All posts by Chuck Metz

Dreams they Stack as Prayers

Dreams may rise,

Ethereal as smoke they rise.

They neither scatter nor dissipate,

Nor constrain through rigid form,

But stack, instead, one upon another

Our yearnings toward heaven.

Rarely wall-solid,

Seldom sensible in appearance or use,

They remain precarious in balance, and

They rise.

Fleeting structures,

Half glimpsed longings,

Urgent desires of our nighttime,

Rich compass of our days.

Testing and setting up site

IMG_1431

This is a test of image and text… so maybe a couple of random flower photos are as good an object as any to test a post. If I wanted to be a bit more granular, I guess I could say that they are photos taken at Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island near Victoria, BC.

IMG_1486

At the next level, I could even say what kind they are…but I’ve forgotten 🙂

My levels of wonder ranged from the beauty of the island to the gardens to these flowers. And could have gone on to petals…to cells…to atoms, and then on to quantum fluff, I suppose.

So if the eye of an observer plays a deterministic role in reality itself at certain levels, then just maybe his wonderment has its own effects across its infinite hierarchy as well…

One rainy night…


Dark mist rising,

Drum beneath a keening sky –

This scent of loam, of leaf, of yearning,

   Of memory’s wail

   And piacular’s cry…

This fragment of verse sprang from a rainy summer evening full of smells, sounds and dark, misty half-glimpses into the surrounding forest. Peering out through shadowy trees, I could have been sitting around a campfire with my Neolithic kin so many thousands of years ago.

The mood became a pensive, quiet centering that gradually gave rise to what I can only think of as one stream of those ancient, primal feelings that seem to lie hidden beneath daytime’s logical, civilized veneer.
Continue reading One rainy night…

Twitter

Have moved to the brevity of Twitter for a bit until time constraints improve. You can catch at @run810 for now.

NOTE –  Oct, 2014

All posts prior to this were imported from an earlier blog, The sandBox, which was a more narrowly focused blog around personality and the mind. As such, they form a topical subset of this broader blog, which touches on my writing and a wider range of my interests. I have consequently archived them here for future reference.

Thoughts, speculations, techniques and ideas for just possibly understanding ourselves and others a bit better.

Working well together. Playing well together. Making allowances for differences in how we each see the world. Being the best that we can individually and collectively be. That’s the gist of the sandBox.

 

“It’s Mine!”

Ever wonder why you cling to your “stuff” so tightly? The “endowment effect” states that we all tend to prefer the items we own when compared to similar items that we do not own.  “It’s mine!” is our strongly voiced opinion from the very first days that we can speak.

When researchers studied the brains of volunteers through fMRI they found that three different brain areas were activated during those times when we are prompted to declare ownership.  Initial results indicate that the endowment effect is not promoted by our enhanced attraction to possessions but rather that ownership increases value by enhancing the significance of the possible loss of preferred products.  Losing something that we like is more significant than the actual ownership of the item. 

It is also threatening – and we tend to be motivated more by aversion to loss than attraction to gain.  And as we’ve said in the past, threat is a powerful emotion that gets our attention quickly.  The element of surprise only intensifies the effect.  Try and grab a favorite teddy bear from a three-year-old and watch how quickly “It’s mine!” kicks in.

Aversion to loss lies at the heart of the strength of our attachments to things.  When there is little risk of losing something it’s often surprising how little value we find that we actually attach to it.

Links:  ScienceDaily   The Brain and Surprise  

What is most Fair?

Things feel fair or unfair. Our emotions play a central role in our perceptions of fairness and how we respond to injustice. fMRI imaging studies of individuals making decisions involving fairness indicate that emotions help determine a person’s attitude towards inequity through involvement of the insula.

The question in a University of Illinois and California Institute of Technology study, “Which is better, giving more food to a few hungry people or letting some food go to waste so that everyone gets a share” finds that most people choose the latter. As a social species, we as individuals are fairly intolerant of inequality.

“One could choose to take 15 meals from a single child, for example, or 13 meals from one child and five from another. In the first option the total number of meals lost would be lower. Efficiency would be preserved, but one child would bear the brunt of all the cuts. In the second option more children would share the burden of lost meals but more meals would be lost. The equity was better — but at a cost to efficiency.” We will see that everyone has a fair share even if it means that the overall resources available to us take a greater hit.

Of note, the decisions were made by individuals who were themselves well-fed and not in danger of starving. When things are going well we tend to favor equity for all. In times of scarcity, danger or other threat, self-preservation instincts tend to override this behavior. In other words, it would seem that we would maintain this pattern of sharing because it feels right until the resources actually started running out.

In a world of growing scarcity and competition for resources this becomes increasingly relevant.

Link: ScienceDaily, Coaching Fairness, Fairness and Feeling Good

The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love

An interesting link on the nature, expression and fostering of altruism and related is www.unlimitedloveinstitute.org. Per its mission statement –

The unique mission of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love is:

(1) to study the benefits of benevolent love for those who give it and for those who receive it
(2) to bring the results of research to the wider public in understandable and practical format
(3) to sustain an international dialogue around the possibility of global human enhancement through the application of a new science of love
(4) to encourage discussion within spiritual traditions about love for a shared humanity, rather than for some small fragment of humanity
(5) to develop an ongoing dialogue between spirituality, theology, and science around the idea of unlimited love as the ultimate ground of reality

It minimally provides a complementary venue to the more traditional philosophical, theological and scientific approaches without apparently marginalizing any of them.

See also:  The Influence of Others, Empathy and Learning to do Good, Practice Giving for your Health and Peace of Mind, Paying Taxes Makes me Feel Good?

Coaching Fairness

Fairness is a feeling.  Something feels fair or unfair at a fundamental level.  It’s only later that we tend to think it through.  That is somewhat the gist of yesterday’s post.

In coaching we have to remember that in dealing with issues around fairness we are dealing with emotional rather than purely cognitive responses.  We are dealing with feelings – and in dealing with feelings the first thing we have to do is defuse the emotion.  This is not the same thing as taking it away.  Rather, it is the coach’s task to help an individual manage the emotion.  This can include deep breathing exercises, quiet meditation and in particular, the use of reframing to lead an individual from a purely emotional response to a more considered cognitive response through use of the ladder of inference.

Remembering that issues of fairness are emotional rather than cognitive in nature will help both coach and client move more swiftly to a resolution.