Thursday, October 28, 2010

Death & Halloween

The current merry celebration of Halloween -- the costumes, the candy, the decorations with simulated ghosts and skulls -- belies a deeper truth. I'll get to that in a minute, after a brief detour. 

What we call 'death' is simply the release of the eternal soul from the physical body. That is, the soul doesn't die, it just continues on without a physical instrument. If you aren't yet convinced, then go here, read some of the info (there's a lot!), and follow some or all of the links. Another great source is here. A great, easy to read book is Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, by Ian Stevenson, M.D (Stevenson found over 2500, but only 20 are chronicled). After you look at all that info, it's pretty hard to deny the reality of an eternal soul.

That soul, without a body, may or may not be able to perceive things in physical reality -- we don't really know, and it may vary from soul to soul. The lack of a body also makes it really hard to communicate with most humans, because the emodied humans aren't capable of non-physical perception. So you can think of the 'death' of a loved one as a change of state. You miss that person more because of a lack of communication skills on your part than anything else. 

Back a little more than a century ago, if someone moved from the 'old country' to the US, or from the Eastern seabord to the frontier, that person might never see his family again. If that person or his family were quite poor, he might never speak to them again, either. So today, communicating across 'the veil', is not so different from communicating across the Atlantic back then. In fact, we can use technology to communicate with those on the 'other side

What does his have to do with Halloween? According to Wikipedia, the word, Halloween (or Hallowe'en), comes from All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. 

Further, Halloween is 

"linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)".The name is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end"...   The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year".

"The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honored and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces. 

"Another common practice was divination, which often involved the use of food and drink.

So if you're going to try to contact a loved one who is 'on the other side', this weekend would be the time to do it! 

(And if you're really missing a loved one, I can help you with that. I'm not a medium, but I can help you with the 'missing' part, the longing. Give me a call at 888-4-hollis, which is 888-446-5547.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yes, Virgina, ESP does exist!

Although scientists can't explain it using current models, a meta-analysis of empirical scientific studies for over 150 years shows that extrasensory perception is real. My favorite line is

"traditional cognitive and neuroscience models, which are largely based on classical physical concepts, are incomplete."

Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Perception and Quantum Models of Cognition

Friday, October 22, 2010

Evidence of changes in human mass consciousness

This is really stunning:

"... the number of people in Western society experiencing a lucid dream has increased by up to 40 per cent in the last 30 years.

In fact, current estimates are that most of us — eight of every 10 people — will experience a lucid dream at some point in our lives."

There is a lot more in this article, including info on how lucid dreams differ from 'normal' ones, and from waking consciousness, as well as info about the personalities of lucid dreamers and geomagnetic effects on human capacities.

In all our dreams | The Intention Experiment

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quick: Would you rather be liked or respected?

Yes, I know, you want to be liked and respected. But if you had to choose only one -- because sometime you may have to -- which would it be? Your answer to that question could change the course of your life.

Confession time: I was 9 years old, in sixth grade, and in a new school for the third time in 3 years. That alone, being the new kid, 2 years younger than everyone else, made me different. Furthermore, this particular school had a very, um, developed culture, one which I neither knew nor understood. To make matters worse, I quickly ended up on the 'wrong' side of a political discussion, that is, taking the opposite point of view to everyone else (I'm pretty sure we were all parroting our parents' beliefs, and my parents just thought differently than the other parents).

To my parents' great surprise, I instinctively framed the question as one of being liked (for agreeing with everyone) versus being respected (for backing up my opinion with research, which I did). I held my ground in arguments for a week or so, during which time I was ostracized, and then the whole episode faded away. What I took from it, though, was the knowledge that I could stand up for my point of view -- and live.

Wanting, or needing, to be liked is natural, and inculcated in us as toddlers. If we act in ways that please our parents (aka the adults who control our lives), then we get fed and held and smiled at and other treats. If we don't please our parents, we're punished in a variety of ways. So we learn to please others as a way of getting what we want, or at least avoiding what we don't want.

But it often goes too far, and becomes co-dependence, a state in which you deny your own needs to the point of not even being able to recognize them any more. You value others' approval of your thinking, feelings and behavior over your own. This people-pleasing behavior may even attract (or allow) abuse. Eventually, you no longer know who you really are. You go along with the crowd, you think inside the box, and you wonder why you're unhappy.

Choosing being respected over being liked, on the other hand, means following your own conscience, even when it leads you to do things that others don't like. That can get you ostracized, which can mean feeling mighty lonely.

The upside of this is that you're clear about who you are, and what you want. You're free to learn what you want, think what you want, to say what is right and appropriate, to stand up for yourself. This is very difficult as a kid, because you are truly stuck -- you don't get to choose your neighborhood or your school. But as an adult, you can move, you can change jobs, or even fields -- or you can just find new friends!

Now: which do you choose, being liked or being respected?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Love means... never having to feel pain?

Intense feelings of love use the same parts of the brain that pain uses. So preliminary research shows that when you're feeling madly in love, you are less likely to feel physical pain.

Love takes up where pain leaves off, brain study shows

Maybe this is why a break up hurts so much? Because you're now feeling pain you haven't felt in a while?

The study also shows that distraction alleviates pain, too. This is something you can use. Next time you feel pain, enumerate sports that don't use balls -- or think of your favorite food, or your happy place.

Book Recommendation #2: "Crowdsourcing"

What do iStockPhoto, Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign, "American Idol" and Wikipedia have in common?

They're all crowdsourced, which means that a vast number of people contribute, either information, opinions or money. This is the wave of the future, and is already changing a number of industries, from journalism to publishing to entertainment. More than that, it's changing society, back from a consumer culture to one where the line between producer and consumer is blurred (think about it, before mass production, a small group pretty much consumed what it produced).

The rewards that drive the crowd are not, primarily, monetary. They are, instead, the ability to create, to share what they've created, to learn, collaborate and to have a good reputation among their peers.

The book has a clear history of crowdsourcing, and why it works, as well as a first take on the 'rules of crowdsourcing' -- how to make a crowdsourcing effort work. Oh, and a great investment tip, too!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book #1: This Isn't the Story You Think It Is

If you have ever tried to stick to your spiritual beliefs (like staying positive) in a crisis, this book is for you.

It's a beautifully written memoir, by a woman navigating a crisis that threatens to tear her life and her world apart. She writes clearly and candidly about what she sees, like this:

"'s what I am convince of. In fact, I think it's the key to a relationship. Any relationship:

"If you get out of someone's way, they will fight and they will kick, but eventually, there's nothing they can do but look at themselves and get real. Very, very real. Or totally self-combust in a life of lies. Or that dear opiate, denial."

She holds her ground, using Buddhist principles (though she doesn't mention Buddhism till about page 200, and then only in passing). She uses the situation to look at herself, learn lessons, and shift -- an example for us all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reading and Writing

I read a lot. Really a lot. Usually at least one book a week, often two -- and I've done that for most of my life. When I was a kid, my dad used to refer to me affectionately as Connie, the Constant Reader (he inculcated the habit in me). I've even been known to read while walking. It was a big relief that at Harvard Business School, other people were doing that, too -- I was no longer the only one!

I've been wanting to share the really good books with you -- the 'keepers', the ones that either make a big impression on me, or the ones that I know I'll be referring back to with some regularity. Now Amazon has made that easy! I can't promise that I'll have a book of the week, or even a book of the month, because I read a lot I can't strongly recommend. I do have a backlog, though, so there may be more than I think...

As an aside --

I credit reading with any writing ability I have -- William Goldman (author of The Princess Bride, Marathon Man, and many others) taught me to write. I was captivated by his first book, Boys and Girls Together, which my dad shared with me when I was probably way too young for him to have done that, maybe 13. So I searched out other books Goldman had written, and loved that he told stories not in any fancy language, but as if he were literally talking to me. (The Princess Bride is really amazing for this. Although the movie depicts the fantastic story-within-a-story very colorfully, it pretty much leaves out the real world part, which was my favorite part. If you loved the movie, you should still read the book.) Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell? are two more 'write as you'd speak' books.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

My Life in Pictures

If you are my friend on FB, you know that I post a photo just about every day (courtesy of my iPhone). It started as a way to share the amazing things I saw each morning when I walked. Then I realized it was a way to show up without having to think of anything to actually say. Because there are lots of days when I don't have anything special to say.

Now I realize it's a photographic diary of my life. Because all those photos of flowers and dogs and rabbits and turkeys and mountains and beaches are my memories. When I look at one  of them, I can recall exactly where I was standing, and who, if anyone, was there with me, maybe even the conversation that happened. It's a full 3-D recall, partly in my body, looking at the phone's screen as I framed the photo, and partly outside my body, looking down from the sky. Looking at a photo, I can reach back into that morning, and maybe even recall a bit about how the rest of the day would unfold.

Does that happen for you?

I don't think it happens for everyone. In fact, my teenaged stepson has a kind of inverse reaction. A few months ago he told me that the only thing wrong with last night's party was that no one had taken his picture. The gist of the conversation was that if he wasn't in anyone's photos, then somehow, he wasn't quite there.

I'm rarely in the photos -- I'm usually the one taking them, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Depressed? Get out the sneakers and the yoga mat.

The Real Cause of Americas Mental Illness Problem