Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 12

Creating an uncluttered environment

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,

then this is the best season of your life.”


Wumen Huikai (1183 -1260) is a Song period Chán master most famous as the compiler of and commentator on the 48-koan collection The Gateless Gate. Wumen was at that time the head monk of Longxiang monastery

Imagine you’re trying to create your masterpiece — a work that will change your life and perhaps make the world a better place in some small way. You’re at your computer, making it happen, at a desk piled with clutter, surrounded by clutter on the floor and walls, in the middle of a noisy workplace, phones ringing. A notification pops up — you have a new email — so you open your email program to read it and respond. You get back to work but then another notification pops up — someone wants to chat with you, so you go on IM for a little bit. Then your Twitter client notifies you of some new replies, and you check those. Then you see some paperwork on your desk you need to file, so you start doing those.

Read more: Focus

Is the Brain Just a ‘Wet Computer’? – Part three (conclusion)

Edi Bilimoria – UK

Medley Brain 2 Wet Computer

 The author is a gifted pianist and lecturer

Summary and a Possible Way Forwards

What then is the remedy? The great poet Keats talks about negative capability – the capacity to sit with the unknown but with an inner conviction that something truly precious will come out of the unknown. In other words, to trust the process and have faith that there is a greater consciousness that we can tune into. But being with the unknown is something that the predominantly left brain orientated scientific community finds very frightening. It again underscores the deterministic drive of the left brain to strive for precision, certainty and objectification, eschewing uncertainty, the unknown and the unknowable (by science). But the right brain, preferring to deal with wholes rather than parts has no problem with subjective experience or waiting patiently in silence attuning to a higher power. So this is the kind of holistic approach used by the luminaries of science and as Leonardo and Newton that we need to face the complex problems we face today. It is highly significant that Leonardo was as much a genius of science as of art. Moreover, Newton’s alchemical writings and drawings reveal great sensitivity and poetry.

Read more: Is the Brain Just a ‘Wet Computer’? – Part three (conclusion)

Vegetarianism and the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Judaism

Some time ago an article appeared on the website My Jewish Learning written by Rabi Jill Jacobs.

Medley Ethical Treatment of Animals in Judaism 2 Jill-Jacobs
Rabi Jill Jacobs

Here follows an excerpt:

The concept of Tzaar Baalei Hayim demands that we take animal suffering seriously.

Beginning with the first chapters of the Torah, Judaism establishes a fundamental connection between human beings and animals. Animals, created on the fifth day of the biblical story of creation, can be understood as prototypes of the first human beings – Adam and Eve, created on the sixth day. One of Adam’s first responsibilities as a human being is to name the animals. As evidenced by the episode in which a serpent tempts Eve to eat a forbidden fruit, humans and animals originally speak one another’s language (Genesis 1-3).

The story of Noah’s ark represents a turning point in the relationship between human beings and animals. Furious about human misbehavior, God decides to destroy the world by flood, saving only the righteous Noah and his family and enough animals to sustain all of the species. When the waters recede, God gives Noah seven laws – now known as the Noahide laws–aimed at establishing a just society.

Read more: Vegetarianism and the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Judaism


Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 11

Tools for beating distraction

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him.”

Medley Focus 2
Arthur Miller

(Arthur Asher Miller was a prolific American playwright, essayist, and prominent figure in twentieth-century American theatre)

This is a resource for those who need a little help in blocking out distractions. It’s software that will block websites and other timewasters, or clear away everything on your computer but what you need to focus on.

Read more: Focus

“Religiously integrated” psychotherapy is effective for depression


Medley Religiously integrated 2

For chronically ill patients with major depression, an approach to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that incorporates patients' religious beliefs is at least as effective as conventional CBT, suggests a study in the April issue of The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Integrating religious clients” beliefs into CBT does not appear to significantly reduce its effectiveness, especially in religious clients," write Dr. Harold Koenig of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., and colleagues. They believe that this approach might help to make psychotherapy more acceptable to religious patients with depression and chronic illness.

Read more: “Religiously integrated” psychotherapy is effective for depression

Is the Brain Just a ‘Wet Computer’? – Part two

Edi Bilimoria – UK

The Master Analogy: Its Fatal Flaws

Medley Brain 2 Just a Wet Computer
The author, an excellent pianist, playing the grand-piano

Let us first cite an actual example before moving on to consider medical and philosophical issues and finally a summary of the main arguments that entirely repudiate the master analogy.

Read more: Is the Brain Just a ‘Wet Computer’? – Part two

Dementia patients benefit from holistic exercise program, study shows

Source: Elsevier

Medley Dementia 2

While dementia patients can often suffer from depression and declining physical and mental ability, exercise has been shown to help improve both their physical and psychological wellbeing. Researchers at Teesside University in the U.K. investigated how combining cognitive activities and elements of yoga, tai chi, qigong and meditation with routine physical exercise affected dementia patients. They found that a holistic exercise program focusing on both mind and body can help improve quality of life for dementia patients. Their findings are published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.

Read more: Dementia patients benefit from holistic exercise program, study shows


Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 10

Medley Focus 2 part ten

Why letting go can be difficult

While it might seem appealing to give up distractions and let go of the addiction to information, email or news, it’s not always easy. It’s definitely easier said than done.

It’s similar to the problem of letting go of possessions — often we have sentimental or emotional attachment to possessions, or worry that we’ll need them later or be less secure without the possessions. Clearing out clutter isn’t always easy, because of these emotional hurdles.

Read more: Focus

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