How to calm your mind, quickly and easily

June 30, 2017

We can use our attention in two ways: either as a flashlight or as a candle.

Flashlight attention is where we have a narrow, focused beam of awareness. We observe one aspect of our experience, and because our focus is narrow, we don’t notice much else. This is how we tend to use our attention during the day. You’re almost certainly using your attention like a flashlight right now as you focus on these words. You’re mostly aware of one word flowing after another, building up a pattern of meaning in your mind. You’re probably not aware (until I mention it) of the feeling of your bottom on your seat, or your shirt touching your … Read more »

New course formats on Wildmind, coming Monday

June 17, 2017

Believe it or not, I’ve been running online courses through Wildmind since 2001! I believe in fact that I may have been the first person to offer meditation courses online.

A lot’s changed since I started this. Although we’ve offered courses in various formats, for the entire time I’ve been teaching online I’ve provided a mixture of background reading material and guided meditations in audio format, supported by discussion.

That’s worked pretty well, but more and more people are accessing our courses on mobile devices, on which reading is less enjoyable. I think many of us are finding it harder to stay focused while reading on electronic devices.

So we’re trying an experiment with courses … Read more »

The most important thing you need to know about life, according to Buddhism

June 4, 2017

Arguably the central teaching of Buddhism, without which the others make no sense, is that things change.

While “things change” may seem like a commonplace observation, made by dozens (at least) of philosophers and religious teachers over the last few millennia, the Buddha wasn’t content simply to pay lip-service to the concept of impermanence, but followed through the implications of this fact as far as he possibly could.

He saw our resistance to change as the source of our suffering. He talked about this resistance in terms of clinging — a desperate attempt to hold onto stability in the flowing river of time.

Clinging sometimes manifests as expectation — we want something to happen in … Read more »

Meditation as a “positivity cascade”

May 13, 2017

It used to be that if you wanted to learn to meditate you had to take the risk of entering an exotic, incense-scented meditation center, wondering if you were stepping into the domain of some weird cult. Nowadays, though, you can download meditation apps, learn meditation online, or even attend a class at your local hospital.

Yet although meditation is approaching mainstream acceptance, many people still have the image of meditation as something unusual, and perhaps even difficult. They expect something religious or mysterious.

The principles of meditation, however, are very down to earth.

But first, let’s understand what tends to happen when we’re not very mindful.

The mind does a lot of thinking that … Read more »

A path to awakening — on your phone

May 5, 2017

Right now we’re crowdfunding so that we can bring out a meditation app. The app is called “Bodhi Mind,” and its going to offer a huge selection of my guided meditations, which you’ll literally have at your fingertips.


We’ve already raised almost 75% of what we need in order to develop the app. If you’re interested in becoming a backer, you only have five days left, so head over to our campaign page and select your perk.

But you might want to know what’s going to be in the Bodhi Mind app, and that’s what I’m going to talk about here.

In short, the Bodhi Mind app offers a path to spiritual awakening. It includes … Read more »

The eyes have it

May 2, 2017

As you’re reading these words, begin to notice your breathing. Don’t change anything, just letting your body breathe naturally.

  • Notice where the breathing is taking place. How much of the movement is in the chest, and how much is in the abdomen?
  • Notice the rate of your breathing.
  • Notice how deep or shallow your breathing is.
  • Notice how you feel.

Now continue to notice these things, but with one change:

For a minute or two, stop focusing on the individual words, but relax your gaze and allow yourself to take in the whole screen, and then everything around the screen, right up to the periphery of your visual field.

Now that you’re back …

You … Read more »

If you want to be happier, drop the mind-reading

April 27, 2017

An essential part of being human (and in fact of being a primate) is what psychologists call “theory of mind,” which is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intentions, desires, plans, knowledge, thoughts, and so on—to others. When you have to give bad news to someone, for example, you know that they may become upset, and you take this into account in the way you talk to them. If you’re explaining something to another person you may anticipate certain questions they might ask. This is you employing a theory of mind.

This is such a basic part of our lives that we don’t give it a second thought, but that in itself can become a … Read more »

Bodhi Mind meditation app update

April 26, 2017

With 14 days left in our crowdfunding campaign, we’ve already raised 56% of our target. And we’ve just added a new perk to our campaign — the Bodhi Mind mug.

We’ve made a lighthearted (and decidedly amateurish) video to go with it, but the more serious side is that Wildmind’s aim is to help people. We hear over and over again that what we do here is in fact life-changing, that it helps people free themselves from their suffering, and that it helps people understand how to transform their lives through meditation and Buddhist practice.

As well as our website, which offers hundreds of pages of free meditation instruction, we help people by recording and … Read more »

One thing at a time…

April 13, 2017

Check out Bodhipaksa’s Stress Reduction Through Mindfulness retreat, April 21–23, 2017

Sometimes we have major stressors in our lives, like financial or relationship problems, or insecurity about our employment. But there are also many smaller-scale situations that contribute to our stress too. For me, these include dealing with the demands of parenting. And it’s often small things, like getting the kids out of the door and responding to their questions that are triggers for me being sharp with them.

And one thing I’ve noticed is how these small-scale situations are usually only stressful when I’m multi-tasking. So if the kids try to ask me something when I have part of my attention on emailing a … Read more »

A heads-up about an exciting new project

April 8, 2017

This is an exciting time for us at Wildmind. We’re about to start developing our own app, which will feature an ever-expanding library of my guided meditations.

The app itself will be free, although to unlock all of the meditations will require a subscription of $3.99 a month. We’re hoping that this app will bring us the financial security that’s been so elusive over the last few years, freeing us up from financial worries so that we can focus more on helping people.

As with past projects, we’re using Indiegogo to crowdfund the development costs, and we’d love if you would support us.

The crowdfunding campaign doesn’t go live until Monday, but in order to … Read more »