Home' Nova National : December 2009 Contents discerning way -- and doing nothing more.
"Take, for example, depression," Dr
Hassed explains. "Someone experiencing
depression is usually trapped by their
thoughts. They have thoughts, they hate
their thoughts, then they hate themselves
for having those thoughts. Getting stuck
in this only amplifies the feelings and
thoughts that they are trying not to have.
Likewise, someone with anxiety will think
a lot, but they are fighting with
Almost half of the Australian population
(45.5 per cent) experience mental illness
at some point in their lifetime. And in
any given year, one in five Australian
adults experiences mental illness (National
Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing,
"Depression is the number two burden
of disease in Australia, just behind heart
disease," Dr Hassed says. "Depression is
growing rapidly and in the next few years it
will be number one. By 2030, it will be way
out in front."
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is
a very simple way to approach depression.
Conventional therapy for depression is
highly complex and involves examining
the contents of thoughts. "Mindfulness-
based cognitive therapy is not so much
about content of thought, but a person's
relationship to thought. It simply
acknowledges that thoughts come and
go, and trains you to stand back from
attachment to thought."
Studies show that people who have
had depression who learn mindfulness
skills show a decreased relapse rate, from
78 per cent to 36 per cent. In Dr Hassed's
own research he has found that medical
students who have completed the
mindfulness training show decreased
hostility and depression, even when tested
during high stress examination periods.
Cultivating mindfulness is as simple as
sitting or lying down quietly, and noticing
where attention goes. "The cornerstone
of mindfulness training is meditation. But
I'm not interested in being a monk or a
Buddhist. I want to use this in a practical,
applied way," Dr Hassed says. The aim is
health promotion, stress reduction and self
care. There is no seeking after extraordinary
or religious experiences or sensations. It's
about practising awareness so you can then
apply it later, in action.
For example, Dr Hassed tells of how
one woman applied the skill to a real
life event. She'd been experiencing a
stressful week of crisis upon crisis. Then,
while driving one night she realised she'd
forgotten something, and that would mean
a 40 minute return trip to collect what
she'd forgotten. She felt immediately
burdened and an overwhelming sense of
irritation and panic began to take hold.
However, because of the mindfulness
training she had done, she took a moment
to notice her response. So, instead of
becoming immersed in the drama, she
was able to watch it closely, then let it drop
away. She could just accept what she had to
do and then calmly proceed.
To catch this window of opportunity
before a physical stress response kicks in
involves being aware of our own processes
and trigger points. But the results are
incredibly beneficial as you avoid the
physiological affects of stress that are so
detrimental to health.
"Not only did she avoid feeling bad
from the experience," Dr Hassed says,
"but there's no residual stress from this
situation. She just got on with it. It's not
about fighting a response. It's about
noticing it and then saying, 'I'll let that go
through to the keeper '."
As evidence accrues, the mainstream
medical paradigm has cautiously begun to
consider the role of the mind in disease. In
the paper "Mind-Body Medicine: Science,
Practice and Philosophy", Dr Hassed cites
a study where 394 people were measured
for stress levels and then inoculated directly
with cold viruses: "The results demonstrated
that the likelihood of getting the cold was
directly proportional to the level of stress
which the host was experiencing, not just
at the time of exposure but over the
preceding six months.
"The intuitive sense that the mind is
interconnected through the nervous system
to the immune system has really begun to
gain credence since the 1970s."
Mind-body medicine reminds us that
chronic stress, fear, anxiety and depression
have quite profound effects upon the
health of the body. "These effects manifest
themselves on many different levels, from
the superficial experience of muscle tension
to the subtleties of how our genes express
themselves," Dr Hassed says.
"The intuitive sense that the mind is interconnected
through the nervous system to the immune system has
really begun to gain credence since the 1970s."
continued page 46
© NOVA DECEMBER 2009
THE GREAT INVOCATION
From the point of Light within the Mind of God.
Let Light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God.
Let Love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Christ return to Earth.
From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men.
The purpose which disciples know and serve.
From the centre which we call the race of men let the plan of love
and light work out no and bewtween light and work
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.
In building a more just, interdependent and caring
global society, what humanity needs above all,
is more light, love and spiritual will.
Over the Christmas Season people of goodwill from
all parts of the world, and from different religious
and spiritual backgrounds unite in invoking these
higher energies by using The Great Invocation.
Will you join in this healing work by including
The Great Invocation in your thoughts,
your prayers or your meditations
over 2009 Christmas Season?
From: "The Reappearance of the Christ"
by Alice A Bailey
Available: TS bookshop,
126 Russell St, Melbourne
Tel: 03 9650 3955
For a free copy of the booklet
"The Use and Significance of The Great Invocation"
and associated literature please write to:
Box 2042 GPO Melbourne 3001
or email: email@example.com
World Goodwill website: www.worldgoodwill.org
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A PRAYER FOR
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