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Monday, September 25, 2017

The Interruption

In time some things become habits, like my morning routine.
Wake up, take a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed and eat my breakfast.
Then the routine varies a bit each day but if there is nothing special scheduled for the day it usually involves starting up my laptop.

For me growing up before the computer revolution is still funny how much we have become tied to our electronic devices. My phone has become almost a part of my body. Wherever I go the phone is almost always with me. I love it and hate it at the same time.

A few minutes later the computer screen lights up and on my desktop among a couple dozen icons a bunch of colored sticky notes pop up.
The sticky notes are the first line of defense in my organizational strategy. They are easy to write, easy to read a very convenient way to remind me of the tasks at hand.

Of course, I have a more elaborate “to do list” that encompasses long-term goals but for the day to day business I find the little sticky notes to be most suitable.
It also gives me a good feeling of accomplishment whenever I complete a chore and trash the little sticky note.
Not the case with my “to do list” which is growing permanently and it looks it is here to stay forever.

First sticky notes informs me I have to write another blog article for tomorrow, fix the cabinet door in the kitchen and clean the garage. The cabinet door is an easy one since I fixed the door already and I just have to put it back in the kitchen. So I go to do that first.

Back to my computer. Time to write my article.
I want to be something inspirational, something profound or at least something useful.
Nothing comes to mind. I’ll go check my emails and social media instead.
Nothing there as usual. It is just a waste of time but you have to do it just in case there is an important email or vital piece of information you cannot afford to miss.  But I think I got an idea for my article.

I will write an article about Donald Trump, on how he is actually a product of our society, a symptom of our social moral decay just like Germany between the two world wars.
Time to check the Google for some historical references.

The phone rings. Some insurance guy wants to “save me money”. I told him if he is so concerned about my wellbeing just to write me a check. The discussion goes nowhere. He doesn’t listen to me and I’m not interested in buying his insurance. Back to my computer.

I’m in the middle of my creative storm when my dogs rush in the room and start making begging noises and wildly waving their tails. What the heck I fed them already!
I look at the clock is 10am already.  Time flies when you are on the net.
Reluctantly I get up and take the dogs for their morning walk.

Back to my computer.
I have done nothing all day, well, except that productive 5 min when I screwed the cabinet door back in its place,
I’m trying to write but I keep being interrupted.
Between my wife, kids, pets, friends and all sorts of people that want to help me with things I did not need help with I managed to pile up a bunch of cut and paste fragments of articles that don’t look anything like a blog.
On top of that is noon and my stomach is making “feed me now!” noises.
Alright I’ll stop and I’m going out for lunch, and I’m not going to take my phone with me!

Guess what. I did take the phone with me but at least I left it in my car during the lunch and just enjoyed other people having lunch with their phones.
Waiting for my food to come I realized a couple of things.

One: My life is been disrupted from its normal flow by a series of unwanted interruptions.
Two: The number of interruptions in my life has grown and continues to grow exponentially.
Three: Some of the interruptions, like Mr. Trump, are easy to avoid. You just turn off the TV.
Four: some interruptions are hard to avoid, like spending time on the X Box or binging for hours on Netflix.
Five: If I want my productivity to go up and have more control of my life I need to find an effective way to deal with my interruptions.

No problem! I’m really good at solving problems.
First step: Awareness, defining the problem.
I’ll start by making a list of all the incidents in my life when I get interrupted.


Friday, September 22, 2017

10 Steps to control your temper and overcome you anger

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”
– Fred Rogers

Oh, the joy of modern civilization!
The ever dizzying speed increase of life. The overwhelming information bombardment. The ever-increasing complexity of our everyday existence. The stress. The madness. The rage against all this nonsense we are subjected to.

It is not surprising that we are failing on our relationships and careers.
It is no wonder that we are consuming industrial quantities of mood-altering drugs.
It’s not surprising that stress, anxiety, and depression are becoming a common occurrence in our society.

Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter and so is our ability to focus.
We are more and more irritable and intolerant. Our tempers are flaring up and our inability to express our dissatisfaction, or should I say the social censorship we are subjecting our emotions and feelings, leave us no other alternative but not to give a shit anymore.

The problem is that we still have to function socially and the only option acceptable we have, is to learn how to control our temper and handle adverse situations.
Here are 10 steps will help you become better in dealing with temper tantrums.

1)      Awareness.
Knowing and understanding the cause of a problem is always the best first step in preventing and fixing the problem.
Take an inventory of all lost temper episodes you can recall. Keep it up to date every time a new one occurs. Start a list of the lost control episodes. When, where and how. What triggered your anger? How did you respond? How would you respond if a similar incident occurs?
2)      Prevention.
The best way to solve a problem is not to get in trouble in the first place.
Based on step No 1 write down all the things you have to avoid in order not to lose your temper. Update every time a new incident occurs.
3)      Stop, pause, breath.
We have a built-in defense mechanism fight or flight. It is written in our DNA and helped us for millennia dealing with the dangers of wildlife. The problem is that our adversaries today are not sabered tooth tigers but corporate dwellers. Our life doesn’t depend on how fast we get into the fight mode anymore, I would say it is exactly the opposite; the guy that stays calm and under control is always the winner in the corporate jungle.
So every time you feel under attack before reacting take a deep breath and slowly count from 10 to 1. That should give you a clearer perspective on how to properly respond.
4)      Get away
If # 3 doesn’t do the trick, get away from the explosive situation.
Excuse yourself like “Excuse me I forgot something in my office. Hold that thought I’ll be right back.” Or “Excuse me I have to use the restroom. Nature call. Hold that thought I’ll be right back. Or any appropriate excuse to get away from the discussion for a few minutes.
5)      Change your thought pattern.
Difficult situations have a negative effect on our thought patterns. Have a mantra, something like this: “I am better than my anger. I am in control. I am calm compose and in total control of my temper. I am better than this.”
Replace your thought pattern by repeating your mantra whenever you feel your thoughts are getting negative.
6)      Change your perspective
Nothing really matters and nothing is more important than your wellbeing.
Put the present situation in a time perspective: What would this mean a week a year or ten years from now? Like all the bad situations you’ve been through, this too shall pass.
7)      Do not react, act.
Life doesn’t always work the way you want to. Sometimes you can’t control people and situations but you always can control how you react.
Getting into a knee-jerk reaction response can only escalate the confrontation and make it worse. Do not react instead take control of the situation. Change the course of the conversation from confrontation to problem-solving.
8)      Invoke a higher authority.
People always react better to a higher authority. Whenever it looks like you are not in control of a situation you can always defer the problem to a higher authority.
“I think we should go to our manager, HR department, police officer, priest, rabbi, judge” or whatever higher authority is appropriate to the situation, and have them solve the conflict. Accept any resolution they may have
9)      Practice compassion.
It takes two to tango. There is no fight without punching back. Look at your opponent, look at his anger with compassion not critical. Try to understand him, how hopelessly out of control he must feel to be that angry. Put yourself in his shoes. A win-win solution is always better than crushing your opponent. You never know what the future will look like and a little compassion goes a long way.

10)   Be thankful to your adversary.
All experiences are good experiences if you learn a valuable lesson.
So be grateful for the fights and conflicts in your life. What doesn’t kill you make you stronger.
When criticized reply with “Thank you for pointing that out” and always end with; “Thank you for making me a better person”
Keep being grateful and in short time the unwanted bully will stop from wanting to confront you in the future.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Spiritual Resonance

Since I can remember I love music. All kind of music rock, pop, folk, jazz, blues, country or classical.
To me, the music is only of two kinds; good or bad.
When I arrived in the USA one my dreams was to buy a state of the art HiFi system and as soon I was able to afford it I did just that.
I don’t want to brag and get into technical details but it was a sweet system with large tower speakers and awesome subwoofer, the best I could afford.

I also bought mint, pristine LPs of all my favorite bands, artists, and composers.
Over the years my investment paid out handsomely, giving me hours and hours of musical bliss.
But none of my musical experiences can compare with the live concerts I’ve attended.
Well, maybe one, I had an almost religious experience listening to Mozart’s Requiem while I was really high.

In 1994 Pink Floyd came to Pasadena’s Rose Ball.
I immediately went online to buy tickets but the tickets sold out so fast the only thing I could get was a really shitty seat.
I was up in the bleachers. The only way to see the band was through a high-powered pair of binoculars and the sound quality was at best mediocre.
But the experience was unbelievable. What I felt was an equaled by any HiFi recording or music system.

There is something about a live performance that transcends sound and sight.
A concert will always be better than a recording. A theater play is always better than a movie.
There is a spiritual experience taking place anytime you are in direct contact with special people or places.
Actually, I believe the feeling is always there but the intensity varies from experience to experience.

Have you ever been in a church, a temple or a spiritual place and have this feeling of enhanced spiritual awareness. It feels like you are surrounded by a higher vibration like you are in contact with a higher realm of existence. It feels like you are in a divine presence.
I call this experience “Spiritual Resonance”

Being a born skeptic I always fought this notion. I always explain it as something that happened in my mind, that in fact, it wasn’t real, that I was the one creating it.
How cannot have overwhelming emotions when you step inside the Notre Dame in Paris? Right?
But after a lifetime of this kind of experiences, I realize that majesty of the site doesn’t always translate into a spiritual experience.

I don’t know if you are familiar with a place called Sedona in Arizona.
By all accounts, this is a native American holly place. A spiritual place where energy vortexes are supposed to manifest. I visited Sedona many times and I was always been blown away by the beauty of the place but I have never had any spiritual experience related to the place.

On the other side of spiritual resonance experience I had, I once joined a friend who was a member of the Agape Spiritual Group and although the gathering place was a warehouse that they rented for the night being there and listening to Michael the reverend, I believe was nothing short of amazing.
Too bad I don’t like organized religions.

So is spiritual resonance real or is it just an experience in your mind?
The answer is Yes and Yes, because reality itself as all the other experiences we have, is created by your mind.
If you don’t believe me go buy some concert or theater tickets and do some scientific experiments on your own.

If you get any other conclusion be sure to share it with the rest of us.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Practical Mind Programming

The regular human brain is in a constant chatter of unrelated and repetitive thoughts we call rumination.
This constant chatter is a reflection of our subconscious mind activity.
We cannot consciously analyze what the subconscious mind is doing but echoes of that activity will arise from the subconscious all the time automatically, without our control and feed the process of rumination.
It could be a problem we are trying to solve, a song we have heard recently or replaying some event of positive or negative significance.

Rumination is usually considered to be bad and people interested in achieving a higher mental state regularly employ a series of methods in order to reduce it or completely stop it.
Some people meditate, chant, pray, visualize, take drugs or any other method they think will help them stop the process of rumination.
.
This is totally wrong and needs to be corrected

You cannot simply live your life in a constant state of meditation, in a state of clear mind unless you join a monastery. For people living regular lives, this would be very impractical and disruptive,
So we have to understand what the process of rumination is and how to use it for bettering our thought process and ultimately for improving our lives.

Rumination is a form of mental filtering and feedback.
When the feedback is negative we reinforce a bad program of the subconscious mind and that is bad and undesirable, but when the feedback is positive and we reinforce positive programs in the subconscious, then the feedback is very useful and desirable.

What we want to do is to look at the thoughts that occupy our mind and analyze them.
Do we like the chatter, the thoughts in our mind?
If yes, there is nothing to do and worry about.
If the internal chatter, the train of thoughts in our mind is unpleasant or simply stupid we have to stop it and change it to a positive theme.

This is how we can reprogram our thoughts patterns.
Ask yourself what would you like your internal dialog to be about.
Write it down on a 3x4 card and keep it in your pocket.
Whenever you find your mind wondering in negative territories pull the card out and read it.
Read, repeat and focus on the new messages until they stick in your mind.

Two little notes here:
Your subconscious mind doesn’t work in a temporal based reality, in other words, past and future do not exist so everything you want to program in your subconscious mind has to be stated in the present tense. “I will” or “I should have” simply mean this will never happen because past and future do not exist.
Second. The universe doesn’t give you what you want it only gives you what you need, so make your choices wisely because you may get what you are asking for and you are not going to like it.



Friday, September 15, 2017

The Law of Attraction

What is the law of attraction?
According to Wiki the law of attraction is defined as:
“The belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life.”
Furthermore:
“The belief is based on the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from "pure energy", and that through the process of "like energy attracting like energy" a person can improve their own health, wealth and personal relationships.”

Pretty simple, right?
Not quite, because in order to apply the law you need to know what a “positive or negative thought” is.
So, I want to be healthy, I want to be wealthy or I want to be loved. Are these positive thoughts?
If I focus on them will I become healthy, wealthy and loved?
Or my meddling with things I don’t understand will get me into trouble?

See, as a Buddhist, I don’t believe that the I is separate from the universe and “asking” the universe for something doesn’t make any sense.
Is like having 1000$ in my pocket and asking for 100$ but never realizing and acknowledging that I have already much more than I need and continue living as a penniless person.

I think this “law of attraction” is totally misinterpreted as a method of controlling the universe, which trust me, is a recipe for disaster.
It is our “Ego” with all its insecurities that feels poor and wants to get more, not our higher self that is infinitely rich and wants to give more.

According to Buddhist teaching (See the Four Noble Truths) Desire is the cause our suffering.
How then, focusing on the things we want will better our lives?
So, it goes back to the first problem. What is positive thinking?

The answer to the question can be also found in the Buddhist teachings (see The Eight-Fold Path)
But “The Eight-Fold Path” it is a little bit more than wishful thinking.
Walking the path is hard and slow, two things that most Americans have a hard time handling.
We want everything to be fast and easy and that is a problem.

Nobody takes the time anymore to learn, to research, to perfect a skill.
We fall for the “get rich quick” scams instead of focusing on developing our potentials.
Our creativity is the only real source of wealth, our generosity the only source of happiness our love the only healing power.

Yes, we are bundles of energy and we do attract the like energies around us.
But what kind of energy are you? What kind of beliefs do you have? What kind of actions do you take?
Those should be the questions you should strive to answer and the thoughts you should focus on.
Not what you want to have from the universe.