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Thu, 29 Sep 2016
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Morphic resonance: The science of interconnectedness


Morphic Fields
British scientist Rupert Sheldrake has been speaking about the cutting edge of the new cell biology since 1981, when he published his groundbreaking book, A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation. Despite hostile, ad hominem attacks of his ideas that cell growth is directed by more than mere genetic coding, Sheldrake's critics have produced neither valid arguments nor evidence that counters his laboratory observations and theories.

Morphic Fields

Sheldrake proposes that "memory" is inherent in cells, and that life exhibits "evolutionary habits," a quality that Darwin also noted. "Cells come from other cells and inherit fields of organization" and that morphogenesis innately depends on organizing those fields, which he refers to as morphic fields.

For instance, since the genetic basis of cell reproduction is so similar, it is the morphogenetic field of a specific organism that causes the development of a specific shape — a pink flower with five petals as opposed to an Orca Killer Whale or a Colorado Spruce. The fundamental materialistic views still held by the majority of biologists resist the implications of such a hypothesis, despite experimental evidence.

But his credentials are impeccable: He is a former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, obtained degrees from both Cambridge and Harvard, and held research directorships and fellowships with prestigious organizations around the world, including California's Institute of Noetic Sciences. Additionally, he has published over eighty scientific papers, ten books, appears on television shows internationally, and writes for newspapers and magazines regularly.

Comment: See also:


Cloud Grey

Researchers confront the epidemic of loneliness

© Jon Krause
The woman on the other end of the phone spoke lightheartedly of spring and of her 81st birthday the previous week.

"Who did you celebrate with, Beryl?" asked Alison, whose job was to offer a kind ear.

"No one, I..."

And with that, Beryl's cheer turned to despair.

Her voice began to quaver as she acknowledged that she had been alone at home not just on her birthday, but for days and days. The telephone conversation was the first time she had spoken in more than a week.

About 10,000 similar calls come in weekly to an unassuming office building in this seaside town at the northwest reaches of England, which houses The Silver Line Helpline, a 24-hour call center for older adults seeking to fill a basic need: contact with other people.

Comment: Loneliness: The deadly truth


People

Don't try to force mindfulness -- use meditation to get there

Mindfulness is 'the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment', can be trained in any human being. It allows us to shed emotions we perceive as negative very quickly and raises our emotional intelligence to levels which accelerate our optimism and outlook on life in its entirety.

Intelligence is to use what you know in the right way at the right time in the right place with the right intention. IQ only accounts for about 20% of a persons success. By far the majority of a person's success is attributable to social and emotional intelligence.

A study of 20 elementary schools in Hawaii has found that a focused program to build social, emotional and character skills resulted in significantly improved overall quality of education, as evaluated by teachers, parents and students.

Mindfulnessis defined as moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, characterized mainly by "acceptance" - attention to thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are right or wrong. Mindfulness focuses the human brain on what is being sensed at each moment, instead of on its normal rumination on the past or on the future.

Comment: Meditation is a tool that can regulate and reduce stress levels in addition to increasing calm and relaxation in the body, mind and spirit. Meditation also brings the practitioner into a mindful state, allowing the opportunity for a greater sense of being. To learn more about the benefits of meditation visit the Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program.


Bulb

Thinking on your feet: How to upgrade your working memory

Whether you're answering hard questions, making impromptu remarks, analyzing a situation, or synthesizing a bunch of data points into a cohesive and convincing presentation, the ability to think and process multiple pieces of information quickly and effectively is a vital skill to have. In our fast-paced and fluid world, you've got to be able to pull out the right piece of knowledge at the right time.

Your working memory is what allows you to do that.

While it was once thought that the capacity of each individual's working memory was something they were simply born with, research from the worlds of cognitive science and psychology are showing that we can actually train it to become stronger and faster.

If you're ready to upgrade your working memory from "six guinea pig power" to eight cylinder efficacy, today's your lucky day. Below, we provide research-backed advice on how you can boost the potentiality of your working memory in order to become a master of cognition in even high-pressured situations.

What Is Working Memory and Why Is It Important?

Whenever we perform tasks that require reasoning, comprehension, and learning, we use our working memory. Our working memory allows us to hold relevant information in our brain while we do something else at the same time. It's a short-term storage tank for thoughts and ideas that you can retrieve at the ready and process, manipulate, organize, and integrate in order to solve a problem, make a decision, find an explanation, reach a conclusion, or figure out possible moves. Think of it as your flexible mental scratch pad.

Comment: See also: Simple ways to train your brain to improve focus, memory and cognitive function


Brain

Identifying hidden flaws in our thinking: A cognitive bias crib sheet

© chainsawsuit.com
I've spent many years referencing Wikipedia's list of cognitive biases whenever I have a hunch that a certain type of thinking is an official bias but I can't recall the name or details. It's been an invaluable reference for helping me identify the hidden flaws in my own thinking. Nothing else I've come across seems to be both as comprehensive and as succinct.

However, honestly, the Wikipedia page is a bit of a tangled mess. Despite trying to absorb the information of this page many times over the years, very little of it seems to stick. I often scan it and feel like I'm not able to find the bias I'm looking for, and then quickly forget what I've learned. I think this has to do with how the page has organically evolved over the years. Today, it groups 175 biases into vague categories (decision-making biases, social biases, memory errors, etc) that don't really feel mutually exclusive to me, and then lists them alphabetically within categories. There are duplicates a-plenty, and many similar biases with different names, scattered willy-nilly.

I've taken some time over the last four weeks (I'm on paternity leave) to try to more deeply absorb and understand this list, and to try to come up with a simpler, clearer organizing structure to hang these biases off of. Reading deeply about various biases has given my brain something to chew on while I bounce little Louie to sleep.

I started with the raw list of the 175 biases and added them all to a spreadsheet, then took another pass removing duplicates, and grouping similar biases (like bizarreness effect and humor effect) or complementary biases (like optimism bias and pessimism bias). The list came down to about 20 unique biased mental strategies that we use for very specific reasons.

Comment: See also:


Galaxy

Oxytocin linked to increased feelings of spirituality

© Business Insider
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain's emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress. It has been dubbed the "love hormone" for its role promoting social bonding, altruism and more. Now new research from Duke University suggests the hormone may also support spirituality.

Oxytocin, originally known to stimulate labor and milk ejection, appears to play an important role stress and pain. It can induce anti-stress-like effects such as reduction of blood pressure and cortisol levels. It increases pain thresholds, exerts an anxiolytic-like effect and stimulates various types of positive social interaction. In addition, it promotes growth and healing. Repeated exposure to oxytocin causes long-lasting effects by influencing the activity of other transmitter systems, a pattern which makes oxytocin potentially clinically relevant.

Comment: More on oxytocin:
New research reveals that oxytocin could make us more accepting of others
Five ways oxytocin shapes our social interactions


Rainbow

Presence: The powerful practice of being in the moment

It is created through an acute awareness of one's thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and in our modern day society, being present doesn't always come easily. The overstimulation and distraction that come from technology, social media, work, family life, social engagements, and the never-ending "to-do" lists regularly take us out of the now and into a memory from the past or a fear about the future.

Cultivating the power of presence comes from creating the space to observe one's mind and one's self. This skill of observation allows us to look at our own lives and the lives of others without attaching judgment or analysis. Using this awareness, we become mindfully attuned to all that is around us through our five senses (smell, touch, taste, sight, and sound) as well as our physical sensations — you know, those signs from our bodies that we often tend to ignore.

Comment: The importance of 'the moment'
If you were to however take your mind from the future and the past and place it in the now moment, how would the task then be seen? You would not look at how much work there is still to do, and how many mistakes you have made. Instead you would have all your focus on the now and concentrating on the task that is at hand. It is amazing then how fast the task actually then gets done. When you are at full concentration on what you are doing in the moment, not only is your mind busy on something that is important to finish, but it is also not being constantly distracted by past and future.



2 + 2 = 4

It's possible — and beneficial — to stop feeling toxic guilt and shame

I believe the emotions of guilt and shame are culturally induced negative emotional experiences that almost all of us are tragically made to feel from infancy or childhood on. But guilt and shame are not now, nor ever were, hard-wired human emotional necessities.

Instead, I'll argue that they are always destructive emotional experiences with no inherent individual or social value, unless the creation and sustaining of self-hatred and/or the practice of controlling other people via emotional manipulation is somehow of value. I'll also try and show how the rejection and extinction of the experience of guilt and shame is a revolutionary act of self-love, and that refusing to induce guilt and shame in others is also a revolutionary act of love and compassion.

I believe it's possible to not experience the emotions of guilt and shame and still be a principled, moral, ethical, empathic and compassionate person.

Comment: Perhaps the emotions of shame and guilt in general exist as a method of preventing behaviors that are not only detrimental to ourselves but to others. They are accessible to us in order to learn from mistakes and experience subsequent growth and healing. These feelings are also what separate normal, wounded people from psychopaths. The problem is when we identify with these feelings via trauma and they become limiting coping mechanisms that leave us stuck.


Bulb

Have you lost touch with your intuition?

Honor Your Intuition. Here's How...

There's a lot of buzz about the benefits of tuning into your intuition. We know that intuition helps us make spiritually-aligned decisions, protects us from danger, acts as our inner doctor, gives us the heads-up when we are needed by our loved ones, and serves as the unseen world's secret gateway to the human world, helping us live our best lives.

But how do you know if you're tuned in or not? We all have the capacity to listen to our intuition, but sometimes we're at the mercy of forces that block our ability to interpret our intuition clearly.

Here are eight signs that your intuition may be blocked, plus ten tips to help you tap into it.

Comment: The science of intuition: How to measure 'hunches' and 'gut feelings'


Nebula

Soul-making and the inherent human need for an interior life

"We are dreaming a symbolic world, only briefly waking to what is real." ~Arthur Deikman, M.D.

"He not busy being born, is busy dying." ~Bob Dylan
Something is not quite right...you feel it...you may have experienced this feeling, this nagging, for a long time. So you most probably just try to ignore it and hope that it goes away; but sooner or later the persistent nagging finally brings an idea to your mind - there's something very odd about the way the world is. Maybe you feel like you are at the cinema watching a film and yet you sense there must be something wrong about the film you are seeing. The images are all there, but there's a feeling that something is out of sequence, or the frames are running out of 'normal' time. However, after a while you get used to the style of the film, and your senses adjust to its rhythm and you lose the sense of strangeness and you get pulled into the show and you go along with the ride...

...the film tells you that the world has no grand meaning, that human life is an accidental anomaly - but as you walk down the street, engage with friends, fall in love, follow your dreams, you experience meaning and significance...wait, there's that glitch in the film again - something about its 'randomness' and 'meaninglessness' doesn't make sense...your personal experience has shown you something different...and then there's that nagging feeling again...somewhere - wasn't there?

Comment: For more on the concept of working towards growing a soul in everyday social life see: Kindling the divine spark within you
The esoteric teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, in many ways, fly in the face of traditional Western religious thought. Whereas it is accepted as a given within Judeo-Christian tradition that each human is born with a soul, Gurdjieff does not let us off so easy. Active in the early part of the 20th century, this Greek-Armenian mystic travelled the world, synthesising spiritual disciplines into a unique path called The Fourth Way. He taught that human existence is a kind of waking sleep, in which we live more or less automatically, unconscious and unaware of ourselves. He even went to the extreme of suggesting that humans are not born with souls at all, and that we can only create one while alive through intense personal suffering and what he called "work." If we are not successful in this venture, he taught that our identities would not survive the shock of death, that we would "die like dogs" and that the ever-hungry Moon would gobble up our energy as part of its own evolution of consciousness.