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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/19/2020 in Posts

  1. 7 points
    Thank you, I am glad you appreciated this video. I am participating in Path to Freedom, to bring mindfulness teaching to prisoners. I believe it can make such a difference, and that is has been such a disservice to prisoners that they have not been exposed to rehabilitative programs such as this. I also plan to teach yoga in women's prisons. Best, Jo
  2. 6 points
  3. 5 points
    @Jo L - I'm re-sharing the video you posted in a thread because it will probably be easier for people to find here than on your profile page. Thank you so much for sharing this - what a beautiful reminder of our oneness.
  4. 4 points
    Thank you for the open and honest sharing @MariaDe. First, let me just say that it is wonderful you notice this tendency within yourself. It is easy to simply act out on these feelings without reflecting on them; it takes courage to acknowledge these sorts of things and begin to address them honestly. I don't know how much advice I can give, but one thing I will say is that for me, it is has been helpful to make friends with my aloneness - my fears of being alone, my fears of being abandoned, etc. This has involved quieting the mind and just allowing myself to feel the somatic experience associated with this fear. Harnessing compassion, patience, and tenderness. Therapy has also been supportive for me, as has making time and space for myself beyond intimate relationship. If I come across resources that might be supportive, I will add them here. Wishing you well!
  5. 4 points
    There was a quote from John Kabatt-Zinn on Day 70 of Mindfulness Exercises. He said that while mindfulness is said to be at the "heart of Buddhism" it is not about Buddhism but simply about concentration. However, there is a real danger in divorcing the two. Mindfulness is being used, reportedly, to improve the ability of sharpshooters to kill their "targets" by armed forces. I realize those targets are probably trying to kill those who shoot to kill them. Somehow, there is still a violation of anything Buddha would ever have wanted for Mindfulness to help with by this type of use. If it is only concentration, nor morality involved necessarily. If it is to contemplate ways to remedy unsatisfactorisness, or suffering in life, there is a set of ethics attached. So, be aware that divorced from the Buddhist ethics of loving kindness, compassion and equanimity "just concentration" can be effective and deadly. Daniel
  6. 4 points
    With 58% of vertebrae species, 80% of freshwater fish, 40% of the global insect population (76% in some regions), and 90% of ocean biomass having extincted just since 1970, ... and with 70-90% of remaining species projected to extinct by the end of this century (at current rate of extinction, not factoring in acceleration), ... and with cognitive ability and average IQ scores plummeting (7 points since 1970) and dementia now the fifth leading cause of human death, ... and with human sperm viability declining 53% since 1970, ... and with climate chaos and a ‘baked in’ 3-5 C temp increase with an exponential increase in catastrophic weather projected this century (which will collapse civilization), ... and with suicide and psychosis rates steadily increasing, ... and as Earth’s geomagnetic poles erratically wander as the strength of the terrestrial electromagnetic field rapidly weakens as an overdue geomagnetic excursion ramps up (a geomagnetic excursion significantly contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthal species 41k years ago). ... and as it becomes increasingly clear that the human species is already in an actual full-blown existential crisis, ... I try to daily remember to get over myself and actively help others here in this age of uncertainty, mass extinction, degeneration and collapse. - - - It isn’t life as usual anymore. It isn’t all about our privileged and endless tsunami of dissatisfaction, constant craving, self-absorbed patterns of thought, addictive emotional reactivity, or our much cherished hallucination of a separately existing invulnerable solid ‘self’. We are short-lived biological organisms, innately embedded in a rapidly unraveling thin fragile layer of life here in an increasingly unstable planet that we are utterly dependent on for the sustenance and survival of the human species, and as Andy Fisher wrote: “As the biosphere crumbles, so do we.” The human species, right now, is crumbling. Modern people have forgotten what we are, where we are and how where we are actually operates, to our great detriment. They have forgotten that there is no solid ground to be found anywhere in all of existence. The practice and experience of mindfulness (or ‘sati’, translated as ‘remembering’ in the ancient mnemotechnical tradition from which it was extracted, relanguaged, renamed and repurposed for modern consumer culture) originally existed for the purpose of reminding the species that the nature of all existence is endless change, uncertainty, dependence and impermanence. Collapse is inevitable and most of humanity, wandering lost, disembodied, and isolated in a ritually fortressed conditioned bubble of storification and self-fascination, has no idea what is flying at us again like a speeding runaway Mack Truck. Remembering that Earth, and the human body, have never been safe places to live is medicine for our very modern madness of self-obsession, amnesia, ignorance and denial. Remembering that our purpose for living is to help each other, and to protect the web of life, provides us with meaning. As it grows darker, remember to be the light.
  7. 4 points
    As I've been watching the news and scrolling through social media over the past couple of months, I've noticed certain divides expanding: the divide between the right and the left, between lockdown advocates and lockdown protesters, between those that follow mainstream news and those that follow alternative news sources. So I am wondering if we can discuss how mindfulness might help us to soften these perceived gaps. While yes, it is apparent there is a gap between certain viewpoints, can we focus on what actually unites us? I know there is also a growing sense of community and support in many places as well - so the story is not only about division. And yet, I think there is something worth looking at here: How can we take our personal mindfulness practice, understandings, and insights and use that to unite and ground the collective?
  8. 4 points
    Very appropriate topic and excellent quote Gillian. I feel both more vulnerable and more empowered. Staying at home with my husband and not working makes me feel vulnerable: I'm not making money, I'm not being a psychologist and helping people (which I'm realizing was a role I was too attached to and defined myself by), I'm having to sit still with myself, and I'm having to spend more quiet time with my husband. In addition, I worried about the coronavirus, not so much for myself, but for my family and for all of those who have been infected and their families. I decided to take advantage of the time at home and enrolled in many online educational activities and trainings. I learned how to teach mindfulness skills to prisoners in Path to Freedom; I enrolled in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction; I participated in numerous yoga and mindfulness seminars; I took a course on Chakras; studied Buddhism; read many books; wrote poems and added to a book that I've been writing. I invested in me, instead of investing in others, which was what I did for 13 years as a psychologist in private practice. What felt unnatural at first started to feel good. I noticed changes- an ability to stay present, increased patience, decreased "noise" in my head from eating disorder, increased satisfaction in relationships, better communication, more love to give. Watching George Floyd's murder left me feeling powerless and heartsick. Another moment of vulnerability, a terrible situation that I witnessed and couldn't stop, a horror that occurred in my own city. Then empowerment stepped in. I had previously joined HumanizeMyHoodie and became more active in helping the organization. I supported Black Lives Matter with a donation and by spreading materials. I read and studied American history- the real history. I immersed myself in Black literature and other cultural material. I spoke my mind to friends, family, and on social media. I shared resources. I celebrated the momentum of the protests and the subsequent changes across the country. I'm still celebrating, and I'm still an activist, a proud ally. What I've learned is that when I feel vulnerable, I need to speak up, tell my truth, own my feelings, and act on my values. I am empowered when I take action that aligns with who I truly am and what I believe in my heart. Even if that action puts me in a vulnerable position, I will be standing on a stage of power.
  9. 4 points
    This is a major point of The Body Keeps the Score. A few days ago I heard The Dhamma teacher Dawn Neal tell the story of her little niece being angry, pounding her fists on Dawn's thighs which were as high as the little girl could reach, and yelling in anger, "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you." Dawn looked down and said, "I love you." Her niece stopped yelling and hugged her. The lesson had to do with people needing to be seen and heard, precisely the point of The Body Keeps the Score and, if I understand correctly, Shaun's teachings on "reciprocity." We tend to do all sorts of things to "fix" problems we perceive in others or discipline them, usually to relieve discomfort we ourselves experience, instead of showing up for them. I think we can see this dynamic playing out on a huge scale with reactions to the protests of the Floyd killing. Regarding Jo's experience with alternatives for aspiring meditators who might have reasons to be uncomfortable placing attention on their breath or their bodies, Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness addresses this topic well, including Jo's suggestions as I recall. I have no formal training, but I lead a small meditation group and I like to encourage people to stay with objects that bring them some pleasure or ease. They can even do this pacing, doing walking meditation, if they are too anxious to sit. The Buddha taught that gladness was a condition for practicing. If we are not enjoying practice, the likelihood is we won't keep it up. I really enjoy reading what trained people do. Finally, I personally do not like talks punctuated with "if you'd like" and the like. To me it interrupts the flow. Of course, I am the type who doesn't need an invitation to reject what the leader suggests! I personally prefer a preliminary instruction allowing people to follow their own lead if that seems of most benefit. I had a teacher who's many "if you like's" seemed obligatory, not sincere, so that might be clouding my perspective. It's not like there is only one right way. Have a great day.
  10. 4 points
    Thanks Gillian! When I worked with clients and taught meditation, I always explained in detail what meditation was before beginning the process, since many were scared of anything new, particularly anything having to do with relaxation. Also, I always reminded them that they were free to keep their eyes open, which many people did, at least at first. I found that asking people to focus on their breath often backfired, since traumatized individuals typically breathe shallowly and can get caught up in doing it "right." So, I usually begin with a body scan. However, I don't do a full body scan, because trauma is stored in the body, so I do a facial scan and have the client focus on relaxing the facial muscles, and maybe the neck and shoulders. This is usually quite effective which makes the client motivated to try more meditation. Visualization meditations can be useful to. I have one where I have the client create a safe room that only they have the key to, and where they can return anytime. I have them use all of their senses to create images in the room, what do they see, smell, taste, feel, etc. to imprint the place in their mind. I always tell clients before we start that we can stop at any time if they're uncomfortable- they can either say 'stop' or hold up a hand.
  11. 4 points
    That must have been quite tough @Gene Williams. That would of course shift and influence your journey related to expressing yourself. My environment was always very physically safe growing up but spiritually and emotionally it was constricting. As I moved through my teenage years and into adult life, I still held on to a lot of the 'good girl' conditioning that made me feel 'wrong' or 'bad' for expressing my feelings and needs (and to some degree, still do). So for me, learning to speak up in my teenage and early adulthood years was never in opposition with my physical wellbeing - a situation I'm very blessed to have experienced.
  12. 4 points
    I'm going to quote my favorite Sufi poet Rumi: "What you are seeking, is seeking you." "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." I believe the key to mindfulness is being gentle with yourself and not having expectations. Allowing whatever happens to happen. Continuing to come back to your breath, believing that breath is all-sustaining, and understanding the miracle of breath- that we breathe without effort, that the universe wants us to live even if we don't want to. The evidence is simple- try to hold your breath. You simply can't, your body breathes for you. The easiest way for me to meditate or calm myself is counting my breath. I inhale to a count of 4 or 6, breathing down into my belly, and exhale slowly to a count of 8 or 12.
  13. 4 points
    I began a page called Journey 2 Joy "52 Weeks Challenge of Gratitude" Each week follow and post on that page.
  14. 4 points
    I wasn't sure which category to post this in, and choose trauma since it relates to disassociation, which I know can be a pitfall of certain mindfulness teachings. I want to bring up the topic of how becoming a "passive observer" of one's life and oneself can lead to constant self-monitoring, disconnection and withdrawl, and the question of how to avoid this, mitigate this? Running a google search will bring up countless accounts of those who have been harmed by mindfulness (in my opinion, by the way mindfulness was presented to them) in serious ways, such as disassociation, depersonalization, excessive self-monitoring, and feeling less engaged in life and more of a bystander watching themselves and life from the sidelines. I really want to address this pitfall of certain mindfulness teachings, of language used, and how it is presented, and I'm hoping to open up a conversation here about this importance and how best to go about it so that mindfulness is less likely to trigger or lead to disassociation/dis-connection, and so that it does what I believe it should, which is to make us more intimate with ourselves (which means relating to our experience, not disconnecting from it) and lead to engaging in the world in a freer way, coming more into direct contact with what IS, and being less separated from the world by over attachment to mental activity, and transforming how relate to our experience of reality by loosening resistance to what IS by cultivating acceptance, grace, befriending, and self-compassion. Here is a quote that I found very relevant: "It is possible for someone who goes overboard with mindfulness to end up becoming isolated from other people because they up being just a passive observer who has totally lost the ability to "lose themselves" in what they are doing." This has been my experience at times and I am passionate about asking the question - how can we teach mindfulness in a way that is less likely to lead to this outcome?
  15. 4 points
    I think this is an important topic as well. As a psychologist, I specialized in working with individuals with trauma, and many were on the spectrum of dissociative disorders. I learned various grounding techniques when I saw that they were dissociating, such as asking them to name 5 things they saw, 3 scents in the air, 5 sounds they could hear, the taste in their mouth, 3 things they could feel, and getting them in their body. I did use mindfulness with these clients, but was very aware of their body language and level of awareness. Some people with dissociative identity disorder can benefit more from guided meditation that is very direct, where you go along with them, because silence can be an invitation for other parts to take over. For others on the dissociation spectrum, I found it helpful to explain that mediation is not about quieting the mind or stopping thoughts, but rather about creating space between the thoughts- not to get lost, but to provide some quite so they can be more in tune with their bodies. I always told clients to raise their hand or give me some kind of signal if they felt uncomfortable or became anxious and we could stop at any time. I didn't do longer meditations, which helped, although sometimes they were able to build up to longer meditations and found it extremely helpful. Progressive muscle relaxation meditation was very helpful too. Yoga is a great technique because it gets a person in their body and increases body-mind-spirit connection. Thanks for raising this issue!
  16. 4 points
    I have taught in business settings. Usually to people with high pressure jobs and a lot on their plate. I have focused on teaching them that Mindful singletasking is actually much more efficient than "multitasking" which is really just task switching. I also put a lot of emphasis on making sure that all of the Doing that has to happen throughout the day is Mindfully rooted in Being.
  17. 4 points
    Hi! I am focusing on taking care of my whole self by starting every day with prayer, tea, and gratitude. I’m staying off anything electronic during my first and last 1 1/2 hours of each day.
  18. 4 points
    My go to is the Wayne Dyer, and through Chinese medicine with the Buddha brought me to mindfulness also. The Dalai Lama book, "The Art of Happiness" spoke much of mindfulness. Various other influencers along the way.
  19. 4 points
    I'm not a Zen Buddhist but I always appreciated the political and spiritual engagement of many Zen Buddhists like Thich Nhat Hanh. I feel like dealing with inner peace and actively participating in political and social life and standing up to injustice is not exclusive - it's actually one and the same thing. I think if we look at the noble eight-fold path, it includes right action, and that's not just "inner" action. Unless our morality translates into our lives and if we don't stand up for what's right then we aren't really living our values and I then see them as pretty devoid of meaning. At least that's how I see it.
  20. 4 points
    I am grateful for this compassionate community on the internet.
  21. 4 points
    May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you have peace
  22. 3 points
    “What do you do when you don't feel like meditating?” Then I don’t.
  23. 3 points
    I find little about which to be inspired. Too many “spiritual” people seem to invoke Jesus’ last words, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” They seem to take righteous satisfaction in the belief that they are maintaining civility and high moral values. Although their message is coupled with wonderful resolves to pursue personal growth and service of others, it sounds like the ultimate confession of helplessness to me. How do we encourage people to “remember” or reckon with what they refuse to acknowledge? On the one hand, that sort of attitude is a perfect expression of pragmatic spiritual practice—applying effort toward wholesome action where such action can be of benefit and not driving ourselves crazy where it cannot. On the other hand, to me, it represents a sort of spiritual bypass to avoid speaking truth about conditions that promote dishonesty and harming that sometimes are a byproduct of implicit biases but oftentimes are simply rationalizations for avarice and callousness. There must be more people courageous enough to speak uncomfortable truths to power and its supporters who unconsciously or expediently want to avoid it and demonize its purveyors. There must be a willingness to endure some hardships as a result. This seems to me the single most important thing to emphasize now and I think Jeff points in the same direction if I understand him correctly. Any additional actions that promote personal growth and help others have multiple rewards and benefits. They help the actor, they help the recipients, and they lend respect and credibility to the speaker. We have no obligation to relieve malefactors of being made to feel uncomfortable about their conduct. To construe “right speech” or civility to require such acquiescence is to mistake them for their near enemies for the sake of avoiding our own fears of rejection and disapproval, of perhaps losing opportunities that we might preserve by being “agreeable.” It serves not only others’ greed and delusion but it serves our own too.
  24. 3 points
    Thank you @Jeff Miller, @Rachel, and @Daniel A. Detwiler for your thoughtful words and reflections. I resonate with much of what has been shared here and I am very grateful for your contributions to this community. It has taken me a few days to get to the computer to share my thoughts. So here are my own answers to this week's questions... 1. One significant lesson I learned in a deeper way this year is that it is much easier to cast judgment than to look at where what we judge exists within us. Despite the former of the two being easier, this is not the path towards peace and contentment. This year has really called me to contemplate how I contribute to the things I dislike and to be more compassionate towards the evolution of others - and towards the my own journey, too. 2. On the morning of the 1st, I completed my journal exercise to set intentions. The energies I feel called to cultivate more abundantly this year are: equanimity, acceptance, and presence. However, something lit up within me when I read 'purpose' in your own reflections @Rachel. I am going to sit with this again and see what new energies come up.
  25. 3 points
    Happy and peaceful New Year to all in our wonderful community! I feel there were so many lessons I learned in 2020- it is rather challenging to choose just one to speak to here. I would have to say that this year in its' entirety has taught me that grasping doesn't translate to security or solidity. This applies both relationally and within myself. I have begun to more clearly see that I am not bound by nor to the roles I play (mother, daughter, educator, etc..), so clinging to or using them as a sort of armor doesn't truly serve me on my path. What I hope to cultivate in the coming year has been coming to me in almost a mantra over the last several weeks, and I think it applies to all areas of my life- acceptance, contentment, patience, and purpose. I hope to open my heart and mind to experiences that give me the opportunity to explore them all, to the benefit of many. Be well- Rachel
  26. 3 points
    One thing I do is to ask myself what that part of me is trying to achieve through that negative response. For example, If I found myself really defensive in a conversation I might later review and sort through what I was trying to do by that defensiveness. Your thoughts, feelings or bodily reactions may tell you something about that. I found that I become defensive if I feel attacked in some way. Sometimes, the problem is my perception is off. Other times I found I was reacting to a controlling attitude I picked up from another person that reminded me of a time when I felt helpless to respond. The inquiry gives some answers. Tara Brach describes a process of naming the feelings or thoughts that you dislike in yourself and letting them know that they are a part of your experience. Neither being aversive to them nor clinging to them. It is a tall order but works somewhat with me. Finally, talking to a therapist or trusted person can be helpful. Daniel
  27. 3 points
    Your comment, Gillian, reminds me of a book about skiing. It said that skiing powder is simpler than skiing anything else and requires only a few of the basic skill sets from skiing other types of snow, but it requires having progressed through the other types of skiing to some significant extent. The “mindfulness” Of Ajahn Sucitto’s talk is not the same mindfulness as at early stages of formal practice. Perhaps we could think of the qualities of mindfulness as occurring on a spectrum with simple but skillful attention of present-moment experience being on the weakest end and penetrating mindfulness being on the other. In all cases mindfulness is dependent on the presence and development of other factors. Its development also is dependent on temporarily letting-go of patterns that get in the way. Fortunately, with the help of a little guidance, those things tend to unfold naturally and, as you suggest, simply over the course of practice. Would you agree?
  28. 3 points
    I write up my day 14 challenge my areas of my life where I can be more forgiving are at my aunt's house also at my parents house even my apartment and my fiance's apartment. When am talking to my people any where in my life and I will be forgiving myself without judgement. I'm showing compassion to my co-worker boss and my best friends also two of my families even my fiance. Am being kind to one friend of mine and I'm not ready to show compassion right now because she doesn't do that to me and I don't see her that much because she lives out of state but me and her are staying contact each other I finish my 14 challenge today.
  29. 3 points
    I was really stressed and depressed Wed. morning as i feared the same outcome as last time even though I know the final count would not be in. I did feel better after going out for my walk. I am an online activist so I get a lot pf mail too much of it political since that man took the WH and I deleted ever one, every bit of news, did not turn on the radio and when in the car I put in CD's. It lessened my stress considerably. I got a few snatches but i do not pay attention i might see although i was boosted by some that I saw. the tension is there but i try to keep it in the back of my mind. Meditation was very hard on Wed. AM. Yesterday was good. I figure at some point I will cry from relief or from anguish and at this point i will not predict either. If the latter happens I will be in trouble though.
  30. 3 points
    I'm not sure you are offering a different perspective. I am not talking about people who started "there" a long time ago and sine have experienced significant growth. I don't think a one-size-fits-all approach is either effective or trauma-sensitive. Actually, I think a lot of the glorification of activism oftentimes IS a projection of conceit (The greater universe of conditionality doesn't give a #%&! what one thinks anyone ought to do and how accomplished one displays his or herself to be at it). I think a lot more people are basically operating from places of trauma and great pain and fearfulness than we realize. I think they try to put on a bold face and make a good go at it, but it's taking a huge toll they cannot bear to acknowledge. You don't have to accuse me of projecting, I'll own to that being so in my case, except I have come to know it intimately. I really like one activist's take on finding a balance of kindness toward oneself and toward others that bears in mind the dangers of burnout, greed, or fanaticism. http://www.mushimikeda.com/blog/2017/11/15/one-activists-oath-first-vow-not-to-burn-out She is a dedicated practitioner, trainer, and activist who has seen a lot of burnout! I am not discouraging people from becoming involved in community activism or service until they are fully actualized, I'm just not saying it is a human duty for everyone regardless of their circumstances. I'm saying simply being kind toward oneself and others with whom one necessarily comes into contact is of great benefit itself. For some people that is challenge enough. Part of being available to others is being able to bear grief, loss, and suffering with compassion, dignity, and resiliency. I don't think mandated service projects and demands of social activism necessarily promote that, although they might in some cases. In others, they might seem overwhelming and trigger much more stress and woundedness. People are vulnerable and some not only have scars, they have deep, open wounds, but we live in a society where needing help, let alone admitting our vulnerability, is greatly discouraged. Given the crazy orientation and values of society, even getting good help, should one seek it, can be difficult. I don't think you can make people have the kind of transformations certain hospice workers and caregivers have had, many of whom received skilled guidance and support along the way. Additionally, I think there is a risk that people will displace into trying to "fix" in others what they have not faced and healed in themselves. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
  31. 3 points
    Hi David, “my deepest bows to anyone and everyone starting there.” Thanks for bringing this up. I’d like to add that a lot of us started “there” a long time ago and have a different perspective about social activism. A lot of people who are socially-engaged activists are motivated by compassion to act against social factors that are traumatizing and harming people and non-human beings. I was taught as a child, and by my dharma teachers, that these acts are human duty, a reflection of psychological maturity, a necessity, and of what you describe as: “If everyone simply would be responsible for behaving compassionately and somewhat decently, toward themselves and others, the world would be a very different place.” Alice Walker describes active social engagement as “paying the rent” for living in Earth and in society. I describe: “to get out there and "do something"--become an activist engaged in constructive social change, actually help people where help is needed” as: ... “behaving compassionately”, as a human duty, as morality and as essential medicine for ourselves and others, because we are responsible for those people who are suffering / traumatized and we are also responsible for ending or minimizing the factors that are creating their suffering and trauma. Compassion is engaged action. It is social activism. Our wellbeing is dependent on the welfare of other living beings, so it follows that their trauma is our own trauma. If we see and don’t act, then we are complicit and our “compassion” is just another pacifying lollipop ... another story in the head. Turning away / not acting to relieve the suffering of others is an egoic mechanism that degrades compassion into “self” serving succor and, IMO, results in a pathological alienation that significantly contributes to and perpetuates our own and others’ trauma / suffering. - - - Re: the OP question. I’m good. This isn’t my first pandemic circus. I was living in S.F. when the AIDS pandemic washed over that small city like a fast moving tsunami. People were dropping dead like flies. I witnessed young men drop dead on the street trying to go get food. Friends and neighbors would abruptly disappear. Hospitals were overwhelmed and those of us who were healthy became caregivers and assisted people as they died, one after another, and we became grief counselors for the families of the dying and dead. Daily, during the first year, I used a red pen to draw a line through what added up to more than 100 people in my address book. For a couple years there was literally no time for self-obsession. The living lived every day for the dying and grieving, and to our great surprise we discovered that “in a dark time, the eye begins to see”. Many of the living found something very valuable in this dark time when we were forced by circumstances to get over ourselves, be compassionately active and necessarily socially activated (activism). Our personal grief transformed into activism organically and this transformation when we rose above the needy scared “self” made us sane and effective. When I get my mindfulness teaching site launched, in addition to courses, I’ll be offering a one year online retreat. One of the requirements to participate will be a commitment to some form of social / community activism or volunteerism for the duration of the retreat. This is to prevent participants from spiraling deep into all-about-me-ism as we descend deep into a naked direct experience of what we are, where we are, and how where we are and what we are actually operate here in a fragile body, with a mind that tends toward wild, in a sick and collapsing society and in Earth, which has never been a safe place to live and never will be.
  32. 3 points
    I feel so blessed to be a part of this group where I feel so supported. THANK YOU @Jeff Miller @Gillian Sanger & @Jo L for your feedback and support. All such WONDERFUL and thoughtful responses. I will certainly use it as a framework to start formulating agreements with my son. I'm hopeful and optimistic we're on the right track.
  33. 3 points
    I had a situation that involved the suffering of another being. Witnessing such allowed me to meditate on ego. I'd like to share this poem with you all. How thin and fragile ego is. Ego is like the shell of an oak tree seed protecting what hasn’t fully developed on the inside. As the tree grows inside it realizes it needs to break free of what holds its growth. The shell resists. ‘No, stay with me and let me shield you’. But yet the tree pushes outward. The shell resists even more. Fighting with all it’s might because it knows it is worthless. The tree has broken free of its confines and reaches towards the sky with no barriers in sight. Roots take hold and strengthen its base. The trunk widens and strengthens as it reaches towards unlimited growth. And after many years, the mighty oak begins to reflect on all that it has experienced. It looks down towards the earth and sees the remnants of the shell that held back its potential. How thin and fragile ego is.
  34. 3 points
    Compassion for me these days comes in the form of seeing people. Really seeing what people do. I try to celebrate them when I can. At work I even suggested ways to celebrate the everyday victories so that people feel "seen". We are doing this now and it has already shown to be a useful morale boost for people. Compassion comes in many forms, and in such a angry world, we need more.
  35. 3 points
    Hello, everyone- I hope that this message finds you all healthy, safe, and well. I am excited to share that I was invited by a municipal office in the large city where I live to lead a live (virtual) mindfulness meditation to the stretched thin staff as well as their teen interns. It was a wonderful experience! I received such positive feedback from the group, and I have been invited back to open their monthly staff meetings with a moment of mindfulness! Thanks to all for the ongoing support! Be well- Rachel
  36. 3 points
    As requested, here are 2 links to the guided meditation recordings. The files were both too large to upload here so I'm providing links to the files in my Google Drive. One is in a .mp4 (500 mB or so) file with a nice background Large This file is audio only (11 kB) Small Please let me know if there are any issues or concerns.
  37. 3 points
  38. 3 points
    https://maps.org/news/multimedia-library/3012-how-psychedelic-drugs-can-help-patients-face-death Hello David, There is some interesting research about psychedelics helping patients decrease anxiety before death. I don't have netflix unfortunately, otherwise I wold definitely look into The Midnight Gospel. I've read that the theory about why it helps is that the illusion of the boundary that separates us from all other beings and the world itself dissolves during the use of the psychedelics, which makes the idea of death less frightening since there is a feeling of oneness with all, versus the terrifying idea of being alone when passing.
  39. 3 points
    Hello @Gillian Sanger, @David Weiskopfand @Jo L, This is a complicated question without an easy answer. I can't add anything substantial to what has already been said. Yes, we do have to understand other perspectives and be able to hold competing perspectives, without judgement. Being mindful of our needs and the needs of others is a pathway to finding common ground. I am a little familiar with Dr. Marshall Rosenberg's work and believe that we all have basic needs and much conflict is caused because competing individual’s and groups have different methods and approaches to meet those needs. Unfortunately, the approaches to meeting those needs are often carried out in negative and self-defeating ways that causes harm to the self and others. I, like David, find it challenging to simply accept other people or groups who are causing harm. There is a time and place when the appropriate response is to exercise "fierce compassion" and say "no" to actions that cause harm and lead to injustice. One thing I am working on within our current political divide is to work on understanding mindfully why I react the way I react to the strong opinions of others when I sense injustice. If I am not caught up in my own strong feelings and emotions, I can feel them, know that are present and understand my reactions when I feel my needs are being challenged. If I can process this mindfully, then I can respond with equanimity. This allows me to move beyond anger and self-righteous indignation. Within that space, I can stop feeling angry and see the human being or group who are trying to meet their own basic needs. I may not feel comfortable with how they are trying to meet those needs but I can still recognize their humanity. They also want to be happy, healthy, safe and secure. This allows space to exercise "fierce compassion" and say "no" to injustice without anger or aversion. Then I am in a position to respond from a state of equanimity. I can challenge social injustice and still recognize and acknowledge the human being who may be suffering and attempting to free themselves from suffering. At the very least, if anger and indignation is not present, people and groups with different options can talk with each other instead of at each other. This is all well and good in theory but difficult to practice in the real world. But as I write this, I plan to make this my aspiration and part of my mindfulness practice. Regards, Gene
  40. 3 points
    Hi, Gene. Living in Ogden, UT, I also lack a community to connect with. I am lucky that my wife shares an interest in Buddhism and formal practice. I've followed a few teachers and have gone to retreats with them. I learned a lot, but did not find what I was looking for, even allowing for the possibility the problem was me. I have pretty much landed with Gil Fronsdal and the Insight Meditation Center he co-founded. (The "pretty much" reflects no reservations about Gil, but more my distrust of the mentality of groups of any kind.) Especially now with the pandemic, they have a lot of online offerings, even for retreats from home. I'm not trying to promote them, simply advising of their availability if you are not already familiar with them. From the perspective of secular Buddhism and the science of mind, I recently became very impressed with Dan Siegel from reading his book Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence. Have you read that one too? I have a very few Buddhist books that I read over and over again, but I hesitate to recommend them because so many of us have different doorways to the practice. It's funny, thinking of Jo's recommendations, neither of her recommended teachers are included in my list, but their teachings have had a very great impact on me. I am glad she volunteered her favorites because I always am curious about who people believe had the greatest impact on them. Best regards.
  41. 3 points
    Nice to meet you too, Mel. I also teach yoga, Vinyasa, Hatha, and what I call "free-form" since I taught individually to my psychology clients. I also love yoga nidra. Currently I am in a course called Path to Freedom which is about teaching mindfulness to prisoners. It's fascinating. Love it! Thanks, you too!
  42. 3 points
    I think about how grateful I am for all the people who have come into my life that have lifted me up when I needed support.
  43. 3 points
    Great question Robyn! I have been watching live-streamed videos of daily chants and Friday kirtan led by the teachers with whom I studied Hatha Yoga. As of now they are live streaming daily at 6pm (Stockholm time). Most days they offer a single chant (sometimes with the Hanuman Challsa) but on Friday's they do a full kirtan. https://www.facebook.com/LoveEvolveAwaken/
  44. 3 points
    Great idea for a topic. I am grateful for the time at home with my husband. I am grateful for the classes I am taking online, including the Path of Freedom and the Community Engaged Mindfulness. I am grateful for zoom, which allows me to keep up a group meditation and yoga practice. I am grateful for my sister-in-law Ashley and all the other nurses and medical workers who are so brave, and the other essential workers who are keeping society going. I am grateful for friends and family who keep in touch. I am grateful for the sun rising every day- one thing that is certain in these uncertain times. I am grateful for books, without which I think I would lose my mind. I am grateful for creative people like Gillian who started the poetry club. I am grateful to be in recovery from anorexia. I am grateful my sister, who is an active alcoholic, is alive today. I am grateful that I can breathe without even trying to.
  45. 3 points
    This is a walking trail in my neighbourhood. It is a 1-kilometer path which weaves through a forested area. In the summer, I really enjoy walking on this path because it helps me to be mindful in nature. When I am walking along the path, I am aware of the trees, the wind, the air, the animals, and my breath. It also reminds me that the magic of life is in the moment.
  46. 3 points
    Day 8: Focused Attention. I find when I am able to remember to really focus on a conversation or interaction with someone I somehow automatically feel grateful for them. I feel wonder at what they are saying, really interested in what is said and the emotions around what is not said. I become a WHOLE listener so my responses are more accurate and reflect my deep understanding of the other person. It really deepens the connection I have with others and I find other people seek me out when they just want to be heard. Focused attention is a beautiful gift to practice!
  47. 3 points
    "Whether grief is obvious or hidden, the way forward is through. We lean into the pain and allow grief’s wisdom to present itself. Grief is an elemental thing, beyond the control of our intellect and best left to find its course like water down a mountain. If we dam it, it gains energy until it becomes a destructive flood. Best to let it find its way. Opening to our grief opens us to pain. But it also opens us joy by freeing us from the deadening armor that’s accumulated around our hearts. Life’s preciousness emerges and we see the first crocus of spring breaking through the snow. We see the baby born in the maternity ward at the same moment CPR is stopped in the ER. We feel love for the stranger in the very heart-space opened by transformed grief." How to meet broken hearts & longing - a profound dose of wisdom from Jeff Foster
  48. 3 points
    I am a researcher and Buddhist practitioner out of Southern California. My primary reason for joining this forum was to see if anyone was interested in participating in my research, since it is specifically for people with experience with mindful practice. At the same time, its very important to me that my approach is respectful, so please let me know if this is not the place to make such inquiries. That said, the purpose of the research is to better understand the psychological mechanisms involved with mindfulness, which will hopefully help improve clinical application of mindfulness practice. So in my opinion the research is worth while! If anyone is interested they can take my brief survey, which is about ten minutes and IRB approved, here: http://fullerton.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0j3UChhtlHHgMv3
  49. 3 points
    Subscribed to the CALM app. Has amongst others the binaural music by Moby. CALM has been an absolute boon. And by the way CALM stands for Campaign Against Living Miserably.
  50. 3 points
    Thank you! Your insight is extremely helpful for me. I am a spiritual being that has felt somewhat trapped by conditioning. Somehow my idealistic nature sees a forest and not only a tree wants to capture TRUTH without limitations. So many spiritual teachers came through this world with so much good offered. Unfortunately guilt and fear (ego) got nurtured very young yet I want to breath light and God and embrace everything that feels right and healing. We all have our paths and I am learning slowly my identity that feels conflicted. I really like how you mentioned the word “meaning” ...that word is everything to me. It also inspired me to try to bring forth my own song of light. Something to create musically with meaning without voices of the past telling me what is right or wrong. I will explore as well the non specific mantras as you suggest too. Thank you!


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