www.wildmind.org Wildmind

Also available online at http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200503.html


March 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:

  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 your teacher, who will give you encouragement and personal feedback based on many 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.

 

Help Survivors of the Tsunami

Recent news has been dominated by the aftereffects of the south Asian tsunami, and we encourage you to give to the Red Cross and other aid organizations. Although the tsunami happened a few weeks ago, there will be a continuing need for financial aid for a long time to come.

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

Several news stories this month report on claims that meditation can bring health benefits by lowering blood pressure. Not only does meditating bring lasting health benefits, but anyone can have access to the greater peace of mind, contentment, wellbeing, and improved relationships that come from the practice of meditation.

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 that you can download to your computer, 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 in a friendly and supportive environment.

Our courses are currently led by Subhadramati, an outstanding teacher who taught meditation at the London Buddhist Centre until she moved to Dublin, Ireland, in 1999 to help establish the Dublin Buddhist Centre.

Subhadramati
Subhadramati

Our next online meditation courses -- from all levels from beginners onwards -- start Tuesday, March 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

 

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).

Feb 25 Meditation can bring new mothers peace of mind (Modern Mom)
Postpartum depression affects nearly 20 percent of new mothers. It usually occurs in the first two weeks to six months after the baby is born. One way to prevent postpartum depression is to focus on the positives of being a new mother.

Feb 21 Hypertension: Meditation that aims to relieve stress may benefit blacks. (Courier Press, Kentucky)
High blood pressure affects blacks in the United States in disproportionate numbers. Might transcendental Meditation (TM) - designed to reduce stress, which can lead to hypertension - offer a long-term remedy?

Feb 17 Meditation may cut future heart disease risks (Web MD)
Even teens stand to benefit, study shows

Feb 16 University offers meditation classes (Daily Mississippian, Mississippi)
Many find meditation a very practical way to deal with everyday stress and anxiety.

Feb 15 Meditation helps students (International Herald tribune)
New research appears to be strengthening the case for teaching transcendental meditation in US schools, showing it to be a means to improve the concentration of students.

Feb 14 New $20 million cancer center opens in Columbus (Ledger-Enquirer, Georgia)
The center has a meditation room and meditation gardens and holds art therapy, yoga, tai chi and nutrition classes.

Feb 14 Good health starts on the inside and moves outward. (The Daily News, Pennsylvania)
Five years ago, Dr. Nancy Mramor was diagnosed with leukemia. She was told the prognosis did not look good. So she put to the test what she had been teaching for several years - mind-body medicine.

Feb 13 Peace of Mind (The Missourian)
Mindfulness techniques help stressed-out people stay calm and focused

Feb 12 Dose of spirituality has healthful effect (Boston Globe)
A variety of studies suggest that emotional happiness, including the kind often found among members of spiritual and religious communities, bolsters the immune system against the flu, colds, and other illnesses.

Feb 12 Meditation may help lower blood pressure (AP Wire)
Marion Williams knows she has a hard time relaxing. She leads a busy life as a traveling nurse, grandmother of 10, and advocate for nursing home residents, and for years she had high blood pressure. "It was due to the stress," said Williams, one of many black Americans who has battled high blood pressure.

Feb 11 Campus establishes new Buddhist Studies Center (UC Berkeley News, California)
Buddhism's New Age-type appeal has launched literally hundreds of self-help books, scores of films, and captured the imagination of more than a few Hollywood superstars.

Feb 9 Meditation calms blood pressure, too (Forbes)
transcendental meditation (TM) reduces hypertension and cuts down on the need for blood pressure-lowering medications, according to a study in black Americans.

Feb 8 The silent treatment (The Hartford Courant, Massachussets)
Bringing a little sunshine into your life with meditation as part of mind-body therapy.

Feb 8 Mindfulness meditation helps relationships (News-Medical)
Besides being a boon to the greeting card and florist industries, Valentine's Day reminds many Americans of the importance and great joy of their romantic relationships, especially courting and marriage.

Feb 8 Firsthand: A Look at Yoga and Religious Belief (Yoga Journal)
A Buddhist, a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim share how they blend yoga with their religious beliefs.

Feb 6 Spiritual focus aims to give work more meaning (Daily Breeze, California)
"There's so much frustration in the job market because people are not attached to their passion," advocate says.

Feb 5 Ways of meditation similar, but object varies among faiths (Sun-Sentinel, Florida)
"A lot of people say they've learned meditation from Buddhist or Hindu teachers. I also see meditation mentioned in the Bible, like in Psalm 1. Is everyone talking about the same thing?"

Feb 4 Meditation takes mind off matters of society (Post Independent, Colorado)
As cell phones ring, e-mail piles up, and work and off hours blend together, it is nearly impossible to stay centered in today's world.

Feb 4 Health Watch: Meditation Help (KTEN, Oklahoma)
Experts say meditation helps eliminate stress, promotes health, increases creativity and intelligence, and brings you inner happiness and fulfillment.

Feb 2 Knowing how to listen is as important as talking to God (The Oregonian, Oregon)
God is always trying to tell us something. The question is not whether God is trying to tell us something, but, 'Are we listening?

Feb 1 Meditation charges brain, study shows (Orlando Sentinel, Florida)
The benefits of this age-old practice appear to be a sharper mind and higher awareness.


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

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
- Philo of Alexandria

Dealing with other people is one of the trickiest aspects of trying to live with mindfulness. Just watch your speech over the next few days and see how often you criticize other people, belittle their achievements, make assumptions about their motivations, blame them for things that have happened to you, or make judgements marquerading as observations. You may be surprised just how habitual and unconscious our tendencies are to do these things, to the extent that it's often only in retrospect that we can see that we've acted in this kind of way.

We tend to act in this way because we cling to the idea that the world (including other people) should act in ways that meet our expectations. We regard ourselves as being at the center of the world, and get upset about any evidence to the contrary. But of course other people, don't, for some reason, regard us as being the center of the world -- usually they're too busy doing the same thing!

All of us, whether we know it or not, are engaged in a battle for happiness. The more conscious of this we are, the more likely it is that we'll be able to find the happiness we're seeking. And Philo, an early Christian whose name means "love," points out that if we recognize that we're all engaged in the same struggle to find happiness, we'll feel better about the otherwise inexplicable tendency that people have to act in ways that don't make us happy.

When someone does something we don't like -- whether it's to get angry with us, to eat that last cookie we had our eye on, or to break an agreement they'd made with us -- it's invariably because they thought or assumed on some often unconscious level, that these actions would, in the long term, bring them happiness. Their actions, in other words, are part of the same struggle or happiness that we too are involved in.

We all have the desire to seek happiness, but unfortunately we're not very good at bringing that desire to fruition. Reaching for happiness we inadvertantly grasp suffering. This is trues for us, and it's true for all others.

Simply to recognize that other's actions are part of a quest for happiness can free us from a great deal of our own suffering. And if we can begin to empathize with others to the extent that we can recognize that their fundamental motivation is to seek happiness, we can begin to empathize with the suffering they experience when, as often happens, their efforts don't bear the fruit they had expected. We can move from resentment to kindness, and we can move from frustration to love, as we recognize that we are all in a common struggle for happiness, contentment, and wellbeing.

Bodhipaksa


book cover

Book of the month

Buddha's Little Instruction Book, by Jack Kornfield ($10.00, paperback) 0553373854

This delightful little book by Jack Kornfield, former monk, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, psychotherapist, and author, is a collection of pithy aphorisms along with six short guided meditations.

The aphorisms, collected from a variety of meditation teachers such as Ajahn Chaa, Robert Aitken Roshi, Suzuki Roshi, and Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as the Buddha himself, provide rich food for reflection. Although the entire book could be hungrily devoured in an idle hour, the ideal would be to savor each quotation as the potent yet subtle delicacy it is, letting the effect sink in and allowing the mind and heart to make connections with one's personal practice and life.

Take this one: "The trouble is that you think you have time."

Or this: "When you walk, just walk. When you eat, just eat."

Or this: "In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you learn to let go?"

These and any of the other 121 quotations in Buddha's Little Instruction Book can help us to look at our life and practice anew, bringing a sense of curiosity and the dawning of an "aha!" moment.

The six meditations at the end of the book are beautifully crafted, with the language very simply yet richly giving instruction in classic Vipassana sitting meditation, as well as in walking meditation, eating meditation, and the cultivation of lovingkindness (metta), forgiveness, and compassion (karuna). The meditations are not overly structured but are more free-flowing and organic, although they are also very rich and the guidance, if returned to again and again, will be found to be fresh and multi-layered.

My only regret is that for all but a handful of the quotations no references are given, but given that Kornfield writes that the words are sometimes taken not literally but in the spirit of meditation masters, it's perhaps fitting that so many of them stand on their own.

This is a book that I will certainly return to time and time again.

Bodhipaksa


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

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