Archive for November 2, 2012

Best Friend

Forever is a very long time.  How is it that people can talk so casually about a concept that we cannot even wrap our minds around? Sometimes we have a friend and we sense that our souls are very closely connected.  We know that the connection is above time and space.  We know that wherever we are in our lives we will always remain friends.  Even if we do not see each other for years we are able to pick up right where we left off.  This is what people mean when they say friends forever.  True friends are hard to find, but there you are you came into my life.  You came to me in a perfect time, I'm so happy you're my Best Friend Forever.

Posted November 2, 2012 by dranilj1 in Photography

Tagged with

Academic Integrity

All parents want to help their children succeed in school. I consider helping kids with homework a fundamental duty of parenthood.  It’s just another way to ensure that they develop into fully realized, mostly literate adults.  But might we, instead, be corrupting their academic integrity? According to Teddi Fishman, director of the International Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University, it depends – not only on the teacher’s specific instructions for the assignment, but also on the way we deliver help.  Are we grabbing children’s laptop and simply inserting the commas and relocating the misplaced modifiers? Or looking over shoulder while explaining the rules of punctuation, and then letting child make the corrections himself? If I’m honest, I must admit its closer to the former than to the latter.

Academic integrity has become a major issue in schools at every level, and parents are hardly its worst enemy.  The International Center for Academic Integrity, a consortium of roughly 300 universities and secondary schools, educates students, faculty and administrators on the nuances of upholding integrity on campus, and offers an assessment guide so they might evaluate their current practices.  Most universities, secondary schools and even middle schools articulate a clear policy and make students sign an honor code pledging their intellectual honesty whether solving a math problem, writing a research or critical paper, or writing an exam, as MIT’s elegant manual puts it. The manuals tend to do everything from teach proper footnote citation to detail the punishments for rules that are breached.

But having a well-articulated policy is certainly no guarantee of rectitude.  The number of students who cheat is staggering; according to International Center for Academic Integrity research, of roughly 40,000 students polled between 1990 and 2009 at 70 different high schools (21 public, 32 private and 17 parochial), 72 percent of public school students said they’d cheated on an exam or test and 59 percent said they’d plagiarized a paper.  Among private school students, 49 percent admitted cheating and 47 percent confessed to plagiarism; for parochial students, the numbers were 68 and 63 percent, respectively. The bad news, says Fishman, “is that these are self-reported numbers so it’s probably a little higher.

Surprisingly, the rise of the Internet is not the main culprit in these statistics.  It hasn’t changed as much as people think it has, says Fishman, who maintains that the number of students admitting to plagiarism has held steady at around two-thirds since the Center was founded 20 years ago. It used to be that if you were going to copy, you had to copy from your neighbor or the encyclopedia.  Now, thanks to technology, you can copy from someone halfway around the world.

The bigger problem is the rapid rise of our hyper-competitive culture, in everything from sports to college admissions.  I would be very willing to speculate that the prevalence of cheating reflects the increased importance of high-stakes testing.  When kids see only the grade or the score as the goal, the method of achieving it – even if it means lying or cheating – is irrelevant.  Educators, on the other hand, are far more interested in the process.  We are looking for their development.  We have to communicate that better in a culture that says, “The only thing that matters is results.”

It doesn’t help that expectations vary wildly from class to class, even in the same department at the same school.  In one class, it might be perfectly all right for students to help each other, and the teacher encourages collaboration.  In the next class, the teacher wants every student to work on his or her own.  It would be okay if those differences were clearly articulated, and students heard. But they’re not.

At my cousin’s high school, several students were recently reprimanded for letting their parents read their biology papers before they handed them in.  Perhaps some corrected grammar or punctuation, or made suggestions on organizational structure.  At least one, a scientist, proposed some information that hadn’t been learned in class.  I don’t know whether the kid accepted the input, and whether the father was credited in the footnotes.  But if the students were told not to seek any outside help – and there is some confusion as to whether they were or not – then they were being dishonest by turning to their parents.

Kids themselves have vastly different views of what’s permissible.  I did not know how great the range was in what students thought until I took Attending Physician job.  I had one student who honestly thought that if something’s on medical encyclopedia, it counts as public knowledge.  After all, there’s no author attribution, and it’s in the public domain.  I don’t know how they came to think that but it’s important to tell them that that isn’t correct.

What’s the best way to teach?  Most important, start when they’re young.  Students understand fairness very early.  By third or fourth grade, it’s completely possible for them to understand what it feels like to have someone take their stuff and not credit them for it.  Students get panicky when they’re told they need to do original work.  It’s important to make clear that knowing how to incorporate and cite other people’s work is just as important as having your own ideas.

As for homework, the International Center for Academic Integrity encourages students to seek writing help but not let someone else take over.  As long as no one else controls the keyboard or the pencil, you’re getting the benefit of another tutor.  I think reasonable people under almost any circumstance would want their students to be helped in that way.  As an attending physician, I wholeheartedly concur.  As parents, we are steeling ourselves for the battles our children will have when we insist on teaching them how to use commas instead of just sticking them in for them.  Child’s integrity depends on it.

Posted November 2, 2012 by dranilj1 in Social, Social Media

Tagged with ,

Love Generates No Shadow

Jealousy has nothing to do with love.  In fact, your so-called love also has nothing to do with love.  These are beautiful words which you use without knowing what they mean, without experiencing what they mean.  You go on using the word ‘love’.  You use it so much that you forget the fact that you have not experienced it yet.  That is one of the dangers of using such beautiful words: ‘God’, ‘love’, ‘nirvana’, ‘prayer’.  You go on repeating them, and by and by, the very repetition makes you feel as if you know.  What do you know about love?  If you know anything about love, you cannot ask this question because jealousy is never present in love and wherever jealousy is present, love is not present.

Jealousy is not part of love, jealousy is part of possessiveness.  Possessiveness has nothing to do with love.  You want to possess.  Through possession, you feel strong; your territory is bigger and if somebody else tries to trespass on your territory, you are angry.  If somebody has a bigger house than your house, you are jealous, or if somebody tries to dispossess you of your property, you are jealous and angry.  If you love, jealousy is impossible.  If you love your woman, how can you be jealous? If you love your man, how can you be jealous? If your woman is laughing with somebody else, how can you be jealous? You will be happy; it is your woman who is happy; her happiness is your happiness.  How can you think against her happiness?

The wife even becomes jealous of the newspaper if the husband goes on reading it too much.  She comes and snatches it away; she becomes jealous.  The newspaper is substituting for her. While she is present, how dare you read your newspaper? That is an insult! When she is there, you have to be possessed by her, not the newspaper.  The newspaper becomes a competitor.  If the wife is present, and the husband starts talking to another woman and looks a little happy – which is natural because people do get tired of each other sometimes, and anything new gives a little thrill – the wife will get angry.  You can tell that if a couple is going by and the man looks sad, he is the husband married to that woman.  If he looks happy, he is not married to the woman.  She is not his wife.

You are not really in love with your woman, or with your man, or with your friend.  If you are in love, then your lover’s happiness is your happiness.  If you are in love, then you will not create any possessiveness.  Only love is capable of giving total freedom and if freedom is not given, then it is something else, not love.  It is a certain type of egoistic trip.  You have a beautiful woman in your life.  You want to show her off to everybody in town – just like a possession, just as you would do with your Ferrari.  The same is the case with your woman.  You bring diamonds for her, but not out of love.  She is a decoration for your ego.  You take her from one club to another, clinging to you to show that she belongs to you.  Any infringement of your right and you are angry you can kill the woman…whom you think you love.  There is great ego working everywhere.  We want people to be like things.  We possess them like things, we reduce persons to things. Our attitude towards things too is the same.

The only truth is love.  The ego knows no love, friendship, or compassion.  The ego is aggression, violence.  Why does jealousy always follow love as a shadow?  It never does.  Love is so transparent that it makes no shadow.  Love is not a solid thing, it is transparency.  Love is the only phenomenon on earth which creates no shadow.

Devine Cleansing

It is customary for us to spring clean our homes during this festive season, in the run-up to Deepavali (Festival of Light).  Cleaning is essential activity.  All unwanted stuff is disposed of; what can be given away is set aside and homes are given a good wash and some get painted, too.  So pick up a vacuum cleaner and as you sweep the dust away, tell yourself that this is your consciousness that you are cleaning.  Internalize the outward process.  We’ve heard it said that cleanliness is godliness.  It is, for when we live in clean surroundings, don’t we feel happy and energetic? Isn’t it ‘heavenly’? But when we are in dirty places we feel miserable.  We want to get out as soon as possible.  We cannot feel peace, so too with our internal state of affairs.

Nature teaches us all the time to engage in cleaning.  Dust here, pick out the weeds here, wipe off the stains there; cleaning is an endless process because this is nature’s way of ensuring we do not go to sleep; we do not slip into complete inertia.  But how often do any of us undertake to clean something ourselves? We delegate the job.  We busy ourselves in gaining knowledge or so we think.  So much we read and study, all the time — but how much of it is really relevant to our life? We are constantly gathering information; we need to stop and do some spring cleaning here.  All that information is useless if it does not help you uncover your consciousness.

There are three types of dust that we gather within ourselves.  One is our own negativity.  We think negatively, act and perceive negatively.  This accumulates inside of us, changing our responses.  Secondly, we gather negative influences from our surroundings, from the people we meet, and pick up negative vibrations from them.  Sometimes we let ourselves slip into unethical activities because we have cluttered our lives; hence we need to clear the clutter and confusion to be able to think and act with a clear conscience.

The third type of dust is perhaps the hardest to get rid of – misuse of powers vested in us.  We use our senses to fulfill our instant pleasures.  We know it is wrong, but we seek immediate gratification, for selfish ends.  In this manner we cause great injury to not only ourselves but to all of society.  We each of us have tremendous potential within us.  We have the divine within us.  Once we know that we have allowed soot and dirt to accumulate inside and that it is obstructing us from experience the divinity within, we will instinctively know how to do it.  There is no one method that can be applied externally.  The first step is to be aware that we need to initiate the cleansing process.  The process of cleaning outside and suggesting to yourself that you are also cleaning within will help initially to actually get it done.

A selfless attitude is helpful in cleaning out the consciousness.  In fact, it is the best form of cleaning.  When you give, you recognize the universal divine nature.  Just like nature gives of herself at all times, when you give, you automatically get cleaned.  In today’s world of competition, people fear that if they give, people will exploit their kindness and walk all over them.  This will not happen.  Human progress takes place only when the consciousness is clean and disciplined.

Truly Believe to Your Core

There is power in purposeful positivity.  Find the gems buried in the dirt of the situation and move down the road you choose.  I have come to learn the power of belief in self.  I didn't realize the significance or the true power of this until I was forced to face extreme stress stemming from my Rehab after I sustained a car wreck. The message that I have only recently really heard is belief becomes reality.  It is absolutely true that your belief in something will come to be, if you have a definite, genuine conviction of it and the dedication to work toward it.  Wishing something to occur is very different from an inner core knowledge that something will absolutely happen, acting as if it is inevitable, and putting you out there, laboring to make it reality.

During the midst of chaos and sadness, I have witnessed first-hand the power of true belief.  It can help you overcome the most impossible of challenges.  True belief in your abilities and any subsequent hard work needed can alter your path in a purposeful way, in the direction you desire.  Instead of stressing about the negatives of a situation, purposefully focus on the good of the situation, reframing your thoughts for calm and success, and you can accomplish seemingly unattainable outcomes.  As an additional bonus, it turns out that with such perseverance and determination, unexpected gifts appear on your path. Friends show extra care and kindness, strangers surprise you in nice ways, and a new view on life is realized.

Maintain your core belief. Stay true to it, regardless of what other naysayers may say.  Know that you can overcome the adversity-hand you have been dealt and know there is power in purposeful positivity.  By focusing on the gems buried in the dirt of the situation, you can decide to move down the road of your own choosing.  Rather than relying on people to tell you X, Y, and Z about what you should do or what is going to happen over time, know that you have more power. These people just have a small snapshot of the complete story.  You have all the information since you have been there from the start of the whole ordeal.  You, therefore, have the power to consider where to go and then to steer things in that direction.

If you believe, truly believe to your core, that you can do this, you can.  You absolutely can. Don’t be doubters; be a doer.  Don't let adversity control you; use adversity to focus and use it to accomplish positive.  I dare say you can.

Posted November 2, 2012 by dranilj1 in COGNITION

Tagged with , , , , , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,311 other followers

%d bloggers like this: