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Omer Rains has accepted an invitation to give the keynote address at the 2012 International Brotherhood Conference (IBC), to be held this year south of Calcutta, India near the mouth of the sacred Ganges River in and around the village of Ullon.  The Conference this year will be sponsored by VSSU (Vivekananda Sevakendra-O-Sishu Uddyan).  VSSU is an organization led by Ashoka Fellow Kapilanda Mondal that Omer Rains, Mohammed Yunus, and many others have long worked with in helping to change the face of West Bengal and thus helping to inspire other regions of India as well as other countries in the developing world. It has done this by working to empower individuals whose lives have historically been subjugated by extreme poverty, illiteracy, disease, discrimination, and other maladies and wrongdoings.

This year’s conference (September 27-October 3, 2012) will include many distinguished guests, representatives from the United Nations, various international and multilateral funding agencies, a multitude of religious institutions and organizations working to alleviate human suffering, and dignitaries/representatives from over 50 different countries in the world.

The primary focus of this year’s conference will be on the importance and richness of unity to be found in the diversity of peoples from different parts of the world.  The teachings will be used to help achieve a holistic understanding of problems faced in today’s world and will be used to more specifically examine (1) attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), (2) peace, communal harmony and national integration, and (3) global cultural confluence.

For more information on VSSU and the 2012 International Brotherhood Conference, please visit: http://www.vssu.in/

 

 

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Jul
19

Shamanism

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Shamanism

I have many friends, both American and foreign, who have an unshakable belief in Shamanism and shamanic treatments.  Most are quite well educated.  An example is John Perkins, author of the New York Times and Amazon bestseller, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.”  As for me, I’m still somewhat up in the air about Shamanism in general, but I do believe that “treatments” by a true Shaman (there are a lot of charlatan’s around to be sure) have efficacious qualities that are not to be sneezed at.

One especially memorable experience occurred during a trip that a lady friend and I took a few years ago to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.  Although I had visited Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands before, this trip was pretty special in that we had a number of new and rather usual experiences.

Among those experiences was one where we met a man at the San Jorge Eco-Lodge in the Ecuadorian Andes.  Jorge, who was a recognized expert of the flora and fauna of the region, knew of a Shaman about three hours away by foot.  After telling us how respected this Shaman was amongst the indigenous people in that part of the Andes, we asked if we could get a “treatment” even though we were both feeling quite good and were not really suffering from any kind of malady. Therefore, the following day Jorge left the eco-lodge very early and several hours later returned with the Shaman.  He was at most 4 feet 6 inches tall, clearly a 100% indigenous person, probably descended from the Incas.

The shamanic experience we had on that occasion was the most unusual of any I had previously had.  After ingesting some sort of hallucinogenic and presumably alcoholic substance, the Shaman went into a trance like state.  Jorge spoke a smattering of the Indian dialect that the Shaman spoke and translated for us as best he could.  Eventually we were to get virtually naked and the Shaman began to roll raw eggs over and about our bodies.  He had with him a snake that was involved in the ceremony but never placed on us.  There were also different types of rodents involved.  While we weren’t asked to smoke anything ourselves, he was constantly inhaling some sort of hallucinogen from a pipe, the smoke of which he proceeded to repeatedly blow all over our bodies.  Soon the smoke was so thick that it was impossible not to ingest some of it through the nasal passages.  Probably due to inhaling the smoke, I became very relaxed.  The Shaman then engorged his cheeks with the alcoholic hallucinogenic substance and while chanting long incantations of some sort, he held a candle to his lips and exhaled rainbows of fire across our chests and up and down both the fronts and backs of our bodies. I was concerned that the limited amount of hair on my chest might catch fire, but gratefully that did not happen.  Having stripped everything off, I did not have my watch on.  Nevertheless, I’m sure that the entire treatment lasted well over an hour.

Again, although I had undergone shamanic treatments in the past, this was quite different than any I had undergone before.  Both my lady friend and I slept soundly that night and felt wonderful the following day when we left San Jorge and flew from Quito to Guayaquil and from there on to the Galapagos Islands where we boarded a small trimaran that we had reserved.  Indeed, throughout the remainder of the trip and after returning stateside I felt as strong and healthy as one could possibly feel.  So did my lady friend.

So what conclusion about Shamanism do I draw?  Basically, as with most ancient medicinal programs practiced in rural and remote parts of the developing world, proper shamanistic treatments are in my opinion to be respected.  Again, this feeling is reinforced by the strongly held beliefs of reputable friends in the United States and Europe who from time to time seek out Shaman’s when western medicine fails to meet their needs.  Is it “primitive?”  Only by Western standards where, to be sure, we have access to truly remarkable procedures and wonderful practitioners.   But more and more we learn that we in the west are not all knowing and can learn much from other modalities that have stood the test of time – often for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

 

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The World Heart Federation and the Nepal Heart Foundation have announced that Sen. Omer Rains will serve as the Chief International Advisor for the “Save Your Heart Everest Expedition 2013: A Global Campaign Against Diseases.”  This historic expedition of close to a thousand miles on foot will start at sea level in Bangladesh and over a two-month period cross Bangladesh, India, and Nepal before culminating on the summit of Mt. Everest at 29,035 ft.   Its purpose is to raise awareness of heart disease worldwide and to educate people living at different altitudes and in different parts of the world as to how they can modify their lifestyles in order to protect themselves from heart disease and other deadly killers.

 

The “Save Your Heart Everest Expedition 2013” will involve scores of people including many health care practitioners.  The summit team, once Everest is reached, will consist of a core group of 6 noted mountaineers led by Kaji Sherpa who in 1998 set a World Record for the fastest ascent ever of Mt. Everest.  The team will carry flags of ‘Save Your Heart’ and ‘Save the Environment’; as well as flags and messages from various countries and international leaders.

 

Additional team members will include heart specialists, medical practitioners, heath educators, development professionals, and so on.  These team members will hold discussions and heart health education presentations in local towns and villages along the trekking and climbing route.  They will also establish heart check up camps, and hold advocacy meetings with local heart related organizations and health service providers with a view to raising awareness on the causes of heart ailments and preventive measures that can be taken at each local level.

 

For more information, please visit:

 

http://www.nehf.webs.com

and

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nepal-Heart-Foundation/155225947878990?ref=ts

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Today, I came across an interesting article in The Times of India entitled “Live with a Meditative Attitude.”  An interesting thought proposed by this article is that:

All matter is energy, energy is consciousness, all force is consciousness. Strength comes when you are positive, when you feel healthy; when you are destructive you start feeling differently, you start feeling weak. When your thoughts are healthy, positive, you start feeling strong. When your thoughts are negative, you start feeling weak. When we are sincere, we feel strong; when we are not sincere, we feel weak.

During my recovery and throughout my life, a positive attitude in all things has been extremely important.  In fact, I believe that having this attitude is critical to one’s success in life—if you are busy worrying about what others think, you are not able to focus on yourself and your part in the world—and you will miss important opportunities.  During my recovery I was able to focus on every step, every breath that I took and appreciate that I was still part of this world and that the creator was not done with me yet.  So I wanted to take this opportunity to share this bit of inspiration.

The entire article can be found at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Live-with-a-meditative-attitude/articleshow/13412472.cms

 

Omer Rains, Author of “Back to the Summit, How One Man Defied Death and Paralysis to Again Lead a Full Life of Service to Others” www.backtothesummit.com

 

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Jun
11

The Importance of Reading

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Today, fewer than half (48%) of young children in the U.S. are read to daily (according to Reach Out and Read). How important was reading to you as a child? 

 

I wanted to take this opportunity to share a great article I read in a major journal a few weeks ago entitled “5 Tips to Nurture Your Child’s Love of Reading”.

I was a voracious reader growing up and I still am. I remember with great fondness the traveling or mobile library that would come once a month to the small town of Barnett, Missouri, where I spent my early childhood years.  Although reading was something that seemed to come naturally to me, as a parent in today’s world I realize that it can at times be challenging to nurture an abiding love of reading in your own children—I walk around and overhear children saying “I’m bored” and view this as the perfect time to hand a child a book or take the child to the local library.  Acquiesce a love of reading and you’ll never have a reason to be bored. Read More→

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Jun
01

Tools for Healthy Living

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I want to take this opportunity to share tools compiled by Ira Israel of the Huffington Post for “Creating a Meaningful Life.”  These are all tools which I employed during my recovery from the brain aneurysm and associated hemorrhagic stroke that struck me down at age 61, and which are discussed in my book “Back to the Summit, How One Man Defied Death & Paralysis to Again Lead a Full Life of Service to Others” (www.backtothesummit.com).

What do YOU think is the most important tool to create a meaningful life?

This article can be found at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ira-israel/meaning-life_b_1464364.html?ref=healthy-living

10. Be a citizen of the world. Know as much as possible about what is going on in the world, such as how many people will die today, how many people will be tortured by fellow human beings today, how many people will go to sleep hungry tonight, how many people will receive inadequate medical attention today, how many people won’t have clean water today, etc.  Being a citizen of the world means not taking the privileges and freedoms we enjoy for granted. Read More→

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May
09

Reflections on Burning Man

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To start with a conclusion, for me Burning Man (BM) was a mind-blowing, positive experience.  When I first decided to go to Burning Man, a friend sent me a quote that seems to sum up the feelings of most who attend: “My first year at Burning Man it rained almost every day, dust storms went to 75 mph, I got pretty sick, I couldn’t find any of my friends.  I hardly slept the whole time—I’ve been going back ever since.”

Well, I guess I was lucky when I went—no rain and no illness.  However, I must admit that I didn’t get much sleep (but that was by choice because there’s just so very much to see and do) and there were some dust storms, the worst one by far being right as I arrived on the first night.  Dust storms are inevitable on the playa of Black Rock desert.  The “city” is constructed on an ancient lake bed (the playa) surrounded by mountains. The playa is flat as a pancake and is covered by a layer of white powdery dust.  When the wind blows, the white dust covers everything and goggles are needed to see.  The playa of Black Rock desert has the appearance of a moonscape, but the harshly remote and rugged conditions are actually perfect for BM.  Read More→

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May
09

Book featured on Dad of Divas!

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Thanks to Dad of Divas who posted a review of my book, Back to the Summit.  Dad of Divas blog chronicles ones fathers experiences and challenges as a father as well as providing food for thought to other dads.  His blog was started in 2008 and has been growing exponentially, so I appreciate him taking the time to review my book.

This was an inspirational story that brought to life the journey of one man back from the brink of disability. I had never heard of this person before, but the story was definitely one that was so open. The author shared so much about his life and if you are like me you will be amazed at not only his journey back, but also what he turns his life into and how he now serves others. The book makes you look at your own life to consider how you would react under the same set of circumstances. The book left me wondering what would be next for the author, I for one look forward to hearing more in the future!

 

 

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“Pick the Brain,” a website dedicated to self improvement with a focus on personal productivity, motivation, and self education recently posted an article written by me which chronicles my recent activities in Asia on behalf of READ Global.

 

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/back-to-the-summit-by-senator-omer-rains/#more-8206

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Waleed Al-Oboudi has captured a portion of a chapter from Back to the Summit and posted it on his website. Click on link below to read.

 

http://www.neuro-ifrah.org/Back%20to%20the%20Summit.pdf

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