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the Life Mentoring Method® reviewed

Mind Body Spirit medicine, it’s a fact, this Multidisciplinary Medicine uses applied spirituality to bring about health. This concept medicine states that all illnesses result of a spiritual disturbance and complete healing of the illness can only be achieved through healing at the spiritual level.

Although conventional medical therapies have much control over the superficial expression of health in the physical body, they are not able to address the deeper root of each illness with the use of pills or surgery. The truth is that inner turmoil will be (somewhat) numb and will find a new form to express itself in that person's life, if left unaddressed. Mind Body Spirit Work is the discipline that truly engages the spiritual base of the illness/distress/unbalance.

It is based on two important principles. Firstly: by sincerely wishing to connect to Earth/Universe/God (whichever of these entities relates to the person in question), we cultivate our Spiritual Self (our inner Mentor). Secondly: the quality and depth of our work towards our Inner Mentor is determined by the profound understanding that, somewhere along the line, we will feel exactly as we caused other (any and all) beings to feel.

To connect spiritually, we need to maintain truthful/loving intentions (empathy) towards all people, in all situations (including ourselves, our thoughts and feelings). To do so: our attention is to be focused inward; we must be aware that the mind creates many false stories and hides what really matters, whereas the heart never lies. It is our ability to feel that reveals the truth of our intentions.

On the one hand any uncomfortable emotion is a sign that we have or had non-loving/non-truthful intentions. On the other hand, we must learn to validate our emotional state, we need to accept the inner discomfort and stay with the feeling inside of us. Eluding ourselves with busyness, drugs, medication, lies, food, social media and so forth are escape mechanisms that will allow our emotional conflict to eat us away from the inside: our perception will cause us to have negative thoughts, we will be overwhelmed, physical issues will arise (tiredness, pain, and indigestion). If signs of inner conflict are ignored, then structural illness occurs (tumors grow, organs deteriorate, arteries get blocked). Although these are the diseases that conventional medicine can modify more effectually, we must remember that the root cause is on the spiritual level. Instead of jumping to only fix that body part which is damaged, we must cultivate our Inner Mentor so as to gain insight into what needs changing.

Mind Body Spirit work consists of three areas, all of which must be pursued 24/7. Outer work is to review our life, identify and change all that lies outside of ourselves (relationships, job, home place) and has a negative impact on our emotional/spiritual health. Inner work consists of personal practices that will nourish our being whilst improving our focus inward, such as Yoga, Chi-Kung, Art, Journaling, Meditation, exercising outdoors in Nature. Applied inner work consists in maintaining the inward focus as we go about our day (awareness), finding a better understanding of our emotions and intentions, being clearer in the diagnosis of non-loving aspects in our life. Persistent application of Mind Body Spirit work, with a spiritual focal point, will bring about INsight, the experience of health and regeneration, knowledge of ourselves as loving souls, release of a burden that you did not realized that you carried.

One of the personal practices amongst inner work, is Chi-Kung (Qigong): an ancient form of Chinese Art, rooted on Taoism. Chi-Kung allows the individual to harmoniously manage the Chi (the energy from which the universe first resulted). The energy flows between the Universe and the individual, as well as within the person. Chi-Kung hence connects the universe/nature with the person (at cellular level), as well as what is macro and micro in scale. Qigong consists of sequences of smooth, quiet, yet precise movements that are accompanied by strict observance of breathing. Consciousness in breathing is a spiritual exercise in itself as it is about inward focus, awareness of being, feeling grounded to earth through our own body. Chi-Kung is a personal discipline that allows us to self-regulate and regenerate the body, mind and soul. It is one of the mechanisms through which we can heal our spirit and consequently our whole being.

Chi-Kung contains several exercises and systems, one of them is the Microcosmic Orbit, which consists of a circle formed by two meridians through which the Qi flows along the front/back of the body, on a vertical axis. Meditating on the Microcosmic Orbit means that you are seated, relaxed, with your tongue pressed against the upper mandible (so that the two meridians are connected to each other), whilst you visualize the flow of the Qi through the meridians, reaching all organs, all cells (the flow through this channels brings as a consequence the flow of the Chi through the other 12 meridians associated with organs in the body and, also, the flow through an energy path related to the soul). Meditating on the Microcosmic Orbit may be accompanied by chanting of mantras or special sounds and must be preceded by the practice of the Six Healing Sounds. This is a process by which the excess heat produced by inner organs (the accumulation of heat results of physical/emotional distress) is released through the digestive tube. This meditation will bring about cell regeneration, harmonization of the Chi.

Another form of inner and applied inner work is the applied Zen Martial Arts to Medicine. It is based on the fact that Martial Arts (MA) contribute to positive changes in the body's natural healing processes, as they strongly influence the function of most organ systems, as well as chemistry of our brain. Scientific studies agree the MA practitioner shows brain neurotransmitter balance, mood elevation, enhanced self-esteem, lower anxiety levels, resistance to depression, improved coping ability. Moreover, heart rate is slowed, hypertensive blood pressure is reduced toward normal, and improvement is verified in blood sugar, blood lipids, blood supply to muscles, in the function of the liver in storing carbohydrate. These changes translate into overall risk reduction of illnesses as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, osteoporosis, obesity, and anxiety, mild to moderate mental depression, chronic fatigue, and breast and colon cancer.

Observe, in face of this data, that it does make sense that Chi-Kung also bring profound positive change in our mind, body and spirit. All of these physical activities are sound proof that health is spiritual based: once there is personal discipline associated with education (physical, emotional, spiritual, artist, scientific) we are indeed our own healer. Anyway the scientific discipline of psicofisioneuroimunologie proves all that.

MA training combines dosage, distance (or time), intensity, frequency and technique. MA are dose responsive in the sense that there is an optimal maximal level of training: if it surpassed then the body will decline in physical and mental health. MA training movements are classified as aerobic, strength, stretching, skill and fun. Of these 5 categories, only the aerobic is able to change metabolism and chemistry in such a way as to bring about a wide range of health gains in the practitioner (other than MA, running, skating, aerobic walking are also in this category). These health gains include the rebalancing of the sympathetic (fight and flight) and parasympathetic (rest and repair) halves of the autonomic nervous system (increased parasympathetic tone was acknowledged in MA trained subjects). Moreover, it is also proved that the MA practitioner shows higher levels of serotonin and dopamine, quicker mental reaction time, improved fluid intelligence quotients, rebalance of sleep/wake cycles and improvement of the immune system integrity.

In cases where there is less elasticity of the air sacs and the entire chest wall, it has been proved that rigorous MA training results in less dyspnoea and increased respiratory capacity. Although the myocardium responds to exercise differently, even in coronary disease accompanied by partly blocked coronary arteries, our KatDoFit training together with a low-fat diet, result in increased opening of the blocked vessels. MA practitioner exhibit greatly increased capacity of the liver to storage glycogen (hence lowering the release of glucose into the bloodstream), as well as a consistent lowering of fat-to-lean ratio (translating in subjects that were lean before starting a KataDoFit program, later reporting losing inches around thighs, waist, hips, chest, upper arms without change in weight). Adequate aerobic exercise training keeps resistance levels high, hastens recovery from illness and injury.

We have mentioned important improvement in a person's health due to practices like Chi-Kung and Martial Arts, as seen from a pure biological standpoint: blood pressure, heart rate, sugar blood level, cholesterol and so on. The spiritual impact of these practices is also huge, as the practitioner is involved in searching for their Inner Mentor, finding awareness, feeling connected to the Universe, nourishing their whole being (as an undivided entity which depends and influences all that exists around them), accepting and facing their emotional state as opposed to invalidating it, devoting time to be quite and on their own, maintaining the inward focus, finding a better understanding of their intentions, enforcing discipline that will allow them to understand what needs to be changed in order to regenerate/heal.

Mind Body Spirit Work also includes outer work which may involve relationships, family, work, the place where we live, our community. Frequently these matters are relevant in Life Mentoring (LM) and therapy (seen here as a general medical practice that seeks to help people in emotional/inner turmoil). There are three key factors that separate LM from therapy. Firstly, the Mentor is a professional whose goal is to empower the client, help them connect to their Spiritual Self so that they will have insight as to what holds negative impact, how those issues can be turned into opportunities, which options are too considered, set an action plan and hold the client accountable (the GROW and SMART models are key in this work). In Therapy, the professional defines and implements the treatment plan, thus removing initiative from the client (various schools of Therapy utilize different takes on the professional's authority in the process). Also: in Life Mentoring Method® approach the client is to leave the process as a person that is able to lead their life, whereas in therapy there seems to be no prospective of the client leaving. Secondly, LM is about knowing where the client wants/needs to go, starting from a relatively stable position they hold now. Therapy, on the other hand, is about what is holding the person back. So LM looks at now/future whilst Therapy dwells mostly on the past. Thirdly, the LM client wants to achieve a particular/objective goal (a goal that can be completely physical like 'feeling stronger, feeling fit') whilst the Therapist's client needs to address an issue/problem (there is ambiguity as to what is an issue as opposed to a problem).

An important aspect that separates LM from Therapy is that the client in the latter may have no control whatsoever of their emotions, may hold a mental health issue, may suffer drug/alcohol/medication dependency, and may have a history of abuse. A LM client is a person with a cognitive stable base which allows them to set a path (rational, spiritual and physical) from here towards the better person in them, grounded on their own skills, abilities. That cognitive stable base of the LM client enables the professional to apply Goal Mapping exercises, ask the client to keep a reflexive diary, draw up an action plan, and engage in scheduling exercises. These are instruments that help the LM client in a tightly focused process to address their issues as swiftly and efficiently as possible. In LMM we believe that the Body is the true instrument through which we can reach emotion, spirit, change, health. Therefore we believe in nutrition, in physical training and education. Naturally, disciplines like Yoga, Chi-Kung, and Martial Arts require that the client has a stable core from which to evolve. That is another reason why LMM is not adequate for clients with deep structural problems - these people need to be referred to other health professionals. LMM shares the belief that Mind Body Spirit work also involves Art, journaling, science ... again these are personal disciplines that cannot be asked of person with characteristics that are adequate only to Therapy.

In Therapy there is a range of psychotherapeutic techniques and beliefs whose common thread is to assist the client to accept, manage or solve their problems as swiftly as is possible- the 'Brief Interventions'. They are time-effective techniques (opposed to long-term counselling relationships), solution-based (rather than problem oriented), less concerned with how problems arouse than what is currently preventing them to be overcome. 'Brief Interventions' is a non-directive counselling, an active process that is geared toward the now and future. It seeks to aid clients to sort their problems out and move on with their lives. It is apparent that Brief Interventions' holds proximity to LM in fundamental concepts. Moreover, the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is one of the techniques in 'Brief Intervention Therapy'. Through CBT, the Mentor can help the client notice and avoid the pitfalls of 'cognitive distortions' such as labelling, fortune-telling, catastrophizing. The individual is encouraged to identify their core beliefs, challenge their thinking, turning what if into then what and consequently empowering themselves from negative thinking and beliefs. This process enclosed in CBT is important in LM thus establishing proximity between these practices and Therapy.

In itself, the search for spiritual health (and, as follows, all health), the search for awareness, for clean positive intentions towards all, the path towards our inner Mentor requires that we keep an open mind and heart.

In this sense, the LMM does not place judgement on Therapy - LMM is open to positive influences that might arise from it and embodies that in the feeling 'I'm a LM but I'm not blind to Therapy or any kind of activity that is meant to nurture an individual into inner growth, spiritual health, wholeness with their body, mind and the universe.'

This is the Life Mentoring Method® approach to health.

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