A Buddhist guide to surviving the holidays: four practices

November 25, 2015

wildmind meditation newsEthan Nichtern: Let’s face it, sometimes the holidays just…suck. Maybe that’s not the most Buddhist way of saying it, but it is how it feels. Even more than in past years, friends and students are reporting feeling stress and foreboding right now. To be honest, I’m feeling a sense of burden and anxiety, too, that strange feeling when there’s too much to do and not any clear sense of intention behind the doing of it. This holiday season has given me reason to pause and think about what really matters. And guess what, it’s neither black Friday nor cyber Monday.

Why are we so …

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Incorporating meditation, mindfulness into addiction treatment may enhance recovery

November 23, 2015

wildmind meditation newsPR Rocket: Mental health is an integral part of addiction recovery, and practicing meditation and mindfulness could help reduce risk of relapse, shares Chapters Capistrano.

There is no blanket solution to treating addiction. What works for one person may not work as well for another, making customized treatment programs even more essential. Focusing on both physical and mental wellbeing can help clients develop a more comprehensive recovery plan that addresses the numerous challenges they may face. Los Angeles-area rehab center Chapters Capistrano has released a statement to the press regarding the integration of mindfulness and meditation into recovery efforts and the benefits it can provide.

“Mental health plays a large part in the recovery process,” … Read more »

“Meditation Freedom” podcast

November 19, 2015

The other week I was interviewed by Sicco Rood for the Meditation Freedom podcast. He’s interviewed a number of well-known teachers, including Lama Surya Das and Ven Pannavati, both of whom I was honored to meet at this year’s Western Dharma Teachers’ Conference. If I sound a little flat, it’s because just before the recording took place I’d heard that a beloved aunt had passed away.

meditation freedom podcast

Mindfulness meditation may improve memory for teens

November 18, 2015

wildmind meditation newsKathryn Doyle, Reuters: Adolescents assigned to a mindfulness meditation program appeared to have improvements in memory in a recent study.

“These results are consistent with a growing body of research in adults that has found mindfulness meditation to be a helpful tool for enhancing working memory capacity,” said Kristen E. Jastrowski Mano of the psychology department at the University of Cincinnati, who coauthored the new study.

The researchers randomly divided 198 public middle school students into three groups: mindfulness meditation, hatha yoga or a waitlist. Most students were female, ages 12 to 15, and from low-income households that qualified for reduced-cost lunch.

Before the study began and …

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Ignore the cliche: mindfulness isn’t about sitting cross-legged

November 16, 2015

wildmind meditation newsHeckler, The Age: Don’t be put off by market-driven mantras, because mindfulness is for everyone, writes ​Jamie Watson.

Mindfulness is proven to do remarkable things for mental health. Unfortunately it has a rather annoying image problem.

Whenever an article appears about mindfulness it is invariably accompanied by a picture of a beautiful woman peacefully meditating. Sometimes she is on a mountain. Sometimes she is beside a gently flowing stream. Sometimes there is a lovely rainbow in the background. Typically she has a slim yoga body, amazing posture and the apparent ability to sit cross-legged on a rock without her mind focusing solely on the …

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Meditation reduces emotional pain by 44%

November 13, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMandy Oaklander, Time: According to a new study, mindfulness meditation exhibited even stronger physical pain reductions than morphine, says the study’s lead investigator.

Open any magazine and you’ll find that mindfulness has gone mainstream. You’ll also notice there are studies that purport to show meditation’s benefits on just about everything, from kids’ math scores and migraine length to HIV management and bouncing back after a crisis. Now, an elaborate new forthcoming study looks at how the brains of meditators respond to pain, to be published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr. Fadel Zeidan, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical …

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Lovingkindness meditation, using natural language

November 12, 2015

girl hand giving flowers

When I was first taught the metta bhavana (“development of lovingkindness”) practice, back in the early 1980s, I was encouraged to use these three phrases: “May I be well; may I be happy; may I be free from suffering” (altered to “may you…” or “may all beings…” in the other stages of the practice).

I was told that the exact words weren’t important, and that you could use your own phrases if you wanted. But none of the teachers who led the classes I went to ever offered any alternatives, which sent out a message saying that these were the “proper” and “authorized” ones.

But they worked! I remember the first time that I noticed … Read more »

Schools in San Francisco implement meditation & students’ happiness and academic success soars

November 12, 2015

wildmind meditation newsJennifer Chait, Inhabitots: We’ve seen yoga, standing desks and vegetarian lunches turn troubled schools around, but we’ve never seen meditation adopted successfully within the school system. Until now. According to reports, several San Francisco middle and high schools, as well as scattered schools around the Bay Area, have adopted what they call, “Quiet Time” – a stress-reduction meditation strategy that is doing wonders for students and teachers. The first school to adopt the Quiet Time practice in 2007, Visitacion Valley Middle School, has reaped huge rewards. Formally a school largely out of control, Visitacion Valley is smack in the middle of a neighborhood where shootings are …

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How meditation can reshape our brains

November 11, 2015

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.

Sara’s team at Harvard University uses neuroimaging techniques to study neurological, cognitive and emotional changes associated with the practice of meditation and yoga. They also incorporate measures of peripheral physiology (breathing, heart beat) in order to understand how meditation practice influences the brain-body interaction.

Mindfulness training helps patients with inflammatory bowel diseases

November 9, 2015

wildmind meditation newsWK Health: Training in meditation and other mindfulness-based techniques brings lasting improvements in mental health and quality of life for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), according to a study in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, official journal of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

“Our study provides support for the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a tailored mindfulness-based group intervention for patients with IBD,” concludes the research report by Dr. David Castle, a psychiatrist at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues. More research is needed to demonstrate the clinical benefits of mindfulness techniques–including whether they can help to reduce IBD symptoms and relapses.

Mindfulness Reduces Anxiety … Read more »