|Dr. Robert Puff|
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I'm interested not only the hard, vast nonduality of "there's no one, there's nothing, there's nowhere," but also that in which our dreams, thoughts, and natural commitments in life take on the bearing of nondual perspective: cocooning nonduality.
There is a book review of A Gift for New Mothers: Traditional Wisdom of Birth, Pregnancy and Motherhood, by Deborah Jackson. It's a bright and stimulating book.
The second article is from a newspaper and speaks of a million dollar study being conducted on marriage and parenting.
The third article is an interview with Deepak Chopra: "Consciousness creates perception, cognition, moods and social interaction. Exploring consciousness should be followed like a discipline," he says.
Highlights editor Michael
has landed safely in
Book Review by Jerry Katz
A Gift for New Mothers: Traditional Wisdom of Birth, Pregnancy and Motherhood
by Deborah Jackson
In these pages -- which are bright, colorful and lively, like the book's cover shown above -- are very brief stories, revelations, and practical offerings on how pregnancy, birth, and motherhood are viewed and managed in traditional cultures. It is a fast, stimulating, upbeat, and useful read. The author, Deborah Jackson, is a journalist and mother of three.
This book will appeal to people who are already part of a tradition of motherhood, as they will enjoy a further connection with tradition, and are bound to come across new and useful insights. It will also be useful to the woman immersed in a busy, western style life, who has little or no chance to slow down and make that connection. For those mothers this book may kick-start their intuition or deliver a fresh paradigm, a new way of experiencing their life change.
I like the breezy style of writing which touches on various cultures in meaningful ways:
"There are cultures in which childbirth
is a major social event. When Navaho Native American mothers
go into labour, the whole tribe gathers round to eat a meal and
enjoy the spectacle. Among the Gasque people of
This isn't to convince the woman of the western world who is immersed in a corporate job and on the go all the time, to sling anything from the rafters. The intent is to give perspective. It's good to know how others have walked a road you are walking. Perhaps the reader will relax into the possibilities. In that sense it is like reading a guidebook about a place you are going to tour; it gives you a feel for the history, culture, and practices associated with a new land.
Some suggestions and ideas could certainly be acted upon, such as the planting of a birth tree, or recognition of the benefits of colostrum: "This rich pre-milk is produced in late pregnancy and for three days after birth. .... For a few hours after birth, colostrum contains enormous quantities of antibodies. In the first day it teems with fatty acids, growth factors, vitamins, zinc, immune defences and anti-infectious properties... ."
To give you a further idea of what this book is about, here is a handful of selections from the index: acupressure, candles, Greek myths, Inuit birthing houses, May night celebrations, pre-natal bonds, seven-month ceremonies, Trobriand Islanders, Zulus.
Whether or not this book results in specific action from the reader, it will relax, open, inspire, and delight the woman who is going to be a new mother. Diverse, practical, not-so-practical-but-interesting, fun, curious, stimulating, every woman experiencing pregnancy and new motherhood will enjoy startling gems within this treasure chest.
A Gift for New Mothers: Traditional Wisdom of Birth, Pregnancy and Motherhood
by Deborah Jackson
26 May 2005
Marriage has been known as "holy" matrimony and childbirth as a "blessed" event for as long as there have been weddings and newborn babies. But is there something more to those spiritual terms?
Dr. Annette Mahoney, a Bowling Green State University psychology professor, calls religion's role in marriage and parenting an aspect of family life that's been overlooked by social scientists. Few researchers have studied it, let alone shown how spirituality impacts families over time.
Now, with $1.2 million in funding from the John Templeton Foundation, Mahoney and her
"This is state-of-the-art social science research," according to Dr. Arthur Schwartz, vice president for research and programs in the human sciences at the Templeton Foundation, based in suburban
The Foundation "is very interested in areas of spirituality and religiosity that have yet to be examined or understood scientifically," Schwartz says, adding that sanctification of pregnancy and parenthood fits that description. "We know so little about this area of human life that we wanted to fund something that was scientifically rigorous."
The four-year project is designed to examine the impact of sanctification of marriage, pregnancy and becoming a parent, and will involve 160 couples in the
Sanctification is defined as perceiving aspects of life to have divine character and significance, or seeing life "through a sacred lens"--the title of the project led by Mahoney.
Spiritual emotions such as gratitude, awe and humility are among the implications of sanctification, as are investment in and commitment to that particular aspect of life and access to other spiritually based resources that help people cope effectively with stress.
"If pregnancy's a spiritually meaningful event both emotionally and mentally, we think it's going to lead to better outcomes for the parent and the child," according to Mahoney.
"The more people view the emergence of family through a sacred lens, the more they'll invest in the family," she hypothesizes.
The Foundation's hope, Schwartz adds, is that, regardless of their findings, Mahoney and Pargament, already "so well established in their field," will be regarded in future years as having "blazed a new trail" in research of sanctification of parenthood.
Contact: Scott Borgelt
Interview with Deepak Chopra
ANYBODY WHO ACHIEVES ANYTHING IN LIFE
DOES IT THROUGH CREATIVITY
Every problem has a creative solution and every situation can be improved through creativity, says popular author Deepak Chopra in an interview with PRADEEP KUMAR
Age Supersage is how Time magazine described Deepak Chopra,
when it listed him alongside 99 others in its compilation of 'top
100 heroes and icons of the century'. Former president of the
I just do what feels natural to me. I like singing in the bathroom. Some people like my singing and they listen,' is how Chopra described his works, to Weekend.
Chopra moved to the
1995, Chopra established The Chopra Center for Well Being in
From being a pioneer in mind-body medicine, Chopra is today sought after worldwide as an expert speaker on subjects as diverse as spirituality and world peace. He has written close to three dozen books, which have been translated into 35 languages with over 20 million copies sold worldwide.
Weekend caught up with Chopra to know more about him and his philosophies.
Author, educator, philosopher, motivator, holistic healer, spiritual guru and much more. How does Deepak Chopra describe himself?
I perceive myself as someone who is constantly exploring consciousness, in the same way as a biologist studying biology, or a geologist studying the earth or an astronomer studying stars. And I write about my explorations.
How does one define consciousness?
Consciousness is synonymous with life, not necessarily good life. Consciousness, life, spirit, awareness are all synonymous with each other. The more aware you are, the more creative you become. Being creative helps you get all the things you want in life. Hence, consciousness is creativity.
Is creativity the answer to all the problems?
Every problem has a creative solution. Every situation can be improved through creativity. Look around and you see see creativity everywhere.
Spirituality is creativity directed inwards to explore your intuition, your vision, your ability to love and have compassion, your ability to expand the experience of happiness and your ability to have a sense of connection with the very mystery of existence.
Anybody who achieves anything in life does it through creativity. They do not achieve it through hardwork or by driving ambitions or exacting plans these are the hallmarks of failure.
You were trained to be a doctor in modern medicine. But most your work has been in alternative therapies. How did this happen?
My goal has always been to give a scientific understanding to various kinds of therapies. I would not use the term alternative therapy. Instead, I would term them integrative therapy.
I never ask people not to use allopathy. Although, many a times, allopathy medicines are used indiscriminately.
It was not difficult for me to get into Ayurveda. My training was as a neuroendocrinologist, which is the study of brain chemicals. I was learning that the molecules carry messages from the mind to the body whenever a thought moves, a molecule travels with it. Ayurveda, incidentally, was talking about the same molecular biological connection between the body and mind. Hence, the principles of ayurveda was reinforcing what I was already learning.
Didnt you stop your medical practice for some time?
Yes, I did. That was only for a short period of time. I stopped my practice because people were complaining that I was being selective. According to them, I was treating only movie stars. I resumed my practise after sometime to see everybody, but movie stars.
Is Deepak Chopra a performer?
Some people perceive so. I just do what feels natural to me. I like singing in the bathroom. Some people like my singing and they listen.
I am passionately in love with what I do. I feel good and empowered with it, and would love to share my experiences with people who want to listen. There are many others who do not listen. There are many who criticise, condemn, complain well, that is their business. There are people who think I am doing a good job, and I think they are also doing their business. Whatever people think good or bad, it is their business.
Your bathroom singing lessons come at a huge cost. The course fee for your programmes are huge and certainly beyond the means of the common man
per cent of every programme we do in the
I live in a country, which generates its income through trading and manufacturing of weapons, and where army is the biggest industry. The fact that I can make my money and compete with these guys by doing something good, gratifies me.
So, are your bathroom singing lessons a way of raising funds for your foundations?
am involved in at least three philanthropies and they take most
of my time these days. I am in the autumn of my life, hence have
to change my priorities. We live in a silly world, which is full
of conflict, racism, prejudice and hatred. I live in a country
whose president is belligerent, arrogant and is one who believes
in unilateralism and militarism. In a way, I am grateful to that
because he is going to accelerate the relevance and the
legitimacy of the
This is then the right time for Deepak Chopra to excel.
It has always been the right time. I am adaptable to how the environment works. I believe that infinite flexibility is the secret to reaching people. There was a time, when I was only interested in mind-body medicine. I was then inclined towards spirituality. Now, I am more interested in social issues, such as social justice, conflict resolution and addressing economic disparities.
Do you consider yourself as a spiritual guru?
No, I dont consider myself as a guru, but I am definitely spiritual. Thousands have read my books and many have attended my workshops. I must tell you that I have never moralised anyone. I believe self righteous morality is the worst thing in the world. There are too many fundamentalists doing that in the world. I want to stay away from that.
From spirituality to social causes. Isn't that a strange move?
These are only extensions of spirituality. Spirituality, as I mentioned earlier, is awareness. The more you expand your awareness, the more global it becomes. Start from personal health, then collective health, then ecological health and so on and so forth. Health and holy mean the same. Holy means wholeness, which includes everything. The word has nothing to with religion.
of the organisations I am involved with is
You are also part of the George Bush bashers club. Is that an easy route for some instant publicity?
Well, that is your interpretation. I live in a country which is slowly becoming an island in itself. It has come to a point where you feel embarrassed to claim, I am an American citizen'.
Ageing, according to you, is more of a perceptual change. How do you explain it?
the years, the demographics of ageing has changed dramatically.
In the days of
How does one overcome the problem of perception?
First, you need to have the desire. Second, one needs to explore consciousness. Consciousness creates perception, cognition, moods and social interaction. Exploring consciousness should be followed like a discipline.
A term which you have used frequently is quantum healing. What is quantum healing all about?
Healing is a real phenomenon. You can give two patients the same drug for the same ailment and they can give completely two results. This is due to something called host response, which is a biological creativity.
One of the most profound things about people who recover is that they have no fear, even the fear of death is many a times overcome by some. Fear creates a casket of biochemical changes that destroys the bodys immune system.
Quantum healing is the biological creativity hat allows your body to heal itself, which is what it wants to do. Everyday, your body gets mutations of cancer cells. The body knows how to handle them and hence most of them are not affected by the cancer cells. The body has inner intelligence, evolutionarily developed over thousands of years. When we interfere with this evolutionary intelligence, we are prone to be affected by diseases.
How big a brand is Deepak Chopra?
big, it is a huge brand. I can accomplish so many things with the
brand. In fact, I am now considered an expert in branding. I was
recently invited by the
Brands are myths embedded myths. Deepak Chopra is a myth. Myths necessarily do not conform to reality.
Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev,
Nowhere. My wife and children do not take me seriously, which is important to me.
Well, they do believe in my principles but they do not buy the celebrity status tag.
Would there ever be a perfect world?
There is nothing such as a perfect world. If it were, then all of us would be doomed to eternal senility. All creativity comes from discontent. Hence, I call discontent divine.
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