Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bronx Preparatory School at Open Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, NY

How Meditation Might Improve Test Scores at Bronx Prep

Bronx, NY– In early April 2013, high school juniors and seniors taking Advanced Placement Literature and Composition at Bronx Preparatory Charter School read a New York Times article in class: “How Meditation Might Improve Your Test Scores” (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/how-meditation-might-boost-your-test-scores/). Nationwide, advanced placement exams are administered annually in early May. The class had been preparing diligently since September. After 9 months of reading works from the AP Lit canon, annotating Chaucer and Ovid, debating Morrison and Ellison, writing analyses on everyone from Orwell to David Foster Wallace, practicing answering multiple choice questions on excerpts ... 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
Meditation Circle

Meditation Cushions: Beginner’s Guide

An upright meditation posture allows you to relax and breath freely. The best meditation cushion choices for the beginner in meditation are actually simple. It all comes down to a question of height and flexibility.  What, for you, is the right distance between your bottom and the floor?  The Goal: you are high enough off the meditation mat so your thighs angle downward from your hips. When they do, your back can be straight without straining. A Cloud Bench is like a meditation chair, just lower. The rectangular firm foam block in ... continue reading
Chicago Shambhala Center

Meditation Space: Chicago, IL

Meditation in Chicago I’m Gina Caruso and belong to the Shambhala Meditation Center of Chicago, which is housed in a vintage estate along Sheridan Road not too far from Lake Michigan. Chicago is known as “the City in the Garden,” or Urbs in Horto. Gardening, it turns out, cultivates more than the plants around our building; it’s a magnetizing force that attracts people to the Shambhala Center. Most summers I would garden in the front of the building and several people would stop and ask me about meditation. Inevitably they would ask ... 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

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

I Got To Do A Program!

The last meditation program I did was a year and a half ago when I staffed a dathun. But this time I got to be a participant, which hasn’t happened since…2001? Somebody correct me if I’m wrong. Theree were other programs I might have done that weekend. In fact I was quite torn since Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche was teaching at his center in Vershire just 45 minutes away. But I ended up doing the program here at Karme Choling, over Labor Day weekend (and into the Tuesday): His Eminence ... continue reading