Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Sit : Love : Give

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Jan 21, 2014

Why you don’t really hate yourself

Lots of people struggle with self-hatred. They find they constantly judge themselves, talk to themselves harshly, and even do things to themselves that are harmful. It’s very painful to be this way.

But I want to tell you: you don’t really hate yourself.

In the deepest core of your being you love yourself. In the deepest core of your being you want everything for yourself that you want for those you hold most dear. In the deepest core of your being you want to be happy, to be well, and to be at peace.

And everything you do — everything — is a strategic attempt to find happiness, wellness, and peace. That’s the motivation behind every action you take, including your acts of …

Jan 18, 2014

Meditation: “It’s just what I do”

fiore di ciliegio su fondo di legnoI received a lovely message today from someone who’s participating in Wildmind’s 28 Day Meditation Challenge. (It’s too late to join the current one, but we have others running later in the year.)

It’s a great example of how a simple phrase can change your whole attitude to meditation, and radically alter your sense of self and your life. (I’ve removed a few identifying details.)

I have been meditating in a more focused way for nearly a year, after 30 years of playing with the idea. I thought I would let you know that my ‘full turning point’ has happened as a result of this 28 day

Jan 11, 2014

Do Buddhists pray?

portrait of woman prayingDo Buddhists pray? It certainly looks like it sometimes.

Since Buddhism has no creator God you might assume that the Buddhist tradition has no room for prayer. The Buddha wasn’t a God. So would be the point of praying to him, or of praying at all?

Some forms of Buddhist practice that look like prayer don’t in fact involve the Buddha or any other enlightened figure. When Buddhists are cultivating lovingkindness and they’re repeating phrases like “May all beings be well; May all beings be happy,” they’re not invoking any kind of outside agency. What they’re doing is strengthening their own desire to see beings flourish and be free from …

Jan 07, 2014

How beautiful it is to stay silent when someone expects you to be enraged

how beautiful it is

I was struck by the similarity between the quote in the graphic above and something the Buddha’s recorded as having said:

Whoever doesn’t flare up at someone who’s angry wins a battle hard to win.

I was a bit surprised, though, to see a comment attached to the graphic:

I love this one: it usually irks the attacker even more.

Remaining silent in order to irk someone doesn’t strike me as being a very noble motive!

The best reason for being silent instead of getting into an argument is simply to avoid unnecessary conflict so that there’s less suffering. The other person might get mad in the short term, but in the long-term …

Jan 06, 2014

Six reasons to think good thoughts

6 Reasons to think good thoughts

I really like this graphic that one of my Google+ friends, Shalone Cason, put together. Not only is it attractively presented, but it’s a very accessible interpretation of a traditional Buddhist teaching on the advantages of kindly thoughts.

You can find Shalone on Google+, and he also has a blog here.

Jan 06, 2014

Separating feelings and thoughts

White isolated zipperOne of the participants in our current 28 Day meditation challenge reported that she was experiencing stress because of a new job.

New jobs can be very challenging and bring up a lot of self doubt. I remember that well.

She talked about “feelings of inadequacy and uselessness,” and I could instantly see a practice that would help her deal with the challenges of her new job. The practice is to distinguish between feelings and thoughts.

From the perspective of Buddhist psychology, inadequacy and uselessness are not feelings. Actual feelings that we might experience in a challenging new job include anxiety, or fear, or confusion. “I am inadequate” and “I am useless” are …

Jan 03, 2014

Drop the “only”

Buddha imageOur 28 Day Meditation Challenge, called Sit : Breathe : Love, started on January 1, with well over 1000 participants.

The aim is not just to try to meditate every day, but — far more importantly — to work on setting up the habit of daily meditation.

A few times people who are reporting on how they’re doing say they meditated, but it was “only” for 20 minutes or “only” for 15 minutes. I’ve said similar things myself.

But that word “only” bothers me. Using the word “only” is a great way of taking something you’ve done that’s good and making yourself feeling bad about it. Compare “I exercised three days this week” …

Dec 19, 2013

Open mind: focused mind

pier near the seaOne of my online students asked a really excellent question in relation to mindful eating, and in fact in relation to mindful activity more generally:

Should I focus on one specific sensation? But if I do so, isn’t it restrictive, replacing mindfulness of the whole experience of eating by concentration on only one of its aspects? In fact, I already faced similar questions when trying walking meditation. Walking involves so many movements, so many sensations… How to be mindful of all of them?

There are really two different modes of mindful attention, one of which is more narrowly focused, while the other is more open. Each is valuable in its …

Dec 18, 2013

When you’re afraid of meditating

Birds nest in old mans handsFor various reasons, we can sometimes experience a fear of meditating. We may know that meditating would help us, but we find the thought of getting on the cushion terrifying. Perhaps we bury ourselves in distractions in order to keep the fear at bay.

If this is something you experience, how can you deal with it? I’d suggest that rather than “be tough” and forcing yourself to meditate, it would be more useful to be accepting and compassionate toward your anxiety. Your anxiety isn’t intending to be your enemy — it thinks it’s protecting you from some kind of danger. It’s misguided rather than “bad.” So what …

Dec 17, 2013

Some of your “distractions” are not distractions

Stones on the seashoreOne of my students recently commented: “I regularly have to readjust my posture, which slightly changes now and then without my noticing it. These readjustments distract me from focusing on the body/breathing.”

What I suggested was that she might usefully reframe how she was seeing this situation.

If you’re being mindful of your body and making adjustments to your posture, then in a very important way this isn’t distracting you from your body. Making readjustments like this doesn’t even have to take you away from your breathing, since you can maintain awareness of your breathing and make adjustments in your posture in time with the in-breaths and out-breaths. For example …