Author Archive for Michael Greenleaf

Michael Greenleaf Email: info@samadhicushions.com
Website: http://blog.samadhicushions.com

Michael Greenleaf is an Acharya, or senior teacher, in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. He also volunteers his time at the non profit Samadhi Cushions, working on marketing and internet issues. Michael is a member of the core faculty for Mukpo Institute, a residential program of meditation practice and study at the retreat center Karme Choling in Northern Vermont. Michael writes to share and loves to hear from his readers, appreciating every comment that is posted in response to his blog.

Posts by this author:

IMG_0957

Hope for the Holidays

During the holidays, it’s inspiring to remember our lineage forebears. One of my favorite stories features a moment between the meditation masters Chögyam Trungpa and Suzuki Roshi, two of my heroes. When this encounter begins,  Trungpa is drunk and Roshi is angry. They loved each other. Their story isn’t a holiday story, but it could be. It gives me hope. I suppose you could take it another way. As a WASP, angry is binary, it’s a switch. For my people, you’re “fine,” “fine,” “fine,” and then, after a few glasses of fine Bordeaux, ... continue reading
Pencil Sharpener Circa 1980

Dear High School Senior

Dear Graduate, What is your dream job? To teach meditation? I understand. That’s what I do. It’s a dream job. But I didn’t start there. I started in Accounting. If Accounting can lead to meditation, it can lead to anything. Congratulations on your diploma. Now you will need a job. My advice for college: study Accounting. Seriously! OK, I understand. You are young. You want to live your dream. But if you want to dream, you need to sleep. To sleep, you can’t be hungry. To eat, you need a job. It’s ... continue reading
"The Teacher Listens"

How to Ask Your Teacher a Question

You are attending a meditation class online or a weekend program in your city. Or perhaps you have taken off from work to sit on your zafu cushion for a week retreat at a residential meditation center. The teachings have focused on meditation in everyday life, and now you have a question. For a moment you hesitate. The last time you asked a teacher a question was in your college algebra class. Somehow this feels different.  For one, you feel a real solidarity with others in your class who are exploring the path ... continue reading
120409_r22060_p646_opt

To Sleep with a Stranger

It was late. Before collapsing into bed, would the grandparents have time to talk, to communicate openly as husband and wife, even for a moment? “There was a great piece in the New Yorker on Camus and Sartre,” I volunteered, hoping to catch my wife’s attention with an article I had read recently. (Jeanine happens to be French.) Sitting on the edge of the bed, she answered incredulously “Do I hear a shower?” She lowered her head to listen. Down the hall, there was the unmistakable sound of running water, our granddaughter ... continue reading
virtuous community

7 Reasons for Community

In our Meditation Space category we feature stories from people sitting on meditation cushions and practicing community. In case you imagined that having a community was optional, here are 7 benefits of community life that suggest otherwise:   1. Calming Consumerism. With the vagaries of real relationships, our community is never the “best” one. These days, everyone wants the best for “me.” But community isn’t a “me,” it’s a “we.” In community we’ll have friends, friends who don’t agree, and friends who don’t agree and need help. Always wanting the best for ... continue reading
CIMG0278

Ringing in New Y(ears)

Just a random sample of comments I’ve received recently and over the years.    “Where have you been, in La La land?” My friend Donna marveling at my fatigue with the stress of daily scheduling and meal preparation in a house with a teenager.   “It doesn’t read like something from someone who writes for a living.” My friend Sal after previewing a blog post (that never got posted).   “I live here too you know!” My wife, asking me why my trousers were on the chair in the bedroom when I already had on a ... continue reading
The Mind of Love

The Mind of Love

On Valentine’s day, we think of those we love. In the meditative tradition, we practice arousing the mind of love–a mind that wishes happiness for others.  In his A Little Book of Love, the teacher Moh Hardin writes, “the practice of wishing happiness to others is so simple that it is easy to overlook its profundity.” On our meditation cushion, once our mind has settled a little bit, we can turn it to the practice of contemplation. In the case of breath meditation, instead of the sensation of breathing, the contemplation ... continue reading
IMG_0277

Giving and Knowing

Generosity is our genes. The word comes from the root genus, meaning of good or noble birth. Noble, in turn, comes from the root gnosis—to know. Generosity speaks to the natural expression of an inherent goodness in human beings that both knows, and by its expression, is known. This past summer, my wife and I hosted Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and his family at our home in Vermont. The Sakyong (a Tibetan title meaning ‘Earth Protector’) is leading back-to-back retreats at Karmê Chöling, the meditation center in Barnet. For the month-long visit, Jeanine and ... continue reading
IMG_0270

Holding and Letting Go

More often than not, it seems, death epitomizes life. This was the case with the passing of my grandmother. Our matriarch, she had held the family together with a balance of judgment and acceptance; eventually she supported my interest in meditation, but not at first. Still in my teens, I had been living at a meditation center for about a year when I paid a visit to my grandparents in Philadelphia. “Have you ever wondered if they’re putting something in the food?” Grammy asked. No doubt, she and granddaddy had discussed ... continue reading
Garden and Mukpo shots 007

Practice Makes Perfect

Not too long ago, the New Yorker magazine reported on a study of successful start-up companies. What makes some new ventures take off, they asked, while others never seem to get anywhere? We could ask the same question of spiritual practitioners. Like entrepreneurs looking for a market, seekers seek to understand what the world is asking of them, and how by uncovering their own potential, they can offer something of themselves. Something that will meet a real need in their community, in their world. Karmê Chöling is a residential retreat center ... continue reading