How Mindfulness and Buddhist Practices Can Improve Brain Function

About Buddhism

Buddhism is a religion to over 300 million people. The name comes from the word ‘budhi,’ meaning to awaken. Buddhist religion is unlike other contemporary religions in that, to many, it is more of a philosophy based on understanding and practice than a faith-based religion. Buddhism explains a purpose to this life and practices that lead to inner peace and happiness. In Buddhism, all “gods” are impermanent higher beings who are subject to rebirth. They are not creators or deities with absolute power. The Buddha was not a god, nor did he ever claim to be.

Who was Buddha?

The Buddha was Siddhartha Gotama, born into a royal family in what is now Nepal, in the year 563 BC. Before he turned 30, he came to accept that the wealth and luxury into which he was born would never guarantee him happiness, and so he left home to study different philosophies. After six years of diligent study and meditation, Buddha finally reached what he called ‘the middle path,’ or enlightenment. After finding enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism.

While the Buddha was not an absolute deity, this fact doesn’t stop Buddhists from keeping artistic depictions of him nearby. In fact, bronze sitting Buddha statues are popular and fundamental decorative pieces for bringing mindfulness and prosperity into any home. The bronze sitting Buddhist statue is considered good luck to all who rub his belly.

Main Beliefs of Buddhism

The main beliefs of Buddhism can be summed up with the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths say that life is suffering, suffering is caused by craving, suffering can be overcome to reach happiness and the only way to end suffering is through the Noble Eightfold Path. Following the Noble Eightfold Path means being moral, focusing on the mind and on full awareness of thoughts and actions, developing compassion for others and understanding the Four Noble Truths.

Buddhism in Western Society

Buddhism has become popular in western countries for several reasons. In practice, Buddhism encourages a deep understanding of the human mind. Psychologists and neuroscientists around the world are beginning to discover there are effective mental health benefits to Buddhist practices.

Meditation, a fundamental practice in Buddhism, is based on guided breathing to obtain mindfulness, the state of objective awareness of the present moment. Meditation helps with seeing bad thoughts and negative emotions such as jealousy, fear and disappointment in an objective way. When one meditates, one becomes able to separate the self from these negative thoughts, letting them pass without feeling connected to them. Meditation has been proven by neuroscientists to increase cognitive functions including focus, retention and happiness. Mindfulness is not an easy state to reach, however. It takes practice and discipline.


Three Essential Principles of Employer Branding

Employer branding is the process by which a company markets itself in order to attract desired prospective employees. It is, in a nutshell, marketing for human resources. For employers, investing in things like workplace culture, strong leadership and employee development are paramount to a business’ success, because these are the kinds of characteristics job seekers look for in a workplace.

What are the biggest factors that affect job seekers?

According to Bersin by Deloitte, the most important factors that affect job seekers are a company’s ratings on culture and values, career opportunities and confidence in senior leadership. While salary, benefits and work-life balance are still important factors to job seekers, it is these more nuanced components of a company that bear the most weight with prospective job seekers. After all, you can always make more money, but you can never get back the time wasted at a dead-end job.

Culture and Values

It is important to prospective job seekers that they work for a company in which they can take pride and with whom they can personally align themselves. Prospective employees want to work somewhere that has good workplace culture and practices values that are in line with their own. Many people don’t want to work for a company they feel has questionable ethics or immoral business practices, nor do they want to be associated with one.

Career Opportunities

Most people strive for a lifelong career, and so they look for companies that have many available career opportunities. Specifically, they look and see if current high-level employees at the company started out at lower level positions and worked their way up. Many people know a person who didn’t get that big promotion they were holding out for because their company decided on an outside hire. Prospective employees, therefore, consider hiring from within to be a moral business practice.

Confidence in Senior Leadership

Nobody enjoys working for a buffoon or a corrupt manager. When a company’s leaders are doing the right things and instilling confidence in their teams, those attitudes and successes trickle down to the lowest level employees.

Benefits to the business

Successful employer branding makes it easy for companies to hire quality employees, reduce employee turnover and increase profitability. Employer branding creates a good reputation, which can keep the business from regularly paying out thousands of dollars in missed funds, additional wages and employee turnover costs.

Remember, no amount of employer branding can compensate for unsavory or unethical business practices. Employer branding will yield the clearest benefits to a business when that business being branded already has a work culture that’s worth showing off.

A1A Homes Jobs Page Copy

This is digital marketing content I created for A1A Homes, an Australian real state company. 

Working at A1A Homes doesn’t have to be just a job. It can also be a positive support network. It can be an investment in your future. It can be a productive outlet for your creative instincts. It can be the foundation for a life you love to live. Check our job listings and contact us to learn more and see what we’re all about at A1A Homes. We are always looking to recruit new, talented office workers and tradesmen to the large and diverse A1A network.

Why work here?

The people: You have to see the same people each day at work. We know how stressful that can be if you work on a disjointed team. Come be a part of a supportive and inspiring network of professionals. We at A1A believe collaborative teamwork is the only way to maintain the standard of success to which we hold ourselves. We value our highly diverse and professional team of not only office workers and administrators, but also our irreplaceable network of tradesmen: plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, and more tradies that make the work we do possible.

Products: When you work at A1A, you don’t work alone. Instead, you integrate into a tight-knit network of creatives and workers, one in which clear communication, professionalism and commitment to producing results are valued above all else. By bringing together bright and results-driven minds belonging to people exhibiting all different kinds of strengths, we are able to yield innovative products that help our clients meet their needs and achieve their goals.

Culture: Workplace culture can be a very important factor when looking for a place to work. At A1A, we believe in fostering a productive, intellectual and, above all else, supportive workplace culture. In this industry, teamwork is the name of the game. As an A1A team member, good work and innovative ideas are always recognized and rewarded. We place high value on all employees who contribute something valuable to the team.

Benefits: What better place is there to invest in than in the team that makes our business succeed? As a part of the A1A team, you will be provided access to many beneficial services including (but not limited to) discounts and waivers for realtor fees, home loan approval fees and homeowner’s insurance, as well as sick days, maternity leave and competitive corporate rates for health insurance. Our employees are people, not workers, and we believe in treating them as such.

Development: Something we do well is investing in the growth and development of our team members. We love to express our gratitude for all that you do. We believe a paycheck isn’t always enough to properly show that gratitude. Our paid and unique employee training programs provide all employees with the necessary skills and training needed to become successfully integrated into the A1A family. Each year, we take a team-building retreat to a fun and surprise location, the activity of which changes every year. We love to keep you on your toes!

Fun: We know you have to come into work every day, so we try our best to make this a place you want to be, not a place you dread coming to. Each year, we create a fun calendar of spread-out, laid back social activities designed to boost team morale and foster a healthy balance between work life and out-of-work life. We believe that hard work is so very important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of fun and relaxation. We believe in balance, and that overworking can have detrimental effects on the team’s overall performance.

Spring Cleaning: Preparing for the Ritual

For many, spring is a time of rebirth; the simplest way to feel renewed is by cleaning the interior of your home. This way, we can mentally and physically transition our winter lethargy into a springtime energization. For some, however, carpet cleaning and spring cleaning can be intimidating. Where do I start? There’s so much to do! Don’t feel overwhelmed. Here’s some tips on getting started.

It might sound obvious, but begin with a plan. List out the rooms in your house; don’t forget the laundry room, closets and other small spaces you might normally overlook. Continue listing off your regular cleaning tasks before venturing outside the box to list some irregular chores you save for spring cleaning.

Take your time with this. Many people recommend a divide-and-conquer technique to tackling your home. Break down your list into manageable chunks. Where do you start? Start with wherever you feel needs the most cleaning.

Next, make sure you have all the supplies you need. Go back to your list and, from there, make a new list of all the supplies you’ll need. Go through your cleaning cabinets and compare. Before you begin cleaning, make sure to buy any supplies you don’t already have.

Try and repurpose some kitchen items, such as vinegar and baking soda, to create cleaning solutions. This can save you money if you already have these items in your home. Avoid paper towels; opt for microfiber cloths, instead.

To get into the right headspace, you might want to start with decluttering and organizing. With each item your pick up, ask yourself, ‘does this item enrich my life and serve a purpose?’ If not, put it aside into a bin for items you wish to sell or donate.

If you’re unsure about a place to start cleaning, why not start at the top? Begin with the ceilings and work downward. Dust and clean the ceilings, moldings and light fixtures first. Next, wipe down the walls, clean and scrub the windows (both sides), dust and sanitize framed pictures and art. Continue from there any way you see fit.

Our biggest piece of advice? Start early in the day. As they say, the early bird gets the worm. Pick a clear, sunny day, open your home’s blinds, put on some music or an audiobook, and get to work! Those harsh days at the tail end of winter are perfect for cleaning and preparing for warmer days to come. Best of luck!

5 Tips for Choosing a Heavy Equipment Transport Company

When shipping heavy loads across long distances, planning ahead and attention to detail are paramount to success. You must hire the right company who use the right equipment and assign a well-trained and attentive driver to transport the equipment. This requires a great deal of preparation and research. There are several steps to take to ensure potential issues do not arise and interrupt the already strenuous process of transporting heavy equipment.

Ask questions

Selecting the right heavy equipment haulers trucking company starts with asking questions. First of all, is this company reputable? How long has this company been in business? What’s its history with accidents like? (Hint: Use the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [FMCSA] website to conduct a background check on a company before you decide to hire them). Does this company have the right equipment I need for what I need to haul? Is that equipment I need available when I need it? Will they transport my heavy equipment to where I need it?

Make sure they’re insured

Most professional heavy equipment transport companies will do everything they can to ensure that accidents don’t happen, but there’s always a chance of something happening when you’re on the road. In case something happens, it’s vital that the heavy equipment transportation company you hire is insured against accidents at work.

Don’t forget to ask the right questions when considering this important factor in the heavy equipment transport preparation process. What does their insurance policy cover? Do they insure against accidents at work? Do they offer enough cargo insurance to cover your shipment? Choose a company that provides maximum coverage in the case of accidents.

Consider your options

Once you have a good idea of what companies are offering and at what price points, you can take a step back and compare the different offerings and determine what’s the best option for you and your needs.

Don’t forget to look at different packages and rates the movers provide. Many movers not only transport your equipment but also audit it, take it apart, package it safely and then put it back together. It’s in your best interest to get quotes from several different trucking companies, so you can best compare your options. Always be sure you’re getting the most for your money; being involved in every step of the planning process assures the most efficiency.

Take stock of your equipment

Before moving your equipment, you should always take careful stock of what you have and its current condition. You might even want to hire a field engineer to evaluate and inspect your machinery and file an official report on it. Whenever you entrust your heavy equipment in the hands of a trucking company, no matter their reputation, you should always take pictures of your equipment beforehand, just in case something happens. Having photographic evidence keeps the company liable in case of any damage done.

Make the hire

After carefully planning and preparing to transport your heavy equipment, the final step is, at last, hiring a professional heavy equipment haulers trucking company. This should only be done once all steps have been taken and all considerations have been taken. At this point in the process, you must have a complete understanding of how the transport will go and all related fees and timetables. Be sure that you submitted all necessary permits and documents.


Questions to Ask Before Shipping Your Car

Whether you’re buying a car online or moving to another state or country, it can be easier to hire a professional auto transport service to ship your car than it is to drive yourself. Before hiring a car shipping company to take your automobile somewhere far away, there are a few questions you should ask.

Do you offer free quotes? Make sure you get a free quote from all companies you are looking at, so you can compare their different prices. You should never be charged for a quote by a car shipping company — that is a red flag.

What is offered in your quote? Ask this before obtaining even a free quote from a vehicle transport company. You don’t want to waste your time by seeking out a claim, only for it to be vague and not helpful to you. Before you sign an agreement with a car shipping company, you need an itemized list of all the expected charges up front, as well as any mid-transport charges. The quote should end by telling you where the car will be dropped off.

How do you determine these rates? Don’t just sign without really reading the quote and understanding where the charges come from. All vehicle transport companies are going to give you different quotes, but they determine their price rates from the same criteria: distance, vehicle type and transportation method. The farther away your car needs to be shipped, the higher your rates will be. Door-to-door shipping will be costlier than if you were to drop off and pick up your automobile at a terminal. Typically, delivery to urban or densely populated areas costs less than delivery to a rural region. Larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs typically cost more to ship than sports cars. You might have to pay more, depending on the kind of trailer used to ship your vehicle. An enclosed trailer, for example, would protect your vehicle better than an open-air trailer, but it would incur a greater fee as well.

What kinds of insurance coverages do you offer? You remember what they say about when you assume? Do not just assume your regular insurance policy will cover any damages done during transport; it won’t. Your personal insurance policy only covers your vehicle when it is being driven or parked, not shipped. The FMCSA requires car shipping companies to provide you with minimal coverage, but depending on the size of your vehicle, this could not be sufficient. Ask about the extend of their standard coverage, as well as anything that isn’t covered by the standard coverage, for which you may need to purchase additional coverage.

Are you licensed and registered? Any legitimate car shipping company operating across state lines is, by law, required to register for a US DOT number by the FMCSA. Companies that operate overseas are required to be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission. Ensure a company meets all license requirements before hiring them to transport your vehicle.

Before committing to shipping your car, you should ask these questions (and any more you can think of) to all vehicle transport companies you’re looking at, in order to compare and get the best quote for yourself.

The Journey to Authenticate Pablo Picasso’s “Don Quixote de la Mancha”

Pablo Picasso is most famous for co-founding the Cubist art movement of the 20th century, but his work can be categorized into many different periods throughout his long life. His style was constantly growing and developing through his 91 years, most of which he spent living in France.

His famed work “Don Quixote de la Mancha” was given widespread recognition when it was published on the cover of a French magazine celebrating the 350th anniversary of the novel of the same name. The drawing on the magazine cover looked uncharacteristic of Picasso’s previous works, much like a doodle, put together from a series of scratchy black lines to recreate a classic literary scene.

This work seems simple enough – a drawing of two famous characters – but it actually has a long, contested history to it. Did Picasso paint the original in 1947, or did he draw the original in 1955? Let’s take a closer look.