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David Weiskopf

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David Weiskopf last won the day on January 11

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  1. I have been there—with my dad during his last months before he passed away. It really reveals how much some of us rely on certain fixed perceptions and judgments of how things are and should be. To watch them fall apart really was unnerving. It was also a real lesson about the importance of letting-go of rigid views and expectations in favor of opening with love and generosity to what presents itself...with the ailing parent, oneself, and bewildered loved ones. In hindsight I could have done a lot better. I ask his forgiveness in meditation often. My culture in no way prepares one for this, so mistakes were to be expected. I had to forgive myself. A teacher says if we are not making mistakes, it is a mistake. I love that little aphorism. We need not react to mistakes with harshness but respond with kindness. My thoughts are with you. I really did not want to participate in this forum but the poignancy of your post tugged at my heartstrings. Best wishes to you.
  2. You are on your way! How was Day 1 for you? I just did it myself. Not all people are initially comfortable with following the breath as a meditation object. Was it nice for you? Have you had any prior experience with meditation practice? I personally really like breath practice. It is my basic practice. Sean does a nice job.
  3. OK I'm in. I'll sign up. Actually, I am in a meditation retreat through Sunday, but I'll still get started. Nice working with you.
  4. David Weiskopf

    David Weiskopf

  5. If I don’t feel like meditating, before simply giving in I try to examine what is going on that has given rise to an aversion to meditating. Often that settles me right down, but if it doesn’t the next step for me is evaluating my affordable energy. If my tank is empty, then maybe I need sleep or a refreshing exercise. If I’m too agitated, I do some walking meditation or Tai Chi first. If aversion about something else seems to be the problem, then I meditate but start with practices to generate kindness and compassion. It usually makes being with aversion simply part of being what we are that I can regard with kind acceptance. Sometimes I seek out a rewarding interaction with another person before meditating or resolve to do so later. That seems to help tilt my perspective from being aversive to being more enthusiastically engaging. I really think a big part of developing enthusiasm for formal meditation practice is developing an attitude of friendship toward oneself and others, as challenging as that is for me. But, “challenging” is o.k. too. Boredom used to be an interesting challenge. When I would get bored I learned simply to meditate anyway and do two things—examine boredom and really ground my attention in other sensations of my body. So much would be going on aside from boredom. Boredom off the cushion is harder for me because it seems to come down to things I wish I could change but cannot. I’m a bit of a doom scroller, but I also use the pent-up energy to read and try to better understand things, to better understand how we delude ourselves. LOL, that often leads me right back to the meditation cushion!
  6. The How to Recognize Spiritual Bypassing offering is great...and I haven’t even explored the links yet.
  7. I do want to add that, while some truths can be manifestly clear as matters of fact or having an extremely high probability of being so, others require doing a lot of homework, formal practice, and reflection. So, I don’t want to undermine what Gillian is talking about. We see a lot of people who have not done the work even to acknowledge the former, obvious truths, like climate-change deniers and believers in conspiracy theories completely devoid of any supporting evidence. Of course some truths might be more personal than objective, arising from one’s core values and motivations. I like how Gillian is getting at how we need to examine how well our values and motivations underlying our actions actually are aligned. That same sort of examination has to do with whether we courageously speak truth or maintain silence for selfish reasons.
  8. I am confused. Are the monthly training sessions available to people with Sean’s basic teacher training certification or do we have to enroll in a premium teacher mastermind program?
  9. I have been practicing meditation for approximately 15 years and studying the ancient Buddhist suttas, but I still can be pretty cynical. I never did the 100 Day Challenge. I would be happy to partner with you, but please feel free to look elsewhere if you feel someone else would better match your interests.
  10. 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.
  11. You might like this Hidden Brain episode on the power of gratitude. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hidden-brain/id1028908750?i=1000499996014
  12. I really want to emphasize what I think is implicit in the others’ responses and that is kind and full acceptance of disliked traits in yourself as distinct from some sort of resignation. Those traits were not chosen by you out of malice but were the result of a wide net of causes and conditions. So, it is like embracing and protecting a wounded child, puppy or kitten—guiding it not to lash out and at the some time nurturing and transforming it. Repression and self-aggression don’t work. I suggest turning the self-critic on its head by kindly telling it: “Of course I see those traits, but far from ridiculing myself for them I applaud my recognizing them because it affords me opportunities for healing and growth.” You still can firmly resolve not to act them out again. That can be a good thing as long as you aren’t harsh on yourself if you fail in your resolve; with kindness you begin again. That is my thinking anyway.
  13. We have 3 dogs who wake us up anywhere between 4 and 5:30 a.m. I love the routine of taking them out, feeding them, and then making coffee. It’s my fault they get up so early, because when I worked I would set the alarm for 4 or 4:30 so I could sit and quietly sip coffee and pet dogs for an hour before meditating and readying for work. Ha, ha, I wake up as a completely deluded and groggy person. Slowly I orient myself toward the day. The a.m. sit usually has its fill of wonder—I’m here, I’m breathing, and the world is teeming with energy. Too bad much of mankind is set on poisoning it. Wonder and poison. I am still like an awed, awkward and bewildered child in some respects who simply cannot make sense of it and lives outside of it. Yet, formal meditation practice fills me with confidence and resolve.
  14. Rick Hanson’s newsletter just addressed how important one’s waking moments are in an essay entitled “Lean into Good on First Waking.” https://www.rickhanson.net/lean-into-good-on-first-waking/
  15. Daniel, I have not encountered any uniformity among Buddhists about these issues (something I actually find distressing, to be honest). Not that it matters, because it is your exploration of them that is important. What struck me as being especially wise in your reflection was your emphasis on compassion. Sean teaches the importance of balancing insight and caring/compassion, balancing the “head” and the “heart.” My teacher basically says something similar—that if your practice is not opening your heart, something is lacking. Of course, an open heart might not guarantee skillful means in conversing with others, but it surely helps! Part of developing the heart in Buddhism is supposed to be about giving other sentient beings no reason to fear you. I think that is such a lovely notion—that loving-kindness, compassion, and joy for others’ successes and happiness not only protects you but protects others...from you. I think that notion was apparent in your reflection.
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