Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are You The Most Positive Person In The World?

image by Scyza, stock.Xchng

Are You The One?

This was an idea waiting to happen. A poll to vote the most positive person in the world.

After the revival of interest in Dr. Emile Coue's positive self-affirmations in the past decade or two, and especially after all the hoopla created by documentaries such as "The Secret", this poll was the next inevitable 'thing' to be looked out for.

And of course, we now have new vocabulary to go with all the positive affirmations. So there is something called "ipopin" - which stands for "one minute affirmation". This also happens to be the name of the website which is sponsoring the "Positive Thinking Day" on 13th September. Hop onto their website and nominate the person who according to you qualifies to be the most positive person in the world.

So if you know anybody who is up to it, go ahead and make their day!

image by Robert Aichinger, stock.Xchng
Read More ›

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Analyze Your Dreams...

image by joker-g, stock.Xchng

They Carry Some Meaning For You!

Ask the good doctors why people dream. And they come up with some technical mumbo-jumbo about the chaotic dance played by chemicals on the dance floor of the brain. Something about the "amide derivatives of fatty acids" being generated by the parasympathetic nervous system that lulls us into sleep. Something about the rapid movement of eye balls beneath eyelids. Something about the regrouping of the events of the waking hours into different storage slots of the long-term memory. Mumbo-jumbo, mumble-jumble...

Anything but a definite, concrete answer to the basic question: "Why people dream?"

image by Wazari (Georgios M. W.), stock.Xchng

Not that I have anything against the good doctors. The point here is the general attitude of the general public towards alternative answers to questions for which the white-coats don’t have any answers themselves. Let's be open to the possibility that the scientists are not Gods, and are restrained and hemmed in by their own self-imposed straitjackets of logic and empirical studies, poor chaps.

So, why do people dream? One theory is that dreams are a gateway of communication between the deeply-seated subconscious and the awake-and-alert, surface-level conscious components of the mind. It is through the movie-like sequences of dreams that the subconscious communicates to the conscious mind things that the latter might otherwise not be able to fathom on its own, or might be too busy to take notice of. [But why? I have still not answered this question. Heck, I wouldn't be writing this blog if I had answer to all such questions, would I? :) ]

image by omar franco, stock.Xchng

Take for instance, some very common dreams that people normally report. One oft-quoted dream is walking around half-naked in a busy thoroughfare, usually with the private anatomy uncovered. Surprisingly, the others in the dream don't appear surprised at this parade of nudity in public. Another is sitting down for defecation in a toilet which doesn't have any doors - so there's no privacy. To top this, you have somebody peering into the toilet and talking to you, while you are in the midst of the act.

image by Dora Pete, stock.Xchng

Then there are dreams involving relations and relationships. Boyfriends, girlfriends, current spouse, former spouses, current employer / boss / supervisor, former bosses, all appear in sequences that are a variation of reality - how things actually may have happened.

image by sanja gjenero, stock.Xchng

Another category of dreams is nightmares - where scary things happen to you. Usually there is a fearful element that threatens to take your life or the life of your kith and kin. It is almost like the Boggarts that Rowling's character Professor Remus John Lupin talks about in one of the Harry Potter movies.

Boggart, ffxi.allakhazam.com/images/mobs/Boggart.jpg

Some dreams occur once only - and others recur again and again and again, very persistently, as if they demand that they be heeded to.

I for one attach great value to dreams. Dreams are one channel through which one keeps in touch with one's inner core. Don't be obsessed with them; but don't ignore them, either - is my advice to anyone interested in dream interpretation.

image by Yiannis Papadimitriou, stock.Xchng

And for a good tool to self-analyze one's dreams, here is a good kit: http://www.short10.com/?c=sdb_dreamanalysis. The kit has the following goodies:

1. A guide titled - "The truth behind dreams".
2. A separate guide titled - "How to increase and remember your dreams".
3. A dream "dictionary".
4. A software - "Dream Log" to record dreams.
5. Finally, a software called "Dream Analyzer" which you feed in the elements of your dream and obtain a report on what it might mean.

Costs USD 27.95. Look forward to trying it out one of these days.

Dream Analyzer Box
Read More ›

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Fight Between Carnival And Lent

Pieter Bruegel's painting - The Fight Between Carnival And Lent

...And Kybalion's Principle of Polarity

I see this stark contrast in human existence day in and day out. I am sure we all do.

A tavern with barely concealing curtains that reveal more than hide the merriment and the good time that its customers are having inside, with an occasional one kicked out by a bouncer for creating trouble, sits cheek-by-jowl with a Christian missionary school with its ornate place of worship, groups of nuns shuffling silently by, and with students in their oh-so-neat uniforms talking animatedly about whatever it is that they talk about. A group of Samaritans distributing packaged foods to the kids of a government primary school as their mid-day meal, it being an incentive for the parents to send their kids to the school in the first place, just half-a-kilometer away from two groups of religion-and-dogma driven people with sticks and knives in their hands, aimed at each others' neck. Rows and rows of cages holding prostitutes decked up in colorful dresses, making come-hither gestures to passers-by, just a corner away from a famous temple, with its throng of women devotees paying obeisance to the goddess inside, and swaying to the hymns blaring out of the loud-speakers.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder's painting - Land of Cockaigne

We are not discussing ethics or morality or altruism here. This is the whole gamut of human condition, as it is. Whether the tavern owner or the religious leader or the cage-owner... we all have a right to live and to be the way we are. It is the paradox of human existence. We leap to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina or the latest terrorism attack, and at the same time we don't hesitate to leap from a building top in order to take our life, when things don't pan out the way we hoped they would. We allow our minds to be inspired to achieve great things... and we also allow our minds to be inspired to commit atrocity over fellow beings.

C S Lewis

The paradox of human existence.

This paradox is very much present in our life too. Joy and ecstatic moments find somehow a counterbalance in moments of pain and suffering. Theodicists attempt to reconcile between the two opposites, and try to arrive at some golden middle.

C S Lewis Immanuel Kant

Philosophers ask us to delve into our own self and seek healing within.

Khalil Gibran

I am inclined to go along with Kybalion's Principle of Polarity, which acknowledges the duality of nature. This principle asks you to not struggle with what actually is a fact of life. Simply be aware, it says, of the two sides of any question or issue.

"Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled." (The Kybalion.)

By Yves Pelletier

When we are struggling through the phases of doom and gloom, keeping this thought before us, makes the going bearable! :) And when we are enjoying those moments of bliss and joy, again keeping this thought before us allows us to keep our feet on terra firma, very, very firmly.

Khalil Gibran, 'Jesus, The Son of Man'
Read More ›

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Cat Who Can Sense Impending Death

Wish I Could Learn From The Cat!

The scene is Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Rhode Island.

Steere Masthead

The third floor of the center houses the Dementia Unit. Doctors and nurses make their usual rounds, busy doing whatever it is that they do. It is a very normal scene, with the air filled with the aroma of medicines and the Spartan environs befitting a nursing center where Alzheimer's and Dementia patients in their late stages come with the hope to convalesce.

Except, that there is a cat which is making waves in the hospice. Not that this particular cat is the only pet prowling around in the building. The hospital boasts of Cadbury, an adorable bunny, Tilly, the noisy parakeet, and Maxine, the hospital's guard dog amongst the pets it looks after. What makes Oscar - the cat - special is his ability to sense death.

Very uncannily, and this has been vouched for by people who are now actually keeping a scientific track of this cat's movements, this feline curls up near the bedside of a patient who has less than two hours to go. It has come to such a stage, that when these people see Oscar do this for a patient, they pick up the phone to call up the patient's kith and kin, and ask them to come over, since "the end is near".

Oscar's prediction skills are more accurate than the entire skills of medicine and science and technology put together.

The cat generally stays aloof, and is not very friendly. He seems to be quite satisfied with the food served during the day at fixed hours. And all day long, he does his rounds, prowling and sniffing, prowling and sniffing.

How does he manage to sense impending death? Does he "see" "it" in the room? Does he "smell" the deathly scent in the patient? Does he "hear" the final, bidding-adieu, song or hymn coming from the patient? Do his feline hairs rise in a special way at some special vibrations around the patient, which hints at the last moment? Of course, he has not been observed "licking" anything, so this fifth sense is ruled out.

And, very importantly, why does he feel obliged to be by the deathbed? Is it some sort of protocol that he is following? A "courtesy-demands-that-you-be-near-to-the-dying-person" kind of obligation that binds us all together, irrespective of whether we are humans or animals? After sensing the death, he could have simply walked away, couldn't he? He wouldn't have owed anything to the dying patient or their relatives anything, would he have? Heck, nobody would have even bothered to look at him while they were moving around in the hospice!

Still, our Oscar feels obliged to be by the deathbed, after so accurately sensing coming death.

Both these aspects - that there is a special sensory function which tells him of death, and that he curls up next to the patient in their final moments - are intriguing.

I wonder what Oscar's behavior would be if he were shifted to a neonatal hospital. Would he predict the exact moment when a baby will be born in cases of natural labor? Or would he predict still-born cases / infant deaths? Is he a harbinger of good news also? Or is his expertise limited to gloom alone?

Dementor, Harry Potter movie

Ah. I wish I could hone my own skills too and bring them to Oscar's level.

Oscar on the rounds
Read More ›