Tag Archive: P


E from brainpickings

  • http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/03/anais-nin-on-emotion-and-writing/         Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith.

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  •  http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/08/anais-nin-unfamiliar/        Educators do all in their power to prepare you to enjoy reading after college. It is right that you should read according to your temperament, occupations, hobbies, and vocations. But it is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar, unwilling to explore the unfamiliar. In science, we respect the research worker. In literature, we should not always read the books blessed by the majority. This trend is reflected in such absurd announcements as “the death of the novel,” “the last of the romantics,” “the last of the Bohemians,” when we know that these are continuous trends which evolve and merely change form. The suppression of inner patterns in favor of patterns created by society is dangerous to us. Artistic revolt, innovation, experiment should not be met with hostility. They may disturb an established order or an artificial conventionality, but they may rescue us from death in life, from robot life, from boredom, from loss of the self, from enslavement.

  •    http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/24/anais-nin-global-village/  –    on the Dangers of the Internet (1946)    Even more interesting than the striking similarity between what Nin admonishes against and the present dynamics of the internet is the fact that she essentially describes Marshall McLuhan’s seminal concept of the global village… a decade and a half before he coined it.

    The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters. meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.

  • http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/12/14/how-to-avoid-work/No matter what your age or condition or experience, the sooner you find out what you really want to do and do it better, for that’s the only way anyone can avoid work.
  • http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/08/01/anais-nin-journals-paris-vs-new-york/                          Relationships seem impersonal and everyone conceals his secret life, whereas in Paris it was the exciting substance of our talks, intimate revelations and sharing of experience. People’s last concern is with intimacy. No attention is given to friendship and its development. Nothing is done to soften the harshness of life itself. There is much talk about the ‘world,’ about millions, groups, but no warmth between human beings. They persecute subjectivity, which is a sense of inner life; an individual’s concern with growth and self-development is frowned upon. The ivory tower of the artist may be the only stronghold left for human values, cultural treasures, man’s cult of beauty.

zenhabits – 7 Habits of Calmness

                                                        http://zenhabits.net/calm/

The 7 Habits of Calmness

By Leo Babauta

I have come to believe that high stress, constant anxiety over tasks and work and life, social anxiety … is all a part of the modern way of life.

Most people just don’t feel a sense of peace, of calm, of serenity, throughout their day.

I have to admit that I’m the same way some of the time, but I have learned a few things that have helped me create a feeling of calmness much more of the time than ever before.

It’s a series of habits that have developed over the last few years. I’m not perfect at them, but I do practice them, and they are always helpful.

These are habits, not a one-time change in my surroundings or work pattern. Changing your environment is great, but you can’t control the things that happen to you much of the time, and you certainly can’t control how other people act. The only thing you can control is your response — and this response matters. You can respond to the same event with anxiety or anger, or you can respond with peace and calmness.

Let’s figure out how.

The Habits of Calmness

These are the habits to develop that will help you develop calmness (based on my experience):

  1. A calm morning ritual. Many people rush through their mornings, starting the day out in a stressful rush. I wake up a little earlier (5 a.m. these days, though that changes), and start with a little meditation, then a few yoga poses. I then start writing, before I let the noise in. Exercise is another component of my morning routine. You don’t need to do the same things, but find the quiet of the morning and make the most of it.
  2. Learn to watch your response. When something stressful happens, what is your response? Some people jump into action — though if the stressful situation is another person, sometimes action can be harmful. Others get angry, or overwhelmed. Still others start to feel sorry for themselves, and wish things were different. Why can’t other people behave better? Watch this response — it’s an important habit.
  3. Don’t take things personally. Many times the response (that you noticed in Habit 2) is to take things personally. If someone does something we don’t like, often we tend to interpret this as a personal affront. Our kids don’t clean their rooms? They are defying us! Our spouse doesn’t show affection today? He/she must not care as much as he/she should! Someone acts rudely at work? How could they treat us this way?! Some people even think the universe is personally against them. But the truth is, it’s not personal — it’s the other person’s issue that they’re dealing with. They are doing the best they can. You can learn not to interpret events as a personal affront, and instead see it as some non-personal external event (like a leaf falling, a bird flying by) that you can either respond to without a stressful mindset, or not need to respond to at all.
  4. Be grateful. Sure, lots of people talk about gratitude … but how often do we apply it to the events of our day? Things are crashing down at work, or our boss is angry, or our co-workers are rude, or our kids are misbehaving, or someone doesn’t love us as we’d like … do these cause anger/anxiety/unhappiness, or can we be grateful? Drop the complaints, and find a way to be grateful, no matter what. And then smile. This unbending habit can change your life.
  5. Create stress coping habits. Many times, when we are faced with stress, we have unhealthy responses — anger, feeling overwhelmed and withdrawing, eating junk food, drinking alcohol or taking drugs, shopping or otherwise buying stuff, going to time-wasting sites, procrastinating, and so on. Instead, we need healthy ways to cope with stress, which will come inevitably. When you notice stress, watch how you cope with it, and then replace any unhealthy coping habits with healthier ones. Healthy stress coping habits include: drinking tea, exercise, yoga, meditation, massaging your own neck & shoulders, taking a walk, drinking some water, talking with someone you care about.
  6. Single-task. I’ve written numerous times in the past about single-tasking vs. multitasking, but I think people multitask now more than ever. People text while on the train, while walking, while driving. They tweet and post to Facebook and Instagram, they email and read blogs and news, they watch videos while getting things done, they watch TV while eating, they plan their day while doing chores. This is a great way to cause a level of anxiety that runs through everything you do, because you’re always worried you should be doing more, doing something else. What if, instead, you just did one thing, and learned to trust that you shouldn’t be doing anything else? It takes practice: just eat. Just wash your bowl. Just walk. Just talk to someone. Just read one article or book, without switching. Just write. Just do your email, one at a time, until your inbox is empty. You’ll learn that there is peace in just doing one thing, and letting go of everything else.
  7. Reduce noise. Our lives are filled with all kinds of noise — visual clutter, notifications, social media, news, all the things we need to read. And truthfully, none of it is necessary. Reduce all these things and more, and create some space, some quiet, in your life.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/a-goldfish-minute/article4373985.ece            – We find causes to fight for and then, just when we have stirred up enough talk to get something going, we open another tab.

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………………………………, if you ask me, it all boils down to this: we get bored too quickly and too often. We’ll try everything once, but the problem is, we’ll also usually try it only once. Or twice. Sometimes, we might even stick to it for a whole month or year but, sooner or later, we move on to something shinier or, like it is nowadays, darker. Everything catches our attention. A good-looking face, an emotionally manipulative Kony video, a really happy South Korean man. We find causes to fight for and then, just when we have stirred up enough talk to get something going, we open another tab..

Let’s face it: today, when we have Google and Wikipedia to tell us everything, Poirot’s favourite little grey cells are severely under-worked.

Like a lot of people out there, I feel strongly about a lot of things. A parched beggar knocking on my car window leads me into a lengthy, involved and modestly sensible debate about the state of things today, with respect to our homeless, unemployed and poverty-stricken population. A sickening gang rape and murder in my adopted city sets me off on a short, but very charged, warpath. A homophobic statement on the news makes me want to grab and shake the next person with even the slightest reservations about LGBT rights. I am not apathetic, not even a little bit. I could pride myself on that. I think I even did, once upon a time.

Not now though. Not after I’ve realised that I’m surrounded by almost identical people, cardboard cut-outs with big hearts and a short attention span. I’ve been where almost everyone else has been. I’ve held an issue close to my heart, fed it my anger and sadness and ideas and solutions, and then left it out there in the cold to fend for itself.

The cathartic, almost numbing effect words can have, the way they fool us into thinking that we’ve done our bit. And so, after a well crafted debate, whether on or off paper, most of us stop. The weight is off our shoulders. Some other, more pressing, more demanding issue is waiting to be looked after. And so, we level up.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/republic-of-the-offended/article4373986.ece      –  We are becoming a nation of individuals and groups who get offended at anything and everything. If it is not the out-of-context remarks of well-known academic Ashis Nandy at the Jaipur Literary Festival then it is the presence of Pakistani writers at festivals and sportspeople on playing fields………….For instance, when we read news day in and day out about little girls, some as young as three years old, being raped, do we get offended? Recently, in Mumbai, there was the story of a five-year-old girl in Dharavi who was lured by a man who offered her chocolates and then raped her. Her parents went looking for her and found her crying outside a public toilet. She was bleeding and could barely explain what had been done to her. Such stories should outrage us. What is happening to our society that even little girls on their way to school have to be protected from these predators?

Look at our cities. All of them are turning into giant garbage heaps. The authorities claim the mess is beyond their control. And citizens, the very same who take offence at so much else, seem not to mind as they add their might to enlarging these mountains of garbage. It never occurs to them that perhaps they too need to reduce the amount of waste they generate. So we live in the midst of this filth and do not get offended. We point fingers. Or we simply look the other way.

Here is my list of things about which all of us should be “offended”: that in this “free” country, where our 63-year-old Constitution promises women equality in all spheres, they continue to be second class citizens; that they continue to be denied the right to even be born; that they continue to be denied the right to education if they are poor; that they continue to be denied the right to have control over their own resources; that they continue to be tortured and killed for not bringing enough dowry; that they continue to face verbal and physical abuse inside their homes if they so much as dare raise their voices; that they continue to be assaulted and raped irrespective of their class or creed and that they continue to be abandoned and isolated if they become victims of sexual assault because they are deemed “spoiled goods”. Yes, take offence by all means but on issues that a civilised society should not tolerate.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/why-have-you-forsaken-me/article4373988.ece   –

Rejection happens to everyone, but the person isn’t being rejected as a whole.Some experience a sense of relief, some others bewilderment, but most are hurt, sad, angry and maybe even hostile. And, mercifully only occasionally, some may find the pain and mortification too much to handle and end up coming to the drastic conclusion that their lives have no further value and may harm themselves. Or they may angrily plot and even execute a vengeful act against the rejecter, like throwing acid on an unresponsive object of desire or affection.

Rejection happens to everybody. Certain severe forms of rejection such as child neglect or abandonment, social ostracism and oppression on account of caste, social class, religion and the like, are more intensely painful, are more closely related to hierarchical power equations, result in feelings of unimaginable helplessness, have deeper psychodynamics and merit being considered separately. I will therefore confine this exploration to the more quotidian forms of rejection which, for the sake of convenience, can be classified as taking place in the inter-personal and social spaces.

‘need to belong’, the second tier in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Although in the animal kingdom, social exclusion often results in extreme consequences, even early death of the excluded creature, it’s not always as catastrophic for the human race, only because there are a large number of social groups we can belong to, unless the group that rejects us defines our primary social identity, as do groupings like caste and religion to many of us. Inter-personal rejections, as in being rejected by a parent, a child, a lover, a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a co-worker and so on, take place in the context of a specific one-on-one relationship in which we have invested our emotions, expectations, time and energy. As a result of this investment, we start looking at ourselves through the eyes of the other person. When, for whatever reason, the other person disinvests from the relationship, particularly when our investment remains intact, we experience a sharp stab of rejection for our self image takes a beating. For, after being rejected, when we look at ourselves through the eyes of the rejecter, we don’t any more like what we see.

In other words, it’s not a rejection of you, but an assessment, right or wrong, of the perceived differences between you and me. If we keep this in mind, and never allow anyone else that much of control over us that we feel completely devastated when they distance themselves, we might never need “rejection therapy”, an online game that gets you used to being rejected by rejecting you over and over again in hundreds of simulated situations. And just as we value pleasure more when we have experienced pain, or profit more when we have suffered losses, so too do we appreciate the joy of acceptance more when we have mourned the grief of rejection.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/lone-warrior/article4473319.ece             -……………  Unfortunately, society’s penchant for topsy-turvy is still going strong.

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We still live in a country of dichotomies. Not least among these is the irony that often, those who spend their lives in training, practice and discipline of various genres of dance are assessed by those who know nothing about the art. As a result, financial support for art is dependent on the whims of such non-aesthetes!

No wonder a celebrated dancer like Astad Deboo speaks of having to search for platforms despite over four decades in the profession. If he finds himself answering the tactless questions of “young marketing geeks” of the corporate world who quiz him about numbers and mileage and try to get the best deal for the money they might invest in his productions, he has also recently declined an invitation to perform at the prestigious Khajuraho Dance Festival because of the “ridiculous kind of money they offer.” He adds, “The sad part is, dancers accept it.”

That, he explains, has been his journey, and he is “not feeling sorry for it.” He takes pride in knowing that “nobody can point a finger and say, ‘He’s there because so-and-so helped him’.”

books to read

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/03/21/must-read-books-music-emotion-brain/What Freud has to do with auditory cheesecake, European opera and world peace.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/01/25/must-read-books-happiness/From Plato to Buddha, or what imperfection has to do with the neuroscience of the good life.

i think russell shud hav been added to the list – https://excerptsandm.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/the-conquest-of-happiness-bertrand-russell/

life

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  t

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DSM-5

The Hindu : Opinion / Lead : In search of a revolutionary road. –   The American Psychiatric Association (APA) will release the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) in May 2013.

The Hindu : Arts / Magazine : Are we facing an evolutionary crisis?.

It seems that the human race is beginning to lose its intellectual and emotional abilities.

Albert Einstein, in Out of My Later Years, warned us not to trust our intellect because it had no conscience though it had muscles.

But the suspicion that the attributes of mind — intellect, intelligence, wit, et al — are proving to be increasingly less dependable for the fundamental needs of life (peace, happiness and a certain stability of faith in the very purpose of life) has been felt for sometime now.

Concrete cases were cited that could lead to the hypothesis that deep within man a hitherto ignored constituent of consciousness was demanding recognition and its suppression could lead to several problems, mental, emotional and physical. What had been for ages an experience only with Yogis and mystics, an aspect of consciousness that was its very basis and which sustained the whole structure of our being despite its other constituents like mind and emotions constantly fighting among themselves, was probably at last trying to assert itself, slowly but surely, in the life of a greater number of people.

According to Sri Aurobindo, “At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis in which is concealed a choice of its destiny; for a stage has been reached in which the human mind has achieved in certain directions an enormous development while in others it stands arrested and bewildered and can no longer find its way.” Sri Aurobindo envisions a future when the mind could be transformed into a Supramental gnosis.

Dr. Crabtree’s thesis leaves us with a choice between two attitudes: we resign to a future when technology would mould our fate, our mind growing cipher, or we cultivate a collective aspiration to release what remains involved in our consciousness. To a professor who was logically convinced of Sri Aurobindo’s vision but wondered if the ugly man of today could really grow into something beautiful, a rustic school teacher told, “If a wonder like the lotus could bloom out of mud with the Sun’s Grace, why cant out of our muddy mind bloom the Supramental with the Divine’s Grace? We may replace Divine’s Grace with Evolutionary thrust, if we please.

http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/01/08/12-things-you-should-never-stop-doing/ –  Start doing these things now and never stop…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/memory-plays-truant/article4324629.ece Memory plays truant – Despite the rising number of people with dementia, awareness of the problem and support for caregivers is abysmal,………….. Where will we get nurses/helpers we can trust and who are also trained in dementia care?

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/crime-and-punishment/article4324619.ece – Guilt and shame, inevitable human emotions that usually serve a constructive purpose, can sometimes assume pathological proportions.    (had  read Crime and Punishment  Fyodor Dostoyevsky – mentioned in this article – eons ago – shud read it again…………..)

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/great-statesmen-great-lovers-of-books/article4303270.ece – The weather and temperature in Kerala imparted a special smell to those magazines. The heat, the golden light coming through the windows, the smell of mangoes and the silence broken only by the tick-tock of a clock on the ground floor: the summer of 62 is a summer never to be forgotten. My passion for reading grew stronger with every passing day. Very soon I agreed with Logan Pearsall Smith, “They say life’s the thing, but I prefer reading.”

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/wellness-read/article4303279.ece

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/dancing-with-the-divine/article4349452.ece

Dancing with the divine

The dance I dance becomes more beautiful each day,

When I can open my heart and swing both ways.

To feel for the ones I like and even those I don’t.

What a blessing to be shown,

That I can dance better being connected yet detached.

Involved in the music yet matching step

With the one I’m dancing with.

Being aware of the other’s grip

And of my hold, I was told,

Not to cling tight, but relax.

Yet fear of falling and failing can impede grace.

I also know one can be consumed in the race.

Of getting to some other wonderful place

That promises peace

And I start to relax right now into a space,

Where, my emotions do not make me ill at ease.

And in that softening

I find the opening to slip away

From grips that are hard

And hearts that are cold

The more I dance the less I fear

I glide away from the familiar

And yet it all seems the same

The dance where I twirl

Not afraid to unfurl

Into all my glory

I see myself entwined

Dancing with the divine

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/treasures-of-spain/article4349453.ece –    Massive stone foundations and medieval ruins, dating back two thousand years, lie along the town’s plaza and now serve as a meeting point. The interiors of homes, cafes, restaurants, bars and even banks, are still adorned by Roman arches; their own personal souvenirs from history. The oldest shop that stands in the town dates back to the 1700s, and has been continuing its legacy of selling candles for almost 300 years. The cobbled streets culminate in the colossal Catedral de Tarragona, which is perhaps the only evidence of Moorish influence on the town; Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance eras are equally reflected in the cathedral’s architecture.

The lane with the painted dividers.PhotoS: Shivya Nath

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/blueprint-for-a-life/article4349446.ece  –  Mukund Padmanabhan looks back fondly at his days in the small and unusual Blue Mountain School, Ooty.  ……………was pleased to see “the school beginning to smarten up a bit and the children looking a bit less… wild.” I was extremely pleased to learn that it was Pearce who thought up asthachal , that simple but beautiful practice where children collect on a hillock in the evenings to watch the sun go down in quiet reflection.

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/internet/the-great-tech-party/article4344353.ece

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-fridayreview/an-interface-between-art-and-heritage/article4342146.ece

Landmark event:(Clockwise from left) An installation by Subodh Gupta; Ibrahim Quraishi's installation titled ‘Islamic Violins'; Artist K. Raghunadhan with his unfinished work; an installation made by students of art design and communication of CEPT University, Gujarat.Photos: H. Vibhu, K.K. Mustafah,Thulasi Kakkat

Landmark event:(Clockwise from left) An installation by Subodh Gupta; Ibrahim Quraishi's installation titled ‘Islamic Violins'; Artist K. Raghunadhan with his unfinished work; an installation made by students of art design and communication of CEPT University, Gujarat.Photos: H. Vibhu, K.K. Mustafah,Thulasi Kakkat

Yuko Hasegawa, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and currently preparing to host the Sharjah Biennale, expresses the same sentiment. “The city of Kochi with its layers of architectural historicity has definitely been tapped by the project hosts. The biennale has used historical heritage to a very good sequence,” she says, adding that on her first visit itself the biennale gets the viewers right into the different aspects of the city. In most other biennales she feels that the dialogue with the city goes missing.

To commence and continue this dialogue, is what Bose says, has been his main aim. “We have intentionally stressed on the cultural aspect,” he says. Driven by the wish to extricate art from the white cubes and open it up was one factor that comes across in the KMB. The Let’s Talk programme, its Educational Outreach programme, the cultural programmes that include theatre, music, performance arts and so on clearly take art to the people in a way never accessed before.

Chris Dercon, director of Tate Modern, senses that openness when he says: “What IS different is that this biennial functions as a perfect vehicle for ‘performing the difference’: a public friendly ‘diy (Do It Yourself) platform for visual culture’ initiated and organised by artists, with and for artists. As a platform it unites and re-unites Indian contemporary artists who are showing an intellectual and visual ‘togetherness’ as never before. As a visitor, everybody can step in and make up one’s mind.”

Art critic and culture theorist Ranjit Hoskote believes that the curators of the biennale have given credit to an audience ready to accept the changing face of art, showcased here. “Exhibitions, especially biennales, are opportunities to expand one’s mental and experiential horizons as viewers – they should not be reduced to fit the size of one’s assumptions. A great many of the works are geared to affect the viewer at a primal, sensory, sensuous level even before their conceptual strategies came into play – through smell, shadow, sound. Today, viewers are more willing to experiment with new artistic experiences than before.”

The Hindu : FEATURES / LITERARY REVIEW : A moveable commune –  Shakespeare and Company is a bookstore in Paris where one feels like being in one’s own apartment, just exactly how founder George Whitman wanted it to be, says Charukesi Ramadurai.

I know it is fashionable to call it “the end of an era” when someone famous or important dies but in George Whitman’s case, it was definitely so. With him went an age where people loved to read and in his case, lived to read (he once said that he was in the book business since it was the business of life). Sylvia Whitman has been shouldering his legacy since her return from the UK over 10 years ago. “It has been very difficult adjusting to life at the bookshop without this eccentric, witty, wild character at the centre of it… I am still trying to find my way in,” she admits candidly.

.Photos: Charukesi Ramadurai

“Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise” reads the entry to the room, but from all accounts, Whitman’s generosity was never in anticipation of finding the odd angel who would sprinkle blessings on his shop. He was also known to describe it as “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.” Delannet says, “George was serious about this; he wanted his bookstore to feel like one’s own apartment — anybody can come and read all day long in the first floor library and never get kicked out.” Jeremy Mercer, a Canadian journalist who wrote about his stay there in his book Time Was Soft There , says, “The young people I met at Shakespeare and Company were infected by George’s mad, romantic view of the world and they left the bookstore with the passion to do incredible things. And the older people I met there were reinvigorated by it all, ready to go forth and face the world again.”

……………..in modern life, with its furious pace, there isn’t enough time to sit and talk with idle poets and eccentric cyclists. But my six months at the bookstore gave me that time and as a result I have some of the richest friendships possible.”

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-literaryreview/excessively-wilde/article4155259.ece -. The result — both in classical opera and in Wilde — is a kind of lightness in movement that entirely belies the sheer energy and vitality that goes into its creation. The final work is, as Stoppard puts it, nearly perfect. In another letter to Alexander, Wilde wrote, immodestly, but accurately: “The first act is ingenious, the second beautiful, the third abominably clever.” He might well have been describing his life.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/performers-with-a-new-profile/article4155298.ece –Thanks to social media, the mystique of the Carnatic musician has been punctured by finger pointing — with “likes” and “dislikes” and, on rare occasions, the proverbial middle finger, says Kalpana Mohan.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-educationplus/relax-help-is-on-hand/article4158435.ece

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/pursuing-boredom/article4155297.eceart/destination-kochi/article4170978.ece – A uniquely British eccentricity celebrating the prosaic and mundane.

Pepper House: Scene of activity. Photo:Thulasi Kakkat Valsan Koorma Kolleri: Rebirth of material. Photo:Thulasi Kakkat

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/destination-kochi/article4179813.ece

q,fav,pd,links

“If I had my life to live over,” said Nadine Stair at age 85, “I would perhaps have more actual problems, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.”

Your task, as I see it, will be to train yourself so you can expertly distinguish

actual problems from imaginary ones. Part of your work, of course, will be to

get in the habit of immediately ejecting any of the imaginary kind the

moment you notice them creeping up on you.

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/history-and-culture/when-going-elsewhere-is-to-leave-beauty-behind/article4097683.ece

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jun/17/philosophy-life-jules-evans-review?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

crises…..

The same philosophy can apply to not-so-famous women facing infidelity or other crises that destroy their dreams and upend their lives. These crises can be opportunities to find your true calling, says Susan Piver, author of “The Wisdom of a Broken Heart.” If you don’t remember what makes you happy, imagine figuring it out and starting the seeds of a new life. (Again, this advice doesn’t apply if you are facing threats to your safety.)

Wait to make big decisions. If you’re not facing financial ruin or the threat of violence, wait at least a few months for the pain and anxiety to settle down. In the fog of pain, people make rash decisions. One of  author Laura Munson’s friends was so unhappy in her life that she decided she had to get out of her marriage. She didn’t realize she didn’t really want out until she was gone. You need to figure out what you want.

Focus on the present moment. When the crazy thoughts are going through you head about who did what to who, and why didn’t you say that perfect comeback line, Piver suggests taking out a piece of paper and writing down five things that you notice are actually happening around you.

They’re usually pretty ordinary — cars driving by, the dog barking, a child playing with dolls. Go a little deeper and notice three things a little more carefully. Write those observations down. That list, part of a group of exercises in her book, isn’t ever as crazy as what’s in your head. It can have a calming effect.

Create something now. Take charge of your own joy. Munson didn’t simply plan a summer of fun for her family. She thought deliberately about what she could do to make herself and her two children happy during their financially strapped summer in their Montana town.

It was often as simple as taking three deep breaths or walking down the block. Sometimes she walked to a beautiful place or visited friends who helped keep the focus on herself, instead of trashing the husband. She turned on the sprinklers and watched her kids get soaked. She bought many tomatoes and canned tomato sauce. “Do something that is positive and nurturing to you,” she says.

Give up on the dream. Many people create a storyline or myth for their lives that says they will be powerful when they are pretty or handsome, skinny, married, a parent, or have the “right” job or salary.

“If you’re only powerful when it goes a certain way, then what happens when you lose your job?” asks Munson. Do you not matter anymore? Figure out the myths you tell yourself about your definition of success before you can move on.

Look for your truth. Take some quiet time in prayer or meditation to get through other people’s voices, and what the culture says about what your life should be like, to your essential truth.

“The advice for anyone going through a trauma is to allow the sorrow and vision for what you thought life should be to dissolve and see what’s left,” says Piver. “You have all the knowledge you need to solve your problems inside of you.”

Choose your own feelings. It’s incredibly hard to do, but Munson says it’s essential. After all, we only truly believe other people’s mean comments about ourselves when we think they’re true — that we’re unlovable or fat or nagging or mean-spirited.

“What if someone told you when you were 12 that nobody can make you feel mad, make you cry just by what they say?” she asks. “What if we had really understood that no one could make you feel emotionally anything?” Repeat after me: Those barbs are not necessarily true.

Do not play the victim. You are only a victim in an emotional crisis if you choose to be. “When we get into reaction and escalating the drama, it only hurts us,” says Munson. “There is a time and place for anger, but I want to powerfully choose those moments — I don’t want to feel like they’re choosing me.”

http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2007/12/18/the-5-best-techniques-to-control-and-calm-your-mind/

You are not your thoughts.

What is the biggest obstacle most people face in achieving personal mastery?

Your mind; your thoughts. When you master your mind, everything else begins to fall into place.

But the moment we look at our mind, we begin to see how wild it is. Modern psychology estimates that we have 40 to 60 thousand thoughts a day, and most of them are repetitious, useless – and often, unhappy.

In my quest to control our monkey mind, I’ve taken from the best systems – from modern Cognitive Psychology, to the ancient spiritual systems – in particular, the Buddhist Sutra on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts.

Here are the results – five levels, arranged according to how unruly your thoughts are. First a warning – it is easy to get anxious and jump ahead to the more advanced levels, thinking that your mind is wilder than it really is. Please don’t, and give each level an earnest effort over a few days.

The first level – Reflect on the positive counterpart

It stands to reason that the thoughts you most want to remove would be negative: fears, anxieties, anger, lust, revenge, pride.

And therefore the easiest way to counteract them is to reflect on the opposite. What is the positive counterpart to your affliction?

Just a few examples then: If you hate someone, then reflect on love. Think kind and loving thoughts about them . Visualise yourself in a calm environment, a mental “happy place”.

On the deeper level, feel the counteracting emotion completely. Simply drench yourself with it. Imagine it as an energy, a light, a waterfall – anything that works best for you – and imagine yourself being surrounded from the inside and outside with it. This might be hard initially, but that’s normal. Keep trying, and you’ll get it.

Often, it is good to get your body into it as well. Get some exercise, put on some music and relax, or take a break from whatever you have to do.

The second level – Reflect directly on the misery

The next level goes a touch deeper. Look past the thoughts themselves, and see what they are costing you.

…………………………….. What would happen if you didn’t stop, if you indulged in your thoughts?

Maybe you would get fired for doing a bad job. Maybe you would actually go and punch your boss in the face. Maybe your wife would divorce you if you slept with your neighbour.

Simply realise how much misery it is already causing you, and how much it can cause you if you kept on doing it. Feel it. Feel the hatred or the lust or the jealousy or the fear totally.

The Buddha used the metaphor of a well-dressed young person, who finds him or herself with the carcass of a snake around their neck. The disgust is sometimes enough to make them throw the dead animal off them.

The third level – Letting them slide

This level is about simply letting your thoughts slide by without attaching to them. Thoughts are just thoughts. You are not your thoughts. You don’t have to believe them; you don’t have to fight them; you don’t have to cling to them. They are just thoughts, and they only have power if you give them power.

Visualise a large blank screen, and see your thoughts as little ants scurrying across. Prodding or playing with those ants make them lose their way and they can’t find their way off the screen. So: don’t judge, don’t analyse, don’t hate. You don’t have to believe them, if they are saying you are stupid, or weak. You don’t have to cling to them, if they are saying you are brilliant and handsome. These are all forms of playing with your ants.

Think of a spoilt brat who is jumping up and down, trying to make you angry while you are trying to watch the television. The more you get affected by it, the more he enjoys it, and the more he will do it. Just tune it out and enjoy yourself. Or smile at the child, let him know he can’t affect you, and after a while he’ll give up and find something else to do.

The fourth level – The source of the thoughts

The first thing we have to realise is that thoughts always have a source – our emotions. The two are inextricably linked; they feed each other in one giant cycle.

What is causing your thoughts? If your mind is filled with images and thoughts of lust, then there is the emotion of lust behind it. If you think a lot of cruelty and hatred, then the emotion of anger is right there underneath it.

Emotions are your body’s reaction to your mind. At this level, one of the most powerful, we shall simply cut to the root of the issue.

How do we deal with our emotions? The most simple way – and yet no one ever says it! Simply feel it. Bring it to the surface, find the emotion, and feel it.

Feel it, simply as an emotion, a sensation. Emotions and feelings are not wrong or right, good or bad. They simply are. They are just emotions. Even the most murderous rage is not wrong – it is only bad if you act on it. Just embrace it, let it be there. Don’t push it away or judge it. Relax into it, loosen any tightened muscles, and remember to keep breathing normally. Ride the wave, and let it pass. Don’t think about it – thinking about it will make you want to act on it.

Often times, these emotions run deep, and can take a lot of work to uncover and heal with your conscious embrace. But the journey is worth it – it is one of the best ways, perhaps the only way, of dealing with your emotions.

Heal the emotions, and the thoughts they cause will disappear.

The fifth level – Beating down the bad thoughts

This level is the hardest, and draws upon the techniques of modern psychology. It is hard and painful, and should be reserved for the most extreme cases. Think of this level as a big strong man beating down a weaker man, with pure brute force.

At this level, simply force yourself to stop thinking about it.

1. The Howitzer Mantra. Any time you catch yourself with a thought you don’t want, interrupt it with a prepared mantra. Make it a forceful phrase, one that works and feels right for you. “Stop!” “Enough!” “No more!”

2. The Rubber Band. Wear a rubber band around your wrist. And every time you catch yourself with a negative thought, snap the rubber band. It hurts a little bit, and you are telling your system that such thoughts hurt. Like a puppy that has been punished, it will eventually stop.

3. Filling in the gap. An important thing to note is that once you stop your thoughts, a space is created. If you don’t fill that gap in, the distracting thoughts will return to fill it. So find something nice to think about. A pleasant memory or perhaps an affirmation to fill that hole. A final option would be to simply focus on the gap, enjoying the pause in your thoughts, the silence. Doing so will slowly expand it – making the next gap, when it comes, even longer.