Saturday, June 02, 2007
You go to church every Sunday and you say your prayers every day. Does this mean you are a spiritual person?
You practice yoga and meditate every day. Does this mean you are a spiritual person?
You belong to spiritual group and are devoted to following the teachings of the group. Does this mean you are a spiritual person?
What, then, does it mean to be a spiritual person?
Being a spiritual person is synonymous with being a person whose highest priority is to be loving to oneself and others. A spiritual person cares about people, animals, and the planet. A spiritual person knows that we are all one, and consciously attempts to honor this oneness. A spiritual person is a kind person.
So, you can go to church every Sunday and say your prayers every day, without caring about loving yourself, others and the planet. You can practice yoga and meditate every day without being conscious of what is loving and what is not loving in your thoughts and actions. You can belong to a spiritual group and devotedly follow the teachings, yet still be judgmental toward yourself and others in your daily life.
There are many people who do not practice a religion, who do not meditate, pray or belong to any group, who are very spiritual people. These people naturally do caring things for others. They think about how they can help. Their thoughts are kind rather than judgmental toward themselves and toward others. When you look at them, you see their kindness in their eyes.
There are many religious people who are anything but kind. We all know of religious people who are extremely judgmental, righteous, and outright mean. Can you be both religious and spiritual? Of course! But only when you are operating in your religion from your heart rather than from the learned dogma of your mind.
Years ago I very briefly attended a "spiritual" group. People would meet in an auditorium to hear the leader of the group speak. The second time I attended I heard a number of parents yelling at their children and judging them to try to control them. These parents were being anything but kind with their children. That was the last time I attended the spiritual group. The focus of the group was surrender to God, but love was rarely in the picture! They obviously had a very different experience of God than I did.
My experience of God is that God is the energy of Love that created us and sustains us. In my experience, "God is Spirit" (John 4:24) and "God is love" (1 John 4:16). Anything that is not of love, peace, joy, truth and kindness is not of God. Praying to God does not mean that you are allowing the spirit that is God - the love, peace, joy, truth and kindness that is God - to guide your thoughts and actions. Practicing yoga or meditating does not mean that you have invited the love that is God into your heart, or that you are turning to that ever-present love to learn about what is in your highest good, and the highest good of others and the planet.
If you want to be a spiritual person, then let kindness be your guiding light - kindness toward yourself, toward others, toward animals, and toward this beautiful planet that is our home. Recognize that we all have the spark of love that is God within us, and learn to honor that love so that you can know and experience the Oneness of all that is.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D., best-selling author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You" and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. FREE Inner Bonding course at: http://www.innerbonding.com. Phone sessions available. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Found at : http://www.bharatbhasha.com/religion.php/59900
Monday, May 28, 2007
How to use this handbook
This handbook is not meant to be a step-by-step guide, nor should you adopt all the tips below. Certainly not all at once. That would be overwhelming. Here are a couple tips for adopting the tips:
* Pick and choose the tips that will be most useful to you. There are 52 tips here — not every single one will be useful to every person. I hope you’ll find 10 that are useful, or that are reminders of something you’ve been wanting to do.
* Don’t do them all at once. Choose one tip to do first, and then do them one at a time. Focus on one first, and then the next. It’s too hard to try to adopt a bunch of changes at once.
* Experiment. Try out a tip, and if it doesn’t work, try another. Life is an experiment, after all.
* None are guaranteed. But many are very likely to bring happiness.
* Also, these are not in any order. Some of the most important are buried below.
52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity
1. Try rising early. It’s not for everyone, I’ll admit. It may not be for you. But I’ve found it to be an amazing change in my life. It has made the start of my days much more positive, and I now have time for writing, exercise, and silent contemplation. I talked about this recently in my post 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It.
2. Do less. This is both a happiness and productivity tip. Doing less will make you happier, because your life won’t be so hectic and filled with stress. You will have time for things that give you pleasure, for the loved ones in your life, for life itself. It’s also a productivity tip: if you focus on the essential tasks, the big ones, the ones that will give you the most return for your time, and eliminate the rest, you will actually be more productive. You’ll get fewer tasks done, but you will be more effective. See How to Pare Your To-do List Down to the Essentials.
3. Slow down. Many new readers to this site have read my productivity articles and think that I’m all about being hyper-productive. I’m not. Long-time readers know that I am about a simpler way of life. Unfortunately, in my free-lance blogging, other websites usually ask me to write about productivity, so the preponderance of my productivity writing has given the impression, I think, that I think people should be churning out work at an amazing rate, to the exclusion of all else. Actually, I feel that life is much more enjoyable if you slow down. By doing less, you can actually get more done, even if you work more slowly. And when you’re not working, you should definitely try switching to slow mode. Drive slower (it is so much more relaxing), walk slower, eat slower. See Slow Down to Enjoy Life for more.
4. Practice patience. I’ve talked about how I’m trying to develop patience in my parenting article, How to Become a Patient Parent, but these tips really apply to everyone. If you easily lose your temper, you can become more patient with these tips. Once you’ve developed this skill (and it’s a skill, like everything else, not an unchangeable inborn trait), your life will become much saner and you will be much happier.
5. Practice compassion. This may be the most important tip of all, in my opinion. If you were to choose any of these, I would choose this one. The first part of compassion is empathy — and this ability to understand how others feel can be developed through practice. Start by imagining the suffering of a loved one. Understand their pain, the emotions they go through, and why they would react the way they would. By doing this exercise a number of times, you are developing a skill that can be applied to others — for every person you see, try to understand what they are going through. Try to learn and understand more about their background, and why they react the way they do. Once you’ve developed this invaluable skill, learn the other half of compassion — acting on your understanding, and helping others, alleviating their suffering, acting with kindness. This one thing can bring true happiness to your life, and the lives of those around you.
6. Find your passion. Another indispensable tip. This might be the second on my list of priorities. Find something you love to do, and your life will become immensely improved. You will love your work, the thing that you spend 40 hours (or more) a week doing. You will become more productive, procrastinate less, be less stressed. You will produce something you are proud of, and happy about. Read this article for some practical tips.
7. Lose weight. This only applies, of course, if you are overweight. But losing your extra fat (and when I say lose weight, I mean lose fat), decreases your health risks (obviously), makes you look better, and in general is very likely to increase your happiness about yourself. I actually recommend that you learn to be comfortable and happy with how you look now, and not feel negative about yourself even if you are overweight. However, I’ve found that losing weight (at least for me) is a great way to feel better about your body. Do not make this an unhealthy obsession, however — lose weight gradually, and enjoy the process. See the next two tips for the best methods for doing this.
8. Exercise. Make this a daily habit. Exercise not only helps you lose weight, but for me, it’s made me feel so much better. I actually enjoy exercise now. It’s a time of contemplation for me, and I feel so much better about myself afterwards. See Top 42 Exercise Hacks and How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit and 7 Ways to Build the Exercise Habit.
9. Eat healthy. I don’t recommend dieting. It’s too restrictive and you usually fall off it at some point. I do recommend changes to your diet, however — ones you make gradually, and that can be sustained for life. It not only helps lose weight, but really, once you start eating healthier, it is actually much more enjoyable. See my Top 15 Diet Hacks for more.
10. Meditate. OK, you might be like me — not into New-Age stuff. But meditation can actually be a very simple method for relaxing, for bringing calm, for returning yourself to sanity, for contemplation. My friend Scott Young wrote a good post about doing that here.
11. Get organized. This one’s not necessary. You could go through life wonderfully messy, searching for stuff, enjoying the search. But I’ve tried disorganized, and I’ve tried organized. The second is much more enjoyable to me. Read How to Never Lose Anything Again for a start on the subject, as well as how I keep my family organized.
12. Think positive. Another one of the most important tips on this list, thinking positive — as cliche as it might sound — is one of the single best changes you can make in your life that will lead to so many more positive tips. As I wrote about here, learning to think positive was the skill that turned my life around. It makes everything else on this list possible. Read more about it here.
13. Simplify your finances. Cut down on the number of accounts you have, cut down on your credit cards, spend less, reduce your bills. Make your finances automagical. Simplifying your finances greatly reduces your stress. Also see 10 Habits to Develop For Financial Stability and Success.
14. Simplify your life. Another of my top tips. I’ve greatly simplified my life, in many ways, and I can say that having less stuff in my life, and less to do, has greatly increased my enjoyment of life. De-clutter, simplify your commitments, simplify your work space, simplify your wardrobe, simplify your rooms.
15. Accept what you have. The problem with many of us is that we always think that we’ll be happy when we reach a certain destination — when we get a certain job, or retire, or get our dream house. Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there, you might have a new destination in mind. Instead, try being happy with where you are, with who you are, and what you have. To do that, instead of comparing what you have with other people, or with what you want, compare yourself those who have less, with those who are going through tragedy, with those who are struggling. You will see that you actually are extremely blessed. And this can lead to more happiness with your current situation.
16. Envision your ultimate life. What would your ultimate life be like? Where would you live, what would you do, what would you do with your days? Come up with a clear picture of this, and write it down. Now, one step at a time, make it come true. Some ways of doing that follow.
17. Set long-term goals. Your vision of your ultimate life will help you come up with long-term goals. Of those goals, pick one to accomplish within the next year, and really focus on that. Now, pick one medium-term goal to achieve in the next few months that will get you further toward your longer-term goal. Now decide what you can do this week, and today, to get you to your medium-term goal. Just choose one thing at a time, focus on it, make it happen, and then choose the next thing to focus on. See Think About Your Life Goals.
18. Review goals. Setting goals is important, but the key to making them a reality is actually reviewing them (at least monthly, but weekly is better) and taking action steps to make them come true. Again, focus on one at a time, and really focus on them. Read Review Your Goals Weekly.
19. Life mission. Related to envisioning your ultimate life, but different — it’s important that you think about how you would like to be remembered when you die — so you can start living the life that leads to that now. Live with purpose in life, and wake up every day with that purpose in mind. Read the Key to Dying Happy for more concrete steps.
20. Plan your big tasks for week and day. Give purpose to your day by determining the three most important things you can do with your day, and making those a priority. Do the same thing with your week to increase your productivity: pick out the big tasks you’d like to accomplish this week, and schedule those first. See Purpose Your Day and Plan Your Big Rocks First.
21. Maintain focus. One important key to achieving your goals is to maintain focus on them. To do this, again, it’s important that you select one goal at a time. This will prevent your focus from spreading too thin. It’s also important that you give yourself constant reminders of your goal, so you don’t lose that focus. Put up a poster of your current goal, or print it out and put it out somewhere visible, and send yourself emailed reminders. However you do it, find a way to maintain a laser-sharp focus, and the goal will come true.
22. Enjoy the journey. Goals are important, but not at the expense of happiness now. It’s important to maintain a balance between going where you want to go, and being happy as you go there. It’s easy to forget that, so be sure to remind yourself of this little, but important, tip as you make your journey.
23. Create a morning and evening routine. These are two great ways to add structure to your day, make sure you review your goals and log your progress, and get your day off to a great start. An evening routine, for example, could be a great way not only to wind down from a long day and review how your day went, but to prepare yourself for your next day so the morning isn’t so hectic. Your morning routine is great way to greet the day, to get some exercise or meditation or quiet contemplation, or to get some writing or other work done.
24. Develop intimate relationships. It’s great to have a special someone, of course, but intimate relationships could be found with anyone around you. If you have a significant other, be sure to spend time each day and each week with that person, to work on your relationship and communicate and continue to bond. But if you don’t, there’s no need to despair (if in fact you are) … intimate relationships can be developed with friends, other family members, kids, roommates, classmate, co-workers. Every single person we meet is a fellow human being, with the same desires for happiness, for food and shelter, for an intimate connection. Find that common thread, be open and sincere, find out more about each other, understand each other, and give love. This can be one of the most important things you do.
25. Eliminate debt. Financially, this is a huge way to relieve stress and make you feel much more secure. I suggest that you get rid of your credit cards (if you have a problem with credit card debt or impulse spending) and create a snowball plan for yourself. It may take a couple of years, but you can get out of debt.
26. Enjoy the simple pleasures. You can find these everywhere. Food (I love berries!), sunsets, sand between your toes, fresh-cut grass, playing with your child, a good book and a warm bed, dancing in the rain, your favorite music. You could probably make a list of 20 simple pleasures right now, things you enjoy that you could find every day. Sprinkle those little pleasures throughout your day. It makes the journey much more enjoyable.
27. Empty your inbox and clear your desk. This might take a little while to do at first, but once you’ve emptied your inbox and cleared off your desk, it doesn’t take long to keep them clear from then on. It’s a simple habit that’s vastly rewarding. I get an inordinate amount of pleasure from having a clean desk. I recommend you give it a try.
28. Build an emergency fund. This is standard-issue financial advice, I know … and yet it is extremely important. I cannot stress how important it is to have at least a tiny emergency fund in the bank. You often hear that you should have six months saved up. Don’t be intimidated by that. Start out with just a hundred dollars if you can. Cut back on a few things. Then build it up, every payday. Once you have, let’s say, $1,000, it will make a huge difference in your life. It’s not much, and you should still add to it every paycheck, but at least now you’re not living paycheck-to-paycheck, and if an unexpected emergency comes up you can pay for it, rather than not paying other bills and falling behind. It’s a simple step, but it will mean a lot.
29. Keep a journal. This is not one of the more important tips, but I can attest that it’s rewarding. I, for one, have a bad long-term memory, and by writing things down, I can look back and remember what happened a month ago. I just started this a couple months ago, actually, but ti’s been awesome. I started an online journal, something I call the one-sentence journal, and my goal is to just write one sentence a day. Sometimes I write two or three, but the idea is the same — just get one or two things down that happened that day, so I can always look back on it later.
30. Use the power of others. Achieving your goals can be difficult, but using the power of others makes it much more likely to happen. For example, put positive public pressure on yourself by announcing your goal on your blog. Or join an online forum, or a group in your neighborhood, that you can count on for support. I have a mailing list for the May Challenge here on Zen Habits, for example, and our group has helped me stick to my goal of daily exercise even when I started to falter — and the rest of the group can tell you they’ve experienced similar success because of the positive power of the group.
31. Read, and read to your kids. I read all the time — it’s one of my favorite things to do in the world. I love to curl up with a good novel (or even a trashy one) and I can waste away an afternoon with a book. And I’m passing on my love of reading to my kids, by reading to them every day. I love spending time with them this way, and we all enjoy the stories we share together through books. See Best All-time Children’s Books.
32. Limit your information intake. In our lives today, we get a tremendous amount of information through email, blog feeds, reading websites, paperwork, memos, newspapers, magazines, television, DVDs, radio, mobile phones and Blackberries. Not only can this be overwhelming, but it can be distracting and can fill up your life until you have no time for more important things. Go on a media fast to get control over your information intake, and to simplify your life
33. Create simple systems. Once you’ve simplified your life, the way to keep it simple is by creating systems for everything you do regularly. Create an efficient system for laundry, mail and paperwork, errands, your workflow. Anything, really. See ways to Streamline Your Life and to make your mail and paperwork painless.
34. Take time to decompress after stress. There will inevitably be times in your life when you go through high stress. Perhaps several times a week. To maintain your sanity, you need to find ways to decompress. Here are some great ways to do that.
35. Be present. Time can go by extremely quickly. Before you know it, your life has passed you by. Your kids are grown and your youth is gone. Don’t let your life slip by — enjoy it while it’s here. Instead of dwelling in the past or thinking about the future, practice being in the here and now. Here are some practical tips for being present.
36. Develop equanimity. Keep your sanity through all the challenges that life throws at you. Rude drivers, irritating co-workers, mean commenters on your blog, inconsiderate family members. This takes a bit of practice, but you can let these things slide off you like you’re Teflon. Try these practical tips.
37. Spend time with family and loved ones. One of the things that can lead to the greatest happiness, make this a priority every week, every day. Clear off as much time as possible to spend with those you love, and truly enjoy those times. Be present as you do it — don’t think about work or your blog or what you need to do. Read this for more.
38. Pick yourself up when you’re down. There will always be times in our lives when we get a little down, even depressed. Take action to get yourself out of your slump. Here are some great ways to do that.
39. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is hard to do, but it can be a great way to accept who you are and what you have. Whenever you find yourself comparing yourself to a co-worker, a friend, or someone famous (those models on magazines with amazing abs), stop. And realize that you are different, with different strengths. Take a minute to appreciate all the good things about yourself, and to be grateful for all the blessings in your life.
40. Focus on benefits, not difficulties. If you find yourself struggling to do something, or procrastinating, stop thinking about how hard something is, or why you don’t want to do it. Focus instead on what benefits it will have for you, what opportunities it will create — the good things about it. By changing the way you see things, you can change how you feel about them and make it easier to get things done.
41. Be romantic. If you have that special someone, find little ways to be romantic. It can do wonders to keep your relationship alive and fresh. It doesn’t take tons of money, either. See these ideas to get you started.
42. Lose arguments. I know someone who just celebrated his 50th anniversary, and I asked him for his secret to a long and happy marriage. He told me, that if I ever get into an argument with my wife, to just shut up. What he meant, I think, is that I shouldn’t try to be right in every argument. I think this is a reminder many of us need, not just the married ones. But instead of just giving up the argument, instead of trying to be right, instead seek to understand. Really try to understand the other person’s position, to see it from their point of view. This little tip can lead to much happiness.
43. Get into the flow. This is both a happiness and productivity tip. Flow is the term for the state we enter when we are completely focused on the work or task before us. We are so immersed in our task that we lose track of time. Having work and leisure that gets you in this state of flow will almost undoubtedly lead to happiness. People find greatest enjoyment not when they’re passively mindless, but when they’re absorbed in a mindful challenge. Get into that flow by first doing something you are passionate about, and second by eliminating all distractions and really focusing on the task before you.
44. Single-task. I don’t believe in multi-tasking, at least not on a day-to-day basis. Instead, focus on one task at a time. This leads to greater productivity and less stress. You can’t go wrong with that kind of combination. See these tips for more.
45. Be frugal. This is a habit, rather than a goal. It is a way of living, a different mindset, and the best way to live within your means. It doesn’t mean being cheap or forsaking pleasure, but it does mean finding less expensive ways to do things, learning to live with less (and be happier in the process), and controlling impulse spending. I don’t have a single article to give you as reference, but frugality is a recurring theme on Zen Habits.
46. Start small and slow. Regular Zen Habits readers know that I advocate starting slow with any goal or habit change, and starting with a small goal rather than a big one. Why small? Because it’s something you are sure to achieve — and once you do achieve it, you can use that success to push you to further success. It’s a simple technique, but it really works. Start slow when you start exercise, or other similar activities — there’s no need to rush it in the beginning, to overdo it. You have the rest of your life!
47. Learn to deal with detractors. We all face detractors in our lives. They are the naysayers who, even if they are well-intentioned, will make us feel unworthy, or that you cannot achieve a goal. They will tease or be negative. In order to achieve your goals, you need to learn how to deal with these detractors and overcome this common obstacle. Read these tips for some ideas.
48. Go outdoors. These days, too many of us spend so much of our time indoors, especially if our jobs and our ways of having fun are all online. Our kids are often just as bad or worse, with so many ways to watch TV, surf the internet or play video games. Get them and yourself outdoors, appreciate nature, the beauty of the world around us, and the fun of physical activity. See this article for more ideas (to do with or without kids).
49. Retire early. This isn’t a sure way to become happy — you can retire and be bored out of your mind and unhappy — but it’s surely a cool goal. And if you do something meaningful with your life, such as volunteer and help others, it can be a way to be really happy. It’s not an easy goal, either, but you can retire early by cutting back on your living expenses, increasing your income, and investing the difference. The more you can do of all three, the fast you’ll retire. And that’s a truly liberating idea.
50. Savor the little things. Sure, the big things can bring big pleasure, but there are so many more little things in our lives. Savor them when they come up. It’s a way of practicing being present — stop and notice what you’re doing right now, what’s around you. And take time to enjoy it. Read this article for more.
51. Be lazy. There’s a time to be productive, and there’s a time to be plain ol’ lazy. I like the latter, and do it every chance I get. Does that make me a lazy person? Probably not, but even if it does, I don’t care. It makes me happy, and the kids love being lazy with me.
52. Help others. While finding pleasure in life is one way to be happy, doing something that is more than you, that helps others to be happy or to suffer less, is even more rewarding. I suggest you find a good cause or two and volunteer some of your time. You don’t have to commit to big chunks of your life, but just volunteer for a couple of hours. All of us can find a couple of hours in a week or a month. If you do this, you will find out how tremendously happy this will make you. You might even become addicted.
Found at : http://zenhabits.net/2007/05/handbook-for-life-52-tips-for-happiness-and-productivity/
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
A new discovery could make it possible to take a "power nap" at the flick of a switch.
Scientists have found a way to turn on deep sleep at will using a machine that magnetically stimulates the brain.
A device worn on the head could in squeeze the benefit of eight hours' sleep into just two or three hours.
Scientists in the US used a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to induce slow waves - indicative of the deepest phase of sleep and essential for learning ability and mood, in a group of sleeping volunteers.
A TMS device sends harmless magnetic signals through the scalp and skull and into the brain, where it activates electrical impulses.
The researchers found that positioning the TMS machine the right way triggered slow waves that travelled throughout the brain.
Slow wave activity occupies 80% of sleeping hours.
During slow wave sleep, waves of electrical impulses wash across the brain at a rate of roughly one a second.
With each magnetic pulse, the volunteers' brains immediately generated slow waves typical of deep sleep.
"Creating slow waves on demand could some day lead to treatments for insomnia," said study leader Prof Giulio Tononi, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Theoretically, it could also lead to a magnetically stimulated `power nap' which might confer the benefit of eight hours' sleep in just a few hours."
Prof Tononi believes sleep is essential to prevent the brain overloading.
Memory involves strengthening synapses - connections between brain cells formed by learning.
Sleep might allow the connections created during the day to relax at night, according to Prof Tononi.The research appeared in an early edition of the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Found at : http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1264358,00.html
Monday, May 21, 2007
I vow not to kill.
By not killing life, the Buddha seed grows. Transmit the life of Buddha and do not kill.
I vow not to take what is not given.
The self and objects are such, two yet one. The gate of liberation stands open.
I vow not to misuse sexuality.
Let the three wheels of self, objects, and action be pure. With nothing to desire, one goes along together with the Buddhas.
I vow to refrain from false speech.
The Dharma Wheel turns from the beginning. There is neither surplus nor lack. The sweet dew saturates all and harvests the truth.
I vow not to sell the wine of delusion.
Originally pure, don't defile. This is the great awareness.
I vow not to slander.
In the Buddha Dharma, go together, appreciate, realize, and actualize together. Don't permit fault-finding. Don't permit haphazard talk. Do not corrupt the way.
I vow not to praise self at the expense of others.
Buddhas and Ancestors realize the vast sky and the great earth. When they manifest the noble body, there is neither inside nor outside in emptiness. When they manifest the Dharma body, there is not even a bit of earth on the ground.
I vow not to be avaricious.
One phrase, one verse--that is the ten thousand things and one hundred grasses. One dharma, one realization--is all Buddhas and Ancestors. Therefore, from the beginning, there has been no stinginess at all.
I vow not to harbor ill will.
Not negative, not positive, neither real nor unreal. There is an ocean of illuminated clouds and an ocean of ornamented clouds.
I vow not to abuse the three treasures.
To expound the Dharma with this body is foremost. Virtue returns to the ocean of reality. It is unfathomable--we just accept it with respect and gratitude."
Monday, May 07, 2007
29 Happiness Hacks To Feel Better Now
What makes you happy? I find directly pursuing happiness is difficult to do. Many times the things we think will make us happy fail to do so. Instead I like to focus on growth and developing a strong life philosophy that can guide you through tough times and help you enjoy successes.
But what about feeling good right now? I’ve found many different ways to give myself a jolt of happiness when I’m feeling down. Here is a list of different hacks I frequently use whenever I need a boost of positive emotion.
Hack One: Goals
Nothing creates a bigger jolt of enthusiasm than a new inspiring vision of the future. Too often people try to hold back their dreams and desires like holding in a breath. Unfortunately this only causes them to feel miserable as they suffocate. Even if your goal is something small it can provide you with a new direction.
Hack Two: Chores
Procrastination sucks. You can give yourself a boost in accomplishment by finding the smallest task you need to complete and doing it. Even if the task only takes five minutes, the sense of momentum usually lasts a lot longer.
Hack Three: Laugh
Don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Find something to laugh about, and if you can’t, laugh anyways. Find something funny, joke with friends or just laugh by yourself. You can’t help but feel a little happier after laughing.
Hack Four: Aid
Help someone who needs it. One small act of service can leave you happy all day. Counsel a friend in need. Give a sincere compliment. Donate blood. Help someone else to help yourself.
Hack Five: Socialize
One of the leading evolutionary theories for explaining the size of the human brain is our complex social structure. In the Stone Age humans formed groups of at least one hundred people and it took considerable brainpower to manage those relationships. Call up some friends or make some new ones and use your brain for what it was made for.
Hack Six: Inspiration
Find something to get you inspired, even if just for a short time. Inspiration without doing anything won’t accomplish much, but you can still use inspiration to boost your happiness. I have a couple audio recordings of motivational speakers. Their ideas are often common sense or mediocre but the short spike of positive motivation from their words is often priceless. Consider replacing your daily caffeine with some inspiration to give you energy instead.
Hack Seven: Exercise
Exercise releases various chemicals into your brain which leave you feeling good. Anyone who has ever had a “runner’s high” certainly knows the feeling. Spend a half hour doing some exercise. It will make you feel good and you can also take pride in your pursuit of a healthy body.
Hack Eight: Posture
Change the way you hold your body to reflect someone who is happier. Faking your state can bring back associations to a more positive state. Emotions and body language are two-way streets.
Hack Nine: Music
Music is a fast way to boost your happiness. Put on some music that makes you feel good. Even if you have to listen to Bobby McFerrin.
Hack Ten: Nature
In our highly industrialized lives it can be hard to return back to a more natural environment. Spend a few minutes in a park or in the wilderness. Notice the sounds of birds and the smells and sensations of nature. I don’t believe nature has any mystical New-Agey powers, but I do think that a dramatic change in environment can alter your state. Utilize those positive associations you have with the tranquility of nature to boost your mood and get away from the glow of your monitor.
Hack Eleven: Hug
Hugging someone you care about produces special chemicals that result in a positive state of being. Even better than the brain cocktail human touch creates is the feeling of connection with another person. Remove some of the distance and reach out. Just watch the pepperspray when hugging complete strangers.
Hack Twelve: Meditate
Meditation doesn’t have to involve some Buddhist mantra’s and bending yourself into a human pretzel. Just sit with your eyes closed and sensitize yourself to your own thoughts and feelings. Better yet, combine this hack with hack number nine for a double hit of tranquility – very Zen.
Hack Thirteen: Flow
Complete engage yourself in what you are doing. When Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first described the term he mentioned that the state was one of the most enjoyable states a human could experience. Check out this guest spot I did at lifehacker for more information about flow.
Hack Fourteen: Game
Whether combined with hack number five or a solo event, playing a game can give you a positive boost of energy. Even just ten minutes of a casual computer game can give you a little mental reprieve from daily problems. I’m a very active player in the massively multiplayer game of life, but I do enjoy the casual minigames it contains as well.
Hack Fifteen: Journal
Deconstruct your thoughts by writing them down. Journaling can break down tough problems and it can also help you redirect your thoughts to more positive areas. Think of a journal as training wheels for positive thinking.
Hack Sixteen: Remember
Spend a little time to look back on fond memories, challenges overcome and goals achieved. When you look back at many obstacles you have already conquered, you can get renewed vigor to face your current ones.
Hack Seventeen: Gratitude
What are you grateful for? Look around and feel grateful about the things you already have and the life you already lead. Best of all be grateful for the excitement and fun new challenges will bring.
Hack Eighteen: Silence
Listen to the quiet. Turn off every sound possible so you can actually hear what silence sounds like. It might require a drive to a more secluded location, or turning off appliances in your house but near absolute silence is so rare it is amazing how beautiful it is when you can hear it.
Hack Nineteen: Smile
I know it sounds stupid, but try sitting and smiling for one or two minutes and see if you feel any better. This is a very quick hack and even a brief smile can create a tiny jolt. Better yet, smile when around other people, friendliness is contagious!
Hack Twenty: Gestalt
Gestalt therapy is a psychological tool, of which one of the focuses is to get people to notice the gestalt, or the relationship between figure and ground. This often manifests itself in your body. Right now there are thousands of sensations but you are only focusing on a few of them. Spend a few minutes moving your focus around through your toes and up to your head. This can give you a greater sense of control over your body and your environment. You might also want try focusing on different aspects of your environment.
Hack Twenty-One: Dance
Get up and move. The only bad dancer is the one who doesn’t dance at all. Use this hack in combination with hack number nine in order to appear sane in public.
Hack Twenty-Two: Create
Do something creative. Small acts of creation can yield amazing boosts of accomplishment, inspiration and well-being. “But I’m not artistic!” you cry. No bigger lie has ever been told. You might lack the practice with a particular medium, but anyone can be creative. Even if you aren’t Picasso, after you are done you can at least say, “Hey, I made that!”
Hack Twenty-Three: Mantra
Find a phrase you like and repeat it in your head. I’ve got a couple I use when I need an extra push or boost. You could incorporate a mantra into your daily routine or just use it when you need it. A mantra acts as an anchor to quickly bring you into a conditioned state of mind. Think of it as a desktop shortcut for your emotions.
Hack Twenty-Four: 110%
Commit to going another 10% further on your project before quitting. Give it that extra bit of intensity before giving up. Even if that little bit of intensity is futile, there is nothing more satisfying than properly exerted willpower. Most people talk about willpower like it is a pain to use. But in fact, it is usually the times when you don’t use your discipline that you feel bad.
Hack Twenty-Five: Rest
Take a short breather to recoup your energy or a vacation to revitalize your spirit. Completely relaxing and giving up the tension you have in your body feels good. If you don’t already, schedule out some times where you can really relax and let stress melt away, even if only for a few minutes a day.
Hack Twenty-Six: Water
Drink some water. Hydrating yourself fully can keep you energized. More energy means less stress and frustration. In addition the act of drinking an entire glass of water requires you to slow your breathing, which brings us to the next hack…
Hack Twenty-Seven: Breathe
Take some deep breaths. Try to see how slow you can make your breathing. I can usually slow down to 3 breaths per minute if I breathe deeply enough. This process forces your body to relax muscles in order to conserve energy and reduces tension. Spend a few minutes just observing your own breathing and you can have a mental reprieve from your problems as well.
Hack Twenty-Eight: Explore
Do something you’ve never done before. Exploring something new can give you a boost in happiness through variety and excitement. Cook a new meal. Travel to a new place. Take a different route to work. Listen to some new music. Life is an adventure, so why live in grey?
Hack Twenty-Nine: Read
No, not just online print (except for this blog, of course), but actual books. The kind made with paper. Reading, either fiction or non-fiction, opens you up to ideas with far more depth than can be skimmed in a television show or a blog entry. If you don’t always have a book to read at any time, go to the library and pick one up, I hear they are pretty cheap there.
Bonus Hack: Respect Your State
When all else fails, stop trying to be happy and just let your emotions be. Accept how they are and don’t judge your feelings as good or bad. Detaching yourself from your emotions and actually listening to the message they are giving can be the key to happiness. Don’t dismiss emotions as the remnants of a reptilian section of your brain but respect them as a core aspect of your life. The irony is, once you detach and listen to your emotions you can start finding ways to get past them.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
to visit their old university lecturer. Conversation soon turned into
complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee,
the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of
coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some
plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help
themselves to hot coffee When all the students had a cup of coffee in
hand, the lecturer
said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken
up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for
you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of all
your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted, was coffee,
not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are
eyeing each other's cups."
"Now, if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and positions in society
are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, but the
quality of life doesn't change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on
the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it."
Don't let the cups drive you ... Enjoy the coffee.
Friday, March 02, 2007
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.
And that's worth thinking about.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
- Penn Jillette
Monday, February 19, 2007
"Sometimes you got to go to that extra level, take another step, step back, and get a running start on it. See right now I have to get to a point, a point most people won't go because it's a little bit to close to the truth, and the truth isn't something that's gonna benefit them in the way that the want it to be. See my dad taught me a long time ago, it's not what someone does it's why they do it that really matters.
And that's what you should judge them for. People can be the nicest person in the world, but that's only to get you to think they're nice, so they can let down the guard a little bit in your door and then you go in there door and they mess with your mind. Anyhow, too many people trying to get you to think the way they want you to think; what we say, is trying to get you to think, whatever way that may be, but to realize the way you're thinking may not be the right way and give it a little extra thought.
So with that in mind, the question is, what do we do why we do? Everyone's got a motivation and sometimes you got to judge that to see where their power's coming from or where they're trying to throw it. You see most people think they think but they're not really thinking so they start thinking cause they thought they already thought, but they never did in the first place so it's their own little safety level. So I sit down and said, if there's all these people so smart thinking so good, how come every day of my life there's so many damn stupid people doing stupid things.
See a wise man once told me, he said, Mike, there's two clubs, there's the stupid people and the smart people. There ain't nobody blocking the door at the stupid people entrance, anyone can go there. But the smart entrance, it's a little more exclusive. So what you wanna belong to? The country club, or the cardboard shack? The penthouse or the outhouse? Seems like an easy decision to me.
So what we're all thinking about right now is what we're talking about, what we're talking about is what we're thinking about, and that's the whole point: you should think before you talk. So where we're at right now is a place that we want to go: a little bit of help. See: everyday, everywhere you go, people do stupid things. Three hundred and sixty five days out of the year, people not thinking. People that have the ability to think, that aren't thinking.
So what we should do is nominate one day. Call it International Don't Be Stupid Day. Now what this is gonna do is be a little reminder, maybe we could wear a pin, maybe you could send a tape to somebody, and when they start to do something you say, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on there partner. Today is Don't Be Stupid Day, so you can't do that. So what we want you to do is just take a twenty four hours out of your life, think about all them dumb things that you just go right ahead and do, when you know damn well you wouldn't want anyone else to do it, if you really cared about them. So start caring about yourself, start using your mind, and as we say, start your brain."
Monday, February 12, 2007
Sir Richard Branson today offered a $25m (£12.8m) prize for scientists who find a way to help save the planet from the effects of climate change.
Flanked by the former US vice-president Al Gore and other environmentalists, the boss of Virgin Atlantic airlines called for scientists to come up with a way to extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Describing the prize as the largest ever offered, Sir Richard compared it to the competition to devise a method of accurately estimating longitude. He denied that being the head of an airline prevented him from being concerned about climate change.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
Excellent link to be found here : http://www.bloggernews.net/14352
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way…Seen from this point of view, the mental reactions of the inmates of a concentration camp must seem more to us than the mere expression of certain physical and sociological conditions. Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him — mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp. Dostoevski said once, “There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.” These words frequently came to my mind after I became acquainted with those martyrs whose behavior in camp, whose suffering and death, bore witness to the fact that the last inner freedom cannot be lost. It can be said that they were worthy of their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement. It is this spiritual freedom — which cannot be taken away — that makes life meaningful and purposeful.”
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice
Since the original publication of this article we have been inundated with responses from the public at all walks of life. It is important to note that research is ongoing with DCA, and not everyone is convinced it will turn out to be a miracle drug. There have been many therapies that were promising in vitro and in animal models that did not work for one reason or another in humans. To provide false hope is not our intention. There is a lot of information on DCA available on the web, and this column is but one opinion on the topic. We hope you will do your own research into the situation. So, we have added links to resources at the end of this column. If you are arriving here form a linking website like Fark, then those links will not appear because they tend to grab only the text.
Scientists may have cured cancer last week.
So, why haven't the media picked up on it?
Here's the deal. Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada found a cheap and easy to produce drug that kills almost all cancers. The drug is dichloroacetate, and since it is already used to treat metabolic disorders, we know it should be no problem to use it for other purposes.
Doesn't this sound like the kind of news you see on the front page of every paper?
The drug also has no patent, which means it could be produced for bargain basement prices in comparison to what drug companies research and develop.
Scientists tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body where it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but left healthy cells alone. Rats plump with tumors shrank when they were fed water supplemented with DCA.
Again, this seems like it should be at the top of the nightly news, right?
Cancer cells don't use the little power stations found in most human cells - the mitochondria. Instead, they use glycolysis, which is less effective and more wasteful.
Doctors have long believed the reason for this is because the mitochondria were damaged somehow. But, it turns out the mitochondria were just dormant, and DCA starts them back up again.
The side effect of this is it also reactivates a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that can't be pressed in cancer cells. Without it, tumors grow larger as cells refuse to be extinguished. Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die.
With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn't break down and seed new tumors.
Here's the big catch. Pharmaceutical companies probably won't invest in research into DCA because they won't profit from it. It's easy to make, unpatented and could be added to drinking water. Imagine, Gatorade with cancer control.
So, the groundwork will have to be done at universities and independently funded laboratories. But, how are they supposed to drum up support if the media aren't even talking about it?
All I can do is write this and hope Google News picks it up. In the meantime, tell everyone you know and do your own research.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Spiritual Cinema Circle
As a Member of our Inner Circle, each month you'll receive a new DVD with four wonderful, entertaining movies that will enlighten and inspire your soul. The movies will be a mixture of features, shorts and documentaries, all handpicked for their quality and content. You can be assured that each month you'll see more inspiring, meaningful movies than you can find on T.V. or at the local cineplex.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Darfur is Dying
It is game written in support of the Darfur region in West Sudan where genocide is occurring.
read the background info here :
Please support in any way you can if possible. There are ways mentioned on the site and in the game.
Monday, January 22, 2007
This post is mainly to offer you a chance to help build AGLOCO – it is a Member-owned Internet community.
Here is why I would like you to help. First – it is free. Second - it is quick and easy to join. Third – AGLOCO’s purpose is to get its members their share of the money generated on the Internet (i.e. you make money). And lastly – if you help build the AGLOCO network you can make much more.
Here is a link to sign up (it automatically records me as referring you with my ID BBBN9249) www.agloco.com/r/bbbn92949
AGLOCO works with a toolbar type software called a Viewbar. Privacy is very strict so no spyware, popups or spam.
As to how much money you can make, there is a study which says the average user should get $5 to $15 a month. (But less at the beginning.) Click here to read the report. http://simmonsreport.spaces.live.com
How much can you make helping to build the network? The Simmons Report predicts $30 per referral.
AGLOCO is in their beta phase which is the best time to help them build out the network. So please join now and help build the network. Have questions? Their website has all the details so go there www.agloco.com/r/bbbn92949 or ask me.Try it is no risk, if it doesn't work for you just ignore it.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
There's a life-affirming teaching in Buddhism, which is that Buddha, which means "awake," is not someone you worship.
Buddha is not someone you aspire to; Buddha is not somebody that was born more than two thousand years ago and was smarter than you'll ever be.
Buddha is our inherent nature - our Buddha nature - and what that means is that if you're going to grow up fully, the way that it happens is that you begin to connect with the intelligence that you already have.
It's not like some intelligence that's going to be transplanted into you. If you're going to be fully mature, you will no longer be imprisoned in the childhood feeling that you always need to protect yourself or shield yourself because things are too harsh.
If you're going to be a grown-up -which I would define as being completely at home in your world no matter how difficult the situation-it's because you will allow something that's already in you to be nurtured. You allow it to grow, you allow it to come out, instead of all the time shielding it and protecting it and keeping it buried.Pema Chodron
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house, I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.
"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"
My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."
"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.
"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."
"Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around."
"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, " Daffodil Garden ." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.
It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.
"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn
"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.
On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. " 50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."
For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
When you encounter people with qualities that you don't like, they are a mirror for the karma that you have not yet worked through. They possess the qualities that you don't want to see in yourself. In fact, these qualities are the demons that sit in the little wagon that you drag behind you. What are the demons sitting in your wagon? Anger, fear, resentment, judgment, boredom, aggressiveness? Wow! Thank them, and be grateful for the opportunity you have to befriend them. As long as you run away from your demons, they will continue to chase you. Peace can only begin when you stop running from them, turn around, and embrace them.
Thich nu Tinh Quang