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Self-help programs for improving health and wellbeing are experiencing explosive growth.
Book writing on this hot subject, conferencing and coaching self-help programs, are all popular activities. Yet happiness and serenity among intelligent people remains a fairly rare thing.
Undoubtedly, yoga and various forms of meditation are not only excellent tools for relaxation, but by helping to decrease daily stress, these practices are very effective tools for maintaining health and wellbeing. However, when it comes to health improvement and self-healing programs, even if they are not necessarily doomed to fail, the chances that they will not succeed are considerable.
Those engaged in an emotional self-healing journey through spiritual awakening, will soon realize that this is not an easy-going and quickly done process, but a time and energy-consuming, lifelong battle. Over time, they will discover that in real life, whatever feeling arises against someone's will, it will not succumb to his reason. For, only what is born of the reason can eventually be banished by the reason alone.
During their journey, self-help enthusiasts may discover that Western culture mistakenly considers traditional healing therapies and self-healing practices to be nothing more than a set of easy-to-learn, specific techniques and procedures, similar to Western allopathic medicine. The effectiveness of self-help programs is conditioned by the ability of the self-help practitioner to effectively focus on his practice. This task is not easy to complete when the mind is crippled by overwhelming fearful or painful feelings, or by pain. Therefore, self-help programs are not the best option to consider when you are facing serious or life-threatening health conditions, as those programs are lengthy and time counter-efficient.
Spirituality and meditation have a long traditional practice path. The teachings of Lao Tzu, Confucius and Buddha have undergone profound changes during the last 2500 years, as they evolved and moved over an extensive geographical space and through large cultural diversities. During the late 60s, the concepts of spirituality and mind-emptiness traditional meditation have been hijacked by some enthusiasts of Ulrich Neisser’s cognitive model and were shifted from a religious spiritual practice to the practice of mind-fullness which is a mere cognitive exercise.
The mind-emptiness approach to meditation known in Western cultures as the Spiritual Emptiness, Creative Void, Hesychasm, Universal Soul or the Clear Light is all about quieting the cognitive brain and focusing on feelings, perception, and intuition - while modern mindfulness meditation is all about intellect and focused thinking. The mental silence-orientated approaches to meditation have been systematically associated with specific health benefits beyond those seen in non-mental silence approaches. For, mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots and this practice may not be helpful , or even hurt you.
A good example of how traditional wisdom, concepts and values have been manipulated for the benefit of the cognitive model and its derivatives is the well-known quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your behavior. Your behavior becomes your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” What most people ignore is that, originally, this quote started with a phrase that is systematically erased, in order to distort and manipulate the message of traditional teachings and to create the false impression of a long tradition of the cognitive model.
To restore the true message of this quote, before the phrase "Your thoughts become your words", you must add "Your beliefs become your thoughts". Adding this original first line to the above quote restores the truth and completely changes Gandhi's message by making it clear that, according to traditional wisdom, the beliefs and intuition are the main source of life-reality, not intentional thoughts as the promoters of cognitive models assume. Because, whether secular or religious, beliefs are the real source of everyone's reality.
When Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism and the author of the famous "Tao Te Chin", assures us that "If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place", he clearly refers to "the mind" and one should not wrongly assume that by "mind" he actually meant "brain" or "intellect". When it comes to brain and intellect, Lao Tzu is crystal clear on how to get the most out of it when he suggests that you should "Stop thinking and put an end to your problems". It seems that Einstein understood this message because on several occasions he declared: "I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me."
Even if the experience of your fearful feelings happens in present time, stress always relates to past events and anxiety always relates to future negative outcomes. Because stress and anxiety are always time-shifted, the vast majority of stress and anxiety coping strategies revolve around the concept of anchoring in the present. Therefore, all of these "anchoring" strategies aim to highjack your attention and divert it from reading your unpleasant state of mind in order to keep your attention as long as possible focused on a pleasant reality, intentionally created and nurtured.
Unfortunately, as soon as you are done with your trick to cope with your trauma, your stress or anxiety - whether it be the practice of yoga, mindfulness, art-therapy, pet therapy, physical training, jogging, fishing, hunting or any other relaxing activity, you will start again your descent into your initial stressful and anxious state of mind. I hope you have better things to do in life than looking for a temporary refuge from your stressful or anxious intrusive thoughts.
Although the time-effectiveness of self-healing programs for serious health problems requiring prompt action is questionable, these techniques are certainly very effective tools for relaxation and maintenance of health. Even though Ericksonian hypnotherapy can be used as a self-hypnosis tool, it is not advisable to use somatic hypnotherapy as self-help tools. By doing so, you run the risk of eroding or even reversing the good results of the sessions with your hypnotherapist.
For the irreducible enthusiasts of the practice of self-hypnosis, I must mention that the induction of hypnosis itself does not bring any health benefits aside from relaxation. It is the suggestion contained in a hypnotic framework that leads to health improvements. These suggestions represent the hallmark of each type of hypnotherapy.
Even though you are the creator of your reality, your life-reality does not necessarily emerge from your desires. Your reality springs from the behavioural programs deeply rooted in your subconscious and governed by your beliefs. Your mind tends to create coherence between what you really believe and the life-reality you experience.
Intuitively, people feel that there must be something beyond the limits of the observable world, that it might be something beyond the so-called death and they genuinely want to discover and take advantage of it. Reading books or attending conferences on spirituality will definitely bring new knowledge, but will not necessarily help you to attain a spiritual awakening.
Spiritual awakening is a profound change and may happen only if you truly believe and practice. It appears that the rational mind and the intellect were given to us rather to trigger our existential curiosity, to motivate the search for answers and spirituality, rather than to help us to rationally understand spirituality.
Spirituality is not necessarily about intellect, cognition or understanding. Spirituality is all about quieting the mind and focusing on perception, feelings and intuition.
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Disclaimer: The above article may contain statements that reflect the opinion of the author. It is intended for general informational purposes and does not constitute psychological or medical professional advice. I don't diagnose conditions, nor do I interfere with any treatments given by your medical professional.
If you already are under the care of a doctor or under medical treatment, follow the advice and treatment recommended by your doctor. For any medical emergency, call the Info-Santé service by dialing 8-1-1
*The results may vary from person to person.
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