‘Mindfulness’ sessions help Drug Court offenders fight addiction, stress

November 5, 2014

wildmind meditation newsPhaedra Haywood, The New Mexican: Giggles and stocking feet aren’t something normally associated with a courtroom, but that’s what you’ll find if you enter state District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer’s courtroom on a Thursday afternoon.

Offenders in the First District’s Drug Court and Treatment Court programs are now required to participate in mindfulness and body awareness exercises, Marlowe Sommer said, because studies have shown that they can help reduce recidivism, especially for people who struggle with addictions. The components were added to the court programs about six weeks ago.

Drug Court, aimed at repeat offenders with addiction issues, and Treatment Court, for those …

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Step three: Embracing impermanence to show us that our suffering can end

November 3, 2014

sand in handsAs I reflect on this step, I can’t but help say a prayer for my dear friend, who hung herself last month, because as she wrote in her note, ‘life was too painful’. Sadly my friend is not unique in thinking this, many people have these thoughts, and some of these people eventually take their lives.

Is there anything we can do to help someone who expresses such pain?

Whatever we do it has to be unconditional. That said, the Buddhist teachings can be so optimistic, so liberating if we are ready for the teachings to appear in our lives. Living with the truth of impermanence can help us to find freedom. Even if our … Read more »

Is mindfulness an emerging treatment for addiction?

September 10, 2014

wildmind meditation newsJudson Brewer, Rehabs.com: Why do young mothers buy a daily pack of cigarettes instead of spending this money on nutritious food for their children? Why are treatments that help roughly 33 percent of people overcome their substance use and have a 70 percent relapse rate hailed as “gold standard” by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)? In other words, why are addictions so hard to overcome?

Our brains are set up to learn. From an evolutionary perspective, when we come upon a good source of food or water, it is helpful to remember where it is. When we discover something dangerous, that memory is …

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Step two – seeing how we can create extra suffering in our lives

September 1, 2014

Stick with the first dartThe Buddha was asked, what is the difference between how an ordinary person and a wise person responds to pain? He replied with the analogy of the two darts. All of us experience pain – whether that is physical pain like catching your finger in the door or mental pain such as when someone rejects you. This is the first dart, which we could call primary suffering.

An ordinary person then gets caught up in trying to push away or avoid the pain; in blaming themselves or others, or feeling self-pity. This has the effect of making matters worse: the second dart, which we can call secondary suffering. A wise person just has the first … Read more »

Use mindfulness to overcome unhealthy cravings

August 5, 2014

wildmind meditation newsMichael Taft, Huffington Post: I love espresso. But I remember sometimes “waking up” suddenly and finding myself right in the middle of a shuddering caffeine meltdown. I’d been writing on my laptop at a coffee shop, focused on work. Starting out with a latté early in the morning, I’d just kept ordering and drinking triple-espresso drinks all day long while happily typing away. This caffeine intake had all been in the background, unconscious, until my slapping heartbeat and thundering jolts of anxiety crashed violently into the foreground. I would stop then, but I — and my friends and partner — were left to cope …

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Accepting that this human life will bring suffering

August 4, 2014

Standing Buddha statue, ThailandStep one – Accepting that this human life will bring suffering – is pointing us in the direction of truth. Ask yourself what are you avoiding? What are you hiding from? Most human beings are avoiding suffering. Most human beings are hiding from suffering underneath a veneer of coping mechanisms.

This step acknowledges the different types of suffering we can experience. Most commonly the suffering of ageing, sickness and death. We can not avoid any of these truths, we can not hide from these truths either. So we may as well face them gracefully.

How we may ask? We do this with kindly acceptance. Acceptance is in the present moment. When suffering arises; if we … Read more »

How addiction can affect brain connections

July 13, 2014

wildmind meditation newsDeborah Becker, WBUR: As much of the country grapples with problems resulting from opioid addiction, some Massachusetts scientists say they’re getting a better understanding of the profound role the brain plays in addiction.

Their work is among a growing body of research showing that addiction is a complex brain disease that affects people differently. But the research also raises hopes about potential treatments.

Among the findings of some University of Massachusetts Medical School scientists is that addiction appears to permanently affect the connections between areas of the brain to almost “hard-wire” the brain to support the addiction.

They’re also exploring the neural roots …

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What did the Buddha know about addiction?

July 9, 2014

Mindfully Strive OnWe know that before Shakyamuni became a Buddha (waking up to the truth of reality) that he tried extreme self-discipline that included abstaining from all forms of indulgence, which was called the practice of asceticism. His self-mortification included eating just one grain of rice a day, and sometimes walking around with one arm in the air for weeks. In his search for an end to suffering, Gautama became like an addict to asceticism. Like today’s addicts, he had learned how to master pain, or so he thought. He grew as thin as a skeleton, and did not budge from his addiction. Still he did not find an end to suffering. Until one day he realized … Read more »

Eight step recovery meetings

June 2, 2014

An open heart is all you need to bring to a meetingWe have received several requests on a meeting format for Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction. Already we have heard of groups setting up in the UK and Canada which are working the steps with a wide range of addictions. We hope groups will continue to spring up all over the globe. When the book goes into second edition we will include a meeting format as we can see that this was an aspect that we didn’t consider to include.

To be able to write a book and explain our Eight Steps, we need to put them in an order. The order has a certain logical structure that can be … Read more »

New brain-based understanding of mindfulness & meditation strategies for addiction treatment

wildmind meditation newsPRWeb: Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to aid addiction recovery, but which strategy is best? Here Constance Scharff, PhD, Director of Addiction Research at Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center, describes our evolving understanding of the brain-based effects of meditation and mindfulness.

When included in addiction treatment and relapse prevention programs, mindfulness and meditation strategies have been shown to reduce anxiety and help to prevent relapse. But mindfulness and meditation are separate practices and even within meditation, not all styles produce the same results. Which is best?

“Anxiety is universal to the human condition, but addicts experience it to an extreme because they have real problems. Meditation and mindfulness practices can help an addict stop worrying … Read more »