Medley

Disagreeing takes up a lot of brain real estate

Medley SD 121 b disagreeing brain real estate v02

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

Medley TIM WYATT 2

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

Why life can get better as we age

Medley 320 d Happy

Older, happier ......

People say life gets better with age. Now research suggests this may be because older people have the wisdom and time to use mindfulness as a means to improve wellbeing.

Read more: Why life can get better as we age

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 30

Leo Babauta – USA

Medley Focus 320 2 changes

Making changes at a broader level

Most of this series on Theosophy Forward is focused on the individual — how we can make changes in our individual lives — but can and should we be thinking on a broader level? Is it possible to change society as a whole to one of fewer distractions and a greater degree of simplicity? Is that something we should even desire?

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 30

Yoga and meditation reduce chronic pain

Medley 320 b Yoga and M

A mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course was found to benefit patients with chronic pain and depression, leading to significant improvement in participant perceptions of pain, mood and functional capacity, according to a study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Most of the study respondents (89%) reported the program helped them find ways to better cope with their pain while 11% remained neutral.

Read more: Yoga and meditation reduce chronic pain

The Only Thing That Matters

Ananya Sri Ram Rajan – USA

Medley AR 320 b 

Relationship is the only thing we have with each other.

                                                                                                            --J. Krishnamurti

“We cannot escape relationship.” From the moment of conception, there is relationship. It may not be a conscious relationship for the fetus, but the life form has some innate intelligence that it is dependent upon the mother for its continued existence. Therefore, relationship exists.

As conscious beings with the ability for a deeper awareness, humans, in general, take relationship for granted. If this were not the case, we would not be warring over race, religion, land, or whatever we feel passionate about. Nor would we be decimating the precious resources of this one and only beautiful planet we live and depend upon. At the same time, our personal relationships would hold more significance to us.

Read more: The Only Thing That Matters

Brain waves can be used to predict future pain sensitivity

Medley Brain 2

Rhythms produced by the brain can reliably be used to predict how sensitive we are to pain, new research shows.

The living brain is constantly producing regular rhythmic patterns of activity, which can be compared to musical notes. Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the UK, and the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in the US, have successfully demonstrated that one particularly prevalent pattern of brain activity, called alpha waves, strongly relates to the body's susceptibility or resilience to pain.

Read more: Brain waves can be used to predict future pain sensitivity

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