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On suffering: Is it really worth the trouble?

On suffering: Is it really worth the trouble?

Oprah and Lady Gaga may be today’s spiritual role models for self-actualization but our devotion to suffering remains a national faith.

BY JOHN PTACEK – Why did a tsunami flood Japan? Why can’t politicians tell the truth? Why did it have to rain on my wedding day?

If humans really had power, CEOs would be immune to cancer, holy men wouldn’t sin and Michael Jackson would still be alive. But we don’t call the shots.

Reality baffles us.  We question it every day and keep waiting for people to be good, for governments to be just, for life to be fair.

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Ashley Judd in Missing

Spiritual Surf: America’s pain index

Ashley Judd’s wounded ego; Which pills are recession-proof; and online porn way bigger than The New York Times

Addicted in America: Skyrocketing sales of Oxy and Percocet (Associated Press)

The new book, Dosed: Introducing America’s first psychotropic generation (Salon.com excerpt)

The demand curve for drunks: Vegas anesthesiologist launches mobile IV service (Hangover Heaven)

Up to $500 per detox treatment: “As if we do not know that the proprietary blend is salt water and a few vitamins (Science 2.0)

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Carmaggedon: When you’re stuck in apocalyptic traffic

Carmaggedon: When you’re stuck in apocalyptic traffic

Lessons learned from L.A., Johannesburg, Sao Paolo and other metros where road rage is a danger to your body — and soul

BY RICK LEED — When stuck in your car in painful, frustrating, unimaginable traffic, already late for an appointment, who hasn’t felt like a Looney Tunes cartoon character, with steam coming out of their ears, fists pounding the steering wheel, and eyes turning red and bulging out of their head?

Road rage is usually directed at someone else who has done something heinous — or at the least, rude, like cut you off, changed lanes unexpectedly, or flipped you the finger.  But the inward-focused rage and fury that has no specific personal target is so often worse, creating more stress, more anger, more intense negative energy:  ‘Why the hell isn’t this traffic moving?’

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A personality test for your shadow self

Robert Louis Stevenson called it Mr. Hyde; Jung called it the personal unconscious. The great sages say we heal when we own the denied part of ourselves.

BY MICK QUINN AND DEBORA PRIETO, 1st of 2 parts — Picture the ecosystem of relationships that hold you in this time and place, from lovers to office politics and friends and family. Ask yourself six questions:

1. Are the ways in which other people act emotionally disturbing to you?

2.Do you sometimes feel that other people don’t seem to care enough?

3. Do you question the insensitive ways of others?

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Guided meditation: Resting into yourself

Soul’s Code exclusive: One of today’s leading spiritual teachers shares her prescription for feeling great

A companion piece to Pamela Wilson’s first column for Soul’s Code, Age of Sorrow, Age of Wakefulness, this meditation invites you into restorative rest and gratitude for every granule of your being. Invite someone close to you to close their eyes, and try reading these words to them sotto voce.

BY PAMELA WILSON — Sit quietly and look inside, feel the sensations in your chest.

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Transcend any fear: A Soul’s Code exclusive

Transcend any fear: A Soul’s Code exclusive

Author Tony Samara insists that anyone, anywhere, anytime – in a cancer hospice, or on Afghan battlefields – can be in bliss. A new excerpt from his book, From the Heart.

BY TONY SAMARA Whether your suffering is a low-grade depression or a paralyzing fear, you can rise above it. From the Heart is a collection of satsangs (Sanskrit for “association with truth”) from live workshops with spiritual seekers from around the globe. In this excerpt, a uniquely-simple way of overcoming one particular source of pain in our lives: the mundane.

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Addictions, the last defence

Wonder why Congressman Weiner went weird? He might show skin but he is not comfortable in his own. Addicts never are.

BY MARY COOK, M.A., R.A.S. — Read TMZ.com any night about the most privileged people on the planet. Nic Cage is arrested for spousal abuse and public inebriation. Days later Cage’s son attacks his personal trainer. Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen is acting out again.

When our primary needs or desires in childhood are insufficiently gratified, we experience a deep and lasting sense of fear, incompleteness and inferiority.

Because it is difficult to contain fully conscious awareness of these feelings, defense mechanisms arise to dull, block or defensively glorify them.

We might adopt narcissistic or avoidant behaviors, or dangerous thrill-seeking practices, in order to distract ourselves from original fears.

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Soul’s Code Exclusive: the first novel based on Eckhart Tolle

Soul’s Code Exclusive: the first novel based on Eckhart Tolle

Advance excerpt: author Jonathan Lowe recreates the launch of Eckhart Tolle’s career as a global spiritual superstar. His first audience was in a public park.

Soul’s Code — A well-dressed TV reporter is seated on a park bench next to a man who looks homeless. Guardians of nearby children eye the pair with suspicion. Ball players grin mockingly at them through a fence. But by now the reporter, Valerie, is more intrigued by the man than wary of him.

That’s one of the poignant scenes from The Miraculous Plot of Leiter & Lott, author Jonathan Lowe’s fictional tribute to Eckhart Tolle, inspired by the bestseller The Power of Now. The novel begins with a man’s near-suicide – much like Tolle’s real-life experience that led to his international acclaim as a spiritual author, teacher and speaker.

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The sins of fathers: Pablo Escobar speaks from the grave, through his son

The sins of fathers: Pablo Escobar speaks from the grave, through his son

Can you inherit hate? The karmic question is tested in an HBO documentary about the most notorious public enemy alongside Bin Laden and Hitler

BY PAUL KAIHLA – A DEA agent once told me a story he heard about Pablo Escobar, the late founder and CEO of the Medellin drug cartel. Escobar saw an attractive woman in a Colombian hotel. He ordered his henchmen to do two things: kill the woman’s husband, and bring her to his room, where he raped her.

The tale may be apocryphal, and it appears in no public accounts. But what is in the public record thanks to multiple investigations and sig-int intercepts is that Mr. Escobar ordered: the assassination of 3 Colombian presidential candidates, as well as 100’s of cabinet ministers, judges, prosecutors and cops; the bombing of an Avianca jet that killed 110 passengers . . . it’s a long list of atrocities.

In other words, if you’re going to document a case study on the origins and transference of hate, violence and sin, Pablo Escobar is a cardinal candidate.

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Zen and the art of running

Zen and the art of running

How marathon training taught a yoga drop-out to meditate

BY ALISON DUNN — “Clear your mind,” the yoga teacher advised. “Let go of all your petty frustrations, all your worries, all your cares and let your mind become a blank slate. Only then will you take your consciousness to a higher level.”

Fat chance. There was no way I could achieve enlightenment in Savasana.  My mind was too busy racing through my endless to-do list, my worries and my troubles. I kept focusing on everything that was wrong in my life and couldn’t seem to let go. By making me lie still and focus on my negative thoughts, yoga simply wasn’t the answer.

Instead, I ran a marathon.

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