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This Man’s Work Is Incredibly Important But Gets Lost Due To Controversy

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gurdjieffThe book Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff – The Man, The Teaching, His Mission is a work of immense power and love by William Patrick Patterson, a teacher of “the Work,” as Gurdjieff’s teaching is called and the author/ producer of several books and videos on the subject.

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It is over 600 pages long (over 400 narrative with 200 supplementary) and is a painstakingly precise account of two figures little known in the mass media, almost overlooked in popular history, and yet who may have been among the greatest thinkers of their time.

Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (G) appeared in St. Petersburg in 1916; P.D. Uspenskii (as Patterson refers to him) met him shortly thereafter and it later turned out that Gurdjieff had sought him out for his writing ability and notoriety in intellectual circles to help build his following.

Patterson has gone through the personal papers and books of Gurdjieff’s students and G’s own writings to piece together his early years, including his brush with death and his apparent teachers, as well as the society of seekers of which he was a member before he appeared in St. Petersburg. Patterson himself has written extensively about the teaching and some of the material, for example the section on the women who studied with Gurdjieff in Paris (a group called the “Rope”) presumably echoes his earlier work.

Patterson has also pieced together the early life of P.D. Uspenskii, including his own searches for ancient wisdom and personal relationships, and brings the two men together in the strange circumstances that were pre-revolution Russia, circa 1916.

But what is extraordinary is how Patterson describes Gurdjieff’s method, wonderfully echoing Uspenskii’s own description of how he was exposed to the teaching which is the spine of Uspenskii’s great work, In Search of the Miraculous.  Prospective students were introduced mysteriously and led to a strange space with Persian carpets and strange artifacts, where they met a man they each described as unique, powerful, insightful and with the capacity to see right through them.

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Everything was kept secretive and private. You had to know someone who knew someone to meet Gurdjieff and become a follower in St. Petersburg, and also later. It was also made clear that if one did not sieze the opportunity to take advantage of the moment, one might never get another chance.

One who did seize the opportunity was a particularly impressive young man, Paul Dukes, whose encounter Patterson describes in some detail. It is also worth noting that Dukes wrote about the encounter as well in his own biography, “Unending Quest.” As Patterson writes, Dukes was known as the ‘Man of a Hundred Faces.’  He assumed a number of identities and disguises and infiltrated numerous Bolshevik organizations, including the Communist Party, the Comintern and the Cheka, the Soviet security organizations. In 1920, he was knighted by King George V who called him the “greatest of all soldiers.”

He was presumably the first James Bond, spying on the Bolsheviks when he met Gurdjieff in one of his many roles or identities. Another of Patterson’s immense skills is recreating the effect of how Gurdjieff was a completely different personage, and elicited completely different responses, from those he encountered and taught.

For Dukes, for example, Gurdjieff was the strange Prince Ozay who was beguiled by the young Englishman’s sincere search for truth and his work with yoga, breath and the deeper hidden (esoteric) meaning of The Lord’s Prayer.

ASIDE: Another current student of Gurdjieff’s work and author is Dennis Lewis, whose book about breath work, Free Your Breath, Free Your Life: How Conscious Breathing Can Relieve Stress, Increase Vitality, and Help You Live More Fully, was recently reviewed by Michael Jeffreys here on CE, you can read that review by clicking HERE.

Patterson is scrupulously objective in his narrative, but there is magic in the footnotes where he ventures some commentary and speculates about the players’ intentions and real motivations. Here he provides a true taste of the “friction” between students and teacher, and particularly the uncanny allure of Gurdjieff’s magnetic personal style. Here is a sample Footnote from page 7:

“That Ozay plays chess and Gurdjieff once said that playing chess was ‘pouring the empty into the void’ actually supports Gurdjieff being the Prince, as this is a favorite saying of those who have seriously played ‘the Royal game’ and given it up…. “

Patterson describes how taken with Gurdjieff Dukes was, and how he became one of his many followers before the Russian Revolution, along with Uspenskii and other Russian intellectuals and artists. The narrative follows the growth of the groups and Gurdjieff’s methods for ferreting out the insincere by making prospective students jump through many hoops, and the teaching was veiled in secrecy.

Man Is Never The Same

Uspenskii became convinced that Gurdjieff had access to ancient wisdom and wanted it for himself—but Patterson describes how at various turns Gurdjieff “played” with his individualistic personality to try to make him see his own habitual tendency – that is, to live in his head and not his heart.

The Gurdjieff/Uspenskii groups fled the Bolsheviks and survived many hardships, often through luck and more often through Gurdjieff’s cunning understanding of human nature. Eventually Uspenskii could not continue to accept many of Gurdjieff’s methods and peculiarities and broke away, although his wife continued on with Gurdjieff for some time.

Patterson weaves both the history and the psychological studies of these two men together beautifully with a sense of a time that few of us can comprehend; he intersperses the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany as he alludes to the larger forces that influence the various individuals and their struggle to discover their own capacities with this teacher. Later Gurdjieff suggests that he anticipated the rise of Fascism and wanted to see how the world would react before writing his final work, ‘All And Everything.’

Gurdjieff admired  the energy and power of America and also satirized the materialism of the United States, and used his visits to raise capital by “shearing” the wealthy to subsidize the work and the lessons of the less fortunate. Patterson spans decades as he follows Gurdjieff to his Prieure (institute) in Paris and describes his methods of hard work to break the conditioning of students—intelligentsia would clean toilets and garden—and his conversations over meals and in cafes where students would toast themselves as various kinds of “idiots.” Here is a Toast to Compassionate Idiots:

“Everyone an idiot, even God.  But when these idiots see another who is another kind of idiot from themselves, they become angry and curse him.  This is very characteristic of these idiots.  No compassionate means that among this company exist idiots who know that all are idiots together, so that pity all and not become angry.  These are compassionate.  I am unique idiot so I am no more this idiot compassionate.”  (369)

A major part of being an “idiot” is believing in the imaginary concepts of the mind as opposed to what one has gotten for oneself. At one point he hears Gurdjieff’s voice in his head with nothing being said verbally. This is precisely the sort of “miracle” Upsenskii had been seeking and yet he needed to analyze it and could not simply accept it as a clear indication of his position under his teacher and his need to sublimate his own formative mind and the “need to know.”

Was this “real?” Was this telepathy -our scientific term of a phenomenon not proven by conventional science? Perhaps it was hypnotism– suggestion –Mesmerism or some other magical ability? Was it “super” natural or a part of nature that he had learned in Egypt as an initiate, in Tibet, in the Caucasus…  Was this how Gurdjieff understood his “clients” and “sheared” them of funds—and perhaps worked as a secret agent in his own right?

All of these mysterious aspects are hinted at and yet not posited authoritatively by Patterson, the consummate researcher and observer. What is posited is simply that such events occurred –the meaning and interpretation (the knowing) remains a mystery. Finally Uspenskii broke completely with Gurdjieff and founded his own school, first in England during the Second World War and then in the United States.

As Patterson calls the teaching a “sacred science,” what Gurdjieff saw in Uspenskii was the ability to convey his “system” scientifically, due to his great intelligence. This would make it a bridge between East and West and comprehensible in terms of the Renaissance and Enlightenment in the West. Where Uspenskii fell short, apparently, was his own egoism and coldness—he did not seem to manifest Gurdjieff’s own capacity for kindness and compassion. He did not live the Work as much as he seemed to relish the role of revered and admired teacher/ writer.

Gurdjieff, on the other hand, for all of his acerbic nature and generalizations meant to tweak the “corns” of his students, and expose their vanities and conditioning. He did this by living as suggested, with a general manner of a man of courage and “being” towards how one ought to behave.

For example, as Patterson describes Hitler’s rise he also mentions Gurdjieff’s assessment of racial characteristics of Jews; their tendency to remain apart and not “assimilate.” Yet on pg. 406 we learn that in the midst of the Nazi occupation of France– “Gurdjieff tells pupils to hide Jewish pupils who could not escape.” This is testimony to Gurdjieff’s ability to model both aspects of the teaching –knowledge he seemingly alone possessed of the historical context of what is taught –and BEING – and how it could be lived and applied in “organic life.”

gurdjieff pentlandSomehow many of the exchanges between Gurdjieff and students are retold, with the singular acerbic humor that Gurdjieff employed to strip the veneer of conditioned beliefs from his students and expose them to the truths of Life -including their own inevitable deaths and their petty personal prejudices. No one who took themselves seriously in his presence was spared his barbs, not even the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose young wife was a student of Gurdjieff’s.

Patterson follows both Uspenskii and Gurdjieff’s personal journeys and describes the work of many of their followers, some self-appointed or anointed and others viable. One such personage is Lord John Pentland, who studied with both Uspenskii and Gurdjieff and later led the Work in the U.S., becoming the beloved teacher of the author, Dennis Lewis and also Jacob Needleman, all of whom describe him in their respective works.

What is gathered about Lord Pentland was his objective ability to impartially provide conditions for the modern students to grow and see through the conditioning of the time. While Lord Pentland was originally a student of Upsenskii, upon Uspenskii’s death Lord Pentland was sent by his widow to seek out Gurdjieff himself, and he was selected to spread the teaching to America. There is a nice story of Lord Pentland’s daughter Mary, who is asked by Gurdjieff “who is the greatest man she knows,” and when the young girl replies “her daddy,” Gurdjieff roars with approval because he deems the following of the commandment to honor your parents as a sign of great inner “being.”

From Jacob Needleman’s account it is clear the Lord Pentland was a successful businessman who kept his association with the groups private, but in fact lived the tenets of “The Fourth Way” by employing the teaching in his direct contact with both the commerce of “the world” and of course his students. The effects were far reaching.

As you read through the dialogues and studies you can’t help but see the threads of modern New Age thought as well as teachings like Advaita and Nonduality, along with the historical motifs of Theosophy and mysticism that were concurrent with Gurdjieff’s arrival on the scene.

For example Krishnamurti’s teaching galvanized Americans, and Uspenskii is asked about him at one point:

“He says a system cannot awake a man.  Certainly it cannot.  Mathematics cannot build a bridge.   But if a bridge is built without mathematics, it collapses.  If Krishnamurti keeps to this point of view–he will not be alone.   Many people believe in spontaneous awakening, just be realization, and without a system and without following another man!”

ouspensky008aHere we can sense the immensity of Gurdjieff’s contribution in its effect on Uspenskii, a man who wants scientific proof of miracles but has been opened to the limitations of science by his teacher, Gurdjieff, who brought a system of “sacred science” that bridged the heart and formatory (left brain) mind (Ego).

It was no small feat that Gurdjieff attempted to introduce this system in the “Christian” west at a time when conventional religion ran the show. But as Jacob Needleman describes in his book Lost Christianity the ‘real’ teaching that preceded the human teacher that was Jesus was in fact “scientific” and impartial in its original form. True Christianity was a sacred science which attempted to confront life in its full grandeur and immensity from a position of awe. Such an impartially scientific view sees “what is” as what “could not be otherwise (as Eckhart Tolle writes),” and all suffering is simply viewed as the result of the human mind’s inability to accept and surrender to its Greatness.

This is reminiscent of the “neters” of Egypt, where deities represented the organic reality of natural forces like the wind, sun, tide and so on, in which man plays his part naturally and without the urge to “conquer” nature.  (Interested readers might look up Patterson’s DVD, “Gurdjieff in Egypt” which traces the author’s own journey to Cairo and his description of Gurdjieff’s sources and influences.)

For Gurdjieff there is indeed a notion of what is sin, in this pre-Christian context:

“If you acknowledge your sin,” Gurdjieff says, “and feel remorse of conscience for having done wrong, your sin is already forgiven.  If you continue to do wrong, knowing it to be so, you commit a sin that is difficult to forgive.”  (237)

This seems to be at the core of inner transformation –the capacity for some element of choice –paradoxically –within a natural framework sacred determinism shaped by greater energies and higher forces.  Such “right action” of true conscience is always a reflection of being, not knowledge. This is why our modern science can create genetically modified organisms that fight nature in a way that goes against the sacred order of natural Life.

But where Gurdjieff diverges with modern Western religion is in its anthropomorphism and personalization of a “God.”  God and all of the vital life forces exist for Gurdjieff but at a level beyond man’s scientific and logical comprehension. All is impersonal and impartial, even sex.

“It is not necessary to mingle the acts of sex with sentiment.  It is sometimes abnormal to make them coincide.  The sexual act is a function.  One can regard it as external to him, although love is internal.  Love is love.  It has no need of sex.  It can be felt for a person of the same sex, for an animal even, and the sexual function is not mixed up here.  Sometimes it is normal to unite them; this corresponds to one of the aspects of love.  It is easier to love this way.  But, at the same time, it is then difficult to remain impartial as love demands.”   (409 – Gurdjieff answering a Group question).

This goes against much of modern pop culture, psychology, conventional thought and religion and also rubs against parts of our interior conditioning— since we are committed to notions of romantic love. Gurdjieff’s “love” is seemingly an impersonal and objective love of What Is –the Great System that he brings to light and tries to convey to his students both through his lectures and perhaps more importantly, through the drama that was his own Life.

In Patterson’s enormous breadth of research and narration he truly delivers the reader into the full context of the historical period that is no more –before computers and the Internet –where these two men in fact anticipated such scientific wonders and saw the vast intelligence that is inherent in what Gurdjieff referred to as “Great Nature.”

What also comes through is the respective humanity of both Gurdjieff and Uspenskii – how they struggled intellectually and personally with one another and their own demons of alcohol and the need for the company and charms of women. Patterson describes the rift between them which deems to have been the result of Uspenskii’s “chief feature, his need for intellectual validation and recognition, and the author makes it clear that those who saw them together, and to the author himself, the level of being was palpable: Gurdjieff was the teacher and Uspenskii forever would be his most famous student.

Many kinds of reader will profit immeasurably from Patterson’s work. Interested seekers like me, who never fully committed to a “school” but were intrigued by the legend of both men and their system will gain a profound understanding of the meaning and sense of “the Work” including its historical context and the unique individuals who came in and out of the teaching. The tenor of the time is illustrated with wonderful photographs of the surroundings in early 20th Century France, Russia and the United States, and portraits the main players, along with the pithy commentary.

I am sure that direct students of the disciples of Lord Pentland’s line to Uspenskii and Gurdjieff will gain a great deal more in terms of both historical context and insight to the machinations and methodologies of their teachers and fellow students. Again this amazing biography is a work of great tribute and love by a truly devoted student and teacher.

* * *

My Interest in Gurdjieff/Ouspensky
When I was in my twenties I worked in resort areas and one day a friend gave me a copy of The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin by P.D. Ouspensky (same man, different spelling).  I was intrigued by this short novel about a seeker who meets a strange magician whom he beseeches to allow him to go back and change some of his life choices.  The magician says he can send him back but it will all play out the same way—and it does.

The man goes back to his youth and confronts the same pivotal choice with a woman he loves at a train station, determines to alter the course of his life, and ultimately life conspires to make it play out as it always had. Eternal recurrence… Determinism –Fate.

I read Ouspenky’s seminal work shortly thereafter, ‘In Search of the Miraculous’ and was forever changed. In my travels I had long suspected that there were secrets of wisdom and ways to transform my consciousness, and this book told the story of Ouspenky’s own search in ashrams and the far east, only to return to his native Russia (during the days before the revolution where he encountered a strange mystical figure (the magician of Ivan Osokin).

Ouspensky (author of Search for the Miraculous) described G’s teaching and cosmology in a way that completely  sold me.  While I could “understand” only a fraction of the “science,” the main concept of most people behaving as automatons and unaware of their habitual conditioning struck me as truth even then. Gurdjieff also hinted that his teaching came from “Pre-Sand” Egypt –that he had found a map that showed the Sphinx at a time when the Sahara was fertile, and described the birth and death of many civilizations because of humans’ propensity to go insane and destroy each other due to influences that came far beyond Earth –from the galaxy and universe.

I would read ‘In Search for the Miraculous’ as I dealt with the mundane needs of tourists who seemed completely brainwashed and unable to enjoy their vacations unless they played rounds of golf, ate in expensive restaurants or went on expensive shopping sprees.  Meanwhile the “natives” in the resorts, while mostly poverty stricken, were better adjusted and emotionally happier than my clients.

As I read the material it resonated deeply and I had the sense that it was deeply connected to the true sources of ancient wisdom and also comprehended man’s real nature and his relationship to the cosmos, and to Life, in a way modern science and my formal education failed to achieve. When I returned to the States I tried to find an esoteric school of the sort Ouspensky described, and first ran across one in San Francisco. I thought it was an amazing coincidence that I saw a young woman carrying his book at the St. Francis Hotel, and after we talked, I eagerly went to several meetings. But I learned later that there were “scouts” like her with books trolling San Francisco for prospects–and I had a ticket for Hawaii, so I left.

ASIDE: For many the teaching has the flavor of a “cult” and I am sure that many cult leaders have appropriated some of Gurdjieff’s methods and ideas; however my experience is that those with a direct connection with the teaching are sincere in their beliefs and completely private with no need to proselytize. In fact, finding and being accepted in a true “school” is still both arduous and difficult.

Fortunately there is now a great deal of material online, and books by authors like Patterson, Dennis Lewis and Jacob Needleman have made it into the mainstream. Much of my own reading and teaching stayed with me and informed my relationships and personal journey, for better or worse.  When articulated, the ideas of man’s sleep and the conditioned state of most institutions are viewed as unconventional at best and often as subversive.

It is impossible to take in this teaching without coming into conflict and friction with conventional reality and society. One loses interest in much of what many people take for granted as important goals and strivings as one tries to connect with what one senses is a higher intelligence and meaning to life. But the teaching intrigued me and I bought books by Gurdjieff and other students up until recently when I fell in love with the work of Jacob Needleman, who wrote a series of books including ‘Lost Christianity’ – which echoed the teaching and made it more modern. For an introduction I would recommend reading Why Can’t We Be Good (2007) which in many ways triggered my current search for truth.

I eventually met Dr. Needleman and attended some classes and lectures and approached a group in Los Angeles. Even today the teaching is well guarded and kept separate from “ordinary life” so I went my separate way, almost as Uspenskii did with Gurdjieff. But fortunately through the current openness of the Internet much of the teaching (both real and distorted versions) is now available online.

For myself, I see so much of it reflected in my work with Michael Jeffreys, the teaching of Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie (who also calls her material “The Work”) and even the more popular psychologies of Wayne Dyer, along with people like Anthony Robbins, Werner Erhard and Deepak Chopra, among others. What I have discovered is that the teacher is important but it is the openness of the student that is paramount. For example, Gurdjieff suggested that his task was to create “the conditions for growth.”  In his time this was seen as arduous labor and “intentional suffering.” For me, perhaps as a result of rationalization (my “chief feature”?) I believe that deliberate mindfulness and acute self observation need not require construction work and cleaning toilets. However, as Eckhart Tolle suggests, some personal suffering and often hitting rock bottom is most often the stimulus for a new, serious attitude toward life.

Patterson’s immense contribution is crystalizing the many diverse aspects of Gurdjieff’s contribution to humanity’s comprehension of its true nature and station in the cosmos. His stated aim was to understand the “significance and purpose of Organic Life on Earth.” To me there can be no greater goal of wisdom.

Gurdjieff anticipated, among other things, the Hubble telescope’s findings, perhaps black holes, quarks, dark matter and energy and certainly much of modern neuroscience and quantum physics. As I’ve written in previous blogs, the search for the “real self” has evaded those neuroscientists who have searched it in the neurons and synapses – it is apparently a “virtual” entity or entities that exist in the space and energy within complex networks. Perhaps Gurdjieff’s greatest admonition, however, was to accept nothing at face value or on hearsay.

Investigate for yourself. Validate or reject for yourself.  Be the scientist in your own life.  That is the essence of what he brought.

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Awareness

Cancer is Now the Leading Cause of Death

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Cancer has surpassed heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death in high-income countries, highlighting the urgent need to change the way this disease is prevented and treated.

  • Reflect On:

    Rather than being a random result of DNA mutations, it's possible that cancer could have much deeper roots that would be better targeted with natural therapies than toxicity.

This article was written by the Greenmedinfo Research Group, originally published by Greenmedinfo.com. Published here with permission. 

Cancer has dethroned heart disease to earn the nefarious title of leading cause of death in high-income and certain middle-income countries.[i] While heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death globally among adults aged 35 to 70, in high-income countries, which included Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Sweden, cancer caused twice as many deaths as heart disease.[ii]

Some middle-income countries, which included the Philippines, Iran, South Africa, Colombia, China, Brazil, Malaysia, Turkey, Poland, Argentina and Chile, also saw cancer become the leading cause of death.

While the U.S. was not included in the new analysis, research published in 2018 suggested, “the United States is in the midst of an epidemiologic transition in the leading cause of death,” moving from heart disease to cancer.[iii]

That study, too, found that cancer was quickly outpacing heart disease as the top killer, with high-income counties transitioning first. In fact, while only 21% of U.S. counties had cancer as the leading cause of death in 2003, this rose to 41% in 2015.

“The shift to cancer as the leading cause of death was greatest in the highest-income counties,” the researchers explained,[iv] echoing the current study, which also cited “a transition in the predominant causes of deaths in middle-age” in high-income countries.[v]

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“The world is witnessing a new epidemiologic transition among the different categories of noncommunicable diseases, with CVD [cardiovascular disease] no longer the leading cause of death in HIC [high-income countries],” lead author Dr. Gilles Dagenais, professor emeritus, Laval University, Quebec, Canada, said in a statement.[vi]

Why is Cancer a Top Killer?

The study suggested cancer is rising to the top because heart disease is better treated in high-income countries, saving more lives from heart disease and paving the way for cancer deaths to flourish. But perhaps a better question is why cancer continues to kill so many.

Even globally, cancer still comes in as the second leading cause of death behind heart disease, responsible for 26% of deaths worldwide.[vii] In the U.S., Americans have a 1 in 3 risk of developing cancer at some point in their lifetimes, along with a 1 in 5 risk of dying from the disease.[viii]

In early 2019, it was announced that cancer death rates in the U.S. declined 27% since 1991,[ix] a statistic that makes it seem as though we’re winning the “war on cancer.” But most of these declines can be attributed to reductions in smoking — and perhaps a limited measure of increased early detection and treatment — and are not a sign that conventional medicine’s model of surgerychemotherapy and/or radiation to treat cancer is, on the whole, working.

While death rates from certain cancer have declined, others have increased. Overall, cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2016 were similar to those in 1930[x] — despite all the “advances” in detection and treatment.

Changing the Way We Think About Cancer

It’s becoming increasingly clear that in order to conquer cancer, it’s necessary to change the way we think about it. Cancer is found in virtually all animals, suggesting it has evolutionary significance.[xi] It’s possible that cancer is an ancient survival program unmasked — even a process the body undergoes in order to survive nutrient deprivation and exposure to toxins.

Rather than being the result of an accumulation of DNA mutations that create rogue cells that multiply out of control, cancer could be cells that have flipped an epigenetic switch into survival mode in the form of a tumor. In the journal Physical Biology, researchers theorized:[xii]

“[C]ancer is an atavistic [primitive] condition that occurs when genetic or epigenetic malfunction unlocks an ancient ‘toolkit’ of pre-existing adaptations, re-establishing the dominance of an earlier layer of genes that controlled loose-knit colonies of only partially differentiated cells, similar to tumors.”

If this is true, it makes sense that conventional cancer treatments aimed to poison or “kill” the cancerous cells may only make the problem worse by creating an even more toxic environment, which could trigger the cancer to reach back into its “ancient toolkit” to find additional means of survival.

This explanation may be overly simplistic, as there are many factors that contribute to cancer, but there is evidence to suggest that natural substances and therapies that support the body’s overall health can be useful in the fight against cancer.

Nearly 1,000 Natural Substances Have Anti-Cancer Potential

GreenMedInfo has a database of 986 substances that have been researched as potential cancer prevention and treatment strategies. There are undoubtedly many more out there that have yet to be discovered. At the top of the list is curcumin, the active ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, which targets cancer stem cells while leaving normal stem cells unharmed.[xiii]

Another top contender is vitamin D, which you can get for free from adequate sun exposure. Higher vitamin D levels are not only known to lower your cancer risk but also to improve outcomes if you’ve already been diagnosed.[xiv] Fiberresveratrolsulforaphane and vitamin E — all substances you can get from your diet — also show anti-cancer promise, as does coffee, perhaps because it improves the body’s ability to efficiently repair DNA damage.[xv]

So if there was one silver lining to the news that cancer is now the leading cause of death in some countries, it would be that it’s a condition that has many promising natural avenues for prevention and treatment. Current conventional cancer treatments are failing, but that doesn’t mean cancer is unstoppable — it means it’s time to broaden our research into and usage of traditional therapies.

Many natural substances, like noni leaf,[xvi] have even been shown to work better than chemotherapy, highlighting why, if we’re going to win the war against cancer, we’re going to need to do it with nature on our side.

For more on how to naturally fight Cancer, visit the GreenMedInfo database on the subject.

Originally published: 2019-09-14

Article Updated: 2019-11-05

References

[i] The Lancet September 3, 2019

[ii] CNN September 3, 2019

[iii] Annals of Internal Medicine December 18, 2018

[iv] Annals of Internal Medicine December 18, 2018

[v] The Lancet September 3, 2019

[vi] Medscape September 3, 2019

[vii] Medscape September 3, 2019

[viii] American Cancer Society, Lifetime Risk of Developing or Dying From Cancer

[ix] CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians January 8, 2019

[x] CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians January 8, 2019

[xi] Front. Oncol., 10 January 2019

[xii] Physical Biology February 7, 2011

[xiii] Anticancer Res. 2015 Feb ;35(2):599-614.

[xiv] Br J Cancer. 2017 Mar 16. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

[xv] J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 2015 ;8(4-6):174-84.

[xvi] Mol Cell Biochem. 2016 Apr 22. Epub 2016 Apr 22.


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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 13: The Marriage)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

13. The Marriage

On the patio of the village restaurant on the island of Allandon, the restaurant chef and the village florist sat uncomfortably on a hot afternoon waiting for their children to arrive. The daughter of the florist was to marry the son of the chef, and the two women, who had not met previously, both felt it was important to all get together to set the wedding arrangements in motion.

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“Where are those two?” asked the florist.

“No sense of responsibility, their generation,” said the chef.

After a few more minutes of uncomfortable silence, the chef said, “Well, let me be the first to welcome you into our family.”

“No, no, it is I who welcome you into our family,” replied the florist.

They gazed out towards the East Beach and still saw no signs of their children.

“Well, perhaps we might start,” said the florist.

“Yes, we should,” replied the chef.

“I will be happy to help you select an appropriate gift for your son to give me,” said the florist.

“Gift?” asked the chef.

“Yes, during the ceremony the groom is joined with the bride after his gift to her mother is accepted,” the florist said.

“You mean the groom is joined with the bride after her father walks her down the aisle and gives her away,” quipped the chef.   “There is no aisle,” said the florist. “It is more of an open space, so there is room for the drummers—and the chickens.”

“Chickens?” the chef responded. “Do you think this is a wedding or a circus?”

Just then the chef’s son plopped down on an empty chair beside them, surfboard in hand and wearing only a bathing suit. “The circus sounds fun,” he said.

“You’re wet!” said the chef.

“And you’re late,” said the florist.

“I know,” said the florist’s daughter, who leaned her surfboard against the wall. “The ocean was so perfect, it just kept pulling us back in.”

“Be serious,” said the chef. “We are having some problems with the wedding arrangements.”

“How can there be problems?” asked the boy laughing. “You cook the meal and she’ll arrange the flowers.”

“No, the ceremony,” the chef said. “She is saying it should be outside with loud noises and wild animals…”

“You are talking about our tradition!” replied the florist. “And it’s better than being cooped up inside watching a stiff procession.”

“Our ceremony is sacred, and it respects the seriousness of the event.”

“We feel a marriage should be a celebration.”

“I agree—a celebration, not a farce,” said the chef.

The florist took a deep breath, not wanting to cause a scene. She turned to her daughter. “See then, you need to make a decision now. Arrangements have to be made.”

“Yes.”

“So are you going to do it our way or her way?”

“Yes,” the girl said with a smile.

“What?” asked the florist.

“Yes,” the boy repeated. “Our answer is ‘yes’.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked the chef.

“We trust you can figure it out,” said the boy. And with that, they took up their surfboards and trotted back towards the beach.

In our world of duality, opposition would seem unavoidable. We have noted that it is the perpetual opposition of yin and yang that keeps our world and our lives in motion. However as we become more aware that we are beings that can choose to come from a place of unity, our Dao Self, rather than a place of duality, our Ego Self, we create the possibility for dealing with opposition as an occasion for fostering harmony rather than as a reason for conflict.

In the new conversation there is a subtle shift away from the need to stand firmly on one particular side of an issue. While converse can mean opposite, conversing does not have to imply opposing. When presented with a choice between opposing ideas it becomes possible to say yes—not to one or the other choice, but to choice itself. In celebrating together the very fact that we have choice, we honor our differences. The prospects of this awareness are exciting. Once it is grasped by a critical mass of people, it will suddenly become unthinkable to engage in a serious fight about anything on the planet.

But first, we have to work through some long-standing habits of thought that our ancestors left us with. We are still in a place where having differences continues to have negative connotations, because we continue to believe who we are is grounded in those differences. For example, if our identity is mainly tied to the particular culture, nation, race or creed we belong to, we are already setting up barriers to the possibility of dissimilar people and groups coming together as one.

Historically, tribal groups brought people together into a view of the world that established rules and values for all the individuals of their group to follow. These tribes tended to be very protective of the values that distinguished them from others because it was thought to ensure their survival. Nietzsche said it this way:

No people could live without evaluating; but if it wishes to maintain itself it must not evaluate as its neighbor evaluates. Much that seemed good to one people seemed shame and disgrace to another: thus I found. I found much that was called evil in one place was in another decked with purple honors. One neighbor never understood another: his soul was always amazed at his neighbor’s madness and wickedness.

Now there is much to be said about the beauty and magnificence of human collectives such as cultures, races, or religions that are bound together by common values and a shared way of thinking. They represent a form of fulfillment of our most basic desire as human beings—the desire for unity, the desire to be part of something larger than our individual selves. But while cultures may have become strong and able to maintain themselves based on the values they adopted, there was often an inbred tendency to hold all other ways of experiencing the world as wrong. To actually give credence to the value system of an adversary was a most dangerous and self-defeating strategy. It demonstrated weakness, and was a threat to a people’s survival and proliferation. To some, protecting their collective identity even meant promoting their views and traditions beyond their boundaries. In the process, instead of exchanging divergent ideas and practices with others in the pursuit of higher knowledge and mutual understanding, people exchange swords on the bloody battlegrounds of war, with the objective of establishing one set of beliefs as ‘right’ and the other as ‘wrong’.

In recent times there has been a shift in the manner in which cultures interact. Modern transportation has facilitated travel and immigration as never before. Living in modern cosmopolitan cities exposes us to many of the world’s cultures in everyday life. If nothing else, this exposure forces us to acknowledge that there are many habits, customs, and lifestyles that are different from our own. As well, technological advances such as the Internet and an increasingly mutually-dependant world economy has amplified cross-cultural communications exponentially. The man-made walls around cultures and nations have never been more porous. And as the nations of our world are compelled to pull open their curtains and face each other, tolerance for diverse ideas and perspectives on how to live is the rule of the day. In other words, tolerance has become an economic necessity.

The allure of a tolerant world is that it provides the perception that all ways of life are respected, and that matters of difference will be resolved peacefully and without blame or judgment. In reality this is not the case. A show of tolerance is often done more for convenience and prudence rather than as a true recognition of the potential value of another culture’s ideas and values.

During my time in Korea I discovered some of the limits of the mind-set of tolerance. Now first, understand that I had always considered myself wonderfully tolerant of other cultures. While I had not adopted all the ways of Korean culture during my three plus years living there, I never considered them to be wrong or inferior to my own ways. I enjoyed Korean food and learned to be quite proficient with chopsticks. I had picked up enough of the Korean language to live and get around. I even started to realize that certain behaviors, ones that would have been considered ‘rude’ in my own culture, were perfectly natural in the context of Korean life, and I could adjust my reactions accordingly. And so when I happened to fall in love with a Korean girl and eventually asked her to marry me, I was doing so with no fear of experiencing the proverbial ‘culture shock’ often associated with such unions since I felt I had already embraced her culture. In fact I was the one who pushed for a traditional Korean wedding ceremony.

My wife-to-be Hyun and I planned to pay for the wedding ourselves. She suggested that her parents were not in a financial position to pay for the wedding, and to her delight I was in full agreement. As we were discussing the guest list, she informed me that all the friends of her parents whose children’s weddings they had gone to had to be invited. Although I didn’t really like the idea, I went along with it when I heard that they would all be giving substantial amounts of money as gifts. Later on, as I was adding up the costs for the wedding, I asked her how much money we could expect to get from these friends of her parents. She looked at me a bit strange. “None,” she said, “all that money is going to my mother.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, incredulous. I figured I must have misunderstood something. She repeated what she had said. I must have asked her five times to make sure I got the story right before finally exploding into a rage.

“How could that money be going to your mother? It’s our wedding! It’s our gifts! It’s for us! We’re even paying for the wedding! That’s ridiculous! That’s the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard of!”

Hyun was fully taken aback by my outburst, and was in tears for over an hour. When she finally mustered the strength to respond, she came out angrily: “She had to pay out money at all their weddings! It’s normal. It’s the only way she can get that money back. It’s her money!”

In Korea, money is traditionally distributed up through the family, usually the mother, and redistributed down to the children. It’s a complex system that ties in with family real estate, in a way that protects its members and helps them make prudent decisions. I had heard about this, but never gave it much attention. The idea never bothered me because I was never affected by it. But now that it was affecting me, I was angry about it. All I could think of was that I was paying for a stranger’s meal so he could put some money in my mother-in-law’s pocket. My anger was an indictment not only against Hyun’s mother, but also against the whole culture in general for having what I suddenly felt was a ludicrous system.

But it really wasn’t. It was just different, and totally self-consistent. Hyun’s parents had always been honest and very generous with me. The last thing they would want to do is take money that they didn’t think belonged to them. Hyun’s parents worked hard and scraped by to help Hyun and her brother and sister get through university. In contrast, my brother, sister and I all paid our own way through university. This was not because our parents loved us any less. Our culture tends to put a high value on independence and fosters autonomous separate family units, while Koreans put more emphasis on interdependence and keeping family ties strong. If I was to be married to someone of a different culture, I suddenly realized more was needed from me than mere tolerance.

Tolerance still maintains the notion that ours is the ‘right’ way and theirs is the ‘wrong’ way. This polarity lays in wait, potentially manifesting as violent opposition when triggered by circumstance. Without a real desire to actively delve into the way others see the world, and be challenged by these different views in ways that matter to us, it might be difficult to fully come to grips with our own ethnocentricity. Today I feel very fortunate to be married to someone of a different culture. I am reminded in the daily events of our relationship that simple tolerance is not enough to heal the conflicts and misunderstandings that arise in a way that generates true harmony.

It is striving for what I call true acceptance, not simple tolerance that opens the door to overcoming the opposition that leads to conflict. Through acceptance we entertain the possibility that our own way of thinking may need to come under scrutiny from time to time, and that perhaps the other person’s way of thinking is right. And in its purest form acceptance even goes beyond that, to the most subtle and uplifting precept of them all: that all ideas have value, that it is not a question of right and wrong, but simply a matter of perspective. Here, the ideas that make us different are no longer obstacles but opportunities, to learn, to grow, to come to a greater awareness of what our lives are really about. In my marriage, striving for this kind of acceptance for my wife and her culture has not only meant greater harmony but also a fuller, richer appreciation for the diversity that exists around me.

Humanity as a whole suffers when groups of people remain too attached to their own collective identity and world-view. It seems a not-so-divine comedy that the history of humanity has been marked by an inability to embrace our cultural and racial differences, one of our greatest gifts to one another. This inability is at the core of the racism and discrimination that is still active in the world.

In his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, Martin Luther King spoke of emancipation from the slavery of outmoded ideas. He spoke of a day that would see the Negro, as he called his own, liberated from oppression and racial injustice. But even beyond a vision for his own people, his dream had universal significance. He sought to advance the truths that the Declaration of Independence, written almost two hundred years earlier, had deemed self-evident: that all men (and women) are created equal. He dared to speak of a day in the future where different races and creeds would walk side by side, beyond the clutches of discrimination, and “all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’ “

His speech remains one of the most dramatic appeals for all of us to liberate ourselves from our deeply rooted habit of judging one another. And this appeal has been taken up by the new conversation. The new conversation is not about changing the words we use while leaving the beliefs intact. Certainly words are powerful, and to some extent they are transformative, but simply being proficient in politically correct terminology is not enough. While some of us pride ourselves on our ability to suppress judgment from our world and hide it from ourselves, this does not bring about healing. It only puts off confrontation until another day. If judgment and discrimination are still our inner guiding principles, the damage will eventually manifest.

At the same time the new conversation is not designed to censor judgment and discrimination. If a racial slur is someone’s deepest truth, we are better to allow its expression than to suppress it. If we really want to be helpful, we will do best not to judge the person for saying it. In this way we are helping the person get an unimpeded look at themselves. When they are ready to learn from it they will.

I have personally found this to be one of the most challenging aspects of the new conversation. I don’t want to condone discrimination, but at the same time I don’t want to be judgmental. I’m not always sure if simply being silent is enough, but I do know that it would be inauthentic for me to go along with the joke (i.e., smiling or nodding when asked, “You know how those people are, eh?”) Certainly if I am directly asked what I think, it is incumbent upon me to take the risk and speak out from my heart. But if I am not asked then I realize I need to muster some compassion for where the other person is coming from. It’s a bit of a high wire act, and I have needed lots of practice to learn to balance myself.

In the new conversation we are asked to walk this thin line because we have seen that discrimination cannot be healed by confrontation, and have learned that judgment can only melt away in a larger space of acceptance. If we are going to come together in any profound way, we all need a space to expose our whole selves. That means our light and our darkness. Let’s face it: none of us are completely free of judgment. And if we accept this, it helps us to be easier on each other, and more importantly on ourselves. After all, the ability to listen and speak with acceptance comes from self-acceptance which, paradoxically, is cultivated when we feel accepted by others. At stake in this is our shared longing to fully express our unique selves, and the hope that our diversity can lead us to experience our most sublime sense of unity.

Today, there are signs that we have gotten closer to Dr. King’s lofty vision. True, the world as a whole does not yet value acceptance as the highest attribute of discourse. In some parts it remains forbidden to access or speak about ideas different from the accepted norms of the nation or culture. Wars based on ideology continue to be fought because we continue to fear that accepting those whose ideas are different from ours will threaten our survival. But despite all appearances, I believe our world is evolving from a scattered collection of bordered nations into a harmonious global village. One day we will all be free. The nature of our consciousness, like the universe, is to expand. And while we are going through some growing pains today, no longer certain about what is right and wrong, about how our differences can all fit in together, there will be no turning back. We have become alienated from the identities we were born into, and we are getting too smart to label ourselves by the founding ideas of our cultures. The Pandora’s box has opened and the conversation has begun. And the more we talk, the more we will enjoy the fact that each of us seems to see things a little differently, no longer satisfied with being pushed back into a box that has become too restrictive to contain us.

As we endeavor to become fully human, to actualize ourselves, we get a glimpse of the importance of being informed by the distinct character and nature of all human beings, not just those who think the way we do. We are gaining the courage to question our deep-seated beliefs that there is only one view of the world, and only one meaning to life. The slowly emerging consensus is that the seemingly disparate ways of seeing the world and giving meaning to life are all dazzling colors that together form the mosaic that encompasses the human experience.

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Consciousness

The Power of Human Emotions & How Schools Are Failing To Teach Children How To Deal With Them

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Human emotions effect our physiology, state of mind as well as others around us. Modern day education does not teach children about the importance of emotion and how to regulate and deal with it.

  • Reflect On:

    How are children supposed to be mentally 'fit' as adults if they are not taught how to deal with the various emotions they experience throughout childhood?

What exactly is education? Today, many view it as an opportunity to learn, thrive, and excel in the world. Others see it as a necessary step toward obtaining a piece of paper that ensures one’s entrance into the professional world. Regardless of your take on it, however, one thing is certain: From a very early age we are forced into a system that demands our presence and attention for hours a day and for years of our life. Each child is required to learn an accepted version of reality in order to fit into the specific mould desired by the elite. Just like television, a large part of school is simply programming, and we don’t really learn much about the world — or ourselves.

Perhaps this is why Mark Twain said, “I have never let me education interfere with my intelligence,” or why Einstein told the world to “never confuse education with intelligence,” and that “education is what remains after one has forgotten one has learned in school.” 

School these days seems less about learning and more about rote memorization. Are we critically thinking enough, or questioning enough? Or are we simply being bred to become robots, all of us entering into the same human experience, “educating” ourselves in order to further perpetuate a broken system? We learn concepts and ideas that fit within the current paradigm and structure of society, but not about how to care for ourselves and become well-adjusted adults. Are we really being educated? Or simply groomed to become ‘good’ consumers?

“I don’t want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers.”

– John D. Rockefeller

Another problem with the current education model, as pointed out by world renowned education and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson, is that it was designed and conceived for a different age. Today, new information and discoveries are constantly emerging in all fields, questioning what we once thought we knew, and that includes how people learn. Unfortunately, unless you have an amazing teacher who is passionate about our world and new information, children suffer in this system.

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In fact, prior to the late 1800s, education was a private practice that took place in private institutions or through home schooling. That all changed in 1902 when John D. Rockefeller created the General Education Board in conjunction with Frederick T. Gates, a close friend and business and personal advisor. The General Education Board was responsible for funding the American public school system, and provided over 100 million dollars in 1902 while continuing their support beyond 1902. If we follow the money, it becomes clear the general education board was responsible for the creation of the American public school system. Does education not play a large role in manipulating the consciousness of human beings?

“Knowledge has to come from somewhere, and that can’t be a classroom.”

Edward Snowden

Emotions in School

School is an experience primarily comprised of learning information — rarely questioning it, but rather taking it in as fact. While we learn about many subjects, very few of them have any real impact on our lives. There are absolutely no classes dealing with human emotions, for instance.

According to sociologist Thomas Scheff, a big supporter of emotional education from the University of California, many Western societies simply view emotions as an indulgence or a distraction, and less important than other things. And he’s right — we are often taught to bury our emotions so we can be more productive, and we are made to feel as though our emotions are not as relevant or important; they always seem to come secondary, if at all, especially within an educational setting. Scheff, among many others, believes that emotions provide valuable information, and yet we are taught not to listen to them. “Just as dangerous,” Scheff said, “is the practice of hiding one emotion behind another.” He has found that “men, in particular, tend to hide feelings of shame under anger, aggression and, far too often, violence.”

Many of the issues and problems that arise in our lives stem from the fact that we really have no idea how to process or address our emotions. As a result of this lack in our education, a child who has not paid any attention to their emotional body develops bad habits and behaviours to compensate, until they learn how to properly process their emotions, if they ever do.

How Do We Go About Doing This?

The good thing about teaching emotions is, they can be implemented into any class and any grade. For example, if you were trying to teach emotions in a class with a number of kids who are about to graduate high school, a great starting point might be to illustrate just how much of an effect emotions can have, not just on a mental level, where unresolved emotions lead to negative action, but on a physical level as well.  The Institute of Noetic Sciences is doing some great work in this area, creating more awareness about non-material science and how our thoughts/emotions have an observable effect on physical material reality. The mind-body connection is truly powerful, and we should be teaching people how to harness that power.

An internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization, the Institute of HeartMath dedicates itself to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions, and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives. HeartMath tools, technology, and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with that of their minds at home, school, work, and play. They’ve discovered that emotional information is “actually coded and modulated” into the magnetic field that surrounds all living things.

As HeartMath Director of Research Dr. Rolin McCratey tells us, “By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.”

All of these facts, published researched papers, and more can be accessed at heartmath.org.

Related CE Article: What Science is Telling us About The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence

One the most popular programs to begin teaching emotions was developed in 2005 by Marc Brackett, David Caruso, and Robin Stern of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

It’s called RULER.

“The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the power of emotions to create a more effective and compassionate society. The Center conducts research and teaches people of all ages how to develop their emotional intelligence.” 

It’s currently being used in more than 1,000 schools in the U.S., implemented for grades k-8.

The name, RULER, is an acronym for its five goals: recognizing emotions in oneself and others; understanding the causes and consequences of emotions; labelling emotional experiences with an accurate and diverse vocabulary; and expressing and regulating emotions in ways that promote growth.

What Exactly Are the Kids Taught? 

RULER teachers kids to to focus on the underlying theme of an emotion they are experiencing rather than wasting energy trying to define it precisely. Grace Rubenstein from Ted.Ideas reports:

When an emotion grips you, explains Stern, understanding its thematic contours can help “name it to tame it.” Even though anger is experienced differently by different people, she explains, “the theme underlying anger is the same. It’s injustice or unfairness. The theme that underlies disappointment is an unmet expectation. The theme that underlies frustration is feeling blocked on your way to a goal. Pinning down the theme can “help a person be seen and understood and met where she is,” says Stern.

Just taking the time to contemplate an emotion when you feel it, and think about why it might be arising, is critical for emotional health. Typing these words here and now, I still find it unbelievable that we have chosen not to deal with such an important aspect of what it means to be a human being. Emotions are something all of us experience, yet we have no guidelines or advice on what we’re supposed to do with them.

Rubenstein offers an example of how RULER functions in the classroom:

RULER’s lessons are woven into all classes and subjects. So, for example, if “elated’ is the emotional vocabulary word under discussion, a teacher would ask students in an American history class to link “elated” to the voyage of Lewis and Clark. Instruction reaches beyond the classroom, too; kids are prompted to talk with their parents or caregivers about when they last felt elated. Researchers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has found RULER schools tend to see less-frequent bullying, lower anxiety and depression, more student leadership and higher grades. So why isn’t emotional education the norm rather than the exception?

Emotions are something all of us experience, all the time, every single day. They can be confusing, and hard to navigate, especially when they’re negative. By including emotional education into the school system, I believe future generations would be far less depressed, angry, and confused. They would be better equipped to handle difficult situations in their lives, and find it much easier to express their feelings in a healthy, productive way.

There’s still a long way to go when it comes to understanding human emotions, and how to teach/discuss them in the classroom at different grade levels, but RULER is an amazing step in the right direction and I hope we see more programs like this being developed in the future.

 

 

 

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