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…

Read More
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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

I recently returned from a vacation in the Rockies, where we stayed in a little cabin near the tree line. We had a wonderful view of a hilltop just across the valley, with patches of snow lingering in the August heat. We spent hours on the front porch watching that mountain as the sun moved…

Read More

For Practice Circle this coming Sunday the 25th of August, we’ll explore experiences of getting stuck, what they’re like, and ways in which our practice can help us get un-stuck. To join us, learn more on the Practice Circle web page.

Read More

The key to compassion, either for ourselves or for others, is the understanding that suffering is something we share.  It may be easy to grasp intellectually that all sentient beings experience suffering, but this insight is also deeply counter-intuitive.  When I am in pain, that suffering is mine, part of a drama that is bound…

Read More

When Practice Circle meets on July 28, 2019, at 6 pm Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central and 9 Eastern, we’ll share practice and discussion of how the Four Noble Truths manifest themselves in secular dharma practice. To prepare, I’m sharing this article I originally wrote in 2013. A link to our free, online practice community…

Read More

I think every contemplative technique I’m aware of involves at least some degree of relaxation. The practices I was taught in MBSR all begin with bringing awareness to areas of tightness and holding in the body and inviting them to relax; the Body Scan, which is the first technique one learns in MBSR, consists of…

Read More