Inspired by the ancient book of wisdom; The Tao Te Ching: Verse Fifteen
Inspired by the ancient book of wisdom; The Tao Te Ching: Verse Fifteen
Mindfulness meditation is best known for its positive effects on practitioners’ brains and bodies. My research suggests it may also encourage compassion toward others.
Since acting compassionately usually means putting others’ needs ahead of your own, prompting yourself to act with kindness often requires not only vigilance but a bit of willpower. That’s not to say that relying on religious or philosophical guidance to prompt kindness won’t work at times. It will. But any method that depends on constant redirection of selfish urges and top-down monitoring of one’s moral code is apt to fail. Perhaps cultivating compassion situationally—so that it automatically emerges at the sight of others in need—would be more foolproof. As a psychologist interested in moral behavior, I have long wondered if there might be a way to develop precisely this sort of reflexive compassion.
Yet for all the emphasis meditation instructors place on kindness, solid evidence linking mindfulness to compassion has been lacking. By historical accident, the first psychologists to study meditation were experts in neuroanatomy, information processing, and physiology, which, as you might guess, meant that these topics were where they focused their research. The result was a decade’s worth of findings confirming that meditation enhances the functioning of brain and body—findings that continue to appear regularly, and serve as the basis for much of the publicity surrounding meditation. Unfortunately, the question of how meditation might influence social behavior wasn’t, until very recently, on anyone’s radar.
After eight weeks had passed, participants returned to our lab one by one, supposedly to complete measures of attention and memory. In reality, the true experiment occurred in the waiting room, which had three chairs, two of which were already occupied by actors. A few minutes after each participant arrived and took the remaining seat, a third actor appeared, this one on crutches, wearing a boot typically used for a broken foot, and wincing in pain. Upon entering, she leaned against a wall, sighing audibly, as there was nowhere for her to sit. By design, the other actors ignored her. They thumbed through books or scanned their smartphones, paying no mind to her discomfort.
Situations like this—in which other people seem to be ignoring a person in distress—are known to inhibit helping behavior, a phenomenon termed the “bystander effect.” If no one else is helping, why should you? In our study, among participants who didn’t meditate, the bystander effect was on clear display. Only 16 percent of our subjects (or three people out of 19) offered their chair to the actor on crutches. But of those who meditated, half (10 of 20) immediately and spontaneously offered their seat to the woman. It’s important to note that none of the participants had meditated before, and were all equally interested in signing up for the course (even though they knew some might be assigned to a waitlist). The resulting differences, then, didn’t stem from any factors related to a pre-existing interest in or experience with mindfulness. The only difference between the groups was that one meditated for eight weeks and the other didn’t. Nonetheless, eight weeks of meditation proved enough to triple the likelihood of this benevolent behavior, even under conditions known to discourage acts of kindness. And as any research psychologist will tell you, an intervention that can shift human behavior by three-fold holds a lot of promise.
Outside of the waiting room, however, there are people everywhere who need compassion. But there’s only so much to go around. As the Yale psychologist Paul Bloom regularly points out, it’s well established that we feel more empathy for single individuals in pain than for larger numbers of suffering masses. Based on this fact, techniques for building compassion might seem futile. And yet, it’s this very contradiction that helps to explain why meditation may be uniquely suited to fostering compassion.
But recent research by the neuroscientist Tania Singer and the Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard has shown that meditation-based training reduces activation of the brain networks associated with simulating the feelings of people in distress, in favor of networks associated with feelings of social affiliation. In other words, shared pain rapidly dissipates, but compassion remains.
This finding appears to offers a neuroanatomical basis for something many long-time practitioners of meditation have observed: a lack of compassion fatigue among meditators. As Thupten Jinpa, a Buddhist scholar and long-time translator for the Dalai Lama, told me “meditation-based training enables practitioners to move quickly from feeling the distress of others to acting with compassion to alleviate it.” Put simply, contemplative training appears to teach the mind to move directly from an observation of suffering to benevolent action, without becoming paralyzed by others’ pain.
In short, then, our research suggests that mindfulness’s most profound benefit may not be the one that’s most often touted—adapting to a stressful, competitive, even unkind 24/7 world. Instead, meditation might fundamentally alter how we treat those around us. Corporations, physicians, and policy-makers who now push mindfulness as a technique for self-enhancement and physical wellbeing would do well to focus more on its potential for preventing everything from bullying to domestic violence to callousness and indifference. To see why, one only need look at the impressive results stemming from a meditation program that the Center for Wellness and Achievement Education recently offered in Visitation Valley School—a junior-high school in one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods where violence was a frequent occurrence. After providing instruction and instituting twice-daily meditation periods known a Quiet Time, a noticeable difference began to emerge. Over a four-year period, school records show that suspensions decreased by 79 percent. It’s important to note that unlike the work from my lab, this was not a scientific study designed to control extraneous factors. Accordingly, it’s possible that the decline may have as much to do with the benefits of meditation as it does with a school culture that decided to adopt Quiet Time in the first place. Either way, though, the result is striking and calls for additional study.
For every senior over the age of 65 in the year 2000, there will be 2 by the year 2030. Today that is 1 out of every 7 people is over 65. By the year 2022, 32 percent of our workforce will be comprised of seniors over 65. The average american will live 19 or more years past their 65th birthday. The 85 and older population is predicted to triple to 14.6 million by 2040. Most of the seniors’ medical needs will become the responsibility of nurses. Currently there are just more than 1.5 million Nursing Assistants, 738 thousand Licensed Practical Nurses, 2.7 million Registered Nurses, and 151 thousand Nursing Practitioners, anesthetists, and midwives with an 11% growth expected by 2022. The average age of nurses is now 50 years old. From 1982 to 2008, the percentage of nurses under the age of 40 dropped from 54 percent to 29.5 percent. Aging America needs more educated nurses who are versed in some of the more technical areas, such as biometrics, robotics, and electronic records. Use a color-coded state map to see how many nurses are in different areas.
READ MORE: http://www.nursingschoolhub.com/nursing-aging-america/
It’s no accident that all of the major world religions employ some form of gratitude in their rituals. It’s simply because it makes our daily life better, even if you’re not religious nor spiritual.
Gratitude is the feeling of being thankful and showing appreciation for what is in our lives. And thankfulness and appreciation are a pathway to a life of happiness and well-being. When you pause and recognize all of the wonderful things in your life, you feel happier. Appreciation keeps us focused on what is already good in our lives, and opens up the doorway to more goodness to flow into our lives. Gratitude also equips us to handle setbacks and failures in a more resilient way. Science is producing mounting research that our lives are much better when we practice gratitude.
And indeed, gratitude does make your life better in the following ways…
1. You Feel More Satisfied
Not completely happy with your life? Gratitude is a lasting feeling that sustains you longer than other fleeting sensations. Grateful people are more satisfied with their lives because they focus more on what they do appreciate in their life. When you practice gratitude, you take time to appreciate the things that you’re thankful for in your life. And this means that you won’t be longing as much for what’s missing in your life, because you won’t pay as much attention to it.
2. You Motivate Others
When you say “thank you” to someone, they feel that you appreciate what you did for them, even if just a little bit. Saying “thank you” is therefore a powerful motivator for others to keep helping you again, because you are rewarding them with your appreciation. Have you ever noticed how it feels when someone doesn’t appreciate what you did for them? It makes you not want to help them again in the future because they don’t appreciate it. Small thank you’s go a long way, whether it’s a simple text message or a thoughtful email, you can never show someone enough gratitude.
3. You’re Happier
Grateful people are happier. They’re more in tune with what’s going well in their lives and focus more on the positive. When you actually count your blessings (I’m grateful for today’s beautiful weather, for my new shoes, for my close friends, etc) it puts you in a positive and uplifting mood. It’s very enjoyable to recognize the things that you might have been taking for granted, and to feel joy for having them in your life.
4. You’re More Resilient
Throughout your life you’ll experience many setbacks and failures. So having good coping skills is vital for us to have a thriving and successful life. When life knocks you down yet you still practice gratitude, you can humbly appreciate the temporary defeat as a learning lesson. When you’re faced with challenges, you can thank God or the Universe for giving you an opportunity to practice your patience and strength. When you’re grateful you focus more on the opportunities that failures give you, rather than its negative consequences.
5. You Deepen Your Social Ties
Gratitude has the power to deepen your social bonds and connections with others. When you live in a state of gratitude, you have better relationships with your peers. It also enhances your ability to form and nurture relationships, as your friends and family members experience the positive vibes of your appreciation for them and for life. Your energy changes when you’re grateful, and you go from being a “downer” to being a positive person. And this is very attractive to everyone else around and strengthens your relationships.
6. You Have Better Health
Gratitude has been linked to better physical health, as well as better sleep and reduced stress levels. You can live a much better life when you’re grateful because as you improve your relationship to the world, you feel better within your body. Grateful people take better care of themselves as they appreciate their health more.
7. You Increase Your Self-control
As David DeSteno says, “When you’re faced with a challenging temptation in the moment, rather than solely trying to exert willpower, simply stopping and thinking of something you’re grateful for should enhance your ability to make a wiser decision.” As life coach Peter Lambert says, gratitude gives you more patience and makes you less selfish.
8. Your Relationships Improves
When you’re more grateful and generous to the people who you care most about, your relationships improve. Not only will they feel more appreciated by you, but when they feel more appreciated and cared for, they’ll reflect positive feelings back towards you. As opposed to taking each other for granted, when you truly appreciate your significant other, your relationship becomes more magical again.
9. You’re Less Materialistic
When you appreciate what you already have, you realize that a bigger house or a new car are not the things that will really make you happier deep down. In fact, material things can actually feel sort of empty and meaningless. But when you’re thankful that you have a roof over your head and plenty of food to eat — something not everyone around the world has — you won’t be as tied to physical things anymore.
10. You Enrich Your Children
Research has shown that when you encourage gratitude in children, it has some remarkable effects. It turns out that kids who are grateful are happier, experience less volatile emotions, and feel that life has more meaning to them.
Gratitude is an emotion that’s worth cultivating as it will make your life better. You can start simply, by thinking of five things in your day today that you’re grateful for. There’s no doubt that we all want to be happy, have good relationships, and good health. The only thing you need to do to create more of these good things in your life, is to cultivate the gratitude within you.
Inspired by the ancient book of wisdom; The Tao Te Ching: Verse Twenty-Three
How do you protect yourself in this world? How do you ensure that the things you care for are protected on a daily basis? One way we protect ourself is by having strict boundaries. Boundaries are extremely important for human beings to maintain. Without boundaries, you are likely to be taken advantage of, manipulated, abused, or “blinded” by the shallow, self-centered people we encounter in our daily lives. As a child, I was often reminded by my parents to maintain appropriate boundaries at all times. I quickly learned that boundaries were a great shield of protection in a world that rarely respects or employs appropriate boundaries. For many of us, we learn in high school and as adults how very important boundaries are to our survival. Sadly, individuals who have traumatic histories or poor emotional attachment often become victims to people who violate boundaries because of their own emotional neediness. Sometimes it is very difficult for these individuals to identify when they need to apply strict boundaries. This article will continue our discussion on poor emotional attachment which often results in poor boundaries. We will also look at 7 major signals that our boundaries need to be adjusted.
The term emotional intelligence (EI) has become ubiquitous in psychology literature. It’s deemed one of the most important aspects of human social connection. Without E.I. it would be almost impossible to survive in relationships or develop appropriate boundaries. Some people have what I like to call “learned boundaries” which are boundaries that a person has developed over time because of someone else they have observed in their life. For example, children often learn appropriate or inappropriate boundaries from their parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives. However, some people, often because of negative early childhood experiences, lack the ability to apply appropriate boundaries at necessary times and, as a result, is often taken advantage of. For those of us who have what I like to call “inborn boundaries” which are boundaries that we are born with, life is a bit more easier to navigate. Healthy boundaries often result from healthy attachment in early life. Sadly, individuals with poor attachment lack emotional intelligence (the ability to manage your emotions and sometimes others emotions) which tends to result in being harmed in the long-term and may even lead to co-dependency in some relationships.
Individuals who lack appropriate boundaries often struggle with telling others how they feel (for fear of rejection or ridicule), struggle with feeling burdened by how others perceive them (due to a desire to people-please), strive to make everyone happy with their performance (at work, in school, at home, etc.), and tend to stay in negative relationships (for fear of not finding someone else to love). It’s very easy to identify when we have either little to no boundaries in our relationships because we begin to feel trapped, overwhelmed, or manipulated. I often tell clients the moment they feel trapped or manipulated in a relationship is often the very moment in which they are lacking appropriate boundaries. This is the moment when we need to re-assess where we stand in relation to another person.
Dr. Whitebourne, a writer for Psychologytoday.com, says that “successful intelligence…involves having “emotional intelligence” which is being to read people’s feelings- and your own. With high EI, you can succeed in many areas of your life. Your close relationships can benefit from knowing how to read people’s feelings, regulate your own emotions (especially anger), and understand what you’re feeling, and why.” This is especially important for individuals with trauma histories and poor emotional attachment. Research suggests that a history of abuse (emotional, psychological, physical, sexual), domestic violence, trauma, poor attachment, and parent-child conflict, can affect the development of appropriate boundaries.
It is important to be able to identify when your boundaries need to be adjusted in your relationships (personal and professional). That’s why I developed, with the help of my learning experience, clients, and readers, a list of signs that you may need to employ stricter boundaries:
If you know someone like this, it’s important to keep in mind that emotionally unintelligent people and individuals with attachment issues are not out to get you. They simply cannot navigate their relationships appropriately because of their early life experiences.
In some cases, they are more of a victim than you think. Can you think of a few things that might cause you to consider re-adjusting your personal boundaries? For many of us, romantic relationships, marriage, or having children encourages us to re-adjust our boundaries. In cases such as these we are “forced” to change how we approach life and have allowed others to approach us.
READ MORE: http://psychcentral.com/
THIS IS DEEP: Do you believe in Miracles? Do you believe in the power of prayer? You may after watching this!
Watch this video which tells of a young woman named Katie, her First-Responder caregivers and the Angel who appeared to assist them.
Song of Earth (2 Hours) – Real Space Sound (NASA Voyager Recording) – Celestial White Noise for relaxation, meditation, lucid dreaming, astral projection, stress and depresion relief and more…
Sleep Better, Reduce Stress, Calm Your Mind, Improve Focus
Famous, strange and amazing real sounds of space, recorded by NASA Voyager. You are about to hear actual near-Earth space (planets and rings) sounds – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Miranda, Neptune, Venus, Mars, Moon, Earth etc. Prepare to be spellbound by these unreal, but authentic and true space sounds. You can’t find better music for relaxation, meditation, lucid dreaming, astral projection or any sort of mystical or religious expirience. Sit back, put your earphones on and enjoy in this unique expirience!
Although space is a virtual vacuum, this does not mean there is no sound in space. Sound does exist as electromagnetic vibrations. The specially designed instruments on board the various space probes used Plasma Wave antenna to record the vibrations used here, all within the range of human hearing (20-20,000 CPS)
“It turns out that space can make music … if you know how to listen.”
Today mindfulness meditation is practiced in schools, prisons and even in corporate America. This show looks at the spiritual roots of the practice and how it can be used to transform society. Featured are Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, spiritual leader of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and Sharon Salzberg, Buddhist meditation teacher and cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society.
Click on the LINK below:
Mason Wartman abandoned his life on Wall Street to start a pizza shop.
Everything was normal until a customer gave Mason an idea that’s garnered national attention.