An End of Academic Critique: Mindfulness and a Philosophy of Humility

Teetering on the edge of academia, I watch eagerly as each new hiring cycle rises and falls. This year marks the first season that my PhD, the longest single endeavor of my life, is finally done. My parents and many of their generation assured me throughout that once that diploma was in hand, the doors to milk and honey would be opened.Or at least an entry level job with benefits.But they were living in the past. I, along with countless friends and colleagues in academia, watched the … [Read more...]

Re-Fleshing Mindfulness with Buddhism, Dr. Miles Neale

My earliest academic Buddhist teacher, Alan Sponberg, had the apt Dharma name Saramati, "one who gets to the pith of things."I remember an exercise he gave to a group of students early on. He had us write down the Buddhadharma in three words. I scribbled something like: "Buddha, Dharma, Sangha."Not bad, I suppose, but still on the surface of things.Dr. Sponberg suggested, "Just. Let. Go."Often, when teaching a new idea or practice, it helps to try to boil it down to its es … [Read more...]

Settling into Online Meditation with Guideful

Mindfulness: Where We Are There is no escaping it. Mindfulness is everywhere these days. And while it hasn't hit the cultural saturation of meditation and yoga just yet, it is steadily on the rise (as shown in this Google NGRAM viewer, which goes through 2008):Mindfulness, while still lacking a single widely accepted definition, is a quality or skill being sought out more and more in today's fast-paced and heavily distracted world. The founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), … [Read more...]

A Roundup of Critical Perspectives on Meditation

A guest post by Pierce SalgueroI am not a scholar of Buddhist meditation. My own research has only touched on meditation insofar as it was claimed to have therapeutic benefits in a handful of texts in premodern Asia. But, as a long-time on-again/off-again practitioner myself, I have been following the rise of meditation in American popular consciousness over the past 15 years with interest. More recently, I have also begun following the critiques of meditation that have circulated in … [Read more...]

A Survey on Mindfulness Coaching

With the ever-increasing awareness of mindfulness as a worthwhile practice and skill for everyone, new avenues are being sought to teach and guide new participants. For the last year, I have been teaching small groups the basics of mindfulness using mindfulness of breathing, walking meditations, and loving-kindness, along with other practices. I have also stressed the importance of community, ethics, and philosophy (understanding the nature of oneself and the world) in these classes while doing … [Read more...]

Spiritual Life takes Courage, and part of that is asking for help

My blogging life has been a bit quiet of late. This is despite the fact that I have some developing ambitions to write more and curate more wonderful writing from friends and strangers around the topics of Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness. More on that in a moment.If you missed it, my neighbor here in the Patheos Buddhist world and long-time facebook friend - I'm still hoping to get him up to Montana for a sermon at our local Unitarian Universalist fellowship - James Ford recently … [Read more...]

The Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness: 8 Helpful Tips

A guest post from Janet MillerYou 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 … [Read more...]

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...]