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The neuroscience of meditation

16 Dec

Life is a permanent flow: one has to let go the past and present in order to authorize freely the next event of one’s life to happen. If not, a damp will interrupt the flow, which is not a good thing from a sound and balanced living perspective.

One has to live a life which is intrinsically ever changing, and thus which is anxiety provoking.

The only thing that is permanent is one’s awareness of being present in the present moment, which by itself is a blessing one should be grateful for .
At that point meditation, wether by focusing on an action like breathing or walking or by observing with detachment the course of our thoughts and feelings created by our mind or by exercising compassion and loving kindness towards other sentient beings can be of some help.

By the way it has been demonstrated by neuro-scientists that meditation modifies the way the brain functions and even the size of some brain regions.

I read an article on this subject in the November 2014 edition of the journal Scientific American entitled Mind of the Meditator, authored by Mathieux Ricard a Buddhist Monk, Antoine Lutz a research scientist at the Frenh National Institute of Health and Medical Research and Richard J Davidson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

They conclude that
even with the requisite cautions, research on meditation provides new insights into methods of mental training that have the potential to enhance human health and well-being”

Violence and categories

29 Nov
We should not anymore talk about, or show violence in terms of, (or focusing on) the category that the perpetrator of the offense belongs to (eg male vs woman, Jew vs Palestinian, terrorist vs citizen, human vs animal and so on). Because it only aggravates the hate and further divides humankind or sentient beings. Instead of being reduced to categories violence must be shown only as a sin or an offense and a crime each individual should refrain to commit even under certain attenuating circumstances (bad education, unhappy childhood, fear, anger, prior offense …) and everybody should be warned against committing it no mater the category one belongs to (see categories above: female or male and so on..). This kind of perspective aggravates in my view and enlarges the gap between individuals by tacitly defining the perpetrator as a “category” broadly speaking. Hurting someone has nothing to do with the category one belongs to, it is above such a consideration and is an absolute interdict (the bible cites only the neighbor as the unique category encompassing all other categories). If not categories could be used as an excuse or at least an explanation in the mind for the perpetrators. Our modern societies should go one step beyond by denouncing violence against fellow human at large or, even more, against sentient beings at large, without doing anymore any categories in the discourse by doing that.

 

Disability is a full time job

19 Oct

For persons enduring a severe disability, daily life is a full time job.
Two bloggers share courageously with us their daily struggles to show the amount of supplementary efforts they have to produce just to save an appearance of fluidity (not to say normality).
One blogger compares disability with an iceberg whose greater part is not visible:

http://atleastihaveabrain.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/invisible-disability/

An other blogger compares disability with an handful of a limited number of spoons. All seems normal to the surrounding peoples who examine her life as long as she has a sufficient number of spoons left in her hand. But each daily life efforts along the day takes one spoon away from her and when there is only one left in her hand she must stop for the rest of the day and all the activities she has still to do must wait for the next day:

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

The body of work that economists have done on the field of relationship between happiness and disability shows that not only the disabled persons themselves are less happy but also are their spouses, although this must be tempered by the numerous adaptive strategies that the couple puts in place.
A resume of the scientific literature here:

http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/adaptation-to-disability/

Journal of Public Economics
June 2008, Vol.92(5):1061–1077, doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2008.01.002
Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges
Andrew J. OswaldNattavudh Powdthavee

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004727270800008X#fig1

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004727270800008X

Social Science & Medicine
December 2009, Vol.69(12):1834–1844, doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.09.023
Part Special Issue: New approaches to researching patient safety
What happens to people before and after disability? Focusing effects, lead effects, and adaptation in different areas of life
Nattavudh Powdthavee

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953609006145

Social Science & Medicine
April 2014, Vol.107:68–77, doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.02.009
Is shared misery double misery?
Merehau Cindy MervinPaul Frijters

We find that the events befalling a partner on average have an effect about 15% as large as the effect of own events.

Quoted from :
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614001063

Journal of Economic Psychology
August 2009, Vol.30(4):675–689, doi:10.1016/j.joep.2009.06.005
I can’t smile without you: Spousal correlation in life satisfaction
Nattavudh Powdthavee

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167487009000634

Web Haiku

16 Oct

Ha-Vinh:

The Beauty of Aging | songs of wisdom: a beautiful writing full of philosophical references about something we all have in common: aging.

http://love-of-wisdom.com/2014/09/06/getting-old-aint-for-sissies/

Originally posted on songs of wisdom:

web

Woven gossamer

envelops spider and fly

In tensile embrace.

View original

inequality, Scarcity of oil, scarcity of water maps the cartography of conflicts

10 Apr

I want to share with my followers this incredibly sensitive talk of my cousin (the introduction is a little bit long but you can jump to Tho’s intervention at the 6.14th minute). Enjoy and above all meditate about what the true nature of mankind is.

The French national medical Board incites physicians to produce content on the internet

16 Mar

The French national Medical Board declares in its last Newsletters that Physicians, as a reliable source of information, should be encouraged to produce contents on the Internet. The ethic is the same as in a patient-physician relationship but the advantage is that the patient can takes his time to apprehend and deepen the information given to him by the physician by consulting his website. The National Board incites physicians to be present on the Web as professionals. But Doctors can also have their blogs like every citizen, provided that they do not discredit the profession and its digital reputation. And provided also that they do not use their blog for advertising and for falsely flattering their skill! The Board recommends also the Doctors to stay sober in their presentation and not to request fees in their websites, but I think that that went without saying.

http://www.conseil-national.medecin.fr/sites/default/files/livre_blancdeontoweb2012.pdf

http://www.conseil-national.medecin.fr/sites/default/files/charte_internet_cnom2014.pdf

http://www.conseil-national.medecin.fr/newsletter/2014/3

Religion and the Open Society Symposium

14 Dec

What went first in the history of humanity: the religion or the politics? Like the chicken and egg question, nobody knows. And today also it is obvious that the entanglement of those two domains which highly influence the future and the past of humankind is worth to be discussed by some high level intellectuals (professors and writers) in the three conferences referenced below with their Internet link.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=relmfu&v=h4hryykQZBk

http://m.youtube.com/?reload=7&rdm=06rr#/watch?feature=relmfu&v=159iiam2pW8

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?feature=relmfu&v=PI4PEQgbQ1M

http://www.cfr.org/projects/world/religion-and-open-society-symposium/pr1361

Hope or Despair? The Future of Low-Paid Work in Europe and the US

12 Dec

A survey compared the incidence of low paid jobs in Europe and the US. The USA, the UK and Germany appears to be the champions. Surprisingly the survey found that the rate of unemployment and the incidence of low paid workers varied in an opposite way across the countries included in the study. The occupational sectors struck by  low wages are principally hospitals, hotels, food processing and call centers.

A speech on Gross National Happiness in Berlin

2 Dec

My cousin Tho gave a talk in Berlin about the GNH paradigm: what it is, but also what it is not (eg an Happy Hippy Land). The key, take home message is: to overcome the suffering, to adopt a non dual attitude and to engage in a systematic approach in economics taking into account not only the individual but also his environment and the other living beings. Tho intervenes just after Julia Kim, the representative of UNICEF.

PGF2012: Gross National Happiness (GNH) from Presencing Institute on Vimeo.

Full code

3 Nov

“And in a sense, it is rational, given the dearth of alternatives. If nobody wants you at the party, why should you stay? Advocates of Death With Dignity laws who say that patients themselves should decide whether to live or die are fantasizing. Who chooses suicide in a vacuum? We are inexorably affected by our immediate environment. The deck is stacked.”
Excerpt from an article I just read in the Herald Tribune and that pulled tears from my eyes. An ethical topic fundamental for each human being , not only for health practitioners. As the spouse of the disabled author asks in the reanimation room, we should always proceed “full code” in order to save a human being.
This article by Ben Mattlin is worth to be read.
Reference :
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/opinion/suicide-by-choice-not-so-fast.html?_r=0

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