2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Reflections on the eve of New Year 2013

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Thousands of New Year resolution lists are made and reflected upon around the world. This custom has survived the test of time and is still robustly alive. One wonders if there is some benefit associated with this particular behavior or is it just a fad. Glimpse at statistics will reveal the naked truth that only few are faithful to their resolutions. One of the geniuses of recent times, Albert Einstein, warned us not to keep on doing the same thing and expect different result. So here we are doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Maybe its time to looks at this practice in a different way.

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From the prospective of neurobiologists our brains has two basic functions or goals; a mechanism of self-maintenance and mechanism of transcendence. Self-maintenance part ensures that we are eating, drinking, exercising, mating and successfully negotiating our way through our complex society. The transcendence part is also to do with survival but it becomes important when old ways of doing things no longer works and the brain has to view and think about the world in a new and radically differently than the past.

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It seems that we transcend the old practices only under special conditions. It has been observed that people change when they have a mystical, spiritual or near death experiences. Their brain seems to get rewired and they view the same world in a new way. Other less dramatic way of transcendence, which we can all attain, is by facing your hardship, personal loss, loss of loved one, prayer, meditation and exercise. When we are having these experiences we stop thinking the old ways and our brain rewires to think in a different way. It only works if the experience is sustained for more than seven weeks, but of course the longer the better. This is to do with the neuroplasticity of the brain; you may have heard the phrase “ the neurons that fire together wire together;” meaning when certain given neurons are stimulated in a new way they make new connections with other neurons in the brain so the brain changes.

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With the New Year there are huge changes, almost every manufacturer introduces new model of their product; new and improved. Everyone wants to change the sameness and shake off his or her limitation. We also look back and reflect on the decisions we made that failed to serve us. We now want to aim for new and more successful ways to reach higher heights. We want to transcend. New Year is a time when our brain is open to looking at new ways of doing things and this property of looking to do things in a new ways helps the brain with the survival values of maintenance and transcendence. The possible survival value of this practice will make  us carry on making new years resolutions for a long time to come. However, only those who continue to strive at the resolution longer than 7 weeks are likely to succeed and transcend the old ways of failure.

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Have a great New Year 2013

AND…

 

May your life have a balance.

May you be awake in a meadow of delight.

May a path of yellow moonlight bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours.

May clarity of light be yours.

May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

May the invisible cloak of love be around you to mind your life.

 

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Resources: –

 

To Bless the Space Between Us: – by John O’Donohue

 

The Spiritual Brain lectures: – Prof. Andrew Newberg.

Self Compassion at Christmas

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It is amazing how many people feel stressed out, sad and hit rock bottom at Christmas. There are so many reasons for this, some under our control and some beyond our control. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how and why you hit rock bottom. The important thing to remember is to be gentle and kind to yourself.

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I have hit rock bottom many times and my experience is that it doesn’t help to blame yourself or anyone else. The hurt and sadness feeling continues to slowly wear you down until there are no deeper darker depths left to fall. At times like these I am actually grateful to life for letting me experience such despair and sadness. It is easier than to let go of my ego, accept the world and everything in it just as it is; including the pain and the suffering. It is only then I see faint light of hope and I know things from then on can only get better because they can’t get any worse than they already are; there is nowhere lower to go. This is where the egoless wisdom resides. Our egos, our assumptions, our values that are not serving us and what others think of us, no longer matter too much.

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One comes out of this depth with new awareness, new purpose and new wisdom. That’s what happened to Gandhoff in the movie Lord of the Rings when he fell deep into the earth as he stood firm to fight the Demon that was chasing them. When he came out of the depth he was wise and powerful. Without the fall and hitting rock bottom he would have just stayed Gandhoff the gray. It is in this deepest depth where powerful life-giving nectar of life resides if you can stand the rigors of going deep down and facing the Demon that’s chasing you.

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So at Christmas, remember to be compassionate to yourself if you reach rock bottom, this will give you strength to withstand the rigors of the deep and fight off your Demon.

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Have a Great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

PS. If you are suffering from depression you may need medical help in addition to self compassion.

Self Compassion Quotes

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Rachel-self-compassion beauty

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Resources:-

http://flickrhivemind.net

http://www.google.ca

Meaningful way of Being in the Flow of Life.

 

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I was with a friend having conversation over a leisurely breakfast and our conversation drifted to considering how we fit in with life. We are so bombarded with everyday demands of life that we forget the larger picture. It seems to me life will continue with or without us; regardless of whether we are happy, wealthy, dead , alive , in a relationship, not in a relationship, like our job, hate our job, have friends, have no friends, holding grudges, whether we are  compassionate or not compassionate. Further it has been long recognized by the Buddhist and others that life can be suffused with suffering even when our basic needs are more than sufficiently satisfied; usually because we want things differently than they actually are. We may want to be more beautiful, clever, richer, have a  better relationship etc than what it is in actuality. This  state of mind may make it seem as though we are wallowing in an ocean of suffering.

It seems to me there are so many things outside our control that it is silly to continue trying to effect change to that which is outside our control. This energy can best be deployed on self compassion. When we are compassionate towards ourselves about our own suffering we change our brain structure so that not only we are compassionate to ourselves but we are more compassionate to others. The act of showing compassion to others will generally give us a nice feeling but in addition our relationships improve, others are more generous and kind towards us and we are offered more opportunities in the world.

Unfortunately at times our society seems upside down to me. Especially when you hear people suing McDonald’s for  sustaining a burn injury from spilling hot coffee over themselves. They seem to project their difficulty on to someone else and want them to make things better. Wouldn’t it have been better admitting that it was silly to be drinking very hot coffee whilst driving, after all coffee is meant to be served hot. Blaming and projecting our difficulty on to others produce not only  harmful, toxic substances in our body but minimize the opportunity to see others in a compassionate way and reaping the benefits mentioned above. Blaming and projecting our difficulties on to others lay down  different neuro-pathways which are very damaging to the mental and physical health.

So what is the ideal way of being in this world? I talked to some people who are happy and content, they tell me they have “meaning and purpose” from being in the “flow of life.” They seems to see life continuing whether they are here or not, they recognize we are fellow travellers on a journey of life, we are all trying to have a good life, we all want a  healthy world to live in; so they engage in life with the view to serve life as a whole; it is a much bigger goal than accumulating stuff for themselves. They start first by cultivating a big container of self compassion for themselves and then giving freely and joyfully to “life-giving causes.” It is this engagement with life-giving process that gives them peace, comfort and joy; knowing that life will continue long after they are gone and that they have contributed to the process.

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Interchange Blog

Interchange Blog

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