• 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Dharma Punk: How One Angry Young Man’s “Rock Bottom” Journey Turned into a Mindfulness Movement

    For many (most?) people, the pain of existence requires some form of escape: for some, it’s food, for others, drugs or alcohol; for still others, it’s obsessive work or other obsessive behaviors and actions. But for all, these are attempts at escaping something that cannot be escaped–only accepted and “observed” as conditions of the world. For many, hitting “rock” bottom is the reason for changing, for attempting to improve themselves and trying something different. That was the case for me, and it was, as I found out, the case for a group of punks in California some years back. One

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  • 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

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  • Doing Good by Helping Youth Do Well

    When I used to live in Washington, DC, one of my favorite things to do was to drive up to Baltimore (“Balmer”) and get soft shell grabs and bad beer at a bar near the water. It was a great time, and I miss that simple pleasure. Such a different city from DC, and really a very interesting one. Baltimore has become known to millions the world over  for HBO’s “The Wire,” a series that delves deeply into the drug culture of Baltimore. But there’s a lot more to this town, and one organization is doing their best to prove

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  • What is Mindfulness? Psychologist Mark Williams Explains

    “Mindfulness is a form of awareness, really, so we’re all aware sometimes that just as you’re wonderful description of getting up in the morning and as you were driving to work with all these things going through your head, we also know that sometimes we can naturally switch that off sometimes if we take the time to take a walk with a youngster, you know, three or four-year-old, and they’re going very slowly along the road and they’re looking at things.” – Mark Williams In his book, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World,  Mark William,

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  • Meditation can Literally Change your Brain…

    …including Decreasing the Size of your Amygdala! We are a data-driven society here in the West. Personally, I’d like to see more reliance on data to help break through the stigma and barriers that are associated with brain “plasticity” and rewiring our brains. The science is real, the conclusions are valid, and it’s just time for the rest of the medical (and patient) community to catch up. Key Conclusions. That’s why this video really struck me. People certainly have a right to be skeptical about “new findings” (coffee is good, it’s bad, it’s good, etc.!) regarding health, but the jury

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  • Daily Grateful: November 22, 2013

    Very moving; very beautiful. Do sharks have oxytocin release systems, too? 😉

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  • Listen Up: Free Guided Meditation from Meditation Oasis

    If you’re looking for beautiful guided meditations and haven’t heard of Mary Maddux and her husband, Richard Maddux, you’re in for a treat. They have an engaging, informative site called meditationoasis.com, where you’ll a wide variety of resources, ranging from information about how to meditate to links to their podcasts and many meditation guidance materials. Mary was kind enough to allow me to post one of their wonderful guided meditations from their podcast. Just sit back, relax, and click play below. Afterwards, perhaps take a moment to go to their website to find out more. Meditation can be challenging if

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  • Health Benefits of Meditation

    Animals are very tuned to potential threats. Even this zoned out kitty, if it hears a noise in the back of the room, will point its ears back to pinpoint the sound (which is a deeply ingrained, “startle response” system that humans share with animals). But animals, unlike many humans, resolve threats very quickly–they don’t have the modern cortex that conceptually focuses on the threat (or imagined threats); they’re not capable of obsessing over why things happen and whether they’ll happen again. Their fight or flight responses works well and they’re always capable of fight or flight (or freezing) responses,

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