83 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2024
    1. bavana which literally means bringing into being

      for - definition - Bhavana - meditation - Sanskrit - samatha - vipassana

      definition - Bhavana - meditation - Sanskrit - https://encyclopediaofbuddhism.org/wiki/Bh%C4%81van%C4%81 - cultivation - samatha-bhāvanā, the cultivation of calm-abiding - stabilizing attention leading to refined states of concentration - vipassanā-bhāvanā, the cultivation of insight<br /> - clearly noting what is arising from moment to moment

  2. Feb 2024
  3. Nov 2023
    1. meditation is instructors also testified that micro phenomenological interviews 00:31:10 were useful for them on the one hand a more refined awareness of their own practice
      • for: meditation - improvement with micro phenomenological interview
  4. Oct 2023
    1. But you’re also expandingthe container of that knowledge.

      David Lynch uses meditation to expand his container of knowledge.

    2. Now, you don’t use meditation to catch ideas. You’re expandingthe container, and you come out very refreshed, filled with energy,and raring to go out and catch ideas afterward.
  5. Sep 2023
    1. Buddhism has no transcendent god, but it explores the transcendental field of consciousness. How do you do that? How do you lend into this field that is to be explored? To do that, you have to perform the epoche.
      • for: adjacency, adjacency - epoche - Buddhist meditation

      • paraphrase

      • adjacency between
        • epoche
        • Buddhist meditation
      • adjacency statement
        • Epoche is derived from the Greek and means suspension, cessation.
        • Epoche is the practice of suspending verbal judgment and comes from the Stoics and the Greek thinkers such as Pyrrho, who learned it from his travels in India accompanying Alexander the Great
        • Epoche in phenomenology also suspends pre-verbal judgments and results in a radical self-transformation
  6. Aug 2023
    1. Mind Like a Sky

      A very useful [[meditation]] by [[Lidia Zylowska]] that asks the listener to focus on their thoughts. Seems similar to [[Mahamudra chopping]] (a la [[Loch Kelly]]). Possibly needs to be adapted for those with [[aphantasia]] or [[people who don't have inner speech]].

  7. Jul 2023
    1. We are all related
      • for: cognitive B journey
        • relationship to other people through time
      • Guided mediation

        • We are all related
      • comment

        • further study the reasoning
    2. uided meditation: When did your life begin?
      • Guided meditation
        • When did your life begin?
        • Regress to your mother's egg divided to determine which gene to pass on to you.
          • this, while inside her mother's womb
        • Regress 40 generations for 1000 years (average lifespan was 25 years!)
        • Regress a billion years, then 4 billion
        • With each regression stage, your ancestors were other species and ultimately, nonbiotic life as well.
      • comment
        • this has limitations as well, as it is bu ilt on scientific narratives subject to change.
    3. There is a traditional Zen koan which is often stated something like this: “What was your Original Face before your parents were born?” There is no such thing as a “correct” answer for a koan. This koan is sometimes interpreted as an invitation to contemplate one's ancestry.
      • Guided meditation
        • What was your original face before you were born?
        • A Zen koan sometimes used to guide contemplation of one's ancestry
    4. Guided meditation: The carbon cycle
      • Guided meditation
        • consciousness thinking about its own atomic constituent
      • Carbon cycle meditation

        • to help achieve awareness of our physical connection to the world
      • Comment

        • This is a limited practice as it still depends on conceptual models.
        • An atom is not an object we can directly experience phenomenologically.
        • Rather, it is a conceptual model and through social norm of using it as if it were phenomenologically a directly experienced object, we confuse ideas of phenomena with the phenomena itself
        • One way to determine if it is a fundamental human quality or if it is simply one narrative, is to determine if there are people such an exercise would NOT resonate with?
          • For instance, it would likely not resonate strongly with
            • climate deniers,
            • uneducated people
            • religious fundamentalists
        • to develop a method to reach ALL people, we need to look at even more fundamental commonalities - namely, how we use language to mediate reality
        • Perhaps a BEing journey can consist of two lievels
          • 1st level: conceptual
            • do the BEing journey as described using conventional concepts
          • 2nd level: meta-level
            • observe how you construct the narrative using language
        • it could be good to animate this with AI drawing program
    5. guided meditation to help achieve this awareness of our physical connection to the world around us.
      • comment
        • these guided meditations are interesting because they are one level of our superorganism (consciousness)
          • thinking about a lower level of the same human superorganism
            • carbon molecule that was part of us
            • genetic material that was part of our ancestors going back billions of years
  8. Jul 2022
    1. when we die we go through eight stages according to the buddhist understanding and each of those stages the first four the elements the sort of solidity if you will i we know they're 01:16:07 not solid but from a conventional perspective the solidity elements the liquidity elements the thermodynamic elements the movement the kinetic elements those all dissolve as we die in 01:16:19 the first four and when that fourth one happens there's no more circulation of blood or of air so we don't breathe we have no circulatory you know blood pressure so we're declared clinically dead but 01:16:30 there's four more stages we go through and those are when the mind becomes successively subtler and those are when we get into the non-dual minds that are the most subtle minds and the last 01:16:43 eighth stage it's called worser in tibetan and we translate that as luminosity or clear light it's not light it's not you know but it's the most utter clear clear mind 01:16:57 and that mind if it goes on if we don't die if we meditate on that luminosity and sustain it through our meditation infinitely we can become a buddha and that's why the buddha is 01:17:09 sometimes called a buddhism an enlightened buddha is a deathless state because you don't actually die so those would be the non-conceptual and non-dual minds and just for completeness 01:17:23 those last four minds are called these are technical terms so it won't make much it won't have much give you much understanding white appearance red increase black near attainment and then this worst air this 01:17:35 luminosity so that's kind of the the the road map if you will for for mine and it's not the brain now on the gross level of thinking in our sensory minds there's a very close 01:17:48 connection with you know meant with the brain okay but when you die the brain is supposed to be dead and you're still alive okay and so these more subtle minds 01:18:01 are not related actually to the brain so we could really say that mind is experience it's awareness it's knowing not knowing something but 01:18:12 the act of knowing so the qualities of mind the most important qualities are awareness and clarity so that gives you just some rough idea of the buddhist understanding of mind or consciousness

      Barry gives an explanation of the different levels of mind as the body undergoes death, and particularly, the last 4 of 8 progressively subtler states of mind that are nondual, and therefore, not considered as part of the brain.

  9. Jun 2022
    1. Traditionally, Lectio Divina has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. First a passage of scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.
  10. May 2022
    1. new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to seewhether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, andpeople will say, “How did he do it? He must be a genius!”

      You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a

      Gian-Carlo Rota, Indiscrete Thoughts (Boston: Birkhäuser Boston, 1997), 202.

      Richard Feynman indicated in an interview that he kept a dozen of his favorite problems at the top of his mind. As he encountered new results and tricks, he tried applying them to those problems in hopes of either solving them or in coming up with new ideas. Over time by random but combinatorial chance, solutions or ideas would present themselves as ideas were juxtaposed.

      One would suspect that Feynman hadn't actually read Raymond Llull, but this technique sounds very similar to the Llullan combinatorial arts from centuries earlier, albeit in a much more simplified form.

      Can we find evidence of Feynman having read or interacted with Llull? Was it independently created or was he influenced?

      I had an example of this on 2022-05-28 in Dan Allosso's book club on Equality in the closing minutes where a bit of inspiration hit me to combine the ideas of memes, evolution, and Indigenous knowledge and storytelling to our current political situation. Several of them are problems and ideas I've been working with over years or months, and they came together all at once to present a surprising and useful new combination. #examples

      Link this also to the idea of diffuse thinking as a means of solving problems. One can combine the idea of diffuse thinking with combinatorial creativity to super-charge one's problem solving and idea generation capacity this way. What would one call this combination? It definitely needs a name. Llullan combinatorial diffusion, perhaps? To some extent Llull was doing this already as part of his practice, it's just that he didn't know or write explicitly about the diffuse thinking portion (to my knowledge), though this doesn't mean that he wasn't the beneficiary of it in actual practice, particularly when it's known that many of his time practiced lectio divina and meditated on their ideas. Alternately meditating on ideas and then "walking away" from them will by force cause diffuse thinking to be triggered.

      Are there people for whom diffuse thinking doesn't work from a physiological perspective? What type of neurodiversity does this cause?

  11. Mar 2022
  12. Feb 2022
  13. Nov 2021
    1. The dopamine reward system has also been shown to bestimulated by most drugs of abuse and plays an important rolein addiction [33]. An important question is whether jhanameditators are subject to addiction and tolerance effects thatcan result from stimulation of the dopamine reward system.

      The question of potential addiction to self-induced states that activate the dopamine (and/or other neurochemical) reward system(s) is important. From a more philosophical angle, should we welcome beneficial addictions that, if cultivated, might significantly improve individual and group quality of life? Isn't this related to our high regard for replacing detrimental with positive habits? Habit formation and maintenance also depends on activation of neural reward systems (see Nir Eyal's book, Hooked).

    2. imaging the brain of an individual who claims to generatejoy without any external rewards or cues could point the waytoward improved training in joy and greater resilience in theface of external difficulties. Of particular interest is the neuralmechanisms by which happiness is generated.

      Such a self-administered neural 'technology' of happiness should be driving much more related research but I see no other neuroscientific studies delving into jhanas.

    3. We report the first neural recording during ecstatic meditations called jhanas and test whether a brain reward system plays a rolein the joy reported. Jhanas are Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) that imply major brain changes based on subjective reports:(1) external awareness dims, (2) internal verbalizations fade, (3) the sense of personal boundaries is altered, (4) attention is highlyfocused on the object of meditation, and (5) joy increases to high levels. The fMRI and EEG results from an experienced meditatorshow changes in brain activity in 11 regions shown to be associated with the subjective reports, and these changes occur promptlyafter jhana is entered. In particular, the extreme joy is associated not only with activation of cortical processes but also with activationof the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in the dopamine/opioid reward system. We test three mechanisms by which the subject mightstimulate his own reward system by external means and reject all three. Taken together, these results demonstrate an apparentlynovel method of self-stimulating a brain reward system using only internal mental processes in a highly trained subject.

      I can find no other research on this particular matter. It would be helpful to have other studies to validate or invalidate this one. This method of reward requires a highly-trained participant and involves no external means.

  14. Oct 2021
    1. If you have any questions about anything you see on this site (courses, blog posts, etc) please shoot me an email at nick@30daysofmindfulness.com. I read every message that comes in, but it may take me a little while to respond (I’m only one person and I get a lot of mail, so your patience is much appreciated!) If you like to do things the old-fashioned way, you can also send regular mail to: Nick Grabovac

      Recommended as a teach who knows about jhanas and noting style meditations.

  15. Aug 2021
  16. Jul 2021
    1. Most of this is material I've seen or heard in other forms in the past. It's relatively well reviewed and summarized here though, but it's incredibly dense to try to pull out, unpack and actually use if one were coming to it as a something new.

      3 Productivity hacks

      • Zen Meditation (Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryū Suzuki
      • Research Process -- Annotations and notes, notecards
      • Rigorous exercise routine -- plateau effect

      The Zen meditation hack sounds much in the line of advice to often get away from what you're studing/researching and to let the ideas stew for a bit before coming back to them. It's the same principle as going for walks frequently heard from folks or being a flâneur. (cross reference Nassim Nicholas Taleb et al.) The other version of this that's similar are the diffuse modes of learning (compared with focused modes) described in learning theory. (Examples in work of Barbara Oakley and Terry Sejnowski in https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn)

      I've generally come to the idea that genius doesn't exist myself. Most of it distills down to use of tools like commonplace books.

      Perhaps worth looking into some of the following to see what, if anything, is different than prior version of the commonplace book tradition:

      The Ryan Holiday Notecard System @Intermittent Diversion - https://youtu.be/QoFZQOJ8aA0

      Article On Notecard System [1] https://medium.com/thrive-global/the-notecard-system-the-key-for-remembering-organizing-and-using-everything-you-read-4f48a82371b1 [2] https://www.writingroutines.com/notecard-system-ryan-holiday/ [3] https://www.gallaudet.edu/tutorial-and-instructional-programs/english-center/the-process-and-type-of-writing/pre-writing-writing-and-revising/the-note-card-system/

  17. Jun 2021
    1. Writing in them is the closest I come to regular meditation; marginalia is — no exaggeration — possibly the most pleasurable thing I do on a daily basis.

      Annotation can be creative and fun. Doing it not only increases one's engagement with a text, but it helps to create flow in one's work.

  18. Apr 2021
  19. Jan 2021
    1. Brains – especially younger ones, since they’re changing so much – really do need to anneal regularly to pay down their ‘technical debt’, and if they don’t, they grow brittle and neurotic. (Technical debt in the brain builds up as we twist our existing brain networks to accommodate new facts; this debt is ‘paid down’ when we enter high-energy states and let new brain networks which fit these constraints self-organize)

      psychedelics help brains pay down 'technical debt' during stress states: optimized growth during [[punctuated equilibrium]]

      meditation and somatic processes serves as an emphasis on the [[lateral prefrontal cortical circuit]], anti-correlated with ruminative aspects of depression

  20. Dec 2020
    1. Practice drinking your coffee mindfully, washing your hands mindfully, walking mindfully, folding clothes mindfully, washing dishes mindfully. [And] this simply means while you are doing those things, bring your full attention to it. You are simply training your brain to focus on what’s happening right in front of you, right here [and] now

      The key to meditation is to train your brain to focus on the now.

      This means you can do more than just focus on your breath. Focus on the tea you're drinking, the words you're reading, the feeling of your clothing, and so on.

    2. Mindfulness has been shown to be a valid approach to treating mental health disorders,” she says. “It has strong scientific support for its effectiveness in the prevention of depression relapse and in reducing rumination. It has been studied quite extensively in chronic pain management, addiction relapse prevention, appetite awareness for binge eating disorder — the list goes on and on.”

      Did not know that mindfulness is a valid approach to treating mental health disorders.

      Great scientific support for:

      • Preventing depression relapse
      • Reducing rumination
      • Helps with chronic pain management
      • Addiction relapse prevention
      • Appetite awareness for binge eating disorder
    3. The act of putting your observations into specific word choices and then reflecting on them, whether through conversation or rereading your journal entry, is an important part of the process,” she adds. “This is why, while I like apps like Calm and Headspace, I really recommend that people find some way to verbalize their experiences after using the app.”

      Verbalizing your feelings and thoughts after meditation is very important in helping ourselves observe our thoughts and feeling.

      This verbalizing can be done out loud or through journaling

    4. Mindfulness involves metacognition, which is thinking about the thinking, and recognizing each thought or moment in its broader context.”

      Mindfulness is metacognition.

      Thinking about thinking.

    5. “If the meditator can recognize the maladaptive thoughts as maladaptive,” Carmichael tells me via email, “then meditation can help to increase this awareness. If the meditator doesn’t recognize the thoughts as maladaptive, then meditating upon the thoughts may simply increase their intensity.”

      The important point here is that those who meditate and do not recognize their thoughts as maladaptive will just end up increasing their awareness of this.

    6. it’s not about magically melting away anxiety. It’s about training your brain over time to work with you rather than against you, paying attention to what you actually want to be thinking about rather than whatever’s bringing you stress and rumination

      Meditation is about:

      • Training yourself to work with yourself rather than against yourself
      • Be in more control over what you think. Be able to think about what you want to think rather than anything that pops into your mind.
    7. “It was never intended to help you ‘clear your mind’ or even help you feel relaxed. The point of mindfulness practice is to ‘exercise’ your executive functioning centers and strengthen your ability to focus.

      The goal of meditation is to exercise executive functioning centers and strengthen your ability to focus!

  21. Nov 2020
    1. non-profit organization that provides information and resources about meditation-related difficulties to meditators-in-distress and providers or teachers of meditation-based modalities
  22. Aug 2020
    1. However, there is one important point: with the visualisation the feeling must be there too. When someone is seeing him/herself in for example delivering a speech for the first time on stage, they really must let the feeling build up in their hearts, minds and body too. Then the vibrations will do their "magic

      Comment in the article suggested that you should focus on visualizing the action AND emotion

    2. “In 2004, Cleveland Clinic physiologist Guang Yue wanted to know if merely thinking about lifting weights was enough to increase strength. Study subjects were divided into four groups. One group tried to strengthen their finger muscles with physical exercise; one tried to strengthen their finger muscles by only visualizing the exercise; another tried to increase arm strength through visualization; while the last group did nothing at all. The trial lasted twelve weeks.When it was over, those who did nothing saw no gains. The group that relied on physical training saw the greatest increase in strength-at 53 percent. But it’s the mental groups where things got curious. Folks who did no physical training but merely imagined their fingers going through precise exercise motions saw a 35 percent increase in strength, while the ones who visualized arm exercises saw a 13.5 percent increase in strength.”Let’s review — these participants did NOTHING BUT VISUALIZING and saw an increase of up to 35% in strength!But things are all the more convincing when you consider that a few years before Yue’s studies, neuroscientists found no difference between performing an action and merely imagining oneself performing that action-the same neuronal circuits fire in either case.

      Experiments have shown that simply visualizing an can have great impacts.

    3. consistently finding strong correlations between mental rehearsal-i.e., visualization-and better performance

      Visualization meditation has scientific backing

  23. Jul 2020
    1. Dessa ingångar eller portar, som han kallar dem, kan alla användas för att ta oss tillbaka till nuet, där inga problem finns. Det är bara i nuet som vi hittar glädjen och kan omfamna vårt sanna jag.

      Här verkar han utgå från att det faktiskt finns minst fyra "portar" vilket stämmer överens med Carl Jungs teori att den MINST utvecklade funktionen hos en individ är "porten till det undermedvetna" varigenom all mänsklig transformation sker.

      Man går helt enkelt in genom sitt MINST utvecklade personlighetsdrag och kan då nå sitt meditativa jag som ligger under och bakom alla personlighetsdrag. De olika personlighetsdragen är tänkande (eld), kännande (vatten), kroppsliga intryck (jord) respektive intuition (luft).

      Det är i sin tur samma sak som indiankulturernas medicinhjuls fyra väderstreck med människan i mitten.

    1. What contemporary and ancient meditators have always known, however, is that while the hype may be warranted, the practice is not all peace, love, and blissful glimpses of unreality. Sitting zazen, gazing at their third eye, a person can encounter extremely unpleasant emotions and physical or mental disturbances.

      In the yogic tradition, people didn’t generally dive into meditation. They first prepared their body and minds through other means. There’s a reason why Patanjali set dhyan, which is generally translated as meditation, as the seventh limb of yoga in the Yoga Sutras.

  24. Jun 2020
    1. and the 5–10 minutes I spend weekly washing them are quite meditative

      meditasi dengan hal-hal yang kecil, seperti jalan kaki ke kantor juga bisa dibilang meditasi

    1. the only meditation I have EVER found effective in my life. 1:19:57 Intro and explanation + 1:27:51 Meditation start

      Meditation with triphasic breathing (you won't fight with your thoughts)

      It focuses on 6 steps (feel a stop between each phase):

      Beginning:

      • The place doesn't matter. You can do it anywhere, such as in front of your computer
      • Sit up straight and close your eyes

      Repeat:

      1. Breathe in with your belly (try to put your belly button far from your spine)
      2. Breathe in with your chest
      3. Raise your shoulders up and breathe in the last time
      4. Relax your shoulders (bring them down)
      5. Contract the chest (let it relax)
      6. Move your navel towards your spine

      Ending:

      • For around 1 minute, relax and let your breath do whatever it wants to (observe what your breath is doing)
      • Now, let your eyes stay closed and let yourself (your mind) come back
        • put your palms in front of you
        • rub them together to feel the heat
        • put the hands over your eyes
        • as you breathe in and out, let your eyes open with your palms over them
        • when the breath is complete, let your hands come down
      • After the meditation you shall normally feel joy

      Video material

  25. Apr 2020
  26. Jun 2019
  27. Feb 2019
    1. 7. Team Cooperation

      The below reminds me of working in Google Docs, which can indeed be a delightful site for collaboration.

      Still--and perhaps I've just been monastic in my stance while reading Engelbart--I wonder about the power of isolated individual deliberation ahead of or in some other less immediate relation to the cooperation described here.

  28. Aug 2018
    1. The researchers anticipated that four aspects of mindfulness would predict higher self-esteem: Labeling internal experiences with words, which might prevent people from getting consumed by self-critical thoughts and emotions; Bringing a non-judgmental attitude toward thoughts and emotions, which could help individuals have a neutral, accepting attitude toward the self; Sustaining attention on the present moment, which could help people avoid becoming caught up in self-critical thoughts that relate to events from the past or future; Letting thoughts and emotions enter and leave awareness without reacting to them.
    1. 3 steps to self-compassionFirst: Make the choice that you’ll at least try a new approach to thinking about yourself. Commit to treating yourself more kindly — call it letting go of self-judgment, going easier on yourself, practicing self-compassion or whatever resonates most. To strengthen the muscle, Dr. Brewer suggests “any type of practice that helps us stay in the moment and notice what it feels like to get caught up. See how painful that is compared to being kind to ourselves.”
  29. Jun 2018
    1. But it’s the second part of that definition that has proven the most helpful for me: ‘recognising that one’s own experience is part of the common human experience’. It’s the idea of taking a zoomed-out look at yourself, and realising that you are more similar to others than you are different, even (maybe especially) considering how ridiculous you often are. As Neff herself said in an interview with The Atlantic in 2016: ‘[W]hen we fail, it’s not “poor me,” it’s “well, everyone fails.” Everyone struggles. This is what it means to be human.’In fact, it’s this part of the definition of self-compassion that makes me question whether it should be called self-compassion at all. Neff’s concept isn’t really about adoring yourself, or not entirely, anyway; this piece of it isn’t actually about you. Rather, it’s about the importance of recalling that you are but one small part of an interconnected whole.
  30. Nov 2017
    1. This is more a ‘dark side’ of the secular mindfulness movement than of mindfulness per se (though there have been precursors of the issue in Zen).Most (all?) schools of Buddhism teach mindfulness in a broader ethical context which includes conscious cultivation of compassion & empathy as you write.But Buddhism also often claims that mindful insight reveals compassion to be intrinsic to the mind. Ethics then falls out of phenomenology, and its cultivation is therefore more like sharpening the senses than it is cultural indoctrination. This seems like its most interesting and important claim.
    2. It was shocking to hear, especially from a guy who has spent four decades doing mindfulness meditation in the foothills of the Himalayas. For Ricard, the Buddhist approach to mindfulness – unlike its secular counterpart – doesn’t have this problem of being ‘mindfulness without morals’, as it emphasises concepts such as compassion, caring, empathy and altruism.
    3. There are a lot of people speaking about mindfulness, but the risk is that it’s taken too literally – to just ‘be mindful’. Well, you could have a very mindful sniper and a mindful psychopath. It’s true! A sniper needs to be so focused, never distracted, very calm, always bringing back his attention to the present moment. And non-judgemental – just kill people and no judgement. That could happen!Ricard was only half-joking, because he knows that secular mindfulness courses have become popular in military training and amongst Wall Street bankers, who hope it will keep them calm and give them the edge when the financial stakes are high. He then told me about a study at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig showing that taking a mindfulness course can help you deal with stress but has no discernible impact on pro-social behaviour.
  31. Oct 2017
  32. Nov 2016
    1. Meditation, hence, is the ultimate tonic for the health and mind of students. It is ironical that despite the known benefits of meditation, students tend to ignore it. They are ever reluctant about meditation, assuming it to be a strenuous act. But the truth is meditation is a very simple exercise to mind and body.

  33. Mar 2016
    1. Dr. Alan Watkins has a developed a wonderful method for meditation to solve a problem that matches so well the information and insights here. We new that meditation was one important way out of packing. Now we know what type of meditation is essential.

  34. Nov 2015
    1. Routine meditators also retain more brain cells, while the rest of us lose 4% of ours as we age.
    2. Mindfulness at work means noticing and examining the habits of behavior, thinking, and feeling that we’ve created. Sometimes, what appears to be a problem is only a problem because of the expectations or feelings we attach to it, not the reality itself. Healey encourages us to create some distance between ourselves and our emotions and simply observe. We can also keep an eye out for little assumptions or habits that are making us unhappy, like jumping for the phone when it rings. Finally, we can cultivate mindfulness by meditating as well as injecting it into everyday experience.
    3. studies show changes in gene expression after 8 hours of meditating in the lab
    4. They have helped people reduce chronic pain, improve psoriasis, and increase their immune response to the flu shot. One study of mindfulness/compassion meditation out of Emory University showed reductions in stress markers, and even a simple long exhale (ahhhh) increases vagal tone. And – last but not least – a three-month meditation training program boosted telomerase activity, indicating longer telemores and perhaps a longer life expectancy.
    5. Kabat-Zinn says that meditation is not the goal; the point of cultivating mindfulness is to learn to live our lives like they really matter now, rather than constantly living in regret or anticipation.
    6. When our mind wanders during meditation, a group of brain areas called the “default mode network” activates. Scientists aren’t exactly sure what this network does – it may be directly involved in mind wandering or simply be carrying out brain maintenance when we aren’t thinking about anything in particular. As soon as we realize our mind is wandering during meditation, other brain regions for detecting relevant events light up. As we refocus our attention on the breath, the executive brain network takes over. Experienced meditators who repeat this process thousands of times start to show differences in the brain. They develop more connection between the self-focused part of the default mode network and brain regions for disengaging attention, which makes it easier to shut off that area of the brain when they realize their minds are wandering. Over time, meditation improves working memory, fluid intelligence, and standardized test scores.
    1. Any Hollywood writer will tell you that attention is a scarce resource. Movies, TV shows, and books always include “hooks” that make you turn the page, stay on the channel through the commercial, or keep you in a theater seat. Scientists liken attention to a spotlight. We are only able to shine it on a narrow area. If that area seems less interesting than some other area, our attention wanders.
    1. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”
  35. Oct 2015
    1. The problem, of course, is that most people don’t have very good control over their attention. Part of this is due to human nature, shaped by evolution: Our forbearers who just focused on the reflection of sunlight in the water—they got chomped by predators. But those who were constantly vigilant—they lived. And today we are constantly bombarded with stimuli that the brain has not evolved to handle. So gaining more control over attention one way or another is really crucial, whether it’s through the practice of mindfulness, for instance, or through gratitude practices, where we count our blessings.
    2. Another region is the frontal regions of the prefrontal cortex—areas involved in controlling attention. Again, this should be no surprise: They’re focusing their attention in their meditation, so they’re getting more control over it, and they’re strengthening its neural basis.
    3. research has also shown that it’s possible to slow the loss of our brain cells. Normally, we lose about 10,000 brain cells a day. That may sound horrible, but we were born with 1.1 trillion. We also have several thousand born each day, mainly in the hippocampus, in what’s called neurogenesis. So losing 10,000 a day isn’t that big a deal, but the net bottom line is that a typical 80 year old will have lost about 4 percent of his or her brain mass—it’s called “cortical thinning with aging.” It’s a normal process. But in one study, researchers compared meditators and non-meditators. In the graph to the left, the meditators are the blue circles and the non-meditators are the red squares, comparing people of the same age. The non-meditators experienced normal cortical thinning in those two brain regions I mentioned above, along with a third, the somatosensory cortex. However, the people who routinely meditated and “worked” their brain did not experience cortical thinning in those regions.
    4. People who maintain some kind of regular meditative practice actually have measurably thicker brains in certain key regions. One of those regions is the insula, which is involved in what’s called “interoception”—tuning into the state of your body, as well as your deep feelings. This should be no surprise: A lot of what they’re doing is practicing mindfulness of breathing, staying really present with what’s going on inside themselves; no wonder they’re using, and therefore building, the insula.
    1. The positive response to the program was almost immediate. “In one classroom, the children went from having the most behavioral problems in the school—as measured by number of visits to the principal’s office—to having zero behavioral problems, after only two to three weeks of instruction,” says Schonert-Reichl.

      Mindfulness training in schools seems to have some major benefits.

    1. If you find yourself overwhelmed by anger against yourself or others, sitting meditation sounds like the one for you. If you frequently feel tired or sick, yoga is worth a try. While the body scan did not seem to yield as many benefits as the other two practices, that’s an area that needs further investigation. For example, it’s possible that body scan paired with sitting meditation or yoga could be helpful.

      Researchers found some benefits across all three groups. In all three groups participants reported reduced rumination, as well as greater self-compassion and well-being. These results echo decades of research showing that mindfulness practices improve physical and mental health.

    2. The study, published last month in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, suggests that meditating for just 30 minutes a day for eight weeks can increase the density of gray matter in brain regions associated with memory, stress, and empathy.

      One of those regions was the hippocampus, which prior research has found to be involved in learning, memory, and the regulation of our emotions. The gray matter of the hippocampus is often reduced in people who suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

      The researchers also found denser gray matter in the temporoparietal junction and the posterior cingulated cortex of the meditators’ brains—regions involved in empathy and taking the perspective of someone else—and in the cerebellum, which has been linked to emotion regulation.

    3. Participants for the gene study came into the lab and meditated for eight hours. Blood samples were taken before and after those hours of practice and then Davidson and crew looked for gene-expression changes over the course of that time in the lab. Results from this meditator group were compared to a control group that was not familiar with meditation and that came into the laboratory for “a day of leisure.” That group watched quiet videos, read, and took gentle walks. The findings? The control-group participants didn’t show the same kind of gene-expression changes, Davidson says. It’s the first study that shows “we can actually see gene-expression changes within a very short period of time.”
    4. “One of the important foci in our research is looking at inflammation, which has been implicated in many chronic illnesses,” Davidson says. “And there’s now increasing evidence to suggest that at a very basic biological level, certain kinds of meditation practices seem to modulate inflammatory systems. They down-regulate particular molecules—we call these proinflammatory cytokines—which are directly implicated in inflammation.”
    5. Davidson says. “It has yet to be studied in the specific area of meditation practice, but we can ask the question, for example, is it better to sit for 30 minutes a day, or is it better to have 10 three-minute periods of practice that are sprinkled throughout the day? We don’t know the answer to that.”
    6. Davidson shocked his professors by taking off for India to explore meditation practice and Buddhist teachings. After three months there and in Sri Lanka, he came back convinced he would do meditation research. He was quickly disabused of this notion by his professors, who let him know that if he had any hope of a career in science, he’d better stow the meditation and follow a more conventional path of research. He became a closet meditator and an affective neuroscientist—a deep student of the emotions.

      This seems to be the theme for scientific pioneers in recent decades.

    7. also did a briefmeditation intervention and in their subjects they were able to show that themeditation program resulted ina greater activation in reward circuitryso more contentment and pleasure and in this caseanticipatory pleasure because they were showing this activationin response to opportunities, to help opportunitiesto be of assistance.
    8. And what they found was that the individuals who participated in the meditation programhad longer telomeres than the individuals who were in the control group after a three-monthexperience. This was first finding in that vein. Elissa Epel and her colleague did anotherresearch project where they looked at a mindfulness-based program for people with eating disorders andshowed that people who did the mindfulness had a 39% increase in telomerase activitywhich corresponds to lengthened telomeres and that this telomerase activity actuallypredicted benefits in other aspects of their treatment program having to do with the people’seating habits. So there’s this interesting effect that is being reiterated that mindfulnessactually seems to make people age more gracefully.
    1. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the mainstream in recent years largely through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. The MBSR program usually has students meet for two to three hours per week for eight weeks, practicing at home between classes. They learn practices such as the "body scan," in which they focus their attention along each part of the body, trying to be aware and accepting of whatever they sense in these body parts, and the "raisin meditation," where they slowly use all of their senses, one after another, to observe a raisin in great detail, from the way it feels in their hand to the way its taste bursts on the tongue.
    2. Meditation: Though mindfulness and meditation are closely related, they are not synonymous. As Jon Kabat-Zinn describes in his video, one can practice mindfulness while not doing a formal meditation practice, and there are many different kinds of meditation that go beyond mindfulness meditation. The term "meditation" refers to a wide range of practices that simply involve training the mind to achieve a particular state of consciousness, especially for relaxation. That said, mindfulness meditation, based on a technique adapted from Buddhist Vipassana meditation, is a basic and commonly practiced form of meditation.
  36. Oct 2013
    1. NEXT to writing is meditation, which indeed derives strength from it and is something between the labor of writing and the trial of our fortune in extemporary speaking

      Writing is not spontaneous but requires thought