Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 31

Leo Babauta – USA

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Overcome the Fears That Stop You From Focusing

This special bonus chapter was written by Gail Brenner who is a psychologist with 17 years of therapy experience who practices in Santa Barbara, California and blogs at A Flourishing Life.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In

that space is our power to choose our response. In our

response lies our growth and our freedom.”

– Victor Frankl 

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 31

Being alone and socializing with others each contributes differently to personal growth

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Being alone ...

How do people experience time alone and time with others? Findings from a new Bar-Ilan University study reveal the intricacies of people's experiences in these basic social conditions.

The study used a unique approach of analyzing self-generated text from more than 1,700 participants who performed a sentence-completion task regarding their experience alone and their social experience when in the company of others. This approach shed light on people's perceptions when free to express themselves without being bound to specific questions.

Read more: Being alone and socializing with others each contributes differently to personal growth

Disagreeing takes up a lot of brain real estate

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Yale researchers have devised a way to peer into the brains of two people simultaneously while are engaged in discussion. What they found will not surprise anyone who has found themselves arguing about politics or social issues.

When two people agree, their brains exhibit a calm synchronicity of activity focused on sensory areas of the brain. When they disagree, however, many other regions of the brain involved in higher cognitive functions become mobilized as each individual combats the other's argument, a Yale-led research team reports Jan. 13 in the journal Frontiers of Human Neuroscience.

Read more: Disagreeing takes up a lot of brain real estate

On True Friendship

James E. Tepfer – USA


Theosophy JET 420 b True Friendship

When your spirits need a lift, think of the virtues and talents of those around you — one’s energy, another’s modesty, the generosity of a third, something else in a fourth. Nothing is so inspiring and uplifting as the sight of these splendid qualities in our friends. Keep them always in mind.

Marcus Aurelius

Gandhi once commented that the notion of “best friends” was somewhat suspect. Special friendships tend to reduce themselves to the lowest common denominator. The first victim in the devolution of an initially meaningful bond of friendship is truth. Candor is gradually lost due to the fear of hurt feelings and the prospect of losing an intimate companion over telling unpleasant truths. Alas, loyalty to truth is all too easily replaced by quasi-mindless loyalty to a person. For this reason, Gandhi felt that it is better to try and befriend everyone one encounters than to cultivate a special “best friend”.

Read more: On True Friendship

No Humour please, we’re Esoterists

Tim Wyatt – England

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The author

Curiously, one thing unites totalitarianism and traditional spirituality, especially when dished up as religion. This is a complete and total lack of humour. Dictators and the religiously fundamental absolutely hate levity. They don’t like jokes or the joie de vivre they bring. They don’t like comedy in any form. And they don’t like laughter. Humour in general poses a grave threat to the authoritarian mind-set and always has done.

Apart from being generally subversive, humour is infectious, constantly replicating and re-inventing itself like this canny virus itself. Get one person laughing and everyone else follows suit. As well as a potential act of liberation, it’s also a key evolutionary tool.

Read more: No Humour please, we’re Esoterists

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