Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Friday, 25 March 2011

I couldn't resist sharing this article I came across as it confirms once again the wonders of SMILING.

Smile, smile, smile.
Recently I made an interesting discovery while running – a simple act that made a dramatic difference and helped carry me through the most challenging segments of long distance runs: smiling. This inspired me to embark on a journey that took me through neuroscience, anthropology, sociality and psychology to uncover the untapped powers of the smile.

I started my exploratory journey in California, with an intriguing UC Berkeley 30-year longitudinal study that examined the smiles of students in an old yearbook, and measured their well-being and success throughout their lives. By measuring the smiles in the photographs the researchers were able to predict: how fulfilling and long lasting their marriages would be, how highly they would score on standardized tests of well-being and general happiness, and how inspiring they would be to others. The widest smilers consistently ranked highest in all of the above.

Even more surprising was a 2010 Wayne State University research project that examined the baseball cards photos of Major League players in 1952. The study found that the span of a player’s smile could actually predict the span of his life! Players who didn’t smile in their pictures lived an average of only 72.9 years, while players with beaming smiles lived an average of 79.9 years.

Continuing my journey, I learned that we’re part of a naturally smiling species, that we can use our smiling powers to positively impact almost any social situation, and that smiling is really good for us.

Surprisingly, we’re actually born smiling. 3-D ultrasound technology now shows that developing babies appear to smile even in the womb. After they’re born, babies continue to smile (initially mostly in their sleep) and even blind babies smile in response to the sound of the human voice.

A smile is also one of the most basic, biologically uniform expressions of all humans. Paul Ekman (the world’s leading expert on facial expressions) discovered that smiles are cross-cultural and have the same meaning in different societies. In studies he conducted in Papua New Guinea, Ekman found that members of the Fore tribe (who were completely disconnected from Western culture and were also known for their unusual cannibalism rituals) attributed smiles to descriptions of situations in the same way you and I would.

Smiling is not just a universal means of communicating, it’s also a frequent one. More than 30% of us smile more than 20 times a day and less than 14% of us smile less than 5 times a day. In fact, those with the greatest superpowers are actually children, who smile as many as 400 times per day!

Have you ever wondered why being around children who smile frequently makes you smile more often? Two studies from 2002 and 2011 at Uppsala University in Sweden confirmed that other people’s smiles actually suppress the control we usually have over our facial muscles, compelling us to smile. They also showed that it’s very difficult to frown when looking at someone who smiles.

Why? Because smiling is evolutionarily contagious and we have a subconscious innate drive to smile when we see one. This occurs even among strangers when we have no intention to connect or affiliate with the other person. Mimicking a smile and experiencing it physically helps us interpret how genuine a smile is, so that we can understand the real emotional state of the smiler.

In research performed at the University of Clermont-Ferrand in France, subjects were asked to interpret real vs. fake smiles, while holding a pencil in their mouths to repress the muscles that help us smile. Without the pencils in their mouths, subjects were excellent judges, but with the pencils (when they could not mimic the smiles they saw), their judgment was impaired.

These findings would not have surprised Charles Darwin, who in addition to theorizing on evolution in The Origin of the Species, also developed the Facial Feedback Response Theory, which suggests that the act of smiling actually makes us feel better (rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good).

This theory is supported by various recent studies, including research out of Echnische Universit├Ąt in Munich Germany. In a 2009 study, scientists there used fMRI (Functional MRI) imaging to measure brain activity in regions of emotional processing in the brain before and after injecting Botox to suppress smiling muscles. The findings showed that facial feedback (such as imitating a smile) actually modifies the neural processing of emotional content in the brain, and concluded that our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile!

Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match. In a study conducted in the UK (using an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart-rate monitor to create “mood-boosting values” for various stimuli), British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars; they also found that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds Sterling in cash. That’s 25 grand a smile… it’s not bad…at 400 daily smiles quite a few children out there feel like Mark Zuckerberg every day!

And unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.

If that’s not enough, smiling also makes us look good in the eyes of others. A recent Penn State University study confirmed that when we smile we not only appear more likeable and courteous, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent.

So now we know that:
When you smile, you look good and feel good.
When others see you smile, they smile too.
When others smile, they look good and feel good, too.
Perhaps this is why Mother Teresa said: “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.” What’s the catch? Only that the smile you give has to be big, and genuine!In my fascinating journey to uncover more about smiling, I discovered something far greater than just a way to get through a challenging run – I found a simple and surprisingly powerful way to significantly improve my own life and the lives of others.

So now, whenever you want to look great and competent, improve your marriage, or reduce your stress…or whenever you want to feel as good as when you’ve enjoyed a stack of high quality chocolate without incurring the caloric cost, or as if you randomly found 25 grand in the pocket of a jacket you hadn’t worn for ages…or when you want to tap into a superpower and help yourself and others live longer, healthier happier lives…SMILE
by Ron Gutman

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A Deep, Uncritical Love

You can't make radical changes in the pattern of your life until you begin to see yourself exactly as you are now. As soon as you do that, changes will flow naturally. You don't have to force anything, struggle, or obey rules dictated to you by some authority. It is automatic; you just change.

But arriving at that initial insight is quite a task. You have to see who you are and how you are without illusion, judgment or resistance of any kind. You have to see your place in society and your function as a social being. You have to see your duties and obligations to your fellow human beings, and above all, your responsibility to yourself as an individual living with other individuals. And finally, you have to see all of that clearly as a single unit, an irreducible whole of interrelationship. It sounds complex, but it can occur in a single instant. Mental cultivation through meditation is without rival in helping you achieve this sort of understanding and serene happiness. [...]

Meditation is intended to purify the mind. It cleanses the thought process of what can be called psychic irritants, things like greed, hatred and jealousy, which keep you snarled up in emotional bondage. Meditation brings the mind to a state of tranquility and awareness, a state of concentration and insight.

Meditation is called the Great Teacher. It is the cleansing crucible fire that works slowly but surely, through understanding. The greater your understanding, the more flexible and tolerant, the more compassionate you can be. You become like a perfect parent or an ideal teacher. You are ready to forgive and forget. You feel love toward others because you understand them, and you understand others because you have understood yourself. You have looked deeply inside and seen self-illusion and your own human failings, seen your own humanity and learned to forgive and to love. When you have learned compassion for yourself, compassion for others is automatic. An accomplished meditator has achieved a profound understanding of life, and he or she inevitably relates to the world with a deep and uncritical love.

--Bhante Gunaratna, from "Mindfulness in Plain English"

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

'Sleep, all things' rest: Sleep the gentlest of the gods, the spirit's peace, care flies from within, who soothes the body wearied with toil, and readies it for fresh labours'

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Love is always Loving you.
Without this Love you cannot breathe,
as without air you cannot live.
Love is Meditation, Meditation is Love.
Heart has no frontiers;
Meditate on This.
You are this Love, You are That.
Simply be Quiet and stay as such.
This poem never fails to lift my spirits.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

When you hold to something
other than your true nature
you will be disturbed.
By holding attachments to transient things
you declare to yourself
that you are not the Fullness in which all is.

Dance effortlessly with the emptyness all through your form.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

"Well, I was just inventing a new way of getting over a gate -- would you like to hear it?"

"Very much indeed," Alice said politely.

"I'll tell you how I came to think of it," said the Knight. "You see, I said to myself 'The only difficulty is with the feet: the head is high enough already.' Now first I put my head on top of the gate -- then the head's high enough -- then I stand on my head -- and the feet are high enough, you see -- then I'm over, you see?" -- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

And when was the last time you came across something as Practically Preposterous as that? :-) Just realized right there that that's a Paradox. Practically Preposterous. (And I think I've learned somewhere along the way to pay attention to paradoxes. They put the truth before the explanation and its up to us to get from one to the other. And the journey that starts in perplexity usually ends in some form of wisdom).

Practically Preposterous ... that's kind of like Mission Impossible. A Mission being something you set out to Do. Impossible being something that just Can't be Done.

Practically Preposterous ... and that's actually a double paradox. Because the word Preposterous comes straight from the Latin word "praeposterus" -- a curious conjunction of "prae" meaning "before" and "posterus", meaning "coming after." So put them together and you've got the before coming after. And that could mean doing things backwards -- or it could just mean starting from where you want to get to. It could just mean Living the Dream instead of Dreaming a Life. And maybe that's what he meant by Being the Change.

He was -- if you think about it -- a pretty preposterous man. Gandhiji. Because everyone knew you exchanged blows to fight a battle to win your peace until he came along and placed peace before the battle and the battle before the blows (and the whole point was that you never got that far). Doing things backwards. Practically Preposterous!


Maybe part of the problem is we don't prompt ourselves enough towards faith in the preposterous. Maybe it's time then to start cultivating the Red Queen's practice ...

'"I can't believe that!" said Alice. "Can't you?" the Queen said in a pitying tone. 'Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes. Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

-Pavithra Mehta, in Practically Preposterous

Your Time Starts Now :-)
Here is the brush knee and push for Pat.

Introductory Form Brush Knee and Push from Heartworker on Vimeo.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart ...
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."
Carl Jung

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Just stop everything for one minute right now and lets look inside together . . . .Take a deep dive under all thoughts and emotions until you find your true shinning nature, which always awaits you there. You are the purest deepest LOVE, there is nothing you need do to become this You are this LOVE.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Here is the lesson for Wednesday's class .

Step Forward, Deflect Downwards & Punch from Heartworker on Vimeo.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Rumi, version by Coleman Barks

I'm falling in love with Rumi yet again.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

" All paths lead to me"
Krishna, from the Bhagavad Gita
"The roads are different the goal is one. . . When people come there, all quarrels or differences or disputes that happened along the road are resolved. Those who shouted at each other along the road " You are wrong" or "You are an unbeliever" forget their differences when they come there because there, all hearts are in union.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Practice and IT will take you way beyond the teaching, beyond your thoughts, beyond form to formless.

Introductory Lessons 1 & 2 from Heartworker on Vimeo.