This post is jointly authored by Nicholas Bagley and Austin Frakt. Yesterday evening, the New England Journal of Medicine released a Perspective piece that
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”
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:
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:
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:
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
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
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.
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
The Beauty of Aging | songs of wisdom: a beautiful writing full of philosophical references about something we all have in common: aging.
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.
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.
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.
- Why we are striking against austerity in Europe | The panel (guardian.co.uk)
- Low-wage jobs take toll on families (miamiherald.com)
- Where next for the living wage? (newstatesman.com)
- Economy: Wage Growth Slows Worldwide (ionglobaltrends.com)
- Low-Wage Jobs Don’t Just Harm Workers – They Harm Their Children (thinkprogress.org)
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.