Joyous Dogs

Connote Freedom

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Be Happy



Uploaded on Jul 1, 2011

Is happiness a skill? Modern neuroscientific research and the wisdom of ancient contemplative traditions converge in suggesting that happiness is the product of skills that can be enhanced through training and such training exemplifies how transforming the mind can change the brain. 

Kent Berridge, Richie Davidson, and Daniel Gilbert speak at the Aspen Ideas Festival
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Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah


Leonard Cohen Credit Dominique Issermann

  Leonard Cohen: Darkness and Praise

The email from the boy began: “Did anything inspire you to create Hallelujah?"

Later that same winter day the reply arrived: 
“I wanted to stand with those who clearly see God’s holy broken world for what it is, and still find the courage or the heart to praise it. You don’t always get what you want. You’re not always up for the challenge. But in this case — it was given to me. For which I am deeply grateful.”
The question came from the author's son, who was preparing to present the hymn to his fifth-grade class. The boy required a clarification about its meaning. The answer came from the author of the song, Leonard Cohen.
Cohen lived in a weather of wisdom, which he created by seeking it rather than by finding it. He swam in beauty, because in its transience he aspired to discern a glimpse of eternity.
There was always a trace of philosophy in his sensuality.
He managed to combine a sense of absurdity with a sense of significance, a genuine feat.
He was a friend of melancholy but an enemy of gloom, and a renegade enamored of tradition.
Leonard was, above all, in his music and in his poems and in his tone of life, the lyrical advocate of the finite and the flawed.
Leonard sang always as a sinner. He refused to describe sin as a failure or a disqualification. Sin was a condition of life. 

“Even though it all went wrong/ I’ll stand before the Lord of song/ With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!”
The singer’s faults do not expel him from the divine presence. Instead they confer a mortal integrity upon his exclamation of praise. 

He is the inadequate man, the lowly man, the hurt man who has given hurt, insisting modestly but stubbornly upon his right to a sacred exaltation.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  

He once told an interviewer that those words were the closest he came to a credo.  

The teaching could not be more plain: fix the crack, lose the light.
  
Here is a passage on frivolity by a great rabbi in Prague at the end of the 16th century:

“Man was born for toil, since his perfection is always being actualized but is never actual,” 
he observed in an essay on frivolity.
“And insofar as he attains perfection, something is missing in him.  In such a being, 
perfection is a shortcoming and a lack.”

Leonard Cohen was the poet laureate of the lack, the psalmist of the privation, who made imperfection gorgeous.



Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/opinion/my-friend-leonard-cohen-darkness-and-praise.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&src=trending



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Living with a sense of purpose in life




Conclusion:

A sense of purpose in life also gives you this considerable advantage:
"People with a sense of purpose in life have a lower risk of death and cardiovascular disease."

The conclusions come from over 136,000 people who took part in 10 different studies.

Participants in the studies were mostly from the US and Japan.


The US studies asked people:
  • how useful they felt to others,
  • about their sense of purpose, and
  • the meaning they got out of life.


The Japanese studies asked people about ‘ikigai’ or whether their life was worth living.

The participants, whose average age was 67, were tracked for around 7 years.

During that time almost 20,000 died.
 
But, amongst those with a strong sense of purpose or high ‘ikigai’, the risk of death was one-fifth lower.

Despite the link between sense of purpose and health being so intuitive, scientists are not sure of the mechanism.

Sense of purpose is likely to improve health by strengthening the body against stress.

It is also likely to be linked to healthier behaviours.

Dr. Alan Rozanski, one of the study’s authors, said:
“Of note, having a strong sense of life purpose has long been postulated to be an important dimension of life, providing people with a sense of vitality motivation and resilience.
Nevertheless, the medical implications of living with a high or low sense of life purpose have only recently caught the attention of investigators.
The current findings are important because they may open up new potential interventions for helping people to promote their health and sense of well-being.”

This research on links between sense of purpose in life and longevity is getting stronger all the time:
  • “A 2009 study of 1,238 elderly people found that those with a sense of purpose lived longer.
  • A 2010 study of 900 older adults found that those with a greater sense of purpose were much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Survey data often links a sense of purpose in life with increased happiness.
No matter what your age, then, it’s worth thinking about what gives your life meaning.”



Read More:

Find out what kinds of things people say give their lives meaning.
Here’s an exercise for increasing meaningfulness
And a study finding that feeling you belong increases the sense of meaning.

The study was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine (Cohen et al., 2015).




A sense of purpose in life
Link: http://www.spring.org.uk/2015/12/here-is-why-a-sense-of-purpose-in-life-is-important-for-health

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

AWAKEN TO THIS DAY

Detail of an illustration prepared for the print version of this story.




SANSKRIT PROVERB

Look at this day, for it is life, the very life of life.

In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence, the bliss of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power.

For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today, well lived, makes every day a dream, a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day








*PICTURE: Detail of an illustration prepared for the print version of this story.




RAVENS ARE CLEVER INDEED

  
RAVENS ARE CLEVER ENOUGH TO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR AND TO BE MISCHIEVOUS. 





Ravens in the Tower of London


According to legend, the Kingdom of England will fall if the ravens of the Tower of London are removed.


It had been thought that there have been at least six ravens in residence at the tower for centuries.

The earliest known reference to a Tower raven is a picture in the newspaper The Pictorial World in 1883.

This and scattered subsequent references, both literary and visual, which appear in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, place them near the monument commemorating those beheaded at the tower, popularly known as the “scaffold.” 

This strongly suggests that the ravens, which are notorious for gathering at gallows, were originally used to dramatize tales of imprisonment and execution at the tower told to tourists by the Yeomen Warders.

There is evidence that the original ravens were donated to the tower by the Earls of Dunraven, perhaps because of their association with the Celtic raven-god Bran.  

However wild ravens, which were once abundant in London and often seen around meat markets (such as nearby Eastcheap) feasting for scraps, could have roosted at the Tower in earlier times. 

During the Second World War, most of the Tower's ravens perished through shock during bombing raids, leaving only a mated pair named "Mabel" and "Grip." 

Shortly before the Tower reopened to the public, Mabel flew away, leaving Grip despondent. A couple of weeks later, Grip also flew away, probably in search of his mate. The incident was reported in several newspapers, and some of the stories contained the first references in print to the legend that the British Empire would fall if the ravens left the tower.  

Since the Empire was dismantled shortly afterward, those who are superstitious might interpret events as a confirmation of the legend. Before the tower reopened to the public on 1 January 1946, care was taken to ensure that a new set of ravens was in place. 


File:London tower ravens.jpg
Ravens in the Tower of London









Portrait by Colin O’Brien





Saturday, September 15, 2012

You are the master of your fate and you create your own happiness.


If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?  And if I am only for myself, then what am I?  And if not now, when?

- Hillel the Elder, 1st Century B.C.
 


 It's never the events that happen to us that make us disturbed, but our view of them.
Epictetus, 1st Century A.D.


Happiness and misery depend as much on temperament as on fortune.
- Francois de la Rochefoucauld, 17th Century


Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
- Abe Lincoln


Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.
- Leo Tolstoy


 To be in Hell is to drift; to be in Heaven is to steer.
- Geo. B. Shaw


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It is not that someone else is preventing you from living happily;
You yourself do not know what you want.  Rather than admit this,    
you pretend that someone is keeping you from excercising your liberty.
Who is this?  It is yourself.
- Thomas Merton, 1961

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I am resposible for the achievement of my desires.
I am responsible for my choices and acktions...
I am responsible for my personal happiness.
- Dr. Nathaniel Branden


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"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."

- Thomas Jefferson

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If you think you're free, there's no escape possible.

- Ram Dass

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Happiness is something you can work at.  It's a matter of identifying the things you do that get in the way of happiness,  and figuring out what positive activities you can do everyday to augment it.

- David Lykken, U of Minnesota

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Depressed people are caught in a  feedback loop in which distorted thoughts cause negative feelings, which then distort feelings further.

You can break the cycle by changing the thoughts.

A big part of cognitive therapy is training clients to catch the thoughts and  distortions and then find alternative and more accurate ways of thinking.


Over many weeks,the client's thoughts become more realistic.  The feedback loop is broken and the client's anxiety or depression abates.



- Johnathan Haidt, Psychologist and Happiness Researcher


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