emotions

Why should you meditate?

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Jeena Cho, Huffington Post: Meditation has been gaining incredible momentum in recent years. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to try meditation but feel hesitant. This is understandable considering the fact that we place so much emphasis on producing more, and working more. We often hear from people comments such as, “I’d love to try meditation but I just can’t find the time.”

You are the only one who knows whether meditation is right for you or why you are interested in trying it. Still, it’s interesting to hear why someone might begin a meditation practice.

Some common reasons include:

Stress or anxiety management — Many people begin meditation as a means of managing stress or anxiety, and perhaps this is an even greater motivator for lawyers than for others, since stress is such a defining aspect of our professional lives. It’s telling that both of us, the authors of this book, began meditating to manage stress-related issues. If stress is the reason for your beginning your meditation practice, welcome! You’re in good company.

• Increasing focus and productivity — Our computers, laptops, phones, iPads, e-readers, and myriad other devices can make us more productive, but they also enable continual interruptions. These never-ending sources of distraction can leave us frayed and even undermine our fundamental ability to pay attention. Many professionals take up meditation as an antidote, to help navigate the disruption that is part of the modern working world without sacrificing their effectiveness…

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The surprising benefits of compassion meditation

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Stacey Colino, USNews: In recent years, mindfulness meditation has garnered loads of attention for its beneficial effects on the body and mind. Now, there’s a new star on the block: compassion meditation, a less well-known but increasingly popular contemplative practice that aims to strengthen feelings of compassion and empathy toward different people (both those you care about and those who are difficult).

“It’s deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy, which has taught us a lot about how people are connected and what is the purpose of our existence,” explains Stefan G. Hofmann, a professor of psychology in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University. “Compassion is the fundamental idea at the root of Buddhist philosophy – if life is suffering and we can’t avoid it, we need to embrace it and be compassionate toward the suffering of others. It brings us closer to others.”

See also:

More than just a feel-good practice, compassion meditation leads to improved mood, more altruistic behavior, less anger, reduced stress and decreased maladaptive mind wandering, according to recent research. A 2013 study at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle found that practicing loving-kindness meditation (a form of compassion meditation) for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as well as anger and depression among veterans with PTSD. A 2005 study from Duke University Medical Center found that practicing loving-kindness meditation for eight weeks reduced pain and psychological distress among patients with chronic low back pain. And a 2015 study from Brazil found that practicing yoga along with compassion meditation three times a week for eight weeks improved quality of life, vitality, attention and self-compassion among family caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. …

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A truly shocking reason to meditate

Tim Brownson, A Daring Adventure: Next week I am going on a meditation retreat for 3 days.

It’s only the second time I have ever been on a retreat and the last time three years ago I made a bit of a fool of myself (read more here for the full, rather embarrassing story), although I still had a great time.

Even though I’d been meditating for 7 or 8 years I’d rarely sat for more than 30 minutes at a time and 20 minutes was probably a closer average before that retreat.

Rather strangely I was a tad stressed on …

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Intensive meditation training seems to enhance people’s compassion

Alex Fradera, BPS Research Digest: Psychological research into meditation has overwhelmingly focused on its cognitive consequences, considering the practice as a kind of training for attention and behaviour control, together with stress alleviation. But contemplation traditions make far wider claims for meditation, such as that it helps practitioners cultivate concern for the welfare of others. A new study in the journal Emotion supports this perspective, using a rigorous measure of emotional response to show signs of enhanced compassion following intensive, long-term meditation.

Erika Rosenberg at the University of California, Davis and her …

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Sincerity and meditation

Devi Sawh, Huffington Post: It was funny to me when at a meditation retreat in 2015, the facilitator used the word “sincere” to describe the type of meditator I am. It was funny because that has not always been the case. I have had to work for that like just about everything else on this journey of self-growth.

I remember a very long time ago when I first started to try to make meditation a daily practice, I had a very hard time being sincere each time I sat for meditation. I was trying it because I was …

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An honest narrative of a first meditation

Hunter Colvin, The Vermont Cynic: I’ve never really meditated.

Not unless you count the mini meditation I did at the end of a yoga class I took that one time. But I was too busy wiping copious amounts of sweat from, well, everywhere to really meditate.

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of meditation, though. I mean, to empty your mind and focus on the present is really impressive.

I can’t even make my mind stop making “Supernatural” or …

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A meditation on meditation: learning it, hating it, needing it

Rachel Machacek, RVANews: When I first started learning the practice of meditation, I was on a far-flung beach in Mexico, there for yoga teacher training. Every day, I got up before sunrise for a 30-minute meditation. I sat in a circle with the other 13 would-be instructors on a wooden platform, ocean waves crashing nearby, eyes closed, incense swirling. Sounds like bliss was just an OM away, doesn’t it?

Not to burst the bubble, but no. During these sessions, my eyes darted around inside my head and I would shift uncomfortably at least 50 times, and usually ended up on my …

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Meditation matters for special education students

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Jeremy Loudenback, Chronicle of Social Change: While meditation has expanded in recent years from a zen-seeker’s path to higher consciousness to a best practice for hard-charging CEOs, it’s now gaining a foothold at a school in Southern California serving students with serious emotional and behavioral issues.

Administrators at the Five Acres School in Altadena, Calif., are testing whether meditation and mindfulness can help students succeed in the classroom. A new mindfulness program implemented there in two semesters over the past year has helped pupils stay in the classroom and minimize emotional outbursts that can derail the learning process, according …

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A gift to yourself

wildmind meditation newsLara Fielding, Huffington Post: Now that the holiday shopping is (mostly) finished, and we look to the New Year, perhaps it is a time when you may be selfish… in the best sense of the word! Building your self-awareness is the best gift you can give yourself, and ultimately to share with those you love.

Before you can know what you need, you have to know how to listen to your needs. While we tend to believe we know ourselves pretty well, the skill of self-awareness is not always intuitive. Our true authentic needs often get buried under layers of encrusted patterns of beliefs …

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Kindness changes everything

wildmind meditation newsNoah Levine, Lion’s Roar: The Buddha first taught loving-kindness to a group of monks who had been practicing meditation in a forest. The monks were fearful that the spirits of the forest did not want them there and that the spirits were going to attack them. Although the monks were probably just afraid of the dark, their fear became anger toward the forest, and their anger became hatred. And, of course, when one is feeling angry, unsafe, and resentful it becomes more and more difficult to meditate. So the group of monks went to the Buddha, asking for advice on how to deal with …

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