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Uniquely comprehensive, this one-stop resource describes thirty-?ve distinct meditation practices, detailing their historical background and contemporary use, ways to begin, and additional resources.

This article describes the design and advocacy of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz and Contemplative Studies curriculum at The University of Michigan School of Music. The curriculum combines meditation practice and related studies with jazz and overall musical training and is part of a small but growing movement in academia that seeks to integrate contemplative disciplines within the educational process. The article considers issues such as the structure of the curriculum, the reconciliation of contemplative studies and conventional notions of academic rigor, the avoidance of possible conflicts between church and state, and other challenges encountered in gaining support for this plan, after weeks of intensive debate, from a 2/3 majority of the faculty.

Objective Although the relationship between religious practice and health is well established, the relationship between spirituality and health is not as well studied. The objective of this study was to ascertain whether participation in the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program was associated with increases in mindfulness and spirituality, and to examine the associations between mindfulness, spirituality, and medical and psychological symptoms. Methods Forty-four participants in the University of Massachusetts Medical School's MBSR program were assessed preprogram and postprogram on trait (Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale) and state (Toronto Mindfulness Scale) mindfulness, spirituality (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Spiritual Well-Being Scale), psychological distress, and reported medical symptoms. Participants also kept a log of daily home mindfulness practice. Mean changes in scores were computed, and relationships between changes in variables were examined using mixed-model linear regression. Results There were significant improvements in spirituality, state and trait mindfulness, psychological distress, and reported medical symptoms. Increases in both state and trait mindfulness were associated with increases in spirituality. Increases in trait mindfulness and spirituality were associated with decreases in psychological distress and reported medical symptoms. Changes in both trait and state mindfulness were independently associated with changes in spirituality, but only changes in trait mindfulness and spirituality were associated with reductions in psychological distress and reported medical symptoms. No association was found between outcomes and home mindfulness practice. Conclusions Participation in the MBSR program appears to be associated with improvements in trait and state mindfulness, psychological distress, and medical symptoms. Improvements in trait mindfulness and spirituality appear, in turn, to be associated with improvements in psychological and medical symptoms.

Pregnancy is a time of wonder and of momentous change, both emotionally and physically. For many women, it is a time like no other in their lives, filled with excitement and awe but also with great uncertainty and vulnerability. This book-and-audio program brings together writings and simple daily practices for bringing the transformative power of mindfulness to this special time. The Mindful Way through Pregnancyfeatures: •    Yoga and meditation teacher Anne Cushman on finding balance amid the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy •    Author Celia Straus on bonding with your child during pregnancy •    Yoga teacher Jennifer Brilliant on caring for your changing body •    Meditation teacher Judith Lief on calming your fears about childbirth and parenthood •    Author Mimi Doe on setting your intentions for parenthood •    Zen teacher Karen Maezen Miller on mindfulness and the childbirth experience Also included is an audio CD of guided meditation instruction for four simple meditation practices for expectant mothers. Drawn from the Buddhist tradition, these practices offer different ways to develop a sense of calm well-being throughout pregnancy.

How we know is as important as what we know. However, contemporary pedagogy and curriculum generally exclude a fundamental way of knowing—the contemplative—from any viable role in education in favor of a rational and empirical approach. As a result, few mainstream teachers or curriculum planners have explicitly integrated the contemplative into the classroom. Yet, contemplative knowing has been described as fundamental to the quest for knowledge and wisdom and complementary to analytic processing. The present article offers educators a rationale for returning the contemplative to education by summarizing research on the impact of contemplation on learning and behavior. It then provides a range of specific approaches for teachers that can be easily integrated into existing curriculum from elementary to university levels. The result of such integration transforms learning and the learner while affecting the very practical concerns of mainstream education.
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Evidence that placebo acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain presents a puzzle: how do placebo needles appearing to patients to penetrate the body, but instead sitting on the skin’s surface in the manner of a tactile stimulus, evoke a healing response? Previous accounts of ritual touch healing in which patients often described enhanced touch sensations (including warmth, tingling or flowing sensations) suggest an embodied healing mechanism. In this qualitative study, we asked a subset of patients in a singleblind randomized trial in irritable bowel syndrome to describe their treatment experiences while undergoing placebo treament. Analysis focused on patients’ unprompted descriptions of any enhanced touch sensations (e.g., warmth, tingling) and any significance patients assigned to the sensations. We found in 5/6 cases, patients associated sensations including “warmth” and “tingling” with treatment efficacy. The conclusion offers a “neurophenomenological” account of the placebo effect by considering dynamic effects of attentional filtering on early sensory cortices, possibly underlying the phenomenology of placebo acupuncture.
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To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. From the beginning of the first chapter we move rapidly into a significantly higher altitude where one breathes a lighter air, the air of the spiritual. Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle offers simple language and a question and answer format to guide us. The words themselves are the signposts. The book is a guide to spiritual awakening from a man who has emerged as one of this generation's clearest, most inspiring teachers. Eckhart Tolle is not aligned with any particular religion but does what all the great masters have done: shows that the way, the truth, and the light already exist within each of us.
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How is spirituality, which refers to the emotional connection to the transcendent, related to compassion and to altruistic behavior towards strangers? Are the effects of spirituality different from those of religiosity, which refers to living according to the rules and rituals of religion? We hypothesized that, even though correlated, spirituality and religiosity would have different associations with compassion and altruistic behavior. The first two studies documented that more spiritual individuals experience greater compassion, and that this effect was specific to spirituality and could not be explained by religiosity. Because compassion has the capacity to motivate people to transcend selfish motives and act in altruistic fashion towards strangers, we reasoned that spirituality (but not religiosity) would predict altruistic behavior and that this link would be explained, in part, by compassion. Indeed, Studies 3, 4, and 5 found that more spiritual individuals behaved more altruistically in economic choice and decision-making tasks, and that the tendency of spiritual individuals to feel greater compassion mediated the relationship between spirituality and altruistic behavior. In contrast, more religious participants did not consistently feel more compassion nor behave more altruistically. Together, these findings help clarify why spirituality produces more prosocial behavior.
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