New Age Archives

What are Affirmations? The Power of Positive Thinking

Affirmations are a way of creating the you you want to be. Simply put it’s using the power of positive thinking to reach a desired goal.  Positive thought plays a huge role in our overall development as people. We’ve all heard the term self fulfilling prophecy. If someone believes they are unlucky then they will be unlucky. Affirmations work much the same way except in a positive manner. Here are a few tips to get you started on your own affirmation.

First things first. An affirmation should be related to a short term obtainable goal like getting promoted or feeling more energized. Lofty goals such as “I want to be a millionaire” really won’t work. 

Next an affirmation should just be a short sentence or two of a couple dozen words. It can be something as simple as “I feel great today.” 

An affirmation needs to be anchored in the present. The goal is to obtain a current mind set. Stating you want to be skinnier in a month is a goal not an affirmation. If the goal is weight loss then the affirmation would be more along the lines of “I make healthy choices when I eat” 

By keeping the affirmation in the now you direct your energy to the present. 

Just thinking up an affirmation isn’t going to do much good. It’s a mantra that needs to be repeated out loud. Actually say the words while visualizing their effects. This will help center the mind and bring concentration to the desired goal. 

Concentrating on an affirmation will help rid your thoughts of negativity. By focusing on the positive you don’t give negative thoughts any place to grow roots and poison your mind.

 Whether you choose to believe in affirmations or not is a purely personal choice. This mind set though has helped millions of people lead positive, happy, light-filled lives


What is Karma? – An Brief Introduction to Karma

We’ve all heard the phrase karma thrown about. People talk about having good karma and bad karma. But exactly what is karma? Well there really are a few different definitions. In its most simple form karma can be thought of as spiritual consequences. This means that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished. 

In its most basic form karma is just an action. It doesn’t hold spiritual weight in and of itself. Instead it’s the intent of the wielder who determines whether an act is for good or ill. 

The four basic types of Karmic actions are:

  •  The words we speak
  • The thoughts we have
  • The actions we take for ourselves
  • The actions we take for others.

 If you look at these four items its easy to see how any one of them can influence for good or evil. Bad thoughts and speech towards another will often result in animosity towards the speaker of those words.

In more new age thinking Karma is often expressed as a compounding influence known as threefold return. This means that for every deed you do you can expect the same returned to you at 3 times the weight. So good is rewarded with greater good and ill is punished with greater ill. 

Several different religions use Karma in their teachings including:

  • Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Neo Paganism
  • Sikhism 

The biggest idea that separates Karma from other religions is its practicality. Karma is an assumed consequence. It does not matter whether a person is a believer or has faith in a god. The actions of the individual will be accountable to the individual. 

A few short paragraphs aren’t nearly enough to delve into the different religious and social implications of Karma. Instead it’s meant to be a brief overview.

If you simply remembers that Karma is a matter of cause and effect then you are well on their your to inner peace.

Understanding Scientology

Scientology is one of the most argued-over religions in the World.  It is often in the public eye because of the number of Hollywood stars who practice it.  To understand why it’s so controversial, we’ll start by taking a look at the astonishing life of the man who founded it.

L. Ron Hubbard

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was an American, born in Nebraska in 1911.  He died from a stroke in 1986 leaving an estate valued at $600 million.  He was a controversial figure, even during his own lifetime.  Scientology biographies have portrayed him as an expert in many fields although some former scientologist and independent researchers dispute these claims.  Let’s just pick out some of the highlights:

Blackfoot Indian Blood Brother?

Hubbard’s father was in the Navy and so the family moved constantly.  While living in Montana, Hubbard claimed to have made friends with a medicine man and become a blood brother of the Blackfeet Indians.  However, a Blackfeet historian has reported that the Blackfeet never performed blood brother ceremonies. 

Youngest ever Eagle Scout in the USA?

This was reported in the Washington Evening Star in 1930 and yet the Boy Scouts of America say that their records were kept alphabetically so it would be impossible to tell who was the youngest.

Hubbard learns about Freud

Between 1927 and 1929, Hubbard’s father was posted to Guam.  There, Hubbard met Navy Commander Joseph ‘Snake’ Thompson who had recently studied with Sigmund Freud in Vienna.  He passed on some of Freud’s teachings to Hubbard.

Studies with Holy men?

Several Scientology biographies state that Hubbard studied with Holy men in China, India and Tibet.  Hubbard claimed that he was made a lama priest in China.  However, his diaries of those years were used as evidence in a trial and no mention was made of any form of Eastern Philosophy.

Education

Hubbard majored in civil engineering at George Washington University.  However, he was put on probation after poor exam results.  After another year of failures, he left without completing his degree.

During WWII, Hubbard attended a short course at the Naval Training School at Princeton.  The course, which he failed, offered some teaching on molecular and atomic physics.  Hubbard later claimed to be a nuclear physicist and co-authored a book about radiation and its’ effects on the human body in 1957.

The ‘Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition’

After leaving University, Hubbard became a writer.  In 1932, he led this 5,000 mile voyage on a schooner with over 50 college students.  They were to collect flora and fauna and document pirate activity.  However, they only visited 3 of the 16 ports that they had planned to see.

The Explorers Club

Hubbard became a member in 1940 and gained a licence to drive steam and motor ships.  In 1961, he completed the ‘Ocean Archaeological Expedition’ and in 1966 was awarded the Club flag for the ‘Hubbard Geological Survey Expedition’

Ph.D for Dianetics

In 1953, Hubbard received an honorary Ph.D. from Sequoia University, California, for “…his outstanding work and contributions in the fields of Dianetics and Scientology.”  In 2009, The Times newspaper (UK) obtained documents from the National Archives which said that Hubbard and [some other people] had rented premises in Los Angeles, registered them as a university called Sequoia and then awarded each other doctorates.”

Military Life 

Mysterious submarine attack

In 1943, Hubbard was performing poorly as a Junior Grade Lieutenant in the Office of Naval Intelligence.  This continued when he was assigned to test the performance of the PC-815, a ‘submarine chaser’ ship on a voyage to San Diego, Hubbard attacked two enemy submarines.  The battle went on for two days and Hubbard involved at least four other ships plus two blimps to resupply the ship.  After the action, Hubbard wrote in a Naval report that he had “definitely sunk, beyond doubt” one submarine and critically damaged another one.  However, in a memo to the Fleet Admiral, Vice Admiral Frank Fletcher noted “…there was no submarine in the area…unable to obtain any evidence of a submarine except one bubble of air…due to a depth charge explosion…The Commanding Officers of all ships except the PC-815 state they had no evidence of a submarine and do not think a submarine was in the area.”  Fletcher also implied that Hubbard and his crew were not operating the PC-185’s SONAR correctly as the ‘submarines’ were actually million year old deposits of magnetic ore on the sea bed.   

Unauthorized Gunnery Practice

The following month, Hubbard anchored off the Mexican Coronado Islands without permission and ordered unauthorized gunnery practice.  He was ordered to return to base but didn’t.  The Mexican authorities lodged an official complaint.  This led to a Board of Investigation chaired by Vice Admiral Fletcher who wrote “Consider this officer lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation. He acts without forethought as to probable results…”  Hubbard was relieved of command.

Four years later, Hubbard wrote to the Veterans Administration asking for psychiatric help.  His letter was ignored.

Aleister Crowley criticizes Hubbard

In 1945, Hubbard met John Parsons and subsequently lived in a trailer in his yard.  Parsons was obsessed with the British Occultist Aleister Crowley’s ‘Sex Magick’ and was a member of Crowley’s Ordo Tampli Orientis international group.  Parsons had a girlfriend called Sara Northrup who ditched him for Hubbard.  Sara subsequently became Hubbard’s second wife, with one catch – he was still married to his first wife at the time.  He later tried to persuade Sara to kill herself to save him the trouble of a divorce.  The three formed a business partnership and Hubbard eventually absconded with all of the money.  Prior to this, Parsons and Hubbard regularly performed a homosexual ‘sex magick’ ritual, with the aim of calling up ‘Babylon the Great’ from the Bible – an abominable character.  Parsons frequently updated Crowley on their  progress and Crowley wrote to a colleague in New York “I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts.”  

Hubbard the writer and Dianetics, the birth of Scientology

Hubbard had already published many science fiction and adventure books and aviation novels and wrote for magazines.  In 1950, he (with several other people) began the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  This was to coordinate the work on Dianetics.  In 1950, the first article, called Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science appeared in a magazine called Astounding Science Fiction.   Around that time, Hubbard also completed Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health allegedly finishing the 180,000-word book in only six weeks.

The book brought in a large amount of money, which Hubbard used to start Dianetics centers in six American cities. However, the book was received with a mixture of bemusement, concerned alarm and some hilarity by Medical and Scientific reviewers. Complaints were made against Dianetics practitioners for allegedly practicing medicine without a license which led to advocates of the practice disclaiming medical benefits to avoid prosecution.

Hubbard responded to the critics by saying that they were involved in a plot conceived by the American branch of the Communist Part.  Years later, he claimed that the psychiatric profession (who he believed were secretly in control of most of the Governments in the world) had initiated the criticism of Dianetics.

What is Dianetics?

Hubbard invented the word from the Greek dia, which means though and nous which means mind.  Dianetics addresses the relationship between mind, body and spirit.  It postulates that the mind has three parts.  The conscious ‘thinking’ mind, the subconscious ‘reacting’ mind and the somatic (to do with the body) mind.

Scientology ‘Auditing’

Scientologists believe that the reactive mind stops people from becoming more ethical, happier and more sane.  Their goal is to remove the reactive part and to do this, they use a method called ‘auditing’.  The ‘auditor’ asks a series of questions which are designed to rid the ‘patient’ of painful past experiences – which they believe cause the mind to be reactive.  This has been reported to be quite a traumatic process with the person being audited often suffering a form of breakdown.

Hubbard loses ‘Dianetics’

Dianetics continued to attract cautionary and hostile reviews with Consumer Reports magazine calling it ‘the basis for a new cult’ and said it contained generalizations not backed up with scientific evidence.  However, it sold well.  Despite this, the foundations ran out of money, in part due to proceedings against them for teaching medicine without a licence.  Some supporters left.  Hubbard later told the FBI that these ‘deserters’ were ‘communists’.  Hubbard sold the rights to ‘Dianetics’ to avoid bankruptcy but it remained the basis for today’s Scientology.

Scientology takes off…

In 1952, Hubbard moved to Arizona and worked on what he called “…the applied religious philosophy” of Scientology.  He coined the name Thetan (pronounced Thay ton) for the human soul and claimed that it could be improved with Scientology.  This was to be achieved with auditing.  In 1952 he started a Dianetics Center in London.  1953 saw the birth of the Church of Scientology in New Jersey and in 1955 he began the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington D.C.  In 1959, he bought a Georgian Manor House in Sussex which became the world headquarters for Scientology.   

‘Auditing’ continued and he introduced the ‘E-meter’, a biofeedback device which had originally been developed for use by a chiropractor.  This was said to quantify what Hubbard called ‘mental masses’.  These masses apparently prevented thetans from advancement.

He also claimed that most physical ailments were ‘all in the mind’ and that enlightened Scientologists would be free of illness.  He claimed they were just due to negative memories, which he called ‘engrams’.  These would stay in the ‘reactive mind’ of an unenlightened thetan for ‘billions of years’.

Donations

Scientologists had to give donations (at a fixed rate) for training courses, being audited, books and ‘E-meters’ to use when they became auditors.  This was extremely lucrative. 

Scientology – a Religion or a Business?

  • In a letter written in 1952, Hubbard said “…calling Scientology a religion…solves a problem of practical business…A religious charter could be necessary in Pennsylvania or NJ to make it stick.” 
  • In a further letter in 1962 he wrote that Scientology “…is being planned on a religious organization basis throughout the world. This will not upset in any way the usual activities of any organization. It is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors.”
  • In 1948, in front of 23 members of the Eastern Science Fiction Association Hubbard allegedly said that he “…wanted to start a religion to make money…”  He allegedly repeated the same desire according to the Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and to other independent witnesses.

World Controversy

During the 1960’s, the UK, New Zealand, Victoria in Australia and Ontario in Canada all held public enquiries into Scientology.  The Australian conclusion was that Hubbard’s sanity was “to be gravely doubted”.  New Zealand held an enquiry too.  Hubbard had moved there in 1966 and claimed that he was Cecil Rhodes reincarnated.  Rhodesia had been hit by UN sanctions and although Hubbard offered to plough vast sums of money into the country, they asked him to leave.

Hubbard takes to sea

In 1967, Hubbard resigned as director of Scientology and awarded himself the title of ‘commodore’ to a fleet of ships that spent the following eight years in the Mediterranean.  The group was called ‘Sea Organization’ and became the management group for Scientology.  Hubbard was waited on by teenage girls and became renowned for having screaming fits.  Witnesses have testified in court that he also drank and took drugs and that anyone who crossed him was put into a dirty ship’s locker for weeks on end.  Others were blindfolded, tied up and thrown overboard.  This was done to both adults and children.  This ended when he was asked to leave by the Greek Government.

Other high points

  • In 1977, the FBI raided Scientology offices because the IRS had found evidence of millions of dollars taken from Churches and put into overseas banks.
  • In 1978, in a case brought against French Scientologists, Hubbard was found guilty of ‘fraudulent promises’.  He received four years in prison and a fine of 35,000 Francs.  However, Hubbard was not in France and escaped these penalties on a technicality.  However, because he refused to talk to British immigration about this, the Home Office banned him from the UK.  This was overturned in 1980.
  • In 1984, following a child custody case involving a Scientology family in London, Justice Latey branded Scientology “dangerous, immoral, sinister and corrupt.”  He added that it “its real objective is money and power for Mr. Hubbard.”
  • Hubbard introduced what he called ‘Fair Game’ against anyone who tried to ‘suppress or damage Scientology.  The ‘ENEMY – SP (suppressive person) Order’ said that these people “May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”  He withdrew the term ‘Fair Game’ in 1968 as he considered it to ‘cause bad public relations’ however, the order went on to say This does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP.”

What is the power of Scientology?

Hubbard was at best a money-driven fantasist.  At worst he was a compulsive liar, bigamist, fraudster, drug and alcohol abuser, practitioner of satanic rituals, wife beater (claimed in Divorce papers) and possibly suffering from a psychiatric disorder (as evidenced by the medicinal drugs and injection marks found on his death).  His own son, L. Ron Hubbard Jnr. said “I would say that 99 per cent of what my father has written about his own life is false.”

The following celebrities are known to have once followed Scientology but no longer do:  

  • Oliver Stone – film director J.D. Salinger – author of The Catcher in the Rye
  • Brad Pitt – actor
  • Christopher Reeve – actor who played “Superman”
  • Van Morrison – influential singer, songwriter, musician (lapsed)
  • Sharon Stone – actress
  • Mikhail Baryshnikov – ballet dancer
  • Patrick Swayze – actor
  • Kate Capshaw – actress, Steven Spielberg’s wife
  • Rock Hudson – actor, movie star
  • Emilio Estevez – actor
  • Leonard Cohen – songwriter
  • Ricky Martin – singer
  • Gloria Gaynor – singer 
  • Frank Stallone – actor brother of Sylvester Stallone
  • Demi Moore – actress
  • Gordon Lightfoot – singer
  • Aldous Huxley – writer
  • Charles Manson cult leader

The following are still followers:

  • John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston
  • Tom Cruise and his wife Katy Holmes (ex wife Nicole Kidman left Scientology prior to their breakup)
  • Nancy Cartwright – voice of “Bart Simpson” on The Simpsons
  • Kirstie Alley – actress
  • Juliette Lewis – actress
  • Priscilla Presley – actress and wife of Elvis Presley
  • Lisa Marie Presley – daughter of Elvis Presley
  • Isaac Hayes – musician
  • Chaka Khan – singer
  • Sonny Bono (a follower during his lifetime) – singer and ex husband of Cher

The only question is…why?

Dreams are powerful.  We may awaken from one feeling exhilarated, confused, amazed, terrified, distressed or not even remember it at all. 

So What Is Lucid Dreaming?

The medical dictionary definition of lucid is ‘a period of relative mental clarity between periods of irrationality.’ This describes a lucid dream very well, because dreams aren’t lucid all the way through.  The lucidity doesn’t usually kick in until the middle of a dream.

Lucid dreaming is simply realizing, during a dream, that you are dreaming and not awake.  This realization can vary greatly.  Sometimes, you will realize that you are dreaming for no particular reason.  At other times, you may be dreaming – with the dream appearing ‘real’ to you – and then something bizarre may happen in the dream which makes you realize that this scenario is so crazy that you must be dreaming.  Lucid dreams fall into two main categories:

  • High Level Lucidity  You know that everything in the dream is just a dream.  You know that you are safe and will wake up soon.
  • Low Level Lucidity  You may realize that you are dreaming but not enough to know that anything or anyone in the dream are not ‘real’.  You may not recognize that you are in no danger or that you will awaken safe in your bed.  Vivid nightmares fall into this category.

Confused?  You may think that if the dream is very vivid, you would be dreaming at a ‘high level’.  Don’t forget it is the lucidity that is being graded here – not the quality of the dream itself.  More awareness is ‘high level’ and less is ‘low’.


Is Lucid Dreaming The Same As Controlling Your Dreams?

Yes and no.  You may have a lucid dream in which you have little or no control over the actual content of the dream.  Or, you could have a dream which you are able to ‘control’ and yet still not be aware that you are dreaming.

Can Anyone Learn To Have Lucid Dreams?

Yes – it’s a skill that can be learned.  Most people have infrequent, spontaneous lucid dreams but can be trained to have them whenever they want.  The few people who have frequent lucid dreams can learn to get more from them.  Researchers say that you will find it easier to learn dream techniques if you find it easy to remember your dreams – but even if you don’t, you can be taught how to, so that you can still learn to lucid dream.

Why Would I Want To Have Lucid Dreams?  Here’s a list of reasons:

Fun!

When you’re asleep and dreaming, the only limit is your imagination.  A common pleasure for lucid dreamers is experiencing the ‘genuine’ feeling of being able to fly.  You could fulfill all of your fantasies in your dreams.  Lucid dreamers report an ecstatic, exhilarating feeling of complete freedom with no consequences to anything that happens in the dream.  It’s the ultimate playtime!

Curing Nightmares

If you are plagued by nightmares, this could help you.  The danger that you encounter in a nightmare is obviously not real but the fear is.  Dream experts say that the only way to get rid of this fear is to confront it.  However, nightmares are ‘low level’ lucidity.  Remember this means that you wouldn’t realize that you are dreaming so how could you confront what’s scaring you?  Try the techniques later in this article.  Change your nightmare to a lucid dream and get rid of it!

Lucid dream ‘dry runs’

Lucid dreamers report that it is great for practicing upcoming occasions such as public speaking, interviews, appearing on stage or athletic events.  This is because the brain activity during a lucid dream is the same as it would be during the real event.  So you can start laying down brain (neuronal) pathways in preparation.  By the time the real event comes up, you’re well rehearsed, primed and ready to go!

Increase creativity and solve problems

We dream during Rapid Eye Movement / REM sleep.  During this phase, our brains are extremely active and functioning at a purely ‘thinking’ level because there is little or no sensory input from everyday activities.  The natural ‘bizarre’ nature of some dreams can help to pop an idea into your head that you would never think of during your waking hours.  This is supported by a research study which showed that 29% of people who were given a simple word association test after being woken from REM sleep, answered with highly unexpected words.

Sleep can help to heal

We all know the benefits of a really good nights’ sleep.  And our bodies force us to rest and sleep when we’re ill as part of the recovery process.  Combine that with the recognized benefits of visualization and lucid dreaming is a winner.  Lucid dreams have been used to combat phobias, alleviate grief, lessen social anxiety, help with sexual problems, increase self esteem and self confidence and improve body image.  When lucid dreaming about their body image, subjects were able to speed up physical healing.

Meditative qualities

Our minds inhabit our bodies.  How we see the world is dictated by how our brain works.  This is the basis of many spiritual paths.  People seeking enlightenment report that lucid dreams can bring a feeling of peace and a connection with a safe, loving higher power.

OK – You’ve convinced me of the benefits.  How do I learn?

You need to be motivated and prepared to put in some effort.  Remember we said it’s easier to learn how to lucid dream if you find it easy to remember your dreams?  Even if you do remember them, try this:

Learn or optimize your memory of your dreams 

You need to be able to do this for two reasons.


  1. You will start to recognize recurring themes and patterns in your dreams.  This will help you to recognize them as dreams while you are actually dreaming.
  2. If you can’t remember your dreams, how will you know if they’re lucid or not?

Your dream journal

Keep a notebook by your bed and as soon as you awake from a dream, (even in the middle of the night) write down everything that you can remember.  The memory fades so get it down on paper before it’s lost.  You need to be remembering and transcribing at least one dream each night before going on to learn how to induce a lucid dream.

Are you awake or dreaming?  Repeat these several times each day:


  1. Get a grip on reality by really noticing as much as you can when you look in the mirror, travel, walk around your home etc.
  2. Look at your digital watch or read some words.  Then look away from the watch or book.  Now look back and read again.  Have the numbers / words changed or now don’t make sense?  Dream researchers say that during a dream, they should change 95% of the time.  You’re dreaming!
  3. When you’re awake, imagine that you are dreaming.  What would your surroundings look like now?  What bizarre things might happen?
  4. What would you like to do in a lucid dream?  Imagine it in your waking hours until you can see it clearly.

Induce a lucid dream

You are now ready to try to lucid dream.  The best time to try this is after you have just awoken from a dream and are about to go back to sleep.  Researchers also say that doing this during an afternoon nap brings the best results.

  • When you go to sleep for the first time, tell yourself you will remember your dream.
  • As you go back to sleep, tell yourself that you will recognize that you are dreaming.
  • Continue focusing and imagine that you are back in the dream that you just awoke from but this time you know it is a dream.  Tell yourself that once you realize you are dreaming, you will do whatever it is you wish, such as flying etc.
  • Repeat all the steps until you fall asleep.  When you wake up, write it all down as usual.

As soon as I lucid dream I wake up!

This is common for beginners.  It’s due to the excitement of realizing what is happening.  Stay calm.  While still dreaming, make yourself spin around or move suddenly.  You are not physically spinning but your brain knows that pattern and is distracted from waking you up.  This may take a few tries and you may experience dreaming of waking up – when you are still asleep.  Just persevere and you will be able to lucid dream without waking. 

Keep practicing and your dreams will take you to a whole new level.  Enjoy!

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