A thought is a thought

At our weekly meditation group we are continuing the exploration of self-construction. In the discussion yesterday, one member described how she witnessed her mind constructing a notion of self through believing a series of thoughts and speculations. Another member equated the sense of self with a discernible feeling of stuck-ness. Indeed, we create the “self [...]

Conveying the past into the present

This post is an "at home practice" for our Walking the Path course participants, June-July section. Investigate and reflect on to the process of conveying the past into the present. In what ways do you find that you might be "conveying the past into the present"? Consider your work life, social life, meditation practice, self [...]

I-making and mine-making – What are the five aggregates?

Buddhist teachings use the model of the five aggregates to describe the material and mental conditions that come together to create human experience. These five aggregates include materiality, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. When we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, think, or experience any event, an intricate interaction of mind and body occurs enabling [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:51-08:00May 29th, 2013|Investigating body and mind, Not-Self|

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|

Contemplating the cycle of dependent arising

I just spent three marvelous days contemplating and discussing the cycle of dependent arising with 20 students. The topic invites the reflection that nothing exists separately or independently. Everything related to mind and matter arises due to causal conditions, and it ceases when those causal conditions cease. It might seem easy enough to agree with [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00February 22nd, 2011|Investigating body and mind, Not-Self|

Stumbling into Jhana

Frequently I meet students who excitedly tell me about experiences they have had in past retreats where they believe they have “stumbled into jhana,” or “slipped into jhana.” It may be so. Blissful states are not uncommon in meditation. But whether or not it was an actual accomplishment of the deep absorption states called jhana, [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00November 25th, 2010|Jhanas, Meditation, Not-Self|

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|

Observing self constructions in speech

Speech events are a marvelous opportunities to observe the constructions of self. Notice the subtle motivations behind your speech today. When is the primary communication merely your own existence? Sometimes what is said is not very important; what we are really saying is, "notice me, I'm here, I'm special, I am like this, I am." [...]

2010-10-16T06:56:40-07:00October 16th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Not-Self, Uncategorized|

Metta without self

In the Loving Kindness (metta) class last night, Drew made an important point that brought out the essential nature of metta practice—metta practice cultivates an openness open toward all beings without imposing a strong position of self. The "near enemy" of metta describes what metta is not, but may be confused with, that is, attachment [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59-08:00September 24th, 2010|Loving Kindness and Compassion, Not-Self, Uncategorized|
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