28 April 2015

How compassion and understanding can end the economy of shame

Could society move beyond the rhetoric of ‘strivers’ and ‘skivers’ and be rebuilt around understanding and compassion? The effects would be revolutionary, argues Elena Blackmore
The binary rhetoric that currently surrounds the welfare state reflects a deep moral narrative with a crippling social impact. ‘Strivers’ and ‘skivers’ are two sides of the same coin. That coin is shame.
One side represents the deserving, and the other side the undeserving. Rachel Reeves, the UK shadow work and pensions secretary, recently said that: “We [the Labour Party] are not the party of people on benefits”. She faced some criticism for these words, but these are messages we hear daily, from government and opposition alike.
We’re here for hard-working families. We’re here for the taxpayer.
In this narrative, employment equals worth, while unemployment casts you into the world of the untouchables.
Economic policies are created around this notion of worth. Unemployment must be a choice – you’re shirking – so let’s coax you out of it. You don’t need benefits in your first week of unemployment since you should be looking for work. We’ll put sanctions on you if you’re unemployed for too long.
Shame on you for being unemployed.
You don’t deserve the same basic things as other people – the strivers – like a bedroom if you have a disability, or enough money to live reasonably well. You’re a scrounger, you’re scrounging.
Unemployment is immoral, and you must be punished for it.
The moral choice, clearly, is to be employed. But don’t go resting on your laurels – having a job isn’t enough. You have to be a striver: you must strive. You can’t just work: you must be hard-working. Your worth is based purely on your continued commitment to the rat race.
If there’s a destination, it almost doesn’t matter. Whether or not your job is making any kind of contribution to the functioning of society is irrelevant. You’ve just got to aspire to be more than you are. Your worth is dependent on it.
Behind these aspirations – the need to prove ourselves, to achieve greater social status and material wealth – are a highly destructive set of values which underpin rampant consumerism and discriminatory attitudes. They lie behind the arrogance that puts profit before planet. They fuel anxiety, stress and depression. And, as the writer David Graeber asks: “How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist?”
Both strivers and skivers are cultural representations of the belief that we aren’t enough. This belief is the foundation of shame. The welfare state is really a state of shame. And the ‘not enough’ mentality is bolstered by a host of other fears that we’re reminded of daily: not enough jobs, money, not enough international cooperation or environmental action to name but a few. The mainstream media and a noisy chorus of commercial advertising only serve to fuel this culture of fear and shame.
It's difficult to avoid absorbing this mentality. It runs deep in our narratives and spills over into our policies, seeping finally into our souls. And it’s one of the most destructive emotions, with a vast ripple effect.
Shame stifles creativity and innovation, and erodes relationships with friends, families and communities. Shame creates vicious cycles. Researcher Brené Brown describes one aspect of these cycles in two core thoughts: what’s wrong with me? And who’s to blame? We quickly move to pass our shame onto other people. We criticise, we’re cynical and we’re violent in our words and actions. If I’m not worthy, then you definitely aren’t. The oppressed become the oppressors.
In other words, and somewhat ironically, believing that we’re not enough actually makes us worse.
So how can we be better? Brown says that the opposite of shame is empathy, and calls the compassionate and courageous acceptance of yourself and others ‘wholeheartedness’.
Placing wholeheartedness at the centre could build much more virtuous cycles between personal change and political action. But what might wholehearted attempts to change the economy of shame look like in practice?
One radical shift would be to decouple human worth from our economic role or employment status. We could just call ourselves people, and let that be enough. “We are the party for everyone who lives here,” we could say.
We could give people the dignity of a citizen’s income rather than subjecting them to a punishing benefits system – an income given to every person, universally and unconditionally. No scrounging: we’re all in this together. No need to strive. We’d be freed from the need to serve capital. We could view all of our activities – childcare, creative practice, nurturing our relationships with nature – as more valuable.
People living in Mincome, a pilot citizen’s income scheme carried out in Canada in the 1970s, found that women took more time on maternity leave and young people were likely to stay in education for longer. But aside from these benefits, and busting the shame-fuelled myths of detractors, very few people stopped working as a result of receiving this unconditional income.
Another pilot scheme in the United States did show a small reduction in working hours, but alongside a significant increase in health, wellbeing and educational attainment. Which would you prefer to strive for?
The cultural shift afforded by such schemes could be huge: if people are told that they are enough as they already are, they will be better. When we feel worthy we are more creative and supportive of others – we care and we love and we look after one another.
To support a more compassionate economy, we can also introduce empathy into other institutions like schools, something that’s already been tried in thousands of classrooms across the world by an organisation called Roots of Empathy. A baby is brought into the classroom for a number of sessions, and children are encouraged to think about what the baby is feeling. The learning that takes place is described as “caught rather than taught” by the programme’s founder, Mary Gordon.
If you only care about the economic contribution of your citizens, says Gordon, then teaching technical subjects like maths and science would be enough. But, she says, “If you look at the developmental health and wealth of a nation, it’s undeniably dependent on the emotional health of its citizenry”. Empathy lies at the heart of our emotional health.
Children who go through the programme are often happier, more connected, less angry and anxious, and more aware of each others’ feelings. Imagine the domino effect of those improvements on the rest of society.
Building society around understanding and compassion? Facing shame head on, with self-acceptance and compassion for others? Now that could be revolutionary.

Source: PositiveNews

Want to boost your wellbeing? Join an online forum

Contributing to internet discussion forums has been found to boost your wellbeing -- and can even improve community engagement offline.
Research undertaken by the University of Exeter and published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour has found that in spite of the rise of social networks, 10 percent of internet users in the UK and 20 percent of users in the US still contribute to forums. The authors of the study believe this may well be due to the degree of anonymity forum interactions allow.
Two distinct sets of groups of forum users were examined as part of the study: those who used forums based around a subject that could potentially be stigmatised, like mental health, and those who used forums for more generic subjects, like sporting activities. Each set of users answered the same questions regarding their reasons for joining the forum, whether their expectations of the forums had been filled, how they identified with other forum users whether they were generally satisfied in life and how they engaged with the issues discussed on forums in the 'real' world.
The results convinced the researchers not only that there was still a place for forums on the internet, but that forums should boast more loudly about the benefits participating in them can bring. Forum users, they discovered, were already well aware of the positive effects, and the researchers think more people may well benefit from joining them.
People who used forums to talk about stigmatised subjects such as mental health were found to have enjoyed particularly strong benefits. "In addition to forums boosting users' well-being and enhancing options for social capital, they can foster a strong commitment to the forum issues and a desire to work on behalf of the forum in an offline capacity. In other words, offline life may be facilitated by online activity," write the authors.
Psychologist Louise Pendry, who was lead author, said that the results paint an "optimistic picture" of discussion forums. "Our study showed users often discover that forums are a source of great support, especially those seeking information about more stigmatising conditions. Moreover, we found that users of both forum types who engaged more with other forum users showed a greater willingness to get involved in offline activities related to the forum, such as volunteering, donating or campaigning," she said.

By Katie Collins

Source: Wired

20-Mile Bike Lane Is Also Massive Solar Array

A 20-mile solar bike lane has been built in the
middle of a six-lane highway in Korea, about two
hours south of Seoul. Photo credit: YouTube
Until it’s actually possible to pave our parking lots and roads in solar panels, here’s a promising compromise from South Korea. In between the cities of Daejeon to Sejong, there’s a 20-mile bike lane that’s covered by an impressive solar array.
The overhead solar panels not only generate renewable power but also provide shade and cover from rain for the bicyclists.
A bike lane that’s also a solar farm is a wonderful concept, but does it have to be smack in the middle of a busy highway? Some have pointed out that cyclists are exposed to vehicular fumes and emissions of the fast-moving cars and trucks zipping down the road. And although bikers are protected by a barrier, a BBC article once observed that Seoul drivers are “notorious for ignoring any traffic rules, especially red lights, and will drive across intersections over red lights.”

Here's what it looks like inside the bike lane.
Here’s what it looks like inside the bike lane.

Still, promoting emission-free transportation is especially important for a country that hasn’t seemed to embrace biking as a means of commuting. According to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, while seven out of 10 Koreans own a bicycle and more than half of the population cycle at least once a month, most Koreans consider leisure as the primary purpose of cycling, not transportation. As the Korean Heraldreported, cycling apparently accounts for just 2.5 percent of transportation in the country, whereas in the Netherlands it’s around 43 percent, and in nearby Japan it’s 25 percent.
Biking would also reduce traffic congestion, which can be pretty bad especially in the country’s capital of Seoul where one out of three citizens has a car.
Despite what critics have said, it looks like many Korean bikers are already using the lane to get from A to B. If you look closely at the footage below (captured by a drone no less), you’ll see cyclists cruising down the path as traffic on each side whizzes by.
We wonder if something like this would work in the U.S.?

Source: EcoWatch

25 April 2015

Mainstream Media Folds as GMO Backlash Goes Mega-Viral

The gates are down as millions of educated families and communities are now storming the crumbling GMO empire. The American GMO experiment has fallen in the court of public opinion. Lost are the hearts and minds of the people as the mainstream media is forced to reflect the wave of popularity. At every level biotech is failing on record. Medical literature and research has been unshackled and allowed to finally report the reality of these dangerous toxins. Financial institutions and bottom lines are taking unsustainable hits destined to do irreversible damage. Grocery chains, forced to listen to their consumers, have spotted the trend long ago and are scurrying to make changes. The quickening away from genetically modified organisms is upon us. More is happening in a week than happened in months and years past. This is what a shift in consciousness looks like. 

In one week, the United States has seen numerous events happen to signal this major shift. Biotech board rooms have to understand that it is one minute to midnight for their entire industry. Unsure of what the final blow will be, it appears that the American GMO experiment is being taken down from numerous angles all at once. 

Last week it was reported that Neil Young (and Willie Nelson’s sons), American Legend and revolutionary, titled his upcoming June 16th album The Monsanto Years. Young, a long time figure in the non-GMO movement garnered major attention when he told millions of his fans to boycott Starbucks in a Rolling Stone article and public announcement. This was prompted at the time due to Starbuck’s involvement (as part of the Grocery Manufacturers Association) in suing Vermont to halt a GMO labeling law the people fairly voted to enact. Firing up the dormant passion of a songwriter that wrote “Ohio”, Young will not disappoint with new songs titles like “Rock Starbucks”, “Monsanto Years”, and Too Big To Fail”, and “Seeds.”

Vaccine class warfare: California's mandatory vaccination law is an attack on the poor

A state senate panel in California has just approved a measure -- SB 277 -- that is essentially another government-sponsored attack on the poor, and by some of the same people who so often claim that they want to help the poor.

Proponents of the bill, passed by a committee that was stacked with supporters, claimed that revisions in this newly approved version address educational concerns voiced by some parents who say that it penalizes them regarding educational options.

For instance, the measure essentially bans any unvaccinated children from attending taxpayer-funded public schools, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents have a fundamental right to decide on the educational needs of their own children.
Which brings us back to the California measure. As part of the "compromise" with vaccine choice advocates, SB 277 was revised to provide parents with the "choice" of choosing to keep their kids vaccine-free if they opted for an alternative form of primary education, as in homeschooling and private schools.

You can homeschool your kids - if you an afford it

As noted by The Sacramento Bee:
The changes expand the home schooling and independent study options available to children who are not vaccinated and therefore cannot attend conventional public or private schools.
Now, unvaccinated children could get an education through private home schools that cover multiple families -- in the bill's previous version only those serving a single family or household had qualified. The bill changes also clarified that unvaccinated kids could receive schooling through independent study programs that are overseen by school districts and given access to public school curricula.

Mind/Matter Interaction: Can Mental Attention Directly Affect The Physical World?

Decade after decade, various scientists have regarded the factors associated with consciousness (perception, feelings, emotions, mental attention, intention etc.) as a fundamental part of science – that one cannot fully understand science, especially quantum physics, without including the study of consciousness.
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” – Max Planck, theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.
When looking to discover and learn more about the true nature of reality, one thing scientists do is study matter (atoms). Although most modern day mainstream science is a science which operates under the assumption that matter is the only reality, this notion, known as “scientific materialism,”  is disappearing at a fast rate given what quantum physics has shown us over the past few decades – that there are worlds existing beyond our perception and senses, and that what we perceive as empty space is not empty at all. Apart from this, decades of research and experiments within the realm of parapsychology have shown bizarre, inexplicable, yet repeatedly observable results indicating the great importance of consciousness that we don’t often consider, especially when it comes to science. It’s something that commonly goes overlooked, but maybe we should be paying closer attention to it.
How we think, what we think, how we perceive, and what we believe seems to have a large impact on what type of existence we create for ourselves as one race, influencing the type of human experience we enact. This makes it even more important for us to ask ourselves, on both an individual and collective level, who are we? Why do we think what we think? Why do we do what we do?
“It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”  Eugene Wigner, theoretical physicist and mathematician. He received a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963

Understanding the Difference Between Emotions and Feelings – and Why It Matters

Although feelings and emotions are two sides of the same coin, they are very distinct events and understanding the difference can help you increase your emotional intelligence and happiness.
Emotions originate in the subcortical regions of the brain, the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortices, and create biochemical reactions in the body altering your physical state which originally helped our species survive by producing quick reactions to threats and rewards. Emotional reactions are coded in our genes and are universally similar across all humans and even other species. For example, you smile and your dog wags its tail.
The amygdala, involved in emotional arousal, also regulate the release of neurotransmitters essential for memory consolidation which is why emotional memories can be so strong and long-lasting. Emotions proceed feelings, are physical, and instinctual. Because they’re physical, emotions can be objectively measured by blood flow, brain activity, facial micro-expressions, and body language.
Feelings originate in the neocortical regions of the brain, are mental associations and reactions to emotions, and are subjectively influenced by personal experience, beliefs, and memories. A feeling is the mental portrayal of what’s going on in your body when you have an emotion,  and is the byproduct of your brain perceiving and assigning meaning to the emotion. Feelings follow emotion, involve cognitive input, are usually below conscious awareness, and cannot be measured scientifically.

Relative and Non-Relative Consciousness

Through all of the distractions and pressures that come with living on earth today, many of us struggle to tap into the innate essence that we require to elevate our consciousness and live up to our spiritual potential. But just because we haven’t tapped into it yet doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.
We have more potential to access and greater perception to explore than we realize. Beyond our surface consciousness exists an infinite reality of love, bliss and pure awareness. But, if we want to find it, we have to be willing to transcend the constant mental chatter that vies for our attention and learn to quiet the cloudy thought-forms that keep us from connecting with spirit and enjoying the bliss that results.
So, if we want to connect with our omnipotent inner consciousness, we should routinely clear our minds – something that gets easier with meditation and dedication. Everything gets easier with dedicated practice, and this includes the transcendence of our surface consciousness and the exploration of the much deeper existence we can now tap into.
Franklin Merrell-Wolff describes relative (dualistic) consciousness and non-relative (transcendent) consciousness:
“The relative forms of consciousness inevitably distort non-relative Consciousness. Not only can I not tell this to others, I cannot even contain it within my own relative consciousness, whether of sensation, feeling, or thought. Every metaphysical thinker will see this impossibility at once… I was even prepared not to have the personal consciousness share in this Recognition in any way. But in this I was happily disappointed.” (1)
Once we become aware, we can still employ our surface consciousness (and the knowledge that comes with it) by using it to awaken others.
“If the thought-current remains active it can reflect, in some measure, the inner Reality, and thus the personal man has a share in the Awakening. In addition, this correlation is necessary if any of the value of the Illumination is to be conveyed to the intelligence of other individuals.” (2)

The Greenhouse of the Future — Grow Your Own Food Year-Round With This Revolutionary System

It’s no secret that food security is becoming a critical issue around the world. With drought, economic instability, erratic weather and interruptions in transportation a very real threat, it really doesn’t take much to have the food supply disrupted. We’re certainly not immune to these effects in the West, especially since we rely heavily on corporate farming and mega supermarkets. Add to this population growth and the ecological toll of conventional, large-scale food production, and we have a seriously unsustainable system in place — one that could topple at any time. The drought in California, USA is a perfect example, where entire almond orchards and other crops have been laid to dust.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. As the famous proverb says: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Taking this proverb and running with it, a team of innovators from Quebec, Canada have developed an eco-friendly and exceptionally cost-effective solution to our food woes — the greenhouse of the future.

Inspiration taking root

During a certification course at Earthship Academy, a seed was planted in the mind of Francis Gendron for a different kind of greenhouse. A turning point, Gendron realized our current food system is no longer sustainable and that we need creative solutions — quickly.
“I started to think about all the implications that this could have: help people become more resilient, autonomous and environmentally friendly. I remembered reading that the largest consumption of energy in colder countries came from the importation of food and, obviously, from domestic heating. At this time, our food travels thousands of kilometers before meeting our mouths. It is great to have access to exotic products, but in the case of a technologic or economic crisis, a war, a natural disaster or anything else that quickly spreads across borders, it is possible that we will no longer have access to any!”
Combining the principles of Earthships, aquaponics and passive solar greenhouses, Gendron — along with friends, Christian Désilets and Curt Close — designed and built a radically different food growing system. Not wholly surprising, they christened it The Greenhouse of the Future.

24 April 2015

What Happens When You Challenge Mainstream Ancient History?

Author Graham Hancock is again shunned by mainstream thinkers for his compelling ideas…
It’s interesting to watch what happens when an idea becomes so entrenched that people’s careers and fortunes become dependent on resisting change to it.
Researcher and author of some of the most exciting and credible alternative theories about our ancient origins, Graham Hancock, is well-accustomed to having his works censored and ridiculed by establishment intellectuals and celebrity materialists. In 2o13 his mind-opening and widely viewed TED presentation, The War on Consciousness, was  taken down by the editorial board of TED because they deemed his inspiring talk to be ‘unscientific.’ The resulting public relations nightmare for TED brought much needed attention to how an intellectual establishment can control the flow of ideas to a public hungrier than ever for new paradigms.

READ: 3 TED Talks the Establishment Would Prefer You to Miss

Author and public speaker, Graham Hancock has been an eloquent, rational, but curious and bold voice in the debate about the ancient origins of humankind and the history of this amazing planet. His hugely popular books, Supernatural, and Fingerprints of the Gods are level-headed experiential critiques of the accepted mainstream explanations for many of history’s greatest anomalies and the nature of human consciousness. Yet some of the world’s most renowned scientists and intellectuals refuse to even listen to him.
Recently, Hancock was participating in a highly anticipated debate between himself and well-known Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, author of Discovering Tutankhamun: From Howard Carter to DNA. From facebook:
The Great Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt, today, Tuesday 21 April 2015.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd, I face Egyptologist Zahi Hawass on stage, in the first public debate of two radically different points of view about history. Is it possible there was a lost civilization that left its traces here in Egypt more than 12,000 years ago?
Just before the debate was set to begin, Hawass became outraged at Hancock because he noticed that Hancock’s presentation was going to feature information Hawass does not approve of. After a childish and outlandish verbal exchange, Hawass stormed out before the audience even had a chance to sit down, and agreed to only continue the debate if he did not have to listen to Graham Hancock’s presentation.

Going Rogue: 15 Ways to Detach From the System

I am inspired by the very definition of self-reliance: to be reliant on one’s own capabilities, judgment, or resources. Ultimately, it is the epitome of independence and lays the groundwork of what we are all striving for – to live a life based on our personal principles and beliefs.
It is a concept rooted in the groundwork  that made America great. Being dependent on our own capabilities and resources helped create a strong, plentiful country for so long. That said, the existing country as it is now is entirely different than when it began.

Why Are We So Dependent?

It is much too complicated to get into how the “system” was created. That said, the purpose is to enslave through debt and to create an interdependence that will force you and your family to never truly find the freedom you are seeking. It manipulates and convinces you to continue purchasing as a sort of status symbol to make you think you are living the good life; while all along, it has enslaved you further. Wonder why we have all of these holidays where you have to buy gifts? The system needs to be fed and forces you into further enslavement. If you don’t buy into this facilitated spending spree, you are socially shamed.
Collectively speaking, the contribution from our easy lifestyle and comfort level has created rampant complacency and a population of dependent, self-entitled mediocres. We no longer count on our sound judgement, capabilities and resources. The system keeps everything in working order so we don’t have to depend on ourselves, and furthermore, don’t want to.  I realize that many of the readers here do not fall into this collectivism, as you see through the ideological facade and know that the system is fragile and can crumble.
Breaking away from the system is the only way to avoid the destruction of when it comes crumbling down. When you don’t feed into the manipulation tactics of the system, or enslave yourself to debt, and possess the necessary skills to sustain yourself and your family when large-scale or personal emergencies arise, you will be far better off than those who were dependent on the system. Those who lived during the Great Depression grew up in a time when self-reliance was bred into them and were able to deal with the blow of an economic depression much easier. Which side of this would you want to be on? Those who had the patience to learn the necessary skills, ended up surviving more favorably compared to others who went through the trying times of the Depression.

Develop Personal Dependence

Now is the time to get your hands dirty, to practice a new mindset, skills, make mistakes and keep learning. Developing personal dependence is no easy feat and requires resolute will power to continue on this long and rambling path. To achieve this you have to begin to break away from the confines of the system. You don’t have to run off to the woods to be the lone wolf. Simply by asking yourself, “Will your choices and the way you spend your time lead to more independence down the road, or will it lead to greater dependence?”, will help you gain a greater perspective into being self-reliant. As well, consider ignoring the convenient system altogether. This will help you to detach yourself from complacency and stretch your abilities and your mindset.
Most of us can’t move to an off grid location. We have responsibilities that keep us from doing so. Therefore, live according to what is best for you and your family (common sense, I know) and do what you can. My family and I moved to the rural countryside four years ago to pursue a more self-reliant lifestyle. We learned many lessons along the way and are proud of where we are. Am I 100% self-reliant? No. But, I am venturing closer to living more self-reliantly with each skill I learn. Many of my little homesteading, off-grid ventures can be read about here.

Global March Against Geoengineering & “Chemtrails” Set To Take Place This Weekend

A global march against “chemtrails” and geoengineering is set to take place on April 25th, 2015. It’s a worldwide march similar to the global March Against Monsanto, where millions of people around the world gathered to successfully protest the big biotech giant and Genetically Modified Food (GMOs) over the past couple of years. You can find our more about the march that’s taking place against geo-engineering this weekend here.
The climate has changed drastically and human activity continues to harm our environment as well as destroy our planet. Despite the fact that solutions are available, we’ve done little to change our ways, but steps in the right direction are  being taken and with more people becoming aware of these solutions and what is occurring in our skies, maybe we can put an end to something that many already believe is happening (geoengineering), and has been for quite some time.
One potential solution to combat global warming that some scientists are proposing is spraying aerosols into the atmosphere to deflect the sun’s rays, which is also known as Solar Radiation Management. It is just one aspect of what is known as geoengineering, which is basically using science to modify the weather. Geoengineering was even used to modify the weather for the 2008 Olympic games. (source)
“In recent years there has been a decline in the support for weather modification research, and a tendency to move directly into operational projects.” –  World Meteorological Association (source)
Scientists have voiced their concern over current project proposals, which range from health issues to environmental issues and more, because some of the methods being suggested include dumping toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.
Today. many people believe that spraying is already happening and has been for years.
“In addition to specific research programs sponsored by Federal agencies, there are other functions related to weather modification which are performed in several places in the executive branch. Various federal advisory panels and committees and their staffs -established to conduct in-depth studies and prepare reports, to provide advice or recommendations, or to coordinate weather modification programs – have been housed and supported within executive departments, agencies, or offices.” (source)
These programs are conducted by the department of defense, which means they remain classified. This is why it’s likely that so many scientists and meteorologists don’t say anything about it. At the same time, all it really takes is observation to recognize what’s going on.

Over a thousand election candidates vow to oppose fracking

Over a thousand candidates from across all the main political parties have made a public promise to oppose fracking in their constituencies as the General Election campaign enters its final days.
In just over a month, one in four of all candidates standing in the 2015 general election have rushed to make the Frack Free Promise. In 60 constituencies half of local candidates or more have signed up to the online initiative launched by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth in March.
There are 153 Labour and 143 Lib Dem prospective MPs who made the promise despite their party’s support for fracking being enshrined in their manifestos. They account for about a fifth of the candidates fielded by the two parties. The Lib Dem politicians involved include senior party figures such as seven members of its frontbench team and a former minister. 
With just days to go before election day, three Conservative candidates have also added their names to the initiative, openly defying their party’s enthusiastic support for fracking.
The unprecedented display of fracking opposition among UK politicians will come as a blow to the shale industry’s attempt to gain public acceptance at a critical time for its expansion across Britain.
Ministers were expected to start a mass give-away of licence blocks to fracking firms across over half of Britain before the election, but the announcement has been pushed back until after May 7 amidst growing controversy. 

The Epigenetic Toolbox for Maintaining a Healthy Mind, Body & Spirit

Science has traditionally maintained a ‘material reductionistic’ view of mind and consciousness. Meaning that the phenomenon of consciousness and mind is something to be explained in terms of physical and chemical processes in the brain. On the other hand, certain philosophies and spiritual disciplines have held the inherent assumption that physical reality is totally detached from spiritual reality and one is not accessed through the other. This is of course creating more or less the same problem as in Science.
Many pre-Scientific cultures however have since time immemorial held an alternative and holistic view which transcends beyond these problems. They have seen the human experience in its totality – mind, body and spirit – as being closely interrelated and interconnected with the environment, the healing medicines of nature, the celestial movements and the cycles of the seasons, etc. Everything is causally interconnected in the grand wheel of life.
Our physical and mental health are influenced by the state of our bio-energetic field which in turn is also influenced by the karmic energies of the land, the people around us and the planet as a whole. Similarly, and equally interesting, our spiritual, energetic and non-physical health can be hacked through physical means. The physical is interfaced with our bio-energetic field and also with our multi-dimensional levels of consciousness through our DNA, our nervous and endocrine systems, the energy centres in our body (chakras) and very possibly through quantum communication between the micro-cellular level of our bodies up to the bio-energetic field and beyond to the quantum field that underlies everything (this is the interesting notion of quantum coherence). These physical interfaces or gateways can be hacked, healed or optimised. For instance, we are now starting to understand that our DNA is read-write and not read-only as was previously assumed. That means that our codes are being constantly rewritten even through our diet, lifestyle and stress levels – both positively and negatively.

23 April 2015

New Study Confirms Mindfulness Meditation as Effectice as Big Pharma

A new study published in The Lancet medical journal has found that Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be just as effective as pharmaceuticals when it comes to preventing chronic depression relapse.
Researchers at Britain’s Oxford University and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry conducted the first large-scale study to compare the treatment of chronic depression with MBCT and anti-depressants. They found very little difference in the results of the two different treatments, including a minimal difference in the cost of the mindfulness training versus the constant use of pharmaceuticals.
MBCT combines traditional Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) methods with psychological strategies such as mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware of, and accepting of incoming thoughts without attaching or reacting to them. The practice is common among most meditation practices. MBCT was designed to help those suffering from chronic depression to learn to respond constructively to their emotions.
The researchers studied 424 adults with recurrent major depression who were on maintenance anti-depressant drugs. The adults were randomly told to either continue taking their medications or to wean of the pills and receive MBCT.  The mindfulness group participated in daily home practice as well as eight group therapy sessions. After two years, both groups reported nearly identical relapse rates – 44 percent for the meditators and 47 percent for the pill poppers.
 “These results suggest a new choice for the millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions,” Willem Kuyken of Oxford University told Reuters
The study offers some hope for those who suffer from depression yet do not want to become another supporter of the Pharmaceutical Industrial-Complex. With more than 350 million people worldwide diagnosed with depression, we hope that more people will opt for meditation over pills.

22 April 2015

ADHD is the new education

“There is a form of mind control that is really mind-chaos. It shatters the processes of thought into, at best, vaguely related fragments. There is no direction, no development, no progress along a line of reasoning. This is how you disable a person. You disrupt his ability to move from A to B to C. At that point, he becomes passive. He’s willing to be programmed, because it’s easier. He wants to be programmed.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)
“I learned twenty-four new things today at school,” the child said. “One right after the other. I felt so happy. My teacher told me I was learning accelerated. I wrote on my iPad. I saw pictures. I did group harmony. I added. I divided. I heard about architecture. The teacher said we were filled with wonder at the universe. We solved a problem. We’re all together. I ate cheese. A factory makes cheese.”
The new education is ADHD.
It’s a method of teaching that surrenders ground on each key concept, deserting it before it’s firmly fixed in the mind of the student.
It hops around from idea to idea, because parents, teachers, administrators, students, departments of education, and educational publishers have given up on the traditional practice of repetition.
Repetition was old-world. For decades, even centuries, the time-honored method of instruction was: introduce an idea or concept or method, and then provide numerous examples the student had to practice, solve, and demonstrate with proficiency.
There was no getting around it. If the student balked, he failed.
There were no excuses or fairy tales floated to explain away the inability of the student to carry out the work.
Now, these days, if you want to induce ADHD, teach a course in which each new concept is given short shrift. Then pass every student on to the next grade, because it’s “humane.”
Think of it this way. Suppose you want to climb the sheer face of a high rock. You know nothing about climbing. You engage an instructor. He teaches you a little bit about ropes and spikes and handholds. He briefly highlights each aspect and then skips to the next.

26 Life Changing Lessons From Eckart Tolle That Will Change Your Perspective

1. This moment right now is precious. Live fully in it.

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.”
“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.”
“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.”
“People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.”
“…the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.”

2. Be fully present in this moment, wherever you find yourself.

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.”

3. Say yes to life.

“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.”
“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”

4. The universe provides for your consciousness to evolve and grow.

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”

Depressed Patients Find Relief With Hallucinogenic Ayahuasca

A growing body of research is beginning to shed light on a promising new source of psychiatric treatment: psychedelic drugs. And now, a new study has found some evidence the sacramental brew ayahuasca may help patients with depression who’ve had no success with common antidepressants.
Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, found in a small study of only six patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) that drinking ayahuasca could reduce depressive scores by 82 percent. The hallucinogenic eased symptoms within hours of taking the drug, and three weeks later, their feelings of wellbeing persisted. Though small, the study shows ayahuasca may be a promising alternative to antidepressants, which don’t work in some patients or come with unwanted side effects.
Ayahuasca is drink brewed from the vine Banisteriopsis caapi, which is also called the ayahuasca vine, as well as the shrub Psychotria viridis, among other psychedelic plants. While it’s been used for decades among indigenous South American tribes, who’ve used it for rituals and medicinal purposes, it’s also attracted a swelling tourism industry comprised of people seeking its therapeutic and spiritual benefits.
The drug causes euphoria and intense visual and auditory hallucinations. It’s said to open one’s mind to new insights, deeper realities, and spiritual connections — some even say you can meet God through it. It does this primarily through the psychedelic compound DMT, which affects the brain’s levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, a chemical with roles in wellbeing and happiness. Incidentally, this is also the brain chemical targeted by antidepressant drugs.
All six patients, however, were diagnosed with MDD and were found unresponsive to at least one type of antidepressant. Each of them took ayahuasca for the first time in a mild dose, and sat in a dimly lit room on a recliner chair for the duration of their four-hour session. During this time, they were interviewed for depressive symptoms.
The researchers found that aside from vomiting (a common side effect of ayahuasca), the drug was tolerated well. After only a day, the participants’ depression scores lowered, suggesting the drug is not only effective, but faster-acting than antidepressants, which can take up to three weeks to start working normally.

The Inner Critic: Making Friends with that Little Voice in your Head

“What if your inner critic turned out not to be an evil bully needing to be conquered, but a frightened child needing your reassurance.” ~ Jo Hilder
We all know by now that the ego thrives in comparisons and judgment. It needs something to compare or contrast itself to, in order to be “something.” So there are two types of egos. The first one operates off the belief that it is better than other people.
It does this by projecting it’s own perceived “less than” qualities on to other people, in order to reinforce that it is above them. In this example, we have the judgments being placed on to other people and things outside of itself. so that it never has to look at itself as the “problem”.
The second type of ego operates of the belief that it is less than other people. This type of ego approaches life from the standpoint that they are not enough, not worthy enough, not rich enough, not skinny enough, not attractive enough etc… In this case, we have the inner critic being turned inward on to itself.
Most people are a mixture of both, sometimes they are one way, and other times they are the other way. When people are living unconsciously, they often believe the little voice in their head, that is either judging themselves or placing judgments on to others. However, for those that start to awaken and come to know that our thoughts are technically OUR thoughts, but things we have picked up either from the collective unconscious or from our programming (which is the combination of things we have read, heard, seen and the way we are raised), when that little inner critic starts to pipe up we often judge ourselves because of it, or try to get rid of it.