Aug 01, 2013
I came across the work of American self help guru Byron Katie ten years ago. She has published a variety of books which offer a series of simple questions designed to challenge and overturn your perception of any situation you’re struggling with. The questions work by flooding your mind with the ‘fresh air’ of a new (often reversed) perspective.
It’s an appealing technique when you’re in pain. But her techniques always struck me as being like Paracetamol – a short term solution. My old views always came back, dragging their long tail of complicated emotional responses. What’s more, the persistence and tenacity of my habitual thought patterns endowed them, …
Jul 26, 2011
In traditional Buddhist teaching, doubt is a hindrance to progress. Now the English word doubt can also mean something positive — the kind of skeptical enquiry upon when rational thought, science, and even true spiritual practice are based — but the hindrance of doubt is not a helpful thing. While healthy skepticism is an essential part of a search for truth, the hindrance of doubt (vicikiccha) is an avoidance or even denial of the truth.
Doubt is a form of storytelling. It’s the lies we tell ourselves. So when we hit an obstacle and tell ourselves “I can’t do this” or “this is a stupid task anyway,” that’s doubt. When we …
Jul 22, 2011
I have a long history of depression. And though it’s thankfully not a constant companion anymore, it still drops by for a visit now and then. This past week was one of them. Being in it again gave me another opportunity for practice. But it also showed me how far I’ve come. I have the confidence that there’s a way out.
When these moods come lately, they go up and down, and usually pass away after a week or two. (Thank goodness! It didn’t used to be that way.) And all the things that seem so hopeless and overwhelming when I’m down suddenly turn manageable when the mood …
Nov 02, 2010
Life Happens is the work of Cheryl Rezek, a UK-based clinical psychologist who teaches mindfulness as a way of helping her clients deal with often difficult life situations. It combines pithy insights in written form with excellent audio instructions that guide the listener through a variety of meditative exercises and even physical stretches. It’s aimed in particular at those who have problems with mental distress or physical pain, such as stress, depression, chronic pain, cancer, and addiction.
The recordings most clearly show Rezek’s strengths as a teacher. Her voice is very pleasant to listen to, and conveyed to me a sense of warmth and gentleness, combined …
Aug 24, 2009
A young man in a troubled relationship seeks advice for Wildmind’s resident advice columnist, Auntie Suvanna. What’s the best path when you’re hooked up to someone who sees you as being the source of all her problems?
I stumbled upon you while searching for Buddhist relationship advice, and I hope you can help me. It is a rather long story, but you did say in the post I read that you need details so here goes…
First, I have not been studying Buddhism for very long now, only a few months, and not very consistently at that. But a lot of it matches my own feelings already.
I have been …
May 13, 2008
For some of us meditators, our disembodiment reaches excruciatingly painful and completely unacceptable proportions. It is almost as if our practice itself and the sensitivity it develops have brought us to a level of awareness in relation to our somatic situation that is unbearable.
We feel out of touch with our body, our emotions, our sense perceptions, even the basic experience of being alive. Perhaps this awareness has been slowly growing over many years; perhaps it happens upon us one day, rather abruptly. We realize that we are not really living our life, not really going through our relationships and our experiences in anything but a numb and mechanical way. Although everything may seem …
Mar 27, 2008
Contrary to what you might think, negative emotions are not “bad” things we need to get rid of. Sunada sees them as gold mines – opportunities to learn more about ourselves and walk the path toward uncovering our innate purity.
Meditation is supposed to help us become calm, peaceful, and happy, right? But then when we sit, all this other stuff seems to get in our way – anxiety, worry, depression, irritation, hateful thoughts … So we try harder to get rid of them because, after all, meditation is supposed be about freeing ourselves of all these ugly states of mind, right?
Well, let me stop you right there. Meditation isn’t about …