Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!


A few more hours and 2009 will be gone - forever. We don't notice the passing of each day much, but when the days of the year are spent, we wonder how they could have gone by so quickly without our noticing it. 

I always experience very mixed feelings at this time of the year. I feel sad, and regret the passing of another year. Yet I am excited about what the coming year may bring. 

I hope you had a good year. And may next year be even better!



Wishing you a Happy, and Healthy New Year!

Cheers,
Vincent

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Unusual Sightings






Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Green Tea Keeps People Happy


Drink green tea if you want to fight the blues, a study form Japan suggests. This could work prticularly well with the elderly.

A research team led by Dr Kaijun Niu at Tohoku University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering in Sendai found that people who drank four or more cups of green tea daily were 44 per cent less likely to have symptoms of depression. The study subjects were men and women aged 70 and older.

Several studies have linked green tea consumption to reduced levels of psychological distress. This led Dr Niu and his colleagues to look at associations between drinking green tea and symptoms of depression in 1,508 relatively healthy elderly individuals.

Overall, 488 participants said they drank four or more cups of green tea a day, 284 said they downed tow to three cups daily and the remaining 286 reported having one or fewer cups daily.

According to the researchers, the apparent protective effect of greater green tea consumption on symptoms of depression did not fade after they factored in social and economic status, gender, diet, history of medical problems, use of antidepressant medications, smoking and physical activity.

In contrast, there was no association between consumption of black or Oolog tea, or coffee, and lower symptoms of repression.

A green tea component, the amino acid theanine, which is thought to have a tranquilising effect on the brain, may explain the “potentially beneficial effect” shown in the current study, Dr Niu noted in an e-mail message to Reuters Health.

However, further studies are necessary to confirm whether greater green tea intake actually has antidepressant effects.

- Reuters 

Monday, 28 December 2009

Black Pepper, Curry Powder Can Halt Cancer


A new study suggests that compounds found in black pepper and curry powder can help to halt the growth of stem cells that give rise to breast cancer.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre applied piperine, found in black pepper and curcumin, the main ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, to breast cancer cells in a laboratory dish, Reuters reported. The spices, when used in combination, reduced the number of stem cells but did not harm normal breast cells.

“If we can limit the number of stem cells, we can limit the number of cells with the potential to form tumours,” said Dr Madhuri Kakarala, a clinical lecturer in internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and a research investigator at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Stem cells have the potential to develop into may different cell types. Cancerous stem cells are believed to fuel tumour growth. Some researchers believe that controlling or even curing cancer involves targeting stem cells.

The study team discovered that piperine enhanced curcumin’s effects. Curcumin and piperine are dietary polyhenols. Polyphenols are known to have ant-inflammatory and other protective properties.

Together, the two spices prevented the breast cancer-initiating stem cells from regenerating and producing new cancer cells, a process called self-renewal. Yet, the compounds appeared to have no effect on the normal cell development process.

“This shows that these compounds are not toxic to normal breast tissue,” Dr Kakaral said. “The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive and curcumin and piperine appear to have very low toxicity.”

The spice solution in this experiment was about 20 times more potent than the individual spices found in a typical diet.

As piperine and turmeric have not been tested in patients at risk for breast cancer, the study team does not encourage supplement use at this time. The team plans to conduct a clinical trial to determine the safe dose of curcumin and piperine.


- Reuters 

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Humorous Signs


On the trucks of a local plumbing company in: 
Don’t sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.

On a fence: 
Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive.

At the electric company: 
We would be de-lighted if you send in your bill. However, if you don’t, you will be.

Outside a photographer’s studio:
Out to lunch; if not back by five, out for dinner also.

On motorway garage:
Please do not smoke near our petrol pumps. Your life may not be worth much but our petrol is.

At a farm gate:
Beware! I shoot every tenth trespasser and the ninth one has just left.

Notice in a field:
The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges.

On an electrician’s truck: 
Let us remove your shorts.

Sign On A Famous Beauty Parlor Window:
Don't Whistle At The Girls Going Out From Here. She May Be Your Grandmother!

Sign At A Barber's Saloon:
We Need Your Heads To Run Our Business.

Advertisement In A Long Island Shop:
Guitar, for sale ... Cheap ... no strings attached.

Ad In Hospital Waiting Room:
Smoking Helps You Lose Weight ... One Lung At A Time!

Sign In A Bar:
'Those Of You Who Are Drinking To Forget, Please Pay In Advance.'

Sign In Driving School:
If Your Wife Wants To Learn To Drive, Don't Stand In Her Way.

A Traffic Slogan:
Don't Let Your Kids Drive If They are Not Old Enough Or Else They Will Never Be.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Hangover Effect Hangs On



Hangover from all the drinking and partying? Here’s some advice for you. :-) 


Too much drinking the night before leaves a drinker feeling out of sorts the next day. Despite still feeling tired, he often thinks the worst is over, that he is now quite sober and can carry on as usual, including driving his car.

He should think twice.

A new study has found that it is not enough to just ‘sleep it off’ after a night of drinking.

It says the effects of intoxication last long after the booze is out of the blood, not only leaving a nasty hangover but also slowing reaction times and the ability to concentrate the next morning.

Researchers from Rhode island and Massachusetts found that it did not matter whether the liquor consumed was clear or dark; the level of brain impairment was the same the next morning.

“People will be impaired the morning after - after the alcohol leaves the system.” Dr Damarts Rohsenow of Brown University Centre for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in Providence, Rhode Island, told Reuters Health.

The findings were based on a study looking at the effects of heavy drinking on 95 young adults between the ages of 21 and 33. The subjects spent two nights at the Boston test facility.

On one night, they were given alcohol (either vodka or bourbon mixed in cola) and on the other night, they were given a placebo. The r3esearchers determined their blood alcohol levels, sleep patterns and ability to think quickly and over a long period of time.

To approximate the effects of drinking on an empty stomach, Dr Rohsenow and his colleagues gave test subjects a standardised meal three hours before the test drinks were given until subjects reached a minimum blood alcohol level of 0.09g per cent. (In the United States, 0.08g per cent is considered legally drunk.)

Previous research shows that symptoms of a hangover (headache, nausea and sleepiness) usually lift within a few hours of waking. While this study did not measure how long impairment lasted, Dr Rohsenow said: “It’s likely that the performances effects lift with in a few hours too.”

Vodka and bourbon are on the opposite extremes of the spectrum of alcohol purity: vodka is the most free of impurities while bourbon has the highest level - all other alcohols are somewhere in between.

Previous research had shown that the higher the level of impurities, the lousier a drinker is likely to feel the next day, but this study showed that impairment was the same.

“Bourbon versus vodka did not make a difference; the biggest thing was the alcohol itself,” Dr Rohsenow

Subjects given alcohol the night before “thought their ability to drive a car was as good as or better” than those who were administered the placebo, Dr Rohsenow said.

It might be a good rule of the thumb to wait until they do not feel so lousy the next morning before doing any activities that might involve operating dangerous equipment, he added.

The researchers chose to study young adults because there were more heavy drinkers among this age group. As a result, , the findings can be applied only to people between the ages of 21 and 33.

“Older adults could be affected differently for physiological reasons and experience reason,” Dr Rohsenow cautioned.

- Reuters 

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! :-)



Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Ranger


This Ranger is assigned to prevent poaching around the wildlife refuge area of Lanseria, South Africa. The way these animals interact with him is absolutely stunning! The lions seem to know he’s there to protect them. His charm works with hyenas and cougars too. Hyenas are usually vicious. Check out the pictures taken in the river – amazing because lions hate water. 

A very brave man! I wouldn’t take the job no matter how much I am offered! :-)


















Tuesday, 22 December 2009

No Quick Cure To Drunkenness


What do cold showers, hard slaps and hot coffee have in common? They have all been touted as cures for drunkenness.

However, they can also be dangerous. A merrymaker trying to sober himself fast might down a couple of shots of espresso and think that he is ready to drive.

Now, a study published in the current issue of Biological Neuroscience confirms that relying on coffee is a bad idea.

Researchers fed mice alcohol, caffeine or a combination of these and watched how well they navigated a maze. The tipsy ones appeared relaxed but could not effectively avoid the bright lights and loud noises that scientists set up in the maze.

The ones on caffeine fared better, but were “less savvy about avoiding unpleasant stimuli”. Those that had consumed both alcohol and caffeine were alert but still unable to avoid the nasty shocks in the maze.

Ultimately, nothing beats time for the body to work through all that booze coursing through the bloodstream.

- Los Angeles Times 

Monday, 21 December 2009

Fat Intake Not Linked To Weight Gain


It would seem that it's not what you eat that makes you fat, but rather what you do after you have eaten. With the festive season upon us, this might be good news to some people. Or is this, as they say 'cold comfort'. 


People who want to maintain a healthy weight over time should not obsess over their fat intake, new research shows.

The percentage of calories that a person got from fat, as opposed to protein or carbohydrates, had nothing to do with how much weight they gained in the coming years, the research team found.

The kinds of fat they ate did not matter either, Dr Nita Forouhi of the Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and her colleagues found.

The findings, she noted in an e-mail to Reuters Health, showed that “it is more important to aim for a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced healthy diet and regular physical activity, than to focus on fat intake alone as a factor for weight gain.”

The role of dietary fat content in obesity and weight gain is still controversial, she and her team noted. To investigate, they looked at data on nearly 90,000 men and women from six different countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer And Nutrition Study. Participants were followed for up to 10 years.

Average fat intake ranged from 31.5 per cent to 36.5 per cent of total calories.

On average, people gained about a quarter of a pound every year. But analyses found no relationship between how much weight people gained and how much fat they ate, or their intake of polyunsaturated fats versus saturated fats.

The findings should not be seen as showing that people can eat as much fat as they want, though. “That would be absurd, given so much evidence that already exists on the potential harms of diets high in saturated or trans-fats,” the researcher said.

- Los Angeles Times 

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Candy And Nuts


A lady was at the mall when she passed by a store that sold a variety of candy and nuts. As she was looking at the display case, the boy behind the counter asked if she needed any help. She replied, “No, I’m just looking at your nuts."

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Your Heart’s Garden


Millie Gounder shares a special meditation for peace and joy. 

Meditation is ancient, simple and beautiful – and for these reasons, embraced in some form by every culture on the Earth. Dedicated practice is the green keeper of this quiet contemplation, of focus, and clear intention. By sitting in meditation, one acknowledges time to nurture the spirit. While meditation is infinitely creative, calming, and immeasurably a self enhancing tool, it demands the sacred silence so resonantly that, ultimately, one’s inner voice begins a journey towards clarity and strength. Meditating regularly is a wonderful vehicle for tapping into inner peace, rewarding you with a tangible connection to your true heartbeat. Meditation is currently enjoying a vibrant rebirth, as ancient wisdom becomes more widely available. And the benefits are a sacred and simple joy. 

It is an interesting coincidence that peace has been defined both as a state of serenity and calm, and also as a state of freedom from war. It would seem at this turbulent time, that peace in all its forms is a highly desirable goal. While acting for peace in the physical environment is immensely valuable, the thoughts we foster in our hearts also create a very tangible effect. It makes sense, then, to nurture feelings of peace within our heart. Our heartfelt energy affects the way in which we approach and treat the people around us, and creates a trickle down effect. And as a gentle raindrop can create ripples upon the ocean that can be felt across the Earth, so, too, can a peace-filled conscience create a better self and greater world around us. If, in our hearts, we believe in magic and divine grace, who can know what miraculous effect this could have in the greater scheme of things. In a breath, in a thought we can make a positive difference of great wonder. In every way, you will feel better within your own life, as you connect with yourself and others in a more positive, peaceful and loving way. 

This meditation is written with the hope that perhaps a part of you will tingle, and it will strike a chime of truth within your heart. I have chosen a heart’s garden visualization as a simple method to achieve peace and relaxation through meditation, while also allowing yourself to plant positive and nurturing thoughts into your heart. 

Just focus on the feelings and sit in silence simply visualising a peace-filled heart. Just know that your intuition will always guide you to the right place. 

Let us begin this beautiful journey.

Sit very comfortably, either outside in nature or inside in a spacious room. You can meditate alone or with friends. Sometimes meditating in a group can be wonderful, as you can discuss experiences together afterwards. Sitting comfortably, close your eyes and begin to breathe very deeply and slowly. Begin to become aware of the methodical beating of your heart. Recognizing the silence, allow your body to slowly become more and more still. Slowly, feel more aware of how serene and gentle you feel, and how totally relaxed every muscle in your entire body has become. 

Breathe in deeply and begin to visualize swirling, shimmering, silver and golden speckled, radiant white light filling the entire space surrounding you. This light represents all that is pure, all that is love, all that promises a rare glimpse of a world steeped in positive peaceful respect. The light also represents the highest and most loving energy of the universe, and brings eternal love and protection. Gently, the light gets stronger and stronger, as if it were itself the dawning of a bright and rich new day. Feel around you this sun drenched, luminous energy drawing closer, caressing your entire body. Your skin tingles with dewy freshness, and your energy drinks of the elixir of radiant health and expressive self love. 

And as the shimmering, golden, warm honey light slowly sinks into your physical body, you feel warmed, nurtured, and caressed by that power which you call your God. This beautiful time honours all that you are, a sacred and cherished being. There is no other like you in the entire world and that makes you a miraculous blessing to those around you. 

The light slowly fills your entire body and you release any worrying thoughts and allow yourself to be submerged in the loving arms of the universe, visualising that you are whole and alive. In this same breath, there is a recognition that as you are special and cherished, so, too, is each person you meet. As you see this in your mind’s eye, boundaries slowly start to fall away – you are now completely relaxed and full of loving supporting, nurturing, light. 

Slowly, you visualise the centre of your body, especially focusing on your spine, from the tailbone up to the crown (top) of your head. Notice that there are seven shining discs of colour spinning vividly through seven centres (chakras) of your body. The chakras are energy centres within the body, and as you recognise the strength and colour pulsating in each, you realign your subtle energetic body. Start to bring your focus to your base or root chakra (in the pelvic area), where there is a vivid and deep red, pulsating rich life energy. It allows your energy to embrace physical life, empowering vitality, health, and energy. We now acknowledge the navel chakra, which pulsates a strong and creative flow of orange, encouraging creativity, and strong and mutually fulfilling relationships. A yellow shimmer now radiates strongly from the solar plexus chakra, offering a centre of knowledge and self esteem. Now, as we move up to the heart chakra, in the centre of the upper chest, a dazzling and nurturing emerald green light floods the entire space, acknowledging that the energy of unconditional love beats strongly. As we move towards the throat chakra, we see the strengthening colour of sapphire blue, loudly heralding the happiness of speaking your truth in the moment, in peace, and in love. We are now guided towards the third eye centre, found on the forehead between your eyes. Envision the most beautiful indigo amethyst colour, and it opens for us an amazing capacity to seek and find deeper truths and meanings. And now as we move to the crown chakra, right at the top of the head, a soft colour of violet emits a powerful connection to the universe. 

Stop and breathe for a while, and allow yourself to integrate the qualities and clarity of the radiant array of colour and depth of beauty that exists within your being. Allow your senses to connect with all the energies of light and love. Submerge yourself in the beauty and the quiet – this is a sacred moment of silence for you and only you. 

You feel warm, nurtured, radiant and peaceful. It is now time to move into the heart’s chakra. As you slowly direct the visualization back into the joyful light of the emerald green chakra, you see a door. Open it and walk in. There is a garden inside. Have a good look around. Is it vibrant, or is it overgrown with weeds? This garden is the home of your spirit. Is it a place where you feel nurtured? If not, take some time now to visualize a more vibrant garden, one with beautiful flowers growing in every direction. 

See yourself strolling through this magnificent garden, and see each part of it radiating pure perfect love back towards you. Magical crystals slowly emerge out of the ground to form lovely sculptures and seats. Maybe there is a refreshing waterfall in the garden, splashing fun and delicious droplets of cool water everywhere. Or maybe there are trees that lean over and talk with you as they sway in the wind. Are there magical fairies playing in big mushroom castles? 

Within this space there can be an area dedicated to peace. Nurture this place and make it fruitful. It is your garden, and anything is possible in this place. It is a space that invites peace and nurture, the drumbeat of love in all its forms within your life. Give it that much energy and it will return it into your daily life tenfold. 

Enjoy this magical kingdom, where your dreams are real, and play for a while. Rest and take some time to digest the abundance of your creativity. Find a place in your garden to lie down, with the sun warming your body and just allow yourself to drift wherever you might go. It may be nowhere, or it could be on a grand journey with many insights – whatever happens is appropriate for where you are right now. Stay as long as you like, and when you open your eyes just remember to come back to the present. Remember to thank the universe for your insight, and all the blessings you really do have in your life. 

This is a very simple meditation that only begins to touch the surface of the many beautiful aspects of meditation and chakras. There are many wonderful books on both subjects, and also many meditation groups. So investigate all the great opportunities that are available for self growth if you have enjoyed this very brief version. 

As I sit and write this, I observe the great celestial sojourn. Silently, as the moon travels across the face of my window, I am entranced. Quiet, gentle, peaceful, I have found my centre again. The black velvet sky is mesmerizing and all encompassing. The silver light of the moon is a radiant beauty that has inspired many a poet throughout history, as now she inspires me. This shimmering focus in the night sky holds my thoughts, and I slowly unravel from the day. A gentle breeze rustles the tree outside my window, and I am invigorated by the cool sea air. I feel relaxed. I watch as the moon holds to her path, across that eternal night sky, and my thoughts echo that I must also hold onto peaceful thoughts with such ease. 

I am reminded daily of all the things that I have to be grateful for, and as I sit here and watch the moon go past my window, I realize I am enjoying a completely conscious and awake meditation. You see meditation simply slows you down enough to smell the roses. So, enjoy the fragrant miracle of your own heart’s garden, and may your life be blessed and filled with peace.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Do We Really Need Bottled Water?


This is PowerPoint Presentation. Click on the arrow at the center of the screen, then on the arrow on the bottom left hand corner.


Thursday, 17 December 2009

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Physiological Effects Of Meditation


A Mystical point of view on Meditation 

Essentially, meditation seems to produce a physiological state of deep relaxation couple with a wakeful and highly alert mental state. There tends to be a lower metabolic rate and decreases in heart and respiration rates.

There is also typically, in meditation, a slowing of the heartbeat. The lactate concentration of the blood decreases sharply during meditation, nearly four times as fast as it does in people resting quietly stretched out in a safe, quiet situation. Blood lactate level is related to anxiety and tension, and the low level found in subjects during meditation is very likely related to the relaxed state of the meditators.

Meditation is achieved at the point where mind and spirit converge. The mind is the instrument that disciplines, and the spirit represents the special endowment of man that must be cultivated by special control and dedicated efforts.

The idea of revelation is based on the premise that the mind of man is not only able to be aware of cosmic knowledge, but also that in some mysterious way there seems to be a cosmic initiative seeking to make itself known to man. This calls for the mind that is not only seeking but also willing to be sought. There has long been a feeling that man has a capacity of consciousness for direct communication with cosmic wisdom.

The mystic employs silence as a form of communication charged with meaning. In meditation something of the creative nature of the being achieves a meaning that is not bound by the symbolic structure of language. The forms this creative process employ varies with our understanding of the nature of the cosmos and the nature of the human personality.

The unique quality of man’s nature has always been a matter of deep concern to him. Self-consciousness is not only a privilege but is also a burden.

The concept of the spirit that emerges from scientific inquiry is different in degree but not in nature from that of mystical thought. Science can go only so far in showing what this spiritual quality is. The mystics’ inclination is more concerned with employing this spiritual energy in the process of living.

Man is constantly immersed in three force fields. Cosmic radiation, electromagnetic and gravitational force fields are constantly at work on life.

In his integration of experience the mystic denies the appearance of conflict or diversity in ultimate reality. The more practical minded have always challenged the mystic with the problems of good and evil, the false and the true, the beautiful and the ugly with their apparent conflicts. But the mystic finds the answer in a spiritual experience exalted enough to resolve all the differences in a higher unity.

- Author Unknown 

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Meditation Posture


In preparing for meditation, the environment should be one that is in harmony with the inner self. It is difficult to generalize in this area, since each one’s sense of harmony differs in some respect. Some like quiet. Some like warmth. Some like natural surroundings, and some like an assemblage of accoutrements to help them reach the meditative state.

The posture should be one that frees the body from any particular restrictive positioning of arms or legs. We recommend that feet be flat on the floor, uncrossed, and that hands lie loosely in the lap, palms down. If a person does not feel at ease in this position, he should not hesitate to alter these suggestions to suit his own preferences.

Even though we speak of man’s duality, of his spiritual and physical sides, we should never lose sight of the fact that he is but ONE person. There is little we do in life that does not involve both the spiritual and physical selves. When we sit to meditate, the level of our meditation depends a lot upon our physical comfort at the time. If there is any irritant at all in the physical environment, our meditations is affected. A person is more apt to enjoy spiritual communion with the inner self when physical health is up to par. And a person is more apt to enjoy physical health when the spirits are high and the inner-self is pleased with its accomplishments. In practical application, it is best that you constantly think of yourself as a whole person, with physical and spiritual needs interdependent.

When both environment and physical condition are in harmony with your inner self, you are in a position most conducive to success in meditation exercises.

- Author Unknown 

Monday, 14 December 2009

Egg Dominoes


If you think setting up dominoes takes talent, take a look at this...


And this………



ONE SNEEZE AND IT'S A GIANT OMELET!


Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Story Of Cap & Trade


After the Story of Stuff, comes the Story of Cap & Trade.


Saturday, 12 December 2009

Story Of Stuff


The following video is a bit long. But I find it interesting. Maybe you will too. And if you are one of those who are interested in saving the Earth, or playing your part, you MUST watch this. It certainly gives me a different perspective about 'Stuff'.


Friday, 11 December 2009

Brilliant Artwork


Artist assistants stand next to 3,604 cups of coffee which have been made into a giant Mona Lisa in Sydney, Australia.
The 3,604 cups of coffee were each filled with different amounts of milk to create the different shades!!






Thursday, 10 December 2009

More on Meditation…


Meditation is an asset towards the realization of the sixth sense. To put it very simply meditation calms down our five senses to enable the surfacing of the sixth sense. It is of instrumental value. It must be reminded however that meditation is not as simple as it seems and that it is part and parcel of a complex system, necessary for realization of the sixth sense.

Meditation is a state in which the brain ‘takes a rest’ from all thoughts and emotions, and focuses on one idea or object. Some meditative states lead the person’s brain to alpha waves, a state in which the brain functions at a different speed and at a higher sensitivity of absorption than in its regular waking state. In addition to its significant contribution to the health of the body and mind and to crating a healthy and tranquil life, meditation is known to release tension, dispel, negative emotions, increase creativity, and improve the ability to concentrate and focus; it also contributes to spiritual openness to a very great extent.

Meditation can strengthen the aura in a number of ways. 
First of all, by getting the person into a state of calmness, meditation exerts a positive effect on the nervous system, muscle tone, blood pressure and circulation, and organ function. When the body becomes stronger and the action of its organs becomes balanced, the aura of the body and the flow in the meridians become stronger, affecting, of course, all the layers of the aura. This is the primary and most basic action of meditation.

In addition, meditation is one of the most excellent tools for development, spiritual growth, filling up with energy, strengthening and cleansing the aura, receiving messages, and developing spiritual abilities such as the ability to sense and see auras.

There are a large variety of methods of meditation that are suitable for different purposes, ranging from calming the body to channelling and receiving messages from divine beings. Basically, most of the forms of meditation include conscious breathing (concentrating on breathing, and different breathing techniques), relaxing the body, or activating it in a particular and conscious way, intellectual calmness, and focusing and cantering on what is being done until the mind has been emptied of all emotions and thoughts (in some forms of meditation).

There are methods that concentrate on meditating with certain mantras, and on focusing on the organs of the body or the chakras; there are forms of dynamic meditation in which there is movement; there is meditation to sounds, hypnotic meditation, and numerous other forms of meditation. The vast majority of the various forms of meditation strengthen the body’s electro-magnetic field significantly.

Because personality structure varies from person to person, a form of meditation that suits one person is liable to be completely unsuitable for another. This is why each person must carefully check which form of meditation is suitable for him, and not insist too much upon a form that is unsuitable for his personality structure at a given time.

Furthermore, it is important to pay attention to the place in which the meditation takes place. It should be remembered that during meditation, the person’s sensitivity to reception is very high. If a person meditates in a place in which there were previously low or negative energies of any kind (and they may still be present there), those energies are liable to penetrate his electro-magnetic field and harm it, especially if he is not experienced and skilled at meditating.

The duration of the meditation is something that must be taken into account, and the person must know the limits of his abilities. When a person who is just beginning to meditate exceeds the boundaries of his meditative abilities, it is similar to a beginner athlete who runs a distance that exhausts his body and his muscles. For this reason, it is important to start meditating for short periods – five to ten minutes – and gradually increase the length of time.

Meditation should take place in a physically and energetically clean and pleasant room. It is a good idea to decide upon a fixed place in the home for performing meditation, since the place will gradually absorb the meditative energies that are transmitted in it, and the vibrations there will help the person enter a meditative state more quickly and easily.

Incense, an essential oil burner or crystals can be placed in the room.

- Author Unknown 

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Karma - Quotes

I am in the process of transferring this 'Label' to my other blog - 'Spiritual, not Religious'.

Karma has a surprising way of taking care of situations. All you have to do is sit back and watch. - Unknown

Karma is like a rubber band, it can only stretch so far before it comes back and smacks you in the face. - Megan Fox

The law of karma, however is there and no one can prevent its effect upon any person according to circumstances. We all have to put up with the vicissitudes of life, and what is important is that we should have sufficient training and power to be about to put up with them.  - Sayagyi U Ba Khin

The Law of Karma is designed not for punishment but to affect a Positive Correction. - James Redfield

How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours. - Wayne Dyer

Meditation


There are basically three main reasons for meditation: first, to develop our powers of concentration, second, to realize our true nature (that is, to become enlightened), and third, to help us actualise this true nature in our daily life.

Our powers of concentration can be developed if we keep meditating regularly, preferably every day. Then eventually we can look back over our past and realise that our concentration has indeed improved. Although meditation does have the effect of relaxing us, it is mainly a process of improving our concentration by concentrating on one thing (such as breadth–counting) and letting all other distracting thoughts go. Afterwards, we find that we concentrate better on anything that we want to.

The main importance of this improved concentration is that it enables us to work with a one-pointed mind in order to attain our goals, because we are less distracted by worries and various addictions. Now, this in itself does not necessarily make us a better person because our goals may still be selfish and greedy. But if we are trying to become less selfish and more selfless, meditation will help us to do this.

However, we cannot transform ourselves completely until we realize our true nature – that is until we become enlightened, (which is the most important goal for all Buddhists). This is the second reason for meditation and it goes much deeper than the first: to become enlightened is to cut through the illusion of self, which is the great delusion of life that causes us so much worry and frustration. 

We try to manipulate our circumstances and other people for the sake of this illusory “I”, but this can never alleviate the anxiety that persists at the core of our being – it just makes us feel more lonely and isolated. Realizing our true nature is the only thing which can give us true peace and contentment. One who is enlightened is relaxed at the deepest level because he knows and feels that the core of his being is empty, and the experience of that emptiness is great joy and freedom.

The third reason for meditation is to actualise this realization in our daily life - that is to understand the implications of what we have realized for our daily activities and to live according to them. If enlightenment is to realize that there is no self, then actualising this is to develop selflessness in all situations.

Even after enlightenment, all our old, selfish self-indulgent impulses and habits are still there. But the advantage of having realized one’s true nature is that it is much easier to change oneself because it is easier to let self-centred thoughts go and to ignore them when they arise. It is easier to do this because all thoughts and impulses, like everything else, are now realized to be empty. “I” do not think thoughts because there is no “I”, but thoughts do arise and pass away. All thoughts and feelings are temporary: they arise from nowhere and, if one does not cling to them, they disappear without a trace.

Meditation is distinctively a human phenomenon, and therefore should be dealt with from a human point of view, with human feelings and human understanding. Human problems and their solutions are basically psychological in nature. Our real problems can be solved only by giving up illusions and false concepts and bringing our lives into harmony with reality. And this can be done only through meditation.

Why Meditation is very important

We meditate to gain serenity, peace, joy, greater efficiency in everyday life, to increase our power to love, to achieve a deeper view of reality. Our real goal, however, is to become more complete, to more fully live the potential of being human.

Meditation is a way of focusing the mind to bring the body into a state of calmness and clarity. In the Buddhist sense it means the culture of mind and it aims at developing man as a whole.

One who knows how to practise meditation will be able to control his mind when it is misled by the senses. Meditation is the remedy for physical and mental disorders.

If we could control the mind, then we will be able to purify it. Through the purification of mind we can see things as they truly are. Once the mind is purified it will be free from mental hindrances. Ultimately we will be able to find our salvation without any difficulty.

Meditation, certainly, is not a voluntary exile from life or something practised for the hereafter. Meditation should be applied to the daily affairs of life and its results are obtained here and now. It is part and parcel of our life. The ultimate aim of Buddhist meditation is to gain full enlightenment (Nirvana) through the conquest of mental defilements.

But apart from this ultimate aim there are other advantages and benefits that can be derived through meditation. It can inspire us to discover our own character. Meditation can relax the nerves, control or reduce the blood pressures, make us zestful by stemming the dissipation of energy through tensions, improve our health and keep us fit. It can also stimulate the latent powers of the mind, aid clear thinking, develop deep understanding, mental balance and tranquillity. Even some psychosomatic ailments could be cured by meditation. We can use meditation in treating emotional and stress disease and vicious drug addiction. Meditation is one of the types of mental therapy which could be use with advantage in treating chronic illness. It is a creative process which aims at converting the chaotic feelings and unwholesome thoughts into mental harmony and purity.

- Author Unknown 

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Meditation


Meditation. A simple process where you sit quietly and think of nothing else except to be aware of your breathing. Done correctly and on a regular basis you will have good health. You could be Enlightened in the process. You might even have a glimpse of another dimension. 

Now who does not want that? And how difficult can it be right? – to sit down quietly and do nothing but be aware of your breath? Well, try it and see, and you will know why meditation is not as popular as it should be.

Personally, I have tried meditation and I must confess that I wasn’t very successful.

Some have said that meditation can be dangerous at the advanced level because we do not know what we might encounter in the meditative state. 

However, not many people will progress beyond the beginning stage, let alone the advanced stage. So it is perfectly all right for you to go ahead and try meditation on your own. And if you find that meditation is for you and you want to advance further, then look for a reputable teacher.

Someone likened practising meditation to swimming in a river against the current.

The following are some comments from people who practice meditation. If this interest you, stay tuned for more articles on Meditation.


Everyone should take some time off to meditate. We may never achieve the state of ‘awareness’ that monks and mystics reached but still, meditation clears our mind, giving us inner peace and inner calm. Through meditation, we will have a clearer view of the whole picture, of life. This will help us deal better with the realities of/in life.

Although one can meditate in a group, meditation is still a very individual and private activity. When you close your eyes to meditate, you are on your own. In fact, it might be better to meditate on your own, as there would be less distractions. 

What does meditation involve? Simply put, you just sit silently and witness your mind-process, while keeping your attention on the breath.

Nothing needs to be done. Just be a witness, an observer, a watcher, looking at the traffic of the mind - thoughts passing by, desires, memories, dreams, fantasies. Simply stand aloof, cool, with no condemnation, no evaluations. Once you get the knack of it, it is the most simple thing in the world.

However, there are a few essential things to be remembered: The first is a relaxed state - no fight, no control, no concentration. The second is watchfulness - witness whatever is going on inside of you. And the third is, don't have any judgment or evaluation about it. Just be a watcher.

We meditate to find, to recover, to come back to something of ourselves we once dimly and unknowingly had and have lost without knowing what it was or when we lost it. We may call it access to more of our human potential or being closer to ourselves and to reality, or to more of our capacity for love and zest and enthusiasm, or our knowledge that we are a part of the universe and can never be alienated or separate from it, or our ability to see and function in reality more effectively.

As we work – in meditation – we find ourselves more at home in the universe, more at ease with ourselves, more able to work effectively at our tasks and toward our goal, closer to our fellow man, less anxious and less hostile. 

A person who has trained his body and is confident of it feels far less vulnerable and therefore behaves differently in many situations than a person with an untrained and uncoordinated body.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Magnetic Straps An Alternative To Painkillers?


The claim: Magnetic therapy can ease arthritis pain.

The facts: For people with arthritis who seek an alternative to painkillers, magnetic straps and bracelets have become a popular option.

The devices are said to work by stimulating the release of the body’s natural painkillers or by increasing blood flow to the tissue,

They are generally considered safe (if expensive), but in recent years, a number of studies have found little evidence that they provide any real benefit.

One that did find some benefit was published in 2004 in online medical review (BMJ) and involved 194 people with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee.

The scientist found that subjects randomly assigned to wear a full-strength magnetic bracelet for 12 weeks had greater improvements than those wearing a dummy bracelet.

However, an analysis of several studies, also in 2004,found that the evidence swung against magnetic therapy for pain relief. It added that while it could not exclude “a clinically important benefit” in the treatment of osteoarthritis, more research was needed.

Then, in a well-designed, 16 week study published this year, British scientists compared the effects of a popular magnetic device, weak magnetic wrist strap, a demagnetised device and a copper bracelet in people with osteoarthritis. Their findings were blunt.

“Our results indicate that magnetic and copper bracelets are generally ineffective for managing pain, stiffness and physical function in osteoarthritis,” they concluded.

The bottom line: The evidence supporting magnetic therapy for arthritis pain is limited.

- The New York Times 

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Kitty and Birdie


This is another of those stories that defy logic - or rather, life - as we are accustomed to.









Saturday, 5 December 2009

Dog To The Rescue


The following pictures tell the story of a dog going to the rescue of a cat in the pool.



Now isn’t that awesome!?

Friday, 4 December 2009

Moral Bigotry


Some of the greatest blood baths of mankind have been committed in the furtherance of religious faith. Though most of the declared sacred writings are opposed in their moral codes to the taking of life and advocate the brotherhood of man, hatred and intolerance yet prevail in the name of religion. Devout faith is often blind and even wilfully closes the mind to historical fact.

Sacred books have been numerous through the ages; some preceded the Bible by centuries, and many still exist today. Yet some of the most renowned sacred personages never left any writings, as, for example, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. There were no personally written accounts of their revelations or preachments. Some of their revelations were recorded centuries later by scribes who reduced the verbal accounts that had descended to writing.

The original revelations of such prophets were deemed sacred. Each prophet was considered to be a personal conveyor of a revelatory message that was proclaimed to be inspired by the transcendent, Supreme, Divine Being. However, the eventual written form of these messages, as history relates, suffered from the human interpretations of the original verbal accounts.

Many theological controversies arose as to what sections of these works would be accepted in conforming to the rituals and doctrines that the priests and theologians wished to promulgate. This confusion resulted in the schisms now existing in some of the sects today. Many followers of a faith will nevertheless accept the often-altered accounts of these sacred works as being the revealed word of God. They overlook the fact that, historically, various deletions have been made and that new constructions of meaning were inserted by quite human religionist councils of the past.

It is difficult to reconcile the divine transcendency and compassion of a God with the human attributes that members of religious sects have ascribed to Him. Man has often characterized his God, in various faiths, as jealous, as advocating retribution and even the destruction of the life of disbelievers. Even the human taint of envy and hate has found its way into these sacred tomes.

Intolerant attitude 

The religionist may accept the monotheistic concept of a sole God, yet he too often cloaks this same God in a raiment of those limiting definitions established by the theology of his faith. This, however, results in a dichotomy with both commendable and detrimental aspects. It is commendable in that each man may create his God, not in essence but in the image he conceives or which he wants to believe. There cannot, of course, be a universally accepted concept of God, for the mental construct varies with the depth of understanding of the individual. However, the concept is detrimental when man’s individual image of God engenders intolerance; simply, the belief, held in all sincerity, that “the God I envision is the right one; all who think and believe differently are heretical and an affront to my God.”

This attitude of zeal for a religious concept which is believed to be the only true one results in adverse emotional and psychological reactions toward all others who do not subscribed to it. It inculcates a spirit of defiance against all the different promulgated religions. Such other adherents are condemned as ‘non-believers,’ that is, they lack the spirituality that can only be had by the followers of a certain particular faith.

At this point, bigotry and intolerance enter. These bigots expound that their moral precepts and particularly their interpretation of sacred writings should become the social standard of morality. They openly affirm that they are the “moral; majority,” which can be construed as meaning that those who do not think in conformity with their ideas are immoral! 

Now, no one religion should have conferred upon it the right of purging moral decay according to its precepts and interpretation. The fact is that some of these fundamentalist sects, of which the “moral majority” is mostly composed, become so constrained in their thinking as to want to prohibit acts which are basically humanitarian.

Each human must find his own spiritual enlightenment. It must be intimate to him. It must represent the sublimity of his moral motivation and understanding. If one’s religious and spiritual beliefs do not obstruct the faith of others or are not detrimental to the welfare of society, and are tolerant of the worthy qualities in others, then no religion can advocate more beneficence for its followers than that. Certainly, such moral idealism and behaviour is worthy of any divine beneficence that may be bestowed upon man.

- Author Unknown 

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Realizing Actual Religion


What is religion, how can it be defined in terms that we may easily understand, and yet which retain a universality of meaning? Each culture, each society, yes, virtually each individual, has his own concept of religion. To some this concept of religion may take the form of rites or practices. To others, it may take the form of thoughts, as in certain forms of yoga.


Religion

Prophets lay down certain rules and regulations to help masses lead better lives and to incline them towards GOD. Gradually, these rules become the tenets of an organized religion, but the idealistic spirit and motive force which prevail during the founder’s life-time disappear gradually after his death. That is why an organization cannot bring spiritual truth nearer and why religion is always a personal concern. Religious organization become like archaeological department trying to resuscitate the past. Dogmas invented centuries after the founder’s death, frequently differ startlingly but the fundamentals of all religion are really the same, because all issue from the same source – GOD.

To understand God we must progress from the lower levels of understanding to the higher, until we understand God in terms of Dharma, not in terms of man, mind, or spirit, but in term of something special which has no body, no heart or mind, no form and is not under the power of time or space, something which cannot be explained by conventional language, but which must be explained in terms of religious language of the kind that is used in highly competent religious circles.

All religions exist for the good of mankind. All religions teach and exhort mankind to live and behave as decent human beings. It is incumbent that all religions should consider getting together, not in rivalry but in unity, cooperation and understanding to make people realize and appreciate the value of spiritual aspects of life, the value of devotion and the basic principles of religions such as the ideal of truth, justice, dedicated service, charity, loving kindness and good will towards mankind. These concepts and principles are universal in character and should be generally acceptable to all religionists.

Admittedly, we have our differences in our various concepts and beliefs; nevertheless, we have a vast universal common ground – the eradication of evil, the spread of goodwill amongst men, and the search for peace, eternal bliss and salvation. These are common aims of all religions. Many of the intrinsic religions’ principles enshrined in various religions are also similar in character. It is our duty to respect the other man’s religious belief whatever our religious belief may be. Religious tolerance is absolutely essential and necessary for the sake of harmonious and peaceful living.

All religions have one common aim – to be of service to mankind and the spiritual ‘upliftment’ of humanity. All religions preach good will and proclaim the brotherhood of men. These common aims and ideals, for the good of humanity, should transcend whatever differences that may exist in respect of religious beliefs, concepts and practices.

There must be unity in diversity. We must not try to ridicule the man with the mote in his eye forgetting the beam that is obstructing our own eyes.

The right approach 

What is meant by the term religion? Well all of us know that it connotes a form of worship. But then, what is the nature of worship itself? If it limits and binds down our mind faculty to a very narrow spectrum of thought, then the purpose of religion is defeated. For, the search of the profound truth entails the liberation of the mind form all forms of bondage, be it in the form of dogmas or a set of assumptions. Instead of releasing the human mind to allow the surfacing of the divine sixth sense, many follow too hard and fast rules and beliefs in a very blind fashion. It is this folly that makes one religionist claim superiority of his religion over any other religions. The correct path of enlightenment would lead us to understand the oneness of truth and that the various institutionalized religions are merely the superficialities of truth. As such, they may appear vastly different to the person who sees but does not perceive, (that the core of all religions are the same). Let not covers blind us and mislead us. Religions are just the superficial presentations of truth and that they are only means to an end but not the end itself. Many seekers of truth prefer to discard the coats of religion. This does not mean disbelief in all religions but rather belief in all.

For a beginner, it is ideal for him to adopt certain assumptions in the form of a religion and using that as a stepping-stone he proceeds to seek the divine truth. That is to say that he adopts convergent thinking, then diverge and re-converge on some points. This should go on and on until the ultimate goal. It is just like knowing what is within four walls first, then proceed out of the four walls to know what is within a wider enclosure, and so on, until finally we step out of the city limit. But let not the four walls deceive us into thinking that there is nothing more outside the four walls. The superficialities of truth or what we call religions are just like four walls. The various religions only reveal what is within the four walls for fear of creating confusion and awe. But let not religion blinds us from what is outside the four walls.

- Author Unknown 

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Nature of God

I am in the process of transferring this 'Label' to my other blog - 'Spiritual, not Religious'.

It is sometimes thought that the subject of God is not one for general discussion, since who can say with any certainty what God is or is not? In the endless debates on the nature of God, is there really a clear picture of the Creator in the eyes of the people? Even among the so-called experts, there is no agreement or any likelihood of agreement about this most profound of all subjects. Yet it is a matter that deeply concerns all thinking individuals. “Is there a God?” or “Who is God?” Certainly, the mystically inclined individual is one who seeks to know or become aware of God.


Mysticism is “the intimate and direct awareness of God or the Cosmic through self, that is, through the domain of the subconscious. The ideal of mysticism is the ultimate attainment of conscious union with the Absolute, or the Cosmic.”

Yet even though we are able to become quite accomplished in concentration, meditation, and psychic development, this does not mean we will have an intimate awareness of God, because other essential ingredients are needed. One of these important conditions is an unselfish, spiritually centred attitude of mind when we prepare for communion with the Divine Consciousness.

We cannot approach the Divine Essence of the Cosmic with anything but the most sanctified thought and purpose, and to do this we must have a deep love and reverence for God. Trying to sense the presence of God as a mental exercise will prove very disappointing, yet many attempt this, because they have not yet learned how to express the divine love which lies dormant in their hearts and only awaits release and recognition. When one can truly love in the cosmic sense, the presence of God is a factor of daily experience in our lives. For these few life has a new, different, and beautiful meaning. But it can be shared by all of us once we learn the technique of communion.

This technique consists of practicing meditation; holding sanctified thoughts and prayerful attitudes; developing a deep love for God and the Cosmic so as to condition our thought into the purest ideals; and lastly, and most importantly, having a persistent desire to find, to know, and to love God more and more deeply.

If we can follow these simple but necessary steps, we will experience the most profound awareness of the Divine Essence of God. But we must also be patient; we cannot force the issue or be insistent in any way. We should only pray that the Cosmic will make us worthy of such a contact.

It has been said that one of the essential ingredients in this search for God is the expression of divine love. In fact, we would say it is most important aspect needed. Love is a subject which has been written and spoke about for centuries, but how many do you know who radiate love and harmony at all times?

A great Love 

We must uplift our thought and consciousness to a point of attunement or harmony with the inner self. Thus occurs a deep awareness of one’s God Consciousness, the Divine Consciousness residing within each of us. No ordinary thought or meditation will achieve this. It requires that we have an unselfish, spiritually centred attitude of mind and that we sincerely feel in our hearts and minds a great love and purity of thought during our attunement. Obviously, considerable preparation is needed to bring about this attitude of mind, and the one thing that will bring us success is the spirit of Love.

Love, then, is not only the key to our attunement with the Divine; it also allows the attainment of great psychic and spiritual power and insight that we can use for the benefit of man.

It is important to realize that life, like attunement with the Divine Consciousness, does not come suddenly like a flash of inspiration. Rather it grows in our hearts gradually, its development depending upon our experiences, our attitude to life and other people, and the extend and depth of our desire. It takes many years of devotion and a full and useful life to begin to awaken the spirit of love that lies within each of us, but which we imprison because of a sense of fear and embarrassment in expression our true inner feelings and emotions.

We have all been conditioned to believe that it is wrong, weak and unmanly to express such real feelings and emotions and we feel compelled to hide and suppress these feelings. Yet the inner self strives to express and reveal our deepest emotions, thus a condition of conflict is created that prevents the realization of the spirit of love which the soul within seeks to express.

We are taught to be critical, to find fault, to put our own selfish interest before others. This is the antithesis of the soul’s desire to find love and harmony, to see beauty and joy in life. Until we begin this change in our thinking and feeling, love will be a prisoner within. But when we realize that this great power is waiting to express itself and we cooperate with the urges of the self within, the force of love will begin to unfold in our hearts and a spiritual power will be born.

As this natural force of love begins to grow within our consciousness, a number of changes take place in our character and behaviour as well as in our most intimate thoughts. We are not affected by the disturbing experiences as we formerly were. We become more aloof from the sordid and vulgar things of life.

When we decide to make the effort to express and give ourselves unselfishly, the road to spiritual development will open up before you. It is then that experiences will come that will inspire, ennoble, and uplift us so as to initiate and prepare us for greater service.

Such a decision, and its consequent development, will bring us closer to God and it will perhaps lead to an initiatic experience of the very presence of the Creator, which will make an indelible impression upon us. Words can never describe the beauty and wonder of the mystical experiences that can come to those who have become worthy of such contacts with the Cosmic. With this development we come to know God is love and love is God, and our progress on the path of unselfish service is assured.

- Robert E. Daniels