No lotus position needed: Neuroscience pushes meditation into the mainstream

August 2, 2013

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: When the Rev. Ron Moor began meditating 30 years ago, he did so in secret.

“When I started, meditation was a dirty word,” said Moor, pastor of Spirit United Church in Minneapolis. “(Evangelist) Jimmy Swaggart called it ‘the work of the devil.’ Because of its basis in Eastern religions, fundamentalists considered it satanic. Now those same fundamentalists are embracing it. And every class I teach includes at least a brief meditation.”

The faith community isn’t alone in changing its attitude. Businesses, schools and hospitals not only have become more accepting of meditation, but many offer classes on it. Meditating…

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Meditation tips for advisors

August 1, 2013

Deena Katz, Financial Planning: After driving to the office the other day, I realized that while I remembered getting into the car, the next thing I knew I was pulling up to my parking space. It was as if I was on autopilot. Clearly, it’s dangerous to be mentally checked out while driving. But it occurred to me that it’s just as dangerous to be less than fully attentive while working with clients.

Psychologists refer to attentiveness and “staying in the present” as mindfulness. There is more to mindfulness than just being present, though. In fact, practicing this technique allows us to be…

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Waking up: study shows mindfulness can offer health benefits

July 29, 2013

Sean Phipps, A recent study on the effects of meditation revealed that individuals who practiced regularly experienced a “specific genomic response.”

Simply put, people who had never meditated before were able to—over the course of eight weeks—produce the exact opposite of what occurs during “fight or flight,” according to the study.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. It was published in PLOS ONE, an open-access online journal.

In Chattanooga, meditation and mindfulness have gained in popularity…

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Students learn to focus during mindfulness camp

July 29, 2013

Eve Newman, A group of grade-schoolers lay on their backs and sides Wednesday morning in a classroom at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laramie, unmoving and eyes shut.

Under direction of meditation leader Catie Ballard, they focused on feeling their shoulders, elbows, feet and the backs of their knees. They lay still until directed to open their eyes.

“You can always keep coming back to your breath,” Ballard said. “That’s the hallmark of every type of meditation in the world.”

After a few minutes, they gathered in a circle and shared moments from the week. They had spent the week putting into practice…

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Meditation’s next frontier: Improving customer service

July 26, 2013

Knowledge@Wharton: The role of meditation in enhancing individual performance, leadership and productivity is well documented. However, a recent study captures its uses in evoking compassion — as the Buddha originally intended. Businesses could use that insight and meditation as a tool to foster closer bonding between employees and to spur them to serve customers better, according to Wharton management professor Sigal Barsade.

A recent article in The New York Times by David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, describes how he, along with psychologist Paul Condon, neuroscientist Gaelle Desbordes and Buddhist lama Willa Miller, conducted an experiment in meditation that…

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U.S. schools begin enrolling in Peter Amato’s meditation in classrooms competition

July 19, 2013

PRWeb: “I am pleased and excited to report that schools throughout the country are beginning to enroll and compete for an opportunity to bring meditation to their classrooms to reduce stress and increase morale and socialization,” announced Peter Amato, meditation master and doctoral candidate in mind-body medicine.

Through his global mind-body movement, Pathway To Peace, Amato launched a nationwide search for schools that are interested in starting a meditation program as well as those who want to compete to receive the program training free. Schools that wish to compete are required to submit an essay or video to the website,, explaining why…

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Meet the “mindfulness” caucus: Politicians who meditate!

July 10, 2013

Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon: “If this can help me, a half-Irish, half-Italian quarterback from Northeast Ohio, it’s for everybody,” Congressman Tim Ryan says of his meditation practice developed from Buddhist traditions. The lawmaker, one of a growing group of prominent politicians incorporating mindfulness into their worldview and approach, leans back in a chair in his Longworth House Office Building suite, which includes meditation cushions and signed footballs — and even a Bud Light on display behind glass (the aluminum bottle is made in his district). “It’s not woo woo!”

Despite not fitting the profile, Ryan has become an evangelist for meditation on Capitol Hill, encouraging his…

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How Buddhism led to High Street evolution

Jenny Chapman, Cambridge News: He is happy and contented. He is the managing director of a company turning over £11m and his salary is £15,000.

“I live simply, it’s all I need,” says Mike Silver, 49, who heads a team of 250, around 90 at the Windhorse headquarters off Coldhams Lane in Cambridge.

Windhorse, which is a wholesaler of gifts and housewares, started in London’s Bethnal Green in 1980 and has always been a Buddhist organisation.

“We moved to Cambridge to grow and to start Buddhist activities in Cambridge,” says Mike, who joined Windhorse 27 years ago, straight from an economics degree at Manchester.

The Windhorse Buddhists…

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Meditation’s effects on emotion shown to persist

June 23, 2013

Traci Pedersen, PsychCentral: Meditation affects a person’s brain function long after the act of meditation is over, according to new research.

“This is the first time meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state,” said Gaelle Desbordes, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and at the Boston University Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology.

“Overall, these results are consistent with the overarching hypothesis that meditation may result in enduring, beneficial changes in brain function, especially in the area of emotional processing…

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Meditation reduces the risk of depression in schoolchildren

June 20, 2013

Emma Innes, Mail Online: Children who are taught meditation are less likely to develop depression, a new study has revealed.

Teaching children a form of meditation called ‘mindfulness’ – a psychological technique which focuses awareness and attention – can reduce a pupil’s stress levels meaning their mental health improves.

The technique can also improve their academic performance, the researchers found.

Scientists at the University of Exeter, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), taught 256 pupils aged between 12 and 16 the MiSP curriculum.

The curriculum involved teaching the children nine lessons in how to better control their…

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