“I think of compassion as a natural result that comes from actually paying attention.” – Sharon Salzberg
Oh, boy, I adore the work of Sam Harris. I have been an avid fan since reading his Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, two or three years ago. I listen to pretty much every podcast Sam produces, and had the opportunity to see him live at one of his events in Toronto this past September.
In this podcast, Sam speaks with Robert Wright, author of Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.
Their conversation is intricate, dense and finely woven. This is a ‘must listen’ for any reasonable, and reasonably serious, practitioner of Buddhism.
It’s suitable whether you have years of experience with meditation, or if you’ve never meditated before and are wondering what it’s all about.
This past summer I very much enjoyed reading Sam Harris’ book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.
A helpful Redditor extracted and posted all of the meditation instructions from the book, including the following simple eight-point instructions on “How to Meditate.”
Those who are new to this practice generally find it useful to hear instructions of this kind spoken aloud during the course of a meditation session.
You can make use of two excellent guided meditations (one shorter, one longer) over at SamHarris.org.
‘Let’s make happy’ is the slogan over at Mochimochi Land, where Anna Hrachovec, a knitter who lives in Chicago, showcases her original designs.
I love this joyful, sweet & funky video she made in collaboration with Maureen Boyle (music by William Steffey).
Don’t be ashamed if you, too, like cute things. Have you heard about the 2012 study conducted to examine the effects of viewing cute images on subsequent task performance? Basically it concluded that cute improves concentration. Which leads me to conclude that you should view adorable, sweet, heart-warming things before you sit on your meditation seat.
“Mindfulness is not going to solve all your problems. It’s not going to render your life a non-stop parade of unicorns and rainbows. Nonetheless, this is a superpower. And one that is accessible by you immediately.”
I sure do share Dan’s view on the future of mindfulness and meditation:
“It’s going to join the pantheon of no-brainers like brushing your teeth, eating well and taking the meds your doctor prescribed for you.”
If you missed it, enjoy Dan’s and animator Katy Davis’s: Meditation 101: A Beginner’s Guide
“You should be meditating every day. Five to ten minutes a day — that’s it. This doesn’t require some giant investment. I don’t care how busy you are, you have five to ten minutes to give this a shot.”
We’ve added more dates, continuous now through the end of March 2015, for the “Just Sit!” sessions on Tuesday evenings. (Please check back monthly for future dates.) These guided meditations are open to any and every one. All levels of experience and all faith or no faith backgrounds are welcome. Just Sit! is an opportunity to sit with others in contemplation and meditation, whether you are just learning how to meditate or have been at it for years.
For those of you who haven’t come to sit — or haven’t come in a while — we are currently dividing the hour into three meditations, or, one mediation with three sections. However you slice it:
Part 1 — 15 mins on the breath, developing concentration and allowing our mind to settle by counting our exhalations (to 3 sets of 21 exhalations) and then simply sitting without counting for a little longer, deeply experiencing the breath.
Part 2 — 20 mins on allowing, noticing and meeting our direct experience with an embracing mind of love, coming back again and again and again to the direct experience of each moment, allowing, allowing, allowing…
Part 3 — 20 mins on ‘feeling into’ our basic nature: the awake, alert awareness in which direct experience is arising — that which is always already present. We turn our focus from the experiences, the thoughts, feelings, sensations and pay attention instead in each moment to the space in which the experiences are arising.
Two more Just Sit! sessions are scheduled for 2014: tomorrow evening, December 9th, and next week, December 16th. Join us from 7-8pm at 123 Woolwich St, 2nd Floor, for simple guided meditations. Learn to be still and relax. Sessions will resume in the new year, dates TBA (to be announced — check back here in the next few weeks).
There is also a final 2014 sit in December with Ken Hood, over at Living Yoga & Health, 105 Wyndham St N, 2nd Floor. Join him this coming Sunday, December 14th at 10:30am. Ken is planning to continue regular sessions in the new year too.