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The power of the inner world

It's a lovely spring outside and I decided to open the season with some articles on pleasure and well-being. After all, you can't escape the not so fun experiences - we all have to pass trough whatever we've written in our worldline (i.e. destiny). But the rest of the time, we're free to enjoy our life the best we can. So, here is some food for the thought on the nice and lovely and sweet side of our lives. 
Why Meditation And Orgasm Feel The Same To The Brain - "According to a recent article in Scientific American, both meditation and orgasm decrease our sense of self-awareness. Bliss, says author Nadia Webb, whether through the experience of meditative contemplation or through the bodily experience of sex, "shares the diminution of self-awareness, alterations in bodily perception and decreased sense of pain." In other words, both experiences lead to a temporary stoppage in the incessant flow of our internal commentary. Even if for only a few minutes, we are able to see ourselves as something other than the ego.
Meditation and orgasm light up different parts of the brain. Meditation, various studies have shown, lights up the left prefrontal cortex -- an area associated with joy and happiness. But during an orgasm, the left cortex remains totally silent. Meditation has also been known to create lasting change in the brain through a thickening of the cortex."
The conclusion is simple - make more sex and more meditation and be happy! 
10 Ways to Buy Happiness -
"1. Buy many small lovely things rather than one big one
2. Savour the cheap joys of life
3. Practice 'presence' for an extra jolt of joy
4. Buy experiences, not things
5. Spend on others, not yourself
6. Buy less insurance
7. Delay, delay, delay consumption
8. Happiness is in the details
9. Don't shop around
10. Follow the herd"
A lovely article on Stoicism :
"The core of the philosophy seems to be this: To have a good and meaningful life, you need to overcome your insatiability. Most people, at best, spend their lives in a long pursuit of happiness. So today’s successful person writes out a list of desires, then starts chasing them down and satisfying the desires. The problem is that each desire, when satisfied, tends to be replaced by a new desire. So the person continues to chase. Yet after a lifetime of pursuit, the person ends up no more satisfied than he was at the beginning. Thus, he may end up wasting his life.
The solution, the Stoics realized, is to learn to want the things you already have, rather than wanting other things. The most interesting technique that will help you achieve this is Negative Visualization.
For example, suppose that you currently have a good working set of eyes. Imagine carefully what it would be like to live your life as a blind person. You would have to work very hard to rearrange your life to remain functional (...) - in the end, you could surely survive and even become happy again if you were blind. But now open your eyes. SURPRISE!! YOU HAVE THIS BONUS OF SIGHT!!!. What an incredible life – you are truly blessed with more than you even need.
It turns out that if you practice negative visualization on a regular basis, you learn to both appreciate your current life much more, and to be mentally prepared in the event of any changes in your life as well – loss of health, fortune, a loved one, etc. You have replaced negative emotions with satisfaction and even joy.
The next great trick is the one that allows you to eliminate anxiety about the present and the future. That can be done by separating your worries into things you can control, and things you can’t.
Moving from the mental to the physical, Stoics actually enjoy experimenting with Voluntary Discomfort. (..)It sounds absurd by modern standards, until you realize that by doing this, you are actually broadening your comfort zone, even while you eliminate your fear of discomfort. By experimenting with voluntary discomfort, we learn to appreciate far more of our life, and can be content with a much simpler and more wholesome one.“The more pleasures a man captures, the more masters he will have to serve”
 Stoics believe that the main purpose of our productive energy is to fulfill all of our life’s obligations to our best ability, and to help our fellow humans.
Rewarding social interactions are a specialty of the Stoic. They believe that humans are social animals at the core, and thus we must exercise this part of our personality to maintain a balanced happiness. But at the same time, it is not rational to have any interest in fame or social status, since these are fleeting indulgences rather than sources of true happiness."
It's very strange to read an article like that if you're a fan of the positive visualization and the Secret and so on. On the first glance, positive and negative visualization can't be both right at the same time. But that's wrong. The negative visualization is a distinct effort from your side to see the things from another perspective. It's like an exercise you do to get stronger. While the positive visualization should be part of your mind-chatter. To always expect for the best result out of any situation, to become the person to whom such best results occur. It's amazing what our brains can do, if we use them properly.
Another very touching link, I just have to share is that to the alternate gospels, which I think everybody should read at least once, because they are so full of jewels.
http://reluctant-messenger.com/alternate-gospels.htm
with the gospel of Thomas what I find particularly ...interesting right now. It's not so important when and how they were written, the important part is the spiritual message they are brining to our attention.

And yeah, one more link. Read this crazy story : Terrified Woman From Another Universe Wake Up Here and make up your mind about it. For me, it's simply amazing. And also quite spooky. And very uncomfortably realistic. Linking it to the Stoicism - just imagine what would be to wake up like her - in a very familiar, but not the same world you went to sleep. And just appreciate what you have. Because many people do experience such things for very mundane reasons. So I think we should never forget what a wonderful gift our life is. Not because it's perfect, but because it ours.
Finally, I'd like to share a thought I read in a poem by William Mistelle:
"Your body is the cloak your spirit wears
In order to appear in this world"
I love it. I think we all know it, but still refuse to give up to this knowledge and accept it as part of us. In any case, we should enjoy our lives more. It's only them we have. Have a wonderful evening!

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