Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

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Jan 14, 2015

Could meditating as a cure for insomnia backfire?

Sleeping BuddhaWhen I find myself awake in the middle of the night, perhaps after a trip to the bathroom or a weird dream, I often practice some kind of meditation to quiet my over-active mind. I’ll usually pay attention to my breathing, or do a body scan, and most times this will help me calm down and nod off.

But could meditating in the middle of the night create its own problems? Someone asked me whether this practice could either lead to us developing the habit of falling asleep during meditation, or keep us awake because mindfulness is so associated with alert attention that we can’t fall asleep.

I don’t think the first …

Jan 12, 2015

Creating a natural anti-depressant brain?

uncovering-happinessI haven’t read the book I’m about to introduce, but I’m familiar with the author and the advance information about it makes it sound interesting.

Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion is written by psychologist and bestselling author Elisha Goldstein, PhD. It shows us the science of natural anti-depressants and gives us the practices to unlock them, building new neural structures to uncover genuine happiness.

Hardcover: Barnes & Noble, Book Passage,

Jan 09, 2015

How to stop beating yourself up (and practice self-compassion instead)

Here’s a video I recorded for En*Theos Academy last year.

It’s on the crucial topic of how to develop self-compassion, and I offer a step-by-step guide to the basic skills of doing this.

En*Theos have kindly made the video available for general use.

I hope it’s helpful!

(View on Youtube)

Dec 27, 2014

Finding the Sacred Balance: One more push!

SACRED BALANCEAs 2014 draws to a close, our Finding the Sacred Balance fundraiser is now over 90% funded! We now have just over $1,000 left to raise in order to break even by the end of the year. We’d like to thank the more than 200 people who have already donated!

Please consider financially supporting us in our efforts to promote meditation, by giving whatever you can afford.

  • If you want to use a credit card, you can click here, enter the amount you want to donate, and then click on “add to cart.”
  • If you have a Paypal account, you can click here and enter your chosen donation.
  • And lastly,

Dec 23, 2014

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” — St. Julian of Norwich

julianThis was revealed to St. Julian by Jesus in a vision, and recorded by her in her Revelations of Divine Love: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” These words have been of great comfort to me in times of stress and anxiety.

Meditation practice can reduce, but doesn’t erase, anxiety. In fact meditating makes us more sensitive to what’s going on within us, both emotionally and physically. When we meditate we feel more. Meditating can also lead to us being more present with those feelings, so rather than than avoid or bury them we experience them full-on. In these ways, meditation …

Dec 22, 2014

“But right now … right now”

te' versato in tazza ceramica biancaYou know the standard advice: when you notice during meditation that the mind has been caught up in thinking rather than with paying attention to your present-moment experience, just let go of the thoughts, without judgement, and just come back to the object of the meditation practice. And do that over and over.

But sometimes the thoughts are very persistent, especially if there’s something that’s preoccupying you emotionally. If you’ve been involved in an unresolved conflict, or have unfinished business, or if you’re looking forward to some big event, then it’s natural that your mind is going to turn to that over and over.

Over the years I’ve found …

Dec 20, 2014

The holographic dinosaur; or, How fear is an illusion

Velociraptor

You’re walking down a busy shopping street, and you hear panicked screaming. You turn to see what the fuss is, and behind a fleeing crowd you see something impossible: a velociraptor. It’s snarling and roaring, turning its head from side to side as it follows the hysterical populace, almost as if it’s herding them. Perhaps it is.

You panic. Before you even realize you’re doing it, you’re sprinting to the doorway of the nearest shop. Fortunately velociraptors, as is well known, are not good with door handles. As long as you get through that doorway you’ll be all right.

Safe behind the protection of the shop window, you watch people on the street …

Dec 16, 2014

The spiritual power of a smile

Mara's army attacks the BuddhaStudies have found that smiling makes people happier. Normally of course we think of things working the other way around: being happy puts a smile on our face. But the reverse is true as well. Feelings of happiness are triggered even when we don’t realize we’re smiling—for example when we’re clenching a pencil with the teeth, which causes the face to use the same muscles that are used when we smile. So the emotional impact of smiling is obviously not just the power of association, and it seems that it’s the activation of our “smiling muscles” that triggers the happiness response. But maybe it doesn’t matter why it …

Dec 14, 2014

The bells!

quasimodoHere’s a funny story for you.

One of the things we do to fund our activities at Wildmind is selling meditation supplies, which means that our office is also a mini-warehouse, stocked with incense, Buddha statues, meditation cushions — and mindfulness timers.

One day my work kept getting interrupted by a bell that would go off from time to time. The first couple of times it was no big deal. I thought that someone had perhaps jostled a wind chime, which will happen when stock’s being moved around. But as the sounds continued to happen, it became an annoying interruption.

The puzzling thing was that no one seemed to be doing anything that could …

Dec 13, 2014

Perspectives on Satipatthana

analayo_19mm_finalAn interview with Bhikkhu Anālayo, author of Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization.Bhikkhu Anālayo’s latest book, Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna, uses a comparison of three different versions of the Satipatthana Sutta to reveal what the original core teachings are likely to have been.

Hannah Atkinson: Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna is a companion volume to your earlier publication, Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization. How are the two books distinct and how do they work together?
Bhikkhu Anālayo: My first book, Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization, came out of a PhD I did in Sri Lanka. It was the product of my academic study of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, the practical experience I …