Codie Surratt, PsychCentral: I am frequently asked “What is mindfulness?”
I start by saying something poignant like “It’s being aware and in the present moment” or “It’s about allowing each experience to wash over us like a cool spring rain, without attachment or judgments.” I love these answers and they generally tend to spawn a lively conversation about experiences, judgment and simply allowing ourselves to be present.
Mindfulness, though, is also about perception and reaction. Here’s what I mean…
I love Viktor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived a World War II concentration camp. He is a genuine hero of mine…
Sometimes 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 human (well, mammalian) part of the brain – … Read more »
Om mani padme hum.
Repeat the ancient mantra—Om mani padme hum (“Hail the jewel in the lotus”), om mani padme hum—again and again until the chaos of your thoughts quiets, the thump of your heart becomes clearly evident and your attention turns to the easy movement of breath through your nostrils … in and out … in and out. You’re no longer lost in thought. You’re not spaced out. You’re paying attention to what’s going on in the present moment. You’re meditating.
Buddhists have been practicing meditations like this one and hundreds of variations for more than 2,500 years. It’s only in recent years, though, that the contemplative practice has moved into the mainstream. In … Read more »
Intensive mental training has a measurable effect on visual perception, according to a new study from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis. People undergoing intensive training in meditation became better at making fine visual distinctions and sustaining attention during a 30-minute test.
A paper describing the results will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science and was posted on the journal website May 11. It is the first paper to be published from a major scientific study of meditation training, the Shamatha Project.
“These results show for the first time that improved perception, often claimed to be a benefit of meditation practice, underlies improvements in … Read more »