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Monday, December 9, 2013

Your cbt Exercises have Worked Well for my Depression

Ms. Curtiss,

I have been implementing your cbt techniques in my goal of eliminating depression without drugs now for a few weeks. I have been primarily doing the 'yes' exercise and my own personal version of 'green frog' with great success.

I was wondering if you had any ideas on cbt work for the extinction of addictive behaviors, especially in those moments when the desire becomes overwhelming.

My reason for asking is that your methods in depression are for exactly those times when the depression is coming on.

Thanks for your help, J

Dear J

Congratulations on your success with managing depressing. It is very freeing when you finally understand that no one is coming to save you and you simply have to save yourself. Not only that but you find you have the wherewithal to do it once you begin to take charge of your own life. 

As to your question. Addictive behaviors are similar to phobias in that both of them allow us to avoid the pain of feeling the repressed fear usually left over from childhood traumas of various kinds, avoid the pain of handling some difficulty in present reality or avoiding facing some real fear by focusing on a less threatening phobia. Instead of facing the fear of something real, we can always distract ourselves with the acting out of some bizarre motion or fearing something “odd.”

Acting out on feelings relieves us from having to feel the pain of them. We focus our awareness on the bizarre activity instead of the extreme pain caused by the irrational fear. The same thing is true here as is true of overcoming the fear of depression coming down on us. Once we realize that we need to access our courage and face old repressed fears (I talk about how to do this in Depression is a Choice Chapter ten) we can easily do it. The first time we “stand our ground” and refuse to do the addictive behavior or fear the oddity and instead feel the fear that caused it, it will seem like we are dying, the pain is so terrible to feel. But it’s not really us that is dying, but the fear. Remember that fear is necessary as it is our only psychological defense mechanism. We don’t discard old fears lightly. But with practice it becomes quite easy.

The exercises for finishing old repressed fear that manifests itself in addictive behavior and phobias are a little different from those exercises we use to get out of depression. Instead of distracting ourselves from the accidently triggered neural pattern until it stops jangling, for curing addictive behaviors and phobias we have to feel the old fear until is “finishes.” It is only our fear of the pain of fear that is the problem. Once we invite the fear to come and “hang out, the pain quickly fades. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Hope this helps. A. B.Curtiss


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Depression is a Choice Changed my Life. Thank you.

Dear Mrs Curtiss,

I just wanted to drop you a note to remind you of how much of an impact your book Depression is a Choice made. It changed my life. You and I corresponded through email about the technique of using a mantra for climbing out of depression. This technique worked extremely well and still after 10 years I am free of depression. I believe that I could not have succeeded with sanity without your advice and book.

At the time we corresponded you said that you were working on a new book on sanity. How has this work gone?

If you ever need any assistance with any matter, please let me know.

Warmest Regards, K

Hi K

So glad to hear all is well with you. I think the book to which you refer is the one I finally titled BRAINSWITCH OUT OF DEPRESSION. It came out in 2006 and won a Best Book Award that year. It  teaches you how your brain works and half the book is mind exercises and techniques to get you to start being more proactive with your thinking. A. B. Curtiss

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And Don't Forget

I received the below response from my oldest daughter after the post yesterday about my odd habit of memorizing poetry. It's only odd, I think, in the present-day culture where, most people are interested only in quickie "tweets" or facebook glances.

A little more than a hundred years ago all American public school report cards included a grade for "declamation." I have bought several old copies of Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard which had been inscribed to some child as a reward for his "excellence in declamation." Or a Merry Christmas from some Aunt or Uncle.

I'll bet no public school child today even knows the meaning of the word declamation. And what aunt or uncle today would consider a poetry book suitable as a gift to a child? They too often settle for gift cards as presents. It's too bad. They took all the old Nursery Rhymes out of the school system as being "too violent." Are they kidding? When they have whole schools read Hunger Games and teenage books about rape and incest. These are not called violent. They are praised as "realistic, "real issues," and down-to-earth issues."

The loss of poetry is too bad. Poetry helps to organize the neurons of the brain toward logical reasoning in the same way that classical music does. Sadly there is not much classical music around, either. Nursery rhymes and elementary rhythm bands were wonderful for childhood brain development.

I hope I'm not the only one who thinks this is a deplorable situation. For without lofty and inspiring thoughts to buoy us up when we feel low, what people are now sinking into is an artificial drug high of some kind to lift their spirits. Unfortunately what these these people don't realize is that there is ultimately a price to pay for introducing these uppers into the neurons of your brain. Becoming addicted to them is only one downside. Culture degradation is another. Would Lincoln have written the Gettysburg Address if he spent all is time twittering and facebooking as a child? First of all, he wouldn't have the vocabulary. And you need some alone time to develop your soul.

Anyway, here is the encouraging letter I received from one of my daughters. She remembered another Shakespeare phrase I used all the time.

Dear Mom,

And don't forget the oft used "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is, to have a thankless child".  I have dutifully passed that one down to the next generation!


I Have a Strange Habit

I may be an odd person. I say this because, since I was in the 8th grade, I have a habit of memorizing poetry. I tried to pass this on to my children but they were not terribly interested. I remember that I constructed an artist's easel in the kitchen and had posters of poems written in large letters that they could read and memorize while eating breakfast. I don't remember all of the poems, though I don't think there were many. I remember two and I'm sure all my five children still know at least these two which I just insisted they learn by heart. I even check to make sure they pass down these simple words of wisdom to their own children. Most of them have.

1. A wise old owl sat in an oak.
    The more he heard, the less he spoke
    The less he spoke, the more he heard
    Why aren't we like that wise old bird?

2. He was right, dead right, as he sped along
    But he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong.

I always wondered what my children would think when they ran across this Shakespeare passage in school. When they were very young and I would chauffeur them around, and as I would reach their stop and help them out of the car I'd invariably pat them on the bottom and say "Out, out brief candle..." See, I guess I am odd.

Why do I think about this right now? In the middle of the night? Tomorrow I have cataract surgery on my left eye and to give me something to think about since I won't be able to read, I have just finished memorizing the Gettysburg address. It will be fun for me to think about it over and over, and perhaps at some one or two places I will have to rack my brain to remember the exact word because I have just newly learned it.

I remember I helped my now husband, when we were both in the in the 10th grade, memorize The Chambered Nautilis by Oliver Wendell Holmes. I have never forgotten it in all these years. Let's see, what other poems have I memorized? I certainly have memorized a lot of my own poems. Then there is Invictis, Under the Wide and Starry Sky, Milton's Sonnet on his Blindness, many passages from Shakespeare such as Portia's speech beginning, "the quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed. It blesseth him who gives and him who receives. 'Tis mightiest in the mighty. It becomes a sceptered monarch better than his crown.

Abou Ben Adam. is a favorite of mine. And The House by the Side of the Road. I guess I try to live my whole life by the words of The First Psalm.. Sometimes even I have dared to say to friends a lunch. "Would you like to hear a poem? I don't do it too often. Don't want to seem too weird.

Why do I do such an odd thing? Well, perhaps it only seems odd because I haven't yet run across anybody else who does it. Maybe I just haven't met enough people. When I explained it to my grandson the other day I remember saying that to memorize the great passages of Western Literature and have them ramble around in your mind forever changes you. Somehow it enlarges the horizon of how you think about things, how you look at the world.

I never thought of this before, but you can never feel alone when you can, at will, be in the august company of some great thinker. Certainly, if nothing else, you feel less confined to the particular small segment of time into which you just happen to have been born, or in which you momentarily just happen to be struggling.

When you wake in the middle of the night and feel lonely, or traveling and can't read for some reason, or stuck in traffic, poetry and great speeches are very good company. The Gettysburg Address is inspiring to think about.Every once in a while inspiring words from some lofty thinker's mind have been just the thing to say to a friend who was ill, or troubled or needing company. Sometimes they make a point better than anything else. I never cease to be touched by the fact that such words can so easily reach into someone's heart and make a difference of some kind. Including my own heart.  A. B. Curtiss

Monday, November 25, 2013

Univseral Principles can help Figure out Daily Dilemmas

Dear AB,

I hope this email finds you very well!

As someone who suffers occasional bouts of depression but is looking for cognitive methods to overcome it, I was fascinated to read one of your articles on brainswitching.

My latest dip coincided with some traumatic events and triggered my first (and hopefully last) episode of anxiety attacks and compulsive thoughts. In particular, the line 'I am fine' said over and over in my head. It did calm me somewhat, but rather than remove the depressed thought, it mostly brought me down to a baseline of fear and stopped any other unpleasant thoughts from intruding.

I would assume that the difference is that Brainswitching is a choice made from a place of control, whereas an OCD thought is a thought created from fear, however I would be most pleased if you had any opinion or insight you'd care to share on this?

I appreciate that you are probably very busy and won't take any offence if you are unable to reply!

All the best in either case,  L

Dear L,

Your letter was very interesting as it taps into a universal principle. Universal principles are valuable in that they provide a measure by which we can measure incidents that are, at first, unclear. Knowledge of just a few universal principles can greatly simplify our difficulty in trying to figure out some real problem in our regular workaday world.

For instance you point to brainswitching’s use of repetitive nonsense thoughts as being probably different from  repetitive OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) thoughts and you are right. The universal principle that might help dispel any doubt as to the difference in the two thoughts is this: anything you do because of fear of something will, in some way, be inappropriate to your life. Whereas, conversely, whatever you do out of love for something (some principle, some commitment) will most likely be appropriate to your life in some way, win or lose. I say win or lose because sometimes it is appropriate to your life to lose in some way.. It is not always appropriate to your life to win.

When you use mental exercises such as nonsense rhymes repeated over and over to thoughtjam and distract from negative or anxious thoughts, you are making that decision out of love for something—helping yourself to better mental health. OCD thoughts come from the fear of feeling the pain caused by irrational repressed fear.

Both OCD thoughts and OCD behaviors are running away from the great pain of feeling repressed fear. You can even use repetitive chosen thoughts to get out of OCD thoughts.

The choice to use brainswitching thoughts is cognitive behavior and activates the neurons in the neocortes, the reasoning part of your brain. Whereas the getting stuck in habitual OCD thoughts is emotional behavior rather than cognitive behavior and continues to power up the neurons in the subcortex, the emotional part of the brain. What might help to sort this all out is knowledge of the universal principle of behavior based on love of something is always appropriate to your life in some way, win or lose. And behavior that comes from fear of something is always inappropriate to your life in some way, win or lose.

There are other universal principles which help to sort our daily dilemmas such as:

The end does not justify the means.

It is always appropriate to do the right thing

When making a difficult decision spend most time and effort trying to assess which behavior (choice) would be based on fear of something and which behavior (choice) would be based on love of something. This is not always an easy assessment. For instance does a woman stay in an abusive marital relationship out of fear that she will be on her own, or out of love for her husband.

Never let your thoughts go beyond your situation.

You can't know Truth as an object.

Hope this helps. A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I would like to Buy your Brainswitch book in bulk

Hi, again.  I e-mailed you in September thanking you for your amazing book Brainswitch Out of Depression.

I am now slowly and carefully doing my first step of reducing my anti-depressant dose and would 100% absolutely not be doing this had I not stumbled upon your book!  Thank you for helping me get to this stage...

Because I feel so strongly about the power of your book, I'd like to buy many copies for friends, for the school I work at and for other locations. The book is very affordable/easy to get in a Kindle version but is at least $40.00 on amazon.ca to get in print.  I was wondering if there was a way to purchase the book at a more typical cost (trust me, I think it's worth more than $40.00 for how much it's done for me!) so I could buy many copies of it and pass it around.  I tried to buy it off of your website but I don't think it will ship to Canada from there.

Any suggestions?  I'd love to pass along your brilliance to others.

Thank you again more than I can say.



Dear M,

First of all I appreciate your letter. Thank you. Second, please consult with your doctor if you are reducing your drug dosages. There may be dangerous side effects from withdrawal.

And as for the postage. It costs about $50 to send 10 books to Canada, about $75 to send 20 books and about $100 to send 30 books. The books cost $20 including custom fees.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What about Laziness?


           I  have  just  read  your book "Brain switch". There are no  words  about  laziness.  Please, explain me. I am sometimes lazy to do something (wash the dishes). I have asked myself several times if I was  afraid of something? But no. I am just lazy to do this job.  Or  am I afraid of something but I haven't knonw that
yet? Sorry for my english. Thank you, A

Dear A

If you are not wanting to do something, whatever it is, and focus on your feelings you will always detect some slight feeling of fear. Not fear of anything in particular. The feeling of fear comes from previously repressed fear (probably from childhood when you were helpless) already in the cells of your body. It is human nature to be lazy about doing something, it is not a great problem. However, you can use this laziness to get in touch with old repressed fear and feel it with full acceptance, acceptance now available from your no longer helpless adult self, allowing old repressed fear to just finish finally. Hope this helps. A. B. Curtiss

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thanks for Letting me "Talk Story"

Dear A. B.

I forgot about the Desiderata... truly wonderful.  It has continually amazed me when people want 2 share their worst case scenarios.  

I will try 2 find your Blog. I have only figured out Email but perhaps my husband can help me with the computer. He is part Hawaiian and "talk story" is a big part of his cultural heritage.  My other challenge is that I have been told I M compassionate.  My mom is in continual pain and can hardly move due 2 osteoporosis...I Listen and try 2 focus on being present and gently positive but sometimes feel like I am suffering "with" her if that makes sense.  I guess it's a fine line.  One image I have found helpful is from a love story that starred Cher and Nicholas Cage.  I believe it was called...Moonstruck.  My favorite scene is when Nicholas Cage professes his love 4 her and she responds by slapping him and yelling Snap Out of It!  Whenever I start going in a downward spiral I imagine that scene...only Cher is yelling..Snap out of it! to me.  It usually helps break the cycle. Thanx so much...I have appreciated talking story.  

Dear S   

Since your husband is Hawaiian perhaps he knows of the ooponopono meditation. It is quite wonderful. I use it often.

 A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Need Ideas for a Day List of Positive Switches out of Depression

I have tried ordering on the www.depressionisachoice.com (will not accept orders from Australia) I have however after much travelling the web ordered a copy via Amazon in the US.  The only problem is that it will not arrive until Dec or January.
I have copied and downloaded some of the information on your blog, however I would be most grateful if you could send via email to me or put onto your blog a selection of the brainswitching exercises  ( I have the green frog etc) so anymore would be most helpful due to the delay in being able to access your book.  I am very grateful for whatever you can give me. PS I joined the blog, but cannot find a way to put on a question. Thank you
A Day List of Positive Switches to use is what I had in mind if possible.

Dear J,

As for positive switches any nonsence phrase or nursery rhyme like higgilty, piggolty....barber, barber shave a pig, how many hairs to make a wig....baaa baa blacksheep.....counting 5 6 7 8 over and over. ..any words like holly jolly...... oh by golly.....yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today (that's an old 1940s song I use all the time) ... 

One women said she changed her whole life after suffering from depression for years by saying "so what? so what? so what? rather than thinking that she felt bad every time she felt a dip down into depression.  Hope this helps. My book Brainswitch out of Depression actually has more exercises than Depression is a Choice. The publisher of Depression is a Choice did not want to use a bunch of exercises because they wanted the book to be taken more seriously than a normal how-to book.

For more exercises, go to my author website www.abcurtiss.com, click on the depression is a choice website and click on “Exercises” on the left menu

A. B. Curtiss

Many thanks once again have now copied some of the exercises from the below link and also from the other email. I now believe that I can cope using these and look forward to receiving your book. It will be a Christmas Present to myself. I may try and join your blog later.  You have been terrific and I believe in your work. Cheers



Monday, October 28, 2013

Negative People Bring me Down

Dear A. B.

Both replies yesterday were very helpful.  I am so grateful that you responded so quickly.  That was my concern with grief--crossing the line to biochemical imbalance/depression.  Your description of continuing the day's tasks while being gentle with oneself/others and the quote makes sense and feels doable.

SAD puzzles me more--I can see where I need to "catch my thinking"--yet I also feel a distinct physiological difference with shorter days.  Do you think that the full spectrum light makes a difference?  Yesterday when I was waiting for a Starbucks coffee--the person in front of me paid for it and told the young man waiting on me that she liked my dogs. In spite of the grief I felt on that dark day--my mood lifted immediately--giving me hope that it is possible to continue to shift my focus. 

Your choice of words--lost, abandoned and unsafe made sense to me.  As an "incest survivor"--I think that I may have a very strong association with the dark and those words.  I don't recall actually thinking I feel lost, abandoned and unsafe--but it does seem to trigger some strong associations. (neural pathways?)  

Another challenge I have encountered as a recovering person is how to keep myself from going "down" the path of depression when listening to the news (which I can limit) and social interactions.  Without the buffer of meds I have become quite aware of how negative most of my family sounds when they talk.  I have tried "shifting" the focus to different topics.  (I have been amazed that even "lighthearted" topics shift quickly to what's wrong or not "good enough.")  I even had a relative who was upset with me for not "listening" to her problems.  So the dilemma is how to be compassionate and respond in a thoughtful way while not going "down" internally.  

You have so many great techniques in the book--Brainswitch (which I am currently rereading) perhaps there is one that deals with this area. If not, perhaps you would consider writing a book that deals specifically with relationship/communication issues!  I have a friend who simply avoids all of her family!  

I understand if you don't have time to respond to this email.  Please know that I appreciated the time and thoughtful responses.(which I have copied to reread.)  Sometimes after reading a book I feel like continuing the "conversation" with an author.  How truly generous of you to be available to your readers.

Mahalo Nui Loa


Dear S,

I remember when I had a back injury and a friend came over to cheer me up. She had one story after another how somebody she knew or some relative had "something similar" and had died, or become paralyzed of ended up in some kind of dire straits or another. I could feel myself feeling worse and worse. I couldn't believe it and could hardly wait until she left. 

Some people don't really communicate with you, they just verbalize what's going on in their own heads and use you as an audience for their monologue. You have to be very proactive to keep the conversation half-way reasonable or tune-out and hope they go away soon. Some people are never going to learn how to "share" stories. That's really how human beings communicate, isn't it, we tell each other our stories. And some people, sadly, are only interested in their own stories, or in how they are going to critique your story. For this problem, I refer you to what I think is the highest wisdom: The Desiderata

Here is first paragraph again although it appears elsewhere on my blog, I'm sure:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, 
     and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender 
     be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, 
     even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, 
     you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Does Brainswitch work for SAD?

Dear A. B. Curtiss

I am sure that you receive thousands of phone calls and emails.  I can only hope that we will connect.  I have been fighting depression for over 30 years.  I was a positive, active person in my teens and early 20's.  When my late husband went into the hospital for the second time due to his alcoholism--I started having panic attacks.  At one time I was an excellent runner--and that was my "go to" place to regain calm and focus. Unfortunately, I had been in a serious car accident and could no longer run. Yadayada.  But, you get the picture of the beginning of a downward spiral.

At that time I was put on antidepressants/antianxiety meds. which did very little to alleviate the problem--in fact I became quite dependent on the Lorazepam.  I eventually lost my career as a teacher of young children and literally "hit bottom" last January.
I finally found a doctor to help me get off of the psychotropic drugs.  I used the techniques describes in your book--but still experienced suicidal thoughts--which I fought with Brainswitch and walking.

 I am finally off of all drugs--and thought I was making progress.  I walk (a lot!) care for an elderly man and help with care of our grandson. I feel a bit "foggy" on a lot of days but still hope to become more functional and mentally sharp.  Thought I was making progress until the days began to get dark again.  It literally feels like a windowshade in my brain has been pulled down.  I have read about SAD and use full spectrum lights but this is the first time in years I have faced the dark days of winter without drugs. 

My question is very simple--Does Brainswitch work for SAD?  Is there anything in addition you would suggest?  Thank you so much for letting people know there's hope.  

Mahalo Nui Loa (thank you from the heart)


Dear S

Yes, Brainswitch does work for SAD. SAD is just like any other downer shift of thinking that antecedes downer shift of feeling. The earlier you can catch yourself falling, the easier it is to distract yourself and move in another, more positive, direction. In addition to mere distraction from SAD, you can always do something to cozy up your home with a  crackling fire, or colors that are bright such as reds and yellows. or comfy quilts to snuggle up in. We are sensitive to our environment and we can also do much to change our immediate environs.

The trick is to invest these things we have used to cozy up our environment with the idea of feeling cozy and safe and identify with and introject them. And withdraw and distract ourself from investing the dark day with ideas that we are lost, abandoned and unsafe. SAD happens because we attribute to the dark day things that are not true about them and then we react to the things we have attributed to the dark day, not to what it really is, but what we have habitually attritubed to it.

SAD happens when we start to identify with and introject the immense grey skies, incessant rain, dreary sidewalks and roadways as if they are us. They are not us. We can make a small space of our own within this darkening world and learn to bring to it our own sense of comfort and coziness. When we go out into the dark day, we can learn to enjoy it more by reminding ourselves that it isn't us and it isn't endless and there is no rational reason to attribute those things to it and then react to our own attribution. We can begin to think of the dark day as a contrast to what we have waiting for us, as a measure of comfort when we go into a brighly lit store, or a movie, or our business or our home where cozy things welcome us. Seeing both our comfy nearby environment and the dark day as contrasts but not that one is hurting us, we can more easily move through the dark day.

SAD is faulty thinking just like other forms of depression. When we drop the thinking and replace it with different and more productive thinking, the SADness or depression lifts, and we can move forward with our day.

If you want to you could get yourself a talisman. Some object, piece of jewelry, that you always have with you and whenever you feel you are over-identifying with the dark of the day you could grab on that talisman and remind yourself that you can choose other thinking, other things to identify with.

Hope this helps. A. B. Curtiss

Dear A. B. Curtiss

I asked earlier about dealing with depression in the winter.

Same ? --for  the "big stuff"

loved ones dying

Mahalo Nui Loa

Dear S,

Yes, we all must mourn our losses but we must not let that appropriate mourning turn into the chemical imbalance of depression. We must be able to accept the pain and hurt of loss as all human beings are, sooner or later, forced to do. We all must simply surrender to the pain of loss, and let the pain make its way through us. Like the old saying, “Say yes to the pain.” Then, after a suitable time,  it is our duty to pick ourselves up and gently move ourselves forward with our day. We are never alone in our sorrow over some loss. We never know what great sorrow fills the hearts of some stranger walking next to us down the street.

Here is a quote that I find helpful for this:

The English theologian Richard Cecil (1748-1777) says: “Duties are ours, events are God’s. This removes an infinite burden from the shoulders of a miserable, tempted, dying creature. On this consideration only can he securely lay down his head and close his eyes.”

A. B. Curtiss

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Feel Nothing

Dear AB

I've had depression since I was 16. I'm in my 20s now. I don’t think sad thoughts. I dont think anything. If you could read my mind with superpowers or technology, you would hear silence. I think in images and videos. It actually takes me mental effort to think in words. I would have to force myself to think in verbal phrases/sentences.

When I was 17, I lifted weights for months on end. I structured ny exercises into sets and reps. I followed my workout religiously. 2 hours straight every 2 days. I didn't do lower body weight lifting because those exercises kept cramping me up every time (but I did play football for 30 minutes every school day at lunch, for fun).

The workouts didn't help. I couldn't feel fear, anxiety, happiness or pleasure. Orgasms became almost non-existent when I turned 17, despite having high testosterone (checked by blood tests). That same year, after months of lifting, I became physically 50% stronger, but exactly the same mentally/emotionally.

I can't bring happy thoughts into existence any more than I can force myself to feel love for someone that I don't (like how couples grow out of loving each other and can't mentally force the love back into existence).

Today, music has no effect on me anymore (it used to be orgasmic), I haven’t felt love in 7 years, video games/action movies give zero excitement. Comedy has no impact on me at all anymore (I used to love it more than any other film/TV genre).

Drugs like weed, caffeine, opiates, and stimulants don't help (and I've only ever had a weed habit and caffeine habit, when they used to help). Half the time amphetamines and opiates do nothing at all (I just sit there as if I just took homeopathic meds), and the other half they put me on an emotional roller coaster (without the happiness/pleasure). That’s right, I got sad and violent from a shot of morphine in the ER, and

I've also gotten sleepy from adderall and meth before. Ritalin made me incapable of feeling pleasure or emotion, and that was at age 13, when I was still normal.
Alcohol kind of works for 30 minutes, but I get a hangover after 2 drinks, and 1 drink lasts 1 hour tops. Anti anxiety meds make my body sore and weak, and make me grouchy (always did, even before the depression).


I often laugh at jokes or pretend to be enjoying a movie when I'm with friends or at a party, but its just a mask/face I'm putting up; there is never any emotion behind it. Until I turned 16, things weren't this way. In fact, suppressing negative emotions is part of how I became like this: I supressed the bad ones, and now I don't need to supress anymore; I have nothing left to supress, good or bad.  P

Dear P

Your situation is one of the problems with the over-medication of children and adults with mind-altering drugs. After a while, nothing works, your adrenals are dry, your endocrine system out of whack, and you have depleted the brain of the neurotransmitters that you need for the neurons to talk to one another. I would suggest that you seek a Dr of Chinese Medicine or some kind of homeopathic nutritionist. Sounds like you might need some kind of de-toxification. A place like The Optimum Health Institute in La Mesa, CA might help. There are similar organizations throughout the country.

I would also suggest that self-hypnosis might help or the services of a hypno-therapist. Perhaps Alcoholics Anonymous might be a step in the right direction. It sounds like you have already self-medicated yourself most of your life and might need more professional direction. You could even start with a psychiatrist for a diagnosis. But this is a problem because most psychiatrists depend upon prescribing pills based on a list of your own self-analysis of your symptoms.

How do you support yourself?

As a life goal, trying to feel good is never successful. Feeling good is a by-product of a human being's good physical health (when the cells get what they need), their sense of purpose (for what reason might they be here in this world?) and their ability to maintain an intimate connection with others.

Although you will immediately brush off the idea, still, volunteering for some worthy cause to help others would get you moving in the right direction on two of the necessities of life, a sense of purpose, and a  healthy connection with others. Beware of self-focus when you do volunteer. Self-focus is the road to ruin in any situation.. For instance, self-focus means analyzing your feelings constantly while you are volunteering and thinking to yourself "Why should I bother doing this, this isn't making me feel any better."

When volunteering keep turning your focus away from how you are feeling and concentrate, instead, on what you are doing or what somebody else is saying.The way you make other people important to you is to make an investment in them, to listen to what they are saying, to see how you can join them in some endeavor or help them in some small way  to make their lives better for that moment. 

Look around you and see what small task continually presents itself for you to concentrate on instead of concentrating on yourself. There is always some small next thing to do. Do the first thing near you, the second task will present itself. Most depression comes not from emptiness but from lack of fulness.

I'm sorry that you are in such a bad place right now. That can change. 

A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Trying So Many Things but Am Discouraged

Dear A.B.

Again, thank you for individually replying to me. I continue to incorporate much Pilates to my exercise program which I started ages ago. Yes, it has helped a lot with my back pain. I cut out dairy and gluten long ago also. I took a supplement, tremadone that is supposed to help but not sure it does. Also recent improvement with probiotics and citracel which I used before.

All not sure if helping, but I keep trying anyway. This morning my mantra was "you are blessed by god, you need not be afraid" for I am afraid of every move I make whether it is the right wrong. My history involves a lot of the same things but I have not been able to put my faith in Chinese medicine or supplements either.

 Food is a big thing but because of trying so much on that score I've become afraid of eating. I know you are trying to help me with all your suggestions but in truth it just adds to my confusion of right and wrong to do. What I take from all this is there are people trying to help people but we are all like the blind leading the blind. R

Dear R,

Yes, nobody knows "the answer." We all try to help each other based on what has worked for us. Sometimes some small thing will click, and make a difference.Seems like you are going in the right direction. Have faith in the way you have taken authority over your life. A. B Curtiss

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There is Only One Pain Caused by Fear but Many Different things that Cause it to Trigger

Dear R,

I didn't hear from you after my last email so I thought maybe I hadn't focused my answer enough that I posted just previous to this post. Maybe I had broadened the answer too much. So I have tried to refocus my answer to your question by making a more direct comparison between the two kinds of pain, the pain of depression and the pain caused by regular fear of something in current reality.There is only one fear, one flight-or-or fight response that triggers. The difference in our approach to handling that one fear and the pain it causes is altered by the situation in which it occurs

"The way we dissociate ourselves from our painful feelings is by switching to thinking about something else rather than what is happening in our present reality. But dissociating from painful feelings isn’t escaping from painful feelings. These repressed feelings hang around and drag us down in many ways, including depression."

What is brain switching but dissociating from our painful feelings?  Depression causes physical pain in current time.
When you dissociate from the pain of depression you are dissociating from a chronic neural pattern that triggers automatically whether there is something in current reality to be legitimately afraid of or not; you are not dissociating from the pain of regular fear caused by something in the current day that has frightened you. And by dissociating from these reality-based fears (we are not considering here whether or not you should be afraid of speaking in public or social snubs) the fear is repressed and you suffer the fear anyway as you become less sure of yourself and avoid situations in the future similar to the one where you first experienced fear.
You then start projecting the original fear on other things. A child who is not coached through his perfectly normal fear of going to his first birthday party (there is always some fear associated with our doing anything new and different and should be accepted as part of life) may spend his whole life avoiding parties. Someone's fear might have stemmed at first from a social snub. Then, not dealing with this fear, accepting it and letting it finish, that person might become afraid of all social situations. (We call this social anxiety) This can escalate into such a boatload of repressed  and projected fears that some people are afraid to even walk out of their house. We call that agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is quite different from depression but they both stem from fear and the pain caused by fear.

Monday, October 14, 2013

One of your Paragraphs Wiped out my Hope

Dear A. B. Curtiss

"The way we dissociate ourselves from our painful feelings is by switching to thinking about something else rather than what is happening in our present reality. But dissociating from painful feelings isn’t escaping from painful feelings. These repressed feelings hang around and drag us down in many ways, including depression."

What is brain switching but dissociating from our painful feelings?  Depression causes physical pain in current time.

I read your books a while back and just revisited  many of your ideas in an Internet article. After reading through the whole thing and being convinced, I came to the end to have you state the exact opposite in the above paragraph.

Also about foods. All this fear of food is part of our current paranoia and fear-based culture.

You advocate replacing painful thoughts (which create physical pain) with a neutral or nonsense or positive thought pattern to escape depression so how is this different from "dissociating" from our physical and mental pain and thus causing ourselves more depression.

My depression as you state is that nothing will work and with one paragraph you wiped out any hope I had that your method would work either.

From experience I have come to fear psychotropic drugs. I can no longer take them. I keep trying your method, mindfulness meditation, tai chai, positive affirmations and a plethora of self-help stuff trying to find the common thread. Self-help, except 12-step, seems to leave out God or a higher power which in itself scares me. I am constantly suspicious that all this "new age" stuff is just the wicked one saying "you can fix yourself, you don't need God." I'm so tired of looking for answers.

Sent from my iPhone. R.

Dear R,

Thank you so much for your letter. I would never be one to say you can get rid of depression without God. I consider my own reliance on a higher power, call it what you will, to be an ever-present mainstay. There is always help for anyone, believe what they will, who falls on their knees in a state of true supplication and humility and asks for help. To be sure they can add "by the Grace of God and for the good of humanity" to guard against dark powers. People who took courses in Silva Mind Control always included this phrase when they went to "alpha level."

I think I understand your quandary about depression being current reality. Just because you are, at any particular present moment, experiencing the pain being produced in the subcortex as a result of the triggering of the fight-or-flight response which has, in turn, triggered the neural pattern response we call depression, that doesn't mean that depression is present reality (your upon-the-instant interaction with your surround.) Depression masquerades as present reality because it is so painful it immediately gets our full attention. But depression is, in fact, not true present reality. Depression and the pain caused by depression is a state of alarm from which you need to recover as soon as possible. Depression actually blocks out the true reality which is that, (as other people can plainly see) you are reallyperfectly all right and not in any real present danger.

I have found that the quickest way to recover is to use some (already chosen so as to have it at the ready) brainswitch exercise which prevents the present acknowledgment in the neocortex that depression is being produced in the subcortex. Remember that present reality includes our connected with our fellow human being. Depression alienates us from our fellow human beings and the regular workaday world and hurls us into a painful world which we continue to self-create all by our selves. Also remember that the processof pain perception means that all pain is produced in the subcortex but those signals have to go up the brain to be not only received but acknowledged in the neocortex before a human being can feel any pain.

This is important to remember. The fight-or-flight system does not trigger because we are in a dangerous situation. It triggers because we think we are in danger. It is our THOUGHTS that cause our emotions, NOT REALITY. In real estate you need to fully understand three words-- location, location and location. In depression you need to fully understand three words--  perception, perception and perception. We could be in a real life-and-death situation and not realize it, and our fight-or-flight system will not activate. Or, we could be perfectly safe and start feeling anxious, and off it will go!

So it is no surprise that depression can occur in the absence of any reality-based concrete problems. Depression is a psychological “This is the house that Jack built.” This is the anxious thought, that connected with the terrible thought, that sparked up the fearful thought, that branched into two terrible memories, that triggered the fight-or-flight response, that caused the chemical imbalance, that caused the depression.

If you are confident enough to "hang" with the pain of depression in a state of calm acceptance of it, that calm acceptance is neocortical activity and neocortical activity beefs up the neural activity in the neocortex and lesses neural activity in the subcortex. However it is more difficult to "get" how to be in a state of calm acceptance (instead ofthinking "Oh no, not again) than it is to use the help of a small mind exercise that
dissociates you from the acknowledgement that you are experiencing the pain of depression, until, no longer agitated and producing more stress chemicals because you are experiening the pain of stress chemicals already produced, the stress chemicals will dissipate and the depressive neural pattern will calm down and ceased to "jangle." Only then can you be in true present reality, the world and surround you share with other people.

This acceptance of anxiety is extremely difficult but necessary to learn in order to recover from PTSD cause by drug use which has over-sensitised your nerves. This is slightly different from depression. When I was prescribed too much oxycodene I had to learn this. The book, Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes is invaluable help for this.

Don't give up hope. If you still have a question, please don't hesitate to ask.

A. B. Curtiss

Sunday, September 22, 2013

On Being the "Slave to our Emotions"

We’ve all heard the saying that we shouldn’t be “the slave to our emotions.”  And then psychology tells us we must acknowledge our legitimate emotions rather than repress them.That perhaps "letting it all hang out" is better than "stuffing it."

Perhaps the whole bell curve of us lie between the two poles—somewhere between repressing emotions and needing anger management classes.

Emotions are tricky. Do we have them? Or do they have us? In the very necessity to control our anger, can we say that even in that way, even in the way of controlling it, it controls us?

Here are two quotes to consider:

“If it depends on something other than myself whether I become angry or not, I am not the master of my life.” Rudolf Steiner

"We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are."  The Talmud

There is some great truth hovering in the middle of these two quotes and if we can hang out with them a while, some of it will seep into our consciousness. We might want to argue with the first quote that things happen that should make us angry if we are normal people. But I don’t believe anybody could really argue with the second quote if they took the time to consider it fully.

However though you might not be able to argue that there is anything wrong with the quote, or incorrect about it. No quote can be the truth of anything. The only thing that can be the truth of anything is us. We can’t know truth as a object so the only thing we can do with truth is be it. I know I’ve said this often before. And these two quotes are such a good example of what I mean.

Just because we intellectually apprehend some idea doesn’t mean we actually fully experience the truth of it as it pertains to us unless we make an effort to do so. Not to just stop and think about it, though, of course, that is where we must begin. But we must take more time than that. And put more into it than our thinking faculties allow. And perhaps more time than our busy world now allows. We must do what Walt Whitman in his “Song of Myself” suggests: “I loaf and invite my soul.”

And if you loaf and invite your soul to hang out with these two quotes they may be of great service.  For myself, I’ve been reading Rudolf Steiner lately as, as always, I might spend several days on one page. When I decided to commit the above quote of his to memory it took me three days to memorize one sentence. Must be a reason for that.

One thing I have noticed is that since I have committed that little sentence to memory, it pops up when circumstances occur that tend to make me angry--for instance my dog barking in the morning a half hour before I wanted to wake up. When that emotion starts to flair, the sentence occurs to me as well and I look at that instant of my life in a slightly different way. I don't go "heedless into it." I consider myself. I take a wider look.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Just Read Children of the Gods

Dear A. B.

I just finished your book Children Of The Gods and what a fantastic book it is! I had originally been putting books on eBay to supplement my income and I was about to list this one. I had no idea what it was about but I knew it was a first edition signed by the author. I browsed through it and got hooked. I read it from cover to cover right then and there and now I would never part with it. I intend to read it over and over. I can't believe how beautifully you weaved such eternal truth and knowledge into a very pleasurable narrative. This would be a perfect candidate for an audio version, but I can't find one. Any thoughts to making one?


E. H.

Dear E. H.

Yes, I thought about doing an audio before but just never got around to it. I didn't sell very many of these books. My book The Little Chapel that stood is my best seller. Brainswitch out of Depression does well. But strangely enough Children of the Gods is now in the hands of an off-broadway producer (who came across the book and loved it) collaborating with a music professor in Capitol Univ in Columbus Ohio to make it into a musical. Who knows?

I got a call at 11pm from  my daughter's tennis coach years ago who said he had the book on his shelf for years (I had given him a copy) and just read it and had to call me to tell me what a profound effect it had on his life. You just never know when you write something where it is going to end up.

Thanks so much for writing. I'll put your letter on my blog.http://mobyjane.blogspot.com. My webmaster said I've received over 50,000 hits and that's good. Not much of a techie myself. Again I really appreciate that you took the time to write.

A. B. Curtiss

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I Need the Reassurance that I will Be Happy Again

Ms. Curtiss:

I am ever so grateful to have been able to discover and purchase and read your book, Brainswitch Out of Depression.  It has already helped me redirect my thinking even though I only purchased it less than a week ago.

I was in the midst of a depression when I purchased the book and your techniques are helping me climb out more quickly than I would have on my own.  In fact, I'm sure, without the book I would be sliding further in.

I do remember reading the part about how some people told you your techniques were helping them manage their depression but that they still didn't consider themselves happy.

I have some happy times in the last few years that I hope I will have again but right now I feel like I need reassurance from you, for some reason, that I will attain and maintain the happiness I have felt in the past.

I have a supportive family, husband and group of co-workers; I am taking fish oils and B vitamins daily; I am exercising daily; I am eating well and trying to limit sugar; I am meditating daily (using the Jon Kabat-Zinn program)...so that + the Brainswitching seems like a good plan to stick with.  Being patient is hard and last Thursday night I felt the most hope and inspiration I have felt in a while...and then today not as much; so I find that hard.

Any thoughts, advice or reassurance?

Thank you SO MUCH for writing your book.  I have never understood depression before and now it makes total sense in the way you describe it.

Thanks for all your help thus far. M

Dear M

I haven't had a depression hit for quite a while. Last night, for no reason at all, I felt hopeless, helpless, useless, pointless and the world was not a beautiful place anymore. I thought immediately to myself. Crap, I'd forgotten how horrible this is.

And I got immediately busy doing whatever was my chore at the time. It is an ingrained habit of mine, for a long time now, that I automatically spend no time at all in the ompany of the depressive thought or feeling. I don't fight it by refusing  o think it in an aggressive way. I acknowledge it calmly, not really with a yawn, but with a sense of I've been here before and pardon me I'm not interested. And I recognize my depression when my depression is triggered in the earlies possible stage now. Since I am so used to being completely okay, I immediately notice the downward shift. This time I just said Yuk, and kind of turned away like you might do if you saw a bit of dog poo on your path that you didn't wish to step in.

A thought is basically what most depression is, a thought that you don't have to think. Anxiety, or PTSD caused by drug use (doctor prescribed or street), where you can't get out of the fight-or-flight mode is a little different. It's agonizing whether you think it or not. For this you need serious nutritional supplements to restore your endocrine system.I've had experience with that as well though I haven't written about except on my blog. However, once cured, that seems not to repeat itself. I guess as long as you keep up the nutrition, which I have.

What was always helpful to me, when I used to get depression hits more often, was recognizing that I was not the only one. That millions of people felt just as bad as I did at that very moment and I would pull myself up and get going to help all the others as well as myself. You must immediate reconnect with  "the other," if not physically then at least symbolically. You could say something to yourself like, okay me and you can do this together.

You can also pray to God, if you have that going for you. Even if you don't pray to God to enter your heart, you can even recognize your own heart, your own perfectly okay center by putting your hand on your heart and bringing you awareness out of your thinking to just being there with your own heart. It is very calming. Try it right now. Just
put your hand on your heart, close your eyes.

If you really concentrate on doing that and relax into it you will find that your whole body bends forward and relaxes and you sense new connection with life, with everything.. Even with another person over the Internet showing you how you are already, deep inside, okay..

About happiness. Striving for happiness is putting your psychological system under undue stress. Happiness isn't something you can strive for. Happiness is your okay self being freed from your anxiety to get happy.. Happiness is a feeling, it is getting something you want. It is not essential like your essential okayness that, now and then, in its calm acceptance of "what is" is the very center of love itself. You don't want happiness if you really examined it. What you want is to be able to connect to life in a loving way. To see life as beautiful again. You, yourself are made of the very love you
seek. But it is covered over by your anxiety that you don't have it.

I would suggest you also read my book Depression is a Choice. You can often get that
for a dollar or two on amazon. And meantime I will always answer any specific question you have. And I do not charge for that.

The difference between me and other people just starting to steer themselves out of depression is that I don't get upset or alarmed if it hits me. Anymore than I would get upset at some dog poo in my path. It's there, okay, walk around it don't rail at it and ask why it's there and think about it and wish it wasn't there. All of this attention just makes it stronger and stinky, you end up trying to stomp on it and you get it all over your shoe.
A. B. Curtiss

Monday, August 26, 2013

Unlikely Meditation on a TV Show

I watch a TV program called “Person of Interest.” I never thought it to be particularly profound until an episode recently woke me up to a quite remarkable spiritual insight. What a surprise! The theme of the series is that the government has a spy machine that “listens in” on everybody every moment of the day. It was invented to warn of possible terrorist acts.

But it also kicks out the names of those due to be involved in some kind of danger of imminent demise due to some impending act of violence, either as perpetrator or victim. The government considers these people irrelevant but the inventor of the machine and his ex-assassin cohort have decided to come to the aid of those whose “number comes up.”

 In this particular episode, the hero assassin tracks down the new number, a doctor, and attends the ceremony where the scientist is awarded a high honor. The doctor suddenly collapses, poisoned by the celebratory glass of wine he drank. The hero was able to revive the doctor with an antidote and together they track down the killer during the ensuing hour. However, it turns out the poison has been in his system too long and the hero suddenly realizes, at the close of the show, that the doctor had now only minutes more to live.

 The hero sat with the scientist to keep him company as he was dying, and apologized for not being in time to save his life. “That’s okay,” said the doctor, patting the hero’s arm affectionately. “Thanks for giving me ‘another shot.’” Puzzled, the hero looked quizzically at the scientist, thinking that maybe he didn’t fully realize he was actually dying. “Another shot?” Smiling, the doctor pointed to the sky, waved his hand to frame the beauty of the last sunset he would ever enjoy, as he repeated, “another shot.” I have thought about that moment of insight ever since.

It has become a sort of gratitude meditation throughout my day. Every once in a while I’ll notice some lovely cloud formation, some happy scene of neighborliness, some bright blue flower on my way to the mailbox—any small piece of life around me. With renewed awareness, I take the time to really see it. I take the time to experience it fully, to be there with all of me all the way to savor the pure joy of it. “Wow,” I’ll recognize this great gift of Creation of which I am privileged to be a small part, now firmly re-connected. “Thanks for giving me another shot.”

 Isn’t that all we have anyway? Perhaps we needn’t focus on decrying our dwindling years, our decline brought about by age or illness. We don’t have life by the year, or by the decade anyway, do we? All we ever really have is “another shot.” So if any of you out there happen to know the source of this singular line, please tell the writer for me how grateful I am to have heard it. Tell him I said “Thanks for giving me ‘another shot.’”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Understanding the Passive Mind

Hello !

I bought your book at the Del Mar Fair and I am on Chapter 7. Thank you so much!!

I have had many sleepless nights, and I tend to wake up feeling low, or depressed. I loved your book explaining the PASSIVE MIND, and that “we tend to be turned inward in our thinking and are vulnerable to the least bump I the road.” Wow. It all makes so much sense. When I exercise in the morning, or concentrate on things that I would like to get done, I am no longer depressed. Just like you said, we need to have DIRECTIVE thinking and not PASSIVE thinking. I always wondered why I was so sad in the mornings, and felt so good in the evenings, and you helped me understand my brain, thoughts and feelings.

I can’t thank you enough for your research in writing this book. Besides attending Weight Watchers, I also started attending a Singles Group that I tried to do years before unsuccessfully. It has been a very good experience for me! I have met some new people and hope to develop some good, healthy relationships.

Thanks again!


Dear S

Thanks for your letter. It was nice for you to take the time to write. A. B. Curtiss

Sunday, May 19, 2013

There is a Big Difference between Thinking and Being

Dear Curtiss,

Sometimes I just feel okay with normal attitude and no fear and perform all tasks easily. I really do not understand why I have fear most time and axtream anexiety.

Regards, R

Dear R,

Think of how much better you are doing than a couple of years ago when you felt bad all the time.

The trick is to turn away, immediately, from any thoughts that you are feeling anxious and fearful and you must insist on thinking more productive thoughts. Fill your mind with productive thoughts, with interest in what you are doing. with interest in and thus thinking about others (loved ones, work colleagues, even people you pass on the street). Interconnect and re-engage with others.

Consider all the life around you--the trees, the clouds, the hills. When you re-connect there is less opportunity for those old self-absorbed, habitual, fearful, and anxious neural patterns that you have built in your brain to think themselves at your expense. You have to ignore the fear in your belly and center your energy in your heart. Your heart won't let you down. Your heart is the passageway to connecting with others as well as connecting yourself to your own being.

Fear and anxiety and all the agony of it, is a thinking process that clouds over your being. There is a big difference between thinking and being. You are a human being not a human thinking. The way to get to your being is to bring your consciouness, your awareness more from your head down to your heart. Or from your churning belly up to your heart. Right now, put your right hand over your heart, bow your head, even bow the knees if you are alone, and feel the immediate comfort and healing that takes place.Your heart is your center, the door to your being. A. B. Curtiss

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Again, we can't get to Truth through the reasoning process because we are non-different from Truth

Hi A.B.!

I was so happy to see the last post on your blog!

I liked what you added about the Law of Attraction. I've been reading about that recently! "We don't attract what we want, we attract what we are." I appreciate that clear, concise pointer. Thanks.

I've been reading more about non-duality across disciplines. Growing familiar with Buddhist writings & with the Vedas of Hinduism-the Upanishads & the Bhagavad Gita, with Taoism, Lao-Tzu's writings. Also, from my own tradition, Christian--Thomas Merton, St. John of the Cross, Evelyn Underhill, Saint Teresa of Avila, and today's Cynthia Bourgeault & Richard Rohr are wonderful teachers. Of course, the amazing work of Joel Goldsmith is a rich resource. I just read a book by William Samuel which reminded me a bit of JG.

In Rohr's new book, Immortal Diamond, there is a chapter called "If it is True, it is True Everywhere." He talks about how across the disciplines- biology, physics, psychology, the arts, theology and all through nature, and all through spirituality, the same truth asserts itself. If it is true, it will be seen everywhere!

I know that you studied in India, have a background in science, have the soul of a poet, and a deep spirituality. I think you are the perfect person to ask--when you discovered all was illusion, or maya, was that uplifting or challenging, or a little of both? Do you find you have a sense of play with the world of form now...as opposed to taking it all so seriously? That could be uplifting.

I am not at all a math or science person, but through some writing geared toward lay people, I've gathered striking common threads regarding the essential nature of all of creation. “As above so below.” This describes perfectly the fractal and holographic nature of not only the universe but the human body as well. Each cell contains all of the DNA information necessary to create an identical copy of the whole organism.

The same can be said for fractals and holograms, in each part the whole is contained. Break a holographic image in half and you do not get half of the image, you get a smaller version of the whole. The universe including all life forms sentient or non-sentient and non living substances conform to the fractal nature of reality. Changes in any level of the system effects the structure of the whole.

It's been determined that subatomic particles can manifest either as,

• a wave function

• as a particle

Furthermore it was discovered that the action of measuring or observing the particles seemed to be the key in the collapse of the wave function. The observer caused the wave function, which generated an interference pattern, to become a physical particle simply by measuring it.
So...there is a role which consciousness or observation plays in the behavior of subatomic particles!

With regard to holographic reality,

• consciousness is the energy source

• your DNA is the receiver

Even what we perceive as solid objects are all manifestations of wave energy forms.

So solid objects, or our perception of them as solid, is an illusory interpretation of varying frequencies by our DNA and brain.

From the Bhagavad Gita: The perfectly peaceful Absolute is not different from the playful universe. They are simply not two realities. Nor are they two dimensions of the same reality. They are not even two perspectives. Not two! Absolutely not two!

I would love to hear about your experience with this. There is a world beyond thought. Pure awareness. We are That.

Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come to being.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Dear G,

You wrote: "The perfectly peaceful Absolute is not different from the playful universe." I think it would be more understandable if you said. "The world is non-different from the Absolute." I think saying non-different is more clear than not different. You can have two things that are not different but to be non-different implies interconnectedness. This is also why we can't get to the Truth through the reasoning process. For the reasoning process to work, we have to be the objective observer of something. We can't be the objective observer of what we are non-different from.

One can overwhelm the brain with trying to figure things out. Is it to no end? Absolutely not. Many wonderful things for our comfort have come from studying and understanding the physical environment and inventing things like cars, television, electric lights. When power goes out we remember how much we appreciate hot water, hot soup, television and lights to read by.

But the physical realities are not the way to a spiritual relationship with the Absolute.

Many wise men have been gained wisdom that they can pass down to us by eschewing the “workaway world” in favor of meditation.

It is also true that many human beings live without these technological advances and derive joy from the light of their campfire and their entertainment by songs and watching the stars. And all human beings crave the company of their fellows. And all humans crave love and respect from their fellows.

So does this mean we should turn away from our comforts, cease to interact with our high tech society? To dwell on the marvel of these things and to enjoy them, in a way, is to honor our creator by celebrating the life he has given us. It will not last forever. Man is mortal and all his works are ephemeral. Shall we use that as an excuse to dismiss it all?

Which would be impossible since we are non-different from everything that is. You can say that human life (the physical world) is both really apparent and apparently real. It is really apparent because it exists for a time but it is only apparently real because it does not last forever. 

In the end, I believe in being practical in a workaday world sense. In the workaday world It is love that saves us, love that guides us and love that we are made of. When in doubt, do the loving thing. When in fear, ask for grace. And we can always hold each other’s hand when crossing a dangerous street.

 Perhaps a poem by the poet Milton will help explain what I mean.

Milton’s Sonnet on his Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent,

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

And that one talent which is death to hide

Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He returning chide;

"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"

I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need

Either man's work or His own gifts. Who best

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state

Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,

And post o'er land and ocean without rest;

They also serve who only stand and wait."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Real Law of Attraction: We don't attract what we want, we attract what WE ARE

Hi A.B.!

I hope you are happy & well these days.

In the past months my spiritual path has led me to experience more present moment awareness, and awareness of the non-duality inherent in all creation. We are all connected; united by the same divine spark.

I have moments of experiencing that oneness with all... & I feel such peace. Then there are days when my ego is tugging me to notice how separate I am...mostly this manifests in extreme feelings of inferiority regarding my looks. Some days I feel like such a gargoyle. Seems others don't want to talk to me, that they feel turned off due to my appearance. My thoughts spiral into negative territory.

It's more than fine that no one thinks I'm gorgeous or hot anymore. What troubles me is that I feel isolated, left out, disconnected.

I do my best everyday to put my best foot forward. I wear makeup, do something with my hair (which now has a few streaks of gray), wear flattering colors, pretty sweaters or tops, a scarf or jewelry. While I'm not in top shape, I'm not a heavy person. In other words, I don't think I'm that hideous when I walk out the door.

Once a woman's beauty fades does looking "upscale" become what drives the good opinion of others? Is this why women get designer clothes & handbags, big diamond rings, & drive status cars? In the absence of beauty & youth can we only make an impact wearing our bank account on our sleeves?

Sorry for sounding so negative. I've had some bad days with this. Today was a real "gargoyle" kind of day. Something's got to change in my head about this! It's so ridiculous but powerful at the same time. I'm getting so that I dread leaving the house some days (but I still march forward!).

Thanks for any insight you are willing to share.

Dear G,

Thoughts of our unworthiness are thoughts that come to every human being. Too many people try to drown these thoughts and the feelings they engender in drugs or drink because they are extremely painful. Fear is a painful thing and these thoughts are an extension our our existential fear. At some level we sense that we are very fragile creatures set in a chaotic and often hostile world over which we have no real control.

So what is the answer to our fear? First we must recognize it for what it is. A negative, painful thought that we should not pursue. And we should accept it for what it is. A negative, painful thought that we should not pursue.

We should instead turn our thoughts to something more productive and positive. Tell ourselves that we have put ourselves into stress, fight or flight mode by entertaining such unwholesome thoughts and perhaps some deep breathing and relaxation might help return us to some kind of equilibrium. Pursuing this painful thinking just makes our mood depressive and despondent. It also isolates us from the real world we share with our fellow man. We should do what we can to reconnect with this world. Go to a movie, call a friend for lunch, take a walk or run, do some exercise.

There is no arguing ourselves out of this painful place with logic or cognitive thinking. Remember, it was Joel Goldsmith who said, “We cannot get to Truth through the reasoning process. We must distract ourselves (once we have accepted that we are in a temporarily painful place). Drown the thoughts temporarily with some nursery rhyme or nonsense word just to break the thought pattern. Try some relaxation exercises because our bodies at such a time are all tensed up and that it part of the pain.

Then try to re-engage with the regular workaday world somehow. Just a walk around the neighborhood, a friendly word from a passerby, or a clerk in a store is helpful. We must be proactive to get out of this "slough of despond." In an earlier era such thinking was thought to be a sin. It probably is a sin. It's just so easy to feel bad. We must bestir ourselves to feel better little by little. This is an important understanding which is so simple it is difficult to grasp.

THE REAL LAW OF ATTRACTION: We do not attract what we want (good thoughts, good feelings, good life), we attract WHAT WE ARE. You have to think about this until it seeps into your understanding. You cannot change your life without changing your thoughts. Good thoughts lead to good thoughts, to a good life, period. There is no other way to a good life except through your own thinking.

Sometimes is helps to substitute Emil Coue's mantra for the nasty thinking. "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better. Every day in every way I am choosing more positive, wholesome thoughts and soon my mind will no longer dwell on these terrible negative thoughts."

Small chores are sometimes a good distraction. And remember. The smallest step in the right direction turns us 180 degrees around from going in the wrong direction.

Let us not be a drag on humanity. Let us relax our tense selves, drag ourselves out of the despondency by turning away from it and saying a prayer for those others who may be in such a state and whom we may somehow help by simply helping ourselves. A. B. Curtiss

Dear A. B.

Thanks so much!

Yes, it always is the answer to turn to a positive thought, isn't it? My fear is a mental construction...you can't touch, taste or smell it...it is not real. I might as well think a more uplifting thought than "Here I am, in the middle of Target, looking like a gargoyle." I could think "Here I am lucky to be shopping in Target!"

I do practice this-

"... saying a prayer for those others who may be in such a state

and even in the middle of Target, that may not be a bad idea either!

With gratitude, G

Dear G.

You have put the concept very well. Don’t forget, you can always ask for the Grace that allows you to think better thoughts. A. B. Curtiss

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just say "YES"

Hi A.B.!

Yes, it is easy to be philosophical about adversity when we are not

in the midst of it. On the same thread, someone quoted Buddhist

master Thich nat Hanh. The quote was very popular, & many

said they'd like to keep it pinned up where they could see it. Below is

the quote & my response, which received no replies. I felt it was important

to note that we don't always immediately have the capacity to be serene. We

needn't judge ourselves as spiritual flunkies for experiencing

a full range of emotions. While we don't need to cling to pain, for

a while we may need to let it be...trusting it's all grist for the mill

"Serenity is not freedom from the storm but being at peace during the storm."

Ginger's response:

"Yes, this is a lovely, poetic way to describe being present to what is- allowing, not resisting the Now, in Whatever form it presents.

And...if we find ourselves unable to accept the storm, and fear, not a sense of peace, comes up for us in the midst of it, we can have compassion for ourselves & accept that too. Then, we have still created a space for presence. We have accepted our unacceptance!"   Ginger

Dear Ginger,

You have said something very important here. Accepting our unacceptance. It is a good ploy to keep going back to the first thing you can say "yes" to in the way of self-acceptance. It is a way of being loving to ourselves.

We are usually much too hard on ourselves. By going to the first thing you can say "yes" to you will make it clear to yourself, #1, in what ways you have been being negative, and #2, that you can turn a negative situation around. This way, no matter how negative you get on yourself you can keep accepting your own negativity and in so doing, recharge yourself from negative to positive. When you are in a positive mode that is much closer to love than the negative. We always want to head for the positive, for love, for acceptance, for life.

Saying "Yes" connects us. "Saying No" separates us. Your mind can get very tricky about semantics. The mind will say something like "but you have to say "no" to bad things, don't you? Not necessarily. Instead of saying "no" to something bad, you can do the loving switch and just say "yes" to something good. Just remember Joel Goldsmith's warning. You can't get to truth through the reasoning process. Which is another way of saying you can't perceive truth as an object. You can BE the truth, but you can't KNOW the truth. Truth and love are the same. You can't KNOW love. You can BE love by loving..

That's why the positive, loving path is always the direction to head. Another thing to remember, the tiniest baby step in the RIGHT direction turns you 180 degrees around from going in the negative direction! The tiniest positive baby step is more powerful than the most giant negative step. This is how redemption and recovery is always possible. A. B.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How I Survived My Wife"s Battle With Cancer


I came across your blog and really identified with some of your writing. My name is Cameron Von St. James and my wife was diagnosed with an extremely rare and deadly cancer called mesothelioma. Normally when diagnosed with mesothelioma, a person has a life expectancy of about 3-12 months, but after intense treatment and recovery she is still here 7 years later.

There are many steps to take as a caregiver when dealing with any type of harmful disease. Would you allow me to write an article for your blog about my personal experience as a caregiver to my wife? We struggled through so many hardships during this tough time, but found a way to make it through.

I'd love to share our story of hope with your readers who might take something away from it. This is an important message to get out there so please let me know if you would be interested in seeing it and sharing it with your readers.

Thank you for all you do in making a difference, Cameron

Dear Cameron,

If you will email me your story I will be glad to post it on my blog to inspire others

Hi A. B.

Thanks so much for this opportunity! I've attached my story to this email, thank you so much for considering it for your blog. Please feel free to take a look and let me know what you think whenever you get a chance. If you do enjoy it, I'd be thrilled if you shared it with your readers.

Thanks again, I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback!


Here is my story:

How I Survived When My Wife Was Fighting Cancer

Loved ones and caregivers struggle greatly when their family members face a battle with cancer. My wife has frequently mentioned that she can’t imagine how I felt during the days after her diagnosis with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The raw emotion and sense of being overwhelmed that I felt in those days is something I find difficult to share, even with her.

Heather’s battle with mesothelioma began a mere three months after the birth of our only child, Lily. I remember hearing the diagnosis for the first time. I gazed into my wife’s watery eyes and thought, “How are we ever going to get through this?”

Initially, I was overcome by fear and rage. For days I struggled to speak without bursting into a string of profanity. Slowly, a sense of responsibility began to overtake my fear and anger. I needed to be strong for my family. My wife and daughter needed to be able to rely on me as their rock, their source of stability.

Immediately after my wife’s diagnosis, my daily to-do list was longer than anything I could handle. At first, I would frequently become overwhelmed. Soon, however, I learned to accept the help offered by friends and family, as well as to prioritize those things I needed to get done. Times were still rough, but with the support of loved ones, we would make it.

Perhaps the most difficult time for me during Heather’s battle with cancer was the two-month period following her surgery in Boston. She flew to South Dakota where our daughter was staying with her parents while I stayed home to work. While she was there preparing to undergo chemotherapy and radiation as her next phase of mesothelioma treatments I only got to see her once.

While the time away from my wife and daughter was extremely difficult, to this day I do not think of that time as a loss. I made the best decisions I could at the time so that my wife could recover and we could be reunited as a family as soon as possible. In fact, the ability to choose and make decisions became a comfort to me, a sort of way to maintain some control during a time when life seemed out of control.

Following my wife’s battle with mesothelioma, I remain thankful for the opportunity to make choices in life. This and learning how to accept help from others are the two main lessons I have taken from this experience. Through all of our struggles, Heather is still here and still healthy over six years later. I hope that our story can be a source of hope and help  to those currently battling cancer.

Dear Cameron

I loved your story. It was simple and eloquent at the same time, as well as helpful. Your pointing out that making decisions helped you to maintain a sense of control when things seemed out of control was extremely insightful, and I think will be helpful to many. A. B. Curtiss

For more information see:

Mesothelioma treatments

Malignant plueural misothelioma

Link to Cameron’s blog    http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/cameron/