Meditation: It's not what you think!

Meditation: 10 Reasons NOT to Do It

These days, everyone’s talking about the reasons to practice mindfulness. What about the reasons that make meditating a bad idea? Below, from my own experience, are 10 reasons NOT to practice sitting meditation: 1. You Can’t Afford To. You’ve been too moving fast, working too hard, talking, texting, worrying. You’ve even “lost it” a few times. (not pretty!) Slow down now and that stuff will catch up with you. 2. Later Is Big, Now Is Small. Meditation is in the moment. But you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. The moment ... continue reading
tinis

A Waste of Time

The $600/hour litigator is wearing a custom suit. A smart dresser, and if it helps to paint a picture, yes, he’s from Brooklyn. Nothing much gets by this savvy fellow. He’s talking to me. But right now, he’s not making a lot of sense. “So Michael, how’s the meditation retreat up there in Vermont? You know, I could use a little R&R. Why don’t you and I head up to one of those retreats of yours and kick back? I think we’ve earned it, don’t you?” We’re in a boardroom on the ... continue reading
Appreciation Agenda

Appreciation Agenda

“Oh, I know, Uncle Seward, there is one other thing…” We were finishing a late breakfast in the Gallery, the small, upholstered room at the Hotel Carlyle, on Manhattan’s upper east side. We were the only ones there. A successful artist and heir of a wealthy family, Uncle Seward calls the hotel home when he’s in the city, which he was this weekend. Ordering his eggs, he also ordered a rye whiskey on the rocks. “…There was something else I wanted to tell you, to share with you…” The hesitation in my voice ... continue reading
Jose Marti

Warriorship in Cuba: Part II

The oft quoted Jose Marti Continued from Part I: The next day our van and driver met us at our hotel in Old Havana to take us to the south side. On the way there was the usual stream of vintage American cars from the 1950’s. (Their original motors long gone, these cars were now powered by engines from Hyundai and Mercedes.) The traffic included noisy diesel trucks, and along the shoulder of the busy boulevard, the occasional donkey pulling a wooden wagon full of people and goods.  Near our (relatively) posh ... continue reading
Cuba Warriors, Part I

Warriorship in Cuba: Part I

Arrival in Havana–Fidel Photo Op “So, today you will enjoy a kosher lunch, followed by a trip to the synagogue…” our guide looked at us blankly, waiting for a reaction. Jeanine Greenleaf, the President of Samadhi Cushions and I, her husband, were in Cuba, traveling under the auspices of Shambhala. Our granddaughter Camille, a high school senior with four years of Spanish, would serve as a translator. Jeanine’s daughter Isabelle and our younger granddaughter Sophie would join us from France. As French citizens, they didn’t need a special purpose to visit Cuba, but ... continue reading

Seven Reasons to Tell the Truth

I have two teenage granddaughters. Recently, one of them found herself in trouble. Then she lied about it. Her trouble deepened. Fully acknowledging the mysteries of transitioning to adulthood, as well as the hypocrisy of those who claim to utter only the truth, I nevertheless felt moved to put in a plug for things as they are. There is much that could be said, but no time to say it. For all of us, choices between the truth and something else are being made everyday. “Life will go better for you ... continue reading
Nat King Cole

Mom, Buddha and Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole’s 1943 breakaway hit Straighten Up and Fly Right is based upon a folk tale his preacher father liked to tell. In the story, a buzzard offers to take fellow animals for a ride, only to toss them to their death once airborne. The buzzard then dines on the carrion. After watching his jungle friends take the ride and bite the dust, a monkey hops on. Hip to the buzzard’s plan, the monkey employs his tail to choke the buzzard before the scavenger can do him in. In ... continue reading
Meditation Circle

Meditation: Waiting to Connect

It was 1975. My Buddhist meditation teacher was coming to NYC. I wanted to see him. I also wanted my Aunt and Uncle, who lived near my boarding school in rural PA, to be able to appreciate him as well. Besides, I didn’t really know the city and could use some help getting there. A high school senior, I had been practicing on my meditation cushion for several years. Aunt and Uncle were skeptical. This was before the Dalia Lama, before karma was in Merriam Webster’s. If Buddhism wasn’t a cult, it was certainly foreign. ... continue reading
Holistic Meditation and At-Risk Youth

The Reciprocity Foundation: Holistic Meditation and High-Risk Youth

UPDATE from Jeanine Greenleaf ~ 12/13/2013 Our mission at Samadhi Cushions is to support the practice of mindfulness meditation as a way to inspire a sane society. We have done this over the years in our support for retreat centers like our neighbor Karme Choling, which provide a place for busy people to slow down and meet their mind and heart. At the same time, retreat centers are, by and large, privileged places for privileged people. I am so delighted that Samadhi Cushions is also able to support the retreats for ... continue reading
OUR-BLOG-AUG-B

A Buddhist Institute: Students Welcome

A while back in this blog we reported on a graduation ceremony of sorts for students in a residential program of meditation and study at Karmê Chöling here in Northern Vermont. The Buddhist Institute, which includes a month of meditation, runs in both the fall and spring semesters and is known as the Mukpo Institute–after the family name held by Chögyam Trungpa and his son and dharma heir, Sakyong Mipham. While not monastic, this is a kind of ‘temple-stay’ at a Buddhist institution that goes beyond spiritual tourism.  It represents a commitment ... continue reading