"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Searching the Internet Exercises & Stimulates Older Brains

Researchers at UCLA´s Memory & Aging Research Center (as reported by UPI), in a study involving volunteers aged 55 - 76, have found that searching the Internet exercises their brains by activating their neural circuitry.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "searching the Internet may keep older brains agile - it's like taking your brain for a walk."

"The new study, which will be published next month in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, comes at a time when medical experts are forecasting that Alzheimer's cases will quadruple by 2050. In response to such projections, "brain-gyms" and memory-building computer programs have proliferated."

Subjects "were assigned two tasks: to read book-like text on computer screens and to perform Internet searches. While doing so, their brains were scanned inside a specially equipped magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. Half the group was familiar with Internet searching; the other half was not. "

"The MRI results showed that both text reading and Internet searching stimulated the regions of the brain controlling language, reading, memory and vision. But the Internet search lit up more areas of the brain, additionally activating the regions controlling complex reasoning and decision making. The increased brain activity, which is probably due to the many rapid choices such searches involve, suggests that subjects had a richer sensory experience and heightened attention."

"By focusing on older users, Small said, he aimed to fill a gap in brain research. Few studies have looked at the effects of technology on these "digital immigrants," who began using computers later in life than their younger counterparts, the "digital natives." Small's study was started as part of the research for his latest book, "iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind."

read entire article here

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Depression: A Non-Medicated Approach in Four Lesssons

The MBL Wellness Learning Club Centre offers four brief videos to help you find your way out of depression naturally. Don't pass up on the opportunity to view this common-sense approach that works!

Part I: "An Overview of Depression and How You Can Treat it Yourself with the Help of a Guide"

Part II: "Relaxation / Stress Management"

Part III: "Exercise & Movement"

Part IV: "Other Useful Techniques and Advice"

If you have any difficulty in viewing these videos, you can also see them directly at the MBL Wellness website

Decades Later, True Love is Still Alive

Neuroscience and neuro-psychiatry has just had to begin re-thinking an ingrained belief: as reported in the Chicago Sun Times, "brain scans of people who say they're still in love after decades of marriage are similar to scans of those who have just fallen in love, leading researchers to conclude that long-term relationships can be just as passionate and romantic as new love."

Scientists used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging -- fMRI -- to scan the brains of 10 women and seven men who said they were still intensely in love after an average of 21 years of marriage. When they viewed photos of their partners, their brains reacted like those of people newly in love.

''We're confident it's real," says one of the researchers involved in the study, psychologist Arthur Aron of the State University of New York-Stony Brook. "That's what the brain scans are telling us. People can't fake that."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Improving Happiness & Satisfaction By Being More Openly Grateful

In an article in The Science Daily News research results are reported indicating that by being openly grateful in writing to someone who has had a positive effect on your life, tends to increase your levels of happiness and satisfaction.

Dr. Steven Toepfer from Kent State University "enlisted students from six courses to explore the effects of writing letters of gratitude to people who had positively impacted the students' lives. Over the course of a six-week period, students wrote one letter every two weeks with the simple ground rules that it had to be positively expressive, required some insight and reflection, were nontrivial and contained a high level of appreciation or gratitude."

"After each letter, students completed a survey to gauge their moods, satisfaction with life and feelings of gratitude and happiness."

"I saw their happiness increase after each letter, meaning the more they wrote, the better they felt," says Toepfer, who also witnessed improvement in participants' life satisfaction and gratitude throughout the study. "The most powerful thing in our lives is our social network. It doesn't have to be large, and you don't always need to be the life of the party, but just having one or two significant connections in your life has shown to have terrific psychological and physical benefits."

read entire article here

Photo: Cuba

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Looking For Solutions

Think about how you feel when you are looking for solutions. In other words, what you are doing is finding yourself in a process where you are focusing on moving towards a solution. You feel hopeful, you feel curious, you feel that you are in a forward moving frame of mind. You may even feel positive precisely because you are working on a solution.

Now what happens when you are looking at a problem? You may feel negative. You may feel hopeless. You find yourself in a process where you are focusing on something negative.

Essentially both scenarios arise from the same situation, but in one you are focusing on it in a way that promotes positive emotions ... seeking a solution ... and in the other you are focusing on it in a way that promotes negative emotions ... looking at a problem ...

Be aware of how you focus - not only in this, but in all else. By choosing how you focus, by having the clear intention that you will choose the path that promotes your inner well-being, you choose your energy. And the quality of your energy can totally change the landscape of your life.

Photo: Hai Island, Thailand

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Caring For the Brain

We can never remind ourselves often enough to care for our brain by using it. Neurogenesis, or the creation of new neurons, happens much more readily if we deliberately promote it. Enhancing our brain enhances our well-being. See more articles on this blog about the brain here.

Sharp Brains published this post some time ago, and gives excellent explanations for each of the points I've copied here. Please go to Sharp Brains to read the entire article: The Ten Habits of the Highly Effective Brain:

  • Use It or Lose It
  • Take care of your nutrition
  • Physical exercise enhances neurogenesis
  • Practice positive, future-oriented thoughts
  • Thrive on Learning and Mental Challenges
  • Aim high. Keep learning
  • Explore, travel. Make new decisions, use your brain
  • Don't outsource your brain
  • Develop and maintain stimulating friendships
  • Laugh. Often.

Photo: Zanzibar

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Best Thing About Falling in Love

I need to warn you: I'm making a great distinction between falling in love and loving.

In the former case you fall in love with that which fills your needs. You love someone because you receive something you need from them. Not necessarily something material, as much as an inner need they are fulfilling for you because you have not learned how to fulfill it for yourself. You may not even be aware of the fact that that is something you should be doing. And as long as that is so, you will depend on the other person remaining the way they are just at the moment you fall in love, in order to feel good. Your well-being will depend, to a large degree, on that factor, which means, of course, that you will never be independent.

In the latter case you love whether you receive or not. You do not need. You simply love without expectation. Rather a tall order. Much of beauty has been written about this latter kind of love by Gary Zukav (The Seat of the Soul, see the chapter on Spiritual Partnership), Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now, see Chapter 8 on relationships, or his DVD Touching the Eternal), and Neale Diamond Walsch (in particular, Conversations with God, Volume I, go to the Index and look for entries under relationships and marriage), Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving, read the whole book).

In the latter case, because you do not need, because you love without expectation, you will never be dependent, and you will always be free. And this doesn't mean, by the way, that you accept anything just because you have no expectations. On the contrary, because you are free of boundary issues, self esteem issues, and neediness issues, you find it very easy to speak up in healthy ways about anything that you find unacceptable.

So if loving is so good, and the way I am making it sound, falling in love is something of a far inferior quality, then what is the best thing about falling in love?

It's this: it takes you - if you let it - down the road towards the other kind of love. The falling in love kind of love, takes you to a place of learning and growth because of the deep frustration and pain it generally brings along with it - at least after a while.

So falling in love leads to frustration and pain and that leads you to growth. And growth, in turn, leads you - eventually - not only to inner freedom, but particularly, to the recognition that as long as you need, as long as you depend on another to fulfill your needs, you will never love in the true sense of the word.

Why should we love because we need?

Is there anything mature and adult about that kind of sentiment? Where else can it lead us other than to - eventual - frustration and pain?

So to fall in love and go through this process is excellent. Because the place we come out at the other end of the tunnel is indeed worth its weight in gold. To love without needing is the priceless gift we can receive from having fallen in love and having chosen to use the challenges it evokes to further out growth, rather than to take the simple way out and blame the other for now no longer fulfilling our needs, or no longer making us happy. To love without needing is the priceless gift we can receive from having fallen in love.

Photo: Central Park, New York City

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Are You Living the Life You Want To Live?

What choices are you making? What has your life brought you to this point? What can you do to move closer to the life you want to live?

Listen to my Youtube presentation about this topic:

Part I (9 minutes)

Part II (10 minutes)

Part III (10 minutes)

Part IV (2 minutes)

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel here

Previous Shows I have broadcast that are now available via YouTube:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Radio Program December 2008

Once a month I will be posting the current list of topics for my weekly radio show.

Many changes have taken place at the local studio where I have been broadcasting for the past five years, and they are now closing their doors to the international section of their station.

Hence, although I will continue to broadcast, it will be via another venue and under the name Re-wiring the Soul, and only after a one-month hiatus. In other words, the next show will be early January 2009. Watch this blog for more details!

After five years of broadcasting a conventional radio show in Southern Spain about topics in the broad (and frequently eclectic) fields of integral psychotherapy and positive psychology, I wanted to venture further abroad. Thanks to my incredible interlocutor at the station, Brenda Padilla, we managed to produce 150 audio clips from that show and they are all available via my website or blog.

Re-wiring the Soul is the result of my desire for a change. Psychology per se is good, but we need to reach much further in our quest to create the balanced human being. The mission statement for this show might be “using all tools available via nutrition, fitness, psychology, cutting-edge empirical research, holistic therapies, spirituality, neuro-science, etc. to further the growth of the soul.”

This call-in talk show will welcome and interview guests from all walks of life, although occasionally I will be speaking alone. Those of you who have listened to my past programs know that the main message I have always woven through the shows has consisted of the need for becoming aware and then making good choices from this position of awareness. On this show that will be our guiding dictum.


Starting in October 2008 a new section was added to the topic areas that this website has addressed in the past. Several times a month I conduct interviews with key international figures in the fields of nutrition, business, healing, and science. They will be listed under Interviews on the Radio Page and uploaded to the website as the the respective audio clips are made available to me.

Here is a partial list of some upcoming shows (check scheduling each month for exact dates):

AUDIO ARCHIVES 2004 - 2008

Click here for radio show archives from 2004-2008 (not all are up, as not all were produced as audio files that I can upload to my sites, but you'll find more than 150 different radio shows!).

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Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct

Neuro-scientists have finally done it! They have demonstrated that we have a brain in our heart and another in our intestines. What we have in each of these, in actual fact, is an extensive mass of neurons that behave in a fashion similar to the neurons contained in the brain, and that appear to function at mega-speeds, often much greater than those of our cerebral neurons.

The Second Brain
The second brain consists of about 100 billion nerve cells in the digestive tract – a greater number than those in the spinal cord. Professor W. Prinz of the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich indicated to Geo Magazine that it is possible that unconscious decisions may be taken by the stomach network, which are later claimed by the main brain as conscious decisions of its own.

This second brain was brought to light by neuro-biologist Michael Gershon of New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, author of The Second Brain. When asked if the brain in our heads influences our second brain, he replied that it does, and that we get butterflies in the stomach when the brain sends a message of anxiety to the gut. This, in turn, sends messages back to the brain that it is not happy. However – and this is perhaps the most riveting part of it – the brain in the gut can also work in isolation.

The Third Brain

With his revolutionary research the University of Montreal’s pioneer neurocardiologist Dr. J. Andrew Armour first introduced the concept of a functional heart brain in the 1990’s. This brain in the heart – just as the brain in the digestive tract – may also act independently of the brain in the head. The size of this brain, according to Boulder Creek, California’s Institute of HeartMath, is as great as a number of the principle areas of the brain in the head. Studies discussed in Brain and Values, have shown that the consistency of the rhythm found in the heart brain is capable of changing – sometimes in spectacular fashion - how effectively the thinking brain functions. In theory that means that what occurs on a feeling level, has the capacity to deeply influence what occurs on a thinking level.

In The Heartmath Solution, co-authored by Doc Childre and H. Martin, an in-depth look is taken at the heart and its association with the mind and body. This contributes to the newly emerging view of the heart as a complex, self-organized system that maintains a continuous two-way dialogue with the brain and the rest of the body. Research available at the Heartmath website and published in major medical journals demonstrates that the heart has a significant influence on the function of our brains and all our bodily systems.

What This Implies

Imagine the implications of this! Those who live by “their instinct”, or who “listen” to their gut, or who make decisions based on what their heart tells them rather than their logical brain, now know that although that may not necessarily always be the right way to go, but that this clearly shows that in order to make decisions based on all of their knowledge, they should apply not only that which their logical brain tells them, but also what their feeling brain (heart), and their instinctive brain (gut) have given them to understand.

Cutting-Edge Research

Keeping up with cutting edge research is a fascinating thing because it means that you are able to discover what is happening in that intriguing world of avant-garde thought and progress long before any of this hits the main stream press. It means that you can begin to apply the information contained therein long before everyone else is talking about it…and of course the only reason that is important, is because it might make such an enormous difference to the quality of your life…sometimes just because it changes the way you think about things.

Concurrence in El Pais and Der Spiegel

A recent (2006) article by Alex Celma in the weekend supplement of the Spanish daily El Pais referred to the value of tenderness, not just in the sense of tenderness in relationships, but in the sense of how tenderness can be implicit in thinking actions, and make a difference in decisions taken. A few weeks later, an article in the German weekly Der Spiegel referred to the fact that more and more researchers, psychologists, neuroscientists, and even philosophers, are paying record amounts of attention to the study of intuition, some of whom have gone so far as to state that human intuition is much sharper and stronger than reason.

Aristoteles and Albert Einstein Knew

Even Albert Einstein stated that “the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Clearly he recognized the priceless value of intuition over reason, while simultaneously expressing that reason evidently plays an important role, further saying: “the only really valuable thing is intuition.” Concurring with Aristoteles who said “intuition is the source of scientific knowledge”, Einstein also stated, “I believe in intuition and inspiration; at times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason.”

Antonio Damasio: “I Feel, Therefore I Am”

Antonio Damasio, the widely-recognized Iowa University based Portuguese neuro-scientist and author of the highly-acclaimed Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain, has demonstrated, based on his extensive experience and studies with neurological patients, that every decision an individual makes needs an emotional impulse, because human beings can not act based purely on reason. In his earlier book Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, Damasio insists that the renowned philosopher’s axiom: I think, therefore I am, is a mistake, and that it should read: I feel, therefore I am, which became the motivational slogan of Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence (recommended Book of the Month in my March 2006 Newsletter).

Cooper and The Other 90%

Robert K. Cooper, author of The Other 90%: How To Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential For Leadership & Life, writes that many people have learned not to pay attention to the butterflies in the stomach (gut), and what the heart is feeling because that way it is so much easier to let the head lead the way, thus trampling over possibly better choices that might put all of their different sources of intelligence to use.

Paying Attention to All Our Brains

As a society we have very much undermined and sabotaged the knowing we receive from our feelings and our intuition. Even when we are wont to give such knowing value, due to consistent and damaging connotations connected to feelings and intuition, we often hesitate to even give them any consideration at all when they arise in us. Therefore, research such as that described in this article is very encouraging, because it may persuade many who might not otherwise do so, to pay greater attention to such knowing, and to begin to use it in their daily lives.

Note: This article was originally written in 2006 and published in my monthly newsletter as well as on numerous sites all over the web, and then republished here on my blog in 2008. Now (July 2011), portions of the article were included in my new book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self:

Read what some reviewers are saying about it on Amazon:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"The instruction manual on rewiring the soul. An in-depth guide on life, love, spiritual evolution & our integration within the universe." Michael Habernig & April Hannah; Producers: The Path- The Afterlife & The Path 11 Documentaries

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world & practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd; Founder Trans4mind.com; author: Daring To Be Yourself

"The human being's directory to the soul. A breakthrough for those seeking practical assistance, those of a more mystical bent & every soul awaiting discovery." Toni Petrinovich, Ph.D.; author: The Call: Awakening the Angelic Human

Related Articles:

Photo: Canadian Rockies

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Emotions: Your Road to Freedom

Using your emotions as a gauge, in the same way you would use your temperature as a gauge to decide whether you need medication or to see a doctor, can help you move a long way towards well-being and freedom in your life. All you have to learn how to do is to maintain your energetic state, i.e., you emotions, in a place of well-being by choosing to focus on that which is good for you, rather than on that which is not, on that which raises your inner energy, as opposed to that which is not. Not by pretending that the negative thing does not exist, but by deliberately choosing to focus elesewhere.

Listen to my Youtube presentation about this topic:

Part 1 (9 minutes)

Part 2 (10 minutes)

Part 3 (8 minutes)

Part 4 (2 minutes)

Friday, November 14, 2008

My YouTube Channel

I've finally started putting up some of my radio shows on YouTube. So now you can either go to the Radio Page on the website, or you can visit the YouTube Channel.
Photo: Tibet

Monday, November 10, 2008

Help Create a Charter for Compassion

People of all nations, all faiths, all backgrounds, are invited to contribute.

By recognizing that the Golden Rule is fundamental to all world religions, the Charter for Compassion can inspire people to think differently about religion. This Charter is being created in a collaborative project by people from all over the world. It will be completed in 2009. Use this site to offer language you'd like to see included. Or inspire others by sharing your own story of compassion.
Photo: Machu Picchu, Peru

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Growing Up To Speak From the Heart and Soul ... or ... The Good We See in Others

What goes into making a person who he becomes? So much, such potential variety. In the best sense of the word, a good, happy, safe, and secure childhood. Having said that, a very different kind of childhood can also bring out the best in an individual. A life fraught with hardship can bring one to that point, as can a life filled with joy.

In this article in the Inquirer, some of Barack Obama's background is revealed: Obama has said that it was his mother’s extreme idealism—her continued ability to see the good in people—that he most admired in her. Perhaps, it is also the trait that many people (jaded ones included) now find attractive in him—the overriding message of many of his speeches—“of how all of us are bound together as one, and that if we are to prosper as a country, and indeed, as a species, we must focus on the good we see in others .” read entire article here

What a vision ... all of us are bound together as one ... read more posts about this topic on this blog by clicking here

Friday, November 7, 2008

Attitude & Our Psychological Well-Being and Physical Health

We know how important our attitude can be for the ultimate outcomes of our health and well-being, but I wanted to point out some empirical evidence.

Dr. Norm Shealy states in the excellent audio CD program he produced with Caroline Myss The Science of Medical Intuition: Self-Diagnosis and Healing with Your Body's Energy Systems that early childhood difficulties and life trauma may produce noxious attitudes and belief systems, but these can be changed.

Shealy makes reference to several physicians and psychologists who have studied the effect of mood, attitude and belief systems upon illness.
  • Dr. Caroline Thomas (Johns Hopkins) began a long-term study of Johns Hopkins medical students in 1946 who were regularly followed throughout their lives. Shealy points out that within 20 years she was seeing that some people came in with psychological traits that would create diseases later on in their lives. In retrospect she could see who would tend to develop heart disease, cancer, and who might tend to commit suicide or die in old age of natural causes. Thomas eventually published several books from this study, showing the influence of personality and daily habits as factors in the prediction of heart disease, suicide, cancer, and longevity. Read more here

  • Dr. David Graham (University of Wisconsin), an early trailblazer of psychophysiology (a field of study which focuses on the mind-body interface, and which was the precursor for what we now call psychoneuroimmunology or PNI) was a pioneer in the development of psychosomatic medicine whose research demonstrated a relationship between particular diseases and associated attitudes toward life events.

  • A case in point is the well-known story told by Norman Cousins in his book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration about fighting his cancer and putting himself into a positive mood when thinking about his disease. He watched movies that would make him laugh and cured himself.

  • Hans Eysenck, an influential psychologist in the field of theories of personality, referred to persons who regarded happiness as coming from an internal source, rather than the external circumstances as autonomous.

  • Abraham Maslow, the father of humanistic psychology, referred to this same concept in terms of self-actualization. Click here for more posts on this blog about Maslow and self-actualization.

Tomorrow I'll post more information about the relative ease with which we can continually bring ourselves to a positive state of mind in order to promote our inner well-being and physical health.

Photo: Terra Nostra Park, San Miguel Island, Azores

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Using Your Thoughts To Communicate With the World

Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology allows some individuals who are no longer able to speak or use their hands to type, in the case of paralysis or cuadriplegics, for example, to communicate with the world with their thoughts ... using ONLY their thoughts ... via the afore-mentioned brain computer interface.

Watch this video from the CBS show that has so often offered excellent programming: 60 Minutes

Watch CBS Videos Online

If you have trouble viewing it on my blog, click here to see it directly at CBS

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Great Words on This Day of Days

With this heartening victory that seems to be turning a potential new page in our common global history, these words from others - who also shared in that history - were sent to me today:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
FDR Inaugural Address, March 1933

No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.
FDR's Statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act, June 16, 1933

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
FDR's Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
FDR's second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1937

There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.
FDR's speech to the Democratic National Convention, January 27, 1936

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.
Winston Churchill
Photo: Croatia

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who Pushes Your Buttons?

In the current climate of politics, US voting tomorrow, and global economic turmoil, I've noticed a number of people with trigger reactions to something being said to them about these, or any number of other subjects.

Admittedly, many are more stressed than they would normally be, worried as well, and perhaps even living in fear. Hence, at least at first glance, it's easy to understand why they would react so quickly - be so trigger happy - about things being said to them. It's easy to push their buttons right now ... and that's where I want to suggest you take a look at how easy it is just now for others to push your buttons.

You know, this button pushing business has a lot to do with being aware of what is happening. And if what is happening is that someone is getting a bit too close to you - on whatever level - and you are feeling hot under the collar, or pressured, or any other negative feeling, and feel as though you cannot contain your explosion, or at least, your not-so-great reaction, it is your awareness of this, as well as your thought (that you can chose to have, if you so desire): I don't want to feel this way. I do right now, but I will choose to look in another direction at something different that will help me move towards a feeling that makes my energy improve.

In other words, you acknowledge the negative feeling, you acknowledge the desire to react negatively to it (allowing your buttons to be pushed), but by virtue of the inner dialogue in which you choose to engage, you consciously move to another level of energy where it is possible for you to begin to feel better despite whatever it was that just occurred.

This is inner freedom.

Photo: Itacare, Brazil