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Practice Circle: Focusing with Politics

| June 8, 2016 | 21 Comments
Practice Circle: Focusing with Politics

Here in the United States, we are preparing to enter a season of political fear and loathing that may rival or exceed that of 1968. Two presidential candidates, each of whom is detested by millions of people, are apparently prepared to do everything they can to increase each other’s negatives still further. People on all […]

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Now is Strange

| June 7, 2016 | 4 Comments
Now is Strange

Now is strange. We only experience things in the present. Our access to past and future is through reconstruction and prediction. So much of our lives is spent in our heads, living in thinly disguised fictions of time gone and time to come. This seems obvious, and at the same time it seems so surprising. And yet […]

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The Move to Zoom

| June 2, 2016 | 1 Comment
The Move to Zoom

After using Adobe Connect ever since SBA started hosting virtual meetings in 2012, we’re making a change. Beginning with our June 12, 2016 meeting of Practice Circle, we’re going to begin using Zoom. It’s a very similar program that has features much like Connect, but it offers a number of distinct advantages. First off, it […]

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On Modern Mindfulness, Buddhism, and Social Ethics

| May 24, 2016 | 4 Comments
On Modern Mindfulness, Buddhism, and Social Ethics

Introductory note: This is a response to Doug Smith’s recent post here. I think Doug is right on nearly all counts, though he may have misinterpreted some of the contemporary writers he draws from. In any case, I hope this small contribution (cross-posted at Patheos) helps further the discussion. There is much about mindfulness being […]

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On Some Criticisms of Modern Mindfulness

| May 16, 2016 | 8 Comments
On Some Criticisms of Modern Mindfulness

Is the contemporary mindfulness movement a kind of “fad” that misconstrues the essential message of the Buddha? Pieces by Edwin Ng and Ron Purser (2016a, 2016b) and Stephen Schettini (2014), not to mention the earlier “McMindfulness” critique by Purser and Loy (2013) argue that this is so. Ng and Loy take an overtly “anti-capitalist stance” in their […]

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My First Float

| April 27, 2016 | 4 Comments
My First Float

Last Saturday, I had my first experience in a float tank, sometimes also referred to as a sensory deprivation chamber. I had been curious about them since I first learned about them in the 1970s, especially after seeing the 1980 William Hurt movie, Altered States. Recently, a couple of commercial float ventures have opened in […]

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Thinking and Feeling, Critically

| April 25, 2016 | 13 Comments
Thinking and Feeling, Critically

We are deep into the political season. Looking at the Trump phenomenon, an article by Phil Torres in Salon bemoans the “anti-intellectualism that runs through the roots of American culture.” Torres notes that, “[T]he most dangerous consequence of Fox News is that it discourages that most important form of rigorous curiosity called critical thinking.” Critical thinking, […]

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