Tsoknyi Rinpoche: Healing our Trauma and Stress
Theses days, it seems like nearly everyone is barely managing to cope with the stress of day-to-day life. In addition, we are often reacting to situations based on unhealed wounds…
Transcending our Addiction to a Busy Life
A busy life can be experienced as an addictive video game, comprising the twisty route from a morning coffee to the time we return home and close the door on…
Sogyal Rinpoche - Awake 2013 in Sydney
Here is a full teaching from Sogyal Rinpoche on meditation and understanding the mind which he gave in Sydney at the end of March 2013.
Phakchok Rinpoche - Creating space in daily life
Sometimes it seems so difficult to meditate. We might try to sit, but our minds are all over the place; or perhaps we have too much pressure and stress in…
Sogyal Rinpoche - Who are we?
In this video, Sogyal Rinpoche suggests an alternative to the habitual self-identification with our thoughts and emotions. Normally, it is as if the thoughts about who we are or what…
Adam Engle - Creating a planetary awareness of fitnees for the mind
Adam Engle argues that most of the biggest problems in the world and for individuals are made by human beings. But recent developments in contemplative science are paving the way…
Adam Engle - Is enlightenment still relevant?
Adam Engle and Erric Solomon discuss whether the traditional goal of profound spiritual transformation, popularly referred to as enlightenment, has any role to play in the new emotional/mental fitness industry.
Sky High Meditation with Tsoknyi Nuns in Muktinath Nepal
A group of us joined Tsoknyi Rinpoche on a trip to Muktinath in the Mustang district of Nepal. At nearly 4,000 meters (or 13,000 feet), the views of the valley…
Having Nothing to Do
I never have nothing to do. There is always something awaiting my attention. I never get writers block, there is always something to write. Inspiration is never far away. Until…
The discipline of Happiness
It is easy to spiral into depression or to find our lives suddenly stressful and racing along at a clipping pace. It easy to stop it too, but we think…
Meditation meets technology
I’m a geek. I love technology. I feel it empowers me to get what I need, or mainly what I don’t need but want, almost instantly. I want a movie,…
To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him. If you want to attain perfect calmness in your zazen [meditation], you should not be bothered by the various images you find in your mind. Let them come, and let them go. Then they will be under control.
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This is the first in a series of 5 posts on the history of meditation, adapted from Meditation- an In-depth Guide by Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson
Meditation resided for thousands of years almost exclusively in the domain of spiritual practice. However, it is clear that meditation has much to offer that is very relevant to our modern lives, whether or not we are spiritually inclined. In a series of posts, we will explore where meditation came from, how it has evolved in the West, and how it has emerged as maybe the best, most proven self-help technique for healing body and mind.
One of the things I've tried to do most of my life, both in my personal and professional lives, has been to become aware of the more subtle aspects of what I'm thinking, feeling, and doing. I especially like to become aware of implicit assumptions that lie behind what I'm doing, outside of my normal consciousness, as such assumptions can control what I'm thinking, feeling, and doing in ways that I'm not aware of, thus limiting my freedom and having consequences for the people I relate to insofar as such implicit assumptions affect the way I act.
The world of science and technology develops really quickly. Recently I read a very intriguing paper that pushes the boundaries of what we believe about meditation training. In that paper, they investigated the feasibility of delivering a mind-body intervention in a virtual world. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a very frequently-used treatment for a wide range of disorders. What is a common question amongst those scientists studying contemplative practice is to what extent the efficacy of this intervention is in fact caused by social group effects; the fact that people attend weekly meetings, feel part of a supportive group, meet with a charismatic teacher.
I recently attended a retreat with Sogyal Rinpochein Amsterdam. One of the main themes of the retreat was about how to take the blame. Now this may seem like quite a strange concept: why should we be willing to take the blame in situations? It definitely was something to think about for me, which is why I am writing this blog.
As in previous years, I was fortunate enough to attend the Mind & Life Summer Research Institute. At this summer school, a group of scientists and practitioners get together to discuss on-going research into the nature of contemplative practice, and future avenues. What is quite special is that we do not only discuss contemplative practices (such as yoga and meditation) but also practise them ourselves. Every morning starts with yoga and meditation, and every evening ends with it as well. Participants observe silence between the evening meditation and morning meditation. We even have one full day of practice, which is an absolutely interesting experience: in addition to talking about how we can study contemplative practice scientifically, we also get to study ourselves in our own portable laboratory.
This is from Karén, who came all the way from Moscow, to attend the What Meditation Really Is 2012 retreat:
I have been interested in Buddhism since the age of 14 when I read my first book about it. Since that time I’ve read a lot of books but never really practised. First of all because, there are very few Buddhists in Russia, especially where I live, and I couldn’t find a master I could trust.
We just finished the 2nd annual What Meditation Really Is retreat at Lerab Ling, France. Here is what one of the participants, Drew from Ireland, wrote about it:
On this retreat there have been many moments of beauty, learning, breakthrough, breakdown, pain (both physical and emotional), truth and realization. But really, it all comes down to the teaching, “Water, if you don’t stir it, will become clear; the mind, left unaltered, will find its own natural peace.’ When I first came, I had many questions. Some I asked, many I kept to myself. All were usually answered fairly quickly.
A few years ago at dawn one Summer morning, a friend and I pedaled to the top of Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko. This is possible and pretty easy because Australia is the world’s oldest continent and Kosciuszko (7,310 feet or 2,228 metres tall and named by Polish explorer Strzelecki in 1840) has been weathered over millennia into a place more rounded than its younger, steeper and craggier equivalents elsewhere on the earth. But that’s by the by.
The thing is that when we got there not only were we alone at the highest point on the world’s biggest island but up there it was absolutely, utterly, wonderfully silent.
No wind and no wind through leaves (no bushes or trees), no chirruping insects or croaking frogs, no twittering birds or lowing of cows, no distant bark of a dog on the breeze, no traffic, no lawnmowers, no voices. Nothing -- just glorious silence. Absolute silence is a thing most of us rarely get to experience and when you do it can be profound.
Excerpt from “Being a Compassionate Presence – The contemplative approach to end-of-life care” in The Arts of Contemplative Care.
“Are you dead yet?” her high-pitch voice hurled across the room. “Are you dead yet . . . you in the corner?” She glared at me, wide-awake ready to engage. I had been sitting quietly in her room assuming she was asleep. The physician had pointed to the chair in the corner across from her bed before he shut the door behind him with a resounding bang. I had a sinking feeling in my body. I was a fresh hospice volunteer and novice meditator. I followed the direction of his finger and sat down on the chair. I did what was expected, straightened my back and sat in silence.