Issue No. 23

Table of Contents



INNER PEACE

How to Relax

Here are four suggestions from Dale Carnegie: on how to relax:

Relax in odd moments. Let your body go limp like an old sock.

Work, as much as possible, in a comfortable position. Remember that tensions on the body produce aching shoulders and nervous fatigue.

Check yourself four or five times a day, and say to yourself, "Am I making my work harder than it actually is? Am I using muscles that have nothing to do with the work I am doing?"

Test yourself at the end of the day, by asking yourself, "Just how tired am I? If I am tired, it is not because of the mental work I have done but the way I have done it."

Source: Dale Carnegie, How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job. Pocketbooks, Simon & Schuster Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y., 10020, U.S.A.

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INNER PEACE

Do You Focus Too Much on Yourself?

People who donít know how to listen are often too absorbed in themselves and their concerns. Such self-absorption has two effects:

Psychologist Larry Scherwitz found that people who are more self-involved tend to have more severe coronary disease than those who are less self-absorbed.

In a study of 150 patients who were hospitalized for heart disease, he monitored how often these patients use I, me, my, mind, or myself during a structured interview. He found that the patients with more severe disease gave longer answers and had more self references.

In their book, Anger Kills, Dr. Redford Williams and Dr. Virginia Williams state that "a hostile personís distrust for others probably leads him or her to focus almost exclusively on his or her own thoughts and ideas. In learning to be a good listener, you can break out of this locked-in focus on yourself."

Source: Redford Willams, M.D., and Virginia Williams, Ph.D., Anger Kills. Harper Perennial, Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. 10 East 53rd St., New York, NY 10022, U.S.A.

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INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Speak Up to Avoid Time Pressures

Oftentimes we are stressed by so much work, and still find that people keep on asking us to do more. The sad part is that we find ourselves unable to say no, especially when itís the boss who is asking.

One way of dealing with this is to tell your boss what you are handling now, and ask him which task will be set aside in favor of the new assignment. Many bosses usually do not know the load of their subordinates. By letting them become aware of it, you make it easier for both of you.

Source: Merrill Douglass, Success Secrets: A Common Sense Guide to Lifelong Achievement. Honor Books, Inc. P.O. Box55388, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74155, U.S.A.

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PARENTING

Criticism and Unconditional Love

Sometimes we need to reprimand or criticize our children. How can this be done without the child feeling he or she is unloved? First, the criticism should be on the behavior, not his basic character. Here are examples given by Dr. Robert Schwebel in Say No is Not Enough:

It would have been far more constructive to say: "Susan, you left your toys scattered around the house. Please remember that you are supposed to put them away after you use them. Please put them away now."

The latter response allows Susan to maintain her self-esteem while being reminded of her responsibilities.

"I forgot," Katy answered. "I was so excited about seeing Sandraís new dog, I just forgot. Iím sorry."

"I expect you to call in the future," her mom said. "What do you need to do to make sure you donít forget even when youíre excited about something?"

"I donít know, Mom."

"Why donít you think about it for a while and we can talk later."

At dinner Katy volunteered a solution:" Mom, I think I need to be doubly careful to call when Iím excited and having a great time. Iíll remember next time."

Source: Robert Schwebel, Ph. D., Saying No is Not Enough. Newmarket Press, 18 East 48th St., New York, N.Y., 10017, U.S.A.

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PEACE EDUCATION

What is a Peacemaker?

It is helpful for children to understand peacemaking at an early age. Teachers can help by making them discuss this issue through an exercise in the classroom, as suggested by Naomi Drew in her book Learning the Skills of Peacemaking:

Ask the children to form a circle and show them the chart "A Peacemaker is Someone Who. . . . " Have them read the chart.

Ask, "When have you exhibited any of these qualities?" Start the discussion by giving your own experience. Afterwards let them share.

Then ask them to close their eyes. Say, "Picture yourself at a time when you exhibited one or more of the qualities of a peacemaker." Reread the chart. Say, "Picture yourself as a peacemaker. Who are you with? What are you doing? What are you saying? How do you feel?" Give them 2 or 3 minutes to do this.

Pass around a picture of the planet earth. Say, "When you hold it, share your experience as a peacemaker. The picture of the earth reminds us that we are all part of one planet, and that each individual is important."

After each sharing, thank each child.

After all have finished, ask, "Is it sometimes hard to be a peacemaker?" Discuss. Share your own experience.

Ask, "Are there times you donít want to be a peacemaker?" Discuss.

Tell the children that itís human nature to not get along all the time. Say, "the thing to remember is that we always have a choice, and things usually work out better when we choose to be peaceful. That does not mean that we have to allow others to be mean or hurtful toward us. What it means is that we try to understand why the other person is acting that way; we try to ask ourselves what else we can do besides being hurtful too."

Affirm the children by thanking them for their honesty and willingness to think about these questions.

Source: Nomi Drew, Leaning the Skills of Peacemaking. Jalmar Press, 45 Hitching Post Drive, Building 2, Rolling Hills Estates, California 90274, U.S.A.

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ECOLOGY

What Not to Buy

Here is a list of things to avoid buying if you wish to help in preserving our environment. These items either consume more natural resources or are not biodegradable. 

Buy instead

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INNER PEACE

How to Release Anger

Anger can be harmful to yourself if you suppress it, and harmful to others when you allow it to explode. Here are some suggested steps on how to release it harmlessly:

Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Celestial Arts Publishing, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707, U.S.A.

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MARITAL HARMONY

Happiness in Marriage

Importance. People get married in order to be happy together. But unfortunately, many couples become unhappy after getting married.

Knowing the simple rules can save many marriages, and they can be sources of happiness in the life of many families.

Guidelines for Couples

1. Marriage is a commitment. Marriage is not simply a question of liking each other. Two people can like or "love" each other without marrying. When they enter marriage, they make commitments to one another. These commitments are especially important when times are difficult. It is a commitment to love one another even in sickness or in adversities. How often and how easily we forget these.

Especially when we have children, the commitments assume greater importance. They are pledges not only to each other, but they are also implicit pledges to the children.

2. Learn communication skills. How do we communicate disagreement or hurts? Do we keep them inside? Or do we lash out at each other? Do we truly listen to each other?

When these skills are absent, then marriage can easily break down. Learn then at least two of the most important communication skills in life: a. genuine listening; b. harmonious assertiveness

3. Be selfless and thoughtful. You cannot love and be selfish at the same time. Once self-centeredness comes in, the love is pushed outside. Make it a daily habit to think of the welfare of your partner especially in small things. Do so cheerfully.

4. Develop Self-Awareness and Self-Mastery. When a person is not aware of his or her level of tension or emotion, then one can easily lose self-control and becomes inclined to quarrel or become angry. By being aware, these negative emotions do not prosper, neither are they suppressed.

5. Nurture the deep friendship. Marriage is really deep friendship. We must not take each other for granted. As with other friends, we must not forget to continue to be courteous and considerate of each other; to think of each otherís welfare. We must continue to share and cultivate moments of fun together.

6. Disagree in a mature way, and never quarrel in front of children. Quarreling is an immature way of dealing with conflict and problems. When you quarrel in front of children, there are at least three effects:

They feel confused on whom to believe. When couples quarrel, they usually accuse each other of improper behaviors. When children hear this, they tend to lose respect for one of the parents or both.

Children feel that quarreling is a legitimate way of resolving conflicts, and they grow developing the attitude and habit of raising their tempers when they feel frustrated.

They feel unhappy and depressed, seeing that the two persons, whom they respect and love most are trying to verbally or physically destroy each other.

7. Creatively think of ways of making each other happy. A simple act of thoughtfulness each day will preserve your marriage for the rest of your life. Greet her with affection; wash dishes with her; take her for a walk; buy groceries with her. There are a thousand and one opportunities of showing that you care.

Source: Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., Self-Transformation Series, No. 58, Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba Street, Quezon City, Philippines

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MARITAL HARMONY

Do You Nurture Toxic Thoughts?

Do you find yourself speaking to your spouse and at the same time harboring unspoken thoughts that tend to criticize him or her?

Aaron Beck, founder of cognitive therapy, finds that these deeper "automatic thoughts" can poison a marriage. They are fleeting, background assumptions about oneself and the people one deals with. They reflect oneís deepest emotional attitudes towards other people.

For example, a husband may say to his wife in a sharp tone: "Dear, donít you think the kids could quiet down?" His actual thought: "Sheís too easy on the kids." The wife may feel irritated and say: "The kids are having a good time. Anyhow, theyíll be going up to bed soon." Her actual thought: "There he goes again, complaining all the time." For the wife, the recurring background thought may be: "Heís always bullying me with his anger," while the husband may harbor "She has no right to treat me like this."

These thoughts tend to be self-confirming. The partner who feels victimized is constantly scanning everything his partner does that might confirm the view that she is victimizing him, ignoring or discounting any acts of kindness on her part that would question or disconfirm that view.

In contrast, the optimistic thoughts that one can entertain when there are disagreements may be: "Heís being demanding now, but heís been thoughtful in the past; maybe heís in a bad moodóI wonder if somethingís bothering him about his work." This is a view that does not write off the husband (or the marriage) as irredeemably damaged and hopeless.

Source: Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036, U.S.A.

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RESOURCES

Book Notes

Acts of Kindness: How to Create A Kindness Revolution, by Meladee McCarty and Hanoch McCarty.

This is a how-to book that can change the way you live your daily life. Simple kindness can make the world a better place Ė and make you happier.

Affirmations: 1,001 Ways to Add Humor to Your Life and Work, by Joel Goodman. Health Communications, Inc. Deerfield Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

Ideas, quotations and things-to-do for each day of the year that will add creativity and fun into your life.

Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich, by Duane Elgin.

A classic work that helped influenced a movement towards sustainable living. It is a book about living with balance.

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RESOURCES

Peace Quotes

Every government defends its participation in the arms race as necessary to guard its national security. But this is an illusion. What makes the arms race a global folly is that all countries are now buying greater and greater insecurity at higher and higher costs. -- ALVA MYRDAL, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

The term "national security" has a built-in contradiction: in the atomic age, no national security is possible. Either we have a workable world security system or we have nothing. The efforts of the individual nations to achieve military supremacy or even adequacy are actually competitive and provocative in their effect. -- NORMAN COUSINS

Our whole social organism is riddled by the disease of militarism; and just as it seems that cancer can only be cured at the level of the organism as a whole, so we cannot hope to root out militarism without a similarly holistic therapy. -- RUDOLF BAHRO

You canít say that civilization donít advance, for in every war they kill you in a new way. -- WILL ROGERS

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. -- JOHN F. KENNEDY

I have known war as few men now living know it. Its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes. -- GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR

If Nuclear War Begins . . .

. . . there will be no hospitals, no doctors, nothing to eat, no government. This will be the peace, the complete peace of the graveyard. -- SHRI R. S. MISHRA, M.D.

Our Deepest Fear . . .

. . . is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. . . And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -- MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

The Only Way to Love a Person . . .

is not, as the stereotyped Christian notion is, to coddle them and bring them soup when they are sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet, in them. For doing this, you keep the god and poet alive and make it flourish. -- BRENDA EULAND

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RELAXATION

Stress Reduction

Mindfulness or meditation had been effectively used to reduce stress and improve health and well-being based on ten years of clinical experience with over four thousand people who had participated in the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program (Stress Clinic) of Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The participants were simply taught to practice moment to moment awareness or mindfulness where they purposefully stop all doing in their lives and allowing themselves to be in the moment with things exactly as they are, without trying to change anything. Mindfulness does not involve rejecting your thoughts or suppressing them, nor trying to control anything at all other than the focus and direction of their attention on breathing. Relaxation comes by itself with continued practice. By the end of the program, they have the following transformations:

The participants are handling the "the full catastrophe" of their lives, the entire range of life experience, including impending death in some cases, much more skillfully.

Source: Jon Kabat-Zinn. Full Catastrophe Living. Judy Piatkus Ltd. Of 5 Windmill St., London

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INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Six Ways to be a Better Communicator

  • Ask for feedback. Be specific with your requests so others too will be specific in their feedback. Donít be defensive when they give their feedback, whether you think they are right or not.
  • Look for feedback. Observe how others react verbally and nonverbally.
  • Tape-record your voice. This is a good way to check the pronunciation, speed, tone and vocal variation of your speech.
  • Record yourself on videotape. Youíll see mannerisms and hear speech patterns you never knew you had.
  • Look in a mirror. Look at your clothing, the way you carry your body, the expression of your face. Is this the body image you want to send?
  • Listen to yourself. Hear how you sound to other people. Try to weed out undesirable words and sounds.
  • Source: Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman, Smart Moves. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, Mass 01867, U.S.A.

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    MARITAL HARMONY

    How to Retain that Loving Feeling

    Each year, millions of couples join together in love, and then painfully separate because they have lost that loving feeling. Very few people are able to grow in love. Yet it does happen according to Dr. John Gray in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Itís when men and women are able to respect and accept their differences that love has a chance to blossom.

    Some of the major differences are:

    Difference in their sense of selves. In man, it is defined through his ability to achieve results while in woman, it is through her feelings and the quality of her relationships. With this understanding, we can correct the mistakes of men offering solutions and invalidating feelings while women offering unsolicited advice and direction.

    Difference in coping with stress. Martians tend to pull away and silently think about whatís bothering them, Venusians feel an instinctive need to talk about whatís bothering them.

    Motivation. Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.

    Men need to overcome their resistance to giving love while women must overcome their resistance to receiving it.

    Speak different languages. They have the same words but the way they were used gave different meanings. Women should not be judged for needing reassurance, just as a man should not be judged for needing to withdraw.

    Different needs for intimacy. In relationships, men pull back and then get close, while women rise and fall in their ability to love themselves and others.

    Kind of love given. Men and women give the kind of love they need and not what the opposite sex needs. Men primarily need a kind of love that is trusting, accepting, and appreciative, while women primarily need a kind of love that is caring, understanding and respectful.

    Keep scores differently. For Venusians every gift of love scores equally with every other gift, regardless of size. While men give point when he feels loved and appreciated.

    Source: John Gray, Ph. D. Men are from Mars women are from Venus. Thorsons, London 1993

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    PERSONAL GROWTH

    Surrender to Life

    It is in genuine surrender to life, when we transcend the need to always be sure of whatís going to happen in the future, that there is room for the extra-ordinary and miraculous to reveal itself, says Andrew Cohen. When we no longer seek for any security whatsoever from the future, everything would open up, everything would be possible. As we realize that everything is possible, the way we respond to life begins to break boundaries. All that was fixed is undone as that which was previously unthinkable becomes known. In the end, you will discover true happiness because you are not trying to hold on that you suffer so much.

    Source: Surrender to Life by Andrew Cohen. Personal Transformation, 4032 South Lamar Blvd. #500-137, Austin,
    Texas, 78704 U.S.A. August, 1997

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    PERSONAL GROWTH

    Learning from Conflict

    According to Dr. Jordan & Margaret Paul, there are two intentions in a conflict. Conflict between people is inevitable. We are not born from identical conditions and hence will always experience differences. How do we handle conflict and make it constructive is therefore a crucial question.

    We can gain insight on this through a distinction made by Jordan and Margaret Paul on the different intentions behind conflict

    Intention to Protect. When conflict occurs, people donít act out the love they feel but they usually act out their protections. These protections done through attempt to control, giving in, and becoming indifferent were used to cover up vulnerable feelings of hurt and fear. All these protective behaviors do not foster our own or otherís emotional and spiritual growth as they are unloving behaviors that diminish our self-esteem and leads to alienation and unhappiness.

    Intention to learn. When we are open to learning from conflict we want to understand ourselves and the other person. Rather than protect against our feelings, we feel our feelings so we can learn about the fears and beliefs that are creating our discomfort, we can then create meaningful changes in our life.

    Source: The Journey from Conflict to Love by Dr. Jordan & Margaret Paul. Lotus, Fall 1991 Vol. 1. No. 1

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    Do You Know That . . .

  • What Bill Gates earns in one day, will take an average Sri Lankan worker 1,260 years to earn.
  • What an average person in Norway would spend on his or her pet cat in a year, is more than the total income that an average African in a whole year.
  • According to the United Nations Development Report, 358 billionaires in the world earn more than 40% of the human race
  • The cost of production of one intercontinental ballistic missile is much more than what it would take for a country like Pakistan to eradicate all infant diseases that are controllable.
  • What the world spends on weapons in a day, about US$400 million, is many times more than the amount needed to get rid of all infant diseases worldwide.
  • These are some of the examples given by Dr. Chandra, founder of JUST in Malaysia, on the dis-equilibrium and iniquities in the world today, in his lecture before the Indo-Pacific Federation of the Theosophical Society.

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    INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP

    The Magic of Acceptance

    Acceptance, says John-Roger and Peter McWilliams in Life 101, has often been called the "first law of personal growth." It is seeing things the way they are.

    Acceptance is not approval, consent, permission, agreement, sympathy, support reinforcing, encouraging, promoting or even liking what is.

    Acceptance is saying, "It is what it is, and what is, is what is." Until we truly accept everything, we cannot see clearly.

    On the other hand acceptance is not a state of passivity or inaction. It is not saying that you cannot change the world, right wrongs or replace evil with good. Acceptance is, in fact, the first step to successful action.

    If you donít fully accept a situation precisely the way it is, you will have difficulty changing it. Moreover, if you donít fully accept the situation, you will never really know if the situation should be changed.

    When you accept, you relax; you let go; you become patient.

    Take a few moments and consider a situation you are not happy with Ė not your greatest burden in life, just a simple event about which you feel peeved. Now accept everything about the situation. Let it be the way it is. Because, after all, it is that way, is it not? Also if you accept it, you will feel better about it.

    After accepting it, and everything about it, you probably still wonít like it, but you may stop hating and fearing it. At worst, you will hate it or fear it a little less.

    Thatís the true value of acceptance: you feel better about life, and about yourself.

    Source: John-Roger and Peter McWilliams. Life 101. Prelude Press, 8165 Mannix Drive, Los Angeles, California 90046, U.S.A

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    Prepared by:
    Peace Center
    Theosophical Society in the Philippines
    tspeace@info.com.ph