Spirituality-2

Could Meditation Be Bad For You?

While meditation Experts state that even a couple of minutes of meditation a day can do wonders for our brain functioning, sleep patterns and stress levels, recent reports have challenged this and highlighted the potential dangers of meditation. Some experts suggest that meditation can actually take us too far into the recesses of our minds and do more harm than good in the process. However, one of Australia’s leading meditation experts and clinical psychologist, Dr Paula Watkins, argues that these occurrences are rare and that for most people, regular meditation is a safe practice that everyone can benefit from, when practiced correctly.

“Meditation helps to give us access to parts of the mind we may not have regular contact with.  The theory is that in doing so, some people may become overwhelmed with feelings of depression and anxiety as a result,” says Paula.  “Research shows that even the smallest amounts of regular meditation can result in significant benefits to a person’s wellbeing, but it is still crucial to recognise that no one form of meditation works equally well for everyone.”

“Individual circumstances and personality must be considered to determine whether a certain style will be positive for that individual,” she says. “It’s also vital that we have realistic expectations about what meditation can bring to our lives.  It isn’t an instant panacea for everything that’s going wrong, but rather a way that we can better explore our minds, our feelings and our true selves.”

Scientifically proven and backed by years of research, Paula has shared the five things people should be aware of when meditating, in order to develop a safe practice that can be enjoyed for years to come:

Meditation doesn’t cure all

“Traditionally, meditation was used for spiritual development and considered a tool for deepening your perception of yourself and the world. Now, it is often called upon as a remedy for all our first world woes,” says Paula. She suggests that the key is to always be aware that the practice is not a cure to all our problems. “We need to be realistic. Meditation will not somehow eradicate negative thinking or problems from our lives. But research shows that it can help us change the relationship we have with our own thoughts and with the experiences of our daily life so that we are less reactive and resistant to them. We no longer enter into such a battle with reality” says Dr Paula.

Beware of intensive retreats

“When meditating, you are tuned into your physical, mental and emotional senses, and so you may start to release all sorts of pent up issues,” says Dr Paula. “People who visit intensive meditation retreats after years of blocked and suppressed emotions can sometimes experience a rude awakening. It’s crucial to know that meditation on these intensives is not all bliss. It can be kind of like a psychological boot camp. Proper guidance is crucial here. It’s also important that you research the technique and the teacher first to explore whether that particular retreat is likely to be a good fit for you”.

Meditation is not a substitute for therapy

“Many people look to meditation as a quick and easy fix for all their problems and get confused as to how to use it correctly” says Dr Paula. “While meditation may help with certain issues, I recommend not solely relying on this if you are mentally vulnerable and in need of emotional support.” It is always important to seek help or see a therapist to address any underlying problems, and Dr Paula urges meditation teachers to be upfront and honest about this when working with their clients.

It’s not a one size fits all approach

While people often ask Dr Paula which meditation technique she thinks is best, she stresses that there is no straight up answer for this – “I recommend trying a few styles and then practicing what feels right for you,” she advises. If you have a specific purpose for meditating, then it will be much easier to make the right choice. “For example, if you’re looking to relax then choose a style that deeply soothes you. If you want to deal with negative thoughts especially – mindfulness approaches are the best practice to take.”

Meditation is not for everyone

“We’ve become increasingly aware from years of research that for some people, mindfulness can trigger anxiety, depression or flashbacks to past traumas,” Dr Paula states. As a clinical psychologist herself, she advises that although meditation can be beneficial to happiness and wellbeing, it should be performed under guidance if you are working through any emotional or mental issues.

Dr Paula has recently launched a nine week online course which offers weekly training modules that include easy-to-follow videos introducing you to the technique for the week. There is guided audio to help you practice, e-books that share the psychology and neuroscience behind the techniques and workbooks, journals and calendars to help you track your progress and stay committed to your meditation practice.

Dr Paula will also be hosting a live workshop of the course at the InYoga Studios in Surry Hills from the 9th – 30th August. For more details please visit www.inyoga.com.au/whats-on/event/calm-conscious-connected-1 Membership to Dr Paula’s Calm, Conscious and Connected course costs $199 as a one-off payment, or $55 over four instalments.  This fee provides six month access to the course, as well as the exclusive members-only forum where people can interact with Paula as well as other participants. For more information or to sign up, visit: www.calmconsciousconnected.com

June 30, 2015

A Beginner’s Guide To Yoga

Over the last few years, yoga has become increasingly popular due to the many physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits. Regular practice of yoga postures, breath exercises, relaxation, concentration, self-inquiry and meditation cultivates health & wellbeing A low-impact exercise, Yoga postures can be practiced by anyone at any age and at any fitness level.

With the new year already moving into full gear, what better way to start afresh with your yoga practice than with a guide outlining everything you need to know – from what to wear to safety measures. If you’re new to yoga, you want to find out as much information as you can to help build a better foundation to your practice, therefore minimising injury and maximising health benefits.

Here are a few handy tips to get you on the right track and ignite your inner yogi this New Year:

Where should I start practicing and which class or style should I take?

If you’re new to yoga or haven’t practiced in a while, beginner or foundation classes are a great way to start out as they can guide you along the right track and get you motivated. This will help build the right foundations for more advanced poses and yoga styles later down the track.

Another important aspect is finding a qualified and registered teacher to ensure you are practicing Yoga in the safest manner possible. Visit yogaaustralia.org.au to find a suitably qualified teacher in your area.

There are so many different styles of Yoga practice with some more challenging than others. A good place to start is with a Hatha or Vinyasa class, depending on whether you prefer to work slowly or work up more of a sweat. As you become more confident, you can try other styles to see which one suits you most. Your first class is always a little daunting and it’s natural to feel uncoordinated but don’t worry, this is perfectly normal and you won’t be alone. Make sure you let the instructor know it’s your first class and about any injuries you may have.

What should I wear to my first class? Do I need to bring anything?

When practicing yoga, you should wear comfortable clothing that you can move freely in. Consider that you might be doing postures where a t-shirt may ride-up. Yoga is traditionally practiced barefoot, but there are non-slip socks on the market if you’re not ready to get your feet out in public!

Check with the studio or gym where you are attending the class to see if they have mats, otherwise you may need to bring your own. You can get quality mats from most sports stores. When attending your first class remember to bring a bottle of water to help keep you hydrated and a towel to wipe any sweat.

What can I expect in a yoga class?

Try to arrive at least 15 minutes early to your first class and avoid eating anything for two hours before (water is fine). You may need to sign enrolment forms and you’ll get a chance to speak to your teacher. This is a good opportunity to introduce yourself to your teacher, let them know you’re just starting out and you can also discuss any concerns or injuries you may have before you begin your practice. Plus this gives you time to settle in, relax and prepare for your practice in class. Make sure you switch off your mobile phone and enter the room quietly.

Once the class has begun, your teacher will start by going through a series of different postures and poses. They will offer students alternatives and modified poses, geared toward different levels of experience. Listen to your body and only try a more challenging pose if you feel comfortable. Yoga isn’t a competitive sport so don’t feel the need to keep up with everyone else in the class, go at your own pace. The more you practice the easier it will be and you will quickly progress.

Safety measures and precautions

Yoga may look comparatively less impacting on your body than other physical activities; however, there is still a risk of injury especially if you don’t understand how to enter and hold a particular posture or push beyond your body’s limits.

Here are some tips to help you develop the safest yoga practice:

  • Pick the right yoga style: If you are still quite new to yoga, start with a series of classes that are aimed at beginners. That way you can build a solid foundation of knowledge and alignment principles before you try something more challenging.
  • Be in tune with your body: Safety in yoga is about knowing your limitation and being comfortable in staying within those limitations while practicing yoga. As a student, you carry the responsibility of advising the teacher prior to commencing the yoga practice of any injuries or other factors that might affect your safe practice.
  • Pick the right yoga teacher: It’s important that your teacher is qualified and registered as part of a governing body such as Yoga Australia (link thru). This will ensure you are practicing yoga in the safest manner possible and with a teacher who knows what they’re doing . It’s important that the teacher understands how to teach a posture correctly and recognises when a posture, position or breath practice is just not suitable for a particular student. Don’t worry if you don’t ‘click’ with the teacher straight away – it doesn’t mean the practice or style isn’t for you and it might be worth trying a few others until you find one you click with.

The teacher is there as a guide so if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! You are always your own best teacher. Honour what your body is telling you that day and if it says to rest, come out of the post and take a break. There are no prizes in yoga for hurting yourself.

If you have any questions about Yoga, visit the yogaaustralia.org.au for more information and to find a teacher in your area

February 15, 2015

Make Peace With Yoga

Ok, so you’ve tried a walk through the nearby garden, made yourself a cup of herbal tea and tried enjoying it on your terrace with a view of falling leaves. You’ve also talked to a friend and intensively googled DIY techniques to relax. You’ve also given sleep a chance or two. But nothing seems to work. Have you tired making peace with you soul lately? Let yoga do that for you.

Believe me when I say it works. I have seen it do wonders for me.

Soon after my return from Afghanistan last year, where I had been on a war reporting fellowship, I realised that while I had gained something professionally, I had lost some, too, personally. My soul was bruised from the misery I had witnessed and the agony I had seen the local people go through. Their pain concealed from the eyes of the world, to which the only way to peek into the sore country is five minutes of media reports.

Every night, I would close my eyes to return to images of mutilated men and women and underfed, underdressed children trembling in cold, most not making it through the night. That is when I knew I needed some magic, and tried this phenomenal thing called yoga.

Over thousands of years, yogis have been trying to find an answer to this spiritual mystery, but all they have found is peace and so did I.

Apart from the established health benefits of everyday yoga, this practice is a great way to mediate and cleanse one’s inner self, by aligning one’s chakras (seven energy points in the body that should be aligned in a 90 degree angle from the head to the backbone) that are mostly disturbed, unknowingly affecting the entire way we think, process and react to situations.

Man has articulately developed a cage around him and trapped himself inside it, oblivious of the damages it is doing to his natural freedom. He has created each cage rod with the lust of money, sex and power. He is stuck and desperate to set himself free. It is important to revive the butterfly inside us, and trust me yoga can do that for us.

The biggest freedom is to smile and not think about what brought it. Can you smile without giving it a thought as you read this and then feel good about it knowing you did not have a reason to do it? Can you start your day without the ‘fear of the unknown’ that might take moments like these away? If your answer is no, the question is what have you been waiting for? Just remember:

  • It won’t cost you anything but the benefits are valuable.
  • You don’t need to have any religious affiliation or formal registration with an instructor to begin your yoga sessions. You just need 30 minutes of your day.
  • You don’t have to be an expert. You can start at home and begin with simple yoga positions, or called asanas, that should not last more than 30 minutes to begin with. The timings can be increased by 10 minutes every week, taking it to an hour and then keeping it that way.
  • Always treat your body tenderly and never push yourself more than what you can take. The first few weeks will add flexibility to your body, especially the back. You just have to be committed to yourself and the strength will come itself. I promise you’ll feel the ‘lightness’ in your soul the very first day.
  • Using a yoga mat is preferable, but if you don’t have one, you can also start using a thin mat/rug on a flat, non-slippery floor. And, don’t forget to download some mediation music for free.

Since practicing yoga, I have not only learned to be more relaxed and happy, I have also miraculously learned to manage my anger issues. I have less back pains than before and I sleep like a baby. Coupled with the will, you don’t have an idea what gift you are about to present to your body and soul. And the next time you smile without a reason, thank me.

Stay tuned for more on the magic of yoga, simple positions and how to mediate for each chakra. Till then, stay happy and start warming up.

By Ayesha Hasan

June 1, 2014

How To Quit Bitching

Have you ever monitored your daily bitching?

I recently tried a bitch-free month where I was forbidden to speak or write in negative terms about anyone.  Oh, how virtuous and high horsey of you, I hear you groan. Perhaps my motivations began being slightly high horsey, but what I discovered about the power behind trash talk was bigger than I thought.

Let me say, it was an extremely challenging mission and took colossal amounts of will and determination to curb my relentless enthusiasm for negative natter. Initially I thought that eliminating my trash talk about other people would be as simple as just stopping the behaviour, but then it dawned on me that some relationships I had with certain people were based on trash talk. It didn’t seem like bitching and if we stretched the truth we could certainly say we were just ‘bouncing ideas about other people off each other’.

Yet the truth of it was, it was negative and served no one, especially not us.  It was a petty waste of time born from some shameful attempt at trying to make us feel better about ourselves by judging other people.

Beyond the obvious sentiments that bitching is no good for anyone, and that women will never gain equality until we stop talking about each other behind each other’s backs; I discovered much more.

After attempting to stop engaging in any negative speak about people, I began to censor all of my communication. “Does this sound negative?”…“could that be construed as bitching?” It wasn’t just people I had to stop talking about, I realised it was everything: events, work situations, family matters and even my depressing view of current politics.   Analysing the tone and content of my texts, emails and phone calls was a very sobering exercise. Even when I was not speaking negative about anyone, a hint of complaint, blame and judgment was lurking and wanting to nuzzle into conversations.  This was huge.

The ‘aha’ moment came to me when after just a few days of not speaking negatively about things; my attitude began to change about my life in current time.  My world became a nicer place.

I am not one who believes that we should only have positive thoughts. An ability to judge the world around us is a survival skill that no one should abandon. However, there comes a point when our addiction to negativity could potentially be the cause of us not getting what we truly want.

“If we fall into the habit of bitching and whinging, we start to believe our own spin, this then shapes our brain so we then process all of the input into our brain through a negative bitching lens,” says psychologist Jodi Nilsson.

So, it’s by no means some mystical energetic realm that by positive thoughts bring positive outcomes, but something more simplistic. We do create our own reality via our own thoughts.

If you find yourself judging, bitching or complaining, just stop for a while and see what happens.

Do you think society bitches and complains too much?

Deanna Coleman is the founder of eco news and sustainable food website Cook My Way.

September 25, 2013

Spiritual search

Lost, confused, looking for meaning? A good cup of tea and a quick lie down does the trick for some but others are opting for some serious soul-searching. Here we explore steps to finding what it is you need…Can’t find the perfect pair of Manolo Blahniks? Miffed that you can’t get a bungalow on the beach at Lizard Island? Forget about it. The only thing the cool crowd are spending time and money on these days is their spirituality. In the late 80s we had re-birthing and floatation tanks. The early 90s heralded our obsessive discovery of aromatherapy and its cure-all qualities. Then came the East in the late 90s. Bad Feng Shui in our homes suddenly became one of the causes of an unsatisfying existence. In the new millennium we’ve all been there, done that, looked high and low, been high and low and we want to talk about it. We are all happy to question and find new ways to ‘get happy’. After going as far as we can materialistically all of us are starting to ask why? If our marriage is unhappy, we question. If we are alone we want to confront the demons that have put us there. If our work is unfulfilling we look for a change. No longer do we just want to plod along blissfully ignorant and blaming our past. We all want more and it’s become pretty clear that we’ve all been searching for one thing: ourselves.

Personal development is current. It’s the hottest ticket in town and self-acceptance is the key. To know yourself and to like what you see gives you more kudos than that ‘must have’ Prada saddle bag or Platinum American Express card. It’s now hip to search for more meaning in our lives and the A-list are onto it. Richard Gere and Uma Thurman have been devoted Buddhist for years. Ex-Spice Gerri Halliwell has recently ‘found herself’ through Eastern religions and leading man of the moment Tony Martin cheerfully admits he stumbled across a course that enriched his life.

Everyone is finding a spiritual pocket to suit themselves. Some like to do it alone. Others in pairs and many prefer large forums. There is an array of courses out there to choose from. The Landmark Forum, The Spirit of Freedom or the 10-day retreat of Vipashnaa are just a few to mention. “The fragile nature of life has never been more obvious. We have become emotionally bereft as a society,” says clinical psychologist Dr Susan Ballinger. “Our society is more and more dependent on material things and less and less caring about human beings. By doing a course where you are encouraged to talk about your problems in a non-judgemental environment – it might just be the answer for you.”

The reasons for people doing the Landmark Forum differ. Some people sense ‘something’ is missing in their lives and they’ve heard about the program and want to give it a go. Others have specific problems to look at or work out; be it relationship, family or work-related. Landmark Education offers a series of courses entitled Curriculum for Living. The first is an intensive three-day course called The Forum. Over 125,000 people participate in Landmark’s programs annually, making Landmark one of the largest, most relevant and diverse ‘campuses’ in the world. On any given weekend, there are about three or four Forums going on around the world. Indeed the very next question on many people’s lips would be, “Is this a cult?” “That wasn’t my experience of it. It wasn’t a cult for me.” claims actor Tony Martin.

Anyone can leave at anytime and if people leave before mid-afternoon on the first day (which takes place over three 14 hour days and one evening), they get their entrance fee of $430 back. “I went into the first programme a sceptic and cynic,” says Martin. “It’s an intense three days. It’s amazing. I came out stimulated and refreshed. They opened up areas of thinking I hadn’t pursued before. I didn’t get fixed up – that is not what it was about for me.” What The Landmark media kit offers to deliver to you is to, “move beyond the limits you have set for yourself and break through to new levels of accomplishment, enjoyment, and self-expression”. Is it for the lost soul? Sandy Bernasek, from The Landmark’s media department says, “Frankly, people don’t do this because they need it. They are already successful and accomplished. They just feel they are missing something in their lives.”


Another intensive course attracting a lot of attention is the Spirit of Freedom. Spirit of Freedom clients openly admit they have turned their businesses around, improved relationships and generally got rid of any negativity in their lives. A weekend course requiring a fee promises to deliver you, ‘positive ways of dealing with your life and the opportunity to clear away any negativity so that you can move and live your life to the fullest.’ Some even say it has saved their lives. However it is impossible to get details about what really happens there. Positive affirmations – only. It is shrouded in secrecy and the organisers are highly protective of any negative publicity. Contact details are difficult to get hold of and they pride themselves on people discovering this intensive course via word-of-mouth.

Vipassana lies at the other end of the spiritual spectrum. Free – donation only. It is a 10-day live-in retreat during which participants follow a prescribed Code of Discipline, learn the basics of the method and practice enough to experience the benefits of its results. Vipassana, which means ‘to see things as they really are’, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a remedy for universal ills. Teacher Patrick Given-Wilsen says, “It’s a practical course and a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body. We are teaching people to listen to what is going on inside and accept it.” It is no camping holiday though. The course requires hard serious work. For the duration of the training each student is asked to observe the five precepts:

To refrain from the use of intoxicants and drugs.

To refrain from lying

To refrain from stealing

To refrain from sexual misconduct

To refrain from killing

The thought of 10 days silence can sound intimidating, but Given-Wilsen confirms, “You should not talk amongst the other Vispassana devotees but you are encouraged to talk to the teachers and managers at anytime. There is a daily interview where students can express verbally their experiences.” Sound scary – no daily chit-chat? Apparently the training, if followed diligently will lead to a calmer mind and inner peace.

Like The Landmark and Spirit of Freedom, people find themselves at Vipashnaa for different reasons. Some are genuinely lost and need direction. Others like nurse and mother of three teenagers, Anna Adams says she needed a, “strong thing. Ten days in silence seemed strong. I’ve had a hard life and I wanted to learn how to live happily. My original reason was because I was intolerant of everything. My first Vipashnaa was in 1989 and it was extreme. I liked the silence and knew immediately from the first day that this was the right thing for me. It was really powerful.” So powerful in fact that Adams is into her tenth year. “I go every year and do the 10 days and consequently I have developed as a person. It is different every visit. You start to see things in a new light. My self-talk is a lot more positive and I am more tolerant and less self-centred. I’m glad I found it. It works for me.”

The entire 10 days is actually a mental training. Just as we use physical exercise to improve our bodily health, apparently Vipashnaa can be used to develop a healthy mind. “Stripping back all the material things in your life can be very powerful,” says Dr Ballinger. “Maybe Vipasana is not taking you over as much as some of the intense three-day courses. You’re not force fed or led into anything that you don’t want.” People from all walks of life have found Vipashnaa helpful and beneficial to their day-to-day lives. Given Wilsen is continually overwhelmed by the noticeable change he sees in people, “To see the transformation in them is extraordinary. They arrive tense and leave glowing.”

Vipashnaa like The Landmark Forum is not some quick fix. If it does not come naturally to you then it probably isn’t the right thing for you. As Martin confirms, “I’ve done other courses and The Landmark is the one that really worked for me.” People who are emotionally happy already can benefit from making the decision to do a course. As Martin says, “I think my acting has improved because I was able to see why a character behaved a certain way. It helped me deal with fears about being in front of people. I am closer to my family and friends.” Dr Ballinger backs this up, “If a course teaches you to communicate better and it promotes confidence boosting skills then this can’t be a bad thing.” Ballinger worries about the emotionally vulnerable people. “There are so many out there. I wouldn’t recommend any courses to anyone that suffers from anxiety disorders such as panic attacks or phobias. Nor would I encourage the clinically depressed to do them.”

If it’s a course that has helped you face the music of your life and ‘save it’ – so-to-speak and set you on the road to true happiness and given you more depth then that is a good thing.

Soul Food

Vispassana Mediation Centres around Australia

Sydney: (02) 4787 7436

Victoria: (03) 5961 5722

Queensland: (07) 5485 2452

Tasmania: (03) 6263 6785

Perth: (08) 9435 4858

The Landmark Forum

www.landmarkforum.com

August 27, 2002

Spiritual search cont…


Another intensive course attracting a lot of attention is the Spirit of Freedom. Spirit of Freedom clients openly admit they have turned their businesses around, improved relationships and generally got rid of any negativity in their lives. A weekend course requiring a fee promises to deliver you, ‘positive ways of dealing with your life and the opportunity to clear away any negativity so that you can move and live your life to the fullest.’ Some even say it has saved their lives. However it is impossible to get details about what really happens there. Positive affirmations – only. It is shrouded in secrecy and the organisers are highly protective of any negative publicity. Contact details are difficult to get hold of and they pride themselves on people discovering this intensive course via word-of-mouth.

Vipassana lies at the other end of the spiritual spectrum. Free – donation only. It is a 10-day live-in retreat during which participants follow a prescribed Code of Discipline, learn the basics of the method and practice enough to experience the benefits of its results. Vipassana, which means ‘to see things as they really are’, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a remedy for universal ills. Teacher Patrick Given-Wilsen says, “It’s a practical course and a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body. We are teaching people to listen to what is going on inside and accept it.” It is no camping holiday though. The course requires hard serious work. For the duration of the training each student is asked to observe the five precepts:

To refrain from the use of intoxicants and drugs.

To refrain from lying

To refrain from stealing

To refrain from sexual misconduct

To refrain from killing

The thought of 10 days silence can sound intimidating, but Given-Wilsen confirms, “You should not talk amongst the other Vispassana devotees but you are encouraged to talk to the teachers and managers at anytime. There is a daily interview where students can express verbally their experiences.” Sound scary – no daily chit-chat? Apparently the training, if followed diligently will lead to a calmer mind and inner peace.

Like The Landmark and Spirit of Freedom, people find themselves at Vipashnaa for different reasons. Some are genuinely lost and need direction. Others like nurse and mother of three teenagers, Anna Adams says she needed a, “strong thing. Ten days in silence seemed strong. I’ve had a hard life and I wanted to learn how to live happily. My original reason was because I was intolerant of everything. My first Vipashnaa was in 1989 and it was extreme. I liked the silence and knew immediately from the first day that this was the right thing for me. It was really powerful.” So powerful in fact that Adams is into her tenth year. “I go every year and do the 10 days and consequently I have developed as a person. It is different every visit. You start to see things in a new light. My self-talk is a lot more positive and I am more tolerant and less self-centred. I’m glad I found it. It works for me.”

The entire 10 days is actually a mental training. Just as we use physical exercise to improve our bodily health, apparently Vipashnaa can be used to develop a healthy mind. “Stripping back all the material things in your life can be very powerful,” says Dr Ballinger. “Maybe Vipasana is not taking you over as much as some of the intense three-day courses. You’re not force fed or led into anything that you don’t want.” People from all walks of life have found Vipashnaa helpful and beneficial to their day-to-day lives. Given Wilsen is continually overwhelmed by the noticeable change he sees in people, “To see the transformation in them is extraordinary. They arrive tense and leave glowing.”

Vipashnaa like The Landmark Forum is not some quick fix. If it does not come naturally to you then it probably isn’t the right thing for you. As Martin confirms, “I’ve done other courses and The Landmark is the one that really worked for me.” People who are emotionally happy already can benefit from making the decision to do a course. As Martin says, “I think my acting has improved because I was able to see why a character behaved a certain way. It helped me deal with fears about being in front of people. I am closer to my family and friends.” Dr Ballinger backs this up, “If a course teaches you to communicate better and it promotes confidence boosting skills then this can’t be a bad thing.” Ballinger worries about the emotionally vulnerable people. “There are so many out there. I wouldn’t recommend any courses to anyone that suffers from anxiety disorders such as panic attacks or phobias. Nor would I encourage the clinically depressed to do them.”

If it’s a course that has helped you face the music of your life and ‘save it’ – so-to-speak and set you on the road to true happiness and given you more depth then that is a good thing.

Soul Food

Vispassana Mediation Centres around Australia

Sydney: (02) 4787 7436

Victoria: (03) 5961 5722

Queensland: (07) 5485 2452

Tasmania: (03) 6263 6785

Perth: (08) 9435 4858

The Landmark Forum

www.landmarkforum.com

August 27, 2002