Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Begin With Gratitude



The Daily Prism has slightly edited (for space purposes) the following thoughts on gratitude, love and compassion from the Center for Action and Contemplation.

In a most succinct and perfect summary, (the apostle) Paul says that you should “Pray with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond all knowledge...” (Philippians 4:6-7). 


  • First, you must begin with the positive, with gratitude (which might take your whole prayer time). 
  • Second, you need to pray as long it takes you to find “peace,” to get to a place beyond agitation (whether five minutes or five hours or five days). 
  • Third, note that he says this is a place beyond “knowledge,” beyond processing information or ideas. 
  • Fourth, you must learn how to stand guard, which is what many call “creating the inner witness” or the witnessing presence that calmly watches your flow of thoughts (mind) and feelings (heart). 

Finally, you must know what the goal is: your egoic thoughts can actually be replaced with living inside the very mind of Christ (en Christo). This is not self-generated knowing, but knowing by participation—consciousness itself (con-scire, to know with).

Paul then goes on to suggest that we fill our minds “with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good, everything that we love and honor, everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Norman Vincent Peale called this “the power of positive thinking.” I call it “replacement therapy.” If we don’t choose love and compassion, the human mind naturally goes in the other direction, and we risk joining a vast majority of people who live their later years trapped in a sense of victimhood, entitlement, and bitterness.

We are not free until we are free from our own compulsiveness, our own resentments, our own complaining, and our own obsessive patterns of thinking. We have to catch these patterns early in their development and nip them in the bud. And where’s the bud? It’s in the mind...Any later behaviors are just a response to the way our minds work. We can’t walk around all day writing negative, hateful mental commentaries about other people, or we will become hate itself.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Former 1st Ladies Push for Women's Museum



Former first ladies Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton have joined together to press forward on the idea of having a National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C.

Bush added her name to the cause during a Women Making History Awards event on Tuesday night at the Carnegie Institution for Science, where she was honored for her advocacy work. Bush said at the event it was important to “redouble our efforts to make sure there’s a women’s museum right here in our country” The Washington Post reported.

She added: “It's really important to have a museum that focuses on women because half of the population is left out from American history. We need to figure out how we can encourage women to run for office and to run for president.”

... The push to see a women’s museum on the National Mall has been ongoing for several decades, with the National Women’s History Museum—which sponsored the event—attempting to find a spot on the mall that would accommodate the space.

The museum currently exists only online. The website states: “Once housed prominently among the other great museums of Washington, D.C., it will create better understanding and greater partnerships among men and women. The National Women’s History Museum will be the first museum in any nation’s capital to show the full scope of the history of its women and will serve as a guiding light to people everywhere.”

---From Newsweek

Monday, May 22, 2017

Third Easy Qigong Exercise for Healing #3




By Mingtong Gu
Founder of the Chi Center
There is an invisible energy which cannot be seen, but it can be felt and experienced....

And as it travels through your body, it makes your heart beat, it nourishes your tissue and organs, and it even contributes to the conscious activities of your mind.

The role of Qi — this energy that animates all life —  in health, wellbeing and consciousness originated in the far east over 5,000 years ago. And with deep roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts, we can call upon the practice of Qigong to release energy blockages and cultivate and balance our Qi.

(Qigong is pronounced "chee-Gong," with "Qi" = energy, and "Gong" = practice of.)

If you’re unfamiliar with it, Wisdom Healing Qigong is a special form of Qigong developed by Dr. and Grandmaster Pang, a skilled western medical doctor and eastern Chinese medical doctor I was fortunate enough to study under in China.

And what makes it so unique is that it blends many age-old teachings into a gentle practice of movement, visualization, sound and meditation in order to help you awaken joy and healing from within.

I hope you enjoy these exercises which are designed to be easy to learn, yet intensively effective (and can be done at any age).

Reconnect with the energy which flows through the body and spine through this simple, yet powerful healing sound and movement. This Wisdom Healing Qigong practice moves blocked energy held in your organs and body, releasing stress and illness. For thousands of years, Qigong has recognized the importance of healing emotional health for whole body wellness, and with every practice, you’re making possible a new opening for more energy, happiness and joy.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Wisdom Healing with Qigong #2


Mingtong Gu is the founder of the Chi Center, based at the Center for Wisdom Healing Qigong in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wisdom healing is the key phrase for today. With that, the Daily Prism will feature 3 easy how to videos for the next three days on simple techniques for Qigong.


From the Chi Center:

With the Wisdom Healing Qigong and Conscious Aging Series, you will:
  • learn simple tools to regain energy, enhance health, and improve wellbeing
  • rediscover ageless, joyful living by connecting with the potent life force you were born with
  • improve your vitality and resilience with easy and accessible practices
  • contribute to the new paradigm of aging consciously, creating a memorable legacy, and facing the challenges of dying with dignity and peace
  • reduce your dependency on medications, on others, and diminish physical limitations
  • connect with a community of supportive and like-minded people 
  • make a meaningful contribution to the wellbeing of yourself, others, and the world – especially needed in these uncertain times
  • experience living a deeper and more purpose-filled life through inner reflection and self-empowerment
Welcome the healing potential within through chanting the healing sound of Haola (from Wisdom Healing Qigong). Haola means “All is Well and so be it!” You are born with the ultimate goodness of life and harmony within. Throughout each moment of life — even through worry, illness, injury — on the deepest level, our body, mind and heart can activate this aliveness.



Saturday, May 20, 2017

Qigong for Wisdom and Joy #1


Mingtong Gu is the founder of the Chi Center, based at the Center for Wisdom Healing Qigong in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wisdom healing is the key phrase for today. With that, the Daily Prism will feature 3 easy how to videos for the next three days on simple techniques for Qigong.


By Mingtong Gu
Founder of the Chi Center


There is an invisible energy which cannot be seen, but it can be felt and experienced....

And as it travels through your body, it makes your heart beat, it nourishes your tissue and organs, and it even contributes to the conscious activities of your mind.

The role of Qi — this energy that animates all life —  in health, wellbeing and consciousness originated in the far east over 5,000 years ago. And with deep roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts, we can call upon the practice of Qigong to release energy blockages and cultivate and balance our Qi.

(Qigong is pronounced "chee-Gong," with "Qi" = energy, and "Gong" = practice of.)

Awaken new sensation and vitality in your whole body through this Wisdom Healing Qigong practice called Chen Chi. Because many of us work many hours sitting at a computer in poor posture, our shoulders and back can absorb and hold onto tension and stress. This energy practice activates and opens the shoulder joints, chest and the Meridian channels. Follow along with me and allow the chi to continuously open, awaken and flow throughout your body.





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Couple Pays Off "Lunch Debt" Owed by Poorer Students



Some schools require students who don’t have enough money to mop floors in exchange for a meal, or they bill their parents for the food. Want to move on to the next grade or receive your high school diploma without paying off that lunch debt?

...Some lawmakers are fighting back against “lunch shaming,” and now Good Samaritans across the United States have had enough of districts holding lunch debt over the heads of students and their families. Kindhearted people are taking their personal savings—or raising thousands of dollars online—to pay off the lunch debts of students they’ve never even met.

In Everett, Washington, a city of 106,000 about 25 miles north of Seattle, retired couple Tom and Christy Lee have become local heroes. Last week, the Lees paid a $5,495 lunch debt owed by 262 kids at 10 elementary schools in the Marysville School District.

“We buy goats for the ladies in Africa,” Tom Lee told local newspaper The Herald—and they wanted to give back more locally, too. The Lees planned to help out kids at the elementary school their son had attended in the 1990s, but quickly decided to pay off the lunch debts across the entire district. “In my 32 years in public education, it’s the first time I’ve seen something of this magnitude,” Superintendent Becky Berg told the paper.

---Excerpted from Good.is

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

3 Mindful Ways to Lessen Bias






The following is excerpted from Three Ways Mindfulness Can Make You Less Biased.



Today, prejudice against people who don’t share our race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or political persuasion is creating an atmosphere of distrust and hostility that is dividing the United States. Citizens and researchers alike are desperate to understand where these divisions come from and how to heal them.

Some answers might be found in the scientific literature on mindfulness.

For those who don’t know, mindfulness is a state of being—often practiced through meditation—that involves an increased awareness of our emotions, thoughts, and surroundings, accompanied by a sense of acceptance and non-judgment. Several studies have suggested that practicing mindfulness can reduce prejudice and bias.

For example, one study found that a brief loving-kindness meditation reduced prejudice toward homeless people, while another found that a brief mindfulness training decreased unconscious bias against black people and elderly people. In a third study by Adam Lueke and colleagues, white participants who received a brief mindfulness training demonstrated less biased behavior (not just attitudes) toward black participants in a trust game.

“We see a general trend to treat people without preconceived notions—in a more fair and balanced way—after practicing mindfulness,” Lueke says.

But how does mindfulness have this impact? This is a crucial question, if we want to design activities and programs to help people bridge their differences, and to understand our own personal obstacles.
A flurry of recent studies are starting to explore this, and they support the idea that mindfulness may target prejudice indirectly, by lessening our cognitive biases—automatic, systematic errors in our thinking—in ways that impact our judgments of other people. By reducing our susceptibility to cognitive biases, mindfulness could play a role in improving social relationships in our society.

1. Mindfulness helps us see the full context for people’s actions

Humans have a natural tendency to see people’s actions as reflective of stable character traits rather than external factors. So if a student doesn’t pass his math test, you may decide he’s not good at math or lazy, rather than thinking that he didn’t get a good night’s sleep.

This tendency to ignore circumstances is called the correspondence bias, and it impacts how we judge people, including people of different social groups.

... When we understand that someone may be acting in a certain way because of pressures they face or situations they find themselves in—rather than personal attributes—we may be more empathic and better able to bridge misunderstandings that arise between us.

2. Mindfulness helps us decrease our negativity bias

Most of us naturally pay more attention to and react more strongly to negative events than positive events in our lives—a phenomenon called the negativity bias. This is due to our early evolutionary history, where being vigilant counted heavily for our survival.

Having a strong negativity bias can make us extra cautious about entering situations where we anticipate that something bad might happen. And research shows that interactions with people from different social groups can be stressful, in part because we worry about being rejected—a strongly negative experience for most people. For those with high negativity bias, fear of rejection is even more of a barrier.

But mindfulness can help reduce our negativity bias and consequently help us to be less wary of negative social encounters. Support for this claim comes from experiments looking at how mindfulness impacts our emotional reactivity to negative stimuli.

...Taken together, these studies suggest that mindfulness can decrease our emotional reactivity to negative events, potentially leading to less social friction in more uncertain, anxiety-producing situations.

3. Mindfulness may help us see others as equals

Another common psychological bias is the self-positivity bias: the need to hold onto positive views of ourselves in comparison to others. This can sometimes lead us to want to put others down to make ourselves look good. The self-positivity bias is at work when we assume that our boss’s critique of our workgroup’s project has nothing to do with us, for example.

...While it’s clear that mindfulness impacts our personal well-being, it’s becoming clearer how it may also influence our social well-being. By reducing the correspondence bias, negativity bias, and self-positivity bias, mindfulness can help us have better relationships with others—including those who look and behave differently.

Given how defensive people can be about receiving training to reduce racism, Lueke believes teaching mindfulness in general may be particularly useful. If mindfulness training has these benefits without actually targeting bias directly, it might be more palatable than specific bias reduction programs, he says.


“If you tell people that they’re prejudiced and racist, and that you’re going to try to fix that, people become defensive,” he says. “The fact that mindfulness is not specifically targeted toward reducing discrimination—and that it carries all these personal benefits, like less stress, greater life satisfaction, etc.—is very positive, because people won’t have their guards up.”


Perhaps if we want to get along better, we could do worse than starting with mindfulness. After all, what have we got to lose?