Saturday, May 5, 2018

8 Ways to Strengthen Your Knees


woman stretching with chair
       

Is It Safe for Me to Exercise?

Are you worried that working out could cause more knee damage or pain? As long as your doctor says it’s OK, the best thing you can do is to strengthen the muscles that support your knee and keep them flexible. Start slowly, and build up over time. Talk to your doctor about which specific exercises are good for you.
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woman on stationary bike
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Warm Up First

You can ride a stationary bike for about 5 minutes, take a brisk 2-minute walk while pumping your arms, or do 15-20 wall push-ups followed by the same number of calf raises. Doing this will help you get more out of your workout, prepare you to stretch, and lower your risk of an injury.
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straight leg raise
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1. Straight Leg Raises

If your knee’s not at its best, start with a simple strengthening exercise for your quadriceps, the muscles in the front of the thigh. This move puts little to no strain on the knee. Lie on your back on the floor or another flat surface. Bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Keeping the other leg straight, raise it to the height of the opposite knee. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.
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hamstring exercise
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2. Hamstring Curls

These are the muscles along the back of your thigh. Lie flat on your stomach. Slowly bring your heels as close to your butt as you can, and hold that position. Do three sets of 15. You can also do this exercise standing while you hold onto a chair and lift one leg at a time. If this becomes easy, you can add ankle weights, slowly increasing the weight from 1 to 3 to 5 pounds.
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straight leg raise
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3. Prone Straight Leg Raises

Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles in your bottom and the hamstring of one leg, and lift toward the ceiling. Hold 3-5 seconds, lower, and repeat. Do 10-15 lifts and switch sides. You can add ankle weights as you gain strength. You shouldn’t feel back pain. If you do, limit how high you lift up. If it still hurts, stop and talk to your doctor.
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4. Wall Squats

This is a more advanced move. You’ll keep your feet on the floor. Stand with your back against a wall, your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees, and keep your back and pelvis against the wall. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Don’t bend too deeply. If you feel pressure or discomfort in your knees, change your position. Repeat the exercise, and try to hold the sit position a few seconds longer each time.
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5. Calf Raises

Stand facing the back of a sturdy chair, other support such as the back of a couch, or a wall bar at the gym. You can also do this on the stairs, holding on to the banister with your heels hanging off the edge of the step. Slowly raise the heels as high as you can, then lower. Do three sets of 10-15. When it becomes easy, lift one foot slightly off the floor, with all your weight on the other foot.
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6. Step-Ups

Place one foot on a step bench, platform, or the lowest step on a staircase. Keeping your pelvis level, bend your knee and slowly lower the opposite foot to the floor. Lightly touch your toe to the floor, then rise back up. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch legs. Too easy? Use a higher step, or touch your heel instead of your toe.
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hip abduction
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7. Side Leg Raises

Lie on one side with your legs stacked. Bend the bottom leg for support. Straighten the top leg and raise it to 45 degrees. Hold for 5 seconds, lower and relax briefly, then repeat 10-15 times. Switch sides and start over. Want to try a bit of a different spin on the move? Point the toe of your upper leg slightly toward the floor as you raise it.
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8. Leg Presses

Sit on a leg-press machine with your back and head against the support and your feet flat on the foot plate. Adjust the seat back so it’s comfortable. Slowly push the plate away from you until your legs are extended. Bend your knees and return to your starting position. Do three sets of 10-15 reps. (Ask a gym staff member for help the first time you do this.)
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hurt knee
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No-No's for Your Knee

Exercise should never cause pain or make it worse. Remember: Muscle soreness after a hard workout is normal. But sharp, shooting, or sudden pain in the muscles or joints means you should stop and check with your doctor.
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woman swimming
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Knee-Friendly Cardio

Gentle is good. So skip high-impact activities such as running or intense aerobics. Notice what feels right for you. For example, some people love elliptical machines, but others don’t. Swimming, jogging in water, or water aerobics are often great! Double-check with your doctor about your exercise plan.
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How to Fight Fatigue on the Road


Extremely fatigued man at the wheel of a car

MYTH: Better Drowsy than Drunk

Most people are aware of the dangers of driving drunk, but they may not take sleepiness seriously. That’s a mistake. Researchers have found that going 18 to 24 hours without sleep is a risk similar to being legally drunk, when it comes to driver impairment. Like alcohol, sleepiness and fatigue lead to poor judgment and reaction time, not to mention the risk of dozing off.
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Woman drinking coffee while driving
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FACT: Caffeine Provides a Mild Boost

Whether in the form of coffee, soft drinks, or gum, caffeine can briefly increase alertness. Keep in mind that the effect takes about 30 minutes to kick in, so you may want to pull over and rest until you perk up. This temporary fix has its limits -- caffeine can’t overcome severe fatigue and may have little impact on regular coffee drinkers.
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Highway congested with traffic in the afternoon
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MYTH: Drowsy Driving Only Happens at Night

Most fatigue-related crashes occur between 4-6 a.m., but drowsy driving is not restricted to the wee hours. Another peak time is between 2-4 p.m. Rush hour can also be hazardous, with a quarter of commuters saying they drive drowsy at least a few days per month.
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Aftermath of serious car accident
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FACT: Drowsy Driving Can Be Lethal

Driver fatigue causes at least 100,000 police-reported crashes and more than 1,500 deaths each year, according to government estimates. The actual number may be higher, considering more than a third of respondents to a National Sleep Foundation poll (103 million people) say they have fallen asleep at the wheel.
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Exhausted EMT behind the wheel of an ambulance
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Myth: Only Old People Fall Asleep at the Wheel

More than half of fatigue-related crashes are caused by drivers younger than 25. Others who are at the highest risk: men, people with sleeping disorders, adults with children, commercial drivers, drivers with jet lag, and shift workers. Working the night shift increases your risk by nearly six times. Rotating shifts that disrupt your sleep cycle and working more than 60 hours a week can also set you up for fatigued driving.
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Woman asleep in sleeping bag in snowy landscape
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MYTH: Cool Air Can Keep You Awake

Blasting your AC or opening the window may keep you cool, but this does little to counteract drowsiness. Think of how well people sleep on cold winter nights. In fact, keeping your room cool is a commonly given tip for getting better sleep. Playing loud music is also useless in fighting driver fatigue.
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Man driving while his wife navigates with a map
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FACT: A Companion Can Help During Long Road Trips

For long road trips, it’s best to bring a companion -- if possible, someone who can share in the driving. Pull over and switch seats about every 100 miles or every two hours. Whoever is not behind the wheel should stay awake and talk to the driver. The passenger can also keep a watchful eye for signs that the driver might be nodding off.
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Woman napping in the back seat of her car
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FACT: A Short Nap is the Best Solution

According to the National Sleep Foundation, pulling over for a short nap is the most effective way to restore alertness on the road. Park in a safe, well-lit area. Set your watch or phone to wake you up in 15. Then let yourself really wake up before you get back on the road. Longer naps (even 5 minutes longer) can increase grogginess and disorientation. If you plan to nap longer than half an hour, it may be best to stop for the night.
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Woman pulled over and snacking on crackers
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MYTH: It’s Best Not to Eat While on the Road

Sure, stopping for a big bowl of spaghetti might be a ticket to dreamland. But depriving yourself of food is not the answer. During long road trips, you can maintain a steady energy supply by eating a healthy snack every two hours. The best choices combine protein with complex carbs, such as cheese on a whole-grain cracker.
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Antihistamine capsule broken in two
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FACT: Common Medications Can Trigger Drowsiness

Many common medications, such as those used to treat colds, allergies, or motion sickness, can hinder alertness on the road. If the bottle lists drowsiness as a side effect or warns against operating a motor vehicle, it’s best not to get behind the wheel. Even small amounts of alcohol can amplify the fatigue associated with these medications.
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Man yawning while behind the wheel of a car
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FACT: Five Signs It’s Time to Pull Over

• Frequent blinking or yawning or having trouble keeping your head up
• Feeling restless or irritable
• Daydreaming
• Missing exits or traffic signs
• Drifting into another lane
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One hand transferring car key to another open hand
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MYTH: You Can’t Stop a Drowsy Driver

If you knew your friend had one too many beers, would you ask for his car keys? Although it may be more difficult to judge drowsiness, the statistics suggest intervening can save lives. If someone has slept less than six hours or is yawning repeatedly, consider speaking up and suggesting a nap or a good night's sleep before he or she hits the road.
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Opioids: Side Effects and Signs of Addiction


pills and syringe on prescription
       

What Are They?

Also called narcotics, opioids are a kind of pain medication your doctor may give you after an accident or surgery, or as treatment for a chronic disease like arthritis. Most are made from the opium plant, but some (called synthetic opioids) are made in a lab. Either way, they affect the reward center of your brain and boost your levels of certain brain chemicals that block pain, slow your breathing, and generally make you feel calm.
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Types

Opioids have different strengths, and some are legal and some aren’t. Examples include:
  • Codeine
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet)
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Heroin
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clock face close up
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Short-Acting vs. Long-Acting

Short-acting opioids, like Vicodin or Percocet, get medication into your system quickly. When you take them as directed, like immediately after surgery, you probably won’t have any issues. But if you take them for too long, it may be hard to stop. Long-acting opioids, like OxyContin, give your body a smaller amount of medication over a longer time. They’re used to treat diseases that cause chronic pain, like fibromyalgia or arthritis.
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How to Use Opioids

If your doctor prescribes them for you, be sure to follow the directions. It’s usually best to take them on a regular schedule. If you wait until the pain is bad, you might need more medication, which makes you more likely to have side effects.
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woman on weight scale
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Common Side Effects

All medications have side effects, and opioids are no different. The most common one with short-term use is constipation. Others include:
  • Depression
  • Hot flashes
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight gain
  • Weak immune system
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woman sweating on bed
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Dependence

The longer you take opioids, the greater the chances that your body will get dependent on them. If that happens, you may have withdrawal symptoms -- like anxiety, a fast heart rate, sweating, nausea, and chills -- when you stop taking them. This is more likely if you try to stop too quickly instead of tapering off slowly. Talk to your doctor about how to stop safely.
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four pills in hand
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Dependence vs. Addiction

If you've become addicted to an opioid, you'll have strong cravings for them that will be hard to resist. Other signs can include:
  • Using more than your doctor prescribed
  • Feeling powerless to stop the cravings
  • Acting irresponsibly, possibly in an effort to get more drugs
  • Mood swings, irritability, and feeling agitated
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prescription pill bottle background
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A Growing Problem

While most people use these medications safely, up to 12% of people who take them for chronic pain become dependent on or addicted to them. From there, some people move on to street drugs. About 80% of people who use the illegal opioid heroin say they misused a prescription one first. Heroin is often cheaper and easier to get.
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hand holding glass of beer and cigarette
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What Raises Your Chances of Addiction?

Anyone can become addicted to opioids, especially if they don’t follow their doctors’ instructions. But some people may be more likely to than others. This includes people who:
  • Have had addiction issues with alcohol, tobacco, or other substances
  • Have a family history of substance abuse
  • Are in their teens or early 20s
  • Are female. (Women report chronic pain more often, and they may also become dependent more quickly than men.)
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patient talking with doctor
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Treatment for Addiction

If you've become addicted, you may need a specialized program that could include medication to ease withdrawal symptoms, counseling to deal with cravings and depression, and guidance to help you avoid a relapse. For help with an opioid addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
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What to Do in Case of Overdose

This can be life-threatening. If you think someone might have overdosed, call 911 right away. Warning signs include:
  • Loss of consciousness or being very sleepy
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • A slow pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Small pupils
If you or a loved one is dealing with opioid addiction, ask your doctor about a prescription nasal spray called naloxone (Narcan) that can quickly reverse the effects of an overdose. You may be able to keep it on hand in case of an emergency.
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woman having back adjustment
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Other Options for Pain Relief

Ask your doctor if a strong nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like diclofenac (Cataflam) or prescription-strength ibuprofen, might work for moderate pain. For chronic pain, you might try nondrug treatments like massage, exercise, or acupuncture, along with non-opioid medication.
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The Heart of Love, Heart Wisdom and the Seat of the Soul:

What makes us human – Is it our intelligence, our physical bodies, our hearts?
No doubt, it is a combination of them all.
United, we share some common denominators – male or female (or something in between) – we all inhabit human bodies with similar functions and needs. Yet, we are way beyond whatever we imagine ourselves to be. Our heart vibration extends way beyond our personal boundaries. If you share a room with other people, you’re way more connected energetically (all affecting each other) than you may expect.
As human beings, the part less explored and the path less travelled in Western circles, is the heart. What brings us closest to the Divine is actually our ‘feeling self’, our emotional body, that which houses our spirit.
If you look at any bookstore these days, there are numerous books focused on the body (weight loss, building muscle, nutrition) and on the mind (mindfulness, how to develop intelligence, issues of the intellect). The gap in our knowledge is related to the heart.
The heart is the core of our being, the seat of our innate intelligence, our souls.
Many in our society suffer from heart blocks, walls of protection surrounding our hearts. As a collective and as individuals, it affects our ability to give and receive love.
“If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh
On the other side of old emotional baggage, is love and laughter, abundance, health and fulfilment. Every time one denies or runs away from dealing with an emotional issue in the NOW moment, one adds to one’s emotional baggage. No wonder we have so much suffering. Pain is resistance to feeling. Disease in the body reflects an emotional imbalance.
Releasing emotions means they are forever gone. We have a constant well of emotions that we draw upon and experience – anger, love, sorrow, happiness, and fear. These are all necessary for our wellbeing and survival. In fact, at any given moment, we actually experience a fusion of the five, which informs the quality of our experience.
The collective consciousness spins around us and meshes with our core beliefs and subconscious program to create a matrix of functionality – how we view and respond to the world around us. Each one of us has a collective aspect common to all, and a unique individual blueprint based on life experiences.
I’ve always believed that all healing ultimately comes from God, and it is a process of cleansing away layers of fear and doubt to uncover the perfect soul inside. The soul is already perfect and whole as it is.
Why are emotions so important?
Essentially they’re what define as human beings. How we feel is mostly about our heart and connection to God. Thought embraced by emotion is what creates reality. Emotions are how our body speaks to us.  Emotions are not about logic. It’s essential to feel whatever you feel without judgement.
Emotions actually flow freely and naturally when they are allowed to move through the body. When one surrenders to feeling without judgement, one allows emotions to be felt, and then released. It is inhibiting emotions that leads to toxic encumbrance and disease.
Unreleased, excessive and unprocessed emotions are what form cancer in the body by feeding obsessive compulsive neuroses and programs. Especially popular is depression, which is often caused (or exacerbated) by suppressing feeling a feeling, hence blocking it from being expressed and released. Suppressed emotions become toxic in the body, just like taking a poison is similarly deleterious.
The five foundational feelings that we experience all the time, are anger, love, sorrow, happiness and fear. These are protective and can actually save our lives. For instance, anger is often attributed to being a negative emotion, which when out of control, can be fatal, yet anger can just as well drive a mother to save her child from an attacker. Technically speaking, emotions are not negative or positive, they all make perfect sense, and all that they ask of us – is to be expressed and released in a healthy way.
One’s base feeling center is a mix of all of our feelings forming our reality.
How can we align our emotions?
The funnest way is via laughter and movement. Generally the three keys for releasing emotions are breath, sound and movement (same way, we access the healing power of the Divine Orgasm)…via…BREATH…SOUND….MOVEMENT.
Our feelings are a microcosm of the world. Our heart reflects our connection to Creation. Life experiences are heightened by emotions, it makes life ‘life’ – worth living. Emotions even stimulate the immune system.
The goal is not to escape the body. The goal is not to escape from feeling. The goal is not to escape from this planet. There is nothing inherently wrong with our nature.
All human beings have access to their own personal wisdom which is heart-centered. Staying present to the ‘self’ feeds the experience of giving and receiving love (as we experience our Source, our Creator), and thusly we can become beacons of inspiration to those in our presence.
Expressing our heart wisdom plants seeds in our lives and those we meet. Those seeds will blossom and become glorious orchards in time, if we let them. If we truly love and let ourselves be loved, we can reach fruition. Too often it is the denial of love that creates separation and the feeling of being ‘lost’ – the ennui of our times.
Embodiment means being here, now, without separation from self, or separation from one’s Divine nature.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for – the fountain of love is within our hearts – listen to the wisdom of the heart, and one gains access to infinite realms of possibility.
 
PRACTICE: THE RIVER OF LOVE BABY MEDITATION
Requires “adopting” a baby/ infant for a 5 minute silent open-eyed meditation:
Look deeply within the little one’s eyes, and embrace your heart. Feel your connection with the little one only heart-to-heart ~ the river of love is endless.
See the wisdom of the heart within the baby’s heart.
The baby reflects what is inside of humanity – the soul of love.
The baby inside of you asks for little, except love and acceptance.
Look deeper. It is YOU looking back.
Form an orbit of love energy that encircles – from you to the baby and back again.
Keep practicing the circle of love as your heart wisdom grows.
When practiced daily for 7 days’ straight invokes the miraculous. Try it and see for yourself!
 
About the Author:
David G Arenson ND
 
David is the founder of Metamorphosis Retreat (Web: http://mretreat.com). A Naturopath, Wellness Specialist, Soul-Coach, he creates personalized packages for corporates and individuals seeking wellness solutions and adventure travel for the soul. For more information, he can be found at:
Email: david@mretreat.com
Web: http://www.mretreat.com

Inspirational Quote – May 05, 2018

“A heart that reaches out with love can heal a soul, and change a life.”

Many of us don’t realize just how powerful love is and the magic it is capable of. Isn’t it wonderful and empowering to be aware that we all possess this magic within us and are free to choose how we use it? Love is born within us as we emerge into this world of ours and, if we’re fortunate, we’re brought up surrounded by the love of those around us. There will be many times throughout our lives when we can, by utilizing this love, heal those who suffer and perhaps even change their lives forever for the better. Such power, such responsibility, such willingness to reach out and give freely……

CathiBew.co.uk

Muhammad Yunus: A World of Three Zeroes

According to Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, a world without poverty or environmental devastation does not have to be just a utopian dream. Yunus believes that building a kindler, gentler planet "starts with recognizing what he describes as the inherent cruelty of capitalism, the need to value the abilities of every human being, and understanding that saving the environment must be a collective effort. Yunus, who won the Nobel for his work in microfinance, encourages us to see the world not through the lens of profit, but of social impact." He speaks about his work and his vision in this interview with the Wharton School.

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1938/muhammad-yunus-a-world-of-three-zeroes-knowledge-wharton/

Friday, May 4, 2018

Can You Have Too Much Altruism?

Roshi Joan Halifax discusses her new book about the edges of compassion.




Roshi Joan Halifax is an esteemed writer, spiritual teacher, founder of Upaya Zen Center and the Nomads Clinic in Nepal’s Himalayas—and she’s spent decades researching the intersection of mind and body through the lens of Buddhism, neuroscience, and anthropology.
Her new book, Standing at the Edge, is the culmination of years spent at the front lines of compassion-based advocacy in prison work, care of the dying, hospital settings, and remote regions of the world. She writes about what she calls “edge states,” places where people go as they endeavor to be of service to the world—but where they can go too far, encountering burnout, despair, and depression. As the world pushes many of us to our limits, her book is an urgent and critical tool that might help all of us find balance.
Jenara Nerenberg: How did you identify the five “edge states” described in your book?

Joan Halifax: For years, I’ve been close to many people doing human rights work, environmental work, involved in care of the dying and prison work. I’ve sat with hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who are in service professions from all over the world, and listened to their stories of joy, as well as to stories of their suffering as they endeavored to be of service to others. It’s been fifty years of bearing witness, fifty years of learning.
I have also learned from my own experience, my failures and struggles in caring for others; and the great benefits as well. I saw that what we consider as virtues in making care possible, often had fraught aspects. I had to ask myself what characteristics of heart and mind are really important to strengthen our experience of serving others and what should we be sensitive to in terms of pitfalls.
I identified five “edge states” that have shadow sides but, in their healthy forms, are essential in caring for others: altruism, empathy, integrity, respect, and engagement.
I also discovered that there is a way to transform the negative aspects of the edge states, and that is through compassion. In addition, I learned that even when we “fall off the edge,” we can learn so much from our experience of failure. I have written the new book, Standing at the Edge, as a deep exploration of edge states and compassion. 
JN: How do you define compassion?

JH: Compassion is about enhancing the well-being of others, particularly in relation to alleviating their suffering.
I see compassion as composed of non-compassion elements, which includes attention and affect, intention and insight, and embodiment and engagement. And it entails the capacity to attend to the experience of others or another. Attention is a very important component of compassion.
Compassion also involves our capacity to feel concern for others—just because we presence another doesn’t mean we necessarily feel concern. So, the pro-social experience of concern, or the capacity that we know as concern, is really vital—that we actually care about the person who is suffering. And then intention—that we have the intention to be of benefit to others—and then potentially take action, or at least we wish for the best for that person if we can’t engage in direct action.
JN: Can you speak to the relationship between boundaries and pathological altruism?

JH: I write in my new book about the profound value of altruism in our lives and in the world. In fact, we wouldn’t be alive without it. And yet when altruism is unhealthy, when it goes too far, and it harms one physically or mentally or it harms the institutions the altruist is working in or the institution or the nation that the altruist is endeavoring to serve, then it tips into what has been called by social psychologists “pathological altruism.”
Many people who work in service professions—and I as someone who has sat with the dying for many decades—know that altruism that is not principled and grounded and characterized by insight can easily tip into harm.
JN: How can we more often or more easily switch from empathic distress to a state of compassion?

JH: Part of it has to do with our capacity to get grounded and not to get overwhelmed, ourselves, by over-identification with someone who is suffering. Part of it is maintaining intentional balance and to keep in focus the clear intention of why we’re there, that is to benefit others.
Another aspect has to do with our capacity to actually distinguish self from other by taking a meta-cognitive perspective, in other words, not to completely objectify the other but to realize “I am not that person who is suffering.” On some level you are that person, and on another level you aren’t. Vicariously experiencing the suffering of another can truly disable us, whereas what compassion does is provide the medium for us to allow concern to be there but it engages other features, like attentional balance and emotional balance that make it possible for us to find the middle path between objectification and over-identification or too much empathy.
Compassion has three different expressions. One is biased, referential compassion, where there is compassion in relation to an object. There is insight-based compassion which is compassion that comes from understanding the truth of suffering, the truth of impermanence, the value of precepts. And then there is non-referential or universal compassion which the great Tibetan masters feel is the actual, real compassion, where compassion pervades our whole being, and we are ready to respond in all situations. That kind of capacity and readiness to be of service arises in an unmediated way.
JN: What is your advice to people to begin building one’s “internal infrastructure?”

JH: Partly it has to do with how we cultivate an intention which has a strong moral ground. It also has to do with how we cultivate moral sensitivity, our capacity to actually see the contours of goodness and harm in the world in which we live. Another aspect is to engage in practices that are focused on mental training—that is, to cultivate attentional balance, emotional balance, to cultivate insight, so that we have strengthened the internal architecture that allows us to have a character of integrity. Meditation practice can be very important as a means to open up the healthier aspects of our character.
Another thing has to do with the community in which we operate. Relationality is very important in the development of moral character and developing healthy relationships, relationships that are characterized by respect and integrity.
JN: Can you say more about “mental nimbleness?” For example, when you mentioned in the book how the Dalai Lama was able to switch from tears to joy in an instant.

JH: Yes, the ability to state-shift is important, because what happens if we don’t state-shift when we encounter suffering, then we tend to get stuck in the stickiness of suffering.
His Holiness is a great example of someone who state-shifts easily, who has a lot of nimbleness—a lot of plasticity when it comes to his mental experience. He’s able to be in resonance with a scientist in one moment, and then he’s in resonance with a Tibetan refugee in another moment; he’s able to switch back to the scientist in a matter of a mind moment. I think that capacity is characterized by a lack of stickiness, a lack of mental adhesiveness, the capacity to really let go of our experience and to receive the next moment as it is. This ability is an expression of non-referential compassion—and it is a treasure.
JN: What have you learned in observing the dialogue between Buddhists and scientists over the years?

JH: I think that science, in our time, has given Buddhism a certain kind of lift in more conventional settings—that is to say, the kind of information that’s respected in medicine or education or law is usually based on discoveries in science. When science validates what people have practiced or known for thousands of years, when science validates the value of these kind of experiences in our lives and in the life of the world, then it helps to make mental training practices more valued and better understood by people in the wider public.
In my work as a contemplative, since I serve in conventional medical settings—what science has done is allow me to understand my contemplative experience in a more systematic way and to develop a way to communicate the value of contemplative experience in secular settings.
JN: What area of research is particularly exciting to you right now?

JH: I’ve been part of this movement of contemplative neuroscience since the 1970s—the very early years—and involved in the development of the Mind and Life Institute since the beginning. I feel that the kind of pioneering work of investigating the mind through neuroscience has been extraordinarily beneficial.
We are currently moving into another phase related to social and environmental responsibility and how the institutions that we’re part of reflect what we’ve learned about the mind. I’m interested to see how the kind of research that’s already been done in social psychology and neuroscience and contemplative experience—how this research is going to affect social transformation.