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…”

Attention implies that there is no centre

Fourth conversation with David Bohm, Brockwood Park, Gstaad 1975- Volume 1.
See content summary of Volume 1 | See content summary of Volume 2

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Truth, actuality, and the limits of thought

Fourth conversation with David Bohm, Brockwood Park, Gstaad 1975- Volume 1.
See content summary of Volume 1 | See content summary of Volume 2

Why has desire become such an extraordinarily important thing in life?

How does desire arise from perception?

Can I desire truth?

Is the energy on nothingness different from the energy of things?

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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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Why We Yell and Scream

The other day I was talking with a friend about the sexual abuse in my former spiritual community, and she said that she didn’t think so-and-so was doing any favors for those trying to make their voices heard because so-and-so was going on and on and, in effect, ranting. My friend said she thought people would be able to hear so-and-so better if she toned it down and spoke more selectively and in a less inflammatory way, instead of getting people’s backs up and making them feel attacked.

I said that I thought everyone has to express these horrifying things in their own ways, which may not necessarily be completely diplomatic or “nice.” I said that so-and-so had gone through periods of being suicidal, of many years of therapy, of dropping out of her Ph.D. program because she couldn’t focus, and, like most of us, losing many of her friends who feared that associating with her would be a blot on their need to appear loyal to the offending organization. I reminded my friend about how crazy-making all of this can be, when someone is finally trying to understand their own abuse.

Later on, as I thought back on this conversation, I began to wonder why so-and-so was perceived to be yelling and screaming (figuratively, through her writing), and why so many of us, no matter how we present our stories, are accused of being angry whiners, disrupters, unhappy people, aggressive “feminazis,” revenge seekers, complainers, man-haters, and on and on. And, aside from all that, I wanted to try to express why we do yell and scream and why, yes, we absolutely have the right to do so.

So here it is: We yell and scream because the person who molested, raped, or harassed us was our husband, or uncle, or priest, or guru, or boss, or neighbor, or date. They violated our bodies and our trust in humanity (to whatever degree we still had any), and we were shamed and confused by the way they made it seem as if the abuse was partly (or entirely) our fault. So we could never tell anyone, because we weren’t clear about it ourselves. No one ever told us that these things, these behaviors, are flat-out wrong, often even illegal, and that no one has the right to violate another human being in these ways, no matter what. We got the message that no one wanted to know, no one would believe us, and that telling would be worse than our long, confused silence. In our cultural paradigm, we had no context for recognizing the wrongness of these behaviors. They were minimized even in our own minds.

On top of that, our society has had very little meaningful language for these pervasive, almost normalized violations. The misogyny is so old and deep that women who dare to speak out risk vilification, or denial, or some other crazy-making response (ergo laws that say if it’s your husband it’s not rape; ergo our Sunday school teachers telling the girls never to tease a boy or touch his knee [this was my experience as a teenager] because we would be asking for it because he wouldn’t be able to control himself and it would be our fault; and on and on.) And, beyond belief, there are whole societies and sub-societies that still believe this insanity. They believe that boys are natural predators and girls are prey, and therefore girls need to be constantly watchful, never walk alone at night or in unsafe areas, never dress provocatively, never leave our drinks on the counter when we go to the restroom, never “lead a boy on,” you name it. Boys, on the other hand, can do almost anything and have it excused as being part of their bestial, predatory nature. And if something happens to us as girls in this poisonous environment, the first thing that’s examined is what we did that let it happen. (I call this the “short skirt” question.)

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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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