The backward step

March 13, 2013

tara-brachTibetan teacher Chögyam Trungpa once opened a class by drawing a V on a large white sheet of poster paper. He then asked those present what he had drawn. Most responded that it was a bird. “No,” he told them. “It’s the sky with a bird flying through it.”

How we pay attention determines our experience. When we’re in doing or controlling mode, our attention narrows and we perceive objects in the foreground—the bird, a thought, a strong feeling. In these moments we don’t perceive the sky—the background of experience, the ocean of awareness. The good news is that through practice, we can intentionally incline our minds toward not controlling and toward an open attention.… Read more »

Noise canceling, without headphones.

Roni Caryn Rabin: Studies have found that meditation helps prevent the recurrence of depression, perhaps by producing changes in parts of the brain associated with learning and anxiety. A new study suggests that meditation may modulate brain waves called alpha rhythms, which help regulate the transmission of sensory input from the surrounding environment. Harvard researchers randomly assigned 12 healthy adults to an eight-week course of training in meditation-based stress reduction or to a control group whose participants did not meditate.

At regular intervals, researchers used an imaging technique called magnetoencephalography to measure electrical currents in an area of the brain that processes signals from the left hand. During the tests, each participant was asked to … Read more »