Sunday, 31 May 2009

Too Confident

              A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defence’s closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick. 
              “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all,” the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. “Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom."
              “He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed. Nothing happened. 
              Finally the lawyer said, “Actually, I made up the previous statement. But, you all looked on with anticipation. I therefore put to you that you have a reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty." 
              The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty. 
               “But how?” inquired the lawyer. “You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door."
              The jury foreman replied, “Oh, we looked, but your client didn’t."

Friday, 29 May 2009

Edgar Mueller

Together with up to five assistants, Mueller painted all day long from sunrise to sunset.

The picture appeared on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire , Ireland, as part of the town's Festival of World Cultures.

He spent five days, working 12 hours a day, to create the 250 square metre image of the crevasse, which, viewed from the correct angle, appears to be 3D. He then persuaded passers-by to complete the illusion by pretending the gaping hole was real.

            'I wanted to play with positives and negatives to encourage people to think twice about everything they see,' he said. 'It was a very scary scene, but when people saw it they had great fun playing on it and pretending to fall into the earth.
            'I like to think that later, when they returned home, they might reflect more on what a frightening scenario it was and say, "Wow, that was actually pretty scary."

Mueller, who has previously painted a giant waterfall in Canada, said he was inspired by the British 'Pavement Picasso' Julian Beever, whose dramatic but more gentle 3D street images have featured in the Daily Mail.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Excessive stress lies somewhere behind most troubles and illness. If your adrenalin runs at a high level for long periods, with little chance of appropriate action, your adrenal glands will become depleted. Your breathing will either become too rapid or will be restricted and shallow. Your digestion will be upset or strained in some way. If you feel nervous or queasy the first thing to do is to breathe more deeply and slowly. This will calm you down, settle your nerves and increase the supply of oxygen to your body.

Combating Stress 

Stress: What is it? 

There is no running away from it. We all experience it to some degree as we go about our daily activities and interactions. In general, the body reacts to perceived threats by releasing adrenaline and other hormones. Our metabolic rate, blood pressure, and heart and respiratory rates increase, and blood rushes into the muscles. This is called the "fight-or fight" response. These hormones allow energy stored in the body to be released for use by the body. If they are not burnt off through physical exertion, they remain in the bloodstream and can cause problems. 

Stress can be sudden or progressive. A feeling of lack of control over your life, a change in your financial situation, and excessive or continuous work demands or repetitive tasks can lead to stress. Studies suggest that the leading stressors are family and job demands, followed by excessive environmental noise. 

Stress is manifested physically as muscle tension, headaches, lower back pain, insomnia and high blood pressure. Psychological symptoms of stress include irritability, anxiety, impaired concentration, poor judgement, frustration and anger. Unresolved stress can cause a sudden increase or decease in appetite, and the over consumption of alcohol or cigarettes. 

Treating Stress

Regular Exercise: Exercise can "burn off" stress-related chemicals released by our body. It aids in relaxation by producing endorphins, the "feel good" chemicals of the body. The best type of exercise is one with a repetitive rhythm, such as walking or jogging. By focusing your mind on the repetition, your mind has a chance to forget its worries and restore itself. 

Daily focus on progressive relaxation: When we close our eyes and breathe deeply, while alternately tensing and relaxing our muscles, we can achieve a state of relaxation. Playing music and visualizing pleasant thoughts can also aid in relaxation, as they decrease respiratory, heart and metabolic rates. 

Planning your time wisely: By prioritising our activities, we can have more control over our lives. Prioritising gives us time to concentrate on important matters while letting low priority maters slide. Make time for yourself to do things you like or to relax. 

Tips to Decrease Stress

1) Nurture important relationships: close relationships are strongly associated with better immune function. Surround yourself with and confide in people you trust.

2) Eat a balanced diet: Curb the effects of stress by getting the nutrients your body needs for optimal health. Carbohydrates trigger the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is soothing to the body.

3) Learn to let go: There are many things in life that we can't control. Accept this fact. A positive attitude can help you control stress. 

- Source Unknown 

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

It’s In The Genes

The claim: Some men are more likely to father boys
The facts: Men who want to know whether they are more likely to father a boy or a girl may now be able to find an easy clue: consult your family tree.
              It has long been suspected that men who come from families with plenty of males have higher odds of fathering boys and that for men with many sisters, it is vice versa. However, there was never any strong evidence. So last December, a British doctoral student put the theory to the test.
              In a study published in the journal Evolutionary Biology, researcher Corry Gellatly examined the histories of more than 900 Americans and European families dating to 1600, involving more than half a million people.
              A child’s sex is always determined by the father, since men cast the deciding chromosome – either an X or a Y – while women produce eggs that carry an X chromosome. Mr Gellatly found evidence that men carry a gene that determines the percentage of X and Y chromosomes in their sperm and that the gene comes in three alleles, or versions. One produces mostly X chromosomes, another mostly Y, and the third yields equal numbers of both.
              However, carrying a gene that predisposes men to more sons or daughters is no guarantee, in the same way that rolling a rigged die with a six on four of its faces is no guarantee of landing a six.

The bottom line: Some men, it seems are genetically morel likely to sire more boys than girls, and vice versa

- The New York Times 

Monday, 25 May 2009

No Link Between Tattoos and skin Cancer

The claim: Tattoos can increase the risk of skin cancer.
The facts: As more people tattoo their bodies, some have wondered if there are health risks.

              Many inks have metals in them: blue, for example, contains cobalt and aluminium, and red may contain mercury sulphide. That, along with the fact that tattooing can be traumatising to the skin, prompted a suspicion that tattoos may lead to skin cancer.
              Studies in recent years have documented a few cases of cancer at a tattoo site. However, Dr Ariel Ostad, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Centre in Manhattan, said that the ink is unlikely to do any harm because it is confined to cells in the skin called macrophanges, whose job is to absorb foreign material.
              He said what was more likely to have happened was that the tattoo was placed on an existing mole, making any changes in the mole hard to spot.

The bottom line: There is no evidence that tattoos lead to skin cancer.

-The New York Times 

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Eager To Help

              A young executive was leaving the office of a major corporation late one evening when he found the CEO himself standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand. 
              Eager to make a good impression, the young executive introduced himself and asked if he could be of any help. 
              “Why yes,” said the CEO, holding up the piece of paper. “This is a very sensitive and important document, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?” 
              “Certainly,” said the young executive, happy for a chance to help the boss. The young man turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button. 
              “Excellent, excellent!” said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine. “I’ll need two copies.”

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Amazing Woman

This video - unfortunately, is in Cantonese with Chinese sub-titles. However, I am sure you don't need to understand the language to understand what the video is saying. This is one truly amazing woman. She puts the most capable amongst us to shame. 
Erm... what is your problem again?
We should count our blessings!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Reading - Quotes

'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The habit of reading is the only one I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live. - Anthony Trollope

I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there, but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book and ransack every page. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reading is essential for growth. It gives a whole dimension to our lives. It has been so since the first reading material was made available to the masses. It helps us to know and understand each other and our world better, to see beneath exteriors, to wipe out boundaries and distances. - Leo Buscaglia

The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practiced at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness. - Holbrook Jackson

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. - S. I. Hayakawa

Good literature continually read for pleasure must, let us hope, do some good to the reader: must quicken his perception though dull, and sharpen his discrimination though blunt, and mellow the rawness of his personal opinions. - A. E. Housman

Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting. - Aldous Huxley

When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion. Every sentence is doubly significant, and the sense of our author is as broad as the world. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. - William Faulkner

The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination. - Elizabeth Hardwick

Then I thought of reading - the nice and subtle happiness of reading ... this joy not dulled by age, this polite and unpunishable vice, this selfish, serene, lifelong intoxication. - Logan Pearsall Smith

Resolve to edge in a little reading every day, if it is but a single sentence. If you gain fifteen minutes a day, it will make itself felt at the end of the year. - Horace Mann

It is better to read one poem a hundred times and keep it in your heart, than to read a hundred poems and remember them not at all. - Unknown

Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. - Francis Bacon

When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before. - Cliff Fadiman

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. - Mark Twain

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. - William Somerset Maugham

The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. - Rene Descartes

To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him and travel in his company. - Andre Gide

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors. - David Viscott

Books give not wisdom where none was before. But where some is, there reading makes it more. - Elizabeth Hardwick

In science, read, by preference, the newest works; in literature, the oldest. - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

I have never known any distress that an hour's reading did not relieve. - Charles De Montesquieu

Don't just read the easy stuff. You may be entertained by it, but you will never grow from it. - Jim Rohn

The one thing I regret is that I will never have time to read all the books I want to read. - Francoise Sagan

Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else's head instead of with one's own. - Arthur Schopenhauer

I read my eyes out and can't read half enough. . . . The more one reads the more one sees we have to read. - John Adams

The mere brute pleasure of reading – the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing. - Lord Chesterfield

If you believe everything you read, you had better not read. - Unknown

Anyone who can read, can learn to read deeply and thus live more fully. - Norman Cousins

No one can read with profit that which he cannot learn to read with pleasure. - Thomas Hardy

It is well to read everything of something, and something of everything. - Joseph Brodsky

Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting. - Edmund Burke

Read as you taste fruit or savor wine, or enjoy friendship, love or life. - George Herbert

One must be a wise reader to quote wisely and well. - Amos Bronson Alcott

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. - Sir Richard Steele

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life. - Joseph Addison

No two persons ever read the same book. - Edmund Wilson

I am a part of everything that I have read. - John Kieran

Your library is your portrait. - Holbrook Jackson

Thursday, 21 May 2009


I discovered the joy of reading during my young tender years. Till this day, reading remains my favourite past time. 

The following article on Reading is another of those articles which I came across ages ago. It is a well thought out article expounding the benefits of reading. Worth a read although you may find it a bit long. 

On reading profitably 

There are many different motives for reading. We may seek knowledge, relaxation, comfort, background, inspiration, or something that will enable us to compose all these into a way of life. 

The accumulated factual knowledge of the past few hundred generations of human beings is too great to be acquired through experience in a lifetime. We must take it vicariously from books. Books push out the boundaries of our ignorance, factually into the past and speculatively into the future. 

Consider this – we have only three ways of evaluating human existence: the study of self, which is the most dangerous and most difficult method, though often the most fruitful; the observation of our fellow men, who may hide their most revealing secrets from us; and books, which, with all their errors of perspective and judgment, are constant, detailed and always at our beck and call. 

It is interesting and useful to read how crises similar to our own in form, though perhaps not in magnitude, were handled by our predecessors. Books unroll the great scroll of history so that things that are remote in time and place help us to judge things that are near at hand today. 

Reading is one of the most effective means of getting away from disturbing and unalterable circumstances. Intimate association with noble works, literary, philosophic, artistic, is a promoter of thought, a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. 

Books are good for us because they tend to shake us up. Our environment is confusing. It is made up of a angle of complicated notions, in the midst of which individuals are inclined to sit apathetically. Scientific date fall upon us every day until we suffocate with uncoordinated facts; our minds are overwhelmed with discoveries which we do not understand and therefore fear. 

What we find in books can make us look again at things we have taken for granted, and question them; it can arouse us to appreciate once more the ideas and ideals that are being stifled under the flow of technical marvels. If a book moves us to thought, even to angry thought, the chances are that it is doing us a good turn. 

Consider also the benefit of good reading to the person who seeks ability in self-expression. The woman who wishes to excel in conversation and the man who must make his letters and orders clear: both these need to read wisely. 

From whence come the quotations we run across continually in conversation, correspondence, public addresses and articles? 

We are not interested in reading as critics, but as humans beings in search of some human values. If a book gives you the feeling that you are being inspired, informed, helped, or entertained, never mind what anybody else says about it, it is good. 

Reading furnishes the tools and material to take us out of blind-alley conversation. But it goes further. It advances our prospect of getting out of the routine of our profession, business or art. 

The person who reads wisely and widely often finds that he has the enormous advantage of knowing more about his subject than others do. Knowledge builds self-confidence and self-reliance. 

It is true that knowledge is not necessarily a good in itself; it needs to be assimilated by the intellect and the imagination before it becomes positively valuable. We are wise to soak ourselves in as many facts and ideas as we can, so that our minds have material with which to work. 

Books will provide us with the material information we can use to answer vital questions. When we are puzzled as to why human beings behave as they do we cannot find the answer in our surroundings but in the long perspective of history. 

A person reading well-selected books becomes a denizen of all nations, a contemporary of all ages. In books one meets all kinds of people, the wisest, the wittiest and the tenderest. 

Whether you read Jane Austen, dealing with her little community of country gentlefolk, clergymen and middle-class persons, or Somerset Maugham, ranging over the world and an infinity of characters, you are adding to your own experience that of others. You tend to became many-sided and to take large view. You expand your range of pleasures; your taste grows supple and flexible. 

Selection of books to read is highly personal. Whatever the learned may say in praise of a book, it is not for you unless you can get interested in it. And literature suited to desolate islands my not be the thing at all for reading on a bus or train or airplane, or at a lunch counter. 

One guide can be stated without equivocation: if you want to be vitalized into the power of thinking real thoughts; if you wish to be qualified to debate the issues of the day; then resolutely leave out whatever is not of the best. 

Some of the books we choose will not be crammed full of information, but are valuable because they contain exquisite nosegays of wisdom. Some will not deal with details but with principles, and principles are the most hardy, convertible, operable and usable species of literary property. 

The ‘great’ books are not made great because someone names them so, but because they contain lessons for all times. In them we find the accumulated thought of mankind, a rich inheritance, a transcription of a distinguished conversation across the ages. A great book does not speak to a lonely and sympathetic figure here and there, but to a whole world. 

Some of the great books are classics, a word that stands for the books that have worn best. They appeal to the minds of people of all sorts, and they remain significant, or acquire a new significance, in new ages. 

Every department of literature has its own contribution to make to our welfare and happiness. Poetry sets down in winged words the things we think and feel but cannot say. When you read poetry you are broadening your facility in the use of language and increasing your ability to say things in different and more attractive ways. 

Prose fills more books, and it is the common way of communicating ideas. We lose something if we do not go back to some of its earlier forms, like letters and essays, for both interest and entertainment. Essays are important sources of idea-starters, whether they are gentle, witty and seductive, or rude and quarrelsome. 

“In spite of our protestations that we are ‘too busy’ to do any serious reading, we might as well honestly admit that it is .. either because we do not organize our time to fit in reading, or that we do not utilize our odd hours.” - Robert Updegraff. 

There may be people who honestly believe that they are too important, and too occupied with affairs, to spend time with books. But reading may be the most important thing they could do in life; upon their reading may depend the continued success of their undertakings; upon it certainly rests their mental well-being. 

We do not need to sit down with a book for two or three hours in order to read effectively. If we spend just fifteen minutes a day, you can read twenty average length books between January 1st and December 31st. 

There is no other occupation which you can more easily take up at any moment, for any period, and more easily put aside when other duties press upon you. 

All wise thoughts have been written already thousands of times, but to make them truly ours we must think about them as we read. How does the opinion or belief expressed by the author square with ours? Even a statement that seems to offend our common sense may be worth thinking about. Indeed, it may be worth more than the sum of many notions with which we agree. 

As we read, we should ask questions. It is questions, not answers that keep the mind alive. Our questions will start trains of thought, awaken our reasoning, bring our judgment into play, and make our experience of life fuller and more interesting. 

One is never at the end of reading. What we know is still infinitely less than all that still remains unknown. We continue to welcome information and ideas, always wondering as we climb successive hills “What lies beyond?” 

Reading is not an exercise or an act of penance, but something that holds for us the assurance of a better way of life. There are no formal educational requirements for admission to the reading elite. You just start reading; reserve the time necessary, and go on from book to book. 

- Extracted from the Royal Bank of Canada Monthly Letter. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

To Help Ward Off Dementia, Train Your Brain

Timing is everything, comedians say.

It's also important when it comes to taking care of your brain. Yet most of us start worrying about dementia after retirement - and that may be too little, too late.

Experts say that if you really want to ward off dementia, you need to start taking care of your brain in your 30s and 40s - or even earlier.

"More and more research is suggesting that lifestyle is very important to your brain's health," says Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a neuro-psychologist and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "If you want to live a long, healthy life, then many of us need to start as early as we can."

So what can you do to beef up your brain - and possibly ward off dementia? Nussbaum, who recently gave a speech on the topic for the Winter Park (Fla.) Health Foundation, offers 20 tips that may help.

1. Join clubs or organizations that need volunteers. If you start volunteering now, you won't feel lost and unneeded after you retire.

2. Develop a hobby or two. Hobbies help you develop a robust brain because you're trying something new and complex.

3. Practice writing with your non-dominant hand several minutes every day. This will exercise the opposite side of your brain and fire up those neurons.

4. Take dance lessons. In a study of nearly 500 people, dancing was the only regular physical activity associated with a significant decrease in the incidence of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The people who danced three or four times a week showed 76 percent less incidence of dementia than those who danced only once a week or not at all.

5. Need a hobby? Start gardening. Researchers in New Zealand found that, of 1,000 people, those who gardened regularly were less likely to suffer from dementia. Not only does gardening reduce stress, but gardeners use their brains to plan gardens; they use visual and spatial reasoning to lay out a garden.

6. Buy a pedometer and walk 10,000 steps a day. Walking daily can reduce the risk of dementia because cardiovascular health is important to maintain blood flow to the brain.

7. Read and write daily. Reading stimulates a wide variety of brain areas that process and store information. Likewise, writing (not copying) stimulates many areas of the brain as well.

8. Start knitting. Using both hands works both sides of your brain. And it's a stress reducer..

9. Learn a new language. Whether it's a foreign language or sign language, you are working your brain by making it go back and forth between one language and the other. A researcher in England found that being bilingual seemed to delay symptoms of Alzheimer's disease for four years. (And some research suggests that the earlier a child learns sign language, the higher his IQ - and people with high IQs are less likely to have dementia. So start them early.)

10. Play board games such as Scrabble and Monopoly. Not only are you taxing your brain, you're socializing too. (Playing solo games, such as solitaire or online computer brain games can be helpful, but Nussbaum prefers games that encourage you to socialize too.)

11. Take classes throughout your lifetime. Learning produces structural and chemical changes in the brain, and education appears to help people live longer. Brain researchers have found that people with advanced degrees live longer - and if they do have Alzheimer's, it often becomes apparent only in the very later stages of the disease.

12. Listen to classical music. A growing volume of research suggests that music may hard wire the brain, building links between the two hemispheres. Any kind of music may work, but there's some research that shows positive effects for classical music, though researchers don't understand why.

13.. Learn a musical instrument. It may be harder than it was when you were a kid, but you'll be developing a dormant part of your brain.

14. Travel. When you travel (whether it's to a distant vacation spot or on a different route across town), you're forcing your brain to navigate a new and complex environment. A study of London taxi drivers found experienced drivers had larger brains because they have to store lots of information about locations and how to navigate there.

15. Pray. Daily prayer appears to help your immune system. And people who attend a formal worship service regularly live longer and report happier, healthier lives.

16. Learn to meditate. It's important for your brain that you learn to shut out the stresses of everyday life.

17. Get enough sleep. Studies have shown a link between interrupted sleep and dementia.

18. Eat more foods containing omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, sardines, tuna, ocean trout, mackerel or herring, plus walnuts (which are higher in omega 3s than salmon) and flaxseed. Flaxseed oil, cod liver oil and walnut oil are good sources too..

19. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables mop up some of the damage caused by free radicals, one of the leading killers of brain cells.

20. Eat at least one meal a day with family and friends. You'll slow down, socialize, and research shows you'll eat healthier food than if you ate alone or on the go.

- Source Unknown

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Unknown Philosopher

Individual Thought 

Basically, we are individuals with distinct differences. Each of us custom builds the real world by our personal thinking. But our personal thoughts must be full ones. They must be the consequence of our mental capacity. They must not be the stereotyped, thoughtlessly accepted notions of others. If our thoughts do not spring from our own reason and judgment, we are eventually frustrated. We become slaves to inadequate explanations of the mysteries of life. We fail to draw deeply from the well of happiness and personal peace within. 

It is necessary to draw into ourselves, into our thought processes and the experiences of life for personal mental digestion. We must subject all our experiences to an intimate understanding. We must analyse and question the conventional explanations that are offered for our experiences. It is not so important what the opinions and dictum of this or that celebrated person may be. Rather, what do you think? After all, you live, you act, by your own thoughts. You stand or fall because of them. Uniform mass thought is ineffective, for we are a world of individuals. If we want to live as part of a mental herd, we then forfeit what ever advantages our individuality could provide. 

There is much reference today to the conclusions of so-called experts. For many persons, these experts and their statements have become mere hitching-posts for their personal perplexities. In other words, they become substitutes for the mental effort which the individual should make in arriving at a personal answer. In fact, the individual’s own answer would in many instances be more satisfactory than the conclusions of certain experts. 

The organization of one’s thoughts into a personal philosophy does not require a uniform and formal beginning. There are no specific ideas or notions with which the chain of personal thought must begin. To use a homely analogy, every home has one window that reveals a better view of the surroundings than others. But the favourite window is not on the same side of every home. So too, the best outlook on your experiences does not start with the same mental viewpoint that others have. 

Find within yourself the most convincing explanation of that which engages your attention. These personal thoughts will then gradually assume an order of usefulness to you. This personally satisfying arrangement of your intimate knowledge and comprehension constitutes your philosophy. Take a few random thoughts and consider them. Accept them only if they find response in you. At least these thoughts may be a stimulus that arouses more gratifying personal notions. 

In considering the subject of life, we find that there are two ways we can look upon it. One is the biological, which asserts that we are physio-chemical organisms. We are impregnated with a mysterious energy for which science still searches. Religion, philosophy, and metaphysics have given many conflicting names to this same mysterious element. In the physical sense, we human beings are not unique. In the fact of living, we share a state common to all animate things. We compete in the essence of life with all else that lives. Humans have no particular distinction in the fact of earthly living. 


The other way to look upon life is in terms of experience. But what is experience? It is a circle of existence. We do not exist until we know, and know that we know. It matters not that we may exist to some other intelligent beings who realize us. Until we have self-realization, we do not exist to ourselves. Further, until we are to ourselves, nothing else exists to us. Only by making comparison between our self and that which is not self do we realize the world and the cosmos. True life, then is not just a matter of survival. Rather, it is an extension of our consciousness, of reflection upon as much of reality as possible. It is not that you live, but what life can mean to you that is important. 

Almost all religions advocate that this life is a mere preparation for immortality. They consider this life as a test of our qualifications for an eventual intimate relationship with God, or the deity. Actually, as living self-conscious beings, we are always looking out upon eternity. Here and now you are constantly experiencing examples of the First Cause – call it God, if you will. Every form of nature, every object, is of the universal spectrum of energies. Everything has an affinity with the fundamental structure of all else in the cosmos. If, therefore, all particles are of the universal causative Mind, then each conscious moment you look upon them, you are viewing God in this life. 

What is Happiness? 

Let us now consider happiness. For most people, happiness is the mad pursuit of their existence. Yet they are not certain as to its nature. All happiness is pleasure. But as the ancient Greek philosophers knew, pleasure is of two kinds. One is negative, the other positive. Negative pleasures only follow the cessation of aggravation, annoyance, or pain. Negative pleasure is like scratching an itch. One must first have the itch before he can experience the pleasure that comes from scratching. When the itch disappears, so does the pleasure. Many people think of happiness in just this negative sense. Pleasure to them is nothing more than a diminishing of responsibility and duties which invites a state of ultimate idleness. 

Positive pleasures do not require the removal of some condition before they can be enjoyed. Rather, the positive pleasure is sought in itself. Consequently, such pleasures are more enduring and bring a true happiness. A positive pleasure is the search for beauty – the harmony of our senses, all that is beautiful to see, hear, or feel in nature. This beauty is not found in accumulation of things. The accumulation of things, as we all come to know, brings in its wake responsibility, anxiety, and confusion. The beauty that brings happiness may be sought within ourselves. It is the act of giving expression to our moral impulses and our creative urges, as well as trying to fashion a personal world that will conform with our feelings of spiritual righteousness. That is why some simple and humble lives, in terms of worldly living, have been the happiest. 

Wealth should not be the thing that is sought in itself. No one ever becomes wealthy by seeking wealth. One must first distinguish himself in some service, some art, before he can demand a material reward. Wealth is the abundance of some possession. However, you cannot find abundance. Abundance is not a thing. First we must excel in something, which in turn brings abundance. Furthermore, abundance has no value except as it is applied to some end. Thus wealth is only potential power. It is neither good nor evil except in the manner in which it is applied. 

Fame also is a secondary state, not a primary one. Fame cannot be pursued in itself. Figuratively, fame is the laurel wreath that crowns a distinction which precedes it. To be famous, one must first attain merit in some activity. Likewise, a person cannot first strive to be successful. He can only work toward the satisfying culmination of some enterprise. If he realizes his goal, success comes to him. We never find success – we only attract it by what we do. 

The Cosmic 

Now let us give thought to another subject. We frequently speak of our relation to the Cosmic. How much certainty have we within ourselves about that to which we refer? In other words, just what do we mean by the word, Cosmic, both metaphysically and mystically? We must realize that the Cosmic has no determinative qualities nor does it exist in time and space. The Cosmic has no beginning and can have no end. The universe is infinite, for the finite has an extremity which can only be observed against something else, which is impossible in the case of the universe. 

We contend, then, that the Cosmic is not a thing, nor is it a place. There are two ways in which we can conceive the Cosmic. One way is to think of it as the sum total of all phenomena, the totality of what we call natural law. It is immaterial whether that law manifests in distant galaxies millions of light-years away, or within the particle of an atom or within man. This point of view may be termed the naturalistic or scientific. 

We may also think of the Cosmic as Supreme Mind. This mind functions as universal energy, creative source of all reality. We know that human thought is energy, yet human thought is composed of various ideas which have different realities to the consciousness. So, too, the ideas – if we wish to use that term – of the Universal Mind would manifest as all the particulars, all of the objects of which the Cosmic consists. Thus every creation, no matter what it is, is a conscious part of the universal intelligence. This notion is consistent with the God idea, that is, with the belief that a teleological cause is inherent in the Cosmic. It is also consistent with the scientific theory of an unified field of forces which are isotropic, that is, existing everywhere in the universe and accounting for all phenomena. 

This second conception of Cosmic Mind may be termed mystical pantheism. It places God, the Universal Intelligence, within all things. We look to no one place for the Divine. It exists everywhere about us as the spirit or power by which each thing exists. Whatever we do is cosmic in part. 

We, too, are of this Cosmic Essence and we are closer in perception and apperception to ourselves, to this Cosmic Essence, than to anything else. Consequently, cosmic union is best attained by turning to realizing the depths of our own consciousness. This introversion of consciousness, this turning within to experience an intimate relation with the Absolute, is pure mysticism. The Cosmic, therefore, is a synthesis of all that we call order, law, or manifestation. The more that we understand ourselves, the more insight we have into the Cosmic. The more we study other manifestations of the Cosmic through philosophy and science, the more we come to appreciate our own nature and existence. 

Philosophy is a painting of our personal picture of reality. It is one in which we will find intimate satisfaction. Like abstract art, our picture may mean nothing to the outside spectator, but it will have an inner expression and conviction to the artist himself. 

- Source Unknown 

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Saying It Right

              A man wanted to celebrate his wife’s Birthday by throwing a party. So he ordered a birthday cake. The salesman asked him what message he wanted put on the cake. 
              He thought for a moment and said, “Put getting older but you are getting better."
              The salesman asked, “How do you want me to put it?”
              The man said, “Well...put ‘You are getting older’ at the top, and ‘but you are getting better’ at the bottom.”
              When the cake was unveiled at the party all the guests were aghast at the message on the cake. 
              It read: “You are getting older at the top, but you are getting better at the bottom.”

Friday, 15 May 2009

Making Waves

Got these from a friend of mine. Great Shots! Beautiful pictures!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Loneliness - Quotes

I don't like to be labelled as lonely just because I am alone. - Delta Burke

I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone. - Robin Williams 

If you are afraid of being lonely, do not try to be right. - Unknown

Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you. - C.G Jung

Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself. - Rupi Kaur

Lonely is not how you feel when you’re alone. Lonely is how you feel when nobody cares. - Unknown 

One form of loneliness is to have a memory and no one to share it with. - Unknown

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. Let us not erect walls without doors of friendliness or windows of love. - Joseph Fort Newton

People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world. - Kim Culbertson

People who lead a lonely existence always have something on their minds that they are eager to talk about. - Anton Checkov

The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness. - Norman Cousins

The loneliest feeling in the world, you see, is not when I am alone, but when I am in love with someone who is not in love with me. - Unknown

The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with. - Wayne Dyer

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Even in a marriage that is fundamentally fine, we may have to live with a certain amount of loneliness. No two people match perfectly, and parts of ourselves may never be understood by the person we had hoped would be our soul mate. People only partly connect – even with their nearest and their dearest.

Human beings are social creatures and most people seek company. People need affection and love. People need to belong, to be valued, and most will choose friendship and companionship at any cost – for their alternative is loneliness.

Physically, you can be by yourself and not feel lonely. You keep yourself busy one way or another, or else you enjoy the peace and quiet. It is a chance to retreat from the rat race, from the busy world outside. A time of quietude is a time of physical rest as well as spiritual "refreshing". No distractions, just pure indulgence. 

It takes a very confident person to be able to come to terms with being alone. Someone with no hang-ups. Someone who is comfortable being by himself or herself. 

I guess it's also to do with a certain amount of selfishness. A desire to be left alone to get on with one's life without too much interference from others. 

But not everyone can take a lifestyle of being alone. Indeed, for those who hate being alone, loneliness is a terrible thing. Especially if it is forced on you - when a spouse dies, for instance, or when the children grow up and leave home.

Then, the silence can be deafening. You face a void. There is a terrible ache and emptiness in your heart. The four walls of the house seem to cave in on you. 

You feel so - alone. 

Yet there are others who can be in a crowd and still feel distanced and alone. 

They are the ones with unmet needs such as feeling a lack of self-worth, a craving for love or being stuck in an unfulfilling job or relationship. For them, happiness seems elusive. And seeing others happy only makes them feel worse. 

Whether loneliness is forced on you, or you are feeling inadequate, there’s
no point wallowing in self-pity. You should drum up the courage to opt for change. Make friends, engage in social activities, or participate in community activities. Get active, do something you enjoy!

You can be as happy as you want to be. There is no need to be, or feel alone.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Do Darker Eyes See Better?

The claim: Eye colour can have an effect on vision.
The facts: Can the colour of your eyes affect more than just your dating life?

              It is well known that people with lighter eyes tend to be more sensitive to light, a result of having less pigment in the iris to protect them from sunlight.
              That can place them at a greater risk of macular degeneration and other eye-related problems. However, whether that extends their vision is not clear.
              If there are any differences, they seem to be subtle. There is little or no evidence that people with darker eye colour posses greater visual acuity, but one theory holds that those with darker eye colour produce better reaction times.
              Studies have examined this by looking at sports performance. One, at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, found that dark-eyed people performed better at “reactive-type tasks” like hitting balls, playing defence in a football game and boxing.
              However, people with light eyes did better at “self-paced tasks” like hitting a golf ball, throwing baseballs or bowling.
              A similar study of college students found that subjects with darker eyes performed better at hitting racquet balls.
              Other studies have challenge those findings, including one that looked at rugby players. Scientists say more study is needed.

The bottom line: There is limited evidence that eye colour can have a slight effect on vision.

- The New York Times 

Monday, 11 May 2009

Who Am I

The question of personal identity, in the deepest sense, is one of the most crucial to answer, and one of the most difficult questions that human beings can take on. 

We grow up hearing from other people how they think we are. But we must each engage in a process for ourselves that is one part discovery, one part invention. Some of these question is engage by taking on the big metaphysical questions – having to do with the objectivity of morality, the reality of freedom, the existence of the mind, our attitudes toward death and questions about life after death, and meaning. How you react to these issues constitutes a deep part of who you are. But another part of the identity question is broached only when we face the practical issues concerning success in this world, in our daily lives.

What are your talents? What are you values? What do you really, most deeply care about? What is your mission in life? What legacy would you most want to leave the world?

These are questions of self-knowledge. And it’s only rarely that they can all be answered early in life. We grow in our understanding of the questions, and in our vision of their answers, as we live and experiment with different possible paths. Life is supposed to be a series of adventures – adventures of self-knowledge and self-creation. As we explore the outer world, we form and learn more about our own inner worlds.

“Who am I?” is less a question to answer than it is one to live with and use. It should always be connected up with another question: “What am I becoming?” In the end, each of us is responsible for what we do with the talents and opportunities that we are given. Each of us has the chance to do things that will make a positive difference in the world and that will express well who we are. But to accomplish this, we must use the freedom that we have to find our own way forward in life. Benefiting from the wisest counsel we can find, each of us has the responsibility to develop our own wisdom and put it into action. Only the process itself will finally answer the question of who we are.

- Tom Morris - 

Sunday, 10 May 2009


              One night, Tim was walking home when, all of a sudden, a thief jumped on him. Tim and the thief began to wrestle. They rolled about on the ground and Tim put up a tremendous fight. However, the thief managed to get the better of him and pinned him to the ground. 
              The thief then went through Tim’s pockets and searched him. All he could find on Tim was twenty five cents. 
              He was so surprised at this that he asked Tim why he had bothered to fight so hard for twenty five cents. 
              “Was that all you wanted?” Tim replied, “I thought you were after the five hundred dollars I’ve got in my shoe!”

Thursday, 7 May 2009


The purpose of goals is to focus our attention. The mind will not reach toward achievement until it has clear objectives. The magic begins when we set goals. It is then that the switch is turned on, the current begins to flow, and the power to accomplish becomes a reality.

Do not set your goals by what other people see important. Your goals in life are only important to you and those who love to see you succeed. Guard them well and only share them with the right people.

A goal, whatever it may be, is what gives meaning to our existence. It is the carrot of the stick that keeps us striving - that keeps us interested - that gives us a reason for getting out of bed in the morning.

How to achieve your goals?

Take small action steps first. You need not take the leap from your starting point to your ultimate goal all at once. There are usually some intermediate steps that will get you started and keep you moving toward that goal. For instance, if you want to develop a career after years at home, relate to a hobby might be the first and best action steps for you to take.

Be the kind of person on whom nothing is lost. Observe, read, experience, and explore everything in the context of some goal that will help you achieve the long-range goal you have in mind for yourself.

Think ahead. Anticipate what might happen if you are stalled on the way to your goal or if the action you take down not live up to your expectations. Have a few “What will I do if?” questions in mind as you take even the first action steps.

Learn from action. Keep evaluation the meaning and results of your actions and revising your ultimate goal accordingly. Even if your action doest not turn out satisfactorily, you can learn from it.

Don’t sit on your actions. It is great to feel good about an action you’ve taken, but when you have acted, think about what you’re going to do next. Keep up your momentum!

- Source Unknown 

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Are Fish Oil Supplements Safe For Consumption?

The claim: Fish oil supplements may contain mercury
The facts: Fish oil supplements are increasingly popular with people who are attracted by claims of their cardiac benefits. However, could they expose you to the harmful pollutants found in some species of fish?

              Studies have found that most of the widely available supplements contain little or no mercury, dioxins or polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs, an industrial compound). Most companies use species of fish that are lower on the food chain, like cod and sardines, which accumulate less mercury. Many companies also distil their oils to remove contaminants.
              A report by, which conducts independent tests of supplements, said that 41 common fish oil products were examined and none were consummated with mercury or PCBs.
              Another report by researchers at Harvard Medical School and at Massachusetts General Hospital studied five brands and found they had “negligible amounts of mercury”. 

The bottom line: Studies suggest that fish oil products contain little or no contaminants.

- The New York Times 

Monday, 4 May 2009

What is The Good Life?

The good life is not first and foremost about acquisition, power, luxury, or status. It is not about celebrity. And it’s not an existence of unbridled, self–indulgent excess.

The life that is good must be founded on an attitude of respect and nurture toward the intellectual, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual needs of every human being. It begins in an inner circle of family, extends to friends and co-workers, and finally reaches out across all artificial and natural boundaries to all of life on this earth.

The good life involves freedom, love, work, pleasure, challenge, friendship, community, service, and the sort of resources that can be used creatively.

The greatest obstacles to the good life are not external things at all, but are those inner vices that have been identified and understood since the time of the ancient philosophers. Envy, resentment, bitterness, malice, mendacity, and prejudice are all enemies of the good life and obstacles to its being lived.

The best life is a meaningful, creative, open adventure that brings opportunity, learning, laughter, and joy into the lives of other people. It’s a life that connects up with the deepest realities and aspires toward the highest possibilities.

Happiness is not best achieved by those who seek it directly; and it would seem that the same is true of the good. – Bertrand Russell 

The good life will differ in its particularities for each of us. But its general outlines are universal.

- Tom Morris 

Sunday, 3 May 2009


              “It’s just a cold,” the doctor said. “There is no cure, and you’ll just have to live with it until it goes away.”
              “But Doctor,” the patient whined. “It’s making me so miserable.”
              The doctor rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. Then he said, “Look, go home and take a hot bath. Then put a bathing suit on and run around the block three or four times.”
              “What!” the patient exclaimed. “I'll get pneumonia!”
              “We have a cure for pneumonia,” the doctor said.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Lessons In Life From A Dog

A friend e-mailed me this the other day. I enjoyed it, and I think you’ll like it, too.

It goes like this: 

If you can start the day without caffeine; 
if you can get going without painkiller; 
if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains; 
if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles; 
if you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it; 
if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time; 
if you can forgive a friend’s lack of consideration; 
if you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of your own, something goes wrong; 
if you can take criticism and blame without resentment; 
if you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him; 
if you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend; 
if you can face the world without lies and deceit; 
if you can conquer tension without medical help; 
if you can relax without liquor; 
if you can sleep without the aid of drugs;
if you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed or colour, religion or politics; 

then, my friend, you’re almost as good as your dog. Almost, but not quite.

This is dedicated to every dog lover in the world.