Archive for January, 2011

Spirituality vs Religion

Spirituality is any practice, as selected by the individual as suitable for him/her, to help quiet the mind (left brain monkey chatter), open the heart (awareness of the right brain and higher superconscious mind), to connect with something greater than one’s normal sense of self as separate from others. This connection can be called God, Source, The Field, Universe, etc. Fleeting moments of joy, happiness, peace and calm are indications of accessing this connection. Spirituality is not a goal oriented endeavour, but a daily journey into your own being. Trying too hard, will only make you give up. Simply take time (even 5 minutes as a start), do it every day and become quiet. You’ll notice the difference in your life very quickly.

Religion is born out of moments of radical insight, but then later, devolves into systems of dogma, rules, regulations and beliefs, that turn the original insight into an event to worship, rather than an experience to recreate. The religious experience is everyone’s birthright, but paradoxically, we brace ourselves against the experience through strict rules, rigid practice and specific beliefs, often far removed from the insight, teachings, or intent of the originator of the specific religion. Religion often leads to holding back the inner force of the soul yearning to break through, and we tragically refer to religious text and tradition to justify this denial of our inner being. Many people find sense of community and belonging in specific religions, often also deep meaning and purpose for their lives, which is an important part of our sense of wellbeing, but we have to be very careful not to judge others of different (or no specific) religions or beliefs, as that is contrary to all religions’ philosophy of tolerance, of ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, not change your neighbour as yourself, and then love him/her!

My advice: steer clear of spiritual wellness interventions with any particular religious content. The workplace has people from all cultures, creeds and religions. To favour one religion over another, will only lead to discontent, unhappiness and a sure failure of your program – the last thing you want! Rather focus on program content that uses the universal principles found in all and no, religions, such as love and kindness towards all others (not only the select few in our inner circles, that believe as we do!), understanding of others’ ways, contact with nature, exploring all the many ways to connect to your Source (meditation and art of prayer classes for example), ways to move from left brain rational thinking, to right brain soul connection, using progressive deep relaxation practices, starting with simple 2-3 minute breathing exercises, to 30 minute practice of being quiet and still. Even your physical wellness interventions can lead to more awareness and tuning in to soul through the body: e.g. yoga, tai ‘chi, dances like Nia technique, Biodanza, bellydancing, any movement done to mood music – freely moving like the leaves and branches of a tree, to feel your inner being and emotions expressed through your body.

The physical state of health (health or illness) is only the tip of the iceberg. The true origin of dis-ease or health, lies beneath the surface. Even lifestyle & behaviour lie close to the surface. That is why it’s so difficult to adopt a healthy lifestyle! We try to do it with willpower. It doesn’t work. The real level we have to work on is the level of thoughts, emotions and beliefs. This level also connects us to our soul or spiritual level, and ultimately to our Source of Wellbeing, Inner Being, God or our concept of something bigger and greater than our physical separate sense of self or ego. When we allow the Grace of God into our lives, to change our old, stuck brain patterns and belief systems, to help us  reprogam our subconscious mind for health, wealth and happiness, it is through this power alone that we can heal from the inside out.

Extract from Dr Arien van der Merwe, medical doctor, health coach, specialist health & wellness service provider and author..(

January 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

Where is life happening?

This is a question that an amazing, authentic women asked awhile back in a mail to her subscriber base. Call it synchronicity, whatever, it reverberated (yes reverberated not resonated 🙂 ) for me again and I really would love to share…

“I used to write a column for a magazine (for about 7 years) and this was one of the strangest letters I ever received.

A woman was very upset and wanted my input – she was angry at people that seemed to take life too lightly. She said that the world was full of pain and that anyone who was laughing was in denial and had no business being happy when there was too much suffering, and lack all around us.

It was a good question so I tried my best to respond. My reply to her is below.

The ‘experience’ of life is not a result of the external world but is completely a result of the inner world. Your world is experienced within you; so in this way you therefore are the creator of your ‘experience’ of life.

One man’s lack is another’s abundance – the only difference is their inner world choice of reality. One man’s hell is another’s heaven.

We only feel upset by another person’s projected reality, if it frightens us. I would ask you why you are so afraid to laugh and experience the joys of life? Instead of focusing on ‘others’; who are also a part of your external world; I would recommend that you honour your innate courage by exploring your inner world. What reality do you really want to choose for yourself – a nightmare or a dream?

Life on earth is hard, we bleed, cry and suffer, without exception – we all die. The man that appears free of the pain of life may not be denying it, but may have embraced it to discovered that pain was only a part of the truth – that beyond the fear and pain was a life experience that also was joyful, blissful and filled with laughter.

When one can be free of the fear of both joy and pain, life and death, dark and light – then wholeness provides one with the ultimate field of possibilities, the power to consciously choose what kind of life you desire to experience.


Close your eyes and consider who you may be blaming for your experience of life? How might it serve you to stop blaming and open to a new way of seeing and being. Let your apple tree support you and hold you in your courage to see things in a new and honest way.


Where is life happening?

All my love,  



January 14, 2011 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Mirror Mirror

Someone I used to know would periodically portray behaviors which I found offensive or combative.  When I brought these to her attention she was quick to ‘explain’ to me that I was actually mirroring.

Mirroring! That’s when you see behaviors within others that you take offence to but which you actually yourself present and.. herein you have the ‘blessing’ to raise to conscious awareness your faults so that you can deal with them….Balls!

I have heard people loosely and incorrectly using this brain fart in the wrong context.  If this was true what a schizophrenic bunch we all would be….mirroring everyone we come into contact with.

Mirroring – the correct definition –  is the behavior in which one person copies another person usually while in social interaction with them.  It may include miming gestures, movements, body language, muscle tensions, expressions, tones, eye movements, breathing, tempo, accent, attitude, choice of words/metaphors and other aspects of communication.  It is often observed among couples or close friends.

January 7, 2011 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

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