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Michael Taft
Picture of MichaelMichael W. Taft is an author, editor, meditation teacher, and neuroscience junkie. He is currently a meditation coach specializing in secular, science-based meditation training in corporate settings. Michael is the author of several books, including Nondualism: A Brief History of a Timeless Concept, and Ego (which he co-authored), as well as the editor of such books as Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson and the upcoming The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young. He often teaches at Google and has worked on curriculum development for SIYLI. Michael is also an official advisor to the Therapeutic Neuroscience Lab. He was previously editor-in-chief of Being Human, a site for exploring what evolution, neuroscience, biology, psychology, archeology, and technology can tell us about the human condition, and was editorial director of Sounds True.

From Zen temples in Japan to yogi caves in India, Michael has been meditating for over thirty years and has extensive experience in both Buddhist and Hindu practice. He currently lives in Berkeley, California, and is founding editor of Deconstructing Yourself.

Interested in getting meditation training? Meditation with Michael.

Entries by Michael Taft

SATISFACTION: Getting the Most Out of Your Life With Mindfulness

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2016 | 10:43 AM

2016-02-05-1454636951-7012355-paradise.jpgYou can't wait for your romantic getaway in paradise with your partner. You buy tickets for a dream vacation, imagine all of the things you'll do, make the plans, the dates, the airline and hotel reservations. It's a major effort, and finally the big...

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Just Let It Be

(0) Comments | Posted January 3, 2015 | 10:59 AM

2015-01-03-sky.jpgYour life is filled with too much business, too much hurry, too much stress. Just for a moment, let go of all that.

There are too many machines vying for your attention with rings, beeps, blinks, flags, and badges. Just for a moment, turn...

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Just Let Go -- Surrender Everything in Meditation

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 5:41 PM

2014-10-08-bird.jpgFor many years, I took my meditation practice very seriously. I dedicated a significant portion of my life to daily practice and long retreats, which over time proved to be very helpful. This dedication to putting in the time really paid off by improving...

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How to Use Distractions to Help Your Meditation

(2) Comments | Posted September 7, 2014 | 7:27 PM

2014-09-06-cat.jpegWhen I first started meditating, one of the hardest things was trying to stay focused. There were just so many things to do, people to interact with, noises like music or blaring car horns that shattered and upset my nascent meditative vibe. I felt...

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Use Mindfulness to Overcome Unhealthy Cravings

(1) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 11:15 AM

2014-08-01-coffee.jpgI love espresso. But I remember sometimes "waking up" suddenly and finding myself right in the middle of a shuddering caffeine meltdown. I'd been writing on my laptop at a coffee shop, focused on work. Starting out with a latté early in the...

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The One Thing You're Doing Wrong in Meditation

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 1:29 PM

2014-04-18-mastertree.jpgYou're drifting in a vast spaciousness. Your body feels highly energized and very relaxed at the same time. Time melts into one, long, deliriously eternal moment. You are in your perfect meditation place; the payoff for all your hard practice.

Suddenly, a thought...

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Finding a Meditation Teacher

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 1:57 PM

2014-04-12-intersection.jpgMindfulness meditation is a life-changing practice that everyone should have access to. While you can learn the basics on your own, in the long run, having a teacher is extremely helpful. A good instructor can usually help you learn more quickly, and stick...

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Never Waste Time Again

(0) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 12:23 PM

2014-02-27-waiting.jpgLife often asks us to wait, and a lot of this waiting can feel crushingly pointless. We cool our heels in lines at the supermarket, the bank, or at a restaurant. We spend hours stuck in traffic, held up in airports, or sitting...

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Overcoming the Biggest Pitfall of Mindfulness

(1) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 4:17 PM

2013-11-28-womanbinoculars.jpgAre you feeling stuck in your practice? Did meditation lead to big positive life changes early on, but now years later you're just sort of treading water with no sense of making progress? Mindfulness meditation is an extremely helpful and useful...

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5 Ways to Get Your Meditation Practice on Track

(11) Comments | Posted November 14, 2013 | 8:53 AM

We all know by now that mindfulness meditation can create positive changes in your life. It works, but you pretty much have to practice it every day to really reap the benefits. Establishing and maintaining that kind of steady, daily practice presents a challenge, even for people with a strong...

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One Thing at a Time

(4) Comments | Posted November 3, 2013 | 9:40 AM

2013-10-29-focus_cat.jpgAll of us have had the experience of doing too many things at once. Of driving while listening to the radio, eating a burrito and talking to a friend all at once. While it's amazing that human beings can juggle so...

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5 Easy Ways of Undoing Distraction

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 7:57 PM

If you cannot focus on one thing at a time, or cannot maintain attention on one thing for as long as you want to, that is distraction. Distraction dilutes brain power, frazzles the nerves and results in non-optimum outcomes. You end up stressed out and spun around and don't even...

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Take Your Body With You

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2013 | 6:25 PM

When I was 33 years old, I became celibate. I had always been extremely open to sex, the senses and my body. The more I studied meditation, however, and the more I learned about karma, purity and withdrawal of the senses, the more it seemed as if the only way...

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Make Yourself Some Chai

(1) Comments | Posted August 2, 2013 | 11:52 PM

A hot cup of spicy chai is a fabulous way to start the day: allow no substitutes. It's also makes a great support to meditation. Getting hopped up on tea before meditating is a traditional practice. Some swear by green tea, which I like, but my favorite by...

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Meditation on No-Self

(4) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 6:04 PM

Why do you meditate? There are lots of possible reasons. I started because I couldn't stand my own mind, and realized that it was not only the source of most of my problems, but might actually be the source of my own salvation. That was more true than I could...

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Mindfulness and the Body

(12) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 9:00 PM

When I first started meditating in the early 1980s, I had a very hard time sitting still. I had read some books on Zen and whatnot and had a fantasy of myself remaining motionless for hours at a time, probably in full lotus posture, feeling bliss. Upon attempting to sit,...

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Five Ways Our Need to Fit in Controls Us

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2012 | 8:00 AM

As a society, we Westerners exalt individualism and self-reliance, and yet our biology moves us in other directions. Humans evolved as social animals, and we posses a number of behaviors that motivate us towards group conformity. The feeling of wanting friends, of desiring a peer group and of needing to...

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Hardwired for the Mystical?

(12) Comments | Posted February 9, 2012 | 3:08 PM

The gap between atheists and the religious seems at times to be an impossible divide, almost as if believers and non-believers come from different species. What separates the secular from the sacred? An "Ask the Brains" question on the Scientific American site recently inquired as to any differences between...

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The GOP Primary: A Predictable Storm

(0) Comments | Posted January 18, 2012 | 1:40 PM

Who do you think will win the Republican presidential nomination? Obsession with this question possesses the entire United States. Today, a brief search on Google for "GOP primary prediction" returned close to 40 million results. Over the past few months, the news media has been a continuous spin cycle...

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Christmas on the Brain

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2011 | 9:50 AM

Christmas time is here again. Unlike many people, I have no particular aversion to the holiday season. I don't have too many emotional scars from Christmases past. Getting presents was always fun, I liked the lights on our tree, even stringing popcorn, and these days I try to keep awkward...

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