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Rick Hanson PhD

Aug 06, 2014

The machinery of upset

Unhappy little girl crying(Emotional) life is great when we feel enthusiastic, contented, peaceful, happy, interested, loving, etc. But when we’re upset, or aroused to go looking for trouble, life ain’t so great.

To address this problem, let’s turn to a strategy used widely in science (and Buddhism, interestingly): analyze things into their fundamental elements, such as the quarks and other subatomic particles that form an atom or the Five Aggregates in Buddhism of form, feeling (the “hedonic tone” of experience as pleasant-neutral-unpleasant), perception, volitional formations, and consciousness.

We’ll apply that strategy to the machinery of getting upset. Here is a summary of the eight major “gears” of that machine – somewhat based on how …

Rick Hanson PhD

Aug 01, 2014

Intimacy and autonomy working together

Couple holding hand at sun riseIntimacy and autonomy are channels for expressing your natural goodness. For example, being kind toward someone naturally involves both an affinity with that person and a certain autonomy for the kindness to be genuine.

Besides its obvious rewards in everyday life, intimacy supports personal growth and spiritual practice through bringing you into relationship with things. Into relationship with your innermost experience and that of the people around you: the joys and sorrows, the suffering and its causes and what leads to its ending. Into compassion, kindness, and service: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Into relationship with a supportive community. And – if it’s meaningful to you – into …

Rick Hanson PhD

Jul 25, 2014

Is the intention a goal or already realized?

golden hourDo you express the intention as a goal or as something already realized?

This gets at a recurring question, even a debate, in Buddhism (and also in psychology and in some religions): Is it about progressing toward an enlightened state, or is it about uncovering the enlightened condition that has always been present? I can’t do justice here to the nuances of that consideration, but I can say what many wise people think is at the marrow of the matter: both are true. (Darn that middle way.)

In other words, it is powerful to focus on intention both as an aim toward a target, and as something that is already the case. The …

Rick Hanson PhD

May 02, 2014

Intention of non-ill will

yellow flowerHere we give up angry, punishing reactions toward others, animals, plants, and things. If such attitudes arise, we resolve not to feed them, and to cut them off as fast as we can.

The Buddha placed great stress on the importance of releasing ill will. In the extreme, he said that even when we are being grossly mistreated by others, we should practice good will toward them, and wish them the best.

To be sure, that does not mean turning a blind eye toward injustice and mistreatment – of ourselves as well as others – nor does it mean turning our back on skillful actions of protection, advocacy, and betterment. It is perfectly …

Rick Hanson PhD

Apr 02, 2014

Intention of harmlessness

Kitten on a white backgroundThis is a broad aim of not causing pain, loss, or destruction to any living thing. At a minimum, this is a sweeping resolution to avoid any whit of harm to another human being. The implications are far-reaching, since most of us participate daily in activities whose requirements or ripples may involve harm to others (e.g., use of fossil fuels that warms the planet, purchasing goods manufactured in oppressive conditions).

Further, in American culture there is a strong tradition of rugged individualism in which as long as you are not egregiously forceful or deceitful, “let the buyer beware” on the other side of daily transactions. But if your aim …

Wildmind Meditation News

Mar 27, 2014

Meditation benefits sufferers of anxiety and depression

wildmind meditation newsMatthew Warburton, Guardian Liberty Voice: Meditation was once seen in the West as something for robed monks and mountain hermits. Recent scientific evidence has redefined the concept as a tool that can be integrated into a busy modern life. Regular practice of meditation has been shown to have benefits for sufferers of anxiety, depression, and stress, and can improve mental functioning and well-being.

The art of meditation is ancient and data suggests it was used by prehistoric civilizations. Objects found in India which date back to 3,000 B.C show evidence of its practice, and the first written scriptures can be found in Hindu Vedantism …

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Wildmind Meditation News

Mar 18, 2014

Buddhist economics: oxymoron or idea whose time has come?

wildmind meditation newsKathleen Maclay, UC Berkeley: UC Berkeley economist Clair Brown acknowledges that “Buddhist economics” may seem like an oxymoron.

Nevertheless, she’s teaching a sophomore seminar on the topic this semester — the campus’s second such offering over the past year.

Brown said she created the one-unit Buddhist Economics course after students in her Introductory Economics (Econ 1) class expressed frustration with the relentless Madison Avenue message that more is better, economic growth paves the path to a better life and “retail therapy” is a quick trip to nirvana.

Nicholas Austin, an economics major from Laguna Beach, Calif., and a student this spring in Brown’s Buddhist …

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Rick Hanson PhD

Mar 14, 2014

Wholesome intentions – Introduction

Burning candleThese statements about reality, about the way things really are, are central to Buddhism, and you can test them for yourself:

  • Everything happens because of preceding causes. Everything, both inside our minds and outside in the world.
  • Those causes lead to results that are either beneficial or harmful, for ourselves and others.
  • Causes originate within yourself and outside yourself.
  • The primary source of the causes that originate inside you are your own intentions. As one teacher put it, “Everything rests on the tip of motivation.”
  • Some of our intentions are very deliberate and conscious, while others are shadowy or altogether hidden. Multiple intentions dance, join with, and oppose each other in the mind, some have more

Wildmind Meditation News

Mar 06, 2014

Gentrifying the dharma: How the 1 percent is hijacking mindfulness

wildmind meditation newsJoshua Eaton, Salon.com: As big corporations embrace meditation, some Buddhists fear their religion’s being co-opted by elites.

The protesters looked anxious as they rode down the escalator in San Francisco’s Marriott Marquis. A yoga bag slung over one of their shoulders hid a banner reading “Eviction Free San Francisco.” Another had a bullhorn tucked into her backpack. Two reached out to touch an inflatable, neon-blue lotus as they walked toward the conference hall.

They were there to disrupt “Three Steps to Build Corporate Mindfulness the Google Way,” a panel on Google’s corporate mindfulness program at the 2014 Wisdom 2.0 conference. As the panelists began their …

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Mark Tillotson

Feb 27, 2014

The Power of Mindfulness: a four-week course starting March 3, 2014

1403 POM 295x350Do you want to be calmer, happier, and experience more freedom from stress? Mindfulness has been clinically proven to reduce stress, promote feelings of wellbeing, and improve mental and physical health.

The next Power of Mindfulness online course starts March 3, 2014. It’s a four-week meditation course that’s accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the week, wherever you are. All you need is an internet browser. You can even participate on an iPad or other mobile device.

The convenience makes this perfect for people who don’t have meditation classes nearby, or who work irregular hours or who can’t travel because of illness, childcare arrangements, etc.

The course is web-based, and involves …