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Mar 26, 2015

Which positive emotion has the most “awesome” health benefits?

stonehenge at sunsetThe New York Times magazine this weekend will have an interesting article in its health column, The Well, about research into the health benefits of positive emotions.

The researchers were interested in looking at levels of a compound called interleukin-6, which is associated with general inflammation in the body. Low levels of interleukin-6 correspond to good health.

In the study, students were asked:

about their normal dispositions and the extent to which they had recently felt seven specific emotions: awe, amusement, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride. The students also provided a saliva sample. While happy moods were collectively still associated with low IL-6 levels, the strongest correlation was

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Mar 25, 2015

Waking Up To Who We Are: A Wildmind Retreat With Bodhipaksa, Aryaloka, April 24-26, 2015

WakingUp_WebGraphic_smallLearn how to wake up to who you are on a weekend retreat with Bodhipaksa.

“Within you is a natural wisdom, waiting to emerge.”

Join Bodhipaksa on this weekend exploration of insight meditation, where we will create the conditions for our innate wisdom to manifest.

Insight meditation, or vipassana, is not one specific technique, but a process in which we look deeply to see who and what we really are.

Waking up to who we are requires two, seemingly contradictory approaches. On the one hand we cultivate great stillness, receptivity, and acceptance. On the other hand we challenge our fixed and limited assumptions of who we are by looking deeply … Read more »

Mar 25, 2015

ZenFriend meditation app on Android

zenfriendLast year I gave a good review to a meditation timer app for the iPhone called ZenFriend. It’s a very attractive app with a clean and simply layout. I much prefer the look compared to the Insight Timer, which is the other main application I use.

I just heard today that the app is now also available for Android devices through the Google Play Store. It’s currently free. I’d recommend heading over and downloading it.

The app not only allows you to time your sessions, but also includes meditation instructions from a variety of teachers, and it includes a meditation log and statistics to help you track and maintain … Read more »

Science confirms benefits of meditation

wildmind meditation newsHow to Meditate with Pema Chödrön: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind Papiya Bhattacharya, The New Indian Express: Research at Nimhans on the benefits of yoga and meditation has found validation in an unrelated study in the US.

A Harvard study recently found that people asked to practise meditation show actual structural changes taking place in the brain.

These changes are responsible for calmer emotions, better memory, and lower stress. It is the first study to actually document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter.

People who participated in an …

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Multitasking? You’re killing yourself for nothing

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction by Bodhipaksa Noreen Seebacher, CMS Wire: Midway between juxtaposed thoughts about a report I was struggling to complete and a phone call I just missed, I decided to check my email, look at LinkedIn and scan my Facebook feed – all while taking a brisk morning stroll in beautiful Beaufort, S.C., what I have come to consider one of the most pleasant places on the planet.

Then I stumbled on a post by Rohit Bhargava — a marketing author, keynote speaker and “nice guy” — and everything became clear.

This multitasking is

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Mar 23, 2015

Best Dharma quote ever!

jkornfieldIf you can sit quietly after difficult news;

if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm;

if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy;

if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate;

if you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill;

if you can always find contentment just where you are:

you are probably a dog.

– Jack Kornfield

Thank you to Tim Brownson for sharing this, in a paraphrased form, on his blog.

The comes from Jack’s book, “A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times.”

Mar 23, 2015

Living with change

UnknownEverything changes all the time: our bodies, other people and the world around us. In fact, change and impermanence are the fundamental realities of our lives. Change is often painful, so typically we resist it, and that can cause all sorts of problems.

Mindfulness practice helps each of us to see how we respond to life’s uncertainty. We are more able to explore how our reactions can lead us into difficult states on mind such as stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness also helps us to accept impermanence and even embrace it.

Here are some exercises that explore change and how it affects us. These are quite potent and you if … Read more »

Pain entered my life unannounced — now, I manage chronic pain with mindfulness

wildmind meditation newsKindly Awareness: Managing Pain, Illness, and Stress with Guided Mindfulness Meditation (2 CD), by Vidyamala Vidyamala Burch, Huffington Post: I am on more than nodding terms with chronic pain. I was 16 in 1976 when pain came into my life and basically took it over. Before the pain, I was a fit, sporty, young woman — I loved to be outside hiking in the awe-inspiring New Zealand hills. Being active, moving without having to think about it, and enjoying what my body could do were absolutely fundamentals in my life. Like most people, I took these things totally for granted.

My …

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Why mindfulness will survive the backlash

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – Mindfulness of Breathing Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post: First came the declarations that mindfulness was “having a moment.” Then came the backlash.

A number of publications (this one included) called 2014 the “year of mindfulness,” and a Time cover story went so far as to proclaim a “mindful revolution” in American culture. Everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Anderson Cooper to Lena Dunham spoke out about the virtues of meditation, and mindfulness — the cultivation of a focused, non-judgmental awareness on the present moment — swiftly made its way from spiritual retreat centers to public …

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Mar 19, 2015

What is mindful presence?

Sunset Stone PileStress-Proof Your Brain, by Rick Hanson (2CDs) This article is about developing the skill of mindful presence.

Let’s unpack those two words, mindful presence.

Mindfulness is simply a clear, non-judgmental awareness of your inner and outer worlds. In particular, it’s an awareness of the flow of experience in your inner world – an alert observing of your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, desires, memories, images, personality dynamics, attitudes, etc.

When you are mindful of something, you are observing it, not caught up in it and not identified with it. The psychological term, “the observing ego” – considered to be essential for healthy functioning – refers to this capacity (i.e., mindfulness) to … Read more »