Aug 05, 2010
For the last six weeks I’ve been teaching a class at the University of New Hampshire’s Upward Bound program. The class is called “Success Studies” and it’s a combination of study skills and personal development, aimed at teens from impoverished backgrounds. The aim is to prepare them from college in order to break the cycle of poverty that affects poor communities.
We’ve done some meditation in every class; not much, just five or six minutes at a time during which we’ve explored the breath, learned different ways of paying attention that can help calm us or make us more alert, and cultivated lovingkindness. Most of the students seemed …
Jun 21, 2010
In a world where children are constantly exposed to stimulation, there is not enough silence. But a new children’s title, The Quiet Book creates a space of stillness in which children’s imagination and attention can grow.
I have two young children, who are going on two and four. We don’t have a television in the house, and toys that make electronic noises are banned. From time to time we get gifts of toys that beep or (the horror!) play electronic music, but they’re passed swiftly on to our local thrift store or, where the toy has some value, the batteries are removed. In …
Oct 01, 2009
There can be few things more painful than the death of a child. Can Buddhist practice help us cope even with this level of suffering? Siddhisambhava reviews a new book chronicling loss and letting go.
The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed is the tragic story of Kathleen Willis Morton and her husband, Chris having a longed for baby boy who dies seven weeks later. The story is extraordinarily difficult to read sometimes because it’s so painful. It’s also a very tender book, so you don’t want to rush it.
It’s hard to write about grief well. In writing The Blue Poppy, Morton joins a canon of grief and bereavement …
Aug 13, 2009
There are far too few books on meditation for children, and Kerry Lee MacLean’s Moody Cow should be a welcome addition to the book collection of any meditator’s child. But Bodhipaksa has some concerns. Find out why.
“My name is Moody Cow. It used to be Peter, but now it’s Moody Cow. It all started one stupid, rotten day when everything went wrong…”
So begins the story, which introduces us to Peter the calf, his sister Daisy, and his mother. We also get to meet a Peter’s grandfather, who plays a pivotal role as the wise man of the family. Peter’s father is strangely absent, although we do get to see his car. Fathers do …
Jul 27, 2009
Parenting can be a hindrance to spiritual practice or the main driving force of a spiritual practice. Bodhipaksa shares what he’s learned from his daughter.
Short of taking up Buddhist practice, the biggest seismic shift in my life was becoming a parent. Originally I’d seen parenthood as a distraction from my spiritual practice — after all having kids would take up more of my time, make it harder to meditate, and prevent me from getting on retreat as much as I was used to. And although all those things turned out to be true, I’m finding that there’s a lot of ways in which I’m learning and growing from being a parent. In …
Jun 16, 2009
A new book aims to describe the art of child-rearing in Tibetan culture, in order to help Tibetans hold onto their traditions and as a teaching for the wider world.
A pilgrimage earlier this year took me to Northern India and Sikkhim where I visited Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries and witnessed a little of the spiritual practice which is so integral to the ordinary everyday life of the people there, amongst them many Tibetan refugees. Saddened to leave India I was interested on returning to my life and my family to pick up this book and find myself once more amongst Tibetans and to be offered another perspective on their …
Feb 15, 2008
Motherhood has opened up a new emotional realm for Srimati. But how to love wholeheartedly and continually let go is the ground of her daily practice.
Against the odds and ahead of hard evidence, I instinctively knew I was pregnant. As I lay in the bath there was something magical in the air. I found myself, hand on belly, making a heartfelt pledge in a tender whisper: If you’re there, you’re welcome and I’ll do my best for you. This was the beginning of the greatest love of my life. One week into my relationship with this unknown, unexpected being, I was howling with an ancient grief as I bled, and feared it was over. …
Jan 28, 2008
How do we maintain an active practice while being immersed in the world of parenting and work? Are children a hindrance to spiritual practice? Or can parenting also be a path? Steve Bell, Buddhist practitioner and social worker, speaks from his experience of meditating while parenting two young boys.
I tell prospective parents to make a list of all the things they enjoy doing in their spare time. What are your hobbies? Do you like to go to the movies? I ask them to list the obscure little things they would miss. Do you like timely haircuts? Do you like to luxuriate in the bathroom, on the toilet, in the shower, and grooming? …
Feb 05, 2006
If you’ve ever wondered how you could introduce the life skill of meditation to your children, here’s a delightful CD that will help you do just that. Still Quiet Place is a series of guided meditations for children (ages three or older) that gently leads them to find and appreciate the ‘treasure’ within themselves. With each track, Dr. Amy Saltzman helps children to explore a different aspect their inner world, including an awareness of their physical bodies and emotions, and begin to trust their own inner wisdom.
And it’s not all about stillness and quiet. …