Posts Tagged ‘awareness’

8/26 Practice Circle: Getting Out of Default Mode

I have tended to give concentration practice short shrift. To me, devotion to intense concentration – jhana practice, long sesshins, and the like – seemed like spiritual calisthenics, meditation for its own sake, another skill to attach the ego to. Coming out of the vipassana-influenced MBSR tradition, I thought the tangible benefits of exploring the…

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4/8 Practice Circle: Mindfulness of Mind

I’ve been reading Beth Ann Mulligan’s The Dharma of Modern Mindfulness, which is impressive for the way she uses anecdotes from her secular MBSR course to illustrate basic Buddhist principles. In that spirit, when Practice Circle meets again this Sunday, April 8, at 6 p.m. Pacific, 8 Central and 9 Eastern, we’ll continue our four-part…

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Judgment and Non-Judgment

It is critical to our progress along the path that we make lucid judgments about skillful and unskillful thoughts and behaviors. At the same time though we are often enjoined to pursue a kind of non-judgmental awareness. How are these recommendations reconciled? Or are they completely at odds? We will look at this question in…

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Practice Circle: Trust Emergence

When Practice Circle meets again this Sunday, 11/12/17, at 8 pm Central, we’ll work with a practice called Insight Dialogue. To prepare, I thought I’d share this essay we originally published in 2015. Please go to the Practice Circle discussion forum if you like more detail on the instructions for practicing Insight Dialogue. At Practice…

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What Is Dependent Arising?

I said that dependent arising is both very simple, and very complex, but always helpful, and worth the effort to understand. Let me start with the very simple. It Really Is Simple Dependent arising says that we come into the world with certain drives that cause us to build a view of the world and…

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Meditating with Muse

As soon as I saw the first ads for Muse, the “brain-sensing headband” that provides users with feedback during meditation, I felt both intrigued and conflicted. After all, you don’t need a $300 electronic gadget to meditate. Would this be just one more mindfulness commodity, another plaything to become attached to? Would it be useful?…

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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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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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Practice Circle: Energy and Information

In his book Mindsight, Dr. Dan Siegel tells the story of when he began trying to understand the mind in a serious way. As he approached experts in various disciplines, he soon encountered a fundamental problem: there was no agreed-upon definition of what the mind is. As Siegel convened an interdepartmental working group at UCLA,…

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