Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stopping: a radical act of love

Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the great meditation teachers writing and speaking today:

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday cat blogging!



This may not, at first glance, seem to be about meditation but one of the most central meditative principles is the interconnectedness of all things:‎
"The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff." 

I've always loved what Carl Sagan said here - ever since I heard it on Cosmos so many years ago. "Star stuff." Truly wonderful words!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A simple mindfulness exercise

Here's something to help us stabilize our experience whenever we're experiencing tension or distraction.

1. Stop whatever you're currently involved in.
2. Take three intentional breaths
3. Now name five things you can see in your immediate environment.
4. Name five things you can hear in your immediate environment.
5. Finally, name five things you can feel right now. (The clothes against your skin, the pressure of your body against the seat of the chair, etc...)
6. Take another three intentional breaths.
7. Return to whatever was claiming your attention before the exercise.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rejoicing in the ordinary

Many people who come to talk to me are simply flabbergasted by the idea that they need to make friends with themselves. This notion is a recurring theme within the writings of  Pema Chödrön and that's one of the reasons I have such respect for her teaching:
‎"The key is to be here, fully connected with the moment, paying attention to the details of ordinary life. By taking care of ordinary things-our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth - we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair, we are expressing appreciation: friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday meditative picture blogging


More about the present moment

This puts matters into perspective - especially for those people who complain that we really have to think about the past and the future:
“One has to live in the present. Whatever is past is gone beyond recall; whatever is future remains beyond one’s reach, until it becomes present. Remembering the past and giving thought to the future are important, but only to the extent that they help one deal with the present.”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In honor of this day!

"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."

-- the Buddha

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mind alignment

This strikes me as very thought-provoking, very true:
"Aligning our minds with the most compassionate
words and thoughts we can muster can bring
connection and a sense of peace. For some,
it means giving up almost an entire way of life,
but only this will allow glints of joy to shine through."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Meditation Picture Blogging


How to be at home

I really do love the following quotation. And I believe it utterly:
We can travel a long way and do many things, but our deepest happiness is not born from accumulating new experiences. it is born from letting go of what is unnecessary, and knowing ourselves to be always at home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Here's a verse to ponder:
A drop of pond water under the microscope just like in science class but now you are the pond & the microscope is mindfulness

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A powerful Zen saying

I recommend that we all ponder this one for a while:
If you understand, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Contentment and discernment

Here's a nice little article to read:

Meditation: Finding Contentment in Everyday Life

As "discernment" is truly one of my favorite words concerning the inner life, I particularly like this passage:
Discernment is the tool that got you interested in meditation. I'm guessing that like so many others, you discerned that you were not 100 percent happy with the way things are in your life and decided, "Well, let me try this meditation thing out." Perhaps after you learned to meditate, you discerned that it's a tool that's valuable for you and determined that you wanted to make it more of a part of your life.
It's a very short piece so do click through and read the rest of it.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Monday Meditation Picture Blogging


Sympathetic Joy

Sympathetic joy is one of the "Four Divine Abodes" - sometimes referred to as the "Four Sublime States":
One of the hardest things for many of us to do is to feel happy when something good happens to another person. Judgment and envy, the tendency to compare and demean, and greed and prejudice narrow our world and make sympathetic joy nearly impossible to experience. But learning to feel joy for others can help transform our own suffering and self-centeredness into joy.
-- Joan Halifax

Friday, December 02, 2011

A wonderful description of mindfulness

Take a look:
Mindfulness is a very simple form of meditation that was little known in the West until recently. A typical meditation consists of focusing your full attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind and, little by little, to let go of struggling with them. You come to realise that thoughts come and go of their own accord; that you are not your thoughts. You can watch as they appear in your mind, seemingly from thin air, and watch again as they disappear, like a soap bubble bursting. You come to the profound understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go, and ultimately, you have a choice about whether to act on them or not.

Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself. When unhappiness or stress hover overhead, rather than taking it all personally, you learn to treat them as if they were black clouds in the sky, and to observe them with friendly curiosity as they drift past. In essence, mindfulness allows you to catch negative thought patterns before they tip you into a downward spiral. It begins the process of putting you back in control of your life.
I found it right here.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Oh, this speaks. Yes, it does:
Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious.
-- Carl Jung