Self-Development: Variability & Singularity

I Wonder Why?

Sometimes I wonder why
There are so many people,
And why
There are thousands of birds,
And why
The earth is filled with insects,
And why
The ocean has all those fish,
And why
The land nourishes plants,
And why
There are so many things
I can’t name them all.

O Lord, is this endless variety
To convince us You exist?


When we were beginners on the spiritual path, there were many things we had to learn and experience. One day while sitting in our teacher’s office, he offered the following words, which are expanded below and help frame this present discussion. “Looking at the earth from the moon, all worry and care is lost in the majesty of the earth’s Oneness.” Often we came looking for answers to life problems and this view- this mystical view of Oneness -was always the answer to life’s infinite variability and vulnerability. While this view of Oneness was transitory- it would come and go- it was the antidote and when we were in this state we knew Infinite love and peace.

Multiplicity of form and seemingly endless variability is a wonder and joy of creation and exists, in part, so we might question, why? It is part of the journey and part of the answer.

Early Self Development

In the 1960’s when self-development through body building was just beginning to gain some interest in the United States, I used to read the early articles published in Strength & Health Magazine: a pioneer in the field which discussed how to build-up the different portions of the body. These were articles on enhancing strength and definition in arms, legs, back and abdominals; often articles were authored by champions of the sport. After studying these articles for several years, it became clear to me that each of these writers had their own work-out system, high lighting specific personally useful exercises; many times these work-outs differed. At first I could not reconcile this variability; you see at the time I was searching for one full-proof plan I could follow to build-up my muscles. Yet most plans differed, which I found disappointing, so eventually I created my own workout taking exercises from various champions. For many reasons, my success on this path was limited.

In time, I moved on to other self-development activity, but never forgot variability and singularity often parallel each other.

As the years passed, I saw our basic human need to develop one system that worked for everyone in other areas of life. At work the boss had one way he/she wanted things done, and my employer for many years the New York State Office of Mental Health, when solving problems, usually funded one solution that worked for as many people as possible; at the time, variability and the need to individualize hadn’t fully emerged as an important technique in developing treatment plans and solving larger administrative problems.

Religion & Self Development

In religion and spiritual studies there is a long record of one approach/belief system being the favored son/daughter with alternate approaches frowned upon and even attacked. Today we live in a more open age where it is generally recognized by more people, different approaches exist because people are different, and what works for one may or may not work for another. I read somewhere there are over 200 recognized religions at present in the world.

While all things in the Universe are connected and part of the One- there is infinite variability and multiplicity of form which contributes to the richness of this physical experience. For example, in the ocean there are fish that come in thousands of shapes and sizes. It is the same with plants, insects, planets, stars and people. It seems it is only baseball hats that come ‘one size- fits all.’

For the spiritual traveler who is looking for a self-development path to follow: with all these choices how does one decide? In one way, many choices make it uncomfortable for the traveler who doesn’t fit; wondering if something is wrong with them. Also the likelihood you might not fit your birth religion is reasonably high. The same teacher cited above used to say, ‘the religion of your birth is more or less an accident; depending upon the family and culture you are born into.’

So if you are unhappy with your religion or spiritual path, consider the two pieces below. These might help with your searching.

• Divine Friction

Together the Master and Traveler sat, eyes closed, meditating on the Light. How long they sat this way it is impossible to say; and as the Master reflected the Light upon the Traveler’s heart, slowly he became a small sun unto himself, emitting loving, peaceful healing energy.

Through the Master’s Guidance, the Traveler was connected at his spiritual heart, with the Light of the Universe; through a spiritual caress, the Traveler had become One with all things. Now, as a drop in the universal sea of Love, he danced with eternity, both aware of his own individuality and the inner connection to everything about him.

Master: Clapping his hands, the Master called to the Traveler: “Now awake from the slumber which has been your life and ask me the questions that fill your mind?”

Traveler: Slowly opening his eyes, trying to acclimate to the world of forms, the Traveler queried, “Master, I know you have spoken about the meaning of opposites many times, and how on a deep, inner level they are really connected; combining to form the fabric of our lives. Yet, I am still confused; why must life be a series of ups and downs; happiness and sadness. Why can’t life be a singular joyful experience of the Light? Why is the world created both as a source of great joy and sadness?”

Master: “The world is a multi-level expression of the Light; at their center, as you have just experienced, all things are connected and One; and once you have sipped of this Unity, your heart is joyful and triumphant- having tasted its home. Yet even with this proof, mind continues to question; for that is part of its job.

Remember, darkness and light; joy and pain work together by creating a friction or resistance, sometimes clashing in upon themselves; this resistance, or unease, propels the traveler forward; always seeking and questioning- until the day, when the traveler experiences the singular, connecting, glorious spiritual Unity and answer.

As one of the Servants of God has said, “gazing at the earth from the moon, all things -human wants and desires- are lost in the Oneness of this magnificent, multi-colored orb as it travels through the heavens.”

Traveler: And as the Traveler sat and considered the Master’s reply; he realized anew, in this journey, mind asks the question and heart ultimately answers it.

• The Heart Chooses

Driving down the highway you see all kinds of vehicles. Some are brightly colored; others are dull and rusted. Some are made in Japan and some in the USA. Each is in motion taking the traveler to their destination. Yet in the long run, some work better than others. Some are superior in design and will be better maintained. It is the same with spiritual paths. Each claims to take the traveler to their destination; all are equivalent in this respect. Here the similarity ends.

Then how do you know which path to choose? Use the same criteria you have been given to select a car. However add one more thing.

When you pick a car, ultimately, it comes down to what suits you and your circumstances. If you have little money to spend, you will pick one that is the best buy for your budget. Or depending upon your personality – you may pick any “old thing” as long as it runs. In the selection of paths, there is another element and that is sincerity or burning in the heart. Depending upon how honestly you seek, burning only for truth, truth will seek you. For some travelers, the path chooses them; they are unaware of their own inner merit and yearn for a glimpse of their Beloved. It is tradition these are the ones who attain.


For many people religion is a structure through which spiritual learning can begin and mature. For other people, religion is an indoctrination system that pushes them away. Over the years as travelers advance, spiritual learning takes place more outside of a religious context and occurs in daily life through personal spiritual experience. Personal spiritual experience is the natural extension of religious inquiry; the great religions were created to be spiritual highways for travelers to start learning about themselves and their relationship with Truth. A key experience on the mystical Path is reconciling multiplicity of Form within the singularity of Oneness; I have referred to this early experience as the Oneness of Creation experience. May you have your own experience which helps reconcile multiplicity and Oneness- continuing to lead you along the path of spiritual learning.

How to Evaluate the Best Type of Home Health Care Agency to Meet Your Needs

The words “home health care” and “home health care agency” mean different things to different people.

With hospitals discharging patients to their homes sooner and sicker, families are not prepared and are overwhelmed. Many families do not want their loved one to go to a nursing home or skilled unit. Many families are never even given the option for home health care. Others think that when their family member is discharged form the hospital to home that there will be someone there 24 hours 7 days a week, for as long as the care is needed.

The home health care agency explained

There are two types of home health care agencies. The first addresses the health and medical care of the aging adult. Care is provided by home health care agencies, and can include the home health care aide, RN’s (registered nurse) and physical therapy. State and federal laws regulate these agencies. They are often Medicare and Medicaid certified. Many private insurances and HMO’s pay for these services as well. This means the agencies can get paid by these programs for providing home health services These services require a doctor’s order.

The services provided will be intermittent such as an RN coming in to do a dressing change or monitor vital signs. A home health care aide may come in a few times a week to assist with bathing and dressing. You must be housebound and only able to leave the house to go to the doctors or attend church to be eligible for these services.

The other type of home health care agency offers help with household duties and non-medical personal care. This could include preparing meals, bathing, dressing or moving around the house. Depending on the state, these agencies may or may not be licensed. This type of home health care allows a person with special needs to stay in their home. It is for individual’s who are getting older, are chronically ill, recovering from surgery or disabled. The best place to receive ongoing care may be in the comfort of your own home.

Studies show that our aging society not only wants to live independently as long as possible, but that they want to do it in their own home. Many have their own lives, live close to family and friends and have pets to keep them company and social activities to keep them busy. Mentally and emotionally, being at home is comfortable and often promotes wellness and healing.

Some feel that quality care at home can be expensive and is only for the wealthy

There are actually many ways for aging adults to receive qualify home health care. There are new programs such as reverse mortgages, VA benefits and long term care insurance. Many states now have state and local programs for the low income seniors that qualify for Medicaid to have waiver programs. These programs provide care at home in order to avoid an admission to a nursing home. There is a growing number of home health care agencies out there that provide for everything from companionship, to avoid loneliness to errand running and cooking and 24 hour live in services.

For medical and health care needs, there are home health care agencies that provide care when there is a change in the medical condition of the aging adult. The care required, must be deemed medically necessary by a physician.

For those individuals that want to age at home, having a good plan for the future in place is important. This may allow the aging adult to enjoy the comforts of home for as long as possible. You may no longer need to stay in a nursing home to receive good care.

If you are unsure if aging in place is an option for you or a loved one you may consider consulting with a care manager or eldercare consultant. A care manager can usually put together a plan that fits within a family budget. Care at home can be far less expensive than a move to a nursing home.

Dangers of Assuming Medicare Covers Everything – Elderly Home Health Care Vs Assisted Living Costs

Elderly home care is and will continue to be much more cost effective now and in the future. When considering the cost of elder home care versus assisted living costs, there are many factors to take into consideration. One consideration is to understand the trends of the health care industry, so that you can financially plan for your future. Many believe that Medicare will cover everything they need as they age. Although many realize that they need to financially prepare for the future, most do not investigate the cost and options of future care needs. Many do not feel that they can afford to invest in long term care insurance.

In 2008, Prudential Insurance did a study on long term care. The results, which will be followed up every year, had some alarming information regarding the costs that will pay for care and services as we age. The information from this and other studies is important to assure successful planning for our future care needs.

It was noted that elderly assisted living homes have seen the largest increase in costs over a 2 year period. The average daily cost of living in an elderly assisted living facility increased to almost $39,000 per year. This is an average rate of just over $100 per day.

There was an astonishing average increase of a 15% in rates for the elderly assisted living facilities that provide care for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

Elderly home health care has had the smallest rate increase of all the providers. The rate of elderly home health care has had a 5% increase over the past two years and a 17% increase over the last 7 years.

The costs to have a certified nursing assistant provide elder home care averages $21 per hour. A certified nursing assistant provides services such as: bathing and dressing. The services of elder home care are ordered by a physician and usually paid for by insurance. These services provided by elderly home health care are intermittent and are offered for a short period of time.

Another study, also done in 2008 was preformed by the Genworth Financial Group. This study explored the cost of care that covers the non skilled side of elder home care. This is the largest growing portion of the elder home health care services. This growth, is due in part to many aging seniors desire to remain in their homes as long as possible.

The average cost for homemaker services in the elder home care sector is $18 an hour. There has been a rate increase of 4% over the past year. A homemaker provides some housekeeping duties, companionship, and assistance with cooking, if needed. They may also run short errands when required.

Elderly home care also provides home health aides. They provide basic assistance with bathing and dressing. A home health aide averages a rate $19 an hour. This shows an increase of 3% in just one year.

Met Life Market surveyed adult day services in 2008. The results from this survey show the average daily cost for adult day care services is $64. This shows an increase of 5% in the past year.

Adult day care services are a growing trend in the aging health care market. Adult day care is a cost effective way keep an aging senior at home

For caregivers, utilizing adult day care services permits them to continue to work. Many caregivers take time to do things to they need to take care of and get a break from their care giving duties.

The costs of elder home care services will continue to rise. Surveys show that the trends will continue. The largest increases will be in the assisted living and nursing home areas of elderly home health care services.

The past five years has seen an increase in elderly assisted living rates jump by 41%. Over the past five years, there has been an increase in nursing homes rates of over 30%. Over half the surveyed facilities expect to increase their rates, again, over the next year. The good news is that one in four elder home care providers plan to increase their rates in the next year.

Being aware of the cost of elderly home care and elderly assisted living can assist you in planning for your future needs. Educate yourself on the various options available and how you can utilize those services for future needs. It is important to be proactive and investigate avenues to pay for your future health care needs.

Why Choose Home Health Care?

Increasingly, families are making the decision to have health care provided in their own homes. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day in 2011, the need for quality, affordable health care becomes an increased concern across the U.S. The aging baby-boomers – it’s anticipated that by 2030 the number of people over 65 will exceed 70 million – are now in a position where they need extra help with chronic conditions and daily activities, but don’t want to lose the independence and comfort of their homes. In addition, the high costs of hospital and facility stays can cause a frightening financial burden. While not everyone who needs health care assistance is a senior citizen – like new mothers and singles living without family nearby – the focus is often on the baby-boom generation.

There is scientific evidence that supports the belief that people heal faster and feel better when allowed to be at home. Certainly the amount of germs and sources of infection are less when in a home environment over an institution. The psychological benefits are undeniable; when asked, most people who are hospitalized with an illness “just want to go home.” This also allows family to stay with the person in need, providing them with the knowledge that they are still in the loop of their loved-one’s health issues.

Routine can be essential for physical and emotional well-being. A home health care provider will help maintain the discipline of scheduled medications and therapies within a framework of personal routine. Allowing a patient the comfort of keeping their normal, daily routine in their own home adds to the quality of life and sense of safety. In addition, the health care provider can watch for changes in habits, attitudes, and demeanor that can be indicators of larger problems. The emotional well-being extends to those who live with the patient, as it can be difficult to care for a family member with so many other demands – like work or children – that divide their time. Lack of health care knowledge can put a strain on relationships between family members. With the help of a trained home caregiver, family can enjoy being with each other while still getting the best attention to health issues.

Sometimes, it is the simple things that can mean a huge difference in the health of someone in need of care. Having a health care provider come in a few times a week to fix a meal, assist with personal hygiene, and make sure that items are picked up for easy movement about the house can prevent illness or injury from poor nutrition, infection, or accidents. This type of service is also very beneficial to new mothers or those recovering from surgeries, etc. that are without the luxury of nearby family or friends to help during the first few weeks home.

An additional advantage to the comfort and health benefits is that it makes more economic sense to have a provider in your home. Lengthy stays in a hospital or institution can add up to thousands of dollars very quickly, compounding the stress in your life. By comparison, home health care is significantly cheaper, giving you more options with your health care dollar.

A home health agency is strictly regulated, meeting federal requirements and regulations to assure you that your home care provider is highly trained. While they are not a substitute for a doctor’s care, they can be an essential supplement to daily routine; keeping you healthier, and happier for years to come.

5 Tips To Help You Get A Job As A Home Health Aide

1. Demonstrate That You Are A People Person

Home Health Aides spend all day, everyday working with people. Health agencies and individual families who employ Home Health Aides are looking for compassionate, caring employees who really want to work in health care and help people. A huge part of the job is knowing how to interact with, support and deal with patients.

When you apply for the job, make sure that you highlight in your application any previous experience you have working with people. This could be in the field of health care, but it also could be in other areas such as customer service or hospitality. Give examples from your previous work experience of when you have interacted and helped people, and explain how you think this experience will help you be a great Home Health Aide. If there is no place on the application form for this type of information, start thing about it anyway – you will have a chance to provide these examples in your interview!

When you go for your interview, make sure you energetic and positive. Demonstrate that your people skills are a key part of who you are.

2. Show That You Understand the Job And Want To Work In Health Care

Showing that you understand what the job involves, and that you are very eager to be in health care, is critical. A thorough understanding of the job description and requirements of a Home Health Aide shows the employer that you are serious about the the job as a career. It also prepares you to be able to answer any question that the employer might have for you in a way that is relevant to the role.

In your interview it is likely that employers will want to understand your capacity to deal with stress, as the role can be stressful. Employers will also want to explore your level of empathy with the elderly and the sick – you need to show that you care about the challenges these groups face. Your integrity and your motivation for wanting to be a Home Health Aide will also be key areas which will be explored.

Think about your answers to questions like these in advance of the interview.

3. Become Certified

All federally funded agencies, and many States, require a minimum of 75 hours of Home Health Aide training before you can begin work. Some States have different requirements. While many employers will provide training, it can be an advantage to already have completed this training – especially if you are interviewing with a private employer. In some States you can be registered as a certified Home Health Aide, which can also be an advantage.

Become familiar with your State’s regulations and requirements for working as a Home Health Aide. If certification is required, consider becoming certified in advance of getting a job – it will help you stand out from other applicants.

4. Provide Fantastic References

Many job applications will request that you provide your prospective employer with references. These references are people who know you and are able to confirm how hard a worker you are, how you perform on the job, and whether what you have put on your resume is accurate. Your future employer will likely speak to one or two of the individuals you provide as reference. Make sure you ask people in advance for permission to use them as references, and let them know when they might receive a phone call. Prepare them for the types of questions they may be asked. Emphasise to them that employers are looking for compassionate employees who want to help people.

You will want to provide a list of people who like you and will be eager to help you get the job!

5. Gain Confidence Through Practice

Confidence shows. It makes a good, and lasting, impression. And it will help you to stand out from other applicants and ultimately get hired.

One of the best ways to gain this confidence is to prepare – continue doing your research and practice your interview.