Author: Ryan Stagg

Pema Chodron

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

In this 7-minute clip Pema Chödrön offers a convincing case for being a little more daring in our daily lives. What happens when we begin to step out of our comfort zone? We begin to get comfortable with uncertainty and our whole experience becomes more inhabitable. This excerpt comes from Pema Chödrön’s excellent upcoming online course called “The Heart of the Matter” published by our friends at Shambhala Publications. You can learn more and register for that course, which begins on June 7, 2016, and watch a personal invite from Pema by clicking here.

The One-two Punch of Meditation and Running

Scroll down to learn how a $25 contribution in Kickstarter will give you full access to the upcoming Running with the Mind of Meditation Online Course. New study proves meditation and running to be an effective therapy for depression and general mental well-being. There’s been a lot of discussion about running and meditation around the internet the last couple days, all corresponding with an opportunity to take part in a 7-week online course with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on the subject. More on that below. Scientific research identifying meditation and running as key components of a holistic approach to managing depression are well known, and just a couple days ago the New York Times published an article based on a study discovering that meditation and running actually have a synergistic effect, enhancing the overall benefits. The article cites a study published in Translational Psychiatry that found meditation and running to reduce symptoms of depression including rumination—the tendency of the mind to dwell on negative emotional experiences. The study makes an argument that the joint discipline of running and meditation is an effective alternative therapy for treating clinical …

The Science of Meditation: Recalling the Shamatha Project at SMC

In 2007 the most comprehensive longitudinal study of meditation occurred here at Shambhala Mountain Center. It was called the Shamatha Project. Researchers from UC Davis teamed up with B. Alan Wallace and 60 participants for two 3-month retreats in which the meditation practitioners participated in an intensive study to record and analyze the effects of meditation. B. Alan Wallace instructed the participants in three increasingly subtle forms of shamatha (calm-abiding meditation) as well as a complementary practice to cultivate compassion, loving-kindness, empathetic joy and equanimity called the brahmavihāras or Four Immeasurables. Through shamatha the participants developed concentration, mindfulness and introspection while the Four Immeasurables created an ethical motivation and context for practice. The study employed a variety of measurement techniques taken before, during and after the retreat, including interviews, computer-based experiments, physiological measures, behavioral measures, and questionnaires. This led to a tremendous amount of data that is still being analyzed 9 years later. But a number of conclusions have been made: meditation improves attention, one’s sense of well-being, emotional responses related to compassion, and even …