A local newspaper, The Mountain View Voice, wrote an article about my work and Insight Meditation South Bay. Check it out at:
I don’t have much experience being interviewed (this may be the first time that I have been interviewed for a newspaper such as this), so the process has been an opportunity for reflection. I met with the reporter, Daniel DeBolt, in a coffee shop in Mountain View for one hour. We had a very pleasant conversation with a recording device sitting on the table between us.
He did a pretty good job of tying together strands of verbal conversation to create a brief and readable news article—no easy task with a conversation that spanned many topics. We discussed the vision for the development of Insight Meditation South Bay, the growing acceptance of meditation and mindfulness in our community, my personal background and interests, economic life as a donation-based dhamma teacher, concentration practice as my speciality, my recent books, what I consider most important about meditation and the Buddha’s teachings, and more.
But I must admit that it feels a little strange to read my spoken words in written quotes. It is like the slightly odd feeling of having lent my dress to a friend and then seeing it on her body instead of mine. It may even look better on her, but at first glance it can seem slightly out of place. Our words are part of how we present ourselves in the world—a reflection of our social identity and role. Seeing our words in print becomes an opportunity to reflect on this social self construct.
The subtle context that is conveyed in a verbal exchange can sometimes be missed in the written form. Refining the practice of right speech we might be consider not only whether what we say is true, but whenever possible, to check if what the listener understands is also accurate. We might find opportunities in conversations to check out our understanding, reflect back what we think we heard, or ask our partner in the conversation to repeat back what they understood us to have said. Right speech is more than a commitment to refrain from lies, it invites mindfulness and sensitivity within the dynamic interactive practice of communication.
I’ll be teaching a series on right view Tuesday nights starting November 13. For details visit: http://www.imsb.org/programs/specialEvent.php?eventId=1263.