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Month of February, 2011

Drove up to Santa Barbara on Thursday to be there for our 8:10 AM screening at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Friday, Feb 4th. Trying to imagine who would get up and get out to see a film at that ungodly hour? Would they have breakfast first? A cup of coffee I hoped. Would there be at least 20 people there (including one old friend who promised to show)? Imagine my relief, while I watched close to 200 people take their seats, all wide-eyed and ready for a movie.


They paid intense attention, and they laughed a lot, which means they got it.


Afterwards many folks stayed for Q & A, which was thoughtful and provocative on their part. It was very satisfying to hear that people were moved by Trungpa as a person, emotionally connected in some way. Also people seemed to understand the importance of meditation practice. I think as stressed-out Americans hear more and more about the scientific research on the benefits of meditation, they're beginning to listen very carefully. And it doesn't hurt when a complex character like Trungpa who embodies lifetimes of practice, brings it all to life undiluted and full-blown.


Here are some quotes from a recent article on meditation and the brain:


"M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants' meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes.


It has been hard to pinpoint the benefits of meditation, but a 2009 study suggests that meditation may reduce blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease. And a 2007 study found that meditators have longer attention spans."


More on the Festival tomorrow.