Finding right meditation technique key to satisfaction

July 10, 2012

New to meditation and already thinking about quitting? You may have simply chosen the wrong method. A new study published online July 7 in EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing highlights the importance of ensuring that new meditators select methods with which they are most comfortable, rather than those that are most popular.

If they do, they are likely to stick with it, says Adam Burke, the author of the study. If not, there is a higher chance they may abandon meditation altogether, losing out on its myriad personal and medical benefits. Burke is a professor of Health Education at SF State and the director of SF State’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies.

“Because … Read more »

Zen meditators tap in to subliminal messages

Anil Ananthaswamy, New Scientist: Meditation increases our ability to tap into the hidden recesses of our brain that are usually outside the reach of our conscious awareness.

That’s according to Madelijn Strick of Utrecht University in the Netherlands and colleagues, who tested whether meditation has an effect on our ability to pick up subliminal messages.

The brain registers subliminal messages, but we are often unable to recall them consciously. To investigate, the team recruited 34 experienced practitioners of Zen meditation and randomly assigned them to either a meditation group or a control group. The meditation group was asked to meditate for 20 minutes in a …

Read the original article »

Anders Behring Breivik used meditation to kill — he’s not the first

Vishvapani Blomfield, the Guardian: Meditation makes you calmer and clearer and encourages empathy and kindness … right? Not if you are Anders Behring Breivik who has told psychiatrists that he used meditation to “numb the full spectrum of human emotion – happiness to sorrow, despair, hopelessness, and fear”. He still practises it behind bars to deaden the impact of his actions.

Breivik uses meditation as a form of mind control – a way to focus the mind and exclude responses that get in his way. You could argue that he is meditating wrongly, but I think his testimony shows that the effect of …

Read the original article »

Zen for high schoolers: ‘Notice the anxiety. Notice the fear.’

April 17, 2012

The New York Times reports not only that Brooklyn high-schoolers are attending weekly meditation sessions meant to help them handle the challenges of growing up in the city, but that Zen meditation is being offered as an alternative to traditional detentions.

The meditation sessions are taking place in the Brooklyn Zen Center, where Zen priest Greg Snyder is involved in the center’s Awake Youth Project, which includes weekly workshops in five public high schools as well as teenager-led sessions at the center.

Now, Mr. Snyder is taking on the tougher task of teaching meditation to Level 1 offenders— students who are frequently put in detention or suspended because they start fights or cause trouble —

Read more »

“As a parent raises a child with deep love, care for water and rice as though they were your own children.” Dogen

March 27, 2012

So I was walking to the office the other day, when something rather lovely happened.

Before I say what that was, I have to explain that walking to the office is a new thing for me — or the rediscovery of an old thing. Now before I entered a spell of working from home, I often used to make my morning “walking commute” into a walking meditation. Then, for several years, I did almost all of my work out of the house, and my daily walking meditation died away. But a couple of months ago I rented an office in town, only a 15 minute walk away, and I’m getting back into the habit of … Read more »

The Zen at the heart of Steve Jobs’ genius

March 20, 2012

Frederick E. Allen, Forbes: Walter Isaacson, the biographer of Steve Jobs, has a terrific 6,000-word article out at hbr.org today, and in the forthcoming issue of Harvard Business Review, titled The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs.

He discusses the many qualities that set Steve Jobs apart from all other innovators ever, but what most struck me reading the piece is the repeated mention of Jobs’ involvement with Zen Buddhism.

After a while, I found myself reading that part of Jobs’ experience and personality into sections of the article where Isaacson didn’t bring it up.

The first element of Jobs’ leadership that Isaacson discusses …

Read the original article »

Mindful eating as food for thought

February 7, 2012

Jeff Godinier, NY Times: Try this: place a forkful of food in your mouth. It doesn’t matter what the food is, but make it something you love — let’s say it’s that first nibble from three hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked ravioli.

Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was very good and another immediately beckons. You’re hungry.

Today’s experiment in eating, however, involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. Resist it. Leave the fork on …

Read the original article »

Martin Luther King and Thich Nhat Hanh

January 16, 2012

On the occasion of Martin Luther King Day, it’s worth reading the letter he wrote to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, nominating the Buddhist monk-activist, Thich Hnat Hanh:

1967 25, January
The Nobel Institute
Drammesnsveien 19
Oslo, NORWAY

Gentlemen:

As the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 1964, I now have the pleasure of proposing to you the name of Thich Nhat Hanh for that award in 1967. I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam.

This would be a notably auspicious year for you to bestow your Prize on the Venerable Nhat Hanh. Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly

Read more »

The real Buddha Bar, tended by Tokyo monks

December 30, 2011

Another Friday night at this tiny neighborhood watering hole in Tokyo: By 7:30, the bar stools and tables in this cozy joint are filling up; office workers settle in with their cocktails and Kirin beers. And by a little after 8, it’s time for the main act.

Vow’s Bar in the Yotsuya neighborhood has no house band, no widescreen TV, no jukebox. But it does have a chanting Buddhist monk so tipplers can get a side of sutras with their Singapore Slings or something even more exotic.

A pair of younger monks — conspicuous with their shaved heads, bare feet and religious garb — man …

Read the original article »

Steve Jobs’ private spirituality now an open book

November 3, 2011

Daniel Burke: He considered moving to a Zen monastery before shifting his sights to Silicon Valley, where he became a brash businessman.

He preached about the dangers of desire but urged consumers to covet every new iPhone incarnation.
“He was an enlightened being who was cruel,” says a former girlfriend. “That’s a strange combination.”

Now, we can add another irony to the legacy of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs: Since his death on Oct. 5, the famously private man’s spiritual side has become an open book.

A relative recounted his last words for The New York Times. A new biography traces his early quest for enlightenment …

Click to read more »