Archive for the ‘Meditation’ Category

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The Nature of Community

Ubiquity, Invisibility We might think of community as something external to our life, something extra. We have our car, our home, our job, and then we have our neighbors, our coworkers: our community. But community is not just the people who live next door or who work in the same office, it is also the people who pave our roads, who work at the power plant, who grow the lettuce we eat and truck it to the store. Community is every connection we have with the world around us that sustains ... continue reading
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
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
Meditation Red Flags

Meditation Practice:10 Red Flags

Some “Red Flags” that might mean it’s time to  look deeper into your discipline of meditation: 1.  Sitting on your meditation cushion, you give yourself only one option: feeling good. As for the other stuff—more or less your life—you take the attitude that it’s somehow all behind you. 2.  In any given session, the number of times your mind meets the now corresponds with the number of times your smart phone vibrates. 3.  Your meditation is anxious. After all, it’s about time you were a better person. 4. Having decided that you are fine just as you were, you meditate ... continue reading
Quick Roasted Brussels sprouts

A Secret Shared

Tonight I have to be at the meditation center. Our little study group, all long-time practitioners of Buddhist meditation, will meet at 5:30. With our teacher’s blessing, 8-10 of us are reading and discussing sacred “terma,” or “hidden treasure” texts from the Shambhala tradition. The road to this study group was long. Many years of dedicated meditation practice, contemplation, retreats, and funds were required. Perhaps this is why we are so few. Students of meditation, we are also school teachers, engineers, bookkeepers, artists, Internet geeks, business executives, nurses, parents, and grandparents. The ... continue reading
The Path of Meditation

The True Refuge

According to my meditation teacher, to practice meditation is to be vulnerable, requiring the discipline of simplifying and slowing down. This journey takes intelligence and a willingness to acknowledge our connection to others. Sitting on our meditation cushion, we are exposed. Our willingness to be exposed is an expression of strength. Of course security is important and meditation requires relaxation. But if we are left alone for a minute, and we give our discursiveness a rest, inevitably we begin to feel. To feel what we are feeling is to be human. ... continue reading
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Remembering My Self

April 1st Barnet, Vermont We remember here Acharya Michael Greenleaf, a senior teacher in Shambhala and a co-founder of the wildly successful Mukpo Institute. The Acharya’s road to revered ‘would-be Master’ was not easy or anticipated. As a boy, he mercilessly harassed his one sibling, a younger brother. Both smarter and more sensitive than Michael, Tony suffered this abuse with dignity. Later, Michael would take credit for “introducing my brother to the Buddhist path of patience and loving kindness.” By the age of 13, a growing intuition told Michael that his destiny lay in ... continue reading