Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Do No Harm

Do no harm.
Do no harm to others - do not express negative emotions.
Do no harm to yourself - do not suppress negative emotions.
Experience your emotions.
Experience your emotions and thoughts without expressing or suppressing negative emotions.
Build capacity to experience emotions by daily practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness practice is a way to experience thoughts and emotions without expressing or suppressing negative thoughts and emotions.
Over time, daily practice of mindfulness rewires the brain and builds capacity for experience.
Mindfulness is practicing meditation and experiencing thoughts and emotions.
The key is to practice meditation using proper breathing and a mantra, and let your thoughts and feelings rise, peak and fade.
Mindfulness combines practicing meditation and letting your emotions rise, peak and fade.
Practice mindfulness while walking, driving, sitting or doing yoga.
Experience your thoughts and emotions.
Do no harm.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gas Prices

today speculators account for 64 percent of oil contracts. Real Cause of Rising Gas prices...http://huff.to/A0Q5vw
Robert Reich
Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley; Author, 'Aftershock'
Why Republicans Aren't Mentioning the Real Cause of Rising Prices at the Gas Pump

Wall street is speculating on gas prices, driving up the price of gas at the pump.
Read Robert Reich in Huffington Post article.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Value-less System

The Chicago Tribune editorial increases distrust, assigns blame and avoids responsibility. The so called "value-added system" for education adds no value, creates more problems and shifts attention away from student- centered learning. Every human services professional knows that beyond a basic salary, pay does not motivate employees over time especially when they are highly educated like teachers. Assigning teachers all the blame for low student performance ignores all the decades of data that show poverty accurately predicts student achievement. Poverty means society is to blame, not individuals. Poverty means people do not have jobs that pay well enough for parents to have the resources to help their children.

"A value-added system will help Illinois educators do a better job identifying and rewarding the most highly effective teachers with, we can hope, markedly higher salaries. The information also can help schools replace educators who simply aren't advancing their students' academic performance."

"Grading teachers, Illinois parents, demand this vital data"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What is the Basic Human Problem?

What is the basic human problem? We live a substitute life.  We believe our thoughts are our life.  We substitute our believed thoughts for reality.  Instead of analyzing all of our thoughts, solving the basic human problem involves living a practice life.  Practice listening to your believed thoughts and labeling them.  Sit quietly for ten minutes when you won’t be interrupted, focus on your natural breath and become aware of your thoughts.  Practice labeling each thought as they enter your mind.  Practice daily as often as you can.
We act on our believed thoughts.  We make mistakes because our believed thoughts are not how things actually work. The practice life is not about expressing or suppressing our thoughts and feelings. The practice life is about experiencing our thoughts and feelings.  By sitting quietly for ten minutes, focusing on our natural breathing, we experience our thoughts and feelings.  We welcome them.  We let them come into our mind, release them and then the next one comes.
Do no harm is a common principle. However people get angry and express their anger, hurting the people closest to them. In the practice life, do not express negative emotions and do not suppress emotions.  In the practice life, we experience our emotions.  For example, we sit quietly for ten minutes, focusing on our natural breathing and we welcome our anger.  We feel our anger coming, we experience rising anger, the peak of anger then the anger falls away and we release the anger.  We experienced anger and did no harm to anyone.
The goal is not enlightenment or perfection or never feeling angry or afraid.  The goal is to not live a substitute life of believed thoughts and instead experience our thoughts and emotions.  Every day, practice with thoughts and emotions while sitting quietly and focusing on the natural breath.
Go to the second entry in this series.

Source: Bayda, Ezra. Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life. Boston.: Shambhala, 2002. Print.

Why do people behave the way they do?

Consider extroverts and introverts for example. They are opposite personality types in a Myers-Briggs personality profile. Extroverts are focused on what is going on outside of themselves and get their energy from being around other people. Introverts are focused on what is going on with their own thoughts and feelings. Being in a group wears them out emotionally. Introverts do well one-on-one and reenergize by spending time alone.
“Western culture seems to favor extroverts. Indeed, extroverts seem to always be having a great time! One study found a positive correlation between extroverts and happiness (extroverts appear to be happier than introverts). Extroverts may also have higher self-esteem. Extroverts seem to have a positive and enthusiastic approach to most activities in life, and can have good communication skills. They may also spend more money because they socialize more.”
Judging other people we make errors because we perceive others through our personality profile or our mental model of how other people should behave.  A society dominated by extroverts perceive introverts as shy, non-communicating, socially inept and having neurotic traits. Introverts misjudge others because they process everything internally before expressing themselves.  This can frustrate extroverts who are constantly saying what they are thinking and feeling without getting an immediate response from an introvert.
As a young adult, an introvert might seem romantic to an extrovert.  The introvert communicates well one-on-one and wants to spend time alone giving the extrovert all of their attention.  However the extrovert wants to be in groups, make lots of friends and communicate with as many people as possible.  The introvert might go to parties and events, however most of the time they would rather be at home.
To an introvert, extroverts appear to engage in small talk, superficial conversations and lack depth of thinking or feelings.  To an extrovert, introverts don’t communicate at all, don’t have any friends and take too long to make decisions.  Each has in their mind a substitute life compared to how the real world works.  Extroverts value communication and networking with others. Introverts value being alone to think, feel, read and write. Introverts often feel society judges them as deficient, neurotic and second class citizens.
We all know how extroverts are valued in society because they are in careers that value communication skills. People of similar personality traits tend to seek out the same types of careers. Introverts are actors, teachers, engineers and computer experts.  Extroverts are in careers that require verbal communication skills such as marketing, public relations, sales, entertainment and leadership.  However there are many introverts that attain leadership positions in their own career field. Utility companies often have introverts as managers and leaders.
Extroverts and introverts need each other.  Each brings value to relationships, family and life.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Conservative Policies

I have the greatest difficulty speaking about and practicing cooperation, collaboration, understanding and solidarity within a system designed with rules, goals and information connections for the shallowest of human behaviors. "Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems." http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/conservative-vs-liberal-beliefs/

These policies deliver success to the successful and the 99 percent fight over what is left.  These policies decrease trust by supporting individualism, competition and blaming the government, minorities or women.  These policies support the shallowest of human behaviors.  Increased choice means less freedom.  Increased competition and for-profit education options increases indebtedness of the people who can least afford to pay.  Increased freedom to pursue their own goals means no interference when people are fired, laid-off, demoted or intimidated.  Empowerment of the individual to solve problems means the problems with common resources that pollute air, water and land are not solved.  These policies focus on using the most resources now to make the most money as fast as possible without regard for the future.  These policies are unsustainable.  We are all going to suffer because of conservative policies.