Meditation for fidgety skeptics

“When you can have some distance from your repetitive grim thought patterns, your inner neurotic programs, then they don’t control you as much. That’s all that meditation is — a systematic waking up to this reality so that you can surf it rather than be drowned by it.” – Dan Harris

A friend just loaned me Dan Harris’ most recent book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics and I am loving it. Light, full of humour and humility — it’s a wonderfully accessible book for those interested in starting a daily meditation practice.

In this video, Dan has a long and wide-ranging conversation with Rich Roll, on the power of meditation to live and be a little bit happier, tailored to the skeptics and those who mistakenly believe they can’t or don’t need to meditate.

 

Dan is the co-anchor of ABC News Nightline as well as the co-anchor of the weekend edition of Good Morning America. He is the author of the NYT bestseller 10% Happier and his newest book is 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics.

Plus, there’s a 10% Happier Meditation app. Maybe it will be just the thing to get you sitting!

(via Rich Roll and Dan Harris)

Why meditate?

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris and Joseph Goldstein answer questions about the practice of mindfulness. They discuss negative emotions, the importance of ethics, the concept of enlightenment, and other topics.

There’s some really juicy stuff here on the selflessness of phenomena, aka shunyata or emptiness. If you’ve got a few hours and the interest, have a listen.

Despite the photo on the video shown above, you’ll find this is an audio recording only. To listen on the go, somewhere other than YouTube, you can find links to listen to the Waking Up podcast for iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, etc.

This is the third episode where Sam talks with Joseph Goldstein. You can find links to their other conversations here.

(via SamHarris.org)

12 principles of forgiveness

  1. Understand what forgiveness is and what it is not. It’s not condoning, it’s not a papering over, it’s not for the other person, it’s not sentimental.
  2. Sense the suffering in yourself, of still holding onto this lack of forgiveness for yourself or for another. Start to feel that it’s not compassionate; that you have this great suffering that’s not in your own best interest. So you actually sense the weight of not forgiving.
  3. Reflect on the benefits of a loving heart. [Buddhist texts say]: Your dreams become sweeter, you waken more easily, men and women will love you, angels and devils will love you. If you lose things they will be returned. People will welcome you everywhere when you are forgiving and loving. Your thoughts become pleasant. Animals will sense this and love you.
  4. Discover that it is not necessary to be loyal to your suffering. This is a big one. We are so loyal to our suffering, focusing on the trauma and the betrayal of “what happened to me.” OK, it happened. It was horrible. But is that what defines you? “Live in joy” says the Buddha.
  5. Understand that forgiveness is a process. It’s a training, it’s a process, layer by layer—that is how the body and the psyche work.
  6. Set your intention. There is a whole complex and profound teaching in Buddhist psychology about the power of both short-term and long-term intention. When you set your intention, it sets the compass of your heart and your psyche. By having that intention, you make obstacles become surmountable because you know where you are going.
  7. Learn the inner and outer forms of forgiveness. There are meditation practices for the inner forms, but for the outer forms, there are also certain kinds of confessions and making amends.
  8. Start the easiest way, with whatever opens your heart. Maybe it’s your dog and maybe it’s the Dali Lama and maybe it’s your child which is the thing or person that you most love and can forgive. Then you bring in someone who is a little more difficult to forgive. Only when the heart is all the way open do you take on something difficult.
  9. Be willing to grieve. You have to be willing to go through this process in some honorable way. Be willing to grieve, and then to let go.
  10. Forgiveness includes all the dimensions of our life. Forgiveness is work of the body. It’s work of the emotions. It’s work of the mind. And it’s interpersonal work done through our relationships.
  11. Forgiveness involves a shift of identity. There is in us an undying capacity for love and freedom that is untouched by what happens to you. To come back to this true nature is the work of forgiveness.
  12. Forgiveness involves perspective. We are in this drama in life that is so much bigger than our ‘little stories.’ When we can open this perspective, we see it is not just your hurt, but the hurt of humanity. The loss is not just your pain, it is the pain of being alive. Then you feel connected to everyone in this vastness.

(via Jack Kornfield)

Breathe to heal

“With anxiety, stress, and sleep dysfunction skyrocketing around the globe, it’s time we look at the unspoken reasons why. These debilitating challenges can be meaningfully impacted with ten to twenty minutes of breathing exercises per day. Max Strom, who has taught breath-work for 20 years, reveals his insights into the healing power of the breath.”

(via TEDx)

Resting in love

When we meditate, we settle into stillness and meet our experience directly as it arises, moment by moment. When we notice suffering and struggle, we’re advised to ‘move closer’ to it, ‘explore’ it, ‘allow’ it. But what do we do when the pain we meet is too strong? In this short video, Tara Brach offers a nuanced alternative to working directly with pain.

 

 

“There are times that it’s not even wise or compassionate to be with pain at all…there are times when you’re in so much pain that it’s throwing you totally off balance and right into reactivity. And trying to be with it, is going to drive you more into being exhausted or uncomfortable.”

(via Tara Brach)