Oct 06, 2012
Thank you. And I feel like this whole evening has been very amazing to me. I feel it’s sort of like the Vimalakirti Sutra, an ancient work from ancient India in which the Buddha appears at the beginning and a whole bunch of people come to see him from the biggest city in the area, Vaishali, and they bring some sort of jeweled parasols to make an offering to him. All the young people, actually, from the city. The old fogeys don’t come because they’re mad at Buddha, because when he came to their …
Oct 04, 2012
It’s hard to always show compassion — even to the people we love, but Robert Thurman asks that we develop compassion for our enemies. He prescribes a seven-step meditation exercise to extend compassion beyond our inner circle.
Transcript: I want to open by quoting Einstein’s wonderful statement, just so people will feel at ease that the great scientist of the 20th century also agrees with us, and also calls us to this action. He said, “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, the ‘universe,’ — a part limited in time …
Sep 12, 2012
Most – perhaps all – of what we human beings do, say and think is associated with our attempt to escape from dissatisfaction or suffering, or, to put it the other way around, to find satisfaction and happiness.
I can actually remember when and where I had this insight myself. It was a real eye-opener for me to realize that everyone just wants to be happy, and that everything they do is an attempt to find happiness. Even the cruel and …
Aug 01, 2012
If your life feels like a struggle with the world, it may be that your real struggle is with yourself. But if we turn towards our experience with kindly awareness we can find the deepest kind of peace and happiness that comes from within
Mindfulness means paying attention. Simply paying more attention to our surroundings brings many benefits, but something interesting also happens when we also pay attention to the thoughts in our heads and the feelings that go with them.
Many people notice how hard we on ourselves we can be. There’s a constant commentary on everything we do, often including self-criticism, harsh judgments, chivvying and berating. That has an …
Rick Hanson PhD
Jul 17, 2012
Forgiveness is a tricky topic.
First, it has two distinct meanings:
- To give up resentment or anger
- To pardon an offense; to stop seeking punishment or recompense
Here, I am going to focus on the first meaning, which is broad enough to include situations where you have not let someone off the hook morally or legally, but you still want to come to peace about whatever happened. Finding forgiveness can walk hand in hand with pursuing justice.
Second, there is sometimes the fear that if you forgive people, that means you approve of their behavior (like giving them a free pass for wrongdoing). Actually, you can both view an action as morally reprehensible and no longer …
Apr 14, 2012
Feb 01, 2012
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over.” Thich Nhat Hanh
I grew up in a family dominated by alcoholism, narcissism, illness and dysfunction. There were four of us, my mother, my father, my older brother and myself.
From a young age, I had a lot of responsibility. I was a parentified child, caring for my older brother who was epileptic and also caring for my parents whose main focus of concentration was on themselves.
Growing up I was filled with confusion, dissatisfaction, and suppressed anger.
As a child, I did not know other children were busy playing and being cared for. For me it was all about caring for others. I was left alone while my father worked, my mother shopped, and my brother …
Rick Hanson PhD
Jan 17, 2012
Benevolence is a fancy word that means something simple: good intentions toward living beings, including oneself.
This goodwill is present in warmth, friendliness, compassion, ordinary decency, fair play, kindness, altruism, generosity, and love. The benevolent heart leans toward others; it is not neutral or indifferent. Benevolence is the opposite of ill will, coldness, prejudice, cruelty, and aggression. We’ve all been benevolent, we all know what it’s like to wish someone well.
Benevolence is widely praised – from parents telling children to share their toys to saints preaching the Golden Rule – because it has so many benefits:
- Benevolence toward oneself is needed to fulfill our three fundamental needs: to avoid
Dec 12, 2011
I don’t know if anger, rage, and frustration are getting more common, but it certainly seems like they are.
As we find ourselves snarled in impossibly heavy traffic, overloaded with life’s complexities, dealing with technology that we think should work but sometimes doesn’t, and struggling to survive in a precarious and heartless economic system, it seems a lot of people live with hot coals of irritability burning inside them, and that these hot coals have more than ample opportunity to burst into the flames of anger, or to erupt as emotional explosions of rage.
Techniques from meditation can help us to damp down the flames of our ill will.
Stop, drop, and love
Nov 29, 2011
Right at the very beginning of my meditation practice I was introduced to both mindfulness of breathing and the development of lovingkindness meditation. It was explained to me that both of these practices were equally important, that they were complementary, and that alternating these practices prevented imbalance in our approach. It was stressed, in fact, that sometimes lovingkindness practice is more important than mindfulness practice — especially for people who have a tendency toward being angry or over-critical.
I’ve never had cause to doubt any of that advice.
There are many meditators, however, who only practice mindfulness meditation, and often lovingkindness practice is seen as second-best. Generally …