Friday, December 16, 2011

Brazil 1982

and then there was the French midfield in 1982 with Platini, Girese, Tigana... Germany also had a good team (Breitner, Magath, Littbarski, Matthäus, Müller - Schuster had resigned), of course Italy. Still today IMHO the best midfield ever (individually and as a team) is the present Barca squad: Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, plus if you consider them midfielders, Messi+Sanchez...

A memory to Socrates and Co.

Brazil 1982 - A tribute to the art of football

Brasil 1982 - The 11 Greatest Goals

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Wake Up To Your Life Audio Book

The book Wake Up To Your Life by Ken McLeod explains the meditation techniques developed over hundreds of years by Tibetian Buddhist's. More over it is a practice guideline, a program, a roadmap, or a How To document. The book format is also very good to quickly skim through, to get an overview, and to look things up (and btw, for the recent paperback price at Amazon for USD 11.43 it is a real bargain for what you get!).

However there is also an audio version available, the whole book is red page by page by Ken McLeod himself.

It gives the content a whole new dimension. While I can read much faster than listening to the audio, it is much more emotional, personal, intense - overall a deeper experience, to listen to the text, content, speach. After all, text is just a codification to what we normally would hear. Actually it is images that we put into words, that we put onto paper. Each time we add a very complex layer to communicate in order to overcome time and distance. So if you like the book, you might give the audio book a chance as well. I am sure you will like it. Last not least, you might also like his podcasts. They are also qualitatively different from the audio book. The podcasts are interactive, more spontaneous, natural, and like a conversation, while the audio book is actually red from a fixed text, it is more structured, prepared, and concentrated. Both forms have their advantages and place.


BTW, I hope there will be an ebook version out at some point in time. It would be nice to carry the book around easily at most times.

Here is a review of the book by one of his students, George Draffan.

Review of Ken McLeod's "Wake Up To Your Life", March 21, 2001

By George L. Draffan

Originally published in the Northwest Dharma News

Hundreds of books on Buddhism have been published in recent years, but Wake Up To Your Life, a new book by Ken McLeod, is one of the first systematic curricula written by a Westerner thoroughly trained in traditional Tibetan ways. With deep insight, clear instructions, and entertaining stories, McLeod has given us a comprehensive manual for a lifetime of spiritual work.

Wake Up To Your Life begins as many books do, introducing the context and motivations for practicing meditation, and covering basic topics such as the four noble truths, the three disciplines of morality, meditation, and understanding, and the cultivation of mindfulness. It continues with contemplations on death and impermanence, karma, reactive emotions, and the four immeasurables, and ends with difficult practices for mind training, insight, and direct awareness.

McLeod breaks new ground from beginning to end. For example, the differences and synergies between mindfulness, awareness, and attention are clearly delineated, and active attention ("volitional, stable, and inclusive") is the central principle. That has practical implications, one of which is that ethical behavior becomes primarily a natural expression of attention, rather than a set of rules dictated by an authority or tradition.

Wake Up To Your Life is especially valuable in making explicit what has been hidden from or confusing to many practitioners. Those who have struggled to practice with insufficient instruction will benefit from McLeod's pragmatic approach. For example, he makes clear the important differences between the purpose, methods, effects, and results of meditation practice. Thus the meditator who has been instructed to "open your mind" or "be centered" will learn that being open and feeling centered (as well as distraction, clarity, sleepiness, and euphoria) are effects of meditation, and not methods. The book is packed with tools for choosing and working with a teacher, for cutting through confusion and self-deception, and for discriminating between genuine insight and passing mental states and energy surges.

Those who have been bewildered by Tibetan visualization and contemplative practices will see how they are rooted in basic Buddhist principles, and those who have been confused or put off by cosmology and deity practices will find clear explanations and a sensible approach. We see how the six realms are the worlds projected by our reactive emotions, and how an understanding of the five elements and five dakinis can help us transform the energies of our reactive emotions into pristine awareness.

The chapter on karma is a significant contribution to our understanding of meditation and of psychology. Detailed analysis of how our beliefs, reactive emotions, and habituated behaviors create and perpetuate the suffering in our lives is integrated with practical exercises for dismantling the components of those beliefs and behavioral patterns. McLeod has formulated the practices in terms directly relevant to modern audiences, and encourages the reader to rely on experience rather than belief. Waking up to your life does not depend on exchanging Western assumptions for Eastern ones; it depends on direct experience.

In the debate over whether teachers should transmit the Dharma just as it was received, or whether each culture and each generation must make the Dharma their own, McLeod is squarely in the second camp. He integrates age-old Buddhist methods with modern psychological sensibilities, and uses science and Sufi teaching stories to make his points, but the result is no sweet New Age concoction. Confusion is cut at every juncture, and no slack is given for wishful thinking. "You would probably prefer not to look at some parts of your life, but to ignore the areas of life that are uncomfortable to look at is not a good idea. If we protect any aspect of our life from the practice of attention, the habituated patterns connected with that part of our life absorb the energy of practice and gradually take over our lives. We become what we don't dismantle."

While Wake Up To Your Life is intellectually challenging and satisfying, it is ultimately a manual for spiritual practice, and not an exercise in cultural reeducation, religious history, or philosophical doctrine. Its only purpose is to provide a set of tools to deal with the challenges we encounter while engaging the work of "waking up from the sleep in which we dream that we are separate from what we experience."

Both beginning and experienced students and teachers of Buddhist meditation will benefit from using the methods in Wake Up To Your Life, but McLeod's pragmatic and integrated approach applies the power of attention to social, work, and personal relationships as well as to formal meditation practice. The book will be valuable to psychologists, mediators, managers, parents, and anyone else who deals with people and their reactive emotions. It's for anyone who has felt the suffering and confinement caused by their habitual patterns, and is serious about cultivating presence and freedom.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Uni Zurich

Zurich University and Lichthof, 2011-10-28

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Sunday, October 02, 2011


bus, tripod
Zurich main station, Switzerland, 2011-10-01

Instead of getting a new bigger sensor camera, decided to take out the old cheap hand tripod I once had gotten along with a former camera (the good old Kodak wide angle) and see what can be done at night with the Panasonic compact. Thought will be getting a new mini tripod with a level gauge soon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


If you happen to be on a Mac, there is simple and cheap decision support tool ala Benjamin Franklin's Pro/Con list made by Jonathan Clark.

Mac App Store: Decisions

Here is the original letter from Benjamin Franklin describing the process, thanks to Aaron Stannard's further elaborations:
To Joseph Priestley

London, September 19, 1772

Dear Sir,

In the Affair of so much Importance to you, wherein you ask my Advice, I cannot for want of sufficient Premises, advise you what to determine, but if you please I will tell you how.

When these difficult Cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under Consideration all the Reasons pro and con are not present to the Mind at the same time; but sometimes one Set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of Sight. Hence the various Purposes or Inclinations that alternately prevail, and the Uncertainty that perplexes us.

To get over this, my Way is, to divide half a Sheet of Paper by a Line into two Columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con. Then during three or four Days Consideration I put down under the different Heads short Hints of the different Motives that at different Times occur to me for or against the Measure. When I have thus got them all together in one View, I endeavour to estimate their respective Weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out: If I find a Reason pro equal to some two Reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two Reasons con equal to some three Reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the Ballance lies; and if after a Day or two of farther Consideration nothing new that is of Importance occurs on either side, I come to a Determination accordingly.

And tho' the Weight of Reasons cannot be taken with the Precision of Algebraic Quantities, yet when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge better, and am less likely to take a rash Step; and in fact I have found great Advantage from this kind of Equation, in what may be called Moral or Prudential Algebra.

Wishing sincerely that you may determine for the best, I am ever, my dear Friend,

Yours most affectionately

B. Franklin

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Political Message

political message
Fribourg, Switzerland, 2011-08-06

Sunday, July 03, 2011


Richard Wagner Museum

Here are the touristic photos, and here the artistic...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Steve Jobs about Focus at AppleInsider:
Jobs outlined Apple's intense focus during an interview with Fortune in 2008. "Apple is a $30 billion company, yet we've got less than 30 major products. I don't know if that's ever been done before. Certainly the great consumer electronics companies of the past had thousands of products. We tend to focus much more. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully," Jobs said.

"I'm actually as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done. The clearest example was when we were pressured for years to do a PDA, and I realized one day that 90% of the people who use a PDA only take information out of it on the road. They don't put information into it.

"Pretty soon cellphones are going to do that, so the PDA market's going to get reduced to a fraction of its current size, and it won't really be sustainable. So we decided not to get into it. If we had gotten into it, we wouldn't have had the resources to do the iPod. We probably wouldn't have seen it coming."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Do I Want This?

One day, while staying at a friend’s house, Nasrudin peered over the wall into the neighbor’s yard and saw the most wonderful garden he had ever seen. He noticed an old man patiently weeding a flower-bed and asked,

“This is a beautiful garden. I’d like to have one just like it. How do you make a garden like this?”

“Twenty years hard work.”

“Never mind,” said Nasrudin.
From: Three Questions from Ken McLeod

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Better Than A New Year's Resolution

30 Day Trials

Not sure Steve Pavlina invented them, maybe - whatever, it's a very effective way to change a strong habit, to direct attention to it, and to work on it with persistence.

30 Days to Success

Start the New Year With a 30 Day Trial
I find that I do best when I take time to prepare for about a week in advance. I immerse myself in the new habit I want to install by reading about it, thinking about it, and imagining what it will be like. I hold myself back from starting until I feel a strong internal pressure to begin. This helps me make it through the first several days with high enthusiasm, which helps a lot since the first week is usually the hardest.
30-Day Supertrials
Your level of self-discipline will have a strong impact on your self-esteem. The more disciplined you are, the more you can adopt positive habits and shed negative ones. Positive habits yield positive results, and positive results feel good. Feeling good gives you more energy, and that feeds into more positive actions, which in turn become positive habits.

30-day trials can be very challenging, but they’re also very effective. This is my #1 favorite tool for habit change.

Now in the past, I’ve cautioned people not to overdo it. Many people who are new to the concept of 30-day trials go kittywompus and try to install 5-10 new habits simultaneously. And almost without exception, they crash and burn. Usually they don’t even make it past Day 3.
It’s like trying to juggle too many balls at once. You end up dropping all of them. Zero results.

So I’ve advised people to stick with one 30-day trial at a time. One trial will be plenty challenging. And you can do 12 of these per year if you’d like. Even if you only succeed at half of them, that’s still a tremendous amount of improvement within a year.


SimpleGoals is a tool for the iPhone or iPod touch to easily and conveniently track your status or progress of reaching your habitual goal(s). Thought with this tool it is easy to track too many things you might want to change all at once and get frustrated by falling back and failing with too many "resolutions". As Steve Pavlina wrote above, it is much easier and effective to concentrate just on a single behavior and let the rest follow by itself (month after month:).