Recently I wrote a post about the second wave of mindfulness, moving from an approach to support us individually, to something that is being applied throughout multiple sectors in our culture including education, politics, government, business, the military, our prisons, and is at the forefront of healthcare and science. This is where we’re headed. Recently, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg put out a challenge to the cities of America to find solutions to our most entrenched challenges. Santa Monica, California put out a compelling response, forming for the first time a “Well-Being Index” that measures the well-being of an entire city.
What would be different if we moved beyond our awareness of personal well-being and could see the well-being of an entire city? How would this inform decision making at a governmental level? This is the piece that is missing in helping people make change. It sounds fascinating to me.
Here’s the short video they made that lays it out:
A while ago I walked into a particular publisher and saw every title of their upcoming books having “mindfulness” in the title and I was concerned that it was getting watered down. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As of today, mindfulness has evolved within America and has the potential to have a greater influence than we had ever imagined. Leaders around the country are implementing it in early child development, the military, education, politics, neuroscience, medicine, healthcare, business, the prisons, at-risk youth, and of course, psychotherapy. In this post I’m going to highlight a few key things that are happening that you may want to know about and how our culture is ripe for a second wave of mindfulness.
One of most essential relationships in life is with the food we eat. What we bring into our bodies affects our level of energy, ability to pay attention, and general well-being. That is why being mindful in our lives has to integrate the food we eat. Brandt Passalacqua, author of the audio program Being At Peace With Food, is also a speaker who discovered yoga and meditation after struggling with his weight, food and substance addiction, and serious illness. Since founding Peaceful Weight Loss™ Through Yoga, his personal journey has served as an inspiration to countless others looking to make peace with food. You can also check out his webinar here.
Today, Brandt talks to us about what our most impactful bad eating habits are, how he developed a healthy relationship to food, a meditation to get us started and a little advice at the end.
Elisha: Hi Brandt, to get us started tell us what some of the most impactful negative eating habits are that affect us today?
It’s a dreaded day for some and a joyous for others. Whether we like it or not, Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Since the 11th century it’s been a time representing romantic love and by the 15th century it was a day to express love with flowers and greeting cards of some kind. But maybe there’s even another evolution that this day can take. Can it be that we can include romantic love but even make this day a day of greater meaning that transcends and includes romantic love?
In my mind it’s the case that all people, if not all beings, at the core want to feel like they belong and that they’re loved.
Why not make Valentine’s Day a day for all people in the greater relationship of humanity. This is a day where if you’re in a relationship you can have your romantic version and also a wider Valentine of all humanity, enhancing intimacy and compassion.
Here’s a rich three step Valentine practice for the couple, yourself, and for all people:
I recently led a workshop focused on helping us develop a wiser relationship to our technology (Smartphones, IPads, computers, television, etc.). In the beginning of the workshop I explained how as much as we feel that technology is a part of our lives, historically, we’re really just becoming acquainted with it. We talked about how in many ways, the people who came to the group were like “Digital Warriors,” at the frontier of optimizing this new wiser relationship to technology.
Here are a five benefits we found and one thing that surprised me most about what would come in life we practiced more digital awareness.
When I sit and reflect on the neuroscience of our relationship to Smartphones, many ideas come to mind and I’ll list them out in a moment. As for the brain, it’s common knowledge that when we practice and repeat things in life, the habit formation is tied to an area of the brain the size of a walnut called the basal ganglia. We also know that dopamine is a chemical that drives motivation and pleasure. A message arrives and there’s a reward to going and checking it, so the dopamine drives our behavior to check. One thing we may want to consider is that alongside all the wonderful things technology brings, it also often triggers our stress response. In the emotional center of the brain is the amygdala or “fear circuit” that can be easily triggered out of some perceived danger of missing a message. In other words, our Smartphones get linked to a biological stress or anxiety response.
At some point we have to pause and ask the question, “How’s this working for ya?”
One thing that most people would agree on is that at this point in time, technology, while being a great resource, is often controlling us more than we’re controlling it. It’s time to accept the reality of that and with this acceptance, step into a space of choice to build a more mature, effective and wiser relationship to it.
In a recent post I gave a number of ways to Optimize Our Relationship to Technology, but here is one more fun way you can do this in social settings.
Make it Social
All of us have an innate desire to heal our suffering and step into a wiser and happier life. Today it is my great pleasure to bring a favorite author, teacher and psychologist of mine who is at the forefront of integrating mindfulness into psychotherapy and our lives. Tara Brach, PhD is author of the recently released and the soon-to-be-a-classic True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart, bestselling book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha, and many more. Tara has weekly podcasts from her Wednesday night sitting groups and is senior teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Communityof Washington. She embodies and emphasizes that beneath the turbulence of our minds and hearts is a loving awareness that as we learn to tap into over and again can reveal a source of resiliency, peace and genuine happiness.
Today, Tara will talk to us about her own journey through suffering that led to true refuge, the differences between true and false refuges, key practices to begin with this in our lives, how this applies to anxiety and depression and a final message for us to walk away with.
Elisha: One of the aspects of your book that I deeply appreciated was your personal journey from suffering to find your true refuge. Can you share a little of that with us here?