Articles

How Meditation Increases Productivity and Performance

Science shows that meditation can improve your attention span and deliver better cognitive performance. In 2012, Italian neuroscientist Giuseppe Pagnoni used an MRI machine to compare brain patterns in people with established meditation practices (five years or more) to people who didn’t meditate. He found that the meditators were better able to control their ventral posteromedial cortex, the part of the brain that tends to wander and ruminate.

READ MORE


 

Groan and Bear It

One could argue that meditating is equally pointless, if not more so. Staring at a wall is about the least essential thing you can do. There are no finish lines, no champion meditators, no Wheaties boxes displaying the serene visage of a robed lama. To me, this makes sitting the most elegant of activities. If there was a finish line, meditation would be an activity performed for the sake of the result. Instead, the point is to be at ease with pointlessness. To relinquish the thirst for meaning is to find it.

READ MORE


 

How to Practice Zen Koans

Koans don’t really explain things. Instead, they show you something by opening a gate. You walk through, and you take the ride. Before anything is explained, there is the sky, the earth, redwood forests, pelicans, rivers, rats, the city of San Francisco. And you are part of all that. We’re all part of that. In the land of koans, you see that everything that happens in your life is for you. There is no one else it can be for. Your life counts.

READ MORE


 

This Is Why Meditation Makes You Feel Better

Meditation may prove especially useful for people who take painkillers, among the most commonly prescribed drugs in America. “If meditation did work through opiates, and someone is addicted to opiates for pain, you would have to meditate like the Dalai Lama for decades to produce enough opiates in your body to match that tolerance,” Zeidan says. “This is a very attractive technique for the millions of chronic pain sufferers who are seeking a non-opiate pain therapy.”

READ MORE


 

Why Silence Is So Good For Your Brain

We live in a loud and distracting world, where silence is increasingly difficult to come by — and that may be negatively affecting our health.

In fact, a 2011 World Health Organization report called noise pollution a “modern plague,” concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.”

READ MORE


 

Christian and Zen, you ask?

Zen is primarily a spiritual practice.  Zen is a deeply spiritual practice of looking closely at ourselves, looking closely at suffering and the world, and looking closely at our relationship to suffering and at our relationships to others.  Zen is certainly not a “religion” to which one “converts”, abandoning one’s Christian tradition.  Zen is simply a way of being.  Zen is a practice that deepens and compliments our practice as followers of Christ.

READ MORE


 

Zazen and Christianity

I am often asked by Christians, especially Catholics, whether they can practice zazen, and still preserve the beliefs of Christianity. To that question, I usually answer that Zen is not a religion, in the same sense that Christianity is a religion. Therefore, there is no reason why Christianity and zazen cannot co-exist.

Almost all Buddhist sects can be called religions. Zazen, however, is quite different in this respect. Quite simply, it is the core of all Buddhist sects. As you know, there are many sects in Buddhism, but the core or essence of them all is the experience called satori or self-realization. The theories and philosophies of all the sects are but the clothing covering the core. These outer wrappings are of various shapes and colors, but what is inside remains the same. And the core, this experience, is not adorned with any thought or philosophy. It is merely a fact, an experienced fact, in the same way that the taste of tea is a fact. A cup of tea has no thought, no idea, no philosophy. It tastes the same to Buddhists as it does to Christians. There is no difference at all.

READ MORE


 

Learning How to Breathe Again

Re-spir-ation. In the middle of that word, respiration, the very process of breathing, is spirit. We cannot have “inspiration” without the breath/spirit. Even our lives’ “expiration” is the breath/spirit coming out of us. It’s the breath that sustains us, that inspires us, and leaves us.

The Bible begins with the wind/breath/spirit hovering above the waters. We do not breathe air. We breathe in spirit.

READ MORE


 

The Daily Habit Of These Outrageously Successful People

A number of Fortune 500 companies, including Google, AOL, Apple and Aetna, offer meditation and mindfulness classes for employees — and the top executives of many major corporations say that meditation has made them better leaders.

“Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had.” That’s what Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates

READ MORE


 

Where There Is Peace, There Is Buddha: The Sublime Attitudes in Daily Living 

by Ruben L. F. Habito

[One’s appropriate] responses [in daily situations] arise from the heart of one filled with peace, a heart overflowing with loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. As we ourselves learn to live in this way, we are given a glimpse of where the Buddha resides in our day and age.

In our contemporary global society, characterized by so much violence and discord among human beings and so much woundedness on the personal, social, and ecological levels of our being, where can we find the Buddha?

READ MORE


 

You Are Already Loved

The only thing you’ll ever learn is that you are already loved. So the only thing we can do in life is to love and be loved in return. So it is a daily practice. It is a daily renewal. How can I live today so that I won’t be a block to this love that is really propelling my life and that I can give myself to really express that love in my own kind of unobtrusive simple way, as I am.

READ MORE


 

What The Buddhists Can Teach Us About Household Chores

Soji is a spiritual practice, an extension of meditation, where the fluid, open sensibility that was cultivated on the meditation cushion is brought to the task at hand. If we’ve had an experience of softening or opening up or had some kind of realization while sitting on the cushion but we cannot experience or manifest it while we’re off the cushion, then that experience is not quite complete. We haven’t finished fully integrating it. Soji gives us a chance to do the work of bringing meditation to our whole self and to notice in a very real way how well that’s going.

READ MORE


 

How We Work with Koans and How They Work on Us

The use of the koan as a formal teaching tool entered the West through the efforts of pioneering teachers such as Soyen Shaku, who taught Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Russell and their family at their home outside of San Francisco in 1905. (It seems that Mrs. Russell was the first person in the United States to undertake koan study.) Soyen Shaku’s student Nyogen Senzaki compiled his 101 Zen Stories in 1919 and used koans in his teaching in San Francisco at least from the 1920s onward. Sokei-an Shigetsu Sasaki, a Rinzai master who pioneered the Zen way in New York in the 1930s, made use of koans with his students, including Ruth Fuller, who became his wife. Ruth Fuller Sasaki’s contribution to the development of Zen in the West through her translations of major Zen texts, including Zen Dust: The History of the Koan and Koan Study in Rinzai (Lin-chi) Zen, is inestimable.

READ MORE


 

How to Establish a Daily Practice Of Almost Anything, in Six Steps

Whether it’s meditation, yoga, or your favorite creative activity, you’ll get so much more from doing it every day. Follow these six steps, says Anne Cushman, to enjoy all the benefits of daily practice.

Going to a retreat or program is a wonderful way to deepen our meditation practice. But how do we stay connected with these waking-up practices when we go home to the myriad projects, emails, responsibilities, and distractions waiting for us?

READ MORE


 

Fruitless Labor

Frequently we discover that our minds do not rest in radiant contentment for the entire meditation session. Why not? Because we have been training for years in desiring, reaching, grasping, getting, and then wanting more, and then, of course, more—all reinforcing the underlying feeling that this moment is not enough. This pervasive feeling of something lacking, something missing (“not enough, not enough, when can I get something else, something different, something better?”) is itself a powerfully motivating force.

READ MORE


 

6 Myths About Mindfulness We All Need to Stop Believing

While mindfulness has been a hot topic, we’ve struggled with both offering an understandable definition and demonstrating its practical application for modern life. There are numerous scientific publications on mindfulness. We’ve known for a long time that mindfulness reduces stress. We now know it can change our brains. Mindfulness is about full awareness of the present moment, the one we’re in right now, with a gentle and open mind. I hope this article will help debunk some of the myths and confusion around mindfulness. I hope you’ll see that mindfulness is really for all of us and there’s no one way to practice it. In fact, I hope 2016 will be the year we think less about mindfulness, and practice it more.

READ MORE


The Power of Solitude

Retreat combines solitude and the practice of meditation, where you begin to actually explore your own mind. What you find is that, through intensive meditation in retreat, you begin to attend to your mind in a direct and unmediated way: Your mind begins to slow down, your sense perceptions open up, you find yourself increasingly present to your life, and you begin to experience solitude in a deep and genuine way.

The environment is solitude, but the essential ingredient is meditation practice—what you actually do with your mind when you are alone. Simply being in solitude is not good enough.

READ MORE


 

Mindfulness in Education Begins to Thrive

I want mindfulness to survive its popularity because I believe that the practice of being mindful can remind us of who we really are, bring us back to our common humanity, and invite us to remain integrated in mind and body. Even though I doubt we will see mindfulness practices adopted universally in schools or other governmental organizations, I am hopeful that the work will continue to grow and be valued, particularly as one of the essential skill-sets for the development of social-emotional learning (SEL). [Social and emotional learning (SEL) involves understanding and managing emotions, setting and achieving positive goals, feeling and showing empathy for others, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and making responsible decisions, according to CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.]

READ MORE


 

 If Mindfulness Makes You Uncomfortable, It’s Working

I recently had a conversation with a client named Claire, who shared that her company had been touting the benefits of mindfulness, and she was giving mindfulness a try with a meditation app. But she was frustrated that it wasn’t helping her feel more relaxed — instead, she was actually a bit more agitated of late. While the situation was clearly a source of consternation for Claire, it didn’t mean the meditation app wasn’t working.

Now that mindfulness has hit the mainstream, it’s been defined in a variety of ways: moment-to-moment awareness, being in the here and now, relaxing fully into the present. And somewhere along the way we’ve come to equate mindfulness with “good feeling” emotions such as joy, relaxation, and happiness.

READ MORE


How to Establish a Daily Practice Of Almost Anything, in Six Steps

Whether it’s meditation, yoga, or your favorite creative activity, you’ll get so much more from doing it every day. Follow these six steps, says Anne Cushman, to enjoy all the benefits of daily practice.

Going to a retreat or program is a wonderful way to deepen our meditation practice. But how do we stay connected with these waking-up practices when we go home to the myriad projects, emails, responsibilities, and distractions waiting for us?

READ MORE


 

Zen at the Heart of Steve Jobs’ Genius

The first element of Jobs’ leadership that Isaacson discusses is the man’s sometimes terrifyingly sharp focus. He writes that “Focus was ingrained in Jobs’s personality and had been honed by his Zen training. He relentlessly filtered out what he considered distractions.” Then Isaacson moves on to Jobs’ passion for simplification, and writes, “Jobs’s Zenlike ability to focus was accompanied by the related instinct to simplify things by zeroing in on their essence and eliminating unnecessary components. . . . Jobs aimed for the simplicity that comes from conquering, rather than merely ignoring, complexity.”

READ MORE


 

The Zen of Not Knowing

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.”

Cultivate your beginner’s mind. Be willing not to be an expert. Be willing not to know. Not knowing is nearest. Not knowing is most intimate.

READ MORE


 

Implementing Mindfulness in Schools: Reflections From a Principal

Practitioners and researchers offer that practicing mindfulness leads to an increased ability to focus and concentrate, greater self-awareness, reduced stress, increased empathy, and improved impulse control. My personal experience with mindfulness over the past eight years affirms these claims. I have come to recognize that my mindfulness practice has helped me to more fully engage in conversations and truly listen to others, better understand the emotional state and needs of those I am with, recognize my own emotions before they take control of me, and remain calm and focused through most situations.

READ MORE


 

No Teacher of Zen

Zen teachers can’t show you how to effect transformation, they cannot cause it to happen in you, and they are not “masters” of it (no one could be a master of an indefinable, empty feeling for living). But they do play an essential role.
The secret ingredient in teaching Zen, it turns out, is the brilliant spark of human goodness in each person. Practice awakens it, and it does the rest on its own eventually.

READ MORE


 

20 SCIENCE-BASED REASONS TO MAKE MEDITATION YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

The Challenge: Stress, work and life challenges can get the best of us.
The Science: Research shows that meditation is linked to a host of benefits from happiness to health!
The Solution: Meditate to feel calmer, happier, healthier, more productive and more in charge.

Trying to find a New Year’s Resolution that’s really worth it? How about one that will boost your resilience?

READ MORE


8 Simple Meditation Techniques For Kids

In this era of competition, where physical stress and sensory overload are swallowing up the life and health of kids, active meditation for kids can help them out in a number of ways. Just like adults, children also need to meditate regularly to boost their focusing power, control their minds, soothe their inner selves and build self confidence. But, how to teach meditation to kids?

Meditation and children may seem like an odd combination, but remember, those little minds need some cooling off too! So get your little one the best gift by teaching him the joy of meditation!

READ MORE


Mind gym: Putting meditation to the test

Time spent meditating is time well spent.

Experienced meditators will assure you that it is worth persisting, however. “Training allows us to transform the mind, to overcome destructive emotions and to dispel suffering,” says Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. “The numerous and profound methods that Buddhism has developed over the centuries can be used and incorporated by anyone. What is needed is enthusiasm and perseverance.” It all sounds very rewarding, but what does science have to say on the subject?

READ MORE


 

THE ZEN MASTER’S ZEN MASTER: HOW PHIL JACKSON’S MINDFULNESS GURU IS HELPING THE NEW YORK KNICKS

The first time Kobe Bryant met George Mumford in 1999, he was immediately suspicious. Mumford was a sports psychologist and mindfulness expert who had worked with Phil Jackson and the Chicago Bulls, and Bryant couldn’t believe that a National Basketball Association coach would actually use precious practice time to have his players sit on the floor—in the dark, no less—and meditate.

READ MORE


 

How Meditation Benefits CEOs

The popularity of meditation – one way to practice mindfulness – is also growing among CEOs and senior executives. Why are business leaders embracing meditation rather than, say, massage or ping-pong? Because there’s something to meditation that appears to benefit CEOs more than recreation or relaxation do alone.

READ MORE


 

Science Has Spoken: Group Meditation Literally Changes the World

For those with a basic layman’s understanding of quantum physics, it may come as no surprise that the simple act of meditation can have quantum results that affect not only the meditator, but his or her surrounding community and the world as a whole.

It helps to drive home the awe-inspiring fact that truly ‘thoughts are things’ and when we think a thought, it is a form of fine vibrational matter that is contributing to the creation of all that we experience.  These effects are powerful and life changing for individuals but when people come together and use intention to direct their mental energy towards a collective vision, the results are LITERALLY world-changing.

READ MORE


Zen in the Workplace

Approaches to Mindful Management

When the country prospers, the king’s name is unknown. It is only when there are problems that everyone knows who is to blame. It is the person in charge, the ruler: the king, the president, or the manager.

When the king is more important than the country, the country will not prosper. When the manager is more important than his or her employees, then the company will fail. If a manager is doing his or her job properly, then the company should run smoothly. The manager will become like a forgotten person, which is what a manager should strive for. Too many managers believe that they must have all of the answers and control every situation.

READ MORE


 

 Walking: Meditation on the Move


Meditation in Motion

Meditation in Motion is a way of practicing being present by being in our body, wherever it is and whatever it is doing. When we are exactly where our body is, we are in the present moment. The body isn’t in the past or future, it’s not conceptual or imagined; it’s part of nature and contains all of nature’s elements. It houses our awareness, is shaped by our stories, thoughts, and emotions, and holds our memories within its tissues. The body is our house—and how we live in it and where we occupy it are uniquely ours, as well as being part of the common human experience. The body is a treasure trove and an exquisite vehicle for our practice of waking up and being with what is.

READ MORE


Meditation may boost teen memory

If you tend to forget your homework or are easily distracted, take heed. A new study shows that teens can improve their memory with a practice known as mindfulness meditation.

Meditation requires sustained attention, Jastrowski Mano explains. Not only do participants have to focus their attention, but they also have to notice distractions. Then they must choose to ignore those distractions, redirecting their attention back to the current experience. In that way, the practice is closely related to the function of working memory, she notes. That’s because working memory requires holding on to thoughts and not letting other things distract from them.

READ MORE


 

The Science of Meditation’s Effects on Aging

While we might expect our bodies and brains to follow a shared trajectory of development and degeneration over time, by actively practicing strategies such as meditation, we might actually preserve and protect our physical body and brain structure to extend our golden years and shine even more brightly in old age.

READ MORE


The Disease of Being Busy

This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.READ MORE


7 THINGS YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW ABOUT MEDITATION

Meditation is something that has numerous benefits, including physical and mental health aspects. Even though there is tons of information on the topic of meditation available online, some people still view it as a mystical impossibility.

I thought I would clear up a few of those misconceptions and maybe change the perspective a few people have about meditation by bringing you these 7 bits of information.

1. YOU DON’T HAVE TO TWIST YOURSELF INTO A PRETZEL

READ MORE


THIS WRONGFULLY CONVICTED MAN SPENT 19 YEARS IN DEATH ROW; HERE’S HOW MEDITATION SAVED HIM

“I am a magician.”

That’s how Damien Echols begins his recent piece on Vice. But he doesn’t saw anyone in half or pull a bunny out of hat. Echols is a truly fascinating man, and one of the reasons he’s so interesting is because, in 1993, he was arrested on three counts of capital murder and, nine months later, was sentenced to death.

damien-echols-salem-sqIn 2011, new evidence came to light and he was exonerated after 19 years on death row.

READ MORE


A LIST OF THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

Meditation has been practiced across various cultures for millennia. There are many different types, and what may work for one may not work for the next. Most forms have originated in the spiritual traditions of their ancients.

Here are some of the most well-recognized types: Zazen

Zazen is a form of meditation derived from 2,500 years of Zen Buddhist meditation. While a study of the self, it is often practiced in meditation halls with a group.

 

READ MORE


 

How Meditation Improves Attention

William James wrote that controlling attention is at “the very root of judgement, character and will”. He also noted that controlling attention is much easier said than done. This is unfortunate because almost every impressive human achievement is, at heart, a feat of attention. Art, science, technology — you name it — someone, somewhere had to concentrate, and concentrate hard.

READ MORE


 

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for Depression, Anxiety and Pain

A medical journal review has found that just 30 minutes daily meditation can improve the symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain.

READ MORE


 

 4 Wonderful Ways Meditation Relieves Pain

One of the many remarkable ways psychological studies have shown that meditation benefits the mind is by reducing pain.A recent review of 47 clinical trials found it was the effects of meditation on pain that were the largest, compared with other advantages such as reducing depression and anxiety.

READ MORE


 

Train Your Brain: How to Reduce Anxiety Through Mindfulness and Meditation

train_brain_750Mindfulness and meditation are the two most effective brain trainers to support optimal prefrontal cortex functioning. The more you incorporate them into your daily experience, the more you will be training your brain to recalibrate, balance, and control.

READ MORE


 

Meditation’s positive residual effects

Imaging finds different forms of meditation may affect brain structure

Anew study has found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating. In their report in the November issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, investigators at Harvard Medical School-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston University (BU), and several other research centers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.

READ MORE


The Sound of Silence

Getting quiet to hear nature—and my true self.

I’ve just returned to New York from a six-day meditation retreat near Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of the time, we were meant to maintain silence. At sunrise, with the temperature hovering around 40 degrees, we meditated on a ridge overlooking tree-covered hills. As the pink glow on the horizon brightened to gold, the birds took up their chorus. And just as loudly, dead leaves from the trees around us turned in the breeze and clattered to the ground. Without silence, how would we have heard the “metal leaves . . . that rattled on like tin,” as T. S. Eliot described them in Little Gidding? I had no idea fall leaves made such a racket, though I vaguely remembered some poet calling fall “the metal season.” So many of nature’s secrets are revealed to us only in silence.

READ MORE


Meditation Reduces Emotional Pain by 44%: Study

10 Easy Ways You Can Practice Mindfulness Every Day

Living mindfully is one of the very best ways that you can transform your life.  When people think about meditation they think about sitting in lotus pose and clearing your mind for extended periods of time.   Mindfulness is awesome because it is about becoming fully present in this moment and becoming fully aware of your senses, thoughts, and emotions.

One of the most incredible parts of this practice is that you can make it a part of nearly everything you do in a normal day.  When you fully become present you tap into what appears to others as super powers.  You don’t miss the subtle happenings around you and can better anticipate future events.

READ MORE


What Happens When People Meditate for the First Time?

Most people think they have to meditate for years before they start seeing any of these improvements, but a study conducted by Chiesa, Calati, and Serretti shows that after just eight short weeks of meditation, people start to experience improved cognitive functioning.

READ MORE


5 Ways Meditation Will Change You

Once we get in tune with this “mere existence” aspect of meditation, we begin to love ourselves more for who we are. That doesn’t mean continuing to live destructively or laud ourselves for our bad behavior. It means realizing that no amount of bad behavior can change the fundamental peace of the true self. The ego tells us to hide behind actions; the true self simply tells us to chill out and accept what is.

READ MORE


 Another Reason to Meditate: Anti-Aging

Dr. Hoge’s study found that people who meditated daily for at least four years had longer telomeres — the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes — than people who do not meditate. Short telomeres are believed to be markers of accelerated aging.

In a 2012 study out of UCLA, neuroscientist Eileen Luders reviewed brain-imaging studies to look at brain-aging differences between meditators and non-meditators. The participants in these studies had meditated for two to 35 years. In the studies Luders reviewed, meditators showed less age-related decline in the thickness of their brain’s cerebral cortex.

READ MORE


How the Brain Changes When You Meditate

30 minutes of meditation can change the brain

30 minutes of meditation can change the brain

We can intentionally shape the direction of plasticity changes in our brain. By focusing on wholesome thoughts, for example, and directing our intentions in those ways, we can potentially influence the plasticity of our brains and shape them in ways that can be beneficial. That leads us to the inevitable conclusion that qualities like warm-heartedness and well-being should best be regarded as skills.

READ MORE


Want to Meditate? Leave Your Expectations at the Door

Meditation

Meditation

It can be tempting to come to mindfulness training and hope for lots of techniques to help us handle specific situations. What’s the right method for dealing with a parent or child, or for making the right career move, or for managing depression? Of course, there are ways to approach these situations artfully, but in mindfulness training, we focus first on becoming familiar with the workings of our internal processes, seeing parts and patterns with a precise, open eye. Through this process of quiet observation, we can notice what leads to well-being and what doesn’t.

READ MORE


why-should-i-meditate-1Teaching kids — and parents — the art of mindfulness

The idea behind mindfulness is to provide a sort of mental reset button, freeing yourself from a crush of distraction, swell of anger or parade of fears and regrets that can dominate thoughts and derail behavior. Exercises such as counting breaths or focusing on one of the five senses become anchors to turn to and return to when your thoughts wander.

At its best, the practice works like a rewarding timeout for all ages — a more effective version of “Seinfeld’s” Frank Costanza screaming, “Serenity now!” And with research linking mindfulness to improved focus, mood and behavior, the movement has ballooned, spreading from health-care institutions to Fortune 500 companies, the military and athletics. Now, it’s increasingly being used at schools and with children. READ MORE


The Top 5 Reasons You’re Not Meditating (and What You Can Do About It)

If I asked you to think of a meditation expert in his or her natural environment, you’re unlikely to think of an everyday American walking the streets of New York City.

Contrary to popular belief, however, many authorities on meditation, a simple practicescientifically proven to increase one’s happiness, are not robe-draped recluses but ordinary citizens who took an interest to meditation in adulthood. (Not unlike, say, yourself.)

Two of these everyday Americans turned modern-day authorities are meditation teacher and bestselling author of Real Happiness, Sharon Salzberg and psychotherapist and author, Richard Shrobe, a Zen master at New York’s Chogye International Zen Center.

Happify recently caught up with Sharon and Richard in New York to discuss the five most common beginning meditator complaints and tips on overcoming them. Here’s what they had to say.

READ MORE


safe_image (1)For stress-free life, live in the moment

In this fast-paced, noisy and gadget-dependent world, the recipe for good health and happiness may just be living in the moment and thinking about one thing at a time.

It can be done while doing even the most mundane chore such as washing the dishes by feeling the cold water and soapsuds streaming on your hands; at lunch by savoring your meal and feeling the texture of food in your mouth; or by simply focusing on breathing while stuck in traffic.

This technique, called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), was recently introduced to a batch of humanitarian workers in the Philippines as part of a pilot program by the UK-based Action Against Hunger (ACF) for Start Network, a consortium of 24 leading nongovernment organizations (NGOs) working together to beef up the humanitarian aid system.

Read more: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/208619/for-stress-free-life-live-in-the-moment#ixzz3na9m3kH0


What 15 Top Meditation Experts Struggled With Most as a Beginner

Young woman meditating

Young woman meditating

Like playing golf or making the perfect boiled egg, meditation sounds a lot easier than it actually is. After all, you just sit there with your eyes closed—until, inevitably, you can’t stop thinking about your endless to-do list, or your leg starts to cramp, or you have to use the bathroom.

READ MORE


Great Faith, Great Doubt, Great Determination

Great Faith, Great Doubt, Great Perseverance

Great Faith, Great Doubt, Great Perseverance

The three essential conditions for Zen practice. ~ Koun Yamada

First: great faith; second: great doubt; third: great determination. These are like the three legs of a tripod. It is uncertain whether we can accomplish the dharma if one of these three legs is missing. If all three are present, however, we would be more likely to miss the ground with a hammer than we would be to miss enlightenment.

READ MORE


10 Surprising Secrets No One Told You Yet About Meditation

!0 sECRETS WHY WE MEDITATE

!0 sECRETS WHY WE MEDITATE

For thousands of years and across countless cultures, humans around the world have been meditating. Whether you’re new to meditation, or you’ve been practicing it for a while, there are always new and fascinating things to discover about this age-old practice.

To the uninitiated, meditation appears mysterious and downright strange. To the well-practiced however, it’s just a normal part of their daily routine.

READ MORE


Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain

Meditation and Gray matter

Meditation and Gray matter

Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. What she found surprised her — that meditating can literally change your brain.

READ MORE


Daily Activities which Naturally Induce Meditative States

We all meditate, whether we know it or not.

This is because meditation occurs when we alter our standard brain wave frequency, and different activities, such as exercise, can do it naturally. Once we are aware of this, we can consciously participate in the ways in which we do meditate.

And considering how productive meditation is for our health, recognizing the moments in which we are meditating in action will potentially increase its benefits.

Another sure-fire way to reap the rewards of meditation is to incorporate into our daily routine. Many people have wanted to try meditation, but never have, or they did but gave up after a relatively short time. This might be due to different reasons, such as they didn’t think that they were learning anything, it was too tedious and ineffective in the short term, they didn’t want to invest the time required or they felt they didn’t have the capacity to become advanced at it.

Yet meditation is just like exercise – if we want to make our bodies fit for living or our brains fit for meditation, we need to keep at it. It’s also true that the longer we meditate the greater we experience the physical and mental health benefits it can generate. It can also provide spiritual empowerment if we commit to it for long enough.

READ MORE


Meditation and Neuroplasticity: Five key articles

plasticity-665x390Meditation not only changes our mind but also our brain – this is what more and more neuroscientific research suggests.

Neuroplasticity – the change of brain structures as a result of experience – is considered to be one of the most important discoveries of neuroscience. Over the last 10 years evidence has been growing that not only the acquisition of navigational knowledge by London Taxi drivers (see video) or learning a new motor task like juggling (see article), but also meditation practice can lead to significant changes to brain structures. Here I respond to a recent request and list five key articles on that topic.

READ MORE


Mindfulness Reduces the Way Stress Affects the Brain

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 13, 2015    ~ 1 min read

lights-blue-big-SS-202x269For the last decade numerous studies have shown that mindfulness training can improve a variety of mental and physical health problems.

Scientists, however, were unable to explain how the meditation technique actually worked. New research resolves the question by positing that mindfulness improves health by reversing or mitigating the way stress affects brain pathways.

READ MORE


Forever young: Meditation might slow the age-related loss of gray matter in the brain

Meditation and Gray matter

Meditation and Gray matter

Building on their earlier work that suggested people who meditate have less age-related atrophy in the brain’s white matter, a new study found that meditation appeared to help preserve the brain’s gray matter, the tissue that contains neurons

READ MORE


Research: The Key Ingredient to Genuine Happiness

23f6c5cRichard Davidson of The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds is a research pioneer on the benefits of meditation. One positive outcome of meditation that’s piqued his interest is happiness.

Mirabai Bush spoke with Richard for the series Working with Mindfulness: Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations. Davidson talked about his research with long-time meditation practitioners. His findings helped him piece together what may be important ingredients for genuine or enduring happiness.

READ MORE


Mindfulness Helps Teens Cope With Stress, Anxiety

WireAP_18b0c5d879184c588cbc4e782e2eec19_16x9_992Mindfulness, yoga and meditation have gained popularity among Americans in recent decades, buoyed by studies showing their benefits to emotional, mental and physical health. The centuries-old practices have roots in Buddhism and Hinduism, but Western culture has secularized them to focus on physical postures, breathing and relaxation techniques.

READ MORE


Zen: Stillness and nothing else

Ime Morales

by Ime Morales

Is Zen a religion, a philosophy, a movement? How does it fit into our daily lives? Here is firsthand information from a practitioner.

READ MORE


 ZEN by Michael Tan

Michael Tan

MANILA, Philippines — Among Asian countries, the Philippines has been the least influenced byBuddhism. Even neighboring Indonesia, the world?s largest Muslim country, has several grand ancient Buddhist temples, notably Borobodur. In the Philippines, some of our archaeological siteshave yielded Buddha images, but Buddhism itself never did gain too many adherents. Today, it is mainly associated with older Chinese-Filipinos, who worship at a few dozen temples scattered throughout the archipelago.

READ MORE


Tony Perlas

Dr. Tony Perlas

Though i was not fortunate enough to have gotten to know the enigmatic Dr. Antonio Perlas, having joined the Zen Center for Oriental Spirituality years after his death, i still remain awed by the way people still speak of him. When i joined the Zen Center and got the chance to work for them, i found a copy of the book “The Bright Field”, a book written by colleagues, friends and family of Dr. Antonio “Tony” Perlas after he died, as a tribute to the man.

READ MORE


Maria Teresa (Nenates) Pineda Interview

PINEDA Roshi

Nenates Pineda ROSHI

Nenates Pineda (MYÔUN-AN) is a Zen teacher in the Sanbo-Kyodanschool of Zen, recognized as such by Koun Yamada-Roshi and confirmed by his successor Kubota Ji’un Roshi in 1993. Born in the Phillipines and raised Catholic, Pineda took her Zen orientation at the Phillipine Zendo in 1983. Pineda is a longtime student of Sister Elaine Maclnnes, and currently lives in Toronto, Canada. On Tuesday evenings gathers with others for meditation practice at Holy Rosary Church in Toronto. She also holds sesshin and one days retreats at Scarboro Missions.

READ MORE


Prison yoga, meditation classes to expand across Canada

MacINNES Roshi

Ellaine MacInnes

For over a decade, Sister Elaine MacInnes has struggled to raise enough funds to keep her small charity, which offers meditation and yoga to inmates, afloat. Freeing the Human Spirit has faced an uphill battle since MacInnes first started it in 2001, when Ottawa bureaucrats initially told her there was no place for her in the correctional system.

READ MORE


 Rediscovering the Breath

by Ruben Habito

Excerpted from Healing Breath (Orbis Books)

Ruben Habito

Ruben Habito

It seems that most of us living in this fast-paced contemporary society have actually forgotten how to breathe. Not that we have ceased to perform the biological function whereby we inhale this invisible mixture of gases, including oxygen, that we need for sustaining life, and exhale what we don’t need, including carbon dioxide, which plants in turn need for their biological life. We do this largely unconsciously, and so we maintain ourselves in our physiological existence without having to be aware that it is happening most of the time. What we would like to note here is that breathing, for most of us, has come to be nothing but that – a mere biological function that our lungs take care of for us as we wake and go to sleep, day in and day out. We have come to take breathing for granted.

READ MORE


The Healing Power of Mindfulness

Mindfulness and Healing

Mindfulness and Healing

When we think of mindfulness or meditation, the words conjure images of a quiet, private time of tranquility and peace. When we think of hospitals and doctors’ offices, we think of the anxiety, pain, and chaos we might experience there, and presume that mindfulness doesn’t have a place in health care. Some leading health care professionals want to change that.

READ MORE


Ruben L.F. Habito Interview

Posted by Sweeping Zen

Ruben Habito

Ruben Habito

Ruben L.F. Habito, a native of the Philippines, went to Japan in his early twenties as a Jesuit seminarian, and began training in Zen under the guidance of Yamada Koun Roshi, then head of the Sanbo-Kyodan community, at the San-Un Zendo in Kamakura Japan. Ordained Jesuit priest in 1976, and having completed Doctoral studies in Buddhism at the University of Tokyo, he taught at Sophia University, all the while continuing his Zen practice. He was authorized as Zen Teacher by Yamada and given the Zen Name Keiun-ken (Grace Cloud) in 1988.

READ MORE


BrainHarvardMeditation

Meditation and the Brain.

Proof that meditation CAN grow your brain: In just eight weeks it can improve learning and memory

  • Practising meditation helps build denser grey matter in parts of the brain associated with learning and memory, controlling emotions and compassion
  • In a study 16 volunteers had their brains scanned before and after an eight week ‘mindfulness’ course.
  • Just eight weeks of meditation can produce enough structural changes large enough to be picked up by MRI scanners

READ MORE


 5 Meditation Tips for People Who Can’t Focus

meditation2Just a few minutes can shift your mindset for the whole day

Meditation is more than just a stress buster. New research shows it can help boost creativity; another review found it could reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and it could even improve decision making, in addition to a host of other health benefits.

But how can you embark on a serene course of meditation when you can barely quiet your multitasking brain long enough to finish tasks at home or at work? Here, five tips from meditation guru Amit Sood, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and author of The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living.

READ MORE


 Sitting Sermon

webcsillagAs both a Catholic nun and Zen roshi, Sister Elaine MacInnes provokes controversy while promoting inner peace.

It’s a damp, wind-whipped Tuesday evening in central Toronto. Shaking off the chill, 20 people arrive punctually, remove coats and shoes, quietly line the room’s perimeter, and begin meditating. They sit facing the cement wall, some using cushions, others small wooden benches, with hands and legs in various positions. The only sound in the semi-darkness is the ticking of a wall clock.

READ MORE


Christianity in the Crucible of East-West Dialogue

Christianity in the Crucible of East-West Dialogue

Christianity in the Crucible of East-West Dialogue

Christianity in the Crucible of East-West Dialogue takes you into the heart of this dialogue where mystics, metaphysicians and meditation masters of different traditions are beginning to meet for the first time. It explores these fascinating worlds like that of the Sanbo Kyodan Zen School where many of today’s Catholic Zen masters have come, and that of Abhishiktananda, the Benedictine monk Henri Le Saux, who plunged deeply into Hindu mysticism.

READ MORE


GENTLE RAIN FROM A PLOWING CLOUD

By Sister Elaine Maclnnes, OLM

Yamada Koun Roshi

Yamada Koun Roshi

WHEN THE teacher is ready, the disciples will appear

To paraphrase the ancient Oriental saying is to suggest the life story of Yamada Koun Roshi, the amazingly successful and popular Japanese Zen master of our era. From his tiny zendo in the historic and beautiful city of Kamakura, his fame as a teacher spread throughout the world, and over a twenty-year period, toward the end of his life, spiritual seekers from various countries, religions and cultures came to him for spiritual guidance. Whatever the area of our aridity and drought, Yamada Koun Roshi became the rainmaker to each of us. We consider him the founding roshi of the Zen Center Philippines, and his memory will always be honored here

READ MORE


A Cloud of Light

by Antonio Perlas, MD

Sr. Elaine MacIness, OLM

Sr. Elaine MacIness, OLM

IT WAS in April of 1976 when Sister Elaine Maclnnes came to the Philippines. She had just completed 15 years of mission work in Japan, and it was time for her to move on. Her leaving Japan, however, was no simple matter. Aside from having formed close relationships in Japan, particularly in the Kamakura zendo, which she now had to leave, she was also about to initiate the establishment of a zendo in the Philippines under the guidance and supervision of Yamada Koun Roshi.

READ MORE


The Power of Silence

bellino_rosa.thumbnailIn a restless world, silence can be the source of healing and creativity, believes poet Rosa Bellino.

Your poetry is very deep, where does it come from?’ a lady asked me at the end of an international conference, where I had been invited to present my work. ‘From silence,’ I replied before pausing to think.

READ MORE


6 Reasons Why Mindfulness Begins with the Breath

breathIt’s good to be curious about why we practise mindfulness of breathing, but just because we experience some discomfort during the practice doesn’t mean it’s not helpful. In fact, perhaps it’s helpful partly because the breath shows us our discomfort, and the patterns of relationship that perpetuate it. Rather than immediately looking for a more exciting mindfulness practice, we might like to consider possible benefits of staying with the breath. Here are a few to ponder:

READ MORE


How to Meditate Lying Down

by: Hwansan Sunim

hwansansunim

hwansansunim

There are two modes of Son Buddhist meditation: “Son in the midst of stillness” and “Son in the midst of commotion.” I simply call them the “quiet” and “active” modes of meditation. Quiet meditation commonly refers to traditional seated meditation but includes any meditative form where you’re not moving. Active meditation refers to meditating while in motion in the midst of daily life.

READ MORE


Mindfulness and the Brain

Neuroscience has shown that the brain changes with experience.

Taxi drivers who have ferried passengers around London for years have larger hippocampi, a region of the brain important for spatial awareness and memory, compared to newer cab drivers.

Similarly, experienced musicians show higher grey matter volume in motor, auditory and visual-spatial regions, suggesting their brains have been altered through daily practice.

READ MORE


8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science

on 27 December, 2014 at 01:22

Ancient beliefs backed by science

Ancient beliefs backed by science

The Earth may not be flat nor is it the center of the universe, but that doesn’t mean old-world intellectuals got everything wrong. In fact, in recent years, modern science has validated a number of teachings and beliefs rooted in ancient wisdom that, up until now, had been trusted but unproven empirically.

Here are eight ancient beliefs and practices that have been confirmed by modern science.

READ MORE


Skeptics guide to meditation

Skeptics guide to meditation


You Asked: Is Meditation Really Worth It?

Oct. 8, 2014, Markham Heid

you-asked-meditationFirst of all, understand that “meditation” is a catchall term for a lot of different mental activities, many of which have nothing to do with sitting cross-legged on the floor and saying om.

“There are thousands of different types of meditation,” says Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and author of Words Can Change Your Brain. But while meditative practices come in all shapes and styles, Newberg says nearly all of them have at least one thing in common: They involve focusing your attention, a habit that’s been marginalized by our smartphone-tethered lifestyle of digital distraction.

READ MORE


Meditation: Helping Students Get More from Lectures

Philippine Basic Education, Angel C. de Dios, August 27, 2013
Meditation and Students

Meditation and Students

Paying attention is without doubt the first step in listening to a lecture. When a mind wanders, there is hardly any reception. Listening and following a lecture do not really work well with multitasking. Watching a movie demands an undivided attention. My son watches a movie that he likes repeatedly. What is surprising, in my case, is that with each repeat, I become aware of some details I have missed after watching the movie only once. And I thought I was paying attention. Inside a lecture hall even writing down notes can prevent a student from following the flow of the lecture. Retention of the material presented in a lecture is challenging so taking notes is a way of storing the lecture in pieces of paper that hopefully can be easily retrieved in the future for review. Thus, the choice has to be made on whether to try as hard as possible to listen or write as much as one can with the hope of making sense out of all of the notes later.

READ MORE


Meditation: Calming a restless mind

lif13 If you learned of one simple activity that has the potential to enhance your well-being, increase your ability to focus and concentrate, and improve your overall quality of life, wouldn’t you be eager to take advantage of it? Well, increasingly, research is providing evidence that meditation enhances memory and learning, decreases feelings of stress and anxiety, improves sleep quality, helps control blood pressure, improves back pain and fatigue, decreases anger, and improves overall well-being.

READ MORE


The Power of Meditation and How It Helps Us Rediscover Happiness and Productivity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s