by Amy L. Lansky, PhD

(For more information about Amy’s work, visit www.activeconsciousness.com, www.impossiblecure.com, www.amylansky.com)

Those of us who have tried meditating know that accessing the Now can enable us to hear things that we normally ignore or suppress from typical awareness — the sounds of birds, the wind, and, of course, the ever present noises of civilization.

The same goes for our vision. There is much more to be seen than typically meets the eye! Personally, I enjoy meditating with my eyes open and recommend in my book Active Consciousness that you at least begin your meditations that way. I have found that when I do, I often see things that are normally below my visual radar. These visual gems range from easily visible but somehow unseen wonders of the natural world, to phenomena that are accessible only when I attain a deeper state of awareness. I have found that when we do notice these things, we begin to experience a world that is so much more wonderful and awesome than we normally acknowledge — a world in which there is even more to be grateful for!

Let’s begin with the usually hidden wonders of nature. When I am meditating on my deck in the morning, I often notice spider-web threads floating virtually everywhere. Try it out yourself. If the light catches them just right and you are really attentive, you will notice them. During the long night, the spiders all around us are busy at work. Their threads connect the branches, the chairs, the fencing, the house. How can we not normally see them?

Then, in the dusky hours of the evening, the tiny insects of our world come out to play. Millions of tiny gnats, floating like invisible dust particles on the wind. If you look from one angle they disappear; from another, they seem to be everywhere! Now you see them, now you don’t.

Biological science tells us that almost every type of animal has its own unique form of vision or other perceptive abilities. Dogs may not see as well as we do — they cannot even see color — but their noses enable them to experience an infinitely complex world that is completely invisible (or unsmellable!) to us. Can we imagine what insects or birds see? For example, eagles really do have “eagle eyes.” In the homeopathic proving of bald eagle blood, the test subjects experienced some amazing visual symptoms.

The fact is, the world around us is really composed of millions of interwoven parallel worlds. Each type of creature lives in its own reality. The human world is nothing like that of the dragonfly world. Indeed, every single human lives within his or her own unique world of thought and understanding too.

Given all of this, how can we be so sure that what we perceive with our own personal senses defines the only truth? We can’t even normally see the spider webs floating all around us! And yet, most of us normally close our minds (at least much of the time) to the existence of these parallel realities. If we can expand our belief systems and even our perceptive abilities to include the realm of our higher energy bodies, or even higher spatial dimensions (both of which I describe at length in my book Active Consciousness), how much more amazing our universe would become for us! If we can attain even a slightly deeper state of awareness through meditation, many of us begin to sense and even see the etheric energy body, in the form of auras.

Here is a list of other realms that are typically beyond our “normal” awareness. Some are invisible to us because they move too quickly. Others because they change too slowly. Some simply need to be viewed from a different “angle”. And others can (or potentially could) be accessed through some new form of “technology” — whether scientific, or consciousness-based. Can you think of others? For each one, consider what you might typically be ignoring, simply because you don’t stop and look!

- The electromagnetic field. (Just think of cell phone and wi-fi radiation.) - Nuclear radiation. - Climate change. - Different psychological or cultural ways of looking at the world. - UFOs (Are they real? Many people claim that they simply move too quickly for us to see, or that they operate in parallel or higher spatial dimensions.) - Nature spirits or devas. - The spirit world of the departed.
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**ABOUT THE AUTHOR:** *Amy Lansky was a NASA researcher in artificial intelligence when her life was transformed by the miraculous homeopathic cure of her son’s autism. In 2003, she published **Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy,** now one of the best-selling introductory books on homeopathy worldwide (*[*www.impossiblecure.com*](http://www.impossiblecure.com/index.php)*). Since then, Lansky has broadened her investigations to include ancient and modern teachings about consciousness, psychic phenomena, synchronicity, meditation, and our collective power to evolve and transform our world. The result is her second book, **Active Consciousness: Awakening the Power Within**, published in 2011 (*[*www.activeconsciousness.com*](http://www.activeconsciousness.com)*). Her blog can be found at: [www.amylansky.com](http://www.amylansky.com).*

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How Hiking Changes the Brain, Based On Science

Those of us who love being outside in nature probably aren’t too surprised that hiking can have benefits for the brain, but now researchers are saying that they’ve found actual positive changes made by the brain after going on hikes.

Reducing negative thought patterns

How many of us have a bad habit of being incredibly hard on ourselves or always thinking negatively? It can be hard to control that inner dialogue that is constantly churning, constantly saying negative things. A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discovered that being outside in nature helps reduce the amount of negative, obsessive thoughts that an individual has throughout the day.

The study focused on the rumination levels of people who spent time hiking in the great outdoors versus people hiking through urban environments. Subjects who spent 90 minutes walking in a natural environment said they had less feelings of rumination and showed reduced subgenual prefrontal cortex activity, which is the part of the brain closely tied to mental illness. Subjects who spent their time in the urban environment did not report decreases in rumination.

Creative problem solving and exercise

Exercise is often touted as one of the most, if not the most, important things for humans to do regularly. Why? Because it helps improve your health in almost every way. And hiking is a great way to get outside and pursue active goals while also helping to boost one’s mental health.

Research out of the University of British Columbia has discovered that exercise helps reduce and prevent memory loss in older folks and has similar benefits for people of all ages. Particularly, exercise is great for boosting one’s self esteem while reducing stress and anxiety.

Another great benefit was discovered by psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David Strayer, who found a strong link between one’s capacity for creative problem solving and ditching technology while being out in nature. Subjects in their study were asked to backpack through a natural environment for at least 4 days without using any sort of technological device. Along their trip, they were tasked with problems that forced them to problem solve in creative and complex ways.

What they found? Creative problem solving performance rates went up by about 50 percent for everyone who participated in the free-hike adventure. This lead the researchers to note that technology and the ambiance of urban environments often keep an individual from focusing, which eventually leads to mental fatigue. Long hikes in nature without these disturbances help calm the mind, reduce fatigue and ultimately increase one’s ability to think and creatively problem solve.

So, are you ready to start hiking yet? Put your boots on, grab your pack and get on the trail! You won't regret it.

h/t Collective Evolution

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This Is What Happens When You Stop Using So Many Cosmetic Products

Photo Credit: tomwang / 123RF Stock Photo

Researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas recently conducted a study that illustrated the dramatic changes that happen to one’s body after even just a short break is taken from using cosmetic products such as shampoo, sunscreen, soap and other personal hygiene amenities.

Published in Environmental Health Perspectives journal, the study had 100 teenage Latina girls try out personal care and cosmetic products that did not contain chemicals commonly found in traditional and conventional personal care products, such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone. Studies involving animals have shown that these chemicals can actually directly affect the body’s endocrine system, which is why they are being targeted for study regarding human use now.

“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health and study lead author, Kim Harley.

“Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”

What the study discovered

After just three days of the Latina girls using products without the chemicals mentioned above, their bodies had significant reactions. Urine samples revealed decreases in all levels of these chemicals in the body. Methyl and propyl parabens fell by 45 percent, metabolites of diethyl phthalate fell by 27 percent, and triclosan and benzophenone-3 both had 36 percent decreases.

“The results of the study are particularly interesting on a scientific level, but the fact that high school students led the study set a new path to engaging youth to learn about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities. After learning of the results, the youth took it upon themselves to educate friends and community members, and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento,” says Kimberly Parra, co-director of the study.

Maritza Cardenas, one of the high school students who helped design and develop the study (and who is now an undergraduate at UC Berkely), says that raising awareness about these chemicals and their effects was part of the motivation behind the study:

“One of the goals of our study was to create awareness among the participants of the chemicals found in everyday products, to help make people more conscious about what they’re using. Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.”

If you want to avoid buying these products, the best thing you can practice is checking the ingredient list. Unfortunately, many cosmetic products do not contain their ingredient list on them, so if you have any brands in particular that you like to use, it may behoove you to contact their manufacturer directly.

While “organic” and “natural” are typically good indicators, these words are also often used by marketers to sell products, meaning they might not actually be as natural or organic as you’d hoped. Buying products from health food stores is your safest bet, but again, it is wise to ask someone about what you are purchasing.

Ideally, many of the products with high amounts of chemicals will eventually be phased out as more and more people make the switch!

h/t Collective Evolution

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Common Relationship Problems Based on Your Zodiac Sign

Aries (March 21 - April 19)

Aries, you’re a fiery sign that is intent on getting your way. That means you have a hard time accepting defeat and will flat out deny anything that isn’t going according to your plan. Sometimes your partners will struggle to keep up with all of your wants and needs, and leaving toxic relationships is difficult because of your willpower and determination to save them.

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)

Taurus, you tend to be very dramatic when a partner has wronged you, but you always choose to settle the matter instead of simply calling it quits. You will sometimes struggle to communicate effectively with your partners and can be judgmental of their actions and words. You also like what you like and rarely ever see the point of compromising.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

Gemini can struggle in relationships because of their unrealistic expectations and tendency to become a little self-absorbed. You sometimes forget about your partner’s needs and desires while simultaneously fantasizing about passionate, everlasting love. Bickering over small things is normal and you can get territorial when you share living spaces.

Cancer (June 21 - July 22)

Cancers like to strut the boundary between not feeling loved enough and feeling too loved. You have irrational fears about your partners leaving you and want their affection often, but you also get uneasy when you’re shown too much affection. In a similar style, you regularly think about starting a family and settling down, but fear that you’re missing out by not staying single.

Leo (July 23 - August 22)

Leos can be hard to be with romantically because they hold a lot of their emotion inside, hidden from the rest of the world. They want things to look like they are fantastic. Financial security and a happy home life are sought after, but Leos tend to expect more from their partners than they receive. They also have a common internal struggle of never knowing whether or not someone is enough for them.

Virgo (August 23 - September 22)

Virgo have an unhealthy tendency to take on more than they can handle. They regularly get upset and hurt over the heavy burdens they take on and are prone to angry outbursts that they usually end up apologizing for. Virgos are also usually the people who want to constantly be with their partner, even though this can be a toxic habit.

Libra (September 23 - October 22)

Libras have the good and bad habit of looking through rose-colored lenses: they always choose to see the good. This sometimes has them blinded to the toxicity of the people they choose to be with. But, this makes sense, because Libras would rather lie than speak the painful words of truth. You also want to save broken people, but also expect a lot in return.

Scorpio (October 23 - November 21)

Betrayal is at the top of the list when it comes to the best ways to hurt a Scorpio. They tend to excommunicate anyone who knowingly hurts them. Scorpios tend to be the most passionate in a relationship when it first starts, but can lose interest as time passes if things aren’t going well. They like to hold grudges and rarely ever see negative comments as anything other than personal attacks.

Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21)

As the free spirited among the zodiac, Sagittarius struggle in relationships with maintaining that freedom. Wanting to travel and be in open relationships are common problems the Sagittarius will encounter. You’re not keen on reconciling differences and your relationships sometimes become exhausted due to feelings of being burnt out.

Capricorn (December 22 - January 20)

Capricorns will often sacrifice many of their own needs and desires to satisfy their partners. Along this same thought, they also tend to become comfortable in doing so. They don’t like to argue or fight, so they tend to just let problems go unsolved or assume their partner will deal with it alone. And they always have an excuse for every part of the toxic relationships they sometimes find themselves in.

Aquarius (January 21 - February 18)

Aquarius like relationships that never become stale. They need a partner who is always on their page because they’re great at communicating and absolutely hate when people can’t understand them. Staying in a stagnant relationship is not something they will do, especially because they already have a big fear of being with someone for too long and missing out on everything life has to offer.

Pisces (February 19 - March 20)

Pisces can be hard to be with because of how much they struggle to understand and express their own emotions. And when things are stressful or not going well, they tend to become quiet and reserved, potentially leading to even more confusion. If your feelings aren’t reciprocated by your partner, you feel as though the relationship is one-sided with you caring more, which can be breed feelings of resentment.

h/t Thought Catalog

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5 Reasons People With INFJ Personality Types Are So Misunderstood

Fans of the Myers-Briggs personality test will tell you that your personality type classification can be eerily accurate. Each type is assigned a series of four letters to identify it with each letter having a different meaning. Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I), Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N), Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F) and Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P).

So, when it comes to the INFJ personality type, it’s easy to understand why they can be difficult people to deal with--their traits and characteristics contradict each other all the time!

Here are five things that make the INFJ personality type so puzzling.

They can be messy and organized at the same time

The INFJ’s judging characteristic means that they are prone to organizing things in highly creative ways. On the flip side, they also have an inclination towards spontaneity. While they might start off by organizing things, including their own priorities and plans, sometimes they choose to leave these master plans behind in favor of random chance. This is why they can seemingly destroy their own plans at a moment’s notice--because they’re ready to embrace the mess.

They need alone time and social time

The clash between being introverted (I) and feeling (F) leaves INFJ’s focused on their life away from their peers, friends and family, but also in need of companionship. This is why they tend to be somewhat private people while also showing incredible sensitivity and caring towards others. Some days the INFJ just wants to be alone; other days they want to have deep sessions of socialization that see them having meaningful conversations.

They exhibit both rationality and extreme creativity

The conflict between rationality and creativity is that the INFJ is chock-full of amazing ideas, but often ridicules and criticizes them before they have a chance to come to fruition. This is why they often start grand projects or begin to chase big dreams, only to quit them halfway through. They’re also quite sensitive when criticized by others; they’re afraid of it. So, they will sometimes keep their creative sides to themselves, which can see them become unhappy or depressed.

They have no problem standing up for others; struggle to stand up for themselves

The INFJ’s strong inclination towards justice will often see them standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. If an INFJ doesn’t think something is fair or just, they’ll undoubtedly fight to make things right. On the other hand, when they’re the ones being injusticed, they sometimes find it hard to want to fight for themselves. This is often due to low self-esteem.

They can be carefree and easygoing, while simultaneously striving for perfection

INFJ’s tend to be relaxed, easygoing and harmonious people, except when it comes to things that require order and perfection. The judging (J) aspect of the INFJ lends to their strong system of values and need to be perfect. The intuitive (I) side of the INFJ lends to their carefree, spontaneous side. Together, this makes the INFJ a strange mix of “I don’t care” and “I care quite a bit.”

h/t Learning Mind

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