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Friday, January 16, 2015

Do Good, Think Good, Feel Good

English: Broadway show billboards at the corne...
English: Broadway show billboards at the corner of 7th Avenue and West 47th Street in Times Square in New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I find this very New Age, and this is still the question I will pose: for you to think positive, where is that positive thought coming from? For you to feel good, so you emit good emotions, where is that good emotion coming from?
As C.S. Lewis said it, no matter how much good intention we have, if the ship we are driving is wayward, we will still bump and crash on other ships as wayward as ours. Such is our nature - unless it is changed - from within.
Read on....


The paths of charity, prosperity, business acumen and spiritual well-being may lead us to the intersection of happiness.

There is strong evidence that those who are generous when giving actually end up better off, Arthur C. Brooks wrote in The Times. He discovered this while working on a book on charitable donations.

“Psychologists, I learned, have long found that donating and volunteering bring a host of benefits to those who give,” Mr. Brooks wrote. “Researchers from Harvard University and the University of British Columbia confirmed that, in terms of quantifying ‘happiness,’ spending money on oneself barely moves the needle, but spending on others causes a significant increase.”

He and his wife put the research into practice, increasing financial support for their preferred causes, volunteering more and adopting a child. Psychologists say actions like these imbue us with “self-efficacy,” the belief that we can affect the outcome of any situation.

“When people give their time or money to a cause they believe in, they become problem solvers,” Mr. Brooks wrote. “Problem solvers are happier than by-standers and victims of circumstance.”

The company Alex and Ani does not claim that its products will make you a better person, but it does say its jewelry “inspires you to put good energy out into the world,” The Times reported.” And if you put good energy, good things will come back to you.”

Last year the company sold $ 230 million worth of Buddha Charm Bangles (limitless power, limitless good karma and wisdom), St. Anthony Charm Bangles (divine direction and soulful enlightenment) and other amulets.

The New Age principle of good energy, often called the law of attraction, is a central tenet of popular gurus who encourage people to do good.

John L. Modern, the author of “Secularism in Antebellum America,” told the Times that Alex and Ani’s approach is in line with a thriving, and particularly American, tradition in which the language of the occult, spiritualism and animal magnetism grew alongside the capitalist market revolution that began around 1830.

“You have crystal stuff in the New Age in the 1970s, the red-string kabbalah stuff,” Dr.Modern said, with plain red strings sold as Jewish bracelets, to ward off “the evil eye.” And in the 1950s, the famous psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich built the “orgone accumulator,” an aluminum and glass box that he said could cure disabilities, even cancer, of those who got inside.

Many cultural institutions are learning to start thinking like capitalists since they can no longer depend on donations or government support. They need to develop ways to generate revenue beyond the café and bookstore.

“How do you break this cycle of charitable poverty?” Elizabeth Merritt, founding director of the Center for the future of Museums, asked in The Times. “How do you make a program self-sustainable, where you’re drawing a connection between people who value it and those willing to pay for it?”

You may be inspired to hold a sheepshearing festival, as the historic Gore Place, a governor’s house built in 1806 in Massachusetts, decided to do recently. Or host dinners featuring prominent chefs, as the Bronx Museum of Arts is now doing, while charging $250 to $300 a person.

But sometimes these efforts at “self-efficacy” encounter obstacles, as Susan Robertson, the executive director of Gore Place, pointed out when talking about its plan to raise vegetables and open a farm stand.

“Like any new venture, there are all of the unknowns,” Ms. Robertson told the Times. “You don’t know if the geese are going to come in and strip your pea fields in half an hour or you don’t know that you’re going to have an influx of rabbits and they’re going to eat up all your squash.”

Taken from TODAY Saturday Edition, April 5, 2014