Living like Crazy

'Living like Crazy' has highlighted the fact that we have a range of evolved motivational potentials for good or for bad. Our problem is our minds are easily manipulated and textured by social context.'

'We have food industries that convince us to eat and eat, giving way to obesity and diabetes; companies that encourage us to pollute the seas with plastic bottles ... and that's just the tip of the iceberg ...'

'Despite their benefits, social media and internet giants like Google and Facebook can run algorithms to discover anything they can about us that would allow them to manipulate values, political tribal loyalties, and of course purchase products. Everyday our minds are being patterned and influenced without our awareness, not for the benefit of humanity but for various self interests. The compassionate challenge is how to wake up and see what's happening. Practicing mindful compassionate wisdom, while not fool proof, holds the potential to claim back our minds in the service of humanity. What is so heartening is that today more and more people are waking up to the fact that we have an evolved brain, and a culturally inherited created mind, that is driving us crazy. More and more people are now genuinely thinking collectively and scientifically about how to create a better world for us all to live in.'

'Despite many efforts at compassion, our dark sides have ruled our history for many thousands of years and competitive self-interest, greed and tribalism still do. Indeed, many religions have used the dark side to promote themselves. All those who think that compassion is somehow a weakness or an indulgence, or is just being nice, kind, or polite and could never solve any serious problem are seriously misguided. As some of the contemplative traditions have shown us for thousands of years, and science is beginning to reveal, compassion is one of the most important courageous and healing motivations that nature ever came up with. Not to cultivate it and use it for the benefit to us all would be to continue living like crazy.'  (p 535 - 536)

(from 'Living like Crazy' by Paul Gilbert; published 2017)

Does it Matter? Pt 2

 'It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Joy is life living through you.

Satisfaction and strength

is life living through you.

He says don't be afraid.

Don't be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.'

(from Roger Keyes 'Hokusai Says' published by the Mindfulness Association) 

Today, like every other day

Today, like every other day, we wake up

empty

and frightened. Don't open the door to the 

study

and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer.

 

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and

kiss the ground.

 

 - Rumi

Enjoy The Ride

This is the last section from the final chapter of 'Neurodharma' by Rick Hanson:

Enjoy the Ride

It's a wild life. Here we are on a small planet going around an ordinary star on the edge of one galaxy amidst a couple of trillion others. Nearly 14 billion years have passed since our universe bubbled into being. And here we are now. Countless creatures have died so that tiny improvements in their capabilities could be stabilised through evolution in increasingly complex species, and eventually in us today. So many, many things have happened already. And here we are.

It's strange isn't it, this life? You live and love and then you leave. My time will come, and yours, and everyone else's. Meanwhile, we can be gobsmacked with awe and gratitude , and committed to enjoying this life as best we can while learning as much as we can and contributing as much as we can each day.

Along the way, take in the good, helping your beneficial experiences sink in and become lasting strengths inside, woven into the fabric of your body. So many opportunities for this mindful cultivation occur in even the hardest life. Recognise what is wholesome, helpful, beautiful in yourself and in others and in everything. Let it land in you, becoming you.

I once asked the teacher Joseph Goldstein about an experience while wondering if I was on the right track. He listened and nodded and said, "Yes, that's it." And then he emailed and said, "Keep on going." (p. 252)

   -  Rick Hanson

*********

The Plague & The Plague

From 'The Plague & The Plague' by Dylan Daniel published in 'Philosophy Now' (Issue 138, June/July2020)

'In essence, The Plague was written to teach us to treasure the moments of happiness and joy we share, just because humanity is, absurdly, ridiculously, painfully inadequately equipped to cope with stressors and stimuli it encounters. How could it not be so? The passing of time dulls our attention to detail, and despite the power of our civilisation, the mass of humanity remains slow to responds to threats. The quintessence of the absurdity of existence for Camus in The Plague - just as it is for us reacting to our current plague - is that individuals die when the collective fails to recognise or respond adequately to foreseeable threats. So, as predicted by the narrator of The Plague, 'the plague' is not over and will likely never be over. We can only hope and love and act, and be as good as we can be. Yet it is no more right to say we deserve our fate (as father Paneloux would have it), than it's correct to assume that one day the mass of humanity will be able to respond to all threats to it without loss of life. And insofar as we continue to live unawares in the midst of this conflict between our species and nature, life and death will continue to be dictated by means beyond our control, even our understanding. That is to say, life will remain absurd.' (p. 24)