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Meditation: Controlling one’s own mind to realize a new mode of consciousness

A carving of the Buddha sitting in meditation pose

The practice of meditation encompasses a range of techniques that can be used by individuals to cause their mind to experience a different level of consciousness. Meditation can be focused on many different goals, including self-regulation, religious experience, building internal energy sources, and relaxation. Typically, meditation is a practice that involves training the mind to engage in a particular habit of reflections. In some traditions, meditation involves attempting to separate the mind from the other experiences of the body, whereas others emphasize a physical element of meditation by encouraging repetitive action or vocalizations. The great Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Sivananda once said, “Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness.”

Many religious traditions developed practices that were intended to move the individual beyond the experience of the immediate self, and all of these can be considered forms of meditation. The earliest recommendations for the use of meditation can be found in the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, produced in India between c. 1500 and c. 500 BCE, and in ancient Buddhist texts, which promote meditation as essential for a path to enlightenment. In Tibetan Buddhism, meditation is both a path toward inner reflection to know oneself better and a path ultimately to move beyond the limits of the self.

In several traditions, meditation is intended to have a calming effect on the mind, which is why the term is often used nowadays to refer to a range of quiet relaxation techniques that do not necessarily have religious meaning. Even in the modern world, the idea of meditation usually means more than just relaxation, however. Communication with a reality that goes beyond the typically limited experience of consciousness requires that consciousness be transformed in some way. Thus, most religions include a form of prayer that can be considered a kind of meditation.

'Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism' by Chogyam Trungpa (ISBN 1570629579) Over 40 years ago, in his seminal book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, the Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche talked about how we misuse meditation as a defense against what we do not want to feel.

Ego is constantly attempting to acquire and apply the teachings of spirituality for its own benefit. . . . We go through the motions, make the appropriate gestures, but we really do not want to sacrifice any part of our way of life. We become skillful actors, and while playing deaf and dumb to the real meaning of the teachings, we find some comfort in pretending to follow the path.

This variety of meditation is in many respects quite different from what is conservatively understood as “meditation” in our contemporary culture. Meditation buttonholed as a somatic habit consists of two aspects. The first involves paying attention to our body, transporting our conscious intention and focus to and into our physical form. Devoutness is an opening of your heart to the promises you seek—the promises of peace, freedom, or awakening.

Posted in Faith and Religion Health and Fitness

Poorly Fitting Shoes Can Lead to Very Painful Feet

Numerous foot problems, counting hammertoes, blisters, bunions, corns and calluses, heel spurs, claw and mallet toes, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, and athlete’s foot, can advance due to negligence, ill-fitting shoes, and simple wear and tear.

Age and weight may add to your discomfort, but in many cases, poorly fitting shoes can be the perpetrator. Your health care provider can corroborate what’s instigating the pain-bunions, hammertoes, calluses or corns, fallen arches—if you don’t already know.

Poorly fitting shoes are painful and can promote foot problems.

Poorly Fitting Shoes Promote Foot Problems

The foot is a complicated structure of 26 bones and 33 joints, layered with an interweaving web of more than 120 muscles, ligaments, and nerves. It assists the following purposes: supports weight, acts as a shock absorber, serves as a lever to push the leg forward, and assists preserve balance by correcting the body to jagged surfaces.

Poorly fitting shoes are a recurrent source of foot pain. High-heeled shoes converge pressure on the toes and can worsen, if not cause, problems with the toes.

If your job or way of life requires a lot of standing, invest in some good shoes. Lack of support denotes that the force from your foot hitting the ground gets engrossed in your feet, knees, hips, and back.

For some people, an over-the-counter orthotic insert can aid to align the feet. Having something that helps maintain your foot in a more neutral position, like an arch support, can keep the muscle exhaustion from showing up in the feet and elsewhere. These are the shoe mistakes that can activate aches and pains.

Shoe and Sole Mistakes That Are Killing Your Feet

Shoe and Sole Mistakes That Are Killing Your Feet

Forefoot abnormalities due to ill-fitting shoes are predominant, especially among women. Ill fitted footwear is the cause of up to 75% of all foot surgeries, while forefoot pressure from high heels typically leads to pain, bunions, hammer toes and neuromas. To lessen the incidence of foot problems, patients must learn to measure their own feet and to buy footwear consistent with their fit and not their size. When purchasing shoes with high heels, a style with a rounded and roomier toe box must be selected. Foot problems can also be stopped by decreasing the time spent sporting high heels.

  • Wear comfortable, correctly fitting shoes. Look for ones with decent arch support and cushioning.
  • Wear shoes with acceptable room around the ball of your foot and toes and avoid narrow-toed shoes and high heels.
  • Lose weight if you need to.
  • Wear running shoes designed for comfort and support as much as conceivable, and change them when they wear out.
  • Keep your feet dry to circumvent friction. This may help avert corns and calluses.
  • Learn exercises to reinforce your feet and avoid pain. This can help flat feet and other foot problems.

Select and wear the right shoe for particular activities (such as running shoes for running). All together, the best shoes are well cushioned and have a leather upper, stiff heel counter, and stretchy area at the ball of the foot. The heel area should be sturdy and supportive, but not too stiff, and the front of the shoe should be flexible. New shoes should feel relaxed right away, without a breaking-in period. Alternate shoes. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day.

Dangers of Ill Fitting Shoes

Dangers of Ill Fitting Shoes

To ease general distress, apply ice to diminish pain and swelling. Also, raise or soak your painful foot or feet. Wear foot pads in zones of friction or pressure to prevent rubbing and irritation. When standing in one place for a while, sporadically flex your feet to rest them.

Wear shoes with arch support. Some podiatrists reason that it plays a crucial role in amending the configuration of some people’s feet, and some think its only rationale is augmented comfort. One thing to be sure of is that it can’t hurt, specifically if you do have an exclusively high arch or an principally flat foot. If you’re feeling any steady discomfort in your foot, talk to a podiatrist about getting over-the-counter or custom insoles for your shoes. At the least, they’ll make your everyday life and all the walking that comes with it marginally more comfortable. Don’t miss these signs of disease your feet can reveal.

Posted in Health and Fitness

Breakfast of Champions: Dark Cocoa Almond Oats Topped with Espresso Yogurt

Breakfast of Champions: Dark Cocoa Almond Oats Topped with Espresso Yogurt

A key contributor to obesity in the United States is the rise in unwholesome eating habits, with particular prominence on skipping breakfast, which has been associated with overeating, weight gain, and obesity. It is presently indeterminate as to whether the daily consumption of breakfast could bring about better appetite control and energy intake regulation in adults.

For a speedy, make-ahead breakfast that’ll endure you through the work week, combine the following in a Tupperware or another covered container. Place this container in the fridge, and in the morning, you’ll have a creamy, no-cook oatmeal breakfast.

  • 2.5 cups of rolled oats
  • 2.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1.25 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 0.25 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of sea salt

For a topping, mix the following in another container till no lumps remain:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt,
  • 1 shot or about 2 ounces of espresso
  • 1 tablespoons of maple syrup

If you’d like a booster, add blueberries. They add vitamin C and other antioxidants to whatsoever you’re intending to eat.

This recipe brings out the richness of the dark cocoa by the espresso yogurt. In addition, the fiber and healthy fats will keep you filled and dynamic all morning.

Posted in Health and Fitness

About Job Stress and Burnout

Job stress and burnout are career crisis of professionals

Job burnout was first identified in the 1970s as a career crisis of professionals working with people in some capacity. Subsequent research has established that burnout was neither a passing phase of baby boomers’ entry into the workforce nor a minor problem easily resolved. Instead, burnout has persisted.

Job stress and burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who do “people work” of some kind. A debilitating psychological condition resulting from work-related frustrations, which results in lower employee productivity and morale. Whiton Stewart Paine writes the following poem about job stress and burnout.

I’ve got the burnout blues
Everything is tense,
Feel too many stressors
Beating on my sense.
Watch my mind, it’s racing
Back and forth it goes,
Damn it’s hard to tapdance
Minus half your toes.
This endless flow of clients
Drowns me in their needs,
Hope, compassion, love are gone
As ire wounds my deeds.
Nights are just not restful
Days are nightmare bent,
Everything is dragging here
As energy is pent.
Success has been relentless
Pushing me past kin,
All those expectations
Have just done me in.
Policies, procedures
Weight my desk and life,
As bosses sit there screeching
Through me Ilke a knife.
The people I do work with
Friends once in the past,
Now ambush me in corners
How long can this last?
Heart it keeps on pounding
Empty gut’s aflame,
Cigarettes, coffee, booze and pills
Must keep me in the game.
Once I knew my passage
Running with the light,
Today I creep in darkness
Pausing, trapped in fright.
Most of life’s a shambles
Work is but a joke,
Constantly I’m pushing
Time goes up in smoke.
At home, a spouse is waiting
Amazing they’re still here,
One more crisis with this job
And they’ll be gone, I fear.
Influenza stalks me
Despair I seek and find,
Sick days spare my body
Mental health days heal my mind.
Everything’s a jumble
Values are askew,
No one’s got my answer
This empty soul is new.
Got the burnout blues
So I just sit and stare,
Feel too many stressors
And no one seems to care.

Taken together, it was shown that when employees manage to create boundaries between the work and non-work domains, it helps them detach from work and avoid the diminishment of energy and thus restrict the negative impact of the job. Additionally, it was shown that confrontation with high job and home demands might lead to burnout because it increases the experience of work-family and family-work conflict, respectively.

Posted in Health and Fitness

Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer

Oliver Sacks was a renowned British-American neurologist

Oliver Sacks was a renowned British-American neurologist. He served as a professor of neurology at NYU’s School of Medicine.

In an 1995 interview with Charlie Rose, he said that the brain was the “most incredible thing in the universe.” Sacks became popular as an author of best-selling case studies about his patients’ disorders. His his books adapted for film and stage, most prominently as the movie Awakenings (1990) starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

In February 2015, he wrote an essay in the New York Times about learning he has terminal cancer.

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well).

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate—the genetic and neural fate—of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

Oliver Sacks died on 30 August 2015 at age 82.

Posted in Health and Fitness Philosophy and Wisdom

The Cowboy and Masculine Trademark of the Marlboro Man Brand Image

Research has proved that when products are in effect equivalent, people go with what’s familiar, even if the product is only familiar because they know its name from advertising and recognize the brand.

'Twenty Ads That Shook the World' by James Twitchell (ISBN 0609605631) According to James Twitchell, author of “Twenty Ads That Shook the World”, the key insight that shaped modern advertising came to cigarette manufacturers in the 1930s. Twitchell’s book is subtitled, “The Century’s Most Groundbreaking Advertising and How It Changed Us All.”

During market research, cigarette manufacturers ascertained that smokers who taste-tested several cigarette brands without recognizing which was which couldn’t tell them apart. So, if any manufacturer wanted to sell more of his specific brand, he was either going to have to make it distinguished or make consumers think it was distinctive, which was significantly trouble-free. That insight give birth to the practice of selling a product by associating it with a glamorous lifestyle.

Marlboro is one of the best successful examples of changing the consumer behavior through a complete gender re-positioning. Ad agency Leo Burnett’s brilliant campaign made Marlboro one of the most valuable brands of all time. By creating the “Marlboro man,” Burnett transformed what was seen as an very feminine brand of filter cigarettes into a rugged, sexy masculine one in a matter of months. The image of the “Marlboro Man” projected rugged manliness in an effort to position Marlboro as a filter with flavor.

The Marlboro Man was first conceived in 1954. As the all-American cowboy, he was rugged and he was cool. He was the epitome of masculinity.

Back then, Jack Landry, the brand manager for Marlboro at Philip Morris said,

In a world that was becoming increasingly complex and frustrating for the ordinary man, the cowboy represented the antithesis—a man whose environment was simplistic and relatively pressure free. He was his own man in a world he owned.

Leo Burnett experimented with other ‘Marlboro Men’—ball players, race car drivers, and tattoo-covered hunks. They were all successful, but it was the cowboy that really “shook the world.” The macho spokes-model traveled the world. He crosses cultures and translated ideas of masculinity in a nonverbal manner, and became one of the most famous icons of all time.

In 1955, when the Marlboro Man campaign was launched, sales were at $5 billion. By 1957, sales were at $20 billion, representing a 300% increase within two years. Philip Morris easily overcame growing health concerns through the Marlboro Man campaign, highlighting the success as well as the tobacco industry’s strong ability to use mass marketing to influence consumers.

Posted in Business and Strategy Health and Fitness

Create Your Own Care Package

Create Your Own Care Package Think about what you’d do to renew yourself with just a snippet—or more—of time.

  • When you have five minutes … lay your head down, put your feet up, and give yourself a moment to think and dream.
  • With a half-hour … start a journal or give that yoga DVD a try.
  • During an afternoon … take yourself to a matinee or walk in the park.
  • Over a weekend … visit a friend you haven’t seen lately or hang out at a spa.

Whatever your ideal break, do it!

Posted in Health and Fitness

The Joys of Getting Old: You Don’t Get Old … You Get

The Joys of Getting Old

We’ve created a stereotype that old age is a very negative transition. Getting older is getting better. There is no convincing evidence about what happens to old skeptics, but their future is doubtful.

  • Old cooks never die, they just get deranged.
  • Old knights in chain mail never die, they just shuffle off their metal coils.
  • Old students never die, they just get degraded.
  • Old printers never die, they’re just not the type.
  • Old skate boarders never die, they just lose their bearings.
  • Old owls never die, they just don’t give a hoot.
  • Old sewage workers never die, they just waste away.
  • Old cashiers never die, they just check out.
  • Old accountants never die, they just lose their balance.
  • Old photographers never die, they just stop developing.
  • Old typists never die, they just lose their justification.
  • Old cleaning people never die, they just kick the bucket.
  • Old electricians never die, they just lose contact.
  • Old teachers never die, they just lose their class.
  • Old hippies never die, they just smell that way.
  • Old deans never die, they just lose their faculties.
  • Old schools never die, they just lose their principals.
  • Old actors never die, they just drop apart.
  • Old investors never die, they just roll over.
  • Old bankers never die, they just lose interest.
  • Old garage men never die, they just retire.
  • Old policemen never die, they just cop out.
  • Old horticulturists never die, they just go to pot.
  • Old limbo dancers never die, they just go under.
  • Old farmers never die, they just go to seed.
  • Old bookkeepers never die, they just lose their figures.
  • Old daredevils never die, they just get discouraged.
  • Old programming wizards never die, they just recurse.
  • Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal.
  • Old quarterbacks never die, they just pass away.
  • Old numerical analysts never die, they just get disarrayed.
  • Old milkmaids never die, they just lose their whey.
  • Old basketball players never die, they just go on dribbling.
  • Old sculptors never die, they just lose their marbles.
  • Old steel makers never die, they just lose their temper.
  • Walt Disney didn’t die. He’s in suspended animation.
  • Old sailors never die, they just get a little dingy.
  • Old archers never die, they just bow and quiver.
  • Old number theorists never die, they just get past their prime.
  • Old laser physicists never die, they just become incoherent.
  • Old beekeepers never die, they just buzz off.
  • Old Soldiers never die. Young ones do.
  • Old wrestlers never die, they just lose their grip.
  • Old musicians never die, they just get played out.
  • Old bosses never die, much as you want them to.
  • Old architects never die, they just lose their structures.
  • Old white water rafters never die, they just get disgorged.
  • Old chauffeurs never die, they just lose their drive.
  • Old tanners never die, they just go into hiding.
  • Old pacifists never die, they just go to peaces.
  • Old chemists never die, they just fail to react.
  • Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.
  • Old hardware engineers never die, they just cache in their chips.
  • Old hypochondriacs never die, they just lose their grippe.
  • Old seers never die, they just lose their vision.
  • Old journalists never die, they just get de-pressed.
  • Old pilots never die, they just go to a higher plane.
  • Old doctors never die, they just lose their patience.
  • Old mathematicians never die, they just disintegrate.
  • Old hackers never die, they just go to bits.
Posted in Health and Fitness Philosophy and Wisdom

Consider Nurturing Yourself

Consider Nurturing Yourself

Here’s a typical day for Eve: After five hours sleep, she rises, gets her two busy preteens off to school, feeds the new puppy, and drives two hours to her job as an attorney. Once she arrives at home, she helps her kids with homework, then catches up on her own legal work till after midnight. FYI, she’s a single mom, too.

“I’m so stressed, I feel I’m about to have a heart attack,” Eve told me recently. “Actually, that might not be so bad. At least I’d finally get some rest.”

Eve was kidding, of course. But her words struck a chord, perhaps because the story is so familiar. Women tend to focus on others first. But for many of us, the nurturing switch is stuck in the ‘on’ position until a jolt (like getting sick) forces us to attend to our own needs.

We talked about how she might devote some attention to herself-not just to her kids and to her work. “Can you think of ways you could nurture yourself?” I asked.

'Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation' by Parker J. Palmer (ISBN 0787947350) “Get more sleep, hire a babysitter for a few hours so I could put my feet up, have a girls’ night out with friends,” she said. But would she do it? “I’d feel guilty about neglecting my kids,” Eve admitted.

What we women must learn is to give ourselves TLC, too, while we nurture others. This means accepting, as Parker J. Palmer puts it in his book “Let Your Life Speak”: “Self-care is never a selfish act …. Any time we can listen to our true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.”

Eve is learning. She still spends evenings with her children, but she has a babysitter for Saturday mornings. And Palmer’s quote reminds her that when she nourishes herself, she generates energy to care for those she cherishes.

Posted in Health and Fitness

How to Relax After Work

How to Relax After Work

'Five Good Minutes in the Evening' by Jeffrey Brantley, Wendy Millstine (ISBN 1572244550) When you drag yourself home after a crazy-hectic day, steer clear of all e-mails and voice mails, at least initially, suggests Jeffrey Brantley, MD, and Wendy Millstine in their book “Five Good Minutes in the Evening” Their subtitle: ‘100 Mindful Practices to Help You Unwind from the Day and Make the Most of Your Night.’

“E-mails and voice messages perpetuate the constant busyness, hurry, and worry of modern life,” says Brantley, director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, part of the Duke University Health System’s Integrative Medicine Program. “It’s important to step back from those things from time to time and give yourself some space.”

To do just that, set aside a certain period (between 30 minutes and an hour) to let go of the need to respond to other people-electronically, that is. Sit in a comfortable place for a short while and remind yourself that your serenity and peace of mind, for those precious moments, are yours to savor.

Posted in Health and Fitness