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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Living In The Now/Present Moment.

 

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in WISDOM

 

232 YOUR PORTABLE WISDOM GUIDE – It is an art to call on the support of others.

Self-pity is unique to human beings

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232. It is an art to call on the support of others. If a person feels obligated, he will resent you, but if he feels honored and valued, he will enjoy being of service. People hate it when they feel they “have to” do something, but they are comfortable when they feel that they “want to” do something.

Rene

This series will be continued tomorrow

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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in WISDOM

 

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Enlightenment – There is a risk of becoming a “bliss junkie”.

mind

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A Navy SEAL, broad-chested and strongly built, floats peacefully on the water, as his recent deployment to a war-torn country becomes a distant memory.

Sealed inside a pitch-black sensory deprivation tank in the Mind Gym at Navy Seals headquarters in Norfolk, Va., electrodes attached to his head, he has reached an altered state of consciousness referred to as “ecstasis” or “stepping outside oneself.”

It’s a state achieved by many others throughout time. High-performance athletes are in ecstasis when they ski down huge mountains or surf giant waves. Monks attain it after years of meditation. Mystics feel it when they have visions. And the US government uses it to try to reset their most elite warriors after brutal battles abroad.

This state of mind is called “flow” or an “altered” or “non-ordinary state of consciousness” where “action and awareness start to merge. Our sense of self vanishes. Our sense of time as well. And all aspects of performance, both mental and physical go through the roof,” write Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, authors of “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.”

But, it turns out finding flow, and reproducing it on command, isn’t easy. The athletes who know how to get into flow don’t know how to explain it, and scientists who could potentially map it haven’t until recently been able to find it. But, over the last decade, advances in brain science have allowed researchers to learn how it works so we mortals can recreate it.

MindTrip MagazineFor a long time, research into flow states was subjective — researchers had to rely on people’s self-reported experiences to understand altered states of mind. But advances in imaging technologies such as fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) over the last decade have allowed researchers to see what’s happening under the hood during various mental states.

During normal consciousness, the prefrontal cortex of the brain is buzzing with activity and stress hormones. But in flow states, scientists now know that brain waves slow down, stress hormones decrease and feel-good, social-bonding chemicals like endorphins and serotonin flood the mind.

As a result, people “in flow” look to increase cooperation and social bonds with others, as well as learn faster and be more creative — skills that are prized and almost impossible to teach, says Kotler.

For instance, neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg took brain scans of nuns and monks deep in prayer who described feeling a oneness or unity with the world when they prayed — and there’s a neurological reason for that.

Activity in the part of the brain that is responsible for navigating our bodies through space (the right parietal lobe) slows way down during deep meditation, meaning that the brain loses track of the body’s physical boundaries — where the person begins and ends.

“At that moment, as far as the brain can tell, you are one with everything,” said Newberg.

Neuropsychopharmacologist Robin Carhart-Harris used fMRIs to study the effects of psychedelics on the brain.

Carhart-Harris found that the brain’s default mode network — the part of the mind that aimlessly chatters away all day, often causing a lot of distress — goes “offline” under the influence of LSD.

This is one of the reasons why scientists think psychedelic drugs are healing for those suffering from trauma or other mental conditions.

In less industrialized cultures, people seem to be able to enter and exit altered states more easily, says Wheal.

Think of Sufis, who enter trance states while twirling, or Native Americans, who reached mystical states during vision quests, or Tibetan monks, who learn meditation as a way of life. But Westerners need a whack over the head to break out of regular consciousness.

“In the West, we have such an entrenched ego identity. We have one channel of awareness, while other cultures, their dials move more freely between various states. Over here, our dial got rusted shut, so to ungum those works, we need stronger interventions,” says Wheal. “We don’t have much practice shifting between states.”

It’s not like we’re not trying. A whopping $4 trillion a year worldwide is spent on achieving altered states of consciousness through everything from alcohol to caffeine to action sports, EDM concerts, yoga, even online porn — anything to get us out of our own heads for a minute, the authors write.

Sensory-deprivation tanks like the ones found at Navy SEALs headquarters, where soldiers can learn to process trauma, are having a renaissance all over the country. There are thousands of centers that offer the float-tank experience now, whereas a decade ago they were relatively rare.

Invented by Dr. John Lilly in 1954 for the National Institutes of Mental Health, the tanks were “specifically designed to help people shut off the self,” the authors write. Studies suggest that floating in the tanks increases theta waves in the brain, which are the also produced during meditation. Some users report that they hallucinate within the tanks, and others say it leads to heightened creativity.

Engaging in action sports — big-wave surfing, BASE jumping, rock climbing — is another way to trigger a “flow” state, say the authors.

In 2007, Carly Rogers, an occupational therapist from UCLA, got Iraq War vets to go surfing. The high that comes from riding a wave, combined with talk therapy, got the same results as a single dose of MDMA, which is commonly known as the drug ecstasy.

At his Necker Island getaway resort in the Caribbean, billionaire Richard Branson uses the action-sports trick to incite new business ideas. Between kitesurfing sessions, zip-lining to breakfast and hanging out in a cedar hot tub beneath the stars, chosen guests can pitch start-up ideas directly to him. Everything on the island is designed to keep people in flow — to turn off their conscious minds and stimulate creativity.

Sound can be another “state changing” trigger . Medieval churches “were designed with narrow walls to produce a ‘slap echo’ — a sort of a threefold bounce meant to represent the flapping of an angel’s wings,” the authors write.

“The gothic arches of Notre Dame and Chartres cathedrals act as giant subwoofers for the pipe organs.”

Today, UK speaker company Funktion-One uses that philosophy to create a “common place [where people can] expand their minds,” says founder Tony Andrews.

The authors describe a Funktion-One’s sound effects like “getting pressure-washed with a sonic firehose . . . there was no room for thinking at all.”

The digital artist Android Jones, live “paints” during music performances, sometimes in collaboration with Andrews. A graduate of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, his work has also been seen at the Sydney Opera House, at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, and on the Empire State Building, where his painting of the Hindu goddess Kali was projected 40 stories high.

The authors say his enormous images produce a “profoundly altered state” in viewers, and a 2012 Stanford study found “encounters with perceptual vastness, be it the endless spiral of galaxies in the night sky or Jones’ larger than life projections, triggers a self-negating, time-dilating sense of awe.”

While music, sports and drugs have helped us reach an altered state for hundreds of years, Mikey Siegel, an MIT and NASA-trained roboticist, has invented a new ecstasis “machine” that is very 21st century.

In 2011, Siegel was living in Silicon Valley and working as an engineer when he went on a long meditation retreat. After seven days of sitting ramrod straight, he was in agony. But, just as suddenly, he experienced a shift. His brain stopped judging the pain, and he felt it disappear.

He wanted to reach that state again, but it was harder to find it back home, surrounded by everyday life. So he put his engineering tools to use, launching a field called “enlightenment engineering.” First, he made a sensor that could convert his heart rate into an audio tone and wore it for three days straight. At the end of the three days, he’d figured out how to control his heart rate — getting him closer to that feeling he had on the retreat.

Since then, he’s founded a company called Consciousness Hacking, which has begun making “tech-assisted self-awareness devices” meant to help people “tune their internal environments” and reach non-ordinary states of consciousness on their own, Siegel says.

And that’s a good thing, the authors say. “These technologies help you learn about what’s happening inside your body and your brain, helping you get in control of yourself faster, with less mindless seeking,” says Wheal. “Instead of self-help courses or handfuls of vitamin supplements, these tools ideally offer accelerated self-mastery and [greater] well-being.”

Currently, Siegel’s working on a device that combines ultrasound, transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct stimulation, all of which shoot pulses into the brain, turning on and off various regions at your command.

“It’s not quite what decades of meditation training can produce, but it’s legitimate, reliable, repeatable state change,” Siegel says.

As a result, we may be one step closer to achieving the “flow” state at will, without relying on drugs or skydives or endless meditation.

But be warned: There is a risk of becoming a “bliss junkie,” the authors write. Dr. Lilly himself, the creator of the deprivation tank, is the poster child for going too deep into ecstasis. Soon after he patented his invention, he began experimenting with psychedelics inside the tanks, taking ketamine (an anesthetic that puts users in a trance-like state).

Predictably, things went awry when he fell into the tank one day and, immobilized by the drug, almost drowned. His wife found him floating face down and revived him. But even that didn’t stop his experiments into his own consciousness.

It was only when he had another near death experience and was warned by “entities” on the other side, he says, to stop his experimenting, that he gave it up.
There can be a downside, it seems, to pursuing nirvana on tap.

“What happens when we do have the keys to the kingdom?” asks Wheal. “If you spend all your time blissed out, Zenned out, drunk, stoned, sexed up or anything else, then you’ve lost all the contrast that initially made those experiences so rich — what made them altered in the first place.”

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By Stefanie Cohen / NY Post

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in WISDOM

 

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231 YOUR PORTABLE WISDOM GUIDE – The strength of a lion and the cunningness of a fox.

What-is-the-meaning-of-FEAR-for-you

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231. It is amazing what fight a person that stare death in they eyes can put up. Because he feels that this might be his last fight, he fights like a tiger. His age or posture does not stop him from developing the strength of a lion and the cunningness of a fox. The question then is, “Why do people need to feel so threatened before they use their full potential”?

Rene

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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in WISDOM

 

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Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds.

 

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in WISDOM

 

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Boldly looking ahead elicits doubt, fear, and anxiety.

They feed off your energy, money, insecurity or some other benefit that their association with you brings them.

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Science fiction writer William Gibson famously once said, “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.” As leaders, how do we embrace the elements of the future that are here, and the ones that are just around the corner? By thinking more like a futurist.

In times of increasing change and complexity, it can be difficult to envision bold new futures with any certainty. Our go-to strategies for thinking about the future typically start with the elements that are known, such as projecting out historic results to future performance, analyzing existing competitors, or focusing on executing near-term results.

What’s missing are systematic approaches to understanding and taking advantage of the unknown. This is why leaders need to embrace skills, practices and behaviors of futurists.

Futurists don’t have secret powers to predict the future. They don’t have a Magic 8 Ball or special basket of fortune-cookie predictions. Rather, futurists discipline themselves to question the status quo. They regularly scan external trends, adjacent industries and underlying forces. They consider diverse perspectives. And they boldly tell stories about the future before all of the data is available to back it up.

MindTrip MagazineWhy Thinking Like a Futurist Is Valuable

We’ve been trained to think of the future as a linear extension of what we know, typically imagining change as a 10 percent improvement (or decline) from what we see around us.

We think we have a better understanding of the future than we do. Our implicit views about the future are so ingrained in business plans, financial models, and strategy conversations that leaders often don’t take the time to articulate underlying assumptions. When they do, they may discover plans rely on variables that are far from given and perhaps not the only options.

The future lives in a very broad set of possibilities, and these can unfold surprisingly quickly.

Technological, environmental and political changes will likely disrupt your business. How can you prepare for a different, even unimaginable world that will arrive faster than projected?

This is where methods commonly employed by futurists can help you strengthen your plans. Disciplined methods of strategic foresight systematically scan, analyze, probe and project the future beyond what we intuitively think might be possible.

How to See Ahead Like a Futurist

The first step is identifying the most important and uncertain macro forces shaping your business. These can usually be divided into five broad categories: social, technological, economic, environmental and political. (Tip: Recall these with the acronym STEEP.)

Under each of these categories, there are a number of driving forces and external variables that might lead to very different futures.

An insurance company, for example, might track variables related to the extension of human life (social), technologies disrupting treatment of chronic health conditions (technology), the rate of change from traditional employer-driven work arrangements to more independent “gig” jobs (economic), the frequency and impact of natural disasters (environmental), and the government’s stance toward regulation and potential new laws (political).

Once these high-impact variables are identified and prioritized, futurists gather diverse inputs to establish a range of how the variables are likely to play out over time. The further ahead they go, the wider the range of possibilities.

Futurists call this the cone of possibilities and carefully organize their forecasts into four buckets.

What are possible futures? This is the full range of events that could unfold.
What are plausible futures? This is what we believe is possible but unlikely.
What are probable futures? This is what’s most likely to happen.
What are preferred futures? This is what we want to happen.

Although these futures stem from a common set of identified variables, the derived outcomes are significantly different.

This can be an enlightening strategic exercise for leaders: Is your organization overemphasizing its preferred future and neglecting the full range of possible futures? If so, perhaps there isn’t enough hedging of investments. Does your organization default to the plausible future? Consider broadening the view by investigating new technologies, adjacent industries and early startups to inform alternative strategic options.

Paul Saffo, Singularity University’s Chair of Futures Studies and Foresight, repeatedly warns us that “sacred cows make the best burgers.” A quick way to make your organization more future-focused is by asking team members to dive into their networks and scout for evidence related to the key variables you’ve outlined and post them on an analog or digital wall.

How to Create Preferred Futures

Once you’ve identified your preferred future, you can start to identify key activities and milestones that would help create that future.

Backcasting is the act of imagining a preferred future and then stepping backward toward the present, repeatedly probing what has to happen to enable each step.

Backcasting is anchored in an aspirational future state rather than being constrained by limitations of the current state. This allows people to create their own richly detailed stories of the future and leads naturally to the discussion: “How can our product/service do that?”

To dream up bold, new possibilities, try imagining an outcome 10 times better, cheaper, or more impactful than what exists today. What if, for example, we all had access to personalized artificial intelligence wellness care providers through emotional robots? Or what if the majority of our transportation services were provided by autonomous vehicles?

Now step backward from each vision to discover what’s needed to turn it into reality.

Like forecasting, backcasting can be improved by seeking diverse input. For example, consider carving out a few hours in a company-wide meeting to craft “headlines from the future.” Just a few hours of collaboration can spark new thinking and ignite fresh ideas. Such exercises can also fuel interdisciplinary engagement and encourage a sense of collective responsibility.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and even ditch the PowerPoint slides. Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ director Kyle Nel uses narrative driven innovation to imagine new futures. To jumpstart his efforts, Nel brought in science fiction writers and illustrators to create comic books that showcased possible alternatives stretching far beyond smaller, incremental changes, helping the company’s leadership concretely imagine and visualize the Lowe’s store of the future.

Getting Comfortable With Ambiguity

One of the most challenging aspects of practicing the skills of a futurist is getting comfortable with the reality that we simply cannot predict the future. For many senior leaders, this is deeply unsettling. How can we possibly make big bets on the future without all the facts and data?

Most of us are uncomfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. Boldly looking ahead elicits doubt, fear, and anxiety — emotions we’d rather hold in check. We can learn to overcome our discomfort with the unknown, and even begin to revel in it, by continuously pushing ourselves to learn new things and seek out new experiences and people.

We are all capable of becoming better futurists. In doing so, we not only architect hope of new possibilities, we also build more flexible, adaptive and resilient organizations in the process.

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By Lisa Kay Solomon / Singularity Hub

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in WISDOM

 

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230 YOUR PORTABLE WISDOM GUIDE – When you give a specific person too much power.

unplug

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230. It is a major mistake to attach too much value to one specific goal. If something goes wrong with this goal, it will leave you devastated and defeated. The same hold true with people. You will also be devastated if you give a specific person too much power and he lets you down when needed most.

Rene

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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in WISDOM

 

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