Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 09, 2013
“Peace” can sound merely sentimental or clichéd (“visualize whirled peas”). But deep down, it’s what most of us long for. Consider the proverb: The highest happiness is peace.
Not a peace inside that ignores pain in oneself or others, or is acquired by shutting down. This is a durable peace, a peace you can come home to even if it’s been covered over by fear, frustration, or heartache.
When you’re at peace – when you are engaged with life while also feeling relatively relaxed, calm, and safe – you are protected from stress, your immune system grows stronger, and you become more resilient. Your outlook brightens and you see more opportunities. In relationships, feeling …
Jul 19, 2013
Both formerly and now, it is only dukkha that I describe, and the cessation of dukkha.
This word “dukkha” is often rendered as “suffering.” I have no real problem with that translation. It’s accurate. But many people have problems with the word “suffering.” As a friend and I were discussing just the other night, many people don’t recognize the suffering they experience as suffering, and so they don’t think that dukkha applies to them. Often people think of suffering as actual physical pain, or severe deprivation such as …
Jul 12, 2013
This meditation is a recording of a Hangout I did on Google+ with members of Wildmind’s community. It’s an upekkha bhavana meditation, which is not really the “cultivation of equanimity” at all — or at least so I believe. To me, upekkhā is not equanimity. It doesn’t even mean equanimity in its etymological root, but something more like “closely watching.” Upekkhā is when we wish that beings attain the deep peace of awakening through accepting impermanence, or the arising and passing of things, or that everything changes (the exact words don’t matter much).
We are of course seeking the peace of awakening ourselves, and so at the beginning of this …
Jul 11, 2013
In learning to experience deep peace in the face of impermanence, we need to consider not just our inner experience, as I did yesterday, but our very lives, and the lives of those around us. Life is short; we all face loss.
These things aren’t really different from what I was discussing yesterday, since it’s our inner feelings about changes in the world that we largely have to deal with, but the same situations can be looked at from different perspectives. When we’re actually experiencing loss, instability, and change, we can work on accepting the the feelings that arise with equanimity. But we can also prepare ourselves philosophically for …
Dec 04, 2012
There’s been so much bad news from Burma recently, with Buddhist monks advocating violence against the Muslim minority and being attacked by security forces as they tried to prevent the expansion of a Chinese copper mine, that I thought I’d post this lovely image of a Burmese boy monk meditating.
The photographer, Alamsyah Rauf, says that he used a 1/5th second exposure on a tripod to blur the water a little yet keep the monk sharp. Do …
Jan 16, 2012
On the occasion of Martin Luther King Day, it’s worth reading the letter he wrote to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, nominating the Buddhist monk-activist, Thich Hnat Hanh:
1967 25, January
The Nobel Institute
As the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 1964, I now have the pleasure of proposing to you the name of Thich Nhat Hanh for that award in 1967. I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam.
This would be a notably auspicious year for you to bestow your Prize on the Venerable Nhat Hanh. Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly separated from his
Jan 04, 2012
These attributes can be practiced in a number of ways including kind speech, humility and also through being frugal.
We are living at a time when prices keep going up and our income, if we are fortunate enough to have one, is not keeping up.
So, how can we live abundantly while living frugally?
Here is a list of suggestions.
1. Attitude is Everything
The way we think about things creates our reality. When we think we don’t have enough, we come from a place of scarcity. When we think …
Sep 16, 2011
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.
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.
May 08, 2011
The mind is like a wild elephant that needs taming. If you have ever meditated and tried to quiet your mind, you will have experienced your thoughts as continuous and difficult to manage.
We worry, we obsess about the same things over and over again, we are anxious about things that never happen, we want more than we have, or something different from what we have, and we have expectations of ourselves and others that may never be met.
What we think creates the world we live in. When we think negatively about ourselves and others, we do not experience the beauty and joy that can be found within ourselves and others.
One of …
Jan 17, 2011
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King Jr.
King intended these words as a comment on the Vietnam War specifically, and on war generally, but when I hear them I think of more day-to-day concerns, and of the way in which our ideals—the way we want to live our lives—become separated from how we actually live, moment by moment. We may want peace in our lives, but we more often end up with strife.
It seems every close relationship we enter is begun in the future hope of continued shared happiness, intimacy, and joy. And yet if we’re not careful we end up with distance, bitterness, and blame. We’d like to get from point A to point B, but end …