25 Nov 2012

Baraka and Kecak

Baraka is an ancient Sufi word, which can be translated "as a blessing, or the breath, or the essence of life from which the evolutionary process unfolds."
It is also the title of an extraordinary documentary by Ron Fricke, universal as only an unspoken movie can be, with wondrous imagery.

You can see it in full with the link below, at 1080p quality, which it well deserves!

Personally, I was particularly moved by the 13 minute time-frame. As far as I could research, it is called "Kecak", a dance/musical drama from Bali, also known as the Ramayana Monkey Dance and it portrays a specific episode of their mystical history and is executed as a form of exorcism.

How about you? What moved you most?


11 Nov 2012

Code tapping to survive

Big think.com has an interesting article on how prisoners of war manage to survive and keep sane in the harshest conditions. Code tapping on the wall to communicate with other prisoners kept in isolation seem to be essential to survival. The example was taken from the horrible experience of James Stockdale who was a POW in Vietnam for eight years. In a more normal life, the author says, it's essential to communicate and share feelings with friends. Resilience builds up on facing the challenge with optimism.

According to Charney, everyone needs a tap code. In other words, "everybody needs a set of individuals in their life that they can count on, that they can share their feelings with, that they can ask for advice in terms of facing a trauma." That is why Charney recommends you should develop a network of friends and relatives who you can share your emotions with.


3 Nov 2012

Wishing for change

We're all afraid of change. Yet we wish for it. How can you explain the paradox? I think the human species is quite prone to habits (as animals are) and on the other hand as a thinking species we thrive for change.

Changing mean losses but it also means new opportunities. Change means anxiety and fears but also hope.

Lots of people keep saying: "I want to change. I really do. But...". This ambivalence is quite normal. You know you need to change but you stick to old habits and pattern of thoughts and behaviour.

The most frequent question is: "Tell me how I can change". There's no answer to that question specially if you are an adult. When you're a child you are supposed to ask parents and other authorities for directions. Not anymore when you're a grown-up. You can ask for professional help which is not the same thing. A psychotherapist doesn't give directions. Its job is to help you thinking not to point to solutions. The path to change has to discovered by the person if possible with the help of a professional, be him a psychotherapist or a coach. Transformations happen within people and sometimes they are not noticed right away. Change is about hope for progress. Do you really want it?


1 Nov 2012

Obstacles and learning

It seems that the easier the learning the less it stays. Listen to this:

Robert Bjork from the University of California talks of "desirable difficulties" to describe the counter-intuitive notion that learning should be made harder. Spacing sessions further apart so that students have to make more effort to recall what they learnt last time had better results in the long term. Research has found that the bigger the obstacles the deeper the learning.

Professor Virginia Berninger at the University of Washington found that handwriting activated more of the brain than keyboard writing, including areas responsible for thinking and memory.

Psychologists at Princeton found that students remembered reading material better when it was printed in an ugly font.

Researchers in the University of Amsterdam found that when people are forced to cope with unexpected obstacles they react by increasing their "perceptual scope"—taking a mental step back to see the bigger picture.

Maybe we should re-think the way we've been educating our children for the last thirty years.






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