… Read the rest
In case we had any doubt after watching Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes,” mindfulness is the new yoga – and we are in the midst of a mindfulness revolution. It’s been embraced by celebrities, business leaders, politicians and athletes; and recommended by doctors, clergy, psychotherapists and prison wardens. Apps and bestselling books touting the benefits of meditation proliferate. Google “mindfulness” and you’ll get over 24 million hits.
It’s not surprising that with unbridled enthusiasm about mindfulness come exaggerated claims and problems that are eclipsed. Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the architects of the mindfulness revolution, claims mindfulness “has the potential to ignite a universal or global renaissance that . . . would put even the European and Italian Renaissance into the shade . . . [and] that may actually be the only promise the species and the planet have for making it through the next couple hundred years.”
Backlash was inevitable.
Tag Archives | Meditation
A study finds meditating cancer patients are able to affect the makeup of their DNA, reports Scientific American:
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“I think, therefore I am” is perhaps the most familiar one-liner in western philosophy. Even if the stoners, philosophers and quantum mechanically-inclined skeptics who believe we’re living an illusion are right, few existential quips hit with such profound, approachable simplicity. The only catch is that in Descartes’ opinion, “we” – our thoughts, our personalities, our “minds” – are mostly divorced from our bodies.
The polymathic Frenchman and other dualist philosophers proposed that while the mind exerts control over our physical interaction with the world, there is a clear delineation between body and mind; that our material forms are simply temporary housing for our immaterial souls. But centuries of science argue against a corporeal crash pad. The body and mind appear inextricably linked. And findings from a new study published in Cancer by a Canadian group suggest that our mental state has measurable physical influence on us – more specifically on our DNA.
“The universe is a symphony of vibrating strings… We are nothing but melodies, we are nothing but cosmic music played out on vibrating strings and membranes.” –Michio Kaku
Alexandre Tannous is one of those guys whose insight just continually surprises you. It’s as if he’s studied everything and gone everywhere, yet, still manages to maintain a disposition that’s totally down to earth, openminded and in awe of everything. He’s some sort of humble scientist, mystic, musician, renaissance man hybrid.
To add some specificity, Alexandre holds multiple degrees in music and philosophy. More importantly, he has traveled to over 40 of countries where he has participated in dozens of shamanic, meditative and initiatory ceremonies. Alexandre also researches the esoteric and therapeutic properties of sound from scientific and shamanic perspectives. He has lectured at many major universities including Georgetown, Princeton and NYU.
I could have a job, but am too lazy to choose it;
I have got land, but am too lazy to farm it.
My house leaks; I am too lazy to mend it.
My clothes are torn; I am too lazy to darn them.
I have got wine, but I am too lazy to drink;
So it’s just the same as if my cup were empty.
I have got a lute, but am too lazy to play;
So it’s just the same as if it had no strings.
My family tells me there is no more steamed rice;
I want to cook, but am too lazy to grind.
My friends and relatives write me long letters;
I should like to read them, but they’re such a bother to open.
I have always been told that Hsi Shu-yeh
Passed his whole life in absolute idleness.
But he played his lute and sometimes worked at his forge;
So even he was not so lazy as I.… Read the rest
The Daily Beast just ran an awesome interview with David Lynch. I’ve pulled some snippets here, but you should read the whole thing if you’re a Lynch fan!
via The Daily Beast:
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I just saw your fantastic ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video.
[Laughs] Oh. Great trumpet playing, huh? I had to do two buckets because two people challenged me, so I thought it should have some music to it. And I’m agreat trumpet player. And for some reason, I wanted to nominate Vladimir Putin. He might want to take part in helping some people.
Were there some demons you were dealing with when you turned to TM? You started on Eraserhead in ’72, and I understand that was a very fraught production early on.
You don’t have to be in bad shape.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m often uptight and easily stressed. I don’t meditate regularly, but when I do the relief I feel is often surprising. Just taking a few moments to focus on my breathing can release tension.
via Big Think:
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Dan Harris is a self-described “fidgety and skeptical news anchor” who would probably be the last person you’d expect to buy into the hocus pocus of supposed new age wellness. But after suffering a live, on-air panic attack on “Good Morning America,” the ABC News correspondent took up meditation not because he was in search of a magical solution, but rather because of the overwhelming scientific evidence that it just works.
After his attack, Harris became an advocate for the practice and even wrote a book — 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story — in which he compiled his personal story with copious amounts of research backing the benefits of meditation.
How to visit Ancient Sites – Mindfulness & Meditation
This is the first in a series of short articles highlighting the approach I use when visiting ancient sites. I regularly organize and co-host tours to many powerful ancient sites around the world. During my tours I have observed the different ways people interact with sacred space. On one hand we have mainstream tours with guides reciting dates and names over a microphone while the tour members wear headsets. At the other end of the spectrum we have people visiting ancient and sacred sites to meditate. After witnessing these different ways of interacting, I felt compelled to share the techniques I use. I hope my insights will help others to maximize their time on location.
Anyone that has visited a museum or studied books on ancient cultures will no doubt have run into two labels “ancient ritual” and “ceremonial purposes”, these labels among others are used to explain in very broad terms what archeologists believe our ancestors were up to.… Read the rest
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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.
Via Nautilus, Rose Eveleth on meditation as an ancient method of harnessing one’s senses to open new doors of perception:
… Read the rest
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.
Jeff Warren explores the promises and pitfalls of vipassana and other mindfulness meditation on Psychology Tomorrow Magazine:
… Read the rest
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.