Dealing with Sorrow and Grief

During one of our meditation group’s Buddha Dharma Exploration Classes, our guest teacher – Burmese monk:  Bhante UJotika said that the Buddha stressed that we: cultivate compassion and not sorrow.  One of the sangha members asked how to deal with the deep sorrow one feels with the death of a loved one.  This was a great question that propelled me on a personal  contemplation and exploration process around how to not cultivate more personal sorrow, when one is already experiencing sorrow.   I have surmised that one can experience sorrow skillfully without cultivating more sorrow, and this article tells you how. Continue reading

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Dissolving Greed

When I began attending Vipassana meditation retreats many years ago, I kept hearing the teachers point out the three Poisons, or three Unwholesome Roots that lead us to suffering as: “greed,” “hatred” and “delusion.”

As my practice began to ripen and unfold, I started clearly seeing how my mind was steeped in ill-will and delusion.  However, I didn’t see much greed.  Boy, was I delusional!  After several years of intensive practice, I gradually began opening up to an ocean’s worth of internal greed!  Wow!  I had so much resistance to opening up to and accepting – greed.  Whenever greed appeared, I shot myself with subsequent poisonous arrows by feeling resistance, shame and disappointment.  After all, how could I have greed?  I was such a generous person, right?  It was a gradual process, but once I began accepting and exploring greed, my meditation practice really began to soar!  The internal greed also began to loosen its stronghold.

This article is intended to support you in your spiritual practice, as it explores GREED:  it’s origin, how to recognize it in yourself, and how to work with greed skillfully. Continue reading

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Skillful Speech

Of all of my spiritual practices, consistently engaging in skillful speech has possibly been my greatest challenge.  Sometimes, it seems as though it takes constant effort, awareness, intention and a compassionate mind/heart (citta) to be skillful with my speech with myself and others.

Oftentimes, meditators delude themselves into thinking that their practice occurs only when they are sitting meditating on their cushions or chairs.  Wrong!  Our meditation practice supports us in in being more aware and present during our wakeful life practice, but our moment-to-moment life practice is where the juice is at!   Continue reading

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The Magic of Working with Mental Formations

I recently attended my first Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) Buddhist retreat.  My most enjoyable moments during this retreat occurred while listening to TNH’s talk about mental formations – what they are, where they come from, and how to work skillfully with them, once they arise.  This article is my understanding of TNH’s talk, as well as my own personal deeper exploration around mental formations.

According to TNH, consciousness is like a house, in which the basement is our store consciousness (unconscious mind) and the living room is our mind consciousness (conscious mind). Continue reading

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Love

When you think of love, you can probably remember hearing some of your favorite love songs sung by what sounded like love-sick musicians, or remember hearing the utterances of a sweet poem gushing about the emotional ups and downs associated with the experience of love.

The subject tonight is Love

And for tomorrow night as well,

As a matter of fact

I know of no better topic

For us to discuss

Until we all Die!

– Hafiz

It seems as if our human culture has a love affair and preoccupation with love, as evidenced by the limitless number of books written on the subject;  love questionnaires and quizzes found in magazines and newspapers; numerous theatrical productions, television shows, and award-winning movies honing in on the nature of love, and one’s trials and tribulations while attempting to pursue or maintain loving relationships.

So what is this thing called Love?  Why is it such a big deal?  Is it that important?  Can love help you gain more traction in your spiritual practice?  Let’s explore LOVE.

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Deep Listening

I recently went out to dinner with a group of friends.  During the evening’s turn of events, I witnessed a phenomenon in which it did not appear as though any of my friends were really interested in hearing anything anyone else had to say, as each person took turns either interrupting the one who was speaking, or being interrupted while attempting to complete a sentence.   Since then, I’ve noticed that most people really don’t listen as they interrupt each other or space out while another person is speaking!

I like to listen.  I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.  Most people never listen.  – Ernest Hemingway

So, what’s going on?  For over a year now, I’ve made the conscious decision to incorporate Deep Listening as part of my daily practice. This practice has  been one of the most Continue reading

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