Stayin' Alive

- Our Top Ten list

by Michael Braunstein

  With due respect to the aging icon of late-night wit, David Letterman, here’s an alternative view on how to stay alive, if the body is your definition of "alive."

10. Get off your butts #1
  Stop smoking. OK, it’s a no-brainer, but people still do it. Though the national average says only one in four smoke, it is still the most preventable cause of disease and early death. Omaha seems to be above the national average judging by the number of locals tossing their butts out of car windows. In most parts of Los Angeles, that’s good for a $500 fine. Ciggies are such a fire hazard, it is even illegal to smoke in your car as you drive through canyons of the Hollywood Hills. And nicotine is its own little health hazard. Nicotine loves to go to rapidly dividing cells and wreak havoc with DNA. Lung cells and mucous membranes are faves. Got herpes or genital warts? (70 percent of sexually active women do.) Dysplasic cells have a higher rate of becoming cancerous in smokers.

9. Don’t drink alcohol
  The liquor lobby would love you to buy the line that an ounce of alcohol a day fights heart disease. Right. Alcohol is a toxin. It is hard on the body, especially the liver. And the substance in red wine that the liquor lobby researchers tout, resveratrol, is more available in white grape juice! Oh, the research may be right in a sense. Take a red-meat-eating, stressed-out, A-type and a little alcohol may cut the grease in his arteries, just as a good solvent should, and give him a few more days at the dinner table. But I’ll bet that they never ran that same research on healthy vegetarians.

8. Don’t eat animals.
  Do you read the papers? Watch TV? Then you’ve heard tons of research on the benefits of eating vegetables, whole grains and fruit. You always hear things like: "oat bran lowers cholesterol," "a substance in broccoli halts cancer cell growth," "carrots help reduce lung cancer risk," "antioxidants in apples reduce cancer," "a high fiber diet lowers colon cancer" and so on. They’re always finding healthy things about eating veggies. It’ll be one long wait at Sizzler to hear anything like that about red meat. Only in Dave Thomas’ wildest dreams will you hear "red meat lowers cholesterol" or "chicken cures salmonella" or "pork, the other cancer-preventing meat." Yep, a steak may taste good to you, but there’s no accounting for taste. Across the (cutting) board, vegetarians just plain live longer. And that other popular animal fat – milk? The billboard says "Want bones of steel?" Well, some critics say that’s likely what you’ll have if you drink milk as an adult. Opponents of milk-drinking cite research that drinking milk actually leaches calcium from adults’ bones making them weaker!

7. Wear your seat belt.
  Better yet, don’t drive at all! And toss your cell phone while you’re at it! Driving still remains one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. Compared to public transportation, getting in your car is a death warrant. That SUV you think is so safe? Not if it’s rolling on under-inflated Firestones, eh? Or if you’re turning a corner. Work at home. Just shield your computer.

6. Stay away from hospitals and doctors.
  No kidding. People die in hospitals. 106,000 die yearly from prescription drugs. Over two Viet Nams a year. And those are the ones "properly" prescribed. Most serious infections, usually antibiotic-resistant strains, are contracted in hospitals. Do all the right things that you actually know how to do to stay healthy and see a doctor only as a last resort. Too many of us run to the doctor with every sniffle. Get over it. Wanna know a well-kept secret? There are actually doctors who agree with #6.

5. Eat less
  Sounds like the opposite of what we heard when growing up, huh? Well, it’s a fact that eating is hard on the body, especially with a low nutrition/calorie ratio. Research has long shown that eating less is concurrent with longevity. But it’s no wonder we have it backwards here. You have to eat a lot of beef, Twinkies, tacos and burgers to get any amount of nutrition. Eat right and you will eat less.

4. Pray
  No kidding. Research shows that a strong spiritual focus is key to longevity too. Currently a project at Unity Village in Kansas City is investigating the health aspects of passive prayer too. How American. Maybe we can hire someone to pray for us? Just kidding.

3. Get off your butts #2 - Exercise
  The more active you remain, the longer you’ll live. And you don’t have to be a marathoner. Yoga and tai chi are apparently far more effective than Western style exercise.

2. Move to Hunza, Vilcabamba or Abkhazia
  Natives of these remote locations near Pakistan, Ecuador and Southern Russia regularly live into their 13th decade of life. No one knows why for sure. Surely Western minds will try to isolate, separate, freeze-dry and sell a reason, ignoring that it’s an holistic event.

1. Don't worry, be happy
  And finally, the number one way of stayin’ alive: ignore two through ten and just be happy. Your thoughts are the most powerful engine you own. Imagine, if you were really happy, you wouldn’t smoke, you wouldn’t drink, you’d eat less, you’d need fewer trips to the doctor and so on. And if you are really happy smoking, drinking etc., then it would have no detrimental effect.

Be well.
Heartland Healing examines various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information, not as medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Access past columns at www.HeartlandHealing.com
Are you just a body?

 Our obsession as humans seems to be with our bodies. Almost everything the average person does during the day is devoted to some sort of body thing. Really. Work, play, social interaction, shopping, eating – even when we are doing volunteer work or community action or "Habitat for Humanity," we are still focused so much on just the physical. Our bodies have become our temples. Haven’t we been warned about that before? Hmmm.
 Fact is, we are spirit, not bodies. To argue that we are bodies to any extent, the only sensible position most people would take is that we are part body, part spirit. If that be so, then the question begs, don’t we spend a disproportionate amount of time on only one aspect of our being? I mean, if we were only 50/50, spirit to body, then why is it we spend 99 percent of our time concerned, no – obsessed – with our body and bodily needs?
 Obsession with the body leads to defining "life" as that tiny swatch of time between the moment we begin using a body (birth) and the moment we stop, usually 70 to 130 years later. That’s a pretty meager allotment of reality.
 We are spirit, plain and simple. As spirit, we have a mind and a body. Spirit is. Mind has choice. Body follows mind. With that knowledge, our common idea of "healing" is misguided. Aligning with our obsession, we are always trying to "heal" the body. We even mistakenly speak of "healing" the spirit. Neither is necessary.
 Spirit is as it was created. It is eternal and unchanging. Spirit needs no healing. Most of us barely fathom the true nature of our spirit, let alone have the ability to "heal" something that is perfect anyway.
 The body, being only a communication device, is a neutral event. It follows mind. It is an effect, not a cause. If you want to truly heal something, you have to get to the cause, right? And what part of "you" is in charge of the body? Of course, the mind – consciousness.
 So, is it the body that needs healing? No, it is only the mind. Perception is all that needs be healed.
 All that being said, let’s play the game. If you want to be a body, have at it. Go to the Top Ten List.


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Michael Braunstein is Executive Director of Heartland Healing and certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners in clinical hypnotherapy. He graduated from the Los Angeles Hypnotism Training Institute and was an instructor at the UCLA Extension University for 11 years.

Heartland Healing is devoted to the examination of various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information and not as medical advice. It is not meant as an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or by Heartland Healing Center, Inc.  

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