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Meditation

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Meditation 101: A Beginner's Guide. Top 10 Reasons to Meditate. The benefits of a meditation practice are no secret.

Top 10 Reasons to Meditate

The practice is often touted as a habit of highly successful (and happy) people, recommended as a means of coping with stress and anxiety, and praised as the next-big-thing in mainstream wellness. And it’s not just anecdotal. Thousands of studies have shown the positive impact that meditating has on our health and well-being. We’ve culled through the list to bring you highlights from the early stages of research into mindfulness. Sleep Better: More Shut-Eye at Night Means Brighter Days Sleep isn’t just relaxation for eight hours a day—it’s essential to our cognitive functioning. Turns out it can even help serious sleep problems. Stress Less: Make Room for More Happiness It’s a little-known secret that Wall Street execs, famous artists, and Silicon Valley whiz kids are some of the biggest advocates of meditation as a way to manage stress. Furthermore, we now know it even reduces employee stress and burnout. Dr. Why Meditate? Top 5 Myths about Mindfulness Meditation. Do you know the myths about mindfulness and what is true or false about this swelling revolution?

Top 5 Myths about Mindfulness Meditation

Take a look at what I think are the top five myths about mindfulness. Note: There are plenty more, but I thought these top the charts. Myth #1: Mindfulness if for taking a time-out from life, quieting the mind and reducing stress. Truth: I think this is the #1 myth out there because it’s my experience that this is how people initially experience the practice. One of the greatest entry points to mindfulness in the West is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

However, the initial practices can often give people sense of relief from a busy mind and can then be equated with a mental break. The paradox here is when we’re able to do just be present to our minds, emotions and bodies, the stressful relationship tends to quiet down, but when we try and quiet the mind down, we often add fuel to the fire. Myth #2: You need to carve out plenty of time in a serene “mindful” space. , The Now Effect. Can Meditation be Dangerous? This is a story of Zen master, professor, poet, and essayist, Louis Nordstrom.

Can Meditation be Dangerous?

Over 35 years ago Louis renounced his tenure as a professor in philosophy and robed up to begin his life as a monk. In an NY Times interview with Chip Brown, Nordstrom conveyed some insights into the connection between his trauma and abandonment as a child that revealed a hidden motive in his work with meditation. He said: “The Zen experience of forgetting the self was very natural to me,” he told me last fall. “I had already been engaged in forgetting and abandoning the self in my childhood, which was filled with the fear of how unreal things seemed.” For Nordstrom, meditation felt like a natural fit as there was a familiarity and calmness that came from detaching from thoughts, feelings, and emotions. In therapy he came to understand a subtle, yet subversive motive he had to engage in meditation.

This is a very subtle nuance of meditation. Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain. Buddhist and meditation teacher Tara Brach leads a Vipassana meditation group at the River Road Unitarian Church in Bethesda.

Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain

(Andrea Bruce Woodall/The Washington Post) Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. What she found surprised her — that meditating can literally change your brain. She explains:

Training

Practicing Mindfulness with Chocolate. Have you always wanted to try mindfulness meditation but didn’t know where to start?

Practicing Mindfulness with Chocolate

Here’s an example of the practice — using everybody’s favorite, chocolate: Take a small piece of chocolate. Hold it gently or have it nearby so it doesn’t melt. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably and allow your body to relax and feel supported. Notice the sounds in the room or outside the room, and gradually bring your attention inward, to your breath. Next bring your attention to the chocolate in your hand. Now smell the chocolate. Allowing your attention to soften now, so that you still have an awareness of the feel and smell of the chocolate, bring the chocolate to your mouth and take a small bite.

Now, place the rest of the chocolate in your mouth, enjoying the tastes and flavors, subtle and strong. Finally, when the chocolate is gone, bring your attention back to your senses. Enjoy! Chocolate photo available from Shutterstock. Free Writing. Better than meditation Meditation is awesome.

Free Writing

It’s pretty much the simplest, cheapest way to improve your life that has ever been invented. The only problem with meditation is that it’s just too simple. I can’t get a hold of it for very long — it resists habitification. Maybe you know what I’m talking about? I’ve tried. I’ve used Headspace.