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Archive for January 2006

Bosses Don’t Realize How Unhappy Workers Are

POSTED: 8:58 am EST January 30,

2006

NEEDHAM, Mass. — People don’t appear to be as happy with their jobs as their bosses think they are.
In a survey by Salary.com, nearly 80 percent of those asked said they’d
recently searched online job postings, and updated their resumes. Human
Resources managers, on the other hand, believe that on average only
about 40 percent of their employee base is doing that.     Additionally,  although people might be unhappy with their jobs, it wouldn’t take much to get them to stay.
More than half of those asked by Salary.com said a pay raise of less
than 15 percent would persuade them to stay in a job they dislike.
Another 20 percent said they’d stay for an increase of under 10 percent.
According to the survey, the top three reasons people leave their jobs
are poor managers, inadequate compensation and lack of advancement
opportunities.

Job Satisfaction Facts

ABOUT THE SURVEY:

  • Conducted by Salary.com.       FINDINGS:

  • Nearly 80 percent of those asked say they’d recently searched online job postings and updated their resumes.

  • Human Resources managers, on the other hand, believe about 40 percent are doing that.

  • Although people might be unhappy with their jobs, it wouldn’t take much to get them to stay. 

  • More than half say it would take a pay raise of less than 15 percent to stay in a job they dislike.

  • Another 20 percent said they’d stay for an increase of under  10 percent. 

  • According
    to the survey, the top reasons people leave their jobs include boredom,
    inadequate compensation and lack of advancement opportunities.

    New MBAs finding education pays off big time

    MBAs are hot, again.

    Salaries and signing bonuses of fresh graduates
    took a double-digit jump in 2005 to a record average $106,000 and
    signaled an end to the "perfect storm" of sour news this decade that
    included the dot-com bust, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a
    subsequent recession, said Dave Wilson, president of the Graduate
    Management Admissions Council (GMAC) that oversees the test for
    aspiring graduate students in business.

    Corporate recruiters had disappeared from
    campuses. But, Wilson reports, "The MBA is back as the currency of
    intellectual capital."

    The $106,000 salary and signing bonus was up
    13.5% from 2004, according to a GMAC survey of 5,829 2005 grads. Salary
    alone increased to $88,600, surpassing the previous high of $85,400 set
    in 2001. The 2005 salary still trails 2001 by about $4,000 when
    adjusted for inflation, but the inflation-adjusted record will likely
    be broken this year.

    Consulting firms and investment banks, the
    best-paying employers of freshly minted MBAs, had been slashing jobs.
    "They’re back and hiring aggressively," says Nunzio Quacquarelli, the
    London-based director of the QS World MBA Tour that recruits students
    to 350 business schools in 56 cities worldwide.

    The average bonus paid to a 2005 MBA graduate by investment banks was $40,000, Quacquarelli says.

    Other forces are behind the rising compensation.
    The health care industry craves MBAs to help manage spiraling costs,
    and schools such as Boston University offer an MBA for those looking
    for careers ranging from hospital administration to biotech.

    Technology hiring showed signs of life last year
    and is building steam in 2006, Quacquarelli says. Even the outsourcing
    of jobs to places such as India is driving demand for MBAs. The Labor
    Department estimates the outsourcing industry will need 2,000 senior
    executives this year, up from 100 in 2000. By 2012, it will need 9,500.

    Wilson says there is also heavy demand for MBAs
    by the U.S. government and not-for-profit organizations. Salaries are
    not as high, but added demand is likely driving them up elsewhere.

    The trend is global, according to a survey out
    Tuesday by QS World MBA Tour. Average salary and bonus for new MBAs was
    up 10% in 2005 to $114,000, also breaking the record set in 2001.

    More than 100,000 MBA degrees are awarded each
    year in the USA alone. That’s likely to rise. Prospective students who
    took the Graduate Management Admission Test rose to 228,000 in 2005
    from 213,000 in 2004. And this year has started strong, Wilson says.

    There are 1,500 schools worldwide offering MBAs,
    a number poised to explode, Quacquarelli says, as programs in China,
    India and Russia take off.

    Essay Category: Why the Degree?

    Essay Question: Personal statement of 500 words

    "As pertaining to the custody of the children," the judge continued,
    "the court has decided that it would be in the children’s best
    interests if full custody were henceforth awarded to the mother."

    My mother then uttered a long sigh of relief. Although I was only
    eight years old, I knew that I had just witnessed a life-changing
    decision. My parents had officially obtained a divorce. I had undergone
    a month of attorneys’ interviews, courtroom drama and private
    dissertations in the judge’s chambers, so I then knew why my mother had
    sighed. My father’s lawyer (or, as I referred
    to him, the angry loud man) had by far overshadowed my mother’s more
    mellow attorney, and this fact was reflected in the divorce decree.
    Aside from a minimal child support payment and a division of the mutual
    assets, my mother received next to nothing for ten loyal years of
    marriage. As our broken family relocated to a small, two-bedroom
    apartment, I searched for someone to blame. Although I was too young to
    understand the complicated legal proceedings, I observed how "the big,
    important guy" (the judge) seemed to listen more attentively to "the
    angry loud man." When I asked my mother the reason for this inequality,
    she said something about not having the same resources that my father
    had. So I was convinced that "the loud angry man" who wanted a lot of
    resources
    was the cause of my unhappy situation. For the next year, I repeatedly
    asked questions about lawyers. While my peers were still insisting that
    they were going to be ninja fighters or ballerinas, I proclaimed my
    future as a very loud lawyer that did not require a lot of resources to
    do a good job.

    As I grew and matured, I realized that my childish declaration would
    require dedication. To adjust to my new school and family situation, I
    eased the transition with extracurricular activities. I especially
    became interested in public-speaking, which was reflected in my growing
    confidence at school and my outspoken personality at home. The jump
    from middle school to high school shifted my attentions from 4-H
    debates and school elections to more in-depth experiences. Sophomore
    year I discovered a rare opportunity in the Boy Scouts Law Exploring
    Post. This group provided first-hand insights into modern law careers
    and enabled me to directly experience numerous aspects of legal
    medicine.

    Enticing lectures from the district attorney, personal interviews
    with private lawyers and observational trips to local courthouses not
    only furthered my interest in more popular, romanticized courtroom
    action, but also expanded my interests to include the more practical
    applications of the law.

    I have found within myself a passion for understanding and upholding
    the institutions by which man attempts to govern himself. One day I
    hope to be a productive part of the American justice system without
    losing touch of how deeply my efforts can affect a person’s life. So
    now that I have established a clear path to my goal, I must gather my
    resources.

    This stone was introduced to Europe in the early eighteeth century by the Dutch, who discovered it in Ceylon.  The Singhalese referred to it as toramalli, a word also used to decribe zicons.  The Dutch renamed it aschentrekker, meaning "ash puller" due to an unusual property with which pipe-smoking Dutch sailors were once familiar: when heated, tourmaline becomes electrically charged and thus
    attracts ash and dust.  Dutch sailer used it to empty the ash from the bowl of their meerschaum pipes.
    No other gem comes in such a vast array of colors.  Single-color tormailnes are rare.  Most display a multitude of color nuances blendinng one into the other, or concentric colored layers.  One such specimen is the famous watermelon tourmaline, which has a pink heart surrounded by green.  The most coveted tourmaline – rubellite is red, hence its name.  King Gusta of Sweden presented Empress Catherine II of Russia with a rubellite weighing 250 carats, still conserved in the Diamond Fund in Moscow.  The rarest, indicolite, a deep blue-green.

    The most common color for tourmaline is green.  The muse’s stone, tourmaline is said to give wings to the artist’s imagination.

    Borosilicate of aluminum. 
    Hardness: 7 to 7.5
    Birthstone of the month of October
    Symbol of creativity and inspiration
    Afghanistan, Brazil, U.S., Madagascar, Russia, Sri Lanka


       

    Can prayer harm?
    (Psychology Today)

    By: Larry  Dossey

    Summary:

        Opinion. Presents an author’s view about the dark side of prayer.
        Science and supplication; Prayer’s paradox; Power of negative prayers.
        INSET: The evil within us all?
     

    The doctor who almost single-handedly legitimized the study of
        prayer inmedicine now talks about prayer’s surprising shadow side.

       

    I grew up in the buckle of the Bible Belt–the fundamentalist
        county of Limestone, Texas, where a lot of praying went all the time. I
        remember once when I was six years old, a young preacher was discoursing
        on the fires of hell in a tiny, country church, on a cold, wintry
        night–perhaps to warm up the room. There were about 12 folks in
        attendance.

       

    For nearly 30 minutes he described Satan and the flames of eternal
        damnation, and began to beat on the pulpit to simulate the drums of hell.
        At the climax of his sermon he had someone turn off all the lights as he
        lapsed into prayer for lost sinners. My six-year-old mind was utterly
        hypnotized by fear, and when the invitation for salvation was offered, I
        numbly stumbled forward–only half-conscious-to be saved.

       

    I learned early on that there could be a raw, brutal edge to
        religion and prayer. Even though I moved beyond this spiritual territory
        as I grew older, I carried with me a legacy I consider very important–an
        enduring interest in prayer. It’s impossible to grow up in a
        fundamentalist environment and not be fascinated by the capacity of
        prayer to catalyze change in people’s lives. For me, prayer remains one
        of the most effective methods of finding meaning, because it is a way of
        contacting a dimension of experience that seems wiser, deeper, and more
        real than an individual sense of self.

       

    Claims that people can actually influence the health and well-being
        of others through prayer are often met with skepticism and derision. As
        one of my colleagues remarked, "This is the kind of thing I would not
        believe even if it existed." Yet it does exist. I’ve written at length
        about the astonishing capacity of prayer to heal, even over long
        distances and when the recipient does not know they are being prayed for.
        It’s unclear how any form of energy currently known to modern physics can
        account for the distant influence of prayer, but abundant anecdotal and
        experimental evidence supports this phenomenon.

       

    I stumbled onto the research about prayer and healing in 1988, when
        I read a study by Randolph Byrd, M.D., a cardiologist at the University
        of California at San Francisco School of Medicine. Dr. Byrd tested the
        impact of distant prayer much like a new medication, recording its
        effects on 393 patients who all had severe chest pains and/or heart
        attacks; half were prayed for, and half were not. The prayed-for group
        required fewer antibiotics (three in the prayed-for group, compared to 17
        in the group not prayed for), had less need for mechanical respirators
        (zero compared to 12), required fewer diuretics (five compared to 15),
        suffered less congestive heart failure (eight compared to 20),
        experienced less cardiopulmonary arrest (three compared to 14), and fell
        ill with pneumonia less often (three compared to 13).

       

    This study does not stand alone. David Larson, M.D., formerly at
        the National Institutes of Health, and now director of the National
        Institute for Healthcare Research, a private research organization in
        Rockville, Maryland, which explores the role of religious practice in
        health, has reviewed over 200 studies examining the role of faith and
        religion on health. In the majority of cases, faith is beneficial.

       

    In 1995, a pilot study on the use of distant healing and prayer for
        AIDS patients was initiated by psychiatrist Elisabeth Targ, M.D.,
        clinical director of psychosocial oncology research at California Pacific
        Medical Center in San Francisco. Twenty patients with advanced AIDS were
        randomly selected, and half received 10 weeks of distant healing from 20
        professional healers across the country. Blood and psychological tests
        were administered before and after the study, as well as three months
        later. Results were encouraging, and Dr. Targ is now conducting a larger
        study involving 60 AIDS patients and healers. She’s also seeking funds
        for a similar study with breast cancer. It is studies such shed light on
        the way that prayer can be alongside conventional medicine.

       

    SCIENCE AND SUPPLICATION

       

    Prayer, when studied, usually has positive results. But what about
        prayer’s capacity to harm? Most people choose to believe that thoughts
        and prayers work positively or not at all. But we cannot hide from the
        mind’s power to harm. Everyone is aware of the placebo response–the
        impact of positive belief. But the flip side of this phenomenon is the
        nocebo effect, the ability of negative beliefs and expectations to cause
        harm. For example, in a provocative British study of patients with
        stomach cancer, patients thought they were taking a chemotherapy drug,
        but were actually receiving a placebo. One-third developed nausea,
        one-fifth developed vomiting, and almost one-third lost their hair. (This
        study was conducted with the patients’ consent, and they were ultimately
        given the proper drugs.)

       

    But can our thoughts affect events and peoples’ actions? Various
        experiments suggest that they are capable of distorting the classic
        double-blind experimental design, influencing the outcome of medical
        studies. In several different studies on the effectiveness of vitamin E
        on angina, the results could be directly correlated with the researchers’
        positive or negative expectations. If researchers thought the vitamin
        would affect the disease positively, it did, and if they thought it
        wouldn’t have any effect, it didn’t. In another landmark study by
        parapsychologist Gerald Solfvin, Ph.D., professor at Rosebridge Graduate
        School of Integrative Psychology in Concord, California, experimenters
        who believed they were injecting mice with two different doses of malaria
        recorded differing degrees of illness in the mice–despite the fact there
        was no difference in the strength of the two injections.

       

    Several studies suggest that people can use their minds to promote
        or inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi at a distance of up to 15
        miles. Jean Barry, M.D., a physician practicing in Bordeaux, France,
        chose a destructive fungus, Rhizoctonia solani, and asked 10 people to
        try and inhibit its growth merely through their intention. The growth of
        the fungus was significantly retarded in 151 of 194 cases. The
        possibility that these results could be explained by chance was less than
        one in a thousand. When the study was repeated by different researchers,
        individuals up to 15 miles away inhibited the growth. A third remarkable
        study tested 60 university volunteers’ ability to alter a common strain
        of bacteria, Escherichia coli. The strain normally mutates from the
        inability to metabolize milk sugar-lactose negative–to the ability to
        use it–lactose positive–at a known rate. Using nine test tubes of
        bacteria, subjects tried to influence three of them to become lactose
        positive, three to become lactose negative, and three to remain just as
        they were. Each group of test tubes mutated in the desired
        directions.

       

    The implications of these and similar studies are sobering, to say
        the least. They suggest that we can use our minds to help or harm other
        living things, at a distance, and outside their awareness. These
        experiments may be relevant to humans. Even though we are far more
        complex, we share many identical biochemical processes with
        microorganisms, harbor billions of microbes within us. If we can harm
        bacteria and fungi with negative intention from a distance, might we be
        able to harm humans as well?

       

    Studies of purposeful negative prayer have only taken place in
        lower organisms, because it’s unethical and illegal to attempt
        experiments in humans that might intentionally cause harm. However, that
        doesn’t mean we don’t carry on such inadvertent experiments every day,
        outside scientific laboratories.

       

    Indeed, even when our prayers are overwhelmingly positive and
        sincere, their results can be harmful. Consider some of our most common
        prayers for happiness, prosperity, and fertility. If all the prayers for
        prosperity were answered, the environment would probably not be able to
        survive the impact, simply because of our limited resources. This problem
        would be compounded by prayers for fertility, which, if answered, would
        make the problem of overpopulation incalculably worse; and in areas of
        the world where prayers for fertility focus solely on sons, answered
        prayers have truly harmful consequences for the future of women.

       

    PRAYER PARADOX

       

    Today, negative prayer is all around us. It’s I not confined to
        sorcerers, dabblers in black I magic, or occult religious traditions. By
        and large, it is a practice unconsciously engaged in by perfectly normal,
        well-meaning folk.

       

    Growing up, I was always puzzled by that paradoxical high school
        football phenomenon, the pregame prayer, in which opposing teams gather
        in their respective locker rooms and pray to Almighty God that they will
        beat the daylights out of the* rivals. I wondered how such prayers could
        possibly be answered. What was a god faced with competing prayers to do?
        In The Future of the Body, Michael Murphy, founder of the Esalen
        Institute, a center for consciousness research located in Big Sur,
        California, writes, "Many sports fans consciously or half-consciously
        feel that rooting has an effect that goes beyond mere
        encouragement….Witness the many hexes aimed at games via radios and
        television sets. If rooting channels or triggers powers of mind over
        matter, it is no wonder that during certain contests balls take funny
        bounces and athletes jump higher than ever or stumble
        inexplicably."

       

    Prayers for victory–whether in sports or in any other of life’s
        competitive situations–are often at another’s expense. When grasshoppers
        invaded Mormon crops in Great Salt Lake Valley, Utah, in 1848, church
        leaders asked parishioners to pray to avert a disaster. Seagulls arrived
        in hoards, ate the grasshoppers, and the crops were saved. From the
        standpoint of the Mormons, the effects of prayer were positive. But what
        about the grasshoppers?

       

    During World War II, the famous pilot Eddie Rickenbacker was forced
        to land in the Pacific Ocean and, with seven companions, drifted for 24
        days in a lifeboat before being rescued by a navy plane. On the verge of
        perishing from lack of food and water, the men prayed for help. Out of
        nowhere, a bird landed on Rickenbacker, and he captured and killed it.
        From Rickenbacker’s point of view, his prayer was positive. But what
        about the bird?

       

    When the torturers of the Inquisition tightened the racks and
        twisted the thumbscrews on "heretics," they mumbled prayers that their
        victims repent and their souls be saved. The inquisitors’ tears mingled
        with the blood of their victims on torture chamber floors throughout
        Europe. Unfortunately, the pattern endures. Prayer continues to be mixed
        with violence in the name of religion, as the recent orgies of ethnic
        cleansing by devout Christians and Muslims in Bosnia show.

       

    We may insist that we’re not religious nuts or killers, but all of
        us find ourselves in situations where we believe, at the end of day, that
        we’re right and others are wrong. So, in our culture, where 80 percent of
        people pray regularly, the stage is set for prayers in which we ask God
        to defeat those who don’t share our views.

       

    A woman named Melissa recently told me that for l0 years she had
        struggled unsuccessfully to be a writer. Finally her mother admitted that
        from the time Melissa was a teenager, she had prayed to God every night
        that her daughter would fail. "Writers tell things that should not be
        told, about themselves and their families," she said to her daughter.
        "I’ve always known that God had something better for you."

       

    Melissa saw her mother’s prayers as a curse offered in the name of
        God. She began to pray for protection and guidance. Three years later she
        published her first novel.

       

    THE BOOK ON NEGATIVE PRAYER

       

    Of course, negative prayer is not a new phenomenon. As long as
        people have prayed to an absolute and almighty being, they have prayed to
        both help themselves and harm others. The breadth of negative prayer can
        range from the mild to the deadly, from the simple prayer for individual
        gain to curses to an ancient death prayer that flourished earlier in this
        century among shamans in Hawaii.

       

    Curses–which can be considered a form of negative prayer–are
        right at home in the Bible and have often been employed by the spiritual
        elite. The prophet Elisha, for example, caused 42 children to be devoured
        by bears for making fun of his baldness. The apostle Paul struck a
        sorcerer blind. And even Christ blasted an apparently innocent fig tree
        for not bearing fruit.

       

    In the Hispanic cultures of southern Texas and the Southwest,
        witchcraft (brujeria), sorcery (hechiceria), and the evil eye (mal ojo)
        are integral parts of folk culture. Vibrant traditions involving hexes,
        spells, and curses continue in the Sea Islands off the coasts of South
        Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The Vodoun tradition, with its famous
        voodoo practices, has spread from Africa to the Caribbean and the West
        Indies, and then to many major urban centers in the United States.

       

    One of the most dramatic pieces of anthropological research
        suggesting the power of negative prayer is the custom of ana-ana, or the
        "death prayer," which originated in Polynesia and spread to the Hawaiian
        Islands. This practice was reported in great detail by American
        psychologist Max Freedom Long, who went to Hawaii in 1917, and from his
        position as a schoolteacher had the unique opportunity to investigate
        this custom. Quite simply, shamans would "pray to death" a person who was
        causing social unrest, who often lived on another island and did not even
        know he or she was the subject of harmful prayer.

       

    One of the more remarkable features of the death prayer was that
        the victims often died in the same way–from what we now call ascending
        paralysis. First, the lower extremities became numb and then paralyzed,
        the paralysis gradually rising through the body until it reached the
        lungs, when the victim died of respiratory failure. Today, we would
        probably identify this kind of illness as Guillain-Barre syndrome, a
        disease that is virtually clinically identical to that induced by the
        death prayer. The illness sometimes follows a viral infection, but half
        the cases arise spontaneously, and their cause is unknown. Patients are
        kept alive on ventilators until the disease subsides, which can take
        weeks. Could this disease, and other illnesses of unknown origin, be due
        in part to the negative wishes or prayers of others? Unless we consider
        the possibility that prayer can harm, we will never know.

       

    It’s easy to think negative prayer practices are confined to only
        primitive cultures. But after years of study, I’m convinced that the
        malevolent use of prayer is quite common, woven into our society and our
        lives. In a 1994 Gallup poll on the prayer habits of Americans published
        in Life magazine, five percent of people confessed they’d prayed for harm
        to come to others. And that was only the number that admitted it.

       

    GIVING GOD ORDERS

       

    The temptation to manipulate other individuals and situations
        through prayer is very strong. Even when we voice the prayer, "Thy will
        be done," how many times are we really saying, "My will be done"? Are we
        really handing over the outcome of events to God, or are we prayer
        vigilantes trying to take matters into our own hands? Even if we fully
        believe we are praying for the good of ourselves or others, do we know
        the full impact of our prayers? As Beryl Statham, a British writer,
        notes, "There is an important difference in demanding a specific answer
        and an open-ended prayer for help. Making specific demands can have
        tragic results." She relates the experience of a young man whose wife was
        dying, and who recruited members of his church to pray for a miracle.
        When his wife died anyway, he suffered a mental collapse from which he
        never fully recovered.

       

    We constantly underestimate the awesome complexity of the world,
        and the way in which we are linked in feedback loops and systems that
        even computers cannot decipher. Our prayers may reflect this. Sociologist
        Charles Perrow has shown that unintended negative consequences often
        follow when we intervene in situations that are extremely complex. We
        often don’t understand the consequences that our prayers, if answered,
        might generate.

       

    Think about our prayers for happiness. What could be simpler than
        praying for joy? Yet George L. Engel, M.D., professor of medicine and
        psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, has
        provided chilling evidence that happiness is not always compatible with
        health. Over a six-year period, Dr. Engel collected 170 cases where
        sudden death had occurred and analyzed the psychological state of each
        individual before their demise. Although most of the fatalities were
        accompanied by negative emotions such as intense fear or depression, 6
        percent were immediately preceded by experiences of sudden happiness,
        such as receiving good news. States such as happiness may not be as
        simple or benevolent as we’d like to think. There may be a hidden
        calculus, according to which all emotions are more complex than they
        seem.

       

    WHY PRAY?

       

    The dark side of life, if properly understood, can be valuable. I
        learned this when I served in Vietnam as a battalion surgeon, and wound
        up with the worst assignment I’d ever heard of for a physician. I’d gone
        to war wanting nothing to do with the madness of combat, but soon I
        became completely intoxicated by the warrior archetype. I volunteered for
        combat assaults, flew in helicopters to rescue ambushed platoons, and
        even applied to paratrooper school. I fantasized returning to the States,
        enrolling in infantry school, and returning to Vietnam with my own
        platoon. I was an agnostic, and a physician, yet I found myself offering
        prayers of thanks to a God I no longer believed in every time a mortar
        missed hitting me.

       

    War unmasked my own contradictions, and I was never again able to
        convince myself I was as innocent as I’d once believed. Yet many
        spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, explore exactly these
        contradictions, and speak of the indissoluble unity of all apparent
        opposites. This idea even surfaces in modern physics. The late physicist
        David Bohm used the example of a magnet, whose opposite poles cannot
        exist without each other.

       

    Refusing to contemplate the dark undertow of life constitutes what
        Jungian psychologists call "repressing the shadow"–banishing our nastier
        qualities to the unexplored corners of the mind. But as Jung said, a
        whole person is one who has both walked with God and wrestled with the
        Devil.

       

    The Devil may even have something to teach us. This is reflected in
        the root of Satan, stn, which means "one who opposes, obstructs, or acts
        as an adversary." The Greek term diabolos literally means "one who throws
        something across one’s path." This is virtually identical to the
        Trickster figure, one which Jung regarded as an archetypal force in the
        human mind, and which is described in countless myths, legends, dreams,
        and fairytales worldwide. There is room for this sort of Satan in our
        world. In fact, he can do good, because if a path in life is in error, it
        may need to be blocked.

       

    Some might call negative prayer evil. Whether evil’s origins are
        external, internal, or both, our task in confronting it is always the
        same: to transmute it, to learn to act with love and compassion. To make
        the unconscious conscious, as Jung put it; to be born again, as Jesus
        said; to awaken to wisdom, as Buddha urged.

       

    When I began to explore negative prayer, I asked Native American
        shamans in northern New Mexico, where I live, whether they thought this
        phenomenon was real. They all said yes. I inquired about their favorite
        methods of protection. One shaman asked me jokingly if I’d ever heard of
        the Lord’s Prayer. He urged me to read it again, focusing on the phrase,
        "Deliver us from evil." "You white people have one of the most powerful
        forms of protection, and you don’t even know it," he smiled.

       

    We need to be courageous enough to embark on the hero’s journey,
        which involves an encounter with the dark aspects of who we are–not
        because it’s romantic or heroic, but because therein lies our one hope of
        escaping the compulsions that prevent us from becoming fully
        human.

       

    The mere fact that negative prayer exists and that we may wish to
        harm others challenges us to engage the totality of existence. Light and
        shadow are always irrevocably linked. Or, as Friedrich Nietzsche
        reassured us in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "The supreme evil is part of the
        supreme good."

       

    The Evil within Us All?

       

    Few scholars have done more to illuminate the history of the
        struggle between good and evil than Elaine Pagels, Ph.D., a professor of
        religion at Princeton University, and author of The Origin of Satan and
        The Gnostic Gospels, a national bestseller. According to Pagels, there
        has "always been another side to invocation and prayer. Christian
        cosmology, in particular, is split between God’s people and Satan’s
        people." That split has profoundly influenced not only the way we
        envision the universe, but the way we look at other people.

       

    Pagels began to ponder the shadow side after she lost her young son
        to a genetic illness in 1987, and her husband died in a hiking accident
        the following year. "I asked myself, `What have I done to deserve this?’
        Our religious and cultural heritage suggests that nature follows a moral
        order, and so any catastrophe must be some kind of divine punishment. I
        found the idea that I could be at fault very enervating, and I felt I had
        to learn as much about that cultural legacy as possible, in order to move
        beyond it."

       

    Pagels found an inspiring alternative to the cosmic war of good and
        evil in the Gospel of Philip, written between 70 and 100 C.E. Philip
        suggests that all opposites–light and dark, life and death, good and
        evil–are in reality interdependent. "Philip writes of gnosis, or
        spiritual understanding," says Pagels. "Essential to gnosis is to know
        one’s own potential for evil. If we remain unaware of our own darker
        tendencies, they’re powerful, but as soon as those tendencies are
        recognized, they can be destroyed," Pagels says. Philip’s teachings, like
        those of Buddhism, suggest that a person acting out of an impulse to harm
        can actually transform the action midstream, simply through awareness.
        "It’s harder to sustain the energy needed for rage, greed, or hatred when
        you see your own impulse rather than the other person’s supposed
        deficiencies," she explains. "You lose the illusion that your action is
        justified." Without that illusion, she says, it’s difficult to sustain
        the notion of evil as other, and easier to truly embrace a gospel of
        love.

       

    JILL NEIMARK

       

    PHOTO (COLOR): Negative prayer is not new. As long as people have
        prayed to an Almighty being, they haved prayed to both help and harm
        themselves and others.

       

    PHOTO (COLOR): Studies of negative prayer show that we can harm
        bacteria at a distance simply through our intention. Can we harm humans
        as well?

       

    BY LARRY DOSSEY, M.D.

       

    Larry Dossey, M.D., is the author of six books, including the
        bestseller Healing Words, and Prayer Is Good Medicine. He is Executive
        Editor of the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and
        Medicine.

     

                

                

             

             

                

                
                

             

             

                

                
                

    http://www.spca.org.hk/home.htm

    Reward for Conviction of Abuser Doubled
    to $20,000
    (HONG
    KONG, 4th January 2006) The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
    Animals Hong Kong (SPCA HK) announced the Reward posted for any
    information provided leading to the conviction of the Mongkok Cat
    Cruelty Abuser has been doubled to $20,000.

    With the
    widespread publicity scored after the announcement of the reward made
    on 22 December 2005, the SPCA (HK) received numerous calls from the
    general public, volunteering to donate to team up the reward.

    The
    SPCA (HK) is in full support in urging the government to revise Cap.
    169. “Penalty for animal abuse should bear the same weight to human
    violence. Hong Kong, being a world class city, should have the same
    respect for animal life as in other leading nations,” said Dr. Fiona
    Woodhouse, Deputy Director of Welfare Service, SPCA (HK).

    The
    SPCA (HK) invites the general public to lend a helping hand to save
    these least-fortunate animals. Every piece of information may lead to
    the arrest and conviction of the abuser.

    Their well-being depends on everyone in the society.

    Reporting Hotline:
    SPCA (HK) 24-Hour Inspectorate Hotline: 2711 1000
    Mongkok Police Station: 2398 6397 (0900-1700); 9460 0404 (1700-0900)

    For more enquiries, please reach the PR & Communications Department:
    Fight Animal Abuse SPCA (HK) Pleads Support from the Public

                
    (HONG
    KONG, 29th November 2005) The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
    Animals Hong Kong (SPCA HK) requests everyone in the community to lend
    a helping hand to fight animal abuse.

    The SPCA (HK) is very
    alarmed by recent reported cases of abuse on kittens taken place in
    Mongkok. Unfortunately, incidences as such are only at the tip of the
    iceberg. The SPCA (HK) has conducted 479 investigations on cruelty
    complaints brought to us by the general public or the authority during
    April 2004 to March 2005, a rise from 419 a year earlier. Throughout
    the period (2004-2005), 42 warnings have been given out, but only two
    prosecutions were successfully filed. Entering into 2005, with
    increased public awareness, ten prosecutions have been acted upon
    between May to September, 2005.

    Animal abuse, whether
    intentional or unintentional, will never be tolerated. Since the first
    reported abuse case in Mongkok on 23rd September, SPCA Inspectorate
    Team has conducted frequent patrols. Unfortunately, so far, no suspects
    have been identified.

    "The SPCA (HK) is very disappointed
    that there seems no progress in revising the Cap. 169 (Prevention of
    Cruelty to Animals Ordinance) despite our ongoing effort to push ahead
    with the government in the past ten years," said Dr. Fiona Woodhouse,
    Deputy Director of Welfare Services, SPCA (HK).

    To raise
    public awareness on animal abuse & these suspected abuse cases, an
    education campaign is being conducted today. Together with help from
    volunteers, SPCA (HK) handed out thousands of leaflets to shop owners,
    workers and residents in the area, and posters pinned up, inviting the
    public to help fight cruelty by reporting any suspect cases with no
    delay.

    SPCA (HK) reminds the public that animal abuse is
    serious and they should report any case of animal abuse to SPCA (HK),
    Police or AFCD so that prosecutions can be acted upon.

    Wages grow at fastest in 3 years

    WASHINGTON — American workers are beginning to
    see long-awaited wage gains, though increases remain well below the
    levels prior to the 2001 recession.

    Average hourly wages for non-supervisory
    workers, about 80% of the labor force, have been lagging behind
    inflation during much of the recovery. Wage growth is starting to pick
    up, with hourly earnings rising 5 cents in December to $16.34,
    seasonally adjusted, the Labor Department said Friday.

    Hourly wages rose 3.1% in the 12 months ended in
    December, the fastest pace since spring 2003. While improving, wage
    growth appears to remain below consumer inflation, which advanced 3.5%
    in the 12 months ended in November.

    The 3.1% gain in hourly wages compares with a
    2.6% rise in the year ended in December 2004 and 1.7% in 2003. Still,
    wage growth is lower than some economists expect in an economy with a
    4.9% jobless rate.

    "When you’re looking at wages, it’s clear that
    they are moving upward. It may be from a low base, but the trend is
    clearly up," says John Silvia of Wachovia.

    Silvia emphasizes that broader measures of
    compensation, including health care and other benefits, which have been
    generally rising faster than wages, paint a better picture of employee
    gains and business expenses.

    Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics points out
    that most of the job gains in December have occurred in industries with
    above-average wages, such as manufacturing, mining and information
    services. That’s part of a longer trend.

    But Maury Harris of UBS argues that some of the
    gains in high-wage jobs since August are a result of activities related
    to reconstruction from Hurricane Katrina. The effect could fade this
    year as the housing market and construction employment slow. Harris
    predicts that energy-induced inflation increases have also peaked,
    which could lead to better purchasing power for consumers.

    The pace of wage gains has implications not just
    for workers, but the broader economy. The Federal Reserve closely
    monitors labor costs, a big driver of inflation.

    Silvia says that while wage gains have been
    somewhat muted, the movement is in a direction that could cause some
    concern at the central bank.

    The Fed doesn’t have a formal inflation target
    but has been trying to hold core inflation, which doesn’t include food
    and energy to about 1% to 2% a year. "If the Fed is truly serious about
    a 2% inflation target … you don’t have a lot of room to play with,"
    he says.

    Mayland says the wage gain "is not a worrisome situation for the inflation situation."


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