The heart of meditation: letting go, letting be, receiving

wildmind meditation newsBruce Davis, Huffington Post: Many people want to learn meditation or deepen their practice but are uncertain where to turn. There are so many different styles, teachers, techniques. What to do? It is the doing which can be the problem in the first place. Meditation is undoing and coming back to the simplicity of being, the simplicity of enjoying this moment. The more complex our practice, the more we are on the periphery of the heart of meditation. Every time we practice meditation we are making a mini retreat from the world around us to realize another world within. We don’t want to fill …

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Meditation reduces emotional pain by 44%

wildmind meditation newsMandy Oaklander, Time: According to a new study, mindfulness meditation exhibited even stronger physical pain reductions than morphine, says the study’s lead investigator.

Open any magazine and you’ll find that mindfulness has gone mainstream. You’ll also notice there are studies that purport to show meditation’s benefits on just about everything, from kids’ math scores and migraine length to HIV management and bouncing back after a crisis. Now, an elaborate new forthcoming study looks at how the brains of meditators respond to pain, to be published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr. Fadel Zeidan, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical …

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Five realities of becoming a hardcore meditator

wildmind meditation newsBrent R. Oliver, Tricycle: At the beginning of this year I made a vow. If you’ve read my other columns here you’ll no doubt be aware of the fact that I’ve had trouble picking—and then sticking with—a specific Buddhist modality. There’s so much available, especially with the advent of teaching via Internet, that my attention has always been divided among the glut of Buddhist approaches that have flooded the West. I’ve snatched up every shiny object out there and fiddled with it only to become entranced by another sparkly thing close by. The sentence that best sums up my journey is probably …

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Thirty four thoughts during meditation

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Chloé Morrison, Nooga.com: Meditation is not about clearing the mind fully; it’s not about not thinking.

It’s about focusing the mind; it’s about training the mind to stop its chaotic cycle of obsessive, counterproductive thoughts.

It’s about focusing on the present moment, the value of which can only truly be felt through practice. (And once you start really noticing the present moment, you recognize how much we are in a zombielike, autopilot mode for too much of our lives.)

But it’s inevitable that thoughts scamper into our minds during meditation, and that point is often confusing to anyone who hasn’t practiced.

As opposed to turning the mind off, it’s more apt to say that the goal is to be aware of our fleeting thoughts from a more objective distance and then continually, kindly redirect the mind back to the current moment.

It can be amusing to stand back and listen to what the mind comes up with.

I meditated Tuesday with Yong Oh, who teaches a class at my office, and here’s how some of the thoughts went:

1. Breathe. In. Out. Yes. Breathing is awesome. Meditation is awesome.
2. I feel it all. I feel it all.
3. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Just. Breathe.
4. I’m so in the moment right now. I’m awesome.
5. No. That’s ego talking. Stop it.
6. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
7. I like the sound of my teacher’s voice.
8. How does it work to meditate and guide the meditation at the same time? I should ask him. No. I shouldn’t.
9. Shhh! Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
10. My stomach just growled. Give me all the food!
11. I shouldn’t spend money on lunch today.
12. But who likes to go home and eat turkey or canned soup?
13. I need to think about my personal budget more. Yes. I’ll do that—after I buy lunch.
14. Back to the breath. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. Feeling the breath is truly amazing. Our bodies are amazing.
15. My foot is tingling. It’s falling asleep.
16. I’m supposed to just observe that. I don’t need to move it. Just feel the sensation.
17. I’m present in the moment. Feel the air. Feel the breath.
18. Is it hot in here? I’m hot. I want to take off my sweater. No. Don’t move. Be present with the feeling.
19. Oh, my god—my foot is numb. It’s seriously, dangerously asleep. It can’t fall off, right?
20. Just move it. It’s better to move than be distracted. Ah, OK. That’s better. Will not obsess about potential problematic circulation. That’s a thing, isn’t it?
21. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
22. What about pizza? I wish I could eat some pizza. I shouldn’t spend money, and I shouldn’t eat pizza.
23. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
24. “How strange it is to be anything at all.”
25. Jeff Mangum is brilliant.
26. Wow. There’s a lot of spit in my mouth right now. Like, a lot.
27. Just swallow it. Don’t be weird.
28. Does everyone else think in nothing but song lyrics sometimes?
29. That new Josh Ritter album is genius.
30. Where is my mind?
31. OK. Refocus. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
32. My back hurts.
33. I need to run after work. Or at least walk. OK. Maybe I just won’t eat any pizza today.
34. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.

The reality that meditation doesn’t equal not thinking is worth repeating, because if your goal is to totally clear your mind for 30 minutes straight—or maybe even five minutes straight—you’re probably setting yourself up for failure.

The ability to observe my thoughts and identify them as products of my mind—not self—has been one of the most transformative results of my meditation practice. It’s made it easier for me to not take everything in life so seriously. It’s helped disconnect me from needless drama that we often stir up ourselves in our minds.

I encourage you to step back and observe your mind as you might view a movie—with curiosity and amusement, and see how that changes your world.

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To help students focus, we could use less medication and more meditation

wildmind meditation newsMichigan Radio: There is a lot of pressure in schools these days.

From the early grades through high school, students take tests and then more tests and shuffle from one extracurricular activity to the next, all while many are also trying to navigate instability at home.

Budget worries keep countless administrators up at night, and, says Rita Benn, director of the Faculty Scholars Program in integrative health care at University of Michigan’s Department of Family Medicine, about 50% of teachers leave within the first five years because it’s so stressful.

Benn, who is also co-founder of the Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education, says meditation …

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The rich rewards of mindfulness

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Joy LeVine Abrams, Minuteman News Center: Imagine a life where you felt comfortable, relaxed and light-hearted. When someone said something unsettling, you paused and chose your response. You realized that a lot of what you spend your time doing is truly not a priority for you. In nature you’d be vibrantly aware of the sights, sounds, scents and the extraordinary beauty around you.

When someone very dear seemed upset; you’d listen openheartedly and not give advice. During a difficult emotional moment you reminded yourself that it was all right to be feeling this way. Life has these aspects and your feelings will change soon …

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Mindfulness can help de-stress children and youth

wildmind meditation newsDr. Peter Nieman, Calgary Herald: Ask any teacher or pediatrician what has been the single predominant shift in their work over the past two or three decades. The odds are high that many will admit that children and youth are experiencing a dramatic increase of medical conditions which previously were only seen in adults.

To see diabetes in children — previously called “adult-onset-diabetes” — is now so common that few people gasp. To see children whose coronary vessels have aged prematurely surprises few pediatric cardiologists. And the notion that childhood should be a time of innocence and playfulness, lasting well into the teen years, experienced a …

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Mindfulness helps with life’s inevitable changes

wildmind meditation newsDr. Davidicus Wong, New Westminster Record: Recognizing the nature of reality and ourselves, we must accept the inescapable fact of change.

Rapid and recognizable changes – such as the weather, the time of day, the day of the week, the daily news, and our movements, conversations and thoughts throughout each day – conceal the less perceptible yet constant change in everything else, particularly what we take for granted as being solid and stable.

This includes our bodies, our relationships and the seemingly unchangeable objects we see and interact with each day. We are surprised and upset when mechanical possessions – like our cars, appliances and hot water …

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Meditation can help children learn to manage emotions

wildmind meditation newsDr. Manoj Jain, The Tennessean: This summer’s Disney-Pixar movie “Inside Out” makes us think about our thinking. But, I wonder, first of all, “can we even think about our thoughts?”

In fact, over the summer with campers ages 6 to 13, I was teaching them how to observe their thoughts: a course in mindfulness and meditation for children.

We begin by sitting up tall, like a tree. Then we become still, like a mountain. Then we “go inside,” like a turtle in a shell. By this time the children are sitting upright, cross-legged on the floor or with feet hanging on a chair, motionless as statues …

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Is mindfulness meditation safe?

wildmind meditation newsCharles Francis, Psych Central: There has been some growing concern recently about the safety of mindfulness meditation. Some claim that the practice can have severe side effects, such as panic, depression, and confusion. Are these concerns well founded? Maybe.

The main study cited by opponents of meditation is a British study of the effects of mindfulness meditation on a group of prison inmates. The inmates participated in a 90-minute weekly meditation class for 10 weeks. The study found that the inmates’ moods had improved and they had experienced a lower stress level, but remained just as aggressive as before the intervention.

I fail to see …

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