Archives for April, 2012 - Page 2


Personal Immortality

Each life is an eternity of its own: we can't remember when we weren't alive (because we weren't yet) and none of us will know when we are no longer (because we won't be alive to know that we are no longer alive).  As far as we are concerned, we have always been alive we will always be alive, in a personally-subjective sense, which is all that matters in the...
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Body is a Temple, Food is the Sacrament

“Indian temples are traditionally built in the image of a human body.  The ritual for building a temple begins with […] planting a pot of seed.  The temple is said to rise from the implanted seed, like a human.  The different parts of a temple are named after body parts.  The two sides are called the hands or wings, the hasta; a pillar is called a foot, pada.  The top of the temple is the head, the sikhar.  The shrine, the innermost and the darkest sanctum of the temple, is a garbhagrha, the womb-house.  The temple thus carries out in brick and stone the primordial blueprint of the human body.” (Ramanujan, 1973, 20).
Nifty.  But unnecessary.

Indian poet Basavanna explains: “The rich will make temples for Siva.  What shall I, a poor man, do?  My legs are pillars, the body the shrine, the head a cupola of gold.  Listen, O lord of the meeting rivers, things standing shall fall, but the moving ever shall stay.” (20).

Indeed, why imitate what you already have?  Your body is already a temple.  Why build another one?  Why burn gas to drive your Self to where you are not?  Why not worship at home?  What do I mean by “worship?”  I mean “love.”  However you want to see it – Reality, Creation, Universe, Dao, Cosmos – find a way to connect to it.  From within.  Perhaps, through eating.  Without brokers.
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What is Mind?

What is mind?

Short answer: mind is just another four-letter word.

Long answer: mind is a body that thinks it is not a body but something separate from it.  Thus, a mind is a deluded body.  Once again: here you are, a "mind," thinking that you are "in" a "body," but you aren't "in" a body.  You are a body, a body thinking that you are a mind, i.e. a body that does not know oneself, a body that thinks it isn't what it is but something else.  But you aren't anything else.  You are this body.  That's all.  I hope it's enough since there isn't anything else.

Sure, you can call this "mind" a subtle body, or a body-within-a-body, or an inner body, but a body is still a body even if it's in the form of a nesting doll set.  You are one, not two, even if you use two words (body and mind) to describe this two-dimensional oneness of yours.
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Immortality Now

This is a Sunday morning blog which means I just had coffee and looked through the Sunday morning New York Times.  I am telling you this so that you have at least an approximate sense of my psycho-physiological variables of the moment.  In my estimation, these variables of caffeine and news are entirely irrelevant to the point of this bit of writing.

I want to reframe the issue of immortality for you in a manner that makes practical sense.  I am not talking about technical immortality of a life-form that doesn’t die.  I am talking about immortality in a felt sense.

As an existentially oriented therapist, one of my “hidden” agendas is to help people not fear death, which is the same as saying help people learn to live life.  Afraid of dying and not believing in an afterlife, many of us unconsciously chase so-called symbolic immortality. Symbolic immortality is when you work hard to create some kind of legacy that will keep a memory of you alive long after you are gone.  Symbolic immortality is a misnomer: legacy is just an informational footprint. 
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Crossing the Threshold of Reflection

Teilhard de Chardin, who in 1925 coined the term noosphere “to denote the sphere of mind,” offers this on Threshold of Reflection:
“Reflection is, as the word indicates, the power acquired by a consciousness to turn in upon itself, to take possession of itself as of an object endowed with its own particular consistence and value: no longer merely to know, but to know oneself; no longer merely to know, but to know that one knows.  By this individualization of [one]self in the depths of [one]self, the living element, which heretofore had been spread out and divided over a diffuse circle of perceptions and activities, [is] constituted for the first time as a centre in the form of a point at which all the impressions and experiences knit themselves together and fuse into a unity that is conscious of its own organization.”
This is one of the most sublime descriptions of mindfulness that I have come across.  Teilhard de Chardin, however, didn’t intend this paragraph as a description of mindfulness.  He was describing “hominization,” i.e. the metamorphosis of a hominid into a human.

But here’s my question to you:  Have you yourself reached this Threshold of Reflection today?

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Mindful Eating: Open Your Mind Before You Open Your Mouth

8 Strategies to Make Your Emotional Eating More Mindful

Emotional eating is misunderstood and often unnecessarily demonized. However, emotional eating -- that is, eating to feel good, often termed "compulsive eating" -- isn't the problem. It's emotional over-eating and mindless emotional eating that can be both psychologically and physically unhealthy.

Emotional eating works as a coping strategy and stress reliever if approached with mindfulness and moderation.

Emotional Eating Is Inevitable

Whether you eat or overeat, whether you eat mindfully or mindlessly, one thing is clear: people only eat what they like to eat. How a particular food tastes is a fundamentally emotional consideration. Let's face it: your body doesn't give a hoot whether you eat something that tastes good or not so good, as long as the food isn't rotten. Taste is the business of the mind -- a matter of pleasure. Bottom line: Everyone eats for pleasure, so emotional eating is inevitable.
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Smoking Cessation

Smoking Isn’t the Worst Coping Option

Coping exists on a range, from seeing a therapist (sophisticated coping) to displacing your rage onto a random driver in traffic after a hard day at work (primitive coping). Smoking, in our assessment, is somewhere in between.

In his 2007 article, “One Last Cigarette Before the Firing Squad? Certainly Not!” Paul Johnson, a columnist for the Spectator, writes: “I suspect smoking is one of those indulgences which, bad in themselves, prevent human beings from doing worse.”

Exactly so. Indeed, you could do a lot worse than to cope by smoking tobacco. Face it: as a smoker, you’ve found a self-sufficient way to regulate how you feel. You get burned; you light up. Burned again? Light up again. It works well enough, or you wouldn’t be doing it.
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