3 Reasons your happiness is an act of compassion

September 11, 2014

wildmind meditation newsEmma Seppala, emmaseppala.com:
Happiness – it’s an inalienable right, it’s even in the US constitution. You see it everywhere from sitcoms to couples walking by. But…do you ever have that gnawing feeling, or dark sense, that happiness is just… well…not for you?

Well you’re right. The data agrees with you. It’s not.

Here’s why:

For One, it Makes you Contagious

It’s true, you literally infect others. Your well-being has an enormously influential impact on everyone around you up to 3 degrees of separation away from you! Research studies show that parents’ well-being improve their children’s, and people’s happiness uplifts their spouses. But did you …

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Empathy versus compassion

August 29, 2014

Avalokitesvara_BodhisattvaOn the Boston Review, Paul Bloom has a provocative article titled “Against Empathy.” It’s not advocating an uncompassionate approach to life, and in fact central to his thesis is that there is a distinction between empathy, which he says can limit and exhaust us, and compassion, which he points out is more sustainable.

There’s one particular section where there are several references to Buddhism and to Buddhist practitioners:

It is worth expanding on the difference between empathy and compassion, because some of empathy’s biggest fans are confused on this point and think that the only force that can motivate kindness is empathetic arousal. But this is mistaken. Imagine that the child of a close

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Does meditation make a person smarter?

wildmind meditation newsKimberly Ruble, Guardian Liberty Voice: In spite of or even in absence of religious views, many individuals have tried meditating at various times throughout their lives but does meditation make a person smarter? A new research study is claiming that meditation appears to stimulate portions of the brain that basic relaxing does not and they are areas of the brain in which intelligence is believed to come from.

People who meditate appear to process more feelings and ideas than when they are only resting and letting their minds roam seems to be more effective than trying to empty the head of any thought …

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Trance of “Unreal Other”

May 16, 2014

grass and dew drops and ladybirdsThe truth is: without a genuine willingness to let in the suffering of others, our spiritual practice remains empty.

Father Theophane, a Christian mystic, writes about an incident that happened when he took some time off from his secular duties for spiritual renewal at a remote monastery. Having heard of a monk there who was widely respected for his wisdom, he sought him out. Theophane had been forewarned that this wise man gave advice only in the form of questions. Eager to receive his own special contemplation, Theophane approached the monk: “I am a parish priest and am here on retreat. Could you give me a question to meditate on?”

“Ah, yes.” The wise man … Read more »

What neuroscience can teach us about compassion

wildmind meditation newsCarolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post: Mounting evidence of the impact of contemplative practices like meditation (which we now know can, quite literally, rewire the brain) are finally bringing modern science up to speed with ancient wisdom.

Mindfulness and compassion — the practices of cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment, and extending a loving awareness to others — are part of every religion and wisdom tradition, and we’re at last beginning to understand the profound impact that they have on the brain, says psychiatrist and mindfulness expert Dr. Dan Siegel.

A pioneer in the field of interpersonal neurobiology and executive director of the Mindsight Institute …

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Intention of non-ill will

May 2, 2014

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 appropriate to … Read more »

Reaching out for compassion

April 23, 2014

20100514_大仏At a weekend workshop I led, one of the participants, Marian, shared her story about the shame and guilt that had tortured her. Marian’s daughter Christy, in recovery for alcoholism, had asked her mother to join her in therapy. As their sessions unfolded, Christy revealed that she’d been sexually abused throughout her teen years by her stepfather, Marian’s second husband.

The words and revelations Marian heard that day pierced her heart. “You just slept through my whole adolescence!” her daughter had shouted. “I was being violated and had nowhere to turn! No one was there to take care of me!” Christy’s face was red; her hands clenched tight. “I was afraid to tell you then, … Read more »

Love freely

March 25, 2014

Heart.In my early 20′s, I went through Rolfing, a form of deep-tissue bodywork, and I nervously anticipated the 5th session, the one that goes deep into the belly. But instead of gobs of repressed emotional pain, what poured out was love – waves and waves of love that I’d pushed down due to embarrassment, fears of closeness, and my struggles with my mother.

It felt fantastic to let love flow freely. Compassion, empathy, kindness, liking, affection, cooperation, and altruism are all in our nature, woven into the fabric of human DNA, the most social – and most loving – species on the planet. Love is a natural upwelling current inside us all. It doesn’t need … Read more »

Buddhist economics: oxymoron or idea whose time has come?

March 18, 2014

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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Meditation experts discuss the real secrets to mindfulness at work

March 13, 2014

wildmind meditation newsThe Huffington Post: Once a niche activity for the spiritual set, meditation and mindfulness have made their way into the corporate world, with numerous CEOs opening up about their meditation practices, and more and more companies offering mindfulness training programs for their employees.

So what do the leaders of the mindfulness movement have to say about these shifts occurring in the workplace? During a panel discussion at the Rubin Museum on Monday co-hosted by the Garrison Institute, meditation expert Sharon Salzberg, Focus author Daniel Goleman and Janice Marturano, founder of the Mindful Leadership Institute, discussed the mindfulness at work phenomenon with host David …

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