Visiting scholar links buddhism and physics

March 8, 2013

Physics offers “crisper” analogies for meditation than traditional Buddhism does, said Fred Cooper, external professor at Santa Fe Institute and former program director for theoretical physics at the National Science Foundation at a lecture last night.

Cooper, who has studied physics and meditation for over 30 years, spoke about connections between quantum physics and Buddhism in List 120 in a talk sponsored by the Brown Meditation Community.

Buddhism and physics share a common “conceptual framework” consisting of “ground, path and fruition,” but they diverge in the specifics, he said. Physics is grounded in mathematical equations, while Buddhism is grounded in the rejection of a dualistic perspective…

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Relax, you’ve arrived

June 26, 2012

We spend so much of our time trying to get somewhere.

Part of this comes from our biological nature. To survive, animals – including us – have to be goal-directed, leaning into the future.

It’s certainly healthy to pursue wholesome aims, like paying the rent on time, raising children well, healing old pain, or improving education.

But it’s also important to see how this focus on the future – on endless striving, on getting the next task done, on climbing the next mountain – can get confused and stressful.

It’s confused because the brain:

  • Overestimates both the pleasure of future gains and the pain of future losses. (This evolved to motivate our ancient ancestors to
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When are you?

May 8, 2012

There’s a profound and miraculous mystery right under our noses: this instant of now has no duration at all, yet somehow it contains all the causes from the past that are creating the future. Everything arising to become this moment vanishes beneath our feet as the next moment wells up. Since it’s always now, now is eternal.

The nature of now is not New Age or esoteric. It is plain to see. It is apparent both in the material universe and in our own experiencing. Simply recognizing the nature of now can fill you with wonder, gratitude, and perhaps a sense of something sacred.

Further, by coming home to now, you immediately stop regretting or … 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 »

Five ways to slow down and stop rushing

April 20, 2012

As I was meditating this morning, our cat hopped up in my lap. It felt sweet to sit there with him. And yet – even though I was feeling fine and had plenty of time, there was this internal pressure to start zipping along with emails and calls and all the other clamoring minutiae of the day.

You see the irony. We rush about as a means to an end: as a method for getting results in the form of good experiences, such as relaxation and happiness. Hanging out with our cat, I was afloat in good experiences. But the autopilot inside the coconut still kept trying to suck me back into methods for getting … Read more »

Stepping into timelessness

April 13, 2012

Sometimes in my meditation practice, time and space vanish.

There are passages in the early Buddhist tradition that encourage us to let go of past and future, and to remain in the moment. For example, the following verse is found in the Bhaddekaratta Sutta:

You shouldn’t chase after the past
or place expectations on the future.
What is past is left behind.
The future is as yet unreached.
Whatever quality is present
you clearly see [vipassatī] right there, right there.
Not taken in, unshaken,
that’s how you develop the heart.

In another verse, in the Attadanda Sutta in the very ancient Sutta Nipata, not clinging to past, present, or future is linked to letting go … Read more »

Mindfully navigating through overwhelm

April 19, 2010

paperworkI have to confess, I’m a busy-holic. I’m often balancing at the knife-edge of being TOO busy. But everything I do is important to me, and I don’t want to give anything up. Recently, I started taking a different perspective, which is really helping me cut through the crap. Here’s what I’m doing differently.

There’s always something I want to do. I’m not only self-employed, I love my work and I’m eager to keep learning and growing personally and professionally. I’m constantly doing things with and for my Buddhist sangha. And I sing with my a cappella group, the Silk Tones. My calendar is always very full.

 I know many of us feel oppressed by

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Norman Fisher: for the time being

August 8, 2009

New York Times

By Norman Fischer: I recently returned from a week-long Zen meditation retreat on the Puget Sound. I am a Zen Buddhist priest, so a meditation retreat isn’t exotic to me: it’s what I do. But this one was particularly delightful. Sixty-five of us in silence together for a week, as great blue herons winged slowly overhead, swallows darted low to the ground before us as we walked quietly on the open grassy space between the meditation hall and the dining room. Rabbits nibbled on tall grasses in the thicket by the lake. The sky that far north is glorious this time of year, full of big bright clouds that can be spectacular … Read more »