WELCOME TO THIS BLOG


"All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." Chris Griscom, Spiritual Leader, Author

"Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion." Robert Schwartz, Author: Your Soul's Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born

"The Tao of Spiritual Partnership is a unique blend of wit and wisdom; Dr. Kortsch encourages us to take responsibility for our relationships, while recognizing and seizing the opportunities for our own personal spiritual growth." William Buhlman, Author of Adventures Beyond the Body

Friday, September 27, 2013

Facing the Sunshine


Some people are tired of the continual insistence on positivity that has appeared, particularly since the late 90's, some are truly inspired and motivated by it, others state - and rightly so in some cases - that such insistence on positivity keeps us from examining our more difficult feelings, but I believe there is also another angle to all of this that we must not forget and therefore must consciously acknowledge due to the potential high-reaching benefit it may have for all of us.

More than positivity, an attitude that determines that facing the sunshine may be better not only for my current state of mind, inner sense of well-being (and hence that of those whose lives touch mine), and also for the physiological condition of the very cells of my body, but over and above all of that, may also be extraordinarily influential (as demonstrated in neuro-scientific study after study), in changing the nature of the neural pathways in my brain.

I remember the world looking in horror (well, some of the world) in the mid to late 60's and early 70's at those women who were talking about building muscles. I mean, some gasped, they wanted toned thighs ... what could be less feminine than hard muscles in a woman's thighs? Well, obviously, not only did women in general adapt this new way of seeing their bodies, but it became clear that toned muscles helped the conditon of overall health in almost every arena of one's being.

Fathering men - husbands who chose to stay home with the baby instead of the wife - caused consternation at first, as did (and occasionally still do) women who chose not to have children, not to mention more obvious examples of racial bigotry that have fallen by the wayside in numerous countries, as well as gender and creed biases, to mention only a few. The more that large portions of the world begin to change their minds about how to think about some of these examples, the more we, as a global community change.

So back to our topic of facing the sunshine: being positive has a proven impact on neural pathways in the pre-frontal cortex, the state of those neural pathways has an impact on our way of being and feeling, and the more each of us becomes a human being filled with light and compassion (in some respects a consequence of facing the sunshine), the more our global community stands a chance of truly evolving on levels we can now only imagine.

How are you deciding to face the sunshine today?


For more about enhancing your neural pathways, gratitude, mindfulness, and beauty, as well as about making choices that can help you find love, and move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here


From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 


Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency



REWIRING THE SOUL


For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Reviews From the Back Cover:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre




My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is due out later this year. Here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction:

It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crossing the Dark Forest

 

Symbolizing the journey of awakening and spiritual quest, many writers, thinkers, poets, and philosophers, as well as spiritual leaders have made direct or oblique reference to the dark forest. One of my favorites is this quote from Joseph Campbell (The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Works - note that this link appears to take you to a new edition, although my own copy was purchased in 1992 - there is also a DVD, but it's very short):

You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else's path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else's way,
you are not going to realize
your potential.

This point about needing to make your own path in order to realize your potential is something I find so incredibly lacking in many current gatherings of seekers. It is precisely in the crossing of the dark forest and as you do so, in the making of your own path, that you find yourself. Whether you listen to a friend, spouse, or parent, whether it's a pastor, priest, guru, or rabbi, whether you participate in support groups, satsangs, or weekly discussion groups, think about what you begin to believe, practice, and follow, and search deeply inside to ensure that it is connected to you, and not just to the person who is telling you about it.

You may need to listen to many such speakers, read many books, and cross many desperately black places in your dark forest, before you can even begin to understand what your own path is all about. Beware of accepting too quickly what others espouse, and allow yourself time (and discover your own strength and courage) as you cross the dark forest. 

That path which you then forge, and that person you then discover and connect to within yourself, will greatly influence your behavior in your relationships, but again, if you don't have that path and you have not yet discovered who you are, to what extent do your relationships truly allow you to show yourself and be yourself? This path is very much a tao, and this tao leads to immense possibilities of growth and understanding, deepening and awakening.



For more about finding your path in life by inner connection, in order to help you move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here


From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 


Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency



REWIRING THE SOUL


For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Reviews From the Back Cover:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre




My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is due out later this year. Here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction:

It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my other book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Making a Spiritual Practice of Your Drive Home from Work


Isn't it true that your drive home from work is often spent rehashing what went wrong throughout the day? Or perhaps thinking about what you need to do tomorrow? Or perhaps you give thought to what awaits you at home?

If I said to you stop off at a spa and have a 30-minute massage, you might think you couldn't afford to do it every day, but you would most likely welcome the suggestion. Hence this idea to make a spiritual practice of your drive home from work, which works like another kind of massage, and furthermore, it's free. The length of time of your drive home is immaterial. If it's only 5 minutes, or if it's 45 minutes -  this works. If you commute by train or bus, this works, although you might need to wear some earbuds and listen to very light meditation music (you can download much of it on YouTube, or use Pandora to create your own, assuming there is wifi on your train, in order to avoid the logical distractions of other commuters.

Having a spiritual practice is another way of saying that you connect with yourself, with your SELF, with your inner core, with that which you are that goes beyond death. But you needn't necessarily do this by sitting still and alone in a room with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath or a mantra. Nor need you do this by going to church, spending time at an ashram, or attending a satsang, or any kind of meeting. You can have a spiritual practice at any time during your day, depending on how you deal with whatever it is you are doing at that moment.

The drive home from work is ideal. Making a spiritual practice of it allows you to relax, unwind, come into harmony, and at the same time exercise muscles of a kind you don't exercise at a gym that will lead you to greater and greater well-being.

Here's what you do: Breathe deeply as you get into your car (or other mode of transportation) and begin driving. Look for something beautiful. (If you are snorting in derision, because your commute involves inner city streets or factories, pavement and jangled electrical wires, bear with me). Beauty can be found in a shaft on sunlight on the side of a building, or in drops of rain on your windshield. Beauty can be seen in a grey sky, a storm-tossed day, and in the play of shadows of one set of buildings against another. If you are willing to look for it, beauty is everywhere. As you then regard this beauty, fill yourself with it, just for a moment, allow yourself to feel gratitude for having this beauty in your life, and then notice if there is a slight sensation of peace in your solar plexus (stomach region). That's it. Now do it again. And again. And again. Look for something new or different of beauty to be grateful for each time. And end each short moment with a quest to feel that inner sensation of peace. This - much as prayer or meditation - is a spiritual practice, and here is the greatest part of it: the more you do it, the more you will feel the inner peace. The more you feel the inner peace, the more the concerns of your workday will wash away, and the more you will arrive at your home with that same harmony and peace pervading your being. This is a spiritual practice that benefits all who are in your life, as much as it benefits you.


For more about choosing to make a spiritual practice of many other aspects of your life and how awareness of this can help you find love, and move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here


From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 


Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency



REWIRING THE SOUL


For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Reviews From the Back Cover:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre




My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is due out later this year. Here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction:

It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baby Steps to Take When Pain Overwhelms You



Going through one of life's painful moments is undoubtedly always difficult. But we tend to make it more difficult because of the way we go about it.

The inner dialogue is often made up of precisely those elements that simply make it worse. And of course at times like that we are generally not particularly aware of the inner dialogue, so we go around and around the circle of pain, with no end, until inevitably time dulls some of it.

But it does not have to be quite like that. While it is true that some types of pain require time, and require healing and require closure, it is just as true that while we are in that process of letting time go by and healing and achieving closure, we can be having an inner dialogue that simply magnifies the pain, and hence makes it last longer, or we can be having an inner dialogue that allows us to choose much of how we experience the pain, and in so doing, allows us to deal with it in another fashion.

We may blindly tell ourselves things like:
  • Why me?
  • These things only happen to me...
  • I'll never get over this
  • I can't bear this pain
  • I can't live without ____________
  • Other people's lives are so easy compared to mine
  • I can't live like this
  • I'll never forgive _____________
  • No one cares how much I am suffering
  • No one understands how much I am suffering
But in blindly telling ourselves things like that, we are focusing on the eye of the storm, while hurricane-strength winds blow around us, but we have lost total sight of what goes on beyond the storm.

What I'm saying is that by remaining in a place inside of ourselves where we can maintain a sense of perspective about our pain (even in the worst of it), almost as though we were observing it from outside, at least in order to remember that there is life beyond the pain, by doing this, we give ourselves a much better chance of moving beyond the pain in a much healthier way than if we do not.

When you were a child and fell from your bicycle and skinned your knee, you may have cried or sobbed as the blood flowed from the wound, and your mother cleaned the dirt from it. She may then have attempted to distract you from the pain by giving you a cookie or a piece of chocolate, or allowing you to watch a special show on TV. Doing so did not take the pain away, but it accomplished a number of things:
  • you learned the value of loving support; the support of your mother who cared for your wound and put a bandaid on it (find some support now - preferably loving - to help you with your current pain)
  • you learned the value of distraction to gain perspective (your current distraction might be going to church to pray, it might be re-reading a favorite book of poems, it might be listening to a Greek aria, or it might be going for a walk)
  • you learned that in gaining perspective, the pain didn't go away, but somehow it began to lessen (even as your current pain burns your soul, remember that lessen from childhood and understand that although this pain now far surpasses a mere tumble from the bicycle, it will also begin to lessen
The inner dialogue, remaining aware of yourself (and not only of your pain), the decision to make good choices - even in the midst of pain - all of these will stand you in good stead, when you need to begin the process of dealing with overwhelming pain.

Also see Finding a Meaning For Your Life



For more about dealing with pain in your love life, in order to help you move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here


From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 


Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency



REWIRING THE SOUL


For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Reviews From the Back Cover:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre




My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is due out later this year. Here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction:

It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my other book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Is Happiness a Science or a Question of Luck?


Are we born more prone to be happy or sad? Is it a question of genes? Does our environment make a difference? Our socio-economic status, the level of our intelligence, our emotional satisfaction, or the state of our physical health? Or could it be that we can decide how happy or unhappy we are?

Happiness and Our Bodies

According to recent psychological research, people who show the highest results in tests of happiness, optimism and contentment
·         Develop about 50% more anti-bodies than average when subjected to flu vaccines
·         Have a reduced risk of cardio-vascular disease
·         Show a lower index of pulmonary disease
·         Show a lower incidence of diabetes
·         Have less hypertension than individuals who are less content
·         And as indicated in a 2004 study carried out in Holland, further reduced their risk of death by 50% over a period of nine years

Clearly, the neurochemistry of happiness, in other words, how the brain looks and reacts if you are happy, has a great deal to say about your physical health and even the length of your life.

Plasticity of the Brain & Adult Neurogenesis

Neuroscientists have found that the brain is highly plastic, meaning that depending on the type of experiences it undergoes, it is capable of rewiring itself. Depending on an individual’s activities – both physical and intellectual - the brain can grow new connections or dendrites between cells – and has been proven to be capable of adult neurogenesis, or new cell growth after adulthood, contrary to all prior research – and thus to become more active, even in old age. Even negative experiences can be beneficial, according to Richard Davidson from the University of Wisconsin’s Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience. Therefore, not only can the brain reach higher levels of happiness, but – as Davidson published in 2004 - it can deliberately induce a state of happiness.

Are Depression and Happiness Emotional States Beyond Our Control?

Most people believe that depression and happiness are emotional states beyond their control. Breakthrough data – happily - shows otherwise.

The New York Times and Time Magazine have been publishing fascinating research on what is being called the new science of happiness. The American Psychological Association (APA) has been receiving and bestowing grants in order to study the elusive mystery of what does and does not make people satisfied with life.

What Makes Us Happy?

So let’s cut to the chase: what exactly makes us happy according to the latest research?

Wealth? Once our basic needs are met, additional income does little to raise one’s sense of satisfaction with life.

Good Education or High IQ? Much as they are assets to have in a lifetime, neither does much to raise one’s sense of satisfaction with life either.

Youth? Not this one either. In actual fact, research indicates that older people are more typically satisfied with their lives than the young, and the young have been found to be sad more frequently than the older populations.

How About Marriage? Here research indicates that by and large married individuals are generally happier than singles, but this may be caused by the fact that they were happier to begin with.

Sunshine? Further studies show us that this also is not what makes us happy.

How About Religious Faith or Spirituality? In this case research demonstrates that religious faith or spirituality truly does appear to lift our spirits, although it is not conclusive whether this is due to the spiritual part or the community part that spiritual and religious practice imply.

What About Friends? A 2002 study clearly indicates that friends belong to the strongest contributing factors to happiness. Thus it becomes clear that close connections to friends, family and community, as well as a desire to spending quality time with them, highly influences an individual’s state of happiness. More recently, in October 2006, Daniel Goleman’s article in the New York Times addresses the biology of emotional healing. He refers to “emotional contagion, the tendency of one person to catch the feelings of another, particularly if strongly expressed” and the possibility that this further explains why family and friends contribute to our happiness and not only emotional, but also physical well-being.

Most Important Components of Happiness

Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness, has demonstrated through his research that there are three components of happiness:

  • Pleasure: what makes me feel good. (See also Flow by M. Csikszentmihalyi)
  • Engagement: how deeply I am involved with my family, work, romance and hobbies.
  • Meaning: using my personal strengths to serve some greater purpose. (For further information on engagement and meaning, also see my article Finding a Meaning for Your Life)
 How Can We Become Happier?

One of the most compelling issues in happiness research is how much our happiness is under our own control. Do we influence it, is it due to genetics, or is it pure luck? Specifically, what can we do to become happier?

  • Keeping a Gratitude Journal. Amazingly, the most important component to maintaining and/or raising our level of happiness is accomplished by keeping a gratitude journal. By writing down - on a daily basis - five things we are grateful for (the blue sky, the fresh smell of a baby’s skin, a delicious cup of latte, having beautiful eyes, being capable of thinking on one’s feet, etc.), physical health is improved, energy levels are raised, even pain and fatigue can be relieved.
  • Performing acts of altruism and kindness gives a significant boost to test subjects.
  • Figuring out your strengths and finding new ways to use them (see Seligman’s website www.reflectivehappiness.com for testing yourself)
  • Having or developing a capacity for love and kindness is another factor that raises levels of happiness, hence it is in your own interest that you consciously work on these aspects of your personality
  • You can consciously work on changing your DNA (for research on this topic see also my September 2005 Newsletter DNA Can Change According to the Feelings of the Individual)
  • Water crystals and the body’s molecules show similar results as the above indicated DNA research (see work by Masuru Emoto: The Hidden Messages in Water, also mentioned in the film What the Bleep Do We Know?, and work by Candace Pert: The Molecules of Emotion).
  • Emotional-energetic barometer (see also my article The Energy Barometer: Make Your Mind Body Connection Work For You ).
  • Using mind-body observation leads to greater consciousness and awareness of the self which leads to a greater capacity to use the information you are receiving in your own benefit and in raising your levels of happiness. 
Is Happiness Luck or is it up to us?

So, going back to our original question, contained within the title of this article: has happiness become a science, or is it a question of luck, we are now definitively in a position to say, that while it has become more and more the focus of much concentrated academic and scientific research, more than ever, happiness is in the hands of the individual, in your hands, depending on what you do, how you think, how you react, and above all, how conscious and aware you are of yourself in those moments when you feel less than happy and when you could actually begin to change that and make yourself rise to another level of feeling (see also my March 2006 Newsletter: Intentional Focus: Your Happiness, Your Success, and the Law of Attraction).

The knowledge that your happiness is in your hands, that you have choices to make, is the beginning of a new way of looking at your well-being, and how you go about your days and your life. In it, as in all other aspects of becoming conscious and aware, lies freedom.



For more about choosing happiness in relationships and how awareness of this can help you find love, and move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here


From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 


Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency



REWIRING THE SOUL


For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Reviews From the Back Cover:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre




My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is due out later this year. Here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction:

It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Your Mind is Not Your Brain


How do we know that the mind is not the brain?

The brain is a physical organ housed inside our skull. It has weight, dimension, substance.

The mind, however, is not tangible. It is the mind of a mother, for example, that knows the precise moment her son has fallen in a war, and when the telephone call or telegram, or official visit comes some days later to inform her of the facts, she is able to pinpoint the moment of his death.

It is the mind that can tell about an experience during clinical death after the body (and brain) have been resuscitated.

It is the mind that knows seconds before the phone rings, that it is a specific person on the line, and the brain confirms this information when - seconds later - it sees the familiar number on the caller ID screen.

Interestingly, researchers (eg., Dr. Norman Doidge: The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science) are calling this the new paradigm in neuroscience. Also listen to The Power of Plasticity, an interview with Dr. Doidge on All in the Mind.

Craig Hogan, Ph.D. has written about this as well in his excellent compilation of investigative work done on the subject: Your Eternal Self.

The mind is eternal, the brain is temporal.



For more about deciphering the difference between your brain and your mind in your love life, in order to help you move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here


From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 


Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency



REWIRING THE SOUL


For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Reviews From the Back Cover:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre




My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is due out later this year. Here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction:

It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my other book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.