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An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety: Alan Watts on Happiness and How to Live with Presence. By Maria Popova Wisdom on overcoming the greatest human frustration from the pioneer of Eastern philosophy in the West. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard wrote in her timeless reflection on presence over productivity — a timely antidote to the central anxiety of our productivity-obsessed age.

Indeed, my own New Year’s resolution has been to stop measuring my days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence. But what, exactly, makes that possible? This concept of presence is rooted in Eastern notions of mindfulness — the ability to go through life with crystalline awareness and fully inhabit our experience — largely popularized in the West by British philosopher and writer Alan Watts (January 6, 1915–November 16, 1973), who also gave us this fantastic meditation on the life of purpose.

If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are “crying for the moon.” Thanks, Ken. David Lynch Explains How Meditation Enhances Our Creativity. Daniel Goleman: "Focus: The Hidden Driver Of Excellence. New research shows that attention is the key to high achievement in many professions from business and sports to the arts. In an era of unstoppable distractions, staying focused may be what distinguishes experts from amateurs. Text messages, emails, Twitter, phone calls, voicemails: More than ever before, we face a nonstop onslaught of distractions. New research in the fields of neuroscience and psychology, however, shows that attention and focus are key to high achievement in many professions from business and sports to the performing arts.

The latest studies reveal that maintaining focus is what distinguishes experts from amateurs and stars from average performers. We talk to Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, about his new book on what the latest science tells us and how we can sharpen our focus and thrive. The Mirror of Mindfulness : Two Guided Meditations. New music 'rewarding for the brain' 11 April 2013Last updated at 23:27 ET By Rebecca Morelle Science reporter, BBC World Service The researchers monitored brain activity while playing volunteers new music Listening to new music is rewarding for the brain, a study suggests. Using MRI scans, a Canadian team of scientists found that areas in the reward centre of the brain became active when people heard a song for the first time.

The more the listener enjoyed what they were hearing, the stronger the connections were in the region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. The study is published in the journal Science. Dr Valorie Salimpoor, from the Rotman Research Institute, in Toronto, told the BBC's Science in Action programme: "We know that the nucleus accumbens is involved with reward. "But what's cool is that you're anticipating and getting excited over something entirely abstract - and that's the next sound that is coming up.

" New tunes All of this was carried out while the participants were lying in an MRI machine. Eric Kandel: Creativity, Your Brain, and the Aha! Moment. Morgan Harris - Brain Tricks - This Is How Your Brain Works. To Combat Suicides, Army Focuses On The Homefront. Hide captionAlicia McCoy holds a photo of her husband, Sgt. Brandon McCoy. Despite taking part in basewide suicide prevention efforts at Fort Campbell in 2009, Sgt. McCoy took his own life in 2012. Blake Farmer for NPR Alicia McCoy holds a photo of her husband, Sgt. When Sgt. "I'm watching him, and his trigger finger never stopped moving, constantly," says Alicia. Four years later, after he returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, she says, she'd wake up with his hands wrapped around her throat. "I sat there and watched this person ask my husband, 'Do you feel like hurting yourself today?

' Her husband was given sleeping pills and antidepressants. "I wear his dog tags every day. But Alicia McCoy says more could have been done. The Army has admitted to being overwhelmed by this multiyear mental health crisis. The Army has been the hardest-hit branch. Maj. "It's almost like a street credibility. Fort Carson, Colo., was the first, and now more than a half-dozen posts are following suit. RSA Animate - The Divided Brain. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (9780061339202): Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. On out-of-body experiences | Andrew Brown. I was standing at the urinal in the brightly lit downstairs cloakroom at Lambeth Palace when I realised that to talk about the spiritual dimension of life is perfectly ridiculous – because the spiritual, disembodied dimension is where we live all the time.

We can only get out of it with a deliberate effort. The physical dimension comes to us at second hand. Consciousness is the form in which experience comes to us. This is hardly original – perhaps it's one of those insights which recurs in different forms throughout your life. But it goes some way to explaining why out-of-body experiences seem so natural to us. Almost all our daily life is an out-of-body experience. But what about other people's out-of-body lives? An interesting sidelight here is that consciousness seems to be something we associate with purpose and desire: an angry ghost is believable in a way that a computer's ghost is not.

Ben Thomas: How Your Body Controls Your Mind. You might think that your body's metabolism reflects your state of mind, but a new study finds that the reverse is often true: Your biological clock actually opens and closes specific communication channels in your brain. I can already hear some of you saying, "Well, obviously -- when I turned 12, I suddenly realized there were beautiful girls (or boys) everywhere, and I'd never noticed them before!

" What we're talking about here is much more precise than hormonal shifts, though: Throughout every day and night, an area of your brain known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) "listens in" on your body's chemical state and responds by actively tinkering with the sensitivity of other neural pathways. This overturns a long-held belief about the brain: "The idea has always been that metabolism is serving brain function," says biologist Martha Gillette, who headed the study's research team. This raises a curious idea about thoughts themselves. Yet somehow that never stops us. Why we love to run. "Daddy, where are you going? " my son asked me recently as I was lacing up my running shoes on a cold, wet Sunday morning. "Running," I said. "Why? " he asked. He's only three. The truth is, just before you run is the worst possible moment to try to explain to someone, or even to yourself, why you run.

Often people say to me they can run if they're chasing a ball, but to just run, nothing else, just one foot in front of the other, well, they find it too boring. Of course, some people run to lose weight, or to get fit, and these are great reasons. But for many of those two million runners, the real reason we head out to pound the roads until our legs hurt is more intangible than weight loss or fitness. Many runners become obsessed with times. A runner I know last year trained with intense dedication with the goal of running a marathon in less than three hours. "I'm actually glad," he said. "Why do we do this to ourselves! " Running brings us joy. This will to run is innate. The Heart-Brain Connection: The Neuroscience of Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning. Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are.

The 'Busy' Trap. Anxiety: We worry. A gallery of contributors count the ways. If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.”

It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do. Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Brecht Vandenbroucke Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it. Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness. I am not busy. Here I am largely unmolested by obligations. BBC News - Scans 'show mindfulness meditation brain boost' Overcoming Information Overload.

As a writer for the web, I’m well acquainted with information overload. One bit of information leads to five facts, which leads to three articles, which leads to an interesting interview you must listen to right now, which leads to 10 pages in your browser. I’ve always loved the scavenger hunt research requires. Every clue leads to another. Every clue uncovered is a prize in itself: learning something new and interesting and getting one step closer to the carrot (such as the answer to your original question). But there’s always one more thing to look up, learn and digest. Whether your livelihood lives online — like mine — or not, you probably use the Web quite a bit. Information is merely a click — or, more accurately, a Google search — away. This is a good thing, but it also can overburden our brains.

Alvin Toffler actually coined the term in 1970 in his book Future Shock. According to neuroscientists, the more accurate term is “cognitive overload,” she said. 1. 2. 3. If You Think You're Good At Multitasking, You Probably Aren't : Shots - Health News. Hide captionTake it easy, fella. iStockphoto.com Take it easy, fella. Everybody complains that people shouldn't talk on cellphones while driving. And yet it seems pretty much everybody does it. That may be because so many of us think we're multitasking ninjas, while the rest of the people nattering away while driving are idiots. But scientists say that the better people think they are at multitasking, the worse they really are at juggling. Researchers at the University of Utah wanted to find out which personalities were more likely to try to do two tasks at once. That bit isn't exactly breaking news. For quite a few years, researchers have been making the case that people who drive while using phones drive as badly as people who are legally drunk.

How come? They asked student volunteers whether they used cellphones while driving, and whether they were good at multitasking. Even worse, these demon multitaskers thought they were terrific at it, though the cold, hard data proved they weren't. Uld beditation be the answer to exam nerves? Beditating at Bethnal Green academy with teacher Dominic Morris. Photograph: Sean Smith for the Guardian Many year 11 students have recently been sitting GCSE mock exams. It is a stressful time. One teenager, Jess, describes her state of mind. "I was so nervous before the English language exam," she says.

"I did, like, twenty 7/11s. " A "7/11" is not the latest in teenage kicks, but a breathing exercise characteristic of a movement that is undergoing a surge in popularity in schools, known as "mindfulness". Another technique much in evidence under mindfulness is called "beditation" – again, not something to panic a teenager's parents, but simply the practice of meditation while lying down. About 3,000 students in Britain have been taught mindfulness techniques, and numbers are growing. The methods have developed over 2,500 years, from roots in eastern philosophy. The recent surge in popularity is also buoyed by backing from the scientific community. David Lynch and Brandon Boyd Discuss Transcendental Meditation.

Consciousness science and ethics: Abortion, animal rights, and vegetative-state debates. Courtesy Daniel Bor. It is easy to view consciousness as a kind of magic. In religion it is represented by the mysterious soul, and in science the concept of consciousness at first appears quite alien. But many fields, such as the study of what distinguishes life from nonlife, had their earlier magical states eroded by careful scientific study. Consciousness is in the midst of a similar revolution. The investigation of our own awareness is a blossoming scientific field, where experiments are illuminating exciting details about this most intimate of scientific subjects.

In my book The Ravenous Brain, I describe the latest consciousness science and how we are closing in on establishing a consciousness meter—a way to measure levels of awareness in any being that may be able to experience the world. Consciousness is in many ways the most important question remaining for science. On a personal level, consciousness is where the meaning to life resides.

The Role of Intuition and Imagination in Scientific Discovery and Creativity: A 1957 Guide. By Maria Popova “Those who do not know the torment of the unknown cannot have the joy of discovery.” Last week, we took in some timeless vintage wisdom on the role of serendipity and chance-opportunism in creativity and scientific discovery, culled from the 1957 gem The Art of Scientific Investigation (public library; public domain) by Cambridge University animal pathology professor W.

I. B. Beveridge — a brilliant treatise on creativity in science and, by extension, in all endeavors of the mind. Beveridge constructs what’s essentially a florilegium of quotes by famous scientists and case studies of watershed discoveries to synthesize insights on what makes successful science — and successful creative thinking in general, exploring subjects like serendipity, intuition, and imagination to reveal the habits of mind that produce good ideas. Today, as promised, we revisit Beveridge’s hefty tome to examine his ideas on the role of intuition and the imagination. Beveridge sums it up beautifully: Hallucinations with Oliver Sacks | World Science Festival Webcast. Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks answers your questions about the secret world of hallucinations. These queries came to us via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. Q. Are the visual or auditory hallucinations in blind or deaf people analogous to sensations in a phantom limb?

A. Not really. Phantom limbs occur because there is a stable, lifelong image of the limbs in the brain—the body-image. If a limb is amputated, part of this body-image is now exposed, so to speak (normally, it is seamlessly incorporated), and intrudes into consciousness as a phantom. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. Morgan Harris - The Scientific Power of Thought. Wanna Play? Computer Gamers Help Push Frontier Of Brain Research. Hide captionDaniel Berger, a researcher at MIT, traced these neurons using the EyeWire game. EyeWire Daniel Berger, a researcher at MIT, traced these neurons using the EyeWire game. People can get pretty addicted to computer games. By some estimates, residents of planet Earth spend 3 billion hours per week playing them.

Right now I'm at the novice level of a game called EyeWire, trying to color in a nerve cell in a cartoon drawing of a slice of tissue. "There's no way the professional scientists alone can analyze all of that," says Sebastian Seung, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Seung thinks understanding all those connections is key to understanding how the brain works.

"We need an army of people to go out and explore that jungle," he says. At least, Seung hopes that's what people will think. "Anyone sitting in their living room can just fire up a Web browser and look at images of neurons, and help us figure out how they're connected," he says. EyeWire. Anosmia. First Theater, Then Facebook. Dan Gilbert on the Myth of Objectivity.

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‘Free Will,’ by Sam Harris. God is in The Neurons. David Anderson: Your brain is more than a bag of chemicals. A Single Protein May Help Explain Memory Loss In Old Age : Shots - Health News. Neuroscience and Free Will BBC video [mirror] What Our Brains Can Teach Us. Somewhere Over The Brainbow: The Journey To Map the Human Brain. How Much Does It Hurt? Let's Scan Your Brain : Shots - Health News. Sam Harris Part 1, Speech, October 29, 2012 - Bon Mot Book Club. Science Prodigy Zhao Bowen Wants to Crack a Genetic Mystery: What Makes Some People So Smart? - Wired Science.

Blame. The Brain on Trial. Brain Workshop - a Dual N-Back game.