I’ve been a poetry geek since I was a kid, and the poetry I liked best was the most mysterious.  T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, were utterly indecipherable to me at 14 – and even years later, after I got a graduate degree in this stuff, it’s still hard for me to understand what…

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There is the liberation of the heart by loving-kindness; frequently giving wise attention to it — this is the denourishing of the arising of ill-will that has not yet arisen, and the decrease and weakening of ill-will that has already arisen. — SN 46:51 There is much fear in the world now. Most of us…

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https://secularbuddhism.org/wp-content/uploads/Visiting-the-Sick.mp3 I have been very moved lately by the suffering of people who are sick with coronavirus and who must be isolated from their family and loved ones. For those of us who are not directly affected by the pandemic, it’s easy for the suffering of those who are sick to feel abstract and remote.…

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Virtually all of the in-person practice groups I participate in during this time of social distancing are scrambling to convert to online offerings. I read in the New York Times today that downloads of Zoom have increased exponentially. Many of these initial meetings have seen hiccups as presenters attempt to get the technology to work…

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For several years now, the mindfulness group I practice with has been learning a set of meditation practices adapted by John Makransky from Tibetan dzogchen and mahamudra methods.  Although these techniques have much in common with the mindfulness practices adapted from Theravada Buddhism, such as vipassana and loving kindness meditation, there are some differences in emphasis and…

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Silent nigt

I love guided meditations. Whether in person with a teacher or with an audio recording, I find the sound of verbal instructions can make it much easier to meditate. Good instructions do more than remind me to be present when my awareness drifts. They also help bring a different perspective to my experience while in…

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At my UW Health Mindfulness sangha a couple weeks ago, the teacher shared a passage from Steven Levine’s 1995 book, Guided Meditations, Explorations and Healings, on what he called “soft belly meditation.” Here’s a sample: The belly is an extraordinary diagnostic instrument. It displays the armoring of the heart as a tension in the belly. The…

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Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are rapidly approaching the Winter Solstice. Darkness and cold are gradually encroaching. The trees that not long ago were full of color now stand bare against the pale sky. The harshest part of winter is nearly upon us. I know I’m not the only person who struggles a…

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I’m going with my gut on this.  It’s what’s in my heart.  I have a funny feeling inside.  These common phrases indicate that we recognize that physical sensations in the body have important things to tell us, things that may be beyond the grasp of our conscious awareness. Several of the world’s wisdom traditions put…

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