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David Weiskopf

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Everything posted by David Weiskopf

  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
  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
  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
  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 pragma
  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
  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
  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 conve
  16. 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 mindf
  17. My sense is that emotions are primarily physical, are somatic, are embodied. The mind tries to interpret them and explain them. It tries to devise strategies to avoid unpleasant ones and to seek and encourage pleasant ones. This goes back to the consciousness question. We might not be aware of the physical feeling and sensation triggered by some event, but it colors or affects how we relate to it. Basically the body orients us to seek what feels good to it and to avoid what doesn't. Because we have the capacity of long-term memory, recalling events can also elicit the feelings and emotio
  18. That is a fantastic article! Thanks so much, Gillian. I have long thought that anyone professing to favor acceptance and compassion should at least attempt to maintain them when facing anger, outrage, or the like from others. I pretty much have given up on that (except I try to teach it to my small meditation group) and I do agree with the article that insisting on only non-harsh speech is, quoting your article, a way of: "subtly creating a coercive environment in which there is pressure on the person who has just experienced immense pain to immediately choose a form of response that requ
  19. This is not to say, Gillian that I don’t greatly appreciate what you are offering. For me this nevertheless is a bad time, in the midst of this election turmoil here in the States, to bring up forgiveness. I finally am getting pretty good at knowing that bitterness and ill-will hurt me and can harm others in counterproductive ways. I too loved the Kurt Vonnegut quote about not letting bitterness steal your softness. The teacher I regularly listen to, Gil Fronsdal, makes a point of frequently saying, “Don’t make things worse.” We may lack the wisdom and discernment to achieve resolution, b
  20. Because I tend to be coldly rational and judgmental, my practice nearly always focuses on "bottom-up" processes starting with awareness of bodily sensations, then resting attention on the breath, and then moving into global awareness of the body. For me, this progression serves gradually to admit awareness and acceptance of feelings (pleasant, unpleasant, or neither-pleasant-or-unpleasant) and then thoughts and emotions. It really releases the grasping aspects of disembodied thinking and judgment and results in a pleasant abiding with whatever affective states arise in the body/mind. Depending
  21. 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 f
  22. Well, my feelings fall somewhere in what is discussed in this interview of Sharon Salzberg by David Treleaven. They run the gamut, wildly oscillating between hopelessness, particularly amidst the election uncertainty, and joyful presence. I recommend the interview, which might have been posted previously. https://davidtreleaven.com/tsm-podcast-episode-16-sharon-salzberg/ Anything else I might want to say might simply be construed as my being judgmental. But I will risk saying the following. I have had the sense that there has been a lot of pressure on people, consistent with American ind
  23. I told you there are a lot of different doors! I am a qualified huge fan of Pema Chodron (qualified because she was silent about the sex abuse of the leader in her lineage and an apologist for him)), but I don't think she is the best place to start. Again, it depends on your inclination. Bhante G, as Henepola Gunaratana is popularly known, is great too. The reason I suggested Jack Kornfield's book is because he is a great story teller while Bhante G is more concise. Everyone's recommendations are good as far as I am concerned. My guess is is that Jeff is less inclined to Jack because Jack is m
  24. Ha, ha. Already you can see how there are different doors for different people. I shutter at the mention of Jon Kabat-Zinn. For all the good he has done by making people aware of mindfulness practices he also has robbed those practices of some of their essentials. At least that is my view. I have known other people for whom his books and guidance have been invaluable. Still, to me he is the founder of McMindfulness. I nevertheless enjoyed reading his books. I would be more inclined to recommend Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart, but there are so many different places to begin.
  25. I am very settled in my own path and am reluctant to make suggestions. I think people have to find their own paths. Doing so was really difficult for me. Like you, I felt really alienated, alone in any crowd, and thought we all must be missing something really meaningful. I too am familiar with often feeling despair as though "nothing works." When I was 19, I had a bad experience with a meditation group and dismissed any form of meditation from my consideration. I was in my 50's and pretty desperate myself before I heard an interview on the radio that sparked interest in it again--this time in
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