She kept her eyes opened, watching above the sea of heads, to see what the master was doing. Suddenly the Master looked directly at her and pointed to the location of the third eye between his eyebrows, a very clear instruction for her to close her eyes and focus there. He saw every face in a thousand and gave the darshan to all. Receiving the darshan is an unforgettable experience. After Ajaib passed away, I remembered the phrase 'so above, so below. ' The teaching is that God made us in His image. We are all essentially divine. When we go beyond the idea of God as an anthropomorphic entity with a long white beard sitting on a throne, and understand the mystical teachings, we see that we are left with love. The spiritual texts tell us that love is what holds the universe together, the divine force field. God is often described very simply as pure love. I met Elinor Frank, age ninety-six, during a visit to an assisted living facility. She said that a week earlier, another resident had gotten annoyed with her. 'You're acting silly,' the resident said to Elinor. 'Why don't you act your age? ' Instead of getting angry in return, Elinor used a strategy typical of postformal thinking: answering a question with another question that reframes the issue in larger terms. 'How should I act my age? ' she asked, with encore phase spirit. 'Tell me how I should act when I'm eighty or ninety or 100. Isn't it good to be a little unpredictable once in a while, so people don't take you for granted? '

Practicing this with the small things will give you the confidence and boldness to do the same when life presents a disruption you can't fix or one where good comes from living through it. I visualized the outcome, not the problem. When we wanted to teach our boys to become more independent, take responsible risks, and respect their elders, we sent them away. We sent them to camp. It challenged the idea that I alone was responsible for helping them become who I hope they grow into. Shocking to my ego, yes, but so important for me to learn. I started with what I wanted them to be--independent, responsible, and respectful--and worked backward to how to accomplish that, which, in this case, was sending them off to camp. It's the same for my marriage, my relationships with employees, or friends. My fixing their problems has sometimes been the problem, and it took knowing what I ultimately wanted out of the relationship to pull me out of their way for their good. I was a telemarketer in high school. A great way to do this is to spend some time stargazing. Take yourself off one cloudless night - get out of the city if you live in one - and go lie down and just look up at the stars. Let your mind empty of all the day's clutter and just allow yourself to wonder. Wonder at the magnitude of our place in the universe and how we come to be living in this place and in these times. Reflect on the magnitude of these crazy but exciting times of change. How lucky are we to be living right now! Realize that you are blessed to live at this time - that you have chosen to be here in this moment - and wonder upon what kind of a future we can create for ourselves if we choose to. Allow yourself to think BIG! How could you steer your life in a direction that would affect and touch the lives of many? Look at the stars.

The overall increase in brainwave activity may explain the decreases in anxiety and increases in focus that are evident after yoga training programs. Overall, yoga seems to have positive effects on brainwave activity in terms of stimulating the activation of alpha, beta, and theta brainwaves, which have been associated with improvements in cognition, memory, mood, and anxiety. We know that if we have an important mental task to do, a 15-minute walk, jog, or bike ride beforehand can help us focus and perform. We'll feel better, have more energy, and think more quickly and accurately. Yoga or even just some deliberate deep-breathing exercises beforehand can also help. That's just a single bout of exercise. What would happen if we did this consistently over time? How would that change our brain and our ability to control our attention, focus, and maybe even prevent age-related cognitive decline? Dr. Arthur Kramer's lab at the University of Illinois specializes in trying to answer those questions. We've observed how the last ten thousand years of human history, premised on agriculture and civilization, orients us to the logic of summer--the allure of expansion, craving, dopamine, pleasure, ease. Whether it's staying up late, feasting on carbohydrate-rich foods, or basking in artificial light, it's easy to get stuck in summer. The same holds true for movement. As the leaves change color and the colder weather approaches, we'll naturally begin spending less time outdoors, and thus doing less general movement. Our whole world, literally and figuratively, should contract during these months as we spend more time resting and nesting at home. But just because we experience an overall reduction in the duration of our activities doesn't mean we should become sedentary in these months. Instead, we should vary our movements, substituting longer, easier workouts with shorter, harder, interval-based or sprint-based training. We should also adjust the nature of physical connections. Summertime lends itself to outdoor activities with lots of people--we enjoy the excitement of exploring groups and the rush of meeting new acquaintances. Running a 10K with a bunch of friends makes good summertime sense.

We can choose to give our own level of darshan. We can all access love. Darshan happens when the eyes look at others with unconditional love. I experimented. What I discovered is an amazing and powerful practice and a very spiritual action. In order for us to give darshan, it is necessary to remove all our judgments and fear and to connect our eyes directly with our heart. Because we are unconscious so much of the time, a state of unconditional love is not constant, but we can access this state in the moments we choose the darshan. Darshan is a practice of placing ourselves in this state. It is a practice of accessing this state. When we do this, we become (for a moment) ambassadors of love in the world, creating change silently wherever we go. The maturation of our thinking abilities as well as our overall growth in developmental intelligence depend critically on behind-the-scenes brain changes. Our brains never lose the ability to learn by forming new synapses, dendrites, and even entirely new brain cells. These fundamental capacities, as well as the aging brain's apparent ability to recruit new regions of the other hemisphere for specific tasks, more than make up for the real--but gradual--losses in the speed of signal transmission or the loss of brain cells. But yet another aspect of brain development provides reason for optimism. If you sliced into a section of brain, you would see a relatively thin top layer of gray-colored tissue covering the bulk of the brain tissue, which looks white. The gray matter is composed primarily of the actual bodies and dendrites of brain cells. Billions of these cells endow us with our many mental functions, such as perception, language, and self-awareness, as well as bodily control. The white matter is composed mostly of the long tail-like extensions of the brain cells--axons--which carry messages to other cells in the brain or body. Axons are like high-bandwidth cables capable of carrying a signal over long distances. The white matter, in other words, is like the Internet wiring connecting all of the 'users,' which are the cells and networks of cells in the gray matter.

I apologize if you were one of the lucky people I called to tell that you may have already won a European dream vacation or one of ten other fabulous prizes, but I needed the money. The job paid in two ways: you made a small amount for each call you made and a bigger amount for every person you sold into some kind of time-share vacation club. Converting a sale was hard, so I literally phoned it in. I made as many calls as I could, read my script, accepted their no, and did it over again until the end of my shift. It was the worst. My job satisfaction was a reflection of my effort. Just as I reached my breaking point, one of the more seasoned salesmen asked if he could give me some tips. He helped with my pitch and showed me the way to personalize the sale, the way to work through objections and turn a no into a yes. It was simple, it built confidence, and, incredibly, it worked. Most importantly, it challenged the way sixteen-year-old me connected the effort I put into something with the result that comes from it. See how beautiful they are and how they touch you - just like you have the ability to touch others. Be inspired to become as big as you can be. Choose to be all that you came here for. Shine like those stars are shining, every night, asking nothing in return but just to be looked at. Think big. Act big. Live big. Be awesome. Call up a friend or loved one, perhaps your kids or partner, bundle them into the car one evening and tell them you're going on an adventure.