Monday, January 20, 2014

finding Meaning

“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow | Video on

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has contributed pioneering work to our understanding of happiness, creativity, human fulfillment and the notion of "flow" -- a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.

Why you should listen to him:

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he has devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy: "When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life." He is the architect of the notion of "flow" -- the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.

Csikszentmihalyi teaches psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, focusing on human strengths such as optimism, motivation and responsibility. He's the director the the Quality of Life Research Center there. He has written numerous books and papers about the search for joy and fulfillment.
"A man obsessed by happiness."
Richard Flaste, New York Times Read more about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the TED Blog »

Quotes by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • “You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.” — on experiencing ‘flow’ Watch this talk »
More TEDQuotes…

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the Web

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow | Video on


Zorba the Greek

“Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all, in my view, is not to have one.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Let your youth have free reign, it won't come again, so be bold and no repenting.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint the paradise, then in you go.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“When everything goes wrong, what a joy to test your soul and see if it has endurance and courage! An invisible and all-powerful enemy—some call him God, others the Devil, seem to rush upon us to destroy us; but we are not destroyed.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and *look* for trouble.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“You can knock on a deaf man's door forever.” 
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
“This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.” 
― Nikos KazantzakisZorba the Greek

“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.” 
― Nikos KazantzakisZorba the Greek

“Free yourself from one passion to be dominated by another and nobler one. But is not that, too, a form of slavery? To sacrifice oneself to an idea, to a race, to God? Or does it mean that the higher the model the longer the longer the tether of our slavery?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Once more there sounded within me the terrible warning that there is only one life for all men, that there is only one life for all men, that there is no other and that all that can be enjoyed must be enjoyed here. In eternity no other chance will be given to us.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“All those who actually live the mysteries of life haven't the time to write, and all those who have the time don't live them! D'you see?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek


“the highest point a man can attain is not Knowledge, or Virtue, or Goodness, or Victory, but something even greater, more heroic and more despairing: Sacred Awe!”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek


“Look, one day I had gone to a little village. An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, grandfather!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’

Which of us was right, boss?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“I was happy, I knew that. While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize - sometimes with astonishment - how happy we had been.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“When shall I at last retire into solitude alone, without companions, without joy and without sorrow, with only the sacred certainty that all is a dream? When, in my rags—without desires—shall I retire contented into the mountains? When, seeing that my body is merely sickness and crime, age and death, shall I—free, fearless, and blissful—retire to the forest? When? When, oh when?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek



“Throughout my life my greatest benefactors have been my travels and my dreams. Very few men, living or dead, have helped me in my struggles.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“Beauty is merciless. You do not look at it, it looks at you and does not forgive.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

 “Freedom was my first great desire. The second, which remains hidden within me to this day, tormenting me, was the desire for sanctity. Hero together with saint: such is mankind's supreme model.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

“Discipline is the highest of all virtues. Only so may strength and desire be counterbalanced and the endeavors of man bear fruit.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Rock Garden

“My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes, and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. . . . All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness, is a simple, frugal heart.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“The canary began to sing again. The sun had struck it, and its throat and tiny breast had filled with song. Francis gazed at it for a long time, not speaking, his mouth hanging half opened, his eyes dimmed with tears.
"The canary is like man's soul," he whispered finally. "It sees bars round it, but instead if despairing, it sings. It sings, and wait and see, Brother Leo: one day its song shall break the bars.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Saint Francis

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rick Hanson - - Hardwiring Happiness

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and  New York Times best-selling author.

- Hardwiring Happiness,

- Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom, and

Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.

 and Mother Nurture.

Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and an Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide.

An authority on self-directed neuroplasticity, Dr. Hanson’s work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, FoxBusiness, Consumer Reports Health,  U.S. News and World Report, and O Magazine.

He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin, and his weekly e-newsletter – Just One Thing – has over 90,000 subscribers, and

- also appears on Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other major websites.

He has several audio programs with Sounds True, and his first book was Mother Nurture: A Mother’s Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships.

A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, Dr. Hanson is a trustee of Saybrook University. He also served on the board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center for nine years, and was President of the Board of FamilyWorks, a community agency.

He began meditating in 1974, trained in several traditions, and leads a weekly meditation gathering in San Rafael, CA. 

For more information about Rick, please go to

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bringing back a Wandering Attention - William James

 William James was interested in mindfulness and attention:  

 “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is compos sui [master of himself] if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.”

William James, Psychology: Briefer Course, p. 424 (Harper Torchbooks, 1961)