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Quinta-feira, 11 / 07 / 19

The Art of Divided Attention and How to Master It to Boost Your Productivity ~ Francesca F.

The Art of Divided Attention and How to Master It to Boost Your Productivity.

By Francesca F.

July 9th, 2019

 
 

 

We view divided attention or multitasking negatively, but it can be greatly beneficial to boost productivity.
Divided attention has a negative connotation of not giving tasks your full focus. Although this can be true, there are ways to hone your multitasking skills to increase your productivity. All it takes is a little bit of practice to understand when and how to use divided attention properly.

There are a few things you can do to perfect the art of divided attention so that you can improve your efficiency.

As with anything, practice makes perfect

Practicing is the key to mastering any skill, and the key to mastering divided attention is no different. Multitasking is difficult and stressful at first because a lot of things are going on at once. However, with enough practice, you will begin to sharpen your instincts and reactions.
Start with two or three tasks and once and build yourself up to several. By starting small, you will also train your brain to retain information better. This is essential to mastering the art of divided attention because you need to remember what you were doing before you switched tasks.
It will take time before you can perfectly multitask so give yourself time and patience to get it rightThe goal is to develop a certain amount of muscle memory to so your brain can retain information whilst knowing how to quickly respond to an email.

Recognise tasks can be done with divided attention

Not all tasks are suitable for multitasking and you need to differentiate between those that are and those that aren’t. Even though you’re speeding through tasks, your brain is a little bit slower when you’re doing lots of things simultaneously.
Some tasks need more focus than this, especially if they are important. Make sure to set aside time for tasks which need your full attention. It may be useful to use a grading system to set aside more important tasks from less important ones.

Write it all down

Writing things down will take a little pressure off your brain simply because it won’t have to remember as much. If you need to come back to something, take a note of it. If you are in the middle of thought before switching tasks, write it down so you don’t forget it. Nothing is more annoying than forgetting where you left off.

Take regular breaks

Multitasking is hard work on the brain and you can’t maintain divided attention forever. Make sure to take regular breaks in the process, every two or three hours, so that your brain has time to rest.
Take a walk to refresh yourself and get the blood flowing again and your brain working at peak capacity. Let yourself stop thinking about what needs to be done and allow your mind to wander. Giving yourself a good break will reduce stress and allow you to focus when you come back to work.

Give certain things your full focus

Multitasking and divided attention can be helpful to get lots of things done at once, but your brain also needs to practice full attention. By swapping between divided attention and full attention, your brain gets stronger at both.
This means that even when you are swapping between tasks, your brain still knows how to give a task proper focus. Even though you are working on several tasks, your brain will give the task at hand its full attention before jumping to the next.

Prioritize and group tasks

It is important to prioritize important tasks which require your full attention to make sure that they get focussed on. However, it can also be helpful to group tasks together which can be tackled simultaneously; things like correspondence can all be done in one large chunk.
By grouping these things together and spending an hour on them twice a day, you will limit distractions from the more important tasks. This will improve your productivity when tackling larger and more urgent projects.

Set time limits

You can’t use divided attention all the time. However, by setting aside an hour twice a day, you can use this time to get through all of your menial tasks which don’t take the same concentration.
If you know you have time set aside for them, when emails and calls come through, you won’t lose focus when correspondence comes through. This increases your focus on the task at hand.
We can’t constantly be in a state of divided attention, and we certainly can’t multitask everything. It is important to know what you can and can’t do in tandem and what needs your whole attention.
By using divided attention on menial tasks such as correspondence, you can improve your productivity. Divided attention can help efficiency on the more important tasks by limiting distractions during periods of focus.
It is important to know when you can multitask and on what you should focus on. Trying to use divided attention with everything will decrease productivity. Yet, harnessing the art of divided attention at the right time and with the right tasks can improve your efficiency overall.
References:
  1. https://cardinalatwork.stanford.edu/

 

 

  1.  

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Francesca F.

Francesca is a freelance writer currently studying a degree in Law and Philosophy. She has written for several blogs in a range of subjects across Lifestyle, Relationships and Health and Fitness. Her main pursuits are learning new innovative ways of keeping fit and healthy, as well as broadening her knowledge in as many areas as possible in order to achieve success.
 
 
 
COPYRIGHT © 2018 LEARNING MIND. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FOR PERMISSION TO REPRINT, CONTACT US.
 

 
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No religious or political creed is advocated here.

Organised religion is unnecessary to spirituality.

Excellent teachings of the masters have been contaminated by the dogmatic control of these religions.

Discernment yes; judgement does not.
If you use discernment you are free to research with an open mind. 

With discernment it is possible to reach the spirit of the letter of any writing and it is also much easier to listen to the voice of the soul that comes from the heart.
Individually you can be helped to find your Truth that is different of everyone. 


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publicado por achama às 00:48
Terça-feira, 18 / 06 / 19

What Is Change Blindness and How It Affects You without Your Awareness

What Is Change Blindness and How It Affects You without Your Awareness.

By Janey Davies.

June 18th, 2019.

 
 

 



 

I was watching an episode of Air Crash Investigation the other day and investigators stated that the cause of a fatal aeroplane crash was change blindness.
My ears pricked up. I thought I’d heard of every psychological trait in the book, but I’d never come across this one. What on earth was it and how could it have caused two experienced pilots to make terrible errors in the cockpit that lead to the deaths of their passengers?
I had to find out. So what are the basics behind change blindness?

What Is Change Blindness?

Basically, it is when something we are looking at changes without us noticing. But how can it happen? We all like to think that we have a keen eye for what’s going on around us. We are natural observers. People watchers. We see things. We notice stuff. If something has changed, we can tell.
Well, actually, that’s not quite true. Studies show that if we are distracted for long enough, then our focus fails. Even more surprisingly, the change can be huge and we still won’t see it. So how does it happen?
“Change blindness is a failure to detect that an object has moved or disappeared and is the opposite of change detection.” Eysenck and Keane

The Experiments

Focused Attention

This infamous study has been replicated many different times. In the original one, participants watched a video of six people and had to count how many times the ones wearing white tee-shirts passed a basketball to each other.
During this time, a woman entered the scene in a gorilla suit, stared at the camera, banged on her chest then walked away. Half the participants didn’t see the gorilla.
It appears that if we focus on one task we cannot see other things.
Focusing our Attention Limits our Resources
Our brains can only manage so much information at a time. Therefore, it has to prioritise and limit what it deems to be unnecessary.
This is why we can’t feel the clothes we are wearing, or as you are reading these words now, you are not aware of noises from outside. Of course, now I’ve mentioned them you are now beginning to pay them more attention.
However, our attention span is limited. This means whatever we focus on has to be carefully chosen. Typically, that one thing we do pay attention to gets all our attention. In fact, to the detriment of everything else. As a result, we miss out on large swathes of detail because of our laser-like focus on the one area.

Blocked Vision

In this study, a researcher talks to a participant. While they are talking two men walk between them carrying a door. The door blocks the view of the researcher and the participant.
While this is happening, the researcher swaps places with one of the men carrying the door and once the door had passed then continues chatting to the participant as if nothing untoward has happened. Out of 15 participants, only 7 noticed the change.
If something blocks our view for just a few seconds, it is enough to distract us.
We use our past experiences to fill in the gaps
If we can’t see for a few moments our brain fills in the gap for us. Life flows, it doesn’t stop and start in jerks and jolts. This is our brain taking the shortest cut necessary in order to keep us surviving and performing quickly in our ever-changing world.
In all our past experiences, we haven’t come across someone changing into someone else so we presume it won’t happen today. We simply don’t expect to see a different person when the door has passed us. It doesn’t make sense so we don’t even entertain it as a possibility.

Losing Sight of a Person

In this study, participants watched a video of a student lounge. One female student leaves the room but has left her bag behind. Actor A appears and steals money from her bag. She leaves the room by turning a corner and walking out through the exit.
In the second scenario, Actor A turns the corner but then is replaced by Actor B (the viewers don’t see the replacing) they just see her exit. When 374 participants watched the change film, only 4.5% noticed the actor had changed.
If we lose our visual reference for a few seconds, we assume it will be the same when it reappears.
If the change doesn’t make sense to us, it is difficult to see
Changes are usually drastic, sudden, they catch our attention. Just think about sirens on emergency vehicles or someone acting suspiciously. We have a tendency to see things that change because they are usually moving in some way. They switch from a static nature to a mobile one.
But people don’t change into other people. Gorillas don’t just appear out of nowhere.  That’s why we miss things that are out of the ordinary. We just don’t expect people to change into other people.

How to Reduce the Effects of Change Blindness

  • Individuals are more likely to make this sort of mistake than people in groups.
  • Changes are easier to stop when objects are produced holistically. For example, a whole face rather than just the facial features.
  • Changes in the foreground are detected more easily than changes in the background.
  • Experts are more likely to notice changes in their own field of study.
  • Visual cues can help bring the focus back onto the object of attention.
As for the aeroplane in the programme? Eastern Airlines was due to land in Florida when a small bulb in the landing nosegear light failed in the cockpit. Despite the alarm warning, the pilots spent so much time trying to get it to work they failed to notice their altitude was seriously low until it was too late. They crashed into the Everglades. Tragically, 96 people died.
It’s not likely that we are going to be faced with the task of counting a basketball and miss a woman prancing around in a gorilla suit every day. But as the air crash programme has shown, this phenomena can have devastating effects.
References:
  1. https://www.verywellmind.com
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

About the Author: Janey Davies.

Janey Davies has been published online for over 8 years. She is the head writer for Shoppersbase.com, she also writes for AvecAgnes.co.uk, Ewawigs.com and has contributed to inside3DP.com. She has an Honours Degree in Psychology and her passions include learning about the mind, popular science and politics. When she is relaxing she likes to walk her dog, read science fiction and listen to Muse.
 
COPYRIGHT © 2018 LEARNING MIND. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FOR PERMISSION TO REPRINT, CONTACT US.
 
 
 



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publicado por achama às 19:57
Sábado, 11 / 05 / 19

Essential Oils for Focus, Productivity and Cognitive Functions

Essential Oils for Focus, Productivity and Cognitive Functions.

By Guest Author.

May 10th, 2019

 

essential oils for focus.
 

 

Did you know that essential oils can help you boost your cognitive functions, such as focus and memory, and improve your productivity?
In the modern, hectic world that we inhabit, many of us will have had moments in our day where our frame of mind does not match what is needed at the time. It could be the feeling of ‘fogginess’ in the first few hours of the morning once we have risen from our slumber, or the afternoon sluggishness felt after a heavy lunch.
Either way, your mind simply refuses to get into the correct gear required. For some, this can seriously hinder the productivity of a day at work, or in the more serious cases, affect someone’s mental wellbeing in the long term.
We all want to be productive, and we all want to be able to relax too when the time is right. So how can we give ourselves the best chance of achieving these goals? Well, essential oils can certainly help boost your focus and other cognitive functions.
For those who are new to the world of essential oils, one of the key aspects of their appeal is the fact that they are totally natural. Also knows as volatile and ethereal oils, essential oils are obtained from their specific plant by distillation, most often using steam.
Products that often contain them are perfumes, soaps, and other cosmetics. Due to the fact they are derived from a whole plethora of different plants, they have some very different effects.
While one may invigorate, another may make the user feel a sense of relaxation. Because of this, it is important to make sure you know which oil is most likely to garner the required effect.

Boosting your focus with essential oils

For those looking to get their brain into a more focused state, there are essential oils available that will help you do just that.
Feeling a little frazzled in the morning? Simply add a few drops of lemon or peppermint to your oil diffuser, let the fragrance fill the room, and see how your concentration manifests. If lemon or peppermint isn’t your thing, there are countless other options out there for those who would prefer a different fragrance.
Amongst the more popular options are frankincense, rosemary, or clary sage, so if you find one flavour a little overpowering, simply move onto another and see if it suits you better.
Such is the sheer volume of essential oils on the market, finding one that helps you focus and is also appealing to your sense of smell is all part of the fun.

Sleeping well helps you work well

Once your working day is done, you may find it difficult to unwind in the hours before you go to bed. This, in turn, can lead to a bad night’s sleep and difficulties concentrating when back at the office the next day.
Many of us have trouble ‘switching off’ in the evenings, partly due to hectic work-lives and partly due to issues with modern phenomena such as mobile phone and tablet usage. If you fall into this category, essential oils can yet again be the answer to your problems.
Oils such as cedar wood can help you unwind naturally, letting your stresses and strains melt away, and allowing you to fall into a relaxing and beneficial slumber.
Other oils such as lavender can also help you fall asleep faster, while many users have also reported that some oils can even help those of us who suffer from the dreaded and much-maligned problem of snoring.
If you are finding yourself drained and tired throughout the working week, start to address this problem by making sure you are getting enough rest.

Tired and forgetful? Essential oils might help

Another issue that plenty of us suffer from, especially as we get older, is memory loss. Now, serious memory loss can be a symptom of something quite serious, but if you are simply finding yourself becoming a little forgetful during your workday.
At least one experiment conducted by the University of Northumbria found that rosemary can have a positive effect on people over 65 years of age in regards to their memory function. Other tests have shown evidence that rosemary could stimulate brain tissue due to various compounds found within the plant itself.
This shouldn’t be taken as a ‘complete fix’ for memory loss (especially if it is severe or degenerative), but rather a useful tool for tasks that may require you to be a little more ‘on the ball’ when it comes to recalling information.
Pair the use of rosemary with a healthy diet of fatty fish (full of wonderful Omega 3 oils which are known to aid the building of brain and nerve cells), and you should be well on your way to boosting your memory.
At the very least, you will put yourself in the best position to improve your performance in this particular department.

Essential oils are another string to your bow

It should be said that essential oils are not a ‘one size fits’ all miracle cure. Instead, these wonderfully useful oils should be used in conjunction with other tactics, to achieve the desired results.
If you have trouble sleeping, cutting out alcohol and sugars before bed garners huge benefits, while essential oils could be the icing on the cake for giving yourself the restful recuperation you need.
Different oils have vastly different properties, so if you are new to the essential oils game, grab yourself a few tester bottles, and see just how useful each of these oils can be.
Having a selection at your disposal means that you can adjust the oil to suit your needs hour by hour. Wake up with some peppermint, add a few drops of rosemary in your diffuser during the day, and when it comes to bedtime, move into cedar wood territory.
Pairing these essential oils with a healthy lifestyle, eating well, and exercising should put you in the best possible position to counter any issues like poor focus or memory loss. This, in turn, will help you work more effectively and efficiently.

 

 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Articles from guest authors who contribute their writings to Learning Mind.

 

 

 

 

COPYRIGHT © 2018 LEARNING MIND. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FOR PERMISSION TO REPRINT, CONTACT US.

 



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publicado por achama às 08:21
Terça-feira, 30 / 04 / 19

How the Flow State Supercharges Your Brain and How to Get into It ~ Francesca F.

How the Flow State Supercharges Your Brain and How to Get into It.

By Francesca F.

April 29, 2019

 
 
 
We all want to be a little bit more productive and we’ve all experienced the extreme focus of flow state, but most of us don’t know how to utilise it.
Productivity can fluctuate for a number of different reasons. Maybe you’re tired, hungry, or stressed. It might just be that you struggle to find your focusFinding your state of flow is the best way to counteract this lapse of productivity. It will help you banish the temptation to procrastinate so that you can start making positive progress.

What is the flow state?

First, we need to understand what the state of flow actually isIt is a term from positive psychology, which is essentially the study of what makes life good, worth living, and how we can flourish.
This state of mind is commonly known as being ‘in the zone’. It is the state where we feel completely immersed in the task at hand, with complete concentration and even enjoyment in the task. When you’re experiencing it, it is common to lose track of your surroundings, even the time.

Flow state and hyperfocus

Flow state can sometimes be confused with hyperfocus, however, the two are entirely different. Hyperfocus is an intense mental concentration or imagination, which often distracts individuals away from tasks.
Although the two are similar in terms of concentration, hyperfocus is concentration on the wrong things, such as videogames and focussing only on a small part of a task. For these reasons, hyperfocus is a common symptom of ADHD and has been proposed to be linked to other conditions.

How to know if you are in the state of flow?

While this state of mind is a somewhat abstract concept, some psychologists have proposed some indicators of experiencing it:

1.Intense and focused concentration on the present moment

When you are experiencing the flow, you are entirely focused on what is going on right there and then. You lose sight of future commitments and past events.

2.Merging of action and awareness

Again, somewhat of an abstract concept, the merging of action and awareness essentially means that your actions feel like an extension of your mind.

3.Loss of reflective self-consciousness

A key indicator of flow state is that we lose the awareness of ourselves in some way. Simply put, it means that we feel less self-critical and self-aware.

4.A sense of personal control over the situation or activity

We may not be in control of the result of a project, but when we are experiencing this state while performing a task, we often feel in complete control.

5.A loss of sense of time

The most common indicator of flow state is a complete loss of time. We’ve all looked up from the clock and wondered where the time went.

6.Experience of intrinsic reward

We don’t even need to know the outcome of a particular task and project. When we are in the state of flow, we receive an intrinsic reward from simply performing the task in the first place. We typically feel as though we have more potential to succeed in the task at hand.

7.Other needs become less important

When experiencing the flow, it is common that we forget about other needs. We may forget we are hungry, thirsty, or tired. We might even come out of flow realising we desperately need the bathroom!

How can the flow state benefit you?

flow state focus
The most obvious benefit you will get is boosted productivity. We all want to get a little bit extra done, improve our focus and make progress on our goals. Finding your flow state is an incredibly useful tool in getting things done, but it also has some unexpected benefits.
A surprising, but not entirely unexpected, result of reaching this state is greater happiness. This is because of two reasons. First, when you are experiencing the flow, you are not necessarily happy or unhappy, you are simply neutral. Then, once the project is finished, you receive the personal reward of finishing a project.
Secondly, the state of flow also tends to give you better performance because your brain is more relaxed, similar to post-meditation. This allows you to achieve greater insight with a project. Moreover, the flow state allows for the release of dopamine, which enhances your ability to notice patterns by heightening our attention and decreasing distractions.
This aspect of being in the flow allows us to also the external rewards from bosses, or project completion. All in all, this gives you a greater proportion of positive emotions and studieshave found that those in flow also tended to improve in levels of self-esteem and self-image.

5 elements of reaching the flow

productivity and happiness
There are five aspects which fit together to create a state of flow:
  • self-control
  • environment
  • skills
  • purpose
  • reward

Self-control is a key element of being in the flow.

To be able to utilise flow more often, we need to be able to gain control of our willpower. Nathan DeWall, a psychology professor who utilised the science of self-control to become a marathon runner, suggests three ways to develop our self-control:

1.Find your standards and set some goals.

These may be big or small, but are usually things such as hitting a word count, running a certain distance, or drinking a certain amount of water. They are the small goals on the way to the ultimate goal.

2.Set up how you will monitor your goals.

Self-control works best with immediate feedback, and this comes in the form of tracking your goals. Find ways to constantly track your goals, but be flexible enough to alter them if you need to.

3.Be aware of your energy levels.

Our energy fluctuates throughout the day and, with it, so does our willpower. Typically, we will have more self-control and willpower when we have more energy, and these are the times we should practice getting into the flow state.

Environment is an interesting feature when finding your flow.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, the best way to practice flow is to push yourself slightly out of your comfort zone. This allows your body and mind to adapt to more challenging environments. As a consequence, when you do reach the state of flow, you will be less distracted by more challenging environments.

Skills allow us to begin the task in the first place but should be well matched with a good level of challenge.

To experience the flow, we need enough knowledge to complete a task and feel as though we are deliberately using them. That is to say that we must be present when applying our knowledge and do it on purpose, rather than just going through the motions.

Purposeful work is much more likely to get you into the flow state.

When we feel connected and passionate about something, we pay much more attention to it. Consider what you are creating, who you are creating it for, and what is the expected outcome. The more something stimulates us, the more motivated we become, and this is an essential element of finding your flow.
If a task doesn’t feel so important to you, find ways of making it important. Maybe it will help your job performance, improve your physical capability, or just make you feel good about yourself when you finish.

Reward is the last element of finding the state of flow.

In its essence, reward simply a by-product of flow state but links all of the rest together. Understanding the reward of your work will almost always help you find your purpose. It will also motivate you to apply your skills, develop self-control and put yourself out of your comfort zone. The reward is the motivation to see a task from start to finish.
Finding and practising these elements will help you successfully enter flow more often and reap the incredible benefits. Not only will it boost your productivity, but it will also holistically improve your life.
References:
  1. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  2. Find Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855042/
  4. Scientific Secrets for Self-Control – C. Nathan Dewall
  1.  

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Francesca F.

Francesca is a freelance writer currently studying a degree in Law and Philosophy. She has written for several blogs in a range of subjects across Lifestyle, Relationships and Health and Fitness. Her main pursuits are learning new innovative ways of keeping fit and healthy, as well as broadening her knowledge in as many areas as possible in order to achieve success.
 
 
 
COPYRIGHT © 2018 LEARNING MIND. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FOR PERMISSION TO REPRINT, CONTACT US.
 



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No religious or political belief is defended here. (Investigate yourself)

 

Individually you can be helped to find your Truth that is different of everyone. 

If you use discernment you are free to research with an open mind. 


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publicado por achama às 15:43
Sábado, 13 / 04 / 19

This Alan Watts’ Approach to Meditation Is Truly Eye-Opening ~ Sofia


This Telescope Will Watch Over the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole

 

 


 


If the West is now experiencing a meditation and Eastern philosophy fad rush, it has Alan Watts to thank for it.
Centuries before Alan Watts and his meditation guidelines popularized Eastern thought for western audiences, throngs of mystics and ascetics had been practicing numerous meditative paths on their way to enlightenment and self-realization.
The West was more focused on the esoteric thought that found its roots in Neo-platonic currents of thought reigning some Christian thinkers and denominations during the Middle Ages. Thus, the western world was actually late to the meditation party, until Alan Watts presented his meditation studies.
One may attribute this phenomenon to the fundamental differences between western and eastern culture and their values and perception of the world. The West relies more on material attachment and has a leaning towards individualism.
The West is also a younger civilization compared to other continents like Asia. Chinese and Indian civilizations are much older and have a larger legacy of thinkers, philosophers, and mystics.

But what is the relationshipbetween Alan Watts and meditation?

Well, let’s begin with the practice itself. What’s the real definition of meditation?

The English meditation is derived from the Old French meditacioun and the Latin meditatio. It originates from the verb meditari, meaning “to think, contemplate, devise, ponder”. The use of the term meditatio as part of a formal, stepwise process of meditation goes back to the 12th-century monk Guigo II.
Apart from its historical usage, the term meditation was a translation for Eastern spiritual practices. Texts refer to it as dhyāna in Hinduism and Buddhism. This stems from the Sanskrit root dhyai, meaning to contemplate or meditate.
The term “meditation” in English may also refer to practices from Islamic Sufism or other traditions such as the Jewish Kabbalah and Christian Hesychasm.
Aside from this purely etymological definition, however, there is no single interpretation or substantial definition on the nature of meditation.
The general popularized idea is that it is a practice of mindfulness and contemplation involving certain steps that one should follow in order to “make it work”. If “done correctly”, it can be beneficial to the training of the spirit, to attaining wisdom, internal clarity and peace, or even reaching nirvana.
There are as many ways to meditate out there as individuals; some use certain postures, chants, mantras, or prayer beads. Others can only meditate in a particular setting. Otherwise, they struggle to maintain their concentration.
Meditation can have massively beneficial effects on a person, from psychological wellness to physical health benefits. Some examples include reduced anxiety and risks of depression and other mental afflictions, to an amelioration of sleep patterns, to a general sense of wellness.
But is that the point of it? Does it even have a point? Should it have a point?
This is where Alan Watts comes in, declaring this particular notion of meditation as hubris.

Alan Watts on meditation

Born on the 9th of January 1915 in Chislehurst, England, Alan Watts spent most of his early childhood in boarding schools. This is where he received a Christian catechism he later described as “grim and maudlin”.
He went on to move to America, entrenching himself in religious studies, philosophy, theology and Buddhist thought. Thus, it was the start of the tremendous legacy he left behind.
The true beginning of that legacy was his 1957 seminal work, “The Way of Zen”, introducing the idea of Zen Buddhism to millions in the West. His book appealed massively to the younger generations. They would later go on to form the bulk of the 60’s “flower-power’ counter-culture.

Regarding Alan Watts’ views on meditation, one might best illustrate it using one of his most well-known quotes:

“You will feel like an onion: skin after skin, subterfuge after subterfuge, is pulled off to find no kernel at the center. Which is the whole point: to find out that the ego is indeed a fake -a wall of defense around a wall of defense […] around nothing. You can’t even want to get rid of it, nor yet want to want to. Understanding this, you will see that the ego is exactly what it pretends it isn’t”.
When it comes to meditation, Alan Watts does not support the concept of meditation as a task or a practice that one “does”. To meditate in order to attain a purpose defeats the purpose of meditating, which is that… it has no particular purpose, and it ought not to have one.
For, if one hypothesizes that to meditate is to let go of earthly concerns and be able to let themselves reenter the flow of creation and energy they are part of, then to look to the future instead of submerging in the moment, in being, nullifies the practice.
Meditation, for Alan Watts, does not have to follow the stereotype of the reclusive yogi who simply sits still under some waterfall. One can meditate while making coffee, or walking to buy the morning paper. His point is best illustrated in this video regarding guided meditation:

Here’s the summary of Alan Watts’ approach to meditation, as per the video:

One only has to listen.

Not hear, not categorize, but listen. Let the sounds happen around you. Once you close your eyes, your ears will become more sensitive. You will be flooded by the minuscule sounds of everyday commotion.
At first, you will want to put a name on them. But as time goes on and the sounds ebb and flow, they stop having an individuality.
They are part of a flow that happens whether “you” are there to experience it or not. Same with your breath. You never make a conscious effort to breathe. Only when you begin to focus on it does it preoccupy you. They also happen as part of your being, as part of your nature.
Which brings us to the thoughts. The key secret to meditation, as Alan Watts kindly mapped out, is to let one’s thoughts flow as natural parts of their existence.
You could compare this to the flow of a river. One does not try to stop the river and put it through a sieve. One simply lets the river flow, and we must do the same with our thoughts.
Thoughts are not bigger or smaller, important or unimportant; they simply are, and so are you. And without even realizing it, you exist and operate within a fabric that we can perceive but never see.
This approach to meditation can help you finally live in the present moment as the whole of creation develops. And just like that, every moment is part of the mosaic of moments we inherently belong in.

Everything flows and exists, with no subjective value. And that realization in itself is liberating.

References:
  1. https://bigthink.com
  2. Image by Alan Watts Foundation – http://www.alanwatts.orgCC BY-SA 4.0


 
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publicado por achama às 06:26
Segunda-feira, 11 / 02 / 19

The Mystery of Wrinkled Fingertips in Water and 4 More Evolutionary Quirks ~ Janey D.

The Mystery of Wrinkled Fingertips in Water and 4 More Evolutionary Quirks.

By Janey Davies.

February 10, 2019.

 
 
 
 
 

Wrinkled Fingertips in Water


 

Have you ever wondered why you get wrinkled fingertips if you are in water for long periods of time?

It’s actually a neat evolutionary quirk, developed over time, designed to enable us to survive. So how does it work? Why do we get wrinkled fingertips? Not only that, but why is it only our fingertips and not other parts of our body that wrinkle?

Why we get wrinkled fingertips in water

Imagine the treads on a racing car’s tyres. In dry weather, drivers use smooth treads because these will have a better grip on the road. However, on a wet track, drivers will change their tyres and opt for ones with deep treads.
The treads in these tyres channel water away from the surface area which allows the tyres to grip the road more efficiently. The same is true when we get wrinkled fingertips. If we have been in the water for a long time, we need ‘treads’ in our fingertips to be able to grip a slippery surface in order to be able to escape.
So, is this a reflex action or is something more sophisticated going on? Actually, there are specific nerves in our fingertips. These nerves send messages to the brain after a certain time in the water. Our brain then sends back messages to the surface of our skin and this accounts for our wrinkled fingertips.

Wrinkled Fingertips and 4 More Evolutionary Quirks

  1. The Life or Death reason for sighing

Have you ever felt so exasperated at a situation that you’ve sighed heavily? You might just have saved your own life. Sighing isn’t just about releasing tension or pent-up frustration. It is crucial to maintaining lung function.
Our lungs are made up of tiny balloon-like air sacs called alveoli. These alveoli inflate and deflate every time we take a breath. Oxygen enters the alveoli and carbon dioxide leaves via the bloodstream. However, every so often individual alveoli collapse.
“When alveoli collapse, they compromise the ability of the lung to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide,” Jack Feldman said. “The only way to pop them open again is to sigh, which brings in twice the volume of a normal breath. If you don’t sigh, your lungs will fail over time.”
A sigh is an involuntary deep breath that expands these collapsed alveoli and pumps them back up to full capacity again. Without this built-in mechanism, these tiny air sacs would gradually collapse leading to lung failure.
  1. Shaking your head means I’m full up

Body language is a fascinating area of study. For example, why do we shake our head to say no and nod to say yes? Well, scientists have the answer to one of these questions. And, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
Despite the shake of the head indicating one of human’s most recognised gestures, no one really knew its origins. Until now. The key is to look at babies. When babies are full up, they don’t have the necessary language skills to express that they don’t want any more food.
Babies turn their heads from side to side to avoid the next mouthful of food they do not want. This rejection of food at an early age has come to signify ‘no’ in all other aspects of our adult lives.
  1. Why we stick our tongues out when we concentrate

You often see children so intently focused on a task that they stick their tongues out. But why does help with their concentrationIt makes more sense if we think about what the tongue is responsible for.
It has thousands of taste buds that work to identify millions of combinations of flavours. More importantly, however, it is always moving around the mouth, keeping us from choking and helping to swallow the build-up of saliva.
The tongue is also responsible for formulating language. It is a huge muscle that changes shape to form the sounds of letters and as such, is connected to the brain’s language centre.
This means it is constantly sending huge streams information to many different areas of the brain simultaneously. By sticking it out and holding it in place by biting it, we are restricting its movement.
By keeping it still for a moment, we are able to calm this constant stream and free up our brains to focus on just one activity at a time.
  1. Your speech reflects your environment

Can our environment have an effect on the way we speak? According to one theory, it can. The ‘acoustic adaptation’ speculates that the region you were raised in has a direct effect on your speech. And it is all to do with how sound travels and how we hear it.
For example, take forest dwellers. Sound behaves differently in a forest compared to a vast desert. Consonants tend to get lost in dense forest so you only hear the vowels.
In hotter areas, pockets of hot air distort hard consonants. So languages evolve differently in hot and cold climates. Warmer climates tend to have softer vowels and use a lot of open syllables. Just think of Hawaii and ‘aloha’.
Whereas in more temperature climates, such as Germany, they hear fewer vowels sounds and, therefore, use harsher consonants for the endings of their words. For instance, ‘how are you?’ translates into German as ‘Wie geht es dir?‘
Wrinkled fingertips are just one evolutionary quirk humans have developed over the years. It just goes to show the incredible way our bodies adapt to master our environment.
References:
  1. http://www.bbc.com/
  2. https://www.npr.org/

 

 

 

About the Author: Janey D.

Janey Davies has been published online for over 8 years. She is the head writer for Shoppersbase.com, she also writes for AvecAgnes.co.uk, Ewawigs.com and has contributed to inside3DP.com. She has an Honours Degree in Psychology and her passions include learning about the mind, popular science and politics. When she is relaxing she likes to walk her dog, read science fiction and listen to Muse.
 
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publicado por achama às 15:59
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