What living as a Buddhist means for me

February 15, 2018

Photo by Cristian Escobar on UnsplashA while back I head from a woman who seemed concerned that my life as a Buddhist must be very dull — just meditating and “being good” all the time, I guess. I think she thought I’d be a very boring person to hang out with, and maybe she was expressing her own fears about getting drawn in to Buddhist practice.

Tonight I just came back from a comedy improv show, where I was blown away by the humor and good humor of the performers. I had a blast: not perhaps what this woman had in mind.

I wrote and told her that for me, Buddhism is a set of principles and guidelines for living … Read more »

Emily Dickinson: “The brain is wider than the sky…”

February 7, 2018

The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.
— Emily Dickinson

Dickinson’s poem, “The Brain is Wider Than the Sky” suggests that because the brain contains the perception of the sky (and more besides) it must in some sense be larger than the sky. This might seem like no more than an interesting thought — the kind of thing you momentarily appreciate as a quote on Facebook before forwarding it to your friends and moving on to the next cute cat video.

But this is the kind of thing that becomes very profound when you choose to sit with … Read more »

This simple tweak to the way you write emails might change your entire day

February 2, 2018

How many emails do you write in the average day? I just did a quick count and yesterday alone it was 64! Many of the messages I write are business emails and don’t have a salutation or valediction, plunging straight into the message. But some of them start with “Dear (whoever)” or “Hi!” and end with a sign-off.

I usually end those kinds of emails with “Metta, Bodhipaksa.” Metta is the Buddhist word for kindness. It’s often translated as “lovingkindness,” although I think the word kindness works much better, mainly because it’s familiar and experiential.

So I was responding to someone who said he couldn’t attend a gathering today because of work, and I was … Read more »

An easy mindfulness practice to help you relax

February 28, 2017

woman drinking coffee

Vidyamala’s online course, Mindfulness for Women: Declutter Your Mind, Simplify Your Life, Find Time to ‘Be’, starts March 1.

Do you always live to – or beyond – your limits? Would you get less done if you took regular breaks?

Many people live in a ‘boom and bust’ way, otherwise known as the overactivity–underactivity cycle. To varying degrees, many of us swing between high energy and low energy.

We do less when we are feeling tired and unmotivated; then, when we feel more energetic, we hectically try to catch up on all the things that we’ve got behind with and end up overdoing it and getting stressed out. This tips us straight back into feeling … Read more »

Finding peace in every moment

October 31, 2016

53682718_mHere is the first email from our Stress Reduction Through Mindfulness event which starts Tuesday, Nov 1!

Often people assume that as a meditation teacher I must be immune to stress. But life can be challenging for anyone! In the last four or five years I’ve gone through a number of very stressful experiences, including the discovery that my tax accountant had covered up the fact that she hadn’t submitted my business tax returns two years in a row, leading to the Internal Revenue Service pursuing me for tens of thousands of dollars in penalties (which I ended up not having to pay any of, fortunately), a painful divorce, moving house several times, surgery for … Read more »

14 days of mindfulness!

July 31, 2016

blog

Learn to practice acceptance, to choose your thoughts, and to calm your emotions, in order to reduce stress, and promote feelings of wellbeing. This all can come about through the clinically proven method of mindfulness, which has been shown to improve both mental and physical health.

Over the 14 days of our Mindfulness Meditation Challenge, you will feel calmer and more in control of your life, and learn how to set up a daily meditation habit.

This event is suitable for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.

This challenge starts tomorrow! Sign up now to help establish a rock-solid daily meditation practice and to experience the benefits of mindful living!

Set up a rock-solid daily meditation habit!

April 29, 2016

blogOur 14 Day Mindfulness Meditation Challenge (May 1-14) is an introductory 14 day meditation event. It is an opportunity to experience the benefits that come from setting up a rock-solid daily meditation habit. We’ll be exploring the practice of mindfulness.

Signing up for this 14-day event gives you access to:

  • Daily emails with practice suggestions
  • Four guided meditations
  • Support, encouragement, and connecting with like-minded people in our online community

This event is suitable for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.

Register today to begin the daily habit!

Exploring the quality of mudita, or joyful appreciation (May 1-28)

April 29, 2016

newsfullLiving With Appreciation: Exploring the Joy of Gratitude begins Sunday, May 1st!

Living with gratitude and appreciation has been shown in studies to be one of the most important factors in creating happiness and well-being. The more we are capable of living gratefully and appreciatively, the more we feel a sense of our lives being blessed.

Signing up for this event gives you access to:

  • 28 daily emails with practice suggestions
  • Access to five guided meditations, from 10 to 26 minutes in length
  • Support and encouragement in a welcoming online community

This event is suitable for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.

Click here for more information or to register!

Accept Dependence

January 11, 2016

Galaxy-unsplash

Want to try a little experiment?

Stop breathing. Really. For a few seconds, maybe a few dozen seconds, and see how it feels.

For me, this experiment is an intimate way to experience a deep truth, that we live dependently, relying on 10,000 things for physical survival, happiness, love, and success.

For example, within half a minute of no air, most people are uncomfortable, after one minute, they’re panicking, and after four minutes, they’re brain-dead or severely damaged. Second by second, your life and mind require oxygen, the plants that “exhale” it, the sun that drives photosynthesis, and other stars blowing up billions of years ago to make every atom of oxygen in the next … Read more »

Standing in line meditation

November 9, 2015

This nice little video from Sharon Salzberg arrived in my inbox this morning. It describes a simple practice of bringing mindfulness and kindness into the act of standing in line (or queueing, as we say in my native Britain).

This is something I do a lot. It transforms what can be a frustrating experience into one that’s grounding and joyful. Give it a try.