Mapping my mind: a summer doing contemplative science
Last summer, I was lucky enough to spend almost 2 months as a visiting scholar at the Mind & Life Visiting Scholar house in Amherst, Massachusetts. In this house, scientists…
How should we conduct research on contemplative science? News from the first European Mind & Life Summer Research Institute
I attended the first European Mind & Life Summer Research Institute. These institutes are designed to bring together researchers, philosophers, practitioners, and clinicians to talk about how to engage in…
Creating a compassionate organization
The second day of the Meditation & Human Values in the Workplace conference moved from the individual to the organizational level. We started out by hearing from Federico Daini-Jôkô Procopio,…
How to practically embody a strong personal ethics in the workplace
On the last day of the conference, Monique de Knop shared her experience in being a top manager in the Belgian government. She dissected what wisdom in the workplace really…
Meditation and Human Values at the Workplace?
With economic crises and various corporate scandals under our belt you may wonder whether meditation and human values actually exist in the workplace. Right now a group of people is…
Who Meditates at Work?
Do you start your work meetings with a couple of minutes of meditation? This morning, I talked with a teacher who has just introduced meditation into her classroom. "The great…
The Great and Curious Truth: Cultivating Compassion, The Contemplative Approach
Patrick Gaffney is one of the leading authorities on the contemplation and practice of compassion in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and I was lucky enough to hear him speak at…
Read This Book!: The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress by Maureen Cooper
For the last month or so I have been reading Maureen Cooper’s fabulous new book, The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress Reducing Stress. Combining an authentically Buddhist approach with…
Taking a bite of mindfulness
Eating is a very touchy topic in our society (see also this recent article on WMRI). There are enormous social problems associated with addiction to food (listen for a discussion…
Non-silent interaction meditation
If you are anything like me, you spend a good deal of time interacting with other people. Is it possible to integrate meditation in your interaction with others, and if…
Imaginary Limits: Grasping at Illusory I
From the perspective of science, there is no inherent reason for the human mind to have an underlying owner or "self." The brain, the physical structure that creates consciousness and…
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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There are three common myths or misconceptions about meditation that can block us from realizing the power and benefit of practice. Yet, if we take a moment to expose them, we can easily figure out how to overcome them.
Why do we always recommend meditating with our eyes open? So, asked my stepfather the other day. He learned to meditate in the What Meditation Really Is classes held in New York City. And now, he goes to a different meditation group on Sundays, sometimes attended by 100 or so people, and everyone else meditates with their eyes closed.
Just in case you are not a fan of a clear and determined intention to practice right after getting up or you don't feel like morning meditation is something to look forward to, maybe this one works ...
If this first tip doesn't do it for you, here is another way to motivate us to meditate first thing in the morning
2. Something to look forward to
My teacher told a bunch of us once that it is very important to make sure your practice is something you look forward to doing. I think you can do this in a couple of different ways. For a start try to remember your original intention for taking up meditation. Somewhere, way back in the past, before it became some sort of penance or remedy for spiritual guilt, you may have had a real enthusiasm and interest in meditation, and it was something that you could hardly wait to try out. The key is to remember this feeling again and generate some sort of excitement about the thought of getting back to your cushion.
The only time of day when I can usually fit in some meditation practice is in the morning after I get up and before I start my day’s activities. Usually in the evening I’m too tired to sit for more than just a few minutes. Practicing meditation in the morning works very effectively for me as long as one thing happens first: I actually get up.
I’m sure there are one or two of you out there, or reading this, who have struggled to wake up earlier to do a bit of meditation, and so to express my camaraderie with you, I wanted to share a few things that have helped me out. Of course going to bed earlier is an obvious one, but here are a few others:
At this same retreat with Yangthang Rinpoche that I wrote about before, we were all very impressed with the being of this amazing lama. It is quite moving to meet such a special human being, which is why I want to share it with you.
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...
Sometimes I feel like my life is spent in a dark, smoky, crowded, and noisy nightclub and that I’ve forgotten that there’s a door that’s always open if I choose to leave.