A centuries-old practice of raising awareness presented at the Vancouver conference on the future


Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche was probably one of the most sought after selfie requests at the 2022 TED convention in Vancouver this week as he strolled through the city’s convention center in his burgundy red Buddhist monk robe .

The meditation teacher from Nepalwho is the head of a monastery, was one of more than 100 TED keynote speakers, who returned in person to Vancouver for the first time since 2019.

And while topics ranged from technologies and actions to mitigate climate change, living online via video game metaverses and how humans could possibly inhabit Mars, attendees seemed genuinely impressed with Rinpoche, who was described as “probably the ‘happiest man on earth’.

“Yeah, he’s very popular,” said Mingyur’s assistant, Tsewagn Rinzing Lama, as he posed for a photo with Bevvy Smith, American television personality, business executive and keynote speaker.

On his Instagram accountSmith said Mingyur, who is 47, “is beaming with sunshine and happiness! Just being in his presence makes me smile.”

Mingyur, who started meditating at the age of nine to cope with debilitating panic attacks, says many people now seek the practice as a way to cope with the modern world, which can be full of distractions, of suffering and pain.

“A lot of people are interested in learning meditation,” he said. “We already have peace within us but people have to learn to discover it.”

Meditation, which can be as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on the breath, letting thoughts come and go but always coming back to awareness of the breath, has been scientifically proven to increase the ability to attention, productivity, happiness, physical health and well-being.

“Through consciousness, we can connect with love, compassion, and wisdom,” Mingyur said.

Dan Harris, the former ABC presenter who had a panic attack while on the air in 2004, has spent the time since then moving from top-level media effort to adoption of meditation and host a podcast about its benefits as a means of coping with one’s own anxiety and depression.

As a 2022 TED Speaker, he fully admitted to having first discredited meditation as nebulous and “long dismissed it as ridiculous.”

“Not a new-age hippie hobby”

But in her quest to become less self-critical, more tolerant, and aware of her thoughts and feelings, Harris turned to meditation. He first tried it with a book on the subject during a weekend with his family.

“I think I just decided to take the plunge,” he said, adding that he locked himself in a room in 2009 in the house where they were staying.

He sat down on the floor, set a timer on his Blackberry, and attempted five minutes of meditation.

“And I realized two things: one, it’s hard and two, it’s not ridiculous, it’s really an exercise for the brain, not a new-age hippie hobby. I don’t think I have missed a day since.”

Dan Harris speaks at the TED 2022 conference in Vancouver on Monday, April 11, 2022 about how meditation helps him cope with anxiety and depression, and ultimately be a happier, more productive person . (Bret Hartman/TED)

He says he thinks many people, including TED’s ambitious, wealthy, and influential people, stand to gain from meditation because developing awareness, compassion, and self-understanding can actually help them become more adept at finding solutions to solve some of the problems. the most pressing global issues, such as climate change.

“It’s harder to be a good citizen, to be a good friend, to be a good person, to be good to yourself if you hold your head up high,” Harris said.

“If you care about changing the world, you have to work on yourself because you want to have enough in the cup to pour.”

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