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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meditation is a way of life

To benefit from meditation, you need more than just a glimpse. You need to make a commitment to training yourself in meditation. Otherwise, there will be a lot of gaps and missing the point, and you will experience unnecessary confusion. So it’s important to stick with the practice and follow the instructions that you receive. It might be best to look at meditation as a way of life. If you stick with the practice and go along with exertion and patience, you will have a chance to realize yourself, to understand yourself.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

28-Day Meditation Challenge: Day 1

In conjunction with her book "Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation," Sharon Salzberg is hosting a 28-day meditation challenge -- which is just what it sounds like, a challenge to meditate every day for 28 days. The theory is that you'll develop the meditation habit, notice some benefit, get support, and receive benefits. She outlines the benefits in the book, which is wise and readable and warm.

You can follow for the challenge here:

A number of IDP bloggers will be taking the challenge and blogging on the Real Happiness blog and the IDP blog. Tune in daily to see how we do.

Yes, I am among the bloggers, even though I have a daily meditation practice already. Why would I do this?

Like anything we do over time, meditation can get to be a habit, done without much thought. My practice could use a little freshening up. Just because your posture improves and it gets easier to sit without moving doesn't mean that the quality of the meditation is also improving. You can slack off and still look like you're meditating -- or even believe that you are.

So the challenge for me is not just to sit but to sit with intention, with discipline, and vigor. To shake off the here-comes-a-regular quality.

We're all newcomers to the present moment.

"We miss a great deal because our attention is distracted or because we're so sure that we know what's going on that we don't even look for new, important information." Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness.

Today's Day 1. Who knows what we'll find?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Be kind

"If we begin to surrender to ourselves—begin to drop the story line and experience what all this messy stuff behind the story line feels like—we begin to find bodhichitta, the tenderness that’s underneath all the harshness. By being kind to ourselves, we become kind to others. By being kind to others—if it’s done properly, with proper understanding—we benefit as well.

So the first point is that we are completely interrelated. What you do to others, you do to yourself. What you do to yourself, you do to others."
(Start Where You Are)
Heart Advice of the Week at

Saturday, January 21, 2012

friend this moment

I once did a retreat with Sylvia Boorstein on the Brahma Viharas, or Divine Abodes (loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity). On the first night, she gave us a mantra and suggested we say it over and over as we went through the hours between the end of the evening talk and the beginning of the morning -- while brushing our teeth, lying in bed, walking to (silent) breakfast, between bites of food.

"May I meet this moment fully; may I meet it as a friend."

How do you see each moment -- as a friend to be welcomed warmly? An assassin waiting to kill you? A trap? A refuge?

How would your life be different if you took an attitude of friendship toward each moment? What would that look like? How would it feel?

Can you give it a try?

Maybe on the meditation cushion? Instead of, "argh, I still can't move?" can you relax into the moment, drop the wariness, take off the armor, and greet the moment as a friend, looking forward to what it brings?

"Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. It is all we ever have, so we night as well work with it rather than struggling against it. We might as well make it our friend and teacher rather than our enemy." Pema Chodron