Tag Archives | Meditation

The Weaponization of Mindfulness?

240px-Mindfulness-present-moment-here-now-awareness-symbol-logo

Pic: RadicalCourse (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Naval Health Research Center have found that mindfulness training — a combination of meditation and body awareness exercises — can help U.S. Marine Corps personnel prepare for and recover from stressful combat situations.

The study, published in the May 16, 2014 online issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that incorporating meditative practices into pre-deployment training might be a way to help the U.S. military reduce rising rates of stress-related health conditions, including PTSD, depression and anxiety, within its ranks.

“Mindfulness training won’t make combat easier,” said Martin Paulus, MD, professor of psychiatry and senior author. “But we think it can help Marines recover from stress and return to baseline functioning more quickly.”

Drawing on the teachings of Zen Buddhism, scientists describe mindfulnes as a mental state characterized by “full attention to the present moment without elaboration, judgment or emotional reactivity.” Mindfulness training, traditionally practiced through sitting meditation, attempts to cultivate this mental state by quieting the mind of extraneous thoughts.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Ancient Art Of Self-Induced Hallucination

colorVia Nautilus, Rose Eveleth on meditation as an ancient method of harnessing one’s senses to open new doors of perception:

After five years of practicing meditation, subject number 99003 began to see the lights: “My eyes were closed, [and] there would be what appeared to be a moon-shaped object in my consciousness directly above me… When I let go I was totally enveloped inside this light… I was seeing colors and lights and all kinds of things going on… Blue, purple, red.”

Buddhist literature refers to lights and visions in myriad ways. The Theravada tradition refers to nimitta, an vision of a series of lights seen during meditation that can be taken to represent everything from the meditator’s pure mind to a visual symbol of a real object.

Hallucinations are relatively well-documented in the world of sensory deprivation, and they dovetail with the lights seen by meditators. Where meditators see shimmering ropes, electrical sparks, and rays of light, the sensory deprived might see visual snow, bright sunsets, and luminous fog.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Enlightenment’s Evil Twin: The Pit of the Void

Pic: Expretta (CC)

Pic: Expretta (CC)

Jeff Warren explores the promises and pitfalls of vipassana and other mindfulness meditation on Psychology Tomorrow Magazine:

Practicing vipassana, you have more space to make appropriate responses, and more space, too, around your looping thought-track, which can dramatically reduce stress and anxiety as well as raise a person’s baseline levels of happiness and fulfillment. This is one reason why mindfulness has become the technique of choice for thousands of clinicians and psychotherapists, and there is now a considerable body of scientific research demonstrating these and other benefits.

Yet most of the clinicians who so enthusiastically endorse mindfulness do not have a proper understanding of where it can lead. The fact is that mindfulness in large doses can penetrate more than just your thoughts and sensations; it can see right through to the very pith of who you are – or rather, of who you are not. Because, as Buddhist teachers and teachers from many other contemplative traditions have long argued, on close investigation there doesn’t appear to be any deeper “you” in there running the show.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Study Suggests That Meditation Changes The Body’s Gene Expression

buddhaVia ScienceDaily, how changing your mind changes your body:

A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

“Interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Hypnosis and Meditation

philipfarber

Philip H. Farber, writer of several books and NLP teacher, provides a explanation on hypnosis and meditation via HAWK RIDGE PRODUCTIONS

Originally published in The Journal of Hypnotism.

I’m often asked if there’s a difference between self-hypnosis and meditation. It’s a simple question on the surface, but there are so many different forms and techniques in both categories that it’s tough to make more than a general comparison. Nonetheless, while the boundary between self- hypnosis and meditation might not be clearly delineated, I think it is possible to make a distinction.

Both hypnosis and meditation can produce states of deep relaxation, both can claim a wide range of similar health benefits, but the routes to what might be a similar destination are a bit different. In meditation, the conscious awareness of the practitioner is called into play. That is, the meditator intentionally focuses his or her mind on something in particular: a symbol, a candle flame, a mantra, the rhythm of the breath, or an overall awareness of the environment.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Summer Vacation In Mind Control Camp

mind controlVia Salon, Suzanne Clores reminisces:

In a Greek Orthodox Church annex in suburban New Jersey, I’m about to start my first morning of a four-week mind control summer camp. It is 1980. I am 9 years old. The classroom resembles an industrial park conference room.

The Silva Mind Control Method was founded in the 1950s, but taught in the 1960s around the same time as the Human Potential Movement. The HPM was an American subculture that yielded “The Inner Peace Movement,” thinkers like Alan Watts and Jean Houston, and the Esalen Institute.

The self-educated American parapsychologist Jose Silva trained his own children in deep relaxation, visualization and ESP techniques in effort to help them in school, and noticed remarkable improvement. Thirteen years later, the Silva Mind Control Method was founded.

The instructor, a woman named Mimi, scurried from desk to desk to introduce herself to the reluctant kids. I followed her strange directions without hesitation.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Meditation: Effects on Emotion Shown to Persist

via Psych Central Meditation 2

Meditation affects a person’s brain function long after the act of meditation is over, according to new research.

“This is the first time meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state,” said Gaelle Desbordes, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and at the Boston University Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology.

“Overall, these results are consistent with the overarching hypothesis that meditation may result in enduring, beneficial changes in brain function, especially in the area of emotional processing.”

The researchers began the study with the hypothesis that meditation can help control emotional responses.

During meditation, a part of the brain called the amygdala (known for the processing of emotional stimuli) showed decreased activity. However, when the participants were shown images of other people that were either good, bad, or neutral for a practice known as “compassion meditation,” the amygdala was exceptionally responsive.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ken Wilber: Death, Rebirth and Meditation

Grey-Dying500A classic Ken Wilber essay, covering what the great traditions have said about the process of death and reincarnation.

This information page gives an overview of Kenneth Smith, links to many resources, and posts scans of his classic run of TCJ columns. The scans contain his most essential writing, but there is a Tumblr blog and a Gaim library that provide quotes from longer pieces. Here are some choice fragments.

via Integral Life:

Some type of reincarnation doctrine is found in virtually every mystical religious tradition the world over. Even Christianity accepted it until around the fourth century CE, when, for largely political reasons, it was made anathema. Many Christian mystics today now accept the idea. As the Christian theologian John Hick pointed out in his important work Death and Eternal Life, the consensus of the world religions, including Christianity, is that some sort of reincarnation occurs.

Of course, the fact that many people believe something does not rank it true.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is Mindfulness Compatible with High Tech?

nancy

This week on Mindful Cyborgs Chris Dancy and I discussed the relationship between mindfulness and quantified self with biosensor engineer Nancy Dougherty. Nancy talks about how she came to the practice of mindfulness through some of her “happy pills experiment,” her light-based mood tracking system and why a portable fMRI might be a little over kill for self-tracking.

You can download the episode from Soundcloud, iTunes or directly.

You can also read more notes and the full transcript on Technoccult.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Meditate in the Lines

Meditate in the lines from Daniele zanini on Vimeo.

via Daniele zanini on Vimeo

In all the lines you’ll see, there’s a perception of direction. If you found a line on a piece of paper, if you rotate it, the direction changes. Then think about yourself: what kind of direction are you in today, in this present moment, in your whereabout? Is That direction a choice you made or are you living in a line of another one? We are a point in that line, choosing our fate, everyday, in every direction we have chosen or even if we haven’t chosen.

- Made in After Effects with Trapcode MIR, Particular and Horizon.

Read the rest

Continue Reading