Self Criticism

As I was puttering about the house this morning I heard a crash outside.  My neighbor’s teenage son had accidentally backed his own car into his brother’s car, scraping the side and ripping off the fender along the way. As he paced alongside the damaged vehicle, he repeatedly muttered, “It was so stupid…I was so [...]

THINK before you speak

My father used to advise me: “think before you speak.” Coming from Dad it seemed to be as much criticism as wise counsel, but if we don’t follow this advice, we may entangle ourselves in conflicts or misunderstandings. Recently, in a small group discussion, a student mentioned the acronym THINK as a way of reflecting [...]

2011-06-01T22:20:52-07:00June 1st, 2011|Daily Life Practice|

Using situations of inconvenience to develop equanimity

A quotation from my book, Focused and Fearless, appeared as today’s quote of the day from Tricycle. It pertains nicely to my recent blog on equanimity: “Situations of inconvenience are terrific areas to discover, test, or develop your equanimity. How gracefully can you compromise in a negotiation? Does your mind remain balanced when you have [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:57-08:00April 25th, 2011|Daily Life Practice, Emotions, Working with suffering|

Just Relax

I opened last night’s dhamma talk with a quote from the eighteenth century Tibetan master Shabkar: “One must remain in the vastness, alert and lucid, letting one’s gaze encompass the infinity of the sky, as though seated on the summit of a mountain open to all the horizons.” This simple instruction invites a spacious, non [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00April 13th, 2011|Daily Life Practice, Meditation, Not-Self|

Disciplined Relaxation—a yoga vacation

I have been invited to attend an interfaith symposium at a Shivananda Ashram. As the Buddhist representative I give talks and workshops and may participate in the activities of the ashram to whatever extent that I wish. I am quite impressed with their disciplined schedule. Every day starts with a program of morning meditation, chanting, [...]

2014-11-11T21:32:11-08:00March 25th, 2011|Body, Daily Life Practice|

It is all about relationships

Meditation teachers often ask their students, "and what is your relationship to that?" If there is a painful sensation in meditation, we look not only at the physical sensations of pressure, burning and sharpness, but also how the mind relates to it. Is the way of knowing pain affected by aversion? If there is a [...]

2011-02-27T22:13:16-08:00February 27th, 2011|Daily Life Practice, Mindfulness Practice|

Practicing Renunciation in Lay Life

Happiness comes when we let go, not when we hold on. Do you sometimes feel the joy that comes with simplicity—the ease and sense of sufficiency discovered when you are without all your stuff, perhaps when you are traveling or camping? Renunciation brings joy by lightening our burdens. Recently some students have expressed interest in [...]

A balanced use of wealth

Dhamma practice is not limited to how we feel the breath when meditating. How we handle money and wealth is also an important part of our dhamma practice. We can bring wisdom into our financial and consumer activities—how we earn, how we invest, how we spend, how we save, and how we give. The Buddha [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00January 26th, 2011|Daily Life Practice|

Count your blessings

I asked our Cultivating Joy class to count their blessings this week–to recognize and make a list of the many wonderful and fortunate events that fill their days. It may sometimes seem that our lives are routine, dull, or even tinged toward the grumpy, depressing, or hopeless side of things. In contrast, the suggestion to [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00January 15th, 2011|Daily Life Practice, Loving Kindness and Compassion|

New Year’s Reflection

Have you made a new year's resolution for 2011? Although it may be artificial to make resolutions, like going to the gym or losing weight, that are all too quickly forgotten, it can  be useful to reflect on this transition to the new year. Reflect on the past year, month by month. Try to recall [...]

2011-01-03T23:12:42-08:00January 3rd, 2011|Daily Life Practice|

Reflections on Sangha

Last night’s discussion centered on the reflection on sangha. It is a meditative practice in which we reflect on qualities that are worthy of respect in the community. This Pali term, sangha, literally means gathering or community. Historically the term sangha has been used to refer to the ordained community of monks and nuns. Contemporary [...]

2010-12-16T23:13:39-08:00December 16th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Meditation|

Building Community

I have felt deeply moved by the care that some volunteers give to the development of our community. Witnessing their willingness to serve and to give the very precious gift of time, commitment, and love, inspired me to host a volunteer appreciation event. In preparation, I have been contemplating the blessings of community. […]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00December 13th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Loving Kindness and Compassion|

Friendship

Friendship can be explicitly incorporated into the development of the spiritual life. The Buddha did not just teach people to meditate and ignore the dynamics of relationships; on the contrary, he taught people to live well with one another and regard the respective roles we play in each other's lives with mindfulness, wisdom, and kindness. [...]

2010-12-03T01:16:23-08:00December 3rd, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Loving Kindness and Compassion|

The Wandering Mind is Painful

The recent NY Times Science section article "When the mind wanders, happiness also strays," reveals what most meditators discover during their first sitting. It amuses me that scientists needed to interview a half a million people to discover the first and most common insight—that the wandering mind is painful. But now that the obvious is confirmed [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00November 19th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Emotions, Mindfulness Practice|

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