Help to heal our world; conquer fanaticism

fist

What I most love about my country is our general lack of fanaticism – a startling contrast to recent high-profile instances of it here and elsewhere. I started thinking about this subject before the terrorism events in Paris, but those events have made dealing with fanatical thinking seem even more imperative.

A fanatic expresses excessive, irrational zeal. Far from taking an intelligent and well-informed stance on an issue, their passion and manic obsession with a cause or way of doing things colour their decision-making ability negatively.

Fanaticism about a political or religious philosophy that makes us feel superior; holding obsessively to a non-proven hypothesis; belief that there is only one way to play football and there’s a single worthy team; prejudice about what foods we should eat and the best way to cultivate them; or uncompromising belief that we only need to attend to the physical body to be healthy, are all too common habits that lead us down a slippery slope of intolerance.

Fanatical beliefs are nearly always built on fear.

A red flag should go up if we find ourselves extremely sensitive about our viewpoint or hating anyone who opposes it.

Alternatively, common sense based on a positive stance, sure of a solution becoming apparent that will be good for everyone, is a better viewpoint. This demeanour is not just a good-old Aussie “she’ll be right” attitude, but grows out of a well-informed and caring approach to the world.

This is a spiritual approach that begins with ourselves – that is, feeling and accepting the love that comes from our divine source. It’s so much easier to love, when we’re feeling loved.

What will help the world through this current fermentation is our individual commitment to choosing love and understanding over hate and apathy.

I find it’s useful to ask myself: could I be a little more thoughtful and kinder with my comments? I’d have to confess that the answer is usually, “well, maybe.”

Try this scenario. If you could go back in time, would you choose to continually belittle our ancestors’ beliefs about a flat earth? Wouldn’t you instead gently nurture and point out bridges of understanding to help them comprehend the reality?

American Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, president of the Minaret of Freedom Institute was interviewed about possible motives for the killings at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Married to a Christian, Mr Ahmad holds a unique perspective on cross-cultural understanding (or misunderstandings) between Muslims and non-Muslims. He pointed out, “…it is one thing to make a joke about a rich man or a powerful man who slips and falls. It is something entirely different and not funny to make a joke about your poor old grandmother slipping and falling. To the Muslim people, jokes and cartoons about the faith of an oppressed people are not funny. They hurt.”

We all know how humiliation hurts, and most of us at some time have been down the road of wanting to lash out at a perceived enemy.

So, if we can empathise, we can forgive and work towards healing our world.

Academics and experienced change-managers in the field of terrorism psychology are stepping forward this week to share with the world some common patterns for success in de-radicalising regimes and terrorists.

Surprisingly, these don’t include retribution but active, solution-based change-management, such as recognizing the needs of jihadists; finding them vocational education, jobs and even wives; and, recognizing the importance of their social network.

Whether or not you have a direct hand in these compassionate measures, you can begin to make a difference in the health of our wonderfully promising world by de-radicalising your own thinking.

Utilise this good advice to start the healing movement within your own circle:

  • “Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last…
  • If you have been badly wronged, forgive and forget…
  • Never return evil for evil;
  • and, above all, do not fancy that you have been wronged when you have not been.”
    (Mary Baker Eddy)

None of us have all the answers to the world’s problems right now, but today you can at least be a law to yourself to give up any fanatical beliefs you may be harbouring. This self-regulating action is also good for your stress levels, heart, immune system and much more.

This article was published on the Sunshine Coast Daily and 31 other APN news sites.

Make a game-changing New Year’s resolution

JANUARY

While some of us are still dealing with the influx of visitors, festivities and sun-soaked holidays, in the back of our minds is the niggling thought that 2015 has already begun and now is the time to make our New Year’s resolutions, before it’s too late.

Some are choosing to eat healthier and exercise more. That certainly can make us feel better.

Two other resolutions that go hand-in-hand will not only increase your health but be game-changers in your life:Continue Reading

Rekindling the true spirit of Christmas via beaches, mountain summits, Byron Bay and Bethlehem

reading on beach

Christmas holiday “thinking time” is good for your health….

Many feel a pressing need to get away from it all and quite literally to lie on a beach during the Christmas holiday period. This isn’t a selfish desire, because a holiday break’s positive health effects are intuitively good for your mental, physical and spiritual health, and this is backed up by current medical research.

It could also be argued that no great discovery or innovation made in human history has been made without considerable “thinking time” in an environment where mental and spiritual development can occur unimpeded by the demands on time by colleagues, relatives and friends.

The epic blockbuster now showing, Exodus: Gods and Kings, opens with the hero Moses dealing with the heavy demands of family and national politics within Pharaoh’s palace, and blissfully unaware of the injustices occurring to his kinsfolk. Not until a series of circumstances opened his eyes and forced him to detach himself from this life, did he have the time to ponder his real life purpose.Continue Reading

Are you a job seeker? Learn the hidden benefits of volunteering

He had to stop arguing for failure, unemployment and depression. © Glowimages
Research into the benefits of volunteering can help the job seeker © Glowimages

International Volunteer Day falls on 5 December each year; a day established by the United Nations to raise awareness of all that volunteers add to our economic and social development, at every level in the global community.

Did you know that your “attitude of gratitude” which has led you to volunteer is adding to your health and wellbeing; whether it’s in collecting for a worthwhile cause, giving your time and expertise in community service organisations like Surf Life Saving Australia, working on school P&Cs or for Meals on Wheels or church-based community organisations?

Scientists have been accumulating considerable evidence that verifies what spiritual thinkers have long affirmed: “a grateful heart” that is ready to be of service is beneficial to our health.Continue Reading

Is there a daily diet that curbs perfectionism, eating disorders?

A daily diet that feeds our famished affections

Four ‘trick or treaters’ knocked on our door on Halloween evening. Somewhat unprepared and surprised to experience this novelty in Australia I managed to locate a few sweet treats for each of them, and they left happily bubbling with excitement.

Was I frightened of their costumes or weird masks? Of course not. And I’m sure they didn’t believe for a moment that they’d suddenly morphed into ugly, wicked or ghoulish creatures, either.

Sometimes, though, people do put on an emotionally draining mask as they strive to feel accepted and loved. Over time they may come to accept the charade as part of themselves.

For instance, they may act out the role where they have to be the best … at everything. They can’t abide mistakes and feel it’s a badge of honour to say they’re a perfectionist. Ever in fear of failing, they may be chronic procrastinators. They don’t like themselves very much either, because they rarely live up to their own expectations.Continue Reading

Remembrance Day: Veterans focus upward and outward to heal

poppies

Today’s commemorations highlight the best of human conduct – servicemen’s and servicewomen’s courage, mateship, decency and willingness to lay down their lives for country and comrades in battle.

At the same time though, and in a quieter way, there is mention of those suffering from trauma as a result of seeing the devastation and brutality that go hand-in-hand with war. It was reported on ABC Big Ideas that upwards of 30% of serving Australian defence force personnel experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), leaving them with recurring images of carnage and devastation. It also often leaves them numb and detached, and sometimes suicidal.

Many servicemen and -women struggle to ‘get past’ such events and are often influenced by them day-by-day and well into the future.

Sometimes trauma shatters our basic assumptions about our invulnerability and the safety of the world or reinforces pre-existing negative beliefs that play out into self-blame and guilt.

International researcher and psychotherapist Dr Kenneth Pargament in Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy,  describes many ways that an undeveloped spirituality needs to be addressed in PTSD as it contributes to a client’s psychological despair.

Although it requires great humilityContinue Reading

Genealogy – a record of who we are, or not?

family tree4

It is fascinating to trace your family history back through the generations. Millions agree, considering the popularity of TV programs such as Who do you think you are?

I find it amazing that the well-known personalities who delve into the past are quite emotional about the heartbreaks, injustices and challenges experienced by their forebears, who they have only just discovered existed. On the plus side, this has led to healing in families when today’s standards and insights about race, religion, circumstances and nationality have been brought to the table.

Genealogy websites are just as popular. My cousins had traced our family tree back several generations. So, earlier this year we visited a family estate in Ireland and our namesake town in England and felt the warmth of belonging, despite never having visited before.

On the downside, shocking discoveries about forebears, such as a relative who promoted slavery, or great, great-grandparents who included criminals, prisoners, millionaires and paupers, all pepper family histories. Not to mention records of disease and mental illness resurfacing over the generations.Continue Reading

The essential ingredients for youth mental health

Time to talk about essential spirituality © Glowimages
Mental Health Week – time to talk about essential spirituality © Glowimages

The years between 15-25 are frequently a time of questioning and great discovery, but like many others I found them difficult. I had to deal with chronic disease, failure in my chosen career, a persistent lack of self-worth along with indecision about an alternative career path, and loneliness.

Although never diagnosed, a psychologist would probably have called me depressed.Continue Reading

Love can rewrite our prognosis

a kinder-hearted society

Out for my afternoon walk I was overtaken by a huge, gangly black puppy dragging along his owner. They brought a smile to my face and jogged a memory of my lovely little fox terrier-corgi cross, Tess. I couldn’t help contrasting the use of a body harness/lead worn by the pup and my use of a traditional collar and lead, which on reflection must have tugged constantly on dear Tess when we went for walks.

Things change for the better. A kinder-hearted society looks for and discovers better solutions.

I’m pleased to see that enlightened thought today is urging us to re-examine and move beyond Darwin’s theory of evolution and survival of the fittest based on an exclusively material view of the world.Continue Reading

Experiencing Health via the Connection

Edwin de Leon

Why don’t you hear more about the revolutionary healthcare options and treatments that take into account the mind-body-spirit connection from your local doctor or hospital?

Here’s one explanation. In Dr Craig Hassed’s keynote address at the 20th Annual International Integrative Medicine Conference in Sydney last week he referred to Thomas Kuhn’s philosophy of the Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Continue Reading