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Battling A Sense Of Lost Time – the importance of being in nature

Battling A Sense Of Lost Time

by MARCELO GLEISER

December 11, 2013 2:43 PM

The first word that comes to mind when I think about modern life is “overload.” The second is “dispersion.”

We are the targets of an ongoing war for our attention: the Web, new technologies, food, clothing, music. We feel the constant need to be connected; TV and radio are just not enough. We need to link to social media outlets, know what’s going on or else be out; each instant of time is taken by a screen, small or large; information pours down in torrents.

If we forget our cell phone at home, we feel like a body part is missing; we are the phones, the phones are us. We are addicted to it, as we can see when a plane lands after a 45-minute flight and hundreds of passengers turn on their phones as if their lives depended on information that just came out. We are addicted to linkage and I am guilty as charged.

We no longer allow time for contemplation.

People feel time is passing faster because we have less and less control over it. To do nothing feels like a huge waste of time. Any open window of time must be filled with tweets, Facebook updates, email, YouTube videos, podcasts. If no one is talking about us, let’s make sure that they do.

One of the victims of this “race to linkage” is our connection to nature. We can call it the new missing link.

We hardly look up to the sky or the at the life around us. To most people nature is a concept, something that exists out there, that we see in YouTube videos or magazines, on BBC and Animal Planet specials. To recover a sense of control over time we need to return to nature; we need to create space to observe other forms of life; we need to reconnect with the night sky, far from the city lights. At least this is what I do to slow down.

To me, entering a trail for a hike or run is like entering a temple. And as with any temple, I go in search of a connection, trying to restore a sense of identity as I surround myself with green and blue.


You can keep up with more of what Marcelo is thinking on Facebook and Twitter: 

Why Google, Facebook and Twitter Execs Are Meeting With a Monk

In an age when we’re constantly being distracted, being able to focus is the golden goose.

We may thank technology platforms like Twitter and Facebook for shrinking our attention spans down to nanoseconds, but the executives of those selfsame companies know that to grow their businesses, they need to put a priority on focus.

 

At the Wisdom 2.0 conference being hosted in San Francisco next month, a group of tech heavyweights will come together with yoga practitioners, mindfulness specialists and even a Benedictine monk to learn how to work and live within the demands of technology more effectively.

Related: 10 Trends for 2014: We Seek Imperfect, Human Moments. With Our Smartphones at the Ready.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and Huffington Post CEO Arianna Huffington are on the roster of speakers along with top executives from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram and LinkedIn. Also on the 2014 speaker rundown is Eckhart Tolle, the spiritual teacher and author of New York Times best seller The Power of Now.

The annual conference, which attracted 350 attendees when it was first held five years ago, is expected to attract 2,000 attendees this year. The conference runs February 14 through 17 and tickets range from $500 to $1,500 depending on how early you reserve a spot.

Related: Let Go, Keep it Simple, Move Quickly: Secrets to Being a Productive Entrepreneur (Infographic)

The growing interest in the conference mirrors a growing trend in our relationship with technology: As we become increasingly dependent on mobile devices and social networks, we struggle to not feel controlled by them. These questions and struggles pervade both our personal and professional lives, but business leaders and executives at the Wisdom 2.0 conference will specifically address how to perform more efficiently in the workplace.

For example, last year, Gopi Kallayil, the chief evangelist for Google+, talked about how to integrate the fundamentals of a yoga-practice to be a more productive professional. Kallayil, who was born in India and grew up practicing yoga, has five fundamental rituals that he implements in every single day: focus on the essential, do one thing at a time, take time to listen to your own body’s needs, make at least one minute for mindfulness each day and set appointments for the activities that will help you stay mindful.

 

Where To Meditate: 11 Surprising Places To Find Some Zen

Where To Meditate: 11 Surprising Places To Find Some Zen

In search of simple, quick and cheap stress relief? Meditation is what you’re after.

Often associated with Eastern-world practices, meditation has been making headlines and infiltrating the West. It’s no mystery as to why: Just 20 minutes has been shown to decrease stress, help with depression and even lower blood pressure.

Best of all, there’s no catch: Meditation is free, and you can take it anywhere (all you need is your head). We were curious where you take your meditation; while we might typically think it’s a practice for stillness and silence, it turns out there’s no place too loud or exclusive to find peace of mind.

We asked on Facebook the strangest place you’ve found yourself practicing, and from your answers it’s clear: Meditation can happen in motion, and is often helpful in times we anticipate feeling tense. Check out some creative and brilliant places to meditate below, then tell us in the comments where else you like to clear your head.
“In a tree.” — Marty Daymunde
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“In the middle of a rock concert.” — Jane Sayre
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“On the NYC subway!” — Lauren Loma Calixte
on subway

“On a plane.” — Sandrine Laurent
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“In the car.” — Heather Hunter
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“Public restroom!” — Jane Sayre
bathroom stall

“While running on a treadmill.” — Travis H Heinrich
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“While in an MRI. It helped keep me calm in the tube.” — Katherine Nobles
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“In the middle of the airport.” — Sky Can Horn
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“In the dentist’s chair.” — Sean Mac An Ultaigh
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“In a bar.” — Denise Helberg Snider
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For more on meditation, click here.

Where To Meditate: 11 Surprising Places To Find Some Zen.

Buddhist practises with monks have become key feature of employee training in most cos – Economic Times

(The vision behind wisdom…)

The un informed visitor at Googleplex may find himself perplexed when he sees the presentation room filled with techies perched in half-lotus position, meditating. His confusion is justified since it is hard to imagine that the corporation that prides itself in thinking ahead of tomorrow is now looking back at centuries-old traditions to bring out the best in its employees.

Google is embracing Buddhist meditative practices in a big way. Zen masters and monks routinely tour the campus, the company has instituted self-awareness courses like Search Inside Yourself, Neural Self-Hacking and Managing Your Energy, designed to teach people to manage their emotions through meditation, and Googlers are signing up for these classes in droves.

No, Google isn’t renouncing its worldly searches. Quiet contemplation is the new buzzword in Silicon Valley, with the region’s heavyweights like Twitter and Facebook jumping aboard the neo-spiritual bandwagon.

Contemplative practices and meditation sessions has become key features of employee training in most firms. As in all things in the Valley, the centuries-old practices has been innovated to suit the Valley’s goal-oriented culture. Forget Nirvana, the not-so-lofty aim of these endeavours is all about training the brain to unleash productivity.

Research suggests that meditation can rewire the brain’s response to stress and helps improve memory and executive functions. Exercises in ‘ mindfulness’ – paying close, nonjudgmental attention – help understand a coworkers’ motivations and cultivate emotional intelligence. In the hyper-kinetic Silicon Valley, these self-regulation practices strengthen emotional resilience, and is a better coping mechanism than fast-food therapy.

Chade-Meng Tan, a Google employee and creator of the Search Inside Yourself programme, defines it as the Zen of Google. The course is a series of meditation exercises wrapped in the package of emotional intelligence. “The other-centricity that meditation breeds can boost your trajectory,” says Meng ,who believes that in a place like Google, where there is no dearth of high intelligence quotient, the differentiating factor that sets you apart from the rest is having high emotional intelligence.

Frustrated by his divorce, work stress and twitter addiction, Soren Gordhamer wrote a book – Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected. The book was no bestseller, but its message of living mindfully, wisely and compassionately in the digital age set off ripples of introspection in the tech community that culminated in the launch of the annual conference Wisdom 2.0.

The event serves as a connector of the technology and contemplative communities. The vision behind wisdom being, tapping our inner wisdom even as we integrate more and more technology into our lives, and keep them from taking over.

Wisdom 2013 drew huge crowds and the attendees included headliners like Jeff Weiner, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and, Arianna Huffington, who describes the event as her version of Disneyland.

Meditation therapy is growing deep roots in the Valley which is no stranger to New Age fad cycles. The tech biz is taking periodic pauses in the rat race, trying to connect the dots between spirituality and technology, to find the bigger picture.

Global India Newswire

via Buddhist practises with monks have become key feature of employee training in most cos – Economic Times.

The stress of not meditating, when you know you should – Lifestyle – The Boston Globe

I want to meditate. I do. I want to be calm and happy and live in the now. I want to try to deactivate genes associated with stress and inflammation and turn on those associated with mitochondrial function and telomere maintenance. I want to be mindful, darn it. And yet, like George Costanza, who wanted to be a Civil War buff without the bother of actually learning about the Civil War, I’ve yet to put tush to cushion.

“You want to meditate like you want to wear a bikini,” a friend observed. “You want to change your life, but only if no effort is involved.”

Who has 20 minutes a day to spare? There are detailed analyses of “Mad Men” to devour, photos of friends’ meals to “like” on Facebook, computer passwords to remember. Please don’t throw that Gandhi quote in my face — “I have so much to do today, I will need to medidate twice as long.” I’m busy.

And yet, the studies showing the benefits of mindfulness and meditation are so relentless that I need to retreat to a monastery just to get away from the news. Nothing’s more stressful than hearing about the advantages of something you’re not doing.

Researchers published almost 600 studies on the subject last year, according to the editor of a new high-end magazine sold at Whole Foods called — what else? — Mindful. That’s up from 10 in 1993, when meditation was more associated with incense than with the US Marine Corps, which recently ran a pilot Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training program.

These days, top money managers are meditating. So is US Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). He wrote a book on the subject, “A Mindful Meditation,” and says that to his knowledge, no colleagues have accused him of going New Age. Eager to lower stress-related business costs — $300 billion annually in the United States, according to the World Health Organization — corporate America is getting in on the action. At Google, employees can take a “Search Inside Yourself” course.

From a merchandising perspective, meditation has a lot to learn from yoga, but it’s making progress. In Lawrence, DharmaCrafts sells $349 Sherpa meditation cloaks and $59 zabutons (meditation cushions) for kids. Earlier this year, Electrolux tried to use meditation to promote its new ultra-quiet vacuum. “In an age of anxiety every opportunity to reduce stress matters,” the press release read. “Electrolux is now transforming the chore of vacuum cleaning into a resource for personal well-being, with a meditation program developed especially for vacuuming; an opportunity to clean your home — and your mind.”

The well-off are building meditation rooms and taking luxury meditation retreats. At the Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, Calif., a single suite perched at cliff’s edge with a stunning view of the Pacific, and Internet access, goes for $1,750 per weekend.

Katie Boyd, a pageant-fitness guru, at her gym the Miss Fit Club, where she has started teaching meditation.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Katie Boyd, a pageant-fitness guru, at her gym the Miss Fit Club, where she has started teaching meditation.

In Hudson, N.H., former Miss Taunton Katie Boyd, a pageant-fitness guru, recently started teaching meditation at her Miss Fit Club. “It’s not always about are my boobs perky enough? How does my [rear end] look in this swimsuit?” she said, noting that meditating gets rid of negative energy.

“When these girls walk into the judging room, they’re nervous nellies, and the judges can feel it.” Now that they’ve started meditating, she added, she gets pageant-day calls from clients who are nervous because they are not nervous.

A pastry shop selling “mindful cupcakes” has yet to open, but it can’t be far off. No less a trend omnivore than Arianna Huffington is all over it (in tweets and blog posts, on TV, and at her company’s New York headquarters, where employees can participate in breathing and meditation sessions). In January, a meditation workshop debuted at the buzzy Davos World Economic Forum meeting. Perhaps most significant, the movement has crossed over to the pet world. In the book “How to Meditate With Your Dog,” the authors James Jacobson and Kristine Chandler Madera explain that “meditating with our dogs is one of the most caring things we can do for them.”

NKate Conti does PR for clients in the health and fitness fields and enjoys running, yoga, and beaches like this one on Nantucket. But she struggled with staying focused on meditation.

JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF

Kate Conti does PR for clients in the health and fitness fields and enjoys running, yoga, and beaches like this one on Nantucket. But she struggled with staying focused on meditation.

How did we get here? Barry Boyce, the editor in chief of the new Mindful magazine, said a key moment came in a 1993, when Bill Moyers’s “Healing and the Mind” series featured the groundbreaking stress-reduction work Jon Kabat-Zinn was doing at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Before that, the word “mindful wasn’t really in play,” Boyce said. “I’m 57, and when I was in college, [meditation] was considered religious and a little weird. Everyone seemed to think you had to have a beatific smile on your face and a chant going through your head. Now, 40 years later, there has been a health revolution that emphasizes self-care. Mindfulness can be a religious thing but it doesn’t have to be.”

Despite all the evidence of its benefits, most people don’t meditate, but the numbers of those who do are growing, according to the National Institutes of Health. In 2007, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 9.4 percent of American adults had meditated within the past 12 months, up from 7.6 percent in 2002.

To her dismay, Monika Lutz is not one of them. “I always seem to find an excuse,” said Lutz, a junior at the Harvard Extension School and the vice president of its student association. “If I’ve got 15 minutes free, I think I could go for a quick run or finish some task or call this professor or work on my resume. I think that if I could just get it all done then I’ll reduce my stress and I won’t need meditation.

“But when I do get it done, something new always pops up.”

Lutz went on a 10-day meditation retreat after high school, and she’s been unable to incorporate mindful meditation in her everyday life. “To say that I can only relax my mind when I’m four states away in complete silence surrounded by strangers — it’s not sustainable,” she said. “I need to be able to do it on the Red Line.”

Author Elizabeth Gilbert (“Eat, Pray, Love” ) says she is not good at meditating.

Tom White for The New York Times

Author Elizabeth Gilbert (“Eat, Pray, Love” ) says she is not good at meditating.

Boston-based publicist Kate Conti is also in what might be called a pre-meditative state. With clients in the health and fitness field, she and her firm, KC Public Relations, have promoted meditation’s benefits, yet Conti is unable to reap them for herself. “I even have gone through a yoga teacher training program where we had a special session on meditation, and I struggled with being able to stay focused for a short 10 minutes,” she said. “I signed up for a Deepak Chopra online mediation e-mail, but I didn’t stick with it.”

You know who else doesn’t meditate? Elizabeth Gilbert , the author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” a travelogue of spiritual seeking. Even so, people regularly ask her for advice on how they can do it. “What they forget about ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is how poorly I did it,” she said. “Even when I was in the ashram, it was hard for me. If you live in New Jersey” — where she does — “it’s even harder.”

Gilbert, also the author of the forthcoming novel “The Signature of All Things,” says she has a “pretty religious yoga practice” and finds peace in gardening. “But I completely intend to begin a disciplined meditation program,” she said. “Probably tomorrow.”

She paused, and then gave me some advice. “You should meditate,” she said.

I plan to.

———————————-

Getting started is the hardest part

Everyone knows that. OK, sometimes with dieting — and exercise and dense nonfiction and house cleaning and just about everything else — the middle also presents a challenge. And the end can be tough, too. But if you’ve been wanting to try meditation but are unsure how to begin, here are tips from Barry Boyce, the editor in chief of the new Mindful magazine:

1. Go online to get a clearer picture of just what mindfulness meditation is, anyway. Mind the Moment at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care offers a series of short, fun, and accessible videos. A YouTube video called “What Is Mindfulness?” with Jon Kabat-Zinn is also a great place to start.

2. Learn how to do mindfulness practice online: A great resource is www.mindful.org — in particular the section called “Mindfulness: The Basics.”

3. Read a short book such as “Mindfulness for Beginners,” by Kabat-Zinn, or “A Mindful Nation” by congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), an avid meditator.

4. Find a local group and set up an appointment to meet someone who can teach you face-to-face how to meditate. Mindful Boston offers drop-in classes.

Beth Teitell can be reached at bteitell@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethteitell.

The stress of not meditating, when you know you should – Lifestyle – The Boston Globe.

 

Origami Invitational – All Youth Origami Artists Welcome to join in the June Exhibit at Mind Unwind Gallery

In celebration of two Featured Youth Origami Artists, the June Exhibition at Mind Unwind Gallery will include an Origami Invitational

All youth origami artists will be welcome to bring in and share their favorite pieces during the West Seattle Artwalk June 13th, 5pm-7pm.

Orange Origami shape

Blindfolded Origami maker

Included in the June exhibition called “The Sacred Shadow Self” will be a seascape of shadows made by large-scale Origami structures including an 11 foot Origami Albatross folded by 3rd grader Cole Durnwirth and an Origami Sea Anemone assembled by 3rd grader Caroline Byrne.

Please RSVP on Facebook or the Contact Form below, so we know how much space to make for sharing!

Robert Piper: Why Every CEO in America Should Be Encouraging Meditation in the Work Place

Ingrained into the fabric of America is the idea that we have to be the best. There’s nothing wrong with that idea; this is a country that gave birth to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and even put a man on the moon.

However, stress is beating us up really badly. It’s just destroying us. The World Health Organization estimates that stress is costing America businesses up to $300 billion a year. Benjamin Franklin once said, “A small leak can sink a great ship.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to suggest that meditation is needed in the workplace. We have the stats; we have decades of research from some of the brightest minds in America behind it. If you’re a CEO of a company you need to, “Make it happen.”

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that there are over 3,000 studies on the positive benefits of meditation. Meditation is legitimately America’s next push-up; it builds emotional resilience, happiness, and a positive outlook on life. Why isn’t every CEO in America encouraging this in the work place?

I think some of the road blocks to the wide-spread acceptance of meditation in America has to do with some of the myths attached to it. There are a lot of myths — like you need a meditation space, a meditation pillow, certain beliefs, etc. You might have read about Buddhist monks that have done over 10,000 hours of meditation; well I’ve also done well over 10,000 hours of meditation.

I do several hours of meditation a day; I consider it a positive marathon exercise for the mind. I do it because I think it’s a great tool for happiness and a resilient mind. And I can tell you that you don’t need to purchase a fancy meditation cushion to reap the benefits of meditation.

I’m a former frat boy who used a pillow as a meditation cushion for years; I purchased it for a few dollars at a convenient store during my college days. I still go out on the weekends, watch sports on TV, and listen to Bloomberg radio. My meditation space is my family room and consists of a 47 inch flat screen TV (I wanted to get a 57 inch put it wouldn’t fit), two couches and a picture of John F. Kennedy on the wall. I have never burned incense in my meditation space.

From my own experience, I can tell you that meditation has actually made me want to engage in positive conversations with as many people as possible. I actually try to seek out conversations with different types of people because it makes me happier. It also makes you totally resilient because you’re able to separate from your emotions.

Physical exercise has been a major staple of American culture, and it has been shown to reduce stress. I do cardio several times a week, but I can sometimes understand we don’t have the time. Meditation is something that can easily fit into our busy schedules.

Most importantly, meditation can be done right in your office chair. Here’s a simple meditation:

1. Sit in your office chair and bring your attention inward to your breathing.
2. Trying to focus your attention on your heartbeat.
3. Take a deep inhale.
4. Exhale out.
5. Repeat the steps above and try to keep this calm mind with you for the rest of the day.
6. You can come back to this practice at any time throughout the day.

America is one of the greatest countries in the world because we take what works the best and disregard the rest. I think we should take a few minutes a day to pause, reflect and do some meditation in our office chair.

For more by Robert Piper, click here.

For more on meditation, click here.

Follow Robert Piper on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rgpiper

Robert Piper: Why Every CEO in America Should Be Encouraging Meditation in the Work Place.