Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Has Mindfulness Become Too Self-Involved?

Allow us a moment to judge. As we were listening to the various speakers at a recent mindfulness conference, we were struck by how their words didn’t jive with our understanding of mindfulness. Here are a few choice phrases overheard (in ital)and our not-so-mindful reactions):

“I’m convinced mindful breathing saved my life.” 

Doesn’t regular breathing save your life every day?

“Those who live in poverty, it’s mostly not their fault…”

Seriously? We never thought it ever was their fault. 

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Advertising Account Representative

Come join the dynamic team at Mindful—a mission-driven media company that is dedicated to sharing secular mindfulness to support good health, positive relationships, and a compassionate society. With a monthly audience of over two million, this is a chance to make a real impact! You’ll enjoy our positive, flexible, and collaborative work culture.

We’re seeking two Advertising Account Representatives to join our Halifax, NS office. Bring your enthusiasm and experience in advertising sales to our multi-media platforms, Mindful magazine and mindful.org. The ideal candidate will be motivated to build excellent relationships with our clients and potential customers, and to grow our print and online advertising as a key contributor to supporting Mindful’s work and mission.

Key Responsibilities:

Support international ad sales across all platforms associated with Mindful magazine and mindful.org.Build and maintain strong relationships with existing and potential clients through friendly, responsive service.Conduct outbound phone/online meeting/email sales to new and existing endemic (mindfulness-oriented) advertising accounts.Help determine sales strategies and priorities in collaboration with Advertising Director.Renew existing and past advertisers, and identify and cultivate potential new advertisers.Prepare advertising proposals and contracts, along with sales projections, through customer relationship management (CRM) software.Maintain timely entry and ongoing updates in company CRM.Set up and deliver sales presentations and other sales activities as assigned.Any other duties as assigned.

Qualifications and skills:

Excellent communication, negotiating, and influencing skills; and creative and strategic thinking abilities.Practice or interest in mindfulness and meditation.

Additional Information:

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The Science and Practice of Staying Present Through Difficult Times

Research into mindfulness has shown the benefits of staying present, and of gently turning towards difficulty. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) trains people with addictive habits to manage their cravings mindfully by staying present to the sensations of craving, rather than trying to distract from them, avoid them or defeat them.

The Science of Staying Present

In a large trial of MBRP, mindfulness-trained patients drank and used drugs significantly less than those who were treated with cognitive-behavioural approaches, and a control group who attended twelve-step and psycho-education groups. The authors of the study conclude that mindfulness was the most successful approach, especially over the longer term, because it enabled patients to “monitor and skilfully cope with discomfort associated with craving or negative affect.” A similar study with smokers found that mindfulness training was more than five times as effective as a standard smoking cessation programme, as measured by abstinence from cigarettes after four months (31 per cent compared to 6 per cent). Another study has suggested that mindful people are more able to tolerate their own distress, rather than react in harmful ways.

There are benefits to staying present with physical, as well as emotional, discomfort. Fadel Zeidan and colleagues suggest that meditation practice is associated with brain changes that indicate and reflect shifts in people’s experience of, and relationship with, pain. Meditators show decreased activity in the primary somatosensory cortex (an area of the brain involved in registering pain) and increased activity in three areas involved in the regulation of pain—the anterior insula, the anterior cingulate cortex and the pre-frontal cortex. When gently turning towards pain, people report that they experience less of it, and their resistance usually decreases. They may not get so caught up in the negative stories and evasive reactions that tend to accompany pain but do nothing to stop it (and, indeed, may increase the mind’s perception of it). This may be why people with chronic conditions have reported reductions in pain after training in mindfulness, even though they still suffer from the illness.

When gently turning towards pain, people report that they experience less of it, and their resistance usually decreases.

As far back as 1971, Robert Wallace and Herbert Benson found that meditation reduced activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the “fight or flight” reaction. More recently, attending a mindfulness course has been shown to reduce activity and grey matter volume in the amygdala—a key indicator of how strongly this reaction is triggered. With mindfulness training also comes a thickening in parts of the pre-frontal cortex—the region directly behind the forehead—which may be connected to a strengthening of the body’s capacity to regulate stress. Connections between the amygdala and other parts of the brain weaken after mindfulness training.

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Marketing Coordinator

Come join the dynamic team at Mindful—a mission-driven media company that is dedicated to sharing secular mindfulness to support good health, positive relationships and a compassionate society. With a monthly audience of over two million, this is a chance to make a real impact! You’ll enjoy our positive, flexible and collaborative work culture. 

We’re seeking a Marketing Coordinator based in Halifax, NS. The ideal candidate will be self-motivated to execute marketing strategies that foster inspiration and engagement and to run campaigns that are audience-centered and data-driven. You’ll thrive in an ever-changing, fast-paced environment. You’ll see problems as opportunities and offer ideas and solutions that help drive campaign success. You’ll work well both collaboratively and independently as needed. 

Key Responsibilities:

Plan and manage assigned marketing projects including the development of marketing plans, promotions, and engagement activities.Support the implementation of promotional campaigns in collaboration with other Mindful departments and/or external partners to develop content and marketing materials.Assist in managing Mindful’s digital presence, including website updates, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and social media execution.Manage marketing email campaigns. Track performance through digital analytics.Write, edit, and design marketing promotions, newsletters, and other digital media materials as assigned.Any other duties as requested.

Qualifications and skills:

Some relevant promotional and/or marketing experience. Superior project management skills with knowledge/experience in business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, marketing campaign management, design and content writing.Ability to excel in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Confidence in evaluating options and making recommendations on proposed solutions.

Nice-to-haves:

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How to Take Back Attention

We are living through a quiet crisis of attention and ironically many of us don’t even notice. In previous posts, I’ve written about the essential importance of attention. Quality of attention is the foundation for not only effective action but also experiencing a sense of well-being, purpose, and meaning. More skillfully handling attention is one of the essential management challenges of our day.

Since my article on attention, several readers have told me that they never connected their frenetic days and frazzled feelings to their poor use of attention. But in retrospect, it seems an obvious relationship.

Skillfully handling attention is one of the essential management challenges of our day.

We are largely an attention illiterate society. When I raise this to executive or professional audiences I’m speaking to, usually two distinct reactions emerge.

The first is, “Yeah, this is nuts! What are we doing to ourselves?” The president of a manufacturing company related a story of walking into the weekly leadership meeting of a firm his had recently taken over. They were “a two-hour free for all” where “nothing of much substance happened.” “It wasn’t a big surprise why they were performing so poorly,” he said.

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