At 105, a Zen master blends East with a bit of L.A.

October 1, 2012

The Zen master would not stop talking.

Several times he began to draw his teachings to a close, explaining to his students that he was tired and in poor health. Then he would burst down another path.

He discussed the difficulties of raising children. He lingered on the subject of death. Eventually, he raised a small fist in the air.

“Everybody is together at one point,” he said. “We cry together, we love together. There is no moment in which we are not together.”

He is 105 years old and not even 5 feet tall, with paper-white skin and a blocky, bald head. Enveloped in …

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Mindfulness, being in the moment, is now of the moment

October 1, 2012

Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times: Every Thursday at lunchtime at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, several dozen people turn off their cellphones and take seats in the bright pink chairs of the Billy Wilder Theater.

They come to spend half an hour with Diana Winston, a former Buddhist nun and one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness meditation. The lights go down, and Winston takes a seat in an office chair and speaks quietly into a microphone.

Occasionally she is accompanied by a guest playing about 20 Tibetan bells, the haunting, wave-like sounds enhancing her voice, which is so soothing it’s as if …

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Transcending a different type of PTSD — helping children of the night

October 9, 2011

Dr. Norman Rosenthal: Lately there has been a storm of publicity – and deservedly so – about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The public has become better educated about this potentially disabling disorder and its symptoms, such as hypervigilance, an exaggerated tendency to startle, flashbacks, nightmares and emotional numbness, to name just a few.
Mental health professionals have emphasized the need to diagnose and treat PTSD wherever it arises. In this piece, I would like to draw attention to yet another group suffering from PTSD – child victims of prostitution who, against all odds, are trying…

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Meditation helps homeless children

June 11, 2011

Beverly White and Julie Brayton: Thousands of adults and children live on Southern California streets, and so did Kelsey.

She was cast out by her abusive Midwestern family.

“I been kicked out of my house since I was nine, on and off. This last time, my father was sexually abusing me,” said Kelsey, who is 17 years old.

Living on the streets in Los Angeles was so horrifying and dangerous, Kelsey sought shelter at Children Of The Night, where she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and introduced to Transcendental Meditation.

“When you take like twenty minutes sit down and do TM, and calm yourself and be peaceful…

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Meditating one’s stress away

February 2, 2011

A handful of people gathered Sunday morning at the Japanese Tea House in Brand Park to meditate in a class that applies Buddhist teachings for overcoming stress and anger.

The group’s teacher, Caroline Green, with the Kadampa Meditation Center in Los Angeles, advised the class in the beginning to improve their back posture.

“Straight, but not tense,” she suggested. “Place your feet flat on the floor, your right-hand palm on your left, your tongue gently touching the back of your teeth.”

All this for the goal of achieving a “relaxed and alert” state of being, in which the class could deeply breathe in and out. As the first breathing meditation advanced, Green requested that the … Read more »

Self-Realization Fellowship elects Sri Mrinalini Mata as new leader (LA Times)

January 12, 2011

The organization, which follows Hindu and Christian teachings, selects Sri Mrinalini Mata, 79, to succeed longtime leader Sri Daya Mata, who died in 2010. Mrinalini Mata has been vice president of the group since 1966.

The Self-Realization Fellowship, a Los Angeles-based organization that follows a spiritual path rooted in both Hinduism and Christianity, has elected a new leader, the fourth since it was established in 1920.

The fellowship announced Tuesday that Sri Mrinalini Mata, who became a Self-Realization nun at the age of 15, was elected president last week by its eight-member board of directors. She succeeds Sri Daya Mata, the group’s longtime leader, who died in November.

The selection of Mrinalini Mata, 79, means … Read more »

Zen meditation, a cure for unhappiness in South LA

December 8, 2010

As you read this article your mind is likely to wander off onto other thoughts; trouble at work, your evening plans, a mounting to-do list… and you might be all the more unhappy in life as a result of such distracted thinking.

According to a recent study in the November issue of Science Magazine, whether and where people’s minds wander is a better predictor of happiness than what they are doing. The study included more than 2,200 people around the world who agreed to use an iphone app called trackyourhappiness.

A team of Harvard psychologists contacted the participants at random intervals to ask how them how they were feeling, what they were doing and what … Read more »