Vidyamala’s online course, Mindfulness for Women: Declutter Your Mind, Simplify Your Life, Find Time to ‘Be’, starts Jan 1. Click here now to enroll!
Get yourself into a comfortable posture. You can be sitting or lying down, it’s up to you. Relax for a moment to allow yourself to settle. Now, notice how your body feels. What physical sensations are you experiencing at this moment? Maybe you feel pressure between your bottom and the chair you’re sitting on or the floor beneath you. What does this feel like? For a few moments, just be open to any sensations in your body, experiencing them with an attitude of kindly curiosity.
Now take a moment to listen … Read more »
A new study from Brown University shows how a rigorous approach to studying mindfulness-based interventions can help ensure that claims are backed by science.
Researchers say that an analysis of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) is complicated as the therapies sometimes blend practices, which makes it difficult to measure how each of those components affects participants.
To address that issue, the …
I’d like to suggest a very different way of meditating.
Normally in meditation we think about observing the breathing. Actually a lot of people think about and practice observing the breath — air flowing in and out of the body’s airways — but I point out that it’s far more useful to observe the breathing, which is a much richer experience. When we’re observing the breathing we’re potentially observing the entire body, and how it participates in and responds to the process of air flowing in and out of our passageways.
In taking this approach of observing the breathing it’s useful first of all to relax the muscles around the yes. This brings about … Read more »
What I’m up to
Last month I was appointed as the new President of the international organization Buddhist Recovery Network BRN. Sounds grand, but I have the task of bringing this organization out of dormancy and popularizing Buddhist Recovery in all its guises to the rest of the world. I have also been invited to be part of the Menla Retreat Centre (Upstate New York) Faculty as the lead teacher in Buddhist Recovery and Mindfulness Secular Recovery. Kevin Griffin and I will be launching their first Buddhist Recovery Retreat in July 2018.
What I’m Thinking
Another year with more fatalities and casualties from opioids. And as the month … Read more »
Someone wrote to me yesterday, saying that as she was getting into her spiritual practice, anger was starting to arise:
I have very recently started my journey towards freedom of suffering at the hands of myself or others. It would seem as though it has turned into an anger issue with me. So I am looking forward to any suggestions that may help me get to my centered, grounded, healing, happy place.
This can happen. As we’re leaving our comfort zone, fear can be triggered. We can also become more sensitive to the body as we practice meditation, and so we feel our feelings more strongly.
My own experience is that anger is a response … Read more »
Just as we can’t see what we look like unless we encounter a mirror, often we don’t know what we’re like in terms of our behavior and attitude unless those things are reflected by other people.
There’s a considerable amount of evidence that other people have a clearer picture of what we’re like as individuals than we do ourselves. While we’re fairly good at assessing ourselves in terms of internal factors, knowing better than others what we feel and thinks, when it comes to factors like intelligence, attractiveness, creativity, and competence, others have a far clearer perception of us than we do ourselves.
But sometimes even internal factors are hard to assess. In my role … Read more »
Mindfulness is everywhere these days, but it’s often poorly defined. To me its central and defining characteristic is self-observation. When we’re unmindful, there’s no self-observation going on. The lights are on, but nobody’s home.
Thoughts, feelings, speech, and actions are all functioning, but there’s no inner observer, and so there’s no evaluation going on. Without evaluation there’s no mechanism for recognizing that certain thoughts etc. are causing us or others suffering. And so we’re really nothing more than a complex bundle of instincts and habits. Those instincts and habits can do amazing things, like drive a car (ever “woken up” to find you’ve driven somewhere and have no recollection of the journey?) or read a … Read more »
An inscription on the box explains that two monks, named Yunjiang and Zhiming, of the Mañju?r? Temple of the Longxing Monastery collected the more than 2,000 pieces of cremated remains, including teeth and bones, over a period of 20 years, and buried them in the temple on June 22, 1013, as a way to practice and promote Buddhism. More than 260 Buddhist statues, and the remains …
Over a hundred people gathered at the Buddhist Recovery Summit in Lacey, Washington to share their knowledge and passion for the worldwide movements integrating Buddhism and Recovery, on October 20th to 22nd 2017. Dharma teachers, health care professionals, psychotherapists, counselors and people in recovery discussed the future of Buddhist Recovery.
Together we explored a range of recovery styles and practices, including Refuge Recovery, the Eight Step Recovery, Sit and Share, Heart of Recovery, Noble Steps, and Mindful Recovery.
There was a keynote panel including Noah Levine and Kevin Griffin from the USA, myself Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John from Canada, and Vince Cullen from Ireland, which discussed “What … Read more »
The mind is pulled in two different directions in meditation.
Peace, calm, and joy are the intrinsic rewards that meditation offers, and in theory that reward system should help keep you anchored in your direct, moment-by-moment experience. That can happen, and in fact that’s a good description of the experience of jhana (dhyana in Sanskrit). Jhana is a state of “flow” in which meditation becomes effortless because the rewards of joy, pleasure, and calmness keep you immersed in your present-moment experience. The rewards of meditation can pull you into your practice. That’s the first pull.
But it’s not always easy to experience those rewards. There’s another pull, which we’re all too familiar with: the pull … Read more »