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Michael Taft
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Michael W. Taft is an author, editor, meditation teacher, and neuroscience junkie. He is currently the 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.

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 was editorial director of Sounds True. He currently lives in Berkeley, California, and writes a blog called Deconstructing Yourself.

Entries by Michael Taft

The One Thing You're Doing Wrong in Meditation

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 12:29 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 | 12:57 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 | 11:23 AM

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 | 3:17 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 | 7:53 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 | 8:40 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 | 6:57 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 | 5:25 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 | 10:52 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 | 5:04 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 | 8:00 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 | 7:00 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 | 2:08 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 | 12:40 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 | 8:50 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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Of Touchdowns and Tribalism

(7) Comments | Posted November 23, 2011 | 5:37 PM

Once when I was a little kid, a peaceful fall evening at our house was shattered by loud and insistent banging, as if someone was trying to break down our side door. My dad, who was the head coach of the high school football team, opened it to greet a...

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What Happens When You Get 'Unfriended'

(68) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 7:27 AM

How do you react when somebody defriends you on Facebook? Jennifer Christine Harris, a Des Moines, Iowa woman, reacted by sneaking over to a house in the dark of night. Sleeping soundly within were her old friend, Nikki Rasmussen, and Nikki's husband, Jim. Jennifer then set fire to the house,...

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The Psychology Behind Occupy Wall Street

(62) Comments | Posted October 27, 2011 | 12:58 PM

It seems right now as if everyone has an opinion on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, which has gone nationwide in America and spread to many cities worldwide. OWS has incited praise, rage, donations, police crackdowns, hilarity and kickstarted...

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The Evolutionary Reason We Grieved Steve Jobs

(1) Comments | Posted October 15, 2011 | 11:32 AM

On October 5, Steve Jobs died. At first I was surprised at how choked up I got about his death -- it's not like I ever met him -- until I realized that I wasn't the only one. From special issues of The New Yorker and Wired magazines, to spontaneous...

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Why Your Brain Hates All Those Facebook Changes

(88) Comments | Posted September 22, 2011 | 8:16 AM

Tuesday evening, Facebook made major changes to its newsfeed, and today the Internet is a hornet's nest of complaints, protests and threats. There is a new round of "quit Facebook" memes, and a collective groan of pain from millions of users.

Similar dissent occurred when Netflix recently spun off...

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