Mental – Psychological Health

Mental Health is more than just an absence of psychological symptoms or fitting within some statistical norms. It is being in harmony with your physical environment, family, colleagues, friends and one’s inner-self or spirituality. When we describe issues in those areas, we use the terms psychological and mental interchangeably. These terms are often perceived differently from different people and can determine how an individual is treated.

Our society holds the prejudices that psychological problems are results of environmental factors or social circumstances and mental challenges on the other hand are seen as genetic faults or individual weaknesses. This puts stress/blame on the individual and points to inner responsibility for the problem. Farther more it suggests chronic state that is constant and cannot be “cured or improved”, just controlled, readily with medications.

 

Cautious is required when we categorize people for research and insurance purposes, but let us remember that the DSM is not a sacred text and it is meant to help in making treatment decisions, but not to dictate them. Approaching this issue asks for sensitivity, meeting the individual where he is, respecting of each person’s uniqueness, individuality and culture.

Identifying psychological challenges, the clinician examines the social environment that is affecting the patient and builds his hypothesis on the socio-personal model. The treatment is based than on correcting, improving, or integrating missing skills in the family system, or any other existential area – friends, colleagues, or inner self. Mental problems are identified by observation of symptoms and experiences that culminate in the psychiatric diagnosis.

The facts:

  1. Every one’s well-being is affected by the harmful influence of the environment. Social, moral, political, changes and distress in the society are often at the root of the “symptoms” and do not have individual solutions and are outside of the individuals control.
  2. The researches expose that the individual is better able to make positive changes in himself and his environment when he understands that there is nothing inherently wrong with him. The change is initiated when the symptoms are re-framed or not placed at all in the frame of “pathology”.
  3. A “therapeutic” relationship can be established only when the individual realizes his personal power, strengthened by the equal respect. This is achieved by actively involving the person in defining the challenges and conceptualizing the treatment strategy.
  4. The individual regains his power when his values and his views of the world are given priority.
  5. Meditation, yoga and variety of relaxation techniques are showing remarkable results in influencing the biochemistry and work of the brain and the whole body.
  6. The Bio-Psycho-Social model is commonly accepted today, but there are many areas of research that require reconsideration, dialog in regards to the focus and the nature of change and direction we want to go.

Our own personal experiences and thousands of clinical observations convince us that the traditional academic theories fail to answer basic questions about our psyche or soul and human consciousness. The main consequence from that is that many states or “disorders” accepted by the modern psychiatry as pathology, and treated with suppressive medications, in reality are “psychological/spiritual complications”, soul’s crisis, that holds healing and transformational potential, when used and guided accordingly.

The research of the nature and origin of consciousness and the dimensions of the human psyche/soul crashes the common myth of the materialistic science that consciousness is epiphenomenon of matter, product of neurophysiologic processes, happening in the brain. The research reveals that consciousness is the original undivided property of the living, able to perform variety of actions, which the brain itself cannot complete. According to these modern researches, human consciousness is implicated and is part of the absolute field of universal consciousness, sustaining all that is.

The established academic psychology and psychiatry use the model of the psyche/soul, which is limited by the biology, the biography after birth, and the Freudian individual unconsciousness. However, if we really want to explain all of the phenomenon of the consciousness, our understanding of human psyche/soul should be deepened and expanded.

Mental or psychological symptoms or simply any emotional discomfort is just a response to our imbalanced understanding of our inner and outer environment.  Every one can easily identify, in his own context, which social messages and pressures are contributing to the symptoms or problems. When we silence the outer noise, we all can hear our inside voice, our true inner self, which if given a chance will grow stronger, clearer, louder, giving us confidence and guidance in our path to balance/happiness.

 

Being Balanced/Healthy

All ancient scripts from around the world provide guidance and suggestions on how to keep our bodies healthy. Happiness is revealed as a natural state of being in response to healthy living.   We already know that our body is a sophisticated device; lets investigate what keeps it full of energy and life.

Our “soul level or body” is strengthened by everything positive we experience – from the miracle of a newborn life to the delightful observation of a gorgeous flower. The focus on the beauty of Life, on the amazing wonders of Nature gives us the highest feelings of admiration. Realizing and being part of the Universal harmony and Perfection fills our beings with love and gratitude.

Our “conscious level or body” is maintained by our creativity and constructive aim. According to Carl Jung, human beings are able to tap into the “Collective unconsciousness” or the unconscious mind. He believed that this is the source of art and it is the deep memory of human kind. Transpersonal psychologists see direct connection between the individual development and the evolution of human kind. The fetus progresses through a single-celled organism to a multicellular organism, fish, amphibian, animal, taking finally human form. The followers of the transpersonal psychology find answers beyond the individual memories after the birth event. Experiments point out that on a deep level, there is undoubtful connection between people, connection that cannot be explained if limited only to the knowledge of the afterbirth individual biography.

This level of consciousness is not only a deep source of memories and life paths, it is an engine that powers our ambitions and makes our goals come true. The role of the environment on this level is huge. The scientist know that the frog egg that falls on the algae  will develop into frog, but the one that falls on the bottom, will give live to the algae. Environment determines the dysfunctions in the conscious level. Miraculous recoveries from deadly illnesses show the unlimited possibilities of our conscious level, when we focus and align ourselves with the Universal balance.

Our “thought level or body” is strengthened by the absence of strong emotions and stress. Relaxation, meditation, sleep, spending time with friends and loved ones, visiting beautiful places and healthy diet sustain this level.

Our “subtle body or plasma level” is connected with our breathing, energy and biofields.  Active lifestyle – outdoor activities, (energy exchange with the Earth and all living), moving is direct interaction with the energy, which is charging us. Consistence and systematically increasing the intensity of the exercises create strong subtle body. It should become a lifestyle, because it quickly dissipates if not charged.

Our “physical body or level” is maintained by everything that makes strong the rest of the levels. Food has critical part – the quality of eating – following the physiological mechanisms of digestion and absorption.

This is a simplistic take on the sophisticated mechanism, which is the physical body. It 99 % of the mass is from the following biogenic elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, calcium, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine, sodium. The slightest change (especially oxygen) in their intertwinement leads to imbalances in the body and susceptibility to illness.

It is obvious that in order to possess absolute health, all levels of the human body should be kept operating properly. One of the reasons why medications do not work is because they target only the physical body and leaving residue in the organs, interfering even farther with the natural balance of the body, the diseases develop into a chronic illness. Positive attitude towards life is not only something we may accept or not – it is required for a long healthy living. Honest, clean thoughts, combined with a noble goals and aspirations, being close to our natural environment – Nature and all living, will give us the most precious gift – healthy, fulfilling life.

THE SACRED DEVICE OF HUMAN BODY

“We must understand what a human being is, what life is, what health is, and how the balance of its forces supports it and the unsteadiness destroys it.”  Leonardo da Vinci

 

Let us follow the example of our ancient wise man and investigate what makes the basics of our bodies?

It is known for a long time now that the chromosome is the carrier of our genes. We also discovered how exactly this information is recorded. French biologists revealed that the chromosome’s information is “recorded” in a multidimensional holographic code, reflecting the space-time structure of the organism. Laser’s radiation can copy the information of the organism’s state in a certain moment and compare it with the information, existing in our genetic apparatus in the form of many holograms.

What are holograms? For example, we are going to look at a vase. You break it in many small pieces. If we make a hologram of the smallest piece, we are going to see a 3-D image of the whole vase, woven of light. The same way is made a holographic copy of our whole body, our sex, our organs, their form and functions, and also every cell in our body and its function. On the other hand, the image reflected from our body, organs, cells and their functions, is mirrored back and compared with the reference.  If there is any difference (which is always the case, ranging around some middle “line”), than certain corrective mechanisms are turned on: hormonal, humoral and other. All cells in our bodies, besides their specific function, perform other functions too – synthesis of the most important inter-regulatory substances – prostaglandins, chalones and others.  The holographic copy of the body’s information and its reflected back correction are the basics of the homeostasis (system that regulates the internal environment of the body), homeorezis (the proper speed of physiological functions in the body) and homeomorphosis (the ability of the internal organs to maintain constant form, mass and limits). Now it is easier to understand the principle of “Matryoshka doll” or onion layers or sheets – how the holographic picture of the human body transitions from “thin” radiant , to” thick” the physical, material one. This approach can be found in the Buddhist philosophy or psychology and not surprisingly in all ancient scripts, slightly modified by the time, language, culture and tradition.

 

  1. “The first doll” – sheet or level is the physical body. Here are the bones, skin, fluids, tendons, muscles and other, all the material fabric that can be seen and touched. According to the Buddhists classification, this body level is called “the shell built with food” (an-na-maya-kosha)
  2. The second level or layer is the plasma or subtle body. This body was photographed long ago with the Kirlian photography. This technique is known since 1880s and is still a subject of a scientific research. Different fields of study use their own specific terminology – aura, energy, prana, bio field, life force, qi, reiki, stochastic electric ionization, electromagnetic fields and so forth. Here are the energetic channels, chakras, nadi, which are the energy system of our body. This body penetrates the physical body and depending on how strong it is, expands beyond the physical body. According to the Buddhist classification, this body is called Prana body (prana-maya-kosha). This level of the body is maintained by the human breath.
  3.  The third level is the holographic body. This body builds the physical one and controls the subtle or plasma body. The Buddhists call it “The body of the thought” (mano-maya-kosha). This body is finer than the first two. Our own thinking, depending on the emotions we experience, can create great ranges in this body.
  4. The fourth level is the body of consciousness. (vijniana-maya-kosha) is the base of the creation of the chromosomes. Lama Anagarica Govinda explains that the body of thought, the physical and the subtle bodies are pierced and moved by even more deep past experience consciousness, the source of our thoughts and imagination. This is our deep consciousness or unconsciousness.
  5. The fifth level is the soul body. (ananda-maya-kosha). The Buddhists explain that this body is the center of our self, our inner power and is beyond all definitions. The soul body is the body of the universal consciousness, maintained by joyful and blissful feelings. It can be experienced in meditation.

 

Hardly a day goes by when questions concerning the soul’s existence do not enter the political, moral and spiritual scenes. Sometimes we avoid talking about that not to upset the closed minds. The soul is not an easy subject to deal with either scientifically or spiritually. Nevertheless, today more than ever our society needs a new, fresh, scientific view of the soul. How can we move forward issues like abortion, the right to prolong life, death penalty, children born with lifetime disabilities, without understanding the soul and profound knowledge of the human body?

We know that we actually have more than one body in addition to our soul. Looks like there is a lot of exploring still. One body to take care of was enough responsibility, now we have to take care of five. Luckily, we already discovered the true nature of time – it is relative to human consciousness. It is influenced, stretched and contracted by human imagination. We can never be late. As an enlightened human being, You can be the master of this tool called time, not the slave of it.

THE ultimate GOAL/CHOICE

We are growing, evolving and realizing the awesome responsibility we have, that leads us to experience this symptoms of tension, unsettledness, and unsatisfaction- often diagnosed as depression, anxiety or similar. What exactly are we feeling?

On a deep level, we are aware that we are mortal and there is no other purpose to our existence but the one we create for ourselves. Is that freedom? How do we respond to this understanding of our responsibility/freedom to make a life worth living without any external standard, which can define for us what this worthwhile living should be?

Some find the guidance in the organized system of a religion.  This is comforting until the moment you face the truth that this system is created by people, and used from different people for different purposes.

More and more people realize that this situation of discomfort is a sign of awareness, rather than a symptom. This uneasiness signals that you begin to process and accept responsibility for your life. Here are some wise words from Mr Frankl “What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him”.

Making the choice – what direction you want your life to go, requires increasing self-awareness. Keeping the chosen course asks for established values or discipline. Reaching the destination is possible when you accept that the desired outcome is not a guarantee. So we come to the beginning again – what goal is worth living for, taking the effort and investing your time in, without having the assurance of accomplishing it?

Do we really have a choice? Yes – we do have the choice of happy and fulfilling life. We make it when we understand fear and discover courage. Courage enables us to move toward our actualization, allows us to incorporate/understand fear. If we ignore the tension and try to put fear to sleep, we stop our own growth, impede our potential. So how do we keep blindly and courageously move forward? Faith is our only response to the finiteness nature of life and our awareness of death. Faith, not in any religious sense, but simple trust, knowing that:” This is the way it is. Now I will live my life.”

The alternative? The “modern slavery” – the loss of your individuality, your true identity, your self. In this state, you are influenced by public opinions, by the world outside. You take the values and beliefs of others, becoming absorbed by the every day superficial relationships, your interactions seem ordinary and meaningless. With or without pills the anxiety created by your true self, trying to find the way out and express the true self will produce symptoms, which ignored will lead to a possible disease. At times we want somebody else to heal us or with the help of a special device that will magically take away all our problems. We avoid occasionally looking for our own fault, staying away from seeing our mistakes, which lead us to the illness in the first place. However, you are able to understand and forgive.

There is an ancient saying: If you got sick, change your life style. If this does not help, change the way you eat. If this does not help, then look for a healer and remedies.

It seems like we need a reminder what to do with ourselves. We easily give the responsibility and freedom to make choices for our lives to somebody else. We forget now and then to trust ourselves. The history is full with examples how far human beings can go placing their reliance and life in the hands of one person that has the ambition to lead. It is mesmerizing the size of a crime one man’s ideas can lead to.  Be cautious of leaders that claim to know the secret to life, leaders who tell you they know you better than you know yourself. No one can take your responsibility – to know yourself.

When asked, “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?” Dalai Lama answered:” Man….Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

………..

“I see and hear, how in the silence, every hour “the heavenly bells” ring, and how everything alive is subject to this rhythm…. How do the roosters and all birds know when to sing? How does the flower know when to wake up and blossom? All is subject to this voice. “

Turn of the TV, and you will hear it too…

Meditation or Medication?

meditation

Answering a question depends on the point of view we would like to choose. For a long time the society has been rewarded for living unreflectively – for living an unexamined, inauthentic and superficial life. The ideal of a person as promoted in the media was self-centered, materialistic, anti-intellectual and often driven by sensuality or greed. Today we witness how beneath the distorted value system, the eternal human qualities are being remembered, strengthened, and given the freedom to evolve. We are regaining the power of human relationships, discovering the harmony with our physical environment, colleagues, friends, family, our inner-self and our spirituality.

The knowledge of the realms of mind and body has been wrongly separated for centuries. We were created with a capacity to experience pain, with a certain level of discomfort or “healthy” anxiety. This is our continuing fear of moving through life towards death. Our symptoms have important meaning. The pain is a response to a situation or person that unsettles us. The feeling of being depressed or anxious provides us with a chance to reflect upon ourselves and to change the behavior that brought these emotions to us. If we choose to mask these feelings with medications, we evade the search for the reason behind our unsettledness. We avoid taking responsibility for our relationship with our selves and life.

However, the designer of the Universe felt that our pain is instructive.  It is our gift if we accept it as a loving part of who we are. It is the most invaluable lesson that lies deep inside of each of us.  Everyone discovers the message in his own time, the message of how fragile life is and how brief is our time.

Meditation is a system of practices, that helps people take responsibility for the quality of their thoughts. Meditation practices can help you enter the center of your stillness and serenity, to reach a “zero point”. From this point, you can observe apart the flow of your changing emotions, thoughts and intentions and gradually understand their origin and meaning.

 

In the past, meditation was viewed as spiritual or religious practice. Today more and more people turn to meditation to receive the benefits of deep relaxation, and to handle successfully the psychological and psychosomatic challenges, releasing the accumulated stress in the body.

 

Some psychotherapists believe that meditation and hypnosis are similar states of mind and that the first one is just a part of the second. Electroencephalography or EEG shows that meditation is a more structured state of the consciousness. Hypnosis has different indicators. If it is a quite hypnotic sleep, we will see decreasing or complete disappearance of alpha rhythmic brain activity, reducing the frequency and amplitude of beta rhythm and appearance of delta like slow waves. The recording of the brain’s electrical activity during hypnosis can be like the normal activity when you are awake. The person who is meditating is in a state of a focused concentration and the electrical activity in his brain is as he is ready to fall asleep. These facts are leading us with great curiosity and increasing attention to study the teachings of Yogis. During meditation, they report that their whole body is in a state of deep sleep, and their mind is in a state of a special type of wake.

 

The word “meditation” is from the Latin – meditatio,” is moving to the center”. There is also a version that meditatio comes from meditor– “to think, to contemplate, device, ponder”.  Exactly this is what happens during meditation. Without strain, without applying any kind of effort, you are appearing in the center of yourself.  You are experiencing the feeling of being on a high elevation and observing from it everything that is happening. You can see clearly and distinctly what is important to you and undoubtedly realize it. From this elevated point, you can find out a lot about the person you thought you are or were. You will begin to understand this person’s life scenario, the plot of his destiny. Did his parents reject him?  If this happened, did he allow this situation to influence his life? On the other hand, maybe the mother loved more his older sibling. If that was so, does the youngest continue to compete in order to be the first in the eyes of his mother? Does this person live in fear that life is passing him by? … All this begins to seem to you like a script written for someone else. You notice how old emotional “wounds” start t to heal.

 

Now let us go back to the pharmacology. In the past, the business interests of managed care and the paradigm of biological psychiatry have challenged our society. Today the facts speak for themselves. The power of human mind and consciousness over the human body is not any longer denied. It is common knowledge that the only reason medicines work is because they mimic the natural processes of the body, after the mind gives its permission and faith.

 

How would you answer the question now, from the perspective of knowing that your body has all the recourses to heal and overcome any discomfort? What would you do, knowing that the depression you experience is a gift to show you that you are missing something in your relationships? Your relationship with the physical world, your relationship with others, and your relationship with yourself, with the spiritual world – do you feel any unsettledness there? If yes, smile, because you are alive and given the courage to see a possibility of a greater fulfillment of Life.

 

 

 

 

Psychology or Spirituality?

Psychologists explore different spheres of human activities – from obvious human behavior to hidden emotions, and cognition. The word Psychology originates from the Greek “Psyche” – meaning mind, soul, spirit, breath, and “Logos”- meaning study, research. “Study of the soul, spirit”. It is safe to say that psychology is concerned with the human being and everything that comes with it. Spirituality is much broader than the concept of religion, which is focused on prescribed beliefs and rituals. Spirituality is our need to search for significance and connection with others and the transcendent force of the Universe. Many are helped to discover their spirituality through the guidance of religion, but many others have allowed unpleasant experiences with religion to cause them to neglect their spiritual development. This development emphasizes humanistic ideas on qualities such as love, compassion, tolerance, patience, forgiveness, responsibility, harmony, contentment and concern for others. These spiritual values or psychological needs are as important as the satisfaction of our thirst, hunger, and sexual yearnings. I believe we are all born spiritual psychologists in our minds and hearts. Without exception, we all want to understand our own life, the everyday issues of love, loneliness, suffering and death. We strive for harmony and meaning. We recognize that the human species is just one of more than a million species in the world. Our time on Earth is limited as with other living creatures. Life is a voyage to Death, no matter what one’s race, religion or social standing. We all are heading toward the same inevitable place. Each of us is confronted with social environment that leaves us frustrated and plagued by unjust laws and social barriers. Psychology helps us to focus on forces inside us that we can become aware of and control eventually. Let us remind ourselves that not everything in Life is controllable and not all of Life’s questions are answerable. Uncertainty, mystery, and suffering are our eternal companions. The Miracle of self-reflection, the realization of Life’s totality, not merely one’s patterns of unconscious conflicts, or thoughts and feelings, happens when we open up and share, equally amerced in the search for answers. Equally vulnerable. “All is flux, nothing remains the same, nothing endures but change.” So wrote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Openness to change is essential for our wellbeing. Nature’s gift is our ability to be flexible, to change gracefully, to modify habitual behaviors and to grow. Every character is capable of intellectual, emotional or spiritual evolution. One encouraging truth about the turbulent times in which we live is that – Nobody knows what to do next. This makes us more equal than we have ever been before. Curiously enough, the beauty is that you never know from what direction the answers will come, so pay kind attention to everyone you meet along the way.

FEAR – OR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE?

It seems, as fear is a lifelong presence in each of us. We get rid of some of our apprehensions, but then the one that are left, suddenly become more vivid and painful. Why?

The fear itself has been around for eons. It is present even in the simplest one-celled organisms – Amebas.  When the Amoeba feels endangered, the Ameba squeezes out the cytoplasm, shrinks, like in attempt to disappear. The lizard looses its tail; the ostrich hides its head.

Nature’s function to protect and preserve is great. Our nature as Homo sapiens cannot be changed under the technological development; we are still the same inside, as we were million years ago. Even though now the risk of being physically eaten is less, undoubtedly today we have increasing variety list of different dangers. (Including the threat of being scared to death – possibly from all the TV med commercials.)

Animals also experience the symptoms we all are well familiar with: anxiety, panic, fright it is a multilevel spasm. Everything contracts – muscles, vessels, bronchi, diaphragm, stomach, intestines, heart…Sometimes the reaction can be the opposite – involuntary relaxation, paralysis….

The fear is like a virus, parasite that lives with us but is not who we are. Often in western psychology, we get the idea that it is we who are damaged at the core. This can not be farther from the truth. We, human beings, are not and have never been damaged goods. We are fascinating beautiful beings when we know who we are.

So who are we and what is the nature of our relationship with fear?

Fear is a tree with many branches. There are various attempts made to classify and clarify this phenomenon. The trunk of this ancient tree is fear of Death from one side, and fear of Life from the other. The fear of Death is actually a fear of the pure unknown, “nothingness”. It is impossible to imagine your own Nonbeing. This fear is stronger that the dreads of suffering, which can be understood, endured and overcome, but the uncertainty – what do you do with it? The fear of Life is the second wing of the same bird. The fear of Death is a concept that belongs to our consciousness. Nevertheless, our deep unconscious levels, where all our terrors reside, do not have this concept. It is just “before the tension takes form – mass”.

It is not rare for human beings to have one “general” irrespective trepidation, but usually it “specializes” in concrete areas:

–          Mystical and psychic- all religious punishments, fear of God, Devil, superstition, magic…. FEAR OF YOUR OWN THOUGHTS

–          Social-evaluative – exam anxiety, fear of communication, public speaking, the opposite sex, shame, guilt, to be bad, ugly, not smart enough, fear of responsibility/failure, to be seen as weak… NOT GOOD ENOUGH

–          Common fears or phobias- fear of the dark, loneliness, getting old, fear for the life of your loved ones, war, natural disasters…FEAR OF NOT BEING IN CONTROL

–          Panic attacks- objectless sense of apprehension, fear of everything = fear of nothing… I AM HELPLESS

–          Decision making phobias – fear to make a choice of spouse, job, profession….I AM NOT COMPETENT

–          Fear of space – agoraphobia- fear of wide-open spaces, claustrophobia- confined space, astrophobia …. WHERE IS MY PERSONAL SPACE

–          Fear of authority and aggression- physical insult, psychological, from your boss….I AM A VICTIM

–          Dependence fear – soteriophobia, fear of deprivation of different agents –  drugs, tobacco, alcohol, people, food, money….I AM ALONE

–          Physical fears- fear of pain, dentist, blood, diseases, health, germs….I AM IN DANGER

Between all this concrete object fears and the “general” primary fear, we can insert the so-called transition fear – “floating” fear, looking to attach to something. (Similar to the Anger, looking for excuse to explode.) The powerful hovering mass of unattached fear is rooted deep in our unconscious being. The absence of desire to know and study yourself and not understanding the root of the feelings and emotions we all go trough can cause much dysfunction and confusion in our lives.

It is logical than to conclude that Fear is nothing more but absence of consciousness, focused, directed willingness to explore our minds, investigate our soul and discover our limitless potential.

No one is to blame for any dysfunction. Our parents, siblings, guardians, friends, enemies or you – are our hidden teachers that challenge us and make life interesting. In one respect, all this people who caused us problems and pain, are victims of a heritage dysfunction themselves, that goes back to the distant past.

Human experience and folklore tell us that each one of us is responsible for making changes and enlightening ourselves. We can turn our own fears into our strengths. We can support the other person’s efforts at becoming free. In order to be successful we must draw a clear distinction between our dysfunctions/fears and ourselves.