Effort

How to boost your immune system without effort 

Our minds have hidden depths.

Dr. Herbert Spector at the National Institute of Health performed a study on mice. He gave mice a powerful immune system stimulating drug (poly I:C ) at the same time he exposed them to camphor (a neutral agent with a strong odor). With their strong immune system, no bacterial agents made them ill, no tumors developed if exposed to carcinogens, etc. Even after removing the immune system stimulating drug but continuing to administer the camphor, they remained strong and healthy. Later, receiving the camphor alone, every mouse showed three times the killer cell activity than that of the control group.

Drs. Ader and Cohen at the University of Rochester performed a similar but contrasting study. The researchers gave rats water sweetened with saccharin (a neutral agent) followed by an injection of cyclophosphamide, an immunosuppressant that caused nausea. Through classical conditioning, the rats quickly began avoiding the saccharin water. Ader and Cohen force fed the rats the saccharin solution minus the drug injection. Even so, rats began to die. They found the rate of death was directly related to the quantity of saccharin solution the rats consumed. Due to weakened immune systems, the rats contracted bacterial and viral infections that they were unable to fight off.

From these findings, they proposed a theory that the rats died because their association of the taste of saccharin with cyclophosphamide was enough to suppress their immune system – even though the drug injections had long been discontinued.

Do you see what’s happening here? The two groups were interpreting a completely neutral agent differently. What causes the difference? The interpretation of reality. This shows how much our interpretation of reality influences our experience of reality. If we have learned to associate bad health or unhappiness with a certain experience of life, it becomes a very difficult habit to break.

Dr. Ader, of the rat study above, coined the word psychoneuroimmunology to describe the field of study he helped create. He believed that the human mind could significantly affect the ability of the immune system to fight disease.

So we see from the above studies that life experiences can affect our immune system. How do we program our conditioning toward health? Here’s just a few studies showing the positive effects of meditation on the immune system.

A study at UCLA showed that HIV positive patients who meditate slowed down the drop in their immune cells. 100 HIV positive men were taught to meditate. 50 of them practiced daily. The other 50 did not practice. The CD-4 cells (those that fight HIV) sharply diminished in the men who did not practice. Those that practiced regularly maintained their CD-4 cells. In fact, the more training sessions that the regular meditator attended, the more CD-4 cells they had. Dr. Servan-Schreiber, a neuroscientist, said about meditation, “it’s clear that periods of time spent focusing on the inner life, allowing the sensations of life to take root without anxiety about the past and future, are so beneficial to the mind and body that it would be a pity to forego them.”

Dr. Davidson, University of Wisconsin, performed another study to see if meditation could boost the immune system. He found that those that meditated for 4 months following an 8 week meditation course had significantly more antibodies after a flu vaccine than did the control group. The study also showed meditators had more positive brain patterns compared with the non-meditators.

In a regular meditative practice such as the Art of Ascension, stress begins to fall away as conscious awareness begins to expand. It becomes more and more obvious that most if not all the problems of life are rooted in the old self-defeating patterns we created to deal with our life experiences.

Just 20 minutes of this effortless practice gives more rest than 8 hours of sleep at night. This restful time erases old patterns and brings clarity and focus to deal with life in a more focused fashion. All of these new patterns produce improved immune response, more health and increased vitality.

The practice is simple and can be used anytime, anywhere, by anybody. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Gratitude can change your Attitude

Some of us have complaining minds. Whether your mind just likes to vent (get someone to listen), looks for sympathy, or ruminates obsessively about a problem, all these tendencies are unhealthy to your mind and body.

Quantum physics has demonstrated that merely observing (noticing; turning our attention to) something, we bring it into being. Reality comes into being through consciousness turning its attention in that direction. In other words, whatever we focus on grows. This is why worrying and complaining is not a good idea.
Negativity physically destroys your brain explains Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a psychologist and Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “…people who routinely experience chronic stress—particularly acute, even traumatic stress—release the hormone cortisol, which literally eats away, almost like an acid bath, at the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that’s very engaged in visual-spatial memory as well as memory for context and setting.”

We’ve all heard that gratitude is important. An Attitude of Gratitude is potentially one of the most common threads to all religions. An Attitude of Gratitude is more than thinking of 3 things to be grateful for at the end of each day. An Attitude is something that is inherent and constant. One way of considering an Attitude of Gratitude is more like the Bible describes in Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God.’ Or "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God.”

University of California at Berkeley Research showed that gratitude leads to a stronger immune system, healthier blood pressure, greater joy, optimism, and sense of overall well-being, acting with more generosity and compassion, and feeling less lonely and isolated. A group of Chinese researchers found that higher levels of gratitude were associated with better sleep, and also with lower levels of anxiety and depression.

An Attitude of Gratitude is essentially a state of mind where one reminds themselves to focus on the good even when things are not going as we wish. Yes, even in the hard times. Gratitude eventually, by continual choice, becomes a way of seeing life.

Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t FEEL grateful! This is important to notice, but still move forward. Gratitude can be cultivated.

The Art of Ascension provides simple tools that bring gratitude into our lives simply and easily. Before I learned the Art of Ascension, I had a “practice of Gratitude” with little clips of paper in my car, in the bathroom, at my desk with statements of Gratitude. I “worked at it” religiously. When I learned the Art of Ascension, I was amazed at how effortless it really is. Shocked in fact! Using these tools takes the mind into a much deeper place quickly and effortlessly. Gratitude becomes the by-product, as does health, joy, and peace.

If you would like to learn more, please contact me.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Appreciation: The Aim of Life

G.K. Chesterton said, “The aim of life is appreciation.”

It has been shown that the deeper your ability to appreciate, the more access you have to your intuition and inspiration. HeartMath research has shown that a practice of appreciation is an “effective way to improve mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

Appreciation is related to gratitude. One definition of appreciation that stands out to me is “the act of recognizing or understanding that something is valuable - To perceive those things that give life (health, vitality, excellence) to living systems” (Cooperrider and Whitney, p. 231).

Appreciation (and other related emotions) boost the immune system, while frustration and its ilk can suppress the immune system for up to 6 hours. Positive emotions have been demonstrated to improve health, increase longevity, increase cognitive flexibility, facilitate “broad-minded coping” and innovative problem solving, and promote helpfulness, generosity, and effective cooperation.

With a sincere practice of appreciation, a person can make significant changes toward living a more enjoyable and less stressful life. At the physiologic level, appreciation shows increased synchronization between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system, and entrainment between the heart rhythm pattern, respiration, and blood pressure rhythms.

While cognitively induced breathing patterns can generate similar coherent patterns for brief periods, it is difficult to sustain these breathing patterns. However, appreciation can cause the coherent patterns to emerge naturally and can be sustained for longer periods. Once a pattern is established, the brain strives to maintain and match the pattern.

Studies show that after a practice of short periods of appreciation several times a day over a few days or weeks, people report a reduction of mental dialogue along with increased peace and sense of well-being.

In a HeartMath paper called, “The Appreciative Heart, The Psychophysiology of Positive Emotions and Optimal Functioning" Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. concluded that positive emotions, based on appreciation are easy to learn and have value cross cultures, age groups, and spiritual backgrounds. Most people may understand this concept, but don’t have these skills because their emotional life is based more on reaction to outer circumstance than conscious choice. However, learning to replace maladaptive (negative or inconsistent emotional) patterns with appreciation related emotions require conscious choice, commitment and a regular practice.

A regular practice of the Art of Ascension includes Praise, Gratitude, Love and Compassion.

(Note: All research is from

Friday, April 9, 2021

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.

Monday, March 15, 2021

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, has videos that give brief introductions about the Art of Ascension as well as the benefits of the practice.

Monday, February 22, 2021

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 |

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, January 10, 2021

AGAPE aka Unconditional Love, Compassion, Mercy and more

AGAPE is my word for 2020. My word to meditate upon and to bring into every area of my life.

The Greek word AGAPE has no real English equivalent. Sometimes, AGAPE is translated as Love, but Love in English could be said to apply to your love for hot dogs, or any passing fancy that you “love” for a while but later dislike. Greek has at least 4 words that translate into the English word “love”.

The famous Love Chapter in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) is about AGAPE/Love, coming from the original Greek. Some translations of AGAPE in that chapter use the word charity, for it comes from the space of giving compassion, with kindness and patience. This chapter clearly reminds us that without AGAPE/Love, we are nothing. Also, that perfect love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18), that's AGAPE /love, too, in the original Greek.

Jesus taught that someone seeking the Kingdom of God would:

· AGAPE/love God,

· AGAPE/love our neighbor as we AGAPE /love ourselves (and treat our neighbor as we treat ourselves)

· AGAPE/love our enemies.

Throughout the New Testament use of the word AGAPE brings the essence of never ending unconditional love, loving-kindness and mercy that is unfailing and totally undeserved. AGAPE is unconditional love; it is unfailing love. God is the source of AGAPE. God is AGAPE. Through AGAPE, we recognize that there is a force that connects us all, and if we allow that AGAPE/love to flow within that circle, it requires no reciprocation. 

With any ineffable word or concept, it often seems easier or more important to say what it is NOT. AGAPE/Love does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, and doesn’t keep a record of wrong-doings, is not easily angered, and is not self-seeking.

It has been said that AGAPE comes more from your will than from a feeling. I wholeheartedly agree with that. Unlike popular culture which believes it is a romantic feeling, it must be based on a voluntary choice followed by action, doing what is best for all no matter how you feel.

No matter what we feel, we can still ask for God's AGAPE/Love to fill us and to overflow into every area of our life. All we have to do then is accept and allow it to be. While it may be difficult to forgive within our own humanity, when we rely on God’s AGAPE/Love, forgiveness becomes an act of will.

Friday, January 1, 2021

What is this all about?

Shining Light on LIFE!

One might wonder what Shining light on LIFE is all about.  These are some of the statements that have stood out for me and pushed me onward:

  • From the Eastern perspective, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi talked about being able to live “200% of life”.
  • From the Western perspective, Jesus said, “I come that you might have life (Zoë) and that you might have Zoë more abundantly”.  And also about Jesus, “In Him was life/Zoë, and the life/Zoë was the light of men.”

The LIFE that we were meant to live, is not necessarily what we tend to live out. There is a consciousness, an awareness that is most often ignored by individuals.  Getting lost in the forest for the trees, most of us never recognize the Source of the ALIVENESS that is all around us, that is within us.

Within that ALIVENESS is unconditional love and compassion.  I submit, that is the Truth that we were meant to find within ourselves and bring into the world.  It will look differently for each human being.  It doesn’t require a certain set of beliefs, but an innocence to live from the moment.

In this blog, I want to explore what some of this looks like; what the research shows about this and how we might expand into that.

Please join me on this exploration.