Mar 23, 2015
If you can sit quietly after difficult news;
if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm;
if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy;
if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate;
if you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill;
if you can always find contentment just where you are:
you are probably a dog.
– Jack Kornfield
Thank you to Tim Brownson for sharing this, in a paraphrased form, on his blog.
The comes from Jack’s book, “A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times.”
Mar 23, 2015
Everything changes all the time: our bodies, other people and the world around us. In fact, change and impermanence are the fundamental realities of our lives. Change is often painful, so typically we resist it, and that can cause all sorts of problems.
Mindfulness practice helps each of us to see how we respond to life’s uncertainty. We are more able to explore how our reactions can lead us into difficult states on mind such as stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness also helps us to accept impermanence and even embrace it.
Here are some exercises that explore change and how it affects us. These are quite potent and you if … Read more »
Mar 19, 2015
Stress-Proof Your Brain, by Rick Hanson (2CDs) This article is about developing the skill of mindful presence.
Let’s unpack those two words, mindful presence.
Mindfulness is simply a clear, non-judgmental awareness of your inner and outer worlds. In particular, it’s an awareness of the flow of experience in your inner world – an alert observing of your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, desires, memories, images, personality dynamics, attitudes, etc.
When you are mindful of something, you are observing it, not caught up in it and not identified with it. The psychological term, “the observing ego” – considered to be essential for healthy functioning – refers to this capacity (i.e., mindfulness) to … Read more »
Mar 19, 2015
Two days ago I got an email message from a friend, saying that Wildmind had been hacked. Uh, oh. It was about 12:25PM, and the timing sucked, since I was just meeting with a couple of friends who were helping me move the last of my stuff out of the house I’ve been living in for the last nine years. As soon as that was over, it would be time to pick up my kids from school, feed them, and then take them back to school for an ice cream social and art show.
In the email my friend had sent me a screen shot, showing a screed criticizing Israel … Read more »
Mar 16, 2015
Recently someone asked me what she should do if she couldn’t trust a person she was being kind to. In the past she’d tried to be compassionate to a roommate she didn’t trust, and had even felt herself to be in danger. She didn’t say what the exact circumstances were, but it sounded scary.
Being kind to someone means treating them as a feeling human being who, like us, has a deep-rooted desire to be happy and an equally deep-rooted desire not to suffer. It means empathizing with the fact that happiness is elusive and that suffering is all too common. Bearing these thoughts in mind makes it harder to … Read more »
Mar 11, 2015
A couple of weeks ago I had a growth removed from inside my ear, and a week later the pathology report came back, saying that the lump had been cancer. It’s not very pleasant to hear that you’ve had cancer, and it’s also unpleasant knowing you’d had to leave it untreated for six months because you couldn’t afford health insurance. Anyway, that unpleasantness prompted the worrying part of my mind to go into overdrive. What if the surgeons hadn’t … Read more »
Mar 10, 2015
Christian Broadcasting Network host Pat Robertson suggested to viewers on Monday that Buddhism was like a “disease” and that a Christian could get “infected” if their coworkers practiced it.
“I work in an environment where all of my coworkers are Buddhists,” a viewer named Tina explained in an email. “They talk about Buddhism all day long and try to preach to me. It didn’t matter much to be before, but since I recommitted myself to Jesus a year ago, it has started to bother me a lot.”
Robertson replied by noting that “healthy” people might not contract a “mild contagion.”
“But if you put yourself in the middle of a … Read more »
Mar 10, 2015
This fascinating map from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (click to enlarge) shows the second largest religious tradition in each of the states of the US. Buddhism is in second place in 13 states. Hawaii, with a large population of Japanese descent, perhaps isn’t a surprise. California is perhaps incapable of giving surprises. Alaska? I did not see that coming.
Of course it probably doesn’t take much for a religion to be in second place in the US. Christianity, as you’d expect, is the majority religion in every state. Another resource shows that the percentage of the population identifies as Buddhist in each of these states is … Read more »
Mar 06, 2015
The Enlightened Brain: The Neuroscience of Awakening, by Rick Hanson (7 CDs) The specific meaning of “dana” is giving, which is related to the quality of “caga” (in Pali), or generosity. The one involves doing, while the other involves being.
While this distinction is useful in its comprehensiveness, in actuality generosity and giving, being and doing, are intertwined and inextricable. Being is itself a kind of doing, as you cannot help but radiate certain qualities out into the world. And every doing – at each endlessly disappearing and regenerating instant of NOW – is a microscopic slice of being.
Giving and generosity can be expressive or restrained. For example, we … Read more »
Mar 05, 2015
Radical Self-Acceptance, by Tara Brach (3 CDs) When the Buddha was dying, he gave a final message to his beloved attendant Ananda, and to generations to come: “Be a lamp unto yourself, be a refuge to yourself. Take yourself to no external refuge.”
In his last words, the Buddha was urging us to see this truth: although you may search the world over trying to find it, your ultimate refuge is none other than your own being.
There’s a bright light of awareness that shines through each of us and guides us home, and we’re never separated from this luminous awareness, any more than waves are separated from ocean. Even … Read more »