This morning I woke up earlier than usual, at 5am with a sense of urgency. The cat was meowing, the house was dark; scenarios from the day before began trickling in. What is this “urgency” I asked myself. Thoughts of what I could Do so early in the morning rose like red apples floating up on water. Meditate? Yoga? Zen Chanting? Facebook? Email people for work early? Return to bed? I lit a candle to welcome the intention for a new, beautiful day. Soon I found myself stretching up and down, between sun salutations, periodically looking up from my practice for changing colors on the horizon. Feeling happy, grateful, and safe in my home, I didn’t wake up this morning with the sense that “I had to”; there was no super early morning appointment I had to be at. I woke up this morning because it felt important to be up, and especially to be clear. This is the urgency I was feeling. Now listening to Zen Master Seung Sahn do the morning bell chant on my ipod and blogging, I feel something special, magical, and wonderful is going to happen today. Because it is already happening now!! (-_-) LOL I’m off to work now. Have a good day!!
So far we’ve covered three areas where the mind-body connection seems to affect aging the most.
1. Emotional health
2. Self-image and perception of one’s personal situation
The remaining two areas are
4. Social connections
5. Spiritual growth
As we saw before, stress isn’t harmful simply on an objective basis. A
person’s reaction to stress is equally and perhaps more important. The
great French writer Marcel Proust was so hyper-sensitive to noise that
he lived in a cork-lined apartment, yet this doesn’t mean that the
operator of a jackhammer is shortening his life by working around noisy
machinery. People react the worst to stresses that are unpredictable,
random, and out of their control. That’s why battlefield conditions are
capable of breaking down even the most courageous soldier. Our bodies
produce too much adrenaline and other so-called stress hormones when we
are subjected to random stressors that are out of our control. Lab
animals quickly decline and age under such conditions.
4. Social connections. Isolation and loneliness create the conditions
for rapid aging. Heart attack and death rates are known to increase
among the recently widowed and among men who have been suddenly
terminated from their jobs without warning and against their will. The
emotional value of social bonding is immense, yet in modern America we
have moved in the opposite direction for decades. With high divorce
rates, single-parent families, and a population constantly on the move,
social bonding keeps declining. The trend will be exacerbated as the
fastest-growing portion of society, those 80 and over, move into
retirement homes. Old people are no longer cared for at home, and there
is still a stigma about seniors being a burden to the young and a drag
The key here is to keep connected. Resist the impulse to go quietly
into semi-isolation because you assume that society expects that of
you. Losing friends and spouses is an inevitable part of aging, and
many people can’t find replacements or lack the motivation to. By
“replacement” I don’t mean a new spouse and family but emotional bonds
that mean something to you, that offer continued meaning to your
existence. No amount of reading and television substitutes for human
contact that nourishes on the level of love and caring. One of the most
effective steps is for older people to become involved with mentoring
programs, education, and youth programs in general.
5. Spiritual growth. In an ideal society spiritual growth would be a
lifelong process, culminating in a time of wisdom and contentment in
old age. It has been found that older people who can look back on their
lives with satisfaction are better equipped to manage old age than
people who feel that they have accomplished little and made many
mistakes. But if spiritual growth continues, then it
You may have heard of Jill Bolte Taylor
Susan Kaiser-Greenland is an Intent Voice and contributes regularly to Intent. Her husband, Seth Greenland, is the author of The Bones and has written extensively for film and television. His new novel, Shining City, was published in July 2008. The following exchange took place in email.
I’m crossing a whole bunch of things off my list of things to do today… I’m starting a new job in town; I started working out more, and I’m posting this first blog entry, which I’ve been thinking of doing for too long! For the past 3-4 years, I’ve been preparing to become a parent. (What does that mean or entail???) I have a list of goals I’d like to reach before becoming a mom. I’d love to share them with you, as well as my secrets, stories, experiences and lessons from this “Pilgrimage to Parenthood” that I’m on. VERY personal stuff? Yes. I’ll post more soon…
I had an interesting experience once. It was during my Zen years, one night at the end of a long retreat. I sat in meditation, rather tired and sleepy if I remember correctly, waiting for it to end so that I could untangle what was left of my legs and go to sleep, when all kinds of funky things started happening to me.
There was quite of few of them (those weird things), but the one I remember best was a vision of a space which seemed like a fabric: endless and perfectly smooth, totally unified, with no scratch, no thread pulled out, no holes. It seemed to have no beginning, no end, stretching forever and ever. And on the surface of this fabric there was a little black spot. I thought it was a flea. It was jumping up and down in great agitation, trying desperately to tear a piece of the fabric out. And I knew that the flea really wanted a piece of the fabric for itself, that would belong to the flea only, no one and nothing else, that would be separate, defined.
It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, I thought.
Later on, when I thought about that night, I realized that what I saw was my own mind and it’s relationship to reality. I realized that the black frantic flea was my mind that was trying desperately to separate itself, define itself, set boundaries and have a little closed up piece of reality just for itself, so it could call it “me” as opposite to “them”
Whenever I open to “who i am as God” or rather decide to just be me, the thing I always experience first and strongest is a sense of total stillness. It’s not a static, lazy, sleepy stillness. It is a stillness full of energy, an alert and awaken stillness. Like a warrior standing relaxed, and yet ready to strike or to parr a stroke in a fraction of a second.
Inside of this stillness there is no need for action. No need to go somewhere, do something, take care of anything, explain anything to anybody. This stillness is full of potential, full of opportunities, full of LIFE. In fact this stillness is holding space for life.
There are no boundaries in this stillness. It does not begin and does not end. It does not show up only in certain areas of life and disappears in others.
This stillness, If I was to visualize it, is like a great fabric, endless and perfectly smooth, totally unified – with no scratch, no thread pulled out, no holes. It seems to have no beginning, no end, stretching forever and ever.
This is how it feels to be myself, when I am present enough to see beyond the little walls created by the little jumping flea. This is how it feels to be God.
I spoke about my book,
There is a widespread (mis)understanding of science that the universe and life are accidents without any purpose and meaning. Is it true that science is fundamentally incapable of showing purpose to the universe? The consciousness-integrated Holistic Science provides answers.
In his popular cosmology book The First Three Minutes, Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg concluded: "The more the universe appears comprehensible, the more it also appears pointless." This comment echoes the sentiment of many contemporary scientists. Even if some point to the awe and wonder of the natural world, they nevertheless fail to see any purpose to the universe.
Richard Dawkins, in the following short documentary, concludes that there is no inherent purpose to the universe and the ultimate purpose is defined by us – the human beings:
- The Big Question: Why are we here? Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YY3Uu9jPDk&feature=related
Weinberg’s and Dawkins’ conclusion are not surprising in light of the embarrassing failure of the incomplete mainstream science to explain 96% of the universe. And historically speaking, the human ego has, over the centuries, declared victory by pronouncing itself to be the center of the universe.
In spite of their successes within their limited domains, both the biological and physical sciences are severely limited in their scope and hence fail to define a wholesome purpose of human existence or the universe. While the biological sciences limit their investigations to the bodily evolution of species (mainly primates), the mainstream science (physics & cosmology) has limited its investigations to the inanimate matter just because all its measuring tools and methods are restricted to the classical instruments and fixed (Newtonian) space & time of the material world. Both address the evolution (without recognizing the driving force behind the evolution) but none of them address the fundamental origin or how either the life or matter came into being in the first place.
Not knowing the origin of life and matter, it is impossible to know their purposes. The mistaken conclusion of the mainstream science that universe and life are accidents without any purposes is an artifact of the incomplete (devoid of consciousness) quantum mechanics that mistakenly presumes the physically measured uncertainty as the foundation of the universe.
…….TO BE CONTINUED…………..