Fault Finding Tendencies

Do you have a tendency to find fault with yourself, others, or the situations that occur around you? In The Art of Disappearing by Ajahn Brahm, page 91-95 we find a important practical suggestion: to investigate the fault-finding mind. Notice if and when your attention slides into negativity, criticism, and blame. Investigate that experience: how [...]

Intention and the Power of Thought

Intention is a powerful form of thought. Intention is the key to the ethical, moral, or kammic (karmic) dimension of experience. Observing our intentions we see how a thought leads into an action. We do not live with a single intention that determines all our actions. Instead, intentions arise moment by moment and flavor the [...]

Discouragement and development

At some point in the development of the practice, everyone feels discouraged. For some people disappointment is an occasional hindrance; for other meditators discouragement is a chronic obstacle. There is a story in the Pali Canon of a young monk named Venerable Sona. He practiced walking meditation so diligently that the soles of his feet [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:51-08:00November 10th, 2012|Emotions, Meditation, Mindfulness Practice, Working with suffering|

What thoughts sustain your habits or addictions?

Most of us have some habits or tendencies that we would like to let go of, yet an inner craving or subtle feeling of need fuels the habits causing them to repeat until they appear entrenched in our lives. The habits may be related to eating, smoking, relationships, speech styles, sarcastic humor, entertainments, newspaper reading, [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:51-08:00October 13th, 2012|Daily Life Practice, Emotions, Working with suffering|

A Simple Practice of Clinging or Not Clinging

I’ve been enjoying a simple practice recently—observing the occurrence or absence of clinging. How do you recognize when the mind is relating to experience through grasping? What are the signs or indications? Clinging to experiences of mind and body is such a habitual way of engaging with sensory contacts that attachment may go unnoticed until [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:51-08:00July 23rd, 2012|Daily Life Practice, Emotions, Mindfulness Practice|

Lifting up the discouraged mind

It is almost inevitable that discouragement will arise, from time to time. Perhaps pain, illness, or unemployment creates a difficult time in our lives. Perhaps we apply ourselves to our meditation, but find progress much slower than we had hoped.  How do you prevent discouragement from stopping you on this path of awakening? I’m teaching [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:52-08:00June 10th, 2012|Emotions, Working with suffering|

Sharing notes from a recent class on self-compassion.

It is not only others who hurt; we each also need compassion. Self-compassion is a necessary foundation for any genuine personal development. Are we kind and considerate toward ourselves? Do we consider our long-term benefit rather than merely temporary pleasures? Do we respond in a truly compassionate way to the difficulties that come to us [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:56-08:00February 4th, 2012|Daily Life Practice, Emotions, Loving Kindness and Compassion|

Reacting to feelings

How are you today? When we greet each other, we often ask, "how are you?" and then share how we are feeling today. For a moment, please tune into the quality of your mind: how are you feeling right now? Let your feelings be just as they are right now—mindfully aware of how they come, go, [...]

2012-01-29T17:11:25-08:00January 29th, 2012|Daily Life Practice, Emotions, Mindfulness 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|

Equanimity or indifference

How do you know if you are experiencing equanimity, or just not bothering to care? People sometimes reject equanimity practice, concerned that the development of equanimity might flatten their feelings, or foster a cold and unconcerned approach to social issues. It is important to distinguish between equanimity and indifference in how we relate to the [...]

A Question of Devotion

Perhaps the most obvious similarity between the representatives of the world religions at this interfaith symposium is their sweet devotion to their practices, faith, and gods. I must say that I feel a bit like the odd person in this group in this regard, because my relationship to the Buddha is not obviously one of [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00March 29th, 2011|Emotions, Enlightenment, The Buddha|

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|

Judging, success, and failure

After a jhana retreat some students may feel pride at the rate of their development, and other students may feel sad, angry, or depressed. I have found that student's feelings about the significance or insignificance of their own progress is usually inaccurate. The ideas that students hold about what constitutes a successful achievement are often [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00November 10th, 2010|Emotions, Jhanas, Meditation, Not-Self|

Noticing Judging as a State of Hatred

Although the refinement of attention may not be as acute in daily life as it is during retreat, you can still resolve to clear your mind of obstructive states and refuse to fuel the reproduction of unwholesome states. For example, when you become aware that your mind is entertaining a stream of judging thoughts mindfully [...]

2010-11-06T08:10:57-07:00November 6th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Emotions, Uncategorized|
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