10 Quotes To Help Us Stop Resisting Something We All Go Through

changeThere is one thing that is constant in life, that is change. The sooner we recognise that nothing remains the same, the sooner we let go of attachment and we can start living and learn to enjoy change.

Why is it Difficult to Change? We are always searching for a state of permanence, we want things to remain the same. We want certainty. This certainty is the same certainty that at the end of the day will make our lives dull, lifeless and conformed.

How do we Make Changes? By understanding our fears and insecurities we are better placed to make the change we want or need to make in our lives. We must meditate on what we really want and why. Once we have discovered the truth we must take action.

Change is in Understanding the Big Picture – Too often we get caught up in day to day trivialities of life and forget the bigger picture. It is only when we take the time to stand back and put things into perspective, we can change our focus of what really matters and make things happen.

Change and Life – Change is the only thing we can really predict with any certainty. When we understand everything is in a state of flux our wisdom grows and we can enjoy life.

Change is How we Perceive Things – Our beliefs and attitudes have been molded over many years. To be free of any influences we must acknowledge and release these mental states that hold us back from new experiences, and a fresh way of living.

Lao Tzu and the Buddha both recognised that we must not get attached to things as this limits our existence and makes change difficult. Attachment restricts new experiences and ideas cannot enter. Being open and empty allows the individual to accept alternative ideas, possibilities and change. We must empty ourselves of any existing beliefs and attitudes so that we can be filled with new exciting and sustainable opportunities. Change is a constant and we must recognise this as such. By sticking to past ideologies, beliefs and models that are flawed we are hurting only ourselves. By coming to terms with and addressing our potential with a fresh approach we can realise a new reality and future that benefits all. Here are some great quotes to get us thinking about change and changing…

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightening in the sky. Rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain. What is born will die. What has been gathered will be dispersed. What has been accumulated will be exhausted. What has been built up will collapse and what has been high will be low.” Buddha
“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.” John Lennon
“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” Stephen Hawking
“The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” George Bernard Shaw
“In a progressive country change is constant; change is inevitable.” Benjamin Disraeli
“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” Isaac Asimov
“Any action is better than no action, especially if you are stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake at least you learn something in which case it is no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.” Eckhart Tolle
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
“Anytime you have a negative feeling toward anyone you’re living an illusion. There’s something seriously wrong with you. You’re not seeing reality. Something inside you has to change. When we have a negative feeling we usually project this onto someone or something else. I am right, they have to change. No. The world is all right. The one who has to change is you.” Anthony De Mello
Article by Andrew Martin editor of onenesspublishing and author of One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…

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Is Your Brain Truly Ready for Junk Food, Porn, or the Internet?

Supernormal Stimuli

A wise man rules his passions, a fool obeys them.

—Publius Syrus

Given the rapid pace of technology, one has to wonder whether or not our brains (and bodies) have been able to keep up with all the new “stimulation” that is available.

Some research suggests that a few of the things we enjoy today would be classified as supernormal stimuli, a term evolutionary biologists use to describe any stimulus that elicits a response stronger than the stimulus for which it evolved, even if it is artificial—in other words, are sources of “super” stimulation like junk food and porn more likely to hook us into bad habits?

It is certainly a very muddy topic, but it’s a question that I believe deserves investigating.

After all, we’ve become increasingly surrounded by stimulation that wasn’t available even a few years ago, so are my mind and body really ready for Flavor Blasted Goldfish™ and never ending social media updates?

Before we get into the research, let’s summarize the concept a bit more clearly: what exactly is a supernormal stimulus?

The brilliant comic below will explain the basics, and will take you less than 2 minutes to read.

 

Be Aware: Supernormal Stimuli

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Comic: by the insanely talented Stuart McMillen, published with permission. More about Stuart and his work at the bottom of the post.

When “Super” Stimulation Goes Wrong

Nikolaas Tinbergen, a Nobel Prize winning ethologist, is the father of the term supernormal stimuli. As noted, Tinbergen found in his experiments that he could create “artificial” stimuli that were stronger than the original instinct, including the following examples:

  • He constructed plaster eggs to see which a bird preferred to sit on, finding that they would select those that were larger, had more defined markings, or more saturated color—a dayglo-bright one with black polka dots would be selected over the bird’s own pale, dappled eggs.
  • He found that territorial male stickleback fish would attack a wooden fish model more vigorously than a real male if its underside was redder.
  • He constructed cardboard dummy butterflies with more defined markings that male butterflies would try to mate with in preference to real females.

In a very quick span of time, Tinbergen was able to influence the behavior of these animals with a new “super” stimulus that they found themselves attracted too, and which they preferred over the real thing.

Instinct took over, and now the animals’ behaviors were a detriment to their livelihood because they simply couldn’t say no to the fake stimulus.

Much of Tinbergen’s work is beautifully captured by Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barret in the book Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose. One has to wonder if the leap from these findings to human behavior is near or far.

Dr. Barret seems to think that the link is closer then we believe, arguing that supernormal stimulation govern the behavior of humans as powerfully as that of animals.

The hypothesis is that just like Tinbergen’s quick introductions of abnormal stimulation to animals, rapidly advancing technology may have created a similar situation for humans—can we really be “prepared” for some of our modern, highly stimulating experiences, given the amount of time we’ve had to adapt?

It’s very hard to say—you’ll find excellent arguments from both camps.

Here are a few common examples that are often brought into question:

(Note: please read the full article. I’m not saying that you should never engage with the following, or that the examples below are conclusive, or that they are the “norm,” not at all in fact! They are merely brought up out of curiosity.)

Junk food

1.) The highly addictive nature of junk food is one of our generation’s great concerns—food is being engineered specifically to be more appealing than its natural counterparts. Is it any wonder then that when fast food is more thoroughly introduced to other countries, people start consuming it more often?

2.) It could be argued that for a large span of time humans had a relatively stable palette. Now a new food “concoction” comes out every week. How might this be affecting us? Some studies have suggested that foods like processed grain came about far too quickly and are doing quite a number on your mind and body.

3.) Food is one of the toughest things to struggle with because it’s an absolute necessity—the problem with junk food is due to the fact that it is a “super stimulating” version of a natural reward we are supposed to pursue. Food addiction is the real deal, and a tough habit to break because the triggers are ever present.

TV & video games

1.) A quick peek in my home office would show a still functioning Super Nintendo hooked up with Chrono Trigger ready to go. I don’t think that video games cause excessively violent behavior (research agrees), but I do have to admit that it seems video games may be addictive for some people, and in particular, for certain personalities.

2.) Television addiction may cause some users to elicit the signs of a behavioral addiction—users often watch TV to change mood, but the relief that’s gotten is only temporary, and often brings them back for more.

3.) You’re likely not surprised to hear that computer games have been linked to escapism, but what you may not know is that some studies have found symptoms of withdrawal in a very small subset of subjects; they became moody, agitated, and even had physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Pornography

1.) Probably the most controversial of all modern stimuli, pornography has been described as insidious in nature because it might skew the otherwise normal activity of sex. Porn has been linked to changing sexual tastes, and some argue that porn can become a “never-ending” supply of dopamine (though there are few conclusive studies done on porn and the mind).

2.) There’s a passage from a Kurt Vonnegut novel where a man shows another man a photograph of a woman in a bikini and asks, “Like that Harry? That girl there.” The man’s response is, “That’s not a girl. That’s a piece of paper.” Those who warn of porn’s addictive nature always emphasize that it is not a sexual addiction, it’s a technological one. Could porn impact the way you view the real thing?

3.) It’s been suggested that pornography messes up the “reward circuitry” in human sexuality—why bother trying to pursue and impress a potential mate if you can just go home and look at porn? This has been argued as the beginning of porn addiction, as novelty is always a click a way, and novelty is closely tied to the highly addictive nature of dopamine.

As psychologist Susan Weinschenk explained in a 2009 article, the neurotransmitter dopamine does not cause people to experience pleasure, but rather causes a seeking behavior. “Dopamine causes us to want, desire, seek out, and search,” she wrote.

It is the opioid system that causes one to feel pleasure. Yet, “the dopamine system is stronger than the opioid system,” she explained. “We seek more than we are satisfied.”

The Internet

1.) Unsurprisingly, psychologists are now giving serious consideration to the web, recognizing that it may be a very addictive outlet. It allows unfettered control to engage in nearly anything, and some countries like Japan and South Korea have had serious problems with reclusive, socially inept individuals who have a very unhealthy internet obsession—one story I read detailed a man who hadn’t left his apartment in 6 months.

2.) Social media has been shown to make many people depressed—they see the highlight reel of others, and may feel worse about their own life. These pruned and often misleading looks into others lives was never available before the web. In spite of this, people can’t stop checking them, thinking that they might be missing out on something.

3.) Internet overuse, for some people, may be hurting their ability to focus. The quick bursts of entertainment that the internet provides, and the fact that information is always a click away, may (through overuse) cause a decrease in conceptual and critical thinking. Some have argued that the internet can become ‘chronic distraction’ that slowly eats away at your patience and ability to think and work on things for extended periods of time.

What Should You Do?

This can seem like a lot to take in at once.freakoutandpanic

Before you panic, freak out, and throw away all of your Oreos + cancel your internet subscription, please listen—everything in moderation, just like your reaction to the information in this article.

There is a lot of research that counters what we’ve looked at above. Explore books like The 10,000 Year Explosion for more from that perspective. In addition, consider that resources are all in how you use them.

Take the Internet: sure, there are signs that in some ways the Internet might become a distraction, but think about its contributions. The web is the best source in the world for information and knowledge, so how it affects you depends on how make use of it.

We are all perfectly capable of using and engaging with supernormal stimuli—the only reason I chose to highlight the extreme examples above was to show how things can go wrong with overuse, or misuse.

That’s right folks, you can put away your torches and pitchforks! I’m not the enemy of junk food, the Internet, and everything awesome. My one and only goal for this article was simply exploration of the topic.

In fact, the comic above had similar intentions. The artist, Stuart McMillen, articulately describes why you shouldn’t be afraid of information like this. In many ways, it should be comforting:

In both cases, the main change is awareness. Awareness that the reason we are drawn to sickly desserts is because they are sweeter than any naturally-occurring fruit.Stuart McMillen

Awareness that watching television activates the primitive ‘orienting response’, keeping our eyes drawn to the moving pictures as if it were predator or prey. Awareness that liking ‘cute’ characters comes from a biological urge to protect and nurture our young.

I have not removed supernormal stimuli from my life, nor do I intend to do so fully. The key is spotting the stimuli as they appear, and engaging the mind to regulate or override temptation.

I echo Deirdre Barrett’s conclusion that sometimes it can feel more rewarding to say no to the supernormal, than to cave into impulse. Only awareness will help stop the supernormal from becoming what is ‘normal’ in our lives.

(Psst… you should subscribe to Stuart’s awesome newsletter to hear about a brand new comic he has coming out in 2014. Also, be sure to stop by his website and check out his other comics. He also has prints available for sale, I’ve purchase one myself and they are great. Well worth the very small price.)

You Decide What’s Normal

The “solution,” so it seems to me, is to simply to avoid habituation.

The real enemy here is complacency—or allowing yourself to become a victim of your habits, instead of the person in the driver’s seat.

C.S. Lewis has some insightful thoughts on this:

Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.

After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of the wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.

A man who gives into temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.

It’s my personal opinion that mini-sabbaticals are a great way to test small dependencies on anything. The ability to go without in regards to things we choose to do is important because it puts you back in control.

Giving something up for just a small period of time can help you understand its place in your life, especially when it’s an optional activity. If you try to stay away from something for just a few days, and you find yourself becoming anxious and agitated, that could be your body telling you something important. If you can give it up “cold turkey” with no problem, that’s important information too!

So no, don’t panic and freak out. Just recognize that your brain can get hooked by the many sources of “super” stimulation we have today, and it’s your job to make sure you are always in control.

Those who do not move do not notice their chains.

—Rosa Luxemburg

Alien Races Book – English

45 Life Lessons, written by a 90 year old

45 Life Lessons, written by a 90 year old

By: Alex K. / Source: Kangalex

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for things that matter.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

(Related: Discover How You Can COMPLETELY Transform Your Life)

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose Life.

28. Forgive but don’t forget.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

(Related: How To Eliminate Your Fear Or Objections With 365 Days Of Blessings)

30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d
grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

The blind man who can ‘see’ – and how he shows that humans really DO have a sixth sense

For blind people to regain the power of sight usually requires a miracle  –  either of the old-fashioned, Biblical variety or of the modern, medical sort.

Yet an extraordinary case reported this week shows us that there may be another form of miracle that can help the blind to ‘see’  –  and it’s one that may force us to rethink our whole understanding of the way in which the human senses operate.

In the journal Current Biology it is reported that a man left totally blind by brain damage has astounded scientists by flawlessly navigating an obstacle course without any help or practice whatsoever.

This is perhaps the most persuasive example to date of what is termed ‘blindsight’  –  the extraordinary ability of some who have lost their vision to be able to ‘see’ without, apparently, any ability actually to receive images in the eye and brain at all.

Because blindsight is a nebulous concept, often linked to paranormal manifestations, it has often been dismissed by researchers as myth. Yet here was a case that defied any straightforward explanation.

Scientists at the University of Tilburg in The Netherlands found that the unnamed man, known only as ‘TN’, was able to negotiate his way past a series of boxes and chairs, despite the fact that a series of strokes had damaged the visual cortex of his brain to such an extent that tests have shown he is completely blind.

So how on earth does he do it? What does it tell us about the way we ‘see’ the world?

And is it conclusive proof, as many have claimed, that humans have a hidden ‘sixth sense’ that can detect aspects of the world around us in a way that defies any logical explanation?

The first thing to realise is that science loves to categorise things. We have ‘five senses’ in part because ‘five-and-a-bit senses’ is messy and ‘ unscientific’.

And yet it may be a far more accurate description of what is going on in the complex interface between the outside world and our brains.

It seems that in the case of TN, for example, although he has no conscious awareness of the visual world, his brain is, somehow, keeping tabs on his surroundings, by processing the electrical messages that are travelling through his eyes and optic nerves (which remain undamaged by his stroke) even though the normal ‘visual’ part of his brain is damaged beyond repair.

To use a scientific term, his mind is not creating any visual ‘qualia’  –  the name given to conscious experience of sensations, such as sight or sound.

Although he is not actually aware of the cause, scans have even revealed that certain parts of his brain, not normally associated with sight, ‘light up’ when he is shown pictures of other people pulling a variety of different facial expressions  –  such as fear, anger or joy.

This weirdness should perhaps not surprise us. Our senses form part of the most mysterious system in the known universe  –  the human brain.

Indeed, compared to the kilogram of grey jelly in your skull, even the mightiest stars and galaxies hold few mysteries.

Anyone who claims they know how the brain works, or exactly what is going on when our eyes view a splash of red, or our noses scent a whiff of coffee, or our tastebuds pick up on a tang of brine, is simply deluded or lying. Despite centuries of probing, such mysteries remain totally unsolved.

We do know, however, that there are a number of peculiar anomalies.

For example, we know that humans, compared to other animals, have extremely good vision  –  on a par with the birds and far better than most mammals. Sight is our primary sense.

Yet, rather mysteriously, it is another sense  –  smell  –  which in many of us has the ability to evoke the strongest emotional responses.

Shown a photograph of our old primary school, say, most of us will respond with a vague sense of recognition.

In contrast, even the merest hint of the smell of the school’s polished parquet floors, or of the heady tang of boiled cabbage from the school dinner kitchens, will be enough to bring all the childhood memories flooding back.

Equally mysteriously, our senses seem to operate on several levels. If you are sitting down when you read this article, think for a moment of the sensation coming from your bottom and lower back.

The moment you do, you will become suddenly aware of the pressure of the seat cushion below you, the contours of its shape and how comfortable (or uncomfortable) it is.

In psychological terms, you are now ‘attending’ to these sensory inputs.

Yet before you chose to swivel your ‘mind’s eye’ to the chair, you were probably completely unconscious of all these sensations, even though the relevant one of the your five senses  –  touch  –  was working all the while.

Then there is a well-known psychological phenomenon called the ‘cocktail party effect’.

This is the ability of the human brain to detect, immediately, pertinent and important information from an otherwise meaningless sensory melange.

If you are at a busy party, for instance, you will probably be aware only of the random babble and hum of voices. Yet should someone mention your name, even quietly and from across the room, the chances are that you will immediately pick up on it.

It is as though you have an unconscious monitor sitting inside your head  –  a ‘little man’, if you will  –  checking what is coming in from your eyes and ears and so forth, before deciding which is important-and letting your conscious mind know.

Of course, the idea of a little man inside your head is an absurd (but remarkably persistent) analogy  –  but it does serve to illustrate the fact that our brains operate on all sorts of levels of conscious awareness, and not always in ways that we recognise.

Think of the last time you drove to work, for instance, or did the school run. How conscious were you, actually, of the journey? How many of the twists and turns can you remember?

The chances are that the answer is ‘none at all’; you probably were able to operate, quite safely, a complex piece of machinery (a car) almost like you were an unthinking robot while you were thinking about something more interesting. Extraordinary.

The interaction between the ‘mind’ and the senses really is one of the most amazing aspects of the natural world.

And since we cannot be sure how it works, it does seem foolish to dismiss, out of hand, ‘sixth sense’ phenomena such as blindsight.

It is probably even the case that we should not rush to dismiss, completely out of hand, even stranger ‘paranormal’ mental powers, such as telepathy, even though hard scientific evidence is lacking for such things.

The only certainty is that the more we learn about the workings of the mind, the more fantastical its abilities are proving to be.

Russian camera can see human soul

Source: RT.com

A wonder device can see the soul of a dead man pass away… or at least that’s what the inventor claims.

A publication of the popular Russian tabloid Life.ru gives a dramatic account of the experiments of an inventor from St Petersburg, who has created a device able to see human aura.

Accompanied by pictures suspiciously reminiscent of a series of thermal images of a woman at different temperatures, the report claims they are made with a special “gas discharge camera” built by Konstantin Korotkov, a professor at the Research Institute of Physical Culture and State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics.The paper goes on to say that the device can register the circumstances of death, differentiating between a victim of a violent crime and a person who died quietly in bed. It also registers the changes in aura presumably made by a strong psychic working on somebody.Disregarding the glib comparison of the religious term “soul” with the new age “aura”, the claims – they can hardly even be expected to get support in peer-reviewed scientific papers in our opinion – prompted RT to take a little investigation into the wonder device.

Kirlian camera

The instrument, which was presented to us as something involved in the study of death, turned out to have been designed as a medical diagnosis tool. With about 15 years of development behind it, its inventor claims that it’s an affordable early-diagnosis tool, capable of identifying any disease, from an ulcer to a brain tumor, by scanning irregularities in an aura. Sort of a spiritual healer in metal and plastic, available to everyone for a small fee. No mystical stuff here – a patient can see his own aura on the computer screen, all thanks to the “gas discharge visualization” or GDV.
The spiffy name is actually modern application of a well-known phenomenon called Kirlian effect, named after Semyon and Valentina Kirlians, a Russian couple who greatly contributed to popularizing it back in 1960s. Kirlian experimented with photographing objects with high voltage applied to them.

The strong electric field causes faint corona discharges around the edges, which can even be seen with the naked eye. The visual appeal of the effect won the hearts of mystic-oriented people.

Starting with Kirlians themselves, many people claimed that the electrical phenomena was actually a way to visualize otherwise invisible auras of objects. Korotkov is one of these claimants. According to him, corona discharges around fingertips, which his GDV cameras cause, have information about one’s physical condition and this information can be used for diagnosis. The claim was never confirmed by clinical tests, but it didn’t prevent the device from becoming the cornerstone of a widespread business. With different models costing from $4,500 to $13,000, and official dealers all across Russia and abroad, the invention seems to generate enough cash for Korotkov to travel the world and promote his product.

Not for diagnosis

Meanwhile, critics openly call the GDV “quackery”. Back in 2002, when the device drew the attention of the Russian media, RTR TV channel (now called Rossiya) did an investigation of their own, producing a 20-minute-long report. They revealed that, in the testing of a GDV scanner done in the Military Medical Academy, one of the strong-points trumpeted by the producer was actually its ability to kill bacteria on hands, which it successfully did. It was never used for diagnosis of any kind.

Another selling point – the testing of the device on Russian sportsmen – showed that readings of the device may vary slightly with the state of mind of the subjects. As it does with variations in the environment, like a change of air temperature or humidity.

In an interview given to a newspaper two years ago Korotkov said his invention was like a knife: it could be used for good or for bad purposes. Indeed, the beautiful Kirlian effect can be used for dubious intentions, or for inspiring works of art like those of photographer Robert Buelteman here.

1 Absolutely “Weird” Trick Turns Your Mind Into A Natural Money Magnet

Source: The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles

“Since belief is all important, it behooves you to guard your thoughts; and as your beliefs will be shaped to a very great extent by the things you observe and think about, it is important that you should command your attention.

And here the will comes into use; for it is by your will that you determine upon what things your attention shall be fixed.

If you want to become rich, you must not make a study of poverty.

Things are not brought into being by thinking about their opposites. Health is never to be attained by studying disease and thinking about disease; righteousness is not to be promoted by studying sin and thinking about sin; and no one ever got rich by studying poverty and thinking about poverty.

Related: How To Release Your Undiscovered Millionaire Mind!

Medicine as a science of disease has increased disease; religion as a science of sin has promoted sin, and economics as a study of poverty will fill the world Do not talk about poverty; do not investigate it, or concern yourself with it.

Never mind what its causes are; you have nothing to do with them. What concerns you is the cure.”

“Do not spend your time in charitable work, or charity movements; all charity only tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate.

I do not say that you should be hard hearted or unkind, and refuse to hear the cry of need; but you must not try to eradicate poverty in any of the conventional ways. Put poverty behind you, and put all that pertains to it behind you, and “make good.”

Giving-to-the-Poor Opportunities are multiplied when seized – Sun Tzu, Art of War

And you cannot hold the mental image which is to make you rich if you fill your mind with pictures of poverty.

Do not read books or papers which give circumstantial accounts of the wretchedness of the tenement dwellers, of the horrors of child labor, and so on. Do not read anything which fills your mind with gloomy images of want and suffering.

You cannot help the poor in the least by knowing about these things; and the wide-spread knowledge of them does not tend at all to do away with poverty.”

Related: The Truest, Easiest and Purest Way To Get Rich

“What tends to do away with poverty is not the getting of pictures of poverty into your mind, but getting pictures of wealth into the minds of the poor.

You are not deserting the poor in their misery when you refuse to allow your mind to be filled with pictures of that misery.

Poverty can be done away with, not by increasing the number of well to do people who think about poverty, but by increasing the number of poor people who purpose with faith to get rich.”

The poor do not need charity; they need inspiration.

Charity only sends them a loaf of bread to keep them alive in their wretchedness, or gives them an entertainment to make them forget for an hour or two; but inspiration will cause them to rise out of their misery.

If you want to help the poor, demonstrate to them that they can become rich; prove it by getting rich yourself.

People must be taught to become rich by creation, not by competition. Every man who becomes rich by competition throws down behind him the ladder by which he rises, and keeps others down; but every man who gets rich by creation opens a way for thousands to follow him, and inspires them to do so.

You are not showing hardness of heart or an unfeeling disposition when you refuse to pity poverty, see poverty, read about poverty, or think or talk about it, or to listen to those who do talk about it.

Use your will power to keep your mind OFF the subject of poverty, and to keep it fixed with faith and purpose ON the vision of what you want.”

An Awesome Way to Make Kids Less Self-Absorbed (PARENTS THIS IS GOOD!)

I’ve been inspired by recent news stories of children who are working to make a difference in the world, committed to projects much bigger than themselves. There’s Malala Yousufzai, the young advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan; Craig Kielburger, who advocates for the abolishment of child labor; and Ryan Hreljac, who raises money to build wells in developing countries. The list goes on and on.

But there’s a flip side to these stories. Research suggests that some young people in the United States are actually becoming more self-absorbed and less connected to others.

A recent study that examined the empathy levels of almost 14,000 university students between 1979 and 2009 found that students have become dramatically less empathic over the years, particularly since 2000.

In addition, narcissism, which correlates negatively with empathy, is on the rise amongst university-aged students. Narcissists, by definition, are extremely self-focused and tend to see other people in terms of their usefulness rather than true friendship—not exactly a recipe for empathy.

What’s more, a 2006 survey showed that 81 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds think getting rich is an important goal, and 64 percent think it’s the most important goal. Sadly, only 30 percent believe that helping others in need is important.

While these studies focused on university students and young adults, the findings suggest that somewhere in their earlier development, they weren’t cultivating the skills needed to connect with others.

So how can teachers help students avoid the joyless path of self-absorption and instead cultivate a life in which they feel part of something larger than themselves—one of the keys to a meaningful life?

There are, of course, many strong programs that have been designed to help students develop empathy and positive relationships.

But new research suggests another way: awe.

Very little is known about the experience of awe; however, several new studies, many conducted by the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner, have shown awe to be a potentially powerful positive emotion that might just help our students develop empathy.

Here’s how it works:

When we see a grand vista in nature such as Victoria Falls, or experience an inspiring work of art such as Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” or Michelangelo’s Pieta, or ponder the phenomenal inner strength of a great soul like Gandhi who non-violently led India to independence, we often feel two things: 1) a sense of vastness that gives us 2) a new perspective on the world and our place in it. This is awe.

Dacher’s lab has found that awe makes us feel very small and like we’re in the presence of something greater than ourselves. We also may lose awareness of our “self” and feel more connected to the world around us.

Imagine the potential of this life-changing emotion for students—and, in particular, for our hyper-self-focused teens! Since adolescence is a crucial period for identity-formation, some researchers have suggested that adolescence is a particularly important time to experience awe—it could help them see themselves as deeply connected to the world around them, not the center of it. Inducing the uplifting experience of awe could also be a positive way to keep narcissism in check.

While scientists haven’t yet examined if this temporary loss of self-focus directly impacts empathy levels, they do know that awe makes people feel less impatient and more inclined to volunteer their time to help others—strong evidence that it makes them feel more connected and committed to something bigger than themselves.

So can teachers actually create awe-inducing experiences for their students?

Absolutely! In an experiment to see if awe could be elicited, Dacher and his team had one group of university students look at a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and another group look down a long hallway. On a follow-up survey, the only difference between the groups was that members of the T-Rex group felt like they were part of a larger whole—a defining feature of awe.

It’s probably not too difficult to imagine something that might induce awe in teens, or kids of any age; I’ve named a few examples above. Stories of exceptional modern-day figures such as Nelson Mandela (consider his ability to forgive) or pictures of the universe such as the birth of a star may be engaging and effective—especially if you find the subject matter to be awe-inspiring. Many teachers already bring content like this into the classroom, and this research on awe validates that approach and suggests it should be tried with more frequency and focus.

Here are two important points to remember if you want to expose your students to awe-filled experiences:

1) Not all students will get it. Dacher has found that some people are more prone to awe than others—usually the ones who are comfortable changing how they see the world. So, if you’ve got some students who seem immovable, don’t fret. If nothing else, they’re still learning about “awesome” art, music, nature, and people.

2) Help students process what they’ve experienced. Awe requires what psychologist Jean Piaget called “accommodation”—the process of changing our mental models to incorporate something to which we’ve recently been exposed. Discussing and writing about experiences of awe will help students understand and process at a deeper level what they’ve just felt.

Awe is not a term heard very often in schools, but its potential is vast. Think of the enthusiasm and wonder and joy that awe-filled experiences could bring to our students—experiences that could not only help them out of the narcissistic funk of adolescence, but also put them on a path to a life lived in compassionate connection with others. Awesome!


This article is printed here with permission. It originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). Based at UC Berkeley, the GGSC studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.