Monthly Archives: November 2014

Enrich Your Life: Deepak Chopra’s 4-Step Spiritual Seeker Practice

Via @Yoga_Journal

BY DEEPAK CHOPRA

Deepak Chopra

A pioneer in the field of mind-body medicine and author of dozens of best-selling books on Eastern philosophy and personal transformation,Deepak Chopra, MD, is known for bringing traditional wisdom to contemporary issues.

In his latest book, The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times, he dives into the question of the existence of God, and offers his own thought-provoking approach to the ongoing debate between skeptics and believers. He doesn’t give black-and-white answers; rather, he encourages readers to explore their own inner sense of these questions and provides a framework and a set of practices to help each of us discover answers within.

See also 5 Mindfulness Meditations to Master Emotions + Stress

In the excerpt offered here, Dr. Chopra gives new meaning to the term “spiritual seeker,” explaining that true seeking is not a journey to find wisdom outside yourself, but a deeply personal process of introspection. Try the four-step practice below to begin to tap into your personal guiding principles, from which you can live a life of integrity and connection to your core self.

Survey Your True Desires

You are a seeker if these ingredients exist inside you. They may only be seeds; nonetheless you feel a stirring within you, some sort of desire percolating inside.

  • The desire to be real
  • The courage to step into the unknown
  • A refusal to be fooled by illusions
  • The need to feel fulfilled
  • The ability to go beyond material satisfaction
  • An intimation of other levels of existence

The material world is chaotic, filled with events beyond anyone’s personal control. To be a seeker, you are required not to conquer the chaos but to see through it. The Vedic tradition uses a clever metaphor for this: A seeker must walk through a herd of sleeping elephants without waking them up. The elephants are your old conditioning, which insists that you are weak, isolated, and abandoned. You can’t fight this conditioning, because once you wake it up, your fear, insecurity, and certainty that you must struggle to survive will have tremendous power. Once the elephants wake up, they’ll trample you.

So the world’s wisdom traditions figured out another way through. Sneak past these obstacles, without trying to fight them head on. Shift your allegiance, silently and inwardly. Stop being ruled by chaos and be ruled by your core self.

To become a seeker, you don’t have to walk away and exist as an outsider from society; you aren’t required to turn your back on those who love you or to proselytize a set of new beliefs. Those are the customary trappings of religious conversion. Instead, reexamine your present situation. Sit down and confront what your existence is about.

See also Is Yoga a Religion?

Step 1: Rate Your Outer Activities

In one column, list the external things you put effort into. Beside each category, put down a number, either the hours a week you devote to this activity or how much you value the activity, on a scale from 1 to 10.

Here’s a sample list:

  • Family and friends
  • Career
  • School, higher education
  • Wealth, property, and possessions
  • Politics
  • Hobbies
  • Exercise
  • Sex
  • Entertainment
  • Travel
  • Church attendance
  • Service organizations and charity

See also Tap Your Higher Power

Step 2: Rate Your Inner Pursuits

In another column, make a list of the inner activities that you put effort into. Rate these things, too, with a number, reflecting the value you put on each one or how much time you devote to it.

Here are some examples:

Step 3: Compare Your Priorities

Now compare the two lists. They will give you a rough sense of where your allegiance lies between the inner and outer. I’m not suggesting you play a spiritual blame game—almost everyone predominantly pursues outward activities. The material world holds us fast. And remember, it’s alright for inward activities to take place in the material world; they can be part of one’s daily routine.

Step 4: Assess Your Life’s Focus and Set Goals

Unless you devote time and attention to inward things, you are not seeking. Being pious and doing good works are not a substitute. They remain all too often on the external plane. If you wish to set spiritual goals, I’d begin with two that have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with getting real: Find your center, and then run your life from there. Both goals are necessary. If you leave out one, the other will have limited use.

Finding your center means settling into a stable, coherent state of awareness. Outer forces do not dominate you. You’re not restless, anxious, worried, or unfocused. The second goal is running your life from your center, which means obeying your subtle inner guidance, such as instinct, intuition, love, self-knowledge, trust, and compassion.

Take a look at your life and assess which of these two lists sounds like you right now:

You are finding your center when you:

  • Act with integrity
  • Speak your truth
  • Remain unswayed by the need to be liked
  • Do not fear authority
  • Respect your personal dignity and others’
  • Remain self-reliant, not dependent on others
  • Do not blind yourself with denial and self-deceptions
  • Practice tolerance
  • Become slow to anger and quick to forgive
  • Aim to understand others as well as you understand yourself

You aren’t living from your center when you:

  • Focus on external rewards
  • Crave approval from others
  • Open yourself easily to outside influences
  • Put too much emphasis on rules
  • Set yourself up as an authority
  • Compete as if winning is the only thing that matters
  • Gossip and belittle others
  • Hold on to prejudice or ideology
  • Seek revenge
  • Skirt the truth
  • Keep your inner world a secret

Once you achieve the two goals, your material world will hold together in the same way that you hold together. Inner and outer will no longer be two separate domains; you will have made them connect. You can operate from a core of integrity and express your true self. That’s how a person learns to overcome the material world’s chaos and fragmentation.

This project of seeking that I’ve outlined is existential, to put it in a word. The courage to be has traced a path to a solid sense of what it means to be real.

  • When you begin to suspect that you are the author of your own existence, seeking has begun.
  • When you use your awareness to actively shape your life, seeking has brought answers.
  • When you look around and know that reality is based entirely on consciousness, seeking has reached its goal.

The next stage is to journey deeper, always moving toward the source of creation, which is where real power lies. Seeking takes place in the material world, but finding happens somewhere else.

Reprinted from The Future of God, Harmony Books, an imprint of Random House, November 2014.

See also Q&A with Strala Founder Tara Stiles

How To Stop Negative Thoughts From Getting You Down Infographic

Via @MindBodyGreen

Everyone has negative thoughts from time to time, and they certainly have their place in the world. You wouldn’t want to be so positive that you believe you can travel across a city from building to building, for example.

But what happens to many of us is that negative, defeatist thoughts run on repeat in our heads, preventing us from taking action and moving forward when we’re more than capable of doing so.

If it were easy to stop this negativity playlist, pretty much everyone would. Sadly, it’s not the simplest change to make. That’s why the folks at Happify have created an infographic that details some surprising statistics about negative mindsets, and offers some effective techniques to shift to a more positive outlook.

Check out the infographic and share some of your strategies for cutting out negative thoughts!

How To Stop Negative Thoughts From Getting You Down (Infographic)

 

The Extraordinary Importance of First Impressions

Via @PsychToday

The first few seconds of a relationship may be the most crucial.

What You Should Know About Anxiety Disorders (Infographic)

Via @MindBodyGreen

Anxiety is a normal part of the human experience, but sometimes it spirals out of control, leading to devastating effects. Approximately 40 million American adults have experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year, which works out to almost 1 in 5 people over the age of 18.

These conditions can cause significant damage to the sufferer and her loved ones, but understanding anxiety disorders can go a long way toward promoting compassionate treatment and and research. To that end, the folks over at Tower of Powerhave put together this infographic that gives you an overview of anxiety disorders. You may learn a few things!

What You Should Know About Anxiety Disorders (Infographic)

Worlds Oldest Yoga Teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch’s Secrets to Long Life

Via @Yoga_Journal

BY JENNIFER D’ANGELO FRIEDMAN 

“I don’t want to know what I can’t do. I’m only interested in what I can do.”

If there’s living proof that yoga is the fountain of youth, it’s Tao Porchon-Lynch. The 96-year-old Guinness World Records-certified oldest yoga teacher in the world still teaches regular classes in Westchester County, New York. That is, when she’s not traveling around the world, coming in first place in ballroom dance contests, writing books, and makingvideos with Tara Stiles.

Porchon-Lynch’s life story feels like a movie (and it could end up being one, after she finishes writing her autobiography at the end of this year). The former MGM actress and model for brands like Lanvin and Chanel, who was born in French India, crossed paths with Marlene Dietrich, Gene Kelly, and Gandhi. She studied with B. K. S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois. And yes, you will work up a sweat in her yoga class, and you probably won’t be able to resist hugging her.

“Last weekend I came in first place in a dance contest. My partner was 70 years younger, and all ages were participating. I danced all day for two days then I taught two yoga classes Sunday morning. I wasn’t really tired.”

We sat down with the lovely-as-ever Porchon-Lynch last week after taking her Monday night class at the JCC of Mid-Westchester, where despite a recent slip on the dance floor and three hip replacements, she’s still demonstrating most of the asanas in her class. “I don’t believe in calamities,” she explains. “I don’t want to know what I can’t do. I’m only interested in what I can do.”

Most Important Yoga Lessons

Yoga Journal: You’ve been teaching yoga for 56 years and practicing it for 72 years. Are there any particular poses that you credit with helping to keep you young and fit?

Tao Porchon-Lynch: Breathing is more important than anything else—poses that are not done correctly are not going to help. It’s how much you can feel the breath moving throughout your body. If you’re in touch with the breath inside you, there’s nothing you can’t do.

YJ: Is there anything about yoga that you wish you knew as a younger person?

TPL: Not really. As a teacher, the most important thing is to have iscompassion. We’re not all made the same—you can’t tell everyone to do it the same way. Sometimes it’s better for students to stop physically and continue mentally, rather than strain. It’s important to watch your students to make sure you can help them.

YJ: You studied with yoga greats like the late B.K.S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois. What are the biggest lessons you learned from them?

TPL: They were both the greatest yoga masters. I loved Iyengar for one thing—his alignment, which was always perfect, and his principles of alignment. Pattabhi Jois was wonderful, all breathing, which was what I was looking for. I learned so much from Pattabhi that had to do with my inner self.

See also A Tribute to B.K.S. Iyengar

World's Oldest Yoga Teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch

The World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher on Aging Gracefully

YJ: Do you meditate?

TPL: I believe in nature. To me meditation is, if I see a flock of geese across the sky, I’ll stop my car. I don’t need to make it regular.

See also Why Meditating in Nature Is Easier

YJ: You’re still ballroom dancing?

TPL: Last weekend I came in first place in a dance contest. My partner was 70 years younger, and all ages were participating. I danced all day for two days then I taught two yoga classes Sunday morning. I wasn’t really tired.

YJ: Do you think being a lifelong vegetarian has helped you live a long, healthy life?

TPL: Maybe. I don’t believe in getting old. In America, look how many beautiful trees are hundreds of years old. They are losing leaves but they are not dying—they are recycling. In a few months, spring will start up again. You can learn so much from nature.

See also Aging Gracefully

Tao Porchon-Lynch’s 5 Rules for a Long, Happy Life

1. Don’t procrastinate—tomorrow never comes.
2. You can’t believe in something if you only do it halfway.
3. Each day, whatever is in your mind materializes.
4. Never think about what can go wrong. I know my best day is every day.
5. If you wait for something good to happen, it will. Don’t look for tragedy.

See also 4 Anti-Aging Tips to Grow Older the Right Way

The Holistic Pages is out! Issue: Nov21, 2014

THE HOLISTIC PAGES

A collection of news articles focusing on healing and balance of mind, body and spirit, acknowledging the world around us and our social network with kindness and compassion.

Published by : Sharon Halliday Hattingh on 21 November 2014

HEADLINES | VIDEOS | SCIENCE | HEALTH | SPORTS | EDUCATION | ENVIRONMENT | MORE…

Today’s headline
Chasing, Tackling Suspects Raises Cops’ Odds of Sudden Death – MedicineNet
 www­.medicinenet.com – TUESDAY, Nov. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Police face a higher risk of sudden cardiac death when they’re restraining or chasing suspects or engaging in altercations, compared to routine duties, ac…
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6 contributors – featured today:

    

 medicinenet.com
theholistichealingcentre.wordpress.com

Published with the help of Paper.li

Visit their site to sign up and start publishing your own paper NOW!

The 7 Laws of Impatience

@PsychToday

When does #Impatience cost us dearly? When does it serve us well?

Published on November 19, 2014 by #JimStone, Ph.D. in Clear, Organized and Motivated

 

RossHelen/Shuttershock

Sound familiar?

Have you ever wanted to give up on a paper you were writing? Or give up on school altogether? Have you ever had an interesting project turn frustrating when unexpected complications arose? Have you ever had to sit through school plays and movies you had lost interest in after the first scene? Have you ever had to wait too long to get through line, wait too long for the computer to load, or wait too long for Christmas to roll around?

Who hasn’t, right? We’ve all been impatient at times.

And we’ve all made rash decisions when our impatience got the better of us. We’ve left lines that were barely moving only to get into an even slower line. We’ve taken the pizza out of the oven two minutes early because we just couldn’t wait. Or we’ve blown up a perfectly good relationship because we weren’t sure where it was going, and we couldn’t stand the uncertainty.

We’ve also been overly patient at times, and have stuck with projects, jobs, or relationships long after it made sense to do so.

Which has cost you more in your life? Patience? Or Impatience? Different people will have different answers. Ideally, we’d get it right every time. We’d let our impatience get the better of us when changing course made the most sense, and we’d stay the course when that made most sense. Unfortunately, no one gets it right every time.

But here’s the thing. If we understand impatience better it will give us more power to get it right more of the time. And so I present to you these 7 laws of impatience.

Law One: Impatience is not a lack of patience.

The word ‘impatience’ is ‘im’ + ‘patience’, which, on the face of it, means “a lack of patience”. Just going by their names, patience seem like a substantial thing, or a specific mental process. And, by contrast, impatience is nothing but a lack of patience.

But this gets things backwards. Impatience, it turns out, is a very particular mental/physical process that gets triggered under specific circumstances, and motivates specific kinds of action.1 ‘Patience’ is the shadow term, signifying a lack of impatience. The patient person simply wasn’t triggered to impatience when others normally would be, or she found a way to overcome the impatience that did arise.

Somewhere along the way, we named these states backwards. Impatience should be seen as primary, and patience should be thought of as im-impatience.

Law Two: Impatience is triggered when we have a goal, and we realize it’s going to cost us more than we thought to reach the goal.

If you sit in your room with a blank mind, you will not be impatient. You’re just there. Now, if you decide that you want to go out and do something fun, you have adopted a goal. You are not yet impatient, but you might be setting yourself up for it. Suppose you call a friend to see if she is available to do something, and she is unavailable. Now you might start to grow a little impatient. And the longer it takes to find someone to go out with, the more impatient you will become.

When a child is waiting for Christmas, she might not be impatient at first, but when she begins to realize that she can’t stop thinking about Christmas, she grows impatient. Waiting for Christmas is costing her more than she thought it would in terms of her ability to pay attention to other things in the meantime.

You start writing a book, and you think it will take about 6 months. You’re on schedule, but you get an idea for an even better book. You realize that continuing to write the first book is costing you the opportunity to work on the second book. And you grow impatient.

You’re driving home and think it will take just 20 minutes to get there. But the two cars ahead of you are going ten miles per hour below the speed limit, and they’re driving side by side in the only two lanes on the road. You realize it’s going to take more time than you thought to get home, and you grow impatient.

In general, impatience happens when we have a goal, and we realize it’s going to cost us more than we thought to reach that goal.

Law Three: Impatience motivates us reduce the costs of reaching our goal, or to switch goals.

When we realize it’s going to cost us more than we thought to get to our goal, our mental gears start spinning. We start looking for ways to avoid the additional costs (in time, pain, distraction, credibility or opportunity).

When stuck in traffic, we start looking for strategic lane changing opportunities or alternate routes, or we start signalling to other drivers that we are growing impatient, so they might get out of our way.

When writing one book while dreaming of writing another book, we might try to speed up the process of writing the first book, or set the first book aside to work on the more interesting book.

The child waiting for Christmas might start bargaining with her parents, asking them to let her open one of her presents early. Maybe that will calm her mind for a while.

Law Four: Impatience and indignation are a potent combination.

Recently I was waiting in line at a grocery store, and my line wasn’t moving while the other line was moving right along. I was impatient. But I wasn’t just impatient; I was also a little indignant. The clerk in my line wasn’t checking, but was talking with her manager, and they weren’t communicating anything to us.

So, instead of switching lines, or waiting, I made a minor show of leaving my unpurchased goods at the counter and hurried off to another store. And there was an immature part of my mind whispering: “This will show them.”

In the end it took longer to get my lunch than it would have in the first store, and I was late picking my daughter up from school.

We’re in special danger of making an irrational choice when we run into unexpected costs, and we think the extra costs are someone else’s fault. If, for example, the clerk had told us that the cash register was broken, I still would have become a little impatient, but I would have simply switched lines and got out of there just a little behind schedule.

It was the combination of impatience and indignation that made me act like a fool.

Law Five: Impatience is more likely when we have more options.

When we’re part way done with one project, and get an idea for a better project, we can grow impatient. And, in general, the more options we have, the more prone we will be to impatience.

Any project will have it’s dips. There will be points where we feel on top of things and are optimistic, and other moments where we’re not sure the project will work at all. If we have no other project to work on, we can be fairly patient and just solve the problems as they come.

If, on the other hand, we have a dozen other projects we could be working on, we’re much more likely to abandon the current project when it gets hard. If we do this every time a project gets hard, we might find ourselves with a dozen half-finished projects lying around with nothing useful to show for all our effort.

That’s why Cortez burned his ships when he arrived in the new world. He wanted to take the “return to Europe” option away, so that, when things got difficult, his soldiers would not grow impatient, but would simply solve the problems and continue on the mission.

Cortez had a terrible goal. But he understood the value of limiting options in pursuit of that goal.

Options are good, but having too many options can be bad. Alvin Tofler called it “Overchoice” in his 1970 social critique “Futureshock”. Barry Schwartz calls it the “Paradox of Choice”.

Having too many options can make it more difficult to choose in the first place.2 And it can lead to more regret and a greater tendency to reverse course after the choice has been made.3

Law Six: Impatience can be bad.

Impatience can cost us.

If the child has no bargaining leverage, she’s going to have to just stew in her juices waiting for Christmas.

An impatient lane change can cause an accident.

Blurting out your feelings before you’ve thought things through can bring a premature end to a good relationship.

And switching away from projects every time they get difficult can leave you with a dozen half-finished projects.

 Law Seven: Impatience can be good.

But impatience can serve us well at times. Impatience is in our emotional-behavioral repertoire for a reason. When hunter-gatherers spent two days pursuing game and found nothing, it was good to grow impatient. It was good to consider the possibility that another food-acquisition strategy (gathering) might be better at that point.

Sometimes we are working on a project that’s going nowhere. Perhaps the market has moved on from what we’re building, and we need to accept that fact and start working on a different project.

Sometimes we are behind a slow car and there’s smooth sailing in the other lane.

Sometimes we’re in a dead-end relationship and need to get out so both parties can be happier.

Knowledge gives you power.

Here’s the exciting thing. When we understand how impatience works, we can channel our impatient energy when it’s time to speed things up or change course. And we can be more patient when it makes sense to stay the course.

The 7 laws of impatience empower us to ask the right questions when we find ourselves growing impatient:

  • What is my goal?
  • What did I think it was going to cost to reach this goal?
  • What are the additional costs I’m now aware of?
  • Am I blaming others for these extra costs?
  • Is it truly their fault?
  • Is it worth taking on even more costs just to teach them a lesson?
  • Do I have too many options?
  • Should I find a way to limit my exposure to new options?
  • Are there ways to reduce the costs of reaching this goal?
  • Is it time to abandon this goal?

Knowledge is power. And knowing how impatience works gives us the power to better strike the balance, so we can stay the course when it makes sense, and change course when that makes sense.

References:

1 Understanding Impatience, Jim Stone.

2 When Choice is Demotivating, Sheena S. Iyengar, Mark R. Lepper.

3 The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz.

Further Reading

For a slightly more in-depth treatment of impatience as an evolutionary adaptation, read Understanding Impatience.

About the Author:

Jim Stone, Ph.D. is a philosopher, avid student of

Motivational Psychology, and developer of personal productivity software and workshops

more…