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Also available online at http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200411.html

November 2004

Our Online Meditation Courses

Life member program

  "The Path of Mindfulness and Love" ($75)

  "Change Your Mind" ($75)

  "Awakening the Heart" ($75)

  "Entering the Path of Insight" ($75)

  Life Member Program ($125)

Course Schedule for 2004 and early 2005

There are only three courses left before the end of the year, so please remember to plan ahead if you're interested in taking one of our courses. You can sign up for any course at any time.

Courses start on the following dates:

  Nov 01, 2004
  Nov 29, 2004
  Jan 03, 2005
  Feb 01, 2005

A student writes...

"Your course has helped me in calming down. I notice now that I am less prone to anger as I used to be. I used to have a very short fuse. Now that fuse has increased substantially. I enjoyed your course immensely and will probably take it again in October as a refresher."

Mike Armstrong, New Mexico.

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

Meditation has been shown in clinical trials to reduce stress, boost the immune system, and to promote mental health, so with the US election looming and the flu season approaching, what better time is there to learn to meditate!

If you've ever wanted to learn powerful techniques for reducing stress and for learning conscious relaxation, sign up for one of our convenient online meditation courses. Our courses offer a rich experience, with online readings, guided meditations in MP3 and RealAudio format, a discussion forum, and personal attention in your online journal.

And our courses are suitable from complete beginners to more experienced practitioners. You'll learn powerful techniques for reducing stress and developing patience, relaxation, and calmness.

Our next online meditation courses -- from all levels from beginners onwards -- start Monday, November 1. Make sure you book your place now.

In this issue:

  • Meditation in the news
  • Support our translation project
  • Quote of the month
  • Book of the month

Meditation in the news

As always, we bring you a selection of news stories from around the world on topics related to meditation. As you might expect many of the stories deal with the role meditation can play in fighting stress and promoting health.

Two stories this month relate to Wildmind: one is a mention of a workshop Bodhipaksa will be leading at the prestigious Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, while another story features Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire, where Bodhipaksa leads workshops and retreats.

Please note that some of the news sources require a subscription.

Oct 28 Relief from stress just a mouse click away (New Kerala, India)
Online meditation service offers relief from stress.

Oct 27 Health Tip: Handling Stress (Forbes.com)
Helpful coping techniques from the Mayo Clinic include mindfulness meditation.

Oct 26 Relieving stress could be just a breath away (Ledger-Enquirer, Georgia)
Students of the Art of Living program say breathing techniques can bring greater awareness, a fuller and happier life, less stress, greater mental focus, and a bevy of other health benefits

Oct 26 China's former leader sued for genocide (Scoop)
New Zealanders sue Jiang Zemin for persecution of meditation movement.

Oct 26 Buddha has cure for Colly (The Mirror, UK)
Ex-England soccer striker Stan Collymore uses meditation to treat depression and aggression.

Oct 21 Guru fights stress with a breath of fresh air (IOL, South Africa)
"The worldwide trend of turning to intensive training in how to lower stress and finding renewed energy and clarity through Hindu breathing techniques is paying off."

Oct 19 Meditate and cut crime (trinidad and Tobago Express)
Centre hopes to spread, through prayer and meditation, a peaceful attitude that will help reduce crime.

Oct 19 Meditate on this (North Carolina State Technician)
Meditation is a difficult and rigorous practice, but the benefits are worth the effort.

Oct 16 Delving into alternative care (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Nontraditional treatments draw increased interest, research funding.

Oct 14 Dharma takes root in the suburbs (Boston Globe)
Story about NH Buddhist groups, including Aryaloka, where Bodhipaksa teaches.

Oct 14 Best winter deals at top resort spas (About.com)
Details of a meditation seminar Bodhipaksa is leading at the exclusive Greenbrier resort, West Virginia.

Oct 6 Meditation: Aware of present moment (South Bend tribune, Indiana)
The idea of uncluttering our minds transcends faiths and cultures.

Oct 5 New Age techniques for a new age of soldiers (Kansas City Star)
A US army doctor introduces alternative therapies -- including meditation -- to soldiers in Iraq.

Oct 3 Mindfulness takes on new meaning (Mercury News, San Jose, California)
Mindfulness has become to the 2000s what angels were to the 1990s, spiritual trend watchers say.

Oct 2 Couples having fertility troubles might try acupuncture and meditation (Bloggingbaby.com)
New programs at Stanford, Kaiser-San Francisco, Harvard and UCLA are using relaxation techniques - acupuncture, meditation and art therapy - to help couples with their struggle to have a baby.

Oct 1 Flag down that rage (Business Line - Chennai, India)
Agitated responses cause everyday accidents -- from dropping things to job-related errors and auto mishaps.

Oct 1 Meditation serves different purposes (Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio)
A journalist shares advice from a friend on meditation.

Oct 1 Practical, yes, practical aspect of meditation (Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio)
"Some of you may be doing it without knowing it."



Meditation and families

Do you have a story about how meditation has benefited your family? Have you tried teaching meditation to your children? If so we'd be very interested in hearing from you so that we can add more of a human interest angle to a proposed new section for the Wildmind site on the topic of families and meditation. Please send your stories to us at the address this email was sent from.


begging bowl

Support our translation project

Our mission is to benefit the world by promoting awareness and compassionate values through the practice of meditation.

Join our list of benefactors! If you've benefited from our site and would like to give something back, then making a donation can help us enormously. You can give as little as a dollar, but of course feel free to give as much as you want!

All contributions (which are tax deductible) go to our translation fund, which aims to help us translate Wildmind into other languages in order to help people around the world develop mindfulness and compassion. We now have French and Spanish versions of the site online, and Chinese, Polish, and Russian versions are in preparation.


Quote of the month

"A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature."
-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Seneca here is of course not suggesting that we merely give in to our whims and appetites -- which often represents the worst of our nature -- and in fact he saw this being in accord with one's own nature not as the starting point of a quest to find fulfillment, but as the end point of such a quest. In order to be in accordance with our true nature we must first of all undertake a process of discovery to find what, exactly, that nature is.

Meditation is an ancient tool that can greatly aid in the process of self-discovery that helps us find the fulfillment Seneca refers to. Seneca holds that "true happiness consists in not departing from nature and in molding our conduct according to her laws and model". Through meditation we learn to see that all things are impermanent, and that this is the true nature of reality. We also come to see that on a deep emotional level we don't want this to be the case. When the mind has a pleasurable experience, we want to attach to what it sees as the source of this experience in order to prolong or repeat that experience. And when we have an unpleasant experience we want to push away, hurt, blame, or destroy what the mind sees as the source of the unpleasant experience.

The mind is constantly at this game of trying to cling to some things and to push others away, and yet everything is impermanent. In reality there is nothing to cling to -- for how can we hold onto something that changes -- and for the same reason there's nothing we can push away. When we start to recognize the futility of trying to hold onto that which cannot be grasped, and see that acceptance of impermanence is the only rational way to live in an impermanent universe, we start to experience a deeper level of well-being and fulfillment.

At this point the way we are living our lives is in accord with the impermanent nature of the mind, and with the nature of the world that we live in. But getting there is not something that's easy to do alone. In his writings Seneca emphasizes that without appropriate guidance our desire for happiness may well lead to greater suffering, and that without that guidance the harder we strive for happiness the further we remove ourselves from it. It's therefore essential, he says, to obtain "the advice of some experienced person who has explored the region which we are about to enter".

In the Buddhist tradition this is what's known as spiritual friendship, or kalyana mitrata: the guidance of others on the path, and especially those who have explored the path a little further than we ourselves have. We all need this guidance as we explore new territory on this sometimes difficult exploration and uncovering of our true nature.


book cover

Book of the month

Peaceful Piggy Meditation
by Kerry Lee Maclean

(Click on the title to purchase from Amazon.com, or click here to purchase from Amazon.co.uk, Hardcover, $11.17 or£8.00).

When challenged by a philosopher that his explanation of the Buddha's teachings was so simple that a four-year-old could understand it, a Zen teacher replied that, yes, this was true, but that an 84-year-old could have trouble putting it into practice. Although some of the principles of Buddhist meditation are indeed so simple that a young child could understand them, there has until now been an absence of instructional material aimed at children.

In fact, Kerry Lee Maclean's book is the only book I know which aims to introduce young children to meditation. In traditional children's storybook style, with attractive illustrations and simple language, Maclean's book shows how much our lives consist of rushing around, and shows how the practice of sitting quietly and following the breath can help to settle the mind.

Maclean's illustrations show little piggies rushing around at school, playing competitive video games, having fights over toys, and getting frustrated over things going wrong: scenarios that all parents (and children) are familiar with. Having outlined the problems that our overloaded young piggies are faced with these days, Maclean goes on to offer an alternative, introducing the practice of mindful breathing (anapanasati) in simple language that even a four year old could understand. She uses simple, attractive, and evocative language such as, "Peaceful piggies sit like a king or queen on their throne, feeling the solid earth beneath them and the big sky all around them". This imaginative yet grounded approach is likely to be very effective with young children.

The youngest people that I've taught meditation to have been around 10 or so, but Maclean's book is aimed at a much younger audience, and should be suitable for four to seven year olds (the advance publicity says five to nine year old, but I think most nine year olds would find the illustrations too childish, and that some four year olds would love to follow the storyline and illustrations).

Maclean is well qualified to write such a book, having been meditating since se was 14, and now being the program director of the Colorado Shambhala Children's Rite of Passage project. More importantly, she has raised five children and taught them to meditate to help the family weather a domestic crisis.

I welcome this book as a valuable tool for parents and teachers (including meditation teachers who are more used to working with adults), and hope that Kerry Lee Maclean will produce many more books introducing children to meditation.





Seven Great Reasons to take a meditation course online:

  1. Personal attention: In your online journal you'll have an ongoing practice discussion with Bodhipaksa, who will give you encouragement and personal feedback based on over 20 years' experience of meditation.
  2. Depth: As you reflect in your journal, get feedback, and gain insights from learning new practices, you'll take your meditation practice to a new level of effectiveness.
  3. Quality: Access to outstanding written and audiovisual materials online.
  4. Support: You'll benefit from the discipline of a structured four-week course.
  5. Convenience: Log on when you want, fitting classes into your schedule when it's convenient.
  6. Flexibility: Download audio files that will guide you through meditation at any time.
  7. Availability: There are many opportunities each year to take a course. See the dates above for details.

Copyright © 2004, Bodhipaksa.
Wildmind Meditation Services Inc., PO Box 212., Newmarket NH 03857, USA.

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