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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When you set out to learn meditation, your emotional patterns will delightfully come along. In fact, they will probably be your first and fiercest obstacles to overcome. While you may consistently falter due to their incessant influence, you may not even notice given how unconscious and instantaneous these responses have become.
Are any of these seven common tendencies dampening your meditation?
Perfectionism. An intense drive to clarify every element of the instruction and apply the methods faultlessly. Comes with a long list of questions on how to do it right, a furrowed brow, and muscle tension. Don't confuse the methods with meditation itself. Meditation transforms the ambiance of the mind. An over focus on technique constrains it.
If you’re already on your cushion and working to tame your wild mind through meditation, then please congratulate yourself because you have already accomplished quite a lot.
If not, then you might want to read this…
Meditation whilst sitting upon one’s cushion is all well and good but that’s not what meditation is about…at least not for me. When I practice formally, I’m working on learning how to bring my “meditative mind,” or “meditative awareness” into my life. For me, no aspect of life is better for testing my meditative abilities then the experience of fear.
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…
There’s so much information available to us on how to meditate, when to meditate, even with whom to meditate. With what we have available, you’d think that we’d all be able to master meditation with ease. Nope!
Since first learning to meditate, after years of meditation, I’ve come to realize that there’s something that is definitely opposed to my peace of mind and finding my “meditative mind,” and that is…the soap opera mind!
What a relief! The last eclipse of the year occurs today. But there’s more to come next year!
An eclipse can trigger sudden, irrevocable change in your life that comes about due to external circumstances.
Yikes! Unexpected change. The kind of change that can make your head spin in disbelief and leave your knees knocking loudly.
Fortunately, every eclipse doesn’t effect every person so dramatically.
But still, you can’t escape change forever. There’s also the unfolding of karma - the fruition of your past actions - which can also twist your world around in abrupt and surprising ways.
Change will arrive in this lightning-like way at some point in your life. What will you do?
I’ve been meditating now for over 15 years. It’s one of the most important things in my life and also one of my favorite things to avoid.
My alarm is set for 5:45 am…I think. The theory is to have enough time to do at least an hour of meditation in the morning before I seize the day. What often happens is...
When we think about meditation, it's easy to think about sitting on a cushion, or in nature and working with our mind, working with our practice. And, to some extent, that's what we need to do when we formally practice. It's through our formal practice that we gain the stability to practice every day, to integrate what we've learned into how we are and who we are in our lives.
"In the practice of meditation, having developed a sense of trust in oneself, slowly that expands its expression outward, and the world becomes a friendly world rather than a hostile world. You could say that you have changed the world: you have become the king or queen of the universe.
On the other hand, you can’t exactly say that, because the world has come toward you, to return your friendship. It tried all kinds of harsh ways to deal with you at the beginning, but finally the world and you begin to speak with each other, and the world becomes a real world, a completely real world, not at all an illusory world or a confused world. It is a real world. You begin to realize the reality of elements, the reality of time and space, the reality of emotions—the reality of everything."
THANK YOU SPEECH TO SOGYAL RINPOCHE FOR HIS AWESOMENESS
When I first got here to Lerab Ling, I thought this retreat would be a cakewalk. I mean, so easy. I’d walk around in the sunshine, enjoy the beauty of the hills, get some meditation tips, slide into that peaceful zone, it’d be great.
I’d done a retreat that was really hard, a 10 day vipassana course in Pune, India. 10 days of silence, 10 hours per day of meditation, no airconditioning … that was hard. Compared to that, I thought this one would be Club Med.
But then I got here… and it wasn’t Club Med at all. I was having a really hard time! I was distracted, I was itchy, I didn’t feel happy, there was no peaceful zone … and I couldn’t understand what was going on.