Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Climb your way to happiness

I must have driven past the rock climbing wall at the YMCA a few hundred times, but not till yesterday did I notice a group of climbers hauling themselves up.

I stopped my car and stood outside watching with great curiosity how the climbers were trying to reach for the artificial stones to find the right protrusion to support their hands and feet. The moment they found something that they could hold on to, they hauled the rope over and pulled themselves up to the next higher point.

I stood there awestruck at the grace and agility with which these climbers were moving from one stone to another. When I saw the huge straight wall I wondered why do people subject themselves to such pain and anguish in the name of sport. Vicarious pleasure was good enough for me. I had no intention of trying it for myself!

Ten minutes later I was back in my car driving to the club to catch up with a friend and a cool glass of wine.

As we were sitting at the bar, my friend told me that her husband had lost his job and they would have to move out of their house to smaller house and she may have to change the children’s school.
She was upset and really scared that her husband was going into a state of depression. He was starting to blame himself for not seeing it coming and berating himself at not being the ideal husband/father. He was being extremely hard on himself.

She on the other hand was trying to be optimistic and encouraging him to look at the various options. Even though she was upset, she was handling it quite well. Being a student of Vedanta and Positive Psychology had given her the inner strength to cope with external turmoil.

Her husband on the other hand had spent all his time building up his career and the lifestyle. His self worth was totally dependent on his net worth. The very thought of not being able to support his family in the manner they had gotten used to was making him extremely nervous and all he could focus was on the lack that was apparent.

We chatted for a while and then I shared with her my observation of the rock climbing wall.
When one is standing at ground level and staring at the wall/huge rock, the odds of climbing seem insurmountable. All one needs to do is take the first step, find that first footing and haul him/her- self up to the next safe point. You need to let go of the previous protrusion to safely hang on to the next. You cannot continue to hold on to the first and hope to reach the top. Only when you let go can you find the next safe footing.

She understood the analogy and we agreed that I would meet with her husband and share some thoughts and see if we could help him with the transition to a new life.

This is how the dialogue went. Let’s call him Jack.

“Hi Jack” ,
“Hey Shveitta, what’s up, All well?”
“Yup all wonderful, but hey I am sorry to hear about the job” .
“Yes that was a bit of a bummer, I sort of expected it, but never really thought it would happen. Those bas….. have no idea who they have let go. They will regret it to the hilt.”

(This was good. His sadness was now turning into anger. On a vibrational scale* anger is better than guilt and shame. )
He went on to use some expletives to describe his employer and how he had been wronged and how he would get even.
Underneath this entire macho charade I could however see the pain and sadness in his eyes. He was very afraid and very insecure.
I ordered us two glasses of red wine, even though alcohol is a depressant and not really recommended during therapy, in this case it seemed appropriate (we were not in therapy…we were in a bar) as it really helped Jack lower his inhibitions and really come forth with his pain and fear of survival.
It’s quite interesting how the male and female brain is wired. The Human male is generally more left brained while the female tends to adopt a more right brain approach.

Left Brain
Looks at parts

Right Brain
Looks at wholes

Jack’s logical, sequential, rational, objective brain could not see the big picture. All he could focus on was the loss of the job that would lead to a loss of life style. He felt worthless and started to visualize scenarios where he felt unwanted and useless. Suddenly all his accomplishments meant nothing. He started to focus on all the things that could go wrong with this one event. Suddenly he transformed into a psychic and started seeing his ‘self created’ very bleak future.

However at this stage the only thing that he had lost was his job and that too with 6 month pay intact. He had bonuses and stock options with his company that he could cash in and live extremely comfortably for many years to come.

But his ‘part focused’ brain refused to see and acknowledge that this was in some strange way the opportunity that he had been waiting for. He would finally get to spend time with his family, indulge in his various passions, cooking being the main one and finally take that trip to Tibet.
If one changes the color of the glasses the whole picture changes.

Like the rock climber who focuses only on one step at a time, one need’s to keep in sight only the things that can help pull oneself out of the quagmire.

The glass of wine had helped us both. Before I got ready to order another one Jack and I did an exercise.

I asked him to right down on a piece of paper all the things that were going well in his life. As he started writing and his list became longer and longer he realized that he had a lot going for him and his job was such a minor part of his life. It really was not the job that he missed; it was the meaning that he had given to the job. Now he had to find that meaning in his life.

What really is the meaning of life?

Now that’s a whole new chapter

Shveitta Sethi Sharma

See below for the vibrational scale explanation……………………..

In his book Power vs Force, David Hawkins calibrates people's emotions from vibrational levels 20 to 1,000 with anything below 200 considered energy draining and below integrity.

Here's some of the levels:

• 20 = Shame: A perilously proximate to death. It's destructive to emotional and psychological health, and makes us prone to physical illness.
• 30 = Guilt
• 75 = Grief
• 100 = Fear
• 175 = Pride: People feel positive as they reach Pride level. However Pride feels good only in contrast to the lower levels. Pride is defensive and vulnerable because it's dependent upon external conditions, without which is can suddenly revert to a lower level.
• 200 = Power: Courage is the zone of exploration, accomplishment, fortitude, and determination. People at this level put back into the world as much energy as they take; at the lower levels, populations as well as individuals drain energy from society without reciprocating.
• 310 = Willingness
• 350 = Acceptance
• 500 = Love: This level is characterized by the development of a Love that is unconditional, unchanging, and permanent. It doesn't fluctuate - its source isn't dependent on external factors. Loving is a state of being. This is the level of true happiness.
• 700 to 1,000 = Enlightenment: This is the level of the Great Ones such as Krishna, Buddha and Jesus. It is the peak of the evolutionary consciousness in the human realm.
The concept and theories behind these experiments were conducted over a twenty-year period using a variety of Kinesiology tests and examinations. Kinesiology has an almost certain 100 percent accuracy reading every time. It will always reveal Yes, No, True, and False answers.
Collective Consciousness: These experiments reveal that there is a higher power that connects everything and everyone.
Everything calibrates at certain levels from weak to high including books, food, water, clothes, people, animals, buildings, cars, movies, sports, music, etc.

Did You Know

• 85 percent of the human race calibrates below the critical vibrational thought level of 200.
• The overall average level of human consciousness stands at the vibrational level of 207.
• The power of the few individuals at the top counterbalances the weakness of the masses.
• 1 individual at level 300 counterbalances 90,000 individuals below level 200.
• 1 individual at level 500 counterbalances 750,000 individuals below level 200.
• 1 individual at level 700 counterbalances 70 million individuals below level 200.
.Updated 6 minutes ago · Comment ·LikeUnlike
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Search for meaning

Natural remedies for mild depression

I recently gave a talk on how to lead a happier more fulfilling life to a gathering of over a 100 people and one of the questions that came about was about depression.

Q. Does one need to seek medical help if one is suffering from depression?

A. Of course by all means one should seek help if one feels that he or she is suffering from depression. Often we don’t know whether the cause of depression is clinical or environmental. If the cause is clinical, medical intervention is necessary.

In some cases an external factor, such as a loss of relationship, child, job, health may lead to extreme sadness which if not checked in time will lead to depression. It is therefore imperative that we try and pull the person who is going through extreme pain/sadness out of his or her misery.

Living with a person who is going through depression can be very distressing and often as a means of self preservation we tend to repudiate their feelings by trying to tell them to snap out of it. For those of us who are not experiencing the same emotion it is unfathomable how a person can be so low and not have jest for life. When such a situation occurs we need to adopt a caring attitude instead of becoming judgmental.

People often end up in depression because they blame themselves for a particular outcome. They feel if they had done things differently the particular outcome could have been avoided. Anger and guilt towards the self is what leads to depression. For this situation to be avoided it is important that we as well wishers support the aggrieved person in any way we can.

A listening ear and a supportive attitude do wonders.

Try and gently insist on some kind of physical exercise. It helps if you can accompany them on the exercise regime. Long walks in nature do wonders for both the body and the spirit. Walk with awareness and appreciation. Try and get out of the mind and bring a child like wonder into the walk. Look out for butterflies and notice the smell in the air. Take long and deep breaths and thank your body for being alive. Regular exercise is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to improve mood. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, releases mood-elevating chemicals in the brain and can decrease stress hormones. Even though one of the best options to bust the blues is taking a brisk walk outside each morning for at least 30 minutes five days a week, what's important is that they choose something they enjoy and will stick with, whether it's going to the gym, signing up for dance classes, playing tennis, or gardening.

The added advantage of morning walks is getting enough sunlight which has been shown to be effective for seasonal mood changes that happen in the darker winter months. Exposure to light in the morning helps the body's sleep/wake cycle work properly. Production of serotonin, a brain chemical that is key in influencing our mood, is turned on in the morning upon exposure to light.
Involve them in various activities; take them out for light movies/comedies/concerts.

Add omega 3 fatty acids and St. Johns wort in their dietary supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of good fat needed for normal brain function. Our bodies can't make omega-3s on their own, so we must obtain them through our diet. Studies have linked depression with low dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
The herb St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) has long been used in folk medicine for sadness, worry, nervousness, and poor sleep. Today, the results of over 20 clinical trials suggest that St. John's wort works better than a placebo and is as effective as antidepressants for mild to moderate depression, with fewer side effects. Studies suggest that St. John's wort is not effective for major depression. It's available at health food stores, drug stores, and online in the form of capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, or tea.

St. John's wort may take 4 to 6 weeks to notice the full effects. Side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth, indigestion, and fatigue. St. John's wort increases photosensitivity, so extra caution should be taken to protect skin and eyes from sunlight. Although St. John's wort appears to be reasonably safe when taken alone, it can interfere with the effectiveness of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as antidepressants, drugs to treat HIV infections and AIDs, drugs to prevent organ rejection for transplant patients, and oral contraceptives.

St. John's wort is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with bipolar disorder, liver or kidney disease.

Magnesium and vitamin B6 are also natural mood lifters.

Create an atmosphere of joy and happiness, but I understand that in some cases of extreme loss, this may not be possible. What I recommend is to have soft music and some sort of aroma (lavender, jasmine, rose and clary sage have been found to be beneficial) in their place of abode. Certain musical frequencies, especially mantras have a very uplifting effect.

Always remember that if a person is really depressed, he or she will need to see a qualified person. The above are just a few things that we can do to help our loved ones come out of extreme sadness or pain caused by an external factor.

Shveitta Sethi Sharma