depression

Buddhist teachings tackle stress of finals

Sponsored by Ayubowan Sri Lanka Organization, Society of Buddhist Red Lotus and Theravada Buddhist Student Association, a Buddhist discussion and meditation session took place at 4 p.m. on Friday in Voyageurs North of Atwood Memorial Center.

“[The objective of the session was] to deliver an opportunity for the SCSU and local St. Cloud community to learn, understand and make use of meditation and Buddhist teachings,” Charitha Hettiarachchi, president of Society of Buddhist Red Lotus, said.

“The purpose of this meditation session was to help all those who attended to find relief from any negative thoughts they may be having – depression and stress,” Charith Rozairo, president of Ayubowan Sri Lanka Organization, said.

Since semester final exams are close at hand, many students experience depression and distress due to their work load, Hettiarachchi said.

“In order to remove all these negative feelings without medication, it is vital to practice meditation,” Hettiarachchi said.

The session was led by Venerable Maitipe Wimalasara from Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, Los Angeles, Calif. Wimalasara lectured on how other countries have introduced Buddhism in to their religions and how Buddhism helps them to lead happy and relaxed lives.

A 30-minute meditation session followed the lecture “Avoiding and Overcoming Depression without Medication.”

“Meditation and mindfulness go to the heart of a person’s depression or obsessive negative thoughts,” Hettiarachchi said. “It enables a person to experience deep relaxation as well as being able to recognize and control repetitive negative thoughts.”

“This event also helped each person to have more control of their minds and bodies – dwell in positive thoughts always. Events such as these teach valuable lessons about life,” Rozairo said.

Though meditation is usually recognized as a largely spiritual practice, it also has many health benefits, Hettiarachchi said.

“In order to avoid many life-threatening diseases as well as mental illnesses, it is important to know about meditation and have a proper practice,” Hettiarachchi said.

A “Pirith Nula,” known as the “blessed string” was tied on the wrist of participants.

Rozairo said that participants were not only benefited by practicing Meditation, they also learned how Buddhism has inspired many lives.

“In SCSU, the main religion is Christianity. However, there are so many Buddhists here from Sri Lanka, India, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Nepal,” Rozairo said.

Rozairo said this event allowed these students a chance to pay respect to their religion.

“I think what can be done is to organize more events such as this and bring out the Buddhist community from the shackles,” Hettiarachchi said.

“I am a Roman Catholic but I still promote Buddhism by organizing meditation sessions and temple visits so that Buddhists can perform their religious rituals,” Rozairo said.

“This [event] was not only for the Buddhists because such events as this teaches important lessons that are very beneficial,” Rozairo said.

[University Chronicle of St. Cloud State University, Minnesota]
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Auntie Suvanna: When love hurts

heart shape drawn in condensation on a bleak looking window

A young man in a troubled relationship seeks advice for Wildmind’s resident advice columnist, Auntie Suvanna. What’s the best path when you’re hooked up to someone who sees you as being the source of all her problems?

Dear Auntie,

I stumbled upon you while searching for Buddhist relationship advice, and I hope you can help me. It is a rather long story, but you did say in the post I read that you need details so here goes…

First, I have not been studying Buddhism for very long now, only a few months, and not very consistently at that. But a lot of it matches my own feelings already.

I have been in a relationship that has been going slowly (or quickly?) down hill for a couple years. The woman I am with (or not with now technically) is the one and only person I have ever had a relationship with, basically at least, but more on that later. We met online when we were both 19, and after only about 8 months she ended up pregnant. She moved two hours to live with me when she was about 6 months pregnant, something she really wanted to do at the time. We had had a few problems before, but I never thought anything of it because I had nothing to base it on so I just took it to be normal though they were probably signs of worse to come.

I have always known she had it rough all her life, and for a slightly less time known she suffered from some depression, though it wasn’t until recently I found out just how bad. I always felt like it was my duty to save her and sacrifice some of my happiness to make her happy. I would do almost anything she asked me too and besides school and work she basically has controlled when and where I can go or what I can do for a long time.

She has deep, deep depression and a long history of abuse by both parents, and she is a bit bipolar. She is also deathly afraid of doctors, and is completely against seeking any kind of treatment for it. I have always hoped I could cure her, but I think all I did was give her something to cling to and base her happiness on. I thought that a lot of her emotional instability was due to being pregnant, or hormone imbalance right after, but it never stopped and only got worse.

I am not an argumentative person, and though there are many things that have always bothered me, I tend to forget about them rather quickly until they happen again. She likes to start arguments all the time about simple things and then escalate them into larger things like me not appreciating her, or her hating her life and how it is my fault. And she has never been able to accept fault for anything. If there is a problem in our relationship it is never a matter of compromise but of it being all my fault.

But in May I did something I am not proud of and started talking to another girl. Well my fiance found out I was talking to her and was obviously upset and I said I would stop talking to the other girl, but I did something I am even less proud of by continuing and eventually near the end of May had sexual relations with her. Ironically my fiance found out the next day and that of course lead me to where I am today. I know I was wrong in what I did and let my desires bring me and others suffering, and it was a firm lesson to me on that matter. For some reason I didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong, and I guess I just wanted to feel like I was loved again, and felt trapped in my then current situation. And I have never been much of a liar except for that period of time.

Well, we made up at first but things have been rocky ever since. And only seem to get worse. She of course doesn’t trust me at all and so now she spies on everything I do online or any calls or texts I send, and she will call me at random times to try to catch me . And she becomes more and more suspicious as time goes on. I guess it is from all the other relationships where similar things have happened. I’m NOT doing anything bad anymore, but in addition to making me feel even more distant, she is even more controlling so I get even less freedom.

She has decided that she can’t be with me anymore and is certain she wants to move back home. I really want to be with my son, but I know that we are two very different people. I am rather passive, she is aggressive. I believe in forgiveness and non violence, she holds grudges for a very long time and feels that violence should be used against those that wrong her. I don’t care what other people think, she cares a lot about what others think and is embarrassed by me sometimes. I don’t care about marriage, she cares a great deal about it. I don’t care about the standards society has imposed for life, she wants most of that. My views on relationships are very different from hers. We have little in common as far as interests go either. I am ore about living in the present, and she focuses on the past and the future. And my Buddhist views are completely different from her religious beliefs. There is a lot more so just take my word for it.

I desperately want her to be happy, and to get rid of her depression and learn to love herself. How should I manage this situation so that I can show her compassion but not lead her to stay with me only to continue the same old cycle as before? Am I wrong to want to seek happiness myself, or should I teach myself not to desire anything more than what I have now? I am so confused…

I am sorry that is very long and you probably didn’t need that much detail, but I have a problem with going into too much detail.

Whatever your reply, thank you,
Anonymous


Hi Anonymous,

Ask Auntie Suvanna is a humorous column (or tries to be anyway!), and Auntie thinks your situation sounds rather more serious than what she would usually publish. Perhaps this time Auntie’s advice will be a tad more sober than usual.

Childhood habits of interpreting and responding are deeply ingrained; the deeper and more unconscious they are, the less able we are to see them and work with them. We can’t see how our habits are creating further suffering for ourselves (and usually others). I wonder if loving is what challenges those patterns the most, which is why relationships are often so horribly painful.

Even if you don’t want to be in the relationship anymore, going to counseling might facilitate some healing between you, and for each of you individually. It may be hard to get this going, especially since you say you are more passive than she is and she is very resistant. If this isn’t possible, you could get some individual counseling and work on the parts of the dynamic that are coming from you. For example, perhaps thinking of yourself as someone who can save other people, get rid of their depression for them, is something you could look into.

We often think in relationships that the problem is the other person. The way Buddhism sees such things is that the primary cause of any experience is what we have made of our own mind, and that no matter what we consider to be the reason we are responsible for what we do. Which isn’t to say that we should stay in situations that are obviously unhealthy, or espouse a philosophy of ‘everything is my fault.’ I guess it’s something other than, on the one hand, blaming everything on externals (which of course we ourselves chose at one point), or blaming everything on ourselves, saying if we just fix our mind (for example by not wanting anything) everything will be fine. Some different way of looking at what is causing suffering is needed, all the while cultivating kindness toward this difficult situation (life) we find ourselves trying to navigate.

I hope this is helpful at least in some small way.

Lots of love,
Auntie Suvanna

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Meditation key to treat depression

Times of India: People with severe and recurrent depression could benefit from a new form of therapy that combines ancient forms of meditation with modern cognitive behaviour therapy, early-stage research by Oxford University psychologists suggests. Read more here.

The results of a small-scale randomised trial of the approach, called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), in currently depressed patients are published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy.

In an experiment, 28 people currently suffering from depression, having also had previous episodes of depression and thoughts of suicide, were randomly assigned into two groups.

One group received MBCT in addition to treatment as usual, while the other just received treatment as usual. The result indicated that the number of patients with major depression reduced in the group which received treatment with MBCT while it remained the same in the other group.

The therapy included special classes of meditation learning and advice on how best participants can look after themselves when their feelings threaten to overwhelm them.

Professor Mark Williams, who along with his colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, developed the treatment said, “We are on the brink of discovering really important things about how people can learn to stay well after depression.”

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Wildmind’s top ten blog posts of 2008

fireworksIt’s been a busy year. We’ve redesigned the site, reorganized our news section, and added many hundreds of new posts on the theme of meditation and spiritual practice. So now it’s time to pause and look back with some fondness and appreciation at the most popular blog articles that were published on Wildmind in 2008. But before we do so, we’d like to thank you, our 1.5 million dear readers, for taking an interest in what we do and for posting interesting and insightful comments. All the best in 2009!

10. Back in February Wildmind welcomed the awesomeness that is Auntie Suvanna (aka Dharmacarini Suvarnaprabha of the San Francisco Buddhist Center). Auntie Suvanna dispenses wit and wisdom in equal measure as she helps mere mortals like ourselves with their problems, both spiritual and mundane. In her debut Ask Auntie Suvanna column she offered solace to a seeking soul who was comparing her breast-size unfavorably with the bodacious curves of female Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. For those of you who have been missing Auntie of late, do not despair. She’s merely taking a sabbatical and waiting for some good questions to come in.

9. In March, Bodhipaksa riffed on a saying by Søren Kierkegaard, “Purity of heart is to will one thing.”

8. In June, guest blogger, Buddhist practitioner, PhD candidate, and general good guy Justin Whitaker discussed The art of friendship

7. In October, our resident teacher and blogger Sunada shared heartfelt advice on Being an introvert in an extroverted world

6. Author, activist, and performer Vimalasara graced our pages back in March, with a fascinating account of Waking up into the moment

5. In his regular monthly “quote of the month” column, new dad Bodhipaksa shares some of what he’s learned through observing his young daughter’s consciousness evolving by discussing a quote by Muhammad Ali, “Children make you want to start life over.”

4. And it’s Bodhipaksa’s “quote of the month” column again, this time discussing Anaïs Nin’s saying, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” and sharing lessons he has learned the hard way.

3. Bodhipaksa once more, this time with some practical advice on how to use meditative techniques not to wake up but to get yourself to sleep: Meditation and insomnia

2. In March, Sunada reveals how we can see our “difficult” mental states as teachers rather than as problems in Anxiety, depression, anger… Paths to purification?

1. But our most popular post of the year was guest blogger Lieutenant Jeanette Shin outlining her vision of The Buddha as warrior. Lt. Shin was the US military’s first Buddhist chaplain, and she serves in the US Navy. Thank you Lt. Shin!

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Neuroscience of meditation and attention

This month’s Trends in Cognitive Sciences has a fantastic review article on the neuroscience of meditation – focusing on how the contemplative practice alters and sharpens the brain’s attention systems.

The full article is available online as a pdf, and discusses what cognitive science studies have told us about the short and long-term impact of meditation on the mind and brain.

Meditation is now being quite extensively studied by cognitive science owing to the clear effects it has on the brain, and on the increasing evidence for its benefit in mental health.

A recent review of ‘mindfulness’ meditation-based therapy found that although research is in its early stages and not all possibilities have been ruled out, there’s good evidence from the existing RCTs that it’s particularly good in preventing relapse in severe depression.

Read more here

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The body’s call to return

For some of us meditators, our disembodiment reaches excruciatingly painful and completely unacceptable proportions. It is almost as if our practice itself and the sensitivity it develops have brought us to a level of awareness in relation to our somatic situation that is unbearable.

We feel out of touch with our body, our emotions, our sense perceptions, even the basic experience of being alive. Perhaps this awareness has been slowly growing over many years; perhaps it happens upon us one day, rather abruptly. We realize that we are not really living our life, not really going through our relationships and our experiences in anything but a numb and mechanical way.

Although everything may seem fine with us from the outside, inwardly these experiences, just in and of themselves, plunge us into the midst of a profound personal crisis. We really feel lost. Perhaps without even knowing exactly what is wrong, we begin looking for ways back into our body, Our world, and our life. The sense of personal crisis is, itself, he call of the body to return, our inspiration to try to find a way to recover our embodiment.

For others of us, the body calls us back through the fortuitous intervention of an external event or circumstance: injury, illness, extreme fatigue, impending old age, sometimes emotions, feelings, anxiety, anguish, or dread that we don’t understand and can’t handle.

Depression is one of the most powerful ways the body calls us back — a terrible darkness, an unbearable hopelessness and despair that settles over us, wherein we are so pulled down that we barely have the energy to think a single thought, let alone rise to do anything or engage anyone.

Either way, we hear the call of the body and feel an inexorable pull toward it. It is pulling us down, one way or the other, sometimes with a terrifying crash. After a period that perhaps feels like death, which can go on for years, something in us, some new life, begins to stir.

For those of us with knowledge of meditation, it is natural that we eventually attempt to see what or how meditation may bear on the intensely somatic call that we are hearing. Whether we are injured or ill, encountering debilitating psychological states of mind, or despairing over a life that is slipping by us, it is likely that we will initially be extremely tentative in bringing meditation to our situation.

Perhaps we will take a few moments now and then to let our mind relax, rest, and open to our feelings and our situation. If we do, we may find that there is some kind of shift, not necessarily in the content of what we are experiencing, but in our relationship toward it.

Generally, in experiences such as those described above, there is an underlying feeling of “problem,” an ongoing anxiety, and a resistance toward what is happening. When we open our minds in meditation, though, we suddenly find our “problem” becomes the focus of our meditation.

Without even thinking about it, we find our body’s call to be the subject of our attention. Our meditation is naturally turned toward the body. Without even knowing, we are receiving our first lessons in “meditating with the body.”

As we turn our meditation toward the body, as we open our awareness to it, we will find that the frozen-up quality around our physical or psychological problem, or our general feeling of disconnection, suddenly has more space; moreover, it begins to communicate itself to us in a way that could only be described as “active.” At this point, we are likely to find ourselves receiving healing and transformative information that we had not previously noticed or even thought possible.

This can be extraordinarily subtle at first, perhaps just barely sensed. But at some point, we perceive that something new is coming toward us. We begin to gain increasing clarity, recognizing that our debilitation, when viewed from the point of meditation, is a learning situation for us with great possibilities. We sense that our meditation has become an invitation for the body to begin showing us things. At this point, we are “meditating with the body.”

Thus it is that we find that we have a partner on the spiritual path that we didn’t know about — our own body. In our meditation and in our surrounding lives, the body becomes a teacher, one that does not communicate in words but tends to speak out of the shadows through sensations, feelings, images, and somatic memories.

No longer able to force the body to adapt to our conscious ideas and intentions, we find that we have to begin to learn the language that the body itself naturally speaks. Having thought we knew what was going on, we discover, over and over, that we have completely missed the point. And, having supposed that we were completely confused, we come to see that we have understood something far more profound and far-reaching that anything we could have thought.

It is all very puzzling, but, with the body as our guide, we begin to feel, perhaps for the first time in our lives, that with our body, we are in the presence of a force and intelligence that is filled with wisdom, that is loving, flawlessly reliable, and, strange to say, worthy of our deepest devotion.

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Tibetans in exile show high rates of depression

Tibetan nunNew Scientist: A survey finds that refugees fleeing Tibet have higher levels of depression and anxiety than Tibetans born and raised in relatively stable exile communities in India and Nepal. But even Tibetans born in exile have questionnaire scores that classify them as “depressed”. “The results highlight the cost of the ongoing human-rights crisis within Tibet in human emotional suffering,” says lead researcher Charles Raison, from the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Read more here.

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Anxiety, depression, anger… Paths to purification?

wolf looking fierce

Contrary to what you might think, negative emotions are not “bad” things we need to get rid of. Sunada sees them as gold mines – opportunities to learn more about ourselves and walk the path toward uncovering our innate purity.

Meditation is supposed to help us become calm, peaceful, and happy, right? But then when we sit, all this other stuff seems to get in our way – anxiety, worry, depression, irritation, hateful thoughts … So we try harder to get rid of them because, after all, meditation is supposed be about freeing ourselves of all these ugly states of mind, right?

Well, let me stop you right there. Meditation isn’t about willfully fighting and pushing our way to calm and peace. If you go back and read that last sentence, maybe you can sense the incongruity of the whole idea. It’s like going to war in order to enforce peace. There may be short term gains, but there will likely be long-term costs. Also, the struggle itself creates a negative sort of energy that feeds into the situation, making matters only worse.

The kind of unencumbered joy that we see radiating from people like the Dalai Lama doesn’t come about by battling with ourselves. It comes by accepting all of ourselves (yes, even the hateful sides!) with patience and loving-kindness, and giving them all the care and attention they need, so they become our peaceful allies and friends. OK, sounds nice you say, but how do we do that? The best teaching I’ve found on this comes not from the Buddha, but from Rumi, the beloved Sufi poet from the 13th century.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Jelaluddin Rumi (Sufi poet, 1207-1273)

What would happen if you were to treat your anger or depression as an honored guest, as Rumi suggests? What if you imagined it not as an enemy that’s come to irritate and annoy you, but as a good friend who is feeling down and wants to talk? I suppose there are many different ways to interpret what Rumi means by a “guide from beyond,” but this is how I see it. Any time we feel those negative emotions come up, it’s a voice from deeper within ourselves asking to be heard. Somewhere inside, there’s a being that is crying out for love and caring, because it’s feeling hurt, afraid, lonely, or is just simply in pain. That suffering being is you. Why on earth wouldn’t you stop and listen? So next time one of those “guests” stops by, welcome him in. Give him the best, most comfortable chair in your house, and invite him to tell you all his troubles. You might be amazed by what you hear.

   Any time we feel those negative emotions come up, it’s a voice from deeper within ourselves asking to be heard.

And how do we do this “listening” on a practical level, you ask. Well, let’s take depression for example, since he’s been among my frequent guests in the past. When I sat with my depression, I started by observing what the physical experience of it was. As dispassionately as possible, and without passing judgment, I tried to observe how every part of my body and mind felt at the moment. So I observed that my body felt heavy, my chest felt tight, my breathing was shallow, my shoulders were slumped, my chest was caved in. My mind felt sluggish, fogged in, and dull. Doing this sort of careful observation in the context of a sitting practice is a great way to practice mindfulness. Sure, it’s unpleasant and no fun. But how else are we going to help our guest feel better, if we don’t fully understand what’s ailing him?

The next step after that would be to follow up when we’re off the cushion by reflecting on the situation. With a spirit of experimentation, we might try a few things and then mindfullly observe what effect it has. For example, what happens if I do some yoga or go for a walk and get my physical energies moving a bit? Does that make me feel better? If I listen to my favorite music or talk with a good friend, what effect does it have? Do I feel different at different times of the day? Different days of the week? Different seasons? How do different foods affect me? All of these information-gathering activities can help us learn to manage ourselves better and establish routines or activities that nudge us along slowly and gently in a happier direction.

Then we might reflect on some of the psychological factors affecting our moods. Perhaps we can trace our long-term emotional patterns to our childhood or family conditioning. Or we can examine some of our current habits and thoughts that might be contributing. For example, I noticed that I had a tendency to focus on what’s wrong with things. To some extent it was a professionally-trained skill that I gained in my former work as a project manager – it’s good to be able to foresee all the ways that plans might go awry and have contingencies for them. But as a way of living life in general, I realized that it contributed in a big way toward my seeing everything as a dark cloud.

All this sort of reflection is a purposeful, directed mindfulness practice that extends well beyond one’s time on the cushion. It’s also about listening ever more deeply to ourselves, getting to know our inner being intimately, and responding to its needs. And in this way we slowly dissolve the layers of negativity and pain we’ve been carrying around with us all our lives, and start allowing something else from deeper within to shine through.

So are you beginning to see how listening to our uninvited “guests” can be a gold mine for helping us to go deeper into understanding ourselves? Over time, I’ve come to see those guests as real treasures. On one level, they’re like warning alarms telling us that something in our life is out of balance and needs attention. But on a deeper, spiritual level, they open up a direct and authentic pathway for reaching out to that pure, lovely Buddha-being within each of us. As you might suspect, that being is much quieter and less assertive than the side of us that faces the world out there, so we need to be very still and patient. But at the same time, this being is infinitely wise and loving. If we take the time to listen and care for it, it will return the favor in more ways than you can imagine.

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Meditation or medication?

Cliff Bostock, Creative Loafing Atlanta: In January 1991, I woke up one morning in the blackest depression of my life. There was nothing unusual about the day, although Operation Desert Storm had begun the day before. I remember lying in bed, listening to reporters on CNN describe what sounded like a video game. No death or blood.

For months afterward, I felt as if I awoke every morning covered in black soot. I’d have to spend a few hours sweeping the soot away before I could do anything productive. The psychic pain of depression this deep is difficult to describe. Contrary to what many people think, it can produce a physical sensation, pain that cannot be exactly located. For me, it was this pain that made me contemplate suicide continually. The wish was not so much to die as to end the pain with a violent act.

I made a contract with my therapist that I would not kill myself until I’d given a tricyclic antidepressant time to take effect. As I’ve written before, I recall the exact moment the drug took effect. I’ve heard many people over the years report the same experience. For me it was as if my heart suddenly revved up and I became fully present in my body. The depression vanished.

As is also true of many others, I realized that I’d probably been depressed most of my life. A few months later, my doctor switched me to the relatively new drug called Prozac. This produced a phenomenal change in me, not only treating my depression, but making me far more productive in my work and more extroverted than I’d ever been.

My doctor told me I’d likely need to be on the drug the rest of my life. My depression was not situational. In fact, my bout of suicidal thinking came during a good period of my life. Like many others, I seem to be predisposed to depression.

I certainly didn’t mind the idea of being on an antidepressant the rest of my life, if it continued to work so well. Unfortunately, though, after two years, the drug had little effect and I returned to a state of dysthymia – low-level depression. I tried many other antidepressants but nothing ever returned me to the state I enjoyed as a newcomer to Prozac.

I’ve got plenty of company. Repeated studies of the drugs have also demonstrated another surprise. Although the actual figures are debatable, the placebo effect is remarkably high in the use of antidepressants, particularly in treatment of mild depression. It’s no wonder they seem to lose effectiveness after a period. Considering that antidepressants are among the most prescribed drugs in the country, finding a way that more effectively treats depression is a priority in the mental-health field.

To many Atlantans, it was probably a surprise last week that the Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of Tibet, has become part of the effort to find an effective, long-term treatment. Here to accept a professorship at Emory, the Dalai Lama conducted a daylong conversation with scientists on the subject of “Mindfulness, Compassion and the Treatment of Depression.” Incredibly, 4,000 people showed up to hear the conversation – which ought to be indicative of the topic’s importance, as well as the Dalai Lama’s celebrity.

I did not attend, but like many others who have been engaged in a meditation practice for some time, even if fitfully, it is no surprise that an increasing body of evidence suggests that it not only can reduce the pain of depression but actually help restructure the brain, which the new science of neuroplasticity has observed in studies of Buddhist monks.

The direct benefit of meditation is that it develops awareness – or “mindfulness” – of the way one’s thoughts and feelings arise spontaneously. With practice, it becomes increasingly easier to leave behind the array of symptoms (including physical ones) that add up to the experience of depression – or any other habitual way of thinking, for that matter.

This is especially true in the practice of compassionate mindfulness. Studies have shown that compassion can literally be taught (which is one reason I believe meditation should be taught in public schools). When we approach the world and ourselves with compassion, suffering paradoxically becomes less burdensome.

Read the original article…

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