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Do You Want To Buy A Meditation Cushion?
* The main types of sitting cushions are zafus, benches, and half moons * There are different heights and firmnesses of cushions, and different ways to sit, based on body type * It is helpful to try out different kinds of cushions before buying one For many people establishing a meditation practice, buying a sitting cushion of one’s own is a big moment. Many people find that there is something special about having their own cushion – a cushion to sit on daily at home and to bring to classes and retreats, ... Read More
Only The Flow
My main Buddhist teacher says that there are no objects in this universe, only events. I think of my car as an object. But the cars that I’ve owned and driven around in the past are no more – I think now that the steel, fiberglass, plastic, aluminum, etc molecules that made up their parts are scattered all over the planet. There’s a zen poem that says something like, every tea cup in your cupboard is already broken – cuz it will be eventually. Sometimes when I make a lot of money, I think it will mean that I will ... Read More
In This Moment of Now, You Can Handle It
From Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations”, Book 8, #36: Do not disturb yourself by picturing your life as a whole; do not assemble in your mind the many and varied troubles which have come to you in the past and will come again in the future, but ask yourself with regard to every present difficulty: ‘What is there in this that is unbearable and beyond endurance?’ You would be ashamed to confess it! And then remind yourself that it is not the future or the past that afflicts you, but always the present, and the power of this is much diminished if ... Read More
The Teaching Of The “Three Bodies”
[Short post that will probably be of interest mostly to hard-core Buddhists] Someone posted on an online Buddhist forum, and said that they did not understand the three bodies teaching (the “Triakaya”) . Wikipedia describes this teaching as follows: The doctrine says that a Buddha has three kāyas or bodies : The Dharmakāya or Truth body which embodies the very principle of enlightenment and knows no limits or boundaries; ... Read More
Meditation While Driving
Meditation in Motion When most of us think of “meditation”, we think of someone sitting motionless in a cross-legged position with their eyes closed.  And, yes, generally, the quickest way to make positive progress in meditation practice is to regularly spend time sitting still on a cushion, doing nothing else but meditating. But most meditators eventually find that it is also helpful to practice formal meditation techniques when out in everyday daily life, off of the cushion, as often as we can.  Meditating while in actio... Read More
Book Review: “Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing”, by Jed McKenna
I just finished reading the book “ Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing “, which was written anonymously under the pen name “Jed McKenna”.  I had heard about this book for years, but had formed mostly negative impression based on the words and actions of those who said that they had read it.  Several friends who I trust also suggested that I read it, however, so I reconsidered my attitude, read the book, and am glad that did. Written as the description of a month in the life of fictional enlightened guy, the book intertwines expositio... Read More
Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness
An excerpt from David Rock’s informative book “Your Brain At Work”: There are five domains of social experience that your brain treats the same as survival issues: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness. The model describes the interpersonal primary rewards or threats that are important to the brain. Some of life’s most intense emotional reactions involve a confluence of the elements of S.C.A.R.F.. People who experience events like this (say, being unfairly treated at work or being attacked falsely by a rival in ... Read More
Two Writing Practices That Can Help Stop Addictions
In this post I will describe two writing practices that I have found helpful in quitting addictions.  I recommend them for working with any behavior that you have attachment to, that has major negative consequences, and that at least part of you would like to quit. ************************ The first writing practice is to keep a “binge log”.  The idea here is to keep a Word document or journal that lists the details of your most intense binges. I recommend, any time you feel like shit at the end of an addictive episode, go to your binge log and wri... Read More
Two Types Of Growth
I came up with a theory many years ago that there are two main ways for us to make significant-impact positive growth in our lives. One way to make a big impact on our life for the better is instantaneous, emotional, intense, and invokes making a courageous and bold big change.  Examples of this would include to decide to take our life in a completely different direction (to go back to school to get a graduate degree, to quit a job and become a yoga teacher), to go and ask someone for something (a cute stranger for their number, one ... Read More
Lessons I’ve Learned From Rock Climbing
[Me in 1991] My men’s team and I recently went climbing at Iron Works indoor climbing gym in Berkeley.  As I clambered up the walls, I was again reminded of the helpful “life lessons” that I first learned from the sport of rock climbing when I first engaged it twenty-two years ago. I started rock climbing in 1991, my senior year at university.  I sought it out specifically because it seemed so unlike my usual heady-mental-analytical self and so outside of my comfort zone .  I went climbing about ten times over the next... Read More
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