www.wildmind.org Wildmind

March 2003

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

A very warm welcome to Wildmind's latest newsletter!

In this issue:

  • Beat Stress & Boost Your Immune System -- Learn to Meditate
  • Meditation in the News
  • Give $1 to Wildmind
  • Our Online Courses
  • New Material on Wildmind
  • Classes in New Hampshire
  • Book of the Month
  • Quote of the Month

Beat stress and boost your immune system -- learn to meditate

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States have shown that meditation has a beneficial effect on brain functioning and also boosts the immune system (see "Meditation 'Good for Brain' " below).

An eight-week program of meditation helped activate the left prefrontal cortex, activity in which is associated with a sense of well-being and happiness.

In addition, participants were given a flu shot at the start of the trial, and were shown to develop higher levels of antibodies than a control group, showing that the immune system was functioning more effectively.

Our next online courses start on Monday, March 3!

Our online courses offer what you need to create more balance in your life, maintain fulfilling relationships, make time for yourself, and create beliefs, opinions and points of view that work for you, rather than against you. You can check out our course offerings below.

Meditation in the news

We've collected together some recent news stories about meditation. You can see our full index of news stories here.

Coping With Anxiety
Science shows that meditation, massage, yoga - even laughter - can change bad habits in the brain.

Mindfulness Medication
Once considered outside the mainstream, today more insurers are paying for meditation, both as a form of medication and as preventive medicine in hospitals, businesses and community centers around the country.

Is Meditation Good Medicine?
Whether in a secular or a religious context, meditation is increasingly recognized as healthy for the body as well as the soul.

Meditation "Good for Brain"
Scientists say they have found evidence that meditation has a biological effect on the body. A small-scale study suggests it could boost parts of the brain and the immune system.

Finding Happiness: Cajole Your Brain to Lean to the Left
NY Times article by Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence) on scientific explanations of how meditation acts as an antidote to stress. (Free registration required).

begging bowl


Give $1 to Wildmind

We'd like to thank everyone who has kindly donated to help support our mission of benefiting the world by promoting awareness and compassionate values through the practice of meditation.

If you've benefited from our site and would like to give something back, then making a small donation can help us enormously. Of course you can feel free to give more than a dollar!

Title: Seven great reasons to learn meditation with Wildmind
  1. Personal attention: In your online journal you'll have an ongoing practice discussion with Bodhipaksa, who will give you encouragement and personal feedback based on 20 years' experience.
  2. Depth: As you reflect in your journal, get feedback, and gain insights from learning new practices, you'll take your meditation practice to a new level of effectiveness.
  3. Quality: Access to outstanding written and audiovisual materials online.
  4. Support: You'll benefit from the discipline of a structured four-week course.
  5. Convenience: Log on when you want, fitting classes into your schedule when it's convenient.
  6. Flexibility: Download audio files that will guide you through meditation at any time.
  7. Availability: Courses start every month -- check website for dates.

Our online courses

A student comments:

"I have been doing [the meditation] for about two weeks and have already seen a great improvement in my focus, attention, awareness and my overall life. Prior to this I was living life in my head instead of experiencing life in this moment. Thank you creating this site and making the tools for this type of enlightenment available."

Steve, a Wildmind student.

We offer four online courses as well as our popular Life Member Program. For more information, click on any of the photographs or links and you'll be taken to our online store, where more details are available.

Our next online courses start on Monday, February 3.
Book now!

Life member program
Life Member Program

Lifelong access to all of our course materials, but without personal feedback and guidance. Suitable for self-directed students.

The Path of Mindfulness and Love

"The Path of Mindfulness and Love"

Our introduction to meditation, teaching the fundamental principles of mindfulness and lovingkindness, and helping you as you set up a regular practice.

Change Your Mind

"Change Your Mind"

A level two course, introducing advanced techniques for combating negative mental states and for cultivating calmness, energy, contentment, and concentration.

Entering the Path of Insight
"Entering the Path of Insight"

Introducing the practice of insight meditation, which helps us to appreciate the interdependent nature of the reality we live in.

Awakening the Heart
"Awakening the Heart"

An alternative level two course, introducing the cultivation of lovingkindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and emotional balance.

New material on Wildmind

We've posted another six new pages since the last newsletter.

Classes in New Hampshire

If you live in the Manchester and Concord area of New Hampshire, you might be interested in the forthcoming class.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a clinically proven eight-week program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and others at the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Our 8-week class starts:

  • March 24, North Eastern Institute of Whole Health, 22 Bridge St., Manchester, NH, 7 to 9 p.m.

There's a free introduction to the course on March 17, at 7 p.m. The cost of the course is $210, including CDs and workshop materials.

We'll also have another course starting in Portsmouth, NH in April. Dates and venue to be announced.

For further details or to reserve a place, point your browser here.

book cover

Book of the month

Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart
by Tara Bennett-Goleman (Paperback, $11.20)

Bennett-Goleman is a practicing meditator and therapist, and her book comes from her understanding of how mindfulness can be used to deal with disturbing emotions without rejecting them. This is an excellent introduction to the practice of mindfulness, with clear case histories showing how a mindful awareness of our emotions can have a powerfully transforming effect -- the alchemical transformation referred to in the title.

As well as bringing together an understanding of psychology and meditation, Bennett-Goleman presents the latest research in brain chemistry and neurophysiology. This book will help you to identify unhelpful emotional patterns and will help you develop the tools to deal with them.

I'd highly recommend this highly accessible book to anyone interested in exploring how meditation and the practice of mindfulness can transform our emotional lives.

If you're interested in buying this book from Amazon.com, click on the cover or title above.

Portrait of G.K. Chesterton

Quote of the month

"If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."

G. K. Chesterton

This is one of my favorite quotations. I've noticed that one of the main things holding many people back -- in their lives generally as well as in their practice of meditation -- is perfectionism. Many people mentally beat themselves up when they find that meditation is harder than they thought it would be.

Isn't it ironic how a desire to do things perfectly can cause us to fail dismally at being happy? When we want everything we do to be perfect we're holding ourselves to an impossible standard that means we always feel that we're failing, no matter how well we do.

The practice of mindfulness helps us to develop more equanimity, which is the ability to maintain emotional balance in the face of life's ups and downs. Equanimity really is an integral part of a truly mindful attitude to our experience. With equanimity we don't allow ourselves to become despondent when things don't go well or to become intoxicated by success.

Equanimity doesn't mean a lack of emotion -- it simply means that we take things less personally and without crippling value judgments. Discovering that your mind is unruly and that it's hard to follow your breath for more than a few seconds ceases to be a message that you're "failing". Instead we just accept the reality of the situation, stripped of those harsh value judgments. Our attitude is more, "Okay, my mind is all over the place -- that's just what I'm working with today".

Once we're able to accept our imperfections, then we're able to constructively work with our experience instead of backing off from challenges. Because meditation is worth doing, it's worth doing badly. Paradoxically, if we allow ourselves to be imperfect, then we can start to make real progress.


Copyright © 2003, Bodhipaksa.