20 11, 2015

My Thoughts on the Global Meditation

Our workshops have historically been about people overcoming themselves, about an individual getting something they want or need by using the meditations we provide. This focus on self is healthy given the right context. After all, only when we take care of ourselves are we truly able to care for others. Put another way, people who are hyper focused on themselves are less likely to think about the issues others face. We came up with the idea for the live global streaming meditation from listening to the comments made by students in our Advanced Workshops. We saw how 550 participants [...]

5 11, 2015

Are You Old?: How Your Thinking Impacts Your Age

We’ve all heard the adage “age is nothing but a number.” Life is a little more complicated than this quote allows but there is truth in the saying. As we know, how we think impacts how we feel and vice versa. The same principle applies to our view of aging. What comes to mind when you hear the word “old?” Do you picture a wrinkly, forgetful person who suffers from some kind of chronic ailment? Don’t feel bad if this is the vision that came to you because that is the one presented to us. Portrayals of older people in [...]

26 10, 2015

Cross Your Fingers, Knock on Wood: Do Superstitions Work?

When flying Jennifer Aniston always boards an airplane with her right foot first. Michael Jordan wore his college shorts underneath his NBA uniform for his entire career. Jordan ended up winning six championships and the 46-year-old Aniston has flown countless times without incident. Of course you don’t have to be famous to believe in superstitions. Many of us have uttered the phrase “knock on wood” or avoided stepping under ladders in the hopes of warding off bad luck. Superstitions are largely innocuous and allow for at least the illusion of control in situations where we feel like we have none. This begs the question: do superstitions work and if so why? For this discussion it’s helpful to think about the nature of superstitions. Early humans had little information about the world they inhabited. They created associations based off their experiences. Say it had been raining for days and stopped suddenly when a person performed a specific action or picked up a certain object. Our ancestors lacked access to sophisticated meteorological equipment and didn’t know the storm had moved out of the region. Instead, they related the change in weather to something they had done. Lacking any other evidence, this cause and effect belief system makes sense and indeed was reinforced by a lack of deeper knowledge. We like to think we live in a pretty rational time in history. Our embrace of the scientific method, whereby an idea must be regularly tested before proven, should make us immune to irrational thinking. However, we know this simply isn’t true. We’re all prone to assumptions and beliefs that don’t make sense within this larger understanding. […]

11 09, 2015

Your Mind as Medicine: Healing with Placebo

The Placebo Effect is a fascinating field of science because it challenges established notions of how we heal.  In the traditional model you would go to a doctor and he or she would present you with a diagnosis and some treatment options.  Placebos work differently in that they heal from within, not without and this presents a choice: you can either heal from a drug or from a placebo. In placebo studies, patients are given a medicine and told it will either cure them or make the symptoms more manageable.  Of course, they're usually given a sugar pill or a [...]

29 08, 2015

Creating More Surprises and Fewer Mistakes

The past is an interesting concept. By definition the “past” refers to a time that has already happened. However, that isn’t how we experience it in our own lives. We have the ability to relive events over and over again in our minds. This ability to recall and relive is a gift that many of us fail to properly utilize. We tend to focus on the negative aspects of our lives and forget the positive. Think about your day for a moment. What happened? Were you complimented on your work? Maybe a friend drooped by unannounced for lunch? Did you find $20 on the ground? Were you pulled over for speeding? When asked to recall what happened my guess is that most people would emphasize getting stopped by the police. If we removed this one scenario then the rest of the day looks really good, maybe even great. From an evolutionary standpoint, a mistake is a threat to our survival. This makes sense given the right context.   Early humans were at the mercy of their environment and so they needed to be vigilant. At that time a slight misstep could mean the difference between life and death. Our brains are genetically wired to keep us safe and a mistake threatens our security. For most of us this reality no longer exists. Rarely do our mistakes carry with them such dire consequences. Think about it. We make multiple mistakes a day, every day and yet we’re still alive. Despite this regularity we still spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy re-living the past. […]

29 07, 2015

Can the Mind Heal Parkinson’s?

Modern medicine has changed the course of human history.  Advances in disease prevention and treatment have allowed us to live longer, healthier lives.  Our expanded knowledge of the human body has provided order to what seemed like chaos.  We currently have more control of our destiny than any other time in history. Yet, for all the advances in science and medicine many answers remain. The strength of current Western methodology is its reliance on evidence gathered through study and/or experimentation.  This strength can also be seen as a weakness because anything viewed as not “mainstream” is either ignored or ridiculed to the point of irrelevance. An offshoot of this philosophy is the long-held belief that the mind and the body are two different systems that have no influence over each other.  Just a few years ago the idea that your thoughts can positively or negatively impact your body would have been laughed off as pseudo-science.  Now, thanks in part to the process I described above, we’re starting to understand that these systems are intimately connected. […]

3 07, 2015

Biophotons: The Light in Our Cells

There are trillions of cells that make up your body. For the moment I want you to think about just one. That one cell is incredibly busy. In just the last second there were over 100,000 chemical reactions that occurred in this cell. Now, step back and consider your body as a whole. The sheer volume of activity happening inside you at any given moment is almost incomprehensible. With so much information being processed all at once, it’s fair to ask how it all works. The consensus in the scientific community used to focus on a mechanistic approach to explain the inner workings of your body. In this model, molecular reactions were assumed to follow a very linear formula. Essentially event A produces event B which produces event C, etc. In this theory the human body isn’t a fluid, ever-changing system but a static one, governed by a set of rigid rules where the laws of attraction and repulsion of molecular charges run the show. In the 1970s Fritz Popp and a team of researchers at the University of Marburg started doing work with biophotons. Biophotons are considered ultra-weak photo emissions (UPEs). Popp’s work has transformed our understanding of biophotons and the role they play. At one point biophotons were considered byproducts of chemical reactions within our DNA. We now know that the biphotons emitted from our cells are highly coherent energy that may be responsible for the operation of our biological systems.   […]

15 06, 2015

Changing Bad to Good: How Expectations Influence Behavior

As seen on the Huffington Post   So what makes a restaurant nice? Is it an expensive menu with exotic foods prepared by one of the best chefs in the world? How about a well-dressed wait staff, one that's prompt and pulls out your chair before you sit down? Maybe it's something simple like having to call to make a reservation? The "right" answer varies and largely depends on individual tastes. Whatever your definition of nice happens to be, once you make plans to eat out you probably will develop some expectations about the experience. Those expectations are based on [...]

25 03, 2015

Telomeres: What Does a Lobster Know That You Don’t Know?

In 2009 a fisherman off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada caught a lobster. Normally, this isn’t news considering the number of crustaceans pulled from the water every year in that part of the world. What makes this lobster so interesting is that it weighed 20 pounds and was estimated to be at least 140 years old. Take a moment to really think about that last fact. In theory, this lobster hatched in 1869 – just four years after the end of the American Civil War. Most lobsters don’t live to that ripe old age because they’re eaten, injured or exposed to disease but if you removed these external forces the results would be very different. Lobsters are one of a handful of species that appear to be “biologically immortal.” These creatures don’t age in the same way that you or I do. Every time our cells divide something called a telomere is shortened. There’s a direct relation between telomere length and cell age with the oldest cells having the shortest telomeres. […]