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Meditation/Spirituality

MEDITATION

There are many different types of meditation which all work to slow down the chatter of the mind and promote relaxation and mental clarity.

The Internet Yogi (theinternetyogi.com)
This web site was developed by David Shannahoff-Khalsa, a research scientist at the University of California, San Diego who specializes in treating psychiatric disorders with Kundalini Yoga. He has developed a protocol using Kundalini Yoga meditation to treat obsessive compulsive disorders and addiction. These techniques can also help improve mental concentration and mental stability, reduce anxiety and depression, and promote a deep sense of inner peace. The protocol uses unique intense active meditative breathing, chanting, and movement techniques (all while sitting in a chair), and is available for purchase on videotape on his web site.

In addition, Dr. Shannahoff-Khalsa has written an article describing a specific Kundalini Yoga meditation technique for treating addictive disorders that is available full text online.

Shannahoff-Khalsa DS. "An introduction to Kundalini yoga meditation techniques that are specific for the treatment of psychiatric disorders." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Volume 10, Number 1, 2004, pp. 91-101.

This has the potential to be very helpful in reducing the obsessive thinking and cravings that often lead to relapse.

Plum Village (www.plumvillage.org)
Vietnamese Zen Master Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, poet, scholar, and human rights activist. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960's, he has been living in exile in France since 1969 because of his positions on peace during the Vietnamese War. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches the art of mindful living (to be deeply aware in the present moment of what is going on within and around us). While the abuse of drugs or alcohol can be a way of running from life by trying to forget one's difficulties and challenges, mindfulness is the opposite.  It improves one's ability to cope with life by teaching how to be present with whatever is going on without getting overwhelmed or disturbed by it.

The web site lists monastic retreats in various locations around the world, many in the U.S. (click on Sangha Directory in the left navigation bar), articles and books by Thich Nhat Hanh, mindfulness principles, and a directory of communities that regularly practice mindfulness together, organized by state in the U.S. and by country internationally.  Users can sign up to receive his Dharma talks by email by clicking on "Dharma Talk Transcripts" on the left navigation bar and then scrolling down the page and filling in their email address.

Reset Meditation (resetmeditation.com)
This site offers a 25 minute Reset meditation based on Shuem, a tradition used to reach deeper states of consciousness leading to inner peace and harmony. The Shuem symbol represents four fields that human beings experience, including body/mind as well as the more subconscious fields of feeling, intuition and belief. It is felt that by working on the subconscious level new opportunities open up and it becomes easier to cope with life as it is and to feel stronger under stress. The site also offers daily 20 minute meditations that you can subscribe to.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) (tm.org)
The site describes the TM program, its health benefits, and the extensive research that has been done on TM. An online locator is provided in order to find the closest Maharishi Vedic University, College, School or Center where the TM technique is taught or you can call toll free at 1-888-532-7686.

Wildmind Buddhist Meditation (wildmind.org)
Wildmind offers a variety of practical approaches to learning Buddhist meditation online, including written material, guided meditations in RealAudio format, and online meditation courses led by an experienced instructor. A good amount of guidance is provided overall, making the site appropriate for beginners as well as more advanced meditation practitioners.

World Wide Online Meditation Center (meditationcenter.com)
Simple written instruction for eight different types of meditation including healing, centering, relaxation, and mindfulness meditation are provided online.

RESEARCH: Taub E, Steiner SS, Weingarten E, Walton KG. “Effectiveness of broad spectrum approaches to relapse prevention in severe alcoholism: a long-term, randomized, controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation, EMG biofeedback and electronic neurotherapy.” Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. 11(1-2): 187-220, 1994. Large improvements in relapse prevention were seen with the addition of Transcendental Meditation (TM) or EMG biofeedback to the routine treatment program in an alcohol residential treatment facility. Complete abstinence 18 months after leaving the center was reported by 65% of the TM group and 55% of the biofeedback group compared to 25% of the standard care group and 28% for the neurotherapy group.

The long-term positive effects of TM, in particular, seem to be correlated with a reduced relapse rate. TM may not only reduce tension and anxiety, but also enhance a sense of control in anxiety-provoking situations that strengthens the long-term resistance to stress.

It should also be noted that there are many ways to achieve a meditative state of mind. For those who have trouble sitting quietly for periods of time, various movement practices and martial arts, such as t’ai chi, qigong, and karate, can also focus and calm the mind and enhance feelings of self-confidence and self-worth.

MEDITATION MOBILE APPS

Self-help relaxation strategies are an effective option to support personal change and reduce stress - and as such can play an important role in addiction recovery. Below are some examples of practical self-help Apps for those in addiction recovery and those feeling stressed out:

Awareness
Discover Yourself Inc.
iOS $3.99iOS Free Lite Version
Developed by psychotherapist Ronit Herzfeld, this tool randomly intercepts peoples' daily routines and prompts them to get in touch with what they are feeling, bringing them into the present moment. It provides insight and breaks patterns of feeling, attitudes and behavior through awareness and engaging, inspirational practices.

Hazelden Mobile Apps
Hazelden Foundation
Hazelden's mobile applications feature their best-selling daily meditation books, Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Each Day a New Beginning, A Day at a Time, Food for Thought, and Touchstones. The apps feature the complete collection of thoughts, meditations, and prayers.

Meditation for Overcoming Life's Stress
Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
iOS $5.99
This app is produced by Bernie Siegel, MD, the surgeon, teacher and author of Love, Medicine & Miracles, Prescriptions for Living, and Help Me to Heal. This audio program is geared to overcoming life's pressures and anxieties through guided imagery and self-hypnosis. Select and play the individual affirmations of your choice, create a customized playlist, loop your playlist to repeat your favorite affirmations, and set a sleep timer to listen for a customized period of time. It helps you deal with negative thoughts, past hurts, stress, grief, and other conditions that contribute to a lack of well-being. By repeated listening outmoded thought patterns will dissipate and be replaced by new thought patterns that support a healthier physical and mental state.

Relax Melodies
Logiciel iLB (SENC)
iOS Free
This App can help you relax, meditate, do yoga or sleep by producing a customized mix of your favorite sounds from a selection of 70. Professionally designed and developed, it offers high quality ambient sounds, volume adjustment for each sound, and binaural beats for brainwave synchronization to help induce mental states such as relaxation, meditation, creativity and sleep.

iSamahdi — Meditation Timer
Samadhi Games
iOS $0.99
Create customized sessions that can match your varied meditation habits and needs. Meditate in silence or associate a favorite song, chimes or guided teaching with the meditation. You can keep track of your meditations and experiences in your meditation journal. Features a session timer that can be paused and resumed and multiple chime choices developed by Buddhist monks.

SPIRITUALITY

Nurturing the spiritual aspect of life, which can include such things as music, poetry, literature, nature, or prayer, takes a person to a place above ego and day to day concerns and promotes a sense of peace and timelessness.

Addiction Alchemy (addictionalchemy.com)
Addiction Alchemy is a holistic, self-help journey for addiction recovery, based on the Medicine Wheel model. It provides a unique spiritual perspective, offering interactive recovery tools and online guidance.

Spirituality and Health (spiritualityhealth.com)
This web site was developed by the Publishing Group of Trinity Church of New York City with an advisory group of theologians, philosophers, researchers, teachers and writers. The site includes articles on spiritual issues and practice, original essays on spiritual matters, a database of over 15,000 reviews of current books, audiotapes, films and videotapes with online purchase available, a discussion forum, interactive self-tests on spirituality and health, and more.

Spirituality Information to Help You (iam-awakening.com)
This site offers Information about meditation and other spiritually oriented resources in a variety of formats (podcasts, video, MP3 and more) to help people find comfort, hope, clarity, strength and happiness.