Healing Through Gardening

One excellent way to “Think Globally, Act Locally” is through the remarkable benefits to you and your community of a few hours a week gardening. I will get to the gardening, but first, with your permission, a little story.

A few days ago, returning from San Miguel de Allende, I paused at one of the magazine stands in the airport. It seemed other cover story complained of the sad state of our planet. But few offered any suggestions as to what we could do about it other than enjoy the royal wedding. I think that we actually can do something about it.

If we truly wish to survive the global collapse that has already begun, we must, as Gandhi said, think globally, act locally.

In my most recent book , I explored the various symptoms we see throughout our culture, and how the prognosis is dire indeed – unless we choose to change. The truth of my main points is even more obvious now: we must recognize on an individual, as well as a national and culture-wide basis, that we need to connect not only with people locally but also with our local environment , and realize we are all in this together.

How To Think Globally

Thinking globally quickly reveals to us that — if we wish to sustain any semblance of our accustomed lifestyles — we must put real energy into creating local community (in addition to the distributed communities we are developing online). That includes establishing a different relationship to our local environment. One thing we can do is to begin buying locally and eating locally – as the “New World Order” collapses we will have to depend our local support system – the big corporations won’t be here to support us, but our local farmers will, if they have not gone out of business

Acting Locally

One of the most valuable ways to do this is to grow your own garden.

During the two World Wars of the last century, we acted locally by growing so-called “Victory Gardens” or “War Gardens.” These gardens helped significantly, providing sustenance for millions by reducing pressure on the public food supply that was brought on by the global war effort. Perhaps our gardens can save us again.

An important step in the Treatment Plan to make things better globally would be for more of us to start growing a garden locally. Now.

Why? I’m glad you asked.

One reason might be the fact that so many more people are doing it, and that the global food price index at an all-time high – and going up, and there are food riots throughout the world. In 2009, 38 percent of the people in the U.S. (41 million households) planted a vegetable garden. An American Gardening Association survey showed a 19 percent increase from 2008 to 2009 in new hobby country farms and urban edible gardens.

Why Grow A Garden?

My Garden

The main reason most people gave for increasing or maintaining edible gardening last year was to supplement household food supply — to help save money on food. And if “locally grown” is important to you, there is nothing more local than food grown in your own backyards, windowsills, or patio containers.

Furthermore, if eating in a healthy and organic way is important to you, growing your own fruits and vegetables means that you know exactly what does and does not go into your food and exactly where it comes from.

Growing your own will make you healthier because not only will you eat more fruits and vegetables (let’s face it, few of us eat as many of these as we should), you will be getting the best kind of exercise, the green kind. Studies show that in 45 minutes of gardening, you can burn as many calories as in 30 minutes of aerobics.

What’s more, diverting your mind to the nurturing of life reduces stress and will make you more creative when you do go back the challenges in your life.

And if you have kids or grand kids, you have a green opportunity to help them make the fascinating discovery that their food actually does not come from the supermarket but from Mother Earth. What better way for them to learn how important it is to protect her?

Even if you are in a city, you can build a raised garden bed and get your garden started!

To learn more about how you can support a sustainable food system, check out the article “ Healthier Food for the New Year “.

For an experiential program specifically to help you develop a holistic perspective and positive motivation towards global healing, check out Healing Our Planet and Deep Healing the Universe .

Shine On!

As we are all aware, the winter months and holiday activities are a time of happiness for many people, while others seem to experience an increase of sadness and distress. Anniversaries can sneak up on us and change our mood at any time during the year, but especially during the midwinter holidays.

Often our first awareness of it is the change in our feelings; only later do we understand the full reason for our dreary mood. Anniversary or holiday blues are often attributed to the “stress” of holiday activities and expectations, but actually, there are several possible sources:

  • Those who find they feel “down” between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day may be among the 5-20% suffering from what is known as S.A.D. — Seasonal Affective Disorder. They’re reacting to the diminished amount of natural light; there seems to be a chemical change in the brain involving chemical melanin. People affected by S.A.D. may be helped when they extend their day with full- spectrum fluorescent light.
  • Annual activities make it easy to see the changes in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones. Anyone who has experienced a major life change or loss since the last time the generations got together cannot help but be reminded of it during winter months when so much emphasis is on social contact and “tradition.” Increased sadness, nostalgia, or unexplained feelings of loss may actually signal that there are things that need to be acknowledged or grieved one more time. This is natural and normal grief. Grief is not the same thing as depression, although inadequately handled grief can turn into depression. Normal evidence of the passage of time can bring with it mixed feelings of pleasure and regret — things change, we get older.
  • Many people have a non-seasonal kind of depression that is biological or chemical in origin; they are somewhat depressed most of the time and may have the ability to disguise it from their own or another’s awareness — most of the time. This type of depression tends to become evident when compounded by any amount of stress and/or grief. Unnoticed at other times of the year, it is very likely to surface at this time.

Usually, depression involves the subconscious or conscious perception of a loss (potential or actual). The unconscious mind interprets it as loss, whether it has happened or not. It may be the loss of a relationship, possession, social status, or Self-esteem, the loss of a physical sense, or ability. If it hasn’t been grieved or accepted, energy continues to be lost from the psyche — it’s as if there were a perpetually open, unhealed wound. Grieving is healthy — it is what heals the wound.

When a person anticipates a loss and this perception is accompanied by fear, energy will also be drained away — in this case by fear. This energy drain leads to an inability to feel anger, to mobilize it, to protect what’s theirs — they feel helpless and weak. Continual fear further weakens them, leading to a reactive depression.

When the environment is especially chaotic, as it is these days (global warming, terrorism, financial meltdown, double dip depression, swine flu, Paris Hilton . . . shall I go on?), we often find ourselves feeling angry at the ineptitude of those we have chosen as our leaders. But when there is no adequate channel for its productive expression of this, the blocked emotion frequently leads to depression. Each additional perceived loss leads to more inwardly directed rage, resulting in guilt, shame, and obsessive self-recrimination.

A powerful antidote to energy-draining depression in any form is the development of a strong spiritual center, healthy Self-esteem and the ability to express anger in a productive way. The depressed “anger in” person may actually be harmed by instructions to “let go” of their anger and to “forgive.” To do this might possibly cut off the only path to healing because the inner anger is, in fact, the healthy desire to express and resuscitate the suffocating Self.

A change in environment – and this could mean a weekend in the country, visit with a positive, inspiring friend, church or other spiritually uplifting experience, exercise, or just putting on upbeat music – is an excellent first step. The seed of joy and freedom is within, and awakening it is the goal; we can learn to access that place within each of us from which deep healing arises. Complete resolution involves developing positive self-images, commitment to values that have deep meaning, releasing excess tension, and reengaging fully with life and love.

Anyone caught up in “Holiday Blues” deserves compassionate attention. Most of the time what is being felt is just a bit of grief and nostalgia. Sometimes it becomes “dysthymia,” or “subclinical depression,” and the suggestions above (perhaps with a little St. John’s Wort or 5 HTP), or the use of the “Escape From Depression” CD program is all that is needed. “Clinical Depression,” on the other hand, is something more serious. If you suspect this is the case, don’t underestimate the gravity of the situation — always consider professional help.

Signs of Depression

Don’t ignore signs of significant depression! Repeated tearful episodes, sleep disturbance, change in sexual function, hopelessness, helplessness, disturbed eating patterns, self-destructive (even suicidal) behaviors can all be signals that someone is in the grip of a major depression.

People who are this depressed often find it hard to engage in any form of treatment — to dedicate time and energy to something that they feel will/should fail is risking another disheartening blow to an already weakened ego. They may have little or no tolerance for change and not enough strength for introspection. (Research has shown that as a result of genetic factors, chemical usage, childhood trauma, and so forth, there may exist a structural change in the neuronal membrane and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter serotonin. In many such cases the newer anti-depressants — known as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) — can produce profound changes even when other approaches have failed.)

One of the symptoms of serious depression is to block or deny any form of help. A depressed person literally has no confidence in a happy outcome, so it is an act of courage for them to take any steps toward healing. If you are the person “standing by,” your tender regard and patience will be crucial. The most effective contribution you can make to their peace of mind is to listen without trying to solve anything to support them to seek professional help.

Helpful Audio Programs

The following programs could be used in conjunction with any treatment that a physician or therapist would recommend, whatever type of symptoms are being experienced.

Joy and freedom are your birthright! Claim them!

Related Guided Imagery, Hypnosis, and Meditation Programs

Guided Imagery to Escape From Depression

Meditation to Abolish Anxiety

Bestseller – Letting Go Of Stress

Start your day right with Launching Your Day Meditation

Learn the true words of The Serenity Prayer (Guided Imagery)

I AM: Awakening Self-Acceptance Meditation

Free – Cancer Guided Imagery – A Mental Reboot

Listen at the end of this post!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I have prepared this special free deep relaxation and guided imagery experience. I had the honor of co-founding the second cancer self-help center in the world, and the first that began to train interns. It’s hard to believe these days, where EVERY self respecting hospital, medical center, and clinic has patient self-help groups, that in 1977 there were NONE.

In those days patients could not utter the word “cancer” without trembling in fear, and physicians and families would often hide from people the fact that they had cancer.

We discovered that patients who visualized their white cells as aggressive, even vicious, attacking agents, and the cancer cells as being weak and confused had much more favorable outcomes. The imagery here is based on that which we used at the center, where i remained as medical director for 20 years.

This should be a welcome addition to the other CDs of imagery for cancer patients. I have recently published new CDs for those in chemo or radiation therapy .Feel free to forward to anyone with any kind of cancer, with my best wishes for complete healing.

Questions and Conversation: (at the bottom of this page)

Let me know what you think of this guided imagery experience.

What other Guided Imagery Experience do YOU want to hear? What would be most beneficial?

How are YOU using guided imagery in your healing?

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Below you will find two Podcasts for your listening pleasure! Free Guided Imagery and Meditations from DrMiller.com

- The first is the Anti-Cancer Guided Imagery: Empowering Your Immune System

- The Second is general introduction to my Mental Reboot Series called What is a Mental Reboot?

An Answer to Cancer – How Guided Imagery and Meditation Can Assist in Cancer Treatment [Podcast]

Don’t feel like reading? Listen to the Podcast at the end of this post!

What’s the first thing to do if you get a diagnosis of cancer? Grab a deep relaxation and guided imagery CD!

Really. It could save your life.

When people first receive the message from their physician that their body may be harboring a potentially fatal disease, they are usually dumbfounded, commonly frightened, and often emotionally traumatized. This is unfortunate, since such reactions of helplessness associated with the illness create an internal physiological and psychological state which may actually impair the body’s ability to defend itself against this invader.

Since guided imagery in the state of deep relaxation has been shown to assist the healing process in many illnesses, including cancer, it should be made available as soon as possible to anyone newly diagnosed with cancer – as well as those with other chronic illnesses. It’s the least expensive, fastest, and possibly the most important single thing you can do.

A patient’s physical comfort and perception of pain can often be markedly altered, as can their attitude, mood, willingness to undergo invasive procedures, or to participate actively in the treatment – even their ability to successfully survive the treatment. All these are profoundly influenced by the attitude and the mental self image he or she has, of the disease, of the treatment, and of those who are rendering care.

Certain ways of approaching the illness are far more likely to produce a successful outcome, cure and complete healing. Well-designed guided imagery and deep relaxation – what I call “ Software for the Mind ” – functions to enable the person to move through acceptance, to awaken the inner potential to heal and become whole, and to free the body of the stress that could otherwise worsen the illness. And the sooner an individual begins this process, the better.

I will describe some of the most important ways that these tools can be used as valuable adjuncts to treatment in a moment, but first lets look at the role of your mental imagery in preventing cancer.

Guided Imagery and The Prevention of Cancer

Of course the best use of guided imagery in confronting the challenges of cancer is to employ it at the stage of prevention Sometimes, for example, a woman with breast lump or unusual bleeding, or a man who notices an abnormal mole on his skin will avoid seeing a health professional because of fear they experience when they consider that this might be a cancer. Yet by avoiding that cognitive dissonance they fail to have the mass removed before it spreads, and while it is still curable. A different mental image can be developed, one which could tolerate the idea of having an unknown mass checked out, and save their lives.

Another example is represented by the person who needs to change their inner imagery is the person who engages in behaviors that can lead to the development of cancer – such as smoking or exposing him or herself to other toxic substances, or eating an unhealthy diet (fat, charred meat, low vegetable intake). Guided imagery techniques can help resolve the emotional states that underlie such self-destructive behaviors. A few counseling visits and/or the use of the appropriate CDs are often all that is needed. (For example, see Weight Loss/Management and Smoke No More )

The Power of Imagery and Meditation in the Clinical Setting

One of the physician’s first challenges is how to inform the person that they may have cancer. The mental image the doctor creates in the mind of the patient is very important.

Because of this natural reaction of fear, rather than face the emotions, the doctor will sometimes try to be matter-of-fact about it, saying something insensitive, like, “Your tests showed that you may possibly have a rapidly-growing cancer that could kill you within 6 to 12 months. I will take another biopsy today to confirm the diagnosis. Come back in a week and I will let you know what we find out.” Imagine how news delivered that way affects a patient! Yet it happens far more often than you’d think it would.

Now, compare how different the mental image and resultant inner experience are when, instead, the physician says, “We’ll have to repeat the tests we did last week. They are inconclusive. There’s a possibility that there are some atypical cells, and we want to run another test. The first one may be in error. I’m certain, whatever the result, that we’ll find a way to deal with it.”

Remarkably, I have heard dozens of stories from patients who were treated like the person in the first example, and sometimes even more crudely. The mental, emotional and physical shock they experienced at this time often proved to be quite catastrophic to their lives, leading to acute emotional problems, and often persistent depression and/or anxiety. It is not uncommon for this kind of shock to create serious disruption of relationships, social and work life – and, as you can imagine, fear of doctors and medical procedures, even when the first diagnosis turns out to be a false positive!

How a person is treated by his or her health professional is critically important, and the skills of empathetic communication and guided imagery are most valuable. I have always started my training of medical students with this wisdom. After all, what we want most is a happy, healthy patient. ( Verbal First Aid by Dr. Prager is an excellent read for Health Professionals and laypeople alike.  Listen to the Healing Times Radio Archive of my interview with Dr. Prager on my show, Healing Times Radio).

Early Cancer Treatment

Once a cancer has actually been diagnosed, there are several opportunities for the use of deep relaxation and guided imagery – to improve healing function and eliminate unnecessary emotional stress (for the diagnosed individual and their support network). As you probably know, stress has been shown, in many scientific studies, to inhibit healing. By using guided imagery you can enable yourself to maintain a positive self-image, a feeling of empowerment, and confidence in your ability to tolerate your treatment well – and to heal.

Depression and anxiety due to personal fears or cultural expectations add to the inadvertent negative imagery the patient experiences from health personnel, family, and the environment. These have been shown to interfere with the inner healing process. Such emotional states can cause a person to fear valuable and even curative therapies – and that same fear may interfere physiologically with the effectiveness of any that are tried. (see Freeing Yourself From Fear )

The purpose of guided imagery and relaxation is:

· 1. To enable identification with the strong, successful part of the Self – the part that believes/knows healing and wellness are possible.

· 2. To understand at a deep level the meaning of the Serenity Prayer , the role of acceptance, courage, and wisdom, and how to access them

· 3. To experience the confidence and empowerment that is gained by coming into the present moment

· 4. To discover how to let be what is, and to access the inner ability to respond mindfully, and not merely react .

In our culture we use denial a great deal. Every physician gets to see at least one person who was so fearful of finding a lump they refused to have the recommended regular examinations. Deep Relaxation provides an excellent way for the psyche to be prepared to accept the truth of the moment – it is the antidote to fear, and it eliminates the reason to avoid seeing the truth. After all, the acceptance of what is true in the moment gives you the power to use the resources you have available to successfully address the situation and gain the best possible outcome. And when it comes to cancer, the outcome is what really counts the most . ( Abolish Anxiety is an effective program for dealing with unnecessary fears of this kind). Once relaxation has been achieved positive image outcomes can be suggested and visualized.

Imagery and Interventions

You will also find that deep relaxation and guided imagery are extremely useful before, during and after therapeutic interventions – such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. (see Cancer Support Programs including Optimizing Chemotherapy and Optimizing Radiation Therapy )The use of these Software For The Mind tools can help reduce the discomfort and side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, thus allowing the use, in some cases, of even larger doses, thereby ensuring better chances of complete success. Imagery such as a shield protecting the normal cells of your body from radiation – or from toxic chemicals – tends to increase your sense of empowerment and involvement in the healing process, markedly improving outcomes, whether or not there is a direct impact upon the actual membranes of the cells in question. ( See Healing from Cancer, )

Guided imagery, along with deep relaxation, is also effective for dealing with the surgery that is sometimes needed by the cancer patient. By using image rehearsal techniques for days or weeks before the surgery, you train the mind and body in how to respond to the anesthesia, the surgery, and the healing. By the time you are in the operating room, your body is primed to go into anesthesia quickly, thus reducing the amount of anesthetic agent your body will have to take in and detoxify – making the surgery safer, and recovery faster. Further, when this is combined with the use of these techniques after surgery there is less pain and swelling, ambulation is faster, and healing time and hospital stay are shortened by about 25% (and that means 25% less opportunity to acquire a hospital-based infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria). (see Surgery, Operations, and Procedures and ).

Can The Mind Really Fight Cancer?

It is important that when someone gets injured or sick, we see two separate, but related, phenomena – the disease and the illness. In the case of cancer, the disease is represented by the abnormal cells that are attempting to grow without bounds. The illness is the loss of weight, the fatigue, the pain, the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, the fear that treatment will not work, and the other unpleasant experiences represent the illness .

While it has not been conclusively demonstrated, a positive attitude and effective imagery can directly kill all cancer cells, studies have shown they are enormously effective defeating the illness. And when a person is less ill, they have a better chance of responding to any threat to their balance of health, and of surviving treatment that is powerful enough to cure the disease.

Some of the imagery approaches that have been found to be effective involve visualizing the cancer cells as being weak, confused, disoriented mutant bodily cells that need to be eliminated. Correspondingly, the cells of the immune system are seen as powerful, wise, and capable of attacking and destroying these cancer cells. Sometimes the imagery used is realistic, and sometimes metaphorical (which is how the mind impacts the body anyway). So a given person may see the cancer cells as mice and the immune cells as hungry cats, or see the cancer cells as outlaws wearing black hats, and the immune system’s cells as the good guys wearing, of course white hats. Still other people have less violent imagery, such as coming into harmony and simply halting the growth of the cancer cells, creating a safe long term balance.  In this way the healthy body establishes a balance with a tuberculosis bacterium, thus preventing its spread while not eliminating it completely (a kind of New Paradigm solution). Healing From Cancer guides imagery in this way, while the DVD, Immuno-Imagery , shows how this happens using photomicroscopy as well as interpretive animation.

(For more information about the roots of disease and its symptoms, and how to address them, see Deep Healing – The Essence of Mind-Body Medicine .)


In Conclusion

So, once again I say (only a little tongue-in-cheek), maybe the first and best thing to do in dealing with cancer, before or after it is discovered, is to use deep relaxation, meditation, and guided imagery tools. Through them you can “Change Your Mind – And Change Your Life.”

Discussion, comments and questions: A t the end of this post you will find a place ‘Join the Conversation’. I would love to hear from you.  Feel free to answer some of the questions below or let me know whatever is on your mind.

1. Have you used alternative therapies in Cancer (or other chronic illness)?

2. How about Guided Imagery? How did it work?

3. Feel free to ask questions

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Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Miller’s Cancer Support Guided Imagery and Meditation CDs, MP3 Downloads, DVDs and Books.

The first podcast below is the recording of Dr. Miller reading this article ‘An Answer to Cancer’

The second podcast below is a recording of Elizabeth L. Richeson, Ph.D., M.S. PhysPharm speaking about her own use of Dr. Miller’s Guided Imagery recordings in her profession and in her personal battle with Cancer.

Ask Dr. Miller: Dealing with Stress in the World Today

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 stress?  In this podcast I explain the difference, give examples of each and provide simple ways (affirmations) to quickly release stress and enter a relaxed state of mind, body and spirit.

This audio excerpt is from my program Stress Fitness Volume 1. Please visit my online store at ShopDrMiller.com for more information about this and my other audio programs.

Healing Times Radio Archives: What is Verbal First Aid?

Verbal First Aid – The Power of Words, Images, and Stories to Help and Heal

Airdate: July 1, 2010 11am-12pm (PST) at OpenMindRadio.com

You will be fascinated and entertained as Dr. Prager and I explore the power of words to impact beliefs and engender healing. Learn about the power we all have within to transform not only our own lives but the lives of others. Everyone has the opportunity to create miracles by choosing carefully the words they use and how they speak to others (and especially themselves) in calm times as well as in high-stress situations.

We will examine some of the ideas presented in her very popular book, Verbal First Aid Helping your Kids Heal from Fear and Pain – and Come Out Strong , as well as in her newly released book, . Then we will learn some simple ways to turn a scare into a comfort, a hurt into a healing, and a potential trauma into a memory of courage. You will hear some valuable perspectives on major life challenges and learn how to transform crisis situations into positive, empowering experiences (by adjusting your attitude through your self-talk, changing the images you hold in your mind, and the stories you tell yourself).

You will be especially charmed by the beauty and wisdom of her approach to communicating to children, especially in emergency situations. Make sure all the parents you know get to hear this one.

Dr. Prager will share her observation that far too many of today’s hospital-born babies are quickly taken into sterile nurseries and hooked up to beeping machines. Her suspicion is that, instead of bonding with the mother, this generation of newborns is bonding with machines.

And, most of all, you will get to meet a woman who is truly a healing spirit, her mission – to help create a better future where we are all aware of the energy field around each of us, and between all of us.   This energy field is so easily enlightened or shattered. Just to experience her positive energy makes this interview worthwhile.

You don’t want to miss this one!

Listen to us Thursday, July 1st, 2010

11am-12pm PST at OpenMindRadio.com

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Subscribe to Healing Times Radio Podcasts (with iTunes or with web-based podcatchers ) at Healing Times Radio Archives

Make sure you don’t miss another show!

Individuals Combine Inner Wisdom and Social Networking to Create a New Type of Leadership

Emmett Miller, M.D., Pioneer in Mind-Body Medicine, Releases CDs to Awaken the Leader Within

(Los Altos, CA) January 14, 2008—Candidates running for president are spending millions on campaigns to demonstrate to voters that they are the best qualified to bring about change and lead the country to better days. But, to find true leadership that brings about change, individuals need to vote their conscience by first accessing their inner wisdom. By awakening the wisdom deep in the core of their being — their inner leader — they can guide thoughts and actions and use social networking to create a collective wisdom that brings healing change to themselves, communities and civilization.

Dr. Emmett Miller, an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of Mind-Body Medicine has released two CDs, Awakening the Leader Within and Healing Our Planet as a way to facilitate individual and global healing. Miller uses guided imagery to get individuals to relax physically, concentrate on breathing, quiet their minds and come into the present. In this state, they can access their inner wisdom and make new, intentional choices. It opens the psyche to connect deeply with others to accomplish distributed leadership. Once people use inner wisdom to guide thoughts and behaviors, they can apply this same process to behaviors in relation all of their surroundings and guide interactions with the people they connect with daily such as family, friends and co-workers.

“The concept of seeking leadership from within — as opposed to looking for it among politicians, business executives, religious zealots and others—is the outgrowth of my work in the field of Mind-Body Medicine,” said Miller. “For 35 years, I have helped people learn to access and use their deeper resources for self healing. This usually involves releasing maladaptive ways of thinking and behaving learned in the past, and developing wiser ways to interact with oneself and the world. I soon found that the same principles were effective in family therapy and in work with organizations and communities, up to the state level with California’s Self-Esteem Task Force. I also found this same wise guidance could be applied to each and every aspect of a person’s life and extend out globally.”

By combining inner leadership with social networking, people can create collective wisdom that  brings healing change to communities, organizations and civilization. Social networking enables those who are cultivating their inner leadership abilities to share their wisdom and passion with others on the same path using conversational models. For example, www.theworldcafe.com uses innovative social technology to enable communities of people throughout the world to explore issues and solve problems, then to share information with other such groups via the website.

What sets Miller’s approach apart are two things: the idea of looking inside for the leadership and collaborative community action that is so clearly lacking in so many areas of society, and the idea that external leadership can be traced to a lack of leadership within. The approach uses the same power tools that are used in therapeutic context to access deeper aspects of the psyche. Tools include deep relaxation, use of guided imagery, meditation and cognitive restructuring techniques.

Most people do not understand the principles of wise leadership of their personal lives, and thus cannot understand the principles of how leadership works in the world around them. They abdicate responsibility and choose poor leaders, which creates a vicious circle. The moment one discovers the leader within, the helpless stance begins to disappear, and people become aware of the enormous power they have to create the right leadership for themselves, their families, communities and the world.

“The purpose of my program is to access the wisdom to discern what needs to be done – but it goes beyond that, to turn a person’s intellectual knowing into a powerfully felt sense of commitment to carry out an internal revolution and seize control of his or her life.”

Miller’s approach also goes beyond the old paradigm that the observer is separate from that being observed, that we are separate from others and the environment. People have an important part to play, and their inner healing has an important effect on the world. No man is an island, and an important part of this program is to inspire us to connect with other similarly empowered people (kindred spirits) to heal the environment (physical and social and planetary).

According to Miller, few people are aware that they have the power to control their own lives. People have been suffering from a kind of cultural ADD, distracted by the pace of life, the demands and manipulations of the media. Individuals have been misled and distracted by the 24×7 infotainment channels, advertising, sexual hyper-stimulation and manufactured threats that keep people anxious. This preconditions people to accept conditions that, while falsely promising happiness and security, merely create wealth for a powerful few and cause great economic, physical, mental and spiritual suffering for the population at large.

This ongoing abuse  has sapped individual self-esteem and led to beliefs of not being good enough or powerful enough to change.  Additionally, people have been misled from within by addictions, prejudices, and stress. They haven’t been given access to the tools of self-awareness, self esteem and self-empowerment.

“Those who begin to experience leadership from within feel anything but powerless. They feel inspired, enthusiastic, and in love with life and the possibilities that abound. They see meadows, not minefields, stepping stones, not stumbling blocks. They see the incredible opportunities that lay before us to change the direction of our society and our planet, as well as our own lives. I have seen it happen thousands of times. This has been my life’s work. Now, with the advent of digital media and the Internet, I have found a way to publish it to the world. The time has come; the world is awakening to the need for change, and new leadership. I want to help individuals create individual and distributed leadership that brings about positive change for each and every member of society.”

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Personal Responsibility and Leadership

We have voted in an historic election, and many are hoping that “happy days are here again,” as the government starts responding to our needs and requests. Well, with such observations as those of famed financier George Soros , it is beginning to look more and more as if our communities, businesses, practices, and families are going to find themselves even more “on their own.”

The “financial downturn” is looking more and more like our economic Katrina – and like the unfortunate victims of that storm, we cannot expect the government to step in and solve all the problems it is creating. After all, our state and federal governments are beyond flat busted, and the money they borrow or print is going to come out of our future earnings – which themselves are looking pretty shaky.

Perhaps there are important lessons we can learn from Katrina. One, of course, is that we cannot depend on the disaster-responsiveness of the government. Another comes to us by way of certain population groups in New Orleans that found ways to deal successfully with the challenges presented during in the aftermath of the hurricane. The tightly-knit French-American communities were able to organize a response; they quickly pulled together and pooled its resources, and looked for ways to support each other. How different from the “every man for himself” reaction that the news media brought us in such quantity.

Just as nations, banks, cities, and towns are going bankrupt , it is all but certain that there will be breakdowns at the level of our local communities. What will happen to your neighborhood and mine will then depend on the quality of the leadership available. And the time for the right kind of leadership is now, not after the levees break.

Because we are a democracy, our government is a reflection of the choices we are making. Thus, each one of us bears a certain responsibility, the responsibility to dedicate an appropriate portion of his or her time to seeing to it that the men and women that we allow to take leadership positions in our governments, businesses, and communities are truly leaders – leaders who really understand the true essence of this new paradigm. It is essential to our survival that we go beyond greenwashed temporary fixes. It is your job and mine to make sure that, instead of going for the “fast, fast, fast symptom relief” as offered by our TV commercials, our elected officials will look to the source of these recurring disasters, and treat the system at this deeper level. If we do not do this, we are not being responsible and playing our proper role in the new Distributed Leadership model that coordinates well with New Paradigm thinking.

The Distributed Leadership Meme
Those who understand the concept of Distributed Leadership and are skilled in its application are best equipped to design a new course of action – one that will reflect our shared interests and deeper unity. The goal is to move us toward (whether or not we ever reach it) an “omega point” of harmony and unitive thinking. This process will make available to us the enormous gifts of our collective intelligence and generate momentum toward wholeness and sustainability – survival and “thrival.”

We are now at a time in which we will experience an unprecedented opportunity to select new leadership in all walks of life – government, business, communities – right down to our individual families. It is clear to nearly everyone that it is time for a change, a change that will be reflected at every level of system, from the individual to the global. Our actual survival, and the sustainability of those aspects of our lives that we treasure most, will depend upon our choosing leaders, local and national, who really understand that if we do not learn from history, history will repeat itself – and each time the price goes up.

The Teachings of History
Consider the cost of the Cold War, the Arab Oil Embargo, the suicide bombing of September 11, and now the Financial Meltdown, whose costs are well into the trillions. And the significance of this amount pales in comparison to the human suffering attendant on those events. We are waking up, and none too soon, to the fact that, there is something deeply flawed about how we have organized the dominant institutions on our planet.

September 11 roused us temporarily from our fool’s paradise of “prosperity.” The 3,000 deaths that resulted from those terrorist attacks were tragic, yet no more tragic than the 3,000 babies that starve to death every day, or die from easily curable disease – or the tens of thousands kidnapped into sexual slavery, to die of AIDS after a decade of unthinkable torture. What was different was that these deaths were white Americans, not black or brown Africans or Asians. Suddenly the U.S. began to wake up to the fact that we could no longer believe ourselves as invulnerable as we had once thought. After all, to Americans, bombings had always been something that happened “over there” and that war was just our favorite way of learning geography.

And, after an all-too-brief moment of unity, we watched dumbfounded, as the sense of global oneness and shared tragedy that had New Yorkers smiling at each other degenerated – and we regressed to our unfortunate mean, reverting once again to our usual game of international whack-a-mole – a strategy that history may show us was exactly the wrong one for the time.

I recall my thoughts at the time of the attacks – “What if this vicious act of mass murder was just another symptom of the misguided behavior of our countries and our cultures – simply more recent symptoms of what brought us slavery, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Stalin, and the Vietnam War?” I decided upon an interesting thought experiment. I would view these behaviors as symptoms, then try to trace them to their deeper source through the application of careful logic and standard scientific procedure.

The Cosmic Healer

So I set out to perform an Einstein-like thought experiment, examining our world from the imagined point of view of an interplanetary physician – a cosmic do-gooder whose job it is to travel through time and space seeking out intelligent life forms that are struggling, like the human community on our own planet, to realize their potential.

There is no question, this patient is suffering physical illness and great anguish. And we are demonstrably headed towards ever more dysfunction and disease as an unavoidable consequence of the dominant ongoing behaviors, thoughts, passions and beliefs held by its most powerful inhabitants. Shouldn’t I want for my planet the same quality of intelligent, wise health care I insist on for my family: shouldn’t our situation to be examined with the honesty, objectivity, and care that would be employed by a physician treating a patient? So, I set out to perform a careful physical and psychological examination of the human culture on this planet. The result is my new book, Culture on the Couch; Seven Steps to Global Healing .

My explorations revealed convincing evidence that the same paradigm Mind-Body practitioners have found vital in producing healing (identity, balance, and integrity) at the individual level also turns out to facilitate healing at the collective level. If you have experienced real healing or a creative breakthrough in your own life, you understand the honesty, faith, and courage it takes. Indications are that we have reached the point at which we need to muster that same kin
d of confidence, commitment, and integrity in our collective behaviors.

The good news is that, collectively, we have all the wisdom and resources we need, and powerful tools for social networking are emerging right now. Accessing them and using them is a wise and powerful thing to do. Such social technologies as The World Café provide powerful methods for creating inviting space, exploring questions that matter, and connecting diverse people and perspectives. Through listening together for patterns and insights, collective knowledge emerges.

Until now, the system that has controlled the information that has been available to us; it has used anxiety and fear to push us to act in ways that are of much more benefit to the rulers, the wealthy, and the party in power, than to the people themselves. But this system actually belongs to us, and if we are willing to use the tools available to us we can begin to discover the incredible possibilities that open up when you begin to develop and evoke personal responsibility.

When we discover how to become truly responsible for our lives, we can choose how we really want to be and what kind of world we want to live in.

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