August 2011 Newsletter

August 2011 Events

In the coming weeks we are hosting the following events - (click on the green wording for more detailed information on related website pages.)

Seminar on "The Issue of Bullying” Monday August 22
Free Introductory Talk Tuesday August 23
Standing Tall Anti-Bullying Course (10 weeks) starts Monday August 29
Body Mind 1 Day Retreat Sunday September 4
Mens Group Tuesday September 6

Please feel free to contact us if you wish to enquire or book in for any of the above events.

Happiness and its Epigenetic Implications

If one looks at all the behaviours and actions of human beings, regardless of sex or culture, then you may rightly say that at the end of the day, all their actions come down to one of two categories. We either are consciously or unconsciously driven to find and maintain our happiness, or we are seeking to avoid and stay away from suffering or unhappiness.

If one looks at how we collectively go about achieving these aims we find that our chosen paths often create the basis for suffering and not happiness. Happiness is sometimes described as en embodied feeling which arises based on your values, emotions, expectations and beliefs. The effect is to promote a state of feeling good in the moment about yourself and those with you in that moment.

Repeated studies around happiness have found that one’s expectations, values, beliefs and relationships are the key determinants of how successful a person will be in finding happiness in their lives. In addition a person who has found meaning, purpose and a passion in life will also create the basis for the attainment of happiness.  This normally means that person having developed a personal code of ethics and values that guides the choices of actions and experiences that one undertakes in life.

The choices we make each day are reinforcing those bodymind habits that create happiness and wellness, or illness and suffering. The way we perceive our environment and ourself as part of our environment then controls our health and fate through our Epigenetic processes.

When we live from negative limiting beliefs we actually create the Epigenetic basis for our cells to create stress based variants of our genes. These variants are now being linked long term to many of the modern day epidemics in society such as cancers, diabetes, obesity, immune system disorders to name a few.

However if we were to change our beliefs, conclusions, and ideas about ourselves and life for the better then again we influence our Epigenetic mechanisms to produce gene variants that foster and sustain wellness. We also switch off the basis for any disease which was generated and being sustained by the same Epigenetic mechanisms when they were responding from the negative stressed stimulus.

We also reinforce this positive wellness trend by adopting actions and experiences which create feelings of happiness. We can choose a pleasurable experience like taking a holiday as part of what can create the conditions to feel happiness, but pleasure does not guarantee a resulting happiness. It can in fact lead to further suffering.

Critically it is our expectations about ourself, others, and the choices and experiences that we make, which we can directly work with and shape to create happiness. Some people set unrealistic expectations about themself, others and life. The fantasy of perfection is perhaps the worst as it is by its nature unobtainable, yet it’s the most common mental distortion I find people buy into.

Our youth, beauty and perfection based society sets up many of us to run on this treadmill of disappointment and self hatred. No-one is perfect by the standards of our superficial, narcissistic society yet without an internal set of ethics and values many people look outside themselves for a value system to define themselves against. What society promotes in this way is destructive and anti-life.

We need to understand that happiness exists in a panorama of other feelings, moods and states of being which are of themselves a reflection of the ever changing world. Society promotes a false reality that people should be happy all the time and medicated if that is not happening for you. We each need to have valid expectations about life that along the way we will face loss of parents and loved ones, betrayal, losing, errors of judgement, grief, anger, rage, relationship failure, accidents and illness.

What happiness becomes is a baseline state that one leaves from time to time as we face life issues, or other feelings, moods and states arise in us. When we experience these and let them pass we return to our baseline state of happiness that is stable and abiding. Having such wisdom and expectations about life will allow you to be a vibrant human being who energetically flows through a spectrum of emotions.

The key fault of chasing happiness as somehow being “out there” leads to a frantic, anxious but useless chase of an illusion that will not lead to any stable or abiding happiness. Such an approach will create both a demand on others, objects or experiences that they make us happy. They either do not achieve this at all, or only in unstable ways, and they eventually cease, die, or leave us, creating abandonment and suffering.

The second key aspect of happiness that we can directly engage with is finding our passion in life and engaging with it in a way that brings happiness. This often manifests in two ways. Firstly a person creates a hobby or recreational interest in what is “in flow” in their life, and which becomes an effortless, stress less, curious place of fun, learning and growth. Secondly a person learns to harness this “flow” from this pursuit and turn it into their “work” or way of making a living in the world.

If you cannot forgive then see a therapist who works directly with emotional release of states of anger and rage. By psycho-dynamically working through the issue and “having your protest” you can bring yourself to completion with such emotional based issues, and then Epigenetically move into wellness. Your ANS will return to its natural Parasympathetic or “happiness” mode over time by working through your issues from childhood, or from adult dynamics such as relationships or some betrayal or trauma.

At the end of the day happiness is both possible and a choice that we each must make for ourselves. If we chose to be victims to our lives then we disempower ourself and give our power to whatever person, object, experience or dynamic we blame for why we are not or cannot be happy. Choose another set of expectations about yourself and about life, and watch your happiness return over time.

In the timeless words of Buddhist leader and monk Thich Nat Hanh, “as we cultivate happiness in ourselves, we also nourish happiness in those we love”. Put another way by Pope John Paul 2, “see everything, overlook a great deal, and improve a little”. We do have choice but if were to believe some sections of the media, science and medicine, then we would succumb to being victims to our inherited biology, our past events, traumas and mistakes in this life.

Many people hold a belief system that one cannot really change, and so use this excuse to not look further than one’s own current condition and state in life. We now are coming into full awareness of just how much we are either conscious or unconscious participants and creators in our own evolution via our own body-mind linked processes of Epigenetics.

The new science of Epigenetics relates to how at the very heart of every cell in our body, we have mechanisms by which environmental stimulus interacts with our genome and controls genetic activity. The critical stimulus or mechanism in all this is our perception and therefore our state of mind or state of happiness with our reality. We get to choose happiness or unhappiness even when we do not get to choose our external conditions or people we associate or work with.

We are in fact responsible for the type of stimulus which our cells take on, make sense of, and react to with a response via using a variation of a basic gene to help us adapt to our perceived reality. This can take us in either a healthy or an unhealthy direction in terms of our wellness, and it is also occurring in every moment and influenced from both our conscious and unconscious mind signals into our body.

Remember that our conscious mind will power is very limited and operates at about 5 – 10% of our brain power. This is not the place from which to change our realities nor old bad habits of mind as attempted by many self-help books and Transformation gurus of our age. The pre-frontal cortex of the waking conscious mind requires us to keep a constant vigil on our thoughts and habits from this approach, lest we become momentarily unconscious and expose our minds to the 90 – 95% power of the subconscious mind.

This is in fact what happens to us all the time and creates the basis for our unconscious negative or limiting beliefs to quietly emerge and takeover our waking reality. We do not even feel or see this happening until is running us, and that may have been occurring for anywhere from a few seconds to an hour. This sabotages any attempt to use the will to impose lasting change on oneself. Most people using these approaches eventually give up and feel worse, or simply delude themself that they have changed.

Neuroscience call this way of being the “top-down” process of mind where our waking mind runs our reality from conscious momentarily but then can be interrupted at any time by the “bottom-up” process of mind stemming from the old and unconscious reptilian and limbic parts of our brain. These two “old brains” hold all our implicit and procedural memories and beliefs which are simply pushed into the consciousness space from time to time.

The real basis from change must be from the source of the negative or limiting reality and so this means we must be able to get into the unconscious “old brains” and change their content, for we cannot change the process whereby its content regularly “refreshes” our conscious pre-frontal cortex brain processes. Likewise Cognitive Behavioural Techniques(CBT) are not proven to be effective in accessing the older and deeper states of these other two brains, which have emotional and bodily linked interactions.

The subconscious mind is like a pre-programmed computer full of scripts that we picked up along the way as we lived life to the point of where we are today. Basic medicine has shown that when our mind perceives that our environment is safe and supportive, our cells are preoccupied with the growth and maintenance of the body. In stressful situations the cells forego their normal growth functions and adopt a defensive “protection” stance where the cells produce defensive proteins, neurotransmitters, and substances.

When this occurs as an event we soon resume normal function with limited negative effect. When we learn or adopt a reality that this is how life is as a victim, then we create the basis for ongoing production of such defensive posture cellular output in the body.

This simply leads to disease and illness over time, and can become the habitual pattern of a person over time who swaps wellness for a neutral state of “absence of illness”. Many people now wrongly equate an absence of disease or illness as a healthy state of wellness.  This is a false and compromised view of bodymind health. Wellness is far more than a state of absence from disease.

A person can change their mind and their perceptions of themselves and life, and so in turn make a life change where they start to overcome what may be a life lived thus far with compromised health. Somatic Psychotherapy such as IBMP Integrative Body Mind Psychotherapy is well placed to facilitate such change. Studies have shown that being able to take a person from their “fight or flight” or Sympathetic state of the Autonomic Nervous System(ANS), into their equivalent Parasympathetic state or relaxed wellness, is a key factor in changing one’s perceptual bias at the cellular level.

It is also important that a person deal with repressed emotional traumas from the past, as the emotions of a person are a primary perception signaller in the bodymind of a person. Working at an embodied and conscious emotional level where cognitive or mental distortions and false beliefs are made conscious and changed, are the recommended holistic approach to effecting deep and lasting change over time in a person. This approach creates the basis for positive Epigenetic mechanism realignment in a person.

IBMP works deliberately and systematically with clients in this way to overturn psychosomatic(emotional based) and psychogenic (mental based) bodily illness and disease. Epigenetic scientists are now stating that a majority of major and lesser chronic recurring illnesses in the body appear to have either a primary or secondary contributing cause of psychosomatic or psychogenic influences.  This makes sense and aligns to Epigenetic science and their documented mechanisms.

Empowerment and wellness are two key goals of IBMP when working with clients. If you are stuck in victimhood, or dogged with health issues that just bump along the divide between the state of disease or absence of disease, but never lifts into wellness, it is time you looked harder at what reality you have created for yourself, and where that is taking you.

Click this link for the online version of this article titled The Epigenetics of Human Happiness.

The Role of Play in Sustaining Happiness and Mental Health in Adults

Happiness is a topic that provokes much comment and advice. The search for happiness has become more central in many people’s lives as they satisfy their survival needs in our society and start to seek actualization along the more altruistic parts of life. Despite the rise in living standards across Western society as a whole, and in Australia as a notable change in lifestyle since WW2, many people are still manifestly unhappy.

There is a part of the human brain known as the Play-Exploration system which fosters curiosity, exploration, play and learning. This system greatly assists the development of children but critically it has now been shown to be a part of ourself that should be engaged continually in adult life.

As a companion to the general article on happiness found elsewhere in this newsletter,  I recommend you find the time to read and understand how your state of being may be compromised by your own neglect to play, explore and investigate in unstructured activities in your lifestyle.

Click this link for the online version of this article titled The Role of Play and Exploration in Human Happiness.

Bullying and CyberBullying Update

We have been approached to run the Anti-Bullying seminar again this month. We had strong positive feedback from attendees to the seminar we held in July and now have further requests for us to run this seminar again. In light of these requests we are again hosting the Issue of Bullying seminar on Monday August 22.

We also kick-off the first intake of our “Standing Tall” Anti-Bullying/Cyber-Bullying programme on Monday August 29.  This comprehensive 10 week programme will involve 2 sessions of Cognitive and Behavioural training and education, followed by 8 sessions of confidence embodiment via posture, presencing, grounding, and martial arts defensive training.

Attendance at this program costs $350 which admits one adult plus one child for the full programme. The programme can be attended by one parent or guardian with their child (6 years old and above), or simply by an adult who wants to deal with adult bullying. The cost is the same regardless.

Our “Standing Tall” anti-bullying programme is being run in conjunction with Lance Johnson, Director of Defensive Arts Academy, Bellevue.  Numbers are limited and so please contact us ASAP to express your interest.  Whether you or someone you know has suffered bullying or cyber-bullying as an adult or as a child, or you recognise yourself as a bully or cyber-bully, help is now available from us.

Enjoy your month!

Richard Boyd

Director, Energetics Institute

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