Are they accurate? Professor Stephen Schnaars of Baruch College analyzed the forecasts published between 1959 and 1989 in sources like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Business Week, and found that they were wrong about 80 percent of the time. The predictions of major think tanks fair no better. In fact, Futures magazine once analyzed 1,556 technological forecasts and found that the experts were no better than nonexperts in their prediction accuracy. So-called technological experts over the past forty years have predicted that, by now, most people would be using video telephones, ultrasonic dishwashers and showers, moving sidewalks, and jet-powered cars. Some experts even predicted that the average person would be working only about ten hours a year--by the year 2000. Moreover, innovations that have had a major impact on our lives, such as cellular telephones, atomic energy, compact discs, and the computer, were not predicted. In fact, the dictionary definition of a computer was "a person who computes" as recently as 1950. In 1956 RCA predicted that by the year 2000, there would be only 220,000 computers in existence.59 The evolution of technology is so complex and uncertain that it is just about impossible to predict what the next breakthrough innovation will be. As Sherden states, "The main difference between technology forecasting and science fiction is that the former is sold under the pretense of being factual." Find yourself a quiet place, a secluded place, a place where you will be alone. It doesn't have to be some ideal spot in the middle of a forest. That's nearly impossible for most of us, but it should be a place where you feel comfortable, and where you won't be disturbed. It should also be a place where you won't feel on display. You want all of your attention free for meditation, not wasted on worries about how you look to others. Try to pick a spot that is as quiet as possible. It doesn't have to be a soundproof room, but there are certain noises that are highly distracting, and they should be avoided. Music and talking are about the worst. The mind tends to be sucked in by these sounds in an uncontrollable manner, and there goes your concentration. There are certain traditional aids that you can employ to set the proper mood. A darkened room with a candle is nice.

Incense is nice. A little bell to start and end your sessions is nice. These are paraphernalia, though. They provide encouragement to some people, but they are by no means essential to the practice. You will probably find it helpful to sit in the same place each time. A special spot reserved for meditation and nothing else is an aid for most people. You soon come to associate that spot with the tranquillity of deep concentration, and that association helps you to reach deep states more quickly. The main thing is to sit in a place that you feel is conducive to your own practice. That requires a bit of experimentation. Try several spots until you find one where you feel comfortable. You only need to find a place where you don't feel self-conscious, and where you can meditate without undue distraction. Many people find it helpful and supportive to sit with a group of other meditators. The discipline of regular practice is essential, and most people find it easier to sit regularly if they are bolstered by a commitment to a group sitting schedule. You've given your word, and you know you are expected to keep it. Thus, the "I'm too busy" syndrome is cleverly skirted. You may be able to locate a group of practicing meditators in your own area. It doesn't matter if they practice a different form of meditation, so long as it's one of the silent forms. On the other hand, you also should try to be self-sufficient in your practice. Don't rely on the presence of a group as your sole motivation to sit. Properly done, sitting is a pleasure.

Use the group as an aid, not as a crutch. We've already mentioned the differences between addiction to a substance and addiction to other types of behaviors. The latter is referred to in the mental health profession as "process addictions" or "soft addictions." What we haven't yet discussed is how these two classes of addictions are alike. Recent research has revealed a startling fact: the human brain reacts in very similar ways to substance and process addictions, in some cases appearing to be almost identical in brain scans. For example, a 2010 study found that pathological gamblers and those addicted to substances "share many clinical, phenomenological, and biological features."[2] The point is, as research continues to confirm findings like these, there is less reason than ever to treat "process addictions" any less seriously than substance addictions. Both can create negative outcomes in the lives of addicts, including the onset and deepening severity of depression. To underscore the danger, the National Council on Problem Gambling reported in 1997 that as many as one in five pathological gamblers had attempted suicide and that suicide rates among gamblers were the highest of any addictive disorder, substances included.[3] The following is a roundup of dependencies, arranged in broad categories, that we commonly see in people who seek treatment for depression at our clinic. Keep in mind, however, that addictions come in many variations. If you recognize yourself in these brief descriptions, rest assured the purpose is not to shame you or burden you with yet another mountain to climb. It is to help you free yourself of everything keeping you chained to depression--by leading you to step one: recognizing there could be a problem that needs your attention. Saying things to your partner like, "Why would I want to make you feel like that? I didn't do it on purpose!" or "Why haven't you asked me how I'm feeling when you know I've had a hard day today?" makes your partner feel like they are under attack. Being in a relationship is about being on the same team, and sticking together when times are rocky. It's not about picking fights and playing on opposite teams or positioning yourself against the other. <a href=''>Anytime</a> you place blame on your partner, they feel backed into a corner, and as if nothing they say has an effect against what YOU'RE saying. <a href=''>So,</a> instead of usingyou" messages such as "You always take your friend's side against mine," or "You never tell me how beautiful I look anymore," use I' messages. <a href=''>I</a> messages are incredibly powerful, because they remove any opportunity for your partner to feel blamed, and instead create a statement of how you're feeling (which is hard for anyone to deny or fight against, as it's simply how YOU feel.) "I felt hurt the other day when..." or "I know you didn't mean to come across this way, but I really miss when we used to plan date nights together. <a href=''>I</a> cherish that time we have together, and would love to get back to that." Insulting your partner. <a href=''>Are</a> you in a relationship in which you fightdirty'? If so, using a language full of insults is one of the fastest ways to turn your once healthy relationship into a destructive one (and possibly headed for a breakup).

Otherwise known as contempt, insulting your partner is any language or behaviour that is threatening, demeaning or below the belt' (such as comments that push their buttons.) Insulting your partner puts you at war against him/her instead of working together to find the solution. <a href=''>The</a> problem is, when you use contempt against the one you're in a relationship with, allrules' are out the window. One reason it's tough to predict which consumer product will take off is because it's not always the best product. For example, Sony's Betamax came out at about the same time as VHS. Most experts thought that Betamax was a superior product, but VHS gained a market share advantage in the video rental stores, which pushed Betamax into oblivion. In the early days of personal computers, many experts thought the Macintosh operating system produced by Apple Computer was superior to Microsoft's DOS operating system that was used in IBM computers. However, Apple refused to license the Macintosh software until 1995, so when other companies started mass producing low-cost computers, they installed the DOS system.61 Just compare the market share of the two companies today. What about all those futurists who predict major trends in our society? As you might surmise, they're typically wrong. For example, if you believed Paul Ehrlich's book The Population Bomb, published in 1968, you would have thought that war, pestilence, and famine would engulf us by the 1990s, killing around 500 million people. In 1970 Alvin Toffler wrote Future Shock, in which he predicted we would experience a psychological melt down by the 1990s because of too much change in our lives. In fact, we appear to be adapting quite well. Once again, it seems like the only difference between these types of books and works of fiction is that they are sold as nonfiction. As we've seen, we attempt to predict many things that are essentially unpredictable. Why aren't they predictable? Two major reasons come to mind: chaos and complexity. The weather is inherently unpredictable beyond a couple of days because it is a chaotic system. Chaos theory applies to a limited number of physical systems, like the weather and fluid turbulence. With chaos, turbulent behavior is determined by nonlinear laws that magnify small errors in the initial conditions of the system, making it extremely unpredictable beyond a short period of time. You may have heard of the butterfly effect, where something as small as a butterfly flapping its wings in a far-off place may have consequences for the weather you're experiencing here and now.

The economy and other social systems are unpredictable because they are complex systems. In complex systems, order emerges from the complex interactions among components of a system, influenced by one or more guiding principles. For example, our ecosystem developed because of the complex interactions of many different life-forms guided by the principle of natural selection. Complex systems are unpredictable because it's practically impossible to know the outcome caused by countless interacting variables. These systems have periods of order interrupted by unexpected turmoil, and they can evolve, exhibiting new, unexpected behaviors. And so, chaos relates to many aspects of the physical world, while complexity relates to our biological and social world. In either case, accurate predictions are just about impossible to make. The most important rule here is this: When it comes to sitting, the description of Buddhism as the Middle Way applies. Don't overdo it. Don't underdo it. This doesn't mean you just sit whenever the whim strikes you. It means you set up a practice schedule and keep to it with a gentle, patient tenacity. Setting up a schedule acts as an encouragement. If, however, you find that your schedule has ceased to be an encouragement and become a burden, then something is wrong. Meditation is not a duty or an obligation. Meditation is a psychological activity. You will be dealing with the raw stuff of feelings and emotions. Consequently, it is an activity that is very sensitive to the attitude with which you approach each session. What you expect is what you are most likely to get. Your practice will therefore go best when you are looking forward to sitting.