What caught my attention – week of 23 March 2020

1. Spirituality and seeking

Those of you who follow Michael Singer’s work (author of the Untethered Soul and Surrender Experiment books as well as the Living from a Place of Surrender online course) probably know that he founded an organisation called the Temple of the Universe in Florida where he gives weekly talks on spiritual topics (I had the great pleasure of visiting and it’s remarkable place).

Given the current health situation, due to not being able to host talks in person, him and the organisation made past talks available on a weekly basis (Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays) which can be listened to and downloaded. He doesn’t usually make public appearances so this is a great offering. It’s another great way to deepen inner work, which is one possibility during these times.

Link here: Temple of the Universe

2. Rivers

Title: Re-engineering Britain’s rivers
Link: The Economist

This kind of battle to control water was repeated across Britain, as farming expanded and landowners consistently sought to keep rivers on the straight and narrow, inside their riverbeds where they belonged, and thus maximise the land area available for cultivation. But rivers, particularly ones that travel through flat valleys like this one, do not want to run straight. Their natural inclination is to wander back and forth in oxbow bends that shift across the land over time. Meandering waterways have many virtues. They are slower; they have a greater diversity of wildlife habitats from ponds to gravel beds and rapids which draw more oxygen into the water; they boost water quality, by creating elbows and pools where sediment flowing down the river gets trapped rather than washing off the land; they are prettier. And—a matter of increasing salience—their water spends more time upstream, reducing the risk of floods downstream.

3. Zen Buddhism

Title: No Such Thing as Enlightenment
Link: Daily Zen

As soon as you think of wanting to be enlightened, you leave the place of the Unborn and go counter to it. Because the Buddha Mind is unborn, it has no thoughts at all. Thoughts are the source of delusion. When thoughts are gone, delusion vanishes too. And once you’ve stopped being deluded, talking about wanting to attain ‘enlightenment’ certainly is useless, don’t you agree?

4. I love Italians

Title: The Uplifting Ways Italians Are Coping With the Coronavirus Lockdown
Link: Afar

As one of the hardest hit countries during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Italy has been on strict lockdown for a week now, with many isolated in their homes. But that’s not stopping Italians from bonding through an uplifting campaign that is attempting to unify the nation during this difficult time. In addition to the balcony serenades and videos of music being played into empty streets you’ve likely seen circulating on social media, Italians are also hanging posters adorned with rainbows and the phrase “andrà tutto bene”—meaning “everything will be alright”—on apartments and houses countrywide.

5. Olympics

Title: The Story of Derek Redmond’s Iconic Olympic Moment
Link: Youtube

Sometimes tragedy on the biggest stage can be more memorable than glory, as Great Britain 400m runner Derek Redmond can confirm from the Olympic Summer Games 1992 in Barcelona.

+1 Book of the week

Author and title: Laszlo Bock – Work rules

Great book about what went into creating the working environment at Google (it goes way beyond the bean bags and free food) and the new rules in the relationship between employees and employers. Few quotes:

“If you trust that people will behave right they will.”

“Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.” – Zechariach Chafee

“An MIT study looked at two Nike factories: factory A gave employees more vacation, included them in setting production targets, let them form teams, decide which processes they want to have, stop work if there is a problem. Factory B employed strict controls. Factory A produced 2x, made more money and at 40% lower cost vs factory B.” [paraphrased]