Philosophy

Be Happy



Uploaded on Jul 1, 2011

Is happiness a skill? Modern neuroscientific research and the wisdom of ancient contemplative traditions converge in suggesting that happiness is the product of skills that can be enhanced through training and such training exemplifies how transforming the mind can change the brain. 

Kent Berridge, Richie Davidson, and Daniel Gilbert speak at the Aspen Ideas Festival
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Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah


Leonard Cohen Credit Dominique Issermann

  Leonard Cohen: Darkness and Praise

The email from the boy began: “Did anything inspire you to create Hallelujah?"

Later that same winter day the reply arrived: 
“I wanted to stand with those who clearly see God’s holy broken world for what it is, and still find the courage or the heart to praise it. You don’t always get what you want. You’re not always up for the challenge. But in this case — it was given to me. For which I am deeply grateful.”
The question came from the author's son, who was preparing to present the hymn to his fifth-grade class. The boy required a clarification about its meaning. The answer came from the author of the song, Leonard Cohen.
Cohen lived in a weather of wisdom, which he created by seeking it rather than by finding it. He swam in beauty, because in its transience he aspired to discern a glimpse of eternity.
There was always a trace of philosophy in his sensuality.
He managed to combine a sense of absurdity with a sense of significance, a genuine feat.
He was a friend of melancholy but an enemy of gloom, and a renegade enamored of tradition.
Leonard was, above all, in his music and in his poems and in his tone of life, the lyrical advocate of the finite and the flawed.
Leonard sang always as a sinner. He refused to describe sin as a failure or a disqualification. Sin was a condition of life. 

“Even though it all went wrong/ I’ll stand before the Lord of song/ With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!”
The singer’s faults do not expel him from the divine presence. Instead they confer a mortal integrity upon his exclamation of praise. 

He is the inadequate man, the lowly man, the hurt man who has given hurt, insisting modestly but stubbornly upon his right to a sacred exaltation.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  

He once told an interviewer that those words were the closest he came to a credo.  

The teaching could not be more plain: fix the crack, lose the light.
  
Here is a passage on frivolity by a great rabbi in Prague at the end of the 16th century:

“Man was born for toil, since his perfection is always being actualized but is never actual,” 
he observed in an essay on frivolity.
“And insofar as he attains perfection, something is missing in him.  In such a being, 
perfection is a shortcoming and a lack.”

Leonard Cohen was the poet laureate of the lack, the psalmist of the privation, who made imperfection gorgeous.



Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/opinion/my-friend-leonard-cohen-darkness-and-praise.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&src=trending



Living with a sense of purpose in life




Conclusion:

A sense of purpose in life also gives you this considerable advantage:
"People with a sense of purpose in life have a lower risk of death and cardiovascular disease."

The conclusions come from over 136,000 people who took part in 10 different studies.

Participants in the studies were mostly from the US and Japan.


The US studies asked people:
  • how useful they felt to others,
  • about their sense of purpose, and
  • the meaning they got out of life.


The Japanese studies asked people about ‘ikigai’ or whether their life was worth living.

The participants, whose average age was 67, were tracked for around 7 years.

During that time almost 20,000 died.
 
But, amongst those with a strong sense of purpose or high ‘ikigai’, the risk of death was one-fifth lower.

Despite the link between sense of purpose and health being so intuitive, scientists are not sure of the mechanism.

Sense of purpose is likely to improve health by strengthening the body against stress.

It is also likely to be linked to healthier behaviours.

Dr. Alan Rozanski, one of the study’s authors, said:
“Of note, having a strong sense of life purpose has long been postulated to be an important dimension of life, providing people with a sense of vitality motivation and resilience.
Nevertheless, the medical implications of living with a high or low sense of life purpose have only recently caught the attention of investigators.
The current findings are important because they may open up new potential interventions for helping people to promote their health and sense of well-being.”

This research on links between sense of purpose in life and longevity is getting stronger all the time:
  • “A 2009 study of 1,238 elderly people found that those with a sense of purpose lived longer.
  • A 2010 study of 900 older adults found that those with a greater sense of purpose were much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Survey data often links a sense of purpose in life with increased happiness.
No matter what your age, then, it’s worth thinking about what gives your life meaning.”



Read More:

Find out what kinds of things people say give their lives meaning.
Here’s an exercise for increasing meaningfulness
And a study finding that feeling you belong increases the sense of meaning.

The study was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine (Cohen et al., 2015).




A sense of purpose in life
Link: http://www.spring.org.uk/2015/12/here-is-why-a-sense-of-purpose-in-life-is-important-for-health

On positive psychology - Martin Seligman


 View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/martin-seli...

Martin Seligman talks about psychology -- as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?

Talk by Martin Seligman.

Link: https://youtu.be/5CpLEOO5oyo

George Carlin Philosopher



Henry Colman and Jenni Matz conducted the interview in Venice, CA on December 17, 2007.

https://youtu.be/mLEtb9N9oMA 

George Carlin who was one of the Great Philosophers of the 20th Century discusses the state of the world in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. 

We are on a nice downward glide. I call it circling the drain. And the circles get smaller and smaller and faster and faster. And you watch the sink empty. Huish!
I then we'll be gone. And that's fine. I welcome it. I wish I could live 1000 years to watch it happen. From a distance - so I can see it all.
I remember back in the late 1990's, Seung Sahn Dae Jong Sa was answering questions after a Dharma Talk at Dharma Zen Center in Los Angeles. One of the students asked him how we could all work towards "world peace." Seung Sahn replied, "I think if you ask all the animals of the planet, they will say, 'world peace only possible when all humans beings are dead.'" 

Carlin plays with the same line here, and I am paraphrasing that it is important to save yourself and not the planet because the planet will still be here long after all the humans have died. And he really makes a point with this statement;
We have to change ourselves. And we'll never do that. Because of the dollars now. Cause everybody wants a dollar and a toy. Everybody's got a telephone that will make pancakes and rub your balls. So nobody wants to rock the boat. Nobody wants to change anything.
 Enjoy the wise ones around you while they are alive, because you will miss them greatly once they pass on.



Link: http://zenmirror.blogspot.ca/2016/02/george-carlin-i-gave-up-on-my-species.html






Lisa Ling says the diagnosis of ADD has given her "clarity."

In discussing whether Lisa Ling was a CNN reporter...we turned to Wikipedia and found she was not a news reporter but did documentary type shows on CNN.

Surprisingly, this was part of the Wiki :

She has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.[32]
"Lisa Ling Reveals Surprise Diagnosis of ADD at age 40 - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 3 November 2014.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Ling

Lisa Ling Reveals Surprise Diagnosis of ADD at age 40

June 16, 2014
By ABC NEWS via GOOD MORNING AMERICA
 
 
As a veteran reporter who now has her own TV show on OWN, Lisa Ling has covered everything from criminal informants to exorcism.

It was while filming an episode of "Our America With Lisa Ling" on the topic of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), however, that she made a personal discovery.

"My head is kind of spinning," Ling, 40, said after receiving a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) herself while the cameras were rolling. 

"But I feel a little bit of relief because, for so long, I've been fighting it and I've been so frustrated with this inability to focus."

Ling, the mother of one young daughter, says on the show that she had long suspected something was not right.

"As a journalist, when I'm immersed in a story, then I feel like I can laser-focus. But if I'm not working, my mind goes in every direction but where it's supposed to go," Ling says. "I've been like that since I was a kid."

Ling's diagnosis of ADD at age 40 is unusual, experts say, compared to the average age of diagnosis at seven.

"ADD is more accepted now than 10 or 20 years ago," said Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist and ADD/ADHD specialist, who does not treat Ling. "People don't think of ADD in adults."

"The diagnosis can dramatically change your life for the better," Hallowell said. "You can go from languishing to succeeding at the highest level."



In a statement, Ling says the diagnosis of ADD has given her "clarity."

"While the diagnosis confirmed what I had always expected, I don't feel inhibited," she said. "Rather, I feel I have more clarity."





"Our America With Lisa Ling" airs Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.






Top Concentration Killers


Culprit: Social Media

Whether you're living with ADHD or just have trouble focusing from time to time, today's world is full of concentration killers. Psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino, PhD offers a few tips to manage distractions, starting with social media. It's easy to connect with friends -- and disconnect from work -- many times an hour. Every status update zaps your train of thought, forcing you to backtrack when you resume work.

Social Media Fix

Avoid logging in to social media sites while you're working. If you feel compelled to check in every now and then, do it during breaks, when the steady stream of posts won't interrupt your concentration. If you can't resist logging in more frequently, take your laptop someplace where you won't have Internet access for a few hours.


Culprit: Email Overload

There's something about an email -- it shoots into your inbox and itches to be answered immediately. Although many emails are work-related, they still count as distractions from your current project. You won't make much progress if you constantly stop what you're doing to reply to every message.

Email Overload Fix

Instead of checking email continuously, set aside specific times for that purpose. During the rest of the day, you can actually shut down your email program. This allows you to carve out blocks of time when you can work uninterrupted.

Culprit: Your Cell Phone

Perhaps even more disruptive than the ping of an email is the ringtone on your cell phone. It's a sound few of us can ignore. But taking a call not only costs you the time you spend talking -- it can also cut off your momentum on the task at hand.

Cell Phone Fix

Put caller ID to good use. If you suspect the call is not urgent, let it go to voicemail. If you're working on a particularly intense project, consider silencing your phone so you're not tempted to answer. Choose specific times to check voicemail. Listening to all your messages at once can be less disruptive than taking every call as it comes in.

Culprit: Multitasking

If you've mastered the art of multitasking, you probably feel you're getting more done in less time. Think again, experts say. Research suggests you lose time whenever you shift your attention from one task to another. The end result is that doing three projects simultaneously usually takes longer than doing them one after the other.

Multitasking Fix

Whenever possible, devote your attention to one project at a time, particularly if you're working on an intense or high-priority task. Save your multitasking skills for chores that are not urgent or demanding -- it probably won't hurt to tidy up your desk while talking on the phone.

Culprit: Boredom

Some of the tasks we have to do each day are more interesting than others. The boring ones may burn through your attention span in minutes, making you extremely vulnerable to distractions. Your phone, the Internet, even the prospect of dusting your workspace can seem tempting if you're bored.

Boredom Fix

Make a deal with yourself: If you stay on task for a certain period of time, you earn a 10-minute break. Reward yourself with coffee, a favorite snack, or a walk outside. Boring tasks are easier to accomplish when you have something to look forward to. This is also one case where multitasking may work well. Listening to the radio while filing receipts could help you stay put long enough to finish the job.

Culprit: Nagging Thoughts

It's hard to focus on the work in front of you if you're worrying about errands you need to run or housework to be done. Or perhaps you're hung up on a conversation you had yesterday, and you keep replaying it in your mind. Nagging thoughts of any sort can be a powerful distraction.

Nagging Thoughts Fix

One way to keep nagging thoughts from buzzing around in your brain is to write them down. Make a list of errands, housework, or other tasks you plan to complete later. Vent frustrations over an unpleasant confrontation in your journal. Once these thoughts are on paper, you may be able to let them go for a while.


Culprit: Stress

When you feel like you have too much on your plate, it can be hard to focus on individual tasks. To make matters worse, stress takes a noticeable toll on the body. You may develop tight shoulders, headaches, or a racing heart, all of which can chip away at your ability to concentrate.

Stress Fix

Learn stress reduction techniques, such as meditation. This can help you rein in stressful thoughts, so they don't demand so much of your attention. In one study, researchers found that people who took an eight-week meditation course improved their ability to focus. If you can't find a meditation class locally, look for one online.

Culprit: Fatigue

Fatigue can make it tough to concentrate, even when you have few distractions. Studies suggest too little sleep can sap your attention span and short-term memory.

Fatigue Fix

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Instead of burning the midnight oil, make sleep a priority. This will help you get more done during your waking hours. Also, pay attention to which times of day you feel most alert. Then you'll know when to schedule your most intense tasks.

Culprit: Hunger

The brain can't focus without fuel, so skipping meals -- especially breakfast --  is a top concentration killer. Research indicates short-term memory and attention suffer when you rise and shine but do not dine.

Hunger Fix

Keep hunger at bay and give your brain a steady source of fuel with these habits:
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Eat high-protein snacks (cheese, nuts)
  • Skip simple carbs (sweets, white pasta)
  • Choose complex carbs (whole grains)

Culprit: Depression

Most people tend to think of sadness as the hallmark of depression. But the National Institute of Mental Health says difficulty concentrating is one of the most common symptoms. If you're having trouble focusing, and you also feel empty, hopeless, or indifferent, you may be experiencing depression.

Depression Fix

If you think you might be depressed, the first step is to talk with a doctor or counselor. Depression is highly treatable. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of antidepressant medications and certain types of talk therapy.

Culprit: Medication

Unfortunately, some of the medications used to treat depression can interfere with concentration. The same is true of many other drugs. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to check if a medication or supplement you are taking may be affecting your concentration.

Medication Fix

If you suspect your meds are clouding your concentration, don't assume there are no other options. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or switching to a different class of medication. Do not stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Culprit: ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not just a problem for children. More than half of kids with ADHD continue to experience symptoms as adults. The classic signs are a short attention span and trouble focusing on tasks.

ADHD Fix

If you have consistent trouble focusing, and you had attention problems as a child, ask a doctor or counselor about ADHD. There are ways to manage the condition, including behavioral therapy and medications.







Link: http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/ss/slideshow-top-concentration-killers?ecd=soc_fb_160426_cons_ss_12reasonsyoucantconcentrate



Mindful Awareness

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

Mindfulness is making the news these days. It has been depicted in the media primarily as a tool to hone attention, to cultivate sensory awareness, and to keep us in the present moment.

Developing these tools takes effort and determination, but why is it we can sometimes be mindful without really even trying? Perhaps we were naturally mindful at points in life before we ever learned what mindfulness was. Maybe we feel naturally connected, present, and at ease in nature. Or we become mindful while talking authentically with a friend, or in the midst of music, art, or athletic activity.

Mindfulness is not only a meditation technique, but also a state of being. This state is available to anyone; it is a natural human capacity. Mindfulness practice, as a tool, is tremendously helpful to cultivate this awareness, and the state can arise at any moment. Mindfulness is also connected to a set of powerful outcomes: happiness, emotional regulation, compassion, altruism, and kindness.

We encourage you to attend an array of offerings to cultivate the moment-to-moment awareness, which is the foundation of our practice.



 Link: http://marc.ucla.edu/

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help prevent recurrence of depression.


Review finds mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help prevent recurrence of depression.