10 ways to control your anger - Professional expert’s advice

I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order to understand the anger phenomenon I decided to investigate the nature of anger, reasons of its appearing, key factors and anger management.

What does it mean this anger? Anger is a strong indignation feeling of our emotional sphere that is attended by self-control losing. Anger is a signal of our state. Glands produce an array of hormones that have a great and deep effect on all our body. The main participants of this process are adrenaline and cortisol. They activate cardiovascular system and consequently all organs. Adrenalin causes fast heart beating, rising blood pressure. These rich oxygenated blood streams to the places are responsible for reaction. Thus some extra energy is released.

There are 4 basic ways of anger expressions:

1. Straight and immediately (verbally or nonverbally) to show your anger. It gives an opportunity to free from the negative emotions.

2. To express anger in an indirect way. In this case usually suffer persons that are weaker, not dangerous and those ones who “come to hand”, usually they are our family and close relatives. Thus we hurt our dear ones. One of the best ways is to express your anger to the person who is the source of this very anger. If it is impossible- better find some compromise.

3. Restraining anger you “drive” it deep inside. So, negative emotions store will provoke a big stress sooner or later.

4. You may foresee situation of anger feeling, try not to expand this feeling but get to know the reason, understand and solve it. A Roman philosopher Seneca said: “When you are feeling of ascending “volcano”- stand still, not doing anything- not speaking, not moving.”

Anger is a normal and natural human feeling, especially nowadays as life is really fast and we have a huge amount of information to accumulate (in comparison with our previous generations). The range of anger is rather wide: from a slight annoyance to impetuous fury. Anger can be quick and long, lasting for years in form of bitterness, vengeance or hate. Anger can lead to health issues like depression, high blood pressure, hearth diseases, stresses, alcohol dependence and obesity. If you are anger- express it. If you feel discomfort from these “negative splashes”- then we can give some techniques how to manage your emotional anger:

  • 1. Take a deep and continuous breath. Count up to 50 or imagine your aggressor just naked, only in socks. This will help you to calm and smile.

  • 2. Have a walk. Look at high sky. Continue to breathe deep and easily. So you appraise the situation and calm down.

  • 3. Do some physical exercises. When you are angry- your body is very tensed and tough. If you stretch your muscles it will relax your body, as you will spill out all your negative energy into action. Your brains will get more oxygen and it assists to clear your thoughts.

  • 4. Write down all your thoughts. Write down that you are mad and why. Avoid being rational, logical or laconic. Write on paper all you are feeling this moment. Try to write all in details. The function of this technique is to shift all your anger out of your head on paper.

  • 5. Be grateful. Find someone to thank. Do you not forget about yourself. Thank that you have woken up today, thank that that the Sun is shining for you, that the sky is blue and the grass is green.

  • 6. Prayer. Ask God to be with you during this anger moment and lead you.

  • 7. Meditation. Close your eyes, look into solar plexus, and be all your anger, breathing deeply.

  • 8. Change of places. Move yourself on your enemy’s place. And look at situation from his point of view. Better look at the situation from the ceiling. Focus on details, especially on funny and absurd ones. Strive to forgive your enemy as well as forgive truly yourself.

  • 9. Go back to your childhood memories. Recollect state when you were angry. Hug this child and say: “All is ok. I am here. You are good child. I love you and I will not leave you.”

  • 10. Your values. What is the most significant thing in your life? Who are the most important people in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Think and accept that point that you are living your life, and you are living your values. There is a good man inside you that wants to help you. I wish you good luck!

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Bilingual Monks at Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple Take on Role of Tour Guide

SHANGHAI : The Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple is a popular tourist destination in China. To cope with the influx of foreigners during the Olympic games, monks at the temple have been busy learning foreign languages.

Bilingual monks now have a new role in the temple. Besides chanting and praying, they also act as temple tour guides and ambassadors for the religion.

Ti Ting, a monk at the Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple, said: "Shanghai is an international city, a big city, and everyday (we have) many foreigners visiting our temple, so I think English is helpful for us..."

They started preparing for the tourist arrivals four years ago.

Yu Ping, another monk at the temple, said: "We know that China is hosting the Olympics from 8 August 2008, and Shanghai will be the site for the World Expo in 2010. Abbot Juexing has foresight and is open-minded, so he picked some monks from our temple to study at Shanghai International Studies University. This is also the first time that a secular university is cooperating with a temple."

Tourists visiting the temple during the Olympic season welcomed this initiative.

One tourist said: "I think it is very important because when tourists come, if we can actually hear about the monastery in the language we understand, then we feel we relate better to it, and especially if they live here, they can probably give us more information about their experiences than a tour guide."

Another added: "The monks can give us a better insight into Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism, (compared to) a tour guide."

About 120 monks live at the monastery and plans are already underway to send the next batch of monks to the University to learn languages.

About 1,500 people visit the temple daily, and according to government statistics, there are now about 100 million Buddhists in the country.

Last year, China held its first World Buddhist Forum, signalling a revival of this religion.

And keeping up with changing appetites and development of the country, the temple also shows it is keeping up with progress. Monks at the temple offer visitors an understanding into the religion through better communication. - CNA/ms

By Channel NewsAsia's

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Paying Attention to the "Other Islam"

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, U. S. efforts to identify and support moderate voices within the Islamic world have been inconsistent and fumbling. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that the long-term success in fighting terrorism will depend far more on the result of Islam's own internal debate than on the outcomes of the fighting in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

To the extent that it can influence that debate, the next U. S. administration might consider paying closer attention to followers of the Sufi tradition, a mystical and philosophical current within Islam. ("Sufi" itself as a term may have derived from the Arab word for wool, in reference to the simple, rough cloak worn by early Muslim ascetics).

In his new book, The Other Islam: Sufism and Global Harmony, Stephen Schwartz, a journalist and executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, D.C., argues that Sufism "offers the clearest Muslim option for reconciliation between the Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds, as well as fulfillment of the promise that Islam shall be a religion of peace." U. S. News spoke with the author, himself a convert to Islam. Excerpts:

What is Sufism?
Sufism is the esoteric, metaphysical, and mystical tradition within Islam, similar to and influencing [Jewish mystical] kabbalah and Catholic spirituality. It is the tradition in Islam that looks behind the sacred texts, behind the practice, behind the outward manifestations of the religion, seeking the inner truth, the truth of the heart.

When and where did Sufism emerge within Islam?
Sufis say that Sufism begins with Islam itself. There is the famous concept that the Creator was a hidden treasure who wanted to be known. And almost all Sufis trace their lineage back to Caliph Ali, who was a relative and fourth successor [caliph] of Muhammad. The first Sufis are generally considered to be the Basra school in southern Iraq in the first century and a half after the death of the Prophet, and actually the first famous one is a woman, Rabiya Al-Adawiyya. She was the first person to speak eloquently of divine love and love for God and God's love for creation and humanity.

Of the some 1.2 billion Muslims today, approximately how many are Sufis?
Husain Haqqani, who is now Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, had a conversation with me about this, and he said that we were pretty legitimate in saying that half of the Muslims in the world either are Sufis or consider themselves to be pretty much under Sufi influence or in some ways follow Sufi precepts. When you start breaking it down demographically and look at large Muslim societies like India, Indonesia, Egypt, Morocco, French-speaking west Africa, Turkey, and some parts of Central Asia, that figure of about half makes sense. I've developed the proposition that you have two kinds of Sufism. You have a kind of generally diffuse Sufism in Muslim societies where basically the Islam of the whole society is very saturated with Sufism. Indonesia is one specific example of this. Then, overlapping with that, you have societies with the organized tariqat [orders], where Sufism is a social institution. In countries like Morocco, Kosovo, Turkey, Sufism is really belonging to a movement, going on Tuesday or Saturday night to dhikrs [ceremonies devoted to remembering God]; it's having a sheik and going to regular lectures, and participating in some of the social-welfare activities.

Taking a complicated case such as Iran, would you say that its deep Sufi tradition could potentially be a counterweight to the political-ideological Islam that now dominates?
I would say in Iran, and also in Saudi Arabia and to a less visible extent in Iraq, Sufism represents the main cultural, social, and religious alternative to the ideological forms of Islam that have recently dominated. In Iran, the situation is very complicated because of the obstacles to reporting on what is really going on inside the country. Part of the argument of my book is that in both Saudi Arabia and Iran the Sufis can provide the basis for a transition away from the model of ideological Islamic governance toward a more normal type of society in which religion plays a large role, just as it does in Mexico or Poland, but a normal role.

Why have some Muslims, particularly those called fundamentalists or puritans, objected to Sufism?
There are two objections. There is the theological objection, which begins with Ibn Taymiyya in the 13th century and continues with Wahhabisim starting 250 years ago, and that simply says that the Sufis elevate the saints or the sheiks or the Prophet himself to the equivalent of God, that this is like the Christians who view Jesus as a divine being, and that this is against the Islamic principle that only God is worthy of worship. That is the theological objection.

But in the 19th century, you have a situation in which the Ottoman Empire is heavily involved with Sufism; you also have the Persian Empire, which became Shia under Sufi guidance. These empires are the leading Islamic states at the time, and there was a group of Islamic reformers who looked at the situation of Islam, and especially the weakness of Islam faced by the West and the problems of western imperialism, and they said, "Well, Islam is weak because of the superstitious practices of praying over graves, the dhikrs, following sheiks, believing in saints."

So you have two streams that object to Sufism, the stream of puritanism and the stream of reformism. And course they could hook up and combine, as they did in Wahhabism.

As you point out in your book, Wahhabis are probably the biggest foes of Sufism.
I've said for a long time you can have two visions of Islam as a religion, just as we can have two visions of Christianity as a religion. You can view religion as a fairly narrow set of doctrines that require fairly rigid obedience in which the emphasis is on strictness, discipline, and outward adherence. Or you can see religion in civilizational terms. If you think the world is impressed when a young Muslim commits an act of terror, you are wrong, because the world is much more impressed by cultural achievements. The picture of the Taj Mahal means a lot more than a headline about a bombing to make people respect and become interested in Islam. The biggest difference to me is that Wahhabis don't view Islam civilizationally. They're against decorating mosques, against music, against anything beyond saying the prayers, going to the mosque on Fridays, keeping the prayers limited, maintaining this extremely puritanical, fundamentalistic, and limited view of religion as a set of doctrines according to which you live life in a very limited manner.

If you see that there is a variety of Islamic cultures, if you accept, for example, that most Indonesian women are not going to cover their faces, if you see that each of the Islams, the Islam of the Kazakhs or the Islam of the Moroccans, has a specific cultural character that is still Islam and believes in one God, one Prophet, and one Koran but also accepts that there is much else that goes with it, that's the Sufi mentality.

Why has the United States, and particularly the public-diplomacy arms of the government, been so poor at recognizing and highlighting the importance of Sufism, Sufi leaders, and Sufi organizations and, where possible, supporting them?
First of all, it's a daunting task for any westerners to engage with these issues. I've been engaged with them for a long time, and it's hard to sort them all out. There is no denying that in the State Department and in the legacy of public diplomacy in dealing with the Islamic world, there has been a bias in favor of dealing with the official authorities, with the clerics, with the Saudi structures, with the Wahhabis and others who claim to represent a normative Islam and who have behind them the vast oil wealth and the special role of Saudi Arabia as an ambiguous but long-standing partner of the United States. Public diplomacy has not attracted people who know or have much interest in this, and also there is a bias in academic study toward a normative and official Islam.

Now, if the United States or the West were to embark on some sort of wholesale embrace of the Sufis, that could conceivably lead to a problematical outcome. Sufism has always thrived because of its autonomy and its independence, and we can't compromise its spiritual autonomy in the name of a short-term or even long-term political advantage.

However, there are certain things, just in terms of the human-rights responsibilities of western democracies, that we should be able to do for the Sufis. In places where Sufis are under physical attack from Wahhabis—for example, in Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Iraq—I think democratic governments, human-rights organizations, and NGOs have a moral responsibility to point this out and engage in diplomatic interventions and to make it clear they are on the side of Sufis. But first of all, that means that they have to sit down with them, meet with them, get to know them, invite them to diplomatic receptions, and consult with them fairly regularly. As long as the consultation is one that is based on respect instead of vulgar recruitment, I think it would be beneficial for both sides.

By Jay Tolson

Monday, August 18, 2008

Illusion in your mirror and Slide - Show of your Reality

Due to the theory of transurfing our world represents a dual mirror. From the one side there is a usual to us reality, from the other one- boundless space of variants. Rich space of these variants is such an informational field that keeps safely all the scenarios of past, present and future, thus it knows what was, is and will be. Theoretically you may perform any scenario into life you like.
A human being charmed by this mirror thinks that reflection in this very mirror is the true reality. He looks in the mirror, but his life goes on the beaten track: no surprises, no stunning coincidences and no desperate flights. If amateur of illusions does not like anything in this mirror, he tries by all means to change the mirror. Why? There is one rule of transurfing: if you want to change the reflection - change its image. Do not ask, do not press for something, but create it.

Slides bring some distortions into reality. A bright example of it is "rose-coloured glasses". Through rose-coloured glasses life seems to be in sugar-well light. Perhaps you are familiar with the slide of "inferiority complex". Through these slides life seems to be angular, thorny and people around you always chuckle on your defects. Transurfing offers to replace negative slides to positive ones.
A positive slide is an imaginary and ideal picture of reached goal. It is rather better to replay this slide regularly and with pleasure in your consciousness. Step by step you will see that your scenario is putting into practice and your subconsciousness has constant positive emotions. You will see and feel this world in the light of these emotions. Don't be lazy to devote about 20 minutes a day to your positive slide. All efforts alongside with the aspiration and desire to act will bring you to the real miracle.
There is one interesting sort of slide. With the help of this slide you can make your piece of dual mirror comfortable and cosy. There is a set: "my world does take care of me". It is enough to remind to yourself several times a day this postulate and consequently dual mirror soon reflects a new reality designed by you. Thus you give a new quality to your world. Agree that is so nice to be always in a good mood and positive thinking. You can work on it and it becomes the second nature of you or your habit.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thinking of Spirituality

Step1: The Basis.

All things, as we currently know them, are the products of myriad Universal processes which have been at work for eons; much, much longer than mankind has existed on planet Earth.

That should tell us that each step along the way, each part of the process, each species, each experience is part of the overall process of Universal growth.

Step2: Before Mankind.

Until mankind's entry in the cycle of life on earth, all life was in complete subjection to the Universal Laws which had been governing and controlling the process for ages and ages.

Step3: Mankind's Entry.

When mankind entered the scene, he ultimately emerged (evolved?) with the capability of making personal and individual choices about how life was to be lived. With that capability came the power to question and even to resist the Universal Laws themselves.

As history has shown, mankind has not always chosen to keep, or even to acknowledge some of those Universal Laws.

Step4: The Irony.

The irony comes when we begin to understand that mankind may actually not be in as much control as he perceives himself to be. Universal Laws cannot be broken, else all things will end. Thus, our behavior (as resistant to some of that Law as it may be on the surface), cannot significantly disrupt the much grander processes at work carrying those Laws out.

Even if mankind succeeds in destroying himself, Universal Law will continue to govern, and will undoubtedly move ever so smoothly to the next necessary step in the process of growth.

Step5: The Paradox.

To think that mankind is the end-result of billions of years of growth is to think that God (our Creator, caretaker and the author of Universal Laws) is finished with His work on earth.

I, for one, don't think God is done yet; not until we've collectively reached that point of understanding...that level of spirituality where we all accept His will in our hearts, and have learned and demonstrated how to fulfill it.

Step6: The Conclusion.

When mankind finally learns to truly love one another and fully embrace peace and harmony and giving and forgiving and treating others as we'd like to be treated ourselves, I believe God will be pleased.

Until then, we'll keep stumbling, but maybe that's all part of the growing-pains!

May God bless and help us all!

By w1z111

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic peace in China

The Olympic games have always been recognized symbolically as a global event that allows countries to peacefully come together in friendly competition.

The host country is highlighted throughout the event as a globally respected community, full of diversity and maintaining a way of life for all to aspire to.

To be selected by the Olympic Committee to be the host country is considered an honour.

And starting August 8, the country that all will be looking at as a respected global society is China.

China? Respected? As far as China’s track record for human rights is concerned, respected should not be the term used to define China. As a matter of fact, the actions of the Chinese government are contradictory to the meaning of the games themselves.

Now, these games, which are supposed promote world peace despite cultural differences, are being held in a country where the government has enough trouble accepting their own female population, let alone people of other races.

This is a country that has thrown more than 400 000 children ages 12 to 16 into a school system where intense and dangerous manual labour in manufacturing and agricultural schemes is viewed as the ideal way of raising and educating the youth.

It’s a country that prides itself on restricting public opinion by limiting the voice of journalists, threatening long jail sentences for speaking against the national government. It limits the general knowledge of the world, restricting the nation’s Internet access so people may not learn that the outside world is better and different from the reality they experience in China.

And China is ruled by a repressive government, which has complete control over the legal system and controls its people with an iron fist. It gives its workers no individual freedoms by prohibiting unions and physically attacking those who want civil liberties.

It’s a government that has taken an often violent stance against the country of Tibet, destroying their villages, burning down their places of meditation and devastating their ecosystem by turning Tibet into China’s dump. It blames the fall of society in China on Tibetan Buddhism and their leader, the Dalai Lama, who has to live in exile.

This is not the one place in the world right now that should have the entire globe’s attention. For an event that promotes world peace to be held in a country which enforces its dictates by gunpoint, this is one that no one should celebrate.

So, instead of watching the Olympics, go outside and play a sport with your friends or family. Enjoy the many freedoms that we hold in Canada. And know that whatever sport you are playing is supporting the Olympic spirit more than the events that are occurring in Beijing.

From Bancroft This Week

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Touch of Samsara

NAMED for rebirth, a spa strives to live up to it, writes SU AZIZ.

SAMSARA, in Hinduism and Buddhism, depicts the endless or eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.

As you can see, it is a name that carries a lot of weight and meaning. Therefore, Samsara Spa chain of Swiss Garden Hotel and Resorts has quite a big shoe to fill. The question is, can it?

Heavily deriving inspiration from the spas of Bali, Samsara Spa displays plenty of physical similarities in its decor. There are also same attitudes of the mid-range spas of Bali. For instance, blithe regards when it comes to one's state of undress and for its Kuala Lumpur branch, peace and security. Three important ingredients that can elevate one's comfort level. For me, at least.

The spa offers a range of Balinese, Malay and Thai traditional massages and treatments of an hour from RM180 to close to two hours for RM290. I opted for its Samsara Healer which promises to relieve fever, headaches and muscle aches with its boreh body wrap of herbal and spices ingredients. This is followed by a bath infused with similar ingredients as the wrap and then finished with a Balinese massage. A two-hour pamper would surely rejuvenate and lift off the draining headache caused by this constant crick in my neck. Or so I thought.

Although the ingredients of the boreh exuded an enormous amount of heat, its loose wrap, however, failed to contain the warmth long enough for my body to absorb its goodness fully. The 20 minutes allocated for this part of the treatment was interrupted intermittently by conversations in the corridor, just outside my door, which resulted in a feeling that the wrap session was rather perfunctory.

Nevertheless, all was redeemed during the bath which is separated from the treatment room. That is, until I realised that there seemed to be endless traffic going in and out of my treatment room. Oops, I thought, my valuables (which included my notes from a previous interview) were unattended. Hmmm. Hard to relax, now!

So, in a surge of discomfit, I got out of the bath in half the time allocated, dried myself up and waded out to the treatment room. Quite surprising my Balinese masseuse was waiting.

The treatment continued, prematurely needless to say, to its final stage - the Balinese massage. Always a favourite of mine and effective in temporarily lifting my aches and pains. My request was for strong pressure. It was, well, adequate but far from what my knotted muscles needed.

A Balinese massage is meant to stimulate blood circulation, knead deep tissues and relax tense muscles. Long, pressured strokes caused by either the palms, fists or elbows, are meant to be endless and languid.

Touch is the main ingredient of a Balinese or Malay massage. The masseuse never or hardly ever lifts a hand off your skin. Transferring and emitting bouts of warmth which is then absorbed by the recipient of the massage. It is about stimulating blood vessels to work at their optimum level. That is why I love either one of the two types of massages. Alas, just not the one served up on that fateful day, in a place that carries the concept of eternal cycle of rebirth.

By Su Aziz

Friday, August 08, 2008

Spirituality in the Suburbs - riffing on Al Hsu’s book

This entry is cut n pasted from a section of a paper that I’m writing on spiritual formation for my BGU Overture I class.

Spirituality in the Suburbs

Albert Hsu’s book The Suburban Christian contains the best-developed thinking that I have yet seen on suburbia as a mission field.

Contemporary culture tends to look down upon the suburban life. From my experience, this is particularly true among Christian leaders pursuing whole-life spirituality with concern for justice and the poor. It becomes difficult to believe that true mission can happen in the affluence and comfort of the suburbs.

The suburban world, far from an Edenic garden or American dream, often seems to be more of a fallen world… Living in such a material environment, we begin to suspect that suburbia may be detrimental to our spiritual lives. We feel spiritually impoverished in the midst of this land of plenty. Can we truly experience God in the suburbs? Is it possible to live authentic Christian lives as suburban Christians?

Hsu answers this challenge clearly.

While it is certainly true that different settings will lead to differences in how the Christian life is lives, we should not assume that faithful Christian living in the suburbs is by definition impossible. Rather, the challenge for suburban Christians is to discern how they might avoid the pitfalls of suburban life and be authentic Christians in this very setting.

The suburban setting is a significant place in our culture. By 2000, over half of America’s population lived in suburbs[3], and suburbs continue to grow. Further, contrary to popular opinion, the suburbs are not only home to the middle class. “We think of the suburbs as middle-class, but 46 percent of all people living under the poverty line reside in the suburbs.

My own experience confirms this. Although my home is in an upper middle class neighborhood in North Bend, our community lived in trailer homes, older single-family homes, and in at least one person’s case, a variety of short term housing as a result of chemical addiction. Our cities include the poor, but they are not as easily seen as those panhandling in the urban center. Herein lies one of the challenges of suburban ministry: finding, befriending and being with the poor in an environment where minimal social services exist for the church to partner with existing agencies already doing the work of God among the poor and outcast.

Suburban life, because it has become central to American life, is an important location.

Suburbia has become the context and center of millions of people’s lives, and decisions and innovations made in suburbia influence the rest of society. If Christians want to change the world, they may well do so by having a transformative Christian impact on suburbia and the people therein.

Exactly how Christians can have that transformative impact is a serious question. Finding answers to it require that we understand suburbia itself.

My neighborhood is a community of 2000-3000 square foot sized single-family homes on small lots, fairly close together. New construction in Snoqualmie Valley continues this trend, with newer homes being smaller, lots much smaller and much closer to each other. Community spaces are outdoors in the form of parks and exercise trails, but few indoor gathering spaces are created – my neighborhood of several hundred homes does not have one.

Our homes are identifiable by small or nonexistent front porches, large garages and parking spots for our commuter cars, and homogeneity in home colors which is strictly enforced by neighborhood covenant and by architectural review committee who has final approval on a homeowner’s color choices when repainting.

In the summer months, our neighbors are easy to find – those with children, especially – in front yards on our cul-de-sac, and on the bicycle paths around the neighborhood. Friendships are grown, people are invited to others’ homes for dinner, and the details of life are shared.

In the fall, winter and spring months, which tend to be wet and cool in the Seattle area, kids play inside their own homes or the home of a friend, and adults much less seldom interact.

Until the past year, our neighborhood had a fairly fluid population. Most people on our street had lived there less than five years; often a family would move in for two or three years and move elsewhere with a change in work. In the past year, the downturn in the housing market has fixed our neighborhood’s residents for the first time in the ten years my family has lived there.

In this city it is easy to find consumerism hard at work. Name brand goods, comfortable to luxury cars, and ongoing home improvements are frequently spotted and the pursuit of them requires much time.

To counteract suburban consumerism, I offer three main alternatives. We need to reclaim the Christian spiritual practices of creativity, simplicity and generosity.

Hsu correctly argues that the opposite of consumption is production. Creative production, whether of art or homemade birthday cards or of gardens, can be a spiritual activity which subverts the tendency to consumerism. Generosity provides a path for us to release material possessions for others’ good instead of collecting more for ourselves. Simplicity gives us the opportunity to be released from the hold that our possessions have on us. Together, these spiritual practices remind us that we are not to be influenced by consumerism.

Hospitality and community are welcome practices among those who seek the good of others, and so they should be in suburbia also. Hospitality is the basic act of caring for others who are unlike us, so that they feel welcome. It can be practiced between neighbors intentionally in order to build relationship and community.

God needs suburban Christians who are willing to take a sharp look at their environment, recognize the challenges of the suburban setting, and then stay here to do something about it.

Christians in the suburbs can have amazing impact not only on the suburbs but upon the world that the suburbs touch, simply by intentionally living as faithful disciples in their culture.

From Patloughery

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Law of Attraction Usually Fails Most New Age People

Thayer White's new book, Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze, helps people navigate successfully through the complex maze of available spiritual tools, systems and choices. He describes about 101 New Age traps and treadmills, including the seductive trap of the Law of Attraction and the addictive use of God's love, meditation and prayer.

Asheville, NC (PRWEB) August 5, 2008 -- Thayer White's new book, Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze, helps people navigate successfully through the complex maze of available spiritual tools, systems and choices. He describes about 101 New Age traps and treadmills, including the seductive trap of the Law of Attraction and the addictive use of God's love, meditation and prayer.

Thayer White (author, therapist and long-time New Age explorer) states: "If the Law of Attraction worked well, there would be Law of Attraction support clinics everywhere curing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and genetic disorders. By now, every city block in Europe and North America would have a few new millionaires. Divorce rates would be plunging, because so many would be finding their soulmates. This is not happening, of course, because the hype far exceeds what is possible. The main reason why the Law of Attraction usually fails to work is that most folks using it are unknowingly aligned with their selfish egos rather than with their souls."

The book points-out/discusses the good, the not-so-good, and the ugly aspects of popular New Age spiritual choices. In reviews of this New Age book, David Brazier PhD., author of The Feeling Buddha, states: 'The book is particularly good at isolating apparently attractive ideas that are basically time wasters.' Hank Wesselman, anthropologist and author of the Spiritwalker Trilogy states: 'This is a timely book that will achieve a wide readership. Thayer White is to be commended.'

An excerpt from the book follows (page 5): "If you believe all you read about New Age spirituality, then it is all good and wonderful because all roads lead to God-Tao in the end. While I agree that all paths and roads eventually lead to God-Tao, many popular spiritual paths are lonnnnnnng detours. These detours result from the spiritual choices we make. Personally, I have been on hundreds of both long and short psycho-spiritual detours during my lifetime. With the benefit of study and life experience, most have become obvious. But they were mostly obscured while I was detouring."

About the Author: Thayer White was born and raised in Massachusetts (1941-1958) and received his BA in 1962 from Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois (1958-1962). He lived in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1966-1996 and in 1987 received his MA in Transpersonal (i.e., spiritual) Counseling Psychology from John F Kennedy University in Orinda California. He is licensed to do psychotherapy in California as a Marriage and Family Therapist and currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Is Spirituality Encoded in Human Genes?

The God Code is inscribed in human genes, which means that man is biologically equipped for change and survival.

Gregg Braden in his book, The God Code (2005), makes a persuasive and compelling argument for the existence of God's name within human genes. His discovery is evidence that man is part of a larger, cosmic whole.

Gregg Braden in his book, The God Code (2005), makes a persuasive and compelling argument for the existence of God's name within human genes. His discovery is evidence that man is part of a larger, cosmic whole.

Genes of Modern Man Distinct from Genes of Neanderthal Man

Traditional theory of evolution states that man evolved from his hominid ancestors over a span of 3.2 million years. The closest version of man appeared some 250,000 years ago. But there are cracks in this theory. One is that the form and brain capacity of modern man has remained unchanged for the last 200,000 years. Another is that testing of DNA from a 30,000 year old Neanderthal infant showed that the genetic link between Neanderthal man and modern man was nonexistent (30). Fossil excavations have also unearthed remains of hominid ancestors buried beside modern men, suggesting that the evolutionary leap touted by Darwin did not occur over the course of time but was probably caused by a single event. Something extraordinary must have happened 200,000 years ago that created the modern mind.

The God Code in Man's Genes

Examining the Book of Creation-- the Sepher Yetzirah-- Gregg Braden has located the hidden God code within the Hebrew alphabet. Depicting the union of Heaven and Earth, this book details the basic elements that form life: fire, air, water. Braden identifies a correlation between these elements and the chemical elements of modern science: nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen. Transmuting the Hebrew alphabets to their assigned numerical values produces the same numbers used by modern scientists to define the simple mass value of chemical elements. By converting both ancient and modern elements and the Hebrew alphabet to their numerical values, Braden is able to show that these ancient alchemical elements are the modern components of DNA and that the basic code of human DNA carries the Hebrew letters YHVG (Yahweh). The name of God is literally encoded in human DNA structure, a situation Braden describes as a 1 in 234, 256 chance with a probability of .00042 percent(112), the probability of the miraculous.

Man is Encoded with the Tool for Change

Historian Eric Hobsbawm claims that the 20th century was the "most murderous century" in recorded human history (218). Change is necessary if man is to redeem himself from the brink of total annihilation. The God code inscribed in human genes is testimony of man's unity with the cosmos and his possession of the tool for change and salvation. If man, argues Braden, can move towards this powerful experience of unity, he will bring about the necessary changes in behavior and thought. God's signature in man's genes is a reason to believe that change will occur.

Advanced Extraterrestrial Civilizations are Probable Encoders of Human Gene

Astronomer Frank Drake's estimation that there could be as many as 10,000 intelligent civilizations formed within the 13 to 14 Billion year history of the universe suggests that man is not alone (179). Gregg Braden states emphatically that the God code within man's cells is not from this world (215) even though it is firmly grounded in this world. But this encoding provides an apt explanation for man's dramatic evolutionary leap 200,000 years ago.The encoding probably came from more advanced civilizations which had undergone the same experiences man is going through now. These civilizations survived because they had learned the lesson of love and unity. Before his death, Carl Sagan stated emphatically that the future of human civilization depended on man's reception of messages from interstellar space (215).

If spirituality is encoded in man's genes, the possibility of a New Earth arising from current chaos rests in his hands.

Braden, Gregg. The God Code: The Secret of Our Past, the Promise of Our Future. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc., 2005.