I’ve set a new record. I finished a book in 2 weeks. First, let me say I’m not a reader. I’ve always had trouble focusing and reading comprehension has never been my cup of tea. I’m a hands-on learner so handing me a book for instruction is never a good idea. So maybe I set more than one record with reading The Awakened Brain. I highly recommend it for understanding spiritual awareness. Here are some highlights from the book.
- If patients could understand their anger or childhood wounds, the theory went, they could release them and no longer be controlled by them. The way out of suffering was to face suffering and gain insight.
- I was always thinking about numbers. And soon they began to light up in jaw-dropping patterns, like constellations emerging from a dark sky. The effect of maternal depression on childhood depression: a twofold increased risk. The effect of poverty on depression: a 40 percent increase associated with the variable “a problem paying bills.” The effect of parenting style on depression: when a parent, father or mother, is affectionate but not overly controlling, a child’s risk for depression is cut by 18 to 30 percent.
- I discovered something striking: when the mother and child were both high in spirituality, spirituality, the child was 80 percent protected against depression, compared with mothers and children who were not concordant for spirituality, or mothers and children who were not high in spirituality. In other words, a child was five times less likely to be depressed when spiritual life was shared with a mother.
- Personal devotion—a sense of personal relationship with a higher power—was the active ingredient that carried the protective benefit, with or without personal conservatism. Third, he found that personal devotion decreased the lifetime risk for alcoholism and nicotine dependence. Spiritual people are less likely to be addicted. The findings showed correlation, not causation, but it was a start in revealing the effects of spirituality on our mental health.
- Remarkably, I found that in the nationally representative sample of teens, adolescents with a strong personal spirituality were 35 to 75 percent less likely to experience clinical depression.
- And after so much time worrying about what we’re supposed to think, we don’t know what we think.” She pointed to the irony of becoming more and more educated while becoming less and less able to trust ourselves as knowers.
- Synchronicity—when two apparently disparate events are joined at the level of meaning or consciousness—seemed like an accessible way to illuminate and validate those sparks of inner knowing, those flashes of meaning or insight that seem to arrive out of the blue.
- Cho also found that this enhanced perception of synchronicity goes hand in hand with increased spiritual awareness—and with better mental health. The more we practice engaging with open awareness, the more we are able to perceive synchronicity. And as we see synchronicity, we become more spiritually oriented—more aware of guidance, connection, and unity in our lives.
- Spiritual awareness is a stance, not a transaction. There’s never a guarantee that we’re going to get what we want, or what we thought we wanted. When we become spiritually aware—through synchronicity, for example—it’s a sign that despite the uncertainty, we are aligned with the force of life.
- women are twice as likely as men to experience depression, she had discovered that women tend to rely more on a cognitive process called rumination—mental mental spinning or overthinking—to cope with negative moods. While men generally engage in activities that distract them from their bad moods, women tend to dwell on the causes and consequences of their moods, asking, Why am I feeling this way? Why can’t I handle things better? What’s wrong with me? This tendency to ruminate—to go down a rabbit hole of unrelenting thoughts and questions—only worsens a depressed mood, in part because the negative content of the thoughts reinforces the negative mood, but also because the process of rumination is passive and repetitive. Although people generally engage in rumination because they want to achieve new insights about themselves or their situation, Susan found that the effects of rumination are rarely positive for people who are already depressed—it impairs problem solving, deters social support, and fuels a brooding sense of low self-worth.
- Susan found that depression reinforces rumination; and rumination reinforces depression.
- And our times of doubt, struggle, and depression often serve as portals to our awakened life.
- We experience loss, trauma, suffering. We get the things we’re most terrified of, the things we least want. Even when we’re bent on protecting the castle, we can’t prevent the tides. And when we cling too tightly to our desire for control, anything can break us—we’re so brittle, fragile, ready to collapse and fall that any risk feels too severe, any block insurmountable. We are so consumed by our need to do things right, that we lose sight of the larger meaning for what we do and are blind to the regeneration that loss makes possible.
That’s only about 1/2 of what I highlighted. If you read something that resonates, I encourage you to buy it and discover more.