Friday, March 30, 2012

What holds us back

This is quite straightforward isn't it? We would do well to heed the following advice:
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
-- The Buddha

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The sense of sound as a support for meditation

I want to call your attention to a blog post entitled "Using the Senses to Relax the Mind". Here's an excerpt that rather wonderfully describes a meditative process that I introduce in Session 5 of the Foundations course:
For example, you can use the sounds around you as a focus during your meditation session. Simply allow your mind to settle for a few moments. Then tune into the sounds in your environment. The key is not to engage with the sounds, but to just place your attention lightly upon them. When thoughts and emotions arise, simple return your attention to the sounds you hear. 
Right this moment, wind is rustling through the trees outside my window with brief interludes of silence. Often, we don’t hear the sounds around us because our mind is all churned up with thoughts and emotions or we are overly concentrated on a project. Consciously using the senses returns us to the present moment and helps us to relax our mind and let go of our worries.
The writer quoted above is Sandra Pawula.

I encourage everyone to try this if you haven't already. It's actually the method of meditation I personally use most frequently.

Monday, March 26, 2012


So very beautiful:
"When you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The explanation is quite simple, isn't it? Deep awareness reveals to us that all things are connected. If we don't realize this, we weren't ever truly aware in the first place.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday cat blogging!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Something about enlightenment

Well, this is certainly something to think about:
"Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment."
-- Dogen (13th century Japanese thinker)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday life form blogging

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Physical experiences in meditation

I just found a page with a question addressed to Deepak Chopra.

Here's part of the question and part of the answer:

Q - During most meditations my right eye starts to water quite heavily. I cannot tell why this is happening. 
A - During your meditations, if you notice your eye watering, simply observe that fact and return to the object or focus of your meditation without trying to figure out why it’s happening and without trying to stop it. Treat it as you would any other thoughts or sensations that arise during meditation – when you become aware that your awareness has drifted to your eye (or anything else), gently return your attention to the meditation object, whether that is your breath, a mantra, or a something else.
If you feel inclined, outside of your meditation practice, to explore what message your watering eye is sending you (if any), you could try journaling on that question. Ask your inner wisdom, “What is the message my eye is wanting to share?” and let yourself write freely, without censoring yourself. Given the common association of tears with sadness and release, it’s possible that you may be releasing some past grief or emotional upset, but without knowing your full story and health history, it’s not possible to say for sure. Just know that meditation is a valuable tool for releasing what no longer serves you.
This is the sort of reflection question process we do here at St. John's Center. It can truly be very illuminating.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Attachments and illusion

I have much respect for the teachings of Anthony de Mello. Here's something I found this morning in a little book on my shelves entitled The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello:
"You see persons and things not as they are but as you are.  If you wish to see them as they are you must attend to your attachments and the fears that your attachments generate.  Because when you look at life it is these attachments and fears that will decide what you will notice and what you block out.  Whatever you notice then commands your attention. And since your looking has been selective you have an illusory version of the things and people around you.  the more you live with this distorted version the more you become convinced that it is the only true picture of the world because your attachments and fears continue to process incoming date in a way that will reinforce your picture."
There's a lot to think about here. A lot.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday life form blogging


Recommended article

Right here:

Evidence builds that meditation strengthens the brain, UCLA researchers say

Good to know, folks. This is really good to know!


I think it would be all to the good if we were to remember this:
"The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts."
-- the 14th Dalai Lama

Friday, March 09, 2012

Moving within

By the very wonderful 13th Century Persian poet:
Keep walking, though there's no place to get to.
Don't try to see through the distances.
That's not for human beings. Move within,
but don't move the way fear makes you move.
-- Rumi

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Wednesday life form blogging

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The great value of encouragement

Have you ever had somebody throw a wet blanket on something you were enthusiastic about? I'll bet you felt discouraged as a result. Here's an observation about the importance of encouragement:
One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.
— John O'Donohue in Eternal Echoes
Whenever I get frazzled because I have a lot on my plate, Cynthia (the Center's administrative assistant) will usually say, "Go, Super-nun!" It makes me a laugh and it helps me to feel encouraged at the same time.

Encouragement is a form of loving-kindness (one of "the Four Divine Abodes in the meditative tradition). It involves the sincere wish for others to be happy and to have deep well being. Look for opportunities to encourage others - and yourself as well.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Our effect on the world

It's all too easy to get discouraged and to believe that there's nothing we can do that will make any difference. Not so, not so. It's just important to remember that we may not get to see what effect we have had or continue to have in immediately discernable ways.
“Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we're so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.”

A bit of a nuisance

My friend, MadPriest, posted the following:
"Blogger is messing us about again. Recent changes to the comment facility has resulted in the disappearance of the ability to subscribe to a comment thread if you have your comment settings set to pop up window. However, it is still there if you set your comments to "embedded beneath post."

"I strongly suggest that we all change our settings to embedded. Otherwise there will be no conversations on our blogs anymore and a drastic reduction in visits.

"Thanks to Grandmère Mimi for sussing this one out for us."
So, I'm off to change all those settings right now.