Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday life form blogging


Contemplating impermanence

Yesterday, I began reading Mind at Ease by Traleg Kyabgon and it promises to be excellent. I've read other works by this same teacher to my very great benefit and I certainly recommend him very highly.

Here's just a little snippet that makes a lot of sense to me:
"It is only by contemplating impermanence that we become reflective enough to recognize which things are worth pursuing and which are not. We also learn to see exactly what our confusions arise from, because our experiences of dissatisfaction and frustration initially come from a failure to reflect upon anything."
Well, that sums things up in a direct fashion, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The least you need to know

I did a search on this blog site earlier today to find posts having anything to do with walking meditation and came upon this one from way back in 2005. I decided to repost it today because there's some really good information here:

I finally replaced my copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism by Gary Gach. It's really quite excellent. My original copy was borrowed some years ago and never made its way home and I've definitely missed it. As it happens I was wandering around in Barnes and Noble yesterday and so I picked up a copy. This morning I looked through the chapter on meditation and decided to share with you some points at the very end labeled, "The Least You Need to Know":
* Meditation's like that center referred to when people speak of being centered. A grounding. Integral to wisdom and conscious conduct, it's a key to continual practice.

* Posture matters. The body isn't something to be escaped.

* Breath is a natural interface between body and mind, always available to us to work with. Conscious or mindful breathing means being aware of your breathing. Nothing else.

* You're not trying to control your breath, or your mind. Just be aware. Stopping and just being aware can calm your breath - and your mind.

*Quieting the mind doesn't mean turning into a stone statue. Trying to banish thoughts and control your mind only creates more thoughts and restless mind. Simple awareness can clear mental clutter and sharpen your mind.

* More than mere stretching, walking meditation is a powerful practice.

* Take a friendly attitude toward your mind. Everyone encounters difficulties. Learn from others' wisdom about common hurdles in meditation.
I'm always so glad when I find examples in the published works that emphasize the fact that we're not trying to exert control over our minds when we're meditating. One of the most challenging aspects of teaching meditation is that people often simply don't believe me on this issue. I'm amazed at the number of people who come to class convinced that they are only meditating if they force their minds into a certain rigidity. That, of course, is not meditation at all but its opposite because it is a form of grasping and judgmentalism toward the mind. Remember: rest the mind, rest the mind. Meditation is meant to settle the mind and help us relax.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


This is truly a great definition. Take a look:
"Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn't more complicated that that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it."

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Here's something I found among some of my notes for class:
"We must transform our pain or else we will transmit it."
-- Richard Rohr

Oh, how true that is. Really.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday cat blogging!


When opposition is necessary

Participants in my classes often express concern that the meditative principles of learning to "let go of grasping" and "acceptance without judgment" will turn them into doormats. Far from it. These spiritual approaches will actually empower us when we get some practice under out belt.

Here's something I like by a well known meditation teacher:
“Loving someone does not mean automatically acquiescing to their every whim. Sometimes love shows itself in saying no to an attitude or desire that is harmful. But your opposing must be done tenderly, without anger or condescension.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Meditation and school work

Here's an article I'd like to call to your attention:

Simple Meditation Helps Students Concentrate

This research, by the way, has really been in the meditation news a lot the past few days. Here's a little excerpt from the article:
Simple meditation techniques, backed up with modern scientific knowledge of the brain, are helping kids hard-wire themselves to be able to better pay attention and become kinder, says neuroscientist Richard Davidson.

“A simple anchor like one’s breath is a centuries-old meditation technique, but it turns out to have some very beneficial qualities in terms of changes in both the brain and behaviour,” he said.
Remember: we don't have to be students to benefit in this way.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday meditative picture blogging



I want to share with you this morning a delightful and very short article by Tim Freke:

Making Mistakes

And here's a little excerpt:
"It seems to me that I am profoundly paradoxical. On the one hand so big and on the other so small. Within me are unfathomable depths, yet 'Tim' is also necessarily limited and imperfect. On my spiritual journey I once believed that I could one day perfect 'Tim' into some sort of enlightened being who was always at his best. Now it feels to me that the journey is about embracing all that I am."
I would like to assert that this is one of the most important spiritual lessons ever.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Wednesday life form blogging


Organizing things

Hmmm. This is something to ponder, I would say:
“When we have our body and mind in order, everything else will exist in the right place, in the right way. But usually, without being aware of it, we try to change something other than ourselves, we try to order things outside us. But it is impossible to organize things if you yourself are not in order.”

Monday, February 06, 2012

Monday meditative picture blogging


The importance of observing the mind

This is very hard for many people to comprehend. It's true all the same. The key word here is "unobserved". Once we start observing our mind, our suffering begins to decrease.
"The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life."

Friday, February 03, 2012

A process of becoming

It's possible I may have posted this one before but, if so, it was a long time ago. I think it's worth a repeat in any case:
“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A very interesting observation

Hmmmmm. I never thought about it quite this way before:
"We cannot be present and run our story-line at the same time."

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Here's something my Facebook friend, Doris McFate posted today. Isn't it lovely? It's a patch of feverfew: