Category Archive for "blogs"

What consciousness wants

July 17, 2015

Brain tree illustration, tree of knowledge

What does consciousness want? I don’t mean what do “you” want. I mean, what is consciousness fundamentally about? What is it trying to do? What is its nature?

Consciousness is undefinable. We can look at the brain with fancy machines and see activity going on. We can study neurons and understand the physical processes by which, for example, vision takes place. But how actual experience comes to arise on the basis of this is something that isn’t understood. This has been called the “hard problem” of explaining consciousness because scientists and philosophers don’t even know how to begin to think about this.

The philosopher and neuroscientist Alva Noë has said that consciousness is co-extensive … Read more »

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Mindfulness is a capitalist grift: How faux enlightenment maintains our status quo

wildmind meditation newsKali Holloway, Salon: I stumbled across mindfulness, the meditation practice now favored by titans of tech, sensitive C-suiters, new media gurus and celebrities, without even really knowing it.

A couple of years ago, I was deeply mired in an insane schedule that involved almost everything (compulsive list-making at 4am, vacations mostly spent working, lots of being “on”) except for one desperately missed item (sleep; pretty much just sleep). A friend suggested I download Headspace, a meditation app he swore would calm the thoughts buzzing incessantly in my head, relax my anxious energy and help me be more present. I took his advice, noting …

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Toward a socially responsible mindfulness

July 15, 2015

MaiaDuerrbannerThe big news in the Buddhist world recently was a gathering of Buddhist teachers and leaders at the White House – yes, that White House. My heart leaped with joy when I saw photos of members of the group holding up three banners with these words:

The Karma of Slavery is Heavy
I vow to work for racial justice

The Whole Earth is My True Body
I vow to work for climate justice

U.S. Militarism Breeds Violence Not Safety
I vow to work for peace and freedom

The banners were lovingly hand-painted by members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship in the San Francisco Bay Area. BPF is an organization near and dear to my heart … Read more »

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Is mindfulness a technique that can help kids succeed?

wildmind meditation newsNews.com.au: I’m in a small room with 25 other people. At our teacher’s instruction, we are all sitting very still, eyes closed, hands in our laps, concentrating on our breath.

Outside, a bus roars past, which makes me sneakily open one eye. But it appears I’m the only one who’s distracted; nobody else has moved. Eventually, the teacher invites everyone to open their eyes when they’re ready. There’s a second of silence before chairs scrape back and there’s some muffled chatter among the participants. The clatter of a pencil case falling to the floor reminds me exactly where I am; not in an idyllic …

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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 »

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Your phone is not your friend, so stop acting like it

wildmind meditation newsKimberly Gillan, News.com.au: My chest tightened and my palms prickled as I flattened myself against the wall and glanced around the party, looking for a familiar face. The handful of people I knew were in the bathroom, deep in conversation or outside smoking, and I’d rather fly solo than passive smoke on a beachfront balcony on a blustery winter night in Melbourne.

I was about to hightail to the bedroom to dig my phone out of my bag and fill the lonely minutes with some scrolling — not so much because I was hankering for the latest headlines but more so that I …

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Mind your manners: mindfulness becoming a way of life

wildmind meditation newsBrian Haggerty, NorthJersey.com: Mindfulness. You may be reading about or hearing this word more often. While the word is not new, its usage among the general population as well as within education is on the rise. In essence, it is a state of mind which is achieved by focusing our awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts and physical sensations. Originally intended as a means of therapy, mindfulness, today, is becoming more of a way of life. We are, after all, the sum total of our thoughts. Our thoughts affect the way we feel by producing chemicals, …

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The psychology of mindfulness, digested

wildmind meditation newsChristian Jarrett, Research Digest: Right now, mindfulness is a hot topic in psychology and beyond. In 2012, 40 new papers on mindfulness were published every month, a number that has probably risen since. Last September, the Guardian journalist Barney Ronay noted that a staggering 37 new books had been released on the topic that very week. There are numerous conferences devoted to mindfulness around the world, multiple organisations and even dedicated science journals and magazines. And yet, a dissenting voice in this chorus of enthusiasm, a new book out last month – The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You? – warned that mindfulness is not harmless. …

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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 »

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Surprising science-backed ways to boost your mood

wildmind meditation newsErin Brodwin, Business Insider: We all have a remarkable capacity to make ourselves happier.

Each of the little things we do to boost our mood — from reading an adventure story to keeping a gratitude journal or even gazing up at the stars on a clear night — can add up to greater overall satisfaction.

But happiness doesn’t come easy. We have to work at it.

Here are some of the things that psychologists and social science researchers have found that have the power to lift your spirits and keep them high. …

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