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Posts Tagged ‘Mindfulness’

TIME’s Beautiful, White, Blonde ‘Mindfulness Revolution’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 30, 2014

By Joanna Piacenza, Web Manager, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review


Few things in this world could pull me out of a six-month post-graduate-degree writing silence. Last week’s TIME cover managed to do so with vigor. Its presence and imagery choice stirred up issues about gender, beauty, race, religious marketing, and how the “face” of mindfulness and Buddhism in America hasn’t changed in over a decade.

My initial reaction to TIME’s “The Mindful Revolution” cover was pretty surface. I huffed and puffed about the fact that a prominent Western-based magazine was portraying Buddhism in such a Cover Girl way. Flawless make up, perfect bone structure, skin as supple as Snow White; this girl was getting a lot from the “Mindful Revolution.” What’s her secret?! Even the positioning of her head, tilting up as some sort of divine call-to-action, soaking up erethral rays, screamed Western Christianity. And yet, there, splashed above her bosom, was the Buddhist-themed headline.

I shared the photo — and some sort of sarcastic remark — with my social media network and called it a day. But then the wonderful Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religious New Service correspondent and all-around fantastic #religion tweeter, posted this side-by-side image… Read the rest of this entry »

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A Personal Mission: Define Your Wellness (Part 2)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012


By Deepak Chopra, Author, ‘War of the Worldviews’; Founder, The Chopra Foundation

 Step 6: Realistically Plan for Setbacks

No one walks a straight line on the journey to wellness. Most studies of lapses in fitness, nutrition and recovery programs show that you can get back on track more easily if you have scripted the way you will recover. It’s also known that those who are successful in breaking highly addictive habits, such as chain smoking, tried and failed any number of times before finally succeeding. So persistence counts, and so does avoiding the familiar excuse of “I’ve tried everything.” The answer is to go back and try everything again.

In planning for setbacks in a realistic frame of mind, the Mayo Clinic recommends taking these steps:

  • Take charge. Accept responsibility for your own behavior.
  • Buy time. If you’re tempted to keep indulging, wait a few minutes and see if the desire passes. Try distracting yourself — call a friend or take the dog for a walk.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Practice self-forgiveness. Try not to think of your slip-up as a catastrophe.
  • Ask for and accept help. Asking for help is a sign of good judgment, not weakness.
  • Work out your guilt and frustration with exercise. Use it to elevate your mood and recommit to your goals — never use it as punishment for a lapse.
  • Problem-solve as you go. Identify the problem and create a list of possible solutions. If you try one that doesn’t work, try the next solution.
  • Recommit to your goals — review your goals and make certain that they are still realistic.

Step 7: Reaching Your Goal

Reaching a wellness goal, once it has happened, is a big deal. Make sure you mark it accordingly. If you have given up smoking for a long period of time, treat yourself to new shoes or a great book. If you’ve lost weight, buy yourself a new outfit. You deserve to be rewarded, while making sure that you don’t rationalize going on a credit card binge or eating a huge meal as some kind of false reward. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Personal Mission: Define Your Wellness

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 25, 2012


By Deepak Chopra

A basic outline for prevention has existed for more than 30 years, but wellness has had a hard time making real headway. Old habits are hard to break. Our society has a magic bullet fixation, waiting for the next miracle drug to cure us of every ill. Doctors receive no economic benefit from pushing prevention over drugs and surgery. For all these reasons, compliance with prevention falls far below what is needed for maximum wellness.

Rather than feeling gloomy, my focus has been on getting the individual to take charge of their own wellness. This can be a considerable challenge, since we are each unique in our bodies but also unique in our pattern of bad habits and poor lifestyle choices. More than 40 percent of American adults make a resolution to live a better life each year, and fewer than half keep their promise to themselves for longer than six months. Conditioning is hard to break, but the key is that the power to break a habit belongs to the same person who made it — the turnaround amounts to giving up unconscious behavior and adopting conscious new patterns.

Once your mind begins to pay attention, your brain can build new neural pathways to reinforce what you learn. Much is made of the brain’s ability to change and adapt — the general term is neuroplasticity — but I think science has been slow to catch up with wise experience. It has always been true that applying awareness in any form, through such things as resolve, discipline, good intentions, and mindfulness, has the power to create change. The practical dilemma is how to use your strengths and motivation to help yourself remain committed to wellness as a lifetime pattern. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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Possibly a New World (Part 2)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 11, 2012

Bt Deepak Chopra

It’s a well-worn truth that the modern world is built upon science and technology. But this truth doesn’t dominate everyday life as much as one might think. Science is materialistic, and it explains the world through objective data. People lead their lives, at least partly, apart from materialism. The spiritual side of life exists and always has, which defies objective data. So does art, which isn’t mystical, not to mention emotions, intuition, morality and much else that makes life worth living.

Most of the time we are satisfied with this kind of catch-as-catch-can dualism. One of the easiest precepts from Jesus to follow is “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.” If you substitute “science” or “materialism” for Caesar, everyone does exactly that, compartmentalizing personal and spiritual experience in a separate box from iPads, microwaves and space shuttles.

The problem is that a compartmentalized life feels inadequate, which is why a public debate has been ongoing for 200 years about whether God or science is the ultimate master of reality. The answer matters. If you plump for God then miracles, mysticism, the soul and invisible forces have a chance to be real. If you plump for science instead, then physical existence can be completely trusted and the rational mind will in time solve all apparent mysteries. In either case, dualism no longer pinches; some kind of non-dualism wins the day.

In my posts, articles and books I’ve argued that science can expand to include miracles and mysticism. There is no need to deny the miraculous if everything is a miracle. There is no mystery surrounding mysticism if we look into the subtle essence of the human mind. More importantly, a non-dual world based on consciousness would be a better world. The fact is that science won’t reach answers to every riddle, so plumping for materialism is an empty gesture — even a hoax — when it comes to explaining a broad range of issues: Read the rest of this entry »

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Winning Back the Future: Here’s How! — Part 2

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 30, 2011

By Deepak Chopra,
Author, ‘War of the Worldviews’; Founder, The Chopra Foundation

In the first post, the question was raised whether a better future can be imagined out of the dire situation we find ourselves in. At the present moment we rely on science to answer our deepest questions. But science isn’t the only way to ask who we are and what we want from life. It’s part of the human design to want freedom, and yet freedom cannot exist when you must waste energy on fear, anger, tension, insecurity and stress — all the natural ingredients of living behind fences.

If you want to get beyond these negative aspects, it’s a delusion to believe that fences must exist. Yet we all believe exactly that. Fences are erected first in the mind, and everyone’s mind is compartmentalized. We shut out what we fear or don’t understand. We shut out “them,” the people who are unlike “us.” We shut out the unknown — a vast, one might say infinite domain — and we even shut out the parts of ourselves we don’t want to look at. All of this fence-building is delusional, however. The answer to all our fear and stress, our anger and conflict, could be amazingly simple: Tear down all the fences. If life were actually safe in a state of freedom, nobody would live behind fences. The only true security anyone can have is based not on strong defenses, but on knowing that you are secure in the first place, no matter what.

This point was quite clear to the ancient philosophers who set down the meaning of human existence thousands of years ago: They all believed in a state of enlightenment. Enlightenment is the general term for a mind that doesn’t live behind fences of any kind, a mind that is free. What I’m suggesting isn’t a return to Plato or Vasishtha — we must build our own golden age with the tools of present-day reality. Which means, in essence, that we must expand the fence of science. Fences don’t disappear by tearing them down. All kinds of fear and stress leap into the mind when you take away its defenses. Only by expanding your view of reality can you decide, in due time, that there’s nothing to fear and nothing to defend against. Then the fences disappear as if by magic. 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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What’s True, and Not, About Stress

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 3, 2011

Stressed people suffer not only by themselves­, but also troubles others knowingly and unknowingl­y. So stress management is very important and with practice it is possible to minimize it and meditation is the most powerful tools for this.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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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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Radical Buddhism and the Paradox of Acceptance

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 20, 2010

“Buddha” meaning “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.” Buddhism, therefore, is to follow the way and principle to be or to try to be there. Very simple.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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