Archive for March, 2014

Starting Wednesday, March 20, Princeton University’s lecturer Robert Wright is offering a six-week free online course titled Buddhism and Modern Psychology. The course is made available through the online education platform Coursera. To register, please go to https://www.coursera.org/course/psychbuddhism. It takes less than a minute and it is available to anyone, anywhere in the world. Thanks to Bonnie for sharing this.

Robert Wright is a visiting lecturer at the Department of Religion and Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Here is a short course description:

“The Buddha said that human suffering—ranging from anxiety to sadness to unfulfilled craving—results from not seeing reality clearly. He described a kind of meditation that promises to ease suffering by dispelling illusions about the world and ourselves. What does psychological science say about this diagnosis and prescription—and about the underlying model of the mind?”

Yoga psychology, described in detail in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and Buddha’s teachings are based on Samkhya philosophy (as is Jainism). They share so much. It is so easy to overlook that yoga is not just asana or physical poses–it is really the science of the mind and psychology. It was the mind that was the object of contemplation and research.

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Thirty minutes of meditation a day may keep anxiety and depression at bay, according to research released by Johns Hopkins on January 6, 2014.

Madhav Goyal, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine says that meditation is not considered mainstream therapy, “But in our study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants.” Dr. Goyal and his colleagues found that mindful meditation techniques were also promising for pain symptoms (fibromyalgia) and stress. The researchers accounted for any possible placebo effects. It should be noted that the patients who participated in the study did not typically have full-blown anxiety or depression.

In the Johns Hopkins article, Dr. Goyal states that to many people meditation means sitting down and doing nothing. But of course, this is not true. Meditation is an active mind training exercise to increase awareness and different meditation programs approach it in different ways. From my readings and experience, people suffering from extreme anxiety and a full-blown depression should not seek to treat themselves with meditations alone and should seek expert medical help.

Source: “Meditation for Anxiety and Depression?”


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The 80-minute guided meditation CD Breathe Fully Live Free: Meditations to Release Anxiety and Fear is now available at Whole Foods Princeton, Ridgewood, and most other Whole Foods stores in New Jersey, lower Connecticut, and Long Island. It is also on CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon (see links on Mahasri Yoga). The CD includes some core personal teachings of Swami Buddhananda Saraswati who was a key, well-loved Australian teacher (especially for yoga nidras and kriya yoga!) at the Bihar School of Yoga. He is the author of Moola Bandha:The Master Key.

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