Dear Revolutionaries…

[Written from a US perspective, but applicable anywhere]

by Futureofminds for the Conscious Resistance Network

Dear Revolutionaries,

Stop going to meetings, it’s not working.

Stop marching, put the signs down.

Go home and begin investing in your families, your circles, your networks.

Dear activists, stop killing yourselves for the revolution.

If you haven’t slept in three days because of all the latest news, policies, and meeting and your beginning to see grey hairs sprout faster than the weeds in your backyard, stop.

Also, stop with the pessimism and the doom.

If activists and revolutionaries spent half the time building and creating what they wished to see, rather than reacting to the corruption of a broken system, our problems would slowly but surely dwindle away.

Activists, more building less demanding. Break old habits.

City halls are broken, state capitals are broken, America is broken. Get over it, and start creating.

Let our radical collective actions set the example of what is expected from a government, a community and a nation.

Stop begging for change on a street corner with cardboard signs and hip photos to post after the event on instagram.

When you resist the system, the energy spent on opposing corruption takes away from building new systems of living. 

Think about it like an abusive relationship, if you keep begging your partner to change but stay in the toxic environment of the relationship.. you will continue to be abused.

Stop allowing yourselves to be abused.

Start investing in local social support and resources.

Find organizations that actively build on the foundations of productivity and functionality.

Revolutionaries truly need to ask themselves what does the revolution look like?

Do you see it vividly, does it include violence?

Or does it include the beauty of grassroots systematic social and local change.

And within the revolution that you envision… how are people treated?

With kindness in language and actions?

Do you practice these modes of social relations in your day to day life?

Do you encourage the good and discourage the bad?

When you envision systematic revolution, what are the moral structures that allow harmony to exist.

More importantly, do you practice these methods with your spouse, your partner, your children, your family, your friends.

When you envision the future, does it involve healing?

If so, are you actively healing yourself?

Or do you want change so bad that you neglect your obligations.

Does change drive you to the corruption you fight against, or the addictions you are trying to solve within the other.

This article was written with the intention of telling revolutionary activists to slow down, take a deep breath, self inventory and as Luisah Teish would say “you gotta be willing to LIVE for the revolution, not die for it, honey”. https://youtu.be/fRNnolpEBYs

Check in, ask yourself why it is we cannot manifest the change we wish to see.

Could it be the time, energy, and finances are being invested in all the wrong places?

Heres a few examples locally and throughout the US of people who are creatively manifesting change in the narratives of revolution.

Luke Rudowski – Multi Media Journalist and founder of We Are Change https://youtu.be/2lZ5R8Ohn-s 

Micha White – Activist, Co-founder of Occupy Wall Street and author of The End of Protest https://youtu.be/nE0FJrJJvoE

Floyd Harris Jr- Founder of The Freedom School  https://xyfloyd.wixsite.com/freedomschool

and

Desiree Marando Martinez- Founder of Homeless in Fresno and the We Are Not Invisible foundation.

There are thousands of others, many may be in your community and you just don’t know it yet.

These are just four people in my own journey who have been an inspiration to myself and communities looking for fundamental change world wide.  

Those listed above have dedicated their lives to create revolutionary change as a daily practice.

No longer can we continue to hold rallies for and with people who already agree with our message.

No longer can we hold monthly meetings that go no where.

Please leave the street corners alone and stop yelling at people who already agree with you that the system is broken.

…..So where do we go from here?

I encourage every reader to take in consideration no matter who you are: a janitor, doctor, teacher, line clerk, social worker, psychologist, chef, etc. to critically analyze what it looks like to be a revolutionary in your field.

Does it look like setting your phone down and having a conversation with the person in front of you.

Does it look like a weekly meet-up group in your backyard.

Does it look like building an after school program, or writing new curriculum in your place of work.

Does it look like community fundraisers, or creating new bus routes and if the city doesn’t comply setting up a volunteer system to get people to where they need to be.

Does it look like a theater group, a band, a artist residency.

Only YOU know what YOU do best, so go out there and build some shit, our future depends on it.

*Authors note: Every role is vital, from the front line activists to the revolutionary teachers to the politicians who fight against corruption. Every role is necessary, yet in our current political state we deeply and radically need to reassess whats working and whats broken, what can be built and what must be left in the past, what is genuine change and what is resistance, the future of our humanity depends on it.

Whenever We Eat Animal Foods, We Are Being Exploited

The most obvious and non-controversial characteristic of animal agriculture is that it is a system in which humans exploit animals for food. The vast majority of us go along with the internalized cultural narratives that justify this exploitation. We don’t realize that we are also being abused and exploited by the same system that is exploiting the cows, chickens, fishes, and pigs.

There’s basically one primary reason any of us eats animal-sourced foods: we do this because we’re following orders that were injected into us from infancy by well-intentioned people we trusted completely. This indoctrination is literally eaten in the most potent and pervasive of all social rituals, our daily meals. It’s important to understand that when we go to shops and restaurants and purchase animal foods, we are not only sustaining a system of exploitation of animals, we are also unwittingly fueling our own exploitation on many levels, and in feeding these foods to our children, we’re fueling their exploitation as well.

Let’s take cows as a profoundly relevant example. Cows are clearly designed to thrive on grass, but they are fed richer and more complex grains such as soy, corn, oats, wheat, and alfalfa in order to boost milk production in dairies and increase weight gain in beef operations. This causes cows digestive distress and leads ironically to the proliferation of the E. coli bacterial strains that are deadly to human consumers of undercooked hamburgers. However cow exploiters don’t stop with grains. Agricultural scientists discovered long ago that if cow feed is “enriched” with fish meal as well as the rendered flesh and offal of chickens, pigs, cows, dogs, cats, and other animals, this is even better than grain at promoting milk production and weight gain, and thus increased profits for the industries involved.

In sum, cows are fed foods that are not in their interest, but that are to the advantage of their exploiters. With us, if we are eating animal foods, it is precisely the same situation. Like cows, we are created and have evolved to thrive on the food for which we are designed, which in our case is whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Like cows, we can certainly eat other foods, such as animal flesh and mammary secretions designed for other species, and as in the case of cows, this harms our health on many levels, but the significant point is that it increases the profits of our exploiters, and so it continues. The animal exploiters have stolen the sovereignty of cows, and so the cows are powerless to eat anything but what the exploiters provide them. With both cows and humans it is remarkably similar. Exploiters provide the foods that they want the exploitees to consume to maximize their profits and power, and the exploitees dutifully comply. They encourage each other by their shared example, and additionally in our case, we ironically police each other to ensure compliance.

Farm Animals by artist Madeleine Tuttle The benefits to the exploiters in these situations are vast. The disempowerment and harm to the exploitees are equally vast. Let’s have a brief look at the consequences of this exploitation on five levels of our health.

First, our physical health. Being compelled from infancy to eat animal-based foods, we are more likely to develop cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, auto-immune diseases, dementia, and the other chronic diseases which fuel hundreds of billions of dollars of profits annually for the pharmaceutical-medical complex, and the banks and financial institutions in the background. This system, and the governmental, academic, media, and corporate complex that is tied in with it, requires a steady flood of reliably sick people. Feeding the population a diet based on animal foods that concentrate toxins accomplishes this. Most of the wealth generated concentrates in the hands of a powerful elite, while most of us endure economic injustices such as exorbitant medical costs that ravage our economy and well-being. Eating animal foods, we become unwitting cash cows for an aggressive medical-pharmaceutical complex.

Second, our environmental health. Animal agriculture is well recognized to be the single most environmentally devastating human activity, destroying forests, oceans, aquifers, soil quality, climate stability, and propelling the mass extinction of species through rampant habitat destruction. Here again, we are being exploited when we purchase and eat animal-based foods. Because animal-based foods require much more petroleum, land, fertilizer, pesticides, and water, we are paying powerful and polluting petroleum, chemical, and agribusiness corporations and financial institutions to not only devastate the precious air, water, soil, and life quality for ourselves and our children, but we are also funding their legendary political power to infiltrate and dominate our governmental, educational, legal, and media institutions. As a result, these corporations are even subsidized with billions of our tax dollars annually to damage the health of our ecosystems, which further erodes our physical health, increasing our disease rates and the profits to the medical complex and the bankers lurking in the background.

Third, our cultural health. Because animal agriculture is profoundly wasteful of oil, water, land, and food, we have chronic food shortages in our world, even though we grow more than enough food to feed everyone, if we ate plant-based food directly rather than feeding it to livestock. Food shortages are well recognized to be the primary driving force behind much of the conflict in our world, and together with this inevitable conflict, is the direct cause of refugees, social breakdown, and many forms of human trafficking. The very first word for war going back ten thousand years is the ancient word “gavyaa” meaning literally “the desire for more cows.” Economic injustice, war, hunger, domination of women, and the arising of a privileged ruling elite are all linked to the ancient invention of animal herding around which we still organize our society. Thus, instead of using our economic surplus to revitalize our ecosystems, rebuild our infrastructure, and assure adequate housing, food, education, healthcare, and opportunity for all, we use it primarily for subsidizing the wealthy military and medical complexes. We sacrifice our children in wars that benefit a ruling class that uses the media and other institutions to propagate narratives that justify and promote an agenda of violence. Eating animal foods, we are fueling continued harm to our cultural health as well as the ongoing exploitation of our children and of ourselves.

Fourth, our psychological health. When, as children, we are compelled to sit at the table and eat animal foods that are harmful to our physical health, we are also being compelled to eat attitudes and beliefs that injure our psychological health. With every meal, we are being colonized psychologically in order to be malleable to the military-industrial-meat-medical-media complex. There are many dimensions to this, but to keep it brief, we’ll just look at a few, for example, the attitude of disconnectedness and desensitization that is imposed on us by being required as children to relentlessly eat animal foods. It’s well understood in systems theory that intelligence is the capacity for any system to make relevant connections and respond to feedback. Eating animal foods reduces this capacity and numbs our feelings both individually and collectively. We learn to stay shallow and avoid looking, listening, and feeling deeply. We avoid making the dreaded connection between what we are eating and what it took to get it on our plate. We are indoctrinated in daily meal rituals to repress our natural empathy and caring for others and this reduction of our cognitive and affective intelligence makes it comparatively easy for us to become gullible and uncritical consumers of narratives and products that reduce, harm, and enslave others and us. Our minds and bodies are also colonized by the poisonous attitude that beings are not beings but are rather mere commodities: material objects that we buy and sell by the pound. Upon reflection, this is shockingly debasing to others and to ourselves, but we both propel and consume this highly exploitive attitude with every meal, sowing seeds of our own exploitation. Finally, we are compelled to eat dairy, eggs, and meat products that require rampant abuse of animal mothers, their forced insemination and stealing of their babies and the destruction of their sacred mother-child bonds. We become easily exploited psychologically by causing and eating this trauma, repressing our feminine capacity, and feeding this to our trusting children. We eat products that are the embodiment of misery, fear, despair, insomnia, frustration, and chronic pain. The pharmaceutical industry’s most immense profits come from people buying drugs for precisely these conditions: despair, trauma, insomnia, depression, and chronic pain.

Fifth, and finally, our spiritual health. This may be the most severe exploitation of all. Every meal corrodes our basic connection with our true nature as eternal expressions of consciousness. By being required to repeatedly and ritually reduce other magnificent expressions of life to mere physical matter devoid of subjectivity and purpose, we sever our connection with the beauty, abundance, and enchantment of the living, interconnected web of life that is celebrating on this Earth. We have unwittingly become, in significant ways, an abusive scourge on this Earth that destroys and consumes as our life-purpose, both individually and collectively.

6a00d83451ccd169e201676357f90e970b-320wiOur innate spiritual wisdom and our purpose have been paved over and repressed, and as we become sick and addicted, our exploitation increases dramatically. A false purpose and set of narratives has been forced on us by the herding culture into which we are born: that we are here to exploit the garden and consume it. Other animals and ecosystems pay a steep price for our inability to free ourselves from being exploited, as do our children and we ourselves, ultimately.

The animal agriculture roots of our multi-dimensional exploitation have been invisible and unrecognized for too long. Now we can finally see and fully understand the dynamics involved. Being compelled from infancy to eat animal foods has created us to be a severely wounded population with drastically reduced capacities intellectually, emotionally, morally, and spiritually to fulfill our potential and create contexts that nurture justice, cooperation, creativity, freedom, joy, radiant health, and sustainability. Fortunately, this is beginning to change, and the momentum of our healing and awakening is increasing.

We can see two raging infernos on this planet. One is burning and destroying ecosystems, animals, societies, sanity, health, and our children’s future. The other is benevolent and is illuminating and incinerating the obsolete delusions perpetuated by our unquestioned exploitation of animals, and is revealing a new path to a doorway that leads to a positive future.

We will be free when we free others, and there is nothing physically holding us back from the evolution of respect, freedom, and harmony that is beckoning us. Whenever we eat animals foods of any kind—free-range, grass-fed, wild-caught, factory-farmed—it is all the same and cut from the same cloth: exploitation. Our exploitation ends when we awaken from the cultural program of exploiting other living beings and co-create a more aware plant-based way of eating and living, and understand the reasons behind this. Exploiting animals, we exploit and delude ourselves; freeing animals, we free ourselves.

 

A Change of Heart Changes Everything

A slightly dated, but still excellent, introduction and overview by Jurriaan Kamp of the research being done by the Heartmath Institute. For more up to date information and free, downloadable resources, follow the link.

A California institute demonstrates how people can actually make their heart beat in a healthier way. Through its research, the Institute of HeartMath proves that health starts with love, and that love can reduce stress. It is a method that is used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and more than 100 organizations – from global corporations to hospitals to government agencies and schools. This simple method is changing the world. A report from Boulder Creek, California.

All you need is love, sang John Lennon. 
True, according to most people. 
The only challenge: how do you create love?

A quite startlingly simple answer was found to that question in the redwood forests of Boulder Creek, California, south of San Francisco. Since 1991, the Institute of HeartMath has generated a large body of convincing scientific evidence that it is indeed possible to create love.

HeartMath’s research shows that emotions work much faster, and are more powerful, than thoughts. And that – when it comes to the human body – the heart is much more important than the brain to overall health and well-being – even cognitive function – than anyone but poets believed. Its dominance inside the body is now clearly demonstrated. Thinking clearly with your brain is useful. But feeling positively from your heart provides an amazing boost to health and creativity.

Briefly re-experiencing a cherished memory creates synchronization in your heart rhythm in mere seconds. This increases the release of healthy, energizing hormones, while at the same time decreasing levels of damaging stress hormones, at the same time your immune system is strengthened, blood pressure decreases … and health and focus increase. Using a simple prescription that consists of a number of exercises that anyone can do anywhere in a few minutes – the details are coming shortly – HeartMath is successfully battling the greatest threat to health, happiness and peace in this world: stress.

Stress is the plague of our time, an epidemic that is spreading rapidly. The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the alarm 20 years ago, but things have only gotten worse. Every day some one million Americans fail to come to work due to stress. The European Union estimated in 2000 that the annual price tag of stress, in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity, amounts to some three to four percent of the EU’s gross domestic product.

Stress is one of the most important causes of high blood pressure, which afflicts one in three adults in Europe and North America and is the cause of many serious illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. Stress also lies at the basis of depression and burnout.

“The good news is that the negative effects of stress can be effectively countered more easily than people might imagine. This leads to better performance in every aspect of life. It is therefore a smart strategy for every organization to tackle this source of excessive costs and human strain,” according to HeartMath’s president and CEO Bruce Cryer.

That insight has now permeated many companies and institutions. Managers are sent to stress seminars. Yoga lessons are offered at company headquarters. And there are even companies that encourage their employees to take vacations. But these measures aren’t very effective as long as stress continues to permeate the corporate culture.

The sense of relief from a yoga lesson or a weekend at the beach is often lost during the first chat with a frustrated colleague at the coffee machine. A successful anti-stress strategy provides results precisely at the moment the stress is experienced. This is what HeartMath does, which is why its client list now includes such leading companies as Hewlett Packard, Shell, Unilever, Cisco Systems, and Boeing.

HeartMath was established in 1991 by Doc Lew Childre. Childre had made a name for himself as a researcher and advisor to companies and scientific institutions. With the founding of HeartMath, he embarked on his mission to demonstrate that the heart was central to human health, success and fulfillment.

While HeartMath’s techniques emphasize the importance of emotional self-management, HeartMath is no new age phenomenon. It is a research institute that has published a large body of scientific research in established and respected publications such as the Harvard Business Review and the American Journal of Cardiology.

Those publications support HeartMath’s central aim of presenting revolutionary scientific discoveries in a solid, “bullet proof” way. It has demonstrated significant cost savings for healthcare organizations struggling with staff turnover, and has shown significant health benefits in an array of studies covering congestive heart failure, diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. As Cryer says, “HeartMath is not based simply on belief. There are proven physiological reactions in how emotion, heart and brain interact.” In other words: HeartMath’s work is kept scrupulously free of the obvious potential for opportunism.

Which is admirable given that financing and survival issues have presented tricky challenges for the organization through the years. HeartMath’s location reflects this cautious strategy. The institute is located in a group of buildings on a lovely retreat-like setting in Boulder Creek, a town that is nearly impossible to find among the tall trees of the ancient Californian forests. Stress and Boulder Creek have little to do with one another, I realize, following a drive through the pouring rain. And yet the decision to locate HeartMath here was not so odd. Forty-five minutes down the road is a well-known hotbed of this “modern plague:” Silicon Valley.

Research director Rollin McCraty is in his office – a simple study with a huge window looking out over a wooded slope – working on one of HeartMath’s latest initiatives: a computer-driven experiment that shows how the heart reacts more quickly to external stimuli than the brain. HeartMath programs utilize an innovative biofeedback system – developed by founder Doc Childre – whereby your finger or ear is hooked up to a sensor that shows the heart’s activity on a computer screen. The feedback is not a precondition for the result of the HeartMath exercises, but seeing your heart rhythms live on a computer screen makes it easier to convince critics of the favourable effect of positive feelings.

Measuring internal feelings using modern instruments is not new in itself. For example, with the help of the electroencephalogram (EEG), it has been proven that meditating yogis produce completely different brain waves than – say – stock traders on Wall Street. But HeartMath’s heart-driven method extends much further than relaxation through meditation. McCraty notes, “Meditation is mainly geared towards consciously separating yourself from the reality around you. That has totally different physical consequences than our approach, which is geared towards actively adding positive energy to a particular situation.”

To measure the heart’s reaction to particular events, HeartMath uses a relatively new concept – one that is currently a hot item in mainstream medicine – as an indicator of a healthily functioning body: heart rate variability (HRV). Research conducted 10 years ago by Dr Andrew Armour of Dalhouse University in Halifax, Canada showed that the heart has its own neural network—in essence, a little brain. HRV – the rhythm of the time period between two heartbeats – plays a key role in that network. It has now been demonstrated that the heart sends signals to the brain and the hormonal system via nerves which carry the heart rhythm patterns. It doesn’t matter so much how many times a heart beats per minute; it’s the rhythm of the heartbeat that counts.

Childre, McCraty and HeartMath’s research team have discovered that certain patterns in the heart rhythm correspond to a particular emotional state. McCraty explains, “With every heartbeat, information is supplied that affects our emotions, our physical health and the quality of our lives.” This means that feelings of compassion, love, care and appreciation produce a smoothly rolling – HeartMath calls it “coherent” – heart rhythm, while feelings of anger, frustration, fear and danger emit a jagged and capricious – “incoherent” – image. But this is more than a statistical difference. HeartMath’s research shows that a different heart rhythm leads to other chemical and electrical—even neurological—reactions in the body.

Simply put: when people experience love, they not only feel happy and joyful, but they also produce, for example, more DHEA, the hormone that prevents aging, and gives us feelings of youthful vitality. Not surprisingly, a synthetic form of the hormone is currently sold in pill form at drugstores and health food stores. At the same time, the production of damaging stress hormones like cortisol is reduced. High levels of cortisol have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression and fatigue.

By contrast, a “loving body” absorbs less cholesterol, thereby preventing arteries from clogging while boosting production of immunoglobulin A, an important biochemical that boosts immune function. In addition, blood pressure stabilizes. McCraty links this effect to problems many organizations face: “There is a clear connection between healthcare costs and blood pressure levels. When your blood pressure falls, so do visits to the doctor…” And so HeartMath concludes that love is both an emotional and a physical state: positive feelings – like love – generate health. The reverse is also true. Someone who is angry produces less DHEA and more cortisol. And so on. HeartMath’s slogan – a change of heart changes everything – pretty much sums it up.

But how do you “change your heart?” According to HeartMath research, it is much simpler than it looks. McCraty says, “If you consciously shift your attention to a positive emotion, like appreciation or care, or if you allow your thoughts to return to the feeling of a cherished memory, your heart rhythm changes immediately.”

This phenomenon continues to astonish the some 25,000 people who attend HeartMath courses each year. Initially, HeartMath utilized expensive medical equipment to measure and display the heart rhythm. But since 2000 HeartMath has offered a “do-it-yourself” equivalent: the Freeze-Framer, an award-winning computer program with an innovative sensor that anyone can install in their computer at home or at work. So far, HeartMath has sold more than 30,000 of these systems.

The first time I start up the Freeze-Framer at home and attach the sensor to my finger, a freakish pattern appears on my computer screen. My heart rhythm is all wild peaks and valleys or – in HeartMath jargon – an “incoherent pattern.” I then perform my prescribed exercise. I shift my thoughts to the area around my heart, I visualize that I’m breathing in through my heart and out through my solar plexus (the energy point under the breastbone, above the belly button). I remember a sweet memory with my daughter. I feel the warmth of our contact at that moment … and I see the graph on the computer screen change.

The exercise, which I’ve only been doing for a couple of minutes, is quick and effective. The volatile peaks change into rolling hills on my screen. My incoherent heart rhythm has synchronized into a coherent rhythm. And what I can’t see on the line of the graph, but know – from HeartMath research – is that my body is now functioning in a more healthy and wholesome way.

The research is convincing. A group of managers from Motorola attended a HeartMath workshop and were tested six months later on the results of their daily exercises. One-quarter of the managers had high blood pressure at the start of the project. After six months, they all had normal blood pressure levels. In another study with Hewlett-Packard managers, the average blood pressure fell from 138/86 to 128/80. This large an improvement is comparable to the effect of losing nearly 20 kilos (44 pounds).

A recent study of employees at the food and household products multinational Unilever shows that the production of the favourable hormone DHEA increased by an average of 50 percent after six months of HeartMath exercises and rose to 90 percent after nine months. The exercises also work for people with chronic diseases.

For example, diabetes patients who performed a total of one hour of HeartMath exercises every week for six months scored significantly better on a number of health aspects crucial to them. Another HeartMath study indicates that the savings on health care costs and absenteeism can run up to $700 U.S. (540 euros) per employee a year. For a company with 1,000 employees, that would mean a savings of $700,000 U.S. (540,000 euros) a year.

The fact the exercises are so easy may well be the most promising aspect of the HeartMath system. Bruce Cryer notes, “Time pressure is continually increasing. No matter how good a program might be for them, many people simply don’t take the time to invest in their emotional and physical health every day. People want exercises to take virtually no time, but to yield results. That’s the strength of our approach.

You can learn the techniques in five minutes and get positive results if you do them a few times a day for 30 seconds. When you’re on your way to your next meeting, for example. Or when you start up your computer. Or sitting at a stoplight. Or waiting to make a phone call. Or before starting to check your e-mails. By making the techniques simple and quick, you can integrate them into your daily schedule without having to drastically change your life.”

Regularly using the Freeze-Framer is particularly helpful in recognizing stress patterns. You gain insight into your own behaviour and the effect of that behaviour on your health. In that respect, the Freeze-Framer works like a thermometer: you get to the point where you don’t need to take your temperature any more to know you have a fever. As a result, it becomes ever easier to quickly correct the experience of stress.

Cryer says, “HeartMath’s aim is to eliminate stress. Of course we can’t eliminate stressful events from our lives, but we can change our physiological and emotional response to them. The goal is to teach you to recognize which circumstances create stress so you can change your reaction to those situations. For example, practising a HeartMath technique helps you not to curse if someone cuts you off on the highway, but to react differently. And the most important result is that no damaging stress hormones are released in your body and no damaging comments come out of your mouth that could make the situation much worse.”

Is HeartMath the only effective answer to stress? Clearly not. Every walk on the beach is beneficial. The same goes for an enjoyable concert. And for experiences of friendship and love. There are also other promising initiatives with a comparable focus. Ode previously reported on the work of the Italian Amedeo Maffei (see Ode, June 2002) as well as the computer game Wild Divine (see Ode, April 2004). And there are other projects geared towards synchronising the heart and brain rhythms to stimulate favourable biochemical and electrical processes in our bodies.

But the strength of HeartMath lies in the convincing evidence of the effectiveness of the exercises and their simplicity. And its approach takes into account the sense of time pressure continually experienced by the stressed target group.

Less stress and more health is, of course, enough of a recommendation for following HeartMath’s system. But there’s more: studies show that the electromagnetic field of the heart (which is created by the heart’s electrical system, or electrocardiogram) can be measured from between two and three metres from the body. HeartMath has discovered that if someone has a coherent heart rhythm, it has a demonstrably positive effect on other people in close proximity to him or her (and the reverse is also true). Just think about how you feel in the presence of someone who is appreciative or caring, compared to being close to someone angry or frustrated.

That is: if your own heart rhythm is coherent, there is a greater chance that your environment will also behave coherently.
That is: the health of your environment starts with your own health. 
That is: changing the world starts with you.

Cryer notes how, “A lot of people feel powerless. Climate change. Poverty. War. Terrorism. There are so many things we could fear in the world. So where do you start as an individual, when the size of the problems seem so daunting? It is important to know that you can have a demonstrably positive effect on the world. We can change the world, starting with ourselves.”

That enthusiasm is behind all the solid research done by HeartMath. This vision also explains why the Institute never opted for quick fixes, but instead preferred building steady proof of concept.

Cryer concludes, “It is our mission to help the world change, by helping people change. The root of most of our world’s problems is a lack of emotional management, a lack of understanding, care, respect and compassion. Most organizations and governments are fairly dysfunctional, because their leaders lack skills to manage themselves emotionally, let alone be an example for others to follow. That dysfunction damages the planet every day. We offer tools that are needed to eradicate major challenges and problems and to prevent wrongs.”

Those tools help the heart to make love.

All you need is love, John Lennon sang.

It’s as simple as that.

The Heartmath Institute

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

In 1969 and 70 John Lennon and Yoko Ono spread a specific message of peace around the world. American combat troops had been fighting in Vietnam since 1965, and around 45,000 Americans had already been killed by the end of 1969. Almost half a million US men and women were deployed in the conflict, and opposition to the war was growing as demonstrated by The Peace Moratorium, which was at that time the largest demonstration in US history with an estimated two million people involved.

Against that backdrop John and Yoko rented billboards in eleven major cities around the world and put up posters that read: “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko”.

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is a song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and released in 1971 as a single by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir. John explained that what he and Yoko wanted to see was for people all over the world to come together on wanting peace. They wanted to see people talking about peace, working for peace, praying for peace, thinking about peace, publicising peace, doing whatever came to mind for the cause of peace.

They wanted people to get into the idea of “War Is Over” and to state it, believe it, shout it, display it. The idea was that if enough people believe that war is over then we will have a peaceful world. (Those reading this who think the idea is nonsense should bring their perception of what is possible using intention up to date with the scientific findings of The Intention Experiment, the first worldwide double-blind experiments on the effects of focused intent).

John Lennon is arguably the most famous peace activist of our time, and the War is Over – If You Want It campaign was a product of his vision and dedication to the cause. If he were alive today you can guarantee that he would be making himself heard and promoting a message of peace. Those who didn’t want peace got rid of John, but his legacy is still with us.

On the Imagine Peace website is the War is Over – If You Want It image in a variety of freely downloadable formats.  Download it print out and display in in your windows, at school, at work, and in your car window. Use it as your avatar or profile picture, send it as a greetings card.

Of all the songs regurgitated over the period, too often this one is conspicuous by its absence. Given its antiwar message and the fact that there has been a war going on fairly continuously since WWII, it’s little wonder that media controllers don’t encourage its being aired. Personally, I’d like to hear the song more often than I do, especially over the coming weeks. In fact, I’d like to see it reach number one in the charts this Christmas.

Hands up who wants peace! Me too, and I can’t think of a better way around this time of year than breathing life into John’s vision. His message was that it’s up to us, we have the power to end war. A message that needs to be heard again.

Download the image, share it, print it out. Again, I can’t think of a card more fitting or cool this Yule. Send in requests to the radio,  download the song.

(The video below was chosen from a variety available due to the questionable imagery used in all of them, especially the ‘official’ video)

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=oXaLu7bvke8">http://youtube.com/watch?v=oXaLu7bvke8</a>

Many of you will remember the successful move made by Facebook users in 2009 to scupper the plans of the producers of the TV show X-Factor by displacing their contrived hit song with the more sincere Rage Against the Machine song.  The action restored my faith in people and the potential of social networks.

LETS”S DO IT AGAIN!

The easiest way I can think of is just do it yourself, and share the idea with your friends and people, over whichever media you want.  By all means someone set up a Make War is Over Christmas No 1, but I would question the need. We can act as a group without being ‘part of a group’. I say this suspecting that the men behind the curtain aren’t going to sit by idly while their tool is once more used as a rallying point, and even less so if that message is, like John and Yoko’s, one of love and peace. Since the 2009 event various changes have been introduce to Facebook, which make that kind of mass community usage less easy. But there are lots of other ways to spread a message.

Download the image, share it, print it out, put it in your windows at home and in your vehicle; use it as your avatar or profile picture for the season, send it as a greetings card, send in daily requests to the radio, download the song.

In John’s own words, ‘We can get it together. Get it?! Together!’

Peace.

 

The Six Paramitas

by Dr Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet

As we deepen our inquiry into the nature of our culture, and how we can best help liberate animals, our Earth, and ourselves from the harmful actions and attitudes causing conflict and destruction, we may begin to realize that the problem is not just other people. We ourselves are part of the problem also. How many people can we actually and substantively change for the better? Quite honestly that number is one.

Cow by visionary artist Madeleine TuttleThis is not to say that we can’t help move our world and other people in a positive direction, but rather to emphasize that this capacity is, paradoxically, a result essentially of our authentic efforts to move ourselves in a positive direction. Most of us, when encountering someone who would like to “improve” us will wisely act to block that effort. Thus, in the end, the most effective way to change others and the world is to endeavor to embody and exemplify in ourselves whatever changes we’d like to see in others.

Substantive positive personal change requires inner effort to question the obsolete and harmful attitudes living within us, to understand them, and to heal them through the effort to cultivate a higher and more inclusive and realistic awareness. We have all been wounded from infancy be being born into a herding culture based on the exploitation and abuse of the weak by the strong. In order to build a movement capable of transforming our culture, we are called to undertake the most challenging of all efforts: the effort to transform ourselves.

Grassroots vegan advocacy starts with us as individuals in our communities, endeavoring to become more aware and proficient in our understanding, and in our ability to communicate and cooperate with others. This is the indispensible foundation of the movement to liberate animals, and all of us, from the status quo culture of domination that steals and destroys the sovereignty of both animals and people.

Large non-profit organizations, unlike grassroots efforts, tend to be reductionist and authoritarian in nature. Ironically, herderism, the living core of our cultural mindset and root of our problems, is similarly reductionist and authoritarian, but in the extreme. (If we were born as cows or chickens, we would have no doubt of this.) Thus the large animal protection organizations exist ironically as products of the herding culture and tend to mirror and support its underlying mentality and way of functioning. These organizations compete with one another for funding, and operate under centralized hierarchical structures of authority. The living transformation of vegan awakening tends in their hands to be reduced to a commodity to be marketed by compliant leafletters and spokespeople whose job is to deliver a message that has been crafted by public relations “experts.” Such an approach is ironically an expression of the same mind-set that is creating the problem of animal exploitation in the first place. It tends to muffle the authentic creative voices of individuals who have unique talents and gifts to share.

Bobcats by visionary artist Madeleine TuttleThus, to continually invent and renew a movement for the liberation of animals, we are each called, as individuals, to embody as best we can the change we are working for, and diligently monitor and refresh our organizations to ensure they reflect this same spirit. While going vegan is a liberating, healing, and empowering step for us as individuals, and naturally helps heal and improve our interconnected society, it is not the last step. In many ways, it is the first step of a life where we awaken from being a mere culturally-programmed bio-robot, and step out of the prison of the imposed food narrative of disease and destruction and its many manifestations. Our journey beckons us to continue ever on, so that our inner world, like our outer behavior, ever more fully reflects our core values of respect, kindness, freedom, and harmony.

This is the real challenge we all face. It’s much easier and more tempting to blame others (such as political figures, financial elites, and so on) for our problems than it is to work with our internalized attitudes and wounds. And yet, it is only to the degree that we transform ourselves—so that our lives are radiant expressions of the message we would like others to hear—that we will experience our full potential to bring healing and positive change to our world. As the vegan movement becomes increasingly a movement of people who are authentically doing the inner work necessary to explore and purify our individual consciousness, our movement, through this, is becoming increasingly unstoppable.

Satyagraha, the “truth power” that Gandhi described, is ultimately triumphant, and the best way to spread truth is through embodying it so that we plant seeds of change naturally and effectively, with means that reflect the ends we envision. While we don’t try to change others, we can definitely do our best to plant seeds of positive change in others by making these changes congruent in ourselves, so our actions, words, values, thoughts, feelings, and gestures are all aligned within us and people sense this congruency.

How do we make these positive internal changes? With practice. Like with anything else, we become what we practice. The ancient wisdom traditions have many practices that have helped people heal and renew their minds and lives. These practices can be especially helpful for us in contributing to a vegan world of respect and kindness for all.

Horse by visionary artist Madeleine TuttleOne example is the Six Paramitas from the Buddhist tradition, also called the Six Perfections. Paramita in Sanskrit means “crossing over,” so these six Paramitas are qualities that we can cultivate every day to help us cross over to the other shore of greater awareness and freedom. One way to practice them is to focus on a different paramita each day of the week. What follows is the Six Paramitas practice for all seven days, with a short explanation for each one, which is best recited every morning to set the intention for the day.

Monday, The Day of Giving: Dana Paramita. Let us have all-pervading love, not only for people but for all sentient beings, and give of ourselves and our possessions freely and without regret, with a heart of lovingkindness. Let our giving be rooted in transcendent awareness, knowing the three elements involved are of one essence. Finally, let us remember that the teachings contain no greater wisdom than the wisdom of letting go. This is also called Dana. (Note: the three elements mentioned here are giver, gift, and receiver)

Tuesday, The Day of Ethics: Sila Paramita. Let us maintain standards of discipline, etiquette, and decorum so that our actions are honorable in every situation, and thinking of others always, let us be careful not to harm them in any way. Let us cultivate the natural integrity, diligence, and straightforwardness that fundamental aspects of clear seeing and real virtue.

Bee by visionary artist Madeleine TuttleWednesday, The Day of Patience: Kshanti Paramita. Let us treat all beings as the Buddha, seeing through the spell of appearance to the essential reality in which there is no fundamentally separate self. Let us remember that patience is humility, a basic acceptance of this present moment as the perfect unfoldment of life and love, and that it is also an accurate mirror of our present state of mind, and thus continuously bears great opportunities to grow in wisdom and compassion.

Thursday, the Day of Zealous Effort: Virya Paramita. Whatever is appropriate, let us perform it diligently and persistently push forward. Let us be aware of the Source of all energy and activity, and live in harmony with it.

Friday, the Day of Stillness and Stability of Mind: Dhyana Paramita. Let us function in tranquil one-pointedness of mind, free from agitation arising through the senses, and dualistic conceptions of this and that, self and other. Let us let go of tension and separateness, and realize the equanimity that is born of awakening to the truth underlying phenomena.

Saturday, the Day of Wisdom: Prajna Paramita. Let us act so that the mind is always pure and bright, and behave so that we are never uncertain about the rightness of our actions. By the brightness of inherent wisdom, let us dispel the delusion of separateness, and greed and hatred, which spring from ignorance about the real nature of sense objects.

Sunday, the Day of Service: Simultaneous Practice of all the Paramitas. Let us put all forms of wholesome action into practice, by rendering service to others and practicing generosity, loving speech, beneficial action, and cooperativeness. May lovingkindness and compassion emanate from our every thought, word, and deed, and bless all sentient beings, and may they all realize the original brightness of their minds and be instantly reborn in the Pure Land of clear seeing.

In conclusion, with this Six Paramitas practice, the idea is daily to recite and feel into the essential nature of the quality of mind and heart that is being evoked by this day’s Paramita, and to hold it in consciousness throughout the day as best we can. Gradually, and with persistent practice, all six Paramitas will begin to suffuse their healing presenceElephants by visionary artist Madeleine Tuttle into our awareness in all seven days. We begin to realize that vegan living, nonviolence, respect for animals and other humans, and spiritual liberation are all profoundly interconnected. As we endeavor to embody the universal principles indicated by the six Paramitas, we are working at the roots to help build a more kind and harmonious world for all.