How Shifting from an Attitude of Entitlement to an Awareness of Enlightenment Can Improve Our Health and Society

ENTITLEMENT

- State of Mind
We have entered into an “Era of Entitlement”. I believe there is a growing perception, even belief, on behalf of many in today’s western society that they deserve, or are “entitled”, to positions, status and/or wealth for which others have had to earn and they do not. It spans across all socio economic and age groups and is evident in individuals, groups, organizations, government, schools, churches, etc…

Historically, one has had to work one’s way up “the ladder”, through a hierarchical series of positions as one demonstrated one’s work ethic and/or value to a company. This process had its weaknesses in that it was predicated on the integrity and ethics of superiors (in “position”, not necessarily “ability”) to notice the value of the employees under their supervision and promote them accordingly. The process was subject to abuse, through “kingdom builders” promoting only their clones or those they could manipulate most easily so as to build a personal “fiefdom” within a given corporate structure. In like manner, those who did not “toe” the corporate line or submit to a superior’s authority would likely find their promotion upward delayed or denied. However, in a general sense, it allowed those with knowledge and ability to rise upward to positions of progressively greater authority and, more importantly, corporate liability consistent with their increasing level of experience.

It seems to me that, in today’s society, there is an expectation that one is “entitled” to the position they desire rather than having to earn it. I suggest this “attitude of entitlement” is the direct result of one or more of the following:

1.Educational Elitism - This attitude derives from the reputation (perceived or deserved) of the university from which they graduated, in that they graduated from “U of whatever” and so there is a premium attached to hiring them on that basis.

2.Level of Parental Care - Parents provision for their children’s needs – Arguably, for the first time in history, the middle and, to a lesser extent, lower class of society have been able to provide their children with a better lifestyle than their own. One outcome of this cultural phenomenon is that we have little appreciation of the value of money and have become a society of disposable consumerism. We need to have the fastest, newest and the best, irregardless of whether what we have is sufficient to our needs. In addition, we have become a society that believes it is entitled to what it wants.

3.Change in the Moral Fabric of Western Society – Another of the recent changes in modern society has been a transition to a fault-less society. “It is not my fault” and “I come from a dysfunctional family” are examples of typical excuses. I suggest that most, if not every, family is dysfunctional to some degree. I believe we are responsible for our own actions. If we have weaknesses, then we should deal with them (mental illness being an exception), not persist in using them as crutches to avoid responsibility for our actions.

4.Unreasonable Expectations – Defining one’s happiness has become a result of “how much” one has and comparing it to what others have regardless if you’re enjoying it or not. Unhappiness is a result of a misalignment of reality to the associated expectations.

So as a result, undue stress persists, we continue to stay in a state of “I WIN, YOU LOSE” mentality and pop pills to mask our health symptoms rather than discover the source of them.

So how do we break the chain or readjust our state of mind to create a more healthy environment for ourselves and others?

ENLIGHTENMENT

- State of Being
Basically enlightenment is the process of continuous growth and learning without controlling the course or outcome. It allows us to have a great deal of faith and trust that external factors, people and/or experiences contribute to our growth. It’s a point where we shift from judgment to curiosity, listen more and talk less, consider our communities as part of our families, are accountable and responsible for our actions and give more than we receive.

Enlightenment isn’t something we do, show or compare, it’s who we are being or becoming while doing. The key characteristic to obtaining a state of enlightenment is through empowerment of oneself and others. Empowerment allows others to share in the control, influence, impact and authority of activities and creates an environment of trust and respect. And Yes, there is enough to go around!

This isn’t WooWoo anymore! Major corporations are incorporating empowerment programs to increase employee health, involvement and productivity. Deepak Chopra has sold millions of books and made millions of dollars sharing basic concepts on the topic.

If you’re so inclined to give yourself permission to try to reach a level of enlightenment, start small.
When was the last time you:
- Volunteered your time or services? I’m not talking about writing a check and putting it the mail for a charity, but actually worked an event?
- Performed an act of kindness for a stranger? A smile qualifies!
- Got outside and experienced nature? Stared at the night sky and looked for shooting stars, took a walk in the woods and identified the number of different trees?
- Spent time with your family or friends and learned something new about them?

So begin expanding your horizons… one thought at a time! It will improve your health and our society!

How Meditation Can Affect Alpha Rhythms in the Brain

Meditation might act as a “volume knob” for selective attention, leading to better control over pain and negative emotions. A recently published Brown University study on mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) has shown that attentional training holds promise for improving everyday functions.

What is MBSR?
Originally developed by a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) has grown to become part of many healthcare plans in the last 20 years.

It consists of an 8-week program that trains patients to focus a “spotlight of attention” on different parts of their body, and eventually to develop the same awareness of their mental states.

How MBSR affects alpha rhythms
There is strong evidence that the MBSR techniques of increasing attention control have measurable effects on alpha wave behavior in patients’ brains. Alpha rhythms are a key part of the sensory system: they’re related to how the brain processes and filters irrelevant sensory inputs.

Filtering inputs is a crucial part of higher order cognitive process such as selective attention and working memory. Both of these processes are based on a person’s attention to focus on relevant information while ignoring irrelevant information. Without proper filtering, your ability to carry out even the most basic cognitive operations can be crippled.

Imagine the simple task of backing your car out of the driveway. In order to reach the street safely, you must hold your destination in mind while steering the car and ignoring distractions from every modality: the news on the radio, children playing at the end of the block, an itch on your foot, the glare of the sun in your eyes. Most of us do this filtering subconsciously—but if you let such irrelevant stimuli distract you, even such a daily task can become a difficult ordeal.

That’s why MBSR’s value extends even beyond its ability to improve attention during regular tasks: one of its primary clinical uses is in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain, who struggle with ignoring irrelevant pain stimuli on a daily basis. In fact, MBSR has been shown to have positive emotional benefits in those suffering from chronic pain and depression.

Brain scan evidence of MBSR
In this 2013 Brown University study, researchers divided participants into two different groups: a test group that underwent MBSR training for 8 weeks, and a control group that did not. After 8 weeks, both groups were analyzed using a brain imaging technique known as magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Participants in the brain scan were told to direct attention to or away from their left index fingers. The MBSR group’s neuronal response was significantly faster than the control groups, as measured by concentration of alpha power.

How you can apply MBSR techniques to improve your life
While not everyone can commit to the full 8 weeks of the MBSR program, its message about the importance of training attention can be applied in other ways. Many of Lumosity’s Attention games, for example, are designed to improve similar functions in just minutes a day. Several games, such as Lost in Migration and Color Match, not only train your focus but can also strengthen your ability to ignore irrelevant stimuli in just minutes a day. Unlock full access to 40+ games today and start strengthening your attention!

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How Do You Handle Change?

The only thing that is constant is change, so how do you handle it in your life? Do you view it as an opportunity to learn and grow or fall victim to it out of fear of the unknown? Regardless if change is voluntary or not, it provides us the opportunity to reevaluate our priorities and what’s really important to us. I recently viewed a music video titled "For The First Time" by an Irish band named The Script and found it to be a great example of how a couple struggled through a change altering event and how they embraced it to redefine the importance of their relationship. I have enclosed the video clip for your review. When was the last time you experienced a change and how did you handle it? If you’re interested in sharing the outcome, please email me at pam@lifescapespc.com.