Tag Archives: yoga

What Do Depression, Dark Chocolate, Vitamin D, Anxiety, Vilazodone, Bananas, Turkey, Salmon, Sunlight, and Exercise All Have in Common?

Answer: they might have something to do with whether or not you experience high or low serotonin levels. And what is serotonin? The New York Times yesterday had a good article about it: [S]erotonin in the brain has a basic personality. “It’s … Continue reading

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Neurons That Fire Together Wire Together: The New York Times Says 8 Weeks of Meditation, 30 Minutes a Day, May Change the Brain

More study is needed (obviously), but the New York Times, in its Health section, has a startling article on meditation’s apparent ability to literally change how the brain wires itself up, and that after only 8 weeks of very modest (30 minutes a day) meditation … Continue reading

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A Little Satchidananda for a Sunday

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Talking about Love Some More

It seems to me that George Harrison’s song, “Within You, Without You,” says a lot of true things in a short space. Here are the lyrics: We were talking about the space between us all, and the people who hide … Continue reading

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A Swami for a Sunday

Swami Satchidananda is my all-time favorite Hindu guru. His name consists of a combination of three terms that, taken together, sum up rather nicely the Hindu spiritual quest:  that which is (sat); that which is consciousness (chid); that which is bliss (ananda). … Continue reading

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Alternative Medicine Does Not Exist; Critical Thinking Does

Andrew Sullivan recently got a letter from an epidemiology doctoral student offering some rules-of-thumb for thinking about medical claims and treatments. The advice is so sensible, and so nicely representative of good critical thinking, that I post them here: 1. Ancient wisdom is the … Continue reading

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The Tortoise Shell, the Umbrella, and Hindu Meditation

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna (Barbara Miller’s translation, pt. 2 stanzas 55-58): When he [the yogi] gives up desires in his mind, is content with the self within himself, then he is said to be a man whose insight … Continue reading

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The Goddess Fortuna: Thinking about Darwinian Contingency Metaphorically

I really think that Fortuna should be the matron goddess of all who have tried to absorb the full import of evolutionary contingency. Below, for example, is a painting of Fortuna by Henri Gascar, circa 1670. In this painting, Fortuna … Continue reading

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In heaven as it is on earth? Are religious mysticism and Hegel’s “aufgehoben” (transmutation) sublimated forms of masochism?

The 81-year-old sociologist Peter Berger thinks that they are. In his book on the sociology of religion, The Sacred Canopy  (1967), he wrote this of mysticism (64): The extent to which the mystical surrender may be called masochistic varies empirically, … Continue reading

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Does walking outdoors, even for just five minutes a day, improve health and well being?

Startlingly, a new British study, as reported by the BBC, suggests that just five minutes of outdoor exercise provides a measurable health benefit: UK researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem. … Continue reading

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Lama Surya Das says that the Buddha represents “the fullest actualized potential of human beings.” My six-year-old daughter’s response: “This is wrong!”

In an essay at the Huffington Post today, Buddhist author Lama Surya Das characterizes in this way what the meditating stone Buddha in your spring garden symbolizes: The Buddha is actually an archetype representing enlightenment, an icon symbolizing inner wisdom, a pointer … Continue reading

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Ravi Shankar turned 90 years old yesterday

George Harrison once called Ravi Shankar the godfather of world music. And here is Ravi Shankar in interview with George Harrison: And yes, he’s still playing. Here is Shankar in 2009:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  . And here’s Shankar on Dick Cavett’s show:

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A gorgeous image of a cow in the Swiss Alps accompanied by the opening stanzas of James Dickey’s “The Heaven of Animals” (1961)

From Wikipedia Commons:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  . And from James Dickey: Here they are. The soft eyes open. If they have lived in a wood It is a wood. If they have lived on plains It is grass rolling Under their … Continue reading

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Henry David Thoreau on not reacting to every insistent demand

This Henry David Thoreau quote comes from the second chapter of Walden (1854): If the engine whistles, let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the bell rings, why should we run? We will consider what kind … Continue reading

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Holding a Mirror Under Tokyo

Shakespeare held a mirror up to nature. This person held a mirror under Tokyo—and moved about on a train:

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Freud’s Oceanic Feeling Associated with Brain Damage!

During meditation or prayer, have you ever had what Freud called (picking up the term from Romain Rolland) an “oceanic feeling“? In other words, have you felt your “little self” (the shrew of your ego) submerging harmoniously into the “Big Self”—the Atman—or the universe? Well, … Continue reading

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John Cage on Cactus and Feather

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My Daughter Won a Certificate of Merit from Her School for—Generosity!

My oldest daughter is six years old, and from her school today she received a certificate of merit, not for attendance or academic achievement, but just for being a generous person! Her teacher praised her for being a good friend to her … Continue reading

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Take 2,000 IU of Vitamin D?

Vitamin D seems to be a genuinely potent nutrient that a lot of doctors are recommending, including my family practitioner. The vitamin appears to be associated with lower rates of cancer and diabetes (to name just two large benefits). And the amount … Continue reading

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With Regard to the Internet, What Would Gandhi Do?

I found this Gandhi quote several years back while perusing an undated letter of his that I found in volume 49 of his Collected Works. At least that’s what I wrote down. My local branch library in Lancaster, Ca. just happened to … Continue reading

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