Mindfulness for Beginners—Jon Kabat Zinn Page 27—The Beauty of Discipline

To cultivate mindfulness really does involve and call out of us a certain constancy of motivation and purpose in the face of all sorts of energies in our lives, some from inside ourselves and some from outside, that dissipate our awareness by perpetually distracting us and diverting us from our intentions and purpose.  The discipline I am referring to is really the willingness to bring the spaciousness and clarity of awareness back over and over again to whatever is going on—even as we feel we are being pulled in a thousand different directions.

Just taking this kind of stance toward our own experience, without trying to fix or change anything at all, is an act of generosity toward oneself, an act of intelligence, an act of kindness.

The word discipline comes from disciple, someone who is in a position to learn. So when we bring a certain discipline to the cultivation of mindfulness and are aware of how challenging it is to bring a sustained attending to any aspect of our lives, we are actually creating the conditions for learning something fundamental from life itself.  Then life becomes the meditation practice and the meditation teacher, and whatever happens in any moment is simply the curriculum of that movement.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Rhetoric has already had an impact on currencies in a big way

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Targeting companies or entire nations on Twitter is an unprecedented and controversial method of communication for a President-elect – but one can’t argue with its effectiveness so far.

In today’s chart, we take a look at Donald Trump’s rather unconventional form of “monetary policy”, and how it has potentially influenced the U.S. dollar and five other major currencies since his election in November.

Ready, Aim, Tweet

A preview of President-elect Trump’s “America First” directive can already be seen on Twitter.

Trump’s infamous account, which is followed by 18.8 million people, is being used every day to highlight the potential winners and losers of future policies.

And markets are listening.

Currency % Change (vs. USD)
Russian Ruble 7.7%
Canadian Dollar 0.4%
Chinese Yuan -1.5%
Euro -5.0%
Mexican Peso -13.4%

The above table shows change in the value of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar between November 7th, 2016 and today. To be fair, it is worth noting that oil prices have also rallied over this time, and oil also has a pronounced effect on some currencies.

Individual Cases

Central to “America First” is a Trump-branded form of protectionism, which aims to keep jobs and dollars in the U.S at all costs. The President-elect has repeatedly blasted China for currency manipulation, as well as automotive companies which seek to produce cars in Mexico.

China, as one of the world’s major economic powers, has some leeway in any war of words with Trump. While the country sends 18% of its exports to the United States, it could also theoretically benefit economically with the U.S. taking a step back from foreign entanglements. China also holds $1.12 trillion of U.S. treasuries, which gives it some additional leverage.

On the other hand, Mexico has a lot more to worry about. The country sends 80.3% of its exports north of the border and could conceivably lose significant amounts of business if NAFTA is scrapped and tariffs are re-introduced. As a result, even with oil’s gains over the last two months, the peso has dropped -13.4% in value since Trump’s election in November.

An Unlikely Friend

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Trump has been making moves to warm up relations with Russia – a protectionist country that isn’t really a “threat” to U.S. jobs.

Russia, which has been on Trump’s “good side” so far, has had its ruble trade 7.7% higher since the election. These gains partially reflect the future easing of sanctions that were put in place after Moscow’s aggression toward Ukraine in 2014.

Bernie Sanders, at an address at Georgetown University. 11.19.15

To my mind, it is clear that the United States must pursue policies to destroy the brutal and barbaric ISIS regime, and to create conditions that prevent fanatical extremist ideologies from flourishing. But we cannot – and should not – do it alone.

Our response must begin with an understanding of past mistakes and missteps in our previous approaches to foreign policy. It begins with the acknowledgment that unilateral military action should be a last resort, not a first resort, and that ill-conceived military decisions, such as the invasion of Iraq, can wreak far-reaching devastation and destabilize entire regions for decades. It begins with the reflection that the failed policy decisions of the past – rushing to war, regime change in Iraq, or toppling Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, or Guatemalan President Árbenz in 1954, Brazilian President Goulart in 1964, Chilean President Allende in 1973. These are the sorts of policies do not work, do not make us safer, and must not be repeated.