The Law of Attraction

People take up meditation for many different reasons. Some people just want to benefit from the health and wellbeing aspects of regular meditation, and these are considerable.

Some people want to enjoy the sense of calm, peace and tranquillity that meditation brings to hectic lives. This too is an important reason for meditating.

But many people go beyond the health reasons, because they want to explore and experience the spiritual aspects. For thousands of years, different cultures believe that using mindfulness and meditation can help them tap into cosmic and universal energy.

I thought it might be nice to reflect on the spiritual aspects of meditation, which for some people is the principal reason why they meditate regularly. I guess a word of caution is needed here though. For some, the idea of cosmic energy that we can all use makes perfect sense, but for others, it is nothing more than fictitious garbage!

You decide.

The Law of Attraction

Whenever the subject of ‘cosmic energy’ comes up, inevitably the concept of ‘law of attraction’ appears too. In basic terms, the law of attraction states that our thoughts and beliefs send certain ‘vibrations’ out into the cosmos. In turn, the universe responds by giving us a kind of customised experience that directly validates those thoughts and beliefs.

For example, if you have the belief that “you won’t get that promotion” or that “you will always struggle for money” then, according to the law of attraction, you will not get the promotion and, yes, you will always struggle for money.

You see, the universal forces that govern our planets and our lives do not discern between what we want and what we need. Those forces simply give us what we send out. If we send out negative thoughts and beliefs, then we will get negative stuff back.

What we resist persists and what we believe gets conceived.

Interesting concept!

Spiritual gurus, Noel Edmonds and a Bishop

According to those who believe in the law of attraction, what we need to do is meditate. Negative emotions carry low frequency vibrations but when we meditate, the way is cleared for higher resonating states of energy, which are associated with gratitude, joy and happiness.

It is well-known that meditation changes energy frequencies in the brain, and it is believed that during this transformation ‘refreshed signals’ are sent into the cosmos.

The idea of tapping into cosmic energy received a lot of media attention a few years ago. Noel Edmonds, who hosted many BBC programmes during the 1980s and 90s, felt that his career had come to an end when the BBC axed his regular show. He read a book about cosmic ordering and immediately started to explore the subject in more detail.

Edmonds ‘sent’ some orders into the cosmos and, would you believe it, soon afterwards he got a new show on television, which incidentally was a massive success.

In 2006, a newspaper feature appeared in the British press about Edmonds and how he credited his new show to cosmic ordering. Many celebrities came forward to say they too had used cosmic ordering to enhance their careers. However, not everyone agreed with the concept. The Bishop of Saint David’s, the Right Reverend Carl Cooper, described the notion as ‘nonsense’. He said: “It may be laudable to set goals in life, but we don’t need to dress this up in spiritual language. Intercessory prayer is part of our Christian tradition, however, it is not a divine room service, nor is it a heavenly shopping trolley.”

Oh dear, the Bishop doesn’t appear to agree with Noel!

Deal

The history and the science

It is believed that the law of attraction was first taught by Buddha, sometime around 500 years before the common era. Other religions and customs talk about similar concepts, such as karma and ‘you reap what you sow’. Shakespeare and Beethoven have been quoted as those who believed in the idea of universal energy and over 5.8 million people have ‘liked’ pages on Facebook that discuss the law of attraction.

I turned to science to see if there was any tangible evidence for the law of attraction. Interestingly, researchers who have used brain imaging technology have discovered ‘mirror neurons’. When we observe someone doing something, the pattern of brain activation that allows the person to do the thing, for example, lifting an arm, is mirrored in the brain of the observer. It is as though the observer was doing the same thing. Our brains appear to mirror the actions of those we interact with.

Amazing stuff! But, the really interesting bit about the research I read was in relation to ‘mindful intention’. Researchers found that the brain regions involved in ‘intention’ is closely related to regions involved in ‘action’. The report concluded: “What we think and feel affects how we will act and how others will act as well. The depth of our feelings and actions is a critical variable in ‘attracting’ what we want to our lives.”

So, there is some science that confirms the idea that ‘sending out positive thoughts yields positive action from others’. Perhaps, if we send out thoughts about the things we want in life, other people can pick up on those thoughts and, before long, those thoughts start circulating around the universe.

Regular meditation has been proven to change energy frequencies in the brain. Perhaps, when we meditate, our unconscious energy levels change and this opens the pathway for our positive thoughts and desires to be sent outwards.

Maybe Noel Edmonds was right after all.

As a trained psychologist, I like to keep an open mind on things. However, I will say this. I provide Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to many clients around the world, and the fundamental aspect of CBT is that ‘we bring about change in our behaviour when we change our thought process’. CBT is based on sound psychological principles, so perhaps there is something ‘spiritual’ there too. Who knows?

Do you have any thoughts on cosmic ordering and the universal energy that is available to all?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you suffering from PTSD?

When people see the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), many associate this with the armed forces or war veterans. PTSD was indeed first recognised in soldiers returning from war, but today the condition can be diagnosed in anyone who has experienced trauma.

When someone experiences a traumatic event in their lives, such as a sudden death in the family, or while witnessing a serious accident, they will often feel numb or they may find disruption to their sleep patterns. These symptoms are usually referred to as ‘acute stress reaction’. Most people will find these symptoms disappear after several weeks. However, when symptoms last longer than a month, PTSD could be the problem.

GPs often categorise PTSD as mild, moderate or severe, depending on the symptoms and how they are impacting a person’s life. Regardless of the category of PTSD, it is important to recognise when someone is suffering from the condition, so that they can seek help.

It is really important to remember that any traumatic event can cause PTSD. Different people will react differently when faced with trauma in their lives. Some people have very high thresholds while others will experience symptoms soon after the event.

Typical events that trigger PTSD

Traumatic events in life are unfortunately all too common. The sudden death of a family member or a close friend can be extremely disturbing. However, so too can other events that come along. A car accident for example can sometimes bring on delayed reactions, called delayed-onset PTSD. Witnessing a serious accident or a crime can also be a trigger.

One of my recent clients worked for a construction company. He was at work one day, working at height with a colleague on a scaffold. His colleague reached over the handrail, which failed, and he fell 40ft to the ground. My client rushed down to help his chum, who had suffered serious head injuries. My client came to see me four months after the accident because he was experiencing flashbacks and nightmares. He definitely had PTSD.

Witnessing a crime can also be traumatic for many people. In fact, it doesn’t necessarily have to be witnessed to become a problem. Many people who have their property broken into and personal items stolen suffer PTSD symptoms. Fear of living in the property or, in very serious cases, fear of going outside are often experienced by victims of crime.

Common symptoms

One of the most common symptoms of PTSD is when someone relives aspects of the event. Flashbacks and the feeling that the event is happening again can be very disturbing. Nausea and trembling while recalling the event are important signs that something is wrong.

Feeling on edge is another symptom that should not be ignored, especially when there are feelings of panic when reminded of the event. Hypervigilence is common too, which is often described as a ‘constant state of alertness’. This is often accompanied by being jumpy or easily startled.

Another serious symptom that can follow traumatic events is the feeling of being unsafe. Many people think they can’t trust anyone anymore, while others feel that the world has become unsafe or unhealthy. Blaming themselves for what happened is another very common symptom, which, if left untreated, can be very harmful.

Complex PTSD

If someone experiences PTSD symptoms while also suffering from associated issues, such as anxiety, depression or self-harm, their condition may be classed as ‘complex’. Although not a definitive list, complex PTSD can be caused by; ongoing domestic violence or abuse, childhood abuse, being a prisoner of war, repeatedly witnessing trauma or violence, neglect or abandonment.

People who suffer trauma at an early age can sometimes experience complex PTSD in later life, particularly if the trauma lasted over a long period of time or if the child was harmed by someone close to them.

Complex PTSD needs careful and planned treatment and therapy, possibly for many months and even years.

Therapies for PTSD

Trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) is a very important treatment for PTSD. Adapted from CBT, this type of therapy was developed 25 years ago to help children recover from early trauma. Essentially, the technique aims to help those who have suffered from trauma to learn to recognise their symptoms and to learn coping strategies.

There are three distinct phases of treatment with TF-CBT. The first phase, known as stabilisation, involves teaching the client about trauma; what it is and how it affects us. Relaxation techniques is an important part of this phase too.

The second phase is to recreate the trauma, through a trauma narrative. This is done while allowing the client to explore their feelings and emotions during the recreation. Many think this is a negative thing but recalling the event while thinking about emotions can be extremely positive. Talking through the event is a really powerful way to help a person.

Finally, phase three consolidates the lessons learned from the first two phases, while continuing to build coping skills.

A short questionnaire to help diagnose PTSD

Proper diagnosis of PTSD can only be carried out by a trained and experienced therapist or doctor. However, there is a useful set of questions to help assess whether PTSD might be an issue.

Take the simple test to find out if you are suffering from the symptoms of PTSD.

I would love to hear if anyone has tried trauma-focussed CBT as a therapy.