Living With Appreciation and Gratitude (May 1–28)

April 9, 2015

yogd2015-muditaIn this 28 day event we’ll be exploring the quality of mudita, or joyful appreciation.

Mudita recognizes and appreciates the positive qualities and actions that bring happiness to beings (ourselves included).

It begins with a desire that beings be happy, but recognizes that happiness arises from a life well-lived, rather than randomly.

During this event you’ll learn how to:

  • Develop peace through an appreciation of impermanence
  • Overcome a tendency to blame yourself or others
  • See all beings as potentially awakened
  • Abandon indifference and cruelty in favor of genuine loving wisdom
  • Encourage the arising of insight in others

Signing up for this event gives you access to:

  • 28 daily emails with practice suggestions
  • Access to guided
Read more »

Giving is the most natural thing in the world

Hand holding a fresh young plantMeditations for Happiness (3 CDs) When you consider all this, it’s clear that we spend a lot of time giving to others. It’s the most natural thing in the world. Most giving is small, in passing, hardly noticed, the breath and wallpaper of life. It’s not hard to overlook. And with all the attention paid in the media to images and words of destruction and horrible mistreatment, it is easy to conclude that the true home of humanity is on the dark side of the force.

Yet, while it is certainly true that we are animals atop the food chain and capable of great aggressiveness, it is even more true that we are genetically programmed … Read more »

Taking your hands off the controls

April 8, 2015

Faro Punta Nariga 1Finding True Refuge, by Tara Brach (3 CDs) As living organisms anxious about our existence, we’re all naturally rigged to want to manage our lives with the goal of creating more pleasure and less pain for ourselves. Yet so many things are completely out of our control—aging, sickness, dying, other people dying, other people acting in ways we don’t like, our own moods and emotions…it’s all out of our hands.

Even so, when this automatic habit of controlling takes over, when our whole identity is in the persona of The Controller, we become removed from the qualities of presence, freshness, and spontaneity; we lose the ability to respond from a wiser, more compassionate place.

You … Read more »

Walking my talk

cashew nuts coated wasabiI decided it was about time I make some more effort at walking my talk. So what better opportunity do I have but to work through the 8 steps that I co-founded to take me out of my misery? Although many of the teachings I speak about in the book, were inspirations for me to change my life. I’ve not surrendered to a mentor/sponsor to take me systematically through the set of 8 steps.

While writing the notes on 8 step meetings, which I should say I attended daily while working in India for the month of January, and also writing on how to mentor someone in the program, I thought wouldn’t it be great … Read more »

Self-compassion: lovingkindness squared

April 2, 2015

stone heart handSelf-compassion is the most radically transformative practice that I’ve stumbled upon in more than 30 years of exploring Buddhism. It’s helped me to cope with many difficulties I’ve faced, ranging from the mundane challenge of a child’s tantrum, to financial problems and even serious illness. It’s helped me to become kinder and more compassionate not just to myself but also to others. In fact I don’t know of any other practice that’s changed me so much. I’d describe self-compassion as “lovingkindness squared.”

Self-compassion is simply treating yourself kindly, responding to your own pain with compassion in the same way you’d respond to the pain of someone you care about. “Self-compassion” is a bit of a … Read more »

Sit Breathe Love: A 28-Day Meditation Challenge (Apr 1–28)

March 30, 2015

yogd2015-SBLSit : Breathe : Love is a 28 Day Meditation Challenge with the aim of helping you to set up the habit of meditating daily.

In the 28 Day Challenge we’ll teach you how to find a comfortable meditation posture (“Sit”); we’ll teach you how to calm your mind and settle agitated emotions by practicing the mindfulness of breathing (“Breathe”); and we’ll teach you how to appreciate yourself and others more through the practice of lovingkindness (“Love”). Hence, Sit : Breathe : Love”.

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 … Read more »

Which positive emotion has the most “awesome” health benefits?

March 26, 2015

stonehenge at sunsetThe New York Times magazine this weekend will have an interesting article in its health column, The Well, about research into the health benefits of positive emotions.

The researchers were interested in looking at levels of a compound called interleukin-6, which is associated with general inflammation in the body. Low levels of interleukin-6 correspond to good health.

In the study, students were asked:

about their normal dispositions and the extent to which they had recently felt seven specific emotions: awe, amusement, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride. The students also provided a saliva sample. While happy moods were collectively still associated with low IL-6 levels, the strongest correlation was with awe. The more frequently

Read more »

Waking Up To Who We Are: A Wildmind Retreat With Bodhipaksa, Aryaloka, April 24-26, 2015

March 25, 2015

WakingUp_WebGraphic_smallLearn how to wake up to who you are on a weekend retreat with Bodhipaksa.

“Within you is a natural wisdom, waiting to emerge.”

Join Bodhipaksa on this weekend exploration of insight meditation, where we will create the conditions for our innate wisdom to manifest.

Insight meditation, or vipassana, is not one specific technique, but a process in which we look deeply to see who and what we really are.

Waking up to who we are requires two, seemingly contradictory approaches. On the one hand we cultivate great stillness, receptivity, and acceptance. On the other hand we challenge our fixed and limited assumptions of who we are by looking deeply into the nature of our … Read more »

Best Dharma quote ever!

March 23, 2015

jkornfieldIf 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.”

Living with change

March 23, 2015

UnknownEverything 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 you think you will find … Read more »