Nov 24, 2014
Florence Waters, The Telegraph: A week without noise in Ibiza proves a meditation revelation for Florence Waters.
I remember the first time a friend confessed he was going on a silent meditation retreat: no talking, Wi-Fi, books, phones or pens for what sounded like a very long week.
Though a little curious, I was embarrassed enough to change the subject immediately. Perhaps this is how people felt in the Nineties when someone disclosed they were having therapy. But when I saw him afterwards he was clearly moved by the experience; “I can’t really explain, you’ve just got to do it,” he ventured. “I …
Nov 22, 2014
One of the most attractive things about Buddhism is that it considers ethics to be based on the intentions behind our actions. This perspective is radical in its simplicity, clarity, and practicality.
When our actions are based on greed, hatred, or delusion, they’re said to be “unskillful” (akusala), which is the term Buddhism prefers over the more judgmental terms “bad” or “evil” — although those terms are used too, albeit mostly in the context of poetry. By contrast, when our intentions are based on mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom, they’re said to be skillful (kusala).
For many people accustomed to systems of morality based on commandments, rewards and punishments, the Buddhist ethical perspective …
Nov 21, 2014
Sarah Duggan, EducationHQ: Using mindfulness in the classroom improves students’ self-control, attentiveness and respect for each other, researchers have discovered.
The findings come from the Mental Health Foundation’s (MHF) Mindfulness in Schools programme, which saw six schools take part in an eight-week trial requiring teachers to implement 20-minute mindfulness sessions into their lessons.
Throughout the trial teachers documented any progress in a journal and later completed an extensive survey, the results of which were examined by researchers from Auckland University and the Auckland University of Technology.
Teck Wee, a primary teacher at Te Papapa School who participated in the trial, reported that he …
Nov 20, 2014
Christmas starts with battling through the seasonal crowds and keeps going to the New Year hangover. We need to pace ourselves. When you go shopping, take breaks. Sit in a café and follow your breath, regardless of what’s going on around you.
Check Your Expectations
So much stress comes from the idea that everyone should be happy and get on well. But things are as they are: children can get hyper and temperamental; family tensions can come out; old patterns can resurface. Allowing ourselves to …
Nov 20, 2014
Elisha Goldstein, PsychCentral: Last week I wrote about Thich Nhat Hanh’s brain hemorrhage landing him in the hospital. The most recent update from Plum Village shows that while his condition is still in a critical stage he has opened his eyes and even reached out to touch the attendant next to him. In continuing this time of honoring his life I wanted to share with you one of the gifts he has given me that I often share with others.
These are the short phrases he weaves into breathing or walking that helps us be more present, loving, grounded, and aware in …
Nov 19, 2014
Ed Halliwell, Mindful: In my last blog, I wrote that I had been experimenting with a slightly adapted working definition of mindfulness—“the awareness and approach to life that arises from paying attention on purpose, fully present, with curiosity and compassion.” This is a small shift from the most common modern definition of mindfulness, which describes the practice as ‘non-judgemental.’ Misunderstanding of ‘non-judgement’ has, I believe, has led to some unjustified criticisms, which suggest that mindfulness is ethically groundless or passive.
Mindfulness is just not neutral noticing. There are a clear set of attitudes which underpin the practice, and compassion may be the most …
Nov 18, 2014
Do you want to be calmer, happier, and experience more freedom from stress? Mindfulness has been clinically proven to reduce stress, promote feelings of wellbeing, and improve mental and physical health.
The next Power of Mindfulness online course starts December 1, 2014. It’s a four-week meditation course that’s accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the week, wherever you are. All you need is an internet browser. You can even participate on an iPad or other mobile device.
The convenience makes this perfect for people who don’t have meditation classes nearby, or who work irregular hours or who can’t travel because of illness, childcare arrangements, etc.
The course is web-based, and involves …
Nov 18, 2014
Michael D’Estries, Mother Nature News: Comedian, who has practiced Transcendental Meditation for 40 years, says the technique has helped him stay balanced throughout his career.
For more than 40 years, Jerry Seinfeld has twice daily practiced Transcendental Meditation, a mantra meditation he credits with giving him endless energy and peace of mind.
“When I think about the things I love more than money, more than love, more than just about anything, I love energy,” the 60-year-old said in an interview earlier last month. “I love it and I pursue it, I want it, and I want more of it. And I think this …
Nov 18, 2014
The first arrow: Think of a time someone said something hurtful to you, and let’s try to break down what happened. A comment was made, and you probably experienced actual physical pain, most likely in the solar plexus or heart. (When the hurt is particularly strong, we sometimes say it feels like we’ve been punched in the gut, don’t we?)
What went on was that some fast-acting part of your brain believed you were being criticized or marginalized, and so identified the comment as a threat to your wellbeing. That part of your brain then attempted to alert the rest of the mind to this threat by sending signals to pain …
Nov 17, 2014
The Four Noble Truths are the most fundamental teaching of the Buddha. Deceptively simple, they actually provide a profound explanation of human unhappiness, both gross and subtle, and how to attain increasingly positive states of mind, from stress relief in daily life to an unshakeable calm happiness and a selflessly compassionate heart.
With regard to the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha has been likened to a physician who diagnoses a condition, explains what causes it and what will end it, and then lays out in detail its cure.
The Noble Truth of Suffering
The first Noble Truth is that life contains inevitable, unavoidable suffering. (Some translators use the word, “stress,” to convey the broad …