The structure of gratitude

wildmind meditation newsDavid 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 …

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Living With Appreciation and Gratitude (May 1–28)

April 9, 2015

yogd2015-muditaIn 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:

  • Develop peace through an appreciation of impermanence
  • Overcome a tendency to blame yourself or others
  • See all beings as potentially awakened
  • Abandon indifference and cruelty in favor of genuine loving wisdom
  • Encourage the arising of insight in others

Signing up for this event gives you access to:

  • 28 daily emails with practice suggestions
  • Access to guided
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How mindfulness changes your life

wildmind meditation newsMeditation 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:

Life-changing.

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 …

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Make 2015 a mindful year and get more out of life

December 29, 2014

wildmind meditation newsMeditation 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 …

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5 Science-backed ways to boost your happiness

September 4, 2014

wildmind meditation newsStephany 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 …

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Gratitude promotes patience

March 31, 2014

仏像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 »

Developing a “Buddha Brain” through gratitude

March 20, 2014

Buddha Close UpA ”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 »

The Urban Retreat, Day 7: The practice of gratitude

November 24, 2013

urban retreat 2013

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 »

Handling blocks to any inner practice—meditation, yoga, gratitude, mindfulness

November 4, 2013

When you try to change your life for better, sometimes you bump into a block, such as distracting thoughts. Blocks are common. They’re not bad or wrong—but they do get in the way. What works is to explore them with self-acceptance, and see what you can learn about yourself. One valuable aspect of taking in the good is that it often reveals other issues, such as an underlying reluctance to let yourself feel good. Then you can address these issues with the suggestions below. With practice and time, blocks usually fade away.

Blocks to Any Inner Practice

• Distractibility—Focus on the stimulating aspects of positive experiences, which will keep your attention engaged with them.

• … Read more »

Gratitude for the teachings and teachers (Day 75)

June 26, 2013

100 Days of LovingkindnessSo you’re here to learn something about meditation. From me, a person who enjoys sharing his experience. Perhaps you’re grateful that I do that. I’m grateful you’re here.

I learned meditation from many people, the first of whom was a man called Susiddhi, another Scot, who was teaching at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre in Scotland. And now that I think about it, I am very grateful for what he taught me, and I’m grateful to the many other teachers I learned from, who often taught each other. This process of teachings being passed on isn’t a linear process of teacher to student. Teachers are also students of each other. Often students teach their teachers. So … Read more »