Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friendship: The Way to Enlightenment

Dharmachari Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly translation, Upaddha Sutra (SN 45.2) (

NAGARAKA, ancient Indian frontier - Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Buddha [Sakyamuni, "Sage of the Sakyans"] was staying among the Sakyans in a town named Nagaraka. Ananda went to the Buddha. He greeted him, respectfully sat to one side, and said:

"Venerable sir, noble friendship (kalyana mittata), noble companionship, noble association is half of the supreme-life (brahmacariya, the supreme path to liberation from suffering)!"

"Do not say so, Ananda. Do not say so, Ananda. Noble friendship, noble companionship, noble association is the whole of the supreme-life.

"When a practitioner has noble people as friends, companions, and associates, it may be expected that such a person will pursue and develop the Noble Eightfold Path [that leads to enlightenment and nirvana, the greatest happiness of all].

"How does one who has noble people as friends, companions, and associates pursue and develop the Noble Eightfold Path?
  1. One develops right [samma, optimal, full, necessary and sufficient] understanding dependent on withdrawal [of the senses from sensual distractions], dependent on dispassion [mental calm], dependent on cessation [dismantling name-and-form by insight] resulting in letting go and the attainment of nirvana.
  2. One develops right intention [thought]...
  3. One develops right speech...
  4. One develops right action...
  5. One develops right livelihood...
  6. One develops right effort...
  7. One develops right mindfulness...
  8. One develops right concentration [samma samadhi, namely, the first four jhanas] dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation resulting in letting go and the attainment of nirvana.
"This is how one who has noble people as friends, companions, and associates pursues and develops the Noble Eightfold Path.

"In another way, too [within this Dharma and Discipline], may it be understood that noble friendship, companionship, and association is the whole of the supreme-life: It is through reliance on me as [the re-discoverer and teacher of this timeless path and as being's] noble friend

  • that beings subject to rebirth have gained release from rebirth,
  • that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging,
  • that beings subject to death have gained release from death,
  • that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair.
In this sense also one may understand how noble friendship, companionship, and association is the whole of the supreme-life [leading directly to enlightenment and nirvana]."

Happy Sadie Hawkins Day! (video)

Amber Dorrian, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Bogdan and Friends
() Jaliela attempts to find someone to take to "Sadies," the traditional American Sadie Hawkins Day Dance.

It is Sadie Hawkins Day, the only day that gives females a socially-tolerable chance to see what it is like to be a male in the dating world.

The opportunity only comes around every four years on Leap Day, February 29th. This Leap Year helps keep our convoluted calendar working, and since the stars are upset, why not the social order?
Sadie Hawkins is still celebrated in some place with the poor dressing as the rich, the this as the that, and ladies taking the lead in dating. Originally, females were taking the opportunity to boldly propose marriage when marriage was vital to a woman's well being. Or at least her perceived well being.

Bogdan and Friends Night Live

Now more of us, male and female, are choosing to live alone and enjoy it. Many middle-aged women who divorce will, unlike men, choose not to remarry. Marriage does not lengthen women's lives or benefit them as it does men. So why bother?

Giggling pre-college girls throughout the nation panic at the prospect of doing the asking. But what is life if not taking advantage of the only benefit Leap Year provides?

Of course, there is nothing but tremendous peer and social pressure, as well as no small amount of fear of rejection, keeping anyone from asking on any other day.

More from Time

A child’s loving-kindness (metta)

Wisdom Quarterly via Gary Sander (Against the Stream); Tuhoc; Snap-shooter
A Buddhist novice (samanera) soon learns that cultivating loving-kindness or metta toward a puppy is far easier than developing it toward people (Tuhoc).

The Buddha made famous the Karaniya Metta Sutra, the cultivation of friendly loving-kindness as a universal or "boundless" radiance. It transcends all of the limits of ego and extends out to encompass ALL living beings everywhere. Many of us adults are not ready for this; we have too many fears, judgments, and prejudices. But children are, given their "beginner's mind" and general innocence. They have not yet judged the world and all the living beings in it. Maybe we may one day be able to get back to that. Buddhist blogger John Pappas ( developed a great way of conveying the message to children.

This is a child’s prayer of loving-kindness.

May moments that arise and pass be free.
May I float in this moment but still be me
Free from anger but still able to roar like a beast.
Free from sadness but open to a tear at least.
Free from pain but not soft like my teddy bear.
Free from suffering but open to change and care.
Free from sickness but open to days in bed.
This is all I said. I said. I said. More

"Am I ugly?" For some our own suffering sensitizes us to the suffering of others, at least for anyone who ever went through high school.

The Buddha's advice on Loving-Kindness
The Amaravati Sangha (Sutta Nipata 1.8) via
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
Who knows the path of peace:

Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble not conceited, but
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened by duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.

Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born --
May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding [brahma vihara].
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Zen of Skateboarding: mind-control (video)

Pfc. Sandoval, Seven, Pat Macpherson (Wisdom Quarterly)

Chaotic Moon Labs' Board of Awesomeness was a labor of love. What could improve it? The mind-controlled Board of Imagination! (Video: Michael Gonzales/

The "Zen of Surfing" we understand: The effortless beginner's mind is easy to relate to. The waves do the work. There are already Buddhist trainee-monks (novices) who skateboard. But the asphalt does not cooperate. There is a lot of effort in pedaling and turning, flying off steps and landing hard. But it has now gotten a bit easier to gain jhana (zen) while wheeling through the city.

Buddhist novice monk flying through the air

Scientists have created a "mind controlled" skateboard. It attaches to electrodes on the scalp and moves by thought. This would seem no more than a hoax except there are already mind-controlled Mattel-brand toys on the market using this militarized technology.

Boys' toys are the instruments of cultural indoctrination: novices in the totalitarian military-dictatorship that is Burma/Myanmar (Woutertje010/

New generations of drones are in our Brave New World Order future. Empire has its privileges -- until we find ourselves on the receiving end. Then we cry "war crimes!" about others.

The US military outfits its tanks and armored vehicles with CD
players for soldiers to play aggro and deathcore heavy metal tunes.

Driving Hummers blasting Drowning Pool's "Bodies" through countries we invade and rape and pillage is great -- until someone figures out the technology to rig a roadside IED (improvised explosive device). Then its on to the PTSD Ward at the VA to be ignored. The Pentagon, as part of the M.I.C., has plans to give soldiers the reins to drones to call in their own air attacks when they are pinned down. The fantasy is that they would be the only ones with this technology beyond the first battle. Once the virus is released into the wild, everyone gets infected.

The US is secretly bombing and dumping the defoliant Agent Orange on Buddhist countries (Laos, Cambodia) and openly in Vietnam in the name of capitalism in the wake of taking over French colonial duties. Stars Charlie Sheen's dad Martin, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall (surfer), Laurence Fishburne, Harrison "Indiana Jones" Ford, and Easy Rider's Dennis Hopper.

In the meantime, instead of falling in love with the smell of Napalm in the morning, someone should teach Charlie to surf [references to "Apocalypse Now" (REDUX)]. It beats war, which is what boys are trained for with most toys. In a better world, in a future world, maybe Chinese recruits would have the guts to go head to head with Tibetan Buddhist novices on the court?

() Out in Xiahe, after morning chanting and an early lunch, the novices head out to the basketball court for hoops before afternoon chanting and meditation. Monasticism has many hidden privileges.

Police (video)
Sex offenders, (female officers too), thieves, killers, prisoner rapists, liars, Neo Nazis -- the Police Department has them all. But hey are often on the wrong side of the bars. Dystopian George Orwell and Nostradamus would both be happy to have called it just as it eventually would turn out. But no prophecy is written as an inevitability. Dire visions are warnings. When it comes to predictions, we are always free to choose to do something to alter them. Eventually, it may become too late:

Brutality by LA Sheriff's deputies is so common against detainees in the LA County Jail that it is considered part of the "training" (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times).

Tadasana YOGA Festival, LA (video); Wisdom Quarterly

() Yoga teachers voice their philosophies for the upcoming Earth Day weekend yoga fest at the beach in Santa Monica, April 20-22, 2012.

Tadasana (pronounced: tuh-dah sauna) is "Mountain Pose." It is powerful, ready to go, settled and calm, a reservoir of energy. Yogini-activist Seane Corn (shown above) is just back from her appearance at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference with Buddhist luminaries and Silicon Valley tech capitalists from Google, Facebook, and sundry spying agencies. The festival is three days of yoga classes, music (like Radha and Govindas at left), speakers, partying, and FREE LOVE. At least we hope there's free love. Tickets are not a bargain (but cheaper than Burning Man and its STEP fiasco), and science writer William Broad (The Science of Yoga) tells Madeleine Brand that, unlike calisthenics or other stressful exercises, yoga promotes sex drive and vitality. Meditation and the other eight limbs of the Integral or Royal Yoga (Raja Yoga) System would normally handle that and balance one out. So we'd better start our yoga-ayurvedic diet now to get ready. (Find your body type with Dr. Berg).

Death by Chocolate more likely than by Yoga

Madeleine Brand (, William Broad (The Science of Yoga); Wisdom Quarterly
() Depressed? Amy Weintraub says yoga the solution: Health can be restored through the 8 limbs of yoga, particularly yogic breathing.Her "Yoga for Mood Disorders" classes are available at the Yoga Channel.

Yoga -- that touchy-feely, non-competitive, OM-chanting exercise -- can kill you. [But you're more likely to die from chocolate.] Well, that may be can also lead to a healthier and happier life if done right.

New York Times Pulitzer-prize-winning science writer William Broad has a new book, The Science of Yoga, [on] the pluses and minuses of the popular exercise....

Broad says studies show that yoga doesn't provide enough heart pounding to give you the weekly recommended aerobic activity, contrary to the way yoga is often marketed.

"Clearly a lot of the claims are inflated, and some of the most inflated claims center on this mythical, aerobic quality of yoga," he said.

"It turns out that no matter how hard or how fast you do yoga, you just don't get the heart pounding 'oomph' you need to fulfill even the most basic of aerobic guidelines. Yoga, in general, tends to be gentle. That's a great thing!"...

"There have been beautiful studies showing how it releases natural chemicals in the brain; lift moods and outlook. Yoga stirs hormones that can revitalize your sex life," he continued. "The bottom line, and probably the most important thing and the reason that so many people go to yoga, is that it clearly improves overall health." More

Against the Stream: Young People's Group

Against the Stream, Los Angeles -- which has plenty of adult activities -- is thrilled to announce a weekly Young People's Group starting Sunday, March 4. Everyone between the ages of 15 and 21 is invited to come learn mindful meditate in a safe and supportive environment. There will be time for meditation, fun, hanging out, sharing, chilling, and snacking -- developing mindfulness, meditation, and community.
  • Young People's Group (donation based)
  • Sundays 6:30 pm-8:00 pm
  • 1001a Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA

Monday, February 27, 2012

Maybe Hedonism is the Way? ("Project X")

Yogi Seven, Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
() "Project X" is a suburban American teenage wasteland thrill ride.

If only life could be like a coming-of-age blockbuster -- "American Pie" or "American Graffiti," a post-teenage pre-summer warm up like "Wanderlust" or "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy." Tonight's Academy Awards proved that systemically biased Hollywood is doing Mara's work by producing profitable promises of hedonism as the way to pursue happiness.

Hot tub adventures of a suburban married man ("American Dad," Cee Lo)

As Americans we have the "right" to pursue happiness, but not to find it or hold it if we should stumble upon it somehow, only to pursue it endlessly. The fruitless quest is why we spend and drown into debt, search for it in a bottle or pipe or pillbox, and wonder why we meet with disappointment (dukkha) again and again.

Disappointment is a great teacher. But I'm a believer again after watching the commercials for "Project X," the party to end all parties! Maybe, just maybe, it'll be different this time.

Seeing four sights reawakened in the Bodhisattva countless years of striving in previous lives: aging, illness, death, and recluseship.

Sensual Indulgence leads to Happiness?
Once a long, long time ago, a rich kid got his own kingdom. When he came of age, 16, his loving parents arranged for him to hook up with his beautiful cousin.

His rich and powerful dad gave him three clubhouses to spend each season in comfort. Whether it was balmy, raining, or cold, he had a place to party. Each was staffed from the second floor up with girls: Dancers, party hostessses, chefs, musicians, bouncers, each clubhouse had it all, a harem, a princess housewife, and friends to celebrate with.

This went on for 13 years. But at 29, his wife had their first kid. Then he realized they were no longer kids. He would be trapped living like this unable to avoid disappointment. Everything had been unsatisfactory, and he realized it would only get worse with age, illness, and death to look forward to.

A harem fit for a prince proved that indulgence did not yield any lasting happiness but only ended in disappointment with no way to ever get it to satisfy (chandawimala).

It was not limited to him, he realized, but to everyone everywhere. Everyone seemed to be missing the four signs they would be asked about when they died. All of these realizations made his decision clear: cut the binds, renounce, and practice for the ultimate realization of liberation from this vicious cycle of rebirth, aging, and death. This, of course, is the abbreviated story of why Siddhartha set off to become the Buddha.

Burma's Avalokiteshvara: Aung San Suu Kyi

Ashley Wells, Pat Macpherson, Yogi Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Mary Kay Magistad (PRI)
National heroine, The Lady (Daw) Aung San Suu Kyi looks down from high during stirrings of the country's Saffron Revolutions yearning to be free of totalitarian abuses.

Burma (or Myanmar as its military dictators renamed it) is a wondrous place, undisturbed by hordes of tourists since ousting British colonizers who opened up its riches and mysteries to the outside world. It is the Land of Golden Buddhas, achingly poor due to political corruption on a scale only the old UK could be proud of.

Aung San at home in an old British colonial in Rangoon (

Although the hordes are gone, there have always been a few intrepid visitors careful not to enrich General Than Shwe's Chinese-backed totalitarian regime by their travels. Now Hillary Clinton hopes to bring them by by opening up one of the world's oldest Southeast Asian Buddhist countries and is finding help from a starring figure inside the country.
Aung San Suu Kyi poster (

Avalokiteshvara is the "Bodhisattva of Compassion," who apparently comes in many guises beginning as the Indian "lord who looks down from on high" introduced to most Buddhists in the Heart Sutra (a later Mahayana creation). He is transformed into a central figure of the divine feminine as Kwan Yin. And in this form seems to currently be embodied in peace activist and national heroine Aung San Suu Kyi.

Totalitarian forces could not suppress the love the people feel for Daw ("the Lady"), daughter of one of Burma's founding fathers. They denied her her democratic election by imprisoning her after a coup. She has been on and off house arrest ever since, refusing to leave the country to be with her British husband, now deceased, or her family. Now Daw is running for office, and the people are loving it. Her role would be relatively minor compared to president or prime minister. But it is a start the Burmese are ecstatic to contemplate.

What will Monsanto do to the planet?; Laura Murphy, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
A little Roundup goes a long way to destroying Earth. Just ask Lt. Pike as he sprays.

It is amazing to learn what Monanto, Inc. is doing to the planet. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the USDA's lack of action on behalf of citizens while serving corporations no matter how much harm they cause.

But the USDA now says it is accepting feedback until today (Feb. 27, 2012) on a new chemical called 2,4-d. It is a super toxin being considered for DEREGULATION for the benefit of Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Never mind that it will poison us, bees, frogs, birds, the water table, and living beings far from the fields being sprayed.

My letter will be this (cut and paste and submit it by going into the article and using the "submit comment" link):

Please REGULATE the ability of Dow and Monsanto to produce and distribute toxins such as Roundup and 2,4-d. For the benefit of those who eat, please RESTRICT their ability to patent crops immune to poisons. Corporate greed is destroying our health, nature as we know it, small farmers, and parts of the developing world exposed to their sales and litigation practices. I urge you to extensively research the effects these environmentally-degrading practices make before even considering deregulating or granting them more powers than they already enjoy. Profit is no excuse to wield such power when we all suffer for it when multinational corporations externalize the environmental hazards and health effects of their products. They are growing rich by DESTROYING the Earth as we watch it happen and experience the detrimental health effects. We do not own the world and hand it down; we borrow it from the future. Dow and Monsanto do not clean up the messes they have already made, such as the cross-pollinating contamination of organic crops. To deregulate these companies is to degrade LIFE. The blank checks given away as "corporate welfare" to billion-dollar companies is ruining our economy. And their chemical contaminants are ruining our world. Regulate Roundup and new generations of worse chemicals (such as 2,4-d).

What did Monsanto ever do?
Monsanto produces the deadly herbicide Roundup and 90% of the world's GMO seeds. Over its 111-year history monstrous Monsanto Co. (MON.N) has devolved from an industrial chemical giant into strictly an agricultural products company with $2 billion in profits in 2009, cut by half in 2012 because activists exposed its tactic of suing farmers whose crops it had contaminated for patent infringement. The pollen from Monsanto seeds drifted onto their fields, and the dangerous DNA lab modifications in the plants harmed the farmers. Farmers should have sued Monsanto for ruining their plants, seeds, and fields. But instead Monsanto figured out a way to successfully sue and bankrupt them with teams of corporate lawyers.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yoga and Buddhism

PMYogi Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
Yoga today: a wandering aghori, or saddhu, in India with characteristic topknot drinking from a skull cup emulating Shiva (seen behind).

Did Siddhartha practice yoga?
Did the Buddha practice yoga on his way to enlightenment? It was ancient India, and he was a member of the warrior caste (kshatriya) who became a wandering ascetic.

Wandering asceticism (shramanism) was the counterculture way of the yogi rather than the career of the brahmin, the establishment temple priest (Brahmanism).

Setting off from the palace, he chose the path of the wandering recluse under one renowned yogi, Alara Kalama, then another, Uddaka Ramaputra.

Siddhartha began his spiritual career in his final birth by approaching a prominent teacher (guru), a great yogi of the time, asking to be a disciple (chela).
The purpose of yoga is preparing the body and spirit for sitting meditation, which the Bodhisatta engaged in at length.

But austerities, or tapas, is also a yogic practice. Breath-control (restraint), or pranayama, as well as other restraints (yamas) -- all of these and more were part of his practice, although they were only systematized five or six centuries later by the Sage Patanjali as an eight-limbed path (ashtanga).


The Buddha realized that the body was only a component of the Path, not its major obstacle. Full bodily control does not lead to enlightenment. But developing the breath and mind is very difficult, if not impossible, without consideration of the body.

Integral Yoga is the eightfold "union" of factors that unites a person, optimizing all that is necessary to gain samadhi (the first four meditative absorptions, jhanas, intensified-concentration), which forms the foundation for insight-practice (vipassana).

And it is the culmination of these two Path-factors that leads to enlightenment.

Why Yoga?

Cara Davis, Yogi Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
Yoga is the union of complementary poles as represented by Shiva and Shakti (

Growing in popularity and demand in America, yoga is available more and more to soothe our minds and strengthen our bodies. With gratitude we get the chance to once again harmonize body, breath, and mind (the physical, spiritual, and intellectual).

Yoga is the Sanskrit word that gives us the Latin root "yoke" -- to join together. A great translation is "union." Whether our perspective is practical, scientific, or spiritual, some of the common "unions" we seek are:
  • union of body, mind, and spirit
  • union of conscious and unconscious mind
  • union of the individual and the universal
  • union of the terrestrial and the divine (celestial)
  • union of our masculine and feminine sides
Yoga is a discipline that offers practical and definitive results while addressing tension in both body and mind. Combining physical stretching, toning exercises, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques, yoga is ideal for overcoming stress, quieting the mind, soothing the spirit, and strengthening the body.

Chakras: the subtle energy "wheels" or centers of the body.

It does not require a specific level of fitness, strength, or flexibility, yet it provides tools to help balance the demands that we put on body, mind, and spirit.

Personal practice can include a wide variety of styles from Ashtanga (eight-limbs) to Iyengar (modified for safety), Hatha (merging sun and moon) to Anusara (friendly heart centered), Bikram (overheated calesthenics) to Kundalini (energetic opening), each with significant contributions. Each person is so very different -- not only when compared to others but also compared to ourselves from day to day -- that we may benefit from becoming well rounded rather than devoted to a single style.

Balance is the union of polarities like masculine and feminine principles made easier in Partner Yoga (uechi.typepad com).

We may begin with an emphasis on fitness and the physical. But over the years, that is likely to expand as we realize that the practice is more about breathing, arousing energy, and returning the mind to its natural serenity. Not everyone goes deeper, but as one grows in breadth, one tends to go in depth.

As we embrace life, yoga ceases to seem like exercising and starts to be experienced as living for the first time. Preliminary training becomes a daily practice (sadhana). Having cultivated compassion towards ourselves, sharing it with others becomes second nature, and life becomes about enjoying the journey.
Namaste -- the light in us honors the light in others.

Secret Love Lives of US Muslim Women

Romance, dating, sex and -- Muslim women? In this groundbreaking collection, 25 American Muslim writers sweep aside stereotypes to share their search for love openly for the first time, showing just how varied the search for love can be -- from singles' events and online dating, to college flirtations and arranged marriages, all with a uniquely Muslim twist.

These stories are filled with passion and hope, loss, and longing:
  • A quintessential blonde California girl travels abroad to escape suffocating responsibilities at home, only to fall in love with a handsome Brazilian stranger she may never see again.
  • An orthodox African-American woman must face her growing attraction to her female friend.
  • A young girl defies her South Asian parents' cultural expectations with an interracial relationship. And a Southern woman agrees to consider an arranged marriage, with surprising results.
These compelling stories of love and romance create an irresistible balance of heart-warming and tantalizing, always revealing, and deeply relatable. Review

Adam Sandler sweeps 2012 nominations

"Comedy" actor gathers most nominations in 2012
Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
HOLLYWOOD, California - It should come as a surprise to no one who attends grimy nickelodeons, former triple-X rated screening houses, and discount theater chains across America. Sandler is a staple, so his record-breaking feat is actually long overdue.

It is no wonder that he was nominated a record 11 times this year, his most prolific ever. It comes on the heels of his foray into transvestism, co-starring opposite himself in "Jack and Jill" (shown at left). Even Katie Holmes (Suri Cruise's mother) and Jennifer Aniston (whose boobs will remain hidden in the hit "Wanderlust") could not redeem the sophomoric comedian.

Eyes have gone green with envy from the likes of Eddie Murphy, Janine Garafolo, Peewee Herman, Sarah Silverman, and many other irony-laden artists who would covet such a distinction. If none of this makes sense, it is because the Academy Awards are not the only announcements today. Sandler has been nominated for... More

Autism from a child's view (cartoon)

TheAnMish (Aspie); Dr. Claudia M. Gold (; Wisdom Quarterly
"The causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder? How dare you! You can't talk about a cause! Next you'll be talking about a cure. I'm not chelating my kid! So what if environmental toxins, like vaccine excipients, are implicated? You have to vaccinate. Asperrger's -- it's God's will; it's a random occurrence; it's unexplainable, so don't even talk about it until you go through it. Chemtrails, thimerosal, plasticizers, food additives, 'natural' flavors, excitotoxins, lead, fluoride... I don't want to hear it!"

The Autism Label Controversy: A Child's View
Dr. Claudia M. Gold, M.D. (

ADULT: "That kid has autism." CHILD: "I am very smart and tuned in to everything happening around me. I get overwhelmed when there are a lot of people. I love music, but I hear every sound so intensely that I need to cover my ears. Sometimes I run around in circles to help myself calm down. When grown-ups make me go somewhere that is too loud or confusing, I lie down on the floor and scream.

(TheAnMish) Many positives to not being "neurotypical": focus,
creativity, loyalty, devotion, innocence, honesty, loving-kindness.

"When people get too close I can't stand it. Sometimes I hit the other kids when this happens and now I can't go to preschool. My parents fight all the time about what to do about my difficult behavior. My little sister is very quiet because she knows to get out of the way when I am having trouble." More

Famous Faces of Autism

Fear of losing my cell phone (Nomophobia)

Amber Dorrian, Wisdom Quarterly;

No mo' (mobile phone) pho-bia: We have been so well marketed to that most of us now suffer from a new condition -- a phobia over being left phoneless even for a little while.

This was already happening over our Internet link. Now that the Net is being accessed mainly through smartphones and tablet devices, we are trembling in our high boots about the inevitable. They don't make them slim, chic, sleek, and super slippery so we will hold onto them. If they don't fly out of our hands, pockets, and purses, we have to wonder how we'd ever let go.

But as soon as they are out of fashion -- no longer chic -- we can't replace them fast enough. They're better than cigarettes for looking cool. And we are actually desperately fearful of feeling alone (disconnected). After all, any kid under 35 has just been rebranded "Generation C" (connected).

Afraid of Losing Your Phone?

Samantha Murphy (
If you know the panicked and disconnected feeling of leaving your mobile phone at home, you might be one of the many suffering from nomophobia.

A recent survey by U.K.-based mobile security service provider SecurEnvoy conducted among 1,000 people found that two thirds (66%) of respondents fear losing or being without their mobile phone... The phobia also includes the anxiety someone feels when not in the range of a cell tower to receive optimal reception.

  • Is there are pharmaceutical for it yet? Sure, we can re-purpose any of the SSRIs for off-label prescribing, or try the new generation of toxins.

Not surprisingly, nomophonia is on the rise -- up 13% from just four years ago -- as more consumers become strapped to their smartphones. However, women (70%) worry more about losing their phones than men (61%). More