• Daily Grateful: Be Aware, Not Wary

    March 30, 2014 Taking in the good is….good for you. You’ve heard the phrases, “Give me a moment,” or “Let me take a moment.” Moments are all we have. They’re gifts; little parcels of space-time that enable us to live more fully. By enabling/permitting ourselves to dwell in the moments of life more deeply, we’re actually helping shape our brain to do positive things. In today’s post, Rick Hanson explains how that helps–from a technical point of view, while increasingly well-known Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh explains it as only he can. I love that modern science and ancient teachings have finally

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  • Daily Grateful: Jon Kabat-Zinn Sums it Up

    3.23.2014 Jon Kabat-Zinn. For many, the name has become synonymous with modern mindfulness. As a physician who took a break from his work to study Buddhism in the ’70s, it was a decision that helped lead the beginning of the mindfulness movement in the United States. After training in Buddhism, he came back to his practice with the then-fairly radical idea that the benefits of Buddhist mindfulness could help his patients who were suffering from chronic illness. The result was the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts. Read more here. Watch his presentation at the 2014 Wisdom

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  • Spotlight on Jon Kabat-Zinn: Ancient Practices, Modern Mindfulness

    Jon Kabat-Zinn. For many, the name has become synonymous with modern mindfulness. As a physician who took a break from his work to study Buddhism in the ’70s, it was a decision that helped lead the beginning of the mindfulness movement in the United States. After training in Buddhism, he came back to his practice with the then-fairly radical idea that the benefits of Buddhist mindfulness could help his patients who were suffering from chronic illness. The result was the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts. Although I haven’t participated in an any of his

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  • Daily Grateful: Don’t Just Do Something…

    February 26, 2014 No Zabuton or Zafu required, just a space, a chair or a pillow for your bum, and…you. You can use a guided meditation to focus on, or just be there, with your thoughts, allowing them to come and go, focusing only on your breathing, the ambient sounds around you, or bodily sensations. Sometimes amazing things happen, sometimes nothing happens, sometimes you feel pain or discomfort or have a hard time dealing with your torrent of thoughts. Any and all of these sensations are fine. All are equal and all can be perceived without fear, attachment, or judgment. Wiring

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  • The Mindful Pause: Elisha Goldstein says “S.T.O.P.”

    Elisha Goldstein is a well-known psychologist and speaker who believes that mindfulness can be learned by anyone, and has a series of guided meditation videos that help people get into a mindful place quickly and easily. The author of highly regarded The Now Effect, Goldstein has come up with a simple way to engage in mindfulness in everyday situations. His acronym, S.T.O.P., is an easy to remember way to create a mindful pause that can disconnect us from old habits and conditioning that can hijack our well-being. I’ve slightly modified his explanations for each (which were posted on the psych central.com blog recently).

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  • What is mindfulness again, anyway?

    Of all the things I realized that I’ve never posted, mindfulness is, surprisingly, at the top of the list. Odd. Well, it’s odd for a blog that’s called The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness. So, in an effort to address that void and provide some clarity on the subject from my point of view, I’ve included some brief descriptions and definitions from my brain to yours, below. Being in the Moment: Children are, Adults, not so much. The truth of the matter is that we are comprised of actions and behaviors that become largely ingrained in our brains as “habits.” As

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  • Mainstream Mindfulness: “Are we in the middle of a mindfulness revolution?”

    That’s the quote from this Huffington Post article about Time Magazine’s latest cover and theme. As an “armchair pop culturo-anthropologist,” I’m fairly certain that the answer is a definitive probably. 🙂 All the signs are there, really, from Time’s latest edition to a lesser known, but increasingly popular magazine called “Mindful;” from police departments helping their offers deal with stress to the Department of Defense looking seriously at mindfulness as a way to combat PTSD, the country is responding to information overload, stress, and anxiety with something that actually works: meditation and mindfulness. My sense is that because the latest research clearly

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  • Daily Grateful: Martin Luther King, Jr.

    January 20, 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. was as spiritual man. His was a connection with brothers and sisters who were different–different beliefs, religions, skin color. He shared the goal of non-violence, acceptance, and love of one another. Yours in Mental Hygiene, The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness

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  • Daily Grateful: Sewing the Seeds of Love

    January 19, 2014 This quote reminds me of how compassion and giving makes the compassionate giver feel as least as good as the one on the receiving end. It also reminded me of the incredibly cool pop song by Tears for Fears–remember them? 😉 (below). Tears for Fears Sowing the Seeds of Love by Celtiemama Lyrics: High time we made a stand & shook up the views of the common man And the love train rides from coast to coast DJ’s the man we love the most Could you be, could you be squeaky clean And smash any hope of

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  • Daily Grateful: A Visual and Aural Feast

    January 15, 2014 First, I just wanted to say that I’m a visual person: I love graphics, I love pictures, I love movies. I see art, literally, everywhere! The Buddha you see to the right was a bronze statue at my good friend’s house (thanks, Carol!) and I had to mess around with it. (Click here to see the original.) A Visual and Aural Feast, Indeed. So when I saw some amazing pictures from a Russian photographer earlier today (below), I had to share them. They’re absolutely brilliant. I also love music, and because I think the two senses go so

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  • Daily Grateful: A Close Encounter with a Beautiful Lion

    January 13, 2014 National Geographic photographer Mattias tells an amazing story of two creatures: one is human, one is a beautiful lion. Quite an experience (good thing she was probably full!). I absolutely love this mindful, very “zen” explanation from the photographer: “I’m an emotional person, sort of a vulnerable person in many ways. I don’t, for example, think that to do what I do, you sort of a ‘Tarzan”…because you have to be the contrary. You have to be soft, hopefully intelligent; you have to read the environment–you have to be modest. Otherwise I would have been eaten, I think,

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  • Daily Grateful: Jack Kornfield’s Helpful Re-Minders

    Jack Kornfield is a highly regarded teacher of Buddhism and mindfulness. He offered up these beautiful re-minders today. You can visit Jack’s Facebook page here.  

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  • Why Do We Hate Ourselves So Much?

    I once had this pin, and put it up on a cubicle in my workplace back in the early ’90s. Not everyone thought it was funny or even understood the “joke,” but it seems appropriate today. Only in this case, I refer not to upper management, but to our own selves administering the beatings. Why is it that we beat ourselves up here in the West? Is it because so much is expected of us ? Is it because our culture is so focused on “winners” and “losers”? Enough already? I was reading a piece by Pema Chodron recently and

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  • West Meets East: Neuroscience and Buddhism

    I was watching this video from the wonderful “Greater Good Science Center” Web site the other day, and just today I was reading an interview in Shambhala Sun with Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield about mindfulness and Buddhism in the Western world. It’s not news that the world of Western science and the world of Eastern philosophy are coming closer and closer together, but what’s interesting to me is that the Buddha was apparently quite aware of the plasticity of the brain long before anyone actually knew the true functions of the brain. “Letting your frontal lobe support…non-judgmental, present moment

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  • Thich Nhat Hanh: New Year’s Eve Talk 2014

    The Practice of Mindfulness is the Practice of Happiness a talk by Thich Nhat Hanh. From tnhaudio.org.: This talk by Thich Nhat Hanh is from the Lower Hamlet of Plum Village on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 on the occasion of New Years Eve. It is the fourteenth talk of the 2013-2014 Winter Retreat. This talk is in English. The talk begins with a lovely guided meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh followed by a teaching on compassion to help us listen to the monastics chanting. The second half of the talk focuses on love and healing our suffering. 00:00-10:15 Guided Meditation

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