www.wildmind.org Wildmind

Also available online at http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200501.html


January 2005


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 Lockman, Maine.

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 ($175)


Course Schedule for early 2005

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:

  Jan 03, 2005 (Mon)
  Feb 01, 2005 (Tue)
  Mar 01, 2005 (Tue)
  Apr 04, 2005 (Mon)


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.

 

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

Happy New Year!

Nature magazine reports on evidence that meditation can help remold the human brain, leading to benefits ranging from better emotional functioning to better regulation of blood sugar.

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 you have access to all these things 24/7.

Our courses are suitable for anyone 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, January 3. Make sure you book your place now.


In this issue:

  • New teacher on Wildmind's online courses
  • Big Sky Mind Retreat, New Hampshire
  • New departments in our online store
  • Meditation in the news
  • Support our translation project
  • Quote of the month
  • Book of the month

New teacher on Wildmind's online courses

Subhadramati
Subhadramati

From January to April, 2005, Wildmind's online courses will be taught by Subhadramati, who taught meditation at the London Buddhist Centre until she moved to Dublin, Ireland, in 1999 to help establish the Dublin Buddhist Centre. Subhadramati is very involved in the Arts, and is currently co-editing a book of contemporary Buddhist poetry, to be published in summer 2005. We're delighted and honored to have her on board.


Big Sky Mind Retreat, New Hampshire

aryaloka
Inside Aryaloka: The Meditation Hall

If you already have your 2005 planner (congratulations on being organized!) make sure 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, New Hampshire.

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.

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 Airport.

You can read further details, including how to book your place, on Aryaloka's website.


New departments in our online store

The proceeds from our online store help us to spread teachings on meditation, so that we can expand our website and continue activities such as teaching meditation to prisoners.

tibetan singing bowl
Tibetan singing bowl

We recently added a few new departments to our store, including malas (rosaries for mantra meditation), ritual objects such as Tibetan singing bowls, incense holders, and shrines, and a hi tech section that includes the popular invisible clock timer and the revolutionary new Salubrion meditation chair.

Please do support our work and visit our store.


 

Meditation in the news

Every month 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.

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).

Dec 26 Can meditation reduce holiday stress? (Iowa City Press-Citizen)
Lecture may help ease pressures

Dec 24 When meditation spurs revolution (Taipei Journal, Taiwan)
Normally imperturbable New Yorkers have recently been visibly shaken by simulated scenes of religious persecution in China staged in bustling areas of New York such as Times Square and Grand Central Station.

Dec 24 Other Voices: Meditation for the holidays (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
"...last year I packed my bags on Thanksgiving and retreated to Thailand, a Buddhist country. The Lonely Planet, my travel guide, led me to the Northern Insight Meditation Center..."

Dec 24 Religion and Science: Buddhism on the brain (Nature)
Many religious leaders find themselves at odds with science, but the head of Tibetan Buddhism is a notable exception. Jonathan Knight meets a neurologist whose audience with the Dalai Lama helped to explain why.

Dec 23 Studies showing meditation helps stress (KS News, Utah)
"In a Salt Lake home, people gather, not to have a party, not to eat or socialize necessarily -- but to close their eyes in complete silence. What's it all about?"

Dec 20 Living Well: Quieting the mind can boost the body (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
"You've seen those small, water-filled globes that you shake up to simulate snow falling inside the scene. Dr. Mark Abramson wants you to think about those globes the next time you feel a bit frazzled or stressed out."

Dec 12 'Clear, strong mind' (Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire)
Meditation group aims to help students focus on the moment.

Dec 10 European lawmakers meditate under Sri Sri (Chennai Online, India)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who was invited to address the European Parliament in Brussels on December 7, spoke on prevailing issues plaguing the world and Europe in general. Shortly after the speech and a lively question and answer session, he led the parliamentarians through meditation, a novelty for most of those present, and appreciated by all.

Dec 8 Low income patients beat stress with yoga (Newsday)
"He's a Vietnam vet who wears clunky metal rings on nearly every finger and builds computers for fun, but lately the only place David Wilson wants to be is on his yoga mat..."

Dec 7 Why chilling out is the new cool Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, Australia)
Hollywood celebrities are doing it, and swear by its results. But meditation makes everyone feel better.

Dec 6 Meditation lowers youths' blood pressure (WebMD)
Middle school students reap benefits within 3 months, says study

Dec 5 St. Paul Labyrinth Will Honor Relationship With Nagasaki (WCCO, Minneapolis)
The city of St. Paul will build a meditation labyrinth in Como Park next year as a way to honor its sister city relationship with Nagasaki, Japan.

Dec 3 Middle school meditation brings blood pressure down (Center for the Advancement of Health)
Twenty minutes of daily meditation helped middle schoolers lower their blood pressure and heart rate, a new study from the state of Georgia concludes.

Dec 2 Meditate To Relieve Stress (WTOC, Georgia)
Maybe it's time to reach deep down into your inner self through meditation and get rid of some extra stress that can build up especially around the holiday season.


begging bowl

Support our translation project

Our mission is to benefit the world by promoting awareness and compassion 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.


 

amy tan

Quote of the month

"If you can't change your fate, change your attitude."
  -- Amy Tan

We can't choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to what happens to us. This is a central spiritual principle found in many traditions, and is particularly strongly emphasized in Buddhist practice.

This doesn't apply just for the "big" events of life such as losing a job or having an accident, but applies in every moment of life. In every instant we are having experiences that we automatically classify as pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Without mindfulness we tend to react, pushing away unpleasant experiences by getting annoyed, clinging to the sources of pleasant experiences, or by getting bored with neutral experiences.

It's those responses to events that cause most of our suffering rather than the events themselves. To take a simple example, sometimes we'll see someone we know walk straight past us without saying hello. This feels unpleasant, which is fair enough, but then we have a choice about how to respond to this. We can assume they simply didn't see us -- perhaps they were preoccupied? Or we can start to wonder if it was a deliberate slight, and start to worry about what we might have done to offend them, or become annoyed. And this amplifies our simple feeling of unpleasantness into a cascade of suffering that can go on for hours. This is just an example of a little thing, but our lives are full of -- in fact are made up of -- such little things.

We can't change the fact that someone walked by us without saying hello, but we can change our attitude to that basic fact. The quality of mindfulness brings a gap into our experience, where we can experience pleasant and unpleasant events and choose how we are going to respond. We can learn to face the million-and-one daily ups and downs without letting our pain turn into suffering. In this way, mindfulness brings freedom: freedom from the runaway thinking that causes stress, and freedom from unnecessary suffering.

Bodhipaksa


wilddivine

Book of the month

The Journey to Wild Divine computer game.
($134.95 in our online store after our 10% discount for orders over $30).

Our "Book of the Month" this month isn't a book, but we're sure you'll forgive us and share our excitement when you read about it.

The Journey to Wild Divine is a biofeedback computer game, taking you on a mystical journey, where you'll meet guides and learn to consciously relax. Oh, and you'll create some magic on the way.

So how does this all work? You wear three biofeedback "rings" that monitor your skin resistivity and heartrate variance, and in your journey through the game's environment you're asked to perform various tasks, learning in the process to change your physiological and mental states. For example, in one of the earlier warm-up exercises you have to juggle three brightly-colored balls; you do this by generating a state of energetic arousal. And one of my favorite exercises is encouraging birds to fly in wider and wider circles in the sky by relaxing the body and calming the mind. When you do this you really do feel like you're performing magic! And it's fun!

Through these exercises, which take place in the context of a mythic quest, you'll learn to alter your physiological and mental states at will to bring about states of relaxation, calmness, and energy. I've played a few computer games before, but never one that has left me feeling so refreshed and calm, and I think this is an easy way in to experiencing something of the potential that meditation has to offer. While the game seems to be aimed at adults, I think it would be very beneficial for kids as well -- one of the few computer games that actually help to develop calmness and concentration rather than ADD.

The game is beautifully presented and the graphics are lovely. Below you'll see one of the guides who will teach you to use your mind more effectively.

wilddivine

We've had hours of enjoyment on the journey to Wild Divine, and highly recommend this unique way of learning to relax and calm the mind.

WildDivine can be played on a PC or Mac.

Note: For a limited time you can receive a special Bonus CD with the purchase of The Journey, featuring an exclusive interview with Deepak Chopra, M.D. about biofeedback and the mind-body connection. Also includes the new trailer for The Journey to Wild Divine: Wisdom Quest.

Bodhipaksa


Copyright © 2005, Bodhipaksa.
Wildmind Meditation Services Inc., PO Box 212., Newmarket NH 03857, USA.

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