Category Archive for "on practice"

Make meditation a daily habit

August 26, 2015

1508 SIT BREATHE LOVE (1)Sit : Breathe : Love (Sep 1–28) is a 28 Day Meditation Challenge with the aim of helping you to set up the habit of meditating daily.

It’s suitable for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.

The benefits of regular meditation have been demonstrated again and again in multiple studies. Meditating makes you happier, is good for your health, protects your brain from aging, boosts your intelligence, and helps reduce pain, stress, and depression.

But it’s not easy to set up a regular meditation practice.

So we’re here to help you!

The aim of the 28 Day Challenge is to work to build up a daily habit … Read more »

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DREAM BIG!

August 20, 2015

dream bigIf you live in or near Connecticut you might be interested in an event I’m participating in that takes place from September 13–14, 2015. It’s at The Spa at Norwich Inn, which looks like an amazing place. I’m really looking forward to going there.

The event is “Dream Big! The Power of Health and Inner Peace.” It’s organized by Marie Mozzi, who was formerly the director of the spa at the world famous Greenbrier, in West Virginia.

Being healthy, vibrant, and filled with peace and passion requires a real sense of self, the ability to dream, set goals and the desire to achieve whatever you set out to do…

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Hiding from pain by pursuing pleasure

August 13, 2015

Fun fair long exposure Photo taken at the fun fair of Hoorn

There’s a famous teaching, the Sallatha Sutta, in which the Buddha discusses our suffering as consisting of “two arrows.” The first arrow is simply the unavoidable suffering that we all experience as a result of being human. We’re all going to experience loss, hurt feelings, physical pain, illness, etc. The wise person simply observes this pain mindfully. The unwise person responds to suffering through resistance: “Why is this happening to me? This is terrible!”

The Buddha called this reaction “grief, sorrow and lamentation,” and he pointed out that this was like responding to the first arrow with a second one! Our resistance to pain simply causes further pain—perhaps even … Read more »

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Help new Buddhists in India go on retreat

August 13, 2015

2456436261_befc012827_oBorn as an “untouchable” in India (literally considered so polluted that a caste Hindu would have to purify him or herself after making physical contact) Bhimrao Ambedkar publicly converted to Buddhism on 14 October 1956, in Nagpur, India.

The significance of this is that, despite having been banned from sitting in a schoolroom with other (caste Hindu) children, Ambedkar had managed to gain an education, study abroad, and had become India’s first law minister—and the architect of the newly independent country’s constitution.

Ambedkar realized that most ex-untouchables were chained to the idea that they are inferior and that it was by changing themselves—through the practice of the Buddha Dhamma changing … Read more »

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My two forthcoming events at New York Insight

August 11, 2015
My book, "Living as a River," is an experiential exploration of the Buddhist teaching of non-self.
My book, “Living as a River,” is an experiential exploration of the Buddhist teaching of non-self.
Last year I was honored to run a workshop on self-compassion at the New York Insight Center. I’ve been invited back to teach again this fall, and this time I’ll be involved in two events.

“Debugging the Dharma”

The first one isn’t on the NYI website yet, as far as I know. I’ll update this post when that changes. It’s a conversation between myself and James Shaheen, editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. We’ll be discussing the topic “Debugging the Dharma” as part of NYI’s Dharma in Dialogue series, which has … Read more »

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From shame to self-worth: development of shame spectrum feelings in childhood

August 6, 2015

Silhouette of tree isolated on white backgroundShame is a very primal emotion, one that has a lot of traction in the mind.

As we grow up, from infants to adults, shame elaborates many nuances, like the branches and twigs growing from a single trunk.

Let’s consider four common sources of shame spectrum feelings.

First, consider a young child who is continually signaling her state of being and her needs. Maybe her caregivers respond routinely with attunement, empathy, and skillful responsiveness: this sends messages, associated with positive feelings, of existing for and mattering to her caregivers, of being inside the circle.

Or maybe her caregivers ignore her signals, or continually misinterpret them, or simply have a kind … Read more »

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Inviting Mara to tea

August 5, 2015

Tea set, Tea Cup with Teapot and Rose

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!…
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
—Rumi

One of my favorite stories of the Buddha shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. The night before his enlightenment, the Buddha fought a great battle with the Demon God Mara, who attacked the then bodhisattva Siddhartha Guatama with everything he had: lust, greed, … Read more »

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Meditation infographic

July 21, 2015

InformationIsBeautiful.net reviewed 75+ studies and compiled all the evidence in one graphic and datasheet.

What are the effects of meditation & mindfulness, according to the latest scientific research? What’s it good for? And while we’re at it, what’s the difference between meditation and mindfulness anyway?

IIB_Meditation_effects

Click on the graphic above to get more information.… Read more »

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The “Now Bench”

July 20, 2015

The Now BenchI just got word of a Kickstarter for an interesting new meditation tool.

For many people, sitting cross-legged isn’t comfortable, or even possible! For those who aren’t so flexible, the traditional kneeling, or “seiza” posture is very handy. It provides stability, comfort (once you figure out the right height, angle, and floor cushioning), and a sense of groundedness (certainly compared to being perched on a chair).

A good seiza bench, usually made of wood, can cost anything from $60 to $200 for a decent model.

The Now Bench is a different approach, using modern foam technology. It’s a simple U-shape, allowing the bench to find the right angle for having … Read more »

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What consciousness wants

July 17, 2015

Brain tree illustration, tree of knowledge

What does consciousness want? I don’t mean what do “you” want. I mean, what is consciousness fundamentally about? What is it trying to do? What is its nature?

Consciousness is undefinable. We can look at the brain with fancy machines and see activity going on. We can study neurons and understand the physical processes by which, for example, vision takes place. But how actual experience comes to arise on the basis of this is something that isn’t understood. This has been called the “hard problem” of explaining consciousness because scientists and philosophers don’t even know how to begin to think about this.

The philosopher and neuroscientist Alva Noë has … Read more »

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