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Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

MINDFULNESS

          One of the most important things we can do in our life to help us be is to practice mindfulness. Our lives are naturally forced to be involved in doing, and we are designed to simply be. We go to work, we have relationships, we spend our money, we wish things were different, and we wonder what is missing. What is missing is our awareness of what is going on in our life and the world. Many of us are looking for something to make us fulfilled, to make us feel worthwhile, to make us feel special. I hear many times from clients that their work, their relationships or their life needs to change and they are looking for what to change into. If their circumstances are abusive or dangerous, I certainly encourage them to make decisions that will make their life safe. However, if the problem is that they are dissatisfied with what they have created in their life, I encourage them to try something else before they quit their job, spouse, or circumstances. I encourage them to practice mindfulness.

          Mindfulness is the ability to be completely present in any moment. It is much easier to be mindful and completely present while things are quiet and relaxed. It is difficult to be completely mindful when your supervisor wants something done or your children are misbehaving. Life is simply a journey and we do not have to be perfect. All we have to do is practice. Being mindful can be as simple as bringing one hundred percent of your focus on to one thing right in front of you for a few minutes. When you have a quiet moment, look at one thing that is right in front of you and look at it, really look at it. I am looking at a vase of tulips my best friend gave to me. I am looking at the colors… yellows, pinks, green, peach, red and lime jump at me and this is just one of the tulips. The smell is perfume and earth. The textures are soft, crinkled, smooth and striped. The feelings that I experience while looking at them are love, amazement, gratitude, wonder and curiosity.  There are so many different things to notice in just one flower that I had not noticed before. The amazing thing is that all of the petty thoughts that I was thinking about before I focused on that flower have gone out of my mind.

          Mindfulness is also the ability to focus on whatever emotions we are experiencing in the moment. Are we sad, angry, afraid, worried, joyful, happy or peaceful? Really focus on the feeling/emotion and scan your body at the same time. Where in your body is the emotion? What shape is the emotion? What color is the emotion? What does the emotion feel like? By the time you have analyzed all of the characteristics of the emotion, it will have moved on. That is the nature of emotions, Energy in Motion…If you are experiencing an emotion that is unpleasant, you can let it go by being mindful about it.

          Mindfulness is also the ability to experience your body fully. Practice walking ten steps in one direction and returning. Focus on how it feels to walk, how your muscles contract, how it feels to life a foot off of the ground, feeling blood flow through your body, breath coming in and out of your body. Walking is such a complex action that we often don’t appreciate how miraculous our bodies are. When we are filled with wonder and awe about how incredible we are, negative emotions leave and we can start to appreciate just how special we are.

          Mindfulness is also focusing on our breath. If we could simply take 5 minutes when we first wake up in the morning to focus on our breathing, we can start our days with the realization that we are alive and everything else is easy after that. After we focus on our breathing for 5 minutes, we can also select a thought for the day, something uplifting and inspiring. Have a list of such thoughts handy beside your bed, and just choose one to start your day. The first thought we have in our heads when we start our day usually sets the tone for our day. If we choose a positive, enlightening thought, our day will start that way. If we don’t choose our thoughts, our thoughts will choose what kind of day we will have and that often won’t be as positive as a conscious thought would be.

          The way we practice how to be will determine what we do. If we are completely mindful, it doesn’t matter what we do, for we will be doing it consciously and with awareness. Many times the perceived problems with the job, relationship or circumstances simply disappear. Practice, practice, practice.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

          AH, the end of May and beginning of June. It is time for the annual Derek O’Neill “playshop” in Dublin, Ireland. It is a week of intense transformation, growth, struggle and perhaps even a little discomfort as we learn how to deal with our issues and let go of the misery and challenges that makes life so hard. The truth is this process started several weeks ago for me in that negative emotions seems to be waiting around every corner and behind every door. For someone that claims to know how to deal with these human hurdles, it is very disconcerting to find out that “all is not well” with my self. I hurt, I chafe, I rail at the Gods because all of the things that I seek for happiness is now causing me pain greater than I have experienced in a long time.

          What is heavens name am I doing? I was told very early in life that if I acquired a good family, an honest living, friends and material things that I would be happy. It didn’t work out that way for me. I have been divorced twice, made and lost lots of money, acquired and let go of many material possessions. I seem to be in a letting go mode at the moment, I have given away most of my possessions and toys. I wrecked my car last December, but I live in a place you don’t need private transportation so I am okay on that one. I know lots of very wealthy people, and they seem to be struggling as much as I finding the elusive state of happiness that we all crave.

          I have written many times on how to be happy, it doesn’t matter what you have or possess, who you are in relationship with or what kind of job that you have. It all depends on your state of mind, what you are thinking about and how detached you are from your circumstances in life. However, when it is your time to suffer, it is a long uphill climb to the top of Happiness Mountain. Many times I tell myself “snap out of it” but when you aren’t getting what you want, it is hard to get to a place where you don’t care. That is really the secret to being happy, not caring about what you get. If you have a lot, great; if you have nothing, that is great as well.

          Sometimes I wonder if Buddha was an alien who merely placed a carrot at the end of a stick and dangled it in front of our heads. After all, detachment and mindfulness are not “human” as far as I can tell. There are so few people that I have met that have achieved those attributes I wonder if they are actually human as well. Are detachment and mindfulness impossible goals?

          Apparently I have created a perfect dilemma for myself where I feel totally lacking of control and yet I see no end in sight. The goal is to connect with the divine and find the love for myself that I always believe only comes from each one of us. I am beginning to discover that even though I feel like I love myself there are days when I don’t like myself very much. I guess that is playing out in my reality as well.

          I am writing this blog simply to let you know that the pursuit of happiness is sometimes difficult and elusive. We do not feel happy and blissful all of the time unless we can give us our attachments to people, places and things. When you don’t want anything, you can’t be disappointed. I am struggling (I hope for the last time) with letting go of the one thing I have always wanted (that is a personal issue for me).  The zen teachers I know keep telling me I can’t get it until I don’t want it, which sounds pretty counterintuitive to me. In any event, it seems pretty certain that I will not solve this problem with the same thinking that created it.

          So the pursuit of happiness seems to be a misnomer. The pursuit of anything likely pushes it away. The only way to find happiness is to “be” happy. So we have come full circle on this little blog, which is that I know that I can’t find happiness. I can only let it steal into my heart like a warm nighttime fog coming through a window. I hope that I can discover how to speed up the process in Ireland. Their fogs are legendary. It may mean being unhappy for a little while longer, but I have been promised that all I have been through and done will be worth it. I have hope that it will.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

PEELING THE ONION

            Anyone who has been on the spiritual path or seeking anything in this lifetime has probably heard the term “peeling the onion”. There are many possible interpretations to this metaphor. The onion is a vegetable that has layers of edible goodness that can be peeled, diced, sliced or julienned for baking, frying and sautéing. I happen to love onions. I digress, back to the metaphor. Getting to the root of our psyche and the causes for our emotional issues and mental traumas is often called “peeling the onion”. We peel away layer after layer of memories, perceptions and traumas to get to what mental health professionals call “core issues”. Core issues are thoughts, memories, or beliefs that color our perception of the world and create suffering. Often buried deep in our subconscious minds, we may not even be aware of these core issues. Many times they are only discoverable by the symptoms that surface into the conscious mind in the form of fears, phobias, prejudices and beliefs.

            There are as many different ways to peel the onion as there are therapists and patients. Peeling the onion can be specific to the person whose onion is being peeled, or it can be more general to help groups operate more efficiently and cohesively. Generally people start with what they know, and follow a path deeper into the core of their personality and belief systems until they find their core issues that are causing suffering in their lives. It could be a childhood event that took on distorted importance in their memories or a thought or belief that causes suffering.

            I want to suggest one way to peel the onion that can be beneficial to just about anyone that can be honest with themselves. We can lie to therapists and our friends because we don’t want to be rejected. We can’t lie to ourselves because we know at some point what the truth is. So as long as we don’t try the useless exercise of lying to ourselves, this works just fine.

            The first layer of the onion that needs to be peeled is the belief that we need someone to make us happy. A large part of the suffering I see among spiritual seekers is the angst of being with someone that is making them miserable or not being able to find that person that will “fulfill” them. We have to let go of the desire, the lust, or the need for someone else to make us happy. Let me be clear, this does not mean that we have to be a hermit or shun companionship and friends. It simply means that we need to let go of the feeling that something is wrong if that perfect “someone” isn’t living with us. Look at it this way, if we are peeling the onion to find out who we are, it is almost impossible to continue along this path if we are focused on people outside of us. To outsiders, they may not even know you have given up the need for a companion/soulmate. They may observe that you are a lot more relaxed and peaceful.

            The second layer of the onion that needs to be peeled is the belief that we are victims. We are not victims. Life does not happen to us. We are simply experiencing the end result of our decisions, thoughts and behavior prior to this moment. All we need to do is clean up our act and we will start enjoying life rather than suffer it.

            The next layer of the onion that needs to be peeled is our negative emotions. When negative emotions arise, and they will, we have to let go of them and not dwell on them. If we feel afraid, angry, jealous or other negative emotions, these are being caused by something deeper down and show us that we are on the right track. We have to sit with these emotions until we understand why we are feeling how we are feeling. The peeling process is simply the acknowledgement of the feeling and going deeper to the root cause. We do not resent the emotion; we do not fantasize about why we should feel this way, we simply say, “oh, I am angry. What is causing this?” and go look.

            The last layer to peel is judgment. Judgment causes most of our suffering. We judge something as good or bad, right or wrong, like or not like, and depending on how we judge it we either feel pain or pleasure. It is probably the hardest layer to peel, because it is the basis of who we are and how we perceive the world. If we let go of judgment, we don’t have to do anything, we just are. Once we let go of judgment, we will find ourselves in a very peaceful place. It is almost like we are floating on amrita and experiencing a joy we never thought possible. If you look at an onion, you will discover that when you peel away the last layer, there is nothing left. This is the perfect metaphor for your spiritual journey. When we let go of who we are, there is nothing left but the divine.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

            As I work on my issues, I wonder why I have to keep working on my issues. Jeez Louise, one would think that one meditation should be enough to clear all of the memories, traumas, triggers, bad feelings and fear which I have accumulated before I started down the spiritual path of letting go of all of these challenges to eternal bliss. I used to have a bumper sticker that said, “yes, I have baggage, but it all matches”. My path to enlightenment is littered with ejected baggage that was filled with the past wounds that I suffered in my past.

            Specifically, there are three childhood memories that I continue to wrestle with and any event that even remotely reminds me of those events causes me to react negatively, even when I know what is happening. It truly sucks to know that I am having a negative reaction to an unrelated event that has nothing to do with the memories that are trapped in my subconscious. Yet as I dig down to root out these memories it seems like “oh no, not this again!” As I understand it, there are basically two reasons why it sometimes takes years to heal from old traumas.

            First, people justify who they are based on their past. It is easier to make excuses for inappropriate behavior than to fully embrace the causes of that behavior. The truth is that we have to come to peace with our past, and any conscious or subconscious resistance to what happened will prevent the achievement of that peace. In other words, the irony is that when we refuse to accept what happened to us, we hang on to the emotions and feelings that we experienced during the original event. These negative emotions will surface when we are reminded of those events, directly or indirectly. So as long as we do not forgive, resent, feel victimized or wish our past was different, we can’t move on. We either have to embrace what happened to us as a gift or at least be neutral. When we don’t accept the gift of the trauma, the trauma continues to be the gift.

            Second, sometimes the trauma has gone so deep into our subconscious that it is like a growth that wraps around our hearts and sinks roots deep into our subconscious. When we try to remove those growths from our heart, and we don’t go deep enough to remove all of the roots and tendrils, like a dandelion the memories will come back and we will continue to react negatively to similar events. Neurologists and psychologists now believe that habitual thinking creates neural pathways and when we focus negatively on events that will cause repeated negative reactions. In other words we create our own suffering by obsessing on our past. What we need to do is to get help in rooting out the cause of our suffering.

            On my radio show, Get Real Radio, we have interviewed several practitioners of modalities which are helpful in going in deep and pulling out the roots of trauma that keep coming back. EMDR (Francine Shapiro), The Havening Technique (Rebecca Scott), The Reconnection Process (Eric Pearl) and other shows provide techniques that are very effective for removing the negative effects of traumatic memories. There is a Buddhist saying: “Dig deep, find water. Swim deep, find pearls”. The essence of this saying is that we have to fearlessly dig into our subconscious (water) to find the past trauma (pearls) that is causing us to suffer in the present. When we can find these pearls and embrace them for the gifts that they are, we will move past the trauma and subconscious memories that cause us to suffer. You no longer have to experience fear, abandonment and rejection in relationships. You no longer have to explode for no apparent reason. You no longer have to stare at the ceiling night after night wondering why you can’t sleep. You no longer have to experience anxiety and stress. Our internal gardening is an absolutely necessary and unending process. As I dig deeper, I find that I am exhausted as I go deeper into my subconscious to remove the infections that were created by traumatic events. However, I sleep better. So go find a practitioner that can help and start digging. You will be glad you got rid of the “gift that keeps on giving”.

            

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

WEIGHT LOSS

          Oh, how I punish myself with New Year’s Resolutions. This year, for the 57th yearin a row, I have decided to get fit, lose the fat shaped like an inflated inner tube around my abdomen, and not be afraid to take my shirt off in public this summer. Yeah, right. I can say that I am a warehouse of facts on nutrition, genetics, exercise, supplements, self-analysis and articles on losing the fat and getting ripped like the professionals. I still have self-image issues despite all of this knowledge.

          The Food and Drug Administration has released some startling figures about obesity in the USA. Apparently 26.7% of America is obese. Minority groups of blacks (36.8%) and Hispanics (30.7%) are even more obese. The trends are we are getting fatter. To be obese means that you are at least 30% fat by weight, which in turn makes us unhealthy. There is only one cause for obesity, and that is overeating. Sorry all you people who claim it is your glands or big bones. You inhale more calories than your body and lifestyle needs and create fat in your body.

          The interesting thing about fat is that it actually helps us by absorbing toxins in our body. So we have to look at why the toxins are there, and why we have to generate so much fat to protect ourselves. Toxins can be generated from two sources. They can be introduced into the body by consumption or absorption, meaning that they are eaten or absorbed from our environment. Eating processed foods that contain preservatives and chemicals not found in nature probably is the primary source of toxins by consumption. Some nutritionists go so far as saying that if it comes in a box or a bag, don’t eat it. Not only are there chemicals in the food, there are chemicals in the packaging that are toxic.

          A lot of the foods we eat that we think are healthy, such as fruits and vegetables, can be full of pesticides and growth agents that are toxic. The fact that people are ignorant of these facts contributes to a lot of the obesity found in the USA. It is interesting that in Asiatic countries, where obesity used to be unheard of, are now consuming more and more fast foods and beef, and obesity is now on the rise. I guess we are what and how much we eat.

          The other cause of toxins in our body is stress. Worrying, anxiety and depression create a lot of toxic chemicals in our body, which cause us to eat more. Being around “toxic” people also causes stress, and that creates the desire for more food. There are two reasons for this. Many times eating comfort foods (which are usually fatty) will change the chemical balances in our bodies that temporarily relieves stress (chicken soup, for example) and we feel better. The other reason is happy memories attached to eating certain foods can lighten our mood, if not our bodies. I am particularly fond of ice cream, which reminds me of when I had my tonsils removed when I was six years old and I was given all the ice cream I could eat at the hospital to make my throat feel better.

          We have to ask ourselves why we allow ourselves to get obese. The direct caus of obesity is overeating. A combination of emotional eating (eating when the body doesn’t need it) and eating toxic foods adds to the fat. The highest spiritual teaching is wecreate our own reality for our own enlightenment. If you apply that teaching, we have to accept the fact that we do this intentionally, even if not consciously. So why do we make ourselves look like this?

          The answer lies basically in our subconscious, and the hidden delusion that we have to protect ourselves. For most people, body fat is armor that protects us from pain. Ironic, isn’t it that the way we choose to protect ourselves from pain actually causes pain, and a lot of it. Obese people, for whatever reason, don’t want to get close to people and want to keep people away. This usually comes from some kind of emotional or physical childhood trauma, or eating habits formed early in childhood. In other words, we get it naturally; we are trained to do it. If we identify the underlying beliefs, and change those beliefs, it is amazing how quickly the weight comes off.

          No matter what we do to lose weight, if we don’t heal or resolve these underlying issues, the best we can expect is the “yo-yo” effect where our weight goes up and down all the time. There is no pill that does this. This is “home” work, and requires great diligence and awareness to correct. As long as we hide in the delusion that we are protecting ourselves behind hundreds of pounds of fat, we will continue to be obese. When we finally decide to let go of these toxic memories, love our toxic companions or remove ourselves from our toxic environments, the weight will go.

          There is no wonder that the USA is so fat. We are so attached to material abundance, being fat is a symbol of success and abundance. After all, we have most of the food in the world, and as we grow more and more obese, food riots are breaking out around the world. As a word of caution, when the Chinese come looking for payment of the trillions of dollars of debt we owe them, they know we don’t have the money to pay. So they will more than likely take payment in food, by force if necessary. Then we will have the opportunity to experience hunger like we never have before.

          The easiest way to let go of our fat is to help others, to share the abundance we take for granted in this country. I won’t make any lectures on eating healthy foods and quit eating the processed foods that the medical/pharmaceutical companies are forcing us to eat so they can make money on the illness it creates. You can research that yourself. We can start to take food off of our plates and share it with the less fortunate. We can decide to heal our traumatic memories and let all of that go. We can start making more loving choices for ourselves. We can send food to the countries that need it and teach them techniques for growing it themselves. We can quit sending money that dictators use to amass fortunes and military arsenals at the expense of their starving citizens.

          The other day I looked in the mirror and was happy with what I saw. I don’t think I lost any fat, but I am much happier with what I am.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE PROBLEM WITH HEALERS

           The call begins when we work in the illusion of the material world. There is a nagging voice in the back of our mind that whispers constantly that we are destined for something more compassionate and meaningful in our lives. The work we are doing becomes boring, inconsequential, and unimportant. We could be lawyers, construction workers, clerks, 9 to 5’ers. We want to find meaning in life and start reading books on spirituality or enlightenment. We read stories about ordinary people who “wake up” with amazing healing powers or those who had them all along and only had to quit their day job and take the leap of faith to be of service to the world. So we go online and find a teacher who beckons to us to leave the material world and jump into the bright lights of the spiritual world. So we screw up our courage and take the leap of faith our hearts have lead us to take.

            So we quit our day job, learned a new healing technique, and are ready to heal the world. We may or may not attract a lot of clients. The numbers are irrelevant. The important thing is that we are following our passion, and we are on the spiritual path. Whether we have success with our healing techniques is irrelevant because of the eastern philosophical truth that we must be detached from the fruits of our labor, the effort is its own reward. When we become attached to the outcome of our healing practice or how much we earn, suffering will surely follow. When we subject ourselves to constant suffering, the art of healing begins to lose its luster and that day job starts to wax in the light of nostalgia.

            So we join healing circles, prayer circles, the Association of the Galactic Light Workers Local No. 111-1. We spend our (now) free time sending healing energy to those who have never heard of us and definitely don’t want it. We meditate and emanate for the injured and starving of the world, the riots in Egypt, conflicts that never seem to cease around the globe. It never gets any better. Then we decide that we need more training or a different teacher to jump start our careers and to get the money flowing in, because the savings account is looking a little bare. So we take the last of our savings to attend the weeklong advanced student Grand Convention of Evolved Light Beings, certain that this will transform our lives into bliss and financial security. We become 12th degree masters of the shining sword of Isis knowing that this will guaranty our enlightment and omniscience. Our lives may improve; they may not. The problem is that there are some spiritual principles (teachings) that they don’t tell us when we take Spiritual Healing 101.

(1) DOUBT.   Doubt is the great ego weapon that keeps us in suffering no matter what we do. We could be in our day job, a relationship, a beginning healer or a needy client. If the healer holds any doubt about their ability then they can forget about helping their clients. We need to do the best we can with reverence and respect. If they heal, great! If they don’t heal and accuse you of being a fake, great! It is all about having an experience. It has nothing to do with the client. If the client has doubt, that is beyond our control. There is nothing we can do about it. Depending on the level of our doubt, they can be healed or not. We could be the greatest healer ever born on the planet and we still would not be able to help someone with enough doubt. So get ready, we will not heal anyone that doesn’t want it or doesn’t believe in it.

(2) DESTINY.  If it is our destiny to be a healer, we will be provided for. If it is not our destiny to be a healer, it doesn’t matter how hard we work, train, meditate, practice or want it, the universe will let us know we need to be elsewhere. It is hard to remember sometimes that it is the ego that tells us we need to be healers. It is the ego that tells us that our day job isn’t good enough. It may be that we have a strong urge to be a healer, we have psychic powers, or we talk to dead people. That is the ego talking. The only purpose I have ever found for us to be on this planet is to play the game of life and have fun doing it. We get further down the life path when we help other people without expectation of reward or recognition.  We do it just because that is part of the plan. The world needs clerks, lawyers, nurses, construction workers, cab drivers, too. The world needs a lot more spiritual lawyers, politicians, judges, soldiers, and police, than it needs more spiritual healers.

(3) WE ARE NOT THE DOER.  We do not heal anybody. What we do is hold space and time for our clients to heal themselves. That is why doubt is such a block to healing. If the client is lazy or is invested in being sick (even if they swear they want to heal), they will not heal. The fact that we need the fee more than we want to practice spiritual integrity makes us do the healing anyway and then we feel inept or unworthy when they don’t heal. If we know the client won’t heal because they don’t want to heal, and we do a healing anyway, suffering is sure to follow.

(4) DON’T GIVE A HEALING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T ASKED FOR IT. This is the biggest trap we fall into. We all feel for those less fortunate than us, but to take action and send a healing to someone that doesn’t know we are doing it or has asked for it activates the ego and causes great suffering. The first thing we forget that those who are suffering, including us, created all of the suffering of the world. This is their karma and there are consequences for those who interfere with the orderly operation of karma. If we interfere with the operation of karma, it has to go somewhere, and it goes to us. So the next time we want to go send healing to someone we don’t know and haven’t been asked to heal, get ready, because the karma that caused their suffering will come to our door. Are you ready for that? If we want to help those people, then we must heal ourselves and stop looking at the problem. We have to fill ourselves with love and allow grace to radiate out from our hearts to those that need it. That is far more effective than healing circles or meditation groups who send healing out into the world.

(5) COMMON SENSE OVER SPIRITUAL SENSE.  The reality is there are a lot of healers competing for client dollars. Hopefully in the years to come we will see these healers pulling together in a cooperative way to provide services to those that need it. Until then, understand that very few people get rich in the spiritual world. That is the nature of the spiritual world, it detaches from the material world. So if you don’t have the resources, don’t quit your day job! If you are in a relationship, it is a fact that a lot of relationships end when one or both members start evolving. It does happen that both members of the relationship can evolve at the same rate and stay together. I hope that is so for you.

          Enlightenment comes to those who call for it. It is our birthright. We do not need to quit our day jobs and join a monastery or cloister. We do not have to be psychic or see stuff other people don’t see.  Most of that stuff is the ego anyway. The best way to live an enlightened life is to help those who ask, be compassionate, listen sincerely, speak kindly to others and smile. I am always surprised how many people help others and them by doing that. 

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

PAIN AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Reprinted from PainPathways Magazine

           For the last 11 years,  I have been a spiritual/energy/faith healer. Earlier in my life, I was a trial attorney in North Carolina, from a family filed with lawyers and medical doctors. My twin brother is a retired medical director of the Guilford County  (NC) Health Department. My background and training would normally dismiss energy or spiritual healing as stuff of wishful thinking or downright quackery. I have discovered that alternative medical techniques are effective and complementary to medical science. This article examines how and why alternative medicine works.

          Most spiritual healers believe that illness, injury or dis-ease is caused by emotional and mental suffering that in turn is caused by the ignorance or misunderstanding of the patient. The suffering causes stress on the body that leads to illness, disease or injury. By helping the patient/client with alternative medical techniques the patient/client can heal their underlying stress and oftentimes “spontaneous remission” occurs.

          The primary difference between the philosophy of medical science and the philosophy of alternative medicine is that medical science seeks an outside cure through drugs, therapy or change of lifestyle while alternative medicine believes that the patient/client heals him/herself. The client believes that the alternative medicine techniques will help them heal, and subconsciously the body does just that.

         Alternative healers seek to put the responsibility of the healing upon the patient/client, not on the healer. Ethics would require the healer to inform the patient/client that the patient/client or a higher power will be doing the healing, not the healer. I always tell my clients that if they heal, thank God, not me. If they don’t heal, blame God, not me.

        I have seen clients instantly heal themselves of all sorts of serious disease, including cancer, hepatitis-C, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, nerve disorders and herpes; as well as broken bones and other serious injuries.  I take no credit for healing, I simply helped the client heal themselves.

         I am certified in at least a dozen alternative healing methodologies, including Reiki, Rising Star, Divine Intervention, H’onoponopono, Singular Cell, Theta Healing, Akashic Record Healing, EFT, and others, some more metaphysical than others. Boiled down to their common denominators, three elements must be present in any healing (whether traditional medicine or spiritual healing). These elements are similar to the physics of electricity, which requires a positive pole, a negative pole and a ground for the energy to flow. Similarly, healing requires a doctor/healer (the positive pole), the patient/client (the negative pole), and the participation of a higher source, whether it is called Source, God, prayer, whatever. I realize that there are a few atheists out there who are physicians or healers, which isn’t relevant to whether the divinity or grounding element exists. I love the line, “I am an atheist, Thank God!”

         When all three of these elements are brought together, healing usually occurs. For the diehard rebels to the notion of a divine element at play, consider the medical arts as the divine spark in the triad. Whether it is skillful surgery or diagnosis, these arts are inspired and therefore divine. Most healers make a declaration or prayer before the session to connect with this divine energy or inspiration. It helps set the tone of the healing and gets the energy (juices?) flowing.

          Oftentimes a client will not heal simply because they subconsciously do not want to heal. They get attention or sympathy from their condition, or they can avoid work or responsibility by being ill. It also is a subconscious way of controlling their environment, family or friends. It is difficult to help these people, they would rather be sick than healthy. I am not saying that the disease is entirely psychosomatic, there may be biomedical causes for the symptoms. However, the patient/client will not recover as long as they perceive an advantage (consciously or unconsciously) to being sick.

         One of the most profound examples of how the mind affects treatment and recovery is the effect of hypnosis. Hypnosis can be a substitute for anesthesia without the side effects of anesthesia. There are many reported cases where hypnotized patients underwent anesthesia free surgery and healed rapidly without complications. M. Marcuse,  The Use of Hypnosis in Pain Management—A Review of the Current State of Knowledge, www.psychwww.com (June, 1993); Hilgard, Hypnosis in the Relief of Pain, (Brunner/Mazel, Inc. 1994).

         Hypnosis as a tool for pain management is much more widespread in Europe. Dr. Jack Stanley Gibson was an Irish surgeon who performed over 4000 surgeries using hypnosis without anesthesia. These included amputations, open-heart surgery and eye surgeries. Gibson claimed to have healed himself of basal cell cancer and varicose veins with hypnosis. Gibson, Memoirs of an Irish Surgeon—An Enchanted Life ( 1999. )

        Alternative medicine healers understand that how a person thinks and the types of thoughts experienced by the patient/client has everything to do with the length and severity of illness. This is based upon ancient spiritual texts such as the Yoga Sutras and the Mahabharata.  These were written over two thousand years ago and examine the true source of suffering, i.e. the mind. The Yoga Sutra focuses on the different kinds of thoughts and behavior that creates suffering (pain).  Basically, thought focused on negative circumstances and influences will create pain, while thought focused on positive circumstances and influences reduces or eliminates pain. Thoughts of lack, victim-hood, guilt, shame, blame, gossip, resentment or lack creates or enhances pain. Thoughts of gratitude, acceptance, praise, forgiveness and abundance reduce or eliminate pain.

        This can be demonstrated by the subjective perception of pain. If one were to win a multimillion-dollar lottery, the perception of pain would be distracted by the positive thoughts of receiving all of that money. One could actually jab a needle into someone who had received the news of his or her winnings and the pain probably would be hardly noticeable. Conversely, if one were to receive unpleasant news, such as the loss of a loved one, a job, or terminal illness, the pain probably would be perceived much more intensely. Even more interesting are the accounts of patients with multiple personality disorders, where one personality would be perfectly healthy with perfect vision, while other personalities in the same person might be quite ill or demonstrate poor vision.

         Alternative energetic healing techniques are quite controversial, oftentimes having no scientific proof of effectiveness and based solely on anecdotal testimony. Somehow, someway, however, the patient/client who was once ill becomes healthy. Sometimes medical science attempts to explain this phenomenon by questioning the original diagnosis as erroneous with the patient not being sick in the first place. I once had a patient in Hong Kong who had been diagnosed with cancerous tumors in her brain. Immediately after a treatment with me, the tumors disappeared. Her doctors, who had been treating her with chemotherapy, concluded that their original diagnosis had been in error and she had not had the tumors in the first place. Their position was quite risky given the drastic treatments the patient had endured. It would have been far simpler to agree that somehow the patient had healed.

          As previously stated, it is the patients who heal themselves. When I perform a healing, I discuss this with the client, and oftentimes observe “miraculous” results by simply giving the client permission to heal themselves. I find most people have been trained since early childhood that they have to ask for permission before they can have anything. I have always felt that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. When the client understands they have the ability and permission to heal, they heal quite easily. 

         Many physicians understand that patients have to take responsibility for their recovery, and to cooperate and participate in their recovery. When a patient engages in their recovery, they begin to believe their part in the healing process. The belief of the patient/client that they will heal is one of the mystical aspects of the healing process. I believe that anyway that the physician healer can access this aspect within the patient/client goes a long way to healing the patient/client. What difference does it make that the healing process involves drugs, hot wax, or shamanistic feathers and dancing? If the patient believes in the process, that belief energizes the healing process.

        Most patients that come to me have serious doubts or reservations about traditional medical doctors and treatment. They perceive that the doctors have misdiagnosed their symptoms or that the recommended treatment is too long, too painful or too expensive. Quite literally they want someone to waive a “magic wand” over their problem and make it go away. The recommended medical treatment is too hard;  or, they want instant results (gratification). They are quite willing to believe that my techniques will heal them while traditional medicine might not.

          It is my position with these clients that they cannot dis-empower themselves to me and they have to believe that they will heal. Many times we will discuss possible mental/emotional causes for their disease. Intuitive diagnostics is a hotly debated topic, and I do not spend a lot of time on that. One of the leading works on this topic is by Louise Hayes, You Can Heal Your Life (1984). It sets forth that all illness is related to specific types of emotional or mental issues that can be determined by the type of illness or where it occurs on the body. When I can get a client to understand that their pain or illness is not some unkind twist of fate, or something more than an unfortunate symptom of disease or injury, they are more inclined to heal. 

          I use various techniques to help the client perceive that something is “happening” during the healing. This is more a distraction for their belief processes. From an objective viewpoint, I use techniques that match with the client’s belief systems and thought processes.  I would not use a rattle and incense for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I would use it for someone with a South American or Native American heritage. These decisions are usually intuitive in nature, oftentimes I can’t give logical explanations for my methods. I only know that they resonate with the beliefs of the client and therefore produce results. Again, it is the connection created between the client, the healer and the divine that produces results.

        It is gratifying that medical science is recognizing the effectiveness of prayer or other spiritual processes on the patient/client. As with all arts, whether it is medical or spiritual, there are different levels of professionalism found in practitioners. Unfortunately, as in the medical profession, there are healers that do harm. It is important for clients to do their research and make responsible decisions about their health care. I am careful to instruct clients to follow their physician’s recommendations and to seek medical help if they are experiencing discomfort or serious symptoms. Pain is subjective to some extent, and can be helped with complementary healing.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE POWER OF WOW!

         I have been teaching people all over the world for almost twelve years about all sorts of magic. The magic of healing, the magic of prayer, the magic of focused thought. One of the most popular teachings, which I have given over the years, is one of the most simple, yet effective, magic words.  That word is WOW! There are several reasons why I believe it is one of the original magic words on the planet.

         First, every language recognizes this word. It does not have a translation in any language. It means the same thing in every language, the expression of wonder and amazement. Children use the word, adults use the word, and everyone uses the word. It may be the only word in the world that is universally recognized anywhere you go. The only other words that come close are Momma and Poppa. These are words that are the first to be uttered by humans.

         Second, it has the same effect on everyone who hears it. Imagine walking down the street and hearing someone yelling “WOW!!” It makes you stop, look and wonder about what is making that person say “WOW!”  It changes the energy of whatever is happening in the vicinity of the sound to one of childlike wonder. Try it sometime in a tense situation. When you say “WOW!” all of the tension dissipates and everyone feels better. MAGIC!

         I teach people to say “WOW!” whenever they need to detach from an emotion or a situation. Imagine that you are looking at all of your bills and you have no plan on how to pay them all. If you say “WOW!” it changes the emotion and feeling of the moment. If you go farther, and say “WOW, I am really overspending!” it allows you to disconnect from guilt and shame and start looking for solutions.

         If you are overwhelmed, one of the best ways to get grounded and looking for solutions is simply to say “WOW!” If you say “WOW, I need to change,” you will change. Suppose you are really angry at someone, if you say “WOW, I am really angry at that person,” the anger will go away. If you are feeling guilty about something you have done, if you say “WOW, I am feeling really guilty about this!” the guilt will go away.

         What the word does is give you space to detach and reconnect with your higher self, your divine self. If you are afraid, that blocks you from connecting from your divine self. You can’t do it if you are trapped in the fear. If you say “WOW!” you can detach from the feelings of fear and find a solution, or at least detach from the fear long enough to get grounded.

         I oftentimes play a mental game called “the worst case scenario.” In that game my ego/mind likes to think of the worst things that can happen in any given situation, especially the situations over which I have no control. I can get down right depressed if I obsessively and compulsively focus on all of the terrible things that could happen. When I catch myself playing this game, I say “WOW, I am playing the worst case scenario game again!” When I say “WOW” I can reboot my mind and start thinking that everything is perfect and I can’t wait to see how the universe deals with this situation. I actually am able to start feeling grateful for the opportunity to let God/Universe surprise me with a solution that I could never think of in a lifetime.

         Therefore, given the fact that saying the word “WOW” can change my perspective, my attitude, and get me back on a positive life track, I believe “WOW” is one of the most powerful words in the world. Try it the next time you are afraid, guilty or overwhelmed. I would love to hear if “WOW” creates the same magic in your life that it does in mine!

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE WORKSHOP OF NOT GOING TO A WORKSHOP

            The other day I found myself in a different kind of space. I had just found out that a workshop I wanted to go to was already filled up. For the first time in six years, I was not able to go to my favorite teacher’s workshop. I must admit I was not comfortable about that situation. So I had to discover what was going on in the battlefield of my mind. Most people would have just shrugged it off, but to me it was much more serious than that.

            The first step was to be still. This was not easy, I was in the space of “my guru walked by me and ignored me. He didn’t give me a flower.” In other words, some deeply buried feelings of unworthiness, rejection, and abandonment were coming up to be healed. It did not feel pleasant. Had I done something wrong? Was I being punished? Why were some people lucky enough to go and I wasn’t? Was life really that capricious and unfair? Luckily I didn’t have to experience that nonsense for long, I quickly realized that I was in an old thinking pattern that was making me a victim.

            The second step was to look for the lesson. After all, I had created this situation somehow for my own enlightenment. I am still contemplating that one, new revelations arise constantly. I marvel at how the lessons that we least want are the ones that teach us so much. For me, I think one of the lessons from this situation is that not going to a workshop is a workshop. Sometimes we get more out of not getting what we want than getting to go to a workshop. I know that I talk with a lot of people who can’t afford to go to all of the workshops that they would like and that makes them feel a certain way. I have compassion for anyone that is attached to going to workshops like I am. This is a sure source of suffering.

            So the third step in the process was to detach. The contemplation of this little mouse poop of a situation has brought me some valuable insights.  First, I am not going to die if I don’t get to a workshop. If it isn’t my karma, it just isn’t my karma. I have to learn to love myself even when I don’t get what I want. The most valuable lesson I have learned from this is that I am in control of my suffering. I create my suffering, and I can let go of it. I can hang on to it as long as I want, and I can return to my bliss anytime I want. Sometimes being a victim can be so much fun though, even when it doesn’t feel all that great.

            I was quite mystified as to why I felt so abandoned and rejected because I was not invited to this workshop. After all, I go to many workshops and teach many myself. To be able to spend that time by myself and search for the cause of these irrational feelings was a gift that I finally accepted. I later found out that this particular workshop was not for me, the teacher had carefully picked the people that were invited to go and they were in great need of healing, much more than me. I did get the opportunity to look at my desire to belong, to be apart of the group and why I felt like I was being excluded when the reality was there was only so much space and I did not need the workshop. So I finally concluded that it was all in divine timing and destiny. I did not miss anything, I actually was able to learn some valuable lessons about myself.

            The final step for me was to be grateful for the lesson and the teacher. This includes myself. So by being grateful for not being able to go to the workshop, I transformed the energy of being a victim into being a creator. When I do that, I go from suffering to bliss. Like the old saying goes, “life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us.”

             I am actually feeling pretty good about not going to a workshop. The workshop of not going to a workshop was very helpful.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF

Having been in the wellness and healing field for nearly twenty years, I’ve read many self-improvement books and articles, attended many empowerment and enlightenment workshops and facilitated countless healings. I’ve also studied Eastern philosophy extensively, mainly because it offers solutions to the issues most found in Western consciousness. I’ve found that the most central concept to all of what I have studied is self-love, and that it’s mastery is directly connected to our wellbeing and happiness. This begs the question, “do I love myself?” and “how do I love myself?” I share a few suggestions from a book I wrote that explores this important question, entitled, “What is Love?”

When we love ourselves, we don’t criticize, regret our past, or feel inadequate. We do not allow negative feelings to dwell in our hearts nor fear-based thoughts to dwell in our minds. This does not mean that we ignore our feelings, rather that we deal with them. We do not experience fear of the future; we choose to experience excitement about possibilities and stay firmly planted in the present moment as much as possible. We do not blame others for how we feel or what we experience; we acknowledge the truth in every situation and take responsibility for our creations.

We cultivate the mindset that we are good enough. Good enough for our job, relationships, for love and affection, and for abundance. If someone breaks up with us, or we lose our job, do we feel inadequate, scared or ashamed? If we love ourselves, we accept that we’re starting a new chapter in our life and things are changing. Change is natural, suffering is optional. There is no right or wrong, good or bad—just the tag you choose. No one’s to blame or at fault and there’s nothing to fear. When we love our self, change can be fun.

When we love ourselves, we control our thoughts and are mindful of self-talk, doing our best to keep it positive.  The same holds true about others; we do not speak harshly about anyone; we acknowledge the oneness in all and know that how we think about others is a reflection of how we think about ourselves. When we’re not distracted by self-criticism, we can focus on better loving our self and serving others.  I read the other day that we should “always be kind to people, you never know what demons they may be battling.” This holds true with ourselves as well, so be kinder to yourself. We may not be able to control what thoughts go through our subconscious, but we can choose what we focus on. We can focus on positive or negative thoughts/emotions. If we don’t resist the thoughts that go through our minds and remember to focus on the positive ones, we will perceive life as a positive experience. This requires effort and discipline.

Most of us cannot master our thoughts by ourselves. We need teachers or tools to help us focus and train our minds and master our thoughts. We can seek happiness or misery. How we think in every moment determines which one we experience.

Our minds work in predicable ways. We experience an event and then start thinking about it. We’ve been trained to analyze events from our perspective and filter it through our belief systems. Then mental patterns kick in, and we enter into a spiral pattern of thinking, which can either spiral down to depression or spiral up to joy. We control which way we go. If we think positively, that is self-love. If we think critically and negatively, that is self-hate. If you find yourself feeling depressed or unhappy, you are in the downward spiral. Work to shake off depressing thoughts and think positively.

As soon as you notice that you’re behaving in ways that are not in alignment with what you want, change those behaviors. Life can become a game of finding happiness and love—the two most sought after experiences we can have—within yourself. Happiness lies in loving ourselves, accepting what is, and is not dependent on getting “our way”.  Happiness will not be found in someone else—whatever others think is none of our business.

Get there fast by replacing words: Instead of “fear”, think “excitement”. “I am excited” instead of “I am scared”. For “unhappy”, use “happy”. “That makes me happy,” instead of  “That makes me unhappy”. “The Divine” instead of “No One”.  “The Divine loves me,” instead of “No one loves me.” Substitute “for” for “to”, as in, ‘this is happening for me, not to me. Make a list of your own negative vocabulary to change. The effect may be instantaneous or gradual, but I promise that your life will change as a result. Because you’ll be loving yourself more.