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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: mental health

Rick Hanson PhD

Dec 05, 2011

Start with the fundamentals

In middle school, I thought it would be cool to play a musical instrument, and picked the clarinet. My wise parents rented one rather than buying it, and I started practicing. (In the garage because it sounded pretty screechy.) After a week or two of doing scales, I got bored and picked my way through a couple easy songs. But after a few more weeks, I couldn’t go further because I hadn’t laid a foundation with scales and similar exercises – so I quit in frustration. To this day, I regret never learning to play a musical instrument.

I and others tend to skip over the fundamentals for a variety …

Bodhipaksa

Nov 29, 2011

The science of lovingkindness

Right at the very beginning of my meditation practice I was introduced to both mindfulness of breathing and the development of lovingkindness meditation. It was explained to me that both of these practices were equally important, that they were complementary, and that alternating these practices prevented imbalance in our approach. It was stressed, in fact, that sometimes lovingkindness practice is more important than mindfulness practice — especially for people who have a tendency toward being angry or over-critical.

I’ve never had cause to doubt any of that advice.

There are many meditators, however, who only practice mindfulness meditation, and often lovingkindness practice is seen as second-best. Generally …

Wildmind Meditation News

Nov 12, 2011

Early evidence shows meditation helping veterans with PTSD

The flashbacks and nightmares came often for Robert Singh.

U.S. Army veteran Singh served three tours in Iraq, from 2004 through 2010. He was an Army medic for most of that time. It was a violent, dangerous and intense job. Singh was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2007.

After he left the military in 2010, it became obvious that the drugs Singh was prescribed for PTSD weren’t helping.

So when Singh learned of VetMind, a novel study being conducted at Oregon Health & Science University to understand how mindfulness meditation helps veterans’ PTSD symptoms, he enrolled.

And he’s happy he did.

The meditation exercises Singh learned in the study and continues to practice considerably abated his PTSD symptoms, he says. He has fewer flashbacks, …

Rick Hanson PhD

Nov 10, 2011

Fill the hole in your heart

As we grow up and then move through adulthood, we all have normal needs for safety, fulfillment, and love.

For example, children need to feel secure, adolescents need a growing sense of autonomy, and young adults need to feel attractive and worthy of romantic love. When these needs are met by various “supplies” — such as the caring of a parent, the trust of a teacher, the love of a mate-the positive experiences that result then sink in to implicit memory to become resources for well-being, self-regulation, resilience, self-worth, and skillful action. This is how healthy psychological development is supposed to work.

But it doesn’t always go this way, does it? …

Bodhipaksa

Nov 09, 2011

How to get rid of resentment

Ann Lamott, in her novel Crooked Little Heart, says that holding onto resentment is like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.

Resentment is seductive. We assume on some level that it’s going to help us, but it doesn’t. It just causes us pain.

This is something that just about all of us need help with.

1600 years ago, a compiler and commenter of Buddhist texts called Buddhaghosa put together an extraordinary “tool kit” of ways to deal with resentment. I was recently looking at this guidance, which is part of Buddhaghosa’s encyclopedic work on meditation, The Visuddhi Magga, or Path of Purity, and thought it was so fresh, well …

Bodhipaksa

Sep 12, 2011

“Ten Thousand Joys and Ten Thousand Sorrows”: an interview with Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle

This book is intensely personal. Was it difficult to write?

Yes, at times it was difficult to write, but I felt a great sense of purpose. just before Hob died, I promised him that I would write a book and his voice would be in it. That became like a covenant between us. Also, I felt compelled to write the book. I realized that our background with meditation and the wisdom traditions gave us valuable perspectives which could be helpful to others. I hadn’t seen any books about how spiritual perspectives or practices could help with Alzheimer’s, and that’s what had helped us more than anything. In fact, the book …

Saddhamala

May 08, 2011

How to clear your mind of negative thoughts

The mind is like a wild elephant that needs taming. If you have ever meditated and tried to quiet your mind, you will have experienced your thoughts as continuous and difficult to manage.

We worry, we obsess about the same things over and over again, we are anxious about things that never happen, we want more than we have, or something different from what we have, and we have expectations of ourselves and others that may never be met.

What we think creates the world we live in. When we think negatively about ourselves and others, we do not experience the beauty and joy that can be found within ourselves and others.

One of …

Wildmind Meditation News

Apr 05, 2011

Meditation has the power to make dramatic changes in your physical and psychological health

Many people see meditation as an exotic form of daydreaming, or a quick fix for a stressed-out mind. My advice to them is, try it.

Meditation is difficult, at least to begin with. On my first attempt, instead of concentrating on my breathing and letting go of anything that came to mind, as instructed by my cheery Tibetan teacher, I got distracted by a string of troubled thoughts, then fell asleep. Apparently, this is normal for first-timers. Experienced meditators will assure you that it is worth persisting, however.

“Training allows us to transform the mind, to overcome destructive emotions and to dispel suffering,” says Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. “The numerous and profound methods that Buddhism has developed over the centuries can be …

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 …

Padraig O'Morain

Nov 02, 2010

“Living Well With Pain and Illness,” by Vidyamala Burch

living well with pain and illness“You don’t have to get through until morning. You only have to get through the present moment.”

That thought transformed Vidyamala Burch’s relationship with her pain. A catastrophic car accident had left her with permanent damage and permanent pain – and that was on top of an incident during life-saving practice that had already damaged a vertebra.

Following one procedure she was required to sit upright for twenty four hours. During the ordeal she felt “impaled on the edge of madness.” It was as though she could hear two voices arguing inside her. “I can’t bear this. I’ll go mad. There’s no …