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Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’

Happiest man on earth is a Buddhist monk

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 6, 2014

  • Brain scans reveal Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard has largest capacity for happiness ever recorded
  • Meditation ‘completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are’, says 66-year-old
  • He says you can do it too by learning how to let your thoughts drift

By CLAIRE BATES

Ricard: 'Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree but it completely changes your brain'

Ricard: ‘Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree but it completely changes your brain’

A French genetic scientist may seem like an unusual person to hold the title – but Matthieu Ricard is the world’s happiest man, according to researchers.

The 66-year-old turned his back on Parisian intellectual life 40 years ago and moved to India to study Buddhism. He is now a close confidante of the Dalai Lama and respected western scholar of religion.

Now it seems daily meditation has had other benefits – enhancing Mr Ricard’s capacity for joy.

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson wired up the monk’s skull with 256 sensors at the University of Wisconsin as part of research on hundreds of advanced practitioners of meditation.

The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard’s brain produces a level of gamma waves – those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory – ‘never reported before in the neuroscience literature’, Davidson said.

The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain’s left prefrontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, researchers believe.

Research into the phenomenon, known as “neuroplasticity”, is in its infancy and Ricard has been at the forefront of ground-breaking experiments along with other leading scientists across the world.

‘We have been looking for 12 years at the effect of short and long-term mind-training through meditation on attention, on compassion, on emotional balance,’ he said.

‘We’ve found remarkable results with long-term practitioners who did 50,000 rounds of meditation, but also with three weeks of 20 minutes a day, which of course is more applicable to our modern times.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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7 Myths of Meditation

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 11, 2013

D ChopraBy Deepak Chopra, Co-author, ‘Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

In the past 40 years, meditation has entered the mainstream of modern Western culture, and been prescribed by physicians and practiced by everyone from business executives, artists, and scientists to students, teachers, military personnel, and — on a promising note — politicians. Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan meditates every morning and has become a major advocate of mindfulness and meditation, as he describes in his bookA Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.

Despite the growing popularity of meditation, prevailing misconceptions about the practice are a barrier that prevents many people from trying meditation and receiving its profound benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Here are seven of the most common meditation myths, dispelled.

Myth #1: Meditation is difficult.

Truth:  This myth is rooted in the image of meditation as an esoteric practice reserved only for saints, holy men, and spiritual adepts. In reality, when you receive instruction from an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, meditation is easy and fun to learn. The techniques can be as simple as focusing on the breath or silently repeating a mantra. One reason why meditation may seem difficult is that we try too hard to concentrate, we’re overly attached to results, or we’re not sure we are doing it right. In our experience at the Chopra Center, learning meditation from a qualified teacher is the best way to ensure that the process is enjoyable and you get the most from your practice. A teacher will help you understand what you’re experiencing, move past common roadblocks, and create a nourishing daily practice. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Meditation May Change the Brain

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 28, 2013

By SINDYA N. BHANOO
Getty Images

Over the December holidays, my husband went on a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Not my idea of fun, but he came back rejuvenated and energetic.

He said the experience was so transformational that he has committed to meditating for two hours daily, one hour in the morning and one in the evening, until the end of March. He’s running an experiment to determine whether and how meditation actually improves the quality of his life.

I’ll admit I’m a skeptic.

But now, scientists say that meditators like my husband may be benefiting from changes in their brains. The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. The findings will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. Read the rest of this entry »

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Developing Spiritual Muscle

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 12, 2012


Comment: Developing spiritual muscle is today’s most needed issue not in theory but in practice.

By Oprah Winfrey

A week ago, many of you started our 21-Day Meditation Challenge with my friend, spiritual wisdom teacher Deepak Chopra. With 14 days to go, I want to encourage you to stay with it. My first attempts years ago were start-and-stop, and I kept thinking, “I must be doing this wrong, ’cause my thoughts are speeding up rather than slowing down.” “Let’s meditate” felt like an invitation for my mind to go whirly-dirly. The chatter and thoughts were incessant; the more I tried to concentrate on a mantra or my breath, the louder and crazier the thoughts. Like CRAY-CRAY crazy (flying elephants and birds with toes, to name a few). That happened every time for about the first week. When I stopped fighting the thoughts — let them be, come and go, didn’t resist, and didn’t TRY to do anything or have any expectation — it gradually got easier.

I’ve since learned that the more stressed we are, the more forceful the chatter. It’s like energy being released through the noise of your mind. Stay with it. With practice, like developing a muscle, your ability to BE STILL and BE ONE with the STILLNESS will come.

My life is better when I get still regularly. Call it meditation or call it quiet time — doesn’t matter. The benefits are the same. If you stay with the practice, it’s like developing spiritual muscle. I promise you will become less stressed, more focused. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddha Nature and the Divided Brain

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 10, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a world that honors the servant, but has forgotten the gift.
–Albert Einstein

Except in the light of brain hemisphere lateralization, nothing in human psychology makes any sense.
–neuroscientist Tim Crow

An Old Tale

There’s a traditional Buddhist story about a statue of incomparable value, which is lost and then forgotten. For generation after generation, various kinds of human rubbish and debris accumulate to bury it. Nobody ever suspects that anything important lies under the ground. Eventually a clairvoyant person happens by who comments: “If you dig here, and clean up what you find, you will discover something invaluable.” But who would follow such advice?

Our Divided Brain

In his remarkable book, “The Master and his Emissary,” neurological psychologist Iain McGilchristprovides a wealth of scientific evidence to support his contention that two opposed realities are rooted in the bi-hemispheric structure of the human brain.

Although each hemisphere is specialized, neither functions as an “independent brain.” They integrate their activities to produce physical movements, mental processes and behaviors greater than, and different from, their individual contributions. With functional NMR scanners, real-time brain imaging is now routinely used to determine the functional effects of all kinds of strokes and brain injuries, and in that way we can observe how the hemispheres act together as “opponent processors.”

Basically, the right hemisphere is mute, perceives in a holistic Gestalt manner and synthesizes over space. The left hemisphere, the seat of language, analyzes over time. The right hemisphere codes sensory input in terms of images, the left in terms of words and concepts. Specialization of function offers all kinds of advantages, but integrating those functions is a special point of vulnerability. When it comes to the large and complex human mind-brain, harmony can easily be lost. Read the rest of this entry »

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We Are All Meditators (Or at Least We Should Be)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 29, 2012

By Deepak Chopra

Today is a special day. Almost 30 years ago to the day, I formally learned to meditate in Cambridge, Mass. I had tried meditation before growing up in India, been preached its many benefits by my dutiful mother, even studied some of the early scientific research around it in medical school, but it wasn’t until years later when I was stressed-out physician, often abusing alcohol and cigarettes, that on a recommendation from a friend I turned to meditation as a tool for reducing my stress load.

My life has never been the same. And so today in many ways is a celebration of my discovery of meditation. And here are the three things I am doing in observance of that celebration:

1. The Chopra Center, which I founded over 15 years ago, is launching the 21-Day Meditation Challenge, which invites you to participate along with me in a free daily meditation program. The challenge will make meditation a part of your daily routine, and may be the fastest way to reap the many physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual benefits of its practice. For both beginners and longtime practitioners of meditation, the challenge promises to deepen your experience, expose you to different types of meditation, and open you to a community of others who share your interest in meditation.

2. “The Meditator” — a playful, guided daily meditation launches on my new YouTube Channel, The Chopra Well. Every day, “The Meditator” will enable you to join along for a short guided meditation situated somewhere in the world. The show is meant to be a primer, offering those who have never meditated before a very easy way into the practice, and those that already are experienced meditators a fun way to share meditation with their friends. Read the rest of this entry »

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Deepak Chopra- Learn How to Meditate (Nauči meditirati)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 9, 2012

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Meditation (Zen Music)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 3, 2012

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The Supernatural (Edited Narrated and Directed by: Dhruba Adhikari)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 28, 2012

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How Does Our Consciousness Change the Structure of the Brain and Then Our Life?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 20, 2012

By Peter Baksa Investigative Journalist/Entreprenuer/Author of ‘The Point of Power’

Meditation and Neuroplasticity

After spending time interviewing Tibetan monks while in Beijing, China, at the Lama Temple, correlations between their rituals and how they aligned with modern neuroplastic science began to surface.  I was able to spend time with the Dali Lama himself and found that he was curious about the question “Does consciousness in and of itself,  force changes in the structure of the brain? ”  Does the mind create physiological change in the brain and then thereby alter life situations in the natural?  I decided to find out. 

In addition to the brain giving rise to thoughts, hopes, beliefs and emotions that add up to this thing we call the mind, could it be that the mind also acts back on the brain to cause physical changes in the very manner they were initiated?  If so, then pure thought (our consciousness) would change the brain’s activity, its circuits or even its structure.  Joe Dispensza suggests in his book “Evolve Your Brain” that if we choose to rely soley on our inherited circuits (DNA) we are stuck with those traits and patterns, good, bad or indifferent.

There are two ways to make new synaptic connections in the brain: to learn new things and to have new experiences. I am suggesting a third, and that is through observation of our thoughts and refining our consciousness. Hence, not only are our brains plastic enough to keep adapting though learning and experiences, but we can choose how to sculpt our minds by altering our perceptions intentionally. This supposition has also led to the discovery that neuroplasticity cannot occur without attention. So, if a skill becomes so routine that you can do it nearly automatically — like walking, for instance — then practicing it will no longer change the brain.  And if you take up mental exercises to keep your brain young, they won’t be as effective if you find yourself able to do them without paying much attention.  Like any good exercise, you need to change it up every so often. This, according to researcher Michael Merzenich.

How we choose to sculpt our minds has actual physical measurable changes etched within the grey matter of our brains. Such practices as meditation and Chi Gong can keep the old mental circuits active and form new ones, leading to a cycle of continual self-improvement. Of course, practitioners of meditation have been saying this for centuries. I asked Erdijanzi (age 23) a third-generation Tibetan Monk, “How much time do you spend in mediation per day?” He said he did not know.  It turned out that almost any free moment, even in between interview questions, he would turn to his Mala Beads to quiet his mind.  This practice was his chosen method of brain sculpting.  It also occurred to me that once the mind was quieted and an intention was inserted that the effect of this intention at the quantum level would be magnified and crystal clear, allowing for more effective manifestation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Yogic Flying – Meditation and Yoga

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 7, 2012

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Meditation can alter brain structure and reduce stress

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 5, 2011

By Barbara Lantin

Kathy Sykes, a Bristol University professor, has long known that if she does not find at least 30 minutes a day in her frantically overcrowded schedule to lie down and listen to music, she is grumpier, more tired and less able to concentrate.

What Professor Sykes, who holds the chair in the Public Engagement of Science and Engineering at Bristol, did not realise until recently is that she was, in effect, practising a fairly crude form of meditation. She also didn’t know that there was growing evidence to show that this ancient practice can make people healthier and happier. It may even increase life span, alter brain structure and change personality.

Ancient traditional therapies do not always stand up to close scientific scrutiny. But when Professor Sykes put meditation under the metaphorical microscope for the second series of Alternative Therapies: The Evidence, which she is presenting on BBC Two on Monday, she was surprised to find that the saffron-robed monks of Kathmandu and the white-coated scientists of Harvard shared more common ground than might have been expected.

“Several people have told me that meditation can affect your emotions,” she says, “and one of the areas of the brain that scientists are finding may be affected by meditation is involved in processing emotions, among other things. These are early days and we need more trials, but this is potentially very exciting.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddha: How to Tame Your Monkey Mind

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 4, 2011

By B J Gallagher, Sociologist, best-selling author and popular speaker.

The Buddha was the smartest psychologist I’ve ever read. More than 2,500 years ago he was teaching people about the human mind so that they might understand themselves better and discover that there was a way out of suffering. Buddha wasn’t a god or a messiah — he was simply a very wise teacher with keen insights into human nature. He learned much by meditating and learning from his own experiences, as well as by observing the behavior of others.

Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.

Buddha showed his students how to meditate in order to tame the drunken monkeys in their minds. It’s useless to fight with the monkeys or to try to banish them from your mind because, as we all know, that which you resist persists. Instead, Buddha said, if you will spend some time each day in quiet meditation — simply calm your mind by focusing on your breathing or a simple mantra — you can, over time, tame the monkeys. They will grow more peaceful if you lovingly bring them into submission with a consistent practice of meditation.

I’ve found that the Buddha was right. Meditation is a wonderful way to quiet the voices of fear, anxiety, worry and other negative emotions.

I’ve also found that engaging the monkeys in gentle conversation can sometimes calm them down. I’ll give you an example: Fear seems to be an especially noisy monkey for people like me who own their own business. As the years go by, Fear Monkey shows up less often, but when he does, he’s always very intense. So I take a little time out to talk to him. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Bhagavad Gita: You Are Not Your Mind

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2011

By Gadadhara Pandit Dasa 
Hindu Chaplain, Columbia University and New York University

Have you ever wondered about why your mind works the way it does, and how it comes up with all of its scattered, random and half-organized thoughts? Where are all of these thoughts coming from, and what’s the reason they are there? Many of our thoughts originate from experiences we’ve had in the past, but the mind will also come up with dreamlike scenarios about events that have yet to take place in our lives.

We will find ourselves in a scenario for a future event, and we will be fully imagining the experience of what it would be like to live in that scenario. Some of these situations can be pleasant, while others are very nightmarish.

We’ve all had experiences where we can be eating, sleeping, walking down the street, studying, working, listening to music or even engaging in a conversation with someone else, and the mind will begin to drift away to somewhere else. We didn’t consciously decide to let the mind wander, but it did. It just left us standing there talking to someone while it decided to go away for a while. This happens all the time! Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism In America: What Is The Future?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 14, 2011

By Jaweed Kaleem

GARRISON, N.Y. — Backed by the nation’s largest Buddhist magazines and meditation centers, a recent invite-only gathering at an old monastery in this riverside hamlet north of New York City included a guest list of crimson-robed monks of Buddhism’s Tibetan line, tattooed “Dharma Punx,” professors and Japanese-influenced Zen Buddhists that read as a “who’s who” of Buddhism in America.

But the “Maha Council” (maha means “great” in Sanskrit) has created buzz and sparked soul-searching among members of the growing Buddhist religion in the United States for different reasons.

Who speaks for “western Buddhism,” many attendees and observers of last weekend’s event have asked, and how accurately and honestly are elder Buddhists passing on their knowledge to new generations?

What is the relation of U.S. Buddhists to those in India and other parts of Asia, where the spiritual practice was born from Hindu roots in the 5th century B.C.?

And in a society where traditional Buddhist concepts such as “mindfulness,” mental wellness and spiritual health are now a common part of corporate health programs, what role is left for Buddhism to play?

The questions highlight the growing pains of a religion that has gone from being a native practice of relatively small Asian immigrant populations who came to the U.S. in the 19th century to one that has been increasingly adapted by non-Asians since the 1950s to become one of the largest largest religions in the country. By low estimates that don’t count non-English speakers, Buddhism has more than 2 million adherents in the U.S. Hundreds of Buddhist meditation centers dot urban and rural American landscapes. Read the rest of this entry »

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