Tone down the negative, enhance the positive

July 10, 2012

Painful experiences range from subtle discomfort to extreme anguish – and there is a place for them. Sorrow can open the heart, anger can highlight injustices, fear can alert you to real threats, and remorse can help you take the high road next time.

But is there really any shortage of suffering in this world? Look at the faces of others – including mine – or your own in the mirror, and see the marks of weariness, irritation, stress, disappointment, longing, and worry. There’s plenty of challenge in life already – including unavoidable illness, loss of loved ones, old age, and death – without needing a bias in your brain to give you an extra … Read more »

The sacred pause

May 30, 2012

In our lives we often find ourselves in situations we can’t control, circumstances in which none of our strategies work. Helpless and distraught, we frantically try to manage what is happening. Our child takes a downward turn in academics and we issue one threat after another to get him in line. Someone says something hurtful to us and we strike back quickly or retreat. We make a mistake at work and we scramble to cover it up or go out of our way to make up for it. We head into emotionally charged confrontations nervously rehearsing and strategizing.

The more we fear failure the more frenetically our bodies and minds work. We fill our days … Read more »

Ten tips for setting up a meditation practice

May 3, 2012

The benefits of meditation come with regular practice, and that means making it part of your life. That’s one of the great challenges of learning meditation, so here are ten tips for establishing a meditation practice.

1. Get some instruction

You can learn the techniques of meditation from books and CDs: there are some good ones around (check out our shop). But it helps a lot to learn from a real person.Take a course – or go to a class where you can ask questions about the issues. In time, it helps to have friends or even teachers who are more experienced meditators than you are.

2. Settle on a practice that suits you… Read more »

Can patience co-exist with technology?

April 12, 2012

Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy, Chicago Tribune: In a world where a new laptop already seems slow, one wonders whether our ever-faster technology is creating a pervasive culture of impatience.

Allan Lokos, who teaches patience as founder of The Community Meditation Center in New York and author of “Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living” (Tarcher), thinks that’s not the case. Rather, technology offers more opportunities to be impatient — but those are also opportunities to build patience.

Technology is external, Lokos says, while the feeling of impatience is internal, he says: “The person who experiences impatience easily is going to experience it in every traffic …

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“It can wait.” A mantra for the 21st century.

March 2, 2012

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 »

Three ways to cultivate patience in 2012

January 9, 2012

Therese Borchard: Ah patience. How do we cultivate you without driving ourselves more crazy?

Being that my new year’s resolution is to be more content with living with the questions in my life versus rushing towards the answers, I found useful the advice in Allan Lokos’s new book, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living.

Lokos is the founder and guiding teacher of the Community Meditation Center in New York City, and the author of Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living.

Here are the three themes that I found most helpful in his book.

1. See things as they are.

Writes Lokos:

In the …

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Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

August 10, 2010

I made three resolutions for this year’s summer trip:

· be extra patient with my partner
· don’t drink wine every day
· meditate

By the end of week one however, wine bottles were chinking in campsite recycling bins, I’d shouted GET ON WITH IT several times and had only meditated once, on the first morning.

Something about good resolutions makes me do the exact opposite. I want to be a better person. But it’s as if my definition of ‘better’ doesn’t always win the rubber stamp of approval from some mysterious internal committee. And this committee has a habit of voting with its feet.

Earlier this year, for example, I booked onto a two-week … Read more »

Getting past boredom in meditation

February 24, 2009

boredomDoes meditation leave you feeling bored and restless? Maybe you took it up so you could find a refreshing oasis in the midst of a too-stressful life — but it’s just not doing much for you. Sunada offers her perspectives on how to work through this all-too-common situation.

Most of us come to meditation with varying degrees of expectation that it’s supposed to make us feel good. And really, that’s a very normal human reaction. We seek out things that make us feel good, and lose interest in things that don’t. Even when we know intellectually that meditation is good for us and we want to keep at it, we get that irresistible urge to … Read more »

Parenting and practice

January 28, 2008

Steve BellHow 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? Then I … Read more »