Friday, August 28, 2009

Do Your Possessions Possess You?

Let's start with quotes from two people who learned very important lessons when they were facing death.

"I don't know what spiritual development really means. But I do know we're deficient in some way. We are too involved in materialistic things, and they don't satisfy us. The loving relationships we have, the universe around us, we take these things for granted" -Morrie Schwartz (an agnostic and a sociology professor)

"Whether the subject is bike racing, or cancer, or just living, comfort only takes us to a point that's known. Since when did sheets with the right thread counts, a coffeemaker, and an electric toothbrush become the only things worth having or working toward? Too often, comfort gets in the way of inner reckonings." -Lance Armstrong (an agnostic, cancer survivor, and 7-time Tour de France winner)

Here are two men with their new found wisdom while they were facing death. Not surprisingly, they echoed what the bible has been teaching us all along about the folly of putting too much focus and time on materialism (apparent in our "bling-bling" pop culture.) See Luke 12:16-21.

Don't get me wrong. I do realize there are some real necessities in materials like food, clothing, and shelter. I even think that it is necessary to maintain a certain level of appearance (because we have to make our "temple of God" presentable). However, many of us in our pop culture go overboard in our excessive spending on our appearances, on decorating our houses, and on "souping" up our cars. Our obsessions have gone way beyond necessity. Our obsessions with luxury are causing our miseries, as demonstrated from the following excerpt from Peace Pilgrim's teachings.
I remember a dear lady, who was up in years. She was working so hard and always complaining. I finally said to her, "Why in the world do you need to work so hard when you have only yourself to support?" And she said "Oh, I have to pay rent on a five room house." "A five room house!" I replied. "But you're alone in the world. Couldn't you live happily in one room?" "Oh yes," she said sadly, "but I have furniture for a five room house." She was actually working her fingers to the bone to provide a proper home for that furniture! And that happens all the time. All I can say is, don't let it happen to you.
Because of our preoccupation with materialism, we often miss the best things in life, which are free. Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them.
I'll tell you about one more woman. She was liberated, although not in the best possible way. I saw her only occasionally, but I happened to see her about a month after her huge house, in which she and her husband had been living alone since the children were grown, had burned down while they'd been out. They lost everything except the clothes they were wearing. Remembering how attached she had been to that huge house, in spite of the fact that it was such a burden for her to take care of, I started to say a few words of sympathy. But she said, "Don't sympathize with me! Now, you could have the morning after, but not now. Just think, I will never have to clean out that attic. I will never have to clean out those clothes closets. I will never have to clean that basement! Why, I've never felt so free. I just feel I'm starting life all over again!"
She and her husband were living in a sensible size apartment and, indeed, I'm sure they did experience a wonderful sense of freedom. But wouldn't it have been better if they had learned to give and had extended their surplus towards those who needed it? Then they would have been blessed by the giving, and others would have been blessed by the getting. In any case, it was a situation which liberated. (Peace Pilgrim)

If you have enough for food, if you have housing, if you have enough for clothing, if you have enough for a certain level of freedom in transportation, if you have enough money or insurance for unforeseen conditions or illnesses, and if you have enough for the basic survival necessities, you are fine and be grateful for all these things. On the other hand, it is not necessary to drive a Mercedes instead of a Honda. (That extra money you spend on a Mercedes could've been partly invested in funds to generate passive income to cover more necessary expenses and partly donated to the needy.) It is not necessary buy brand name clothing when there are a lot of beautiful clothes available for 1/3 of the price. (If you ever see me in brand name clothing by the way, they were gifts from others. The last time I bought a brand name anything was probably more than eight years ago and the price must've been drastically cut.)
I am not a slave to comfort and convenience. I wouldn't be a pilgrim if I were. We can allow false beliefs to govern our lives and be enslaved by them. Most people do not wish to be free. They would prefer to moan and chafe about how impossible it is to give up their various enslavements to possessions, food, drink, smoking, and so forth. It is not that they can't give them up--they don't really want to give them up. (Peace Pilgrim)

If I am to sum up this message in one sentence, it is this. Don't let your possessions possess you.
"I realize that if you don't have enough you won't be happy. Neither are you happy if you have too much. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest." –Peace Pilgrim
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Copyright: © 2006, 2009, This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for your web site, blog, or e-zine only if you include the following statement and web link- "Amadeo Constanzo is a leading spiritual nutrition and health expert. Free teachings from him can be found at and". You automatically have permission to post this article if you include the above statement. Otherwise, permission requests could be sent to

Shu Chan 陳樹中

Friday, August 21, 2009

Facing Uncertainties (Part 4) - Harnessing the Power of Your Mind and Spirit

“After continuous intention, visualization, and prayer, the “how” will come, and it will be done.” - Shu Chan

Now that you have some understanding of the power of your mind from , I am going to teach you one simple daily practice to harness that power. Some people neglect strategies that work only because they are simple. Sometimes, the most simple is the most effective.

The practice of SMP-walking is simple. SMP stands for Spiritual-Mental-Physical. You are not only walking physically, but you are walking your mind and your spirit. This practice did not really originate with me. I merely took the practices from people who are successful at harnessing the power of their minds, and altered them to what works for me, and combined it with my spiritual knowledge (as God has been teaching me.)

I first began to practice SMP-walking when I was in the midst of a storm, my health crisis of 2004, where I was facing the possibility of becoming legally disabled (with many rare complications and five surgeries to keep me from becoming legally disabled.) Thanks to God for the knowledge and guidance, I did not become disabled. Some of you may be in similar “uncertain” situations or know someone who is. It may be a health crisis, it may be a financial crisis, or it may be another type of “uncertain” situation. Whatever it is, the simple practice of SMP-walking to harness the power of your mind and spirit will make a huge difference in the outcome of the situation (since you are engaging the power of your mind and spirit while connecting more closely to God.

SMP-Walk Procedures
Find a safe place to walk (whether it is around the block or the park) at a safe time of the day. You could also be doing this with a partner or in a small group, but you shouldn’t be talking to each other during the walk. You should be in your own mental state. However, after the walk is over, you could share what went on in your mind with your partner or your group. (Also, if it is safe to do so, you could use your iPod and play some serene music while you walk.)

SMP-walk could last 15 minutes or it could last an hour, whatever you have time for. You should try to do it daily. It only works when it is practiced consistently. (It’s like exercising. You don’t just work out once and you become fit for life. You won’t reap any benefits if you only do it once or twice. You have to do it consistently for continuous health benefits. The same is true with this exercise of the mind and spirit.)

If you can’t yet find a safe place to walk, you can do this in a quiet room (without distractions). You could sit in place, stand in place, walk around the room, or ride on your stationary bike.

(1) Walk and breathe. Start with relaxation breathing while you walk. (Again, you could be on the stationary bike or the elliptical trainer instead of walking.) I like to count from 1 -10 repeatedly when I do this. I also add a prayer here.

(2) Affirmations. While continuing the same breathing pattern and walking, start saying, or affirming, to yourself the outcome that you want. For example, if you are going through a health crisis, say to yourself, “Everyday and every way, I am getting better and better” and “Every day and every way I am feeling better and better.” While you say this repeatedly to yourself, you should visualize how you will look like when you get better. Feel how you will feel when you get better. You could also remember how you felt when your physical health was at the best condition and feeling well. (This is especially effective for conditions involving pain.) If you have a situation with work, finance, or relationships, you could also come up with an affirmation to say to yourself and visualize/feel the desired outcome and state.

(3) Thank God in Prayer. Thank God in your mind for the things you have in your life. (Shift your mind on the part of your life that is going wrong to the parts that are going right.) Thank God for these parts of your life that you may have taken for granted. You could be thankful that you are not starving as more than half the world is. You could be thankful that you have a secure roof over your head. There are a lot of things that we take for granted that we should be thankful for. (Think of each of these things and visualize them in your mind while you thank God for them.) The second part of this is to thank God for the things that He is about to grant you. Thank God for your desired outcome even though you have not yet reached the outcome at this point (whatever your situation is.) For example, if you are facing cancer right now, thank God for the healthy cancer-free body you will achieve. (Visualize yourself in the cancer-free state and feel it, even if it has not yet manifested.)

(4) Forgive and Love. Whoever you are mad at, whoever has done you wrong no matter how great or small, forgive them right now in your mind and in your heart. Say to yourself here, “Just as God has forgiven me for my trespasses great and small, I forgive _______ .” Say this for each person who’s done you wrong. You must mean it in your heart as you say this to yourself. (This is especially important in physical healing but also important in altering other situations. I will explain this in another blog.) Now, pray for yourself and pray for these people you are forgiving. I know forgiving is sometimes hard to do. For help with this, go to –

For part 4 where I teach you how to do SpirFit Walk to harness the power of your mind, go to:

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Copyright: © 2009, This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for your web site, blog, or e-zine only if you include the following statement and web link- "Amadeo Constanzo is a leading spiritual nutrition and health expert. Free teachings from him can be found at and". You automatically have permission to post this article if you include the above statement. Otherwise, permission requests could be sent to

Shu Chan 陳樹中

Monday, August 10, 2009

Facing Uncertainties (Part 3) - Understanding the Power of Your Mind

Whatever uncertain circumstance you may be facing (now or in the future), one of the most important lessons about yourself is the power of your mind. Having this understanding makes a huge difference in the outcome of your difficult situation. This is especially true for health, or physical, conditions.

Our minds are much more powerful than most of us realize. This can be demonstrated by a concept frequently taught in undergraduate psychology courses where a picture of an iceberg is shown. The tip of the iceberg (or 10% of the iceberg) is seen above the water level. However, most people don't see 90% of the iceberg under water. Just like the iceberg, only a small portion of the mind's capabilities are seen or known to man. As much as I am amazingly discovering more of the mind's capability throughout the years, that unseen 90% of the capabilities of the mind is likely to be way beyond what I know.

In addition to this iceberg analogy, let me provide you with a real life demonstration of the amazing (but little-known) power of the mind. For a long time prior to the 1980's, a number of travelers reported that they witnessed a group of Tibetan monks in a remote part of the world in the Himalayas and how these monks were able to use their minds to achieve feats with their bodies that we would think impossible. They were reported to have the ability to significantly raise their body temperature, so much that they can dry ice-cold wet towels on their bare backs. In addition, they were able to survive subzero temperature up in the mountains wearing barely anything.

For many in the West who've heard about these monks, they skeptically concluded that it's not possible. However, teams of scientists, medical professors, and documentary film crews traveled there in the 80’s to see if the monks can really do what witnesses had reported and if true, to document what they find. Here's what they observed, documented, and verified with scientific instrumentation.

One of the common practices of these monks (as documented by the teams of scientific researchers and film crews) is the practice of soaking towels in buckets of ice-cold water and placing them on their bare backs. With the ice-cold towels on their skin, they would sit quietly and use their minds to raise their body temperature. Within approximately 20 minutes, the wet towels on their backs started steaming. In a little over an hour, the sheets became completely dry.

In some of the coldest nights of the year, the monks have a frequent practice that would kill most of us. As witnessed and documented by the researchers, these monks went up to a high point of the Himalayas not wearing much. Again, they would use their minds to raise their body temperature and stay there overnight in sub-zero temperature. They did not even quiver while the team of researchers and film crew were all bundled up with layers of coats and blankets trying to survive the freezing temperature and prevent frost-bite. In the morning, the monks nonchalantly stood up and walked back down the mountain (while the struggling team of Westerners were finally relieved.)

To ascertain that the monks temperature raising abilities are real, the scientists connected measuring equipment, for gauging body temperature, to the monks while the monks performed their mental practices. Sure enough, the equipment showed significant increase in body temperature.

The monks’ remarkable abilities to raise their body temperature seem impossible because it is against common “logic” or against anything we previously knew in the natural world. What these monks can do with their minds is part of the 90% of the unknown part of the iceberg (from my previous analogy.) I emphasize the words “small part” of the iceberg, because we and our minds probably have many many more untapped capabilities (in addition to the temperature raising abilities demonstrated by the monks.)

The first step in harnessing this potential power of you mind is KNOWING how powerful it is, and knowing that it’s more powerful than you previously imagined. I brought up the example of the Tibetan monks to demonstrate the point that we must be open to know that our minds can go beyond the limits that we previously knew.

In part 4 of this series, I will teach you a simple practice, SpirFit walking, to harness more of the power of your mind.  To find part 4, go to:

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Copyright: © 2007, 2009, This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for your web site, blog, or e-zine only if you include the following statement and web link- "Amadeo Constanzo is a leading spiritual nutrition and health expert. Free teachings from him can be found at and". You automatically have permission to post this article if you include the above statement. Otherwise, permission requests could be sent to

Shu Chan 陳樹中

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Frustrations on the Road

More than a few of you have mentioned to me about the frustrations you have when driving on the road. So, I thought I would give you a different perspective that will help you deal with road frustrations or road rage. It is not only my perspective, but I draw from wise men and other sources of wisdom (sent my way by God.)

"Do you know what I do? When someone wants to get ahead of me in traffic –when I used to be able to drive- I would raise my hand… I would raise my hand, as if I was going to make a negative gesture, and then I would wave and smile. Instead of giving them the finger, you let them go, and you smile. You know what? A lot of times they smiled back. The truth is, I don't have to be in that much of a hurry with my car. I would rather put my energies into people." -Professor Morrie Schwartz (in Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.)

Although Morrie wasn't Christian, this is a Christ-like quality he had. He shone light in situations of darkness, and spread the light to others. This was what Jesus taught and was how Jesus lived. When you shine a light on the darkness of others, the darkness disappears. When you wave and smile (an action of the light) rather than give the finger (an action of darkness), the others are more likely to wave back. I believe we've all experienced this when we smile at someone, they will naturally smile back. When you bring light in the presence of darkness , the darkness cannot remain.

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." –Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

There's really no use of getting angry on the road. Your anger will not make the bad drivers drive better (and we all know that "I am always the good driver. I've never made a driving mistake in my life. It's everybody else who are the bad drivers.") Instead, your anger will make the situation more dangerous for you, for them, and for everyone else on the road.

"So that little old lady who's driving in front of you at 20 miles per hour with that 1976 Cadillac (cream colored). You've all seen her. She's everywhere… She could hardly see over her steering wheel. And she signed an oath…that she will drive aimlessly around… testing your ability to deal with her. She's like a test. She's like a gift from God. Once you stop being mad at her for being what she is or who she is and what she's about…when you stop the anger and bitterness at who she is, and understand that SHE'S EXACTLY WHERE SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE. And she's there to teach you a very important lesson: slow down. You have to. Relax. DON'T GIVE HER CONTROL OVER THE [GODLY] PART OF YOU ... It's still there, and it's yours. It's really what constitutes your entire humanity. Don't give it away. Think of yourself as connected to [God and all His creations] and a part of it all, rather than [as] someone who is victimized, or slowed down, or abused by, or "here it happens again". It's all part of the perfection of it all. That's a very nice enlightening place to get to. It really slows you down, and it doesn't take away your ability to make choices. It takes away your WANTING THE WORLD AS YOU WANT IT TO BE instead of as IT IS. That's what defines "neurotic". That's what "neurotic" really means: to be wanting the world as you are, rather than as it is. [You need to] process it exactly as it is. It's just in how you perceive it and how you choose to process it. If you see everybody as a teacher, then you ask yourself, "What do I have to learn here?" In that second that you're just about to be angry and go around, and maybe… [about to] have a head on collision. Maybe at that moment, that person is there. That person is there to teach you to slow down a little bit." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

The key is to accept the fact that we (humans) all are not perfect, especially in our driving. We have to accept that the slow old lady driver will always be out there. We have to accept the fact that there will always be the "fast and the furious" drivers out there. To make the roads a safer place, we first have to really look OBJECTIVELY and HONESTLY at ourselves to make sure that we are not that slow old lady driver, and also not that "fast and the furious" driver. Secondly, we have to be Jesus-like and accept everyone else for their imperfection (or their imperfect driving). We must compensate for their imperfection with our defensive driving. It would not be wise to feed anger into a dangerous situation when you encounter the "slow old lady" or "the fast and the furious".

A study has been done, where they split drivers into 2 groups. Group A were the "fast and the furious" drivers weaving in and out of lanes to get to their destination as fast as they could. Group B drove at 5-10 mph above speed limit keeping one steady speed. The results of the studies showed that Group A arrived at the destination ONLY 1-3 minutes (average) before group B.

I personally replicated this study when I was living in the Bay Area. I had a friend, Anthony (not his real name). Anthony is the only person I know who always drive at the speed limit. One night, we were both driving from point A (in San Francisco, CA) to point B (in San Leandro, CA). I drove as fast as I could, trying my best to get around cars. When I got to point B, it was LESS THAN ONE MINUTE before Anthony pulled up behind me!

These are facts backed up by studies and by my individual case study. Even though we may FEEL like we are getting to our destination much faster, the fact is that we only get there 1-3 minutes faster when we jet it. Are those 1-3 minutes really worth putting your life at risk and other people's lives at risk? Are those 1-3 minutes really worth raising your stress level and blood pressure (therefore deteriorating your health)?

Driving too slow is also dangerous. Although I brought up the example of my friend Anthony who always drive the speed limit, I do not recommend driving at the speed limit. I believe driving at the speed limit is too slow and therefore dangerous (especially when we know that there will always be someone driving 90mph in a 55mph zone). I think it is best to drive 5 to 10 mph ABOVE THE SPEED LIMIT (in normal dry conditions) and try to keep it steady at that speed (with the exception of freeways with speed limits of 70mph or above. In those cases, I would do just the speed limit or no more than 5 over the speed limit.)

I, of course, am not the perfect driver. So if you see me make a mistake in my driving (if I start driving again), I have a few letters for you: PBPGINFWMY (Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet).

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