Breathe away pain

August 26, 2014

wildmind meditation newsFerris Jabr, Psychology Today: While resisting pain only makes suffering worse, mindfulness meditation can help chronic pain sufferers.

Pain is necessary. It alerts us to threats, teaches us to avoid future risks, and makes sure we don’t forget to help ourselves heal. Our bodies have evolved instinctive reactions to pain and injury—accidentally brush your hand against a boiling kettle and your arm will retract reflexively before you even realize why. Our minds, too, respond to pain in a characteristic manner: ever notice how even a minor wound can dominate your thoughts?
But what if you could manipulate your natural response to pain in …

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Accepting that this human life will bring suffering

August 4, 2014

Standing Buddha statue, ThailandStep one – Accepting that this human life will bring suffering – is pointing us in the direction of truth. Ask yourself what are you avoiding? What are you hiding from? Most human beings are avoiding suffering. Most human beings are hiding from suffering underneath a veneer of coping mechanisms.

This step acknowledges the different types of suffering we can experience. Most commonly the suffering of ageing, sickness and death. We can not avoid any of these truths, we can not hide from these truths either. So we may as well face them gracefully.

How we may ask? We do this with kindly acceptance. Acceptance is in the present moment. When suffering arises; if we … Read more »

‘Mindfulness’ therapy adopted by stressed Britons

wildmind meditation newsSarah Knapton, The Telegraph: Financial firms in the City of London are recommending mindfulness to stressed employees while schools are increasingly adopting the practice to help children focus.

‘Mindfulness’ therapy is increasingly being adopted by stressed Britons as NHS figures show record numbers of people embracing ancient Buddhist meditation.

The technique is designed to focus the mind on sights, sounds and physical sensations while trying to reduce “brain chatter” and promote clarity of thought.

It is so popular that many of the large financial firms in the City of London are recommending it to stressed financiers while schools are increasingly adopting the practice …

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Reaching out for compassion

April 23, 2014

20100514_大仏At a weekend workshop I led, one of the participants, Marian, shared her story about the shame and guilt that had tortured her. Marian’s daughter Christy, in recovery for alcoholism, had asked her mother to join her in therapy. As their sessions unfolded, Christy revealed that she’d been sexually abused throughout her teen years by her stepfather, Marian’s second husband.

The words and revelations Marian heard that day pierced her heart. “You just slept through my whole adolescence!” her daughter had shouted. “I was being violated and had nowhere to turn! No one was there to take care of me!” Christy’s face was red; her hands clenched tight. “I was afraid to tell you then, … Read more »

Could stress make hay fever worse?

April 3, 2014

wildmind meditation newsEmma Innes, Daily Mail: Meditation and breathing exercises could be key to relieving allergy flare-ups.

Hay fever and other allergies could be made worse by stress, new research suggests. As a result, meditation and breathing exercises could be the key to relieving allergy flare-ups by reducing tension, scientists claim. And even though sneezing and coughing cause stress, it is now thought that flare-ups could be triggering a self-perpetuating cycle of stress and sneezing.

Dr Amber Patterson, from the Ohio State University Medical Centre, said: ‘Stress can cause several negative effects on the body, including causing more symptoms for allergy flares also have a…

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Treating chronic pain with meditation

April 1, 2014

wildmind meditation newsBrian Steiner, The Atlantic: In some cases, the holistic practice could replace narcotics. Integrating meditation into regular treatment could significantly cut healthcare costs.

Sarah Kehoe tried Aleve for her back pain. She tried stretching. She tried yoga. She tried forgetting about it. She tried pain patches. She tried acupuncture. A shot of painkillers into her back. Prescription anti-inflammatory pain patches. Opiates. Surgery. Physical therapy. Heat and compresses. Ignoring it again. Steroids. More opiates. Acupuncture again. She couldn’t sit, stand up straight, lie down on her back. She was weak, had lost muscle tone. She fainted on the subway. Sarah Kehoe, an otherwise healthy …

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Right intention

March 26, 2014

lighted candlesOf course, the first question regarding intention is, for what?

All the great wisdom traditions of the world, and all the great moral philosophers, have grappled with this question. What should we want?

There are many ways to approach this question. Some try to answer it in terms of discerning the will or desires of their sense of a Divine influence, of God. Others through resort to certain ideals or abstractions. And others through reliance on some kind of authority, such as a priestly class or a scripture.

In the case of the Buddha – and also some moral philosophers – he approached this question pragmatically, in terms of what leads to more or less … Read more »

Buddhist economics: oxymoron or idea whose time has come?

March 18, 2014

wildmind meditation newsKathleen Maclay, UC Berkeley: UC Berkeley economist Clair Brown acknowledges that “Buddhist economics” may seem like an oxymoron.

Nevertheless, she’s teaching a sophomore seminar on the topic this semester — the campus’s second such offering over the past year.

Brown said she created the one-unit Buddhist Economics course after students in her Introductory Economics (Econ 1) class expressed frustration with the relentless Madison Avenue message that more is better, economic growth paves the path to a better life and “retail therapy” is a quick trip to nirvana.

Nicholas Austin, an economics major from Laguna Beach, Calif., and a student this spring in Brown’s Buddhist …

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Learning to love your suffering

February 10, 2014

Senior man suffering from severe headacheBuddhism talks a lot about suffering, but a lot of us think that we don’t suffer, or that we don’t really suffer. There’s a tendency for us to think of suffering in terms of physical pain or material deprivation: the person with terminal cancer or a broken leg, the refugee, the starving child. So we often think of suffering as being something that’s extreme or unusual. But actually, we all suffer, every day. You may be suffering right now.

  • When you’re worrying what people think about you, you’re suffering.
  • When you feel resentful, you’re suffering.
  • When you’re impatient, you’re suffering.
  • When you’re embarrassed, you’re suffering.
  • When you’re irritated, you’re suffering.
  • When you’re feeling sad, you’re
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Relax, you’re going to be criticized

September 25, 2013

RickHansonThe title of this practice is a little tongue-in-cheek. What I mean is, most of us – me included – spend time worrying about criticism: past, present, and even future. Yes, try hard, keep agreements, “don’t be evil,” etc. But sooner or later – usually sooner – someone is going to point out the error in your ways. Often in subtle versions that still have an implicit criticism, such as giving advice, helping or teaching when you don’t really need it, making corrections, comparing you negatively to others, or focusing on the one tile in the mosaic of your actions that’s problematic while staying mum about the 99 other good tiles.

In other words, criticism … Read more »