In our culture, we generally avoid thinking about death, except humorously on Halloween and more somberly, if we care to, on days like Memorial Day, 9/11 and December 7. Some American subcultures also have their forms of remembrance, like Dia de los Muertos or Yahrzeit. On the whole, a lesser focus on death is a…

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Secular Buddhist Association Piece ‘Don’t Expect a Standing Ovation – and fifty-eight other pieces of helpful advice’ This is the title of my recently published book.  Many people will immediately spot that it is a reworking in contemporary and secular terms of the ancient Tibetan teaching ‘Seven Points of Mind Training’, which was originally presented in…

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With COVID, constant images of police violence, and a general current of anger running through American society, the world can seem like a depressing place. Voltaire, in Candide, suggested in the end that we tend our own garden. He was offering advice inspired by Stoicism and Buddhism: we have within ourselves the ability to achieve…

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As both a parent of two teenage boys and a clinical psychologist who works with children and teens, I look for ways to parent that cultivate both loving and brave hearts. Christopher Willard offers some practical advice to parents in his book Raising Resilience, which focuses on ten universal principles, drawn from the ten paramis,…

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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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