Mudita Journal

Mindfulness Archive

The skyscraper and the cherry blossom: Why Objectivism needs secular spirituality

After my "Pointing to the reality" post, my intelligent Rand-loving friend was rubbed the wrong way by my suggestion that cherry blossoms are on the same level with skyscrapers: Skyscrapers give us an appreciation for things as they could be, for the ways man changes the world. How can cherry blossoms compare? Here is my reply. I like your summary of the worldview Ayn Rand articulates, about man's life as the standard of value, and how much meaning there is at that level, of shaping the world around us to fit our needs and to support our life and happiness. I ...

Pointing to the reality

I wrote this in answer to a friend, a relative newcomer to Ayn Rand's philosophy, who inquired about my interest in spirituality and why I would say something like "The divine is all around us." Why use the same words that religions use? I just got back from a 20-minute nap in the sunshine in the grass, in the park down the street. On my way to my favorite patch of grass on the embankment, I was approached by a young black missionary named Marcelle who was carrying a bible and was eager to talk. Sweet kid, seemed lonely, and was ...

Flow with whatever may happen

July 13, 2012  ·  Category: Buddhism, Eckhart Tolle, FLOW, Meditation, Mindfulness

Thanks to Michael Strong of FLOW for bringing this lovely graphic to my attention. He writes: "Although this is Buddhist, it is similar to the Taoist usage of 'Flow,' which was one of our original inspirations."

Meditators more aware of ‘uh-oh’ moments

June 8, 2012  ·  Category: Meditation, Mindfulness

An article summarizing a new paper from the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience begins: For psychologists, self-control or “executive control” is the ability to pay attention to appropriate stimuli and to initiate appropriate behavior while inhibiting inappropriate behavior. It’s what keeps you studying when you’d rather be watching TV, or lets you force yourself outside for a morning run rather than turn over and go back to sleep. “These results suggest that willpower or self-control may be sharpest in people who are sensitive and open to their own emotional experiences. Willpower, in other words, may relate to ‘‘emotional intelligence’,” says Michael ...

Mindful habits and voluntary simplicity

May 29, 2012  ·  Category: Buddhism, Mindfulness

I enjoyed Brandon Rennels's list of aspirations for 2012. His first two: 1. Mindful habits. Reciting a 4-line gatha to myself each morning, taking my first bite of food for my friends and family, setting mindfulness bells to ring every 30 minutes when I open the computer, etc. I have spent the last six months building a solid habit base that I’d like to continue working with. As I’ve written about before habits are critical for long-term change, but they are often hard to implement. One reason why habits have been difficult for me in the past is that my current ...

Toward a better relationship to sex … and porn

May 23, 2012  ·  Category: Current Events, Health, Intellectual, Mindfulness

Here are some choice quotes from a recent Q&A in The Guardian with Alain de Botton, author of the book Religion for Atheists. Ideally, porn would excite our lust in contexts which also presented other, elevated sides of human nature -- in which people were being witty, for instance, or showing kindness, or working hard or being clever -- so that our sexual excitement could bleed into, and enhance our respect for these other elements of a good life. No longer would sexuality have to be lumped together with stupidity, brutishness, earnestness and exploitation; it could instead be harnessed to what ...

Stressed out? A creative visualization from Eckhart Tolle

May 9, 2012  ·  Category: Eckhart Tolle, Meditation, Mindfulness

Marsh brought the following passage to my attention, from Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. I remember it from my days of listening nonstop to Tolle's audiobooks. I like this passage a lot. If at any time you are finding it hard to get in touch with the inner body, it is usually easier to focus on your breathing first. Conscious breathing, which is a powerful meditation in its own right, will gradually put you in touch with the body. Follow the breath with your attention as it moves in and out of your body. Breathe into the body, and feel your ...

Harvard Gazette: Eight weeks to a better brain, through mindfulness meditation

January 5, 2012  ·  Category: Meditation, Mindfulness

From The Harvard Gazette: Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter. “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist ...

Teachers: How to incorporate meditation in the classroom

December 20, 2011  ·  Category: Meditation, Mindfulness, Parenting

I just stumbled across a reader comment from early last year by a teacher in Massachusetts, Camille Napier Bernstein, who begins each day with a "stillness" exercise for the first few minutes each day in her classroom. The students are not only receptive, but sometimes enthusiastic about how valuable it has become to them. She has written about her successes with the practice. An excerpt: I teach in a public school. You might wonder if the practice has caused controversy. Certainly, my first two years were fraught with worry that a student might misinterpret the practice to his parents, and I doggedly ...

Living daylight

September 12, 2011  ·  Category: Buddhism, Meditation, Mindfulness

A quote that really struck me today, from the Almaasary of quotes from A.H. Almaas: What determines whether a soul has basic trust? Basic trust is the effect on the soul of a particular aspect or quality of Being that we call Living Daylight. We call it this because if one's perception is subtle enough to visually see and kinesthetically feel the substance of one's consciousness, it actually looks like daylight, and is felt as an alive consciousness. It is experienced as something boundless, in the sense that it is not bounded by one's body but rather is experienced as something ...