This morning as I was walking to the office, I noticed that I had an earworm stuck in my head. In case you’re unfamiliar with this term, it refers to a song or jingle that runs in a repetitive loop in the head. Often it’s only one or two lines from a song. Sometimes it’s not even a song we like. It may even be one we detest.
I have a very effective technique that not only helps get rid of earworms but also turns them into mindfulness triggers should they recur, but this morning it occurred to me that mantras could be regarded as a form of self-induced spiritual earworm.
Mantras are self-induced because … Read more »
You know the standard advice: when you notice during meditation that the mind has been caught up in thinking rather than with paying attention to your present-moment experience, just let go of the thoughts, without judgement, and just come back to the object of the meditation practice. And do that over and over.
But sometimes the thoughts are very persistent, especially if there’s something that’s preoccupying you emotionally. If you’ve been involved in an unresolved conflict, or have unfinished business, or if you’re looking forward to some big event, then it’s natural that your mind is going to turn to that over and over.
Over the years I’ve found a “trick” that helps me to … Read more »
Here’s a meditation tip for you to try. It came to me when I was on retreat a couple of weeks ago. One morning, on the first meditation of the day, I found that my mind was all over the place.
I really needed to calm down my racing thoughts, but I had a hunch that the more I “tried” to do something about them, the more I was going to create more disturbance. In Buddhism we sometimes talk about this as being the task of “catching a feather on a fan,” because more effort equals more disturbance, while a gentle and sensitive effort will get the job done.
As I paid attention to the … Read more »
I’d like to suggest a simple practice for you.
For the next hour or so, let the first thought you have when seeing someone or meeting them face-to-face be: “This person suffers just as I suffer. This person, just like me, doesn’t want to suffer.”
“Seeing someone” can include seeing their photograph or seeing them on TV, as well as seeing them in person, or seeing them passing by.
You can try this for a longer period, of course, but I thought it would be good to try it for a very short spell initially, so that you don’t feel you’re taking on a task that’s too big.
I’d advise keeping these two phrases going … Read more »
In practicing mindfulness in daily life, it’s worth watching out for small experiences that lead to tension, stress, or anger.
I noticed several months ago that I’d start feeling resentful as I walked toward a pedestrian crossing with the intention, of course, of crossing the road. The resentment is connected with the number of drivers who don’t stop when they see someone — well, me! — about to cross the road.
But I’d actually start getting resentful before I even reached the side of the road, long before drivers could possibly realize that it was my intention to cross in front of them. It’s all rather irrational, and goes way back, but I won’t bore … Read more »
You’re in the middle of a conversation with a friend, and your phone rings. You stop mid-sentence and suddenly you’re caught up in a phone call. You don’t even think about whether or not to pick up the call. It just happens.
You’re in the car and you hear the ping of a text message arriving. What do you do? Many people succumb to temptation and read the message and — worse — reply to it. (You can recognize those people; they’re the ones in front of you, swerving out of their lane without even realizing it.) Even if you try to ignore the incoming message, you can feel its emotional pull, as if your … Read more »
Tammy Winand writes:
Mani Stones are stones featuring carved mantras, most often the Chenrezig Buddha of Compassion mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum. They may be heaped together in mounds or walls, and often appear near Buddhist places of worship (temples, stupas, holy lakes and mountains, or remote places where strong spirit presences are believed to exist).
The following are some examples I have come across during my travels in Tibetan exile communities in northern India.
Mani Stone Outside the Main Temple of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama-McleodGanj, India
Mani Stones and Image of Guru Rinpoche near Tsuglakhang, McleodGanj
Mani Stones, including a Kalachakra Mantra, at Tsuglakhang
Mani Stone Pile Outside Choekling Monastery in Bir … Read more »
I was attracted to this book principally because of the title. I like chanting and have a daily liturgy practice, and my sympathy with this kind of approach comes from my devotion to the Medicine Buddha and the many years during which I worked as a spiritual healer. So I began this review in a state of optimism which was rapidly followed by finding myself confronted with the demon of deep cynicism.
Tenzin Wangyal who is based in the US, is a well-respected Rinpoche in the Tibetan Bön tradition and he is probably best known for his volume on dream yoga. The central teaching in the Bön religion is that of dzogchen and this informs … Read more »
As a child growing up in Scotland I had a strong relationship with the Holy Spirit. I would pray for the Holy Spirit to fill me with the love that existed between God the Father and God the Son. I have no idea where I got this sophisticated understanding of the Holy Spirit — but he was the personification of the love that enabled God to let his son be sacrificed to redeem mankind. I prayed that this mighty love would free me and others from the suffering I saw around me. Perhaps it made sense of how God could be a god of love and yet, alongside the beauty and marvels of the world, … Read more »
Every day, the Hare Krishnas chant a melodic meditation and serve food to students in UF’s Plaza of the Americas. A decent number of students usually line up — especially on Spaghetti Wednesdays — but no one seems to know much about the people who serve the vegetarian-friendly fare.
An hour and a half before the sun rises, the Hare Krishnas gather for meditation, called japa, in the temple of the Krishna House, just off campus on Northwest 14th Street.
They recite their mantra with the help of Japa Mala beads, a strand of beads — not unlike the rosary — that helps devotees keep track of their chanting. Each strand has 108 beads, one … Read more »