Like most people who’ve expressed a view on the English city riots this month, I wasn’t there. Having relocated last year from inner London to a small countryside town an hour’s drive away, my experience of the unrest was mediated through television, Twitter and news websites. It was also filtered by the habitual tendencies of my mind when faced with events that seem to be creating widespread anxiety (it likes to take a contrary line: “Everyone is over-reacting/the media frenzy is out of proportion/don’t they know there’s a famine in Somalia with millions of people at risk of starvation?” and so on).Read more »
Barely a week goes by without some new clinical trial showing how programs which teach mindfulness can help people minimize suffering and enhance their well-being. Whether it be through reducing stress, managing illness, boosting the immune system or moving away from addictive habits, science is confirming what meditators have reported for thousands of years—that mindfulness is beneficial in a wide range of ways. At the same time, it's important not to get carried away by all the data, sucked into viewing meditation as a quick-fix solution.Read more »
Imagine going to your local doctor and suddenly discovering a shamanic healer has been made partner in the practice. Not only that, but all the conventional doctors are referring their most difficult cases to him, murmuring reverentially about his evidence-based magic skills. It would seem pretty surprising, no?
Well, that's about the size of the seismic shift that's taking place in our culture's perception of meditation. In 1970, or even 2001, a meditating politician, teacher or policeman in the West would probably have deemed it prudent to keep their practice a secret, for fear of public ridicule—now we have openly mindful congressmen (see video below) and parliamentarians, and meditation is enthusiastically championed in government reports, school curricula and a vast range of other establishment settings.Read more »
Ten years ago last March, I decided to seek help for my mind. It was near the beginning of a third (and most crippling) episode of anxiety and depression, and I realized that whatever the outer circumstances behind my despair, resolution had to come from within.
Swamped by distressing thoughts and feelings, I felt there must be a way to manage this inner turmoil. The question was, how? Normally, I would use my mind to solve problems in life—but now my mind was the problem in life. Something different was needed, but I'd no real idea what that something might be.
Now on newsstands: The second issue of Mindful magazine. Check out the online extras on Mindful.org.
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