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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: neuroscience

Bodhipaksa

May 18, 2013

“Perhaps everything terrifying is deep down a helpless thing that needs our help.” Rainer Maria Rilke

rilke_33“Perhaps everything terrifying is deep down a helpless thing that needs our help,” Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to a friend and protégé, encouraging him to make peace with his inner demons.

It’s an interesting phrase, “inner demons.” We think of the demonic as being that which is evil, that which aims at our destruction. And yet I don’t believe in the concept of self-sabotage.

Yes, I know, you sometimes act in ways that keep you from doing what you want to do, even when what you want to do is likely to bring your happiness. And I know, you sometimes act in ways that limit you and keep you bound to suffering, even …

Wildmind Meditation News

May 17, 2013

Review: ‘Free the Mind’ documentary finds hope in meditation

Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times: There’s something healing about simply watching “Free the Mind,” Danish filmmaker Phie Ambo’s gentle, compassionate documentary spotlighting the use of such drug-free options as meditation and mindfulness to treat anxiety and trauma.

Writer-director Ambo focuses on three main subjects: Will, an endearing 5-year-old with ADHD and a fear of elevators; Steve, an Afghanistan war veteran haunted by his stint as a military intelligence soldier and interrogator; and Rich, a former battalion leader in Iraq wracked by guilt and horrific memories of combat. Fueled by the subtle parallels between young Will and the adult Steve and Rich, the movie…

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Wildmind Meditation News

May 17, 2013

Column: How practising mindfulness can help your work life

thejournal.ie: ‘MINDFULNESS’ MEANS BEING present in the moment, aware of what is going on inside and around us instead of engrossed in the merry-go-round of our thoughts and emotions. Meditation quiets the mind and fosters new ways of relating to whatever external stressors emerge in the workday.

Everyone knows that training makes our body stronger, fitter and more flexible. Now, neuroscience research shows that mindfulness training cultivates the innate capacities of the mind to be present; to step out of automatic pilot and to create space so we can be clearer, calmer, more focused, more creative, even more compassionate…

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Rick Hanson PhD

Apr 19, 2013

Love the world

Check out Meditations for Happiness (3 CDs), by Rick Hanson
Check out Meditations for Happiness (3 CDs), by Rick Hanson
Your brain evolved in three stages (to simplify a complex process):

Reptile – Brainstem, focused on AVOIDING harm
Mammal – Limbic system, focused on APPROACHING rewards
Primate – Cortex, focused on ATTACHING to “us”

With a fun use (to me, at least) of animal themes, the first JOT in this series – pet the lizard – was about how to soothe the most ancient structures of the brain, the ones that manage the first emotion of all: fear. The next one – …

Brendan Lawlor

Apr 11, 2013

The neuroscience of conditioning

200px-OnIntSometimes the best confirmations of the dhamma come from sources that have nothing to do with Buddhism. On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins is just such a source. Hawkins is an electrical engineer and entrepreneur whose interest in Artificial Intelligence has convinced him that the key to developing AI lies in understanding the brain. If that sounds a little obvious, it’s necessary to say that much of AI research – even on neural networks – has ignored the biology of the brain. As the name of the book suggests, this is not about consciousness or experience at an abstract level. It’s about human intelligence and how that distinctly …

Wildmind Meditation News

Apr 04, 2013

The science behind meditation, and why it makes you feel better

George Dvorsky, io9: Meditation yields a surprising number of health benefits, including stress reduction, improved attention, better memory, and even increased creativity and feelings of compassion. But how can something as simple as focusing on a single object produce such dramatic results? Here’s what the growing body of scientific evidence is telling us about meditation and how it can change the way our brains function.

Before we get started it’s worth doing a quick review of what is actually meant by meditation. The practice can take on many different forms, but the one technique that appears most beneficial, and which also happens to be…

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Wildmind Meditation News

Mar 11, 2013

Professor profile: Richard Davidson, expert in meditation

Sam Cusick, The Daily Cardinal: While people have been meditating for centuries, one University of Wisconsin-Madison professor is working to scientifically prove meditation makes people happier.

Richard Davidson, a psychology professor at UW-Madison since 1984, also runs the university’s Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, which includes his research to incorporate the Dalai Lama’s theories on the healing powers of meditation into scientific research.

Davidson said he has been interested in this topic for many years, although he was initially hesitant to publicly express his interest, since many people did not feel it was “scientific research.” But, after meeting the Dalai Lama in 1992, Davidson said he…

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Bodhipaksa

Feb 24, 2013

Your anxiety deserves your love

100 day meditation challenge 055All of us experience anxiety — even meditation teachers. I was nervous the other day driving down to the airport on my way to lead a retreat. I’d left it a bit late, and thoughts like “what if the traffic’s bad in Boston and I end up missing the flight?” kept popping into my head.

We all have to learn strategies for dealing with our fears.

You can think of there being an “anxiety module” in the brain. It’s the amygdala — a rather ancient part of our wiring. It’s always scanning, looking for “threats” — for things that might go wrong. When we’re in an anxious state, …

Bodhipaksa

Jan 25, 2013

Day 25 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge

100 day meditation challenge 025One quarter of the way to 100 days :)

Sometimes we see signs of progress in our meditation, like times the mind becomes much calmer, or when we feel an unusual level of joy. It’s good to have these “road signs,” but it’s best not to grasp after attaining anything. Sometimes the mind is like a toddler asking “are we there yet?” We have to remind ourselves to be grown-up drivers; the journey takes as long as it takes, and so we just stay focused on the bit of road we’re driving on now.

Progress (unlike driving) isn’t linear, though. We’ll tend, over time, to see these signs appear, and …

Bodhipaksa

Jan 23, 2013

The marriage of meditation and neuroscience

shinzen1Jeff Warren, who recently had an article in the New York Times about his quest for Stream Entry, which is the first stage of enlightenment in Buddhism (I call it “entry-level awakening”) has a truly fascinating column in Psychology Tomorrow magazine on How Understanding the Process of Enlightenment Could Change Science.

The launching point for his column is a study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. As Warren says, “The experiment was a collaboration between a young Harvard neuroscientist named David Vago and a Buddhist scholar and mindfulness meditation teacher named Shinzen Young.”

Here’s an extract, about what happened when some meditators were asked to let …