Returning, or “5 meditations on the desert”

A little over a week ago, I packed my bags, spent a night in Missoula, MT, picked up 3 (and then 4) fellow travelers, and headed into the wilds of Utah where we met two more friends. I'm not a seasoned backpacker or hiker, having spent usually only a day or two in the "back country" and six days last year hiking 80+ miles of the Wind River National Wilderness Area with two good friends who are much more knowledgeable than I probably ever will be.However, I am a long-time meditator (over 15 … [Read more...]

Unplugging, or “practicing mindfulness in the desert”

I'm off tomorrow for a week off the grid. Or, more truthfully, about 3.5 days of driving and camping with 3.5 days trekking through some of the remoter gullies and gulches of southern Utah with three good friends and three soon-to-be good friends.Mindfulness will be on the menu, though it is a hard thing to avoid when your life is on your back, the sun is hot overhead, and one missed step could mean a sprained ankle (or worse) and hours, if not days, of pain. Once you get the basic … [Read more...]

The Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness: 8 Helpful Tips

A guest post from Janet Miller You don’t have to be a Buddhist (or a hippy) to practice mindfulness, and you don’t have to spend hours sitting on the floor in meditation. Practicing mindfulness is simply bringing awareness to yourself and your existence. By practicing mindfulness in your life, you can feel more focused, less stressed, and more happy. Here are eight ways to introduce mindfulness into your life.1. Mindful BreathingThe breath is a common object of meditation, and a grea … [Read more...]

On Modern Mindfulness, Buddhism, and Social Ethics

There is much about mindfulness being published these days: studies, meta-studies, mega-studies, maha-megha-studies (bad Buddhist studies joke). And then there are the opinion pieces; "We're all doomed. Mindfulness? Humph!"As I mentioned in my introduction to Doug Smith's recent article here, what we are seeing is the growth of a discussion, a dialogue. And as with many early discussions with disparate parties, it can sound a bit "noisy", and sometimes well-meaning people who are quite close … [Read more...]

On Some Criticisms of Modern Mindfulness

A guest post by Doug Smith (originally posted at the Secular Buddhist Association here).Editor's note: As a philosopher working primarily in Buddhist ethics, my attention has been turned in the last 3 years or so to the topic of "mindfulness." This started with an excellent call of warning published by Ron Purser and David Loy (written about here). Mindfulness has continued its journey since then, and as much as it has created an economy of its own--mindfulness teachers, seminars, wisdom 2.0 … [Read more...]

Buddha’s advice on wilderness and living in the present moment in nature

“The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the world.” - Henry David Thoreau, "Walking" (emphasis added) In this sentiment, Thoreau, who was influenced by the Indian philosophy trickling into the Euro-American mindset of his time, echoes the Buddha's words about life in the forest (Pali arañña). Much scholarly ink has been spilled on Buddhism and the environment. An excellent starting point here … [Read more...]

Mindfulness and Self-Care: Why Should I Care?

A guest post by Edwin Ng with Ron PurserEditor's note: this is the second in a two-part series by Edwin Ng and Ron Purser, part one can be found at the Huffington Post here.Part One considered the current hype surrounding workplace mindfulness against the dubious history of management science. Part Two here considers the use of critical mindfulness in experiments with ethical self-care.Though we are skeptical about celebratory claims, we actually do hope that mindfulness might bec … [Read more...]

Mindfulness, Buddhism, and Philosophy, for the love of language, and the limits of language

One of the highlights of the recent Mindfulness, MOOCs, and Money in Higher Education conference at Naropa University (March 18-21) was a small break-out session led by Carrie Bergman of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. We were joined by two Naropa faculty, Susan Burggraf and Cynthia Kneen (who co-founded Naropa and happens to be a classically trained clown), an undergraduate independent scholar from Amherst College named Vivian Mac, and James Rhem, Executive Director of the Nat … [Read more...]


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