Welcome to my monthly selection of exceptional posts from around the web, plus a good book or two and helpful resources to help you live the best possible life. Enjoy!
Month: May 2014
Do you ever feel like dropping out? I do.
I fantasize about disappearing from modern life, including signing off from the internet. In my fantasy, I live simply, spend time in nature, and focus on spiritual practice.
Editor’s Note: This post responds to a request from a reader who asked me to write about how to feel compassion towards someone you dislike, especially when the person is very present in your life.
Sometimes, you can avoid people you dislike. But, many times they move into your life, your home, your circle, or your work and refuse to depart. It might be a difficult housemate, a trying ex, an impossible boss, or just about anyone.
What do you do then?
You could cave into the constant internal torment that comes from frustration, impatience, jealousy, anger, or righteousness – to name just a few possible emotional whirlwinds. You could allow these emotions to build up and then spontaneously pour out as heated words and unkind behaviors, confounding the situation even more. You could immerse yourself in feeling victimized or out-of-control for hours or days at a time.
If you’ve been there and done this – and most of us have – you know it’s excruciatingly unpleasant. There’s no winning ever.
The Better Option When It Comes To Dislike
The better option – for you and or the other person too – is to use the situation as an opportunity to cultivate compassion.
Mindfulness has become such a popular topic that bloggers are writing about it non-stop. Some develop online courses on the topic as well. But, do they know what mindfulness or meditation really is?
I have a concern that the practice of meditation could be be diluted by well-intentioned, but inexperienced individuals. So I invited three authentic and accomplished meditators to share the joys and challenges of meditation with you.
I’m delighted to introduce you to Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, Maureen Cooper, and Maia Duerr. Collectively, these dedicated women represent nearly 100 years of meditation experience including several three-year retreats. Yet, their responses are as fresh and relevant as any beginner’s mind.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the purpose of meditation, helpful ways to structure your practice, and how to work with some of the common obstacles that arise in meditation.
Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel on Meditation
Why do you meditate? How does it help you?
I meditate because I have a longing to habituate my mind toward sanity. I often think of the traditional analogy of the untrained mind: it’s like a blind, limbless person riding a wild horse – you can’t rein it in. There’s no freedom in that.
We have so many preferences in term of what we want to experience. When I sit to practice sometimes I feel peaceful and sometimes my thoughts, emotions or sensations feel jagged and wild, sometimes painful and overexcited.