Keep calm and cultivate compassion

November 9, 2016

keep-calm-compassion“Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.” — The Dhammapada

The weeks leading up to the US presidential election were a real emotional roller coaster for me. I’m still a “Resident Alien” rather than a citizen, and so I couldn’t vote. But of course I had opinions and feelings about the outcome of the election, which directly affects my life in many ways.

The election is of course now over, and it didn’t go the way I’d hoped. It was unthinkable to me that Donald Trump could possibly be elected. Even though polls have been wrong in the past, the fact that a large majority of people … Read more »

Finding peace in every moment

October 31, 2016

53682718_mHere is the first email from our Stress Reduction Through Mindfulness event which starts Tuesday, Nov 1!

Often people assume that as a meditation teacher I must be immune to stress. But life can be challenging for anyone! In the last four or five years I’ve gone through a number of very stressful experiences, including the discovery that my tax accountant had covered up the fact that she hadn’t submitted my business tax returns two years in a row, leading to the Internal Revenue Service pursuing me for tens of thousands of dollars in penalties (which I ended up not having to pay any of, fortunately), a painful divorce, moving house several times, surgery for … Read more »

The most important thing right now, is right now

October 18, 2016

tree blossoms

The problem with distractions is that they’re compelling. They make us think that they’re important. They draw us into their stories. It’s as if they’re saying, “This is what you need to be thinking about right now.”

And so, over and over, we end up immersed in stories driven by anxiety, anger, desire, and self-doubt.

These distractions come from relatively primitive parts of our programming, which evolved as protective mechanisms. As mammals who suffered from predation, we needed to be anxious and alert for potential physical threats to our wellbeing. When such threats became actual—a stranger approaching our camp, for example—we might respond with displays of anger in order to invoke respect or fear … Read more »

The components of self-compassion

September 30, 2016

sunflower like the sun in hands isolatedThis post is taken from one of the emails from our online course, How to Stop Beating Yourself Up: Learning the Art of Self-Compassion, which starts tomorrow, October 1. Click here for more information.

Self-compassion is treating ourselves with the kindness, respect, and gentleness that we would offer to those we most love.

There are four components of self-compassion.

There’s mindfulness, which is the ability to observe our experience rather than merely participating in it and being swept along in it. Mindfulness requires that we stand back from our thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and see them as objects separate from ourselves, rather than as what we are.

There’s equanimity, which involves … Read more »

We’re reaching out for your support

September 28, 2016

buddha statue detail

We need to raise $4,000 in donations in order to get over a cash-flow crunch and cover our payroll and rent at the start of October.

It would be wonderful if you could donate $100, $10, $5 — or whatever you can afford — in order to show your support.

  • If you want to use a credit card, you can click here, enter the amount you want to donate, and then click on “add to cart.”
  • If you have a Paypal account, you can click here and enter your chosen donation.

There are more details below the chart, if you’d like more information about our situation and how you can support us.

Here’s Our

Read more »

“Non judgment day is coming!”

September 15, 2016

"Non judgment day is coming!"

Sadhu!

The Conscious Couple, Day 1: The Dharma of Intimate Relationships

August 30, 2016

0e3ac93e-68da-481a-bb36-b481fcd5af21by Shelly Chatterelli and Bodhipaksa

Our intimate relationships are a vital area for practice. Each day, each moment, they offer us fresh opportunities to practice kindness, love, and compassion. They give us practice in forgiving and asking for forgiveness. They allow us to cultivate honesty and to become more skillful in our communication. They provide us with opportunities to give and to receive and to learn about ourselves and our partner.

Intimate relationships challenge us. They unerringly find our emotional weak spots, highlighting our insecurities and failings in ways that can cause great discomfort. Yet this too is spiritually beneficial; how else can we change, but by bringing into conscious awareness that which needs transformation?… Read more »

The best way to calm your thoughts is to give them plenty of space

August 29, 2016

wheel of life hub

The ancient Romans had a special punishment for those guilty of parricide, which involved sewing the guilty party into a leather sack and tossing him into a river or the ocean. This, according to Cicero, symbolized how the heinousness of the offender’s crime sundered him from the realm of natural law.

This punishment evolved over time, with the addition to the sack of animals such as a viper and a dog. Eventually four animals were used, and this became the classical form of this punishment, which was known as the pœna cullei.

It’s hard to imagine how horrible this would have been. Suffocating would be awful enough, but throughout the ordeal you’d have two … Read more »

Happiness is not a choice

August 15, 2016

42111675 - coffee latte art in cofeee sbop vintage color toneThe saying that “happiness is a choice” is extremely common. There’s a book by that title, as well as a gazillion articles. They all say that you can choose to be happy.

It’s not true. Happiness is not a choice.

Or at least it’s not strictly true that happiness is a choice. There’s a grain of truth here; we can influence our happiness. But happiness is a feeling, and we can’t directly choose our feelings.

What is true is that happiness is the result of our choices.

We can choose actions that will bring long-term happiness. We can choose what we say. We can choose our attitudes. We can choose to have thoughts that increase … Read more »

Do less, notice more, accept distraction

July 31, 2016

lgijThe purpose of “Letting Go Into Joy” is to help you cultivate what’s called “jhana.” Jhana is a Pali word that literally means “meditation.” The Sanskrit equivalent is “dhyana.”

But there’s a more specific and technical meaning of the word. Jhana, in Buddhist terms, is an experience, or range of experiences, where meditation becomes effortless and enjoyable.

Jhana is seen as important in the Buddhist tradition for three reasons. First it helps to calm the mind, temporarily ridding it of disturbing mental states such as anxiety, craving, and ill-will. Through repeated experience of jhana, these mental habits become less likely to recur, and the mind becomes more positive. Second, the experience of being at ease … Read more »