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Expat wanderer

Prayer Reshapes Your Brain

This is a very small excerpt from a much longer article I found on National Public Radio News, a special series on The Science of Spirituality. This article (you can read it all by clicking on the blue type, above) talks about measuring brain activity while a person is praying, how the brain changes. Fascinating stuff.

A Sense Of Oneness With The Universe

Newberg did that with Michael Baime. Baime is a doctor at the University of Pennsylvania and a Tibetan Buddhist who has meditated at least an hour a day for the past 40 years. During a peak meditative experience, Baime says, he feels oneness with the universe, and time slips away.

“It’s as if the present moment expands to fill all of eternity,” he explains, “that there has never been anything but this eternal now.”

When Baime meditated in Newberg’s brain scanner, his brain mirrored those feelings. As expected, his frontal lobes lit up on the screen: Meditation is sheer concentration, after all. But what fascinated Newberg was that Baime’s parietal lobes went dark.

“This is an area that normally takes our sensory information, tries to create for us a sense of ourselves and orient that self in the world,” he explains. “When people lose their sense of self, feel a sense of oneness, a blurring of the boundary between self and other, we have found decreases in activity in that area.”

Newberg found that result not only with Baime, but also with other monks he scanned. It was the same when he imaged the brains of Franciscan nuns praying and Sikhs chanting. They all felt the same oneness with the universe. When it comes to the brain, Newberg says, spiritual experience is spiritual experience.

“There is no Christian, there is no Jewish, there is no Muslim, it’s just all one,” Newberg says.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Community, Cross Cultural, Interconnected, News, Spiritual | 3 Comments

The Richest Man in Town

This is from AOL’s WalletPop, their how to manage money series.

As I read through this very American tale of building wealth, I wonder . . . how does this apply cross-culturally? Do you think the richest men in the Gulf follow these guidelines? The richest in the EU? The richest Asians? Indians?

Review: The Richest Man In Town by W. Randall Jones
Tom Barlow
May 20th 2009 at 7:30PM
Filed under: Wealth

Some people dream of getting rich. Instead of dreaming, W. Randall Jones, author of The Richest Man In Town, set out to talk to the richest person in each of the 100 U.S. towns he visited for his study to see what commonalities he could find. From these interviews he found 12 attributes that ran rich within these mostly self-made magnates. Apparently, while God could get by with 10 commandments, the rich need a dozen; thus the subtitle, The Twelve Commandments of Wealth.

Let’s get those 12 on the table first (I paraphrase)-
Don’t seek money for money’s sake
Find your perfect niche
Be your own boss
Get addicted to ambition
Be early
Execute or get executed
Fail so you can succeed
Location doesn’t matter
Don’t compromise your morals
Embrace selling
Learn from the best and the worst
Never retire
I have the last one nailed.

Book after book about wealth and entrepenuership seem to boil down to these same points, usually derived from the same inductive reasoning that seems to underlie this book; watch what rich people do, then figure out the principles behind their success. What is missing, imho is the study of failed businesspeople. I often wonder if, for every multimillionaire that followed these commandments, there might not be a hundred who followed them yet failed. Everyone talks to the winners, but until you study the losers, it’s hard to know which commandments are the important ones.

Although the “secrets of the millionaires” genre is well mined, Jones does a particularly deft job of weaving the stories of a hundred people within the commandments structure. His many years of experience as a writer and founder of Wealth magazine are evident in the book’s engaging storytelling and brisk pacing. Many writers of similar books have taken the easier person-by-person approach,
which gives the reader more of the personality of the people interviewed but obscures the insights that the readers seek. Kudos to Jones for taking the hard road.

He also manages to land some very colorful subjects to interview, such as Hartley Peavey of Meridian, Miss. who told him “I believe that life is a test to see how much BS you can take.” Ron Rice of Daytona Beach was fired from six teaching jobs in eight years. Phil Ruffin of Wichita wants his tombstone to read, “This is his last real estate deal.”

For readers who are curious about how the richest man (Jones is apologetic about the use of the word man, but sadly, the richest person in most towns is one) in town came by his fortune, this book may well be best in class. And these commandments leave you free to covet all you want.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Books, Cultural, Financial Issues, NonFiction, Social Issues | Leave a comment

   

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