4 Myths about Meditation

As mindfulness continues its spread across the Western world, along with it has come a myriad of myths and misunderstandings.Here are some of the most common myths, dispelled, for those interested in mindfulness practice.Meditation is about clearing the mind of thoughts. This is probably the widest and most pernicious myth around meditation. After a very long time meditating, it might be possible that some period of time, maybe just a few seconds, is free of thoughts. For days, we … [Read more...]

What is Attention? Can Mindfulness Help? See “The Science of Meditation” Summit

I am fortunate enough to have a tiny bit of spare time now to tune in to Shambhala Mountain's wonderful summit on "The Science of Meditation" with presenters ranging from the wonderful Susan Piver to Patheos contributor Rick Hansen and a list of the who's who of meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism research and practice. If I understand correctly, the videos from every day will be up and available to the public for two full days, so the one below, for instance, will still be available until … [Read more...]

Venerable Dr. Yifa on stilling the mind with meditation

In the following video, one of my wonderful teachers, Ven. Yifa, discusses the Buddha's teaching on the effect of meditation on the mind.The mind is like a pool of water. Quite often it is filled with mud that is constantly stirred up. If we look at the reflection of the moon in such water, the image is distorted. So too when we look out at the world with a muddied mind.Similarly, the pond might have surface ripples and agitations that distort the moon. And again, our mind is like this: … [Read more...]

From US Marine to Zen Monk (Video)

A commonplace in the discussion of Buddhism as it is taken up by Americans and other Westerners is the flattening out and commodification of the practices. And indeed this is happening and will continue to happen. Zen and mindfulness have become buzzwords that are used to sell soft drinks, potato chips, jewelry, and stationary, among other things. And don't get me started on tantra. Words like 'Theravada' and 'vipassana' are just a bit too difficult on the American tongue to find their way onto … [Read more...]

Mindful education – teaching meditation to kids via Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe”

"take a moment to think of just... flexibility, love and trust" Steven Universe is a coming-of-age cartoon featuring a boy (Steven) and his friends in a fantasy land of gems, aliens, and humanoids. All but two of the major characters are female, and the show premiered as Cartoon Network's first animated series created solely by a woman.The show's creator, Rebecca Sugar, has said that she intended to "tear down and play with the semiotics of gender in cartoons for children" because she c … [Read more...]

Free Buddhist audiobook: Requisites of Enlightenment by Ledi Sayadaw (via Pariyatti Publishing)

One of my first exposures to extended Vipassana practice was through the voice of S.N. Goenka, who I was fortunate enough to see speak in Missoula, Montana around 2002. His clarity and focus on life and practice holds with me to this day. Goenka, an Indian businessman who was born in Burma and who became a serious Vipassana practitioner late in his life, is one of the foremost popularizers of Buddhist practice around the world today.Goenka's teacher was U Ba Khin.U Ba Khin's teacher was … [Read more...]

For the love of running and mindfulness (my ON BEING interview)

When I was 15 or 16 I went to the hospital for a physical. The doctor looked me over - basically healthy, okay. Then he looked at my feet, grimaced a bit, and proclaimed, "you'll never be a runner with these."I took it as gospel truth at the time, but soon after began at least trying to run with my older sister who was a competitive cross-country runner in her high school days. And run I did. My very low arches (not quite flat feet) have caused me some difficulty here and there, but through a … [Read more...]

7 characteristics of Flow States & how Mindfulness brings us there

George Mumford, a mindfulness teacher and author of the book, The Mindful Athlete, offers an "anatomy of the Zone" as observed in the words of top athletes talking about their performance.The Zone, or Flow, has been described in cultures around the world, but has a special connection to the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. Flow states can, and do, happen to us all of time, from playing music to sports or just a great conversation with friends or colleagues. But with mindfulness practice, … [Read more...]