Meditation and Accepting Reality

I was asking fans what subjects they want me to address and Ramesh Gupta MD asked me to expand on the subject of accepting reality AND, to talk about humanist meditation practices.

It might seem odd to combine the topics of meditation and acceptance of reality, but to me, as a Humanist, they are connected.

My focus as a Humanist is to live life fully and to do that, I need to do a good job of solving my problems. To do that, I need to have a good grasp of reality.  To have a good grasp of reality, I use critical thinking skills to help me figure out what is true and what is false.

It turns out that figuring out what is true and what is false is difficult. Our brains are big gooshy masses of chemical reactions that somehow create consciousness. Our brains take short cuts and have biases that make thinking rationally really difficult. We have to make an effort to think critically and rationally.

Which is why I find meditation such a useful too. Meditation is brain practice. It’s about practicing focusing your attention.  This practice can be rather calming for the brain.  I find my brain really enjoys it.

Being able to focus my attention when problem solving is helpful to problem solving. Being able to have a calm mind when I am trying to problem solve, is priceless. Calm focused thinking is clear thinking and clear thinking allows for better critical thinking.

If you want to learn more about Humanist meditation – take this course.
Want to learn more about critical thinking – take my reality based decision making course.
Want an all in one course that combines philosophy and critical thinking – take living made simpler.

Dealing with Personal Mistakes and Errors

Everyone makes mistakes. Professionals fix them.

I am always amazed when I meet people who don’t want to take responsibility for their mistakes.  It’s not just kids, it’s adults too. I’m amazed because in my experience, acknowledging you made a mistake and working to fix it is always well received. I am positively re-enforced every time I take responsibility for my mistakes and try to fix them.

I have always found that people are pretty considerate, IF you work to fix the problem.

Sometimes my mistakes are an accident, and sometimes they result from poor judgement.

Sometimes, I mess things up with other people by being clueless, hungry or both. I’m far from perfect.

But, people still work with me and help me and support me and seem to like me, for the most part, because I do make an honest attempt to fix my mistakes.

My ego is pretty big, but it’s not big enough to prevent me from doing my best to fix things.

The next time you make a mistake or an error acknowledge it. Apologize for it. And start working to fix it. I have had people come to me livid about stupid stuff I have done and I’ve just flat out apologized and told them I messed up. How can I fix it?  Once people realize I’m not only not going to fight, I’m not going to blame anyone else for my bad behavior AND, I’m going to work to fix it, they almost always accept my help and allow me to make amends.

Don’t be so proud that you continue to make mistakes just to prove to yourself that you weren’t to blame.  That would be pretty stupid.

There are a few courses I would recommend if you find you struggle with this.
1) Conflict Resolution – will teach you some of the science of how to help resolve conflicts and prevent behaviors from escalating
2) Dealing with Cranky Customer Problems
3) Living Made Simpler (will help you think about your values, who you are and more importantly how you want to be)

The most important part of decision making

Values: You can't make good decisions unless you know what is good. #Humanism

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Mental Health Care vs. Jail

We need to rethink our criminal justice policies because 65% of kids in Florida’s juvenile justice system are developmentally disabled!!!!

My local paper ran a story on disabled teens in our juvenile justice system. What I read infuriated me!

It turns out that 65% of kids in juvenile system are developmentally disabled. Instead of providing services to these kids, we are putting them in jail.

Why?  The state of FL has only 350 beds statewide for delinquent youths with cognitive impairments or severe mental illness. When those beds are used up, the kids end up in detention without the care they need.

Why do we have inadequate resources for developmentally disabled kids? Because we refuse to fund mental health care.

What we are willing to fund is prisons. Specifically, private prisons.  Private prisons who lobby our legislators to guarantee we put people in jail so that the private prison companies can make enough money to make running our jails economically successful. In other words, they need to make a profit so we put developmentally disabled kids in jail.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if the public health sector and the mental health sector were privatized maybe then they would have a lobby large enough to convince our elected officials to spend our tax dollars actually helping instead of just locking people up for profit.

What is clear is that our current system of incarceration for profit is bad for society, bad for the kids who need help and bad for their families.

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