Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less

Attention is not a resource but a way of being alive to the world

Our attention is more than just a resource. It is an experience.

'We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.' Those were the words of the American biologist E O Wilson at the turn of the century. Fastforward to the smartphone era, and it's easy to believe that our mental lives are now more fragmentary and scattered than ever. The 'attention economy' is a phrase that's often used to make sense of what's going on: it puts our attention as a limited resource at the centre of the informational ecosystem, with our various alerts and notifications locked in a constant battle to capture it.

Keep reading Show less

10 Buddhist koans, and why understanding them is pointless

To go beyond meaning you might need a helpful phrase.

Photo: Sarah Bell / Unsplash
  • Koans are one of the most meaningful practices in Zen Buddhism.
  • Usually translated as "nonsensical," the sentences have much greater purpose.
  • Breaking beyond concepts in meditation is a driving factor of the koan.
Keep reading Show less

Superhumans: The remarkable brain waves of high-level meditators

The countdown continues! This is the #3 most popular video of 2018.

  • People who have meditated for thousands of hours exhibit a remarkable difference in their gamma brainwaves.
  • "All of us get gamma for a very short period when we solve a problem we've been grappling with, even if it's something that's vexed us for months. We get about half second of gamma; it's the strongest wave in the EEG spectrum," explains Goleman. In high-level mediators, gamma is a lasting state they experience constantly. Science has never seen it before.
  • Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman says we can actually see what happens in the heads of those who have achieved "enlightenment" and the results are unprecedented in science.
Keep reading Show less

10 quotes to motivate you in 2019

Good quotes are powerful catalysts for positive actions.

Photo credit: Hillie Chan on Unsplash
  • Quotes can be good reminders that we're not alone in our struggles.
  • The most powerful quotes remind us that while failure is not optional, how we treat it is.
  • Fail well and learn from it, the most successful figures remind us again and again.
Keep reading Show less