Saturday, March 6, 2010

Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory | Video on

Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory | Video on

Get Out of Your Own Way


External Link to Source >>> http://online. wsj. com/article/SB121450609076407973. html?mod=yhoofront

Get Out of Your Own Way

Studies Show the Value of Not Overthinking a Decision
June 27, 2008; Page A9

Fishing in the stream of consciousness, researchers now can detect our intentions and predict our choices before we are aware of them ourselves. The brain, they have found, appears to make up its mind 10 seconds before we become conscious of a decision -- an eternity at the speed of thought...

Their findings challenge conventional notions of choice...

"We think our decisions are conscious," said neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, who is pioneering this research. "But these data show that consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg. This doesn't rule out free will, but it does make it implausible."..

Through a series of intriguing experiments, scientists in Germany, Norway and the U.S. have analyzed the distinctive cerebral activity that foreshadows our choices. They have tracked telltale waves of change through the cells that orchestrate our memory, language, reason and self-awareness...

In ways we are only beginning to understand, the synapses and neurons in the human nervous system work in concert to perceive the world around them, to learn from their perceptions, to remember important experiences, to plan ahead, and to decide and act on incomplete information. In a rudimentary way, they predetermine our choices...

To probe what happens in the brain during the moments before people sense they've reached a decision, Dr. Haynes and his colleagues devised a deceptively simple experiment, reported in April in Nature Neuroscience. They monitored the swift neural currents coursing through the brains of student volunteers as they decided, at their own pace and at random, whether to push a button with their left or right hands...

In all, they tested seven men and seven women from 21 to 30 years old. They recorded neural changes associated with thoughts using a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine and analyzed the results with an experimental pattern-recognition computer program...

While inside the brain scanner, the students watched random letters stream across a screen. Whenever they felt the urge, they pressed a button with their right hand or a button with their left hand. Then they marked down the letter that had been on the screen in the instant they had decided to press the button...

Studying the brain behavior leading up to the moment of conscious decision, the researchers identified signals that let them know when the students had decided to move 10 seconds or so before the students knew it themselves. About 70% of the time, the researchers could also predict which button the students would push...

"It's quite eerie," said Dr. Haynes...

Other researchers have pursued the act of decision deeper into the subcurrents of the brain...

In experiments with laboratory animals reported this spring, Caltech neuroscientist Richard Anderson and his colleagues explored how the effort to plan a movement forces cells throughout the brain to work together, organizing a choice below the threshold of awareness. Tuning in on the electrical dialogue between working neurons, they pinpointed the cells of what they called a "free choice" brain circuit that in milliseconds synchronized scattered synapses to settle on a course of action...

"It suggests we are looking at this actual decision being made," Dr. Anderson said. "It is pretty fast."..

And when those networks momentarily malfunction, people do make mistakes. Working independently, psychologist Tom Eichele at Norway's University of Bergen monitored brain activity in people performing routine tasks and discovered neural static -- waves of disruptive signals -- preceded an error by up to 30 seconds. "Thirty seconds is a long time," Dr. Eichele said...

Such experiments suggest that our best reasons for some choices we make are understood only by our cells. The findings lend credence to researchers who argue that many important decisions may be best made by going with our gut -- not by thinking about them too much...

Dutch researchers led by psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis at the University of Amsterdam recently found that people struggling to make relatively complicated consumer choices -- which car to buy, apartment to rent or vacation to take -- appeared to make sounder decisions when they were distracted and unable to focus consciously on the problem...

Moreover, the more factors to be considered in a decision, the more likely the unconscious brain handled it all better, they reported in the peer-reviewed journal Science in 2006. "The idea that conscious deliberation before making a decision is always good is simply one of those illusions consciousness creates for us," Dr. Dijksterhuis said...

Does this make our self-awareness just a second thought?

All this work to deconstruct the mental machinery of choice may be the best evidence of conscious free will. By measuring the brain's physical processes, the mind seeks to know itself through its reflection in the mirror of science...

"We are trying to understand who we are," said Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, "by studying the organ that allows you to understand who you are."..

happiness is a skill: The Celistine Insights

happiness is a skill: The Celistine Insights

The Celistine Insights

The Coincidences That Shape Our Lives

The First Insight is the insight of awakening. We look out on our lives and realize that more is occurring than we thought. Beyond our everyday routines and challenges we can detect the mysterious influence of the divine: "meaningful coincidences" that seem to be sending us messages and leading us in a particular direction. At first we only glimpse these coincidences as we race by, hardly paying attention. But eventually we begin to slow down and to look more closely at these events. Open and alert, we are more able to detect the next synchronistic event. Coincidences seem to ebb and flow, sometimes rushing forward in quick succession, other times leaving us becalmed. Yet we know that we have discovered the soul process that guides our lives forward. The remaining Insights clarify how to increase the frequency of this mysterious synchronicity and discover the ultimate destiny toward which we are being led.

Using the 1st Insight and Increasing Its Benefit
Be aware that your life has a purpose, and events happen for a reason.

Begin the process of finding meaning behind each life event.

Acknowledge restless energy as a sign of needed change and deeper awareness. Listen to your body.

Realize that what you pay attention to will expand.

Notice when you feel a signal to talk with someone who might be able to help with your current questions. Where does your attention go? What did you notice today?

Trust your process. Live by letting yourself be guided, not by a forced set of goals. Know that you are fulfilling your life's destiny.

Start a personal journal for recording synchronistic events. Writing in a journal is a good way to clarify your thoughts.

INSIGHT 2: The Longer Now:
Expanding the Historical Context

The Second Insight is the awareness that our perception of mysterious life coincidences is a significant historical occurrence. After the collapse of the medieval worldview, we lost the security that came from the church's explanation of the universe. Therefore, five hundred years ago we collectively decided to focus on mastering nature, on using our science and technology to settle into the world. We set out to create a secular security to replace the spiritual one we had lost. To feel more secure, we systematically pushed away and denied the mysterious aspects of life on this planet. We crafted the illusion that we lived in a universe that was entirely explainable and predictable, and where chance events had no meaning. To maintain the illusion, we tended to deny any evidence to the contrary, to restrict scientific research into paranormal events, and to adopt an attitude of absolute skepticism. Exploring the mystical dimensions of life became almost taboo.

Gradually, however, an awakening has begun. Our awakening is nothing less than breaking free from the modern age's secular preoccupation, and opening our minds to a new, more truthful view of the world.

Using the 2nd Insight and Increasing Its Benefit
Be aware that you have chosen to live at this crucial time in history.

Ask support from your higher self to give you clear messages.

Recognize the amount of time you spend trying to control events or people.

Choose enjoyable activities. Do less out of a sense of obligation (which is different from responsibility.) Choose one activity that you are able and willing to let go of right now with a clear conscience. Having fun and creating more open time raises your energy level and increases your chances for coincidences.

Acknowledge any support you receive with gratitude.

INSIGHT 3: A Matter Of Energy

The Third Insight describes our new view of the universe as energy dynamic. As we look out on the world around us, no longer can we think of everything as composed of material substance. From the many findings of modern physics and the growing synthesis with the wisdom of the East, we are coming to know the universe as a vast field of energy, a quantum world in which all phenomena are interconnected and responsive. From the wisdom of Eastern thought, we know that we ourselves have access to this universal energy. We can project it outward with our thoughts and intentions, influencing our reality and the reality of others.

Using the 3rd Insight and Increasing Its Benefit
Spend some time in a natural setting.

Practice focusing on a tree or plant, and imagine a band of light around it.

See if you can beautify your environment in small ways.

Notice energy shifts, and practice building energy consciously at least once a day.

Practice seeing the beauty in your friends, family and coworkers.

Eat slowly and consciously savor your food to get the maximum energy form it.

INSIGHT 4: The Struggle For Power

The Fourth Insight is the awareness that humans have often cut themselves off from an inner connection with mystical energy. As a result, we have tended to feel weak and insecure, and we have often sought to build ourselves up by securing energy from other human beings. We do this by seeking to manipulate or dominate the other's attention. If we can force the attention of another, then we feel a boost from the other's energy, making us stronger, but leaving that person weakened. Often others fight back against the usrping of their strength, creating a power struggle. All conflict in the world stems from this battle over human energy.

Behaviors to Keep Your Energy Focused and Free
Stay present in the moment.

Be your authentic self - be real.

Pay attention to your feelings.

Listen actively - clarify what you hear.

Stay in your Adult ego state.

Focus on how you want to feel.

Tell the truth as you feel it.

Let go of attachment to only one outcome.

Let the mystery unravel.

Stay open.

INSIGHT 5: The Message of the Mystics

The Fifth Insight is the experience of inner connection with divine energy. By exploring and pursuing our divinity within, we can personally make contact with a type of experience called mystical. In our search for this altered state, we distinguish between intellectual description of this awareness and the awareness itself. In this regard, we apply certain experiential measures which indicate we are in connection with universal energy. For instance, do we experience a lightness of body? Do we feel light on our feet, bouyant? Do we experience a vividness of perception such as enhanced colors, smells, tastes, sounds, a sense of beauty? Do we experience a sense of oneness, total security? And above all, do we experience the state of awareness called love? Not toward someone or something, but as a constant background sensation in our lives. No longer do we want to just talk about mystical awareness. We have the courage to apply these measures to really seek this connection with the divine. It is this connection with total energy that resolves all conflict. We no longer need energy from others.

Gateways to Higher Consciousness

Higher consciousness is what distinguishes the mystical and is not always the result of spiritual dicipline or meditative practice. It can be triggered by being close to death, experiencing a personal drama, or even just by closing one's eyes for a moment of introsoection. Characteristics common to these states are:
seeing a dazzling light accompanied by a feeling of joy

feeling absolutely secure and loved

feeling estactic

a feeling of lightness, boyancy

understanding intuitively how the universe works

releasing all fear of death, seeing the continuum of life
As you practice direct connection to universal energy, the most important measures are background feeling of love (not connected to any one object) and contact with your interior knowing or hunches. If you are truly connected, you will feel love.

Our Changing Consciousness

The common changes that occur in the lives of those who have had mystical experiences may be summarized as:
feeling connected to a higher source

shifting interest from material accumulation

enhanced appreciation of beauty and other people

enhanced abilities, desire to learn

enhanced extrasensory abilities

sense of mission

lack of self-consciousness

ability to inspire others

INSIGHT 6: Clearing The Past:
Our Parental Lineage and Control Dramas

The Sixth Insight is the awareness of when we lose our inner connection with divine energy. Often we find that at these times we are resorting to our personal (and unconscious) way of manipulating others out of their energy. These manipulations are generally either aggressive or passive.

There are four main classifications of energy manipulations, and they operate on a continuum. Some people use more than one in different circumstances, but most of us have one dominant "control drama" that we tend to repeat, depending on which one worked well on members of our early family. Also, some people use the dramas to varying degrees, depending on how centered they are with respect to the universal energy. Each of the four control dramas creates specific energy dynamics which manifest a matching drama.


With the most aggressive drama, Intimidators get every one to pay attention to them by force of loudness, physical strength, threats, unexpected outbursts. The keep everyone on edge for fear of triggering off embarrassing moments, anger, and rage. Energy comes towards them because of the fear and suspicion of the "next event." Intimidators always have the stage. They make everyone feel afraid or anxious.

Basically egocentric, their behavior may range from ordering others around, talking continuously, being authoritarian, being inflexible and sarcastic, to being violent. Intimidators are probably the most cut off from universal energy. They initially engage others by creating an aura of power.

The matching drama that is created by an Intimidator is primarily the Poor Me, the most passive energy dynamic. The Poor Me, feeling that the Intimidator is robbing him or her of energy on a frightening scale, tries to stop the threatening interchange by assuming a cringing, helpless attitude. The Poor Me attempts to make the Intimidator feel guilty in order to stop the attack and regain a flow of energy. The other possibility for a matching drama is the counter-Intimidator. This drama will occur if the Poor Me attitude does not work, or if the personality of the other person is also aggressive. Then this person will fight back with the original Intimidator. If one of your parents was an Intimidator, chances are one of his or her parents was an Intimidator or a Poor Me.


Interrogator are less threatening, but break down spirit and will by mentally questioning all activities and motivations. Hostile critics, they look for ways to make others wrong. The more they dwell on your faults and mistakes, the more you will watch them and react to their every move. As you strive to prove yourself or answer to them, the more energy you send their way. Whatever you say may be used against you at some time. You feel as if you are constantly being monitored.

Hyper-vigilant, their behavior may range from being cynical, skeptical, sarcastic, needling, perfectionistic, self-righteous, to viciously manipulative. They initially engage others with their wit, infallible logic, facts, and intellect.

As parents, Interrogators create Aloof children and sometimes Poor Me's. Both types want escape the probing of the Interrogator. Aloofs want escape having to answer (and be drained of their energy) to the constant scrutiny and needling of the Interrogator.


Aloof people are caught up in their own internal world of unresolved struggles, fears, and self-doubt. They believe unconsciously that if they appear mysterious or detached, others will come to draw them out. Often lonely, they keep their distance for fear of others imposing their will or questioning their decisions (as their Interrogator parents did). Thinking they have to do everything on their own, they don't ask for help. They need a lot of space and often avoid being pinned down by commitments. As children they were not often allowed to satisfy their need for independence or acknowledged for their own identity.

Prone to move toward the passive end of the continuum, they don't realize that their own aloofness might be the cause of their of their not getting what they want (e.g., money, love, self-esteem), or for their feelings of stagnation or confusion. They often see their main problem as the lack of something (money, social contacts, education).

Their behavior ranges from disinterested, unavailable, uncooperative, to condescending, rejecting, contrary, and sneaky.

Skilled at detachment as a defense, they tend to cut off their own energy. Opportunities slip away while they overanalyze everything. With any hint of conflict or confrontation, the Aloof becomes vague and can disappear (screening phone calls or not keeping appointments). They initially engage through their mysterious, hard-to-get persona.

Aloofs usually create Interrogators, but can also get into dramas with Intimidators or even Poor Me's because Aloofs are the center of the continuum.

Poor Me or Victim

Poor Me's don't ever feel they have enough power to confront the world in an active way, so they elicit sympathy, pulling energy toward them. When using the silent treatment they may slide toward the Aloof mode, but as Poor Me's they make sure that the silence does not go unnoticed.

Always pessimistic, Poor Me's pull attention to themselves by worried facial expressions, sighing, trembling, crying, staring into the distance, answering questions slowly, and retelling poignant dramas and crises. They like to go to the last of the line and defer to others. They often say, "Yes, but…"

Poor Me's initially seduce by their vulnerability and need for help. However, they are not really interested in solutions because then they would lose their source of energy. They might also exhibit over-accommodating behavior which eventually leads them into feeling taken advantage of and reinforces their Poor Me method of gaining energy. As accommodators they have little ability to set boundaries and limits, and behavior ranges from convincing, telling too much, to trying to solve problems that are not their business. They open themselves to being objectified, perhaps through their beauty or sexual favors, and then resent being taken for granted.

Poor Me's sustain their victim stance by attracting people who intimidate them. In extreme cases of domestic violence, an Intimidator will involve the Poor Me in increasingly violent episodes of abuse toward the Poor Me until a climax is reached. Afterwards, the Intimidator retreats and apologizes, thus sending energy that seduces the Poor Me back into the cycle.
Because we tend to repeat these energy manipulations with everyone we meet, and to structure life events around these devices, these control dramas are repeated patterns that seem to bring on the same life situations over and over. Once we bring our control dramas into consciousness, however, we begin to catch ourselves every time we revert to them, and so stay more connected with inner energy.

And once we become more centered internally and our control dramas come into greater awareness, these old habits can begin to evolve into positive strengths.

Intimidator / Leader

When connected to the true source of power, an Intimidator will find more self-esteem when he or she uses his or her leadership qualities. Assertive without being domineering, confident without being arrogant, he or she has more chance of enjoying challenges and gaining the cooperation of others.

Interrogator / Advocate

The Interrogator, transformed, channels the predilection for questioning into research, using more well-rounded interpersonal skills as a teacher, counselor or advocate.

Aloof / Independent Thinker

Freed from the need to remain an outsider, Aloofs access deep inner intuitive resources to bring wisdom and creativity to their life's work, such as being a priest/priestess, healer, or artist.

Poor Me / Reformer

Having experienced true nurturing and unity, the Poor Me is able to stay grounded in his or her own inner source and becomes a compassionate reformer, social worker, or healer.
An analysis of our early childhood can reveal how our control dramas evolved, but once this is forgiven we can see deeper reasons why we were with our early family. From our parents' strengths and from particular growth issues they didn't complete, we can derive our life question and our work or 'mission' in the world.

INSIGHT 7: Engaging the Flow

The Seventh Insight is the awareness that coincidences have been leading us toward the attainment of our missions and the pursuit of our life questions all along. Day to day, however, we grow by understanding and following the smaller questions that are derived from our broader goals. Once we get the questions right, the answers always come through mysterious opportunities. Each synchronicity, no matter how growthful, always leaves us with another prime question, so our lives proceed through a process of question, answer, new question, as we evolve along our spiritual paths. Synchronistic answers come from many sources: dreams, daydreams, intuitive thoughts, and most frequently, other people who feel inspired to bring us a message.

INSIGHT 8: The Interpersonal Ethic:
A New Perspective on Relationships

The Eighth Insight is the awareness that most synchronicity takes place through messages brought to us by other people and that a new spiritual ethic toward others enhances this synchronicity. If we are not competing with others energetically, and remain connected to mystical energy within, then we can uplift others with our energy, focusing on the beauty on every face, seeing another person's higher genious. The energy we give when we speak to the higher self lifts the other person into a fuller awareness of who they are, what they are doing, and so increases the possibility that a synchronistic message can be conveyed. The uplifting of others is especially important when interacting within a group, where the entire group's energy can enter whoever is intuitively moved to speak. Also important is using this ethic when caring for and interacting with children. To uplift children, we must speak to their higher-self wisdom and treat them with integrity. In romantic relationships, care must be taken that the euphoric love connection does not replace our connection with mystical energy within. This love euphoria always degenerates into a power struggle as both people become addicted to each other for energy.

Feeling Energized
Start your day with the intention of being alert for messages.

Before you leave the house, take five or ten minutes to center yourself, concentrating on your breathing. Imagine yourself filled with light radiating out for at least one or two minutes. Imagine yourself as part of a circle of incoming and outgoing energy.

Throughout the day, connect with the beauty in your environment as often as you can.
Energizing Others
As you meet and talk with people, see beyond their ordinary faces, to the glory of their spiritual essence.

Focus on their unique qualities. See beauty in their faces.

As you listen to them, give them your complete attention.

Project energy to them as they speak.

Remember that their higher self has a message for you, and you can assist them in giving it by filling them with energy.
Receiving Messages
Listen internally for any questions or remarks that occur to you to ask others . . . it could trigger an important exchange of information.

If you feel energized around this person, you probably have an important connection.

If you feel drained around someone, rethink what this relationship is offering you. Review codependency themes and warning signs.

Notice what thoughts occur to you after conversations.

What changes do you see in your life or your relationships as you practice these new behaviors?

INSIGHT 9: The Emerging Culture

The Ninth Insight is the awareness of how evolution will proceed as we live the other Insights...

If The Celestine Prophecy, the first nine Insights, was about the emerging understanding that we are awakening from the materialistic slumber of the modern age - about realizing we are spiritual beings connected within with the wise intelligence behind the universe itself, about opening up to our higher intuitive guidance and following mysterious coincidences that eventually reveal a truth, a mission, that we personally are destined to bring to the world...

Then The Tenth Insight is the deeper understanding that this has been the program behind human life since the beginning of the universe - that we, as humans, have come here from a heavenly dimension, generation by generation, to awaken and discover missions and thus systematically build a spiritual culture we can already envision.

The Tenth Insight is the realization that throughout history human beings have been unconsciously struggling to implement this lived spirituality on Earth. Each of us comes here on assignment, and as we pull this understanding into consciousness, we can remember a fuller birth vision of what we wanted to accomplish with our lives. Further we can remember a common world vision of how we will all work together to create a new spiritual culture. We know that our challenge is to hold this vision with intention and prayer everyday.
In The Tenth Insight, my goal was to enunciate an insight that I feel strongly has come upon spiritual people everywhere: that thoughts and intentions matter, and that we are called upon to make our mental images more conscious. When we have a thought about the future, any thought - random, whimsical, fear-based, or angry - these thoughts rise into the ethers and act to set up outcomes, many of which we wouldn't really want. In this sense, every thought is a prayer, and each of us is actively creating what will occur in our lives, as well as the shape of civilization in the years to come. That is how powerful we are.

What is most interesting about all of this is that science is in our side. If you have a sense that placing such importance on everyday thought is odd and fanciful and violates common sense, check again. Thoughts have a power that goes out over space to impact individuals and their course of action. And each of us must refine the vision of the future we hold, and hold it consciously.

Yet even as this insight begins to permeate the world's mind, I believe a new insight is emerging on the horizon: the importance of engaging the flow, of acting upon our vision. While this might seem self-evident -- we act all the time in the course of survival -- what I'm suggesting is that we're learning a new kind of action that more deeply reflects the vision of the future that we are consciously holding.

Here's an example. Suppose that one key element of the vision we pray for is that adults everywhere and governmental bodies of all kinds would focus anew on the care and nurturing of children. We think of this situation frequently, we fill the air with an image of everyone coming to their senses, and beginning to rescue children in need, cultivating their talents and gifts. But then, down the street, we notice a real child in real need. Perhaps the child is from a family under stress that would welcome our participation with the young person. We feel the intuitive urge to intervene, and we do. We act to nurture, to guide, to support.

Interestingly, the power of the act doesn't stop there. Others see the action, and as sociologists know, it enters into that important role of a social norm. Because one of us has done it, it is easier, more acceptable and understandable for another to do it. In short, our new vision, the image we are holding, now has a model.

Human evolution is theater. First we have a vision, then we build a world of meaningful activity around it. We live in an incredibly important time. Each of us focuses on a different aspect of human life that we are here to improve, and we hold a vision for the evolution we all desire. The next step necessary to move rapidly into a more ideal society is to find a way to act, to consciously create a new field of behavior that reflects our vision. It can sometimes be daunting, but the responsibility to take the first step always falls on those who see most clearly.

Just do it.

Then The Eleventh Insight, the one I believe is emerging into human culture in the present moment, is about how to use our highest energy and intention to bring about this world we intuit. For centuries, religious scriptures, poems, and philosophies have pointed to a latent power of mind within all of us that mysteriously helps to create the future. It has been called faith power, positive thinking, and NLP. I believe that for the first time we are taking this power seriously enough to bring a fuller knowledge of it into public awareness, and we are realizing that it is truly a faith/prayer power that can change the direction of our lives.

Key Concepts

• Every assumption, unconscious or not, is a prayer that we send out that acts to make that assumption true.

• This includes any unconscious beliefs about our own health, abilities, and success --which means that if we hold an opinion that we have poor abilities or might not succeed or reach our dreams, then it is exactly like we are praying for that specific outcome.

• It also means that any critical thought about others is just like praying for whatever we are criticizing.

• Mastering this faith/prayer power first means becoming aware of all our assumptions and mindful of every single thought.

• To extend our prayer power we must increase our overall level of connection with the divine within and let this energy overflow outward with very specific visualizations.

• We engage the angelic realms when our prayer power is focused on a specific situation.

It is my opinion that this change of understanding, this shift to believing in this power at a higher level, will move spiritual evolution at a quicker pace in this millennium. Not only will we increase our own mysterious synchronicity, and the speed with which our own dreams come true, but we will be able to intervene directly as we become aware of troubled situations. Prayer vigils will become much more effective.

The Eleventh Insight is the precise method through which we hold the Celestine vision. For centuries, religious scriptures, poems, and philosophies have pointed to a latent power of mind within all of us that mysteriously helps to affect what occurs in the future. It has been called faith power, positive thinking, the power of prayer. We are now taking this power seriously enough to bring a fuller knowledge of it into public awareness. We are finding that this prayer power is a field of intention and moves out from us and can be extended and strengthened, especially when we connect with others in a common vision. This is the power through which we hold the vision of a spiritual world and build the energy in ourselves and others to make this vision a reality.


What a human world. Look at it. At first glance, all we see is conflict, competition, and the old habit of demonizing those who seem to be opposed to our ideas: in order to make ourselves feel correct and more important.

In politics, the political left demonizes the right, and vice versa. In education any attempt at reform and rejuvenation, is met with cries of racism and union busting by those guarding the status quo. In medicine, we see the dominating power of big pharmaceutical corporations; spending millions to court doctors, influence research, (all once deemed unethical) all the while expanding the mechanistic model of the human body. Corporate support of medical schools seems to be turning physicians into sales representatives, winning trips for pushing one drug over another. (Also once considered unethical.)

Soon, as President Bush announced in a recent speech, there will be synthetic hormones, and brain chemicals, and designer "feel good" pills that motor through the body homing in like tiny submarines to alter specific molecular interactions. They are even developing artificial blood.

The last straw, for many people, is having to cope with what seems to be the diminishing effectiveness of reform movements, once so full of energy and focus, which now seem to be losing steam. The younger generations do not seem to care as much. And the media is somewhere else chasing ratings. In short, the world seems increasingly out of control, with corruption and venality running rampant, terrorists promising more attacks, and a citizenry clearly overwhelmed.

Yet, from the Celestine point of view, a first glance into this crazy world is not enough. I am convinced society is not spiraling into oblivion; it is not slipping out of our control. We never had any control to begin with. All we really have is input. That's it. Sometimes our input, our viewpoint seems to be validated by the trends we see around us, and sometimes it goes the other way.

What we are witnessing in these crazy years is a momentary swing of the evolutionary pendulum, the last surge of momentum into the extreme, before we slow down and drop back in another direction. What we must grok, I believe, is that the progress of the world operates through a dialectical process, just as the philosopher Hegel envisioned in the Eighteenth Century. First, you have a way of life or belief, a thesis, and then someone disagrees, and proposes a counter idea, an antithesis. And then from outside these poles a compromise emerges, a greater truth or way of life that represents a better integration of the polar positions, one that works better. You have a higher synthesis. The pendulum swings in another direction.

Right now, we see the last hurrah of the materialist, secular orientation that has prevailed for so long in human society going wildly to the extreme. Already, a lived spiritual orientation has begun to blossom. But it has not prevailed yet, primarily because it is political expression that has not been fully developed. It often sounds like a replay of the old thesis-antithesis arguments between capitalism and communism, thinking that the only way to have an enlightened society is to force it on people, hailing big bureaucratic government to replace the personal initiative and independence of the materialist life, and preventing it from becoming a true transcending synthesis.

A synthesis to the current situation has to assert the importance of the system of private initiative and spontaneous creativity to a lived spirituality, but infuse this system with an ethical understanding that deals with our concerns about pollution, preserving cultural traditions, honoring consumer and worker protection, and acting in harmony with an emergent new spiritual viewpoint.

Of course, I believe the Celestine vision, emerging out there, by any name, is the new synthesis coming into view. It spells out a new life image of ourselves that sees our bodies as an energetic whole, and calling for a new nutrition-oriented medicine. It assumes an inner intuition that can guide our decision-making and synchronistically move each of us into a more inspired and productive economic niche, easing poverty, and pushing the ethical values mentioned above. And most of all, it sees evolutionary process for what it is: a march toward a perfection of human culture by consciously working through polar opposites until we can take the best aspects of both extremes and mold them into something that both sides can accept.

This allows evolution to take a step forward, instead of remaining deadlocked in a stalemate of demonization.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Attitude by Charles Swindoll

The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skills. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.

Children Learn What They Live

Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Neite

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child learns to feel shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement he learns confidence
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
He a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
Interesting Careers – Happiness Coach
By Paula Barnes
Shveitta Sethi Sharma – Happiness Coach

Shveitta Sethi Sharma is a Happiness coach and has spent almost half her life travelling around the world in search of an answer to “What is happiness?” This remarkable Woman sat down with the Women in charge team to discuss her interesting career path and passion for making a ‘happier’ world.

How did you become a Happiness Coach?
The whole idea came about as a lark over a breakfast meeting. I had just quit my job and was studying positive psychology and generally trying to understand the meaning of life/happiness. At the breakfast meeting (with media and banking people) I did not have any name cards, so when people asked me what I did, I said (in jest) I bottle happiness, study it and hopefully will one day be able to sell it.

I got many quizzical looks and a lot of interest. Everyone I met that day wanted to find out the secret of happiness. I received the maximum number of name cards of any day with every one asking me to email them once I had figured out the secret to happiness

Something that came about in jest suddenly sounded rather exciting and I decided to pursue the subject in its entirety. I started reading the various self help books available. I read a lot of material by Louise Hay , Esther and Jerry Hicks, Wayne Dawyer amongst many others, and then went on to read Martin Seligman’s and Tal Ben Shahar’s work on Positive Psychology followed by books on Epigenetics by Bruce Lipton and Candace Pert and tried to understand Quantum Physics by reading Greg Braden and Amit Goswami . Then I went on to read some philosophers and a whole lot of spiritual and religious text and attended various seminars, both scientific and spiritual. But the most useful resource turned out to be YouTube and Google. I pretty much found all that I was looking for in the theoretical field and then I started my practical data collection via interviews and Questionnaires.

As I read and researched, I came to the understanding that happiness was a self created and self fulfilling phenomenon. It was something we had a hundred percent control upon.
The next logical question therefore was, ‘If we had a hundred percent control on our happiness, was it possible to develop and exercise that control?

Even though we have a genetic bias towards our determinant state of happiness, I believe that Happiness is a skill and it can surely be developed with the proper exercises and some guidance.

What does a Happiness Coach do?

The job of a happiness coach is to guide one towards a more fulfilling and a positive life by offering the various tools available to raise the happiness set point. As with any other coach, is it a sports coach, a musical instrument coach, a parent or a teacher, the job of the happiness coach is to identify the current level of understanding of the subject and then identify ways of improving the same.

As one of my teacher “Matthieu Ricard” says “Happiness is life’s most important skill and often the most overlooked.

My current position as a Happiness coach therefore came about as a journey inwards into the self and the need to find out the real meaning of happiness for very personal reasons compounded by the immense interest shown by the people when I mentioned I was studying the meaning of happiness.

Did you need to study a certain course?
Yes there are courses that one can do to get a degree in ‘happiness’. It goes by the name of MAAP- Masters in Applied Positive Psychology offered by UPenn. But there is so much information available on line that if one truly wants to seek the knowledge for the sake of the knowledge and not the degree, it could be a lifelong endeavor.

I personally chose the path of knowledge and am constantly finding out more and more ways of increasing happiness.

What do you love about your job?
What I love about my job, actually it is not a job, it is a passion. A job is something one does in exchange of money. I have not yet been able to put a price on my passion, but have definitely received a lot in return. At times it has been a profuse thank you, a big hug, an amazing lunch, new friends or cheques in mail varying from 50 HKD to 8000 HKD. So I guess I can’t call it a job, but it is most definitely a calling, so I pretty much love every aspect of my calling. With every new person that I coach, I learn so much more.

What are some of the negatives?
The only negative, if you insist on my naming one would be that sometimes people who are going through a tough time may not seem to understand how it could be possible for someone to teach them how to be happy. They might then think you are trying to sell them into a new ideology which they do not agree with. On the other hand, sometimes if you do offer help, people might impose too much on your time and call you at any time of the night or day.

For those who would consider becoming a Happiness Couch what advice would you give them?For those wanting to become Happiness Coach, the number one thing I would say is Walk your walk and talk your talk. Become happy yourself and then you will automatically attract all that you need to become even more happier. I have met many coaches who preach, but do not follow. I do understand that a coach is not necessarily the best player on the team, but it sure helps to know the game. The more thorough one is in ones chosen subject the more successful one is. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Before embarking on coaching others become happy become happier yourself.


Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2010 at 1:42 am and is filed under Business, Education, Empowering, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response