Always craving chocolate? Meditation could help

March 18, 2014

wildmind meditation newsEmma Innes, MailOnline: Buddhist mediation could be the key to cutting chocolate cravings, new research has revealed. A study found that achieving ‘a sense of detachment’ through mindfulness mediation can reduce cravings. The Canadian researchers say identifying and distancing oneself from certain thoughts – without judging them – weakens chocolate cravings among people with a sweet tooth.

‘There is now good evidence that mindfulness strategies generally work at managing food cravings, but we don’t yet know what aspect of mindfulness and what mechanisms are responsible for these effects. This is what motivated this research,’ said lead study author Julien Lacaille, a psychologist at McGill University. …

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Athletes using meditation to improve performance

March 17, 2014

wildmind meditation newsIlene Raymond Rush, The Inquirer: For 15 minutes a day, Tim Frazier, Penn State’s senior point guard, finds a quiet place, switches on a podcast, and meditates. Along with his teammates, Frazier, the team’s all-time leader in assists, has found that practicing mindfulness meditation – focusing on the breath with his eyes closed and becoming aware of his thoughts without judging them – has amped up his performance on the court.

“The game moves so fast, it’s hard to focus on the here and now,” said Frazier, who is pretty fleet of foot himself. “Meditation slows me down [mentally], keeps me more relaxed and more …

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Key points of awareness – Part II

March 16, 2014

lakeVisit Part I of this blog post here.


  • Concentration has two central factors: applying attention to an object and sustaining it there, like an ice skater plants her foot (applying) and then glides along (sustaining).
  • When you practice formal concentration, keep returning attention to the object (e.g., breath, sensation, emotion, memory of your mother), fully aware of it, absorbed in it. If other thoughts, concerns, plans, etc. bubble up, let them arise but don’t follow them, and keep giving your full attention to the object.
  • When doing concentration, don’t be tense or hard on yourself, but serious and intent, like a cat watching at a mousehole. Set a bit of your attention to watching
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Key points of awareness – Part I

March 15, 2014

lakeKeys to Awareness

  • Feel that your own well-being and functioning matters. Get on your own side; be for yourself. Question: How many people does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Only one. But the light bulb has to want to change.
  • Cultivate wanting to be in reality, to know the facts of the inner and outer worlds. Know and trust that your greatest safety and hope is in seeing what’s true, no matter what it is. Whenever you move into awareness/observation mode, you instantly distance yourself from things (inside or outside yourself) that are painful, and center yourself in a place that is inherently calmer and wiser than just reacting. And the only
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Feel the support

October 22, 2013

We’re all carrying a load, including tasks, challenges, worries, inner criticism, mistreatment from others, physical and emotional pain, loss and illness now or later, and everyday stresses and frustrations.

Take a moment to get a sense of your own load. It’s very real, isn’t it? Recognizing it is just honesty and self-compassion, not exaggeration or self-pity.

There’s a fundamental model in the health sciences that how you feel and function is based on just three factors: your load, the personal vulnerabilities it wears upon – such as health problems, a sensitive temperament, or a history of trauma – and the resources you have. As a law of nature, if your load or vulnerabilities increase – … Read more »

The trance of fear

July 24, 2013

tara-brachAll of us live with fear. Whenever fear takes over, we’re caught in what I call the trance of fear. As we tense in anticipation of what may go wrong, our heart and mind contract. We forget that there are people who care about us, and about our own ability to feel spacious and openhearted. Trapped in the trance, we can experience life through the filter of fear, and when we do, the emotion becomes the core of our identity, constricting our capacity to live fully.

This trance usually begins in childhood, when we experience fear in relating to our significant others. Perhaps as an infant our crying late at night may have frustrated our … Read more »

Taking refuge in the Buddha

July 10, 2013

tara-brachAs a teacher I’m often asked: What does it mean in Buddhist practice when you agree to “take refuge” in the Buddha? Does this mean I need to worship the Buddha? Or pray to the Buddha? Isn’t this setting up the Buddha as “other” or some kind of god?

Traditionally, there are three fundamental refuges are where we can find genuine safety and peace, a sanctuary for our awakening heart and mind, a place to rest our human vulnerability. In their shelter, we can face and awaken from the trance of fear.

The first of these is the Buddha, or our own awakened nature. The second is the dharma (the path or the way), and … Read more »

Happiness, Kant, and Buddhism

Justin Whitaker, Patheos Press: One conception was common to all the philosophical schools: people are unhappy because they are the slave of their passions. In other words, they are unhappy because they desire things they may not be able to obtain, since they are exterior, alien, and superfluous to them. It follows that happiness consists in independence, freedom, and autonomy. In other words, happiness is the return to the essential: that which is truly “ourselves,” and which depends on us.
– Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life, p.102, writing about ancient Western schools, emphasis added.

It has been a running theme of this blog…

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Happy for no reason

March 28, 2013

tara-brachFor years I’d heard that qigong was an ideal meditation for physical healing, and when I first experimented with it, I did find that the practice helped me feel more embodied and energetically attuned. Qigong is based on a Chinese system of still and moving meditation. At its heart is the understanding that this world is made of chi, an invisible field of energy, the dynamic expression of pure awareness.

When my health hit a new low in the summer of 2009, I decided to explore the practice more deeply by attending a ten-day qigong healing retreat.

During the third day, I remember sitting at the retreat while our teacher was guiding us: “Send chi … Read more »

The imperative of meditation

March 26, 2013

Martin LeFevre, CostaRican Times: There are many different forms of meditation, and often people speak of running or doing other activities as a form of meditation for them. But initiating truly meditative states is a completely different animal, and has nothing to do with techniques, methods, traditions, or systems.

Can the art and centrality of meditation be conveyed, through writing or even in person? Is awakening meditative states something we have to discover completely for ourselves, as I did? If methodless meditation, by whatever name, is crucial to spiritual survival and growth, and each person is entirely on their own, what hope…

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