Deepak Chopra

Is Mindfulness just another hype of the disconnectionist “artisanal crowd?” or is it as “a way to sabotage the addiction tactics of the acceleration-distraction complex that is Silicon Valley”

In yet another sign that the new age lingo of the 1960s is still very much with us, “mindfulness” has become the new “sustainability”: No one quite knows what it is, but everyone seems to be for it. It recently made the cover of Time magazine, while a long list of celebrities—Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Paolo Coelho—are all tirelessly preaching the virtues of curbing technology-induced stress and regulating the oppressiveness of constant connectivity, often at conferences with titles like “Wisdom 2.0.”

The embrace of the mindfulness agenda by the technology crowd is especially peculiar. Consider Huffington, whose eponymous publication has even launched a stress-tracking app with the poetic name of “GPS for the Soul”—a new app to fight the distraction caused by the old apps—and turned the business of mindfulness into a dedicated beat. Or take Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, who has warned that we need to define times when we are “on” and “off” and announced his commitment to make his meals gadget-free. There are also apps and firms that, at a fee, will help you enforce your own “digital sabbath,” undertake a “digital detox,” or join like-minded refuseniks in a dedicated camp that bars all devices. Never before has connectivity offered us so many ways to disconnect.

In essence, we are being urged to unplug—for an hour, a day, a week—so that we can resume our usual activities with even more vigor upon returning to the land of distraction. Here the quest for mindfulness plays the same role as Buddhism. In our maddeningly complex world, where everything is in flux and defies comprehension, the only reasonable attitude is to renounce any efforts at control and adopt a Zen-like attitude of non-domination. Accept the world as it is—and simply try to find a few moments of peace in it. The reactionary tendency of such an outlook is easy to grasp. As the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek once quipped, “If Max Weber were alive today, he would definitely write a second, supplementary, volume to his Protestant Ethic, entitled The Taoist Ethic and the Spirit of Global Capitalism.” And what a wonderful Kindle Single that would make!

CEOs embrace mindfulness for the same reason that they embrace all the other forms of the “new spirit of capitalism,” be it yoga in the workplace or flip-flops in the boardroom: Down with alienation, long live transgression and emancipation! No wonder Huffington hopes that the pursuit of mindfulness can finally reconcile spirituality and capitalism. “There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that these two worlds are, in fact, very much aligned—or at least that they can, and should, be,” she wrote in a recent column. “So yes, I do want to talk about maximizing profits and beating expectations—by emphasizing the notion that what’s good for us as individuals is also good for corporate America’s bottom line.”



Illustration by Jessica Fortner

But couldn’t the “disconnectionists”—asone critic has recently dubbed this emerging social movement—pursue an agenda a tad more radical than “digital detoxification”? For one, the language of “detox” implies our incessant craving for permanent connectivity is a medical condition—as if the fault entirely resided with consumers. And that reflects a broader flaw in their thinking: The disconnectionists don’t seem to have a robust political plan for addressing their concerns; it’s all about small-scale individual action. “Individuals unplugging is not actually an answer to the biggest technological problems of our time just as any individual’s local, organic dietary habits don’t solve global agriculture’s issues,” complained the technology critic Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic.

Note that it’s the act of disconnection—the unplugging—that becomes the target of criticism, as if there are no good reasons to be suspicious of the always-on mode championed by Silicon Valley, what is called “real-time.” Madrigal, for example, draws an intriguing parallel between our attitudes to processed foods (once celebrated for their contribution to social mobility but now widely condemned, at least by the upper classes) and processed communications (by which, he means all digital interactions). Like processed foods, social media and text messages are increasingly perceived as inferior, giving rise to an odd form of technophobic—but extremely artisanal—living. As Madrigal sardonically observes, “[T]he solution is to make local friends, hang out organically, and only communicate through means your Grandma would recognize. It’s so conservative it’s radical!”

There’s some truth to this, but in their efforts to reveal the upper-class biases of the “digital detox” crowd—by arguing, for example, that the act of unplugging falls somewhere between wearing vintage clothes and consuming artisanal cheese—critics like Madrigal risk absolving the very exploitative strategies of Twitter and Facebook.

So far, our debate about distraction has hinged on the assumption that the feelings of anxiety and personal insecurity that we experience when interacting with social media are the natural price we pay for living in what some technology pundits call “the attention economy.”

But what if this economy is not as autonomous and self-regulating as we are lead to believe? Twitter, for instance, nudges us to check how many people have interacted with our tweets. That nagging temptation to trace the destiny of our every tweet, in perpetuity and with the most comprehensive analytics, is anything but self-evident. The business agenda is obvious: The more data we can surrender—by endlessly clicking around—the more appealing Twitter looks to advertisers. But what is in Twitter’s business interest is not necessarily in our communicative interest.

We must subject social media to the kind of scrutiny that has been applied to the design of gambling machines in Las Vegas casinos. As Natasha Dow Schüll shows in her excellent book Addiction By Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, while casino operators want us to think that addiction is the result of our moral failings or some biological imbalance, they themselves are to blame for designing gambling machines in a way that feeds addiction. With social media—much like with gambling machines or fast food—our addiction is manufactured, not natural.

In other words, why we disconnect matters: We can continue in today’s mode of treating disconnection as a way to recharge and regain productivity, or we can view it as a way to sabotage the addiction tactics of the acceleration-distraction complex that is Silicon Valley. The former approach is reactionary but the latter can lead to emancipation, especially if such acts of refusal give rise to genuine social movements that will make problems of time and attention part of their political agendas—and not just the subject of hand-wringing by the Davos-based spirituality brigades. Hopefully, these movements will then articulate alternative practices, institutions, and designs. If it takes an act of unplugging to figure out how to do it, let’s disconnect indeed. But let us not do it for the sake of reconnecting on the very same terms as before. We must be mindful of all this mindfulness.

Evgeny Morozov is a senior editor at The New Republic.

Running as Moving meditation

Vinluan: Moving meditation (Part 2)

By Bobby Vinluan

Sports Psychology

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

THERE are usually distinctive stages in running and the need to listen to your body is recommended.

If running doesn’t feel good in 30 minutes, you may want to stop or you may ask what am I doing here?

Mild feeling of euphoria may also start in 30 minutes of running, tensions may drain away, and the rhythm between your steps and breathing may lull you, and ideas flash in and out of your mind from the periphery of your consciousness.

There are many offbeat ways of relaxing and getting into a meditative mood for running. Joe Henderson, author of the Long-Run Solutions, suggests five steps, which are general rules for running as well as for reaching a meditative state.

“First,” he says, “start your run without an end in sight. It will take 20-30 minutes to pick up the flow, and by then you’ll know how much you can do, if the run goes badly stop and try again tomorrow. Any running is better than none at all. Even a tickle of running add to the pool of fitness. Third, let the pace find itself. You will usually run along the edge between comfort and discomfort. Fourth, run for yourself. Don’t look ahead or behind. And fifth, run for today, don’t compete with yesterday or tomorrow, take pleasure in less than being your best.”

However, even the best runners will miss occasionally a desired and expected outcome. That is because certain things inhibit to facilitate “penetration into one’s inner world” while running. By avoiding these circumstances, i.e. competition, or the obsession with running kilometers, surroundings which focus your attention outside your body, rather than within, or the yakketty-yakking in group runs, and conversation, with someone or yourself, will misdirect your concentration.

Avoiding these circumstances during a run, and by running steady, in a non-tiring pace, and letting your mind spin free, with ideas flowing like water in a stream can make you encourage the meditative state. If we are to understand more the relationship between running and meditation, believe that a sense of euphoria comes with three types of runs, the meditative high from running alone at a reflective pace; the competition high of running fast at the edge of our physical limits; and the “high” of running with friends and fellowship. Try it if running is part of your life.

Meditation Expert Peter Amato Announced Competition For Meditation In Schools Training – Press Release – Digital Journal

Scranton, PA (PRWEB) May 18, 2013

In an attempt to teach children how to live peacefully and forge a better future, Meditation Master Peter Amato has announced he will bring a meditation program to five deserving schools throughout the country, a $250,000 value in training and materials. At absolutely no cost to the schools.

By making meditation a regular part of the school day, Amato said, young children and teens will be given the tools to reduce stress in their lives, and cope with competition, peer pressure, bullying and the violence all around them. “Key research findings in pilot and current school meditation programs included increases in calm in the classroom, increased attentiveness, increase in a desire to learn along with a strong retention span, and an increase in morale and socialization. Overall, teachers saw a sizeable increase in emotional balance with less behavioral issues and acting out.”

Amato launched a nationwide search for five schools that are interested in starting a meditation program and want to compete to receive the program training free. He is also seeking interested schools to participate on their own as well as individuals, businesses and major corporations to sponsor the program in their communities. The contest ends September 30, 2013. Five winners will be selected by an appointed committee from all eligible entries during the month of October 2013. However, interested schools and sponsors may sign up at any time before or after the contest ends.

To enter the competition, students, teachers, parents or administrators must submit a 200-word essay or three-minute video, in the most creative way possible, on why they deserve to be selected. This can easily be done at Amato’s website http://pathwaytopeace.org/ . The site also offers the capability to become a sponsor or be partnered with a sponsor.

“This is certainly not a one-person project,” Amato admits, “and government funding is not available.” So he is challenging private enterprise to join in and sponsor a school so teachers can be trained to give children a proven tool to help shift the future. “The goal, and the hope, is to have this collaboration become infectious, spreading throughout communities and corporate America so that students from every school in the country, whether public or private, inner city or rural, have the opportunity to benefit from meditative practices.”

Amato knows the program is effective as proven in a multi-year pilot program he developed and implemented under a U.S. Department of Education grant in the Scranton (Pennsylvania) School District. He developed a qualitative research methodology to measure the attributes and benefits of the program. A qualitative case study methodology was then added to develop a mixed method research approach.

Are you willing to accept the challenge? The benefits reach everyone, so sign up now to enter the competition or to get help in getting started at http://pathwaytopeace.org/ .

Peter Amato is a trailblazer who possesses the innate ability to anticipate new paradigms in a changing marketplace, leading him to become a founding partner in several national businesses. Inspired by personal growth and the realization for the need for a higher standard within healthcare, he established the Inner Harmony Wellness Center and the Center for Integrative Medicine which is recognized as one of the first and foremost authentic centers for integrative medicine in the nation. A meditation and yoga master, with certifications from Deepak Chopra, MD Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. and Yogi Amrit Desai, Peter was the first to introduce a Meditation in School program and publish the results. Peter is the author of the book “Soul Silence” which explores one’s relationship to prayer and meditation, as well as numerous articles on mindfulness. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in mind-body medicine at Saybrook University. A student of many global healing systems, Peter is an in-demand speaker who has motivated audiences across the world.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10741211.htm

via Meditation Expert Peter Amato Announced Competition For Meditation In Schools Training – Press Release – Digital Journal.

 

Oprah and Deepak: 21 day meditation challenge – and it’s free | Montreal Gazette

Oprah and Deepak Chopra are teaming up for a 21 day meditation challenge which begins Monday, March 11th.

As the Divine Ms. O says “Stillness is the space where all creative expression, peace, and love abide.”

Couldn’t agree more.

If you’ve been thinking about  learning how to be still, (believe me, it’s not as easy as you might think!) now’s your time to try – and it’s free!

Click here to register.

http://goo.gl/V5RfN

Oprah and Deepak: 21 day meditation challenge – and it’s free | Montreal Gazette.

 

Meditation Tips – Chopra Center Meditation Challenge – Free to Love | Chopra Center

What is Meditation?

Deepak Defines Meditation – Everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. While that’s partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all. Not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there’s little space between every thought.

According to wisdom traditions, this space between the thought is the window, is the corridor, is the vortex to the infinite mind – the mystery that some people call the spirit or God. We don’t have to use those terms, but it’s your core consciousness. And the more we learn about this space between thoughts, we find certain things to be true of it:

It’s a field of infinite possibilities – infinite possibilities, pure potentiality.

Everything is connected to everything else.

It’s a space of infinite creativity, infinite imagination.

It is a place where there is something called observer effect, or the power of intention, which means intention is very powerful when brought to this space and it orchestrates its own fulfillment – what people call the law of attraction – so those are wonderful qualities of your own spirit.

In meditation, we get into this space so we find ourselves infinite possibilities, infinite correlation, infinite creativity, infinite imagination, and infinite power of intention. That’s what meditation is really about.

Where to Meditate

Since these are guided meditations, you can plug in, close your eyes, and go within in any safe place you choose where you will not be disturbed.

When to Meditate

Morning and evening coincide with our body’s quieter rhythms. Our body knows how to be still; we just have to give it opportunity. Studies show that routines begun in the morning last the longest, but any time you look forward to meditating is the right time.

Body Position

Being comfortable is most important. It is preferable to sit up straight on the floor or on a chair to help cultivate alertness, but if you are ill or need to lie down, that is fine. The mind has been conditioned to sleep when the body is lying down so you may feel sleepier. Your hands can relax on your lap, palms up or any way that you feel most open.

Thoughts

Thoughts will inevitably drift in and dance around your mind, but that’s normal. Don’t try to do anything with them – let them be. If you find yourself thinking about what’s passing through your mind, just return to focusing your awareness on the mantra or your breath – you will soon slip into the space between thoughts.

Breath

When we pay attention to our breath, we are in the present moment. In an unforced, natural rhythm, allow your breath to flow in and out, easily and effortlessly.

Meditation Length

The effects of meditation are cumulative, and setting aside as little as 15 minutes a day to retreat and rejuvenate is beneficial. Many schools of meditation prescribe 30 minutes of meditation twice a day, and as your meditation practice evolves, you can extend your time. It’s better to spend just a few minutes meditating every day rather than meditating for an hour a week.

The Five Things That Can Happen During Meditation

During meditation, five things can happen:

We can experience thoughts.

We can mentally repeat the mantra.

We can have thoughts and repeat the mantra at the same time. If this happens to you, place greater attention on the mantra.

Our thoughts and the mantra can cancel each other out, and we can slip into that place of stillness between our thoughts, the “gap.”

We can fall asleep. If you fall asleep, when you awaken and if time permits, allow yourself about five or ten minutes to complete your meditation.

via Meditation Tips – Chopra Center Meditation Challenge – Free to Love | Chopra Center.

Deepak Chopra Family Launches New YouTube Original Content Channel

Deepak Chopra Family Launches New YouTube Original Content Channel The
MarketWatch (press release)
Today at 1:30 p.m. EST Deepak, Mallika and Gotham will host a live global meditation designed to unite millions across the world in a first step toward change. As part of the event, Deepak will lead a guided meditation, inviting viewers from across the
Deepak Chopra Family Launches YouTube Original Content Channel The
Business Wire (press release)
The three will lead a live GOOGLE + HANGOUT (+choprawell) global meditation, using modern technology to disseminate ancient wisdom with the mission of uniting millions across the world in personal transformation. WHO: The event hosted by Google+

Meditation Resource List

Online Resources:

The Wild Divine:  This is a very cool biofeedback tool designed by Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil and Dean Ornish. It is a computer program with attached finger clips to measure your Heart Rate and skin conductivity. http://www.wilddivine.com/

DoAsOne.org – Breathing and Color Meditation breath guidance.  Also has a mobile app.

The Meditation Room at “Learning Meditation.” You can browse through texts and listen to audio from various authors and can either download (many for free) or explore CD’s by authors you particularly enjoy. http://www.learningmeditation.com/

The Institute of HeartMath is an internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to heart-based living – people relying on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with their minds to conduct their lives at home, school, work and play. HeartMath has been researching heart intelligence, stress and emotional management for more than 19 years and applied its findings to practical, easy-to-use tools that have been scientifically developed and tested. http://www.heartmath.org/

Book Suggestions:

“The Stress of Life” by Hans Selye, MD, PHD

“Stress has become such an ingrained part of our vocabulary and daily existence, that it is difficult to believe that our current use of the term originated only a little more than 50 years ago, when it was essentially “coined” by Hans Selye. How this came to pass because of a serendipitous laboratory accident is interesting, but not nearly as fascinating as the story of its discoverer, Hans Selye, who would easily qualify for the Reader’s Digest “Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met” classification.”  –Paul J. Rosch, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Hans Selye MD PHD,the discoverer of “biologic stress”, the neuroendocrine response of the body to exposure to stressors, lays the foundation for mind-body medicine and takes the reader on a detailed journey of scientific discovery which impacts every human being. This three time Nobel Prize nominee was way ahead of his time documenting the role of stress hormones on the immune, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and neurological systems.

Selye’s interest in educating the lay public and health professionals and his commitment to share behaviors and life philosophies that are protective or modulate life stressors are evident throughout. Strongly recommended for health professionals with an interest in the scientific foundation for mind-body medicine. A must read for the lay person with an interest in stress adaptation and how the brain processes life stressors.

“When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times” by Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron At the Omega Institute, May 2007.

The beautiful practicality of her teaching has made Pema Chödrön one of the most beloved of contemporary American spiritual authors among Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. A collection of talks she gave between 1987 and 1994, the book is a treasury of wisdom for going on living when we are overcome by pain and difficulties. Chödrön discusses:
Using painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage
Communicating so as to encourage others to open up rather than shut down
Practices for reversing habitual patterns
Methods for working with chaotic situations
Ways for creating effective social action

Local and Mobile:

East West Bookstore: a resource for meditation CD’s with a listening station as well as a lending library of DVD’s and CD’s.  Also a place for Classes, workshops and other events and a place to purchase items such as Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, cushions, books and more.  On Roosevelt and 65th in Ravenna.  www.eastwestbookshop.com

There’s an App for that!  You can find apps for meditation timers, breathing instructions and more!