Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Earth is a Sentient Living Organism

Contrary to the common belief that the Earth is simply a dense planet whose only function is a resource for its inhabitants, our planet is in fact a breathing, living organism. When we think of the Earth holistically, as one living entity of its own, instead of the sum of its parts, it takes on a new meaning. Our planet functions as a single organism that maintains conditions necessary for its survival.
James Lovelock published in a book in 1979 providing many useful lessons about the interaction of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes on Earth.
Throughout history, the concept of Mother Earth has been a part of human culture in one form or another. Everybody has heard of Mother Earth, but have you ever stopped to think who (or what) Mother Earth is?

WHAT IS GAIA?

Lovelock defined Gaia as “…a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.”
Through Gaia, the Earth sustains a kind of homeostasis, the maintenance of relatively constant conditions.
The truly startling component of the Gaia hypothesis is the idea that the Earth is a single living entity. This idea is certainly not new. James Hutton (1726-1797), the father of geology, once described the Earth as a kind of superorganism. And right before Lovelock, Lewis Thomas, a medical doctor and skilled writer, penned these words in his famous collection of essays, The Lives of a Cell:

John Nelson illustrated the Breathing Earth,” (below) which are two animated GIFs he designed to visualize what a year’s worth of Earth’s seasonal transformations look like from outer space. Nelson–a data visualizer, stitched together from NASA’s website 12 cloud-free satellite photographs taken each month over the course of a year. Once the images were put together in a sequence, the mesmerizing animations showed what Nelson describes as “the annual pulse of vegetation and land ice.”
BreathingEarth1-3b
As the climate changes, the planet comes alive. Earth appears to breathe when ice cover grows and melts–in and out, in and out.
White frost radiates out from the top of the globe and creeps south in all directions. It travels through Siberia, Canada, and northern Europe, heading towards the equator located around the circle’s edge, but ends before the top of Africa. The Mediterranean Sea is the visible body of water on the top left hand side, and the Great Lakes make up a small network of dark blue shapes on the land mass to the right.
The Earth acts as a single system – it is a coherent, self-regulated, assemblage of physical, chemical, geological, and biological forces that interact to maintain a unified whole balanced between the input of energy from the sun and the thermal sink of energy into space.
In its most basic configuration, the Earth acts to regulate flows of energy and recycling of materials. The input of energy from the sun occurs at a constant rate and for all practical purposes is unlimited. This energy is captured by the Earth as heat or photosynthetic processes, and returned to space as long-wave radiation. On the other hand, the mass of the Earth, its material possessions, are limited (except for the occasional input of mass provided as meteors strike the planet). Thus, while energy flows through the Earth (sun to Earth to space), matter cycles within the Earth.
The idea of the Earth acting as a single system as put forth in the Gaia hypothesis has stimulated a new awareness of the connectedness of all things on our planet and the impact that man has on global processes. No longer can we think of separate components or parts of the Earth as distinct. No longer can we think of man’s actions in one part of the planet as independent. Everything that happens on the planet – the deforestation/reforestation of trees, the increase/decrease of emissions of carbon dioxide, the removal or planting of croplands – all have an affect on our planet. The most difficult part of this idea is how to qualify these effects, i.e. to determine whether these effects are positive or negative. If the Earth is indeed self-regulating, then it will adjust to the impacts of man. However, as we will see, these adjustments may act to exclude man, much as the introduction of oxygen into the atmosphere by photosynthetic bacteria acted to exclude anaerobic bacteria. This is the crux of the Gaia hypothesis.
One of the early predictions of this hypothesis was that there should be a sulfur compound made by organisms in the oceans that was stable enough against oxidation in water to allow its transfer to the air. Either the sulfur compound itself, or its atmospheric oxidation product, would have to return sulfur from the sea to the land surfaces. The most likely candidate for this role was deemed to be dimethyl sulfide.
Published work done at the University of Maryland by first author Harry Oduro, together with UMD geochemist James Farquhar and marine biologist Kathryn Van Alstyne of Western Washington University, provides a tool for tracing and measuring the movement of sulfur through ocean organisms, the atmosphere and the land in ways that may help prove or disprove the controversial Gaia theory. Their study appears in this week’s Online Early Edition of the  (PNAS).
The Story of Water by Alick Bartholomew, is another unique publication in that it reflects the author’s deep knowledge of the principles of whole geophysical systems, which helps us understand the Earth as an integrated Gaia system that sustains us. The book begins by describing our usual view of water based on Western science and then deftly moves on to the frontier sciences that embrace water as the source of life in terms of biological systems, quantum energy fields, etheric fields, spirals, vortices, and as a medium for communications and memory. An understanding of these principles can lead to strategies for treating our water in ways that guarantee a sustainable future for humankind.

HOW DOES GAIA WORK?

The homeostasis regulated by the Earth is much like the internal maintenance of our own bodies; processes within our body insure a constant temperature, blood pH, electrochemical balance, etc. The inner workings of Gaia, therefore, can be viewed as a study of the physiology of the Earth, where the oceans and rivers are the Earth’s blood, the atmosphere is the Earth’s lungs, the land is the Earth’s bones, and the living organisms are the Earth’s senses. Lovelock calls this the science of geophysiology – the physiology of the Earth (or any other planet).
To understand how the Earth is living, let’s take a look at what defines life. Physicists define life as a system of locally reduced entropy (life is the battle against entropy). Molecular biologists view life as replicating strands of DNA that compete for survival and evolve to optimize their survival in changing surroundings. Physiologists might view life as a biochemical system that us able to use energy from external sources to grow and reproduce. According to Lovelock, the geophysiologist sees life as a system open to the flux of matter and energy but that maintains an internal steady-state.
Beyond the scientific importance of what we have discussed here, we might do well to consider some of the more poetical thoughts of the originator of the theory:
“If Gaia exists, the relationship between her and man, a dominant animal species in the complex living system, and the possibly shifting balance of power between them, are questions of obvious importance… The Gaia hypothesis is for those who like to walk or simply stand and stare, to wonder about the Earth and the life it bears, and to speculate about the consequences of our own presence here. It is an alternative to that pessimistic view which sees nature as a primitive force to be subdued and conquered. It is also an alternative to that equally depressing picture of our planet as a demented spaceship, forever traveling, driverless and purposeless, around an inner circle of the sun.”
The strong Gaia hypothesis states that life creates conditions on Earth to suit itself. Life created the planet Earth, not the other way around. As we explore the solar system and galaxies beyond, it may one day be possible to design an experiment to test whether life indeed manipulates planetary processes for its own purposes or whether life is just an evolutionary processes that occurs in response to changes in the non-living world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liz Bentley is a graduate in geology, professional photographer and freelance journalist with an acute insight into fossil records and climatology.
Credits: PreventDisease, where this was originally featured.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

16 Reasons To Have Daily Sex

Stressed, burdened with life’s difficult problems and fear that your health is declining? Then sex is the answer to happiness, longevity and a healthy body. You don’t agree?
1. De-stress
Sex helps you reduce stress. When deep breathing exercises fail to de-stress you, sex will do the needful.
During sex your body produces dopamine, a substance that fights stress hormones, endorphins, aka “happiness hormones” and oxytocin, a desire-enhancing hormone secreted by the pituitary gland.
In a study, published in the Public Library of Science journal, three neuroscience researchers conducted a test on male rats and found that the sexually active rats were less anxious than rats with no sexual activity.
2. Great Form of Exercise
Making love is a form of physical activity. During intercourse, the physiological changes in your body are consistent with a workout. You must have noticed that the respiratory rate rises, which means you get tired. Hence, you burn calories. If you have sex three times a week for 15 minutes (but we know you can do better than that) you’ll burn about 7.500 calories in a year. That’s the equivalent of jogging 75 miles! Heavy breathing raises the amount of oxygen in your cells, and the testosterone produced during sex keeps your bones and muscles strong.
3. Lowers high blood pressure
Hugs and sex can improve your blood pressure. Sex reduces diastolic blood pressure, that is, the bottom number while reading blood pressure.
4. Builds your immunity
Trying to fight the sniffles? Sex is the answer to fight cold and other health problems; sex can boost your immunity.
Immunoglobulin A, an antigen that fights the flu increases when the frequency of sex increases.
5. Makes You Look Younger
Making love three times a week can make you look 10 years younger, claims a Scottish researcher. “It’s good for you to have good sex,” says David Weeks, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, whose study on the effects of sex on aging appears in his book, Secrets of the Superyoung.
6. Healthy heart
Sex helps you burn calories but it can also improve your heart. Sex will take care of stroke and heart attacks, you just have to enjoy the moment.
Scientists with New England Research Institute examined the effect of sex on the heart. The study concluded that men are 45 percent less likely to experience cardiovascular diseases. But the study fails to study the effect of sex on a woman’s heart.
7. Pain relief
Pleasure is the measure to beat out the pain. Do you experience migraines and body pain? Well sex is the answer. But if you experience back pain, it is best to consult a doctor.
Dr. George E. Erlich, an arthritis specialist from Philadelphia conducted a study on the link between arthritis and sex. He narrows down that patients who engaged in sex experienced less pain.
8. Builds trust and intimacy
The act of sex spikes the hormone oxytocin; this hormone is responsible for your happiness and love. If your feel your relationship is falling out, there is trust or you’re worried that your partner will stray away, then sex will dispel these doubts. The hormone oxytocin builds trust and brings couples closer, and cupid too.
9. Less chances of cancer
Regular ejaculation reduces your chances of developing prostate cancer. In an Australian study men who ejaculated 21 times a month were least likely to develop cancer. It is further supported by other researches that sexual intercourse reduces the risk of prostrate cancer.
10. Stronger pelvic muscles
Sex involves the use of several muscles; hence regular sexual intercourse can help you develop stronger pelvic muscles. Further, since the act of sex involves a range of muscles, it also helps strengthen these muscles – for ex: quads, your core, and the upper back. Through regular sex, you can also maintain a strong bladder and bowel function.
Strong muscles, calorie burner, improves heart health – sex seems to take care of you.
11. Prostate Protection 
Most of the fluid you ejaculate is secreted by the prostate gland. If you stop ejaculating, the fluid stays in the gland, which tends to swell, causing lots of problems. Regular ejaculation will wash those fluids out and ensure the well being of your prostate until old age. Problems may also occur when you suddenly change the frequency of ejaculations.
12. Induces sleep
After that great, lovely workout you are bound to get good sleep. But guess what? Sex works the same way as exercise. The increased heart rate leads to increased post-coital relaxation. Sex could be the next thing for insomniacs! So what really happens:
- Sex can relax you, hence if you are already tired, the act of sex will induce sleep.
- When men ejaculate they become lethargic, this can make them sleepy.
13. Regular periods
Apparently sex can improve your menstrual cycle. Sex regulates hormones, which in turn regulate the menstrual cycle. Sex reduces stress, which is one of the reasons women miss their periods. Sex seems like a better option than pills.
14. Prevents Erectile Dysfunctions
Fifty per cent of men older than 40 suffer from erectile dysfunctions and all young men fear the moment when they won’t be able to get it up any more. The best medicine against impotence is…sex. An erection keeps the blood flowing through your penile arteries, so the tissue stays healthy. Plus, doctors compare an erection to an athletic reflex: the more you train the more capable you are to perform.
15. Live longer
A healthy heart, stronger muscles, increased circulation of oxygen and happiness are some of the factors that add life to the years and as a result – years to your life.
A study published in the British Medical Journal reveals that men who engaged in sex often live twice as those who rarely had any action.
16. Healthier semen
If you’re trying to conceive, you increase the volume of semen if you have sex regularly. Regular sex replaces old sperms from the testicles. If there is a natural build of sperms it can lead to DNA damage.
Credits: PreventDisease
Image: Alex Grey
Thanks to TheMindUnleashed

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mindfulness


Mindfulness - The Chinese character 念 is composed of two parts, the top 今 meaning "now; this" and bottom 心 signifying "heart; mind."

"Mindfulness is the quality and power of mind that is aware of what's happening — without judgment and without interference. It is like a mirror that simply reflects whatever comes before it. It serves us in the humblest ways, keeping us connected to brushing our teeth or having a cup of tea. It keeps us connected to the people around us, so that we're not simply rushing by them in the busyness of our lives.

We can start the practice of mindfulness meditation with the simple observation and feeling of each breath. Breathing in, we know we're breathing in; breathing out, we know we're breathing out. It's very simple, although not easy. After just a few breaths, we hop on trains of association, getting lost in plans, memories, judgments and fantasies.

This habit of wandering mind is very strong, even though our reveries are often not pleasant and sometimes not even true. As Mark Twain so aptly put it, "Some of the worst things in my life never happened." So we need to train our minds, coming back again and again to the breath, simply beginning again.

Slowly, though, our minds steady and we begin to experience some space of inner calm and peace. This environment of inner stillness makes possible a deeper investigation of our thoughts and emotions. What is a thought— that strange, ephemeral phenomenon that can so dominate our lives? When we look directly at a thought, we see that it is little more than nothing. Yet when it is unnoticed, it wields tremendous power.

Notice the difference between being lost in a thought and being mindful that we're thinking. Becoming aware of the thought is like waking up from a dream or coming out of a movie theater after being absorbed in the story. Through mindfulness, we gradually awaken from the movies of our minds."



Here is a guided "big mind" meditation with the Buddhist teacher Joseph Goldstein:

By the teacher Joseph Goldstein 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 Tips to Raise Your Vibrations

All your thoughts and feelings are energy, and energy is vibration. Learn to Raise those Vibrations and watch your life change dramatically. 

1. Find something beautiful and appreciate it. Beauty is all around us, from the morning dew to the evening stars and everything in between. Most go through life not noticing all the beautiful things that are around them, and yes it's every where, so take the time to notice them, and appreciate them when you see it. Whether it's the scent of a flower or the way rain ripples in puddles of water, appreciate the beauty life has to offer. 

2. Make a list of all that you are grateful for. Making a gratitude list shifts your vibrations from focusing on what you do not have to what is already abundant in your life. There is more to be grateful for than you could possibly imagine. You can start with “I'm Alive!” and expand from there. Gratitude is the Attitude. 

3. Meditate. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and breath in and out. Too often we rush through our days with a scattered brain leaving us in a state of anxiety and stress, Meditation helps to calm your spirit down and put you in a peaceful state of mind. 10 Minuets of meditation a day can change your life forever. 

4. Do something for someone else. Giving to someone else shifts your thinking from “I don't have enough, to I have more than enough to give to others.” Abundance is a high vibration. 

5. Stop complaining and gossiping. Complaining and Gossip puts you in a very low vibration. Ask yourself “Are the things you are talking about bringing you more of what you want?” if not then, Stop complaining, and start finding ways to rejoice. 

6. Move. Exercise. Get active. Vibration requires movement, the more you move the better your vibrations move. So Get Active! Dance! The happier you feel, the more you will draw happy experiences to yourself because you are operating at a different frequency. 

7. Realize that you have more control over your life than you thought. You are not a victim to circumstance, past, family upbringing, trauma, or anything else. You can change your life in an instant. Just realize this. In many wisdom traditions this is called “total responsibility.” No one is responsible for how you feel right now but you. It isn't a curse. It's a blessing because it gives you your power back. 

8. Breathe. Just sit and try to make your breath longer, fuller, and more relaxed. It has a direct affect on your nervous system and helps to calm you down. A calm vibration is a high vibration. 

9. Do Something You're Afraid Of Fear holds us back from being in a state of love and happiness, and facing those fears opens you up to a greater world of possibilities. Fear of Heights? Go skydiving. Scared of public speaking, say a poem at an open mic. You'll begin to realize your fear was worse then the actual problem, and a sense of relief will wash over you. 

10. Have a Meaningful Conversation with a Friend Rather than gossip or complaining, talk about you ideas. What do you have planned for yourself? what do you think is the nature of reality? Are we spiritual beings having a human experience? Talking about these things with someone helps to raise both your vibrations by thinking big. If you don't have someone to talk to about these kinds of things with, there's a community of higher minded individuals right here. Leave a comment down below and let's chat! 

Source: Mind Openerz