Nov 18, 2014
The first arrow: Think of a time someone said something hurtful to you, and let’s try to break down what happened. A comment was made, and you probably experienced actual physical pain, most likely in the solar plexus or heart. (When the hurt is particularly strong, we sometimes say it feels like we’ve been punched in the gut, don’t we?)
What went on was that some fast-acting part of your brain believed you were being criticized or marginalized, and so identified the comment as a threat to your wellbeing. That part of your brain then attempted to alert the rest of the mind to this threat by sending signals to pain …
Nov 17, 2014
The Four Noble Truths are the most fundamental teaching of the Buddha. Deceptively simple, they actually provide a profound explanation of human unhappiness, both gross and subtle, and how to attain increasingly positive states of mind, from stress relief in daily life to an unshakeable calm happiness and a selflessly compassionate heart.
With regard to the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha has been likened to a physician who diagnoses a condition, explains what causes it and what will end it, and then lays out in detail its cure.
The Noble Truth of Suffering
The first Noble Truth is that life contains inevitable, unavoidable suffering. (Some translators use the word, “stress,” to convey the broad …
Nov 14, 2014
Wildmind: A Step-by-Step Guide to Meditation, by Bodhipaksa (ebook)
Meditation helps us to cut through the agonizing clutter of superficial mental turmoil and allows us to experience more spacious and joyful states of mind. It is this pure and luminous state that I call your Wildmind.
From how to build your own stool to how a raisin can help you meditate, this illustrated guide explains everything you need to know to start or strengthen your meditation practice.
Available in epub (iPad, Nook, etc.) & mobi (Kindle) formats.
Other titles include:
- Buddhist Meditation by Kamalashila (ebook)
- Change Your Mind: A Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation by Paramananda (ebook)
- Life With Full Attention: A Practical Course in Mindfulness by Maitreyabandhu
Nov 07, 2014
Hopefully I’ll soon be trying out a demo model of the Muse headband, which according to the makers is like a heart rate monitor for your mind. In other words it gives you real-time feedback by detecting your brain signals during meditation, the same way you might use a gadget to monitor your heart rate during physical exercise.
Apparently this can help us to train the brain to be more focused, attentive, and calm. I’ll let you know how I get on. (In the meantime we’ve joined Muse’s affiliate program so you’ll see ads promoting it in our sidebars.)
At the recent Buddhist Geeks conference, where I gave a presentation, there were …
Nov 06, 2014
The inhibition profile of a particular person can be quite nuanced. For example, in terms of attachment theory, a person raised by a “dismissing” parent could worry about asking too much of others, and someone with an “inconsistent” parent –alternately intrusive and rejecting – could feel ashamed or guilty about desires that differ from those of her partner. Or, as a generalization, boys are socialized not to show fear, girls not to show anger; since what people do not express tends to build up inside, I’ve counseled relationships in which the man is anxious about the woman, and she’s irritated with him. I’ve also worked with people who:
- Can express “armored” emotions like
Nov 06, 2014
The other day I wrote about how karma isn’t the mystical and external “cosmic force” that many people think it to be — a force that impersonally metes out rewards and punishments. In a crude form this amounts to thinking things like this: if you do good things the sun will shine on your picnic, and if you do bad things it’ll rain.
Instead, karma (according to the Buddha) is to do with the ethical status of our intentions and how those naturally lead to our becoming more mired in suffering or freed from it.
Karma is psychology: do this, and you’ll feel that. Karma is about how your …
Nov 05, 2014
TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
from the BUDDHIST TEACHERS NETWORK
URGING YOU TO ADDRESS ANTI-MUSLIM VIOLENCE AT THE UPCOMING ASEAN MEETING IN BURMA/MYANMAR
Dear President Obama,
We as 381 Buddhist Teachers in America represent a large community that is deeply concerned about the growing anti Muslim violence in Myanmar and across Asia, and the plight of the 1.3 million Rohingyas, many forced to live against their will in inhumane internment camps and permanent ghettoized communities. We know you have been supportive of all Burmese people and have encouraged peace and reconciliation …
Nov 02, 2014
Stoic Week 2014 is an online international event taking place from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th November. The week is part of a multi-disciplinary project called Stoicism Today, which is helping to revive the ancient philosophy of Stoicism in modern life.
Oct 31, 2014
This morning I shared some resources I’d put together on the subject of self-compassion, but I just realized that there’s another great resource of mine that I can point you to. It’ll be especially ideal if you can’t make it to my November 22 workshop at the NY Insight Meditation Center, or a good primer if you can.
This resource is a video presentation on “How to Stop Beating Yourself Up,” on En*Theos Academy, which is a kind of Netflix for spirituality and personal development.
This class presents my latest teaching shared in a fun, high energy, 30-minute video format (you can also download MP3s and a PDF for …
Oct 31, 2014
“How to stop beating yourself up” is a workshop I’m teaching at the New York Insight Meditation Center on November 22. In this workshop I’ll be introducing, step-by-step, the skills of self-compassion. If you live in the area I hope you’ll be able to join me. Click here for more information on the workshop.
But we have a world-wide community here, and most of you won’t be able to attend.
I hear from a lot of people around the world who create suffering for themselves through self-criticism and self-hatred, and so I want to share some articles on self-compassion that I hope will be helpful. (And if you do live near NYC, …