In a world that moves in an increasingly faster pace, sometimes all we need is to stop for a little while. Just sit quietly and breathe. Without trying to achieve anything or get anywhere. Simply being present, with our full attention and awareness.
Meditation is an ancient practice, but in a way it has never been so actual. In the middle of the overload of information brought by the internet and various other media channels, training our attention and awareness can be one of the most beneficial habits we can develop.
Just like physical exercise trains our muscles, allowing us to develop healthier and stronger bodies, meditation trains our minds so we can develop attention, awareness, and increased control of mental processes. Benefits of the practice include reduced anxiety and stress, increased self-awareness, emotional balance, and the development of positive emotions such as kindness and gratitude.
In the TED talks below, learn more about meditation and the importance of training your attention directly from people who work with, study or practice these techniques.
Interested in trying it by yourself? Have a look at our step by step guide on how to meditate.
* Note: All video descriptions below are citations from the originals and were not written by Zen-living.org.
Gen Kelsang Nyema: Happiness is all in your mind
“Simple, profound truths are the realm of this Buddhist nun. Her message? The gift of happiness truly lies within our own hearts and minds. Gen Kelsang Nyema, exuding a peacefulness that immediately connects with the audience, starts by asking three questions: Are you having a good day? Why? Tomorrow, would you rather have a good day or a bad day? She teaches that we cannot put our happiness at the whim of other people and of circumstances. If we want to be happy, we have to “stop outsourcing our happiness to other people” and cultivate a source of inner peace. What happens next is quite astounding. The whole crowd of 350+ people proceeds to meditate with Nyema. There’s a little squirming at first, but as she leads the audience through a calm citation of how to rest the mind, audience members feel a collective relaxation flow into the room and through the people. Fascinating! Refreshing.”
Pico Lyer: The art of stillness
“The place that travel writer Pico Iyer would most like to go? Nowhere. In a counterintuitive and lyrical meditation, Iyer takes a look at the incredible insight that comes with taking time for stillness. In our world of constant movement and distraction, he teases out strategies we all can use to take back a few minutes out of every day, or a few days out of every season. It’s the talk for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the demands for our world.”
Mamata Venkat: How Meditation Changed My Life
“Mamata Venkat wants to empower people to unplug from their gadgets and inspire them to start working on themselves as much as they do their jobs. She will discuss the interaction between our internal and external development using her practice of meditation to exemplify how success in either does not have to come at the cost of the other.”
Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness
What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.
Sara Lazar: How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains
“Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.”
Light Watkins: Debunking the 5 Most Common Meditation Myths
“There is a certain mythology that seems to have attached itself to the practice of mediation. There are also a few myths that keep people from enjoying this ancient and life-enhancing daily ritual. Watkins will debunk the 5 most common myths and show you how you can benefit from very simple mediation in just 10 minutes a day.”
Eilona Ariel: Vipassana Meditation and Body Sensation
“Eilona Ariel is a documentary filmmaker whose work was deeply inspired by her life in Asia and her practice of the ancient meditation technique called Vipassana. She moved to New York City in 1978 and spent nine years studying and working as a musician and a photographer. In 1980, she received a diploma from the Germain School of Photography. She left the USA in 1987 to spend several years living in Asia. In 1995 she returned to Israel and established the Karuna Films Production Company together with Ayelet Menahemi.”
Bodhin Kjolhede: Meditation: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
“Bodhin weaves metaphor and allegory together to explain the importance of meditation. He will deliver several tangible benefits of meditation that would go unrealized without personal experience.”
Kelsang Jampa: Guided Meditation at TEDxSarasota
“Kelsang Jampa leads a guided meditation at TEDxSarasota. An American Buddhist monk, Jampa travels extensively, giving the ancient wisdom of Buddha to people throughout the US and abroad, helping them to find happiness in their hearts. Part of TEDxSarasota’s inaugural conference held on 12/12/12 with the theme “Creativity Matters” at the Historic Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, Florida.”
Carl Honoré: In Praise of Slowness
Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world’s emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there’s a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives.
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