Mindfulness Practice

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Enjoy a quiet moment

Our meditation community just held its annual spring retreat—a delightful four days for meditation at a retreat center situated in a redwood forest. Even if you are not standing near a redwood tree right now, wherever you find yourself today I hope you will take a few quiet minutes to relax—to listen to the sounds that surround [...]

2012-04-09T17:53:30-07:00April 9th, 2012|Daily Life Practice, Mindfulness Practice|

Right View and the Danger of Fixation

We concluded our six-week series on Right View last night with a talk and discussion on the Dangers of Fixation. Audio recordings will be posted at: https://www.imsb.org/teachings/audioSeries.php. The experience of right view does not require adherence to a set of beliefs or doctrines; it is not a theoretical position or social position. Right view occurs with [...]

2012-02-22T16:00:42-08:00February 22nd, 2012|Investigating body and mind, Mindfulness Practice|

On detachment

"Detachment describes the ease of a mind not adhering, not fixated, and not identified with the fleeting stream of lived events."—Shaila Catherine, Wisdom Wide and Deep, page 398. Often people bring negative associations to the term detachment—thinking it implies cold indifference. However, in the context of meditation practice, detachment refers to a vivid and liberating experience [...]

2012-02-13T15:50:58-08:00February 13th, 2012|Investigating body and mind, Mindfulness Practice, Sutta Study|

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|

Where do you look for fresh insight?

"Where do you search for fresh insight? Do you turn to classes, books, teachers, or nature? Meditation invites us to look carefully into our own material and mental experience."—from Shaila Catherine. Wisdom Wide and Deep, page 389 Instead of looking outside of yourself for understanding and insight, sit quietly and look into your own experience [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

How To Be Sick by Toni Bernhard

Toni Bernhard authored the recently published book, How To Be Sick: A Buddhist Inspired Guide For The Chronically Ill And Their Caregivers. It is an inspiring and eye opening account of how the teachings of the Buddha can support the chronically ill person to deal skillfully with their condition, and grow in wisdom and compassion. [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00November 25th, 2010|Body, Mindfulness Practice, Sickness & Death, Working with suffering|

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|

Daily Life Insight While Bathing

After speaking about the subtle Buddhist practices in which a meditator discerns, analyzes, and contemplates the ultimate realities of phenomena, a student asked me how she could apply the teaching during daily life practice. Although it can be challenging to consistently see the subtleties of mind and matter during active daily life, you can certainly [...]

2010-11-05T08:04:42-07:00November 5th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Mindfulness Practice, Uncategorized|

Breath meditation is not just for beginners

The instruction to observe the breath may sound too simple. A student told me today that he thought mindfulness with breathing was only a beginners practice and wanted the advanced meditation instruction. Although the Theravada tradition offers a great variety of meditation objects, including a traditional set of 40 concentration subjects, the breath is not [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00October 26th, 2010|Breath, Jhanas, Meditation, Mindfulness Practice|