Stress is Contagious

A new study from the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig and the Technische Universitat in Dresden, Germany, had found that stress is contagious.  Just watching someone experience a stressful situation can raise our own levels of the stress hormone Cortisol by as much as 40% if we are in a relationship with that person, and by 10% when they are a stranger to us.  The study found no differences between men and women.  This means that even the most relaxed, stress free individuals can suffer second-hand stress on a regular basis.  The solution is a radical expansion of awareness.  This works on two levels. Read more

What Awareness Does to Your Body

Get Creative: An Exercise in Empty Space Awareness

If creativity thrives in an uncluttered inner space, here is a simple breathing exercise taken From Rebirthing and Breathwork  to create that uncluttered space.  Fill it with whatever your imagination produces:  Read more

Get Creative : Radical Awareness (Part 2)

Creativity thrives when we allow ourselves to become absorbed in what fascinates us.  Children are really good at this.   Children can lose themselves in whatever beguiles them.  They have an uninhibited appetite for anything that catches their interest.  Out of this appetite comes growth, learning and inventiveness.  Adults have the same capacity for absorption, the same voracious appetite – until the voice of reason sobers them up.  Adam Phillips, former principal child psychotherapist at Charring Cross Hospital in London and prolific writer of books, was recently interviewed by the Paris Review .  In the interview, Phillips observes that children in healthy environments have an incredible ability to focus on what interests them because: Read more

Get Creative : Radical Awareness (Part 1)

According to a 2002 report by the Gallop Organization  over 80 million American adults have had at least one spiritual/religious experience that profoundly influenced their lives.  Spiritual experiences are episodes of radically expanded awareness.   Also known as peak states, altered states, awakenings, mystical states – they are far more common than people think.  They’re the result of mediation, breathwork, prayer but they also come spontaneously.  One of the things they teach us is to embrace the unknown.  And embracing the unknown is a key to unleashing your creativity. Read more

Boundaries Exercise: Where is the Line Between Me and The World?

One of the reasons the discipline of Psychology developed was to help philosophers answer the question:  How do I know what’s real?  How do I know the difference between reality and the version of reality I see through the filters of my experience?  In other words, where lie the boundaries between me and the world?  This isn’t just an abstract brain teaser designed to exercise our mental muscles.  It has major significance in everyone’s life. Read more

Emotional Suffering, Attachment and Awareness

In the Buddhist tradition suffering is caused by attachment – attachment to a person, an outcome, an image, a possession, attachment to suffering itself.  As most people are attached to something, we all suffer to greater or lesser degrees.  We suffer when someone dies, we lose a relationship or a job, when we perceive someone has betrayed us or we have lost face.  The suffering usually takes the form of sadness, despair, anger, fear or a host of other emotions we don’t like to feel on a regular basis.  It’s normal to resist such suffering, to try to push it away, get over it, deny it.  Awareness tells us there is a more profitable way. Read more

The Global Inspiration Conference – Radical Awareness Through Breathing

Next month I’m giving a keynote speech at the annual Global Inspiration Conference.  And because it’s taking place in Ireland, I have the added bonus of a trip home.  I’m talking about Radical Awareness, the kind of awareness that comes when we meditate, breathe deeply, pray…or it just comes spontaneously.  Science calls Radical Awareness altered consciousness.  But before Western psychology as we know it developed,  states of Radical Awareness were called mystical and they were quite “normal”.  And a Gallop Poll from 2002 showed that over 80 million American adults have had a profound experience of awakening that influenced the course of their life. Read more

Where Emotions Can Take Us – Infographic

Here’s a great infographic on the range of human emotion and the kind of behavior emotions can generate.   To enlarge it, run your cursor to the middle of the picture and click on the circle that appears.

Infographic on Emotions

Emotional Awareness 5: My Default Thinking Pattern

In my experience, emotions usually indicate something is afoot.  But that “something” is not always what we think it is.  And it’s not always as big or as little as we think it is.  Emotions are sign posts telling us we need to look deeper into ourselves and the situation that has generated the feeling.  The skill of Awareness does the rest of the work.  Awareness helps us uncover exactly what lies at the root of the feeling that troubles us so much. Read more