A week ago, I attended an Iftar hosted by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Nuh Aydin, an Iftar being the feast held at the end of a day of fasting during the month of Ramadan. Gathered in the Parish House, I was surrounded by people of all faiths. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic-we were all there to honor the beautiful tradition being observed that evening. After a presentation on the significance of fasting and an entrancingly melodic call to prayer, we shared a delicious meal accompanied by conversation about all manner of things, secular and sacred alike. Why do I bring this up? Because this event perfectly illustrates my view of religious life at Kenyon.
When I came here as a first year, I initially felt alienated because of my Southern Baptist upbringing. Moving into a hall with primarily atheist and agnostic midwesterners and New Englanders, I was out of my element, both geographically and spiritually. The wonderful thing about Kenyon's religious scene is that this difference was not just tolerated-it was affirmed and accepted. Though my friends held different views, religious and philosophical conversations were frequent in our hall. I found that this was true in classes as well. No matter their faiths, my peers and I were met with tolerance. In recent years, though, I've noticed that the subject of religion has become increasingly taboo, not due to discrimination, but to sheer ignorance of the matter in question.
In spite of Kenyon's wonderful tolerance, it is my fear that a vast majority of students-through no fault of their own-possess a large degree of religious illiteracy. Maybe a test is in order. Can you name all five books of the Torah? How about all four Gospels? Can you list more than half of the Ten Commandments? Okay, so a few of you out there are probably feeling pretty good about this, and that's great. Now name the four noble truths of Buddhism. Can you list the five pillars of Islam? Of what faith is the Bhagavad-Gita a sacred text? Who wrote the Tao Te Ching?
Don't feel too bad if any of these questions stumped you. I had to go back to my religious studies textbook to answer some of them. Still, if you had trouble with three or more, can you honestly say you've had a complete liberal arts education? As a religious studies major, I have taken courses to expand my knowledge of religions, but is mere knowledge enough?
Beneath the surface here at Kenyon lurks a beautiful multifaceted spiritual community that many students never explore. I wish I could give you a specific reason for this-fear of being stigmatized as a fanatic, maybe? The best thing I can do, though, is to offer a suggestion: don't let religion become taboo. Even if it's just as a secular observer, strike up a conversation with someone. Taking a religious studies class is a good start, but there's no replacement for a good discussion with your friends. Don't fear stigmatization. Sit down with a friend sometime soon, and just listen to how he or she views the world.
By Thomas Lewis
10 ways to control your anger - Professional expert’s advice
I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order to understand the anger phenomenon I decided to investigate the nature of anger, reasons of its appearing, key factors and anger management.
What does it mean this anger? Anger is a strong indignation feeling of our emotional sphere that is attended by self-control losing. Anger is a signal of our state. Glands produce an array of hormones that have a great and deep effect on all our body. The main participants of this process are adrenaline and cortisol. They activate cardiovascular system and consequently all organs. Adrenalin causes fast heart beating, rising blood pressure. These rich oxygenated blood streams to the places are responsible for reaction. Thus some extra energy is released.
There are 4 basic ways of anger expressions:
1. Straight and immediately (verbally or nonverbally) to show your anger. It gives an opportunity to free from the negative emotions.
2. To express anger in an indirect way. In this case usually suffer persons that are weaker, not dangerous and those ones who “come to hand”, usually they are our family and close relatives. Thus we hurt our dear ones. One of the best ways is to express your anger to the person who is the source of this very anger. If it is impossible- better find some compromise.
3. Restraining anger you “drive” it deep inside. So, negative emotions store will provoke a big stress sooner or later.
4. You may foresee situation of anger feeling, try not to expand this feeling but get to know the reason, understand and solve it. A Roman philosopher Seneca said: “When you are feeling of ascending “volcano”- stand still, not doing anything- not speaking, not moving.”
Anger is a normal and natural human feeling, especially nowadays as life is really fast and we have a huge amount of information to accumulate (in comparison with our previous generations). The range of anger is rather wide: from a slight annoyance to impetuous fury. Anger can be quick and long, lasting for years in form of bitterness, vengeance or hate. Anger can lead to health issues like depression, high blood pressure, hearth diseases, stresses, alcohol dependence and obesity. If you are anger- express it. If you feel discomfort from these “negative splashes”- then we can give some techniques how to manage your emotional anger:
- 1. Take a deep and continuous breath. Count up to 50 or imagine your aggressor just naked, only in socks. This will help you to calm and smile.
- 2. Have a walk. Look at high sky. Continue to breathe deep and easily. So you appraise the situation and calm down.
- 3. Do some physical exercises. When you are angry- your body is very tensed and tough. If you stretch your muscles it will relax your body, as you will spill out all your negative energy into action. Your brains will get more oxygen and it assists to clear your thoughts.
- 4. Write down all your thoughts. Write down that you are mad and why. Avoid being rational, logical or laconic. Write on paper all you are feeling this moment. Try to write all in details. The function of this technique is to shift all your anger out of your head on paper.
- 5. Be grateful. Find someone to thank. Do you not forget about yourself. Thank that you have woken up today, thank that that the Sun is shining for you, that the sky is blue and the grass is green.
- 6. Prayer. Ask God to be with you during this anger moment and lead you.
- 7. Meditation. Close your eyes, look into solar plexus, and be all your anger, breathing deeply.
- 8. Change of places. Move yourself on your enemy’s place. And look at situation from his point of view. Better look at the situation from the ceiling. Focus on details, especially on funny and absurd ones. Strive to forgive your enemy as well as forgive truly yourself.
- 9. Go back to your childhood memories. Recollect state when you were angry. Hug this child and say: “All is ok. I am here. You are good child. I love you and I will not leave you.”
- 10. Your values. What is the most significant thing in your life? Who are the most important people in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Think and accept that point that you are living your life, and you are living your values. There is a good man inside you that wants to help you. I wish you good luck!
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