Discontentment—always feeling that things aren’t good enough, wanting something better, more, not being content with where you are, always thinking you would be happier somewhere else or always looking for the next thing—these kind of mental states are very much a part of one’s cultural background, you know: The grass on the other side of the fence is greener. Or always trying to raise your standards. That is how I have been conditioned through my social background, my cultural background. The training in contentment was through the monastic life. And this gives the mental quality that is very pleasant to experience. The complaining mind, the critical mind, the always wanting something you don’t have, or not being content with what you do have, is dukkha. We create that dukkha, that suffering. The monastic life is a form that you surrender to. If you are not willing to surrender to it, then after a while you don’t want to do it any more; you get tired of it. It doesn’t work for you if you are still thinking in terms of attaining, gaining, and becoming. One can survive the monastic life on inspiration and just endurance for a while, but after that it reaches a point where you’ve had enough and you just have to leave. Ajahn Sumedho

Sometimes you can be inside the mind of a monk, this is one of these occasions.

Sun-goldImage by withrow on flickr


After three and a half years of this, I was desperate. So I made a desperately reckless decision—I would go to law school. I knew that I was in no condition to do this, but my soul was dying. I needed to create a life. I showed up that first day in Philadelphia, terrified. I wasn’t sure if I would last the week. And my fears proved justified. In the coming months, the pain continued—I ended up in ER several times—as did the mind-numbing fatigue. More than once, on my walk to class, I sat on a bench and cried because I had no idea how I could make it there. How could I walk another half-mile, when each step felt like an impossible challenge? briantronic


The workforce of the past was organized around company. The workforce of the future is organized around the worker. If we can’t find the right people, it’s going to hurt our bottom line.
Chancy Lennon from J.P. Morgan

Nobody disagrees that Greece needs major reforms. But major reforms don’t need to go side by side with destructive, economy-wrecking austerity measures.
Dylan Matthews

Technology changes the way we live our daily lives, the way we learn, and the way we use our faculties of attention — and a growing body of research has suggested that it may have profound effects on our memories (particularly the short-term, or working, memory), altering and in some cases impairing its function.
Carolyn Gregoire

An astounding fact: researchers at GiveWell have determined that the most effective charities in the world have as much as 1,000 times the impact per dollar of the least effective charities.
Jordan Bates

All of my thoughts, all my processing – none of it referred to me. They weren’t happening to anybody. It was all just an unfiltered barrage of sensations happening in space. It was the most terrifying and alienating thing that ever happened to me.
Hans Burgschmidt

For one reason or another, someone will find a reason to project their insecurities, their negativity, and their fears onto you and your life, and you’ll have to deal with it.
James Clear

Sometimes we make ourselves sick with worry over keeping our possessions safe in our care and sick with longing for what we don’t have.
Ara D.

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Most religions teach that we have a choice between being selfish (bad) and being selfless (good). Surprisingly, Buddhism doesn’t do that.

Lion’s Roar Staff | Lion’s Roar

That, by the way, is why liberal students (and liberals in general) are so bad at defending their own positions. They never have to, so they never learn to. That is also why it tends to be so easy for conservatives to goad them into incoherent anger. Nothing makes you more enraged than an argument you cannot answer. But the reason to listen to people who disagree with you is not so you can learn to refute them. The reason is that you may be wrong. In fact, you are wrong: about some things and probably about a lot of things. There is zero percent chance that any one of us is 100 percent correct. That, in turn, is why freedom of expression includes the right to hear as well as speak, and why disinviting campus speakers abridges the speech rights of students as well as of the speakers themselves.

William Deresiewicz | The American Scholar

It seems to me that there are several types of loneliness. Of course, not everyone experiences loneliness in the situations described — for instance, not everyone wants a romantic partner. But for some people, the lack of certain kinds of relationships brings loneliness.

Gretchen Rubin

In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.

Elizabeth Kolbert | The New Yorker

Just as in nature there is design without a designer, so in many natural phenomena we can observe what Dennett calls “competence without comprehension”. Evolution does not understand nightingales, but it builds them; your immune system does not understand disease. Termites do not build their mounds according to blueprints, and yet the results are remarkably complex: reminiscent in one case, as Dennett notes, of Gaudí’s church the Sagrada Família. In general, evolution and its living products are saturated with competence without comprehension, with “unintelligent design”.

Steven Poole | NewStateman

We don’t always realize how much staying open is a conscious effort.

Matt Killingsworth | Intent Blog

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.

Laurence J. Peter

Although there may be no benefit to becoming upset by every outside event in the world, there are definitely rewards for not behaving that way.

Heather Harper | Wisdom Pills

When something is memorable, it tends to be the thing you think of first, and then it has an outsize influence on your understanding of the world. After the movie Jaws came out, a generation of people was afraid to swim in the sea—not because shark attacks were more likely but because all those movie viewers could more readily imagine them.

Emily Dreifuss | Wired

In flow systems, balance is not simply a nice way to be, but a set of complementary factors – such as big and little; efficiency and resilience; flexibility and constraint – whose optimal balance is critical to maintaining circulation across scales. For example, the familiar branching structure seen in lungs, trees, circulatory systems, river deltas, and banking systems (Fig. 1) connects a geometrically constant ratio of a few large, a few more medium-sized, and a great many small entities. This arrangement, which mathematicians call a fractal, is extremely common because it’s particular balance of small, medium, and large helps optimize circulation across different levels of the whole. Just as too many large animals and too few small ones creates an unstable ecosystem, so financial systems with too many big banks and too few small ones tend towards poor circulation, poor health, and high instability.

Sally Goerner | Evonomics

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