Finding Greatness



Stalk the gaps. Spend the Afternoon. You can’t take it with you.

Thank you for this, David. What great thoughts for contemplation. I’m off to “extravagant and bright” living today. ~Paul

Live & Learn

“Thomas Merton wrote, “there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.

I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into…

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Harnessing Compassion

Stanford Scientists Examine Meditation and Compassion in The Brain
by Lia Steakley on July 9th, 2012

We’ve written previously about Stanford researchers’ ongoing efforts to study the science of compassion and altruism. A San Francisco Chronicle story from yesterday takes a closer look at one such project.

In the study, neuroeconomist Brian Knutson, PhD, and colleagues use magnetic resonance imaging to compare the minds of expert meditators and novices to better define what compassion looks like in the brain. Meredith May writes:

The “monk study” at Stanford is part of an emerging field of meditation science that has taken off in the last decade with advancements in brain image technology, and popular interest.

“There are many neuroscientists out there looking at mindfulness, but not a lot who are studying compassion,” Knutson said. “The Buddhist view of the world can provide some potentially interesting information about the subcortical reward circuits involved in motivation.”

By looking at expert meditators, neuroscientists hope to get a better picture of what compassion looks like in the brain. Does a monk’s brain behave differently than another person’s brain when the two are both extending compassion? Is selflessness innate, or can it be learned?

Looking to the future, neuroscientists wonder whether compassion can be neurologically isolated, if one day it could be harnessed to help people overcome depression, to settle children with hyperactivity, or even to rewire a psychopath.

“Right now we’re trying to first develop the measurement of compassion, so then one day we can develop the science around it,” Knutson said.

The larger and more in-depth San Francisco Chronicle article can be found here.

Previously from SCOPE:

  1. How being compassionate can influence your health
  2. Neurotheology: Investigating the relationship between the brain and spirituality
  3. Dalai Lama and Stanford researchers explore science of compassion and altruism


What A Guy …Really!

I’ve heard this story before.

I’ve even seen the movie.

But, that doesn’t make Dr. Russel Dohner’s story any less remarkable. What a distinguished and beautiful life this near 90-year-old small town doctor has lived …so far.

I do believe the good doctor may actually have the letters GYA stitched to the inside of his heart.

(sorry about any pop-up ads, I use the extension: Adblock Plus-Beta 1.2 )

Congratulations Dr. Russell Dohner, for an uncommon and compassionately lived life.


story and video credit: MSNBC, NBC news

I’m a WHAT Kind of Writer! Romance? – Part 2

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An Anthology of two fiction stories and a love poem, from 1981, plus a four chapter sampler from my first new fiction in over thirty years, “The Old American Artist, a Love Story.” – FREE at participating outlets.


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I’m a WHAT Kind of Writer!  Romance? – Part 2


Related Series Posts :

I’m a WHAT Kind of Writer!  Romance? – Part 1 – Intro

I’m a WHAT Kind of Writer!  Romance? – Part 2 – “2 Shorts, a Poem, & a Sampler (fiction)”

I’m a WHAT Kind of Writer!  Romance?…

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The Difference Between Father and Dad

It’s no secret, just about any male aged teenager and above can become a father. But, becoming a Dad …that’s a whole different story.

This is a story about Brenna Martin’s dad, Bryan Martin …a real Dad …probably just Daddy to Brenna. Brenna recently graduated from North Johnston High School in Kenly, North Carolina. After the graduation ceremony, Brenna’s dad gave her a gift. It was a book, but it wasn’t your average book. This book was a 13 year labor gift of love.

Pictured below is Bryan and his daughter Brenna at her high school graduation. Below the picture is a link to the rest of the story from NBC News.

If you haven’t heard of the Martins yet, you’re going to love this story. To read it on NBC Today Good News, click HERE.