When I started meditating, I thought it was all about me. I felt stressed, my mind was chaotic, panic was overwhelming my body, I needed something to calm me down. I was highly focused on myself and my problems, and I saw meditation as something that might help me cope. It has helped me cope, but increasingly this has happened not just through allowing me to work more skilfully with my internal experience, but by expanding my capacity to be and stay in relationship with others. Opening up to a wider space of awareness and connection, via the practice of mindfulness, has made it a lot less claustrophobic in here.
This expansion seems to have happened quite organically. First I began to discover that my automatic patterns of reacting to events weren’t just happening in my inner space—the thoughts, emotions and body sensations I was having also impacted on how I operated in the world. When I felt angry with someone, I’d instinctively avoid them, amoeba-like, pulling out of connection and into isolation. In meditation, I began to see this pattern clearly.Read more »
In honor of Dr. Seuss's March 2 birthday, Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child, offers this guest blog post. In it, she takes a mindful look at this beloved children's author and some of his work.
Dr. Seuss has demonstrated time and time again that, when it comes to teaching abstract concepts to children, it’s okay to set the bar high. Tomorrow marks his 108th birthday and his books have informed my work in ways that I doubt he could have possibly imagined.Read more »
For those of us who teach mindfulness in educational settings, building an evidence base for our work is critical. Mindfulness programs in educational settings are growing in popularity, but if this trend is to continue, and not become a passing fad, it needs research.
I am often approached by people who have developed a mindfulness-based or contemplative program and want me to help them prove its efficacy. These conversations both hearten and dismay me. I’m heartened by the inspiration to help children and the ambition to build an evidence-based program. And I’m also discouraged by the lack of wherewithal to do the necessary research, both in terms of financial resources and the knowledge needed for the developer/researcher partnership to work.
I’m in a position to understand and empathize with the dilemma because I’ve seen it from both sides.Read more »
It's no secret that scientists condition lab mice to act certain ways by offering them a big incentive—food. When the mice reach it, they get to eat, and are satisfied. In human terms, we’re also conditioned to act a certain way throughout our lives in order to obtain the “cheese” being dangled in front of us. When we reach it, we’re told, THEN we’ll be happy. Happiness is our cheese.
But if we’re constantly looking to what is next as we go through life, when, then, are we ever satisfied? If the answer is “never,” then we’re left to constantly search for happiness that never comes. Obviously, this “race to nowhere,” encouraged by our society and culture, is flawed. As I’ve discussed in a previous blog post, this needs to be replaced with the “race to right here, right now.” What you have right now can be enough. Who you are right now can be enough. What you’re doing right now can be perfectly sufficient and enough.Read more »