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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Mind - Body Connection

This post is for anyone who believes that all new age mumbo-jumbo about the "Mind / Body" connection is bull-corn.  This is a non-mumbo-jumbo presentation based on common medical data about how the human body works.  I will frame all points in a context where anyone can experiment for themselves.

To start, you will need two pairs of extremely comfortable socks.  Go buy some new fancy socks now if you don't have a pair that just feel awesome.  In one pair, cut out a dime sized hole in the toe, right where your big toe goes.   Now, put the "holed" sock on and then shoes.  Go about the rest of your day and keep a little journal of your mood.  If that hole doesn't annoy you, please stop reading immediately and consult Jeff Foxworthy, because you might be a redneck.  At the very least, that dime sized hole will catch your attention more than a little too often!

So, at risk of being too dumb, I want to point out simply that discomfort in the body does get communicated all the way up to our brains, and that can absolutely affect our mood.  Clearly there are obvious channels of communication that go from mind to body (clinching one's fist) and from body to mind (feeling annoyed by a hole in one's sock).

We've all heard about comfort foods.  My favorite is Skinner macaroni noodles smothered with a whole loaf of molten Velveeta.  The next time you feel stressed, try this experiment:  Cook up a whole bag of noodles and drench them with cheese.  Fill up a full sized plate and stack it with as much as you can get on there.   Sit at the table and spend 5 minutes writing about your mood before you eat.  Then enjoy the food, and after you finish that plate, take a moment to savor how you feel.  You are home, you are in a shelter, you are safe for the moment, your belly feels good, and you are just about to go eat another whole plate full of cheese smothered noodles.  Just take a moment to notice how different your situation feels, and if its not any better ... I'm sorry, if that plate of mac-n-cheese doesn't make you feel better, then your problem is way serious.  You have my condolences.  Here's my point though:  Our bodies, in response to what we eat, do send messages to our brains that affect our mood and how we experience life.   And, even though we are often oblivious, there are rich streams of data that flow from our bodies to our minds all the time.

Our normal daily thoughts would be completely overwhelmed if every part of our bodies kept in touch as loudly as a big toe in the hole of a sock, and we would be beyond "annoyed" 24/7 if we noticed every part of our body that much and that often.   Our minds naturally train themselves to grow accustomed to those signals, but the signals are still being sent 24/7 and we are capable tuning our senses to any one signal.  Like anything else, with practice, we can get better and better at detecting all the subtle little messages that our bodies constantly report to our minds.

We should also remember that much information within the body is transmitted via chemical reactions ... like the release of adrenaline as an obvious example.  Chemical reactions take longer to propagate through the body to be processed by our brains.   So, the importance of that is to understand that there may be a long delay between the time when you punished your body doing something stupid, and the moment when you realize that you hurt yourself, like a hangover for example.  Many signals are more subtle than a hang over.  Some signals from body to mind are more difficult to detect, harder to know what is the proper corrective action, and easier to lead to chronic harm.  These are the bad habits which we refuse to quit, in part because we fail to comprehend the connection between:

     1.  a barrage of, "Help me, this makes me hurt!" signals coming from our bodies after we eat an Ultimate Cheeseburger at 2 AM


     2.  how that can affect our mind and/or mood in a negative way at 10 AM the next day

Try and open your mind to confusion.  Sometimes an Ultimate Cheeseburger "IS" just what you needed at 2 AM ... so your body sends you "Happy" signals ... but then other times the same food will illicit "Not-so-Happy" signals after you eat it.   How does one sort all of this out?

This is where meditation comes in.  For starters, when you shut off the mindless chatter inside your head, it is easier to notice the more subtle signals being transmitted around in your body.  Try putting your favorite pair of socks back on, the ones without a hole.  Take the time to notice exactly how the tip of your toe feels with a good sock.  Seriously, spend 15 minutes just focusing on the tip of your toe with the good sock on.  Probably normally you would never give it a thought.  Give it a try because this is good practice for your mind, and it is a form of meditation.  The purpose is to exercise your mind so that you get better at recognizing the signals that your body constantly transmits, good or bad.  When you learn to detect more of these signals, you will become more aware of the condition that your body is really in.  You will become more aware of foods that you need to eat and activities that you need to do in order to make your body "feel" better.  You will also become more "body aware" in general, and in some cases you will notice posture or other habits that adversely affect your health.  You will also understand better about what you need to do to get the results that you want.  

It's simple advice really; take a moment to notice all the little details, the subtleties about the way everything feels.  It doesn't hurt to apply the same technique to data that streams in from outside as well.  There is a wealth of information constantly available to our conscious minds all around us all the time.  There is nothing spooky about it.  All we have to do to make use of that information is slow down and take the time to notice it.  To get better, practice noticing those subtle streams of information.  That's all meditation is ... time spent noticing data that you are normally oblivious to.

Now, I believe it is without argument that data communication between mind and body is "two-way".   Obviously we can send electrical signals down to our hands to form fists.  Probably you have noticed that when you get stressed out, your mental situation alone makes your stomach hurt.  My only suggestion is that you have the ability to communicate with more parts of your body than you've ever previously taken the time to notice.  Again, remember that when communications span over longer distances, it happens at a slower pace than the speed of thought.  Sometimes the communication of data is not complete until a long chain of chemical reactions occur and diffuse throughout.  Awareness is not an instant event in the body; it happens more slowly.  This is why it is helpful to slow down, clear the mind, give the body time to process, and learn to focus on the subtleties of how we feel ... "inward reflection" as they say in mumbo-jumbo-ese.   There is nothing magical or superstitious about it.  The simple fact is that the streams of information available to our minds have more depth and complexity than we can handle all at once.  When we shut down the normal dialog that we have in our head, close our eyes, and find a quiet place, then we will have more attention for noticing the less obvious mind/body connections that we all have.

If you would like to give it a try, there are tons of guided meditations that you can follow on YouTube.  I'm too busy for all this new age crap too, but I find that some of the meditations do help me sleep better.  Some of the sound tracks are are just white noise, while others are designed to help you dream more.  There are many choices and no reason not to experiment to see if any of them will help you feel better and/or help you achieve your goals in life and health.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

...a rebuttal to "Ancient Aliens" suggestion that rapid technological advancements started with alien intervention

In legend, credit for the invention of the Samurai sword is somewhat given to spirits.  Even today some people will give credit for a moment of inspiration to a god or prayer.  The show "Ancient Aliens" attempts to give credit for human progress to alien visitors.   I get somewhat offended by that message in general which I hear as: "Your human mind is too weak and feeble to invent these great new technologies.  Of course the humans of ancient civilizations would not have been intelligent enough to do this on their own."  Frankly, the first part of that message pisses me off.  When I hear that message from religious sources, it pisses me off even more.   I want to send this message to the world: "YOUR MIND IS FREAKING AWESOME.  YOUR MIND IS AN INCREDIBLY POWERFUL TOOL.   YOUR MIND IS OPTIMIZED AND READY TO CREATE AMAZING ADVANCEMENTS AND NEW CREATIONS!"

To state my point bluntly to "Ancient Aliens" and those who would believe this way: you don't need no stinkin' aliens, or gods, to explain the advancements of mankind along the way.  We're freaking awesome dudes and dudettes; we have the brain power to do whatever we are motivated to do.

Inspiration is not even particularly remarkable.   We all have moments of inspiration.  We all think: "...dang, if only I had some little dilly-dally that was shaped to fit that thingy there I want..."  and we get a little visual or some impression in our minds of what might solve our little problem.   It happens all the time and yet most of the time we don't give those seeds of an idea a second thought because we are so busy executing our normal routines of meeting daily needs.  Now, we put our-self in the Japanese blacksmith's shoes ... instead of blacksmiths, imagine the task is whatever you are best at ... even if what you are best at is skateboarding.  The point is that the innovation which often happens is in a person's field of expertise; they are already good at it.  If you aren't good at anything, go learn how to do something, anything well --- others do all the time, its not hard if you work at doing anything in particular ... "YOU CAN DO THAT" ... you can learn how to do something well; this is within your human capability.

Next, we want to imagine that we are going through the same process that the blacksmith went through.  What if we lock ourselves in a room and brainstorm for 7 days straight with an equally intelligent partner?  If we did nothing but eat, sleep, and drink "skateboarding", would we not come up with some freaking awesome new ideas to try?   If our game happened to be blacksmith-ing, and we are already well known and respected blacksmiths, would we not have the ability to come up with some ideas on how to make the steel better?   If anyone doesn't understand this, they need to think about their passion.  What would they most love to do?  What would they think is a blessed vacation to be locked away from the rest of the world for a week doing?   Actually, for the blacksmith, it was more like he spent a week "thinking" about what he was going to do for the next month.  This is what we call a brainstorming session and it is not that remarkable.  The only thing remarkable about the invention of the samurai sword is that their society was advanced enough for a tradesman to save up enough resources to dedicate 7 days to "thinking".   Actually, let's be even more realistic, he spent that time with his dedicated assistant, so that's actually 14 days invested in "thinking".   There are countless examples of awesome ideas coming out of such brainstorming sessions.  It is not remarkable and any human is just as capable of such feats if:

1.  You dedicate the time and effort to learn a trade.
2.  You become good enough at your trade and produce enough value such that you have the resources to dedicate 14 days "thinking" with an equally dedicated partner.

Now getting back to the story of the samurai sword.  After the 7 days of "prayer", the blacksmith and his assistant then spent the next 31 days trying the ideas they came up with.  Since he was with his assistant, that represents an investment of 62 days.   How many people can afford to take off "work" for 2 and 1/2 months (counting brainstorm time)  to work on some new invention?   There's nothing remarkable about the invention, what is remarkable is that his society and his part in the society had enabled him to invest so much time and effort into a new invention.  In our modern world this happens all the time.  People work on the trades they work on.  They build up a "shop" around them; they make the tools of their trade a part of their daily life and they are passionate about the work they do.  Our modern inventors frequently get to a point where they have the resources to invest in ideas, and then they make beautiful new things that we all enjoy.

And finally, getting back to my overall reason for picking a fight with "Ancient Aliens", my goal is to make everyone aware of this message that we see all around us:  "You can't do this, you're not smart enough to invent the samurai sword, no humans are capable of such amazing invention; you need a god or an alien for that."   That message is HORSE-SHIT.   Please!!! Stop believing that message, conveying that message, or worse, letting that message get to you and make you believe that you are not capable of amazing creations!  We are all human, we all have incredible minds, there is no excuse for mediocrity.  Be passionate my friends!

Friday, September 27, 2013

It does matter if your state will recognize gold and silver as legal money!

We live in a world where our central government does immensely more than it is authorized to do.  Lawyers are creative rascals though, and masters at using natural human behavior to manipulate people to get what they want.  The tool that they use best is money!   Politicians know that all they need to do to gain more control is this:  make up really good excuses to raise taxes and then give the money back.  Giving the money back in the form of popular programs that appeal to people's sense of fairness makes it constantly easier to make up more excuses to raise more taxes.

In some cases, this was a good deal for people too because the government could operate with an economy of scale and produce many results for lower costs than any other organization.  We got good things like cheap electricity from the Hoover Dam and Social Security for our elderly.  When the government made good decisions, the whole country shared the success and we were acquiescent when they came asking for higher and higher percentages of our money.  

Slowly, the rule makers in Washington D.C. figured out that they could easily attach requirements to the money as they gave it back.  This tactic worked on both individuals and smaller autonomous units of government like states, counties, and cities.  An example is the wide spread adoption of zoning laws and building codes.  Cities are required to adopt certain standards in order to get grant money for expansion projects.  People easily forget that if their own money wasn't taken away in taxes, they would be able to afford their own expansion projects locally.  They wouldn't need the grant money or the "cookie-cutter" rules that come with the money; rules which may or may not be beneficial for local circumstances.

The bottom line also comes down to the fact that the feds are taking more than they are giving now.  What started out as a great deal, with everyone sharing in the benefit, has become pitted with corruption, waste, and bad decisions.  In some cases the power shift that has occurred has led to outright abuse of some citizens.  It is in our best long term interest to subject the power brokers to competition for that power.  Even if we can't take the power away, we can force them to give us a better deal.  We can force them to clean up some of the corruption, and we can hold them more accountable for bad decisions.  We can use money as a tool to control them just as easily as they use it as a tool to control us!

What does all this have to do with gold or silver?

US dollars are owned and controlled from the federal power structure.  The more dollars are used and the more people depend on them, then the more effective the "strings" --attached to the dollars-- are at controlling us.  We have given away our autonomy in exchange for our own money to be given back.  Tax reform, federal government reform, and fiscal policy reform would all be the best way to deal with the problems we endure, but how often do oppressors suddenly have a virtuous change of heart?  Another strategy to take our power back is to simply stop using US dollars.  We set ourselves free from the "strings" when we no longer want what the strings are attached too.  

The only federally legal replacement for US dollars is gold and silver.  It is yet another last resort tool that our founding fathers gave us to use to escape oppression.   So, please, I implore you, use gold and silver as a tool to reduce your need for USD and all those strings.  Support movements in your state to recognize gold and silver as money.  Save silver coins under the oak tree rather than imaginary dollars in a bank account.  If you control a business, accept payment in silver or gold.  For the states that already accept silver and gold as money, pay your taxes in that.  Starve the beast!  US dollars can go worthless overnight, so this is in your personal best interest anyway.

Lastly, there is another form of money that is currently legal to use.  It is the "gold" of the internet: Bitcoin.  Google Bitcoin, learn about trading it here, starve the beast, and benefit yourself and your family in the process!

Everything I have is for sale in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Feathercoin, or whatever crypto currency you prefer.  Now for the hard part: taking pictures of everything I have and posting them here!  You could be the 1st to buy an old Ford 8N tractor with litecoins ... do it right here, right now.  Sorry, delivery is not available, so I recommend this rather heavy item to local Texans.

Ford 8N Tractor -- $400 USD ... no delivery available
email mayshinter@gmx.com for details
Click below to buy with bitcoins!
Scan QR to pay with any Bitcoin
Smart phone wallet!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Rise and Fall of Crappers

Sometimes you just need a quiet moment to relax and unwind; and that's kinda hard to get when the office crapper has more foot traffic than 6th street on a Saturday night.  For the lucky ones of us "Office Space" types, there are often other options.  In my office space world, the place to go when you "have to go" was the 4th floor john on the opposite side of the building.  It was just outside some lawyer office, and those guys had the good shit when it comes to shitters.  I may not swim with sharks, but it was kinda nice shitting with those snakes.

It was always a little bit of a walk, but they had freakin' Bed Bath & Beyond hand soaps in there.  The fixtures and tile were all new, and if you went in right at 2, you could often be the first to soil the soily.  It was the place to be, like an awesome plush bar that not everyone knew about yet.

Time happens though.  When you got a good thing goin' people find out about it.  People come far and wide, and people make "the place to be" turn into the place to be cliché.  In some cases they make it worse, as in the place to be stanked upon.  If you have discerning tastes when it comes to bathroom accommodations, you must always be on the hunt.  A good john is hard to find, and a good john is even harder to keep.

You can never rule anyplace out though.  Just remember, like any dive bar, a crapper is only one renovation away from a grand opening with new upscale clientele.  Fortunately, as the 4th floor bastion of waste descended into the sewer, the 3rd floor pooper room got a new look.  What once invoked thoughts of fear and, "I'm not gonna sit down here!" is now the newest, un-smelliest, most lightly traveled place to park your poop hole in the whole office building complex.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The First All Night Dance Party

There's nothing like a weekend long music festival to help you reconnect with your ancient roots, especially when your tent gets flooded by rain on the first night ... and after 12 hours of  psychedelic music, even I began to see visions of times past.

I saw nomadic tribes of humans; I saw the first tribe large enough to have elders with saving wisdom, musicians, children, and mothers.   I could see the evening starting with the elders sitting around the camp fire.  You see, they know before anyone else that a rain storm is coming.  They know that the children will soon be frightened by a distant thunder, and they  know to build the main fire up extra warm this night.

Having pitched a tent myself the night before, making new friends, sharing food and drink, I easily imagined the routine of all the families.  Many of them, like me, were unprepared for a change in the weather.  Still, what a wonderful way to spend the evening, laughing with new friends, high in the mountains.  Even off at their own little camp sites, everyone can hear the steady beat from the drums at the main fire.

As word of the approaching storm makes its way around camp, some know to take a nap while the napping is good.  Others head up to the main fire for stories, chants, drums, and dance.  The night is still normal save for the fire is warmer, the winds stronger, and the drums louder.  At Pangea Pt. 6 "The New Age of Atlantis," I was one of the nappers ... that is until the rains came through my tent.   When the beds get wet, and all the little fires go out, that is when the whole tribe joins the dance party!

It's warm there around all the other people.  Everyone joins in, young and old; well, everyone with wet beds joins in the dance.   The dancing keeps us feeling alive and the trance like state from the drums makes us feel oddly rested when the morning light comes.  New friendships become stronger and the fear of cold and hunger fade away.  

It was funny watching certain members of my new tribe and how instinctively they acted at dawn.  I can only imagine that throughout time there were always a few who dropped everything at dawn to tidy the main camp.   Others, less inspired like me, joined in simply because of the good example that was being set.  And so a new day begins with a new set of toils and dangers.  Those of us who danced all night are better prepared to face it than those who grew sick in their cold wet beds.

If the sun comes up, we dry our tents and sleep, but if the rains stay; we do it all again.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to tell if giving someone money is the right thing to do

Suppose your child, or friend, or a stranger on the street asks you for some money.  What do you do?  What do you ask yourself?  How do you justify either giving them money, or denying their request?

Some of the questions that swirl through my head are: "Why did they let themselves get into this position?", or "Why does this person always need help?".  I'm fixated on the person and their need and how if they took better care of themselves, then they wouldn't be bothering me right now.

I find myself giving the bum a $1 because I think he needs it, and I give it grudgingly because I think he shouldn't need it.  Surely this is a warped way to view an experience of giving and receiving.

So, I've decided that there is a better way to think in this situation.  I will change my focus from the requester's need, to the requester's ambition.  If the beggar has any ambition, I simply ask myself: "is the ambition good, and will this gift help enable that ambition?"

Of course, there are those folks who just don't seem to have any ambition at all.  Perhaps the question for that is, "Which action will stir up the most ambition in this person, giving money, or withholding it?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Here is a good example of how assumptions make for bad policy.  The lady who wrote this poem is as thin and healthy as you can get.  By the sound of this poem, she doesn't stay that way by eating a government recommended diet:

No “Thanks” for Thanksgiving Dinner (2014?)

A timely piece of poetry by Cari Bieter

Thanksgiving Day is coming
And I can easily wait!
The tofu turkey’s in the oven,
So I’ll be good and late!

How times have changed, my darlings—
As I remember well
Aromas from the kitchen,
Oh, how I loved that smell!

Mom was in her apron,
All day fixing stuff!
Pumpkin pies and candied yams—
I could never get enough!

A great big bowl of dressing
Was stuffed into the bird.
I watched her pop it in the oven
Without saying a word!

Our relatives would pile in,
The house was such a clutter!
I could hardly wait to taste
Those rolls with lots of butter!

Our table would be groaning
With sweets and fatty food!
No one cared—we dug right in
Because it tasted good!

Heaps of mashed potatoes
with gravy thick and tasty;
Drumsticks plump and juicy,
 Pumpkin’ pies & pastry!

Alas, those days are over,
My taste buds dormant now.
The tofu turkey’s roasting,
And I shall take a vow:

I shan’t enjoy my dinner
On this Thanksgiving Day!
Without the buttered, candied yams
And mincemeat pies—no way!
Here comes Uncle Herbert
A bottle under his arm.
Is it wine? Or champagne?
No! They might do us harm!

“Bottled water is my gift—
A welcome change of pace!”
We sit down at the table,
No smile on my face!!

The government has told us
In no uncertain terms—
To gain an ounce is evil,
As bad as getting germs!

No sweets, no fat, no real meat,
And butter is the devil!
I’ll fixate on the good old days,
In those memories I shall revel!

Tofu turkey, sprouted bread,
Organic veggies too.
And for dessert? There’s no dessert—
Sugar is taboo!!


Happy Thanksgiving, my dears!