Eating is a very touchy topic in our society (see also this recent article on WMRI). There are enormous social problems associated with addiction to food (listen for a discussion of this to Upaya's podcasts about Zen Brain). In fact, for many of us, food occupies a significant portion of our moment-to-moment thoughts. Can we bring some of our meditation wisdom to bear on this aspect of our lives?
There are three common myths or misconceptions about meditation that can block us from realizing the power and benefit of practice. Yet, if we take a moment to expose them, we can easily figure out how to overcome them.
I have had the privilege of working with many experienced meditators on their personal food issues. It’s always a real pleasure when a long-time practitioner walks into my office. As they tell me about what’s troubling them I often hear the phrase “how could I have missed this?”. Total confusion, sometimes even desperation, is in their eyes.
It’s often a relief for people to hear that so many of us “miss this”.
Something as basic as eating - is a big deal. How do we really look at something this primal without judgment? How do we change our reactions to these ideas and patterns that have formed before birth?
Why do we always recommend meditating with our eyes open? So, asked my stepfather the other day. He learned to meditate in the What Meditation Really Is classes held in New York City. And now, he goes to a different meditation group on Sundays, sometimes attended by 100 or so people, and everyone else meditates with their eyes closed.
Co-founder and former Chairman of the Mind and Life Institute R. Adam Engle has thought pretty deeply about what ancient contemplative practices have to offer the modern world. He argues that most of the biggest problems in the world and for individuals are made by human beings. But recent developments in contemplative science are paving the way for a transformation in the way we view ourselves and our relationship to the world that could be a powerful force for positive global change.
Last May, Adam and I sat down and spoke for almost three hours. Frankly, it was one of the most fascinating conversations I had all year. At a certain point, I asked if I could turn on a camera and here is a fraction of what went down. More to come…
When you set out to learn meditation, your emotional patterns will delightfully come along. In fact, they will probably be your first and fiercest obstacles to overcome. While you may consistently falter due to their incessant influence, you may not even notice given how unconscious and instantaneous these responses have become.
Are any of these seven common tendencies dampening your meditation?
Perfectionism. An intense drive to clarify every element of the instruction and apply the methods faultlessly. Comes with a long list of questions on how to do it right, a furrowed brow, and muscle tension. Don't confuse the methods with meditation itself. Meditation transforms the ambiance of the mind. An over focus on technique constrains it.
If Jackson Pollock was the archetypal boozing, tortured artist, would he have painted anything worthwhile if he had found inner peace? Or would he have been an even better painter if he had indeed found inner peace.
If Steve Jobs was the super-cool Zen creator, would Apple even have come into existence if he had not meditated?
If, as Spike Milligan said “it is all in the mind”, how does sitting quietly to train your mind through meditation build creativity?
Maybe it is because of the type of mind meditation produces.
And this ruby red can help you with mindfulness too!
The system involves the use of a kitchen timer set to 25 minutes of time, but you can actually use any timer. This slice of time is officially called a “pomodoro”. Wind your physical timer or click the Pomodoro online time for 25 minutes. Then set out on a task without stopping until the timer rings.
Here’s where your mindfulness training comes in.
Here is Khandro Rinpoche on how we can keep the mindfulness we discover on the cushion as we go about daily activity. Hearing from my friend Gabriele that Rinpoche would be teaching in Berlin, I asked Gabriele to ask Khandro Rinpoche to make another What Meditation Really Is video. Rinpoche quickly agreed!
The world of science and technology develops really quickly. Recently I read a very intriguing paper that pushes the boundaries of what we believe about meditation training. In that paper, they investigated the feasibility of delivering a mind-body intervention in a virtual world. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a very frequently-used treatment for a wide range of disorders. What is a common question amongst those scientists studying contemplative practice is to what extent the efficacy of this intervention is in fact caused by social group effects; the fact that people attend weekly meetings, feel part of a supportive group, meet with a charismatic teacher.