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Course Schedule for 2004 and early 2005
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attention: In your online journal you'll have an ongoing
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A student writes...
"Your course has helped me in calming down. I
notice now that I am less prone to anger as I used to be. I used
to have a very short fuse. Now that fuse has increased substantially.
I enjoyed your course immensely and will probably take it again
in October as a refresher."
Mike Armstrong, New Mexico.
Dear Wildmind Subscriber,
Welcome to our newsletter for October, with a roundup
of recent news stories about meditation, a book recommendation,
and a quote of the month with commentary.
With the longer nights of the northern hemisphere
autumn rapidly approaching, this is an excellent time to think
about turning inwards and giving yourself the gift of meditation.
If you've ever wanted to learn powerful techniques for reducing
stress and for learning conscious relaxation, you might want to
sing up for one of our convenient online meditation courses.
Our next online meditation courses -- from all
levels from beginners onwards -- start Monday, October 4.
Make sure you book
your place now.
In this issue:
- Our next online courses
- Meditation in the news
- Support our translation project
- Quote of the month
- Book of the month
Discover the power of meditation
Our next online courses start October 4. Places are limited,
so make a reservation soon.
Our courses offer a rich experience, with online readings, guided
meditations in MP3 and RealAudio format, a discussion forum, and
personal attention in your online journal.
And our courses are suitable from complete beginners to more
experienced practitioners. You'll learn powerful techniques for
reducing stress and developing patience, relaxation, and calmness.
Read more here!
Meditation in the news
One again we bring you a substantial collection of news stories
concerning meditation. A common theme in the last month has been
beating stress through the practice of mindfulness, with a major
article in Newsweek magazine featuring the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn.
We hope you enjoy exploring the world's press!
Sep 27 Windham
family finds peace in meditation (Union Leader, New Hampshire)
A family finds peace in a controversial religious movement.
Sep 26 Doing
quiet time (Alameda Times-Star, California)
Inmates practice yoga and meditation.
Sep 26 Buddha
A technique called 'mindfulness' teaches how to step back from
pain and the worries of life.
Sep 24 Meditation
and yoga help bust stress (Minnesota Daily)
A new stress-relief class is helping students ease their worries
through meditation and yoga.
Sep 22 From
bookshelves to boardroom, 'mindfulness' is hot spiritual trend
(Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Indiana)
Mindfulness - living consciously in the moment - has become
"just that significant" in American culture, said editor-in-chief
Sep 22 'A
way to keep the mind focused' (Fort Wayne News-Sentinel,
The religion professor's foot was propped on a chair, his crutches
on the floor. A few days earlier, he'd broken his foot. A spiritual
lesson, he said. "I'm in this condition due to a failure in
mindfulness," said Ruben Habito, the spiritual guide at the
Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas. "But now, each movement can
become something I cherish because I cannot take anything for
Sep 17 CAPS
explores meditation as a stress reduction tool (The South
End Newspaper, Detroit, MI)
Dr. Steven Schoeberlein, of Wayne State University's Counseling
and Psychological Services Center, talked Wednesday about the
importance of keeping stress at bay during a workshop on the
fifth floor of the Student Center Building.
Sep 13 Meditation
helping arthritis patients (Kansas City Star)
Dalia Isicoff knows pain. A lifelong sufferer of rheumatoid
arthritis, she has had seven hip replacement surgeries. Since
leaving the hospital in February following her latest operation,
however, she hasn't taken any painkillers. Not because the pain
isn't there - it is. But Isicoff, 52, said she has learned to
accept the pain, the disease, and herself, thanks to meditation.
Sep 11 Meditation
as medication (CBS News)
More and more people are turning to alternative or non-traditional
methods to treat medical conditions. One such technique, meditation,
is gaining popularity as a legitimate medical therapy.
Sep 10 Spirit
Rock reaches out with emphasis on diversity (San Francisco
Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, founded 30 years
ago by a small group of friends, offers more than 48 retreats
and some 340 classes attended by more than 35,000 people annually
in a bucolic setting of redwoods, mountains and wildlife. But
a recent Monday night meditation class reveals that those who
teach there, as well as those who attend, are primarily of the
same demographic: mostly white, middle- to upper-middle class
and middle-aged. The board of directors of Spirit Rock, which
includes some of the members of the original Spirit Rock gathering,
is trying to change that by forming a diversity council, hiring
a diversity coordinator and by offering a wider variety of classes
Sep 9 Kiran
Bedi's You be the sky: From criminality to humanity (Delhi
The documentary, You Be The Sky, Kiran Bedi's initiative to
highlight the vitality of meditation and humane management in
prison and policing, was screened in the triveni Kala Sangam.
The film highlighted the success of Vipassana, a form of meditation,
in fostering change and empowering people physically, mentally
Sep 7 Unique
fitness (Warwick Beacon, Rhode Island)
Meditation has been around for centuries and is used to quiet
the mind and to promote self-knowledge and self-mastering. Through
focusing and maintaining attention, the mind is brought to the
present - not in "what happened yesterday" or "what will happen
Sep 7 Working
long hours? Take a massage break, courtesy of your boss
Through the tropics of mid-August, Michael Maccari, a men's
clothing executive, was at it 10 to 12 hours a day, fretting
over the details of an imminent holiday shipment to stores,
the fittings for the spring 2005 lines and the designs for next
fall - three seasons, three sets of deadlines. But right now,
at lunch hour on a Wednesday, the deadlines were dissolving
beneath a gentle tide of deep breathing.
Sep 6 Meditation:
Going home first time (Korea Times)
Everyone knows the fantasy: meditating on an idyllic Eastern
mountain peak with birds singing in rhythm to the soft ``ttak,
ttak'' of a temple's wooden gong. Such images attracted me to
Asia 10 years ago, seeking an inner sense of purpose that my
upbringing in Canada had not provided.
Sep 5 Esalen's
Identity Crisis (Los Angeles Times)
For decades, the scenic institute in Big Sur was the pioneer
in the self-help movement. But as middle age approaches, it's
being forced to turn the mirror on itself.
Sep 4 Final
Fantasy: Finding love through meditation (Daily Camera,
Watching students suffer through broken hearts has come with
the territory of teaching Indo-Tibetan Buddhism to college students
for the past 35 years, Naropa University professor Judith Simmer-Brown
said. That, paired with her own experiences of the heart, has
in the past inspired her to speak on the topic of "romantic
love" and its knack for sabotaging relationships.
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Quote of the month
"We have what we seek. It is there all the time, and if we
give it time, it will make itself known to us."
-- Thomas Merton
There was a time when I would have profoundly disagreed with
Thomas Merton's statement, although I now realize that I would
have been showing not my wisdom but the limitations of my understanding.
It would have seemed to me intuitively obviousat that time that
we do not in fact have what we seek and that we have to consciously
bring it into being through training. This approach is part of
what could be called the "developmental" model, in which
the practitioner is encouraged to see spiritual growth in terms
of working to eliminate the classical unskillful mental states
of selfish desire, aversion, and confusion, and to cultivate contentment,
acceptance, love, mindfulness, and insight. And when we look at
our minds doesn't it seem that there is all too often an overabundance
of the former states and a dearth of the latter?
But more recently in my practice I've begun to have a deeper
sense of the truth of Merton's statement. When we see our selves
statically, Merton's statement that we already have what we seek
can seem counterintuitive. But when we come to realize that everything
in our experience -- including those parts that we find destructive
of our own and others' happiness -- is not in fact a thing
that is but is a process that is becoming,
then those statements start to make much more sense.
Our selfish craving, our stress, or our resentments may not be
qualities that we enjoy having in our experience, but the simple
process of holding them in our awareness and accepting them as
they are -- including an acceptance that they are not static things
that are not going to change but are dynamic processes that are
in a process of evolution -- allows us to observe them with equanimity.
To be more concise, all things, embraced with a mindful awareness,
will evolve into something other than they presently are. Everything
is process; nothing is static. As long as we maintain a mindful
awareness of our minds, all things will come to their own fruition
in wisdom and love.
This may not be clear to us much of the time. In fact it can
at time be hard, if not impossible, to believe. It can be hard
to see how our hatred or our selfishness can lead us in a positive
direction, and in fact left to their own devices they cannot.
And yet all of our unskillful mental states are expressive of
needs which are not yet fulfilled, and through paying close and
loving attention to those states we can come to sense those needs
and, in time, meet them in skillful ways.
One of the main things I have been learning in recent years is
to learn to trust the power of mindfulness, and to learn to trust
that my own unskillful mental states will, if approached in a
spirit of loving awareness, lead to the development of well-being.
It's this sense of trust that I believe Merton was trying to emphasize.
All it takes is time, practice, and the steady application of
With Awareness: A Guide to the Satipatthana Sutta
by Sangharakshita (Paperback, $12.57)
(Click on the title to purchase from Amazon.com, or click
here to purchase from Amazon.co.uk, Paperback, £9.00)
The Satipatthana Sutta is generally regarded as the single most
important text expounding the Buddha's teaching on mindfulness,
and systematically takes us through a series of reflections on
mindfulness of the breath and the body, mindfulness of actions,
and mindfulness of impermanence.
Adapted from recordings of Sangharakshita in seminar with his
students, I found this book to be a sheer delight -- rather like
listening to a favorite, well-travelled and extremely knowledgeable
uncle chatting by the fireside. Because of the adapted nature
of the text, this commentary is somewhat of a ramble around the
Satipatthana Sutta, although Sangharakshita deals with the text
with great thoroughness.
Sangharakshita's many years of experience as a practitioner and
teacher are evident in the practicality with which he discusses
exactly how to go about developing the various aspects of mindfulness.
And mindfulness has many aspects, he points out. While many contemporary
teachers of meditation stress that mindfulness is awareness in
the moment, Sangharakshita emphasizes that it is indeed awareness
in the moment but that it is also an awareness in the moment
with reference to the past and present. As Sangharakshita
puts it, "Everything we do should be done with a sense of
the direction we want to move in and of whether or not our current
action will take us in that direction". Mindfulness integrates
our experience so that we recognize the effects of the past on
our present (and can thus learn to live more skillfully) and also
integrates the present with the future, so that we act now with
reference to where we would like to end up.
In the course of discussing the Sutta Sangharakshita demonstrates
his ample skill as a storyteller, drawing on tales from the Buddhist
tradition, from his own personal experience, and from western
literature. I doubt anyone could read this book without wanting
to rush out and buy a few volumes of Charles Dickens, having had
some of the perhaps unexpected spiritual wisdom in his writings
pointed out to us. These digressions, rather than being a distraction,
are actually a highlight of the book, and I can imagine that the
editors had their work cut out for them deciding which of the
divagations should be consigned to the cutting room floor and
which should stay.
Particularly striking as an example of Sangharakshita's lucid
thinking is a chapter on how to reflect -- a topic on which many
of us need guidance. Amongst other things we are advised to set
aside specific time for sitting down and thinking, seeking out
the company of people with differing views from our own in order
to learn to organize and articulate our thoughts more clearly,
and to practice reflecting through writing. This chapter could
well stand alone and I can well imagine it becoming a minor classic
in its own right.
For anyone interested in exploring the practice of mindfulness
more deeply I would highly recommend this book.
Copyright © 2004, Bodhipaksa.
Wildmind, PO Box 212., Newmarket NH 03857, USA.
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