• The Work: Byron Katie’s Structured, Mindful Tools

    As the story goes, one day Byron Katie, who had spent a decade in the depths of depression awakened. She realized that she was trapped by her own thoughts, but that those thoughts weren’t actually “real.” Since then, she’s created a method for helping people take back control of their world by helping them figure out how to work with, not against, thoughts. To me, it’s another form of mindfulness, although that doesn’t seem to be described prominently in The Work, the overall process that she invented. As her site describes it: In 1986, at the bottom of a ten-year

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  • Daily Grateful: Martin Luther King, Jr.

    January 20, 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. was as spiritual man. His was a connection with brothers and sisters who were different–different beliefs, religions, skin color. He shared the goal of non-violence, acceptance, and love of one another. Yours in Mental Hygiene, The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness

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  • The Power of the Mind (and Words): The Placebo Effect

    Back in the 60s and 70s, stomach ulcers were a major problem among the most stressed out people. You don’t hear much about them anymore, but the truth is that ulcers were known to be caused–by and large–by individual stress and anxiety. Acid from stress would build up and cause the stomach lining to incur ulcers. The fact that people’s thoughts and feelings could cause physical ailments wasn’t the predominant approach to medicine back then. That view–that the brain and the body are separate when it comes to health–is changing rapidly. As I’ve described in earlier posts, we now know that those who meditate

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  • Daily Grateful: The Zen Commandments

    December 31, 2013 Thanks to my friend Daniel Woo for these “Zen Commandments” of Lama Surya Das:

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  • Daily Grateful: Some thoughts for the New Year Ahead…

    December 26, 2013 Looking ahead to 2014 Today, my parents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary Mother and Dad!) :). Some of the things they taught me include thinking about others, empathy, kindness, caring, laughing (a lot), the importance of smiling, giving, and caring. I learned the importance of sitting outside at 2 am with everyone on lawn chairs watching a meteor shower and seeing who could spot the most shooting stars. I remember the joy from the smallest things–a new album that you saved up for, unwrapped and listened to (over and over, much to my parents’

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  • Daily Grateful: I Am Malala

    December 24, 2013 About Malala. Many people know the story of Malala, but for those who do not, it goes like this: Malala Yousafzai was born in Pakistan on July 12, 1997 and lived in he Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. This brave young girl wrote a blog advocating the rights of education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had banned girls from attending school. In  2009, when Yousafzai was just 11 years old, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC of her life under the Taliban and their attempts to take control of the

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  • Daily Grateful: Letting Go

    December 23, 2013 Western Medicine Acknowledges the Importance of Letting Go. The importance of letting go isn’t just an Buddhist belief or core tenet, it’s also increasingly understood in the west as critical to well being. Even the Mayo Clinic devotes an entire page to letting go of resentment and anger–feelings and emotions that serve no purpose other than to keep us in a negative feedback loop. They summarize it as lack of forgiveness: If you’re unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped

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  • Physicists: The universe might be just a hologram

    Dude, what if…Back in college–well before college actually–my friends and I often wondered about the nature of the universe and how it might actually be just some experiment being conducted by a higher alien intelligence. Those were heady days. But like unfinished furniture, those philosophical discussions were eventually painted over with the “realities of existence” that so often coat our perceptions of modern life. Now, it seems, those crazy teenagers back then might not have been that far off the mark. That’s because string theory–an explanation of the universe that posits multiple dimensions of “vibrating strings” at the quantum level–is

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  • Daily Grateful: December 5, 2013

    Wonderful song, wonderful tribute by Simple Minds. Rest in peace.

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  • Daily Grateful: November 30, 2013

    This feel-good video, entitled Grateful, is from KarmaTube, a project of the very cool folks at “Daily Good.” The video, according to the site, was the brainchild of musicians Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod, who: …brought together dozens of people from around the world to create this beautiful, heart-opening melody. Inspired by the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge, the song is a celebration of our spirit and all that is a blessing in life. For the 21 Days, over 11,000 participants from 118 countries learned that “gratefulness” is a habit cultivated consciously and a muscle built over time. As a famous Roman, Cicero,

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  • The Importance of Internalizing the Good

    The phrase neurons that fire together, wire together is increasingly common among neuroscientists and psychologists to describe, essentially, one basic thing: the more of “something” that the brain experiences (it doesn’t care what–it’s just an agnostic recording device, for the most part–although it does “hold on” to negative thoughts, experiences, and memories more readily than it does positive ones), the more it reflects those experiences in newly “built” neural networks. Billions and Billions: You Control the Most Complex Object in the Known Universe …our brain has about a hundred billion neurons in it. In principle, the number of possible states of

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  • Daily Grateful: November 18, 2013

    Moving story of a little dog–and the people–who would not give up. Don’t ever give up. Believe in yourself. it’s not about falling–we all fall. It’s how we get back up again that counts.

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