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GPS For The Soul: A Killer App For Better Living

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    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 16, 2012
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      *GPS FOR THE SOUL: A KILLER APP FOR BETTER LIVING*
      By Arianna Huffington
      Huffington Post
      April 16, 2012

      http://nhne-pulse.org/gps-for-the-soul-a-killer-app-for-better-living/

      Original Link
      <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/gps-for-the-soul_b_1427290.html>

      Just over two years ago, on March 16, 2010, to be precise, I spoke at a
      conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Internet
      designation ".com." The panel I was on was asked to "gaze into the
      crystal ball" and predict what the game-changing inventions would be
      during the next 25 years of the Internet. One of mine was less of a
      prediction than a hope -- that one day someone would create an app that
      would gauge the state of your mind, body, and spirit, then automatically
      offer the exact steps you would need to take to realign all three
      aspects of your being.

      At the time, I was just thinking out loud. But after the event, as I
      continued to write and speak about the idea, the response I got from
      others who shared my sense of urgency about this need was incredible. At
      some point I realized: Hey, I'm surrounded by dozens of engineers and
      coders and brilliant, creative people, so why can't my fantasy become a
      reality? And, in fact, it's about to.

      I'm delighted to announce that HuffPost, along with a great team of
      partners, is at work on an app we call "GPS for the Soul," projected to
      launch in June. The philosophy behind it is based on two truths about
      human beings. First, that we all have within us a centered place of
      wisdom, harmony, and balance. This truth is embraced by a vast range of
      the world's religions ("The Kingdom of Heaven is within") and
      philosophies. And whether or not we believe in the existence of the
      soul, we've all experienced times in which we're fully connected with
      ourselves. "Give me a place to stand and I will move the world," said
      the Greek mathematician Archimedes. It's a great way of saying that when
      we come from that centered place within ourselves, nothing is
      impossible. The second truth is that we're all going to veer away from
      that place, again and again and again. That's the nature of life. In
      fact, we may be off-course more often than we are on-course.

      So what we need is a great course-correcting mechanism -- a GPS for the
      Soul -- because otherwise the consequences can be serious, in terms of
      our health, our relationships, our jobs, and even our country. We have
      no shortage of examples of smart leaders making terrible decisions. It's
      not from lack of I.Q., but lack of wisdom. The faster we can
      course-correct, the fewer negative consequences there will be.

      Plotinus, another philosopher (this time Roman, not Greek), said that
      "knowledge has three degrees -- opinion, science, illumination." The
      first, he wrote, we get from sense, the second from dialectic, and the
      third, illumination, comes from intuition. The hyper-connectedness
      allowed -- actually, demanded -- by the Internet, which has made the
      first two types of knowledge very easy to come by, has also taken us
      further away from that illumination, or wisdom, or intuition, or
      whatever you want to call it that is so essential to living a fulfilling
      and meaningful life.

      The Internet and the rise of social media have, of course, given us
      amazing tools to connect, and to effect change in ways large and small.
      At the same time, there's a snake lurking in this cyber Garden of Eden.
      Our 24/7 connection to the digital world often disconnects us from the
      real world around us -- from our physical surroundings, from our loved
      ones, and especially from ourselves. ??We see the effects of this in
      every aspect of our lives.

      Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Ndubuisi Ekekwe, founder of the
      non-profit African Institution of Technology, notes how
      over-connectedness is actually bad for the bottom line. "We're also
      jeopardizing long-term productivity by eliminating predictable time off
      that ensures balance in our lives," he writes. Ekekwe also points to
      Professor Leslie Perlow, author of the forthcoming Sleeping with Your
      Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work.
      Perlow presents research showing how deliberately disconnecting from
      their digital devices led to people feeling more satisfied in their jobs
      and their lives.

      And then there is "Freedom <http://macfreedom.com/>," the popular app
      that allows users to cut off their online access for a specified amount
      of time. The app has had over 300,000 users so far. "I'm much more
      relaxed, and I get a lot more done," says founder Fred Stutzman.

      In my own life, the problem was brought home in a very concrete way
      when, after a period of years of over-work and over-connectedness, I
      passed out. I broke my cheekbone and got five stitches over my eye --
      and a new urgency about learning to disconnect.

      Of course, I realize there's a paradox in the idea that, of all things,
      an app can help free us from our hyper-connected lives. But as "Freedom"
      shows, the solution to the problems created by technology isn't
      anti-technology, but more and better technology.

      Here's how our new app will work: when you tap your phone's sensor, GPS
      for the Soul will provide you with several measures of your current
      stress levels, including your heart rate and heart rate variability.
      (Subsequent releases will provide even more information.) It will then
      connect you to whatever you need to get to a place of balance. It might
      be music, or poetry, or breathing exercises, or photos of a person or
      place you love -- or a combination of all of these.

      Since no one knows better than you what helps you de-stress and tap into
      that place of peace inside yourself, you'll be able to personalize the
      app's feedback you receive, programming the app to send you just what
      you need to course-correct. Personally, I'll be programming mine to send
      me meditation instructions, photos of my daughters, my favorite moments
      from Mozart's "Magic Flute," etc. etc. And on my app's home screen will
      be this beautiful photo by Gordon Parks, a copy of which is also hanging
      in my bedroom.

      HuffPost is partnering with a group of top-shelf innovators to bring GPS
      for the Soul to life. Leading the app's development is bLife, a mobile
      developer dedicated to using science to help people lead happier and
      healthier lives. And HeartMath -- a leader in leveraging cutting-edge
      technology to improve health, well-being and consciousness -- is
      designing the foundational technology, including the app's sensors.

      Starting today, and continuing as we lead up to the launch of the app,
      we're featuring stories on HuffPost that reinforce GPS for the Soul's
      themes. Russell Bishop, GPS for the Soul's editorial director,shares his
      tips
      <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russell-bishop/gps-soul_b_1427114.html>on
      how to find "that oasis of peace" that's in all of us. We're also
      featuring HuffPost bloggers weighing in on a range of subjects related
      to GPS for the Soul. There's designer Tory Burch onthe art of sleeping
      <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tory-burch/sleep-tips_b_1424155.html>;
      psychotherapist Ira Israel on ways we can better and moreauthentically
      communicate with each other
      <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ira-israel/life-tips_b_1420848.html>(and
      how disconnecting from social media can help); and wellness coach Laura
      Norman asks, "Is stress a choice?
      <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-norman/reflexology_b_1421211.html>"
      There's alsoa slideshow
      <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/stress-awareness-day-relaxation-benefits_n_1424820.html>on
      the health benefits of relaxing.

      So please join me in celebrating the launch of GPS for the Soul, which I
      hope will be just the beginning of a journey to reconnect with our
      creativity, our intuition, our wisdom -- and ourselves.


      ----------------

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      Published by David Sunfellow
      NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE)
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