The bud dreaming the flower

September 22, 2015

fotolia_63983416Last weekend I taught meditation on a workshop along with another teacher who talked about the importance of goals as part of one’s spiritual path. This is something I often talked about in the past, although it hasn’t been a prominent part of my teaching recently. I think the last time I wrote about it was in my 2010 book, Living as a River.

My own presentation at the weekend was on mindfulness, appreciation, and gratitude: being in and valuing the present moment.

These two themes might seem contradictory, and it was interesting to explore how they’re actually not, but are (or can be) complementary.

One exercise I’ve done myself and which I recommend … Read more »

Knowing the mind of the Buddha

July 20, 2013

padmasambhavaA little under two years ago I was on a retreat with other members of the Triratna Buddhist Order, which I’ve been a member of since 1993. We were discussing the visualization meditation practices we were each given at the time of our ordination.

At the time of my own ordination, the practice I had requested and was formally given — the visualization of Padmasambhava — was described as being my orientation toward enlightenment. The visualized form of Padmasambhava — a red-robed figure with a trident and skull cup overflowing with the nectar of immortality — embodied my personal connection with awakening.

“Enlightenment” can be a rather abstract concept. How can we aim to attain … Read more »

How Buddhism can help Eagles soar

March 28, 2013

Al Reiger, The Western Courier: Some call it mental toughness. The ability to block out the thousands of screaming fans, the pressure of failing your team and school can give the young athletes on the Florida Gulf Coast men’s basketball team a competitive edge as they make their push toward the Elite Eight

Mindfulness, visualization and compassion — practices rooted in ancient eastern religions such as Buddhism — have been proven to help people with addictions, life problems and to foster happiness overall.

Dubbed the “Zen Master,” former NBA head coach Phil Jackson applied these principles of Buddhism to his life and…

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How meditation makes us much nicer people

March 26, 2013

Ecologist: New research proves that a spiritual practice, such as meditation, leads to a kinder world. Hazel Sillver explores a number of different types of meditation.

Mindfulness increases creativity and reduces stress, depression and loneliness

It is well established that meditation reduces stress and improves concentration, but now researchers have found it affects the way we vote. Last month (February 2013) scientists at the University of Toronto published the results of studies that compared the political views of ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’ Americans.

Religiousness was defined as ‘devotion to a set of principles or code of conduct’, while the spirituality was termed as ‘a direct…

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Opening the gateway of love

November 26, 2012

As one of the American pioneers credited for bringing Eastern spirituality to the West, Ram Dass had more than four decades of spiritual training to help guide him when he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage in 1997. Nonetheless, in the hours after his devastating stroke, he lay in a gurney staring at the pipes on the hospital ceiling, feeling utterly helpless and alone. No uplifting thoughts came to rescue him, and he was unable to regard what was happening with mindfulness or self-compassion. In that crucial moment, as he put it bluntly, “I flunked the test.”

I sometimes tell his story to students who worry that they too have “flunked the test.” They’ve practiced meeting … Read more »

The radiant awareness living through us

October 12, 2012

Sometimes you hear a voice through
the door calling you, as fish out of
water hear the waves, or a hunting
falcon hears the drum’s ‘Come Back, Come Back’.
This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you …

Soon after his enlightenment, the Buddha set out to share his teachings with others. People were struck by his extraordinary radiance and peaceful presence. One man asked him who he was. “Are you a celestial being or a god?” “No,” responded the Buddha. “Are you a saint or sage?” Again the Buddha responded, “No.” “Are you some kind of magician or wizard?” “No,” said the Buddha. “Well then, what are you?” The Buddha replied, “I … Read more »