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Dec 22, 2014

Helping yourself speak your truth

Old-fashioned rotary telephone off the hookNormal as they are, these inhibitions limit your autonomy, and consequently, your intimacy. Their regulation is excessive and thus unskillful. And they harm others by denying them important information about how you are feeling and what you really care about. Here are some ways to deal with them:

1. Draw on the slow but powerful prefrontal cortex to keep reminding yourself that you are entitled to the pursuit of your own happiness, to your own experience, and your own view – and that you will communicate in a virtuous manner. It could help to write out a kind of manifesto – usually for your eyes alone – declaring …

Self-compassion has many health benefits

wildmind meditation news The Heart’s Wisdom: Development of Compassion – Meditation MP3 Aaron Means, Chanhassen Villager: You have probably heard a lot about mindfulness over the years. Self-compassion is a natural byproduct of mindfulness, as a self-compassionate attitude asks us to be mindful of how we are relating to ourselves.

Self-compassion is commonly defined as the ability to adopt a stance of self-kindness, feel a sense of connection to others, and be mindful of one’s thoughts and feelings in the context of one’s experience of pain and suffering.

There are three elements that are inherent within self-compassion. Self-kindness, or the tendency to be kind …

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Dec 22, 2014

“But right now … right now”

te' versato in tazza ceramica biancaYou know the standard advice: when you notice during meditation that the mind has been caught up in thinking rather than with paying attention to your present-moment experience, just let go of the thoughts, without judgement, and just come back to the object of the meditation practice. And do that over and over.

But sometimes the thoughts are very persistent, especially if there’s something that’s preoccupying you emotionally. If you’ve been involved in an unresolved conflict, or have unfinished business, or if you’re looking forward to some big event, then it’s natural that your mind is going to turn to that over and over.

Over the years I’ve found …

Dec 20, 2014

The holographic dinosaur; or, How fear is an illusion

Velociraptor

You’re walking down a busy shopping street, and you hear panicked screaming. You turn to see what the fuss is, and behind a fleeing crowd you see something impossible: a velociraptor. It’s snarling and roaring, turning its head from side to side as it follows the hysterical populace, almost as if it’s herding them. Perhaps it is.

You panic. Before you even realize you’re doing it, you’re sprinting to the doorway of the nearest shop. Fortunately velociraptors, as is well known, are not good with door handles. As long as you get through that doorway you’ll be all right.

Safe behind the protection of the shop window, you watch people on the street …

Sati and sociopolitics: throwing the Buddha out with the bathwater?

wildmind meditation newsMindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn Doug Smith, The Secular Buddhist Association: With Anderson Cooper’s enthusiastic endorsement on 60 Minutes last night, mindfulness practice is well into the mainstream. Cooper’s segment included interviews with mindfulness gurus Jon Kabat-Zinn and Chade-Meng Tan, Google employee with the job title “Jolly Good Fellow”.

As the movement has grown, there has been pushback. Some has focused on the scientific claims, but much has focused on the nexus between traditional and secularized practice. Candidly, I find myself on both sides of this issue. While there is no reason to accept the supernatural claims of traditional …

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Is self-compassion more important than self-esteem?

wildmind meditation newsRadical Self-Acceptance, by Tara Brach (3 CDs) Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D., The Huffington Post: Is it important to love yourself?

It seems that depends on how you do it.

Few concepts in popular psychology have gotten more attention over the last few decades than self-esteem and its importance in life success and long-term mental health. Of course, much of this discussion has focused on young people, and how families, parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors can provide the proper psychological environment to help them grow into functional, mature, mentally stable adults.

Research shows that low self-esteem correlates with poorer mental health …

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The Zen predator of the Upper East Side

wildmind meditation newsClick here to check out our online meditation store Mark Oppenheimer, The Atlantic: Nearly 50 years ago, a penniless monk arrived in Manhattan, where he began to build an unrivaled community of followers—and a reputation for sexual abuse. The ongoing accusations against him expose a dark corner of the Buddhist tradition.

I. “That was the beginning of the sangha”

Eido Shimano, a Zen Buddhist monk from Japan, arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 31, 1964, New Year’s Eve. He was 32 years old, and although he had just spent four years in Hawaii, part …

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How mindful children react differently

wildmind meditation newsMindfulness Meditations for Teens, by Bodhipaksa (CD) Renee Jain, Psych Central: Growing up, I was a firecracker. I reacted quickly to situations and never hesitated to express my “passionate” opinions. This often led to hurt feelings. I remember once, after a heated discussion with my brother, he asked my parents to put a coffee filter over my mouth to “keep the yucky stuff inside.”

My dad later took me aside and said, “Renee, you need to think before you speak. You’re going to hurt people with that sharp tongue. This is something I really want you to work on.”

“I’m …

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Dec 16, 2014

The spiritual power of a smile

Mara's army attacks the BuddhaStudies have found that smiling makes people happier. Normally of course we think of things working the other way around: being happy puts a smile on our face. But the reverse is true as well. Feelings of happiness are triggered even when we don’t realize we’re smiling—for example when we’re clenching a pencil with the teeth, which causes the face to use the same muscles that are used when we smile. So the emotional impact of smiling is obviously not just the power of association, and it seems that it’s the activation of our “smiling muscles” that triggers the happiness response. But maybe it doesn’t matter why it …

Are you mindful? The meditation practice that’s connecting the world

wildmind meditation newsMindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn James Maynard, Tech Times: Mindfulness is an ancient practice which encourages people to direct their thoughts toward the present, rather than obsessing over the past or worrying about the future. This relatively simple notion is starting to become a more common practice among people concerned with worry and fear.

Scientific studies are starting to provide evidence that the ancient practice of mindfulness can create beneficial physical changes in brains.

“I don’t feel I’m very present in each moment. I feel like every moment I’m either thinking about something that’s coming down the road, or something …

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