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Archive for the 'Consciousness' Category

FORBES MAGAZINE’S GUIDE TO AMERICA’S TOP MEDITATION RETREATS

Posted in Consciousness, Health Watch on September 18th, 2008

A VACATION OF A DIFFERENT SORT

meditation3.jpgMeditation, once the domain of Buddhist’s, new-agers, and Indian holy men, has in recent years garnered mainstream acceptance for its almost magical ability to lower cholesterol, ease pain, curb insomnia, boost the immune system, and control depression.

Recently many Americans have started to make meditation a key part of their vacation plans. This has led to the growth of a new industry, of meditation themed retreats specially outfitted to service a population hungering for inner peace.

Forbes magazine, in the current issue, surveyed the best of these retreats. (Follow the link at the bottom of this posting). Represented are resorts that run the gamut from Esalen, which is famous as being the birthplace of the Human Potential Movement, to lesser known retreats in Colorado, Kentucky, Upstate New York and Hawaii.

Having stayed at Esalen a few times over the years, I can attest to its rejuvenating effects on mind, body and spirit. The location is exquisite, carved into a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in majestic Big Sur, California. The retreat’s natural mineral baths, a key part of the Esalen experience, are famous world over for their ability to cleanse mind and body, as is the style of massage, which bears its name.

- Denis

Learn more about Esalen

Link to Forbes guide to top meditation retreats

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COMMENTARY: ON AL GORE’S PROPOSAL TO TAX WHAT WE BURN, NOT (ON) WHAT WE EARN.

Posted in Clean Energy, Consciousness, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy on July 18th, 2008

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CHALLENGES NATION TO PHASE OUT ALL NON-RENEWABLE, CARBON BASED SOURCES OF ENERGY GENERATION WITHIN TEN YEARS

AlGorerecent.jpgLess than a day after our nation’s poor excuse for a president taunted our equally lackluster Congress for failing to open up pristine costal areas and sacred animal sanctuaries for oil exploration, the man who should have been president, Al Gore, issued a challenge to the nation to phase out all non-renewable, carbon based sources of energy generation within ten years.

Mr. Gore made his pitch for the adoption of a new energy paradigm, yesterday, in a speech before a packed audience at Washington’s historic Constitution Hall. It was during this speech that Mr. Gore noted that eliminating fossil fuels would not only solve our nation’s ongoing problem with global warming, but would also eliminate the economic and national security crises that result from our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Additionally, Mr. Gore stated that America’s switch to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources would boost the country’s economic position because, as it turns out, the “real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices.”

At present, renewable resources – specifically wind and solar power – generate about 8.6 percent of America’s power needs, currently in the area of 3.7 billion kilowatt hours, annually. A drop in the bucket by any standard.

Most of our power, better than fifty percent, still comes from coal, a highly toxic substance known to be responsible for more than a third of the United States’ carbon dioxide pollution.

What’s worse, if the carbon fuel companies are allowed to continue unregulated – and if Pappy McCain wins the White House, this will surely happen – it is estimated that coal’s share of the eclectic generation pie will continue to grow, particularly if the coal companies succeed in selling Congress on the fantasy of clean coal, something that at the present does not exist, and it is doubtful, ever will.

While Mr. Gore places the cost for such a radical transition in how we generate our power in the area of $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion dollars over thirty years, he believes that this is an obtainable goal. To that end he encouraged Republicans and Democrats to “overcome their partisanship” and to institute a policy change to where citizens and corporations are “taxed on what they burn, not (on) what they earn.”

I happen to agree with him on the need to take drastic action and feel that the money that he estimates such a transition will cost, would be money well spent. This is particularly true when you consider that by the time that the last shot has been fired, the last soldier brought home, and we have rebuilt all that we have destroyed and prepaid for the education and long term care for our people who fought in the conflict, we will have spent practically as much making the region safe for Texaco, Shell, Exxon and British Petroleum to do business, as it will cost us to guarantee the heath and wellbeing of future generations, with one major difference: No one, not a soul outside of the war profiteers and the aforementioned oil companies, and the corrupt politicians and lobbyists that they support will have anything to show for Mr. Bush’s illegal, immoral little war.

In a perfect world there would be repercussions for Mr. Bush and the men and women who lied us into war; repercussions including trials and prison sentences, and, perhaps, even extradition to the international court in the Hague for prosecution for their crimes against the Geneva Accord.

But my friends, unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. This being the case, I would settle for our nation never again trusting ANY leader, regardless of ideology, political party or theological belief, coming to us, armed with mountains of unsustainable aka confidential data, with the goal of convincing our proud, honorable nation to go to war.

In my lifetime, we as a nation have misled along these lines two times: now and in Vietnam. I do not think that we could sustain another such instance, and retain our identity as a nation.

-Denis

Watch Al Gore’s speech on YouTube

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HEALTH WATCH! PHYSICIANS FIGURE OUT HOW MEDITATION AFFECTS THE BODY

Posted in Conscious Actions, Consciousness, Health Watch, New Scientific Data, Spirituality on July 2nd, 2008

A PRELIMINARY STUDY SHOWS MEDITATING TURNS OFF STRESS-RELATED GENES

meditation2.jpgAs one who lives daily with ADHD and a wicked type A personality, and who, over the years, has failed miserably in all attempts to chemically manage these conditions, the study of meditation has been godsend. Now there are many reasons for this – reasons that I must add are surely different person to person – but perhaps the most important is that it allows me to control my anxieties and manage my mind far better than drug therapy or self-medication with Gran Mariner ever did. Plus as an added benefit, meditation offers even the greenest newbie practitioner a sensation of wellness and inner peace, and it does this without any side effects, other then, perhaps, the annoying (to some) tendency to smile more and get less worked up about the snags that are so much a part of day to day life.

Because we are fans of smiling people here at Libsearthwatch.com, we try to keep abreast of the latest meditation news and developments. The following posting from Lauren Cox of ABC News is an example of that.

- Denis

SAY OM: DOCTORS FIND MEDITATION AFFECTS YOUR BODY

By LAUREN COX -ABC News Medical Unit

July 2, 2008—It turns out peaceful thoughts really can influence our bodies, right down to the instructions we receive from our DNA, according to a new study.

Researchers for the study, published in the Public Library of Science, took blood samples from a group of 19 people who habitually meditated or prayed for years, and 19 others who never meditated.

The researchers ran genomic analyses of the blood and found that the meditating group suppressed more than twice the number of stress-related genes — about 1,000 of them — than the nonmeditating group.

The more these stress-related genes are expressed, the more the body will have a stress response like high blood pressure or inflammation. Over long periods of time, these stress responses can worsen high blood pressure, pain syndromes and other conditions.

Continue reading this posting.

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NEWS WATCH! SPIRITUAL CAPITALISM EMERGES

Posted in Conscious Actions, Consciousness, Ethical Living on June 22nd, 2008

IMAGINE A SYSTEM FOR RATING BUSINESS SUCCESS THAT HAS MORE TO CONSIDER THAN QUARTERLY REPORTS, SALES PROJECTIONS AND CASH IN THE BANK. AT LAST, A SPIRITUAL COMPONENT

water_drop.jpgJust when it seemed that the pursuit of money, fame and that house in the Hamptons (or for us left coasters, Newport Island,) had lost most of its’ appeal as barometers of one’s success, we now have a new and exciting way to gauge accomplishments in the workplace. And unlike previous ratings systems, quarterly reports, sales projections and cash in the bank are only a part of establishing one’s bona fides.

Now before my regular readers start fearing that yours truly has imbibed of fundamentalist cool aide and is speaking of lunchtime prayer sessions, weekend bible study classes, or for that matter being nice to people that I write about; be advised that all is well here at Libsearthwatch.com. My cynicism, though worn down from the often-thankless job of encouraging humanity to save itself, is, thank god, intact. As are my candor and well-developed bullshit meter. With these paragraphs I am merely setting the stage for a fascinating new posting from the print and electronic edition of Ode Magazine, the global monthly magazine of spirituality, positive living and the environment, that people, (yours truly, included) the world over turn to for the straight stuff about topics that matter to us at this crazy time in all of our lives. But enough shameless plugging of Ode magazine, And yes, I do pay for my subscription.

Spiritual Capitalism (I’m quoting Ode Magazine here) is an exciting new tool for managing the success of an enterprise by values like “integrity” and “commitment” as much as by targets like “efficiency” and “profitability.” “It’s based on the recognition that every businessperson—whether you’re the CEO of a major multinational or the head of your own small firm—is in the service industry, and the services rendered must benefit not just yourself and your shareholders, but the planet and other people as well.” The first commandment of the growing spiritual-capitalism movement is: Taking care of business means taking care of others.

Continue reading this worthwhile posting

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STUDY: LONELY PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO BELIEVE IN SUPERNATURAL

Posted in Consciousness, News Brief on February 10th, 2008

THOSE WHO FEEL ISOLATED TRY TO CREATE SOCIAL CONNECTIONS ELSEWHERE

2007-08-10-smartteen.jpgWhen people feel lonely, they may try to rekindle old friendships, seek out new ones or they may create social connections by anthropomorphizing nearby gadgets, such as computers or cars, pets, or by believing in supernatural events or religious figures, according to University of Chicago researcher Nicholas Epley, who led the study.

Epley and his colleagues plan to probe the issue further to see if anthropomorphizing pets or believing in anthropomorphized supernatural agents is what is responsible for alleviating feelings of loneliness. If it is, it could provide alternate means for people to feel socially connected when connecting to humans isn’t an option.

“There are health benefits that come from being connected to other people, and those same benefits seem to come from connection with pets and with religious agents, too,” Epley said.

READ MORE…

Source: LiveScience.com.

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ORGANIC FOOD INDUSTRY FACES A SUPPLY CRUNCH

Posted in Conscious Actions, Consciousness, Health Watch, Healthy Food on January 30th, 2008

CONSUMERS PAYING MORE AS FARMERS STRUGGLE TO MEET DEMAND

farmers_mkt_02_o_large.jpgThe organic market makes up nearly 3 percent of the overall food market, a share that has increased every year for the past decade. It’s a small but fast-growing segment of an otherwise sluggish food industry.

But while the farmland dedicated to organic crops has expanded, it still makes up just a sliver of the nation’s total: a half percent each of all cropland and pastureland in 2005, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One reason for the lagging supply is the fact that it takes a minimum of three years to transition cropland farmed conventionally to an organic operation.

The three-year transition to an organic farm “is rarely done strictly as a matter of economics,” Routh saod. It’s often as much a philosophical move, an acceptance of a particular belief system. Still, some farmers who considered going organic two or three years ago may have been tempted by promise of record prices to keep their farms conventional.

READ MORE…

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GENERAL MOTORS TO MAKE BIOFUEL WITH GARBAGE

Posted in Alternative Energy, Consciousness, News Brief on January 15th, 2008

AUTOMAKER ESTIMATES IT’S PRODUCTION COST AT LESS THAN A DOLLAR PER GALLON

ethanol1.jpgWasn’t it just the other day that I was ranting on about corn-based ethanol, and the fact that it takes a gallon of fossil fuels to make just 1.3 gallons of corn-based ethanol?

Well, the good folks at General Motors were obviously on the same wavelength as the old LIB. Their solution to this quandary is ethanol from garbage, specifically old tires and plant waste.

No we’re talking. Sorry Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, there is an new player in the ethanol game.

Kudos to GM for their forsight, and for agreeing with the LIB.

-LIB

General Motors has entered into a partnership with Illinois-based Coskata Inc., which has developed a way to make ethanol from practically any renewable source, including old tires and plant waste.

The process is a significant improvement over corn-base ethanol because it uses far less water and energy and does not divert food into fuel.

GM is currently producing more than a million flex-fuel cars and trucks per year making it the industry leader for vehicles capable on on gasoline blended with up to 85 percent ethanol.

READ MORE….

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US MAYORS GET SERIOUS ON REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT. BUT IS IT TOO LATE?

Posted in Consciousness, Corporate Polluters, Eco Warriors, Global Warming, News Brief on November 3rd, 2007

MAYORS PLEDGE TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS IN THEIR CITIES TO KYOTO LEVELS

airpollition.jpg“Thinking Globally and Acting Locally” is a fitting description of the decision this week by more than 700 American mayors to turn their back on the insanity of the Bush Administration environmental policy, and voluntarily adopt the Kyoto recommended levels for carbon emissions.

While this mass thumbing of the nose at an administration that has done more damage to the environment than most any in history is laudable, one can’t help wondering if in fact it might be too little too late.

It is hard to deny that we are in the midst of a period of extreme climate-related upheavals. The polar ice is melting and our beaches are starting to erode. Tornado’s are far more frequent and hurricanes more extreme. Here in the west, we are facing a drought, while areas not know for weather extremes battle monsoon level floods. If the scientists are correct, soon many of our costal areas will begin to flood with the day not that far off when many of them may have to be abandoned.

And still, there are politicians and lobbyists, and their allies in the bought-and-paid-for science sector, who are attempting to argue the underpinnings of what we are currently experiencing, as if they and their half-assed arguments are believable anymore.

In light of this, the actions of the mayors are more about survival and less about doing what is right. That boat sailed years ago.

But I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on the men and women who run our nation’s cities. They are afterall, politicians, a species not known for taking chances, or for being ahead of the curve. Well, as least most aren’t.

The Mayor’s plan calls for reducing local carbon emissions by seven-percent below their 1990 levels.

If you remember, King George rejected Kyoto because this requirement would have forced America’s corporations, sacred cows that they are to Republicans, to reduce carbon outputs by 2001, something that the companies who had paid to elect him king were adamantly against.

So now it seems that we are getting Kyoto by default. I just hope it still matters.

-LIB

MORE….

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SCHWARZENEGGER UNVEILS PLAN TO INSURE SEVEN MILLION

Posted in Consciousness, Eco Warriors, Ethical Business, Health Watch, News Brief on October 10th, 2007

INSURANCE COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS IN CALIFORNIA WOULD BE BARRED FROM DENYING COVERAGE DUE TO AGE OR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

doc.jpg After much speculation, California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has gone on record with his plans to insure the almost seven million Californians who presently do not have health insurance.

Under the governor’s bill, Californians would be required to have health insurance and businesses would be required to offer it. Individuals unable to afford this coverage would be able to obtain it through a subsidized state account, offset by contributions from companies unable to offer their own coverage plans and from the proceeds of the California Lottery.

But the best part of the Schwarzenegger plan is that it would ban insurance companies doing business in the state from rejecting applicants because of their age or previous medical condition, that tired old chestnut, which the insurance companies use to refuse insurance to any poor soul that has had the misfortune of having suffered from some life threatening disease in the course of their life.

Hooray for Schwarzenegger, a Republican, for having the courage to stand up to the insurance juggernaut and for putting his political rhetoric into a cohesive, comprehensive plan.

Now it is up to the heavily Democratic state legislature to combine the best elements of the Schwarzenegger plan with comparable Democratic plans and produce what hopefully will be the blue print that other states rush to emulate.

-LIB

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CAGE-FREE EGGS GROW IN POPULARITY

Posted in Consciousness, Healthy Food, Humane Treatment of Animals, News Brief on August 13th, 2007

A MORE HUMANE BREAKFEST FOOD

eggs.jpeg The eggs, from chickens raised in large, open barns instead of stacks of small wire cages, have become the latest addition to menus at universities, hotel chains like Omni and cafeterias at companies like Google. The Whole Foods supermarket chain sells nothing else, and even Burger King is getting in on the trend.

All that demand has meant a rush on cage-free eggs and headaches in corporate kitchens as big buyers learn there may not be enough to go around.

The Vermont ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s got plenty of attention last September when it became the first major food manufacturer to announce it would use only cage-free eggs that have been certified humane by an inspecting organization. But the company says it will need four years to complete the switch.

“It’s not easy to find all the eggs you’re looking for,” said Rob Michalak, a spokesman for Ben and Jerry’s. “The marketplace is one where the supply needs to increase with the demand.”

MORE….

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