There’s a standard American joke that goes, “A man walks into a bar…” and proceeds to have a short story ending with a punch-line. To get this post started right, I’ll finish the joke:
Watch this interview with Arturo Behar, an Engineering Director at Facebook, on the opportunity for mindfulness, compassion and empathy in social media and the necessity for developing tools within Facebook for enabling it.
I recently attended a weekend by Patrick Gaffney, who is an amazing teacher on the topic of compassion. Not surprisingly, this was what the weekend was mostly about. He defined it very beautifully as the spontaneous wisdom of the heart.
Recently I've been taking to heart the connections between meditation and compassion. There are times in my meditation practice when I've found these sweet, inspired and clear moments - glimpses actually - where I can actually see how the suffering that I endure in my life really is due to my mind. And, with these glimpses I've begun to emerge from my claustrophobic "me" in realizing that we all suffer due to our mind.
Watch this WhatMeditationReallyIs.com interview with Arturo Behar, an Engineering Director at Facebook, on the opportunity for mindfulness, compassion and empathy in social media and the necessity for developing tools within Facebook for enabling it. This interview took place between sessions at Wisdom 2.0.
Not long ago I came across this very simple statement from the Buddha in a book by the great Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh:
Love is understanding.
I find this to be such a beautiful statement and I think it reveals a lot about how the practice of meditation can change the world and make us more loving. Here are a few reflections…
A little while ago I had an interesting experience at work, where the things I learnt in my meditation practice surely came in helpful. The situation is that I am very lucky to be mostly surrounded by some of the most interesting, kind and open-minded people. As a result, I pretty much never get angry. I always used to think I am just "not that kind of a person that gets angry". It turned out, I was wrong. I just hadn't met the people to make me angry.
Question to Elizabeth: We hear the term “nakedness” a lot in the dharma. They often say: “Rest in the naked state.” In my life, I have found it extremely difficult to be naked, to be exposed both physically and emotionally. I tend to enjoy quite a bit of privacy. When I am exposed, I feel very uncomfortable, quite agitated and it's times when I feel extremely agitated that I do not want to sit on my cushion. In fact, if I get to such a point of agitation, I don't sit on my cushion but do things to numb it out. Is there a way that I could methodically work with this type of situation so that I can systematically learn to gently unveil myself? I really think these periods of agitation from exposure need to be worked with consciously and methodically to keep me engaged and on my cushion, but I don't know what to do. When I am on my cushion during such emotional upheaval, I feel like I need some way to walk myself through the practice step by step so that I can allow myself to look deeper into what this agitation really is. Can you offer me any suggestions?
Last weekend we had a visit in Groningen by Maureen Cooper, a senior instructor in the Rigpa Buddhist sangha. She taught a very inspiring weekend about how to bring the Buddhist teachings on meditation and compassion into busy city life. They helped me a lot to re-inspire myself to bring the sanity in my crazy life.
The Wisdom of Compassion: Teachings with Patrick Gaffney in San Francisco
When I think of my list of great teachers that almost no one knows about, Patrick Gaffney is at or near the top. For those of you lucky enough to come to the Wisdom of Awareness seminar last June, you know what I am talking about as he was one of the speakers.
For most of his life Patrick has preferred to stay in the background. But he was the co-editor of Sogyal Rinpoche’s Tibetan Book of Living and Dying as well as an accomplished translator of Tibetan texts into English. Now, Sogyal Rinpoche is asking Patrick to teach publicly. Rinpoche has said of Patrick, “he is one of my oldest and closest students; and if anyone were to understand my mind or my work, it is him.” Anyone who has seen Patrick teach before knows that he brings a clarity and depth of explanation to the teachings that can really transform our understanding.