Archive for the ‘Meditation’ Category

Dinner on Me

“Maybe it’s because you were such a sore loser!” My father’s tone was buoyant. He wasn’t whispering. After a sip of wine he can be buoyant, and as he ages he is more buoyant around his kids. My wife Jeanine and I were there, but this holiday dinner was special. His daughter, my (much) younger sister Maron, was visiting from California with her boyfriend Justin. There were six of us at the table, including my step-mom. Dinner, at a local Thai restaurant in St. Johnsbury Vermont, had just been served. Both Justin ... continue reading

Retreat Journal: Unemployed

According to the philosopher John Locke, we think we know what we need to know and we all think we’re right (credits to my 14-year-old granddaughter and her Humanities teachers). As a young person I knew that I was special and superior to others. According to the way I was raised, superiority was then to motivate altruistic behavior. Noblesse Oblige as it were. Good works expressed  ambition. Being good (or better), meant working to “do good” better. To do right was to be right. A group meditation and study retreat is ... continue reading

Salt Minding

A Study The other day, I had a chat with my friend Amos, a doctor. He told me about a study looking at salt in the diet. Excess sodium in our food has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease among other debilitations. Habitually reaching for the saltshaker, or for potato chips instead of carrots, we make a potentially life changing, if not life-threatening decision. In the practice of mindfulness meditation we settle our mind by bringing our awareness to the cycle of breathing. Being with ourselves, we arrive face to ... continue reading

My Avoiding Sitting Meditation Journal

Tuesday: I’m too tired. I really am. Yes, I got plenty of sleep. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps a bug, perhaps allergies, low blood sugar or something more serious. Need protein. Need to conserve my energy. Meditation means sitting up, unkind at this point. Friday PM: New Yorker Magazine. Spent 1½ hours learning about the drug trade. Addiction is so terrible, a destructive thing pretending to be good for us. I have compassion for those people, I really do. New restaurant in mid-town. Read too late, no time to sit. Saturday ... continue reading

Ten Ways to Support Your Meditation Practice

1. Lighten Up. Meditation is making room to be kind to yourself (and by extension to others).  Sure, in this economy it’s good to have extra work, but being hard on yourself is a job you can afford to quit.  Just “let it be” a little.  It’s simple: breathe, look, listen.  It’s a long story.  Let it go. 2. Tell the Truth.  In sitting meditation you face facts (other things too).  Scheming doesn’t help; you’re only fooling yourself.  Choose your words, but say how you feel.  Don’t defend your point of ... continue reading

The Cool Kids

Recently the New York Times published an op-ed piece on a conference for Social and Affective Neuroscientists (or “Neuros”) which took place in New York this past week. According to David Brooks, the writer, “the leading figures at this conference were in their 30′s, and most of the work was done by people in their 20′s.” And all of them, he pointed out, were “young, hip and attractive.” Mr. Brooks went on to write, “many of the studies presented here concerned the way we divide people by in-group and out-group categories ... continue reading

Maybe You’d Better Sit Down

Scientists in Germany reported Thursday that the often-described sense of lost-hiker déjà vu, of having inadvertently backtracked while wandering in the woods — is real. “People really do walk in circles,” said Jan L. Souman of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tubingen.  – The New York Times, August 2009 The path of meditation shines a light on habitual patterns that keep us lost, both to ourselves and the world we inhabit. For meditation to move forward, however, orientation is essential. As the article from the Times on lost ... continue reading

Meditation: Your Cup of Tea?

Sometimes, the formal practice of sitting meditation feels like a stretch.  What does sitting quietly, upright on our meditation cushion, have to do with, well, anything, we ask ourselves? Life is moving fast. It seems to require speed and efficiency. Meditation practice is about slowing down. Aren’t these two heading in opposite directions? We feel trapped in a choice of our own making — life and living it — and our discipline of meditation, which doesn’t relate. There is the vague sense that the regular practice of meditation had been important ... continue reading

Coffee to Compost

Last Saturday morning was busy with a long list of errands. First stop was the Farmer’s Market to visit a booth selling compost supplies. We needed a new filter for the compost bucket that sits on the kitchen counter. As I drove to St. Johnsbury along the empty interstate, I remembered something my friend Mary Anne had mentioned to me recently.  “It seems like the farmer’s market has really grown,” she was saying, “there are more booths, new sights and smells, fresh coffee, food cooking…” The simplicity of Mary Anne’s comment must ... continue reading

It’s About You

Editors Note: A key aspect of a successful meditation practice is a view or orientation. To this end, some study of meditation is important. At Samadhi Cushions, we recommend books and media from fellow practitioners of meditation as an essential companion to the actual practice of sitting on your meditation cushion or kneeling bench. Chapter 14 in Sakyong Mipham’s book Ruling Your World is called The Confidence of Delight in Helping Others. It is a thoughtful contemplation on the personal transition toward serving others. In any event, without consistently refreshing one’s ... continue reading