Monthly Web Columns

LIFE 101



“Fairy tales can come true
They can happen to you
If you’re young at heart.”
—Carolyn Leigh, “Young at Heart”

 * * *

            Whenever I give talks about the Higher Self Healing Meditation that I teach I always mention the three changing states of consciousness that we go through every day: namely, waking, dreaming, and sleeping.  Then I describe the exalted fourth state of consciousness in which the body is more deeply rested than during the deepest point in sleep, yet more awake than during wakefulness.  It’s called  a bunch of other names, such as restful alertness, pure consciousness, Transcendental Consciousness, Samadhi, in the Vedic wisdom books of India.  The state is so deeply satisfying that you might refer to it—if you were Cole Porter--as delightful, delicious, de-lovely.    
           The other afternoon, as I was coming out of that fourth state of consciousness in meditation, I heard, in my mind’s ear, my wife singing “Over the Rainbow,” which she had done at our friend Lisa’s party just the night before.  Having been trained in opera and a veteran of Broadway musical theater, she’s often asked by friends to sing at parties and gatherings.  This time I heard the following delightful lyrics:
 “Where troubles melt like lemon drops
          Away above the chimney tops
           That’s where you’ll find me.”
         The Yip Harburg lyric seemed to be describing the very same consciousness that I had just experienced.  Was Dorothy singing specifically about meditation?  No, but L. Frank Baum, her creator in the children’s book of 1900 that inspired the MGM classic of 1939, was a member of the Theosophical Society in Chicago, and he knew all about the ways of meditation and inner awakening.
            This transcendental state of mind is one in which all perception of the world disappears and all thoughts quietly fade away.  We hear about such a state in West Side Story, when, in “Tonight,” Maria sings about her first glimpse of Tony:
                        “I saw you and the world went away.”
          In that very quiet place deep within the mind, where the waves of our individuality merge into the ocean of our universality, it hit me that the great lyricists and composers of Broadway had long been singing about the higher life that we can live when we’re deeply in the flow.  No sooner did that thought dawn than I heard Barbra Streisand deliciously invoking Stephen Sondheim’s sense of the fourth state of consciousness and perhaps the fifth from West Side Story.  (The fifth state—Self-Realization--is when we live the peace of the non-changing fourth state along with the changing phases of waking, dreaming, and sleeping.)
     “There’s a place for us
      Somewhere, a place for us.
      Peace and quite and open air
     Wait for us, somewhere.
     There’s a time for us
     Somewhere a time for us
     Time together with time to spare
    Wait for us somewhere.”
      Was Maria teaching her lover how to meditate?  Of course, not, but the creative intelligence of Sondheim was whispering to him to give us a glimpse into a higher place that waits for us somewhere.  In these higher states of consciousness, the world glows with light.  Tony and Maria, a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, have glimpsed that glow through their love for each other:
          “Tonight, tonight
         The world is full of light 
          With suns and moons all over the place.”    
       In this higher state of being, life is no longer ho hum; it’s exalted:
         “Today, the world was just an address
         A place for me to live in
        No better than all right
       But here you are
      And what was just a world is a star
       Harburg (with composer Harold Arlen), and Sondheim (with composer Leonard Bernstein) were hardly the only great Broadway geniuses who’ve written about life lived at a higher, awakening state since the beginning of musical theater.  Rodgers & Hammerstein, Porter, Lerner & Loewe, and others--Tin Pan Alley’s gods--have long been penning anthems about awakening to a life lived with the gods.
      The wisdom of India, which clearly outlines higher states of consciousness, helps us see these songs in a brighter light, as if they’re pointing to that inner freedom.   Moreover, from that great tradition comes meditation, a simple effortless way to allow the Universe to settle our consciousness into that great peace “somewhere”—fortunately deep within our own minds.



Emotional and Spiritual Skills for Success-  #4 in the Love Yourself,
Lose the Weight series

by Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D.

Have you ever used your weight as an excuse not to participate more fully in life, not to have a relationship, to avoid sex in the relationship you’re in, not to look for a new job? Are you willing to let go of your excuses? They are just a way of not loving yourself.

Mirror work- talking to yourself while looking in the mirror – is a powerful technique for learning to love yourself as you are making changes in any area. Look into your eyes and say to yourself, “I’m done with excuses. My weight is not the issue. I am willing to participate in life regardless of my weight.” Notice how you feel. Then tell yourself “I love and accept you just the way you are. I support you in all your new habits. You have been doing the best you can. It’s OK. I support you in making positive changes.”
Then tell yourself anything else that is important for you to know/hear.  You are claiming the wonderful being that you are. If you feel a lot of emotion coming up as you do the mirror work, that’s OK!  

It’s important to become aware of emotional triggers for overeating or making choices you know aren’t healthy. Almost everyone uses food to deal with emotional issues at some time or other. It’s how often you do this that determines if it’s a problem.

Starting now, every time you eat (especially outside of meal times), ask yourself first, What am I feeling right now? Can I resolve this feeling without eating? Take some deep breaths and acknowledge that you want to eat, “Yes, I want to eat now, but I can wait out this impulse for 10 seconds. I am willing to feel my feelings and deal with them.”

Here is an exercise to help you develop more awareness around emotions and eating.

Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and relax your body. Keep doing some deep breaths until you feel relaxed. Now, as though you are an observer of your own life, go back over the last two weeks and notice your eating patterns: when you ate, what you ate, where you were, and who was with you. Don’t judge or criticize, simply notice. When you ate for emotional reasons, what was going on?.......

Now go back even farther in time, letting your mind go to the time you first began overeating…. How old were you? What was going on for you? What feelings were you suppressing?  Accept that this was your way of coping at that time. Feel compassion and love for yourself. Go to another situation where you overate….. What emotions were you feeling then? Find a few others………… Then imagine you are looking at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself, “I understand more now. I truly do love and accept you just the way you are.”

Bring your awareness back to the present moment. Take some deep breaths and stretch. Open your eyes.

If you found a connection between feeling stressed and eating, here are some easy ways to deal with that. Stress increases your metabolism and so you feel fatigued. This can prompt you to want to eat something like a candy bar for fast energy. Ultimately, this leads to more fatigue because your blood sugar plunges after spiking. First, as much as possible plan your meals so you eat on a schedule. Eat low fat, high protein meals to keep your blood sugar balanced. Second, have some healthy snacks available, like protein bars or veggies and a low fat dip. In other words, prepare ahead of time. Third, practice deep breathing exercises to help you reduce stress.

Learning to handle your emotions effectively is truly an ongoing process. If you started eating emotionally and gaining weight as a child, then talking to your Inner Child can really be healing.

 If you gained a lot of weight after some traumatic event in your life, you may need professional help in dealing with it. Look for a therapist who offers a spiritual approach as part of their therapy. In the US, you can find them advertising in spiritual newsletters. Or ask some friends for a referral. Affirm that you are guided to any resource you need to create a healthy relationship with food. 

A spiritual course, A Course in Miracles, says, “Guilt holds the behavior.” So if you are feeling guilty (or ashamed or embarrassed or even angry at yourself) for gaining weight and not losing it, it’s time to let go of the guilt and any other emotions associated with your weight. True, easier said than done. Begin with “I am willing to let go of the emotions that have kept me stuck.”

For some people, prayer is a potent force for changing behavior. Asking Spirit, God, the angels, or ascended masters to assist you in your desire for changes takes the burden off you “doing it all yourself.”

Are you willing to forgive yourself? At the highest spiritual level, there is no need for forgiveness, but in our human selves it is another piece of the foundation for permanent change. And sometimes that change can occur very quickly when you stop feeling guilty, forgive yourself, and love yourself right where you are at the moment.  Be kind to yourself. You are worth loving!

--Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D. studied personally with Louise Hay and, with husband Rick Nichols, is authorized to lead Heal Your Life® training programs in Louise’s philosophy. She is also the author of Ordering from the Cosmic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations. and