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Fri, 19 Jan 2018
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


12 questions that can change your life forever

Water sprinkler soul fireworks
The instinct is to look for answers, but the truth is that it's questions that teach us most. It can also be that the rhetorical questions - the ones that don't even seem to have answers - that push and push the hardest. Who do you think you are? What does all this mean? Why? Why? Why?

The right question at the right time can change the course of a life, can still a turbulent mind, or heal an angry heart. While every situation can generate its own, there are twelve questions, I think, that deserve to be asked not just once but many times over the course of a lifetime, some even many times over the course of the day.

I have gathered them from some of the wisest philosophers, most incisive thinkers, greatest leaders and most awesome badasses that ever lived. I'm not saying I know the answer to any of them, but I can say there is value in letting them challenge you. If you let them. If you let them do their work on you - and let them change you.


Depression in men: Stigma and the fear of discovery

© closeupimages – Fotolia
People are generally compassionate and understanding about people with depression or those who are suicidal.

But, men who are depressed themselves often view their own problems very negatively, new research finds.

Men who are depressed can see themselves as a disappointment and a burden to others.

The results come from a survey of 901 men and women in Canada.

Professor John Oliffe, an expert on men's health who co-led the study, said:
"While it was reassuring to find that Canadians in general don't stigmatize male depression or suicide, it was concerning that the men with depression or suicidal thoughts felt a strong stigma around their condition, and many were afraid of being discovered."

Comment: More on depression in males:
Many men try to hide their condition, thinking it unmanly to act moody. And it works: National studies suggest that doctors miss the diagnosis in men a full 70% of the time. But male depression also stays hidden because men tend to express depression differently than women do.

Research shows that women usually internalize distress, while men externalize it. Depressed women are more likely to talk about their problem and reach out for help; depressed men often have less tolerance for internal pain and turn to some action or substance for relief. Male depression isn't as obvious as the defenses men use to run from it. I call this "covert depression." It has three major symptoms. First, men attempt to escape pain by overusing alcohol or drugs, working excessively or seeking extramarital affairs. They go into isolation, withdrawing from loved ones. And they may lash out, becoming irritable or violent.

Post-It Note

New Year's Resolutions: Changing your life is harder than a drunken promise

Quit New year resolution
© Unknown
New Year's resolutions are the election promises of everyday life. You say the words, make the commitment, swear on everything you hold dear that you'll fix those potholes, but when push comes to shove it's a decade on and the cars are still bouncing and rolling over a broken road.

Resolutions are the same. You swear that you'll never touch another chocolate, but two months later you're guiltily staring at an empty box of fondants wondering where your self control went.


Inspiring example of how a loving bond between owner and dog brought new meaning to life


Goes to show the strength of bonds and connection can change how we perceive and respond to life.
This was the sweetest thing I have seen in a long time, so I wanted to share this true connection with you all. I'm sure that all dog lovers out there can appreciate this and also anyone who has a compassionate bone in their body. This bond is real, and it goes to show just how much us humans thrive on connection and need it in our lives. It is also a wonderful example of how much our animal friends can assist us on this path if we are open to their assistance.

"He loves me unconditionally. I count my blessings every day."

This story is also a prime example of the notion that the opposite of addiction is connection. This man was addicted to drugs and quit so that he could help his dog get off the drugs. All of a sudden he had a purpose in life, and that purpose was to take care of this little friend who loved him unconditionally. In doing so, he was able to live his life, get clean, and recover from suicidal tendencies. My heart just melts to see this. There is no judgement with animals. Humans tend to make judgments and assumptions very quickly, especially about homeless people on the streets, but animals do not see these perceived "faults," and they love us anyways.

We can truly learn a lot from animals, as they have much to teach us about unconditional love and acceptance. We are so happy for this man and his little animal friend and hope they enjoy their time together.

Comment: What's also noteworthy and inspiring about the video is how his dog helped him to perceive the world differently, not through the eyes of an addict or someone who thought himself worthless, but through the eyes of someone who had a reason to live and someone to live for. He changed his thought patterns, and in turn, changed who he was.

Snakes in Suits

How to tell when you are talking to a psychopath

Approximately 1% of the human population fit the description of a psychopath: a personality type defined by a lack of care for others, a lack of empathy, violent and aggressive tendencies, shallow emotions, selfishness, dishonesty, overconfidence in themselves, and the ability to manipulate people. These types of people often exhibit behavioral traits known as the Dark Triad, a trio of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

Some 25% of male inmates in the federal corrections system fit this description, but many psychopaths are often high-functioning people who often make their way into positions of power, such as CEO's, lawyers, media personalities, sales people, police officers and religious clergy.

Comment: To learn more about the biological roots of psychopathy, which includes violence as well as anti-social and dangerous behaviour, do read Professor Adrian Raine's Anatomy of Violence, and Stanton Samenow's Inside the Criminal Mind. For more on how to spot psychopaths you can read the following links:


Best Friends For 60 Years Discover They Are Brothers

Walter Macfarlane and Alan Robinson brothers
© CBS News
Two men who have been best friends for six decades recently discovered they are brothers.
Two life-long friends from Hawaii found out that they have even more in common than they first thought.

Walter Macfarlane and Alan Robinson have been friends for more than 60 years.

Macfarlane never knew his father, and Robinson was adopted.

Both turned to DNA-matching websites to find out more.


Fear and intrusive thoughts - The signs that someone really has OCD

ocd cleaning
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is often mixed up with having an obsessive personality. People with obsessive personalities may, for example, like to have their books arranged alphabetically, without having OCD.

The sign that someone really has OCD is that their behaviours are driven by fear or intrusive thoughts that they are trying to get rid of. OCD is most definitely not something sufferers derive any pleasure or satisfaction from.


Overview of the 'drama triangle' and the three faces of victimhood

Lynne Forrest
Whether we know it, or not, most of us react to life as victims. Whenever we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves, we are unconsciously choosing to react as victim. This inevitably creates feelings of anger, fear, guilt or inadequacy and leaves us feeling betrayed, or taken advantage of by others.

Victim-hood can be defined by the three positions beautifully outlined in a diagram developed by a well respected psychiatrist, and teacher of Transactional Analysis, named Stephen Karpman. He calls it the "Drama Triangle," I refer to it as the victim triangle. Having discovered this resource some thirty years ago, it has become one of the more important tools in my personal and professional life. The more I teach and apply the victim triangle to relationship the deeper my appreciation grows for this simple, powerfully accurate instrument.

I've sometimes referred to the victim triangle as a "shame generator" because through it we unconsciously re-enact painful life themes that create shame. This has the effect of reinforcing old, painful beliefs that keep us stuck in a limited version of reality.

Comment: See also:


Colliding with reality: What depth psychology tells us about victimhood

person looking through window
When Carl Jung was a 12-year-old schoolboy, he was shoved to the ground by another child, hitting his head on the pavement, and nearly losing consciousness. Instantly, he grasped the opportunities created by this attack.
At the moment I felt the blow, the thought flashed through my mind: "Now you won't have to go to school anymore." I was only half unconscious, but I remained lying there a few moments longer than was strictly necessary, chiefly in order to avenge myself on my assailant....


Singing your heart out with a group could very well make you happier

singing group
Singing in groups could make you happier, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Researchers examined the benefits of singing among people with mental health conditions including anxiety and depression.

They found that people who took part in a community singing group maintained or improved their mental health. And that the combination of singing and socializing was an essential part of recovery because it promoted an ongoing feeling of belonging and wellbeing.

Lead researcher Prof Tom Shakespeare from UEA's Norwich Medical School and his researcher Dr Alice Whieldon worked in collaboration with the Sing Your Heart Out (SYHO) project, based in Norfolk.

The grassroots initiative runs weekly singing workshops, aimed at people with mental health conditions as well as the general public. It originally began at Hellesdon psychiatric hospital in 2005, but afterwards moved into the community. Around 120 people now attend four free workshops each week across Norfolk -- two thirds of whom have had contact with mental health services.

Comment: In addition to stimulating your vagus nerve, singing has all kinds of positive benefits: