That point made is actually incomplete as I should have said: " When the mind 
is closed on its own ideas, preconceived concepts and so on....Nothing new can 
get into and nothing old can be let go out".In the same way that the of in and 
out breathing.  We breathe in a new air get into our lungs  and we breathe out 
and  let the old breathe to get out.  We don't hold onto the breath we breathe 
in and the one we let out.  If we'll be holding wouldn't be possible to 
live.   Or the waves of the sea they coming and going.  They splash over the 
object they find on their way to the rocks, the sand and then retry back to be 
just water. And new waves come doing the same over and over.   And all these is 
the natural rhythm of life.  And so is with our mind when we let it be 
You are going to hear lots and lots of talking about mindfulness.  I did that 
myself in the past till I realised that I wasn't walking the talk.  So stopped 
to talk too much about mindfulness.  However, there are times in which I  have 
to talk about it.  Specially if  I see someone giving an incorrect transmission 
of this teaching.  This is my responsibility as I was given this specific 
direct teaching by TNH himself and for several times!!!.   So when I had to 
talk about it I make very clear that I'm not always a mindful person etc.  So 
in this way people don't feel too disappointed afterwards and still they can 
keep nourishing their mindfulness.  
The idea of practising mindfulness in a hospital is a good idea if the 
monastics from TNH were involved on it.  And even like that I'm not sure if 
would work out because it takes years of practice to keep into that kind of 
continuos concentration of what is going in and out oneselves.   
Anyway, one of the very first things TNH kept warning us many years ago 
was never to try to convert to anyone and instead allow the person to approach 
by himself or herself the dharma. He used to make clear that doing differently 
would have make from this dharma another religion in which one is converted 
into and that this dharma wasn't a religion but a way of living.   Real 
mindfulness doesn't need to sell itself to anyone, or make use  of scientific 
propaganda or any other kind because when a person is mindful everyone can see, 
sense, touch it.  If one wants to learn really well what is this mindfulness 
about then one has to go to the real source of this teaching and that is TNH 
and his monastics.  Attending a retreat with them.  
--- On Thu, 21/10/10, Rose P <> wrote:

From: Rose P <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Positive neural changes in the brain due to meditation?
Date: Thursday, 21 October, 2010, 10:26


Mayka, I really like that point you make about really nothing new being learned 
because of having an open mind to things. That's given my brain something to 
ponder on for the day :) 
And I do see where you're coming from with regards to science taking 
mindfulness and meditation, stripping them right back, and taking them away 
from their context (sort of thing).

--- On Wed, 10/20/10, Maria Lopez <> wrote:

From: Maria Lopez <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Positive neural changes in the brain due to meditation?
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 4:36 PM


Non being reactive in the TNH tradition means that you are opened to the 
experience that is in front of you.  Means to have an open mind. Means that one 
is not a narrow mind.   It means that one is not limited by pre-concepts and 
ideas in a way that nothing new can get into one.   Nothing new can be learnt.  
New experiences in that way are not welcome.  It doesn't seem to me that that 
is your case.  You actually seem to be quite an open mind 
person.   If one reacts and one knows that one is reacting .  One could also  
do an step forward and finding out why one is reacting.    But it will be one 
and no one else who has to see into that.   Having a reaction with the unknown 
is a normal reaction we all have. The difference with a non practicioner is 
that the non practicioner reacts and doesn't know of reacting.
To me this article has not a particular value in the theme is talking about  
because is written from an outsider and not from within the direct experience 
of the practice.  I wonder if this may be the reason the writer of the article 
backs up continusly himself/herself  with the use of science,  pompous names, 
professions, schools to persuade better his/her readers to convert better his 
readers to whatever he wants to convert them.  This is called religious 
Have I answer what you were asking?. 
--- On Wed, 20/10/10, Rose P <> wrote:

From: Rose P <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Positive neural changes in the brain due to meditation?
Date: Wednesday, 20 October, 2010, 13:51


Yes, indeed Mayka. This question of 'non-reactivity to experience' though, I'm 
a little confused as to whether that's part of the aim of meditation (this is 
not really the word I'm looking for at all......but I don't have a better 
one...). Non-reactivity to experience could be helpful in certain situations, 
but not in others? Or always helpful.....? For a beginner like myself there's 
something appealing about non-reactivity as a 'goal', albeit probably an 
unattainable one. 

--- On Wed, 10/20/10, Maria Lopez <> wrote:

From: Maria Lopez <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Positive neural changes in the brain due to meditation?
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 12:16 PM


Empathy, care for a patient,  altruism, love,  compassion has always been in 
very good reputable all Hospitals from Pamplona, Spain which are well know to 
all  high standard up Professional in the medical field in Europe . strangely 
enough those hospitals happen to be in its majority in the hands of OPUS Dei 
and catholic church (or at least they were) .  The real  mystery here is once 
again in the heart.  And no matter who embodies that heart.  Nothing at all is 
possible without the heart.  If mindfulness is show in a scientific way the 
outcome will be a disaster
--- On Wed, 20/10/10, Rose P <> wrote:

From: Rose P <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Positive neural changes in the brain due to meditation?
Date: Wednesday, 20 October, 2010, 12:21


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 practise....

--- On Wed, 10/20/10, ED <> wrote:

From: ED <>
Subject: [Zen] Positive neural changes in the brain due to meditation?
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 6:48 AM



Mindfulness: Meditation Vs. Skill Set

October 7, 2010By 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 
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 
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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