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Research findings also offer guidance

The origins of mindfulness can be traced back to Hindu and Buddhist writings. The word is a translation of sati, awareness. Buddha considered it to be an important factor on the path to enlightenment. Moreover, a mindful approach to life can help us manage our stress, says Dr. Allen Elkin (2013, 97)

Mindfulness is about getting and staying aware in the present, your immediate experience; maintaining at least some measure of openness without unfit judgement (Cf. Elkin 2013, 98). How to stay mindful? By keeping it apart from meditation sessions that enliven it. That could be a fit approach for most people.

Seek to get allied with solid research to help yourself to the most beneficial meditation method available to many. Transcendental Meditation, TM, is the generally best method, as far as measured results go. There is very much research done on the more common effects of TM. Brain waves is one key to study its immediate effects. TM works well, according to many studies. Other TM results are cumulative in that they build up over time. [◦A summary of beneficial results of meditating the TM way, by the David Lynch Foundation]

◦Transcendental Meditation Address.

Philantrophic as suits us may not suit "them"

A heap of words may be of less real value than sound TM practice, or practice of other fair methods fairly given. Note "fairly given" too, for that fine point could help you against hard tricks. Not everyone plays fair. It might help to know who your friends are - real friends.

It would be nice if those who set out to teach good yoga stuff were straight. A happy beginner may imagine it is always so. However, an Indian caution is that only one out of many are good gurus. The idea calls for good investigations before committing or submitting.

Alert yourself, for example by asking yourself, "What guidelines are to be trusted now? Which rabbit is pulled out of the top hat this time?" A guru known as Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) is referred to here and there. His early aims included "eat nuts", and made no exceptions for all who were and are allergic to nuts. That was unwise [Eating nuts, one more abandoned Yogananda aim for American followers

The current aims and ideals of SRF derive from older sets of aims and ideals, and the articles of incorporation that Yogananda furnished and/or sanctioned when SRF was registered as a church in California in 1935. [◦SRF Articles of Incorporation] These articles were amended just a few years after Yogananda had died. On December 5, 1954, a "Certificate of Amendment of the Articles of Incorporation" was signed on behalf of members and directors by the vice-president then, Dr. Minott Lewis. One ideal is "To conduct charitable and philanthropic activities of all kinds." - "Of all kinds". Ask yourself, "Have they ever given me money?" If not, it is far from "all kinds" . . .

A cult? Better not enter in the first place

Inject humor anytime it is approproate. People love to laugh . . . tell a good joke. Humor and laughter really make life enjoyable. - Dr. Michael Murray (2012, 34)

Kind humour can increase thriving and longevity Dr. Sven Svebak finds, summing from a study of 53 500 people over a seven years period. It needs to be understood as "in average it helps". It showed up that participants with the best humour scores, had 20 percent lower mortality than the other half. It means they did not die as fast as the other half. The findings are statistically significant, which means we rule out "chance, suggestions, coincidence", roughly said. (Svebak et al, 2015)

Mirth makes life cosier to some. Mere laugther may reduce stress too, at least temporarity. In such cases, nonsensical laughter alone can do "the trick", for "your body can't distinguish between real and fake laughter - any giggle will do," writes The Guardian [1]. Compare with laughter therapy, also known as laughter yoga.

Some sects silently remove marring guru guidelines on the road to idealising what is left. [Faulty ideas, lowly management]

The proper procedure in a lot of things throughout life is to do away with dukkha, variously translated or understood as suffering, stress, lack of ease and comfort, and so on. If doing away with suffering cleanly is not possible, one should try to lessen it by suitable means at hand. If that is not possible, be glad to be alive anyway, and so on.

If you are raging on the other side after choking on advocated food as a result of allergy to nuts and the early Yogananda's "eat nuts", is it right to say his early guidelines killed you? Maybe so, maybe no; it may be hard to decide - and maybe not. It depends.

If something clearly wrong is professed, shun it a lot. Have nothing to do with a group that hails wrong ideas and blunderbuss sayings a lot. Be on the safe side. And beware of exhortations like, "Meditate! Meditate!" If meditation is pleasant to you, it is its own recommendation. It is sensible not to be goades into "sect slavery" or snobbishness or cultishness.

In doubt after reading into research findings? Consult an experienced guy and good, relevant literature by doctors or better to deal with baits, public facades, hype and further. Why? The cost of dire mistakes is not a blessing; there is such a risk. There are many sorts of experiences, and not all are for the telling.

We can learn from some of the mistakes of others and improve our lot if we learn to handle information well, sparing our assets. And time very well spent is a good thing in life.

Anecdote The leading English fashion designer Sir Norman Hartnell (1901̵79), who was a dressmaker to the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, tells he was lunching one day at a country house when during a lull in the conversation he complimented his hostess on a silver trophy in the centre of the table.

"I won it for one of my jumpers," she explained.

"How clever," I replied. "Could you knit one for me?" (From Fadiman 1985, 267-68)

He thought he was funny. At times play on several meanings of a word is. There are other potentially humorous ways of playing with words too.


Enlarging Self-realisation and meditation, stress, Literature  

Elkin, Allen. Stress Management For Dummies. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. 2006.

Fadiman, Clifton, general ed. The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1985.

Murray, Michael. Stress, Anxiety, and Insomnia: What the Drug Companies Won't Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn.t Know. Coquitlam, BC: Mind Publishing, 2012.

Svebak, Sven, Solfrind Romundstad, Are Holen and Jostein Holmen. A 15-Year Follow-Up Study of Sense of Humor and Causes of Mortality: The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study. Psychosomatic Medicine 78(3), November 2015. ⍽▢⍽ High scores on the cognitive component of the sense of humor were significantly associated with lower mortality in women, but not in men. Mortality due to CVD [cardiovascular diseases] was significantly lower in women with high scores on the cognitive component, and so was mortality due to infections both in men and women. In the total population, the positive association between the cognitive component of sense of humor and survival was present until the age of 85 years.
    Conclusions: The cognitive component of the sense of humor is positively associated with survival from mortality related to CVD and infections in women and with infection-related mortality in men. The findings indicate that a sense of humor is a health-protecting cognitive coping resource. [Link]
    For your information: Nord-Trøndelag county is no more (2018).

Notes

  1. Laughter Therapy. The Guardian, 6 July 2008, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/jul/06/healthandwellbeing4

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