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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

I read this on Oprah.com and will like to share it with you.

Eckhart Tolle: When You Don’t Know What to Do

As told to Leigh Newman
Oprah.com | July 24, 2012

The writer of The Power of Now explores how to arrive at new kind of clarity when we’re standing at one of life’s crossroads.


One scenario: Due to budget cuts, you may—or may not—be losing your job, and you’re not sure if you should take the much-lower-paying job at another company or just stay where you are in case things work out. Another: With the birth of your new baby, you need to move, and you can’t make up your mind between the neighborhood with the good public school and the one where the houses are actually in your budget. Yet another: After seven years together, your marriage has turned into a relentless series of bitter arguments, but you’re not certain if you should try to reconcile or finally end the relationship.

All of us have had these kinds of experiences—times when we have to decide something and we just don’t know what to do.

The first step is usually to collect information. You have to look at the facts of the situation: What’s for and what’s against. But even then, you still may not be able to come to a conclusion. For example, if you’re choosing between two three-bedroom houses, and they’re just about the same price, and they’re in just the same kind of neighborhood, you’re not going to get very far. Pros and cons are one level of decision-making but not the most vital one.

When we can’t make up our minds, it’s because of our minds, or what I call “the voice in your head.” Many people don’t even know they have this voice. But it’s talking away, creating a never-ending inner monologue. Sometimes the voice is even engaged in a dialogue, because it splits into two and you start talk to yourself. The chatter is so incessant it’s like having a continuous humming sound from a refrigerator or an air conditioner in the room with you and after a while, you don’t hear it anymore.

During tough choices, this voice isn’t very helpful. Often it criticizes, keeping a running commentary about you and all the things you did wrong or you just didn’t do. It criticizes others as well. It’s like living with somebody who can’t stand you, much less anybody else. You wouldn’t want to live with a person like that. You would walk out of the relationship. But since you can’t get free of your mind, you’re stuck. The result? You get discouraged. You can’t see the positive side to what might come from your decisions.

The voice in your head also creates a huge amount of problems that aren’t really problems. They’re just things that haven’t happened yet, things that could happen tomorrow or next week. Listening to unreal problems has another name: worrying. That’s what the voice in your head does. It what-ifs. It frets. It agonizes, and you can no longer sense the joy of life.

 

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I subscribe to “Gail Lynne Goodwin’s Inspire Me Today”, and I will like to share yesterday’s words of brilliance with you.

 Today’s Brilliance: Dr. Ramani Durvasula

Dr. Ramani is a professor of psychology and the author of the upcoming You Are WHY You Eat, a new look at eating, loving, living and walking away.

Goethe famously wrote “One lives in this world but once…”

If that is the case, ask yourself, “What do I want my life to look like?” Then make it look that way. In making that journey, here are some provisions for your psychological backpack:

  • Do not  invite regret into your life. Instead, take chances, try new things, and  take the path less travelled.  Regret never dissipates, and second chances are rare.
  • Beware  of scripting your life…. Storytelling can trap us in other people’s  scripts.  Let life happen rather than forcing it to fit someone else’s idea  of what a life should look like.
  • Everything  is temporary, good feelings, bad feelings, and feelings in between.  Don’t  like how you feel today? Hang tough, it will change.
  • Failure  is good, because it kicks us into new routines, keep setting the bar a little higher, and keep learning from those mistakes.
  • Sleep. It’s the only miracle cure we have. Everything is a little easier with  some rest under your belt.
  • Stop saving for a rainy day. So many people spend so much time preparing for  the future that they miss the miracle that is unfolding in front of them.   Don’t be fiscally irresponsible but don’t let opportunities pass. Imagine  waiting 10 years to take a trip, but then that day arrives and you are too  ill to make the journey? Do it today.
  • Do what  you love and the rewards will come. They may not be financial, but it’s  easy to live in a small house if you are living a life full of meaning and purpose.
  • Spend a  little time outdoors each day, it was what we were meant to do as a species.
  • Pay  attention to the cycles of nature – moonrises, sunsets, tides, and  seasons.  They matter.
  • Put the  smart phone down and lift your head up. Spend time with people. Look into their eyes when they talk, listen to their stories. Every person has  within them a library of knowledge and fables, and if you listen, you will  get a hell of an education. I have learned more from broken conversations  with women around the world than I have from some of my professors at  university.
  • State  your dreams out loud, once you do, you have made a promise to the universe  and will be more likely to enact it. Dreams, like music, must be shared,  but only with those ready to hear them.
  • Don’t  throw bad money after good. When something is done, walk away. Pointless  persistence is lazy.
  • Surround  yourself with people who are advocates, who help your dreams take flight,  who watch you make mistakes quietly, and who love you afterwards. Quietly  split off from those who silence your dreams, clip your wings, and keep  you on the ground.
  • Travel.    Each time you do, you open a chamber in your heart you did not know  existed.
  • Watch  children play. Every baby is an existential scholar, more mindful and present than any Buddha.

 

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A Stroke of Insight

A Stroke of Insight
by Amy Anderson

On December 10, 1996, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor woke up with a pounding, pulsating pain behind her left eye. She was hypersensitive to light, and her hands were curled up like claws. “It was as though I was witnessing myself having this experience rather than me being the person having this experience,” she says.

At 37, Taylor was having a stroke. And she thought it was amazing.

Every 45 seconds, someone suffers a stroke in the United States. But Taylor was a brain scientist, a neuroanatomist at Harvard’s Brain Tissue Resource Center. And so, over the next four hours, as a blood clot the size of a golf ball slowly hemorrhaged to the size of a fist in her brain’s left hemisphere, she observed herself not just as a stroke victim, but as an expert on the brain.

In 2006, Taylor published the New York Times best-selling My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. Today, she is a sought-after speaker, addressing medical and nursing schools, corporations and even spiritual organizations. She was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008, and her speech at the February 2008 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference became a viral video that was seen by more than 5 million viewers.

The stroke occurred in Taylor’s left hemisphere, which is the logical, sequential, organized side of the brain, concerned with numbers, words and time. The right hemisphere is the intuitive, kinesthetic side that views the world in pictures and sees everything in the present moment.

That morning, as Taylor’s left brain began to shut down, she tried to continue with her morning routine. But when she lost her balance in the bathtub, she had a startling realization: She could no longer perceive boundaries around solid objects. She couldn’t tell where her hand stopped and where the wall started. “And through the eyes of a scientist,” she says, “I was really thinking, This is totally cool, totally interesting. But what is wrong with my brain?”

Taylor was alone, and as she got out of the tub, her right arm became paralyzed. “As soon as that happened, that was when I realized, Oh my gosh, I’ve got paralysis. That’s a warning sign of stroke. I’m having a stroke. And then I thought, Wow, this is so cool. How many brain scientists have the opportunity to do this?”

She knew she needed to call for help but couldn’t remember any phone numbers. Words and symbols didn’t register with her deteriorating brain. She drifted back and forth between moments of brief clarity and moments of great peace. “When I wasn’t in my left brain attending to details and going through this process [of finding a phone number], I would drift off into my right hemisphere consciousness, which was very peaceful and very blissful. There was no sense of urgency and there was no sense of fear. There was just this overwhelming sense of love and openness and being as big as the universe.”

After managing to match the “squiggles” on a business card to the “squiggles” on the phone, she reached a co-worker. When he spoke to her, he sounded “like a golden retriever. And I realized I couldn’t understand language. And then I tried to speak and the same ‘roar-roar-roar’ comes out of me. And it was like, oh my gosh, I sound like a golden retriever.”

After being stabilized at Massachusetts General Hospital, she was completely disabled. “I could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of my life,” she says. “I was essentially an infant.”

She underwent surgery, and over the next eight years, Taylor, with help from her mother, relearned everything. She learned to sit up, to use a fork, to tie her shoes. But she made agonizingly slow process. For example, her mother would teach her to put on her socks and at another time to put on her shoes. “But if you laid my shoes and socks in front of me and said put them on, I would not know that you had to put the socks on before you put the shoes on because I had no linearity to my thinking. And because I had no linearity, I could not multitask.”

Later, she learned vocabulary and conversation. She learned to read. “That was a particularly difficult and painful process for me,” she says. “Very complicated.” Because the right hemisphere thinks in pictures instead of words, she retained images of anatomy and brain structure, but no words to go along with them, so she also relearned the language of her career.

But the brain is designed specifically to overcome such enormous obstacles, Taylor says. “You know, it’s amazing that we are programmed for the brain to change, to adapt, to recover. It’s an absolutely amazing thing we’ve got inside of our heads.”

She compiled most of what she learned during her recovery in her book, including 40 things she needed most as a stroke survivor, a list to aid caregivers.

So what’s different now? Today, she is more artistic, thanks to a heightened ability to see the world with her more visually oriented right hemisphere. Among her works are stained-glass replicas of the brain. And she can sing on key, a new development since the stroke.

“If we look at our anger as simply a form of brain circuitry, we can take steps to diffuse that circuitry.”

“It has fundamentally shifted me,” she says. “Before, I was very left-brain-driven. I was a high achiever. My whole focus was really on my career.” She still works as the national spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, is an adjunct instructor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the consulting neuroanatomist on brain cancer for the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute. She also serves as president of the Bloomington, Ind., affiliate of NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) and is collaborating on Wii-like gaming tools for neurological rehabilitation from brain trauma. But she doesn’t stay so busy to boost her career.

“Now, I’m more concerned about having limited time in this body,” she says. “I have had an incredible experience and have incredible opportunities to apply what I have learned to the betterment of humanity. We are all essentially programmed for deep inner peace right there in the core of our right hemispheres.”

Taylor’s goal today is to share what she’s learned about how our brains affect our daily lives, which is the insight she refers to in her book. “We are circuitry. We are thinking circuitry, emotional circuitry and physiological circuitry.” She explains that it only takes 90 seconds for us to think a thought, have an emotional response, such as anger, and then a physiological response that fl ushes in and through us. “And I think that really has the power to change how we look at ourselves and how we look at others.”

Because if we look at our anger as simply a form of brain circuitry, we can take steps to diffuse that circuitry. “Instead of saying I’m mad, I’m madder than hell, say, I’m running my anger circuitry. Wow.” You observe the anger circuitry run its course instead of acting out. “And once that happens, then you have the power to just let it come and go,” she says. “You don’t have to rethink the thoughts that re-stimulate the feeling. You think about something else.” Redirecting your mind, as you would for a child throwing a tantrum, allows the circuitry to stop running and the anger to dissipate.

This insight also has the power to help curtail stress. The part of the brain that causes stress is mainly centered in the left hemisphere. “It’s the left brain that’s talking to us all the time,” Taylor says. “It’s telling us we’re behind; it’s telling us we’re late. It’s our worry circuitry.” So when we’re stressed and our mind is filled with what ifs, it’s important to remember that the left brain is just doing its job. And that we have a choice instead to use the right brain to bring us back into the present moment.

“The present moment is a great moment. I’m just grateful to be alive. I’m just grateful I have my health. I’m just grateful I have my eyes and can see. I’m just grateful I have bladder control because I’m caught in traffic. You know, we have alternative ways of looking at things. And the alternative is to bring my mind right here, right now, back to the present moment. It’s the little things,” she says. “And it’s a choice. That’s the point: It’s a choice.”

 

 

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