Monthly Web Columns

LIFE 101

By Coach Cary Bayer

     George Gurdjieff wrote a remarkable book called, Meetings with Remarkable Men, which he began in 1927, and which was published in an English translation in 1963.  Fifty years after it first saw the light of day in our language, I’d like to offer this column called, “Meetings with Enlightened Men.”  I had the inspiration for this column for the July issue in which Independence Day takes place, while visiting Monticello, the beloved home of Thomas Jefferson, in central Virginia. 
    Ten years after Gurdjieff’s remarkable book was available in English, I had the great good fortune to spend five months with a remarkable man named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  What follows below are some parallel observations of Thomas Jefferson, whose “Declaration of Independence” played a major role on the enlightenment of many governments, and Maharishi, whose Transcendental Meditation played a major role in the enlightenment of many people. 
     Jefferson was a political thinker influenced by Age of Enlightenment (late 17th century and 18th century) thinkers like John Locke and Voltaire; Maharishi inaugurated what he called the dawning of a different Age of Enlightenment in 1973.  Both believed strongly in higher education.  Jefferson founded and designed the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Maharishi founded Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, and played a major role in designing the curriculum.
On Happiness
      In his famous document that set our original 13 colonies free from England, Jefferson wrote that people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  These are probably the most famous words from this most famous of American documents.  Maharishi, also linking the Creator with human happiness, wrote,  “The purpose of Creation is the expansion of happiness.” He echoed those sentiments when he said, “Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of happiness.”  He also wrote: “Enjoy your life and be happy.  Being happy is of the utmost importance.  Success in anything is through happiness.  More support of nature comes from being happy.”
On Serenity
    From happiness, it’s just a short jump to serenity, of which our third president wrote, “It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.”  Elsewhere, he noted,  “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”  The guru to the Beatles noted that, “The golden gate to peace in life is the experience of bliss, and it is easy for everyone to acquire this great glory and live it throughout life.”
On Identity
        Jefferson wrote: "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you."  Maharishi taught the technique of Transcendental Meditation to give you the experience of your true Self at the transcendental level of your mind.
On Consciousness
            The political thinker wrote that, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”  The spiritual thinker said that “Fulfillment is structured in achievement, achievement is structured in action, action is structured in thinking, thinking is structured in knowledge, and knowledge is structured in consciousness.”
On Enlightenment
    Our nation’s first Secretary of State wrote: “Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.”  Maharishi said, "The goal of the Transcendental Meditation technique is the state of enlightenment. This means we experience that inner calmness, that quiet state of least excitation, even when we are dynamically busy.”
On Government
     Our second Vice President wrote that, “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”  The sage who taught people how to raise their state of consciousness said, “Nature's government spontaneously brings satisfaction to everyone because it promotes all innumerable, diverse tendencies of life in the evolutionary direction.”
On the Laws of Nature
     Jefferson wrote that, “A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”  Maharishi noted: “When the mind is attuned to the cosmic law, all the laws of nature are in perfect harmony with the aspirations of the mind.   He also wrote: “You are the master of all the laws of nature if you know the transcendental field.”
On Time
     Jefferson, who emphasized doing, wrote, “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.
”  Maharishi, who taught how to attain the state of Being—which is the basis of thinking and doing--wrote “The factor of time is very vital in life. Those who have accomplished great things in the world have been those who valued time in their life. “
The Spirit of Jefferson
      For those who believe in channeling, I’ll close this column by saying that while driving to Monticello recently, I heard an audio recording of a man speaking at a Unity church claiming to be channeling the spirit of Thomas Jefferson. Interestingly, the enlightened words that came out of this spirit sounded even more like what Maharishi might have said in the 20th century than what Jefferson did in the 18th.   From the Unity event it seems as if our President from another age has been turning into an ageless sage.



Emotional and Spiritual Skills for Success-  #4 in the Love Yourself,
Lose the Weight series

by Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D.

Have you ever used your weight as an excuse not to participate more fully in life, not to have a relationship, to avoid sex in the relationship you’re in, not to look for a new job? Are you willing to let go of your excuses? They are just a way of not loving yourself.

Mirror work- talking to yourself while looking in the mirror – is a powerful technique for learning to love yourself as you are making changes in any area. Look into your eyes and say to yourself, “I’m done with excuses. My weight is not the issue. I am willing to participate in life regardless of my weight.” Notice how you feel. Then tell yourself “I love and accept you just the way you are. I support you in all your new habits. You have been doing the best you can. It’s OK. I support you in making positive changes.”
Then tell yourself anything else that is important for you to know/hear.  You are claiming the wonderful being that you are. If you feel a lot of emotion coming up as you do the mirror work, that’s OK!  

It’s important to become aware of emotional triggers for overeating or making choices you know aren’t healthy. Almost everyone uses food to deal with emotional issues at some time or other. It’s how often you do this that determines if it’s a problem.

Starting now, every time you eat (especially outside of meal times), ask yourself first, What am I feeling right now? Can I resolve this feeling without eating? Take some deep breaths and acknowledge that you want to eat, “Yes, I want to eat now, but I can wait out this impulse for 10 seconds. I am willing to feel my feelings and deal with them.”

Here is an exercise to help you develop more awareness around emotions and eating.

Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and relax your body. Keep doing some deep breaths until you feel relaxed. Now, as though you are an observer of your own life, go back over the last two weeks and notice your eating patterns: when you ate, what you ate, where you were, and who was with you. Don’t judge or criticize, simply notice. When you ate for emotional reasons, what was going on?.......

Now go back even farther in time, letting your mind go to the time you first began overeating…. How old were you? What was going on for you? What feelings were you suppressing?  Accept that this was your way of coping at that time. Feel compassion and love for yourself. Go to another situation where you overate….. What emotions were you feeling then? Find a few others………… Then imagine you are looking at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself, “I understand more now. I truly do love and accept you just the way you are.”

Bring your awareness back to the present moment. Take some deep breaths and stretch. Open your eyes.

If you found a connection between feeling stressed and eating, here are some easy ways to deal with that. Stress increases your metabolism and so you feel fatigued. This can prompt you to want to eat something like a candy bar for fast energy. Ultimately, this leads to more fatigue because your blood sugar plunges after spiking. First, as much as possible plan your meals so you eat on a schedule. Eat low fat, high protein meals to keep your blood sugar balanced. Second, have some healthy snacks available, like protein bars or veggies and a low fat dip. In other words, prepare ahead of time. Third, practice deep breathing exercises to help you reduce stress.

Learning to handle your emotions effectively is truly an ongoing process. If you started eating emotionally and gaining weight as a child, then talking to your Inner Child can really be healing.

 If you gained a lot of weight after some traumatic event in your life, you may need professional help in dealing with it. Look for a therapist who offers a spiritual approach as part of their therapy. In the US, you can find them advertising in spiritual newsletters. Or ask some friends for a referral. Affirm that you are guided to any resource you need to create a healthy relationship with food. 

A spiritual course, A Course in Miracles, says, “Guilt holds the behavior.” So if you are feeling guilty (or ashamed or embarrassed or even angry at yourself) for gaining weight and not losing it, it’s time to let go of the guilt and any other emotions associated with your weight. True, easier said than done. Begin with “I am willing to let go of the emotions that have kept me stuck.”

For some people, prayer is a potent force for changing behavior. Asking Spirit, God, the angels, or ascended masters to assist you in your desire for changes takes the burden off you “doing it all yourself.”

Are you willing to forgive yourself? At the highest spiritual level, there is no need for forgiveness, but in our human selves it is another piece of the foundation for permanent change. And sometimes that change can occur very quickly when you stop feeling guilty, forgive yourself, and love yourself right where you are at the moment.  Be kind to yourself. You are worth loving!

--Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D. studied personally with Louise Hay and, with husband Rick Nichols, is authorized to lead Heal Your Life® training programs in Louise’s philosophy. She is also the author of Ordering from the Cosmic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations. and