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…
Mind & Life's first European Symposium
In addition to the First Mindfulness conference in Europe that I blogged about a little while ago, this year hosted another first: the European Symposium for Contemplative Studies organized by…
10 Science-Based Reasons to Start Meditating Today INFOGRAPHIC
Whether we're long-term meditators or just getting started, we invest time out of our day to meditate because we believe or have experienced that meditation has benefits. Some of us…
An Open Heart
Sitting to meditate at home a few days ago, I found tears pouring down my face. Pouring. Flowing freely. Yet no distress. Just lots of tears. I had just learnt…
Emma Seppala PhD: Meditation & the Inspiration to Help War Vets
During the summer I blogged about Emma Seppala's work with veterans suffering from PTSD and the documentary in which some of her research was featured. When we sat down to…
Clifford Saron, PhD: Practicing Meditation and Doing Scientific Research
Clifford Saron, PhD at UC Davis, is a pioneer of Meditation Scientific research. His ambitious Shamatha Project where they randomly assigned 60 healthy people with prior meditation experience to an…
Can technology and meditation be friends?
In the fast paced world we live in, distraction is everywhere: TV, advertisements, billboards, mobile phones, tablets, magazines, computers, the internet, cereal boxes... EVERYWHERE! In my case, if I don’t…
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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Regular meditation practice since 2008; working in communications, owner of an advertising agency
I work in an environment, where there has to be a lot of interpersonal and group communication. In fact, the whole aim of our work is to communicate FOR our clients. So one would assume that me and my colleagues are kind of masters in communication – whether in written or spoken word, by visual or auditory means or whatsoever. Nevertheless it is fascinating to be witness of how rarely communication works, even in the most basic daily business.
Not long ago, I fell in love with a beautiful woman. Gently, we became a bit closer. She rejected me, right at the moment, when I was SURE that we had just opened up for each other, and I thought I could FEEL the love she also had for me. At first, my mind reacted with complete disbelieve. It told me that this must be some kind of error. Something within her must have closed down, she might be just not able to face the love and affection for her. When the rejection was confirmed, it really hurt. I was left with the pain of feeling cut off something really precious. And I couldn’t escape facing some of my deep-rooted believes around love and relationship. Which turned out to be a great opportunity for development.
This is the second part of a “series” that started last August. Thank god (or whoever is responsible) that I didn’t become a professional series writer, with this kind of discipline I probably wouldn´t be very successful.
Recently I had some ideas and insights – partly based on personal experiences I can’t share in public – that I thought might be worthwhile to write a few lines about. I basically became more aware of how stubborn my behaviour and my thinking is, how much I hold on to procedures and static opinions or viewpoints. Which prevents me from living my potential. Which is the whole point about meditation, isn’t it?
It is an ordinary Wednesday morning, I'm just arriving at my agency. Park the car, go upstairs, say hello to still somewhat sleepy colleagues on the way to my room. Wake up the screen and sign in to online banking. Like most of the mornings.
SHOCK! Red numbers. BIG red numbers, right in front of me on the screen, and it´s MY business account. Nothing to interpret, nothing to reconfirm, this is a matter of fact - the account is not only in the red, it's close to its limit. And it's only a few days until salaries have to be paid. In plain language: big problems ahead.
7:35 h Sunday Morning, Montpellier Airport. I am on my way back from that very intensive meditation retreat with Sogyal Rinpoche. Sitting in a cafė in the check-in hall, an advertising banner, hanging from the ceiling, catches my eye. HSBC, one of the largest banks worldwide, tells me: "Pakistan is the world's second largest exporter of textiles." And then: "We see a world of opportunities. And you?" Without even thinking about it, the answer pops up in my mind right away: Yes, I see a world full of opportunities!
I just finished reading „In the Shadow of the Buddha“ by Matteo Pistono. It´s a fascinating book about a nearly decade-long pilgrimage through Tibet, on the footsteps of a great master of the past. And it’s also a detailed description of the author´s inner journey, a journey through the various levels of meditation.
After 8 years of sometimes dangerous travels, Matteo arrives at the last sacred place that his teacher had told him to go to – and finds a completely devastated, “empty” and abandoned place at the end of the world. Right there, with all his expectations being crashed, he has a fundamental insight.
Developing attention, a step towards compassion?
In the West, we often think that it is simply selfish to be sitting on a meditation cushion. There is so much suffering in the world, how can meditation be of any use to help relieve it?
In this TED talk, Daniel Goleman shows how developing our mindfulness and attention is such a key step towards compassion (see also Erric's post from 28 April).
Daniel is the author of the ground-breaking books Emotional intelligence and Social Intelligence as well as speaker at the Mind & Life Conference and at The Wisdom of Awareness Understanding the mind and transforming the heart through meditation, love and compassion retreat led by Sogyal Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
You may have experienced that meditation develops our attention and care towards our own body and mind, well the good news is that it will also develop develop our attention and care towards others. And it can work whether stories of the Good Samaritan did it for you or not.
I was born and raised in Bavaria. Yes, I know, everybody around the world who´s ever heard of that place, now thinks of Sauerkraut, Beer, Oktoberfest. (If you did think of something else, you are probably also Bavarian.) In fact, that´s all true. It´s also true that it´s a really wonderful part of Germany with huge mountains and romantic hills, lots of lakes and rivers, and in some ways I miss it. And it´s also very Roman-Catholic, nowadays, and definitely when I lived there. That´s why my spiritual path began as a pioneer in “What a Roman Catholic mass really can be”.
Gaps fascinate me. They have a great and completely underestimated potential. They separate things, they are the space between. One could even say that it would be really difficult to distinguish anything, to say where one thing ends and another starts, without gaps. And the interesting thing about them is that they do not only separate physical objects, but also mental "objects". And that's where they become really relevant for meditation.