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 »
The 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 »
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 »
Learn to practice acceptance, to choose your thoughts, and to calm your emotions, in order to reduce stress, and promote feelings of wellbeing. This all can come about through the clinically proven method of mindfulness, which has been shown to improve both mental and physical health.
Over the 14 days of our Mindfulness Meditation Challenge, you will feel calmer and more in control of your life, and learn how to set up a daily meditation habit.
This event is suitable for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.
This challenge starts tomorrow! Sign up now to help establish a rock-solid daily meditation practice and to experience the benefits of mindful living!
Letting Go Into Joy: A Step-By-Step Guide to the Experience of Jhana (Aug 1–Sep 19) is a 50 day meditation event in which we will explore jhana — a state of calm, focused, and joyful attention. Jhana is what modern psychology calls a “flow state,” where we’re effortlessly and joyfully absorbed in our experience.
This flow state is not something we make happen. It’s something we let happen. This course will help you to let go of unhelpful thinking, emotions, and physical tension, so that you can experience more calm, energy, pleasure, joy, and focused attention — both in your meditation practice and in your daily life.
Register today to learn to go with
The one emotion that we most commonly repress is joy.
We don’t intend to do this. Instead, it happens through inattention. Few if any of us would sense joy arising and make a conscious decision to destroy it or push it out of awareness. Few of us would refuse happiness if it were to appear. And still we repress joy all the time.
One of the principles of meditation is that it allows joy to flourish. The process of meditating is that you start paying attention to some immediate sensory experience, such as the breathing. Then, after a while, you realize you’ve stopped doing that, and have instead been caught up in some train of … Read more »
My forthcoming album of guided lovingkindness meditations, “Harnessing the Power of Kindness,” includes my latest teachings on how to become kinder. It’s the result of over 30 years of practice and of having taught lovingkindness meditation to many thousands of people. I’m perfectly happy to say that I think it’s very effective!
Wildmind is run on a shoestring (all of our courses are offered by donation) and the moment we’re fundraising to cover the production costs of this album, which will be available in CD and MP3 formats. Those costs include the recording and … Read more »
Our Indiegogo crowdfunding project—aimed at helping us to cover the production costs of our forthcoming album of lovingkindness meditations—is getting close to being 100% funded! Please do visit our campaign page to check out the great perks we offer to donors.
Although the Pali word “metta” is most often translated as lovingkindness, I think that the simple term “kindness” works much better.
“Kindness” is a more natural part part of our vocabulary than lovingkindness. We use it all the time in ordinary conversation, while we only use “lovingkindness” when we’re talking about metta. This has the effect of making metta look as if it’s something removed from our everyday experience. (It doesn’t help that, historically, … Read more »
The way to get past not liking yourself isn’t trying to like yourself more: it’s being kinder to yourself.
Last week I was having a conversation with a friend who was experiencing loneliness. She said she liked herself, but she also said at one point, “I have a sweet dog in my life. Maybe that’s all I’m allowed.”
I suggested that she might ask herself whether that was something she would say to a friend who was lonely.
You wouldn’t do that, would you? To say to someone, “Maybe the universe doesn’t want you to have anyone in your life but your dog. Maybe you’re meant to be lonely,” would be very unkind and hurtful.… Read more »
At the moment we’re fundraising to cover the costs of bringing out our newest CD, “Harnessing the Power of Kindness,” (publication date August 2016) which of course will also be available in MP3 format. We’re asking people to buy a copy in advance to help us pay for the upfront costs. Here’s a link to our Indiegogo crowdfunding page, where you can read about the perks we’re offering to donors.
One of the emphases in the guided meditations on this album is what might be called connection before cultivation. Basically this is the principle that cultivating kindness (or lovingkindness, if you prefer) is easier and more effective when we first connect empathetically with … Read more »