Phil Jackson Takes Over NY Knicks: Zen Buddhism In The Future Of Madison Square Garden

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Phil Jackson Takes Over NY Knicks: Zen Buddhism In The Future Of Madison Square Garden
Phil Jackson is one of the most famous people in basketball. He is a former NBA player and former coach of the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers who lead his teams in 11 NBA championships. On March 18, Phil Jackson became the president of the New York Knicks, signing on for a 5-year contract.

High-profile success aside, Jackson is also known for his Zen Buddhism, which he famously incorporated into his coaching. As meditation and Zen practices worked for previous teams, some wonder if Jackson will implement the same practices to help revitalize the Knicks.

Many of the valuable lessons learned through meditation and Zen Buddhism can be applicable to success in sports. As Jackson said in an interview with Oprah in 2013, “As much as we pump iron and we run to build our strength up, we need to build our mental strength up… so we can focus… so we can be in concert with one another.”

How do you get a group of basketball players to sit still and meditate? Jackson explained how he “taught them how to hold their hands, where their shoulders had to be, the whole process of being in an upright situation so you’re not slouched… and they bought into it.”

HuffPost Live considers the question of whether Jackson will implement these tactics with the New York Knicks in a roundtable discussion hosted by Josh Zepps. Weighing in on the topic is HuffPost Sports Columnist Jordan Schultz, Ziva Meditation founder Emily Fletcher and Olivia Rosewood, author of ‘Please Meditate: It’s Good for You’. Check out the video above.

How To Ditch Multitasking For Better Productivity
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By Katie Golde

Quick reality check: We live in a busy world where a million things are happening at once. For many of us, multitasking is a way to keep up with the flow and feel like we’re not getting left behind. From checking email at brunch with friends to finishing a status report during a staff meeting, a lot of us are trying to accomplish a whole lot, all at the same time.

Here’s the problem: Only 2 percent of us multitask effectively. That means the remaining 98 percent of us are running around like headless chickens in the name of “productivity.”

Increased productivity is available to us all — and surprisingly, it may come in the form of doing only one thing at a time.

What to do? It’s time to put down the smartphone, lift up your head and actually listen to that funny joke your friend is telling or that question your boss is about to throw your way at the meeting. Increased productivity is available to us all — and surprisingly, it may come in the form of doing only one thing at a time.

What’s The Deal?
Just so we’re all on the same page, multitasking means trying to do more than one thing a time. In the era of smartphones, tablets and portable laptops, it’s easy to multitask without even realizing it. After all, most of us have checked Facebook in chemistry class or during that long conference call (at least once).

Multitasking with a phone (or iPad, tablet, etc.) is so prevalent (among those with access to these technologies) that one study even called it the “epidemic of distraction.” Contrary to popular thought, addiction to mobile electronic devices may actually impair multitasking, lower performance and result in cognitive overload. Guess we aren’t as productive with that iPhone as we thought, huh?

As it turns out, our brains aren’t very good at doing more than one thing at a time. One study found that the brain may get overwhelmed when faced with multiple tasks. Researchers found that when we attempt to multitask, the brain “bottlenecks” the information and quickly moves its attention from one thing to the next, instead of addressing the items simultaneously. Rather than becoming more productive when faced with multiple tasks to accomplish at once, this suggests we really only become more frazzled — and thus less able to handle the challenges of a high workload.

Your Action Plan
While most of us are susceptible to multitasking, research suggests that people who have a harder time blocking out distractions and focusing on a single task

Preventing Yoga Scandals: Why Yoga Needs Psychology
Every year brings a new major scandal in the yogic field. The majority of scandals involve inappropriate sexual boundaries, but also frequently include power, money, and manipulation. Sometimes there is death. Most, though not all, occur among male teachers, both Eastern and Western.

I have been surprised to find myself as the go-to psychologist for many such devastations, as well as counseling numerous spiritual teachers who are willing to do the depth psychological work required to prevent such calamities from arising in their communities. In spite of bearing witness to copious amounts of disillusionment and human complexity and on the spiritual path over many years, I remain fully optimistic about the spiritual journey, the great wisdom traditions, the resiliency of the human spirit, and the power of forgiveness.

The vast majority of spiritual scandals are due to human psychology rather than shortcomings in spiritual traditions. The scandals we find in the yoga world are rarely due to any fault in yoga philosophy or practice, but rather result from psychological blind spots and weaknesses in the teacher. Spiritual teachers themselves are often deeply versed in, and transmit, great spiritual knowledge and even transmission. They are usually sincere and often brilliant. Yet many have not done deep psychological work on themselves, even if they recommend it to their students. They have never uncovered the psychological roots of their own struggles, patterns, traumas, and wounds. Their failure to do so often brings about suffering in their students and followers. What is emotionally un-integrated in the spiritual teacher becomes psychologically imbalanced in the teachings and community.

The Western psyche is constructed differently than the Eastern psyche. To migrate successfully from one civilization to another, the great traditions must take into account the deep psychological structures of the countries and cultures into which they are being imported. The yoga of the East cannot take root in the Western world without recognizing the particular gifts and challenges inherent in the Western psyche. Psychological pioneer Carl Jung coined the term gnostic intermediary to refer to people who personally incorporate the wisdom of a tradition, and can then speak directly from their own experience and translate both the experience and understanding into the language and concepts of the culture to which they wish to communicate.

This insight brings with it the distinct possibility to help prevent spiritual scandals by understanding the importance of psychology to yoga for the Western practitioner. Developments in somatic psychology, yoga research, mindfulness, yoga therapy, neuroscience, and trauma research, can increase the effectiveness of yoga to treat the whole human being. By drawing upon the developments in psychology, teachers can work with their own psychological weaknesses so they will not be visited upon their students.

Psychology is new in terms of the emergence of great philosophical and transformational systems. Even in the 14 years since James Hillman’s bestselling We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy — And the World is Getting Worse, the approximately 140-year-old tradition has had major advances. Western psychology, though much younger than the 2,000- to 5,000-year-old yoga tradition, skillfully reaches into the traumas and psychological challenges that are unique to the Western psyche. It addresses the areas that often result in spiritual scandal, and thus is invaluable to the continued expansion and health of yoga in the Western world.

What wakes me up to inspiration in the morning, and sometimes deep into the night, is the endless ways which the brilliant traditions of yoga and psychology can enhance each other, stretch each other, and make each other more effective. Towards this vision I have invited 20 pioneers and scholars of these two traditions to come together for a weekend in San Francisco in April for The Yoga & Psyche Conference, hosted by The California Institute of Integral Studies. It is the first academic conference in the Western world to integrate yoga and Western psychology. The conference speakers and attendees will come from as far as India and Brazil, and include inspiring medical doctors, psychologists, spiritual teachers, yoga teachers and practitioners, neuroscientists, and trailblazers in the integration of these two fields.

Spirituality should make people healthier and happier, not traumatized and further alienated from themselves and others. To prevent scandal on the spiritual path, maintain a spirit of optimism and integrity, and contribute to the spread of yogic wisdom, we are each are called to examine ourselves deeply, take inventory of our strengths and weaknesses, share our gifts, and address our psychological challenges. As yoga further embraces psychology, and teachers of yoga and other spiritual traditions understand the importance of addressing their own psychological challenges, we can diminish unnecessary suffering and bring forth new possibilities.

Please see The Yoga & Psyche Conference at The California Institute of Integral Studies for more information on the conference.

The Gifted Speaker — I’ve Forgotten How to Breathe
Off to the Races
And you’re off. You’ve opened your speech, you’ve thanked your host, you’ve introduced your topic and right at the end of this run-on sentence you realize, you are out of air!

What Happened?
Excitement, anxiety, or even just the heightened activity in the room can set us up to rush into our speech. It can make us start a sentence without taking a breath. Sometimes we don’t even know we’ve been racing through our speech. Next thing you know we are at the quarter point and we are gasping for air, struggling to continue. Most of us recognize when we’ve launched ourselves like a rocket. Our mouths grow dry and we start to hyperventilate just a little bit. The pace of our speech has made us anxious. We get butterflies and often, at least for me, our voices rise in pitch and we start to squeak like Minnie Mouse. All of a sudden, we need more water; then we need more air. This launching into our topic can be extremely disorienting. It can make us feel like we’ve pretty much bombed this speech. But the speech itself is still salvageable.

Problem:
I’ve rushed into my speech and now I’m out of air.

Solution:
Hit the reset button.

Pause — it’s as simple as that. As you reach for your bottle of water this time, take a breath first. You can turn to look at your slide. You can walk to the other side of the stage.

Smile at your audience and breathe. You can look as if you are simply going to elaborate; that you must think of the best possible way to say the next thing you are going to say. What you are really doing is allowing everyone including yourself to catch up and catch a breath.

These are pause buttons. In the time that it looks like you are pausing for emphasis you are going back to your breathing.

Take a big inhale. Expand your stomach. Exhale silently but slowly.

Restart.

Simple but effective, even if your audience recognizes that’s you’ve in essence restarted, they’ll be grateful. Your letting them reset as well. Breathing is contagious. If you take a deep breath I will take a deep breath and so will everyone in the room.

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