Thursday, September 29, 2011

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"_Mr. Acker Bilk on clarinet

This is a great song. Mr. Acker Bilk is one of the great instrumentalists of all time, and Acker was my clarinet mentor/hero from very young. I play clarinet.
Click on:

James Last_"I Just Called to Say I Love You":
When Ronald Reagan was President of the U.S., there was a sense of 'depression' at the White House. Psychologists of the workplace were called in from the field of Organizational Behaviour. Changes were made, including playing this Stevie Wonder song every 15 mins. on the Muzak system. It worked, as later evaluation/psychological tests showed. Have you ever thought about your own workplace, 'home', play area, and how you may be able to live more optimally in these 'spaces'? Stevie should be in the Mental Health Hall of Fame.
James Last is perhaps one of the best Orchestras of popular music in the 20th century. This is a great rendition of the song, with same drums roll in the background, on James Last's 80th birthday, and on his album, "80 Not Out" (a reference to cricket).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Requiem for all Catastrophe victims in Japan" - and for Yumi & Hiromi - sung by Mozartiikodesu Tatsu

This is for all victims in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami off the coast of north-east Japan, and victims of 'natural disasters' all over the world. And for my friends, Yumi & Hiromi. The song is about "tabidachi" - (new beginning, start a journey, and 'go to heaven'), and it is about cherry ("sakura") blossoms in the spring that last only for a few days, and so symbolic in Japanese culture, and in the aftermath of Hiroshima.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Presentation to WANGO Online Conference, 8-9 June, 2010, "Mental Health & Diversity for NGOs"
WANGO is the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations. This was the first online conference with participants from NGOs world-wide.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

With the introduction of electronic media & expansion of the internet world-wide, one side effect has been too much verbiage, not well-thought-out. If one attempts to be succinct, it is viewed as having no depth. The more unintelligible a piece of writing, the more it is considered profound.
This is an effort on my part to be intelligible and communicate to people of all walks of life. Residing at the crossroads of national & international conflict and at a 'critical juncture in history', I also have a point of view that I believe is unique & exciting for those who have studied the subject matter and understand it deeply.
Albert Einstein once remarked that 'if you cannot explain it simply, you do not know it enough'. Some of the best theories that have had enormous impact are relatively simple, like Abraham Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs', used so widely in the training of teachers and in business. My theory is relatively simple: with social psychology as the underpinning, I can go very wide; with general systems theory as the 'structure', I have the ability to be very focused & rigorous. The 'theory' is not presented in the blog yet.
This blog is about ‘mental health’ and ‘diversity on the planet’, and not only about coming to terms with religious differences. There are many minute and acute other differences among peoples and living organisms. Do not exaggerate religious differences and neglect other ‘world-views’, differing ‘visions’ of 'collective destiny', or ‘grievances’ (real and imagined) as sources of conflict.
Essentially, mental wellbeing is about being congruent with oneself and one’s environment and working and playing at ‘optimal level’: some of the aspects of this are ‘beliefs systems, the emotional elements of these over the years since childhood and how they play a role in our lives, our 'world-views' in a changing world, the dynamics of internal conflict (conflict within oneself) and with the outside world, including parents, peers, school, workplace, other communities & one's own, etc..
It is about 'learning efficiencies' in school and life-long learning and efficiences in the global workplace. It is also about 'quality of life'. These areas are neglected in curriculum planning in educational institutions and continuing education and training on the factory floor.
All of the above impinge on our prospects of success in our lives, individually and collectively, and how we define and assess it.
In the past, in Christian tradition, there was something that was called ‘pastoral counseling’. It was an area whereby Christians went to their parish priest for ‘advice’ about their life challenges, and it was partly viewed from a religious perspective. With the growth of the fields of ‘psychology’ and ‘psychiatry’, parish priests lost much of their influence in the area of counseling.
In recent years, it is being recognized that humanity has made great advances in the sciences and producing things, but there have been very little advances in philosophy and understanding of the spiritual side of life.
Even in the area of medicine, it is becoming clear in recent years that ‘religion’ & the 'spiritual life' impact on the success of therapeutic interventions, and universities are beginning to include religion-related courses in their curriculums in medical school.
The Templeton Foundation (Sir Charles Templeton) gives out prizes akin to the Nobel prize to anyone who has made great contributions in the field of religion and philosophy, and also funds any university if it includes ‘religion-related’ courses in its medical faculties.
In the study of understanding of the universe and religion, there are some theorists who are building 'cosmologies' that encompass all religions and our collective understanding of Supreme Being. Teilhard de Chardin is one, from my own tradition, who wrote in the 1920s and is a modern pioneer in this area. It is a big and growing field of study.
With this blog the focus is on what commonalities exist in ‘sacred texts’ of various religions, areas of common understanding, and alleviation of human suffering caused by religious and political conflict. Sacred texts are the inspired word of God; they are not open to compromises for the sake of peace among humans who believe passionately in a variety of sacred texts that came into existence in different ways.
It is also about mental wellbeing, getting control of our focus and world-view while being sensitive to the needs and beliefs of others. We all do have fundamental human rights, and no power on earth has the right to violate these. They routinely do so, having monopolies on security interests and on economic power, and claim legitimacies in this regard.
I hope the materials and focus of this blog will be useful to many. It is dedicated to someone, a ‘soul-mate’, who gave me the impetus in a 'fork-in-the-road' type of emotional episode to go back into the proverbial ‘woods’ and collect and reorganize my thoughts and past work, and review in a fresh way ‘events’ and ‘relationships’ as we begin the 21st century. For that I am really very grateful.
Do go back into 'the woods', review 'your life' & what you want from it, stay focused, and make time to smell the roses. My one real regret is that I was too driven to do so, living as I was, it seems, in the vortex of conflict and continual challenges.
- Good Luck with it, and God bless !
- Ivan Diego.
"Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - Anonymous

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mental Health & Diversity Course:

The course outline below is in rudimentary form. The actual course is 4 pages with a reading list for each unit.

It is a university level course, but parts of it can be used in workshop format at high school or NGO or volunteer organization level.

The web site list on this website only includes web sites that have all religions in one place. They are very comprehensive, though choices have been made by the websites themselves regarding what to include and not include. Many religious communities have excellent web sites, with audio and video content. Some of the non-reference websites make periodic changes, and a couple have been 'sold' and content changed. I have left one or two in, just in case the old one reappears with a new link. If a website does not open when you click on it, eliminate the 'http://' and start only with the 'www.' . This seems to open them.

There is a small list of mental health web sites. The web has thousands of mental health web sites. My interest is to focus on quality of life issues and efficiencies in the life-long learning process and the global workplace. There are issues of the interconnectedness of mental health and physical health. I am not going there, directly, but attention is being drawn here that it is also critical to optimal health and living, and some leads will be provided in the web site list. It is not part of the course. I took courses with a yoga instructor/master, and he is a friend of mine. He has for decades provided bibliographic lists of medical research showing the direct benefits of yoga and meditation to physical health and over-all well-being over time.

I have specialized in this interdisciplinary area for very many years. Practically nobody in the literatures in social science and medical science brings together such a wide field, theoretically & practically, for understanding the issues & problem-solving. It is 'meta-theory', and open to further research as we connect the dots & make a diference in quality of life, conflict resolution, and the environment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


  1. THEORETICAL ISSUES: - Systems theory, methodology, applied science.

  1. MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN THE 21ST CENTURY: - belief systems, emotional aspects, conflict, conflict resolution, interdependence.

  1. DIVERSITY/MULTICULTURALISM IN CURRICULUMS & GLOBAL WORKPLACE: - what we mean by diversity, concept of multiculturalism as a response, interfaith understanding as a response, minority rights in traditional political theory, new vistas for 21st century and beyond.

  1. WHY A MENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVE TO DIVERSITY ON OUR PLANET: - various perspectives and their consequences. - The mental health/diversity model and its implications for International Law, Human Rights, Citizenship Rights, building of ‘Community’. - Emerging ‘code of ethics’.

  1. APPLIED SCIENCE: - the application to ‘planning’, (national and international), policy formulation, & ‘every-day living’. - The nexus with other fields that are growing in an ‘interdisciplinary’ environment – the real world of ‘living’.

  1. CASE STUDIES: - Student presentations.

  1. CONCLUSIONS: - Summary & Overview.

EVALUATION: - Presentation (25 %), and term paper (70%), Attendance (5%). No exam.

COURSE MATERIALS: All course materials will be available online via a ‘blog’ created for the purpose. The materials will be put in sections in sequence as related to the course

The blog will also be used as a place for discussion outside of class time. Some reading material will be mandatory, and other information will be for further reading with sources for research purposes.

Details for discussion in Mental Health & Diversity Course

Details for discussion in Course:

  1. theoretical issues: - what is systems theory? - What methodologies are relevant? - What is applied science? - What are the practical applications to real life?
  2. mental health issues relating to the individual, and community level in relation to larger entities & movements, in the context of the emergence of new ideologies, ideas, challenges, and value systems.

  1. re. ‘diversity’, the assumption in this course is that our world is made up of very diverse cultures, languages, races, ethnic communities, other life forms, and that our environment has finite resources, and a plentitude of ideas.

To ‘assimilate’, over-run, marginalize, obliterate or cripple other human beings and life forms on the planet are a crime against humanity and other life forms on the planet.

Therefore, it makes sense to develop theory& skills, and to foster a ‘way of life’ and an approach to problem solving (which ‘democracy’ is, in a sense, fundamentally) that foster & respect diversity on our planet.

If ‘diversity’ is a ‘given, then, a fundamental and intrinsic characteristic of life on our planet, we will examine the various responses to diversity, historically in ‘colonial times’ (when more than 75 % of the world’s population lived in one colony or another, and in the post-independence societies that have emerged since about 1945, coinciding more or less with the end of World war 11.

Multiculturalism is one such response that recognizes ‘diversity’.

Discussion will include questions re. why there has been ‘controversy’ and strong feelings re. this, some of the challenges in practice, etc..

Interfaith dialogue and understanding is another response that is in process of being institutionalized in the United Nations system.

  1. A mental health perspective to diversity & sustainable or eco-friendly development will be put in context of the above, with some of the theoretical underpinnings that the theory and approach would take.

  1. why ‘applied science’ is extremely important, as it relates to what is really going on in people’s lives. Some of the ‘relatedness’ to other ‘movements’ and life-style changes that are going in other fields.

The challenges of viewing policy formulation ‘holistically’, because of mind-sets in various professions, and the difficulties of keeping up with more knowledge about less, with the bigger picture losing focus.

  1. Cases studies could be ‘theoretical explorations or reviews, or actual case studies, depending on what ‘data’ is available for them. This will be reviewed prior to choice.

  1. Summing Up - Somerset Maugham style !

Discussion Details for Diversity Course

(prepared by Ivan D. Pereira).
Short list for beginners with simple & practical strategies:
- under construction. For now check: - good start to varous faiths, religious practices, baby names in different religions, marriage rituals, etc., & interfaith issues. Practical articles. Browse, and check the internal search engine. - Click on "Health Information & Promotion" on the top bar, then click on "Stress Management". Click the back button, then 'Links', or other topics. Browse. If the website does not open, google 'Concordia University Health Services'. Make sure the website has '.ca' as there are Concordia Universities in other countries.
Larger issues of identity formation, world-view, etc., are not included on the Concordia website, as they are more complex, collecticely and individually, and these relate to larger issues of 'health', conflict resolution, common goals, and how does one create feelings of 'community'.
REFERENCE: -very comprehensive. - sacred texts of world religions
- list of religious websites, has info and tools for religious ceremonies, religious music, baby names in various faith communities, etc..
- considered definitive, info and data of world religions.
interfaith, has some 43,870 statistics and citations re. 4,200 religions.
university website with comprehensive philosophy and theology texts.
- Excellent comprehensive resources of most major religions in the world, bibliographies, organizations, reference materials, go to its ‘religion online library’. (some recommended websites require fees or registration).
- U. of Minnesota Human Rights library. Most Comprehensive.
Excellent resources on South America. Good links.
Online South American collection of the University of Texas. Comprehensive.
In 'social science theory', we tend to get overwhelmed with 'abstractions'. This blog of Agustin Palacios is the 'existential' manifestation of real life in progress, about the struggle on the ground for freedom, dignity, and equality, in the life of one person & of a 'world-view'. The title of the blog is: 'I exist. Aqui. Contigo'. Agustin is gifted.
Newly created digital library for the European Union.
Some of the tradtional wisdom and links to the traditional chiefs lecture series (Original peoples of North America) can be found on this website (National Museum of the american Indians).
- Canadian - Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, formerly of Canadian Catholic Bishops. .
- American, interfaith, topical, faith experiences of young people, etc..Excellent.
- bills itself as ‘building trust across the world’s divides’. Has 2005 lectures (text & audio) of Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
-very good and comprehensive resources on various topics of mental health.
It includes links to other excellent mental health websites.
-U.S. National Library of Medicine. It includes e-learning courses online (free).
-extensive resources on health in general and good links to other websites,
from University of Emory.
-excellent Canadian website for workplace issues.
-the site includes leasson plans on health issues for K to Grade 12.
-check the table of contents related to health issues of teens by this
award-winning public broadcasting service in Vermont, US. Includes videos.
-Columbia University's award-winning "Alice! Health Care Program", in the format of Questions and Answers (Q & A) for students and visitors to the website. Answers given by health educators and health care professionals.
-emotive (emotional) intelligence for business, education, and personal development. It deals with individual & organizational change & includes books and courses (not free). Useful information.
-excellent for health, weight control, nutrition tips, etc..
-website of author, John F. Murray, on 'mental equipment' among tennis professionals. The 'principles' can be extrapolated to (used in) life in general, regarding goal setting, focusing, mental preparation, etc.. Toolkit_for_managers_mental_health
-booklet of the Conference Board of Canada. Very useful tool for managers.
- tips on meditation, has a meditation room. You can create your own corner in your home. There are known health benefits.
-based on medical questionnaire online, the website projects your 'life expectancy'. This can be 'reversed', of course, with a more healthy life style, and you can live 'longer' and healthier. Also, check,
-Rumour had it that Abraham lived to 800 years, as per 'hyperbole' of the day.
- website of Government of Canada for teachers, parents, & students. Click on ‘partners’ on top bar, then ‘your Province’. Click ‘Resources’. Possibly because of change in webmaster, this sometimes does not open up. Google 'School Net' and you will find many school curriculums from different parts of the world. Global SchoolNet Foundation - African proverbs. Excellent. - excellent, games and educational stuff. Gets redirected often. - The Torture Question: in fighting the war on terror, how far should the Unites States be willing to go to protect itself? Video available online, Teacher’s Guide & links.
YOGA: - all definitive with links.

- *** linking journalists to religious sources. (links to
- website of the Religion Newswriters Association.
- very elaborate. Has links to many topics & current issues, and original complete texts of theologians, documents, etc...Excellent for research.
- ‘selection of daily headlines with news about faith, values, and religion’.
- Centre for Faith and the Media. E-zine, INFO re. conferences. - the Arab version of CNN, based in Qatar. English version for U.S.
Religion and 911 in America:
American religious website re. various issues about 9/11.
Vietnam War and 911:
- Rutgers University, some restricted access, available to professors & students.
Click on 'Search Rutgers', then type in 'Vietnam'.
Texas Tech's ietnam Center & Archive.
This is the website of Kim Phuc, 'the girl in the picture', from 1972, napalmed along with other children by an air strike, a photo that changed the world-view of the war forever.
If it does not open, google "Kim Foundation" or "Kim Phuc Foundation".
This is the website of the Venerable Buddhist monk from Vietnam war years, Thrich Nhat Hahn, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. Do click on 'Practices' on the top bar, and read these in the left column, about stress, meditation, etc., with very simple suggestions to improve life's awareness & quality of life. If it does not open, google "Plum Village". He also has useful material at: where he wrote 'an open letter to Osama Bin Laden', re. the ethical issues of the attack on the 'twin towers' in New York, stating at the outset Bin Laden was 'not guilty' until convicted in a court of law. Bin Laden subsequently claimed, with some bravado, that he ordered the attacks. This fascinating article on the ethics of the choice to use violence to resolve a grievance may still be in the Archives.
This is a little book by Herman Hesse, the Nobel Prize winning author from Germany.
Written in 1926, he explains in a simple, beautiful language the journey of Siddhartha, as he explores suffering and pain, self-denial, joy, and meaning of life. Obviously, we can learn, too, from our Buddhist brothers and sisters how to endure and live. Great book.
Alternate view of 911: - compelling video with interviews of inconsistencies in ‘official’ analysis of why the Towers fell, etc.
SECURITY ISSUES: Digital National Security Archive - US. To access complete articles may need university library membership. Comprehensive. The National Security Archive of George Washington University. Excellent. Click on FOIA on top bar for Freedom of Information Act, and how to make requests under FOIA.
- counterterrorism & security issues.
(On Lebanon, civil war, 1975-1991).
- issues about East Timor, human rights abuses, etc.. - re. modern struggles of Lebanon.
- on ‘Shattered Christian Minorities of the Middle East’. - military ‘blogs’ from 28 countries giving bird’s eye view of relevant issues of bloggers.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: - the new International Criminal Court. Various states have chosen not to sign it. Others, like UK, have chosen to bring their own laws in accordance so that their soldiers will be tried in domestic courts. U.N. Security Council United Nations website 61st session of UN General Assembly (2006)

- light a virtual candle for your loved ones, and lives lost in war or conflict.
Website with resources about grief and loss. Click on 'tools' on top bar, and light a candle for a loved one who has passed away, or suffered 'injuries' in war or in peace time.
- it has many links for ‘activists’.
- articles on how to write press releases, etc..
E-CARDS: - beautiful e-cards. - faith & interfaith section for e-cards.
‘Interview with God’ & ‘Moments with God’.
In several languages. Reflective, Non-denominational.
- a companion to the weekly television news program.
- Has beautiful monthly ‘- inter-faith calendar.