The power of mindfulness — in schools

December 5, 2016

Mindfulness is increasingly being used in schools to help children deal with stress and to improve their ability to manage their emotions. It also helps with focus, attention, and memory. In some schools where mindfulness has been taught, detention rates have decreased dramatically — even dropping to zero.

One school in Baltimore, Robert W. Coleman elementary, has replaced detention with meditation and is seeing astonishing results. In this video, Ali Smith, founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, joins the Emmy award-winning daytime talk show, The Doctors, to discuss the program he helped set up.

This CBS This Morning clip also discusses how mindfulness is being brought into the school. Twice a day, more than 300 … Read more »

Meditation tips for surviving holiday stress

December 5, 2016

meditating santa

The holiday season can be a perfect storm of stressors: financial strain, crowded malls, striving for perfection when we’re entertaining or buying gifts, travel, over-indulgence in food and alcohol, dealing with seldom-seen relatives, and for some of us being on our own while it seems everyone else is merrymaking.

This is where meditation comes in really handy! It’s been shown to reduce stress, so that we can feel at least a little calmer when the world around us is going into a consumeristic frenzy. It helps to reduce depression, too, for those who find that the holiday season is a downer. It promotes joy and other positive emotions. And it helps boost … Read more »

How mindfulness practices are changing an inner-city school

December 1, 2016
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Available in our online store: Guided Meditation for Children – Journey Into the Universe, by Chitra Sukhu
Donna St. George, The Washington Post: At many schools, the third-grader would have landed in the principal’s office.

But in a hardscrabble neighborhood in West Baltimore, the boy who tussled with a classmate one recent morning instead found his way to a quiet room that smelled of lemongrass, where he could breathe and meditate.

The focus at Robert W. Coleman Elementary is not on punishment but on mindfulness — a mantra of daily life at an unusual urban school that has moved away from detention and suspension to something …

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Meet the New Year mindfully!

December 1, 2016

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2016 is coming to a close — thank goodness! It’s been a challenging year, with political upsets that the pundits hadn’t predicted — from Brexit to Donald Trump’s election as US president — leading to fears of rising nationalism and racism and deepening rancorous splits in our already polarized societies. And that’s not to mention the loss of beloved celebrities such as David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Florence Henderson, and Leonard Cohen, to name but a few.

I don’t know what 2017 will be like, but I think we should prepare for further potentially traumatizing events.

A major tool for keeping your head when all around are losing theirs is meditation. My own … Read more »

Three mindful ways to calm an anxious mind

November 28, 2016
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Find calm with Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
Elisha Goldstein, Mindful.org: Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially during these times of uncertainty. But we don’t need to be enslaved by our anxiety, we can strengthen our mindful skills to ease our anxious minds.

Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially during these times of uncertainty. However, we don’t need to be enslaved by our anxiety and instead can strengthen our mindful skills to ease our anxious minds, come into our lives and grow in confidence.

1. Release the critic. Not only is anxiety painful enough, but we …

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Five ways science says to handle difficult emotional situations

November 21, 2016
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Practice the skill of self-compassion with How to Stop Beating Yourself Up (CD), by Bodhipaksa
Kira M. Newman, Yes Magazine: A mentor of mine recently passed away, and I was heartbroken—so I tried my best to avoid thinking about it. I didn’t even mention it to my family because I didn’t want those sad feelings to resurface.

In other words, I took the very enlightened approach of pretend it didn’t happen—one that’s about as effective as other common responses such as get angry, push people away, blame yourself, or wallow in the pain.

Even for the relatively self-aware and emotionally adept, struggles …

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Buddhists bring meditation to the streets and subways of NYC

November 15, 2016
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Here’s another way to slow down: Guided Meditations for Busy People (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
Sam Littlefair, Lion’s Roar: A new and quickly growing organization called Buddhist Insights is helping New Yorkers meditate in all manner of surprising places — and to make friends with their surroundings.

New Yorkers may not think of the city’s gritty streets as a place to find inner peace, but a new group called Buddhist Insights is aiming to change that.

“There’s this idea that you have to escape New York to find peace and quiet,” explains Buddhist Insights co-founder Giovanna Maselli. To challenge that idea, she and her co-founder, Buddhist …

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Insight is not enough

November 12, 2016

flower

These days there’s an increasing interest in gaining insight. (Let’s just accept the loaded word “gaining” for now.) On the whole this is a good thing. For a long time many in the West have been doubtful about whether awakening is a realistic goal. “Maybe we’re too messed up,” and “Maybe the modern world isn’t conducive to awakening,” were common doubts.

As the years have gone by, however, more and more practitioners have had insight experiences, and this has been very encouraging for others. More people now think not just that awakening is possible, but that they personally are capable of it. This is great! How can there be a downside to this?

One thing … Read more »

Ask yourself, “Am I showing love right now?”

November 10, 2016

loving touch

A little while ago, while I was in the shower, I had a series of realizations.

I was unmindfully mulling over a financial problem, because my bank had messed and moved all my money into someone else’s account, and then I became aware that I was caught up in unhelpful and distracted thinking.

My initial thought was that I was being blown around by one of the “four worldly winds” that Buddhism talks about: gain and loss. We often end up thinking that getting and having stuff is one of the most important things in life, and therefore think that losing stuff is important too.

As long as I’m not starving, loss isn’t really a … Read more »

UCLA director of mindfulness education discusses ways to unwind from election anxiety

November 10, 2016
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Download Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
News-Medical: One of the most contentious and anxiety-producing elections in recent U.S. history has ended. If your candidate was on the losing side, you may be feeling a sense of profound disappointment, anger, even a sense of hopeless about the consequences of the election result. Even if your candidate won, you may feel a need to wind down from weeks or months of stress and anger. The technique of mindfulness—living in the present moment with openness, curiosity and willingness—is an excellent antidote to the stress of modern times.

Diana Winston, director of mindfulness …

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