Letting Go Into Bliss: an exploration of “jhana”

July 13, 2015

yogd2015-jhanaLetting Go Into Bliss (Aug 12-Oct 30) is an exploration of “jhana” — a joyful state of focused attention that can arise in meditation. We’ll be learning how to allow jhana to happen.

On this 80 day meditation event, you’ll learn to:

  • Notice and counteract the various ways your mind suppresses joy
  • Calm the mind, using a variety of techniques
  • Deeply relax the body, allowing physical pleasure to arise
  • Tap into an innate sense of joy
  • Develop the mind’s ability to focus undistractedly

Signing up for this event gives you access to:

  • Emails (roughly every other day) with practice suggestions
  • Access to guided meditations
  • Support in our online community

This event is suitable for people … Read more »

When the Buddha quit

July 8, 2015

Portrait of Lord BuddhaThere’s a discourse in the Buddhist scriptures that’s long intrigued me, and which I think can be interpreted as giving an account of a time that the Buddha quit as head of the monastic community. The discourse itself seems confused and contradictory, which suggests to me that the monks who passed it on weren’t sure how to handle it, and may have tried to tone down what actually happened. On the other hand maybe I’m reading too much into this particular sutta. You can make up your own mind.

The discourse in question is the Cātumā Sutta (Majjhima Nikāya, 67). It tells of a time that the Buddha was on the outskirts of a town … Read more »

Spiritual earworms and the Dharma of the Muppets

July 6, 2015

Fotolia_70364044_XS-earmwormThis morning as I was walking to the office, I noticed that I had an earworm stuck in my head. In case you’re unfamiliar with this term, it refers to a song or jingle that runs in a repetitive loop in the head. Often it’s only one or two lines from a song. Sometimes it’s not even a song we like. It may even be one we detest.

I have a very effective technique that not only helps get rid of earworms but also turns them into mindfulness triggers should they recur, but this morning it occurred to me that mantras could be regarded as a form of self-induced spiritual earworm.

Mantras are self-induced because … Read more »

Just Sitting: a “non-meditation meditation”

June 29, 2015

Black and White Buddha StatueThis is a preview of the first of the posts from our forthcoming online meditation event, “Just Being, Just Sitting.” This event runs from July 1–28, and is by donation. Click here for more details or to book your place.

“Just Sitting” is a meditation practice where the aim is just to be, allowing thoughts, feelings, and sensations to come and go within awareness. It’s a very open and spacious meditation practice, in which there is simply the observation of whatever arises in experience, whether that’s from the body, the mind, or sensations arising from the outside world.

In a sense, this is a meditation practice without a goal. We’re not trying to do … Read more »

Sit Breathe Love (July 1–28)

June 26, 2015

yogd2015-SBLSit : Breathe : Love is a 28 Day Meditation Challenge with the aim of helping you to set up the habit of meditating daily.

It’s suitable for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.

The benefits of regular meditation have been demonstrated again and again in multiple studies. Meditating makes you happier, is good for your health, protects your brain from aging, boosts your intelligence, and helps reduce pain, stress, and depression.

But it’s not easy to set up a regular meditation practice.

So we’re here to help you!

The aims in the 28 Day Challenge is to work build up a daily habit of meditation by sitting every day for 28 … Read more »

Just Being, Just Sitting (July 1–28)

June 25, 2015

yogd2015-jjustsittingJust Sitting is a form of meditation in which we simply allow the mind to settle itself. It is a practice of non-doing. As we sit, we allow thoughts to pass through the mind unobstructedly — and without getting caught up in their storylines. In time the mind stills, and a state of pure, effortless awareness emerges.

In this 28 day event you’ll learn to:

  • Sit without judgement
  • Allow thoughts and feelings to arise and pass without obstruction
  • Rest in an open and expansive state of awareness
  • Enter an effortless state of meditation
  • Recognize that it is not “you” who meditates, and allow your meditation to unfold spontaneously, from within

This event is suitable for … Read more »

From shame to self-worth: evolutionary neurobiology of shame

June 24, 2015

Jbilo al atardecerHave you ever scolded a dog and seen him or her look guilty?

Obviously, animals do not have the elaborated textures of thoughts and feelings that humans do. But our emotions, even the subtlest ones, have their roots in our ancient evolutionary history. By understanding that history better, we do not reduce our feelings to animal instincts, but instead find illuminations from our past that paradoxically give us more choices in manifesting ourselves as fully human.

We can find two sources of shame spectrum emotions in our evolutionary history.

First, many animal species live in social groups with clear dominance hierarchies. Once those pecking orders are established, it can be lethal to challenge them. Consequently, … Read more »

Speak truly

June 16, 2015

mighty oak treeIt’s been said that the most powerful tool for physical health is a fork (or spoon), since the choices you make with it determine the good or bad things you put into your body.

In the same way, perhaps the most powerful tool for your mental health – and certainly for the health of your relationships – is your tongue. Thousands of times each day, it (or your fingers on a keyboard: same thing) offers the good word or the bad one out into your world.

If you say what’s true for you, and say it clearly and kindly, you get one kind of results. But if you use a sharp tongue, speak falsely, exaggerate, … Read more »

Watch the “Saving Mes Aynak” official trailer

June 12, 2015

I’ve talked here before about Brent E. Huffman’s film, Saving Mes Aynak, the making of which Wildmind helped sponsor. Mes Aynak is a unique archaeological site: an abandoned Buddhist city in Afghanistan, where priceless relics have been unearthed. Unfortunately a Chinese mining consortium plans to destroy the entire site in order to mine for copper. This is equivalent to Greece bulldozing classical buildings like the Parthenon.

Saving Mes Aynak follows archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save this 5,000-year-old Buddhist archeological site from imminent demolition. So far only 10% of Mes Aynak has been excavated, though, and some believe that future discoveries there have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan … Read more »

What a bicycle can teach us about changing our habits

May 26, 2015

In the video above, Destin Sandlin, creator of the Youtube channel “Smarter Every Day,” demonstrates an interesting paradox: that we can know something and yet find it hard—even impossible for a while—to act on that knowledge.

The bicycle he’s showing off has been rigged so that the steering operates in reverse. Turn the handles right, and the front wheel turns to the left; turn them left, and the front wheel turns to the right.

One one level, learning this is easy. You can take in the simple fact: “turn the wheel the opposite way of the way you want to go when riding this bike” in jut a few seconds.

With that knowledge in mind, … Read more »