What is meditation? For thousands of years, human beings have practiced refined techniques of mental focusing, designed to change the habitual conditioning of the mind. Central to many spiritual and philosophical traditions and known in English as "meditation," these practices are considered a major means for enhanced awareness and self-mastery.
Great literature can be the means of understanding as well as creating our world—by teaching and reinforcing society's laws, articulating its values, and enforcing the social contracts that unite us as a culture. What if literature itself generated our ideas and feelings about justice, marriage and family, property, authority, race, or gender? What if it enflamed our determination to pursue justice—or, conversely, undermined our ability to detect injustice?
You can learn about the stock market in many ways. But most people cannot afford to learn the wrong way—by making expensive mistakes. The stock market is a way for anyone to own the valuable assets of a company and, as investments, stocks historically have offered a good chance for long-term gains. If you own a well-diversified portfolio of individual stocks or stock funds, your wealth tends to grow when the economy grows. But too many investors succumb to the high-risk pursuit of beating the market by trying to pick winners, predict price trends, or otherwise find opportunities that other investors have missed.
The teaching of algebra in most of today’s classrooms is not significantly different from what it was 50 years ago. Certainly, there have been some attempts to change algebra instruction, such as the "new math" reform movement of the 1960s. But the changes that persist in today’s algebra curricula, as a result of that movement, are more superficial than substantial.
Algebra II is the fork in the road. Those who succeed in this second part of the algebra sequence are well on their way to precalculus, calculus, and higher mathematics, which open the door to careers in science, engineering, medicine, economics, information technology, and many other fields. And since algebraic thinking is found in almost every sphere of modern life, a thorough grounding in this abstract discipline is essential for many nontechnical careers as well, from law to business to graphic arts.
Talk is something you do every day. And your life is literally shaped by it. Many of the decisions you make are decided by talking. You may be in a restaurant asking a waiter for an unusual substitution, urging a service manager to get your car finished sooner rather than later, or trying to sway your significant other toward a particular film or show. Or you might be trying to build more cooperative relationships at the office.
With its up to 500 trillion synaptic connections, your brain is easily the most powerful machine in the world. These connections are what create your thoughts, what drive your emotions, and what control your behaviors. Even more incredibly: This amazing machine is constantly changing through a process known as brain plasticity. And you can take advantage of this process to improve and enhance your brain's jaw-dropping powers—at any age.
Quick: What's 25 × 45? How about 742 × 300? Or 4821 ÷ 9? Most of us, when faced with math problems like these, immediately reach for a calculator or a pen. But imagine if you could perform these and other seemingly difficult—but surprisingly easy—calculations right in your head. Seems like an impossible feat? It's not.