In 1979 a young Harvard psychology professor named Ellen Langer (soon to be played by Jennifer Aniston in Counter Clockwise) realized something astonishing — and true. “Without knowing someone’s chronological age, science cannot pinpoint how old someone is.” Langer had also built a basic theory of mindfulness that has guided her entire career: “It occurred to me that wherever we put the mind, the body should follow.” And so she came up with an experiment on aging worthy of a Hollywood feature.
While in high school, Jaimal Yogis ran away to sea in search of good surfing and lasting spiritual truths. (“Note to Mom and Dad: I am somewhere in the world, and I will call you when I get there.”) In his new book, Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea (Wisdom Publications), Yogis recounts in short, candid chapters, the waves, experiences, and insights that ignited and sustain his ongoing investigation of the way of Zen. Here, Yogis talks about the resonance between surf and spirit.
At Naropa, the arts university “dedicated to advancing contemplative education” in Boulder, Colorado, students in the Master of Divinity program are anywhere from 20-something to 60-something and represent a range of ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. One thing they share, says John Weber, administrative director of the Religious Studies Department, is a willingness to take a deep look at themselves and their community.
In our July issue we reported on studies by Martha Farah, director for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, demonstrating that children raised in poverty tend to be able to hold fewer items in their working memory than middle-class children. Dr. Farah and colleagues then went on to discover that the reason for this deficit in working memory is stress. These findings are enormously important because they help explain how poverty can be passed from generation to generation.
Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the co-director of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Group at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Becoming a mom led her to do research that shows that mindfulness practices can reduce negative emotions and anxiety during pregnancy. That research birthed her Mindful Motherhood program, directed toward helping women get in the best emotional and mental shape possible for that first critical year of motherhood.
Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a debilitating mix of pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and depression that is resistant to treatment. Part of the difficulty in treating the millions of Americans who fit the diagnosis is that FMS may not actually be an illness.
We all participate in some way in our nation’s wars. Here’s why we don’t let war interfere with our serenity — and why we should.
Infinite bliss and enlightenment may be just a breath away. But what does that really mean?
Many years ago a stage hypnotist came to my high school for a routine performance in which the finale involved telling a wispy teenage girl that she was as strong as a board — and she became that way. She was lifted by her shoulders and her feet and placed across two stools to form a bench. Then the hypnotist, a grown man, set one foot on her unsupported midsection and stepped up onto her. He raised his hands to great applause … and still her body didn’t bend!
As long as I’ve been married to a yoga teacher, I’ve had trouble keeping milk in the refrigerator. Whenever she teaches, she makes her own blend of chai latte and carts it to her groups, where the class time is about doubled for tea and conversation. She says that she’s sure the girls she teaches at a nearby court-appointed community of tough, depressed, and angry young women benefit more from the tea than the yoga.