Monday, 7 October 2019

Yoga Health Benefits

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 Yoga Health Benefits

Yoga Guide For Beginners
The ultimate goal of yoga is self-realization. You do not need to go to the mountaintop to find it or pay a teacher to show you the way. There are currencies that we exchange with one another that are much more valuable than money: kindness, selflessness, being one part of the greater good. Nor do you need to look outside yourself. If you have an open mind, a sincere desire to learn and to apply that knowledge on a daily basis, and the commitment to follow through on what you’ve begun, you can achieve self-realization. Self-realization is the knowledge that we sentient beings are interconnected and that what we think, say, and do affects those around us. Burdened by the pressures and demands that exist outside of ourselves—of our jobs, bills, desire for status and for material possessions—we forget this.

 Selfrealization is the ability to achieve freedom from these demands and to know that true happiness comes from fulfilling our own potential and from lifting up those around us without the thought of selfgain. Dedicating yourself to the regular practice of yoga can help bring you back to this place. Yoga is, indeed, an excellent form of exercise that carries with it many immediate and long-term physical benefits from improved flexibility to stronger muscles and bones. However, yoga is not just about moving through the poses. 

Mindfullness plays an essential part in any dedicated yoga practice. If performed properly, yoga quiets the mind of all distracting thoughts from the outside world (chittavritti, meaning mind chatter), bringing you to a place of peace within. In turn, being mindful of your thoughts will allow you to be mindful of, and truly connected with, your body, thus completing the cycle of mental and physical health that will allow you to enjoy all the wonderful things that life has to offer. 
1. Ahimsa: Non-violence Replace harmful thoughts, speech, and actions with that of loving kindness toward yourself and others. 2. Satya: Truth to be expressed in thought, word, and action Be honest in your thoughts, words, and actions toward yourself and others. 3. Asteya: Non-stealing and non-covetousness Curb desires for things that are not your own. Share the beauty of your thoughts, speech, actions, and material belongings to uplift others instead of stealing and hoarding them for yourself. 
 wonderful lesson in Buddhism that applies here

Once, a very old king went to see an old hermit who lived in a bird’s nest in the top of a tree. He asked the hermit, “What is the most important Buddhist teaching?” The hermit answered, “Do no evil, do only good. Purify your heart.” The king expected to hear a long and detailed explanation. He protested, “Even a five-year-old child can understand that!” “Yes,” replied the wise sage, “but even an eighty-year-old man cannot do it.” Your biggest obstacle to self-realization is you. As it says in the 

Bhagavad Gita, “The mind is restless and hard to control, but it can be trained by constant practice (abhyasa) and freedom from desire (vairagya). A man who cannot control his mind will find it difficult to attain this divine communion; but the self-controlled man can attain it if he tries hard and directs his energy by the right means.” Pantanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga will help you form the necessary groundwork to get on the right track, but you must decide to confront your problems at their roots. Reading and intellectualizing is not enough. If you want to reap the full benefits of the yoga experience, implement the Eight Limbs into every aspect of your life. You must live it, breathe it, and engage this planet and its inhabitants with the lessons below.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

The Yoga Sutras, also known as The Eight Limbs (Ashtanga) of Raja (King) Yoga, was the first fully developed and recorded system of yoga. Created by Patanjali around 400 CE, this system influences much of the yoga that is practiced today. Although most of the sutras were originally focused on mindfulness, the yoga practiced in the West today seems to focus more on the body. Somewhere along the way, it seems, we began to practice the movement of yoga in isolation from its original philosophies.


FIRST LIMB Yama (Self-Restraint)
The focus of the first limb is on being an ethical and moral person, and on improving your relationship with the outer world. These values are as important today as they were centuries ago. The Yamas, as they are referred to, are not meant to be a moral straitjacket, but instead are meant to help develop a greater awareness of one’s place in the world. 

1. Ahimsa
: Non-violence Replace harmful thoughts, speech, and actions with that of loving kindness toward yourself and others.
 2. Satya
: Truth to be expressed in thought, word, and action Be honest in your thoughts, words, and actions toward yourself and others.
3 Asteya:
 Non-stealing and non-covetousness Curb desires for things that are not your own. Share the beauty of your thoughts, speech, actions, and material belongings to uplift others instead of stealing and hoarding them for yourself. 

4. Brahmacharya:
 Abstinence from sexual intercourse when not married, practicing monogamy and not having sexual thoughts about another person who is not your spouse It is believed that a life built on celibacy and spiritual studies done by free will increases energy and zest for life. Celibacy may sound like an unrealistic goal today, but it may help to remember that brahmacharya is also about monogamy. When brahmacharya is fully realized in marriage, the sex lives of both partners improve because the level of trust and devotion deepens their connection. It is important that the sexual activity is an expression based on the highest level of mutual respect, love, selflessness, and wisdom

 5. Aparigraha
: Non-possessiveness or non-greediness Replace the habit of hoarding with sharing. Do not take without giving back. If you want something, work for it. This builds appreciation for what you have. This will help minimize the insatiable desire to constantly consume. An appetite that is not wisely disciplined leads to personal ill health, financial debt or poor credit, and destruction of the planet’s natural resources

SECOND LIMB Niyama (Self-Purification by Self-Restraint and Discipline)
The second limb helps refine your spiritual path. Discipline and self-restraint lead to a more orderly and productive life. From the perspective of ancient yoga texts, life is extremely short and we need to make the most of it while we can. This limb gives us guidance. There are five Niyamas: 

1. Shaucha:
 Purity of body and mind When you develop shaucha (cleanliness), unwholesome thoughts that lead to foul speech and a sick body are cleared. Purity starts with your mind. Speech and action follow. So, the second limb directs you to make a habit of consuming both food and mental stimuli that support well-being for yourself and the environment (humanity and the planet).

2. Santosha
: Contentment with what one has When you achieve santosha (contentment), bonds to the material world are broken and authentic peace and happiness are established within. A lack of contentment is often based on a distorted perception of what one has versus what others have. You advance on the path to self-realization when you can be content with your lot, whether you sit on a throne of dirt or gold. 
3. Tapas
: Self-discipline, sometimes associated with austerity, and being able to conquer the body and mind through mental control Tapas literally means “heat” or “glow.” This refers to a burning desire to accomplish one’s goal despite what obstacles may appear. The commitment to achieving a goal, no matter how challenging it becomes, builds character. However, note that the highest level of tapas is to complete one’s goal without a selfish motivation. When tapas is attained, laziness is overcome and willpower is developed for future use

4. Svadhyaya:
 Self-study that leads to introspection and a greater awakening of the soul and the source of creation; traditionally studied through Vedic scriptures

5. Ishvara pranidhana
: The surrender to God When you accept that all things come from a higher power, pride and egocentric behavior are turned into humility and devotion

THIRD LIMB Asana (Seat or Posture)
Here is a question: If Gandhi is one of the greatest yogis of our time, does that mean he can touch his toes or bring his foot behind his head? The answer is that it doesn’t matter. Gandhi’s ability to perform the asanas had very little to do with what he contributed to the world as a great yogi. The same applies to you. The practice of asanas is as much about training the mind as it is the body. How you approach your asana practice is often a reflection of how you approach life. Do you keep a sense of peace and calm when a challenge presents itself? 

Your practice of yoga poses should be characterized by two components: steadiness (sthira) and ease (sukha). Concentrating on the sound of your breath (ujjayi, the most commonly practiced breathing technique in yogacan provide the steadiness. If you lose your breath, it is most likely because you are pushing too hard; ease off the pose and let the pose cater to the breath

There is no such thing as a perfect pose; let the poses come like the steps of a dance. Just like in dance, when we focus too much on the mechanics, we let go of the ability to enjoy the music. While the mechanics of alignment are important to prevent injury, never forget the final goal. Feel the music of life flow through you as you do each pose and your body will learn the moves naturally. There are more than enough postures to keep you busy for the rest of your life, so allow yourself to let go of ambition and enjoy the journey. Incorporating a combination of forward bends, backbends, twists, and inversions in your yoga session is optimal for health

FOURTH LIMB Pranayama (Control of Breath) 
The English word “spirit” comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning “breath.” The breath and the mind are interconnected. Deep, rhythmic, and fluid breathing will energize yet calm the mind and body. Rapid, irregular, and strained breathing produces a chaotic and disturbed mind. A calm mind will give you the mental space to make better decisions and a life in which you take control instead of feeling like a victim of circumstances

 Breathing properly is fundamental to our very existence. Your brain feeds on oxygenated blood, which is supplied with every inhalation. If you are unable to draw oxygen into your body, you will become brain dead after a few minutes. On the other hand, proper exhaling helps expel carbon dioxide. If your ability to exhale were impaired, you would most likely die due to the toxic buildup of carbon dioxide and poison. Stress tends to negatively affect breathing patterns, which contributes to a chain of effects that cause wear and tear on both your body’s nervous and immune systems. In fact, 90 percent of illness is stress-related and, for this reason, attention to breathing properly is, indeed, a matter of life and death

FIFTH LIMB Pratyahara (Sense Withdrawal)
 Our perception of reality is predominantly influenced by our sensory experience—what we see, feel, hear, touch, and taste. Pratyahara refers to the withdrawal of the senses from external objects and our modern-day need for constant gratification from sensory stimuli. Our minds are constantly being pulled outward to evaluate all the information the senses bring in. Evaluation involves categorizing what has been perceived; often, we hold on to what we believe is desirable, push away what we believe is undesirable, and ignore what we believe to be neutral. Pratyahara gives our minds a moment to rest and teaches us to be free of the grasping and clinging to the things we enjoy and avoiding the undesirable

SIXTH LIMB Dharana (One-Pointed Concentration)
 Asanas, pranayamas, and pratyahara help prepare us for meditation. When the mind moves from experiencing random scattered thoughts to single one-pointed concentration, it can then find complete absorption in the present moment. By practicing one-pointed concentration, we clear the mind of all distracting thoughts. This can be achieved by focusing on your breath, counting, reciting mantras, or observing a candle flame or an image. Because we are constantly entangled in reliving past memories or living in anticipation of what is to come, it is very seldom that we live in the present moment. I

SEVENTH LIMB Dhyana (Meditation)
 Just as there are many different types of yoga poses, there are many ways of meditating. Meditationis a form of inner contemplation that allows you to access a state of mind that has transcended the ego. This is a state of pure awareness of the present moment that is free of judgment. All meditation leads to a state of full awareness that does not discriminate or categorize things in a dualistic manner, which is to say the perception of what is good versus what is bad, beautiful versus ugly, pleasant versus unpleasant, etc. When we examine reasons behind such judgments, we find many of these beliefs are based on learned behavior, may vary from one culture to another, and have no fixed or concrete reality


EIGHTH LIMB Samadhi (Total Absorption)

 Samadhi occurs when the analytical mind becomes absent and at one with the object of meditation. The object of meditation can be whatever you are focusing on in your meditation that is used to achieve one-pointed concentration. The word om, a deity, or a candle flame are all examples of objects of meditation. Total absorption involves the feeling of oneness with all creation, dissolving all lines between the act of meditation and the object being meditated upon. It is the absorption in the present moment (amanaska) where dualistic thinking is transcended. Many are mistaken in believing samadhi is the final goal of yoga. It is but a temporary state of mind that we enter based on the conditions that we have nurtured to support it. It’s useful to remember that every moment in your life gives you an opportunity to practice the eight limbs. Learn at your own pace, but stay focused, be consistent, and enjoy the journey...

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Saturday, 5 October 2019

Meditation Benefits

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MEDITATION: IT’ EASIER THAN YOU THINK
meditation benefits for beginners

The great thing about meditation is that it’s actually quite simple. Just sit down, be quiet, turn your attention inward, and focus your awareness. Meditation is simply the practice of focusing your attention on a particular object generally something simple, like a word or phrase, a candle flame or geometrical figure, or the coming and going of your breath.

In everyday life, your mind is constantly processing a barrage of sensations, visual impressions, emotions, and thoughts.
In general, when you meditate, you narrow your focus, limit the stimuli bombarding your nervous system and calm your mind in the process. 

“Meditation techniques are just different paths up the same mountain.

Repetition of a meaningful word or phrase, known as a mantra
Mindful awareness of the present moment (for more on mindfulness.
 Following or counting your breath.

Paying attention to the flow of sensations in your body.

 Cultivation of lovingkindness, compassion, forgiveness, and other healing emotions.

Concentration on a geometric shape or other simple visual object Visualization of a peaceful place or a healing energy or entity.

Reading and reflecting upon inspirational or sacred writings

 Gazing at a picture of a holy being or saint Contemplation of nature Chanting praises to the Divine.

Science based benefits of Meditation.

Stronger focus and concentration.
 Reduced tension, anxiety, and stress.
 Clearer thinking and less emotional turmoil.
 Lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
 Support in kicking addictions and other self-defeating behaviors.
Greater creativity and enhanced performance in work and play Increased self-understanding and self-acceptance.
 More joy, love, and spontaneity.
 Greater intimacy with friends and family members.
Enhanced feelings of happiness, contentment, and subjective well-being.
Deeper sense of meaning and purpose.

MEDITATION’S SPIRITUAL ROOTS 

Although many ordinary folks are meditating these days (including, no doubt, people you know), the practice wasn’t always so readily available. For centuries, monks, nuns, mystics, and wandering ascetics preserved it in secret, using it to enter higher states of consciousness and ultimately to achieve the pinnacle of their particular paths.

 Highly motivated laypeople with time on their hands could always learn a few techniques. But the rigorous practice of meditation remained a sacred pursuit limited to an elite few who were willing to renounce the world and devote their lives to it. for more on the history of meditation.

When you meditate, you get closer to the source of the water and learn how to recognize its taste. (Depending on their personalities and where they are on the mountain, people use different terms to describe the water’s taste, such as calm, peace, well-being, wholeness, clarity, and compassion.

It doesn’t matter where you’re headed or where you stop on your way up the mountain; you still get to dip your hands in the water of being and taste it for yourself. Then you can begin to find the taste of being wherever you go!.

BECOMING AWARE OF YOUR AWARENESS 

Most of the time, you probably don’t pay much attention to your awareness. Yet the truth is that it’s crucial to everything you do. When you watch TV, study for an exam, cook a meal, drive your car, listen to music, or talk with a friend, you’re being aware, or paying attention.
Before you begin to meditate in a formal way, you may find it helpful to explore your own awareness.

 First, notice what it’s like to be aware. Are there times in your life when you’re not aware of anything? Complete this thought: “I am aware of… .” Do this again and again and notice where your awareness takes you. 

Next, pay attention to whether your awareness tends to focus on a particular object or sensation or tends to be more expansive and inclusive. You may find that your awareness resembles a spotlight that flows from object to object. Notice how your awareness flows without trying to change it. 

MINDFULNESS: MEDITATION AS A WAY OF LIFE

Based on my years of experience and training, I’ve found that mindfulness, which blends concentration and receptive awareness, is one of the simplest techniques for beginners to learn and also one of the most readily adaptable to the busy schedules most people face. After all, if you’re like me, you’re primarily concerned with living a more harmonious, loving, stress-free life, not lifting off into some disembodied spiritual realm divorced from the people and places you love.

In fact, the beauty, belonging, and love you seek are available right here and now you only need to clear your mind and open your eyes, which is precisely what the practice of mindfulness is intended to teach! When you pay attention to your experience from moment to moment, you keep waking up from the daydreams and worries your mind fabricates and returning to the clarity, precision, and simplicity of the present, where life actually takes place.

The key to your peace of mind lies not in your circumstances, but in how you respond to them. As the Buddhists say, suffering is wanting what you don’t have and not wanting what you do have, while happiness is precisely the opposite:

Enjoying what you have and not hungering for what you don’t have. This concept doesn’t mean that you must give up your values, dreams, and aspirations only that you need to balance them with the ability to accept things as they are.

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Thursday, 3 October 2019

Self Improvement Tips

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Psychology and Self improvement

 The word psychology 
has had several different meanings from ancient to modern times. Psychology is the science that studies the behavior of organisms. Here is its present definition:This definition should guide you throughout your study of this book. Three words in the definition merit special attention:
(1) science, 
(2) behavior,
 (3) organisms
. Modern psychology is considered a science because it bases its conclusions on data, information obtained by systematic observations. The research methods used by psychology are covered in chapter 2. Behavior has three aspects
 (1) cognitive processes,
 (2) emotional states,
 (3) actions. 
Cognitive processes refer to what an individual thinks. Emotional states refer to what an individual feels. Actions refer to what an individual does. An organism is any living creature. Consequently, the behavior of dogs, rats, pigeons, and monkeys can be legitimately included in the study of psychology. Such organisms have indeed been subjects in psychology experiments. However, traditionally the principal focus of psychology has been humans. When animals are used in experiments, the implicit goal is often to explore how such basic processes as learning and motivation, as studied in animals, can cast a light on our understanding of human behavior.

Although you now know the modern definition of psychology, it is important to realize that the word psychology has its roots in ancient meanings associated with philosophy. The Greek word psyche means soul. Consequently, to philosophers living 400 to 300 B.C., psychology was the “study of the soul.” This was the meaning given by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. In view of the fact that these thinkers, particularly Socrates and Plato, did not believe that animals have souls, it becomes evident why for many centuries psychology’s main attention has been given to human beings. The ancient philosophers asserted that the soul is the seat of consciousness. It is consciousness that makes mental life possible. This is why psychology is often thought of as the science of the mind.


Contemporary, scientific psychology has four explicit goals:
 (1) describe
 (2) explain
 (3) predict
 (4) control behavior
 These goals are the same commonsense goals that we all use in everyday life. 

Fields of Psychology: Of Laboratories and Clinics

Psychology as a profession expresses itself in different fields, or domains of interest. There are a number of fields of psychology, such as clinical, experimental, counseling, developmental, physiological, human factors, and industrial.

 Clinical psychology is the field associated with psychotherapy and psychological testing. A clinic is a place where sick people go for help; consequently, clinical psychologists try to help persons with both well-defined mental disorders and serious personal problems. The word psychotherapy, in terms of its roots, means a “healing of the self.” In practice, a clinical psychologist who employs psychotherapy attempts to work with a troubled person by using various methods and techniques that are designed to help the individual improve his or her mental health. This is done without drugs. 

Experimental psychology is the field associated with research. Experimental psychologists investigate basic behavioral processes such as learning, motivation, perception, memory, and thinking. Subjects may be either animals or human beings. Ivan Pavlov’s experiments on conditioned reflexes, associated with the learning process, used dogs as subjects. 

The great majority of experimental psychologists are found at the nation’s universities. Their duties combine research and teaching. In order to obtain a permanent position and achieve academic promotion, it is necessary for the psychologist to publish the results of experiments in recognized scientific journals. Experimental psychology is not a large field of psychology in terms of numbers of psychologists. Only about 6 percent of psychologists are experimental psychologists. On the other hand, experimental psychology represents a cutting edge of psychology.

counseling psychologist provides advice and guidance, often in a school setting. Sometimes he or she will, like a clinical psychologist, attempt to help individuals with personal problems. However, if the problems involve a mental disorder, the individual will be referred to a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. 

developmental psychologist is concerned with maturational and learning processes in both children and adults. Although a developmental psychologist is usually thought of as a “child psychologist,” it is important to realize that a given developmental psychologist might have a particular interest in changes associated with middle-aged or elderly people. 

A physiological psychologist, like an experimental psychologist, does research. Subject areas include the structures and functions of the brain, the activity of neurotransmitters (i.e., chemical messengers), and the effect that hormones produced by the endocrine glands have on moods and behavior.

 A human factors psychologist combines a knowledge of engineering with a knowledge of psychology. For example, he or she may be part of a team that is attempting to redesign an aircraft control panel in an attempt to make it more “user friendly” in order to reduce pilot error associated with misperceptions.

 An industrial psychologist usually works for a corporation. The principal aim is to provide a work environment that will facilitate production, reduce accidents, and maintain employee morale. A theme that guides industrial psychology is “the human use of human beings.”



NEURON
The principal functional units of the brain and the nervous system are neurons. The neuron is a living cell with a cell wall and a nucleus. Unlike other cells of the body, neurons specialize in transmitting messages. Of particular importance are two structures called the dendrite and the axon. A neuron often has more than one dendrite; dendrites are reminiscent of a root system. They act like antennas, picking up information and sending it in the direction of the cell body.

Three basic kinds of neurons are
 (1) sensory, 
(2) association,
 (3) motor

Sensory neurons make it possible for us to be in contact with the outside world. They are sensitive to light, sound, chemicals that induce taste sensations, and so forth. The rods and cones in the retina of your eye are sensory neurons.

 Association neurons communicate with each other. Most of the neurons in your brain are association neurons. They allow you to think, remember, and perceive. It is the rich complexity of association neurons that makes selfconsciousness possible.



 Motor neurons communicate with muscle fibers, and these too are cells of the body. Complex contractions and relaxations of muscle fibers make it possible for us to talk, walk, and otherwise act.
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Monday, 30 September 2019

How Your Mind Works and Why It's Important To Know

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How Your Own Mind Works 

You have a mind, and you should learn how to use your own mind There are two levels of your mind—the conscious or rational level, and the subconscious or irrational level. You think with your conscious mind, and whatever you habitually think sinks down into your subconscious mind, which creates according to the nature of your thoughts.
 Your subconscious mind is the seat of your emotions and is the creative mind. If you think good, good will follow; if you think evil, evil will follow. This is the way your mind works. 

Peace of mind and a healthy body are inevitable when you begin to think and feel in the right way. Whatever you claim mentally and feel as true, your subconsciousmind will accept and bring forth into your experience. The only thing necessary for you to do is to get your subconscious mind to accept your idea, and the law of your own subconscious mind will bring forth the health, peace, or the position you desire.
 The law of your mind is this: You will get a reaction or response from your subconscious mind according to the nature of the thought or idea you hold in your conscious mind.

Conscious and subconscious terms differentiated 

You must remember that these are not two minds. They are merely two spheres of activity within one mind. Your conscious mind is the reasoning mind. It is that phase of mind, which chooses. For example, you choose your books, your home, and your partner in life. You make all your decisions with your con-scious mind. 

Your subconscious mind accepts what is impressed upon it or what you consciously believe. It does not reason things out like your conscious mind, and it does not argue with you contro-versially. Your subconscious mind is like the soil, which accepts any kind of seed, good or bad. 
Remember, your subconscious mind does not engage in proving whether your thoughts are good or bad, true or false, but it responds according to the nature of your thoughts or suggestions.

The subconscious cannot reason like your conscious mind 

Your subconscious mind cannot argue controversially. Hence, if you give it wrong suggestions, it will accept them as true and will proceed to bring them to pass as conditions, ex-periences, and events. All things that have happened to you are based on thoughts impressed on your subconscious mind through belief.

The habitual thinking of your conscious mind establishes deep grooves in your subconscious mind. This is very favorable for you if your habitual thoughts are harmonious, peaceful, and constructive.

 The tremendous power of suggestion

 You must realize by now that your conscious mind is the “watchman at the gate,” and its chief function is to protect your subconscious mind from false impressions. You are now aware of one of the basic laws of mind: Your subconscious mind is amenable to suggestion. As you know, your subconscious mind does not make comparisons, or contrasts, neither does it reason and think things out for itself. This latter function belongs to your conscious mind. It simply reacts to the impressions given to it by your conscious mind. It does not show a preference for one course of action over another.

The Miracle-Working Power of Your Subconscious 

The power of your subconscious is enormous. It inspires you, it guides you, and it reveals to you names, facts, and scenes from the storehouse of memory. Your subconscious started your heartbeat, controls the circulation of your blood, and regulates your digestion, assimilation, and elimination. 
When you eat a piece of bread, your subconscious mind transmutes it into tissue, muscle, bone, and blood. This process is beyond the ken of the wisest man who walks the earth. Your subconscious mind controls all the vital processes and functions of your body and knows the answer to all problems.
 Your subconscious mind never sleeps, never rests. It is al-ways on the job.
 You can discover the miracle-working power of your subconscious by plainly stating to your subconscious prior to sleep that you wish a certain specific thing accomplished. You will be delighted to discover that forces within you will be re-leased, leading to the desired result.

Highlights

1. Think good, and good follows. Think evil, and evil follows. You are what you think all day long.

 2. Your subconscious mind does not argue with you. It ac-cepts what your conscious mind decrees. If you say, “I can’t afford it,” it may be true, but do not say it. Select a better thought, decree, “I’ll buy it. I accept it in my mind.” 

3. You have the power to choose. Choose health and happiness. You can choose to be friendly, or you can choose to be unfriendly. Choose to be co-operative, joyous, friendly, lovable, and the whole world will respond. This is the best way to develop a wonderful personality. 



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