Daniel DeBolt: Meditation teacher Shaila Catherine once added it all up. It turned out that she’s spent more than eight of her 50 years in meditative silence.
“I love meditating,” she says, calling a limitless source of bliss — if you can stop your busy life long enough to do it.
What could have been a passing interest at age 17 has turned into a thriving practice called Insight Meditation South Bay. Teaching what she calls Vippassana Insight meditation, the non-profit has grown to have more than 1,400 students, and sometimes over 50 at each session. Events, classes and even a monthly day-long meditation are held in several …
Michael Finkel, Men’s Journal Magazine: These are my final words: “Why a camp chair?” I speak them to a man named Wade. Wade from Minnesota. I’m in line behind him, waiting to enter the Dhamma Giri meditation center, in the quiet hill country of western India, for the official start of the 10-day course. Wade tells me that this is his second course and that he learned a valuable lesson from the first. “I’m so glad I have this,” he says, indicating the small folding camp chair tucked under his arm. I utter my last question. It’s never answered. One of the volunteers …
Meditation is often thought to help expand the mind, opening up the limits of consciousness. Now research suggests that meditation can indeed help one keep an open mind, preventing people from falling into mental traps that prolong problem-solving, findings appearing in the journal PLoS ONE. So is this worth pitching?
The research is rooted in experiments based on something with the intriguing name of the Einstellung water jar task. Einstellung literally means “attitude” in German — in this case, it refers to the creation of a mechanized state of mind, a propensity to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though …
Vipassana—a form of meditation in which practitioners train themselves to observe bodily sensations without reacting to them—has a growing reputation for helping addicts. “I nearly walked out three times during my first course,” Alex, a former heroin user from England, tells The Fix. “It was so painful to observe all the negativity I had stored away inside me.” But the results were impressive: “Cravings do not effect me like they used to. If I have a craving, I just observe it and it passes away.” Vipassana teaches the mind not to react to the emotions and thoughts that result in harmful behavior; adherents …
Naazneen Karmali, Forbes: Every day busloads of tourists arrive in Gorai, a seafront suburb of Mumbai, and head to Esselworld and Water Kingdom, two popular theme parks built by Indian billionaire Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group.
Since 2008 the traffic to Gorai has jumped several-fold. Around 10,000 of those people are seeking something other than a ride down a water slide. They are going to the giant golden pagoda. You can see it from miles around rising from the trees in a sharp fingerlike spire aimed at the clouds.
The people are going to the pagoda to sit in Vipassana, an ancient Buddhist meditation style seeing …
Lena Vazifdar: The day I signed up for a silent meditation retreat, I had no idea what I was getting into. The first day, I piled into a red sedan in San Francisco with a 40-year-old hippie in a Hawaiian shirt, a 20-something product developer from India and a straight-faced, vegetarian Indian woman who had been meditating for years. I thought I was about to embark on a great adventure, but little did I know I was beginning the hardest ten days of my life.
I went into the experience with an open heart and mind. My knowledge of Vipassana meditation was…
Sanjeev Shivadekar: Meditation is the latest mantra which the state administration is keen on adopting to enhance efficiency in Mantralaya [the administrative headquarters of the state government of Maharashtra in South Mumbai].
At a recent meeting with senior bureaucrats, chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad advised babus to consider conducting vipassana and meditation courses to enhance the output of the administration. Gaikwad also recommended these techniques to the student community as well as a tool for prison reforms.
“Vipassana is a methodology that helps one gain control over the mind, which helps in increasing work efficiency. I start my day with meditation and it really…
Was it possible to survive 10 days of meditating in an Indian retreat without speaking, reading or making eye-contact with fellow guests?
I am sitting cross-legged on the floor in a large hall, surrounded by strangers. Sweat is running down my face, and my thighs are bleating in agony. I’m trying to meditate but my mind keeps calculating how long I’ve been here (about five hours) and how long there is to go (about another 100).
It is the first day of my silent retreat in Gujarat, India. I am not allowed to talk throughout the 10 days. In fact, I am not allowed to do much at all: I can’t make eye contact with … Read more »
Deep in the Bible Belt, an ancient Eastern practice is taking root in the unlikeliest of places: Alabama’s highest security prison.
Behind a double electric fence and layers of locked doorways, Alabama’s most violent and mentally unstable prisoners are incarcerated in the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility outside Birmingham. Many of them are here to stay. The prison has 24 death row cells, and about a third of the approximately 1,500 prisoners are lifers with no chance of parole.
“You’re dealing with the worst offenses that have been committed by humans in the state of Alabama,” says Gary Hetzel, the warden at Donaldson.
The lockup has a history of inmate stabbings, deaths and suicides and … Read more »
Kaki Hunter is no stranger to success. Her background includes a career as a successful film actress, a published author and a recognized guru in sustainable building.
Two years ago, however, despite all of her success, Hunter says she found herself miserable and at what she describes as, “an extremely low point in life emotionally, spiritually and physically.”
After hearing about friends’ experiences with Vipassana, a 2,500-year-old silent meditation technique designed to eradicate human suffering, Hunter decided to enroll in a 10-day retreat.
The program required all participants to abstain from all communication, including talking, eye contact, writing, music, and reading. As Hunter entered into “noble silence” and began the practice of nearly 16 hours … Read more »