click map See Out Hear Out Feel Out See In Hear In Feel In Notice Rest Notice Flow

"The primary focus of this path of choosing wisely is learning to stay present. Pausing very briefly, frequently throughout the day, is an almost effortless way to do this. For just a few seconds we can be right here. Meditation is another way to train in learning to stay or learning to come back, to return to the present over and over again."
~ Pema Chödrön, from Taking the Leap  
Discoveries Topics
poetry (586) quotes (189) self (189) writing (187) writers (173) paying attention (169) music (168) art (155) self/other (131) mindfulness (121) uncertainty (120) videos (117) film (116) neuroscience (113) creativity (107) seeing (106) happiness (105) impermanence (104) feeling (99) nature (94) memory (93) poets (93) meditation (90) thoughts (90) love (89) time (89) equanimity (87) death (80) connection (78) identity (78) TED (78) perception (77) science (77) senses (74) life (72) practice (70) religion (69) yearning (68) childhood (65) metta (64) attention (63) suffering (61) hearing (60) language (60) mundane (57) present (57) technology (56) fiction (54) observations (54) waking up (54) grief (53) learning (53) photography (52) research (51) wonder (50) growing up (49) loneliness (49) illusion (48) listening (48) excerpt (45) concentration (44) story (44) aging (43) directors (43) complete experience (42) storytelling (42) compassion (41) fear (41) imagination (41) silence (41) family (37) musicians (37) truth (37) artists (36) emptiness (36) enlightenment (35) mystery (35) reading (35) Shinzen Young (35) dreams (34) education (34) society (34) beauty (33) community (32) transformation (32) culture (31) documentary (31) emotion (31) Buddhism (30) confusion (30) freedom (30) humanity (29) live performance (29) war (29) animation (28) change (28) mind (28) actors (27) communication (27) hope (27) parenting (27) flow (26) God (26) images (25) maturity (25) expansion/contraction (24) narrative (24) On Being (24) seasons (24) waiting (24) workplace (24) evolution (23) inspiration (23) reality (23) relationships (23) Zen (23) acting (22) David Whyte (22) feelings (22) history (22) contemplative (21) ego (21) home (21) mythology (21) pain (21) persistence (21) sounds (21) vulnerability (21) winter (21) America (20) empathy (20)

Entries in humanity (29)

Sunday
Apr202014

Stories are Powerful

"Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds, but in doing that, they change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry. And that’s what it means to be a social creature—to connect with others, to care about others, even complete strangers. It's so interesting that dramatic stories cause us to do this."

~ Paul Zak  director of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies and author of The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity

See also: "Trust, morality — and oxytocin?" In this TED Talk, neuroeconomist Paul Zak shows why he believes oxytocin (he calls it "the moral molecule") is responsible for trust, empathy and other feelings that help build a stable society.

Sunday
Apr132014

Running in Circles

Mad World
by Gary Jules 

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me, what's my lesson?
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world, mad world, mad world, mad world


See also:

Saturday
Mar292014

The Best Possible Conditions

Exceprts from Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott:

Some of us have cavernous vibrations inside us when we communicate with God. Others are more rational and less messy in our spiritual sense of reality, in our petitions and gratitude and expressions of pain or anger or desolation or praise. Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we're invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.

Prayer can be motion and stillness and energy—all at the same time. It begins with stopping in our tracks, or with our backs against the wall, or when we are going under the waves, or when we are just so sick and tired of being psychically sick and tired that we surrender, or at least we finally stop running away and at long last walk or lurch or crawl toward something. Or maybe, miraculously, we just release our grip slightly.

Prayer is talking to something or anything with which we seek union, even if we are bitter or insane or broken. (In fact, these are probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.) Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up. The opposite may be true: We may not be able to get it together until after we show up in such miserable shape.

But in any case, we are making contact with something unseen, way bigger than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams, even if we are the most brilliant, open-minded scientists and physicists of our generation. It is something we might call divine intelligence or love energy (if there were no chance that anyone would ever find out about this). Prayer is ushumans merely being, as e. e. cummings put it—reaching out to something having to do with the eternal, with vitality, intelligence, kindness, even when we are at our most utterly doomed and skeptical.

My belief is that when you're telling the truth, you're close to God. If you say to God, "I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don't like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You," that might be the most honest thing you ever said. If you told me you had said to God, "It is all hopeless, and I don't have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand," it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real—really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.





See also: To Get Back There

Thursday
Mar272014

The Best Possible Conditions

Exceprts from Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

Some of us have cavernous vibrations inside us when we communicate with God. Others are more rational and less messy in our spiritual sense of reality, in our petitions and gratitude and expressions of pain or anger or desolation or praise. Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we're invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.

Prayer can be motion and stillness and energy—all at the same time. It begins with stopping in our tracks, or with our backs against the wall, or when we are going under the waves, or when we are just so sick and tired of being psychically sick and tired that we surrender, or at least we finally stop running away and at long last walk or lurch or crawl toward something. Or maybe, miraculously, we just release our grip slightly. 

Prayer is talking to something or anything with which we seek union, even if we are bitter or insane or broken. (In fact, these are probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.) Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up. The opposite may be true: We may not be able to get it together until after we show up in such miserable shape.

But in any case, we are making contact with something unseen, way bigger than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams, even if we are the most brilliant, open-minded scientists and physicists of our generation. It is something we might call divine intelligence or love energy (if there were no chance that anyone would ever find out about this). Prayer is us—humans merely being, as e. e. cummings put it—reaching out to something having to do with the eternal, with vitality, intelligence, kindness, even when we are at our most utterly doomed and skeptical.

My belief is that when you're telling the truth, you're close to God. If you say to God, "I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don't like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You," that might be the most honest thing you ever said. If you told me you had said to God, "It is all hopeless, and I don't have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand," it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real—really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.    

 


 

See also: To Get Back There

Tuesday
Jan282014

Embodying the Ineffable

Grant Health and Fitness Center, January 28, 2014

VOICE/DATA
by Daron Larson 

An imaginary woman
a voice that communicates
the impression of female
invites me to enter my digits

She remains inordinately polite
in word choice and tone
regardless of my ability
to fulfill her desire for my data

I'm sorry
I didn't quite get that

I sense the presence
of a sophisticated algorithm  
calculating the odds of my legitimacy 

I am at her mercy

Please try again 

But she can't know 
I'm assessing her for fraud 
even as I'm being monitored
for virtual trespasses against her

Please stay on the line
Your call is important to us

There is much talk on screens these days
about computer programs evolving
human-like consciousness

Some predict its inevitability
based on laws governing exponential increase

We forget how difficult it remains
for us to accurately convey
the direct experience of loneliness 
     of connection
         of longing
             of grief 
               given the constraints of language

This is not limited to storage bandwidth or process speed
but speaks of the capacity for embodying the ineffable

I'm sorry
Please stay
Please?
You're important to me 
I'm so sorry 

I'm not afraid of the machines
we create in our own image

I'm afraid of our collective overlooking 
of the intangible sparks signaling our humanity