Saturday, December 31, 2011

Getting Unstuck in 2012

I just came back from the store a little bit ago. I find stores fascinating. They are filled with a bunch of people all darting around in various directions, gathering things up, and usually trying to get out as quickly as possible. What I find most fascinating are the people who seem to gum everything up.

As I walked into the store, there was a lady in front of the baskets, trying to situate herself. Lots of people were coming in, and we were all stuck, trying to get to the baskets. After a bit, she moved far enough over that people could, one at a time, sort of get around her and get a basket. Throughout the store, I kept passing her, and, no matter where she was, there was a swarm of people around her, all trying to get past her to go in their various directions. She just seemed to exude stuck energy. I have noticed that people who seem stuck in their lives seem to physically be bogged down and get other people stuck around them like this.

To make matters more dramatic, once I got in the check-out line, and was contemplating this stuckness, the power went out. The reserve power went on quickly, but it took about 20 minutes for the cash registered to reboot and start functioning properly, during which time everyone in the store was stuck.

We are no strangers to being stuck. Traffic jams are a normal occurrence (Have you noticed that when driving, the same phenomenon of one car seeming to gum up the road, even if it is in its own lane on the interstate occurs?) The Congress has been a prime example of how a few rigid individuals have gummed up the whole country from moving forward with their stuckness.

The economy is stuck, the film industry is stuck. I know so many people who describe their lives as being stuck in relationships, stuck in jobs, stuck as far as inspiration. This whole stuckness gives us a feeling of hopelessness and fatigue. In 2011, this seemed to describe things in the world epidemic proportions.

So, how do people become unstuck?

I think the first thing is to think of the law of energy in the world that energy attracts like energy. In India, there is a great term, "satsang," which literally means "good company." If you find yourself in the company of stuck people, they will likely drag you down. It is important to find people and groups to be around where the energy is what you want it to be. Find groups or activities that make you feel inspired. Get out of the house and away from the TV. Go on walks, join a club or group, or take a class.

There are physical exercises that move energy. Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Gung are great examples of this. These are scientific forms of exercise heralding from bygone eras when people had more of a direct concept of energy and knew how to enhance it in their bodies. Creating and moving Vital Energy is the basis of these forms of exercise. In India, this vital energy is called prana, and in China, Japan, Korea and other places it is known as Qi or Chi. I have gone to the exercise groups with many people who deny the existence of Chi, but they still come away from these exercises revitalized.

There are also a number of healing arts associated with energy. Acupuncture and Reiki are just two examples. An hour on an acupuncturist's table, or with many other varieties of energy healing, can make a huge difference with people's feeling of stuckness. In fact, what acupuncturists are doing is locating blocked and stuck energy in the body, and using metal to open up these blockages and restore optimal flow of chi.

Diet is another huge component of feeling better, mentally, emotionally and physically. "You are what you eat" is not just a good idea, it's the law! There is an idea floating around the Native American community right now that says that the real whites who are killing are the people are not white people, but are white flour, white sugar, salt and fat.

Sugar creates spikes in adrenaline in our bodies. These spikes result in an energy surge, followed by fatigue, or the sugar high and sugar crash. Sugar is in so many things we eat. When looking at food packaging, remember that it can be hidden under many names, and that most things that contain corn products are sugary. Most artificial sweeteners also have detrimental side effects. Sucralose (Splenda) is actually made out of sugar, but has added chloride that can cause harm to the body.  Aspartame is used in most diet beverages, and is the worst sweetener of all. Saccharine used to be off the market because it was growing huge tumors on lab rats, and now it, mysteriously, is back. We have had success with the sweetener Stevia. There are many products currently using it as a sweetener. Zevia sodas, Zero Water and the Virgil's Zero beverages are three good beverages sweetened with Stevia. (I mention the beverages, as many people have cited the beverages we drink as the greatest detriment to our health.) But be forewarned that carbonated beverages increase the carbon dioxide in our bodies, which is also a problem. Xylitol is another decent sweetener, derived from complex fruit sugars. Be forewarned that the overuse of xylitol can create some digestive problems.

Flour is one of the staples of the American diet. Being a historian, I often teach that the foundation of Civilization itself stemmed from two chance crossings of some wild 'goat grasses' in the fertile crescent, which created wheat. This wheat fell to the ground rather than being carried by the wind. This simple coincidence allowed the development of agriculture - which meant that suddenly people no longer had to follow the herds. This gave people leisure time, out of which came all of our most important inventions. There are some problems with flour, however. The first is the gluten problem associated with all flour products. I have read many papers that indicate that we all may be gluten intolerant to some extent. Many nutritionists and allergists believe we have developed a basic allergy to gluten, perhaps due to refined flour. I know a lot of people who have started feeling less pain and more energy just from going gluten-free. Allergies result in reduced energy. As my old acupuncturist one put it "allergies make you weak." When flour is refined into the white flour we are familiar with, they remove the husk, which is the whole grain aspect of wheat which contains the good nutrients and the fiber that is the healthy part of flour.

Salt has many impacts on the body, including contributing to high blood pressure, and reducing the elasticity of the body, including blood vessels. We have become accustomed to the taste of salt, and it is used in many processed food items, which results in somewhat of an addiction. I mean, who has really ever eaten only the nine potato chips that constitute one serving? To quote from the Tao The Ching, "What is brittle is easily broken."

Fats create cholesterol, and put extra solids in our blood, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke.

You have heard the GMO hormones argument, and the let's not kill other living things arguments, and they are both good arguments, for going vegetarian, but here are a few more:

First of all, Hindus generally don't eat meat due to an energy thing. They believe that when animals are killed, they suffer trauma, and the trauma they suffer creates and energy that is embedded in the meat after they die. Eating meat, then, results in ingesting the trauma energies and vibrations, which then become a part of you. Another argument is that people's digestive systems are not built to properly handle meat. The digestive tracts of animals that eat meat are very short, so that the meat by-products are only in their bodies a brief time, so that they don't rot and become harmful to the body. People have a very long digestive tract. It is even longer, proportionally, when people are measured as other animals in the same studies, which is the length from the mouth to the anus, not to include the legs. People also don't have teeth meant for consuming flesh. So, the combination of the flat teeth and long digestive tract make us more consistent with vegetarian, and particularly fruitarian animals. In fact many extremely high-energy people, such as yogis, eat exclusively fruits, nuts and some grains.

I became a vegetarian a decade or so ago after finding I had high cholesterol, I stopped eating meat and dairy products, and my cholesterol went down by over 100 points. I started feeling a lot better, even though I wasn't really aware that I had felt bad until I stopped eating meat. I have not missed meat at all.

So, it kind of goes along with all the old adages, be around positive people, exercise and eat well.

One other suggestion for creating energy is meditation. There are hundreds of studies on meditation that show that 20 minutes of meditation 4 or 5 times a week increases energy, increases memory, creates more grey matter in the brain, reduces stress and anxiety, reduces fatigue and so forth. Though there are numerous forms of meditation, some of which are very extreme. These studies usually involve having people listen to a mediation tape of some sort. Usually their minds still wander, they don't often sit in a lotus pose and so on. It is very mild. But the results are always dramatic. There is a school that instituted a 20 minute meditation time at the beginning of the day, and their test scores shot through the roof! (We have tried to build a meditation and yoga component to the school program where I work, but there is a lot of anti-Eastern sentiment out there from people who see it as a threat to Christianity. Maybe they see it as a threat because it actually works!!)

My wife and I have recorded a couple of meditations. They use visualizations of acupuncture points. We have one for deep relaxation and one for digestion, and we will make some more, once she is finished with her doctoral program. Here is a link to order CDs or downloads: Acumeditation CDs on CD Baby.

Just observe what is going on around you. Maybe you are one of those people who creates traffic jams in the store. Try some of these suggestions, a few minutes a day, in 2012 and see if that changes. See how your energy level and your attitude change. None of this can hurt in any way!

So have a great New Year!  Here is a little New Years wish from me, and the resolutions I am making this year! enjoy!

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