Concentration: The Hammer

by Michael W. Taft “Never eat anything bigger than your head.” — B. Kliban A good friend of mine recently returned to school. As an adult learner, he set a goal for himself to do the best job possible, to ace every class he could. As someone with slight learning disabilities, however, school posed special challenges. There was a lot …

Meditation Improves the Well-Being of Cancer Survivors

by Pam Harrison May 24, 2011 (Washington, DC) — Group sessions during which cancer survivors are taught meditation, mindful yoga, and communication techniques significantly improve psychological symptoms and quality of life (QoL), especially among breast cancer survivors. Ruth Lerman, MD, from William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, and her colleagues conducted a study in which female cancer survivors were …

Meditation Helps Brain Block Distractions

Meditation can help relieve pain and improve memory by regulating a brain wave known as the alpha rhythm, which ‘turns down the volume’ on distractions. Mindfulness meditation has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid memory recall. The discovery that mindfulness meditators more quickly adjusted the brain wave that screens out distraction could explain their superior ability to …

Meditation: Wednesday Awakening

We name Wednesday after Wodin or Odin, the norse God of wisdom (“Wodin’s-day”). He’s the Norse Mercury, which is interesting when you consider the French and Spanish words for Wednesday: mercredi and miércoles respectively, both of which mean “Mercury’s day.” We’re talking the God Mercury here, not the planet, the car, or the singer. In Sanskrit, the ancient Language of …

Mindfulness Makes Your Brain Happier

by Dan Goleman One of the most upbeat people I know is Richard Davidson, a friend since my grad school days, now a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Director of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. Richie, as everyone calls him, has always been one of those people whose mere presence brings a good feeling. And …

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Learning to Listen

by Michael W. Taft You’re having complex feelings about the things that happened with your partner yesterday. You feel upset and confused, there’s so much going on. You meet your friend at a coffee shop, hoping to talk about some of this. But as soon as you start, she digs out her iPhone and starts rubbing and poking the glass. …

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Meditation — Why “Deconstruction”?

by Michael W. Taft The name of this blog is “Deconstructing Yourself,” but what does deconstruction have to do with meditation? In short: everything. Deconstructing your experience—in the sense of analyzing or seeing through experience—is the essence of the meditative endeavor. Specifically, deconstructing your sensory experience, including the experience of being you, an ego. On first blush that can sound …

Meditation: The Power of Daily Practice

by Dan Gould Looking after our minds should be as natural as brushing our teeth. The recently launched Action for Happiness movement suggests daily habits – doing good to others, taking exercise and nurturing relationships – can improve our mental health, just as five-a-day fruit and veg portions improve our physical health. The psychiatrist Dr Norman Rosenthal, best known for …

Meditation Teaches Us about Productivity

by Chris Edgar Most productivity writing is about tips for organizing our workspace — creative ways to arrange our e-mail inbox, write to-do lists, color-code folders, and so on.  These techniques can be useful, but they don’t deal with one of the biggest obstacles to getting our work done:  our own minds. As I’ll bet you’ve experienced, if your attention …

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Concentration: An Iterative Approach to Focusing the Mind

by Michael W. Taft Concentration is the eternal secret of every mortal achievement – Stefan Zweig There is an ancient story from India that tells of five young princes who were practicing archery in the woods with their teacher, named Drona. One day Drona decided to test the boys by having them shoot birds—an extremely difficult thing to do with …

Meditate to Live Longer

 by Miriam Stoppard, Daily Mirror 19/05/2011 The benefits of meditation are many, as anyone who meditates knows, but claiming it can help you live longer seems a trifle OTT. However, a good study from a meditation centre in Colorado, US, suggests that the practice can actually add years to your life. Reported effects of meditation include lowering blood pressure, …

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Multitasking Fail

by Michael W. Taft You’re working on a paper, and the kids need dinner. Music is playing in one room, and the tv is on in the other. You don’t want to miss tonight’s episode of Futurama, so you peek at that while you type in your notes, getting up every once in a while to stir the pasta. Maybe …