Monthly Archives: March 2013


Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

And now for something completely different (as I attempt to purposely embed video).

(I guess I’ll find out if this worked out, later… why do I take notes of this stuff and put it IN the blog?)

Are you over worked?  Is your day filled with stress or little annoyances or people you want to strangle?  Maybe you need a psychiatrist, maybe you need a vacation or maybe, just maybe you need 10 minutes.

According to Puddicombe, ‘all it takes is 10 mindful minutes’ to reset the operating system.  I like this thought, the human body is a machine and thus logically, so is the brain and its thoughts.  It certainly makes sense that there is a physical component that could be applied to reset the brain instead of trying to utilize our own mental thoughts to cleanly wipe itself clear.  So why not try create focus, calm and clarity by performing this technique?

A couple quick comments (and admittedly enough, I’m feeling completely unprofessional this morning):

1) I thought, “Hey, that guy looks like a monk!” -> He is!  (Or was!)

2) He’s holding three balls, is he going to juggle?  I hope he juggles.  -> He does!  (I doubt that was taught in the temple but it proves his point of reduced concentration to achieve results)

3) My gut reaction when he says (paraphrasing), “When have you done absolutely nothing for ten minutes?” -> He’s obviously never worked in an office before, that’s 7.5 hours of nothing!  Kidding!

These kind of talks are very refreshing at times as it has a very grounded feeling of understanding where he is coming from and which direction he is directing the talk towards.  To be honest, all it takes is the title of the talk and you know exactly what its about and possibly a natural inclination of the benefits of doing so.

As we want to follow the scientific method of finding results, I will take MY 10 mindful minutes now..

Three Things you could learn about taking mindful minutes

1) It keeps yourself idealistic

The world is almost designed to make oneself pessimistic in nature.  There are often times too many pitfalls, mistakes and grievances that cannot be resolved and so it leaves a bad mental afterthought.  In some aspects it’s the lack of closure and in others it is the lack of progression.

I personally have felt myself quite tested in recent days, not only have I “not progressed” in my daytime ambitions, in many ways it feels like I have actually taken a step or two backwards.  These are not pleasant feelings.  These are the kind of emotions tied to aggression and a yearning to force change before change is ready.  It is a mental tightrope walk where falling is not an option.

Enter the mindful minutes, it’s the pseudo equivalent of counting to ten before reacting to stimulus.  It’s surprising how often THAT isn’t done let alone taking 10 minutes to be mindfully aware of situations.  It certainly does help.

2) Taking 10 minutes to just observe, makes you feel like a kid again

I turned on a stopwatch and let my ten minutes start.   My initial reaction was that having a clock slowly counting was enough to nullify my mindful minutes but given that I wanted to limit my initial testing I kept it going.  My second observation was that taking time to do nothing had a similar sensation to going outside for a cigarette.  It’s ‘time away’, or ‘away from the chaos inside’.  However, it was around here that I started becoming uncertain if daydreaming or paraphrasing experience probably wasn’t what this was supposed to be about.

I started observing my environment, the room itself and level of brightness, how my body felt (a bit sore from working out) and that I could hear my nose.  That’s not good, was my nose always making this noise?  How many people has this annoyed without me being aware of it, or is this some new thing I’ve just discovered?  Feeling I was going offtrack again, i continued to observe.

Around this time I started getting mental flashbacks of childhood where ‘this’ was the mental environment at the time.  When I was very small I wasn’t interacting or expected to interact with adults, it was just clear observation.  My mind wasn’t actively designing on problems or boggled with thought, it was just absorbing my senses.  It’s exactly how I remember being as a kid, and I’m legitimately surprised that I haven’t done something like this sooner.

The clock was still running and I’m occasionally taking the time to observe specifically that.  For myself, I know that I concentrate better when I am able to look at objects in the far distance, it’s probably due to the relaxation of the eyes and I’m painfully aware of this concept as I wish my timer was far far away instead of being so close.

Ten minutes finish up.  Was that sip of my drink that I took midway disruptive to the experiment?  Was my initial daydreaming part of or distraction from true minutes of doing ‘nothing’?  I don’t know, but I’ll have to try this again sometime.

3) You’re 1% on the way to enlightenment

This guy was a monk, and if it followed the ‘zen’ path it was seeking enlightenment.  What does it mean to be enlightened?

I know the following (I’m not checking facts if this was from anything either).  The cause of suffering is desire, to end desire is to end suffering.  To be truly enlightened, one would have no desires and likewise no burdens of suffering.

These mindful minutes reminded me of creating a moment in time where we can become, if only temporarily, “enlightened”.  It might not be true 23 hours and 50 minutes a day, but for a solid ten minutes I can try to not have a single desire.  To be carefree and not carry the paranoia of other people judging me or that I was not observant enough in my own day to day routine.

It appears that everything starts with awareness.  Something can only be remembered if we were aware of it to begin with, it appears that mindful minutes might be tied to having awareness of thought and so enlightenment is a by product of complete awareness.  And that’s not possible in a Las Vegas casino (aka, in our lives today.  And by Casino, I’m just using that as a description).

Well, that was highly interesting.  Take ten minutes and try it out yourself.

Enlightened to share


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Posted by on March 15, 2013 in TED Talks


Internet Bridges, Trolling and the Billy Goats Gruff

Although some could argue that the internet today is a shadow of it’s original inception (“Cotton candy” tabloid news, a new point of economic industry, porn), the very basic goal of the world wide web remains functionally intact.  It is a tool that two people can use to communicate.

However, what is the most common message?  Is it a positive message or is negative one?  Are people using their new cellphones to say anything relevant at all?

It’s a good question, and is there a way to best utilize the community sourcing that is out today?

Wiki on the Internet:

Similar to the way having a phone to reach someone is generally assured (eg> ‘why not just call the person’), the internet is can likewise almost assuredly reach a specific person today.  If one comments on a Hollywood actor’s twitter account, it’s a reasonably high degree of success that someone in that camp might pass a long the message.

What do we say?  What masterful words of expression do we find within ourselves?

We end up finding the “Celebrities read mean tweets about themselves” on Jimmy Kimmel.

And we discover trolling.  What is trolling?

It isn’t related to Fantasy Trolls, who are big mean and threaten goats on bridges, it is to ‘fish by trailing a baited line behind a boat.’  It is effectively to leave a comment to bait other individuals to respond.  Either to agree, disagree, make laugh, white knighting or just to show off the meat inside your skull.

Luckily, there is a youtube channel that explains a great deal about internet terminologies in general named ‘Know your meme’.  Let’s see what its listed there:

Troll baiting, a ‘next leveling’ in response to trolling.

Ok, so that is the closest thing I could find on that channel but it does explain trolling in the first minute.

What happened?  Well, nothing new.  Comedians, satirists, critics, armchair versions of the above, have been doing this sort of thing for a while.  However, these are often related to an occupation and this probably stems to people on an individual level.

Let’s go to a very basic level of human understanding, the survival instinct.  Behave in one particular manner and you survive, behave in another and things aren’t looking too good.  So what tendencies are important for survival?

For the loner, the one who must do everything themselves, it seems perfectly natural to be overly protective, paranoid of others and being a jerk (eg> stealing from others).  This mindset gets turned on its head when one is placed into a social structure where community has a much greater strength.  Building / maintaining a shelter can be separated among several individuals (eg> uh, a barn raising) as opposed to hacking it out oneself.

However, the concept of ‘alone’ versus not alone is not specifically based upon whether or not the person is physically isolated but rather if they are socially isolated.  However, doesn’t the internet make certain aspects of social isolation obsolete?

In conjunction with the survival aspect, how does one improve ‘survival’ when one is placed within a social group?  The basic means would most likely be advancement through favorable comparison, to be ‘better’ than the next person goes in hand with a better odds of survival in the group.  (Let’s take the overly obvious ‘mating’ rituals out, although for many people, it is this aspect alone that they might pursue as a means of being considered better than others thus improving survival rate)

And then finally we reach a post result of being judged by others to begin with.  That within all social groups, there is the aspect of judging one poorly or without favor.  So trolling, or judging others unfavorably, can become a survival tool if it makes one own self appear more favorable as a result.

In the Three Billy Goats Gruff, a Norwegian fairy tale, the goats defeat the troll by downplaying themselves to be insignificant until the largest goat is able to cross the bridge and knock the troll off.  It is both in line with feeding the ego of the antagonist while introducing the benefits of being humble.  This story will come up again shortly.

The ‘life survival’ summary is a bit high level, could it be something more?  Simply put, if one was not in fear of being considered low tier, then the discrimination that would accompany needing to tear down others might not occur so frequently.

The strongest way to give people a sense of strength or confidence might just turn out to be the need to be ‘built up’, to be flattered by individuals.  However, in order for someone to receive consistent or daily doses of positive attention, would require being in constant contact with a social system willing to do so.

Shouldn’t this be what the next step for the internet to become?  A virtual social integration of positive attitudes?

However, instead of it to ‘throw the troll’ off the bridge this mutual ego feeding should be utilized as a means to let people know something positive about themselves.  That they are important, that when they do X, it is good for everyone else and that this kind of random ‘reverse trolling’ would be beneficial for everyone.

It seems quite counter intuitive to believe that flattery could be used in a beneficial way outside of some ‘this person is trying to be manipulative’ kind of way however this is simply a norm that society has developed.  It is damaging to flatter the number one spot as they might become cocky, reckless or detached.  On the other hand, there are all the other spots that could use it.  And being the best at one thing might not require attention but in something else may.

If I was to make a guess, on the long term side of the internet, possibly a few hundred years from now there might be a discovery of some abstract interaction that is common among all cultures.  And that this abstract interaction uplifts spirit or attitude where people actually feel happy / proud / not in a state of desperation.  It would be around this time that the internet could provide the kind of social evolution that so many dreamers had though it could be.


PS> “This is the flattery project.  I’d like to try to flatter you.  You read blogs and that proves that you are curious, patient and best of all open to new possibilities.  Thank you for being that way.”

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Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Uncategorized