Wildmind

Also available online at http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200610.html

October 2006


Featured product

cover

"Meditation for Everyone" DVD ($19.99)

This DVD provides an excellent guide to the Mindfulness of Breathing practice. Narrated by the BBC's Mike Harding and with some impressive visuals.

Our online meditation courses

A student writes...

"The readings were very thought-provoking and gave me glimpses of insight and direction. But the most rewarding parts were your insights and encouragement. I feel renewed in my determination to continue down this path whole-heartedly. Thank you very much."


Online course schedule

Plan ahead if you're interested in taking one of our courses! You can sign up for any course at any time.

Upcoming course dates are:

Starting October 2, 2006

""The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4w)
""Change Your Mind (4w)
""Awakening the Heart (4w)
""Entering the Path of Insight (4w)
""Living the Skilful Life (8w)
""Karma, Rebirth, and the Psychology of the Six Realms (8w)

Starting November 6, 2006:

 The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4w )
 Change Your Mind (4w)
 Awakening the Heart (4w)
 Entering the Path of Insight (4w)
 Mindfulness in Daily Life (4w)
 Mindfulness @ Work (4w)


Seven great reasons to take a meditation course online:

  1. Personal attention: 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 discussions with your teacher and gain insights from learning new practices, you'll take your meditation practice to new levels of effectiveness.
  3. Quality: Access to outstanding written and audiovisual materials online.
  4. Support: You'll benefit from the discipline of a structured 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,

In this month's issue, we bring you our usual monthly round-up of the latest international news on meditation. This month must set a record for the number of stories on meditation, and we hope you'll enjoy this fascinating overview of the breadth of ways that meditation is being applied.

We also bring you a book review that will interest anyone with young children, and our usual quote of the month and commentary. We're also pleased to announce a new translation of the Wildmind site, and an upgrade of our news resource.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere the nights are growing longer, encouraging us to turn inwards, so please take note of our online courses in meditation and Buddhism. The light may be fading outside, but we can seek Enlightenment within!

Enjoy!


In this issue:

  • Upgraded news section on Wildmind
  • Polish site launched
  • Autumn course schedule
  • Meditation in the news
  • Buddhism Behind Bars project
  • Support our translation project
  • Quote of the month
  • Book of the month

Upgraded news section on Wildmind

We've started work on a new version of our online meditation news index. The new resource is searchable, and can also be browsed by category. So if you're interested in how news sources around the world are reporting on how meditation interacts with schools, the military, or mental health, you can easily consult our database. So far we have September and August's stories on the new system, but we'll be working at transferring our entire database, which goes back to 2002, as fast as we can.


Polish site launched

We're pleased to announce that the Polish version of our website has been unveiled. We'd like to thank Lukasz Szpunar, and Dharmachari Nityabandhu of Krakow for their help in translating our materials.


Autumn Course Schedule

About our courses

All of our courses offer a content-rich and interactive experience, with online readings, multimedia content such as guided meditations in MP3 or RealAudio format that you can download to your computer, a discussion forum, and personal guidance 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 course schedule is getting into gear and details can be found in the column to the left. Two new courses, led by Saccanama, will be launched in October (because of a family bereavement this is later than originally planned).

STARTING OCTOBER 2, 2006:

Meditation Courses

Taught by Sunada:

 The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4 weeks)
 Change Your Mind (4 weeks)
 Awakening the Heart (4 weeks)
 Entering the Path of Insight (4 weeks)

Practice in Daily Life and Buddhism Courses

Taught by Saddhamala:

 Mindfulness in Daily Life (4 weeks)
 Mindfulness @ Work (4 weeks)

Taught by Saccanama:

 Living the Skilful Life (8 weeks)
 Karma, Rebirth, and the Psychology of the Six Realms (8 weeks)

Make sure you book your place now.

About our teachers

sunada
Sunada

Sunada is an experienced teacher who has been meditating for over ten years. Having established her own practice while working full-time in the high tech field and then in arts administration, she understands the challenges of balancing a meditation practice with a busy life.

saccanama
Saccanama

Saccanama's teaching style is characterized by both depth and clarity. If you practice meditation and want to know more about Buddhism, or even if you are just curious to find out what Buddhism really has to say, then either of Saccanama's courses is ideal for you.

 

saddhamala
Saddhamala

As well as teaching regularly at Aryaloka Buddhist Center, Saddhamala is an independent workshop facilitator and consultant, and a faculty member at Granite State College. Her approach to teaching is marked by a gentle and compassionate style.


Meditation in the news

A different place, a different person—but still running (Sunday Inquirer Magazine)

Sep. 24th, 2006. He begins his day at 5:30 a.m. with a unique form of prayer that involves yoga asana, scriptural reading and meditation. His breakfast, like all meals he has learned to prepare and cook for himself, is simple and quick... Read more

Journey to inner peace (Monterey County Herald)

Sep. 24th, 2006. The monks spend much of their days isolated in their cells -- hexagon-shaped living quarters, each with a small yard -- pursuing their personal relationships with God, mostly through meditation... Read more

Take experiment to masses: Kalam (Yahoo! News)

Sep. 23rd, 2006. Inaugurating the World Congress on Clinical and Preventive cardiology at Mount Abu through video conferencing from here, he said the experiment, which included a vegetarian diet, aerobic exercise and stress management through rajyoga meditation, was simple and rudimentary... Read more

Spiritual Journey: Pianist Alice Coltrane fashioned her life and music from her time with legendary saxophonist John Coltrane (Detroit Free Press)

Sep. 22nd, 2006. John Coltrane's interest in Eastern religions and meditation had a profound impact. There was a movement in the late '60s and early '70s toward non-Western modes of consciousness, but for Alice Coltrane, it was no fad. Meditation brought her peace and clarity, she says... Read more

It's a new age for off-season training (National Post)

Sep. 22nd, 2006. Komisarek joined Higgins this off-season in a new approach to the old problem of preparing for a long, grueling hockey season -- an approach that includes yoga and meditation along with power-lifting, plyometrics and explosive sprints... Read more

Meditation a fitting way to celebrate (The Citizen)

Sep. 22nd, 2006. Watelet, a yoga instructor from Rochester, was here along with 35 others to celebrate the International Day of Peace, held every year on Sept. 21, by conducting a group meditation in the theater... Read more

Yoga club to bring meditation to campus (The Spartan Daily)

Sep. 21st, 2006. "Your mind is always stressed between the past and the future," Dasasathyan said. "But when you meditate and practice yoga and control of breath your mind begins to relax and focuses on the present." ... Read more

Annual Bridgewater peace vigil begins tonight (The Enterprise)

Sep. 21st, 2006. The day's events will include prayer, mediation, music, various speakers and performers, food and dance. Buddhist meditation begins at 5 a.m... Read more

Hundreds experience all Dalai Lama visit had to offer (UB Reporter)

Sep. 21st, 2006. Lama Surya Das, a UB alumnus recognized as one of the foremost meditation teachers in the West, led several hundred individuals in a calm, 45-minute meditation session... Read more

Scientist reveals key link between the mind and the body at Dalai Lama Meeting (Phayul.com)

Sep. 21st, 2006. The inflammatory reflex is the foundation for the mind-body connection, as it provides a direct link between the nervous system and that which normally keeps people healthy -- the immune system... Read more

Divining the brain (Salon.com)

Sep. 21st, 2006. Using brain scanning technology, researchers have been able to pinpoint which parts of the brain are activated during prayer and meditation. While they can't answer the biggest question of all -- does God exist? -- they are probing one of the deepest mysteries in science: the nature of consciousness... Read more

Yoga and meditation: nourishing Jewish souls (The Star-Ledger)

Sep. 21st, 2006. In recent years, Agudath Israel and other Conservative synagogues have integrated yoga and meditation with their regular services for Jews seeking new ways to cultivate the spirituality associated with Rosh Hashanah , which marks the start of the Jewish new year... Read more

Labyrinth a tool for meditation; a gift to community (DelmarvaNow.com)

Sep. 20th, 2006. "It's about getting quiet, getting still," LeCates said. "It's just a fast-paced world and if we don't slow down and listen to what's inside us we miss an awful lot." A labyrinth is like a maze, except there's only one path in and out. Labyrinths are designed for meditation and contemplation... Read more

Over 1.6 million Americans use alternative medicine for insomnia or trouble sleeping (ScienceDaily.com)

Sep. 19th, 2006. Those using CAM to treat insomnia or trouble sleeping were more likely to use biologically based therapies (nearly 65 percent), such as herbal therapies, or mind-body therapies (more than 39 percent), such as relaxation techniques. A majority of people who used herbal relaxation therapies for their insomnia reported that they were helpful... Read more

Meditation basics (AskMen.com)

Sep. 19th, 2006. Over the years, more and more people have tuned into their own bodies and have adopted more enriched lifestyles. Despite the trend of taking care of the body and mind, many men still consider such practices as meditation to be a little effeminate and refrain from doing them. There are many ways to reap the benefits of meditation without getting in too deep... Read more

Meditation tips from Jim Loehr (Tennis.com)

Sep. 19th, 2006. “Meditation is essentially about being in the moment,” says Jim Loehr, Ed.D., author of The Power of Full Engagement (Free Press, 2004) and a performance psychologist who has worked with dozens of elite tennis players, including Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Here are two of the simple meditation exercises he recommends for his athlete clients... Read more

Ithaca has the lone monastery in North America (The Post-Standard)

Sep. 18th, 2006. Namgyal Monastery offers meditation and courses including a three-year program in Tibetan Buddhism. Namgyal also serves as a community center for about 30 Tibetan refugees living in Ithaca... Read more

Buddhism takes the spotlight (The Buffalo News)

Sep. 18th, 2006. Buddhism's presence in Buffalo stretches back several decades to when the beatnik poets of the 1950s and 1960s helped introduce Zen in the United States as an avant garde antidote to institutional religion. But only in more recent years has it gained a steadier foothold here, in the form of a loose-knit community of diverse meditation groups... Read more

It's official: Yoga improves memory (Hindustan Times)

Sep. 18th, 2006. “Sans memory man is insane,” goes an ancient adage. Studies conducted by the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN) have shown that Vipassana meditation and Pranayama play a beneficial role in improving an individual’s intellectual faculties like memory and learning... Read more

Meditation for developing an open mind (BellaOnline)

Sep. 18th, 2006. We continuously create our reality by our choices, moment to moment, maintaining harmony by following our conscience and acting for the highest good. An open mind allows us to see many options... Read more

Pursuing peace through meditation (Wisconsin State Journal)

Sep. 18th, 2006. With meditation, says Davidson, a person can train his or her mind to improve attention and regulate emotions; it can also improve a person's level of happiness and well-being. Davidson explains that these benefits come from neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to be exercised and enhanced, creating new neural pathways... Read more

UB events mark Dalai Lama's visit (The Buffalo News)

Sep. 17th, 2006. There are numerous events on and off the University at Buffalo campus revolving around the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama this week. The Dalai Lama will appear at an interfaith service at 4 p.m. on Monday, at UB Stadium at 3 p.m. Tuesday and on Wednesday morning at a conference on law, Buddhism and social change... Read more

Our aches and pains are greatly influenced by emotions (The Olympian)

Sep. 17th, 2006. "Emotions and health are critically connected on every level," said Ryan Niemiec, a psychologist and behavioral consultant with the Primary Care and Prevention Center in St. Louis. "Emotions can cause physical illness, make it worse, or they can maintain an illness - keep it from (improving) because the person is stuck in some emotion. Or they can aid in recovery. It's artificial to say there's a separation. Anything that happens in the body happens in the mind, and anything that happens in the mind happens in the body." Read more

Meditation for those who can't take life sitting down (Denver Post)

Sep. 17th, 2006. Life feels like a rat-race on steroids, you're so amped it's hard to catch your breath, much less sit down and count every breath, as the meditation gurus advise. Sure, you crave the benefits of meditation - stress reduction, improved mental focus, more energy, a stronger immune system - but whenever you sit down to quiet your thoughts, bang ... Read more

Brahma Kumaris to launch meditation campaign in London (NewKerala.Com)

Sep. 16th, 2006. Spiritual organization Brahma Kumaris will launch its global meditation campaign "just-a-minute" (j-a-m) before an impressive gathering at Wembley Arena in London tomorrow... Read more

Yoga class teaches students relaxation, meditation (The tribune-Georgian)

Sep. 16th, 2006. Tuccillo said yoga postures, which often require twisting one’s body into what might look like impossible positions, have a “squeeze and soak” effect on internal organs, which increases oxygen and blood flow to optimize the way the organs function... Read more

Japanese police raid cult offices (BBC News)

Sep. 16th, 2006. Before the attacks, Aum Shinrikyo had thousands of members, many of them educated and wealthy, who embraced Asahara's violent apocalyptic teachings. In its new form as Aleph, it still considers Asahara a "genius of meditation" but says it cannot approve of Aum's activities under his leadership and no longer considers him its guru... Read more

They live by the sword (The Boston Globe)

Sep. 16th, 2006. When Kim was 21 and living in his hometown of Seoul, his Zen Buddhism teacher sent him on a 100-day meditation retreat to a cabin outside the city. During the retreat, Kim says, he attained the "Mind Sword" enlightenment, and the art of Shim Gum Do came to him during his meditations... Read more

Meditation for contemplation on religion and spirituality (BellaOnline)

Sep. 15th, 2006. Ten people can be practicing ten different religions, yet share the same spiritual experiences and understandings... Read more

Lessons in meditation to jail inmates by US based organization in Gwalior (NewKerala.com)

Sep. 15th, 2006. The inmates of Gwalior Central Jail recently had a day long session of taking lessons in spiritualism, relieving stress and how to shun violent tendencies by a visiting team of volunteers representing a New York based organization... Read more

To find peace, look within (Yahoo! Finance)

Sep. 14th, 2006. Author teaches readers how to focus on internal fixes when external life gets rough... Read more

American Buddhism on the rise (The Christian Science Monitor)

Sep. 14th, 2006. Buddhism is growing apace in the United States, and an identifiably American Buddhism is emerging. Teaching centers and sanghas (communities of people who practice together) are spreading here as American-born leaders reframe ancient principles in contemporary Western terms... Read more

Tots learn joy of calm (The Whitehaven News)

Sep. 14th, 2006. Yoga and meditation were on the agenda as part of a unique summer playscheme run by Surestart Children Centre... Read more

Conference discusses integrative medicines (Huntington Herald Dispatch)

Sep. 13th, 2006. Sharma said he first discovered this method called "integrative medicine" after taking interest in his wife's meditation. "I started doing it myself and I just found that it was so relaxing and different compared to surgery or taking a lot of pills as part of my medication," Sharma said... Read more

Meditation May Cool Hot Flashes (WebMD)

Sep. 13th, 2006. Easing stress through meditation may help turn down the heat of hot flashes caused by menopause... Read more

Vietnam vet aiming to bring peace to stressed-out troops (The Scotsman)

Sep. 13th, 2006. A Vietnam veteran claims he is on a mission to help Edinburgh's stressed-out soldiers and war veterans. American Shen Bowers has set-up a weekly meditation class to help soldiers and veterans cope with post-war stress and ease their transition to civilian life... Read more

Practitioners tell of abuse in China (Jackson Citizen Patriot)

Sep. 13th, 2006. Zhang, 68, said he was one of the lucky practitioners of what's also known as Falun Gong, a form of meditation and exercise banned by the Chinese government. Communist officials have killed and cremated thousands of adherents for their beliefs, Zhang and other followers contend... Read more

Leading a balanced life (Los Angeles Times)

Sep. 12th, 2006. Surfer Knox credits meditation in aiding his confidence as he chases elusive world title at age 35... Read more

A primer for the Dalai Lama's visit (The Buffalo News)

Sep. 12th, 2006. "Vajra Sky Over Tibet" is a combination of elements: meditation, history and travelogue. And it's also a primer on Tibet and Buddhism as the Dalai Lama comes to the University at Buffalo... Read more

transforming misery into meditation (Cybernoon.com)

Sep. 12th, 2006. Happiness comes and goes, unhappiness comes and goes; it is a passing show. You are just there, a mirror reflecting it... Read more

Art of Living founder to fight stress in Ottawa (Ottawa Sun)

Sep. 12th, 2006. the 49-year-old, considered a frontrunner for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize to be announced next month, says the frenetic pace isn't all that stressful. "My technique really works," he says, in a playful voice... Read more

Religious leaders gather to talk of peace, unity (CBS4 Boston)

Sep. 11th, 2006. In the Boston area, many people observed the Sep. 11 anniversary with prayer. Boston’s Historic trinity Church was open to people of all faiths for prayer and meditation... Read more

Meditation school seeks Rackham course (The Detroit News)

Sep. 11th, 2006. A transcendental mediation school wants to buy the city's Rackham Golf Course for $6.25 million with plans to keep it intact but turn it into an organic course, in addition to offering educational programs on golf and agriculture... Read more

How to teach adults sitting meditation (BellaOnline)

Sep. 11th, 2006. Sitting meditation may be the first time adults have taken time in busy lives to really sit still and explore their unseen qualities... Read more

Zen Buddhist Temple offers peace, meditation (Chicago Sun-Times)

Sep. 10th, 2006. We hope that people would make their spiritual cultivation part of their everyday life... Read more

tranquility amid the gridlock (The New York Times)

Sep. 10th, 2006. We forget that the process of getting there is equally important. Everything is a dharma teaching... Read more

Walking for peace (The Louisville Courier-Journal)

Sep. 9th, 2006. The march, officially known as the Gandhi-Merton Pilgrimage for Peace and Non-Violence, was organized by the Louisville-based group Interfaith Paths to Peace, which promotes nonviolent approaches to conflicts... Read more

Integrating spirituality and Right View into daily life (PR Web)

Sep. 9th, 2006. Find inner peace and work towards a better world for all beings, through meditation practices and by developing the virtues of love, joy, equanimity and the eternal flame of wisdom and compassion... Read more

Madonna meditates with Havel before Prague concert (MonstersAndCritics.com)

Sep. 7th, 2006. The meditation focused on the humanistic mission which she tries to promote... Read more

Daily meditation, a recommended prescription for the soul (Naples Sun Times)

Sep. 6th, 2006. Meditation is not a new practice, and although most meditative techniques come from India, China and Japan, many cultures around the world have practiced meditation for centuries... Read more

Mastering Your Own Mind (Psychology Today)

Sep. 6th, 2006. practiced Buddhist meditators deploy their brains with exceptional skill. Drawing on 2,500 years of mental technology—techniques for paying careful attention to the workings of their own minds—they develop expertise in controlling the flow of their mental life, avoiding the emotional squalls that often compel us to take personal feelings oh, so personally, and clearing new channels for awareness, calm, compassion and joy. Their example holds the possibility that we can all choose to modulate our moods, regulate our emotions and increase cognitive capacity... Read more

The Science of Meditation (Psychology Today)

Sep. 6th, 2006. You don't need to quit your job, give up your possessions and spend 30 years chanting. Recent research indicates that meditating brings about dramatic effects in as little as a 10-minute session. Several studies have demonstrated that subjects who meditated for a short time showed increased alpha waves (the relaxed brain waves) and decreased anxiety and depression... Read more

Mindfulness, meditation can help relieve stress of college (NDSU Spectrum)

Sep. 5th, 2006. Everyday pressures of life can be hard on a body physically and mentally. That’s why NDSU is offering a mindfulness workshop for the first time... Read more

Yoga joins treatment for kids with disabilities (The Cincinnati Post)

Sep. 5th, 2006. Yoga joins treatment for kids with disabilities (The Cincinnati Post) A growing number of kids with attention, anxiety and learning disorders, as well as diseases such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, are embracing yoga... Read more

Meditation centre at Manipal Hospital (The Rising Nepal)

Sep. 4th, 2006. A Rajyog Dhyan (meditation) Center has been initiated in Manipal Hospital Pokhara with an objective of providing better health care to the mental patients from the Rajyog besides modern treatment. Some 55 mental patients come to the hospital each day... Read more

Coronary heart disease: transcendental meditation may improve cardiac risk factors (Xagena, Italy)

Sep. 3rd, 2006. transcendental meditation, a relaxation technique, may decrease blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance among patients with coronary heart disease... Read more

Lessons of Buddhism can help all (Times Union, Albany, NY)

Sep. 2nd, 2006. It appears our world is becoming more violent. Our country and citizens are feeling intense vulnerability in the wake of 9/11 and the spiraling strife in the Middle East. Most everyone would agree that "something" should be done to stem this violence. Buddhists take an altogether different approach: They sit and do "nothing"... Read more

Personalize your mandala (Akron Beacon Journal)

Sep. 2nd, 2006. Put your own symbols on shield in hanger used as meditation aid in many nations, faiths... Read more

Buddha's Vipassana (OhMy News)

Sep. 2nd, 2006. Buddhism teaches that the regular practice of meditation leads to liberation or Nirvana.... Read more

Meditation, Jewish style (San Diego Jewish Journal)

Sep. 1st, 2006. This past winter, I traveled to New York for seven days of meditation, Jewish style. Surprising for many Jews, I imagine, who might consider meditation to fall in the sphere of Buddhism, Hocus-Pocus or Madonna’s Kabbalah... Read more

Meditation on War: The Zen path to healing veterans' trauma (Utne Magazine)

Sep. 1st, 2006. Some one in six Iraq veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and, as Joe Piasecki of the LA City Beat reports, some of them are taking a different path to healing: meditation. At a recent retreat at the Zen Center of Los Angeles, Vietnam vet Claude Anshin Thomas taught fellow veterans to confront their trauma by "waking up to how we've been affected" and applying full consciousness to the present moment... Read more

New book title from Joel & Michelle Levey: Luminous Mind (PR Web)

Sep. 1st, 2006. Includes techniques for meditation, focus, and relaxation that have helped the Olympic Athletes, U.S. Armed Forces, Microsoft, AT&T, and numerous individuals... Read more

Meditation for reflection on giving kids and teens guidance (BellaOnline)

Sep. 1st, 2006. Reflection meditation is valuable for your teens to learn too - aiding them to calmly work out sticky situations... Read More

 


buddhism behind bars

 

Support the Buddhism Behind Bars project

Buddhism Behind Bars is a book that Wildmind plans to publish in late 2006 or early 2007. The book will be a compilation of writings by inmates and prison volunteers about how meditation and Buddhist practice have transformed lives.. This project provides educational opportunities for inmates. Each writer is assigned a writing mentor who will help the prisoner to find his voice in order to tell his story effectively. Giving $100 to this project will provide a writing tutor to help an inmate articulate his or her experience of practicing Buddhism in prison.. We will also make copies of Buddhism Behind Bars available free of charge to inmates. Giving $10 will pay to produce one copy of the book and ship it to an inmate.. To help us reach as many inmates as possible, please consider making a donation to support our work.


begging monk

Support our translation project

Our mission is to benefit the world by promoting mindfulness and compassion through the practice of meditation.. 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 are tax deductible and go to our translation fund, which aims to help us translate Wildmind into other languages. We now have French, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian versions of the site online, and a Polish version is in preparation.


Dr Johnson

Quote of the Month

"Any thought that is passed on to the subconscious often enough and convincingly enough is finally accepted." -- Robert Collier.

All too often thoughts set thoughts in motion with little or no conscious intervention on our part, creating an inner avalanche of ideation. Helplessly caught up in this endless cascade, we are swept away by the stories generated by our hopes and fears.

To change the metaphor, each thought sends forth an echoing cry, like an animal calling for its mate, and this cry penetrates the heart, evoking an emotional response. The end result is suffering, stress, depression, anxiety.

Our thoughts form consistent story lines: "Nobody likes me," "If only such-and-such a thing would happen, then I'd be happy," "I just know this is going to go wrong," "I bet he did that deliberately." As we listen, without mindfulness, to these story lines, day in and day out (and at night too, for our inner dramatic arc does not cease with conscious thought) we remain utterly convinced that these stories are truth, not imaginings.

And yet thoughts are not facts, but merely the projections of our hopes and fears. As we develop greater mindfulness we begin to recognize this, to catch ourselves in the act of indulging in a story line whose punch line is an ache in the heart. And we start to be able to let go of these storylines, realizing that they will bring us nothing good.

A further step in some meditation traditions is to cultivate thoughts that will enhance wellbeing rather than diminish it. And so, in the development of lovingkindness practice we repeat phrases such as "May I be well, may I be happy," and in mantra practice we repeat phrases that evoke enlightened qualities of insight, compassion, and energy. Even the traditional recitation of the refuges and precepts can be seen as a way of convincing the mind of the value of committing oneself wholeheartedly to the path of awareness and compassion.

- Bodhipaksa


book cover

Book Review

The Tao of Poop: Keeping Your Sanity (and Your Soul) While Raising a Baby by Vivian E. Glyck (Wisdom Publications, 2006, Hardcover, $16.95).

My first question as I approached this book was whether I would find the time to read it whilst caring for my one-month-old daughter. The second question was, of course, whether it would reward my efforts. Happily, the answer to both questions was a positive one.

The Tao of Poop is divided into ten very readable chapters, each with a theme or ‘life lesson’ for parents to reflect upon. These are diverse and some will resonate more than others with the reader at any particular time -- thus I felt I was reading a book that I could return to again and again. My personal favorites were, “We’re not in control,” and “Healing the mommy wars.” In the former was the sentence that I took up as a kind of mantra for my first few weeks as a new mum: “The sooner you make friends with helplessness as a parent, the longer and happier you will live.” I imagine that every reader would find such gems that ring true for him or her.

In “Healing the mommy wars,” Glyck explores the tendency to compare oneself with other parents, leading to a false sense of superiority or of inadequacy. She encourages compassion for self and others as the simple, yet challenging, way out of this trap.

The magic of Glyck’s book is that whilst she tackles themes that ask a lot of us, she does so in a light and grounded way. Using her own experience as a mother as a starting point, she narrates her highs and lows in a way that will ring true for any parent who is trying to stay in touch with, and develop, a sense of "spirit" or "soul." Her stories will provoke chuckles of recognition and come as a breath of fresh air to those dedicated parents who, having tried to digest and follow the usual "baby book" advice, are left exhausted and confused.

At the end of each chapter, she offers a "thought experiment" to encourage further reflection on the theme, and ‘sanity savers’ -- tips to help with putting good thoughts into practice. The result is a book that feels friendly and approachable whilst talking to parents about what most concerns them.

For me, Glyck’s overall theme is an enquiry into how we can parent with authenticity in the most profound sense – authenticity towards ourselves, our children and the nature of life itself. She is encouraging us to stay truly human and openhearted within our parenting.. Although she directs her book primarily towards mothers, I would recommend this book to any parent who is concerned with the spiritual messages, challenges and benefits of raising young children. And yes, you may think you have no time to read it if your baby is just a few weeks old, but reading a few lines in those long hours of feeding or watching over your sleeping babe really will reward your efforts!

Padmaprabha works as a clinical psychologist with older people and is a member of the Western Buddhist Order. She lives with her husband and baby daughter in East Sussex, England.


Copyright (c) 2006, Wildmind Meditation Services.
Wildmind Meditation Services Inc., PO Box 212., Newmarket NH 03857, USA.
1-8777-MEDIT8

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