LL Forum 2014

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Meditation Blog

Thursday, 10 April 2014 18:36

Who Meditates at Work?

Written by Steve Cope

Do you start your work meetings with a couple of minutes of meditation?

This morning, I talked with a teacher who has just introduced meditation into her classroom. "The great thing is," she said, "that it gives me a break in the day. And the kids love it, they keep asking for more!"

Two months ago, she thought meditating at work was simply impossible. Then, after attending a three day training on how to integrate meditation in the classroom, she gained the confidence to simply give it a try. And now, she is even prepared to have her inspector sit through a meditation session in class next week!

Patrick Gaffney is one of the leading authorities on the contemplation and practice of compassion in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and I was lucky enough to hear him speak at the Empathy and Compassion in Society conference in London in 2012. Patrick has kindly allowed us to reproduce the text of his talk here and you can also find the video of his talk below.

Patrick regularly teaches in Europe and the USA and will be leading a five-day retreat on Cultivating Compassion in Lerab Ling, near Montpellier, France, on 5-9 March 2013.

If you are interested in finding out more, please visit:
http://lerabling.org/index.php/lang-en/2014-5-to-9-march-patrick-gaffney

For the last month or so I have been reading Maureen Cooper’s fabulous new book, The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress Reducing Stress. Combining an authentically Buddhist approach with modern scientific discoveries, this book skillfully addresses one of the most beguiling symptoms of modern life: Stress.

Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

Taking a bite of mindfulness

Written by Marieke van Vugt

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?

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

Non-silent interaction meditation

Written by Marieke van Vugt

If you are anything like me, you spend a good deal of time interacting with other people. Is it possible to integrate meditation in your interaction with others, and if so, what does it feel like? The attitude cultivated in meditation is one of openness, softness, and spaciousness. You can focus on the other person just like any other focus of meditation. This means that you are not focussing on something else, which is actually exceedingly rare these days. This in itself is already a large gift to the person you interact with, because we really see the other person, and don't we all spend a large portion of our time trying to be seen?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 08:16

Imaginary Limits: Grasping at Illusory I

Written by Josh Korda

From the perspective of science, there is no inherent reason for the human mind to have an underlying owner or "self." The brain, the physical structure that creates consciousness and 'the mind,' exists only to provide centralized control over the body, ensuring our survival; it's comprised of numerous subsystems that allow us to engage safely with the world—eg those regions that warn us of threats; others that alert us to opportunities; faculties that monitor body states; systems that process spatial awareness and on. No region can be found via scans or neural anatomy that could feasibly produce a lasting "self." And if consciousness exists to address conflicting impulses and to integrate subsystems, its without doubt an event that changes fluidly over time.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 00:00

Mind & Life's first European Symposium

Written by Marieke van Vugt

In addition to the First Mindfulness conference in Europe that I blogged about a little while ago, this year hosted another first: the European Symposium for Contemplative Studies organized by Mind & Life in Europe. This symposium took place in Berlin and its theme was the role of contemplative practice in relieving suffering for individuals and society.

Whether we're long-term meditators or just getting started, we invest time out of our day to meditate because we believe or have experienced that meditation has benefits. Some of us may experience this as increased focus, others as decreased stress. What we may not be aware of, however, is the extent of the benefits that meditation can have. Recent scientific research shows that it can improve both our physical and mental health in surprising and significant ways. Not only can it sharpen our attention skills and lower our stress - as we would expect - but it can also boost our memory, increase our feelings of happiness, make us more compassionate to others, strengthen our immune function and make us more resilient! It even has the capacity to change our brain structure in beneficial ways. Of course, many of us know there is a certain intangible aspect to meditation that research may never be able to fully capture. However, the growing field of meditation research provides sufficient data to keep us inspired to continue with our daily practice! Below is an info graphic that summarizes some of the benefits research is showing:

Sunday, 20 October 2013 11:57

An Open Heart

Written by Ian Gawler

Sitting to meditate at home a few days ago, I found tears pouring down my face. Pouring. Flowing freely. Yet no distress. Just lots of tears.

I had just learnt that Mark, a delightful young doctor from Hong Kong had succumbed to the same cancer I used to have. So what were the tears? Common grief? Sadness? Despair? Self identification?

Maybe. But actually most came courtesy of a profound insight. An insight you may well also value.

 

 

 

 

But first, consider this

Of all the sad things I see

The worst of it

Is the fear of death

Sogyal Rinpoche

 

During the summer I blogged about Emma Seppala's work with veterans suffering from PTSD and the documentary in which some of her research was featured. When we sat down to talk this summer, I asked her where she got the inspiration to begin to help veterans. 

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