Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

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Dec 06, 2014

Finding the sacred balance

SACRED BALANCE

Fundraising Progress since Dec 6

The short story is that we need to raise $12,000 in donations before the end of the year in order to break even. There are more details below, but if you’ve benefitted from the work we do, or appreciate our efforts to make meditation teachings more widely available, please respond by contributing generously so that we can continue to provide our activities for everyone to enjoy. We really can’t afford to sustain a loss this year.

It would be wonderful if you could donate $1000, or $100, or even just $10 — whatever you can afford.

  • If you want to use a credit

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 …

Sati and sociopolitics: throwing the Buddha out with the bathwater?

wildmind meditation newsMindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn Doug Smith, The Secular Buddhist Association: With Anderson Cooper’s enthusiastic endorsement on 60 Minutes last night, mindfulness practice is well into the mainstream. Cooper’s segment included interviews with mindfulness gurus Jon Kabat-Zinn and Chade-Meng Tan, Google employee with the job title “Jolly Good Fellow”.

As the movement has grown, there has been pushback. Some has focused on the scientific claims, but much has focused on the nexus between traditional and secularized practice. Candidly, I find myself on both sides of this issue. While there is no reason to accept the supernatural claims of traditional …

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Is self-compassion more important than self-esteem?

wildmind meditation newsRadical Self-Acceptance, by Tara Brach (3 CDs) Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D., The Huffington Post: Is it important to love yourself?

It seems that depends on how you do it.

Few concepts in popular psychology have gotten more attention over the last few decades than self-esteem and its importance in life success and long-term mental health. Of course, much of this discussion has focused on young people, and how families, parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors can provide the proper psychological environment to help them grow into functional, mature, mentally stable adults.

Research shows that low self-esteem correlates with poorer mental health …

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The Zen predator of the Upper East Side

wildmind meditation newsClick here to check out our online meditation store Mark Oppenheimer, The Atlantic: Nearly 50 years ago, a penniless monk arrived in Manhattan, where he began to build an unrivaled community of followers—and a reputation for sexual abuse. The ongoing accusations against him expose a dark corner of the Buddhist tradition.

I. “That was the beginning of the sangha”

Eido Shimano, a Zen Buddhist monk from Japan, arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 31, 1964, New Year’s Eve. He was 32 years old, and although he had just spent four years in Hawaii, part …

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How mindful children react differently

wildmind meditation newsMindfulness Meditations for Teens, by Bodhipaksa (CD) Renee Jain, Psych Central: Growing up, I was a firecracker. I reacted quickly to situations and never hesitated to express my “passionate” opinions. This often led to hurt feelings. I remember once, after a heated discussion with my brother, he asked my parents to put a coffee filter over my mouth to “keep the yucky stuff inside.”

My dad later took me aside and said, “Renee, you need to think before you speak. You’re going to hurt people with that sharp tongue. This is something I really want you to work on.”

“I’m …

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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 …

Are you mindful? The meditation practice that’s connecting the world

wildmind meditation newsMindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn James Maynard, Tech Times: Mindfulness is an ancient practice which encourages people to direct their thoughts toward the present, rather than obsessing over the past or worrying about the future. This relatively simple notion is starting to become a more common practice among people concerned with worry and fear.

Scientific studies are starting to provide evidence that the ancient practice of mindfulness can create beneficial physical changes in brains.

“I don’t feel I’m very present in each moment. I feel like every moment I’m either thinking about something that’s coming down the road, or something …

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Dec 15, 2014

The Third Noble Truth – the Noble Truth of the end of suffering

buddaThe Third Noble Truth comes directly from the Second one: The end of suffering comes with the end of clinging.

As Achaan Chah said, “If you let go a little, you’ll have a little happiness. If you let go a lot, you’ll have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely . . . you’ll be completely happy.”

You can do this at the macro level, in letting go regarding lights turning green, or payments arriving, or your teenage children giving you a hug. Sure, you’d like things to turn out well, and that’s fine. You take practical steps toward them turning out well, and that’s also fine. But you can simultaneously have …

Meditation may physically alter regions of the brain

wildmind meditation newsStress-Proof Your Brain, by Rick Hanson (2 CDs)Sravanth Verma, Digital Journal: Harvard researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital reported that the practice of mindfulness meditation can physically alter regions of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress.

The study, to be published in January 2015, in “Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging” indicates that the brain’s gray matter may change as a result of meditation.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” said …

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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 …