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Mindfulness Meditation Training Changes Brain Structure in Eight Weeks
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Train in the middle way

The middle way is wide open, but it’s tough going, because it goes against the grain of an ancient neurotic pattern that we all share. When we feel lonely, when we feel hopeless, what we want to do is move to the right or left. We don’t want to sit and feel what we feel. We don’t want to go through the detox. Yet the middle way encourages us to do just that. It encourages us to awaken the bravery that exists in everyone without exception, including you and me.

Meditation provides a way for us to train in the middle way – in staying right on the spot. We are encouraged not to judge whatever arises in our mind. In fact, we are encouraged not to even grasp whatever arises in our mind. What we usually call good or bad we simply acknowledge as thinking, without all the usual drama that goes along with right or wrong. We are instructed to let the thoughts come and go as if touching a bubble with a feather. This straight-forward discipline prepares us to stop struggling and discover a fresh, unbiased state of being.

Pema Chodron

Good reminder, especially for today.
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Today [ profile] elphaba_of_oz found a bullseye rash, and she did something very, very unusual upon finding it.

Within hours, she went to the doctor and had it examined.

Because she did this, she is already on the antibiotics that give her an excellent chance of not experiencing the extraordinarily, really fucking bad, long-term consequences of Lyme disease.

Medical anthropologists and sociologists know that delay in seeking medical care is a normal part of most people's behavior in the U.S. It is relatively unusual for someone to have a symptom immediately checked. Because of inconvenience, nervousness and fear, people usually dither about with this sort of thing.

The consequences of dithering are sometimes neutral and sometimes very, very bad. In the case of Lyme, it would have been disastrous.

It is unusually smart behavior to get things checked immediately. It is unusually wise behavior to listen when people say "go to the doctor right away".

If you are looking for smart behavior to emulate---if you are looking to stand apart from the crowd, and be productively different---emulate this.

NOTE: If you follow the link above to her journal and click on the 'replies' to her first entry about the bullseye rash she found, you will see a reply in which [ profile] onxytwilight provides a link to a webpage on Lyme disease. This link has a selection of photos depicting different bullseye rashes, on light, medium and dark skin. If you take a look, you will have a really good idea of what to look for in the future if you suspect Lyme disease is being signalled by an odd-looking rash.
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Monday was the 'Romantic Affliction' lecture in Social and Ecological Aspects of Health and Disease (SEAHD). I love this class. We start out talking about tuberculosis as a disease that has dogged humanity for thousands of years and end up exploring the ways epidemics have shaped our current notions of beauty, fashion and sexy vampires.

Any class in which I can start out describing the symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis and end up talking about Angel, Buffy and Goths is a good class.

After the lecture, I sent my students out into the world armed with scissors and stories of the Romantic poets, eagerly in search of up to one point of extra credit. I got back a pile of handwritten papers stapled to magazine pages and photographs, articles and images, and I am deeply satisfied.

I love to teach. It’s almost the best thing in the world.
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Last week, one of my university students disclosed an HIV+ status to me. This student is extremely intelligent, very hard-working and exceedingly kind. The diagnosis came 3 weeks ago. At this student's request, I gave her/him a copy of my diss, though I did not expect it to be of much help. Our conversation and any support I could offer over the semester, I thought, would help more.

Read more... )


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June 2012

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