Five Proven Ways to Get Your Meditation Practice on Track

by Michael W. Taft We all know by now that mindfulness meditation can create positive changes in your life. It works, but you pretty much have to practice it every day to really reap the benefits. Establishing and maintaining that kind of steady, daily practice presents a challenge, even for people with a strong motivation to sit. Understanding some basic …

Alone Bad, Friend Good – Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness

by Michael W. Taft I used to have a hard time relating to people. As a bald-headed punk, my personality was so intense that my friends jokingly nicknamed me “Toxic Mike.” I felt that I was  different from everyone, and that the world was sort of out to get me. That was almost thirty years ago now, and since then …

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Meditation and Religion

by Michael W. Taft ere’s the thing about meditation: it’s hard. Anyone who says it isn’t hard is trying to be kind, like when the doctor says, “This won’t hurt a bit.” Anyone who thinks spending ten thousand hours sitting on their ass, locked in a wrestling match with their demons, is fun is either crazy or lying. Sure, there …

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Deconstructing Yourself Reconstructed!

  As you no doubt have already noticed, Deconstructing Yourself is undergoing a design change. We’re very sorry to see the Miro go, but we’re hoping that this new layout will make it easier to find all the great material we have on the site. This may take a few days to get right, so please bear with us as …

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Freshness

by Michael W. Taft   I remember how painful boredom used to feel as a teenager. It was crushing. New television shows, movies, and music just felt like rehashes of old ones. New people reminded me of people who I already knew. Life felt like an endless rerun of the same stale old patterns, and nothing was interesting or new. …

Meditation and Pain Reduction Link Found

Meditating over the years, I have experienced the pain reduction effects of meditation personally. This applies to the discomfort of illness, the soreness or sharp pains of injury, or  even extremely chronic pain. Shinzen Young’s techniques, in particular, have been designed with pain reduction specifically in mind. But no matter how many experiences and stories of pain relief we as …

Nondualism: The History of an Idea

In November, I spoke about the history of non-dualism at the Science and Non-duality Conference, in San Rafael. I decided to give this talk because although a lot of people talk about nondualism, Advaita, and related concepts, I find that very rarely are they aware of the historical background and development of nondualism as a concept. This video moves through …

Concentration: Light as a Feather

by Michael W. Taft I was in Paris recently, and visited the Rodin museum. I’ve always loved his work, and some of the best pieces are at this gorgeous 18th century hotel-cum-museum. In the garden outside sat the French sculptor’s most well known piece, the Thinker, atop a tall granite plinth. As I gazed at this masterpiece, I noticed that …

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Deconstructing the Self with Mindfulness Meditation

I remember as a teenager, feeling that the Monty Python joke “my brain hurts” was talking about me. It was clear to me that my biggest problem in life was my own mind. I was very anxious, sometimes experiencing paralyzing anxiety attacks. Have you ever been so afraid you couldn’t move? But most of all my mind was filled with …

Concentration and Silence

by Michael W. Taft Yesterday I was deep inside a website, working on a project that took my full attention. Just as I was getting really focused, a neighbor busted out his leaf blower and started making a terrible racket. I have pretty good concentration skills, so I could continue working, but I noticed how much mental effort it took …

Meditation Bench DIY — How To

Want a nice meditation bench but don’t want to shell out the cash? No problem. You can build one yourself with this meditation bench DIY. Meditation benches are a tradition in Japanese Buddhism. The are called seiza benches, because they help you to sit in the traditional way, kneeling on the floor with your knees in front, which is called …

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Downtime for the Stone Age Brain

by Michael W. Taft Recently, I found a meditation retreat center in rural Massachusetts. Its super-affordable price included a room of my own, and delicious, organic hippy food. As I was moving to a new city anyway, I let go of my apartment, put my stuff in storage, and went off to the center for three months. Ninety two days …