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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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 we are experiencing are in fact who we are.
What is the point of all this posturing? This defending and promoting your point of view, as if only you know the truth and everyone else must have it wrong unless they agree with you. Why is it so important to be right when rightness and wrongness of ideas are only mental constructs, merely different ends of the same sliding scale, a scale that is evaluated differently depending on who is looking at it. Does it even matter where you tip the scales from wrong to right when your ideas about reality are merely that, ideas, and not reality itself. Why spend your life trying to affirm your ideas about reality when you can experience reality directly?
Co-founder and former Chairman of the Mind and Life Institute R. Adam Engle has thought pretty deeply about what ancient contemplative practices have to offer the modern world. He 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 for a transformation in the way we view ourselves and our relationship to the world that could be a powerful force for positive global change.
Last May, Adam and I sat down and spoke for almost three hours. Frankly, it was one of the most fascinating conversations I had all year. At a certain point, I asked if I could turn on a camera and here is a fraction of what went down. More to come…
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.
Here is the second part of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche's discussion on the essence of meditation, go here to review the first one.
In this one he gives very practical advice on how to deal with difficult emotions, how you can use anger, low self-esteem, fear etc as support for your meditation.
You can find more about how to work with difficult emotions in Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche's book "The Joy of Living".
Meditation is about getting used to being in the state of non-distraction. Or, and this is even better, mediation is about not being distracted by your distractions!
When you begin the practice of meditation, you may become pretty disheartened to learn that your mind is everywhere else but on your meditation. Even after years of practicing meditation, there are times when instead of meditating, I find myself caught up in a sea of emotions and thoughts, unable to do anything but try desperately to ride the waves and not get swept away.
While my wife and I were on our Fall camping vacation last week, I was "meditating" near a pathway in a botanical garden on cliffs over the Pacific while she was taking photos. The rugged coast of northern California is so beautiful!
Since I'm always going on about how useless that word "meditation" is, unless you get a lot more specific about exactly what a person is actually doing, let me elaborate on that.
This is the first of two videos where Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche discusses the essence of meditation. I find it especially inspiring how meditation helped him to overcome the panic attacks and anxiety that haunted him during his youth.
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.
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?!