“Meditation in the Wild: Buddhism’s Origin in the Heart of Nature,” Charles S. Fisher Ph.D.

December 30, 2013
Meditation in the Wild: Buddhism’s Origin in the Heart of Nature
Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Charles Fisher has poured decades of Buddhist practice, love of nature and scholarship into this work. He leads us on a journey down the centuries and through the jungles and mountain caves of Asia, following the trail of Buddhist practitioners who have lived and meditated in the wild. The quest takes us from the Buddha himself, discovering enlightenment while sitting at the foot of a tree, right through to the modern day. He homes in particularly on the Buddha’s early disciples, the forest hermits of China and Japan, and the Thai Forest tradition. He does not claim to be making a complete survey of the Buddhist world – Korean… Read more »

Mindfulness: Week 5 – exploring difficulty

September 8, 2013

John Alex Murphy, The Province: This past week’s Mindfulness meditation introduced a new way of dealing with difficult thoughts that was radically different and initially quite disconcerting for me.

I should initially mention that this past long-weekend, my family and I went on our first 3-day backpacking trip together in Skagit Valley Provincial Park, a spectacular mountain wilderness area about 200 kilometers east of Vancouver. It’s a beautiful place to spend time in nature. As it turned out, it’s also an exquisite place to meditate.

I was excited to start another new week of my eight-week Mindfulness course. So at the end of our …

Read the original article »

Monks in a waterfall

April 8, 2013

monks in waterfall

This gorgeous photograph was taken at the Pongua Falls in Vietnam, by the talented photographer Dang Ngo.

Check out Dang’s site, where this image is available for sale.

Coming home to the sacred

April 27, 2012

The word “sacred” has two kinds of meanings. First, it can refer to something related to religion or spirituality. Second, more broadly, it can refer to something that one cherishes, that is precious, to which one is respectfully, even reverently, dedicated, such as honesty with one’s life partner, old growth redwoods, human rights, the light in a child’s eyes, or longings for truth and justice and peace.

Both senses of the word touch me deeply. But many people relate to just one meaning, which is fine. You can apply what I’m saying here to either or both meanings.

I think each one of us – whether theist, agnostic, or atheist – needs access to whatever … Read more »

How to appreciate and receive life’s gifts

March 12, 2012

Life gives to each one of us in so many ways.

For starters, there’s the bounty of the senses – including chocolate chip cookies, jasmine, sunsets, wind singing through pine trees, and just getting your back scratched.

What does life give you?

Consider the kindness of friends and family, made more tangible during a holiday season, but of course continuing throughout the year.

Or the giving of the people whose hard work is bound up in a single cup of coffee. Or all those people in days past who figured out how to make a stone ax – or a fire, edible grain, loom, vaccine, or computer. Or wrote plays and novels, made art or … Read more »

Meditation on happiness

September 16, 2011

Happiness – we all seek it and want to know the secret of it. Self-help books on happiness line the shelves of book shops and libraries and there are all kinds of theories about happiness.

Over the years what I thought about and desired as a means to gaining happiness have changed as I have… matured (I like the word matured better than aged). Here is my list, organized by decades.

From ages:

0-10 I wanted to be cared for, safe, nourished and nurtured to be happy (although I could not articulate all this at the time).

11-20 I wanted friendships, fun, freedom, popularity, a car and someone interesting and sexy to date.

21-30 I … Read more »

10 ways to live a better life

June 5, 2011

When we think of changing our lives for the better, we may think of a new job, a new home, a new relationship, or material wealth – more “things” that we think will improve our lives.

Recently I saw a bumper sticker that read “the best things in life are not things” – it made me smile and I started thinking about ways to live a better life without looking for or wanting more stuff.

Here is my list:

1. Simplify – rather than desiring more, find ways to live with less. Bring clothing to Good Will or a charity. Clear away clutter from countertops and tables. If you have not used something or worn … Read more »

“The Rhythm of Family” by Amanda Blake Soule

June 4, 2011

First, if you’re my wife, please stop reading this review.

Now that’s out of the way, The Rhythm of Family is a year-long journey through the life of one family living in Maine. It follows the seasons, from January snows back to the turning of the year at the winter solstice. The Soules have four children who are, during the year described in the book, from nine to one years of age. The point of the book is to describe the intersection of family and nature.

The introduction to the book is called “Noticing,” and this sets the tone for what follows:

Wonderful things happen in our family when we choose to move slowly through

Read more »

Meditative channel added to TV choices at Illinois medical center

April 1, 2011

Patients watching television in their rooms at Springfield, Illinois, Memorial Medical Center now can turn on a channel that features instrumental music and soothing nature scenes.

The CARE Channel was added to the hospital’s TV lineup a few months ago, Memorial spokesman Michael Leathers said.

CARE, which stands for “Continuous Ambient Relaxation Environment,” is provided through a 19-year-old company in Reno, Nev., called Healing Healthcare Systems.

A news release from Memorial said the channel is designed “to enhance and promote healing.”

Susan Mazer, chief executive officer of Healing Healthcare Systems, said Wednesday the channel’s videos of waterfalls, mountain ranges, wildlife and flowers are not repetitive and have original music playing in the background.

“It’s kind … Read more »

Brain fatigue from living in the city?

November 18, 2010

Emerging research suggests city life is hard on the brain.

Investigators believe the need to continuously process multitudes of fleeting but compelling stimuli can impair mental processes like memory and attention and leave us mentally exhausted.

However, retreating to nature, a calm environment or performance of yoga or meditation can help relieve the stress.

In some ways, it is helpful to have a nervous system on alert. Dr. Sara Lazar, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Laboratory, says that “on a busy city street, it’s probably more adaptive to have a shorter attention span.”

Some people might say the stimuli that bombard us daily in city life are just a distraction, but Lazar said they … Read more »