Steven KotlerIf you haven’t been paying much attention, “Abundance-The Future is Better Than You Think” has been on the NY Times best seller list for weeks.

In my interview with co-author Steven Kotler we explore the many topics covered in the book that are wonderfully articulated to guide the reader in understanding that we are living in unprecedented times.  Yes–we have our share to world problems, but on the flip side of the coin technology and science are moving at breakneck speeds and are solving many of these problems–and guess what?  Our standard of living is better than ever.

Steven points out that the focus of the book is to help change people mindsets. As fundamental as this sounds, it is a core problem in our society today.  Our brains are designed to be pessimistic  when it comes to getting our heads around global problems we are challenged, but we do much better and are more optimistic when it comes to issues that are in our reach.

Fueling this pessimism is our news media, as Steven states ” if it bleeds it leads” referring to how our media loves to report the doom and gloom and infrequently reports what is good about the world. Abundance certainly takes the bold contrarian and optimistic viewpoint for today’s cynical times, but the authors give proof that we are not living in such dire times.

Steven cites that poverty has decreased more in the last 50 years than in the previous 500. At a global level, the gap between wealthy nations and poorer nations continue to close.  Despite plenty of hardship we are living longer, wealthier, healthier lives.

The authors state that three (3) current forces are leading our world toward abundance.  1) A Do-It-Yourself revolution of backyard thinkers, which now extends far beyond homebrew computers and custom cars it is outdoing governments with high-impact innovationsin neuroscience, biology, genetics, nanotechnology and robotics. 2) A new source of techno-philanthropists who are dedicating their fortunes to solving grand, abundance-related challenges. 3) The poorest of the poor, the so-called “bottom-billion” have been plugged into the global economy by the internet, micro-fiance, and wireless communications.   By the end of 2013 , over 70 percent of the world’s population will have access to low-cost communications.

This perfect convergence of technology, science and communications is forging an opportunity for  abundance and equanimity worldwide.  I certainly agree with the authors viewpoint, and have seen massive changes “for the good” in our society.  If you want to get the facts, and learn more about what amazing technological and scientific advancement will change our world, then you need to read and study “Abundance“.  You will be glad that you did.

 

If you want more information the author have an amazing website, and you can click here to be directed to it.  You can also visit the Facebook page by clicking here, or watch some great YouTube videos about the book.  I hope you enjoy this great interview with a “thought leader” in the field of science, technology and spirituality–Steven Kotler.

Kelly HowellThere has been lots of discussion about the importance of exercising our minds so that we stay sharp and astute as we age.  I recently had the pleasure of interviewing both Michale Gelb and Kelly Howell the authors of a great new book entitled “Brain Power, Improve Your Mind as You Age.”

What Michael and Kelly reveal in our interview together is that what we previously thought  about aging and our brain is faulty.  That current science and the studies being conducted on how our brains work, connect  and  stay sharp are revealing amazing findings.

As discussed in “Brain Power” their are many factors that attribute to good mental acuity, some of them are optimism, forgiveness, being a life long learner not to mention that nutrition and exercise play a significant role in our minds ability to stay sharp.   As a matter of fact, exercise and nutrition the most important factors in our brains health.

I recently conducted an interview with Dr. John Ratey MD and professor of psychiatry at Harvard about his book entitled “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”, and he explains that in addition to promoting better muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness, exercise is “one of the best treatments we have for most psychiatric problems.” Ratey presents compelling research demonstrating the efficacy of exercise in sharpening cognition and memory, and in overcoming anxiety, stress and depression.

As Kelly and Michael explain, our environment is another important factor for good brain health.  Every aspect of our environment stimulates our brain for better or for worse. The sights, sounds, textures, aromas, tastes, and other sensations that you experience every day serve as nourishment for your mind and spirit.  They also state in “Brain Power” that the people that we hang around with and the communities of support we develop are a very big factor on staying brain healthy.  Study after study has shown that the bigger or community of support and connect to others is a significant factor in the reduction of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

If you are looking to stay mentally sharp today and well into your advanced years, then I highly recommend that you read and study the techniques discussed and taught in “Brain Power“.  This book could have a meaningful impact on how you decide to treat your body as well as exercise you mind.

 

I hope you enjoy this wonderful interview with Michael Gelb and Kelly Howell.  For more information about Michael Gelb please click here to be directed to his website, or click here to be directed to Kelly Howell’s website.

Shyalpa Tenzin RinpocheWhat an amazing interview with Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche about his new book entitled “Living Fully“.  The essence of the Rinpoche’s book is the importance of each breath and the life force and joy in each breath.

Now I am aware that at the pace we move in the Western world, understanding the importance of our breath is so essential; but really how many of us pay attention to our breath or are aware of the gift of each breath.  When you distill the message of this book into these terms and the simplicity of what we all take for granted you begin to see the beauty and transformational power within the message of “Living Fully”.

As Rinpoche state in “Living Fully” “Whether we realize it or not, our deepest aspiration is to experience the richness and fullness of our being in every moment. Each of us has the capacity to live fully, but how do we recognize our potential? ”  In my interview with Rinpoche we discuss the many desires and attachment we have to the physical world and how these desires and attachments really are not bringing us happiness and joy and distract us from “Living Fully“.

Happiness and joy are fulfilled when we look deep inside and content with who we are regardless of all of our worldly possessions.  As Rinpoche mentions in “Living Fully” instant pleasure is not the true way to enjoy our freedom.  When we know how to surrender, we can truly appreciate our freedom. This ability to surrender comes from a disciplined approach to life.  Surrender is not submitting to a higher authority, like an army recruit saluting a drill sergeant.  Rather, we surrender when we give up trying to satisfy all of our hopes and expectations.

If we abandon our efforts to fabricate a “perfect” world, we all experience genuine freedom that is not corrupted by endless craving or something better.  Understanding the philosophy and practice of the Buddhist way is quite simple.  Finding our essence of our precious human nature is learning how to live in the moment, enjoying each and every breath and the joy that it brings.

While this might sound like utopia, because we are all aware the plethora of distractions our material world brings, it  would certainly be nice to not just capture these moments but to become one with them permanently without programming our brains to remember how to remember what it feels like.

So if you are so inclined and want to learn from a master then I would recommend that you read and emerse yourself in the teaching of Rinpoche.  His new book is delightful, and something all of us in the Western world need to become more aware of how important the aspect of something as automatic as our breath teaches us about the joys of life.

 

If you would like to learn more about the book click here to be directed to the Rinpoche’s website or listen to a YouTube interview with the publisher Marc Allen at New World Library by clicking. here. Enjoy this great and inspirational interview with a wonderfully compassionate man.

Bill CrawfordI recently had the pleasure of speak with author Bill Crawford about his book entitled “Life From The Top of Mind“.  I think we are all aware of the incredible amounts of stress that fills our world, and I found that Bill’s book does a wonderful job of not only explaining how stress effects us, but provides a layman’s explanation of what happens to our bodies and what we can do about it to counter act the stress.

I think that for most of us we want to know what techniques are available to us in learning how to cope with stress.  But what is equally important is to understand what Bill refers to as “The Cycle of Stress/Frustration”.  It truly starts with the “Stressors”, economy, deadlines, customers etc then moves to our “Reactions” frustrated, stressed, anxious, angry etc. I think you got it!!

Bill outlines three ways to change, which are 1) Change the cause 2) Change the effect or 3) Become the cause.  It is the third option which is very unorthodox but is the main point of “Life From The Top Of The Mind“.

Bill is advocating that we look at the three C’s, Clarity, Cconfidence, and Creativity which means living our lives  from the “top of mind”  taking full responsibility for our lives.  Bill states that when you combine what he calls the POWER Model with the three C’s we can begin to see how they support one another.

The POWER model is an acronym for Purpose, Our Past, Wisdom of Serenity, Energy, and Responsibility.  When we become clear about our purpose we become more powerful. When we have more clarity about our past, meaning old habits, learned reactions and preconceptions that are incongruent with our higher purpose we can change the beliefs that are driving these habits. When we become clear about the wisdom of serenity, or value of using serenity as a precursor to accepting what we can’t change so that we have the courage to change those aspects of our live ove which we have the most influence we become more powerful. When we become clear about the type of energy we want to drive this process, and actively choose this energy to motivate our thoughts, emotions and behaviors we become more powerful.  And finally when we are willing to take full responsibility for our ability to respond so that we need nothing to change in order to practice this “Top Of Mind” perspective, we become powerful.

So to sum it up, the more control you are of your emotions, feeling and thoughts the less stress will invade your life.  Bill’s approach is so accurate but requires tremendous practice and diligence to recognize what state of mind we are in.  As he advocates if you can maintain a “Top of Mind” perspective your stress will be reduced substantially.  I highly recommend this book and the approach the author takes to help the reader reduce stress.

 

If you would like more information about author Bill Crawford please click here to be directed to his website .  Enjoy this wonderful interview with author Bill Crawford.

Rick Hanson Ph.D.Author Rick Hanson is one of my favorite authors, and he has created a great new little book entitled “Just One Thing, Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time”.  Rick is right on when he speaks about practicing. In my estimation it is the operative word,  one must start the practice, because practice is the only thing that will continue our ability to improve and reach heightened states of consciousness.

In my interview with Rick we discuss the daily practices that Rick has articulated in his book.  These practices are mainly inside your mind and are designed to support and increase your sense of security and worth, resilience, effectiveness, well-being, insight, and inner peace.  Some of the practices include taking in the good, protecting your brain, feeling safer, relaxing anxiety about imperfection, not knowing, enjoying your hands, taking refuge, and filling the hole in your heart.

Rick states that it’s a two-way street: as your brain changes, your mind changes; and as your mind changes, your brain changes.  This means–remarkably–that what you pay attention to, what you think and feel and want and how you work with your reactions to things all sculpt your brain in multiple ways.  The details are complex, bu the key point is simple: how you use your mind changes your brain–for better or worse.  There’s a traditional saying that the mind takes the shape it rests upon; the modern update is that the brain takes the shape the mind rests upon.

For instance, you regularly rest your mind upon worries, self-criticism, and anger, then your brain will gradually tak the shape–will develop neural structures and dynamics–of anxiety, low sense of worth, and prickly reactivity to others.  On the other hand, if you regularly rest your mind upon, for example, noticing your’re all right right now, seeing the good in yourself, and letting go–three of the practices in this book–then your brain will gradually take the shape of calm strength, self-confidence and inner peace.

It is the beginning of a New Year, and we can all use great ideas to help us establish better patterns and habits that help and serve us.  I hope that you will read Rick’s new book “Just One Thing” because he provides the reader with 52 new practices to help you become more mindful, centered and develop peace and bliss in your life.  What a wonderful thing!!!

 

If you would like more information on Rick Hanson, please click here to be directed to his website or click here to go to his Facebook page.  He also has some great videos at Youtube.

Sonia ArrisonYou might think that living to the ripe old age of 150 might sound just crazy.  But I am here to tell you that author Sonia Arrison had done the research and in the very near future having people live to the age of 100 and beyond will be the norm not the exception.

In my interview with Sonia Arrison the author of “100+ How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships, To Family and Faith.” We discuss the coming age of longevity and the effects that is will have on our society, relationships, careers and family.  The factors that are effecting our ability to live longer, and do it with greater levels of health are the advancements  are steeped in advancements in biotechnology and medicine.  Sonia states that our researchers are growing human body parts in lavatories and it is becoming more common everyday.  With this kind of technology, it will not become uncommon for us to be able to replace our body parts–and live longer more healthy lives.

Arrison states ” Since the myths of the past and present have been exposed, she argues we must follow the critical path forward: if we cannot forget or accept decline, then we must fight it and work to create a future no longer dominated by aging and death.  The time has come for death to die.”   We are at the cusp of a revolution in medicine and biotechnology that will radically increase not just our life spans but also and more importantly our health spans.  That is, we will love longer and with higher quality of life,”

The bigger question we are faced with are not just living longer, but what impacts living longer will have on all aspects of our lives–social programs, economic, family, relationship etc.  The impact is really hard to fathom, but Sonia Arrison does a great job in the book of outlining some of these problems and providing the reader with potential solutions and ways to deal with our own longevity.

 

If you are interested in finding our more about our 100+ life span and the effects that it will have on our family, relationships, social program and economics then Sonia Arrison’s book is a must read.  If you want to learn more about the book and the author, please click here to be directed to her website–for a short video introduction click here.

Patricia MonaghanIf you are looking for a comprehensive guide to mediation then you might want to check out “Meditation the Complete Guide” by author Patricia Monaghan.  In my recent interview with Patricia we discuss the techniques that she and her co-author Eleanor Viereck have provided for the readers both from East and West to calm the mind, heal the body and enrich the spirit.

Meditation the Complete Guide covers indigenous traditions, yoga, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other modern forms and mixed practices.  This guide book truly is for the person who wants to explore the options and learn more about the practices.  As the authors articulate in the book, meditation means many things to many people.  To some, it means simple relaxation.  To others, it means a deep blissful surrender to the diving.  It can be the rigorous following of a prescribed path or the exploring of a method unique to the individual meditator.

Knowing that no one meditation technique is right for everyone, and that one’s goal for meditation can change over time the authors wrote this guidebook to help readers understand their options. Meditation can be approached in three major ways: medical, martial, and spiritual and this guidebook deals with each of them in turn.

The medial approach to meditation includes all healing, therapy, wellness, and health maintenance goals. The martial approach to meditation is geared to the enhancement of performance.  This includes by is not limited to sports. Sports psychologists us imagery and relaxation techniques in training programs for all kinds of athletes.

The third approach to meditation is spiritual.  Spirituality is aliveness, according to Joseph Campbell, the foremost interpreter of myth of our time.  Spirituality may include religion but is not limited to the world’s religious traditions.  The goal of mediation, like that of may spiritual traditions, is to create a balance among the mind, the heart, and the body–or between the body and the soul.

 

Whatever your reasons for meditation, “Meditation the Complete Guide” with author Patricia Monaghan is an excellent reference book.  If you want to learn more about the practices of meditation please click here to be directed to Patricia’s website.  Enjoy this great interview with author Patricia Monaghan.

John Ratey MDI know that their has been lots of talk recently about our brain health.  Recently I had the honor of doing a podcast with John Ratey MD, the author of a book entitled ” Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.” In our interview together we discuss the many benefits and correlations to exercise and our brain health.

I know that many of us do not think about the “brain muscle” when we are doing our exercise programs, but the fact of the matter is that our exercise program has as much importance to keeping our brains sharp and clear as it does on building the other muscles in our body.

In a landmark study, aerobic exercise was shown to be as effective as antidepressants.  That women who exercise lower their chances of developing dementia by 50%.  Exercise even sparks new brain-cell growth, and it happens on three levels. First, it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention, and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information, and third, it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus.  The evidence is incontrovertible: aerobic exercise physically transforms our brains for peak performance.

The world seems to be getting more and more stressful these days, and the correlation between exercise and stress reduction is not big news to anyone.  But the importance that the exercise plays in improving our brain function is big news!!!.  The face that we’re much less active than our ancestors only exacerbates matters.  Just keep in mind that the more stress you have, the more your body needs to move to keep your brain running smoothly.

The next time you exercise, or more importantly decide to skip exercising think again.  Your brain really needs you to put in extra hours on the treadmill or biking to perform at peak levels.  If you want to learn more about exercise and your brain you can visit John Ratey’s website by clicking here.  There are many articles and references that I know you will find of value.

I hope you enjoy listening to my interview with author John Ratey MD about ” Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.”

Elloitt Dacher MDDr. Elliott Dacher has been a guest at Inside Personal Growth previously.  I am honored to bring him back again to speak with us about his new book entitled ” Aware, Awake, Alive-A Contemporary Guide to the Ancient Science of Integral Health and Human Flourishing“.  Prior to his deep work in the Indian modalities of health and healing, Dr. Dacher practiced Western medicine for over 21 years seeing over 50,000 patients. Over this period of time, Dr. Dacher was finding that for many of his patients that the conventional ways of Western medicine were not have a lasting and sustainable healing impact that he would have liked to have had.

Through a series of serendipitous events Dr. Dacher ended up spending over 12 years going back and forth between the US and India studying the aspects of healing and what is termed in the book as “Human Flourishing”.   As Dr. Dasher state in the book ” to flourish is to move beyond the stress, dissatisfaction, and suffering that too often limits and diminishes our lives, and reclaim the profound well-being which resides at the center of our being.  That is our vision, a vision of human flourishing.

Even though each of our lives has an inner and outer aspect, they are usually unequally developed.  In modern times our focus has been on the outer aspects.  We have mastered an understanding of biology.  We know how to enhance our physical well-being, address physiological disturbances, reduce biological risk factors and promote high levels of physical wellness.  As mythologist Joseph Campbell reminds us, “where there was once darkness there is now light”.  We once knew very little about our biology, and now we know a great deal. But he also reminds us that, ” Were there was once light there is now darkness” There was a time we had a profound understanding of our inner life.  We could describe and traverse, as Plato did, the full development of consciousness from darkness to light, from confusion to wisdom. But in modern times that is no longer the case.  We have mastery of the outer world but we have simultaneously lost touch with our inner life.  It has become a buried and unseen treasure.

In Elliot’s book ” Aware, Awake, Alive” he provides the reader with a course of practice and study that is 10 weeks in length, along with more advanced material for those who master the basics and want to continue on.  This book and workbook provides the student with a complete overview of the journey to human flourishing—vision, path, fruition, and integration.   It also includes a CD to help the reader/student establish a stable and effective daily practice.

If you ready to transform your life completely, and have health, happiness and lasting bliss then you just might want to consider reading and studying the content of ” Aware, Awake, Alive” by Dr. Elliott Dacher.
I know you will enjoy this enlightening interview with someone who has devoted their life to helping us understand the miracles of how doing the deep inner work will assist in healing our bodies.  If you want to learn more about Dr. Dacher and his course please click here to be directed to his website.