• 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

    [Read More...]
  • 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

    [Read More...]
  • What is Neuroplasticity?

    There was a time, not that long ago, actually, in which the prevailing wisdom among scientists and brain researchers was consistent: The brain stops developing at an early age, and continues to “die off” over the span of one’s life. We now know this to be horribly inaccurate. Over the past 20 years, advances in brain imaging and neural research have revealed pretty much the opposite conclusion: the brain’s neural networks continue to change and grow throughout our lifetimes, even up to and through old age and death. This is pretty amazing in and of itself. But what’s even more, er, “mind

    [Read More...]
  • Mindful Practice: A Neophyte Buddhist Shares His Story

    I’ve been practicing mindfulness in one form or another off and on for years (reflective humility can constitute mindfulness), but mostly inconsistently–and that’s the one thing that people who want “results” cannot afford to do: practice inconsistently. Nope, it’s only those who practice, practice, practice (consistently) who tend to get results and rewire themselves for their brans for mindfulness. Second, being “solo” and practicing mindfulness on your own can certainly work, but there is a strong argument to be made for self-improvement in a group. After all, we’re wired for the group–it was the only way our ancestors survived and

    [Read More...]
  • Yet More Evidence: Meditation Reduces Inflammatory Response

    It’s hard to keep up, sometimes–seems like mindfulness research data just keep piling up; a good “problem” to have, indeed. A recent study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France, indicates the first evidence of molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation, specifically, lowered cortisol. “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

    [Read More...]
  • 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

    [Read More...]
  • Mindfulness at Work: Free Webinar Series

    As the quote above tells us, Buddhism isn’t just for the practitioner and enlightened monks–it’s for real people simply living. As the Dalai Lama (along with other luminaries like Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and many others) have reminded us, the lessons of Buddhism (and mindfulness) are applicable in everyone’s real life, including at work. Mindful.org and the Huffington Post’s Third Metric have put together a Mindfulness at Work webinar series starting Monday, January 27. Janice Marturano, executive director of the institute and author of Finding The Space To Lead, will be on Huffington Post Live today at 1 p.m. E.S.T. to launch The

    [Read More...]
  • Free Webinar Series with Leaders in Neuroscience and Brain Plasticity (Starting 1/22/2014!)

    UPDATE: Gold Membership is only $200! What’s great about the “new world” of neuroscience is that amazing discoveries are happening at a furious pace. As researchers continue to discover the incredible things that the brain can do–from building up resiliency to creating new neural pathways ourselves. With so much data and so many leaders in their fields, it’s hard to know where to turn. Too many options can easily lead to brain overload. The good news is that you can now check out, for free, a Webinar series that explains key findings and tools you can use to help improve your

    [Read More...]
  • Practice does not Make Perfect…

    …but it certainly helps! Imperfection. It’s what enabled the universe as we know it to come to be in the first place. It’s a commonly held belief among astrophysicists and cosmologists that if the Big Bang’s energy had been completely uniform, we would not exist. The imperfections in the heat and dispersal of energy from the birth of our universe actually enabled gravity to take hold and enabled gasses to coalesce into denser and denser matter, enabling gravity to take hold and create stars and planets. All due to the slightest of imperfections. Imperfection, one could therefore say, is the

    [Read More...]
  • 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.  

    [Read More...]
  • The Case for Logging Off and Unplugging

    Internet compulsion is widespread, and frankly, it’s not surprising, considering that it’s now integral to cultures around the world. But recent studies indicate that it’s becoming an unhealthy obsession, and that ain’t good. I speak from experience on this (as do many readers, I’m sure). And actually, as I write this, I’m hoping I pay close attention and internalize it, because it’s easy to forget! o_O According to the findings of Cristina Quinones-Garcia of Northampton Business School and Professor Nada Korac-Kakabadse of Henley Business School people “may be using the internet in order to cope with the demands of excessive work,

    [Read More...]
  • 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

    [Read More...]
  • 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

    [Read More...]
  • Daily Grateful: Who are you really?

    December 29, 2013 The following video was posted in the Facebook group Zen Mind earlier today, and I just had to share it. It’s interesting, moving, engaging, strange, and offers up many questions worth exploring: for me, there is, ultimately, the interconnectedness of everything. I glimpse this realization only on occasion, when “I” get out of the way. 😉 Cheers.

    [Read More...]
  • Your Amazing Brain and What it can do

    Moken “See” People: Normally pupils dilate underwater to let in more light (but this causes everything to be blurry). The Moken’s brains have adapted to the sea by contracting their pupils–an ability that allows them to see cleary underwater. I remember when I was young, a popular saying was “People only use 10 to 15% of their brains.” Back then, I had no idea what that meant. My young mind thought “So, one day we might learn to levitate objects? Read other peoples’ minds? What’s in that other 85% to 90%?” I don’t know that these capabilities are in the

    [Read More...]