#6 of 10 Good Reasons to Meditate (according to science): Addiction

#6 Reduced addiction We all naturally lean towards pleasure. This was a highly adaptive trait. High fat and high sugar foods, for example, were in scarce supply over the eons that humans evolved, so gorging on them in those rare moments when they were available was advantageous. Sex feels great. Being part of a community and being liked and admired by them feels even better. All these experiences generate brain states that we all like. So not surprisingly we are all programmed to pursue those pleasures. In today's world, we have easy access to drugs that stimulate these pleasurable brain states whenever we want. Sadly, this availability of mind-altering substances has coincided with a decrea

What is Reality? Is It Really An Illusion?

When you read the words spoken by the wisdom teachers of old, one of the ideas they repeatedly emphasize is that this reality of ours isn’t what we think it is. It is in fact something completely different from what we all think. And it is the “thinking” that is getting in the way of us comprehending the truth. Once we get this fundamental, ‘big truth’ wrong, the confusion about all the little elements of our life is unavoidable. And the happiness, peace, ongoing contentedness and health we all seek will keep evading us. So in the following paragraphs I am going to endeavor to explain what this truth about the nature of reality is and what it means. Among the old masters, the Buddha is proba

#5 of 10 Good Reasons to Meditate (according to science): Health

#5 More youthful and healthy body & brain There is a large and growing body of research that supports the idea that meditation helps create a healthier body. Whether it is inflammation, oxidative stress, or insulin resistance, time and again, meditation has been shown to improve measures of health in the meditator group as compared to the non-meditators. And whether it is hypertension, lower back pain, kidney pain, asthma, fibromyalgia, skin conditions, and the list goes on, meditation has been shown to improve people's physical condition. Books have been written on the subject so you can peruse the links above if you are interested in the specifics or just Google your particular health cond

The Biggest Buddhist Misunderstanding

I became fascinated by meditation and Buddhism when I was in high school. I felt my way around, chasing one idea or tradition or teacher after another until I had the good fortune to encounter my 11th grade creative writing teacher, who happened also to be a Buddhist monk. Thanks to him I began studying Thich Nhat Hanh's work and was able to join Thầy on a meditation retreat in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara that same year. (Thầy is how Vietnamese buddhist teachers are often addressed.) As much as I was (and still am) enamored with Thầy and the teachings generally of Buddhism, I just couldn't get over the idea that the end goal seemed to be a total detachment from life. And the image

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