Change Your LIfe and Your Mind

My mentor and friend Bala Kamallakharan sent me this video, and I had to share it with you. See some of the world's brightest thinkers on meditation speak about the science behind the practice. Video and words courtesy of Big Think.


"How meditation can change your life and mind"

with Sam Harris, Author of Waking up to Spirituality Without Religion

Jon Kabat-Zinn - Professor of Medicine Emeritus UMASS Medical School

Emma Seppålå (I LOVE her!) - Research Director, Stanford Univ. Center of Compassion

Daniel Goleman - Psychologist, Scinece Journalist and Author of The Science of Meditation

Peter Bauman - Composer

Wendy Suzuki - New York University Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology

Losang Samten - Former Buddhist Monk, Spiritual Director at

Damien Echols - Author High Magick


Video plus transcript below!

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Big Think: "There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to what mindfulness is and what meditation can do for those who practice it. In this video, "How meditation can change your life and mind" professors, neuroscientists, psychologists, composers, authors, and a former Buddhist monk share their experiences, explain the science behind meditation, and discuss the benefits of learning to be in the moment. "Mindfulness allows us to shift our relationship to our experience," explains psychologist Daniel Goleman. The science shows that long-term meditators have higher levels of gamma waves in their brains even when they are not meditating. The effect of this altered response is yet unknown, though it shows that there are lasting cognitive effects. "I think we're looking at meditation as the next big public health revolution," says ABC News anchor Dan Harris. "Meditation is going to join the pantheon of no-brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth and taking the meds that your doctor prescribes to you." Closing out the video is a guided meditation experience led by author Damien Echols that can be practiced anywhere and repeated as many times as you'd like."

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TRANSCRIPT:

RASMUS HOUGAARD: There is a general huge misconception around mindfulness. Many people think that mindfulness is a spiritual thing. Many think that it's a private thing that we do at home, and most people think that mindfulness is about slowing down. That's wrong. Mindfulness, in short terms, is really about speeding up our mental processes whereby we can be more effective with whatever we're doing, that we have this attentional muscle that allows us really to be on task with what we are doing.

EMMA SEPPÄLÄ: Research shows that our mind actually wanders about 50% of the time, and research also shows that when our mind is wandering we are never as happy as when our mind is in the present moment. So if your mind is in the future worrying about something that is going to happen, or in the past because you're regretting something or angry at somebody, you're more likely to feel more negative emotions. But when you're in the present moment, even if you're doing a task you don't particularly like, you'll actually feel

happier. But also what we know is that you'll be able to be more productive when you're in that state because you're going to be naturally focused.

JON KABAT-ZINN: People misunderstand meditation as oh, I just sweep all my thoughts away and then I'm in this like nirvana. What you'll get by trying to sweep all your thoughts away is a headache at the most, because there's no way to sweep your thoughts away. They will get you every time. And then you can have millions of thoughts about mindfulness and meditation and those are just thoughts, too. They're not meditating. But when you see that you're not your thoughts then you can watch them in this kind of impersonal, more sort of if you will observing way with kindness, with self-compassion, because a lot of them are heavily loaded with negative emotion. And you can see that if you don't touch them, if you don't do anything with them, if you don't get caught in them, they self-liberate naturally in awareness. The awareness is like touching a soap bubble. It's fun for kids and fun for adults, too. A soap bubble and you touch it and it just goes poof. So I love that image. The thought is the soap bubble and the emotion, too, that's valancing the thought and you don't need to do anything with it because your awareness - it's like not even a finger. It's not corporeal. The awareness, just the embracing of it or the arising of it like in the sky it goes poof all by itself. And don't take my word for it. This is something that when you sit down and you begin to watch you'll see this is not rocket science. You don't have to sit in the cave for 30 years to have that kind of experience. All you need to do is in some sense get out of your own way. Now, I'm not saying that's easy. That's really hard, but if you can have moments when you get out of your own way then you'll see that a lot of this stuff that we get so caught up in it's like it's a mirage.

SAM HARRIS: There are features of our experience that we don't notice when we're lost in thought. So, for instance, every experience you've ever had, every emotion, the anger you felt yesterday or a year ago isn't here anymore. It arises and it passes away, and if it comes back in the present moment by virtue of your thinking about it again it will subside again when you're no longer thinking about it. Now, this is something that people tend not to...


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