Meditation can a softening effect on our hearts. But having an open heart can feel kind of dangerous, unsettling. What to do? Instead of trying to scramble back into a more closed off situation, there are six actions that you could take instead.
Most of us begin a practice expecting to find some relief from stress or pain or to become more creative, successful and/or peaceful. These are all excellent expectations and they are entirely appropriate.
However, after teaching many students all over the world (basically), I’ve seen that there are additional things you can expect that you may not have thought of before. In the first video above, I talk a bit about them.
You can expect:
1. To find greater mental clarity
2. That your heart will soften
3. To be bored
4. To wonder if you really, truly need to follow all of the instructions
5. To discover fearlessness
6. That, if you stick with it, meditation will change your life
Hello, wonderful members of the OHP. Welcome to your meditation practice.
The lion’s roar, according to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is the fearless proclamation that whatever comes up in our state of mind, including powerful emotions, is workable.
Today, I want to continue our discussion about meeting strong emotions in meditation practice. As you may recall, our last newsletter reflected on what it means to simply feel what we feel as opposed to telling ourselves stories about what we feel. I hope the exercise of listening to music together was enjoyable for you.
I created that exercise in preparation for answering this question, received from an excellent OHP member: Continue
Whether you meditated for the first or millionth time today or are simply thinking about maybe giving it a try, it is good to review a few key points about beginning your practice. In any case, we’re all starting over right now. So this is the first time for all of us, myself included.
There are basic 4 points to keep in mind. Continue
When you practice, should you sit on a cushion? In a chair? What are the various ways a person could sit to avoid pain? These photos could be helpful in figuring it all out.
knees and pelvis create a supportive triangle: if you can sit in this way, it is ideal. for some, though, it is too stressful on the hips and groin. in the side view. notice the straight line of her neck and relaxed palms. Continue
When it comes to meditation practice, no matter how ambitious or committed we may feel, it is not easy to keep our practice going. Things get in the way. We have too many emails to answer. The kids need to get to school. We have an important meeting at 8a and there is still much to do to prepare. And of course in addition to too busy, there is always: too tired, too hungry, too uninspired. Continue
Buddhist thought has many value-free suggestions for creating lasting confidence. In the video above, I share some of them. As you will see, they are very, very basic but also quite brilliant.
The underlying theme is to simplify, slow down, pay attention to details, and have faith–not as an act of wishful thinking, but because as you take these steps you see that your life is actually unfolding with a sense of order. They are: Continue
Eventually, almost all meditators run into the same problem: boredom. Boredom usually arises in one of two ways—as a constant sense of sleepiness or as a kind of free floating anxiety and agitation.
Yes, agitation. I would like to tell you right now that you do not have ADD. If I had a dollar for everyone who said to me that they had ADD, I would be a rich woman indeed. I’m not trying to dis anyone who has actually been diagnosed and is benefitting from medication. More power to you for defining and treating the problem. But most people who have self-diagnosed as ADD sufferers are actually suffering from something far more insidious: boredom masquerading as anxiety. Continue
When we’re inspired to begin a meditation practice, it is usually for excellent reasons. We want to feel less stressed. Perhaps the doctor suggested it as a way to lower blood pressure or work with pain. These are all great reasons. However, we are also doing something beyond all of this. We are cultivating an awakened mind. Continue
One member of the Open Heart Project wrote with this question: “Don’t most schools of Buddhism advise against attachment?”
The answer is yes. But it non-attachment might not mean what you think, or at least it didn’t mean what I thought it did.
The video above offers a possible definition.
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