Should I focus on one specific sensation? But if I do so, isn’t it restrictive, replacing mindfulness of the whole experience of eating by concentration on only one of its aspects? In fact, I already faced similar questions when trying walking meditation. Walking involves so many movements, so many sensations… How to be mindful of all of them?
There are really two different modes of mindful attention, one of which is more narrowly focused, while the other is more open. Each is valuable in its own way.
Mindful, Focused Awareness… Read more »
The Times of India: With close to six billion minds active from moment to moment, there are endless streams of thoughts on every aspect of creation.
Some thoughts perceive reality the way it is and some are imagination. While there are myths about many topics, the most popular one is meditation. The word, ‘meditation’ conjures up all kinds of images and notions. If you are wondering whether meditation is meant for you, read on to find out.
Here is a list of the most common myths, hoping that any confusion that you might have is cleared.
Myth #1 Meditation is concentration
Meditation is actually…
Tina Barseghian: There’s no question that for both kids and adults, our attention is divided. Texts, emails, Twitter, Facebook are all chiming, ringing, beeping, and chirping for our attention.
How does this affect kids? The media has covered the subject in terms of fear of multitasking leading to ADD, losing control to digital devices, and the dangers of not being able to focus. And in most cases, the Internet (and technology in general) has been declared the culprit.
But rather than blaming the medium, David Levy, author of Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age, believes the challenges of multitasking …
A lot of the time in meditation our experience is of distractions relentlessly colonizing our attention. We set off to follow the sensations of the breathing, but after some time we come to realize that we haven’t been paying attention to the breath at all. We realize that we’ve been caught up in some inner drama, or that we’ve been turning over thoughts in the mind. What were we thinking about, exactly? Often it’s hard to say. Our distractions are often dream-like, and as we “awaken” into a more mindful state they often slip away from us, as do our dreams when we wake in the morning. We commit ourselves once more to mindfully observing … Read more »
My first read of The Open-Focus Brain: Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body, by Dr. Les Fehmi and Jim Robbins, generated mild interest in the science behind Dr. Fehmi’s techniques and descriptions of case studies using the techniques.
However, the night I listened to the guided exercises on the attached CD, I had one of the most relaxed, light, and blissful experiences I’ve had in the last eleven years as a serious meditator.
I was able to reach a state I’ve only accessed during long silent meditation retreats.
The Buddhist concept of emptiness came vividly alive in my body, whereas before it had been mostly an intellectual understanding. Not only … Read more »
The positive effects of mindfulness meditation on pain and working memory may result from an improved ability to regulate a crucial brain wave called the alpha rhythm, say researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This rhythm is thought to “turn down the volume” on distracting information, which suggests that a key value of meditation may be helping the brain deal with an often-overstimulating world.
The researchers report that modulation of the alpha rhythm in response to attention-directing cues was faster and significantly more enhanced among study participants who completed an eight-week mindfulness meditation program than in a control group. The report will appear in the journal … Read more »
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 of meditation flies away.… Read more »
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 … Read more »
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 … Read more »
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 be like, what … Read more »