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Category: Meditation

Sujata’s Gift

Sujata’s Gift

In the life story of Siddhartha Gotama, just before his enlightenment he is skeletally thin and barely alive, having deprived himself of sustenance to the point of starvation. A young woman named Sujata gives him a bowl of rice and milk. Understanding that deprivation is not the path to awakening, Siddhartha gratefully accepts Sujata’s gift, ending his six-year experiment with rigorous asceticism. Enlivened by the nourishment and brought back into balance, Siddhartha attains enlightenment shortly thereafter. These days, we wonder how we can be like Sujata. We strive to make a difference…

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Refresh Your Browser Frequently

Refresh Your Browser Frequently

All too often, we confuse meditation with concentration. Specifically, we attempt to lock our attention into a fixed, non-thought position. While there are meditation techniques that include one-pointed concentration on an object – the breath, a candle, a visualization, etc. – these techniques are mental exercises and alone do not constitute a complete path. Due to the oversimplification and commoditization of meditation and mindfulness, the word meditation has become synonymous with non-thought and the struggle to achieve that imagined state…

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AH

AH

Many Vajrayana Buddhist meditation practices begin with the intonation of the syllable AH. This being a short sound at the beginning of a longer practice, it is easy to say it and then progress on to the rest of the practice without giving much thought to its meaning or purpose. However, when we look into it, we find that this single syllable represents the entire practice, the entire teaching, and the entire path. When we understand and embody the meaning…

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The Endless Purple Fog

The Endless Purple Fog

After we fall asleep, there is a period of time when we are completely unconscious, and then we begin to dream. Ordinarily, when we dream, we are not aware that we are dreaming. Instead, we believe that what is happening is real, even when it is illogical and outrageous. Of course, when we wake up, we are immediately aware that the dream was just a dream. Sometimes, we become lucid, aware that we are dreaming. Usually, the dawning of lucidity…

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How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

Three or four times a week I go to the gym to exercise for an hour. I work hard. I sweat. It isn’t easy, but I really enjoy doing it. My body has changed significantly since I started exercising this way. I’ve gained weight, my muscles have gained tone and definition, and my posture has changed. But more importantly, my long-standing chronic back pain is almost completely gone. I’ve gone from having daily pain to having moments of discomfort only every few months….

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Thought Samurai

Thought Samurai

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you will someday set aside ten minutes to do this exercise. You can learn something and benefit just from reading this article, so if that’s all you end up doing, that’s fine too. But in the event that you do actually do the exercise, then that will give you the opportunity to test and verify the truth of the ideas presented here. Reading an article about Buddhism is called study; direct verification through personal experience is called…

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Naked Awareness

Naked Awareness

Putting ourselves in a pleasant environment and resting our attention on the present moment, we give our bodies and minds a chance to recover from the stress of habitual negative thinking. For a lot of us, cultivating this as a practice can be a life-changing, and even a life-saving experience. Right now, mindfulness practices are becoming increasingly popular for stress-reduction, physical and mental health enhancement, and increased performance in the workplace. As a means to those ends, mindfulness practices are…

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Happy Juice

Happy Juice

The quieting of the mind is a side-effect of any kind of mental focus, not just that thing we call mindfulness or meditation. For this reason, we appreciate mental focus in many realms of our lives. Playing music, playing a sport, doing Yoga, doing our jobs – most coordinated activities require that we use our minds and bodies on purpose. We enjoy the moments when our attention is completely immersed in what we are doing. Those are moments of mindfulness….

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Stop Seeing

Stop Seeing

Most of us are born with the ability to see. When we wake up each morning and open our eyes, we see. Unless we have a problem with our eyes, we will not stop seeing. We can’t just decide to go blind. If those of us born with a functioning sight sense were to diligently practice turning off our sense of sight, I don’t think we’d succeed no matter how long we practiced. Imagine going to a meditation teacher for wise advice and…

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