Recently I received a request to answer some questions for a book on the topic of surrender. Here’s the first draft of my response:
1. How would you define surrender? Who or what is one surrendering to, in your opinion? God, Universe, Self, Soul, What Is, present moment…?
Surrender is an important part of all spiritual practice. Ultimately it’s what we’re aiming to accomplish in practice.
What we’re surrendering to is the reality of impermanence and non-separateness. In reality, everything changes and nothing (including ourselves) is separate or self-contained. But we have deep-rooted assumptions that we exist separately from the rest of the world, that there is something in us (and others) that is permanent … Read more »
There’s a great piece in today’s New York Times by political cartoonist Tim Kreider on the seductiveness of hatred and indignation. He even mentions meditation. Here’s an extract, but I’d recommend reading the entire piece (which continues below the accompanying cartoon — I was briefly fooled).
Kreider talks about how addictive anger can be, and how we can find ourselves in the position of seeking out things to be annoyed about.
… Read more »
A couple of years ago, while meditating, I learned something kind of embarrassing: anger feels good. Although we may consciously experience it as upsetting, somatically it feels a lot like the first rush of an opiate — a tingling warmth on the insides of
People behind bars are often open to change, as Suvarnaprabha discovers when teaching prisoners to meditate.
There is a series of rituals you learn when you start going into prisons. Of course they aren’t meant to be rituals –- they’re for security, but they end up feeling like rituals, in the same way that some of us automatically bow when we enter a meditation room. You walk up to the door, push the button, turn your back to the door, the door buzzes, and you turn around, open the door and go inside. Every time you go through a door, even on the inside, you do the same thing: you push the button, turn to … Read more »
If science is about the study of cause and effect in the physical world, meditation is, Bodhipaksa argues, a form of inner science that helps us to understand how to avoid creating pain for ourselves and others.
Matisse said: “When we speak of nature it is wrong to forget that we are ourselves a part of nature. We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire universe.”
Although Matisse was an artist rather than a scientist, he has a lot to say to those of us who are interested in the inner science of … Read more »
Students who take Wildmind’s online courses have the opportunity to talk about their practice and get personal feedback from the teacher. The following is a recent exchange from one of our meditation courses.
A student asks: I want to learn how to control my anger, but it’s really hard. Any advice?
Sunada replies:The thing about emotions, especially strong ones like anger, is that they seem to come up in an instant, leaving no room for us to do anything about them. So for example, we realize we snapped at someone only after we recognize that we’re angry. It seems impossible to do anything about them, doesn’t it?
But actually, emotions are habits we’ve taken … Read more »
Once when I was listening to the Dalai Lama talk in Edinburgh, he was asked a question that went something like this: “You keep talking about changing the world through meditation and compassion, but isn’t anger faster?” His Holiness answered to the effect that it’s precisely because anger acts so swiftly that we have to be wary of it.
His Holiness’s reply reveals Buddhism’s ambivalent attitude to the emotion of anger. Anger’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it can accomplish a lot of good in the world. Anger can simply be a passionate response to something that we know in our hearts is wrong. His Holiness has himself admitted that he frequently feels … Read more »
Ian Robinson doesn’t mince his words when it comes to admitting his past failings. “I was a bugger for road rage,” he confesses. “I’d be driving along and someone would cut me up and I could kill.” Ian laughs at the admission. Other road users no longer wind him up. Their driving hasn’t changed – Ian has. The 44-year-old factory worker has discovered meditation.
Ian Robinson doesn’t mince his words when it comes to admitting his past failings. “I was a bugger for road rage,” he confesses. “I’d be driving along and someone would cut me up and I could kill.” Ian laughs at the admission. Other road users no longer wind him up. Their … Read more »
Buddhists who meditate may be able to train their brains to feel genuine happiness and control aggressive instincts, research has shown.
According to Owen Flanagan, professor of philosophy at Duke University in North Carolina, Buddhists appear to be able to stimulate the left prefrontal lobe – an area just behind the forehead – which may be why they can generate positive emotions and a feeling of well being.
Writing in today’s New Scientist, Professor Flanagan cites early findings of a study by Richard Davidson, of the University of Wisconsin, who used scanners to analyse the active regions of a Buddhist’s brain.
Professor Flanagan said the findings are “tantalising” because the left prefrontal lobes of Buddhist … Read more »