Is Our Use of Smartphones and the Internet Preventing Us from Healing and Stunting Our Personal Growth?

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Candy CrushThe world was a very different place in the mid-nineties when I started traveling from New Mexico to work in Boston and New York City. The Internet was in the early stages of development and cell phones had only recently become available to the general public. I was making four trips a year and spending a little over two months at a time on the road stopping over in Kansas City, New York City and Boston before returning to Albuquerque.

The people I worked with at that time would often schedule individual healing sessions for my return trip months in advance. What amazes me is that the majority of people kept their appointments despite the fact that they were booked so far in advance. Some people would even schedule two or three sessions per visit.

Having trained with a traditional Native American doctor made me a novelty. In many instances I would go on the radio or offer a workshop and then I would have all kinds of people wanting to work with me individually. I had so much work when I first started traveling to Boston that it usually took me two to three weeks to get out of town. I felt totally exhausted by the time I returned to Albuquerque. I usually took a few weeks to replenish and work on my writing.

A large percentage of the people that I worked with during that time continued to work with me for two, five and ten years or longer. In many instances the presenting issues that they initially came to me for would have been resolved. But many chose to continue with the individual sessions because of the growth that they experienced in different areas of their lives.

It was nice having so many people to work with and I just assumed it would continue that way. But my good fortune began to change as the technology continued to advance and people were spending more and more time on their smartphones and behind the screens of their computers.

I struggled to make sense of what was happening for quite some time, wondering why it had become so much harder to maintain a practice when I knew that my work had become much more powerful and effective over the years. In time I learned that people practicing other forms of healing were having a similar experience. One healer I know that had a huge following over the years now anguishes about how little work he now has.

Developing certain cognitive skills at the expense of others

There are both positive and negative aspects to our use of the technology. Certain kinds of computer games strengthen brain functions related to fast-paced problem solving. They have also been shown to enhance visual-spacial skills and improve our capacity for rapid decision making. The primary cause for concern is that we may be developing certain cognitive skills at the expense of others.

The internet provides us with access to vast treasure trove of information. Rather than having to trudge a considerable distance to the library, we can now find the information we need in a matter of minutes by doing a search on Google.

We’re now consuming three to four times as much information as we did just a few decades ago. Our brains are to some extent adapting to this deluge of information. We’ve become a lot better at finding the information we need and have also improved our capacity to assess the trustworthiness and value of content of a particular website. One can easily debate that last sentence when we consider the massive amount of garbage being sold online as a result of “highly converting” sales pages. Having quick and easy access is in many ways a good thing. There problem here is that this ease of access to so much information also comes with a price.

The technology that was designed to serve us is in many ways is taking over our lives. Many of us are plugged into our devices for over twelve hours a day when we combine the amount of time we spend on the internet, our smartphones, iPods, tablets and television. The more time we spend in these virtual realities, the less time we spend actually participating in life. We’re not getting out and going places as much, engaging in as many activities or being as directly involved with other people because we’re spending so much time staring into the screens of our smartphones and computers.

The technology that was designed to help us to get more done is making it possible for us to complete many time consuming tasks in a shorter amount of time. The irony here is that the demands and expectations placed upon us have increased. We now have so much more to do and that’s leaving us less time to do many of the things we truly want and need to do.

It can be hard to resist the endless stream of useful and fascination information available online that we either want or need to learn more about. The problem is that it is not humanly possible for us to absorb all of this information. But we can easily find ourselves getting distracted by all kinds of irrelevant, mind numbing and time consuming distractions if we’re not being mindful of what we’re doing. Sitting there in front of the computer for extended periods of time also takes us further away from what’s happening in the here and now.

Our use of the internet is consuming huge amounts of time. Many of us have sat down to watch a video, catch up on the news or read an article and before we know it hours have gone by. In many instances, we’re staying up late into the night reading articles, posting on Facebook and scrolling through the news feed, checking out videos on YouTube, tweeting, chatting and answering emails. Consequently, we wake up feeling tired the next day; therefore we are not as present or productive.

Disrupted sleep rhythms

Light-sensitive protein in the cells at the back of our eyes called melanopsin signal the brain’s internal clock, which controls the body’s circadian rhythm. Blue light, which is the most abundant during the morning hours sends a message to our brains that it’s time to wake up. Red light which is more common in the evenings signals our brains to start powering down. Our computers, tablets and smartphones emit large quantities of blue light. Our use of theses gadgets during the nights disrupts our brain’s natural rhythms by throw off our natural sleep-wake cycles.

It’s highly addictive

The internet acts in some ways like a drug with its element of instant gratification making it highly addictive. Many of us crave the stimulation we get from our gadgets. We see the evidence our addiction in our compulsion to spend time on our smartphones and computers even though it interferes with our work and social life.

The internet is designed to appeal to the brain’s craving for novelty and stimulation. The quick hits of novelty that we experience whenever we go online provide us with a sense of instant gratification. The production of the neurotransmitter dopamine in our brain’s reward centers feeds into our sense of excitement. In its absence we feel bored.

The dopamine induced sense of instant gratification created by our use of technology compels us to keep picking up our cell phones to text or check for new email, tweets and status updates. The reinforcement we get from these hits of dopamine makes it harder and harder for us to stop. We’re like the mice in the science experiments that get a food pellet as a reward every time they push a lever. It’s really scary when we realize how manipulated we are by our technology and the people who are using it to serve their own purposes.

It has become an automated response for us to reach for our phone the moment we have any down time. We can’t go more than an hour without checking our gadgets. And then we feel irritable and antsy until we get our fix. Our cravings for stimulation continue even after we unplug, and that keeps us coming back for more.

People plug in with their smartphones while waiting in line, walking to wherever it is they’re going and even sitting on the toilet. At least half of the people riding the subways in New York City are staring into the screens of their smartphones. Many of us are not getting adequate rest because we’re staying up late into night doing whatever it is that we do online.

The unrelenting pings, buzzes and beeps and other notifications that alert us to new messages, tweets, texts and status updates keep our body and mind in a state of high alert. The constant alerts and other distractions play into the more primitive aspects of our brain that are designed to respond to immediate threats. These parts of the brain were designed to ensure our survival. And they demand that we pay attention.

Filling every waking moment

Smartphones and the internet are making it possible for us to fill nearly every waking moment of the day with some form of activity or distraction. From the time we wake up many of us are texting, tweeting, posting on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, checking out other people’s posts or calling them, listing to music and playing games.

Our use of smartphone and the internet are teaching our brains to become bored very easily. Many of us are caught in a vicious cycle in which constant stimulation reduces our ability to entertain ourselves or be present in the here and now and that causes us to seek out more intense stimulation.

Filling our every waking moment with all of these digital distractions is counterproductive. Time spent in stillness without distraction is essential for sparking and sustaining creativity. But we seldom give ourselves the opportunity to be alone with our thoughts or settle into the deeper levels of processing because we’re always plugged in. The resulting loss of creativity greatly limits our potential.

The loss of empathy

I couldn’t help but notice a billboard some months back showing the latest editions of Samsung’s tablet, the Galaxy S and other devices. I was a bit taken aback when I read the words “Meet the family.” Samsung even put the words “Life Companion” on the home screens of their S4. Samsung is intentionally working to create an association in our minds between their smartphones, tablets and other devices to our need for family and companionship.

Rather than bonding with other human beings, our primary relationships are now with our devices. They have in essence become our life companions. We eat with our devices and sleep with them next to our bed or under our pillow. We’re texting while spending time with family and friends or going out on dates. We’re texting while walking down the street. We’re even putting our own and other people’s lives at risk by texting while driving.

Our devices have made it possible for us to be more connected to what’s happening in the world around us than ever before. The same technology that helps us stay connected is actually putting more and more distance between ourselves and others by limiting the extent to which we engage with one another. We can sit in a coffee shop or be surrounded by friends and family and yet we’re oblivious to everyone else around us because we’re so absorbed by what’s happening on the screens of our devices.

Many of us have reconnected with old friends on Facebook. Connecting with friends, coworkers, former loves and prospective new loves when we go online can be a good thing. But it can also be preventing us from being present in the here and now and to the people in our immediate proximity. It can also elicit immediate and intense feelings of intimacy that leads us to romanticize online connections. Rather than being present with our partners, we’re giving our time and energy and attention to all these digital distractions.

Our interactions with other people have taken on a more impersonal quality as we have come to rely more heavily upon our devices. Many of us are hiding behind the screens of our computers and smartphones because we are too threatened by face to face interaction. We’re becoming less caring and considerate of the needs and concerns of others. We make plans to get together and then blow it off with a text message. We sign up for classes and never bother to show up. It doesn’t matter that the person who set up the event has invested a considerable amount of time, effort and money to make the event happen. Many of us are afraid to approach or be approached and yet we’re willing to meet some total stranger online. And men that have no interest in spending time with or getting to know a woman are using smartphone apps like Tinder to hookup.

Our inability to focus our attention on and be fully present with one another is diminishing the quality of human interaction. What so many of us fail to realize is that we’re losing our capacity for empathy.

Changing the structure and function of our brains

Scientists in the not too distant past believed that our brains stopped developing in childhood. In more recent years they have developed a greater understanding of the brain’s plasticity. Scientists now understand that our brain’s neurons and synapses change as our circumstances change. They’re influenced by everything we learn and experience.

Constant digital stimulation overwhelms the processing capacity of our brains that are not adequately equipped to handle the deluge of information. And by doing so it is short-circuiting the cognitive and emotional processes taking place in our conscious and subconscious minds.

Our use of the internet encourages hurried and distracted thinking and superficial learning by exercising neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for deeper thought and introspection. In doing so it is rapidly and profoundly altering the structure and functions of our brains. The habits that we develop while spending time online continue even after we log off. A weakening of our capacity for critical thinking, imagination and reflection occurs when skimming becomes the predominant mode of processing.

The slow steady stream of information and the integration of knowledge

Most of us understand that computers have a limited processing capacity. The human brain also has a limited processing capacity. Our brains are only capable of processing a limited amount of information at any given time. Exceeding this capacity can greatly hinder our ability to learn.

The range and depth of our intelligence depends on our ability to transfer information pertaining to our immediate experience in our working memory to the filing system of our long term memory. The information flowing into our working memory is referred to as our cognitive load. Our working memory can only handle a relatively small amount of information at any given time. A break in our attention can easily erase it contents from our minds. We cannot retain information or draw connections with existing memories when we exceed our mind’s ability to process and store it. Our ability to learn and our understanding remain poor when we cannot translate new material into conceptual knowledge.

People tend to retain more and experience greater comprehension while reading linear text such as that found in a book. Reading from a book, learning to play an instrument or practicing the various forms of a martial art provides us with a slow and steady stream of information that the brain is capable of assimilating. This gradual process of assimilation is essential for the integration of knowledge.

The internet by comparison blasts us with multiple streams of information through a fire hose. In doing so, it overloads our mind’s capacity to process and store information. We’re bombarded with innumerable distractions in the form of instant messages, emails, links to other articles and videos and advertisements whenever we go online.

The cognitive overload that many of us experience as we spend time online makes it more difficult for us to retain new information or draw connections with existing memories. That impedes our ability to translate new material into conceptual knowledge. We comprehend less and therefore our ability to learn suffers.

We tend to read faster and less thoroughly whenever we go online. We spend much of our time scanning headlines, bullet points and other bits of information that stand out on a page or clicking through to other content that we never spend much time on any one thing. In the process of doing so we tend to overlook relevant details. Our range depth of comprehension remains poor.

The constant disruptions that we experience whenever we go online are remapping our neuro-circuitry in ways that are making it difficult for many of us to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. This inability to concentrate on any one thing greatly impedes the process of integration that needs to take place for information to become incorporated into our long term memory.

Multitasking

The ever increasing demands of our present day lives cause us to feel that we have to get more done and that only adds to our sense of overwhelm. One of the greatest appeals of multitasking is the promise of greater productivity. We may think we’re accomplishing more by multitasking, but in reality we’re taking unnecessary risks, making more mistakes and we’re less cognizant of what we’re doing.

Juggling email, phone calls text messages, tweets and other incoming information changes how we think and behave. Our brains are always having to reorient themselves when we’re constantly shifting our attention from one thing to another and that further taxes our cognitive faculties. The price we pay for these constant interruptions can be severe. Constantly switching our attention from one task to another greatly weakens our ability concentrate on a given task and shut out irrelevant information. We’re more distracted and that weakens our comprehension. We have greater difficulty remembering and we’re more likely to misinterpret or overlook important information.

Constantly shifting back and forth from task to another rather than focusing on one task at a time may damage the brain’s ability to handle strong emotions and hormonal responses. People who spend a lot of time multitasking, switching frequently between applications, websites, text messages and other forms of technology tend to have lower amounts of gray matter in the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex.

Cognitive and emotional deficits

Higher media multitasking is associated with a reduction of gray matter density in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex. The ACC is involved in decision making and emotional regulation. It acts as a mediator between the cognitive functions of the prefrontal cortex and the emotional responses of the limbic system. The regulatory functions provided by the ACC are essential to our emotional wellbeing.

The ACC is linked to motivation. It helps us to anticipate and prepare for the various tasks we undertake. The ACC serves an evaluative function by helping us to detect and resolve conflicts. It recognizes and then evaluates the magnitude of the discrepancies in our thoughts, actions and circumstances. These assessments make it possible for us to adjust our performance so that we can respond more appropriately. The ACC is also vital to the regulation of physiological process such as blood pressure and heart rate.

People with decreased volume in the ACC are more prone to emotional instability in the form of moodiness, fear, worry, anxiety and depression. They tend to have greater difficulty controlling urges, delaying gratification and are also more prone to substance abuse. Decreased volume in the ACC has also been linked to obsessive compulsive disorder and P.T.S.D.

The loss of density in the ACC occurs when we fail to develop the rich neuro-connections needed to contain and process our emotions. Any impediment to our ability to process our emotions stunts our healing and personal development. The negative impact on our cognitive, emotional and motivational process resulting from the lack of sophisticated neuro-connections may contribute to our poor decision making capabilities and failure to take constructive action.

The impact on children

An even greater cause for concern is how all this constant digital stimulation is creating attention problems for children whose brains have not yet fully developed and that are in the process of determining what their priorities are. Many can’t get their homework done because they’re always feeling that pull that compels them to text their friends or go on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.

In times past, children spent much of their time outside playing in their natural surroundings. Children nowadays are physically under-stimulated, while visually and auditory overstimulated because they’re spending the majority of their free time plugged into some form of entertainment technology.

But aren’t you reaching more people now that you’re online?

People have said to me on many occasions that the internet is making it possible for me to reach more people. It’s true that I do reach larger numbers of people now that I’m online. I much rather be reaching fewer people and having those I work with be consistent enough to actually experience the healing that needs to take place within their bodies and minds.

People are often excited to learn about various spiritual practices or to find classes, workshops and healers online. The problem is that they are more likely to jump from one thing to another rather than sticking with anything long enough to derive any significant benefit. I have so much more work to do in order to create the articles, videos and other content and conduct the weekly classes that are enabling me to reach all these additional people. I’m doing classes on a weekly basis. Even that doesn’t seem to be enough at times.

Just the other day I was working with a woman who was receiving and then having to respond to work related emails during the session. She was telling me that she could feel her mind racing. Everyone and everything has speeded up and life has become more pressurized now that we’re online. We have to slow down in order to do the level of deep processing necessary to facilitate healing.

I find it frustrating when the people that show up in my classes or that work with me individually attempt to communicate with me by text. Important information needs to be communicated, but I cannot adequately address the depth or complexity of their concerns through such a limited means. Texting can be useful to relay factual details such as plane arrival time, to let someone know that we’re running late or to pick up something on the way home. Texting does have an immediacy to it, and yet it is the most distant form of human interaction. Texting is the furthest human beings can remain from one another while communicating. We’re training ourselves to become less present to our feelings and physical bodies, our surroundings and other people when we rely on texting and that is diametrically opposed to healing.

Text messages are snippets of communication that are in many instances devoid of a feeling component. We cannot hear the other person’s voice or see their facial expression, therefore we are less aware of the impact of our communication upon others. We’re also cheating ourselves out of the opportunity to experience the feelings that would normally arise within ourselves in response to our interactions with other people. To rely upon texting as our primary mode of communication is to stunt our emotional growth and interpersonal development.

The excessive use of information technology is overwhelming the body and mind’s processing capacity by leaving people saturated with all this additional sensory input that they cannot possibly process. It draws people’s attention away from the moment while desensitizing them to their feelings and physical bodies. And that impedes their ability to do the processing necessary to facilitate learning, personal growth and healing.

People are in many ways not as present or available. And they are not as malleable. Their bodies and minds cannot be as responsive when they are on sensory overload. They tend to become distracted much more easily, which means I have to work much harder to connect people to their internal state of being and keep them on track.

Some people do appear to be present in the moment and yet only a small percentage are able to sustain this presence. And of those who are able to access their feelings and other aspects of their internal state of being, only a few are able to maintain the focus and discipline needed to facilitate true healing.

Electronic media is now filling so much of the space where people have meditated, prayed, reflected and dreamed. The internet has for many become a substitute for their internal state of being. As a matter of survival, I have to develop an ever increasing presence online through articles, audio recordings and videos if I am to continue to reach people and survive in my practice.

Are you saying that we should ditch our devices?

It would not practical for us to ditch our phones and computers considering that we now live in a world where we are all dependent upon them to some extent. We do much of our shopping and pay our bills online. We also correspond through email, keep ourselves up to date with what’s happening in the world and do all sorts of other things. Our devices do serve a purpose and yet it’s important for us to be mindful of the impact that our technology is having upon us and not allow it to take over our lives. We also need to learn to set them aside or turn them off for periods of time.

©Copyright 2015 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

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Whining Only Brings You More of What You Don’t Want

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Whining
The hardships and misfortunes we encounter along the way can sometimes cause us to feel powerless to effect change in our lives. We sometimes feel compelled to talk about our problems because we want to be understood and know that someone is there for us. Sharing our feelings can in some instances help to alleviate our suffering. The problem here is that many of us don’t know when to stop. Some of us have a tendency to go on and on, but that never brings us to a place of resolution. If anything, it makes us feel more anxious.

Myra said at one point that it felt so natural for her to whine. I told her that It feels natural because it’s something she’s grown accustomed to as a result of having done so for most of her life. You’ve learned to cope over the years by resisting the painful feelings associated with what’s not working in your life. It can feel scary and overwhelming as these feelings make their way to the surface, but you will realize they’re not as bad as they seem once you allow yourself to fully experience them. You will get to a calmer and more resourceful space much sooner when you allow yourself to fully experience those feelings.

Myra then wanted to know how we fall into a pattern of whining. I explained to her that some of us grew up with parents or other family members who were habitual whiners. We have a tendency to internalize the energies, emotions and traits of our parents.

We may have suffered tremendously as a result of difficult life circumstances. Whining is often an attempt to cope with or alleviate our suffering and yet it is one of the worst things we can possibly do, because it adds to our misery by contributing to a growing sense of powerlessness. And that causes us feel helpless to change the realities of our daily lives. We whine so much about the people or circumstances affecting us and then it gradually becomes a habit.

We can easily fall into habitual patterns of whining if we’re not taking constructive steps to facilitate our healing. Whining generates lots of heavy toxic energies and emotions that get trapped within our bodies. Our true essence sometimes gets buried underneath the many layers of toxic thought and feeling. The toxicity can become so pervasive in some instances that it completely takes over us.

Caught up in the drama

We typically suspend disbelief any time we go to a movie in order to allow ourselves to become captivated by the story unfolding upon the screen. In a similar way we allow ourselves to become captivated by the stories unfolding upon the screen of our mind. The problem with getting caught up in the negative scenarios playing out in our minds is that they are often generated by parts of us that are very wounded. Buying into to these distorted representations of reality can easily send us into a downward spiral. It’s important for us to understand that the parts of our mind generating these negative scenarios are only a small portion of the self and not the totality of who we are.

Resisting our mind’s internal dialog

Many of us try to resist the negative internal dialog by either ignoring it or trying to make it go away. Whatever we resist will persist. The thoughts and images we spend so much time resisting and the subsequent feelings that arise in response to them will grow in magnitude.

We cannot completely silence the parts of our mind that like to chatter, but we do have some measure of control over how much attention we pay to them. We need to acknowledge the negative dialog while primarily keeping our attention focused on the underlying feelings behind those thoughts.

Disconnecting from our feelings and physical bodies

Thinking obsessively is a defense that prevents us from fully experiencing our true feelings. We go up into our heads and by doing so we disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies. Our internal dialog elicits more stressful feelings and that feeds the negative thought patterns. We then find ourselves caught up in a self-perpetuating negative feedback loop.

We cannot possibly process our feelings when we’re spinning around in circles in our heads. We may experience the surface most levels of our anger and frustration, and yet we’re disconnected from the deeper pain underneath that drives our negative internal dialog.

The feelings that we fail to process accumulate within our bodies and that builds the negative emotional charge around the issues that have created so much suffering in our lives. Reinforcing the patterns in this way only causes them to become more deeply entrenched. This negativity causes our body – mind to become very dense. Our presence will begin to feel heavy and toxic.

Pain and stress that accumulates within our bodies has a very desensitizing effect. People who tend to whine a lot don’t realize how they’re hurting themselves and others. They’re not just wasting people’s time. They’re literally sucking the life force out of their bodies.

How do we break the habit of whining?

We all suffer as a result of the hurts, disappointments and losses we experience over the course of our lives. Sometimes we need to open up and share what we’re feeling. The problem is that those of us who don’t know when to stop can easily fall into the trap of whining. It can take tremendous discipline to break ourselves out of the habit. We need to start by making an effort to become mindful by paying attention to our thought processes while we’re in the midst of whatever it is that we’re doing.

Negative thought patterns are driven by feelings held within the body. Deeply ingrained stories and patterns can be had to break. Some of us have to be very disciplined by making a consistent effort to refocus our attention on the feelings behind our mind’s internal dialog any time the negative thought patterns emerge. We need to take a step back from the drama whenever we catch ourselves whining by asking ourselves “What are the feelings driving these thoughts?” Is it anger, disappointment, fear, frustration or sadness?

We have to diminish the emotional intensity for the negative thought patterns to lose their power. The negative internal dialog loses its power as we process the charged emotions that drive our obsessive thinking. We need to teach ourselves to go straight into the underlying feelings whenever we catch ourselves whining.

Breathing softly and deeply while immersing our awareness within our feelings and bodily sensations gets us down into our bodies. It also awakens the innate healing intelligence residing within our body – mind. This healing intelligence makes it possible for us to diffuse and then digest the feelings of fear, anger, frustration, panic, desperation and other charged emotions generating the negative dialog so that we can come to terms with what is.

The digestive process I’m describing may take a while. There may be instances when we have to continue to breathe into the feelings for hours. And we will have to resume the practice at other times when as the same feeling resurface. The feelings will gradually lighten up as we continue to breathe into them. And the more we do so, the faster we will be able to work through the issues concerning us.

Running in Circles or Digesting

Myra then asked me “How can I tell whether I’m just running circles in my head or actually digesting the feeling. I then told Myra that we have a tendency to go over the same thoughts repeatedly when we’re stuck in our heads.

We will develop greater sensitivity as we make a consistent practice of going beyond the obsessive mental chatter by breathing softly and deeply while centering our awareness in the middle of our feelings and bodily sensations. That will make it possible for us to actually feel the distress that we’re generating within our bodies when we whine.

We may even say to ourselves “Okay, I’m going to feel absolutely horrible if I buy into that cognitive frame because it’s only going to generate lots of painful feelings. And those feelings will elicit more negative thoughts which in turn will generate more painful feelings.

The digestive process that takes place as we breathe into our feelings and bodily sensations feels completely different. Breathing with our awareness centered in our feelings and bodily sensations takes us to the underlying source of our distress. Our minds begins to quiet down so that we can say what needs to be said with fewer words.

The innate healing intelligence residing within facilitates a digestive process. Feelings that surface will initially intensify and then gradually soften and become more diffuse and go through a variety of other permutations. Conflicting thoughts and feelings sort themselves out more readily making it easier for us to bring issues to a place of resolution. The resulting assimilative process facilitates new learning and growth.

Coming to terms with what is

Whining and complaining are forms of resistance. We don’t want to accept who we are, where we are or the realities of our lives. We’re resisting the pain associated with our limitations. We resist the feelings of fear, hurt, anger, grief and loss that arise when our lives don’t seem to be working or when we don’t have the relationship we want.

True healing can only take place when we come to terms with what is. Teaching ourselves to become present by allowing ourselves to fully experience the feelings that arise in response to what’s taking place in our lives helps us to develop greater equanimity.

Some of the difficulties we’re faced with are going to evoke feelings, of sadness, frustration and disappointment. Breathing into these feelings will enable us to come to a place of greater acceptance for what is. With continued practice we will learn to do what is feasible and then we’ll also know when it’s time to let go. And no matter what happens in our outer world, we will experience a growing sense of connectedness to a greater source within.

Coming to terms with what is doesn’t mean that we’re going to just give up and roll over. It’s still important for us to be proactive by continually striving to create what it is that we want in our lives. Our resolve to do what needs to be done will grow stronger. We may not necessarily like the realities that we’re forced to contend with, but we will become more accepting in ways that will enables us to work constructively within the context that we find ourselves.

Transforming the whining habit

1. Make a concerted effort to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings as you go about your day.
2. Ask yourself “What are the feelings behind all that drama?” whenever you catch yourself whining or caught up in some drama.
3. Notice where these feelings are situated in your body.
4. Breathe softly and deeply while centering your awareness in the middle of these feelings and bodily sensations. Continue to follow the feelings and sensations as they go through their progression.
5. Ask your subconscious questions like “How can I (fill in the blank with whatever it is that you want to do or accomplish)? What steps can I be taking to make this happen? Completely let go of any attachment to getting an answer after asking the question. Your subconscious will give you little insights and flashes of inspirations along the way.
6. Be proactive by taking constructive steps on a daily basis to create whatever it is that you truly desire in life.

It can sometimes be very difficult to break out of longstanding negative patterns on our own. I have received sessions from a number of powerful healers along the way and have gone on many vision quests, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water. I can always feel a powerful presence working to heal the emotional wounds and free me of limiting patterns.

The presence working through me during the individual healing sessions will enable you to digest the backlog of negatively charged emotion held within the body and heal the deep emotional wounds. Habitual negative patterns will dissolve. New resources and capabilities will emerge. Your responses to the challenges of everyday life will become healthier and more adaptive.

©Copyright 2013 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. To learn more go to http://www.doiohm.com Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Replenishing the Depleted Body and Mind

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fatigue
Harlan, like so many of us nowadays, is working way too many hours. He’s built a successful business over the past ten years. He’s made lots of sacrifices and has accomplished a great deal, but his body and mind are definitely paying the price. His days consist primarily of working at the computer and spending time on the phone with customers. That becomes very depleting, literally sucking the life force out of his body. Harlan also has a tendency to live in his head and that leaves him very disconnected from his feelings and physical body. I could definitely sense the depletion as I looked into his body. Harlan’s kidneys had become so depleted that it was interfering with the quality of his sleep. He has to rely on sleeping pills to knock himself out at the end of the day.

I began the session by having Harlan breathe into the sense fatigue that he described throughout his body. After some time Harlan told me that he was experiencing bloating in his abdomen and inflammation in his joints. Unprocessed emotions and other stresses that had accumulated and the resulting impairment of his digestion were causing the bloating.

The bloating and inflammation began to subside as Harlan continued to breathe into the physical sensations within his body. He began feel the life force flowing through his body as that happened.

Harlan works very hard and yet he’s not doing much of anything to counteract the stress. He told me that he was doing much better a few months prior when was practicing Tai Chi consistently, but had since gone downhill. Harlan needs to be doing practice every day. I can always see the wear and tear that occurs within his body where there are long gaps between sessions. Harlan has tremendous difficulty sticking with healthy food choices and the daily discipline that would enable him to maintain his health. His inability to stick with the foods and practices that nourish his body and mind has a lot to do with his tendency to disconnect from his feelings. Unprocessed emotions and other stresses that accumulate within his body create internal resistance and inertia. That’s why Harlan often feels burned out and is often lacking in enthusiasm.

I have worked with a number of people like Harlan that push themselves to the point of exhaustion. Many will let months go by between sessions because of their unwillingness to make any kind of serious investment of time and energy in their health. And that’s why so many people get into serious trouble with their health. I feel concerned by the inertia or deadening that I see, especially when I can tell that it’s causing their bodies to break down. I do the best I can to recognize people’s limitations and to reach them where they’re at.

The deadening that was taking place in Harlan’s abdominal region was notable. But I could feel the presence working through me during healing session dissolving the armor by softening the abdominal organs. The internal organs become more alive and responsive whenever I work with Harlan and that brings him back to life.

The sessions revive Harlan and get his body back on track. He sleeps better afterwards, his digestion improves and his enthusiasm for life is renewed. He has said on many occasions that he feels revived as though he had slept for a long time or taken a much needed vacation. Harlan just needs to slow down enough to be present with his feelings and physical body. He needs to breathe into the feelings and sensations that he experiences within his body on a daily basis and show up for the healing sessions at least once a month.

The abdominal region is a critically important part of the foundation that enables us to be firmly rooted in our bodies. Many of us are overwhelmed by the demands of our daily lives. We may experience abdominal bloating as the physical and emotional toxins accumulate within our digestive tract. Unprocessed feelings, the stresses of daily life and physical toxins have a deadening effect upon this part of our body and our overall body-mind consciousness. The deadening of the consciousness in our midsection cuts us off from a critical source of nourishment that is needed to replenish our bodies and minds. People often get into serious trouble as that happens.

The abdominal region affects all the organs and systems of the body. The enteric nervous system, which is embedded in the lining of the gastrointestinal system, contains a hundred million neurons that produce the same neurotransmitters found within the brain. Sixty to Seventy percent our immune system is located in the gut as a vast network of lymph tissue referred to as GALT (gut associated lymphatic tissue). We need to keep this region of our body and all the organs contained therein soft, fluid and alive.

Harlan said something about finding someone to learn Chi Gong from. Chi Gong is a very powerful and effective practice for developing one’s body and mind and I do a lot of it on a daily basis. But Chi Gong practice isn’t anywhere near as effective for helping us to digest the toxic emotional residue and other stresses that get trapped within our bodies. Breathing into the feelings and sensations enables us to get deep down inside the cells and organs to digest the emotional residue and other stresses held within in a way that Chi Gong practice won’t.

Chi Gong and the practice I teach of having people breathe into the feelings and sensations present within their bodies are two very different approaches to healing and developing one’s body and mind. I encourage people to do both forms of practice. The practice of breathing into our feelings and sensations is one of the most powerful means we have available of reconnecting with our bodies. We need to make this form of meditation a part of our daily practice.

Many of us are working and commuting excessively long hours, spending way too much time on the internet and not getting enough rest. Our bodies and minds can easily become overwhelmed by the stress. The energies of fatigue or exhaustion, unprocessed emotions and the stresses of everyday life can easily get trapped in our bodies unless we make a conscientious effort to digest them. We need to make time to be fully present with our bodies by breathing into our tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion that we experience throughout our bodies.

Much of that stress accumulates within the abdomen. We also need to be breathing while focusing our attention on any fullness, deadening or congestion held in our abdomen. Breathing into our feelings and bodily sensations awakens the innate healing intelligence residing within our bodies and minds. Consistent practice will help to bring our depleted body back to life. It will also increase our life force.

Native Americans didn’t have access to the modern medical interventions that many depend upon today. They relied upon the forces of nature to effect healing within the body and mind that would not have otherwise been possible. I spent a number of years training with Horace Daukei, the last surviving traditional doctor among the Kiowa Indian tribe and have since continued with the vision quest.

The individual healing sessions have profound regenerative effects upon the body and mind. The presence working through me repairs damage within the physical and subtle bodies. Stagnant emotions and other stresses held within the body are digested. Depleted bodies literally come back to life.

©Copyright 2013 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. The practices he teaches and individual healing sessions replenish and heal depleted bodies and minds bringing them back to life. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.