Stay Positive

"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." - Alert Camus

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Divide and Conquer: How the Essence of Mindfulness Parallels the Nuts and Bolts of Science

Google Tech Talk
January 28, 2010


Presented by Shinzen Young.

The purpose of this talk is threefold:

(1) to describe how senior adepts use mindfulness to reduce suffering and gain insight into selfhood and emotions.

(2) To point out how the method they use in many ways parallels what scientists do when confronted with a complex and inscrutable system in nature.

(3) To discuss how this fundamental parallelism between the two endeavors can become the basis for a productive collaboration in the future.

Bio: Shinzen Young became fascinated with Asian culture while a teenager in Los Angeles.

Later he enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Eventually, he went to Asia and did extensive training in each of the three major Buddhist meditative traditions: Vajrayana, Zen, and Vipassana.

Upon returning to the United States, his intellectual interests shifted to the burgeoning dialogue between Eastern internal science and Western technological science. In recognition of his original contributions to that dialogue, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology has awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Shinzen's innovative techniques for pain management derived from two sources:  
The first is his personal experience dealing with discomfort during intense periods of meditation in Asia, and during shamanic ceremonies with tribal cultures.

The second is some three decades of experience in coaching people through a wide spectrum of chronic and acute pain challenges. 

Shinzen leads meditation retreats in the mindfulness tradition throughout North America, and has helped establish several centers and programs.

Divide and Conquer: How the Essence of Mindfulness Parallels the Nuts and Bolts of Science - YouTube

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bones and Bolts: A Tale of Survival

Health News
In this Lancet commentary, John Vertefeuille, Scott Dowell, Jean Domercant and Jordan Tappero of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examine the state of the public health system in Haiti three years after a 7.0 earthquake struck the ...
MarketWatch (press release)
Basel, January 14, 2013 - The Lancet published findings online today from a pivotal Phase III clinical trial of Bexsero� (Meningococcal Group B Vaccine [rDNA, component, adsorbed]) involving 3,630 infants from two months of age. The study showed that ...
MarketWatch (press release)
"The positive findings of these two trials published in The Lancet represent a significant advance for people living with TSC," said Dr. John Bissler, lead EXIST-2 study author and Clark D. West Endowed Chair of Nephrology at Cincinnati Children's ...
Times of India
NEW DELHI: With 215 polio cases recorded worldwide, the deadline to eradicate polio by the end of 2012 has again been missed. Back in 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO) had set the year 2000 as a global deadline for ending wild poliovirus ...

Bones and Bolts: A Tale of Survival

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sharon Salzberg on Loving - YouTube

Uploaded on Dec 12, 2011

Sharon Salzberg from the 'Wisdom of Awareness' Retreat with Sogyal Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche, June 2011 (Garrison Institute, New York), she talks about the importance of a loving attitude in our modern society.

Sharon Salzberg on Loving - YouTube

Meditation for Beginners - Jack Kornfield

Published on Apr 18, 2012

Meditation is a doorway to freedom-a doorway that is open to anyone, at any time. Meditation for Beginners introduces you to this ancient art, and shows you, step-by-step, how it can help you feel truly alive and connected with the treasure each moment brings. 

In this complete video beginners' course, Jack Kornfield introduces you to the "insight" practice of meditation.

Buddhist monks draw from this same tradition; anyone can use its principles to cultivate a profound inner calm and awaken to the truth behind the power of their presence. 

Four easy-to-learn meditations cover postures and breathing, beginner's mind, awareness practices, lovingkindness, and much more. Join this respected teacher and learn the time-honored secrets of mindfulness and inner freedom on Meditation for Beginners.
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Jack Kornfield - Meditation for Beginners - YouTube

Jack Kornfield - Meditation for Beginners - YouTube

Published on Apr 18, 2012

Meditation is a doorway to freedom-a doorway that is open to anyone, at any time. Meditation for Beginners introduces you to this ancient art, and shows you, step-by-step, how it can help you feel truly alive and connected with the treasure each moment brings. In this complete video beginners' course, Jack Kornfield introduces you to the "insight" practice of meditation. Buddhist monks draw from this same tradition; anyone can use its principles to cultivate a profound inner calm and awaken to the truth behind the power of their presence. Four easy-to-learn meditations cover postures and breathing, beginner's mind, awareness practices, lovingkindness, and much more. Join this respected teacher and learn the time-honored secrets of mindfulness and inner freedom on Meditation for Beginners.
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    Standard YouTube License

Jack Kornfield - Meditation for Beginners - YouTube

George Burns Quotes - The Quotations Page

Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
Age to me means nothing. I can't get old; I'm working. I was old when I was twenty-one and out of work. As long as you're working, you stay young. When I'm in front of an audience, all that love and vitality sweeps over me and I forget my age.

Don't stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed.

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.

I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty.
I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life.
I was always taught to respect my elders and I've now reached the age when I don't have anybody to respect.
I'd go out with women my age, but there are no women my age.

I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.

I'm going to stay in show business until I'm the last one left.

If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it.

If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made. Very few people die past that age.

It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth.

Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible.

This is the sixth book I've written, which isn't bad for a guy who's only read two.

Too bad the only people who know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair.

You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.

You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there.

George Burns Quotes - The Quotations Page

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Successful and Schizophrenic - “Every person has a unique gift or unique self to bring to the world,”

 I'm always looking for examples of people who beat the odds by overcoming adversity and go on to build a good life for themselves...


January 25, 2013

Successful and Schizophrenic

THIRTY years ago, I was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. 

My prognosis was “grave”: I would never live independently, hold a job, find a loving partner, get married. My home would be a board-and-care facility, my days spent watching TV in a day room with other people debilitated by mental illness. I would work at menial jobs when my symptoms were quiet.

Following my last psychiatric hospitalization at the age of 28, I was encouraged by a doctor to work as a cashier making change. 
If I could handle that, I was told, we would reassess my ability to hold a more demanding position, perhaps even something full-time. 
Then I made a decision. I would write the narrative of my life. 

Today I am a chaired professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. I have an adjunct appointment in the department of psychiatry at the medical school of the University of California, San Diego, and am on the faculty of the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The MacArthur Foundation gave me a genius grant.
Although I fought my diagnosis for many years, I came to accept that I have schizophrenia and will be in treatment the rest of my life.

Indeed, excellent psychoanalytic treatment and medication have been critical to my success. What I refused to accept was my prognosis.
Conventional psychiatric thinking and its diagnostic categories say that people like me don’t exist.

Either I don’t have schizophrenia (please tell that to the delusions crowding my mind), or I couldn’t have accomplished what I have (please tell that to U.S.C.’s committee on faculty affairs). 

But I do, and I have. And I have undertaken research with colleagues at U.S.C. and U.C.L.A. to show that I am not alone. 

There are others with schizophrenia and such active symptoms as delusions and hallucinations who have significant academic and professional achievements. 
Over the last few years, my colleagues, including Stephen Marder, Alison Hamilton and Amy Cohen, and I have gathered 20 research subjects with high-functioning schizophrenia in Los Angeles. 

They suffered from symptoms like mild delusions or hallucinatory behavior.

Their average age was 40. Half were male, half female, and more than half were minorities. All had high school diplomas, and a majority either had or were working toward college or graduate degrees. 

They were graduate students, managers, technicians and professionals, including a doctor, lawyer, psychologist and chief executive of a nonprofit group. 
At the same time, most were unmarried and childless, which is consistent with their diagnoses. (My colleagues and I intend to do another study on people with schizophrenia who are high-functioning in terms of their relationships. 

Marrying in my mid-40s — the best thing that ever happened to me — was against all odds, following almost 18 years of not dating.) 

More than three-quarters had been hospitalized between two and five times because of their illness, while three had never been admitted. 
How had these people with schizophrenia managed to succeed in their studies and at such high-level jobs? 

We learned that, in addition to medication and therapy, all the participants had developed techniques to keep their schizophrenia at bay. 

For some, these techniques were cognitive. An educator with a master’s degree said he had learned to face his hallucinations and ask, “What’s the evidence for that? Or is it just a perception problem?” Another participant said, “I hear derogatory voices all the time. ... You just gotta blow them off.” 
Part of vigilance about symptoms was “identifying triggers” to “prevent a fuller blown experience of symptoms,” said a participant who works as a coordinator at a nonprofit group. For instance, if being with people in close quarters for too long can set off symptoms, build in some alone time when you travel with friends.
Other techniques that our participants cited included controlling sensory inputs.

For some, this meant keeping their living space simple (bare walls, no TV, only quiet music), while for others, it meant distracting music. “I’ll listen to loud music if I don’t want to hear things,” said a participant who is a certified nurse’s assistant. 

Still others mentioned exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and getting enough sleep. A belief in God and prayer also played a role for some. 
One of the most frequently mentioned techniques that helped our research participants manage their symptoms was work. 

“Work has been an important part of who I am,” said an educator in our group. “When you become useful to an organization and feel respected in that organization, there’s a certain value in belonging there.” This person works on the weekends too because of “the distraction factor.” 

In other words, by engaging in work, the crazy stuff often recedes to the sidelines. 
Personally, I reach out to my doctors, friends and family whenever I start slipping, and I get great support from them. 

I eat comfort food (for me, cereal) and listen to quiet music. I minimize all stimulation. 

Usually these techniques, combined with more medication and therapy, will make the symptoms pass. 

But the work piece — using my mind — is my best defense. It keeps me focused, it keeps the demons at bay. 
My mind, I have come to say, is both my worst enemy and my best friend. 
THAT is why it is so distressing when doctors tell their patients not to expect or pursue fulfilling careers. 

Far too often, the conventional psychiatric approach to mental illness is to see clusters of symptoms that characterize people. 

Accordingly, many psychiatrists hold the view that treating symptoms with medication is treating mental illness. 

But this fails to take into account individuals’ strengths and capabilities, leading mental health professionals to underestimate what their patients can hope to achieve in the world. 
It’s not just schizophrenia: earlier this month, The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry posted a study showing that a small group of people who were given diagnoses of autism, a developmental disorder, later stopped exhibiting symptoms. They seemed to have recovered — though after years of behavioral therapy and treatment. 

A recent New York Times Magazine article described a new company that hires high-functioning adults with autism, taking advantage of their unusual memory skills and attention to detail. 
I don’t want to sound like a Pollyanna about schizophrenia; mental illness imposes real limitations, and it’s important not to romanticize it. 

We can’t all be Nobel laureates like John Nash of the movie “A Beautiful Mind.” 

But the seeds of creative thinking may sometimes be found in mental illness, and people underestimate the power of the human brain to adapt and to create. 
An approach that looks for individual strengths, in addition to considering symptoms, could help dispel the pessimism surrounding mental illness. 

Finding “the wellness within the illness,” as one person with schizophrenia said, should be a therapeutic goal. Doctors should urge their patients to develop relationships and engage in meaningful work. 

They should encourage patients to find their own repertory of techniques to manage their symptoms and aim for a quality of life as they define it. And they should provide patients with the resources — therapy, medication and support — to make these things happen. 
“Every person has a unique gift or unique self to bring to the world,” said one of our study’s participants. 

She expressed( in the words of Sigmund Freud)  the reality that those of us who have schizophrenia and other mental illnesses want what -

 everyone wants to work and to love. 

Elyn R. Saks is a law professor at the University of Southern California and the author of the memoir “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.”

Successful and Schizophrenic -

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Meditation Intructions by Alan Wallace

How to Meditate

The following is from the first chapter of Alan Wallace's Genuine Happiness, and is a very good introduction to basic mindfulness of breathing meditation:


There are two postures I would recommend for this practice: sitting or lying down.

Generally, the optimal and most widely recommended posture is sitting cross-legged on a cushion. If this is too uncomfortable, you may sit in a chair, with both feet resting on the ground. But another, less commonly used posture is lying down on the back, with your arms outstretched to your sides, palms up, and your head resting on a pillow. This is especially useful if you have a back problem or if you are physically tired or ill.

Whatever posture you adopt, let your body rest at ease, with your spine straight but not rigid. Relax your shoulders, with your arms loosely dropping to your sides.

Allow gravity to take over. Now bring your awareness to your face. It’s best if your eyes are hooded, not completely shut.

Soften the muscles of your face, specifically the jaw, temples, and forehead. Soften your eyes. Let your face be as relaxed as that of a sleeping baby.

Then complete this initial relaxation process by taking three slow, deep, gentle
breaths through the nostrils. As you inhale, breathe smoothly and deeply down to the bottom of your abdomen.

Like filling a pot with water, feel your abdomen slowly fill and expand, then breathe into your diaphragm, and finally into the upper chest. Then release the breath fully, without forcing it out. Do this three times, keeping your awareness present in the body, especially noting the sensations of the in- and out-breaths. Following these deep breaths, return to normal, unregulated respiration.

Let this quality of bodily relaxation be an outer expression of your mind: let your awareness be at ease, releasing all your cares; simply be present in the here and now.

As you breathe in and out, direct your attention to the tactile sensations of the passage of the breath at the apertures of your nostrils or above your upper lip. Take a moment to locate the sensation. Rest your attention right where you feel the incoming and outgoing breaths. Once in a while, check to see that you are still breathing down into the abdomen. This will happen naturally if your body is settled, with your back straight and your belly relaxed and soft.


Throughout each meditation session, let your body be as still as possible, with a minimum of fidgeting; remain motionless as a mountain. This helps to bring about the same quality in the mind: one of stillness, where your attention is focused and continuous.


Even if you are lying down, let your posture reflect a sense of vigilance, not just collapsing into drowsiness. If you are sitting up, either on a cushion or in a chair, slightly raise your sternum, while keeping the belly soft and relaxed. In this way, you will naturally breathe into your abdomen first, and when the respiration deepens you may feel your diaphragm and chest expanding as well. Sit at attention, without slouching forward or tilting to either side. This physical posture also reinforces this same quality of vigilance mentally.

Mindfulness of Breathing

Maintaining focused attention is vital for virtually everything we do throughout the day, including working, driving, relating to others, enjoying times of recreation and entertainment, and engaging in spiritual practice. Therefore, the theme for this session is learning to focus the attention. Whatever your normal level of attention—whether you are usually scattered or composed— the quality of your attention can be improved, and this brings with it extraordinary benefits. In this practice, we shift from a compulsively conceptual, fragmented mode of awareness to one of deeper simplicity, moving into a witnessing or observing mode.

In addition to honing the attention, this meditation will enhance your health, tune your nervous system, allow you to sleep better, and improve your emotional balance. This is a different way of applying our minds, and it improves with practice. The specific method we will follow is the cultivation of mindfulness of breathing.

Due to habit, thoughts are bound to intrude. When they come, just release them as you exhale, without identifying with them, without emotionally responding to them. Watch the thought emerge, pass before you, and then fade away. Then rest your attention in the sense of repose, not dull and sluggish, but at ease.

For the time being, if all you can accomplish in one ghatika, or twenty-four minutes, is to bring forth a sense of mental relaxation, that’s great. Maintain your attention right where you feel the sensations of the in- and out-breaths.

Maintain mindfulness of your breathing as continuously as you can. The term mindfulness in this context refers to the faculty of focusing continuously upon a familiar, chosen object without distraction. In Tibetan and Sanskrit, the word translated as mindfulness also means remembering. So the cultivation of mindfulness means maintaining an unbroken flow of remembering, remembering, remembering. It doesn’t involve any internal commentary. You are simply remembering to attend to the stream of tactile sensations of the in- and out-breaths. The quality of awareness you are cultivating here is a kind of bare attention, a simple witnessing, with no mental analysis or conceptual elaboration. In addition to sustaining mindfulness, it’s crucial to apply introspection intermittently throughout the session. This does not mean thinking about yourself. Rather, it is the internal monitoring of your mental state. By means of introspection, looking within, you can determine whether your attention has disengaged from the breath and has wandered off to sounds, other sensations in your body, or vagrant thoughts, memories, or anticipations of the future. Introspection entails quality control, monitoring the processes of both the mind and the body. From time to time, see if any tension has built up around your eyes or forehead. If so, release it. Let your face soften and relax. Then spend a few minutes seeing if you can divide your attention while remaining at ease. Be mindful of your breath, but also be aware of how your mind is operating.

Let me emphasize that this is not a concentration technique in the Western sense. We are not bearing down with tight, focused effort. It is essential to maintain a physical and mental sense of relaxation, and on that basis we gradually enhance the stability and then the vividness of attention. This entails a spacious quality of awareness, and within that spaciousness, a sense of openness and ease; mindfulness comes to rest on the breath, like a hand laid gently on a child’s head. As the vividness of attention increases, you will notice sensations even between breaths. As the turbulence of the mind subsides, you will find that you can simply attend to the tactile sensations of the breath, rather than your thoughts about it.

I’ll now introduce a technique you may find useful on occasion, a simple device of counting that, done with precision, may bring greater stability and continuity to your attention. Once again, with a luxurious sense of being at ease and giving your overworked and overwrought conceptual mind a rest, place your attention on the tactile sensations of the breath. After exhaling, just as the next in-breath begins, mentally count “one.” Maintaining an erect posture, with the chest raised so the breath flows back in effortlessly, breathe in and follow the tactile sensations of the breath, letting your conceptual mind rest. Then experience the wonderful sense of refreshment as the breath is released, all the way out, until reaching the next turnaround point. Cultivate a “Teflon mind”—a mind to which nothing sticks, that doesn’t cling to thoughts about the present, past, or future. In this manner, count from one to ten. You may then repeat counting to ten, or continue counting up from ten to higher numbers. This is a practice of simplifying rather than suppressing your discursive mind. You are reducing mental activity to just counting, taking a holiday from compulsive thinking throughout the entire cycle of the breath. Practice for several minutes before ending this session.

To bring any worthy endeavor to a close in a meaningful fashion, Buddhists dedicate merit. Something has been drawn together in our hearts and minds by applying ourselves to this wholesome activity. After completing a meditation session, you may want to dwell for a minute or so to dedicate the merit of your practice, that it may lead to the fulfillment of whatever you find to be most meaningful for yourself andfor others. With intention and attention, that goodness can be directed wherever we wish.

Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
-- Theodore Isaac


Life is indeed difficult, partly because of the real difficulties we must overcome in order to survive, and partly because of our own innate desire to always do better, to overcome new challenges, to self-actualize. 

Happiness is experienced largely in striving towards a goal, not in having attained things, because our nature is always to want to go on to the next endeavor. 
-- Albert Ellis

You're alive. Do something. The directive in life, the moral imperative was so uncomplicated. It could be expressed in single words, not complete sentences. It sounded like this: Look. Listen. Choose. Act. 
-- Barbara Hall, A Summons to New Orleans, 2000 

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want. 
-- Ben Stein

Man is born to live, not to prepare for life. 
-- Boris Pasternak (1890 - 1960), Doctor Zhivago, 1958 

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious. 
-- Brendan Gill

 Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it. 
-- Christopher Morley (1890 - 1957) 

Life is full of surprises and and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure-do it well, enjoy it-and then, not now, think about what comes next. 
-- Condoleeza Rice 

In matters of self-control as we shall see again and again, speed kills. But a little friction really can save lives. 
-- Daniel Akst, We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an Age of Excess, 2011

Discarded People

Tara Brach - The Art and Science of Meditation

Published on May 10, 2012

This is a four part, 4 hour 37 minute - Introduction to the Art, Science and Practice of Meditation (combined into one file).

Part 1: Mindfulness of Sensations and Breath. Part 2: Mindfulness of Emotions. Part 3: Mindfulness of Thoughts. Part 4: Living from Presence.

Tara Brach is an American psychologist and expert on Buddhist meditation.

She is also the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, a spiritual community that teaches and practices Vipassana meditation. Wikipedia
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Tara Brach - The Art and Science of Meditation - YouTube

Why eat animals?

"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men."
Alice Walker
"I heard the screams of my father as cancer ravaged his body, and then I realised I had heard those screams before - in slaughterhouses, in the dog meat markets, in cattle ships, and the dying mother whale as a harpoon explodes in her brain as she calls out to her calf. Their cries are the cries of my father. And I realised that when we suffer, we suffer as equals."
Philip Wollen OAM, The Winsome Constance Kindness Trust, AU
"One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them."     -- Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If we cut up animals simply because they cannot prevent us, and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, then it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies or capitalists for the same reasons.”    - CS Lewis
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."  - Margaret Mead

"I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men."
Leonardo da Vinci
"The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity.  Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality."
"There is no more terrible sight than ignorance in action."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
"To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime."
Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize 1915
"You may talk about your religion as much as you like, but if it does not teach you to be kind and caring towards animals as well as humans, then it is nothing but a sham."
Anna Sewell
"The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit. All education should be directed toward the refinement of the individual's sensibilities in relation not only to one's fellow humans everywhere, but to all things whatsoever."
Ashley Montague
"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."     - Abraham Lincoln
"Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are like us'.... Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us.' Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction."         - Charles R. Magel
"As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together."
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize Winner
"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right."
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
"First it was necessary to civilize man in relation to man. Now it is necessary to civilize man in relation to nature and the animals."
Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885). French Poet, Author and Playwright
“Of all the creatures, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he's the one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.”
Mark Twain, American Novelist
"Whenever people say 'We mustn’t be sentimental', you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add 'We must be realistic', they mean they are going to make money out of it."          - Brigid Brophy (1929–1995)
You, (my meat-eating friends), put your health at risk - that's your business. But animal-based diets put the land, the water, the air, a society's collective health, and even our collective pharmaceutical resources at risk. That's my business. That's everyone's business."
Howard Lyman, (Ex-cattle rancher turned vegan)
“The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front of it.” 
 Axel Munthe (1857 - 1949), Swedish Physician and Psychiatrist
"God put the animals in our keeping and made us responsible for their care and protection. We live together on the same planet. Yet, seeking to escape pain ourselves, we do not hesitate to inflict it on our fellow creatures, without compunction. Sowing pain and death, what do we expect to reap?"
Peter Hoffman
"Animals are sentient beings with feelings. They are not toys to be played with and discarded when inconvenient. They are not to be treated as children or the elderly or the handicapped or the comatose. They are alive and aware. They think. They feel. They make choices."
Nedda Wittels, Animal Communicator
"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace."
Albert Schweitzer, The Philosophy of Civilization
"Unless we change our food choices, nothing else matters, because it is meat that is destroying most of our forests, it is meat that pollutes the waters, it is meat that is creating disease which leads to all our money being diverted to hospitals, so it's the first choice for anyone who wants to save the Earth." 
Maneka Gandhi, former Indian Government Minister
"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages." 
Thomas A. Edison 
"When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal. When he destroys one of the works of God we call him a sportsman." 
-- Joseph Wood Krutch
"Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and brutal taking of life. We don’t have to be a part of it.”
Dick Gregory (Marin Independent Journal, April 28, 1998)

"In this sick culture, we know that every day the sick, the stupid, and the evil, bully and destroy those who are far their better. Every lab, farm and fur animal, every poisoned wild bird, every beaten child, every raped woman knows this."


Last Updated on Sunday, 06 January 2013 06:21


Carpe diem

"Finding and expressing your vision is a journey, not a destination".

Carpe diem 

Buying Books

“Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them; but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.”

Arthur Schopenhauer, Counsels and Maxims (The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Motivating quotes

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
C. S. Lewis

Nothing in the world can take the persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.  Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

- Calvin Coolidge 

I fell.  I got up.  I fell again.  I got up again.  Even when I fell on my face, I was still falling forward.
- Catherine Ann

Persistence is the fifth and final pillar of self-discipline. - anon.

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
Napoleon Hill

 Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.
Napoleon Hill

 Energy and persistence conquer all things. Benjamin Franklin

 Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacle s, discouragement s, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. Thomas Carlyle

 Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence. Hal Borland

 Ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. William Eardley IV

 Never let your persistence and passion turn into stubbornness and ignorance. Anthony J. D'Angelo

 The most essential factor is persistence - the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come. James Whitcomb Riley

 Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.
Dale Carnegie

 As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.  
Denis Waitley

 Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.  
Denis Waitley

 Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.  
Colin Powell

 The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.  
Napoleon Hill

 Continuous, unflagging effort, persistence and determination will win. Let not the man be discouraged who has these. 
  James Whitcomb Riley

 As for goals, I don't set myself those anymore. I'm not one of these 'I must have achieved this and that by next year' kind of writers. I take things as they come and find that patience and persistence tend to win out in the end. 
  Paul Kane

 Failure is only postponed success as long as courage 'coaches' ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory. Herbert Kaufman
 Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. 
  Bill Bradley

 Paralyze resistance with persistence. Woody Hayes

 Survival, in the cool economics of biology, means simply the persistence of one's own genes in the generations to follow. Lewis Thomas

 My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories. 

  Bjorn Borg


 If you're going through hell, keep going.  -- Winston Churchill

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. Eleanor Roosevelt
 Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.  
-- Thomas A. Edison

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Carpe Diem - Seize the day

"Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you're going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus." 

- Oprah 

Feeling Energetic?  What's your plan for the day?

*Carpe Diem is the way to live with multiple sclerosis because each day requires an estimation of your vitality that day.  If you wake up with lots of energy, get out  the appropriate "To Do" list.  

On the other hand, if you wake up feeling under the weather, you need to plan for a day at home.  Maybe even extra rest in bed will be required.

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying."

Robert Herrick, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time", 1648

 "Carpe Diem,... Seize the day, boys, make your lives extraordinary."
-- "Dead Poets Society" ("Clube dos Poetas Mortos")


Robin Williams plays the school teacher

Carpe Diem - Seize the day

 This is a few of the most inspiring clips from Dead Poets Society...


Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? 

If you aren't sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. 

The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle. 

In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that:
successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently:

1. Get specific. When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible.

"Lose 5 pounds" is a better goal than "lose some weight," because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like.

Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. 

Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. 

Just promising you'll "eat less" or "sleep more" is too vague — be clear and precise. "I'll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights" leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you've actually done it.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals. Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it's not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them

Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers.

To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take each action you want to take, in advance. 

Again, be as specific as possible (e.g., "If it's Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I'll work out for 30 minutes before work.") Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress — if not by others, then by you yourself. 

If you don't know how well you are doing, you can't adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly.  

Check your progress frequently — weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

4. Be a realistic optimist. When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it.  Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. 

But whatever you do, 

don't underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. 

Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. 

Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. 

Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won't improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills.
Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. 

Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. 

People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.
6. Have grit. Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point.  In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The good news is, if you aren't particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it.

People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don't have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking .... well, there's no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. 

As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. 

Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control "muscle" is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn't get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals.

To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you'd honestly rather not do. 

Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching, try to learn a new skill. 

When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up, or just not bother — don't. 

Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur ("If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.") It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that's the whole point. 

As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

8. Don't tempt fate.
No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it's important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam. 

Don't try to take on two challenging tasks at once, if you can help it (like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time).

And don't put yourself in harm's way — many people are overly-confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound.

Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won't do. 

Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? 

Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. 

Research on thought suppression (e.g., "Don't think about white bears!") has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior — by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken.

If you want to change your ways, ask yourself, What will I do instead? 

For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like "If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down." By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely.


Remember, you don't need to become a different person to become a more successful one. 

It's never what you are, but what you do.

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. is a motivational psychologist, and author of the new book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Hudson Street Press, 2011). 

She is also an expert blogger on motivation and leadership for Fast Company and Psychology Today.

Her personal blog, The Science of Success, can be found at

Follow her on Twitter @hghalvorson

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