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Thu, 20 Jul 2017
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Science of the Spirit


The Sioux guide to situational awareness


Charles Alexander Eastman was born in 1858 and raised as "Ohiyesa" to be a hunter and warrior in the traditional ways of the Santee Sioux. When he was almost 16 years old, he left tribal life to learn the culture of European-American civilization and earn his undergraduate and medical degrees. Eastman became a doctor, a tireless advocate for the rights of his people, and a writer of many works in which he sought to share the true ways of the American Indian. We previously shared Eastman's insights on the Sioux ideal of manhood. Having laid that foundational overview, we will now offer a series of edited collections of Eastman's writing on 3 specific subjects: situational awareness, physical and mental discipline, and spirituality.

First up: situational awareness. The life of the American Indian was a satisfying but precarious one. Natural and human dangers abounded. To watch for these threats, the Sioux selected certain men to serve as two types of scouts — one for hunting and one for war. Part of the job of the latter was to secrete themselves just outside the tribe's village at night and listen and watch for potential enemies in the darkness; Eastman describes these nocturnal scouts as having "been so trained as to rival an owl or a cat in their ability to see in the dark."

The journey from boy to man: A lesson from the Sioux
Situational Awareness - Observe, Orient, Decide, Act

Heart - Black

Emotional abuse in childhood as harmful as violence or neglect

Though abusive words don't leave physical scars, they may have the same lasting mental health effects as violence, new research finds.

According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as other forms of child abuse, including violence and neglect.


Romantic love can lead to growth or stagnation

© Shutterstock
"Come sleep with me: We won't make Love, Love will make us," Argentinian author Julio Cortázar wrote in his 1963 novel Hopscotch. Love can indeed change people—a new romance can be an opportunity for self-growth. But when a relationship leads people to reject other important pieces of their lives, those gains diminish, researchers report in a new study.

"It is well accepted that people may change when they become involved in a new romance, but we felt that little was known about the personal factors likely to affect the extent and nature of these changes," said coauthor Noémie Carbonneau, a social psychologist at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières.


Laugh today: Benefit your body, mind, and heart

"Laughter is part of the human survival kit." - Comedian David Nathan

Whether its Larry, Mo and Curly that tickle your funny bone or watching George Carlin, Amy Shumer, and Chris Rock standup on Youtube, there's nothing like a fit of laughter to make this crazy world better - but there's more. Your body, mind, and heart will benefit from that giggle-fit, too. Here are ten reasons to laugh however you may - fart jokes are not out of the question:

Laughter Cures Illness Faster. Hunter Campbell, M.D., the American physician whose life inspired the 1998 movie Patch Adams, took laughter therapy to a new level. He opened a free, full-scale hospital that actually used laughter as medicine, and it worked! It relieved tension and the fight or flight response of his patients, many of whom were in constant pain. If laughter can do that for patients in a hospital what do you think it can do for you?

Comment: Laugh your way to better health:


Soulful connections beyond generations

In most modern conventional belief the notion of a "Soul," if considered at all, is seen as a timeless nonmaterial property of a human being. New Age thinking generally talks about the soul expressing or manifesting throughout one's life, and then one returning to an ethereal soul state upon death.

In this context no effort is required or sought and everything simply happens at it should—"everything happens for a reason." This is often tied to Eastern concepts of great cycles and it is thought that simple acceptance of "what is" is sufficient for a life well lived.

Comment: Listen to the SOTT Talk Radio interviews with author William Patrick Patterson about the mysterious teachings of Georges Gurdjieff. After many years as a student of The Fourth Way and discovering no answer to the question that had gradually formed in him - what is the 'self' in self-remembering? - Mr. Patterson was called to explore Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism). In doing so, he realized the full significance of the ideas and practices of The Fourth Way and how this sacred and seminal teaching provided not only the necessary foundation, but was applicable on the very highest levels.

Magic Wand

Have you got the X Factor? Psychologists find that you may be musical and not even know it

© Syda Productions / Fotolia
Women singing karaoke.
The old adage says practice makes perfect, but new research shows that personality also plays a key role in musical ability, even for those who do not play an instrument. In a new study, a team of psychologists identified that the personality trait "Openness" predicts musical ability and sophistication.

In a study published this week in the Journal of Research in Personality, a team of psychologists identified that the personality trait "Openness" predicts musical ability and sophistication. People who score highly on Openness are imaginative, have a wide range of interests, and are open to new ways of thinking and changes in their environment.

Previous convention has held that the amount you practice is the key to success. This idea received widespread attention earlier this decade when writer Malcolm Gladwell argued that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any domain, whether it is sports, music, art, or chess. But scientists are now discovering that there may be other factors involved as well.


Researchers show meditation can alter your genes

With evidence growing that training the mind or inducing specific modes of consciousness can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body. A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

Comment: There have been numerous studies showing the benefits of meditation and yoga - for more information see: Meditation changes how genes are expressed - study and Reprogramming inflammation with meditation.

One type of meditation that is exploding in popularity is the Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program. It is an ancient breathing and meditation program which helps to rejuvenate and detoxify the body and mind and can be learned here for free.

Face life with Éiriú Eolas, a stress relief program


Homecoming - The hero's quest to save the self

© Ryan Dunlavey
When you've seen as many movies as I have, you begin to see that they all follow a certain pattern. This is true not just of movies, but of all great stories ranging from those found in classic mythology and literature to modern TV series and video games. Joseph Campbell called it the monomyth or hero's journey. It's basically a series of steps that the protagonist must go through during the course of his or her adventure. In addition to this, there are also a number of spiritual principles that often find their way into storytelling. By combining these principles with the monomyth, you can pretty much figure out where just about any story is headed. While this skill has proven to be incredibly annoying to my wife, it's come in very handy for me. Not because I've continually annoyed her with my usually correct movie and TV show predictions, but because I've noticed that these storytelling rules apply to more than just fictitious stories. They also apply to real life.

One of my favorite moments of any movie happens in The Karate Kid when Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel that all his seemingly pointless wax-on, wax-off chores were actually for a higher purpose. Daniel comes to realize that he was learning and training in karate all along and didn't even realize it.

Comment: Substances designed to alter the senses impede one's ability to see and engage with the self and life as it is. They are a hinderance in the hero's quest to find their way Home.

Also see:
The journey from boy to man: A lesson from the Sioux


The uncontrollable hair pulling of trichotillomania

© Cavale Doom/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND
Many people look upon plucking the hair on their eyebrows or other body parts as a painful step of their grooming regimen. But some others have to fight the urge to do so. Their compulsive hair plucking sometimes leads to upsetting consequences. And scientists are still trying to untangle the reasons behind this condition, called trichotillomania.

The effects of trichotillomania have been written of since Hippocrates, but the condition didn't get a clinical definition until French dermatologist Francois Hallopeau recognized it in 1889. People with trichotillomania feel compelled to tug hair from their head, brows and eyelashes, or other areas. A subset of affected people also eat the hairs, which can build up into hairballs, causing gastrointestinal problems.Estimates suggest the condition affects up to 4 percent of the population (or about 12 million in the United States), and women arefour times more likely to be affected. Symptoms usually begin before age 17 and could last for years.

Comment: See also:


Neuroscience research reveals 4 practices that will make you happier

You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don't know what they're talking about. Don't trust them.

Actually, don't trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life.

Here's what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers: