How meditation can reshape our brains

November 11, 2015

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.

Sara’s team at Harvard University uses neuroimaging techniques to study neurological, cognitive and emotional changes associated with the practice of meditation and yoga. They also incorporate measures of peripheral physiology (breathing, heart beat) in order to understand how meditation practice influences the brain-body interaction.

Dalai Lama’s American doctor wants more compassion in medicine

October 29, 2015

wildmind meditation newsPBS Newshour: Before he was a personal physician to the Dalai Lama, Dr. Barry Kerzin never imagined that a professional trip to Tibet would lead him down a decades-long path studying Buddhism and meditation. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro talks to Kerzin in India about his feeling that compassion and empathy are essential to medical training.

Sixty-eight-year-old California native Barry Kerzin began his career as a professor of family medicine at the University of Washington. He never dreamed it would lead to a pro bono house calls thousands of miles away in Tibet.

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What to do when you’re running out of patience

September 2, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMitch Abblett, Mindful: Here are suggestions for going beyond a passive view of patience to making it the crucial skill it is—one that you actively build into your daily life.

Since first published in the poem “Piers Plowman” (attributed to William Langland) in the 14th century, we’ve all had it drilled into us since childhood that “patience is a virtue.” What is striking to me about patience is that we’ve at all needed to be “told” of its importance. It’s as though we, especially in modern, Western society, need to be convinced—we need proof that patience figures large in our lives. Patience …

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Empathy is actually a choice

August 10, 2015

wildmind meditation news Daryl Cameron, Michael Inzlicht and William A. Cunningham: New York Times: One death is a tragedy. One million is a statistic.

You’ve probably heard this saying before. It is thought to capture an unfortunate truth about empathy: While a single crying child or injured puppy tugs at our heartstrings, large numbers of suffering people, as in epidemics, earthquakes and genocides, do not inspire a comparable reaction.

Studies have repeatedly confirmed this. It’s a troubling finding because, as recent research has demonstrated, many of us believe that if more lives are at stake, we will — and should — feel more empathy (i.e., vicariously …

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Cultivating mindfulness beneficial, proponents say

wildmind meditation newsKimberly Marselas, LancasterOnline: A dozen tattooed and cross-armed teenage boys shuffle into the nondescript chapel at the Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center.

Operating against a backdrop of two-way radio chatter and fluorescent lighting but speaking in hushed tones, Wynne Kinder and Christen Coscia greet each by name.

The instructors with Wellness Works in Schools aim to encourage troubled and neglected kids to open their minds, let go of their pain, and start making better choices. Though they may not tell them this, they want to help the teens develop internal tools they might use to regulate emotions.

And the instructors likely won’t refer …

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How mindfulness can defeat racial bias

wildmind meditation newsRhonda Magee, GGSC: When I was promoted to tenured full professor, the dean of my law school kindly had flowers sent to me at my home in Pacific Heights, an overpriced San Francisco neighborhood almost devoid of black residents. I opened the door to find a tall, young, African-American deliveryman who announced, “Delivery for Professor Magee.” I, a petite black woman, dressed for a simple Saturday spent in my own home, reached for the flowers saying, “I am Professor Magee.”

The deliveryman looked down at the order and back up …

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125 U.S. Buddhist leaders to meet at the White House

wildmind meditation newsMichelle Boorstein, Washington Post: Are we about to enter the era of the political Buddhist?

On Thursday about 125 U.S. Buddhist leaders from across the spectrum will gather in Washington for what organizers say may be the biggest conference ever focused on bringing their faith communities into public, civic life. After the conference, the group will meet with officials at the White House, which longtime writers on U.S. Buddhism say is a first.

The daylong conference represents, some experts say, the start of a civic awakening not only among U.S. Buddhists, …

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Compassion meditation reduces ‘mind-wandering,’ research shows

April 23, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – The Heart’s Wisdom: Development of Compassion Clifton B. Parker, Medical Xpress: Compassion meditation focuses on benevolent thoughts toward oneself and others, as the researchers noted. It is different in this aspect than most forms of meditation in the sense that participants are “guided” toward compassionate thoughts.

The research article, “A Wandering Mind is a Less Caring Mind,” was recently published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

“This is the first report that demonstrates that formal compassion training decreases the tendency for the mind to wander, while increasing caring behavior not only towards others but towards oneself,” said …

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Changing the world and ourselves through compassion

April 18, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – The Heart’s Wisdom: Development of Compassion Jill Stark, Western Advocate: Be kind and you will be well. It has been the cornerstone of Eastern philosophy for centuries.

But what if recognising our shared humanity was more than just a sentimental ideal? What if consciously practicing kindness could change the wiring of your brain and make you live longer?

This is neuroscience’s latest frontier – a growing body of research that shows compassion could be the key to improved health, happiness and longevity.

Brain imaging reveals that exercising compassion stimulates the same pleasure centers associated with the drive …

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Taking your hands off the controls

April 8, 2015

Faro Punta Nariga 1Finding True Refuge, by Tara Brach (3 CDs) As living organisms anxious about our existence, we’re all naturally rigged to want to manage our lives with the goal of creating more pleasure and less pain for ourselves. Yet so many things are completely out of our control—aging, sickness, dying, other people dying, other people acting in ways we don’t like, our own moods and emotions…it’s all out of our hands.

Even so, when this automatic habit of controlling takes over, when our whole identity is in the persona of The Controller, we become removed from the qualities of presence, freshness, and spontaneity; we lose the ability to respond from a wiser, more compassionate place.

You … Read more »