New Dharma Talk on Practicing Bodhicitta

Machik-Labdron

Listen to a dharma talk I gave at Marin Sangha on November 5, 2017 on Bodhicitta: the dedicated, heart-felt desire to fully awaken for the benefit of all other beings. Bodhicitta reminds us that every moment is an invitation to awaken all beings by motivating ourselves to engage in other-regarding behaviors. This is how we take on the responsibility of decreasing the mass of human suffering by seeding the world with at least one more quiescent, wise and compassionate person who moves through their life awakened and present to suffering and non-suffering. Enjoy!

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Interview on Somatic Trauma Interventions

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On this day, September 11, when many of us remember the traumatic events in NYC, Washington DC and Pennsylvania, I am pleased to share an interview I did for the Present Moment PodcastOur discussion revolved mainly around the use of Integrative Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing Therapy for trauma healing highlighting where mindfulness interventions and somatic interventions align and depart; particularly when it comes to resolving physiological and psychological trauma responses. The Present Moment Podcast is produced by Ted Meissner, Online and Community Development Manager for the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS Medical School.

Listen here: https://presentmomentmindfulness.com/2017/09/09/episode-095-lisa-dale-miller-somatic-trauma-intervention/

Practicing Non-hatred in a Hate-filled World

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The practice of non-hatred may be the most difficult of the Buddhist precepts to apply as a Buddhist practitioner/householder living in a world characterized by a mass of human suffering arising from hatred, greed and ignorance. This talk had particular significance as it was delivered two weeks after the horrific events that transpired in Charleston. I consider this dharma talk a follow-up to my last talk on the Skillful Means of Recognizing Empty Appearance

Download this talk: Download mp3     
Listen to it on iTunes: iTunes podcast

New Dharma Talk: Empty Appearance

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Listen to a dharma talk I gave on August 8, 2017 at IMSB in Mountain View, Ca, on the topic of Skillfully Recognizing Empty Appearance. Though the Buddhist notion of emptiness can be quite challenging for Western Buddhist practitioners, the rich teachings on emptiness offer a clear path to apply wise view, wise action and skillful means in daily life. Enjoy!
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iTunes podcast

Building Psychosocial Resilience for Climate Disruption

On June 12, 2017 the International Transformational Resilience Coalition and American Public Health Alliance hosted a workshop on Psychosocial Resilience for Climate Change. Watch the presentations given by Bob Doppelt, MS, MS, Coordinator, International Transformational Resilience Coalition and Lise Van Susteren, MD, Forensic Psychiatrist.

While public health programs focus on providing short-term assistance during and after major climate events, the public also needs long-term strategies to cope with the strain that rising, ongoing climate change has on mental health and psychosocial well-being.  are proud to host this workshop, which will illustrate how public health professionals can help build widespread resilience for the traumas and toxic stresses of climate change.

 

 

New NCCIH Analysis of Meditation Styles

Below is a new analysis of meditation effects from the NCCIH based upon a large 2012 survey.

Meditators and Non-meditators Differ on Demographic Factors, Health Behaviors, Health Status, and Health Care Access, New Analysis Shows

Senior doing a yoga pose on a yoga mat

© ThinkStock

 

A new analysis shows that meditators differed from nonmeditators on key factors, such as demographics, health behaviors, health status, and health care access. These results expand on the relatively limited information known about the characteristics of people who practice meditation. The findings, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, are based on data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a large survey conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

In growing recognition of the diversity of traditions and practices, the 2012 NHIS collected information on three common meditation styles—mantra, mindfulness, and spiritual meditation—to provide greater insight on these practices. The analysis examined the prevalence and patterns of use among 34,525 adults during the 12 months prior to the survey.*

Comparing meditators and nonmeditators, the results showed that:

  • Meditators were more likely than nonmeditators to be middle-aged, white, female, college-educated, and living in the Western United States.
  • Meditators were more likely to engage in preventive health practices such as physical activity, quitting smoking, and having their cholesterol checked.
  • Meditators were more likely to be underweight/heathly body weight (41% versus 31%).
  • Meditators had more health concerns, including one or more functional limitations (45% versus 34%), chronic back pain (39% versus 27%), and depression (22% versus 9%).
  • Meditators were more likely to have visited a conventional health care provider 10 or more times in the previous 12 months (26% versus 13%).

Looking at exclusive use of one of the three types of meditation revealed the following:

  • Individuals in all three meditation groups shared characteristics found among users of other complementary health practices, especially self-care or wellness-oriented activities such as yoga.
  • Meditation prevalence was typically higher for survey respondents who were female, non-Hispanic white, college-educated, and physically active; who used acupuncture, yoga, and vegetarian diets; and who reported depression as well as higher use of conventional health care services.
  • The use of spiritual meditation was more prevalent among those reporting health complaints, using more conventional health services, and being a former drinker and/or a former smoker. Spiritual meditation was also the largest meditation group.

Looking at mindfulness meditation specifically:

  • More respondents practiced mindfulness meditation for wellness than to treat a specific health condition (73% versus 30%).
  • Stress management, emotional well-being, having an increased sense of control over health issues, and better sleep were the top wellness-related reasons reported for practicing mindfulness meditation.
  • Meditators were more likely than nonmeditators to use other complementary health approaches, including provider-based practices such as chiropractic and self-care approaches such as yoga.

The researchers concluded that use of meditation may be more about the type of person practicing than about the specific type of meditation practiced—people using diverse methods to support health and well-being. Considering the nature of consumer preference for seemingly distinct types of meditation practices, understanding the underlying mechanisms, benefits, and applications of practice variations is important.

Reference

  • Burke A, Lam CN, Stussman B, et al. The practice of meditation: prevalence and patterns of use among adults in the United States. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. June 15, 2017. Epub ahead of print.

*A previous analysis showed that the total number of U.S. adults who practiced mantra, mindfulness, or spiritual meditation or used meditation as part of other practices (yoga, tai chi, and qi gong) was almost 18 million.  ​​​​​​​

https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/three-types-of-meditation?nav=govd