So much of our consumerist society’s ability to sell us things is based on how easy it is to capture our attention. We are almost trained to be easily distracted. Speaking to this point is part one of an interview I did with Dan Goleman from the Wisdom of Awareness retreat in June. Here he describes what meditation really is: Attentional Retraining System.
Recently, while doing a meditation practice based on compassion, I found - much to my dismay - that my focus was anywhere but on my practice. What made it even worse (and even embarrassing) was that I was doing the practice for a friend of mine who had experienced a significant medical emergency.
What happens when we find ourselves so caught up in the habitual patterns of our distractions that our most sincere intention of focusing on another is thwarted by our tendency to get locked into our claustrophobic habit of thinking of ourselves?
Here is what attendees of the AWAKE conference in Amsterdam said that they will take away from the evening:
Daniel Goleman speaks candidly about how meditation makes a positive difference in his work as a writer.
Well here it finally is. Daniel Goleman's talk from the Wisdom of Awareness Retreat with Sogyal Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche, June 2011, Garrison Institute, New York.
He talks about important meditation research findings, the implications and future possibilities. Interesting stuff, plus Dan is fun to watch. If you are like me and have trouble watching long videos on the computer download the mp3 podcast version of talk and listen the audio on you ipod or any other mp3 compatible device.
7:35 h Sunday Morning, Montpellier Airport. I am on my way back from that very intensive meditation retreat with Sogyal Rinpoche. Sitting in a cafė in the check-in hall, an advertising banner, hanging from the ceiling, catches my eye. HSBC, one of the largest banks worldwide, tells me: "Pakistan is the world's second largest exporter of textiles." And then: "We see a world of opportunities. And you?" Without even thinking about it, the answer pops up in my mind right away: Yes, I see a world full of opportunities!
According to an article by Thomas Roth, PhD in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine titled, Insomnia: Definition, Prevalence, Etiology, and Consequences, up to 30% of the adult population in the United States suffer from some form of insomnia or sleep disturbance. That's 90-million people just in our country who don't sleep well!
A common question that seems to come up in conversation a lot these days is whether meditation can cure insomnia. As an avid practitioner of meditation – and insomnia! – I can attest to the fact that meditation and mindfulness practices can help to alleviate insomnia. I'm not sure about cure, since underlying factors are usually to blame for sleeplessness.
Recently, I watched an extraordinary documentary called Doing Time, Doing Vipassana. Vipassana is a simple, non-sectarian meditation technique.
This film moved me deeply. It illustrates so vividly how anyone can change and the powerful transformation that can arise through simply looking at your own mind.
It might sound crazy, but Doing Time, Doing Vipassana actually renewed my faith in humanity and our inherent potential for goodness. It gave me hope. We can avert the environmental destruction of the planet. We can dispel violence and terror. We can create a harmonious world. If only we can learn to look within and abandon our own negative tendencies, thoughts, and emotions.
Sure, we need to take practical steps too. But without collectively changing the inner landscape of our minds, there is no hope for permanent, positive change in the world.
It's funny because I avoided watching the DVD for a number of months. The idea of watching a film about prison seemed depressing. But in the end, this is one of the most inspiring and motivational films I've ever seen.
If you feel like it's impossible to change yourself - or the world - don't give up. Watch this film instead. And even if you are not discouraged, I think you may find amazing inspiration here.
Body's internal pharmacy effective against heart disease
Regular meditation practice does not only work on the mental and emotional level, it can also be very effective in reducing your chance of dying of a heart attack or a stroke, science found.1
While these aspects of meditation can provide us with the support necessary to achieve a stable meditation practice, and while a formal meditation practice is the only way to become familiar with our mind, the primary reason to meditate is to become familiar with our true nature within our ordinary daily life.