Zen and the Art of Dying Well

August 18, 2015

wildmind meditation newsCourtney E. Martin, New York Times: What is the “right” way to die? We’re experiencing a zeitgeist moment about that. “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” by Atul Gawande, is a best-selling book. Videos by Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old who wanted to die in a way of her own choosing, went viral last year. And in more than 20 countries, thousands of people have dined and discussed dying through a project called “Death Over Dinner.”

In fact, we can’t afford not to have this conversation. According to the National Institute of Health, 5 percent of the most seriously ill Americans account for …

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Teach mindfulness, invite happiness

August 17, 2015

wildmind meditation newsErin Sharaf, Edutopia: By objective measures, our young people are more anxious, more depressed, and have more psychopathology in general than students did a few decades ago. This has important implications for educators, school administrators, and society at large. What if our traditional school systems are unwittingly contributing to the problem — and what if a relatively simple practice could help?

As we are all well aware, the current educational system is narrowing its definition of what defines student success. It’s almost all cognitive knowing, as evidenced by standardized testing. The pros and cons of that system have been widely debated, so I won’t rehash them here. However, a …

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Why some schools are making time for meditation

August 12, 2015

wildmind meditation newsJessica Kendorski, Philly.com: Full disclosure, I mediate almost every day, and I’m in good company. Each year more and more people, from super star athletes to successful CEOs, are attributing at least part of their success to a regular meditation practice. For me, meditation helps keep me present and reduces my stress level, and existing research supports those benefits. A recent analysis concluded that adults participating in mindfulness mediation programs show reduced anxiety, depression, and pain.

Now, schools are getting in on the mindfulness and meditation trend, and many schools around the country are finding time for meditation, silence, and stillness.

But what …

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Shamatha or mindfulness

August 11, 2015

wildmind meditation newsFree Press Journal: Shamatha, or mindfulness, is how we make this mind more stable, more useful. The word “shamatha” in Sanskrit means “peacefully abiding”. Peacefully abiding describes the mind as it naturally is. The word “peace” tells the whole story. The human mind is by nature joyous, calm and very clear. In shamatha meditation we aren’t creating a peaceful state—we’re letting our mind be as it is to begin with. This doesn’t mean that we’re peacefully ignoring things. It means that the mind is able to be with itself without constantly leaving.

In meditation we learn how to calmly abide: we learn how …

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Empathy is actually a choice

August 10, 2015

wildmind meditation news Daryl Cameron, Michael Inzlicht and William A. Cunningham: New York Times: One death is a tragedy. One million is a statistic.

You’ve probably heard this saying before. It is thought to capture an unfortunate truth about empathy: While a single crying child or injured puppy tugs at our heartstrings, large numbers of suffering people, as in epidemics, earthquakes and genocides, do not inspire a comparable reaction.

Studies have repeatedly confirmed this. It’s a troubling finding because, as recent research has demonstrated, many of us believe that if more lives are at stake, we will — and should — feel more empathy (i.e., vicariously …

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After meditation, self-critical people ease up

wildmind meditation newsAnn Lukits, Wall Street Journal: Self-critical people were significantly kinder and more compassionate toward themselves after practicing lovingkindness meditation compared with a control group, according to a pilot study in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. The technique, rooted in Buddhism, may help to reduce symptoms of depression, the researchers suggest.

Lovingkindness is a form of meditation designed to cultivate feelings of warmth and kindness to all people, including oneself, the researchers said. Practicing the technique may activate a soothing-caring regulation system that is probably deficient in chronic self-critics, they suggest.

Self-critical perfectionism is implicated in a number of psychological conditions, such as eating disorders …

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Meditation isn’t always relaxing, new study finds

wildmind meditation newsSarah Berry, Stuff.co.nz: Meditation is many things, but it is not always relaxing.

It restores clarity, relieves stress, changes our brains for the better, encourages creativity and calms our nervous system.

But a new study has found that we experience elevated heart rates during certain types of meditation.

Participants in the study were asked to practise loving-kindness meditation, thought-observation meditation and a relaxing breathing meditation technique.

The neuroscience researchers found that heart rate and effort were higher during loving-kindness meditation and observing-thoughts meditations.

“In contrast to implicit beliefs that meditation is always relaxing and associated with low arousal, the current results show that …

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How mindfulness can help us appreciate food

wildmind meditation newsDerek Watson, Herald Scotland: When I was a wee girl my daddy used to cajole me and my brother and sisters into finishing our meals by playing a game in which we were to imagine each forkful going to a different part of our bodies. Beef and potato, for instance, would be mashed up and formed into a pie shape, which we took great delight in dividing into wedges. On dad’s instruction we’d scoop up each piece and as we swallowed we’d imagine it going to, say, our left knee or our right pinky toe or a bicep or an eye. We imagine …

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The structure of gratitude

wildmind meditation newsDavid Brooks, NY Times: I’m sometimes grumpier when I stay at a nice hotel. I have certain expectations about the service that’s going to be provided. I get impatient if I have to crawl around looking for a power outlet, if the shower controls are unfathomable, if the place considers itself too fancy to put a coffee machine in each room. I’m sometimes happier at a budget motel, where my expectations are lower, and where a functioning iron is a bonus and the waffle maker in the breakfast area is a treat.

This little phenomenon shows how powerfully expectations structure our moods and …

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Why a Buddhist monk doesn’t need an app to meditate and why you do

July 21, 2015

wildmind meditation newsDragos Bratasanu, Huffington Post: A few years ago I traveled to Nepal to hike in the Himalayas, learn a bit more about myself and about the world from the Buddhist spiritual teachers. For over seven years I have went back and forth across the bridge between science and spirituality. I have studied both, trying to understand why we try to separate them, why we need to follow one path or the other. I never could quite understand why a scientist cannot spend time in meditation or pray and why a person on the spiritual path can’t actually think?

As the night embraced the …

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