January 10, 2011

Healing with the Mind

The mind is so powerful that it alone can help you heal. This requires trust in yourself and your ability to focus your thoughts on what you want and how you want to feel. In each moment you can notice where your mind has gone, whether to worries, fears, judgments, and other negativity, or to thoughts that are more closely aligned with what you want for yourself.

An American named Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) was nicknamed “The Sleeping Prophet” for his ability to enter a sleep-like state and answer the health questions of thousands of people who came to him for answers. Although he died 65 years ago, his teachings are widespread today, with hundreds of books written about him and his work. The Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach continues to teach what he brought forth from his trance state.

Although there are thousands of valuable pieces of information collected from his work, there is a theme that runs through his teachings. Cayce placed an emphasis on keeping a balanced mental attitude in order to maintain wellness. In one of his readings he said, “Through diet and exercise the greater portion of all disturbances may be equalized and overcome, IF the right mental attitude is kept.”

Cayce also said, “What we think and what we eat – combined together – make what we are, physically and mentally.” The question then becomes how do we maintain the right mental attitude and turn our minds toward thoughts that heal? Can this become a habit and if so, how?

The first step is to have an ongoing practice of noticing and managing your thoughts. This isn’t easy to do if you’re addicted to the television culture, where mass media sends a never ending stream of negative concepts into your brain. Or, if you like to get online and read the daily headlines followed by stories of horrific occurrences around the world. Or, if you like to “trauma share” with friends and colleagues about the annoying things that happen to you.

In the case of serious physical illness, we might find ourselves in a doctor’s office listening to negative possibilities and statistics that don’t sound promising. Because we are susceptible to these predictions, we often believe the bad news and accept it as fact when it isn’t. This can hinder the ability to heal because the mind is powerful enough to create what it believes.

We hear stories about people on their “deathbeds” whose families don’t tell them what the doctors have said about their dire situation. The person gradually gets well and goes on to live a full life. The mind didn’t have the opportunity to grasp onto the negative concept of doom, and instead believed in wellness. Our inability to really integrate this into mainstream medicine is a huge hindrance to our nation’s overall health and wellbeing. If we were masters over our own minds we could enhance and improve the entire medical system.

There are very few more important things you can do than to shift your mind to the positive. Any negative thought can be transformed by focusing on its opposite. Writing down the opposite thought, even drawing it out, helps change the negative thought pattern. Notice what you think about. Are you hooked in to the latest gory or fear-based story on the nightly news? Do you have people around you who enjoy talking in negative terms, going over and over the same dark topics? Do you do this yourself? If so, noticing these times and making an effort to change them is your path to making a positive mind a habit.

The best conversation I had over the past holidays was with a friend at a dinner party who said, “I’m focusing all of my attention on seeing the best in people. I’m simply not talking negative about things. My challenge is to practice this even when others around me are being negative.” Isn’t that the challenge for us all.

That was one conversation I’ve had lately that could have carried into the wee hours of the morning. When you find another person who’s on board with you, it is inspiring, uplifting, and life-affirming. This is where true healing begins.

Clean Up Toxic Indoor Air

Most commercial cleaning products, cosmetics, and scented items (including perfumes) are sickening. They poison people daily.

These toxins are on floors, walls, countertops, beds, furniture, towels, clothing, and are applied directly to the skin. What happens in your body when they enter your bloodstream? Do they accumulate or combine together to become more potent? Do they cause rashes, allergies, respiratory problems, headaches, liver, kidney, and brain damage while assisting mutant cells in their quest to multiply? In many cases, yes they do. This is why we must think for ourselves when it comes to using these products.

The other day I saw a television commercial showing an attractive woman spraying an “air freshener” around her living room and on her sofa. Later, I saw another advertisement for a so-called air freshener that releases a mist when someone walks by. Since perfume, cosmetics, and scented items are heavily advertised by beautiful people on television and in print, their use seems perfectly normal, however, it is far from desirable.

A well-scented, squeaky-clean home and body is lovely. But to obtain both from harsh chemicals is damaging to humans and animals, not to mention expensive. The majority of products cause toxic indoor air quality that is worse than outdoor air pollution. Commercial air “fresheners” themselves contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many of which have been proven to cause cancer. You might as well spray acetone, isobutene, propane, petroleum distillates, toluene, tar, lead, arsenic, radon, and even ozone into your breathing space.

Many years ago I took a day and did a massive review of products in my house. I threw out trash cans full of toxic junk, much of it expensive department store cosmetics and perfumes along with far too many cleaning supplies. I also tossed scented candles and all those lovely smell-good bath and body products.

I began to search for organic, toxin-free replacements. There were virtually none in large department stores, boutiques, drug or grocery stores, which themselves smell of a harsh mix of chemicals from the goods they sell.

I learned to live with very few products. Shopping is simple, I’ve saved thousands of dollars and have taken a toxic load off my body. My number one household cleaning product? A large, inexpensive bottle of white vinegar which I mix with water and use for general cleaning.

As for air fresheners, if you can’t simply open windows and let fresh air inside then use an air purifier. If you want a great scent on yourself or in your house, use 100% pure essential oils that come from plants, trees, or flowers. You can also use an essential oil diffuser or mix a few drops of essential oils into a spray bottle filled with distilled water. Bring in green plants which naturally purify the air.

With the New Year here, it’s the perfect time to address your indoor air quality. How about making 2011 the year you become nontoxic? When you want to know about ingredients in any household product, see the Household Products Database maintained by the National Institutes of Health: www.HouseholdProducts.nlm.nih.gov or get the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the manufacturer’s website and look at the list of hazardous ingredients.

Learn more by reading How Everyday Products Make People Sick: Toxins at Home and in the Workplace by Paul D. Blanc. Note that many products labeled “all natural” and “organic” are just as toxic as the conventional ones. To learn more about natural cleaning solutions, including alternatives to bleach, read Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck.