This blog is about both scientific, societal/political, and yoga-related issues - individually and considered as different aspects of the same problem/solution. A longer description is found in the first blog entry, and all old posts are found in a structured way here. The blog is an extension of my main home pages yoga-link.se and isbgroup.eu. Twitter: @gunnarcedersund
karma yoga: life and workPosted by yoga-link.se Apr 12, 2014 21:09 Sometimes you say that if you should ask somebody about how the human psyche works, you shouldn't ask an economist, you shouldn't ask a psychologist, and you shouldn't ask a sociologist. They might know, but quite often they have theories, that are more theories for their own sake, rather than useful and thruthful descriptions of how our minds and emotions actually work. Who then should you ask? The answer is, as so often: follow the money. Who makes money on understanding the human mind, and what makes us tick, and fails to make money if their theories are wrong? Commercial-makers. Indeed, commercials can often be quite trivial, and sometimes down-right annoying, only trying to make you buy something you don't want, by making you feel bad about yourself as you are. But sometimes they are also spot on inspired, and wonderfully inspiring. Below are a few such latter commercials. Who make you want to change, and do the right thing. To grow and dare and think.
"Grateful for what is, and eager for what is coming"
That is, in my mind, the ideal state to be in, and it is a balanced state between ease/relaxedness and inspiration to move forward that I am always striving for, and that I am using all my yoga techniques to navigate to. One important new tool in this balancing has emerged as more and more important to me: to celebrate the shifts in my life. As I have described in earlier blogs, I made this last autumn into the most enjoyable autumn ever, by making its transitions more conscious. By celebrating them.
It is now time for a new transition. I have been on holiday since Dec 21, and have for 2 of these weeks not even opened my email inbox. I have instead been taking it easy, spent in-the-vortex time with myself, doing daily yoga and some major cleansing rituals (such as the shankprakshalana). I have also enjoyed the company of friends and family. Apart from that, I have also been devoting some nice time to dive into my piano practice: virtually every day I have practiced, and sometimes even twice a day. During this relaxed time, both at and away from the piano, I have worked with those feeling places I want to be in, to lay new patterns of thoughts. New pipes in my mind, so to say.
An important part of navigation is of course to have a feedback system, that lets you know where you are, and which direction you are heading off to. The most important of those is the feeling in my gut, but like for most people I can see quite clearly where I am also by using external indicators. In fact, one of my most clear and reliable such indicators is my apartment. If I am in a good mode, in good shape, in the zone, on top of things, my apartment is almost always in a good place as well: it is tidied, and it is nice to walk around in the different rooms. And, then when I am sometimes dipping down into less high-flying places, due to stress or other imbalances, this almost immediately starts to show in my apartment as well: the disk is piling up, things are lying all over the place, and my sense of overwhelment is stopping me from wanting to do anything about it. In principle I could, but when I start it feels like an effort, and I don't continue. Therefore, when many of my friends want to check how I am doing, they only have to check what my apartment looks like, and they know. Lots of piled up disk = bad mood, less disk = better mode, and so on...
...and if they would come home to me now, they would see the above picture: an image of a completely clean sink. Even the dishes I used in my last meal is not only dished but also dried and tidied away. This is not an indication that I have spent lots of time and energy doing the dishes, but simply that I am in a good mode, in good shape. That all the time off during my vacation has made me find one of those high-flying places, and be sufficiently stable there for it to start to show around me: in my body, in my clothes, in my breathing, in my movements, in my food, and in my apartment. All these things indicate that I am grateful for the time that have been - and that I am ready for more. Eager for more. That I am eager to start using this nice feeling-place to go back to work again tomorrow! To celebrate that event I end this blog with some New Year fireworks. And with ABBA! :)
karma yoga: life and workPosted by yoga-link.se Dec 06, 2013 18:12 This morning when I woke up, I saw what I have been dreaming of for some time now: SNOW! This above picture is a view of Konsum, which is the nearby and eco-specialized supermarket that I can see from my window. The picture isn't taken from my window, though, but from my walk down to Babettes, which is my standard coffee house here in Linköping. I sit here usually some 2-3 days a week, to work and to feel uplifted and inspired and relaxed. And what can be more uplifting than my table neighbours this afternoon: two playing and utterly happy little playing children. While working today, I have also added quite a few new songs to "Gunnar's Christmas List 2013". I e.g. added some songs from Disney's Christmas Classics "From all of us", and of course - to celebrate that my dreams of snow are coming to fruition - the most sold single of all times: Bing Crosby's "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas".
The end scene from the most standard TV-programme on Christmas eve here in Sweden. It is watched by approximately 40% of all Swedes every year.
"När första ljuset brinner Står julens dörr på glänt Och alla människor glädjas Att fira få, advent"
These are lyrics that you often read here in Sweden when you are lightning the first candle out of four before Christmas. You then lighten one new candle, together with the old ones, each Sunday, and the fourth and last candle is lit the last Sunday before Christmas Eve. I did this tradition as a child, and now while having some wonderful company at home yesterday, I renewed it. It is a bit symbolic that the candle holder is broken, and needs repairing before I can finish this...
In any case, now I just want to say that I have also gone into a new type of celebration, which might become a tradition as well: to create a really awesome Christmas song playlist on Spotify. This is something I started to play with a little bit already last year, but this year I will make it a little bit more ambitious and open it up for the public. The playlist can be found in the link below, and I am adding only songs that in one way or another connects to Christmas celebrations (in a rather wide sense) and that - most importantly - consists of really good arrangements and performances. Performances that are so good that I like to listen to them based on the music alone. There are so many Christmas song recordings, and there is so much light and talent flowing out in many of them, so I am really eager about this project. The list is public and can be listened to by anyone, and if you have suggestions of songs that you think are good, please feel free to suggest them here in the comments. Any musical style and genre is welcome!
As I wrote about in a previous blog, I have this year prepared for and celebrated the autumn a little bit more carefully than earlier years, and it has payed off: I have enjoyed it more than ever, and all the colours on the trees, the increasing number of dark-hours outside and the increasing number of candles inside, etc have all just felt great. That is such a difference, and I am really happy about that. Therefore, since we now are switching over from autumn to winter, and to Christmas preparations, I want to do a new little blog post on this, to commemorate this shift. The video above is one of my favourite autumn songs, with lyrics written by the wonderful comic author Tove Jansson. The video below is another of my favourite autumn and long-night songs: Pugh Rogefeldt's "Här kommer natten", in a wonderful performance for him, sung by Miss Li, in a studio in TV4.
With these two songs, I hereby close the autumn celebration....
...and open the winter celebration and allow for the Christmas feelings to start pouring in. Actually, I already started this a bit a few days ago, when I was attending the really nice installation of Linköpings Vinterljus, which is an annual light-exhibition that takes place in various locations in Linköping city.
This was followed by a Christmas market in Trädgårdsföreningen, and when I saw the horse below, and all the nice little things people had constructed, I knew: the weeks leading up to Christmas are really cosy and worthy of enjoyment as well. In fact, we are now entering one of the best parts of the year.
Finally: in other parts of Sweden, even in cities south of Linköping, they yesterday started to talk about sightings of snow ^^
Two pictures from Trädgårdsföreningen earlier today.
A picture from one of my favourite places in Linköping, which is a place I sometimes go to over my long lunches (1.5h) during work days, and in general from time to time to refresh myself. You see the beautiful Tinnerbäcksån in front, some swans down to the left, and Linköping city in the back. This is just one of many many beautiful pictures I have taken this autumn, since I got home from my luxury philosophy cruize. I am therefore in general happy to note that my strategy has worked: this year, more than any other year, I have really been able to enjoy the autumn, for all that it has to offer. Now follows a few of the other reasons why I have enjoyed it so much this year, and of why I am anticipating the things that remain. More similar items will appear in future blog posts.
This picture is taken from the final minutes of Linköpings Folkmusikfestival, which is one of Sweden's biggest folkmusic festivals, that runs every year in my home town. This means that some 500-1000 lovely people are coming from all over Sweden, and abroad, and for some reason I really like the kind of people that are attracted to Swedish folkmusic. I was a bit surprised when I discovered that a few years ago, since my prejudice was that it was only really really old people who danced folk music, and that they always did it wearing old tradition clothes, with funny knee decorations. Now I know that it is almost the exact opposite: there are people of all ages at these festivals (ranging from 10-80 years, and suprisingly many young adults in the span 18-25). Perhaps even more encouraging, the festivals are not about preserving and protecting the old ways, but it is truly a living tradition, where the old traditional songs are blended with all possible genres. Later I will upload an iPhone recording I made from one of this year's personal discoveries: Ahlberg, Ek & Roswall.
In general, I also like the autumn, because then everything is starting again. My favourite TV-shows airs new episodes, my research group is re-assambled with all the new students of the semester, new papers are published, etc etc. To this, also comes great dance events. For instance, right now I am on my way down to a mix dance party, where tango, salsa, bachata, west coast swing, etc are mixed over an entire evening, on three different dance floors. This is exactly the kind of parties I like the most!
Another recommendation I really want to make is for a concert that is tomorrow. It is by three people, and one of them, Daniel Ralphsson, is an old friend of mine. As you might recall, I have from time to time pointed to videos of the extremely talented young girl composer, Emily Bear. In my own personal sphere, Daniel was to closest copy of that. He has been writing extremely much music, on a very high level, and also starting at a very young age. However, at some point around his late teens, it just stopped (an example of how higher education can be counter-productive to creative work). This stasis has remained for over 10 years, a period where he has retrained himself to become a successful professional opera singer, until about a year ago, when he met his current girlfriend. They then started a joint project with her, where he is doing the music, in a quasi-improvised fashion. The whole show is generally a mix of many genres, and dives into the now and into the many layers of the human psyche in a way that I find very inspiring (you get a feeling of what it is about in the video above). If you find the video above interesting, please go to Skeda tomorrow Sunday October 20, at 17.00. The music takes about 30 min, and surrounding that there will also be some other poems and a short little service.
So, that's it for now. I end with a final autumn picture taken in Magistratshagen, outside of Stolplyckan, where I grew up as a child. I pass by this place every day, as a do my daily 5 minutes walk to my office.
There are many people who have ideas about how to live life optimally, how to get the life that you want, how to become successful, and all of that. While many of those ideas may be useful, there are also many ideas that will be counter-productive to you. So, the question becomes: "How to distinguish between the working strategies, the revolutionary strategies, and the non-working strategies?" I think that a really good way to do that is to look to those who have become on-top-of-their-game, to look to those who have demonstratable success with what they are doing, and see what they say about these things. And it doesn't matter what it is they are doing, because the recipies for success works on all things. Also, to me it is equally much rewarding to listening to how people speak about what they are doing, to listen to the passion in their voice, to listen to the song in their heart, and to listen to their shining inspiration - to feel it. When I do that, that vibration spreads to me as well, and usually quite quickly. And then I am out of whatever stalemate I might have been in before I was listening to that clip.
Here is one of many many examples of such videos: with Will Smith. Mr Smith is one I have not listened to that much myself from before, but he is truly successful at what he is doing (he is the actor who makes the most money in the world I think), and I really like the passion in his voice.
I think that the Swedish summer is something very special, almost sacred, to most Swedes. It is sung about in many many songs, both old folk songs, and in newer ones, like the one above by Monika Zetterlund. To go home in the night of the calm light of the 2 AM sun - which is up again, and which never really was down - is a magic that is hard to exaggerate. Unfortunately, the price for this wonderful summer lightness is a ghastly long winter, surrounded by an autumn and spring that sometimes feels like it never will end. Therefore, I - like many others - have implemented a strategy to cut this part of the year short. I am now on my way down to the second half of this strategy, and therefore thought that now is a good time to talk about also this part of my life strategy.
In some previous blog posts, I have already explained about some of my various life strategies: for instance my weekly pattern oscillating between 2-3 days of intensive meetings and then the rest consisting of free roaming-around time; my oscillations between travelling wandering-phases and home-home-phases; my overall life-strategy seen through a day-dream at Babettes; etc. I therefore want to continue on this theme, and explain about another strategy, which also this one has grown on me over the years, and which has taken a more clear shape for every year that has passed. Here comes: "my summer-enhancement strategy"!
As you might remember, I went to South America in March, for approx 4 weeks. This means that I cut the end of the Winter short, and super-charge my sun reservoirs early on, so that when I come back, the only thing that remains of the spring is April, and that is no big deal, since then my sun batteries are filled.
And now, I am going down to the second half of this strategy: to the Mediteranian Sea (Italy, Greece, and Turkey), to go on something as exotic as a luxury philosophy cruize. In other words, I will now spend some almost 2 weeks in a very relaxed and extremely taken care of athmosphere down in the still sunny south of Europe, surrounded by highly interesting and meaning-seeking friends, who will attend and give some exciting lectures, and who quite generally will enjoy life with me for some 10 days. This will be pure heaven, and just to give a flavour of what kind of luxury I am in for: there are two servants for each passenger...! ^^ :)
In other words: then when I come home again, I will have eaten myself full of sun and summer, and will look forward to the now relatively short autumn and winter: October - mid February. And in the middle of that there is a cosy Christmas to look forward to.
I hope you will enjoy life as well - wherever you are! /Gunnar, the pleasure-optimizer
P.S. As always: when travelling in Europe I almost always go by train, using the spontaneous-enhancing and very affordable interrail ticket system. When writing this, I am sitting on a train between Zürich and Lugano, in beautiful Switzerland.
I am a yoga-teacher in the tantric tradition, but also a scientist, and an engaged citizen. Politically, I am engaged in e.g. democracy, internet freedom, human rights, alternative economic theories, and environmental issues. Scientifically, I am working with systems biology, and the study of complex systems on all levels (isbgroup.eu). Yoga-wise, I am teaching and interested in classical yoga, where you take a holistic view, and merge not only physical exercises with breathing exercises and meditation, but also those things with karma yoga (harmonious working), dancing, music, sex, and all the rest of it. See http://yoga-link.se Twitter: @gunnarcedersund