Watch SIT, a short documentary

September 3, 2016

SIT – Short Documentary Film from Yoko Okumura on Vimeo.

Chris Ruiz, one of the producers of SIT, a short documentary by Yoko Okumura, suggested that I might want to share this video. Yoko Okumura is the daughter of Shohaku Okumura, a Zen abbot and Eihei Dogen translator. Confounding stereotypes of Zen strictness, Shohaku is a really easy-going guy. Her brother, Masaki, lacks direction, and although he’d like to go to college to learn to cook, he’s perpetually “not ready” to take any concrete steps, seeming to have retreated into a world of video games and finding interaction with the world to be scary.

As Ruiz said to me, the documentary helps “dispel … Read more »

Systems biology research study reveals benefits of vacation and meditation

September 1, 2016
wildmind meditation news
Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School used a rigorous study design to assess the biological impact of meditation compared to vacation. They examined the effect of meditation on gene expression patterns in both novice and regular meditators. The researchers found that a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short- term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress. A meditation retreat, for those who already used meditation regularly, was associated with molecular networks characterized by antiviral… Read more »

The Conscious Couple, Day 1: The Dharma of Intimate Relationships

August 30, 2016

0e3ac93e-68da-481a-bb36-b481fcd5af21by Shelly Chatterelli and Bodhipaksa

Our intimate relationships are a vital area for practice. Each day, each moment, they offer us fresh opportunities to practice kindness, love, and compassion. They give us practice in forgiving and asking for forgiveness. They allow us to cultivate honesty and to become more skillful in our communication. They provide us with opportunities to give and to receive and to learn about ourselves and our partner.

Intimate relationships challenge us. They unerringly find our emotional weak spots, highlighting our insecurities and failings in ways that can cause great discomfort. Yet this too is spiritually beneficial; how else can we change, but by bringing into conscious awareness that which needs transformation?… Read more »

The best way to calm your thoughts is to give them plenty of space

August 29, 2016

wheel of life hub

The ancient Romans had a special punishment for those guilty of parricide, which involved sewing the guilty party into a leather sack and tossing him into a river or the ocean. This, according to Cicero, symbolized how the heinousness of the offender’s crime sundered him from the realm of natural law.

This punishment evolved over time, with the addition to the sack of animals such as a viper and a dog. Eventually four animals were used, and this became the classical form of this punishment, which was known as the pœna cullei.

It’s hard to imagine how horrible this would have been. Suffocating would be awful enough, but throughout the ordeal you’d have two … Read more »

Mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots, and it may not be doing you good

August 26, 2016
wildmind meditation news
Mindfulness Meditation: Nine Guided Practices to Awaken Presence and Open Your Heart, by Tara Brach (2 CDs)
Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm, The Conversation: Mindfulness as a psychological aid is very much in fashion. Recent reports on the latest finding suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is as effective as anti-depressants in preventing the relapse of recurrent depression.

While the authors of the paper interpreted their results in a slightly less positive light, stating that (contrary to their hypothesis) mindfulness was no more effective than medication, the meaning inferred by many in the media was that mindfulness was superior to medication.

Mindfulness is a technique extracted …

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Mindfulness meditation uses distinct neural pathways to reduce pain better than placebo

August 24, 2016
wildmind meditation news
Click here for Mindfulness of Breathing: Managing Pain, Illness, & Stress with Guided Mindfulness Meditation (MP3)
Thomas Rosenthal, Pain Medicine News: Recent research showed that mindfulness meditation is significantly more effective at reducing pain intensity and pain unpleasantness than placebo analgesia, sham mindfulness meditation and other cognitive-based approaches by using distinct neural mechanisms (J Neurosci 2015;35:15307-15325).

“This study is the first to demonstrate that mindfulness-related pain relief is mechanistically distinct from placebo analgesia,” the researchers wrote. “The elucidation of this distinction confirms the existence of multiple, cognitively driven, supraspinal mechanisms for pain modulation.” Specifically, mindfulness meditation–induced pain relief was associated with greater neural activation in higher-order …

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When teachers take a breath, students can bloom

August 23, 2016
wildmind meditation news
Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction (MP3) by Bodhipaksa is available in our online store!
Anya Kamentz, NPR: Garrison Institute looks a little like Hogwarts. The retreat center is housed in a former monastery amid tranquil green hills overlooking the Hudson River, 60 miles north and a world away from New York City.

Inside the airy chapel on a recent summer afternoon, about 35 educators from the U.S. and at least five foreign countries are seated quietly, shoes off.

“Just notice your breath, the sensation of your air coming in, going out,” says Christa Turksma, a Dutch woman dressed all in white with silver-white hair. She’s one …

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Happiness is not a choice

August 15, 2016

42111675 - coffee latte art in cofeee sbop vintage color toneThe saying that “happiness is a choice” is extremely common. There’s a book by that title, as well as a gazillion articles. They all say that you can choose to be happy.

It’s not true. Happiness is not a choice.

Or at least it’s not strictly true that happiness is a choice. There’s a grain of truth here; we can influence our happiness. But happiness is a feeling, and we can’t directly choose our feelings.

What is true is that happiness is the result of our choices.

We can choose actions that will bring long-term happiness. We can choose what we say. We can choose our attitudes. We can choose to have thoughts that increase … Read more »

Bringing calm to the classroom

August 10, 2016
wildmind meditation news
Check out Mindfulness Meditations for Teens (MP3)
Timothy Iverson, Everyday Mindfulness: I sit on my pillow in a quiet space, surrounded by sympathetic adults. Under me, the cool hardwood floors. Nearby, the tick of a clock. The instructor leads us gently through a tour of our minds, sharing insights to transform our lives. I have not known peace like this for decades. I am learning the practice of mindfulness.

Fast-forward 15 years to a busy middle- school. I step into the hallway between classes and hear a dull roar that I’ve heard before. Turning a corner, I see students shouting and gathering around two girls …

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Compassion: universally misunderstood

August 8, 2016
wildmind meditation news
Practice self-compassion with How to Stop Beating Yourself Up, by Bodhipaksa (CD)
Paul Gilbert OBE, Huffington Post: When people hear the word compassion, they tend to think of kindness. But scientific study has found the core of compassion to be courage.

Rather than defining compassion, kindness is just one way of being compassionate. Imagine a fire officer who regularly puts his or her life in danger to save others. That act in itself is certainly compassionate but, outside of work, he or she might be standoffish, have an irritable temperament or consistently fail to remember birthdays. The point is that kind people don’t always …

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