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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: attention

Bodhipaksa

Oct 18, 2011

Exploring the breath as an adventure of discovery

One of my Skype workshop participants recently wrote with a request for advice, which (slightly edited) was as follows:

I am aware during my meditations that sometimes my awareness of the breath is quite superficial, distant and coarse. And I suspect that part of the reason for this distance is that my brain filters out the finer physical details of the experience, and just works with the coarse-grained concept of the breath – which is basically a fixed construct in memory rather than a direct experience of change happening now. I’d appreciate any tips on how to deal with it.

Here’s my reply (also slightly edited to include one …

Akashavanda

Jun 13, 2011

The Open-Focus Brain, by Dr. Les Fehmi & Jim Robbins

My first read of The Open-Focus Brain: Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body, by Dr. Les Fehmi and Jim Robbins, generated mild interest in the science behind Dr. Fehmi’s techniques and descriptions of case studies using the techniques.

However, the night I listened to the guided exercises on the attached CD, I had one of the most relaxed, light, and blissful experiences I’ve had in the last eleven years as a serious meditator.

I was able to reach a state I’ve only accessed during long silent meditation retreats.

The Buddhist concept of emptiness came vividly alive in my body, whereas before it had been mostly an …

Wildmind Meditation News

Apr 23, 2011

Meditation may help the brain ‘turn down the volume’ on distractions

The positive effects of mindfulness meditation on pain and working memory may result from an improved ability to regulate a crucial brain wave called the alpha rhythm, say researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This rhythm is thought to “turn down the volume” on distracting information, which suggests that a key value of meditation may be helping the brain deal with an often-overstimulating world.

The researchers report that modulation of the alpha rhythm in response to attention-directing cues was faster and significantly more enhanced among study participants who completed an eight-week mindfulness meditation program than in a control group. The report will appear in the journal Brain Research Bulletin and has been …

Wildmind Meditation News

Apr 05, 2011

Meditation has the power to make dramatic changes in your physical and psychological health

Many people see meditation as an exotic form of daydreaming, or a quick fix for a stressed-out mind. My advice to them is, try it.

Meditation is difficult, at least to begin with. On my first attempt, instead of concentrating on my breathing and letting go of anything that came to mind, as instructed by my cheery Tibetan teacher, I got distracted by a string of troubled thoughts, then fell asleep. Apparently, this is normal for first-timers. Experienced meditators will assure you that it is worth persisting, however.

“Training allows us to transform the mind, to overcome destructive emotions and to dispel suffering,” says Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. “The numerous and profound methods that Buddhism has developed over the centuries can be …

Wildmind Meditation News

Mar 25, 2011

Meditation, hypnosis change ‘brain signature’

Amir Raz gets some funny looks when he talks about using hypnosis and meditation techniques to build attention spans in a hyperactive MTV world.

“Mention contemplation to a lot of people, and all they think of is some kind of (wacky) spiritualism, people sitting around a darkened room with candles, chanting,” says Raz, a McGill University professor who holds the Canada Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention.

“Our ideas are shaped by Hollywood movies. So you talk about hypnosis, and people see something out of a Woody Allen movie, a guy in a turban with bushy eyebrows who wants to put you to sleep.”

But “trim away the folkloric fat,” and Raz, a cognitive psychologist who worked his way through graduate …

Wildmind Meditation News

Nov 18, 2010

Brain fatigue from living in the city?

Emerging research suggests city life is hard on the brain.

Investigators believe the need to continuously process multitudes of fleeting but compelling stimuli can impair mental processes like memory and attention and leave us mentally exhausted.

However, retreating to nature, a calm environment or performance of yoga or meditation can help relieve the stress.

In some ways, it is helpful to have a nervous system on alert. Dr. Sara Lazar, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Laboratory, says that “on a busy city street, it’s probably more adaptive to have a shorter attention span.”

Some people might say the stimuli that bombard us daily in city life are just a distraction, but Lazar said they could contain vital information, so we have to pay …

Wildmind Meditation News

Aug 03, 2010

Meditation seems to aid concentration

For people who have difficulty staying on task, intensive meditation may help.

So say researchers from several campuses of the University of California, who had 30 participants attend a three-month retreat during which they practiced meditation for about five hours a day. Researchers then periodically tested the participants’ ability to stay focused when confronted with a boring visual task.

That chore was spending 30 minutes merely identifying long and short lines that flashed on a computer screen. Participants were given this test at the beginning, middle and end of the retreat and again five months later. The study also used a control group of 30 people who were familiar with meditation but came to the retreat only for the visual testing.

Participants who …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jul 02, 2010

UC Davis study finds that practicing meditation can improve perception

Om mani padme hum.

Repeat the ancient mantra—Om mani padme hum (“Hail the jewel in the lotus”), om mani padme hum—again and again until the chaos of your thoughts quiets, the thump of your heart becomes clearly evident and your attention turns to the easy movement of breath through your nostrils … in and out … in and out. You’re no longer lost in thought. You’re not spaced out. You’re paying attention to what’s going on in the present moment. You’re meditating.

Buddhists have been practicing meditations like this one and hundreds of variations for more than 2,500 years. It’s only in recent years, though, that the contemplative practice has moved into the mainstream. In 2007, more than 9 percent of Americans …