Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vincent Van Gogh

"Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and that we obey them without realizing it."

—Vincent Van Gogh



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stylized Hyena and Wild Dog

Monday, April 6, 2015

Self-Acceptance Quotes

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit”
― E.E. Cummings

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” 
― C.G. Jung


“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” 

― Dalai Lama XIV


“It's not worth our while to let our imperfections disturb us always.” 

― Henry David Thoreau

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” 
― BrenĂ© Brown   

“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” 
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” 
― BrenĂ© Brown

“At 30 a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures - be what he is. And, above all, accept these things.” 
― Albert Camus

"Self-acceptance means living the life you choose to live without worrying what others think about you. It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about you. What matters is what you think about yourself. Life is about choices—your life choices, not someone else’s choice about how you should live.” 
― Sadiqua Hamdan, Happy Am I. Holy Am I. Healthy Am I.


“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” 

― Max EhrmannDesiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life


“There comes a time in each life like a point of fulcrum. At that time you must accept yourself. It is not any more what you will become. It is what you are and always will be. You are too young to know this. You are still becoming. Not being.” 
― John FowlesThe Magus


“What is freedom? It consists in two things: to know each his own limitations and accept them – that is the same thing as to know oneself, and accept oneself as one is, without fear, or envy, or distaste; and to recognise and accept the conditions under which one lives, also without fear or envy, or distaste. When you do this, you shall be free.” 
― Ann BridgeIllyrian Spring
 

Meditation

the impact of meditation on the brain -- 11/3/14

Today's selection -- from "Mind of the Meditator" by Matthieu Ricard, Antoine Lutz and Richard J. Davidson. Brain imaging shows that when we master a task such as playing an instrument or the advanced performance in a sport, specific parts of the brain are transformed -- certain neural pathways grow and strengthen. Neuroscientists have now shown that the same is true for mastery of meditation with direct benefits for improving focus, overcoming depression, dealing with pain and cultivating emotional well-being:
"A comparison of the brain scans of meditators with tens of thousands of hours of practice with those of neophytes and nonmeditators has started to explain why this set of techniques for training the mind holds great potential for supplying cognitive and emotional benefits. ...
"The discovery of meditation's benefits coincides with recent neuroscientific findings showing that the adult brain can still be deeply transformed through experience. These studies show that when we learn how to juggle or play a musical instrument, the brain undergoes changes through a process called neuroplasticity. A brain region that controls the movement of a violinist's fingers becomes progressively larger with mastery of the instrument. A similar process appears to happen when we meditate. Nothing changes in the surrounding environment, but the meditator regulates mental states to achieve a form of inner enrichment, an experience that affects brain functioning and its physical structure. The evidence amassed from this research has begun to show that meditation can rewire brain circuits to produce salutary effects not just on the mind and the brain but on the entire body. ...
A) 12 expert meditators had greater overlap of increased activation of attention-related 
brain regions. B) 12 non-meditators had less overlap and activation. Orange hues equal
higher correlation between individuals & activation. Blue hues equal little to 
no correlation between regions of activation.
"Neuroscientists have now begun to probe what happens inside the brain during the various types of meditation. Wendy Hasenkamp, then at Emory University, and her colleagues used brain imaging to identify the neural networks activated by focused- attention meditation. ... Advanced meditators appear to acquire a level of skill that enables them to achieve a focused state of mind with less effort. These effects resemble the skill of expert musicians and athletes capable of immersing themselves in the 'flow' of their performances with a minimal sense of effortful control. ...
"In our Wisconsin lab, we have studied experienced practitioners while they performed an advanced form of mindfulness meditation called open presence. In open presence, sometimes called pure awareness, the mind is calm and relaxed, not focused on anything in particular yet vividly clear, free from excitation or dullness. The meditator observes and is open to experience without making any attempt to interpret, change, reject or ignore painful sensation. We found that the intensity of the pain was not reduced in meditators, but it bothered them less than it did members of a control group. Compared with novices, expert meditators' brain activity diminished in anxiety-related regions -- the insular cortex and the amygdala -- in the period preceding the painful stimulus. The meditators' brain response in pain-related regions became accustomed to the stimulus more quickly than that of novices after repeated exposures to it. Other tests in our lab have shown that meditation training increases one's ability to better control and buffer basic physiological responses -- inflammation or levels of a stress hormone -- to a socially stressful task such as giving a public speech or doing mental arithmetic in front of a harsh jury.
"Several studies have documented the benefits of mindfulness on symptoms of anxiety and depression and its ability to improve sleep patterns. By deliberately monitoring and observing their thoughts and emotions when they feel sad or worried, depressed patients can use meditation to manage negative thoughts and feelings as they arise spontaneously and so lessen rumination. Clinical psychologists John Teasdale, then at the University of Cambridge, and Zindel Segal of the University of Toronto showed in 2000 that for patients who had previously suffered at least three episodes of depression, six months of mindfulness practice, along with cognitive therapy, reduced the risk of relapse by nearly 40 percent in the year following the onset of a severe depression. More recently, Segal demonstrated that the intervention is superior to a placebo and has a protective effect against relapse comparable to standard maintenance antidepressant therapy. ...
"About 15 years of research have done more than show that meditation produces significant changes in both the function and structure of the brains of experienced practitioners. These studies are now starting to demonstrate that contemplative practices may have a substantive impact on biological processes critical for physical health."


author: "Mind of the Meditator"
title: Matthieu Ricard, Antoine Lutz and Richard J. Davidson
publisher: Scientific American
date: November 2014
pages: 39-45