The first arrow: Think of a time someone said something hurtful to you, and let’s try to break down what happened. A comment was made, and you probably experienced actual physical pain, most likely in the solar plexus or heart. (When the hurt is particularly strong, we sometimes say it feels like we’ve been punched in the gut, don’t we?)
What went on was that some fast-acting part of your brain believed you were being criticized or marginalized, and so identified the comment as a threat to your wellbeing. That part of your brain then attempted to alert the rest of the mind to this threat by sending signals to pain receptors in the body. … Read more »
Alex Hutchinton, The Globe and Mail: It’s relatively easy to spot the physical differences between, say, an Olympic rower and a couch potato. But it’s the mind as much as the muscles that make a champion – so is it possible to pick an “elite brain” out of a crowd of ordinary grey matter?
That’s the challenge that a team of psychiatrists and neuroscientists at the University of California San Diego have been grappling with for the past few years. In brain-imaging studies with subjects ranging from Navy SEALs to elite athletes, they’ve found a telltale pattern of activity in certain brain regions …
Hopefully I’ll soon be trying out a demo model of the Muse headband, which according to the makers is like a heart rate monitor for your mind. In other words it gives you real-time feedback by detecting your brain signals during meditation, the same way you might use a gadget to monitor your heart rate during physical exercise.
Apparently this can help us to train the brain to be more focused, attentive, and calm. I’ll let you know how I get on. (In the meantime we’ve joined Muse’s affiliate program so you’ll see ads promoting it in our sidebars.)
At the recent Buddhist Geeks conference, where I gave a presentation, there were several other … Read more »
Bodhipaksa will be in New York City on Nov 22, 2014. He’s leading a self-compassion workshop at the New York Insight Meditation Center: “How to Stop Beating Yourself Up.”
In this workshop Bodhipaksa will introduce a step-by-step guide to the core skills of self-compassion. As well as drawing on models from Buddhist psychology, we’ll take a look at insights from neuroscience, and explore Buddhist compassion and lovingkindness meditation so that we can learn to regard ourselves — and our pain — with compassion and kindness.
Maria Isabel Garcia, Rappler: ‘Meditation’ used to be the exclusive province of robed and hooded men enacting an ancient tradition. Now, science has joined them.
This could be one of the most powerful ways to change your brain and yet, all you have to do is be still. It will help you focus, be keenly observant but not obsessive, and essentially, be a kinder human being.
Meditation. We all have the basic equipment – the 3-pound matter inside our skulls – yet, we generally think that it is only for the religious or for our odd relatives and friends who dress funny.
Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.
It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.
Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?” More broadly, there is a kind of inner critic and inner protector inside each of us. For most people, that inner … Read more »
Linda Heuman, Tricycle: Neuroscientist Catherine Kerr is concerned about how mindfulness meditation research is being portrayed in the media.
Last May, an article about mindfulness on a popular mainstream news website finally spurred neuroscientist and meditation researcher Catherine Kerr to act. The article cited 20 benefits of meditation, from “reducing loneliness” to “increasing grey matter” to “helping sleep,” and painted a picture of meditation as a kind of golden elixir for modern life. Kerr posted the article on her Facebook page. “It is not like any of this is grossly inaccurate,” she wrote in her post. “It is just that the studies are too …
Brittany Dingler, The Skidmore News: Generally, meditation is a mindfulness-based practice in which an individual sits quietly, focuses on breathing, and tries to clear their mind of any distracting thoughts or worries. Some meditators even choose to supplement their meditation practice with repeated mantras (think “ohmmm…”) or visualization (“imagine you’re a stick, floating down the river of zen”). Though often viewed as a wacky, spiritual practice reserved only for yogis, hippies, and monks, meditation is a critical tool that has recently gained more support as a source of daily restoration for CEOs and doctors as well as an effective, supplemental treatment for chronic …
Rose Caiola, Huffington Post: I’ve been a dedicated meditation practitioner for more than a decade and I always keep my eyes open for new techniques. Now keeping my “eyes open” can be taken literally–because I’ve learned about the benefits of meditating without closing them.
This was a big departure for me. I had always thought of meditation as a way to keep the external world out of the picture during quiet contemplation. And even though I am very receptive to the benefits of different practices–I’ve tried everything from yogic, mindfulness, and Tibetan mantra meditations to ecstatic dancing and walking a labyrinth–I had assumed …
Gary Gutting, New York Times: Sam Harris is a neuroscientist and prominent “new atheist,” who along with others like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens helped put criticism of religion at the forefront of public debate in recent years. In two previous books, “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation,” Harris argued that theistic religion has no place in a world of science. In his latest book, “Waking Up,” his thought takes a new direction. While still rejecting theism, Harris nonetheless makes a case for the value of “spirituality,” which he bases on his experiences in meditation. I interviewed …