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Wildmind Meditation News

Sep 18, 2012

Stressed out? Try mindfulness meditation

Meryl Davids Landau, US News: One of the hottest forms of stress reduction today is actually one of the oldest: meditation. But the kind making the rounds of hospitals, community centers, and even schools in increasing numbers doesn’t involve chanting “Om” while sitting on a cushion with closed eyes; instead, participants are trained to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, and to view them neutrally, “without assigning an emotional value that they are strongly positive or negative,” says University of Wisconsin–Madison neuroscientist Richard Davidson, coauthor of The Emotional Life of Your Brain.

The idea is to allow parts of the …

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Wildmind Meditation News

Aug 29, 2012

The studies are in: Four reasons to try meditation

Lizzie Fuhr, Fitsugar: Meditation may sound like a far-out concept for a woman who considers herself straightlaced, but there’s nothing strange about relieving daily pressures and moving forward with a healthier outlook. If you’re a little skeptical of sitting down to meditate, know that it doesn’t have to be all about aligning your chakras and chanting a mantra! A few minutes of deep contemplation and breathing in your own style can shift your relationship with the day and keep you in better shape.

It lowers stress levels: You may think that meditation isn’t real science, but studies have shown a correlation between meditation

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Bodhipaksa

Aug 15, 2012

Doctor Jekyll and Mister Amygdala

A friend just wrote to me with a troubling story. He’s had a few upheavals in his life recently, including a divorce, but then he made a dreadful ethical slip and got involved with a former patient of his. Of course that’s a huge ethical no-no in the caring professions, and it may have life-long consequences for his career.

But in responding to my friend’s letter I was reminded of Robert Louis Stevenson’s story, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Most of you know this story from cheesy horror movies, but the book is actually an astute spiritual parable that sprang directly from Stevenson’s subconscious in the form of a nightmare. …

Wildmind Meditation News

Aug 14, 2012

Can meditation make you smarter?

Laura Schwecherl, Time: Most of us know that meditating is a great way to reduce stress. But meditative practice goes beyond taking a chill pill. Meditating is also associated with structural changes in the brain that help sharpen focus and improve memory and multitasking skills. But can this mind-body practice really help you get straight A’s?

Smarty (Yoga) Pants — Why It Matters
It’s not just tree huggers and ultra-yogis who meditate. In 2007, about 9% of American adults tried getting into their Zen zones at least once in the past year. Most people say they meditate to manage stress, but meditative practice affects …

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Wildmind Meditation News

Jul 16, 2012

The more gray matter you have, the more altruistic you are

The junction (yellow) between the parietal and the temporal lobes, in which the relative proportion of gray matter is significantly positively correlated with the propensity for altruistic behavior. (Credit: University of Zurich)The volume of a small brain region influences one’s predisposition for altruistic behavior. Researchers from the University of Zurich show that people who behave more altruistically than others have more gray matter at the junction between the parietal and temporal lobe, thus showing for the first time that there is a connection between brain anatomy, brain activity and altruistic behavior.

Why are some people very selfish and others very altruistic? Previous studies indicated that social categories like gender, income or education can hardly explain differences in altruistic behavior. Recent neuroscience …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jul 08, 2012

Stanford studies monks’ meditation, compassion

Meredith May: Stanford neuroeconomist Brian Knutson is an expert in the pleasure center of the brain that works in tandem with our financial decisions – the biology behind why we bypass the kitchen coffeemaker to buy the $4 Starbucks coffee every day.

He can hook you up to a brain scanner, take you on a simulated shopping spree and tell by looking at your nucleus accumbens – an area deep inside your brain associated with fight, flight, eating and fornicating – how you process risk and reward, whether you’re a spendthrift or a tightwad.

So when his colleagues saw him putting Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns into …

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Bodhipaksa

May 29, 2012

Awakening to our true nature

Spiritual practice is about coming back, over and over again, to love and mindfulness, making those our home.

I subscribe to the newsletters of Rick Hanson, who contributes articles to Wildmind and who is a well-known author and neuropsychologist. He’s a very stimulating man! Today’s newsletter was an interesting one, and it prompted some thinking on my part.

He opens by asking a much-pondered question about human nature: “Deep down, are we basically good or bad?” From a neurological point of view, he comes down firmly on the side of good.

His reasoning is this:

When the body is not disturbed by hunger, thirst, pain, or illness, and when

Bodhipaksa

May 09, 2012

In sitting still, a bench press for the brain

John Hanc, New York Times: In 1969, Katherine Splain, then a student at the College of New Rochelle, saw the dark side of drug use among her peers. So she sought a different — and legal — path on her inward journey.

“I had read that meditation was actually another way of achieving the kind of ‘high’ that you might experience if you did drugs,” said Ms. Splain, who is now 63.

She heard about a class in meditation being offered near the school, decided to visit and was impressed with the students she met. “There wasn’t a lot of peace in the world in 1969 …

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Rick Hanson PhD

Apr 20, 2012

Five ways to slow down and stop rushing

As I was meditating this morning, our cat hopped up in my lap. It felt sweet to sit there with him. And yet – even though I was feeling fine and had plenty of time, there was this internal pressure to start zipping along with emails and calls and all the other clamoring minutiae of the day.

You see the irony. We rush about as a means to an end: as a method for getting results in the form of good experiences, such as relaxation and happiness. Hanging out with our cat, I was afloat in good experiences. But the autopilot inside the coconut still kept trying to suck me back …

Rick Hanson PhD

Mar 23, 2012

Cling less, love more

As a rock climber and a parent, I know some physical kinds of clinging are good – like to small holds or small hands!

But clinging as a psychological state has a feeling of tension in it, and drivenness, insistence, obsession, or compulsion. As experiences flow through the mind – seeing, hearing, planning, worrying, etc. – they have what’s called a “hedonic tone” of being pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. It’s natural to like what’s pleasant and to dislike what’s unpleasant: no problem so far. But then the mind takes it a step further – usually very quickly – and tries to grab what’s pleasant, fight or flee from what’s unpleasant, …