Research and Background

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Research

1. Researching what works for you.

Do you suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, PTSD, sleep difficulties, self-harming behaviours, or other limiting life challenges?

Are you looking for an alternative to anti depressants, anti psychotics, sleeping tablets and other chemical based medicines that are also mood altering substances?

Are you looking for something that is effective and quicker than months of counselling, psychology or psychiatry appointments and without the trauma of re-living a painful experience?

If so, there are whole gamut of other alternative and complimentary approaches that may help you in your journey towards wholeness, balance and health.  From British herbal medicines, Chinese Acupuncture and herbs, Homeopathy, Reflexology, Bowen Technique and Aromatherapy to Healing, Shiatsu and Chiropractic - there is a bewildering array of treatments out there.  

How do you know what is right for you?  How do you know if it will work?

People look for evidence of efficacy for these approaches and so they should. In our search for health and wellbeing we often ignore or discount methods that didn’t work for our friends, or try things that did work for them and then find they don’t work for us.  Why is that?

At Amazing Lyfe we believe that everything in the universe is made of energy vibrating at different frequencies; that we and everything else exists on a spectrum that includes light, colour, sound, matter, liquids, gases etc. 

We believe that illness, or disease is an imbalance in our energy system. There are many ways that we can lose our balance; we might have a block in the flow of energy caused by a long term emotional pattern that is no longer appropriate for us; we may have become out of harmony as a result of an accident, via an abusive relationship, because of a lack of appropriate nutrition, or through simply living in a way that makes us unhappy, say for example stuck in a job or relationship that doesn’t allow us to be fully ourselves. There are countless things that can bring us to a state of ‘dis-ease’.

Because we all vibrate at slightly different frequencies we all may need different treatments that are in harmony with our own personal energy system. That’s why my GP couldn’t sort out my kidney problems, but a Chinese acupuncture and herbal treatment could.  ONE SIZE DOESN’T fit all!

In addition to this many approaches just treat the symptoms and don’t look for and treat the cause of dis-ease. Going straight for the cause, instead of the symptoms and working holistically with all levels of our being; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual means that we can create TRUE WELLBEING!

This is a challenge in our modern era of stress, speed, toxins in the environment and everything else. But that has always been true! Never have we known more about health and wellbeing than we do now. If you take a look around and try a few things you will find the approach that best suits your situation at this time. Trust your intuition, your inner guidance and give things a try.

 

2. Research behind the work that we do.

Below is a link to an article about the therapeutic value of drumming, particularly in groups. As part of our PHEW groups and SoundMindYoga events we use group drumming and drumming for groups a lot. This is a powerful way to create inner harmony, community and enhanced wellbeing. Not sure? Read the article below.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/21/drums-aren-t-just-for-music-they-re-therapy-too.html?via=mobile&source=email

At the heart of Amazing Lyfe Projects and Deeper Lyfe Workshops, is the delivery and evaluation of practices that enhance Wellbeing. All Amazing Lyfe work centres around the benefits of MEDITATION or MINDFULNESS and using tools that engage with consciousness and its various states of awareness to enhance wellbeing. The state of meditation (mindfulness is a type of meditation) consists of the following:

Progressive muscle relaxation
A reduction in logical processing, i.e. cognitive processes (thoughts etc.)
Attention on an anchor to focus the mind

Meditation has been shown to have many measurable health and wellbeing outcomes.

Why do we need to work on enhancing wellbeing?

Well, we have high standard of material comfort in the Western World, and yet our level of wellbeing has hit an all time low. Research has shown that once we reach financial security, i.e. that we can pay our bills without struggle, we reach a certain plateau of psychological wellbeing, which is not enhanced by further material gain.This has resulted in a situation where although our economic wealth has doubled in the last 50 years, yet our sense of wellbeing has actually dropped.

Why is this?

Perhaps it is because our society is structured around economic growth and the attainment of 'things' that we are told will make us happy. From a new car to a holiday, a skinny/muscled/large breasted/youthful/tanned body with perfect teeth to the latest flat screen telly, we are bombarded with messages telling us that we are not good enough the way we are, that our lives are lacking all this 'stuff', and that it will bring us contentment. In advertisements we are shown other people apparently having beautiful, happy, care free lives, which are an illusion we seem to buy into in our millions. In our attempt to feel better about ourselves we attempt to gain more stuff, and find ourselves working longer hours with less free time to get things that never satisfy the cravings that arise in us. In the process we seem to have lost our connection to what really brings a deep sense of wellbeing.

We have been taught to fear death and try to avoid it at all costs, and to instead try to live to an age where we lose the ability to have a meaningful life and can barely afford to survive, instead of accepting that our bodies are finite and it is natural and not a tragedy to die. Add to this the derogatory way we view our elders, instead of revering them for their wisdom and no wonder we feel unfulfilled in the present and insecure about the future. We have lost all sense of connection to the natural cycles of life and death, of change and flow. In addition to all of this, we live every day knowing we face global challenges such as running out of oil, climate change, the Credit Crunch, apparent high crime rates and terrorism. We are being continuously told that these are scary, threatening situations. In fact, the media hypes up the fear around these events until people feel insecure and powerless.

So how does WELLBEING RESEARCH relate to what is happening in these troubled times and why is it valuable?

Well, for a start we fail to see the opportunities that these challenges present and the possible brighter futures than could be created as a result of them. Many new groups and centres are arising to meet these challenges, such as the Transition Town Movement , The New Economics Foundation, the Centre for Wellbeing and Confidence , and the work that is being done around the world in response to these challenges is reported in places like Positive News, Resurgence and Living Lightly Magazine, which show us ways to rise to meet these challenges head on, and with an attitude of openness and response- ability.

Any of these places, and many others mentioned on this site, offer practical ways to empower us and improve our sense of wellbeing in these challenging times. They offer practical and physical responses, as well as psychological and spiritual ones. In order to provide the best possible support to those wishing to improve their wellbeing in ways which are out of the scope of our research, resources to empower people to act are offered on this website to all participants of Amazing Lyfe Projects and Deeper Lyfe workshops, as well as those in the Yoga and Chanting classes. Discovering ways to create meaningful action has been shown to increase wellbeing. Meaning and purpose are known to be essential in creating an experience of a life well lived.

However, here at Amazing Lyfe we are mainly concerned with research into psychological and transpersonal responses to enhance wellbeing. This means that we focus on the mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual aspects of living, providing tools to create positive change and transformation and evaluating them on a regular basis. This is based on the premise that before we can create a world we would choose to live in, we must first become the change we wish to see.

The curriculum and particular sets of tools used in the Projects and Workshops were brought together and evaluated as a piece of research for a Masters degree by Hara Willow. The AML was established as a project in a local school, which introduced pupils to ideas and practices associated with transpersonal psychology. Hara brought a variety of approaches – meditations, visualisations, discussions (on subjects such as emotional wellbeing, and spiritual intelligence) – to the group, and monitored the teenager’s progress.

The tools taught by Amazing Lyfe focus particularly on contemplative practices and emotional awareness and regulation. There is already much evidence to show the positive effects of contemplative practices; positive psychology skills and emotional intelligence techniques upon wellbeing and self-representation in adults. For the development of the Amazing Lyfe Project it was hypothesised that using these methods on a regular basis within a school environment, would support adolescents in creating a more positive and healthy self-concept, as well as increasing their life skills such as emotional awareness and regulation, thus improving the participants’ wellbeing. In addition to this the practices that are taught are intended manifest and elicit values and qualities such as compassion, authenticity, creativity and integrity in those students who fully engage with the programme.

The research involved not only development of the intervention strategy but also assessment of the pupils’ progress on a variety of psychometric and qualitative measures. Parents’ and teachers’ assessments of pupils’ progress were also researched. All measures showed that the interventions were highly effective in improving pupils’ sense of wellbeing and their scholastic performance. The study was notable not only for the quality of the resulting thesis (awarded adistinction) but also for the potential it carries for bringing applications oftranspersonal psychology for youth and society at large.

TThe project ran for three years and the results were excellent. For more information on research undertaken, as well as quantitative and qualitative measures used to evaluate the project, please contact us or download a copy of the thesis below :

THESIS

Only when we find peace, justice, harmony and compassion in ourselves can we hope to create it in the world. Hopefully, once these values and attitudes have begun to take root and blossom in our young people, a potential outcome of using the skills and practices will be a desire to take practical action in the world in order to help meet the challenges that face us today. Thus the value of this research is thus to be found not only increased wellbeing in its' participants, but in assessing whether offering life skills and tools, values based education and creative thinking and self-expression will provide us with a generation capable of creating a sustainable and healthy future for our planet.

Could You Spare a few minutes To Help our research on The Deeper Lyfe Workshops? If you are a Deeper Lyfe participant you can bring us more data!

While much research exists on the use of these techniques with adults , we would like to conduct our own research into the effectiveness of Deeper Lyfe Workshops. Data will be analysed by an independent analyst in order to avoid bias in the study. To contribute please click below for psychometric scales. We promise it won't take more than a few minutes.

 

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Project

WHAT IS THE AMAZING LYFE PROJECT?

An Education programme for schools.

The main vision for AML is to promote wellbeing, confidence, a strong sense of community, meaning and purpose and the empowerment of our youth, in order to help our young people create positive action and outcomes for themselves and our world.

The Amazing Lyfe project (AML) is a new and unique type of education. It compliments traditional education by using a more holistic approach to the students - offering children and young people a chance to learn about their mind and emotions in a new way and to have experiences that offer positive, fruitful and healthy ways of dealing with the pressures of modern life. The AML provides a safe space within the school day for experiencing deeper connection to self, others and the environment - It promotes a deeper, more conscious connection to the planet and all of Life, whilst supporting and encouraging students to find within themselves a sense of personal value and meaning.

The Project is a transpersonal education programme designed to support healthy psychological development, to provide skills and tools for life, and to encourage the cultivation of higher values and attitudes. It utilises a holistic education curriculum developed from a combination of approaches, including Psychosynthesis practices, Meditation and Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Techniques, Yoga and Logotherapy, and has been delivered to over 60 12 to 16 year olds over three years within a secondary school environment.

Skills and techniques are taught on a weekly basis from a transpersonal education curriculum created especially for this project and meditation techniques are to be practiced daily – either at home or at school, or both. The course is intended to run throughout the school year. Students are supported in working together to support each other in their personal journeys and in creating a strong sense of community that benefits the whole school.

Participants have the opportunity to learn to master their three inner guidance systems - the Emotions/feelings, the Mind/intellect, and Intuition in the following ways;

Emotional awareness, acceptance, regulation and management
Ways to relax and deal with stress and increase resilience
How to develop Self-awareness whilst building self-confidence and self-esteem
To separate feelings from behaviour, to take personal responsibility for their choices and actions
The Heartprint Effect – how we touch others with our lives – the difference we can make Karma – that all actions have a consequence and we can choose what consequences we wish to create, bearing in mind how they affect ourselves, others and the environment Problem solving skills, lateral thinking, thinking outside the box

Meta-Values (Maslow) - higher values/attitudes promoted and cultivated include:

Awe and wonder
Appreciation and gratitude
Loving kindness
Empathy and compassion for self and others
Acceptance of self/others/life changes etc.
Non-judgment
Beauty, authenticity, creativity and integrity

Techniques & exercises used include:

Meditation, chanting, focussing and Mindfulness exercises
Visualisation, positive thinking, cognitive restructuring
Role playing
Psychosynthesis practices
Emotional Awareness game
Feedback sessions and group discussions on themes

If you would like to have an Amazing Lyfe Project run in your school please contact Hara via email: hara@amazinglyfe.org

"Personal Transformation is the on-going process of becoming fully oneself and sharing that with others. Through it, one knows and experiences connectedness and unity with all that is" - Dorothy speaking for all of us who wish to grow, cited in Braud and Anderson 1998 p127

According to the Wisdom traditions from across the ages and around the world an amazing life comes about through self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is gained when we connect deeply to our own inner experience. This experience consists of feelings & emotions; thoughts, concepts, ideas, beliefs; and a sense of knowing or intuition, - these may be called inner guidance systems. The Amazing Lyfe Project is concerned with enhancing participants' knowledge and understanding of the three inner guidance systems, or elements of consciousness that we call Mind, Emotion and Intuition. Our experiences arise from the interplay of these elements. When we are deeply in touch with and have achieved a balanced synthesis of these elements, we are living more consciously, and with greater self-awareness. This increases our ability to live fully and peacefully and cope with the inevitable stresses and challenges that life throws at us.

The aim of Amazing Lyfe is to IMPROVE WELLBEING BY PROVIDING EXPERIENCES AND LEARNING THAT WILL CHANGE THE WAY PARTICIPANTS THINK AND FEEL ABOUT THEMSELVES, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO SELF, OTHERS AND THE WORLD, through SELF KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE to be achieved via the tools of meditation, emotional awareness, reflection and other consciousness technologies.

Our culture tends to over value the intellectual aspects of mind, deny, resist or trivialise the emotions and ignore intuition. This results in an unbalanced life, often leaving us wondering why we strive and fail to feel fulfilled etc.

The Amazing Lyfe project is a new and unique approach to tried and tested methods of education. It compliments traditional education by offering children and young people a chance to learn about their mind, emotions and intuitive knowing in a new way, and to have experiences that offer positive, fruitful and healthy ways of dealing with the pressures of modern life. The AML also provides a safe space within the school day for experiencing deeper connection to self, others and the environment.

The Amazing Lyfe Project utilises a holistic education curriculum developed using a combination of approaches, including psychosynthesis practices, meditation and mindfulness, cognitive behavioural techniques, yoga and logotherapy. The Project uses methods that combine Eastern and Western Scientific and Metaphysical views of consciousness and wellbeing.

The programme is designed to bring out and support the development of the unique, individual nature of each participant by being flexible and responding to their stated goals and needs. It imparts values and offers tools and skills for the students to apply to every day situations that come up in their lives, so that they learn how to use this new knowledge effectively.

As for personal transformation and reaching our potential, I offer the words of Dr Joan E Howell, who describes so eloquently our ability to choose in this case whether or not to create an Amazing Lyfe....

"It finally resolves into a question of whether we have the will to believe, the willingness to accept, and the determination to execute, or whether we are content to remain hypnotised by race suggestion"

WHY IS THIS TYPE OF INTERVENTION SO IMPORTANT? It is estimated that each year 19,000 children attempt suicide* The Amazing Lyfe Project is a unique learning experience run in schools to equip children with the tools required for emotional wellbeing, strength and resilience for the rest of their lives. 30% of the UK workforce suffer mental health problems** Deeper Lyfe Workshops are run on a regular basis for adults wishing to develop a more positive attitudes towards themselves, others and the environment. Deeper Lyfe offers empowering tools that will enable you to deeply transform your life experience and improve your overall wellbeing.

*Source http://www.bullyonline.org/stress/selfharm.htm / 19.01.09 / based on research by The Depression Alliance Charity UK

** Source http://www.bullyonline.org/stress/selfharm.htm / 19.01.09 / UK

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WISDOM for KIDS

This should be posted in every school

Bill Gates - Love him or hate him , he sure hits the nail on the head with this! Bill recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept sets them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1 :
Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 :
The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 :
You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 :
If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss

Rule 5 :
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6 :
If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault , so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 :
Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 :
Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 :
Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 :
Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 :
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.


If you agree, pass it on.
If you don't agree stick your head in the sand and take a deep breath!
If you can read this
Thank a teacher!

“What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.”

Abraham Maslow

“Inside of every living thing is an inner drive, a Divine impulse, to completely and wondrously self-express.
That is, to be what it is, totally.”

Neale Donald Walsh

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Meaning of Lyfe

The Amazing Lyfe project is rooted in the ethos represented by the LYFE symbol. The meaning of this is shown below:

Lotus - Opening to the present moment in trust and awareness
The lotus is a symbol of creation and rebirth, enlightenment, purity and goodness. Its roots spread deeply into the earth and its petals open in the air to absorb the fire of the sun's radiant energy. It closes and sinks into the water as the sky darkens into night. It therefore lives and grows in harmony and cooperation with all four elements.

Yin Yang - Staying centred and balanced in harmony
The yin yang symbol comes from China and represents the duality of the universe, whilst containing it within a circle, which represents unity and wholeness. The yin yang is important in the Amazing Lyfe Project as it reminds us that everything is balanced by its equal and opposite principle, e.g. day is balanced with night, light with shadow, male with female. It is important to remember, as part of emotional awareness, that life is full of sorrows as well as joys, losses as well as gains, beauty as well as ugliness. If we remember this principle it is easier to cope with the difficulties and challenges of life. We have no idea what is around the next corner - but we can be sure that the natural balancing acts of the universe will always bring change. Nothing lasts forever.

Flow, flame & water - Being in the flow of life
There are many types of flow that are important to AML participants. Learning to go with the flow instead of avoiding or clinging to people, events, situations and relationships is a very useful tool to reduce suffering in life. Going with the flow implies trust - in the processes of life, such as adolescence, aging, learning and other changes that are part of our eperience. It also implies developing a sense of trust in the universe - in the basic goodness of Life. To develop a sense of trust, faith and openness to life brings with it many psychological benefits. Science has actually proven that those with a strong faith - in anything - are happier and healthier than those who don't.

Another significant type of flow to AML is what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of human development, describes as

"being involved in something to the point of losing track of time and of being unaware of fatigue and of everything else but the activity itself... This flow experience is relatively rare in everyday life, but almost everything - play and work, study and religious ritual - is able to produce it, provided the conditions are conducive to deep concentration".

This FLOW is very beneficial to health and wellbeing and is encouraged and supported by activities in the AML every day. We can all achieve this state of mind during meditation. We can also experience it when losing ourselves in our favorite hobby -painting, skating, yoga, free-running.

Energy - Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual

All of our energy systems must be working in harmony with each other if we are to reach our highest level of wellbeing and fulfil our potential.

This means becoming physically fit, eating well, taking exercise. Becoming emotionally healthy, aware and literate. Learning to maximise our ability to concentrate, focus and keep learning all through life. Finally, spiritual energy is our birthright. It is who we are. It is at our core and manifests itself in our lives, whether we believe in it or not. It is the source of love, compassion and forgiveness. It is the truth and essence of all life on earth. If we bring all the first three systems into alignment and harmony our spiritual energy will radiate through us and into our lives, touching everyone we meet and informing everything we do.

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AMAZING LYFE ~ HEALING, GROWTH and TRANSFORMATION

The aims of Amazing Lyfe are several, but focus mainly on healing, growth and transformation. We humans are living in ways that are out of balance with ourselves and with nature and according to Eckhart Tolle this has left us crazy and unskilful at living. Makes sense to me…. We are certainly poisoning our bodies, minds and the earth with rubbish. This seems to me both crazy and unskilful. So what is the answer?

Many years ago the wonderful Swiss Doctor Elizabeth Kubler Ross M.D. taught me that we need balance and harmony between the four quadrants of our being. We need to attend to the needs of these four aspects of ourselves equally otherwise we will get sick. She was right. We do and we are. Levels of depression, cancer, AIDS, STDs, suicide, war and other signs of imbalance are increasing every year, along with poverty and the rich - poor gap.

 

Amazing Lyfe Retreats were created to support the rebalancing of these four aspects of ourselves for the purpose of healing, growth and transformation. The Sun/Moon camp environment, food, fresh air and exercise address the Physical level of our being;

Acceptance, support, love, connection, empathy, compassion and fun address the emotional needs; The mental aspect is enhanced with relaxation, sharing, teaching, learning and the development of wisdom from inner work; And the spiritual aspect is addressed by focussing on personal meaning, purpose, connection to the divine (or inner world) and the expression of the authentic deep self, as well as by silence, peace, stillness and time to let the distractions of the outside world drop away.

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