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HEALING THROUGH UNITY NEWSLETTER
January/February 2007

A bimonthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 11, Issue No. 1, Happiness and Health
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Contents
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- Quotes of the month
- From the Editor
- A Science of Happiness
- How to Feel Happier Now
- A Daily Reminders List
- Once Again, It's all How You Look at It
- Links for further information
- You Can Say That Again
- Kindness Can Make You Happy
- Personal Happiness Map
- Humor: Symptoms of Inner Peace
- Book Review
- Health in the News
- Letters
- Frappr! Map
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Subscription Information
- Web Site

UPCOMING THEMES
March: Fasting
April: Humor
June: Success and Health

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QUOTES OF THE MONTH
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"They have not properly understood that man's supreme honor and real happiness lie in self-respect, in high resolves and noble purposes, in integrity and moral quality, in immaculacy of mind. They have, rather, imagined that their greatness consists in the accumulation, by whatever means may offer, of worldly goods.
" ('Abdu'l-Baha, "Secret of Divine Civilization," p. 19)

"The happiness and greatness, the rank and station, the pleasure and peace, of an individual have never consisted in his personal wealth, but rather in his excellent character, his high resolve, the breadth of his learning, and his ability to solve difficult problems."
('Abdu'l-Baha, "Secret of Divine Civilization," p. 23-4)

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FROM THE EDITOR
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Dear Readers,

There is just SO much great stuff out there in this day! We have information overload, if we are of the generation raised to think that given time and diligence, a single person could learn everything there was to know -- and even make use of it.

Every day I find new things I want to share. Some days I think there really is no need for me to even be involved, because the Internet connects us to a banquet of information and, potentially, each other.

Then I remember that not only are we not all connected to the Information Highway, but also even those who are can be just as overwhelmed as I am. Because I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, (where the Internet was born, by the way) it is easy to forget that most people in the world are not online, or even able to access a print library regularly.

If access to information is power, and personal empowerment is key in healing and maintaining health [see HTU Nov 2006: http://www.healingthroughunity.org/newsletter__november_2006.html ], the problem is how to provide that access to as many people as possible.

What Healing Through Unity newsletter can do is select topics of interest (based upon reader input), research and suggest some resources, collect some juicy links, and present them as intriguing starters for further investigation.

Our readers around the globe then become vital local distribution points for others without as much access to the world and what is happening in it. The insights and information our readers glean when following those links (and the links within those) broaden and enrich the topic in ways that a simple newsletter could never do.

This sharing is what healing is about. It is what life is about. I am so lucky to be a part of it!

Cheryll Schuette, Michigan, USA

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THE SCIENTIFIC PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
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The growing field of positive psychology is the area of specialization of Martin Seligman, one of its founders, who at 54 was elected president of the American Psychological Association. Renowned for his hard science -- most of his research had been in depression -- he decided to put his considerable talents into finding out "what made life worth living."

Seligman's book, "Authentic Happiness," published in 2002, lays out the field's fundamental principles and has been translated into nearly 20 languages. An annual positive-psychology summit in Washington attracts hundreds of academics working in the field or interested in doing so.

Excerpts from "Authentic Happiness:

* The various building blocks of positive psychology are optimism, gratitude, mindfulness, hope, and spirituality.

* Positive psychology brings the same attention to positive emotions (happiness, pleasure, well-being) that clinical psychology has always paid to the negative ones (depression, anger, resentment). Psychoanalysis once promised to turn acute human misery into ordinary suffering; positive psychology promises to take mild human pleasure and turn it into a profound state of well-being.

* "Under certain circumstances, people ... start to wonder what's the best thing life can offer," says Seligman, who heads the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

* Positive psychology is not only about maximizing personal happiness but also about embracing civic engagement and spiritual connectedness, hope and charity.

These foci are familiar to followers of the Baha'i Faith, whose Prophet Founder, Baha'u'llah, proclaimed that humanity was all one family and the whole earth one common fatherland. His Son, 'Abdu'l-Baha Abbas, explained the process of civilization in this way:

"The primary purpose, the basic objective, in laying down powerful laws and setting up great principles and institutions dealing with every aspect of civilization, is human happiness; and human happiness consists only in drawing closer to the Threshold of Almighty God, and in securing the peace and well-being of every individual member, high and low alike, of the human race; and the supreme agencies for accomplishing these two objectives are the excellent qualities with which humanity has been endowed.

"A superficial culture," He continues, "unsupported by a cultivated morality, is as "a confused medley of dreams,"[1] and external lustre without inner perfection is "like a vapor in the desert which the thirsty dreameth to be water."[2] For results which would win the good pleasure of God and secure the peace and well-being of man, could never be fully achieved in a merely external civilization. [1 Qur'an 12:44; 21:5.] [2 Qur'an 24:39.]"

('Abdu'l-Baha, "Secret of Divine Civilization," p. 60-1)

Beyond the individual's health and happiness is that of a greater humanity: "The body of the human world is sick. Its remedy and healing will be the oneness of the kingdom of humanity. Its life is the Most Great Peace. Its illumination and quickening is love. Its happiness is the attainment of spiritual perfections."

('Abdu'l-Baha, "Promulgation of Universal Peace," p. 19)

The Writings of the Baha'i Faith repeatedly emphasize that the role religion is critical, not only as the quickest way to personal happiness, but also as it is the only way to world peace:

"Religion is the light of the world, and the progress, achievement, and happiness of man result from obedience to the laws set down in the holy Books. Briefly, it is demonstrable that in this life, both outwardly and inwardly the mightiest of structures, the most solidly established, the most enduring, standing guard over the world, assuring both the spiritual and the material perfections of mankind, and protecting the happiness and the civilization of society -- is religion.

"It is true that there are foolish individuals who have never properly examined the fundamentals of the Divine religions, who have taken as their criterion the behavior of a few religious hypocrites and measured all religious persons by that yardstick, and have on this account concluded that religions are an obstacle to progress, a divisive factor and a cause of malevolence and enmity among peoples.

"They have not even observed this much, that the principles of the Divine religions can hardly be evaluated by the acts of those who only claim to follow them. For every excellent thing, peerless though it may be, can still be diverted to the wrong ends. A lighted lamp in the hands of an ignorant child or of the blind will not dispel the surrounding darkness nor light up the house -- it will set both the bearer and the house on fire.

"Can we, in such an instance, blame the lamp?"

('Abdu'l-Baha, "Secret of Divine Civilization," p. 71-2)
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"Storybook happiness involves every form of thumb-twiddling; true happiness involves the full use of one's powers and talents." (John W. Gardner, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_w_gardner.html )

"Happy are those who spend their days in gaining knowledge, in discovering the secrets of nature, and in penetrating the subtleties of pure truth! Woe to those who are contented with ignorance, whose hearts are gladdened by thoughtless imitation, who have fallen into the lowest depths of ignorance and foolishness, and who have wasted their lives!"
('Abdu'l-Baha, "Some Answered Questions," p. 35)

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HOW TO FEEL HAPPIER NOW
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There must be money in selling treasure maps, because there are a plethora of advisors and advice, books, systems, classes, products to buy, leaders to elect or depose, diets to espouse, and even pills or plastic surgery that promise happiness. So many does argue that failure to achieve lasting happiness -- especially by extreme means -- may be a common experience.

However, scientists have begun to add their observations to the body of information built up by merchandisers, philosophers and theologians, and some very interesting areas of agreement have emerged.

It has been observed and recorded, for instance, that happy people have some attitudes and behaviors in common, even if the reasons offered by various authoritative sources (choose your favorite) can differ dramatically. The use of scientific and systematic research is proving very useful in winnowing facts from wishful thinking, and the exploration is ongoing.

Meanwhile, here is a list of common refrains in self-help books, magazine articles, psychology journals, television evangelists, philosophy and religion. [This list is by no means extensive or exhaustive, nor is it an any particular order of importance. It is meant only as a starting point for discussion.]

Take care of yourself. Good health isn't a gift; it is a habit that can be cultivated. Take care of diet, exercise, emotional and spiritual nutrition daily, and do it before trying to take care of everyone else. Remember to put in a few minutes every day on something that brings genuine pleasure.

Epicurus: "We shall seek temperance and a simple life, real wealth and freedom consists in a minimum of needs." Furthermore, Epicurus suggests that... "We shall avoid pain always, and seek for pleasure. But of pleasures there are two kinds: For the first, and false pleasures, we must pay too high a price: The sacrifice of our physical health and peace of mind. And without our health and peace of mind we are unable to enjoy any pleasures. The second kind of pleasures is our eternal companions, the right kind of pleasures. These noble pleasures are the enjoyments of all beautiful things in nature: The mountains, the forests, the oceans, the colors of the sunrise and sunset...All that is beautiful in man's creation: great books, great music, great works of art, friendship and love... The wise man shall have as his program of living, the gradual replacement of the false pleasures with our eternal companions, the noble pleasures of life."

Stop, look and listen. Practice mindfulness. Savor the world around you, paying close attention to all the sensory information. Stay connected to the natural world; it will feed the soul. Avoid trying to multitask: do one thing at a time and give it full attention.

Concentrate on the positive. Limit negative influences. Television news, for instance, accentuates the bad in the world and mostly ignores the good. What you pay attention to will thrive.

Set goals. Invest in your future, so that there is always something to look forward to. Keep making new dreams and working on them.

Give thanks. Cherish each day; keep a daily list of things to be glad about.

"Daily practice begins with an attitude. Recognize whether you are feeling humbly grateful or grumbly hateful. An attitude to thankfulness is an opening. Thankfulness for hands and yarn, for soul and mind and imagination -- all are gifts. Breathing is a gift. To choose to be grateful for the gifts of your life can set the tone of your daily practice. It keeps us in a place of humble openness to receive the benefits of life and joy and peace. Give thanks for your joy in the pleasure of your knitting. Give thanks for the working of your hands and your heart. Attitude is a choice." Janice MacDaniels, "The Knitting Way: a Guide to Spiritual Seal-Discovery," p. 144)

Keep a sense of humor. Norman Cousins wrote a best selling book on how he used laughter to cure himself from a severe connective tissue disease. He documented how laughing at funny movies or books actually stimulated his immune system. Further studies have shown that, in addition to improving immune function, laughter massages internal organs, lowers blood pressure, cleanses the blood and stimulates the release of mood-lifting endorphins.

According to William Fry, MD, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School, the average child in kindergarten laughs 300 times a day, while adults only laugh approximately 17 times a day. Perhaps this is why children heal much faster than adults?

Make and maintain friendships. Spend time with people who make you feel good. Feeling good? Share the news and brighten someone else's day, too.

"Happy the soul that shall forget his own good, and...vie with his fellows in service to the good of all..." ('Abdu'l-Baha, "Secret of Divine Civilization," p. 116)

"The tendency when we're ill is to close ourselves off, not let people know. But I don't think we can go off in caves and heal by ourselves. In some mysterious way, it's a communal experience. I think healing is contagious, just like infection." (Marc Ian Barasch, quoted in "The Placebo Response," Howard Brody, MD, PhD.)

Bill O'Hanlon, in his book, "Change 101," says, "It has become fashionable in therapy circles to hold two beliefs:
(a) You can't change another person, only yourself; and
(b) you shouldn't change yourself for a relationship or for another person...
[But] we change each other all the time. People change for those they love quite often.... The relationships that call forth positive change are those that provide a ground of accepting the person.... Relationships can illuminate flaws in one's approach to life by exposing one to other ways of thinking and doing things...[Through relationships] we can learn to recognize and change [even] deeply unconscious patterns [of behavior]."

Meditate; spend time with yourself daily. To quote Wayne Dyer, "You need to take time to get quiet, to go within, and from this silence make conscious contact with the source of intention. You're already connected to everything that you perceive is missing from your life; go within and realign."

Happiness is a choice, one that can be made every day. "Be calm, be strong, be grateful, and become a lamp full of light, that the darkness of sorrows be annihilated, and the sun of everlasting joy arise from the dawning place of heart and soul, shining brightly." ('Abdu'l-Baha, "Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, vol. II)

It is never too late to take the first step. "Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.... It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually try new things..." Vaclav Havel, poet, playwright, and president of the Czech Republic, quoted in "The Placebo Response."

"If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall we wait and for what other time shall we look?" ('Abdu'l-Baha, "Promulgation of Universal Peace," from a talk in New York, July 1, 1912)

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A DAILY REMINDERS LIST...
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(From "The Knitting Way: a Guide to Spiritual Self-Discovery," Linda Skolnik & Janice Macdaniels)

- Small actions matter; every action results in a consequence.
- Remember to make the small actions.
- Small things done over time build.
- A mistake is a lesson.
- Obstacles and "enemies" are the greatest teachers.
- I am not the center of the universe.
- I matter.

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ONCE AGAIN, IT'S ALL HOW YOU LOOK AT IT
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Linda Skolnik & Janice MacDaniels, in their book, "The Knitting Way: a Guide to Spiritual Seal-Discovery," (Skylight Paths Publishing, 2005) tell the story of Corrie Ten Boom, who was given the gift of seeing things differently.

In February 1944, the Ten Boom family was arrested by German forces occupying Holland. Charged with hiding Jews and helping them escape, this Christian family ended up in prison camps.

One of the their worst experiences in the camps was being attacked by a never-ending infestation of fleas. Corrie was driven to question why God had even made such creatures!

In the Ravenbruck concentration camp, she and her sister, being knitters, were given the task of knitting socks. They were moved into Barrack 28 with all the others given this job.

It was a bit of a mystery to them why they and the other knitters were left totally unsupervised by the guards. In fact, Barracks 28 was never inspected, allowing Corrie and her sister to retain their Bible and vitamins (otherwise contraband).

It turned out that the guards would not enter because of the fleas!

"So," say the authors, "irritations can become blessings when given a different light. That's also part of lightening up. This is not merely a weight factor but one of illumination.

"Twisting the way we see things,...the happenings in our lives, even our thinking can turn on the light of joy and delight and maybe even acceptance of ourselves."

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LINKS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
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* Positive psychology -- "Happiness 101," by D.T. Max, New York Times Sunday magazine, January 7. 2007. [If this article is no longer on the NYT website, contact the Editor for a copy: mailto:cheryll@gotypist.com ]
* "Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment," Martin Seligman, Free Press Reprint edition, 2004. He has a web site packed with interesting information including interactive questionnaires, support groups, books, research possibilities, and many resources at: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/
* "The Keys to Happiness and Why People Don't Use Them," Robyn Lloyd, Live Science blog, http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/060227_happiness_keys.html
* "The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way," Wayne Dyer. Hay House, 2004. http://www.drwaynedyer.com/
* "Change 101: a Practical Guide to Creating Change in Life or Therapy," Bill O'Hanlon, Norton, 2006
* For a definitive essay on how to change the world by changing individual perspectives and attitudes, "The Secret of Divine Civilization," 'Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i Publishing Trust, available to search and read online at: http://bahai-library.org/writings/abdulbaha/sdc/
* And for a delightfully unexpected avenue for spiritual growth: "The Knitting Way: a Guide to Spiritual Self-Discovery," Linda Skolnik & Janice Macdaniels. Skylight Paths Publishing, 2005. The authors' website: http://www.theknittingway.com/
* On line research library BahaiResearch.com is designed by Ian Vink to quickly provide access to the texts of the major Faiths of the world. It presently provides thousands of pages of reference from 9 religions, in 14 languages (!) and is free to use. This program runs in several different browsers and is reasonably simple to use, but it is worth spending a few minutes on the search tutorial, provided in both video and text formats. http://bahairesearch.com/language.aspx


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YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN: Community Network Building
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Wade Schuette (from his blog: Systems Thinking in Public Health: http://cscwteam.blogspot.com/index.html )

You have a lot more control over the people around you than you might think.

All living systems must survive the regular death and rebirth of their components.

This is true for cells, for people, for relationships between two people, for families, for workplace teams, for companies, for nations, and for cultures or religions.

It's universal.

It's also a tremendous opportunity for change, because it means nothing that's alive is really static, or could be. Life depends on constant feedback, reaffirmation, reassembly, and reassertion of basic truths before they fade out and are lost.

This basic fact about life brings with it responsibility and opportunity.

For any system you are a part of, you are also part of the continual dance that sustains it and shapes it and keeps it the way it is. If you don't like the way it is, the key message here is that you have control over that. It won't change instantly, but it will change over time. Your own actions are helping sustain it, and your own response to it can help change it.

Even simply changing the way you perceive it can change it, because what it "is" has to pass thousands of times through the feedback loops of perception and responsive action. That is an enormous multiplier and gives you huge leverage from tiny changes.

One example we had in class recently was based on the observation that marriages that stay together over 10 years or longer have daily conversations where positive statements about the other person were five times as common as negative statements.

And, here we can apply some basic knowledge of "systems thinking" and recognize that, in feedback loops, causality becomes smeared out over time. There is no distinction between the cause and the effect, because every part is both.

What's that mean? It means that it is silly to try to measure whether the positive statements cause relationships to last, or whether lasting relationships cause positive outlooks on things, because it's clear these two variables form a reinforcing feedback loop either way, either upwards or downwards. Either more positive leads to more positive, or more negative leads to more negative. So the loop itself is "the cause", not either variable.

That also means that you can intervene in the situation at any point of the loop that you find convenient. One easy place to intervene, if you'd like to improve the water in your own fishbowl, is to react and respond more positively to any trace of anything that could possibly be interpreted as a positive event. If you like something, or like the way something is going, say so.

That's the first place to work. If you're not doing that, you're missing your first major opportunity to effectively cause more of that to occur. People tend to perk up when they do something that gets noticed. It's a very powerful effect.

As a single candle casts more light the darker it is, a single compliment has power way beyond what you'd think in places where there haven't been any compliments for a long time. People hunger to be noticed and appreciated sincerely. It mostly doesn't matter to them whether it's a huge life-work or a single word that they're appreciated for. We have genetic hardware that is always scanning for any trace of a positive response to our own actions. Everyone does.

The second place to work is even easier, but mysteriously missed by most people: You can say that again!

You can say that again. There is no rule in life that restricts you from delivering a positive response to someone TWICE. If they did something you like, or you want to encourage, let them know today - and then, let them know again tomorrow about the very same thing.

Try this experiment with your family, a friend, or your workplace. Agree, for one week, to try to make sure that you speak five times as many positive things about each other as negative things. Any action, regardless how tiny, that can be interpreted as positive is fair game for a compliment or being simply noticed and appreciated.

From the literature, the results of this are nothing short of astounding.

If you can't get agreement, you can always take up this task in a one-sided way, say, for a child or student or co-worker of yours who just seems depressed, or hostile, or anti-social, or not much fun to be around. For a week, watch them intently for any sign of some tiny move they do that's what you'd rather see, and then thank them for it, and then wait a day, and then thank them AGAIN for it.

It works miracles.

There's a whole science of "Positive Organizational Scholarship" [http://www.bus.umich.edu/Positive/WhatisPOS/] you can read up on, if you're interested in learning more about how this works.


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KINDNESS CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY
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An act that positively influences the life of both the giver and the receiver is a kindness. It doesn't have to cost money or be difficult to perform. It can be spontaneous (random) or premeditated. It can be as simple as a smile or a thank you, and as complicated as starting a non-profit organization to benefit those in need.

Kindness has four working parts: dignity, respect, compassion, and humility. If you have all of these things for yourself, then you will be able to share them with others. If we reach out with dignity, respect, compassion, and humility, we are likely to feel it being returned.

Actively seeking out opportunities to assist others will naturally bring a certain amount of warmth and feeling of self-worth to each of us. It feels good to help others and others feel good knowing someone wants them to help.

"Consideration" and "helpful" are words often used to describe a kind deed.

Kindness is what you define it as, rather than what someone else thinks you should believe it is.

I suggest all people actively attempt to live by my phrase, "Today I will commit one random act of senseless kindness. Will You?"

(Chuck Wall, Ph.D., from Random Acts of Kindness Blog http://home.cablelynx.com/~sgarza/knitting/raok/)

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PERSONAL HAPPINESS TREASURE MAP
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A personal treasure map is a collage of your ideal life that you create as a visual tool to focus your creative energy in the direction you wish to go.

First of all, you'll have to visualize your ideal life. Take a moment to get quiet and go within. Close your eyes.

Now see how you live and who lives with you. What does your dream house look like? What part of the country is it in? Do you have children? How many? What type of garden do you have? Is there a gazebo in the backyard? A swimming pool? Do you have any pets? What kind of car is parked in the driveway? What kind of job do you have? Are you publishing your own newsletter, directing a feature film, or raising thoroughbred horses?

Now see if you can't find pictures in magazines to match your ideal ones. Cut them out and create a collage on an eight- by ten-inch piece of poster board. If you can't find images to match your dreams, tap into the creativity deep within and draw a picture.

When you're finished, find a photograph of yourself that you especially like. Make sure it's a picture of you looking radiant and happy. Cut your self out and place yourself in the center of your treasure map collage.

When making your personal treasure map, think fun. Think delight. Think seven years old.

This in not an intellectual exercise in existentialism. This is a wish list to the Universe. Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen. "Put your ear down next to your soul and listen hard," the poet Anne Sexton advises.

Above all, remember that no one need be privy to your personal treasure map but you. Our wishes for the future, our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations, are our truest treasures. Guard yours in the sanctuary of your heart.

Keep your personal treasure map in the back of your illustrated discovery journal and look at it often. When you do, give thanks for the wonderful life you are leading.

The greatest secret to living a happy and fulfilled life is the realization that everything is created in our minds before it manifests itself in the outer world. We must believe it before we can see it. You have to know what you are digging for, before X marks the spot.

(Sarah Ban Breathnach, "Simple Abundance, a Daybook of Comfort and Joy," January 29)

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HUMOR: Symptoms Of Inner Peace
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By Saskia Davis (liberally splashed across the 'Net, often without mention of the source)

Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:

* A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

* An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

* A loss of interest in judging other people.

* A loss of interest in judging self.

* A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

* A loss of interest in conflict.

* A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)

* Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

* Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

* Frequent attacks of smiling.

* An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.

* An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

WARNING:
If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to be incurable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk.

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BOOK REVIEW: "A Journey Of Courage: From Disability To Spiritual Ability"
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Compiled by Linda Bishop, Beverley Davis, Frances Mezei (founding editor of this newsletter) and Shirlee Smith

This book is a celebration of life, where disability becomes ability, where struggle becomes strength, and where the effort to fully participate in the building of all that is noble and good is rewarded with victory after victory. As such, it is destined to serve as a wonderful source of insight and comfort to individuals, families and health care providers alike, assisting all who read it to understand what it means to truly embrace, in unity, the diversity of humankind. The compilers of this publication, all of whom are intimately aware of the ways in which society perceives disability, celebrate, in their own lives, the freedom of the human spirit to express itself in service to humanity. This compilation is an example of their devotion to such freedom. Contains many revealing and empowering passages from the Baha'i Sacred texts as well as touching excerpts from stories and biographies about the Holy family and others. Comes complete with guidelines for creating an accessible environment for those with physical disabilities.

Available from: The Baha'i Distribution Service, http://www.bahaibooksonline.com

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HEALTH IN THE NEWS
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- Love heals...

"The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog," is an amazing lesson in the healing power of basic humanity. Child psychiatrist and trauma specialist Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, and journalist Maia Szalavitz explain how stress can stunt the brain's development, and how affection, consistently offered in a safe environment, can strengthen underdeveloped neural tissue, enabling abused and neglected children to heal. They have a website: http://www.childtrauma.org/
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- Key to finding a happy balance...

Side-to-side sensations or bilateral stimulation (such as knitting, piano playing, etc.) can help heal emotional distress and remove blocks in thinking, according to practitioners of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocess (EMDR). The FBI, the American Red Cross, and other emergency agencies have found EMDR effective for relieving post-traumatic stress. After a course in bilateral simulation, alternating between the right and left sides of the body, "patients generally think and feel quite differently about the incident, similar incidents, and themselves," according to Edward S. Hume, MD, in the "Clinical Wisdom" section of his website: http://www.pshrink.com .
He goes on to describe the left side of the brain that controls the right side of the body as "more positive in outlook, more analytical, looking ahead," and the right side of the brain as tending toward "a more morose outlook, more holistic, scanning the world for threats."

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LETTERS
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- Visual handicap does not impair insight...

I have been receiving your very inspiring and informative newsletter for many years and am glad to say that every second of my 'hearing' it has been wonderful!
Let me explain why I use the word 'hearing' instead of reading... I inherited my mother's eye condition, commonly referred to as R P, retinitis pigmentosa, which ... leads to the degeneration of the cells in the retina and eventually virtual blindness. Unfortunately, my eyesight has never been good and it deteriorated slowly from birth until many years ago I was sort of clinically blind. So fortunately thru the development of science, I effectively work my computer strictly via keyboard instructions and the aid of a special voice program -- which is most wonderful, except that no graphics, pdf, etc, which your newsletter leaves out. So my computer is my main source of all types of information especially Baha'i wise and of course your newsletter is one of the important sources.
I would dearly love to share my experiences with anyone interested with problems facing the visually handicapped and also to happily receive their experiences. Also maybe they could share any compilation from the writings relating to blindness, etc.
Freddy T, Singapore: mailto:fredths@singnet.com.sg
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- More stories of divine confirmations...

I just read the section on "How Do We Receive Divine Confirmation and Recognize It?" in the November 2006 newsletter. What a great article! I found the different insights were very helpful in my own quest to further understand how my guidance comes to me.
Is it possible to have many, many more stories about divine confirmations and recognizing them in future issues (every issue would be great)? It's a fascinating topic because people receive their personal confirmations and guidance in so many different ways. I love reading the stories.
Please consider having this topic every month...or at least, very frequently.
Thanks :-) ,
- PMJ

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JOIN THE HEALING THROUGH UNITY FRAPPR! MAP
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We have a Frappr! map for this newsletter. This is a great way to see how many places our subscribers live around the world. Interesting to note that most of those who have joined the map so far are female.

To sign on and join the group, (it's free) access the Healing Through Unity map and at: http://www.frappr.com/healingthroughunityreaders

Check back every so often to see how many more have signed on; watch our world map blossom!

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER
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"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to physical and spiritual health. Other than the quoted Holy Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. None of the material published in this newsletter is intended to be a substitute for the advice of a physician.

You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. There are 6-10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION
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Distribution of this newsletter is free by email. To subscribe to the newsletter, and receive it by email before it's posted on the web,
- send an email to newsletter-request@healingthroughunity.org with the word "Subscribe" in the subject line
- or just click on that link on the webpage, and it should be done automatically.

If you're a current subscriber and want to change your address, do the same -- send an email to newsletter-request@healingthroughunity.org with the word "subscribe" in the subject line -- and then send an email from your old address (if you still have access to it) to newsletter-request@healingthroughunity.org with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line. Or again, just click on the links on the webpage to have it all done automatically.

Kathy Yonash can still be reached at rocketman@mwt.net .

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WEB SITE
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You can visit our Web site, obtain back issues, subscribe/unsubscribe, and download the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org

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PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
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All of us have had healing experiences, as well as climbed out of low points along life's way - physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. Please share your stories, tips, useful links, and quotes from the Baha'i Writings about staying healthy in a stressful world. Your articles do not have to be long - even a few paragraphs in length are fine. Baha'u'llah gave us each other as a big part of a healthy lifestyle, and sharing stories and ideas that work for you brings encouragement to others. Asking for information and support from others can bring encouragement to you!

WHERE TO SEND STORIES AND CORRESPONDENCE:

Many thanks to all of you who share helpful ideas for the Healing Through Unity eNewsletter. The decision to select and edit material submitted for publication is determined by the editor. We welcome submissions from everyone.

Please e-mail your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to the newsletter editor, Cheryll Schuette, at: cheryll@gotypist.com.

DISCLAIMER:

Please specify if you do not want your full name, or any part of it, used in this newsletter, particularly for the Question of the Month. Once published in email and in the archives on the website, it is difficult if not impossible to remove with any certainty.

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HEALING THROUGH UNITY NEWSLETTER
Editor - Cheryll Schuette
Contributing Editors - Wade Schuette, Lynn Ascrizzi
Founding Editor - Frances Mezei
Circulation - Kathy Yonash
Web Master - Jonah Winters
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