The Hard Things That Open the Heart

I’d like to offer some of my central practices that help me grapple with the First Noble Truth, particularly focusing on skillful means. In this talk at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center I go over some ways to cultivate the feeling of being for something, how to be on one’s own side enough that you

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Feel Safer

Feeling safer is a tricky subject, with complications that can be both personal and political. (This topic and others are explored in depth in my interview with New Dimensions.) Yes, there are real threats out there, but evolution and other factors have left a lot of us walking around in a kind of paranoid trance.

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Your Precious Life

This series of blog posts is about Your Precious Life: what an incredible opportunity it is to have a life. At all. To fulfill that opportunity, we need a fundamental orientation inside that treats our life as if it matters. As if our happiness is important, as if being mistreated is not alright, as if

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Rick’s Picks: Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

Rick’s Picks is a new series of posts highlighting the very best content online. Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2006, and in August 2007 he was given a terminal diagnosis. He gave his last lecture at the university on Sept. 18,

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Mindfulness of the Body as a Whole

Attention tends to move around, but something often bubbles to the surface at the front of our awareness. Even if we’re trying to focus just on the breath, the attention tends to wander from one part of the body to the next. In this audio practice from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, I explore the

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Don’t Take it Personally

Is it about you? The Practice: Don’t take it personally. Why? Here’s an updated parable from the ancient Taoist teacher, Chuang-Tzu: Imagine that you are floating in a canoe on a slow-moving river, having a Sunday picnic with a friend. Suddenly there is a loud thump on the side of the canoe, and it rolls

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Open Space Mindfulness

This is the fourth and final post in the series on developing mindful presence. Here’s Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. In Part Three we did a little mindfulness meditation to “tune-up” our mindfulness and concentration skills. Now we are going to distill that mindfulness meditation down to its very essence: abiding as awareness

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Rick’s Picks: Man vs. Machine

Rick’s Picks is a new series of posts highlighting the very best content online. This piece from FiveThirtyEight explores a classic contest of man vs. machine, carried out on the battlefield of the chess board. Seventeen years ago in New York City, brooding chess champion Garry Kasparov sat down to take on an opponent he

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The Neurodharma of Love

Most of our greatest joys and sorrows happen in our relationships with others. Imagine then: what if you could guide your mind to forgive, heal, and find greater happiness in your connections with others? The remarkable truth is that you can. Check out this sample audio of my The Neurodharma of Love: Rewire Your Brain

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Notice You’re Alright Right Now

Are you basically OK? The Practice Notice you’re alright right now. Why? To keep our ancestors alive, the brain evolved strong tendencies toward fear, including an ongoing internal trickle of unease. This little whisper of worry keeps you scanning your inner and outer worlds for signs of trouble. This background of unsettledness and watchfulness is

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