Archive for the ‘Meditation’ Category

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Me Who Loathes Me: The Interview

On cold and rainy afternoon in West Barnet recently, I caught up with the Me Who Loathes Me. We shared a cup of tea and watched the clouds moving across the sky. Me: So, when was it we last got together? MLM: Yeah, not so long ago—at the funeral service for Paul, a fellow practitioner of mindfulness. Me: Yes, Paul, what a wonderful man! MLM: Yeah, if anyone ever put your schtick in stark contrast, it was Paul. He understood goodness, something that still eludes you. What do you actually do on your meditation cushion ... continue reading
Take the Test!

The Contentment Test

This year, the Christian tradition of Lent falls during the weeks before and after the first day of spring. Lent is a time associated with purification and renunciation. While Buddhism is no stranger to these practices, one of the words for renunciation in Tibetan can also be translated as “contentment”. (The word is chok-she, which literally means “to know enough, to know what is enough”.) Rather than self-sacrifice or a lowering of expectation, contentment refers to waking up from the confusion of continuous want; appreciating the richness of experience in each ... continue reading
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The Science (and not) of Meditation

There are many good reasons to meditate, some empirical, some personal. Science Scientific studies confirm: Meditation Helps. These studies track the impact of meditation on physical health and psychological distress. Because they use the scientific method and focus on empirical findings, they’re something (just about) everyone can agree on. This is one of the wonderful things about science. The scientific benefits of meditation are increasingly well-documented. Here are a few of the headlines—the most striking benefits, from the most credible sources: Cuts cardiac patients’ heart attack and stroke risk nearly in half (by 47%) ... continue reading
Be Here Heart

For Men Only: A Valentine

Dear hombre, how can you be in relationship if you don’t know, well–how to be?  Whether you are strutting in your Cole Haans  or clumping around in Carhartts, stress leaves you hard to find and blinds you to beauty in the moment. Regular mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress—in other words, meditation supports relationship success. Here are five ways: 1)    Take-Home Pay In tuning you up, we can’t ignore the green. Your ability to provide is a turn on. But if you take work home in the form of worry, ... continue reading
Pop's Pentagram on Pale Green

Meditation–It’s Science!

We report here on several groundbreaking new scientific studies with impressive results for those practicing mindfulness meditation. First, scientists have discovered that regular meditation sessions can help couples get along. In one experiment, self-avowed “difficult” spouses were asked to practice once a day on their meditation cushion. After three months, over 60% of their suffering partners found the new meditator “more bearable.” “Sure he’s less moody” confided a relieved wife, “but when my husband is meditating, the TV is off, he’s not making a mess and he’s not bothering me. This is ... continue reading
Red Brain, Blue Brain

Cliff Dwellers

I promise, this blog is not about the fiscal cliff, slope or whatever it was. Not really. But I have to wonder, how it is we are all going to find reason in our relations with each other. By all accounts, the President made offers that should have enticed Republicans long before the deadline. “Why,” some wondered, couldn’t the holdouts in the House of Representatives just “listen to reason.” In a book reviewed by the Times last spring, the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt offers an answer. In “The Righteous Mind,” Haidt ... continue reading
Esopus Creek, Steve Mancinelli

What to Do?

Lately, I’ve scrapped a few blog posts. There was one I wrote for the holidays on forgiveness–but it’s just not the right time. In another attempt I tried to follow the threads of grief and loss to some universal wisdom addressing the tragic shootings in Newtown. I couldn’t figure out how to end the post. For what it’s worth, if you are looking for leadership in this sad time, I thought our President’s remarks at the memorial service for the victims were on the dot. “What can we Do?” is the ... continue reading
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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
"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
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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