Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spiritual Bypassing

Reality Sandwich has a snippet on Spiritual Bypassing, from the book Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters. It discusses the tendency of those that follow a spiritual path to ignore or repress those difficult emotions that we view as negative.

I see this essentially as the issue of denying our shadow self. It only makes witnessing and feeling these emotions (or even thoughts) that much more important.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Effects of Digital Music on the Brain

Men's Health has a short article on the brain's reaction to digital music, including a link to a video from Florida Atlantic University showing the differences in a brain scan between a piece of music played by a human and the same piece by a computer.

It's interesting that the brain reacts differently between the two; I would not have expected. I also enjoy the poke made at auto-tuning and vocoders, but then I think most good music died out in the 90s.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Brain, Thermodynamics, and Entropy

Bill Harris posts about ah-ha moments, how one moment can affect people differently, thermodynamics, and entropy. It's the first part of a series that I am sure that will go more into open systems (which this post touches upon) and how it relates to the brain, meditation, and Holosync.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wandering Minds Are Unhappy Minds

According to a study, people are thinking of being somewhere else or doing something else other than what they are doing half of the time and that this mind-wandering makes them unhappy.

Apparently an iPhone application would randomly ask people at different times what they were doing and if they were thinking about their activity or something else that was pleasant, neutral, or negative. The application is available at People were found to be happiest when having sex, exercising, or having a conversation. They were least happy while using a computer, resting, or working.

It's interesting to note that those activities where people were happiest were those that require or bring about presence (or being in the present). Sex and exercise get you out of your mind and into the body. A conversation requires you to listen to someone else. Thankfully, we have a practice that helps us cultivate presence in our life - meditation.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Contemplative Neuroscientists Belive Meditation Can Change Your Brain

Before reading the CNN Article - Can meditation change your brain? Contemplative neuroscientists believe it can, I had never heard of contemplative neuroscientists, which basically deals with the brain science of meditation. The article touches a bit on this as well as a bit of history in meditation research as well as what is going on today with studies, the funding for that research, as well as some criticisms about that research.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It was a Dark and Stormy Morning...

This post is about a personal experience from this morning that was so intense and interesting enough that I thought I would share it. I woke up around 3 a.m. this morning, feeling a bit warm. It was then that I noticed the sound of the storm, though from my waking senses it had sounded like a bad remake of the thunder sound. I was close to an hour later when the thunder and lightning intensified, with the thunder so loud that I thought my house would explode at any minute, as it was directly overhead. As for the lightning, it was bright enough to still see it's flashes even though my eyes were closed. Finally, in the 4 o'clock hour, I started to fall asleep. That's when the real weirdness started.

The following is disjointed writing, as I wrote it this morning before taking off to work to make sure I would remember it for this evening. I'm good enough to hold the dream memories in my head for quite a while, sometimes forgetting about the dream until the middle of the day. Anyway, here we go:

Lucid dream - I woke up, but I was not in my room, but in a hotel room instead. I look out the window and see that I am the first floor of a hotel, as I look out directly on to a street and sidewalk. The sky was a brilliant orange and purple. There were a number of billboards, including one with an ad for a radio station, but not one in the waking world. I could see cars driving, even on a distant road that was curving around a hill. It may have been sunset as opposed to sunrise.

Another lucid dream, continuation of the dream above, or maybe this part came first - woke up to a radio. Saw two clocks as opposed to just my one. What looked like a small clock turned into or turned out to be a boombox. Tried to find a local radio station on the radio (after trying to remember the station number) and think I found it, but am not sure, as I did not recognize the song on the radio or the artist (but then, that station has been playing music I do not recognize lately).

After this (I slipped out of the dream) I seemed to focus on going back to look at those billboards from the first dream. Not sure if this focus was from within the other dream or from the waking world. I was able to do it easily. Also saw more of a cityscape, but it did not match the city I live in, even though I saw a billboard with an ad that mentioned the city. I would've likened it to more like Seattle, based on some of the structures I saw, but it probably didn't match that city.

Another dream in a hotel, down in the lobby, an ex-coworker was working the bellhop desk. Then I was in the elevator, trying to remember my floor, then remembering it was the 12th floor, and selecting that.

In one of these dreams, where I realize it was a dream, I am still in the dream, yet hear the AC from the waking world.

Later, I had a more normal dream that looked like a sitcom. Don't remember much except an excited discussion, something about knife throwing and a competition, then a group of big biker looking like guys coming in and starting to sing acapella.

I seem to remember trying to see my hands in front of the clock shades from a window, but am not sure if it was in the dream or waking world. I tend to think the dream world, as there was a bit too much light for that time in the morning.

These dreams went by pretty quickly. Ten minutes or so would pass, I wake up, go back into sleep, and dream again. The combination in the number of dreams, as well as the lucidness of them (which I have had before, but rarely), and the fact that a number of these were about waking up (and I've had those dreams before, including dreaming about waking up from a dream), not knowing what was real and what was a dream, made me feel a bit crazy. My brain definitely felt a bit off when I woke up this morning.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Meditation and Other Related Practices for Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Hearts & Minds initiative is using meditation, yoga, and other "mindful" practices for mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. An article in Medical News Today discusses some information about the program.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Awareness, Consciousness, and Technology

Technology can make us unaware of what we are doing, yet at the same time can potentially lead us to be more conscious. Sounds True: Insights at the Edge looks at the interaction of things such as cell phones, social media, awareness, consciousness, and presence.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Meditation reduces the emotional impact of pain

An article from talks about a study that says that meditation reduces the emotional impact of pain. I didn't find this article fully clear, as while it talks about the emotional reaction to pain, there are parts where they seem to be talking more about the physical sensation of pain.

While the article mentions that meditation brings about a "present-focused" brain, how much of this dealing with pain better might be coming about from not resisting and not judging it?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Body-Mind Connection

I usually hear talk of a mind-body connection, where stress, negative emotions, etc. affect the health of the body. A recent experience, however, makes me think the reverse can be true as well.

My emotional and energetic state was low since late March. I had some apathy, sadness, and a general lack of enthusiasm. I felt like I had reached a dead end. While there may have been things to look forward to in life, they did not excite me.

For a while, maybe since sometime in April, I had some earwax buildup that was not coming out, no matter how I treated it. This was in my left ear - I never really noticed any problem in my right ear. This week my ear started to ache. It went away after I had taken some aspirin to get rid of a headache, but now the earwax buildup was so bad that my hearing was greatly reduced. I tried a few more applications of earwax removal liquid you can purchase at the store, but it made no difference. So I made an appointment with the doctor.

Thankfully, they were able to remove the earwax without much difficulty. My right ear also had a bad buildup, though nowhere as bad as the left ear. It was amazing how much better my hearing was after that.

Not too long after my ears had been cleared out, I could feel an increase in my energy and mood. It's been a couple of days since then and I am still feeling good. Maybe it was just the removal of the earwax. Maybe it was getting more sound into the ear. Either way, it looks like a healing of my body also healed my mind.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The ABCs of Letting Go of Attachment

This evening I had a moment that passed by so quickly that I cannot remember all of the details of it. My mind interpreted an emotion as something negative and unwanted. But a moment of awareness bubbled up and I reminded myself: "It is okay to feel this way. Experience it. It will pass." It was only a small step and I realize that I have further to go, but it was very encouraging.

Zen Habits posted an article entitled Letting Go of Attachment, from A to Zen, bring short tips from A to Z on experiencing without attachment, letting go of attachment to people, letting go of attachment to the past, letting go of attachment to outcomes, and letting go of attachment to feelings. I've printed it out so that I might remember to read it when I am forgetting to let go.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Frontal Lobe and Delusions of Grandeur

According to the University of Texas at Austin, the less you use the frontal lobe portion of the brain, the more you see yourself through rose-colored glasses. And those that use it more often have a more realistic view of themselves. So what is happening if you have a low view of yourself that is not realistic?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tips for Remembering Dreams

There are a few tips that I have found useful in remembering my dreams and thought I would share them here.

  • Keep a journal near your bed - this is a suggestion I've seen numerous times and it is helpful, as many times you will start to forget the dream once you wake up. If not a paper journal, having a computer, laptop, or netbook close can work as well, but if you have to wait for it to boot up, you could lose the dream.

  • Meditate - I have found that meditating tends to give me more vivid dreams, which makes them easier to remember. The results of meditation can also help you on focusing on remembering a dream and not get distracted by the mind's random chatter. I've also noticed, since meditating, that I can forget that I had a dream, and then suddenly remember it hours later out of nowhere.

  • Go over the dream before waking up - This one is a bit tricky and takes some practice. I have found this particularly helpful when I come out of the dream state and into consciousness in the middle of the night or before I am ready to get up, but want to remember the dream. Keeping my eyes closed, I go over as much of the dream as possible, generally in chronological order, to try to help cement the dream in my mind, so that I can recall it later when I've woken up and write it out in a journal.

I hope these tips help you remember your own dreams.