Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 31, 2011
To keep our ancestors alive, the brain evolved strong tendencies toward fear, including an ongoing internal trickle of unease. This little whisper of worry keeps you scanning your inner and outer worlds for signs of trouble.
This background of unsettledness and watchfulness is so automatic that you can forget it’s there. So see if you can tune into a tension, guarding or bracing in your body. Or a vigilance about your environment or other people. Or a block against completely relaxing, letting down, letting go. Try to walk through an office or store that you know is safe without a molecule of wariness; it’s really hard. Or try to sit at home …
Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 19, 2011
I’ve always liked lizards.
Growing up in the outskirts of Los Angeles, I played in the foothills near our home. Sometimes I’d catch a lizard and stroke its belly, so it would relax in my hands, seeming to feel at ease.
In my early 20′s, I found a lizard one chilly morning in the mountains. It was torpid and still in the cold and let me pick it up. Concerned that it might be freezing to death, I placed it on the shoulder of my turtleneck, where it clung and occasionally moved about for the rest of the day. There was a kind of wordless communication between us, in which the lizard …
Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 08, 2011
We evolved to be afraid.
The ancient ancestors that were casual and blithely hopeful, underestimating the risks around them – predators, loss of food, aggression from others of their kind – did not pass on their genes. But the ones that were nervous were very successful – and we are their great-grandchildren, sitting atop the food chain.
Consequently, multiple hair-trigger systems in your brain continually scan for threats. At the least whiff of danger – which these days comes mainly in the form of social hazards like indifference, criticism, rejection, or disrespect – alarm bells start ringing. See a frown across a dinner table, hear a cold tone from a supervisor, …
Wildmind Meditation News
Mar 26, 2011
What do you do if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer but you’re scared of the treatment? Studies show meditation can be powerful medicine when it comes to overcoming fears.
Sore tonsils led 44-year-old Danilo Ramirez’s doctor to suspect he had more than just a sore throat.
“He did surgery and a week later, ‘Mr. Ramirez you got lymphoma,'” said Ramirez.
Stage Two Lymphoma. Those words sent the Burbank father of two into a tailspin. But the specialized radiation treatment he faced scared him even more. Danilo is claustrophobic. Even though his life depended on it, he refused to wear the required mask.
“Mentally it was really hard on me,” said Ramirez. “There were nights I couldn’t…
Wildmind Meditation News
Sep 30, 2010
A star golfer misses a critical putt; a brilliant student fails to ace a test; a savvy salesperson blows a key presentation. Each of these people has suffered the same bump in mental processing: They have just choked under pressure.
It’s tempting to dismiss such failures as “just nerves.” But to University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock, they are preventable results of information logjams in the brain. By studying how the brain works when we are doing our best — and when we choke — Beilock has formulated practical ideas about how to overcome performance lapses at critical moments.
Beilock’s research is the basis of her new book, Choke: What …
Mar 02, 2010
Is unconditional confidence possible? Famed meditation and dharma teacher Pema Chödrön argues that it is, says Vicky Matthews, and that the secret is a surprising one: unconditional confidence comes from being gentle with oneself.
Title: Unconditional Confidence: Instructions for Meeting Any Experience With Trust and Courage
Author: Pema Chödrön
Publisher: Sounds True
Format: 2 CDs (2 hours)
Available from: Sounds True and Amazon.com.
The opportunity to review ‘Unconditional Confidence’ arrived at a time that couldn’t have been more pertinent. It had been the finale of a project I had been involved in, with a final pitch. The whole event had been a high-pressured affair, and the final fruits seemed non-existent. Fear, in …
Oct 26, 2009
Fearlessness isn’t the absence of fear, but the ability stay with one’s fear and use its energy wisely. Sunada explains how working with (as opposed to fighting against) our fears can point us toward our own place of freedom.
We tend to think of fear as a bad thing. Something that gets in our way. After all, one of the enlightened qualities of a Buddha is fearlessness. Doesn’t that mean we should work toward eliminating fear from our experience?
Not so fast!
Let’s think about what fear is. On one level, it’s the instinct that propels us to run when we’re in danger. Think caveman running away from tigers and bears. Heart-pounding adrenaline.
Oct 25, 2008
In these extracts from a forthcoming book from Shambhala Publications, the late Chogyam Trungpa defines his vision of the peaceful Buddhist warrior and explains the joys of the warrior’s path.
THE WARRIOR’S WEAPONS
If victory is the notion of no enemy, then the whole world is a friend. That seems to be the warrior’s philosophy. The true warrior is not like somebody carrying a sword and looking behind his own shadow, in case somebody is lurking there. That is the setting-sun warrior’s point of view, which is an expression of cowardice. The true warrior always has a weapon, in any case … The definition of warriorship is fearlessness and gentleness. Those are your weapons. The genuine …
Feb 27, 2008
When life pulls the rug out from under us, we have a choice. We can either look backward at it as a disaster, or look forward through it as an opening toward something new. Sunada tells her own story of how she woke up in the midst of a personal crisis.
This week, I closed a major chapter of my life. I watched as my beloved Bösendorfer grand piano, which I had just sold, was wrapped up and carted off to its new home. This piano had once represented my dreams. It was no ordinary grand piano. It was a top of the line, artist’s instrument. Beautiful to the eyes as well as the ears. But …