Everyone we know is experiencing some form of increased "pressure" during these transforming times. These pressures may appear in the form of financial struggles, relationship challenges or health issues. It is helpful to understand from both a scientific and spiritual view point, that any particular form comprises only a small percentage of "all that is" about your life. It is equally helpful to live life from the perspective that you are one part of a collective. One individual calling forth the changes we are experiencing collectively. We do not want things to remain the same! Thus we must be better pre-pared to adapt to the even greater changes we know are coming. By understanding that we actually are creating this reality, this knowing becomes the impetus to evolve both as an individual and as a species. We are evolving as a species one individual at a time! New discoveries in Biology are actually proving scientifically what the great sages and saints of our history have been saying for thousands of years: We Are ONE!

In this human form, we tend to focus on what we can see. It sure seems as if we are separate from each other and our environment. Yet many of us have had momentary glimpses of another reality, one in which we are all interconnected through the One Spirit that animates all life, and it cloaks us in abundance, beauty and divine love. This view of life feels more real to us. It also feels good because it evokes love, compassion and awe, emotions that are directly linked to our wellbeing. Studies have shown that the greater our feeling of connectedness, the less stressed we are. Positive emotions help us to meet life's challenges with grace and to sustain meaningful relationships. They account for the increased health and vitality among elderly people who have pets, or a circle of good friends, and are the reason that happily married couples live longer than singles. Yet because our interconnection defies our senses, and our logical mind only recognizes our separateness, positive emotional experiences are short-lived for most of us in our day-to-day lives. They are transient and unpredictable, wiped out in an instant when an event passes by that is not to our liking.

Just as our sense of connection evokes positive emotions our sense of separation brings negative ones that pull us even further away from Oneness. They bump us out of present moment awareness which is the only place that Oneness can be found. The more separate we feel the more depressed, angry and stressed we become. Our isolation brings a sense of scarcity and we feel as if we are in competition for limited resources. We know that stress taxes the immune system and other natural defense systems in the body, making us prone to cancer, heart attacks and other life threatening illnesses. In short, we die sooner.

Unfortunately, as adults, our natural tendency leans closer to separation and negative emotional experiences, than to our interconnection and positive ones. Even when we know that we are Spirit at our very core, we function in a constant state of forgetfulness thinking that our physical form is all there is. It is as if our short-term memory of One Spirit can last only a few moments and we must reconnect to it on an ongoing basis. This is why we need a daily practice... to remember. In this remembering we can hold the Oneness, even though unseen, in a balance with the visible world. It affords us the perspective of the modern mystic, of seeing the divine through our human form and we become authentic leaders. We change the world by changing ourselves and lead through love, compassion for each other, and appreciation of life's gifts.

It stands to reason that the more that we can stabilize positive emotions, the healthier, happier and more compassionate we will be. We will live longer and become better leaders. But how can we evoke and stabilize these emotions? Is there something we can do beyond focusing on our breath in mediation, or trying to think better feeling thoughts? Can we draw upon the wisdom of our body to bring positive emotions more to the forefront of our lives?

Scientists have been studying the biology of stress for years. We know that it triggers the Fight or Flight Response. Regulated through the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the hormone adrenaline, it acts to quickly ramp up processes that increase our energy level, such as heartbeat, respiration and blood flow, and it shuts down digestion. Although this shutdown helps us better fight an adversary or flee from a predator, habitual negative thoughts and emotions can keep the system revved up for long periods of time, causing the physiological burnout that compromises our health.

What most of us don't know is that our body also responds when we reach out to connect to others and to the natural world. In addition to the biology of stress, there is the biology of love and compassion, and it also under the control of the ANS. It is regulated through an alternate pathway to the one used for the stress response. While the former increases the heart rate and slows down nonessential processes to prepare for fight or flight, the Compassion Response slows down the heart rate, slows down breathing and relaxes us. It sustains positive emotions, such as love and compassion by synchronizing the heart, the brain and the nervous and hormonal systems. This response is coor-dinated through the vegus nerve which resides in the chest. It produces a feeling of liquid warmth that spreads throughout the heart area when it is activated. It also triggers the secretion of oxytocin, the hormone which elicits a sense of trust, love and compassion.

Research at the Institute of Heart Math has shown that we can bring on the Compassion Response by simply slowing our breathing. It is strengthened even further if we consciously generate feelings of love and appreciation, and imagine breathing directly through the heart area. This triggers positive feelings through the ANS and evokes feel-ings of security and well-being. This practice has the added benefit of over-riding nega-tive thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Through practice, the Compassion Response becomes stronger and more enduring. In time, simply visualizing our breathing through the heart during a challenging situation will shift us from the Stress Response to the Compassion Response.

We can strengthen this response many-fold by being in the presence of others who are stepping into their full potential SELF. By expressing from the Compassion Response, our hearts and minds synchronize as SELF. It is in this experience that we become entrained in One Spirit and cloaked in the abundance, beauty and divine love of our inter-connection. This is the magic and the grace of One Spirit Weekend. We hope you join us to learn to embody your role as an awakening leader during this shift.

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To learn more about One Spirit Weekend please visit us at:
www.onespiritweekend.com, email us at info@onespiritweekend.com or call us at 928.649.1921. Brenda Sanders can be found at www.newviewonlife.com

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