Ethan Nichtern: Let’s face it, sometimes the holidays just…suck. Maybe that’s not the most Buddhist way of saying it, but it is how it feels. Even more than in past years, friends and students are reporting feeling stress and foreboding right now. To be honest, I’m feeling a sense of burden and anxiety, too, that strange feeling when there’s too much to do and not any clear sense of intention behind the doing of it. This holiday season has given me reason to pause and think about what really matters. And guess what, it’s neither black Friday nor cyber Monday.
Why are we so …
Eric Barker, Barking Up The Wrong Tree: You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t trust them.
Actually, don’t trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.
UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life. Here’s what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like your brain wants you to be happy. You …
David Brooks, NY Times: I’m sometimes grumpier when I stay at a nice hotel. I have certain expectations about the service that’s going to be provided. I get impatient if I have to crawl around looking for a power outlet, if the shower controls are unfathomable, if the place considers itself too fancy to put a coffee machine in each room. I’m sometimes happier at a budget motel, where my expectations are lower, and where a functioning iron is a bonus and the waffle maker in the breakfast area is a treat.
This little phenomenon shows how powerfully expectations structure our moods and …
In this 28 day event we’ll be exploring the quality of mudita, or joyful appreciation.
Mudita recognizes and appreciates the positive qualities and actions that bring happiness to beings (ourselves included).
It begins with a desire that beings be happy, but recognizes that happiness arises from a life well-lived, rather than randomly.
During this event you’ll learn how to:
Signing up for this event gives you access to:
Meditation MP3 – Mindfulness of Breathing Sarah Rudell Beach, The Huffington Post: Mindfulness is not a silver bullet. It’s not a magic trick that allofasudden eliminates stress and gives you the life of your dreams.
But here’s something I’ve noticed: Whenever I speak with people who have integrated a mindfulness practice into their lives, the phrase they almost always use to describe it is this:
It’s the phrase I’ve repeatedly used to explain the impact of mindfulness in my life, too.
I have a few theories about why mindfulness is so transformative, so powerful, so life-altering.
You realize you …
Meditation MP3 – Mindfulness of Breathing Barbara Casey, Ashland Daily Tidings: When I first learned the practice of mindfulness 18 years ago, the simplicity of it fooled me. It seems obvious that we all want to be fully engaged in our lives, that we don’t want to spend significant amounts of our time spaced out or distracted, missing the beauty and meaning of life in all its aspects.
I thought it would take about six months of concentrated effort to learn to stay in the present moment all the time. My report to you now is that the causes of …
Stephany Tlalka, Mindful.org: Happiness is hot right now. You can’t visit major blogs like The Huffington Post and MindBodyGreen without running into tips and tricks for harnessing well-being.
That’s uplifting, says Emma Seppala, associate director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. But she says these blogs are missing one key ingredient. Facts.
“A lot of those articles are intuitively true, but because of my science background, I always look at an article like that and think, ground this in some data!” says Seppala, laughing. “I can’t take it as seriously.”
Seppala has engaged her science background …
I wasn’t surprised today to learn that a new study has found a connection between gratitude and patience. After all, if you value what you have, which is what gratitude accomplishes for us, then there’s less emotional need to go seeking something else.
The study, carried out by a team of researchers from Northeastern University, the University of California, Riverside, and Harvard Kennedy School, looked specifically at financial impatience. Financial impatience is a well-known phenomenon where larger rewards in the future are considered less important than smaller rewards in the present.
Participants in the study chose between receiving a larger sum in the future, or a smaller sum now. The researchers used real money so … Read more »
A ”buddha brain” is one that knows how to be deeply happy, loving, and wise. We develop ourselves in this way by cultivating wholesome qualities and uprooting unwholesome ones. In a sense, we plant flowers and pull weeds in the garden of the mind – which means that we are gradually changing the brain for the better.
Gratitude is a powerful tool in this “garden” since what you rest your attention upon is what will shape your brain the most. That’s because “neurons that fire together, wire together.” Gratitude shifts your attention away from resentment, regret, and guilt – and therefore stops you from building up the neural substrates of these known factors of mental … Read more »
One quality that’s closely related to metta is appreciation. We often take things for granted when they’re going right, and then focus on what’s not going the way we want it to. And that makes us unhappy and makes our relationships with others less warm and appreciative.
At our worst we’ll say things like “Nothing ever goes right in my life.” And in the moment we’re saying those words we’ll ignore that we have air to breathe, we’re alive, we’re probably healthy, we’re living in a fairly civilized society (it’s far from being Mogadishu), we’re sheltered from the elements, we have water, electricity, the internet, friends, family, etc. The specifics of what we have change … Read more »