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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: concentration

Bodhipaksa

Apr 22, 2011

Om tweet om

This photograph was taken on a recent retreat.

I love the tenderness of the little bird sitting in the Buddha’s left hand as he meditates. It says something about the gentle kind of effort that’s required in meditation. An image I used to use in my teaching — but which I had forgotten about until this moment — was that the quality of effort we use in meditation aims toward the kind of effort we’d make in holding a baby bird. We don’t want to hold our attention so firmly that we crush our sensitivity, but we also don’t want to hold our attention so gently that the object …

Wildmind Meditation News

Apr 05, 2011

Meditation has the power to make dramatic changes in your physical and psychological health

Many people see meditation as an exotic form of daydreaming, or a quick fix for a stressed-out mind. My advice to them is, try it.

Meditation is difficult, at least to begin with. On my first attempt, instead of concentrating on my breathing and letting go of anything that came to mind, as instructed by my cheery Tibetan teacher, I got distracted by a string of troubled thoughts, then fell asleep. Apparently, this is normal for first-timers. Experienced meditators will assure you that it is worth persisting, however.

“Training allows us to transform the mind, to overcome destructive emotions and to dispel suffering,” says Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. “The numerous and profound methods that Buddhism has developed over the centuries can be …

Wildmind Meditation News

Mar 25, 2011

Meditation, hypnosis change ‘brain signature’

Amir Raz gets some funny looks when he talks about using hypnosis and meditation techniques to build attention spans in a hyperactive MTV world.

“Mention contemplation to a lot of people, and all they think of is some kind of (wacky) spiritualism, people sitting around a darkened room with candles, chanting,” says Raz, a McGill University professor who holds the Canada Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention.

“Our ideas are shaped by Hollywood movies. So you talk about hypnosis, and people see something out of a Woody Allen movie, a guy in a turban with bushy eyebrows who wants to put you to sleep.”

But “trim away the folkloric fat,” and Raz, a cognitive psychologist who worked his way through graduate …

Saddhamala

Nov 20, 2010

Meditation upon arising

Our minds are very busy and often seem to have a “mind” of their own. If you have meditated, you are aware of how busy the mind can be. We sit down to meditate and attempt to quiet the mind. We focus on our breathing and try to make the breath the focus of our concentration. Did I say “concentration”? When we are quiet, sitting in meditation rather than doing what we usually do, we realize how difficult quieting the mind can be. We start thinking about the myriad of things we have to do, a comment someone made, an action someone took, a worry, a story line, what the weather will …

Wildmind Meditation News

Aug 06, 2010

Losing Focus? Studies Say Meditation May Help

The idea that meditation is good for you is certainly not new, but scientists are still trying to figure out exactly why meditating so reliably improves mental and physical health. One old theory is that meditation is just like exercise: it trains the brain as if gray matter were a bundle of muscles. You work those muscles and they get stronger.

A recent paper in the journal Psychological Science tries to identify brain functions that are actually enhanced by meditating. The study shows that intensive meditation can help people focus their attention and sustain it — even during the most boring of tasks. But while participants who meditated were able to pick up visual cues better than a control group, it …

Bodhipaksa

Aug 05, 2010

The benefits of “uni-tasking”

I’ve been meaning to mention an article I read recently in the Harvard Business Review, called How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking. It’s by Peter Bregman, and it explains, as the title suggests, how and why he stopped multitasking and started paying attention to one thing at a time (what I’ve called “uni-tasking”).

Bregman lists some of the benefits he experienced, and I’ve summarized those below (but do go and read the full article, which expands on these points).

  • He found life more enjoyable, especially when it came to spending time with his children. And he noticed the simple beauties of life.
  • He found that he could concentrate better and
  • Wildmind Meditation News

    Aug 03, 2010

    Meditation seems to aid concentration

    For people who have difficulty staying on task, intensive meditation may help.

    So say researchers from several campuses of the University of California, who had 30 participants attend a three-month retreat during which they practiced meditation for about five hours a day. Researchers then periodically tested the participants’ ability to stay focused when confronted with a boring visual task.

    That chore was spending 30 minutes merely identifying long and short lines that flashed on a computer screen. Participants were given this test at the beginning, middle and end of the retreat and again five months later. The study also used a control group of 30 people who were familiar with meditation but came to the retreat only for the visual testing.

    Participants who …

    Bodhipaksa

    Jun 21, 2010

    “The Quiet Book,” by Deborah Underwood

    The Quiet Book, by Deborah Underwood (illustrated by Renata Liwska)In a world where children are constantly exposed to stimulation, there is not enough silence. But a new children’s title, The Quiet Book creates a space of stillness in which children’s imagination and attention can grow.

    I have two young children, who are going on two and four. We don’t have a television in the house, and toys that make electronic noises are banned. From time to time we get gifts of toys that beep or (the horror!) play electronic music, but they’re passed swiftly on to our local thrift store or, where the toy has some value, the batteries are removed. In …

    Wildmind Meditation News

    May 09, 2010

    Brief meditation helps concentration

    We have long believed that a cup of coffee every morning can make us more awake, yet a newly published study suggests that brief meditation can prepare us for the day just the same.

    In past research, neuroimaging technology has shown that meditation techniques can promote significant changes in brain areas associated with concentration, but it was thought that the effect required extensive training to achieve.

    However, according to the new research, the benefits may be achievable with much less effort. It suggests that the mind may be more easily trained to focus than we previously believed.

    Psychologists found that participants who meditated for 20 minutes a day for four days showed an evident …