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Become involved in order to show them your winning spirit (you don't just care about your needs being met, but the needs of everyone around you.) If that doesn't get you loyal followers, nothing will! Eyewitness testimony is also powerful because eyewitnesses are often very confident in their identifications. As we've seen, however, confidence and accuracy do not necessarily coincide. In fact, confidence can be influenced by the mere suggestions of police and lawyers. For example, one study had subjects view a security video of a man entering a department store. They were told that the man murdered a security guard, and were asked to identify the person from a set of photos (the gunman was not in the set). Some of the people received confirming feedback--they were told they correctly identified the suspect. Others received disconfirming feedback or none at all. Those people receiving confirming feedback were more confident in their decisions, trusted their memories more, and said they actually had a better view of the gunman. Of course, they were wrong, but their confidence would play well in court. As psychologist Daniel Schacter says, "Eyewitness confidence bears at best a tenuous link to eyewitness accuracy: witnesses who are highly confident are frequently no more accurate than witnesses who express less confidence." Like our perception of the external world, our memory of past events is constructive. Memories can be influenced by suggestive and leading questions, and we can mix up past experiences to create new, reconstructed memories. As with perception, the memories we retrieve can also be biased by what we want and expect to believe. For example, one study showed people a picture of a white man and a black man talking in the subway. The white man had a straight razor in his hand. When later asked to recall the picture, half of the subjects said the razor was in the black man's hand. An erroneous memory was created because of what this group of people expected to see.34 As psychologist Daniel Schacter states, "remembering the past is not merely a matter of activating or awakening a dormant trace or picture in the mind, but instead involves a far more complex interaction between the current environment, what one expects to remember, and what is retained from the past. Suggestive techniques tilt the balance among these contributors so that present influences play a much larger role in determining what is remembered than what actually happened in the past."35 Of course, it's impossible to discuss the many different ways our memories can go wrong here.36 But I believe that the point is made. We can't just accept our memory for an event as reality. Even if we're very confident in a memory, we may still be very wrong.

As with many of the topics we're exploring here, however, all is not bad. We often remember things quite well. In addition, as with decision heuristics, some of our memory problems are the result of rather useful strategies. If we remembered every detail of our past experiences, we would quickly reach information overload and have a difficult time functioning. For all its vices, our memory still allows us to function quite well. However, we have to be aware that our memories can be in error, and that those errors can have a significant influence on our beliefs and decisions. Vipassana meditation is something of a mental balancing act. You are going to be cultivating two separate qualities of the mind--mindfulness and concentration. Ideally, these two work together as a team. They pull in tandem, so to speak. Therefore it is important to cultivate them side by side and in a balanced manner. If one of the factors is strengthened at the expense of the another, the balance of the mind is lost and meditation becomes impossible. Concentration and mindfulness are distinctly different functions. They each have their role to play in meditation, and the relationship between them is definite and delicate. Concentration is often called one-pointedness of mind. It consists of forcing the mind to remain on one static point. Please note the word force. Concentration is pretty much a forced type of activity. It can be developed by force, by sheer unremitting willpower. And once developed, it retains some of that forced flavor.

Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a delicate function leading to refined sensibilities. These two are partners in the job of meditation. Mindfulness is the sensitive one. It notices things. Concentration provides the power. It keeps the attention pinned down to one item. Ideally, mindfulness is in this relationship. Mindfulness picks the objects of attention, and notices when the attention has gone astray. Concentration does the actual work of holding the attention steady on that chosen object. If either of these partners is weak, your meditation goes astray. Concentration could be defined as that faculty of the mind that focuses single-pointedly on one object without interruption. It must be emphasized that true concentration is a wholesome one-pointedness of mind. That is, the state is free from greed, hatred, and delusion. Unwholesome one-pointedness is also possible, but it will not lead to liberation. You can be very single-minded in a state of lust. But that gets you nowhere. Uninterrupted focus on something that you hate does not help you at all. In fact, such unwholesome concentration is fairly short-lived even when it is achieved--especially when it is used to harm others. True concentration itself is free from such contaminants. It is a state in which the mind is gathered together and thus gains power and intensity.

We might use the analogy of a lens. Parallel waves of sunlight falling on a piece of paper will do no more than warm the surface. But if that same amount of light, when focused through a lens, falls on a single point, the paper bursts into flames. Concentration is the lens. It produces the burning intensity necessary to see into the deeper reaches of the mind. Mindfulness selects the object that the lens will focus on and looks through the lens to see what is there. Concentration should be regarded as a tool. Like any tool, it can be used for good or for ill. A sharp knife can be used to create a beautiful carving or to harm someone. It is all up to the one who uses the knife. Concentration is similar. Properly used, it can assist you toward liberation. But it can also be used in the service of the ego. It can operate in the framework of achievement and competition. You can use concentration to dominate others. You can use it to be selfish. The real problem is that concentration alone will not give you a perspective on yourself. It won't throw light on the basic problems of selfishness and the nature of suffering. It can be used to dig down into deep psychological states. But even then, the forces of egotism won't be understood.

Only mindfulness can do that. If mindfulness is not there to look into the lens and see what has been uncovered, then it is all for nothing. Only mindfulness understands. Only mindfulness brings wisdom. Concentration has other limitations, too. Let's break this down into more specifics about a nutrition-rich diet that will help relieve your depression. Everyone likes the idea of "eating healthy," but what does that look like day in and day out? Here are several helpful strategies--along with specific food recommendations--that will enrich your body and lift your mood. Avoid cell damage with antioxidants. You've probably heard the term "free radicals" and might have thought they were involved in some kind of protest movement left over from the sixties. Well, they are a kind of protest movement, only taking place in your body. Essentially, free radicals are atoms that are unstable. They can harm your body's cells, resulting in illness and signs of aging, among other things. Our bodies normally make these molecules, which put our bodies--and especially our brains--at risk. It's impossible to fully thwart free radicals, but by consuming antioxidant-heavy foods, you can reduce their impact on your body.Be "carb conscious." Serotonin, the mood-altering brain chemical, has been shown to be affected by carbohydrates. Researchers speculate that an individual's craving for carbs is related to low serotonin activity. What's more, some carbs have been shown to have a calming effect, while others do not. It's best to avoid sugary foods and to consume "smart" or "complex" carbs (such as whole grains) rather than simple carbs, often found in baked goods. Provide your brain with healthy proteins. The amino acid tryptophan (found in turkey, tuna, chicken, and similar foods) boosts your brain's production of serotonin.