Somewhat paradoxically, the contemplation on impermanence can also enhance our ability to touch joy. The Buddha thought the contemplation of impermanence so important he called it one of the three “Dharma Seals,” saying that without an understanding of
impermanence, one could not fully penetrate the Dharma, meaning both his teachings and the real nature of things.
“We hate it when our friends are successful,” sang Morrissey, the mope-rock, singer songwriter and former leader of The Smiths. And while “hate” may be overstating the issue, a quick Google search of that song finds hundreds
of articles and blogs quoting Morrissey, with people sharing the dark, not-so-secret fact, that rather than celebrating others’ successes and happiness, we often react with envy and jealousy. And the flip side of this human quirk is the guilty delight, or schadenfreude, we feel when others fail, as evidenced by so much of the popular reaction to celebrities’ foibles and misfortunes. But we short-change our own joy by falling into such bitterness. We can increase our joy by learning to delight in the joy of others.
The Buddha taught that cultivating a kind and loving heart with a love for all creation is the most important dimension of our spiritual practice. The Pali word metta (Sanskrit: maitri) has two root meanings. The first is “gentle” as in a gentle misty rain that in falling, does not pick and choose where it falls. It simply falls with no discrimination. The second root is “friend.” A good and true friend is one who is constant in good times and bad. The culmination of metta is to become a good friend to all of life.
It's sad and dispiriting that Thanksgiving has this incredibly WHITEwashed story behind it. The genocide of the indigenous peoples of this land is -- along with slavery -- the shadow that looms over america to this day.
Can this day be a remembrance of this tragic history while finding some other day to celebrate our INTERDEPENDENCE? Because NOT ONE OF US is here and can continue to live without the support of myriad others. Let us give thanks to the sheer fact of that reality.
Set aside 30 minutes, preferably at the end of the day, to try this Naikan practice.
There is no place to seek the mind;
It is like the footprints of the birds in the sky.
Every contemplative tradition has what might be called "objectless" meditation emphasizing the characteristics of awareness. As simple as it may seem, it can be challenging for most, so here's an incremental practice to create the qualities of stability, reflectivity and resilient equanimity needed for such "objectless" meditation.
The "telephone," for many of us, has become something we can seem enslaved to: between texting, messaging, emails and various app notifications -- and of course actual phone calls -- we may fall into a pattern of deep attachment and reactivity.
The "telephone meditation" practice can create the conditions to step back and allow us to respond rather than react.
Continuing from my previous post, Just Sit, it may help to consider the following: Create a comfortable, private space to sit. It could be a corner of your bedroom, a walk-in closet or wherever you can have privacy. After even only a few days, the consistency of sitting in the same place will lead to a greater ease in letting go of other concerns and settling into 'just sitting.' The same thing goes with time: it's best, if possible, to sit at the same time(s) each day.
The Buddha’s teaching on anatman or “not self” and shunyata (emptiness) are perplexing for many people when they first are presented with it. And yet, it’s not only what physics, chemistry, psychology and all the other sciences tell us; it's also what the evidence right before our eyes if we actually look without the veils of assumptions, expectations and pre-conceptions tells us: there is no-‘thing’-ness to any phenomena.
With the coming of October, and the cooler days and longer nights of Autumn, and before the Holiday Season and its concomitant stresses, NOW might be a perfect time to commit to sit!
Start to enjoy the benefits of meditation practice before the stuff hits the fan!