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Vladimir

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Vladimir last won the day on January 24

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  1. To put it simply as I can, for me it means knowing where my red lines are. What is it that I can offer and what I need to get in return. Knowing who or what is important.
  2. I have two online groups. One that consists of my students and it's not a free group, and another group with a few fellow meditators. We meet on Whereby every week and each time someone else leads a 30 minute meditation followed by a short discussion where we share our experiences, etc. It's really interesting because each week you learn something new, try out a different technique or another approach to meditation. We haven't met in a while because our schedules became completely divergent, but we met weekly for over a year and it's been a great experience. I thought perhaps we could make something like that with Sharon Salzberg's book. We can discuss a chapter and try out the exercises together.
  3. I feel like political talks often end up being pointless, because very rarely do we genuinely connect with people, consider their arguments or question ours. It's just a matter of waiting for them to stop speaking so that we can deliver our talking points. I am as guilty of that as anyone. What comes to my mind when I think about politics, aside from speaking with my votes, is to simply live my ethics. To speak up and stand up to injustice and to positively contribute. For example, I've taught mindfulness for free to people who are not able to afford it and who either come from vulnerable groups (immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ+, etc.), I volunteered as a physician back in Europe when the migrant crisis began, etc. I'll donate stuff, money, etc. To me that's also politics. And it's practical and it's effective because it actually helps someone. I am very weary of "politics" on social media and YouTube comments. I just don't think it's constructive and somehow it feels like its main purpose is for those who retweet or dislike or whatever they do to feel good about themselves, whereas net suffering of humans is pretty much the same and no one's mind has been changed.
  4. @gilibaus And yes, I think that's a very nice way of putting it - realizing our oneness is exactly the reason to act! (And not just on Twitter.) Taking away peoples' rights is then taking away my rights too if we are all fundamentally one. Keeping children in cages is keeping me in a cage. So standing up is the only right thing to do. I don't think everyone can or should be forced to act in the same way, but I feel like it's our moral obligation to stand up for what's right in the way we can. I firmly believe that being silent in the face of evil is a kind of approval. There are things that are more important than our own comfort. For me, that directly follows from lovingkindness and compassion practices. "May you be well" isn't supposed to be an empty phrase.
  5. I don't think I ever consciously chose a purpose, but I went to medical school and I became a therapist and then after that mindfulness teacher too. So when I look at all my choices together, I guess my purpose is to make peoples' lives a bit better. I don't expect myself to exactly change the world but I have changed individual lives and I find that incredibly meaningful and wouldn't trade it for anything.
  6. I was wondering if anyone would be interested in creating a book club and perhaps an online meditation group? I was reading parts of Sharon Salzberg's Lovingkindness for a workshop that I'll be holding and I thought how that book deserves to be re-read again and again. There are so many good exercises that I thought it would be worth doing in a group. To discuss chapters and then meet up and try the exercises together and share experiences.
  7. 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.
  8. Havana is one of my favorite places on Earth, so I'd probably give away of most of my stuff, take some of my savings, pack my bags, go there with a couple of books, enjoy the art scene, the jazz, architecture, sunsets at the Malecon, and, of course, meditate. I don't have much of a bucket list because I try not to postpone life too much. And if I only had one more year to live, I'd do this because it's a safe bet that I would enjoy it like I did many times before.
  9. I started looking at forgiveness as a gradual process of re-establishing the ability to direct loving-kindness or feel compassion for those who have hurt us, and also for ourselves when we hurt other people. And as a rule it's easier for me to forgive others than myself. There is an app whose name I can't remember because it's long and not very memorable, and that app offers 3 forgiveness meditations of different duration that I really really like using from time to time. One of the stages in those is to try and forgive yourself for hurting others, but it asks you to recall specific situations when you've caused pain to other people. It's always interesting to me how I can keep producing these lists and at some point they become so silly that I am sure that people don't even remember those events or my words (and I've checked!) but I still feel sincerely bad at the time. Whereas when others have hurt me, I have an easier time forgetting because I see those times as opportunities for me to grow, so whatever their intention was I try to make the best of it.
  10. Thank you for your kind words. I think it's also worth keeping in mind that Dalai Lama himself always mentions that specific meditation techniques are not what makes Buddhism a religion and that he sees them as mind training and mind training can equally be useful to anyone regardless of their religion. Buddhism is a bit more complex than what we are used to in the West, and it encompasses its own psychology, epistemology, etc. And if you draw on psychology you are not using anything religious. And I agree with what you said - it's really all about meaning, and you can actually come up with a mantra that holds special meaning for you, so it will be spiritual and you won't have any doubts about it. At the end of the day, we all do something similar when we modify and create our own phrases to cultivate loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. From my perspective as a teacher and a therapist, what's important is that when you use them ,you feel that they resonate with you. One of the way that I use to "judge" mantras and phrases is how my body reacts to them.
  11. Perhaps you don't have to use those complex mantras where meaning plays a role. For example, if I were Christian I wouldn't use mantras associated with deities like Blue Buddha or Green Tara. But there are plenty of mantras that are non-specific or even without meaning, so you can easily use those. On the other hand, Christianity also has its own version of mantra meditation, at least in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. I read a little about it so I can't offer any in depth advice. I believe it's called monologistic prayer, where you use one word like "Lord" or "Jesus" or a verse and then repeat it a certain number of times. I don't know much more about it but maybe it's something you can research. I think it's really important to adjust your meditation practice to your spirituality if it's in any way possible, it will make it much more powerful and effective.
  12. That seems like it could be quite effective. It's so simple yet to the point. I'm going to try using these tonight.
  13. Hi everyone! I joined about a month ago but somehow didn't find the time to properly introduce myself. I live between Miami and Budapest - usually winters in Miami and summers in Budapest. I've been practicing for about ten years now, and as the years progressed my practice has changed quite a lot. In different periods of my life I've explored different practices. Currently, my daily sittings has been revolving around different brahmavihara practices, and I use mantras, although which one varies from day to day, I like to let myself use whichever one comes to my mind once I grab my mala beads. For the past two years I've been teaching mindfulness, both online and offline, and it's been an incredibly rewarding experience. I work as psychotherapist so I like that mindfulness is both different and related to my main line of work. It allows me to create a lot of interesting cross-over experiments.
  14. What are your favorite phrases for loving-kindness meditation? Do you always use the same ones, or do you change them from time to time?
  15. Can I have two favorites? 1. The Blue Buddha Mantra, which goes something like this "tayatha om bekandze bekandze maha bekandze radza samudgate soha" although I have sure misspelled something. The first time I read it out loud my whole body reacted to it so strongly that I just kept using it without knowing much about it; once I got to read about what it means, I loved it even more. 2. The mantra from the Heart Sutra, "gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha" . I think I like it because each time I use it, I am reminded of how powerful the whole sutra is, how much wisdom is condensed in so few words.
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