Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cultivating gratitude

I've just found a website entitled Thx Thx Thx. It's a blog by someone who posts hand written thank you notes - not necessarily to people but also to things and concepts.

Here's a sample:

And here's another one:

There are wonderful mindfulness exercises when you think about it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day, 2011

Henri Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial
"We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important or closer to my heart."
-- Albert Einstein

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Yup. I agree:

A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually.

~ Rita Mae Brown

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Wisdom and awareness

There's a lot here, people:

Life offers its wisdom generously. Everything teaches. Not everyone learns. Life asks of us the same thing we have been asked in every class: "Stay awake." "Pay attention." But paying attention is no simple matter. It requires us not to be distracted by expectations, past experiences, labels, and masks. It asks that we not jump to early conclusions and that we remain open to surprise.

-- Rachel Naomi Remen

I especially like this part: "Everything teaches. Not everyone learns."

Let is make a pledge to ourselves that we will do what is necessary to help ourselves be teachable.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A wonderful way to help

I've been asked to call your attention to a program known as The Fresh Air Fund. Here's something about it:

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2010, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

And here's a video that will tell you more:

And click here to donate:


Scent as a meditative support

A friend of mine, Vivienne, has published a very interesting interactive book called Meditating with Aromatics.

Here's part of what she says about it on her blog:

Over the last year I have published a number of meditations that use fragrance as a starting point and the intention has been to write an entire book of them. After much thought I decided that I would start by making the meditations available during the process of writing the book and publishing it in stages.

There’s a few good reasons for this. The first is that it gives me a greater incentive to write them. The second is subtler. Making a book available during its creation rather than when it is a finished product would normally be the very last thing I’d ever do but this is different.

It’s different because I want the readers to be involved in the creation. How often have you read a book and wished to ask the writer to do something different? Ask for instructions to be clearer or more detailed? Or make a personal request? This time you can.

Meditating with Aromatics is a work in progress that you can help shape as it is written. You can request that I write a meditation for a fragrant substance that has special power for you. You can suggest scents I may not have considered. You can try them out and let me know what would work better for you.

Isn't that really interesting? I have ordered a paper copy (very low cost) but she's made it available for a free download as well. Do click through and check it out.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Something about love

I do mean the real thing, of course. Real love - not play love:
The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
-- Thomas Merton

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

What is spirituality, anyway?

This is something to ponder:

Spirituality exists wherever we struggle with the issue of how our lives fit into the greater cosmic scheme of things. This is true even when our questions never give way to specific answers or give rise to specific practices such as prayer or meditation. We encounter spiritual issues every time we wonder where the universe comes from, why we are here, or what happens when we die. We also become spiritual when we become moved by values such as beauty, love, or creativity that seem to reveal a meaning or power beyond our visible world. An idea or practice is "spiritual" when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing life.

- Robert C. Fuller

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Benefits of being wrong

It's a catchy title:

Why being wrong is good for you

And it won't take you long to read it.

Here's a little excerpt:
We are wrong about what it means to be wrong. Far from being a sign of intellectual inferiority, the capacity to err is crucial to human cognition. Far from being a moral flaw, it is inextricable from some of our most humane and honorable qualities: empathy, optimism, imagination, conviction and courage. And far from being a mark of indifference or intolerance, wrongness is a vital part of how we learn and change. Thanks to error, we can revise our understanding of ourselves and amend our ideas about the world.
There's also a video of the author, Kathryn Schulz, giving a TED talk about this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The art of acceptance

It is very important to remember that acceptance does not necessarily mean approval. I think that confusion often is what trips people up when they're trying to learn how to accept what is. We can also still work to change something. It just that right this very second, we need to be able to accept what actually is the case in order to free up our energy to make wise choices about the matter.

I started to discover the meaning of happiness when I started to discover--and practice--the art of acceptance. When I started to accept life for what it was and I started to accept whatever situation I was in as the way things were, I started to see that my happiness depended on my own attitude. When I started focusing on getting the most out of my life the way it was rather than trying to turn it into what I thought it should be, I started to realize that I was, indeed, becoming a much happier person.

-- Tom Walsh

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Meditative Picture Blogging


Oh my. This is so true. And so perfectly expressed:
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
-- Lao Tzu
You know I'm going to say it: meditation can help us change direction. It can help a lot.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Edouard Manet


Now this can give one pause:
“As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

Recent posting difficulties

Dear friends,

The Blogger program has been down the past couple of days and I have been unable to put up any new posts. It's now functioning again but, at the moment, I'm hard at work on organizing the Center's garage sale items. The garage sale is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) and so that will require all my attention as well.

I'll probably be back to posting on Sunday.

Sincere apologies for any mindfulness inconvenience!

Blessings to all,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The practicalities of meditation

Some people think that meditation takes time away from physical accomplishment. Taken to extremes, of course, that's true. Most people, however, find that meditation creates more time than it takes.

~ Peter McWilliams

Such a sensible way of looking at things, don't you think?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Margret Hofheinz-Döring

In honor of Mother's Day

I would assert that we can all - man and woman alike - become this mother:

Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate.

- Charlotte Gray

Remember that in the meditative tradition, we are taught to have the kind of compassion for all beings that a mother has for her only child. We are also taught to regard all beings as mother.

Let us ponder these things today.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday cat blogging!


Learning to "sit down quietly"

Here's part of why meditation contributes to well being. Most of us don't really know how to "sit down quietly" for very long, at least, and meditation teaches us just that:

Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thursday, May 05, 2011

More on silence

Well, this is very ancient, isn't it? Who knows? Perhaps it was out of the depths of silence that he came up with his famous theorem:
Learn silence. With the quiet serenity of a meditative mind, listen, absorb, transcribe, and transform.
-- Pythagoras

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Wednesday life form blogging


Imagine how different the world might well be if we all took this one to heart:
In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.
-- The historic Buddha

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Van Gogh

Care provider support and mindfulness

I just found a pdf file of a paper written by two army officers about meditation and relilence. There's a lot of good stuff there. For now, let me offer these snippets:
Mindfulness is a way of being, a way of seeing, a way of knowing. One definition describes mindfulness as a way of being in which one is highly aware and focused on the reality of the present moment, accepting and acknowledging it, without getting caught up in the thoughts that are about the situation or emotional reactions to the situation.
The primary purpose of meditation is to cultivate a non-judgmental awareness of body and mind, and secondarily to learn how to witness events and experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. Meditation practices can also help to foster insights into one’s habitual and reactive patterns of perceiving and behaving, thus facilitating change of these patterns.
The full title of the paper is "The Use of Meditation and Mindfulness Practices to Support Military Care Providers: A Prospectus". You might like to go over and take a look.