Kali Yuga, this time of degeneration with all its difficulties and challenges, also provides us with a unique opportunity to wake up. May each one of us foster this intention for the benefit of all beings.
Dr. Paula (Laxmi) Horan is known worldwide for her numerous books, seminars and retreats on alternative and complimentary therapies, authentic forms of vibrational medicine, integrative body/mind therapeutics and ground-breaking approaches to spirituality and non – dual awareness.
An American Psychologist born in Boston, she lived her childhood years in Italy and Germany. Completing her undergraduate studies in sociology and English literature in Britain, she completed both her MA (focusing on dance therapy) and her Ph.D. in psychology at San Diego, California.
From 1992 through 1997, she spent much of her time with her spiritual master Shri H.W.L Poonjaji in India, who gave her the name Laxmi. Shri Poonjaji or ‘Papaji’, as he was affectionately called, was a self realized being who left his body in September 1997. Quickened by his presence, Paula shifted her focus from self-improvement to the self-inquiry that awakens the quiet stillness of awakened presence.
Wanting to share the same joy and freedom with others, this inspired her to create The Core Empowerment Training (CET), a five-day retreat that incorporates Jnana Yoga, the science of cutting through the mind which has had a worldwide impact. The purpose of Jnana Yoga, is to help people Realize The Freedom That They Are, by assisting them to experience their own true nature. This is accomplished by overcoming the illusion of ignorance (a mistaken belief in a separate self) by transcending the masks of ego that are sense-dependent and bound by karma. She considers CET her life’s heart work.
During her time with Shri Poonjaji, she developed a great love for India and decided to stay after his transition. Although primarily known as the person who introduced Reiki to India in 1989, she has a comprehensive experience and keen acumen in many cross-disciplined forms of body/mind and energetic therapeutics. Seeing a need for skilled therapists with conscious presence, she created a modular training curriculum in both eastern and western forms of body/mind treatment in 2001. This lead to the founding of the Taosomatics Institute, an integrative school for consciousness development. Attracting a core group of students, who are highly skilled and accomplished body/mind therapy trainers, Dr. Horan’s Institute now encompasses a growing sphere of complementary therapy trainings for earnest holistic therapeutic and wellness practitioners.
Dr. Horan is one of the founding members of the Indian Body/Mind Therapy Association, a first for India, which is endeavoring to coalesce therapeutic practitioners into a united whole.
Another factor in Paula’s life that inspired her to become an avid researcher on detoxification and rejuvenation therapies is her personal success in treating both a breast and ovarian tumors with a raw food diet and Reiki.
Fifteen years ago she also became acquainted with the therapeutic effects and astonishing benefits of oxygen in its tri-atomic form, ozone, in regard to healing degenerative diseases and also as a restorative rejuvenation therapy. Her knowledge and personal experience in this field has put her at the forefront of longevity treatments and for sustaining peak health in an increasingly challenged environment.
Paula’s seminars and retreats on an expansive range of wellness subjects and on non- dual awareness are whole-heartedly received, due to her unique ability to communicate complicated concepts in a simple and easy manner. She is well known for her warmth, for her inspirational teaching style and her enduring smile, indicative of the joy she finds in sharing her knowledge—which enliven and motivate her students to manifest the richness inherent in their lives.
Laxmi (as she is affectionately called) has appeared on Radio and TV shows in the US, Europe and India. In 1999 she received the Full Circle “Inner Flame Award” from former Prime Minister Shri Gujral for her contribution to disseminating alternative and complimentary methods of healing. The citation also commended her for her grace and grit in adversity.
Her first book, Empowerment through Reiki has been translated into 20 languages. It was followed by Abundance Through Reiki, Core Empowerment, Reiki –108 Questions and Answers: Your Dependable Guide For A Lifetime of Reiki Practice, The Ultimate Reiki Touch, The Nine Principles of Self-Healing and Heal Yourself With Oxygen. Her eighth book called Fierce Innocence, will be out in 2011.
Some themes Paula works with are:
Unconsciousness, the Cause for Unhappiness
The words “emotional intelligence” have become something of a catch phrase. More than being a trendy expression, they sum up the center focus of current leading edge exploration into the nature and workings of mind and cognition. They indeed point to the root of some key fundamental questions: “Why is it that so much of what our minds do, remains below the threshold of conscious awareness? What does this large degree of non-conscious cognition thought processing and ensuing action mean for our experience of the world? Why is our unconscious mind so all pervasive? Why do we have recurring experiences of being at the effect of the unconscious mind, to the degree that access to natural states of simple happiness seem to continuously elude us?
Science Now Agrees: Our Perception Is Ruled by Memory
Currently in several labs in the US, research is uncovering the secrets of cognition. Through the most advanced western technologies (for example, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS), scientists now realize that we do not see the world as it actually is, but only in terms of what we already know of the world. In other words, in states of non-conscious cognition (which is where most people are), memory shapes or dictates all of what we can perceive. We are thus deprived of free will and free agency. The moment we find access to being conscious and aware in the present moment, free will and free agency are restored. Brain scans using the same TMS technology also show how the practice of different forms of meditation, learned through long retreats, in fact influence perception in such a way, that humans can rise above an otherwise unconscious existence. For all human beings, this step into conscious awareness is of primary importance for it enables us to live a happy, balanced and fulfilled life.
Historically Only Lengthy Periods of Retreat Could Free the Mind
The question now is, how can this be accomplished? The traditional Buddhist approaches to the restoration of free will and conscious awareness require a long and arduous discipline of meditation over the span of many years. As the results of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation with experienced mediators suggest, these techniques do indeed work. The data collected at the E.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior on the Madison Campus of the University of Wisconsin, USA, demonstrate as much. The drawback is, in the past, these techniques were invented, taught and elucidated mainly by monks and other people who were in a position to live a life of seclusion and contemplation. In other words, in their old approaches these techniques are time-consuming and require years of dedicated effort.
Short Cuts Bring Awareness into the Present
The question now is, can we accomplish the same? Can the average person achieve comparable levels of mastership and conscious awareness as Buddhist masters after twenty or more years of meditation practice? Living in the world, going about his or her business, and taking care of the many obligations that are taken for granted by any ordinary socially active person? Whereas certain periods of retreat are recommended, the answer is, “Yes, with the right motivation and commitment, it is possible.” There are approaches to conscious awareness and emotional intelligence that are geared toward direct recognition of what is so in the moment which bypass the mental processing via memory. One pertinent example is the Core Empowerment Training, developed by Dr. Paula Horan and based on several time-tested meditative techniques.
The Memory Trap Is Released by Clear Perception
It is essential to explore destructive emotions and unconscious behavior patterns to bring them into conscious awareness. They are not judged, and neither are they rejected. No effort is made to push them away. Instead, explorers of vichar (direct self – inquiry) are encouraged to directly feel them, and cultivate a sense of exploration about every circumstance that arises, whether seemingly “comfortable” or “uncomfortable”, “happy” or “sad”, “good” or “bad”. This direct feeling and recognition brings about a sudden shift in perception. We cease to identify with the latest destructive emotion or behavior pattern. Although we can notice and sense its presence clearly, we also know without a shadow of a doubt that this is not who we are, but only a conditioned response with which we sometimes identify.
Clear Perception is due to Heart Intelligence
Subsequently, once the link of identification is broken through noticing and most of all feeling from the Heart, the same old destructive emotion or behavior pattern can no longer rule us. In other words, often in the 5 days that the residential training takes, the same depth of balance and lucidity is achieved, which through more traditional approaches could take years to accomplish. This fast track is made possible through a combination of fine-tuned techniques and extensive meditative experience on the part of the facilitators.
Depending on the individual, 15 years of experience on the part of the facilitator has shown that participation in three to five, 5-day seminars over a two to three year period, accompanied with a daily meditation practice, can help to stabilize one’s ability to transcend the filter of memory and live a true present. Because all emotions are reactions to thoughts, the ability to live in the present without clinging to passing thoughts, automatically gives one the ability to transcend the pull of emotion. The result is a greater degree of equanimity in all situations, whether “positive” or “negative” and the emotional intelligence of a life lived from Heart.
Paula helps you, through Vichar (direct self-inquiry), use the mind to see through the mind, much like using a thorn to take out a thorn. Rather than trying to therapeutically make ourselves “better”, she shares advanced yogic practices that you can use in every day life to help you drop the seeker, the illusory separate self who is identified with doership, the root of all suffering,ie.the one who is never satisfied and always wants to “improve”.
Paula calls CET is her ‘true heart work’ as it provides the supportive environment for her to share the teachings of her guru H.W.L.Poonja , well -known as Papaji.