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All through my life, I’ve wished that I could reduce or eliminate the suffering that others go through. I guess this is built into the basic pre-programming that comes with being human. Most of the time this desire is in relative abeyance and I’m distracted from it, as I'm busy coping with my life. There are people in my life with a lot of pain, but I don’t think about it often as there’s nothing practical that can be done about it --- and I hate problems I want to help with but can’t do anything about! And, like all of us, I have (too) many defenses which blunt my perception of others’ suffering – that’s something I’ve needed to work with all my life.

Published in Meditation Blog
Compassion fatigue? It's an Interesting phrase, one that's used daily when describing what healthcare practitioners encounter when they burnout or experience loss of empathy while caring for others. And even though it's used a lot, I'm not sure that it really makes sense.

Just for the heck of it, I did a Google® search for the keywords "compassion fatigue in nurses" and came up with 110,000 links...110,000! Oh my gosh, you’d think that we’re all suffering from burnout, which can’t be possible…or, is it?!
Published in Meditation Blog

Oh my God do I love to bicycle...and meditate! Maybe not in that order, maybe in no order at all, maybe at the same time!

These days my time has become even more limited than previously. I'm finding myself having to put every-bloody-thing on my iCal (computer-based calendar) and schedule things like...calling my mom! Does that ever happen to you, or is it that I'm just too busy? Anyhow...

 

Published in Meditation Blog
Sunday, 25 March 2012 11:25

Memento Mori; Remembering Impermanence

The Latin words memento mori—“remember death” or “remember that you must die”—were used in ancient Rome and in medieval times to remind the people of the imminence of death and the uncertainty as to its hour or circumstances. It was also believed to have been used in Rome during parades for Roman generals celebrating victories or triumphs in battle. Walking behind the victorious general would be his slave, who was given the task of reminding the general that, although he was celebrating his victory, at any moment he could be brought down by defeat. The slave would shout the words, “Memento mori!”
Published in Meditation Blog
Monday, 19 March 2012 10:46

Meditating on Compassion, A No Brainer?

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.

Published in Meditation Blog

Pain and Suffering:

Some years ago I came across and was very impressed by Shinzen Young's approximate algebraic formulation of the relationship of suffering to actual physical pain and psychological factors (see http://www.shinzen.org for relevant writings or his book, Break Through Pain: A Step-by-Step Mindfulness Meditation Program for Transforming Chronic and Acute Pain).  Having a scientific and psychological mindset similar to his, I have been thinking about and conceptualizing variations and extensions of this for years. 

 

Published in Meditation Blog