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Wildmind Meditation News

Mar 10, 2011

Ten days without talking

Was it possible to survive 10 days of meditating in an Indian retreat without speaking, reading or making eye-contact with fellow guests?

I am sitting cross-legged on the floor in a large hall, surrounded by strangers. Sweat is running down my face, and my thighs are bleating in agony. I’m trying to meditate but my mind keeps calculating how long I’ve been here (about five hours) and how long there is to go (about another 100).

It is the first day of my silent retreat in Gujarat, India. I am not allowed to talk throughout the 10 days. In fact, I am not allowed to do much at all: I can’t make eye contact with my fellow meditators, or read, write, listen …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jan 25, 2011

The Guardian newspaper’s guide to meditation

Last weekend the British Guardian newspaper published a guide to meditation. Here are extracts, as well as links to the full articles…

1. How to meditate: An introduction

Rates of depression and anxiety are rising in the modern world. Andrew Oswald, a professor at Warwick University who studies wellbeing, recently told me that mental health indicators nearly always point down. “Things are not going completely well in western society,” he said. Proposed remedies are numerous. And one that is garnering growing attention is meditation, and mindfulness meditation in particular.

The aim is simple: to pay attention – be “mindful”. Typically, a teacher will ask you to sit upright, in an alert position. Then, they will encourage you to focus on something straightforward, like …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jan 11, 2011

Undoing exhaustion: Enjoy a meditation retreat

Some of us go to the beach or camping by a river or lake for our holidays.

Some of us stay home and read books.

The really exhausted ones, the spiritually exhausted ones, go on retreat.

That’s what I did between Christmas and new year.

It was billed as a yoga and meditation retreat.

On December 27, I loaded up with two unknown fellow retreaters and hitched a lift to Healesville, deep in a valley where prayer flags fluttered in the breeze, to a higgledy-piggledy arrangement of old wooden rooms that I suppose once constituted a mountain guesthouse. Buddha, in various statue forms, and a few of his followers have since moved in.

Each day began with a gong at what seemed to be some time …

Wildmind Meditation News

Dec 24, 2010

Explaining why meditators may live longer

meditating on a pierThe image of the ancient but youthful-looking sage meditating on a mountaintop might be closer to reality than you think, according to a new study that found that after a three-month stay at a meditation retreat, people showed higher levels of an enzyme associated with longevity.

The study is preliminary and didn’t show that meditation actually extends life, but the findings suggest a possible means by which it could.

Researchers led by Tonya Jacobs of the University of California-Davis compared 30 participants at a meditation retreat held at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado with matched controls on a waiting list for the retreat. Participants meditated six hours per day …

Wildmind Meditation News

Aug 28, 2010

101 Places Not To See Before You Die

An Overnight Stay at a Korean Temple

In theory, an overnight stay at a Korean temple sounds like the perfect activity for anyone struggling to escape the pressures of modern life. You’ll meditate, you’ll learn about Buddhism, you’ll go vegetarian. Concerns and cares will slip away as you drift into a blissful state of conscious awareness.

Unfortunately, that’s not what it’s like.

I signed up for one of these sleepovers through a program called Templestay. Created in 2002 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism — the largest Buddhist order in Korea — the Templestay program aims to allow visitors to “sample ordained lifestyle and experience the mental training and cultural experience of Korea’s ancient Buddhist tradition.” In other words, it’s a chance …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jun 27, 2010

That misery called meditation

imsRobert Wright, the New York Times online columnist and author of The Evolution of God, is pretty much what you’d call a cynic. That’s why I was surprised when he spoke with such reverence of the period he spent meditating at a silent Buddhist retreat. “When I came out, I was quite different,” he told me. “It was one of the best things I’d ever done.”

What could bring such joy to a cynic? The way to find out was to go to Barre, Mass., home of the Insight Meditation Society, where Wright went on his pilgrimage many years ago. Founded in the 1970s by a group of Westerners who had spent …

Sunada Takagi

Nov 02, 2009

Rest and Renewal Retreat, Dec 4-6, 2009

Top TenRecharge your batteries with a weekend of calm and relaxation! Join retreat leaders Amala and Sunada on this residential retreat — where you can relax, be taken care of, and regain some perspective on your life. You’ll rejuvenate body and mind with wholesome vegetarian meals, meditation, yoga, and massage. You’ll also learn ‘take-home’ skills to help you manage stress and enhance self-care in your daily life at home.

The retreat is open to anyone who is suffering from burnout, stress, overwork or who feels disconnected from their ability to enjoy life.