Our Online Meditation Courses
A student writes...
"If this was one of those college
course evaluation forms I would be filling in all 5's for 'excellent'
on course materials, format and the like." Rori
Path of Mindfulness and Love" ($75)
Your Mind" ($75)
the Heart" ($75)
the Path of Insight" ($75)
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
Courses start on the following dates:
01, 2005 (Tue)
Seven Great Reasons
to take a meditation course online:
- 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.
- 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
- Quality: Access to outstanding
written and audiovisual materials online.
- Support: You'll benefit from
the discipline of a structured four-week course.
- Convenience: Log on when you
want, fitting classes into your schedule when it's convenient.
- Flexibility: Download audio
files that will guide you through meditation at any time.
- Availability: There are many
opportunities each year to take a course. See the dates above
Dear Wildmind Subscriber,
A very happy Thanksgiving to all our U.S. readers.
Yet more studies (see "Meditation in the News",
below) have shown that meditation produces lasting and positive
effects on brain function, producing significantly greater brain
activity in areas associated with learning and happiness. Oh,
and meditation's good for your heart, too. Can you really afford
not to meditate?
So if you've ever wanted to learn powerful techniques
for reducing stress, staying healthy, and for learning conscious
relaxation, sign up for one of our convenient online meditation
courses. These 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 29.
Make sure you book
your place now.
In this issue:
- Big Sky Mind Retreat, New Hampshire
- Meditation in the news
- Support our translation project
- CD relaunch
- Quote of the month
- Book of the month
Big Sky Mind Retreat, New Hampshire
Inside Aryaloka: The Meditation Hall
If you already have your 2005 planner (congratulations on being
organized!) you might want to pencil in the following dates: March
25 to April 1. That's the week that Bodhipaksa will be leading
the Big Sky Mind Retreat at Aryaloka Buddhist Center, Newmarket,
Aryaloka is one of New
Hampshire's most unusual buildings: two wood-framed geodesic domes
tucked away in the New England forest, but only an hour from Logan
International Airport in Boston, and 45 minutes from Manchester
The retreat is an intensive meditation experience of letting
go into the spacious, sky-like state of mindfulness. We'll explore
the practice of dissolving the boundaries of the self, expanding
it outwards until "self" and "other" have little or no meaning.
We'll use a variety of forms of the mindfulness of breathing practice
and walking meditation in order to stabilize the mind, and we'll
use the six element practice in order to let go of our limited
ways of seeing ourselves, and to enjoy seeing ourselves as part
of an interconnected reality.
You can read further details, including how to book your place,
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.
But an interesting new theme this month is family meditation,
with no fewer than four stories dealing with teaching meditation
to children. In last month's newsletter we reviewed "Peaceful
Piggy Meditations", a guide to meditation for children. Coincidence
or trend? We'll just have to wait and see.
Please note that some of the news sources require a subscription.
We recommend using BugMeNot
to bypass registration and to preserve your privacy. We also recommend
the free Firefox
browser for a safer surfing experience. (We're not associated
with Firefox or BugMeNot in any way. We just think these are cool
products that you might find useful).
Nov 21 Wrap
your mind around this (Kansas City Star)
Gathering looks at the brain's ability to change itself.
Nov 20 Stunning
visual meditation (Montreal Gazette)
Cloud gate dance theater's critically acclaimed moon water arrives
in Montreal this Friday.
Nov 17 Meditation
makes sense in stressful times (Detroit News)
Calming effect of quiet reflection has many benefits for health
Nov 17 A
quick nap shows how smart you are (AZCentral)
Yoga, meditation used to boost energy.
Nov 16 A
different kind of doctor (Fiji Times)
After being invited to attend a meditation session over 34-years-ago
by a friend, Nirmala Kajaria's life has never been the same.
Nov 16 Family
meditation focus of new book, Shambhala Center event (The
Daily Camera, Colorado)
Cargerman and her husband began meditating with their three boys,
twins Liam and Brendan, and Ian, 9, about three years ago after
learning about family meditation through Boulder instructor Kerry
Nov 13 Relaxation
classes may ease stress on battered women (Cape Codder, Massachusetts)
Health club is offering six one-hour meditation and stress reduction
sessions to anyone who donates supplies to women's shelter.
Nov 10 Meditation
may bolster brain activity (WebMD Medical News)
Buddhist meditation may produce lasting changes in the brain
Nov 9 Meditation
class gains popularity in Pecatonica (Rockford Register-Star,
Students from all over the Midwest have come to study Vipassana
at the center.
Nov 8 Yoga
gets hearts healthy (WebMD Medical News)
Yoga and meditation three times a week improves heart disease
Nov 8 Tango
with Buddha? New book, "Tango Zen: Walking Dance Meditation" by
Chan Park (EMediaWire)
Tango Zen is for beginners as well as veteran dancers, for those
who are new or seasoned at meditation, and for anyone who is searching
for a literal step-by-step method that is both rhythmic and simple
to pursue, in order to accomplish a peaceful way of being.
Nov 6 transcendental
meditation can help heart (News 8 Austin, Texas)
Your bad habits are likely the biggest threats to your health.
Nov 4 Daycare
center features yoga, meditation for youngsters (Pittsburgh
'It's not time out; it's just like quietness all around'.
Nov 2 Relax,
it's only a bit of stress (Times, Great Britain)
A meditative barrister is helping colleagues to breathe more easily.
Nov 2 New
age mantra: catch 'em young, teach them spirituality, meditation
(Pune Newsline, India)
Shlokas and mythological stories make engrossing listening for
Nov 1 Monk
shares power of meditation (Ann Arbor News, Michigan)
Zen Buddhist seeks to form nonreligious group.
Nov 1 Witch
way is way to go for witch (press Herald Portland, Maine)
Wiccan gives classes in witchcraft, meditation and related topics
as part of her business, Wiccadgood Witches.
Nov 1 Art
of Living: Breathe deeply to relieve stress, depression (Seattle
Students of the Art of Living program say the breathing technique
can bring greater awareness, a fuller and happier life, less stress,
greater mental focus and a bevy of other health benefits.
Nov 1 Parents
find children benefit from meditation (Register-Guard, Oregon)
Imagine a young child sitting still, quietly contemplating life
and thinking peaceful thoughts. Even for just five minutes.
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.
Quote of the month
"Anyone can become angry; that is easy. But to be angry
with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time,
for the right purpose, and in the right way; this is not easy."
We can all remember times when we've been angry without due cause
or can recall, perhaps with regret, times when we should perhaps
have been angrier than we actually were.
I have a bit of an aversion to being angry because I used to
get angry a lot and I've seen the hurt that can be caused when
our anger is out of control. And I know how unpleasant it is to
harbor feelings of anger and resentment on a daily basis -- it's
like carrying a red-hot coal in the pit of the stomach. And Buddhist
teachings don't tend to emphasize the possible applications of
anger, and focus more on controlling anger and replacing it with
patience. And yet Aristotle is I think right in pointing out that
anger has its place in the life of the emotionally mature individual.
Anger is not the same as hatred or ill will. While hatred or
ill will wish to inflict physical or, more commonly, emotional
hurt, anger lacks that damaging motivation. With hatred we wish
to punish, hurt, or destroy another person, usually because they
frustrate our will in some way. Anger, however does not want to
hurt another person but can be simply an expression of
frustration. I say "can be" because the line between
anger and ill will does not seem to be absolute.
Anger is a powerful upwelling of energy, and it's hard, as Aristotle
points out, to properly channel and manage that energy. So when
anger emerges, so too can other emotions such as hatred and ill
will. What may begin as a simple expression of frustration (for
example over an agreement not honored) can then lead to ill will
and worse. And this mutability is the reason, or at least one
reason, why the Buddhist tradition is so wary about anger.
When the Dalai Lama was aksed about the potential power for anger
in righting wrongs, he pointed out that it's the very power of
anger that means we have to be careful with it. When using a powerful
tool there exists the potential for great harm as well as great
So how do we tell whether our anger is really anger rather than
ill will? One key thing to note is that anger may be critical
of actions that a person has done, but is never critical of the
person himself. When we voice our frustration that someone hasn't
done something they agreed to do that may be anger, but when we
accuse them of being lazy or irresponsible (labels applying to
the person rather than to their actions) we've strayed over the
boundary into ill will.
And how do we know whether our anger is appropriately directed
("to the right person, to the right degree, at the right
time, for the right purpose, and in the right way")? That,
as Aristotle says, is "not easy." In order to develop
the emotional intelligence to channel our anger in this way takes
years of training in mindfulness, developing lovingkindness, and
cultivating patience. It may take years, but it's possible and
it immeasurably enriches life, so why not start meditating now?
Book of the month
Search of the Warrior Spirit: Teaching Awareness Disciplines to
the Green Berets
Richard Strozzi-Heckler (Paperback, $12.89)
(Click on the title to purchase from Amazon.com, or click
here to purchase from Amazon.co.uk, Paperback, £9.19).
Note to Hollywood: this book would make a great movie. Take a
bunch of aggressively skeptic and highly macho Green Berets, the
U.S. Army's elite special forces unit, and throw them into intensive
training in meditation, aikido, and biofeedback -- led by a bunch
of guys heavily influenced by Eastern philosophy and wearing,
believe it or not, lilac uniforms -- stand back, and wait for
all hell to break loose. Which promptly happens.
Some of the instructors are virtually eaten alive by the troops,
who are on high alert for any sign of insincerity or lack of integrity,
and who have a talent for finding buttons to press. At one point
the Green Berets, on an intensive meditation retreat, are in open
revolt, crowding round and yelling at the instructors in the middle
of a "silent" meditation period. One of the soldiers
steps forward menacingly and gives each of the three retreat leaders
the finger, yelling, "F___ you and f___ you and f___ you!"
Fast-forward to a quieter moment on retreat, and Strozzi-Heckler
opens his eyes to see a Green Beret sitting in blissful meditation.
Below the still, relaxed, and concentrated face of the warrior
is a T-shirt that reads, "82nd AIRBORNE divISION: DEATH FROM
ABOVE". And so on... Not your average meditation retreat.
Lest you think that the program was all confrontation and culture
clash, the program, stormy as it was, produced stunning results,
with massive increases for example in the soldiers' abilities
to control their body temperature in extreme conditions and to
recuperate quickly after exercise. And on a more personal level,
it's fascinating to witness these warriors contact their softer
sides. One of the soldiers, who was a Christian, is thrown into
turmoil because he's unsure whether he could kill someone now
that he's learned to meditate and come to a deeper appreciation
of the compassion taught in his own faith.
This kind of quandary represents the central question that Strozzi-Heckler
returns to over and over in his writings, which are based on a
daily journal he kept over the six months of the project. Can
he teach these men to be warriors rather than soldiers -- fully
feeling human beings rather than alienated killing machines --
and have them still function as soldiers? It's not a question
that is ever likely to be resolved, but nonetheless this is a
fascinating account of a bold experiment in bringing awareness
disciplines to the U.S. Special Forces.
Oh, and Hollywood, Kevin Costner is a natural to play Strozzi-Heckler.