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With Thanksgiving coming up, here are a couple of items you might want to share with your more conservative friends and family:

  • U.S. Health Care Reform Act, as a comic book: Co-created by Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of Obamacare, who thinks that many who oppose the bill don’t understand what’s really in it. The book won’t be out until right before Christmas, but at a mere $11 on Amazon, it makes for a great small holiday gift.
  • Hot Coffee: Tort reform is one of those issues where one side (trial lawyers) has been so routinely demonized, that the general public assumes that it’s the right thing to do. I confess that’s how I felt before watching this documentary. The filmmakers do a great job reminding us that the jury system is just about the only place left where ordinary citizens can still take on major corporations. On the other hand I still think that frivolous lawsuits can drive up costs. So the right answer is probably somewhere in between. In any case, the film really fits right in with the spirit of the #occupywallstreet movement.

  • Written by virtualsatsang

    November 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Posted in Malas, Social Justice

    Tagged with

    Mindfulness RAIN and Mental Health

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    I first encountered RAIN (“Four Principles for Mindful Transformation”) in Jack Kornfield’s wonderful book on buddhist psychology. Kornfield describes RAIN as a staple of Western mindfulness retreats, I haven’t yet tracked down it’s exact origins.

    RAIN is comprised of four transformative principles, which proponents describe as useful for getting through life’s difficulties and for understanding triggers of strong emotional reactions:

    • Recognition: The willingness to see what is happening allows us to step out of denial.
    • Acceptance allows us to “… relax and open to the facts before us.  … With acceptance and respect, problems that seem intractable become workable.”
    • Investigation: “Whenever we are stuck, it is because we have not looked deeply enough into the nature of the experience. As we undertake investigation, we focus on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (body, feelings, mind, and dharma).”
    • Non-identification “… means that we stop taking the experience as ‘me’ or ‘mine’. … ‘Is this really who I am?’ … We see the tentativeness of this identity. Then we are free to let go and rest in awareness itself.”

    From RAIN’s appearance on one of the blogs in Psych Central (”the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health and psychology network”), it seems that this useful framework is at least being introduced to a wider range of mental health practitioners. Here are some notable posts:

    Written by virtualsatsang

    September 29, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Posted in Health, Meditation, Sadhana

    Tagged with , ,

    Malas

    with one comment

    • Developing a meditation practice: Zen teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer writes “… When people ask me how to get a home meditation practice started, here is what I tell them: the practice begins the night before. Before you go to sleep, set the alarm for half an hour earlier than usual … This little exercise may sound silly but it is very important. It addresses the main difficulty we have with self discipline: we are ambivalent. … Try this for two weeks, taking a day or so off each week. If you miss a day, that’s OK. … Many people ask, “Is it necessary to do this in the morning? Is there some magic to the morning? I am not a morning person.” Yes, I think there is magic to the morning. Monastic schedules the world over include early morning practice. Practice seems most beneficial at that time of day, when your psyche is in a liminal state and the world around you has not quite awakened. Also, you are more likely to do it in the morning, before your day gets engaged and you remember all the things you need to do.”
    • Four Steps to Renewing Your Energy, Health and Life:  Author  and physician Linda Clever talks about her new book and along the way recommends a listener read Ram Dass’ Be Here Now“Our lives demand too much of us; when everything is a priority, this can make us sick and tired. Dr. Clever discovered the personal cost of this lifestyle and has since devoted herself to helping people renew themselves and regain balance in life. … Filled with easy self-assessments, informational charts, and sound advice from a physician who healed herself, this book will help you avoid illness, reset priorities, and most importantly, regain your health and happiness.”
    • Walking Meditation as a 10-Minute Willpower Boost: “A 2009 study by researchers at the University of Exeter, UK, found that walking for 15 minutes decreased cravings among smokers, and a 2010 study at the University of Virginia study found that two weeks of regular exercise induced brain changes that suppressed cravings, and reduced drug-seeking behavior, in cocaine-addicted rats.”
    • Meditation Room at the U.N. Headquarters:  Bet you didn’t know that there was a meditation room at the U.N. Neither did I, until last week. Created under the direction and vision of the late Dag Hammarskjöld (whom JFK referred to as the “the greatest statesman of our century”), I only hope that the visiting dignitaries make it a point to use this “… place dedicated to silence”,  before they pass resolutions that affect the planet.

    Written by virtualsatsang

    September 27, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Posted in Health, Malas, Meditation, Sadhana

    Tagged with , , ,

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