My teacher spoke of neither pushing away the moment nor grabbing onto the 
moment. Life flows through us peacefully. 

But many practitioners and neurologists emphasize that it is not not getting 
upset but recovering quickly  and with awareness that is key. Irritants pop up 
from time to time. To leave them as just irritants and not have the whole 
body/mind get flooded with irritation is the pleasant state. 

Rocks are not reactive. That isn't so hard. To be aware and not reactive, that 
is our calling as humans. 

Chris Austin-Lane
Sent from a cell phone

On Oct 20, 2010, at 4:21, Rose P <> wrote:

> This was a really interesting article Ed. The bit that really stood out for 
> me was 'Years of meditation cultivates a natural non-reactivity to 
> experience.' It made me wonder whether, once everything else is stripped away 
> (the words, the concepts, the debates, and indeed the 'wondering'...), is 
> non-reactivity to experience the essence, the key, the aim of the practice....
> Rose
> --- On Wed, 10/20/10, ED <> wrote:
> From: ED <>
> Subject: [Zen] Positive neural changes in the brain due to meditation?
> To:
> Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 6:48 AM
> Mindfulness: Meditation Vs. Skill Set
> October 7, 2010
> By 4u Articles
> As a long term yogic and vipassana meditator, and a mindfulness-based 
> psychotherapist who regularly teaches meditation practices to my patients, I 
> find the growth of mindfulness as a clinical intervention very timely. Last 
> year, I attended two conferences focused on the use of mindfulness as a 
> clinical intervention: Meditation and Psychotherapy at Harvard Medical School 
> and Mindfulness and Psychotherapy at UCLA.
> Interestingly, the conference at Harvard featured a greater percentage of 
> presenters who do not use meditation as an intervention in their clinical 
> work. For them, mindfulness is a teachable skill set, extrapolated from a way 
> of viewing life gained from sustained Buddhist meditation practices.
> These presenters included: Steven Hayes, founder of ACT, Lizbeth Roemer, U 
> Mass GAD researcher and clinician, Tal Ben-Shahar, Harvard Lecturer on 
> Positive Psychology, and Jayme Shorin, LICSW, sensorimotor trainer. The fact 
> that the organizers of the Harvard conference felt it necessary to devote 
> over half of the presentation time to methodologies that do not include 
> meditation was, for me, significant.
> Though this might be expected at a Mindfulness and Psychotherapy conference, 
> in fact the UCLA conference featured more presenters discussing the use of 
> meditation and compassion practices as a clinical intervention.
> These presenters included: Thich Nhat Hahn, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and 
> meditation teacher, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Harriett Kimble Wrye, and 
> Trudy Goodman, all psychologists and meditation teachers, and Dr. Daniel 
> Siegel & Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar presenting the neurobiology of 
> meditation.
> Due to the continuing trend in mental health toward brief, CBT [Cognitive 
> Behavior Therapy] methods and away from depth-oriented, psychodynamic 
> therapies, one can easily see how a reduction of mindfulness to an easily 
> deliverable skill set would be a natural outcome of the environment in which 
> it is delivered.
> But is the doing away with meditation practice psychotherapeutically wrong or 
> ineffective? Not necessarily.
> Even in the East, Karma Yoga is an example of a path to liberation which 
> eschews formal meditation practice in favor of a commitment to the work one 
> does in the world as spiritual practice.
> Also, with neuroscience showing significant brain changes from long-term 
> mindfulness meditation, one can easily see how a researcher like Steven Hayes 
> could create mental exercises that simulate, through active questioning of 
> the validity of language, the realization of the contextual nature of the 
> self., i.e., Am I really these thoughts and beliefs that my mind continually 
> comes up with?
> Years of meditation cultivates a natural non-reactivity to experience. But 
> why wait years, when simple instructions for distress tolerance, like those 
> featured in DBT can be dispensed to patients suffering from emotion 
> dysregulation? Following in the footsteps of ACT is Acceptance-based 
> psychotherapy which focuses on delivering skills for realizing and accepting 
> here and now experience with compassion; something vipassana meditation and 
> metta practices are well documented at cultivating in long-term 
> practitioners. Yet again, why practice meditation at all when mindfulness 
> skills can be learned and behaviors changed?
> Additionally, it must be acknowledged that most psychotherapists will not 
> want to learn and commit to a daily mindfulness meditation practice, or be 
> trained to teach mindfulness meditation. Therefore, it may be more desirable 
> and practical in clinical settings to deliver a CBT-like mindfulness skill 
> set rather than teach meditation
> In light of all these benefits, what do we lose in clinical practice when we 
> allow instruction of vipassana/mindfulness meditation to fall into disfavor 
> or become outmoded? The following list is my best guess at an answer to this 
> question:
> 1.The long and short term stress-reducing physical effects of meditation
> 2.The plethora of profoundly, positive neural changes evidenced in the brains 
> of long term vipassana/Tibetan Buddhist meditators
> 3.The deep emotional healing that comes from metta/forgiveness/compassion 
> meditation practices
> 4.The benefits of setting aside time in our busy lives for silence, 
> meditation and contemplation
> 5.The cultivation of peacefulness
> 6.The deepening of connection with and respect for our planet and all living 
> things upon it, which naturally arise from sustained meditation practice
> 7.The shared joy of a community of meditators; whether traditional sanghas or 
> 8-week mindfulness-based groups like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 
> (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression Relapse Prevention 
> (MBCT), or Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for addiction recovery (MBRP).
> I have seen patients experience radical change from incorporating mindfulness 
> meditation and mindfulness skills into their daily lives and I am excited to 
> offer MBRP, a mindfulness-based intervention for addiction relapse prevention 
> in San Jose, CA in March 2008. Please contact me for more information.

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